Thursday, December 31, 2020

Mystery Man Strikes Again

I've written about this fellow, sometimes known as Quinn or Xavier, or whatever name he uses in the return address. I know nothing about him. I've tried emailing to thank him, ask questions, even once threatening to return his package unopened. Yeah, that didn't happen. I did let one sit for two months before I caved. His return address is somewhat illegible and likely intentionally so. If I had returned it, well...the post office would've opened and kept the contents for themselves. I could not allow this to happen.

He is a crazy, generous fellow living perhaps, somewhere in Pennsylvania. I tried deciphering his address to send him a few cards but he's only received an envelope from me once that I know of. I did get a thank you from him one time. If he received another from me, he's never said. I can assure him it was sent and never returned to me.

So what does a package from him look like?? Assembly is most fascinating. This package was in a colorful padded mailer. The Glam Stickers from my wantlist are plastered all over it, along with a micro J Owens peeping out of its own little window: 

There are layers within which require deconstruction. Beneath the main wrapper is a boxloader:

Beneath this, an oversized card from Topps Vault:

And beneath this? Not hockey!

The little Phillies Mascot has become a favorite toy for my kitty. She bats it around and throws it in the air. Jingles loves her baseball! And so do I:

2007 TR Boxloader

It's not an exaggeration to say there were a couple hundred cards in the box!

Are you with me so far?

Who does this? Twice per year? It's taken me some time to share these. I didn't open and scan the package until October. Mind blown by the contents, I can tell you that!

Mr. Man also include some vintage charm:

I can't compete with these packages. Sometimes you just have to be humble and say thank you. He should know I recognize his generosity and creativity. In the year of 2020, most of us needed a little pick me up. This package was certainly that. So Rocky, Quinn, Xavier etc - please know I loved the package. Happy New Year, wherever you are!

On the Eve of 2021

Hail to thee, 2020. We've heard you loud and clear. I'm kicking your nefarious butt to the curb before this night is through. 

This year has left me relatively unscathed but I know this isn't true for everyone. I have good friends who've lost family members, and I lost an elderly friend myself three days before Christmas - all to covid.  Although I was laid off in April and May, my employer survived the auto shutdown and finished the year strong. My job is secure. I've certainly missed hanging with friends, especially over the holidays but do OK with 'me' time. Being alone is fairly easy for me though I couldn't do it long term. [I'm a hugger - people and  trees.] 

Even with the additional 'free time', I haven't added more posts here. No surprise as it's taken six years to hit #199 with this one. In all fairness to myself, I did manage 44 posts this year.  I also gave more of my hobby time to Pick Pockets. When I began the PP page more than a year ago, the intent was to spread a little hobby joy and perhaps spark a few trades. Who knew 2020 would be the sheet show it's been?  I've kept up with the page, hoping to make a difference in a few lives. In a year with no retail, perhaps pick pockets has allowed a few of you to build your own packs. 

        2020 gems courtesy of Doug, Buckstore Cards:

Your response to picking has been returned with kindness, with many sending cards from my three want-list tabs and mini-collections. The cards seen throughout this post are all from blogger pals, successfully adding to the joy in my own life. Thank you for this!

        From Chris the Collector - OPC and Sunoco Dutch with a fun Klesko:

I don't expect retail to come roaring back to our shelves anytime soon, if ever. Flippers found they could make some quick and easy money on our little blasters and hanger packs. The only Topps Chrome I ever pick up is through retail so I appreciate the Tigers from Doug, shown above. My collecting has moved towards my bat-themed mini-collections: floaters, racks and multiple bats. I'm also pursuing my own Stadium Club collection filled with favorites from 1991 through today. Cards I'm seeking can be found on my TCDB want list - link found at the top of this page right here.

        A cup of black coffee from Matt:

I've never listed goals here, hobby or otherwise. Goals cause me to look back over the full year and beat myself up for not accomplishing them. I prefer to note my achievements as the year moves along saying to myself "hey there, look what you did!"  

I do have an idea for the blog however, and would love some feedback from you. I'm an avid reader, mostly non-fiction: baseball, history and personal growth.  All are in excellent condition from a non-smoking home. With no room to keep all my beloved books, I've considered adding a book tab.  Books would be available to trade for x-# of cards on my wantlist. As a rule, I don't have the latest hot cards and players so perhaps a book would be considered in lieu of cards. Please share your thoughts in a comment.

