Monday, January 22, 2018

Snow Day

The Chicagoan in me thinks it is absurd to call off school for three inches of snow, but I am happy to say it is heavy, wet, snow which means snowman building. Lately our snow has been so dry it can't be packed into a ball-no such problem with this stuff! It was like slush falling from the sky. It will be dangerous when it freezes overnight, but for now it is providing the local children with some fun. I've been watching cars attempt to struggle up our hill before giving up and bailing out down the side-street in the photo. That's not a road to try without a truck when it snows! The city ploughs have been out, but there's only so much they can do.
Friday, I took Danny to the Automobile Show. We went early in the day, and it was largely empty. He was able to sit in, and try out a number of sports cars. It was fun. I've been taking him to the show every January since he was about three to break-up the long, dull winter days after Christmas. There's the home and garden show to look forward to now. My seed catalogs have started arriving and...I don't know. I'll do potatoes of course as they work so well in the bag bed, but beyond some interesting looking onions and spinach, I'm not feeling motivated. I get two seasons-early for spinach and hardy greens, peas, etc. and the heat of summer that lasts well into autumn. Last year I had more tomatoes than I thought possible from a few plants. I have enough bottled and frozen to last through next year. Anyway, I hope I can summon the desire to plant something.
The Red Crossbills have been regular visitors to our feeders this winter. I have an assortment of treats for the birds from sunflower, nyjer, safflower, raisins, and suet-something for everyone. There's a row of pine trees across the street where I think the crossbills are coming from. Why they prefer sunflower seeds to pine cones, I don't know unless they're just lazy! The Juncos, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Goldfinches, Doves, and Starlings have all been about as well. The occasional Blue Jay and Robin visit us also.
All this cold, damp weather means regular pots of hot chocolate. Honestly, my Grandmother Clara made the best, using a combination of Droste cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. I make mine with melted chocolate and milk because that's what Danny likes, but given the choice, I prefer the deeper taste of powdered cocoa even if it lacks the richness of melted chocolate. I have the pot covered with foil because Danny was outside playing in the snow when I made it. I think coming inside to hot chocolate waiting is a nice sort of surprise.
Hang in there Rolland-Danny is going to make you a body.
That there is some wet snow. I'm glad I don't need to shovel it (our maintenance people do a fantastic job clearing the sidewalks, but no sooner they were here, the snow resumed falling). This will be a tricky storm to keep up with, but it should all be over by tonight.
My outfits haven't been terribly interesting. This was a peach Lurex maxi I cut down into a trapeze dress. I'm wearing bulky shorts beneath it which didn't end up looking good in photos, though I think it was fine in person.
The white, glittery-holographic boots were on deep clearance at Target, so I took a chance. They're comfortable enough, though I doubt very much they will be in fashion after this season. They do work well with 60's styles.

 The shoes and the shopper were the best bits of this outfit.

 Really, that look would work better with a Launer handbag. I saw one on eBay for about $100 and I considered it, but it was white. I'm holding out for black.

We have been planning a few holidays for spring and summer. I agreed to take Danny to Chicago for a Cubs game. I bought tickets for two games, and booked rooms, so I guess there's no backing out now😓I haven't been to Chicago in more than fifteen years, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. At least I don't need to worry about running into family because they're all dead. It will be strange going back there as a tourist.

We're also headed to New York State for some birding, and to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. There will also of course be a short trip to the Crane Trust in central Nebraska during the migration in late February/early March. Late summer will see us back and forth to Grand Island for the State Fair. That's about it, though I am hoping to swing a weekend away alone at some point this summer.

I have a new pudding basin that I'm using for the first time. With any luck, two hours from now we'll have a lemon sponge pudding. I'll get through those Meyer lemons! Better go top up the water. See you.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

National Squirrel Appreciation Day

 Tomorrow is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. If you have a gingerbread house left from Christmas I can tell you from experience squirrels enjoy using it to sharpen their teeth.
There was a planned, "Journaling in Nature" programme about squirrels scheduled at DeSoto Wildlife Refuge but now with the government shutdown, it isn't clear if it is still on or not. If you're planning to go, I'd call first in the morning. I feel terrible for the people who are going to be furloughed without pay-they have bills just like the rest of us and it is reasonable to expect your employer to pay you. Anyway, playing with people's lives for what's essentially a political pissing match is unforgivable and I hope they put a stop to this nonsense. *steps down off soapbox*

