Welcome 2024!

Happy New Year! We have been in the midst of our annual holiday break for estate sales which is normally two weeks but turned out to be three weeks this year. We did work ahead at two sales in preparation for the four sales we have next week to kick off the year. Things are quieter for me on the estate sale front but I still have most of my usual tasks to work on. After next week I will have a three week break from paperwork which I am really looking forward to. It worked out well because the third week we will be in Tucson for the Gem Show. I might just make the holiday break three weeks from now on!

I have not organized the garage after the last sale like I wanted to and the car is still out on the driveway. I am very happy to report that our community is going to host a garage sale once again. A survey was taken and the overwhelming majority (myself included) voted for the same weekend as last year. It will be February 17 which is a Saturday and this time I will continue the sale on my own Sunday as well. The plan is to separate out the items which are worth putting online and doing deep discounts on the rest, jewelry included.

I was going to start posting weekly jewelry lots again as it has been nearly two months but I unfortunately did not get to it this past Sunday. Instead I have been working on getting all the vintage Native American jewelry collection online. It has been kind of a slow process but I was able to get about 30 items posted, although some of them were pieces I left in Scottsdale this summer and were already written up. I updated the descriptions to match my new format and made sure every necklace and earrings listing has a "try-on" photo. The new items are all listed at the top of the Vintage Native American Silver Jewelry category, click on the link to view them. The most popular item as far as activity goes is this gorgeous cuff bracelet by Navajo artist Daniel Mike. I was very shocked to see that I have 920 views on this bracelet on Facebook Marketplace alone. No takers yet, I had a few offers but the people did not follow through. I did sell four different items in the few days since I started posting, two of them staying in state.

Since there are just three of us, on Christmas Day we went to The Buffet at We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort. It is about a half hour away near Fountain Hills, AZ. This is definitely the nicest casino in the Phoenix area. Compared to other dining options, this buffet was a great value and had something for everyone to enjoy. There used to be a pretty good buffet at Talking Stick Casino which is a little closer but they never reopened after the pandemic. We-Ko-Pa was well worth the trip - we had to wait about 45 minutes but the food was plentiful and very good. I was not crazy about where they seated us because it was right near where the employees were flying in and out of the back room behind us and diners in and out of an adjacent dining room right next to us. I think they stuck us there because of Mother's wheelchair.

For New Year's Eve, we stayed in and did Italian food carryout from Streets Of New York which is right down the street. Too many crazy drivers around Phoenix to go out! We were going to get the lasagna but they were out of stock. Mother selected a Mediterranean pizza and Kuochun and I shared pizza rollups and boneless chicken wings. I have never dined in but I have really enjoyed all of the food we have ever ordered here. Unfortunately Phoenix does not have a local televised party. I used to watch the Channel 7 show in Chicago every year. There is no fireworks show either but the local news did show an aerial view of all of the amateur fireworks being shot off all over town. Poor Vivi was so afraid of the fireworks noise. It was difficult to get her to out for her evening walks for nearly a week after that. Margot was not phased in the least.

Another project I have been working on is to apply for consignment of my best Native American pieces to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, which was founded in 1929 and is a world-class exhibition of Indigenous art only 16 minutes from home. I have not had the chance to tour the museum yet but have visited their wonderful gift shop several times and their beautiful cafe once. I created a webpage under my name BrigidMcAlpin.com showcasing pieces I felt would be of interest. I contacted them on January 2; their website says it takes about four weeks to receive a response. I was so surprised to hear from the director of the program just two days later! He is very interested in working with me and their consignment program sounds fantastic. I responded with my application and let him know I could deliver the jewelry in person as opposed to shipping. I hope to hear back soon! I am very honored that the Heard is willing to accept my jewelry. Mother sees this as a sign that maybe things will look up for us in 2024. These pieces are all online and will remain available for purchase until I take them to the Heard.

