Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Radios, Anniversaries and a Whole Lot of Other Stuff!

I saw the coolest thing online today, so of course I have to share it.  :)

This is a 1941 Philco Beam Of Light Radio-Phonograph-Recorder with the first wireless remote...ever.  The "Beam of Light" pickup didn't use the ordinary record-gouging steel-needle heavy pickups of the era, but a feather-weight sapphire attached to a small mirror, which deflected a beam of light to play the record: "This Close" to being a CD player.  The arm on the left of the turntable is a cutting arm, to cut (record) your own record.  How cool is that?  (photo, info and video courtesy of Cousin Hepcat of the Fedora Lounge)

Here is a YouTube of this most fabulous piece of equipment in action (note the beam of light shining down on the vinyl in place of a needle:

It just fascinates me that this is so similar to our CD technology of today, yet this is from 1941.  The mind boggles!  Plus the wood casing is sooooo gorgeous....who could want a plastic piece of crap over this? 

No, I'm not saying we should all give up our disc players and ipods.....but c'mon, you have to admit that is one fine looking piece of equipment! 

On to cooking......sigh.

I am not a cook.
I would rather read a book.
If you want from scratch.....alas!
Be prepared for a kick in the ass!

OK, I'm not a poet.  I'll leave that to my Husband.  And I'm not *that* bad of a cook.  I just don't like it.  I guess more specifically, I don't like the cleaning up afterwards that must be done.....especially when we don't have a dishwasher.  That said, I'm trying to get back to cooking more.....actual cooking, not just ripping open a bag of frozen stuff and heating it up.  It's better for the pocketbook, better for our health, and better for the environment.  If I can get myself into the habit of planning ahead and just doing it, I'll be alright.

There is one dish, though, that I pride myself on making well....chicken stew.  Recipie?  Here you go!

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
salt &  pepper, to taste
1-2 tbls olive oil
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, chopped (can use 3 smaller ones) - you may peel if desired, but I usually leave the skins on
1 cup* chicken broth
1 tbls ketchup
1 tsp* dried thyme
1 tbls* cornstarch, for thickening

(for a budget friendly version, decrease amount of chicken and increase amount of potatoes used)

In a deep 12-inch skillet or dutch oven, cook chicken in olive oil over medium heat until no longer pink inside.  Season chicken while cooking with salt and pepper to taste.  Add celery and onion and saute for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Add carrots and potatoes and saute for 5 minutes. 

In a separate bowl combine chicken broth, ketchup, thyme and cornstarch; whisk together until cornstarch is dissolved (*may need to add more broth, just have to "eye it".  Can add more thyme according to taste; and add more cornstarch if a thicker stew is desired.)

Add broth mixture to chicken and veggies and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.  Stir occasionally to avoid scorching.

If you try it, let me know how it turns out!  This is one of my favorite meals to make.

And now, on to anniversaries!  :)

Tuesday, November 24 is my parent's 57th wedding anniversary.  Woo Hoo!! 

They have the classic head-over-heels in love story:

In 1952, my dad, age 21, was stationed at Macdill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.  Now, my dad was a country hick to the core, born and raised on various farms in Colorado and Nebraska throughout the Dust Bowl years of the Depression.  Poor was his life.

My mom, age 22 in 1952, was from an upper middle class family in big city Tampa who wasn't touched much by the Depression....hence, she was somewhat of a socialite who was accustomed to having a cook and housekeeper.  Well off was her life.  (kinda sounds like the set up to Green Acre's, doesn't it?)

One night, their paths converged.  They both happened to be at the same party.  Dad, as a jazz musician, had brought his stand-up bass (in those days it was common to get together and "jam") and during a break had laid it on its side on the floor.  Mom, in another room, was talking to someone as she was backing out of a doorway; not looking where she was going, she tripped over his bass.  Luckily, no harm was done to the bass, it being over 150 years old (he still has it to this day), but one can imagine Mom's embarassment!  After the party, Dad asked a mutual friend about "that crazy girl who tripped over my bass."  In no time, a blind date was set up.

Now, Mom happened to be engaged to be married to another fellow at this point in the game.  But, he was out of town, and she was bored, and figured she'd go on this blind date just to get a nice dinner out of the deal.  She didn't even bother dressing up much, because she wasn't out to impress anyone. 

Upon opening the door and seeing my Dad standing there in all his lean, 6'2 handsome glory, she immediately regretted not paying more attention to her wardrobe.  As she tells it, she was swept off her feet from the moment she saw him.

