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Cheap thrills

January 24, 2011

Something’s been missing. I couldn’t figure out what. These past few weeks, I’ll hear a song, think about a color, or see a picture and feel this ache in my heart. On Monday I was standing in the kitchen in that same funk and realized what it was. “Oh yes. Summer. Living things. That’s what I’ve been wanting.”

I don’t mind the cold. Really, it feels refreshing, like peppermint. Nothing wakes you like -20 on the way to the gym. I think the snow is beautiful. Taking a jog around a frozen lake is exhilarating. But there is this hollow place that needs green things, dirt and garden tomatoes.

I think back to my childhood and how I treasured that first patch of spring mud, how I stepped out barefoot even though the ground was still freezing. I saw purple crocuses and those little flowers that look like a bunch of grapes turned upside down. These colors meant hope, an imminent Spring.

We have a long time yet until Spring.

Thankfully, there is much to be done around here, and it’s a good excuse to stay inside and focus. Focus Tiffany, focus. String together a few nice sentences. Organize. Finish decorating the house, with all its bare corners.

So I find myself at my favorite thrift store, where I may get gunned down one of these days. It’s not in the sunniest area of town. But those kinds of stores are the best, because they are sitting on a pile of vintage gold, and no one realizes it. Which is why I always come out buying way more than I intended, even though I promise Seth that I am saving him so much money by thrifting.

So even though I can’t have Spring, I now have:

A rainstick. (Pictured above. Because every family needs a rainstick.)

New wall decor for the kitchen.

A milk bucket, for my once-and-future Jersey cow.

A new bag. I’ve decided to graduate from purses.

Chairs! Because while I promised myself that in 2011 I would focus my energies and write, winter seems like a great time to dabble into upholstery. That should keep me busy until the snow melts.

  1. Ondalyn permalink
    January 24, 2011 9:53 am

    I love how you make life so rich and exciting, even when it’s 20 below outside! It got into the single digits last night and we thought we couldn’t stop talking about how cold it was! You guys are troopers. I love your thrift finds. Good luck with the projects!

  2. January 24, 2011 12:39 pm

    Oooh, those look like great chairs. Have fun!

  3. Terry Arvidson permalink
    January 24, 2011 2:39 pm

    Tiffany, It is wise to understand that every family does indeed require a rainstick!

  4. January 25, 2011 12:16 am

    okay when you actually upholster them…do a tutorial on is, so i can too! 🙂

  5. Michelle permalink
    January 28, 2011 12:58 pm


    I am a loyal stalker of your blog. I always come away wanting to find more delight in the ordinary. And wanting to write more. You are so fun to read!

    I just had a baby 3 weeks ago, little Tucker James Linton. I’m still getting used to the name. It sounds like an adorable toddler or Texas outlaw, not sure which, but the social security card arrived in the mail, so I guess I need to commit to the name!

    With a new baby comes lots of time sitting, and with two other toddlers, that means lots of messes. I’m looking for books I can read with them. We bring home stacks of books from the library every week, short ones that can be read in 10 minutes or less, but I’ve been thinking lately about how to engage them more in what we read, and I thought about chapter books — to teach them how to engage, to prevent chaos while I nurse, the reasons are many 🙂 Are there ANY chapter books you might recommend for a 4 1/2 year old and a 3 year old? I’d love to read them a story that continues in each reading session. Any chapter books for Preschoolers you can think of? When you read with your boys at night, what do you do about the age difference? Who do you read to? Does it work?

    Much love to you. Someday I’d love an hour to sit and chat about Annie Dillard and how to garden with you.

    Love, Michelle Linton

    • January 28, 2011 1:49 pm

      Michelle–congrats on the new baby! Do you guys like Texas? I love the name Tucker. I pushed for it four times, but Seth wouldn’t go for it.

      Some good chapter books for littles: “Little House in the Big Woods” is great. It’s written very simply and has detailed illustrations, and surprisingly boys love it, because it has a good dose of bear hunts and rifles and the like. I also love “House at Pooh Corner.” The stories are so funny. Roald Dahl is great too. Willie Wonka and James and the Giant Peach are both good for younger kids, if you don’t mind his sometimes-macabre sense of humor.

      We’ve recently taken to CDs on tape when we’re driving around, and that’s been super fun. We just finished Pippi Longstocking and the Wizard of Oz. Now we’re reading The Long Winter, which I thought would be appropriate. If I think of any others, I’ll let you know.

      • Michelle permalink
        January 30, 2011 12:05 pm

        THANK YOU!!! Can’t wait to search for these at the library. I’m heartened that someone with so much verbal style likes the name Tucker 🙂

  6. Vivienne Lewis permalink
    January 31, 2011 12:37 am

    Tiffany, I need you to come do your magic at my house!

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