Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thoughtless Thursday-How Can Anyone Be So Thoughtless?

I want my blog to be a primarily happy place, filled with pleasant stories of dogs, cats, and vintage items, so I very nearly didn't write this post.  Then I decided I owe it the memory of the dog I am writing about to create something in her honor.

On Monday I saw a truly horrible example of animal cruelty.  While leaving my house to take Weasley for his evening walk I noticed a filthy pillow case lying on the side walk.  I assumed it was a piece of trash someone had dumped, then Weasley smelled the case and it moved.  Inside was a grey and white pit-bull pup.  The puppy was barely breathing and completely listless with only slight movements.  I yelled in shock which summoned the neighbors and a nearby UPS man.

The UPS man called 911 while the neighbors and I tried to get a better look at the dog.  No one had ever seen the puppy before, she seemed to be about four months old, we couldn't see any obvious injuries but we were afraid to move her.  We weren't sure if she had been hit by a car or was just very sick.  Meanwhile the 911 operator dispatched an animal control officer but had no idea how  long it would take.  I wanted to bring the dog to the vet immediately so with the help of a lady who was just passing through I put the puppy in my pet stroller and we began walking her to the vet, our vet is only a few blocks away. Several times on the walk to the vet I feared the dog had stopped breathing and I knew she was near death.  The lady I was with wanted to name her Baby and was more hopeful about her condition  then I was. 

When we got to the vet's office my regular veterinarian wasn't in so we had to see a doctor I had never met before.  She took one look at the dog and after checking her vitals said she was extremely dehydrated and weak with very pale gums.  The vet said she was near death but I asked for x-rays to see if there was perhaps a fixable problem.  X-rays revealed no injuries but just a very shrunk intestine, based on the puppy's appearance and the x-rays the vet told me she almost definitely had parvovirus.   Her prognosis was very grave even with treatment, which would cost at least 1000 dollar and held a very slim chance of survival.  By this point I was nearly crying and the animal control officer had arrived at the hospital.  The vet and the officer both advised that I let animal control take over.   The officer took my name and explained that based on the advice of the vet they would have to euthanize the dog.  Since she was not my dog I wasn't allowed to stay with her during the  procedure, which I still feel badly about.

Baby was a very young dog who should have had many happy years ahead of her.  If her owner had only paid for a few simple vaccines, available for a very low cost in several nearby locations, she would still be alive.  What is even worse then not getting her the vaccines is the way she was dumped though, like a worthless piece of trash, even if the owner could not afford vaccines or vet care there is simply no excuse for that.  He or she could have brought the dog to the local animal shelter so she wasn't afraid and alone.  

In the days since I found Baby I am feeling really down about people in general.  As most readers of this blog know I live in New Jersey, fairly near Manhattan, in a highly gentrified area that can be generously described as up and coming and more realistically described as rough.  While in many ways the area is improving thanks to the sky rocketing real estate prices in Manhattan and swankier areas of Jersey City, there is still definitely some crime here.  Just a few weeks ago a young police officer, Melvin Santiago, was tragically shot and killed at the CVS just a few blocks away.  The lack or respect for life and the violence is very depressing.

However, if I focus on the bright side of things I acknowledge that several of the people in my neighborhood were very concerned about the puppy.  I was able to tell a few people that didn't know before the Mayor's office has low cost veterinary health services.  Hopefully they will tell others and it will do some good, often this information is only on the internet and doesn't reach the people who need it the most.  When I lived in Brooklyn I used to see mobile low cost vet clinic vans, but sadly I don't see them in Jersey.   After the incident the lady who went to the vet with me and who had taken my number texted me to ask how the dog was doing.  She was pretty upset she hadn't made it but told me she was happy to know there were people like me who still cared.  She isn't a pet owner but she told me that she plans to do some volunteer work with animals now and I gave her the information for the local animal shelter. 

