March 30, 2015

I love a good book coincidence

While American novelist Anne Parrish was browsing bookstores in Paris in the 1920s, she came upon a book that was one of her childhood favorites - Jack Frost and Other Stories. She picked up the old book and showed it to her husband, telling him of the book she fondly remembered as a child. Her husband took the book, opened it, and on the flyleaf found the inscription: "Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado Springs." It was Anne's very own book.
--From While Rome Burns by Alexander Woollcott

The next one isn't about books, but it's great:

Henry Ziegland thought he had dodged fate. In 1883, he broke off a relationship with his girlfriend who, out of distress, committed suicide. The girl's brother was so enraged that he hunted down Ziegland and shot him. The brother, believing he had killed Ziegland, then turned his gun on himself and took his own life. But Ziegland had not been killed. The bullet, in fact, had only grazed his face and then lodged in a tree. Ziegland surely thought himself a lucky man. Some years later, however, Ziegland decided to cut down the large tree, which still had the bullet in it. The task seemed so formidable that he decided to blow it up with a few sticks of dynamite. The explosion propelled the bullet into Ziegland's head, killing him.
--From Ripley's Believe It Or Not

March 26, 2015

Cheer up. Ugly houses exist!

I get depressed at all the "design" blogs and websites on the internet. They make me feel terribly inferior, and they insult my dust bunnies. Seriously: half the time I see the stuff on those sites and think, "My God, what a dust collector that is!" My own main decor theme is books. I'm sure any realtor would hate us if they tried to market our home, it's a basic library. The potential buyers would be too busy reading book spines to pay any attention to anything else. Which could be a good thing.

On the other hand, I found a blog that actually made me feel good about myself, home design-wise. After awhile, the blog made me feel sick. But not as sick as Apartment Therapy or Design Sponge!

Yup, Ugly House Photos is my cup of tea, for awhile. Some of the following pics are from that blog, others are just things I found on the internet.

First we have terrible terrible paint. I don't even know the name of that yellowish color. It's kind of greenish-yellow...why am I telling you that, you can see. It's awful.
 photo Neon.jpg

Now I know these colors: blue and orange. And some white. Did they mean to go with red, white and blue? I see they have a flag there. Alas, we may never know.
 photo brightpaint.jpg

 photo polka-dots.jpeg Now to the left we have a polka-dotted house, very crafty! And it's in my two favorite colors: lavender and pink.

But I'm not stupid, I'm not completely tasteless, and I see this is all wrong for a house.

I do have two questions: how did they paint such perfect circles?

And how do their neighbors feel about having this house on the street?

Ohhh! A Hello Kitty house! Look at the archway! This house is a little girl's dream, I tell ya.

But yeah, it's pretty horrid.
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I have a professional opinion here, about why these folks can't seem to grow grass! 
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Now these folks take a boulder approach to landscaping! heh heh

Actually, I know that some folks in Arizona or other desert areas use gravel for their yards and I'm cool with that ("Honey, get out there and rake the gravel!") but these people must've said, "Throw a coupla big ones in there, too" because that's what they got.
 photo BoulderYard.jpg 

Yes, I feel better. I might even go rearrange some books.

March 20, 2015


This one was my favorite; it just revs up my taste buds to see it here. That meatloaf was pretty good and you could take the ketchupy sauce and put it over the tater tots and some of the sauce always got on the brownie, which to this day makes me, sometimes, want to put a little ketchup on any piece of cake, something I could not explain until now.

The green beans were terrible. Very hard to chew. But I ate them, too, because you just did with a TV dinner.

These have been ruined now. They probably removed all the hazardous chemicals and dyes, because the healthy choices available in frozen foods are just that: healthy choices of stuff you should be cooking yourself.

TV dinners were what they said. A frozen dinner that you made because you were busy, man. Busy watching TV, which was also a better deal back then. Even if we had only three channels.


TV Dinner, 1968

March 14, 2015

Five Fashion Fads From The Class Of '78

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I loved my moccasins. For one thing, they were as close to going barefoot as you could get. For another, they made you short, unlike the platform shoes and others of the day. I loved being short because I'd grown so fast in grade school that I was 5'2" long before the others hit their own growth spurts. I didn't get over feeling like a giantess until college.

Now, talk about uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, Dr. Scholl's "exercise sandals" were just the thing. I had one pair; I should've tried walking in them before I bought them. Because with every step, I kicked that shoe right off of my foot. I could've maimed a small child with those things!

I guess the "exercise" was your toes. While the shoes promoted their ability to slim the legs, the whole trick photo SchollsSandals.jpg was to keep your toes curled tight against the wood as you walked. I don't have great toes anyway, and my legs were fine back then. Dr. Scholl's sandals were a total bust for me.

Embroidered work shirts! Oh, these should never have gone away. They were men's work shirts, hence the name. I suppose in California and maybe New York they bought actual girls' denim shirts, but here you could get the work  photo EmbroideredShirt.jpg shirts at Sear's for about two dollars. The most popular designs included mushrooms, peace signs and flowers. My work shirt was a Christmas gift from my cousins Jana and Marla, who both did their embroidery on it. I still have the shirt, it escaped the Great Basement Clean-Up! Alas, it no longer fits. But there's no way I'd ever let it go.

There was a phase of down coats with removable sleeves, thus giving you the choice of a down vest. photo DownParka.jpg Now, I don't find that a puffy vest does me much good in sub-zero Kansas wind chills but damn if it doesn't look good. My coat was actually prettier than the one shown here, if you can believe it! It was light blue with snowflakes on it. We used to wear our vests in class.

There's no fashion without jewelry, and mood rings were it. They had temperature-sensitive paper in them; the paper went toward red if your hands were hotter, back to purple and almost black if your hands were cold. So these gems didn't really measure mood, they measured hand temperature.

 photo MoodRing.jpgI have to give props to our biology teacher who taught us that. He also taught us that we could alter our own mood rings by concentrating very hard on "warming" our hands mentally. I would picture opening the oven to remove a cake and that paper would start to change toward yellow and orange. It was early biofeedback, which was being researched here in Topeka at The Menninger Foundation.

I still have my mood ring, and it still works!

March 10, 2015

Awesome apartment, awesome blueprint!

This is the apartment of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) and if you don't remember the show, just move along.

Mary had the coolest apartment on TV. And while I was loving it as a preteen, Mark Bennett was sketching blueprints of her domain while also drawing the home of Jodi and Buffy, the Jetson's home and the entire town of Mayberry. That's just to name a few.

So here's Mary's page:

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I spent a lot of time examining Mary's apartment; I don't have an architect's mind but still. The whole book, TV Sets: Fantasy Blueprints of Classic TV Homes by Mark Bennett is a worthy buy. Click the pic below to go to Amazon where you can buy a new or used copy.

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March 3, 2015

Dr. Seuss Alphabet

 photo a.jpg What's not to love here? While these would be perfect in frames for a child's bedroom, I think they'd look great anywhere. A school library, a public library, a bookstore, my family room...yes, the possibilities are endless.

All of the letters are available on different colored backgrounds. Go to Seuss Prints to see them all and be sure to see the other treasures on the site.

There's also a link taking you to the "secret" art of Dr. Seuss. It's wonderful and unexpected.

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March 1, 2015