Friday, May 30, 2014

memorial day

(photo borrowed from here)

A couple of days ago I found myself wandering through an antiques marketplace and came upon an old Smith-Corona portable typewriter from the early 1960s, the same model my dad had when I was a kid.  I've been thinking about Dad and that typewriter ever since.

May 30th was the traditional date for Memorial Day, back before an Act of Congress decided that federal employees needed more 3-day weekends. It's also my Dad's birthday, as well as the anniversary of my very first blog post, which fittingly, was all about Dad.

So as I sit here effortlessly typing my 384th post on a sleek, modern keyboard that goes, "clickety-click", instead of the "clackety-clack" of the old Smith-Corona, I'm thinking about my father who, though he would have marveled at how efficient the new world of communication has become, he surely would have hated it.

Dad was a journalist who worked in the now almost obsolete world of print. A newspaperman to his core, he loved the smell of ink on paper, devouring the news of the world page by page every morning and evening. When I was growing up in Queens, Dad worked as a copy editor at The New York Times. Our local paper (The Long Island Star Journal, and later the Long Island Press) was morning reading. The Times came home with Dad after the swing shift.  On Sundays, we'd get The Times, The Press and the Daily News. It's safe to say there was a LOT of reading going on in the Russell house on Sundays.

Back before Facebook, Instagram, text messaging and Twitter, people wrote letters - most of which were not limited to 140 characters. My dad was one of those letter writers. He corresponded with friends around the world just about every day, and almost always they were pounded out on that trusty Smith-Corona.

While Twitter and text messaging allows us to do all that, I can't help but prefer opening a real paper envelope, addressed in a friend's familiar hand, and reading a message that comes imbued with their very spirit.
some of Dad's letters

In honor of what would have been Dad's 99th birthday, I plan on writing a few letters to friends this weekend, and I hope to pass on the spirit of his wit and humor.

And one last thing: If he were still around today, I'm pretty sure Dad would be writing some great tweets.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

oregon spring

The old saying goes:
March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
Going out like a lamb is not looking so good right now…
Let's just say I'm pretty sure nobody around here is in a big hurry to see the new film Noah.




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

random stuff I've seen a million times and never actually noticed, no.2

I had one of those aha! moments sneak up on me the other day at work while standing at the sink washing a dish... I reached for the dish soap and suddenly my brain dissected the first word I saw:
Palm. Olive.

Why had I never noticed that? And what does it mean? Of course, I then had to immediately Google it.
(What did we do before the advent of Google and instant gratification?)

I had never even given it a thought. I'd always assumed it was just someone's name: maybe whoever invented dish soap? After all, the name of the company that makes it is Colgate-Palmolive. As it turns out, the real story is fairly simple:

In 1806, William Colgate started a starch, soap and candle factory in New York. By 1848, the company was selling individual cakes of soap.
In 1928,  the company was bought by a rival soap company, Palmolive-Peet, whose founder, B. J. Johnson, invented a soap made entirely from palm and olive oils.
Palm + Olive = Palmolive.
It became the world's best-selling soap.

Now, aren't you glad I cleared that up? You're welcome.

Monday, March 17, 2014

top 'o the mornin' to ya!

It's St. Patrick's Day, and everything's coming up green in my neighborhood.
Just a few days ago the crocuses bloomed in tiny bursts of yellow and purple. Now the daffodils are going full blast and the lemony-scent of the daphne is everywhere. 
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.



xoxo, Petunia

Saturday, February 22, 2014

yet another holiday!

Today is National Margarita Day!
Some folks think that margaritas should only be consumed on hot summer days on a patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. I say, what better time to celebrate a drink that says SUMMER, than in the bone chilling month of February? (Disregard this mention of bone chilling cold if you happen to live in warmer climes) I for one, am grateful for the opportunity dream about the warm days sometime in the future...
So in honor of this most auspicious day that thankfully, falls on a Saturday, I'd like to share my very favorite Margarita recipe, from a local joint here in Portland called Por que No?.

Cheers, amigos!