Saturday, August 13, 2022

Time Flies Like an Arrow, Fruit Flies Like a Banana


Hello again! Since our last visit, the second sunflower has bloomed, bringing me such happiness with each glance from the kitchen window. 

The first sunflower was so large the head has drooped down into the leaves. There's going to be several pounds of seed from that alone. 

It is just over a week until the drop-off day in Grand Island for State Fair entries. Against my better judgement, I registered ten entries (all breads) in categories Dan never competed. I don't like the idea of challenging his records, though he's said he doesn't care. I received sweetly worded encouragement about, "Continuing his legacy". I'm doing all whole grain loaves, mostly rye in various forms. That's what I'm best at.  I'm not entering any pies, cakes, or sweet dough this year as I'm not physically ready for that much baking. My plan to rest a couple weeks before the event were disrupted by Mr. ETB going into isolation after a close contact at work (again) came down with Covid. He's staying in the finished basement until he tests clear of virus. That's inconvenient, particularly with Dan headed back to school next week, but not nearly as inconvenient as waking up unable to hear out of my right ear. 

I called my GP for an appointment and luckily was able to get in as they'd had a cancellation that morning. She breezed into the room, said I had earwax in both ears and the nurse would see to it in a moment. Easy enough, I thought. 

I've learned a few things since that appointment in subsequent visits to an audiologist and an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. The most important thing is probably that almost no one still uses pressurised water to flush out wax from ear canals because it comes with risks of injury, and in the best case scenario, just pushes it in further. If I had to select but one word to describe the procedure it would be, "Violent." I guess, "Barbaric" would work too, without much exaggeration. The nurse couldn't get to it, so she kept irrigating my (at that point) good ear  forcefully with water before poking around with an implement trying to extract the wax. Eventually the pain was so awful I asked her to stop, only to be scolded and informed, "I'll have to tell the doctor." Okay. I mean what was she going to do, have me stay after school and clean the blackboards? She never did get much wax from either ear, but the annoyed doctor told me to call if it doesn't get better. You've probably twigged that it didn't get better. So I called back, concerned at this point if it was sudden hearing loss, I'd be closing the window of opportunity to get it treated without permanent damage.  I left a message. Twenty four hours go by, and no call back from the office. I called again and was curtly told, "She got the message. Sometimes it can take 72 hours to get back to patients if we're busy." 

I called the hearing specialist five minutes up the street from me and had an appointment scheduled for the next day. He extracted the tiniest bit of wax from my ear after having Victoria Falls flushed through my ears the day before, and assured me that my problem wasn't ear wax. On the positive side, it isn't sudden hearing loss. On the less positive side, I have Otosclerosis , and it is getting worse. Why my hearing just shut off like that isn't completely explained by it, and the subsequent visit to an ENT specialist has everyone thinking it might be aggravated by my sinuses. I'm taking fancy, steroid nasal spray to see if it helps and I bought a Netti Pot. I did  eventually get a call back from the GP's office to tell me she'd sent a referral to an ENT. Yeah, thanks, a bit late for that. So no idea where this is going to go, but at least it isn't that bad. Most of the time I don't want to hear people anyway. 

Well, enough of that! How about a pretty summer handbag? I always forget to use this one, so now that's one wear this summer. 

This might be the first skirt I've ever purchased solely because I loved the waistband. I was worried the colours might be limiting, but I'm finding all sorts of things to wear it with. There were some very good clothes in the 80s, though that's not what typically ends up in the thrift stores. I've been lucky lately.
How stunning is this Mexican embroidered shirt?
The body of the skirt is rayon crepe. Maybe not the best choice for summer, but not terrible. I can see wearing this all year. It would be beautiful with something sparkly at the winter holidays.

I bought this dress assuming it wouldn't fit, and I'd re-work it into a skirt. To my utter delight, it did fit, and was even loose enough on top that I had to pin it shut for decency. I still haven't quite figured out what works for me on top these days. I've given up much hope of regaining more than a few pounds here and there (only to lose it again in a few weeks) and have reluctantly started buying clothes for autumn in the size I am now. I don't like setting myself up for failure, or having a wardrobe filled with things I cannot wear, so much as when I was large, I buy clothes for the body I have at the moment. If I gain weight I'll happily buy larger clothes.

