Kimberly (kimberly_a) wrote,

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Recycled art materials outing ... and icky lemonade


  1. lazy morning, followed by ...

  2. a bus ride to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (described on its website as "an ecological treasure trove of art & craft materials, educational supplies, vintage furniture, home décor, paper goods, fabric, and much more"). Their raison d'être is "to divert waste materials from landfills by collecting and redistributing discarded goods as low-cost supplies for art, education, and social services," and the store is über-cool. I've been there a few times before (Katherine, who is a prolific artist, first introduced me to it when we were living together.), and I've always loved it. Whenever I'm there going through their stuff, I always see things I've thrown away (bottle caps, prescription bottles, old greeting cards, that sort of thing) and curse myself for trashing something that someone (apparently) might have repurposed somehow. Today, I bought myself several items that might come in handy in my collages, and I spent a whopping 60 cents.

  3. walked about a mile through a slightly sketchy area (My guide, in general, is window bars. If all the houses have security doors and bars on the windows, then I should be afraid. But in this area, only about 25% of the houses had window bars, so I wasn't too worried.) to catch a bus to ...

  4. Alcatraz and Market Street, which was not very exciting, and from which I walked about a mile to ...

  5. Actual Cafe. I've never been here before, and I didn't plan on going here today, but when a gal's gotta go, a gal's gotta go ... and I just don't feel right about using a business's bathroom and then hightailing it out of there without spending any money. So I used the facilities, then bought myself The Most Expensive Lemonade on the Planet. Seriously. This thing cost $4, and the glass looked like it would hold about 10 ounces ... but was about half filled with ice. But maybe it was so expensive because it was a cucumber lemonade (the day's special). Remind me never to buy cucumber lemonade again ... not because of the expense, but because cucumber lemonade is really gross. I guess, in my mind, the phrase made me think of the Kabuki, a spa which I've been to many times with various friends (including for my bridal shower), and which makes me happy, even when I just think of it. At the Kabuki, there are little paper cups of water always sitting out on a table in the main room, and some have slices of lemon in them, and some have slices of cucumber. I should have remembered this when ordering today's lemonade: the Kabuki never mixes the lemon and the cucumber together. It's like Ghostbusters, you're not supposed to cross the streams! Well, at Actual Cafe, they crossed the streams. I was totally grossed out by the taste of this lemonade, but I still drank it all, because that's the kind of economy with which I was raised. It would be wasting money if I didn't drink it after I'd paid for it, even if drinking it was less pleasant than tossing it in the garbage. Yes, I can see the irony, but somehow I cannot yet overcome it.

    The thing I thought was most striking about Actual Cafe was that they have a huge area set aside for bikes. I've never seen the like! About half a wall is kinda set aside and covered with hooks upon which you can hang your bike, rather than locking it up outside, while you surf the Net and choke down your cucumber lemonade. The place was packed, and there were maybe 5 bikes hanging from the wall, but some of those might have belonged to employees. According to the website, they try to very actively foster a bike-friendly environment. In fact, there were two entrances to the cafe: one for pedestrians and one for bicyclists with bikes. The bikes entrance fed immediately onto the wall where you can hang your bike, and the pedestrian entrance fed immediately to the counter where you order your fancy coffee and panini and whatever.

    The cafe had lots of counters with stools, wooden booths, little stereotypical cafe tables, 2 cushy fake-leather chairs, and a cushy fake-leather couch (which was where I sat beside some guy who didn't look up from his laptop the whole time I was there). The couch was very comfy, except when I was trying to get out of it, when it made me feel like an uncoordinated old lady, hauling my ass up off the floor while making unintentional grunting and oofing noises that betrayed the amount of effort it was requiring. Laptop Guy did not seem to notice. There were also bookcases filled with books, though I did not investigate to determine the quality of the provided reading material. Mostly hardcovers, as far as I could tell. I was busy reading some cheesy paperback romance novel, so I didn't feel any desire to judge.

    Once I had drained my glass of tasty tasty cucumber and lemon, I walked another mile or so to ...

