Share Your World #35

Cee’s questions for Share Your World this week:

What made you feel good this week?

Nice weather on days it was supposed to storm, especially the ones that were cool and dry enough to open the windows.  Some pretty good progress on the unwinding muscles in my head and for once it didn’t interfere too much with sleep.  CBS Sunday Morning follow-ups on Hurricane Katrina included heartwarming stories of people who’ve done creative and wonderful things to help.

For potlucks or parties do you cook it yourself, buy from a grocery store, or pay for catering?

If I invite people, I cook everything.  I love to nurture people with yummy food — and these days I’ve gotten pretty good at making it both yummy and healthy, which has been something I’ve worked a lot on.  There’s something about the smile on people’s faces when they’ve loved a meal and feel cared for that I adore.

For potlucks I used to make two things to take because here in Kentucky most people bring stuff with wheat and/or dairy products so I could only eat what I brought.  Now I just eat first, go late, take nothing and eat nothing– way easier on me and my budget.

What is your favorite part of the town/city you live in.  And what Country do you live?

Ooh, that’s a tough choice.  There are two aspects of Lexington I love, both relating to my memories of this place as I LOVED it during my childhood summers here (I grew up in Michigan).  The historic part of town, mainly in the heart of the city, I adore.  In part because I always love historic places.  In part because my aunt bought one of the old places when I was 11 so my summers from that point on were spent wandering the area, including my special love, Gratz Park, which dates back to the late 18th century.

The other thing I love is riding out of town and seeing the beautiful rolling hills, the four board fences, and thoroughbreds racing across the fields — especially in spring when you can watch foals bouncing around with their mothers nearby.  My aunt used to pile me in the car and haul me along when she made visits to farms or went out to take photos for some of her articles on horse stuff and I adored tooling around the countryside.

Gratz Park

Mostly Lexington has grown and changed in ways I really don’t like and too much of my time is spent in the ugly new crap.  I forget sometimes why I used to love it here.  But a meander around Gratz Park or a ride out in horse farm country reminds me of those childhood days when the city was so much smaller and more Southern, the people so charming and the whole area so pretty I always felt like I was visiting paradise (ignoring the subdivisions already giving a glimpse of the yuckiness of the future).

Complete this sentence:  My favorite place in the whole world…..

Kind of depends on the day and time or where I happen to be visiting at the moment.  In general for some years now I’d say the beautiful place on the hill where I used to live in Marin County CA and the surrounding neighborhood, especially the park which backed up to the property.

I used to visit Vancouver every year or two and really loved it.  I also adore Nice and much of the surrounding area though I’ve not been able to get back there for years.

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

For last week’s gratitude see answer to first question.  This week is my birthday plus some prep for our annual visit to my home town, Flint, MI

Share Your World #34

For Cee’s Share Your World:

Was school easy or difficult for you? How so?

The Rock at Northwestern University with Unive...

The Rock at Northwestern University with University Hall in the background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of the time it was easy in public school.  Till I got to algebra and geometry, everything was easy.  After that everything but math.

My high school didn’t have an honors program or tracks or AP classes and 50% of the students weren’t interested in school or going to college.  Many classes taught down to the level of the disinterested, so I pretty much breezed through aside from my maths struggles.  I was so bored I didn’t want to go to college because I couldn’t imagine school being interesting.

Northwestern was a different story.  I’d never had to work very hard to get good grades and suddenly I was in a tough school, full of valedictorians and perfect SAT scores.  It took a couple of quarters of not-so-stellar grades for me to understand how much harder I’d need to work.

Once I realized, I threw myself into it and reveled in taking classes that challenged me and being in seminars full of brilliant students who introduced new ideas and questioned everything.  I worked incredibly hard but it still seemed like a breeze because I so loved it.

What is your favorite animal?

Horse Racing

Horse Racing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Domestically, cats would slightly edge out dogs.  Mostly because I’ve had a lot of cats and only one dog.  But I love both.

