Carmageddon…1960s Style


Nothing Can Stop It!

It Will Destroy Life As We Know It!





Tonight, all traffic on Interstate 405 between the US101 and I10 interchanges  on The Westside of Los Angeles will come to a screeching halt as that stretch of the highway is shut down for 53 hours for bridge construction.  The media has nicknamed it “carmageddon” because the two interchanges and the 405 (also known as The San Diego Freeway) routinely top the list of the busiest interchanges in the country.  It is a fact, us Los Angelenos love our cars and public transportation is sorely lacking–especially on The Westside.  I thought it would be fun to take a peek at our love affair with cars when the 405 was still brand new.

Los Angeles, Life Magazine, June 20, 1960 (Little did they know that 50 years later this would be considered "light" traffic!)


"Redwood Carwash on El Camino Real in Redwood City - its upswept towers an example of googie architecture that was popularized during the 50's & 60's." Image courtesy of Westerlight on Flickr

The iconic Felix Chevrolet (and Cadillac) showroom, designed in 1946 by A. Godfrey Bailey. Believe it or not, the showroom is still there!

The 1964 Mustang (Image courtesy of Hot_Rod_Kitten on Photobucket)

And, of course, The Beach Boys singing car songs!

As for me…I live on The Eastside and am not planning on traversing to The Westside, so I will probably survive carmageddon unscathed (unless the zombies decide to come over to our side of the city, then it will be another issue altogether…).


Get Your Retro Television for Free–No Internet Required!

My television with rabbit ears

My television with rabbit ears antenna on top, digital converter box, FOUR remotes, and tuned to The Lucy Show

Dear Friends,

We haven’t had our television hooked up to the outside world for about two years.  I don’t miss it one bit, although I haven’t a clue when friends are talking about the latest episode of a show they just watched the night before.  We disconnected the TV because we were appalled by how lurid and sensational it had become…and that was just the news!  I realized I was losing a lot of time watching “reality” shows that I knew had nothing to do with reality and award winning shows filled with gratuitous violence and sex.  As a psychologist, I know it is important to be discerning about what we allow into our minds so we put a stop to the insanity of television.  Remember, the primary purpose of television is to get us to buy whatever the sponsors are trying to sell to us (even on public television).

We rent television shows from Netflix.  Several episodes are on one DVD so we watch one episode a night, commercial free.  It is very relaxing and we enjoy Perry Mason, Daniel Boone (okay, The Mister enjoys that one a little more than I do), Route 66, Gunsmoke, and more.  I also watch Mad Men via Netflix, so I’m not entirely out of the modern television loop.

But, now, I have discovered three over-the-air retro coast-to-coast television stations (note: these stations are also available on most cable systems, according to their websites).  So, I plugged my rabbit ears and digital converter box back into the television set to check things out:

My Retro TV

I was unable to tune into the local RTV station but their programming guide for my local affiliate looks fairly comprehensive with retro shows.  They even show Daniel Boone on the weekends.  But, a lot of the shows are from the 1980s and 1990s and that just screams cheap syndication to me.

Antenna TV

Antenna TV was launched this year by Tribune Broadcasting and originates from WGN-TV in Chicago.  With the power of the company, it appears to be a bit more sophisticated than RetroTV.  Although there are 1980s and 1990s shows in their lineup, they also offer Gidget, The Flying Nun, Hazel, and Rin-Tin-Tin.  When I tuned in, a classic movie was being shown.

Me-TV Network

Me-TV stands for Memorable Entertainment Network.  The local station for this network is actually the station that I used to watch Perry Mason on before it was bought out by a media company that changed the formatting.  Now I see it was bought out by another company that shows the Me-TV programming on one of its alternate channels.  The daytime programming consists of many of the usual syndicated rerun suspects.  That said, they do show Rawhide, The Dick Van Dyke show, and The Lucy Show.

I’ll admit that the jury is still out.  I like the peace and quiet of not having the television set hooked up to the outside world.  I also like not having to deal with commercials yelling at me to buy something.

We’ll see.

Does anyone have experience with these stations?

To your fabulous Technicolor life!

Dr. Julie-Ann

Friday Finds: Vintage July 4th Crafts

Dear Friends,

Somehow, the Crafts Gene wasn’t turned on when I was born. Whenever The Mister and I are in an antique mall, I always go scouting for vintage patterns and cookbooks.  Occasionally, craft magazines will be nearby.  I fondle them but I haven’t gotten up the nerve to buy them…yet.  I recognize many of the activities in the magazines from my maternal step-grandmother’s projects.  It seems to me that a big part of making a 1950s home is creating fun crafts to decorate tables, walls, and beds.

