Tuesday, July 6, 2010


In the good old summertime,
in the good old summertime. 
Strolling through the shady lanes with your baby mine.
You hold her hand, and she holds yours,
and that's a very good sign.
That she's your tootsie-wootsie,
in the good old summertime.

This little ditty from 1902 transports us  back to the good old days when life was simple, easy, safe and comfortable. That is if comfortable means wearing layers of long clothing and living without air conditioning.

Doing the laundry in the long dress would have been hot, sweaty and exhausting.   What a treat.  Besides  slaving over washboard or wringer washer, clothes line and iron, a store aisle displaying a selection of laundry detergents and scented fabric softeners was years away.  There were big bars of soap, a fabulous creation eliminating the need for soap making at home.  Imagine the free time that created.  The bars, however, required grating into flakes.  By hand.   The modern homemaker rarely grates her own cheese.   One popular soap brand, Crystal White, was made in Kansas City with mutton fat.   It was believed that Crystal White contained the toxin mercury.   It was also used as a skin whitener.

The home refrigerator-freezer and ice maker did not exist. Ice cream was available, but required hot manual labor to crank the machine.  Today we crank up the air-conditioning in the car on the way to the supermarket or ice cream store or crank up an electric ice cream maker at home.   Useful word, crank.  It used to mean work.  I cranked out a no calorie, no fat, sugar free variety…….

Good old summertime parties would probably have included something created with Knox Unflavored Gelatine. In case this pantry staple has passed you by, gelatin is a protein derived from livestock bones and connective tissues. Charles Knox made it available in granulated form to the American home cook in 1890.  It still exists.   What cooks must have gone through before Charles Knox came along is just grisly.


Think Jello with no flavor or color. From this miracle substance of the day, home cooks created an infinite number of ingenious recipes such as veal loaf, chicken mousse, tuna mold, tomato aspic and eggs in aspic.   Meat Jello. Yum yum. Lest one forgot the source of the delicacy, the sweet face of a calf adorned the package.

In case a party guest went home with a tummy full of spoiled meat jello, eggs in aspic or the tuna mold was moldy, several remedies were available from the physician-pharmacist pas de deux. The druggist mixed up whatever concoction the doctor prescribed and created the appropriate drops, capsules or tablets.   Gastric disturbances meant one of two things - a trip to the out house in the back yard or use of the handy dandy chamber pot.  Tra lee.  Tra la.

Sometimes the remedies were even effective. Often they were not. Many were harmful and deadly. Perhaps the doctor would have prescribed Calomel tablets for the alimentary ailment…..

Calomel (second from right), is a tasteless compound, Hg2Cl2, also called "Mercurous chloride". It was used as a purgative and insecticide. How handy - a laxative and bug killer all in the same bottle.

It is miraculous that anyone survived the Good Old Days. Women dying while giving birth was not uncommon. There were no cancer survivors.  Lupus was always fatal.  Infections frequently meant death.    

Life for the living was long hours of hard work and few conveniences.  The Good Old Days? Perhaps not.

The Good Old Days are now.  Happy summer!


Vintage items donated by Garry Gribble ... Garry Gribble's Running Sports
PS:  Two TangoPony Designs are featured in new Etsy Treausuries......

Saturday, May 29, 2010


If you are a student of Flamenco, you will remember that sometime soon after your first class, you discovered that Flamenco was no longer optional.  Flamenco is seductive that way.  And if you are a student now, you will be a student forever - no one person can know everything.  That is part of the seduction as well, trying to quench the thirst of knowing more.  There will always be more.

There is also the thirst for the energy, encouragement and affirmation we feel from the Flamencos around us.  A beginner can feel empowerment from the energy of others in the very first class.  Empowerment is very seductive.

We dance to feel better.  We dance to purge the demons of ill will and hate in the world.  We dance to cure the ache in our heart.  We dance when we are happy.  We dance because we cannot do otherwise.   ¡Vamos ya!*

Because Flamenco is different from any other art form, the existence of an audience is less important than in other forms.  We perform for ourselves.  If someone else is watching, fine.  Audience applause is the non-flamenco way of doing jaléo.** 

¡Vamos ya!**

and now for a bit of blatant self-promotion..........................
We do like applause - a pat on the back - a thumbs up.  I like TangoPony's latest performance on the Etsy stage.   Three generous, lovely people have featured items from the shop in Etsy Treasuries, "curated galleries handpicked by the Etsy community."  Particularly since TangoPony is a relative newcomer to Etsy, it is an honor to have my things chosen by others.

thebluecottage selected a flamenco pendant and a vintage Andalucían scarf in her f-l-a-m-e-n-c-o Treasury

saphira selected a little tin in her small-indulgences Treasury

skywatcher1121 put the vintage soft kid Venetian cutwork opera gloves in her love-giacomo Treasury

I'm ready for Puccini. 
¡Vamos ya!

* Vamos ya, bah mo ya, properly translated means 'we are going now.'  In Flamenco land, we mean 'let's go already!'
** Jaléo, ha lay oh, properly translated means 'commotion.'  In Flamenco, it is the spoken word of encouragement, support and emotion directed to the performer. 


Saturday, May 1, 2010


I was fortunate to attend the Kansas City Lyric Opera’s wonderful production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni last night thanks to my friends Tamara and Kirk. The work was first performed in Prague, Czechoslovakia in the 18th Century and was based on the legendary Don Juan of 17th Century Seville, Spain. The opera reports that Don G had so many lovers, the names were listed in books. The volume for Spain had 1003 names.

We just can’t seem to get enough of those bad boys…Don Juan of 17th Century Spain and Tiger Woods of the 21st Century golf course. If you think we will be celebrating Tiger’s escapades in the grand opera of the 24th Century, please let me know.

What we most enjoyed in the rather long musical telling of the tale (during the 2nd act I was able to have AAA come open my car so I could get the keys locked inside and hardly missed a thing,) was seeing the final downfall of Don G. There is nothing like a good damnation and descent into Hell to make one feel all is right with the world.

Something that always makes me feel right with world is knowledge. I want to know exactly what is going on… like knowing the synopsis and time frame of the opera before I go, reading the play before I attend Shakespeare or knowing that the restaurant serves fresh food rather than food cooked in a factory, shipped frozen and reheated. It might be thirst for knowledge. It may just be nosiness. Nosiness is Power. I think Francis Bacon first said this.

NOTE FOR NOSY PARKERS: There is a source for information in addition to Google. It is called a book. I like this one for all things related to music: The New College Encyclopedia of Music by J.A. Westrup and F. Ll. Harrison. (ISBN 0-393-00074-5)

This is a well-thumbed vintage book – copyrights 1959, 1960, 1976… three of my favorite decades. Along with Mozart’s 18th Century, of course.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog!

The latest treasures from www.tangopony.etsy.com

Drum roll, please!

A Set of Vintage
Coffee Pot and Cup
Salt and Pepper Shakers

A Pair of Vintage
                       Ponderosa Ranch
Souvenir Tin Cups

A Vintage Moss Rose
Porcelain Double
Egg Cup

A Vintage Silver
Personal Ash Tray

A Vintage Everlast
Hammered Aluminum
"Silent Butler"