Friday, April 18, 2014

Somebunny is All Out of Eggs

Frankly, I'm enjoying the hell out of the menopause. I would have been too self-conscious to wear bunny ears when I was young.
The ears were quite a hit at the library. I would have checked out Harvey if they had it (they didn't) which might have gotten a laugh out of the librarian.

Wehit a few thrift stores, and I came upon the best trove of vintage hats (and hatboxes) I've seen in a while. Danny has a new 50's (possibly late 40's) fedora to enjoy. He's more of a flat-cap guy, but this one appealed to him. A fedora is OK on a youngster. On old men, it just makes them look like William S. Burroughs. Experts are always on about, "Teachable moments" when you're supposed to use an opportunity to teach your kids about something so here goes my William S. Burroughs teachable moment:
Don't take heroin, and don't play William Tell with your wife.

Parenting-a full time job. They're always learning those little ones, aren't they? Next week, Philip Larkin.

Right, so you want the details, dontcha?

Vintage polyester handmade dress-Salvation Army, Lincoln,Nebraska
Shoes-Still in "Gaymode"
Bracelets-various places, thrifted
Earrings-World Market
Yellow Jacket-Goodwill, Council Bluffs, IA
1960's belt-Thrift World, Millard
Bunny Ears-Walgreen's a couple years ago

I'm going to spend the holiday weekend figuring out how to use thetripod and camera timer, but I suspect you'll miss the photos in the dirty mirror (it is the best lighting in the house). We'll see.

Yeah, this bunny hasn't a single egg left. What a relief.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Clothes For Days When You Don't Know if You're Coming, or Going

This is the first item of clothing I've owned that had a label (in addition to the regular sizing and care label) telling which side is front. What a terrific idea! Some skirts can be really mysterious unless they have a kick pleat. This should be standard on all clothing, particularly tights.
See? Now everything is where it ought to be, and no mistaking my gut for my behind (which sadly wouldn't be all that difficult in a poorly lit room).
Oh would you look at that sewn-in hankie? How adorable is that? I did consider removing it, but that would lose the "bad taste" charm of it.
The peach coloured faceted buttons also add a nice touch. I never owned suits like this at the time-these weren't for work, these were for church.
The "Australian" belt. These were briefly a "thing" in the early 80's. I had to have someone explain how to loop it properly, and after thirty (probably more) years I can still manage it. I'd forgotten I had it until it showed up in a box of attic junk moving house. It has been getting quite a bit of wear since.
And an owl,  because a smile can fuck off, but you're never fully dressed without an owl.
Don't you wish a cheerful mood were as easy as slipping on a pair of shoes? I guess Gaytees never struck me as funny, but Gaymode just sounds so formal, like you're cheerful, but not having that good of a time. Like a few gin and tonics at the country club gaymode, which is only slightly more relaxed that workmode because you're chatting up clients anyway. I picture Leticia Baldridge wearing these shoes around the White House organising Jackie's social calendar.
Damn it, now I want a gin and tonic.

I could tote a bottle of Boodles, some tonic, and a few limes in this bag-and being vinyl it won't matter if anything spills. Come to think of it, a spritz of gin wouldn't hurt the interior as it is starting to smell a bit musty. Have you ever smelled Guerlain's perfume Imperiale? It smells exactly like a G&T. I can save the hundred bucks a bottle and fill an atomizer with a drink, which would be more acceptable to carry in your handbag anyway. I think I'm on to something here...
I matched my hair bow to my shirt. I must be channeling my mother, except she would have matched it to her handbag and shoes as well.

Outfit Particulars:

1970's Polyester suit-Thrift World, .98 cents
Blouse-retail, decade ago
Earrings-Italian import shop maybe 20 years ago
Bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups Omaha
Gaymode shoes-Thrift World
Handbag-Also Thrift World (I'm like an walking advertisement for the place)
Hairbow-Tif and Tam

The hottie is hanging on the shower rod, again. I may be the only blogger routinely photo bombed by a hot water bottle! Anyway, I'm smiling, see? Know why? Because I'm in my gaymode. If I weren't, I'd look like this:
That's my incredulous mode. Spot the difference? I know which I prefer.

Meet Flora, The Gardenia

This was my anniversary present, a gardenia bush (tree?). It has a yellow bloom on it at the moment, and several buds ready to go, and it smells wonderful.
I've never seen yellow gardenias (only white) so this was a pleasant surprise. It can't live outside in our climate year round, but as soon as it warms a bit, the container can be moved to the patio. For the moment it is bunking with the other warmth-loving plants like the laurel and lime tree.

