Blog Break

Me, getting ready to roll in the hay… 🙂

Hi there, guys and dolls! Yours truly is taking a week off to rest, rejuvenate and frolic (yes, I know that it doesn’t start with an ‘r’, but I still like to do it anyway, so there…).

Later, gators!

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

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It may be Frivolous, but it’s Free

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, look at you – you made it through another week. I’ll drink to that (frankly, I’ll drink to anything, but that’s just me…)! Let’s see how yours truly can help another couple of hapless souls improve their upcoming weekend, shall we?

Dear Barbara Jean,

Family in training…

My husband isn’t living up to his end of the bargain. Even before little Cathy was a glint in my husband’s eye, he made a promise to me that he would take his fair share of turns to get up in the middle of the night to tend to our child’s cries. Our little angel is now almost half a year old and he has yet to get up and change, feed or burp her. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in so long, and I am getting cranky. At first, I tried gently to remind him that he said he would get up, and then he says he didn’t hear a thing in the morning. Now I poke, prod and throw things at him and he still does not get up, feigning sleep. I am sure he is lying. What am I to do?

Sleepy Sue in Seattle

Dear Sue,

Yeah, I’m pretty sure he’s telling fibs. Baby cries? They’ll pierce eardrums and rattle windows. Here’s what you should do. Skip lil Cathy’s afternoon nap one day and when your hubby gets home, hand over the cranked up tyke instead of his pipe and slippers. Then go out for happy hour and a movie with a girlfriend or two. By the time you get back, he’ll have had a good blast of baby and be sure to tell him unless he gets up when prodded the next time, you will repeat this disappearing act randomly and when he least expects it. Don’t worry about your little girl, they’re made of tough stuff and can handle this change in routine. It’ll build character and a little spunk in your girl (as well as an early lesson in male manipulation – a girl can never learn too young) and some obedience in your husband.

Wishing you an eight hour stretch, Barbara Jean

Edwin Georgi - 4 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy
Park Avenue Peggy

Dear Barbara Jean,

I keep having this annoying man keep crashing my elegant parties. People call him Jackson and he is very unruly and his clothes are always covered in paint spatters. I have never invited him, but he shows up in the later hours, sometimes in groups of friends I have invited, or lately, just on his own. I am busy in my hosting duties and by time I notice, he has polished off all the liquor and hors d’oeuvres and has put at least one woman in a compromising position and sometimes they don’t like it. I don’t like to cause a scene, but what does one do with men like this?

Pouty Peggy on Park Avenue

Dear Peggy,

What one does with a man like that is buy his paintings, my dear! Trust me, in a few years you won’t have to put up with him and his work will be worth a mint. It’s all in his technique (just ask the ones who don’t mind when he puts them in a compromising position, if you know what I mean). In the meantime, let down your hair, bring in enough snacks and booze, and enjoy your parties, Peggy. Live a little.

Everyone’s a critic, 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, advice, advice column, Americana, art, artist, Artists, Babies, Big Dreams, blogaday, city life, cocktail culture, Commitment, Communication, daily blog, Domestic life, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Historical, historical fiction, home life, Humor, letters, Marriage, Nostalgia, opinion, parenting, Parties, party food, Perspective, Pop Culture, postaday, Relaxation, Retro, slang, Sleep, Social Mores, Socializing, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Could All Benefit from a Little More Mma Ramotswe Today

Hi there, guys and dolls! Doesn’t it just feel like we could all use a big hug from a warm and sunny person from a warm and sunny place? That’s what I thought too, so today’s Raves n Faves is a continuation of the delightful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, penned by the eloquently charming Alexander McCall Smith. Just click on the titles or cover images to be taken to the Book Depository site to get the books. Or click here to be taken to my earlier post about the first five books in the series. Happy reading!

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Book Six

IN THE COMPANY OF CHEERFUL LADIES – Precious is busier than usual at the detective agency when she discovers an intruder in her house on Zebra Drive–and perhaps even more baffling–a pumpkin on her porch. Her associate, Mma Makutsi, also has a full plate. She’s taken up dance lessons, only to be partnered with a man with two left feet. And at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, where Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is already overburdened with work, one of his apprentices has run off with a wealthy older woman. But what finally rattles Mma Ramotswe’s normally unshakable composure is a visitor who forces her to confront a difficult secret from her past.

