Harrisburg resident David Shall, internationally recognized for his origami designs, is offering the last few copies of his book for $16.50, autographed. These designs for folded paper are aimed at an adult craftsman and are anything but "basic" in this craft. This "special interest" volume should provide a nice challenge and can be very rewarding when the folder is able to duplicate the item . . . Received our new shipment of crystal-laden earrings from Christine Keller of Buckhannon, West Virginia, today. These original designs combine sterling silver, vintage glass beads and crystals for a dressy bling; sure to please and just $26 . . . bargain hunters should remember to check out our "flea market" shelves in the center room. We are keeping these restocked as items are carried off . . .
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Rain finally arrived and so did the colder weather. Certainly killed business today . . . Rick May and Kevins Sheets and Hancock heard gun shots at Green and Forster last night. Two young blacks were seen fleeing down the street but seemed to be pulling a prank rather than threatening anyone. The police department says it has added patrols to the Midtown area to combat the recent muggings and car break-ins . . . Doc says my major complaints are under control with the possible exception of the sinus headaches . . . Big shipment of new Bill Campbell pottery is expected shortly . . .
Monday, November 28, 2011
Another gorgeous day; this cannot last, unfortunately . . . loved Deb Hershey's post that I saw on Facebook this morning: "Every other car within a mile has either a dead deer or a pine tree strapped to its hood." 'Tis the season , I fear . . . Tickets for the Historic Harrisburg Candlelight House Tour have arrived; $15. The tour is quite different from ones that have preceded it so I will be interested to see your reaction. There are only a few houses but for the most part they are clustered in the vicinity of Green and Peffer Streets. You will be able to walk to most venues once you park the car. (John Harris Mansion is an exception.) . . . It appears that someone is opening a new eatery at North Second and Harris where so many other restaurants have gone before. Cannot get any reliable info just yet . . . Off to the doctor tomorrow morning; maybe another chapter in this on-going saga. Boring . . . Do not be alarmed if you pass by and notice that the sign is no longer in place. Our neighbor is refurbishing it for us; we are still at the same old spot 39 years later . . . We owe a "thank you" to TheBurg. The crew promoted last Saturday's Shop Small Business national campaign on their web page and used the "funky" Bare Wall as a local venue that deserves support. The item was illustrated with a picture of Bob and me that appeared in the paper a couple of years ago. (So don't come looking for those items pictured since they may not be available any longer.) . . .
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Another beautiful day. It seemed that everyone, Bob included, was outside and working on his holiday display. I can tell right now that several of these will be spectacular when they are finished . . . the Battisti household harvested their Christmas tree today and we had to slip over this evening to take a look at the decorations. JJ showed us the elf high on a shelf in the kitchen who reports directly to Santa if JJ or Cecilia don't behave . . . this was our first Sunday opening of the season; we had some visitors and worked diligently at enhancing our own decorations in the store. Looking better each day . . . Had an e-mail from Alan Peters in Palm Springs. He sent along some pictures of his "winter garden in the desert." The mouth-watering produce will be ready for eating come January . . .
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Beautiful weather. Normally Black Friday is a slow time at The Bare Wall, but not today. It was exciting to be so busy, to see so many of you. I was especially pleased that so many of our new items found a place on your holiday lists . . . Among all my maladies aforementioned we might add another; I stubbed my toe Monday evening and the damage was painful. I might even have broken it . . . Neighbors are seeking info on the auto parked in the 200 block of Briggs; its back window was broken out in the last day or two . . . Yesterday's picture was a repeat from two years ago but it still commanded a fair amount of response. It was taken in the early '60s in the Shenandoah Valley. My companion, the late Bob Rook, and I had borrowed my dad's car for the trip. Unfortunately, dad did not tell us that the gas gauge was inaccurate and somewhere in the backwoods of West Virginia we ran out of gas. Bob hitched a ride with a large family visiting the area from New York City and while I waited he located a small garage whose owner came to our rescue. It was our favorite memory of the trip despite the Skyline Drive . . .
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
A brief sunny start turned brisk and blustery. We waved goodbye as others left town. It was a low-key start to the long holiday weekend. But the kids came for a visit later in the day--the first we had seen them in over a week. Both were talkative and animated. JJ already has plans for his Christmas gifts and we are awaiting his list; it sounds like it might be a long one. Bob made our Thanksgiving dinner tonight--ham, Cope's corn and potatoes with pumpkin pie to follow. Tomorrow he will join family and I will laze, the last free moment before the retail season begins for us. Parades, football and catnaps . . .
