Friday, July 09, 2021

On the Edge of Seventeen

 It began with some recipes I wanted to remember. Seventeen years ago I already had a personal blog but thought I needed a place to record what I was cooking. Over the years it has gone through a series of changes but for one reason or another I never abandoned it. Even now, as blogs are rapidly being replaced with photo sharing and video sites it still feels relevant to keep a blog. If nothing else the blog provides concrete evidence to myself that I haven't been idle for the last seventeen years. Not that there would have been anything wrong with being idle. I'm too old, and too conditioned to do otherwise. Thanks, Mum. 

If I didn't have a blog I'd have forgotten about this. It wasn't Dan's birthday, I just thought blowing bubbles deserved party hats. This was during a rather bad heatwave when we were looking for anything to keep a toddler happy indoors. Blowing bubbles indoors always seemed fine to me-it is soap after all. 
Or going "fishing" for a toy bunny with a carrot as bait. I know myself-that carrot probably ended up in dinner!
Trick or Treating for the first time. It must have been warm as we're not wearing coats. In the Midwest you can almost predict what sort of a winter it will be by how cold it is at Halloween. Some years there's a foot of snow. 
The botanical gardens. We had a membership when Dan was small and we'd go as often as possible. It was definitely beyond our budget, but we figured it would be so easy to spend money on other things here and there a bit at a time without noticing, that we went ahead and splashed out. Here we're looking into a pond/tank for the koi that inhabit it. 

The blog turned into much more than recipes, and honestly I almost never revisit things I made for the blog. Tastes change, diets change, and hopefully over the last seventeen years I became a better cook. I don't really enjoy cooking/baking anymore and meals are more of a chore than a pleasure, but it is all here if Dan ever feels motivated to cook something. 

Before smartphones 😀
A coat I still regret giving away. I foolishly thought it wouldn't be appropriate for someone over 40. What on earth was I thinking?! 
Remember how bad digital cameras were in 2004? We've definitely progressed but then this photo wouldn't be as fun if it weren't making me look like a ghoul getting a roller set. 
The "classroom" was our dining room table during the day. Nine years of officially homeschooling, but really I was teaching him from the day he was born. I could have done some things better, and I'd do them differently if I could go back, but generally speaking it turned out okay. I always had Dan get dressed for school even though he wasn't leaving the house. He didn't always wear a sport coat though! These days he's more of a jeans and tee shirt guy. 
I was the mother that packed sandwiches to go out with. I'd shop while the boys sat in the dining area of the store (I think this was Target) eating. If I was alone with Dan we'd eat lunch first and that usually gave him enough energy to get through the chore. I wouldn't do this if the place was busy because it would be wrong to take a seat from paying customers, but I rarely shopped during busy times, and not with a child in tow. On very rare occasions though...
...we let him get something to eat at the store. This was his fourth birthday (they even gave us the #4 to put on the table) and Dan wanted one of each type of doughnut they sold at Hy-Vee. As I recall he took a bite or two out of each one and we ended up binning most of it, but he was so excited and it wasn't terribly expensive. He's not much of a doughnut person now (unless they're homemade) but at least he can say he's tried all the doughnuts at the local store. It felt more extravagant than it was.
Not to brag but my homemade potato doughnuts are better. 

Without a blog I'd have forgotten that I used to make a strawberry pie every spring, but that I haven't made one since 2011. I wonder why it fell out of favour? 

This year I baked a cake from almond meal and served cut up strawberries atop it. I have to say, it was much easier. They ate it, so I'll take that as having found it acceptable. I didn't take photos. 

Back to the present
I'm...not good. Part of that's post surgical adventures (I think adventures sounds better than complications) but a good deal of it is chronic stuff that picked a rather lousy time to be, well, chronic. But that's how it goes, and on days when I bother to wear proper clothes I photograph them because it cheers me up. So here's something I wore earlier this week-a vintage barkcloth Hawaiian dress. The waistline is high enough that it doesn't press on my stomach or incisions and it is just a delight to wear. 
I even have matching shoes
And bracelets
and earrings too. You can see the hyper-pigmentation on my face in this photo despite the heavy use of concealer and heavy coverage foundation. I'm not going to worry about it. At some point it will either fade or I'll see a dermatologist but for the moment it is a low priority. But look at the crab earrings! Aren't they fab?

