Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Funny, I Just Call it, "Making a Cup of Coffee"

The morning newspaper tells me that people who measure their coffee, grind their own beans, and then put it through a pot like a French press are, "Home Brewists." Yes, of course they are, because they're Home Brewing, not just pouring boiling water over grounds like some sort of uncultured vulgarian.

Oh dear. If people are that obsessive in other aspects of their lives we encourage them to seek therapy, here we're just...encouraging them. Just as well, if the state began sectioning people for being douchebags our taxes would skyrocket to pay for it...because there are a whole hell of a lot of douchebags at large.

Was that a rant? Oh my, I think it was.

I believe there is a right way (mine) and a wrong way (everyone else's) to do things, and I don't doubt that some coffee tastes better when given a bit more attention than being tossed in a pot with some boiling water-but so what? Should you warm a teapot before making a pot of tea? Yes, you should, but hot water tossed over a teabag will do for most purposes. Must everything be an exercise in perfection? I bake bread, but I have never weighed my ingredients, used hydration percentages, or taken the temperature of my sourdough starter. I bake bread, I don't turn my kitchen into a food science lab-and I certainly don't get all pretentious about what others do in their kitchens.

Yes, this is definitely a rant-stick with me people, just a bit longer.

I just love the assumption that because I don't go to the absurd lengths others do with respect to coffee, tea, bread or whatever else people are obsessed with at the moment-that I'm ignorant. Oh, I would just fall all over my coffee press if I could just taste coffee made, "properly." I don't think so. I've lived through percolators in the 60's, cold drip coffee makers in the 70's, Melita cups in the 80's, French presses in the 90's, and have come full circle to a pint jar of water and 1/3 cup ground coffee left to soak overnight. I strain it into a pot in the morning. Classy, eh? I like it, but I wouldn't turn my nose up at a cup of instant if someone offered it because (take note douchebags, this part is important) someone is offering you a cup of coffee (or anything else). You know, hospitality. Your role in this (again, pay attention here) isn't to go into a detailed description of how you prepare yours. Your part isn't to question the source of beans. Your part is to act like a normal human being for a few minutes, and graciously accept what is being offered. 

Hang in there kids, I'm almost through.

Home brewing is already taken by the beer people, and frankly they've had the phrase so long I think it only right we let them retain the rights to it. What you are doing, is making coffee. A person making coffee at home is not called a brewist, they are called, a person making coffee.

Janice? Are you here hon? I'm going to need your help shouting...

GET THE HELL OFF OF MY LAWN! You damn home-brewing brewist kids with your French presses and funny electronic cigarettes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Girls Would Turn the Colour of an Avocado...

At some point in the 70's, between the oversized florals and the foiled bamboo, there was a fashion for wallpaper in a similar print to my jacket.
The colours would have been in the same range as well. Avocado. The best rhyme ever for avocado is El Dorado:
So yeah, I'm dressed like 70's wallpaper and kitchen appliances. I tried to echo no-wax linoleum with my bangles, but I don't think I'm quite there.
Outfit Particulars:

70's polyester jacket-Thrift World .98 cents
Green dress-Sears, about 8 years ago
Seashell pin-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-K Mart
Bangles-all over the place

I think Pablo Picasso probably did get called, "asshole" even in New York. Here's the studio recording:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Go Sit by the Sofa, and I'll Take a Picture

The vintage photo series returns, this week with photos of my family on/near sofas. I won't keep you in suspense, here's the plastic covered sofas of my youth.
I'm the wee one sitting on my sister's lap. I have no idea who the other two girls are.

