Happiness is Vintage Photography

Every now and then I come across vintage images that make me reconsider all my assumptions about the past, that make me realize that not only is the past not stodgy, many of our forbearers were actively weird. My fave is the woman who looks like me sitting on a bed with a bear, but even fairly tame vintage clip art often has an edge of insanity to it. The image at left is from the Graphics Fairy, a great site full of free graphics from the past, but there are a lot more sources once you start to go down the rabbit hole of vintage image, especially if you google for “weird vintage photos.”

Vintage photography makes me smile.

What made you happy this week?

This is my fave:

71 thoughts on “Happiness is Vintage Photography

  1. I hurt my foot last week. X-ray showed no fracture. But it was horribly sore all week. I had a work related wobbly after everyone was gone on Wednesday. So I finally bit the bullet and took a mental health day.

    Wow. There is NOTHING so good as being anti-racist and anti-capitalist as refusing to grind and break myself when it’s built into the system. I acknowledged that if my body were to fail, they’d replace me in a day.

    I focused on caring for myself. Went to GP, she gave me better pain meds. Went for a back massage. Went for therapy.


  2. A friend has a vintage photo of an unbelievably roly-poly baby seated need to an unbelievably roly-ploy bulldog. It always makes me giggle.

  3. The sunshine’s made me happy, especially in the last few days when it warmed up. I took my weekend a day early, and made the most of it. Went up to the Wirral to a garden centre on Friday (furthest I’ve been since September), found a couple of climbers and was spurred to rethink my plan for a bit of the garden as I explored the Dee estuary. Had a picnic by an inlet and then discovered an actual beach, with (v. small) waves (https://www.instagram.com/p/CNztVghj7Lz/). It was really good to go somewhere new.

    Then I spent yesterday at the allotment, and finally got it going for the year, planting and/or sowing potatoes, shallots, sugar snaps, beetroot, spring onions, carrots and salad stuff, plus a dozen dahlias I’d overwintered. Very satisfying.

    And I’m in the middle of a big excavation in the rear corner of the garden, having discovered that the layer of concrete I found there after digging out a whole load of rubble, is only a couple of inches thick, and can be broken up with my small sledgehammer. I am determined to give my dwarf apricot, kiwi fruit and Chilean guava the best conditions possible.

    1. I too am digging out bits of concrete and stone. When the builder took away the drive, double garage and workshop he missed a few bits. It’s like russian roulette every time I make a hole.

  4. Woman and Bear. This is just…weird. Because it’s just oh so casual. No exaggerated reactions, or goofy captions. Or fancy nightgown. It doesn’t even look staged.

    Just a snapshot. Me and my bear, thinking about what to do today….

    And I like the wiring.

    1. The light in that photo reminds me of a Vermeer! Also, the bear looks like it’s comforting the lady — so kind and patient.

  5. That’s a bell pull. Which creates a whole additional set of possibilities…

    I got my second shot yesterday. Lois McMaster Bujold has a new book coming out. Our Kwanzai cherry trees are in bloom and violets are in bloom in my garden beds and lawn. Also tulips, narcissis. And the lilac is going to bloom for the first time in years.

    The wild tulips are at the strange state where they bloom and then grow several inches taller.

      1. Another Penric novella. Except, as she explains herself, it is a novella that’s novel length: 85 000 words :). She has just finished the first draft but since now she self publishes, it’ll be out in a month. There are no pre-orders.

  6. We’re back in another lockdown as the provincial government tries to contain a third wave of Covid without listening to the scientists. I had a quiet week off from school – lots of reading, card making, and dog-walking. My garden is growing every day – despite the drop in temps predicted next week, nature’s on a roll. Bought a colourful Frieda Kahlo inspired plant pot from a local store for one of my precious Philodendrons.

  7. We’re in Portugal at last, so that alone is happiness. And some stress, and some figuring out how to navigate this whole other system, but it’s a 1 minute walk to the beach and I’ve gone out every day so far and walked along the coast for an hour, and life is great.

    As the Portuguese would say: Nada além de bons tempos pela frente.

