I began unpacking a box of fabric that has sat untouched in my sewing/exercise room since we moved last year. (Yes, I am, as you know, a procrastinator. I'd definitely take the gold if that was an Olympic category.) My method: measuring each piece, stapling a tiny piece in a notebook, listing width and yardage. Whenever I make a garment I find myself spending hours going through my stash, trying to find the right piece. By the time I locate it, I'm too tired to sew.
As you can see, I still have a ways to go to finish this one box. Patience, self, I say. Patience. Rest. Coffee. Try again. Or just go read a good book. There are so many. And how plaintively they beckon.
You're a little late for spring cleaning. You are. Is that a big deal? To your momma, maybe. To Mrs. Kravitz? Certainly. To you? No. You've been busy. Sewing. Working. Having fun. Twiddling your thumbs. But, now, you cannot put it off any longer.
However, you need an apron. Something to protect you from the scum and dust build-up. You'll make an apron. Something pretty. Something protective. Something practical. How about Simplicity 3383? It's cute. Adorable in fact. And. It has a tulip. Your favorite flower. Then, you'll be armed and ready. To clean. And you'll feel fresh and pretty doing it. You will.
And, yep, this oh-so-feminine vintage pattern can be yours. Yes indeedy. Just drop by The Blue Gardenia, where the patterns are counted, the jewelry is sparkling, and domestic shipping is free. (And, yes, we ship abroad with pleasure for a shipping fee — less than what the post office charges us, in fact.) So drop by. Do. You'll be delighted you did. I know it.
It's that time of year. The time to dirty the kitchen to the maximum. To get flour here. There. Everywhere. To make Christmas cookies.
This year, I decided to try something new. To be bold. To try decorating. Complete with festive sparkles, glaze, glittering sugar. Fortunately, His Bertness was game. He baked. We both let our inner artists out to play and trim the buttery trees and ornaments. It was rather fun. It was.
Inspired by Casey, who so elegantly muses, we used The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies recipe. And I agree. It is the best. Absolutely. And I think the cookies turned out rather pretty, as well. I do.
Ahh, well. Now that I have bragged about these cookies, time to get back to the baking of the biscotti. Yum bunnies. I love Christmas. Even in a blue year.
Note the vintage linens. Estate sale find many years ago. Note the salad, the pork chops — yes, fried, just the way we Southern dames like 'em — and note the cake. Yes, the cake! Today, we celebrated the birthday of His Bertness.
He blew out all the candles. Good boy!
And we did eat the daisies. At least a few of them. But you, observant readers, will notice His Bertness extinguished all the candles. Each and every flame put out. Absolutely. I think that means he gets his birthday wish granted. I am thinking he wished for gainful and rewarding and well-compensated employment. I am hoping that wish is fulfilled very soon. Yes indeedy.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for an expose on my adventure this weekend with the Sewing Dominatrix. You don't want to miss it. You don't. I would not lie to you. Really.
It's a holiday weekend, and that means I've been cocooning. Snuggling up in a chair, feet on an ottoman, eating pecan pie and watching bad TV or reading silly Southern novels. And my attire? Well, I'm not making Bette Davis proud. I'm wearing yoga pants, a tee-shirt and holey white socks. Now. I haven't done yoga since I impinged my rotator cuff in August. But that doesn't mean I've sidelined the comfy clothing.
Watching Casablanca yesterday, the thought struck: Shouldn't I be wearing a hat? That perhaps is going too far. Way. But perhaps I could kick my at-home wardrobe up a notch. Or even two. Say McCall 4520 and McCall 4803. Both from my favorite fashion era, the 1940s. The blouse in flowy rayon. The slacks in gabardine. Maybe some low platform wedges to kick off by the sofa. I could even comb my hair. Polish my nails. Bathe. Oh, the grooming improvements are endless!
Mmmmm . . . . But the big question, the really big one, is this: Can I give up cotton knit? It's a tough habit to kick. It's so stretchy. So soothing. So wash-and-wear. Am I strong enough? Am I? I must summon all my strength. I must.
I have exciting news to share. His Bertness is learning to cook! Now. Those of you who know him well know that he has been more than resistant to learning to cook. In fact, in the 18 years of our marriage — before now — he has mastered one dish: homemade chicken broth.
But this week, he made a taco casserole all by himself. All by himself! It was quite tasty. Yesterday, he shaped and baked these Oatmeal Chocolate Crisps. Don't they look scrumptious? They are, I can attest. Today, perhaps, he'll learn to make dinner rolls. I can smell them now. Yumbunnies.
Before you know it, dear readers, I'll be sewing. Because if His Bertness can learn to cook . . .
I can hear the sound of violins . . . Oh. Enough. I won't bore you with Sway lyrics, dear readers. I've done that before, I'm sure. But. You know I love that song. I do. So much.
Today, let me share with you pictures of our new yard. This is not the reveal, as they say on the home decor shows. Not yet. There is still work to be done. Planting. Edging. Weeding. But there has been progress. Much.
Then deep Bertness thoughts. I'm sure. Thoughts that have nothing to do with exhaustion or sweat or desire for ice cold tea.
