From the Land Where Men Don’t Wear Shirts

Years ago I moved to a little place in Pasadena. And by little I mean…a shoe box.

I had found an apartment listing on Craigs List for only 500 dollars a month and at the time nothing seemed better. I couldn’t have cared less where it was.

It was a small garage studio separate from the main house which was skewed diagonal from the road and whose grounds were smattered with lawn ornaments. It was actually sort of idilic and if anyone asked me whether living in a shoe box was worth it…I would still say “YES!”.

An older couple owned the place – Bud and Linda.  Linda was mostly blind from some disease I can’t remember and Bud worked as a bus driver for the public schools.  He continued to work though he had been on disability for years because of a previous heart attack.

They were lovely and strange.

They also had this really bizarre housemate, Norma.  And let me just say now that nothing was “norma” about her.  I would find her starring at my apartment or with her lazy eye.  Oh…she was creepy.

Back to what I was saying…I moved to Pasadena a place I’ve sometimes heard called “God’s Country”.

I once heard a friend tell her children after moving to Pasadena, “Kids, we’re not in Kansas any more.”

And it IS a different world.  One of the most endearing I’ve encountered and one of the weirdest.

The thing that most struck me was the fact that none of the men wore shirts.

None of them.

Even 65 year old Bud didn’t wear a shirt when having a conversation with me about rent or the water bill.

When my door refused to open one winter night Bud actually came out and unscrewed the entire thing without a shirt on…

In JANUARY!

Despite the fact that none of the men wear shirts I have found that Pasadena is a treasure trove of deals.

There is the discount cosmetic store on Mountain Road.

And the children’s consignment store only a little up the street.

Snowball stands on almost every corner.

The flea market on Saturday mornings.

And my favorite of all time….Antiques To Go.

This past week my mom and I ventured over to the land where men don’t wear shirts and we found some treasures for the nursery.

First is an old fashioned rocker which had to be re-upholstered.

Ugly color but a good find.

Ugly color but a good find.

First we had to tear everything off.

First we had to tear everything off.

We think George Washington was the previous owner...cause it was stuffed with hay.

We think George Washington was the previous owner...cause it was stuffed with hay. (!)

So...we replaced the hay with foam to prevent Andrew from becoming a giant allergic reaction and because it freaked me out.

So...we replaced the hay with foam to prevent Andrew from becoming a giant allergic reaction... and because it freaked me out.

Next for new fabric. There is Mom tightly stretching the fabric over the foam.

Next for new fabric. There is Mom tightly stretching the fabric over the foam.

Then after Mom and Andrew stapled they glued the trim over the edge of the fabric.After Mom and Andrew stapled they glued the trim over the edge of the fabric.
Here is the final product.  Awesome.

Here is the final product. Awesome.

Not bad.  Not bad at all….especially from a place where the men don’t wear shirts.  I don’t care who knocks Pasadena that place is a mecca for shoppers.  Don’t judge….embrace.

(more to come later this post is too long)

In other parts of my world:  I would like to soak my body in a tub of lemonade…ice…cold…lemonade.

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6 responses

  1. It’s posts like this and your picture frame post that drive me bonkers… b/c you give me little bits of hope and inspiration that I too can go out and find some trash to turn into treasure… only I don’t ever get so lucky.

    I really want to find cool frames like the ones you got for Claire’s room, thinking that I could paint them all white and then have each kid draw a picture to put in it and I could hang them on my bare wall behind our dining room table… wouldn’t that look lovely? In my head it would, but can’t find those frames… did find a cooler and some penny loafers, but still have a bare wall.

    Your chair looks awesome!!

  2. Great post, Val! Everyone should visit that junk/consignment shop on Mountain Road. It is packed with treasures. Val has a great eye and can see possibilities.
    It was also fun working with Andrew, who can make any project happen successfully and in good humor.

  3. Wow, I’m impressed. I think I’ve been to that store on Mountain Road. Yes, it would take a good eye to see past what I would throw away as useless. The chair is lovely.

  4. I’m not from Pasedena, but I don’t wear a shirt either if I’m not in public. I’m not a girl, after all… I feel kinda sorry for the womenfolk, who have to wear shirts all the time. Maybe it’s why God didn’t give men boobs – so they can take off their shirts anytime they want. Except in PA. For some reason they don’t like it. Crazy athiests.

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