Here are the cuff-links I bought Mr. ETB. from Etsy seller Clammy's Closet They are embroidered on vintage tie material, and quite purple which the photo does not show. He liked them very much.
I'm rather excited at the prospect of having real gardenias to wear in my hair this summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nut-Free Candy Find

Roaming the aisles at Hobby Lobby (as you do before Easter) I found large bags of Sixlets that were made in a nut-free facility.

And, (as you do) I bought five bags of them in assorted colours. They also had fish-shaped candies that remind me of Runts. We bought those as well.

I don't mind making candy at home, and not to boast, but I've become quite skilled at it-but at candy-centred holidays when everyone else (it seems, to a child) is getting colourful name-brand candy, it is a drag to be stuck with your high-end chocolates from the nut-free specialty stores, or the caramels your mother made (which we've already established, are in fact, really, totally, completely awesome). Tootsie products are nut-free as well, but there's only so many Tootsie rolls you can eat before making yourself sick whereas Sixlets can be consumed by the handful as they take less chewing effort than a Tootsie roll. You'll still get sick, but more efficiently.

So, if you're still looking for something to fill the plastic eggs for the hunt with that won't send the allergic kids into anaphylactic shock, these are an option. They're not cheap, but they come in every colour (and combination) you can imagine.

I'm not being compensated in any way by either Hobby Lobby or Oak Leaf brand candies. I can't speak for Oak Leaf, but I'm pretty sure I'm not Hobby Lobby's idea of a spokesperson.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fried Matzo

Think eggy bread made from crackers. Yes, it looks terrible. Could I have made an effort to photograph it? Yeah. Sorry. But hey, you want to know how to make it, right?

You really do need to soak the crackers in hot water first. A couple minutes ought to do it. You can break the pieces up to fit in a bowl, but don't skip the soak. After a few minutes, drain it well. Meanwhile, beat some eggs (do a 1-1 ratio of cracker to egg) and melt a large knob of butter in a frying pan. Toss the drained crackers in the eggs, and place in the pan with the butter. Fry it until it is no longer wet, but not so dry that the egg coating is hard. It should look slightly golden. You'll want to give it frequent turns with a spatula. All told, it should take no longer than five minutes on medium heat. You may wish to add a pinch of salt as well.

When I was a child this was one of the few things we were permitted granulated sugar on. My child prefers maple syrup, but I don't keep the sugar bowl, "For company" and it isn't a treat. He did really enjoy having this holiday treat for breakfast though.
 With a glass of milk and a cup of tea.
Enjoy it kid, because I'm not cooking hot breakfasts at 7 AM during the rest of the year.

Seasonal Clothing For Unseasonable Weather

I may have the furnace running, but that's no reason to dress like it is still winter. The sun is out, cold as it is, and I couldn't resist wearing this bright dress and jacket.

I bought the set last winter, and have been waiting ever so patiently for the point where a suit trimmed with white ribbon wouldn't look absurd. I finally accepted that point may never arrive, so off the hanger it came.
I mean, I could get hit by a car walking out my door, and I'd be there on the ground thinking, "Shit, I never wore that dress" whilst the paramedics rummage through my handbag to see if I have insurance.
Gives new meaning to, "Killer Outfit."
I once again removed the shoulder pads, because the padding in the jacket was more than adequate for my needs. Looking at the photo, I can see where it might give the shoulder a bit more shape, but not enough to counteract the appearance of double padding. I've got plenty of padding myself, thanks very much. I was lucky to find this set with the belt. Most of the time when I do find a belt, it is in terrible condition, so this was really a lucky break. I'd never find a blue to match (though white would work, I guess).
In fact, I feel so full of spring-like optimism I'm taking the kid to the garden centre today. I'll let him purchase a few more hardy plants (because feelings aside, I'm a realist when it comes to a hard freeze) though not too many because next weekend is the Spring Affair in Lincoln put on by the Lancaster County Extension service. That's where my best plants come from. If you can get to Lincoln next Saturday, do it. If you're a local and want to do coffee or something, drop me an email. I know a trip to Ben Franklin is in order as well because I need embroidery supplies.

Outfit Particulars:

Henry Lee Petites dress and jacket (80's I'd guess)-New Life Thrift
Marvella Necklace-Thrifted
Earrings-Clearence at K Mart last year
Flower-Tif and Tam
Lippy-Revlon Love That Pink (I use it as a rouge as well)

Tomorrow is my anniversary. We have been married thirteen years, and together twenty-one. Thirteen is the "cloth" anniversary so I bought Mr. ETB some cloth covered cuff links (he doesn't read the blog) that were hand embroidered by a lovely seller on Etsy. That seems nice, but not quite enough so I may monogram one of his shirts today before he's home to notice. I know it is more traditional to monogram the pocket, but I think he would prefer it on the cuff. I haven't seen a man wear a monogramed shirt in years, so I have nothing to compare to. Anyway, I'll do that and cook him a couple lamb chops (because that's one of his favourites) and try not to burn them (I've been vegetarian since the early 80's, so while I don't mind cooking meat, I'm not terribly experienced with it).

