Friday, October 7, 2016

Another decadent decade

I have a birthday coming up, and it's a BIG ONE. It's hard to even say the number because it SOUNDS SO OLD. It's the beginning of the decade that includes words like 'Social Security' and 'pension' (on the plus side, it also includes words like 'retirement' and 'senior discount').

down a local lane

So, yeah, there's that.

I first moved to the UK when I was 39, and I had my 40th birthday at an old pub with my friend Tim, who has the same birthday. I'm being a very bad blogger because I'm not going out to the garage to dig through a box of old photos so I can scan a picture for you. Sorry. Instead, here's one of me in Liverpool a couple of weeks ago.

in Liverpool with the Fab (and huge) Four

We moved back to the States when I was 49, so my 50th was spent in Oregon. Ah, yes, I remember it well. It was Friday the 13th. I wore black. Sadly, I have lost or deleted all pictures from that birthday weekend, which included wearing a big wooden fish head at a local restaurant. It was a thing they did.

in Shrewsbury

So now we've moved back to the UK and I'm about to have another big birthday. I have no major plans for this birthday other than a nice dinner and catching up with some friends on the weekend. And then applying for my BUS PASS!

another local lane

Rather than go on about ageing (British spelling) and various aches and pains, I thought I'd mention all the positives in my new life, and share some more photos.

our view with a room

First of all, the neighbours are all really nice here. Our little close has a mix of people ranging in age from late-8os to three weeks, and (almost) everyone gets along. There is some tension between a couple of families, but that only gives the rest of us something to gossip about.

in Montgomery

Also, I've met some outgoing women who meet to speak Welsh and also have organised folk dancing and craft get-togethers. Again, they're all so nice! And since we're in a village, although spread out we run into people we know pretty regularly now.

If you live in a place without blackberries, what a shame!

And I'm going to a yoga class. I've been wanting to do yoga for years, but it was never convenient. Well, now it is, and although it is a challenge (jeez, some of it is damn hard!) it is also blissful.

Lake Vyrnwy

I'm restarting my proofreading/editing business, and I've been making paper products with the thought of selling them, possibly on Etsy, possibly in a local shop where I've already met the very friendly owner.

Oh, and I've been doing a lot more driving, so I'm not so anxious about that anymore.

Liverpool - a city of contrasts

So life is good! Okay, enough about me. After all, I'm just a boring old bat.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Teddy Girls

Blazer, jeans, scarf - sounds like my ideal outfit.

February 2015

Throw in some comfortable shoes and a bit of sass and I'm infatuated.

Photos of the Teddy Girls are by Ken Russell - yes, that Ken Russell - circa 1955,
and were sourced from the two websites mentioned below.

Meet the Teddy Girls. I first read about them awhile back on Messy Nessy Chic, and there's more about them on AnOther.

Who or what are Teddy Girls, I hear you ask. Well, they are the grrrl equivalent to Teddy Boys, who were British guys wearing dapper, pseudo-Edwardian clothes back in the 1950s. With a reputation for causing trouble, they instilled fear in the heart of a very young Mr. S when he saw them in his childhood days in London. (I asked him if he'd ever seen Teddy Girls, and he said he didn't really see any girls on the streets in those days. I suppose they weren't allowed out much.)


What a cool style! Dressy but rebellious. Church clothes with an edge. The girls, though, would have been kicked out of Sunday School for wearing jeans. Like they would care.

So I made my own Teddy Girl. Her name is Eleanor, but her friends call her Lee.

The paper in the background is what I used for Lee's body, which is why she has gingham on her face and leg. I like the mix of traditional and new, an English rose nurtured on nihilism in post-War London who kisses her mum goodnight, then sneaks out the window to go running through the rubble with her mates, smoking fags and snogging blokes.


I wonder where these women are today?


Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Hello there! How have you been? Have you done something different with your hair?

What am I up to? Oh, the usual. Getting to know my new corner of the world, going on outings, walks and bike rides...

Spending time with granddaughters...

standing on Granddad's head

Getting glue on my fingers and playing with dolls.

Annie Hall


I made this paper doll and her wardrobe for lovely blogging buddy Connie at Snow in the Air.

It's a little Connie with a Dottie Angel dress and jeans and tunics.

Oh, yeah, and I'm binge-watching on Netflix like there's no tomorrow. I feel like I'm a part of the 21st century now  - Netflix, a smartphone, Instagram, and a new laptop!

But I try not to get completely wrapped up in all that technology.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

When the World Was Flat

Anybody else remember the Flatsy dolls, circa 1970?

