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Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

My Dad in Elementary School

Today is my Daddy's birthday.

He is the world's greatest man in my eyes.

On this, his 68th birthday, we are watching him struggle and the life drain from him.

It is a very painful time in our lives.

But we will cherish every moment we have left.

So here's to my Dad, my first true love.

My dad at around 15 years of age.

Dad in the early 60s working on a fence.

Dad in 1964

My Dad with his dad and grandmother in the early 60s

Dad was what is known in these parts as a 'Shade Tree Mechanic' when he was young and then later in life he owned his own Garage.  My brother still runs this garage today.

My dad with my older sister and myself in 1964

Dad and a baby me in 1964.  You can see my older sister in the background on the left.

My Dad (back row on left) with his parents and his brothers in the early 60s.  Dad had three sisters that are not included in this photo.  My grandfather passed away not long after.

Dad in the mid 60s.  He was a 'stylin' man!

Dad with my Grandma - his mother-in-law.  I've spoke before about living near my Grandma when we were growing up and my Dad always took care of her.

Dad around 1968

Dad with my older sister around 1963

Dad with my sister and I in 1967

Mom and Dad, myself and my sister around 1968 - I started to not include this photo because it has some water damage from being stored in our basement for years but I loved my mom's dress and decided to share it anyway.
Me and my Dad playing a game at my 16th Birthday party in 1980

My Dad playing in the kiddie pool with the Grandkids in 2002

My Dad with my twins in 1994

Dad clearing off some property.  He was always working, not one to sit still very long.

Dad in 2005 with 9 of his 20 grandchildren and 2 of his 14 great-grandchildren.

Dad in 1975

 Happy Birthday Daddy!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Parents Anniversary

My parents in 1961, the year they were married.

This past Monday marked my parents 52nd anniversary.  We did not celebrate because my Dad is currently in the hospital and, in fact, the day totally slipped my mind.  But as I remembered this morning, I thought it only fitting that I pay tribute to their great marriage that yielded four children and to date 20 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.  So I hope you enjoy some photographs of some of their years together.

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad

The newlyweds with one of my cousins.

My parents in 1962, mom is expecting my sister.

Mom and Dad in 1962.

My parents in the early 60s

Mom and Dad in the mid 60s

My parents with my brother in 1978

My parents and my brother in 1979

Mom and Dad in 1987

Mom and Dad in 1998

My parents in 2009

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Daily Outfits

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

I love casual Friday's, don't you?  Sometimes, if I know I will be having to do something that is messy, like moving furniture, or setting up a computer, I will dress even more casual.  This was just such a day.  I threw on a t-shirt and my cropped jeans, slipped on some flats and put my hair in pigtails to keep it out of my face.

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

This dress is so comfortable.  It is made from a jersey so it is soft and stretchy.  I've had it for several years and it always gets a lot of wear in the summer time.  I can't remember for sure where I got it, thats how long Ive had it.  The shoes came from Walmart many years ago, too.  And I threw my hair up into a bandana.  

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

This cute little top came from Kohl's a couple of years ago and its no longer available.  Ive paired it with some black slacks and my ballet flats.  My hair here has just been blow dried and pinned back with a couple of bobby pins.  So, overall, its a very simple look.

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

This top is one of my favorites.  It looks like two separate pieces, but it is made together.  Its the details of the under shirt that I love so much, it is a sheer chiffon material with delicate pleats in the front and the sleeves remind me of a 30s style.  I've paired it with some black slacks and my little slip on shoes from Walmart.  I'm telling ya, I get lots of wear out of those cheap shoes!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dining Room Update

Remember that I'm redecorating our dining room?

And that I shared my inspiration for that room?

Well, I have been doing some painting in there and I'm not totally sure I am liking it.

So, I thought I would ask your opinion.  Excuse the quality of the phone pictures. =)

Dining Room wall color

The color on the wall is Valspar Polar Star and its a soft gray that casts a blueish tint which I am pretty happy with.  Its the color on the wainscoting on the bottom that I'm not sure about.  It is Valspar Oyster Pearl and it is a soft creamy off-white.  I like it, but don't love it.  I am considering going with a crisp white like what I've used on the trim around the window and door.  I've also replaced the trim at the bottom of the wall with a nice wide baseboard, which I've painted that same white (not pictured).

Dining Room wall color

Here's another shot down the length of that wall.  You can see on the far back wall what it used to look like. I've since painted this section too. I really didn't think at the time about taking before photos and now I am wishing I had, because it is such a difference.  It used to be painted a mustardy yellow color with a sponge treatment over that using a buttery yellow and the wainscoting was an oak stain.  

Across from the window is where our fireplace is and at the moment it is painted a burnt orange.  Yeah, I will definitely be glad to change that up and I will be sure to take a before photo of it to share with you.  

You'll also notice that in this photograph is a snippet of my Grandmother's Hoosier cabinet.  (Over look the fact that it is piled with junk at the moment.)  It has been this color of green for as long as I can remember (and I'm pretty darned old). My plans were to leave it as my Grandmother had it and before it went ok with those yellow walls, but now it is just not working with the new paint so I am thinking I will paint it.  I have done some research on original colors for these cabinets, hers is a Sellers brand.  I've also looked the cabinet over trying to see if I can find the original paint color and I think it was gray, which will work out great for my plans for this room. I do have to say, though, that painting this cabinet is going to be a huge job! It has been painted inside and out, plus has a roll top or tambour door in the middle. I'm really not looking forward to that job, but think it will be so worth it when its done.

So, my question to you all is should I keep the wainscoting that creamy off white color or should I go with the crisp white like the trim work? 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Rains Came

The Rains Came 1939

This months movie review has a title that is quite fitting for the weather we have had here lately.  I don't think it has rained this much throughout a summer in years.  I chose this movie to review, not because of its title's symbolism to our current weather pattern, but because it stars Myrna Loy, whom I chose to spotlight this month for her birthday.

The movie was made in 1939, that glorious movie year which also gave us Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz.  It is an exotic romance based on the novel by Louis Bromfield.

The story takes place in Ranchipur, India where Myrna's character, Lady Edwina Esketh has traveled from England with her husband, Lord Albert Esketh, played by Nigel Bruce, on the possibility of purchasing a horse from the Maharajah. Edwina is not a happily married woman, as Albert is more interested in horses and money than her, so to escape her unhappiness, she apparently engages in many love affairs.

Myrna as Edwina and George as Tom

While at a dinner party at the maharajah's, Edwina runs into an old lover, womanizing, alcoholic Tom Ransome, played by George Brent.  Tom has come to India to paint a portrait of the maharajah several years earlier and has never left, nor has he finished the painting.  The two have a little fun together at the party and you get the sense that they are very similar characters, both carefree and thinking only of themselves. Tom would like to continue their relationship but Edwina spots a handsome young Indian doctor, Major Rama Safti, played by Tyrone Power, and sets her sights on him.

Myrna Loy and Tyrone Power

The next day when her husband falls ill, Edwina sends for the young doctor under the pretense of caring about her husbands health, when in reality she is hoping to seduce him.  Rama agrees to show Edwina around but is able to resist her attempts to sway him from his work.  He is very dedicated to helping the poor of the city and soon Edwina starts accompanying him while he works so as to be close to him, hoping to finally seduce him.

At the same time, Tom is being pursued by an English Missionary's young daughter, Fern Simon, played by Brenda Joyce. She is bored with living in India and intrigued by his bad reputation, hoping that hanging around him will cause her parents to send her away.  But, her mother is a social climber and encourages the relationship because she longs to "rub shoulders" with the upper class.  The more time Fern spends with Tom, the closer the two become.

