It’s a good kind of weird.

If you read this blog, then you know Laura even if you don’t know Laura.

She’s the girl who insisted I buy a giant metal rooster, and who named it Beyonce.  She’s the girl who helped me dig up my dead dog, and who once took me on a porn barge.  She keeps me sane, is my best friend, and has absolutely no idea how amazing she is.  This is the same girl who is certain she’s normal and boring, and then offhandedly mentions that her family owns several giant barns filled with old parade floats her great-uncle (P.J.) made decades ago (after he returned from a broadway run, performing with Ethel Mermen).  Barns filled with 10-foot George Washington heads, and life-sized matadors, and dozens of elephants and seals and half-naked women and golden dragon-heads, and so many other things that have been packed into the rafters for so long that no one alive has any idea what exactly is in there.

Laura has lived with this treasure trove in her family for as long as she’s been alive, so for her it’s old-hat, and she can’t understand my fascination and excitement every time I force her to take me through P.J.’s barns “just one more time”.

me:  HOLY SHIT, THERE’S A 10 FOOT GUN IN HERE.

Laura:  It’s not loaded.

me:  THERE ARE LIFE-SIZE FAIRIES HANGING FROM THE CEILING.

Laura:  Huh.  So there are.

me:  There’s a box here that says “Monkey hands” on the outside.

Laura:  It probably has monkey hands in it.

me:  MOTHER OF GOD, THIS IS A BOX FULL OF MONKEY HANDS.

Laura:  Do you want them?

me:  Do I want a box of monkey hands?  Is this a trick question?  Of course I want a box of monkey hands.  But I’m not going to take all your monkey hands.  I’ll just take two.

Laura:  OMG, take the box of monkey hands.  What am I going to do with monkey hands?

me:   What couldn’t you do with monkey hands?

Laura:  I…have no response for that.

me:  Okay, I’m taking these monkey hands on loan, but they’re yours when you need them.

Laura:  I’ve almost never had the need for monkey hands.

me:  It’s weird that we’re friends.

Laura:  Good weird, or bad wierd?

me:  Well, good weird for me.  I just got an unexpected box of monkey hands.

Laura:  Well then, it’s working out for everyone.

I’ve spent many long hours poring through her great-uncles bizarre art work, his faded ribbons, his boxes of sketches, his enormous paper-machete statues still waiting for a parade that passed by decades ago.  It’s magical, but to Laura it’s commonplace.  She probably wouldn’t agree, but it’s often struck me how much these barns are a reflection of her.  Fascinating and beautiful.  Sometimes forgotten.  Sometimes celebrated.  Always magical, with the right set of eyes.  Weird…but good weird.  The best kind of weird.  And that’s why, several months ago – when I asked her to pose for me in the famous, traveling red dress – I could think of no better backdrop than the brightly cheerful porch of the home her family has lived in for generations, and the dark but magnificent barns of P.J’s parade floats.  It remains, to this day, one of my favorite red dress shoots.

In a few weeks, the barns and all their dusty treasures will be sold at auction.  When I first heard about it I was heartbroken, already missing a place that seemed full of dark magic and a lifetime of work, but I know that P.J. would probably love to see his pieces find the light of day once more, rather than crumble back into the dust.  And I’ll always be grateful that I was able to spend so many long hours wandering through the dusty, magical corners of the mind of a man who never stopped dreaming, even if it was a dream that few people ever completely understood.

And every time I look at my vase of monkey hands, I’ll be reminded of that amazing place, and of the always-underestimated value of being “the good kind of weird”.

Thank you for those memories, Laura and P.J.

And for the monkey hands.  Those things are awesome.

PS.  Want to go to the auction?  Details here.

281 replies. read them below or add one

  1. That. Place. Is. Amazing. I need one. I cannot fathom the trouble one could get create there as a teenager. You could do anything from Carrie-esque prom pranks (ahh…it’s raining monkey hands!) to bad porn shoots. Or take some really cool pics.

    Although you will miss it, that stuff deserves to see the light again.

    Cheers.

    Vinobaby recently posted When Grace is Gone.

  2. THAT LOOKS LIKE HEAVEN!! Seriously if I could spend all my time between that barn and the costume storage warehouses of MGM I’d be the happiest girl in the world.

    Renee recently posted Vintage 1960s Party Red and Gold Hostess Gown Plus size.

  3. 3
    me_mumstheword

    I’d love to hang out with you and your friends for an afternoon. I bet it would be amazing!

  4. Wow. I don’t tend to be looking for sweet and poignant when I read your blog entries, but this one was just that. Beautifully written and photographed. Thank you to you and Laura for sharing such a magical place with us.

  5. That is the freaking coolest thing ever. I would kill to prowl through those barns with my camera in tow. Wow. Creepy and awesome and disturbing all rolled into one. She could sell that place to photographers for a photo venue!

    Erin @ Brownie Bites recently posted Swag..

  6. best. barn. ever.

    I think I’d be in mourning for all that seriously amazingly cool stuff, and even just the idea of the unexplored barn full of amazingness. Heck, I am, and I never knew about it…

    Also, that red dress is everything a red dress should be. Almost like Wonder Woman at her prom.

    Take a million bazillion photos, that barn, and the Ethel Mermen link is a book just waiting to happen, I’d buy it. Or several.

    Metta (the letter m) recently posted A small list of things I’d fix if I ruled the world.

  7. 7
    Underwater Attack Cat

    How wonderful would the world be if everyone was able to see the amazing beauty of each other as you see in your friend?

    Those are AWESOME monkey hands. Looks like some of them are signing…D…Y…can tell about the other one, but maybe they are trying to tell you a secret message!!

  8. How have TLC/History Channel not gotten wind of this? That barn would make Salvador Dali weep. In a good kind of way.

    T.C. Sprencel recently posted I think if you just put “drunk” in the title, people will have a look.

  9. Amazing. So sad for Laura, but what a happy day when all those barn residents get to travel once again.

  10. is it wrong that I kind of feel the massive head of George Washington might need to be positioned so as to bestow it’s loving gaze upon a certain giant metal chicken named after a certain fecund pop sensation?

    Beesus recently posted O Man On The F Train! A Poem..

  11. Monkey hands are the gift that keeps on giving!

    Paula @ thewilyweez recently posted 2 Plus 1 = Deal Breaker?.

  12. In the vast world of the internet, there are few things that make me laugh until I cry. You are one of those few things. Thanks so much. You inspire me to be less “normal”. And I mean that in the best way possible.

  13. OMG! I’m so in love with this barn! And the pictures you took rock! Thanks for the smile this morning. And I think I need a few fairies floating from my ceiling :)

  14. That actually looks like my daughter’s bedroom.

    Slob.

    moooooog35 recently posted For your birthday present, I got you into an argument with your wife.

  15. Monkey hands are something Victor needs in his life. Just sayin’ :-P

    Stephanie recently posted What I Want To Be When I Grow Up.

  16. This is completely awesome! The amazing things to be discovered in such a place are making my head spin, in a good way, I think. I am in awe of P.J.’s imagination. I love, love, love the red dress pictures!! That dress is amazing!! :-)

  17. Everybody needs monkey hands in a vase.

    Veronica recently posted Mushrooms at The Cupping Room.

  18. Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii want a friend like that! But just to use them for awesome stuff.
    Seriously, who has barns full of crazy wonderment like that?!
    I wish the auction was taking place in Tennessee, because I’d so be dragging my husband there. Our anniversary was yesterday, and nothing says I love you like a box of monkey hands.
    Oh, and that dress is bitchin. I want one.

    Allyn recently posted Hurricane Preparedness Kit.

  19. so cool!
    Did she invite the American Pickers guys to come take a peek??

    Sarcasm in Action recently posted How to Kill an Insect in 17 Easy Steps.

  20. OMG!!!! It has been a dream of mine to go through an attic or barn that hasn’t been picked through for years!!!! I know what you mean when you talk about the barns being magical. I wish I could come out and spend hours with you going through that barn one last time. You need to take more pictures!!!! Ahhhhhh! I will one day by a house with everything in it and have my own adventure…

  21. Wow. That’s a really cool barn. And Laura sounds like the perfect friend for you. And those red dress pictures? Gorgeous!

    Kate recently posted Blood, dirt, beer, and fun...the Tall Oak Challenge mountain bike race.

  22. I just have to say that the mental images conjured by the phrase “enormous paper-machete statues” is both awesome and terrifying. Isn’t a machete the thing you use to cut peoples heads off in corn fields?

    kit @ DIYdiva recently posted Organization 101: DIY File Crates From Pallets.

  23. This post made me wish I lived in Texas near you all, and very, very few things in August make me think, “huh, I wish I lived in Texas right now.” VERY few. Pretty much just this post, and the vase of monkey hands. And your kick-ass horror dollhouse.

    Anne recently posted POTTERMORE!.

  24. From porn barge to patriotic red dress with an oversized Washington bust. Gawd that’s awesome. I hope the auction goes well!!

    Sarah B. recently posted Oh, Look, a Wall....

