Thursday, November 30, 2023

Movies for the Holidays

 Usually in late November and in all of December, I watch our DVDs of Thanksgiving and Christmas movies. But this has been a different last few months, which I have yet to write about, and I've found myself watching new-to-me holiday movies on Netflix. And they have done me a world of good. So far, I have watched Holiday in the Wild, Christmas on Mistletoe Farm, and A Castle For Christmas. Each one could be described as "schmaltzy" but you know what - they have been just the ticket for me. Escape? Yes, definitely. Enjoyable? Absolutely. Predictable? Well, yes, but still. 
I loved all three of them, in different ways. And I highly recommend them.

PS I just remembered the one I love most of all. Dash and Lily. Absolutely delightful. Bookish, great sights of NYC, and two wonderful characters. The rest of the cast is special, too. Very well-written series.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

The Christmas tree

 Margaret, Matthew, and Hazel brought us our tree yesterday. They have done this for the past few years, and we are so grateful. They get it from a local Christmas tree farm.

Last evening I thought how lovely the tree is, unadorned and waiting for the lights and ornaments. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Heavy Heavy - Go Down River (Live in Chicago)

Until (if?) I find my writing self again, I’ll post something from a newish band whose work I love. You may read more about them here. I delight in their sound which is reminiscent of older times, but also fresh and new. It is music that makes me feel uplifted and cheery. In the bio they make reference to some bands I love. "Peter Green - era Fleetwood Mac (my favorite period of that band), The Rolling Stones, British Invasion pop acts like The Hollies, and folk-blues Delaney and Bonnie." The last one is a group I was wild about, but they aren’t mentioned much anymore. I even bought Bonnie Bramlett’s album after Delaney died, and one by their daughter Bekka. And there were so many great British Invasion groups that I still listen to and get great joy from.


Sunday, October 1, 2023

Me and Miss Marple

 I've just ILLed Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd because I began reading a terrific post and saved it for a later time because I wanted to read the book before reading the blog post. 

I was very struck right at the beginning because Miss Marple has been stopped in her tracks because of the ramifications of older age. I checked the publication date, and it is 1962 when Agatha was 72, three years younger than me. She was likely beginning to feel some of those things that seem to happen around 70. 

Miss Marple has been warned off gardening by her doctor who comes by three times a week (think of that!), so she sits and looks out the window. She is resentful of the person she has hired to do the work, because he doesn't do that work. He is busy with his own garden. 

And then she ponders:

One had to face the fact: St. Mary Mead was not the place it had been. You could blame the war (both the wars) or the younger generation, or women going out to work, or the atom bomb, or just the Government - but what one really meant was the simple fact that one was growing old. Miss Marple, who was a very sensible old lady, knew that quite well. It was just that, in a queer way, she felt it more in St. Mary Mead, because it had been her home for so long.

She goes on to note the changes that have come, and the one in particular - a "glittering new supermarket - anathema to the elderly ladies of St. Mary Mead".

"Packets of things one's never even heard of," exclaimed Miss Hartnell. "All those great packets of breakfast cereal instead of cooking a child a proper breakfast of bacon and eggs. And you're expected to take a basket yourself and go round looking for things - it takes a quarter of an hour sometimes to find what one wants - and usually made up in inconvenient sizes, too much or too little. And then a long queue waiting to pay as you go out. Most tiring."

I have always rather prided myself on being "modern" and accepting the world as it is, not the way it was in the "old days". But as I read the above in The Mirror Crack'd, I found it a bit too close for comfort. I have found myself bemoaning a bit about some trends that upset me. I, being a health food hippie from way back, am dismayed by how much candy and junk food children eat now. I have to keep such thoughts inside instead of passing them along to anyone because times do change, and of course, may well change back, but this is the new generation, not mine. The mothers and fathers do a lot of things way better than I did. Kids are busier than mine were. There are more activities available. It all feels too much to me, but I am also not in my thirties or forties. Seventy-five is much slower and quieter than my younger self. And I shall strive to be that "sensible old lady" like Jane Marple.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

My thoughts on the Rex Stout books many years ago

 Before blogging, there were email groups online that I belonged to that talked about books. I have kept all my emails to those groups, and just came across the following, written about Champagne For One. The words are just what I would still say, and they were written in May 2006 a few months before I began my blog. The second words are from 2003.

I am so enjoying my visits to Wolfe and Archie as I read them all again in publication order, though as I have said, they really don't have to be read that way. 

I go on and on to anyone who'll listen about the greatness of the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin books.  Some in the series are stellar, like this one, and others not so perfect, but I don't really look at them individually.  They are all of a piece about the life.  It's like checking in to see what Wolfe and Archie are up to.  I love the old familiar words and descriptions of how many steps up to the door of the old brownstone, what Archie is having for breakfast, how the office is arranged, what Wolfe is reading, and of course the mystery he must work on to pay for his gourmet food and his thousands of orchids.  Wonderful, wonderful books.

 I love the way Archie repeats details in each book, in case the reader is on his
first Nero Wolfe story.  "I climbed the seven steps up to the old
brownstone".  "Cramer sat in the red chair".   I love the house
descriptions.  The plots are really secondary.  Each book is a portion of
the lives of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.  I think between the Stout
books, and P.G. Wodehouse books, I really could survive without any other
reading material.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Diana Krall - Autumn In New York (Official Video)

The sun went into Libra at 2:50 am today so it is now autumn. And here is Diana Krall singing and playing piano so very beautifully to help celebrate the season. Such a great video, too.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Today's poem by WH Auden

I am currently watching The Last Detective on Britbox. A character called Mod played by the late Sean Hughes quoted the last two lines of this poem. It is the eighth of Auden's Twelve Songs - April 1936. 

At Last the Secret is Outby 

At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
The delicious story is ripe to tell to tell to the intimate friend;
Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire;
still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire.

Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
Under the look of fatigue the attack of migraine and the sigh
There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.

For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall,
The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall,
The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss,
There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this.