And since I know you really want to know: Rosemary Clooney and Perez Prado do one sizzling version of Sway. Absolutely.
Excuse me, dear, dear readers, but today I warn you: I am going to rant. I will waste no time. I will add one other caveat: This has nothing to do with sewing. This has nothing to do with patterns. So, you may take today off from reading The Blue Gardenia learns to sow her blossoms. I understand. I will not be upset. Just allow me to vent. As always, I welcome your comments. Heck, I not only welcome them, I appreciate them. Share your knowledge. Share your humor. Make me feel better. Is that so hard?
So. Where to begin? Mmmm. I'll start with today. I'll construct this building from the roof down. Not so smart, surely, but I'm emotional at the moment.
Now, as those of you who follow this blog know, His Bertness was laid off in April. Pink-slipped with two weeks severance. He's still looking for work, and it is most likely no news to you, my informed darlings, that this is a tough job market. He competed with 87 applicants for a job at a junior college in the Midwest. I kid you not. He's highly intelligent, vastly talented, and a pretty boy to boot (and let's face it, looks matter, even if they shouldn't.) He'll get a great job, far better than his last, sooner or later. I know it.
Am I digressing? Am I giving you too much detail? Bear with me. Be patient. I need to vent. I do. So. On my way to meet a girlfriend for lunch (thank you, dearest Carol, for treating) I stopped by the pharmacy to get a prescription filled. My pharmacy tech said there was a problem with my insurance. Did I have a new card? Well, yes, I did, but it was at home on a bookshelf. I called and hubby gave her the info verbally. The prescription still did not go through. She asked me to bring the card in later today.
When I got to the privacy of my car, I called His Bertness to alert him to the problem. (I think talking on cell phones in public places exhibits bad manners of the most egregious kind. So, I'm judgmental. So be it. At least I can spell the word. Yes, I am in a bad mood. Very.) When I got home, he gave me the bad news: Our COBRA insurance had been canceled. Canceled. He said they told him only one payment had been received. Totally untrue, and I quickly got him all the info from our bank about when checks had cleared. He called his former company and passed this on. It did no good. (Unethical, uncaring, unconcerned asses. That's my opinion, and I would be ever so happy to have them step up to the plate and prove they care about their former employees by making the company they hired to administer their COBRA plan do the right thing.) He called the company who administers the COBRA program for his company. Naturally, they have outsourced most of the customer service jobs to another country. So, after talking to two people abroad, who knew nothing and had no power, he was transferred to four folks in the USA. They said our COBRA payments would be returned, with the exception of the first month (they, by the way, refused all claims submitted for that month). I want them to return the stimulus money that funded 65 percent of our COBRA payments. Bet they don't. Of course, what I really want is our insurance reinstated. This minute.
OK. Here's where this whole story gets even stickier: I blame Prescott. I do. It's true that His Bertness's former company is actually located in Prescott Valley (oh, thank you, Van Morrison and James Hunter, how long can I be pissed when I am listening to y'all? Shut up, guys, this is righteous anger) but his company has laid off so many people. And it used to be in Prescott. And because this is Prescott, a retirement community, well-paying jobs are scarcer than hen's teeth.
And, of course, I need to say that Bert's layoff only follows a gazillion other bad things that have happened since we moved here eleven years ago: HB's hepatitis C diagnosis, a terrifying house fire (thank God for a watchful neighbor and a terrific fire department), and bad lawyers. Oh, and did I mention that I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? So there you go. Too many bad things have happened here. I think the universe is trying to tell us something, like, move on, dummies! His Bertness gets annoyed when I blame Prescott. Yes, I take the responsibility for moving here, starry-eyed and aglow with love for Thumb Butte and the pine trees. But. C'mon. At a certain point, you have to admit your mistakes and move on. Don't you?
But. Let me end on a positive note. Let me share my experience, strength and hope with you:
Don't move to a small town, no matter how picture-postcard beautiful it is, no matter how quaintly old-fashioned the downtown square is, until you check out the job market. Don't just assume that because you have always worked, because you've never had a hard time finding a job, that that will hold true in a small town. Because. Potential employers ask these annoying questions, such as, what was your salary on your last job? Forget that you don't expect to get anywhere near that — after all, you're getting paid in sunshine dollars — just the fact that you were paid decent wages in your life Before Prescott (or insert your small dream town here) will intimidate the future employer. And don't think for a moment you'll get a job flipping burgers. You won't. You'll be overqualified. Truly. Remember that hilarious scene in Lost in America? I know. There are so very, very many. A bounty. But the one where Albert Brooks is working as a crossing guard? Total Hollywood fantasy. Will not happen. A local already has that job, and he isn't giving it up!
Oh. Well. As a great poet once said, life sucks, then ya die.
And, until then, I'll be grateful for my wonderful Blue Gardenia clients, James Hunter, Van Morrison, Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty. I think I'll rent that movie tomorrow. Absolutely.
And I must credit the Photos from Prescott blog for the gorgeous picture of Goldwater Lake. Thank you. And thank you, sweet and patient readers, for sticking through to the end. I appreciate you. I do.