Look at the back of the dress! This was home sewn, and while it doesn't match up in pattern everywhere, the all important upper back piece is perfect. And those sleeves!

The African wax print fabric is made by a Dutch company. I was curious about that, so a bit of searching turned up the explanation that most African wax print fabric is made in Holland or the UK and was a product made to export to West and Central Africa after seeing the Batik process in Indonesia. That's colonialism for you. Steal from one culture, sell it to another, make money off of it. Pretty solid article about it HERE.

Honestly, it isn't difficult to see why these fabrics are so popular-they're gorgeous. I've lost count how many I have in my collection.
This one has a matching jacket with a gigantic, Peter Pan collar. That's a bit much together, even for me.

No cosmetics that day as I was having my ears and sinuses probed! 

Had a quick visit to the Nebraska State Capitol when I was in Lincoln last week. More photos and an expanded post of that coming soon. It was a beautiful day, and the last time I'd been there, the fountain in the courtyard hadn't been renovated and installed. The care that is given this unique building is worth every cent of taxes. On the day I visited, a worker was removing glass from the original lead frames near the entrance to be re-glazed and refitted. He said it would take a couple years to do them all. In the 21 years I've been in Nebraska, I don't believe I've ever seen the capitol not undergoing some sort of renovation. Built between 1922 and 1933 it does require serious attention to upkeep. I'm happy to see it. Everything else might seem to be going to hell, but at least the Art Deco treasure on the prairie is well cared for. 

Point to the capitol, lads.

Both the jacket and dress are outside my style comfort zone, and I probably wouldn't wear them again. The dress anyway. The silk and linen jacket might get a reprieve.

There isn't anything wrong with the dress, it just isn't my style. 

70s, I would guess.
Pretty details, even if it looks a bit like a house dress to me.

On a much younger person it would be adorable. I don't typically go for adorable for fear of looking silly. I've earned the right to not be adorable. That was an awkward sentence. You get the idea though. 

These shoes are more comfortable than I expected them to be. Thrifted them in new condition. I love the dark heel that resists scuffs (my main complaint with white shoes).St. John's Bay is the JC Penny house brand these days. I wish they'd bring back their "Gaymode" line! UPDATE: after a handful of wears the shoes fell apart. Turns out the heel is made of foam and it just crumbled away. The leather uppers are cracking as well. God, we're going to die buried under all this disposable stuff. I'm sure these shoes weren't cheap new either. If I'd paid more than two dollars, I'd be angry.

Might put the shell earrings away for a bit as they remind me of the inner workings of the ear. Or rather, the inner not workings. The bracelet is copper and enamel but not obvious in the bad photo.

Same era as the previous dress, but much better suited to my taste. And age. I can imagine my mother wearing something like this, on the rare occasion she wore a dress. The original belt was missing, so I improvised.
Can you see the Bakelite button earrings?

Those are ladybirds/ladybugs going up the front of the basket bag. The lining is a cute calico print, but I neglected to get a photograph. Next time. This bag appears to be made from a kit. No signatures, labels, or clue to the maker but I appreciate their sense of whimsy. 

Finally, this vintage skirt, pinned and belted to fit because I was determined to wear this bag today, and the skirt was a good match. What can I say? I really like this bag, and summer is nearly over.

It is a race to get the summer bags worn before we have an early frost and foot of snow in September. We don't most years, but it isn't impossible. The wild swings just keep swinging.

I mean, look at this canvas beauty! I can't resist a good print.


 Not a thirst trap photo unless you're turned on by vintage Thermoset lucite and vintage brooches.

More neglected accessories.

And that's about it from here. I'm still taking Dan out driving and hopefully this year he'll be ready to get his license. Last year, he just wasn't ready even if he was old enough by law. He's doing much better this time around. We went ahead and got him a school parking permit but who knows? I would really like to stop planning my days around the drop off and pick up, but whatever happens, we'll just adapt. I certainly don't want him driving before he's ready or feeling pressured about it. 

Hope everyone has a great week.


Beth Waltz said...

