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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Penrose,Colorado: Yummy Wildcrafted Jam & Jellies

For some time I've been saying there are more treasures packed into Fremont County, a relatively small and rural area, than one might imagine.

Part of the fun of living in a place with a slower pace is discovering these treasures and savoring them one at a time.

I love simple treasures and pleasures of all sorts, but finding ones of the edible variety is usually my favorite.

When we first moved here, not that long ago, we stopped at the popular Coyote Den Coffee Shop on Highway 115 in Penrose and saw a table of jams and jellies. I bought a few jars and loved them. Then I lost track of where to get them.

Then this last Christmas when I was in Penrose enjoying the park committee's Christmas light fundraiser I noticed a table of these wonderful but elusive jams and jellies again.

Not only do they taste beyond glorious, but the ones I purchased have no citric acid. That might not be important to some folks, but I suspect I have a sensitivity to citric acid--and it is very difficult to locate jams and jellies commercially that don't contain it.


I've just enjoyed Living Greens jams and jellies twice that I've stumbled across them. But now I finally was able to find its website and Facebook page and I'm even more impressed.

This small Penrose business wildcrafts, or gathers all their plant and fruit ingredients ethically and sustainably from Colorado non-domesticated plants.

I did not know this wonderful business also crafted pure plant therapy skin care.

More information on these great products are available at: www.LivingGreensColorado.com The website is a great read on what goes into this process and the passion behind giving Colorado's living greens the respect they deserve.

But it's at Living Greens Facebook page that one can find out at what festival, craft fair, show or venue is scheduled next so you can purchase the products in person. Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/Living-Greens-Colorado-367484606677769/

And of course Living Greens phone number and P.O. Box is listed on both sites in case you can't wait for the next public event and want to order.

Florence, Colorado: It's Time For Some STEAMY LOVE

Most steampunk aficionados are wound up tighter than gears on a combination dirigible/submarine as they look forward to the 3rd Annual Escape In Time To Steampunk And Wine Festival in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

But this year the steampunk celebration has a new theme: STEAMY LOVE.

Steamy love?



This is about as steamy as I like my love scenes.

Oh, never mind, I think the intent is to celebrate love STEAMpunk style.


OK, I was right--it's about steamy love, shotgun weddings and marriage vow renewals.

That's not the only new things about this year's steampunk festival. This year it will be held in Pioneer Park. And this year the non-profit Fremont Civic Theater will be handling the wine portion of the festival and using proceeds for the theater group.

It all sounds fun and rather steamy.

Read all about it at: https://www.facebook.com/steampunkwine/

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Florence, Colorado: Squee! I Got My 16th Annual Florence Merchants' Car Show T-Shirt

Squee! I got my 16th Annual Florence Merchant's Car Show t-shirt today.

If you're wondering why I am so excited, it's because the car show happens to be one of my favorite events of all time in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado.


My t-shirt looks just like the one pictured above. The picture was posted by the Stitchshop in Florence, home of the talented folks that did the t-shirts and also do all sorts of magical artwork, screen printing, signs, banners and clothing.

But my t-shirt is in the jumbo-rama size. When the order was being put it, I requested whatever size that would not accentuate my spare tire. Honestly, that did happen. But now that I think about it--I should have ordered a size that showed my spare tire. After all this is a car show and my spare tire was totally theme-oriented for this car extravaganza.

You'll probably see me around town with my figure flattering t-shirt. I usually try not to touch the cars or lust after them. But it's difficult. I know little about cars, except I love them--and want to hug them all.

But here's what you won't see me doing during the car show--even though she's doing it.


Of course that's not me in the picture. I wish. I haven't looked that good since I was 16. I lost most of my looks at 17, though. But apparently this picture was taken at a past Florence Merchants' Car Show. I would consider dressing like this for my favorite car show, and ditch my beautiful, but ginormous t-shirt, and donning some fishnets and combat boots. But the problem is this lady's fishnets are probably torn on purpose. If I put on fishnets, my thunder thighs would spontaneously rip the fishnets and put all the attention on me and away from all the gorgeous cars, food, events and fun happening.

So, I'll be anonymously (as usual) skulking around the car show and drooling over (not on) all the cars. Yum! Cars like this that were at a previous Florence Merchants' Car Show.

 Want more information on this cool car show? Of course you do. You weren't put off by the thought of thunder thighs ripping fishnets or spare tire-covering t-shirts. You immediately realized this car show is possibly one of the best in Colorado. And of course you were correct. You can find out more about it at: https://www.facebook.com/FlorenceCarShow/
or at: www.florencecoloradocarshow.com

So, mark you calendars. The show revs up Sunday, May 21st from 9 to 3.