Wait, I can hear my mother screaming, "Count!" from the other room. A town house is no place for children's piano lessons as there's nowhere to hide.
The problem with that plastic covering was that it eventually cracked, and left discoloured streaks on the white silk they were trying to protect. It was OK to sit on most of the year, but come summer you'd sit on that thing wearing shorts and stick to it. I like this photo of my dad looking at the coloured vinyl record like, "What will these kids come up with next?!"
Here's a photo of my cousin (left) and my sister on a plastic covered sofa that I think was at Gran's. It wasn't ours anyway, and my aunt had blue crushed velvet sofas that no one was permitted to sit on-so it wasn't their house. Poor Andi, I can't believe they dressed the poor girl like that.
There's a sofa in the back with my mum perched on the edge of it. It looks like a birthday party (hats, party dresses etc.) and it looks like our front room, but damn if I recognise that television. I barely recognise my mother. My Aunt isn't looking her best sitting on the floor either. At any rate, my sister and cousin don't appear to be having a very good time. There's a whiff of a John Waters movie in this photo.
I'm starting to wonder if anyone ever enjoyed themselves at a party. My cousins are flanking the woman at the centre (no idea who she is) and my gran is in yellow at the right. I have no clue who the other people are, but that is our front room, and I remember those two green watercolour paintings.
Now this looks like a fun birthday party. I don't know where it was taken (not our sofa) but I'm in the centre (pink tights)and smiling, presumably because I'm not at home!
Mt two grandmothers sitting side-by-side and making an attempt at smiling for a photo. They despised each other. Despised is being generous. This would have been about 1977-78.
But all plastic covered sofas eventually need recovering, and by the 70's, my mother found she liked gold toned tapestry. This too must have been a birthday photo as there's a balloon at the top of the frame. I have no idea what the hell I'm wearing, but my birthday is in February so I don't know what she was thinking with the white pants. I think I'm "posing" but it might just be the angle of the photo and my messed-up spine (which was more noticeable when I was young). I'm not sure what became of the lamp, but I have the table beneath it. Each time we move house my husband wants to get rid of it, and each time we later admit it was a good thing we kept it. Ugly as can be, but that table is the most practical piece of furniture in our house (it has storage beneath).
Finally, three women who are relatives through various marriages, and were all adored (because they weren't as crazy as the rest of us!). On the left is my Aunt's (mother's sister) mother in law. She was a lovely woman who always had candy and half dollars in her handbag for the children. I was always envious that my cousins got a normal grandmother. The Woman in the centre was Aunt Chevy, who could knit whilst talking to you, and never look down at her work. She was incredible. She tried to talk my father out of marrying into the family warning him that they were all, "Nuts", but it fell on deaf ears. Years later, he admitted she knew what she was talking about. On the right is Aunt Sadie, who was  a wealthy old widow that sent beautiful presents (I still use and enjoy a pair of Lucite bookends she sent when I was 13). Everyone said she was cranky, but I guess that just endeared her to me. I wish she'd given me that handbag sitting on her lap! She looks displeased to be sitting amongst the rabble. I believe this was my sister's wedding shower so maybe 1980? I can't remember.

I'm sure I'll find more sofa photos after this is posted, but I hope you enjoyed a plastic covered trip down sofa memory lane. One more for good measure-a rare photo of my sister looking happy (mother must have been out doing the shopping):

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Grab My Smelling Salts, I Feel a Rant A-Comin' On

Ahem, dearhearts and gentlepeople, the Midi-Ring is not a thing. It may be a trend to wear a smaller ring that does not quite sit as far down your finger as it should, but it is just that-a smaller ring that does not fit far down your finger.

I have no opinion as to the aesthetics of this look, but it does not require a special purchase of a ring made to not fit properly. We all have those in our collections-we call them pinky rings even if they did once fit (pre-childbirth) on the ring finger. So shove one of those on your fat little fingers and call it a day. There, I just saved you at least fifty bucks. You're welcome.

We're living Idiocracy. Yes, we really are.

Easter 2014

Hoppy Easter, everybunny.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Clothes Made For a Windy Day

Everyone should own billowy clothing-it gives you such a splendid feeling. Just between us, this is a dressing gown but, shhhhh no one will ever know.
It is made of the most wonderful, papery silk that protects me from sunlight whilst remaining cool enough to wear on a humid day. I wish I had ten more of them.

 Wide-legged jumpsuits do their share of billowing as well. I could soar, I tell you!
Something tells me these two pieces are bound to become wardrobe staples this summer.

