Thursday, March 25, 2021

At Least I Didn't Wedge a Ship Sideways in the Suez Canal

 So how's your week going?

How is it possible that I spent a year without anything pressing to deal with, and suddenly my calendar is filled from late March through the start of May? I've been out of the house more in the past couple weeks than I have all year. I'm still unvaccinated though, so I'm wearing an N95 mask with a multi-layer cloth mask over it when outside the home, and for Jury Duty I'm planning to add a face shield as well. Our cases locally have been the lowest since last summer, but I fear that will change once the Spring Break Covidiots return from Florida. God forbid we start to actually make progress. 

I am having the glasses re-made though they won't refund me the cost of the frames, so if anyone wants a pair of wire rims, get in touch and I'll sell them to you at a deep discount. I'm still wearing them until the new ones come in. I'm using my old cat-eye frames as I know that they look good on me. They're heavier, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. The woman at the shop was pretty horrible to me, suggesting that I have some sort of mental issue with the way I see myself and that there's nothing wrong with how the frames (that she pressured me to purchase) looked on me😒. She's the same person that suggested I was "hiding" behind big frames. It was all I could do not to react, but I just want to get my glasses finished and never see her again. I guess if I decide I want therapy I'll be able to get it at the optical shop. Has the pandemic made us all behave too familiar with strangers now, or is it just a general decline in manners?! I can't imagine speaking to someone that way even if I thought they were batshit bonkers. 

The photo is four years old, but these are the frames I'm going back to using.

Speaking of derranged...Melrose the Bunny is back on display for Easter. We named him Melrose because that's the company that made him. Nightmare fuel, that one. 
These two are considerably less frightening. Danny bought the felted Easter eggs at a fibre arts show a few years back. 
This one was only terrifying to Danny when he was little-still no idea why. I've had it since I was a small child. The chick used to pop up when the lid was lifted and make a squeaking noise. Now it just sits there...thinking. About stuff. Nothing menacing here, at all. 
These are also from my childhood. There's another smaller brown bunny but their tail needs re-gluing. My mum bought them for me at a small, over-priced shop in Plaza del Lago sometime in the early 70s. I remember being bribed with them so I'd behave during luncheon at the undoubtedly also over-priced restaurant memorable only as one of the few places in Chicagoland you could get an espresso in the 70s.  
Anyway, that's the decorating done. The flowers were a bargain purchase on the "last chance" rack at the grocer, but they're still living, and doing well in some fresh water. I wouldn't spend "real" money on flowers for myself, but it would have been rude not to bring these home for pocket change. 

Most of the Bakelite bangle collection stays unworn during winter as I'm always afraid of the plastic cracking in our extreme cold, but come the first day of spring, pieces begin to emerge (like bears from hibernation, but without the hunger and general bad mood) here and there. This bangle was one of the better pieces I've thrifted as it is heavy, not scratched at all, and still has an appearance of being polished. Bakelite can get dull over the years, though there are companies now that specialise in re-furbishing vintage Bakelite. This one already looked new-so much so that it wasn't until I tested it that I was convinced it was in fact, Bakelite. The green/gold swirls are beautiful, though it is frustratingly hard to match with much of my wardrobe. I have another with hints of blue and brown that's even more difficult to wear. Shade and tone can really throw off an outfit. I don't need to match colours exactly, but accessories ought to be in the same family as the overall feel of an outfit. I find that the hardest part of getting dressed, honestly. 
Sometimes though, it comes together easily. You'll see the yellow bracelets aren't exact matches but they work with the other bangles. It is a good thing I'm not a painter-I'd drive myself mad mixing paint.

Well, this one didn't take much thought😁

These did. I must have switched out a dozen bangles until arriving at these. 
Another easy bangle selection. 
This should have been trickier than it was. That reverse-carved lucite bangle goes with everything.

Shall we look at a recent online purchase to add to the brooch collection?
It was too beautiful to pass up. The crack has been repaired and the agate feels otherwise secure so I am happy enough to have this for the very small sum I paid. After 200 odd years I expect to see a few flaws. It is a large piece too-a few inches across. I also picked up a tiny gold knot ring from the same seller, so as I was only paying one shipping fee it seemed silly not to grab it. 