  25. You are lucky to have such a great friend. And how cool to have that fun family legacy. And an entire box of monkey hands. Priceless. The red dress shoot was awesome! I want one of those.

    Fragrant Liar recently posted Surprise, Surprise.

  26. I would have like to see this on an episode of “Pickers.” But since they never responded to you, that won’t happen. Is she going to video record the auction?

    mousebert recently posted things worth believing in.

  27. Very cool post.
    My grandfather was a clown. (Like, an actual greasepaint-wearing kind of clown, not just your run-of-the-mill, metaphoric “asshole”-type clown … though maybe that’s how I ended up being the latter.) He also was a borderline hoarder. When he died, he left behind a treasure trove of bizarre, vaudevillian, clown-related shit … and I know where Laura’s family is coming from, because, on the one hand, “Oh my God, look at this treasure trove of bizarre, vaudevillian, clown-related shit! It’s awesome!” On the other hand, “Oh my God, look at this treasure trove of bizarre, vaudevillian, clown-related shit! … the fuck are we supposed to do with all this?”

    Daddy Scratches recently posted Enter the Daddy.

  28. I really had a great comment to write, but then the images of the barn pop into my head and they disappear into a haze and all I can manage is….

    WOW…you are so lucky!

    To have a best friend who you see the way you do and then, to be able to experience the wondorous exploration of that barn! If i had the $$, I’d go to the auction, buy all of it and keep it in my house. The pictures you took really do express the amazement that a child (or grown up even) would feel walking around in the barns. Especially the one with the chandeliers. <3

    Oh, and getting a box full of monkey hands…..with Halloween right around the corner?!? How perfect!

    Brandina recently posted 365 Project Update.

  29. Wow! This was a fantastic post! I love how much you care about your friends. I always hope my friends think of me that way. I also love that last Red Dress picture. Its very pretty. Those hands freak me out a bit. :-) But other then that, I would love to go see that barn!

    Lesley recently posted Fairy Tales: Irene really was the Plagues!!! At least 3...maybe....

  30. Jenny, you have an amazing friend, and hopefully one day, she understands, she *is* amazing. And you, are beautiful. I went back to read about the red dress, and it was lovely, and you were even more lovely wearing it. Dare I say, the cemetary was a gorgeous backdrop. I’m a sentimental fool, and sometimes, it does feel abit like hoarders, because I am still holding on to things from MY childhood, that I just can’t let go of. Not to mention my 2 teenage daughters and that I tried to save some stuff of thiers while growing up as well. That space full of floaty goodness, was pretty amazing to see. I can understand how she’d be torn about letting it go.

    RE: Red dresses. I wanted to share. I actually did buy a red dress once, a couple years ago. It was hubby’s first year at a new job, and in January they hold a formal dinner for the adults only, as a post Christmas party / employee recognition night, and he REALLY wanted to go, since he was new, and felt that it would be good of me to come too. Like a date. Only, all his bosses & coworkers would be there. Strangers. To me. I don’t particularly like to mingle in a social setting with people I don’t really know. I tend to want to run & hide. So, I did my best to get us out of going. “But, your brother & his wife will be here that weekend to visit”.. well, that was *perfect*.. we had a built in babysitter so we *could* go! Crap. It was so late to find a nice formal dress almost last minute, it was slim pickings. I wanted something black. There was nothing. I found a dress that fit me GREAT! But, it was red. And sparkly. And omg, I bought a red sparkly dress and I would rather hide than be seen in it. I ended up finding a black jacket to wear over it, and during cocktail hour, I shoved myself in a corner behind my husband (who is a good foot taller than me) and refused to leave said corner until they opened up the doors to our tables. He decided.. let’s go sit with his boss. I was mortified. This was 4 years ago. Flash forward to current year.. I am now working in the same place, with the people I was then terrified to be around. I actually enjoyed the party this year (tho, we skipped all years inbetween his first year, and my first year), but I did find a black dress to wear. That was infinately more UNCOMFORTABLE to wear. I should have worn the red dress again, but, I will wear it next time. And, I’ll even allow my picture to be taken. Tho, I somehow feel it will be pale in comparison to yours. Breathtaking Jenny, simply breathtaking.

  31. Oh the red dress shoot IS awesome! Man, I’d love to participate in the auction. Especially because I can never keep up with auctioneers, so if I did win anything, I’d be totally clueless until it was time to pay and collect. “A single plaster left breast? I didn’t bid on that, I was itching my nose!”

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  32. Very, very good weird. The most bestest kind of weird.
    I love this post.

    Natalie V2 recently posted Say NO! To Yucky Food.

  33. This place could only be cooler if the box was filled with monkey heads. Or squirrel heads. I don’t know which one is weirder and more cool. Maybe monkey hands HOLDING squirrel heads!

    Julie
    ilikebeerandbabies.com

    Julie recently posted Mother Goose, we need to talk..

  34. oh my. If i lived in Texas, I’d be all over those chandeliers like white on rice.

  35. I dream at night of knowing a place as cool as that barn. Amazing. I wish I could have seen it.

    Andie recently posted Has your brain exploded yet today? Here, allow me to help..

  36. It makes me kind of sad (what doesn’t) to think of a barn full of stuff that maybe once meant something to someone and now just sits like an old person in a nursing home full of locked up memories. Until, of course, one person, one Bloggess-kind of person, walks in and sees the beauty. To have eyes that see beyond the weird is a special blessing.

    No, you’re right, I don’t know Laura. But I love her for the cowboy boots alone.

    Mary recently posted Be Prepared.

  37. Paper machete is my favorite typo of all time.

  38. Jenny,

    My favorite part about this post is that you accidentally wrote “paper-machete” instead of “mache” and no one even flinched. Because of course, why wouldn’t it be paper-machetes? This is a place of dreams and whimsy, and who hasn’t dreamed of a paper-machete?

  39. I need to talk with my Bestest Friend about the fact that she has never, ever given me a box of monkey hands, or so much as a single simian digit. Thanks for bringing this litmus test of friendship to light.

    Chuck Baudelaire recently posted Lessons in Car Buying.

  40. What an amazing tribute to an amazing friend…thanks for sharing both it and the monkey hands!

    Brittany recently posted I cheated and showed a movie at book club.

  41. 41
    Underwater Attack Cat

    I totally understand the whole “Let’s get dressed up…just because” thing. I once talked my friend into getting dressed up in formal dresses with me so we could go miniture golfing. Everyone kept asking us what the special occassion was and I was all, “Hello?! Do you not understand the sheer awesomeness of batting around a day glow orange mini-golf ball and matching putter?!!”

  42. 42
    Cheryl Seymour

    You guys are gifts to each other. Seriously. But you already know that.

  43. I’m pretty sure you get three wishes per monkey hand, if I remember the legend correctly, but the third one is evil. Like if you wish for your dead dog to come back, it comes back as a ghoul that won’t stop pissing on the rug. Kind of like my current, living dog, but EEEEEVIL.

    SO, if you make two wishes per monkey hand, and then stop there, you’ve got yourself a mess of good wishes there. Ipso facto. Ergo sum. You could have a whole flock of giant metal chickens, and if you stop on the second finger, they won’t peck you to death on the lawn!

    Rev. Back It On Up 13 recently posted Let's Learn Religion: Your Anus and The Afterlife - More Connected Than You Think!.

  44. You should totally make greeting cards out of the Red Dress photos!!

  45. What a magical place that sounds like, a place to take you back to your childhood self and their hopes and dreams. It’s sad that the pieces are being sold but fabulous that they will hopefully be seen by many more people who can appreciate them as you did.

    rehabilitationrandomness recently posted My favourite things.

  46. this is so hilarious. more montages!
    and who doesn’t need monkey hands. seriously.

    Kate recently posted Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas..

  47. isn’t it interesting that it’s always a matter of perspective? I grew up with a disfigured brother and didn’t give it much thought until other people blanched. I’m sure this treasure trove was like that.

    Great homage to your friend. I agree with you “what couldn’t you do with monkey hands?”

    Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up) recently posted In which i write to StumbleUpon.

  48. Do monkey hands work like monkey paws, where you get three wishes for a paw or something like that? Because if so, you’ve got, like, fifteen wishes at your disposal, and that’s assuming the monkey hands in the picture are the only ones you’ve got, and holy crap, there are a lot of commas in this sentence.

    Penguin recently posted I Will Steal Three Minutes of Your Life While You Read This Inane Post.

  49. How fascinating!!! I am so glad you got to enjoy the barns before they went to auction. Lauren looks hot in that red dress! :)

    Nikki recently posted Guilt Ridden Couch: UPDATED w/ pic.

  50. By the way, Moulin Rouge crossed my mind for some reason when looking at those pictures. I love that dark feeling!

    Nikki recently posted Guilt Ridden Couch: UPDATED w/ pic.

  51. Not only is the place and stuff amazing, your pictures are fabulous! I bet there are ghosts in there. Did you see any?

    Sara recently posted Things To See.

  52. Ummm. That is freaking cool. To a photographer that is a perfect place for random shoots!

    Brittani recently posted {Good Cause} Shirts for a Cure.

  53. “Monkey hands” will become the new “jazz hands.” I guarantee it.