Baby ? 2014-July 29, 2014


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vintage Outfit Post-Easy Summer Style 1930s trousers and Striped Shirt

Like my vintage blogging friend Jessica of Chronically vintage, I don't wear trousers that often.  However, my reason has nothing to do with being girly. I absolutely love the masculine influenced styles of the 1930s and 40s as impeccably worn by Marlene Dietrich and Katherine Hepburn.  A key summer element of both of these women's glamorous androgyny was a well tailored by pair of wide  legged white pants:
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Looking at their cool, comfortable summer style left me craving a white pair of pants of my very own.  However my problem with pants is that at barely five feet tall,  all trousers must inevitably undergo a drastic hemming.  Still when I saw the ivory 1940s Swing Trousers on Hey Day Vintage and the NudeeDudee 1930s style tee, I couldn't resist and I'm happy I didn't! 

Like my other pair of Hey Day pants the ivory trousers are super comfortable and after a hem up they fit very well.   The striped cotton t from NudeeDudee is probably the best m t-shirt I have ever owned, made of nice thick cotton and very stretchy its sturdy and stylish. 


 Not to be left out Weasley is wearing his metrosexual t-shirt.

  And in the end maybe I am a little bit girly because in the end I couldn't resist adding a 1940s style hair flower.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cinema Spotlight on Clara Bow's Most Famous Film 1927's It

Today marks the 109th anniversary of the birth of the original "It Girl" the incomparable Clara Bow.

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The term "it girl" which has been bestowed on dozens of young female entertainers since Clara first carried the mantle in the twenties comes from the 1927 film that made her an international star.  

It was based on a short story by the popular romance novelist Elanore Glyn.  According to the film It is:

To generate interest for the picture the producers of the film had Glyn declare Clara the "it girl" in a press campaign

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and in the film Clara does appear to  have oodles of "IT."   Clara plays Betty Lou Spence an ordinary shop girl with a zest for life and big ambitions. 

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Despite her humble origins Betty Lou refuses to be kept down, when she spots her handsome new boss, Cyrus Waltham, she dreamily declares: "Oh  Santa Clause bring me him."  When her fellow shop girls chuckle, Betty gets her back up. 

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 It never occurs to her that the wealthy blue blood  Cyrus may be out of her league and with plucky determination she sets out to win his heart.

The same day on her way home from work Betty catches the eye of Cyrus's playboy friend Monty who has been reading Elanore Glyn's It story and feels Betty Lou is brimming with the elusive quality.

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He offers to give her a ride home in his chauffeured car but Betty suggests they take her ride instead and with a mischievous glint she pushes the foppish Monty onto a crowded city bus. 

 Monty invites Betty Lou out for dinner and she agrees, provided they go to the Ritz.  

After the bus ride Clara returns to the tenement apartment she shares with her sick friend Molly and Molly's baby.

 Play time over Betty has to tackle the problem of what to wear to dinner.  With Molly's help she transforms her black day dress into a cocktail dress.

At the Ritz

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Betty Lou spots Cyrus dining with his socialite girl friend, Adela.  A patrician blue blood with an air of well practiced restraint, Adela couldn't be more different then the vivacious working class, Betty Lou.

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At their table Cyrus and Adela are discussing Glyn's story.  Adela, unsurprisingly, can't quite grasp the concept of "IT".  Luckily, Elanor Glyn is on hand to make a cameo appearance and explain the concept to Cyrus and Adela.

Meanwhile Betty cleverly manipulates the situation to ensure that Monty introduces her to Cyrus.  The two flirt a bit, much to Adela's annoyance, and Betty bets Cyrus that the next time he sees her he wont recognize her, and he accepts the bet.

The following day at work Betty gets into a disagreement with a difficult customer and is called into Cyrus's office to be reprimanded, as she expected he doesn't at first recognize her.  Admitting he has lost the bet Cyrus agrees to take Betty out on a date and she suggests an evening spent at Coney Island. 

