Sunday, February 28, 2021

I'm So Dizzy My Head is Spinning

 I've been called dizzy before, but this ain't that!

I'm starting to see a pattern that the day after taking Danny out driving, I get a killer migraine and vertigo. I suspect all that looking around as he's backing up, taking turns, etc. is doing a number on me via my messed-up neck and spine. In a way, that's a relief , but it does mean I need to figure out a better way of being in the passenger seat. He's progressing so well now that we're doing less parking practice and are focusing on actual road driving, so perhaps that will help. We won't talk about him side-swiping our other car pulling out! At least it was our car, not the neighbour's.  I feel so utterly useless sometimes, but what can I do? Hopefully he'll be able to have proper instruction this summer when everyone is vaccinated. Then, I can spend the rest of my life being driven rather than driving. 

I might have made a mistake telling him to drive fast and then quickly hit the brake. I wanted him to experience what that feels like as it is important to know how to deal with sudden stops on the road-I just forgot that I'd be in the car experiencing it along with him! I hope he'll be a good driver. Most of the time I'm pointing out the dangerous/stupid things other people are doing on the road. 

After all that snow and arctic cold, we suddenly warmed up in Omaha and predictably, the spring ice jams/floods have started. I live at the top of a hill away from the river, so it isn't an issue for me personally, but I do feel for the people impacted by this. It happens year after year and there still doesn't seem to be a good way of dealing with it. Hopefully, we won't get terrible rains this spring as people are still rebuilding from spring of 2019. 

Getting dressed this time of year is still complicated by the fact we can experience four seasons in a day-but that's the Midwest for you! Here, I've layered a knit dress over a skirt and added a cropped jacket. Still need the boots though, as there's melting snow and sand everywhere. 
The jacket is difficult to describe as the stiff fabric is somewhere between upholstery material and toweling. For something so strange, it has turned out to be a rather useful wardrobe piece that works in summer as well as winter. I think it is a 60s piece, but can't swear to it. The handbag I'm holding here was a Goodwill find several years ago. The young woman at the till couldn't figure out how it opened, and when I showed her the "kiss lock" she looked as though I'd just performed a magic trick. I'm glad I still possess useful knowledge that can be passed along to the younger generation. I remember being similarly perplexed by things like glove stretchers. Just last week I mentioned to Dan that sardine tins used to require a key to open them. Thank goodness I can just Google an image rather than try to explain that!

The belt is indeed as heavy as it looks as there are gemstones affixed to a substantial meatal base. Why would someone make something like this? Why would someone (me) buy something like this? The mysteries of the vintage thrifting world don't always have answers beyond, "Why not?" I was pleased to see these 80s monstrosities now sell for hundreds of dollars, so perhaps now that I've indulged the desire to wear it a few times, it can be moved along. There was a LOT going on with this outfit, but I rather enjoyed the effect.
The other accessories are a mix of new and old with the black plastic bracelets being the new. The shell bracelet is a bit sharp, but put together cleverly enough that I haven't cut myself wearing it. Earrings and brooch are not a set, but certainly look the part.

Because I can't ever leave well enough alone, I cut my hair into fringe. I don't exactly regret it, but I don't love it either. My hair is very thin, but thankfully it grows quickly and I'll soon forget all about this until the next time I decide to do it again. It has been about four years since my last adventure with fringe/bangs. 

I was joking on Instagram that this look is "70s Normcore" and it really is! The small, tasteful hoop earrings, the scarf, the gold chain-I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, but it isn't the typical 70s look I go for. Hardly a stitch of polyester in sight😁

I've had this bracelet since the 70s. I think it was a gift from my sister. I wear it quite often as it is the sort of thing that goes with nearly everything. Classic 70s anyway. 

This outfit was much nicer in person. The satin blouse and skirt done in a 1930s style are so lovely in person, especially when they catch the light just so. The slouchy sweater has metallic thread shot through it for a nice sparkling effect that unfortunately was also lost in the photos. You can just make out the velvet boots.

And suddenly, the weather turned spring-like. 
Might as well embrace it, as it could very well be short-lived. 
Anyone else think of navy blue handbags and shoes as a spring look? I don't know why I have that association, but I do.
I wasn't kidding about digging deep in the wardrobe after a year of not shopping-this striped suit hasn't been worn in ages. The shirt gets a bit more wear, but not much.
I honestly don't know why I neglect it. 
Time to remedy that!
Spring also means lucite bangles, though again, I have no idea why I make that association. Maybe in the depths of witer no one can see my wrists under sweaters and cardigans. 

We are slowly inching into the better time of year for outdoors photos, which I'm looking forward to. In anticipation, I did a bit of cleaning the front garden today, mostly picking up people's illegally  dumped trash that has now blown into it. Styrofoam pellets are the WORST. They're so tiny, and they blow everywhere. I found them half a mile down our street on my walk today. I'm also noticing more and more dog turds on the sidewalks, grass, pretty much everywhere. In the bad weather people can't be arsed to walk their dogs so they just let them out, and open the door when they return. I like dogs, but I sure don't like some of their humans. As the snow melts, we're seeing the full scope of just how bad it is. 