Blue Shoes and Happiness
Book Seven

BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS – Life is good for Mma Ramotswe as she sets out with her usual resolve to solve people’s problems, heal their misfortunes, and untangle the mysteries that make life interesting. And life is never dull on Tlokweng Road. A new and rather too brusque advice columnist is appearing in the local paper. Then, a cobra is found in the offices of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Recently, the Mokolodi Game Preserve manager feels an infectious fear spreading among his workers, and a local doctor may be falsifying blood pressure readings. To further complicate matters, Grace Makutsi may have scared off her own fiancĂ©. Mma Ramotswe, however, is always up to the challenge. And Blue Shoes and Happiness will not fail to entertain Alexander McCall Smith’s oldest fans and newest converts with its great wit, charm, and great good will.

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
Book Eight

THE GOOD HUSBAND OF ZEBRA DRIVE – There is rarely a dull moment in the life of Precious Ramotswe, and on Zebra Drive and Tlokweng Road many changes are afoot. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni wants be put in charge of a case involving an errant husband, and Mma Makutsi is considering leaving the agency, taking her near perfect score on the Botswana Secretarial College typing exam with her. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has been asked to investigate a series of unexpected deaths at the hospital in Mochudi. Along the way, she encounters other tricky mysteries, and once again displays her undying love for Botswana, a country of which she is justly proud.

The Miracle at Speedy Motors
Book Nine

THE MIRACLE AT SPEEDY MOTORS – Under the endless skies of Botswana, there is always something Mma Ramotswe can do to help someone and here she finds herself assisting a woman looking for her family. The problem is the woman doesn’t know her real name or whether any of her family members are still alive. Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi is the recipient of a beautiful new bed that causes more than a few sleepless nights. And, at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has come under the influence of a doctor promising a miracle cure for his daughter’s medical condition, which Mma Ramotswe finds hard to accept. Nonetheless, Precious Ramotswe handles these things in her usual compassionate and good-natured way, while always finding time for a cup of red bush tea.

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
Book Ten

TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT – In this installment in the endlessly entertaining series, Precious Ramotswe faces problems both personal and professional. The first is the potential demise of an old friend, her tiny white van. Recently, it has developed a rather troubling knock, but she dare not consult the estimable Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni for fear he may condemn the vehicle. Meanwhile, her talented assistant Mma Makutsi is plagued by the reappearance of her nemesis, Violet Sephotho, who has taken a job at the Double Comfort Furniture store whose proprietor is none other than Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Makutsi’s fiancĂ©. Finally, the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has been hired to explain the unexpected losing streak of a local football club, the Kalahari Swoopers. But with Mma Ramotswe on the case, it seems certain that everything will be resolved satisfactorily.

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 Adult Contemporary, Africa, Authors, Blogs, book series, books, Botswana, Characters, childrearing, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, detectives, diary, Domestic life, entertainment, Family, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, home life, Humor, Love, Marriage, Mysteries, Pop Culture, postaday, Raves and Faves, Readers, Reading, Romance, Small town, Social Mores, Socializing, stories, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gloves are Off

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, it may be workday Wednesday, but I’ll be the first to admit that there was not a dull moment at the office today (I know, I didn’t understand what to make of it myself…).

Trixie’s gone

It was all about the cutthroat world of the typing pool. Pshaw, you say – the typing pool? Nothing’s duller than that, except maybe for the steno pool. Or accounts. Or acquisitions. Or, well, any pool or department. But you see, there was a promotion involved, and there is one thing you learn very quickly, is never to get in the way of a girl and her pay raise, or a crack at dating up the corporate ladder. That is a very dangerous move. Trust me.

Anyhoo, in came Trixie this morning, propped herself on her mid-level exec manager’s desk, popped off a glove and puffed up one of his cigarettes. See, she snared a live one last night, or as she relayed it, was completely swept off her feet by the rival company’s boss’ son proposing to her. (Honestly, I don’t know where ‘surprise’ comes into it – she was stalking him and entrapping him since November. Eh, who could blame her – he’s rich, cute, dumb and can take her places. All good, she just got to him first, that’s all.) Buh-bye, she has a wedding to plan, no time to work now, especially for a rival company (has anyone figured out what my employer does – if someone does, please tell me, I still just show up and do, well, something and leave…).