My mother’s side of the family were “horse people”, which here in the Bluegrass means they were deep into thoroughbreds.  My grandfather bred, trained and raced horses.  My aunt was the first woman turf reporter in the world.  I wasn’t raised here and never spent as much time around horses so I don’t have the knowledge they did but it’s in my blood.  I LOVE horses.

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts?

I started wearing glasses at six and moved to contacts at about 15.  Although I wore contacts for years they were never comfortable.  Every time some doctor tried out a different type that would definitely be comfortable, it wasn’t.

When I went to vision therapy with the amazing (late) Dr. Sirota I had to switch back to glasses.  He’d learned that near-sightedness develops from emotional trauma which causes the muscles behind the eyes to tighten around the optic nerve.  He found his methods worked only with glasses because contacts tend to cause people to tighten the muscles around their eyes.

A big piece of his method involved reducing prescriptions.  He found that most opticians/optometrists over prescribe and that it causes the muscles to tighten even more; this is why people keep needing stronger and stronger prescriptions.

Every time he reduced my prescription, my vision improved and then the current pair of glasses would start causing my face to tighten up and give me headaches.  I’d go back and he’d check me out and reduce the prescription some more.

Since he’s gone, I know anyone I’d go to would give me a too-strong prescription and I’d go back to losing ground, so while I wait for the muscles to finish letting go, I mostly prefer nothing.  Fortunately since I’m near-sighted I can read and write quite easily with no correction and those are the things I spend a lot of time doing.  I go without corrective anything except when I drive.  The glasses I still have are too strong and I can feel everything start to tighten up in 10 minutes so I whip them off as soon as I get where I’m going.

List:  Name at least five television shows (past or present) you enjoyed?

If I gave you a complete list, (a) it would take too long; and (b) you’d realize I watch WAY too much TV :-)

  1. Friday Night Lights (I still think it’s one of the best ever on broadcast TV)
  2. Gilmore Girls
  3. Brothers and Sisters
  4. Mary Tyler Moore
  5. Chasing Life
  6. Astronaut Wives Cub
  7. The Fosters
  8. All versions of NCIS
  9. Proof
  10. Grey’s Anatomy

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

None of the doctors kept us waiting for 2 hours before even getting in.  This week has very little on the schedule other than normal maintenance so I’m hoping to get some batch cooking done and I look forward to having a freezer full of yummy healthy stuff.

Share Your World #33

This week’s Share Your World from Cee:

What are some words that just make you smile?

Love, circuitous, Newhart, Marin

You’re given $500,000 dollars tax free (any currency), what do you spend it on? 

Pay off the mortgage, buy a new car, invest the rest

What subject would you like to study in depth, if given the time to do so?

Nothing.  After an M.A., part of a PhD and then law school, I felt done with studying in depth and so far the bug has never returned.

Would your rather be stuck in a small plane with bad turbulence for 2 hours or be a passenger in a car racing the Daytona 500?

It’s hard to say how much I’d hate either of those.  I don’t have a daredevil cell in my body.  Although I have, with no other choice, flown on tiny planes — including one small enough that even with seat belts on in turbulence our heads hit the ceiling — I’m a bit afraid of flying and I really don’t like the little ones.  But I’d be terrified in a race car during a real race too.

English: Daytona 500

English: Daytona 500 (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?

Last week I got all caught up on grocery shopping, laundry, etc. for a change and that felt good.  I’m looking forward to Friday evening, when this week’s doctor visits with Mom are over and I have a couple of days with nothing on the calendar.

The scent of Kentucky summer

Hunt-Morgan House, located in the Gratz Park H...

Hunt-Morgan House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was about 11 my aunt bought a historic home (built 1885; it’s about a block from the Hunt Morgan house pictured above) in Lexington and moved my grandmother along with her.  I spent some portion of my summers visiting my grandmother throughout my childhood and into college; sometimes as much as half of it.

