Friday, 11 January 2013

Heads, knees and bumpsy daisy...

Words about migraine
I’m still around – just.  I have had a migraine alternating with a background headache since Christmas Eve and I’m getting a bit fed up of it.  The best I can do, thanks to large doses of tablets, is a couple of hours free at a time.  Then it’s back to bed with the occasional touch of hitting my head on the wall.  I’m annoyed because after a bad winter last year I though I’d found (or rather my neurologist had found) a tablet combination that worked.  So it’s back to the drawing board to see if she can come up with something else. 
 As a temporary relief the best thing I have found is cold compresses at regular intervals.  This is much easier during the winter than in summertime because I can just use one then lay it on the bedroom window ledge and it will get cold again while I use another one.  I have half a dozen of these things on the window ledge at any one time.

I’m not looking for sympathy so much as explaining why there hasn’t been much going on blogwise apart from scheduled postings on my Word and Postcard blogs. 

And talking of my Word Blog - The term 'Back to the drawing board' that I just used has been around since World War II as a jocular acceptance that a design has failed and that a new one is needed. A drawing board is an architect's or draughtsman's table, used for the preparation of designs or blueprints.  In America the phrase gained common usage quite quickly and began appearing in US newspapers by 1947, as shown here in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Washington, December 1947:    "Grid injuries for the season now closing suggest anew that nature get back to the drawing board, as the human knee is not only nothing to look at but also a piece of bum engineering."

And one has to agree with that - pretty knees are a rare find…
For more fascinating words and expressions you can either visit my word blog or that excellent site The Phrase Finder.

Giant Anteater
 Picture fromnZoo Borns blog
A rare baby Giant Anteater was born at our local zoo, Chrster Zoo, on the day before Christmas Eve. The tiny baby, whose gender is not yet known, is only the second of the species to ever be born at the zoo. The baby will cling to its mother’s back for approximately six months until it is ready to walk, explore and find food on its own. Its parents Pedro and Bliss, both aged three, arrived at Chester Zoo in 2010 as part of an international breeding program.

 Picture - source unknown
Giant Anteaters are classed as ‘Vulnerable to extinction’ by conservationists, so the birth is good news for the unusual looking species. Native to Central and South America, the animals do not have teeth but have tongues which can measure up to almost 24 inches (over half a metre) long!

Blue for a boy (or should it be pink?)

Uncle Eric and Mum - 1913

For centuries children in the upper and middle classes wore dainty white dresses up to the age of six - irrewpective of their sex.  White - strange as it may sound - was a most practical colour - white cotton could be bleached.  But the dresses worn by children in the nineteenth century weren’t necessarily gender neutral. While white remained popular for infants, toddler boys wore dresses with darker, masculine colours and bolder decorations while girl’s dresses were lighter and frillier.  (Mum's - just to be awkward - has plenty of frills but is obviously of a dark velvet.)

A couple of years earlier - around 1909 - this picture of Dad (standing on the chair ) shows him in a skirt or dress while his older brother, Frank, has gravitated to shorts.

The idea of showing a baby’s gender in the specific colour of their clothing has been around for at least a hundred years but not much longer and it wasn’t quite the same in 1913 as it is in 2013.  According to the Ladies Home Journal (quoting a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department):
“The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

According to Jo B Paoletti – author of  Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America ‘(2012) - in 1927, Time magazine printed a chart showing sex-appropriate colours for girls and boys according to leading U.S. stores. In Boston, Filene’s told parents to dress boys in pink. So did Best & Co. in New York City, Halle’s in Cleveland and Marshall Field in Chicago.  

It was in the 1940s that the changeover occurred – the manufacturers and retailers who plumped for blue for a boy won and the trend was set.  I wonder when it will next change?


  1. This was fascinating - I wonder what prompted their decision to switch the pink-blue trend around!

    I seem to remember that an anteater was born at the Stuttgart zoo some years ago. It made local headlines then, as they are so rarely bred in captivity.

  2. You have my sympathy, whether you were looking for it or not! I'd send you a snowball if I could (we had just a little sprinkle of snow again the last couple of days). Those a lovely old photos, and I never knew that about pink/blue! Fascinating how we come to take certain things for granted and then find out the tradition does not really go back all that far.

  3. Wow, interesting stuff today. I enjoyed all of the tidbits about the anteater and the pink vs blue. I especially enjoyed looking at the pictures of your mom and dad. I received your letter yesterday. Will reply soon.

  4. So sorry to hear about the migraines, Scriptor. Do hope you find a workable solution soon.

    Regarding the change in colour for babies' clothes: I think the change has already come. Nowadays, regardless of their sex, all children seem to wear denim!

    Love, Carol

  5. I'm so sorry you have bad migraines..I have a few friends who really suffer with them too and seem to have to get medication and diet changed frequently. Hope you get some relief soon. The baby anteater made me laugh because my first thought was "gee, I guess all babies aren't cute!"..then you showed the cute pics of your they were sweet! I didn't realize there was ever a color debate. I just thought pink always was for a girl. In this day and age I didn't think there were any restrictions with dress codes! (Nothing makes me shake my head more than seeing people out and about in their pajamas at the local Wal-mart store...)

    1. The lady in the house opposite ours wanders around the corner to the Bargain Booze store in her pyjamas - I have to say I think she is a bit touched in the head (if one is allowed to use such an expression nowadays!) so that's éxcusable. She's the only person I have seen do it but one British supermarket chain has banned anyone in pyjamas so it must be quite common elsewhere. Weird!

  6. When I wrote the above I thought I was in one of my rare hour long periods of being headache free. But it turned out to be the end of that particular cluster of migraines. It's now twenty four hours later and I have been headache and migraine free. The world is a much better place.... But thanks to all for the sympathy.

    1. I am very glad to hear that and hope this migraine-free period will last very long!

  7. I just saw a program last night that talked about how tahini (2 tbs per day) will help with migraine headaches. I thought of you right away. :)

    1. Thanks - I'll try most anything nowadays!

  8. CJ, once again, thanks for enlightening me on the pink and blue debate for boys and girls. I thought somehow that it was always pink for girls and blue for boys.
    Wow, the things one learns from this blog.
    I know you are not looking for sympathy, but I hope you are feeling much better.


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