    I, too, am glad Uncle PJ’s things are being auctioned off… they deserve to see the light of day and be appreciated.

    Pure, unadulterated, awesomeness.

    Dani recently posted facebooking from the edge...: General Jackassery.

  54. Oh sweet jesus, I need to be at that auction.

  55. paper-machete? Freudian slip?

  56. What a wonderful friend :)

    Also, I can’t decide if you are fueling my imagination or my nightmares…

    Jenna recently posted My Baby's Not a Pagan Anymore!.

  57. the virgen mary in a barn and monkey hands? my god, how could you not love that place?

    Monica DeLaCruz recently posted I'll Take Parenting for $10,000 or The Honeymoon is OVER.

  58. 58
    CrazyInCentralCA

    That you’re able to use my vase of monkey hands” in a sentence (and have it make sense) is so completely awesome – as are you! Those pictures of Laura are amazing – as are you! I’m kind of sucking up because I think I love you but in the good weird kind of way.

  59. Laura is so lucky to have you as a friend! And I would have paid to see the barn of treasures! Seriously. Love stuff like that!

    Claudette

  60. I have been quietly biding my time until the day when y’all invite me to said barn. THEY CANNOT AUCTION IT YET. I’m not ready!

    Mr Lady recently posted Velocity.

  61. And what a lucky friend Laura is, to have someone who appreciates her so profoundly. So okay, two things. The first is that Laura has a kick that would be the envy of any Rockette worth her salt. Get that gal a chorus line, pronto. And second, has it ever occurred to you that maybe you’re living in a Flannery O’Connor novel? A barn filled with George Washingtons, 10 foot guns, and monkey hands? The mind boggles. In a totally good way of course.

    deborah l quinn recently posted Whose Family Values Are They, Anyway? Happy Adoption Day!.

  62. Those first pictures are gonna give me nightmares. But the HANDS? Oh, the hands are outstanding. And I don’t even know why.

    Balanced Idjit recently posted Of Booblings, Scroticles and the VJJ [aka how men are titty-babies].

  63. That’s awesome. Kind of bittersweet and awesome.

    PS – my friends and I ALSO have a traveling red dress that we take pictures in. But, 1) we are all men and 2) ours are the kinds of pictures that ruins one’s politcal career, where yours are artistic and quirky.

    John B recently posted the terminal: where class goes to die.

  64. Not to detract from the awesomeness that is this post, but it’s ‘poring’ through, not ‘pouring’. (Pet peeve. I am a grammar nerd.)
    love,
    K

    (Fixed. Thx! But I’m not changing my “machete” typo. ~ Jenny)

  65. OMFB* that is amazing. I would kill for the chance to wander through there.

    *Oh My Freaking BOB. Who else would I swear to but a battery operated boyfriend.

    Bad Influence Speaks recently posted Leverage: The Queen's Gambit Job.

  66. Love the red dress!! My sister has one but we just call it THE red dress. I HAD to wear it and took pictures in it! She then used Photoshop to put me standing in front of a giant martini glass on fire. It was AWESOME! And it was only made better when my ex saw it and said “That is so fake!” Well DUH JACKASS!! Because there are so many giant, flaming, martini glasses laying around I could just hop in front of one for a picture! Lol! Laura look as beautiful in the red dress as you did and as I did in mine ;)But I bet that house is fake!! Hahahahaha

    Sandi recently posted Beautiful Handfasting Candles.

  67. This is a GREAT story…..there is NUTHIN’ like good friends! And the pictures are wonderful. Made my day! Cheers for our girl homies! (even though my teenage daughters told me that no one uses “Homies” anymore! LOL…..T:)

    T:) recently posted Help Wanted: Nudist Colony Receptionist.....NO LIE..This was an ad in our local paper...HAD TO CALL.

  68. DUDE, you have to hoard some of this stuff – at least the prancing lambs and maybe a pig or two – just to torment Vincent every now and then. I mean what says ‘I love you’ more than a pig statue from a parade float 50 years ago? GO NOW, before it’s too late.

    kim at allconsuming recently posted Craft camp.

  69. Great. Just great. I will now begin plotting how I will convince my husband to drive twelve hours solely for the purpose of my spazzing out on THE MOST AWESOME ESTATE SALE OF ALL TIME!!!!!

    I have ten days. It can be done. Oh, man.

  70. I WANT the white-haired woman with the blue eyeshadow that’s hanging from the rafters!!!!!!! My Goddess, she’d be PERFECT hanging in my office! My Muse! My Angel! My Ghost! My perfect prop for my annual Halloween party!!

    Love love love!

    Tattoo My Heart recently posted Izz Jeremy Crazy?.

  71. How beautiful and strange and wonderful and perfect.
    I would very much love to have a print of that last picture of your friend with the liberty torch, if you would ever consider selling them!

  72. You have a box of monkey hands?

    I haz a jealous.

    awesomesauciness recently posted It’s All About the Inadequacy, Folks…Oh, and Elephants.

  73. 2 words: slumber party.

    Kirsten recently posted are you sportin an anxious anteater jersey too?.

  74. I can totally see my best friend buying one of those fairy-statues… if only we weren’t on the wrong continent.

    *Siiiigh*

  75. 75
    The other Jenny

    As much as I love it when you make me laugh, I love it even more when you make me get all teary! Great post- thanks for the reminder to appreciate the magical and unique beauty in the universe.

    P.S. Let me know if the dress ever makes it to MN.

  76. I am so sad that I can’t be at that auction, but if not for living in Seattle my husband would probably divorce me once I brought that stuff home.
    How great that Uncle’s creations get a chance to be loved and shared, even though it’s bittersweet to let it go. And how wonderful it is that you’ve got such an awesome connection to your BFF. THAT’S the real treasure!

  77. I’d find it really hard not to keep a few of those old float pholks for myself before they went to auction…

    tokenblogger recently posted Today I sent out my resume….

  78. omg… what a beautifully glorious place to have had the chance to visit, and dig through… amazing… straight out of a fantastic dream… I would love to go to that auction… but alas… I live way the hell up in Canada. I hope all fairies and giant Washington heads find a good home.

    Erin recently posted keep holding on....

  79. If I had boxes of monkey hands, I would give them to all of you! Boxes of monkey hands for everyone!!!

  80. Life is supposed to be spent in a state of “good kind of weird.”

    the muskrat recently posted how she’s fared since coming out of the closet.

  81. 81
    Trabb's Boy

    Wow! The Statue of Liberty photo is just amazing! And the first one on the porch gives a really good idea of how awesome Laura must be, though after the Barnaby Jones burial, that was already pretty obvious.

    BTW, your vase full of monkey hands is looking a bit peaky. Throw an aspirin the the water, and add some ferns and baby’s breath. They’ll perk right up.

  82. My grad-school advisor’s lab had the departmental walk-in freezer. A number of the faculty members studied bones and were always expanding their comparative collections (which often involved collecting roadkill and letting the flesh rot away, but that’s another story), so they all shared the freezer. One day I was moving stuff around in it to make room for some stuff of my own, and found a big garbage bag labelled “Monkeys”. And that’s what it was: frozen monkeys.

  83. red dress and cowgirl boots, you Texian Gals know how to dress great blog on a great friend and a lifetime of memories

  84. She should just charge admission. It would be worth the travel and price.

    MrsTabolt recently posted I Love You, Mary Jane.

  85. Of course she’s your friend. OBVIOUSLY. What a cool photo shoot you guys did. Love the George Washington Head. Wish my garage were bigger…

    Have you ever been to the House on a Rock in Wisconsin? It is full of the random collections of a really rich, really eccentric man over several decades. Some scary, crazy shit in there. Right up your alley.

    tracey recently posted Date Night.

  86. –>Are you certain that the monkey hands didn’t write on the bananas?

    WebSavvyMom recently posted Earth, Wind and Fire in my Backyard.

  87. When you were talking about her Great Uncle P.J., I’m like “HE’S the circus guy, OF COURSE he has monkey hands and flying fairies” but then I remembered that’s Great Uncle P.T.

    P.J. had the barns….P.T. had the circus tents. But I’m not sure there’s much difference.

    Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE recently posted Five recipes I'm dyin' to try--coffee & chocolate & FLAMES (oh my!).

  88. I’m inclined to think that “paper machete” is a much more worthy crafting endeavor than “paper mache”.

    Megan recently posted megan_maria: RT @adamlevine: the VMA's. one day a year when MTV pretends to still care about music. I'm drawing a line in the sand. fuck you VMA's..

  89. 89
    TrueLightTracey

    Miss you wonderfully weird women!

    Much Peace, Love & Light, <3

  90. Wow is all I can say…

    LOVE those pictures too!

  91. What exactly does one do with a bunch of monkey hands? Hope there is going to be a photo shoot soon.

    Vera recently posted The Virgin.

  92. Thank you Jenny. I miss my best friend so much since I moved from Jersey. Im gonna buy her something from the auction.

    Shannon recently posted Maybe I Should Start Drinking Now..

