Tuesday, August 31, 2010
End of the month. Hot . . . An expected shipment didn't arrive today so Bob and I goofed off more or less. He read; I am doing a puzzle for my collection of "recycleds"--those $1 and $2 bargains I sometimes offer with a promise that all the pieces are there . . . Copies of TheBurg for September have arrived; be sure to note our advertisement . . . Rumor that another home in our area has been sold after a long wait. Am waiting to confirm the particulars before mentioning which property it is . . .
Monday, August 30, 2010
Well, I have been asked about it a lot and now I have an answer: What's happening at that beautiful house at 915 North Front Street? There has been a lot of work going on there all summer. Several people have noticed all the activity. Then at church on Sunday Erica Bryce explained all to Bob. She and Chris are opening City House Bed & Breakfast at that location. The public will be invited to have a look during Gallery Walk on September 12. (The Bare Wall will be open for that event as well although we won't be listed in the official program. But we have our regular visitors every year.) . . . Got another one of those e-mails informing me I had won the British Lottery this morning. Don't know how much it might have been worth; I didn't bother to open it. Please be careful, everyone . . . Carl Kepner was successful in getting the lamp in the back jewelry case to come on but the equipment is so old I didn't ask him for a guarantee. That case is from the old Dub's Jewelry Store which was located for years and years on North Street. (Zephyr Express was the most recent tenant of the space.) We have been using it ourselves for at least thirty years. If only it will last through the holiday season . . . Bob has begun to scatter his autumn decorations throughout the store. Looking nice despite the 90 degree weather . . .
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Our thanks to Andy from Chambers Hill for his response to our "for sale" entry on Craig's List. He is collecting all of the Oscar winners on VHS tape and we were able to assist greatly in his effort to complete his list. Still quite a few tapes in this category on offer for $6, but we can work a deal if you are buying several . . . Enjoyed the evening at the Battisti house celebrating Eric's 40th birthday. It is not for a few days yet, but he is travelling. Got to greet a lot of old acquaintances and played "Monster" for the kids; am already feeling the effects of that effort to keep them entertained. Now where did I put that Ben-Gay? . . . Okay, I will confess. Bob misunderstood the invitation, so we showed up last night and the house was empty. And Bob insists that I'm the one who never listens properly . . . It was another beautiful day. While wife Jaime sunbathed, Bryan MacLeod enhanced the curb appeal of their home at 706 Green Street (which they are trying to sell) by scrubbing the shingles on the facade. One has to do what one can in this housing market. A lot of lookers at this fully renovated property but thus far no firm offers that have panned out . . .
Friday, August 27, 2010
Beautiful weather we are having; nicest day of the week, I think. But the nineties are to return soon . . . More of the same in the store; today we wrestled with 60 new boxes of Christmas cards and related stationary items. Where to put all this stuff? . . . Visited Diane and Tom Neiper (the kids' grandparents) at their Camp Hill home this evening. JJ had to show me "his" garden, "his" fish pond, "his" hot tub. But I was most impressed with the civilized quiet of the place. Didn't hear a single blaring car radio . . . Just leaned that the Historic Harrisburg Association hopes to get $18 a pop for tickets to its annual candlelight house tour in December. That is nearly a 35% increase over last year--more than the new rates for electricity, in fact. Think this is a short-sighted move in the face of the economic recession/depression we are in. One wishes that the association showed a bit more respect for its long-time supporters . . . That is Bill Campbell's "Waterfall" bowl in the picture. $38 . . .
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Delightful day weather-wise and a number of delightful shoppers as well. We were blessed with two major shipments this morning. Sorry, you will have to wait a while to see all the beautiful Santas and Holy Family statues. (These are not inexpensive, however.) . . . All the new towels and related fabrics also arrived. Some nicely-absorbent and smaller towels for your wine bar; holiday-themed embroidered towels and those with pumpkins which we are putting out now. ("I am really into fall" Angela Lawson said as she picked out some of the new items. Also a really nice hostess gift--embroidered hot pad that contains a dish cloth and tea towel for just $12 . . . Carl Kepner dropped by; he will see if he can get the light in our one jewelry case to work. Please keep your fingers crossed for him . . . The reorganization and decorating continues apace. The store is beginning to look much as it did back in the old days before we rented video. Autumn is well represented. Do plan to linger the next time you are here . . .
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Two major shipments today. Twenty-four new puzzles--well, twenty-three at this point since we sold one already . . . "carved" pumpkins for fall decor featuring a scarecrow, cornucopia or turkey ($14). Nice right through the Thanksgiving Weekend . . . Getting to be good friends with FedEx and UPS these days. The trash men may not be quite so happy with us, however . . . Well, if you want to gift a cat lover you will want to take a look at these two critters. The taller one is about eight inches and his companion is a little over seven stretched out. They sell for $12 and we have two of each on hand . . . Also cleaned up the boxing closet. We have our tissue hanging on rods for easy reach and during the recent heat wave we had fans going in the store. JJ, curious as to what was behind the door, opened it and the breeze scattered the tissue everywhere. It was quite a mess I'm telling you . . .
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Post #425 . . . Several people in our area are having trouble accessing their e-mail if their server is Verizon. I have heard that the problem is widespread and I mention it here to alert those of you who have sent messages but received no reply. You just might want to call instead if the matter is important . . . I suppose it is possible that the people may want to call back Stephen Reed to clean up the mess at City Hall since his successor has been less than successful. But perhaps it is not too early to consider what memorial the city might make to him and his past accomplishments. Honor him with a building, a street or such? Perhaps City Island could become Reed Recreational Park since he was so instrumental in converting it to widespread public use. (I think maybe a parking garage since during his tenure so many landmarks were destroyed to provide for commuters.) Despite my opinion, he clearly deserves something. I wonder what Mayor Thompson would suggest since she has expended a great deal of effort in eradicating his memory . . . As promised, here is the fanciful metal sculpture of a motion picture camera. It is $50 and is 15 inches tall at the highest point. Now what film maker or film buff wouldn't appreciate a gift like this? . . .
Monday, August 23, 2010
City was out early doing the bulk pick-up in our neighborhood . . . The wine-related merchandise arrived this morning. Carriers, stoppers, trays, trivets, racks, coasters, books and--this you gotta see--a globe in which you display all those wonderful corks. Must provide a picture in the near future . . . Afternoon spent with a saleslady and more ordering, especially that Dirty Jokes book that you gobbled up in a flash. She also had some English soaps that intrigued Bob and me. The price point is right for gifts and for treating yourself . . . Phoned Illinois and ordered the Christmas Cards. Also some of those magnetized lists that go on the refrigerator. We were almost out of those . . . Received the billing for the jigsaw puzzles and the new dishtowel sets, so they will be showing up later in the week . . . Things are really humming here. Hope you can drop by soon. Now if we could just find an electrician to fix our one jewelry case everything will be up and running. Already have talked to three men who will be "back tomorrow" . . . JJ, Cecilia, Lelia and Tyler played a bit after school and are already looking forward to Halloween ! ! !
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Quiet day, cooler. Wrote my catalog orders and both Bob and I finished our books. Excellent stuffed peppers for supper . . . Everyone photographs the city from the West Shore and those people in Wormleysburg and environs get short-changed. Since I have nothing else to report, I will remedy that situation this evening . . . click to enlarge . . .
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Up much too early this day so worked on the finances until opening. Not a lot of action but some nice visits with persons on the street . . . Bob attended a public sale, one of his favorite summer pastimes . . . day grew hotter and uncomfortable about 4 p.m. . . . spending the weekend deciding on our Christmas Card order . . .
Friday, August 20, 2010
Some favorite friends came shopping today: Jacquie Kirby Hensel, Lonnie Kerr, Michael Billo, etc . . . Another major shipment, but no one told me in advance that the wine racks were "some assembly required." And I must photography the Movie Camera sculpture for you. Really neat and just $50 . . . The Maff clan back from a vacation at the shore. A belated Happy Birthday to Angela Lawson . . . Nice to see Matt and Sarah Coble today. They have been scarce in the neighborhood, having three kids to shepherd these days . . . Bob whipped up a terrific beef dinner . . .
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Nothing like a little picnic at The Bare Wall after school. JJ has introduced sister Cecilia to his "cheesy chippers" and now she has to have her own bag which is just fine with her brother--he doesn't have to share his . . . Accidentally ran into a YouTube video of the Jesus-freaks with bull horns at the recent Pride Festival Parade in downtown Harrisburg. You might remember that they were stopped by the city police one year and later won a court case using the "free speech" argument. Gay event organizers now have a group called "Silent Witness" that stands by to shield participants from such harassment by using rainbow-colored umbrellas . . . But then, I wondered: suppose a boom-box brigade stood right beside these intruders and blasted the Village People's YMCA and similar tunes loud enough to drown out the bigotry. Could that be called free speech as well? Just a thought; might be fun to give it a try sometime . . . The gay community held an Octoberfest on North Street some years ago that attracted the same type of right-wingers. I grabbed my camera and started photographing them. When they asked why I said that, should any mischief against gays occur that evening or on the morrow, they would be the perfect suspects . . . They conferred with each other for a moment and then quickly left . . .
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
New cards have arrived--some have even sold already . . . Bob and I were remembering our "back-to-school" days recently. A lot different then than now. A new pair of jeans, perhaps, and maybe a new pair of shoes. No calculators, laptops, or backpacks. The school gave us pencils and pads and they had to last for a semester. A watchful teacher would complain that we were sharpening our pencils too often. We each had a pencil box--Bob's was cardboard and I think mine was wood. Each contained a couple of pencils, an eraser, a six-inch ruler and a compass which neither of us knew what to do with. I had a webbed strap that went around my stack of books to making carrying easier . . . don't remember what the total investment was, but it was no where near what it is today. We both were "needy" kids back then, but our "needy" was totally different from those "needs" of today . . .
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Well, the new tables arrived a day early and thanks to Eric Webb they have been assembled and are in place. Am reserving one nook for all the wine-tasting merchandise and another surface features kitchenware with a pine cone pattern. Think I made a lot of progress, though there are still items stacked on the floor and looking for a home . . .
Monday, August 16, 2010
Rain storms late this afternoon brought some temporary relief from the oppressive humidity that plagued us from early morning. Not a single customer today, but that gave me time to place some holiday orders for wine-related items and our popular tea towel sets . . . A new group of risque cards is also on the way . . . Alan Peters e-mailed from Palm Springs to offer condolences for the extremely hot weather we have been having. He and his neighbors have been having a cool summer with temps only in the 110 degree range . . . I am sorry for those struggling in this recession (heaven knows, we are struggling too) but it occurs to me that there is one advantage to be noted. There has been a big up-swing in those collecting aluminum cans so perhaps we are recycling more than ever these days . . . Two best buddies got separated last Thursday and they each spent a miserable weekend apart. Teddy, lonely and feeling abandoned, sat in our window looking out for his friend, while a frantic JJ made his dad tear up the house top to bottom in a search for his missing pal. "But Teddy is my very best friend; I can't get any sleep without him," JJ lamented . . . I am happy to report that the two of them were reunited late this afternoon . . . The pottery in the picture is by Bill Campbell if you didn't know . . .
Sunday, August 15, 2010
The toe-tapping music of Irving Berlin and others delighted the crowd at Saturday night's Harrisburg Art Association soiree featuring the paintings of Earl Blust and others. The musicians were Hal Fox on guitar and wife and violinist Felicity and they were a WOW even when they somewhat mutilated Puttin' on the Ritz. "We gotta practice that one," Hal said with a laugh to our applause. Hal is pastor at a Steeltown church and a fan of Errol Flynn's swashbuckling movies of the '30s. Felicity, a native of the Newcastle-on-Tyne area, shows infinite patience when Bob and I have questions about things British. She assists us with our English crossword puzzles on occasion and when we asked what "humbugs" were, she brought us a bag of the sweets on her next visit to England. They are a remarkable couple . . . I hear that David Hoffman has been playing in the kitchen making peach jam and other treats rather than working on his next book. We still have autographed copies of his I'll Be Home for the Christmas Rush, a series of letters sent by his father from England and the continent during the Second World War . . . No sooner finished yesterday's post than we got one last visitor to the store. The lady was from San Francisco and--yeah, you guessed it--she found us on that "10 Most Popular . . . " website. Maybe I should introduce a special just for such occasions . . . http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g52787-Activities-Harrisburg_Pennsylvania.html
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Survived Friday the 13th and today was overcast but not so steamy . . . Happy for a visit from Wes and Yvonne Brown of Mechanicsburg. Back in our video-rental days we got to see them quite frequently. Yvonne is a native of Belgium . . . And speaking of far away places, that website listing the top ten places to see in Harrisburg is still touting us. This week we had people from Chambersburg and Wisconsin . . . the first stage of the reorganization is almost finished except for some additional decoration. Think you will like the way things look when we are finished . . .
Friday, August 13, 2010
Dare I say that it was almost chilly after yesterday's rain? I got out my sweats! . . . Overcast today but cool enough that we could begin reorganizing the store. Things may not be where you are accustomed to finding them when we are finished, but you will find a lot of new merchandise to tempt you . . . Our new tables are expected on Wednesday. Can't wait. Have lots of wine-related items to show you . . . Afternoon was spent with a sales rep, Dwayne Smith, who has some nice holiday trinkets and wonderful new Christmas cards. Cannot believe that I am going through this again--our 39th holiday season, would you believe . . .
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Another soaringly hot day with no foot traffic on the street or in the store . . . But there is a new rumor on the block: the old Zephyr Express Restaurant will be converted into apartments. It seems we get a rumor a week about that location . . . Plaudits to Ed Finkelstein who has his corner property looking splendid . . . He has shamed us all into pulling our weeds and sweeping our sidewalks . . .
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Am I the only one who is chomp fodder for spiders and mosquitoes this summer? Bob has bought me an insect spray but the little critters get to me even before I have finished wetting myself down. Meanwhile he sits next to me on the porch unmolested . . . It is bulk pick-up week in our uptown neighborhood so it was fun to watch fellows in their old flivvers driving up and down the street on Sunday in search of goodies. A few were so overloaded that we were certain they would topple over on the turns. Bob took one rusted metal chair to the curb and returned for another. By the time he got back the first chair was gone. And in another three minutes, so was the other one . . . We have all heard stories about talking to plants. Not everyone puts much stock into those tales. Well, early last week I heard Bob giving his hibiscus the holy what-fer. Either the plant cooperated or it was going into the trash. Well, come Saturday, Bob was blessed with this bloom and the bush is now covered in buds. Makes one kinda think, don't it? . . .
Sunday, August 8, 2010
A busy social schedule Saturday. First a stop in Kathy MacNett's backyard for the CAN annual picnic. Good food and great fellowship in wonderful surroundings. Hope didn't disappoint me--she arrived with several pizzas. Would like to mention all who attended but that would be quite a list . . . Then on to celebrate Rick May's birthday. More terrific food and comradeship. We old folks chose not to linger, so we missed the cake. Mary Ann has promised that we would get a piece if any was left over . . . A friend in the country e-mailed to tell me that the lettuce treated with antifreeze is indeed a farmer's trick for groundhogs but he suggests that we use a trap; otherwise we might be smelling up the neighborhood unpleasantly . . . JJ came by yesterday and investigated his toy box which he hadn't visited for several months. Complained that some things were missing and had me searching the house for the misplaced items. Amazing what a memory these youngsters have. Still haven't found the missing drink coasters which he uses as 'plates' for his picnics on a Steelers blanket . . .
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Happy Birthday to Rick May . . . During the first Friday of the summer months from 6 until 8 p.m. the Harris Street Church offers free burgers and hot dogs to passers-by as part of its outreach program. Since our neighbor Betty Holmbe is one of the volunteers I felt it necessary to pay the activity a visit and sample its wares. The burgers were excellent! Pastor Rick Denison Jr. said the monthly effort grew out of the church’s participation in National Night Out a few years ago. The church membership enjoyed that evening so much that they decided to make it a monthly event when weather permitted. Neighborhood response has been varied, but last night the evening was so pleasant that lots of people showed up. They ran out of food! Guess we all need to kick in a couple of bucks to keep this alive. The picture shows the preparations for the evening; guess I should have gone back when the crowds descended. I would have enjoyed another burger . . . Those in the CAN neighborhood are celebrating their annual get-together in Kathy MacNett’s back yard tonight. Bet you can guess what tomorrow’s featured picture will be . . . And a belated Happy Birthday to Diane Neiper who celebrated yesterday . . .
Friday, August 6, 2010
Quiet day with weather improving . . . Placed more orders for the fall season and contemplated a rearrangement of the merchandise but decided to enjoy the outdoors instead . . . Fred Imhoff's glass earrings still doing quite well ($29). May have to put in another order for these before the holiday . . .
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The groundhog was back under the deck this morning so Bob made another pass with his expensive spray. I don't know why the 'hog wasn't affected. I almost choked and the mist was riding the breeze and caused my eyes to water. One friend says that farmers use lettuce leaves dipped in antifreeze to get rid of the pests. Is that legal, I wonder . . . Don't know why the Patriot-News hasn't reported on the car-jacking, burglaries and muggings that have been taking place in the city. But today the featured crime story was a stolen bike in Uptown Harrisburg; I am sorry for the victim, but where are the other reports? . . . Oops, I forgot. Our newspaper is now in suburbia where such things seldom happen . . . See the Feds are investigating the mayor's "bequest" of several thousand taxpayer dollars to a campaign cohort and a member of her cabinet. This should be interesting . . . The sunflower has sprouted a huge blossom in just a couple of days and last night's rain was enough to bow its head just as we all feared . . .
