Thursday, October 28, 2021

Just Ducky


I wouldn't bring many skills to a space mission, but I already feel like I have an alien trying to burst out of my body, so sign me up. 

Someone forgot to proofread. 
No footies unfortunately, but it does have a hood. It will likely be too  warm to sleep in, but perfect for lounging about in a cold house. We have the first snow forecast for next week. Still raining at the moment. I'm glad this storm was only rain or we'd have two feet of snow by now. 
I don't see any reason why I can't wear this on the school run!

I probably won't get all my Halloween clothes worn this year, but I'm not stressing out over it. I spent most of today in bed (when I wasn't in the toilet) and I know when something is too much effort. I was pleased to wear these leggings before October was over. 
We've been seeing the autumn influx of spiders around the house, but I don't have the heart to kill them. Maybe they'll eat some gnats. Nebraska does get poisonous spiders and you have to be cautious reaching into undisturbed closets or boxes, but they do their best to avoid humans (hence the name, Brown Recluse). I suppose if I saw a brown recluse I'd kill it, but the other spiders are welcome visitors. On the farm we'd get Wolf Spiders which are the size of my hand. In the city spiders mostly small and harmless. 
Halloween is time for scary monsters and what's scarier than meeeeee?! Not much, friends. Not much. 
I bought this bodysuit several years ago but have only started wearing it recently. The skirt is part of a 1970s suit. The jacket has a wrap closure with a tie belt but I can't find it. I hope I didn't foolishly get rid of it. 
I can't decide if I like the boots with this or not. I look like Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl. 

The bag looks rather ordinary at first glance but it houses a secret...
A bright red lining! It is a very useful bag as well. I don't subscribe to the "rule" of only wearing patent leather in spring and summer. Obviously not in the dead of a Nebraska winter as the leather could crack, but otherwise, sure.

This vintage dress is by American designer Ike Clark who sold designs to upscale department stores in the 60s and 70s. 
The tiny plastic beads on the trim and belt are still intact. I suspect it wasn't worn much by the previous owner. 
I had the perfect Sara Coventry earrings to match. 
And vintage Naturalizer shoes. 
But I think the best part of this outfit happened when I put on my coat to go out...
I own the same coat in Navy, but I liked the contrast of the grey better.
That's a classic look.
I do love some Ultrasuede.

Especially when it is Lilli Ann. People go wild with money over the earlier Lilli Ann pieces (I have a few of those as well) but overlook the 70s Ultrasuede. In addition to the two long coats I have a few of her Ultrasuede blazers. They're wonderful pieces, and easy to care for. As fabrics go, Ultrasuede is rather durable stuff. I wouldn't dare wear real suede out in the elements. 

I saw this and it reminded me of the imaginary conversations I have with my stomach I've named, Pickles. 

Not being able to eat is wearing on me a bit, but I'm trying to keep a sense of humour about it. I don't know at what point my body will start cannibalising my brain for energy the way it does with fat and muscles but oh boy, is it ever in for a surprise. I don't even think I have a brain any longer. Probably just oatmeal in there! Anyway, yeah. 

What is it about the weather turning five degrees cooler and suddenly it sends me looking for my tweeds? 

I went with the red tights as there's prominent red flecks in the tweed, but unfortunately it doesn't show well in the photos. It made better sense in person.

It shows a bit better here.
The vintage bag doesn't have a label, but it is very nicely made. 
Can't go wrong with a vintage Damon Turtle poloneck sweater. 
Boots were from K Mart many years ago. I miss K Mart and Sears.
These brand names! Believe me, this suit wouldn't last five minutes before it was covered in mud on the farm. I basically didn't wear anything nice for the 12 years we were on the farm. I had nice aprons though, so there's that.

