Archive for the ‘Photos & Ephemera’ Category

Farewell Dinner

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Queen Mary menu coverSometimes I feel like I’m living in one giant junk drawer. I look at a pile of stuff and I want to heave the entire lot. Then I get up close and personal, and when it comes time to pull the trigger, I cannot do it.

When I was I’m not exactly sure how old, perhaps 10 or 11, I went to a bon voyage party for my grandmother and my uncle on the Queen Elizabeth 2, aka QE2. It was notable for the fact that one or more of my uncle’s guests availed themselves of the shower during the festivities. The QE2 was launched in 1969 to replace the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mary. The Queen Mary was retired in 1967.

I don’t remember where I got this menu, which I assume refers to the final dinner of a cruise, held 55 years and 354 days ago.* I know it won’t bring much on eBay, but how can you toss something like this? It’s printed on stiff cover stock paper. When you open it, ‘Autographs’ is printed at the top of the left page. The menu is printed on the right. Here it is for your enjoyment.

R.M.S. “QUEEN MARY”                                   Sunday, September 20, 1953

Farewell Dinner

Iced Tomato Juice

Chilled Grape Fruit

Hors d’Œuvre, Variés

Olives—Green and Ripe

Clear Turtle with Sherry                          Crème Marie Louise

Poached Halibut, Hollandaise Sauce

Fried Fillet of Lemon Sole, Rémoulade Sauce

Gnochis, Romaine

Creamed Garden Vegetables

Escalope of Sweetbreads, Maréchale

Baked Cloved York and American Ham, Oporto

Roast Stuffed Vermont Turkey, Cranberry Sauce

From the Grill (to order): Sirloin Steak, Vin Rouge

Spinach en Branches                       Corn on the Cob, Melted Butter

Boiled, Roast, and O’Brien Potatoes

COLD: Roast Beef, Horseradish Cream    Roast Chicken

Salads: Sliced Tomatoes            Chiffonade

Roquefort and Cream Dressings

Charlotte de Pommes, Sauce d’Abricots              Coupe Malmaison

Vanilla, Strawberry and Cherry Ice Cream

Fresh Fruit

Coffee (Hot or Iced)

Red and White Bordeaux—per Bottle or en Carafe,5/-; per Glass, 1/-

Passengers on Special Diet are especially invited to make known their Requirements to the Chief Steward

Speciality Foods for Infants are available on request

*September 20 falls on a Sunday this year as well.

The Earth is Blue

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

cosmonaut yuri gagarinThe other night my partner Stephanie and I went to the 3-hour breastfeeding class given by our birthing center. It wasn’t all just latching and double electric breast pumps. We got a poop color chart to help us read the diaper droppings. A poop with the consistency and color (I almost said taste!) of Gulden’s mustard is what good parents everywhere shoot for.

We eventually got off the poop and back on the breast, naturally. We learned about the womanly art of breast feeding. Lots of mothers are doing it. They say it  makes your kid smarter, and it has antibodies. It’s certainly hard to deny the bonding possibilities. A formula baby myself, as the class went on I started to wonder how I grew up capable of doing my own laundry without the benefits of my mother’s teat back in the day.

I learned breast fed babies poop a lot more than formula fed babies.  But not to worry, the poop doesn’t smell bad at all. It’s breast milk poop!

Sometimes I get ahead of things.  I imagine having conversations with the kid a day after he pops from the womb about girls,  sports, the philosophy of life, and why people should never, ever talk on a cell phone while driving, even if they have a hands-free device.  I guess there are a few poopy diapers to change before we get to that stage.

While I wait for a chat with someone able to control his bowel movements, I’m going to frame this Soviet poster of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, for the nursery. Yuri flew into orbit on April 12, 1961, on the Vostok 1. He was in space for an hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin died in a jet training crash in 1968. He was 34.

I bought the poster along with a few others from a guy who occasionally stopped by my old shop to buy or sell. This one I wasn’t too eager to let go, and I finally took it home when I closed up for good.

As soon as I unrolled it the other day, Steph fell in love with it—she lived in Moscow for a few years in the early nineties, and suffers from a mild case of Russophilia. Some posters are just posters, but this one of those that qualifies as a work of graphic art.

“The Earth is blue. [...] How wonderful. It is amazing.”
—Gagarin, to ground control.


Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

26 week sonogramWhen the technician was taking this sonogram of my not yet born son the other day, she remarked he had long bones as she measured his femur. My first thought was something along the lines of longer thighbones=more leverage= World Championships 2035. We left the medical office clutching the fax-like scroll of images created by the ultrasound waves.

Sitting in the car, we stared at them like seers reading tea leaves, our minds with nowhere to go but into the future. When we got home, Stephanie scanned our favorite shot and printed one 4″x5″ for my desk. I then requested a wallet version of junior— at 26 weeks in utero. You tell yourself you’re not going to do stuff like this, but I guess mostly you do.

When my partner announced she was pregnant, one of the first questions to come up was would we decide to find out if it was a boy or girl or would we tell the sonogram technicians to keep us in the dark. Stephanie was certain in her desire to know, while I was pretty sure I wanted it to be a surprise, part of the natural wonder of the whole experience, just like it has been for thousands of years up until the last few decades. Briefly considered was the idea that she would be told and I would not. But of course there would be no way to keep that secret for almost half a year. It was the second sonogram at around 18 weeks where we found out our baby’s gender.

At that  stage, the images on the computer often appeared as galactic swirls and blobs to an untrained eye, but when the young woman said Oh, see right there, I could see what she was talking about right away. Stephanie could not make heads or tails. There, said our tech, the boy parts! Stephanie was still seeing little more than an abstract black and white swirl, so I got up, strode over to the monitor, pointed at the appendages in question and said, rather loudly, Testicles, penis.

There is still plenty of wonder in the whole thing, not the least of which is having a snapshot of your son nestled in your wallet 3 months or so before his birth day.