Tuesday, October 12, 2021


Hi there! Just me, waving awkwardly. Helloooo. Are you ready to Rocktober?! I love October, wish there was some way to slow it down. 

I'm helpfully holding up my handbag so you can see it. It was also hair wash day, so this is as good as my hair will look for the next week. Not wanting to lose the opportunity to show off my freshly cleaned tresses, I put on decent clothing and went out to do my Thursday chores. Thursdays are more or less my thrifting day. Danny has French club after school so I have extra time before I need to pick him up. 

My first stop is typically the little thrift shop in the church basement on 84th street. Most of the time I don't find anything, but when I do it is pretty good stuff. Today I came home with a belt bought more for the removeable Western buckle with a large agate in the centre. I'll wear that over and over and it was an absolute bargain at $5.00 I haven't checked it over closely, but I suspect it is silver. 

A bit further up the street, and then around a corner is the Assistance League thrift store. I always find something there. They do a weekly sale of colour coded tags (like Goodwill does) at half price, .99 cents, etc. This week I bought half price earrings, bracelets, a beautiful silk scarf, and a vintage red, pussy bow blouse. I think a red blouse almost always works in my wardrobe. 

Chuffed with how well I'd done (I'd still spent very little) I tried my luck at Hand Me Ups. There, I found a Missoni blouse I had, but gave away and regretted ever since. I was able to replace it new with tags and extra button for a few dollars. 

By that point, I was really thinking it couldn't get any better, but I decided to try my luck at the Goodwill across the street from Hand Me Ups. I had almost given up when I spotted a 1970s black polyester jumpsuit with wide legs and rainbow trim. That was $5.79 It needs some re-stitching in spots but is otherwise in good condition. 

My Thursdays aren't always so fruitful, but I enjoy being out (wearing an N95 mask with a surgical mask over it because I am not fucking around) and doing something just for myself. Tomorrow I'll get the groceries, and there will be cleaning and laundry, and the like but on Thursday I get to do my thing. 

We're at the in-between point where it is too humid for tights but too cool for bare legs so enter the dreaded "Nana Tights." I don't hate them as much as some people do, particularly as my legs haven't been looking very nice of late (veins, blotchy dry skin, etc). If I'm wearing Nana tights I might as well carry a Nana bag and this one even had my name on it. Literally. It is a "Jenny Bag". 
This is probably the most utilitarian bag I own. I found it new with tags, but it is from the 50s. The belt I'm wearing appears to have been handmade. The shoes are a pair of Clarks I thrifted a few years ago. Everything here is vintage save for the dress which I thrifted but originally came from H&M. I like it, but unless I remember to keep hand washing and drip drying it, I don't think it will last very long. I'd like to think I'm giving it a second life, but realistically, this sort of stuff should never be made in the first place. The world doesn't need more cheap, acrylic knit dresses. I'll do my best to take care of it though. I do really like how it looks. 
Because it was a French Club Thursday, I had to hurry to get dinner together once we got home. This stir-fry with tofu and vegetables is served over chickpea pasta and came together in about 30 minutes. Pro Tip-start by pressing your tofu dry between towels and beneath a weight. As it presses, you can use the time to quickly chop the vegetables, bring a pot of water to a boil, and make a sauce. 

Fry the tofu first, then remove it to a plate and do the veg adding it back in at the end. So much of cooking is about timing and knowing that carrots will need longer to cook than peppers. 

For an all purpose sort of sauce I combine: 
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar (or sherry)
1 tablespoon Swerve brown sugar replacement
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
a pinch of mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 star anise
Enough low sodium vegetable broth to bring to 1 cup
2 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)

Mix it all together and pour over vegetables in last few minutes of cooking. You can add a splash of sesame oil if you like it (I loathe the smell). It will thicken as it cooks. If you cook it a bit too hard and it needs thinning extra broth or water should work fine. 

This is less a recipe than a template because I don't know what sort of vegetables you have to hand. I do cook scallions in two parts with the whites first and the green part just tossed in at the end. I know that sounds like extra work, but it does make for a nicer stir fry. 

So here I used, scallions, ginger root, garlic, red and orange bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots. With the tofu it was more than enough food. 