The guest room in the historic home was upstairs at the back of the house and two walls had windows all the way across.  No one had air conditioning in those days (and yes, we all survived to adulthood :-) ), aside from the occasional window unit, so windows stayed open pretty much all summer.  Every morning I woke up to breezes wafting in from all those windows and breathed in the scent of Kentucky.  It never smelled the same in Michigan, where I grew up, and I’ve never caught the same scent anywhere else I’ve lived.

Lately we’ve had some lovely weather that’s let us turn off the AC and throw open the windows.  Today I’ve been inhaling that summer-in-Kentucky perfume every time I’m near a window and remembering all those summer days, waking up to drink in that aroma before wandering to the kitchen where the enticing scents of bacon and coffee filled the air each morning.

Feeling grateful just to breathe it in and remember…

Share Your World #32

What is your biggest fear or phobia? (no photos please)

I don’t spend much time in fear any more.  But I’ve always been a bit afraid of flying and sometimes I think the angst I feel about all the security hassles and the extra time it takes these days just serves as a focus for the underlying fear.

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (pictu re), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

When I was younger and far more academically inclined than I am now I tended to read classic fiction, biographies and some non-fiction.  As I’ve gotten older and transformed into someone less interested in a life of the intellect, I’ve settled on pretty much all fiction and most of it light weight by literati standards.

English: Bodhisattva (identified as Shakyamuni...

Bodhisattva (identified as Shakyamuni)(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Complete this sentence:  If I Must Be Reincarnated, In the Next Life I Want to Be…

A Bodhisattva

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 lots of unexpectedly pretty days in a week that was supposedly going to be endless rain and storms.  I’m looking forward to some weather that’s supposed to be a little cooler.

For Cee’s Share Your World

Crawford and Walker… more SUTS

I’m at the point in Summer Under the Stars when I’m getting a stockpile of movies and kind of randomly picking which to watch when, so my comments from here on out are unlikely to seem to relate to the schedule.

Cropped screenshot of Robert Walker from the t...

Robert Walker, Strangers on a Train. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I picked up several Robert Walker movies but I’ve only watched one, The Princess and the Bellboy (1945).  I chose it mainly because Hedy Lamarr was also in it and I’ve always liked her–based for the most part on seeing a few particular movies she was in repeatedly.  This was also one of only a couple Walker films shown without some war as the setting.

Cropped screenshot of Hedy Lamarr from the fil...

Hedy Lamarr (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I previously mentioned, I’ve known of him but the only movie I’m sure I’ve seen is Strangers on a Train, long long ago.  I’ve grown so tired of how every detective/mystery show on TV uses this plot device for a pair of murders at some point, I’ve become resistant to ever watching the movie again.

The yappy quality of his voice came as a surprise; not sure why, just didn’t expect it.  Once I adjusted to that “I just took a puff of helium” sound, I enjoyed the movie in spite of the silliness of the plot with a princess requesting a bellboy–completely unschooled in dealing with royals– as her personal attendant while she’s staying in his hotel.

Never quite figured out why some emotionally based ailment would prevent June Allyson from getting off the couch/walking or who all the people were who also lived there and apparently could hear everything that happened in her apartment (apartment building?  rehab center? ???).  Nor why the Princess and her entourage appeared to be entirely unmoved by the death of her uncle, the King…  But it’s the kind of light comedy I like and to me it had a bit more of the flavor of 30’s movies of its type than 40’s, which I also like (30’s).

A lot of my early taste in old movies was shaped by my parents, who didn’t especially like Joan Crawford and then –probably unfairly– exacerbated by Mommy Dearest and the resulting image of her as a bitch.  So I’ve seen a few things but not very many.

Cropped screenshot of Joan Crawford from the f...

