Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Rainbows, UFOs and Number Two Pencils

Here we go again. It’s Saturday and I don’t have a single idea for what I’m going to write for next Wednesday’s post. I suppose the weather is a good place to start. It’s not snowing. Check the ‘Good Things’ box. But it snowed recently so the snow on the ground is so clean and bright in the morning sun that my backyard looks like a field of diamonds. It’s a cliché thing to say but it’s true and I’m checking the 'Good Things’ box again. I’ll do another check mark for the angle of the sun which is hitting the crystals hanging in my windows just right so that my walls are covered with rainbows. I started counting prism created rainbows and gave up at thirty-six. The record count was 98. Who can be sad when you’re standing inside a place splashed with bright colors that only happens when conditions are just right and by chance you’re there to enjoy it? I’m going to miss the light in this house. With all the windows and glass surfaces covering pieces of art some of those rainbows end up being reflected beyond their natural reach, even around corners to places that still amaze me. No one could ever have an affair under their spouse’s nose in this house without a stolen kiss being reflected on a glass surface giving them away. I can even watch a television screen that’s behind my back using a reflection on a window.

Living here has made me believe that many of the UFOs that people see are just reflected light coming from miles away and bouncing off common stuff. For example, last year a bouquet of twelve silver helium filled balloons, tied together at the bottom but traveling as one, escaped from a party back East and caused a frenzy of UFO reports as they flickered and reflected lights off their innocent surfaces as they changed positions in the wind. Well, not so innocent surfaces. Balloons are bad for the environment and wildlife but that’s another story for another day. Anyway, did you know that reports of UFOs are up? Folks in the know think that’s because the pandemic has given people more time to look at the sky. And looking up they’re seeing easily explained phenomenon they've never noticed before.

New topic: E-Bay sales were a bust last week with only nine of my twenty things listed selling. Several reasons explain that. One, when half the country is dealing with power outrages or shoveling out after a snow storm or glued to their TVs during a crisis, e-Bay bidding is down but another part of the equation is the stuff I’m selling is more common than the things I was selling earlier in my downsizing project. Thus it might take a few relists and price reductions to see the stuff on my e-Bay shelf mosey on down to the post office. I’ve just enacted a three-strikes-and-it’s-off-to-Goodwill rule for what's left. I rarely needed relists in the past. 

I did have an unexpected bidding war on a wall plaque seashore from the ‘50s last week. It was one of those Lucite things with shells embedded in it, very corny and cliché for bathroom walls of the era. I debated back and forth about keeping it for my cottage themed future home or at least giving it to my niece who is slowly turning her cottage into Mid-Century decor but it brought a good price so I’m not sad to see it go even though earlier in the year I had deemed fit for my 'keep it' box. (And I'll bet my niece, if she's reading this, is saying a prayer of thanks that I didn't offer it to her because I'm not sure she knows how to say 'no' to me. Just kidding, Cindy. You are welcome to take or reject anything I owe.)

I have a scouring can cover from the same era than didn’t get any bids so I might rethink keeping that if round two doesn’t sell it. It’s been in the family since the ‘50s when I believe my mom had to send coupons into the company to get the plastic Cameo can cover in the mail but I haven’t been able to find any history on it to know that for sure. Putting a little history in a listing helps sell a piece---sets it apart from other listings. Some listings are saying the covers are Bakelite, not plastic, but I would never put that in a listing without confirmation. Bakelite would up its value. I always loved it when iconic things like this can cover and the seahorse get sold to buyers in California because in my imagination I see my treasures ending up in the props inventory of a motion picture company. In my next life prop procurement is what I'll want to be when I grow up. It checks all my favorite boxes: research, organizational skills and unlimited storage space.

Not everything I’m getting ready to list on e-Bay now is of lesser quality stuff than I was doing earlier in my downsizing project. I’m starting to go through the stuff I’d decided to keep and I’m picking a few to let go of. For example I have 1897 mechanical pencil sharper that’s thirteen inches long and made of cast iron. Number two pencils are my preferred writing instruments but that’s not why I’m on the fence about selling it. Industrial mechanical stuff is hot right now and this piece will sell for $300 to $400. I’ve loved it for years and it's been a fascinating piece for show-and-tell but that kind of cash will go a long way towards an area rug I’ll need in my new place. I’ve got the sharper photographed and packed for shipping but I still haven’t pulled the trigger on listing it. Baby steps in between the giant steps. I’m going to be so bored after I move and have nothing left to research. So many things that I’ve had for years I’ve had to reacquaint myself with again to write up listings and sometimes that research makes me fall in love with a piece all over again. When that happens I ask myself, "Does this really fit the beach cottage theme I'm going for?" And with the pencil sharper I answer, "Yes it does if the cottage is owned by a wanna be writer and artist." ©

 

P.S. After purging all the stuff out of my kitchen cabinets (a recent blog topic) I couldn't help but buy a new coffee cup at Wayfair. It was one of these deals where if you spend $4.00 more you get free shipping that would have cost you $12.00. My new cup reminds me of childhood and of singing that song on the drive to the cottage. I'll be drinking my morning coffee in it after I move. 