George Brent and Brenda Joyce

Soon, the rains of the monsoon season come and along with that Ranchipur suffers an earthquake which causes the dam to burst.  The city is flooded, many die including the Maharajah and Edwina's husband Albert. And after the water starts to recede, the plague sets in.  Rama is spending all of his time at the hospital caring for the sick and during his absence Edwina realizes that she is hopelessly in love with him, so in order to be with him she volunteers to help at the hospital.  It is while working here, helping care for the sick of Ranchipur, that Edwina's character begins to change and Rama, seeing her selflessness, begins to fall in love with her.

Maharajah and Maharani

After the Maharajah's death, the Maharani, played by Maria Ouspenskaya, asks Tom to work to help Ranchipur.  He surprisingly does so, putting away his alcohol, and enlists Fern as his assistant, whom he has fallen in love with.  One day, while working, the Maharani asks Tom about Edwina.  She confides in Tom that since she and the Maharajah had no children, they had planned to make Rama their heir and essentially Ranchipur's new Maharajah.  She is worried that Edwina will distract Rama from his love of his country and Tom confirms her suspicion of Edwina.  Thus, she has Tom tell Edwina that she is to leave the country the next morning.

I'll not give away any of the ending, just that I found this movie to be quite entertaining.  It was a nice change to see Myrna in a more dramatic role, playing a less than desirable wife with few morals.  Tyrone Power, I thought, gave a believable performance as a Hindu doctor.  I loved Maria Ouspenskaya playing the worldly wise Maharani with her cigarette dangling from its holder.  Nigel Bruce, who is best known for his portrayal as Dr. Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame, to me is the real surprise of the film as Myrna's husband, performing totally against type as a character who is arrogant, selfish and down right vicious, who in the end gets his just desserts.

Flood scene in The Rains Came

Considering that this was the 1930s and there were no computer generated graphics, the earthquake and flood scenes were quite realistic and horrific.  The movie won the first ever Academy Award for Special Effects, which was no small feat considering this was also the year that you saw Atlanta burn in GWTW.  The picture was also nominated for five other Academy Awards: Art Direction, Black-and-White Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound, and Musical Score.

If this version isn't your cup of tea, it was remade in 1955 as "The Rains of Ranchipur", with Lana Turner, Richard Burton, Fred Mac Murray and Michael Rennie.  I haven't seen the other version, have any of you?

The End

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Daily Outfits

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

I love polka dots and was so tickled when I found this lovely polka dotted dress in a lovely gray shade.  It was one of the dresses that I got for the wedding I talked about here.  The shoes I got on this trip.  My hair accessory I have had forever, can't remember where I got it but probably from Walmart.  The turquoise bracelet I got about 10 years ago as a gift from a co-worker for keeping his dog while he and his family went on vacation.  I thought that was so very thoughtful of them and was really a win/win for me.  I got to spend a week with a cute little doggy plus got amazing jewelry in the deal.

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

I can't say which of these are older, my dress or my boots.  The dress I have had for about 15 or so years now.  It came from a Liz Claiborne outlet store and it is truly one of my all time favorite dresses.  I love the length, love that its a wrap dress, and the fabric is such a breezy, silky rayon.  The boots I've had at least that long, if not longer.  I hardly ever wear them though, not sure why.  They are very comfortable.  I guess I'm just not a cowboy boot kind of gal but I can't let them go.  Still hanging on to them because you never know when the mood to cowgirl it up will strike.  The rose in my hair is from Belle Blossoms and I love it. 

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

This skirt is so cute.  It has a corseted waist which helps with the tummy bulge.  I have had it for several years now and I think I picked it up at JCPenney's.  The peasant top came from My Baby Jo's I got it over a year ago when I was ordering a dress for my niece for her 18th birthday.  The dress is no longer available but the top still is.  The Tommy Hilfiger shoes you have seen before, I talked about them here.