He took her to a dancing club.  Recognizing my Dad in the audience, the band leader coaxed my Dad on stage to sing a song.  He sang "I Got It Bad, And That Ain't Good" and the entire time he was singing he kept his eyes on Mom.  That pretty much sealed the deal, right then and there. 

They were married 3 months later.  :)

November 24, 1952

Enter Me......After being told for years that she couldn't have kids, and trying various routes to adopt to no success, they resigned themselves to being a childless couple.  Until the summer of 1972 when Mom started feeling ill and feeling a growth in her stomach.  She literally thought she had a cancerous growth.....it never dawned on them that she was pregnant after being told so often she couldn't have kids.  When the doctor told her she didn't have cancer but was 5 months pregnant with lil' ol' me, you can imagine their shock and delight!  She was 42 and Dad was 41....and having their first and only child.  I was born on November 28, 1972.....20 years and 4 days after they were married.  :)

Alas, that means that on Saturday I will be turning 37.  Oy.  Double Oy.  And let's throw in a YIKES just for giggles. 

But I couldn't have asked for cooler parents.  [waves] Hi Dad!  :)  Dad reads my blog because I link it to my Facebook account.  Of which he had a Facebook account before I even did, and he's 78.  My Dad Rocks.  :)

With Thanksgiving coming up, it's a busy week.....their anniversary, Turkey Day, and then my birthday.  One small happy family! 

So, my lovely readers, how will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year?


  1. I'll be eating a perfect pumpkin pie...ruined with a weird pecan topping...

  2. Wow what an amazing story! So romantic! :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! OMG I love b'days,what are you planning for yours? Have a fab day :) Thanks for the brilliant post,the record player is so cool,I'm guessing that's on your wish list lol :)

  3. Smiley...hahaha...and I'll just have to keep on wishing for it as it'll never happen in this lifetime. Saturday will be pretty low-key, we'll go out to eat with my parents and celebrate my birthday and their anniversary at the same time, afterwards the Husband and I will probably just watch movies. Thank you for the birthday wishes!

  4. First off, the stew sounds delicious...

    And what a beautiful story of your parents!!

    Just came across your blog and love it! I'll be back!

  5. Aw thank you Carissa, I'm glad you stopped by! Making that stew makes me feel good; with all the vegetable chopping and prep it makes me feel like a real cook, lol!

  6. That is such a cool player! I'd kill to have one of those :) ah! thank you for the recipe! I was just looking for a chicken type stew for tomorrow night so thank you for posting your recipe! Sounds yummy! Lovely story about your parents, and the pictures are beautiful! thank you for sharing! Same thing happened to my mom; she thought she had a tumor, and turns out I was the 'tumor' that was making her ill LOL. Great post daaahling! ;)

  7. Heya! Congrats to your folks, and an early happy birthday to you!

  8. Beautiful story!! Great Blog!

    Happy Thanksgiving! Please visit my blog for details on my first giveaway!

  9. Miss Go Lightly: I wonder how many other people began as "tumors", hahaha! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

    Mark: Thank you very much! How are your folks doing?

    New York Vintage Linens: Thank you! :)

  10. That is very cool. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Happy Thanksgiving. Hope it's wonderful!

  11. What a stellar post, so much to enjoy and learn here. I must say that your parents were utterly gorgeous! I swear, your mom could have been a movie star, she had such a sweet, wonderful beauty to her.

    Thank you deeply for your lovely comment, honey! I really hope you're having a terrific week!
    ♥ Jessica

  12. Shabbychicdiva: You're most welcome, thanks for stopping by! :)

    Jessica: Yes indeed, my parents sure were lookers back in the day! I credit them for starting my love of vintage...there being such a huge generation gap with them being older parents, I grew up listening to big band and swing music, watching old movies, hearing about growing up in the 30's and 40's, etc. There was a time when I didn't appreciate it, but I'm grateful for it now! Have a great Thanksgiving! :)

  13. Hi sweet dear, just me again. I'm playing catch up this afternoon on the last few days worth of comments on my blog and just read yours from Monday. Thank you dearly for dearly for your lovely "Stellaversay" wishes, honey! They really me a lot to me (and Stella :D).

    Oodles of hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

  14. How gorgeous! I love that story - it sounds like out of a Shirley Jones movie or something! And congratulations/Happy Thanksgiving/Happy Birthday! Thank you for this fun and sweet post.


