Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

 Danny wanted to wear last year's Thanksgiving dinner costume again. Can't blame him-it is a great costume that gets loads of laughs.
I went as the maid, which isn't much of a stretch, really. That's my high school graduation dress on top. Gunne Sax. My mum bought it. I really wasn't the Gunne Sax sort of girl. God only knows why I've kept it, but here it is doing Halloween duty.

I won't lie-Halloween was the last thing I felt like doing this year, but now as I sit here at 7:30 pm with a full bowl of candy because we've only had two trick or treaters, I know it was all worth it because...those Butterfingers are ALL MINE. I even went and bought novelty stuff like Japanese Kit Kat bars in strange flavours.

The barmbrack turned out nice.

 Anyone for some Brainvarian?

Coffee flavoured to give your brain a boost!

I wore my cat dress last week. 

I also wore some Halloween themed outfits throughout October, as you do.
 Halloween leggings? Please!

 This outfit got lots of side-eye, but not when we stopped in at the local bagel shop (the Bagel Bin). I always get lots of love there. I'm not sure why, but I'm not complaining. Plus, they make excellent bagels and the best coffee in Omaha. You have no idea how hard it is to get decent plain, old drip coffee in this town.

 What's more Halloween than a purse made of candy wrappers?
 I either need smaller rings or bigger fingers.

 The spiderweb socks are Danny's-he generously loaned them to me.
 There's nothing Halloween-ish about the white leather and curly lamb jacket, but the silver spiderweb leggings are.

 Anyway, that's it for a sort of outfits round-up. Hope you had a fun Halloween if you celebrate it, or a quiet night if you don't. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Right Feet Forward...Literally

I couldn't believe my luck finding these rain boots at the Goodwill. They weren't true over boots as there's no room for shoes, but I was still happy to have them. I've been coveting a pair of clear rain boots since the early 70's when I would be denied my heart's desire from the display at DeWitt's shoe store every August when it was time to buy school shoes. I wanted the pink boots. I didn't need the matching umbrella and rain hat. I would have been thrilled just to have the boots, but I think the alert reader already knows that never happened. Instead I came home with the same Buster Brown shoes year after year until old Mr. DeWitt finally keeled over and we had to buy my shoes at TurnStyle instead. It wasn't like the boots would have been impracical-it rains quite a lot in Chicago. Anyway, the people I lived with didn't think I needed anything but the bare minimum in life whether it was medical attention, dentistry, or adequate food so it is hardly a surprise the yearned for boots remained just that.

I grabbed these boots so fast off the thrift shore shelf you'd think I spotted Dior or something. I shoved a foot inside-it fit! Like Cinderella's glass slipper, and I danced off to the register to pay for my boots happy in the knowledge that eventually, even if it takes 50 years, everything shows up in the thrift store. Sure, they weren't pink, but as an adult I prefer brown anyway.

I waited through summer for rain, but it was autumn before a rain boot-worthy day arrived. I pulled on the right boot and then...another right boot. Oh. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away but I wasn't ready to hand it over! It wasn't that obvious that anyone would notice unless they were wearing the boots. The best I can figure, someone bought two pair and donated one set. I like to think there's someone in Omaha walking around with two left feet and some rainy day we'll meet and exchange boots, setting the whole exchange right. I didn't wait all these decades to just give up at the first pinched toe. No, I'm the determined sort of fool that will wear my boots until I trip and face plant in a puddle.
Honestly, you can't tell!
 The rest of the outfit was pretty nifty too. Finding vintage knits in good condition is always exciting. Finding vintage knits in my size that don't cling to every lump and bump of my middle aged body is even better. Obviously, this sort of thing fits better with a full slip, which I had in a perfectly matching peach colour because...middle aged, Midwesterner. I was happy enough to abandon girdles but you'll never get my slips!
 The photos are a bit washed out. The true colour is a pale peach. I also had a perfectly matching lippy which makes me think I should win some sort of prize, or at the very least, have a trophy made. I've never been what you'd call an over-achiever (or terribly ambitious for that matter) but I know where my skills lie.

...and if you think those rain boots are going anywhere but on my feet you can forget it. Eventually, if I wait long enough, I'll find the other foot.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Snow Joke

For goodness sake! 

Snow in October is almost always a bad sign of things to come, and this was a bad storm. Last Sunday we were expecting 1/2 inch of snow. Instead we had several inches, high winds, ice, and mass power outages across the city. By Tuesday morning there were still people waiting to have power restored. We had a tree come down blocking our street, but the city was out quickly to take care of it. Our lights flickered a few times but we were lucky enough to keep power on. One street over they were blacked-out. Today, the sun was out, our temperatures were in the upper 60s and there's no trace of the storm that ground things to a halt. If it happened in December we'd have been ready to deal with it, but instead it was a surprise for everyone concerned. Ah well, we got through it but really, I never did like surprises.
I did get an opportunity to wear my new-to-me vintage 70s ski jacket. I was drawn to the zip-out sleeves (I'm a sucker for clothes that multi-task).