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
This blog is beginning to read like the New England Journal of Medicine. I spent the morning with Mr. Jones at the Cummings Clinic to address my various ailments which you have been reading about here. Got an antibiotic for the cough and a syrup to soothe the throat. The eye irritation requires drops several times a day while awake and it was decided that an ear irrigation might help. One side of the head cooperated but the other did not; apparently a jackhammer would not release the wax, so we got a nightly ear drop that supposedly will loosen the blob within the week. During the latter procedure my eardrum was buffeted so often that I became quite unstable so we had to give that up for a few days. I now have a schedule of pills, drops, and syrups that even Einstein would have trouble juggling. Got back to the store to entertain Joyce Reiner but once Bob arrived he allowed me a long afternoon nap . . . the day was ugly with a chill rain raging almost constantly. Made me think how much JJ must have enjoyed playing checkers in Florida . . .
Monday, November 21, 2011
Gray and rainy. Finally decided to seek a doctor's thoughts on this cough. Will see what happens tomorrow morning at nine a.m. . . . City public works had a great idea when they restructured the pickup days for trash when holidays intervened. Today was the first test of the new process and, sadly, it didn't work out . . .
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
JJ and Cecilia are back from a Florida Keys vacation where they enjoyed swimming with dolphins . . . We finally tried the Soup Spot about which we had heard good things. The Potato and Leek offering was superior though, as Bob said, for what we paid for our two small servings he could have fed the whole neighborhood as he often does . . . I nursed my cold and slept the day away while Bob entertained the few who st opped in after the holiday parade . . . It was reported that a chipmunk scurried across the lawn in front of Old Main at Penn State this afternoon. The Patriot-News has not yet published its in-depth analysis of this meaningful event, as far as I know . . .
Friday, November 18, 2011
Spent the whole night hacking away. There were times when I was sure I was dying and other times that I wished I was. Poor Bob got almost no sleep at all despite the fact that our rooms are at opposite ends of the house. Bob was sure that there must be a magic elixir to shut me up so he forced some Cherry Herring on me; hadn't had that since this sixties or seventies. Well, it was tasty but it didn't work . . . I opened this morning and was happy to see Larry Valerio who popped in for a couple of boxes of mints . . . Once Bob arrived I went to bed and slept for four hours while he sold up a storm; thanks to all you patrons . . . These medicines and our brains work in wondrous ways. All afternoon I dreamed of Occupy Harrisburg storming the GOP offices in the Capitol and making quite a mess to protest the idiotic reapportionment that has been proposed. So I was amazed to learn when I awoke that the group had indeed protested at the hearing on the hill the afternoon. They were a lot more gentle than I had pictured in my dream, however . . . And then I learned that the mayor had evicted them from their encampment in River Park. Pat Buchanan says the Occupy movement will end badly . . . I am thinking that a good riot might not be lost on the politicians, but I am too old to carry a sign. Haven't done that since I picketed Nixon back in '54 or so . . . A few years back a growing church in need of greater space tried to buy this well maintained but abandoned building. The city refused to sell, saying they were keeping it to be used as an adjunct to the Fire Museum. Well, quite obviously that plan did not work out and now it is a blight on the neighborhood . . .
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Our popular holiday mints are back in stock just in time for you to give as a hostess gift on Thanksgiving Day. This year the box sells for $16 and several have already flown out the door. There are 24 boxes left. Also available is the peanut butter fudge which you seemed to like last year. Have eight boxes left at $10 . . . those TV ads by the petroleum industry lauding Sen. Pat Toomey certainly make it appear that he is firmly in their pocket; were I a politician I would ask them not to be so blatant in broadcasting this news . . . Received a message from Michelle Hollis telling me that her neighborhood has labored for months to have the street lamp at Union and Susquehanna repaired. Finally, a city worker informed them that the mayor has not set aside any funds to repair any street lights so we will just have to learn to live in the dark. Unfortunately, most of us have been "in the dark" for this whole administration . . . Sadly, it is necessary to mention the passing of Hu Peterson who, with wife Mary, once lived in the yellow house opposite The Bare Wall. Hu is a notable in some circles for a very special reason. The Historic Harrisburg Association went through a destructive schism many years ago when the membership wanted to join the battle to save the State Theatre and the firm hand of the president, Marianne Faust, refused to entertain the notion since her husband was city planner and the Swenson administration wanted the building to come down. Hundreds abandoned HHA and it seemed destined for extinction. However Hu took a major leadership role with Neal and Roseanne McGee and later Tom Leonard and Janet Day to bring the group back into prominence. I don't believe it ever achieved the membership it once had, but had these people not put heart and soul into the effort we wouldn't be having an annual Candlelight House Tour today. And so we remember Hu Peterson who could be difficult at times but who stuck firmly to his vision . . .
