Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Beginning

After thinking it over, I've decided to just stick with this blog, but remake it over.  I imported the 2 posts I made at the new blog over to here and will cancel that one.  Why didn't I do this in the first place?  Oh well.  Women are entitled to change their minds.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'm going to start going by my real name of Betsy rather than Gingerella as well.  After a lifetime of hating my first name, I've decided to try and embrace it instead.  What better way to start than by discarding my nickname?

One thing creating the other blog did was force me to learn more about blog design.  I learned how to do a few new layout tricks and had a blast creating my Confessions of a Wannabe Housewife banner on Scrapblog.  Never mind that it took me 7 hours on Sunday to figure out (shhhh).  I actually like learning how to do new things on the computer and can dink around for hours trying to figure something out.  Maybe I missed my real calling in life, maybe I should be learning how to do web design or write code or something, hahaha.

So, I will continue on my journey to becoming a domestic goddess here and retitle Gingerella's Corner as Confessions of a Wannabe Housewife.  I'll still share other things as well, never fear Ginger fans!  :)  Please be patient as I overhaul the layout, which I will thoroughly enjoy doing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Current Knitting Project

One old skill that I have a head start on is knitting.  In October 2009 I signed up for a 3 night workshop through our community college to learn beginning knitting.  Now, doing this was way outside my comfort zone, because I'm really shy.  Truly!  Walking into a room full of strangers is on par with getting teeth pulled for me....but whatever it was that prompted me to sign up for the class, I'm grateful for now.  I got past my anxiety and learned how to cast on and do the knit stitch.....and that's about it.

From there I turned to YouTube and found lots of video tutorials on how to do other things like purl, yarn overs, join new colors, etc.  I also bought myself a beginning knitting book and tried a couple of the projects in it, such as the obligatory dishrag.

Seriously, once you learn the basic cast on and knit and purl stitch, you can pretty much teach yourself the rest from there.  I'm hoping anyway, I haven't tried anything really complicated yet.

Only, I haven't been as diligent about working on it as I should have.  In 2010 I've only made two things.....a placemat, and the project I'm currently working on (and have been since June!):  a Minnesota Vikings scarf for my husband.  He's been a huge fan since he was a kid living in Minnesota, and even though they've had a terrible season this year, he's still gung ho over them.....but I digress.

I based it on this pattern here for a Chicago Bear's scarf.  From there I just changed the colors to Vikings purple and yellow and got started.

This was taken under a lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb so the lighting is a little funny

As I said, I started on this in June.  I was hoping to have it done before cold weather set in but here it is the end of December and I'm still not done.  This is where I'm at as of today:

If I'm following the pattern explicitly, the end product will be 87 inches long.  It's currently at 47 inches.  I'm not sure I want it to be 87 inches in length, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll make it.  I want hubby to be able to wear it at least for a little while this winter!  

I know I've picked up some bad knitting habits along the way, doing this totally on my own.  For instance, I know I'm holding the needles incorrectly (English, not Continental style), which is probably why I'm such a slow knitter.  I don't wrap the working yarn through my right fingers at all, I just let it hang loose and grab onto it with my right hand palm down.  

One thing, however, that made all the difference to me was learning how to read my stitches.  This scarf is done entirely in single ribbing (knit, purl, knit, purl, repeat) and at first I was trying to keep track in my head which stitch I had just done so that I wouldn't repeat it.  I had no clue how to recognize my stitches.  I was literally counting stitches in my head and had to rip out rows several times when I saw that I had repeated a stitch.  I was ready to quit knitting altogether, I was so frustrated.

But then, via  I learned how to "knit the knits and purl the purls."  In ribbing, once you complete a row and switch to the other side, you knit the stitch that looks like a knit (even though on the other side it was a purl stitch) then you purl the next stitch that looks like a purl (even though on the other side it was a knit stitch).  I read that tutorial over and over again trying to make sense of it, but then it finally clicked and I understood.  It also forced me to learn to recognize my stitches.  Now while I'm knitting all I have to do is read the stitches to know what comes next without having to keep track of it in my head or on a notebook.

I think the next knitting learning curve I'll tackle once I'm done with this scarf is to learn circular knitting, either on circular needles or on double pointed ones.  I want to learn how to make socks, mittens, sweaters, etc. and to do that requires learning how to make round openings.  Just thinking about it makes me tremble in fear (ha ha) but I'm confident I'll be able to learn it.  :)

If you knit, what projects are you currently working on?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Graduation....I mean, Happy Holidays!

