A Thomas Crapper Original

I’m not sure if the power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely, as Louisa May Alcott once opined, but I know some of the simplest things make me happy. Like the hand painted picture of three little pink piggys trying to nose their way out the barn door that I have hanging in my kitchen. Matching towels and pretty commodes. It may just be my way of making up for the chamber pots and outdoor privies suffered in my youth in the unplumbed south. This was originally posted exactly 10 years ago. I still like it. Hope you do too.

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Over the years while traveling, I taught my daughters the cardinal traveler’s rule, “you go” when you have the chance.” I was reminded of that rule often during our recent road trip. In fact, that rule led me to a discovery of sorts that now makes me almost want to re-do my bathroom at home.

We were in Seattle and had decided to walk from our hotel to the waterfront and downtown, taking public transportation as and when needed. They have a great public transport system and even offer free bus rides to everyone within a designated area of old downtown, and a transfer pass can get you in and out within a certain period for $1.50 or $1.75, depending on whether it’s “peak rush hour” or not. Our onfoot foray was to turn into a daylong adventure, and I was often reminded of my traveler’s rule.

Since we’d read drastically conflicting reviews on the underground tour of Seattle, we were resting our tootsies sitting on a bench in Pioneer Square and trying to decide if the underground tour of Seattle was worth the ticket price of $12 for seniors. Anyone who knows me also knows my seriously weird, some might say “warped,” sense of history. The more ridiculous or seedier it is the better I like it, and my head is full of useless facts about various things. I was very curious to learn more about the seedier side of the old underground city destroyed by the fire in 1889 that gave Pioneer Square the reputation that eventually gave rise to the expression “skid row.”

We more or less had decided to give it a go and learned that there would be no sitting down for this tour. Turns out we’d be on our feet for a full hour and a half or more–depending on the verbosity of our actor guide–so we decided we weren’t quite up to it after walking all those blocks already. Since we were already inside and nobody seemed to be kicking us out, we opted to have a look around first in the attached Rogue’s Museum and antique shop instead.

Soon I noticed the sign that pointed to “Women’s” and automatically turned to go in since all I’d seen so far were signs in every storefront saying “wash rooms are for customers only.”

The “facilities” were so pretty that I just had to take a picture to remember. Even the wash basin and the matching backsplash were pretty.

Back outside in the museum, one of the first exhibits I saw was either “the” or “an” original toilet designed by Thomas Crapper. While propriety or a certain sense of decorum prevented me from photographing the interior of the toilet above, this one was fair game.

Aren’t they pretty? I found you can order one for your own bathroom from the U.K. at a ballpoint figure of $1,000 American dollars. Guess I’ll be keeping our old crapper toilet instead. By the way, in doing all the research about Thomas Crapper, I found out that he really wasn’t the “inventor” of the modern flush toilet after all. I just may flush out this story more fully in a future post, but for now I hope you like the pretty toilets.

flat stanley goes to new york city

Today I’m posting–with permission–a children’s book written by and illustrated by my younger daughter. It’s a new adventure about Flat Stanley. In case you’ve never heard of Flat Stanley, he’s a character created in a children’s book by Jeff Brown in 1964. The plot involves Stanley Lambchop and his younger brother Arthur who are given a big bulletin board by their Dad for displaying pictures and posters. He hangs it on the wall over Stanley’s bed.  During the night the board falls, flattening Stanley in his sleep, but Stanley survives and makes the best of his altered state. Soon he is entering locked rooms by sliding under the door, and playing with his younger brother by being used as a kite. Another special advantage is that Flat Stanley can now visit his friends inexpensively by being mailed in an envelope. He even helps catch some art museum thieves by posing as a painting on the wall. Eventually Arthur changes Stanley back to his normal shape with a bicycle pump. To facilitate easier reading in case the monitor you’re using is smaller, I’m duplicating the text inside brackets under each picture.

[Recently, Flat Stanley visited Queens and Manhattan, otherwise known as New York City! Stanley learned very quickly that many people in New York City do not own cars. Instead of driving, they take underground trains! They call their trains the “Subway.” Stanley was a little nervous about taking the Subway at first, but he decided that he liked the idea of getting on a train and riding along with other people. He watched as people read, talked, played video games, and listened to music on their way into the city.]

