22 December 2016

Finding Christmas in the Nicest Places

Since I spent yesterday doing laundry and feeling a little homesick, I thought I'd try to do better today. After sleeping until eight, I had breakfast and walked the dog, then gathered up a couple of coupons and drove into Buckhead. Traffic was very light and I was able to check out the wreaths, bows and garlands along the route. I went through the little village of Vinings, all decked out in garland and bows and candy canes and wreaths, and thereafter the route is tree-lined with large homes with lush lawns and some unusual decorations: someone had an inflatable Snoopy, Santa in an airplane...and Santa riding an elephant?

The parking lot of the Barnes & Noble was crowded, however, mostly because it's next to a Publix. I managed to round a corner just as someone was pulling out, which took care of my parking problem. The bookstore was fairly busy. I'd promised myself I would just go in and pick out the book I wanted, but when I go into a bookstore all promises go out the window. I trolled the magazines quickly and picked up "Taproot" just to get it out of my system (a lot of the text is gardening/cooking, neither which remotely interest me, although I'm drawn to self-sufficiency—go figure), checked out the new books one more time, and then bought a copy of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (the illustrated verson). The cashier and I had a nice chat and then I was off to the real purpose of my trip, a visit to Richard's Variety Store.

If you live in or near Atlanta and have never been to Richard's...what's the matter with you? It's a wonderful store. I remember taking Jen and Meggan there when they visited. If you remember old five-and-ten-cent stores with fondness, you need to go to Richard's. They stock an eclectic collection of books (a lot of humorous or offbeat ones, plus a neat group of republished classic children's books like Make Way for Ducklings and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel), cards, toys, glassware/cooking items, and along the side and back wall, hardware items and housewares, some that I've never seen anywhere else. For instance, they had something that was a plug at one end and a light bulb socket at the other. I may have to get some for the library, since you can't see in the first bay with the overhead light out of order. I found a nice slotted dipper for getting meat out of the crock pot without the juice that goes with it, and bought a new meat thermometer and a whole huge spool (2300 feet!) of baker's twine. But at the back I found something we really needed. Both the plugs in the sinks in the master bath don't work. James' has simply become detached from the gadget that makes it go up and down. The gadget in my sink appears to be broken. Anyway, James has to watch it when he takes the copious amount of pills he's prescribed or one or two escape down the drain occasionally. He's been putting a paper towel there. I found these metal inserts with holes in them, like a tiny colander, called "crumb cups" which fit snugly into the drain hole. No more losing pills (or insulin needles, for that matter).

The store was filled with mostly women and children, but some men, buying stocking stuffers. This is a good place for them. They have Hot Wheels cars, plastic fantasy animals, gag gifts, small stuffed animals, gadgets for your bike, playing cards, and any number of small things like that. The floors are old linoleum, and there is still a horse you can take a ride on for a quarter.

(I nearly bought a beautifully illustrated copy of Wind in the Willows. I've seen versions where the animals look real, or the illos are just line drawings. These were lovely, very Beatrix Potter-like. But the book was abridged. 😞 )

I came home via Northside Drive and the freeway, and instead of getting off at Spring Road as I am wont, went up one more exit so I could check out the new Ollie's Bargain Outlet off Windy Hill Road. My sister-in-law was right: Ollie's did have small calendars. I usually buy an inexpensive 5"x5" calendar, value about a dollar, to keep next to my computer and tick off my paydays and what I have to pay on each one. This year neither Michael's nor Kmart had any. Every other place sells 7.5"x7.5" calendars, which are too large to fit in the space. Well, up front they had three-calendar packs: a wall calendar, a mini calendar, and a pocket calendar, all for $1.99. I got the lighthouse one. The mini is a tiny bit wider and an inch longer, but it was the width that was the problem and this would fit.

Came home and dumped all the stuff inside, and then really should have had lunch, but I was about fifteen minutes later than I wanted to be, so I grabbed a towel, the dog soap, and the dog, and hustled the last two down to Petco's dog-wash so Tucker will look smart and shiny when his Grandma and Aunt Candy visit. We were alone there at first, but then a woman came in with a golden Labrador and, just as Tucker was dry, a German Shepherd came in with his people, a mom and two kids. Tucker and the German Shepherd eyed each other with interest; it's just the one at the end of the street he doesn't like. Tucker was very good; I even took a chance and removed the restraining leash he was on to brush him properly and then dry him, and he was good as gold, didn't try to jump out of the tub or anything, and he sat quietly, although he hates the noise, as I dried him off.

We got home and waited for James, who had had a doctor's appointment at 1:45 and then was picking up stuff we needed for Saturday at Publix. It took him ages to get home because the store was so crowded. In a while we had our leftover steak for supper and watched the new "Holiday at Pops" concert that PBS broadcast this year. It was so good to see it! James and I remember watching it yearly on A&E television before they became a haven for misbegotten reality shows. I sang along during the sing-a-long and really enjoyed Justin Hopkins' singing. I followed with The Waltons episode "The Best Christmas." I remember this for a funny thing that happened a couple of weeks after it aired. There is a sequence where Curt and Mary Ellen are helping two frostbite victims, and are applying cold compresses, and then slowly warmer ones. Well, someone wrote a heated letter to "TV Guide" screaming that it was not the correct way to treat frostbite!!! Sure, not in 1976 when this aired, but it was the way you treated frostbite in the 1930s, when it took place! I laughed myself silly over that one.

We closed out the night with "Merry Christmas, Bogg" from Voyagers!

No comments: