Monday, January 31, 2011
I was very sorry to learn of the passing of Dale Rupley of Mifflin over the weekend. Dale and his longtime companion Harry Kennedy lived at Second and North, and Dale assisted us at The Bare Wall for several months and at Pilchard & Price Pharmacy as well. (For you newcomers, that was where Aleco's is now located.) Both Dale and I were raging agoraphobics at the time, so we tried to support each other as best we could. Thankfully we never had an attack at the same time . . . I was sorry to learn that Garrason's Tavern on Forster Street is feeling the economic pinch. Perhaps I am partly to blame since we haven't eaten there in some time. We were pretty regular diners when it was owned by the Ulshes (Gary and sons--get it?) . . . By now you all know that The Bare Wall will be closed tomorrow. We are due at the hospital at 6 a.m. (I didn't even know such a time existed.) Jon Carfagno has agreed to post to this blog tomorrow if there is anything worth reporting and perhaps the next day as well, depending . . . Thanks to all of you for your prayers and best wishes . . .
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Our Happy Birthday wishes go out today to Jimmy Littlefield . . . Went to see JJ's soon-to-be new home. "My bedroom is pink, but dad will paint it blue immediately," JJ told me . . . Angela Lawson back home after a cruise to southern climes. "It wasn't as warm as I wanted it to be," she reported. But a week of nothing but reading and eating was a definite plus . . . Amy and Doug Hill provided Bob and me with a big serving of delicious beef noodle soup for supper. Perfect for the weather. The Hills visited relatives in Edinboro over the recent holiday and took a side trip to Bill Campbell's pottery studio in Cambridge Springs. Plenty of the same items that The Bare Wall sells, Amy told me, but also a special gallery of Bill's spectacular one-of-a-kind collectibles. They loved the work but didn't have $2500 for one of these highly desirable pieces . . . (click picture to enlarge) . . .
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Happily busy today. Thanks to all who came out . . . The kids (and mom) baked a cake this morning and brought it to share with us. JJ showed his expertise with computer games while Cecilia stayed with the tried and true "shapes" wooden puzzles. Both are remarkable. Guess you all are tired of hearing that . . . Lennie Whitcomb marked his 50th birthday Jan. 3, but that is too close to the holiday gatherings for a real bash. So last night wife Mary rented the Mantis showplace on Third Street, had Breads 'n' Spreads cater the food and more than 40 assembled for the celebration. Lennie was all smiles today . . . Our buddy Mark Stevens is visiting family in Texas after a whirlwind visit to Hollywood to tape a future TV show at Paramount Studios. He is "sold on the scene" and ready to move there. Chevy Chase was taping in the adjoining studio and a Nickelodeon program (he didn't remember the name) was in production just down the hall. He managed to work in a number of tourist attractions and was especially taken with Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Walk of Fame and the Kodak Theatre auditorium. And what is a trip to LA without a photo of the sign? . . .
Friday, January 28, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Our thanks to Dr. Kevin Sheets who cleared walks last night throughout the neighborhood with a snow blower . . . Our neighborhood was all but shut down tonight around six o'clock when the odor of gas was detected. Emergency vehicles everywhere, lights blazing. The leak apparently is real and located in the street on Briggs between Second and Green. One would assume the street will be closed to traffic as repairs are made, so drivers take warning . . . Got a nice shipment of new cookbooks today; Bob the Chef is checking them out; so far they get his approval . . . Suzi Marsico called to comment on my recent post about what one calls the Governor's home on Front Street. She explained that it is a matter of choice for the resident and not a Democrat/Republican thing. Governor Ridge also referred to it as The Residence . . . All the talk today was about the new House Majority Leader Mike Turzai and his heavy-handed conduct during a committee meeting; this fiasco is a YouTube hit and a disgrace to all Pennsylvanians. If you are the only person not to have seen it yet you can access it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm3seSNiOdI Even my Right-leaning FaceBook friend was appalled. The names that have been applied to Turzai are too brutal to repeat here; should he ever aspire to higher office this surely will be a great weapon for the opposition. Everyone is awaiting a comment from Governor Corbett but there has been nothing to my knowledge at this writing . . . Bob's brother, Bill, has a wonderful hideaway in the upper reaches of the state. Having been a city dweller for forty years I find the idea of isolation romantic--at least for a weekend. Bob doesn't share that feeling--especially in the snow . . .
