The Blue Gardenia

Celluloid style: Bette Davis's terrific top in "Now, Voyager." October 7, 2014 17:24

Almost the spitting image of the fabulous white blouse in "Now, Voyager."
Almost the spitting image of the fabulous white blouse in "Now, Voyager."

If you love old Bette Davis movies as much as I do, then you doubtless love this simple, yet sensational top from Now, Voyager, one of my favorite Bette Davis films. Who can resist the reincarnation of the plain duck into a beautiful swan? To emulate the look, use McCall 3637, copyright 1940. It's a steal and such a popular bust size, too.

The original. The original.

And, yes, this pattern can be yours for a mere $39 at The Blue Gardenia, where we offer patterns suitable for the snootiest fashionista. In case you care, we happily ship abroad.

Vintage pattern shopping therapy, anyone? Avoid pills and docs. July 15, 2014 16:00 7 Comments

Is there anything about this dress that I do not adore? In a word, no.
Is there anything about this dress that I do not adore? In a word, no.

I am a twisted rag today, a Twizzler stick tied in knots. Something very good happened to me, something that may well lead to something better. I have learned something new about myself in this process: I have superstitious tendencies. In another life, I might be a baseball pitcher, always wearing the same socks that I wore when pitching a no-hitter. And those tendencies are why I am not sharing any details.


So. How to calm myself, how to untie the Twizzlers and put them in the pantry? A fantasy Blue Gardenia shopping trip, natch, where my favorite patterns are available in my size. (And, no, don't tell me I can resize patterns, because that ain't me, babe. My size, or you have the blessed opportunity to buy the pattern. A woman must have boundaries, and as a purveyor of patterns, that is one of mine.)


Vogue Couturier Design 536, from the 1950s, has long been a favorite. In fact, this was my own pattern, and I paid a mint to get it years ago, thinking it was my size. Than I started sewing, and learned that it was too big for me. My loss, your etc.

The sleeves. The collar. Need I say more?
The sleeves. The collar. Need I say more?

Butterick 3751 from the 1960s is luscious. I love the blouse, and, yes, I would wear it alone, as well as with the jumper. And the jumper I would also wear alone. What a sexy and cool summer dress it would make. I'm a sucker for the multipurpose pattern.



Total sucker I am for sleeve detail.
Total sucker I am for sleeve detail.

My momma made this for me when I was 12. (Yeah, I was definitely considered  a fashion iconoclast back in small town Louisiana. And that's putting it nicely. In a world of jeans and tees, there I tripped in my red YSL wedgies.) And this is the actual pattern she used. Now, I need a Bust 34 in Vogue 8690. 1970s era, this style. Long for it. I do.



I love the dipping back neckline, the cowl front, the hint of fullness in the skirt.
I love the dipping back neckline, the cowl front, the hint of fullness in the skirt.

And McCall's 4265dream dress. And I do mean a dream, not the thriller nightmare I had last night. (Yes, in case you care, I escaped unscathed and victorious, but not until after much subterfuge and many car chases and betrayal by a trusted friend.)

There you go. Shopping therapy. I am feeling so much less anxious now. In fact, I feel downright peaceful.

In case you lust for these styles, too, you can buy them at The Blue Gardenia, and we do indeed happily ship abroad. And purchases keep the dogs in treats. Can I overestimate how much they love their treats? Impossible!


What a long (and short) strange trip December has been. December 29, 2012 07:17 5 Comments

First the good news: This December, I started out sewing. Made two skirts, a fabulous 1950s dress, McCall 9572,  and finished my red jacket. 

Now, the bad: His Bertness had minor inpatient surgery (planned), my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and a week later, hubby had a heart attack. Totally unexpected, as he had many heart exams before the first unrelated surgery. Pass the Puffs, please.

But. The prognosis is good for both. Yippee skippee! Bert has quit smoking (all you who smoke out there, take this as a personal caveat) and he starts cardiac rehab Monday. My dad will have surgery in January, and his doctors expect to be able to remove all the cancer.

And in January, expect pictures of all my garments. And I expect comments. Lots of praise. Many pats on the head. You get the picture. I'm cutting out a 1950s McCall top today. 

So. December has seemed like a long month. And it's seemed like a short month, too. It's been terrifying (the health issues). And satisfying (the sewing projects). Wow. What a month. I'm still catching my breath.