Mindy likes to feel protected from stuff

Now this leaves a mass vacancy in our company hierarchy. Trixie was the latest in the line of many to head up the typing pool, and the lead position is a coveted one. The lead girl gets to virtually do nothing all day, except for hand off letters and such to type. Why, she can’t be expected to plunk down on any of the keys, she’s far too busy, er, delegating to do that (I also find that waiting for my nail polish to dry is also known as ‘delegating’ in certain office dialects).

And wouldn’t you know that Mindy and Cindy were both vying and up for the challenge. Our two main contenders were so fast and furious, the rest just stayed out of the way. But how would the new girl be determined? They were both just as fast and (in)accurate as each other, so no clear winner there – such excitement, such pressure, such….(I dunno, I left for lunch by time the hair pulling and name calling were stopped). By the time I came back, Mindy had fashioned make-shift protective head gear from a diving helmet she dug up in some exec’s closet (you find the darnedest things in those), which made sense when I caught a glimpse at Cindy donning a determined grimace and boxing gloves (same exec? you never know around here).

Cindy meant business with her gloves…

Mighty fierce, I’d say. But then, just as about time the fists were going to fly, in comes Lindy, the latest temp with a typing speed that no one has seen the likes of since the summer of ’51 (we all speak in reverent tones of that mystery woman who blasted through this office so briefly that no one remembers her name – I believe she married a senator or something….).

So welcome, Lindy. May you keep Mindy and Cindy in line, at least until your nail polish dries….

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 business, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's Slang, Alter Ego, Americana, big business, blogaday, Careers, city life, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, day job, diary, entertainment, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Historical, historical fiction, Humor, Nostalgia, Office life, Office work, Retro, stories, Uncategorized, Vintage, workday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Randall is Out of This World

Hi there, guys and dolls! I’ve come to believe there’s one in every neighborhood. They walk around all furtive and shifty eyed, mumbling to themselves, ready to engage you in conversation if for good golly’s sake you actually forget and make the mistake of making eye contact. Why, I’m not talking about the poor souls who wander around after they’ve lost their marbles. I’m talking about the husbands who have too much time on their hands and imbibe in the harmful recreation of possessing just a little inaccurate knowledge. I’m speaking of the delightful breed of hobbyists known as the conspiracy theorists.

Maybe Radon saw this…

Oh, you know the type. They spend a little too much time on the model aeroplanes at a young age (perhaps it’s the aroma of glue….) and have very active imaginations. These particular characters then graduate to sci-fi and fantasy stories, while tinkering with their Meccano sets (or grow up to Erector, but that word makes me giggle, so I won’t use it, tee-hee), all the while convinced that beings from outer space want to kidnap us.

Take for example our fine Norma’s husband, Randall. He’s quite frankly a nerd. Tape on the horn rimmed glasses (no, they’re not broken, he’s just convinced that the piece of cellotape will keep the Martian deathray from penetrating the frontal lobe of his brain (he offered to fix up Norma’s pair just like that too, the protective, romantic soul that he is – Norma swatted him upside the head and told him to just act normal for once, but that didn’t happen, either…). Rumor has it he wears a pocket protector even with his pajamas, apparently to ward off yet another vital organ from the said deathray.

Anyhoo, I must admit that there was some big excitement Sunday morning when Randall (or Radon that he now insists we should call him) came running through the neighborhood exclaiming, “I’ve returned!” over and over, at the fine hour of five in the morning, while wearing what looked like aluminum pajamas (please note – the eyeglasses and pocket protector were not worn – perhaps, that was why this happened…).

Now, I have to admit, we did not even know he was gone. So out we all go from our humble abodes into the street in our various state of sleep attire (I was surprised to see how ratty Mabel’s bathrobe was and Teresa’s peignoir set was to die for), and the accompaniment of one or tow individuals sporting unknown about sleepover guests (now, I won’t tell, not even on myself), wondering what in Hades was going on.