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Snowy off and on but not too cold. Didn't expect anyone, but Lisa Essman and Janet Day made the trip. They were our first customers of the week! . . . Bob got me to the hospital despite the rain and snow for my early appointment but was angry that I decided to walk home rather than call him out in the slush. I hadn't had anything to eat since before midnight, so I made a beeline for Dunkin' Donuts. The coffee there is terrific . . . However, we oldsters remember when the chain had the best doughnuts anywhere. Sadly, no longer. Back then they had delightful TV commercials, too. Remember "It's time to make the doughnuts."? . . . For a real doughnut treat one has to go south on the expressway toward York. I think the strip is called the Valley Green Mall or something such, and there one will find Maple Donuts. Yummy, yummy. Any kind! If any readers pass by that way, please grab me a dozen. Will gladly pay a premium! . . .
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Our second straight day without a customer. Doesn't anyone like us any more? The weather was overcast but warm, unlike tomorrow when snow is predicted. I have an early-morning visit to the hospital and hopefully the snow will not have yet begun. But Larry Kirkhuff is standing by with his four-wheeler, just in case . . . Spent the morning marking the new merchandise. Especially like the heart-motif wrought iron single candlestick at $12.50. (A nice addition to your Valentine decor.) . . . There were a lot of bunnies and peeps for the up-coming Easter holiday and some supposed "carrots" that looked like they had been in the fridge for six months; definitely dark brown and definitely going back to the warehouse . . . two sets of smallish nesting boxes. One would make a nice gift for a man ($20) while the other is decorated with houses in the Early Americana style ($18). Those popular "Live, love, laugh" tin signs rounded out the shipment . . . As you can see by the streamer above, we will be closed next Tuesday for my "procedure." Bob has to baby-sit me at the hospital's insistence . . .
Monday, January 24, 2011
The cold weather has invaded me. Achy ankles, knees, hips. Time to break out that heating pad that Bob bought me for Christmas. Can hardly wait for warmer temperatures even if snow comes with them . . . If any of you have been attending appearances by Geoff Sonnen at the Stage on Herr or the Duncannon Hotel then you will be happy to know you can read his bio and listen to some of his music at http://www.purevolume.com/GeoffreySonnen . . . First shipment of the new year arrived late this afternoon. Will report on the contents in the next post. Keep warm, everybody . . .
Friday, January 21, 2011
Cold and getting colder. Very few people on the street and fewer in the store. Bob and I found it difficult to involve ourselves in anything worthwhile. He read and I worked on the computer and put out a new jigsaw. Hope that there is more action tomorrow, but I tend to doubt it . . .
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Bob wants to thank everyone for his cards, e-mails, telephone calls, FaceBook greetings, visits and the various goodies shared to mark his birthday. As usual (it used to bother me, but not any more) he hibernated and sulked for several hours while he contemplated growing older, but by the late afternoon he came out of his shell. The kids came by and Cecilia insisted that they color together as they always do, and, true to form, she painted some of herself between scrawls on the paper. Our thanks again for such kindnesses . . . I am sorry to report that Root Candles increased prices by five percent or slightly more at the beginning of the year. We are withholding the rise on our current stock until March 1 so that you can re-supply at the old rate. Please take advantage of the savings . . . I am even sorrier to report that the Oakmoss fragrance that caught everyone's fancy this fall has been discontinued. I called the company to register your complaint and a weary sales person mumbled "You aren't the only one, I can assure you of that." Based on the number of calls, she suspects the fragrance will re-emerge in the not too distant future but could make no promises . . . I am struggling with one of those dollar store jigsaw puzzles Bob picked up in his travels. He likes to support my passions, but the dollar store series has pieces so small that my big fingers can barely manage them. We sold quite a few of our quality puzzles this holiday season, but I was surprised when my supply of recycled puzzles (much cheaper) failed to entice. I've got a nice selection on hand, and it is growing . . .
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Overcast but warm day and disappointing business-wise; expected better traffic in the store. Walked down to the bank this afternoon and found the streets empty there, too . . . Noticed that there is now a nail salon where Robert's Flowers was located. Don't women hold hen parties any more to dish the dirt and do each other's nails? Is that another social evening that is going by the wayside? . . . Wondered what effect the new statehouse administration had on the real estate business in the area and contacted my favorite realtor (you-know-who). I learned some departing Democrats are selling but arriving Republicans are not buying, at least not yet. Incidentally, here is something interesting to ponder: When Democrats are in office, the Governor's home is called The Residence. When Republicans are in office it is referred to as The Mansion . . . Bob is already receiving Best Wishes for his birthday tomorrow. For some reason, JJ has become infatuated with people's ages. Out of the blue he will sudden announce "Uncle Ronn is 74 and Uncle Bob is . . ." He will then give the ages of grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, himself and his sister. Is he just curious or is he concerned? . . . Members of Metropolitan Community Church of the Spirit have a busy several days ahead as they welcome and presumably accept a new pastor . . . This quote appeared on my FaceBook page today concerning the Arizona massacre, and I think it is interesting enough to share with you: "Last week we saw a white Catholic male Republican judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean American combat surgeon, and this all was eulogized by our African American President." . . .
