Share Your World #33

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

Would you travel into outer space?


Which country/city in the world (that you have never been to) would you most like to visit and why?

I’m torn among a number of places.  There are quite a few spots in France and Italy I’d still like to see.  In fact, those are the two countries to which I’m most drawn and, rather than travel dreams around the world, my dreams are of minutely exploring those two countries.

English: Lyon, FRANCE Français : Lyon, FRANCE

English: Lyon, FRANCE Français : Lyon, FRANCE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In France, Lyon is high on my list of places I’ve not been and would like to visit.  It’s known for it’s cuisine, which I’d love to experience.  The city also has hidden passageways all over called Traboules, which I’d quite like to explore.

Français : vue de St-Emilion (33), France

Français : vue de St-Emilion (33), France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m also very drawn to St. Emilion, in the Bordeaux region.  Also known for cuisine, it too is a gorgeous area and full of interesting old villages, etc.

San Petronio Basilica

San Petronio Basilica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Italy I’d quite like to spend some time in Bologna, also for cuisine, but as well because it’s full of historic sites to visit.

My rare wishes involving other countries are  Amsterdam and Barcelona.  Amsterdam just always looks so beautiful to me.  And I’d like to see the Gaudi sites in Barcelona.

Hard to choose which one would top the list.  I prefer traveling where I can speak the language, which probably means I’d rank the cities in France and Italy above the two in the Netherlands and Spain.

What could you do to breathe more deeply today?

Pranayama practice.  I fell in love with pranayama as soon as my yoga teacher introduced some.  I wound up taking a course at the Temple of Kriya Yoga and for many years I did a daily practice.

I love the breath as a way to stay calm since there are several ways to focus on breathing without anyone else knowing what you’re doing..  I think it’s the most mobile stress management technique there is.

Complete this sentence:  This creamy peanut butter sandwich could really use some …

Honey-sweetened strawberry jam

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’ve still been enjoying the Olympics and trying to get in some viewing of the growing collection of old movies from TCM’s Summer Under the Stars.  I’m looking forward to the end of the Olympics and turning my attention to watching  LOTS of old movies.


TCM SUTS: A little Spencer

Cropped screenshot of Ward Bond from the trail...

Cropped screenshot of Ward Bond from the trailer for the film A Guy Named Joe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been watching so much of the Olympics, it’s been a stretch to keep sliding in some classic movies.  I’ve been steadily recording at least two or three a day most of the time but I’m not watching them in any particular order.

I picked up A Guy Named Joe on Spencer Tracy’s day half thinking I’d already seen it, as the description of a dead guy being assigned as a guardian angel has been done a time or two before :-)  But it turned out I’d never seen it and I quite enjoyed it.

Aside the from the apparently-obligatory WWII stumping for patriotism, it was a pretty good story and the cast is amazing.  Spencer Tracy, Irene Dunne, Ward Bond, Barry Nelson, Lionel Barrymore, Van Johnson, Esther Williams…  Tracy and Dunn are pilots (he was armed forces — didn’t catch if it was Air Force or another and she was Women Airforce Service Pilot) and in love when he is killed.

The most annoying note in the whole thing to me was his arrival in an American soldier branch of heaven which sends out guardian angels… apparently only to protect American military personnel.  It’s an ethnocentric take on spiritual matters I just don’t care for.  But he’s sent back to look out for pilot Johnson, who of course falls for Dunn.

In the hands of a less competent cast I’m pretty sure I’d have found it too schmaltzy but I enjoyed this one and was pleased to encounter another good but previously-unseen old movie.


Share Your World #32

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Leigh's Tropical Smoothie copyright 2016

Leigh’s Tropical Smoothie copyright 2016

I’ve created a smoothie recipe that’s both yummy and designed to offer a really nice array of vitamins and minerals, so probably my smoothie.  But I also keep a pretty healthy soup around which is another delish way to eat good stuff, so maybe my version of ribollita.

What is the worst thing you ate this last recently?


English: Chicago-style deep dish pizza from th...