After the  blue collar pleasures of Coney Island, Cyrus is a goner, hopelessly smitten with Betty Lou, but of course complications must ensue.   Cyrus winds up thinking Molly's baby is Betty's and feeling she is unworthy of being his wife, he clumsily tries to entice her to be his mistress. 

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An outraged Betty tells him off and quits her job at the department store and a heart broken Cyrus goes on a yachting trip with Adela.

Betty manipulates things so as to go on  on the yachting trip as Monty's guest, her plan being to get Cyrus to propose and then "laugh in his face."  Pretending to be a high society socialite she cavorts around the yacht in an adorable pair of beach pajamas and an artfully tied scarf, she also plays the ukulele.

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Of course the film has a happy ending.  Betty Lou winds up jumping in the ocean to save Adela who has fallen overboard and Cyrus jumps in to save Betty.  The film ends with Betty and Cyrus embracing

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and Monty comforting  a stricken  Adela with the words "we're just a couple of it-less, its."

The Cinderella story at the heart of It has been told a million times before and since, but it has never been told better.  It is a near perfect fluffy confection or romantic screwball comedy.  It is by far my favorite silent movie, and the film I would recommend that any silent film newbies watch first.  With Clara's magnetic performance and the quick pace of the scenes you won't miss the words at all.  Sadly the film is a bit hard to find, but it is available for rent from Netflix.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Long Overdue Thankyou

A little over a month ago a special box arrived at our house:

It was sent by our friends at Lap Dog Creations.  We were the lucky winners of their Petbrosia giveaway.  The box contained our favorite thing, a bag of kibble.  

Petbrosia is a company that is pioneering a new concept in high end dog food, custom made kibble.  You register your dog on their website and enter information about their weight, energy level and health concerns and they create a custom food specifically tailored for your pet's needs.

With our large furry family and our bevvy of seniors we have  a few special dietary needs going on at Retro Rover so it took mom some time to decide which of us would be registered at Petbrosia. Norbert is allergic to grains, Weasley hates fish, and Ping has liver disease.   After some consideration Bob, a healthy pup who is a bit on the chunky side, was chosen as the Petbrosia registeree.

After registering Bob online, entering his breed and age information, we asked for a grain free kibble for a lower energy dog who was slightly overweight. Our kibble arrived promptly within a week.


   Only problem was due to an accidental double order of Orijen kibble from Chewy we now had a few extra bags of kibble.  Mom put the petbrosia aside but last week time came to open the bag.   Right away mom was happy with what she saw.  The ingredient list shows real food only: healthy things like salmon and fruits and veggies. 

 Plus the kibble is nice and small, easier for older pups to chew,

Mom decided to feed the kibble to Bob and Tubby, Tubby's needs are pretty much identical to Bob's, it was definitely a big hit.  They gulped it so fast it was pretty hard to get pictures:

Thank you lap dog creations and Petbrosia!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Historical Hounds-Bobbie The Wonder Dog

These days responsible pet owners all have their dogs leashed or under tight verbal control, an off leash dog wandering alone would, at least in most parts of the country, elicit concerned calls to animal control.  Such was not the case in the 1920s when many farm dogs wandered unaccompanied.  One such free-wheeling canine was Bobbie the Wonder dog

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Bobbie was a collie mix farm dog who belonged to the Braziers, a typical 1920s family: mom, dad and kids.   Bobbie loved  country life and was, according to Mr. Brazier, a natural heeler, able to coral horses, cats, chickens, and cows with ease.   Well loved by his family and enjoying the freedom of country life he lead an idealized existence for his first year.  Then the Braziers bought a café in an Oregon town and feeling city life was not a good match for Bobbie they reluctantly sold him to some farm owning friends.   Bobbie, however, had different ideas.  He escaped his new home repeatedly and would turn up at his old owners café.  Eventually the Braziers realized Bobbie was meant to be with them.  They decided to take a trip back east and to take Bobbie with them.  After buying Bobbie back from the family they had sold him too they set off on their journey, with Bobbie riding on the back of their car on top of the luggage.