    1. I am so intrigued by your move to Portugal. I would love to read more about it, if you can share details.

  8. I can almost imagine what the woman might be contemplating but what the hell is the bear thinking about?
    Had gut surgery a couple months ago and it’s lovely to eat normally for the time in 10 yrs. So that’s made me happy.
    Able to meet all in the same room , no masks, with my 5 quilt lady buds and that’s been really great.
    All in all, life’s definitely improving.

  9. Yesterday a friend and I went to a local art museum and then to lunch. Nothing fancy, but when we parted, we indulged in our first hug in more than a year. Cheers for being fully vaccinated!

    1. OMG! My friend and I did the exact same thing earlier this week! Wasn’t it wonderful?!?!?

  10. Hugged a friend. Went to the gym and plumb wore myself out. Although I was careful, you can’t make up for 10 months out in one session. Made for an unproductive rest of the day. But my halo glowed, and it’s a mood booster.

    Took another stab at sourdough, this try could have given a communion wafer competition. Ah well, that’s how it is when you’re learning. Made up for it with some anadama bread.

  11. Enjoyed the Murderbot post, and thrilled to hear about the short story coming.

    Sun is shining, still have a few chocolate ginger cookies from yesterday. Have two books going, but neither of them meets my current mood. One is ok, but the author keeps doing inside out sentences – two topic intertwined – which I am finding annoying. Other one has potential, but pretty lightweight and it’s silly to read it now when I will enjoy it more on some other day. Calling upon the reading fairies to send me in the right direction for a perfect Sunday afternoon read.

  12. Happiness: Spending a lot of time with the kids this week – including lots of 80s music and cuddling.
    Happiness levels were raised today by spending a couple of hours today watching really funny one direction videos with dd and dancing along and laughing till we both cried – I love James Corden and the guys were game to do any sort of fun with him. Major bonding time 🙂

    1. Ah, and dh got the date for his first vaccination next Friday. Finally one of us under 60.

  13. I love your books and think the world needs more! I wish you would do a series—you could start with the story of Charity and Max from Anyone But You. I read your comments about writer’s block and how co-authors help, but if you could get a series going, you would always have a starting point with focus on various friends and relatives who go from supporting to major characters from book to book—in fact, you could mine all your previous books for usable characters to come to the fore. Very best wishes and hopes for some new books (instead of using up your writing juice online, charming as that is!)

    1. Already on it. I’m still thinking it through, so don’t hold your breath.

      Also, welcome to Argh!

  14. I’m hanging in there. Taking my usual walks and thatmakes me happy.

    I’ve been bringing in some daffodils just to enjoy and that’s been making me happy.

    Set up my rain barrel for this year. No leaks. Yay!

  15. I binge-watched Julie and the Phantoms, and it hit all the emotional marks I needed, with a whole lot of good music. And big chunks of the fanfiction I’ve been working on have been falling into place.

  16. Welp, it’s been an interesting week/end. Rehearsing group song numbers over Zoom continues to be quite weird (see Working Wednesday). Meanwhile, I’ve been working on another play with a friend for like a year and the play has two guy friends of hers in it who are not much of actors so they don’t exactly read the lines very lively-like. Which is fine as long as we’re just reading lines and giving her advice, but she wants to perform it this summer. Yesterday’s reading had two substitutes rather than the usual guys and frankly, both were a lot better. One of the guys kind of doesn’t want to do a live show anyway and the other guy is now freaking out and wanting to quit as well after he saw the other guy doing it better, which…I feel bad for his feelings, but seriously, it’d be nice to have guys who want to show emotions in a show. So we may get replacements and that would be all for the best.

    I hit my all clear date on Wednesday and actually walked around the neighborhood for the first time in a year a few times this week. Not much has changed other than finding discarded masks in the grass about every other block, the library and church are closed, and a few people out with masks on or not.

    However, I SUPER broke bad yesterday. I went to go see a friend I haven’t seen in a year since she also hit her all clear this week (and she hasn’t said much the entire pandemic, you do have to see her in person) and we agreed to go to our old karaoke bar. MY, THAT PLACE HAS CHANGED. They have a giant outdoor setup now with lots of space, which is great, but it has apparently turned into Redneck HQ and only employees had masks on. However, I really wanted to see her and eat outside food and drink, so I sucked it up and did not leave, and I didn’t really get close to anyone other than her, people approached because she brought her dog but kept their distance… so I took the crazy risk. Let’s hope it’ll all be okay.