Otherwise, I'm really not spending money on anything except necessities. 

What's cooking these days? Nothing terribly exciting, but colourful anyway. 
Cauliflower and chickpea curry served over salad greens and "rice" made from chickpea flour. The brand I bought was Banza. It isn't going to fool anyone into thinking it is rice, but it does serve the same purpose with a wet curry and you get the bonus of some extra protein. I tossed some pickled red cabbage at it all for crunch and visual appeal. 

This was a salmon fillet baked with grainy brown mustard and tarragon served on white beans, tomatoes and cucumbers cooked with onions and herbs. 
This was a pound of button mushrooms I needed to use cooked until browned and then added to courgettes, red bell peppers, garlic, and smoked paprika. For the boys I added meatballs made from ground lamb and cooked until well browned on a cast iron pan. Nothing terribly recipe-worthy here, just using up what I have in the vegetable bins. The sorrel is going well in the garden right now so I guess that's the next thing I need to deal with. I've tried convincing them to like schav (cold sorrel soup) but they both spat it out last time so that might be a hard sell. I grew up with it, so the cold, sour taste isn't strange to me. I guess I can always toss the smaller leaves in salad and use the larger ones to bake fish. I can't even give it away
-believe me, I've tried! If nothing else, it does add some bright green to the otherwise dull garden this time of year. 

I'll leave you with a quick look at some of my recent outfits-they're all things you've seen here before

And because Jan F asked for a big smile last week, here you go. I wouldn't do this for anyone else😀

Have a good week.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Thanks, I Hate It


It doesn't look it in the photos, but these specs are much smaller than the ones I was wearing- they are on the large end of small. I don't like them, but I also don't like headaches and vertigo, so here we are. I'm going to need to start doing something with my eyebrows now!

There's a bit of green and yellow on the trim, but that's only noticeable if you're standing above me-which at 5 feet tall is pretty much everyone. The frames are very, very light which for someone used to heavy/vintage frames is really nice. My lenses are on the heavy side, so it is nice to have something that won't leave dents in my nose. My last pair didn't have nosepads, but it has been a quick adjustment. I really hate the way they look, but the functionality is superb. I was able to get used to them quickly and I can't be sure it is from a couple days of wearing them, but my headaches do seem to be easing a bit. I had to drive to Iowa yesterday in the rain, and they were quite helpful. 
I just wish I didn't look like a guy! An ugly one at that. But hey, that's the menopause! My face thinned out, my hair grows on my chin instead of my head, and I'm getting jowls. On the positive side, I look like Ludeface the local drug dealer I can see a lot more than I did a few days ago. I'm willing to take the good with the bad. At a friend's suggestion, I called they eyeglass shop and asked if I can have them re-made in different frames because they make me look like Ludeface the local drug dealer I hate them, and they said yes. I'm going to give it a few more days though, because the Rx is working pretty well with these frames and I don't know that a different shaped lens would be as good. Knowing I can get them remade is a relief though-they were awfully expensive lenses (and I didn't even get the anti-scratch and anti-glare coatings). They are tri focals though, because I'm blind as a bat (though I can't hunt for food in the dark, that I'm aware of)
I was a little worried that once I could see better I might notice how shabby my clothes are getting, but thankfully that hasn't been the case. When I first went into strong glasses about age 40, I was shocked at what I hadn't been seeing. This has thankfully been a less dramatic change. I may be getting older, but my skin is in better condition than it has ever been thanks to copious amounts of hyaluronic acid, squalene, and retinol. I used being at home this past year as a chance to get serious with retinol (since no one could see me during the red-flaky stage) and it was a good decision. I look my age, which is fine. I was worried I might look much older. I do get the Senior Discount at the grocery store without being asked, but that's probably more my grey hair than wrinkles ( hopefully). I could well be delusional and fooling myself. I used to get mistaken for the older sister, which is bad as she was 10 years older than I was! She had exceptionally good genes (for appearance anyway)😀

The glasses may lack interest but my hair has been doing some interesting tricks. A trim wouldn't hurt. I'm really looking forward to going to a hairdresser after being vaccinated. Meanwhile I bought some deep conditioners and masques and am making due. I did treat myself to a bath bomb that I'm certain was marketed to children, but it was pleasant and didn't have any strange ingredients to make me break out. A nice soak in the bath with a deep conditioner on my head is something I wouldn't ordinarially have time for, so I'm determined to enjoy it. 