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Snow, ice, rain. Apparently the weather kept the crowds down at the Governor's Inauguration ceremony. No congestion on our street at all today . . . Happy Birthday wishes are in order for John Zimmerman tomorrow . . . Friends of Midtown will hold its annual meeting and social on Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at the Stage on Herr . . . Numerous events are planned statewide later this month and early February stressing equality for the gay community including, but not limited to, civil unions and the right to marry. I was provided with a website to pass along to you, but when I tried it, it wouldn't surface . . . Bob was bored this morning and whipped up a huge pot of chicken corn soup to share with the neighborhood . . .
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sorry if I disappointed anyone by not posting yesterday. Bob made brunch for our out-of-town guests and we lingered over our plates. I felt a little nappy after that and a tiny snooze turned into a three hour sleep. By the time the football games were over, it was just too late to trek down the street . . . Totally different today. With bad weather on the menu we decided to get some work accomplished. Bob cleaned at my apartment while I tackled a lot of book work. Started on the taxes and am way ahead of where I was last year . . . My printer-scanner-copier is giving me trouble, so I spent a great deal of time figuring out how to get around the glitches. It wants me to insert a corrective disc that I cannot seem to locate, but I think I can still provide pictures for the blog until I get some on-line assistance . . . We want you to come and savor our bargains, but not if the weather is as icy as predicted. Sorry that this has to occur on inauguration day when so many will want to be in the burg, but if you are one of those travelling, please be careful . . .
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Excellent food and even better conversation at Dodge City Restaurant tonight as we celebrated Bob's "birthday to come" this Thursday. Jon Hulka and Dan Beard, long-time friends and fellow club members from Needmore, Fulton County, picked up the check. Bob had oysters--as if anyone had to ask . . . FaceBook reminds me that I have two other birthday wishes to extend this coming week: Michael Weaver of Elizabethtown on the 17th, and Joe Kershner of York, who shares Bob's 20th date . . . Yeah, Steelers. GO! Today's festivities caused me to miss the playoff game, and apparently it was a good one . . .
Friday, January 14, 2011
A belated Happy Birthday greeting goes out to Alan Peters in California. I am a few days after the fact but our wishes are just as warm . . . Friends from Fulton County will be in town this weekend to celebrate Bob's birthday which is coming up on the 20th. I am in deep trouble; I haven't the slightest idea of what to get him. Any suggestions? . . . JJ had a melancholy afternoon saying goodbye to the Governor at The Residence. Of course he doesn't understand the circumstances: "He has to go home to Philadelphia to take care of the dogs," JJ told me. The kid has been privileged to attend quite a number of events at the house. He really enjoyed the holiday decorations (especially the trains) and the Governor always had a gift for him whatever the occasion. He sat in the Governor's office chair and found that it suited him just fine. And a few years ago when we were struck with a severe ice storm JJ even spent the night there when a tree limb pierced the roof at home and knocked out the power. Both parents had been part of the Governor's administrative team for several years . . .
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Oh Happy Happy Day . . . The inventory was completed this afternoon when Bob counted and stored the remaining Christmas tree ornaments for another year. Sadly, the place looks a little forlorn now that the seasonal merchandise is tucked away. We are slowly repositioning all the items that had been separated and stacked for the counting . . . So here is the news . . . For just a teeny-tiny investment of $30,000 you can have everything . . . Just don't expect Bob to gift wrap it all for you . . . Several different items made it to our infamous "flea market" table during this procedure, so be sure to look over the bargains on your next visit . . .
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Our business is being inhibited by an abandoned car in the loading zone (since Friday). Efforts are being made to have it removed. I am being unkind, but I think it may have broken down here on its way to the incinerator . . . Got lots of advice via phone and e-mail after yesterday's post; they all said the same thing: Anytime you go to an office for medical treatment, TAKE A BOOK! . . . Bryan MacLeod provided today's picture. He said the street was truly beautiful bathed in snow at dawn. I will take his word for it . . . A friend (one of the Radical Right) of a friend from Arizona on our FaceBook page complained yesterday of the "mean-spirited" people who are trying to tie the weekend massacre to the political rhetoric of the recent past. I naively reminded Lew that he had made many "mean-spirited" posts during the days before the election. That provoked his many like-thinking colleagues to go on the attack, condemning me as an "enemy" and determined to "remove" the out-spoken Arizona sheriff who also called for moderation. I was surprised by how vitriolic the entries were. I am not sure if I am to be permanently removed or merely de-friended on his FaceBook page . . .
