Sunday, January 31, 2016

Iowa Before the Caucus

 After Monday night, all of Iowa will be breathing a sigh of relief as the presidential candidates vacate the state, turning their attention to New Hampshire and beyond. I live just across the bridge in Nebraska, and I'm getting sick of all the television ads too-at least we're spared the telephone calls.
As you've probably guessed by the green grass, I'm not really standing in a field in Iowa, but in front of a nifty backdrop at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

I had to laugh at the Guardian coverage of the Iowa campaign. The photo-essay that's supposed to tell you all about Iowa and corn has a farmer (out)standing in his field...but it is a field of soyabeans, not corn. I know there's corn in Britain-perhaps not as much as the US, but there is corn. I think the problem is more a generation of editors that grew up with Birdseye, and have no idea what it looks like growing. Could have been an American editor that messed it up. Damn kids wouldn't know a vegetable if they had it stuck up their ass. *Ahem*.  Anyway, to help out the youngsters-corn is the tall stalky stuff with the tassels at the top, and funny offshoots at the sides. Soyabeans grow on leafy bush-like green plants closer to the ground. "The corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and it looks like its climbing clear up to the sky..." Soyabeans...well, no one writes songs featuring them (that I'm aware of).

I enjoy this museum, and they frequently update the exhibits keeping each visit interesting. The museum is staffed by former Union Pacific employees that can answer just about any question a railroad buff can throw at them. 

I've written about the museum before, so instead I'll just post a few photos that might get you interested enough to plan a visit to Council Bluffs. If you do plan a visit to Council Bluffs, get in touch with me because I know where all the good thrift stores are *wink*
 There's a great display of the various china and silver services used on the trains over the years.
 You can listen to the dispatch centre too.
 When the movie, Union Pacific was made, locals turned out for the premier in period dress. Some of the costumes are on display in the museum. I've never seen the movie, which seems wrong. I'll have to track down a copy.

So that was our visit to the museum. We're expecting a horrible storm on Monday evening (foot of snow, 50 mph winds-that sort of horrible) and there's some concern that people might not want to turn out to caucus, particularly in rural areas. I think perhaps the media underestimate Midwesterners, though I did go ahead and cancel some plans I had for Monday and Tuesday. It does sound like it will be bad, taking into account the tendency for the media to exaggerate storm threats. We'll see. It was 56 degrees today. Go figure!

 The museum is in the former city library. A volunteer told me an interesting bit of trivia I'd not heard before. During the war, the city had all the original stained glass windows removed for safety, and they were eventually tracked down, and replaced when the building was restored as a museum-except for one that remains missing. I'm sure it will turn up at some yard sale years from now and has been sitting in someone's basement since the war!

Man, I look like I've been hidden away in a basement since the war...well, the Vietnam war anyway. `
Here's a close-up of the lace trousers. They're lined, and comfortable enough to wear, but the devil to photograph! Lace and beads. 

 I swear it hadn't dawned on me that a carpetbag probably wasn't the best thing to wear to Iowa right before an election when they are inundated with politicians from all over the country. Danny was sure I did it deliberately (I didn't).

 Outfit Particulars:
1970's polyester jacket-Thrift World
Blouse-Marshall's a few years ago
Black tunic beneath it all-Dots, about 16 years ago
Lace trousers-Fairy Tail Costumes, Omaha
Clogs-Dillards, ages ago
Necklaces-Both thrifted
Earrings-K Mart
Bracelets-Both Hand-Me-Ups
Butterfly brooch on jacket-Thrift World
Carpet bag-Thrift World
Lippy-Estee Lauder Maplesugar
Fragrance-Judith Muller Bat-Sheba (there's a whole LOT of patchouli and oak moss happening in there!)

Oh look- a glimpse of myself as a sullen teenager. I swear I'm not in a bad mood!
 I won't try this pose in a gale-might end up over the rainbow or something.
I do love the trousers, but they're not a very good width, so I'll be taking them in. I don't mind wide trousers, but these aren't quite wide enough, or slender enough to be useful. I have another similar pair that are unlined to be worn with interesting leggings beneath-I'll leave those wider.

If the forecast is correct, I won't be needing a holiday to play in the snow.