[Stanley exited the train at a stop for Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue. Then, because he was so deep underground, he had to take a very steep escalator to the surface!]

[Luckily, this station had a helpful map to show Stanley where he had arrived and where he could take the subway from here.]

[Stanley made it to the street! Are you curious about where he went next? Ah, here. Now you can see where he intended to visit in New York City: The MOMA. Can you see it in this distance up ahead?]

[Can you guess what the MOMA is from the picture? And what do you think MOMA means? Here is a hint. Each letter stands for something: M.O.M.A.]

If you guessed that Stanley was visiting an art museum, you were correct! And so, if you guessed that the first letter of M.O.M.A stood for “Museum,” and the last letter stood for “Art” you were also correct! The MOMA is New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. People who study art describe it as “Modern” if the objects were made after 1860. (It’s 2012 now; can you figure out how many years ago 1860 was?) Stanley learned a lot about Art on his visit. As you can see, the MOMA has different kinds of Art all over, on the floors and on the walls.]

[Some of the pieces are famous paintings. This one is by a man named Vincent Van Gogh. Do you know what it is called? If you don’t what would you call if it you pained it?]

[Stanley was surprised these pictures by Andy Warhol are called “Art,” because he recognized the people in them, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.]

[Flat Stanley was also surprised that this painting by Jackson Pollack was Art, since it looked like something you kids could make at school.]

[But wait! Are these examples of Art too? Stanley thought these objects were all kind of funny. He laughed a little bit when he saw them. But then he started to wonder if he understood Art.]

[Now, these pictures by Rousseau, Picasso, and Chagall, and Kahlo seemed a bit more like what he thought he would see at an Art museum.]

[Stanley was confused and wanted to get some air.  He found that MOMA had a lovely garden full of sculptures.  They were cool–but they made him wonder more about what Art was. He sat down and thought a bit about what he’d seen.]

[Each piece of Art was something that reminded him of the things he saw everyday, but they were also a bit different from the things he saw everyday. They made him think more about what he was looking at. He didn’t always know how to describe how he felt or what he was thinking, but he liked that the Art made and feel and think.]

[After the museum, Stanley decided to see a few things nearby, including Radio City Music Hall. There are dance and music performances there. One day, Stanley hopes to see some of them.]

[Stanley’s friend Vimala asked if he would like to go with her to the library to return a book. Stanley said yes, because he loved to read. He was very excited to go back on the subway and see on the map where they arrived compared to where they had been. Can you see how far they traveled by comparing this map to the earlier one?]

[Elmer Holmes Bobst Library – New York University]

[Stanley really enjoyed seeing the library at New York University. So many floors! Stanley especially liked to imagine that one day he will go to college and study Math. Or Science. Or maybe Art? Perhaps Literature?]

[After the library, Stanley went to the nearby park, Washington Square Park. There he saw a pretty arch and decided one day he might go to college to study Architecture, a subject that makes us see and think about buildings as both a kind of Art and a product of Science. In fact, New York had a lot of neat buildings! It would be a great place to study buildings and Art and all kinds of things that interested him.]

[Stanley went back down into the Subway and caught a train towards Queens, where his friend Vim lived. When they transferred from one train line to another, they saw a band playing in the station! So they stopped to listen for a bit. What do you think their song sounded like? Do you know what these instruments are? Stanley did, but he is pretty sure you do too, so he told me not to tell you.]

[Stanley ended his day where he started it, at 75th Avenue in Queens. What a loved day he had, looking at Art, thinking about what Art is, and then seeing everything around him as something like and unlike Art. He saw many people as he traveled and enjoyed thinking about what their lives were like in this very interesting city. He cannot wait to return to New York City…there is so much more he’d like to do!]

Flat Stanley loved New York City!

For more information on Flat Stanley, check back with Wintersong on Monday.

resetting the biological clock…is it possible?