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Of course Tammy Evans did not return my phone call today but I see that my check has been cashed by the city so I assume (a great mistake, perhaps) that I am back in the good graces of city hall and that my water will continue to flow . . . We now have two street lights on our block that do not function. Calls to the city for repairs have gone unheeded. If one were to take an early evening stroll around town one would find dozens of lights no longer in service. Public Works cannot be so busy that they must ignore these safety features . . . Have that cough/cold that is going around and spent most of the afternoon in bed. Am looking forward to a big bowl of chili which Bob has cooked up--just the right thing for a stormy fall evening . . . It is beginning to appear that there was a rush to judgment in the Penn State scandal. When we first read the grand jury report I said to my neighbor that the incident which brought down the hierarchy was based on the unsupported testimony of one guy; suppose he wasn't telling the truth? My neighbor said I read too many Agatha Christie novels . . . well, now that "witness" is changing his story and the alleged victim reportedly has denied that the incident ever occurred. Curiouser and curiouser . . . If things turn out to be different than what they now appear, the PSU trustees, the Governor and especially the Pat-News will have a tasty plate of crow. However, the accused will have to be found guilty if only to save these famous faces. (And I do think he is culpable of something.) . . . Funny that the newspaper hasn't the resources to report the petty crimes in the city but it has very deep pockets when it comes to this scandal. Pulitzer anyone? . . . Well, one might say that this home owner uptown has given notice, not that it will do much for him in court . . .
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Last week I received a notice by mail that my water bill was in arrears and that the water would be shut off as of a certain date. I called Tammy Evans at city hall as the letter instructed, and when my call wasn't returned I assumed that my check had already been processed. But Monday morning I found a message posted on the door to The Bare Wall again threatening to disconnect my water. Again I called this Tammy Evans and she answered; her solution was to refer me to the treasurer's office. I called there and, of course, had to leave a message that wasn't returned. Today I am still in limbo so I again called Ms. Evans and got the answering machine. Of course my call was not returned. So I have no idea what my standing is at city hall and apparently no one in employ there could give a hoot. The checks which were mailed out at the same time have already cleared the bank but, folks, this happened to me once before and at that time I found the office was over two weeks behind in processing the mail. If anyone knows this Tammy Evans, please ask her to get on the ball and assure her that I am good for whatever I owe . . . P.S. We are talking about less than one hundred dollars . . . If you, by chance, lived at the Governor's Residence, this is the sunset over the Susquehanna that you could enjoy each night . . .
Monday, November 14, 2011
Mary Ann Furedi and Rick May back from a vacation in the Finger Lakes region . . . John Wesley informed me today that our neighborhood is being vandalized by people looking for metal to sell. Specifically, they are breaking off the outdoor spigots for the couple of pennies the brass might bring. Unfortunately, if you have not turned off the water inside you may find that the broken pipe will flood your basement. Take a moment and give the valve a twist if you are vulnerable . . . I am a teetotaller but I mentioned to a group today that I was quite taken by those "most interesting man in the world" commercials though I didn't know the name of the brand. After Googling the slogan Stay thirsty my friend we discovered that it was a Mexican brew called Dos Equis (Two X-es, in translation). But the big surprise was that these advertisements have an international following and you can see most of them on YouTube! . . . Is this derelict vehicle on Peffer Street really smiling or have I been watching the movie Cars too often? . . .
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Took a long walk through some uptown neighborhoods this morning. Bright sun and gentle breezes made it oh so pleasant. The convenience store opposite the Governor's Mansion at North Second and Maclay is fast taking shape. Would expect an opening announcement in the not too distant future . . . Finished my John Buchan novel Huntingtower, catnapped and watched Bob decorating our Christmas tree in the family room. The tree, a formal one, is already up in the living room but this one is bedecked with "cute-sy" ornaments that Bob has collected over the years. Seems to me that we are pushing the season a bit, but there is still a lot of decorating to be done in the house (and at the store also, I might add) . . . I have been meaning to share several photos with you and they are stacking up. This one shows Mt. Gretna in the October snowstorm and comes to us courtesy of Eric Battisti . . .