Friday arrived and with it the usual chores. Cleaned the bathrooms, mopped the floors, hoovered the carpets, watered the garden, did the laundry, dusted the furniture, made the beds, and cleaned the fridge. By the time 3 PM rolled around, I went to collect Danny from school and then came home to start dinner. Ordinarily, these chores wouldn't take an entire day, but I'm slower now. Everything still gets done, eventually. Thankfully, dinner was quick and easy to prepare-I'll get to that in a moment. 
This skirt was part of a very damaged suit. The top isn't salvageable to wear (will use the fabric elsewhere) but the skirt only needed a few small repairs. No idea on the origin of the fabric (West African? Indonesia?) but I knew it was too beautiful to let it end up in the trash. 
The shirt glows in the dark.
I have leggings with the long bones painted on and I've always wanted to go jogging at night wearing them, but I've never done it. My jogging days are probably over, but I can manage a short walk. Most evenings I get a walk around the campus next door. Last night another very brazen squirrel ran right up to us. Mr. ETB had some peanuts in his jacket pocket, so he gave them to him. Squirrels can remember people so I'm afraid he'd better be bringing a bag of nuts along for our walks. 
Dinner was a breeze to get together. A few weeks back I bought some thinly sliced chicken breasts on a deep sale. I treated them like cutlets, and they cooked quickly in a frying pan. I also fried some onions, mushrooms, garlic, and thyme seasoned with a pinch of smoked paprika. I made a quick sauce from broth, margarine, and cornstarch. I deglazed the chicken pan with a generous splash of dry white wine, and then reduced it and poured the concentrated bit into the gravy. The green beans were frozen and cooked quickly in a frying pan with a bit of oil and a tablespoon of olive tapenade from a jar I bought last week. Quick, healthy, and inexpensive. Can't ask much more than that. I had a scoop of peanut butter ice cream I made myself that was dense in calories and nutrients. I can only manage small amounts at a time, but it turned out well. Because they boys aren't eating it I didn't need to use special ingredients and it is only peanut butter, evaporated milk, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. I don't have an ice cream maker so I used a metal tray in the freezer. Turned out fine. Next time I'm going to try stirring some Ovaltine powder into it. I just don't want to be like the guy that made ice cream out of Pepto Bismal! There's a limit to my experimentation. 

I was completely wiped out after making dinner and cleaning up, so Mr. ETB offered to come with to do the grocery shopping and push the cart around. At 6:30 PM on a Friday night , it was rather empty and we were able to get what we needed quickly, and get out. No great meat bargains this time, but I did come home with $2.00 wine (I'll use it for cooking) and two pounds of cremini mushrooms for practically nothing. Mushrooms are so expensive, and I'm more than happy to have them. I do own a dehydrator and can always dry any extra, though I rarely have extra. Right now I have a large head of cabbage, mushrooms, and enough beans to keep them fed for a week at least. Saturday is typically a smorgasbord of leftovers from the previous week. 

Last year during the height of the pandemic (though our cases locally are just as high now) I'd shop early in the morning and plan for several weeks at a time. I'm not doing that now, but I still avoid crowds and being in stores at peak times. With Mr. ETB along I wasn't tempted to shop for any clearance earrings at Target-and I do love the sale earrings at Target, though I doubt he'd have cared. I've only got two ears though! I probably don't need more earrings. Ever. I recently sent a few vintage pieces off to a young friend in Texas who will get more wear from them than I will. 

Yep, there's a stack of extra blankets on the bed and I'm wearing a sweater, leggings, and heavy alpaca socks to sleep in. The days might feel like summer but the nights have definitely been cold. 
The leggings are a few years old but still going strong. I have to find my silver spiderweb leggings before the month is out.

You might be getting the idea that I like whimsical leggings. I really do. 

This is an unretouched photo from Sunday. Look how blue that sky was. Our weather was finally cool enough for a jacket in the morning and evening. 
Didn't get the greatest photos as it was blindingly bright out, but that's okay. 
Another giant belt that probably weighs five pounds between the buckle and all the rhinestone studs. I'm wearing it low on my hips here and it just closes on the last hole, but at my natural waist it fits fine. The jeans are vintage Y2K era boot cut hipsters. Someone on social media suggested I need a big 60s muscle car to go with the look. I wouldn't mind a GTO.

