dual personalities

Month: January, 2013

Happy birthday to the King

As if you didn’t know, Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer, actor and cultural icon. Today is his birthday, so I thought I ought to give him a shout out.

Elvis in a green shirt

Elvis in a green shirt

Because we had a tendency to laugh at practically everything when I was growing up, we laughed at Elvis. But my mother (of all people) always defended him and gave him credit for really being able to sing. She was also, truth be told, kind of fond of his movies, as am I. If there was an Elvis movie on TV, you better believe we watched it. My favorite is Viva Las Vegas with Ann-Margret, his perfect (if you ask me) partner.


Over the years I have come to appreciate Elvis as a cultural icon/entertainer and I would never laugh at him now. Back in the 1990s when the boy’s junior choir went to sing in Memphis, our family went along as “chaperones”–mostly so we could go to Graceland, which is really a very nice home (atrociously decorated).

When I worked at a private school in Richmond, Va in 1979, I had an occasion to go to a party at the boarding department secretary’s home. She and her husband were big Elvis fans and had turned one room into something like a shrine to their hero. (Remember–this was just two years after Elvis had died.) They were perfectly serious and the wound was fresh. I would never have laughed at them.

Anyway, some years after that I saw the classic episode about Elvis on Designing Women, where the ladies, talked into going by Charlene, make the trek to Graceland and Julia hears a sad story from a trucker named Vern. It reminded me of the Charlene-like secretary.

I know now that Elvis was just a broken human being like the rest of us, who liked to sing hymns and eat peanut butter sandwiches and who was awfully good-looking and had amazing hair. And, by the way, E.P. phone home!

TCM is showing Elvis movies all day today, including the aforementioned Viva Las Vegas at 1:15. Unfortunately, I will be at work, but maybe I’ll manage to see a little of Love Me Tender when I get home. The schedule is here.

P.S. Roll, Tide, roll!


The Wise Men do their part


Yesterday at Grace we had a Lessons and Carols with Holy Eucharist for Epiphany service complete with three little boys decked out in glittery kingly garb bringing gifts for the Christ child (see picture above sans boys). The only problem was, as usual, no one had bothered to tell the assigned lay readers that there was a change in the service which would affect them. I was a lay reader and this annoyed me, which in turn made me feel like a grumpy old lady, which contrary to popular opinion, I do not enjoy.

Once I recovered from my initial consternation, however, I was able to enjoy the service, which is a treat reserved, I guess, for when Epiphany actually lands on a Sunday. Anyway, it included the singing of many of my favorite hymns: We Three Kings, In the Bleak Midwinter, As With Gladness Men of Old, and The First Nowell. Also the wee bairns in the training choir sang and they are always adorable.

I was the first reader and read the first lesson:


I love being a lay reader, because I love the scripture. This is what keeps me going to church despite constant reservations and disagreements with all forms of organized religion. Also it was good to go to church on Epiphany and be reminded that epiphanies happen every day. Our task is not to MISS them!

It was also a great lead in to watching 3 Godfathers (finally).

This movie never disappoints. I was also reminded of the time back in the day when daughter #1 and the boy were shepherds in the “Christmas in St. Louis” parade. They rode on the float with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus and some sheep. That year there were also three wise men on real camels! One of the kings was our new daughter-in-law’s grandfather who was right out of central casting in the part of king/wise man. I wish I had a picture of him on his camel, but I’ll have to make due with this one of my children.


Little did that King on a camel know that his granddaughter would marry that little shepherd one day. Well, wise man or shepherd, we try to do our part.

We try to give Him our heart.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…

Super Chris! Guardian of babies
super chris

Son #2 is off to London for the semester at the end of this week, so the adorable children whom he “guards” on Sundays in the church nursery bought him a cake to celebrate his last Sunday. We were oh, so proud…


if slightly bemused, and very soon, full of sugar. We were also a little tired from last night’s “farewell to Chris” dinner at which I crammed nine people into my small house.

Here are a couple shots of the living room ready for visitors, although we had to move in some additional chairs (not pictured here) after the guests arrived.


In this picture you can see just how long the dining room table got — the end chair is almost touching the 1820s tufted chair, which we had to push further into the living room to allow easy access between the rooms (the tufted chair usually it sits back a bit more).


Inside the dining room (and yes, that is a folding chair in the middle):


We added both extra leaves to the table and scrambled to find both chairs and a table cloth that would fit (which it did just barely), but in the end we all fit comfortably and had a really nice dinner of Moussaka, salad, and rolls followed by a chocolate tort with whipped cream and mixed berry topping.


Now, keep your fingers crossed that the weather holds so that Super Chris makes all his flights and arrives safely in London! God save the Queen and all that…


O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Did I mention that we got a lot of great DVDs for Christmas? Well, we did. This should not be surprising to our readers.


When I was growing up Christmas was about exchanging books and records (LPs–remember?) Many jokes were made about those oddly shaped packages–was it a coloring book?! Oh, hahaha. Later CDs took the place of LPs and lately there haven’t been many of either, what with iPods and downloading to iTunes.

This year daughter #2 gave me an actual CD–The Lumineers–and it was a big hit! I have listened to it non-stop in my car. (Yes, I am an old-fashioned girl. I still listen to CDs in my car.)

Anyway, it is good to have a new bunch of DVDs from which to choose. When daughter #2 leaves this weekend for the east coast, I will have some solace to fall back upon. (Unfortunately, some of those DVDs are hers so they will be going with her.) Sigh.

R.I.P. Harry Carey, Jr.

I was busy last week and failed to notice that Harry Carey, Jr. had died on December 27. He was 91 and had lived a long, full life.

Rio Grande (1950)

Rio Grande (1950)

Henry George “Dobe” Carey, Jr. (May 16, 1921 – December 27, 2012) appeared in over 90 films as well as numerous television series. Born in Saugus, California, he was the son of respected actor Harry Carey (1878–1947) and actress Olive Carey (1896–1988). As a boy, he was nicknamed “Dobe”, short for adobe, because of the color of his hair. He served with the United States Navy during World War II.

One of my pet peeves, as you may know, is Hollywood being such a nepotiz-town. There are way too many sons, daughters, nieces and nephews in the business, if you ask me. If they weeded out all the Ben Stillers and Drew Barrymores out there…well, I’ll end this rant now before I really get going. Sorry. But clearly Harry Carey, Jr. was an actor who owed his career to his father whose famous friends like John Ford were willing to insert his son into their movies. In this case, however, Junior seemed satisfied with being a character in the background. He excelled as a character actor in such movies as Rio Grande, where he was priceless teamed with Ben Johnson. When he did get a part with featured billing, he rose to the occasion, as in 3 Godfathers, where he played the guileless Abilene Kid admirably. He is also excellent in The Searchers as the clueless young man who elicits the wrath of Ethan Edwards.


Carey made eleven films with John Wayne and at least nine with John Ford– awesome career accomplishments in themselves! He also played ranch counselor Bill Burnett in the popular Disney serial Spin and Marty and an assortment of grizzled types in his later career which lasted through the 1990s.

I did not get a chance to watch 3 Godfathers over the holidays, so I think I will watch it now in honor of Harry Carey, Jr. Vaya con Dios, amigo!

John_Wayne - 3 godfathers

I have to add that for years we have kidded my husband about being Harry Carey, Jr’s doppelganger (see top picture). But, oh my, what does the future hold?


Dedicated to many absurdities

It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one which makes many terrible mistakes: yet, with all that, God himself gloried in becoming a member of the human race. A member of the human race!

To think that such a commonplace realization should suddenly seem like news that one holds the winning ticket in a cosmic sweepstake. I have the immense joy of being a member of a race in which God became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Well, what do you say in 2013 we all try very hard not to be overwhelmed by the sorrows and stupidities of the human race and instead to shine like the sun? I’m going to try.

And don’t forget this:


A new year indeed

It is a new year and I have a new desk calendar for my office at work.


There are even sparklies on the birds.


I’m feeling good about 2013.

(via avid)

Hope you are as well. Salut!