Tag Archives: old books

How To’s I Never Want to Use…

One of the fun parts of owning an antiquarian bookstore  is reading some of the old books…here are some “useful” bits of information from days gone by:

 1. How to cure “Humid hands”:
“Nothing can be so disagreeable as a grasp with the over-moist hand. This infirmity is not seldom constitutional and though difficult of eradication, may be greatly relieved. Whatever tends to strengthen the body will alleviate, if not entirely remedy, the excessive moisture of the hands. Exercise in the open air, cold bathing, a generous but not too stimulating diet, habitual composure of mind, and perhaps a daily draught of some mineral water or medicinal dose containing iron, are the best general means of treatment. The most effective local applications are the juice of lemon and starch powder.” from The Bazar Book of Decorum, published in 1875

I have some ex-boyfriends who could have used this tip!

This might help those sweaty palms...

2. How to re-attach a severed finger:
“If a child has the misfortune to have a finger cut off by a machine, as sometimes [?] happens, the severed member should be picked up, washed in salt and water and put in place again [before or after the hysterical screaming stops?], being fastened with strips of adhesive plaster [will duct tape work?]. A bandage should then be wound around it and left undisturbed until the wound heals. If there is a disagreeable odor, or any evidence of inflammation, as redness, heat, or swelling, it must be unbound, washed in carbolized water and the dressing replaced. There is good hope that the parts will unite, and at least the experiment ought always to be tried [worst case scenario – the kid will get gangrene and die].” from The Care of Children, by Elisabeth Robinson Scovil, published in 1894

This lady would probably do better looking after this problem than I would...

3. How to remove gunpowder stains from one’s face [yes, you read that correctly – face]:
“Gunpowder stains of the face may be removed by painting with biniodide of ammonium, distilled water, equal parts; then with dilute hydrochloric acid, to reach the tissue more deeply affected.” from Audel’s Household Helps, Hints, and Receipts; 3000 References, published in 1913

I just hate going to work with gunpowder stains on my face…

This stuff stains...

4. How to unclog the sink with your hand:
“If your sink drain becomes stopped up, you can often clear it by using your hand as a suction pump. Have plenty of water in the sink, and press in rapid succession with the palm of the hand until the water runs freely again.”  from Audel’s Household Helps, Hints, and Receipts; 3000 References, published in 1913

Just be careful not to sever a finger (see #2!).

Who needs a plunger when you can use your hand to fix this?

5. How to reduce a large, fleshy nose:
“Large, fleshy noses are reduced by wearing occasionally at night a contrivance which compresses the artery that supplies the nose.”  from Audel’s Household Helps, Hints, and Receipts; 3000 References, published in 1913

Wouldn’t this “contrivance” cut off the circulation to the area?  I’m thinking I’d rather have a “large, fleshy nose” than a hole where it used to be…

This guy needs to wear a "contrivance" of some kind...

6. How to prevent worms:
“A teaspoonful of salt dissolved in a teacupful of water is a good remedy to prevent worms in children, taken at night before retiring.”  from Audel’s Household Helps, Hints, and Receipts; 3000 References, published in 1913

Can I substitute Pepsi for water?

"Gee, Mom...I can't even taste the salt!"

7. How to remove a button in the nostril:
“A button or other object that has been forced up into the nostril of a child is often removed by the use of a pinch of snuff held to the nose.”  from Audel’s Household Helps, Hints, and Receipts; 3000 References, published in 1913

Now, where did I leave my snuffbox?

This is a pretty snuffbox...

8. How to walk with a member of the opposite sex:
“When walking together, a girl does not take a boy’s arm unless she needs assistance. He should not take her arm either under ordinary circumstances, but sometimes he places his hand on her elbow when crossing the street in traffic. Linking arms or walking with arms around each other is not considered good taste.” from Teen Guide to Homemaking, by Marion S. Barclay and Frances Champion, published in 1967 

I never was concerned about what other people consider “good taste.”

This couple is doing it right...

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It’s My Birthday, and I’ll Pie If I Want To…

Today is my 49th birthday…yes, I know…it’s very hard to believe!  I am fortunate and grateful for good genes and good health!

