Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Cheeseball Reprieve

We all had something to be truly thankful for this year -- my thoughtful brother spared us any confusion by doing the shopping and skipping the cheeseball altogether. He bought the plastic container of whipped port wine flavored genuine wisconsin spreadable cheese (no commas required). My relatives (many of whom have been reading this blog) were relieved.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Enjoy the Thanksgiving Cheese Ball

When my mother left for vacation last week my brother promptly disposed of the stinking ham steak AND the Thanksgiving cheese ball, among many other things. Guests, be rest assured of the freshness of the annual Thanksgiving Cheese Ball.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Critic is Rewarded

Good news! Pat the hoarder has bestowed me with the basket of blue glass.

At least temporarily. The reason? She's putting an addition onto her house so she can hoard more stuff (oy vey!) and, consequently, the window where the glass is usually displayed will be removed when the contractors come. Caveat? I must return the blue glass when her addition is done if she decides that she wants it back.

Here's how it all went down. Pat has been stopping by unannounced at my home at inconvient times. She helps herself to some coffee and sits outside while I am working. She notices the basket of blue glass sitting outside and it's bugging her for days but she doesn't say anything.

Finally, yesterday, she drops by with her friend while they are out for a bike ride. I tell her I have her basket of blue glass. "I KNOW!" she says, "What do you have it for?" So I start to tell her that I took it because she wasn't using it and that I wrote a hoarder post about it. She interrupts me and explains that the blue glass is important because she needs it to balance out the blue glass in her other window and that everything is a reflective match.

I try to tell her I already knew this and that I wrote about it in the blog but she's waving me off because this is her story goddammit! So I let it go. I can tell she is quite proud of her symmetry so I decide not to tell her about the mismatched curtains. If I tell her that it will tick slowly inside her until she is then forced to buy new curtains. Anyhow, the point might be mute because the front of her house will no longer be symmetric. But, we'll see if she asks for the blue glass back to make another kind of symmetry.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Critic Becomes the Hoarder

So all summer there's this (really ugly -- I saved you from having to look at the awful appliqued geese/ducks? by the the angle I used to take the picture. Just a shuddering horrific experience to imagine the provincial country kitchen intended for this...) basket filled with blue glass sitting in the corner of the dining room at my Mom's house. I'm a little offended she hasn't offered it to me, my being the blue glass collector and all. I'm getting into a bit of an invisible snit over it so one day I stop by and she's not home so I just take the basket thinking it'll be years before she looks for it, if ever. This blue glass will look lovely all lined up above the kitchen cupboards in my new place. (Inside my skull I'm reminding myself that my Mom started out this way, just collecting a few little things placed nicely above the cupboards. The rational brain is yelling "Don't go there, don't go there," while the reptilian brain is calmly rationalizing "It's just a few blue pieces of glass, they will look just lovely in your new house!")

Check out the stash:

So, as you see, I line them all up and am very excited. Especially about the bottles and the four drinking glasses because the drinking glasses are gorgeously designed and the bottles are just so cool -- there are some obvious Vicks and Bromo bottles. (Aside: I have a tiny Vicks jar I've been using as a toothpick holder for years! What other uses can be imagined for the bigger Vicks jars?! Toothbrush holders! Tea Bag dispensers! Chop Stick holders!). The four vases are more common and also are mold made and have vertical creases up their sides -- probably they aren't worth as much because of that. (This whole last paragraph is the rational thinking of the reptilian hoarder mind, especially the bit about the Vicks jars.)

So, about a week later I go to my Mom's house and am stopped suddenly in my tracks when I realize something.

The right window is full of blue glass but the left window isn't. It is entirely unlike the hoarder to have unmatched front windows (though, disconcertingly, the curtains are unmatched because the room on the left is a bedroom while the room on the right is the living room.)

Right Window:

Left Window:

Obviously, the blue glass was supposed to be in the left window  but was removed over the summer to let in fresh air (notice the metal tubing used to hold up the window). But so annoying that the hoarder would match window knick knacks but not curtains. What was she thinking! (Really, I'm just mad because now I know I'll be discovered and have to give all the blue glass back.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shopping in Pat's Basement

Let me tell you about my favorite store, Pat's Basement. I have been "shopping" in Pat's Basement (and garage) for many many years. I brought many friends down there in my college days to get things like dishes and glassware, chairs and linens.

My favorite coffee pot, a glass pyrex percolator, was found in Pat's Basement.

When I got divorced, I just gave the dinnerware set to my ex, knowing I'd go find something in Pat's Basement. There's nothing like starting over with a fresh set of "new to me" dishes, especially collectible 1940's Franciscan stoneware.

I also have always loved blue glass and built an entire collection of 1920s and 1930s blue cobalt glassware from Pat's "finds." Pat has taken it upon herself to always be searching for more blue glass for me.

Just a few of my 1920's cobalt blue glasses.
I own an almost complete "Wedding Band" set. In the 1930's these were given away as promotional items to get people to come out to the movie theaters. You can tell they are from the depression-era because less cobalt was used to make the glass blue, hence the lighter color. In general, dark cobalt blue glass is from the 1920's, before the depression.
Extremely rare "Harpo" pitcher. Also a movie theater giveaway, named after Harpo Marx. There was a different design made and named after each Marx brother. I saw this same pitcher at an antique show priced at $450. Pat got this for $35 along with six matching glasses at a consignment shop.
In the heart of every hoarder is a "collector," someone who is searching for that collectible item that's worth far more than the fifty cents paid at the tag sale. Where it all goes wrong is when the collector can't stop collecting and begins to buy more and more stuff without discrimination. Somewhere in that brain of theirs is a switch that flips and the neurons are begging for stimulation now, right now. That synapse head rush becomes the driver, and the hoarder ends up back at home with a box full of stuff and she can't remember exactly why she had to have it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Thanksgiving Cheese Ball

Remember those refrigerator bins I never cleaned out? Well, I didn't find the ham steak (yet) but I did find the Thanksgiving cheese ball. The one she forgot to serve us in 2009.

When I went to throw it away my mother pitched a fit, "It's still good!" she exclaimed, "It's vacuum packed." So I put it back into the refrigerator bin. I suspect she is going to try to serve it to us this Thanksgiving. I guess we will wait and see.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scissors Poll Results

The results of the poll are really close:
  • 56 pairs of scissors - 27.3%
  • 18, 27 and 31 pairs of scissors tied at 22.6%
  • 13 pairs of scissors - 4.5%
My informal household poll:
  • 13 pairs - Patrick (my brother)
  • 18 pairs - Peter (my son)
  • 27 pairs - Me (a lucky guess, before I started counting)
  • 28 pairs - Mom, hoarder extraordinare
Here are all the scissors:

The true answer is 27 pairs. However, I found another pair after the poll was underway so my Mom had the answer pegged:

I am wondering if she really knows the answer to how many of everything she has. Inquiring minds want to know.