New Kicks – perhaps?

My most comfortable flats (purchased on-line a while ago) survived a bit longer due to being taken out of service over the summer because I was wearing sandals almost exclusively. After putting them back in service, Wifey finally noticed that they’re showing heavy signs of wear and suggested that I purchase another identical pair.   And I need another pair of sandals with dark straps instead of white, to replace the brown ones I’ve worn for years, which are also wearing out.   So I went on line, and shockingly found that my specific flats have been discontinued!   And worse yet, every vendor’s supply of my size in that style has been depleted.

So, I started looking on-line for a different brand of flat to replace them.  After a lot of research, I came up with two pairs which might work with my foot problems, as well as a pair of cute sandals.   I showed pix of both flats to Wifey – my all-time favorite (appearance-wise) is below:

When I showed her the pictures and pointed to this one as my favorite, her comment was that “both pairs are ballerina flats and have ornamentation on the vamps.  You realize that those admittedly cute little bows on your favorite pair are very feminine.”  My response: “Yes.  But it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been acknowledged as a girl.  If they fit as comfortably as my worn-out flats do, it’s not a problem.  And they appear to have a replaceable heel, which would be a huge advantage.  Plus, both pairs have round toes – not pointed, like so many flats.”  Her response: “Well, let’s see how comfortable they are!”

I hit “send,” and that was the end of the discussion.   So now, we wait… and eventually see which pair works best.

More later…

Mandy

Vera Bradley…again!

Interesting…

Wifey wanted to go to pick something up at a Vera Bradley shop, which is unfortunately out-of-state.  As usual, I was the “designated driver.” I dressed in one of Mom’s black tunics and a pair of white capris, with my white slide sandals and a necklace that she hasn’t cared for in the past, figuring that it would be gigged, and be easy to remove in order to solve any “girly issues.”  WRONG!!

“Change out of those white sandals. They make you look – and sound – like a girl.”  “OK dear, just a minute.  There, I’ve put on my dressy strappy sandals – the ones you’ve always liked before.”  “Yes, that’s much better…” And we got in the car, heading for the state line.

Here’s my appearance at the Vera Bradley store:

Don’t you think that my capris, tunic and purse scream “girl” more loudly than any sandals would?? Perhaps there’s actually a chance that she’s beginning to accept my feminine side a bit more, if simply changing to my strappy sandals solved the issue. I truly would have expected to have to change to shorts and a less feminine top, put on my flats, remove my necklace, etc.  Of course some things can’t be easily changed…my purse and camera pouch, long hair, pretty finger and toe nails,  hairless arms and legs, and so on.  She went into the store ahead of me, and started shopping…after closing and locking up the car, I caught up to her inside a few minutes later. 

There were 2 men and 1 young boy standing around waiting for wives/mother, and about 20 women (including me) shopping.  We walked around selecting some things for D-I-L for the holidays while they were on sale, talking like 2 women would.  And hearing “excuse me, ladies” each time a staffer went by with things to put on the shelves or a customer squeezed by. 

A couple times I heard “Can I help you find something, Ma’am?” It didn’t seem to concern Wifey. Wonder if we could have been in “girlfriends” mode?

Whatever…….but it was fun!

Mandy

A Pretty Sunrise!

You can tell from the appearance of the single-level Amtrak railroad passenger cars that the following is not a recent picture:

This was taken after arrival in Johnstown, Pennsylvania by train back in 1988. It’s at sunrise, and a cold morning awaited that first step off the warm train!

Enjoy!

Mandy

Painting…

I spent about a day and a half recently in the process of rearranging framed pictures in a couple of rooms, and taking many of them down permanently, as well as spackling nail holes, sanding, and refinishing the patched areas in preparation for eventually moving further south to be closer to our granddaughters.  No wonder I’m tired! 

Wall work in a dress!

The project will continue later this week with even more walls!   I’m getting semi-professional at this refinishing stuff…hopefully it will be good enough that any real estate agent won’t eventually tell us to have the whole house repainted… That’s a waste of money, because ours is a neutral color, looks good, and most new owners want to repaint their new homes into their own color choices anyway!

Wifey made sure I wore an old sleeveless dress and short sleeve blouse for this project, with old white sandals, so “ I don’t have to spend time removing paint from your dresses and shoes.”   Working on ladders and step stools in a dress is a new experience – since I wasn’t in public, no “wolf whistles.”  But I will undoubtedly be doing it some more – or so I’ve been told!

One of my “at-home” outfits

As for my everyday outfits:  they’re fine – no paint on them!  A typical cold-weather outfit (you can tell by the long-sleeve blouse and flats!) Perhaps some day I’ll hear: “From now on, just stay in your dress whenever you – or we – leave the house. You look very nice, dear. No more changing.”) 

Ummm – hope springs eternal!!!

Stay safe!

Mandy

Fort Miles?

Our recent trip to Delaware for a visit to a Vera Bradley shop brought back the memory of a previous trip, when Wifey and I visited Fort Miles, a dis-used World War 2 military fort at Cape Henlopen, DE.

