Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Slightly Carbonated

I. Bubblier 

The days are getting longer, and I'm feeling bubblier. I've been going out and about more, including to my new gym a few times. 
I'm even ready to start looking for a personal trainer––necessary if I'm going to start lifting weights, even "sissy weights"––because I'm weak and ignorant of proper form, so I'm especially vulnerable to injuries.

I was inspired, too, by our old blog friend Annika (hi, Annika!) reminding me of Robert Mapplethorpe's photos of bodybuilder Lisa Lyon:

When I look at Lyon, I miss having a strong body. 

It was only seven years ago I walked across Spain, but turning fifty that year was a watershed. Since then, I'm no longer able to coast by on my ever-present strength. It's  diminishing. 

I've had a hard time believing, really accepting that I now have to DO something if I want to stay strong. And I haven't, so I haven't. But... try, try again. 

II. We're standing on a big clay marble

First, however, there's a trip to the Grand Canyon next week!
It's a one-day excursion from Las Vegas where bink and I are taking her mother for her 83rd birthday. I don't care about casinos, but I'm eager to check out the thrift shops.

bink and I are staying an extra day to go to the canyon, and I'm excited. I want to see this opening down into Earth---it's like the inverse of seeing Earthrise from space. You know? They show us that we are standing on a planet. We are explorers, if we want to be.

We're taking a bus tour and will have only four hours at the canyon, but that includes a short hike up to a ridge on the West Rim:

Maybe one day I'll get back for a longer stay, but––post-fifty––I'm thinking, work with what you've got, and take what you can get.
If I wait for some ideal trip, maybe I'll never get around to going at all. This way, at least I'll be there.

III. Toy Making

Last night was the first meeting of the free community ed class "Sewing Dolls and Bears for Children in Need". Except we're not sewing bears, because the group leader has a request from a school in western Kenya, near Uganda, for 200 dolls. 

So, it's dolls, which is OK.
I guess.

No, it really is. It's fun. All the material is donated, and it's like choosing candy, going through the many different fabrics. The doll pattern is simple, but you can jazz it up any way you want.

Below are some of the dolls, and some Kenyan schoolkids with their new dolls a couple years ago. 
I'd felt a little iffy about this kind of charity, but when I saw the kids with their dolls, I thought, what the hell, set aside your sociopolitical reservations here––when I was a kid, I'd have wanted one of those dolls.

IV. eBay Video Game

I recently read an article by an eBayer who compared his experience selling on eBay to playing multi-player video games. 

That feels right to me too. It's like the kind of role-playing games where you have to do a lot of prep, getting together your gear and developing your avatar, then heading out to engage with other players of the game, many of them unknown.

Some remain unknown. Most buyers treat the transaction entirely impersonally, as if you were just a supplier. Others get quite personal. Last week three people who'd bought from me sent me pictures of how my things fit in their life.

A quilter in England who'd bought two patterned sugar sacks from 1936 sent me the link to her Instagram of works made from old feed sacks--including this one, in process:

Another, who'd bought a lot of six "vintage" squeaky toys [vintage on eBay is anything older than twenty years old, which this year means older than 1998...], sent me her Flickr where she documents her rooms-ful of squeaky toys. 
They take on a surreal quality...  
Wouldn't this make a wonderful Easter card?

And a third showed me one of the Valentine's Day corsages she made with all-vintage stuff, including ribbon she'd got from me. 

I'd bought the spool to resell, thinking the packaging was cool. (Also I've developed a small interest in local stuff, and this was made by 3M and has their MN address on the package.) I didn't realize what she told me: "people fight over vintage crafting material to use".

After a week when I sold eight things (a lot, for me), this past week I've only sold one. Which is a nice break, actually--it's a lot of work, packaging things and schlepping them to the post office every day. 

I have made a little money ($215 profit in two months), and while some items have made a tidy profit, the overall return on investment, especially investment of time, is small. 

Part of that is the nature of the game, part is that I'm still learning. 
I don't always estimate the shipping charges right, for instance--and last week I hadn't realized the p.o.  raised its prices. The day they went up, I'd underestimated so badly on two inexpensive items, I made a total profit of 80 cents.

It's not worth it, financially, to sell stuff with a tiny profit margin, like squeaky toys, but in the Game version, it's all fake gold anyway---the pleasure is in the hunt––for things, and for the knowledge that comes with them––and in the transaction. 

Yesterday I got this 1970s ceramic owl macrame hanging at GW for $3. Common wisdom says you should photograph your objects against a plain background, but I had to get my photo of Soul & Glaser on the set of Starsky & Hutch in there.

They look so good together, I almost hope the owl doesn't sell and I have to keep it.

[God Emperor Avatar of eBay, if you're listening, don't grant that half-hope. I do not need more stuff around. Send a buyer! ]

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