On an unrelated but happy note, the pods have nearly all burst on the tree in back of the house, so maybe, just maybe the pollens are done doing their thing, and Danny's life can get back to normal. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Modern Advances

I spend a good deal of my time here complaining about shoddy manufacturing, and inferior products available to consumers today. If I had to generalise, I'd still insist that's true, with a few notable exceptions.

Wrinkle-Free Shirts: I don't ever want to return to ironing five shirts a week for Mr. ETB. No, I'm pleased as can be to pull them from the tumble dryer ready to hang away without another thought. That's progress. I'm much too thrifty to send shirts out, and much too lazy to waste my day pressing those absurd itty-bitty pleats they put at the cuffs of dress shirts. Thanks, but I'll happily purchase the wrinkle free shirts, expensive as they are. The stain resistant ones intrigue me as well because (and I don't know how to put this nicely) the men in this house are not as tidy as they could be. We'll leave it at that.

Food Processors: I have a mini-sized Cuisinart, and I don't know how I ever lived without it. No more scraping the hell out of my knuckles to make bread crumbs, the hand grinder that weighs a ton, and takes forever to set up has largely been set aside in favour of the quickly assembled and cleaned processor. It isn't perfect for everything, but what it does, it does well.

CPAP Machines: They save lives, and relationships. The snoring (oh god, the snoring that shook the whole house) has finally stopped. It is so quiet in here at night, sometimes I get frightened and have to roll over and check that he's still there. Yes, the machines are fiddly, and the masks are hard to fit for each individual, but oh my gosh, the difference is night and day. Better sleep for the patient, and the whole family. That's progress I can appreciate.

Super-Absorbent Towels:In US they are known as the Turbie Twist. It sounds like something you'd never buy until your long-haired son that hates the hairdryer is walking around a cool house with a wet head courting pneumonia. They work! Mr. ETB has started using one as well. I set my hair, so it is irrelevant to my life, but for a couple of fellows that don't have the desire to fiddle with their hair, it is a great product.

All this isn't to say I'll stop complaining (bitterly) about poorly made items, and generally unnecessary things, but I am quick to take advantage of things that make my life better. I don't enjoy doing things the hard way, and I'll take whatever hack I can find that's worthwhile. When surrounded by so much garbage, sometimes it is easy to lose sight of things that have truly improved over the years. That said, I'm not about to give up my hot water bottle for one of those new-fangled   electric blankets, thanks very much.
How about you? Any new-ish inventions that better your life?

Sunday, April 13, 2014


7 AM. I sent Mr. ETB out to snap the photo because there was no way I was going outside in 28 degree weather wearing a dressing gown. Believe it or not, the tulips will likely snap back. We're expected to get into the low 40's today (above freezing anyway) so the snow should be short lived on this south-facing side of the house. The tumble dryer also vents out this way, which keeps the ground nice and warm for plants. We had a flock of Great Tailed Grackles attack our feeder this morning-I don't want to read too much into a bird's body language, but they looked seriously angry as they kicked the snow from the platform to get at the raisins and bread.

It is snowing! Yes, I am tired of the stuff by now but there's something about fluffy snow settling on tulips. I think they'll be fine (along with the peas, spring onions, and spinach starting to emerge) and likely thankful for the moisture Today was such an oddity with all the rain-I can't remember the last time I needed an umbrella. Honestly, I can't.

I'm afraid this won't be the last of it either, as we're set for another round by mid-week. Still, I know it won't require much to remove it from my car and walkway, and it really does look pretty this far into spring. The poor Easter Bunny may need a snowsuit this year, but he always looks like he's wearing a snowsuit, doesn't he?

I do wish I'd not packed away the bulk of our warm clothing (duh) but a light jacket over a couple layers solves most problems. In the past week I've run both the air conditioning (when it was 85 degrees F.) and the heat-neither of which I should be using at this time of year. It does pain my frugal heart to do it, but the overnights are just too cold as we have neither a wood stove nor fireplaces. The townhouse was built in '68, and they just weren't concerned with energy efficiency at that point.

I've heard that cold weather (snow, frost) makes spinach sweeter-so I'm expecting a delightfully sugary crop this year.

