Monthly Archives: April 2017

Declutter 2017: Four Prints from Frances

I don’t know why Frances gave me the partial set of lithographs from the Old South, but she did. I expect they were something she’d gotten after writing about home design in The Washington Evening Star. I don’t know what happened to the other prints in the set, perhaps they adorned her walls.

These prints have sat in the attic for years, first in the knee wall where generations of silverfish feasted on the outside cover of the prints, then in my electronics/stuff-to-blog-about/junk closet. I pulled it out the other day and was reminded how lovely the prints were — for some reason the silverfish left the prints inside the set alone.

The cover describes the contents:

“A series of six colorful subjects, reproduced in full color lithography, inspired by a way of living — of ease and slow-paced leisure — which has become an integral part of the American tradition. Their joyous composition and gayety of color make these bright watercolors ideal for any decorating scheme.”

New Orleans Promenade, Charleston Flower Merchants, Savannah Cat Walk, New Orleans Hurdy Gurdy, Doorstep Flower Venders, Charleston, and Savannah Green Grocer.

The prints are all signed “Sikat” and were published and copyrighted in 1953 by J. B. Fischer and Co. in NY City.

I am not sure what I am going to do with the prints. I’d like to have them framed and hang them, but I don’t think Dean really likes them. I don’t want to sell them or give them away unless the person I am giving them to knew Frances.

I will ask my kids if they want them, but I suspect the answer is no so they will likely go (protected this time) back into the knee wall.

Declutter 2017: Live Off the Land and Like It by Dayton Primrose

Several years ago my mother’s friend, Wendy, learned I was interested in edible wild foods. I may have told her that I owned Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons or else we were just talking about wildflowers. Her mother had a wonderful yard full of lovely wildflowers and maybe it was when I visited it. Regardless of how Wendy learned about my interest, she gave me a small pamphlet that her father wrote about edible wild foods, Live Off the Land and Like It. It has been lying around my house for years and I finally scanned it so I could share it. I hope Wendy doesn’t mind. I’m planning on giving the original pamphlet to my daughter who actually makes things out of wild plants.

I’ve not tried any of the recipes, but maybe you will find something intriguing. Here’s the PDF so you can actually read the recipes: Live off the Land and Like It

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Jessie Tyler’s Ivanhoe

Several years ago I wrote about my connection to my great-grandmother, Jessie Tyler Green Harris and mentioned a book that I had in my bedroom that bore her name. I thought it was in a copy of Ivanhoe, but it was not in either of our old books with that title.

I finally found the book in the attic at my mom’s house. It was, as I recalled, in Ivanhoe. I was wrong about her age being written the book though.


Declutter 2017: Proof I could have gone farther in math

My last math course was 10th-grade geometry. I did well in it. I am still angry at the high school advisor who told me I didn’t need to take any more math or science classes because I was going to be an elementary school teacher. I am still angry at myself for going along with it.

The teacher of this course was a gentle human. He was slight and sported a handlebar mustache. I think that other kids in class made fun of him but I never did. Maybe he saw that I was on his side. He also had been a student of Bill Jordan, the father of my best friend throughout middle and high school.

Mom’s stuff: 2 recipes made with beer and jotted on an envelope

I have in front of me a business envelope on which are two recipes in my mother’s handwriting written in pencil. The date stamp on the envelope is September 14, 1995.

The first recipe has no title:

  • 1 ½ lb. beef top round
  • ¾ c. flour
  • ½ t. salt
  • ⅛ t. pepper
  • ¼ c. Coors beer
  • ¼ oil


  • 2 T flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • ½ c Coors beer


  1. Cut meat into 6 pieces.
  2. Pound steak between waxed paper til thin (1/4 inch thick).
  3. Stir together ¾ c. flour, salt, and pepper.
  4. Dip meat in flour mixture, then in beer, then in flour again
  5. Brown in hot oil in skillet, turning once (3 to 5 minutes per side)
  6. Remove meat and keep warm


  1. Blend 2 T. flour in drippings
  2. Stir in milk and beer.
  3. Cook until thickened and bubbly.
  4. Cook and stir 1 – 2 minutes, serve as gravy.

