Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Leaning Tower of My Spine

 I've known my scoliosis was worsening with age, but it was only after noticing my skirts hanging more unevenly than usual that it hit home just how much worse it is. Taking your photograph regularly for a blog or social media provides an opportunity to view the changes over time. Anyway, I'm pointing it out not for sympathy, but because I don't want you thinking I can't dress myself properly! I may have a spine like Richard III but I can pull my skirts on correctly. Where they hang after that...well...
It seems more obvious with patterns-stripes being the worst. That said, I don't intend to dress differently, but I also don't want anyone straining their neck looking at photos. Honestly, I had more pain from the periodontal scaling I had done today than from my spine. Most days it is an annoyance. I'm not kidding about the scaling though. That shit hurts!


Outfit Particulars:
Talbott's skirt-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes-K Mart
Blouse-Goodwill
Bag-World Market
Bangles-all over
Hair flower-Tiff and Tam
 Mexican MOP necklace-Goodwill
Terracotta clip earrings-yard sale
Lippy-Revlon Snow Peach mixed with Jungle Peach. I should have worn Revlon Fire and Ice perfume with a combination like that, but didn't. I don't remember what I went with, but Fire and Ice isn't a summer fragrance, that's for sure. 

I'm still not convinced this isn't a child's dress. The length is odd, and originally the sleeves were puffed before I removed the elastic. I mean, it would be a for a large child, but still-there's something a bit youthful about it. I'm keeping it anyway because A) I love the colour and B) I love the colour. 




Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Thrift World
Canvas shoes-Goodwill
Quartz bangle-Goodwill
Blue enamel bangle-Target
Blue thermoset bracelet-Goodwill
Earrings-Mum's (I bought them for her in the early 80's)
Handbag-Goodwill
Lippy-came in a holiday set by Christain Siriano. The quality of those lipsticks is mind blowing. This one is matte, but not at all drying. Wish I'd bought ten sets. 
Fragrance-En Avion (I don't dislike it, but after putting it on, I always wish I'd worn something else)

Creative leg pose to try and even-out the lop-sidedness. Not working, but as the kids say, "Eh, whatever."
Outfit Particulars:
Blouse-K Mart
Skirt-Goodwill (fast becoming my favourite skirt of Summer 2018. I wear it more than anything else)
Bag-Goodwill
Brooches-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Eau de Gaga .Seriously! For the money (not much at all) this is a perfect summer cologne. Doesn't last, but who cares? Lime, violets, leather and woody notes. Simple, clean, and addictive. Easily unisex, and inoffensive in most offices. 

This might be my all time favourite photo of myself. If I die tomorrow, this is how I'd like to be remembered.
This one is a close second. "Over there, by the lake. Why don't you go jump in it?" 

Still tilting like a metronome, but hey...jumpsuit!
 Sometimes I think I shouldn't wear some things but do it anyway. Why the hell not?!
Outfit Particulars:
Jumpsuit-K Mart a few years ago
Shoes-Goodwill
Earrings-K Mart
Bracelet and rings-Gifts from an Instagram pal
Fragrance-I can't remember! It was probably Casbah which I was generously given samples of. I need to get that review done. Argh-not enough hours in the day.

Finally, there was this outfit-a cool look during our extended heat wave that had high temperatures coupled with high humidity. I know people in Florida put up with this kind of weather every summer, but as a northerner, I thought the end of the world was at hand. Too hot for the pool even! I let my hair go natural most of those days as it would have been pointless trying to straighten out the curls and frizz. I re-discovered the abomination that is instant iced tea powder and kept cold pitchers of it on hand as a survival technique. Sure, iced tea sounds disgusting if not a bit vulgar but in 100 degree high humidity it was probably the only thing keeping me alive (and alert)! Well, and air conditioning 😀. It is still stupidly humid here but at least the high temperatures have broken.
Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Goodwill
Belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Bamboo handbag-Goodwill
Brooch-Goodwill
Earrings-Thrift World
Shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Yardley Lily of the Valley

 We're heading into the State Fair preparations now and tomorrow is another kolache test-run. As an interesting aside, Danny was scouted for a television baking show (not GBBO). It was still reality TV though, and I was relieved when he told me he wasn't interested. The chance at prize money is enticing but your reputation is worth more. People don't come away from those shows looking decent thanks to creative editing. It might make for good television, but it makes for awful society. If you need a cautionary tale about reality TV look no further than the White House. Anyway, he already had his fifteen minutes seconds of fame clucking like a chicken and he didn't need to stab anyone in the back to achieve it. I'm proud of that kid. I really am. 







Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018 Wayne Chicken Show




So, Chicken Boy won 1st place in the youth Cluck Off at the Wayne, NE Chicken Show for the second year in a row. Next year he'll have to compete as an adult, but this year he's still basking in his 15 minutes of fame and making plans for the $100.00  prize money.
I mean, he had to give interviews to the media. Anyway, it was a great time if a bit exhausting as it is a long drive and we spent hours out in the sun.
 As we do each year, we stopped in to see the quilt show and entered the raffle for a special chicken show themed quilt. I didn't win (again) but I'm always happy to see the incredibly creative works on display.
 Look, they put me on a quilt!
 You can't see it in the photo but the fabric is Nebraska Cornhuskers (football) print.

 A Nebraska postcards quilt!

I know from experience how much time goes into quilting, and the hours represented in the finished work. It was a great show this year.

This is the Baptist church in downtown Wayne. I've never been inside, but it is so architecturally interesting to me. I love the arches, and the symmetrical stained glass windows.
But really, we were there for the clucking. There was a "Best Chicken Legs" event, hard boiled egg eating contest (blerg), "Chicken Scratch contest" where small children had to scratch like chickens in a sand pit to find buried quarters, and other events like trying to catch eggs dropped from a helicopter! I mean, they make it worth the drive to Wayne as there's so much going on all weekend. There are a few thrift shops in town, and I came home with some bargain hats, earrings and brooches. I spent ten dollars-so really a great deal.

I wore my chicken apron made from a vintage feed sack by a wonderful woman in Virginia.
 And I carried the chicken purse because where else would I ever use it?!
 Did I mention the parade? Lovingly restored antique fire trucks alongside modern ones spraying the crowd to keep cool.

That's the cinema behind the truck. So many small towns have lost their theatres that it is always nice to see one still operating. 
All in all, it was great fun, and Danny gets another year of bragging rights. I'll leave you with the coverage from our local news HERE where you can see a bit more of the chickens and people that act like them 😀Do click on the link, there are some adorable children doing their best chicken impressions and of course, Joel-the reigning adult Cluck off Champ 15 years in a row. The man knows chickens, and he's super-nice. 
Next Up...the Nebraska State Fair at the end of August. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cherry Chutney Time-Recipe


I didn't want to let cherry season (in the Northern hemisphere anyway) go by without posting this recipe. You need to plan ahead if drying your own cherries.

1 1/2 quarts fresh Bing (or other sweet) cherries, pitted and chopped
3 cups brown sugar
2 cups dried cherries
1 large red onion, chopped
2 tablrespoons mustard seed (I used a mixture of brown and yellow)
2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar (use malt vinegar if cider isn't available)
Rosemary and thyme to taste

Bring everything to a boil over medium heat stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer until thick and mounds easily on a spoon. As it cooks down, watch to make certain it doesn't scorch. Pour hot chutney into sterilised jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process 10 minutes in a water bath canner adding 1 minute for each 1000 feet above sea level at your location. Let cool down 5 minutes in canner after processing before removing to a heat-proof surface to cool for 12 hours. Makes about 4 pints.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Not Quite Minimalism

Good old "Crotch" and Brentanos bookstore at Old Orchard where I spent every Saturday afternoon between 1976-1979 browsing the remainder tables in the basement after my allergy shots across the way. I loved that place, even when they started selling scented candles and horrible Brutalist art made from hammered copper. God, I spent a lot of money in that place over the years.

 In an attempt to distract myself  from my country careening into seriously bad shit, I've been doing a major clearing out of books over the past few weeks. I've been selling them to Half Price Books, and while you don't get top dollar, so many of them came from the Friends of the Library Book sale over the years at .25 cents to .50 cents I'm not coming away that badly either. Having a little extra savings in times like these seems reasonable. Besides, if you do get rounded-up, you don't want the terrible people left getting your stuff. Who am I kidding...everyone knows they'd burn the books.

So many of our volumes are from the past eight years of homeschooling. I don't mind hanging onto quality books that will be nice to have in a home library, but how many versions of "Easy Science Experiments You Can Do at Home" type volumes do I need? We've probably cleared out several hundred books, with more to go. I had a cull of my cookery books as well keeping only the ones I still use, or the very odd (or historical). It will be nice to get our collection down to a few thousand books instead of the current situation. I'd say 90% of the novels I own can go, save perhaps for the modern first editions, or out of print favourites.
Essential reading when you live in land-locked Nebraska.

I am not selling my anthropology books yet. Oh, I'm done with them but I'm hoping I can give them to a graduate student or someone that will have space for two large bookcases worth. The rare books are staying of course, and complete author collections, but perhaps in time some will go, though I won't be selling those at the bookstore. If you are an anthro student looking for something specific, ask me! There's a good chance I might have what you need. All in all, I am looking forward to easily finding what I'm looking for, and hopefully having an easier time moving if we ever decide to move...which we might consider as my car was broken into (again) and some bastard came and dug up my potatoes in broad daylight Sunday afternoon. They didn't get them all but still, what's the neighbourhood coming to?! We pay for security as well. Sigh.

In the process of culling books, we've been getting rid of the stuff you accumulate if you spend enough time in thrift stores. I was always happy to indulge Danny's various interests but as he's grown out of them, things just ended up in his room in the way. By the time you're thirteen you know what's meaningful and worth saving or what can go back to the thrift store it came from. I'm pleased the Star Wars thing is over. Very, very pleased. We've also been able to sell a number of games, Mega Blocks, etc.
If you follow my instagram, you've already seen the above video. I bought two padded boards at Hand Me Ups and sorted out my brooch collection sans the Christmas brooches as I ran out of room! Seeing everything hanging like that has made me realise I don't ever need to purchase another brooch. I counted nine gold circle pins. At least I am consistent with what I like. As with the wardrobe and books, if there's something you've had your eye on-ask! I might say yes.