  93. I also need a friend that can provide me with monkey hands! :)

    Paula @ thewilyweez recently posted We Took The "Scenic" Route: Queue Creepy Banjo Music.

  94. AWESOMENESS at its FINEST! I’ve always believed that every single person on this planet has an extraordinary story (even my crazy neighbor Mary, who walks her freaking dog up our driveway to wait for her dog to shit 3 inches outside our dining room window every. freaking. day.) – but, since they live it every single day, to them, it’s just ordinary. We just need to listen to their story. I’m so glad you are learning Laura’s story because HELLO?! MONKEY HANDS don’t just grow on trees, ya know!

    Phoenix Rising recently posted Like I have a medical degree..

  95. Okay, the ice queen hanging from the ceiling is either Joan Crawford or Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford. A bit creepy.

    The barns look like your dollhouse, though. I think it could do with a vase of monkey hands – which were nowhere resembling cursed paws that give you 3 wishes like I’d imagined before I scrolled down.

    Dawne recently posted Actually, if you think about it, it's sort of correct....

  96. I would DIE to go here. That’s a photographers dream!

    Jaclynn recently posted I don't normally do this.

  97. There is a shortage of people like you and Laura in this world. Laura looks like everything you say she is. Your pictures captured her perfectly. You two are something special. I’m too am in love with Uncle PJ’s barns. How could you not be? I would like to share a giant metal chicken story. I live in Wisconsin and on a trip home from a weekend in Wisconsin Dells I saw a 5′ chicken outside a shop in a small town we were passing through. As the words “Knock Knock Mother Fucker” flew from my lips, I turned to see my husband and our 2 teenage sons looking at me like I was nuts. It was perfect. I will go back for that metal chicken. I have a place picked out for him in the yard. He will be our “Guardian Chicken”.

  98. Everyone needs a friend that’s a good kind of weird. I’ve been blessed with a couple of those and my family is long-time friends with another family full or those good weirdos!!! They don’t think they’re weird, but everyone else does. They think the same thing about us sometimes too.

    The traveling dress is just so fabulous! I love these pictures and the contrast between the elegance of the dress and the dustiness of the surroundings make a most excellent picture! You MUST frame these and put them somewhere important!

    Sayre recently posted In here.

  99. I think you meant “paper mache”, but the fact that you wrote “paper machete” makes it even better.

  100. I had such a bad day yesterday this was the first thing I got to read today. It is the best way to start a new day. Yesterday I crawled under my desk at work and cried for ten minutes. Now I’m thinking about my two best friends who I should have called. They would have dropped everything to help me. Sometimes I forget how wonderful they are. Friends are the greatest things in the world. I just need to remember they are there to help.

  101. Is it kismet or serendipity (I get the two confused. Grammar was never my forte’…graham crackers yes…grammar no) when I managed to stumble over here from goodness only knows where? Guess it really doesn’t matter ’cause what does matter is I did and all I can say is Yee to the Haw. What a great post and even greater friendship. That said friend comes with such a dowry is just icing on a Ho-Ho!
    Cr@p…I’m losing my train of thought. What I’m trying to say is I’m a Texas antique dealer who just happens to love folk art and I’m gonna be at that sale! Whether I get to purchase anything isn’t the point…being there to see a little Texas history is.
    Debbie
    P.S. FYI…boots are de riguere in Texas, but with a red dress that gorgeous…heck…a bald, barefoot man with a hairy back would be the toast of the town!
    P.P.S. She totally rocks that dress.

  102. Holy crap.<3 <3 <3 Can I move to Houston and be BFFs with the two of you?

  103. You have definitely found the perfect friend for you! Awesome pics, thanks for sharing!!!

    Dana recently posted We May Have Found A Solution To Morning Craziness!.

  104. Everyone needs a friend like Laura! What a lucky person you are.. .and I’m not just saying that, because I am lusting over the “monkey hands.” Sure wish I lived close to attend the auction. I’d have to do it in secret though, ’cause hubby has no real love for dusty cracked old things. I on the other hand would be in heaven if I could have one of those angels flying in my living room…. or over our bed?

    Janet Bocciardi recently posted Autumn Earrings Fall into Place.

  105. Gorgeous dress, and gorgeous friend!

    Wanderlust recently posted Bra therapy.

  106. before you shared that you did the red dress shoot there, I was thinking it would be awesome to do a trash the dress shoot there! At least the monkey hands are in good hands.

    Taren recently posted My imaginary super powers.

  107. <3 <3

  108. Seriously, they need to be sold in one bulk lot and turned into a museum! A museum of gloriously weird, strangely beautiful, and imaginatively dark works of art… It would be amazing! And slides. It would need to have slides in it, and possibly swings, and definitely tunnels. Just because those pieces wouldn’t be at home in a traditional museum, but an Alice in Wonderland styled museum of oddities would be perfect.

    I’m incredibly jealous that you’ve been able to explore a place that looks so interesting and magickal…. I’ll bet that I could spend weeks in those barns…

    Nita recently posted Training Does Not Mean Beating.

  109. I’m thinking her uncle needs to meet up with Frank from Storage Wars. I’m certain they’d be BFF.

  110. Laura has Lady Gaga suspended from a barn ceiling?! She IS magical.

  111. paper machete = Worst. Papercut. Ever.

    OMG. How have you not already adopted the white horse statue in the background of one of the photos??? It’s pleading to go home with you and be transformed into a pretty sparkly unicorn, or maybe a life-sized My Little Pony. Come on, you know you want to!

  112. Wow, I really need a Laura in my life. Also a barn full of bizarre parade float shit. And a vase of monkey hands, obviously. Basically I’m jealous if everything you talked about in this post.

    Heather recently posted Practice.

  113. those are definitely awesome and make for amazing photo’s… I love that you can appreciate the beauty in the strangeness.

  114. Laura in the red dress kicking with the cowboy boot is seriously killer. She should put that on her front door with a sign that says, “Go ahead, try and break in.”

    In 1993 I bought a pair of plastic hands that I stuck in the trunk crack of my Ford Festiva. I made a license plate that said, “Honey I Shrunk the Car.’ On the freeway people used to drive up next to me and give me a thumbs up until some JACKASS in my neighborhood tried to steal them and broke them and left them, dying, by my car. A guy in my building found them and brought them to my door.

    Suzy recently posted I've Got Klout I Didn't Even Know About.

  115. “Laura: I’ve *almost* never had the need for monkey hands.” So she admits that there HAS been a time she needed them, eh?

    Reading (and chickens) recently posted Frannie Answers Your Burning Chicken Questions.

  116. I am so happy that this auction is close to where I live! I’m thinking the short drive up there for my boyfriend’s birthday would be an excellent gift for him and one he will never forget! Well, he most certainly would never let me forget dragging him an hour out of town to buy a big, paper pig on HIS birthday! But it will look nice with Howard (Beyonce’s brother!).

  117. Red dress + Laura + monkey hands = awesomeness (to the 10th power)

    Becky recently posted What I Learned on My Summer Vacation.

  118. I love the post, but I was terrified we would get to the end and learn something terrible had happened to Laura. “Would she really be talking about monkey hands when Laura needs a kidney?”

    Christian recently posted Time for a short break.

  119. Jesus Christ. Every time I think there is no way that I could possibly love you and your blog any more, you pull stuff like this out.

    Additionally, I almost got kicked out of my biochem grad class today because I burst into laughter at your banter with your friend.

    Amber Deschamps recently posted They make giant wedding bands to go around amputated arm nubs, right?.

  120. Are you sure that Laura isn’t actually your twin sister, but one of you was stolen from the hospital at birth and sold to circus people? Because, yeah, seriously.

    Statue of Liberty shot rocks. Hardcore.

    What do you think the Monkey Hands are trying to say? Because obviously they are a collection of signing hands that at one point probably spelled out something . . . maybe “need more bananas,” “ooh ooh, aah ahh,” “don’t make me fling this poo at you,” “we are watching you . . .” The possibilities are endless.

    Misty recently posted The Eye of the Storm.

  121. I could, and WOULD, totally spend hours upon hours in barns filled w/ ephemera like that. Are you KIDDING me? That is more than awesome. And I’m super glad to hear that Great Uncle P.J.’s treasures will be loved on by others for years to come, I’m just sorry that YOU won’t be able to dive into the dark corners of those barns anymore… if for no other reason, than to share those things with us, your weird-o readers. Thanks Jenny!

    Cheryl recently posted THIS cracked me up. #earthquake....

  122. 122
    Underwater Attack Cat

    Did you also rescue the cow head that’s to the top left in the pic of the two chandeliers?!?!

    You could’ve totally hung that up next to the other cow on the wall in your kitchen. They would keep each other company.

  123. As I was reading this I was thinking about what a dream it would be to have someof those things and then I gasped and said, “No!” when I read they were being auctioned off. I hope all of those fun things go to fun people. Cool monkey hands.

    Micah recently posted a bad cookie habit.

  124. Laura is the coolest. I can’t how awesome it would have been growing up with all that stuff. Oh, the shows my siblings and I would have put on!

    Cindy recently posted THE PEN PAL PROJECT.