I haven't felt much like cooking-it takes too much mental energy to get things together, but a pot of chili is worth the effort as it can last several days. This one turned out well and was made from what is pantry staples for us. Tinned pumpkin is easy to find in the states, but if you don't have it, go ahead and leave it out. Cooked squash would work here too if you have it. 
Vegetarian Chili

4 15 oz. tins black beans 
1 15 oz. tin pinto beans
1 15 oz tin kidney beans
1 15 oz tin pureed pumpkin (not the spiced kind for pie)
1 14 oz. tin diced tomatoes with juice
2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay laurel leaves
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 tablespoons corn oil (or whatever you have)
1 quart vegetable broth

Drain and rinse the beans. Amounts of spices are obviously adaptable to your tastes. Use whatever you like.
Heat the oil in a big pot. Cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until they start to soften. Add spices and mix well. You might want to add more oil at this point if it looks like you need it. Add everything else except broth and mix well. Add enough broth to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot leaving some space for the lid to vent. After the broth reduces (about an hour), top it up again with the remaining broth and cook it down once more. You can speed this up by cooking at a higher temperature but make sure to stir it often to ensure it doesn't scorch. 

Makes a LOT of food but it keeps well and can be frozen. 

Last week also saw a roasted chicken on the menu as it is also meals for days after. In addition to a cut up lemon in the cavity I added rosemary and lemongrass from the garden. It smelled lovely cooking. I don't do much to a chicken other than season it, rub it with olive oil and cook it in a 425 degree F. oven for about an hour. It should register 160 degrees F. on a meat thermometer when done. I won't say this is foolproof, but it is rather hard to ruin. I don't baste and with this quick cooking method it really isn't necessary. 

Made some applesauce with nutmeg. I ran it through a food mill rather than using the food processor which tends to turn things to liquid (good for me obviously, but unpleasant for people that aren't on a soft/liquid diet). I can always blitz mine in a blender afterward. Cooking applesauce also makes the house smell good. 

Tomorrow is my long awaited appointment with the gastro specialist that took five months to get an appointment. In those five months I've lost an additional thirty pounds that probably wouldn't have happened if I'd been seen earlier. The arguments conservatives use against socialised medicine is that you can die waiting to be seen. Yeah. Okay. If you live in a country with healthcare fight to keep it. You DO NOT want American style healthcare. We have excellent insurance coverage and it is still costing us a small fortune out of pocket. 

Danny figured out that the Dr's name is pronounced, "Quack." I'm glad I'll have a mask over my face. Poor guy, that's a hell of a name for a doctor. We have plenty of bona fide quacks now that our governor has mandated waiving the licensing for medical people to work in the state (!) and also waiving any vaccine mandates. If that sounds bad, it is. The state attorney general also signed off on letting people be treated with horse medicine. Or crystals, or lupus meds, or really whatever they have to hand. That doesn't mean hospitals have to hire them, but I'm sure in certain parts of the state that would be considered just fine and dandy. 

I don't expect him to do much other than listen and order some tests, but at least it gets the ball rolling. I was already sick before the appendectomy in May, but I was never right after the surgery and I hope he understands that there are two different things going on. Anyway, I don't expect to know anything, but hopefully it goes well. Or errrr, ducky.

See you later.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

My Name Is Ted and One Day I'll Be Dead

 As promised, the cat dress was purchased to go with the hoodie. I absolutely will wear this year round. I don't buy a lot of new clothes, but when it happens, there's usually a fantastic print involved. 
Adorable, right?! I love cats so much it is really a shame I'm allergic. I'd definitely be a crazy cat lady. I like dogs too though.
This was our little dog Algy. He's been gone ten years now and we never did get another dog. He was a stray from Puerto Rico that was brought to Boston on a flight full of dogs to a no-kill shelter. There's a terrible problem with abandoned dogs on the beaches of San Juan, so these wonderful volunteers run a shelter and charter flights to the mainland when they get full. That dog was crazy. We loved him, but he'd willingly try to fight dogs thrice his size who would look at him like he was crazy. Because he was. Fortunately no big dog ever took up the challenge to fight him. He was good around people he liked, and never had a problem with Danny but he once tried to bite a Mormon missionary earing the nickname, "Satan" from the neighbours (and many treats as a reward because our neighbours were like that), and he did succeed in biting my sister in law's ankle. I never got on with her, so maybe he sensed that. Anyway, he was quite elderly when he finally went, but he spent his declining years running around a farm and sleeping under the dining room table which he preferred to his dog bed. He had a good life.