Did I tell you about the shovel thieves? After our last big snow I saw a group of kids by my window, they quickly grabbed BOTH my snow shovels, and those of my neighbour's and made their way into a waiting "getaway" truck and off they went-too quickly to chase even though everyone saw it happen. I'm sure they were at the neighbourhood pawn shop selling them for a few dollars each. I'm furious, but also kind of impressed at the nerve. As they were very young kids (maybe 8 or 9) I'm guessing it was at the direction of parents or older siblings driving the getaway. That's the first time we've had anything stolen( other than a car break in where there was nothing for them to take)-and in broad daylight with everyone outside clearing snow too. Sometimes I feel like my life is out of control but it will never be bad enough that I'm leading a band of small children through the neighbourhood stealing shovels,, so I guess there's that.

Enough about that. In other news, I've been trying to get through my perfume collection deciding what I like and don't. So far I've been posting a bottle a day over on Instagram, but they're not really reviews in any real sense-the format doesn't lend itself to in-depth writing. Sometimes, there simply isn't enough to say anyway. These Bvlgari Omnia fragrances are OK, except for the amethyst. That's the purple one, and it is noxious. It smells like something you'd spray in a restroom, but worse. Honestly, the Omnia Coral is the only one I really love, and I have several bottle of it now (including the stupid double circle shaped one they had that takes up far too much room on a perfume tray). 

Omnia coral is juicy and melon like which I ought to hate, but just adore. I guess my tastes aren't as set in stone as I'd like to think. 

Another, "No" for me though I don't hate it. I was lucky to find it in a thrift store for $3.99, but it isn't lucky if I don't wear it, and I really can't imagine ever wanting to. Caron fragrances don't get on well with me, except for Nuit de Noel, Tabac Blonde, and in a very rare mood, Yatagan. Just as well I suppose, as Caron fragrances don't come cheap (unless you find them at the thrift store). 
Another big bottle of, "Nope".

This one was an enjoyable surprise. I don't like regular Venezia, but this flanker is actually pleasant. Very light, perfect for spring. 

Anyway, expect more 'fume talk as I make my way through the stuff. The only thing I wear regularly now is Amouage Bracken Woman because I enjoy smelling like the decaying floor of a forest. If they ever discontinue it, I will die. I should probably stockpile extra bottles but it is so bloody expensive. 

Speaking of expensive things-I won an auction for a vintage Georg Jensen ring at a price I could happily agree to. That was really very lucky, and as I've admired Jensen pieces practically all my life, I'm beyond excited. I hope it looks as good in person as it did online. I'll post a picture when it gets here. 
This Egyptian necklace was another lucky auction piece, though it cost considerably less than the Jensen ring! I had so many necklaces like this in the 80s, and still have a faience one that needs a few small repairs to be wearable. The shape is nice on this one, and the longer length makes it easier to wear. 

I haven't cooked anything terribly exciting, but this lemon/garlic baked chicken was well received. 
Served with a spinach salad made with turkey bacon, and my "famous" red cabbage it made a colourful meal. 
Tonight I made a top sirloin roast I've had in the freezer for close to a year. It turned out perfect (I'm always afraid of overcooking beef as I just don't have a lot of experience cooking it-and it is so expensive. I don't care if I overcook chicken that's .99 cents a pound). I'm still learning, and adapting to everyone's dietary requirements (that keep changing, but OK). I think of it as acquiring skills, and who doesn't like to learn something new? 
That's actually better cooked than the "almost still moo-ing" roast beef I was served as a child. My mother would insist this was overcooked! 
Another colourful meal, but at least it wasn't bloody!

Speaking of new things, how about growing new leaves from the tops of root vegetables? 
Not all of those are edible!
But these are-parsnip and radishes...

And thriving turnip greens. It is so satisfying to grow plants from something that would have otherwise been thrown away. 

My garden journal tells me that I planted peas and spinach last year on 1 March. I still haven't decided if I plan to do that this year, but I do know that I must plant sunflowers again as all my neighbours have told me how much they've enjoyed them. That's a small thing I can do to bring a little happiness in a difficult time. It isn't like a gang of kids are going to be able to make off with that! 

Stay safe and have a good week everyone. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

She's So Cold


Well, we're fresh out of the Polar Vortex and I have to say, it was quite the experience. Unlike Texas, which really bore the worst of it (those poor people, oh my god) we had a few seriously sub-zero days, broke some records, and had two days of rolling blackouts that we were warned about in advance. We lost power for 1 hour, early in the morning, so I just went back to bed. Danny and his dad both slept through it and didn't even notice. As poorly insulated as our home is, we had ample heat, hot water, and came through it by largely staying home. I did take the car for some longer drives to make certain the battery stayed in good charging condition, but otherwise we really had it pretty easy. Back when we were driving the Mighty Ford Tempo (RIP) we bought one of those portable battery chargers for the car. You do need to make sure it is charged up before leaving home, but having that thing with on super-cold days is a lifeline. We have a road assistance plan, but it can take time for them to get to you on a day when everyone else is breaking down. Here's a similar model to the one we have . 