Chicago-style deep dish pizza from the original Pizzeria Uno  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m allowed to have some wheat and dairy once — at most twice — a week and often my choice is pizza.  We just tried a supposed Chicago pizza in the pan from a new place here and the comment I put on their survey was the crust tasted like someone who’d heard of pizza in the pan but never tasted one created the crust they imagined — and advised them to send someone to work at Due’s (sister restaurant to Uno’s) in Chicago and learn how to make the crust.

You are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

The Universe apparently thought I needed to learn.  I used to be on the go all the time and had trouble doing nothing.  In dealing for many years with major muscle issues (may or may not be fibromyalgia, depending on which therapist you ask) and chronic fatigue, I had little choice but to learn to be content with doing nothing.  Helped along by learning to meditate and getting into doing spiritual practices, which (1) I love and (2) calm me. I’m actually at the point where I quite enjoy doing nothing much and I’m struggling, as I feel better, to want to go back to being busier…

List of Jobs You Think You Might Enjoy: Even if you aren’t thinking about a career change, it can be fun to think of other jobs you might enjoy.

  1. singer
  2. restaurant reviewer
  3. museum curator

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I’m grateful for the first week of Turner Classic Movies’ Summer Under the Stars and the beginning of the Olympics.  This week I’m looking forward to more classic movies and LOTS of Olympics!


TCM’s Summer Under the Stars 2016

For once I actually remembered to start looking at the TCM schedule last week and set up a bunch of stuff to record during the first week of Summer Under the Stars but never got around to writing a post for the kick-off.  For the whole month of August, every day Turner Classic Movies will feature a different classic movie star and show his or her movies all day from 6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. the next day.

Day one was Edward G. Robinson.  I like him, but I only watch a few genres and he mostly made movies of the types I won’t watch:  gangsters, dark melodramas and some westerns…  So didn’t choose to record any.

English: Lucille ball

English: Lucille ball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day two was Lucille Ball and in the early part of the day they showed a lot of her pre-I Love Lucy films, many of which I’d never seen.  Boy she made a lot of dumb movies.  I couldn’t make it through several of the ones I recorded

I managed to get through The Affairs of Annabel, but really only because I was working on the computer so I managed to ignore a good bit of the stupidity of it.  That’s Right, You’re Wrong starred Kay Kyser more than Lucy and was possibly the dumbest movie I ever saw — I wound up fast forwarding through something like 45 minutes of it…  Also fast forwarded through most of Next Time I Marry.  I tolerated a bit more of Beauty for the Asking, but zipped forward through a chunk of it too.

A Girl, A Guy and a Gob sat on my DVR until today and, though silly, I kind of enjoyed it.  But then, besides liking Lucille Ball, I’m a long time fan of George Murphy…  Of course, one of those in the fast forward list had a bunch of people I like and was far too stupid to watch…


Cropped screenshot of Bing Crosby from the tra...

Bing Crosby  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 3 was Bing Crosby day and I have several recordings yet to watch.  Today was Fay Wray and I don’t think I chose to record anything — none of the descriptions enticed me (and what a lot of one- and two-star movies she made).  King Kong is one of those genres I never watch.  When the other girls turned on stuff like that at childhood slumber parties I just rolled my eyes and went to sleep.

I’ll report on the Crosby movies as I get through them.

This is a great chance to see a lot of old movies and, while they always show some of the most famous numbers, they usually dig up some obscure ones and give you a chance to see old films that aren’t often shown.  Many of them with good reason :-)  But still, it’s fun to just wander through the previously unseen parts of the archives.



Share Your World #30

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

Do you prefer a bath or shower?

Bosko plays the shower spray as a harp

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Generally speaking, a bath.  I like to relax and soak.  I also have a blood pressure issue where my blood pressure goes down when I stand for very long, which makes me lightheaded, so showering can be dodgy.

On the other hand, if I need to be quick, a very fast shower is refreshing and less time consuming than a bath.

If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?

I don’t love shopping so that’s a tough one.  I guess I’d say Joseph Beth Booksellers here in Lexington.  It’s a huge independent bookstore and also has great gift items, stationary items and nice toiletries.  The ability to have a book buying spree and get gifts for my friends would be nice.  Plus there’s a nice cafe, so I could sit and sip a cappuccino or a chai when I get bored with shopping.

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would that be?