Ah, the fun I had learning to use a Netti pot! My Anglo-Indian GP insisted I employ one for the sake of my sinuses, back in the days when my life included field trips to dusty quarries and pollen-laden fields. I began by sitting in the tub, graduated to standing over a towel at the sink, and finished one-handed at the counter wearing my working clothes. Only took years...but it has been a skill worth acquiring. (And if not, the pot makes a great watering can for African violets.)

The new with the gorgeous waistband is stunning, especially with the coordinating bag and blouse. The blouse's filigreed neckline must be hand-made. Must say I've never dined at a Mexican restaurant dressy enough to match this ensemble, but I know two who would seat you at the best table and sneak a photo for their social media pages.

That magnificent second sunflower is an omen. Let us anticipate excellent outcomes for both the baking project and Danny's driving license.

Vix said...

Fab Art Deco and amazing sunflower! The ear problem sounds horrible, I hope you get some relief soon.
I love your waxed cotton dress and skirt they look fab - there's lots in our charity shops as we have a large African population but the pieces I find are always made for the "Traditionally Shaped" as Precious Ramotswe described plus sized ladies in The Lady's Number One Detective Agency so I tend to chop them up and make them into something else.
I'm digging the Mexican top and snazzy waist-banded skirt, too. xxx

Emily said...

Aww, I'm sorry your ear is giving you trouble. You did the right thing by going to the hearing specialist down the street instead of waiting for the other doctor to get back to you. Feel better soon.

That black skirt with the bright waistband is fabulous, and you have the perfect top to go with it.

That second sunflower stalk is magnificent. It's so huge, it looks ready to take on the world!

That state capitol building really is lovely, and I am glad they are doing the upkeep. Old Art Deco buildings like that are very special.

Best wishes to you on the State Fair baking contest, and may Mr. ETB test negative soon.

Polyester Princess said...

I'm sorry to hear about your ear problems, which sound truly horrible. Although I've never lost my hearing completely, like Carol I've had fluid behind my eardrum, in my case caused by chronic sinus problems. It comes and goes and although I can still hear perfectly when I've got it, it does rather throw me off-balance, literally. I do hope your problem is resolved soon!
I'm swooning over the African wax fabric dress, and the skirt is a stunner too. Also loving your Mexican embroidered shirt!
Hopefully Dan gets his licence soon, and that you'll do well at the State Fair! xxx

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

Sorry to hear about your inner ear issues and hope they can be alleviated in some way. It's no joke getting old...

I had no idea what a Netti Pot was but Bibi's reply enlightened me somewhat!

Such fabulous clothes. The African wax print was gorgeous; loved the rick-rack trim too; I can't find enough of African wax print in our charity shops, unfortunately. Clothes made from the fabric are a regular feature of our twice weekly market but the garments are eye-wateringly expensive. The embroidered Mexican shirt was such a brilliant match for the groovy skirt with waistband. Loved the wonderful bags and stunning jewellery. Shame about those shoes.

The sunflower is a beauty! We had none this year at all.

The capitol building is very fine indeed. Good luck with your bread entries into the State Fair!

Sheila said...

So sorry to hear of your ear issues! Ugh, doctors...years ago, my doc insisted that the lump in my groin was a fatty tumour - I kept pushing for an MRI and a specialist, because I knew it wasn't. Turned out to be a femoral hernia - I was in for surgery within 3 months.

A friend of mine had a pair of foam-based heels crumble to dust like yours did. It really hit home on how modern things aren't built to last. I love seeing your wonderful handbag collection!

What a cool waistband on that skirt - it's often surprising what ends up being versatile (and vice versa). The blue and yellow waxed cotton dress is astounding - what a beautiful garment! I never see that kind of fabric (we have a VERY small black/African population here), but I see tons of stuff from India (the most beautiful saris!). Thanks for the label-porn (hee!) for Rags by Kressandra - I saw quite a few dresses with that label online. Definitely 70s.

I used to enter all kinds of categories in our local agricultural fair - one year I won for Best Green Tomatoes! Good luck with your breads!

bahnwärterin said...

i´m hoping your ear will improve soon! your experience at the first doctor sounds horrible - medieval methods.....
love all the looks - minus the night-gownish dress from san francisco ;-D
the outfits with wax print designs are gorgeous and mexican blouse with kummerbund-skirt all fabulous! you know i have a love for all things folk wear style :-D dreamy jewelry!
the art deco building is stunning!