Outfit Particulars:
 Jumpsuit-K Mart
60's Robe by-Mode O'Day Styled in California (Damnit, should have worn the Gaymode shoes but maybe you shouldn't mix modes, even in California)
Shoes-BCBGirls-thrifted Goodwill
Belt-retail years ago
Silver cuffs-Gordmans (a very long time ago)
Slave Bracelet-Mum's from the 60's
Earrings-Can't remember
Floral headband-Gordmans
Macramé handbag-Thrifted
The shoes were more comfortable than they look.

Come on kid, let's go make some people stare at us in the library! These are going to be cherished childhood memories someday. Maybe. Possibly. Unlikely. Fine, we'll go home and dye some eggs. You're part Ukrainian, you should be good at it.

We have a slew of good movies to watch this weekend from Pan's Labyrinth, to Escape to Witch Mountain. We also picked up Fantastic Planet.

Right, off to see to those eggs now.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Somebunny is All Out of Eggs

Frankly, I'm enjoying the hell out of the menopause. I would have been too self-conscious to wear bunny ears when I was young.
The ears were quite a hit at the library. I would have checked out Harvey if they had it (they didn't) which might have gotten a laugh out of the librarian.

Wehit a few thrift stores, and I came upon the best trove of vintage hats (and hatboxes) I've seen in a while. Danny has a new 50's (possibly late 40's) fedora to enjoy. He's more of a flat-cap guy, but this one appealed to him. A fedora is OK on a youngster. On old men, it just makes them look like William S. Burroughs. Experts are always on about, "Teachable moments" when you're supposed to use an opportunity to teach your kids about something so here goes my William S. Burroughs teachable moment:
Don't take heroin, and don't play William Tell with your wife.

Parenting-a full time job. They're always learning those little ones, aren't they? Next week, Philip Larkin.

Right, so you want the details, dontcha?

Vintage polyester handmade dress-Salvation Army, Lincoln,Nebraska
Shoes-Still in "Gaymode"
Bracelets-various places, thrifted
Earrings-World Market
Yellow Jacket-Goodwill, Council Bluffs, IA
1960's belt-Thrift World, Millard
Bunny Ears-Walgreen's a couple years ago

I'm going to spend the holiday weekend figuring out how to use thetripod and camera timer, but I suspect you'll miss the photos in the dirty mirror (it is the best lighting in the house). We'll see.

Yeah, this bunny hasn't a single egg left. What a relief.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Clothes For Days When You Don't Know if You're Coming, or Going

This is the first item of clothing I've owned that had a label (in addition to the regular sizing and care label) telling which side is front. What a terrific idea! Some skirts can be really mysterious unless they have a kick pleat. This should be standard on all clothing, particularly tights.
See? Now everything is where it ought to be, and no mistaking my gut for my behind (which sadly wouldn't be all that difficult in a poorly lit room).
Oh would you look at that sewn-in hankie? How adorable is that? I did consider removing it, but that would lose the "bad taste" charm of it.
The peach coloured faceted buttons also add a nice touch. I never owned suits like this at the time-these weren't for work, these were for church.
The "Australian" belt. These were briefly a "thing" in the early 80's. I had to have someone explain how to loop it properly, and after thirty (probably more) years I can still manage it. I'd forgotten I had it until it showed up in a box of attic junk moving house. It has been getting quite a bit of wear since.
And an owl,  because a smile can fuck off, but you're never fully dressed without an owl.
Don't you wish a cheerful mood were as easy as slipping on a pair of shoes? I guess Gaytees never struck me as funny, but Gaymode just sounds so formal, like you're cheerful, but not having that good of a time. Like a few gin and tonics at the country club gaymode, which is only slightly more relaxed that workmode because you're chatting up clients anyway. I picture Leticia Baldridge wearing these shoes around the White House organising Jackie's social calendar.
Damn it, now I want a gin and tonic.