Anyway, spare a thought for the squirrels tomorrow, and for all the government workers that aren't getting paid.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Mid January Blahs

When the only thing to look forward to this time of year is the auto show you know you're in a slump. Oh sure, there's our annual Burns Night supper, but otherwise this time of year is a bit uninspiring. My outfits are reflecting this state of whateverness as evidenced by my wearing a brocade skirt with my husband's fleece sweatshirt. He doesn't wear it, so no sense letting a perfectly good item of clothing go to waste. The fabric defies photography but this close-up is a better sense of the colour.
 There's even a matching vest/waistcoat.
Anyway, everything feels a bit much post-holidays, so I went with the fleece. 
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage skirt-Goodwill
Vintage tote bag-Goodwill
Boots-K Mart
Blue nylons-Target
Sweatshirt-Mr. ETB's
Copper pendant necklace-can't remember
Poorly named as you will be anything but incognito wearing this very potent fragrance. That said, I rather like it. 
 Again, I've turned to black on top, but this time I've worn a bright, colorful silky pleated skirt by DaRue of California. They do make lovely pleated skirts (I own three).
Pale legs alert. I am wearing tan tights-clearly not helping!
Outfit Particulars:
Top-K Mart
I have both the older and newer versions. Most of the time I wear a combination of both. I also have a stash of vintage minis I'm working my way through. I am seriously allergic to this one (I suspect it is the narcissus) but that hasn't stopped me wearing it. Like the ad says, "I can quit anything...except Bijan." God, I love this fragrance. Over-the-top in the best possible way.
 Here, I'm back to lack-of-imagination dressing again. 80's does 50's jacket, 70's knit skirt, Liberty scarf. Just. Not. Feeling it.

Fragrance-Shulton Friendship Garden. Pleasant in a very youthful way. It seems more appropriate for a tween than a woman my age. Basically, carnation and aldehydes-both in quantity. I like that in L'Air du Temps, but here it doesn't pack the same punch. Maybe my bottle lost something over the years.
I recently purchased this massive, vintage sewing basket for $3.99 I am pleased as can be, though I've been accumulating several of these baskets which would be fine if I ever did any sewing. Sigh. They're good for holding gloves and hankies too.
 We've been enjoying dining away from home now that Danny is cleared of food allergy concerns. This is a "Clown Sundae" from Petrow's. I don't know why it is called didn't taste funny. It did have both chocolate and vanilla ice cream, marshmallow cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top. Delicious. The Chicagoan in me sees nothing strange in going out for ice cream in sub-zero weather.
We ordered some vegetables to keep it healthy. Don't onions have some sort of antioxidant property? Those looked better than they were, so I only had one. Now I'm going to be lacking in antioxidants...but not vitamin C...

 I have a few pounds of sweet, Meyer lemons and I thought about using them for marmalade, but they really are too mild to use in place of lemons.
And let's be honest, the only marmalade I like is Seville orange. See, I'm wearing my duffel coat and holding marmalade. Please take care of this blogger. Anyway, I'm probably going to help Danny make a batch of orange marmalade for the fair, but with Moros instead of Sevilles (we can't get them).
I did bake some lemon bars with a few of the Meyer lemons. Not sour enough for my taste, but everyone else loved them.
I spotted this on Yahoo's mail sidebar. I'm confident that's not Fast Eddie😊
Running this time of year is a drag. Ice, snow, sub-zero tempos. I can't even manage a short sprint around the block without worrying about breaking a hip. Until about March, I'll be indoors doing my best impersonation of a hamster on a wheel. I did 12 miles today and it was so fucking boring. We've had so much ice this year, it really is treacherous stepping outdoors. Cardio is cardio, but my brain needs a bit of exercise too. I've been reading Winship's translation of the Journey of Coronado with Danny, which is more interesting than I expected it to be. Explorers, political intrigue, 16th Century gossip-all the things that make for a good read. Anyway, between history and chemistry we have a rather full semester.
 I'm finding my faux furs are warmer than the real thing. This 70's coat is so heavy, I have sore shoulders after a day of wearing it.
Outfit Particulars:
wide pleated chiffon trousers-Goodwill
Beaded silk coat-New Life Thrift
90's wool scarf-can't remember where I bought it
Boots- K Mart
Vintage bag-Antique mall
Fragrance-Incanto Heaven, Ferragamo
I blind-bought a gigantic bottle of it and don't love it. I'm trying to tolerate it, but it depends on the day. It is better in cold weather than hot. There's a whiff of disinfectant about it, but overall it just isn't very interesting.
I'll leave you with a peek at my new handbag. There's a cord top plug in your phone and use the working handset-isn't that fun?