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Our car got zapped, presumably by a truck, while parked on Briggs Street yesterday afternoon. The passenger side mirror was torn off. Shards were found, but apparently the perp picked up the larger pieces before fleeing . . . We will be closed Monday for the holiday as you can see by the streamer above . . . Susan Swenson and her friend from Perry County were shoppers today. They have promised to check the blog, and I hope they do. I very much would like to be in touch with the friend especially. She has knowledge of the Brunner or Brauner (spelling?) sisters who were fixtures in the neighborhood for many years. One owned a rooming house on North Street, another had a home on Briggs, and the one at 708 Green, if memory serves, owned the Catholic Shop then located in a tiny, tiny building on State Street (since torn down for a pocket garden). Their brother, Bill, had a large used bookstore in his home further up Susquehanna Street. I hope the Perry Countian can remember the names and perhaps other info about our area. If Bob understood correctly, she was a resident of the rooming house when a young girl. Perhaps she will e-mail me . . . Today's CT scan at the Harrisburg Hospital was an irritation more than anything and I was quite annoyed. (Seems I might be the last person on earth to have one, but if not let me assure you CT scan virgins that it is completely painless and quick--once you get to it.) . . . Since I am allergic to seafood and fish, I had to take some pre-procedure pills which I thought conditioned me for the scan; not so. I arrived at ten a.m. expecting to be in the store by 10:30, but no one told me I had to spend at least an hour taking some liquid every fifteen minutes to make me "glow." Eventually I complained to the receptionist, saying I should have been told about the delay; "I would have brought a book or some Sudoku puzzles," I said. She gave me a smile, reached into her desk, and brought out a huge book of the puzzles. "Be my guest." . . . Eventually my technician Jeremy reappeared and the scan went off without a hitch. He explained that the allergy protection I had ingested was for the dye he was using and not the earlier concoction I had to drink. He was quite informative and gave me some various scenarios that even my physician had not yet been able to share. So perhaps it was a worthwhile visit after all . . . Snow is falling as I write. If you must travel, please be careful . . .
Monday, January 10, 2011
Very pleasant Sunday afternoon with Bob Coldren and Jack Barnett. Lots of nibbles and warm conversation, not to mention the gift exchange. That is their holiday fireplace display on the left . . . Sorry to report the passing on Jan. 5th of Stan Challenger of New York City, a Harrisburg native. Our condolences to his loved ones . . . The Harrisburg falcon was in our neighborhood today and was caught on camera by Dr. Coldren. We suspect he had dinner at the bird feeder on the Coldren patio since there was a flurry of little feathers scattered about. Hopefully it wasn't the woodpecker featured a few days ago. The bird lingered for quite a while, perhaps anticipating another meal . . . I am pleased to note that our readership has improved considerably after a slowdown during the holiday season. Now it is up to me to come up with something more interesting than what I've posted the last couple of weeks . . .
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Post #560 . . . Immersed in the football playoffs much to Bob's dismay . . . When there is no game we are glued to the TV for any little bit of information about the massacre in Arizona. I am furious that this Congresswoman was one of those marked with a rifle cross hairs by Sarah Palin on her infamous map of "targets" during the last election. Could this have been the inspiration for a misguided mind? . . . A "heads up" to our customers. We will be opening later than usual on Tuesday. I have a hospital "procedure" at 10 a.m. and am not sure just how long it will last . . .
Saturday, January 8, 2011
A dusting of snow this morning. Very few souls up and about all day so nothing of importance to report . . . Trisha Boyer whipping up a big pot of chili--wish we lived closer to Millersburg. This is just the weather for it . . . Our godson is learning the social graces early. We were warmed by his "labor of love" in expressing his appreciation for his Christmas gifts . . .
Friday, January 7, 2011
Light snow this morning. My thanks to the person who cleared my sidewalk for me . . . Bob went about taking down our seasonal decorations while I continued the inventory. Maybe halfway through . . . A nice visit with a couple from Annville . . . Emergency vehicles flooded the 800 block of Green Street this afternoon. Responders told me that someone had died on the even side of the street but wouldn't provide additional details . . . The kids came with dad for a visit after school. Cecilia looks forward to coloring with Uncle Bob while JJ amuses himself with games on the computer. He is mostly self-sufficient and I stand by merely to intercede when some foreign website tries to invade . . . The year-end bookwork is producing some interesting facts. For instance, we sold 1000 fewer greeting cards this year than we did in 2001 . . .
