Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sassy Pants

I had a pair of sassy pants once.

It was 1973 and it was the summer I turned 16.  That summer was a glorious time.  Those pants were a birthday gift from an older friend and unlike anything I ever had in my rather limited closet. 

The sassy pants were high waisted, big belled and cuffed, of course.  They were made with a hot pink plaid cotton fabric which I wore with a little white lace body suit and a thin pink patent leather belt to cinch my waist even more.  I had a tiny waist and a great (or so I was told) rear end and I weighed less than I ever had as a teenager.  (And adult too as far as that goes...)

They were a pair of hot pink plaid awesomeness!!!

I felt like I could rule the world in those pants.

I've tried to think if I ever felt that powerful in anything else that I've worn.

Not so far.

Maybe you only get one pair of truly sassy pants in your life.

What do (did) yours look like?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wildlife in the Workplace

I was upstairs happily cleaning out my closet when Larry ran up and said "Wow there's a cool breeze coming in so I'm going to open all the windows and turn off the A.C."


Men need at least ONE hot-flash in their lives.  Just one.  Then they would know that clicking off our beloved air conditioning and turning the house into a sauna is not something that makes us love them more.

Since I turned into a sweat-y mess within 10 minutes of the new regime - A.C., I thought I would sit under the ceiling fan (that is set on Mach-9) and relay my terrifying trip to the bathroom today while I was at work.

My boss has a really gorgeous house that is set on 10 mostly wooded acres.  And since it IS so close to nature, nature feels free to come on in.
For example - one day we found a frog in a potted plant.  Inside the house.  I've heard that they've found a snake or two by the hot water heater...I always make sure to shut THAT door when I head to my office!

But the worst place for me for some reason is the office bathroom.  

I walked in one day and saw something on the toilet seat.  Thank God!  As I was wiping it off I saw the big black spider that was in the toilet bowl!!
Another day, I was the only one in the house and I kept hearing this scritching sound coming from the bathroom.  i immediately thought - serial killer - but screwed up all my courage and peeked in the bathroom. There was a MOUSE in the toilet!!!  I slammed the lid down and went screaming back to my office. The fourth time I called Larry he finally persuaded me to flush the toilet.  ARGH!!

So today I reached into the bathroom, turned on the light, stepped in, turned around and saw the BIGGEST SPIDER I"VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!!!


I guess I don't need to add that I pretty much wet my pants.

I couldn't step on it - I was wearing Crocs and it is a known fact that you can't KILL a spider by stomping on them with Crocs - you just WOUND them and generally piss them off.  So I carefully slid out of the bathroom and went looking for an anvil or something of that nature.  What I found was two reams of paper which I slammed down on that sucker, then I stomped on THAT and decided to leave it there as a deterrent to other spiders.

Then I decided to work from home the rest of the day.

I still needed to go to the bathroom.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Conversations with Grey

For Greys' sixth birthday, I assured him that I was getting him underwear.  Strawberry Shortcake underwear, as a matter of fact, which always left Neve reeling in laughter.  Jess pulled me aside at his birthday party and told me that Grey asked her to please go upstairs and count his underwear, so that she could tell me that he didn't need any!

Larry was sitting by Grey and Judy, (Jess's mom) when the following exchange took place:

Judy: "Grey, you have too many toys!"
Grey, chewing on pizza, kept his own counsel and chose not to respond.
Judy: "Grey, you know what you need?"
Grey looked at her interestedly, but kept on eating his pizza.
Judy: "Grey what you need is a college education!"
Grey swallowed, looked at her and said, "What for?"

When you are six,  a Lego set trumps higher education every time!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reading Old Recipes with Aunt Bert

Yesterday was an awful day.

It started out with Ellie barfing on my bed, then a headache descended and rolling in right behind it was a bleak bad mood.  Thank goodness my boss let me work from home.  By the time evening wandered around I wasn't fit for man nor basset hound.  Audrey had the rare presence of mind to go out for a long time and Larry came home from work, surveyed the situation and then left for class with a spring in his step not unlike that of a convict being released on a technicality.