This gorgeous, heavy cotton embroidered dress is by Ivy City a woman owned company specialising in what I'd describe as,  modest dresses. Okay, that's not typically something I'm concerned with but when I found the dress, brand new with the $150.00 price tag still on, I wasn't going to leave it for $5.00. It is a bit big, and there's a LOT of fabric in the skirt, but this is a beautifully made garment. I suspect it will give me years of use. I don't make a habit of buying things retail, but if I needed a special occasion dress for something like a wedding, I'd absolutely buy a dress from them new. For now I'm very happy with this dress because it would be an understatement to say I'm not feeling terribly pretty at the moment, but a beautiful dress definitely helps. 

Ignore my expression-I'm really quite happy with the dress. 

This is a very thin, lightweight dress I bought from the sale section at Hey Viv Retro last year. I need a better strapless bra for it, but it was still cute and comfortable to wear in the horrible heat. If you don't already know Viv (or follow her on Instagram) let me introduce you! She has fun reproduction pieces that won't break the bank, and the BEST accessories. I have so many fun earrings from her. If you want to find cool stuff and support a lovely person running a small business (for decades now) go have a look around Viv's site. 
Halter dresses are easy enough to dress up as well. 

My running days are over for now. I try to get in a 1 mile walk each evening but that's been a struggle too. To go from distance running to struggling to walk a mile is sort of frustrating, but it likely isn't forever, though running might not be something in my future. I have a pile of stuff like these bike shorts that don't get worn for anything except exercise, but I thought I'd give them a go with a vintage swim cover-up after seeing people doing similar outfits on Instagram. I like it! The shape of the cover-up worn with the slim shorts looks vintage and modern at the same time. I probably need some vintage "boy shorts" or swim trunks for a more authentic look. The cover-up has a long zip in the back that goes all the way down. I guess if you didn't mess your hair up swimming, the 60s woman wouldn't want to be pulling a shirt over her bouffant hairdo. Makes sense to me! 

The garden is abloom with beautiful flowers

I harvested the last of the kale today, and now I have loads of chard, tomatoes, basil, other assorted herbs, and lettuce to keep us through summer. I harvested quite a lot of the chamomile and dried it for tea this winter, and I will have enough oregano for years to come. For whatever reason it is growing really well this year. The sage has been slow and steady, the thyme slow but finally getting settled, and my rosemary is alive but doing nothing. Oh well, perhaps it will do better once things cool down a bit. The lemongrass is also growing well though the stalks aren't thick enough to harvest yet. I'm very excited for it. We are expecting some severe weather this evening, but hopefully the garden won't get clobbered with hail or high winds. Rain, we could definitely use. It feels so strange to be talking about tornadoes in July, but it isn't unheard of and we've had such a strange year of weather anyway. 
I'm still cooking every night, but nothing new that you haven't seen before. Plenty of salads in this heat, and I pickled some blueberries and cherries to make things a bit more interesting. If you've never tried pickled fruit, you're in for a real surprise. In the past I've pickled peaches, nectarines, plums, grapes, cherries, and even melon. There's nothing better than pulling out a jar of home preserved summer fruit in the dead of winter, and pickled fruit goes so nicely with everything from meat to a cheese plate. 
So that's about it from here. Seventeen years is a long time to maintain a blog, and even longer to keep reading one (and I know some of you have been around here almost from the start). I appreciate each and every one of you taking the time to visit-well that's not true. Whoever keeps searching for "Granny Tits" to find my blog, I don't appreciate you. And why on earth don't you just bookmark it if you're really so interested?! But everyone else, including the visitor who found my blog by searching for "Therapy to finally get over Watergate", I hope it has been as entertaining for you as it has been for me, and I hope Watergate Reader has found what they needed. 

Stay well. 



Anonymous said...

Thank-you for posting. I stumbled on your blog when you where decorating cakes in bizarre ways for Danny. I was trying to make sense of a person living in Nebraska , wearing vintage clothing , decorating some wild cakes, and being vegetarian This seemed so un Nebraska like to this East Coaster. It finally made some sense to me when you mentioned Chicago as part of your history .