    It was really great to see her, and to finally get to talk to her about the crush situation. She also thinks he’s autistic, immature, doesn’t really have much feelings even though she thinks he cares about me, etc. I asked if he’d even notice if I stopped talking to him and she said she didn’t think he would, though. (Note: I still don’t actually think he is autistic. I really don’t. But him not having much in the way of emotions may be true, especially these days.)

    Anyway, I am feeling better about the whole situation. He can’t give me what I want, I give up on him, there you go. I’m not going to love and care about someone who doesn’t or can’t for me. Other than I used to have hope and daydreams in my life, it’s not like anything has changed in the last year, it’s the same status quo as ever. I’m not thrilled with that, but I’m not devastated either. I will live on alone, as ever. I will be fine.

    (Um, as long as I didn’t somehow give myself Covid while hanging out at a redneck restaurant outdoors, anyway. We’ll see if I get any symptoms or anything.)

  17. Friday, son asked us to pick up the kids from school as they were getting out at noon and he was working an hour away. First time for us to get them at the charter school they started this past year. Got into the mile long line and inched our way to the front. At the check in we found that we were at the wrong school. A big sign would have been helpful. I don’t remember seeing any designated sign between middle and high school. But however we finally met up. In the meantime we kept getting text messages from the kids telling us they were outside and where were we. Another day in the life of retirees.

    1. My cousin was late to our aunt’s funeral because she went to the wrong funeral at first. She was weirded out that she didn’t recognize anyone; she saw the light when the deceased turned out to be male.

      When she arrived at our aunt’s funeral, she knew she was in the right place because we were all laughing at the stories being told. She added hers.

      1. Jenny did you see the CNN story on superfetation? The woman in the story got pregnant when she already had a fetus a month along so the second twin was half the size of the first, who was not exactly big. But all well.

    1. At first, I thought it was a dog, too. Then I thought maybe it was a bear with a cat behind it. (The tail part belonging to the cat.) I finally decided that the picture was so indistinct that the bear was just sitting at a strange angle and the “tail” was actually his leg.

  18. My dad got his second shot on Thursday and did well for a couple of days but he’s feeling pretty crappy today. An immune response is a good response!.

    We had some nice weather and the 2 eat-in restaurants in town set up makeshift patios. They both got permission from the town to block off some parking spots for outdoor seating. Of course, it snowed last night and is -1 so no one is eating outside but that’s what take out is for.

    We think we have found some flooring we like and, even better, we will be able to install it ourselves. We made some decisions about our to-be-built fire pit area. We decided to go the cheaper route and just edge with bricks and put gravel down rather than make a pad with pavers. We can always upgrade later if we want but this year we’d rather do that and put in a small deck so we can have an eating area outside.

    I took my senior cat to the vet on Friday and she is well except for some weight loss that I have an explanation for (the other cat was licking her overactive thyroid medicine out of her ear so her metabolism was in overdrive for a while) she is in good shape for her age, 16 almost 17.

  19. Beautiful weather here in the Pacific Northwest makes me happy! Went out to lunch with my son a couple days ago, sat outside, but eating out for the first time in over a year made me very happy! The Bloody Mary I ordered did NOT make me happy; it’s been too long since I drank hard alcohol, and it knocked me for a loop. Ugh. Too old to enjoy that sensation. But oh, the weather!

      1. Portland doesn’t really count as the Pacific NW to me (Roslyn,WA native) but we have had the same weather. Two ( count them TWO nights in a row), eating out on the balcony and tonight it was grilled rack of lamb with a nice bottle of wine. Heaven.

  20. I’ve been making grand garden plans, most of which I’ll never do, but I did get some growing bags and filled them with compost and seeded some extra-hardy stuff like tatsoi, lettuce, onions (sets, not seeds), and radishes. They’re all sprouting and I’m eating the extra tatsoi while I thin the rows. Oh, and I got seed potatoes to grow in a barrel.

    It’s a little weird to be doing so much gardening, because it’s almost a full month to our average last frost date, but the temperatures have been unseasonably warm (with the occasional exception), so it feels like it’s time to plant out the tomatoes and peppers, still 4-6 weeks away. But this gives me a bit of extra time when it’s comfortable to be outside to get the garden ready instead of having to cram it all into a single week or two the end of May.

