Chick Lit

My sister in law lent me a book with not only that quirky sort of name a lady cannot resist (=The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) but also the kind of story guaranteed to melt a lady’s heart– and though I tried not to be charmed, well…. I WAS in fact charmed. Yes, this author had my number, along with that of MANY MANY other sentimental ladies just like me.

So anyway, it is 1946, right after the war, and a delightful young British woman is living in London. The world is picking up the pieces, dealing with the terrible mess and despairing loss and frantic turmoil–which those of us who didn’t live through that time can’t imagine. We are the lucky ones, we must never forget that. My parents’ generation, they lived through that time.

SO, a chance letter from someone in Guernsey eventually results in a visit there; she finds out about the hard times the island suffered under German occupation, and writes a book about it. It is all written in letters, and is a short and pleasant read.
We cannot always be reading Tolstoy and Joyce, after all.

And of course, a movie was INSTANTLY made of it. The movie does not of course abide by the book–why would any producer do anything so boring? Plot details happen. We are treated to a lot of excellent costumes and scenery–and let me tell you, Guernsey is extremely very beautiful. At least the movie ends as the book does, with our luscious heroine choosing the most handsome of a stunning trio of gorgeous men. YES, he is a pig farmer–but, a SENSITIVE pig farmer.

#1 is her publisher, and disqualified because–gay.
#2 she initially accepts, and can barely RAISE HER HAND what with the weight of the diamond ring he gives her.
#3 is the pig farmer and my, that man is handsome. Also sensitive, as I said. He loves her, she loves him! YAY!

So, all is well in Guernsey. They will live happily ever after.

What is Potato Peel Pie made of, you ask? POTATOES. Just potatoes. No, not very delicious.


One for the Ladies

I have just watched an ENTIRE series, simply because of the beaux yeux of the actor who is playing, yes, another BROKEN HEARTSICK detective. He has all the necessaries:

  • An adorable perky daughter who loves him but who goes with the mother in the separation.
  • His apartment is a mess.
  • He smokes and drinks, and is mostly very sad.
  • But has of course a heart of gold.
  • And yes, he has a gorgeous secretary.

I am a sucker for these things.

And it was not JUST his handsome face that drew me in, but also the lovely city he sleuths in–Edinburgh. My, such a beautiful town to be sure.
So, I will give a passing grade to Case Histories, starring the charmant Jason Isaacs, who was such a HORRID VILLAIN in Patriot Games. A very pretty fellow.

Even 18 years later with wrinkles.
My one complaint is that Series 2 became darker and darker, literally and figuratively. I kept thinking, TURN ON THE LIGHTS.

My nephew was visiting, and yesterday we drove to Great Falls, to see the mighty waters–always a stunning and humbling sight. It briefly occurred to me that the endless rains might have had some effect on the river, but I dismissed the thought–the drive is so lovely, through the green wilderness, and down the little winding road to the park entrance. There was a LONG LINE of cars waiting to pay the fee and enter, and it was only once we were next in line that I saw the sign: Great Falls viewing overlook is closed due to flooding. Also the Billy Goat Trail. Sigh. Well, I paid the $10 anyway, and we walked through some rather grim construction to a big cement platform that offered a view of the river–raging water, brown and turbulent, rushing through flailing trees–here is a quick vid view. Not the falls–but what a vision.
When people mention the Potomac River, it is with a fleer and a jeer–the name is contaminated with the fog of politics that emanates from the city it bisects. But looking on those surging masses of raw power I felt nothing but awe.

Just as I exulted over the triumph of finally getting a new phone–NOT an easy task, comrades, and certainly not a cheap one–I have been struck down with ghastly back ache. The kind that makes you walk VERY carefully and say ouch when arising from chair. You don’t even have to type in "pain" when you start searching on "lower back". Everybody has it, everybody longs for a magical cure.

I have had this before, but when I was younger I was outraged, questioned doctors, demanded that I be set back to normal.
Now that I am old I think, maybe this is just the way things are. And though past experience leads me to hope that it will diminish if not completely disappear eventually, I have no great expectation of ease.

On Getting Old

I have had cause to note that along with the gradual deterioration of the body, aging also diminishes the brain. Ever alert to the onset of senility, I am horrified at each word forgotten, each digression from the path.
So imagine my dismay as I gaily sang to the cats that Chicks and Ducks and Geese better scurry, when I take you out in the….CURRY? SLURRY? BLURRY? I simply could not remember the name of the vehicle with the fringe on the top. Google of course instantly supplied it, namely: SURREY. Which I stared at, thinking, what on earth is a surrey. Well, it is a "

popular American doorless, four-wheeled carriage of the late 19th and early 20th century."

As long as I can still manage to look up answers to these significant questions, I guess I can manage to avert collapse.
But I shall NEVER give in to Gmail’s sly hinting of responses to emails. Or at least. I hope I shall never give in.
Should you spot an email from me briefly announcing," Cute!" or "That’s great news! " just assume my next communication will be from the nursing home.

Smoky and the Bandit

Like all proper East Coast ladies, I never liked Burt Reynolds–a vulgar man, an icon of low class bad taste.
And yet, after his death, when Amazon offered me his spectacularly popular movie, Smoky and the Bandit–which of course I had never seen, being too busy with esoteric foreign films–I thought, I’ll give it a chance.
It is a bright film, cheery and insoucient–and so very American. Yes, vulgar, yes, ridiculous–but you can’t watch it without smiling.
There are of course roaring engines and clouds of dust as fast cars and mighty trucks furiously chase one another through the verdant fields of America. My enthusiasm is limited for such stuff, but the scenery was great, and everybody was having a grand time.
What really won my heart was the genial and happy communication among the truck drivers and other CB enthusiasts. Wonderful language, great accents! We all know some of the slang–10-4 and Smokey are part of everyday vocabulary. But how about a Kojak with a Kodak (meaning, a cop with radar)? Or, a Choke-n-Puke (meaning a truck stop)- silly stuff, but, well–irresistible.
AND Jerry Reed singing the songs— he is a fave rave of mine. Has been for years.
I am still not a Burt Reynolds fan–but in his cocky insufferable way, he was fun to watch. All those powerful cars, adorable guys, ridiculous stunts–it gave me that proud to be American feeling.
So go pound sand, esoteric foreign films.
10-7, good buddies!

How many hours to Babylon?

Tomorrow I shall visit the Pakistani embassy to get visas for 3 colleagues who will be attending a November meeting in Islamabad. That is, assuming the would-be travelers have sent me the one last document needed for this complicated process: a recent bank statement.  I have everything else, which is to say, 1) their passports, 2) completed visa forms, 3) invitations, 4) glowing letter from current employer, 5) completed document of business good will as required on the (rather clunky) website.
It will take FOUR TO SIX WEEKS.
And each visa costs $331.
Some countries are rather casual about visitors–no visa required to visit Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, many others–but not this one.
I am filled with admiration for my colleagues–so casually making ready to travel to a dangerous and disagreeable place. They believe in what they do, and for all I know, they may be doing good. In any case, I admire them–good people who spend their precious lives flying in airplanes for hours and hours. To them I raise my glass: may their missions succeed! And may their dinners be the BEST AIRLINE DINNERS EVER.

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