Granny's recipe box
Years ago my dad gave me a tin full of recipes that my Granny had collected.  When I was dusting last week I came upon it and had moved it to the coffee table, so I figured it was a sign to finally go thru it.
I settled down on the couch and started to pull the yellowed newspaper pages and recipes cut from the back of boxes and the little recipe books that you get with purchase and I started to calm down.

I love cookbooks.  I read them like novels from cover to cover.  And I am a sucker for cookbooks and cook booklets at thrift shops and yardsales and antique shops.  I think it is so cool to read what people write in the margins and what they tuck in between the pages.

Larry and I took a trip to Maine a few years ago and stayed a couple of days with some friends and their family at their rental cabin by a lake.  I brought along a shoebox stuffed full of all of my mother-in-laws' loose recipes that we could find.  I thought that I could sit on the screened porch and listen to the loons and stare at the lake and sort out the recipes.  My opportunity came on Game Night.  I am not a big board game player and I wasn't at all going to go up against that competitive crowd!  So I sat on the screened porch beside Aunt Bert.  Aunt Bert was an older lady, partially blind, kind of quiet, but sharp as a tack!  You could almost forget she was there...  She asked me what I was doing, then asked me what kind of recipes I had.  So I started reading the recipes out loud.  I found recipes from both of Larrys grandmothers, his aunts, his great aunts, our sister-in-laws, and their moms, a few from me, and even a couple from MY mom!!  But the fun really started when we got near the bottom of the box and found Grandma Inman's recipes!  Grandma Inman was Margarets' mother and she was a teacher and you know that teachers have GREAT recipes!  These were from the 40's and the 50's and we giggled together about how much butter they used.  And how many raw eggs were included.  And Aunt Bert told me about how SHE would've prepared a certain something and I told her how I would've prepared something and we ended up giggling and laughing together and I am convinced that we had a far superior time than the board game players had.
I didn't get the recipes sorted but I didn't even care.  I had a blast.

So as I sat on the couch looking at all the recipes my Granny had squirreled away I thought about the recipes that I had in MY recipe box and wondered what is it in the nature of women that makes them put aside interesting recipes that we know we'll never prepare?   And how now, in these more modern times as we store our recipes online or on Pinterest, will granddaughters get to go thru old recipe boxes and marvel at the ingredients, remember family members that are long gone and, if they are lucky, look on the back of that faded newspaper and laugh out loud over grocery prices?

And mostly, I wondered - why in the heck did Granny have like 80 recipes for apple cake????

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Three Months Til the Wedding - Let's Talk Silver!!!

Oh Boy - We've got less than Three Months to The Big Day!!!

The invitations have gone out, we've put a deposit on the flowers, the cake has been selected, and the food for the reception has been planned.

Now, what are we going to use to eat all this cool stuff?  I'm glad you asked!

First off, let me tell you that I have a shameful secret.

When we were stationed at FT Huachuca, I went to a tea at the General's house.  She had the most beautiful vintage silverplate cake forks...
And thus, an obsession was born.

It started simply.  (It had to - Sierra Vista AZ only had a couple of antique stores.)
I bought 6  vintage Reed and Barton round soup spoons, polished them to a mirror-like sheen, sighed happily and went to look for more...
It turns out that you can find vintage silver plate at antique stores, junk shops, thrift shops, yard sales.  Then I discovered eBay.  I apparently have a good eye.   And I never spent a lot of money on my habit. 

Bargains are part of the thrill of  the hunt.

I love my families' silver.  
After I married Larry, my mom gave he her silver tea set that my dad bought for her in Germany.  Then she gave me her mom's Lady Hamilton flatware set in the original chest.
My mother-in-law came to visit us in Maryland and casually handed Larry a ziplock bag full of silver.  He handed it to me and I nearly fainted when I realized that it was Margarets' sterling silver flatware from her wedding!!!  A couple of years later she gave us some of Great Aunt Nellie's set which amazingly, I had been picking up odds and ends of already.
And my grandmother had a silver-lidded vanity jar and matching silver mirror that always sat on her dresser.  My dad told me when I was in my 40's that they had originally been my mom's and that mom let me play with the mirror in the bathtub when I was a baby.  Granny was horrified and took them away from my mom and took them home with her!  He gave them to me at Christmas the next year and I treasure them.
I feel so close to my family when I am polishing these heirlooms.