We have a small party planned for Monday evening to watch caucus coverage, play a vintage board game called, "Candidate" and possibly fit in the new X-Files. The storm is expected late in the evening so hopefully we won't lose power. At least if the power does go out, it will be cold enough to store the contents of fridge and freezer outdoors.

Hang-in there Iowa, the end is in sight!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Coral, orange, peach, apricot-these are colours that shouldn't work on me with such a flushed nose and cheeks, but somehow they always do. As we're in the long part of winter now (with another storm expected on Tuesday) I find myself reaching for brighter and brighter clothes. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to stop wearing so much black, but I'm sure she wouldn't listen. Stubborn, that one.

We stopped at the garden centre for seeds today. They were varnishing the indoor decks where the patio furniture will eventually be displayed. If that isn't a sign of spring, nothing is. There weren't many plants save for some cyclamen and forced tulips. My lazy tulips are just starting to poke their heads out of the pots. This was the first year I forced them, so I'm excited to see how it will go.

We purchased the following seeds:

Spinach-Lavewa and Monstrueux de Viroflay
Heirloom baby beet variety
Carrots-Atomic Red
Purslane (I know it grows in sidewalks but I want it in pots!)
Borage (last year's will probably come back, but I want to seed more in back)
Watermelon Mantanghong radish
Peas: Progress #9, Cascadia, and Green Arrow
Lettuce-Mesclun mix, baby lettuce mix, Oak leaf blend

So that takes care of the early garden.  In the meantime, I have seeds for sprouts that is *sort of* like gardening even if it is in a jar!

I buy most of my herbs at the Spring Affair in Lincoln, Nebraska each year. Different nurseries, and university Ag departments will have items for sale. The prices are good, and I don't need to give up valuable window space trying to sprout seeds. If it can't be direct sown, I don't buy it in seed form.

Outfit Particulars:
Wool double-knit 60's dress-Fairy Tail Costumes, Omaha
Ralph Lauren jacket-Goodwill
Earrings and necklace-K Mart
Bangles-blue (Target), orange (Goodwill)
Blue ring-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage shoes-Goodwill
Vintage handbag-Thrift World
Lippy-Maybellene-Vibrant Mandarin (#885)
Fragrance-Courreges  in Blue (I just scored a second vintage bottle, so I've been wearing it a bit less sparingly. Know how you sometimes catch a whiff of something and think, "What smells so good?" And then you realise, YOU do? That's Courreges in Blue for me, and I never thought I could love aldehydes and marigolds!)

The hall-tree has been given a Valentine's update. 

Danny made the Cupid. I had to laugh because it looked like a demented cartoon. "Oh no, bonkers Cupid is out shooting arrows at the wrong!"
He made another, which might be technically better, but I think I prefer the goofy one. Who wants a serious Cupid?

Readers in the Northern hemisphere-have you started planning for spring? Do you garden?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I've always been fascinated by people that don't collect anything. What sort of a person can be satisfied with a singular example of whatever catches their eye-that's like saying you'll only read one book by an author. I can't really relate, and though my collections are well-curated (I don't buy just any old piece of California pottery) I do understand the desire to avoid moving thousands of books, or box after box of clothing that you never wear. The vintage clothing in my permanent collection is quite limited in scope, and the day-to-day vintage items I wear tend to move out as quickly as they move in. There's no shortage of tacky polyester pantsuits in the world (trust me) so no need to cling to every one.

Some things however, are more difficult to part with. My brooch collection is vast, and that's not an exaggeration. They don't take up too much room which is of course simply encouragement to bring home more. I rarely pay more than a few dollars for a piece, because I am above all, a cheapskate. There, I've said it. I'll splash out on quality upholstery fabric, or furniture, but I'll also expect a lifetime of use from it. My brooches don't get quite so much use, and rarely merit that sort of price-tag. The brooch pictured above was purchased in the gift shop at Ellis Island, and I know it didn't cost much as I was newly married and didn't have much to spend. It is a lovely piece, an unusual piece, and being small I have been holding onto it since 1992.
It is stamped, JJ, which is Jonette Jewelry. They're a sought-after manufacturer of costume jewelry, but I bought the brooch knowing nothing about that-I simply liked it.