Dressing for the cold typically means a poloneck and a cardigan for me. Beth's bunny slippers optional. 
A warm mohair cardigan does a good job keeping me warm, particularly when paired with a silk mock-neck beneath it. 
So fluffy, sure I looked like a cotton bud, but I was warm! 
Still, when the serious cold hits, only a Dale of Norway cardigan will do. I have three but thankfully I've only needed to wear one so far. It stays cold in Nebraska well into Aprl though, so I'm not packing them away just yet. I've had this one since the 80s and yes, it still fits, but not the same as it used to. That's OK, after close to 40 years there'd be something wrong if my body didn't shift around a bit, particularly after the menopause. 
Here's a closer look at the socks, given to me by a neighbour circa 1980. She couldn't get them over her feet, so I got them. They're still in good shape and the elastic is working after all these years of wear. I know it sounds terribly old-ladyish to say it but,  "They just don't make things the way they used to!" There, I've said it and it is true. 

This 1980s alphabet pullover would be perfect for a primary school teacher, which I no longer am. Well, that's not entirely true as Dan has been schooling remotely from home all year, but technically I'm not teaching. Believe me, he no longer requires my assistance unless it concerns laundry or food. The trousers are vinyl, and surprisingly warm-sort of like wearing a bin bag, but classier
I've had the shoes since high school. See what a sense of humour I had? I believe those are also the original laces! I don't wear them too often which probably contributes to their longevity. Here's a fun fact-in Chicago we would call these, "Gym Shoes". I never heard, "Sneakers" or "Trainers" until I moved to Boston. 

When it gets super cold outside, a Donegal Tweed blazer is a nice way to keep warm

Worn with a Loden skirt I bought in the 80s, I stay both dry and warm on snowy days. While Loden isn't waterproof, it is water resistant and dries with a quick shaking out. I've never regretted the money I spent on the suit though I rarely wear the jacket or trousers anymore. 
Sometimes a Pendleton '49er jacket will do. This one's a re-issue of their classic design. I have several, some original, some more recent and they're all fantastic. I don't know that I'd go as far as calling it a "Shacket" as people seem to be doing all over Instagram, but whatever you call them, they're an indispensable part of my winter wardrobe. 

Sometimes polyester flares find their way into my wardrobe.

No, I don't know why either! 
They're sooooo wide. 
Whatever inspired me to wear a leather waistcoat with a wool skirt, I couldn't say but I was pleased with the combination. 
This polyester coat dress has a sewn-in dickie sort of collar to look like I shirt. I might remove it and just wear the dress as a duster coat. I really don't care for it as-is. If it were good vintage I might be conflicted about taking it apart, but there's no shortage of polyester dresses from Wards (that I'm aware of anyway). 
This polyester dress however, isn't being messed-with (though it needs the hem repaired). Some things should be left as-is. 
A check of Instagram tells me it has been nearly two years since this dress was last worn. Interestingly, it was worn the day after the dress in the previous photo! I must have packed them away together. How strange is that? 
Today I wore two items I bought in the 90s and am still wearing. 
I'm not sure about wearing my hair up in braids. On some people it can be very Frida Kahlo, on me it comes across more Dorothy Day. I admired her, but I certainly never wanted to look like her! I am however thinking of cutting myself fringe. We'll see. 
Here's the newest Victorian hairwork brooch I ordered. I can't tell if those are tiny pearls or milk teeth fragments inside. There's three different hair colours inside and three "pearls". I hope it isn't three dead children, but childhood mortality was high then, and not at all uncommon. I'm hoping they're pearls but I haven't opened it to check. 
Here's a quick look at some accessories

I haven't really been baking, but I made Danny Fairy Bread for Valentine's Day and he thought it was fun. It isn't supposed to be made on raisin bread but that's all I had. I've learned not to question Australian foods because they always turn out to be better than expected. Sure, a slice of bread spread with margarine and cake decorations sounds bad on paper, but in reality it is a well loved treat. I didn't indulge because just the thought of my teeth on that makes me uncomfortable, but the teenager in the house said it was good and I'll take him at his word. 
On the dinner front about the only interesting thing I made recently that was photo worthy (Fish chowder doesn't photograph well) were these tofu kebabs I made in the oven. 

So that's about it here. I'm still getting caught up with your blogs (sorry, I'm trying to do better). For someone that's home all the time, I still seem to be buried under a mountain of work (The book plods on and on). I hope wherever you are you're comfortable and safe. Take care.