My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, June 7, 2013

SkyWatch Friday: Yard Sales & Rainbows

I was almost too tuckered out to put together a SkyWatch post this evening, after waking up at 4:20 this morning and putting in a long, busy day #1 of a two-day, multi-family yard sale extravaganza at our house. But then we had a lovely sky worthy of a photograph, so I rallied. :-) 

Our yard sale went really well - we had perfect weather, lots of people, and sold a LOT of stuff. I don't know which feels better - putting some jingle in our pockets or creating more space in our lives! They both feel good, but the rewarding day wasn't just limited to those two satisfying things...

In addition to all the people (including some old chums we got to catch up with), we had a few cute canine customers, including this well behaved chap who waited patiently and quietly (as well as very observantly) in the car while Mom shopped...

I was going to crop this for a closeup of the dog, but hated to crop out the mountains.
There's still snow in the high country - we even had frost Tuesday night!
But today was sunny, calm and 80ยบ - perfect!

Two other highlights of the day were finding a pair of favorite earrings I thought I'd lost months ago, when they fell out of a pocket of a pair of pants I'd put out to sell! 

And, I sold my very first piece of artwork! This admittedly hideous oil painting I'd done when I was nine years old, in an art class my mother insisted I take because I liked to doodle...

Now a casual enjoyment of doodling does not necessarily mean having a talent for (nor interest in) painting. So after I'd created this lurid monstrosity - which my mother insisted be hung in my room and then foisted on me not long after I got married - and a couple of forgettable pastels, mom, to my great relief, took my place in the class. Anyway, after trying in vain to give it away for free at our last yard sale, I was thrilled this morning when a man and his little boy bought it for a dollar! I figured the little boy (who was about six or seven) must have wanted it because he liked the bright colors (or perhaps he grasped and related to the existential angst of the clown on the right. LOL)

So imagine my own existential angst when I told the little boy how pleased I was that he'd bought this painting I'd done when I was nine, only to have his father say, "Well, I'll probably be painting over it..." Some people simply have no eye for fine art. ;-) 

And speaking of fine art, our day concluded with a painting by Mother Nature that was far better than anything that I or Mr. Snootypants Paintover could ever create! :-) After the yard sale was over, everything left was packed up and stored in the garage, and our dogs (who were incredibly perfect angels today during all the hubbub) had been walked, we had a thunderstorm. While it was drenching us with some much-needed rain, the sun came back out and gave us this full double rainbow over our back fence....

I'll be disappointed if your reaction is anything less than Double Rainbow Guy's...

(Thanks for the inspiration to share this, Molly!) :-)

I'd love to think it was a promising sign of things to come for Day #2 of our yard sale, but the wind is predicted to blow (yet again!) 20-30mph with gusts between 40 and 60mph! I have a feeling we'll be getting rid of most of the rest of our stuff, but only because it all blew into the next county! 

See what skies around the world have been up to this week...


  1. Wow. What a fine day! I think you were a young Picasso and you don't appreciate your own talent! When the man said he was going to paint over your masterpiece you should have refused to sell. :)

    I went to a garage sale today and bought a very nice rake. There were other things I coveted but my resolve not to collect things kept me in line. I like the idea of downsizing and living in a small house, but I find the actual act of doing so, hard.

    The double rainbow was a wonderful way to end the day. Good planning.

    1. Well, thank you! Mr. Paintover was cunning - he didn't reveal his diabolical plans till after he'd paid for it! (Bet he'd have been mighty surprised if I'd leaned over the cashier table and snatched that painting from his hands and run into the house with it!) :-)

      I hope to hit a few yard sales this summer, now that ours is over (maybe we'll even stumble on a few in the PNW, see what kind of treasures people sell for a quarter out there!) :-) It can be fun to browse them, and now and then find a great buy on a useful item or special treasure like you did with your rake. Though it's smaller than our old house, but I can't call our current one "small" - but those six months in Dragonfly Cottage were a great lesson in small house living! (The second rental was just as small, but unlike Dragonfly we knew it was temporary and didn't bother to decorate it or even unpack most of our stuff). I found that unlike a big house with plenty of room and storage - and its permissiveness to accumulate! - it kept me disciplined, and winnow down to the things I most loved and/or used. Though our storage unit does allow cheating to an extent, as I've kept treasured items there that either don't go with the style or colors of this house (or that I don't want to have to dust!), but don't want to part with, either. I keep a vision of our "someday" house in my mind and have stored the treasured items I would like to have around me there, knowing this house we're in is fairly temporary too, with BW retiring in 3 years and a plan to sell and move on in 3-5 or so. But even those treasured items take up very little space. I really don't want to fall into the trap of having SO MUCH STUFF to have to get rid when the time comes, and try to keep the ordeal of that experience in mind when I'm tempted to get a new item. What did you do with all of your belongings when you downsized so drastically? Are you storing some or having your kids keep them for you? I sure don't get the sense that you're living in "final parking" yet! :-)

