Monday, November 21, 2011

A win-win

One of my favorite things to do here in Mesa, Arizona is to visit the local Goodwill thrift shop.

And all day Saturday is half-price day.

This is amusing to me because the prices are so low to begin with that offering things for sale at half price seems almost silly. And besides, the whole effort is to employ people and provide goods to those who can't afford department store prices.

However, being a thrifty shopper, of course I go on a Saturday.

The fun of thrift store shopping here in Mesa is that I find items that fit into my Southwestern decor. The shelves and racks are so full that you often have to move things around and dig a little to find the real treasures.

Last year, buried in the middle of a rack, hidden from view, I found a matching creamer and sugar with the Kokopelli image hand-painted on them. Kokopelli is the image of the god of fertility, an influence of the Anasazi Indians. I later found two large canisters and a smaller canister of the exact pattern.

Well, yesterday I found more Southwestern treasures.

The lovely tissue holder and soap dispenser will go into my newly-redecorated bathroom. The hand-painted basket is for my friend, Mary Kay's screen porch.

The crystal dish isn't Southwestern, but has a Christmas angel design on it. After I remove the hardened wax candle from the inside and clean it, I'll use it as a candy dish.

The vessel will be displayed among other pots on my kitchen cupboard soffits. And the hexagon-shaped wooden box with a counted cross stitch design will be cleaned up for the bedroom.

I also found some things for outdoor display:

Won't this clay pot look great sitting among our various cactus plants
 and the white rock all around our house?

And this little gem was from a waterfall-type ornament.
It has a hose in the back that was attached to a water supply.
The water then runs down each of the three pots. 

Are you ready for the grand total of all my purchases?

Twenty-one dollars.  And ninety cents.  No tax.

Check out your local Goodwill store. Or any charitable thrift shop. The workers are either volunteer, or are employed and disabled, or are just employed when so many aren't.

Your purchases have been donated by others with charitable hearts. Some come from estates. Some items are obviously brand new. All can be cleaned, polished or otherwise spiffed up. 

To my way of thinking, this is a win-win.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Head of steam

Many years ago, my then father-in-law wrote our family a letter when we lived several states away. It was a newsy letter, many pages long. He ended by saying, “I better quit while I’ve still got a full head of steam."

I had never heard that expression before, but I now use it myself occasionally.

This morning, I had a head of steam. I breezed through many household chores, got completely caught up with cleaning, laundry, ironing, and baked Woody’s bran muffins besides, bringing some to a winter neighbor who just arrived in Mesa yesterday.

Then I sat down and paid bills, balanced the checkbook, and took care of some cards and correspondence. It is now 1:50 in the afternoon.

That’s what a "head of steam" is, I suppose. Sometimes I wish it would hit more often, but then again, I’d walk around totally exhausted if it were a daily routine.

Since arriving in Mesa, Arizona, where we will spend the next six months, escaping the pain and agony (albeit, the beauty) of a Minnesota winter, I’ve adopted a new routine. I love it.

With my freshly-brewed morning coffee, I sit and sip in a leisurely fashion. Catrina, the cat, stretches in front of me. The television is already on to the morning chat and news program from Phoenix, and I enjoy learning about all the local goings-on.

Maybe a half-hour passes and I might pick up my knitting for a few rows, or my Kindle for a few pages of reading.

Nowhere to go. No place I need to be. No certain time to be anywhere or do anything.

After another fifteen minutes or so, I can feel the caffeine in my bloodstream, like a junkie.

Ahhhh, yes, now I’m awake, ready to greet the day.

An avowed list-maker, my day is already mapped out. But I long ago learned the hard way, after being burned out on my job, to approach my to-do lists a bit differently. Instead of dictating to me what has to be done, I use it as a menu.

Choices. Pick and choose.

Now after the third cup of coffee and an hour of relaxation, still in my pj’s, I am eager to get dressed and dig in.

With a full head of steam.