Here then are three vintage-inspired crafts for those of us in The States to make this July 4th weekend to celebrate Independence Day:

Patriotic Chenille Doll at Vintage Image

Chenille figures were popular in the 1930s and 40s.  Martin (Kindergarten teacher) and Scott have created this adorable tutorial (and include a PDF for the face images) for how to make these patriotic chenille dolls.  By the way, they have several other cute crafts there, too.

Patriotic Chenille Doll (Image courtesy of


Confetti Launcher at FamilyFun.Go.Com

What do you tell the kids when you live in an area where fireworks–even sparklers–are illegal?  The confetti launcher still enables them to have a shower of sparkly stuff (and there are not dangers of getting burned, either).

Confetti Launcher (image courtesy of


Free Vintage July 4th Clip Art at Vintage Holiday

Carla has created a collection of vintage inspired July 4th clip art that would be perfect to use in a scrapbook, pasted onto paper fans (it gets hot outside!), or as place card decorations.

Image courtesy

Do you have a favorite vintage-inspired crafting project that you will be doing this weekend?

To your fabulous Technicolor life!

Dr. Julie-Ann

I Remember Retro Dad {Blog Hop}

Dear Friends,

Fathers really do know best.  Even when we think they are being unreasonable.   Which happens often when we are teenagers.

I wanted a Triumph TR-6 when I was sixteen.  There was just something about that little roadster that set my imagination afire.  My father forbade me from buying one.  Not that I had the money or anything.  But it was the principle of the matter.  He used all of the logical reasons for why he didn’t want me to buy one–they broke down often and were expensive to repair, the insurance would be high, etc.–to no avail.  I still wanted one and thought he was being unreasonable.

And then one day my father and I were on our way home from a college visit and driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.  There was a big traffic jam, which was still somewhat unusual in those days.  As we approached the epicenter of the jam, we saw a terrible car crash.  A Triumph TR-6 was crumpled and mangled as if it were made of aluminum foil.

My father turned to me and said, “That is why I don’t want you to get one.”

And that took care of that.


It is Father’s Day weekend here in the United States where untold numbers of fathers will man the barbecue grill and receive gag gifts from their children.  For our first “blog hop,” I thought it would be fun to feature stories about fathers–either real or fictional.

For those unfamiliar with a blog hop (and I’m brand new to this myself), a blog hop is where people share links to stories around a particular topic using the “link tool.”  You then embed the code onto your blog so that your readers can see the links to all of the blog hop participants’ stories.  It is a great way to get to know each other.

If you don’t have your own blog, share your story in the comments section below.


1. Link to a story you have written (it doesn’t have to be brand new) about a/your father, grandfather, or any other father type in your life.  It can be funny, sad, poignant, imaginary, whatever.

2. Include the “blog hop” link on your own blog.

3. The link tool will give you options regarding thumbnails.  I usually just have it pull a photo from my blog posting.

Enjoy and don’t forget to tell your friends about it!

Introducing Old Friends to New Friends

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked” ~Bernard Meltzer

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, I introduced a few new friends and encouraged everyone to check out their blogs.  At the end of my letter, I pointed out that there are a lot of terrific bloggers who are part of the Modern Retro Woman community.  I’ll admit that doing a post like the one I did yesterday can often turn out bad if not done right because feelings can hurt about not being included.  Please know, I treasure and value every single member of our community and am thankful for everyone’s contributions to the discussion…even if I don’t always agree with the opinion shared.  A “love fest” is not just everyone agreeing and telling each other how great they are.  It also includes thoughts that challenge us and help us all grow and be better modern retro women.

So today, I want to introduce some of the blogs of our “old” friends for our new friends to check out.

Kathy at Homestead Happenings When I need a respite from city life, I head over to Grandma Ina’s place where Kathy and Mike share what is going on at the homestead.  Kathy has been a friend through thick and thin on Modern Retro Woman and the sister blog, Grandma’s Sewing Cabinet.

Pam at Go Retro Okay, sometimes I wince when I see Pam posting something as “retro” and I was already grown up and married during that event.  I wince because it reminds me that I’ve been around for a while and what I consider just part of life, younger folks see as “retro.”  Thank goodness I haven’t felt vintage…yet!  Pam is a very positive person who always makes me smile.

Image from Pam's latest post

drMolly at The BeanQueen’s Ramblings I remember a corporate tax lawyer (for Big Oil) friend telling me that I was nothing like what he imagined people with Ph.D.’s are like (I didn’t point out that he was exactly what I imagined corporate tax lawyers to be like, but I digress).  He said I was funny and down to earth and a real person.  Molly is proof that I’m not an anomaly.  By day, she is the curator of the U.S. Phaseolus Germplasm Collection, the rest of the time, she hangs out with us being funny, down to earth and a real person.

