My latest discovery…

One of my favorite past times ever is shopping at yard sales and flea markets. It stems from warm childhood memories of Saturday mornings with my dad. Sometimes we would go to the flea market and haggle over anything, eat boiled peanuts until our tummies ached, and drink cold, glass-bottled Coca-Cola. Other times, we would ride through the country for hours with no real purpose in mind, looking at the beautiful Georgia hills and mountains, and stop at every yard sale we stumbled upon.

Anytime I am able to do either, I’m taken over by strong feelings of nostalgia. As an adult, most of my favorite pieces of furniture, books, or other items are not pieces I spent lots of money on. They are odd items I’ve picked up here and there: an unheard of flea market I happened to stumble upon while out driving, or an awesome yard sale. There is always a memory connected to how I found the item and the bargaining involved to get an awesome deal, thanks to the haggling and bargain-hunting skills I inherited from my dad.

Unfortunately, a jam-packed schedule prevents me from finding the time to take advantage of this kind of shopping as often as I would like. It’s not easy finding such rare finds. It requires time, patience, and luck.

Fortunately, I’ve discovered something new:Craig’s List! It’s the most awesome thing. It’s a huge online yard sale! You can find anything, and for cheap. Usually pictures are posted, and you can do all the haggling through email instead of face to face, which allows me to be more ruthless because I’m not worried about insulting anyone. If I don’t like the price I’m given then I don’t have to even look at it. It’s the best thing ever! I can go to yard sales and flea markets whenever I want, right from the comfort of my own home. So far I’ve gotten a futon frame someone originally purchased from Ikea (which was much needed because my students destroyed mine), a basketball goal for my son’s Christmas present, and a television stand for Chris’s house.

If you’ve never heard of it, or if you’re looking to buy anything new or used and want a good deal, check out the website.

You might just be as surprised and excited as me. Happy shopping!!

Published in: on December 11, 2006 at 7:28 am  Comments (3)  

“The Tweenager Years”

Maddie will be 12 this Sunday. For some reason, this has felt like a milestone. She will celebrate the last of her “tweenager” years.

In an attempt to understand the “New Maddie” that’s been developing the last year or so, I’ve tried to remember back to when I was her age. Oddly enough, I don’t even remember turning 12. The only way I can remember being her age is by reflecting to the sixth grade and seventh grades. What thoughts did I have then? Who were my friends? Where did my interests lie?

Basically, my memories sum up to this: Friends were a big thing to me. The more hip they were, the better. Although I don’t know where any of them live now or what they do for a living, at the time my world revolved around them.

We didn’t have razor phones, ipods, Hollister hoodies, Abercrombie jeans, or Nike Shox, but there were Swatch watches, Coca-Cola shirts, Guess blue jeans, and Converse high-tops. Countless morning bus rides were spent oooohing and aaaahing over each other’s new items.

And of course there were boys. We were just beginning to notice that the male species wasn’t created just for aggravating the snot out of us. We had crushes on many, and the comments we would make about them make me blush as an adult. We were beginning to experiment with sexual jargon and profanity even though the meanings were unclear.

As I monitor my daughter’s internet usage and try my best to stay connected with what’s going on in her life, things are really not that much different. We didn’t have computers and the internet, so we were a bit more “sheltered” to the outside world, but the dangers were still out there. Kids were having sex and getting in trouble for things like vandalism and drug usage. These are not new issues. Perhaps they’re just more publicized today.

So, the next time you’re tempted to say, “When I was a kid, we didn’t…”, stop and think about it. Are you for certain that things really were all that different? Or is it just our memory that’s changed?