I could tote a bottle of Boodles, some tonic, and a few limes in this bag-and being vinyl it won't matter if anything spills. Come to think of it, a spritz of gin wouldn't hurt the interior as it is starting to smell a bit musty. Have you ever smelled Guerlain's perfume Imperiale? It smells exactly like a G&T. I can save the hundred bucks a bottle and fill an atomizer with a drink, which would be more acceptable to carry in your handbag anyway. I think I'm on to something here...
I matched my hair bow to my shirt. I must be channeling my mother, except she would have matched it to her handbag and shoes as well.

Outfit Particulars:

1970's Polyester suit-Thrift World, .98 cents
Blouse-retail, decade ago
Earrings-Italian import shop maybe 20 years ago
Bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups Omaha
Gaymode shoes-Thrift World
Handbag-Also Thrift World (I'm like an walking advertisement for the place)
Hairbow-Tif and Tam

The hottie is hanging on the shower rod, again. I may be the only blogger routinely photo bombed by a hot water bottle! Anyway, I'm smiling, see? Know why? Because I'm in my gaymode. If I weren't, I'd look like this:
That's my incredulous mode. Spot the difference? I know which I prefer.

Meet Flora, The Gardenia

This was my anniversary present, a gardenia bush (tree?). It has a yellow bloom on it at the moment, and several buds ready to go, and it smells wonderful.
I've never seen yellow gardenias (only white) so this was a pleasant surprise. It can't live outside in our climate year round, but as soon as it warms a bit, the container can be moved to the patio. For the moment it is bunking with the other warmth-loving plants like the laurel and lime tree.

Here are the cuff-links I bought Mr. ETB. from Etsy seller Clammy's Closet They are embroidered on vintage tie material, and quite purple which the photo does not show. He liked them very much.
I'm rather excited at the prospect of having real gardenias to wear in my hair this summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nut-Free Candy Find

Roaming the aisles at Hobby Lobby (as you do before Easter) I found large bags of Sixlets that were made in a nut-free facility.

And, (as you do) I bought five bags of them in assorted colours. They also had fish-shaped candies that remind me of Runts. We bought those as well.

I don't mind making candy at home, and not to boast, but I've become quite skilled at it-but at candy-centred holidays when everyone else (it seems, to a child) is getting colourful name-brand candy, it is a drag to be stuck with your high-end chocolates from the nut-free specialty stores, or the caramels your mother made (which we've already established, are in fact, really, totally, completely awesome). Tootsie products are nut-free as well, but there's only so many Tootsie rolls you can eat before making yourself sick whereas Sixlets can be consumed by the handful as they take less chewing effort than a Tootsie roll. You'll still get sick, but more efficiently.

So, if you're still looking for something to fill the plastic eggs for the hunt with that won't send the allergic kids into anaphylactic shock, these are an option. They're not cheap, but they come in every colour (and combination) you can imagine.

I'm not being compensated in any way by either Hobby Lobby or Oak Leaf brand candies. I can't speak for Oak Leaf, but I'm pretty sure I'm not Hobby Lobby's idea of a spokesperson.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fried Matzo

Think eggy bread made from crackers. Yes, it looks terrible. Could I have made an effort to photograph it? Yeah. Sorry. But hey, you want to know how to make it, right?

You really do need to soak the crackers in hot water first. A couple minutes ought to do it. You can break the pieces up to fit in a bowl, but don't skip the soak. After a few minutes, drain it well. Meanwhile, beat some eggs (do a 1-1 ratio of cracker to egg) and melt a large knob of butter in a frying pan. Toss the drained crackers in the eggs, and place in the pan with the butter. Fry it until it is no longer wet, but not so dry that the egg coating is hard. It should look slightly golden. You'll want to give it frequent turns with a spatula. All told, it should take no longer than five minutes on medium heat. You may wish to add a pinch of salt as well.

When I was a child this was one of the few things we were permitted granulated sugar on. My child prefers maple syrup, but I don't keep the sugar bowl, "For company" and it isn't a treat. He did really enjoy having this holiday treat for breakfast though.
 With a glass of milk and a cup of tea.
Enjoy it kid, because I'm not cooking hot breakfasts at 7 AM during the rest of the year.