rebirth: my grandmother from the jazz age

While going through old photographs at my parents’ house, I found these photo gems of my grandmother Edna when she was a teenager and young adult from the 1920s.  The name Edna means “rebirth.”

She stayed young and beautiful, frozen in this state, because she passed away from a leaky heart valve at age 39. My mom said she was smart, well-read and a fashion maven.   I don’t doubt that The Great Gatsby was on her book shelf.

My grandmother is on the left, circa 1925.  She sports a classic bob hair cut and a sailor dress.  She is about 18 years old and hanging with her friends most likely dressed in clothes from Marshall Field’s.

Here’s another buddy picture.  Grandmother is on the left.  There’s not a lot of detail here but look at the cloche hats.  Isn’t it amazing that women dressed so alike back then? And they sit on grass barely worrying about grass stains on their skirts.

Here she is on the right.  Look at those gams wrapped in black silk stockings with pumps on her feet.  Again, no worries about sitting on dirt and grass in elegant clothes.  My cousin, who lived to age 92, told me that Edna wore holes in the knees of her stockings as they rode in cars, probably to prevent looking unladylike.

Don’t ask me what the donkey’s doing here.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Edna is on the left next to my grandfather Toy.  Here’s more proof of ladies dressing alike with all skirts just above the knee and all shoes with straps across the front.

When it got cold, Grandmother (on the right) broke out the long coat but never covered her bottom legs.  Who would cover them?  That’s a fur-lined collar with the oh-so-delicate touch of a flower in her lapel.  Laced up shoes kept her feet warm in the winter.   And I told you she was smart – she’s the only one wearing a hat in this picture.

My grandmother’s not in this picture, but my grandfather is on the left.  Even he was a sharp dressed man with a news boy cap, tie and a 3 (maybe 4) buttoned jacket.  Check out the car and the ladies on the hood.  I’m surprised the poleece didn’t come after them for looking so much like Bonnie and Clyde.

And that is the rebirth of Edna.  Do you ever wish the Jazz Age could come back in style if even for a moment?

hobos: a poem

our fluffy who isn't so fluffy

My daughter says a Maltese is combination wolf and bunny rabbit.

She named him Fluffy though I wanted

Falcon – my clever play on words.

Or Henry, the name I wanted for a

boy though I had two girls.

Or Boo-Boo, my nickname for my brother

whose passing made me stand there with Fluffy

in my arms that day.

One day he brought home Missy, a Cocker

Spaniel whom he laid at my feet while I washed

dishes.  I jumped to see a brown lump of fur who

looked like Lady in that Disney movie.  A

pedigree, he said.

Before that it was Baron who hobbled

around on a broken leg.  Before him, there was

Blackie who stood with paws on my brother’s

shoulders as he waved his hand in front of

his face symbolizing rank breath.

In our lives for just a few moments like

travelers hopping off trains, asking for food, then

on their way to the next destination.

what good mathematicians do: a guide to problem solving

The following is a poster in my daughter’s math classroom.   Are these not solutions for everyday life? If you have a problem to solve in any aspect of your life, try what good mathematicians do:

image via flickr

1.  they look for patterns
If your kid is exhibiting less than attractive behavior, look for patterns.  Is it from lack of sleep? Are they hungry?  Too much sugar? In the middle of the night, do they open a window, lasso a tree and swing like Tarzan and yell “Get your damn dirty apes off me?” That might be it.

image via flickr

2.  they seek new ways to find solutions

Rather than tell your child they can’t bake a cake because they constantly ask for help while you’re trying to work and they never clean up after themselves, let them try it.  I let my girls bake a cake the other night.  After the fire department calmly explained to me that you turn on the oven, not the stove for baking, everything turned out A-OK.

image via flickr

3.  they create pictures, diagrams, and charts
What a great idea! Especially when you have to explain to your daughter’s teacher that she doesn’t really dream of killing zombies with poison plants and machetes although that’s all she draws in school.

image via flickr

4.  they estimate
Estimating is a good thing.  Like when you turn down buying coffee at Wal-Mart because it’s too expensive though you spend over 3 bucks a day at Starbucks every day.  Comparing the cost might come in handy.

image via flickr

5.  they ask questions
Such as, “Does Santa still have me on his good list?” after your kid’s last melt-down.  You think you sit on a gold mine at Christmas, letting the think they’re on the bad list if they dare talk back. But then you say stuff like, “Get me the TV remote or else Santa won’t visit you on Christmas Eve!” Santa will kick the crap out of me for that one.

image via flickr

6.  they create a plan to solve a problem
Especially when that plan involves chores for the kids to solve the boredom problem.  When your child says, “I want to do something fun. I’m bored. I have no friends to play with,” say, “The laundry’s lonely. Maybe you and the laundry have a slumber party with movies and popcorn. At midnight go wild and crazy and play Spin The Folded Towels. Whoever wins goes to the closet and sorts the linens.

image via flickr

7.  they explain their work
Very important when using their vocabulary words in sentences. They write, “My lip is sanguinary.”
You say “Shouldn’t you expand it a little, like WHY your lip is sanguinary?”
And they say, “It’s a sentence, C’MON!”

image via flickr

8.  they take time to do a good job
Of course! That is why kids take 3 hours to empty dishwashers. They simply take time to do a good job.

image via flickr

9.  they check their work
Listen up anyone who tweets. How do you know who’s talking to who with all those RTs and hashtags? #checkyourworkwhiletweetingdangit

image via flickr

10.  they use math to solve everyday problems
Math is wonderful especially for Californians. Like when most of your income goes to mortgage and property taxes.  When Jerry Brown takes over, he’ll take out more taxes.   But don’t worry because as Brown admitted, he has no plan for California.