They came up in the comments on a recent post at Bag and a Beret - both Shelley and I mentioned being called Flatsy in our pubescence, a name that was trumpeted on TV commercials at the time thanks to the Flatsy doll and its taunting jingle: Flatsies, flatsies, they're flat and that's that - that's that!

Only a man would give them a name that's sure to torment early adolescent girls. Asshole.

I'm making more of my own flatsies - paper dolls - but I choose to call them Two-Dimensional Divas, avoiding even the shorter '2D' in case that makes anyone think of a bra size, albeit a freakish one.

Here's a Two-Dimensional Diva inspired by one of my fave television characters. Do you recognise her?

It's Elaine Benes from Seinfeld! Her wardrobe is so distinctive and I wanted to have it for myself.

Um, it's not really my size, but at least I can play with it.

This is what I started with - the 'Elaine' template I drew and the possibilities for her signature floral dress.

She really deserves an entire Elaine wardrobe, but I started with the one dress, ankle socks and loafers, blazer with big shoulders, and blue backpack. And of course, her big hair, which I made from lace.

Remember this episode of Seinfeld where Elaine sees a mannequin that looks like her? (This one has Italian subtitles - che strano.)

I hope Elaine wouldn't get upset about my paper doll.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Driving Miss Llygad y Dydd

I am becoming such a little old lady. I don't like driving anymore. I sit in the passenger's seat with my handbag on my lap, my hands folded on top, and I tell my driver to slow down, for goodness sakes! I swat him with my fan for good measure.

Of course, it's partly because I'm used to driving on the right side of the road, and I moved to a country where they drive on the WRONG side.

But what really makes me cringe is how narrow the roads are! When I learned to drive, I was taught to leave about a foot between my car and other cars. When I mentioned that to a British woman, she said they generally just left room 'for a piece of paper' between cars! And people drive faster here, on those narrow roads. It's enough to make your sphincter both tighten and loosen when a looming lorry is speeding towards you on a two-lane road that is enclosed by hedges or stone walls.

Then there are the single-lane secondary roads, especially here in Wales where it's not very busy.

You hope you're near a wide spot when you meet a tractor whizzing between fields.

I've been letting Mr. S do most of the driving, but I also force myself to keep in practice. I mean, what is wrong with me? When I lived in the UK before, I drove all the time. I could squeeze through traffic, and I only knocked a mirror off once. Now I am such an old woman.

Speaking of old women, we went to a car boot sale (swap meet/tailgate sale/whatever you want to call it) at a little local church. There were several mature women selling baked goods. Look what we got.

That's right - Apricot Whisky Cake. It was delicious!

Old ladies rock!!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Stress? What stress?

I can't believe how quickly we've settled down in our new home, thousands of miles away from where we lived for ten years. We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

We spent months sorting through and clearing out a home we loved, and saying goodbye to family and old friends. Now that I'm sitting here in Wales, fairly relaxed, I look back and wonder how I got through all that stress.

Here's what helped - I gave up wearing make-up and jewellery, quit cutting my hair, and stopped worrying about what I was wearing. That's why you haven't seen any pictures of me here on the blog for quite some time. It was essential, though, partly to save time and partly because I didn't always know where my things were during the move!

Since I'm a freelancer, I still spend days looking like this.

Still also wearing baggy old shorts, weather permitting

I made some paper dolls to stand in for me on social media - they're better dressed than me!

You can see them on the right sidebar as the buttons linking to my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages. 

Guess which one's my favourite?

I call her Velma.

Which one is your fave?


Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Phone Booth

Now for something completely different -

Here's a mini-story I wrote a few months ago while I still lived in the States. In the UK I should probably say The Phone Box (especially with this photo).

She hurried into the phone booth and exhaled. With the door closed, she was alone. It was quiet. No one else was breathing the air. She felt invisible, just like she felt in the car wash. Alone for a moment, away from the friction of other humans, away from everything that can go wrong.

But she wouldn't be going to the car wash anymore. Her car had just been wrecked. She had run from it and into the phone booth without even looking at the other car - and people - she had smashed into.

It had been bad. 

How long did she have before someone came looking for her?

She just couldn't take one more thing! It was impossible that so much had been dumped on her in the last few weeks - betrayal, abandonment, theft.

Liars, cheats, bastards! She had tried to be good, she tried to do the right thing, she worked hard, she was polite. And people just shit on her, no thought for how their actions affected her. Selfish!

Tears never left her eyes. She couldn't see beyond one minute.

Now she could hear the sirens. She screamed out loud and stomped her feet. She hit the sides of the phone booth and wailed. She cursed and swore and cried as she thought about how her life had slipped out of her control.

She opened the door of the phone booth and walked toward the police car.