Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Parfit, Gentil Knyght

He drove to town today and brought me back Robutussin and a bouquet of flowers.

(Apologies for the paucity of postings these past few days and the next few, as well. I am still miserable).

UPDATE: Yes, I went to Atlanta. Sick all the way there, sick all the time I was there, sick all the way back. I suppose it builds character.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh, Crap

I'm supposed to leave for a conference in Atlanta tomorrow, and he's given me his crud.

Virtue Never Goes Unpunished

Our department has been awarded all four of the grants we wrote for this year. Of course, this means we will now have to do all the stuff we promised we’d do when we wrote for the funding, so the next five and a half months are going to be Hell.

Vintage Travel Posters - The South of France

On a chilly, bleak, grey-and-brown day here in the Midwest, these are nice to look at. Copyright-free, from Dover Publications.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Goes Around

The spousal unit has spent the last two days in bed with some kind of crud that’s been decimating the schools here. Highly unusual, since I can count on the fingers of one hand the times he’s been sick in all the years I’ve known him, including a concussion and that incident when his appendix went south on him.

(Which last was an interesting episode for many reasons, one of them being the ER doc, who upon finding out that we were planning a trip up the Shenandoah to a re-enactment of the battle of Cedar Creek, quoted Sheridan’s Ride to us in its entirety.

The other reason being Himself’s insistence that I drive him not to the base hospital but to his regimental aid station.

Me: Honey, I think you may be having an appendicitis attack. I need to get you to the hospital, right away.

He: I just have a bad stomach ache.

Thirty-five minutes later.

Sixth Marines Regimental Medical Corpsman: Sir, it looks like you’re having an appendicitis attack. I need to get you to the hospital, right away).

Lady Grisell Baillie

At a time when housekeeping required a superior level of managerial acumen, Lady Grisell Baillie ran her home, family and servants with efficiency and attention to detail that would do credit to a Regimental quartermaster. Her household book can be found at, and ought to shame those of us who gripe about having to spend a couple of hours per week on shopping, cleaning and bill-paying.

Certainly I’ve never had to worry about the constables taking away my cook. Not that I’ve ever had a cook, but it sounds like they were more trouble than they were worth. Lady Grisell went through eight in one year.

Great fun to read, either online or can be downloaded in a variety of formats including .pdf and .epub.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

Never shake thy gory locks at me ~ Shakespeare, Macbeth.

(This is why Thing 1 and Thing 2 love working on projects with the local nursing schools.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Patterns of the Past - Mail Order Sundress

A '50's sundress from the mail-order company Marian Martin. Fairly typical '50's bodice interest!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Knitting - A Yarn Company Book From 1916

Because I'm in a hurry and a little muzzy-headed, today I'm just offering a link to The Columbia Book of Yarns, published in 1916 and full of lovely patterns. It can be read online or downloaded in several different formats at

Sartorial Snark

Thing 2 has returned from two weeks in Europe (courtesy of his full-professor wife) with a German harbor-master’s cap. He insists on donning it whenever we leave the office.

Thing 1: That is a really dorky-looking cap.

Me: Yeah, he looks like he should be wearing a pair of poofy pants and sitting on a can of paint.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is There A Texan In The House?

I have a conference in Dallas in May, and I'm thinking of playing hooky for a few days and sneaking down to Port Aransas. I don't know if I should pre-book a hotel room or just rent a car and drive down and take my chances...

Vintage Images - Edwardian Valentines

More copyright-free pretties from Dover.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thank God He Cooks

Or we'd be starving right now. I am unable to do much more than pop pills and hold an ice pack against my lower spine.

Although I'm not so sure we're going to get dinner today, since Mildred* called and she has another cyborg skunk that needs killing. We'll see what the man smells like when he gets home.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I must admit I am feeling no pain right now...

Friday, February 11, 2011

You Always Hurt The Ones You Love

He: So, what did the doctor say?

Me: Well, she gave me some serious narcotics, and she doesn't want me lifting, pulling, pushing, or otherwise manipulating anything that weighs more than ten pounds for at least a week.

He: How would that be different from any other week?

Quote of the Day

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Regret That I Have But One Sacroiliac To Give For My Country

Posting under the influence of Flexoril is never a good idea so I'll be offline for a few days.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Knitting - Lace Edging from 1950

From the June, 1950 Workbasket magazine. Two pages of instructions may be downloaded from my Flickr account.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Vintage Valentines

A selection of free vintage Valentines, on Tipnut.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Sense of (Pro)portion

Occasionally you will read, in a food column or elsewhere, the breathless revelation that Americans eat too much. Our current dining habits are often contrasted with those of our ancestors, and the writer(s) point out, correctly, that recipes that in 1920 were intended to feed six or eight people are now, with the same quantities, designated for four.

Okay, we do eat too much. But what isn’t taken into account is that the meals placed on tables, back when stay at home moms could spend all afternoon in the kitchen, contained far more dishes than today’s. All you have to do is read the recommended menus found in any vintage cookbook to see that this is the case.

Granted, those menus were the ideal and not always the attainable. Early 20th century housewives were no more willing and able to put one of Mrs. Beeton’s or Miss Farmer’s elaborate meals on the table every night than today’s cook can whip up one of Martha Stewart’s.

(Nothing against Ms. Stewart, mind you; I admire her, but I read her recipes in the same spirit I watch Kristi Yamaguchi perform on the ice. Sure I can skate, and I even have my old ice-skates down in the basement somewhere, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to try a triple lutz anytime soon. At least not while my deductible is so high).

But even allowing for a certain necessary simplification, dinners used to start with soup or an appetizer, and went on to include a meat dish, potatoes or noodles, at least one vegetable dish and often two, hot bread of some kind, a salad and a dessert. This bounty started to dwindle in the sixties, I think, and nowadays who serves even three courses?

For a normal (ie, weeknight, non-special) dinner, the spousal unit gets a chop or a steak or a chicken breast, potatoes of some sort (he’s three quarters Scotch-Irish and one quarter German, so spuds are mandated), and either a green vegetable or a salad. C’est tout.

If I have time and I remember, he gets hot biscuits as well, and half the time he wouldn’t even get those if they didn’t come in a can.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter Survival Tips for Disaster Volunteers

Pack at least one more set of underwear and socks than you think you are going to need.

After 20 hours of near-continuous snowfall, don’t count on there being any hot water left in the showers in the courthouse basement.

The fact that you*are used to mediocre food and worse accommodations does not mean that everyone else is. Be patient with your spoiled rotten fellow-citizens who should be grateful they’re getting hot soup and an army blanket and aren’t freezing in snowbanks.

To guarantee continuous police and road crew support, let it be known that you will have coffee and doughnuts available all night for responders. I have a lot of new BFF’s. Most of them strapping young men in uniform (with powdered sugar on their chests).

Don’t venture out in anything smaller than a mid-size. Flora the Red Menace got me through every single snowdrift.

(*ok, me. My standards are low; as long as there’s running water and no artillery, I’m satisfied. Throw in a steady supply of coffee and gedunk, and I’m practically giddy).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

He's Used To It

I'm running a shelter at the city park pavilion for the next couple of days -- I called home and told the spousal unit to expect to see me again Thursday night.