If the collapse on a trail that I’d hiked at least twice before in my previous life (before cancer) wasn’t enough to convince me I was in bad physical shape, the emergency room, overnight hospital stay and exhaustive stress tests last July, certainly did. As if all that wasn’t enough, the nearly constant media bombardment–that the loss of strength and stamina attributed to aging is in part caused by reduced physical activity–started to slowly sink in. Knowing how stubborn I am, the family dug in too, bullying, lecturing, uh . . . gently pushing me to get a physical trainer to design a fitness program that would work for me, factoring in all my physical limitations and age . I finally took advantage of the physical training program the Huntsman provides for free for all their cancer patients–former and current–because apparently the gym time I’d been halfheartedly putting in for nearly a year after chemo hadn’t gotten me to the fitness level I wanted to be. Thank goodness stubbornness works in more than one direction.

The beautiful yo-yo weather (the day before it had snowed all day) was putting the spring back in our steps around here, so when our daughter invited her father to come along with her and the kids for a bike ride, I heard myself saying to Hubby if he’d air up my tires I might come along too. Well. After a series of failures that included a hard fall in our daughter’s driveway, they were still able to talk me into coming along. As long as I can take some reading material along in case I changed my mind, I’d go I said. Hubby loaded the bikes onto the back of the Honda and off we all headed to a flat road with little traffic out near Salt Lake Airport, just off Interstate 80. It’s an access road that takes you to the marina and a social club, and the scenery is really special as long as you like water birds of all kinds, blue skies, blue lakes, and salt flats you can practically walk on. That’s the whole story of how Hubby and I–weeks away from birthday #70–came to be out this weekend on a bicycle.

Several times I came this close to giving up. My balance was shot to hell. The seat was too high. The gears were set wrong. I hadn’t been on a bicycle since I was in my early fifties in Las Vegas. Patiently Hubby tested and made all the necessary adjustments. Finally, when my legs could reach out and touch the pavement any time I felt vulnerable or needed to stop, I decide to have a go at it. I was really nervous every time a car or another biker approached and my fingers inched close to the brake gear, but I gradually got used to it. I knew I could stop anytime I wanted and probably wouldn’t kill myself doing it. I only went into a near-panic once–when that damn motorcycle passed me in the same lane I was in without going around me. I decided I should have pinned a sign on my back like a driving instructor puts on the windshield for student drivers. Beware! Old lady bicycling for the first time in more than 15 years!

Getting back to all the hype about the new approach to aging, this study and that, plus my noticeably increased stamina and agility, I doubt that I’ve done enough to significantly reset my biologic clock. I decided that early the next morning when I woke up feeling young and rested after a good night’s sleep, pleased as punch with myself for not giving up on the bicycle thing but feeling pretty stiff. When I started to get out of bed I wasn’t sure if I could even lift my head because of my sore neck muscles due to tension I guess, or the fall on the driveway. Today I’m almost back to normal. Reversing my biologic clock? Not sure. I only know for awhile there I felt more like I had been born in the days of this contraption. If I had though, I guess I wouldn’t have even had to peddle. Hubby would have done all the work and I could’ve just sat there looking pretty!

I wish I had taken my camera along to capture this momentous occasion, but I plumb forgot–another age related phenomena that may also be reversed as long as we stay physically and mentally active. Bonafide photographs of all of us would have been so much nicer, and you would have proof instead of having to take my word for it. On second thought, I was holding on so tight to the handle bars I’m not sure how I would have managed a camera anyhow. Instead, my gratitude goes to the Flickr Commons Collection for these vintage prints, presented under the fair use “no known restrictions” designation.

scotland & edinburgh: first impressions

[photo Pentland Hills, Edinburgh from the air: courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons]

In the Scottish Gaelic language, to which we would be introduced soon enough although we didn’t know it at the time, Scotland’s Edinburgh airport’s name is Port-adhair Dhùn Èideann. Language was to be a source of great amusement for both Hubby and me during our 16 day trek across the United Kingdom as you’ll see in later posts. As our flight circled in preparation for landing, I was glad I’d taken the window seat in the KLM Cityhopper we’d boarded in Amsterdam earlier that morning. I’d read enough novels by the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen and seen enough movies set in the UK that I think I’d formed an impression of how Scotland and Wales probably looked. Something hauntingly beautiful but somewhat depressing at the same time, as in the introductory photo above featuring the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh. And the weather, I just knew, would be dismal and terrible too.