Ooh.  Tough one.  I can’t say I’m in love with being old.  But then I was neurotic and unhappy when I was younger.  My real ideal would be to be able to be 25 but know everything I know now.  With the looks I had then and the coping abilities and calm I have now, I could have taken on the world!

List at least five movies that cheer you up.

  1. almost anything with Shirley Temple as a young child (when she got older, not so much)
  2. English: Shirley temple from the Public Domain...

    English: Shirley temple from the Public Domain movie “Glad Rags to Riches” (1933, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  3. either of the first two Harry Potters
  4. most of Fred and Ginger’s films.  If I have to say one, maybe Top Hat though I’m also fond of Swing Time
  5. Amelie
  6. Cousin, Cousine — the original French one, not the pitiful American version

    Cousin, cousine

    Cousin, cousine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

My mother’s new pain doctor has sent her to a physical therapist who seems like she’s going to try to actually figure out what would be best for Mom instead of just giving her some generic exercises and sending her on her way.  She’s had so many doctors who are indifferent to older patients, I’m really grateful to finally have a doctor and a PT who both think being 90 doesn’t mean you should have no expectations of feeling good.

Don’t have anything much I’m looking forward to this week so I guess just being alive and breathing:-)




Share Your Word #29

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

What is the perfect pizza?

Luigi's Pepperoni

Luigi’s Pepperoni

When I was three a restaurant opened in Flint called Luigi’s.  When we first went I didn’t like pizza so, to be honest, I don’t know what I ate.  Eventually I loved it. They make the thinnest, nicest crust I’ve ever encountered and in all the cities I’ve lived in — Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco — I never found a thin crust pizza that could compare.  People from Flint call in from all over the country asking to have pizza express mailed…

At the same time, I have to mention that in my Chicago years I fell in love with Chicago pan pizza — which I think of as just a different thing.  I’ve never found it to be as good outside of Chicago.  Even when Uno’s went national, I never thought the pizza at other locations was as good as the original.

And then there’s the pizza in Naples; we should probably call the stuff over here by a different name because nothing we do is close to theirs.  Or they should give it a new name to distance themselves from the American versions…:-)

What is your favorite time of day?

I tend to like sunset and twilight.  I love the colors and I also love that sort of peaceful, moment-in-between feeling.  I often walk during the last 15 minutes or so before the sun is completely down.  In the heat I do it because it has cooled down by then, but even when it isn’t that hot I like that time because the soft light is so lovely, the park gets pretty quiet, and I can enjoy the peace.

Show us two of your favorites photographs?  The photos can be from anytime in your life span.  Explain why they are your favorite.

I’ve never gotten around to turning old photos into jpegs so most of my long time favorites aren’t available to post.

This one is from just this last spring.  I went down to a spot by the Kentucky River where there’s a restaurant (which also means a place to park the car for a few minutes; often not something you can easily do by the river) and this shot just captures the feeling of the river for me in a way I haven’t done before:

Kentucky River by Hall's 0

This one I took several years ago while house sitting for my friends in Corte Madera.  They used to have an apartment at one side of the house, which I rented (they’ve re-absorbed it into one whole again).  Although I was on foot when I took this picture, it captures the view of the road just where it curves around to the house, so it’s not just familiar, but the view that always said to me, “you’re home” as I drove up.


Complete this sentence:  I’m looking forward to…. 

A life with healthy muscles and plenty of energy.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

It’s been hot and humid here with lots of storms and I’ve been grateful for a strong relatively new roof and working AC.  The week coming up doesn’t have anything scheduled that I’m looking forward to so I guess I’ll be grateful for breathing…


Share Your World #28

Cee’s Share Your World for this week:

What is your earliest memory?

The earliest — and only memory before the age of 5 — is of riding a new tricycle around in my grandmother’s driveway here in Lexington.  She got it so I could ride whenever we came to visi and I was so excited.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

My phone has a crap camera so I don’t use it too often but I wound up taking a lot of shots with it for the Weekly Photo Challenge, Curve, while walking in my neighborhood park.  I hadn’t thought to stick my camera in.  The last one was of the crisscrossing curving paths at the exit.

Park Curves 9_edited

Have you ever danced in the rain?