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Heat and humidity is back with a vengeance . . . Startled and sadden to hear of the death of handyman Lem Woodring of Enola. He was expected to do some repair work for us later in the month . . . Bob and Betty's Christmas party was a smashing success. Bob whipped up a delicious ham dinner. The porch was decorated with a lighted Christmas tree. Sabrina and Felix Hess came by to admire the Santa Claus-snowflake-candy cane decorations. Ed and Martha Zook wished all a Happy New Year. I had meant to take a picture but was having so much fun that I forgot . . . Have just heard reports of another burglary in the 700 block of North Second Street. Also was told that there was a mugging with multiple suspects late in the evening in the 200 block of Forster Street and that last night vandals destroyed planters and stole the contents in the 200 block of North Street . . . The mayor needs to assign a special undercover task force to patrol this area . . .
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
My morning coffee was interrupted by a groundhog determined to burrow his way under our deck. He had been successful once before, leaving behind a huge pile of dirt in the garden that once had been under the porch. Bob and I gave chase a couple of times, but he returned. We have blocked all entrances as far as we know, but he has his own ideas. Bob went out this afternoon and brought a spray ($17) that is supposed to keep him at bay for at least a month . . . Bob Murray's house in the 800 block of Green has been sold . . . Bob Deibler and I generally enjoy a quiet dinner on our front porch each evening, but at least three times in the last ten days we have been harassed by a young twenty-something babe who comes by with friends and spews derogatory comments about our relationship. We would like to report the incident to the authorities--but who does one contact? As yet there has been no vandalism, just harsh but non-threatening words. I have tried to keep my camera handy, thinking a picture might be helpful, but it is never there when I need it. Maybe she has a sixth sense about that . . . Well. tonight is National Night Out when we are supposed to drive the criminal element out of our neighborhoods. And what are we doing? Would you believe we are going to a Christmas party? !!! Happy New Year everybody . . .
Monday, August 2, 2010
For we old folks and long-time residents of Harrisburg, the passing of Rita Wambach this weekend marks the end of an era. It is a stone in the heart. One cannot write enough of her goodness, generosity and warmth. She was a friend to everyone she met . . . She was a daily bright spot during my years at the State Library since she worked at a desk just a few feet from my own. She always had time to share my successes and to commiserate when the event warranted. I was privileged to be a guest at her table on several occasions when late husband Pete presided over a dozen kids or more; Rita fluttered about refilling our plates and waited until we were finished before feeding herself . . . I was close friends with twin sons Peter and Paul and with daughter Rita though all of the Wambach clan entered my life at one time or another. So many memories; I could write on for hours. My condolences to the family and--yes--to the whole city of Harrisburg. We all have lost an irreplaceable force in our community . . . This spring Felix and Sabrina scattered flower seeds they had acquired at school. Only a few of them sprouted but, boy, what a sensation the sunflowers became. We wonder how they have survived the various storms since the flower box is less than a foot deep--but onward and upward. Fortunately the vandals have passed them by. However, both plants (Bob has named them Sabrina and Felix) are now bursting with bloom and we all realize that the weight of the flower could bend them in half. I will keep you posted on these marvels . . . (And I am purposely not saying just exactly where they are. Click the picture to enlarge) . . .
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Bob and Ronn finally celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary with dinner at Dodge City on Paxton Street, their favorite Harrisburg restaurant . . . Our fearless explorer bravely directs his transport into the uncharted waters of the eerie swamp, alert for anacondas, alligators, monkeys in trees and natives with painted faces and spears lurking in the brush. Well, okay, it is just a lake in Pennsylvania, but in the imaginative mind of a young boy it can be a whole lot more. And JJ has quite an imagination . . . Strange how events occasionally dovetail. Earlier in the week Mary Ann Furedi posted a message on FaceBook: I think I just saw Jesus in a diner in Coudersport. Later she reported that she had seen him again surveying in the area. Must have been quite a likeness. Then, today, the Patriot-News carried a story on a religious protest at a library where an award-winning film about being gay in rural Pennsylvania was being shown. Despite the uproar the film was unspooled and the “heavenly finale” was a thunderstorm followed by a double rainbow. And where was this protest? Well, Coudersport, of course. Must have given everyone whatever his beliefs cause to interpret these omens . . .