Sara in AZ at No Pattern Required I have a love-hate relationship with No Pattern Required.  It is one of my absolutely favorite blogs to read.  But the gals over there also make me lust after so many of the wonderful things that they find.   I love that Sara makes you feel like you’ve been best friends forever, even though you’ve just met online. (I couldn’t get any links to photos at No Pattern Required to work…how were  you able to disable right clicking, Sara?  Neat trick!)

Lidian at Kitsch and Retro Her writing career is forcing Lidian to hole up in a dusty attic chained to her typewriter all day (okay, so maybe she isn’t forced to work in a dusty attic) but she is still able to frequently post about the weirdest things she has come across.  The historian in her shows because only Lidian could find some of these things.  I miss her frequent visits but I’ve “been there, done that” with having other stuff consume your time and know that when she can, she stops by.  There are some friends where it felt like “just yesterday” when you visited with each other even though it has actually been forever.  Lidian is one of those friends.

I encourage everyone to “TFS” (new acronym, thanks to Natalie–Tweet, Facebook, and Stumble) and to comment on each others’ blogs.  I’ll admit that when no one comments, I wonder if the letter went into a black hole and then I’ll check and hundreds of women have at least opened the letter.  I know I’m not the only one who values comments.  So please, don’t make me beg but do comment on my letters and on posts by other bloggers.  It really does mean the world to us!

To Your Fabulous Technicolor Life!

Dr. Julie-Ann

Old Favorites Reborn?

Dear Friends,

Our desktop PC quit working yesterday.  After futzing with it for several hours after I got home from teaching, I declared it out of my realm of ability to make it work again.  Fortunately, the boyfriend of one of my former students is a computer technician and he just left with it with a tentative return date of tomorrow (assuming the problem is what we think it is).  Why am I telling you this?  Because, despite doing things “the old fashioned way,” our life is still inexorably tied to The Box (that’s what The Mister calls it).  Things we take for granted are currently unavailable to us.  It is rather thought provoking…

But, on to other things!

I used to own a General Electric iron.  My father bought if for me when he heard that GE’s home appliance division was being sold to Black and Decker.  I loved that iron and it lasted for about 20 years.  Then I bought a fancy iron and it lasted about 4 years before it started leaking all over my clothes while I was trying to use it.  So, I dug out the iron I bought last fall to take to school with me and never used: The Black and Decker Classic Iron. It isn’t exactly like my old iron—-it has auto turn-off (which makes it safer but it can be aggravating when sewing) and there isn’t a burst of steam/spritzer button that my old GE had.  That said, when I picked up the iron to press the skirt I wore yesterday, my soul just let out a “yes, this is what an iron is supposed to feel like” sigh.  I must confess that I love, love, love that it doesn’t beep at me when I turn it on, I don’t have to keep pushing buttons and listen to it beep to set the temperature, and it doesn’t beep at me when it has reached its temperature–the little green “I’m warming up” light simply goes off.  No bells.  No whistles.  It just does its job.  And I like that.

I hope this isn’t TMI (Too Much Information)…I have a difficult time finding bras that hold the bustline up where it is supposed to be because of its abundance.  On occasion, I will go into Victoria’s Secret just to scare the young, thin, size AB girls that work there.  But I digress.  Yesterday, I found My New Favorite Bra: Bali Flower.  And here is the kicker–the shape that results from wearing it is rather retro feeling without it being an actual pointy bullet bra.  Modern bras make everything rounder and pushes tissue over to the side.  This adds visual weight to the wearer.  The Flower bra lifts and moves everything forward…think “lift and separate.”  I look five pounds thinner.    I also love that it doesn’t have tons of hardware and those padded shoulder straps.  It holds you up from the band like it is supposed to do and there isn’t any “bounce.”  Is this a “t-shirt bra?”  Not by a long shot.  But if you love wearing vintage clothing, this is the bra for you.

Time for me to figure out–without the help of my Mastercook program–what we will be eating next week and go shopping!

Have a great day (and for those of you in the frozen tundra…keep warm!),

Dr. Julie-Ann

Kitchen Linens Book

Dear Friends,

I’ve been reading a book that my mother gave to me for Christmas and love it so much that I have to tell you about it.  The Kitchen Linens Book: Using, Sharing, and Cherishing the Fabrics of Our Daily Lives is like a wonderful visit with author EllynAnne Geisel as she shares the history of the kitchen linens she has acquired over the years.  I love how she tells why she loves each linen she shows to me and the role that type of linen had in our grandmothers’ kitchens and/or homes.  To add to the celebration, some of her friends drop by to share their stories, too.