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Judy Robinson e-mailed from Honey Grove to identify yesterday's woodpecker as a male downy . . . Our thanks to J.C., Harrisburg Locksmith, for the new key to our garden gate . . . Comcast (Xfinity) finally came to repair the lead-in to our television sets uptown. Nothing like watching a football game and losing the picture just as the winning field goal is winging toward the uprights. We suffered through this constant "flicker" on several channels for most of the playoff games before getting serviced. Learned from the repairman that a squirrel had been gnawing on the wire . . . We have all heard the expression Suppose you gave a party and no one came. Daddy Eric must have felt that way when he took the kids to Barnes & Noble to read them the latest books. I guess the empty chairs constitute a review of the most recent literature or his presentation thereof. What is a parent to do? . . .
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Thanks to Bob most of our Santas have retreated to the closet for the season. The ornaments and boxed holiday cards are still on the public shelves for you last-minute bargain hunters . . . Mary Ann Furedi-May wasn't happy with me for extolling the beauty of the plant in yesterday's blog. She is a conservationist and informs me that this particular grass is not a native and is very invasive . . . Saw my doctor today for a three-minute procedure which stretched into more than an hour once the diagnosis was made. Numerous tests and a surgery had to be scheduled. I am afraid The Bare Wall schedule is apt to be erratic for the rest of the month and I will keep you informed. I do want to assure my male readers that should their urologist recommend a cystoscopy there is nothing to fear. It is a painless procedure and over in no time . . . Bob Coldren caught this shot of a woodpecker lunching on his patio this morning. He is not sure of the species; perhaps some reader can identify it for us . . .
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Wish a happy 57th birthday to Frank Hummert tomorrow . . . Last night’s dinner party was a great success. Hardly a crumb of the leftovers was left over . . . Note a comment on yesterday's post . . . The new trash collection schedule left us staring at overflowing cans for most of the morning, something we hadn’t seen in the past when pick up was at six a.m. Hope things move faster in the future . . . It is a sobering fact that Bob and I will have to consider: despite all the favorable publicity, the gratifying acceptance of this blog and the various Internet portals that lead to The Bare Wall, 2010 was our worst year since 1974 . . . The weather and the calendar were against us. Bitter cold in January, a blizzard on Valentine’s Day that closed us down, an early Easter that suppressed business. The day before Christmas, usually a big one, was itself a holiday for many, and they left town early . . . The bleak economic news depressed us all for much of the year. The Governor repeatedly warned of massive State layoffs and Mayor Thompson’s lackluster leadership portended dismal days ahead. No wonder people (including me) were reluctant to spend . . . One can reason away failure despite our nicest selection of goods in years, but that does not pay the bills. But at least we do not feel personally rejected. Regulars came and the same camaraderie was enjoyed throughout the seasons. And we can manage the bills should we choose to do so . . . Mother Nature has created her own spectacular seasonal display in Betty Holmboe’s back yard on Green Street. When touched by the morning sun, the fluffy tufts glow silver and gold as if electrified. I don’t think even our finest designers could mimic the effect . . . (Early doctor's appointment may delay our opening a bit tomorrow morning.)
Monday, January 3, 2011
Bob's family Christmas party was a great success despite the fact that a few usual attendees were suffering the flu and couldn't make it. The party continues tonight as Janet Reed, Angela Lawson and Lee Spitalny join us for our traditional "leftovers" dinner. Bring your appetites, ladies, for there sure is a lot to pick over . . . A reminder to those in the midtown and CAN areas that a revamped trash collection schedule goes into effect today and that our pick-up time is now Tuesday morning . . . Bargains, bargains, bargains. They can be had now as we attack the inventory chore with a vengeance. Please take advantage of these prices . . . We will be a little late opening on Wednesday; I have one of those in-office doctor "procedures" which is supposed to take only fifteen minutes. I respect the professionals but find their time table and my clock do not always operate in sync . . . Well, the great Polar Plunge is behind us for another year. Several neighbors "chickened out" or otherwise found legitimate (?) excuses--ain't that so, Eric?--so Mary Ann and Rick May were among those carrying the banner for CAN. Thanks, guys. Shall I ask the doc for cold medicine on my Wednesday visit? . . .