Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #109

Last Friday Fill-Ins of January. How can that be? I'd like somebody to slow this year down a bit, please – we're moving much too fast! Oh, well, here goes another FF:

1. I'd really like to be strolling on a warm, sunny beach right now.

2. Ouch! is the word you'd most often hear me say if I stubbed my toe. OK, maybe not exactly "ouch," but this is a G-rated blog.

3. Possession is the only A.S. Byatt book I've read so far. Good book.

4. Isn't it about time for another Captain Jack Sparrow movie? Avast, matey!

5. Marshmallows and fire go together like _____. Hmmmm. Not a clue here – sounds like an SAT question.

6. The sunshine today was so beautiful, I wish it could go on and on.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to – well, tonight is just about over so I'm mostly just looking forward to finishing a chapter in the book I'm reading and going to bed, tomorrow my plans include shopping, and lunch out somewhere – the snow and ice has kept me in most of the week and Sunday, I want to get some reading done, but since it's Super Bowl Sunday, I have grave doubts about that!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vintage Thingie Thursday: Autumn Leaves

I first read about Vintage Thingie Thursday on Smiling Sally's blog (she has a very neat post today, about her mother's sewing table). VTT is hosted by Suzanne at Coloradolady, and as she says, "Thursday is the day to showcase your vintage treasures and to share your special things with everyone." Please visit her blog to find out more about VTT or to participate yourself.

Anyway, I loved the idea of sharing vintage thingies. And since just about everything I own is "vintage" (i.e., old), I thought I'd join in and share my china cabinet, since it's filled with vintage stuff.

Mainly, it's where I keep my Autumn Leaf collection. As "collections" go, it's not worth all that much, since most of the pieces are well-used and in nothing like pristine condition. But it's worth a lot to me because it was handed down to me by my husband's grandmother (along with a couple of pieces from my mother).

I remember that Nonnie (my grandmother-in-law) used these plates and accessories for holiday meals. And I've used them myself, for Thanksgiving dinners. But I hate to see the gold rims get any more worn than they already are, so I've got most of the plates stored away, and I use the other pieces mainly just for display now.

I especially love this cake plate, and the little covered bowl, which is smaller than it looks in the photo and I think was used for holding drippings.

Autumn Leaf china was first produced by the Hall China Company in 1933, for the Jewel Tea Company to be used as a premium. Over the years, they introduced more and more accessories in addition to the basic sets of plates, cups and saucers. The pattern was discontinued in the late 1970s, and is no longer manufactured except for pieces commissioned for the National Autumn Leaf Collectors Club.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The View from My Window

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Blue Monday: Dutch Treat

For this week's Blue Monday offering, I thought I'd post another sampling from my doll collection. The two Dutch dolls pictured here are by Vogue Dolls, and are even older than I am (no, I didn't believe it was possible, either), having been issued around 1942. They're about 8 inches tall, made of composition, with painted eyes, and mohair wigs glued over molded curls. As you can see, their outfits have definitely seen better days. There are products available to clean and restore old fabric, of course, but I've just never wanted to take the chance. I believe the little girl would originally have had more of a pointed "Dutch" cap on – the lacy one she's wearing is definitely old (probably older than the doll), but also probably a replacement.

These two dolls have always been special to me. For one thing, they're precursors of the Ginny Doll, which was a favorite doll of my childhood. And also, these are two of the last dolls I bought, back ten years or so ago, when I was still actively collecting. But I think I've always liked them especially because of the "Dutch doll" tag. When I was a child, my grandmother always used to call me a "little Dutch girl" and when I got old enough to look things up in encyclopedias, and found out all about the costumes with their wooden shoes and starched white caps, I fell in love with the idea. Of course, decades later I realized that my old German Granny was saying I was a "Deutsch" girl – a little fraulein – and nothing to do with Holland at all!

For more Blue Monday photos and stories, please visit Smiling Sally's blog.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #108

Wow, that was a fast week, wasn't it? I almost forgot today was Friday. Time for another Friday Fill-Ins, so here goes:

1. Oh, I am so late getting these Fill-Ins done! (But at least it's still Friday!)

2. 2009 is likely to bring changes, big and little. (Note to self: keep repeating "change is good, change is good.")

3. During January, I hope to read at least five books. (So far, I've got three down and two to go.)

4. Chris Rock says he has no jokes about Brad Pitt; are you kidding me???

5. Right now I'd like to be on a warm sunny beach, sipping something with one of those little paper umbrellas popping out of the ice.

6. My computer is my favorite gadget. (Can a computer be a gadget? No? Well maybe my digital camera? Microwave? TV remote control? Pedometer? Pizza cutter?)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to finishing up the whodunit I'm reading, tomorrow my plans include taking some more stuff over to the storage place (always a thrill!) and Sunday, I want to get some more reading done!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Bergdorf Tiger, Christmas 2007

For more wordless (or nearly wordless) offerings, please visit Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

It's a cold day in Washington DC today, but the thousands of people who've come to watch and celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama don't seem to mind the low temps. Their enthusiasm and excitement will keep them warm.

I know this inauguration day is particularly historic. The eyes of the world are focused on Washington DC today, and rightly so. The election of an African-American President has been a long time coming and is vastly overdue. But personally, I'll always see the 1993 inauguration as probably the most important and memorable. For one thing, it was the first time in many years that the candidate I had voted for was actually the person being sworn into office; I had thought that would never happen. Also, Bill Clinton was the first Baby Boomer to become President – and that was a very big deal for me.

The other inauguration I'll always remember is/was the 1973 swearing in of Richard Nixon. It was memorable because I was in Washington DC that day, attending not the inauguration, but the "counter-inaugural" demonstration. We were living in Baltimore MD at the time, and I believe we drove into Washington for the day – security was a lot looser in those days, and there were no metal detectors, no checkpoints, and no Metro. As I recall, the Smithsonian museums were all open that day, and we popped in there occasionally to take refuge from the cold. These are a couple of the photos we took that day – one is a shot of the crowds near the Lincoln Memorial, and the other is yours truly (with a friend) on the edges of the chaos.

Well, now I live even closer to the District. But I'm not venturing in for today's festivities. My inclination these days is to stay as far away from that sort of activity as possible. I'll watch it on TV, and I wish the very best for our new President and his family.

And I hope it doesn't snow!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blue Monday: Vroom!

In the 265 years we've been married (OK, that's just a slight exaggeration), M. and I have always owned cars that were either blue or silver. We're nothing if not consistent. Or maybe just unimaginative. We started out with his high school dream machine – a frost blue metallic '57 Ford Fairlane. Yes, it was a hotrod and he had "built" it himself. Custom interior. Baby moons. Dual quads. Three miles to the gallon, but a beauty.

Our second car – the one we bought while we were still in college and finally broke down and admitted that the Ford was just too undependable to get us to work and class on time – was a model of practicality: a dark blue MG Midget. It was a lot of fun to drive in fine weather – when it rained, you got wet, even with the top up. If you were foolish enough to take it on the highway (which we did, on a regular basis), you either drove with the top down and allowed the wind to batter you to a whimpering pulp; or you put the top up and had to hold it down manually to keep the wind from blowing it away. Ah, those were the days!

Lately, I've been looking at a lot of our old photos and slides, and was surprised to find that I have quite a few black and white shots of the Ford, but not a single one in color. And not many of the MG. Which is odd, since I've always been a fiend about documenting our lives in photos. Anyway, this is an image from the early days, when the tiny monster was still in relatively new condition. Taken somewhere in the Texas Hill Country, near Austin, one summer day about a million years ago.

For more Blue Monday offerings, or to participate yourself, please visit Smiling Sally's blog.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #107

Well, January is half over - does that seem impossible, or what? Hope everybody is managing to keep warm, here in the middle of this cold, cold winter. Brrrrr! I'm making myself shiver. Better just get to it - time for another Friday Fill-Ins, so here goes:

1. Enough with the cold weather, already – where's spring?

2. The thought of my hubby's retirement causes me to be conflicted. (The nice thing is – he'll be home all the time. The bad thing is – he'll be home all the time. Just kidding, sweetie.)

3. I've been craving shrimp and crab and clams and mussels – I think all those Red Lobster TV commercials are doing their job much too well.

4. Looking through my high school yearbook makes me laugh. (And cringe!)

5. I wish I could go to Paris next week. Hmmm. I wish I could go to Paris right now.

6. _____ has been on my mind lately. (See answer to #1 above.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to ordering Chinese food and maybe watching one of the Netflix DVDs we've got (probably "Solaris" – I'm in the mood for a little sci-fi), tomorrow my plans include trying to get out and do some shopping if it's not too frigid out there and Sunday, I want to do a little cleaning around the place, and get some reading done!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Icicles

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Blue Monday: Great-Grandmother's Necklace

For this week's Blue Monday, I thought I'd put up some shots of all my blue jewelry. But once I started looking through my jewelry box, you know what I found? I don't really have any blue jewelry!

