Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mysterious Plastic Puppy Cup

This week a man stood in our store holding a lenticular dog cup, one of a set of four, each printed with a different dog. He was a well dressed man, and he held the cup from many different angles, scrutinizing it closely. He put it down and picked it up again. he rotated it in his hand. He held it closer, staring at it. At least ten minutes passed. Now, there was nothing particularly strange about this cup to the casual observer. Anyone who saw this man inspecting a plastic puppy cup at such length might have thought - that guy must be a little crazy! And I know if I saw a person staring at anything that intensely for that long, I would be wondering about them myself. But I was not alarmed because I knew this customer. He is a regular shopper and a theoretical physicist. When he stares at something for that long there is always a reason. And this time it turned out that he had never seen a lenticular image on a curved surface. He was trying to figure it out, and how it could be done just a little bit better. Another customer got involved in the discussion. This sort of thing is one of the things I love about standing behind the Joie de Vivre desk!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Somewhat Quaint But Fine Expression

A week or so ago and customer and neighbor was in shopping for a gift for a woman friend. I showed him a few possibilities, he chose one, I wrapped it, and off to the birthday party he went. He was in again yesterday with a friend, looking around, so I asked him how if the present had been a success. His answer: "Oh yes, it was very well received." For some reason the expression really struck me. Of course I've heard it many times, but this time I realized exactly, literally, what it meant - the person liked it - received it well. Of course you could say "she liked it a lot" and it would mean the same thing. But I find "well received" particularly charming and also apt. Of course, I'm a fan of Jane Austen, Dickens, George Eliot, etc. and do enjoy a certain turn of phrase . . .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's Behind That Door?

Joie de Vivre is long and narrow and in the back of the store, to the right of a card rack, a door leads into our stockroom. The other day a man was browsing in the store for quite a long time - almost two hours. He was quiet, didn't say much, but as he bought a couple of cards he asked if he could go into the backroom. We said "no." He asked, "What's back there?" We said, "our stockroom." He looked puzzled and asked, "Why the sign?" We looked at the door. A large TinTin poster takes up most of the space, and right over it is a small tin sign that we sell. What does it say? "Adult Supervision Required." Whoops ! He clearly thought we had something pretty interesting behind that door. More interesting than the boxes of postcards, extra salt and pepper shakers, boxed wind chimes, shopping bag stock and packing materials that we store back there. And its funny - years ago we actually did keep a few "adults only" items in the back - anyone remember those little "surprise" chickens?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Of Window Displays and Broken Cameras

We haven't been doing too many themed windows this year, but last night I put in our Halloween display. Skeleton flamingos - or skelemingos as they say in the trade - and I recycled the twisty trees made by Kate for our Valentine window last winter, add an inflatable Edward Munch scream, some lights, an orange star . . owls, mice, bats, ravens . . . check. Finish with two bags of leaves gathered last week in Vermont. People were walking by, pointing and laughing - making me realize how much people enjoy it when you take the time to do a real display. (resolve - do more!) You'll have to come by and see - or imagine it for now - there is no photo to accompany this blog because on same Vermont trip I dropped my camera on a country road as I struggled to find and answer my cell phone. It was a crisis call informing me that our charge machine had broken - a fate my camera now shares.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Morning Glory Madness

We love morning glories, and we planted some around the base of the tree in the middle of our little sidewalk garden this year. The vines grew, then grew some more, but by the end of the summer we had yet to see an actual flower. Checking in with our official gardener we found similar stories down the avenue - prolific greens, no flowers. Then, one day late in September we noticed . . . something pink . . . peeking out from the vine. A flower ! That day there were five or six of them. Two weeks later, several dozen. Meanwhile, the morning glory vine continued its climb to the top of the tree. Now the vine has made it all the way to the top, at least fifteen feet up (I estimate) and there is lots of "glory." Will our stockroom ladder reach high enough for us to cut it back in November? Will we have to call the fire department and borrow a ladder? Stay tuned . . .

Friday, October 8, 2010

We Repeat Ourselves Because We Must !

Joie de Blog has been blogging for over a year now . . . so we write this post with an odd sense of deja vue, we wrote about it a year ago. However, the event we write of is so wonderful that we will write about it every year from now til Kingdom Come! What is this wonderful event? The HONKfest - a two day event - features lots and lots of crazy, talented musicians playing brass band music with quite a difference. The performers are all ages and come from all over the country. Lots of them wear zany costumes. There are girls performing with hoops. Dancers. Loud & excellent music. They'll be playing in and around Davis Square Saturday from noon to 6 or so, and Sunday, they all march in a giant parade, along with local floats and paraders, right past Joie de Vivre en route to Harvard Square where they do it all some more at the Harvard Square October Fest. If you can catch any of it - you won't regret it! (then come and say hi to those of us who must work inside - unless we decide to run away and join the party!) For more information - !

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whoops !

I always like to reassure customers who are worried about picking up that expensive kaleidoscope - or showing a toy to one of their children - that those of us who work here (okay, especially me) break more things than all of the customers put together. Here is a photo to illustrate my point. In an attempt to find room for the newly arrived big box of skelemingos, I was up on the ladder, trying to move some boxes without really looking to see what was behind them. Things started wobbling, then several boxes hit the floor. Guess what was in one of them? Happily, they were inexpensive display ornament, not the special ones we sell, but . . . they still made quite a mess. Everything else survived. And I was left cursing my carelessness again. I always think I've learned my lesson and then, crash ! But hope springs eternal . . I will be more careful, I will be more careful, I will, I will, I will !

Friday, October 1, 2010

Joie Wants to Know #2

Why would a company put a large sticky label on a pen? A label that covers a third of the pen? A cute pen, a cow pen, the kind of pen someone will buy for someone else for a gift? Since so many of our customers are buying gifts, we try to take ugly labels off in advance of gift wrapping and just in general. to make a nicer presentation. So we started taking - or trying to take - the labels off these pens. Fifteen minutes of concentrated effort and the three pens we tried all had lots of little pieces of label and sticky stuff still clinging to them. What about just leaving the labels on and letting the "end-user" deal with it? We won't say that thought hasn't occurred to us but it just doesn't seem right. And could also lead to one of our customers asking us to remove the label before we wrapped it and us having to admit that - we can't. We have returned items to companies before for this reason . . . and I think we will be returning those cows. We hope they're just a bad bunch. Ahhhhhhhh - these are the little things that can drive you crazy!