Still here

My poor back is worse this A.M.  The trip to Trader Joe’s grocery store yesterday probably did me in.  That’s David’s theory. But we always blame something for our aches and pains…what we ate, the weather, the walk, not enough exercise, too much exercise.

I love trader Joe’s.  So do the hundreds of other wrinkled souls who live around the store.  Visiting yesterday, was a 65+ year-old’s convention.  But it was briefly nice outside and the ice had melted a bit on the driveway, so it seemed safe enough. I had to go because we were out of vegetables, and I wanted some green beans to go with the Miso Salmon I fixed for our supper. Left to his own choices, David would live on cereal and mixed nuts. Heck, I even found a bag of mixed southern greens…turnip, mustard, etc. And I got some fresh spinach and mushrooms for a frittata.

I found a pot of miniature daffodils, ‘Tete a Tete’ for the kitchen table. When they fade and it warms, I will plant the spent bulbs in my garden where pots of bulbs from previous years line walkways.


I finished Her Brilliant Career, by Rachel Cooke while I recovered from my fall.  I bought both the Audio (narrated by Jenny Funnel; Sandy on As Time Goes By) and the Kindle versions for me, and a hardcover for my granddaughter.  A good book but uneven.  I found some of the essays about career English women in the 1950s are more interesting than others, probably a function of both my age and experience.  For example, I found the essay about Margery Fish interesting because I have lived with overbearing men, garden, and like her designs.  Ditto the essay on fashion because I made my own clothes using designer patterns from Vogue, or Buttrick, a less expensive cousin.

Like Katherine Hepburn (my heroine), I don’t own a skirt or dress anymore, only slacks or pants with stretchy waists.  The first items of clothing I made fell apart because I was a poor housewife, and bought cheap fabric, but later on I bought better fabric and made better clothes.  When I made a suit, I even managed to impress my MIL Rachel who was a seamstress.  I will never forget the day in 1973 she said, “You made that?” with wonder and surprise. I was a pretty good seamstress until the early 1980s, when I gave up sewing.  Below, me, modeling  a couple of my fashion statements.

On my way to church with Connie, 1964 (pregnant with John).

On my way to church with Connie, FL, 1964 (pregnant with John).

Connie, First Communion, Hawaii, 1968

Connie, First Communion, Hawaii, 1968 (I made her dress also!)


While laid up, I have been working on my genealogy and discovered a few interesting items.  I am certain, all four of my mother’s grandparents migrated from the Netherlands in the early 1870s, and although I am certain they were Dutch, they sailed from Liverpool in England.  The U.S. immigration authorities, probably overwhelmed by millions of migrants at this time, classified one as English and the other as German.  Later in censuses, they both show up as German.

Thank goodness, I have been collecting information about my ancestors for years, and had a chance to spend time with now deceased relatives.  Although their stories are often distorted by time, and altered purposefully by some, material collected on both sides by ‘professional’ genealogists as well as my years of experience dealing with census and vital records, as well as a graduate degree in history, give me a basis for comparison.

I think the line from the refugee cook in A Murder is Announced, who, when asked by the police her point of origin, says, “I don’t know, I haven’t read the paper today,” says it all.


24 thoughts on “Still here

  1. Those dresses look store bought to me. Very nice work.

    You will find there are several aches and pains for a while after a fall. It takes some parts longer than others to complain.


  2. Hope you feel better soon, but that deep tissue bruising takes awhile, especially as we get older.

    I, too, like TJ, only a few blocks from Sprouts which is even much closer to me. A half- mile from TJ is a local independent here long before either of them that has always featured primo everything, local farm products so I feel really lucky. All the surrounding communities have farmers markets.

    Your dresses are lovely. You tackled more complicated/sophisticated patterns than I did as I mostly used Simplicity & another one but can’t recall the name. I stopped sewing in early seventies when we left AZ for Calif. I still have some material I had purchased before we left that I’ve never used. That’s just some of what I need to downsize, but ithe fabric is so lovely. I may have a few dresses or skirts …. somewhere …. but I’ve worn only pants outfits for years.


  3. Is the back ache from your fall? I find that when I fall, it sometimes knocks stuff from some place else askew. I do love going to Trader Joes too. I wish we had a store in Hawaii, but then I’d have nothing to bring back for omiyages.
    You are/ were an incredible seamstress! I am very impressed.


  4. Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sprouts. These are all similar in offerings but different in pricing. Sprouts is the least expensive but one must look carefully to be sure the product is organic.

    I don’t have many winter skirts, wearing mostly pants during the cold weather; but come spring and summer, I wear skirts all of the time. Much cooler than pants.


  5. Katherine Hepburn had no skirts or dresses? Excellent, now I can say in all confidence that I follow the dictates of a very elegant lay. I still have skirts in my wardrobe bu haven’t worn them for years. Time to get rid, methinks.

    I love that last quote. Still pst even in this day and age. Boundaries in old Europe change again and again.


    • Old Europe is what it was, a collection of little fiefdoms. The European Union is helping to erase the boundaries of nation-states. Perhaps that’s just as well. People like to live near their own kind. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Birds of a feather and all that.


  6. No Trader Joe’s in Hawaii, but we probably will visit one in Vegas in May. I didn’t know they sold fresh produce there.
    You were a great seamstress and looked like a fashion plate with your figure. Nice photos.
    Good work on your genealogy.


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