And while you are in Florence enjoying the car, the town also boasts many art galleries and wonderful eateries as well as the famous selection of antiques stores. And it might not be a bad idea to also stop by 115 E. Main St. Ste. 1 and see all the interesting things at the Stitchshop. More information on the shop that created the t-shirts is at: https://www.facebook.com/stitchshop


Florence, Colorado: St. Patty's Day At The Loralie Antique Mall

Shocking shamrocks. Loopy leprechauns. It's almost time for the wearing of the green and a fantastic St. Patrick's Day in Florence, Colorado--the antiques capital of Colorado.

Like most folks, we celebrate way in advance here--getting in the mood with all things green.

Well, not everything is green in Florence. Except me when I get green around the gills when I think about people not seeing all the green and other fun things in our small, but exceptional burg.

OK, here's what you WON'T find in Florence.


This dog won't be in Florence. But did you know that Florence is one of the most pooch friendly towns? Some of the shops keep dog treats for our four-legged visitors--and even those that don't usually welcome leashed furry friends in the antiques shops. Ask first, but most are pet friendly. And The Loralie Antique Mall at 109 W. Main St. is one of the many businesses that love when customers and browsers bring along a bowser.

At The Loralie Antique Mall, decorating for St. Patrick's Day has just begun--but here's a sneak peek of the window display.



Green, green and more green. I am loving the green church pew and the Handy Andy green tool set. The green picnic basket is pretty cool. And right next to the basket is a vintage tin of lamb livers. I kid you not. If you read the Valentine's post on this blog: All I Want For Valentine's Day Is Some Lamb Livers--you will understand.


You really cannot have to many lamb liver tins or all things green. I love the green pump and enamel bowl. But I'm into funky decor. But you'll never find a tin of lamb livers in my decor. I promise.


Ah, this gorgeous Detroit Jewel stove is part of the St. Patty's Day window at The Loralie. I can just see burning some peaty moss or bog, or whatever they use for fuel in the Emerald Isle.



More green! I like the vintage rake head used as a wine glass holder.


And another rake head used for a rolling pin and some tiny green leprechaun-sized mugs. And a HAPPY St. Patrick's Day greeting!


Green whimsical fabric everywhere! Of course The Loralie Antique Mall has the full collection of fabrics, embroidery and project kits from internationally-known textile designer, Loralie Harris. There are lovely things on hand to not only make the wearing of the green fun, but to make most any crafting, sewing or quilting project anytime of the year.

And that's just the tip of green iceberg of all the antiques, collectibles, fabrics and other enchanting things in store for St. Patrick's Day and beyond at The Loralie Antique Mall.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Are Scary Clowns Roaming Florence & The Streets Of Colorado?

Are scary clowns roaming the city of Florence and the state of Colorado? Yes, they are!

I've never had a particular fear of clowns. But then I've never read Stephen King, nor do I watch many horror movies.

No, worries. Scary clowns will pop up in Colorado when one least expects it.

Many moons ago I used to work at a print shop in Colorado. Of course, most of my co-workers were men and I got along with most all of them.

I'll call one of my co-workers, Sal. Sal was about my age and had spent most of his life as a paper cutter. For those not familiar with print shops--most presses print out a variety of the same images on the same sheet of paper and then the paper is sent to the paper cutter who slices the big sheets.

Sal and I became pretty good friends over the years. He disproved the notion that men don't talk as much as women. Every chance he got, he'd tell me what was on his mind.

Sal was a skinny dude with hyper tendencies. He rather reminded me of a scarecrow on LSD. Not that he ever did LSD to my knowledge.

One day he told me that though he'd worked in print shops since high school, that at one time he had a part-time career as a party clown.


Well color me shocked! Sal has quite the mouth on him. F this, F that. He didn't use the F word in anger much, but he had a potty mouth that would put the Goodfellas to shame.

So, Sal is bouncing around telling me how he used to love being a clown at children's parties.

"Yeah! F---ing A! I was one of the best party clowns ever. F---ing A!"

Sal used the phrase F---ing A an awful lot. So much so, that after I listened to tales of his clown career replete with F---ing A thrown in every few sentences, I asked him, "Parents actually used to let you into their houses to entertain their innocent children?"

"F---ing A yeah they did! I was one of the best party clowns ever!"

"Hmmm, most party clowns have a name. I think I'm going to dub you Faquin A, the party clown."

Sal stared at me through narrowed eyes. "Faquin A? What's that?"

Sometimes people are real clowns . "It's a polite way to say that someone who says F---ing A every time when referring to clowns or most anything for that matter, should have a street name. Faquin A, the party clown! With that name I believe you can revive your career."

My brief discussion with Sal about his party clown career still did not turn me against clowns. Honestly, I rarely think about clowns. Until now.

It was a review I read online about a Florence Colorado antiques store that happily announced the shop had NO scary clown toys.

The clown universe is trying to get my attention and get me to think about Faquin A party clowns, darn it. And then this little gem popped up.

On Jan. 14, 2015 the Florence Colorado police blotter had an interesting little item. For those people who don't read the Florence Police Department blotter in the Canon City Daily Record or the Florence Citizen, you are missing out on a treat that keeps many of the local citizens in stitches. We have no need of party clowns or any other type of clowns. We just have to read the police blotter.

The Jan. 14 entry read: "Pikes Peak Avenue and Main, a report of a male party dressed as a circus clown. He was wearing a red nose, green wig and was barking at squirrels. Officers responded and spoke with male party, who was indeed dressed as a clown. He does this professionally and was otherwise appropriate. No report was taken."

Oh, me oh my! You don't even need my feelings on this police blotter entry. The joke potential is enormous.

..."who was indeed dressed as a clown..." INDEED. OK, the fine officers deemed the party as otherwise appropriate. I can just imagine the officers racking their brains for tidbits they learned at the police academy. Hmmm, a clown barking at squirrels. Nope, not in the training manual. Doesn't sound like a reason to put anyone on a 72-hour mental evaluation hold.

I wonder if the officers asked for the clown's credentials. Perhaps the clown had a diploma from clown college? Or maybe he was just one of the many free-spirited clowns without credentials that roam Colorado looking for their next gig.

I would have loved to been a fly on the wall when those officers went home to their loved ones, hugged their significant others and told them NEVER to entertain the idea of letting a clown into their homes.

I'd also love to know what was going through the reporting party's mind when they called 911. "Hello, 911. What's my emergency? Well, um... There is a clown barking at squirrels and I'm afraid a squirrel is going to jump the clown and rip off his big, red nose..."

I admit, I've barked at squirrels even dressed in street clothes. OK, that was a lie. I never have. I've never even thought about it.

I wonder if Sal did revive his career as Faquin A, the party clown and stopped by Florence to bark at some squirrels. If it was Sal--Sal was harmless, but I'd still never recommend him for a children's party.

I am scared of clowns after all this? Faquin A, yeah! I sure am.

What They Are Really Thinking On The Antiques Roadshow


Yes, you just destroyed a valuable antique by cleaning it. I don't care if Betsy Ross left a piece of stinky cheese in the buffet, don't clean it. I don't care if General Sherman's horse peed all over that sword, just leave it alone.


Oh, yeah! I went to this yard sale and I offered this little old lady $1 for all this jewelry. She was asking $5, but I thought, what the heck? And now you are saying it's worth a million? No! It can't be true. I thought it was costume jewelry. Wink! I wouldn't know platinum if it bit me in the behind.

And the bonus to all this, is now everyone who was planning on having a yard or estate sale will watch The Antiques Roadshow or look it up on Ebay (without realizing all the variations on condition and design) and think everything is worth a fortune.


I always like looking someone in the eye( wait I can't see his eyes) when I tell them that Star Wars collectibles can now be worth more that Civil War antiques. I've been a prestigious dealer for decades and I never thought I'd be talking smack with a Star Wars trooper or soldier or whatever the heck they call them.

Excuse me while I go home and cuddle up one last time with my worthless collection, that includes things like Abe Lincoln's stovepipe hat, and kick myself that I didn't invest in Star Wars memorabilia. I did jump into the Beanie Babies craze and lost my house on Martha's Vineyard. And well, my wife and family disowned me too. Excuse me while I go hang myself.


The Queen of Questionable Taste is a part-time antiques and collectibles dealer and a mocker of  tacky, ugly, FUNky  and horrid collectibles and other questionable items, but takes special glee in mocking scary clowns and frogs. The Queen appreciates a good antique and some collectibles, but insists that another man's trash is always trash--unless of course someone is willing to pay the big bucks for it. The Queen used to be a newspaper reporter and also wrote for a major national magazine. The Queen enjoys decorating her home in the tacky pseudo-Victorian gypsy funk style, gardening, reading and acting offended when her husband, The King of Impeccable Taste, makes folk art out of junk he scrounges for free from alleys and other people's yards and out of the Arkansas River. The Queen and her husband have lived in colorful Colorado for over 20 years and LOVE it.

