Raving about My Faving Cookies!

Hi there, guys and dolls! Welcome to Thursday. You know what that means, this week’s Raves n Faves.

Old Reliable

Remember how I said the other day that my girdle needs some help? Let’s just forget about that, shall we? For goodness sake, Christmas is right around the corner and that of course means eating, drinking and being merry! Which also involves the sport of baking cookies. Yours truly just loves to do that, almost as much as eating them. There’s nothing like the smell of all that butter, sugar and spice coming from the kitchen, eating the dough and of course the cookies still hot and falling apart out of the oven. Here are three of my faves other than the usual sugar, oatmeal, peanut butter or chocolate chip.

Snickerdoodles – Now how can you not love the name? Makes me giggle just to say it. Made of sugar and spice and everything nice! My writer girls Heather and Andrea suggested a couple of more exotic spices than the original recipe to mix it up a little.

Snickerdoodle
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Heat oven to 400°F.
  • Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  • Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Roll balls in spice-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (like my beat up black ones).
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Try not to consume immediately.

Thimble Cookies – sometimes known as Birds Nest or Thumbprint Cookies, these little delish nibbles of butter and flour are so cute and delightful. Try different fillings and crunchy bits to roll the cookies in to come up with your own scrumptious combinations. A few of my faves are cherry jam with crushed walnuts, peach jam with coconut and strawberry jam with ground almond.

Thimble Cookie – try some different variations
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts, ground almonds or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cherry, peach or strawberry jam
  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Beat brown sugar, shortening, butter, vanilla and egg yolk in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy, or mix with spoon.
  • Stir in flour and salt.
  • Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Beat egg white slightly with fork. Dip each ball into egg white; roll in walnuts,almonds or coconut.
  • Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press a thimble into center of each cookie to make indentation, but do not press all the way to the cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Quickly remake indentations with thimble again if the indent for the jam has disappeared.
  • Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Fill each thimbleprint with about 1/2 teaspoon of the cherry, peach or strawberry jam. Yum!

Rum Balls – did you really think I wouldn’t have something boozy in this list? Oh, come on! So technically, these are a no bake sort of thing and more of a bonbon than a cookie, but hey, with all that delightful rummy taste, do you think it really matters, one calorie to the next? Some recipes call for rolling the balls in powdered sugar, but I also like chocolate sprinkles, cocoa or coconut, too.

Rum Ball with Coconut – Cheers!
  • 2 cups finely crushed chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark rum (some call for light, but I like the flavor of dark better with chocolate, this is experience talking)
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, chocolate sprinkles, cocoa or coconut
  • In a large bowl, mix cookie crumbs, pecans and 2 cups powdered sugar. Stir in rum and corn syrup. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls.
  • In a small bowl, place 1/2 cup powdered sugar, chocolate sprinkles, cocoa or coconut. Roll balls in the coating of choice. Store in tightly covered container at least 5 days before serving to develop flavor but be sure to eat them all up before a month (as if that is a problem).

Hope you enjoy some of these along with your standby holiday faves. And don’t forget to save some for the big guy on the big day. Santa just loves his Christmas cookies!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 50's housewife, Alter Ego, Americana, baking, blogaday, Blogs, Christmas, christmas baking, cookies, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, diary, dieting, Domestic life, entertainment, Food, Holiday food, Holidays, home life, journal, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, postaday, Raves and Faves, Recipes, Retro, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh Where, Oh Where, Should the Mistletoe Go?

Hi there, guys and dolls! Just get through one holiday and onto the next. I will admit, I love Christmas and parties, therefore I love Christmas parties. And mistletoe, I like mistletoe.

Years of experience has taught me where this should go…

So it should come as no surprise to any of you that yours truly had the heavy responsibility to decide where the office mistletoe should be hung. Now, this is not a decision to be made lightly. Obviously, a dark, dank corner could be just inviting trouble (trust me, that was the mistake of year one – just ask Debbie Sue, who is now the proud mother of twins and married to Phil in accounts…). Ditto for the supply closet. And not near Slick Stan’s desk. I don’t need to explain that one, do I?