44 comments:

  1. I have seen a ufo and it was not a bunch of helium balloons. I say it all the time but your home must be huge to house all this stuff!

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    1. And I keep telling you it's all in the organization and the way you display stuff. LOL I do hope you write about your UFO some time!

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  2. You mean UFOs aren't real? Phooey. Here I was hoping they would spray a mist over the earth that would eliminate Covid plus make us less combative. Guess that is a lot to expect from a bunch of balloons:)
    Love that cup.

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    1. Oh man! I like your expectations from UFOs more than mine. And here I was worried about the Mars probe bringing viruses back to earth. Scientists are worried that the Russian tundra that global warming is exposing will put new/old viruses into our Eco-system.

      I've always figured if UFOs were real that they'd mean us no harm but could unintentionally harm us none the less.

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  3. I agree about the source of UFOs. I'm fascinated by a 1897 cast iron mechanical pencil sharper. I never thought about how long pencil sharpeners have been around and how they've changed over the years. Your stuff is delightfully trippy.

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    1. This sharper was made in Germany and there had 4-5 models that the company patented. They were used in offices, schools and factories. The first pencil sharper was patented in 1828 in France and wasn't much different that we still use in grade schools...the small 1 inch kind. I had a wall mounted sharper from the 1940s that I gave to my niece that we used all through my schools years and beyond. It quit working and since she and her husband were both teachers I'd hope they could get it going again. I really miss that sharper!

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  4. Eclectic! That is the word that came to mind as you described some of the things you have! Hope you have luck selling what you are ready to let go of!

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    1. The better stuff will sell and if I run out of time, I'm prepared to give away the lesser stuff. My next project---selling off art---had me worried though. Times are tough and I don't live in the right area to sell mostly western art.

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    2. I think you need to find and art dealer or seller who works online. Where you live shouldn't matter if it is good stuff. A cousin of ours here in CA sells high end art for estates and one piece went to Ireland.

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    3. I know you're right but I'm intimidated by the packing process and how to charge for it. I did get a price today from Pac Mail for packing sculptures---$175. I will get serious about it next month when I plan to start by calling a couple of local dealers first. I do have 7-8 (?) signed and numbers prints that are not framed that I can ship in tubes and I'll start listing those first. Photos are already taken. I'm going to HATE art months!

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  5. You stopped me cold with that scouring can cover. I'd never seen one, or heard of one. On the other hand, it does come from that cover-everything-in-sight era: stand mixers, toasters, etc.

    I'm one of those who's seen a UFO. It was the summer of 1964, and my high school band was on the way back from playing at the World's Fair in New York. It was the middle of the night, in Pennsylvania. We'd stopped at a Howard Johnson's to get snacks and use the restrooms, and were back on the bus when we saw it -- the whole busload of kids saw it: fluorescent green, somewhat cigar-shaped, and flying low across the fields, about a hundred feet up. It followed our bus for a mile or two, and then zipped straight up into the sky and disappeared.

    I have no idea what it was, but I saw it.

    On another topic entirely, guess what I'm sitting here eating with my coffee? Cinnamon Trenary Toast, from the Trenary Home Bakery in Trenary, Michigan. A Finnish guy I follow online lives in Arizona, and mentioned that he orders it regularly. When I saw that they have cardamom toast, too, I bit. My Swedish grandmother used to make cardamon rusks, and I swear to you the people in Trenary have duplicated it!

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    1. You nailed it on the can cover coming from an era when everything in sight had to be covered. Remember the toilet paper covers women used to crochet and it was never mention in mixed company? Now we blog and Facebook about toilet paper.

      Small world! I was at the same fair the same summer as you were! Interest UFO sighting!

      Okay, tracked down the bakery and did their search bar and found those cardamon rusks are sold in a store close to where I'm moving! Won't have to mail order to try them.