Unless you are in the business of selling vintage/collectibles/etc. it can be dangerous to shop with an internet enabled phone. I personally don't do it as I believe it clouds my judgement. Not everything listed on ebay will sell, and the prices you see on Etsy take into consideration all the cuts sellers have to pay out before their profit. People tend to over-value things, and selling on the web means anyone can do it-you need not be an expert. Buying an item because you believe it is valuable can leave you sitting with quite a lot of tat you don't want. There are exceptions of course (I mean, if you find something like a Galanos evening gown for ten dollars (I wish) you should buy it no matter how ugly it is, but in general, it is best to buy what you like, not that which you think will make you rich.

Let me offer a couple cautionary tales from my own family. In the early 70's, my mother started seeing her friends collecting Hummels. If you're unfamiliar with the figurines, they're typically of children, with that ever-so-slightly creepiness to them that resulted in my dad calling them "The little Nazis" or alternately, "Hitler's youth." They were designed by a German nun, and for whatever reason they became a popular collectible in the 70's. There's nothing charming about them, they're not pretty, and at the peak of their popularity people were forking over huge sums of money for the things. My mother got caught up in the hysteria, and before long was purchasing a dining room set to house and display the figurines (each perfectly spaced to show off their...well whatever it was). You didn't just pop onto the Internet in 1974 to buy creepy German figurines. No, you had to drive to gift shops all over the bloody Midwest looking for the things. On the positive side, I always enjoyed a ride out to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and the drugstore that sold Hummels also had a rather nice selection of candy and perfume, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

At collector's convention my mum met up with a woman who lived "out in the country" (the far suburbs) that was willing to sell her some plate for $700.00 That was a lot of dough for a plate, but it was one she needed to complete her set, and off we went to her house a week later to pay for it.

At some point, driving down a very dark, country road with $700.00 in cash it occurred to my mother that it might have been wiser to write a check. Then she made some sort of joke about us both being murdered and how they typically let the kids live, but I was old enough to pick the person out of a lineup so I was probably going to die too. Did she turn around, and go home? What do you think? She needed that plate, remember?

We weren't murdered, though in hindsight paying that sort of money for a collectible plate that now sells for $15.00 if you're lucky, you could say were were robbed. All this would have been fine had my mother liked the damn things, but I got the sense she really didn't. That's the problem with herd-mentality collecting, and the "collectibles" market.

Mum wasn't the only relative to fall for "hot collectibles." Another relative (I'm not naming her because she's still alive) got caught up in the Beanie Baby thing, and was driving to McDonald's all over the state seeking the special edition Beanies in Happy Meals. Even with a gaggle of kids, that's a whole hell of a lot of bad food for a bean bag shaped like a bear. The kids never got to play with them because she was convinced they'd be paying their way through university. I probably don't need to tell you how that went.

Vintage collecting isn't immune to this sort of collective collecting madness. Lucite purses for $500? At some point it is a good idea to assess whether you want the item because you like it, or because you appreciate the status of it. What you shouldn't do is expect to recoup your investment or make a profit on it unless you are selling quickly. Fads being what they are, don't last forever. If you admire a lucite purse with a hefty price tag, by all means you should purchase it, but don't do it because of what you see on the internet. Years ago I was an antique dealer when I lived in Boston. I was the only dealer in my circle that didn't consult the Kovels guide when purchasing for the shop. I did my research generally, and if I didn't know something specifically, I made a guess based on my own tastes. I didn't sell every sort of antique because I didn't know anything about fine art or furniture. I stuck to things I knew (and liked) such as Mauchline ware. Sometimes, I made bad calls (antique accordion, anyone?) but most of the time I wasn't stuck with loads of inventory I didn't want.

I mention all of this because I'm seeing how out-of-control the vintage clothing and perfume has gone thanks to the Internet. One person posts a Sara Coventry brooch for $50.00 and pretty soon there are pages of Sara Coventry brooches listed at $50.00 which is, frankly, madness. Not all Sara Coventry is created equal, and in most cases it isn't worth $50.00. Take this lecture for what it is-a sort of collector's reality check, and unsolicited advice from someone who's been buying vintage clothing so long I remember when it was just, "used" and I had to sneak it in the house because my mother was ashamed I wanted to wear secondhand.

