Sunday, November 29, 2009

Picking Myself Up....and Starting Over Again!

That's always been one of my favorite scenes from a Fred and Ginger movie, that being from Swing Time of course.  And it's true for my personal life as well....this past year has not been an easy one to traverse and I'm hoping 2010 will be much less stressful!

When I started this blog a few months ago, I did so with the intention of it solely being a way to document my reclaiming of my health, physical and mental.  That intention got put by the wayside when I realized I didn't want to be limited in what I "vented" so it quickly became an all-purpose blog, leaving me free to write about whatever was on my mind. 

Unfortunately, my intention of doing the actual work involved to reclaim my health also got put by the wayside.  I am happy to say that I am re-motivated to get back on track in that aspect.  I also have to say that becoming a part of the Blogger community has been a HUGE part of that motivation! 

As I searched out blogs to read, I kept stumbling across more and more folk who love all things vintage and love the old classic movies of the 30's and 40's.  Sharing that same love myself, I was overjoyed at finding so many people who are of the same mindset!  Now, having older parents, I grew up being exposed to big band music and jazz, and hearing of what life was like growing up in the first half of the 20th century; I was a true child of the 80's though and Wanted My MTV.  But even while I was obsessed with Def Leppard and worked my acid wash jeans and mall bangs to the full hilt, I still had an appreciation of "days gone by." 

That appreciation grew even more when I discovered the work of Ms. Ginger Rogers.  I had heard, of course, of the iconic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers but had never seen any of their movies, nor really even ever seen a picture of them.  All I knew was that they were famous for dancing and that she had blonde hair.  One day in 1988 or '89 (not sure specifically), I was channel surfing and landed on American Movie Classics (back when they were what Turner Classic Movies is now and actually played old movies!) and saw the most beautiful actress I had ever seen before.  It was black and white; she was standing in front of a window, through which one could see it was snowing, and the snow provided a lovely backdrop for her dark, curly hair.  I had no idea who she was, but just that freeze-frame moment captured my attention enough to watch the rest of the movie (which was excellent!).  When the movie was over I learned that it was none other than Ginger Rogers, and the movie name was Kitty Foyle.  What?  Ginger Rogers?  I thought she had blonde hair....and only did musicals.....well, I was hooked.  I kept the channel parked on AMC as often as possible and fortunately, the channel was playing a lot of Fred and Ginger, and Ginger's movies that she did without Fred. 

Now, as years passed, I didn't lose my love for Ginger, nor for old movies or the past, but neither was it the focal point of my life and hobbies.  It wasn't until 2007 that I realized that my love of the past could be incorporated into my everyday life.  That was when I stumbled across The Fedora Lounge , quite by accident.  Here was an online community of people who not only loved the past, but lived it everyday in some form or another!  Here people chat about WWII reinactment weekends and where to buy CDs of old radio programs.....women chat about how to do pin curl sets and what shade of red lipstick was truly authentic to 1940....guys chat about how to get properly fitted for suits and how to care for vintage fedora hats....they post pictures of how they've just installed an oven in their kitchen from 1953 and of the vintage pencil skirt just won on ebay they wore to the office that day.  I was enthralled!  Before this, it had never dawned on me to try and seek out vintage furnishings....or that people existed today who wore vintage clothes (and hair and makeup) as part of their everyday wardrobe.  It never occurred to me that I could do this, too! 

Despite my newfound knowledge, I kept to the fringes and continued to live life in the same way I had for years, until I found myself at somewhat of a crossroads this past July as my life turned upside down and I could no longer ignore the changes I knew I needed to make.  Ever since then I've been slowly, slowly, coming back to life, albeit with a few bumps in the road.

Now, I can't tell you what a shot in the arm discovering this massive vintage (and non-vintage too!) blogging community has been for me!  Not only has it re-awakened my love for the past, reading all of your blogs has inspired me to want to start living life with a more vintage eye for things....and more importantly, it's motivated me (again) to want to take much better care of myself and of my home.  It's so much more than just the aesthetics of's a mindset that touches all aspects of life. 

So basically, I want to say thank you to all of have come to mean a lot to me in this short space of time.  I'm not a religious person, but I believe everything happens for a reason and I feel that I was led to you all by a force much greater than I. 

 I'm off to watch and record The Shop Around The Corner with Jimmy Stewart....have a great night and see you all on the other side!  :)

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 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?