      Oh yes, I planned that. LOL

  2. I was wondering earlier today how things were going at your sale. I'm so glad it went so well! Beautiful weather and lots of sales? Terrific!! Not so terrific having to get up that early, though. Ugh!

    I'm impressed with that pup, waiting so patiently & quietly in the car. Emma & Rowan get very agitated if one of us leaves the car. Such big babies. :)

    Lots of snow on the mountains, indeed! Such a strange spring we're having. It was cold for us the last few days and perfect today. Here's hoping it stays now and that predicted weather of yours passes you up!

    That's awesome that you found the lost pair of earrings. I think your painting is very good for the age you were at the time. It's great it sold, but too bad they'll be painting over it.... :-/

    What a gorgeous double rainbow!! I would have been so thrilled to see that. The only time I've seen a full one is over Lake Michigan a long time ago. Have you ever seen the Double Rainbow Guy on YouTube? Such a great reaction to it! :)

    1. Thanks, Molly! Day #2 started out with far less promise, but also went really well - more about that in a post soon! But I was REALLY sleep deprived by yesterday. At least this year I didn't have to haul all my yard sale crap down off the mountain to Robyn's house at oh-dark-thirty like I have in all the years past! Just got to step out my door. :-)

      That pup was so good! I loved how he had his "arm" slung over the car door just like a human. He reminded me of some of the husbands who waited (with far less patience) while their wives shopped. :-) And you would have been even prouder of your three "nieces!" :-) They were SO GOOD! Their kennel is in the garage, of course, so they were right there as all these cars pulled up and strangers milled about (some with dogs) and children ran up to pet them - and they only barked a total of three times during both days - and that was at a little American Eskimo pup who started it. :-) We'd told the girls there was going to be a lot of people coming, but that it was okay and they could watch but needed to do so quietly - and they did! We were so proud of them!

      Thanks - I agree it's kind of too bad that guy's going to paint over my nine-year old efforts, but maybe someday far in the future a painting restorer will uncover the original and it'll end up in the NY Museum of Fine Art. LOL

      Yes, Double Rainbow Guy is a hoot! I should have shared that video at the end of this post!! Maybe I'll add it. :-)

  3. The double rainbow was a gift and a reward. Thank you for passing it on to us. I adore rainbows. A woman I worked with broke my heart when she told me that the part of Poland she came from, didn't have rainbows any more because the pollution levels were so high. My life would be seriously diminished if I thought I would never see another rainbow.
    Congratulations of the sale. I have to say, I agree with your Mama. I would have insisted on framing that artwork too. And a pox on Mr Paint-over.

    1. You're welcome! And you'll enjoy my next post, too, since Iris the Goddess of Rainbows wasn't through with us yet. :-) Do you get many rainbows there? (I picture that you do!) You'd have loved our old place on the mountainside - we got double full rainbows all the time and had a great, clear vantage point to view them from 5500' overlooking the valley and Sheridan! That is sad on so MANY levels about Poland's air being too polluted to see rainbows! And I'm sure they're hardly alone in that.

      LOL at "a pox on Mr. Paint-over!" Thank you for your generous supportiveness! :-)

    2. We do get rainbows - and they make my heart sing each and every time. Not enough rainbows - because we don't get nearly enough rain. We had an eight year drought, followed by a year of good rain and have spent the last eighteen months back in drought. We are promised rain, and receive incontinent pigeon falls - splat, splat and it is gone...

  4. What an incredible rainbow! Cool how you can see both ends.

    1. We often can out here! Doubling our chances of finding that pot of gold. :-)

  5. I was worried for a bit there. Around lunch time I actually said to myself, 'okay, maybe there won't be a Sky Watch today. Don't get yourself all in a tizzy. People have lives, Maya. I'm sure she's okay'. So you can imagine how glad I was to see your post!

    And what a busy day you had! Garage sales are fun :)

    And BEAUTIFUL shot of the double-rainbow. What an amazing view to have, at the end of your day.

    Such a neat story about your painting too. It has began it's new journey!

