Vintage purchases

It was warm this afternoon, and I was sleepy, so after lunch and an hour of reading I decided to get out of the apartment. I mailed a package, then headed out to my favorite thrift shop (which happens to be in Little Ethiopia). I got several hardback books, including The Soul of a Chef and a 1956 Dictionary of Modern Painting in quite good condition, and I couldn’t resist a 1976 printing of The Settlement Cook Book–despite a recent vow not to buy any more cookbooks because I no longer have the shelf space to store them in my kitchen.

My recent nesting urges led me to look through the shop’s collection of art, most of which is the dismal kind of stuff seen on the walls of hotel and waiting rooms everywhere. But this time a large unframed print really caught my eye. It showed a port in overcast weather, all sharp lines and angles, done in very somber greys and greens and blacks. It’s quite an arresting piece, not anything like the colorful things I’ve already got on my walls. But I liked it so much I decided to get it almost right away, even though it’s only in fair condition (all rubbed round the edges, and there’s a small hole in it where something poked through) and the cost of matting and framing will be considerable.

The artist’s signature is in the upper right corner: Bernard Buffet. He even put the date, “55”–a man after my own historian’s heart, clearly. After I got home I googled him and was pleased, though not really surprised, to discover that Buffet was an acclaimed post-WWII painter. Funny thing is, I’ve searched all over the ‘net and I can’t seem to find any images of this particular work, so it seems to be a fairly rare print. I wonder how it came to be selling for $12 at the Council Thrift shop. It’s just as well it’s in such bad shape otherwise I’d be tempted to try it on Ebay, just to see how much it would fetch–but I don’t really want to part with it.

I’ve propped it up on my bookshelf (displacing a photo I took in Maui) until I figure out what else to do with it. Eventually I hope I’ll get the money to frame it, but even then I have no idea where I’ll hang it. But it’s here for now. Click for a close-up:


Isn’t it great? I totally love it.

I also browsed through my favorite vintage clothing shops on Melrose and ended up taking yet another red vintage dress home with me. I didn’t get it at first, because I was thinking really how many red vintage dresses do I need? But after making the rounds I changed my mind and went back and got it.

VintageRedStanding with chair


Lest you think I’ve been shopping like mad since I got to LA (which is kind of true, unfortunately), it’s not just that: I’ve started taking an hour or two, every day or so, to go out and just do something by myself, something fun and totally unrelated to my work. I used to think that if I didn’t feel like working, I wasn’t allowed to go out and do something else because I should be working–but then I’d just sit around and sort-of goof off for hours and nothing would get done anyway. So I finally decided to just take the time off when I need it, and it’s helped immeasurably. It’s really keeping me sane in these last chaotic weeks before quals and before my textbook chapter deadline. As I’ve been saying like a broken record in all my recent journal entries, the pressure is really on right now. Last night I had a dream that I went to take my exam, and I was so unprepared I hadn’t even brought paper, and BeeBee wouldn’t lend me any (which would never happen in real life!). She said she wasn’t allowed. And I hadn’t studied at all on my own, just gone to our weekly meetings without paying that much attention, and I knew I was going to fail the exam and it was my own fault and it was a horrible feeling. This is the second dream I’ve had like this. I think the last one was last week, or was it maybe this week already? Anyway the idea was the same: I’d delayed studying and the test had caught up with me before I knew it.

And so, back to work!

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]