The curriculum has been submitted to the Board of Education and I am officially on break. I haven't been to the pool yet as our weather has been stormy, but I am looking forward to getting there this week.

On a more cheerful note...
Danny got the record high score on the pitching machine at the arcade. Couldn't move his arm the next day (you have to pitch very quickly) but bragging rights! It is an awful game-it taunts the player with things like, "Hey, there's always football".
Potatoes harvested pre-robbery. I still can't believe anyone would do that! I'm having a hard time understanding how people can do many of the things they do, and live with themselves.

I have preserving projects going all week to get ready for the State Fair at the end of August. The cherry crop was excellent this year so there's pickled cherries, cherry vinegar and chutney to be made. I'll do a batch of spiced cherry jam as Danny likes it, and it always seems to be a favourite when given as gifts at Christmas.

The Wayne Chicken Show is just around the corner, and Danny will be defending his title in the Cluck Off. $100.00 prize for two minutes of clucking like a chicken isn't a bad day's work. I found a vintage apron with roosters on it to wear to the show. I haven't decided on my hat yet, and this year's State Fair hat is still very much a work in progress.

So that's about it. I'm dealing with a bunch of painful,  miserable health stuff, someone stole my potatoes, half the country has lost their minds, I'm selling and giving away most of my belongings and the only thing I'm really looking forward to is hearing my kid do a rooster call at a chicken festival in rural Nebraska.

Do let me know if there's something you're looking for.




Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sleeveless Adventures

The calendar might say spring, but summer arrived a few weeks ago and what a summer it has been. When I did a large cull of my wardrobe I forgot how hot summer gets in Nebraska. I don't think this polyester top will be seeing any wear again until at least October. I must say, of all the places I've lived, Nebraska has the most extreme weather from heat to cold. That said, I can't think of a single place I'd rather be. We have it good here so shhhh, don't tell anyone-I don't want them to ruin it! But the weather? Yeah, it can get kind of rough.

Talbot's skirt-Goodwill
Vintage top-Goodwill
Straw bag-World Market
Vintage brooch-a thrift shop in Illinois
Vintage bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Enamel clamper bracelet-Target, about 15 years ago
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Vent Vert (obviously)

When the heat really kicks in, I stop worrying about looking like my mum and just embrace the sleeveless blouse. She always liked them because having a proper collar made her feel, "Dressed" unlike a jersey knit, etc. I'm not sure I agree with the logic, particularly when worn with shorts, but I am happy enough to forgo sleeves. Anyone that doesn't like my arms needn't look, but my days of suffering and covering up are done.

Outfit Particulars:
Linen shorts and blouse both K Mart
Straw basket used as purse-New Life Thrift
Shoes-K Mart
Fragrance-YSL Paris
Continuing with a sleeveless theme, I dug this jumpsuit out of the cupboard. It is knit, but didn't seem too warm given to the wide legs. 
Outfit Particulars:
Jump Suit-K Mart
Vintage tote bag-Goodwill
Necklace-Can't remember
Bracelets-all thrifted Goodwill
Vintage earrings-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-By Kilian Pure Oud (which despite the name, isn't and yes it was an obnoxious choice in hot humid weather)
Continuing to keep those middle-aged arms flyin' free in a brocade top I bought for a buck. 
With bonus midriff action because I do not care. Also-what's the point having a tattoo if no one sees it? I had that done in the early 80's (before it was cool)😁and if you're wondering how my mother reacted, it was pretty much as you'd expect! My dad thought it was hilarious.
For the record, the only thing I regret about it was not getting something bigger. 
We've been getting in plenty of putt-putt golf this summer. I live 5 minutes from the place, so I really don't have an excuse not to. 
 I haven't completely abandoned pattern mixing in the hot weather, though I did remove the jacket by mid-day.


Outfit Particulars:
Silk jacket-Goodwill
Skirt-Goodwill
Blouse-K Mart
Bag-Hand-Me-Ups
Hobe brooch-Goodwill
Bakelite bangles-Hand Me Ups and Goodwill
Belt-New Life Thrift
Shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes
The lilies in the photo have already blown apart in a storm but were beautiful while they lasted.
 Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Target about 15 years ago
Belt-Gordman's
Necklace-Goodwill
Earrings-Goodwill
Brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage shoes-Yard sale
Handbag-Goodwill
Fragrance-Cabotine Rose


I'll leave you with this outfit that looked better in person.


Vintage skirt-Hand-Me-Ups
Top-K Mart
Vintage Egyptian beads-thrift shop in Illinois
Vintage slides-Hand-Me-Ups
Enid Collins bag-Antique mall
Bangles-all over
Hoop earrings-Can't remember
Fragrance-Avon Casbah (Review coming soon. Thanks, Emily!)

I have such a glut of photos to get through I might just do a few strictly outfit posts. We are still slogging through the syllabus but will hopefully be done tonight or tomorrow-then I can shift my brain into summer relaxation mode. I hope your summer mode is relaxing😀