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    2. I still have a scrapbook I made when my family visited that same World's Fair in NY in 1964!

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    3. Ellen, I just sold some of my souvenirs from that fair...just kept a small copy of Michelangelo sculpture. That was a awesome experience seeing that!

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    4. I'm a native Yooper and we NEVER go north with buying Trenary Toast! I grew up watching my parents and grandparents dunk it in coffee. Yes, I'm Finnish. LOL.

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    5. Hope, Look at their website and do the search function. You'll find a story close to your old neighborhood that sells them.

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  6. How beautiful it must be to have all those rainbows in your house! That would make my day.

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    1. It never fails to make my day happier. Sometimes the rainbows appear to bounce because on days when there's a wind the tree branches moving cuts off the sun for a few seconds.

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  7. My dad used to sing "You are my sunshine" to me when I was little. Getting a bit teary here.

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    1. One of my earliest memories is of my dad and Gene Autry singing that song or I should say my dad singing along with a Gene Autry record. It was written in 1939. It's been recorded by a bunch of people but Gene and Bing Crosby both had a version in 1941 and both hit the top of the charts. It's a great daddy's little girl song!

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  8. Mr. Ralph began singing that song to Kate in utero!

    Your collections are well organized but you DO have huge house AND extra large garage, right? I hope you do enjoy your new tinier home because I sure do!!

    Why did we cover things when we all knew what was under there? I would love an appliance garage. But pretty sure I won't be moving from this condo. Although I could remodel the 24 year old kitchen!

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    1. Interesting how many of us have a childhood connection with that song! That cup also comes in white and yellow without the green if anyone is interested, $14.00.

      I have a 1600 square foot house with a full basement and extra long 3 stall garage.

      My youngest niece just had an appliance garage removed from her kitchen that's she's in the process of remodeling. She sent me photos and I couldn't get over how much bigger/better the whole room looked without it and I always thought I wanted one too. I swear they covered all the appliances in the '50s to give girls something to sew in home economies classes..a joke but I was sad when the fad ended. You also can't buy covers for computer stuff anymore. At least I couldn't find any a year ago when I asked.

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  9. I've tried the cinnamon, cardamom, and chocolate dipped Trenary toast. I bought a small loaf of their Limpu bread, too. It was just like grandma's as well, except the Swedish call it Limpa. It's delicious -- makes the best toast!

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    1. I've actually been in the store that sells their products. Can't wait to go back and grab a bag or two. From the number of places they sell their products through it must be pretty popular.

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  10. I hope E-Bay sales pick up for you. Absolutely love your new "You are my Sunshine" coffee mug. We all need to surround ourselves with those things that remind us of happy times. Will you have a sunny window for your light catchers at your new place?

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    1. I'm not worried about it, I have a cut-off date in mind and what doesn't sell by then can go to Goodwill.

      No I won't. Here, my crystals are in my east and south windows and where I'm moving I'll have north facing windows---good for painting but not good for direct sun rays. I'm still taking my crystals (8 small ones) and I will look for a public place to sneak one or two in like in the gym which will get the morning sun over a tree line just like I have here. The parking garage also looks like there will be a good window candidate. It takes moving them around a little to get the right placement.

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  11. The longer days are wonderful, aren't they? We are watching the light patterns in this house in our first year and loving it. I do miss my river view, but then I sit and list all the reasons we moved and am confirmed in my decision.

    My goodness, you have stamina on the eBay front! But you have such unique things to sell. Most of my offerings are more mundane and, like you, I relist and drop the price a couple of times and then off they go to GoodWill.

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    1. I'm loving the sun and the longer days! I chipped ice off the end of my driveway and around my mailbox today because the mail lady needed better access to the box and I was
      thinking that it will probably be the last time I'll ever have to do this!

      I am getting tired of e-Bay and it seems like every time I turn around I'm finding something else I'm willing to let go. Another blogger who moved recently to a senior community and she said she noticed many of the people who live there downsized the size of their houses but not the stuffed they moved with them which is why I'm taking a second look around.

      Don't miss the note above about getting the Trenary bakery stuff locally.

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    2. Sweet! I had no idea they were available around here. Thanks!!!

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  12. Never seen a UFO just saying..............
    selling stuff on Ebay or anywhere can be h it or miss

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    1. Me neither on the UFO.

      So true on selling stuff. It's often a crap shoot.