It is still warm most days in Omaha, but the nights are getting cool. The giant green bathrobe does make me look like a Muppet, but it is warm. I'm the only one that's cold. Dan walks around in an undershirt when it is snowing. When he was a baby his nursery had a north exposure and that room could get cold (it was a farm without many trees to stop the wind). I'd dress him warmly for bed, but as soon as he was old enough to protest he'd kick off his pajamas and I'd find him lying in the crib much the way he came into the world. By the time he was a toddler I gave up on pajamas and just let him sleep in a tee shirt and underwear with blankets he could add or remove as he liked. That's how he is today. I suppose he got acclimated to cold at a young age . My dad was the same. His parents worked at a newsstand and they brought him outside to work with them when he was a baby (they weren't going to pay for daycare during the Depression) and he was never cold. I don't know if there's any science behind this, but that's my observation. You'll never find me drinking iced coffee in January! Growing up the old man didn't like turning on the furnace before November. In Chicago there could be nice weather or a foot of snow by November, but we'd just layer on another sweater and deal with it. 

This dress is old. I bought it in the early 80s at Laura Ashley and by some miracle managed to keep the belt with it all these years. I'm still amazed it wasn't lost. The dress is made from the softest baby wale corduroy with that distinctive Laura Ashley print. Obviously much different from the stuff they sell today. 
There's a closer look at the fabric. No matter how awful I might feel, there's something cheering and mood lifting about a beautiful dress like this. I'm glad I kept it through all the years it didn't fit because I'm really enjoying wearing it now. 
A beautiful dress demands a special handbag and this ruffled leather one is a favourite. 

My Thursday thrift excursion didn't have much this week, but I did find these three pieces.

The necklace is by a short-lived brand called Camelot (early 60s-80s). The earrings have a nice antique look (they're not). The purple glass ring looked pretty on my index finger, so it came home with me. Not shown is the vintage cowboy hat (made in Texas, as it should be) that was unworn and cost me six dollars. I didn't buy it for fashion, and intend to wear it outdoors in all weather once I've water-proofed it. It fit my head perfectly, so the original owner must have had a very small head (for a man). Possibly it was a gift and never fit right which would explain the unworn condition. No matter, I was happy to have it. A cowboy hat might look odd in some places but is an accepted piece of attire in Nebraska from farm work to formal occasions. Boots are the same. My husband has his "Job interview boots" that only get worn for special occasions. They're plain, and black, but they're his only "nice" footwear.  Anyway, the hat will eventually be making a show on the blog. 