  125. 126
    Elizabeth Anne

    Ha, the minute I saw this I also ran over to say OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK.

  126. That looks like a magical place, the photos are awesome as well. You girls are quite amazing! I wish i had an Uncle PJ.

  127. the things that I would do to have a photo shoot in the famous traveling red dress are probably illegal…

  128. I’m pretty sure I just peed a little when I saw that attic. I would have skipped through there. I hope you did.

  129. Who on this planet _wouldn’t_ want a box of monkey hands?????

    This is all so Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney-Let’s-Have-A-Show-In-The-Barn-esque! I can just see all the dust turning magically to sparkles, and the chandeliers coming to life! Can’t you just hear the music?????

    SJ recently posted A Blessing And A Curse.

  130. I just thought of all the AMAZING and terrifying pranks I could have pulled in a barn like this! I wish I had a Uncle PJ.

    Jennifer recently posted End of Summer Luau.

  131. SO refreshing to see this stuff! I’m so sick of looking at Lady Gaga dressed as a man. It’s like a playground in there!

    Stephanie recently posted 10 Reasons Society is Doomed.

  132. Loved this post! Those red dress photos are stunning!

    Jenn3128 recently posted A night of terrors.

  133. seriously that place looks awesome!! love the photos.

    Devan @ Accustomed Chaos recently posted Cautionary Tip For Parents of 2 Year Old Girls.

  134. WoW! What a treasure trove of art and cool things! My mind is a little blown; that is AWESOME!

    Courtney recently posted Reason #4: Sweet Salamanders and Other Pets.

  135. Love the monkey hand “shaka” sign! Felt the aloha in Hawaii and surely by ex-pats worldwide.

  136. Has anyone made a joke using “P.J.” and “barn” and playing on P.T. BARNum yet? Because, it’s right on the tip of my tongue, y’all.

  137. I’m pretty sure the monkey hands are trying to communicate with you by sign language.

  138. Has anyone made a joke using “P.J.” and “barn” and playing on P.T. BARNum yet? Because, it’s right on the tip of my tongue, y’all.

    Alison Lee recently posted Flicky Friday (ft. Steve Martin).

  139. And I accidentally posted twice. At least one of those comments should have been used for a fully-formed P.J. Barnum joke. And now there’s this.

    Alison Lee recently posted Flicky Friday (ft. Steve Martin).

  140. That was truly beautiful. Friendship like that is such a cherished thing…good weird is perfect!

    Jeane recently posted Lessons learned from a boy….

  141. now I want a vase full of Monkey Hands…thanks – thanks a lot (my friends are rather deficient in the monkey hands department)

  142. i think a monkey hands auction (to raise money for RA research maybe?) would be a great idea. I’ll even start the bidding (and be disappointed by those w/ more disposable income than i do)

  143. That has got to be the most magical place on the planet! What I wouldn’t give to go traipsing through those barns for a day or two! I absolutely adore the fairies, especially the one floating from the ceiling, looking a bit like Agnes Moorehead with white hair. And I love the Marie Antoinette one, too. They look so beautiful and tragic and creepy in an awesome way. Like a gaggle of Miss Havishams.

    I would love to participate in the auction, but finances don’t permit. BUT, Jenny, I would love to buy a print of your beautiful photos of the fairies. Do you think you could maybe put some prints in your store? I’ve been looking for the perfect thing to frame and hang in my room, but nothing has caught my fancy…UNTIL NOW.

  144. That black and white of Laura is amazing.

    And I wish I had the cash for that rafter fairy. She’s awesome.

    CDG @ Move Over Mary Poppins! recently posted Rumpelstiltskin’s Gold.

  145. When you ended this with “sold at auction” I actually got really depressed and almost cried. I wish I could attend!

  146. Umm, ‘Do I want to go to the auction?’ Hell yes!

    I’ve only known about the barn for 5 minutes and I’m already sad everything is being auctioned off, separated like orphaned siblings who can no longer live together. *sniff* However, I want the angel/fairy thing! Love her!

    But about the hands!! Do you know they’re sign language hands? I’m probably only the eleventieth commenter to mention this.) They are each spelling a letter of the American Sign Language alphabet. (Someday I will tell you how I know this, but just know no one in my family is hearing impaired.)

    Kernut the Blond recently posted I’m Not a Normal Person, But I Play One on TV.

  147. Oh. Em. Gee. I would LOVE a barn like that!! I would take pictures of everything and post them on Facebook in one huge upload and swamp my friends’ news feeds with image after image after image of super cool and really crazy stuff! Then, I would have to purge it all, because that’s what I do. None of it would be useful to me, so it would need to be given away or sold, which would be immensely satisfying. After that, I’d have to fill the barn up and do it all over again and again and … :-)

    One question: Where does Beyonce fit in all this? I mean, aren’t those fairies and things her kin? Her brethren?

    Hot Coco recently posted Week Three In Review.

  148. I soooooo wish I lived closer so I could go to the auction!

    Well, that I lived closer *and* was not teetering on the edge of destitute. Or maybe I am destitute. I’m not sure. There is an official number that tells you when you’ve fallen below the poverty line. No such number exists to my knowledge for the destitute line.

    Brooke Farmer recently posted My oldest friend is a hardened criminal.

  149. I’ve got friends like that.
    Life is so complete these days.

    Libby recently posted "That is My Faith".

  150. I love this post. Love it.

  151. This post reminded me of the city garage where my dad worked when I was little. It was full of parade floats and Christmas decor and since I was tiny and it was huge I felt in awe of the giant decorations but also a little afraid to be left alone with them, like they might spring to life and trap me. But, anyway, I love your post.

  152. She’s wearing my wedding dress.

    WTF.

    And those look like HOOMAN hands, not MUNKEY hands. I love how you OWN creepy, Jenny.

    And yes, I misspelled those words on purpose.

    _________________

    StephanieC @ Seriously?? Really? Seriously? recently posted Ridiculous Wedding Wish List.

  153. But where have those monkey hands been???

    Eleanor recently posted Hippos Dancing in Fantasia.

  154. Who wouldn’t want a monkey hand bouquet? Nothing says “I love you” like monkey parts!

  155. MONKEY HANDS!

    I sooo need some monkey hands. My husband doesn’t understand the possibilities of the monkey hands either, but they would creep out so many people that would be reason enough for me.

    Once again I am jealous of you Jenny

    Michelle recently posted As if planking weren’t bad enough….

  156. I have quite a few “Lauras” in my life but you have a special one there. I could add that “I want Laura as my friend too” or that “the red dress and cowboy boots are cool” but not in a creepy way or I wanna “…get to go to the barn/porn barge with you the next time” but I see it’s been said. Let me just say that, being a neophyte to your blog, it’s cool. Not in a creepy way.

  157. I am constantly amazed at how hard you can make me laugh and then turn around and make me tear up from sentimental posts. I just re-read the red dress post and I choked up for a second time.
    We all need our red dress moment. I am going to find mine.
    Hopefully I can find it over and over and over again.

    Mads recently posted Today in Tweets.

  158. If I had the least bit of assets I could liquidate, I would so do it and be first in line at that auction. I do not need a box of monkey hands, but Mother of God, if there is a box of monkey hands, I can only imagine what other horrifically awesome things there are. And, by the way, how did I miss the part where you dug up a dead dog?

    Karen Hawks recently posted Every Little Thing.

  159. 160
    SparkleBella

    Amazing treasures, both in the barn and in your friend. The red dress photos are beyond words lovely.

  160. My favourite moments are when a friend of mine who displays himself as normal and a complete grown up, will then be caught by myself doing a fairly bizarre thing. The real gems are then they are on their own doing it. Although there a deep satisfaction in engaging these self professed ‘normal’ into conversations that involve creating a rise low height mechanism on nigh heels. They can get very excited about it until they suddenly stop, look at you accusingly and say “I refuse to encourage you, I refuse to stoop do your level.” I then smile rather smugly and say, “tough… it’s already happened.”

    Lisa recently posted 10 actual random thoughts of a plum..

  161. Totally badass. Everyone should have a wonderful friend like that. Or 4.
    Fortunately, I married mine.

    Dangerboy recently posted Reach out and touch....

  162. Reminds me of Mardi Gras back home. I just wrote an homage to Jim Carrey’s love letter to Emma Stone to your chicken. I mean rooster.

    GirltoMom- Heidi recently posted I Love You Beyonce The Giant Metal Chicken.

  163. Those pictures are so beautiful, and that barn is what I think heaven must look like. Or the inside of my head. I always get those confused…

  164. That place is creepy, yet awesome at the same time. Love the pics of Laura in the red dress!

    Courtney recently posted I don’t get Wincest. And it grosses me out, to be totally....

  165. 166
    vonneybeth

    You two are lucky to have found each other. It sounds like you bring out the best in each other. The barns are amazing, and a bit frightening, but mostly amazing.

  166. Wait, is that a photo of the monkey hands?

    Do monkeys have hands like humans?

    AM I SECRETLY A MONKEY?

    Suddenly there are so many, many questions.

  167. OMG, it’s like… horrifically fantastic! Oh, the stories… the photos! I could lose myself in there for weeks, and still not see all of it.

    I hope all the treasures go on to someone amazing, because those? That’s a little slice of Americana there.

    Anna Nonamus recently posted In Which I Had A Dream.

  168. That’s just a big pile of cool with a shit ton of awesome sauce on the top. Somehow between myself and my BFF, I’m the normal one. I have no idea how the hell that was decided. We’re both nuts :)

  169. I know for a fact that I could never touch monkey hands that weren’t attached to an actual monkey (and even then I’m not so sure). You are twice the woman I am.

    Brenna recently posted These two things should not be together.

  170. Those photos were absolutely beautiful, gorgeous, magical. WOW.

    Marta recently posted Come on Eileen (Irene).

  171. How did you pick your monkey hands? Did you just grab whatever was on top, or did you lovingly sort through and choose the bestest ones? What deems a monkey hand to be the bestest anyway?

    HNtG recently posted He’s Donkey Kong Obsessed. Does That Make Me Pauline?.

  172. I love the photos of Laura in the beautiful dress, especially the black and white one where she looks like the Statue of Liberty. I also love the monkey hands.
    I don’t want to be one of those snarky grammar-bitches, but do you mean papier mache rather than paper machete? Just wonderin’. . .

    Sheri recently posted too late, too tired, so just randomness.

  173. Ummmm……those images are total magic. I can’t imagine getting used to something like that. Those images of it are beautiful and haunting. Do the figures have names??

  174. I’ve never commented on here before, but I just wanted to let you know, sometimes you make me cry ALMOST as much as you make me laugh(I definitely laugh more). Reading about your puppy, your baby-girl, and your beautiful red dress, makes me feel so many emotions. It also makes my husband question why I’m guffawing in my office. But, most of all, it makes me love you. I don’t know you(and I hope you don’t think I’m a creeper for telling you), but I love you just the same. Also, my friend and I took up belly dancing here locally because there was an amazing group of women that we just had to be friends with. And because we wanted a reason to dress like drag-queens and still be okay with ourselves. It’s totally working. :)

  175. Those photos are AMAZE-BALLS!!!!

    Katie recently posted A May Love Affair: Finding the Dress.

  176. My kinda place for sure. I wrote about weird today too. I musta been channeling you kiddo.

    Bodaciousboomer recently posted Let your freak flag fly.

  177. I bought a table at a used furniture store once and when I got it home I found a photograph from the early 1900s in one of the drawers. Of course, the photography just had to be a wedding picture. And just because I was PMSing and because I hadn’t yet learned about alcohol limits, I sobbed like a three-year-old. That picture is now on its own page in our family album and every time he sees it my asshat husband has to say, “But you don’t even know these people. And they’re dead now.” And that’s why they’re going to come back and haunt the fuck out of him.

    A toast to your monkey hands and my photograph!

    Lorca Damon recently posted You Are What You Eat.

  178. And by the way, the pictures in this post are stunning and they still creeped the shit out of me. In a good way?

    Lorca Damon recently posted You Are What You Eat.

  179. Laura wouldn’t be your friend unless you were also one of a kind and magical. This place is a better place because of the both of you. Thanks for sharing.

    Karoppi recently posted My body is revolting. Wait, that’s not what I meant..

  180. Dear Blogess,

    The other day I put a toilet seat on my head and took photos of it.

    I took like, 100 photos of it.

    And I laughed at myself.
    Then I put them on the internet and laughed some more.

    Then I had a brief moment of ‘omg what if future employers see this?’
    But within 5 seconds I was ok again, because I decided that if a future employer can’t see the harmless fun and ridiculousness of perching a toilet seat on your head (while 100% sober to boot) and taking pictures of it then I don’t want to work for them anyway (humourless bastard).

    Anyway, thanks for your blog, and thanks for the “permission” to have a bit of silliness in our lives. Sometimes we forget.

  181. Is it just me, or have you ever felt like this was an absurdly surreal version of “A Toy Story?” Like everyone and everything — fairies, George, detached monkey hands) was having an awesome party until they heard you coming and then scrambled to get back in position?

  182. Oh my goodness. I would love to attend that auction. There are so many amazing and wonderous things in there.

    I love your photos as well. It makes me want to go out and have more fun with photography.

  183. I noticed the Freudian slip: “paper-machete statues”. I have a Jenny-produced icon on my back door window: “be nice or I’ll stab you”. Thanks for everything!

  184. Um, they kind of look like people hands. Scary, freaky, old-person people hands, but I digress. I want one of those fairies. And, that black-and-white picture ROCKS.

    Dreams aren’t always meant to be understood by other people, I suppose…thank God I’m realizing this now, when I’m fucking 29.

    GourmetOnADiet recently posted What am I doing?.

  185. 186
    Rebekah mae

    First you bought James garfield, then some type of alligator, the beyonce the giant chicken….and now monkey hands. Your house must look amazingly odd and cool. Can I have a personal tour please? Lol

  186. Ok. So most people think all this shit is cool. I think it’s cool for you, if you’re into that sorta thing. Kinda like some people like fat porn, some people don’t. Now, for me, I see all that stuff and I think, “What the hell? Where does someone even find all of that shit. Seriously. Where? Who makes this? Who sells this? Holy crap. What a hobby!” But, that’s just my opinion, and I cannot guarantee that I’m even the slightest bit sane.

    Momma Teacher Lady recently posted What the $&!@ was that?????.

  187. 188
    physicsmom

    Ah, previous poster just mentioned “dream” and it totally clicked in my head: these photos are of dreamscapes, the images that live in our heads when we first wake up and we don’t remember everything, but have a vague notion of things we saw during the dream. It’s fantasmagorical.

    I have always loved the travelling red dress and Laura looks divine in it. I am having bariatric surgery in a month and my fondest wish is to pose in such a red dress after I lose the weight I need to to get healthy. We’ll see if I find something as magical as yours.

    Thanks for being you Jenny, and for sharing yourself with us.

    P.S. Since the “machete” thing has been mentioned to death, I won’t bring it up, except to say that the person who said “killer paper cut” gets the win!

  188. are you going to the auction?

    Simone recently posted Are you worth it?.

  189. I think, Jenny, the most amazing thing is not the stuff you collect (which one has to admit has its own fascinatingly awesome outré factor going for it). It’s the fact you manage to collect people who are obviously quite worthwhile. Between your husband, who MUST have some pretty awesome somethingness going for him to have the perspicacity to marry you, and Laura, who seriously discusses buying giant metal chickens with you and who understands the true value of that barn, you have quite the collection going. I’m sure that there are several others you have tucked away here and there in your life, equally wonderful. I hope you truly appreciate how much flavor they add to what even for you might have ended up a fairly hum-drum life.

    And was I the only one who wondered how our almost-strangling someone friend, Copernicus feels about all the detached monkey hands that you received?

  190. Jenny, can I borrow the dress? :)

  191. I’m kidding, by the way. But really that’s a fabulous dress.

  192. A beautifully written and illustrated post.

    Please, please, please tell me there will be monkey hand photos?

    Laura from Fargo recently posted My View Upon Waking / Monday, August 29.

  193. I love you Jenny. And I love Laura too. That stuff is remarkable. Except the monkey hands. Monkey hands are fucked up. In a good way? I haven’t decided.

    Annadanna (from Canada) recently posted I'm a guest poster!.

  194. Wow! Those barns are seriously amazing! It’s definitely good that others are going to get to enjoy PJ’s artwork but I also felt the heartbreak you did and I’ve never even been to those barns. I can imagine being a kid and hanging out in a place like that. The fun I would have had.

    Diana recently posted Pie is Not a Swear Word.

  195. What would the American Pickers give to visit a place like that?

  196. Its strange how well she matches her background. And absolutely beautiful.

    Bryn recently posted Grilled cheese and childhood.

  197. Jenny,
    Your blog has the ability to have me laughing out loud to crying back to laughing. It also makes my husband roll his eyes at me since he knows when ever I act that way, I am reading you. I, too have a friend like your Laura, I just wish she lived closer.
    Thanks for putting a lot of laughter (and a little tears) in my day,
    Jenni S

  198. 199
    Uber Lurker

    Oh I used to have a friendship like the two of you do… even after 15 years I still miss her so. Hold on to each other for dear life… good weird is hard to find.

  199. It sounds, to me, like you both have an amazing friend. While I come here for a great laugh and usually end up crying. I actually cried tears that didn’t come from laughter. This was one of the most beautifully written things I have ever read. Your heartbeat could be felt in your words and your love and sentiment were honest. I love it when I am surprised by such beauty and honesty. Thank you, for sharing.

    Crystal recently posted More on Ramey.

  200. Wow. I could happily live in those barns. Keep the dark magic, even when the stuff is gone.

    But! You have a GLORIOUS Best Friend, the memories AND A FREAKING BOX OF MONKEY HANDS!!

    It does not get better than that. Full stop.

  201. 1. Nice monkey hands.
    2. It’s like walking through your dollhouse. Only bigger. Magical with a hint of creepy.

