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Category Archives: shopping

Not Exactly Armani

One of my first stops on my busy day Saturday was the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Ilion or, as I like to call it, Salvation Armani (full disclosure: I did not think of that myself; I stole it from a lady who wears thrift store finds with as much panache as if they were Armani). I wanted two more skirts and possibly a blouse for my character (I believe I’ve mentioned I’m in a play).

I play a crazy old lady. I wore one of my own skirts for rehearsal and some people in the cast declared it perfect for my character. Cue jokes about my wardrobe and crazy old ladies, but you won’t make me laugh. I know it was type casting. The skirt is a colorful, voluminous affair. I hoped to find a couple more that were similar. I had flowers in mind, but anything big and bright would do.

I walked down the skirt aisle, at first seeing nothing then throwing several possibilities over my arm. The first one was black and white checks. I wasn’t in love with it but thought at least the shape looked OK. Guess which was the only one that fit me.

Actually, that’s not true. A few of them fit OK but seemed wrong for one reason or another. Additionally, I wanted to purchase something I would be likely to wear myself, in case it didn’t work out for the play. The black and white checks were growing on me. And the skirt had pockets, one of my favorite features.

I also went through the jumpers and dresses. One dress I tried on might have worked, but no way on earth would I have worn it in real life. I put it back on the rack. I thought, two skirts would be all right. I could wear the same thing in Acts I and III. People often repeat outfits in real life. Hell, I wear the same skanky BDU pants to work every day (and you needn’t say TMI; how can it be too much information when EVERYBODY already knows).

A search for props was fruitless, but I quite by accident found a book about Queen Elizabeth I. Score! I love that period of history. I quickly glanced through the other books but with no further luck.

At the checkout I paid with my bank card, chattily telling the clerk I needed my cash for the laundromat. This led to a conversation about laundry in which another customer told me that bleaching my whites would eventually cause them to yellow.

“Use Oxyclean,” she advised. “Or baking soda.”

“Baking soda is a miracle drug,” I said.

“I clean everything with it,” the clerk volunteered.

“I brush my teeth with it,” I shared.

“That’s right! You can brush your teeth with it.”

We parted friends. This is how I like to shop.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store is located at 164 W. Main St., Ilion, NY. Phone number is 315-894-9028.

Yearly Shout-Out to Melfe’s

Last Friday I made my annual shopping trip to Melfe’s in Ilion for my work shoes. My employer has a deal with them where I get a free pair every year, sometimes two depending on what I pick. Some of my co-workers do not take full advantage of the benefit, feeling their shoes can last more than a year. I like to pamper my feet. They have enough trouble holding up my weight all day.

I like wearing steel-toed work shoes. I enjoy knowing if I kicked anybody in the ass they would feel it. Full disclosure: I have never literally kicked anybody in the ass (note correct use of “literally”). But I have the option.

Only one other person was shopping at the time. Vicki greeted me right away and we went over to the women’s work shoes. I like the ones that look like sneakers. Right away I saw the same pair of Sketchers I have had three times.

“Seven and a half wide,” I said. They were in stock and they fit. Vicki told me they were included in the two-for deal, so I pointed to a Reebok and a Converse I liked. Only the Reeboks were available in my size. They felt pretty good, so I took them. It was an unusually decisive day for me.

As always I complimented Vicki on the good service.

“I’ll write a blog post about it,” I said. “Not that I think a lot of people read my blog.” (I did not mention to her my 500+ followers, because I don’t really know how many of them are local.) (Oh dear, did that just sound like I was bragging about all my followers to you? I’m not! I’m grateful for all my readers!)

Vicki said she had read my blog posts, remembering that I had written one about her and one about Mike, the other clerk. I was so pleased.

Melfe’s is located at 64 Central Ave., Ilion, NY. Phone number is 315-894-4094. In addition to work shoes, they carry sneakers and dress shoes. They also offer shoe repair.

I Shop Local and Score

I pause in the midst of my Saturday chores to compose a blog post on How I Shopped Local on Shop Local Saturday (or whatever today is called; I just read somewhere you are supposed to show local today).

