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what a day

Mostly we stayed home today, but had to leave for a few hours to go to the post office. I mailed the wrong book to a client (oh, so embarrassed, since I used to ship page proofs of yet-to-be-published college textbooks to multiple recipients at a time, so I know to pay attention to detail and I know to double check, but I still managed to ship this poor fellow a copy of Beach House rather than Beach Road. Has anyone else noticed that Mercury is in retrograde?) so we went to the PO to mail him the right one. On the way we stopped at the recycling center, because I'm almost out of packing material and boxes. I try to ship recycled whenever I can to save costs for me and to lessen the impact on the environment.

At the recycling center I found this forlorn little doll, all Coca-Cola stained and hairless. I doubt she'll survive in this incarnation. Her pretty little porcelain head, hands, and feet will probably end up in a collaged cigar box. Poor thing, lying there in the trunk, surrounded by the detritus of a century plant flower stalk.

Here's the rest of the century plant flower spike I salvaged. Just the other day I was telling Dave how I wanted one of these suckers to put in a pot and add interest to a barren corner of the house. I can't keep many plants because Moxie shreds them but this one is already dead, leafless, and extremely heavy. I'll hang it here for as long as it takes to dry out and lose its flower pods, leaving these interesting multiple fingers branching upward. This is just the top third of the stalk. Century plants are flowering all over Tucson right now. Talk about going out in a blaze of glory: the century plant (actually Parry's agave) grows for about 25 years, when it sends up this glorious flower spike that grows so fast and furious that it saps all the plant's energy and then the plant dies. Landscape maintenance workers cut up the stalks and haul them to the recycling dumpster, where I find them and haul them home.

Salvaged bubble wrap, yards and yards of it. I found it blowing around in the dirt behind the dumpsters so it was fairly gritty with a questionable wetness. I hauled it home anyway, and put it through the wash machine on "hand wash rinse" cycle, then hung it out to dry on the back patio. At Target a single roll (100 ft) costs $9.99. How much do you think I saved by raiding the dumpster? Is it irresponsible of me to take materials from a neighborhood recycling center and use those materials again? Can you even recycle bubble wrap?

This is how I spend my summer vacation, pondering questions such as these. And there's still not enough time in the day.


You are a girl after my own heart. I love the story of saving the doll, drying the flowers (I remember one in the town where I grew up and I was amazed at it) and finding and cleaning the bubble wrap. I too try to recycle when using packaging, especially packing peanuts. Sorry to hear about the book mishap. I worry about doing that when I am interrupted by the children which of course is often.
sulu-design said…
I've been catching up on lots of blog reading that I've recently missed and have been LOVING your recent finds and saves. I don't think that I would have ever thought to run bubble wrap through the washing machine. Brilliant! And the doll find is fabulous. I'm sure a cool project will result from her.
shy_smiley said…
ATG: Would love to trade tips and tricks with you about book selling. I'm considering a "profile" or something to include in my listings, stressing my use of recycled packaging.

sulu: surprisingly, the wrap came quite clean in the washer and dried quickly outside. Right now the doll is perched in the backyard on a mini park bench also salvaged from the same recycling dumpster. I'm hopeless, I tell you!

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the more things change...

So many reasons it's been a long time since we took the boys out thrift store shopping. Yesterday, Tuesday, both of us had a full day off to spend as we pleased.

First we ate at Chaffin's Diner. They seated us in the less-dinery back room, which ended up being a good thing because we sat directly beneath a fan and didn't notice so much the heat. E drank decaff coffee with cream. I didn't notice sugar. Decaff, like his Uncle D. Coffee, like his Mimi.

We hit Shop for a Cause first, where the boys found nothing and subsequently sulked.

Next we pulled into the Humane Society Thrift Store, which I haven't visited in a long time. Historically I haven't found anything there.

Today we hit the treasure jackpot.

A $2 Ziploc bag containing the comprehensive plastic presidential contingent from Washington through Eisenhower.

Of course E had them ordered in a matter of moments.

Finally we escaped the store with a trove of treasures (more than I've found in one place in …

my favorite

Sometimes I dream of operating a food truck specializing in gourmet wok-popped popcorn.

wotd: temporize

temporize \TEM-puh-ryz\, intransitive verb:
1. To be indecisive or evasive in order to gain time or delay action.
2. To comply with the time or occasion; to yield to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
3. To engage in discussions or negotiations so as to gain time (usually followed by 'with').
4. To come to terms (usually followed by 'with').

It's easy to tell yourself that you'll write a daily blog entry using the word of the day from dictionary(dot)com as a prompt, and equally easy to temporize your daily entry by waffling over what to write about, or evading your obligation by procrastination. There. Bedtime.