    1. LOL - I knew I have some very loyal blog followers, but didn't know any of them were paying such rapt attention! :-) I do have a pretty predictable M.O. when it comes to my SkyWatch Friday posts, though, don't I. Always do 'em, and always early Friday morning, so I did shake things up a bit this week - didn't mean to alarm you! :-) You're so cute! I actually had a SkyWatch post all ready to go Friday morning, but things got way too hectic way too early and I never got the chance, and were it not for that double rainbow appearing, I would have skipped posting all together I was so pooped by the time I had time. I'm glad that rainbow inspired this post, or you might have sent out the National Guard to check on me! (Then again, maybe they'd have bought some of our yard sale stuff - lol!)

      Garage sales are fun to go to, but holy cannoli, they're a LOT of work! Cadry described them perfectly in her comment below!! We don't plan to have another until we're getting ready to move. I'll enjoy going to some, though, and will bear in mind the pain of having to host one when I'm tempted to pick up any goodies I find! :-)

      Poor painting, its new journey will be conducted incognito! Let's just hope Mr. Paintover paints something beautiful over my clowns (that's not too much to hope for, lol).

  6. Gorgeous rainbow. Happy sky watching.

    My sky.

  7. From someone who is totally lacking in the art department,I'm duly impressed by your painting...and I now know we are the same I'm equally impressed that you are up before the lark and still cheerful at the end of the day.
    The sweet dog looks as though if Mummy isn't back soon he'd be capable of driving off without her.
    Jane x

    1. And knowing that now I am equally impressed at all of your stamina and physical labors around your place! It's that "plant powered" energy. :-) I wasn't as cheerful at the start of yesterday on just 2 hours of sleep the night before (very bad thunderstorms all night long) and setting up in weather most foul. And by mid-afternoon all I'd had a chance to eat all day were two Shillelagh Sticks! But I rallied once again and we partied till 11pm last night with our fellow yard salers (and plant-based powerhouses) Robyn and Jesse. More on that in my next post! :-)

      I thought the same thing about that dog! Like he was saying, "Come on, Mom, just let me have the keys so I can go cruising for sticks while you shop!" :-)

  8. TW! Why didn't you tell me you had some signed art for sale? I would have gladly given you $2, at least, and would never have painted over it!
    Beautiful rainbow, but I hope today's weather's not as bad as predicted, so you can sell some more stuff and continue the "feel-good" purge. xoxoxo

    1. Well darn!!! I'd have MUCH preferred to have given it to you (no charge!) But then you'd have hated me every time you looked at it and its ghastliness burned your eyeballs. LOL I do have others, though I did them in my 20's - but at least I actually think they're pretty good! (I just don't have them displayed here). Perhaps when I unpack them one of these days (next move?) we can work out a deal on one of them. ;-)

      Yesterday went well, and though it was cold and overcast during the morning, the wind never blew like they'd predicted and we did a booming business! Yay!! That purge feels most excellent!

  9. Wow, I can't believe that guy told you he was going to paint over your childhood painting! On the other hand, it sounds like you weren't too attached to it, selling it for a dollar at a garage sale! I'm glad that your sale went well and that you were rewarded with a double rainbow. I had a garage sale a few years ago and it ruined me for all other garage sales. People showing up way early to snatch up deals before other people can get to them and then wanting to dicker over something that's already a quarter? I can't do it. But I'm glad that it worked out for you!

    1. I know it, right? He can do whatever he wants with it, but he didn't have to TELL me that! How rude. Would it have killed him to lie to my face by saying, "Yes, it's very good and my son will really enjoy having it in his room!"?? Welcome to Sheridan, where that sort of tactless lack of manners is commonplace. I've become so used to it after all these years, it even took me a while to realize how hurtful his comment was! But no, I wasn't too attached to it at all. I'm not generally too sentimental about stuff. I even sold my wedding bouquet yesterday (artificial flowers, obviously!) And again, when I told the woman buying it that that's what it was - my wedding bouquet of apricot roses and Texas bluebonnets - she said, "I'm just buying it for this part," pointing to the plastic thingy that held the flowers and that the bride would grasp in her hand. Sheesh. (Then she asked me if I got married in TX and when I told her yes, she said that's where she's from originally - so maybe she'll at least find a use for the Texas Bluebonnets!)