Any tips on getting rid of moths? (Without using toxic balls.) May 22, 2012 05:13 8 Comments

Albuquerque is aswarm with moths this year. I've been doing online research to find safe ways to repel them, and I came across this tidbit from

Spices like cloves, bay leaves, and eucalyptus can be placed on cupboard and pantry shelves to ward off moths and keep them from infesting cereal boxes, flour bags, and other dried food products.

Has anyone tried this? If so, let me know if it works! Please. I don't want our clothes to provide a culinary delight for them! Several local sources say miller moths don't eat clothes, but I'm skeptical. In Prescott, moths dined on several of my favorite woolens. So, be peaches, and share your moth elimination tips with me.

Hancock's vs. Joann's: Which do you prefer? May 11, 2012 09:28 10 Comments

Today, I needed to get notions: Zippers, thread, bias binding. I went to Hancock Fabrics, which is closer to our home. (And since my gasoline gauge was drifting toward the big E, this was an issue.) What a disappointment. No 4-inch zippers, no 6-inch zippers, which my vintage pattern required. So. Those are unusual sizes, I admit. This I could handle, without benefit of Puffs.

But in a 7-9 inch invisible zipper, which I need to make my Colette Meringue, the color choice was deplorable. And that is an understatement. Truly. The only green was a very dark olive. I bought a beige zipper, which was the least offensive.

The bias binding selection was worth writing home about — but only to complain. Pink or black were the only choices that came in the two widths I needed.

The last time I bought notions, I shopped Joann's. Slightly better selection but not impressive. Not one bit. Further, the zippers were unorganized. Quite.

So, dearly beloved, most appreciated readers, where do you shop for notions? Joann's, Hancock's, online? Are you blessed with a wonderful independent store that has an outstanding — or at least acceptable — selection? Do tell. Please.


Learning to sew: Last night, I cut my hair with pinking shears . . . March 6, 2012 08:16 4 Comments


Well, to be more specific, my bangs. They grow so fast. Sleeve_binding2
Today I sewed. I finished my sleeves, in fact. Perfect? Oh my. No way. But. They are done. Perhaps I am being too easy on myself, too willing to wear rose-colored specs. But. I think they look OK. In fact, I think they look rather pretty. Better than many off-the-rack sleeves. Much. (I am such a fan of myself!) I somehow stretched some of the bias tape, so, alas, the joinings do not match exactly. Pass those Puffs, please.


You know, dear readers, I really like hand-sewing. The feel. The look. Any recommendations for good explanatory books about the types of stitches? Because I know so little about it. And I'd really like to learn.

Also, be peaches and share advice about my sleeves. What should I do to make my next sleeves look better?

I took the left turn at Albuquerque! December 6, 2011 06:45 11 Comments


And what a trip it's been. So far.

I hope you have missed me, dear readers. Been pining for me, refusing to take nourishment, dampening those tissues, wondering where, oh where might she be. Et cetera.

His Bertness and I have moved to Albuquerque. Isn't that exciting? I think so. Our house has vigas. Sure, they are rotting, and the  landlord is planning to remove them. (Pass the Puffs, please.)

So. In a nutshell: It took us almost a month to find a house that met our basic requirements. (And basic, they are. The vigas were delicious lagniappe.) We moved in last Wednesday. So excited were we. Pillows in our own home to rest our heads upon, instead of pillows in a B&B or a motel.

Thursday morning, during a storm here with hurricane-force winds, I heard two pops, peeked through the blinds to see the cause, and saw two flashes of fire come from two power lines attached to our home. Attached, that is, once upon a time. A neighbor's tree had fallen and hit the lines, setting them free.

Firemen came. The electricity company. An electrician. We had no power. None at all. We moved back into a motel. Returned home Saturday. Cleaned a lot. Unpacked a little. Grew fond of our cute 1950s bungalow. Today, a Roto-Rooter tech is at our little home. But. That's another story.

I think I am going to love ABQ. I do.

And, yes, The Blue Gardenia is up and running. So, shop, dears. Shop. Shop. Shop. Make me even happier. And yourselves, too. You work hard. You deserve a treat.

Learning to sew: Mishaps with my muslin. Sigh. What to do? July 14, 2011 12:55 9 Comments

Here it is, at long last, the muslin of Butterick 9098, circa 1950s. What do you think? There are flaws, alas. The fit needs improvement. But isn't Atchison adorable? Cute? All that? And more. Of course.

The side view.

The rear view.

The bust darts. What is causing that unseemly fold?