Your Hawaiian bark cloth dress is so pretty and you look great in it. Orange is a fabulous color and bark cloth a wonderful fabric.

Best Wishes,
Gail from Pa.

Polyester Princess said...

Congratulations on seventeen years of blogging! I'm afraid I've only been following you for about six of those - I was following before I started blogging myself, actually, and you've always been an inspiration.
I would have forgotten about lots of things if I didn't have a blog, and my pre-blogging years are a bit of a blur at times because of it.
Your Hawaiian bark cloth dress is a thing of beauty, and I'm loving the way you've accessorized it. I'm loving the halterneck polka dot dress too, as well as the Ivy City dress, which is stunning even if not your usual style! xxx

Emily said...

Congratulations on your blog birthday! It's been a real joy to read these past few years, especially during the pandemic.

Dan is soooo cute in his sportcoat! When he's grown up, he will enjoy having these old photos and recipes, for sure.

I love all your outfits. The bike shorts and cover-up look especially comfortable and practical for any bouts of hot weather you might have. I hope you'll soon feel well enough to get back into doing more of what you enjoy, and wearing everything in your wardrobe, even the pieces that are snug.

In trying to figure out what your blog might have to do with Watergate, I went to Google today and noticed that you once made a brief reference to Watergate salad, so then I looked that up to find out what it was. I swear, if I had a nickel for every food-related word and recipe hack I learned from your blog, I'd be a wealthy woman indeed. So thank you, not only for the entertainment, but for the culinary education that your blog provides.

Miss Magpie said...

Well congratulations. I'm so glad I have your blog to read, long may you continue to write it! I do hope you start feeling better soon. xx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Seventeen years? That's a long time. Did you start just before Danny was born? It was lovely to see the photos of him (and you) when he was little. Seeing him in his miniature sports jacket killed me!

I feel the same as you about cooking; it's a chore now and to be honest it always was...

I'm so sorry you are still suffering and not able to run but hopefully it will improve and you'll be back to your usual 'normal' self. I loved your recent outfits and accessories and I'm so glad I found your blog. I can't remember how I found it but you're stuck with me for the next 17 years now!


Anonymous said...

Happy 17th blogiversary. I discovered your blog when looking up things to do with green tomatoes a couple years ago. I read through the entire blog since I found your writing stye entertaining. Hope you feel better soon.

C from Oregon.

Beth Waltz said...

Your garden emerges victorious from the heat! I can smell those wonderful herbs as the westerly winds waft my way...

Congratulations on the 17th anniversary of what I consider a splendid journal of your journey through life. I've thoroughly enjoyed coming along for the ride -- it's been the best of road trips because I've learned something at every stop.

I've a barkcloth shirt that resembles the fabric as that fabulous comfy dress, but nothing on my shoe shelves comes close to the Ikat grandeur of those shoes! Hail, the Empress of accessories!

Vix said...

Happy Blogiversary! 17 years, I'm at newbie at just 12 years!!
Loving the photos of Danny, he and Prince William's son (the name escapes me) would have been well-matched, he was at all the England games in a blazer, shirt and tie!
The Hawaiian dress is fabulous and I love the Ivy City one, it doesn't look big to me, I love a voluminous frock!
The garden's coming on a treat. My chard crop is huge, I'm not quite sure why I grew it considering I'm not a fan of leafy veg! xxx

Bibi Maizoon said...

Bravo for 17 years of blogging!
That tangering Hawaiian dress is stunning, and who else has lucite bangles to match but Goody? Black& white polka dots were always a staple in my California pin up girl wardrobe, I will definitely check Viv out as that dress is stunning.
The pics of Danny are adorable. I have quite a few of your past recipes in my repetoire now, they are great!
We are having severe weather here too, almost 8 inches of rain since the first of July. Landslides and flash flooding have really been a problem in all Nepal. Okra, Bok Choy, and Malabar spinach are all I can grow when it is this hot & humid. The rest of the garden is jungle.
Stay safe & feel better soon!

Señora Allnut said...