A final thought about collecting is that nearly everything I see for sale on the internet is marked, "Rare." That's largely untrue. I understand the desire to have something no one else does, but do yourself a favour and look around a bit before buying. More often than not that, "rare" item will be listed with dozens more just like it. If you can't find what you want at a price you're comfortable with-do the legwork yourself. Sooner or later just about everything shows up at thrift stores or yard sales. I've never been the impulsive sort though, so if you're the kind of person that wants things immediately this isn't going to be helpful guidance.

There are some very good deals on the internet, but you have to look for them. Sometimes it means buying from a person that takes terrible pictures in bad lighting. Other times it might mean you'll need to tack up a hem, or replace a heel on a shoe. Minor repairs on less-than-perfect items can save you quite a bit of money.

Really, trust your gut. If something catches your eye in a thrift store-examine it up close and see how you feel about it-don't pull out your phone to see what Google has to say. Make your decisions based on your own criteria, not what everyone else is collecting. If you wouldn't want to show up at a party wearing the same frock as ten other people, why would you want to post the same sort of outfit everyone else is doing? There's many ways to style a vintage dress-find yours!

Alfred Sung For Women-Review 1986 Vintage Formulation

Do you remember 1986? OK, do you remember what it smelled like?  I do, because as soon as Sung for women hit the market everyone from teenagers to pensioners moved about in vast clouds of it. Some perfumes encourage generous application-Sung is not one of them. Carefully applied it can be pleasant-but beware! This is not a perfume for dousing, even if it is as cheap as water. 

By 1986, I was settled with wearing Mitsouko and Shalimar exclusively. I mean, you find what works for you, why mess with perfection? That sort of thinking in 1986 made sense too- people had their, "Signature" perfume that they wore most days.  Sung never appealed to me, and if I'm honest, I probably had a bit of a bias towards Canadian perfume. I know better now, but my younger self was...younger. 

I'm not going to lie-Sung still smells like a cheap perfume to me. That isn't always a bad thing, and heaven knows I can enjoy a bottle of Emeraude or Sophia as much as anything on the high end. It has to be the hyacinths ruining Sung for me. I like just about everything else in it (oakmoss, vetiver, bergamot) so I'm blaming the one note that seems to dominate Sung from start to finish, and makes me think it is being used to hide something-the stench of a dead body, perhaps. 

I never did smell the oakmoss or vetiver, and had only the briefest whiff of the bergamot. Lily of the valley is there, which I typically like but here it isn't fresh so much as sterile. It smells freshly cleaned. Scoured, even. Maybe the lily of the valley knows where the body's hidden. 

I found the body! It's the orchids and musk. I knew it. Someone ring Angela Lansbury, this perfume has Murder She Wrote all over it. It smells like something a middle class woman from Maine would wear. With loafers, and a nice polo neck. 

I must note that Sung for women smells exactly as I remember it on other people (I shared a small office with someone that wore it) which is interesting as I often can't trust my scent memories. I can't vouch for the newer formulations (I'd guess the oakmoss is either gone or replaced with something inferior) but this old bottle of the original formulation is as monstrously floral as I remember. It aged well, though when I first opened it I thought something was very wrong. It does take a few moments to burn off the chemical/nail polish smell, but after that it is good, old, Sung. If you loved it, it will still love you back. 

I seem to be on a quest to prove I really don't like this sort of thing. Last week, it was Bill Blass, this morning it was Eau de Givenchy. Why not buy a big bottle of Anais Anais and get it the hell over with? I understand what people see in Sung, and why they enjoy wearing it. Me? No. It took willpower to keep from scrubbing it off in the first five minutes (and every hour after that because Sung lacks nothing in longevity). 

OK, so here's the official list though all you really need to know is, Hyacinths and lily of the valley. 

Orange, mandarin, galbanum, HYACINTHS, ylang ylang, bergamot, lemon, osmanthus, jasmine, lily of the valley, iris, carnation, orchid, rose, amber, sandalwood, orange blossom, musk, vetiver, oakmoss, vanilla, HYACINTHS, HYACINTHS, and HYACINTHS. You get the idea. Near the end it does get sweeter (the amber, perhaps?) but basically this is a bright fragrance. 