I swear this is it actually the true story of our Alice….

Let’s see, most of the steno pool’s trolling for a way out, aka a junior exec husband, so bingo! Right at the front of the desks, between Alice and Linda’s desks. Between the two of them I don’t think there will be one set of male lips unpuckered by December 25th. Fast workers, those two. Aw, it’s good for morale. Plus, it’s a little way from mine but with a great sight-line, so if that new guy in payables or Davey from acquisitions happens to pass by, I can make a dive in and get a smooch myself, but with just enough space that I can dodge the other way if the spotty kid with the mail cart tries to hunt me down (again) or that old codger who hangs around that I still don’t know what he does other than leer (someone told me once he’s the head, head honcho, could be…).

Even the boss’s wife likes Frank, apparently

No sooner had I taken care of that task and what do I find? Frank from the sales department has removed it and made it portable for his own personal use. Sheer pandemonium! And I have to be the one to deal with it. Sheesh! How am I expected to get anything done around here (as soon as I figure out what I’m really supposed to get accomplished on a daily basis in this place, that is)? Now, Frank’s not a bad catch, given that he’s single, smells good and has a top dog salary, but that’s the problem. He’s become the kissing pied piper of our corporate world and not only are Alice and Linda chasing him down, but so are Peggy, Irene, Madge and most of the fifth floor (including Melvin, from advertising – Frank didn’t see that one coming, I’ll bet).

Sigh, my work is never done. Maybe I should just let him find out why he shouldn’t place it in front of the supply closet. I’m sure Melvin’ll teach him…

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, Alter Ego, blogaday, Blogs, Careers, Characters, Christmas, city life, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, day job, diary, entertainment, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, flirting, Historical, historical fiction, Holiday Parties, Holidays, Humor, long read, Nostalgia, Office life, Office work, Parties, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Romance, Social Mores, Socializing, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Girdle Overload!

Hi there, guys and dolls! I’m telling you, I’m as stuffed as last week’s turkey. Oh, the heartbreak!

I blame Annette for my dress not working….

There I was, trying to get into last week’s dress with this week’s figure. Lo and behold, the danged thing must have shrunk (fine, it’s not the dress, it was made with modern Sanforized cotton for goodness sake, guaranteed not to shrink). It was me. Or I swear, it’s Cousin Annette’s fault. She heaped my plate with so much food I could barely see over the top of it. And of course, I had to be polite and eat it all (remember I had to be the good example for my young diner companions). Quite frankly, I think she caught her husband (why can’t I remember his name…) giving me the flirty once over and decided to bulk me up so the next time he saw me I would be bloaty and blimpy. Just a hunch, mind you, but I know how that Annette works things out on the sly under her oh so perfect image.

I could look like this too, if I tried…

Anyhoo, diet and exercise time! Fine, new girdle time. Why, I’ll be lithe and graceful, full of feminine perfection in one smooth move. I’ll just get a new extra strength girdle to motivate me, suck it all in to give me the confidence booster head start. Then I’ll exercise. Heck, I’ll wear the girdle and exercise at the same time. The ad for the girdle shows them dancing and they look so fine! I can do the same, can’t I? Just think, I’ll be in this fantabulous shape and won’t that motivate me to diet? I’ll look lighter and therefore, want to be lighter. No more cake for me, I’ll have the lettuce leaf, thanks. Martini, no! Just a glass of water, thanks (okay, we know that’s not going to happen, I laughed at that one, too – I just won’t eat the olives, that’ll help).

