Sunday, December 23, 2012

And To All, A Good Night

I have taken several days off to help the spousal unit complete an awesome home remodeling project (and work on some writing).  The best wishes of the season a tous, and I'll see you after the holidays.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Friday, December 21, 2012

Quote of the Day

Lord, give to men who are old and rougher
The things that little children suffer. ~ John Masefield

Monday, December 17, 2012

More RN Humor

The staff down in Maternal-Child Health have put tiny Santa hats on all their plastic fetus training aids.

Vintage Images - Christmas Clipart

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Victorian Kitchen

An oldie but a goodie.  There are eight episodes in all, from breakfast through tea, a dinner party, and supper.  The pace is very leisurely; you will have to consciously slow yourself down to watch them.  A real treat.

Available on YouTube.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


From the New York Public Library digital gallery.  H/T to Anna (who has an amazing blog).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Quote of the Day

But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve hating the Whos. ~ Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My name is Ozymandias

I was elected President of the county Disaster Council today.  It would have been more of an honor but I ran unopposed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Hate It When That Happens

(Overheard at a committee meeting).

RN:  Sometimes I think my whole life is saved to the wrong drive.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What To Serve For Dinner on the Second Sunday of December, 1913

There are at least two versions of Fifty-Two Sunday Dinners, and this one, printed in 1913, is available for download from Project Gutenberg.  It is a promotional cookbook, touting the virtues of a Crisco-like product called "Cottolene," which kind of makes one wonder what it's made from.

(Leaving aside the dubious antecedents, I'm not a fan of food cooked exclusively in vegetable shortening although there are dishes where it has it's place).

My 1920's copy has shed such tawdry associations, but the type of dinner considered suitable for Sunday fare changes remarkably little in the fifteen years between the two books -- the 20's version uses a few more convenience products but for the most part, everything was lovingly and laboriously produced "from scratch."

Three vegetables, plus the leg of mutton and the rice, after a delicious-sounding but heavy soup that would make an entire meal for a modern diner.  And Fig Pudding for afters, perhaps as a nod to the season.


1 cup chopped washed figs
1/3 cup Cottolene 
3 eggs well-beaten
2 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Grated rind of half an orange.

PROCESS:  Cover bread crumbs with milk.  Mix Cottolene with figs.  To the milk mixture add eggs, sugar, salt and orange rind; combine mixtures.  Beat thoroughly and turn into a well-greased tube mold; cover and steam three hours.  Serve with Brandy or Vanilla Sauce.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Eleven years in a row.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Quote of the Day

With the exception of women, there is nothing on earth so agreeable or necessary to the comfort of man as the dog. ~ Edward Jesse

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Embroidery - A Cushion from "Woman and Home"

An embroidered cushion from one of my old British magazines...I think this one's from May 1955.  Four pages of instructions on my Flickr account.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Vintage Images - A Snowscape

One of thousands of beautiful vintage images that Patrice has on her site.  Well worth a visit.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Brand Recognition

Even after passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, manufacturers of various foodstuffs resorted to advertising to assure potential customers that the item they were about to purchase was in fact produced under wholesome and sanitary conditions.  One of the biggest boosts for name brand products was the implied guarantee that an honest and public-spirited firm stood behind their wares.

At least that’s the claim made by the Baker’s Chocolate people in Miss Parloa’s Chocolate and Cocoa Recipes, who wanted housewives to be confident that Baker’s Chocolate was a safe investment.  It had to have been exhausting running a home back then; in addition to the muscle work involved in cleaning, cooking, mending and doing laundry without any electrical devices, women were expected to act as their own food inspectors, choosing wisely and protecting their families from adulterated products.

The book is available on MSU’s website, Feeding America.  Here is an example of pre-refrigerator cookery.  I guess ladies back then always kept clean squares of carpeting on hand for situations just like this one.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE.  Put a three-quart mould in a wooden pail, first lining the bottom with fine ice and a thin layer of coarse salt.  Pack the space between the mould and the pail solidly with fine ice and coarse salt, using two quarts of salt and ice enough to fill the space.  Whip one quart of cream, and drain it in a sieve.  Whip again all the cream that drains through.  Put in a small pan one ounce of Walter Baker & Co.’s Premium No. 1 Chocolate, three tablespoonfuls of sugar and one of boiling water, and stir over a hot fire until smooth and glossy.  Add three tablespoonfuls of cream.  Sprinkle a cupful of powdered sugar over the whipped cream.  Pour the chocolate in a thin stream into the cream, and stir gently until well mixed.  Wipe out the chilled mould, and turn the cream into it.  Cover, and then place a little ice lightly on top.  Wet a piece of carpet in water, and cover the top of the pail.  Set away for three or four hours; then take the mould from the ice, dip it in cold water, wipe, and then turn the mousse out on a flat dish.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What I Saw of NYC

Not much.  They hauled us down to the office before sunup and we left long after sundown, and my chief impression is of all the lights on Trump Place as viewed from the window of a van on the West Side Parkway.

But I did manage to have lunch one day with Thing 1 who is now in medical school in New York, bless the boy.

I was assigned the job of tracking down and entering into the database all of the commercial rolling stock contracts so my duties were not very glamorous.   Not that emergency response is ever terribly glamorous, but when asked what I did for Hurricane Sandy, having to reply that I spent all day making phone calls and slaving over a hot laptop is somewhat leveling.  However, my partner Larry and I had about 350 out of 400 trucks and 135 of 150 trailers corralled by the time I out-processed Saturday night.

(Completely unsolicited testimonial – Penske, your customer service people are the tops).

Four of us were operating on two church tables and four plastic folding chairs set up in a wide spot in the main hallway previously occupied by a copy machine.  Rather a high-traffic area, and everyone seemed to think that we were there to answer questions (Where can I get a Red Cross vest?  Will my cell phone work on Staten Island?  Is there a shuttle to the hotel?) that had nothing to do with our labors.  Hence the sign I posted on my workstation after the third day in Manhattan.

It was very intense and very focused, and occasionally goofy, as when three Disaster Mental Health ladies staged an impromptu performance  of “New York, New York” from On the Town.  In a 6x6 foot cubicle, complete with hand gestures and an attempt to high-kick by one of them.

“They’ve lost it,” I said to Larry.

“Took them longer than I thought it would,” he replied.

I did not spend all thirteen days at a desk; Thanksgiving Day was passed conducting a box truck inventory on Long Island.  A New York restaurant industry group served turkey and all the trimmings to the crew in the office which of course was where I was not*.

Timing is everything.

Leaving you with the money quote – an elderly volunteer stopped by my chair one day, looked at me glumly, and remarked “I ain’t had this much fun since the hogs ate my little brother.” 

He was the driver on the regular run from Manhattan to LaGuardia, poor bastard.

(*a cup of coffee and a Slim Jim, in case you were wondering).

Photo by Eli Wohl of an ERV on Staten Island, which is still in bad shape, btw.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Quote of the Day

Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen.  ~ George Savile

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Crochet - Bathroom Beauties

Another wonderful (and free) batch of patterns from Purple Kitty.  Check out the penguins.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'll Get You, My Pretty

I flew back from NYC yesterday, on what I was told was the ONLY connection available to me on the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend.  It meant getting out of bed in White Plains at 0230 in order to leave from LaGuardia at 0600 but that's a small price to pay for getting home.  Thirteen hours a day slaving over a hot database gets to you after a week or two.

(While we're on the subject of airports, does anyone know why the people who designed LaGuardia deliberately made it impossible to return your rental car?  You can't find the Avis lot without a guide dog and a dowsing stick).

I got on the Delta flight in Atlanta, mentally congratulating myself for having gotten an escape row, something that never happens, so I was looking forward to an hour and a half of unprecedented leg-room.  Suddenly the flight attendant popped up at my elbow.

"Ma'am, can you gather your things and come with me?  The gate agent wants to speak with you -- you're going to have to be rebooked on a later flight."

I counted to ten.  Slowly.  Then I asked, very calmly under the circumstances, "Do you know what this is about?

"No, ma'am.  Come with me."

I figured it wouldn't be right take it out on the flight attendant but I was sure ready to rip the gate agent a new one.  I followed him up the aisle, wondering what I had done -- recently, at least -- to get put on the no-fly list.

Anyway, when I got to the front of the plane he waved me into an empty first-class seat.  Turns out he is also a Red Cross volunteer and he spotted the chapter pin I had in my collar.

"Had you going there, didn't I?" he remarked after I kissed him.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I get to spend the next two weeks in New York. Blogging is suspended until 11/25.

(The Drama Queen is sure there's room in that suitcase for her.  Well, yes, if I left out the air mattress.  SO not going to happen).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

"...traditions of things endured and things accomplished, such as regiments hand down forever; and the faith of men and the love of women; and that abstract thing called patriotism, which I never heard combat soldiers mention -- all this passes into the forward zone, to the point of contact, where war is girt with horrors.  Common men endure these horrors and overcome them, along with the insistent yearnings of the belly and the reasonable promptings of fear; and in this, I think, is glory.”

~ John Thomason, Fix Bayonets!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Marines

If Marines don’t like you, they’ll beat the snot out of you.  If they like you, then they merely grab you by the nuts and the carotid artery and drive you headfirst into the ground like a spear.

But other than that, we’re normal.  ~ SgtMaj Mike Burke

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

The greatest mistake a talk show host can make is in believing he has followers instead of listeners.  ~ Neil Boortz.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


(post-election letdown?)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vintage Crochet - A Floral Ornament

From the same Workbasket issue as this cat.  Left-click to enlarge and copy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Food for The Traveler

The title of this cookbook puzzled me, as it is a short work dedicated to what was known one hundred years ago as “rational eating,” a movement dedicated to breaking the Americans and British from their heavy Victorian diets.

I was hoping to find information on preserved and desiccated foods, emergency rations for travelers and others, but instead was presented with a set of recommended diets, broken down for the aged, students at college, brain workers, etc.   Here are some recommended dinners for young children and although I myself am childless, all I can say is good luck getting kids to eat this.  The author must have hated children.


One-half orange, one ounce boiled fish, one-half of an apple, toast.
One half of an apple, one or two eggs, one to two tablespooons raw rylax*.
Cereal salad with carrots and fish.
Legume soup, butter and bread, raw carrots.
Well boiled macaroni, two tablespoons of cold grated cheese.
Light rice with cold grated Swiss cheese
Cereal salad with apple and eggs.
Lettuce, baked potatoes, beechnut bacon and one egg.
Mashed carrots, two tablespoons of young peas, bacon.
String beans with stale bread and butter, bacon and egg.

There’s more, much more, here at Project Gutenberg.

*I have been unable to find out what raw rylax is but I am hoping it is not a laxative compound made of rye flour.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


The 20%

Getting on soapbox:

After Katrina, many jurisdictions (including mine) attempted to create a Special Needs list where individuals and families who would need additional assistance during disasters could register (seniors, people with medical conditions, etc).  It has been a massive failure because no one will sign up.

According to FEMA, 20% of any county's population technically falls into what is currently referred to as functional needs groups.  Working with community partners like Meals on Wheels, Faith in Action, and the Area Agency on Aging, our county EMA has managed to convince almost five hundred residents to register.

Most counties are lucky if they get thirty.

There are three reasons for this.  1) Ignorance.  Residents aren't aware this service exists.  2).  Pride.  Many people are unwilling to admit that they can't take care of themselves and 3). Fear.  If their name is on a list, individuals are afraid they'll be victimized.

We've been working diligently to combat all three but it's an uphill climb.

If you know someone who needs assistance because of medical, mobility, communications or other issues, please ask them to talk to their county EMA/ESDA or Health Department to see if they can get registered.  It should be part of every family's emergency plan if they have a family member who needs this assistance.

I've worked in Public Health and Emergency Management for three years and we all admit that we're not going to be able to save everybody.  But our chances are improved when families and individuals have plans for disasters and are prepared to become their own responders, instead of victims.

Getting off soapbox.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Public Health - It's Not Just a Job, It's an Adventure

At one o'clock this afternoon I learned that, due to circumstances utterly beyond her control (honestly -- not her fault), my co-presenter for tomorrow's workshop "I Won't Leave Without Them - Addressing the Human/Animal Bond in Disaster Preparedness and Response" will not be co-presenting.

I hope the audience doesn't get tired of looking at me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vintage Fashion - Scarf Tricks

Postwar accessorizing from the Australian Home Journal.  How-to hints on Flickr.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vintage Holidays - Halloween Ad Cuts

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Best To You Each Morning

What a feeble and decadent country we have become, breaking our fast on cold cereal, microwaved burritos, etc. when we should be following the example of our forefathers (mothers?  Somebody had to cook this stuff) as laid out in Breakfast Dainties, by a man named Thomas Jefferson Murrey.

After the fruit, eggs, muffins, potatoes and other trifles, Mr. Murrey gets right down to business.  Below is a list of suitable breakfast side dishes for which he offers recipes.


Artichokes (French)
Artichokes (French), Fried
Chicken Croquettes
Chicken, Devilled
Chicken, Fried
Crabs, Soft-shell
Fillet of Sole; Sauce Tartare
Hamburg Steak
Hominy Fritters
Kidneys, Sauteed
Lamb Chops with French Peas
Minced Turkey with Poached Eggs
Mushrooms on Toast
Mutton Chops with Fried tomatoes
Oysters, Broiled
Pork and Beans
Reed Birds
Salt Codfish, Broiled
Sardines, Broiled, Sauce Tartare
Smelts, Broiled
Smelts, Fried
Steak, Tenderloin; Sauce Bearnaise
Steak, Sirloin; Sauce Bordelaise
Tomato Sauce
Tripe with Oysters
Tripe, Lyonnaise
Veal Cutlet, Sauce Robert

Boy, if that doesn’t make you want to go out and do something heroic, I don’t know what would.  Mr. Murrey has four cookbooks available on Project Gutenberg; his work on curry dishes is awful.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Friday, October 26, 2012

Quote of the Day

Nature never makes any blunders; when she makes a fool she means it. ~ Josh Billings

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Hate Technology (Kittens Not So Much)

Six hours after it came back up the internet link went out again.  It appears to be (touch wood) restored.  We'll see....

The babies go to the Animal Shelter tomorrow (snf, snf).  But successful kitten-pusher that I am, two of them are going to be adopted almost immediately by a couple of my colleagues;  Ghost and Reb, which does not surprise me.  Ghost has those neat eyes and Reb (my little bobble-head kitty) really is adorable.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

We just got our Internet connectivity back after five days.  You have missed nothing except lots of squee! photographs of the kids.

Like this one (and these.  And this).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Smart Kid

Got this card from Xena today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

And Now The Post You've All Been Waiting For

From left to right -- Cochise (on back), Prissy (staring at camera), Ghost (jacknifed) and Rebel (aka Reb, aka la Belle Rebel, aka Belle).