dual personalities

Dance all night, play all day…

I can’t believe a whole week has gone by since my epic trip to St. Louis to celebrate my dual personality’s milestone birthday! We certainly did party hardy (as they say), and I need to put a few special pictures out there to remind everyone of these glory days.

On Saturday morning, I visited my BFF, Laura, and her family in their new house, which also happens to be where she grew up and where the two of us had so many great times and big adventures (remember the easy-bake oven incident?). I had such a wonderful time that (naturally) none of my pictures are in focus. This is the one that came out best.

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   Laura is wondering what the cat is typing on her computer…

Later, back at party central, the birthday girl, siblings, and guests got up to many high-jinks. We began maturely enough…

No, I am not wearing white tights -- those are my post-winter legs.

No, I am not wearing white tights — those are my post-winter legs.

And after the party girl dealt with the cake,

how many candles?

we enjoyed catching up with old friends.


Then the party really got started. Girls just want to have fun…


We survived the experience remarkably well considering some of us are old people, and next morning we were chipper enough to take more pictures.

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before saying adieu and heading our separate ways.

Thanks to my wonderful nieces (including my niece-in-law) for pulling it all together, and to my nephew for being awesome!

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That’s it for my ‘party of the decade’ recap. Stay tuned for next week’s post in which we celebrate my DH’s 25 years in academia with a charming group photo in the local paper, a nifty certificate, and a flimsy, plastic gift. In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful spring weather and ‘Shake it up!’ like it’s 1981.



“Heroic, is it? Bedad, it’s epic! Ye begin to perceive the breadth and depth of my genius.”*


Today is the birthday of author Rafael Sabatini (April 29, 1875 – February 13, 1950). He was born in Italy, the son of an English mother and an Italian father–both opera singers, which explains a lot.

Sabatini wrote in English, and all in all, he produced 31 novels, eight short story collections, six non-fiction books, numerous uncollected short stories, and a play. I think I read Scaramouche way back when, but he is best known these days because of two great movies and a bunch of other not-so-great movies, which were inspired by his novels. I’m thinking, of course, of Captain Blood (1935)


and The Sea Hawk (1940)


both starring Errol Flynn and directed by Michael Curtiz.

But we mustn’t forget Scaramouche (1952) which starred Stewart Granger


and The Black Swan (1942) with Tyrone Power–


both not as good despite being filmed in flaming technicolor. (There are also quite a few old silent movies based on his adventure novels.)

Anyway, I suggest we all watch movies this weekend inspired by the stories of Rafael Sabatini. We could do a lot worse. I vote for Captain Blood which is full of action and good dialogue:

Arabella Bishop: Oh, forgive me for not recognizing you, Dr. Blood. You’re so changed… and for the better.

Dr. Peter Blood: The Governor tells me I have you to thank for that.

Arabella Bishop: You don’t sound very grateful, Dr. Blood.

Dr. Peter Blood: Do you suppose I’d be grateful for an easy life, when my friends are treated like animals? Faith, it’s they deserve your favors, not I. They’re all honest rebels. I was snoring in my bed while they were trying to free England from an unclean tyrant [King James].

Arabella Bishop: I believe you’re talking treason.

Dr. Peter Blood: I hope I’m not obscure.

Have a great weekend!

*Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

“Tut, tut, looks like rain”*

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Boy, am I glad the birthday festivities were last week…because we have had some very interesting weather this week!

However, we flyover types do love our spring weather–as evidenced by the large number of “viewer pics” sent in to the KTVI website (see above).

Well, you know what they say about April showers…

*A.A. Milne

The old, self-contained stock

Today we note the birthday of Ulysses S. Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) who was the 18th President of the United States (1869–77) and the Commanding General of the U.S. (1864–69). He is certainly a favorite of mine.

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“In four years he had risen, without political favor, from the bottom to the very highest command, — not second to any living commander in all the world! His plans were large, his undiscouraged will was patient to obduracy… In all this career he never lost courage or equanimity. With a million men, for whose movements he was responsible, he yet carried a tranquil mind, neither depressed by disasters nor elated by success. Gentle of heart, familiar with all, never boasting, always modest, Grant came of the old, self-contained stock, men of a sublime force of being, which allied his genius to the great elemental forces of nature, — silent, invisible, irresistible. When his work was done, and the defeat of Confederate armies was final, this dreadful man of blood was tender toward his late adversaries as a woman toward her son. He imposed no humiliating conditions, spared the feelings of his antagonists, sent home the disbanded Southern men with food and with horses for working their crops.”

– Henry Ward Beecher,  Eulogy on Grant

Makes me want to go visit his home “Hardscrabble,”

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which is down the road a bit here in flyover country.


I like a president who has built a home with his own hands. Cheers and huzzah to Cousin Lyss.

I am now, by the way, reading The March by E.L. Doctorow, which is a novel about General Sherman’s March to the Sea (November 15 to December 21, 1864). I am enjoying it very much and am pleasantly surprised, having never read anything by Doctorow and having assumed that I wouldn’t like anything he had written. The author has a good historical grasp of the period and his characters act appropriately. This is certainly not always the case with historical fiction. Authors make stupid mistakes which can drive me crazy.

Curious, I went back and read the review in 2005 by John Updike in The New Yorker, and funnily enough, he says just that.

His splendid new novel, “The March”…pretty well cures my Doctorow problem. A many-faceted recounting of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous, and in some quarters still infamous, march of sixty-two thousand Union soldiers, in 1864-65, through Georgia and then the Carolinas, it combines the author’s saturnine strengths with an elegiac compassion and prose of a glittering, swift-moving economy. The novel shares with “Ragtime” a texture of terse episodes and dialogue shorn, in avant-garde fashion, of quotation marks, but has little of the older book’s distancing jazz, its impudent, mocking shuffle of facts; it celebrates its epic war with the stirring music of a brass marching band heard from afar, then loud and up close, and finally receding over the horizon. Reading historical fiction, we often itch, our curiosity piqued, to consult a book of straight history, to get to the facts without the fiction. But “The March” stimulates little such itch; it offers an illumination, fitful and flickering, of a historic upheaval that only fiction could provide. Doctorow here appears not so much a reconstructor of history as a visionary who seeks in time past occasions for poetry.

Well, there you go.

“I feel a sudden urge to sing the kind of ditty that invokes the Spring”*

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Phew! What a whirlwind of activity last weekend! We had four extra people in our house and several get togethers involving copious amounts of food and drink.

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My darling daughters planned everything.


and pulled it all off with aplomb.

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Darling daughter #3 made the spectacular 3-layer cake (cheesecake, cake, mousse).

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My brother and sister came from distant lands as did some very old friends.

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And my in-town friends put on their party pants and joined in the fun.

We even managed a visit to the Missouri Botanical Gardens at the height of the azalea bloom.

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Of course, there was frozen custard.

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It was delovely to say the least.

*Cole Porter, “It’s Delovely”

Hello, Monday

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Best birthday weekend ever. More tomorrow.

“What is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”*

A couple of days ago on the Man Repeller blog they asked the important question: What’s your movie dress?

Good question, but their answers weren’t that exciting. I mean how can you make a list like that and not include something worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?



I could not find a good picture of the dress/hat ensemble Holly wears to visit Sally Tomato…but really, has any woman ever looked better than Audrey in this scene?

In fact, they never mentioned ol’ Audrey at all. How is that possible?

Audrey was mentioned in the comments section and there were other good suggestions, including Glinda in the 1939 Wizard of Oz. Here are a few more…

As a child I was struck by the dress Jane Fonda wears in the scene in Cat Ballou (1965) when she is about to be executed for murder.51yEqsLuDOL._SX342_I loved that dress and it is the one I was thinking of when we chose the pattern for my “May Day” dress in 1974.

Harriet and Katie 1974

Clearly my friend Harriet was thinking the same thing.

Who can deny that there were many great dresses in the movie White Christmas (1954)–such as this classic number worn by Rosemary Clooney at the Carousel Club.

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Great accessories too! Those gloves! The bottom of the dress was great too–it belled out to great effect…

Here’s another great dress worn by Rosemary in the Minstrel Show number–love those red bangles!


This more conservative green velvet cocktail dress is pretty great too. And I am loving that couch as well.


And who wouldn’t want to pull this dress out of the closet for a night on the town?


I know I have always wished I could. As you can see, the older I get, the more I relate to Rosemary rather than Vera-Ellen!

So…what’s your movie dress?

*Yves Saint-Laurent

GIF found here.

Long live the queen!

The Queen in 2007

The Queen in 2007

Today we wish Elizabeth a happy 90th birthday. She was born four months after our mother and to me, at least, they always bore an uncanny resemblance to one another.


Anyway, I hope she lives forever.

It’s my birthday and I’ll wear a crown if I want to


“Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life – it has given me me . It has provided time and experience and failures and triumphs and time-tested friends who have helped me step into the shape that was waiting for me. I fit into me now. I have an organic life, finally, not necessarily the one people imagined for me, or tried to get me to have. I have the life I longed for. I have become the woman I hardly dared imagine I would be.”

–Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Daughter #2 arrives this evening and daughter #1 tomorrow morning. My brother and sister are coming to town on Friday!

Safe, smooth travels to all.  Margaritas all around!

Left field

So some of you readers may have noticed that recently we have needed more pep talks and positive thinking here than usual. Indeed, we have, because back before Christmas the boy was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He had surgery right after the new year.

Then he started an intense regimen of chemotherapy—four rounds, a week every three weeks, five days for six hours a day.

Throughout it all, the boy has been a real trouper.

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His attitude has been super positive and he has never doubted that he will be cured and that all will be well. He never complained. He never stopped going to work. He even applied for a new job and received a big promotion.

Although he has been tired and worn out, he continued to coach his lacrosse team after work.


The Greyhounds say “Let’s go boy!”

They love him and why wouldn’t they?

Last week during his final round of chemo, his doctor told him that his cancer markers are down from 4600 to 8. This is good. Very good.

And it’s the best birthday present any mother could get.

Please keep the boy and daughter #3 in your prayers. He isn’t out of the woods quite yet.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

–Proverbs 3: 5-8


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