The strange thing about Sung is that everyone around me likes it. Not just generally, but on me. It makes sense because we all have an idea of what we think we smell like, naturally and with fragrance. I know that when I select a fragrance to wear it is much more than how it smells driving my decisions. Someone smelling a fragrance on another person is relieved of all that intellectual wrangling and can just approach it from, "You smell good." 

Is Sung a bad perfume? No, in fact for the money it is a really good perfume, it just doesn't happen to be my style. If you like heavy-hitting white florals, Sung might be the best ten bucks you can spend at Marshalls. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We're Having the Asshole Bruce Tonight

My earliest memory of mis-hearing something came from the announcement that we'd be having the, "Asshole Bruce" tonight. I wondered why anyone would refer to a guest that way, much less invite them over. It was only upon seeing the milky stuff that I understood it was a drink rather than a person. It was quite some time after that I found out it was atholl brose, not asshole Bruce. I was reminded of that incident last evening as we prepared for our Burns Night celebration. I didn't make atholl brose (or cranachan) but I made some very nice oatcakes that went well with the cheese course.

I wish I could say that was my most embarrassing mis-heard phrase, but I wouldn't be doing this post if it were. For years, I heard a line from the Scorpions song, Like a Hurricane as, " So what is wrong with Anais Nin?" It was kind of disappointing to find out it was really, "What's so wrong with another sin?" I was less impressed with the Scorpions after that, if I'm honest.

Now that I'm old, it is worse than ever. Danny said something to me that I heard as, "I'm a baked potato." In the supermarket, I heard an announcement about a, "Sex sale" in the frozen department. Turned out it was a "sack sale" which wasn't nearly as exciting. Sometimes it takes my brain a second or two to sort out that I heard wrong, but I'm sure there must be dozens of things I never understood I'd heard wrong. Please, tell me everyone does this. Please. 

 In my mad dash through the racks at the costume shop I managed to buy three red dresses (and a robe). I know what works for me, even if it isn't my favourite colour. This dress is by Hopewell, which was a specialty brand of Jonathan Logan-for fatties. That's why it fits me. Anyhoo, it is nice to have something that isn't pulling across the bust as so many 60's and 70's clothes would seem to have been made for flat chested hippies (not that I'm judging, I just can't wear the Dollyrockers dresses and that sort of thing). Jonathan Logan made nice clothes. They weren't expensive, but they weren't dirt cheap either. I'm pleased I could add this one to my collection for a couple bucks.

Nice comfort shoes. They are. Thank goodness for Clarks.

Look at the massive old bag! Er, shoulderbag. It was reduced from $25.00 to $15.00 at New Life Thrift's boutique, so I snagged it. I go weak-kneed at the sight of a hand tooled belt or purse, and this one, given the size and good condition nearly made me faint. I don't think it is that old (70's maybe?) though I've heard young people calling 90's clothes, "Vintage" which seems like a bit of a stretch, so perhaps to some people this would be ancient. It has an adjustable strap, which is great because I can't do shoulderbags since my neck injury, and I prefer to clutch my bag tightly between gloved hands ready to swing it at young people that get too close to me. "Shoo. Go away! Damn beatniks with their funny cigarettes and long-playing records..."
 This brooch is (I'm told) a clear type of Bakelite, with a flower encased inside. It was a gift from an elderly neighbour who was amused by my interest in, "Old shmattes."  She bought it on a holiday to Mexico in the 40's, and thought I'd like to have it. She was the same woman that gave me the needlepoint purse you see me wearing. She didn't have children, and her cousin's children weren't interested in, "Old things" so looking back, I think she just wanted to be sure someone would take care of the clothes and accessories she held onto for so many years. I wore her wedding hat for my wedding as well. I'm waiting for some young neighbour to show an interest in vintage so I can hand off all my 80's oversized jackets and jumpers to a good home. Someday, someone will want them.
 Outfit Particulars:
Hopewell for Jonathan Logan dress-Fairy Tail Costumes, Omaha
Faux leopard jacket-Goodwill
Vintage earrings-HAnd-Me-Ups
Bangles-Hand-Me-Ups and Goodwill
40's brooch-Gift
Hand Tooled Made in Mexico bag-New Life Thrift
Fragrance- Vintage forumaltion Lucien Lelong, Balalaika (It was a decant from a 1945 bottle. The top notes are gone, so no mandarin to my nose, but the rest of it is still lovely).