Fremont County, Colorado: Gene Fish and Candace Hiltz Cases

When evidence in the Candace Hiltz murder case was found in a public storage locker, formerly owned by Fremont County Sheriff's Office Det. Robert Dodd, not only did that abnormality set off a public outcry--it also set off rumblings in at least one other case.

And that is the case of Gene Fish. Fish, a federal agent, was last seen in 2004 at his home in rural Fremont County and has not been seen since. His case is technically not a homicide investigation, but a missing person investigation.

Yes, Lt. Dodd was involved in the Fish case.

The Colorado Springs Independent recently published a story about the Gene Fish case and how it crossed paths with the Candace Hiltz case. Read it here: http://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/mystery-of-missing-federal-agent-in-fremont-county-still-unsolved-after-13-years/Content?oid=4332820

The Independent does some of the best reporting in Colorado, in my opinion, but the story raises even more questions. Which I guess is what good journalism does.

But in these cases, those questions are troubling.



Fish has a cousin, Frank Hernigle of New York state. Hernigle, of course, like most of the country was reading with interest, and do doubt shock, of the discovery of murder evidence found in Dodd's public storage unit, that was sold to private citizen, Rick Ratzlaff in Dec. of 2016.

But Hernigle, according to The Independent, wondered if that storage locker contained any evidence or records with his cousin's case. And believe me, I've read a lot of the investigational reports on the Fish case--and they were extensive.

That would make sense since Dodd was heavily involved in the Fish case. But apparently Fremont County authorities told Hernigle that there was nothing in the storage locker connected to the Fish case.

What!

So far the Fremont County Sheriff's Office (and presumably those unnamed "Fremont County authorities") have been tight-lipped about what was in that unit. We know, due to Ratzlaff's recordings and pictures, there was evidence from the Candace Hiltz case and assorted law enforcement paraphernalia in that unit. The investigation is currently underway by the CBI, and that agency has also been tight-lipped on what was in the unit.

Rather odd that Hernigle was told there is nothing in the unit related to his missing cousin, since according to media reports the Hiltz family and the public has not been told what is in the unit. We only know from Ratzlaff giving media interviews, some of what might be in the unit.

Fish's parents have since passed away, but when their son went missing they reportedly spent about $100,000 on investigations. That signals to me, not only parents who were frantic to find their adult son, but parents who felt the Fremont County Sheriff's Office might need outside assistance.

According to The Independent article, part of that $100,000 included hiring retired Colorado Springs police detectives, David Spencer and Lou Smit. For those not familiar with Smit, he was a legendary detective in the ranks of Lt. Joe Kenda, even without a reality TV show.

Smit solved the Heather Dawn Church murder against all odds and many others. And he was also hired by John and Patsy Ramsey to get information on the death of their daughter, Jon Benet Ramsey.

Unfortunately Smit succumbed to cancer several years ago. But Spencer, according to the article, says he and Smit found enough evidence in the Fish case for a grand jury to come back with an indictment, in their opinions.

What was the reaction of Fremont County authorities, according to Spencer? He claims, in the article, that Fremont County District Attorney Molly Chilson threatened to have him arrested for interfering in the Fish case.

I find it interesting that I haven't read that in any media reports except in The Independent.

But Fish's cousin is still hopeful that the discovery of the public storage locker is indirectly putting the spotlight back on Gene Fish's case.

Hernigle said his cousin's case is active and open and he recently received a call from FCSO Det. Dale King.

The article suggests a new cold case unit has opened in Fremont County. Hernigle said Det. King told him the Fish case is second in line for fresh scrutiny under a newly formed cold case unit.

I find no reports of a newly formed cold case unit in Fremont County. I do find one that was implemented in Oct. of 2012. The link is here: https://www.facebook.com/Fremont-County-Sheriff-Office-Cold-Case-Squad-424511267680808/

According to its Facebook page, Fremont County Sheriff  (sic) Office Cold Case Squad is assisted by many retired law enforcement professionals.

There are a few pleas for public information on a few cases, but there are no mentions of either the Gene Fish case, nor the Candace Hiltz case.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Florence,Colorado: Did You Know FLORENCE Predicted Presidential Winner?

Update: Did you know that Florence, Colorado actually predicted the presidential winner nearly a year ago? I didn't. That's what I get for not reading my own darn blog!