      You're description of garage sales is SPOT ON!!! People were not only showing up more than an hour early (they're stupid, we were still unpacking stuff so they don't even see 3/4 of the merchandise and all they do is get in the way!), they were ringing our doorbell SIX HOURS after our sale ended yesterday, wanting to know if we still had such-and-such! (Nope, it all got hauled off to a charity yesterday afternoon, so check their thrift shop!) And yes, some of the low-ball offers are just plain insulting. At an earlier sale I was selling a cookie tin that my mother (a very talented painter) had painted an elaborate and quite realistic family of chickens all over - on the lid and all around the oval sides. I was asking $5 for it (that one was hard to part with, but again - as an only child and only grandchild on one side who is married to a very sentimental packrat, we'd be buried alive by our possessions if I allowed sentimentality to rule the day!), and a lady picked it up and asked if I'd take less. I told her my mother had hand-painted it, and I really wanted $5 for it, but what would she give me? She shrugged (a shrug that said, "I could give a shit about your mother") and said, "I'd give you a buck." I did end up selling it to someone else later that day. Have you ever read "Homes and Other Black Holes" by Dave Berry? (Hysterically funny!) It's got a sub-chapter titled, "The Garage Sale" that begins, "A garage sale is basically when strangers come to your house and examine your personal belongings with undisguised contempt." LOL! It also contains this example exchange between a garage sale regular and the seller:

      Garage Sale Regular (picking up a sale object): What's this?

      You: ~ That's my grandmother's brooch. It's twenty-four carat gold, it has eight flawless diamonds, and these are real pearls in the center here. It was presented to my grandmother personally by the King of England, whose crest is on the back.

      Garage Sale Regular: I'll give you a dollar for it.

      ROTFL! That is SO TRUE! :-) Actually several of our more little-bit-hard-to-part with items went to friends (including Robyn) or really fun people, so that was nice. But yes, one has to be pretty unsentimental and thick-skinned to have a garage sale! I look forward to having my LAST ONE soon, and letting my heirs (oh wait, I don't have any!) worry about what to do with the rest of my stuff when I'm past caring! :-)

  10. What the heck does Mr Snootypants know! I have two oils that my granddaughter made for me when she was ten and to me they are priceless. Some folks are just not into feelings. Great double rainbow! -- barbara

    1. Well, Mr Snootypants would probably feel very differently about that clown painting had it been wrought by his own child's hands, but then again maybe he'll be painting over their childhood art, too! :-) My maternal grandparents treated everything I drew or painted or glued together in a haphazardly folk-artish attempt as sublime and priceless treasures too. My paternal grandparents didn't care to clutter their house with any such crap, unless it was by their eldest grandchild, upon whom the sun rose and set. Not that I'm bitter. ;-)

      It was a pretty one, wasn't it? I'm glad it appeared over our back fence, since it's prettier back there than it is out front and there was space to see it all!

  11. Super image. So neat to see the whole rainbow and just over your garden fence. Lovely!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I agree - that rainbow couldn't have appeared in a better spot for viewing and photographing!

  12. I really thought the painting was ok...especially considering a 9 yo did it. You have talent.

    Great pic of the dog/mountains. :-)

    1. Well, thank you, I appreciate that! I had to copy it from a picture of a painting in a magazine, and I never much cared for the picture, or - at that age, at least - for oil painting, and I could tell by looking at it that my heart wasn't really in it. I still have a lot of my drawings from just a couple of years later, though - my truly productive art years - that I think aren't bad. Not surprisingly (for a 10-13 year old girl), they are nearly entirely of horses. And 10-13 year old girls riding horses, typically at full gallop, bareback, on a beach. (I manifested that in real life at age 15 when we moved to coastal Maine and I finally got a horse!) :-) My dad was could make incredible cartoon drawings (he could have done it for a living if he hadn't been a Marine instead!!), and my mom was multi-talented when it came to artwork, so my genes actually fell quite short in the talent department, but I thank you for your compliment. :-)

  13. I ran a second-hand store for decades so going to yard sales and having a finger in the used market is in my blood. I agree it's a lot of work. We have a one-day sale bi-annually in the Spring and Fall. Two days to set up and a blow-out give away at the end so we don't have to store it another season. Where does all this "junque" come from anyway? Glad you now have space in your life and jingle in your pocket. Don't worry all the goodies/clutter will find their way back in a different form in a matter of no time! LOL!

    Beautiful rainbows and pooch - But then are there any that aren't? ;)

    1. Wow, that would have been a bit like hosting a garage sale all the time! Did people bring stuff to you to sell or did you scour flea markets and garage and estate sales to find things to sell in your shop? I imagine it was a lot of work (especially since I find that pricing the stuff is one of the hardest parts), but kind of fun too, spying treasures among the flotsam and jetsam. I don't shop in them much (I don't shop much at all, except for groceries), but I do enjoy a good second-hand shop and miss having access to a flea market.

