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alan dare

I know I'm going to kick myself one day for not updating more (since this is my diary) during the first year in our new house. I've been on Facebook, but will I ever look back at "Timeline" when I'm old? HAR.

I will try to type out a few thoughts.

--I started a vegetable garden. The backyard has raised beds already, so I weeded part of them out and put in two tomato plants, sage, thyme, and basil. It's been two weeks since I planted them and they don't look like they've really grown, but they're also not dead, so I'm not sure what to make of the progress. I feel like my basil grew more in Florida, but...it was already off to a better start. I am not very good with plants! But I'm trying to get better. I just don't get good at anything without doing a lot of reading, and that takes time.

--A week ago I went to the auction house, which is just a wee short walk from my house. They have 1 or 2 auctions a month. I thought I might be able to pick up some stuff to resell. I ended up buying like eight boxes of books and some Victorian cabinet cards, mostly of actresses from the 1870s-1900s I'd say, plus a box of old photos (for my own collection). I made a few mistakes from being a newbie and not entirely understanding the rules. But the cabinet cards are SO cool!! I got 11 of them for $20. One of them I loved best and will not sell (it was an old lady in a Marie Antoinette type outfit and reminded me a bit of Belawyn from Between the Sea and Sky) and the rest I put up on Ebay.

They end tomorrow: If you want to see the cabinet cards you can click here. I've already got enough bids to recoup my money on them, so I'm happy. If none of the others get bids I'll just keep them, and gladly!

--On Memorial Day the neighbors had a block party. It was really hot outside that weekend. I drank three beers, a record for me, because the ice cold beverage was so good! Pretty much everyone on the block came and I got to meet all our neighbors. Everyone seems nice. There is an older lady immediately next door who is always super busy but nice, and on the other side, a family with daughters who have been reading my books and liking them, and past the old lady is the Morgan family, both Dade and I have been doing things with the husband because we have loads in common with him. I adore our neighborhood. It feels bustling yet cozy.

--The summer produce is getting in full swing, a few days ago I bought a big bag of cherries and probably a pound of strawberries for $7 from one of the small farms, and then the co-op has provided me with baby turnips, baby beets, kale, lettuce, garlic scapes and spring onions. I cooked up some of the garlic scapes in a Vietnamese stir fry the other day and they tasted buttery and amazing sauteed in coconut oil. Tonight I'm using up the rest to make red curry greens because I want to use at least some of the turnip and beet greens...I hate to just use the baby veggies and throw out all those good greens. But it's so many greens at once!!! *panic*

--I haven't really felt like leaving the house nearly as much as I did in Florida either. There's so much to do around here--working in the garden, playing my ukulele without worrying about the neighbors, cozying up on my sunshine-filled bedroom with a pile of books, turning the amazing local foods into meals. We only ate out once this week, which is shocking for me. I used to always have days when I was too lazy to cook. But I've just been churning out meals--lately I've made some of the usual staples; meat loaf, burgers, Vietnamese stir fry, but then I also tried a Mexican chicken with salsa verde and tomato-tinged rice, and braised pork chops in honey mustard beer sauce.

--Summer is coming, but I'm not dreading that either like I usually do. So far the weather has been a dream since May 1st. We've had 2 or 3 days that got hot enough that I wished we had AC, but we've since installed wall units in the bedroom, bathroom, and office so at least we can get some relief. Tomorrow is supposed to be hot but today is still perfectly pleasant, I don't even have the fan on, just the window open, and the house is about 72. I love throwing open all the porch windows although opening the place up is quite a project--cranking open almost a dozen porch windows and wrestling the old windows open in the living room!

--Well, I'm definitely getting more of a workout here, even though I haven't been especially trying. I've lost the pudge I was starting to develop since I left retail work down south...

--Last night I saw fireflies for the first time (or lightning bugs, as Dade tells me I need to call them here (but I like fireflies better!)) and the little lights in the dusk and the pleasant-warm evening and the old houses cast me back to childhood trips to Ohio when my great-grandmother still lived in the area where my dad grew up in an old brick house with a basement. I know Ohio isn't usually a state one romanticizes, and for cultural and political reasons I am glad I don't live there, but I think a part of me always loved it and wished I had grown up in a place like that, hearing his stories of sledding and fireflies and finding an old Victorian boot by the river and the Polish neighbors who made pierogies and the pure seasonality and Americana of it all. This place feels so much like that.


Are you selling books on Amazon? I went to list a book there the other day (first time) and for a $5 book they wanted to take $3.09 for themselves. That seems a bit much. Is it always that high?
Yes, it is. It's not even worth it for me to sell a book through them unless it's listed at $3 for lightweight books or $4 for heavy books; they'll take the whole darn thing. First I always check bookscouter.com. I sell back to Powell's as often as not--especially with items that are priced lower, they often give more than you'd get from Amazon. Of course, you have to accumulate a few so you can get $5 or more, they won't take just one book. I've also sold back to textbooks.com, and I just mailed off a package to Better World Books, which also gives a pretty decent payout.
Thanks, I'll check out those other ones. I use to use Half.com but sales there are near nil anymore. And a more than 50% commission is somewhat ridiculous. I'm doing all the work! :) Thanks for the tips.

Post house pics!
All very nice :)
I'm so happy you're settling in so well to your new home.
I'm smiling at all of this...so, so happy to hear that you're enjoying your new home.

P.S. What are cabinet cards? I browsed your collection on eBay, so cool, but I can't get a sense of their size and original purpose.
*happy little sigh* I like imagining you doing all these things in all these places. :)