The second recipe is titled Chili Tostadas

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 12 oz. can of beer
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 4 oz. can chopped chilies
  • 1 T. Chili powder
  • ½ t. sugar
  • 8 6-inch corn tortillas
  • cooking oil
  • 1 16 oz. can refried beans (warmed in a pan or in the microwave)
  • shredded lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 c shredded Monterey jack cheese (8 oz)
  • 1 avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced


  1. Brown beef and onion until meat is brown
  2. Stir in beer, tomato paste, green chilies, chili powder, sugar, and salt
  3. Heat to boiling.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  5. Meanwhile, cook tortillas in hot oil for 20 to 40 seconds on each side until crisp and golden
  6. Drain on paper towel
  7. Spoon beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado on tortillas


Declutter 2017: Two books

My high school may not have been the best in the state, but it was progressive when it came to classes. For instance, I took an English class called “The Literature of Love and Loneliness” in which we read a variety of books about, well love and loneliness. A couple of the books we read for class caught my mother’s eye because she was deeply into self-help books.

Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?

She bought two of the books from that class, the first is sitting next to me on my desk. It is titled why am i afraid to tell you who i am? and was written by John Powell, S. J. The purple book cover features a black and white photograph of a sad or pensive looking teenaged girl. The bright red all-lower-case title of the book wraps around the photo of the girl. I honestly do not remember reading anything from this book whose tagline/subtitle is (insights on self-awareness, personal growth, and interpersonal communication). Chapters include: Understanding the Human Condition, Growing as a Person, Interpersonal Relationships, Dealing with Our Emotions, Human Hiding Places: Methods of Ego Defense and Catalog of Games and Roles.

The other book which is not sitting next to me, it is somewhere in the boxes of stuff, is titled The Wisdom of Insecurity:  A Message for an Age of Anxiety and was written by Alan Watts. I don’t remember this book either, but I remember my mom reading it. I don’t know if it helped her or not.

I never understood the appeal of self-help books. I know they are still sold and lots of people read them. I just never really felt the need to read books about how to fix myself. What I have read always sounds so mumbo-jumbo to me. I’ve yet to find a passage in why am i afraid to tell you who i am? that actually makes sense to me.

Both of these books are going in the giveaway box. No happiness here.

Declutter 2017: Cousin Cindy’s Hair Dryer

When I was a pre-teen my slightly older cousin, Cindy, gave me her used hair dryer. I remember using it a few times when I put my hair in curlers and then sat under the dryer waiting for my hair to dry, but mostly I remember using the nail polish dryer that was part of it. I thought that was very high-technology at the time. I found the hair dryer at Mom’s a few years ago and thought I might use it, but never did and now my hair is short and in no need of a hair dryer of any sort. This is one item that will be given away with no regrets whatsoever.

Yes, the background of some photos shows the absolute chaos that my office area has become. Very depressing…



Collingbourne Mills, Grandpa Green, Harriet, Jean and Me

Among the items I brought back a while ago from my mother’s house is an old briefcase that was full of crochet or tatting thread and embroidery floss, a newspaper clipping about a temperance leader, a family tree and receipts for various purchases a Harriet Switzer made in the 1920s. Much of the thread and floss was in a tangle, but I managed to save a small plastic grocery bag of thread to be given away. One bunch of floss caught my eye because it was made in Elgin.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was made by Collingbourne Mills. I’ve written about Collingbourne Mills before, but not on this blog. One of my Grandpa Green’s first jobs, and likely the reason I am here to tell his story, was as a sales representative (read traveling salesman) for Collingbourne Mills. His sales route took him to Two Rivers, Wisconsin where he met the woman who would become my Grandmother.

The only thing I really remember my Grandpa Green saying about Collingbourne Mills was that ONT meant Our New Thread. I don’t know if that is true or not. The thread I found says A.B.C.

In 2010, at my father’s funeral, a woman approached me and told me she was the little girl who’d grown up across the street from me. We became friends on Facebook, and only then did I realize she’d married a Collingbourne. I asked if her husband was any relation to the Collingbourne Mills family and she said they were.

So here’s another connection between my pre-existence and childhood and present life with some detours in-between. I love connections.

Interesting fact: Harriet and her husband, Howard, lived just down the street from A.B. Collingbourne, the president of Collingbourne Mills. (Harriet’s address was on some of the receipts and A.B Collingbourne’s address is on the Internet.)