Happy Bloggiversary!, it makes a difference to have a place to take notes about what's going on, and blogs are still useful despite all the insta buzz. I opened my first blog on 2002 (about my reads and hobbies)and it helped to keep my mental health through some stressful times. Love that you've been blogging for so much time and still enjoying it! and love to see all these old photos. You Rock It!
Sorry that you're not feeling good, but still rocking it in your fabulous clothes (hope this helps).
I'm in love with your hawaiian dress and matchy shoes and bracelets and crab earrings and Bag!, this is Delightfully Matchy as its finest. Also loving your cotton dress, it looks really a quality piece, lots of embroidery and a lovely classic summery style!, glad you're keeping it!. The halter-neck dress is a beautiful dress indeed, and so elegant, you look particularly fabulous in it!
Lovely vintage style with the shorts and beach cover-up, I love its print and lots of possibilities!
Peaches are in full season here, so lots of people are making preserves at home, or working at preserves factories (this is a region famous for cultivation of veggies! ;DD). I'm going to try some peach pie récipes, if any heatwave happen!

bahnwärterin said...

17 years and still going strong! happy bloggiversary!
sweet trip dowm memory lane - dan was such a cute little boy......
the hawaiian dress, the modest one and the halterneck are gorgeous - and you look lovely in them! the tunic/shorts look is fab for the hot days when a dress is to much but a bikini to in-formal - its my to go (with loose cut shorts with elasticated waist) too.
your garden is a place of joy - and your chard looks way better then mine....
all my best health wishes to you!

Mim said...

Happy blogoversary! I'm glad you're still blogging. As pretty as IG can be, it can also be tremendously shallow. People are more thoughtful and interesting on their blogs, as a rule.

The crabs are indeed fab, and I shall have a good look round Hey Viv Retro.

Sending lots of love your way; it's been a rough 2021 for you. I hope it improves!

Goody said...

The thing is, I'm not that strange for Omaha. The rest of the state, maybe but in the city I don't really even stand out. We moved here after a decade of living in Boston and that really threw people. I think they expected us to be communists!

Thank you! I've enjoyed your blog all these years and the wonderful little community we have. I'm so glad we were able to become friends.

Watergate salad is disgusting. If you've never had it, consider yourself fortunate. My husband had a Watergate felon in the family. Imagine my poor husband as a teenager just moving back to the US from overseas and seeing your cousin all over the nightly news. He didn't even know him, but it was mortifying. Every once in a while an older person that remembers the 70s will ask my husband jokingly if he's related, and he'll awkwardly reply, "Yeah" but I don't think that had anything to do with the Google search. You're probably right that it was the salad.

@Miss Magpie
Thank you! I'm so glad we've been able to be in the same blogging community.

I'm so glad we've been blog friends. I learn so much from your blog about interesting places I'll probably never see in life.

@C From Oregon
Thank you! I'm always pleased to hear someone found something useful on the blog and stuck around-it means a great deal to me.

Thank you! I'm so glad we've become friends which wouldn't have happened without the blog. Unlike a real roadtrip you don't have to deal with bad food-unless you try making some of the early recipes. Jellied beet timbales were definitely a mistake.

Thank you. I've enjoyed following your blog as well-particularly over the last year with being stuck at home. Your garden is amazing. If you really dislike chard, pick it very young and use it mixed with salad greens. I usually shred it and use it in omelets.

Thank you.
We've had some crazy weather but at least we aren't having mudslides here in Flatland USA. That has to be awful.
I really should grow bok choy but I just can't seem to get the boys excited about it.

Blogs are definitely good for mental health. I've enjoyed following along with yours seeing all the beautiful places in your country and your wonderful outfits.
The best peach pie I ever had was made with instant tapioca as a thickening agent. Good peaches are such a rarity where I'm at. If you make a pie be sure to post photos.

Thank you.
I get so sentimental looking back through the blog that I avoid doing it too often. My baby is now 1 foot taller than me, and about 100 pounds heavier. He's an absolute giant and looks like an adult despite only being 16.

Instagram, shallow?!
Half the time I don't know what to say because I'd like to leave a comment that's a bit more than, "Oooh pretty" but words just fail me on there so I just click like and move on.
I do think you'll like Viv. She's been doing the retro thing for a long time and sells the occasional vintage pieces too.