Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentines Day Weekend - I spent it with my true love(s)

How was your President's Day weekend? Entirely Presidential? Oh, and how was Valentines? I kept forgetting it was Valentines weekend - not that it’s a very significant holiday to those of us still in the Single's world. It's not significant in the way it is to those lovey dovey coupleys. Naw. It's usually a day to remember that yes, you are alone and may possibly be alone forever and everyone else has restaurant reservations or ballet tickets or fluffy stuffed bunnies gifted by well-meaning but forgetful husbands on this very special night.... and you don't. Congratulations. Sweeeeeet. ;)

Juuuuust kidding. I've never thought too much of Valentine’s Day since the childhood days of 'knock and run' and Hello, Kitty Valentining my friends came to an end. Well, maybe not the Hello Kitty part - but really - it's one of those kitchy, overrated, pressurized holidays conceived by corporations to trick you into thinking that if you don't buy your darling those dozen long stemmed roses resting snuggly in the paws of an over-stuffed forest animal declaring in sweet melodic push-paw tones "I luuuve.. yo". Well, you fail. Your love fails. You've screwed up your entire relationship because of this ONE DAY! So, how did it come to THIS? Is THIS how Americans define LOVE for their very special 'other'? Through consumerism? Can I ONLY tell the one I love (uh.. future tensed) how I truly feel about him by picking out that perfect Hallmark greeting card and new razor??!??!? It's the only day! The only way! Well let me tell you something about love...

I love warm weather and I love books. So what did I do for my presidentially epic Valentine’s day weekend?

I went to Phoenix Arizona with some fellow-bibliophiles and purchased me 37 (37!) beautiful, new (to me... though actually slightly used) books at dirt cheap (read $1-$5) prices found in a large warehouse brimming wall to wall with books of all shapes, sizes, genres, and usage...ness. Doesn't that sound AWESOME? Doesn't that sound like LOVE??? Yes is the answer. Yes it does.


The VNSA (volunteer non-profit service Association) has put on this extraordinary event for 54 years running in happy Phoenix, AZ. The purpose of the VNSA book sale is to raise money for the following: Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County, and Toby House, Inc. Oh, and to make all of us who have a strange love and attachment to all things literary very happy. Very. Very. Happy. You might even say... to make us fall in love. Have I told you I smell books? I do. I sniff them as I thumb through them.. and sniff at the bindings as I examine it. Sniff, examine, thumb... enjoy. That's about the same thing one does with a vase of roses - EXCEPT - my books are forever.

Naturally, Phoenix Arizona was the ONLY place for me to spend Valentine’s Day weekend. Plus, I'm so sick of cold weather I could cry. Snow tears. Gr.

Fellow bibliophile, Miss Heidikins (who will naturally have an excellent post on her blog about this adventure as well), is a X number of years (4 years Heidi?) veteran of this extravaganza, gave us (myself and new friend Megan) sound advice in advance: have a lot of extra room in your suitcase for the plane ride home (note to self - bring bigger suitcase(s) - 37 books is child's play), be first in line so you can get a cart (which otherwise would've made this venture near impossible), and sort it all out later. I'll be honest - I thought she was NUTS waking us all up at 4:45am (shudder) so we could be on the road at 5:00am headed toward Downtown Phoenix and this fabled book sale I'd only heard rumors of. Little did I know what lay in store for me. There were easily several hundred people in front of us when we arrived close on to 5:30am (many of which clearly had camped out all night waiting for this moment) and though I felt good about our spot in line, it became evident that being first in line allowed you the privilege of not only first dibs on the extensive collection of used books available (no really, they had EVERYTHING and duplicates of those everythings!), but also a cart. Oh a cart. We are very lucky we brought our very tallish (6 foot), blondish, assertive friend Megan along who procured a cart for us lickity split. Bless you Megan. Bless you. We also made a new friend, Steve, who had been attending this book sale for years by himself (now that's dedication) with whom we enjoyed passing the wee morning hours. I think he found us entertaining - especially when Heidi alluded to us doing drugs which we don't actually do but how she said it made it seem like we did. Ha. Oh dear... you would've had to of been there I guess. Ahem.