I was going to post these right away, but as always am behind again.  Typical me.  But you still love me, right?

(please say "right")

Here are some pics of Husband's grand day a week ago when he graduated with his Masters Degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney (where I also happen to work).

My Husband, Steven, on the left and his friend Ryan DeMoss

My parents in the audience (and man were those some hard bleachers....ow!)

Husband and me after the ceremony


Friends and colleagues hanging out in the kitchen (and a great view of our dog, Ginger's, derrière, lol!)

Husband and my Mom and Dad, stuffed full of good food and ice cream cake.  Ginger snuck into the picture too.  She's sneaky like that.

It was a grand day and we had a blast.  And, we're relieved it's all over.  What a crazy whirlwind this semester has been!  Time to kick back, decompress, and relax, man. 

It's been so crazy that I'm like....oh, it's Christmas?  It is?  What do you mean it's tomorrow......WHAT?  It's tomorrow!?!?  aaaagggghhhhhh!!!!   Well ok, I'm exaggerating a little.  Only a little though.  But our tree is up, pumpkin pie is in the oven, and tonight my parents will come over for a casual Christmas Eve supper (featuring my yummy chicken stew!), then we'll open presents, for tomorrow we're going to my Aunt's house for the Big Meal.  

I hope all of you have a great Christmas Eve and Day....full of good food, drink, cheer, and love.  :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Almost Over!

This has been one crazy semester and once again I'm behind in blogging.  But, working at a university, I'll get one whole week off for the Christmas break.  Yay!  I'm planning on using that time to recharge and get some sense of normalcy back.  And get caught up on blogs.  :)

Why all the craziness?  Let's just say that when your spouse decides to go back to school, don't take it lightly.  Crazy semester?  Heck, the last 4 years have been nuts.  Husband decided in 2006 to go back and finish his bachelor's degree, and graduated in 2008.  Then he immediately plunged into master's work, and will be graduating with that on Friday.  :)   Yay!

I'm so proud of him and all he's accomplished.  What the future holds now, I have no idea, but at least the craziest part of the journey is almost over and we'll both be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.  After the commencement ceremony on Friday, it will be time to PAR-TAY. 

Will post pictures and an update later!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Is it that time of year already!?

Holy Smokes this year has gone fast!  I'm finding it hard to believe we're only a few days away from Thanksgiving and the official start of the Christmas season.  We've had such a mild, warm autumn that it didn't really seem like autumn, until last week when it finally started getting chilly.  NOW it seems like autumn, but the beginning of autumn, not almost at the end of it! 

That probably made no sense.  Forgive me.  It's morning, and it's Monday.

Anyhoo, things have been kinda crazy at Casa Warren, with Husband sprinting towards the finish line.....graduation!  Husband will be graduating with his Masters Degree December 17th (knock on wood).  If he doesn't go postal and end up murdering his thesis committee with a hacksaw, that is.  Hang in there honey, it's almost over!

In order to try and get more in a holiday mood, I've found an awesome internet radio channel playing all vintage Christmas tunes.  I *love* classic, traditional Christmas songs, and nothing irritates me more than hearing modern pop versions of classic songs, or worse, *new* modern pop Christmas songs. 

Sorry Mariah, Justin, and any other modern pop stars who have released the obligatory Christmas album.  Gimme my Bing and Doris and Gene Autrey, thanks.

However, I have two, and only two, exceptions to the modern Christmas song exclusion:
  1. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, and
  2. The 12 Pains of Christmas.

Hey, I'm a woman.  I'm allowed to have exceptions to the rule.  Especially when they're my rules.  Live with it.  :)

Anyway, to get into a vintage Christmas mood, check out the stations available on Live 365.  This particular station the link takes you to is called "Ralphie's Radio"  (Ralphie from A Christmas Story, get it) but if you just type in "vintage christmas" in the search engine it will bring up more stations to choose from. 

Happy listening! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pioneer Woman Cooks on Food Network Tonight!

One of my favorite recipe sites to go to is The Pioneer Woman Cooks, created by Ree Drummond. 

If you're a foodie, and love "food porn", then ya GOTTA check out her site.  Exquisite step-by-step instructions.....with to-die-for photos.....for each delectable recipe.  Sigh.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.....but I digress.

Ree is going to be featured on Throwdown With Bobby Flay, airing tonight on the Food Network, 9:00 pm eastern!

I can't wait!  :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rockin' It Old School

I wanted to show off the newest addition to our home.....a 1949/50 Philco radio with turntable!

It was my parents and I grew up with it in the house.  Here's me standing beside it when I was 15 months old in 1974, lol!