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Pleasant Saturday but not as busy as we might have expected. We made our goal, nonetheless. I watched Penn State lose its game with Nebraska while working on a jigsaw. Bob and Angela Lawson went off to the theater tonight so I am enjoying still more sports. Otherwise, a quiet day on the news front . . .
Friday, November 11, 2011
Surprisingly busy on this holiday Friday. Expected everyone to be elsewhere for this long weekend. A nice visit from Richard Williams and Terry Sneed who are almost neighbors at Bob's house and yet I hadn't seen them on any of my walks this summer . . . Piccola plans to retire from politics; I wonder if he isn't at least a little embarrassed by the gerrymandering caper that was done to favor him. It must be obvious by now that no one--including the Republicans affected--was happy with this maneuver . . . At Penn State these days it is all about football and not about the victims who suffered. We have a distorted sense of values--and unfortunately that surfaces all too frequently in our society . . . This "traditional" musical jewelry box is a beauty and plays I'm Always Chasing Rainbows (or a Chopin piece, if you prefer). Sells for $75 . . .
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wet day but you kept on shopping. Thanks so much. And you still have two more days to take advantage of our anniversary sale. Please come by. And we do apologize--the sale was more than half over before we realized we hadn't set up for our usual drawing for gift certificates. We will make it up to you somehow, I promise . . . Had a pleasant but all too brief visit with Bob's friend, Frank McLaughin from Arizona. He is here visiting friends and family . . . Well, Joe is out but the Patriot-News keeps churning the waters. I can only assume that the team is hoping for a Pulitzer. It almost seems that the point of this investigation has been placed on the back burner while we deal with its more important aspect--Penn State football . . .
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Great fall day above the averages. Things predicted to deteriorate beginning tomorrow . . . For those of you out of the area: the city council incumbents who are flirting with bankruptcy won yesterday's election in a landslide. The GOP reportedly spent more than $20,000 in an effort to unseat them. Personally, I believe the Republicans had a real chance this time around but they squandered it badly by merely blaming others for the city's distress but not offering their own solution to the problems. We all want answers and the three contenders simply parroted Mayor Thompson in finding fault with others . . . The Penn State scandal continues to simmer and reportedly Paterno has offered to resign at the end of the season; others believe he should be gone immediately. Stay tuned . . . Happy to report that the Internet Password and Address book is back in print and we received twelve copies today. Grab yours for $7.95 . . .
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Election Day, warm and sunny. I was number 44 around ten a.m. which wasn't particularly good as turn-outs go. The big question--will city council incumbents be re-elected. Unfortunately I have to post before we know that answer . . . Am already tired of the tempest at Penn State which seems to be titillating the news media in a tabloid fashion. Apparently Coach Paterno is apt to resign in the near future, but nothing is certain. Some of the info released thus far in this child molestation case seems suspect. Someone alleges improper activity in the shower room and passes it up the chain of command, but, it turns out, there is no known victim. What kind of evidence is this? . . . I will assure you of one thing: if, as in the Catholic Church scandal, money suddenly becomes available, there will be dozens coming forward with their own stories of being touched inappropriately . . .
Monday, November 7, 2011
It is getting to be a weekly event--an auto accident at Green and Forster. I do not know who was at fault (the burgundy car on the right was also involved) but as far as I know no one was hurt. The other car had a lot of front-end damage as well. It occurred about one o'clock this afternoon . . . Bob and I did not attend JJ's final soccer game on Friday evening but according to proud poppa Eric we missed an exceptional contest. JJ's group beat a much better team 5-3 and JJ scored three goals. Have we been spared? 'Fraid not. The whole thing is on video and JJ is eager to share it . . . Lindsay Mills e-mailed a list of activities taking place at St. Michael's Lutheran Church on State Street. The first takes place tomorrow--the annual soup-by-the-quart and bake sale in conjunction with Election Day (the church is a polling place). Saturday the congregation will be holding open house for all those attending the holiday parade. We are invited to stop by for soup, a hot dog or hot drink and to warm ourselves . . . The popular $1 chocolate patties in six flavors are again available for the holidays as are living hand-decorated wreaths which sell for $12 . . .