Retro Gran's Daily Outfits

This peasant top is very comfortable.  Its made with a kind of gauzy type material which makes it very cool to wear in the heat of summer.  I can't remember where I got it but I think it was from a discount store.  The bracelet is part of a set that I got from Premiere Designs.  The shoes you have seen before because I wear them quite often, they came from Walmart and were under $10.  This skirt is vintage and I got it from this etsy seller.  I spotted a matching top on etsy several months ago but couldn't decide if I should get it or not and when I went back to it, it had already sold.  That is all the time happening to me.  The top had a label in it but my skirt doesn't so I am curious if they were made by the same company.  The label in the top was "Paradise Hawaii" Made in Honolulu

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vintage Postcards

Several years ago, the Mister was gifted some vintage postcards by his Mother.  These postcards have been in his family for years and are mostly from places in the United States.

If you will remember from my post on my inspiration for our dining room, I am planning on redecorating several rooms in our home.  At the moment, this redecorating is slow going because we currently have one of our sons and his family living with us, so they are occupying some of the rooms that I want to decorate.  But, I'm still gathering inspiration and planning for it, in hopes that one day soon they will find their own place. Shhh, don't tell them I said that.  ;-)

My idea for one of our bedrooms is a travel theme.  While gathering inspiration, I ran across this picture.  It intrigued me because I have a collection of vintage cameras and it also showed some wonderful old photographs of landmarks from around the world, perfect for a travel theme.

vintage photographs of famous landmarks and vintage camera
Image Source

Which reminded me that the Mister had all of those vintage postcards.  So, a few days ago, I broke them out and sat down to go through them.  Among them I found a few that are from our hometown and I thought I would share them with you.

Greetings From Virginia -The Old Dominion State -Home of Thomas Jefferson - Monticello
On the back of the postcard:  Key To Views On Other Side -

V -
Natural Bridge
I -
Falling Springs, near Clifton Forge
R -
Mountain Lake
G -
Fairy Stone State Park
I -
Cape Henry Lighthouse, near Norfolk
N -
Glimpse of Shenandoah River
I -
Cascade in Shenandoah Nat’l Park
A -
Pinnacle Rocks, near Bluefield

W-12 Main Street Looking East, Wytheville, VA.
{There is nothing on the back of this card and no date as to when it was published but judging by the automobiles in the photograph I would guess it is the 1940s.  Our little town still looks quite similar today.  We live in the County seat with a population of around 8,200 people, according to the 2010 census, covering an area of around 14.3 square miles.  The town was named in honor of George Wythe, the "father of American Jurisprudence" and signer of the Declaration of Independence.}

W-3 U.S. Post Office, Wytheville, VA
{There is nothing on the back of this card either and no date as to when it was published.  This building is no longer used as our post office, however.  A new building was erected further up the street, and in my opinion, it is no where near as lovely as this building.  I am quite fond of the architecture of this building and am happy that it is still being used today as offices for our local Housing Authority.}

Canoeing In Hungry Mother State Park, Virginia - 72
{There is nothing on the back of this card but the photograph states that it was taken in 1972.  It is of a couple fellows canoeing on the lake in a neighboring town from ours.  This lake has a little beach area for swimmers and is a great year round retreat.  As a matter of fact, the Mister and I spent a few days in a cabin at this Park for a second honeymoon, of sorts, after we renewed our wedding vows on our 10th Anniversary.  It was a very primitive cabin with no phone and no tv, just us and nature.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.}

I feel sure that some of these postcards will make it into my decorating scheme.  The difficult part will be choosing which ones to use, there are so many.  What I have shared here is a very small portion of the nearly hundred postcards.  It makes one wonder which family member of the Mister's was collecting these and if they traveled to these places themselves.  Some of them were mailed and have messages on the back, but most all of them are just blank cards.  Either way, they were once treasured, so what better way to pay homage to the Mister's family, than to have them become a treasured part of our decor.