Reboot

Of course the “Sex & the City” reboot called for a Girl Night!

Getting the requisite pizza was once again more complicated than you’d expect. Our first choice, the fabulous wood-fired brick oven baked pizzas from the Village, were not available because they were not answering their phone, and I was not prepared to go there, wait in line, order, and wait again. Impatience is (or should be) my middle name (and it wouldn’t be notably worse than my actual middle name). I didn’t have enough cash for my second choice, which is a cash-only establishment, so it was door number three, the winner because they not only answered their phone, but cheerfully accepted my debit card.

Suitably armed with pizza, I went home and fed the cats (not pizza), and was ready for Megan to pick me up. We stopped in at the post office and the Gro on our way to our family estate, to check for fan mail and get some snacks. A girl cannot live on pizza alone, though she might like to try. As Daria so wisely put it, “And there is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can’t be improved with pizza”.

Arriving at Megan’s place, it took Millie about .00002 seconds to be horrified by me and try to hide from my awfulness behind the safety of Megan. Millie may be horrified by humans in even less time than it took my former landlord Mark to fire up his generator when the power went out, previously held to be the shortest measurable time known to man.

Despite her visible horror at my appearance in her home, Millie chose to sit on the very same couch that I did, separated, of course, by the safety zone of Megan. Stella was naturally uninterested in any of this drama, being far too interested in wedging herself into the place that was the most inconvenient and uncomfortable for me, and being as snack-adjacent as caninely possible. Having her own dinner did not of course lower her interest in participating in mine.

We binged on all six episodes that were available at that time, so beware of spoilers below if you have not already binged it yourself, or rationed it out like the responsible adult HBO clearly thinks you are, since they released an episode a week and I think the last one finally airs this week.

I was delighted to see that while they referred to recent unpleasant events, in the SATC world, the unpleasantness was over and one could merrily bare one’s face to the elements and hug one’s friends. I greatly missed Kim Cattrall as the witty and wonderful Samantha, whose absence was inadequately explained, and, after his untimely death in real life, the inimitable Willie Garson as the unforgettable Stanford Blatch. Again, his absence was inadequately explained on the show, but they couldn’t kill off two characters.

The show’s attempt to be inclusive was cringeworthy to me, and felt forced and fake. The story arc with Miranda was particularly far-fetched and unlike her character, unless she was having a late in life crisis. I did not like how she dismissed her husband Steve, a good man who has always loved her and appreciated her prickly qualities, seeing the vulnerability beneath the exterior. It was especially hard to watch after their separation and reunion in the earlier movie.

All the men get short shrift in the reboot, though of course the show has always been all about the girls (again, unlike real life). The clothes are still fabulous, the writing still witty, and their world is still beautiful and gracious, separate from mere ordinary mortals, and that’s the way I like it. The very things that people criticized in the movies were the things I loved. I don’t want to see reality. I want escapism, preferably in fabulous apartments and exotic locales.

All in all, it was fun escapism and a delightful evening for everyone but Millie, and possibly Rob, who got to chauffeur me home.

A YEAR AGO: The delights of John’s kittens.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Surprise! A new, giant, blocky refrigerator is your new roommate!

TEN YEARS AGO: Encounters with law enforcement.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Arriving in Florida.

TWENTY YEARS AGO: Indoor and outdoor coffee.

Emily

Megan I had long been awaiting the return of the delightful and delightfully frivolous Emily in Paris. It is escapism at its finest, and we were ready to escape.

I took an extra day off over the holidays so we could watch all the Emilys at one sitting, and it was so worth it!

Arriving at Megan and Rob’s place, I was greeted by Stella and Millie. Millie is still horrified by humanity other than Megan, and occasionally Rob, but she feels better when she is cuddled up with Stella:

Stella has not lost her Mom skills, and clearly loves taking care of Millie.

The deck is now complete, and there is a gravel path leading to it, to cut down on the dust and mud:

Here’s another look at the path, leading away from their place:

Once inside, I discovered that our friend Monica had left me a gorgeous Christmas gift, wrapped in vintage ribbon and including a clear glass ornament with a feather in it, and a sparkly mushroom ornament:

Megan was well-prepared for our Emily Day. She invested in a cocktail shaker so she could make Midori Illusions, and it was worth it:

They are magical concoctions of Midori melon liqueur, vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice, and pineapple juice.

Rob imported pizzas from the Big Town. It was surprisingly difficult to acquire a pizza that day, both of the pizza places in the Village being chiuso in the Italian manner. We were lucky that he was willing to not only drive the pizzas home, but also me, and it was after midnight by the time I left. Season Two of Emily may have been even more delightful than Season One. We had such a great time!

A YEAR AGO: Christmas at the beach.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Happy Hannukah!

TEN YEARS AGO: Christmas aftermath.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: Christmas nightmare.

2020

Looking back on the year with 2020 vision…or 2020 hindsight.

I made a decision to keep this space free of politics and other unpleasantness. As usual, with any decision I have ever made, I am not sure I made the right one. I work at a medical clinic and could have written about what it was/is like to work in a medical clinic during a pandemic, but I don’t want to write about work and I am too frivolous for such serious topics. Also, I like keeping everything ugly at bay. This is my safe (and sparkly) space, for better or for worse, for shallower or shallower.

Despite enjoying escapist fare such as children’s books (the wonderful E.L. Konigsberg and E. Nesbit) and Agatha Christies, as well as re-reading classics like The Catcher in the Rye and the works of the divine Jane when there was no library access, the total of books read by the local library chairperson was a paltry 86, not much of an improvement over the embarrassing 82 recorded in 2019. I greatly enjoyed Elton John’s memoir, Peter Swanson’s Eight Perfect Murders, Ruth Ware’s One by One, Connie Schultz’s The Daughters of Erietown, and Alex North’s The Whisper Man. As usual, Stephen King with If It Bleeds and Michael Connelly with Fair Warning and The Law of Innocence did not disappoint.

In addition to comfort viewing (The Rockford Files and Columbo), there were some amazing TV shows brightening my screen on these dark days: City on a Hill, Succession, Escape at Dannemora, Russian Doll, Unbelievable, Perry Mason (the new one; not the classic, which is also wonderful, but very different), The Morning Show, Dead to Me, Dash & Lily, Ozark, Bad Blood, Little Fires Everywhere, Better Call Saul, Emily in Paris, and Get Shorty. If you haven’t seen any of these, check them out. You’ll thank me later.

Other than that, here’s all the news I saw fit to print:

January: A quiet beginning to the new year, with no hangover and no particular plans. My beautiful commute. It still amazes me and reveals new joys. A seemingly endless supply of meetings.

February: The gift of a new cell phone from my sister, who was tired of not being able to text me at home. It took three visits to the Verizon Store to sort of get my data transferred. The nightmare of the kitties. A long story which was entirely my fault, and you know how much I love that. The kitchen sink was full of sewage again, and the power was out. Good times. Sunny days outside and pretty inside. A lovely day. And a lovely dinner.

March: An update on my bosses, the cats. Ignoring the ignominious time change with a look around the family garden. Close encounters with wildlife. In my case, the hare (thankfully) won the race. Remembering my beloved father on his birthday. A night in town. Of tires and take-out. Michelin-starred, no less. the take-out, not the tires (though they could have been Michelins). I was shocked and saddened to hear of my former brother-in-law Mike’s death, but thankful it was a peaceful one at home. Rest in peace, dear Mike. You were a wonderful man and will always be loved and remembered with joy.

April: Michelin starred take-out 2.0. Is it conceited that I prefer my own cooking? Maybe the starriness doesn’t translate well to the take-out genre. Mom? Is that you? The tale of the grandfather clock, more than 250 years and counting (the hours and minutes). Beauty is all around me. My blog turned 19! The differences between my weekday and weekend routines. Adventures in cooking.

May: Welcoming spring. I really enjoyed spring this year. It was so beautiful. The beauty of the season was darkened by the sudden and shocking death of a dear and long-time friend. Randy, I will never forget you or your smile that lit up a room. Some reflections on Mother’s Day from someone who will never be one and who had a complicated relationship with her own. There may be a connection here. Celebrating Dodge’s fourth (or so) birthday. He is such a beautiful, affectionate little guy. Never a dull moment for Megan, at work in the ER. The month ended with the end of the Beautiful Harriet, Megan and Rob’s much-loved 19 year old cat, just two days after Megan’s birthday. Harriet (then called Olivia) made her first appearance on my blog in December, 2001. She was part of our family for a long time and will always be missed.

June: Things were flourishing in the family garden. Of haircuts and hardware stores. A happy birthday for me…and for my beloved Clyde, who turned 10. A nice addition to the bedroom. Remembering the unforgettable Ginger, our childhood dog.

July: Celebrating the Fourth of July and both sides of my heritage. Also Megan and Rob’s 29th anniversary. Here’s to the next 29! Things were shady over at the family estate. Adjusting to a Kindle. I’m still a paper book girl at heart. Rob’s beautiful garden art. A delightful breakfast at the delightful Queenie’s. Some kitty adventures.

