so far so good… Happy days are here again…. yay! So far President Joe has reversed several of the worst issues (in my humble opinion, already President Biden: stopped the Wall, saved the Dreamers, put a plug in the Pipeline, and saved the Environment…rejoined the World Trade Organization; made Dr. Fauci a Happy Camper.
Granddaughters The First- Granddaughters all made President Biden proud with their coordinated Inaugural outfits. oooh, and all but one of the granddaughters are over 21, so that makes them fair game for the Pick-on-the-POTUS-Kids-corps. The Biden Girls look like fun, probably not yet corrupted by fame and fortune…
Old Home Week Like a family reunion, or Homecoming weekend, its always fun to see folks we haven’t seen since the last time: The former Presidents and other past and present dignitaries, not packed into the crowd as usual because of Covid-19… um, in hindsight they might have been warmer. It was 42-degrees in Washington D.C. during the inauguration ceremony. Mother Nature treats us all the same temperature-wise.
Entertainment Wow….star studded indeed. Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Garth Brooks: they all did their performances tastefully, appropriately, and relatively-briefly, considering the cold. I know there were others that contributed their talents to the event, I apologize for not mentioning them individually.
The youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman was excellent. We need to hear more about her.
[I am posting this poem which I wrote in 2015 as one of a series of I will call: Favorite Posts.]
The Venerable Bede
The Venerable Bede had a lot to read in order to write the order and the history of the medieval world. He considered the matter of churches and cathedrals and determined to add something new in order to broaden the catalogues.
The Venerable Bede went out to the towns and the countryside chatting with merchants and lords searching for secular facts and bits of lore… and made it known he was looking for more. He went with his scribes, and trusty mules to carry the scrolls, and collected History–words of men and their exploits.
The Venerable Bede explored the world beyond the monastery walls. He asked about roads and river boats and the manners of insects and stars. He sat with the old folks and shared a pint, inquiring about all things, and morays, and techniques and facts that were new…to him. He wrote about travel and voyages, of builders and sailors, of farmers…and of men who plyed the trades.
The Venerable Bede always took heed of secular motive and deed. He recognized the worth in History, no matter how mundane. But through it all, the main thing he learned…perhaps… was the Source of it All remained with God and he told his admirers who praised his work, or detractors who disapproved: God is the Author–only the scribe was the Venerable Bede.
I decided to do this little thing, as good practice for putting images into my WordPress blog. Still rather intimidated, but I’m beginning to experiment with the New Editor and Blocks. If you click on the first photo a slideshow will appear. My captions on the individual photo aren’t included in the slideshow. Anybody know why?
Back in Junior High School days 1940/50s most American girls were required to study Home Economics. Boys had Shop Class, which familiarized them with tools like wood saws, screw drivers, hammers and drills other Man Tools used for building cool objects like birdhouses, candlestick holders, bookends and the like. Their sisters and other girls learned sewing skills like hemming, threading needles, and taught them their way around the Singer Sewing Machine…a wonder that was already familiar to housewives. The girls got to choose fabric yardage, buy a variety of sewing equipment like seam rippers and pincushions, and embark upon the adventure of sewing an apron. The making of the apron introduced the girls to cutting, pinning, basting, gathering, seam-sewing, and attaching pockets.
The girls also learned about kitchen appliances and acquired cooking and baking skills…and soon were capable of producing a delictable dessert called “Floating Islands.” The lesson involved making vanilla pudding, then adding a dollop of Merinque “floating” on top…which, to refresh the memory, involved separating egg whites from the yolks (without breaking the yolks!) and whipping the whites into a frothy cloud of topping…then browning the merinque under the broiler in an oven. (A valuable skill for learning to be a wife 😉
Girls also learned the art of washing clothes…sorting, washing, hanging on a clothesline, (no dryers yet) and proper folding….or ironing, which involved additional skills. I used to like ironing. In fact I liked it so much I may write a blog about it.