You'd better believe I wore green for St. Patrick's Day-I wasn't about to get pinched! 
Speaking of green things, here's my baby dinosaur. It seems like just yesterday they were an egg.
I speak to Danny that way too. Not the egg part, of course, even though he was pretty much my last egg! He had his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday. He registered to get it in Council Bluffs, Iowa because Nebraska hasn't even set a schedule for vaccinating under 18s. He has co-morbidities, so it was important to get him a jab. He'd really like to be able to go back to in-person school even if it is for the last month of the year. I didn't register to get one in Iowa because my age group is up next in Nebraska, and it is less crucial for me to get one-I'm fine with waiting my turn. I did get called for Jury duty the first week of April, but they're keeping everyone distanced and using remote locations and video screens, so I'm not too concerned. I've never served on a jury, but I'd like to. I was disqualified in Chicago because I had an uncle who was a judge, then in Boston I was called a few times, but ended up not being needed. After 20 years in Nebraska, it was about time I got called to do my part. Anyway, I get paid $35.00 for my trouble which ought to just about cover parking downtown for a day. 

So that's about it for an update. Hopefully I'll get used to seeing myself in these frames and won't need to have them re-made, but it is good to know that's an option. Meanwhile, I'll keep doing the eye exercises and hoping for the best. Now that I can see up close again I feel like I ought to do some embroidery. Wouldn't want to waste this opportunity. 

See ya (much better) later.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

I Can See Clearly Now (Maybe)


I had a feeling my headaches were being made worse by my eyes, and after a visit to my ophthalmologist, that was verified to be the case. At some point, possibly after that concussion a couple years ago, I developed Convergence insufficiency. That's a fancy way of saying my eyes won't work together . It is treatable, though part of that treatment means giving up my big eye glasses-it is just too big a field for my eyes to manage and quickly re-adjust after looking closely at something. I needed a new Rx anyway, so I ordered much smaller frames for them. They should arrive in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I won't look silly-I'm used to seeing myself in much larger specs. I'm just so relieved to at least have one thing easily dealt with. That's probably not going to solve everything, but gosh I'm just so excited to think maybe I won't be having migraines for days at a time and have those upsetting dizzy spells. 

It was a two hour appointment because she also needed to check my vision fields and do an exam to make sure the plaquenil I take for my autoimmune issues wasn't making me blind (it can do that, though it is rare at the dose I take). Everything else looked great, so that's very good news because I wouldn't want to be switching medications right now. If you're in the Omaha metro area and need the name of a fantastic ophthalmologist, let me know. Because the office is in the Nebraska Medical Center, the Covid precautions were in place, and enforced by a uniformed guard at the door-so no covidiots and their nonsense. It is a shame they have to go to that length to get people to follow the rules and wear masks, but what can I say? At this point nearly all the medical workers in Omaha have had their second doses of vaccine. 

We're having some very  welcome rain in Omaha, probably through the week ahead after a serious dry spell that caused several fires around the city and metro. I'm hoping we don't actually get the 5 inches of rain all at once (!) but at this point if it stops the fires, we'll deal with it. A volunteer firefighter died this week fighting a large brush fire in Ft. Calhoun. We've cooled off a bit too, but that's also a relief-it shouldn't be 77 degrees F. in March. 

