Archive for March, 2013

SNORT. SNIFF. BLOW.

I was doing my semi-annual browsing in the book, “Dictionary of Idioms” from Scholastic, this morning while sipping my hot tea and enjoying my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. (Yes, it is oatmeal today as part of my increased healthy diet. Seriously.)

The first idiom I saw was “Ace Up Your Sleeve.” The book stated that in the 1500’s, most people didn’t have pockets in their clothes. Sleeves served many purposes and by the 1800’s, when gambling with cards was popular, the players sometimes hid the best cards, such as the Ace, up their sleeves.

This idea took root as I did my house hike this morning. My hiking pants do not have pockets. It is allergy season, so my tissue goes into my sleeve. As I did that, I remembered that many people have said that only old ladies put hankies up their sleeves. (Surely by now you have an idea that I am way past the starting requirement to get Social Security.)

I wrote “hankies,” not tissues. What woman carries a handkerchief anymore? But when I was a kid, beautiful, fancy hankies were given as gifts. I got a lot of them because of my speaking and dancing recitals. (I believe mom was grooming me to be another Shirley
Temple. No such luck!)

By the time I was old enough to ride the bus downtown without a parent, my best friend and I would go together and she always pulled out a hankie knotted as a bag to retrieve her fare. Even then I found that amusing.

This same friend, when she was much younger, made a gift for her father for Christmas. It was a pocket. Not attached to anything. Just a pocket. It didn’t even have a hankie in it.

Here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we have a very powerful and rather long allergy season. The city throbs with the sounds of snort, sniff and blow. Allergy medications practically sell out. Get your tissue early. You don’t want to be without.

Our big culprit is the juniper tree. When the wind blows, as it does often in the Spring, white, sticky stuff fills the air, attaching itself to everything. The only escape is to go up the mountains, above 7000 feet.

Well, my eyes are watering and I’m about to sneeze, so I’ve got to grab my tissue from inside my sleeve. Excuse me, please.

COMING NEXT: Flummoxed and Flimflammed

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A PASSION FOR THINGS ITALIAN

Estate sales held in a home are strange events. It’s fun to look at the house and the “stuff” for sale, but it’s hard not to be a little depressed while thinking about why this sale is happening. So I try not to.

I have a friend who joins me in attending these sales, which we almost over-did by going to five of them in one afternoon. She bought a few small items and I bought one book. That purchase changed my life for a few weeks.

The book measures 10-1/2 X a foot and weighs about 2-1/2 pounds. The title is “Restoring A Home In Italy” and covers 22 home restorations. It is printed to be $75 on the flyleaf and I bought it for $7.25. It still had the plastic wrap on it.

But enough about the book because I want you to know that I went native for those weeks (Italian native). I read every word in the book. Dreamed over every full color, gorgeous picture. Then I moved on to my third time of reading “Under Tuscan Sky.” When I got past that wonderful read, I moved on to Frances Mays’ “Bella Tuscany.” I must confess that I’m not quite finished with my Italian marathon as I have yet to see the DVD of “Under Tuscan Sky” for the umpteenth time. I also must see again the DVD from Rick Steves about his Italian travels.

To compliment my reading, I bought lots of vegetables and a ready-made thin wheat unadorned pizza pie. I chose two different kinds of pasta to cook with some different sauces. I bought fresh basil, onions and garlic. Of course, there was wine. I know, I hardly ever cook, but it’s a lot more fun while drinking red wine.

I go through this Italian phase every so often. I also think about our trips to Venice, while trying to go to sleep. I move slowly along the Grand Canal in a gondola, looking at the gorgeous old mansions bordering the water. I don’t think about their rotting foundations just as I don’t think about why an estate sale is taking place.

Instead of drinking my tea and munching on a chocolate chip cookie during this period, I drank cappaccinos and ate biscottis–chocolate ones, of course. Yum!

COMING NEXT: Snort. Sniff. Blow.

POSTING AND TROTTING ON FACEBOOK

Whoa! I have been trotting (figuratively speaking) and posting around on Facebook, that untamed entity where traversing it is like riding a horse over rough terrain. I’ve hopped into the saddle on my rough Facebook ride a number of times and was completely lost and stressed out by the end of the trot. Today, I started to get the hang of it. But I’m not ready for the rodeo.

Maybe I should explain “posting” to those of you have not yet experienced Facebook, and it is an experience to those of us who’ve shunned the social media When you arrive at a page on the Facebook site, you can communicate with other Facebook “friends” by writing something, which is called “posting.”

The thing that got me so confused is that you can have your very own Facebook page with your very own attendees, called “friends.” When I first started trying to figure out this so-popular social media, what appeared on my very own page were a lot of postings by people I don’t know, about things I was not interested in. I fact, I was a bit embarrassed by some of the postings on my page. I didn’t like what people were saying and wondered why they weren’t on their own page and just leaving me along. To tell you the truth, I still don’t understand that.

But what I learned today is that I can go on their pages and write what I want to write. What I really want to write is an invitation to read my books and join me here on my blog. I finally figured out how to do that. I still have a lot to learn but at least I can now trot here and there posting my comments.