The pleats. A disaster. Yes, indeed.

So. Dear readers, extraordinary sewists, you. How do I fix my muslin? The muslin is made of a quilting cotton, courtesy of a pal. The dress will be made of brocade, one of the suggested fabrics.

Yet another problem: The dress falls off the shoulder. Is there a way to fix that problem?

Here is the way the dress should look — the slim skirt view, of course.

Please. Please. Share your experience, strength and hope. I await your replies.

Damp tissue dramas: I'll stop sobbing to share a kittycat moment. August 1, 2010 07:25 2 Comments


Thursday, I had a total meltdown. I was a puddle of goo on the kitchen floor. Yes. I was. What caused this damp tissue drama? Well, as I was biting into a ripe and oh-so-juicy peach, I bit my lip — hard — and an incisor shifted. I ran to the mirror, carefully felt my tooth, and it moved. And it was totally out of alignment. A trip to the dentist revealed an unpleasant truth: the tooth, which has been brittle for years, had fractured. Horizontally, right under the gum. Oh, joy. The dentist also revealed another unpleasant truth: The two fixes — one temporary and one permanent — are expensive.  Pass those Puffs, please. Thank goodness I have a few boxes left from a recent trip to Costco!

But. Enough whining. Let me share a photo of Sulis, the Tim Gunn of felines. Yes, Gunn, as in male, which Sulis happens to be. Yes, I know that the original Sulis was a goddess worshipped at the thermal spring of Bath (info courtesy of Wikipedia). She was nourishing. She was life-giving. Now. I can't say whether Sulis, one of sewing goddess Marticia's kitties, has ever given life, but he does freely give fashion advice. Thank you, Sulis. And I hope he likes my new Mad Men pencil skirt, which I plan to finish this week. Really. I do. (All those darts. Well, I am armed with my tracing paper and tracing wheel, and I will show them who's the boss. I will. Yes indeedy.)

Come back, come back! Tell me what you think of these '40s PJs. May 5, 2010 08:01

1940_surgery_pj_pattern Oh, wrenching pain in my heart. My stats have been tumbling. You don't love me anymore. Therefore . . . sigh . . . I have forced myself from my bed to post. Sure, it's difficult. Sure, I have to keep my wounded arm as close to my side as possible while I type. But.  . . . Sob. Sniffle. Pass the Puffs, please. . . . Where was I? Oh, yes. But. I can't lose you, my dear readers. I must try to win you back.

So, while spending this last week in His Bertness's jammies, I have spent some time thinking about what I would wear in a perfect world.  Never mind that in a perfect world I wouldn't sever my labrum. In a perfect world my shoulder would be perfect. Perfect! My labrum would be strong. Invincible.

But back to my point . . . please bear with me, beloved readers, the Percocet is causing my mind to drift here and there like a puppy on a leash for the first time . . . in that mythical perfect world, I would wear View B from Butterick 3306. The button-front design allows easy access to protect my shoulder. And the stitching is so very attractive. I think I'd like an alternate version lengthened a bit as a nightdress. 

Oh. What's that sound? It's my bed calling. And a Bernie Rhodenbarr book. So, dear readers, I'll say  ta ta for now. Don't desert me. Please. Think of me. Suffering. No yoga. No Pilates. Where are those Puffs?


The Little Town of Horrors: An update December 16, 2009 04:23 2 Comments

Sun Light. Bright. Isn't that what this blog should be about? Isn't that what I should be? Always looking on the bright side, choosing the sunny side of the street, brightening the days of those I see with a smile, a regular Emilie Loring heroine. Oh. Oh. Oh. If only that were so.

I am here to tell you it is not. There are days, like today, when I feel like crying. When I feel like being a nagging spousal unit. Yesterday, His Bertness went officially eight months — EIGHT! – without a job. And the Great Recession has more than nipped The Blue Gardenia's sales. (See, dear readers, I respect you. I won't disrespect you by pretending sales are soaring like a maiden's skirt on a windy day. No pretense. Nada.)

I understand, though, that counting my blessings will help restore equilibrium to my mood. Here goes (and I won't bore you with all of them — I'm going to keep a few blessings private): 

We have health insurance. Yippee skippee. Not because of government intervention. I am here to tell you our letters to both our Democratic representative and our Republican senators yielded no fruit. But. Hubby's persistence did result in the restoration of our COBRA benefits. (Although we did have to pay for the months we were uninsured as well. That was a chunk plus. Practically a trunk of money, even with Obama's stimulus benefit.)

