Thursday, April 26, 2012


This week has been trouble. We’re transitioning Lennon from our bed into his crib. The crux of his ‘sleep training’—a controversial practice, to be sure, and a term I use loosely here to describe adjusting his sleep habits—is to have Lennon learn how to soothe himself into a sleepy state without needing to be in bed with Mommy. This alone might result in a lot less sleep for me than usual since babies don’t often appreciate their routines being disrupted, but his crib sits just at the end of the bed in which he’s been evicted, making the situation all the more complicated. About every other hour throughout the night he cries, “I know you’re there. I can smell you.”

What’s more?

Lennon is teething. He has had two teeth break through in the past twelve days. The two ‘biggie’ teeth—named so by other moms I know for their trauma-drama factor—are the upper fronts and they are showing definitive signs of popping; bulging white just beneath the skin. Lennon is in pain and at night.


Lennon is about to start to crawl and spends every moment that he’s on a parallel surface flipping himself from his back to his chest and kicking his legs. Supposedly, when a baby goes through a motor milestone such as crawling, it’s not uncommon for them to wake up in the middle of the night and practice their new skill. When Lennon wakes with teething pain, generally cross for finding himself in his crib and not the family bed, I often discover him on his belly ready to crawl away.

Not to mention that:

We just returned from a trip to the U.S. last week and I truly believe we’re just now getting over our jet lag.

To say my sleepiness has made me feel defeated would be an understatement. I’m pretty sure no one is at their best when sleep deprived but my symptoms feel very acute. Compounding the chaos, Nicholas is out of town chaperoning a school trip to Prague. When Nicholas is away, it becomes glaringly clear how much I depend on him for emotional support—something I’m not ashamed to admit since our wedding vows talked about doing just that. In all fairness, it was my benevolent idea to transition Lennon to his crib this week so Nicholas wouldn’t be sleep deprived, as he needs to be up early each morning. I stand by this decision, but I’m missing his tender perspective this week.

While Lennon is getting enough sleep—in fits and starts—being bathed, eating healthily, exercising, and playing, his mother is a mess. I’ll be honest with you—I showered for the first time this week just yesterday. Gross. Food wise, I do okay with first two meals of the day, but by five o’clock, when my body screams in protest from lack of sleep, it’s all I can do to open a bottle of non-alcoholic wheat beer and a bar of Ritter Sport chocolate and call it dinner. We have been outside each day this week for lengthy walks, a testament to the fact that while I may have lost some sense of self-pride, I have my wits about me enough to rally so my son can get some daylight and fresh air. I haven’t had many face-to-face conversations with adults this week and when having lunch with a friend yesterday, I noticed that it took me a good half-hour to find any coherence in forming sentences. The academic term at Freie Universität began April 1st and I’ve slowly started my research, but the idea of working on it this week makes me want to impale myself on my retractable highlighter.

Last night, after a supper of eight or so—maybe more—sandwich cookies, a bar of Choco-Cherry Ritter, and a nonalcoholic wheat beer, with Lennon asleep in his crib, I treated myself to the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens. I’ve seen the film more than a dozen times and find that watching Mrs. Edith Beale in her East Hampton house makes me feel better about myself. Last night, it served as a cautionary tale—a potential destination should I remain on my present course: filth and liver pate and forgotten dreams and unbathed octogenarians and raccoons in the attic and resentful children.

I really need to learn how to self-soothe.

Luckily for my family and I, I’ve seen enough years to know not to make any rash decisions or judgments about myself when I haven’t had enough sleep. So as much as I wanted to call it quits on the whole lot of life’s ambitions and only do things that would allow me to never leave the house, I decided to sleep on it—even if for just an hour at a time. Before I did, I went to my blue bowl with the fifty curled papers of wisdom and pulled out this little token of the toughest love:

14. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Photo source found here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vintage Thrifting in Central Florida, a Pictorial

As my husband explained to my Father-in-Law outside of the Ocala, Florida Goodwill Thrift Store, “This is Amy’s Fenway Park.”

As a little girl in the decadent 1980s, I resented that my mother bought so much of our goods at thrift stores. Nowadays, I’m simply grateful for having inherited her serious skills in the art of thrifting. I don’t like to boast, but I can find treasures in even the bleakest of second hand stores. Wasteland deserts of flea markets and yard sales turn to gilded gardens under my gaze. The trick is, of course, that I’m likely looking for things others could care less about. You can have your auction worthy antiques and collectibles. I’ll take diamonds in the rough, thank you very much. Lately, I have a passion for vintage fabric and crafting materials, stuff I can refashion into objects of considerable desire. Here is what I procured on our recent family vacation to Central Florida. Not all the items I found on this trip can be strictly categorized as vintage—some are best described merely as ‘used.’ However, I was picky and only took home those things that spoke to my soul. An intimate bounty, to be sure, but nonetheless charming.