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  13. You should try to find a way to contact Fran Lebovitz, the NYC writer who does not so much as own a cell phone. She has a dread that they might someday stop manufacturing No. 2 pencils, so she hoards them. An interesting pencil sharpener might be just up her alley!
    Nin

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    1. How interesting that I'm not the only one who loves real pencils! She probably has a good sharper. LOL I also use the disposable plastic pencils with real lead. I've got a ton of nice refillable pencils that I never use...the desk is my last purging project. My sharper is quite rare in this country so I'm not worried that it won't sell. It's a question of whether or not I want to part with it yet.

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  14. One of my favorite movie memories (I was in second grade) was the first time I saw Disney's "Pollyanna." There is a scene where there are lots of prisms in the room and they make thousands of rainbows all over. I can still see it. And I wanted those prisms and rainbows! I love that you have rainbows!

    I remember seeing what I was sure was a UFO one night late in the country. The next day I went back in the day and it was a tall tower light I'd never noticed before!

    On another note, this past weekend I connected with my friend about the chair and as you suggested, it wasn't the right period for him, although it looks just beautiful. I hope you get a good price.

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    1. I wonder if that Disney movie inspired me creating a "rainbow room." I just knew when we moved it that I had the idea light coming in. It really is inspiring to walk into when rainbows are everywhere and you can bit I'm hoping when the house is up for sale that they have lots of morning showings.

      You proved my point on the UFOs. I almost forgot that my chair is in the garage. I've got to get that on Market Place soon.

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  15. A suggestion for the slower moving E-Bay Items Jean might be to start the bidding low to entice a buyer, since you'd plan to donate it anyway if it does not sell? I used to follow a Seller who began all her bids at Ninety-Nine Cents and she always had it bid up to where it should be, once multiple bidders jump in I think Ego takes over, or the Thrill of outbidding someone else for something, people are strange like that. The moment someone else throws their Hat in the Ring is suddenly when everyone else now thinks they want or need it! We've had a lot of Drama here, I'm ready for some Serenity and Rainbows, Prisms of Light myself, after this hectic Week!

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    1. I have a friend who does that too with the same results as your friend. I reduce my starting bid drastically if I relist but I've never had the guts to start thing under a dollar like he does. Times are weird on e-Bay right now past practices and predictable isn't the same as it was before the pandemic and so many people being out of work.

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    2. P.S. and the price of shipping is killing sales. I had a guy complain about the high cost of shipping and said he "knows we get a discount from the post office" and I should refund part of that to him. The listings say right up front what it's going to cost for shipping BEFORE a person bids. I checked the records and I got a whole 42 cents discount and I politely offered it all to him. He didn't reply.

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    3. I hate when people Cheap Out, Postage is what it just is, I think people get spoiled with Amazon doing shipping Free because the Post Office actually does give them benefits they don't give the regular Postal Customers or other Smaller Businesses. If I can't afford the Postage then I just don't buy the item either, it's simple to opt out if you really don't want to add the cost of shipping and handling to the value of the object... nobody is forcing anyone to buy anything. I liked your response to Cheap Guy. *LMAO*

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    4. Amazon is keeping the post office afloat. I don't have a problem with that what so ever but you're right, some people expect the same from individuals on e-Bay selling collectibles. When I buy on e-Bay I also use the 'closest distance' search to cut the postage down.

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  16. Good to know about those shell-embedded Lucite things. I have three seahorses that came from my parents' home. Since they are from my youth, it's hard to give them up but I know I'll never put them up. I guess I need to start the eBay cycle again.

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    1. You might want to check with your kids and grandkids. Young people are really getting into Mid-century. But then it's always been that way...new collectors always start with things they remember from their grandparents' houses.

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  17. I didn’t know you research the history of pieces before you sell them. I think if I really looked at items and delved into their period I might change my mind about selling them. Like you said, you love them all over again.
    So long as you don’t regret it and so long as you don’t start a buying spree for new things for your new home all is well.

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    1. Not everyone researches their stuff but I find it makes a difference with selling and letting go. Back when I bought a lot of the things I'm selling now researching online was not easy. And it's better to KNOW for sure what I'm listing and how rare or common it is to educate potential buyers. The longer you can keep them looking at your page the better.

      I won't be buying any decorative small items in the future but I do need things like area rugs, furniture pieces to replace ones that are too big for my smaller space. The cup was a fluke to save myself paying for postage on a set toilet seat bars (old ones too worn to move with me). It was either buy the cup for $12 and get free postage on the toilet bars and cup or not buy the cup and pay $14.00 in postage on the toilet bars.

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