I’ll be on my way to Paris with what’s-his-name in no time flat

Then during my lunch break which consisted of me eating ice cubes and downing four Sweet N Low packets, I came across the Libby’s Slenderella Sweepstakes! Lose weight and win a trip to Paris? My goodness, that’s the diet for me! Let’s see, drink a whole bunch of tomato juice (I see so many Bloody Marys in my future, don’t you?) and win a holiday. Consider it done. Then when I win, maybe I should take my cousin’s husband (again, no idea on the name) along for the ride. He can cart me around and carry my luggage. Wouldn’t that put a chink in Annette’s paint job….

How’s that for adding some baggage to the family…

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950's Ads, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's Fashions, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, Alter Ego, Americana, Beauty, Beauty Treatments, blogaday, Blogs, cocktail culture, cocktails, Contests, creative writing, Creativity, diary, dieting, Domestic life, family life, fashion, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Food, Happy Hour, Historical, historical fiction, Holiday food, Holiday Parties, Holidays, Humor, journal, long read, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, postaday, Relatives, Retro, Self Esteem, short story, suburbia, Sweepstakes, Thanksgiving, Travel, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Childrens Hour, Thanksgiving Style

Hi there, guys and dolls! How was your Thanksgiving? Yes, mine was too. Far too much food, at least one drunk uncle and so much unsolicited advice that I’m set to avoid my family for at least another full year! Let me tell you all about it.

It started when I swung by to pick up Biff, you know, my hunky rent a date sure to make the female half (and let’s face it, a few on the male side, too) swoon in his charming charismatic muscular manner. Anyhoo, when I came by he was having way too much fun to come to the door. I rang the doorbell so long that eventually I had a great jazz improv number that Charlie Parker would envy. Caught up in my doorbell solo, I almost didn’t notice when Biff’s friendly all day happy hour buddy, Frank, showed up wearing nothing but a frilly apron and cocktail shaker. With the bossa nova playing in the background with glimpses of Biff dancing back and forth out of sight in the living room behind him, Frank informed me that Biff was far too ill to travel – tropical flu, don’t you know? Yeah, too many drinks with umbrellas will do that…

Sort of how I felt (abject terror, anyone) at the thought of going to Thanksgiving alone…

I left the boys to their own way of giving thanks for being alive, pulled up my socks and headed to the family – ALONE! Brave or stupid, not sure which, but doing it all the same.

Cousin Annette, ain’t she just perfect?

Have I mentioned that this year’s happening was at my Cousin Annette’s house? Oh yes, Cousin Annette, so perfect in every way. One year younger than me, and she is the apple of the entire family’s eye. And this year, she has certainly solidified her position in the family hierarchy. Let me tell you a little about Annette. She married her one and only boyfriend, her high school sweetheart, but only after he finished law school and got a job in a good firm. She of course, dutifully got her degree in something benign that she’ll never use, ensconced herself in the perfect domestic wifedom in the suburban house, perfectly popping out three darling children. Did I mention she’s a year younger than yours truly? Really? Okay, did I mention her hair and lipstick are always perfect and each year she always has done some amazing feat of perfection that she just has to share (brag smugly, I’ve always thought) at every Thanksgiving gathering? This year’s was that due to hubby’s (God, why can’t I remember his name, I never can) lucrative promotion, they’re moving into a bigger house. That’s just great.

Of course, before they move, she just has to host Thanksgiving at her house. And of course, it was perfect. Except for one thing. Someone (not her, of course) had the wrong numbers of people and the adult’s dinner table was a squeeze, and would I mind sitting at the children’s table, being that I’m single? I was told of course I wouldn’t, patted on the head and relegated to the prolific generation of Jennys, Johnnys and Jimmys of the clan. Oh Lord!