If you see that asshole Bruce, tell him the skirlie is gettin' cold, and we won't be waiting for him all night. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

How I Suffer From the Heat, and From Chilblains on My Feet

I feel no guilt whatsoever wearing this pheasant hat. After all the berries and grapes they made off with on the farm over the years, they deserved it. No, I didn't make the hat myself-mostly I'd just chase them from the yard threatening to pluck them. Perhaps an unlucky pheasant crossed the local milliner and this is the result-it appears to be a homemade hat. I'll never know, but I can well imagine!
 A little sparse on top (I can relate!) but still quite wearable.
It seems I rarely wear head-to-toe vintage anymore, and certainly not from the 1940's and 50's. It can look like a costume, but that's never bothered me (every day is a fancy dress party in my world) so I'm going to make a point of doing more "era correct" outfits, just for fun. Not every day, but more often than I have been. 

I learned something interesting today when the tag fell out of my perfect-fitting yellow glove. I wear a size 7 1/2 glove. Fascinating-I never knew my glove size. I imagine that's crucial information like knowing your telephone number (I still haven't memorised the land line because I never call it. Three YEARS and I still have to ask Danny what our number is), blood type, and which drugstore stocks Revlon Love That Red lipstick. Knowledge is power. 
Big hands I know you're the one.
Fine. I've never been dainty.

I've owned this dress for about fifteen years, and I've never liked it. The proportions are for a much taller woman, yet I've never bothered shortening the hem, or doing something with the sleeves. It isn't flattering alone, but it works so well with a shorter swing jacket that I've kept it. I've come to think of it almost like a polo neck-perfect for layering, but not much to look at alone. The shop where I purchased it in Lincoln is long-gone, but I remember buying it on impulse because I admired the buttons. I still do. 
 This blue and green brooch belonged to my mother. I don't recall her ever wearing it, and it really isn't her style at all (she preferred big modernist- type pieces) so I have to wonder if it was a gift. I don't wear it as much as I used to, but I thought it would be nice to at least feature it once on the blog.
 And THAT my friends, is how you do a button! It must be four inches across.
Outfit Particulars:
1950's dress-defunct vintage shop in Lincoln, Nebraska
Late 40's/early 50's jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Gaymode handbag-Goodwill
Vintage gloves-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage earrings-An antique store in Wisconsin years ago
Silver brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Green and blue brooch-Mum
Vintage pheasant hat-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Mitsouko
Lippy-Revlon Love That Red

Know what I did yesterday? Besides breaking my left toe (Sigh, I really did-banged it on the door trying to avoid tripping over a hatbox) . I stopped at Fairy Tail (that's how they spell it) costumes in the abandoned mall on Dodge Street and went nuts with their vintage at 75% off. You would have too. If you can get to Omaha (and I do think it is worth a trip in from Des Moines or Sioux City) DO IT! But hurry, because I might go back later this week to grab what's left. I came home with a couple of 40's jackets, a 50's coat, a 40's cold rayon dress, more psychedelia than you can imagine and still had money to buy the week's groceries. Some of the pieces need repairs, but that's true of vintage that costs much more. If you do make the trip into Omaha, drop me an email and we can meet-up if you like. 

The best purchase was a pair of gold lurex shorts which I plan to wear with my swimsuit and gold lame coat at the hotel pool. They do a cocktail hour in the evening, though no one really dresses for it (lots of blinged-out jeans and fleece tops) so perhaps I ought to save the ensemble for that. Last year I wore a paisley caftan. I suppose this means I should be on the lookout for a gold swimsuit for next year.