But I would be wrong. That’s our hotel, the Holiday Inn (behind the zoo sculpture), this one located on Corstorphine Road in the Pentland Hills area of Edinburgh–just three miles from both the city center and the airport. True, the skies do look cloudy, but this was snapped September 30, and you can see by the way people waiting for the bus are dressed that the temperatures are almost balmy. The man behind the bus post with the backpack is Hubby, which will clue you on the type of clothing we both packed for the trip.

On the advice of Grannymar, our blogger friend from Ireland, we’d gone prepared with layers which would normally serve us well this time of year, whether in this country or Europe. The problem was the bottom layer I’d packed–mostly knit pullovers over which sweaters, jackets and raincoats might be worn or a scarf added. Living in a dry climate the past 14 years, I’d forgotten how hot cotton knit can feel in high humidity and warmer temperatures. Just our luck that the whole of the UK was experiencing record high temperatures at around 30°C. (A quick way to convert Celcius to Fahrenheit is to double the number, then add 30. So that 30°C figure translates to around 90°F or close enough!) After a day or two I was praying for colder temperatures and resorted to wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt I’d brought along to sleep in. It very old (1988 vintage LTD), much too large for today’s fitted styles, and printed with bright blue fish. I decided it was better for people to assume I was fashion-challenged rather than crazy for wearing turtlenecks and long sleeves.

Many things about Edinburgh impressed me–stunning architecture, cobblestoned streets, the pubs on nearly every corner offering inexpensive but tasty food and drink, charming tea  shops and bookstores, just the general charm and personality of the city, as reflected here in this close-up of just one of the hundreds of balcony gardens. Just as we were in India earlier this year, both Hubby and I enjoyed the ease and speed with which we were able to get about the city. Buses ran every 5 to 10 minutes until late in the evening when they were a little further apart, and for about the cost of two one-way tickets, you could get an all-day pass that allowed you to go all over the city as often as you liked. We were only there for two days, but when we weren’t on a guided tour on the Coach, we were happy to get about on our own.

And the people we met! On one of our bus excursions, we met a charming little girl of about 10 years who was riding in the upper berth alongside us. She was riding herd on two younger brothers, one of whom was nicknamed Monkey, she informed us, he was such a climber. That’s why they were on the upper deck. Her aunt who they were visiting sat a ways behind  with the baby brother. The whole family were in town visiting relatives for her father’s birthday. They were getting a cake and planned to celebrate that evening. They were looking for his birthday present. She went on to tell us all about them with such candor: which village she lived in, where she went to school, her grades and how smart her father thought she was, and which she unabashedly acknowledged. Bearing not even a hint of pretentiousness, totally comfortable,  the little girl and her family was but one example of the friendliness of the locals we would encounter throughout the trip.  I must add, however, that since we understood only about every other word, it’s a good thing she was so prolific.

Here’s just one example of one the churches of Edinburgh. It’s the St. Andrews and St. George Parish Church of  Scotland on George’s Street. The architectural style of the bell steeple and entry reflects the contemporary 18th century fashion for classical Roman forms and includes the “temple front” style portico with ceiling rosettes and clock. I chose it to show here because of–you guessed it–the stories around the shorter, round dome you see just to the left of the entry. According to our tour guide, the parishioners have two explanations for building the assembly hall in this round shape. One is that the Devil has no hiding place without the corners; another is that no one can hide when the collection plate gets passed.

Last but not least, let’s finish up with kilts. A Scottish kilt is a pleated, traditional outfit worn by the Highlander clansmen for hundreds of years. Yes, they are still worn, although the “traditional” plaid kilt wasn’t around until the eighteenth century. Before that Scotsmen wore knee length plaid shirts belted in the middle because they were too poor to buy pants.

Yes, there is a protocol associated with their wearing. First of all, they are most worn by the highlanders (northern Scotland), and then only or especially at special occasions. I snapped this picture of wedding guests taking a break outside the church.