I won't make that mistake again. Today I've been going through past blog posts--alternately amusing and horrifying myself. I came across this post (below) that was published on 2-23-16. I left the original post up, but will add it in this post.

The crux is: All those political pundits on cable news could have saved a lot of time and money. Florence, Colorado already called the race for Donald Trump. And it all was done by customers coming into an antiques store and saying who they were for.

As I read over this old post, the people I ran into got the election right. But I got it a little wrong by saying that I believed (based on the "bad hair" of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump) that the race would come down to those two. OK, I could not have predicted all the Wikileaks and DNC hacks that might have showed the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC might have messed with Bernie a little.

But regardless, the unofficial poll taken from people doing antiques shopping and browsing in Florence, Colorado--predicted the race!


originally published on 2-23-16

Everyone knows it's not polite to talk about religion and politics. I rarely do, unless someone else brings it up. And it's not because I don't have an opinion or two (or two thousand) it's because I feel those are subjects for family and trusted friends.

And it's a definite taboo in a retail situation. I always feel I need to be a neutral worker when representing someone else's business--whether that business is an antiques store or several publications I have written for.

I know it's tough to be neutral and objective in this world--but it's how I was trained and part of my nature.

But that doesn't mean that numerous customers don't bring up politics.


I do believe pollsters should be paying me for the information I have collected, just by being neutral and listening to people who bring up politics.

And here's even the demographics. Colorado is a purple state.

My demographics are mainly men who bring up politics. OK, one woman brought it up out of 100 or more men. I don't interpret the facts, I just get amazed over those uneven demographics inwardly.

I'll give you a sample of one conversation that happened today. But it is representative of dozens of them over the months.

HIM: I don't want no socialist for a president.

ME: Oh, my!

HIM: Darn socialist.

ME: Then who would you want as president?

HIM: TRUMP!



Here's my unofficial poll, so far, taken in an antiques store--without me EVER starting the conversation.

TRUMP--100 plus
RUBIO--0
CRUZ--0
CARSON-0
CLINTON-0
SOCIALIST GUY-0

OK, you get the point.

So, am I to conclude that in a purple state, ALL antique shoppers and browsers are for Trump?

I won't reveal who I am for.


Wait! Is that a picture of my beloved terrier mix that I combed some of his hair and then plopped it on his head to make him look a little like Trump--and called his new hair-do: Trump Your Poochie in a previous blog post?

 No, I'd never do anything like that. OK, I would. And I haven't looked in my own blog archives, but I believe back in July or August, I already called the race. Not on personal or unofficial polls of antique store goers--but based on bad hair. I predicted that Trump and Saunders might be battling it out late in the race, because the spoils might go to the folks with the worst hair.

OK, I think antiques are funny. I think politics are funny. Wait, I think just about everything that isn't truly serious can be funny. And here's what I find funny--but eye-opening.

I live in a purple state, sort of in middle America. And in a rural area. And dozens and dozens of people come up to me and confide they are for Trump. It's sort of like a confessional without having to go visit a priest. They'll probably not run into me again--and if they do, I'll never reveal what they told me.

I have no problem with that. They all do acknowledge he is rough and maybe needs to keep his trap shut a little more. BUT, they usually give me a smile that says: I secretly love it!

I am far removed from the East Coast. But it is where my roots are. Even though I have been gone since kindergarten, I understand the differences in politics, humor, culture, jokes, etc. on the East Coast versus other parts of the country. I have lived in most parts of the country--and what flies in the way of humor in the East, might be frowned on in the South.


See, what former presidential candidate Rick Perry is doing would be considered perhaps OK in the South, but not in the East. Wait, I really looked closely at this picture--what he is doing would not be considered OK anywhere.

Turn your attention back to that Trump photo. I chose it for a reason. Not to put the Donald in a bad light. It just reminds me a bit of how my grandmother (East Coast through and through) used to look (minus the combover) and express her emotions. Unless you've been around it or raised around it--it can be a bit off-putting. For those who know a little about some portions of the East (and some Italians) Trump reminded me of granny when she used to do (and say) the Fangul. This is a family-friendly blog, so if you really want to know the history of the Fangul--Google it.

So, just saying. I'm a little surprised that folks here are coming out in droves and talking about Trump. And that's the confessions of an antiques store worker for today.

Florence,Colorado: Politically Incorrect Antiques, Doctors Smoke Camels

Update: This blog post was originally posted here on 2-11-16. Since then I've decided to devote some more posts to the FUN world of politically (and socially) incorrect antiques and collectibles. It's a fun (and sometimes horrifying) look at how history can be shown through antiques and collectibles.