It traveled with us through several moves, but in more recent years it sat in my parents basement, collecting dust and cobwebs and was in bad need of repair.

Thankfully, one of my dad's friends and fellow musicians also repairs stuff like this on the side, and so the wonderful Verle Straatman got the radio and turntable back in working order.  Afterwards, my dad graciously offered to let us have it, rather than take it back to his home.  So now it sits, looking right at home beside our old upright piano.

Here is the turn table, opened by pulling down the front panel:

Unfortunately, it's only AM radio, and will only play 78 rpm records and 45's (not the more "modern" vinyl) so its use will be limited, but that's OK.  I found an oldies station yesterday that plays a mix of 40's, 50's and 60's music which is great (most oldies stations around here consider 80's and 90's "oldies"....blegh) and I have a stack of old 78 and 45 records from my dad's collection....including some homemade ones that he recorded himself.

This is one of the homemade ones.  As you can see, it's pretty beat up and the shellac is starting to flake off the sides of the metal disc.  But, scratchy though it is, I can still hear (kinda) what's recorded on it.

Here's a closeup of the label, it says "Me singing, about 1946 or 47."  That would put my dad at 15 or 16 years old.  It was a thrill to hear him so young, still finding his voice.  If I had lots of spare money I could purchase the equipment and software necessary to transfer it all to a digital format and share it with the world.....but alas, I don't have lots of spare money (though if you wish to donate to the cause, I'm all for that!) so you'll have to take my word for it that it was Damn Cool.

I'd almost rather have this than an iPod!

Friday, September 24, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons....

When life hands you lemons....

ask for salt and tequila! 

So, you have probably noticed that I've made over the look of my blog a little.  It may not be permanent, I was just looking for something a little more feminine looking.  There's so many cute blog backgrounds to choose from, I just might keep experimenting!  

Plus, I felt perhaps a makeover was needed to rejuvenate things.  Not that I'm no longer into vintage and the lovely Ms. Rogers, not at all!  It's just that I had never intended for this blog to be a vintage-only one, but I got stuck in the mindset that I shouldn't write about anything unless it was vintage related.  That's just one facet of my life, and I want to be able to write about anything and everything.....especially since I'm heading into a new phase of my life.

What's that all about?  Well, c'mere and I'll tell ya.......*whispers*  Husband and I are gonna try to have a baby!!!!  :)

What a thrilling, and terrifying, prospect that is!  The odds are against us with our age (I'll be 38 in Nov. and Husband will be 44 next month), and my known fertility issues from having PCOS, but we're at the point where we can no longer say "someday.....someday."  Someday is here, now.  Our window of opportunity is closing rapidly, so we're just going to bite the bullet and see what happens.

I've always considered myself a late bloomer, and I guess this is part of that.  I've never felt a huge maternal urge to have children other than superficially, until now.  I recall thinking a few weeks ago about the proverbial biological clock ticking, and saying to myself, "So this is what it feels like."  Now, I'm fully aware, and prepared (I think) for the fact that we may never be parents.  But at least we will have tried.  I don't want to be 50 and full of regret for waiting too late and never trying.

I've been taking steps to improve my health and am back in the right mindset to continue to try and lose some more weight, as the more I lose the better it will help my fertility chances.  Although, I learned a hard lesson this week about extremes.

Caffeine is a fertility culprit, and is known to exacerbate PCOS symptoms because it acts as an inflammatory.  So, this week I decided to stop 100% cold turkey drinking anything with caffeine in it.  Me, the Diet Coke-aholic who also has a bottle of No-Doz (caffeine pills) in my purse.  (!) 

Well, Tuesday was Day 1.  By noon I was ready to go home sick from work with a migraine level headache, but I stuck it out until quitting time.  Tuesday night I felt like my entire head from the neck up was in a vice grip.  Wednesday was no better and I stayed home from work.  No amount of ibuprofen helped.  Thursday rolled around and I thought, "It's GOT to be better today!"  Nope.  Stayed home sick from work again.  By Thursday afternoon I was in so much pain I was crying and ready to throw in the towel.  I guzzled a Diet Coke, and within 30 minutes was pain free and back to normal.

Ugh.  I felt like a junkie trying to get clean, but couldn't hack it and so slunk off to my dealer with my tail between my legs for a hit.  No more cold turkey for me, thanks.  So, if you're a mega-caffeine drinker and wanting to cut down or stop, take it from it gradually! 

