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?





I missed posting our son in law Miles’ birthday while we were on our vacation.  Miles lives here in Dallas so we get to see him pretty often.  He’s such a good guy and we have a lot of great conversations about many issues and current events.  He’s also a fabulous dad to three kids and a fantastic husband to my daughter Sarah. I just can’t say enough good things about him!  He’s a hard worker but also knows how to have fun with the kids and to encourage them in all their activities.  We’re lucky to have him in our family.  Happy belated, Miles!

Youngest grandson Jack turns three in a couple of days.  We’ve been lucky to be around since his earliest days and he’s grown up with Gigi and Grandpa a few minutes away.  He loves Grandpa and wants his attention whenever we are together.  He’s a really sweet kid who does not get upset easily and walks around with a happy attitude.  He loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and playing any kind of sport. Even at this age, he can slam a baseball, kick a soccer ball, and hit a golf ball–just has a lot of natural talent which is pretty amazing and funny.  He likes to come over to our house and hang out, looking for the cats and attempting to hold Ajax.  He’s very loving and a completely easy kid.  Yesterday he had a party for his birthday and had a blast with all of his little friends.  Happy birthday, Jack!  We love you like crazy!

Weekend Update

Back home and back to the routine.  I returned to my volunteer work on Tuesday, we’ve babysat the kids a few times, attended some soccer games, Elle got her ears pierced, I went to lunch with Sarah and a teen mom-to-be she’s mentoring, scored big at the thrift store, went back to the gym, cleared out the garden plot to get ready for fall planting, took some walks around the neighborhood since the weather is cooling off a little in the mornings and evenings, all of the grandkids are now back at school (and preschool for the littlest ones), loving it so far.  We had a quiet Labor Day weekend. Solidarity forever, now more than ever.

Worried about the hurricanes and the devastation they are causing. Thankful that everyone we know has been safe.  Continuing to be appalled by the current administration and the latest action to dismantle DACA. How much more can we take??

I finished a book called Evicted and highly recommend it.  Most of us at my volunteer agency have been reading it as it applies to our clients in many ways.  If you don’t understand the difficulties that people go through when they are living in poverty and can hardly make ends meet, this book will expand your knowledge.

All of the recent hullabaloo about Civil War statues and monuments is playing out in Dallas, too.  Recently a statue of Robert E. Lee was taken down (but not before some group managed to get a court injunction first, which was then thrown out…seriously, why does anyone care that much??).  This is a thoughtful article about the subject.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most brilliant writers today.  His latest piece is a long read,  a devastating one, but very important.

Defending the American Dreamers from the Dream Hoarders. I’ve been reading a lot of John Pavlovitz lately.  I am not very religious,  but if I were I’d want to be in his congregation.

And a lovely tribute to our former home in Unalaska. Oh, and if you want to see pix and watch a fun video of the annual Tundra Golf Classic back in Unalaska, click here.  Made me miss my job and my community there.

Happy weekend, all.



Road Tripping

Several years ago, we took a cruise from Honolulu to Sydney, with a sighting of a total eclipse of the sun from the ship.  It was quite amazing! Also on that trip, we made friends with several couples we have kept in touch with since.  About a year ago, one of those couples sent out a message saying they’d rented a house in Detroit Lake, Oregon for  the total eclipse this August 21, and did anyone want to join in?  Rich and I decided to jump on it, and another couple also signed on.  We made plans to drive to Oregon with a few stops along the way and some other stops on a different route home.

We left Dallas yesterday, with our cat sitter in place and an extra key dropped off with Sarah and Miles.  We only went as far as Amarillo and spent the night with Bonnie, David and kids.  Bonnie fixed a nice dinner and we played games with the kids while David was out shooting some engagement photos.  Later, I laid with Emery for awhile because she always likes to chat in bed before she falls asleep (I love that!) and then we hung out with Bonnie and David till everyone was past tired and needed to get to bed!

We’d been to the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo once before but Rich wanted to stop by today on our way out of town and take a few pix.  There was a big rainstorm the night we stayed so the site was very wet and muddy today. In fact, I was not wearing appropriate shoes and I was pretty sure I was gonna fall on my behind while walking to the cars. Thankfully I didn’t!

Our cooler was full of water and beverages and we had a bag full of snacks in the car so we made good time with only a couple of potty stops and one gas fill-up.  We hit some rain and wind in a few places but it wasn’t bad.  We finally stopped in Cheyenne, WY for dinner; tried to go to a place called Wyoming Rib and Chop but it was packed and they said it would be a 30-40 minute wait.  We didn’t really want to take that much time so we walked across the street to a Chinese place that was supposedly 4 stars but we’d give it 2.5.  LOL  The waiter seemed to be high or highly confused, not sure which.  We ate and hit the road for Chugwater, WY, where we had a reservation for the night.

I usually don’t like really long days in the car but we listened to several podcasts and some music besides talking and reading news off the internet.  Don’t even get me started on our embarrassment of a president and his equating of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and out and out racists with counter protesters and anti fascists.  I just can’t stand it any  more.  I would love to write a coherent, thoughtful, passionate essay about how I feel but I just don’t have the words or the energy right now.  So I will take the easy way out tonight because I am tired and we are traveling and I need more time to consider what to say and how to say it.

In the meantime, I decided before we left on vacation that I have been too negative lately and too much of a complainer so I was going to say YES to everything that came my way unless it was illegal or dangerous. 🙂  Rich has been kinda laughing at me every time I say “YES!” in a silly voice.  But you know what, it really worked today and I did not get worked up about a long day in the car…usually I would be whining after a couple of hours. haha  Okay, I did complain that the iced tea in the Chinese restaurant was horrible.  Other than that, I’ve been good!

Another long day ahead of us tomorrow–we are trying to make it to Helena, MT.

Happy Birthday, Ada!

Our second-youngest little cutie turned 3 today.  Ada is quite the talker and keeps us cracking up with the funny things she says in her sweet little voice.  She’s already an adventurer and wanted to “practice” swimming without her floaties when she was here.  She was hilarious, belly flopping into the pool, swimming under water to Bonnie, coming up sputtering and pushing her hair out of her face only to quickly plunge back in.  Right now she loves Legos and baby dolls and books and playing with her siblings and cousins.  She says she wants a “Doc McStuffins AND a Spiderman” birthday party.  She’s a smartie and a thoughtful, kind little girl.  Happy birthday, Ada! We love you bunches!

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.