Now Randall (er, Radon…) loves an audience. So off he goes, rambling and railing how that just as he was about to go up to bed, he saw a glow in the east, and the next thing he knew, he was on a space ship!

Norma’s snazzy modern punch bowl is pretty futuristic looking…

He doesn’t remember much of what happened, other than he was given this big glass space helmet and told to drink this protective liquid. Then he remembers them asking him questions and it was all a little fuzzy.

Cocktails In Space- my parents had a cocktail shaker like this! No little men helpers though- lol!
Norma’s drinks truly are out of this world…

Then the next thing he remembers was waking up on the porch in his shiny attire and having one doozy of a headache, figuring it must be the alien probe…

Norma dragged him in by the collar, told him to stop wasting her tin foil and the next time he drinks out of the punch bowl head first, she’ll club him one.

We all stood around, a little deflated. Poor Radon, we’d love to believe his theory, but we’ve all sampled Norma’s killer punch, and must admit it’s out of this world.

How was your Sunday?

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, Alter Ego, Americana, blogaday, cocktail culture, cocktails, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, diary, Domestic life, Drinks, entertainment, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Historical, historical fiction, home life, Humor, Marriage, neighbors, nosy neighbors, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, sci-fi, Socializing, space aliens, stories, suburbia, Uncategorized, urban legend, Vintage, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May Day Help is on the Way

Hi there, guys and dolls! How’s your Friday going? Are you able to negotiate your way into the weekend without yours truly’s completely useless advice? Well, good for you. Let’s see how I can (mis)guide two souls today.

Dear Barbara Jean,

Does he bear a striking resemblance to this?

My daughter brought her fiance home to meet us at Easter, and quite frankly I’m concerned. Howard (or Howie, as he likes to be called) has more than a slight resemblance to that television “Howdy” and was always wearing dungarees and western shirts with a rather snazzy kerchief. His laugh was a little obnoxious as well. When I brought this up to my daughter Clara, she just shrugged it off. Her father and I have tried really hard to warn her off him, but she says that we just need to get to know him better and we’ll love him. I don’t think so. What do we do now?

Disconcerted Deena in Dearborn

Dear Deena,

You know, you may not want to dismiss this prospect too soon. If your daughter likes him, it may be a good thing. Are you so sure he is not that television “Howdy?” He may be a hayseed, but I’ll bet that even if he seems to have a wooden head, he probably has more than a few non-wooden nickels in the bank.

It’s your “Doody” to enjoy your new family member, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

I have met Juan, a dashingly swarthy Spanish Flamenco dancer and he has swept me off my feet. The only problem is that he does not speak a word of English and I do not know any Spanish. How do we communicate? Is there any hope for us?

Longing Louise in Long Beach

Louise is a big fan of Juan

Dear Louise,

Pardon me for saying, but I don’t see any problem here. To be honest, I think this whole new ‘male/female verbal communication’ is where the troubles begin. The language of love knows no words, so both of you can then use your lips for things other than words.

I’ll take over with him if you have any problems, 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, 1950's California, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 1950s toys, 50's Fashions, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, 50's Slang, 50's television, advice, advice column, Alter Ego, Americana, Big Dreams, blogaday, California, Characters, city life, Commitment, Communication, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, dance, Dancer, Dating, Dearborn, Domestic life, Engagement, Etiquette, Family, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Flamenco, flirting, Historical, historical fiction, home life, letters, Long Beach, Love, Marriage, Michigan, Nostalgia, opinion, parenting, Perspective, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Romance, slang, Small town, Social Mores, Socializing, Spanish, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Break Out the Popcorn

Hi there, guys and dolls! Are you still taking up real estate on your couch? Well, for this week’s Raves n Faves I have some fantabulous films for you, by the clever and controversial director, Otto Preminger. They’ve got power, intrigue and bring up all sorts of sordid moral dilemmas. Criterion is featuring them on their Channel as a collection, but they are also available through many different streaming services. Just click on the title and image to be taken to trailers to learn more about the films (and by the way, the trailers themselves are great fun to watch!

