Month: July 2012

Weekend adventure

This weekend, I’m heading to Connecticut. I’ll have a table (and hopefully sell some compacts) at the Shoreline Roller Derby bout on Saturday. Bonus: my dad will be there signing copies of his derby mystery, The Whammer Jammers. (which is dedicated to me, BTW). I’ll crash at his place for the night and on Sunday, we’ll pow-wow about some updates to his website. I haven’t been to a derby bout in two years, since I retired, but I still think about derby constantly. I’ve been feeling old and out of shape lately, not at all like the toned machine I was two years ago. (I was also a total bitch, so I’m not looking to go back there). I’m hoping that watching some amazing skating will inspire me to lace up my own skates a little more frequently and take better care of myself—to get closer to that elusive balance between eating right, being active enough, and doing the other things that I love.

Tim invited our friend Jack up for the weekend. He’ll get here tonight, so I’ll get to see him before I head to CT in the morning. Jack is a master salvager…he finds all kinds of amazing things and repurposes them for his recording studio. I’m hoping to borrow some of his perspective and swing by the family homestead on Sunday afternoon to see if I can salvage any odds and ends that I can transform into compact display shelves.

My mom and her siblings are selling the house their father built in 1949. It’s a little emotional, as it’s always been in the family. My mom and I lived there with my grandmother for 10 years, and my mom stayed for another 10 years after my grandmother died in 1995. One of my cousins has been in the house since my mom left. I still have plenty of things in the house and not much free time to retrieve them. There are parts of the house I don’t think I’ve ever really seen, like the ends of the storage behind the eaves. Who knows what treasures are hiding back there? While I’ll have a car full of compacts and a six-foot table this weekend, I may be able to cram a few boxes of books into the back seat. Or even just give my mother my blessing to throw things away. We’ll see if I’m up for that on Sunday afternoon.


History Detectives investigate Bettie Page photo

Last night, my husband and I were flicking through the TV channels and he came across History Detectives on PBS. We’re both suckers for that sort of thing, so we stopped channel surfing and watched the rest of the episode. When that was done, another came on…with a teaser saying one of the items under investigation was a negative of a photo of Bettie Page. After that announcement, we definitely weren’t changing the channel!

The investigators actually went to Movie Star News and talked to Irving and Paula Klaw’s sons, who still operate the business. The show discussed the atmosphere of the times regarding sexuality and deviance. It was really well done, and the photo turned out to be from one of the last shoots Bettie did for the Klaws. Some of the items in the background gave it away for me…as soon as they pulled out the photo, I was telling Tim, “That’s from one of the Klaw sessions…look at the blanket there, that’s in a ton of the photos she did for the Klaws…”

If you want to watch the episode for yourself, here it is.

Bettie Page And The Forbidden Pinup (all my attempts to embed this have failed. I apologize for having to link. Dang internet technology!)

The Yankee Cannonball

I am in love with the wooden roller coaster at Canobie Lake Park.

It’s a great ride – a nice long out and back coaster with some major drops. There’s air between your backside and the seat several times during the 60-second ride. In addition to a good thrill, the coaster also has a cool story. The coaster was built in 1930 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for Lakeview Park in Waterbury, Connecticut. In 1936, the owners of Canobie Lake park purchased the coaster, then called the Greyhound, from Lakeview. To reassemble the coaster in its new home, workers had to cut six inches off each section–Canobie Lake had less space than Lakeview and had to shrink the track. I find this both fascinating and terrifying.

I grew up in Connecticut near Lake Compounce, the country’s oldest continuously operating amusement park. I remember riding the wooden coaster there, the Wildcat. While the Wildcat is fun, the Yankee Cannonball definitely offers a more adventurous ride. Both coasters were designed by Herbert Schmeck (which is just fun to say). Philadelphia Toboggan Company also made the wooden coaster at the long gone Whalom Park, where my husband worked in his youth. Sadly, I never visited Whalom before its demise, but Tim assures me that the roller coater was fun.

In addition to woodern roller coasters, I also love old carousels. Again, this may be a byproduct of growing up near Lake Compounce, which has a beautiful carousel.

