Queen of the Thrift Store

We didn’t have a thrift store in Unalaska and I don’t really remember shopping in them in my past life in Abilene.  I do recall going to the Army Surplus store as a teenager to look for bell bottoms and army jackets, though. Oh, those low slung jeans with the wide bells were the coolest!

I’ve been to a few thrift stores here in Dallas, just browsing, mostly, and they were a mess.  I really could hardly stand to be there because there was no rhyme or reason to the set up and I basically had to dig through piles of stuff to find anything.  And then didn’t find anything I wanted! So I figured that was it for me: no thanks! However, I drive past a large thrift store every Tuesday on my way home from volunteer work and thought I’d look around one day. Oh, my goodness!  This store is amazing!  It’s organized!  It’s clean!  No digging! Everything’s labeled!  Clothes are hung on racks by size and color! There’s a big section in the back full of toys and games! It looks like a modest department store.

Now I am a regular.  I have a loyalty card.  I know I get a senior discount on Mondays and Wednesdays. I am thrilled when I walk back in and there are new and different items on the shelves.  They are replenished constantly, thanks to the generosity of Dallas neighbors cleaning out their closets.

Although I have bought a few clothing items, notably some brand new capri pants with tags still on for $2, I mostly head for the kids’ section.  I am stocking our second bedroom with toys, games and puzzles for the grandkids when they come to visit since we literally had nothing for them here.

Here’s what I got on my last trip for a total of $11! Yes, $11!  One game was unopened.  The books were 33 cents each!  I’ve bought quite a few toys, picture frames, knick-knacks for our shelves, baby clothes for a teen mom that my daughter is mentoring, baskets and pots for plants, and more. Why would I ever buy this stuff at a regular store again?

Do you shop in thrift stores?  If so, what’s your best find?




Home again

We met our friends Linda and Martin in Norco, CA on Monday and had a fine brunch at Polly’s Pies (yum) while recounting both of our journeys. They’d been on a different road trip to watch the eclipse from Rigby, Idaho.  We always enjoy them and we stayed longer than we planned because we were having too much fun talking.  🙂  I don’t think we hit the road till 2 PM or maybe later.  Saw lots of windmills along the way and hit 114 degrees on the outside of the car!

After a not-too-long drive, we spent the night in Phoenix but it was late and we didn’t have time to do anything fun or look around. We’ve been there once before but not for long that time either.  Sorry, Phoenix, I’m sure you’re lovely.

The next day we drove back to Texas, stopping at a rest stop in New Mexico that included a monument to the Jefferson Davis Highway, put up by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1955.  Honestly, it threw me!  Why was it there?  Rich and I had a big discussion about whether NM was involved in the Civil War at all, which led to some research online from the car.  Interestingly, NM was still a territory but both the Union and the Confederacy tried to claim it for their side.  A part of NM seceded but most remained with the Union; however, there were actually some skirmishes and battles in the territory. I had no idea (or I’ve forgotten if I learned it long ago).  Then I had to try to find out about the Jefferson Davis Highway, which led me to some information about the historical “auto trails” from the early part of the 20th century.  All very interesting.  Apparently in the early days of the automobile, different individuals and organizations would name portions of roadways to allow the first motorists to find their way more easily. The most famous of these is the Lincoln Highway but the Daughters of the Confederacy attempted to create a transnational roadway named after Jefferson Davis.  It sounds like it never really got completed and was a bit confusing because there were various branches in different states. When the federal government decided to create a public highway system, there was some conflict between the two organizations and the highway department really did not acknowledge the Davis Highway.  Still, the Daughters of the Confederacy put up markers in a variety of places throughout the US.  Also interestingly, the monument at the rest stop was placed in 1955, during the time that these sorts of statues and commemorations were put up to intimidate people of color.  So I took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook which led to several comments on both sides about taking it down or “destroying history.”  Thankfully no one was ugly but I really can’t imagine how anyone thinks that there’s a good reason to keep these up.

Later, we stopped outside El Paso for a fine Mexican buffet dinner where the staff were super friendly and quite surprised that we were working our way home to Dallas. It was almost as if no one from out of town ever stopped at their place. 🙂  We decided to keep going to Van Horn for the night so we’d be a little closer to home the next day; after crossing two time zones, it was later in Van Horn than it felt to us but we were still pretty tired.

This morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then hit the road.  Once we hit Interstate 20, I was totally at home and knew all the little stops along the way, having traveled to Pecos and Monahans for a job, lived in Odessa many years ago, consulted in Colorado City, had friends from Big Spring, lived for a long time in Abilene.  In fact, when we got to Abilene, I almost felt like that should be the end of the road but we still had three hours to go.  We didn’t even stop to see our kids in Clyde, since we thought Susan and Corey would be at work and the grands at school. We just kinda slipped on by. Then Susan texted me, “Did you drive through Abilene today?”  We were about an hour out of town when she messaged.  Oops, busted!  Come to find out she was off work.  I felt bad but she did not seem to be annoyed about it.  I had messaged all the girls last night and told them we were going on to Dallas today so I feel like she could have said something about it then if she’d wanted to visit, right??!!  Anyway, we didn’t have much time to stop and were kinda anxious to get home.  It’s all good and we will visit them soon!


Hello, Dallas! We didn’t hit a lot of traffic, thankfully, though we had a few slow downs. Got home a little after 6 and the kitties seemed happy to see us.  The plants are looking pretty good, thanks to our cat sitter.  We unloaded the car, went through the mail, and I have a load of laundry going. Now we are just chillin’ and will get some more work done tomorrow.  Glad to be home but it was an awesome road trip.  So glad we did it!

Winding down our full summer of fun

Bonnie and kids left yesterday; I went to my volunteer work and then came home and vegged out on the couch for most of the rest of the day! Now we will have a quiet house for about a week before we head off on our road trip to the left coast.

In the past week, some or all of us:

Swam a lot–at our house, at Sarah’s house, and dinner/swimming at Sarah and Miles’ athletic club

Had a nice family dinner at home with the whole gang, including my ex’s aunt who is full of life at age 90

Celebrated Ada’s 3rd birthday a little bit early

Spent about 10 minutes in the park on a super hot day

Enjoyed Grandpa’s homemade pizza for lunch and had a little picnic on the front porch

Read stories, practiced math and reading

Went to the library

Watched Elle play soccer, score lots of goals, and win a tournament with her team (plus messy ice cream for the rest of the kids)

Made friends with Ajax (but not Kali)  🙂

Had sleepovers

Made ice cream and cookies

Enjoyed lunch with another of my ex’s aunts

Watched movies and played games

Went out for frozen yogurt

Went to Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us

Told stories, reminisced and laughed

Made lots of memories

Can’t believe summer is coming to a close!  The kids are anticipating school starting and son in law David is already back at his campus getting ready to teach.  Seems like it was only May a few days ago–it’s been a packed few months but we’ve loved every minute of it.  So glad the grandkids could spend part of it with us!




We have three grandkids here in Dallas, three way out in Amarillo (6 hours’ drive away) and two in Clyde, near Abilene (3 hours’ drive).  They range in age from 14  years to two almost-three-year-olds.  As you can imagine, three towns, a wide range of ages and interests and activities, and parents with varying schedules make it very hard for all of us to get together at the same time.  We were thrilled to have a little bit of an overlap on this trip with Aidan and Ally still here when Bonnie and her crew arrived. Even though we didn’t have all of the adults, it was still pretty sweet to have all of the kids.  Bonnie’s husband David is a photographer and Bonnie has assisted him in quite a few photo shoots so I figured she could manage to get a group shot of the kids for me–something I’ve wanted for awhile and haven’t had an opportunity to get.  We were on a tight time frame and I was halfway afraid it would  never happen but I give credit to my girls for making time and taking on the project for their mom.

While Jack was napping, Sarah and Bonnie took the other 7 down the street from Sarah’s house to a wooded area and knocked out quite a few photos of individuals and groups.  By the time Jack woke up, it was getting late and I was thinking they might just blow it off and say it wasn’t gonna happen but they persisted and got all the kids dressed again and went back out.  Imagine trying to corral 8 kids of various ages and temperaments and trying to get all to look in the vicinity of the photographer while putting on a semi-happy face! At this point, Luke was *DONE* with photos and didn’t really want to cooperate.  If you look closely at the group pix of all 8, he is not looking too pleased.  🙂 He also did not want any individual pix taken so we don’t have any of him except a few of him crying, poor boy!  Aidan looks a little bored or “over it” with the later group pix, too.  And some of the little ones didn’t want to stand still or get in line! haha But these photos sure do make Gigi happy.

