Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cosmic Blues

 I haven't had my heart in thrifting lately, so when Mr. ETB all but dragged me to New Life Thrift (partly because he wanted an egg roll from the Chinese takeaway next door) I didn't expect to find much as I wasn't really looking. Well! Each rail yielded more vintage than I'd seen in months and at bargain prices as well. The task now is finding somewhere to wear it all. I thought Heron Haven was a perfect place to start as the Butterfly Garden is coming into full bloom after all the rain. Let's have a look about.

I try to spend as much time as possible at Heron Haven as it is close to home, and a peaceful place to just take in nature. The mushroom garden is going crazy after all the rain we've had, and of course there are plenty of birds to be seen. 

Outfit Particulars:
1990's polyester dress-New Life Thrift
1960's capelet (part of another dress)-New Life Thrift
1970's straw purse-New Life Thrift
1950's green crystal clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Hair flowers-Tiff and Tam
Plastic bracelets-Target about 15 years ago
Fragrance-CB I Hate Perfume's Mr. Hulot's Holiday (It really does smell like wet rocks at the seaside)

The long holiday weekend also saw a visit to DeSoto Wildlife Refuge. The photo is blurry, but they have a giant eagle's nest and masks where you can take photos. I believe it is intended for children. Right. Someday, Danny will bring home a date and we'll show them this photo. 
"Hey, he shat the nest again!"

We looked better with the masks on. 

Outfit Particulars:
Peacock print cotton caftan-Thrift World
Shell earrings-World Market about 10 years ago
Cazal frames-Mum's
Fragrance-Chanel No.22

Eagles aren't the only birds nesting at the refuge. These cliff swallows are set up in a colony.
The turtles were making the most of the weather, napping in the sunshine-which sounds like a great idea. I'm off for a snooze on the patio. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Jean Patou Nacre-Review

I absolutely understand why this one was discontinued. I don't understand why people miss it.

When I was given a generous sample bottle of Nacre I was afraid it was going to be a waste of rare perfume as it is loaded with jasmine, and that is my one specific anosmia. Sometimes, if the jasmine is strong enough it kills the rest of the perfume for me, and as a result I've never been able to smell a thing from Joy-it might as well be tap water. Whatever jasmine is at work in Nacre, it is not the same as they used in Joy. That's too bad-because I could have done without smelling this one, for hours.  The tiniest dab lasted, for hours. Hours and hours. Why is the longevity always the best with the perfumes I dislike?

I've learned to avoid leaping to conclusions, particularly with perfumes that can take hours to fully develop into something lovely. Sadly, Nacre started with lime leaves in curry and ended with Babycham. I like curries with lime leaves, and in the 70's I was happy enough to sneak a sip or two of perry from my sister at Christmas, but I don't like wearing them.

Nacre was released in 2001 which was far too late for this sort of fragrance. Although they don't share notes, Nacre reminds me of the sort of composition that existed in Ma Griffe. Dry, strange, medicinal, then...orris root. At least with Ma Griffe you can argue it was the brainchild of an anosmic perfumer, but I have no idea what the hell they were aiming for with Nacre. It might have worked in the 60's/70's, but by 2000 perfumes that essentially said, "Trust us, this is art" had fallen out of popularity for things that might not have been been more original, but required less effort to appreciate. I have an open mind, but I'm having a very hard time appreciating Nacre.

After the first hour Nacre changes little, but remains strong. I never did get anything soft, or delicate from it though I admit I might be missing some of the sweetness jasmine can impart. I don't smell the rose in Nacre either, though as far as I'm aware that isn't a difficult note for me to detect. What comes through so very strongly is the orris root, ginger, and lemon. Nacre is cold, sterile, and medicinal. If there's vanilla in there as the listed notes suggest, I can't smell that either.

Listed Notes According to Fragrantica:
Ginger, Ambrette, Pear, African Orange Flower, Jasmine, Lemon Blossom, Rose, Vanilla, Orris Root.

I wish I could at least understand, if not enjoy Nacre, but it isn't happening. I haven't had very good luck with the Patou perfumes-either I can't smell them at all, or I don't like them. I'm an optimist though, so I'm confident eventually I'll find something Patou I like.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

How to Wear a Vintage Slip Dress

(I shouldn't need to point out that this is all very tongue-in-cheek and you can wear your damn dress any way you please)

Surly teenager face and slouch. Check. Yeah, I'm really a lumpy middle aged housewife, but just use your imagination, okay? I was the surliest of surly teens once upon a time and that experience has served me well as I now chase kids off my lawn. 

Strapless bra-because it isn't 1979, and gravity has taken a toll. If you're still perky (or just don't give a damn) treat the bra as optional. Ditto the undies. 
"Hmm, I really ought to get that mole on my arm checked...anyway...
I hear you-it does get cold indoors with that constant air conditioning! Under no circumstances should you wear your slip dress over a shirt (or god forbid, a polo neck). That's not a slip dress, that's a pinafore. You'll look idiotic unless you are in fact wearing a slip, or a vintage nightie, in which case you'll just look eccentric which is different in the very best possible way. Otherwise, resist the urge to follow the fashion pages and just wear something over your dress. I also tried a long waistcoat the same length as the dress and it looked great (forgot to get a photo, sorry). So to recap: Over, not Under. Got it?
 Wear as many silver rings and bracelets as you can manage without inducing a sprain...
...but go for a lightweight bag to compensate. 

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage slip dress-good heavens I've owned it so long I have no clue where I bought it, or if I nicked it from a roommate. 
Esprit rayon jacket-mid-80's, Marshall Field's, probably
Shoes-K mart  a few years ago (like ten)
Vintage Philippine-made straw bag-New Life Thrift
Bracelets/rings/earrings-here and there
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Chamade

 I gave serious consideration to wearing a long-line girdle, but that's really not in the spirit of a slip dress, and I just don't give a rat's ass if anyone doesn't like it. I'm not eighteen (thank god, I wouldn't want to go through that again) and a few lumps and bumps along the way are fine with me. It was hot and humid today after all that rain, and the thought of squeezing myself into spandex wasn't terribly appealing. You do what's best for you. My menopausal thermostat isn't having it.  

Just make sure you bring your best surly teenager face.

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.