Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Year Ahead: Thrift Herding + Besty-Tacy Land + Work

I. The Debonair Thrift Herder

debonair: having a sophisticated charm;  from Old French de bon' aire "of good race/stock," originally used of hawks

Socially and physically exhausted by my new job in Memory Care,  a couple months ago I resigned from my other part-time job, at the City Convention Center. 
I also stopped volunteering much at the Thrift Store.

In this New Year, I'm committing to sort donations again at the Thrift Store once a week because...

1. I've acclimated to my job and have the energy again

2. The boss who got under people's feet or up their noses (including mine) got fired

3.  Rummaging through stuff is a terrific mix of scavenger hunting + Show and Tell, both things I loved as a kid

4. I'm inspired by a fellow thrift herder who posts some of the "extraordinary ordinary things" she finds, above^, on her blog happify: manufacturers of happiness for the lovely world

I don't usually bring much rummage home, but looking for plates to put under houseplants, I pulled two bread plates  >  >
from the store's free box. 
I don't know why they were in the free box, since they're vintage Melmac, in great shape. 

According to Melmac Central, "Debonaire" was produced from 1959 into the 1960s. 

Too cool for plant plates. 

I don't much like plastic dinnerware (for the same reasons Melmac fell from favor: it scratches & stains), but now I've looked at the plates properly, the expanding-cosmos effect of their speckled design is appealingly Star Trekky, so I'll keep them and use them.

For a while, anyway.
For me and many others, the Thrift Store functions somewhat like a lending library: lots of stuff gets re-donated.

II. Biking to Betsy-Tacy Land

Last summer Marz and I went to Duluth for the third time. 
I would keep going forever, but Marz said she's tired of it: 
she doesn't like Lake Superior.
"It's malevolent" she says (others would agree, see "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald").
And West Duluth, where we stay at the Munger Inn at the head of the Munger Trail, she finds to be like a "coastal town they forgot to close down", where "every day is like Sunday" (Morrissey, you know).

Where to go instead?
Having just read the Betsy-Tacy books, I suggested Mankato, where the girls lived -- only 75 miles southwest of here.

We don't have a car, and the bus takes 3 hours (! for 75 miles?), so we decided we will bike there this spring. In theory one could bike there in one day, but my old knees would prefer two. Marz says it would be too monotonous not to take a break too.

Maybe we'll stop over in New Prague and visit the grass-fed cows at the Cedar Summit Farm, whom I support by paying almost $6 for a quart of their milk--milk that would just be normal for Betsy-Tacy. 
(These days $6 would buy 3 gallons of gasoline or a piece of new clothing from H&M, which is crazy. I mean, crazy that those things should be so insanely cheap.)

Anyway, it's nice to have a little adventure to plan and look forward to.

III. What else?

III.A. Paid Work 
I expect this year will largely be taken up with learning more about dementia and doing activities with people living with it. My original idea was to get a year's experience and then look for a better paying job, or at least a job at a place that suits me better.

I work at a newish, for-profit, apartment complex for seniors in a nearby affluent suburb.  
I like the residents I work with but not the place. There's no sense of larger community and almost nothing in walking distance. 

The people who've chosen to live there (that is, the ones with intact brains) are the sort of people who would choose to live in such a place. 
I mean, they are people who choose––and can afford to choose–– cars over walking and safe, isolated living conditions over messy, crowded ones, and who want to live with people who share the same culture. Almost every single resident is white, college educated, and mainstream Christian (here, that means Lutheran). 

In truth, this uniformity and affluence makes it an easier place to work than the impoverished, urban nursing home where I was a nursing aide in 2013 (briefly, until I pulled my wrist tendons).

But still, I want the challenge and stimulus of working at someplace like the inner city Southwest Senior Center--a crazy quilt of seniors and staff who hosted the mosaic project I wrote about a couple years ago.

So, I will start looking into other places to work in the fall. At least, that's my intention... if I have the energy...

III.B. Brain Work 

To counter all the nonverbal activity of my job, I want to keep blogging with intention, spending time composing a post, not just chatting. 
Though that too!
I love when people chat on their blogs, but I want to exercise my words more than I can at work. I don't mean getting all literary, just more posts like this one (but probably shorter).

Also I want to read with more intention. 
My brain is out of shape. 
When I graduated from college, aged thirty-five, with a B.A. in Classics, I decided to try rereading John Donne. I'd tried his poetry years before and found it impossible. But after a couple years of studying Latin and Greek, it was easy.

These days my flabby brain just stays on the surface of printed matter like a water skimmer on a pond. 

I always thought these were the coolest bugs, but I don't like feeling that my brain has become unable from disuse to dive deep.

III.C. Body Work
Speaking of being out of shape, because my work is somewhat physical--pushing wheelchairs and carts, shoving furniture out of the way, carrying paints and paper and stuff--I'm getting more exercise than I did working in publishing, for sure. 
So that's good.

Still, after three months I'm actually a little fatter! 
(No, believe me, it's not muscle weight, as some have kindly suggested. It's from eating candy at work.)

It's a lot for my knees to carry, and I would like to shed it.
So--groan--I need to attend to that too. 
Motivation: less pounds = easier to bike to see Betsy-Tacy. 

So... Ultreia! as they say on Camino. Onward!


Zhoen said...

Forward in all directions!

- 3Mustaphas3.

bink said...

You made me curious about Mankato as a road trip so I map-quested it & saw they have a bike icon, for a their bike route. Now my guess is that map quest doesn't really use bike routes--so I wouldn't go by what they say alone, but this route was definitely different than the car freeway routes they offered and might be a starting point for your research.

BTW, I feel sort of sad that you won't be going to the Munger Inn anymore. That sounded like such a sweet place.

Lady Chardonnay said...

Ooh, there is so much fun Betsy-Tacy stuff to see in Mankato! And it is a cute little town. You will have fun biking around it. Yay!! I am vicariously thrilled by this plan.

Fresca said...

ZHOEN: Forward in all direx... ha! Exactly.

BINK: Thanks for the link---yeah, it looks like there're paths some of the way, which is great.
YOU & I will just have to go to Munger Inn---it is unique and sweet, yes.

LADY C: I wondered if you had been to Mankato, and figured you probably had. I'm glad to hear it's fun. Of course I shall give a Full Report when we go.