 The "wintry mix" has started falling (that's freezing rain, sleet, and snow) so I'm off to watch the cars struggling up the hill. If I were twenty  thirty  forty years younger I could make a good chunk of change pushing stuck cars off ice. Not for me now, I suppose-not when I can break a toe on a closet door. I'm sparing you the pictures because chilblains and a broken toe are probably too much sharing for a blog. As I was cradling my maimed foot last evening I mentioned between tears to Mr. ETB that I generally don't have issues with aging, and I'm not keen to try and look younger-but nothing drives home the joys of aging like looking down at a toe broken by what in my youth would have been, at worse, a stub. The little things get me much worse than living with chronic illness, and things that ought to upset me more than they do. It would have been depressing, until I remembered I have some really nice comfort shoes. And newly acquired vintage to wear.   
See you on the flip side.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


"You're not really going to buy those, are you?" Danny asked with a combination of fear and admiration in his voice. He needn't have asked as he knew damn well I would be buying the silk culottes and the matching top. For $1.97 cents at New Life Thrift, someone's home sewing project from the 80's is now a cheerful addition to my drab mid-winter wardrobe. I do love a pair of big pants!

I love New Life Thrift as I always see the strangest things there. 

This looks like an earlier attempt at art restoration by the woman responsible for this...

Similar technique, no? I didn't buy it. I did however buy a designer, 1980's puffy gold lame full-length evening coat that I intend to use as a cover-up at the pool when we're on holiday in February. New Life Thrift is easily one of the best thrift stores in the US, and worth a trip to Nebraska. Because of the proximity to the Air Force base, you get things donated from people that have lived all over the world. There's some really strange stuff, and the book selection is incredible. OK that's my unpaid plug for New Life Thrift. I don't work for them, I just love the place!
I stopped to buy birdseed, and saw this in the window. Obviously, they know our Blondin. 
 Danny's still cooking supper on Friday evenings, and this week we were treated to a lovely tofu a'la King and a salad of winter lettuces with an orange chili dressing. The tofu was first baked, and the mushrooms, peppers, and peas do get cooked in a sauce he had to make with a roux. I was impressed. The original recipe called for an entire cup of heavy cream, but he thought better of it and used 2% milk. You can over-do a good thing. Anyway, A+ for this meal, and extra points for enriching the sauce with an egg yolk and not turning it to scrambled eggs.
We like shaved fennel bulb and red cabbage in winter salads to add a bit of interest to the lettuce and watercress. 

I ate my share of a'la king foods as a child because my mother's idea of cooking was either sticking things between two slices of bread, or over toast. Salmon and peas always felt indulgent as tinned salmon was still a bit of a luxury item then. Tuna worked too, but we never, ever, had tofu a'la king. 

Outfit Particulars:
Norton McNaughton top 90's Filene's
Long jacket-Goodwill
80's (ish) culottes-New Life Thrift
Necklace-Annual Omaha Fiber Arts Show a few years ago
Brooch-Vintage Carol Dauplaise (80's)-Marshall Field's (I had earrings and a necklace as well. I loved her early stuff).
Kells inspired wristwatch, 80's gift from dad
Enamel bangles-Both Target about 10 years ago
1960's clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
1960's handbag-A thrift store in western Massachusetts
Brooch on coat-(I think it is Miracle but it is only marked with numbers) Goodwill
Fragrance-Courreges in Blue
 I'm a big woman, I need big necklaces and brooches. And specs.

 "Quit pulling my beard!"
"Well let go of my leg!"

This watch never fails to get comments. It is huge and clunky, but I love it.
The brooch is in one piece. I had a beautiful one in two pieces, but I lost it. I'm still not quite over it either. I lost it at the library, and kept checking the lost and found hoping someone would turn it in, but no. I hope the bastard that found it stabs themselves through the heart with it the person that found it enjoys it. 
 Anyone have plans for Monday? I'm in charge of the veggie haggis and the bag-piping records (yes, I have some) and Danny will be reading the Ode to a Haggis. Our neighbours are used to seeing this on the door each year, but it still gets strange looks from people new to the neighbourhood.  Sometimes I put on a Groundskeeper Willie accent just to screw with people.
I'll leave you with a bit of Scottish rage at the cost of neeps in our supermarkets. Two and a half dollars a pound?! We're having parsnips instead. Thank God whisky is affordable!