Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spotty Weather

We went from 90 degrees F. and sunny, to dark skies and tornado watches in the space of an hour. We're still under the watch all evening, but so far everything has been calm, if a bit dark. This has been the strangest spring I can remember. I expect a bit of up and down through April and May, but this has been abnormally cold, and when it does rain, we get enough for flooding. If I believed in Divine retribution, I'd think some deity had it in for Nebraska. 

I'm wearing, "Things I forgot I own." I think the dress made an appearance on the blog once, but the shoes have been languishing in a box since the 90's, and the small handbag was a gift years ago from an elderly neighbour who was happy to have a young person willing to take her old items. She didn't have children, which made finding a good home for her handbags and hats a challenge. She's been gone a very long time now, but I'm glad I am able to remember her each time I reach for one of her pretty handbags. This one doesn't get much wear as it is so very small. 

I like the strap at the back for holding the bag, though it takes a bit of getting used to. 

After wearing the shoes a bit I remembered why they were packed away-my feet slide forward in them. That's easy enough to fix, so later this week I'll stop by the cobbler's shop and have him glue in some inserts at the front. The shoes are otherwise comfortable, and now that I've waited long enough, fashionable again. Win!
Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Can't remember, probably Goodwill
Shoes-Not positive, probably Jordan Marsh when I worked there
Necklace-Bloomingdales, 90's
Earrings-K Mart
Silver bracelets-errrr, maybe Filene's? (I wasn't kidding when I said these items don't get much wear)
Lippy-Elf lipstain in red layered with some cheap gloss (Wet and Wild, I think). Better than expected results. 

I just looked at the forecast for the next week-looks like we're in for rain each day. Perhaps I can do a feature on raincoats and umbrellas. 

That's not that bad of an idea, now that I think about it. 

Hang in there-tomorrow is Friday (and in some places, it already is). 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Orange You Glad I Mix Patterns?

I want to thank everyone for their understanding with my previous post. I try my best to keep the outside world from intruding on my blog, but sometimes it does.

I spent several hours helping my eleven year old son sort through the crap in his room. I'm generally happy enough to ignore his room, but it was starting to smell like feet. To my relief, I located a number of dirty socks because I was momentarily concerned he might have a wedge of Stilton beneath the bed he'd forgotten. Have you ever gone through an eleven year old boy's room and tried to throw things out?
"I need that paper aeroplane. I made it in second grade."
It went on like that for several hours, but in the end we can now close the cupboard door, and come tomorrow he won't miss most if any of it. I have no doubt it will return to the same state eventually as kids are shit at throwing out paper, but for the next couple of months I can hopefully have an easier time hanging away his clean clothing without climbing over piles of Leggo, Matchbox cars, and comic books.

This top and skirt were not a set, in fact the blouse is something I bought at K Mart years ago, and the skirt is a rayon, Indian-made skirt from heaven only knows when. The addition of the silk cardigan in the top photo is probably too much but since when has that stopped me? 
I've had these sandals so long I forgot where I bought them. A corner of the strap was thoughtfully chewed away by our late poodle, but that hasn't stopped me wearing them. I have a bit of a dilemma. I like to keep my toenails polished in summer, but my toes are almost always purple/blue from poor circulation. Red polish makes it look worse, and the purple I tried earlier in the week gave the impression I;d been embalmed. So far, orange has been the best colour I've tried, and as you can see, it still isn't great. Thoughts, anyone? 

Outfit Particulars:
Cotton top-K Mart
Rayon skirt-Goodwill
Silk cardigan-Goodwill
Sandals-Can't remember
Earrings-K Mart
Vintage necklace-The Mexican Shop, Evanston, Illinois
Wooden bangles-Hand-Me-Ups
Bamboo bangles-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage wooden beaded bag-Goodwill
Belt-Shop Ko
Fragrance-Ma Griffe

Xerox the budgie is doing well. I grated up some raw carrot for him tonight, but he seems reluctant to try it. Our dining room table is visible from where his cage sits in the room, and when we all sit down to eat he hops from his perch and begins eating as well. The first time it happened we joked that he was mimicking us, but after a few days we now know that he really is. We've had to keep him away from the window as he can see the birds at the feeder and starts to freak out. Understandable-grackles are big birds. We've discovered that Xerox does not like listening to NPR as he began to screech and continued to do so until I switched it off. I can relate, some days you're better off not listening to the news. 