Here's one of my favorite politically incorrect antiques or collectibles.


Yep! More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.

Every doctor in private practice was asked!

I'm assuming that back way when, there were only a few doctors in private practice to even ask. And I am just guessing that when those doctors where "asked" there was a nice "sample" of Camels for the good doctor and all the staff--and maybe even a visit from that smoking hot cutie in the red dress.

 Ah, the good old days when a doctor came into the room and was smoking and flicked an ash off your chart before he asked you how you were feeling.

Browsers  love this framed ad and walk by it and chuckle. They come up to the counter and joke about it. I'm surprised it hasn't sold to a doctor who wants to decorate his office. When and if that happens, we'll miss this piece of history--because it reminds us how fun and funny antiques and collectibles can be.

Florence, Colorado: Police Officers & A Sneaky Rattlesnake

Update: This blog post was originally posted here on 9-13-14. Since we've recently seen yet another example of the Florence Police Department's heroics (on Feb. 6, 2017 with the bomb scare in downtown Florence) I thought this blog post from over two years ago would be a nice reminder of what our men and woman in blue do for us--in this slightly humorous look at police vs. a sneaky rattlesnake.

p.s. Shortly before Christmas of 2014 I semi-anonymously dropped a gift bag of Trader Joe snacks and candy at the Florence Police Department to thank these unknown officers. No, there were no donuts in the gift bag--just a whole lot of gratitude.

Duct Tape: One of Law Enforcement's Finest Tools In Snake Wrangling

I came home after a long day's work at an antique store on Florence's Main Street. For those of you who don't know, Florence Colorado is a friendly, small town that is also the Antiques Capital of Colorado. And for those of you who don't know: Florence is also home to one of the finest police forces. I should know--I've had enough interactions with them in my few short years here. 

And for those who don't know: Florence has quite the bunch of animals alternately amusing and scaring the heck out of some of its residents.

I put my feet up and heard a few crackling noises. I didn't think much of it. We had had a mouse in the free-standing pine cupboard in our kitchen a few weeks ago. One day when I went to get some dog food out of the cupboard, I scared the mouse and it flew onto me, as we both screamed and both went running for cover. I figured the mouse was back.

But the rustling noises were so persistent, I finally called upon my mellow Collie and feisty (but chicken)  Terrier to be of some use, other than being adorable and loyal, and check out the noises. Both pooches dutifully went into the kitchen and the Collie looked alarmed and herded something, possibly by the kitchen sink.

I went back to relaxing. Got dinner on. My husband came home from a really long day at work and we settled in to watch Sleepy Hollow.    I heard a crackling noise, grabbed the remote to turn the TV down and asked my husband, "What is that noise?"   

I still had the remote in my hand when he got up and yelled, "My gosh! There's a rattlesnake under the bookcase!"

Always calm under pressure, he told me to get the dogs into the bedroom. Of course, they were timidly walking towards the little serpent. We all ran to the bedroom. Well, not my husband. I'll call my husband, Dirk.

Dirk, stood in the living room staring at where he last saw the snake disappear under the bookcase. I hissed, from the bedroom, "Call 911! And come to the bedroom NOW!."

I'm calm (in my actions) in threatening situations--but I tend to flap my arms like a bird and hiss a lot when a mouse jumps out of a cupboard on me, or when a rattlesnake rattles for at least 30 seconds under any of my furniture.

"Call 911!"

Dirk attempted to get Siri (or whatever the heck that lady's name is on the I-phone) to get the non-emergency number for Florence Police Department. But he refuses to run like a chicken to the bedroom and tells me he needs to see where the snake is and if it stays in place. Our conversation goes like this:

Dirk: Find Florence Police Department.

Siri: I've found two police departments. Do you want me to call emergency services?

Me: It's a damn emergency! Tell Siri to call 911. Or better yet--you do it!

Dirk: Find Florence Police Department.

Siri: I've found two police departments. Do you want me to call emergency services?

Me: Call 911 right now or I'll strike worse than a rattlesnake.

Dirk is finally compelled by my hysterical tones to call 911. If my phone hadn't been too close to the snake, I would have called 911 without getting Siri involved. Dirk later told me that he was trying to call non-emergency because he didn't want to get chastised for calling 911 for a questionable reason. I wonder what would have qualified for an emergency in Dirk's opinion? Godzilla busting through our roof? An escapee from Super Max knocking on our door and asking for cupcakes, a change of clothes and traveling money? 