As the primary fort of the Harbor Defenses of the Delaware, it was built to defend Delaware Bay and the Delaware River, and to protect domestic shipping from enemy fire between Cape May and Cape Henlopen, particularly from the German surface fleet. The fort also operated a controlled underwater minefield to prevent ships entering the Delaware River estuary.  One of these mines was revealed following 2016 Hurricane Hermine by local Cape Henlopen state park staff. The sea mine and anchor were archaeologically conserved.

By 1950 the Army’s coast defense role had been transferred to the Navy and coastal artillery defenses were obsolete with the fort becoming surplus. The Army continued to use portions and in 1962 the Navy established Naval Facility (NAVFAC) Lewes, a Sound Surveillance System shore terminal there to replace the one at Cape May (across the bay in New Jersey) that was damaged in a storm. The NAVFAC was in commission May 1, 1962 to September 30,1981. Its headquarters building now houses the Biden Environmental Conference Center. 

The fort is now Cape Henlopen State Park.

That trip, which was in cooler weather, found me in a similar-type outfit:

Yours truly at Fort Miles

…except back then, I was wearing a long-sleeve turtleneck top. Between my feminine outfit and the fact that my jacket was tied around my waist (giving the appearance of a skirt), I was often recognized as female.  That included a restaurant meal (something the pandemic has eliminated from our activities.)

Perhaps we can return one of these days…

Mandy

Another “early-tech” device!

Came across this antique at a small museum in Federalsburg, MD:

A 1948 RCA Television

Like the tube tester from the earlier post, this TV is a fine example of early tech.  We didn’t have one at home until the early 1950’s, and I don’t even remember much about it until the mid-1950’s!

A bit of history picked up on line:  after World War Two, production of TV sets started in the U.S. In 1946, only a few stations were on the air, and broadcasting hours were very limited. By 1949, almost all major cities had at least one station. At the end of 1946, only 44,000 homes had a TV set; by the end of 1949, there were 4.2 million homes with TV.  By 1953, 50% of American homes had television.

In the late ’40s, A T & T started building a microwave and coaxial cable network to tie together TV stations in the U.S. The network started on the east coast, but by 1950 it had been expanded to the south and midwest. By 1956, most cities were linked to network programming.

The rest is history – you know, progressing from “free TV and an antenna on every roof” to “cable providers,” and now satellite television…with dishes on many roofs. Many changes, many improvements, more $$!

And the beat goes on…

Mandy

You never know…

Some errands during Wifey’s recent dentist appointment on the other side of the bay provided an interesting reminder that simply a pair of shorts, blouse and ballet flats, along with smooth hairless legs, long hair, long nails (shiny & pink) and a purse, can result in being interpreted as female…or “possibly even involve trouble?” Really?

Yes, really.

After dropping Wifey off at the dentist’s office, I set out to have a portable stadium chair with carrying case repaired at a shoe shop (if they could physically handle it. )  “Yes, Ma’am, we can fix it – but only if you wait for it.  This item is so big that we don’t have space to hold it for your return at a later time.”  “Go for it, Sir, I’ll wait.”  They took care of it promptly, and I was on my way in about 10 minutes.  Good news – that folding chair with built-in “roof”, case and carrying strap (which had been expensive to buy a number of years ago), has now been saved, and no follow-up trip across the bridge to retrieve it, will be necessary.  

Then it was off to visit a coin shop…I had earlier discovered a few old USA coins under a file cabinet drawer at the house, and wanted to see if they were worth turning into cash.  Having dealt with a reputable coin shop previously, while sorting out some of Mom’s coins on her behalf a few years ago, I returned to that shop.  

“Good morning, Ma’am.”  Having not met this particular clerk before, I showed him (who was a 40-something male) all the coins, making sure my shiny light pink fingernails were in plain sight.  Just then, another customer – a 40something rather scruffy male – walked in.   He waited quietly– till he noticed us discussing some of the coins, and started to interrupt.  “Miss, I’ll give you more for them.”  

While being flattered at being identified as female without even trying, I ignored the interrupter’s comments. But soon the clerk had heard enough. After nicely requesting quiet, he directed a comment at the interrupter: “I’m not going to tolerate such interruptions in my own shop”.  The interrupter continued – making a lot of fuss for such a few coins. 

The clerk gave me an opportunity to cancel his review and deal directly with the interrupter, at some location away from his parking lot if I so desired, or continue with what we were doing.  I had serious concerns that if I did leave the shop with the coins, the interrupter might ‘buy them” and pay for them by check (which would subsequently bounce) or more likely, do harmful things to me in order to steal them.  So I told the dealer to go ahead.

Due to the small number of coins, and tiny dollar amount involved (I had already checked prices from the internet and coin price books – the shop clerk was not trying to rip me off) I told the clerk to continue, and he proceeded to tell the intruder to leave “in no uncertain terms.”  The interrupter kept on arguing, so the clerk picked up the phone to call police, which finally convinced the interrupter to give up and go away.  His car was in plain view, so I noted the license number as he left, just in case.   But his car disappeared completely…it was not seen again. 