I've been obsessed with reading pregnancy books and visiting websites that deal with babies and parenting.  One good thing about staying home from work in the middle of the week, excruciating headache notwithstanding, was that I could watch to my heart's delight all of those TLC A Baby Story shows, hehehe.  I'm also obsessed with watching Kate Plus Eight, 19 Kids and Counting, and all the other TLC shows about multiples.  It drives Husband insane that I like these shows, but do I complain about him watching ESPN and football?  I do not.  Live with it, baby.  :)

That's all for now, have a great, headache-free weekend!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010



Yes, I'm still alive, just not very visible on the webz at the moment.  The last 2 months have been filled with life stuff that has taken precedence over online activities. 

Health issues, physical and mental.

My dear mother-in-law passed away.

Stress, and more stress.

Not to worry, I'm hanging in there and may feel up to sharing at a later point. 

In the meantime, I hope all of you are well and that you parents (and students!) are getting settled into a fantastic new school year.  Fall is around the corner, my favorite time of year, yay!!!  I always feel like I become more alive when the weather starts to cool down, so perhaps I'll be back to blogging mode soon.

Ta ta for now!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Mother's Cool Tale

My mother, Jean, was born May 5, 1930 in Tampa, Florida.

Her parents were Nellie Mykitta and Farris Farone Branan, Jr, who were married in 1929.  Quite the distinguished sounding name her father had, eh? 



Now, mom was devoted to her father, a true daddy's girl through and through.  He used to sit her on his knee and read her poetry, and teach her about classical music and opera. 


Her sister, Bette, wasn't as close to her dad as mom was. 

Unfortunately, Farris had a terrible drinking problem.  Nellie couldn't take it anymore, and demanded he leave.  My mother, who was 8 when this happened, was crushed.  She never saw or heard from him again.  She never got over it, and it's something that still haunts her to this day.

Nellie soon remarried and told the girls to go to school and tell the teacher their new last name was now Lewis.  Their new stepfather never formally adopted them, but they began going by Lewis until they each got married.  Dad jokes that he and mom aren't legally married because Lewis was on their marriage certificate, and it was never mom's legal last name.....but I digress.

Mom on the left, Bette on the right, high school graduation.


A recent photo of me, Husband, and my mom and dad at our family reunion

So, life went on, mom married dad, had me 20 years later, and here we are today.  Over the last few years, dad and I have done some random searches on the internet on my grandfather's name, to see if we could track down what happened to him after he and my grandmother divorced.  We were never able to find anything.

But, that all changed last month when dad tried Googling Farris's name once again......and this time, he hit paydirt!  No, he didn't find mom's father.......but this is what he did find, posted on an message board by a gentleman looking for any living Branan relatives:

"I was born Farris Farone Branan III in 1945 in Waco, TX.  My father was Farris Farone Branan, parents, Farris and Florence, left me with some people in Texas.  By the time I was six or seven, Farris Jr. and Florence dropped out of my life altogether.  I was adopted as Thomson at age 13.  All my birth records were changed to Thomson but the letters I possess - several hundred - are filled with proof of who I am and I do remember Farris and Florence......"

Now, it's too much of a coincidence that we would stumble across a random person with that very unique name and have it not be of some relation to my dad did some super-sleuthing and was able to acquire this Farris's phone number in North Carolina.  It turns out, my mom has a half brother!

Who would think, that at the age of 80, my mom would discover she has another sibling?  Both she and her sister Bette are thrilled.  Thrilled, and kind of dumbfounded at the same time.  Now, all sorts of questions have arisen about her dad and his life after he left in 1938.  Who was this Florence?  When did they meet?  Why did he never try to see his first two children, Jean and Bette, again?  Why did he and Florence abandon Farris III?  Where did they live?  What are the answers to this mystery?

We'll probably never know, but in the mean time mom is enjoying getting to know her new brother and his wife.  Through phone calls and email, we've been able to share photos and information and slowly are getting to know each other. 

My new uncle, Farris III

Pretty crazy story, huh? 

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Birthday, An Award, And More Random Stuff's FRIDAY!!!!!!

The best day of the week, dontcha know.

And this Friday, July 16, happens to be my hero's birthday, Ms. Ginger Rogers.

Today she would have been 99, a fact that seems mind boggling to me.  I spend so much time with my head stuck in the past, and all of these people seem so real and currant and are very important to my life that I "forget" that they're either very elderly, or passed on.  I know, silly huh?

Anyway, in tribute to Ms. Rogers, I thought I'd post a clip of one of my favorite comedic Ginger scenes ever, the infamous catfight scene from Vivacious Lady:

ha...ha....ha.....  :)   It doesn't get any better than that.

