let's start at the very beginning

You, know, that Susie Sunshine is a powerful force. A force to be reckoned with. And while she is a'reckoning, she's charming you with sparkly eyes and the sweetest voice.
Susie called my house one day a while back and cooed over the phone: Jen's having a party and you are coming. It doesn't look, in print, as smooth as it sounded over the phone. And let me tell you it was smooth. We were feeling kinda blue that day and I pooh-poohed her. She had talked to K about it too and he was non-committal. And then, on Christmas, K said that my last present was the air-miles to fly to Chicago...to see my pals and go to this party.
Had I ever met Jen? No.
I had a vague sense of who Jen was, but had missed meeting her on my last trip.
It didn't matter, though, because Susie wrangled me an invite. And I wasn't the only one.
Poppy, Wendy, and Carol From Texas were all going to be there. Some had been invited and some were crashing.

All this to say, I went on Friday.
Wendy picked me up, with two tots in tow...

Trixie and Ellie

Oh yes, my dear friends, there was plenty of girl goodness in the minivan as Trixie and Ellie met me too. Could you just spit? It was all I could do to keep my seat belt on and not take a lunge into the back to eat them UP.


Trixie called me Buuuuuuhrrrrrrd. I'm loving that.

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And she liked me to pick her up a lot - which is especially delicious when she's wearing the footy jammies and she's all warm and snuggly.

We ran around for a while - doing all those things moms do, getting lunch, getting Ellie off to school and going to the supermarket for supplies (my TEA and my WINE).
Wendy has a big boy too - the delectable gentleman, Glen. But he was off at school.

The Coolest Grandma In The Midwest arrived, in her cashmere hoodie, to babysit and Wendy and I went out to find Susie (arriving on the train), Jen (hostess of the party) and Carol From Texas Who Is Blogless And Works For The Lord. I hadn't met Carol either but I knew she was friends with Jen (I think) and another Jen and everyone else.

We went thrift shopping with Susie...

We saw many wonderful items -


Plate on left: creepy, slightly dead looking baby, asleep with puppys. WHAT?

Plate on right: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS SCENE? We had several theories of barter and housekeeping and garden tools that I'm not going into here. Often, with these collectible plates, the reverse side can be helpful with explanations.

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Not so much with this plate. German readers, feel free to comment.

goose plate

The market for plates seems to be big with the thrifters.

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This one is called Susan's World. Susan's World seems to imply leaving a toddler alone in the woods without EVEN A SWEATER. I just realized that I'm going to start threatening Youngest with it - as in: IF YOU DON'T GO PRACTICE YOUR TRUMPET I'M DROPPING YOU OFF AT SUSAN'S WORLD.
Damn it. I should have bought that plate.

papal plate

This one is labelled: Old plate with papal head.
I'm not clear about what decor scheme this plate EVER went with. I haven't a clue what we'd do with it now. But I'll bet if Maggie Mason put it on her etsy site it would be sold in a heartbeat and people would be all OH PAPAL HEAD PLATES ARE THE HOTTEST IN MID-CENTURY DECOR.

clergy in the love room

Look here! It's a portrait of The Cardinal. IN THE LOVE ROOM.
Yes, there was a whole room dedicated to Love.

the love room

Because nothing SAYS love like a portrait of The Cardinal.

I have a list of things I'm not willing to purchase at thrift shops - underwear, bathing suits, sheets...and now I can add another -


I don't even have a erudite explanation. I can only say NO.

This was when we thought, for a moment, that we should each buy a bridesmaid dress and wear them to the party -

bridesmaid dress

But we didn't.
Which is fine, because we all ended up looking PRETTY DAMN GOOD for that party.
And THAT is a story for another day.

Jen and Carol From Texas Who Doesn't Have A Blog But Works For The Lord showed up and we did a boatload of shopping at Ten Thousand Villages.
(The website is not nearly as impressive as the brick and mortar store - go find one.)
Inexpensive and beautiful treasures were loaded into the van.

