Thursday, September 05, 2019

 We have a winner!
Congratulations, Beth!
I know I have your address somewhere in my email but can you re-send it to me so I'm certain it gets there?

Thank you to everyone that entered. Let's do it again next year!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Giveaway Time

Giveaway time!

This year's State Fair cookbook (with last year's winning recipes, many of them Danny's) will be open until midnight CST on 4 September 2019. Contest is open worldwide. Leave a comment to enter. I am offering the same giveaway on Instagram, but please, one entry per person so either enter here or there.

Good luck!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

You Spin Me Right Round

You know he has a bong inside that jacket.
Buying a new phone finally lit a fire under my rear end to start converting my vinyl records to mp3s. Ultimately it is so much easier to store them in iTunes on my phone than burning CDs, but it turned into much more of a project than anticipated. If you think my vintage clothing collection knows no bounds...well, the records ain't much better. Oven the years I've whittled it down a bit, keeping only the very loved or difficult to find. That's still an awful lot.

Some of those records haven't been played in over 40 years. Some longer. Not really knowing the condition of the vinyl, it made sense to play them volume up so I can catch any skips as they transfer. I wasn't prepared for just how emotionally draining it would be! I also wasn't prepared for just how downright strange my musical tastes have been over the years. I'm spared a good chunk of the 80s and beyond as I switched to buying tapes and CDs to play in the car, but I'm sure those were equally bizarre. I know they say you can judge a person by their books and record collection but please...don't?
There's young Jen with her very own phonograph. I was so happy to get that little player as it meant I wouldn't have to use the hi-fi in the basement/family room that was the territory of our territorial cat, Snoopy (yeah, they named a cat after a cartoon dog. You need more evidence for why I'm such a fucked-up mess?). That cat hated me. To be fair, Snoopy hated everyone except for the old man and that was only because he could be counted on as a steady source of human food he wasn't supposed to have. That cat lived on salami sandwiches. But then I got the Mickey Mouse phonograph, and life was good.
Here's a picture of one I grabbed off the internet. The sound quality was reasonably OK for such a cheap thing.

Privacy in the household I grew up in was rare-you couldn't even expect to go to the toilet uninterrupted. I did find that they tended to leave me the hell alone when I was in my room playing records. Whether this was due to my taste in music being so offensive they kept a distance, or because they were able to know exactly where I was, and what I was doing, isn't clear, but unless someone needed something, I was generally left to enjoy music alone. The incentive to buy records was strong. If I was needed they'd just scream up the stairs loudly enough to be heard over the music. Eventually our neighbours got sick of that, and encouraged us to get a second telephone line so I could be screamed at over the phone. I suppose it was a little better.
"Kids, go upstairs so I can yell at you over the line"
Danny's been my technical support figuring out how to do all this transferring, an undertaking I wouldn't attempt without a teenager to offer helpful observations like, "Click the square box, the universal symbol for stop",  accompanied by a hard roll of his eyes. He's also been on hand to offer commentary like, "That's the WORST thing I've ever heard in my life" followed shortly after by, "I take it back, THIS is the worst thing I've ever heard", followed by, "This is the soundtrack for storming Area 51". He likes opera. I gave him my old man's,  Maria Callas Sings Famous Puccini Heroines record. He snorted at that too. Kids.

How I wish it were possible to go back in time and tell my younger self to take better care of her vinyl. Hardly alone in that, I suppose but had I known 40+ years on I'd be transferring recordings, I might have, at the very least kept them in the sleeves rather than scattered across the pink shag carpet of my room. Occasionally I'd change the needle on the phonograph, but I doubt I ever properly cleaned anything. Younger self, you have a lot to answer for.

More than the records themselves, what excites me going through the boxes is finding receipts and price tags from now defunct record stores. Wax Trax!, 2nd Hand Tunes, Hep Cat Records- all the places my youth (and money) were spent. The best record store I  can no longer remember the name of, was down the street from my elementary school. Honestly, it was more a head shop that sold records than a proper record store, but they had great stuff you just couldn't get otherwise.