I had a ski jacket in the 70s but it was down, very puffy, and it leaked leaving a trail of feathers on my clothes. I got through most of the 70s wearing a red wool Hudson's Bay blanket coat, which I loathed, but at least it didn't shed. For the longest time I wouldn't wear red as I still felt the trauma of being teased by my classmates' "Orphan Annie" chants every day on the bus, but I've long since made my peace with red, even purchasing a vintage red car coat last year. I do draw the line at Hudson's Bay though.
I stayed warm, unlike Mr. Ghosty in the garden. Poor fella had icicles hanging off him.

Speaking of Halloween decorations, here's some you can wear. Honestly, I'll wear these all year. Sequined skull pumps might not seem like a practical pair of shoes at first glance but...yeah, fine. I can't spin these as anything other than wildly impractical but at least they were cheaply thrifted so I'm keeping them out of the landfill. How's that? 
I even have a sparkly purple sweater to perfectly match them. 
They would have worked with this outfit too, but I went for my purple suede boots. Yes, the vest is made of feathers, and yes I have shorts on beneath the blouse. No, I can't hook you up with a dime bag. Sorry. 
Really, The hardest drug I do is vitamin D. Now get off my lawn, you beatniks. 
Speaking of things that remind me of drugs...this dress was described by my son as, "Someone's bad acid trip rendered in fabric." 
...He might have a point. I think it is more like The Scream. Anyway, whenever something seems over-the-top I like to throw some sequins and a big belt at it-just so there's no possible whiff of "Normal" in certain light. Nothing kills the possibility of good taste like an 80s belt...
.. except possibly a floral hat. Or both. I mean, there's no law insisting you choose.

 Anyway, back to the outfit photos. This 60's dress isn't really my style but I've had the dress for decades. It was just "Old" when I  bought it, not vintage. The shiny faux silk material reflects light beautifully making it perfect for a sunny, autumn day.
 The shoes and bag are also 60s vintage, ands somewhat shiny. I'm sensing a theme here.
I don't have words for how much I love this 60s faux amber cha-cha bracelet. The 70s goldstone ring on my index finger was made by Avon. I just adore goldstone-wonder why it fell out of popularity? It seems like it was everywhere in the 70s. 

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage dress-A thrift store in New Hampshire years ago
Vintage handbag-Thrift World
Vintage Shoes-Goodwill
Rings-all over
Brooch-can't remember
Fragrance-don't recall what it was, but probably something green-Knowing, maybe?
Know what would look great with that dress...

Exactly. But it needn't be this hat. I have plenty of others. In fact, over on Instagram (@Goodymcgoodface) I've been doing a regular Saturday hat feature called (wait for it)...Haturday Night Fever. Ain't I clever?! Anyway, here's a better hat for that dress...

Isn't it a beauty? 

 I chose Saturday for Haturday because it obviously rhymed and because I don't have anything better to do on Saturday night except have an early dinner and wait to die watch television. I'd lie and say I didn't expect my 50s to be like this but I expected my 50s to be exactly like this. It isn't all bad though-I get a senior discount at the supermarket.

That's the sort of satisfied smile that says, "I saved 10% off my groceries."
College football is a big deal in Nebraska as we don't have any professional teams. I bought this vintage plastic football charm (that's an old fashioned leather helmet on the left) to wear on game days. Personally, I don't care if they win or lose but they are now 0-6 for the season and I really feel bad for those kids! They had a chance to win in overtime last Saturday, but as someone observed, "The Nebraska Cornhuskers snatched defeat from the jaws of winning." I will keep wearing my pin on Saturdays until the season is (mercifully) over, but I do feel for the poor players, especially the ones in their last year.
 Do you remember blanket skirts from the late 80s/90s? I had one, but rarely wore it as it always felt like it was swamping my small frame. Know what? I was right then, and they still don't work for me. This was a Goodwill bargain, so I'm cutting my .49 cent losses and re-donating it. Someone tall will look magnificent in it.
 I was able to get this vintage tooled bag for a few dollars because there were pen markings inside. Who sees the inside of a bag?! There's still plenty of life left in this beauty.
 Another bargain from an antique shop because the clasp was broken. It was an easy, quick repair.
This vintage rayon blouse caught my eye because of the great buttons. Much to my delight, it fitted perfectly.

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt and blouse both Goodwill
Boots-K Mart
Vintage handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Brooch-Antique mall
Tooled belt-Thrift World
Well, gotta fly so I'll see you later. Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2018

End of the Garden Red Pepper Spread

Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and encouragement regarding my previous post. I have a lot to sort through, but I'll get there. Fortunately I'm the sort of person that can set things aside, and get on with whatever needs to be done in the meantime. As survival techniques go, it has always served me well.