All this reminiscing about Home Ec class…and its joys or horrors for young girls, depending on their point of view…brings us to the point of this particular blog post—making homemade masks for use during the COVID19 pandemic.
Immediately the internet was flooded with pictures of masks, patterns of masks, sewing instructions, news articles from the likes of CNN, Washington Post, New York Times — in addition to all the DIY online shows, magazines — even the government produced demonstrations, patterns and tips for making masks.
So immediately upon getting everybody excited about making face masks….the fabric stores ran out of elastic; then they ran out of dark color fabric, and plain prints suitable for a small garment in place of lavender unicorns and smiling flowers. The biggest outrage of all, there was suddenly a shortage of sewing machines. All the stores were sold out. But undaunted, I decided to order one online. I found a Singer Sewing Machine site, which had numerous heavy-duty machines, each $84.00, no tax or shipping, and the promise to “ship the next day.”
So I cleared a place on my kitchen table for the new machine, and waited…and waited…and finally after about three weeks, did a USPS tracking check. Ah ha! My sewing machine had arrived from China at the USPS distribution point in Akron, Ohio. I waited for it to be shipped on to Cleveland, where it would then go to my town, North Ridgeville. About ten days later I did a PayPal search, and discovered that although my sewing machine had been indeed waiting in Akron …it had disappeared. Someone stole my sewing machine. I got my money refunded immediately, but still…
By this time I had discovered that my little Singer that I had had for maybe 20 years worked just fine once the top thread was threaded correctly. Duh. It wasn’t that I had forgotten how to thread sewing machines, a skill I learned when I was about eight years old…”they” had altered the threading sequence ever so slightly over the decades since Home Ec class.
Same Yellow Tree….taken on Saturday, November 15. Same vantage point, view out the window of my office room. Then scroll down to see what three days and a brief, but mighty windstorm did to the neighborhood:
[This post was the second installment of the life history of… well, Me. The first time it appeared was in 2015. For my VCBs: Very Cool Bloggers, this post will be a re-run, please bear with me if you’ve read it before, and please enjoy it if its new.]
In the first installment of this feature, Who Am I to have an About Page? https://mumbletymuse.com/so-who-am-I-to-have-an-About-Page-?/ I started out as a newcomer to the world on a Friday the 13th, and by the end of Part One I had been to California and back, eaten part of a persimmon and part of a gourd, and had finished Kindergarten. Which pretty much sets the stage for the second part of my life story.
Part Two: ME AND THE WAR
That would be the Second World War, WWII, The Big One– the catalyst for the rise to world dominance of the United States. I was eleven when the war ended in 1945, and I must say that I was one patriotic little girl. I was so proud of the accomplishments of my country, in which we had emerged mostly safe and sound (those of us who had not been killed during the war years, of course) and had the distinction of being THE leader of the Free World.
But let me skip the rhetoric and get on with MY part of the War, which began in 1941…along with the arrival of my baby sister when I was eight and a half years old; my brother was six. It was just us three until near the end of the war in 1945, when another sister joined our merry band.
One thing I recall about grade school is that there was a Congresswoman who regularly was permitted to leave fliers advertising her prowess in the U.S. Congress on our school desks. She would come in and talk to us about how important it was for our parents to vote for her. Despite having been told, on my very first day of first grade, by the teacher to “go home and never come back again,” as I explained to my parents when they picked me up walking home from school about an hour after classes began, I did indeed continue with my education. I remember well the adventures of Dick and Jane, Baby, and Spot, the stars of our first level readers.
The main thing going on everywhere was THE WAR. We went to the movie theaters, and were treated to black and white newsreels showing bombs dropping from airplanes, Hitler’s marching troops in huge showy choreographed formations, and in-coming shipments of USA- flag-covered coffins. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and read The Weekly Reader, a newspaper produced especially for school children at various levels. My grandfather taught me about television. He had a floor-model radio, which had a large window area for tuning various stations on the radio, and he said that some day, after the war, we would be able to look at windows like that and see actual movies and real people talking and singing and the like. I was properly impressed…this was undoubtedly the source of my great love of electronic stuff.