  • I hope your January has been more interesting than mine. I'm sure I'll feel more myself once I get past the cabin fever of being trapped at home in bad weather. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Aquarius by Max Factor-Review

This is the dawning of the age of asparagus, age of asparagus, asparagussssss....

I've had my eye on this fragrance since the early 70's, but only recently got round to purchasing a bottle. I won it for three dollars on ebay, which was quite the deal given the crazy amounts of cash people will part with for this not terribly exciting fragrance. Never underestimate the power of nostalgia, I guess. Aquarius launched in the 60's, as did I! And I'm an Aquarius. Obviously, I needed it. I'm sort of amazed no one bought me a bottle when it was current, as I pretty much drove every member of my family mad playing the soundtrack from Hair, over and over.

"Hey baby, what's your sign?"
"No loitering, so piss off."

I have so much astrology crap from my youth, the strangest being a gigantic glass bearing my zodiac sign. Somewhere, I still have a 60's beach towel with the water bearer on it. It was never my thing, but that didn't stop people buying them for me. How Aquarius perfume slipped by, I'll never know.

It smells like the late 60's. Oh, I know that isn't helpful to anyone young, and I'll elaborate on the notes in a bit, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't set the scene. If you're expecting Woodstock, I can't help you. My strongest memory from that time isn't riots, or trials, or Yippies. Mention the late 60's/early 70's to me and the first thing I think is, Shear Genius-the beauty shop in Skokie, Illinois where my mother spent a good chunk of her life until the late 70's. To me, the 60's  and early 70's smell like aldehydes from hairspray, henna, and nail polish remover. It smells like My Sin on old women, the youthful perfumes like Azuree on the shampoo ladies, and permanent wave developer.  It smells like cigarettes because no one gave a thought to lighting up around all those flammable solvents, and it smells like fumes from leaded gasoline wafting in from Dempster street every time the door opened. America was so polluted then. I'd blow my nose, and half the city's exhaust would come out in my hankie. I suppose we'll be heading back to that soon enough, given the current mood about regulations.

Quick story about one of the shampoo ladies at Shear Genius. Her name was Poppy and she wore those fabric poppies they hand out for Remembrance Day/Armistice Day/Veterans Day in her gigantic henna tinted hair. Everyone loved Poppy, and she was the best part of being stuck at a beauty shop for hours while my mum had another layer of lacquer applied to her roller set. I stayed in back keeping Poppy and  the other shampoo ladies company. Once, I think I was about 10, I lifted my head from one of the magazines I'd been reading and asked loudly across the room, "Hey Poppy? What's a rubber?"  Continuing to wash the clients hair, she turned up the water and replied, "You need to ask your mother about that."* I hated that beauty shop, but I loved Poppy.

Aquarius is a patchouli bomb, so don't say I didn't warn you. There's a good dose of amber in there smoothing it out, but if you don't fancy patchouli, nothing else in the notes is going to make Aquarius wearable for you. It is...powerful. Even the vintage bottle I have, which has lost some notes over the years is the sort of thing that elicits a, "Whoa baby, that's some perfume" from someone like myself that lives for this sort of thing. Rounding out the Holy Hippie Trinity, the patchouli is kept company by some sandalwood and vetiver. But really, patchouli.

There's a leather note in Aquarius that comes and goes in between gasps of the patchouli that is very enjoyable-a bit like Cabochard but only for a moment or two. I find myself wishing for more of it, but then the patchouli comes back and kicks me in the head. I've seen florals like jasmine, orris, and lily of the valley mentioned in various reviews but honestly, I don't detect anything even remotely floral here. I get woods, aldehydes, vetiver, and the patch. If there was any bergamot or lemon in the top notes they are long gone in my bottle-it might have been a completely different fragrance with some bright citrus cutting through.