Friday, November 20, 2009


I've been sneezing and going through Kleenex (ok, technically Puff's Plus with Lotion, but it's so much easier to just say Kleenex!) like crazy the last couple of days, and either I'm catching a legitimate cold, or I've developed an allergy to my perfume.

For the last 15+ years, I've been a loyal devotee of Red Door by Elizabeth Arden.

About three or four years ago, I stopped wearing perfume, mainly to save money.  I used less and less as time went by until I wasn't using any at all in the last couple of years.

This week I realized I missed having "my" scent on and started wearing it again.

Well, either it's just bad timing and I'm really getting sick, or the perfume has "turned" after sitting stagnant for so long, or I've suddenly become allergic to something in it because all day I've been snotty and my throat hurts from breathing in the fumes, of which I'm keenly aware of every time I take a breath.  No, I'm not drenched in it, t'was just a normal light spritz to my throat like I always used to do.

I know perfume can "turn" if not used over a period of years; one of the greatest gifts I ever received was when I graduated high school in 1990:  a bottle of Chanel no. 5

I rarely used it because it was so precious and I knew I'd never be able to afford to replenish it once it was gone.  Big mistake.  Huge, even....because over the years the scent evaporated out of it and it was mainly alcohol, and I still had more than half a bottle left.  I still held onto it though, because it looked pretty on my dresser....but this year I finally threw it away.  I wish now I had actually worn it when I had the chance!

I wonder if when it goes bad, something activates in the chemicals to make one allergic?  Who knows.  All I know right now is that I'm not going to be wearing my perfume again any time soon.  I should experiment to see if it's just this Red Door perfume that's making me like this, or if others do it too.  I don't have a problem with other perfume scented things, like soaps and lotions, so I'm hoping it's just this perfume.  I'd hate to not be able to wear perfume ever again!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aww, Shucks....

Wow....I've been bestowed my first blog award!  Thank you, Gingeyginge, for thinking of me!  :)

Now, as part of the rules for receiving this award, I've got to bestow it on 10 other lucky bloggers:

1.  50's Times
2.  Destination 1940
3.  BlackLog
4.  Gingerology
5.  Picture Imperfect
6.  Keep Smiling Smileyfreak!
7.  From the Inside....Out
8.  Gay Guy/Straight Guy
9.  The Call of the Jitterbug Doll
10.  Jordiegirl

I'm so new to the Blogger universe that I'm still getting to know folks...but the above blogs especially are ones I've come to look forward to immensely.  :)  And I'm sure the list will continue to grow!

The other half of the award rules is that I've got to answer the following 35 questions about myself, but only using a one word answer.  This will be interesting....

1.Where is your phone? wall
2.Your hair? disappearing
3.Your Mother?  southern
4.Your Father?  incomparable
5.Your favourite food?  junk
6.Your dream last night?  nada
7.Your favourite drink?  wine
8.Your dream/goal?  happy
9.What room are you in?   office
10.Your hobbie?  reading
11.Your fear? Loss
12.Where do you want to be in six years?   wiser
13.Where were you last night? Home
14.Something that your not?  thin
15.Muffins?  blueberry
16.Wishlist item?  camera
17.Where did you grow up?  Nebraska
18.Last thing you did?  movie
19.What are you wearing?  flip-flops (that counts as one word, right?)
20.Your TV?  recording
21.Your pets? Many
22.Friends?  lacking
23.Your life? improving
24.Your mood? Good
25.Missing someone?  myself
26.Vehicle?  chevy
27.Something your not wearing?  socks
28.Your favourite store?  Kohl's
29.Your Favourite colour? Blue
30.When was the last time you laughed?  recently
31.The last time you cried? recently
32.Your best friend?  Husband
33.One place that I go to over and over?  insane
34.Facebook?  sigh
35.Favourite place to eat?  OUT!

So there you have it, how'd I do?  Now you lucky 10 bloggers, it's your turn.  Post the above award graphic on your blog (if you wish) and go to town with the 35 questions.  I look forward to your answers! 

What else is new.....well, I'm re-discovering my love of all things vintage and old fashioned.  Not that it ever goes away, but sometimes other things take precedent.  But since starting up here on Blogger, I've found an awesomely large community of folks who have the same love, and it's refreshing to know there's so many people out there that value and want to hang onto those vintage things worth preserving.  Not that I get overly rose-colored-glasses over the past; I'm fully aware of the bad parts too.  Civil and equal rights are something that was severely lacking in the "good ol' days," and I don't want to return to a time of bigoted ignorance.  I don't think anyone who claims to love vintage does.  But there's so much to celebrate of them "good ol' days" as well, and I commend anyone who is able to support the cause! 