Officers from Florence Police Department arrive a few moments later. I peek my head out of the bedroom door and saw two uniformed officers. I somehow expected them to have big leather gloves, I guess like the kind you use to train falcons and perhaps a beekeeper's headgear and some boots. And maybe a snake-catching hook. I see nothing of the sort and yell at one of the officers," Do you have some type of tools or equipment?"

One officer chuckles, "Nope. The only tool I have is a lack of common sense."

My adrenalin levels were so high that I seem to remember mumbling something to Dirk about having concerns that they aren't trained for this--and where the heck is someone from wildlife or the humane society, or the snake wrangling society.

The officer assures me that he can handle this and I tell him I am just concerned for their safety. After all, I had stuffed clothes and plastic under the bedroom door cracks in case something went wrong.

I decide to close the door and keep my semi-hysteria to myself and let Florence's finest do their job. After all, Dirk is watching out for them. Dirk later confided that he would have done the snake wrangling himself, with possibly the help of a male friend a few blocks away, but he knew I would not permit that. He got that right!

I have the bedroom door shut and nearly hermetically sealed, But I do hear the officer ask if we have a wire coat hanger. The words are barely out his mouth and I'm flinging a wire coat hanger down the hallway. I then ask if a metal trash can would help. "It sure would," the officer answers.

I fling that like a hockey puck down the hallway and this time keep the door closed.

I hear some rattling. I'm quivering and consider yelling,"Just shoot the darn snake, I don't care about my house or belongings!" I shut my mouth. And in case you don't know--I get upset if I accidentally step on a snail and am a member of the ASPCA and the Humane Society. So, killing a snake is not first on my list of options.

I hear more rattling. Then the officer, the lead snake wrangler, screamed an expletive. "Oh, pardon my French."

"Don't worry," Dirk muttered, "I've said a lot worse."

This is not going well, so I stuff more things under the door and another expletive is heard. I'm actually thinking more and worse expletives in my thoughts than the officer could ever utter.

More rattling, thumping and then silence. I decided to pull up my big girl panties and see what's going on.

The officer said," Hey, do you have any duct tape? And hey, what about a piece of cardboard box?"

Ah, the high-tech world of snake wrangling.Dirk runs to the garage to trim some cardboard. I'm still shivering in the bedroom and finally get enough guts to see what is going on.

Ah, the officer and lead snake handler is proudly crouched by a large vintage Quality Candies tin that we use as a trash can. He is holding down a neatly trimmed piece of cardboard and waiting for Dirk to bring some duct tape.

Now, I purchased this candy tin (now a snake cage) from a fellow antique dealer who used to work at the same shop as I did. And come to think of it, I also purchased the lovely pine bookcase the snake was hiding under from her. We no longer work at the same antique store, but she still works downtown in the trade--so I think I'll have to pay her a visit this weekend and tell her to take her voodoo hex snake powder curse off the two items I purchased from her that were involved in the rattlesnake battle.

The officer, whom I will now refer to as, Officer Hero, was smiling and asked me if I'd like to take a peek at the rattlesnake before the cardboard got taped down.

"Thanks, but heck no!"

"Oh, come on," he cajoled," Curiosity will get the best of you!"

"No, it won't," I screeched.

Seeing my obvious agitation and lingering affects of adrenalin, he decided to comfort me with the information that there were a lot of rattlesnakes around here. Well, I'll be darned. We live in a newer house in the developed part of Florence. Certainly not on farmland or in the more rural areas.

Dirk brought in the duct tape. Officer Hero and the other two officers--I did not notice until I calmed down that there were three officers-- did a bang up job of duct taping the cardboard to the candy tin.

I ask all of them what I can do for them, since I am grateful for what they did. "Nothing, we get paid for this," one of the other officers replied.

You don't get paid enough, I am thinking. I was thinking along the lines of buying tickets for the Policeman's Ball, if Florence even has such a thing, or donating to some police charity--but am too rattled (pun intended) to pursue that idea.

"Okay," Officer Hero said," We'll take care of the snake and be back to return the tin later. And if it's too late and you're not up, we'll just leave it on the porch."

"Oh, I think I'll be up most of the night after this."

Officer Hero was truly fantastic. He had attempted to get the snake by just blindly scooping at it with the hanger and then later this hook-type thing called a Thera-Cane that one uses to reach sore spots in places you can't reach.

Dirk later told me Officer Hero and the other officers didn't wish to move the bookcase because they were afraid of breaking things. Of course, Dirk told them that people were more important than our things.