My Sunday Best

No hat today, as it is (finally!) raining buckets. We really needed the rain, so no complaints here. We're off to (another) birding thing today (a two hour lecture...about birds) so I wanted to be comfortable if I got wet walking across campus to the lecture hall. Polyester wrings dry, making this the perfect suit for today. Plus, it looks so bitchin'.
No 1970's polyester suit would be complete without an owl. When I bought this one, the woman at the thrift store exclaimed, "I knew you'd buy that the minute I saw it come in." Well yeah. I should be embarrassed, but I'm kinda pleased.
Since it is a birding kind of weekend, I wore a second owl...just in case I need to prove my affinity for our feathered friends. Mr. ETB pointed out this would be the wrong crowd to tell I used to feed the feral cats on the farm to keep the swallows from nesting over our doorway.
The pants trousers are huge! I will likely take them in at some point, trying to retain a bit of the flare at the end. The jacket fits me reasonably well, but the bottom half is crazy.
I like a little room, but I halfway considered wearing braces to keep these up.
But then I thought better of it because they are so damn comfortable.
Outfit particulars:
Green polyester suit-Salvation Army, Lincoln, Nebraska
Black top-Alfred Dunner ( retail a good 20 + years ago)
Owl ring-K Mart
Owl Necklace-Hand-Me-Ups, Omaha
Earrings-retail, ages ago
Hair bows-grocery store purchase. They were labeled, "Little Girl". hrumph. Why should kids have all the good accessories?
Shoes- K-Mart
Macramé bag-Goodwill
Turquoise bracelet-Mum's
Hopi Ring-Mum's

I'm off to a lecture, and to play in the rain.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Family Movies

We're still making a point of watching a couple movies together each weekend. We've alternated between sci-fi (Andromeda Strain, Fahrenheit 451, Attack the Block, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and musicals (Bandwagon, Camelot),disaster movies (The towering Inferno) and oddball stuff (Safety Not Guaranteed). Tonight, we were unable to watch the sci-fi movie we had reserved at the library because when we stopped by this afternoon, it was closed. There was a sign on the door. Margaret Atwood was in town giving a lecture there as a fundraise. I'm all for fundraisers, and I like Margaret Atwood, but when it interferes with family movie night, I get slightly irked. I had to go to another branch (at least a seven minute drive down 90th street) to find something to watch. I hope Marge enjoyed our library.

Checking out, I got a laugh from the librarian looking at our selection. I guess you don't get people checking out Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and a documentary about Angela Davis in the same trip too often. Just for good measure, we got Contagion as well.

I wanted to hate Contagion, but it really wasn't terrible. It wasn't the best movie I've ever watched, but it was competent, and who wouldn't enjoy watching Gwyneth Paltrow foam at the mouth as her eyes roll back in her head. Probably the kale juice. But really, it was a halfway decent movie even if somewhat predictable in the emotional strings it pulled.

Broadcast television was showing Son of Frankenstein tonight, and we tried watching it, but Danny just couldn't stay awake. I'm not sure I'd ever watched it, but I knew it immediately because Mel Brooks did such a faithful send-up of it in Young Frankenstein. It did however make it hard to watch because there's a tendency to shout out the lines in an audience participation way. Watching Son of Frankenstein does give me a whole new respect for Young Frankenstein as a line-by-line spoof. Brilliant.

I really want Danny to enjoy Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but I do have the feeling his eyes will be rolling five seconds into the film. Nine is such a funny age.

Red, White, and Making Me Blue

This blouse and skirt are destined for the bin. I love the sailboat print, but it hands-down the most unflattering thing I own. This was a first wear, and last. There are enough thrift stores filled with clothes I'll enjoy wearing, so I'm not giving my energy to wearing something that I don't. Life is too short to wear ill-fitting sacks.

Something about the cut of the sleeve, and the shapeless way it fits across the chest manages to enhance what I've got-but not in a nice way. The skirt has terrible pleats at the top, and useless pockets at the side that just bunch-up adding several inches to my waist. If I'm going to add inches to my waist, I can do that with ice cream-I don't need Pendelton to do it for me. This is a newer Pendelton, and boy does it show. The older clothes were tailored to avoid wonky pockets and floppy sleeves. I paid $3.99 for it, but if I'd bought it retail for upwards of $100.00 I'd be angry.
Even a bright red belt couldn't save this outfit. Look at those sleeves-that would be terrible on anyone, much less someone with arms the size of a ham.

But let's not dwell on poorly constructed clothing (ahem, that's you  new Pendelton made in China) rather let's have a look at the real star of today's trip to the woods..., not him though he's clearly a star in his own right. I'm talking about someone with more feathers...
This Great Horned owl was well behaved. I wish I could say as much for the Red-Tailed hawk that nearly shat on me (I mean, missed by a fraction of an inch). Did you know Red Tailed hawks can projectile shit ? Well you do now. There, see how informative this blog is?

Outfit Particulars:

Pendelton shirt and skirt-Thrifted
Red belt-Thrift World
Red shoes-Thrift World
Red Necklace-Goodwill
Hair Flowers-Tif and Tam
Bangles-assorted thrift stores
Earrings-World Market

Know what poorly made clothing can do?