We woke up early this morning, as we had planned to go to St. Martins for the Town-Wide Community Yard Sale they were having as part of Old Home Week…I love yard sales (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/yard-sales-the-thrill-of-victory-and-the-agony-of-the-feet/).  We had planned to leave the house at 8 a.m.  We did well to get out the door by 8:20…after stops at the Credit Union and the gas station, we were on our way.

Passing through Fairfield, we saw our first “Garage Sale” sign.  It was in front of a shabby country house with even shabbier outbuildings.  Anna decided to stay in the van – she said it looked “too sketchy” for her to get out.  The rest of us (minus Devin, who hates shopping) headed up the driveway towards a large garage.  It was a complete surprise: inside, an older man in overalls greeted us warmly and made small talk about the weather.  Everything was laid out neatly on tables, or displayed on pegboards along the walls. I found a pretty Ironstone cream and sugar set made by Ridgway in the Jacobean Brown pattern.  I paid $3.

This is the matching cup and saucer for my cream and sugar...

Jim found another bird feeder (just what he needs)…one with small holes for finches.  Hope bought some jewellery.  I found a book I might have purchased had it not been musty-smelling.  We headed back to the van.

Our first stop in St. Martins was the Village Market Building.  This was where the Book Fair was advertised to be.  Unfortunately, there were very few books, and a lot of yard sale stuff.  Jim took Hope in search of a washroom while I bought three books for $7.  Once Jim got back, we headed down the very busy Main St.  We decided the best course of action would be to get out and walk. 

After a couple of hours walking and shopping (along with an ice cream break and another pee break), we had accumulated some more treasures: two more books ($2), a Beanie baby bear, a ceiling fixture with a fan, a large clamp, a Five-Star binder, and a pair of soundproofing headphones.  We were tired and hot, and close to one of Jim’s and my favourite places in St. Martins: Fiori’s Restaurant (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/eating-around-new-brunswick/).

This is Hope's Beanie Baby bear for July...her birthday is the 31st...

We went in…Brianna added a tongue and eyebrows to the happy face drawn on the whiteboard beside the door…I quickly herded the family in and we sat down at a table.

The restaurant was busier than usual…one waitress was running her buns off!  She took our beverage orders: Brianna ordered “Chocolate From The Cow.” Then we studied the menu, some of us longer than others:  Hope took forever to decide what she wanted…after another bathroom break, she finally landed on the children’s breakfast with a pancake (Jim told her he’d pay extra to get sausage and bacon). 

Jim had the Mexican Fiesta Platter (which is what he usually orders).  Brianna ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad in a tortilla bowl.  Anna settled for the BLT Wrap, and I had the Veggie Panini.

Everybody’s food was excellent: the Ciabatta bread in my Panini was amazing!  The filling was tomatoes, cucumber and baby spinach.  A side salad with lettuce, cucumber, dried blueberries, and raspberry vinaigrette completed the plate.  I ate every bite (including Anna’s dried blueberries!).

The waitress was still having difficulty keeping up, so one of the owners, Mike Fiori, came out of the kitchen to clear our table.  He told us a story about an artist who lived across the street.  When the waitress came over, I asked what the desserts were today:  She advised that there were three kinds of cheesecake, Death by Chocolate cake, a brownie with brownie frozen yogurt and caramel syrup, or pecan pie (all desserts are homemade by Barb Fiori).  I informed her that since it was my birthday, I would have the pecan pie.  The staff brought out my piece of pie with a birthday candle stuck in the top, and they were singing, “Happy Birthday!”  I wasn’t a bit embarrassed!  Mike said I must be “29”!  I agreed that I was “29 again.”  That pie was absolutely heavenly (of course, I’ve rarely met a pie I didn’t like, except cream pies!).  Jim, Anna and Hope had the blueberry cheesecake, and Brianna polished off every bite of her “Death by Chocolate” cake.

Heavenly Pecan Pie...

The best part of the meal (besides the fact that I didn’t have to pay for it) was that five of us ate for $76 and change…great healthy food including dessert and taxes!

We were all stuffed as we walked back to the van…

When we got home, I headed for my computer…wow…lots of my friends had sent me birthday messages!  I thanked them all, and then caught up with some of my friends’ blogs (check out the links on the right – not a bad writer among them!).  The kids gave me their presents (Dad gave me some money earlier in the week to get my hair done): Hope gave me a gift card for Shoppers Drug Mart, Devin gave me small earphones for the computer at the store (so I can listen to music, but still hear the customers come in), and Anna and Brianna gave me big headphones for my computer at home (so I can drown out the sound of the TV or the kids’ music while I listen to mine!).  Jim and I are going tomorrow to pick out my big gift from him: a new bike!  Kaylee, Scott and Elise are coming over for supper tomorrow night too.  I finally bought a playpen for when Elise comes over…she finds every bit of lint on my living room rug when she’s here, and tries to eat it!

Kaylee, Elise and Scott in June of this year...

After the presents, Jim, Anna and Brianna took off for Hampton – Jim had arranged to photograph a friend’s wedding, and took the girls along as helpers.  Devin helped me hook up my new headphones, and then I looked up my St. Martins book purchases: not bad – spent $9, and got about $105 U.S. worth of books.  I was pleased…

I paid $3 for this book...it will be listed online for $20 U.S.

Hope was happy too…her friend who just moved to Miramichi was in town visiting her dad, and invited her over to go swimming…Hope had been feeling left out about not getting to go to the wedding, but she was okay now!  Off she went with her friend.

Dad and I watched one of the Ron James DVDs that I got him for his birthday…I love that guy…he’s hilarious!  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it – it’s still funny!

This is the DVD we watched tonight...there are three more...

So…it’s been a good day (and the only work I’ve done is make supper)…I’m still looking forward to the birthday party at Jim’s mom’s on Wednesday (that’s his 48th birthday – she’s having a party for both of us).  I’ll post pictures of that too!

Thanks to everyone who made this last birthday of my forties a happy one!

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The “There Should Be an Award For That” Awards…

1. The “Miss Malaprop” Award.  Winner: Hope.  Last week, we were having supper, and Jim mentioned that he was having trouble with his sinuses again.  Hope offered to let him use her “nozzle spray” (Jim finally saw the specialist today – he needs surgery to scoop the stuff out of his sinuses and fix his deviated septum).

Hope's "Nozzle Spray"...

2. The “Sadistic Parents” Award.  Winners: Mr. and Mrs. Dull.   This week, I evaluated a book called A Battle History of The Imperial Japanese Navy (1941-1945).  It was written by a guy named Paul S. Dull.  Unless his middle name is something like “Sigmund,” I would probably be using that one rather than “Paul” (especially since he’s an academic!).

Book by Paul S. Dull...

3. The “Blonde Moment” Award.  Winner: Mia Michaels, So You Think You Can Dance judge.  Last night, Adichiké did a big jump during a duet with Kent.  Mia said he looked like a “giselle.”  Both Nigel and Adam quickly corrected her.

It's "gazelle!"

4. The “Most Moving Choreography Ever” Award.  Winner: Travis Wall, choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance.  Last night, Robert and Allison danced a piece to Coldplay‘s “Fix You” depicting Travis and his mother, Denise, who was facing major surgery.  My mom was chronically ill for the last 23 years of her life…I was bawling so hard, I was literally wailing.

Robert and Allison making everybody cry...

5. The “Most Birds on a Feeder” Award.  Winner: The goldfinches in our back yard.  We have had as many as seven at once on the finch feeder.  Second place: The blue jays.  Their record is four (but they don’t play very well together).

Five yellow birds on the finch feeder (taken by Jim)...

6. The “Worst Title for a Kids Book” Award.  Winner: Felicity Hayle.  This British author titled her 1958 children’s story “Our Brother Nick and the Tattooed Gardener.”

Another book in the "Our Brother Nick" series...

7. The “Yummiest Veggies” Award.  Winner: the first green/yellow/purple beans of the season from our garden.  We had them tonight with BBQ chicken and veggie burgers…yummy!

These purple beans turn green when cooked...

8. The “Shortest Career” Award.  Winner: Hope.  She announced on Tuesday that she was going to be the “Mommy” that day.  She did laundry (minor glitch with putting laundry detergent in the fabric softener dispenser, but we figured it out – not easy over the phone) and cooked supper (macaroni and cheese, peas).  When asked after supper if she still wanted to be the “Mommy,” Hope said, “Meh.”

Mommy for a day...

9. The “Multiplying Sock” Award.  Winner: Our family.  With seven people, we have enough socks to fill a small room.  None of them are ever together with their mates.  I hate matching them, and the girls seem incapable of wearing socks the same colour at the same time.

My sock pile is considerably larger than this one...

10. The “Mind-Reading” Award.  Winner: Jim’s mom.  Hope asked at supper last night if Grammy was having a birthday party for Jim and I.  Less than two minutes later, the phone rang – the party is Wednesday night.

Jim's mom on New Year's Eve...

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Scanning for Gold at Book Sales…

I love the month of May…it is easily my favourite!  The weather is more summerlike, trees and flowers begin blossoming, and it’s time to plant the garden.  It’s also book sale season – I love scouting for our store!

Tomorrow night, Jim and I will travel to Moncton for the Canadian Federation of University Women’s 48th Annual Book Fair (the Fredericton Chapter will hold theirs on May 28th and 29th).  Friday morning, Dad and I (and the kids – they’re off school on Friday), will be in line for the annual Saint John Free Public Library Book Sale.  Hope will be shopping for herself, but Anna will be helping us find the good stuff!

I haven’t been to the Moncton sale since I’ve had the bookstore, so I’m not sure what to expect…I’m hoping for great things!  The sale is held in a Curling Club in the neighbourhood I used to live in before moving to Saint John (we’ll be stopping to visit old friends for tea after we buy books!).

Venue for the Moncton sale...

The plan at any book sale is to be one of the first people through the door…there is a lot of competition for good books!  Lining up an hour before the doors open is not unheard of.  The library sale is held in an open area outside the library – tables are covered with cloths which are lifted at the appointed opening time.  My strategy there is to stake out the first table I want to look at.

People have different ideas about how to carry their treasures: I usually bring 3 or 4 sturdy cloth shopping bags, while my dad brings his wheeled luggage cart with cardboard boxes attached with bungee cords.

I'll be bringing this bag to the sale...

Another hint for book-salers: wear sturdy shoes – you’ll be lucky if you get through the sale without your foot being run over by a stroller wheel, or even a wheelchair.  I have also been smacked in the shins by these vehicles.

This one has double wheels in the front for more crushing power, and two kids to make it hurt more...

We have certain things we look for when buying stock for the store – just because a book is old doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable (Mary Roberts Rinehart was a bestselling author in 1910 – you can still buy her hundred-year-old books for a couple of bucks).  Condition, rarity, and sometimes subject matter also affect the value.  I look for quality bindings, unusual publishers, offbeat subjects, and anything local.  Nothing makes my heart beat faster than finding a British binding from the 1880’s with gilt decoration and gilt-edged pages!  And you can bet that if I find a book on Ukranian cuckoo clocks, it won’t take very long to sell on the Internet…

The kind of binding I love to find...

I avoid popular fiction (although book sales are a perfect place for readers to pick up current fiction at a small fraction of the crazy cover prices that bookstores charge for new books now), Reader’s Digest condensed books (they make excellent firestarters or doorstops), Book Club Editions (even old ones), and encyclopedias.  You generally have to work hard to separate the wheat from the chaff!

Just say "NO!" to these lepers of the book world...

One thing that we’ve discovered about the library sale in particular is that they restock throughout the sale…it’s a good idea to make 3 or 4 visits if you have time. 

Here are some suggestions for book sale etiquette:

1. Keep to the right of the aisle.  Don’t block the aisle while you stand talking to your friend.

2. Keep your hands off other people’s books…if I have a pile in front of me, they’re mine!  By the same token, if I’m going through books, please be polite enough to wait until I’m finished before diving in.

This lady's got the right idea in protecting her pile...can't say much about her reading taste, though...

3. Be reasonable when sifting through the stock…most sales try to keep some kind of organization to the tables.  If you put a book on Egyptian art back into the cookbook section, you’re wasting someone’s time!

4. Leave small children at home.  They’ll be bored, and in danger of being trampled.

5. Don’t bring coffee or food into the sale.  The chance of spillage is directly related to the rarity of the book you set your cup down on.

This is a $75 book...I wonder how much it would have been had some numbnuts not set his drink on it...

6. Don’t ask volunteers to hold books for you if you don’t intend to buy them.  There might be something I want in your “hold” pile.

7. Don’t dicker.  Most book sales are charity events – that extra dollar won’t break you! 

8. Don’t pull out a hundred-dollar bill for $5 worth of books…you’re not at Walmart!

I’m hoping to come back with some gems this weekend…happy hunting at your local book sales this spring!

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