The waistband should fit comfortably but snugly high on the waist, right below the lowest of the ribs. It should fall either at the knee or brush the top of the kneecap. The tartan, or plaid, pattern should reflect the traditional pattern of the ancestral clan, but if you don’t have a Scottish background, you might use a more universal tartan. (Google: Black Watch, Royal Stewart or Jacobite pattern for examples.) Appropriate accessories? A sporran is the leather pouch, used as a pocket, worn on a strap or chain that hangs in front from the waist over the groin area. Hose is worn in black or cream–never white. Black was originally for funerals, but is now a popular choice for everyday wear, while cream is best for evening or formal occasions. Ghillie brogues, which look like black and white boots, are the shoes of choice, while black or brown leather loafers–appropriate to the occasion–can be worn. The traditional kilt jacket is a “Prince Charlie” jacket, appropriate for weddings and other formal events, but for daywear or less formal events, a sports jacket, tweed jacket or even a sweater is appropriate.

As usual, I saved the best for last. How do you think these kilts–girls wear a kilt too, sometimes!–measure up to your new knowledge of kilt protocol? It’s not exactly the best quality, the picture I mean, but it’s what you get when you aim fast and low for that candid shot, and the perfect impression of our first full day in Scotland to leave you with.

Next up, a discussion about castles and things.

happy new year

What are you doing new year’s eve? Our plans are pretty simple. We’ll be staying at home, just the two of us; we’ll probably turn on the television to see how the rest of the world is celebrating. But we’ll be right here all cozy and warm and safe while the new storm heads our way–that is if the weather forecaster was right. Maybe we’ll be able to stay awake until midnight to welcome 2010; maybe not. It’s okay either way.

It’s not that I feel sad about the year that’s passing–we had some great times in spite of the state of the world, the trip to Peru, making new blogging friends, and visiting with old friends and family back east–it’s just that it’s hard to predict what’s in store  for the next one. We’ll just look ahead to the good things we’re planning, including a family trip to India in June. That’s when we’ll introduce Ben and Frank and the grandchildren to Hubby’s family on that side of the world.

Now it’s time to let you in on a little secret. Mice party too! I know this thanks to the pictures my daughter in New York took of Henri Bendel’s storefront. I think this is a perfect time to let you in on a few of the the details of partying from the viewpoint of . . . city mice.

How about these guys? Let the other mice in Bendel’s play all they want. Meanwhile these  little robbers will take advantage of all the noise and commotion to make off with this swanky little  Swarovsky crystal necklace . . .

and these pirates (2009 was a good year for pirates) gather exotic booty (thread, thimbles, lipstick, etc.) that must have fallen through the cracks from the exotic world of the display above them.

I wish I could show you the tiny little mouse orchestra playing a symphony nearby . . . but you’ll have to imagine it yourself while this tiny bride and groom help themselves to a human-sized bottle of champagne . . .

. . . Hey! What’s that guy (Santa’s robot helper) doing here? He doesn’t belong in this story! He is sooooooooo last year!

Oh look! Let’s join these couples at a full fledged disco party. By the way, is this the ball that’s supposed to drop at midnight? What time did you say it was? Nearly midnight already?! Gather round everybody! Get ready as the countdown begins:

10!    9!     8!     7!     6!     5!     4!    3!    2!   ONE!

H A P P Y    N E W     Y E A R     E V E R Y B O D Y    !

old and new discoveries of slc

After several days over the weekend of extremely cold and wet snowy weather, Hubby and I decided to take advantage of yesterday’s emerging sunshine revealing such pretty patches of blue sky. We took the afternoon off for a little R&R and final Christmas shopping spree. I tucked my camera in my pocket, dressed in layers that included my new warm hat with the feather in the side, jumped in the car and headed for downtown. One of my aims was to take a few pictures of the holiday scenes around town.

The first place I wanted to drive by was the storefront we’d passed by chance on the way to the Christmas concert last Friday night. It was still quite slushy out, so Hubby drove around the block once and we parked right outside the storefront so I could roll down the window and take a picture without getting out of the car. Guess what kind of store it was? The featured lamp seems to be just waiting for a Ralphie’s dad* to come by and take it home to surprise his wife.

Though it was only a four-block walk back to our car after the show Friday night, our two friends and we had ducked into a burger joint along the route for coffee and cocoa, and the chance to thaw out a bit from single digit temperatures before resuming our walk to the parking garage. It turned out to be a fortuitous move. Otherwise I might never have discovered my new favorite burger joint. Crown Burgers started in 1978 by immigrant brothers from Greece. Today there are several locations around town and two in Colorado. Otherwise it’s exclusive to SLC, and reminds me a little bit of mom&pop fry joints in the south except that sweetened iced tea doesn’t seem to be on the menu.