That's about it from here. Thanks to all of you again for being so understanding. I'm not easily pushed into reacting to boorish behaviour, but it happens. 

I hope your week is treating you well. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Neanderthals Alive And Well In Omaha

I'd shake my head and say I don't know what America is coming to, but that would be a lie. I know exactly what we're coming to-for all practical purposes we're already there.  We've probably been here for years but it was harder to spot whilst people still went through the motions of basic manners. It is getting terribly ugly. I'm not naive, I've had slurs hurled at me by people that thought I should, "Go back where I came from" and have spent enough time on picket lines to know the threat of violence from people that disagree with you isn't something to be taken lightly. Still, I don't go out into the world each day expecting the worst. I know better, but I still give people the benefit of doubt, and I try to behave decently as well. Most people aren't horrible human beings, I tell myself that, but I'm running across more and more people that are horrible human beings. Earlier this week I tripped and fell outside the pet store. A man my age was walking out the door and he laughed at me as he walked by. Who does that? A normal person would ask, "Are you okay?" or offer a hand, but in Omaha 2016, you get laughed at. Ha ha, the old lady fell down. Hilarious.

I was walking to my car at the grocer this evening. I had Danny with me. A man in his late 50's that looked like your typical office worker, in a gigantic truck zipped past us at an alarming speed for such a crowded lot, and pulled into the space beside mine. He hopped out of his truck, stood next to me as I loaded my groceries into the car and demanded, "How are you?!"

It wasn't a friendly question-and I wasn't sure what he wanted, so I attempted to finish up, and leave. Again, he demanded, "I SAID how are you?!"

By this point he was well into what I consider my space, and I hurried Danny into the car and hit the lock. I was ready to hit the alarm, and I don't really know why I didn't. I closed the trunk and he demanded a third time, "ANSWER ME! I SAID, how are you!!!"

I looked up, and told him to fuck off.

I know in hindsight this was a stupid thing to do, particularly in Nebraska where practically everyone has a gun. At the very least, I could have ended up punched in the head. It wasn't smart, but something in my indignant old lady head was outraged enough that this idiot thought it acceptable to harass a woman out grocery shopping with a child that I reacted without calculating the risk. He stormed off, then turned around and came back yelling, "What did you say?!"

I should have locked myself in the car, or screamed, or hit the alarm but instead I shot him an angry look and said, "You heard me." Then, I climbed in the car and drove off.

My husband thinks I did the right thing, though I'm not sure I like his reasoning that even if I had taken a punch (or a bullet) it still would have been the correct thing to do. Danny certainly got a lesson on how not to pick up women. The anger this guy had for my refusal to respond to his demands was terrifying. In my younger years I would have been prepared for something like this, but at my age it caught me off guard. The bullying, belligerent, stance and the threat of violence that came with it if I didn't comply with his demand to be acknowledged, and provide whatever answer he was seeking isn't something I prepare myself for when I make a quick trip to the grocer for milk. Perhaps he was looking for an opportunity to see if I didn't speak English so he could scream about immigration. Maybe he thought that's how you meet women. Whatever the motivation, the situation escalated so quickly I didn't have time to think through any of the risks.

I'm still not sure how I could have handled it better, but I'm pretty sure I could have. Maybe.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Introducing, Xerox the Budgie

This is Xerox. He's finally adjusting to his new home. He seems to like us, but I do wish he wouldn't carry on so when we leave the room-it is worse than a newborn! Danny has tried reading to him, singing to him, etc. but as soon as we attempt to move...Chirrrrrp! I know this one is going to be a talker, I just hope his first word isn't, Bugger!
Xerox has plenty of toys, a cuttlefish bone to sharpen his beak,, and plenty of delicious millet treats in addition to his food. He spends most of his time looking in the mirror at his own reflection. He's figured out it isn't another bird, and I imagine him saying to himself, "Xerox, you are one good looking bird. Do you know that?"

I should say, we're not positive he's a male. You can tell by some of the feathers as they age, but without a thorough examination (which we're not going to do now as he needs to calm down before we can handle him) it is almost impossible to say. The general rule of males being more brightly coloured than females doesn't really hold with budgies. 

Speaking of "Brightly coloured" things, here's what I saw in bloom outside the Swanson branch library today.