I wanted to share this recipe before all the tomatoes and red peppers are through in the Northern hemisphere. I had a glut to work with, and this made roughly 3 1/2 pints. I will include the instructions for canning in a water bath, but we used ours over the course of two weeks and just stored the jars in the fridge. The spread was wonderful as a pizza sauce, tossed with pasta, and as a sauce for shakshuka.It was also delicious stirred into hummous. It is also perfect on a cheese sandwich in place of mustard. I'm sure you'll find plenty of uses for it.

The recipe I used comes from the Ball Blue Book of Canning. I was having trouble removing the skins completely from the peppers so I just didn't worry about it with the last few. Once the peppers go through the food processor it wasn't noticeable anyway, so don't worry if after roasting the skins still won't budge.

If you will be canning, sterilise your clean jars and keep warm until needed. The spread takes some time to cook down, so plan accordingly. You'll need to roast the vegetables first, so that's a good time to get your jars ready.

You Will Need:

8-9 large red bell peppers (I used a couple yellow as well because I had them)
1 pound tomatoes
2-4 large cloves of garlic to taste
1 small white onion
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Roast peppers on a baking sheet under the broiler or on a grill until the skin wrinkles and chars in spots. The blue book says a 425 degree F oven will also work, but it will take longer. Turn peppers and roast other side. Remove from oven and place peppers in a paper bag and secure closed. Let cool 15 minutes while you prepare the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in the same manner. Cool as peppers in paper bag.

When vegetables are cool, peel and seed the tomatoes and peppers. Peel the garlic and onion, chopping coarsely. Combine vegetables in food processor and puree. I didn't go for absolutely smooth as I like a bit of texture to the spread. do as you like,.

In a large, heavy sauce pot combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until spread thickens and mounds on a spoon. You may need to reduce the heat at the end as it cooks down, and stir it frequently as the spread can scorch. A long handled wooden spoon is nice here as it can splatter when cooking.

Ladle hot spread into sterilised jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a spatula, wipe treads and adjust lids and bands. Process in a water-bath canner 15 minutes (pints) or 10 minutes (half pints) adding 1 minute for each 1,000 feet above sea level at your location. After processing time is up, turn off the burner and let stand 5 minutes to cool down before removing from canner. Let stand 12-24 hours before checking seals.

Keeps about 2 weeks in the fridge, or about 1 year unopened on the shelf.

Sunday, October 07, 2018


I've never gone out of my way to be cruel, but it can take reminding sometimes to be nice. I'm trying my best these days as it feels more urgent than ever. I bring it up because the day I bought this skirt was a very bad day. After pretty much having a life-altering bomb go off-the sort that leaves you with questions, no answers, and the un-moored feeling of not knowing who the hell you are (quite literally) I needed distraction, so I stopped at a thrift store. It was my husband's idea. Had I been alone I'd have headed for the nearest drinking establishment and would probably still be there. If nothing else, marriage has probably saved me from becoming the neighbourhood drunk.
Nice skirt, bad day.

People toss around the phrase, "I was in a daze" to mean a bit disoriented. I was far worse. Still, familiarity and behaviours you've done a million times over are reassuring in chaos (just as we practise fire drills to stay calm in real emergencies), so I browsed without really looking. Thrift shopping tends to be a solitary activity, unless you've brought someone with you. There's the unspoken etiquette that it is in fact, unspoken-like silent staring at your shoes in a lift. I picked up the skirt, and heard a cheerful voice asking me where I was from as she could tell I wasn't a local.

In hindsight, I think she was perceptive and knew I needed a motherly hand on my shoulder even as she was a good 30 years younger than myself. She had several children with her looking through toys, clothes and the like. Without asking me what was going on, she managed to get me to answer a few questions and engage. We never did discuss my still very fresh traumatic shock, but instead chatted about where we lived, what our husbands did for work, children, good places to thrift, etc. Maybe 10 minutes passed before her kids had enough, and she needed to pay for her purchases. We met up again outside the shop, chatted a bit longer, and she left me with such a kind, warm, positive feeling about humanity that I was (temporarily) able to pull myself together. I'm still working on it for the long term, but I'm getting there.

It was a terrible day, but I didn't think about that when I put on the skirt for a first wear. I thought of the lovely woman whose name I'll never know that gave me a much appreciated rescue. If anything, the skirt is a reminder that we haven't completely given in to our worst tendencies and decent human beings are out there even if they're a bit scarce. I'm also reminded that resistance sometimes comes in subtle forms. Behaving kindly in a world that rewards cruelty, revels in cruelty,  takes as much determination as marching in the streets. I fear it is all we have left. Undermining the pervasive awfulness is a tall order, but we must start somewhere. I don't have a crystal ball into the future, and I won't pretend to have an optimistic personality, but I do have the perspective of having been alive more than half a century and having seen some very positive progress even when it seems darkest. As the stockbrokers say, "Past performance isn't a guarantee" but still.

I'll return to regular outfit posts shortly.