Not many of the people on Facebook are really my friends because most of my real live friends (those that see my face and hear my voice) are from ages 65 to 85. Not many older people trot around on Facebook and neither would I if I wasn’t trying to get readers. And following the horse analogy again, my butt gets sore. You have to sit in front of the computer for quite a while to wend your way around the sites.

By the way, I have had minor experience with horseback riding and a close call when I fell head first off of a 17 hand high animal with no mane to grab and when I was sitting on an English saddle with no Western saddle horn to grab. That was my last horseback event. I got off without an injury but could have broken my neck or had a concussion. I’m hoping I fare better trotting and posting around on Facebook.

Stick your foot in a stirrup and climb in the saddle, and begin trotting around Facebook, posting as you go. (By the way, in horseperson’s language, you “post” in the saddle, bobbing yourself up and down. I never got the hang of that either.) You may end up saying, “Yippee Ki Yay” and having a grand ole time. So what the hay–try it.

COMING NEXT: A Passion For Things Italian

SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM

This blog was written in the summer of 2012.

“You scream; I scream; we all scream for ice cream.”* I recall people saying that a lot in the summer when I was a kid. I just discovered that it was the title of a song from the1920’s.

The weather is very warm as I sit here drinking my tea (iced, today) and eating my chocolate chip cookie, and I’m thinking about childhood summers when we cranked the bucket to get homemade ice cream. Delicious! We ate it in big soup bowls in the backyard under the stars. My parents had dear friends who often joined us on those nights so there were usually seven of us. Sometimes the ice cream was vanilla, sometimes peppermint and sometimes with fruit such as peaches. I can’t recall that there was ever chocolate but sometimes I put chocolate sauce on mine. I was the only kid.

The history of ice cream, which I found on a National Geographic site, is sketchy but it is probably true that the first ice cream kind of dessert was from snow or ice and contained no cream.

Our kind of ice cream was first mass produced in the 1850’s, or so the source says. In the 1900’s, it became affordable for most people to buy ice cream. Ice cream in cones seem to have originated at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1905. It was probably an accident. The ice cream vendor ran out of bowls and a waffle maker nearby handed over cone waffles as containers.

When I was a kid, many drugstores had soda fountains. The trend became popular in the 1940’s. This probably came about because they could supply the carbonated water which settled people’s stomachs. Besides ice cream sodas, the store usually offered ice cream sundaes. I remember visiting grandma in Nebraska and having two sundaes with a friend. We felt quite guilty at being so extravagant.

My sad story was on a very hot day in Arizona, at the age of three or four. I was on a driving vacation with my parents. We saw a place that had ice cream, which wasn’t all that usual. I got a cone and couldn’t wait to get to the car to eat it. On the way, the chocolate scoop fell out of the cone onto the sand. I was so sad. My sweet dad got me another one.

I’ve had many brands of ice cream in my long life and even the best of them could not begin to compare to the homemade ice cream eaten in my back yard on a hot summer night. So, guess what I’m having for dessert tonight? Bought at the market, of course.

*Song lyrics at http://www.heptune.com under the jazz and blues page

COMING NEXT: Posting And Trotting On Facebook

AN UPLIFTING STORY OF WOMEN’S BRAS

In case you think the headline here is clever or is corny, excuse me, but “uplifting” appeared so often in my bra research, I just had to use it. “The Story of the Drooping Boob” might have gotten more attention.

As I was dressing this morning to go enjoy my tea and cookie, I started to think about the incredibly uncomfortable piece of my wardrobe that I was attaching to my upper body–that thing known as a bra today and formerly as a brassiere (French, of course). Maybe you’re thinking, “I love my small, lacy bra that I purchased from Victoria’s Secret,” but I’m not sure they carry my size.

Since my cup size does not appear on the front of most of the children’s alphabet books, my fabric torture devices are heavily constructed with strong under-fabric and wide straps. You get the picture. And since you may not know me in person, I should tell you that if I was considered vastly overweight, I would just blame it on the boobs.

When I thought about conversing with you on the subject of bras, one of the first things that jiggled into my mind was the famous Fredrick’s of Hollywood store that was looted of the celebrity lingerie during the Los Angeles riots in 1992. The company had a famous bra and panty museum that was started in 1986 in a back room of the store. I was living in LA at the time of the riots and remember the stories about Madonna’s stolen bra, and other celeb intimate apparel being carried away.

Bras were celebrated for their 100th anniversary in 2007, but women had been binding their breasts in one way or another way before that time. Bras, as we know them today, really became popular about the beginning of the 1930’s. Are you old enough to recall the introduction of the push-up bra? How about the days of women going bra-less, mainly in the 1960’s? Neither idea worked for me. And when did women start doing the enlargement enhancement. And why?

Men in this era don’t have to have an imagination to know what breasts look like.
They are hanging out everywhere–the hooters, not the men. There was a time when men got excited if they had a glimpse of an ankle. (National Geographic magazine was a really big seller just so men could look at the pictures of naked native women.)

Yes, I have lived long enough for big breasts to be popular even with women. When I first got mine in middle school, it was very embarrassing, and when being thin as a rail was in vogue, most stylish women were flat chested. Well, now there’s no need to hide them, and for me, there’s no way to hide them either. So I decided to let it all hang out and have this conversation with you. And since this is a bit one-sided, I’d be happy if you posted a comment below.

COMING NEXT: Scream For Ice Cream