  6. Urban Ore, a store I'd heard about earlier this week, when an artist at CWC told me that they had a much better selection than the Depot for Creative Reuse. I was dubious, because I love the Depot, but curious. It's the same basic concept as the Depot -- people donate old crap, and then other people buy the old crap and use it again -- and, I suppose, the same basic concept as Goodwill (who I now boycott because of their new, ridiculous "no price tags" policy) -- so I didn't see how it would be anything surprising or special. But ... wow. I was just shocked by the fantabulousness of their store! It's housed in a gigantic warehouse, with these high ceilings and industrial-looking walls and cement floors, with no actual room separations, but they've used furniture/bookcases and such to form themed areas: the power tools, the plumbing supplies, the dressers, whatever. At first, I was dubious, because the central aisle as I came in seemed populated largely by chatchkes. I am not a chatchke person. So I was wincing and forming a first impression that this place sucked. But then I got to exploring. I was looking for the art supplies, but I had no idea where they were, and so I wandered almost the entire place before finding them. They had some terrific furniture, such that I decided, "The next time I need a piece of furniture -- or a lamp, or CD jewel cases, or whatever -- I'm coming here first!" They even had a small selection of gently used clothing, but I was unable to find a pair of jeans in my size.

    Anyway, I eventually found the art supplies, and at first I was kinda going, "What's the big deal about this? What was that guy at CWC so excited about? Well, he's a painter, so maybe there's good stuff for painters, but not for collagists." But I kept snooping around, and eventually discovered that there were these multiple filing cabinets just filled with paper-type stuff: greeting cards, photographs, maps, decorated envelopes, etc. I ended up with quite a handful of stuff and approached the cashier in some trepidation, because there were no price guides posted anywhere in the art supply area, and I didn't know if this place would price things similarly to the Depot or if it would be more expensive. Well, my stack of stuff ended up costing me $1, so I was pretty happy about that. And now I have all this amazing stuff to use in my collages!

    Sadly, I'm having great difficulty locating the kind of quirky/absurd/unexpected/funny stuff that I would like to use as occasional "seasoning" in my work. Stuff along the lines of, say, the darkly comic snowmen created by Hobbes's buddy Calvin. Maybe some Magritte images. Must keep looking.

    I really wanted to take a bus home from here, because I didn't have any more stops I wanted to make and I was tired and I wanted to spend time with Shannon before his Thursday gamers came over, but ... I didn't know the bus routes in that area very well ... and I had no wifi access to use the neato-keen Google Maps app on my iPhone (which could have told me what buses to take and when they were coming), because I have used up all my "data plan" or whatever they call it, and if I use the Net on my iPhone now it would cost extra money, which I don't have. (Now that I think about it, I suppose I could have phoned Shannon and had him log on to Google Maps and find out my optimal route ... but that didn't occur to me at the time.) So I sighed heavily, knowing I had about 3 miles still to go, and ...

  7. walked another mile down to Caffe Trieste, which is a cafe I've been to before, because it's located basically on the same street as our house ... just 2 miles west. I didn't particularly want to stop, as I was now running considerably later than intended when I originally planned this outing. (I'd thought leaving the house at 2 p.m. would easily get me home by 5, when Shannon gets off work. No such luck. It was already about 5 p.m. by the time I reached Caffe Trieste.) Unfortunately, I'm a lady who just loves a good public bathroom, and I had to go again. (I blame the cucumbers and the lemons. Perhaps in combination they trigger some kind of super-pee response.) So I had to stop. Which meant I had to spend more money! Ack! My visits to the Depot and Urban Ore (which were the whole point of the afternoon's outing) were cheap cheap cheap ... but the places I stopped for bathroom visits were gonna break the bank! If only I could get rid of that pesky moral need to become an actual customer when stopping to use the customers-only bathrooms! But in this case I didn't stop to hang out and bemoan the lack of bicycles on the walls; I just ordered a slice of mousse cake to go and hit the road. I then proceeded to take my cake slice for about a 2-mile walk slightly uphill until I reached ...

  8. our house! Home again, home again, jiggety jig! I threw off my shoes, took off my backpack, and collapsed. And chatted with Shannon for a while, then listened to him read some Louise Erdrich aloud. Then almost fell asleep. Then dragged myself off the couch and went on with the usual excitement of life at home.

And now, my friends, I do believe it's time for me to flop down in front of a tv to watch the season premiere of "The Vampire Diaries." Woo hoo!
Tags: art, bathrooms, berkeley, biking, buses, cafes, drinks, money, oakland, stores, walking

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