Bonnie and kids arrive

Monday Bonnie and her three came in from Amarillo by way of Roanoke where they’d already been for a couple of days, visiting David’s sister and her family.  Of course, the cousins love seeing each other and have been having a ball!

Rich and I had tickets to see James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt on Monday night so Aidan and Ally stayed with everyone else at Sarah’s.  Although we love having everyone here, it was kinda nice to have a night off after the busy weekend. 🙂  The concert was fab and both still sound really strong. So nice to see more of our “oldsters” that can carry a tune and rock out at their age!

Tuesday was Aidan and Ally’s last night so Miles cooked out at their house and the kids had one last hurrah.  Elle came home with us to spend the night with Ally and Emery; by then all of Bonnie’s family had moved over to our house.


Wednesday we drove the kids halfway to meet their mom and the mood in the car was quite somber.  I’m glad they really enjoy coming to see us (and let’s admit it, probably more to see their cousins!)  Aidan won a new book and a ticket to a Texas Rangers game for reading enough hours in the library’s summer challenge, so that was pretty cool.  I think he was proud, even though he acts like it’s no big deal.  We miss them already and were glad that there were a couple of days’ overlap with all 8 kids here together.  Fun times!

Full Weekend

We had Beck, Jack, Aidan and Ally for the weekend and stayed at Sarah’s house where there’s more room and more for the kids to do.  I managed to come down with a very sore throat and eventually lost my voice almost altogether which the kids thought was quite funny. Thankfully everyone is pretty self sufficient and the older ones helped with the younger ones.

Sunday my niece Missy and four of her five kids were in town from Japan so they and my ex’s Aunt Frankye came over for the afternoon, bringing us all some pizza for lunch.  The second-cousins don’t really know each other very well since they don’t get to see each other often so a happy time was had by all as they swam and played together for several hours.  It’s always good to see Aunt Frankye, who is 90 and still full of vim and vigor.  I aspire to be like her!



Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Yesterday was my first-born’s birthday.  My life was sweetly changed when I became a mother to a little girl so full of life and joy and sassiness. I am proud to be her mom, proud of all she’s done through the years, and proud to watch her parent her own kids on an almost daily basis. She is loving and compassionate, kind and caring, lots of fun, and a wonderful example to her little ones about how to treat others. We have great talks about all kinds of interesting and sometimes hard stuff; she is hilarious and regularly cracks me up with her stories; I have a big time hanging out with her and I couldn’t be more grateful that we live in the same town where I get to be involved in life with her, Miles and the kids. It’s really been a blessing to be close by and to make up for lost time after all those years far away in Alaska.  Now if we could only get her sisters and their families to join us in Dallas, life would be complete!  Happy birthday, Sarah! We love you!


Earlier in the day, I took Ally, Aidan and Elle to “Altitude,” one of those trampoline jumping places and they had a good time wearing themselves out.  We then brought Elle back home because her family was going to Beck’s closing ceremonies for the day camp he’s been attending all week.  Ally was invited to go with them so Aidan and I headed back home.

Later, Rich, Aidan and I met Sarah, Miles and the rest of the kids for dinner at Ida Claire (cute southern name for a restaurant, huh?) to celebrate Sarah’s birthday.  We enjoyed our meal and had a great time visiting with everyone.  Miles left early to take Elle to soccer practice with Ally in tow; he later called back to say practice had apparently been cancelled and they were going home.  Ally then spent the night with Elle and Beck came home with us for the night.


Aidan and Beck swam and then watched “The BFG” before bedtime.  This morning I picked up Ally and Jack at Sarah’s house and brought them over to ours.  Sarah and Miles are having a little weekend getaway for her birthday and Elle has gone to her other grandparents’ for a visit so Rich and I will have Beck and Jack along with Aidan and Ally for a couple of days. We are staying at Sarah’s since there’s more room and all of the boys’ stuff is more handy here.

Bonnie and her three kids arrive either tomorrow night or Monday morning, so we will have all 8 grandkids here for a couple of days overlap. That should be a blast for all and I am hoping against hope I might get a group photo since those are very hard to come by!

How’s your weekend going?