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Bobbie purportedly had a lovely time on the trip but while Mr. Brazier was filling the car at a gas station Bobbie jumped off the running board to chase some wild animals.  At first Mr. Brazier was unconcerned, since Bobbie frequently had such adventures and always returned.  However, by the next day there was still no sign of the dog.  The family searched but to no avail.  Mr. Brazier took an add out in the local paper asking Bobbie to be shipped back to them if he was found and the dejected family continued on their journey.

Six months later the Braziers, now back in Oregon, had given Bobbie up for lost or dead, when an amazing thing happened. While walking down the street the youngest daughter spotted a dirty, limping dog coming towards her and was shocked to discover that the dog was in fact Bobbie.   An investigation of several distinguishing scars on Bobbie's body proved he was in fact the same dog.  He had walked 2500 miles to return to  his family.   The Braziers set busy spoiling Bobbie, who had became emaciated during his journey,  with steaks and cream.  Amazed by Bobbie's voyage and wanting to confirm his route, Mr. Brazier contacted several filling station attendants and restaurant owners and was able to confirm that many had seen, and fed, Bobbie during his journey.  Though his research Mr. Brazier was able to chart Bobbie's route, he followed the route taken by the Brazier car and stopped at many of the same rest stations as they had, until finally making his way home.  Word  of   Bobbie's amazing journey made him a local legend and briefly a national canine celebrity in the 1920s:

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Bobbie was given a silver medal  by the Oregon humane society. The town of Silverton also built him a fancy dog house and presented to him in a ceremony.  When Bobbie died at the too early age of 6 the town marked his grave site with a testament to his famous journey.
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  The dog house, complete with a monument and plaque honoring Bobbie and his journey still stands in Silverton and is a popular roadside tourist attraction.

I really like Bobbie's pink flamingo
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Retro Swim Suits-Where to Buy and a Day at the Lake

As I wrote about in last Wednesday's post on the film Neptune's Daughter there
is a glamour in retro styles suits that simply can't be found in more modern swim wear, not to mention that the the swim ware of decades past is far more flattering for most women then modern offerings.  So were can you find the vintage style swim wear of your dreams?  Luckily there are plenty of sources.  Here are 6 good ones

1) Esther William's Swim Wear 

These retro style suits  are inspired by the ultimate 1940s swimming sensation, and just as glamorous and flattering as the suits she wore.  They are also available in a wide range of sizes and have a reasonable mid-level price point.

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2) Pin Up Girl Clothing

This is another source for glamorous 1940s and 50s style swim wear in a range of sizes.     The prices are a bit higher then the Esther William's suits, but not by much, and the styles are perhaps even more period authentic.

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3) If 1920s and 30s style suits are more your style then you might want to check out Sarina Poppy on Etsy.  These suits are very authentic and quite modest.  The navy number below is the suit I hope I will be sporting next summer.  I love the striped detailing.

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4) If you are a 1950s fashion fan then Vintage Suits by Mary on Etsy may well have your dream swim wear.  She has a wide range of two piece and one piece suits.  My favorites are the Hawaiian prints with there adorable tikki appeal.

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5) If swim dresses are your style then Revamp Vintage is a good source. 

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6) One of my favorite repro companies, Jitterbuggin' with there great casual 1930s and 40s wares, makes lovely swim suits and sun suits.

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 My own swim suit, or more accurately sun suit, since its thick cotton appropriate for wading and not swimming, is from Jitterbuggin'.  My lovely husband gave me a Jitterbuggin' gift certificate for our anniversary and I decided to be brave and get their adorable two piece lobster print sun suit.   I haven't worn a two piece since I was in my early twenties, but I say we need to work to be comfortable with ourselves: lumps, bumps, rolls, wrinkles and all.  I wore my sun suit to the lovely Wawayanda state park in NJ.  Here are some pictures of our day:




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