We have family support, and that is invaluable, financially and emotionally. 

I have a wonderful Pilates instructor, who donates time to those with MS. Suzanne Fisher, you are a peach.

So. There ya go. Just a few. I'm feeling better already. Although I still want to blow this pop stand. The sooner, the better. As someone once said. Absolutely.

Oh, sloth. Be gone. Now. I command you. November 29, 2009 07:33 1 Comment

Mccall_4205_40s_shirt 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.

Mccall _4803_40s_pants 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.

Ahhhhh, domesticity. There's cooking. And then there's sewing. November 21, 2009 10:04 1 Comment


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 . . .

Frosting and a cushy job with benefits would make life better October 3, 2009 08:39

Friday afternoon. Wild Iris. His Bertness. A cupcake. Fresh strawberries. Coffee. And my Pilates instructor, the kind and Wild_iris_bertness generous Suzanne. Suzanne donates time each week to teach a class for MS sufferers at the Prescott YMCA. (Yes. It's true. The Little Town of Horrors does have a few benefits, and Suzanne Fisher is definitely one of them.) The class is free. Totally. Completely. Absolutely. And Suzanne is a skilled teacher who gently encourages her students to be technically perfect.

Suzanne's class proved to be serendipitous. I had just impinged my rotator cuff and was forced to take a break from my beloved yoga when I found out about the Pilates_prescott  class. I was apprehensive. Quite. Because my previous Pilates experience at the Y had, to say the very least, not been good. It had not even been Pilates. At least not Pilates as I had experienced it in Houston sessions with a Michele Larrson acolyte years ago. (Oh. My. This is excruciatingly boring, isn't it? I am giving you, my adored readers, too much info. Way too. I apologize to you both. Profusely.)

So. The bottom line is, the point of this post is that Suzanne just opened her own Pilates studio here. Pilates in Balance. So, if you find yourself here, in Prescott, AZ, and find yourself in need of Pilates training, give her a call. You will not be disappointed. She knows what she is doing.

And I will share this funny moment from yesterday as well: Fatigue is a symptom I suffer. It is sometimes extreme. Completely. I was so exhausted that I had to recline on the bed to put on my makeup. With a little Stila compact mirror. I imagine one eyebrow was higher than the other. Oh. Well. Sunset Boulevard is one of my favorite movies.

The job search continues September 9, 2009 16:30

Job_search_continues Actually, His Bertness deserved an afternoon off. He's been working hard, writing cover letters and sending out resumes. And Henry Jones always works hard, protecting us. Absolutely. 

She never bothers with people she hates. Call her what you will. August 22, 2009 05:22 1 Comment

Butterick_1950s_Ava_Gardner For eleven years — yep,  count 'em, each and every one — she's toiled to be nice. Being polite to phonies. Going to lunch with people who bored her. Attending wakes for people she did not like. Keeping her mouth shut when people were marginally prejudiced.

She is ethical. She does the right thing. And she will still do those, even when it pinches or binds. Absolutely.

No. She means nice. She means being pleasing. Agreeable. Socially acceptable rather than authentic.

And you know what? She is done. Done. Absolutely. Completely. Totally. Totally.  

And what better dress to announce this than Butterick 6092, from the 1950s. And where will she get this pattern? Why, at The Blue Gardenia.

Of course.

And, no. She will not wear the bolero. The gloves — and the jacket — are coming off.

Take one capsule of fashion fantasy, and call me in the morning. August 12, 2009 12:37 1 Comment

1930s_dress_pattern_6303 So, my friends, today I have the blues. You are doubtless shaking your heads in disgust, saying, "Denise, every day you have the blues. Every day." And sometimes, you know, I feel that's true. Absolutely. I do.

(And if I may quote Townes Van Zandt, I ask you, my patient readers, will you still love me when I'm down and out? Will you stand by me in my time of trial? Or something like that. You know what I mean. Don't you? I know you are doubtless bored to tears by my damp tissue dramas. But. I beg you: Hang in there. WIth me. By my side. Etc.)

Anyway. What's a woman to do? Switch anti-depressants? Toss the Celexa? Try Lexapro instead?  Wellbutrin perhaps? Well. Maybe. But, first, there's that unpleasant COBRA situation that must be straightened out. Resolved. In my favor, of course. Faith, my dear readers, faith and action.

