Fog-brained

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. My brain just hasn’t been very cooperative lately. I have a hard time focusing on anything for any length of time, and keep procrastinating on essential tasks like finishing my taxes and buying clothes. I sometimes struggle to see the point of it all, which sure sounds like something someone with depression would say. I’ve probably spent / been spending too much time alone, which doesn’t help. However, I am trying to eat better (snacking on raw veggies like snow peas, carrots, and turnip), exercise more (going on bike rides, often inspired by nearby trash days), and cut down on caffeine. We’ll see how that goes.

Regarding garbage, this year’s really been a dud so far. I haven’t found any “omg” finds, some nice stuff here and there but little that’s blog worthy. I’m starting to feel like a lot of people did their purging last year, which was great for me, and that the next year or two might be less fruitful than usual. Either that, or I just haven’t been particularly lucky.

Anyways, here’s a few things from last year I haven’t posted yet (there’s still lots more to share, including some “omg” finds). Someone sent me a picture of the pile above on Instagram, and I went to check it out. It looked like an entire apartment was on the curb. I saw evidence of potential bedbuggery on one of the furniture pieces, so I decided to focus on small, easily cleaned items. 

This stuff was pretty grody, so it was probably for the best regardless. All my finds fit into this gross lockbox and a cast iron pot.

It needed a good clean, as you can see. The few things that needed a more delicate touch, like that watch, I wiped down with a damp cloth. 

That was a nice hunk of copper for the scrap bin (left). Haven’t seen any others quite like it, so I wonder if whoever owned it worked in metal processing or something.

Anyways, here’s my pick of the most interesting stuff (and a bit of random junk). I saved a pewter gargoyle & bird skull bracelet, a wizard brooch, a Zippo lighter, a small amount of scrap silver and a tiny bit of gold. That skull ring is a little intense, I’m wondering if it’s a biker thing. It’s silver plated and marked “G&S RP 87.” Based on my acid test I think that bird skull bracelet (?) at top right is unmarked solid silver. It looks pretty well made, and the eyes are some kind of milky-coloured stone. I’m going to have to do some research on that one before doing anything with it. 

Here’s some jewelry I found at a one-off in Hampstead. The little necklace in the middle was tangled up pretty bad but was silver & made by Tiffany. I think it ended up selling for a couple hundred bucks. The rest of this stuff was silver as well, if I recall correctly.

This was the only interesting piece of jewelry found at another spot. Can anyone make out this signature?

I found another small jewelry haul in NDG, along with some other quality junk though nothing exciting enough to post here. The bracelet was silver, and the lone cufflink was 18k gold. The latter was hefty enough that it alone was worth around 250$ for its weight. I was thinking the pearl earrings were gold too, but they were not. 

Here’s some stuff from a Westmout one-hit-wonder. There was lots of relatively high-end touristy stuff here, a lot of which went straight to the auction. I took pictures of the smaller stuff, like that little stone dish (made in Kenya), and those little ceramic tiles (made in Mexico). 

They also tossed a nice collection of pens. The nicest: a Sheaffer fountain with an 18k gold nib (gold cap near middle), a Cross fountain which I can’t find right now, and a matching Pelikan fountain & ballpoint. Most of the rest were medical swag, so I’m guessing the previous owner was a doctor. I didn’t know thalidomide was still around… the more you know.

Finally, some pens from a particular successful run (at least when it came to finding pens) in NDG. One spot offered two of the same Parker “cisele” sterling silver ballpoints, which are always an easy sale (though I may keep one), while another spot gave me a set of Sheaffers, a nice green Parker fountain, and a very striking gold-tone Parker with a 14k nib. I still have all these, I have to figure out the model name and all that if I want to get the best price.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Hopefully it won’t be another two months before I can get my brain in gear again.

22 thoughts on “Fog-brained”

  1. Brain fog is a widespread malady of late. I’ve been struggling with energy myself but figure any movement forward is a movement forward. Haven’t lost the thrill of picking yet so that’s something. Keep on keeping!