      Funny you'd mention the blow-out giveaway at the end of your bi-annual garage sale. We had two boxes of stuff marked "FREE" and I only remember two people going through it the entire two days (they both found stuff to take, too - it had a lot of pretty good stuff in it!) People can be funny about stuff marked "FREE," like it's somehow inferior to something marked 10 cents! That's why I decided to put a price on my clown painting this year - and it worked! (Or maybe this just happened to be the year a guy scouring garage sales for canvas he could paint over showed up!) :-)

      I don't know where it all comes from - various sources. I know for us, this yard sale mostly had stuff left over from past yard sales, auto parts for vehicles we no longer own, and stuff we needed when we lived on 10 acres in the country and had horses and a house we were constantly remodeling/repairing, but don't need for a brand new property in town. That's why we had so much to sell! And I am determined not to let your evil prediction come true!! :-)

      Nope - can't think of any!

    2. Quick answer... All of the above sources you mentioned was where stuff was rescued, salvaged, reclaimed and purchased from. To this day I consider myself the ace at sifting and gleaning. Literally "everything" has another use before it goes to the trash. ;)

      Fun and lots of work - You're right. One of my stores was over 20,000 square feet. That's a lot of space to make furniture and goods pay the rent on. My muscles at the time came from "pumping wood". LOL!

      You're right about free stuff. People get shy or disinterested. Our end of yard-sale goods get scarfed up by dealers or loaded to go to a non-profit. Kinda creepy to see your own rejects for sale again --- But that's the nature of stuff. Motto: Use it till it's worn out. Good for your wallet. Good for the planet. ;)

      Oh... I meant to mention your painting too... I think you have an eye. You should pick it up again. Maybe paint some of your beautiful sunsets? Just a thought. <3

    3. Wow, that store size is impressive - and as a fan of repurposing, I'd really have enjoyed seeing some of the salvaged and repurposed items you sold!

      Thank you for your compliment and vote of confidence, but honestly I think photography is my preferred creative outlet! And I still have TONS to learn about it (and my camera!) so I'd better "focus" (snork) on that! :-)

  14. I really like when I ask and 30 seconds later I recieve! I wondered about how your garage sale went and then there it was. I'm really glad it went well. Your story about the painting was too funny and I'm very impressed that you and your mother hung on to that thing all this time. Your mother may not have been a lot of things, but at least she was encouraging in your art work. My girls' work was never saved or kept with such pride for anything nearly as long as that! I guess snooty paintover guy has no more appreciation for art than I do!!!

    I would have liked to enjoy your double rainbow as much as double rainbow guy but I think that would be IMPOSSIBLE. Hise joy and excitement was wonderful and it's great to see an adult have a reaction we normally only see in kids. Most of us adults are too jaded for that kind of excitement. That was fun. I did enjoy your photo but there were no vocal exclamations at my end. Perhaps, I just needed to see it in person! :-)

    1. Well who wouldn't like that? LOL Glad I could oblige. :-) Part 2 (the finale) has now been posted as well, making this year's garage sale officially history. YAY!

      Mom was encouraging in my artwork but a formal class in it was her interest and not mine. Even as a kid I was a homebody, and I remember hating having to go to that artist's house for two hours every Wednesday evening (funny how I remember that detail, isn't it? I'm almost certain the class was from 7-9pm!) And while I enjoyed being around adults, it was a little awkward being the only kid in the class of mostly middle-aged and older women (my mother was by far the youngest adult there). And they probably didn't appreciate my presence much either, since I apparently "needed" the lion's share of the artist's time and coaching assistance! ;-) She was French, and I loved her thick accent, though I had a hard time understanding her, but I remember she was very nice to me. Anyway, it was great that mom took my place because she really painted up a storm for years after that, and sold a lot of her work. I took after my doodling dad more when it came to art! :-)

      I take it this was your first exposure to Double Rainbow Guy? Isn't that video a hoot? It went viral after he posted it a few years ago and he was even interviewed on national television because people thought he had to be on drugs at the time (he denied it). He's quite a character, looks like a big, bearded bear! Anyway, his outpouring of unfettered enthusiasm and appreciation was entertaining and sweet, but I'm glad you didn't have a similar outburst in your office cubicle. LOL

  15. What a beautiful rainbow shot!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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