Before you inquire – initially, I wondered whether it might have been a set-up.  Had we been dealing with a big stash of coins and big bucks, that would have been a much more likely scenario. Any sane person (and even most insane ones) would deem it not worth the risk of jail time/other punishment, or even any police involvement at all, for such a paltry sum – just enough to pay for four or five gallons of gas, a couple of bridge tolls and a hamburger.   My clerk apologized for the intrusion and inconvenience as he concluded the coin review.  In the end, I left with a check from the store, in case the intruder might try anything stupid off-property!  (He didn’t!)

Thankfully, I’m not in the “old coin business’ – or operating any retail establishment!  Dealing with people like that is not fun…

Hugs,

Mandy

A dip in the archives

Back in  2017 Mandy took a fabulous cross-country rail tour – back in the good old days before Covid (recently heard those days referred to as “BC”, such as 2017 being the year 2 BC.”)  It included stops in NOLA, LA and Sacramento…the latter included a two-night stay on the Delta King Hotel, which was/still is a 285-foot-long stern-wheel steamboat.  (Below.) And…is the sister ship of the famous Delta Queen!

It was built in Scotland and California for the California Transportation Company’s service between Sacramento and San Francisco, California.  She entered service in 1927 and continued until 1940. After wartime service with the United States Navy, Delta King served as an accommodation ship at Kitimat, British Columbia in the 1950s.  Then it was returned to California for static use at Old Sacramento, where she remains today – as a hotel, restaurant and venue.

The below was taken on the steamboat’s balcony, just off the dining room.  

Once again I was up early, because it was time to start the trek home, in a skirt and top today, of course (above.)   And at that hour of the morning, there wasn’t much activity, even though the staterooms were sold out.  Departure time was rapidly approaching, and it was with mixed emotions.  That’s because even after such a wonderful trip (and a desire to keep traveling), it was time to get home to Wifey and my familiar surroundings.

I had breakfast in the steamboat’s dining room again… but this time with a different female server.  I was not identified as a woman, nor were any male or female greetings/comments made.  She just did her job.  That’s ok with me.  At that hour of the morning, there wasn’t much activity. But yes, the free full breakfast was delicious!

Maybe someday I can visit again!

Mandy

Just a quickie:

When was the last time you saw one of these things out in the real world? Gotta think about that for a minute!

We no longer have any tube-type equipment around the house – the last of that went to the scrapyard upon its failure, nearly 25 years ago. And I can’t remember seeing any of these machines in stores since the late 1970’s (or maybe early 1980’s.)

This beauty was found in a small museum in Federalsburg, MD. Glad they saved it! Definitely a piece of techno-history!

Hugs,

Mandy

Bromo Seltzer???

Last Sunday Morning, I had occasion to cross the bridge and drive into the Baltimore area to drop off some things to a friend. So I had to forget dresses for this trip. Shorts and one of Mom’s black tunics had to suffice!

Ever heard of Bromo Seltzer? It was patented by Emerson Drug Company in 1890, packed in cobalt blue bottles, and used bromine to remedy all those headaches and tummy aches we get from time to time. And in 1911, a building bearing the product’s name (the Emerson Tower – now Bromo Seltzer tower – picture below) was built in Baltimore, topped with a rendition of the cobalt blue bottle! The Emerson Tower was tallest building in town at that time.

This historic structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was modeled after the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy.  Captain Isaac Emerson, the inventor of the headache remedy Bromo Seltzer and builder of the Tower, had a genuine interest in the City of Baltimore as one of his contemporaries noted, “…he interests himself thoroughly in everything tending to advance our city, and is a patron of all worthy enterprises seeking to push Baltimore to the front.”  

Sadly, the bromide concoction provided some unpleasant physical characteristics – it’s a sedative that can mess you up, and normal dosage could lead to symptoms including hallucinations, confusion, and possibly a coma! Also, at the time, up to 10% of patients in psychiatric hospitals at that time were victims of bromine! Needless to say, Bromo Seltzer was discontinued in 1975, and re-introduced in the mid-90’s, after complete reformulation, and of course, without the bromine.

The empty tower has been extensively renovated. Baltimore’s Office of Promotion & The Arts officially re-opened the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, with studio spaces for visual and literary artists in 2008.

The most interesting detail of the tower is the still-functioning tower clock, the face of which displays the word BROMO-SELTZER instead of numbers. Designed by Seth Thomas in 1911, it was the largest four-dial gravity-driven non-chiming clock in the world. A full restoration of the clock was completed in 2017. (The tower had originally been topped by an impressive 51-foot revolving replica of the blue Bromo-Seltzer bottle, which was illuminated with 596 lights and could be seen 20 miles away. But that fell into disrepair and was removed in the 1930’s)

Also inside the Tower is the Emerson/Maryland Glass Museum which houses the largest collection of Bromo Seltzer and Maryland Glass bottles in existence. The Museum is on the 15th floor and is on loan from and curated by Ernest Dimler.

Fascinating stuff. Wish it had been open for tours. Darn virus!

Mandy