I was trudging about Giant,

consulting the list,

doing the shopping–when suddenly I heard heavenly voices singing in heart lifting harmony: "CHERRIES, CHERRIES, CHERRIES!"
I suppose it was advertising—not actually angels from the realms of glory.
Nice, though.


Lessons learned

I was going to give this hard earned advice to my daughters, and then thought, wait, the lads need to know this as well, and then I thought, wait, what about my sister and sisters-in law, and brothers, and –well, well, why not all my friends too.
So listen well, dear fellow human beings. Time beats against us all, and we gradually are losing the battle. But never give up the fight! Keep your joints flexible, your muscles limber, your brain entertained! And, keep your skin lubricated!
I’m sure you moisturize your face (if you don’t, please start now) but also, rub that stuff onto your fingernails and your toes. And all the rest if you have the time and energy. But keeping your toes from drying out will help prevent or at least reduce all kinds of nasty ailments, including ingrown toenails and corns.
And, not a bad idea to find a good podiatrist.

Il Tabarro

I am listening to Il Tabarro, Puccini’s fabulous verismo opera, set in the Paris docks–the stevedores and their wives are the characters.
Reminding us that everyone– stevedores, dukes, kings, bakers, candle makers–are all equally human and deserve our honor and respect: fellow denizens of this world we live in.
This shining recording stars Sherrill Milnes, Leontyne Price, and Placido Domingo–you could not ask for a more gorgeous set of voices for this beautiful music. It brings tears to my eyes, every time.
My friends who have no love for opera wonder why one bothers with this ridiculous art form, so complicated and expensive, so old fashioned. WHY, Hope, why?
I find it completely irresistible, but also I know that it took some schooling, some study, to learn to find it so–and possibly without that bit of help, this astonishing music is just so much caterwauling.
But who can listen to Michele crying out to his young wife: “Perchè non m’ami più?”–why don’t you love me any more? –without being moved? Not I. Simple words, set to magnificent music. It helps to know what they mean, of course–and there are many many translations available.

Here is the recording.
I feel obligated to warn you that this opera does not end happy. But such music!

Father’s Day

Thank you, and thank you again, to all the fathers that were, fathers that are, and fathers to be!
I was blessed with a wonderful dad, who was–in addition to his many virtues–such an entertaining man, such fun to be with. I realize that not everyone was as lucky. But mostly, the dads I see about me are trying so hard, being the best dads they can.
So here’s to you, lads! Well done!

Marvel Movie

I fear some aspect of ageing has rendered me unable to appreciate worthy movies, so that I find myself watching the most desperately silly stuff. With handsome guys! Which reminds me of my older daughter explaining why football was great: large men in tight pants. The ridiculous comic book movies do indeed feature large men in tight pants. Which is, of course, very nice.
Though, one likes to think one appreciates, you know, the finer things.
And I do! Do I not subscribe to the ballet, to the opera? YES! Do I not read complicated and excellent books? YES! Well, mostly. There are the Vampire/Werewolf in Victorian London series. I’m not proud of my eager haste in reading all of those.
Come to think on it, perhaps I am losing brain power, dear friends.
See, I started watching Ladybird, which everyone agreed was a fine well made modern movie. Alas, alas, I just couldn’t keep watching it, despite the totally believable Saoirse Ronan–a splendid young actress, who was so fine in Brooklyn.
What, Hope, already missing the guys in tight pants?
And then, Netflix slyly offered me Thor: Ragnarok, one of those Marvel Comix productions. It’s jokey, violent, colorful, imaginative–in fact, fun to watch. Silly, unbelievable–but, fun to watch.
Jeff Goldblum makes a fabulous villain, effete and self involved, with a large unamused lady aide, who keeps him in line.

Together they rule over some kind of entertainment empire, and both Thor and Loki are somehow entrapped. And both are as beautiful as the day, so that really, there is no problem with just watching them. They have good lines, too.

AND, Anthony Hopkins plays their dad, Odin. And Cate Blanchette their sister, the, uh, GODDESS OF DEATH. She has a fabulous unfolding hat with antlers, REALLY effective. She is SO BAD.
They all seem to be having a ball. And of course, they are making millions of dollars, which can’t hurt. Hiddlestone and Blanchette have made serious movies, which, come to think on it, were also fun to watch.
So maybe it’s not old age, it’s just good sense that has me watching fun movies that are, after all, made to entertain.

Too too shaming

Sometimes I find I must sternly rebuke myself.
When for instance I slavishly watch a show of such complete cheesiness that you could spread it on bread for lunch.
Such, such was the show Amazon presented to me, a Russian fantasy of truly epic silliness—and yet, there I was watching it–entranced from start to finish.
Well, mostly entranced.
See, there we are in Ancient Russia. It is, of course, snowing. A lovely young woman–a PRINCESS– is being readied for her WEDDING! Her clothing is exotic, fabulous–and what’s more, the marriage ceremony has her placed on a little boat and pulled across a lake while the winsome villagers sing their exotic Russian song.

But WHAT IS THIS???? The song accidentally calls forth a DRAGON who steals the princess away to his hidden island! And she finds herself in this stone cave, with a –REALLY REALLY– handsome young man lurking about. Well, well, he is the dragon, no surprise there, and at first she HATES him, but then she learns to LOVE him. There is a certain amount of leaping about, innocent happiness kind of thing. Then, plot twist, they are separated–but love conquers all.
It is, as I said, shaming to find that a decent old lady can watch such stuff, but there I was.

You will not be surprised to learn

that it ends happy.
Though one wonders what their charming little daughter will do for schooling and companions on their little island, but WHATEVER.
Terrible trailer here.
Now I shall go watch Thor Ragnarok.
Truly, I have no shame.

My morning activities are completely circumscribed, elegantly scheduled, so that I appear in the kitchen exactly an hour after rising from my bed–washed, brushed, dressed, and ready to feed the ravenous cats. As I fill their 3 little bowls, I usually sing them the Cat Feeding Song, but they have no interest in art, merely prowling back and forth darting me sad looks of anguish and starvation. Once the bowls are down and the cats are gobbling their breakfast, I turn to my own humble meal. Today: oatmeal! With dried cranberries and raisins, a veritable feast! As it cooked in the microwave I expertly made the coffee–a complicated process which involves grinding the beans, setting them in the machine, etc. I flatter myself on my coffee prep skills–if there were a prize for making the breakfast coffee, I would surely have a good chance of winning it. And as for apple slicing, well, I cannot but confess that I wield the corer and knife with astonishing dexterity.
Oatmeal done! Neatly turned into the bowl, sprinkled with sugar.
Then, I opened the refrigerator to get the milk.
I had forgotten to buy milk.
In the end, I opened a can of evaporated milk, and reluctantly poured a bit of the oddly beige liquid onto my lovely oatmeal. It was…OK. I managed to eat the oatmeal and its alien milk.
But I thought, next time check your supplies, Mrs. Expert Breakfast Preparer.

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