Except for this necklace. It's made of open gold metal links alternating with solid links which are painted a very pretty turquoise blue, with little raised patterns in them (I know all that's very hard to see from these photos). The ends are braided gold metal, topped by little filigree caps and small pearls. I'm not sure how "real" the gold is.

This photo shows the detail a little closer up.

I don't think I've ever worn this necklace. It belonged to my grandmother, and it was passed on to her by her mother (at least that's the story I got from my own mother). I don't know how old it is, but my grandmother was born in 1902. My cousin MLB is a much better family historian than I am – she probably knows much more of the necklace's story. I believe she has the matching earrings. I don't have kids of my own, so the necklace will eventually go to my cousin and her daughter.

We don't have many heirlooms in our family. Those pioneer Texas families didn't leave a lot to pass on to their children (and my great-grandmother had thirteen siblings). So I feel very lucky to have this piece. And whenever I look at it, I'm always amazed, and a little saddened, at how quickly families can lose track of each other.

Please visit Smiling Sally's blog for more Blue Monday offerings.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bracing Myself for the Future

Yes, it looks like it's come to this – as it probably does to most of us who do a lot of "computer-ing." My right hand and wrist were so painful yesterday, I really couldn't use them. And I'm extremely right-handed, so that was pretty depressing. Finally, I took M's advice and tried the wrist brace he'd bought me. It's ugly and it itches, but it does seem to ease the pain quite a bit.

Of course, the whole episode has resulted in a lot of cutting back on my blogging activities. Oh, well – more time for reading, I guess. (Look on the bright side, JL.)

Now what I want to know is – do these things come in any more attractive colors?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #106

Another Friday and another Friday Fill-Ins. I seem to have misplaced this whole week. Oh, well, here we go:

1. It's January; I'll be in Key West till April. (In my dreams, anyway!)

2. Spring is what I crave most right now.

3. Cork and wine go together like peel and banana, warden and prisoner, Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.

4. Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream is so nourishing. (Oh, no, wait a minute – I must have meant "so fattening.")

5. Let us dare to play our Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack CD even though Christmas is history and we're driving our husband crazy.

6. Anytime you want to, you can come clean my home.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to staying home, relaxing, and watching the new episode of "Monk," tomorrow my plans include taking some stuff over to our storage place, and then having lunch out (and possibly dinner, too – I am so tired of eating my own cooking), and Sunday, I want to get some reading done!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Darkness At the Break of Noon

Well, not quite noon. This was actually taken around 1PM yesterday. But those lyrics from Dylan's song kept running through my mind all day. There was no sun - just cold, murky rain and fog. My seasonal affective disorder is kicking in. Excuse me while I go turn on every light in the apartment.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Underneath the Hirshhorn

For more Wordless Wednesday offerings, or to participate yourself, please visit the website here.

Getting Organized

I'm afraid my photo of the day isn't all that interesting – but it does totally represent my day today. It's a shot of my newest storage "room" which is really just a section of our master bedroom partitioned off with a homemade screen. Well, when you live in a small space, you have to be creative (as they say on HGTV). I'm still in the process of storing stuff in there – you might be able to tell from the photo that I've actually got some empty spaces to fill! And here in Condo Canyon, empty space is a real luxury.

Monday, January 5, 2009

This Is Not a Christmas Tree

No, it's a very old potted palm, in dire need of repotting. It's my photo of the day, and it's occupying its regular place in our living room – after having to move to temporary quarters while the Christmas tree usurped its position. Yesterday we took down the tree, put away all the decorations, and ate the last of the Christmas goodies. So now the Holidays are over, and it's back to normal life, normal decor – and normal dieting.

Blue Monday: The Blues of Texas

I think I've already blogged a couple of times about the fact that I'm in the (very long-term) process of converting all our slides into digital photos for computer storage. It's slow-going and we've got thousands of slides from the 1960s through the early 1990s, so obviously I'll never get the project finished in this lifetime. Anyway, that accounts for the relatively poor quality of this photo.
So yesterday I was looking through some of the slides from way back before we moved away from our native state, and lo and behold – yes, there I am actually sitting in a field of bluebonnets. Miles and miles of them. Pretty appropriate for a San Antonio girl, right?

Ah, and I do miss those bluebonnets – it's been over twenty years since I saw the real thing, in bloom. Well, if you're a Texan, the eyes of Texas are always upon you, as the song says, and I guess the memory of those beautiful blue flowers is always with you.

Please visit Smiling Sally's blog for more Blue Monday offerings.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Project 365 and a Sign of the Times

Just read an article about something called Project 365, on a website called Photojojo, which seems to be an online photography newsletter you can subscribe to. Project 365 was originated by photographer Taylor McKnight, who started taking a photo a day on January 1st, 2004. When he took the first photo:
"he never imagined the project would not only serve as a way to remember a year, but also help him understand what was important to him in his life.

Whether it was his relationships, his career, or his fashion sense, recording a photo a day for a whole year left him with a rich visual history of his life. And it made him a better photographer to boot!
Interesting idea. Well, I doubt that I could keep up the photo-a-day pace. But I did take some photos yesterday that pretty much represent how I spent most of the day. We're in the process of reorganizing the space in our bedroom – trying to clear out a lot of the junk that's gotten lost in there over the last decade or so. Throwing lots of stuff out – including a bunch of very old floppy disks. Computer technology has advanced many generations since we started out with our old IBM. We really can't get at the data on these anymore, so into a garbage bag they went, and I snapped my Photo of the Day, below.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Puzzled By the Holidays

One of the best things about the holidays is that I get to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes. I'm a jigsaw puzzle fanatic, and while I know I could play with them any time of year (and sometimes do), for some reason Christmas time and puzzles just seem to go together, for me. I almost always work at least two or three – or more. This year I had three new ones. Well, actually the first two were second-hand finds. Whenever I'm out thrift-shopping or antiquing, I'm always on the lookout for puzzles.

This one is called "Antique Books," and it's filled with another of my passions – vintage children's books. And, appropriately enough, it's a Random House puzzle.
This second one is called "Christmas with Victoria." It was issued by Hallmark Cards, and the Hearst Corporation, the original publishers of Victoria magazine. Doesn't it look just like one of their covers?

This last one was a Christmas gift this year, from my cousin MLB. She knows I like puzzles that are difficult enough to drive me crazy. This one wasn't quite that tough, but it was – well, challenging is a good word, I think. It even had M. working on it, which is unusual because he's not generally a puzzle enthusiast. I think it may have been the Texas theme that drew him in.

And here we have a detail of the same puzzle (which is from a print by artist Charles Fazzino). It shows the San Antonio area – very dear to my heart (the Venice of the Southwest!).

Friday Fill-Ins #105

First Friday Fill-Ins of 2009. Something to cheer things up around here on a dreary, wintry day. So here goes:

1. The world is cold and cloudy today. (Spring can't get here fast enough for me.)

2. "We all present the face we want the world to see" was the last thing I said. (No, really it was – M is reading a book about J.D Salinger and was telling me about Salinger's early career, and…well, it's a long story.)

3. I wonder where we'll be this time next year. (Depends a lot on whether or not the hubby actually retires this year or not.)

4. _____ at the end of all things. (I'm afraid this one's too deep for me right now.)

5. There's something to be said for curling up with a good book on a day like this (or any day, for that matter).

6. Wherever M is, is where I want to be. (As long as I have control of the remote.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner out to celebrate M's birthday, tomorrow my plans include the usual shopping and errands, if the weather doesn't get really bad and Sunday, I want to take down all the rest of the Christmas decorations, and (as always) get some reading done!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Post of the New Year

Well, it's 2009 now. A bright, shiny new year has arrived (yes, it really is bright and shiny around here today). And, like just about everybody else, I find that really hard to believe. I'll be writing 2008 on letters and checks and blog posts for the next few days, if not the next few weeks – until my brain wraps itself around the new concept (that seems to be taking longer and longer these days).

I suppose it's time for the traditional listing of New Year's resolutions and rehashing of the year gone by. Well, I usually try to avoid making resolutions at the beginning of the new year – I find I hardly ever keep them, and that just depresses me. And in the middle of winter (not my favorite season), I really don't need any more depression than I've already got!

I did write a little run-down of my reading plans for the coming year – it's posted on my other blog (Joy's Blog). But aside from doing more reading and trying to use my time more productively in general, I really don't have a lot of plans for 2009. Try to stay healthy – that's a plan. Don't watch so much TV. Well, actually I think I've got that one covered already. Our new digital TV set-up is so complicated, I can't even turn it on without coaching – so I don't think I need to worry too much about the tube taking over a lot more of my time!

And as for year-end summaries and wrap-ups – well, I'm not very good at those, either. For years now, M and I have said it might be nice to write one of those newsy "what-we-did-this-year" letters to include in our Christmas cards to friends and family. And every year, we talk ourselves out of it. Summing up a whole year in two or three paragraphs just seems overwhelming and stressful and pointless. Maybe next year, I'll just point everybody to my blog! "Here," I'll say. "If you want to know what we've been up to, just look at this!"