Moving on....

I've received another blog award!  Thank you to Bonnie of themuse30 for thinking I'm worthy.  *bows down* I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!  Ok, that was my Wayne and Garth moment for the day.  Hopefully that was it.  Anyway, thanks again Bonnie! :) 

As part of the "rules" for receiving the award, I'm to reveal 7 random things about myself and then pass the award on.  Here goes.....

1.  I've been a chronic nail biter all my life, occasionally stopping once in a while to let them grow out all long and girly, but inevitably I'll cycle round to biting them again.  Currently I'm in a long and girly phase, and I'm hoping it will last!

2.  When I was in Jr. High School I was in the Miss Junior America Pageant.  My 15 minutes of fame came by association when in the dressing room the girl next to me zipped my dress up for me...she went on to win the pageant and got a modeling contract with Seventeen magazine and Cover Girl.

3.  I took ballet lessons for several years growing up, and even got up to pointe shoe level.  I never really took it seriously though or even practiced (wow, you have to practice!?) and was relieved when my mom let me quit in the 9th grade.
I've thought about trying to find somewhere around here that gives adult lessons....maybe when I've lost more weight....hmm....

4.  It would be a sad, sad, sad world without Diet Coke.  Hi, my name is Betsy and I am a Diet Cokeaholic.

5.  In addition to ballet, I also took piano lessons for several years, and violin lessons through the school; I played in the orchestra from 4th grade through my senior year of high school.   As if that weren't enough, I also sang in choir.  Call me a jack of all music, master of none.

6.   I'm a Harry Potter geek.  I re-read the books at least once a year, watch the films several times a year, frequent Harry Potter websites and message boards, and my new trip destination (when we have any money again) is the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando.  I want to knit myself a Gryffindor scarf, and I will wear it proudly (right after I finish Husband's Minnesota Vikings scarf.....that's been quite the frustration and deserves a blog unto itself!)

7.  I'm also a Laura Ingalls Wilder geek.  If finances would have allowed it, right now I would be at the first Laurapalooza conference in Mankato, MN.  I read biographies and scholarly essays about her, frequent blogs and message boards devoted to her, and have even visited one of her Little House home sites in DeSmet, SD (with Husband patiently in tow).  My dream trip would be to roadtrip to all of the Little House sites and museums one right after the other.....right after my trip to Orlando, hehehe.

So there you have some fabulous random knowledge about little ol' me.  Aren't ya glad?  :)  As for passing on the award, I have way too many blogs that I adore, so I am passing it on to everyone!  Now go pat yourself on the back, copy the award to your blog, and post your 7 random things.  Because I said so.

I have quite the story to relate, but that will have to wait for further developments.  Let's just say that after having blogged about my dad's side of the family so much, now my mom's side gets a turn!  Blog most definitely to come.

Have a fabulous weekend, watch some Ginger tonight and stay COOL out there!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Square Pegs

There's a thread over at The Fedora Lounge discussing what initially sparked members' interest in the Golden Era.  Was it the movies, music, a specific TV show, what?

It got me to thinking back over my life, and how I've always felt at odds with everyone and everything around me.  Out of sorts.  The proverbial square peg searching for a place to fit in.

Looking back, I certainly have enough evidence to justify feeling that way.....

*When I was born, my parents were in their early 40's, so already there's a generation gap right from the start.

*Add to that, my dad was the youngest of 13 kids.  So by the time I was born, all of my aunts and uncles were old enough to be my grandparents....and my first cousins were old enough to be my parents.  My second cousins were the ones close to my age group.

*Because of the timing of births, I'm only one generation removed from the 19th century.  My grandparents were born in 1877 and 1889.  It's a bit mind boggling when I think about it too much. 

*My family and I moved five times by the time I reached the age of six.

*I started school earlier than I should have, entering kindergarten at age 4.  Long story as to why, but it's a decision my parents regret to this day.  I was not emotionally and socially mature enough to fit in with my class, despite being able to handel the academic work.  (except for math that is, *shudder*)

*Because of this, I was bullied and teased unmercifully by other girls in my grade no matter how hard I tried to fit in.  I was the one no one wanted to play with and was always the last to be chosen for teams in PE class.

*Because my parents were older, there was a disconnect with current pop culture, something I highly resented at the time.  I couldn't understand why my parents weren't like other kids' parents.  It intensified my feeling of not belonging. 

