Turn up the fun with BALZAC!

I came home after my infusion and cheer-me-up quick thrift session with a Balzac.

“What’s that?” KK asked. Another one of our odd-couple moments — her phd in comparative literature versus my wasted youth held dramatically different notions of what constituted a “Balzac” and what made it so great.

Put on your Hammer pants, tease those bangs, and go back in time with me to

The early 1990s!

The world just looked different then.

Balzac Earth balloon ball

Unwilling to wait a moment longer, I managed to blow it up — without passing out — and tossed it into the playroom.

Now, all I’ve heard for the last 30 minutes is galloping toddler feet and squeaks of joy.

As a kid, I thought a Balzac would be fun. But now, from a mom perspective, I think a Balzac is AMAZING.

For starters, for wearing toddlers out, it’s even better than the playground at the mall, with all its associated contagion.

It’s lighter than a beach ball, washable, and refillable.

It’s safer than a naked latex balloon, which at 15 months, the boys would bite, burst, and probably choke on.

And of course, it’s extra fun because I always wanted one of these and my parents wouldn’t get me one. “You have all kinds of balls already,” my mom would sneer. “Here’s some wrinkly leftover balloons from your sister’s birthday party.”

I never could make her understand that Balzac wasn’t a ball, or a ballon. It was a patented “magic action balloon ball — the newest, wildest, funniest, craziest ball on earth!” See?

Balzac user guide cover

Thrift Happy Thursday

Exhibit A: Lucky charms, minus the arms

I’ve heard that horseshoes are lucky, but never have I ever heard anything about a headless/limbless woman’s torso adding any particular oomph to a horseshoe’s benefits.

Exhibit B: Head and limbs, but no torso

It’s kind of like the Care Bear Stare, but with about 1,000% more creepiness. I think this unfortunate little guy was supposed to be painted…and filled…to celebrate…a holiday? But it’s an even Easter/Halloween split, so I give up.

I will admit to being temporarily tempted to use him as a salt pig instead.

Exhibit C: Speaking of staring

Pink Squirrel knows what you’ve been up to. If he had a mouth, he’d scream.

Exhibit D: Just four aisles away

These guys were shocked — SHOCKED! — at the prices on promotional backpacks. Is this a thrift store or Needless Markup?

Exhibit E: Not from a thrift, but fits the creepy theme of today’s post

I arrived on the scene after whatever happened had already happened. I think it’s better that way.

Exhibit F: For “Freaky”

A few weeks ago, I discovered a new Salvation Army store that was previously unknown to me (but is only 0.3 miles from one of the best Goodwills in the metro area AND close to a Park Avenue thrift and maybe a Value Village).

It was a HUGE store, brightly lit, fully-stocked, and nearly empty ON A SATURDAY. It didn’t even smell like a thrift store. It didn’t smell like anything, really.

Until I went in the bathroom.

As soon as I pushed open the door to the (spacious, well-lit, empty) ladies’ room, I was bowled over by the smell of moth balls. Lots and lots of moth balls. Pew.

But duty calls. I chose a stall, and as I’m sitting down, I’m thinking, “Who has a problem with moths in the –” when this tiny little moth flew into my stall and perched on the wall.

Well. Question answered, before I could even finish asking.


Thrift Happy Thursday

There’s so much weird stuff out there. Here’s some I saw recently.

Exhibit A, as in Awwww

I long to develop my taxidermy collection. I dearly do.


This little guy was $8.98. At the thrift store.

And it was missing some…liquid…even though it clearly states “DO NOT OPEN” on the sticker. And where could I get more shark preserving liquid this far inland?

But most importantly?

HE LOOKS SO SAD, with his little frowny shark face all sticking up like that.


Exhibit B, as in, Something I saw in a Public Bathroom

Time to have a *refresher* talk about connotation/denotation.

I’m displeased to report that this “Passive Odor Dispenser” performed its duties exactly as advertised, causing the bathroom to smell like a cross between a public bathroom and a cut-rate funeral home.

Exhibit C, as in Cute and Calculating

Vintage, natch.

I would have paid more attention in math class if my textbooks had been this attractive.

Exhibit D, as in Deer Me

I think this candle snuffer was supposed to be a preppy noble stag, like all the stuff Pottery Barn and everybody did recently.

But doesn’t it look a lot more like a jackelope?

(image from http://monster.wikia.com/wiki/Jackalope)
(image from http://monster.wikia.com/wiki/Jackalope)

Answer: yes. Pass.

Exhibit E, as in Exclusive

The nice spice grinder, which was The BOGO at The grocery store (very The thriftish).

Exhibit F, as in Foodstuffs, wtF?!

A baby carrot that came out of a clearance tray of crudites I picked up at the grocery store last week.

Best part?

It’s organic. ALLEGEDLY.

And for you carnivores, a bonus fuzzy stealth shot from my new farmers market:

It’s blurry, but you read that right.

Stuffed. Chicken. Skin.


In a kind of loaf-ish shape.

For eating.

Have any of you ever tasted this delicacy? If so, I would love a report, because sadly, I have not.

It’s stuffed with a mix that includes breadcrumbs, and I was too embarrassed to ask if it came in a gluten-free version.

But if it did? Oh, buddy.

And last but not least…

Exhibit G, as in Goldmine

It’s so shiny.

That’s a NEW IN BOX Fagor Elite Pressure Cooker set. It was originally $179 at Macy’s.

I got it for $29.

Granted, is a  little more than the “90% off original prices” threshold I set for myself.

(It was only 84% off.)

But it’s never been used! It’s got the box, and all the paperwork, and even the freaking DVD on how to use it.

I’ve never owned cookware that came with its own multimedia extravaganza.

The 5-piece set is missing the glass lid (which probably broke). For $12 I could replace it, but I have several 10-inch regular pots lids, so no need!