You know what would make this post better? Pictures. I’ll just have to go back to the park so I can ride the coaster again and get some photos. Great excuse, right?

The office purge continues

I made several shocking discoveries today.

1. About 30% of the stuff that was in the eaves turned out to be empty boxes and shipping supplies. The volume led me to believe that rearranging the eaves was going to be much more labor-intensive. Instead of finding new homes for things, I can just throw out old boxes. Easy.

2. Tim and I have a ridiculous amount of Christmas ornaments. Many of them are cool old ones or family heirlooms, but many are not. We don’t even decorate for Christmas half the time. Really. I blame our mothers. Both for the abundance of ornaments and the inconsistent decorating.

3. Not really shocking: hanging out in unventilated eaves in humid 85 degree weather is an awesome way to make yourself heat sick. Throw in some fiberglass insulation itch, and you’re really ready to party.

4. During six years of cohabitation, Tim and I have not introduced any new dishes or sheets into our household, but have somehow accumulated eight sets of bath towels, complete with hand towels and washcloths.

5. I have a lot of purses and bags and no clue how to store them.

6. I can operate power tools unsupervised without damaging myself or the tools. This is a big deal. While an orbital sander may not be the most threatening tool in the arsenal, I’m sure I could hurt myself with the thing somehow.

I made significant progress today – the eaves are better organized, I can actually get to everything in the closet, and I can see most of the floor. Now I just have to get rid of another few boxes of books, figure out how to store 19 bags that I’m not using but not ready to part with, and finish the shelves for my compacts. And figure out how to display the other two thirds of my collection. And reupholster a chair, but have a plan for that adventure…I’m not-so-secretly hoping to bribe Bernadette into assisting my by plying her with wine. Preferably after we’re done playing with glue, scissors, staplers, and other sharp objects, but we’ll see how it goes.

Ahhh, domesticity.

Quick catch-up

So I haven’t been blogging much lately, mostly because work has been STARK RAVING MAD and I’m too cooked to even think when I get home. I’ve also been trawling the internet lately on a compact-buying spree, which has turned up some lovely Volupte carryalls. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to make some kind of fabulous compact display out of reclaimed materials. I found some old wooden boxes in the loft over our garage. They’re pink, but I can change that. I also plan to raid my mother’s house when I go to Connecticut in a few weeks, as I’m positive she’ll have a few things I can use. Wish me luck. In the meantime: my lovely new carryalls, which I have no place to display:

Volupte carryalls

My two new Volupte carryalls.

The hot, humid weather has me wearing lots of light-weight cotton dresses…The Vintage Traveler  has a lovely series of blog posts on Swirl dresses, the ultimate in summer style. While I don’t have any Swirl dresses (yet), I love wrap dresses, and I’m definitely on the hunt.

More exciting news: My employer is holding a family day at Canobie Lake Park tomorrow. Since Tim can’t make it, I’m bringing our niece, Grace. This will be my first time hanging out with Grace without other family members. She’s an awesome 14-year-old and a really talented writer. I am a huge fan of talented writers of any age. Also a fan of employers that pay for their folks to ride amusement park rides as opposed to banging away at a keyboard during traditional work hours. Pretty good stuff.

The amusement park thing got me thinking about the origins of the parks. I grew up in a town with an old amusement park, and Tim used to work at the now-defunct Whalom Park. I’m interested to see how Canobie Lake compares. Look for a post on old amusement parks in the near future.


Red, white and blue

I adore red, white and blue, especially together. So when the opportunity to wear or otherwise showcase some of my favorite colors comes up, I’m ready. In honor of Independence Day, some of my more patriotic vintage pieces.


Yardley vanity case – this came in several versions, with the locations of the colors alternated. This version is my favorite.


A Volupte cigarette case with red, white and blue stripes. And amazing rhinestones in the corner.


red and sparkly…like fireworks

bead & button bracelet

My cousin Becky gave me this wonderful bracelet made of vintage beads and buttons.



Naturalizer tricolor spectator bag. I LOVE this purse.

Gato scarf

Last but not least, a modern star-spangled scarf modelled by Allen. Doesn’t it go well with the bag?

Happy Independence Day!