This was another meal making use of garden herbs that are still going strong. Underneath all the tomatoes, olives, and capers are cod fillets, and a square of fried polenta. I don't usually make my own polenta as it is inexpensive enough to buy, but this time I did. It made quite a lot so we'll have it for meals through the week. 

Basic Polenta Recipe:
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups polenta (corn grits)
3 tablespoons margarine (optional)

In a large, heavy pot bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta and lower the temperature to a simmer. Cook about 30 minutes until thickened, stirring often. It WILL spit, so use a long spoon and stand back. When done, remove from heat, beat in margarine (or butter) and pour into a greased pan or bowl (I use a 9x13 inch Pyrex dish). Let stand about 10 minutes. Unmould onto a plate. It makes quite a lot, so wrap any extra and keep in in the fridge. To fry, dredge in flour to prevent sticking, and fry in a pan with about 1/8 of an inch of olive oil. Serve hot.

I purchased this leather waistcoat off another last-chance rail a couple years ago. One of the buttons had torn away a bit of the leather and was hanging off revealing the lining. It was a five minute repair at most. It always amazes me what people will consider a defect worth getting rid of. This is a vintage, Made in Italy piece of leather that just isn't made today. I'm happy to own it (didn't think it would ever fit me, but I wanted it for my collection) and delighted to finally give it a wear. 
These boots retail for over $200.00 They were unworn when I thrifted them. Admittedly, the patchwork of colours are strange-sort of a grey/beige/greige, and a greenish khaki. When they work though, as they did with this odd shade of brown skirt, it is a fantastic combination. But truthfully, they don't get much wear because these aren't colours my wardrobe favours. 
The skirt is one of two vintage double knit skirts in a similar style that I picked up at Hand Me Ups. I'm going to say it-knit skirts strike me as mumsy. Not my mum, because she liked trousers, but other mums, absolutely. I'm wearing them anyway because they're stretch waists that don't hurt my stomach, but in an ideal world, I wouldn't be wearing a skirt like this. 
Here's the back of the skirt, and a look at how long my hair is getting. It is dry and brittle but long. 
"Make a silly face."

Omaha is expecting severe storms tonight (Unusual this late in the year) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the roof repair holds. The roofers were up there mucking around on our neighbour's side yesterday. It is a flat roof so I'm also hoping for a mild winter without too much snow. 
I have so much to do over the next several weeks interspersed wit h medical appointments that will likely throw everything off schedule. All but the most critical surgeries are on hold right now as our hospitals continue to fill with the unvaccinated, so I'm probably not looking at anything immediate. That's a drag because I'm in misery, but as long as folks have their freedom I guess I shouldn't be cross about it. *Grumbles anyway*.
I've had this Talbot's skirt for a very long time, since I was a university student and picked up a nasty case of dysentery doing my fieldwork. That was the last time it fit too, but I kept it figuring I might have a daughter or granddaughter that would like it. I paid a lot of money for it, and surely it would fit someone. I just never expected that someone to be me, but here we are. So yay for the nice skirt but as we say in the midwest, holy fucking shit, I'm not happy about it. 

Sorry about that. I do try to keep it generally positive around here and on Instagram but I am losing my patience with these people that won't do anything to even pretend to be part of society. I'd be upset even if I personally didn't need medical care. Enough of this childishness already. 

I'm doing NaNoWriMo this November because yeah, it is time to finish the damn thing. I'm not doing it officially as I'm rather far along, but I'm taking the excuse to complete the novel. Which is good because I have three other half-written pieces sitting around that will probably just end up on AO3 because at least one of them is flirting with fan fiction. But yeah, I need to get this stuff in order.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall nearly together this year at the end of November. Then once December arrives I'll have Dan's birthday, Christmas, and all the other stuff. This is probably the last year he will humour me and let me bake a novelty cake . Most years the cakes reflect his interests so maybe the EU flag? It would certainly be easier than some of the ones I've done. We don't go wild with gift giving, but as he'll be turning 17 I wanted to give him something special (No, not an Adidas track suit!) and so far all I've picked up was a copy of Amanda Gorman's The Hill We Climb and Other Poems. I know that's meaningful to him, so I made the rare purchase of a new book. Most of my holiday cards are posted already. 

My beloved White Sox (Danny supports the Cubs) are out now for the post season, so I won't have baseball distracting me. We won't talk about my feelings regarding the team manager except to say I'd feel the same about him if they'd won the World Series. They could have hired anyone and they went with Tony La Russa. God only knows why. But the players did a great job this year and should be proud of themselves. 