I have oregano drying everywhere. The basil is finished for the year and I made a batch of pesto for the freezer, but the oregano, thyme, sage, and rosemary keep coming. 
This is my first year's harvest of lemongrass. The stalks are slimmer the first year, but should come in a bit thicker next year if it lives. In our zone, lemongrass isn't a perennial, however the garden is sheltered from the worst of the winter winds, and I planted it near the vent for our tumble dryer. With all that, and a southern facing exposure, I am hopeful it will survive heavily mulched and covered. After I cut it back yesterday the remaining stumps were warming in the sun making the front of the house smell like citronella. It is really lovely. It can be prepared for freezing, which I'll do with some of the harvest, and I'll probably share the rest. I see a few mugs of lemongrass and ginger tea in my future. 
A brown corduroy suit. Well, that's the 80s for you, but I threw an early 60s sweater at it and tried to go for student rather than college professor. Don't know how well I managed that. 
It was a Friday in Nebraska during football season (American football, not soccer) which means supporting the local college team by wearing red. It didn't help as they continue snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but eh, whatever. Go Big Red.
Even wore this little vintage plastic football brooch (the other piece is a helmet). Dan's High School has a football team (Go Warriors!) who are undefeated in their season though they were able to sit out the last match as their opponents were disqualified after an on-field fight at a match the week before. Being forced to forfeit because of poor sportsmanship used to be a rarity, but is all too common today. *Shakes head*.
My suit has a Union Label from the Garment Workers Union and as it is red, white, and blue I know that the suit was made after 1976 when they switched to this label. I do think it is an 80s suit based on the length of the skirt and jacket and the size of the shoulder pads. I could be wrong though. It would have been a very small size 12 for the 80s as the skirt has a 26 inch waist. That would have been more like an 8 or 10. The jacket is roomy though, making me think it was deliberately oversized. Also-that label just looks like something from the 80s. 

With an abundance of green tomatoes, it was time to make green tomato quickbread. 

I used the recipe we've enjoyed for years HERE but with a few changes to make it acceptable for a diabetic. I used wholemeal flour instead of white as it has a lower glycemic index, and I substituted chopped nuts for the dried fruit. I replaced the sugar with Swerve brown sugar replacement as it doesn't cause anyone stomach issues the way some of those substitutes can. The recipe made two loaves and I already froze one for breakfasts in the dead of winter. They took much less time to bake, and with dark wheat it really required watching it as you can't tell by colour. Mine were fully baked at 35 minutes. They didn't rise much, but that might be an indicator it is time to open a fresh box of bicarb. It didn't last but a few days, and was declared a success by Dan and his dad. 

This is a terrible photograph of a very nice chicken dish with red onions, black olives,  prunes, garlic,  and balsamic vinegar. Very autumnal, though the recipe I followed called for figs (impossible to find around here so I used a few prunes). Here's the recipe at The Guardian. They have better food stylists!
Interestingly, it smelled like American style Chinese food as it cooked-I guess it was the garlic and vinegar, but I'd have sworn there was sesame or ginger in there if I wasn't cooking it myself. Strange, eh? 

This blouse is a mysetry. I've had it in my collection for as long as I can remember-possibly back to the 70s, but I don't remember buying it or ever being able to actually wear it. I kept it because it is beautiful, but where it came from? Who knows. I have a suspicion it might have been my older sister's. Well, I tried it on a whim and it fits fine now (every debilitating disease has a silver lining, I guess) so after hanging onto this blouse for decades it is finally getting a wear. 

I mean, those sleeves were worth keeping it for. The material is a cotton/polyester blend that is still in excellent condition (because it wasn't getting worn). 
The skirt is acrylic made to look like wool and is easy to launder and take care of. It even has a useful pocket. The colours aren't great for the sort of things I have in my wardrobe, but in winter I can wear a navy cardigan or yellow sweater with it. 
There's those new earrings. Minimal makeup as my seasonal allergies are causing my eyes to water and there's no point putting on shadow or mascara that will just be tears. I drew on my brows and wore lippy and that's going to have to do for a bit. This happens every autumn, and as soon as we get a couple hard freezes I'll be fine.  

Here's another Halloween novelty dress I purchased a few years ago. 
The details are hard to see in the photos but there's sewn on cat's ears and a front pocket made of a fleece like material. 
This overexposed photo shows a bit more detail.
Sparkly tights having the first wear of the season. 
I think that's the end of my cat themed Halloween clothing, but there's still a few more pieces before November. 
This 80s dress has seen many wears on the blog, but it is such a perfect autumn dress I couldn't see the harm in posting it yet again. This time I have new (vintage) boots.
Unworn 80s boots (I think, could be 70s) by Connie. I found two pair of boots that day
These Sam Edelman boots were also unworn and retail for over $200. That was a lucky find. I still need a pair of tall black boots with a heel and a zip up the leg, but I'm sure I'll find them eventually. My pair bit the dust last year. Actually two years ago. I didn't go anywhere last year. How soon we forget. 