*I wasn't mature enough to see the forest for the trees....I wasn't able to plot my own course with my likes and dislikes and not care what anyone else thinks.  At that age, fitting in and belonging can be so crucial to a child's well-being.....especially for a child who was as sensitive as I was.  Children can be so, so cruel and viscious to each other....girls sometimes more so. 

*It didn't help that my class was considered one of the most "snobbiest and cliquiest classes to ever pass through our city's school system".  I actually heard a teacher say that to another in conversation when I was older.  I remember feeling vindicated at the time, to know that it wasn't just me who had felt that way.

*I didn't even fit in with the "nerds," because I wasn't "nerdy" enough.  I enjoyed Star Wars and Star Trek and sci-fi/fantasy stuff, but for the basement-dwelling dungeon master folk, you had to be invested in it hard core to belong.  There wasn't room for people like me with just a casual interest.

*If there was a clique that had existed of kids who read Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables obsessively and whose idea of fun was to dress up like Laura Ingalls and pretend we were back in pioneer days, that would have been the clique for me.  Alas, there wasn't.  Of course.

Now, I don't relate all of this to feel sorry for myself or to get pats on the back.  I had just been woolgathering and analyzing why I am who I am.  And why I am attracted to all things 1950's and earlier.

Having had older parents, and older extended family, I was exposed at an early age to stories and customs of a bygone era.  Those experiences were weaved into the fabric of my being, even if I wasn't consciously aware of it at the time. 

The bullying I endured in school turned me insular.  I had always been a quiet, introspective child, but I became even more so because of those scarring experiences.  This turned me into an avid reader....I could escape for hours at a time into another century, to a place where people understood me (at least in my mind).  Sometimes, my books were my only friends.

I liked old things.  I liked learning about them, reading about them, looking at them in antique stores, seeing them on TV.  But, none of my peers this I kept to my insular self, even as I grew into an 80's MTV teenager with mall bangs.  Thankfully, I did have a small handful of friends in high school who at least enjoyed some of the old movies with me.  We'd get together for Fred and Ginger nights....probably more often than they wanted to!

But after high school, through college, through my first marriage and well into my second one, I still never felt like I belonged anywhere.  I don't have any girlfriends....making friends "in real life" was always a painful, awkward experience that always led to more pain and awkwardness so I generally shy away from forming any kind of bond with my fellow females.  I can cordially and politely get along with co-workers, but never take it past the acquaintance stage. 

So where am I going with all of this? 

Well, in 2007 I had a raging obsession with all things Victorian happening (I've always been attracted to the 19th century, but at times it's more intense than others, lol) and I was randomly searching the internet on Vicorian hairstyles.  Not because I was intending to wear them, mind you, I just had a burning curiosity as to how they achieved them.  This search led me to a site that showed how to do 1940's hairstyles, and that site led me to discover The Fedora Lounge. 

After reading through a few posts, my obsession with Victoriana dissipated quickly.  Here was everything I ever wanted to know about how those beautiful ladies in the movies from the 30's and 40's achieved their gorgeous hair, and makeup, and......wait a minute!  Do you mean to tell me that there's people who actually dress like this everyday!?  There's women who actually do their hair and makeup like this and go to work looking like they just stepped out of 1940?  What?  There's people who actively seek out Art Deco home furnishings and choose to use old bakelite telephones!?  What?

My head was spinning, literally.  It had never, NEVER occurred to me that there were people so obsessed with the past that they chose to live their life dressed and surrounded by as much of the past as possible.  I loved it.

I knew I had found my niche.  These were people I could understand, people who felt out of sorts with the world around them, for whatever reason.  I've always described myself as an "old soul," and here were other kindred old souls who "got it." 

The more I delved into learning about the Golden Era, the more I fell in love with it.  I had liked it thanks to Ginger Rogers and the other old movies I loved, but I had never taken my interest beyond that.  Until now.  And the more I learned, the more I was led to other resources beyond the lounge.....including all of you wonderful vintage-philes here in Blogland. 

My obsession with the past can, at times, be a lone, solitary adventure.  My darling husband shares my interest, but not as deeply as I.  (but he humors me whenever he can)  I know of no other people in my geographical location that shares my interest in the Golden Era; I often get insanely jealous reading about others who have the opportunity to go to vintage-themed events and gatherings, or who have friends who are "in the scene" and dress vintage too.  Not that I dress vintage.....yet.  That's actually one of my motivating factors for the weight loss, so that I can buy repro from the online shops that don't carry plus sizes.......but I digress.

My point is, that even if it's only online on the interwebz, I now feel like I have a home port where I can be myself and no one will think me odd if I spend hours researching how to make a pin curl, or gush about some little tidbit like my milk glass pepper shaker.  This square peg has found it's square hole, and it's swell!