This week I've been able to expand my old movie collection, thanks to TCM and our trusty VCR.  Yes, we still have to use a VCR to record stuff on the TV....sue me.  :)   I got to capture two Ginger Rogers movies I'd never seen before:  Rafter Romance and 20 Million Sweethearts, both from 1934.  They were absolutely delightful, of course!  But I'm biased on the Ginger front.  :)   And, tonight I'm recording The Harvey Girls with Judy Garland, Here Comes the Groom with Bing Crosby, and Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn.  Five new movies in one week for free....can't beat that! 

Work is going well, and I even have a new piece of office furniture.  No, it's not a plush leather recliner, much to my chagrin.  It's merely a table with a hutch/shelf for the massive 3-ring binders that are now my life in my new position, but it fills the room up a little more and makes it feel a little more cozy.  Well, as cozy as generic office furniture can be anyway!  I'd much prefer something like this...

....but I'll take what I can get, as long as it keeps me employed! 

That's it for now kiddo's....thanks for reading me, and all of your lovely comments!

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Vintage Magazine!

I just discovered a new magazine that has made its premiere just this month....called "Zelda: The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau", it's a magazine devoted to everything vintage and early-20th century. I've ordered the first issue, it looks promising....especially to anyone like me that loves old stuff!

Check out the link, and if you're into old stuff too, help this fledgling magazine out and order one!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Peace Of Mind

What a difference a week makes! Last week, I was still banging my head against a wall in frustration, depressed over my job situation and therefore, my self-worth. I never understood before how much of my confidence and self-esteem had been wrapped up in my job.

This week I've been slowly getting acclimated to my new job duties. Today specifically was a great was the first time since July I truly felt good about being here. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me.

Part of the restructuring included me reporting to a new boss. I was apprehensive at first about this.....because my new boss is a person who I disliked intensely when I started here in July, and therefore avoided her as much as possible. In analyzing it, I can see it's because I was intimidated by her. She's tall, model-thin, wears cool trendy clothes, and has a brusque, no-nonsense personality that I read as "bitchy." Now, after having worked more closely with her this past week, I know she's really nice and I shouldn't have any problems working with her. (I'm still intimidated by her cool, polished outward appearance though....ugh)

So....last post I said I needed to spruce up my office to feel more homey. I took some pictures of how it is now so you can see just how bare it is. I'm going to scout around this weekend for some posters and stuff, as long as they're not too expensive, of course. All out of my own pocket, sigh....anyway, if you have any (cheap) suggestions, lemme know!

Now, keep in mind that my camera *sucks* so the lighting is really bad. This is the view from my desk as I'm sitting in it. The window goes all the way to the ceiling. It's really the only nice thing about the office.

And the bare, stark, white corner with the cement block wall and my one lonely chair for visitors, lol. The opposite corner is the same.

And my bare little corner.....that chair is awesome though. It reclines! :)

I had to take a picture of the floor (and my space heater, lol) to show you the nasty blue/green carpet. It looks washed out in the pic but it's much, much brighter than that in reality. And has paint drips left over from the last time they painted in here....

And that's my office in a nutshell. It's the first time in my life I've ever had a private office, and now that I know I'll be staying, I need to "own" it. Mark my territory. Stuff like that. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Well Spank My Arse And Call Me Charlie!

I just received some rather interesting news about my job situation.....
The long and short of it is, I can stop job hunting!
I don't have to leave the university. I will stay in my current position, and said position is going to be fleshed out with new responsibilities. I will have a defined role in the department. I WILL ACTUALLY SERVE A PURPOSE AGAIN.
The timing of it all is enough to make my head spin, I tell ya. I go for months wasting away in no-man's land with only a feeble reason to justify my continued employment, and just when I'm at my wits end with my unsuccessful attempts at finding a different job, BAM! I'm told that Oh Yes, we do have a need for you after all.

I'm relieved that I don't have to take a cut in pay and benefits by working somewhere else, or worse, go on unemployment.....but I also want to go up to my boss and slap him silly and scream, "Do you understand what I've been through these last five months!?!" GAAAHHHHH!

Deep breath, moving on.

I guess now that I know I'm staying, I'll have a reason to decorate my office. It's as bare and sterile as the day I moved in on July 13th. I never felt a need to stamp my personality on it, for if I was just going to be leaving soon, what was the point? Hmm, must think about this....