Archive for June, 2012

The Day That the Rains Came Down. And Cookies!


I think that was a song from the 50s, and though it may have been a love song, I thought about its title a lot last week when the rains came down in Duluth, and when it didn’t seem like it would ever quit. When it finally did, devastation settled in. Roads were torn up, bridges washed out, rivers overran their banks, basements flooded.

Watching the news reports over the past year, hearing about flooding and fires and hurricanes, tropical storms and earthquakes, I couldn’t help but think, “Duluth’s turn is coming.” And so it came last week, surprising us all with its ferocity

I didn’t venture far from home, but in the many years I’ve lived on this corner, this is the most water I’ve ever seen here, and this was only at 8:15 AM, long before the rain stopped.

Water rushes over the curbs on Gilliat Street

Intersection of 43rd Avenue East at Gilliat Street. The STOP sign says it all.

But Duluth rallies. While we await federal funding to help restore highways and bridges and neighborhoods, Duluthians dig in. Dozens gathered with shovels and rakes and garbage bags to clean up Chester Park and the Duluth Zoo, which suffered tremendous loss, including some animals. A 9-year old girl went to Facebook to organize a cleanup crew for Lincoln Park, and many showed up to help. Some volunteers are helping restore nature trails and hiking paths. Neighbors are helping neighbors with flooded basements, the removal of soaked carpeting, furniture, and even the loss of family treasures.

People help people. We always have and we always will.

If you’re unable to wield a shovel or rake or haul garbage, you can still be a part of the community rebuilding. You might offer a shower and dinner to someone whose water is shut off. Or, like many around town, you could bake or buy something for the crews that are out working night and day in many neighborhoods.

Here’s something quick and easy and tasty. Sugar fuels energy, you know. And at all times, not just post-flooding, everyone needs a little sweetness in their lives.

Easy Butterscotch Cookies

3/4 cup soft butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1-3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

Heat oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and vanilla and beat until they are well mixed.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Stir this into the butter mixture with a spoon until it is well combined and the mixture is smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of dough 2″ apart on a greased cookie sheet or on parchment paper lining a cookie sheet. Press cookies down with a fork. (You can dip the fork in warm water to make this process easier.)

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.


And stay dry.

Skunked. Figuratively Speaking.


Though we waited weeks for this particular auction to come along, it was not so great. “Skunked,” we said to each other on the way home. (We also saw one, quite dead, on the side of the road, along with many deer and assorted wildlife critters not quick enough to make it across Hwy 53, save for a lone turtle working his way through traffic. I hope he got where he was going!) I digress.

Didn’t see anything I really liked, except for a bunch of beautiful McCoy flower pots that seemed to sell for more than I wanted to spend, but Kim bought some stuff and so did her friend. And the day was not wasted: The weather was absolutely gorgeous! Sunny and warm, with a nice breeze, and bright orange orioles flying overhead and singing to the crowd. Those are things money can’t buy.

But here’s the object of my desire:

I mean the beautiful McCoy pot, of course, which is the largest one I’ve ever seen. It sold for $45, and I found one online today that sold for $79. I would not have resold it, however, but kept it for the absolutely beautiful thing that it is. I suppose you thought I meant the guy holding it, eh? Also not so bad.

Here are some crowd scenes, too. I feel weird taking pictures of people without their permission, so I do it quickly, and thus the blurry view. I need to get some stealth training. I’d never make it as a private investigator.

So much to look at!

Lots of stuff here.

I bet they're all talking about the McCoy pot I wanted.

The good news is that even at this busy, busy sale, I retain my crown as Queen of Great Parking Spots. I’m pretty happy about that.

Stiff competition for parking, but I found the perfect spot.

Hope all is well in your world, too.

Until next time!


Your Life For Sale.


That’s what I think when I’m walking through the crowds at outdoor auctions, looking at other people’s stuff, once important and now being sold for pennies on the dollar. Not sure how I’d feel about that, but I know if my stuff ever gets auctioned off, I won’t be there to see it. That would be too heartbreaking. From the standpoint of a veteran buyer of other people’s stuff, though, I gotta say I love it.

My sister Kim and I got up early and headed to Frederic, Wisconsin, for a marvelous outdoor sale. The weather was perfect. The crowd was huge. I spotted something I wanted the first minute we were there. I was lucky that nobody else seems to like what I like, because after standing at the edge of a trailer among high bidders and cutthroat competition, not one person bid against me. (Oh, what a metaphor for one’s life, eh?) I got exactly what I wanted: These dear little ducks, hand painted in Japan. They are not in perfect condition, but what is? Who wouldn’t love them?

"Come over for coffee," they seem to be saying.

We spent most of the day wandering around, buying stuff, filling up the car, eating canteen food and enjoying the crowds. It’s a great place for people watching, but the “stuff” is fun to watch, too.

Here are some photos from the day.

What to buy? What to buy?

I wanted the little frogs you can see near the center bottom, but we left long before they even came up for bidding. I wonder where they ended up?

You can't see it, but in front of this crowd is a player piano that sold for $5. They had to throw in a box of piano rolls to sweeten the deal! Five dollars. Five.

There were trailers and trailers of stuff. Everything from household items to linens, furniture, books, farm implements, and even a car or two for sale. There were two auctions going on at once… I lost Kim several times, but we managed to find each other eventually.


Some guys checking out comic books.

Never too early to start thinking of Christmas!

We filled up the car, but not so much that we didn’t have time to stop at several yard sales, or at a Dairy Queen for something cold and white! (Not snow.)

SCORE! Two cartons for piano rolls for $20. Some really good ones in there, too. (I do have a player piano, lest you think I'd gone off the deep end.)

Kim's stuff, in the back of the car. We're just getting warmed up!

Sometimes you just gotta sit.

Specialties of the day? Hard to say, but I liked these:

Goofy photo of JFK.

Can you ever have too many sock monkeys? (Answer: NO!) And hey... notice my red car in the center of the photo. Sometimes a gal just has to make her own parking spot, you know?

It was a marvelous day. Every time I’m leaving Superior to head to Kim’s house, I pass a billboard on Hwy 2 that reads “A day of play beats a day of work,” which is actually an ad for a casino, but you know what? It’s true of auctions, too.

I think this sleepy guy summed it up for most of us:

Catching a few Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzs

I hope the camera flash didn’t disturb his slumber.

Next stop (for me) is an auction in Eau Claire on Tuesday. More pics to follow, unless I forget my camera. (Of course I could always bid on one.)