Sometimes it feels like I spend all my time (and money) at the dentist so when I saw this mask I had to buy Shifty Thrifting

I mean, I've spent a lot of money on these teeth and I just want people to know they're there, even if they can't see them under masks!
Isn't this hand-knit vest bonkers? Love cats, although I'm too allergic to have one.
I was dressed for a day of chores starting with scouring the tile in the shower. We have very hard water in Omaha with lots of lime deposits. We recently had the kitchen faucet replaced as the deposits were literally eating through the plating. I know things are made cheaply now, but I'd never seen anything like that before, even on the farm where we had well water. The shower needs grouting, so I guess that's in the future. 
It is now officially over a year since I've been in a thrift shop-and I still have plenty of things to wear. After I get my vaccines, I might consider a trip to a Goodwill, just for the fun of it, but I'm going to be much more selective in the future about purchases. It is just too easy to keep bringing things home at .49 cents or a dollar. I know it adds up too, even the bargains. Danny wants to take a school trip to France next year with his class (by 2022 we should be safe to travel) and I might as well start socking away a bit of money for it. It isn't cheap, but I do think those experiences are good to have when young. Since he never asks for anything, I'd like to be able to do something nice for him. 

So this outfit is something I'd never have done if I weren't stretching my wardrobe-but I like it. The skirt is a thin cotton -strictly summer or early autumn, but with our warm weather streak, I gave it a try with a wool poloneck and cardigan. My legs rarely get cold, and I was perfectly comfortable in this combination. Until that evening-when our temperature plunged 30 degrees by evening. Ah well, that's the American Midwest for you. 
Aren't the tiny sailboat brooches adorable? They were homemade, and a gift. 
Not my monogram, but who cares? I need to get the handle replaced before the bag falls apart. That's next on my chores once things get back to something like normal. We'll never really be normal again, will we? That's OK-our normal had a lot of faults. We've all been forced to reexamine our lives and the way we do things this year. 
A I type, Danny tells me from looking at radar and weather station reports that there's a large storm about an hour to our west headed towards us with heavy downpours. There's a good chance we might lose power, so I'll keep this short tonight. 

 I hope everyone is well and staying safe. 

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Says She Won't Plant Garden, Plants Garden


If Chicken Boy is back in the garden and covered in flies, it must be spring in Omaha. Hello, Chicken Boy, nice to see you again. 

Not long after composing a post explaining that I likely wouldn't be planting a garden this year, I planted a garden. This will be the final year (she says, unconvincingly).
The large bag bed has garlic from last autumn coming up, and the perennial sorrel. The small raised bed has peas, kale, and some spinach that somehow overwintered through our Polar Vortex. The buckets have an assortment of chards, violas, cardoons, etc. As the season moves along I'll plant more sunflowers since they were such a hit with the neighbours last year. I rather like being known as the "Sunflower Lady" as it makes a nice change from, "Squirrel Lady."  If someone had told me at 25 this is what it would be like in my 50s, I'd have scoffed. 
Do, shut-up, Chicken Boy.

The Georg Jensen ring I won on eBay arrived and is now happily residing on my pinky finger. 
I am absolutely in love with it.
A polishing wouldn't hurt
I'm not going to worry about the tiny scratch because I'm sure I will add my own. I'm never taking it off. 
Anyway, that worked out really well and it was worth waiting over 50 years to finally get something I really wanted. 

Did I say spring? I really meant summer as it is presently 77 degrees F. outside. That  will moderate later in the week, but we are still far above normal spring temperatures for Omaha. I haven't packed away my winter coat as experience tells me I'll still be wearing it into May. I hope we don't have snow in May again, that was a drag. All the outside plants can manage a frost, but still. Anyway, dressing for spring that feels like summer then back to winter by evening is a challenge. Digging deep into the unworn wardrobe items, I came up with this 80s does 40s polyester crepe dress I bought several years ago. Here it is last being worn in 2016
Went with a similar approach though less summery accessories. This year has been interesting for wearing things that wouldn't otherwise get a wear if I was still bringing in new items. Not shopping for a year will do that!
Can we talk about this necklace? It is like wearing marbles on my neck-it must weigh five pounds. I wore it for an hour before giving up. How do people wear such heavy things on their necks? I definitely can't, so away it goes. The Dior earrings however get to stay, because they're perfect. 

Who remembers these? I had to call into mangelsens last week for some N95-style masks (they have them at a good price) and from the corner of my eye, spotted these Charms candies from my childhood. They're not terribly exciting, but I always loved the packaging. In the unlikely event I'm still alive in another 50 years (god forbid) and they still make Charms, maybe I'll buy them again. My nostalgia is easily satisfied every half century. It occurs to me they look like little Tetris blocks though they existed long before Tetris (or computer games). 