So Mary and I sat down a couple of months ago and did a little inventory.
We started with her set called Meadowbrook.  My mom and I found a set of butter spreaders in this pattern the last time we ever went shopping together.  I'd been picking up the odd fork or spoon here and there until Mary said that it was her favorite pattern.  I went a little crazy.  Mary could almost open a restaurant....
We moved on to grandma's Lady Hamilton.  We had a reception for Shayne and Jess after they got married in Las Vegas.  I may have gone a little overboard in collecting this too...
Lady Hamilton
Which led us to the huge set of Ramona that I bought when I went to Bouchville the first time with my friend Sue.

And I fell in love with this pattern, Memory, and got lots and lots of it...

After going thru lots more patterns we stopped at two hundred and twenty 3 piece place settings....
that's not counting the cake forks or butter spreaders, or serving spoons and forks.  And that is without putting together odds and ends to make place settings or using the sterling or Great Aunt Nellie's' Distinction,
Great Aunt Nellie's Distinction

 or Shayne's First Love set,  which is the first pattern that I fell in love with.
First Love

Mary and I put the silver to be polished in plastic containers, and now I have my work cut out for me.

Who would think that there are nearly 1000 pieces of silverplate in those boxes???

And now you know my secret.

Mary was flabbergasted when she saw it all spread out.

No one in the family had any idea that I, like a magpie, had secreted so much of that pretty, shiny stuff.

Hey, some people collect shoes, purses, land, stocks and bonds.  

I like vintage silverplate.

Now, who wants to come and help polish???

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's the Little Things

I had a rough day on Saturday.  Audrey and I went to Potomac Mills because we saw that the JCPennies Outlet was again open!!

It turned out to be just a regular run of the mill JCPennies store.  I was bitterly disappointed. 

And the boycott of JCPennies continues.

So Auds and I made an emergency medicinal trip to IKEA, where I picked up a new comforter to soothe my sorrowing soul.  (And pretty pale pink sheets just because...)

Aren't they pretty??

Later that night while Larry and I were making up the bed with the pretty new pink sheets and pretty rosy comforter cover, Larry remarked "It's a good thing that I don't mind pink sheets."

 Hmm.. I don't know about you, but I'd be worried if he LIKED pink sheets....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

I read in the recent AARP newsletter (yes, I'm old) that while overall the divorce rate is falling, the divorce rate among people aged 50+ is rising.  As a matter of fact, it's doubling.  

 We were told that Larry and I would end up like this...

I am an awful correspondent.  And that is a cardinal sin for a military wife.  We would meet people and then we'd leave or they would leave and I'd write a few times but I'd never keep up with it.  And Christmas cards!  Once we got to Maryland and I started working full-time and Larry kept traveling, I just gave up.  I have no excuse. Life just got in the way.

I miss the people that we knew in the past.  The friends we had.  The things we shared.

When we were at FT Polk we had a group of friends that we spent a lot of time with. Then as a unit we moved to FT Hood and got to spend even more time together.  But since Larry was in Military Intelligence and was attached to the Armored unit, when it came time for us to get stationed elsewhere we went one way and they went another. 

We've heard over the years about that core group - a divorce here, a separation there, another divorce, a tragic death.  But we were never really able to connect with them again.

Last night I was browsing thru Facebook when I saw a picture that a friends daughter had posted.  I looked at picture, then called Larry over.  Does so and so have a brother, I asked?  Is this his real name?  Larry said yes to both questions and we looked at the picture again.  Yes, this was a guy we had been stationed with, partied with, shared babysitting with, but the woman with him was not the wife we remembered.

I hadn't talked with the wife that I remembered in a couple of years, just a comment here and there on Facebook on hour cute her grandbabies are etc, so I have no idea  what happened or when it happened.

I am so sad.

I am sad that I never kept up with my friends.

I am sad that life happens like it does.

I am sad that statistics are so often true, that apparently people don't stay together, don't grow old together.

Stupid statistics.

Audrey said that I need to stop being sad.  That instead I need to high-five dad for still promising to love me tomorrow.  Will do.