The doors opened at 8:00am... and naturally we ran right to the classics section. I might've cried a little - either from the dust (and there was dust) or from the fact that my eyes instantly fell on hundreds upon hundreds of old, beautifully bound, hard back copies of such favorites as: Gone With the Wind, Candide, Around the World in 80 Days, Pride and Prejudice, Homer's Odyssey, The Iliad... sniff... I'm getting choked up just thinking about it (note I got ALL of the above), for a mere $1-$2 a piece. Can you really put a price on such treasures? Yes you can! And at a bargain! Thank you American capitalism. :)

New friend Megan and Moi in line. Book bond people. You see?
We had bags and a cart and our hands LOADED by 9:30 and were out the door by 10:00am... all of us touting 50lbs of books and books and books. Reminder previous note to self - bring more suitcases!

Many of the books I came home with were classics (as noted above) one fantastic Lonely Planet Thailand travel guide book (wishing I would've picked up an Australia one too.. durn it!), biographies, David McCullough's 1776, and children's books (ALL Roland Dahls, The Indian in the Cupboard, Charlotte's Web, Holes, and so on .. and so on.. until 37). Currently, they are all dusted and in 3 stacked piles in my bedroom. It's truly a beautiful thing. What's even MORE awesome is now I get to buy another book case! Huzah! As the one built into the wall in my apt is brimming with about 210 books already (smug grin).

Here is the loot... mmmm... loot

Of course, aside from the books (that's like saying 'aside from the plot') Phoenix was a balmy 73-77 degrees for the 2 days we spent there. Oh bliss. Miss Heidi and I just basked in the glow of sunlight as we shopped all day on Friday and ate delicious food outside, OUTSIDE, at a fantastic little restaurant called "The Green House." Mmmm hmmm. We also stared bemused at the inordinate amount of Arizonians dressed head to in black generally 'winter-esque' apparel. Wha?!??! These people don't know what cold IS!

So there you have it. That my friends is a truly happy Valentine’s Day Weekend. I spent it with the loves of my life - my darling books. I love you books! And I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day! You made mine worth doing over and over again. And you better believe we'll be doing this again next year! Except NEXT year we will be those happy suckers camping out all night. You just wait and see.

*Pics curtosy of Heidikins (as I havent' dowloaded any of mine... fail for me).


heidikins said...

I must say--the couple of hours at the booksale was by far the best part of my Birthday/Valentine's/President's Day weekend. Can't wait until next year!


Just a thought... said...

Who knew? I lived in Phoeniz from 1980 - 1985 and didn't know this existed. All those years when I could have been filling my shelves with wonderful, cheap books, beautiful books ...lost!!!

Adam & MiKail said...

Oh my - this post made me nearly cry with longing. I really hope to someday make it down to this great event! And I totally agree - there is nothing quite like the smell of books. Mmmmm. Heaven. Anyway... :) I'm excited for your new book shelf. I purchased one a few months ago from Ikea and loaded it up - now I just need to get one of those cute little ladders to go with it.

Marisa Jean said...

Holy books. Wowzers. I can honestly say I would not enjoy myself at something like this, but I am pleased to know someone who does. How in the world did you get that many books home? Did you have to ship them?

And sunshine, glorious sunshine. Ah....please say you brought some back with you. Puh-lease?!?

Andrea Jolene said...

Marisa - thing is, I TRIED to bring back some sun... but it was either that or all my Roland Dahl novels... you can guess what I chose. Yep!

bets said...

can they please have one of those in albuquerque? oh wait, no one has any culture here, i.e., they don't read! next time i'm in phoenix for v-day, i am SO going to this thing. most likely by myself because husband isn't the hugest reader. will you go with me?

Andrea Jolene said...

Oh Betsy my friend... please... join us in the celebration of everything book. !!!!