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Eastern Standard Time has arrived and we had darkness for dinner. Otherwise it has been a low-key day--slept late, bundled up and sat in the sun to read, watched some TV and napped. Called around in search of some news to report, but all seems calm within my realm. Now contemplating a new order for Campbell pottery and looking forward to the warmer week. Our sale continues, so we hope to see some more of you . . .
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Very VERY busy day and the weather cooperated beautifully. Claire, Caitlin and Ernest Pennington in town from Dayton, Ohio, and with goodies in hand as usual . . . We were happy to debut the twenty-one new pieces of pottery by Steve Day and were eager to see the reaction. Well, we got a big surprise, needless to say. This picture was taken before opening this morning; by closing we had already sold five pieces, so what I am showing here may no longer be available. Clearly will have to restock but when one is working with craftsmen there can be a generous lag time since not all can afford to carry a large inventory on their shelves . . . Am prepared to suffer some minor depression until I get accustomed to standard time again . . . And I really must note the passing of Andy Rooney; his commentaries will be fondly remembered, even the pointedly nasty ones . . .
Friday, November 4, 2011
Leo the Painter came down Green Street on his mobile lift this afternoon and pulled onto the sidewalk in front of the Hill residence opposite The Bare Wall. He attracted a lot of attention from passers-by but I guessed the reason before it became evident. Amy and Doug have been trying to get a large chest of drawers to the second floor all summer without success; Too big for the stairwell and earlier attempts to lift it up the front of the building with slings was unsuccessful. It took Doug and Leo (Amy supervising) only a few moments to whisk the piece of furniture up to the second floor balcony . . . The new pottery from Berks County arrived this afternoon and both Bob and I find it different and attractive. Plan to have pictures for you soon . . . It was a sunny but breezy day. The trees on Forster Street were almost denuded . . .
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Bright fall day closing with a graying November sky. Will be in a depressed mode for a week after we adjust our clocks this Sunday . . . Very little else to report at this time. Shoppers still taking advantage of our sale prices and finding a lot of new product to amuse them . . . We are anticipating some new Pennsylvania made pottery later this week or early next; it will be quite different than what we already have on the shelves . . . This is another of the new music boxes and suitable for a man's collection. Plays America the Beautiful and sells for $55 . . .
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Boxed Christmas cards were on the menu for shoppers today. It was brisk but beautiful. We attended JJ's soccer game this evening. Don't know what they will do once the clocks are turned back this weekend. It will be much too dark as the schedule now stands. The opponent female coach asked me to step back from the playing area because I was soooo tall that I might inhibit her little players; well, she was as broad in the beam as I am tall, so I wondered if maybe she didn't intimidate our players. Watching her bend for the ball was not a pretty sight . . . Have a nice selection of Thanksgiving Day cards . . . The creation of a gerrymandered new district for Senator Piccola is a travesty and so un-American that I am ready to march on the Capitol and advocate violence. How can any thoughtful politician vote in support of it? I believe everyone should withhold his vote for any GOP candidate in protest regardless of the office he is seeking. And why haven't we heard even a whimper from any Republican on this matter? . . . This musical jewelry box has a well-appointed interior and is just one of several in our new collection. It plays Fascination and sells for $75 . . .
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Low-key day. Got the tooth restored to my dental plate. Ordered our signature green gift wrap for the holiday season. Continued to explore the closets for Santas and other Christmas related merchandise. Still a lot to bring forth and share with you . . . Visited the Battistis in Camp Hill after we closed. JJ should be watching his new collection of Tom and Jerry cartoons as I write. He promises to call with his review . . . Traffic to the West Shore is clogged at five fifteen, if you didn't know. We were parallel to some lady in her Jag who talked on her cell for the whole trip up the hill; I expected a fender bender any moment for she clearly wasn't paying much attention to the road . . . JJ's knowledge surprises sometimes. He dug in my coat pocket for a Tootsie Roll and came out with a quarter that had some ships on it. "Those must be the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria," he said. Now where did that come from? . . . Google provides me with lots of info about this blog, more than how many visitors we have and from where. Key words entered for information often led to the diary--bare wall, barewall blog, tbw, etc. Also, those who have been mentioned might also surface if someone is blogging for their info. We don't mention names, but there have been quite a few personal inquiries about people in the neighborhood recently. Of course, we aren't told who made them . . .