I love the $7 thrifted Hawkins Futura pressure cooker I found a few months ago, and these will complement rather than replace it. These have straight sides and because the big one holds 8 quarts, I will be able to fit a few small mason jars in there to do some small-batch canning!

Plus, it’s extensible. There’s a dessert kit I could get for it, to make cheesecake and flan. To make crème-fricking-brûlée.

In a pressure cooker.

What interesting finds have you cooked up recently?

Thrift Happy Thursday (formerly “Terrible/Wonderful Things I Saw This Week”)

Have you noticed that I’m trying to get all thematic up in hiznouse? Welcome to Thrift Happy Thursday, guaranteed to have 100% less therapy than yesterday. There’s so much weird stuff out there. Here’s some I saw recently.

Exhibit A: When you absolutely, positively, never-ever want to have sex ever again

I would recommend this long-sleeved sweatshirt-nightgown, in bewitching battleship gray, complete with plush behatted kitty and real jingle bell accents.

Recommended accessories: an old copy of Readers Digest, some Metamucil, and your glasses, if only you could remember where you left them.

Exhibit B: Not from the thrift store, but thrifty as in DIY

Beware the Cthulhu outlet!

Just before xmas, KK was replacing most of the outlets on the first floor, because, while they were technically functional, they were all so old that anything plugged in would just fall out.

And according to KK the Outlet Expert, “that’s NOT enough of a reason to not vacuum.”

Pffft. Find a reason or make one, I say!

Anyway, this electrical monstrosity is what KK found behind a single duplex outlet when she went to replace it.

I might be able to understand it if our house were historical, say, and had been lovingly expanded and remodeled over the years.

But it’s not! This house is 8 years younger than the younger one of us!

Exhibit C: Turn it up

And finally, a dear friend who knows how out of touch I am with the music kids listen to these days kindly sent me this video:

I have never found a coat at the thrifts as great as his BUT in college, I did find a giant red faux-fur coat at a yard sale for $1.

Bonus: it had been one of the prizes you could get “for free” when you saved up points from smoking enough Virginia Slims.

It was glorious.

What would you do with more hours in a day? (NHBPM 24)

Things I would do every day if I had more time in a day:

  • go to the gym everyday, instead of 3 times a week
  • shop for the freshest produce and meat every day, instead of just once a week
  • organize the pantry
  • take my dog for long walks 3 times a day, instead of just once or twice

    Lula in a sunbeam
    Lula in a sunbeam
  • actually read all the blogs in my google reader every day, instead of just hitting “mark all as read” so I don’t feel like I’m falling behind
  • actually comment on all the blogs I read, instead of thinking “I’ll get around to it when I have more time”
  • go thrifting!
  • turn some of the ideas in my inventions notebook into real prototypes
  • finish my movie before the competition deadline in January
  • raise chickens, for eggs
  • raise goats, for fun
  • raise hell, for eggs and fun
  • actually moisturize the dry places
  • always drive a different route to get places
  • figure out how to speed up this socialist wealth redistribution scheme I keep hearing about

Things I wouldn’t do even if I had all the time in the world:

  • read all the EULAs and TOSs for the sites I visit and apps I use
  • wear makeup
  • dust
  • eat soysauges
  • go to the circle of hell known as the mall

What would you do, or not do, with more time on your hands?

Terrible/Wonderful Things I Saw While Thrifting #3 (NHBPM 10)

Write about or share something you found funny.

I hope these posts help my wife understand why it takes me so long to shop. There are so many things to look at, pick up, squint at, and scratch my head over, most of which never make it home. Here are two good examples.

This pair of gloves caught my eye at Value Village recently. They had a pleasant weight to them, and I thought they might be good for dog walks this winter. For which I need the manual dexterity for tying poop bags that gloves offer, but I do not need a strong nonslip grip. These could work.

I could tell they were woolish, but by how much? Better check the fiber tag inside.

30% Racoon.

Yeah, wool too, but Racoon [Raccoon].

I felt exactly the same way, and I have a bowl of dead reptiles and insects, and a frog in a jar, on my desk.

Apparently, aside from mink, I’m squeamish about wearing mammals. It felt so said, since surely the raccoon had to die.

But how do you know that? I hear you asking. We shear sheep and goats and comb bunnies to get nice wool, and they’re none the worse for the contribution.

To which I offer: can you imagine what a shaved raccoon would look like? (Serious warning: Do not google image search that. You’ve been warned.) Or can you imagine what it would be to have a job where that’s what you had to do every day? Shave raccoons?

I rest my case.

And for this week’s final Terrible/Wonderful find, remember that I’m not sporty. So maybe you’ll know right off what this was, but I most certainly did not.

They were in the lingerie bin, but they looked manly. Well, as manly as shiny, slinky, stretchy black shorts can look. A peek inside, though, did NOT clarify matters for me.

It looked like underwear that comes with its own seat cushion, which in turn looks kind of like a bicycle seat.


Bicycles! Aha! This is a Goodwill located right next door to an REI. Maybe the tag attached to the mystery shorts would tell us more.

Yes! Getting warmer, Watson. They did come from REI — twice, since somebody bought them and then returned them.

But wait. What does that fine print say?


About seven amazing things hit me at once:

1. Somebody paid $26.50 for padded panties.

2. Said body did this assuming they might not feel weird on skin.

3. Said body tried them on anyway and was unsatisfied.

4. Said body brought the panties BACK TO THE STORE, and

5. Had a conversation with a store employee DETAILING exactly why they were unsatisfactory enough to bring BACK TO THE STORE.

6. Ostensibly, the customer was rewarded a refund or exchange, or at least a hearing-out.

7. REI Damages do not end up in the trash. Or at least, not all of them.

Make of that what you will.

Until next time!