Since spring was springing, it was a good opportunity to wear my green linen-look suit that is really made of an easy-care acrylic fabric. Throw it in the wash and dryer. That won't save it being squashed in a box for seven years, so in hindsight, looking at the photos I could have given it a quick once over with an iron or a run through the tumble dryer-but I didn't. Enjoy the creases on the skirt as a sort of realism then. 
Hey, there's a pandemic on-I'm not ironing.

The green enamel clamper bracelet looks vintage but it isn't quite-I bought it about 20 years ago at Target. It is getting close though. I swear it feels like I just bought it. I don't wear it often which probably explains why it isn't chipped. I'm terribly hard on bracelets.

When I bought this jacket a few years ago, it had crumbling, foam rubber shoulder pads in it. I carefully removed them (wearing gloves as I'm allergic to rubber) and after several washes to remove any trace of the rubber, finally got it wearable. Then, I forgot about it. I found it tucked away in Danny's room of all places, and promptly built an outfit around it. The extremely voluminous polyester pleated skirt worked well with it, as did the acrylic ribbed knit back-zip vintage polo neck from Sears. 

The Pennsylvania Dutch necklace is two-sided

It felt satisfying to wear the necklace as I bought it quite a long time ago but like so many other things, it just doesn't get worn. 

My blog tells me that the last wear of this hieroglyph print skirt was way back in spring of 2016. It is a bit big in the waist, but nothing a belt and a safety pin can't keep in place. The long, linen waistcoat gets regular wear (at least once a year) but for some reason I've neglected the skirt. Shame on me. 
The pendant may also be worn as a brooch. It has rhinestone eyes that dangle and move, which I find delightful. 
There's that ring again next to a close-up of the skirt print. 
This outfit did get compliments when I had to go buy masks, socially distanced compliments. We joked how a trip to the craft store is now an event worthy of our best outfits. I didn't mention that I've worn ball gowns to the grocer. Sometimes it is best to just take a compliment before they start figuring out how bonkers I am. 

Remember how I was thinking my migraines and dizziness might be from driving? Well, no, actually not. The last couple of days have been intense, but I'm scheduled for some appointments with the ophthalmologist, etc. and I'm sure we'll get it sorted eventually. Who wants to wager 20 bucks that this is all from the time the oral surgeon shot bleach into my sinuses and it landed in my eye? Anyone?
Yeah, that was fun. November of 2014 and I haven't had a sinus/face pain free day since. But whatever. I didn't sue. I probably should have. 

This blouse is so far outside my usual style, particularly the keyhole neck, but the print was just too good to pass up. It is a knit jersey-like fabric that has held up surprisingly well without pilling or losing shape. Sometimes it is good to try something different, and if memory serves it was under a dollar at the Goodwill. The earrings look like vintage plastic, but they're from Target a few months ago. They regularly discount earrings after a month or so, and since I'm there anyway picking up groceries I always take a side-trip down the clearance aisle to see what's on offer. I wouldn't pay $12.00 for a pair of earrings, but I would pay $3.99

Also working my way through the denim, and this 80s jumpsuit is always easy to wear. There really isn't much you need to do with a jumpsuit besides put it on. 

Finally, a skirt you've seen plenty on the blog

I'm never going to be tired of it though. I have so many of these sequin-adorned skirts, but they're like flowers-how can you pick a favourite when they're all so beautiful?

Wearing more neglected necklaces. This one is heavy, but not nearly on the level of the blue and white one. The dangly earrings are Liz Claiborne from the early 00s. 

I am told that I'll be eligible for a vaccine after 1 April, which is very good news. Danny is in a different situation as teenagers aren't being prioritised and they can only take the Pfizer vaccine anyway. Iowa might be opening that up to out of state residents (we're 15 minutes from Council Bluffs) so that's a possibility to keep an eye on. It isn't a perfect system but coming from absolutely NOTHING being done, I won't complain-building a system from scratch in a pandemic when there wasn't even a proper transition between governments was quite the feat. I'm feeling optimistic as we head into this, though in line with my personality-cautiously optimistic. I'm too old to change. 

Stay safe and well.