Three by Otto Preminger
Three by Otto Preminger

THREE BY OTTO PREMINGER – Renowned for his coolly objective style, daringly ambiguous moral complexity, and willingness to tackle taboo themes, classic Hollywood titan (or tyrant, to many of those who worked under him) Otto Preminger pushed the boundaries of the Production Code to create some of the most sophisticated and provocative films of the studio era. This selection of three of his finest—the luxuriantly bittersweet melodrama BONJOUR TRISTESSE, the gripping James Stewart crime procedural ANATOMY OF A MURDER, and the menacing existential mystery BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING—showcases both his range and the singular, relentlessly probing sensibility that unifies his work.

Bonjour tristesse
Bonjour Tristesse

BONJOUR TRISTESSE (1958) – Otto Preminger’s second collaboration with the singular Jean Seberg casts her as Cecile, a hedonistic teenager living on the French Riviera with her similarly decadent father Raymond (David Niven), an incorrigible playboy with whom she shares a curious closeness. When Raymond’s relationship with the straitlaced Anne (Deborah Kerr) threatens to upset her idyll, the possessive Cecile takes matters into her own hands. Adapted from the scandalous novel by French writer Françoise Sagan, this sumptuous melodrama combines striking color and black-and-white cinematography to create a mood of intoxicating melancholy.

Anatomy of a Murder - The Criterion Channel
Anatomy of a Murder

ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959) – A virtuoso James Stewart plays a small-town Michigan lawyer who takes on a difficult case: the defense of a young army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) accused of murdering a local tavern owner who he believes raped his wife (Lee Remick). This gripping envelope-pusher, the most popular film by Hollywood provocateur Otto Preminger, was groundbreaking for the frankness of its discussion of sex—but more than anything else, it is a striking depiction of the power of words. Featuring an outstanding supporting cast—with a young George C. Scott as a fiery prosecutor and the legendary attorney Joseph N. Welch as the judge—and an influential score by Duke Ellington, ANATOMY OF A MURDER is an American movie landmark, nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture.

Bunny Lake Is Missing - Bunny Lake Is Missing - The Criterion Channel
Bunny Lake is Missing

BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING (1965) – After her young daughter ostensibly disappears from a London daycare, a desperate mother (Carol Lynley) gets another shock when the authorities—led by Laurence Olivier’s cynical Scotland Yard superintendent—inform her that they can find no evidence that the girl ever existed. Otto Preminger’s coolly harrowing psychological thriller probes not only the curious mystery at its center but also the frightening ambiguities of sanity and reality. Watch out for a musical appearance from English psych-rock legends the Zombies.

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 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 1960's, 1960s movies, 50's Fashions, 50's Movies, 50's Slang, Americana, Ben Gazarra, black and white movies, blogaday, Carol Lynley, city life, Classic Movies, cocktail culture, Communication, Conversation, Coversation, daily blog, David Niven, detectives, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, family life, fashion, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flirting, France, Gossip, Great Britain, Historical, historical fiction, Hollywood, intrigue, jealousy, Jean Seberg, Jimmy Stewart, Laurence Olivier, Lee Remick, Love, Marriage, movie stars, movies, Mysteries, Nightlife, Nostalgia, Otto Preminger, Pop Culture, postaday, Raves and Faves, Retro, Romance, romantic suspense, Scandal, slang, Small town, Social Mores, Socializing, suburbia, suspense, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Polly Pot Luck

Hi there, guys and dolls! Here’s food for thought – it’s Workday Wednesday. And do I have a story for you to try to digest. May it go down better than mine did….

So what do your work cohorts do when someone has something to celebrate? Why, I’ll bet it’s the good old fashioned office luncheon pot luck. And aren’t they just treasures? Why, everyone oohs and aahs over the food, a flurry of activity goes on for days as recipes are exchanged, leftovers wolfed down throughout the rest of the week – all around such a happy time.

Right. Did I mention it was at my office? Most special occasions that get blown out of the water are usually things the defending party wants to avoid, such as a birthday with really, really high numbers, or say, a wedding that requires ammunition – that would be a shotgun, as in our case with Polly from Purchasing who has now ensured her nuptials with Larry from Legal by estimating that is one of those “rare birds” who grows full term babies in just six months after the wedding (isn’t that just a miracle when that happens).