Then the newspapers, The Cleveland Press, The News, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer told us every day how many soldiers had been killed in battle, and kept us well informed about the terrible evil enemies of the United States on all areas of the world. Toward the end of the war there was news about Hitler’s atrocities, and the Japanese cities evaporated by TWO atomic bombs. The pictures were everywhere in magazines and newspapers. The newsreels at the movies were relentless in presenting the horrors of war, and these were incomprehensible to American kids, who had thankfully never had bombs dropped on them.
Movies themselves, presented on monster screens in huge movie theaters that always reminded me of palaces (not that I had ever been in a palace) also presented the great block-buster films of the 40s…complete with horror stories about the war. So this brings Me to the end of the Great War, and the beginning of the phenomenon known as THE COLD WAR.
The newspapers treated us to daily headlines screaming of annihilation and pending doom. A particularly horrible series presented by the newspapers contained in part a huge bulls-eye, with segments indicating the extent of the death shadow that marked Cleveland…with its four NIKE missile sites forming at once a horrible defense capability of retaliation. The center of the bulls-eye, of course, meant instant end to everything…out in the suburbs the threat lessened sequentially until by a distance of thirty miles out some percentage of life might survive.
BUT that survival would depend on bomb shelters, which might delay death by radiation by a couple of weeks. As children we were conversationally proficient about hydrogen bombs, pros and cons of including guns among bomb shelter supplies, and just how bad radiation poisoning was. So that was pretty much what one little girl knew about THE WAR… The next era of MY ABOUT PAGE will be coming up soon: THE 1950s
(I was sitting outside, minding my own business, when this critter ran into me and landed on the pavement nearby. I didn’t get a good look at it until later, when editing on my mainframe some snaps taken with my camera phone. Actually my subject was cats…so this grasshopper shot was a bonus.)
My Cousin Greg Towner posted this photo on his facebook page. Thanks Greg!
Chatting with an Australian friend this morning, I mentioned this memorial and she asked if I could post it on my blog. It strikes me as humorous that I am a go-between two Australians, here literally on the other side of the world. Greg has written and published some excellent accounts of our family and history of Australia.
At this point I have been trying to mention the kinship of Greg and Me. After several stabs at it I decided that we are second cousins. Close enough…these family relationships get complicated, and no one really cares about it anyway. 🙂 I have a family tree someplace.
…just kidding! I know you guys are out there doing your respective activities and chores. It’s ME that has been absent for a long time. So now I’m back.
No, it wasn’t you…its me. Stuff happening just one after another, and although I thought about writing some of it in the blog, usually forgot about it until the next Big Thing came along. Into some pouting, but that has been counter-productive, no one cares about most of the big-bugaboos that bug me.
Spending a lot of time playing with dolls…er, I mean getting dolls ready to list on ebay. Back in my auction days a few summers ago I acquired a LOT of dolls. Some I thought were next to worthless turn out to be money-makers, and some I hoped would make me rich were real duds. As “doll people” know better than I do, Barbie Dolls can be worth their weight in gold…or not…bad hair days aside. It seems most of these dolls don’t have any clothes, the ones that do have no shoes. But Barbie never was just a pretty face, she has survived all sorts of adverse conditions, up to and including living out their lives with smiling faces in boxes and bags and drawers all over the world.
As for the “bad hair” which seems to be a characteristic of Barbie’s in general, price being no object, all their hair is subject to turmoil and stress. On a whim, I googled “how to fix Barbie hair” and found all kinds of information on the subject very helpful, the fact that much of the info is presented by eight-year-olds with video cameras notwithstanding.
The “test” Barbie looked like her waist-length black hair had been subjected to a wind tunnel. So I followed the u-tubers advice, which involved washing the doll’s hair with shampoo or liquid soap, working up a good lather…then applying regular for-humans conditioner and rinsing it out. Then the tricky part, brushing the doll’s hair. The u-tubers say “never use a comb” but since I had to use a comb I did. The trick is to start in the middle of the length of the hair, work downward toward the ends; then work in segments, not trying to do the entire length of the hair in one swoop. It works like a charm…at least on that one Barbie. The utube experts say the technique works on many other kinds of dolls. I suppose the key is the rooted grounding of the hair in the scalp, not held together with glue.
I just ordered some high heel Barbie shoes online,
Well…I must say it feels good to write a blog entry.
Back in the day, 1963 more or less, my more or less tranquil household came face to face with a childhood disease that, at the time, was common in the United States. Measles…along with Mumps and Chicken Pox, were not perhaps considered to be a really big deal. Most children encountered the diseases in school, and were almost immediately contagious and parents and teachers alike usually dealt with Measles almost as routine.
My first grader came down with Measles, broke out head to toe in the warm red rash and fever that were characteristic of the childhood disease. Actually considered more of a nuisance than a threat at the time, we settled down into the Measles routine: stay in bed, cover windows to prevent light coming in, drink plenty of liquids, and hope other children in the family did not contract the ailment—while facing the fact that they probably would, as the patient was highly contagious.
At the time we had two younger children, boys less than two years of age. With my already worn copy of Dr. Spock’s Children and Baby Care close at hand, Dr. Spock was the first line of defense against childhood perils as the epitome of encouraging and reassuring information. When “the doctor” recommended that the boys be fortified with gamma globulin injection as a precaution, although he assured me that the risk to them was small. (Note please: I just fact-checked that statement, to make sure that wasn’t part of my sometimes dramatic memory.)
My daughter, however, became very ill very fast. She had the attendant high fever, 106-degrees is the number that I remember, and showed all the symptoms of Measles, including hallucinations, which scared the living daylights out of me. There was the “hard Measles,” with its severe symptoms of fever, rash, delirium, eyesight impairment….and “the three-day-Measles,” which was a different disease altogether apparently.
It so happened that daughter’s first grade class was scheduled to appear in a television segment, performing a skit or song at the local TV station. The performance had been long anticipated, and the children in the class diligently learned their lines, and practiced for the show. Daughter had been looking forward to the presentation, and was very disappointed that she would not be able to participate. We consulted with the doctor, who advised that there would probably be no damage to her young eyes from exposure to the TV set for a few minutes, and we went to elaborate lengths to wheel the TV and its stand into the sick room, and dim the light appropriately…but alas, the poor little girl was too ill to even glance at the television, nor was she even interested.
This little vignette from my past (I took everything very seriously back in the day) comes to mind whenever the subject of Measles comes up. Daughter was personally none the worse for her bout with the Measles. The boys did not get the disease then, and our two little girls who came along a couple of years later were protected by the relatively-new Measles vaccine.
Rewinding to about thirty years before, when I was a child myself, I recall vividly standing in line with all of my other classmates waiting our turn to get out “shots” from the school nurse. This experience was high drama, as we watched with dread as the kids at the front of the line actually got their injection, displaying varying degrees of panic, bravado, or silent terror.
No one had a choice back then…I’m talking 1940s…your kid got in the line and got the shot. Happily, the result was that Measles disease was nearly eradicated.
A quick check on the spelling of “eradicated” I happened upon this appropriate Wikipedia comment:
What diseases have vaccines eliminated? Vaccines have contributed to a significant reduction in many childhood infectious diseases, such as diphtheria, measles, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Some infectious diseases, such as polio and smallpox, have been eliminated in the United States due to effective vaccines.
When your relationship with a spouse, partner, friend, family member, and/or child becomes your focus rather than your relationship with yourself, seek Attention Anonymous and learn from others who struggle to set boundaries and desire to maintain stability.