Meet some of my Thanksgiving seatmates

Now, of course, I’m a good sport! I can always write about it later, even think about how I could bump off a family member or two in my next work of fiction. It could happen. So there I am, stuck in the middle of the little squirts. I stayed with the small chair (otherwise I couldn’t get my chin to the table). Aunt Ethel took away my wine glass (don’t want to be a bad influence, do I, well, yes, I do if it means I can drink, to be honest) and gave me a grape Nehi. I was stuck between little Leroy, who had the most peculiar nose that just would not stop running, no matter how often he wiped it on his (or my) sleeve and tiny Sue, who would not stop asking me questions, like where’s my husband, did I mean for my hair to look like that and what did I want to be when I grew up (like I know the answers to any of those questions). Fortunately I had a flask with me for just such occasions. Then one of the Jimmys kept kicking me under the table, telling me that his mother told him that if we bring something we should share it with everyone (I swear that kid was actually a 55 year old midget in disguise – he kept winking and leering in the oddest way, isn’t there always one of those in every too large gathering).

As always, there’s one memorable event that happens that goes down in the hall of awkwardness every year. Fortunately for me this year, I was just a simple innocent bystander in this year’s blunder. Poor Uncle Vinnie, though. Pretty sure that his idea of drunken nude charades will not be played at the Coast family gatherings again. Wonder if his daughter Cousin Annette will give him her new address?

So glad to be home.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, 50's Slang, Alter Ego, Americana, blogaday, Blogs, Characters, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, diary, Domestic life, Drinks, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Happy Hour, historical fiction, Holiday food, Holiday Parties, Holidays, home life, homecoming, Humor, long read, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, postaday, Relatives, Retro, short story, Social Mores, Socializing, stories, suburbia, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Vintage, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Away with it After All

Hi there, guys and dolls! If you are in the U S of A, I’m sure your plans all now revolve around turkey, football games and avoiding awkward family questions. In other words, Thanksgiving. Well, yours truly, too.

Dang it, I almost got away with it

So much so that I tried my dangest to get out of work today so Biff and I could make a start a day early (yes, am I nuts? I mean, that’s just one more day of dodging well meaning none of your business advice, but all the same, heck, it’s family), so while Peggy was over for a quick morning coffee, I got the idea to call in sick. And I was getting away with it! Darn it all anyway, I guess I didn’t have my hand over the receiver firmly enough, because when the big boss heard me giggle and actually say to Peggy that I was pulling the wool over the old goat’s eyes (oops) he told me to high tail it into the office pronto if I still wanted a job on Monday. I could hear his smugness all the way down the phone wires even after I hung up. Party pooper…

Smug Boss

Anyhoo, I broke the news to Biff we wouldn’t be leaving til tomorrow morning after all and it would have been nice if he would sulked a little, not let out a whoop and hung up the phone (I could have sworn I heard a cocktail shaker and a baritone in the background, at all of 8 am on a Wednesday, but who am I to judge, I was just a tinge jealous, between you, me and the lamppost).

Trying to look like I care

I get my sorry self to work on time, sit down at my desk with all the other mindless cogs and proceed to get myself through the day. I must admit that I really wasn’t a keen bean that day. Certainly I went through the motions, answered those questions and occasionally paid attention. Then I stretched my legs walking to the water cooler, stopping to flirt with the mail boy and snoop through the cart (interoffice memos marked private and confidential always contain the best news I find), share the details of a certain junior exec’s reprimand for fraternizing with a senior exec’s wife in a certain said party’s office) with a couple of gals in the dictation pool before catching the news that the grand poobah boss has left for the weekend. Soon as the news gets out, pandemonium. Covers go on typewriters, file and liquor cabinets get locked, one could overhear a few shrieks of delight, followed by the flurry of carbon copies and important letters being filed (er, being tossed away), followed by the grabbing of purses, hats and coats in a mad early afternoon dash to the elevators. Unanimous early quitting time for all.

Now to tear Biff away from his all day cocktail hour….

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, Alter Ego, Americana, blogaday, city life, cocktail culture, cocktails, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, Dating, day job, diary, Drinks, entertainment, Family, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, flirting, Gossip, Happy Hour, Historical, historical fiction, Holidays, Humor, journal, long read, neighbors, Nostalgia, Office life, Office work, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, short story, suburbia, telephones, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Vacation, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howdy, Pilgrim

Hi there, guys and dolls! Looking forward to your holiday break? Well, who isn’t? I, for one, am thrilled to be getting away from the neighbors. Don’t get me wrong, I love people (okay, to be honest I love to gossip about people, and there’s no point if you don’t know any people, then you have no one to gossip about, or to for that matter), but I have to admit at this time of year there’s a certain family that certainly gets into the Thanksgiving spirit.

Lil, just before ‘the incident’

They’re the Sampsons, Lil and Bill, along with their adorable (no, obnoxious is more like it) children, Miles and Priscilla (actually their real names are Trudy and Tony, I’ll explain further down). You see, Lil is convinced she and her brood were pilgrims in a past life. I think it all started when they moved to the neighborhood about three years ago and she was bonked on the head from a falling lamp outside the back of their moving van. Um, it was with the Mayflower company. I truly believe poor old Lil was never the same.

Even the turkeys sense a change in Lil and fly the coop…

Now, I wasn’t there when it happened, but it is now a suburban legend and the tale gets told at all the Thanksgiving tables throughout the neighborhood of how following the minor head injury (according to Lil, no medical services were needed, no siree, she was just fine) she started speaking funny, in old English or something, calling the children the names of pilgrims, talking about their long journey over treacherous seas to their new home (rumor has it they had moved just across town, I think they had to cross a bridge). Then she just snaps out of it, with plenty of time to get ready for Christmas. It’s now a yearly occurrence (in a funny way we all kind of look forward to, like a holiday tradition all on its own).

Miles and Priscilla (aka Tony and Trudi). Me thinks they are not amused..

Anyhoo, as Trudi and Tony (aka Miles and Priscilla) are getting older, they begin to dread the upcoming season. Lil dresses them up as the pilgrims she believes them to be and then threatens them there will be no Christmas if they don’t behave. Dutiful, they become. It’s quite the spectacle. Bill goes along with it, he’s terrified that if he doesn’t, she’ll throw him in the stockade. She’d do it, too.

So think of it this way, no matter how loony your family get together will be, it probably won’t be Lil’s historical, hysterical holiday.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, 50's Slang, Alter Ego, Americana, autumn, blogaday, Characters, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, diary, Domestic life, England, entertainment, Family, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Gossip, Historical, historical fiction, Holidays, home life, Humor, journal, long read, neighbors, Nostalgia, nosy neighbors, Pop Culture, postaday, Relatives, short story, Social Mores, Socializing, stories, suburbia, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Vintage | Leave a comment

What I’m Bringing to the Holiday Table….

Hi there, guys and dolls! Can you believe that Thanksgiving is almost upon us? And yes, another time for families to gather around and share their goodwill and love, sigh. Also, for lucky me, the gamut of relatives asking me why I’m not married yet, is there someone on the horizon, all that wonderful heartwarming stuff. It’s quickly followed by a tsk, shake of the head, and the muttering of how come such a girl like you… Yay!

Now who the heck wouldn’t want to eat this (okay, me, but I still like to bring it to social shindigs)

This year, I mentioned to my Mother I’d be happy to bring my world famous (okay, actually infamous, I still don’t think it was my contribution that sent Uncle Bill to the hospital, I blame Cousin Rose’s turkey, but that’s another story) lime jelly salad, complete with radish roses. After Mother finished laughing, then crying, she suggested that maybe I should just show up at a reasonable hour and with a good date, this time (I still have no idea what that means…). Excellent, the holiday fun and games have thus begun.

But who the heck should I bring (um, subject to the inquisition)? How much to I have to train about what not to say and god, remembering all the little white lies I’ve told everyone over the past year (I swear, I only do it to keep the peace and not have them worry about me, okay pinky swear, but that’s kinda the same…). Getting out my little black book (fine, it’s a tome, but still) didn’t prove to be inspiring. I can’t ask Tom like I did two years ago (I still say that he didn’t give that fungus to Aunt Tina, no matter what she says), or Frank (I think he was married to a commie, could you imagine – wait, that might be fun, no, you’re right, one of the Gramps would have a conniption), and if I never see Doug ever again, that’ll be too soon (not to mention his unruly halitosis).

The talisman of my life….

So what does one do in times of such crisis? Why break out the Mystery Date board game. You see, some consult the tarot, a magic eight or crystal ball, even the sacred Ouija (no thanks, when I asked if I would ever get married, the danged plank flew off the board in my direction, almost took out my eye, only to land legs up on the floor and die a quivering death – never again!). I think Mystery Date may have all my answers. And heaven help me, it didn’t let me down. You see, I remembered the last time I played it was with Biff, you know, my buff body builder friend. Yes! Handsome, dapper and a no pressure date for me, as long as he gets plenty of turkey and can watch the tight ends in peace on game day, all would be well. Sure enough, he was thrilled to be coming. In fact, he was thrilled at the idea of being able to show off his new skills to a crowd (albeit, a tough one, it is my family after all) – bartending! Manna to my relatives! Get them well plied and I’ll be the best Coast family member of all times.

Biff, may or may not want to wear a shirt when bartending for my family. We’ll see…

So then of course, I had to have him come over and practice. I must say he has a fantabulous set of skills. He was stirring and shaking like nobody’s business. Only thing, I may have to bribe him to keep a shirt on til at least the third round, I’m not sure if Aunt Mabel or Cousin Pete might disapprove in front of everyone while privately trying to snatch him up before dinner… eh, it’s a tossup.

Now I’m all set. Happy Holidays are on their way, can’t wait to watch the festivities!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, Alter Ego, Americana, autumn, Bartending, blogaday, board games, Characters, cocktail culture, cocktails, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, Dating, diary, Domestic life, Drinks, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flirting, Games, historical fiction, Holiday food, Holiday Parties, Holidays, home life, house party, Humor, journal, long read, Nostalgia, Parties, Pop Culture, postaday, Relatives, Retro, Social Mores, Socializing, suburbia, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Vintage, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Slightly Flawed and Almost Friendly Advice

Hi there, guys and dolls! Fancy that, it’s Friday, and not a day too soon. I’ve received some great letters from some great women with great problems. Let’s get to their challenges, shall we?

Dear Barbara Jean,

I don’t think Betty will be bored for long…

I feel like I’m in a rut. Everything feels like the same old, same old thing. I think I need to do something and call on your wonderful wisdom to help me. I’m feeling antsy and wonder should I change my hair or should I change my husband? What would you do?

Bored Betty in Boise

Dear Betty,

Let’s see. I think I’d change my hair first. It’s much less of a hassle and it’ll grow back if you don’t like it, whereas to get your husband back if you don’t like the other fish in the sea out there could be a lot of work. Plus, your problem could be changed in a two-part method – change your hair, then if your other half doesn’t notice or disapproves, then change him, too. You certainly won’t be bored then!

Here’s to shaking things up a bit, Barbara Jean

Who told Wanda about what?

Dear Barbara Jean,

I’ve just heard some unbelievable gossip in the neighborhood and I don’t know who knows about it and who doesn’t. Also, in this most delicate matter, I’m not sure who will side with whom. How do I know whom to tell and whom not to tell? It’s really too good to just keep to myself.

Wagging Wanda from Wichita

Dear Wanda,

Wow, now you’ve got me wondering and I don’t even know anyone in Wichita! I wish you would have told me, not that it would change the advice I’m going to give in any way whatsoever, I just want to know… Anyhoo, when you get together with any of your neighborhood gal pals, let them speak first, maybe they’ll be itching to spill it themselves. Watch for signs of ants in the pants behavior, fidgetyness, or that they outright tell you. If they sit there like clueless bumps on a log and don’t say anything, chances they don’t know anything (about that, or maybe they’re just dim bulbs all round, I don’t know your friends…). And what the heck, if the conversation’s boring, spill the beans and get the ball rolling. One big tip – whatever you do, don’t be the one to tell the parties involved by accident. I speak from experience. You’ll never be privy to the good gossip ever again, and that juicy secret you have on this particular misadventure will be nipped in the bud before you have enough time to fully enjoy the salacious dirt on this go round…

Don’t be the loose lips that sink this ship, Barbara Jean

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can. 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, 50's Slang, Adult Contemporary, advice, advice column, Alter Ego, Americana, Beauty, blogaday, creative writing, Creativity, Domestic life, entertainment, Etiquette, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Gossip, historical fiction, home life, Humor, letters, Marriage, neighbors, Nostalgia, nosy neighbors, opinion, Perspective, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Romance, Scandal, Self Esteem, Social Mores, Socializing, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Entertainment for Busy Hands

Hi there, guys and dolls! Welcome to Thursday. Bet you never thought it would get here, did you? And do I have some great Raves n Faves for your listening pleasure.

I love radio plays, and isn’t BBC a wonderful source? My writer girls (Andrea and Heather) love to catch as many as they can while they are free, but it’s usually for a limited time. Thankfully, along with their fantabulous collection of books and other listening entertainment, Audible.com has a great selection of them, and yours forever for the purchasing. Here’s three of the best to cast your ears to while doing housework, running errands, doing your nails, relaxing or whatever you want to do with busy hands…

THE CAZALETS – Penelope Wilton narrates BBC Radio 4’s epic dramatisation of the treasured family saga, Elizabeth Jane Howard’s five book chronicle of the upper-middle class. Cazalet family begins in 1938, as siblings Hugh, Edward, Rupert, and Rachel join together for another family holiday at Home Place, their house in the Sussex countryside.

During the course of The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off, and All Change, the progress of their lives, and those of their children, will be charted. As their stories unfolds we gain a vivid insight into the lives, hopes, and loves of three generations during the Second Word War and beyond.

Dramatised by Sarah Daniels and Lin Coghlan, and with a large cast of actors across all five books, this remarkable radio event adds a new dimension to Elizabeth Jane Howard’s extraordinary chronicles. The first four Cazalet novels sold over a million copies, with the fifth being published in 2013, shortly before the author’s death.

THE FORSYTES – Joseph Millson and Jessica Raine star in a brand new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of the first two books in John Galsworthy’s saga of the Forsyte family in the early 20th century.

This dishy gem spans decades of a wonderfully scandalous family, where things change, yet stay the same. No doubt you’ll recognize members in your own family, and maybe, just maybe some of your own human foibles you’ve committed along the way (I know I sure did….).

RAYMOND CHANDLER – The complete collection of landmark BBC Radio dramas of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe mysteries. Philip Marlowe is the archetypal noir detective: wisecracking and world weary, hard boiled yet honourable. This volume includes all eight dramatisations of Raymond Chandler’s groundbreaking crime novels featuring his iconic hero.

The Big Sleep: Marlowe is consulted by a wealthy family man with two big problems: his children. Farewell My Lovely: Marlowe’s search for an ex-con’s ex-girlfriend leads him into danger. The High Window: when a rare gold coin is stolen from her collection, Mrs Murdoch hires Philip Marlowe to find it. The Lady in the Lake: businessman Derace Kingsley hires Marlowe to find his estranged wife, Crystal. The Little Sister: commissioned to find Orfamay Quest’s missing brother, Marlowe is drawn into the glamorous film world of Hollywood. The Long Goodbye: Marlowe befriends a drunk named Terry Lennox but comes to regret doing him a favour. Playback: hired to follow the mysterious Betty Mayfield, Marlowe soon finds that he is being tailed, too. Poodle Springs: newly married Marlowe puts his bride aside to look for a gambler on the run.

Starring Toby Stephens as Philip Marlowe, these stylish, suspenseful dramatisations – full of witty, ironic dialogue and colourful characters – bring the beautiful, corrupt world of California in the ’40s and ’50s to luminous life.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1950's California, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's Novels, 50's Slang, Adult Contemporary, Alter Ego, audible, Audio books, Authors, BBC, blogaday, book series, books, British Mystery, California, Characters, city life, cocktail culture, daily blog, detectives, Dialogue, diary, Domestic life, entertainment, family life, family saga, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Historical, historical fiction, Hollywood, home life, Humor, jealousy, journal, Love, Marriage, murder mystery, Mysteries, Nostalgia, novels, Podcasts, Pop Culture, postaday, radio drama, radio play, radio serial, Radio Shows, Raves and Faves, Readers, reading, Retro, Romance, romantic suspense, Scandal, stories, suspense, Uncategorized, Vintage, World War Two | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Should I Be if I Ever Grow Up?

Hi there, guys and dolls! So how’s your workday Wednesday? Yep, I thought so… Mine is like that, too. Times like this I wonder what else I could have done to keep me well heeled and wasting time until Happy Hour. Okay, to be honest, I wonder what I actually do as a day job. As I’ve said, I show up, plunk a few keys on my typewriter, chase down the coffee delivery boy for a doughnut or two, share the water cooler gossip, figure out where we’re going for lunch, play dodge the junior execs, explain to the boss’ wife that ‘he’s in a meeting’ (hah, I haven’t seen him in years) all the while shifting around this same ratty carbon copied letter that’s dated about three years ago.

Oh, the stuff dreams (or nightmares) are made of…

Gives a girl a lot of time to think while filing her nails. So I recall being a little girl with big dreams. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love my writer life of my Poppy Cove folk and love to tell their tales, but I’m talking about the day job until my brilliant true writer career blooms. And yes, the excitement of working in this big steel tower in the big business of well, something (I still have no idea what this place is all about), this mysterious big city life is certainly one of the dreams I had as a young girl playing grown-up, but of course there were others, too.

She looks like she can land on her feet

Such as a skater. Gliding gracefully across the ice, doing jumps, Salchows and twirls, all the while smiling so hard my face hurt. All the while wearing glitter and sequins. How could I not want to be this? Well, first of all, I had to master being able to stop, and not by slamming into the boards face first, screaming out of control. By the way, coaches don’t like that. That’s fair, I don’t like being cold or landing on hard ice. There’s not enough makeup in the world to cover those bruises on my er, assets. That’s enough of that.

The romance of healing the sick (really?)

And gee, think of Florence Nightingale. What could be more romantic than cooling the fevered brow of the handsome young millionaire that just happened to catch the flu or broke a leg on some daredevil skiing accident or race car disaster? Just think how grateful he’d be, helpless at your capable healing hand. Make him all better and he’ll whisk you away to his mansion, right? Um, more like midnight shifts dealing with bedpans and cranky old biddies who complain about scratchy bed sheets and flat pillows. Sheesh, hospitals aren’t hotels, for god’s sake! Enough of that, too!

I could have been a stewardess. Just think, the mile high club and glamour in the skies. Maybe that young millionaire didn’t hurt himself and was jet setting, just looking for coffee, tea or me? Just think – traipsing up and down a narrow aisle while that the plane bounces around in turbulent skies, pouring hot drinks, delivering food, answering to a passenger’s every whim. One good bounce and I’m sure I could, manage a good spill of coffee, tea but not me in his lap!

So here I am, and it’s not so bad. Maybe one day I’ll even know what the heck we do around here!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already. 

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, Alter Ego, blogaday, Careers, Characters, city life, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, day job, diary, entertainment, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, historical fiction, Humor, journal, long read, Nostalgia, nurse, Office life, Office work, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Romance, short story, skater, stewardess, stories, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments