Archive | November, 2012

Don’t call it a swap meet

29 Nov

As a kid growing up in the San Gabriel Valley there was always a place you could go to stare at a blanket of old tools, sample some cherry juice, buy some jeans that may be knockoffs and beg your Dad for a baby turtle – that magical place, the swap meet. It was where you could find just about anything and it was a Sunday tradition in some households. Wake up late, head on over to the swap meet where you’ll wander for aisles not finding anything that you really want and you’re not exactly sure what your Dad is looking for anyways. It was a good place to pick up a pair of All Stars or a copy of the latest East Side Story collection (if you don’t know what this is you may not be a true chicano). I haven’t been to the swap meet in Rosemead at the old drive in since leaving for UCLA and I’ve only spied a few small swap meets here in the area that don’t come close to the glory of the ones I grew up on. It must be about 10 years ago that the Melrose Trading Post popped up at Fairfax High. I live really close to this high school and this past weekend was the first time I had visited the Trading Post in about a year.

Ok so Trading Post – first let us start this by saying that the organizers do not like this event being called a swap meet. It is though! It’s an outdoor flea market where people go to paw at cowboy shirts and 70’s style coats with big collars. There are multiple booths of guys standing by a field of used boots, not sure who they are trying to sell to I’ve never seen someone trying these shoes on. I was sad to see that the Pyrex lady was gone, she was a good spot to go get a quick gift for Mom as she always had something in red available. Most of the stuff is overpriced and unnecessary but isn’t everything around Melrose? Also gone is the giant table of “sharp things” that was a field of junk drawers dumped out onto two long tables. In its place are several crystal booths! One was offering holiday crystal parties, wtf is that all about?

While the food is better at this swap meet, I do miss the baby turtles. I wonder what this area would do if one morning the trading post opened up not with booths filled with art that looks as though the artists must have some very well funded trust accounts or furniture covered in milk paint but instead had row upon row of regular swap meet booths. Stereo equipment, DJ lights, plate sets, random old tools, guys with cheap looking new tools, the key guy and socks on every corner. At least this place still has a booth where you can buy tamales and a hot dog.


No I can not make the yams but here have this giant pie!

22 Nov

Oh Thanksgiving I don’t have much to do with you, you’ve always seemed like a throw away holiday.  Sure there are families that get together and feast on super amazing food but considering I’m not a “foodie” then it is just a day I need to take some Advil before getting in my car to go join the family.  I think I may have skipped too many of these gatherings in my youth because now it’s just like a given that I’ll be there. I think I took last year off from the family, I’m pretty sure I did so this year I am once again spending it with the Ojeda clan.  We’re going to my brother’s house in Wrightwood and he’s going to attempt to fry a turkey which I’m still advising against as I think he’s going to end up burning down the mountain.  I fully plan on wearing clothes that are not flowy so that if I have to run through flames I won’t be in danger of having my sweater catch fire.

Maybe I don’t care much for this holiday because I don’t cook.  I have a lot of really great grocery stores and restaurants around me and I’m not opposed to an occasional fancy meal – I was just at The Foundry last night but tonight what did I have? Some tomato salad and a steak I threw onto the George Forman!  Yep!  My contributions for the family meal this year is one giant Costco pie and a few bottles of sparkling cider.  I guess I did get fancy with the cider because I passed by the plain apple and went for apple-cranberry and a peach-mango.  I’ll pretty much drink anything that has a peach flavor though.

So I’m off to bed now and hoping that I won’t have dreams of children pestering me to do my famous comedy sketches featuring their toys while sitting in the van for two hours.  I swear I could be the greatest children’s comedian ever it’s just a shame that they aren’t let into the comedy clubs because they have issues holding their liquor and fight with the bar staff about the 2 sippy cup drink minimum.

Keeping it cute, keeping it vintage

16 Nov

First I would like to say everything I ever needed to know about decorating I learned from Laverne & Shirley.  Growing up I don’t recall us having any furniture that matched, I’m sure our bedrooms may have started out as a matching set but by the time my parents had divorced and we moved into the little pink house on Fir all of our stuff seemed just sort of thrown together.  Spending most of my teen years in a room that was sea foam green while being moody and into the Smiths was a bit of a challenge and I adopted a “cover the walls” mentality when it came to decorating.  Every inch of that oh so 80’s pastel was covered with a poster, knick knack nailed to the wall or a record.  I brought this style to the dorms and my apartments, no one seems to have minded but I have had to adapt as I’ve grown older.  The posters tacked up to the wall have been replaced with framed ones or bits of memorabilia that has been placed into shadowboxes, definitely keeping it mainly about the music. 


I have kept one bit of my cover the walls and surfaces though – I tend to do this on any spare flat surface in the place.  I have lots of little toys and things that have somehow managed to make it through nearly 30 years without being broken or lost.  I don’t feel like I can just throw them out, not a hoarder (my fridge still works and I’ve never found a flat cat!) but I like having these little bits around.  This picture is of my kitchen windowsill that little yellow thing is a wind up toy that I must have picked up when I was about 10.  They’re just happy little reminders of childhood and who doesn’t love a bit of vintage thrown around the house.  On my bookcase I have 70’s era Fisher Price toy and a bit of cheap mid-century furniture is littered about my front room.  It all makes for a very strange mix but it works.  I’m hoping the friends that have been here have been slightly inspired to be a bit more bold in their decorating.  Well at the very least know that you can have lots of color and nothing has to match if you don’t want it to.