In the spirit of Halloween, here are a few of my strangest finds from the last few months.
No triangle eyes or jagged teeth for this pumpkin--
nope, this one gets long eyelashes and elegant gloves!
I think I would feel better about this one if I knew that it's the
pumpkin who dreams of being a duck, and not the other way around.
A new genre altogether—the patriotic pumpkin.
Where are his teeth? And his eyeballs?
And does his smile have to be THAT wide and creepy?
I think this is supposed to be a man with a great big jutting jaw covered
in a massive beard. But there's no color, no definition other than the skis.
My eyes swim looking at him.
There's no eye patch, but I'm guessing this guy is a pirate. Have you ever seen
such a look of disgust? (I've placed him near my cat's litter box--
seems like a good place for that permanent scowl.)
Over the Fourth of July weekend I visited my son (Louis, 21) in Iowa City. (He had a summer research job at the University of Iowa.) We went on several hikes and toured
the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library—and just before I left, we struck gold at the Salvation Army. (Louis was very patient with me. Some moms spend hours shopping for the just-right pair of shoes or draperies or lamps or whatever. I'm not one of of those moms.) Here are some of my big finds:
Birthday Bath! It's a snow globe AND a music box. It's a clown in a tub with a rubber duck, a boat, lots of bubbles, and a faithful dog companion.
Here is another inexplicable music box. This one didn't come with a name, but when I look at this mysterious couple I hear "Androgynous" by the Replacements.
I'm not sure what bothers me most about this earnest gal. Is it the missing piece of arm? Or is it the idea that if she were standing up, her arms would probably hang well past her knees?
I don't know what this is. But I do know it was carved by hand in Norway. If you're familiar with Norwegian folklore and can tell me the story behind this guy, give me a shout!
A rooster/polar bear that was NOT hand carved by anyone in any particular country. Which makes it all the more confusing.
That does it for the Iowa City thrift store adventure, at least for now. (I'm saving a few special seasonal treats for later.) But here is a local find:
I promised you a silver giraffe, didn't I...
On a super-hot day in early July, I discovered a menagerie across from the Shopko in Windom (MN).
Of course I had to take a closer look.
And there you go. A silver giraffe.
I discovered this armless lady-dude cookie jar at the Good Will in West St. Paul. Was tempted to buy it, but $19.95 was too many cookies for me.
Don't you love this? How often do you see an "official" sign with a sense of humor? Found at a rest stop in Iowa along I-29.
Stick horses are still a thing in Nebraska, apparently! As well they should be. A toy that requires imagination AND movement.
A cat looming on its hind legs like Sasquatch, reaching for a whimsical ball of yarn on a spring. A plate of what looks to be cheese. A supine companion. And—what's this? Sasquatch Cat's tail is resting on a book. WHY???
This sign was on the wall at my dad's nursing home in Windom. So just who is this Positive Dog? Does it live inside us or among us? Maybe it doesn't matter. The sign definitely makes me want to smile real and laugh big, so mission accomplished.
Something about the tone of this sign reminded me of this soap wrapper at a hotel I stayed at last year. Imperative yet innocent, sincere yet a tad silly. Well done.
I found this in the Good Will Outlet in St. Paul. The outlets are crazy places—big bins overflowing with all the stuff that didn't sell at the regular Good Will stores. And yet, in all the shabbiness and chaos, little messages of hope are everywhere.
A bizarre offering at my local Cub Foods. For 69 cents, I bought it. It was basically a chocolate-covered marshmallow on a stick, with fruit snacks for eyes, nose, and mouth. Tasty it was not.
This from a magazine in a waiting room—I don't remember which magazine, but it was mainstream. These "Sophistipups" aren't in the same league as Cerberus (the three-headed hound who guards the gates of Hades) but they still send a shiver down my spine. Would you want to wear that thing around your wrist?
Proving yet again that you never know what awaits you when you open a door...This horse was in one of the classrooms (not mine) at the Rochester Technical College, site of the Young Author, Young Artist Conference I took part in recently. I later found out that the classroom was used for veterinary science, so the horse makes perfect sense. If I'd been a kid in that room, though, I would have been sorely tempted to climb on top. Some of my happiest times as a kid were in our grove, pretending that an old fuel tank was my trusty steed.
I might have an eye for oddities, but I don't have a good camera or any particular photography skills. So awhile back I entrusted some of my Weird Things to my friend Terri DeGezelle, a fellow children's book author who is also a photographer. Here are her photos. Enjoy!
I posted this Bunny Tableau (the pic at the bottom) on my old website around Easter in 2012, then took it down because I thought maybe it was just too silly and weird. But I've had a change of heart. The internet is full of silly, inconsequential things—why should I hold back? Besides, as with all my Words, Whims, and Whatnot, I can always call these things "story prompts" to obtain a smidgen of redeeming value.
(Sorry this is hard to read. Hit control + to enlarge.)