Good Times in Riverside. Really.

So far, my posts have been musings and observations, maybe a recollection or two. I, Midlife Meg, don’t have many actual adventures.  I mostly just think about things.  However, blogging has inspired me to try to find some adventures, so I will have something to tell you about.

This post will be about me actually going somewhere and documenting it for you, dear reader.

The somewhere is Riverside, California. I went for work, which wasn’t very adventurous of me, but I ventured briefly off the business path had some fun. In Riverside, of all places.

For my readers who aren’t from SoCal, Riverside is a decent-sized city directly east of Los Angeles.  It’s not exactly known as a mecca for entertainment. Although it has a university and some historic landmarks and blah blah blah, I knew Riverside as the place I get stuck in traffic on the way home from Vegas, when I am hot and hungover and just want to get home. I’ve always thought of it as a smoggy, dusty place that really needs to trim its palm trees. From the freeway, it ain’t pretty.

However, I have now been there three times, and I kind of dig it. I went to the downtown/ City Hall area. The first day I went, I was surprised at how pretty the downtown area is.  The courthouse was so striking, I snapped a picture of it.

The Riverside Courthouse was built in 1903. Beautiful, isn’t it?

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a new city, the first thing I want to know is, where can I get a cookie? Turns out, Riverside City Hall has a café that sells cookies—big ones. I got an oatmeal raisin cookie as big as my face, and I am happy to report that it also contained nuts and coconut. Bonus! I took a picture of the cookie (with only one bite missing).  I placed it next to this chubby, middle-aged hand as a size reference.

I noticed a cute storefront on Market Street called Old Glory General Store—antiques! I love antiques. I live near Old Towne Orange, which is a hub for antiquing in Southern California. Most of the stores in Old Towne are a little pricey, though.  Since I am fairly ignorant about antiques, i.e. I can’t always tell a real antique from a reproduction, I am unwilling to spend much money on them.  (That is the difference between ignorant and stupid, see?) I have learned that antique stores outside of my beloved Old Towne are often much more affordable, so I feel more comfortable indulging elsewhere.

I took my cookie into the crowded, adorable store and meandered through the spaces. Furniture, housewares, pottery, art…it was overstimulating and wonderful.

Now that I am officially old, the toys I played with as a child are considered antiques. I don’t even care; I am still happy to encounter them.  I found a Snoopy dog, not the Charles Schulz Snoopy, but the wooden pull-string toy with the wobbly wheels. I clearly recall my own Snoopy and the odd, honking squeak his wheels made when I dragged him along beside me.  Did you have one of these?

Right behind Snoopy in the photograph is a Shirt Tales lunchbox.  I loved the Shirt Tales when I was a little older, in the early Eighties. At my elementary school (go Taft Tigers!) we traded stickers at recess, and Shirt Tales stickers were my favorites.

Although I loved marionettes as a kid, I’m grateful that my parents never gave me any like these.

These are like punishment toys, aren’t they? Terrifying. You could hang one at the foot of your kid’s bed, so he wouldn’t be able to sleep. He’d have to lay there, wide awake, thinking about what he did wrong and whether that witch puppet would come alive and eat him for it.

Speaking of inanimate objects coming to life, I turned a corner and encountered this torrid scene:

I felt like I must have interrupted something.  Her panty hose are all jacked up and everything! Maybe mannequins are like Toy Story toys, and they come alive when we leave the room.  Maybe there is another mannequin hiding under the chaise, or in that armoire. Or, maybe she was having fun all alone…whatever she was doing, it must have been fairly vigorous—her arm flew right off! See it in the background?

The best part of the store was behind a beaded curtain: a magical room with sparkling lights, full of vintage clothing and accessories. I found a trunk with a sign that read, “These items belonged to a retired belly dancer. Some of them are quite provocative.”  Of course, I had to dig into that. And put something on.

I’m not sure how provocative I look in this. Guess I won’t be doing any belly dancing.

I don’t think I saw the whole store; there was so much to see. I wanted many, many things but I left with three.

This is a framed piece of vintage fabric. I love the colors; those burnt Seventies golds, browns and oranges always do it for me. Throw in some avocado green and I’m in retro heaven.  This little sweetie was only $6!

I also bought these bookends, because I liked the grumpy owls on them. I know I’m a little late to the owl party, but ever since I painted that owl, I’ve developed a fondness for them.

The last item was birthday present for a dear friend, but I can’t show you a picture because she is a faithful reader of this-here blog.

All in all, that was an unexpectedly fun foray in a town that is much more interesting than I realized.  It was only a lunchtime adventure, but it was a start. Maybe when you go somewhere looking for a story to tell, you find one–even in Riverside.

11 thoughts on “Good Times in Riverside. Really.

  1. Oh, Meg! Love the way you write…can just picture sitting across the chair from you with a cocktail having you tell me.

    • Thanks, Ami! We should have a cocktail together sometime. 🙂 Thanks for subscribing to my blog; that is so nice of you.

  2. Hahaha I love the mannequin scene you happened upon. Lol! I would have snapped a picture too!! Always a great read, love the blog & love you! Xo

  3. I can totally see you in that store! I had so much fun when we took Mom up to Fresno for bday and poked around that little town, the name of which I have forgotten. Riverside huh? Who knew!

  4. Oh, I laughed all through this. You are the newest target of my raging blog envy. But if I were in Southern California, I would totally love to have a cocktail with you. And 2 cookies the size of our heads. No evil witch puppets, though.

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