Monday, September 30, 2013

Another One Of Life's Little Mysteries

I was tidying away some paperwork and found a scrap of paper, undated, in my handwriting. It contained the following list (in its entirety) :

white jersey top black bra
furry white cat's head

I have no idea.  Seriously.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

"A Tolerable Dinner"

"Our last furloughed men have returned, and I have the promise of one next week, and am congratulating myself on the prospect of once more seeing home.  I am anticipating a great deal when I get home; among other things the pleasure of once more sitting down to a clean, well-spread table, with a good square dinner before me.  In anticipation of such an event, I send by this mail a small bill of fare of such dishes as I think I shall relish, and have ordered them to be ready and smoking hot on my arrival:

Roast -- Sirloin of beef, spare rib of pork, breast of veal, turkey with cranberry sauce, chicken.
Baked -- Bluefish, oyster dressing.  Chicken pie.
Boiled -- Halibut.  Fried -- Pouts.
Chicken salad.  Lobster salad.
Oysters -- Stewed, fried, escalloped.  Clam Chowder.

27 dozen Providence river oysters on the half shell.

Mashed potatoes, boiled onions, beets, turnips, squash, sweet corn, string beans, succotash, stewed tomatoes, tomatoes sliced with vinegar or sugar, apple dumplings with sugar sauce; mince, apple, berry, lemon, cream and custard pie.

Also one moderately sized pumpkin pie, say about thirty-six inches across and not less than eight inches deep; that is as small a pumpkin pie as I care to bother with.

Oranges, apples, pears, grapes, chestnuts, walnuts, cider.

N.B.  No boiled salt pork, beef soup or rice and molasses.  I don't hanker for that.

With that bill of fare, and such other things as my folks will naturally think of, I reckon I can make a tolerable dinner."  David L. Day, 25th Massachusetts.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Friday, September 27, 2013

I'm Not The Only One

The day after the employee appreciation event, this email was sent out by our Accounts Payable specialist.

"There is a little blue duck named “3” in the 3rd floor kitchenette. It keeps trying to go for a swim in the sink.  Would the owner like to re-claim this duckling? OR Do I need to call Animal Control……

Thanks for your assistance."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Online Bookshelf - Stories From The Arabian Nights

Available from Project Gutenberg Canada and well worth a look at the Dulac illustrations.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

We are in a meeting to plan an appreciation day for the front-line staff.  Since it is September, the theme is heavily into pumpkins, apples, turning leaves, etc.

Committee Chair:  ....and the games will include duck pond bingo and a pumpkin toss.

Me:  By "pumpkin toss," do you mean Milt* is going to let us build trebuchets on the roof and fire pumpkins at the courthouse?

Committee Chair:  By "pumpkin toss," I mean we will be trying to toss plastic rings over pumpkins.

Me:  (wistfully)  It might be fun, trying to take out one of the sheriff's deputies while he's outside on a smoke break.

Head of HR:  I think we need to send you for evaluation.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vintage Images - Butterflies

Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


The spousal unit spent four hours today cutting wood, helping to ensure that no matter what kind of winter we're in for, the house will stay toasty and warm.  I prepared him a dinner that was Norman Rockwellian in content and scale, to say the least -- Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits, and peach crisp for dessert.

It occurred to me that it would be of little use for me to post the recipes for any of these, because the chief ingredient in each dish is intensely local. 

The beef comes from the half-cow we buy each year from the neighbors, and goes into the slow cooker with two cups of the tomato sauce that Brian makes every summer (tomatoes and basil pulled from the garden and pureed, then cooked down with a little salt.  I throw in a bay leaf).  The beans are also from the garden and canned in strict accordance with the Ball Canning Book and the booklet that came with our pressure cooker.  Even the peaches are from a batch that Brian got this summer and "put up" for the freezer with a little sugar and some Fruit Fresh™.

If it weren't for the biscuits (from a can) and the potatoes (Idahoan), I'd be the perfect little 50's housewife.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Friday, September 20, 2013

Quote of the Day

The definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviors and expecting a different outcome. ~ Albert Einstein.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Online Bookshelf - The Twin Ventriloquists

This would have been right up your alley, if you were about 12 years old, and this were 1895.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vintage Magazine Covers - Collier's, July 1944

From one of the hundreds of old periodicals on this website.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Notes On A Disaster Drill

Participant registration is at the old terminal.  The layout is ideal for our purposes -- we are using what used to be the lobby, the ramp and the departure lounge. We open the doors at 0700. According to the schedule, we have an hour and fifteen minutes to get one hundred and forty-five participants signed in, moulaged, and into the staging area.  The seventy-five college kids who have volunteered to be victims/roleplayers have all registered, gotten their wristbands (the airport will remain open for the entire drill and the TSA will not let anyone onto the field without a wristband, adding another layer of difficulty to an already pretty complicated process), and obediently trundled off to moulage.  Responders from three local fire departments  have signed in but are all still milling around in the lobby.  Finally, in frustration, I hit the "siren" option on my bullhorn, and everyone for fifteen feet jumps out of their skin.

Me:  I need everyone who is already signed in and has a wristband, to go to the staff waiting area NOW.

My sweet, lovely boss:  (sighing) I wish I hadn't let you buy that thing.

Our moulage chief is a retired professor of industrial safety and he is good.  Two drills ago, when they carried one of his burn victims into the ED, the staff initially thought it was the real thing.  He has a cart full of fake blood, latex, theatrical makeup to simulate shock, etc.  I am standing with two faculty members, watching him work his magic.

Me:  I hope nobody faints.

Faculty member:  (grimly)  They're nursing students.  They'd better not.

In one hour and twenty minutes (only five minutes over schedule), the roleplayers are ready for their safety brief.

Me:  This is important and everyone has to hear me.  Do I need a bullhorn?

Students:  No!

A state trooper is assigned to wrangle the roleplayers once they get out on the field.  He is trying to do a count-off and the kids keep mucking it up.

Trooper:  (in frustration)  You're in college!  You ought to be able to count!

Student:  We're not math majors.

At 1500 I stagger through the door and collapse on the sofa.  The spousal unit is working on the computer in the next room.

Me:  Oh man, I'm beat.  I'm not going to do anything but lie here for the rest of the day.

He:  Surprise, surprise.

Me:  Comments from the peanut gallery can be dispensed with.  (Pause)  I could really use a foot rub.

He:  (not moving) I'll bet you could.

More on the drill here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More Retro Recipes

Note:  Published 1961. I refuse to call it vintage if it is younger than I am.  

It recently dawned on me that I have amassed a fair collection of BHG "theme" cookbooks from the 1960-1970 era, including this one.  Although it contains some horrible post-war food company travesties (canned chicken a la king tarted up with curry powder, anyone?), there are also many shining examples of what used to be called just home cooking but is now referred to as comfort food.  Nearly all of the recipes reflect a time when the homemaker had a couple of hours to prepare the evening meal, as well.

Foil-wrapped Steak Supper.  Easy oven meal -- you don't even have to brown the meat.  Onion-soup mix adds rich flavor.

Aluminum foil
1 1/2 pounds chuck steak, 1 inch thick
1 envelope onion soup mix
3 medium carrots, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut in sticks
2 to 3 medium potatoes, halved
2 T. butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt

"Tear off 2 1/2 foot length of 18 inch wide foil.  Place meat in center; sprinkle with onion-soup mix; cover with vegetables.  Dot vegetables with butter and sprinkle with salt.  

Fold foil over and seal securely to hold in juices.  Place on baking sheet; bake in very hot oven (450°) 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until done.  Makes 4 servings.

Note:  To cook Foil-wrapped Steak Supper on a barbecue grill, use a double thickness of foil; cook over slow coals."

Tuna-Noodle Casserole. No editorial puffery with this, but it's a classic.  Canned tuna, canned soup, and of course the garnish of almonds "for pretty." 

6 ounces (about 3 cups) medium noodles
One 6 ½, 7 or 9 ½ ounce can of tuna, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup (1/4 pound) shredded sharp process cheese
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted (optional)

"Cook noodles in boiling salted water until tender; drain.  Combine noodles, tuna, mayonnaise, vegetables, and salt.

Blend together soup and milk; heat through.  Add cheese; heat and stir until cheese melts.  Add to noodle casserole.

Turn into ungreased 2-quart casserole.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds.  Bake uncovered in hot oven (425°) about 20 minutes or till bubbly.  Makes 6 servings."

Sausage Strata.  So light and airy that it's almost like souffle; a grand luncheon dish!  For idea, see the meal plan below -- 

6 pieces enriched bread
1 pound bulk pork sausage
1 t. prepared mustard
1 cup (1/4 lb) shredded process Swiss cheese
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup light cream
1/2 t. salt
dash pepper
dash nutmeg
1 t. Worcestershire sauce

"Trim crusts from bread; fit bread in bottom of 6 greased individual casseroles*.  

Brown sausage; drain off all excess fat.  Stir in mustard.  Spoon sausage evenly over bread; sprinkle with cheese.

Combine remaining ingredients; pour over cheese.  Bake in moderate oven (350°) 25 to 30 minutes or till puffed and set.  Trim with flufs of parsley.  Serve immediately.  Makes 6 servings.

*Or put casserole together in a greased 10 x 6 x 1½ inch baking dish; bake 30 to 35 minutes until set."

The menu recommended by the editors is as follows:

Melon Cup or Tomato Juice
Sausage Strata
Buttered Green Beans
Cabbage-Celery Slaw   Hard Rolls
Persian Peaches   Hot Tea

(Persian Peaches are sliced peaches mixed with orange juice, honey, and candied ginger, and served over vanilla ice cream.  A BHG cookbook reader might be able to get away with serving breakfast food for supper, but only if it was part of a three-course meal).

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Friday, September 6, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Online Bookshelf - The Diamond Fairy Book

The Diamond Fairy Book, available as a free download from Project Gutenberg.  With black and white drawings, and lovely color plates.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I Can't Believe They Pay Me To Have This Much Fun

Having spent the day in yet another explosives workshop, I'm too pooped to post.

(Yes, they're all inert).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Timing is Everything

Day after tomorrow, I am being awarded my PDS in a ceremony at the state EMA conference.  

This morning, I knocked a chunk out of one of my front teeth.

(Note to self:  smile for the cameras with mouth CLOSED).

Vintage Advertising - Shredded Wheat

Happy Labor Day, American workers.  From Every Week magazine, May 7, 1917.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

He Really Should Know Better

After deciding to invest in new cabinets and countertops, the spousal unit insisted we call on his sister (yes, that sister), who works for a local lumberyard/home improvement center.

We are now doing a complete remodel.