In college I think I MAY have done a little twirling with an umbrella on a Singing in the Rain kind of day.  Mostly I’m too glum when it’s raining to be thinking about dancing.

What is the longest you have gone without sleep?

With zero sleep, I’d say a couple of days.  At the height of my unwinding head muscles keeping me from sleep I often spent up to 10 days in a row getting no more than two or three hours, followed by a day or two of lots of sleep, followed by another 7-10 days of almost none.  I think I’m a couple of years’ worth of sleep deprived…

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

It was hot, hot, hot here and the air conditioning worked perfectly and I’m so aware of how fortunate I am to have it, so I’m grateful for that.  This week I’m looking forward to the first week in a while I haven’t had to take my mother to a doctor.


WPC: Opposites

This week’s photo challenge, Opposites, has pretty much stumped me.  In fact, I’ve been feeling a little dense about a number of recent challenges–not helped by the fact I’ve not been feeling great and therefore haven’t been keen to wander around with a camera.

With some challenges I have an immediate image of where I can take a photo that would suit but recently I’ve been drawing a blank.  A friend and I started taking these challenges a while back as an addition to a daily e-mail check-in thing we’ve been doing for over two years now.  (Hers are not being put up as blog posts or I’d link you to her, but you might want to check out her blog on quilting and quilt repairs, Ann Quilts)

The idea of the photo challenge for us is mainly to (1) have an artistic project to focus on and (2) to have a reason we both have to get out and about — preferably not just to the usual places.  When it’s worked best I’ve gotten out in the country or discovered there’s more to a local park than I realized and maybe along the way I’ve discovered a new coffee shop to try or some other spot I’d like to explore another day.

Anyway, more to the point, I didn’t have an idea, didn’t want to fall back on using old photos (as I have the last couple of times), and didn’t want to drive around aimlessly looking for inspiration, so I took my camera to the back yard and got a few shots.  Just that 10 minute foray out into the sunshine and a new perspective as I sought appropriate subjects perked me up.  And I added a few recent shots I thought might fit a challenge one day:

How did we forget Elizabeth Jane Howard?



I first encountered Elizabeth Jane Howard when I found a new edition of her early novel, The Long View, at a small independent bookstore in San Francisco in 1991.  The book instantly soared to my top five all time favorites list and has remained there ever since.

A brilliant study of a marriage, the book turned the usual romantic love story, which ends at the altar with a “happy ever after” implication, upside down.  The story begins on the day their divorce is finalized and walks you backward through the scenes of their marriage to the hopeful  wedding day you already know was doomed.  I found it some of the most exquisite writing I’d ever encountered.

I began slowly working my way through the entire catalog of her work, winding up with her most famous series, The Cazalet Chronicles.  I read most of it via the library, but I bought a couple of the Cazalet series and, after watching the PBS version of it, I decided I’d like to purchase the set.  This was only a few years after the publication of the last one (at the time) and I was stunned to discover at the bookstore that the entire series was already out of print. [A gander at Amazon revealed most of her books have been recently reissued; head to your favorite independent bookseller soon and help save them from going out of print again]

Eventually I quit looking for more of her works in the library catalog as she appeared to have stopped writing.  Last week I saw a reference to the Cazalets and looked her up, discovering she published a final piece of the series in 2013 and died shortly thereafter.  I immediately went to the Lexington Public Library site to put a hold on the book, only to discover they not only don’t have the latest one, but Elizabeth Jane Howard has disappeared from the catalog altogether!

The literary world, which seems to prefer violence and nihilism, has apparently always undervalued her because her themes are more appreciated by women.  She’s not the only fine author who’s been relegated to the realm of “chick lit” and dismissed.  There are women who write for women with great grace and beauty and insight into human nature and I wish we could honor such writing as being equally worthy to the darker works the critics prefer.

In my opinion she’s one of the finest under sung and under appreciated authors of the 20th century.  While I didn’t find the rest of her work to be quite as exquisite as the first one I read, I enjoyed every one and found her writing beautiful in every case.  I realize publishing of both music and literature has become a game about selling mainstream drivel by the millions, but have we really sunk so low as to allow a writer of this caliber to be lost to obscurity?