Wow, that got off topic from Covidiots to the Sox but that's how my brain works these days. I should save that stuff for Tumblr. You're all welcome there, by the way. Mostly me reblogging things I find interesting. 

First wear for the necklace. I adore that 70s hammered metal look. I don't have much in silver for some reason. 
I'm going to stroll on out of here before the storms arrive. I really hope we don't lose power again. 

Take care everyone. 




Bibi Maizoon said...

Those black pumps look pretty high & saucy for Clark's?
Looking very "Starsky & Hutch" in the leather blazer, jeans, and mega belt - perhaps a Ford Gran Torino is in order?
Loving your 70s greige look with patchwork boots and gobs of gold accessories!
Walmart has a line of novelty print leggings that are fun and good quality too, I believe the brand name is Terra & Sky?|I bought some Dia de los Muertos sugar skull print leggings there in October 2019 that are gorgeous.
Weather is weird here too, like an unusaully long Monsoon. Hindu & Buddhists holidays are here and few are bothering to mask. Most of the thermocyclers to do PCR testing aren't working so testing is minimal, government is non existent. Still having 2-3 helicopters daily fly over my house bringing Covid patients down from the high Himalayas.
Stay safe,

Vix said...

I do love a bit of West African waxed cotton, the fabric is great for repurposing into masks and tote bags.
It sounds like you had a very successful morning chazza shopping, I'm hoping to go out for a rummage in a bit.
I haven't had a stir-fry in ages, I might have to suggest Jon makes us one. xxx

Polyester Princess said...

Oh my, haven't you done well in the thrift shops!
The H&M dress you wore is gorgeous. Although you won't find me shopping at H&M, I'm always prepared to give H&M clothing a loving home if I come across it in the charity shops.
The West African wax skirt - which is what it looks like to me - is fabulous, I'm sure you'll find a use for the damaged top.
I can't believe Dan is turning 17, where did the time go? I guess you've been wondering the same. xxx

Emily said...

I love the picture of you against that bright blue sky! It makes you look dramatic, just like the movie poster for "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman."

How lovely it is that you could get the Missoni blouse again after parting with it long ago. It must be like reuniting with an old friend.

Thanks for reminding us that you have a Tumblr account. I scrolled through it today, and it was loads of fun! It was worth it, just for the "ghost sperm" photo, which sent me into mad gales of laughter with tears running down my face.

The greige patchwork boots are so sophisticated, and you styled them with just the right clothes to bring out their beauty. I bet you can come up with several other outfits to wear with those boots before the season is over. By the way, knit skirts don't look dowdy or mumsy on you at all.

Señora Allnut said...

You rock this H&M dress and so fabulous bag, but Nana tights are not my cup of tea (even if sometimes they're practical). Totally agree that 'this sort of stuff should never be made in the first place', I also have these mixed feelings when thrifting some polyester stuff.
Glad that you were so lucky and made some fabulous purchases!, your Thursdays look like a fav day!.
Lovely wax print skirt, so beautiful!, I hope that you can make the most of the top!
And love your spooky t-shirt and those leggings, so cute!
You look fab in your leather jacket and jeans, and so fab belt!, rocking it!
I'm admiring your leather vest, so Versace style and looks really luxurious! and so fabulous accessories!. And these boots are really cool and elegant!.
Obviously, I totally understand that you grumble about covidiots making other people's lifes difficult and putting everybody (and themselves) in danger. So annoying.
Going to have a look at your Tumblr!

bahnwärterin said...

my absolute favorite outfit here is the skeleton top with the indonesian wax print skirt (the vibe of the pattern is asian i think) - such unique pieces and combination!! LOVE! i find the patchwork boots a nice neutral yet not boring - they would look fab with the "3 dresses" from lartely.
i´m glad that out there is someone else who sleeps in a wool sweater :-D
polenta is a staple in our kitchen - i too make it for 2 days. but we do eat it as a mush right from the oven the first day - which is the tradional rural way in romania and south tyrol..... great that you can eat some homemade icecreme - the recipe sounds tasty!
still avoid the shops - doning a mask for hours almost kills my breathing system.
stay safe and brave! xxxxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Fab outfits! Loved the yellow drress and the African print skirt especially. I also loved your night attire. You looked very cosy. It's chilly here at night, too, so I often wear a pair of warm socks in bed.