        From Kerry Cards on Cards - 2020 Stadium Cub set help, Kaline SP and Pink Velocity Posey:

As for 2021, it deserves a chance. I tend to have an optimistic view of life but keep reality in my back pocket. I'm grounded. My hope for each of you is a year of kindness. Be kind to yourselves. Love yourselves. You are good people. If I didn't think so, we wouldn't be connected. May you and yours be healthy and blessed.  

Thank you for supporting this little blog!


Sunday, December 20, 2020

That Time I Wanted a Dolly for Christmas

 I rarely asked for a doll, at Christmas or ever, really. I wanted books, magic tricks, a guitar, stuffed animals but dolls? Meh. Any doll I ever owned was quickly modified by my sister. Oh to be sure, she had her own dolls but using these for makeovers was anathema. Sis cut the hair off mine, took markers and crayons to their faces. She stole their clothes too. My dolls could be found naked and disfigured nearly anywhere in the house. What I wouldn't give to have a few of those moments back. We still laugh about her cosmetology experiments. 

Our mom died in the spring of '75 when I was ten and she, eight. That Christmas was one to forget but I can't. My sister says she doesn't remember but part of me feels she must. This was the year I found out there was no Santa Claus. I somehow knew he would never come again. My dad made some terrible choices. He remarried before Thanksgiving. She was a true 'stepmother', determined to be rid of his kids. Within a couple of years, she had her wish. Where we went and how are their own stories. Many, many years passed before Christmas meant anything to me. As a young adult, I spent a few of them alone.

I don't share this to make anyone sad, nor do I need pity or sympathies. A lot of you share wonderful childhood Christmas memories, most to which I cannot relate. Over the years, I've grown to enjoy Christmas as a season of sharing. I love shopping for friends and giving to those in need. My life experience has given me empathy for those who struggle with the holidays. If you are someone who'll be glad when 2021 is here, I get it. This particular Christmas season is a struggle for many who've never had the holiday blues.  

At Christmastime, I look forward to putting up the tree and holiday decor, and hanging lights in all the places I can still reach. You might say Christmas has thrown up at my house. There's some in every room. The tree has been joined by gifts-a-plenty, scheduled for delivery tomorrow. You can't even see all the gifts in this picture. Wrapping every evening this week has kept me busy and away from the blogs.



I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to thank Jon Pennysleeves for the Dolly he sent awhile back. She's a pretty thing and fits nicely into my collection of Presidential spouses. For his fifth blog-a-versary, Jon gave away a fantastic assortment of stars and vintage. I missed out on 1961 Golden Press, 1933 Goudey Indians and a butt-load of other goodies. There were autos and a printing plate. The 1952 Topps Look and See Madison was still available and the first Dolly I've wanted since I was a kid.

 Topps misspelled 'Dolley"

I make merry when I can. This year, I won't be hanging out with friends. I'll miss our evening of feasting and laughter while playing Cards Against Humanity - a game so disgusting and awful it goes against all my personal beliefs and etiquettes. 

Whatever you do, wherever you may be, I wish you a peaceful Christmas and a hopeful New Year. May health and happiness be yours. 

Season's Greetings from Cracked Bat:

[Yes Nine Pockets, there is a tree in the hobby room!]

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Time Won't Give Me Time

Mon 12/7:  Other than the title referencing a Culture Club tune, writes nothing

Tues 12/8: Puts tree up, decorates

Big tree last year. Sweet, little tree this year.

Wed 12/9 3:20pm

Even a pandemic Christmas season is a hectic one. I fantasize about all my opportunities for free time but reality squashes my dreams - again. Last December - the first at my then new job - it was sloooooooow as molasses. This year I'm prepared. Recent PWEs and mailers were scanned and dumped to a flash drive then taken to my office. It now rest peacefully in my top drawer.  'Hello, little flash drive' [wistfully closes drawer.] Work is insanely busy - and gratefully so.

Thurs - Sat: nuttin'

Sunday 12/13 Flash drive still in desk drawer at work. Comes across blogger references to the 'five minute post'. THAT I can do. Go!

I really should post trades but want to share some of my own cards. Dang it cat, must you be held NOW? What is that on the wall? Did I leave my car windows down? I forgot to bring a bottle of water to the hobby room.  God, I could use a nap. Laptop battery at 15%. Great, the internet just cut out again.  Now, where are those cards I scanned? Oh wow! I forgot he sent me these - eight months ago! Time's up. 

A card from my Altuve collection:


Have a good week my friends!

What is time anyway? All of life's moments, one by one. Peace!