What makes  Crown Burgers good for me is that fact that they serve two or three non-meat sandwiches, as well as fries, onion rings, and a large variety of other hot sandwiches so that Hubby can get something too. Otherwise not many burger joints have much to entice non-meat eaters so we don’t stop at them very often. This place, being local, also has its version of the regional condiment fry sauce, which you’ve probably never heard of unless you’ve lived or visited in SLC. It’s a combination of ketchup, mayonnaise and spices. The nearest I can describe it is something between a Thousand Island dressing and a shrimp tartar sauce. It’s apparently an acquired taste, as I love it now but hated it the first time I tried it.

Their primary location is decorated like a European hunting lodge with a large fireplace. Other locations–like this one–have a medieval theme complete with tapestries (on the wall corner and other places about the large room) as well as heavy iron chandeliers. Isn’t it apparent what any bibliophile would find appealing about this decor? Quite out of the ordinary from a McDonald’s or Wendy’s.

In spite of the more upscale decor, customers still place their orders at a counter in front, and pick up paper-wrapped food when their numbers are called. As you wait to order you can see see pastrami being freshly sliced.

Since a stomach disorder had kept me from eating most of the day Friday, I couldn’t resist trying the Halibut Fishburger along with my cocoa that night, so I decided to try an ordinary hamburger this time–with mayo, lettuce and tomato, and shared a large order of onion rings with Hubby, who ordered a veggie burger. Someday I may work up the nerve to try the artery clogging “Crown Burger” which is a regular charbroiled burger piled high with a mound of fresh sliced pastrami on top.

After well-fortifying ourselves, we decided to drop by our favorite haunt, the city library. Here Hubby enters the library complex several feet ahead of me as usual. The store that has the Ecuadorean creche I wrote about a week or two back is up a ways on the right.

I rather like this picture–the quality of which is admittedly poor because the reflection in the glass interferes with the composition–because somehow it encapsulates for me the glittery excess of the season. Oh, and there on the right are the Ecuadorean figures I told you about in that prior post. Let’s see if I can get in a little closer without the shop’s owners getting their knickers in a twist.

There, much better in this position! By the way, the price tag for the set, without the wooden dough bowl, is $74.95. Not as bad as I thought. I can’t quite figure why I love these little people so much. I love the Fernando Botero sculptures in Washington DC’s Sculpture Garden. Lots of people I know don’t like them because they think Botero is thumbing his nose at fat people. On the contrary I like them because they seem so at home in their bodies just as they are without apology. Botero himself said artists are attracted to various art forms without ever knowing why. I’m perfectly content with explanation myself.

Here are some other ladies in waiting that I like. There’s also a lot of Alice in Wonderland memorabilia on this display that I like also. Isn’t it fun to windowshop? Almost as much fun as people watching!

Hubby leaves me to go into the library to check the holdings of foreign and classic old movies. I assure him I’ll be along directly, but sometimes I get so engrossed checking out the books in the library store discounted book shelves that I never make it into the library itself. This is one of those days. I see there’s a man on his knees between the short stacks so I try not to encroach his staked out territory and find an Oprah bookpick, SAY YOU’RE ONE OF THEM by Nigerian author Uwem Akpan. It’s a trade paperback and the spine isn’t even bent and it’s only $4. SOLD!

After the library complex expedition, we decide to head to Temple Square and see what we can of holiday magic. Here we are headed through the SLC street landmark iron eagle drapery at the west temple street crossing. When you see this, you know you’re close to the Temple.

There it there, on the right. Squint a bit and you’ll be just barely able to see the new angel Moroni statue standing at the top of the spire in the center. The old statue was struck by lightning on June 13, 2009 and replaced in August as it was scorched beyond repair.

