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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

mood: amazed | drink: lemonade


Last weekend, for only the second time in my life, I held a garage sale. (One of the many perks of living in California is that you can do that in January.)

By all accounts (including my count of the dollar bill stack) it was a rip-roaring success. The stash of nuggets Boy and I have been hoarding for our next big vacation just got a bit fatter.

It’s amazing, really, what people will buy. Bright blue synthetic clip-in hair pieces? Check. Box full of random bits and bobs having to do with curtain hanging? Check. Your dog’s old food bowl stand? Check. A lab coat with the nametag “Dr. Seemore Bush, Gynecologist”? Check.

(The latter item was purchased for 50 cents by two very serious older gentlemen. The garage sale got very quiet during that transaction while everyone standing about averted eyes and tried very hard not to laugh. There was much speculation later about the old guys terrorizing the nursing home that night with their new purchase.)

Then there was the 50-ish dude with Elvis sunglasses and purple sideburns who bought, among other things, my Tomb Raider action figure (still in original packaging) and a pair of purple fairy wings (to match his sideburns?).

Over the years I’ve been given many, many, many a blankbook/journal/writing tablet. So many, in fact, that I would be hard pressed to ever fill them all up. So I sorted through them all, kept a few favorites, and piled the rest into a garage sale box.

Unbeknownst to me, in one orange-suede covered blankbook there was one page with a half-finished poem on it. A tremulous older woman brought it to me and said, “What should I do about this?” I took the book from her and gently ripped the page out, then handed it back to her. “There,” I said, “Good as new.”

“Oh dear, oh dear,” she muttered. “I want to give this to my granddaughter, but now I don’t think I can if there’s a page missing!”

I rolled my eyes and tried not to say, “LADY, IT’S ONLY 50 CENTS.”

Fortunately my sister, who is much better equipped with people skills, stepped in and took over for me. (Paranoid hippie lady did NOT, however, purchase said journal.)

All-in-all though, it was a fabulous day. Boy and I got rid of so much unnecessary baggage, and other people were more than happy to hand over their quarters and pocket lint for it all. The one-man’s-trash principle was in full effect.

We also got to meet quite a few of our new neighbors, some of whom were understandably confused about our “Moving Sale” sign. “Are you moving out already?” they wanted to know. So we explained that this was a moving-IN sale.

My favorite new neighbor was a Einstein-haired old guy (what was with all the old guys hanging out on Saturday, anyway?) who spent at least 45 minutes going through every single book we had for sale (about 6 boxes worth). Eventually he bought two books for two dollars, and then as he was driving away in his Toyota, he stopped and yelled out the window, “Did you guys buy the place?” “Yeah!” I shouted back.

“Well, welcome to the neighborhood. It’s not always this nice,” he said, gesturing to the sunny blue sky, “so don’t get used to it.” Then he zoomed off, white hair flying.

Old guys are the best. Especially the Russian guy who came back twice and dropped about $50 total. On his second trip, he held up a dish drainer and said, “How much for this?” “25 cents,” I said.

“Ok. How much this?” he pointed to a wine rack. “You can have that for a dollar.” I said.

“You make good deals,” he said. “How much are you?”

I shot back, “Oh, trust me, you couldn’t afford it.”

“Hah. I bet you are right,” he said.

Flirtatious old geezer.

The moral of the story is this: Garage sales rock. You should always get my sister to organize your sale for you. And be sure to invite lots of friends to come over and hang out on the sidewalk, just to sit there and see what happens.

-Lo, flush with spare change.

Here’s to New Horizons

mood: list-less | drinking: all done


Everybody and their mother likes to make lists around this time of year. Lists of all the things they loved about 2009. Or hated. Lists of the top songs of 2009, the top movies, the top news stories, the top celebrity meltdowns.

I’m a list lover, too, I’m not going to lie. But this year, instead of looking back at the 364 days behind me, I’m going to look ahead to what’s on the horizon.

So here’s my contribution to the blogosphere’s collection of lists…

Ten Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2010

1. Settling into the new home with Boy and LeeLoo: Unpacking those last few boxes. Building new bookshelves. Sprucing up the backyard. Taste-testing all the neighborhood eateries. Finding new routes to walk to the beach. Discovering a whole host of lovely new things about my new ‘hood.
2. Shooting our new cin├ępoem: “The Tyranny of the Mirror” is our biggest cin├ępoem to date, with 8 separate shoots in 8 separate locations and our fabulous ensemble cast of 8 gorgeous ladies (including my very own sister). It’s going to be amazing.
3. Going back to Illinois to see my parents and various and sundry friends: This year was the first year since I’ve moved to California that I didn’t return to my hometown, not even for a quick visit. It was weird. So I plan to remedy that omission in 2010.
4. Getting back into the running routine: I was doing so well there for a couple of years, but the whole house-selling, temporary-apartment-living, house-buying thing kinda messed it all up. Time to get back into the groove.
5. Teaching my nephew new words: He’s two years old now and at that super fun (and dangerous) stage where he likes to parrot everything you say. Fun times for Aunt Lo.
6. Thursday night writing group: More great critiques, more great poems, more great bitch sessions, more great Chinese food. Bring it, girls!
7. Vacationing with Boy: We have a big anniversary coming up, and we’re going to celebrate that milestone in style, come hell or high water. The question is not “if” but “where?” and “when?” (I’ve got Prague on my wishlist, and my passport is itching for some action.) We’ll have to wait and see.
8. Exploring more gorgeous nooks, crannies, and weirdos in this gorgeous city I call home: It seems that every year I find something new here, uncover some previously unknown nugget of awesome about this place. I have no idea what I will discover or who I will meet in 2010, but I’m ready for it.
9. Growing my hair out: Yes, it’s a weird item to include on this list but I just keep whacking my hair off before it reaches the desired length and I swear this time I’m going to curb the impulse to whip out the scissors. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.
10. Finding something good in every day: It’s something Boy and I have been trying to do a lot of, a tactic that began out of desperation. In the middle of one of the most difficult years of our lives, we realized that moaning about everything that was going wrong wasn’t making a rough patch any smoother. So we started trying to find something to be grateful for every day, something good in each other, in the people around us, in the smallest, most random happenings. And it works. Not only by making life a bit easier, but by making yourself a lot easier to live with. A good way to go about new beginnings, wouldn’t you say?

Alright. You’ve got my list. How about yours? What are you looking forward to in 2010?

-Lo, who’s also looking forward to all of you lurkers figuring out how to use the comment section.