This past Saturday was Melinda's birthday and we met up at Thieves Market which is an antique / flea market in the parking lot at Paradise Valley Community College in North Phoenix. We learned about the market at my last sale - a couple visited who sells there and they highly recommended that I sell there as well. We used to do tons of outdoor events back in the day but have not for a long time. I thought it would be a better idea to pay them a visit as opposed to just signing up. Things started off a little slow but we all found some little things to buy. There were a lot of items there which are not my cup of tea, such as rustic antiques and '90s T-shirts. I was mainly looking for jewelry but all the vendors were asking retail except for one. Some of them even had their antique mall price tags on everything! Melinda bought a sterling chain and Mother bought a pair of sterling earrings from the reasonable vendor, who came from New Mexico. She definitely had the most interesting jewelry but it was not low enough for resale. The market was not crowded, there were a fair amount of people in attendance but I do not think it was enough to make it worthwhile for me to participate. I would have to rent a U-Haul because my car is too small to hold everything and get up so early because the market starts at 8:00 AM and is a half hour away. The market runs from October through April and I am sure by the time April comes along, it will be very hot in the sun, especially without a tent. I will not be in a hurry to go back but I was glad to have known about it and it was a nice way for us to celebrate Melinda's day.

We took our time going through the market because our plan was to go to Cornish Pasty Co. across the street for lunch. I have been wanting to try this British restaurant ever since I first came to Arizona. It is a local chain with additional locations in northern Arizona and Boulder City, NV which is near Las Vegas. When Kuochun and I went to Las Vegas last year, we visited Boulder City but Kuochun was not hungry. The main attraction are the pastys, which are pastry dough hand pies with lots of different savory filling choices. Upon looking at the menu, Mother immediately knew she was going to get the Guiness stew. The photo is of her meal, she got a little creative by adding chips (hand cut fries) to the sour cream and chives. I selected the meat and cheese which is pork and sage sausage with cheddar and Swiss cheese. Melinda went with the mushroom, walnut and spinach soup and homemade bread. We all just loved what they ordered. The atmosphere was great and Mother even enjoyed the music which never happens. Mother mentioned the restaurant to one of her therapists and she was actually there on the same day! She said the desserts are amazing. There is another location 5 minutes from home so hopefully one day Kuochun will be able to try it. He is kind of skeptical about the pasty idea because he does not care for heavy breading but this shell is so thin it is just a nice compliment to the filling. Like many others in the local foodie groups, I highly recommend adding this restaurant to the "to-do" list when visiting either Phoenix or Las Vegas.

I shot the main photo while Kuochun and I were out walking the girls Saturday night. The sunset was absolutely spectacular, it looked like someone painted the sky. The photo did not do it justice. Sunday evening, the sunset was various shades of grey. It is very interesting how the colors are different every day.

Later that evening, I decided to purchase a walking pad from QVC. I belong to MyPoints, which is a website which allows you to earn points by clicking on e-mail or making online purchases. These points can be used towards gift cards. I always get TJX gift cards which can be used at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and a couple of additional stores. I had been thinking about getting a walking pad for quite some time, but the ones I saw online did not look too sturdy and I am over their weight limit. I learned about this today's special value through a MyPoints e-mail and I watched the demonstration video. I was really impressed by its sturdiness, I easily meet the weight requirement and it folds up and can be rolled out of the way. Currently Kuochun and I go to the local senior center three times per week where I mostly do time on the treadmill with incline programs but the purpose of the walking pad will be to get 10,000 steps in per day. I have seen the heartwarming videos of very overweight dogs who have been rescued and treadmills are used to get them back to a normal weight. I thought if it can work for dogs it can work for me! Plus I can catch up on TV programs at the same time. It is not in the budget right now but since there was a 5-month payment plan I decided to go for it. I will receive 4 MyPoints per dollar spent as well.

Coming up, the plan is to get ready for the garage sale as much as possible before leaving for Tucson so afterwards I can work on putting the new goodies up for sale. My budget for Tucson is not large this year so I will be choosing very carefully but I would have been sad to miss it.

Until next time!