You're probably thinking the library is in some country meadow...not the busy city intersection of 90th and Dodge Streets. 
It really is a beautiful spot in the middle of  Omaha. The library isn't half bad either.

Since everyone and everything around me was bright and colourful, contrarian that I am, I went monochrome. I didn't think the bra looked that bad in person, but the pictures are making me think it is a bit too-pointy, and needs to be brought up several inches in the straps (Sometimes I wonder if I need a bra or a construction crane). Anyway, this is a good lesson in the importance of selecting the correct bra as it ruined an otherwise nicely put together  outfit. 

Sleeveless sweater-Can't remember it is about 15 years old
Cardigan-I think it was a Dots store in Revere, MA (also about 15 years ago)
Da-Rue linen-look skirt-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage vinyl handbag-Goodwill
Straw hat-K Mart, last season
Mother of pearl earrings-World Market-about 10 years ago
Belt-Shop Ko
Fragrance-Chanel No. 19 (vintage formulation)

Later in the day, I ended up back at Heron Haven, another beautiful place to enjoy nature hidden away beside a busy, major city road.
I didn't see any heron, but I saw a cowbird. They have a bad reputation for eating the eggs from the nests of other birds. They're not alone in that behaviour. 

This is a baby woodchuck that was hiding behind the visitor's centre. He wasn't shy at all, and happily posed for a photograph. I didn't see mama or papa around. I still didn't get too close because tangling with an angry woodchuck isn't my idea of fun-they bite!

Finally, here's a look at some colour in my garden

I'll leave you with an unflattering gardening photo-it was HOT outside (and humid). I planted more okra and carrots today. Fingers crossed, we'll get a good crop. 
We're expecting rain for the next five days-that ought to do the garden well. 

I hope you have a lovely week.

Friday, May 20, 2016

I Budge(ied)

After plundering the bird feeder, this young squirrel decided to stride boldly up to the sliding glass door and peer inside. I'm sure he's watched Blondin being handed wholemeal biscuits, and eventually worked up the nerve to try begging on his own. I cracked the door expecting him to run, but very nearly had him run inside. This little fellow is fearless. He took his biscuit from my hand and scurried off only to return a bit later. I have a rather strict, "One per customer" policy with treats, but I wouldn't be shocked to find this one climbing the screen and knocking on the glass to get my attention. He got into a bit of a tussle with a red bellied woodpecker, but at least he came out of it still in possession of his tail. They learn quick that the birds are possessive of their feeders!

Today was strange, but in an overall pleasant way. I took Danny for a haircut, and the new hairdresser (his former moved away) looked at his oily hair that had just been washed earlier in the morning an announced: "Your hair is oily because your body is changing. When you're in puberty everything changes and you'll get pimples, and grow hair all over your body and hey, cheer up, you're becoming a man. But wash your hair twice because it needs it, okie dokie?"

I'd been after Mr. ETB to have "The Talk" with him, but now I think we'll just let the hairdresser do it-she seemed pretty comfortable with the subject.  I think she was younger than I am by a few years, but has teenage sons. 

This sort of thing (not the puberty discussion specifically) happens to me quite a bit where people either over-share or feel so comfortable around me that they discuss things you wouldn't typically speak about with a stranger. I guess I don't come across as threatening which is good and bad. Mostly good-I like being generally approachable. 

I might have gone a wee bit overboard (again) at the garden centre today. I came home with a rather exotic variety of coneflower that has beautiful green and pink flowers. How could I possibly resist? A few more varieties of salvia (purple and red), more celosia (orange and yellow), a King Kong Coleus (it is magnificent), and enough sweet woodruff to fill a bag bed on the back patio. It grows well in shade, and I'll use the flowers in salads and the leaves for winemaking. I also bought more Italian basil because...summer! I also purchased a pump sprayer that holds two gallons of water and is wonderful for cleaning up after birds (and squirrels) and washing windows. I would love a power sprayer, but there's no spigot for a hose at the back of the house and I don't want to run it from my washing machine hook-up. Knowing I can easily clean the sliding glass doors is terribly exciting to me. Yeah, that's kind of pathetic, but I'm my mother's daughter, so there. 
I didn't buy this:
I can't decide if this is too twee for someone my age (or any age, really).

This top is meant to be worn off the shoulders. I did that for a bit, but I'm sensitive to sun and after a while I could feel my shoulders getting hot. I will say it is a flattering look if your arms aren't that great but your shoulders are. The straps are part of the top (not my bra) which don't do much holding it up, but I imagine are there more as part of the look. I took a chance on this top because it was .99 cents. I do end up dressing a bit more adventurously when it is practically free. 
The crochet detail at the waistband and sleeves is quite nice. 

Outfit Particulars:
Da Rue skirt-Goodwill
Kenar top-Goodwill
Vintage straw handbag with lucite handles-Fairy Tail Costumes
Carved bone necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Bakelite bangles-several places
Fragrance-Chant d' Aromes

 In other news-I bought Danny a budgie. Long time readers will know that I do not share my son's love of birds, and after living with a somewhat neurotic bird (well, he was a member of our family) as a child (it was my sister's) I developed a rather intense dislike of the feathered bastards. Forty years later I've made my peace with them, and though I swore up and down it wouldn't happen, we now have a bird. His name is Xerox (because he copies you, geddit?). Expect several photos once he adjusts to his new home. Danny figures Xerox is about two (by feather patterns, and the colour of his leg band from the budgie society) and they can live a very long time. In "Bird years" they're about the same age which means they can go through the awkward teenage years together. Perhaps I can get Danny's hairdresser to have "The Talk" with Xerox.

I have a hellish week ahead, so I'm off to grab the weekend by the balls and have some fun. Look, I'm all dressed to spray the windows and patio clean again! Don't say I don't know how to have a good time.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Stray Vintage

I'm rather specific about the items I purchase for my collection, but sometimes I find things that are just too good to leave. That's generally okay if I can wear the item, but what to do with a vintage crepe Eisenberg suit? It was too cheap to pass by, so I brought it home and it will get packed away as a lovely piece that doesn't quite fit with the overall goal of my collection. Suits happen.

The mustard yellow photo is closest to the colour in person. Ignore the messy bookcases and jug of vinegar on the floor (I get through a lot of vinegar between cleaning and canning). 

This vintage Glentex faux fur jacket purred from a bargain rack at the thrift store. $1.99 later, I was the proud owner of an early 60's jacket I can't wear (I can barely get one arm in it). 

The size would best suit a child. Unfortunately, I don't know many children willing to wear a leopard print jacket (except for my son, but that was part of his Little Edie costume). Into the collection it goes waiting for one of my friends to have a child (or grandchild) that can wear it.

The last thing I need is a wool 80's dress. Something made me look at it closer. The trim was so perfectly applied, and the overall tailoring seemed to be of good quality. The dress is heavy, and the pattern matches up in the back over the zipper. A quick look at the label, and I knew I had to buy this Bill Blass dress for the grand sum of .49 cents! I didn't want it, but it would be madness not to. I might wear this one, if I ever find myself needing to look like Nancy Reagan. It is a flattering dress, and well made, but not the sort of thing I would actively seek out.

Finally, where was this magnificent coat in the 80's when I was going to the Limelight Club? I have no obvious use for it today, so it gets used as a sort of over-the-top pool cover-up. I figure it can serve dual duty as a sun reflector enhancing my tanning potential. Perhaps I should just use it as a blanket.

I live in a good part of the US for vintage, as it isn't as highly valued as it is in other places. There are some vintage shops, but they tend to be affordable, and there aren't so many dealers that the good stuff gets snapped up at the thrifts. A few of the thrift stores have started selling from a dedicated vintage section-but they don't do well as the prices are absurd for the condition of the items. To get Etsy prices, you have to clean and repair the items. Eventually it all ends up on the sale rack where it belongs. I tend to favour the 70's, which hasn't really caught the attention of locals yet. Still, when you find a 40's suit there's little point leaving it behind. Eventually I will need to sell some of the pieces that aren't interesting to me, or I will run out of room. I've been selective with my purchases, but you know how that goes.

Do you bring home strays?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Checkin' Out the Birds

Has it been another week already? Sorry about that! 
Can I make it up to you with a picture of a Bald Eagle bringing food back to the nest for a pair of fluffy eaglets? Don't worry, it was just fish (I saw that video of the eagles eating a cat too). We spent Saturday at DeSoto National Wildlife refuge in Iowa as part of Global Big Day. Danny was able to spot over forty different species of birds, adding a few new ones to his life list. On Sunday, we visited Towle Park, Standing Bear Lake, and Heron Haven, all in Omaha which resulted in several more new birds for his life-list. May is Migratory Bird Month, and we've been seeing plenty of them. 
Not a real bird.

 Real bird.
For those who might be interested, here's the lists for Saturday and Sunday:

Saturday at DeSoto:
House Finch
House Sparrow
Common Grackle
Mourning Dove
European Starling
Blue Jay
Red Bellied Woodpecker
American Robin
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Tree Swallow
Red headed Woodpecker
Brown Headed Cowbird
Chipping Sparrow
Harris' Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Northern Cardinal
Grey Catbird
Bald Eagle
Turkey Vulture
Wild Turkey
American Coot
Yellow Rumped WArbler
Northern Waterthrush
Golden Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Swainson's Thrush
Least Flycatcher
White Breasted Nuthatch
White Crowned Sparrow
Blue Winged Teal
Eastern Kingbird
Double Crested Cormorant
Eastern Bluebird
Baltimore Oriole

Sunday, between the three Nebraska locations we spotted:
Common Grackle
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Red Bellied Woodpecker
Harris' Sparrow
House Sparrow
House Finch
Wilson's Warbler
Brown Headed Cowbird
American Redstart
Northern Cardinal
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Canada Goose/Cackling Goose
Northern Waterthrush
Wood Duck
Red Winged Blackbird
Blue JAy
Black Capped Chickadee
Great Egret
Chipping Sparrow
Baltimore Oriole

"The Lesser Great Plains Twitcher."

It doesn't sound like it would be exhausting, but dawn to dusk birding two days in a row takes a great deal out of a person. Well, this person. The twitcher is doing fine. I'm glad he was able to spot a few migratory birds he'd wanted to see. There was a great moment where he was showing photos to a couple of wildlife biologists trying to get an I.D. on a bird he'd seen. The three of them were huddled over a camera and bird guides debating the various eye stripes and wing patterns on the bird. My fourteen year old self wanted to shout, "Nerds!" and run from the room, but I was rather impressed by the way Danny was able to discuss the finer details with people who care about such things. 

I'll try to give you a condensed version of last week's better outfits. 
Top-90's Norton McNaughton-Filenes(?)
2000's Liz Claiborne skirt-Hand-Me-Ups
1960's vinyl clutch-Goodwill
Clarks sandals-Hand-Me-Ups
Shell bracelet, earrings, and coral necklace-Hand-Me-Ups

Then, there was this one:
 (Too large) Top-K Mart
Naturalizer sandals (brand New) $2.00 at Sequels
Vintage macrame handbag-Goodwill
Glass beads-Both Sarpy County Historical Society Yard Sale
Earrings-Sears(I think)

And this one:

Vintage KoKo Knits top-Goodwill
Taffeta skirt-Goodwill
Vintage Naturalizer peep-toe shoes-Thrift World
Vintage Handbag-Goodwill
Shell earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Azuree (I can still smell it in the car!)

In-between all that, I bought a swimsuit with a matching sarong at Target:

I'm a sucker for Marimekko.  In fact, I liked it so much I went back and bought a top and matching shorts. I'm wearing the top here:

I wish the sleeves were a bit less wide, and perhaps a bit shorter, but that is something I can easily fix on my own. The fabric is cool and comfortable and launders nicely without wrinkling too horribly. The matching shorts give the overall appearance of a romper when worn with the shirt, and it will be a nice thing to have this summer...if we ever get summer. Today it is raining, and in the 40's. 
Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-Sears, ages ago
Top-Marimekko for Target
White bracelet-Souvenir of Canada-Goodwill
Silver Mexican bracelet-Goodwill
Earrings-Can't remember
Jacket (top photo)-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage blue vinyl handbag-Goodwill
Lucite necklace-Sequels

If you've made it this far, thanks! I hope I don't sound as scatter-brained as I feel at this point, but it has been busy, busy, busy of late. I did notice that they have started putting out chairs and filling the pool , so if we ever get some sun and warm temperatures I can take myself over there to relax and fall asleep in the sun (is there any better luxury in life?). Until then, it is all end-of-the-school year madness, and next year's syllabus writing. Teaching Grade Six is the best-we get to do earthworm dissection in biology. 

I hope things are going well where you're at. Have a wonderful week (And if you fancy some inexpensive Marimekko togs, get yourself to Target quickly. Danny thinks I should go back and get the bikini just to horrify the plastic surgery junkies we see at the pool each summer. I just might.).