We started at Emeralds to Coconuts on Henderson Avenue. A warning, though: If you want to buy emeralds or coconuts, save yourself the trip; the range implied in the shop's name is not inclusive. We weren't sure which items fall between emeralds and coconuts, but we figured it out. A sampling: Oriental soaps, pretty crystal jewelry, "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" key chains, Christmas ornaments and other little dangly things, and a whole lot of flax clothing. Our purchase: a very loud silk purse from Nepal.
Need to stock up on kitsch? Check out Froggies 5 & 10. In addition to selling toys, you know, for kids, this Knox Street store has all manner of supplies for midcentury nostalgists and adult-escents. Here you can acquire fuzzy dice and Slinkys and Pez dispensers--all fine old standbys that will most certainly make you think, "Gee, that's keen." But there's much, much more. Like rubber rats and punching-nun puppets and metal lunch boxes. Froggies has too many can't-live-without items to mention. Our purchase: Barney Fife salt and pepper shakers, Necco wafers.
Perhaps we overdosed on all this childishness, because our next stop was the very adult Sur La Table. Have a kitchen? There's something for you here. So maybe you don't need to buy top-of-the-line copper pots. There's a a huge selection of cookbooks, place mats, cookie cutters, knives...well, there's a huge selection of anything associated with eating (except food). Best of all, every kitchen gadget known to man is stocked here. Our purchase: flavor injector (a sort of hypodermic needle for fowl and chops), butter slicer (as much as we would like to have a $40 cherry-pit remover, we just couldn't justify it).
If you had any doubts about our fair city's shopability, they certainly must have vanished. It wasn't easy, but we did it: We found things to spend money on in this city. And remember, dear readers, we did it for you. Coming next week--we take time off work to find a decent massage in this godforsaken town. In the name of research and goodwill.