I had a bit of a scare Wednesday when I ended up in the hospital emergency room being checked for a blood clot. After four hours of bloodwork and x ray scans they determined that I'd injured the muscle beneath my ribcage that makes it move when your lungs expand to take a breath. No idea how that happened as I woke with the pain from a sleep, but I must have rolled over and boom! So that was exciting, but a relief that it wasn't serious. Should be healed in 6-8 weeks of feeling like someone punched me in the chest. I wasn't going to go to the hospital and had called my doctor's office thinking they could take an x-ray but they sent me to the hospital. I felt bad taking up their time during a pandemic surge but everyone was lovely and very kind. Maybe they enjoy the novelty of a non-covid patient now and then. I could have done without the doctor poking a finger into my ribs and declaring, "Wow, you're really frail". I mean, I know it but couldn't he just keep that to himself? Strong able bodied people don't pull muscles in their sleep. Considering  everything my lungs and heart looked pretty good (touch wood). 

It got cold for real this time, and I put the flannel sheets on the bed. They're lovely to sleep on and when I woke up to a 59 degree F bedroom Friday morning, I was tempted to crawl back into bed. 
I don't go straight to the heavy clothes and coats as I think my body acclimates better in a gradual way, so out came the top half of a vintage Pendleton wool suit layered over a home sewn (not by me) dress. Definitely needed the tights though. Likely done with bare legs until next year.

Time to use the suede handbag with the unusual locking mechanism.

I bought that necklace in the 90s when I worked at Jordan Marsh as they had a generous employee discount. I love it, but rarely wear it. It has a tendency to disappear on clothes. 

The earrings were a recent thrift purchase. They actually seems to go with everything, and will likely be two dollars well spent. 

Which brings us to Friday where I didn't plan to dress as Fran Drescher in The Nanny, but shit happens.
I could probably recreate most of her outfits from the show which is terrifying. 
Instead of thinking about that, please admire this giant handbag. 

They just don't make them like that anymore. Heavy too! Could really clobber someone if they gave me any trouble. 

Meet my cowboy hat, Tex. 
Tex was sitting on a shelf at the thrift shop. He looked lonely, so I brought him home.
The original tag was still inside as the hat was unworn. Must have been a gift. I can't imagine buying myself a magnificent hat like that and not wearing it. Anyway, it is mine now. A quick google search tells us the store went out of business in the 80s. 

Shortly after finding the hat, I found these boots. 

The dark brown part is velvet and the boots are all leather inside. They're beautifully made and as far as I can tell only ended up in the thrift shop because the zipper on one boot was missing part of the pull. It took less than five minutes for me to fix. I'm going to waterproof these as well though I doubt I'd wear them in anything but fair weather. The photos don't do them justice. These are the most beautiful boots I've ever owned. 

Now all I need is a horse. 
I've got a Panhandle Slim waistcoat. It has matching culottes. 
But the silk velvet skirt wouldn't last long in a saddle. We got to talking a bout how luxurious silk velvet is and an Instagram friend mentioned she had a 1930s dress made from it. That made me remember the 1930s velvet gown I rescued from the 99 cent last chance bins several years ago. 
I never bothered trying it on as it was so tiny, but now I'm curious if it might fit, so I'll give that a try at some point. Bias cut gown are often larger than they look. The silk velvet is lovely and flexible. I have some older cotton velvet that's stiff and unpleasant. Now that I think of it, perhaps I ought to do a post devoted to the vintage velvet pieces in the collection. I don't know much about them, so maybe my knowledgeable readers can help me out. 
Until then, I'll just be moseying along...Happy Trails To You...
but I really wanna be a cowboy...