Inspiration for Judy and Trudy’s tickle fest

That means that we all must congratulate and wish the couple well, and in short notice. Nothing like a last minute pot luck to show the true talents and ingenuity of our fine staff. Me? I had nothing in my fridge, except an open jar of caviar and a bottle of bubbly, and there’s no way I’m sharing that with the gang there. I brought paper plates (they’re needed, so there). I should have brought Alka-Seltzer, given the selections whipped up by my fine colleagues.

Poor Richard was convinced it was staring at him…

What a bizarre buffet. Of course, aspic everything abounds, including a lovely array of wieners poking straight up out of a ring of pasta rings suspended in tomato (prompted Mabel to clutch her rosary and utter a prayer for her unclean thoughts, while Judy and Trudy kept tickling the frankfurters until Milly told them to either take it and eat it or keep their hands to themselves). Then there was the smiling fish mousse that no one would cut into (where does one start – head or tail, plus Richard from Sales was convinced it was staring at him and he couldn’t figure out why it was grinning – that boy is a little off, to be honest).

Patty Lou packed a punch

At least there was one redeeming asset to the party. Patty Lou packs a mean punch! Bowl, that is (fists, too from what I understand, but rumor has it that she had settled her differences with Polly over Larry just before Polly had found out that the extra weight around her middle was not “winter weight” after all – frankly, Patty Lou was happy to have dodged that bullet, and so a truce reigned in the office air). That punch was the only thing consumable at that party and we all had a fine time. Maybe some of us might remember it, too.

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 business, 1950s food, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's Slang, Alter Ego, Americana, big business, Big Dreams, blogaday, city life, cocktail culture, cocktails, daily blog, day job, diary, Drinks, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flirting, Food, Gossip, Historical, historical fiction, Humor, long read, Love, Marriage, Nostalgia, Office life, office party, Office Romance, Perspective, Pop Culture, Potlucks, Retro, Romance, Scandal, slang, Social Mores, Socializing, stories, suburbia, Uncategorized, workday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in Beauty with Blanche

Hi there, guys and dolls! So what kind of weekend did you have? Oh well, never mind. I’m sure there will be livelier ones. Take mine, for instance. Or rather, Blanche’s. She’s the one who started the whole danged thing.

Now we need to go back a bit as I need to to tell you the complete and true story, as told to me by Tracy, who heard it from Debbie, that got the gist of it from Debby, who swears that Rita May says it’s what she overheard from Madge as Blanche told her in the checkout line at the Shoprite.

So where was I? Oh right, Blanche. See, she and her husband Phil had a big bust up when he got a load of all her charge accounts from her spring wardrobe replenishing shopping spree last month. (I mean, really. What’s a girl to do? Doesn’t he understand how expensive and how high the maintenance is for a gal to look her best and one up the neighborhood hussies? What with all the divorcees moving in, it’s getting even harder for someone like Blanche, who let’s face it, is certainly on the long end of that certain age….)

Past Blanche

The end of the argument was Phil telling her that if she wanted to keep spending money like that, she better earn it. Fine by her, she didn’t mind getting a job! Oh, the glamour, the independence, the excitement. The…hmm, what was she exactly trained in, anyway?

Turns out she was a Pink Pussycat Exotic Dancer. That’s how she trapped, er met, her darling Phil in the first place. Now this is something we did not know, given the fact that she can nowadays pop the hinges on the most generous of girdles, and we can tell the time by looking at the shade of the sun by her chin(s), although we don’t tell her that. Obviously, she couldn’t go back to that. Ever. That ship has sailed (or sunk). Really.

Blanche’s burgeoning career

Then it dawned on her – a Beauty Salon, right out of their very own home! The garage would be perfect. Phil could always park his Buick on the street (she’d need the driveway parking for clients, natch), and he wouldn’t mind. Well, not really. Not when she showed him how enthusiastic she was, or how much money she could make! Why, he could retire, in say, about twenty years then….

The only thing was that she needed training. That wouldn’t be that much, would it? Oh, that much? Well, an investment in their future, she could say. Oh, and supplies, equipment. One trip to the beauty wholesalers, and Bob’s your uncle (if she slips in the mortgage loan with Billy’s school permission slip after Phil’s third beer, he’d be none the wiser). Oh, these plans were going so smoothly, weren’t they?