  202. A buddy of mine (Stuart Davis) has a song called “Good Wyrd” that you might like. He’s all kinds of awesome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L87q7EkbX0

    PS. I WANT TO LIVE IN THE BARNS

    Ashley Stratton recently posted snarkmistress: @SatanInSingSing But it worked out. My hubz is the greatest man ever..

  203. I’m not afraid of monkey hands, as long as they’re no longer attached to monkeys. Giant parade float stuff, oh no that scares the crap out of me. But auctions are so fucked up that I cannot breathe when that man starts being all, “buogjiel/shnfehjush uhelkhhen jf uoh $300 fhudhsulheks.hn SOLD!”

    Lorca Damon recently posted It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Pair of Underwear.

  204. Such a delight to have an amazing friend Laura for good life moments- I’m lucky enough have one too:) Some how you landed in the fer real section of Texas. I know you land in the fer real section of Anywhere too.

    Susan Wells recently posted Posum on a Spoon.

  205. What a wondrous place! And an amazing friend!!
    She is simply beautiful in the red dress, and the barn shots are so glamorous. What a great way to remember a fantastical place, family, and friendship.
    High-fives to the monkey hands!

  206. I am really sad that that last crackled monkey hand didn’t fit in the vase. Seriously – that’s going to bug me for a long time. Do you need me to buy you a bigger vase so you can fit all your monkey hands in it? How did you pick which one would be left out? Is it your least favorite monkey hand? Poor cracked monkey hand.

  207. You are who I imagine Junie B. Jones would be as a grown-up. I totally love that about your writing!

  208. that barn would scare the ever-living shit out of me. I’m terrified of mannequins, and I’m pretty sure that silvery cherub/fairy chic hanging from the ceiling in a couple of the pics will be haunting my nightmares soon. I do like the monkey hands though–who doesn’t need monkey hands? honestly, some people….

    Mel recently posted The ice cream is calling my name..

  209. So no Monkey Hands at the auction? DAMMIT!!!

    DogsOnDrugs.com recently posted 18 Things You Don’t Want To Hear Your Kid’s School Bus Driver Say.

  210. Now, *that* is a hoard which I can respect. Treasures…

    I’m glad they’re about to be distributed.

    Sidney recently posted Progress, Dear Readers!!!.

  211. cool shit, i am so jealous….love to do a photo shoot there…awesome! i hope they make ten trillion dollars for that goodness

  212. How you managed to walk out with JUST a box of monkey hands is beyond me. I want EVERYTHING in that barn. Now. I don’t even think I can get over it (just like I can’t get over this hilarious video about stupid fucking cats http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpl5mOAXNl4 but I digress…) How can I buy stuff if I’m in San Diego?

  213. Noooooo! Not the monkey hands! They’re bad-weird, not good-weird! Haven’t you ever heard the story of The Monkey’s Paw?

    Whatever you do, don’t make any wishes.

    Laura (no, a different Laura) recently posted The Door.

  214. I once realllllly wanted a coworker’s rubber fingertip thingies (you know, the ones bank tellers use to count money). She had 5 for some reason, and I *had* to have them. She agreed to give them to me in exchange for a red clown’s nose. It took me a while to get one, but she kept her word. Then we walked around the office in a clown nose and rubber nubbies. Not every coworker will play with you like this. But wouldn’t work be great if they did?

    Mommy's Minions (@MommysMinions) recently posted 8/30 - Dad Alien thinks he found his spaceship.

  215. this is why i REALLY miss my dad’s antique shop, you never knew what type of treasures you would find. i would tear through there as a kid, and lay claim to all sorts of weird crap.
    these days, i just go find the weird crap with him, which pretty much explains all of the furniture in my house.

  216. Wow, such a wonderful story of friendship. But I really didn’t expect the monkey hands to be so beautiful. I mean they are just breathtakingly fabulous. And the photograph of Laura in the barn holding up the torch. Beyond beautiful also. Thank you for sharing your friend with us.

  217. That looks awesome.

    Although the first few pictures of the ladies reminds me of that episode of Friends where Phoebe makes another Gladys work of art so Monica and Rachel can have a creepy lady escaping from a frame in their houses.

    Julia @ Boredom Abounds recently posted Beauty Spot - Wet n Wild.

  218. How many of us grew up wishing we were fortunate enough to have attics filled with forgotten treasures of old and she had BARNSSS! Lucky! Kills me how many people mentioned “Pickers.” Sadly, that was my first thought too. What does that say about us? HAAA! Ya, too cool of a collection to mention “Hoarders.” Although the two seem to be closely related. Just sayin’.

    BTW, I have to say, I think it is way awesome that there are 3 of us followers named Tracey. With an E!!! That is rare!!! Awesome, but rare! ROCK ON TRACEY’S!!! ROCK ON JENNY!!!

    KidLit aka Tracey recently posted Blogger M.I.A..

  219. Those “fairies” are going to haunt my nightmares. But at least you got some monkey hands out of the deal.

    Angela@BeggingTheAnswer recently posted Places I Love (To Not Love).

  220. So amazingly weird. Just like you. And that’s a good thing.

    P.S. Can we all send some good wishes to Kelcey (aka Mama Bird Diaries)? She had severe damage to her home from Hurricane Irene. http://www.mamabirddiaries.com

  221. Gorgeous! The barns, the floats, the dress, Laura. I think it’s a very good thing that I’m on the other side of the continent because man I’m a sucker for an auction, and I’m fairly sure I need a fairy hanging out in my entry.

    Neeroc recently posted Conversations with V – Imagine.

  222. This is some fascinating shit. The auction needs, NEEDS, to be televised.

    Jonah Gibson recently posted Blowing Up Your School for Extra Credit.

  223. 224
    The other Jenny

    @physicsmom- not sure if you’ll read this and apologies to Jenny for hijacking your comment but I wanted to wish you the best with your surgery. I had it a little over a year ago. It’s been a challenging year but I wouldn’t change a thing. It saved my life in more ways than one and I now appreciate the value of a “red dress” in a way I couldn’t imagine before. My best to you!

  224. You ought to invite Tim Burton to that estate sale. He’d make a fabulous movie with all those props. Post more pictures!!

    I used to work at an amusement park and at the end of the season they’d have a parade every night for a week. One time I was on a float in a tower as a damsel in distress. I’d have more fun with that job now!

  225. That was amazing. I am, however, stunned, that you did not bring home something a bit…. larger… for your collection…. lol. But Monkey Hands suit you to a tee. :)

  226. Since you have a monkey hand surplus, may I suggest a potential use for just one of them? Read this post by NPR blogger Linda “Monkey See” Holmes, and then send her a monkey hand.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2011/08/29/140037187/twenty-iconic-male-movie-roles-in-which-helen-mirren-would-have-ruled

    If that post doesn’t deserve a round of applause from a cracked, decaying plaster monkey hand, I don’t know what does.

  227. Beautiful post. Celebrating a friend in the best way.

  228. So what did you do with the monkey hands? I’m thinking coat hangers?

    Sugar Loco - Jenny recently posted On the edge – Brownie Brittle.

  229. Those barns would make for the best game of I Spy ever!!

    Brandy recently posted You Might Be A Walking Ice Cream Headache If…..

  230. After reading this post, the advice on the purchase of Beyonce makes a lot more sense.

    Jamie recently posted Today’s Muse. Channeling Mother. College Admission Night @MorganCoHs..

  231. I just wandered over here from a share on facebook of your Beyonce’ story and I had to add you to my google reader. I got a very much needed laugh and look forward to reading in the future. Thanks!

    Jamie (tr0ubs) recently posted Think, thank, thunk?.

  232. A vase full of monkey hands – What more could anyone need! I bet Victor really appreciates it.

    pixielation recently posted You're just small potatoes - creative spayce.

  233. Few people are lucky enough to have friends that not only own a box of monkey hands, but are happy to give them to you. I do have a friend who gave me an oversized black velvet sofa painting of a ’60s crying harlequin girl, but I’m pretty sure she’s not related to your friend Laura….

  234. One of the first gifts my now husband ever gave me, a million years ago, was a rubber breast. I still have it.

    What I’m saying here is, gifts are sometimes fleeting, but body parts are forever. And they don’t have to be human, either, so monkey hands are no exception.

    Rev. Back It On Up 13 recently posted The Shittiest Job In The World (Literally).

  235. oh, man, i SO needed this post today. god, this is magical, really. and i’m a little heartbroken to read that this wonderland of kitch will be auctioned off.

    but, mostly, i needed to be reminded that another’s perspective of a person is so often very different from that person’s perspective of herself. thank you.

    c.c. recently posted blub blub blub.

  236. That dress was amazing, I see why you loved that photo shoot. I think I will now miss the barn with all the treasures, and I just heard about it. I hope those purchase the items at auction know just how lucky they are to have the fairies, a George Washington head, and monkey hands.

    Dawn Marie recently posted Here I am, getting all bent out of shape.....

  237. I am in love with the dress and the barns….the stuff in the barn, OMG…and the monkey hands! I LOVE THEM! I still want the barn, I wonder if I could convince my husband to buy them at the auction…in my dreams I am sure, but if he did…..

  238. Have you and victor set a limit on how much you can spend at this auction?

    addgirl recently posted Recipe Tuesday- vegan vegetarian or meaty!.

  239. “Paper-machete” might be one of your funniest word mistakes :P

    machete = big knife
    mache = what you were actually trying to say

  240. Do you know what is better than a free box of monkey hands? Nothing. And do you know what is better than a best friend who understands your need for a free box of monkey hands? Again, nothing. My best friend and I are like Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey on Beaches. I, the weaker brunette, know that my red-headed big-bosomed buddy needs to be in the spotlight with the box of monkey hands, and, with love in my heart, I happily hand them over to her, with a witty, touching soundbite that she will treasure forever.

  241. I know Laura, I know you, these pictures are the ABSOLUTE best. It just goes to show you that the best stuff happens in Texas, the best(er) stuff happens in barns in Texas!

    elz recently posted Schooltime Favorites.

  242. Well, it looks like I have a road trip in my future! But, how do I fit George Washington’s head in my car?

  243. She “almost” never needs monkey hands…now I’m curious. When HAS she needed them?

    Brandy recently posted The Chain Gang.

  244. Seriously, you should marshal your vast readership. If we all chip in, say, $10 bucks and a monkey hand, you could buy all the barns. We could move into the barns, declare war on America, surrender, get billions in aid, and basically kick ass and play on the trampolines all day. Possibly consuming adult beverages.

    hogsatemysister recently posted 7 Times I Almost Changed the World.

  245. these pictures are beautiful.

  246. I love this post. The good kind of weird. The barn. The history. The monkey hands. The red dress pictures. Just love it! Made me smile.

    Becca recently posted 40 Days of Queit: Days 35, 36.

  247. I think you should buy the head of Georgie, and have that stare right into Victors office window…Forget Beyonce, she’s too chicken to stand up to Georgie!

  248. Three words: Monkey jazz hands!

    Wombat Central recently posted Once Upon a Spazzy Summer.

  249. i am so sad i don’t live nearby. that barn looks magical! and boxes of monkey hands?! SO many possibilities! I am a little sad to see this stuff get scattered, but what a story it will tell out there in the big broad world. you should be there passing out pieces of gum with your e-mail and blog attached so people can send pics of the new homes of all the cool stuff*! (maybe someone suggested this already. there are like 6 bazillion comments already!)

    *regardless of if you get contacted, fresh breath for everyone! public service win!

    I hope you update us about auction day. i can’t even imagine the stories… so. fun.

    ttfn

  250. WOW. Just WOW. Love the barn, love the stuff, love the dress! How did the auction go? I’m a little sad to know that all that really amazing stuff is getting auctioned off and won’t still be in this wonderland for you (or anyone) to explore. Hopefully everything finds loving new homes. Like your monkey hands!

  251. I wish I had a Laura, well I have Laura, she’s my older sister and an immensly selfish-lying-bitch and her name is actually Laura. But Iwish I had a “Laura”. Or any friends for that matter. And people to read my blog. Wow. Lonely depression sucks.

    Cassie recently posted eight thousand three hundred feet.

  252. Oh my goodness – that’s awesome. Those pictures look like an episode of American Pickers. :)

    Kyle @ The Penny Hoarder recently posted Make Money Paying Your Neighbors’ Property Taxes.

  253. Incredibly good weird story. Best.Red. Dress. Pictures. Ever.

  254. [Quote] I’ve spent many long hours poring through her great-uncles bizarre art work, his faded ribbons, his boxes of sketches, his enormous paper-machete statues… [/quote]

    I haven’t read all the other comments, but please tell me someone else caught this. I’m pretty sure you meant “paper mache” (or more accurately “papier-mache” with all kinds of wonky French accent marks included) and not “paper machete” which would be a giant knife blade made of paper. Which would kind of be useless.

    Then again, knowing what I know about you, maybe you really did mean paper machete. They are parade floats after all.

    Also, someone call the guys from American Pickers PDQ. They’d love that barn!

  255. I really want a monkey hand

    ragemichelle recently posted How Bad Is Your Pain?.

  256. So are you going to be at the auction? I am, since it looks awesome and I live 15 minutes away. I would like the opportunity to scream “Jenny!!!! OMG!!! Youdon’tknowmebutIthinkyouarehilarious” etc. and totally geek out all over you.

  257. I’ll be there if I’m in town. Traveling that week.

    Jenny the bloggess recently posted I kind of want to make this into a t-shirt.

  258. Beatuiful! That great-uncle was straight out of “Big Fish”. Sweet movie about a dreamer who made everyone’s life lovelier…

  259. Yes. A vase for monkey hands. Perfect. I would have done the same.

    ?

    jennyonthespot recently posted A Vlog. Just because..

  260. Holy crap, woman. I have tears all over the insides of my reading glasses thanks to your damn monkey hands. I wanted to text hubby to remind me to tell him about it when he got home, but I was laughing and crying too hard to type properly. (For the record, I have crap vision and a tiny old phone sans qwerty.) After 10 minutes or so of effort, snot and tears, I managed to send this to hubby, who is currently rehearsing with his band:

    OMG MONKEY HANDS LOL

    At first I worried after I sent it, thinking he might stop practice and call me immediately, thinking something was wrong at home. But then I remembered that he’s used to my insanity, so this kind of message wouldn’t faze him a bit. Well, at least it’s memorable. I know what his first question will be when he comes home.

  261. OK, admittedly, I’m late to the party but I just laughed my ass off for fifteen minutes reading that conversation. Absolutely precious.

  262. I have just come across your blog and its fantastic!
    I am still laughing about the monkey hands conversation!

    Miss Teacher recently posted Girls night out - cont..

  263. paper machete? Love you’re blog…. :)

  264. As usual, your posts make my day ( hubby still not amused when I read them aloud. Huh.). Anyway, I wanted to tell you that you were breathtakingly beautiful in that red dress! Thanks for posting the pics. I love antique stores and flea markets and would LOVE to attend that auction. Hubby won’t spring for the ticket and I think that given my tendency to become homicidal after 3 hours in a car that a 24 hour road trip is NOT in my future :(. I am compiling a photo gallery of strange and wonderful things I find while scouring these shops. Does anyone want a 5 foot tall purple hand?

  265. Please, please make a movie of that barn before everything is sold. Just walk around in it with a video camera and film everything. Imagine the potential.

    Victoria Mixon recently posted 1 Secret Trick to Becoming a Genius Writer in One Day.

  266. What beautiful things to say about your friend. Very lovely how you were able to draw comparisons like that. And the Monkey hands…what can I say? Only You! ;)

  267. Love the hands…love the barn…so glad you shared

    Abby recently posted Say My Name, Say My Name.

  268. Ooooo…your red dress shoot was fabulous! I love the first one of her kicking!

  269. this is the best thing i’ve ever read.

    and where can i get a dress like that??

  270. What a wonderful tribute and an even better backdrop! You are a wonderful friend.

  271. I’ve never met a monkey hand I didn’t like. Ever. I mean never.

    juliejulie recently posted How I met The Bloggess and her real best friend IRL at BlogHer.

  272. That is amazing. What a wonderful thing to have in one’s family. I am seriously jealous of your jar of monkey hands.

    Ele recently posted Sailing Ship VII - Block Print with Mixed Papers.

  273. Barn full of wonderful parade floats, going to auction. A best friend that gives you a box of monkey hands and doesn’t think it’s weird that you want them…..PRICELESS!!

  274. Everything about this is awesome but what is most awesome is that Laura looks hot as shit in that dress….and the giant George Washington head.

  275. Wow. You are so lucky to have such a loyal and fabulous friend who “gets” you and your weirdness. Good weirdness that is. How gorgeous is she in that dress, by the way!

    As for the monkey hands? Yes, please. I’m with you. Those are awesome! I’d probably use them for evil though. Since my left hand is so fucked up from CRPS, I can picture myself pretending one of those was my hand and poking random people with it while standing in line buying canned pineapple. Oh yes. It’s a good thing you have them instead of me.

    Mrs. One Day recently posted Group Weight Loss! Everyone is Doing It!.

  276. I always wished for a house with an attic filled with “treasures” and a cellar too scary to go into. Very few houses in South Africa have attics or cellars sadly. SA architects were not thinking of me when they designed houses :-( very inconsiderate. That barn sounds positively magical.

  277. 279
    Sarah Stright

    I read your blog every day and I laugh EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It’s like therapy for me or something. So basically what I’m saying is- I’m glad you exist, I’m glad you blog and I’m glad you’re hilarious. Is this creepy in a good way, or a bad way? Because for me, it’s a good way since I just got to read a post about monkey hands…
    Sarah

    http://comingunstitched.blogspot.com

  278. Hello?? I’m sorry, but this auction *has* to be held at an auction house that is also broadcasts online so we can all participate! It just HAS too! Besides, her profits will skyrocket! You NEED to point this out to her! Hell, I’m warming up my mouse finger already! Also, I like exclamation points!!

  279. 281
    deafgimp

    Those hands are in the shape of ASL f and y, so essentially they are saying fuck you.

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