So what about you, dear readers.....what sparked YOUR interest in the Golden Era?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Summer is here, complete with heat, humidity, and pesky mosquitoes.  The little buggars love me so much that I can't even go outside for one minute without being attacked.  I currently have 5 bites on my face that make me look like I have zits.  Hurray for summer!

Now, where's that sarcasm font....

I really do despise the heat, so for those of you who love it,  I apologize in advance for offending you.  Heat = Sweat, and Sweat = Yucky.  As much as I love all things vintage, this is one area where I fully embrace modern technology.....Air Conditioning!  Can not, and will not, live without it.  So there.

Perhaps it would be different if I felt I could wear cutesy sundresses and shorty-shorts, or even a bathing suit to go swimming in.  Alas, at this point, I cannot. 

I have gotten off track on my weight loss journey.  I have not gained any weight back (hurray!), but I have not progressed any further (booo!).  So, my goal of reaching 60 pounds lost by October will have to be adjusted.  But, starting today, I am re-motivated to get back on the ol' horse and get to gallopin'!  I'm still proud of myself for getting to 20 pounds lost, and if I were already at my target goal, I'm doing all of the right things to maintain.  But, I'm not at my target goal, so I need to stop pretending that all I need to do is maintain.  I didn't go through all of this hard work to remain at 175 (technically, for the last two months I've been hovering between 172-175).  I will be 135 again, I will, I will!

So, I have next summer to look forward to for wearing things such as these:

(funny aside, this polka dot dress I actually found on a clearance rack at a department store here, and lusted after it immediately.  It was also in a size 16, which I thought, hey, after losing 20 pounds, surely it will fit!  Alas, it was too tight in the waist.  I was tempted to buy it anyway knowing I'd eventually fit into it, but I talked myself out of it.  Now that I know I can find it online - I ripped this photo off of where I found it - I just may have to buy this one.  It's so 30's-inspired, don't you think?  Yes Husband, this is THE dress I was going on and on about.)

For those of you in the US, have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

Last night Husband and I watched a fantastic classic, "The Best Years Of Our Lives."  Made in 1946, starring Dana Andrews, Fredric March and Myrna Loy, it deals with returning WWII veterans trying to readjust to their old civilian lives.  There is also a very poignant performance done by a man who, prior to this movie, had never acted before in his life.....Harold Russell.

Mr. Russell was an actual veteran who had lost both his hands in the course of duty, and had learned to use prosthetic hooks to manage those everyday tasks we take for granted.  The director, William Wyler, had seen Mr. Russell in an Army film that featured different veterans, and thought he would be perfect for the part of Homer Parrish.

Homer returns home to find his family doesn't know how to react to his disability, which causes him to push away his fiance, Wilma, thinking she won't want to marry him now.  She tries to tell him she wants to marry him anyway....the following scene from the movie Homer shows Wilma just what they'd be up against, to see if she can handle it.  Wilma handles it beautifully.

True love doesn't let disabilities get in the way!

If you've never seen the movie and wish to watch it, I believe someone has uploaded it to YouTube in 10 minute increments. 

Two of my dad's older brothers, Charles and Clyde, both served in WWII.  Some photos from the family album:

And, a telegram sent from Clyde to the family back at home in Nebraska:

Have a great weekend, and remember to honor those veterans of all wars who fought to give us the freedom we know today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away

This has been the chilliest, wettest spring that I can ever remember.  Normally by now we've had to turn on the air conditioner and I would be wearing capris and sandals.   Not this year, we still have our furnace running!  Heck, one day last week it only got to 40 F as a high and we had to pull our winter coats back out of the closet.  That same day last week it snowed 9 inches in the northwest part of the state.  Right now I'm in my office at work with my space heater running.  It's May for cryin' out loud!  Ahhh, springtime in Nebraska!  ;)

All of the rain we've had lately got me thinking about how people of the past handled rainy days. 

Remember rubber galoshes?  Raincoats?  Umbrellas?  Ladie's plastic head scarves?  I never see any of those things anymore, except maybe umbrellas once in a while. 

But even umbrellas are scarce.  It seems people would rather look like a bedraggled wet cat than take the extra few seconds to pop open an umbrella.  Again, it may be different elsewhere, but especially here on the college campus I work at, I hardly ever see students or staff using umbrellas when it's raining.  They're all wearing hoodies that are plastered to their soaking heads. 

Did I miss something, some cultural memo that states it's now uncool to use an umbrella?  Now, I'm aware that plastic raincoats and galoshes have been relegated to elementary school age children (and probably no higher than 2nd grade, as fast as kids grow up these days) for decades now, but umbrellas?

I guess it just goes to show how casual our culture is now.  Perhaps it's because women no longer wear elaborate hairstyles that would need more rain protection, I don't know.  But then, we've become so casual that we see nothing wrong with going to Walmart in our pajamas.  Or, rather, ratty sweatpants with a wrinkled t-shirt, because of course no one wears actual pajamas anymore, dont'cha know.

I'm sure if I came to work in a dress, heels, curled hair and red lipstick, wearing galoshes over my heels, using an umbrella, I would be looked at as if I just stepped off a spaceship from Mars.  Not that the dress, heels, hair and red lippy wouldn't make them look at me like that anyway, but I'm sure the galoshes would be the proverbial straw that broke the camal's back.

Aren't these galoshes from the Montgomery Ward 1936-37 catalogue lovely?  It's a shame they're now just a memory, except to us vintagephiles. 

What about you, do you utilize proper rain gear when heading out on a rainy day? 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Salt Shaker Epiphany

Lately I've become absolutely enamoured with vintage salt and pepper shakers, and other misc. spice and sugar containers.  For some reason, they have come to epitomize quintessential vintage housewivery to me. 

A few months ago, I found this lovely art deco pepper shaker at an antique mall:

Along with these little cuties:

(you can just barely make out the raised lettering of "salt and pepper" on them, the camera didn't pick that up very well)

I'd become obsessed with trying to find the mate to the green pepper shaker above, which led me to scour ebay, etsy, and do various internet searches on every variation of "milk glass shakers" that I could think of.

Finally, one small tidbit of information led to another tidbit, and I discovered the green one had originally been made by a company called McKee, who made all sorts of glasswear in the 1920's - 50's.  Then, paydirt!  I found this posting yesterday on ebay:

I'd found not just the mate, but the whole set!  I was just ecstatic!  Perfect condition with original bakelite tops.  Squee!!

I just HAD to have them.  HAD. TO.  Then, the mental battle started.

$34.95 for.....shakers?  Plus shipping?  Am I nuts?  With as tight as our finances are right now, am I actually considering this?  Over the last few months we've had some major expenses occur as everything with our home and cars decided to start breaking at the same time, not to mention the new furnace we had to buy last fall.  $34.95 is more than half my weekly grocery budget. 

But....but....look at them!  Look at how pristine the colors are!  Look at the arches on the sides and the font of the lettering and how it just screams art deco!  Imagine yourself using them as you cook, and how much like a vintage housewife you'll feel while doing so! we get to the roots of it all. 

I got to thinking about all of this and how severe my reaction over wanting to purchase these was. 

Now, I've been in love with the "golden era" for years, but I realized that I was focusing more on the aesthetics of it all, how beautiful the decor and clothing were, how classy the people always looked (even 'real life' folk, not just the glammed up stars), and the feelings of sentimental nostalgia evoked when listening to old music and watching old movies.  All of that is fine and dandy, but I was forgetting one essential piece to the puzzle.

In trying to incorporate more "vintage" into my life, I thought the only way to do that was to surround myself with material things.  That if I filled my home with vintage decor and wore red lipstick, that would give me a bonafide vintage "lifestyle" to which I aspire. 

But....what does a vintage lifestyle really mean?  It probably means something different to everyone who lives it just the material things?  What about something deeper?  Values....vintage values....that's the piece I realized I was missing.

If I were truly a 30's housewife and we were in the kind of financial straits we are now, the thought of spending that kind of money on something so frivolous wouldn't have even entered my mind.  I would be "making do and mending" and focusing all my efforts on how not to spend money. 

Now, all of this may seem silly but when it clicked in my head, it really did make an impact on me.  Over the last few months I've been going through a lot of changes.....sort of a new self-awareness, if you will....and this was just one more light bulb going off.  One more, "I get it!" moment.

When I realized that I, under no circumstances, could dare purchase these, it was actually a little heartwrenching.....but I walked away.  Silly me, getting so worked up over not being able to purchase salt and pepper shakers, of all things!  Like I was making some huge, noble sacrifice or something.  But hey, baby steps.  The important thing is, it's a start!

I'll never stop loving the aesthetics part of it all, and I'll continue on my quest to surround myself with vintage things as I can afford it.  Truly afford it.  But in the meantime I'll keep digging deeper into the bigger picture and work on my priorities.

(damn priorities!)   ;)