I can't believe you did all that cleaning, cooked and then went shopping! I've learned to slow down after the first few years of retirement. I used to do too much in the day and then feel exhausted. Now, I'll do one major thing per day + cooking. That's it. I have Fridays as my free do what I want day now and look forward to it all week. I like the sound of your thrifting routine!

My grandson (17 in January) is looking for a part time job!

Have a great weekend,

Miss Magpie said...

I LOVE the leggings I do love a novelty print. I love the idea of a thrifting day, my sister used to have a half day on Friday and always went home via the charity shops. Like you sometimes she never found anything but over all going weekly meant so got so many amazing finds! I hope the storms leave your home intact.

Beth Waltz said...

Those may be Nana tights and a Nana bag, but those are definitely not Nana shoes. Less Nana-like heels would be difficult to locate! If I could still wear heels, I'd wear them with that gorgeous Talbot's skirt and black fend-off-the-chill tights. (Dysentery acquired doing fieldwork? A story there...)

Thanks for the tofu hint and recipe! And quite right about cooking scallions in two stages. It took too many years for me to learn this is how one cooks chard.

No need to apologize for impatience with the unvaccinated covidiots clogging the healthcare system and hogging the beds. They're like those giant water buffalo that plop down in the middle of the road and refuse to budge. Say "shoo!" and they shake their horns at you. So sorry you're suffering while waiting for a safe passage to surgery and healing!

Mim said...

Sounds like the people of Omaha could be twinned with an awful lot of people here on Plaguey Island (including our appalling government). I'm glad you're still able to keep safe and stay away from them. A couple of people I know now have the 'rona (mostly picked up from school-aged kids) and one of them's got appalling fatigue as a result.

It sounds like you've found some amazing things in the thrifts. Must've been really pleasing to find a replacement for something you regretted giving away.

Belgian buns for Danny? (Are they even Belgian? Ann would know!)

Anonymous said...

Thats great you have set aside a thrift store day. I consider it a mental health day. Nothing like a wonder around to clear out your head.
My day was senior citizen day on Wednesday. 25 % off at Liberty Thrift Pottstown Pa. I am now taking a class for a few weeks so that is out. They also have a 50% off coupon on Thursdays. But you know what? The prices are so good most of the time it doesn't matter that much to me. I am cheap but not that cheap.
Have some fun.

Best Wishes,
Gail from Pa.

Goody said...

Clarks tried to do a line of vintage looking shoes a few years ago. They're really nice.
Gosh, that's terrifying that people have just given up on masking. Stay safe.

I figured someone would know what the fabric was.

Ah that's two votes for African wax print.
H&M does admittedly make some pretty stuff.

First, thanks for the card-I love the owl.
Tumblr is my happy place where I don't need to think too much.

I didn't know you had a tumblr as well-I signed up to follow it.

Ah, a vote for Indonesian fabric. The mystery deepens.
Polenta "mush" unfried and just out of the pot is a popular breakfast food in parts of the US, but not something I grew up with in Chicago. I think it is popular in the Pennsylvania Dutch (who I believe are German, not Dutch) areas. Our immigrants probably brought it here and put their own twist on it.
I'm starting to fear we'll be in the masks forever, but I hope I'm wrong. I can't stand them either.
Stay safe and well.

Isn't it fun to see the teenagers today being so well, adult? at 17 I wasn't really paying attention to the world the way these young people are. Good luck to your grandson in his job search.

@Miss Magpie
Thank you!
The storms left us alone. It is much too late in the year for this sort of weather.

The scallion thing is so obvious once someone points it out.
Water buffalo is a good description.
I hope you're continuing to heal as well.

I'm sorry you're in it as badly as we are. I hope your friends recover soon. It is just so awful.
I have no idea about Belgian buns. I told Danny I'd make him waffles every weekend for breakfast and so far I've been doing it. He thinks it is hilarious. Not as hilarious as him speaking Flemish. French he's got down well. I'm sure he'll figure it out.

Our Goodwill does one too but I never bother. Our Family Fare grocery store however does a whopping 10% off your order on senior day, so that's when we shop for expensive items.
Take care.