Tracy, before she saw herself in the mirror…

All went well till there were a few little bumps in the road. Such as, she was really bad at it. As in mixing up the color dyes (who knew that Debby’s hair could go the shade of lime jell-o, with the texture to match), that one could get so intoxicated with permanent fumes that pink elephants knew how to dance and sing (just ask Sue Ellen…) or that Tracy could end up with an up-do and swoop that would have to grow out, not wash out (I swear that grey goop of a setting lotion Blanche concocted was cement…).

Yet Blanche was not undetermined. However, Phil was when he got the bank statement. So long, Blanche’s Beauty Salon. Phil decided it was much more economical to go back to the way things were. And I hear Blanche is on her way to New York City to get some new summer togs!

All’s well that ends well, as Willie once said…

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, 50's Slang, Alter Ego, Americana, Beauty, beauty disasters, Beauty Salons, Big Dreams, blogaday, Careers, Characters, city life, cocktail culture, college, Conversation, creative writing, daily blog, diary, Domestic life, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, family life, fashion, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Gossip, Hairdressers, Historical, historical fiction, home life, Humor, long read, Marriage, neighbors, Nostalgia, nosy neighbors, Perspective, Pop Culture, postaday, Relatives, Retro, Romance, Scandal, Shopping, slang, Social Mores, Socializing, stories, suburbia, Teens, Uncategorized, Vintage, working from home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Amazing Miasma of Muddled Methodology of Modern Life

Hi there, guys and dolls! Whiz, bang, Friday… or, in your modern times, just another Blursday! Hang in there kittens, one day you’ll be let out of your pens again. But for now, don’t forget, I’m always here for you with my amazing miasma of muddled methodology of modern life. Let’s get to this week’s letters, shall we?

Dear Barbara Jean,

Hilda helping Harry hanker…

My husband Harry has gained a hankering for Hilda’s hula dancing. Since our last neighborhood Luau, he won’t even glance at me when I shake my grass skirt. All he does is go on about how Hilda really makes the sea-grass sway and mutters something about taking his hedge clippers to it. What’s a loyal wife to do?

Harried Hannah in Honolulu

Dear Hannah,

Well, it’s not uncommon for a husband of many years to think someone else’s grass may look a little greener. Maybe the trick is to refresh your skirt and add a little sashay to your sway. Just lei one on him, and that should do the trick.

Every gesture tells a story, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

I am at my wit’s end. I am a nightclub chanteuse and now that it’s spring, as soon as I am deep in dreamland, all the birds outside my window make this horrible chirping cacophony and I can’t get back to sleep. I need fresh air and want to leave the window open, but the noise is driving me crazy. What’s your advice?

Irritated Iris in Iowa

I’ll bet that Iris would wake up like this if she slept away the afternoon

Dear Iris,

Hmm, I wonder if your irksome irritation might be from wanting to hit the big time while singing your little heart out in the delightful small town middle of nowhere. Now I’m sure Iowa’s got a lot going for it, but a buzzing night life is not the first thing that comes to yours truly’s mind (don’t most mid-westerners get up with the birds, not against them..). Let’s try this – after trying your wild nightclub life, stay up and see the dawn in (nothing like walking home in your glammy evening gown with your kitten heels slung over your shoulder in the early light). Sing with the birds – make a kitschy, catchy tune with the warblers bringing in the chorus. You’re bound to have a city slicker number that’ll get you into Birdland. Then sleep away the afternoons. Nothing much happens then, anyway.

Here’s to your first Broadway lullaby, 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, advice, advice column, Americana, Beauty, beauty disasters, Big Dreams, Broadway, city life, Communication, Conversation, cosmetics, Creativity, dance, Domestic life, entertainment, Etiquette, family life, farm life, farming, fashion, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, flirting, Gossip, Hawaii, Historical, historical fiction, home life, Humor, Iowa, jealousy, letters, Love, Marriage, Music, musicals, neighbors, Nightlife, Nostalgia, opinion, Perspective, Pop Culture, postaday, Relatives, Retro, Romance, Self Esteem, Singers, slang, Small town, Social Mores, Socializing, stories, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage, vintage fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment