Yesterday, Team UsedVictoria.com participated in Victoria’s Autism Awareness Walk. Our team of 10 dwindled to 3 due to various sicknesses and blocked highways, but we were there! We got really lucky with the weather and it was a beautiful sunny morning to go on the 5km walk around Beaver Lake. All-in-all it was a very successful event to raise awareness and funds to support local children with autism and their families. The 10km run/ 5km walk was hosted by the Mosaic Society and the Victoria Society for Children with Autism.
Monthly Archives: April 2011
Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration in the title, but only very slight.
The Used team in Victoria is participating in the Victoria Autism Awareness Walk this Sunday at Beaver Lake, so Katieden decided to make an epic sign for this week’s DIY.
The instructions are minimal, essentially we went to the dollar store and picked up as much glitter as we could carry, took over the ‘Nerd Room’ and got our art on. We both ended up covered in glitter (and I think we even managed to get some on Mike – sorry, friend!), but I can’t wait until it dries so we can bust it out at the event this weekend! Hope to see you there!
Back in the early-late nineties I was in my mid-late childhood and April was a deceiving month if I remember it correctly. The weather started to get nice again and we’d have that one glorious long-weekend. Things started to feel a lot like summer, except there are two more months of school; the two most torturous months of school on the calendar. To offset the pain of school and slowly integrate us back into Fun, the good people of the community scheduled summer sports to start up at around the same time.
Like most families with kids o’ plenty, my siblings and I were always registered in some kind of sport – my brother played hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer; my sister and I figure skated during the winter and it was soccer, soccer, soccer all summer. This added up to quite a bit of equipment, and to my parents’ unending frustration every season we grew a little more and had to replace said equipment.
The more I think about it, my family rarely bought any sports equipment used – except for figure and hockey skates. I don’t know why those were the exception, but they were (my best guess is because the skate exchange was just down the street). Hand-me-downs were always a problem because we were inconveniently all different sizes from our cousins and from each other. So my parents usually went out and bought everything new. (If only we had the interwebs and UsedEverywhere.com then, am I right?).
Apart from soccer cleats and extra-strong-brand rugby shorts, my sister and I got away pretty cheap on the equipment-buying front. The real problem was my hockey-playing brother and the bags of gear that the sport apparently requires. Considering how rancid his equipment was after a season I can understand why someone might buy it new rather than used.
Being April, that in-between month where it’s not winter anymore but it’s not really summer either; winter sports are over and summer sports are just about to kick-off; and spring cleaning is all the rage, is now the time to buy and/or sell old sports equipment?
What is the situation with sports equipment like in your family? Do you buy only new – or used – equipment? Are some kinds of equipment completely off limits to sell/buy used? Or is it all fair game? Pun intended.
Remember when you were a kid and your parents made you invite all the kids that invited you to their birthday party to yours? Even if you didn’t really like them that much? I feel that way about social media sometimes.
Take Facebook for example; if you had talked about “unfriending” someone before the inception of this Internet powerhouse, people would have thought you were crazy. Plus they probably would have accused you of making up words. Now, I frequently see friends’ status updates saying something along the lines of: “Happy Unfriend Randoms Day. Congrats, you made the cut!” Okay, that one was my brother, Rob, and he’s a special case, but my point is unchanged. I’ve heard frequent stories of ‘Facebook Cleanses’ of people that you a) don’t like, b) will probably never see again, or c) never really knew in the first place.
Same goes with Twitter. Sometimes I wonder how I managed to follow/be followed by some people to begin with (with both positive and negative connotations). Other times, I have to hit the dreaded “Unfollow” button.
In real life (IRL), friendships fade and people grow apart; sometimes you grow apart after avoiding the other person for weeks or months until they get the hint, sometimes it’s more organic. This doesn’t really exist in social media. It’s a deliberate and definitive action to remove someone from the friend list, and a lot of times, your life.
With privacy issues, the incessant battle of incriminating pictures (not me personally, obviously), and people that are straight-up obnoxious all over the internet, how do you decide when it’s time to unfriend or unfollow?
Sometimes I feel wistful about olden days, and by oldenI mean the 1970s (egads, I sure am dating myself), when kids were happy to ride their bikes, play baseball and hide and seek until it got too dark to see.
The toys were simpler back then, and perhaps, in a way, more fun. (Agree? Disagree?) Sometimes I just wonder if we kidsÂ were more resourceful.
When you were a kid, did you ever play with a dead tennis ball wedged in the cut-off leg of your motherâ€™s old pantyhose? I did, all the time. It was a great toy for something so simple.
- Take a pair of old pantyhose* and cut off one leg.
- Push a tennis ball as far up into the toe as far as it will go.
- Tie end.
* (My mother’s pantyhose came in plastic eggs, remember those? They were called L’eggs. Ha ha.)
Anyway, thatâ€™s it. And, if you cut off the other leg, and stuffed it with a second ball, you GOT TWO. Genius!
I bet if you were so inclined, you could tie a ribbon to the end to make a longer, fancier tail, but that was up to you.
For the sake of todayâ€™s post I decided toÂ call this invention a rocket ball but I doubt that this was the proper name for it. Was there one? I think we just called it a-tennis-ball-in-your-momâ€™s-old pantyhose.
Not only was the rocket ball great for winding up like a lasso and for throwing long distances, but we also playedÂ with it against a wall, holding the loose end while flinging the ball end wildly all around us. There was a song that accompanied this action – while the ball flew dangerously to either side, above our heads and between our legs – but it eludes me right now.
I was reminded of the rocket ball a couple of summers ago while shopping at a local toy store. I was browsing the section of the store that had loot bag loot; smaller playthings like wind-up toys, dice, paper butterflies, etc. That’s when I saw it. Their version of the rocket-ball toy was about 18 inches long (Iâ€™m guessing) and made of brightly-coloured nylon. The toe (or what would normally be the toe if it was made out of old pantyhose) was a little more aerodynamic. It came down into a loose cone shape which wasÂ slightly weighted, perhaps filled with some kind of beans. The cone was covered in a layer of foamy material. Maybe so it would hurt less on impact (?). It was pretty lightweight, and I wondered if it had enough heft to go any kind of distance.
I glanced at the price: $1.99. Considering what it was, I totally thought that was a fair price and thought about buying it for the girls.
I didnâ€™t grab it right away, we were there on a birthday-gift buying mission, but I wandered over a second time and took it in my hand for a closer look. I realized I had misread the price. It wasnâ€™t $1.99, it was actually $11.99. Crazy! Twelve bucks for something I could make myself out of a few recycled materials.
Iâ€™m going to save my next pair of tights (I have a silvery pair that is well past its prime) and stuff it with a couple of old tennis balls. If the kids don’t play with it, at the very least the dog will get a couple of new toys.
What about you? Did you have a rocketball? What on earth was the rhyme you sung with it? Did you make any of your own toys when you were a kid? If so I’d love to hear about it!
It’s always nice to hear happy feedback from our UsedEverywhere community. Dee, owner/operator of Icing Hair Design here in Victoria, shared one story with us that was truly incredible, and so I decided to pass it along to you all as well!
Summer of 2009, some relatives of Dee’s moved to Victoria from Ontario with little else but what they could carry â€“ clothing, and some personal belongings. Before the move, Dee and her husband took some initiative to help them get started in their new home, and about three weeks before their arrival started scouring the classified ads on UsedVictoria for items they would need when they got here. They initially aimed for just the basics, just enough to get them through the first stages of living somewhere new. But searching for items to make a home for this family of 5 took hold of Dee and after three weeks of ad searching and contacting people ended up with much more than she first set out to find. From couches to coffee tables, dining room furniture, kitchen appliances, to bunk beds, a crib and more, they had managed to get everything they needed to set up a three bedroom apartment.
Items came from all over Victoria, and even as far away as Shawnigan Lake, Sidney, and Metchosin. Dee said â€œWe got so much more than we expected from many of the people we contacted, once they found out what we were doing… I was amazed at the open generosity that was shown to us â€“ people threw in extra things that they might need, keeping the prices reasonable and giving good quality household items for free!â€ With Dee’s hardwork and help from you her relative’s move to the Island was made so much easier, and the transition into a new life a very positive experience.
This story is so important to share because it really speaks to the values of UsedEverywhere.com, particularly our goal to foster a sense of community. So from Dee and everyone here as UsedEverywhere.com, a big heartfelt thank you to Victoria and all the other UsedEverywhere.com communities for your continued support and for being there for each other. I’m continually impressed with what amazing people we have in our community! Thank you!
There are two things that polite society teaches us not to talk about: Religion and Politics. You’re essentially guaranteed to stir some very strong feelings and find yourself squarely in a heatedÂ
argument, ahem,Â discussion resulting invariably in awkwardness.
Uncomfortable as it is, there’s a Federal election coming up in Canada (May 2nd – get your vote on) and there are some controversial new bus ads making their way to select cities in BC dealing with religion… or lack thereof; is that in itself a religion? Oh, here we go…
Since the two topics go hand in hand, the timing of these ads is not exactly surprising particularly in Canada, a country whose cultural diversity cannot be separated from its religious diversity. These ads made waves in Toronto, where they were called “attack ads” for taking a swipe at opposing groups’ beliefs and not touting their own. Religion has been a hot topic since the days of Upper and Lower Canada, and one couldn’t expect that this issue will ever disappear.
Is religion fodder for bus campaigns and advertising? I don’t think so – I find it irritating and I would prefer to come to my own beliefs organically instead of having any group, whether pro or anti, attempt to stuff their beliefs down my throat or state their opinion on my beliefs. When you look at it though, it’s no different than advertising for pro-life or pro-choice, for example. Not to over-simplify anything, but I think it’s all part of the same argument when you get right down to it. Having said that, if we are going to advertise one side or another anyway, it should be fair game for all to participate. The onslaught that ensues? Well, you were warned.
When the topic of the new bus ads was raised in the office, within moments there was a slew of opinions. Despite the variety of cultural and religious backgrounds and identities each of us has within the office, the discussion promptly took an inward turn. The halo in our company logo and the wings we frequently employ in promotional materials were scrutinized and questioned. Is it blasphemous to use this kind of religious symbolism? Or are we backhandedly supporting a particular religion? Very few religions actually use imagery of angels in their texts and traditions, but some do.
I personally didn’t even think of Christianity when I saw the logos for the first time. I can’t even remember what I did think, so it must not have been significant. Maybe I’m just not wired to jump to religious imagery, but it was kind of surprising to be forced to look at something I stare at every day, our company logo, in a brand new frame.
Do you think the issue of religion is not to be touched? Or is it all fair game in issues and discussions of beliefs, whether political or religious.
Hunter Gatherer is an unassuming little store, tucked away in Victoriaâ€™s Fan Tan Alley. If not for curious wandering or the big sign out front on the sidewalk, you might not notice this walk-in closet full of vintage apparel.
Owner and operator, Kim McCuaig, took the time to talk to us a little bit about Hunter Gatherer. The store is coming up to its 9th birthday, and was born out of Kim and a friendâ€™s shared, longstanding passion for vintage clothing. Kimâ€™s passion for vintage clothes shows through the collection she has for sale: she strictly stocks the store with only high quality items from the 1980s and earlier.
Business really picks up for Hunter Gatherer in the summer, Kim told Eden and I. It is almost a seasonal business because of this. With the onslaught on tourists that come to Victoria via ferries and cruise ships, it helps that Hunter Gatherer is located in one of Victoriaâ€™s tourism hotspots: historic China Town. There are even seasonal regulars who come to Hunter Gatherer across the straits, from Vancouver and Seattle, with bundles of vintage clothes for Kim to sort through and sell. Apart from donation and some consignment, the bulk of the clothes at Hunter Gatherer come from estate sales and sometimes wholesale.
We also talked to Kim about what she thought about online classifieds and the business of used goods. While she conceded that online classified sites like ours are not in competition with stores like hers, there are some disadvantages to running an offline store in comparison to an online counterpart. The primary disadvantage is the overhead â€“ the rent for commercial space versus online space is incomparable.
However, one of the reasons online clothing stores havenâ€™t taken over classic brick-and-mortar is because, try as you might, you just can’t try on clothes through your computer. This is especially true when you are selling one-of-a-kind garments: you canâ€™t try them on in store for fit and then buy them online either.
If you love vintage, why not check out Hunter Gatherer and say â€œHiâ€ to Kim for us? Thanks for having us over for a chat, Hunter Gatherer!
Hunter Gatherer is located at 102-3 Fan Tan Alley in Victoria, BC.
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The one chore I donâ€™t mind doing any more is vacuuming. I used to hate it. Once upon a time we had a vacuum that had belonged to my husband’s parents. We kept it in the basement. It weighed about 100 lbs and was really difficult to carry. It was difficult to steer too. And you might not believe this but it was actually mean to me. It tripped me up about a million times, and had a hose with sharp edges that scratched my legs as I yanked it across the floor. I’m convinced that itÂ must have had the engine of a lawn mower because it was absolutely deafening.Â I hated that thing.
It was for all those reasons – and more – that I avoided vacuuming at all costs. Thankfully we had an area rug underneath our dining room table that camouflaged all the crumbs. It never looked dirty down there! Ha!
But now we have the Rug of My Dreams. It is a deep chocolate brown area rug with an asymmetrical pattern of variously-sized sky and wasabi-coloured dots on it. The rug is a good news/bad news kind of situation. It is a work of art. (Yay!) And every crumb can be seen from across the room. (BOO.)
And this might sound statistically improbable, but if someone drops food on the carpet (not that I would EVER do that), it is amazing to see how often it lands saucy-side down on the lightest parts of the rug. Can someone explain this phenomenon? Because it kills me.
But that is neither here nor there. This rug, pretty as it is, amazingly magnifies the crumbs/bits of cheese/cheerios if they happen to find their way down there. This is something that happens quite often in our household because, silly me, I bought a designer rug and put it a place where the four people gather to eat two, sometimes three times a day.
Not long after the purchase of the new rug we realized that the old canister vacuum was sorely inadequate. It had been lying to us. Its roar was misleading. It was all bark, no bite. It just wasnâ€™t hoovering like it used to, so we went to our neighborhood vacuum store (yes, there is such a thing!) and saw The New Vacuum. And we bought it. It was small. And light. And it SWIVVELED! And it had a specially-designed floor attachment that didnâ€™t just push the crumbs around, but sucked them up faster than you can wonder â€œheyisthatabarbieshoe.â€
I am fairly certain this glorious appliance was invented by a woman.
So now we have a Miele. I use it to vacuum crumbs off the table. I use it to dust. I use the lint brush attachment to vacuum my black wool coat. I just wish it came with an special attachment I can use to brush my dog.
I never thought Iâ€™d say this, but I have actually come around to enjoy vacuuming. I vacuum much more than I used to, and it has become the kind of experience that is almost, almost, kind of fun. (I know. I canâ€™t believe it either.)
What chore do you think sucks the most? Other than vacuumming of course.