When I was about I dunno, 11 or so, I was asked what I wanted for my birthday. I probably just wanted to be left alone, or at least not be trapped in conversation with the adult child that called herself my parent, so I told her I wanted a Frank Zappa record. I don't know why. I certainly didn't care for anything he'd done up to that point (Help, I'm a Rock?!) but that's what I told her, and after unsuccessfully trying to buy a Frank Zappa record at Montgomery Wards, she ended up at the head shop down the street from my school. In hindsight, it is kind of funny that there was a head shop down the street from an elementary school but eh, it was the 70s.

The way she liked to tell the story, the hippies working in the place were amused by a 40 year old woman buying a Frank Zappa record. 'I told them it was for my daughter, and they asked how old she was. They all gave me funny looks when I told them."  Yeah, no wonder. I guess she didn't look at the track titles on the back of the record or she might not have brought home something called, "Give Me Your Dirty Love." Oh well, I still have the record and now it is a family heirloom of sorts. I offered it to Danny, but he rolled his eyes. Hard.

Since I'd already splashed out on the phone, I went ahead and bought some decent Bluetooth headphones. I loathe ear buds, and the ones that came with the phone were downright painful. In some ways it is like hearing these old records for the first time. I used to laugh when friends would insist some recordings were better with headphones, but perhaps they were right. I'm sure by the end of the year what's left of my hearing will be destroyed😀 but it will totally be worth it. I still don't want to listen to Dark Side of the Moon though. Sorry.

So many of these records evoke time and place in my life in a similar way to perfume. I thought it might be interesting to combine the two and see if I can come up with some interesting writing freed from the constraints of a review. Maybe not, but I trust readers will let me know if I've miscalculated the comic value of child abuse my youth mixed with the music and fragrances I loved.
Alright kids, let's rock and roll. I'll see you on the flip side.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Heat Was Hot

When it is -40 F. in January, feel free to quote me but, I am so over summer. Sure, I live in Nebraska which probably has the worst climate in the United States in all seasons (with floods and tornadoes for added excitement) but this year broke me. It has been so hot going to the pool is pointless as it would be like bathwater. Yes, we have central air conditioning (unlike the farm), and yes my car's AC works (unlike the Mighty ford Tempo I drove for years) but day after day after day of sitting indoors with the lights off, curtains closed, unable to use the oven wears on a person after a bit-even if the room is cool. Oh, I know we made this mess, and we're going to be living with it probably forever, but I'm not doing a very good job of adapting to the new normal. 
I don't know how to dress in this heat. Natural fibres, I guess. 
It has now been a full 6 months since I've stopped blow drying and straightening my hair. I'm still not convinced I like it, but it would be pointless trying to do anything with it in the heat and humidity, so a nice break anyway.

Outfit Particulars:
Silk skirt-Goodwill (I think)
Straw bag-World Market
Earrings-Thrift World
Bangles-all over
Hobe coil bracelet-Thrift World
Fragrance-Bvlgari Omnia Coral (probably the only Bvlgari I like. I bought two large bottles just in case they discontinue it).

Enough moaning about the weather-thanks for indulging me. Let's talk about this dress instead. The material is a nubby, lightweight acrylic that mimics towelling/terry cloth without the weight and bulk. 
It doesn't show well in the photo but there's red blanket stitching around the neck, arms, and hem. The fabric belt is original to the dress. I'm wearing vintage Napier lucite beads here because white accessories on a white dress feels so 70s to me. Red beads would have worked too, but I can wear those all year. If there's one thing I still like about summer, it is wearing white. I went with beige shoes and bag because you can over-do white. I like the matchy-matchy look, but too much can look comical. Hopefully this was a good balance. 

Outfit Particulars:
1970s dress-New Life Thrift
Napier necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Norell (I mean, what else could I possibly wear with something this 70s?)

Keeping with the 70s for a bit. This is...not me. Not, at all. Still, finding this set in perfect condition for practically pocket change made me think it was worth a try. I do wish the tee were a bit larger, but that's life. The applique on the shirt matches the skirt, and the lining also matches. The amount of work and detail is amazing by modern standards.

 Outfit Particulars:
1970s top and wrap skirt-New Life Thrift
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Vintage shoes-yard sale
Vintage glass (or stone) bangle-Goodwill
Shell earrings-World Market
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Estee. Sigh. I found a cheap bottle and thought I might enjoy it. I do NOT! Not even a little. Oh, it brought back memories...none of them good. *shudders*. That's what I get for trying to cosplay a 70s suburban mother.

 This skirt is about three sizes too large, but the print was too good to resist. It is home sewn, and rather badly, so it needs a bit of work. I think it is worth it. The fabric is a sort of barkcloth with a shiny finish.

 Outfit Particulars:
Vintage raffia bag-Goodwill
Polka dot Lucite bangle-Salvation Army
Fragrance-Balenciaga Ho Hang (kinda meh, actually. I like the first 10 minutes, then it sort of mellows into boring).

 Helloooooo *taps lens* do you know how hot it is outside?!

 Hot enough that I wore a patio shift dress out and about! With slippers. And my hair in a banana clip.
Outfit Particulars:
Mexican embroidered shift dress-Thrift World
Cha Cha bracelets-both Goodwill
Slippers-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-L' Air du Temps

My hemline started rising with the mercury.
This is on the short side for my tastes, and I'm not a fan of cap sleeves. I am however even less a fan of 100F temperatures. 
I've probably mentioned it was kind of hot around here lately. Did I forget to tell you about the heat? Oh, OK, never mind then.

Outfit Particulars:
1980s dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes- K Mart about 12 years ago
Fragrance-Knize 10 (not obvious in hot weather, but I like it)

 Know what else I did?
"I know what 'ya did!"

That's right, Beet Poot! and if you want to kiss Beet Poot (or anything else) go HERE and get yourself a shirt. 
Oh, and meet Bubbles. He screamed at me across the Goodwill, so I brought him home. He lives in my garden now between the nasturtiums and the cardoon. 

You knew there'd be a tropical print dress in here somewhere, and here it is! 

 I'm not convinced that basket was intended for use as a handbag, but when has that ever stopped me?

 Bought this gold headband from a costume shop. It was supposed to go with a Greek Goddess costume. I find such great accessories in unlikely places. I bought a few wigs recently as well, but they will need to wait for cooler weather.
Outfit Particulars:
90s dress-Goodwill-I think?
Bangles-all over
Earrings-Yard sale
Vintage straw Qualicraft shoes-Goodwill
Basket-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Balahe (it doesn't get more tropical than that. Gosh, I love that one)

 The very second the heat broke, I went into full Summer Goth mode. This skirt looks like a vintage petticoat, but it is modern, and has a zip in back. The taffeta and lace are nicely put together. Paired with an 80s rayon top with gold flecks throughout, I was able to get a somewhat dressy look without being over-dressed for daytime. I really loved how this one came together, and would definitely repeat the outfit exactly the same. That's rare that I want to do that.
 Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-New Life Thrift
Betsey Johnson belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-Sears, before they closed
Fragrance-Aramis (yeah, again with the leather and cumin in the heat of summer. I don't know why!)

 I already shared this on Instagram, so if you were offended by a fat old lady in a swimsuit, I'm afraid I'm going to offend you again! Know how you "Get your body swimsuit ready?"

 You put on a swimsuit. There, you're ready! If you needed proof that ultra running won't make you thin-here 'ya go! I can however run an absurd number of miles day after day. I really love this swimsuit but unfortunately, it has some latex in the elastic and it just isn't worth the rash. Sigh, I've only worn it twice. I have others, but they're not hot pink. Of all the stupid allergies I could develop late in life! I can live without mangoes, bananas, avocado, etc. but latex in clothes is a real problem. Ah well, summer is almost over anyway...I hope!

I don't know if putting myself on the internet is encouraging if you've been feeling shy of wearing a swimsuit in public, but trust me, no one cares what you wear. Truth. And if you're my age, they absolutely don't care what you're wearing (or what you've waxed, or of you've polished your toenails, etc.). Go, have a good time and for heaven's sake-wear something YOU like. With any luck, it won't give you a contact dermatitis.

I'll leave you with some views of what's blooming in the garden.

And that's about it from here. Danny is off to High School in a couple weeks, and I'm preparing for life to be very different around here. I'm not looking forward to waking him every morning at 6 AM. Teenagers can be hard sleepers!

I hope your summer is treating you well.