Another possibility: Call a friend. No. No can do. They are likely bored with my sniffles. And if they slammed the phone down, think how devastated I would be. That might push me right over the edge. And quickly.

So. I decided the best option, the best avenue to a happier mood, was the gorgeous street of dreams, vintage sewing patterns. I turned first to the 1930s. The Great Depression, yes. But also the era of Carole Lombard. Irene Dunne. Myrna Loy. Just looking at the patterns brightened my day. A bit. But which pattern, if made up and worn, would actually make me feel better? Stronger. More able to competently, coolly, calmly — without raised voice — handle life's sometimes nasty realities? Like health insurers, senators, representatives.

I chose Butterick 6303, view A. All the views are terrific. They are. Each and every one of them. This is truly a pattern to make the accountant smile. But view A has that wide collar that I find so irresistible. It's double-breasted. The sleeves have those ever-so-sassy cuffs. Love them. Love it. Completely. Absolutely. I see it in a periwinkle cotton sateen, with a white organdy collar and huge mother of pearl buttons. Huge.

Yes, I feel a smile playing around my lips.  I do. I feel that darn attitude of gratitude Oprah constantly touts swelling in my heart. Oh. Yes. Yes.

Life isn't so bad. Really. It isn't. And with Fred Astaire (lovely, lovely, never ever change) on the CD, it positively — forgive me — sings. Albeit in a whisper.

Don't believe your eyes: It's the little town of horrors. Really. August 6, 2009 15:44 8 Comments


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?

Lost_in_America_Brooks 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.

His Bertness is now a statistic. Alas. April 28, 2009 18:57 3 Comments

Well. It could be worse. Really. Of this I am sure. But His Bertness has now joined the 13 million Americans officially counted as unemployed. Yup. He's been laid off, his job outsourced. Sigh. Whatever happened to loyalty to those who work hard?

For a good look at the erosion of the American Dream, do read America: What Went Wrong by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele.

And don't miss Bob Herbert's column, Workers Walk the Plank, in today's New York Times. Excellent.

I like to sleep late in the morning. And I really like to scrub. January 24, 2009 16:10

1. Awakened from dreamy, contented sleep by Minerva, who arrived early. Minerva cleans our house, and yes, I am ever so grateful for her housekeeping efforts. Absolutely. But. I also really like to sleep. I really do. And since I generally go to sleep very late . . . well, you understand. I really wanted to ignore her knocking. I really wanted to be grumpy. Oh. So. Much. But, of course, I wasn't. I was warm and friendly and did not complain. I did not ask: Why are you here so early? Because I am nice. Because I strive for that attitude of gratitude. Really. 

2. Emma, our Malamud, had diarrhea on Henry's rug. Henry is our Great Dane-lab mix. He's very good-natured. Very. Have I mentioned how much I love to clean up dog shit? Oh. I haven't. Well, girls and boys, that's because I don't. Not one bit. 

3. At this point, I decided I deserved a sofa day. A very lazy, very slothful sofa day. Which meant TV, because the book I'm reading now is a very heavy hardback. Surprise, surprise, surprise: There was nothing of interest on the telly. 

4. His Bertness and I ran to Safeway. Or, at least, that was our plan. A plan marred by one teensy-tinesy fact: We locked ourselves — and Henry and Emma — out of the house. Bert ended up going through a second-story window. Thank goodness the ladder was outside and not inside the garage. Procrastination scores again! His Bertness did look rather cute as he pitched forward into his office.

5. We were awakened at 3 a.m. Why? Emma had diarrhea. Again. Poor Emma. Poor me. Poor Bert. Happy. Happy. Joy. Joy.

6. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy cleaning?

Damp tissue dramas: This time, tears of joy fall like rain. December 11, 2008 15:56

Andrew Yes. Yes. I did cut out my pattern last night. I did. I was confused by the exterior jags at the bottom of each possible length, though. Why, I wondered, was there a protrusion where the shorts, capris, slacks ended? Why? So. I met a sewing bud for coffee, and she explained. The hem will pucker otherwise. Oh. Duh. You'll be happy to know the light switched on later today. Oh. Oh! I get it. I do. Really.

Patrick But. I have other topics of interest. To me, at any rate. The bathroom. You remember it. I know you do. You hang on every facet of my life. Of course you do. Don't you? Don't puncture my self-esteem if you don't. Please. I'm easily wounded. I am. Don't make me reach for those Puffs.