On the way home from a lovely tour of the Gypsy Gold Horse Farm, we made a stop for Mexican food in the small town of Dunnellon, Florida, which happened to be dotted with thrift stores. Knowing I couldn’t convince my companions to visit every single one, I chose a shop that looked as if it had the widest variety of wares. Painted on the building was one word: Thrift. Good enough for me. Lucky me to have found these two bundles of vintage fabric—$2.50 for the orange flowered cotton and $1.00 for the brown.

And these yarn rope wooden dolls. I’m sure they have a proper name for their use, but I’d never seen such a thing before. My Mother-in-Law explained to me that one wraps yarn around the little nails, flips each loop over the other, and eventually, through the hole in the middle, a rope of yarn is formed. $1.35 each. Delightful!

A new day and the next stop was the Hospice Thrift Store in Ocala, Florida. Not wanting to take advantage of my Husband and Father-in-Law’s generosity in driving me around, it behooved me to hustle in and out of each store visited. There were two on the agenda that day and The Hospice Thrift Store was pocket sized, making shopping at a clip all the easier. Lucky for me, I came across this perfect little vintage hankie from Liberty of London for $2.00. Love at first site.

I also spied this unusual Victorian-esque framed butterfly in the fifty cent bin. Yes, please.

Later that day, at the Ocala Goodwill, I found this truly radical LL Bean anchor skirt, just a few seasons old, in my pre-pregnancy size for $4.50 and this Super-Country, baby-sized, homemade quilt for $2.00. They also had an amazing pair of new, old-stock Bass boat loafers, circa 1978 in size 9. While they were two sizes too large for my wear, I would have snatched them up right quick, were it not for the $12.50 price tag. Though I found them on the rack without a tag, the kicker was that when I requested the price, the manager took a good look at my husband and I, whispered something to the cashier, and then proceeded to quote an amount far above the other shoes available. City folk. She saw us coming a mile away.

Onto Lady Lake, Florida for the small consignment shop, New2U. Normally, I don’t care for the previously sorted, curated stock of consignment stores, but I came across something I couldn’t live without at this one. I have a collection of Vera brand scarves that started with a set of graphic psychedelic napkins purchased at this church thrift shop ten years ago. Since then I’ve acquired half a dozen or so scarves. I’ve gotten really good at spotting Vera prints with remarkable accuracy. This one was a classic at $2.00.

Next stop was by far my favorite of all Central Florida second hand stores: Ye Olde Thrift Shoppe. First of all, the name is truly kitsch-tacular. It is run as an auxiliary by volunteers—always the best kind of second hand shop, for my money. The store resides in a sweet, little house whose insides found me overwhelmed with heart-racing, gather-hungry fever. In an old upright trunk, I found the following pairs of gloves, my favorite is the long felted, mossy green pair for $1.00. The most expensive of the set was the long, pale pink pair selling for $2.00.

In the same trunk I found two coordinating Vera brand chiffon scarves for $1.00 each. Major win.

This super sweet kerchief with a repeating green pattern of village houses. Again, $1.00. Love.

And these lovely interchangeable purse bags missing their button-on wooden handle. Nevermind, the lining fabric is worth the $1.00 per.

Also was scored in the very messy and unorganized—and therefore wonderfully dreamy to rummage through—section of the Shoppe, these lovely boards of rick-rack, of which I have a particular fondness. Fifty cents a piece.

A thick and old spool of orange-red, stiff, burlap-like ribbon for $1.75.

A pack of 100% cotton pipe cleaners, perfect for crafting. Or cleaning your pipe. Thirty-five cents.

A gaggle of “Craft Circles” for fifty cents, perfect for making lovely little things like this.

And who can resist a vintage unicorn appliqué for ten pennies? “Not I,” said the fly.

Upstairs found me some darling, deep brown flowered table napkins—$1.50 for the set.

And a twin flat sheet of the prettiest pink flowers for just $2.00. So many things to be made from this beauty.

And just when I thought my thrifting was done in Florida, at an early morning yard sale in the retirement community of The Villages (we commuted around by golf cart!) I came across this impossible find: A Wilton cake decorating storage case teeming with cake decorating goodies—all for $2.00! That’s two dollars, Folks. No zeros missing. A special shout out to my friend Denise Delaney and her awesome blog, The Iced Queen, for inspiring this new interest—as if I needed another interest to occupy my time.

I would call this vacation a thrifting triumph. What made all of these rather disparate purchases seem like destiny was that they all fit nicely into the three suitcases we had budgeted for. What sent the whole scenario into the stuff of legend? The airline didn’t charge us the standard $60.00 for the third bag. Gorgeous.