Joan Crawford  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched Dancing Lady (1933) first, and found myself shocked by seeing her singing and dancing.  While I’d describe her dancing as heavy-footed, I didn’t know she could do it at all, nor sing.  It was fun to see her so young and relatively more innocent looking — I’ve mostly seen her a bit older and with a harder appearance.

I chose it in part because Gable was one of her co-stars (Franchot Tone also played a big role) and I feel like I’ve tended to just see the same Gable films over and over. If you can overlook Crawford’s unlikely climb from burlesque performer to Broadway star, it was fun and had some elaborate dance numbers.  Fred Astaire now gets pretty high billing though I only spotted him at the end.*

Next up was Sadie McKee (1934) one of those sagas that stretches credulity, from her close friendship with Tone when she was his family’s cook’s daughter to her undying love for the spineless ass, Tommy.  But Crawford was good and I enjoyed seeing a second Franchot Tone film.

Two in a row with him led me to look him up on Wikipedia and finally found out the odd first name (which I’ve never figured out how to pronounce) was his mother’s maiden name–also that both sides of his family were wealthy and he was married to Crawford for a while.

My final choice, The Women, is one I’ve seen many times.  Probably a source of not thinking too highly of Crawford :-) The cast — Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Mary Boland, Marjorie Main and more –is stellar, the pace fast and I never get tired of it.

*I have a habit of working on the computer while the T.V. is on, so I do miss stuff…


Late for Summer Under the Stars…

English: Montage of Golden Hollywood

English: Montage of Golden Hollywood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As someone who loves old movies and Turner Classic Movies’ annual Summer Under the Stars, you’d think I’d be waiting with great anticipation and have my DVR set ahead of time for the first few days of movies.  But for my memory, a year is a long time and I seem to always wake up and realize it’s that time again a few days or more late.

This time I just missed a few, but then I didn’t look far enough ahead and missed Fred Astaire so I’m disappointed about that.  Finally wised up and I already have Google calendar set to remind me on July 29 next year that it’s time to start perusing the stars and the films.

My first pick this time was The Actress, which I thought I’d not seen before.  I think they confused me by having it on  Teresa Wright day.  The main leads are Jean Simmons and Spencer Tracy.  Tracy mainly has one note in this one — yelling — and Simmons joins him quite often.  The plot wasn’t interesting enough to distract me from the constant shouting.  I’m trying to burn the title and description into my brain because I really don’t want to EVER see that one again.

Next up, I picked up The Romantic Englishwoman with Michael Caine and Glenda Jackson.  Didn’t think much of it either.  One of those ponderous, slow-moving things they liked to make in the 70’s* with the –in those days– obligatory but really unnecessary nude scenes.  However, I always liked Glenda Jackson so I enjoyed seeing her.

Led me to realize I’d not seen anything with her in the cast in years so I looked her up and discovered she went into politics, becoming an MP and, for a while, a Junior Minister under Tony Blair.  Quite a switch.

Things started looking up on Katherine Hepburn day.  Instead of following my usual pattern lately of mostly picking up movies I’ve never seen, I chose mostly films I love.  Bringing Up Baby never fails to please and I’ve long since lost count of how many times I’ve seen it.

As unbelievable as it is for Cary Grant to be a nerd he carries it off well and I always appreciate his great comedic skills in this one.  And Hepburn, stepping away from her more-usual smart, independent woman roles, to play the flighty madcap Susan, is such a treat.  Okay, I know most of her roles up to then were more the ingenue and often flighty but I don’t care much for her earliest movies; by this one she’s dropped the over-theatrical tone that bugs me in most of the earlier films.

Cropped screenshot of Jean Hagen from the trai...

Jean Hagen in Adams Rib trailer.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also chose Adam’s Rib.  It’s one I don’t care to see too often, but I do enjoy it and this time I particularly appreciated Judy Holliday’s performance.  I also managed to realize for the first time ever that the mistress character’s Jean Hagen always seems familiar to me because she later played Danny Thomas’s wife on Make Room for Daddy.