  21. My neighbor pointed out today that we should get our gardening done in the next 3 weeks if we don’t want cicadas crawling all over us while we garden.

    I’m less concerned than he is about this but it’s probably a good idea.

  22. The weather has been absolutely great up here on the west coast. Happy we got the shed levelled and need to get new roof on. Youngest granddaughter spent the day with us. So. Much. Fun. Loving the DF Break In. Thank you Jenny. Loving the language and the voice.

  23. A friend visited. We have been friends for 55 years, and she brought sushi and brownies and we talked for 2 hours. That was all. But it warmed me up.

  24. It’s me again with another NYT link that explains stuff about booksales during Corona:

    I wouldn’t call it uplifting for authors and publishers but it was a kind of consolation for me to know that I wasn’t the only one whose new book tanked (my first historical, and they were all so certain is was going to be a success).

    It might feel good to have a friendly paw on your shoulder. 😉

      1. I belong to a club of German romance writers and we have a constant conversation concerning publishing delays, less follow-up contracts, publisher reluctance to sign up new authors, lower advances, etc. It’s hard if you’re not a part of the top bestselling authors. We have a saying in German about the devil who will always poop on the biggest pile – and I guess that’s exactly what the NYT article describes. It’s a difficult business.

        On the other hand, I was awarded another artist’s scholarship based on my state’s Corona grant program today, so I can write my next historical without having a contract for it. What a relief!

      1. The gist of the article is that well-known authors produced very good sales for their publishers, the example being a cookbook by the rapper Snoop Dogg (?) which was published in 2018 but sold twice as much copies in 2020. While visitors like to look around in bookstores, often discovering new authors, in online stores they will only be shown the bestselling books on which the most advertising money is invested. I guess we all know that this is how Amazon’s algorithms work.

        So new or lesser-known artists pay the price here because they cannot be found.

    1. I had a witchcraft book come out from St. Martin’s Press Essentials line during the pandemic. I had high hopes for that and it also tanked. Hugs.

  25. Happy has been watching one of my sunflowers grow to (currently) about 9 feet tall. It is a multi-flora so when the buds finally pop it is going to look like a firework.

    Happy Sunday morning was watching ‘Twyla Moves’ on American Masters. At the same time, one of the neighborhood alley cats was romping in the flourishing meadow of weeds outside the den slider. There are meadow mice and grasshoppers, both of which the cats eat, but we didn’t see it catch anything this time; might just have been frolicking.

    Otherwise Sunday was way too hot & dry, but this morning was nice and I went outside early to water the front garden. So many flowers!

  26. Last week I went horseback riding twice which made me happy. I love the photo of the woman and the bear, but it’s. Killing me, not knowing the story behind it. Traveling circus, maybe?
    I saved a random photo I found of a woman and a Borzoi wearing goggles, in an open car. The Borzoi is in the driver’s seat, paws casually lopped over the steering wheel, looking ahead and grinning and the woman is looking straight at the camera with a wry “Can you believe this?” expression. Another photo that certainly has a story.

  27. Ran an errand this morning, to take some financial documents in — now that they have an Official Beneficiary on file, my brother informs me that I can have a fatal accident, such as tripping over a catnip mouse, at Any Time — and then pigged out at the favorite Chinese buffet restaurant near my old office. They do the best spring rolls! — very light and crunchy. Now happily stuffed, and very glad to know that they are still functioning.

    Also ran across a composite photo of half a dozen famous statues of Hercules and the Lion, but relabeled “Hercules attempting to give his cat a pill”! NOW I know who modeled for the sculptors! New historical insights make me happy, but usually I have to read a long, dense, small-print book to find out about them, not just glance at one picture with label . . . .

  28. Happiness is losing weight. No, seriously, I got on the scales Thursday evening and weighed over 127 kilograms. Screaming in mingled rage and fear, I shopped on Friday for Atkins meals, beverages and snacks, and commenced to Atkins Diet.

