Friday, April 15, 2011

Wow, Customer Service!

Remember the "olden days" when stores helped you carry out your purchases?  I went out for a day with my Red Hat friends yesterday.  We ate, we shopped, we shopped, we shopped... and not being the spring chicken I used to be, I got a little slow towards the end of our trip.  I noticed my friends were already out of the store, so I hurried to the checkout where an employee reached into my cart and laid my purchases on the counter for another employee to check out.  Then he bagged them, scooped the bag up, and opened the front door.  Boy, I thought, I sure must look feeble.  Keeping up a chatty conversation the whole way, he jauntily walked to my friend's car while I tiredly shuffled behind him.  He opened the car's passenger door, and said "There you go, hon, anything else I can do?"  I said "Pick me up and put me in?"
Why did everyone laugh, and why do people assume I'm kidding?  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ooh, Movies!

Every Saturday night my little brother and I would hurry to eat supper, take a bath, and put on our pajamas.  We'd race to the car, whooping with excitement, everyone would pile in, and drive to the local drive-in.  Mind you, this was every Saturday night.  We took our pillows, and had a huge paper grocery bag full of popcorn.  Since 50's parents wisely made small children go to bed at around 7 or 7:30, we pretty much only got to see the "coming attractions", cartoon, and 30 minutes of the movie before we were filling the car with baby-snores.

Sadly, today there are very few drive-ins in America, but a few can still be found in operation.  Sadly, also, there are even fewer paper bags around.  But if you can find a drive-in, and a paper bag, pop some corn and go see a movie!  Take kids and grandkids, and let them experience something special before it's gone forever.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bed Dolls

Remember bed dolls?  Off and on through the years they have been popular, long skinny dolls with long skinny legs, dolls with crocheted skirts, and the kind I remember from my childhood, milk filter dolls.  Those little 6-8" dolls with huge skirts made from milk filters.   They came in a kit, and were extremely popular.
Most of my friends had bed dolls at their homes.  Some sat in the middle of a bed, and some adorned a couch.  Ours was in the middle of my parents' bed.  We weren't allowed to touch it, of course.  Too much time put in on it, and too dirty little hands.  So we leaned on the side of the bed, as close as we could get, and admired.  Did you ever have a bed doll?     

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Splish, Splash

Nothing was as exciting as coming to grandma's and finding she was doing laundry.  We'd come into her house, and you could immediately smell that wet, soapy, heavy smell of hot water and clean clothes.  My brother and I would race into the "back room" where her wringer washer was kept, tumbling over each other to each get in there first, only to be sharply and loundly told, "get out of here, you'll get caught in the wringer."  It was enough of a warning for our arms to suddenly be sucked to our sides, in fear that the dread wringer would somehow reach down and grab a loosely guarded apendage, ripping us to shreads!  Of course, that never happened.  I know if you've never been around a wringer washer, you're wondering what made wash day so special.  Well, the wash tubs, of course!  After the laundry was washed, the water was "let out" by way of a rubber hose, running into a wash tub.  That tub of water was dumped in the yard, and the washer was filled with clean, hot water, to rinse the clean clothes.  All the clothes were put back into the washer to agitate the soap out, each piece picked up, run through the wringer, and dropped into a clothes basket to hang up.  Then the rinse water was "let out" into a tub.  Now comes the fun part!  The rinse tub was carried outside, warm and just slightly soapy, for us "younguns" to play in.  Our own private spa, where we swished back and forth, splashing water out each side, then we'd rollll, over and over... swish some more, rollll again.. for hours.  When it got late in the afternoon, and the water had cooled down, we climbed out, squeeky clean, all tired out, to dry off with a big towel.  Then we'd dress in our pjs, ready for supper and bed, barely able to keep our eyes open.  Another great day at grandma's!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Remember Trolls?

Do you remember those cute little potbellied, wild haired dolls wildly popular from 1963 through 1965?  American produced dolls were called Wishnik Trolls, Treasure Trolls, Gonks, Norfins, and other names.  Mine were Wishniks. 

There's just something endearing about it's optomistic smile, big eyes, and even it's short, fat little arms and legs.  You just can't keep from stroking that hair!

They seemed to really get around too.  This one went to Viet Nam in 1967 to stay with my boyfriend.  My future mother-in-law was apalled that I gave her son a naked doll.  But, that cute little thing worked it's magic, and it became the "good luck troll" that was hung in his helicopter.  It must have worked, too, as they crashed several times without any casualties.

If you're lucky enough to have some of those dolls, they may be worth anywhere from $1. to $5. for Russ dolls, and $15 and up for the 60's dolls.  Earlier dolls, from Sweden, called Dam dolls (named after the inventor), are the prize collectables.  Now, just remember.. if you are going to try to sell your troll, rub his tummy first for good luck!  


Monday, February 7, 2011

Movie Monsters

As I drove to work Saturday afternoon, I stopped at a light.  I noticed no cars in front of me, no oncoming traffic, and no cars to be seen behind me.  I looked to the right and left.  Nothing.  It was like I was the last person on earth.  You know what that usually means, don't you?  Be on the lookout for flesh eating zombies. 

What's with all the zombies on t.v. these days?  They're everywhere; on islands, in small towns, in truckstops, in abandoned medical and research facilities.  Just when you thought it was safe to go in a barn, who comes lurching out of the hay but a zombie! 

Now, don't get me wrong, I grew up on scary movies, I love them.  I was enthralled by Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the timid, sad and somehow endearing (to me, anyway) werewolf.  My little 10 year old heart just went out to him.  Bela Lugosi was suave and debonair, and always polite to the ladies, even when breathing down their necks.

I enjoyed nothing better than sitting in the dark, the only one awake, the blue flicker of the television lighting the room as I listened to the eerily sing-song rhythm of music building as the unearthly creature crept closer and closer, his eyes shining in the dim room.

I could watch them, because I wisely watched with a turtle neck on, pulled up over my nose, and my head scrunched down in my shoulders where a vampire would have a hard time even finding my neck.  This technique worked so well, not ONCE was I ever attacked by a vampire.  Or a werewolf.
But, zombies? Give me a break!  Kids these days just don't understand.  Zombies are just so... so.... NOT handsome, sympathetic, tortured by guilt, or socially savvy.  They can't carry on a coversation.  They dribble their food.  Ya just can't take 'em anywhere.

During his career, Lon Chaney Jr. portrayed  Wolf Man, Dracula, the Mummy, and Frankenstein.  I loved him in all of them, but I always say... Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms..and the autumn moon is bright.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mirrors, not for the faint at heart.

I just love my big, airy new bathroom with huge mirrors that bounce the sunlight around.   But after the shock I suffered today, I may rethink that.  After a nice, long, relaxing shower, I was oh, so warm, relaxed... opened the shower door, and... saw some weird person reflected in the mirror.   Who the heck is that dripping, water-pruned woman in my mirror, bug-eyed with shock, and looking for all the world like a half-inflated Macy's Thanksgiving parade balloon?  AARGH!  I'VE BECOME MY GRANDMOTHER!  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Potato Cakes, Just Like Grandma Usta Make

Giddy with the success of my mashed potatoes the other day, I prepared to make potato cakes with my leftovers.  I am domestic woman, hear me roar!  Grandma was a resturant cook, it's in my genes.  So while my half  bacon grease- half butter flavored shortening melted on my griddle, I added 1 egg and a handfull of finely chopped onions to the cold mashed potatoes and stirred.  And here's where grandma started spinning in her grave.  It was thin.  Very thin.  Maybe what makes to-die-for mashed potatoes isn't necessarily best for potato cakes?  I dropped a spoonfull on the griddle anyway.  As it got hot, the potatoes spread.  And spread... ever tried to turn water with a spatula?  My first try went in the trash.  I could have used flour to thicken the mix, but I didn't want a flour taste.  Ah-Ha!  I threw open the cabinet door, grabbed out the box of instant potatoes, and added enough to make the mixture nice and stiff.  And guess what.. perfect potato cakes.  Golden brown and crispy without a bit of flour.  Grandma has stopped spinning, and yes, I am once more domestic woman... hear me roar.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What does snow mean to you?

It's snowing like crazy, but I'm home, nice and cozy.  Southwestern Ky. doesn't get a huge amount of snow, but when I think of it, I think of that icy, sweet, golden treat... snow cream!  Here's a good basic recipe:

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
scant 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg (optional, but thats what makes it golden, and super delicious)
large bowl of  clean snow (about 3 quarts)
Now, I know.. uncooked egg.  I say the egg is optional, but fact is, I've always eaten it that way.  For ... well.. let's say many years.  And it hasn't made me sick yet!  If you want that old fashioned taste without adding an egg, make it with eggnog.  Super rich, make it with sweetened, condensed milk, but cut down on the sugar. 

Mix all ingredients except snow together in a large bowl, until the sugar is disolved.  Then gently fold in the snow a little at a time, just moistening all the snow so it's light and fluffy.  No electric mixer, that melts the snow.  Then just hand everyone a big spoon. 
Oh.. one hazard.. BRAIN FREEZE!   

Potatoes through a ricer.

I have a new "old toy".  A ricer!  Never heard of a ricer?  Wait a minute, just how young are you?  Mashed potatoes made with a ricer is just a whole different food than ones made with an electric mixer.  You start by cutting up peeled potatoes, boiling, draining, and squashing them through the ricer.
And voila' .. you have mashed potatoes!  Not smooth textured, processed to death mashed potatoes, but fluffy ones with  tiny bits of potatoes throughout.  Last night, after I made them, they were so good, I started looking in the corners of the kitchen to see if grandma was somewhere, hovering in spirit form.  The best thing about it all... leftovers!  This morning I'm going to try potato cakes.   

Monday, January 24, 2011

I haven't changed since high school!

While walking through Wal Mart a few days ago, I heard my name called.    A lady asked, "Do you know who I am?"  I replied that I recognized her voice, but couldn't recall her face.  She replied, I'm Jane!  From high school.  You look exactly the way you used to!"

I could only conclude she was insane.  I could have sworn in high school I had a fairly trim figure, and dark, almost black hair.  Now I'm a little shorter, a little wider, and now I'm a "natural blonde".   I also don't recall those two deep vertical wrinkles between my eyebrows being in my graduation pictures.  Although .. I'm pretty sure everyone's photos were airbrushed.  Still, you'd think I would have noticed them.

Which leads me to a profound observation.  Ever noticed how "middle age" is roughly 10 years older that whatever age you are?  It was more believable 10 or 20 years ago.  I said it just the other day, and darn, now I'm going to have to live to be 120.