The final old favorite I picked up was Woman of the Year.  I never completely buy the attraction from these totally opposite characters (I know, I know, the old saw is that’s the big romance, but it’s always been a stretch for me to believe), but I have to see this one again once in a while if only for the final scenes of Hepburn screwing up the prep 0f Tracy’s breakfast.

The only one sitting on the DVR unseen is the one that’s a first for me:  Undercurrent with Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum, directed by Vincente Minelli.  Based on the description, I’ll be surprised if I watch all the way through.

I don’t think I have anything set to record for Raymond Massey.  Even though there are lots I haven’t seen, most are genres I don’t watch.   I am picking up a couple of Robert Walker’s films tomorrow.

I really knew of him more because I used to see his son in a lot of stuff and my parents would tell me about his famous father.  I’m always surprised to read how young Walker Sr. was when he died — 32- as there are so many pictures in which his face looks, shall we say, more lived in than that.  Hard living I guess.  Looking forward to checking out these films I’ve not seen.

*I know film buffs usually think that’s a great era but I’m so seriously not fond I’ll often not watch something just because it’s from the 70’s.  And I NEVER watch movies about the Mafia so no, I’ve not seen those beloved faves from the era and I doubt I ever will.  Nothing about the multitude of clips I’ve seen that are supposedly showing me why they’re brilliant has ever inspired me to want to watch any of those movies.


Changing the view

We had an unexpectedly pretty day most of today, given the predictions for storms.  So we decided to head out to Windy Corner early for dinner (it gets CRAZY noisy by 6 p.m.).  Windy Corner is a really good restaurant in an old  country grocery building way out in the country and they work really hard at doing food with local products as much as possible.

The road out to the restaurant is one you pick up on the other side of town from us and there’s a busy and quite ugly way to get over there and a more meandering route that takes us through familiar and historic parts of old Lexington.  I almost always choose the nostalgic path.  Then, a couple of miles out on Bryan Station Road you leave city and subdivisions behind and find yourself driving a narrow road under a canopy of trees and passing lovely farms spread over the hilly countryside.

My favorite dish at Windy Corner is a Health Pub Basket, which is a steamer basket with usually five or six kinds of fresh local vegetables and you can add salmon, tofu or shrimp (steamed with the veggies).  They make their own salad dressings and I add salmon and then choose their lemon oregano vinaigrette for dribbling every time.  One of those healthy meals that’s so delicious I don’t pine for the fried seafood baskets or burgers that are wafting by.

By the time we set out for the restaurant the clouds were rolling in and just as we headed out to the car after dinner the deluge arrived.  We sank onto one of the benches on the covered porch and stared in awe at the beautiful fields across from us–unusually green for August this rainy year– and the foggy mist draping the trees in the distance.

I love to go out there because the beautiful drive into the country always lifts my spirits.  The restaurant is basically surrounded by horse farms so the views once you’re there are lovely.  Normally I like to go on sunny days to maximize the enjoyment of the countryside (and because the narrow country road is a bit unnerving to drive in crappy weather).  But the beauty of the rain and the mist and the fresh air today became the perfect beauty to perk me up and leave me in total gratitude.

Astronaut Wives Club: A case for feminism

English: American feminist Gloria Steinem at B...

English: American feminist Gloria Steinem at Brighton High School, Brighton, Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wrote a post on the other blog a while back about my fond memories of being in on the early-ish days of feminism and my sadness that many young women today eschew feminism while enjoying jobs and marriages they wouldn’t have had without feminists.

While the fringe branch I gather they object to existed in my day, they were not the main thrust of the movement.  Those man-hating, marriage-bashing extremists have always been part of it but I’ve never felt like I was part of the same movement as them.  The summer series Astronaut Wives Club has been reminding me of why we rebelled and the massive changes we have seen since my high school days, when we were expected to be nurses, teachers, wives…  and that’s it.  Most of us just wanted to have more choices and more dignity than women received then.