Notes from what I could find online:
Bergamot, Aldehydes, lemon, Jasmine, Orris, LOTV, oakmoss, vetiver, labdanum, vanilla, and a shit tonne of patchouli. But really, Patchouli.

I have no idea where I could possibly wear Aquarius. This isn't a polite fragrance, and though I harbour quite a lot of contempt for the world, I'm not sure it rises to the level of exposing anyone to Max Factror's idea of the Woodstock generation. Oh, I know it got worse a few years later when that hideous green apple perfume was launched, but Aquarius is one hell of a foray into youthful scents. Strangely enough, it would probably be considered "Old Lady" perfume today. I'm an old lady...I should love it✌

File this one under, "Interesting time-specific fragrance" but slap a label on it warning, "Wear at your own risk."

*I don't remember if I asked mum but if I did she probably told me it was an eraser😮

Saturday, January 06, 2018

One Week Down, Fifty-One to Go

Hello everyone! We've got through the first week of 2018-well done, all of you! I see the Eastern US is getting clobbered with the cold we had earlier, but soon it will all blow offshore and there's even a bit of a warming trend on the horizon. Surely we can be happy about that, even if the warmth is short-lived. Well, you're not here for a weather report, so how about some clothes and perfume?
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage acrylic twinset (60's or early 70's)-Hand-Me-Ups
Russian wool scarf-Hand-Me-Ups
70's knit acrylic skirt-Goodwill (I think)
Barely visible carved plastic earrings-Goodwill
Fragrance-The always lovely Vent Vert.
Sorry for all the stairs photos-it was kinda cold outside😀
Outfit Particulars:
1970's wool suit by Picket-N-Post-Goodwill
Vintage yellow cashmere polo neck-Marshall Field's, 80's
Vintage Monet medallion necklace-Goodwill
Vintage beads-Et Cetera, Seward NE
Kenneth Jay Lane brooch-Sarpy County Museum annual sale
Ah, the lovely Maroussa. Sadly, Mr. ETB and Danny both hate it. Fools.
Getting warmer...notice the missing jacket. It was about 19 degrees F. but it felt tropical compared to what we had earlier.
Outfit Particulars:
Pinafore dress-Goodwill
Vintage 40's velvet handbag-Thrift World
Boots-K Mart
Polo neck-K Mart
Weil, Antilope. Some time ago the lovely Beth Waltz suggested I try it, but I couldn't find a bottle I could afford. Emily-perfume expert extraordinaire came to my rescue with this lovely mini bottle. Do I like it? Yes, very much. Thanks to both of you ladies for the suggestion and the opportunity to follow up on it!
This vintage 60's coat by Penguin was a lucky find last year. It is quite warm, and I'm getting plenty of use from it this year. 
 I love the details on the pockets. The cuffs have a knit binding inside to keep out wind/snow which makes it a perfect coat for snow shoveling. Do I win at matching tights to boots? I think I do, today anyway.
 Here's a close-up look at the furry lining. Funny looking penguin if you ask me!
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage 60's polyeaster dress-Goodwill
Vintage Orlon cardigan-Hand-Me-Ups
Needlepoint and wood handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Penguin coat-Goodwill
I wasn't able to find out much about Ulla. It smells like cinnamon-I don't get much else from it although it might be a jasmine bomb that I can't detect. Love the bottle though.
Speaking of owls-do you see him behind the fence? He's been chilling by the cellphone tower. Where there's owls there's...
Twitchers. Yeah, whatever. Not my thing, At all. I can't wait until Danny can drive and do this shit on his own. Ahem, moving along...
 Yeah, I know...I look  like a fucking owl. Why don't you go get me a lemming?

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage wool sweater-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage corduroy and embroidery skirt-early 80's. Don't remember where
Vintage Geiger jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Clog boots-New Life Thrift
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Dargonfly brooch-Christmas gift from the boys
Marvella necklace-Filene's, 90's
Earrings-Can't remember
Hat-K Mart
Worth Dans la Nuit. This is such a beautiful violet perfume. It is subtle, and I find myself wishing it were stronger, but if you're looking for something, "Office appropriate" it is hard to imagine this one being objectionable. I love Worth perfumes-most of them anyway. Worth Pour Homme is like having a conifer shoved up your nose. 
I'll leave you with a bottle of vintage Diorissimo to remind you that spring really will get here eventually. Hang in there if you're in the eastern US.