AND THEN we all went back to Wendy's house for a big pizza/wii party and had a ton of fun and stayed up not too late and people went home and I got snuggled into the bed in the guest room and had a good long sleep...AND I'LL TELL YOU ABOUT SATURDAY TOMORROW.


still broken

Pinkie update: still broken. We have an appointment with a hand specialist on Wednesday for yet another kind of splint.


Anonymous said…
Plate on right: Snow White sweeping while the dwarves come home from the mines. :)

Joke said…
I'm guessing The Cardinal in the Love Room was St. Valentine.

BabelBabe said…
I personally wouldn't touch ANYTHING in any thrift shop's LOVE ROOM.
Ten Thousand Villages ROCKS. We have one on the street where I work.
LOVING the Youngest haircut.
I look for the Thrift Shop Room of Old Jewelry that can be recycled.
Wendy said…
Again with the stealth camera. How do you do that?
Anonymous said…
I want the antique map underneath the red papal head plate.

My youngest who broke her pinkie a few months ago: we went to a hand specialist who gave us a smaller splint that was more comfortable than the metal splints. She wore the smaller splint for several weeks and is fine now. I hope your youngest has the same experience and outcome as my youngest.
Paula said…
The papel head plate looks like a jovial old drunk, oh wait...
Mary said…
Snow white, St Valentine, old drunks on plates..

What a weird plate collecting world we live in.
Rose said…
I agree with Jen; it's Snow White and the dwarves. Looks like a fun time was had by all!
RW said…
We love Ten Thousand Villages.
We bought the best chopsticks there!
Terese said…
What a hoot! You look like it was a great weekend away with like minded people. :)
Unknown said…
Yes, Snow White, tell us: what's that coy look on your face? Lantern-boy, what is your smirk foreshadowing? Sadly, the back of the plate is not forthcoming, according to my husband (Dutch, but also speaks German): " 'Snow White' - The eighth collectors-plate in the Grimm collection, made by (artist's name) on the 200 year anniversary of the Brothers Grimm." And then more boring stuff that a collector might think is important. Not illuminating.

But your weekend sounds wonderful!
Because nothing says LOVE like plates with priests on their heads. I could go on and on about priests and love and whatnot, but this is a family blog.

And right now, I'm hating the fact that I have the most popular name from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Every time you wrote Jen, I was pissed because it wasn't me.
Okay, so my first sentence from that last comment makes no sense whatsoever. And I haven't even started Happy Hour here yet.
Anonymous said…
My family, plus the two dogs and younger son's gf, are going to the Chicago area this weekend, but I don't think Oak Park is in our range. BIL and SIL live in Manteno, down near Kankakee. Darn. But we may spend Friday at the Art Institute; can't be bad.
Jennifer said…
I'm giggling at the other Jen's comment.. I wonder how many of us there really are out there?

I'm sure shopping with you is a treasure in itself. :) Glad you had a great time.
Susie Sunshine said…
Snow White, MY ASS. Those aren't dwarves, they're guys with short man syndrome. That plate is of an angry mob looking for a virgin to plunder to get their crops to grow.

And let the record show that I DO NOT coo on the phone unless I'm getting five dollars per minute.
Geggie said…
I want kookie blogging friends in Chicago too. I want to drink wine and hug cute kids and go thrifting and be silly.
Unknown said…
I just like to imagine I was there, having a great time with you all. Sounds like it was a blast.
Miz S said…
Did you kiss Susie Sunshine for me? You know how much I love her.
KPB said…
You should have bought all the papal pieces and sent them to Joke.
He'd like that.

I can't tell you how happy shiny these gatherings make me.
And how I sit here pining to be a part of it.
Caterina said…
My first thought was Snow White too....only because the men looked like lil' people. But I like Susie Sunshine's plunder theory much better, hahaha.

This sounds like a wonderful trip!