I started watching Astronaut Wives with skepticism, thinking I’d watch one or two and stop.  Instead I’ve wound up riveted by the vivid portrait of how little respect and/or dignity women were accorded as recently as the 1960’s and the slow awakening of these characters.  And, although I was aware of the space program and the astronauts, I wasn’t such a fan that I realized how their wives were being treated or that the husbands were like rock stars in those days.

Every week after watching I wish that all young girls and young women were required to see this chilling reminder of how poorly women were treated– with utter lack of respect, with assumptions that they were good only for sex and house work, that they shouldn’t have opinions (unless it was their husband’s) or interesting jobs, and on and on.  That’s the world I was facing when I graduated from high school.

Betty Naomi Goldstein Friedan

Betty Naomi Goldstein Friedan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The roaring voices of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem and their sisters stirred us to anger and demands for change.  We were the generation that bashed down the doors and entered jobs we’d never been allowed, enrolled in graduate and professional programs in record numbers.  We didn’t want to be stuck in those lives in which we were not supposed to speak out minds or have interesting jobs or step outside any bounds set by husbands.  Most of my friends got married and many had chidren but they were also doctors and lawyers and social workers and stock brokers and editors…

My friends and I never hated men or advised anyone against marriage.  Personally I always felt that true freedom has to allow all choices so I always stood up for the right to choose wife and mother.  I just didn’t want that choice to mean they lost their voices or their right to independence and equality.  My mother once said to me, “I hope you never get married.  When a man marries you he thinks he has a slave for life.”  And that’s really how marriage was for a lot of women in those days.

Marriage has changed so much for most people since then, it’s hard to imagine women putting up with the put-downs and “don’t speak” messages or the assumption that the only talents they could possibly have involved dust cloths and stoves.  But that’s really how it was.  Kudos to Astronaut Wives Club for reminding us how close we still are to the time when women were absolutely not equal.  How many women still suffer in the U.S. from double standards and inequality.  And that in many places in the world women still have it far worse than those American wives in the Sixties.  There’s a lot for us feminists to do!

Share Your World #29

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A singing, dancing, musical comedy star of stage and screen.  That’s it.  Absolutely nothing else.

What was your favorite food as a child? Do you eat it now? 

Peanut butter.  I do eat it now, although not too often and it’s actually morphed to generally having almond butter since i do better with almonds than peanuts.


If you were invisible, where would you go?

Boy, that’s one that’s never been a fantasy, a daydream or anything… never given it a thought.  I used to try to be invisible in general, feeling so uncomfortable in the world I preferred not to be seen.  So although I couldn’t have articulated it then, I guess I’d have wanted to go everywhere in life unseen.

I don’t have that sense of discomfort any more so general invisibility isn’t a goal.  And at this stage I don’t really want to be able to sneak into places where I can hear conversations not meant for my ears.  I’m thinking if anything, it might be some sacred place where the public isn’t generally allowed — if invisibility would let me slip into some spot where I can commune with the divine for a while, I’d quite like that.

Would you rather forget everyone else’s name all the time or have have everyone for your name all the time?

I’m not sure whether this one was supposed to be to have everyone forget or remember my name???  I’m not very good at remembering other people’s names until I’ve encountered them a few times and nothing I’ve tried ever changed that, so if having everybody do whatever the question is about my name would mean I could remember other people’s names, I guess I’d prefer that.

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

In the endless storms moving through here, the only creek anywhere near us is too small and far away for our house to flood even if it overflowed, which as far as I know, it hasn’t.  I’m grateful for that.  This next week is a tough one — my mother just had a bad fall and it’s mostly going to be a week of hauling her to doctors and twiddling my thumbs in waiting rooms…  I haven’t yet found a space of gratitude or happy anticipation for that…

For Cee’s Share Your World