So, right before the officers left to take care of the rattler, he had the other two move the bookcase back. It turns out Officer Hero is a bit of an interior decorator. He told the other two officers after they moved the bookcase back, "Hey, that's not centered!"

They immediately centered it.

If you look at the above picture, blurry as it is, due to Dirk still being a bit rattled when taking the picture, in the foreground is a pile of dust bunnies. As I came staggering out of the bedroom that's the first thing I noticed before the snake  candy tin. "Oh my God," I yelled," Are those dust bunnies?! On top of this, do I have to be embarrassed in front of the police due to dust bunnies?"

Dirk later told me the officers were going to release the sneaky serpent back into the wild.

I asked Dirk what all the mild cussing and noises were. "Oh, the snake just kept escaping and striking at him."

"Oh, is that all?"

I asked Officer Hero if he'd ever done this before. "Unfortunately, I've done it a few times."

Officer Hero grabbed the tin, which was rattling louder than a tambourine.

And that kids, is why the Florence Police Department is great. It really helps to have an officer with the same twisted sense of humor I have.

Dirk later told me that Officer Hero was teasing me about showing me the snake, because if he lifted the lid it would have continued striking at him. 

So, next time you see one of Florence's finest--raise your respect and a roll of duct tape for all they do. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Florence, Colorado: What's That Clown Woman Doing With That Horn?


What is that Clown Woman doing with that horn?

As we all know, I enjoy mocking clown collectibles. It all started in Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado where I noticed a disproportionate number of clown collectibles hiding among the classy antiques. Then my mocking spread internationally to Craigslist, Ebay and Etsy.

This latest clown accessory find on Etsy is really SO well done, that it is difficult to find anything to mock or scoff at. But discovering this clown find is really a whole new world for me--and I don't mean like the whole new world you'd find in a Disney movie.


Uh oh, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore Toto, where clowns are just clowns--or even fully dressed clowns. I think we are in over our heads on this one.

I won't speculate on what this woman is doing with that horn. Where I come from we'd say: "I think she's blowing it out her arse." But since she seems like such a nice Clown Woman, I don't think she's blowing it out her arse. Or is she?

What she is doing, according to the ETSY ad, is modeling a: Clown Gold Latex Rubber Circus Costume.

Last week when I was doing my spring/summer wardrobe shopping at Wal-Mart, I thought," Just picking up a few packages of bargain panties, a jumbo bra and some old-lady shorts and T-shirts is a drag. Something is missing. I really need a clown gold latex rubber circus costume."

But I didn't know where to find one until now.

I was SO excited when I found this outfit. They can even custom make it in my size. I wonder if House of Harlot does plus sizes? Of course they do!


  Holy Cold Bosoms, Batman! Is that sheer material I see, with just some pasties covering the nipples? And by pasties, I don't mean Cornish Pasties, that I ate one too many of--and could never fit into this clown costume. It's a bit too nippy in Colorado for this outfit.

But I'm a rebel and just might want to spice up my Wal-Mart wardrobe and have something appropriate to wear to a church potluck or charity fundraiser.


Oh, no, Queen of Questionable Taste. You can't afford me. Plus, you are a mocker of clown collectibles and accessories and you don't deserve me. At least that's what the Clown Woman appears to be telling me in this picture. She's also telling me that her waist measurement is the same size in circumference as just one of my tree-trunk thighs.

She's also telling me that ETSY ain't your granny's craft store and the House of Harlot has outfitted numerous celebrities such as Beyonce--and this all above my pay grade.

This outfit is $1,162.70. I believe the House of Harlot should give me a 70 cent discount for mentioning them on my blog and making it an even $1,162. Considering who probably reads my blog, they will get no business from my eight blog readers, and I should pay them $1,162 just for having the temerity to mention their classy clown costume on my tacky blog.


But I've learned a lot from looking for clown collectibles on ETSY. I learned a new word from the House of Harlot: Fetishistas. Most of their outfits are made of latex, rubber, leather and luxury fabrics. I wouldn't know a luxury fabric if it bit me in the arse. And I didn't know that clown horns make nice arse props. So, I don't want to ever hear that blog is NOT educational. I bet you've learned more about clown collectibles, clown dating and clown accessories than your nightmares and fantasies ever imagined.


The Queen of Questionable Taste mocks clown collectibles and clown accessories on her blog. In her spare time she lives a life of hypocrisy and quiet desperation, and spends up to 20 hours a week dusting her clown collectibles collection with a feather duster wedged between her butt cheeks, dressed in a latex clown outfit she made herself to save $1,000.