Anonymous said...

Your sunflower truly is happiness, hope and a sense of well being. Much needed in this world of ours. I hope the best for your submissions to the state fair. That sounds like a lot of fun. Work for sure but fun too. I will send positive vibes your way for lots of well earned ribbons. I like your Mexican blouse with the skirt and interesting waist band . It is a nice combination.

Take care
Best Wishes,
Gail from Pa.

Señora Allnut said...

Sorry to read that you had those hearing problems and that the doctor used the 'old fashioned' method to remove ear wax. It has given me goosebumps.
Anyway, it's lovely to see you rocking some fabulous clothes. Totally in love with the cool waistband and the embroidered blouse and the fab accessorizing!. Also lovely dress in that african wax fabric, the sleeves and print are so beautiful!. Always interesting to learn about fabrics and their history. Nowadays most wax prints are made in china: Anything can be faked these days, even the fake Batik made in Europe to be sold in Africa.
I'm a huge fan of Art Deco, so glad that this treasure is being restored!.
And totally understand the urge to wear that fabulous bag!, so lovely print and colours!. Rocking it!

Goody said...

I'm relieved to know mastering the Netti is a skill that doesn't happen overnight.

As euphemisms go, "Traditionally Shaped" is lovely.

Thank you! I still can't hear, so if it really is my sinuses I shudder to think about what's going on in there. Maybe I've grown a mushroom or something :)
The fair baking went well and has been delivered to the fair which opens tomorrow. I'm going this weekend, so I'll be able to see how I did before they get around to posting results on the website. Mr. ETB eluded the dreaded lurgy once again. Fingers crossed Dan can get through the school year the same.
I've been thinking about you dealing with yet another heatwave out west. I hope you're all doing OK. I'll pray for an early frost.

I'm turning into one of those old ladies with the radio blasting away because I can't hear.
The Fair opens tomorrow, so I should know how I did by the weekend. The judges had their time on Tuesday. The trip to the fair is just over two hours from home, but it is almost entirely the Interstate (big connected highways across the country), so it goes quickly. I'm thinking of having Dan drive to the fair this weekend as it is boring, and he needs experience.

I do try to laugh at some of the ageing things, so I'm going to tell people to speak up because I lost my hearing, "Rocking too hard."
The shoes were a shock. I know things are made cheaply but not *that* cheaply.

It can be a struggle getting medical people to shut up and listen to the patient. I'm glad you eventually had yours seen to.
I've never grown anything that was even close to good enough to enter in a fair. I'm impressed (and I adore green tomatoes).

If I'd known that was what they were going to do, I'd have tried it myself first with a home kit. I'm sure we'll get it figured out eventually.

Thank You! Even now that the heads on the sunflowers are drooping (they're so heavy), I still enjoy seeing them when I come home-almost like being greeted.
The fair starts tomorrow. I dropped off my entries on Monday, so they've been judged already. I'm going this weekend to see how I did. It was a lot of work, but I also have a freezer full of extra breads from trial runs, so that's my baking done for the next six months!

It is depressing how everything gets faked. At least these fakes are well done-you should see the fake Hermes bags being sold now (they LOOK fake!)

Sue Clarke said...

Hi Jen, thought I would catch up on your blog, which was a great idea because it has answered all my questions. I cannot believe how grown up Danny is, University, OMG where has the time gone. Love all your photos, so hello from me down here in New Zealand

Emily said...

It's been pretty hot this summer, but I'm just grateful that it wasn't as bad as the 114-degree inferno that we lived through in 2021. : )

I'm looking forward to hearing all about the State Fair and the results of the baking contest. Highway driving is a great way for a young driver to get practice. I could have gotten my license at 16, but I waited till I was 17, with no regrets. Have a great time!

Goody said...

Hey! It sure is great to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and yours.

Mim said...

Oh, your poor ear! I'm glad you were able to get it diagnosed so quickly, and without seeing that awful nurse again.

The wax prints look really good on you!