Well, it's almost done. Finally. Andrew, the tile master, above, is very pleased. And so am I. His trusty sidekick, Pat, is standing in the shower. The bee-yoo-tee-ful shower. Pat is wearing my favorite t-shirt slogan: Genius by birth, slacker by choice. A gift from his mommy. The tile pattern in the shower is his design, inspired by my floor design. Love those 12" by 20" floor tiles. Ummm hmmm. I do. You can see them in the pic with Andrew. In the background. Behind his smilin' mug. Love the master bath. I do. Now. Tiny, yes. So true. The size of a Twinkie. But also, well, rather attractive. If I do say so myself. Doncha think?

My hubby is becoming a one-man DIY network. Really. October 26, 2008 17:52 1 Comment

Bertandthelock You remember the bathroom? Right? The roof. The Cadet. The tile. (I know. I know. You are bored with this topic. Enough, you scream. Move on, you cry. But. I am stubborn. And this is my subject. Today.)

So. Amid this turmoil — or home improvement, if you prefer — the porch door knob stopped working. Yes. This severely hampered entering the house. In fact, to open the door, brutal manhandling was necessary. I am not pulling your leg. I am talking about the type of forceful manhandling that could easily end in a dislocated shoulder. (Unless, of course, you're beautiful, strong, nimble Laila Ali.) 

Anyway. This malfunction, in addition to the front door handle, which hasn’t worked since long before we bought this house, precipitated an unexpected — therefore unbudgeted — expense: Door New doorknobs and locksThe company that made our old door hardware stopped making all but decorative hardware years ago, so a simple replacement wasn't an option. Alas. And the last time we called a locksmith, the bill was $900. So. His Bertness, Mr. Handyman Not, had to do it himself. With some help from a number-crunching friend. It took much longer than planned. And His Bertness only completed one door today. But. That one door works. Truly. The door opens. Really. I am beaming like a proud apron-wearing, spatula-wielding 1950s wife.  Of course, now the paint (Pratt & Lambert Whirlpool Blue. Isn’t it fetching? Love it love it love it.) will have to be touched up. But isn’t the door handle gorgeous? Yes, ma’am. It most certainly is. I think I'll whip up a cake from scratch to celebrate.

One weekend closer to sewing. I promise. October 5, 2008 18:35 1 Comment

Well. I can’t say this has been a typical weekend. Not at all. But. That, my dear readers, is a good thing. A very good thing. I won’t complain. Work was done. So. I am that much closer to sewing. Really.

His Bertness took some steps toward decluttering the garage. He built a new stand for the mailbox. He trimmed a ponderosa pine. Ever so productive was he.

Mikepaints And Mike the painter gave up his Saturday morning to paint the bathroom, so that Andrew the tile guy could work today. Yippee skippee.

And this all started because the roof leaked. As you no doubt recall. Because, of course, you remember every detail of my life with amazing clarity. Right?

And, yes. That is indeed vinyl flooring circa 1979 framing Mike. Brown vinyl flooring. Your eyes do not deceive. Please don’t tattle about it to my interior design instructor. Promise? 

Better than Botox: Our house is getting a facelift October 3, 2008 12:21

Warning: Totally mundane topic today. Totally. And today’s topic is  . . . swelling drumroll . . . house painting. That’s right. House painting. I warned you. But. This dull subject has me aquiver with excitement. It does. Truly. Our home was in dire need of paint. I do not exaggerate. Just ask the neighbors. There was peeling. There was flaking. There was fading color.

Deck_painters And now, thanks to Mike and Kerry and Juan, the house is taking on a glow. (Note to Kerry: Let’s not discuss politics. Please. We don’t agree. At all. Oh no. I hear you going at it with Mike now. Outside my office window. Oh my oh my oh my. No, Kerry. No. Don’t go there!)

Mike and Kerry, above, listen to a rock oldies station. All day. They play Alice Cooper. Alice Cooper. Isn’t that wild? I had no idea he still got airplay. None. Did you? “Eighteen, and I don’t know what I want. Eighteen . . . .”

Juan_painter Juan, going it alone on the front of the house, is much quieter than Kerry. Much. Mike is quieter than Kerry, too. Now that I think of it, a baby with a diaper rash is quieter than Kerry. Really.

So. There you go. File your nails. Sweep the garage. Put Perry Como on the CD. Go back to your exciting lives. I’m going to check on Mike and Kerry and Juan. Painting. A facelift for our home. An exterior facelift. Is that redundant?  Mmmm.