    1. Me too , I’m feeling the same way as you and the author. 2020-2021 have been the worst years of my life. I’m 42 almost. I used to have a zest for life and was so full of energy and joy… until the government shutdown the country for the pandemic 😷. Now I’m struggling to get back to my old self. The only benefit I have from the pandemic was I quit smoking 🚬 cigarettes. Cold turkey after 27 years. I seem to enjoy trash picking and dumpster diving ( a new habit I picked up during the Covid-19 shutdown) .

  2. Ah,as someone who’s familiar with the downs, you have my empathy,indeed stickin’ too close to one’s own self does carry the possible side effect of going’ down the rabbit hole,(for me it’s usually winter),so i’ll toss these few ideas your way, in case some might prove themselves to be of some use,The Guardian food section (great cooking inspiration) Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown,awesome not just for food, but used to charge my batteries mightily ! 😉 taking a hike up mt-royal with a friend, 6 pack in a backpack,& travel mug for discretionary use 😉 clothes? i”ve had fun for years just checkin’ out what others get rid of (you wouldn’t believe!) for me it’s a year round thing,(you never know When you’ll find that awesome winter jacket or perfecto 😉 Music, the free concerts they be a-comin’ ! 😉
    Growin’ stuff you can eat! (i have a basil plant*bush that’s about to turn 4 years old 😉 (very grounding) on this i could be helpful 😉 been doing’ it awhile) Taxes,ask around,Someone’s got an awesome tax guy for relatively cheap,& will save you no end of hassle, it’s worth it 😉 Had your shots yet? So far they’ve been fairly easy, even faster in montreal ! Mixing brands an advantage to boot,(apparently more immune bang for the buck 😉 after that you’re home free to party down! 😉 Also,you’re clearly a super-productive dude, but sometimes what’s needed is non-productive leisure,blowin” off steam,or just chilling’ with a doob,the spirit needs a break as much as the body, sometimes more, something we are all too often encouraged to forget nowadays 😉 Peace dude, hope things go better 😉

  3. I love your writing and your appreciation for the things you find. No words of advice here as I’ve heard them all yet it’s so hard when you’re in “that space” to act on anything… at least for me it was. Just one medication has helped and it gives me the motivation to do things then in turn I feel better which inspires me to do more (and living a life with less doom and gloom is “more” for sure). But I’m sure you know all this. Finding the right med is the challenge and a longer term process. I know you will find your way. You know we all love hearing from you. If a long post with many items is too much, know that we would enjoy just one item with one photo with one thought! M.

  4. Please take care. I understand how you feel and it can be such a hard daily struggle. Concentration and focus is hard to come by, I get it. Be patient with yourself. Thanks for posting, I hope you get some really good trash finds soon.

  5. THANK YOU for another terrific blog post. Not only are they a pleasure to read (my favorite use of language from today’s post is “potential bedbuggery”) but are also deeply satisfying because I/we see all of this stuff — some of it beautiful, some of it valuable, some of it very idiosyncratic, and all of it hinting at the lives of human beings whom we will never know but somehow become curious about as a result of reading your blog. Whenever you can post — every few months or once a week or just one item with one thought (as a previous fan suggested) — we will be happy and grateful to read about what you can found, what you have learned, how you are feeling, what your new tactics might be, etc. etc. etc. And hurrah for eating lots of vegetables. My current understanding is that they not only are good for our health directly but they also support the healthier strains of bacteria which live in our GI tract (and contribute to our health and happiness in ways just beginning to be discovered…) Peace and health be with you, Martin!!! (And please remove this post if I have accidentally shared it twice on your page…)

  6. I was so happy to see a post from you–I wish you all the best. I hope all the wise things you are doing to feel better do the trick and I hope you can see from all the messages here–including mine–how many people hold you in high regard and wish you well.

  7. Maybe not as many people have been moving house during the pandemic, and when things become more normal the clearing-outs will resume.
    The signature on that piece – it looks like Jan Van V__ to me, but it could be Jan W__ – it’s not textbook cursive, is it? lol
    I hope you feel better soon. I am finding being alone after the death of my husband to be difficult. I need the time and space to be alone but it is also hard on the head and leads to those same thoughts you described, of “what’s the point of it all”. Hopefully things will get better for all of us who live alone, once we can more freely visit and mingle with others.

  8. I’ve missed you posts and now I know why. Someone already said how a particular med has helped them. Certainly worth the effort going to the dr to find something that works for you. It can change your life.

    Same short posts would be just as appreciated if you are feeling overwhelmed and just want a weekly goal.

  9. I think the world is going through such tough times right now, so take care of yourself, Martin, and just take it day by day. Love your posts, especially re your pen finds. The Cislé pens have often fetched nice prices on eBay, and the Pelican probably will, too. All the best!

  10. *Hugs* to you. Hang in there, Martin. We, your readers, support you in all that you do. There’s finally a light at the end of this looooong pandemic tunnel. I hope it clears all the grim shadows from your current rabbit hole.

    I agree with a couple of your other readers. Even regular, short, single-item posts would be very welcome. So no pressure there! I’ll love your posts no matter their length.

    Maybe you’ve had no omg finds this last while, there have certainly been some interesting ones. If you still have that little pewter gargoyle, I’ll happily buy it from you. 🙂

  11. Hi Martin, thank you for all you do. Your posts are GREATLY appreciated, however long or short they may be. Dry spells happen, and moving day is just around the corner. I’m sure you’ll score some good stuff soon.

  12. hi martin! thanks for your post- I always love hearing about your finds. there will be more as moving day approaches. I’m sorry to hear about your low mood- but sounds like you are doing all the right things to take care of yourself. perhaps more frequent small posts will help, too, to boost your morale- it is clear how much your work and thoughtfulness are appreciated by your followers with their many comments!

  13. To my mind, these days fog-brained = normal. Glad to see your post and I hope that with the lightening up of restrictions it will once again be possible to have more human interaction. Here’s hoping that moving day coming up will kick-start a new prosperous season for you.

  14. Wanted to say that the signature on that silver brooch is driving me a bit nuts. I used to be fairly resourceful in finding signatures and origins etc. but this one is a real head-scratcher. I will keep looking.

  15. Martin, I hope you will feel better soon. I am always delighted to see a post of yours in my Inbox. These sure are hard times we have been through but the worst is over and things will get better. You have to believe in that. Maybe you need a vacation of some sort. A change of scenery. Maybe a house swap with a friend or a long hike in the wilderness or…just….a road trip to a town you haven’t been to before. Don’t discredit how strange and hard these last 16 months have been. Things are sort of getting back to “normal” people say, but it will take some time. I hope you will get some help. There are many medications that can help with that depression. I hope you will feel better soon. Your readers appreciate what you do so much. Thanks for posting. It is great to have you back.

  16. Years ago I gave up on medication and went to a hypnotherapist. It was great! Not covered by my insurance but whatever”.I moved and no longer see her but have found that exercise is helpful, fast walk or time on the mini- trampoline.

  17. Please explore new Streets and areas that you have never done before.You will strike gold again–you just have to be Lucky and persistent(though it is great to take some breaks).I found more than two dozen Euro coins and three silver cups in a black plastic trash bag in a north-end borough recently.I checked out a trash pile while biking in the evening at dusk.The wait between your blog posts is too long for many readers.Please post more often.You are a very young man and have many,many great décades ahead of you.I was born in 1974.I wish I was your age again.

  18. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — commonly known as antidepressants — are great “friends” when it comes to battling depression. They helped lift me out of a terrible funk I was in when I found the monotony of working at home (under COVID) unbearable. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it. And you need not take them for a lifetime.

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