There’s one more rather boring stop to make before we end our browse-about, to the grocery for cookie and candy making items for a full day of baking tomorrow, plus a final run through Toys-R-Us for one last purchase.  But that will be really boring, so I’ll leave you here for now. Tomorrow, besides our holiday baking, we have to think about wrapping presents and addressing cards. With any luck, we may just be ready–barely–for Christmas by the 24th. Hope you’ve enjoyed the drive-about of SLC. I’ll be along again in a day or two. Hope you’re enjoying the season as much as we are.

*Ralphie and his dad are characters from 1983 movie, The Christmas Story.

We’d attended the Christmas program on Temple Square Friday night. It was so cold during our walk back to our car after the show that we ducked into a burger joint to keep from freezing. Otherwise I might never have discovered

finding the proper title goes a long way

Both Hubby and SIL backed up the recent advice of a reader to add an external hard drive to my constipated PC to better store my photos and music files, rather than trusting them to CDs. I’m grateful for good advice, so I’ve begun the tedious process of transferring the files one by one. But this time I’m taking the time to better organize them so I’ll have less problems losing things. I’ve been looking for a certain photographs for months now with absolutely no luck.

So that explains how I found a peculiar folder hiding in some obscure file and I couldn’t explain in a month of Sundays how they found their way there at all. I had taken the time to title each one, however, and that in itself is a little out of the ordinary for me. Most of my pictures have titles like Image050 or Image050 (2) and the like. It’s understandable, therefore, that it takes a mite longer for me to sort and find the pictures I want to put into a post.

To add to all the other problems, last week I found several old pictures from 2004 that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out. I saw a bunch of little squares with different colored squiggles instead of the familiar little thumb sized pictures that usually identify a picture. Even if I weren’t looking for a particular photo I was so deeply intrigued by the titles on some these pictures that I could hardly wait to open them and find out what treasures I’d hidden away with titles like “sewers” and “undressed ladies.”

Alas! It was not to be a mystery quickly solved, as my photo program didn’t seem to want to open any of those puzzling files. My eyes scrolled quickly to the last photo in the file and I read “dressed up ladies afterward,” making me all the more curious. I tried all the picture software on my PC; there are many. When my Image Express flat out refused to open it, I was beginning to wonder if my PC knew something I didn’t. Like maybe somebody had somehow managed to slip a file of, you know, sizzling pictures into my family oriented stuff.

This morning, determined to filter out whatever evil fiend has gotten hold of my PC, I decided to try once again every photo processing programs I’m privy to. Just for more aggravation, I suppose, I decided to try one more time. I practically fell out of my chair when the picture I’d clicked on opened almost immediately. Finally the mystery was solved with the revelation of this first picture of the sewers:

See? When you half have your mind in the gutter already, and you see a file like sewers, you might think toilets and latrines and the like. But in this case you’d be wrong.

These are the sewers. As in seamstresses. (Click on each picture for a larger view.)

These are some of the ladies who were participating in a pioneer program at the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park just outside Las Vegas near Blue Diamond, Nevada that year–2004. I’ll bet you can hardly wait to see the naked ladies, now, huh?

The pioneer program takes place once a year at the ranch, in the fall, and the docents there take the opportunity to do a little fund raising for a few extras for the cash-strapped state-run park. It’s a good place for the kiddies to learn what it was like living way out in the desert when the west was still being settled, maybe assist in washing a few clothes in a washtub or making lye soap, or talking to a slew of mountain men demonstrate black powder rifle shooing. The dolls are part of the fund raising.

When I saw them lined up on a couch back at the ranch house while seamstresses worked furiously to make more clothes, I couldn’t resist taking a picture. Apparently it takes a little less time to sew the dolls than it does to make the clothes. You know how ladies are, wanting things to match and all.

These five lucky ladies are already dressed up prim and proper and ready to go out to the cabin store.

My title on the photograph naked ladies worked rather well in enticing me to open it so I could see what I had. Now I need to work on those photo files I’m transferring to the external HD and give them all equally intriguing titles, so I’ll be able to find exactly what I’m looking for in those 11,209,487 pictures waiting for my attention.

Just one more note. We’re at day 28 of our month long daily posting adventure. Only two days to do. Maybe my last post for November will be about the number of cialis and viagra spammers were caught by wordpress’s anti-spam program. That might make an interesting post, huh? With any luck I’ll be finished in about 19 years.