  15. Happy Thanksgiving. All I gotta say is: cool and wow - how neat is that! - no scratchy sound coming from the record/needle! Happy Anniversary to your parents. What a beautiful couple.

  16. Holy crud, that is an amazing piece of audio equipment!! Can not believe those didn't take off!!

  17. Gingerella...The phono recorder is VERY neat... I have 'stacks of wax' in my closet which I faithfully spin on a regular basis, and it STILL sounds better than CD...Really! Not cleaner, but just...BETTER!

    And the story about your folks is priceless! I've heard of ladies falling for musicians, but not LITERALLY :) They make a great looking couple!

    37? Hey, I've got 5 years on you...I was born June 30, 1967...the Summer of Love (16 days before Ginger's 56th).
    Happy Birthday, Gingerella!!!

    The funny little poem at the top of the 'cooking' portion above reminded me of a little sign my Grandma had in her kitchen...it read, "I'm not a fast cook...I'm not a slow cook...I'm a half-fast cook..." Read it aloud :)

    Hope your Turkey Day was great!!! VKMfanHuey

  18. OH MY GOD I love your parents' story! My parents' story isn't nearly as fantastic as this one!
    Um, excuse me, why are you "oy"-ing if you're only in your 30s?
    Also that's adorable that your dad reads your blog. My dad definitely doesn't know I have a blog, nor would he care.
    Also, Huey asked you a question on my blog, on whichever topic you posted under.

    All I will say is I didn't overeat this Thanksgiving which is a miracle.


  19. Emma: Isn't their story great? And to think it's lasted 57 years is even better. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Packrat: I know, such a smooth, clean sound. Too bad there's not more of them in that good of condition around. Thanks for stopping by! :)

    Dad: Cool, isn't it? The story as I read it was that they started production on those in the summer of 1941....and promptly stopped production after Dec. 7th that same year due to war breaking out. Too bad they never made more after the war ended!

    jwalker: My parents have an old Philco phonograph/radio from the 50's that doesn't work, dad is always saying he should get someone to restore it but never gets around to it. ;) I may have to light a fire under him, heh. It's not as cool as this one, but it's still so much more attractive than modern stereos.

    Thank you for the birthday wishes...my husband was born in '66 so he jokes about our age difference sometimes, like he's a doddering old man. He can be silly like that. ;)

    I like your grandma's sign....I just may have to incorporate that into my kitchen somehow, lol!

    Lauren: Well, I'd much rather just be turning 19 again m'dear.... ;)

    My parents read this and just loved all the nice comments people wrote, it really made their day! Sometimes I do have to censor myself because I know my dad (and husband) read this, but that's OK. If I ever feel the need to vent publically about family I'll just have to create a separate blog, lol!

  20. My mom still has the stereo she bought when she graduated HS in '57...think it is an RCA, but not sure - is a phono player only (no radio)... I remember when I was 9, and the album Hotel California by the Eagles came out - I bought it and played it on that box... doesn't work now, but would like to get it going again!
    It is so sweet that Lauren is always encouraging us old coots that we aren't all that old...oh well, it's the thought that counts, right? :-]

  21. No you don't... not really. :)


    PS '66 vs. '72?
    Try '54 vs. '69 (my parents).

  22. Thank you for stopping by...

  23. Okay...I've whizzed past *all the many comments*, so forgive me if I'm repeating what's already been said, but....

    OhMyGod. This is the "best meeting your soulmate" story I've ever heard. Happy, Happy Anniversary to you, Mom & Dad! If this doesn't prove that there are no coincidences, I don't know what does.

    And YOU? The little cancerous baby-growth...you must've scared the stuffing outta mom before she knew you were her miracle child.

    What a wonderful post....hope you've had a fabulous holiday...happy anniversary...and happy birthday, as well!

  24. Nice blog!!! Awesome radio, and the whole post was great!!! :D

  25. Kathryn: I know, isn't that the best story? And after they were married they had lots of story-worthy experiences. I keep getting after them to write this stuff down.

  26. Gingerfan11: Thanks so much for reading! :)

  27. I loved reading your post! What a great love story! BTW Happy Birthday...hope you had a blast!

    aka Betsy.

  28. A fellow Betsy! :) Glad you enjoyed!

  29. That's a wonderful story.
    I'm going to share it with my good friend who
    is my age (40) and thinks it's hopeless.


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