To begin with, I didn’t have anything to wear. This has ever been the case with me as I rarely purchase clothes to begin with and as my weight fluctuates, many of the ones I do have do not fit at any given time. Kindly do NOT lecture me on the evils of yo-yo dieting; this is not that sort of a blog. I only mention it by way of introduction to today’s shopping. To be fair to myself, I don’t yo-yo a whole lot anyways but tend to go up and down in long arcs. Right now I am at a plateau.

Another wardrobe problem I have is that clothes get dirty. Our washer and drier perished in the flood of 2013, and we are still utilizing the laundromat (you may have read some of my blog posts about it). Getting to the laundromat in a timely and regular fashion requires a level of having one’s act together that I am unlikely to attain.

Be all that as it may, I went to the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Ilion, NY this afternoon in search of skirts. I prefer to wear skirts when not at work. Long, large, comfortable skirts with pockets. I wear them with spandex tights, leggings or long johns. Unfortunately I shrunk out of the last two skirts I had. I have been wearing jeans or else this batik wraparound I purchased in 1983. The wraparound is thin cotton (which is getting thinner after 30 years, I suppose. Wish I was) (you just knew I was going to say that).

This is turning out to be a long introduction to my shopping trip. That’s OK, I’ll skimp on the trip itself. I quickly went through all the skirts and found three to try on. I liked two, one teal, one brown. Only the teal one had pockets, but you can’t always get what you want. I went through the dresses and found a denim jumper, which I also tried on. Score!

Of course I can’t go to the thrift store without also looking at the books. I found an Agatha Christie paperback that did not look familiar, although I probably have read it. It features Hercule Poirot. Another score!

The two skirts I liked were on sale. Every day one tag color is 50% off. This was getting better and better. I mentioned to the clerk that I was shopping local because it was Shop Local Day (or whatever they’re calling it).

“It’s also reduce, reuse, recycle,” I said. He pointed out that the money I was spending also went to help people. So two skirts, a jumper, a paperback and a frisson of virtue. What could be better? Oh I know, making my blog post so I can get back to my Saturday chores. At the risk of being obvious, once again, Score!

Another Little Falls Destination

A really fun shopping trip, whether you buy anything or not, is the Little Falls Antique Center and The Shops at 25 West, 25 West Mill Street, Little Falls, NY. I particularly like to go there with a group of people, because we point out different things to each other. Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to do just that.

We admired antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing and more. Jewelry and paintings by local artists are available, as well as alpaca products. I remembered seeing the llamas at some of the festivals we’ve been to, Canalfest and the Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Fest, for example. You can buy accessories made with the alpaca wool or the yarn and make things yourself.

After trying on several hats which he did not buy (although I took a picture), my nephew found a vintage varsity jacket that had his name on it. No, really, his name was embroidered on it. My sister got a lamp made out of clarinet.

“She could just make one out of her clarinet,” I said.

“No, she still plays that,” my mother reminded me. I bet if I still had a cello, people would pay me to make a lamp out of it so that I wouldn’t play it any more. However, my sister is a talented musician.

We wandered around both buildings for a while. I did not buy anything for once, but others in my group did and were quite pleased with their purchases. What I wish I had gotten was a cup of coffee from Ole Sal’s Cafe, because I heard it was good coffee.

I’m sure I’ll be back in Little Falls soon, because it is just a short drive from Herkimer. If nothing else, my sister definitely plans to visit me for the Garlic Festival.

The shops are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information you can visit their website at

Spree Enough for Me

Yesterday I wrote about our visit to Tractor Supply Co. It was only the first stop on our Sunday Shopping Spree in Herkimer, NY.

We also went to Rite Aid to pick up a prescription re-fill. Steven and Tabby waited in the car. A hardware store may welcome pets on a leash, but I felt sure a drug store would feel differently.

When I came back out, I handed Steven my prescription and walked over to T & J Fruits and Vegetables, which is handily located next door. I quickly found the green peppers and chose one. I glanced at the other produce but did not purchase anything else. I was tempted by some Roma tomatoes but was skeptical of my actually using them right away. I knew there was every chance I would throw them in the produce drawer saying, “I’ll make a salad this week,” and failing to follow through.