    Not my first rodeo. I have Atkinsed before. The first two weeks are the induction during which the limit is 20 grams of carbs per day. I know all the tricks, like “don’t weigh daily” and “weigh at the same time of day” and such. Well, my routine is to weigh every day after I get up, then take my blood pressure and fasting glucose. I use a spreadsheet to track every calorie, gram of carbs, milligram of sodium and milliliter of liquids that I consume. This morning’s weight was 291.2 pounds, which isn’t official because it isn’t Thursday.

    Also not official is what the scale said half an hour ago, same reason. (290.0) It is not uncommon for dieters to lose twenty or more pounds in two weeks on Atkins. That’s my hope.

    The dotter says we can shop-n-dine tomorrow. My shopping will mostly be more Atkins and a few alternates, like no-salt-added green beans, Ball Park already been cooked burgers. I’ve got some tuna steaks begging to be thawed.

  29. Just got an email.

    Greetings Rev. Gary Steven Jordan,

    Another year, another cheer! That’s right, it’s now been 11 years since you became an ordained minister! We can’t believe it either. Time really does fly when you are having fun, doesn’t it? It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch, and we just wanted to check in and see how things are going. Have you been taking full advantage of your status as a legally ordained minister?

    I forgot to check before I deleted it, which of the ministries it was from. I’m twice-ordained, you see. I wonder if I can perform weddings at Agnes’s house?

    1. Gary, if you perform weddings for cooks like Agnes, you’ll have trouble keeping up the weight loss! Congrats on your first days of Atkins. Clearly, you know how to lose the pounds.

      And, okay, I’ll fall for it — how do you happen to be twice-ordained? Such a state sounds contradictory to me. I know of Eastern philosophies and religions which can be followed simultaneously, but I don’t know anything about ordination in different belief systems. Or, are you both a justice of the peace and a minister?

      1. Twice ordained is easy to explain. Google Universal Life Church and Universal Life Church Monastery, which are two entirely separate organizations. Ordination is free (I think Carpenter is a fellow traveler), so I doubled down. I am registered with and ordained by both.

        Since I have neither parish nor flock nor congregation, the duties of my ministry(ies) weigh lightly on my shoulders. Speaking of weighing lightly, today the scales said “289.0”.

  30. Ransom Rigg’s Peculiar Children series, beginning with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, were inspired by his collection of vintage, quirky photos. I’ve only read the first book but plan on reading the others. It’s fascinating seeing the photos and how they inspired the characters and the plot points. The movie unfortunately swaps some of the characters and their talents around which is very confusing if you’ve read the book.

  31. The woman in the photo really does look like you. And the bear seems to be comforting her. It’s saying, “It will be okay. We don’t have much, but we’ve got each other. And the sun is shining.”
    Or as Mum used to say, “Another day, another dollar.”

    1. That’s what I thought. It’s my past saying, “You know, you really weren’t that bad.”

  32. My yard makes me happy this week. When I moved to this house, the yard was a plain postage-stamp lot with bad grass, stark and uninspiring, but full of potential. Doing all the labor myself, due to my tight budget, and getting about 1/3 of my materials for free (salvage, gifts, inherited), I have been gradually working on it ever since 2014, when I have time and energy, to turn it into my little urban oasis. This year, I’m really seeing those years of work and planning, salvaging and hauling, digging and planting, come to fruition. It’s looking beautiful now, and this year it’s also fun, with the heavy/hard work all behind me now. This year I’m experimenting with seedlings, doing lighter planting, trying out some vegetables and some vines.

    The tiny front/side yard is now a bee-friendly garden with shrubs for privacy-screening. And the back is lovely pavestone courtyard surrounded by garden beds with herbs shrubs, and flowers. I’ve acqwuired a patio table and chairs, and I look forward to RELAXING in my backyard this year, for the first time since I purchased this home!

  33. Got my 2nd Pfizer vaccine a week ago. Some side effects, but nothing unbearable.

    Reread cozy #2 for final proof edits and I actually liked it. Always happy-making.

  34. My cup of happiness overfloweth.
    We’re on holiday. 4 days hiking the Milford Track – gorgeousness with no cell reception.

    And I’VE JUST JUMPED OUT OF AN AEROPLANE!!!! It was amazing. 12000ft. I want to give them all my money and do it every day.

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