When my paternal grandfather passed away, I became the recipient of several of my grandmother’s tablecloths.  One, a linen damask, is well worn.  It is soft to hold and only after I had inherited it did I discover that one of the napkins had been used to repair damage in the middle of it.  As a child and teenager, I never noticed that mend. Other, smaller cloths–also called breakfast cloths because they are small enough to fit into the breakfast nook (I learned this from the book), show up as backgrounds in many of the food shots I take for the blog.  I do use them at our kitchen/dining table but I keep them under the safety of clear vinyl.  Vinyl covering my tablecloths isn’t elegant but I learned the hard way how easily they can be ruined.

Thrift store discovery (without its vinyl protection)

One day, I was at a local hospital’s thrift store and came upon a beautiful cross stitched breakfast cloth and matching napkins in pristine condition.  I was horrified that anyone would have let this carefully created set out of the family.  Naturally, I snatched it up and it is currently gracing our kitchen table.  I simply laid it over a full cloth at an angle.

There is one cloth that seems to have gotten away.  Every Sunday after church, we would go to my grandparents’ house for dinner.  They had one of those pull out tables that you add leaves to but the table still wasn’t quite big enough to accommodate 10 people.  A card table was put at the end and three of us kids would sit there (and often need to be reprimanded for getting silly).  The card table was always covered with a Christmas-themed cloth featuring the three wise men on their camels traveling across the desert.  The scene was done in blue.  I don’t have that cloth and I wish I did.  Hopefully, one of my sisters or my mother has it.

I highly recommend The Kitchen Linens Book.  Although now I want to hit every thrift store and estate sale to snatch up as many linens as I can find!

I’m looking forward to hearing about your own kitchen linens treasures.


Dr. Julie-Ann

Look What I Found: Hand Crank Breadmaster

About two months ago, my bread maker died.  I’m not surprised.  The poor motor couldn’t handle the heavy duty bread dough I was asking it to knead for me (notice I wasn’t going to knead it!).  Since then, we’ve been making do with store-bought bread but it just isn’t the same.  I know Wonder Bread was supposed to be a Really Big Deal because the bread was light and fluffy but we prefer whole wheat bread that has substance and is quite dense.

Today’s “Friday Find” truly IS a Friday find because  I bought it this very morning at an estate/yard sale.

The Double H Breadmaster

The box for this had been half-kicked under a table and someone had dumped several thermoses on top of it (some people are so disrespectful when they go to these things–they just paw and toss stuff around).  At first, I thought it was a pressure cooker and I almost didn’t look further because I already have one. Fortunately, the directions were within view so I took a look and just about died with excitement.  Who ever heard of a hand-cranked bread machine??? And it is in near-mint condition! In its original box!  But I walked away and looked at other stuff.

When My Honey and I were talking to one of the sons of the woman whose estate was for sale, we started talking about bread.  He mentioned that his mother had six children and made a lot of bread.  Okay, he had me right then and there.  I knew I had to honor this woman by buying the gizmo that was still out in the yard.  The son and I went out and inspected it and I told him he had a sale.

Essentially, it has a hook like you’d attach to a KitchenAid for kneading dough.  Only it uses man-power instead of horsepower.  According to the directions, you turn the crank for five minutes, let the dough rise, crank it some more and then divide it into fourths for the second rise and baking.

I looked online to see if I could find anything about The Breadmaster Corporation (Home of the Double HH Breadmaster) but I couldn’t find anything at all about it.  If you know about it, please let me know!

At least with this bread machine, I know the motor won’t give out on me again!

Friday Find: Mid-Century Menu

Retro Ruth's Mid-Century Menu experiment: Ham Banana Casserole; Photo courtesy of

As you know, I’m trying to encourage people to eat wholesome mid-century foods because I believe it is a healthier option all around.

But not all mid-century food is edible…and it might even be considered chemical warfare.  Fortunately, we have a guide who will show us the way…

I first encountered Retro Ruth’s wonderful sense of humor on Twitter.  And then I had a “duh!” moment and realized that the “No Pattern Required” blog that I had been enjoying was written by the very same Retro Ruth from Twitter!

While I’ve been running around collecting vintage cookbooks for serious cooking, Ruth has managed to unearth the quirkiest cookbooks that cause us to ponder “What WERE they thinking???”  Luckily for us, Ruth has a long suffering husband who is willing to be the guinea pig for Ruth’s weekly Mid-Century Menu experiment where she tries out some of the more questionable recipes.  This week’s experiment was a ham-banana casserole (smothered in mustard).

There was a dark side to mid-century cooking and Retro Ruth does a fabulous job of bringing it to light so that the rest of us can cook safely.

Go!  Look!  Read!