Our last stop was Vintage Spirits for a bottle of white wine for dinner. Also, I wanted to cook with wine (sometimes I even put it in the food) (I read that on a t-shirt somewhere). They don’t mind if Tabby comes into Vintage Spirits. We didn’t take too long anyways, because I knew just what I wanted.

So I guess I can’t really call it a shopping spree: dog food and trash can (see yesterday’s post), prescription, green pepper, white wine. Oh well, I don’t usually do that much shopping anyways. I’ll call this a spree. If anybody wants to argue semantics with me, feel free to make a comment. I’ll nod and smile.

Post-Christmas Shop Talk

I seem to remember NOT giving a shout-out to some of the places where I Christmas shopped, because of fear some recipient would have his or her surprise spoiled (could I have obviated the danger with a well-place Spoiler Alert?)(too late now). Well, Christmas is over, presents have been opened, I’m even almost over my post-Christmas letdown. Let’s talk shopping.

The Remington Country Store in Ilion, NY, is a fun place to shop. It is located on Catherine Street, attached to Remington Arms. You walk through the Remington Museum to get there (also worth a visit, but today we’re talking about shopping).

I got all my nieces and nephews Remington t-shirts. I decided to channel my Grandma, who used to get all her grandkids the same thing. Convenient, and you can’t be accused of playing favorites. Grandma used to divide by gender, but I decided to go gender neutral and get everybody the same thing (I could further discuss this decision with some half-baked philosophy on Lame Post Friday).

Full disclosure: my nephews may have felt ripped off, because I got them Remington t-shirts last year. I was still dividing by gender at the time. See, I’m still evolving.

I also got a green Remington beer glass for my Dad. He likes to drink his beer out of a glass, sometimes frosted in the freezer. For my Mom, I got some notecards with Jim Parker prints, and a Remington pen. My Mom writes a lot of letters and sends cards on many occasions.

There are many more items for sale at the Country Store. I don’t imagine I’ll wait till next Christmas to shop there again. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call 315-895-3200 or 800-243-9700 or visit

New Year, New Shoes

Saturday I made my yearly visit to Melfe’s Shoes in Ilion, NY, for steel-toed work shoes.

The store is located at 64 Central Ave. I parked in Sorrento Pizzeria and Restaurant lot (hmmm, haven’t eaten there in a while; that would make a good blog post) (preview of coming attractions).

I felt fortunate to arrive at a time when the store was not too busy. However, I have also been there at busy times. The staff is very good at getting everybody taken care of.

A nice lady named Vicki took care of me. While she brought out 7 1/2 Wides and I walked around in them, we chatted about the weather and the great outdoors. She likes to go fishing. That’s a sport I think I tried once in junior high. Might be time to try it again (I won’t say “preview of coming attractions,” because it might be a while) (unless I try ice fishing. Hmm…).

I was very happy with the shoes I picked and with the service I recieved. I also got a pink Melfe’s t-shirt. I will probably wear it to work. Melfe’s carries other foot gear than work boots. I may return soon to check out some of their other ware (ah, yet another preview of coming attractions).

For more information on Melfe’s Shoes, call 315-894-4049.

Fun at the Mill

I thought I would write a little bit more about Sunday’s visit to the Fly Creek Cider Mill.

It is always an enjoyable drive from Herkimer to Fly Creek, over mountains with great scenic views. I looked at farmland, lakes and more. Luckily, Steven was driving.

We went into the main building while we waited for my sister and two nieces to arrive. I thought it couldn’t hurt to get a head start on some sampling. That is one thing I love about Fly Creek Cider Mill, lots of free samples. They have dips, sauces, spreads and more. My favorite this past Sunday was a spinach and artichoke dip, which they had heated up. We bought a jar of that.

We also tried a few of the wines. Hard cider was also available for sample, but I didn’t want to be greedy. The Mill is part of the Cooperstown Beverage Trail, which a lady gave us a booklet about. Could be a future blog post (or posts).

After the others had arrived, we had some more samples and wandered upstairs to look at the many gifts and decorations available. I almost feel it is too early to think about Christmas decorations, but, oh, I love all the Santas! Of course, it is never the wrong time for Halloween, as far as I’m concerned, so I thoroughly enjoyed looking at those things.

When we had browsed and tasted our fill, we made our purchases and went outside to see the animals. There are chickens, ducks and geese, walking around a fenced in area or swimming in what I think is Fly Creek. We fed them some corn, available in gumball-type dispensing machines for twenty-five cents. Note to self: bring more quarters next time.

Steven and I try to get to the Mill at least once every year. I hope to go again in a couple of months, when the drive down will be enhanced by the changing leaves.

Fly Creek Cider Mill is located at 288 Goose St., Fly Creek, NY 13337, phone number 607-547-9692. Their website is You can also Like them on Facebook.

Books and Blooms

On Saturday Steven only worked till two, so we were both able to check out the Books and Blooms fundraiser at the Herkimer County Humane Society. Knowing we would encounter dog lovers there, we took our schnoodle Tabby.

The first things we saw were some lovely hanging baskets, but I was more interested in another perennial. Two years ago I had purchased a Black-eyed Susan at the Humane Society. It has been blooming ever since. Of course I love my container garden, but how delightful it is to have things come up every year.

A nice lady told us all about the various plants they had: what needed more sunlight, what did well in partial shade. We debated a little, but then I wanted to pick out books before I decided which bloom.

You know me and books. It didn’t take long for me to gather an armful. Then I picked the plant I liked best. Its name escapes me as I write this, but I’ll be able to check before I type it into the computer. It wasn’t one I was familiar with, and it wasn’t in bloom so that will be a nice surprise for me when it does.

Steven and I are always happy to support the Humane Society. When it also enhances my garden and my library, what’s not to like? For more information on the Herkimer County Humane Society, you can visit their website at or you can like them on Facebook. They post lots of cool animal pictures.

NOTE: The plant I purchased was Coreopsis Route 66. I know I only could have edited the above paragraph to include that, but I thought it was kind of funny that I couldn’t remember what I bought.

Fun with a Friend

The reason I used to like Saturday Running Commentary is that I would get up, run, write the blog post, get on with my day. Oh, I usually showered between run and write (I knew some of you would be concerned about that). Well, I haven’t been running in a while now, and a singularly uneventful walk with Tabby this morning did not make up the deficiency. I postponed the writing of the blog and went off adventuring with my friend Phyllis. So this is both a Running Around Commentary and a shout out to Fun with a Friend.

We were on a mission to find things for Ilion Little Theatre’s next production, Dirty Work at the Crossroads (you may have read some posts I’ve written about it). First I had the difficult of trying to print out some Michael’s coupons from my computer, and of course, nothing to do with computers is easy for me. Then I had to search out the Hobby Lobby coupon I had clipped from last Sunday’s paper. Oh, there WAS a Micheal’s coupon in the paper. Well, now I had an extra. I put all the coupons into a notebook where I had a list of stuff I was looking for, which I put down while I found my jacket, picked up my purse, kissed Steven good-bye, etc. Then I had to stomp around the house trying to remember where I put down the notebook. Sometimes it’s just not easy being me.

I drove to Phyllis’ house to pick her up, a place I have been to several times. I really can’t tell you why I drove right by it and didn’t see it. I found a place to turn around and drove back, looking more carefully this time, to find Jim and Phyllis standing at the end of the driveway waving at me so I wouldn’t miss them again. Jim was still standing in the driveway, acting like Mookie Maguggins (his character in the play) while Phyllis and I drove away.

We drove around New Hartford, NY, in search of various things. Party City, Toys R Us, Hobby Lobby and Michael’s all helped us out, and my coupons which had caused so much trouble came in handy. We felt we were so successful, we deserved lunch out. Luckily we were right near Symeon’s, as it turns out, a favorite of both of ours.

That was the coolest thing about our morning: Phyllis and I get along so well. We like all the same stores. We got sick of shopping pretty much at the same time. We went to Symeon’s and ordered the same lunch, for heavens’ sake. Oh, one difference: Phyllis had a glass of wine while I had coffee, because I was driving.

I will probably do a post specifically on Symeon’s soon, because, yum. And I’ll talk some more about the stuff we bought for the play, especially as some of it will form part of a couple of projects I plan to undertake. For right now, though, I just want to say, I had a swell time with my friend. Thanks, Phyllis!