August: Things were rocking and rolling in the family garden. I think I did a better job of using produce this year. An unexpected operation for Stella. I’m glad to report she is fine. A lot of sadness in a short period of time in our little town. Time to start cooking with all that produce. The Evil Eighteenth rolled around for the nineteenth time. I was angry this year. I will never get over losing Dad like that. A heatwave, and remembering past summers. Trying to cool down with some icy adult beverages beside the ocean. Hello, darkness, my old enemy.

September: Rearranging the kitchen after my microwave gave up the ghost, as my appliances tend to do. Audrey being Audrey. Rob: always there to make my life better. Happy birthday to my amazing brother, Jonathan. The horror of wildfires. Getting my MacBook fixed, with all the fun that entails. And getting Wednesday repaired. Attacking the Closet of Doom, with Rob’s help.

October: Rob was working hard on the Closet of Doom. It’s still a work in progress. Summer seemed to be endless. A delightful visit with a friend. I hope we can do that again soon. Yet another crown for our princess. My ex John adopted a pregnant stray cat. Meet Willow, Peach, and Daisy (I named Daisy)! Doing some project cooking.

November: A road trip to beautiful Anderson Valley. Problems with the heater. Megan started an exciting new side gig at prestigious Stanford University! An update on Willow and her kittens. Getting my third crown was about as fun as you’d expect. I hope it’s the last one, but fear it won’t be. What would I be like if I had a different name? Trying to find the right blanket was harder than you’d expect.

December: The Christmas tree went up a little early this year. And the kitchen sink needed a minor procedure. Some lights in the darkness. Best friends. Memories of Christmas past. A quiet Christmas.

Thank you for coming along with me on this journey for another year, or staying with me for another year. Here’s to a brighter New Year for all of us!

The Disappointment

You would think that the Gilmore Girls revival would be a bright spot in this darkest of Novembers, but you’d be wrong.

Within five minutes of the first episode, it was obvious that the magic was missing, and it only went downhill from there. Where was the sparkling repartee, the witty cultural references that required their own liner notes in the DVD sets?

Wherever they were, they were not in the show. There was no magic, and no escapism.

  • Why did they make Rory an aimless loser with no home of her own, drifting from couch to couch and with no career after her promising send-off at the end of the show to cover the Obama campaign?

    And would the perfectionist maker of lists really have a boyfriend she couldn’t remember (oh my GOD that shtick got old fast!) for two years and continually forget to break up with? Not to mention having casual sex with Logan, who was a) engaged; 2) dumped Rory when she wouldn’t marry him.

  • OK, Lauren Graham has had a bunch of cosmetic surgery, and not in a good, Jane Fonda way. She is virtually unrecognizable. And why on earth are she and Luke (at least she and Luke are back together) talking about having kids when they are nearly 50? And are we truly to believe that they never talked about it in the decade that they have been together?
  • Twenty, count ’em 20, valuable minutes were hideously and tediously wasted on a musical (I was truly thankful for the inventor of the fast forward button on this Thanksgiving season). A musical, people! Other than Joss Whedon’s genius “Once More with Feeling” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has there ever been a musical sequence in a TV show that was not gratuitous and painful in equal measure? This was no exception to the rule.
  • Why was Kirk in practically every scene? A little Kirk goes a long, long way. Especially when the writers erroneously consider that accessorizing him with a pig is cute or quaint or funny. It’s not.
  • Yes, it’s a dramedy, but we do not want or need extended scenes of Lorelai and Emily screaming at each other. We have both been there and done that. Nor do we need to be tortured by lengthy flashbacks to Richard’s funeral. While it’s important to acknowledge the huge, Richard-shaped hole in the show, stop rubbing our sobbing faces in it. Couldn’t you have just left it at the oversized portrait?
  • There was a teensy token appearance by Sookie, and somehow, some way, we managed not to learn the sex of the baby she was carrying at the end of the show. I thought I’d at least get to learn that.
  • Showing the oddly stilted and outdated cultural references that pepper the revival, Stars Hollow considers their first gay pride parade. Apparently the lack of gay residents is a hilarious problem, and one used to try and force Taylor to admit he’s gay so they will have more participants – while ignoring the fact that they continually refer to Michel’s invisible husband Frederick. Eventually they give up on the parade and Taylor stays in the closet. Or possibly armoire.
  • Speaking of invisible husbands, we get a glimpse of Mr. Kim! I always thought Mrs. Kim ate him after mating (once). Needless to say, he did not get a speaking role. It was almost a cameo, though.
  • As for those much-vaunted Last Four Words – the show creator has repeatedly said she always had them in mind – they would have been about a zillion times more effective if they had ended the original show, when Rory was 22, rather than when she was 32.

I had been looking forward to it for months, maybe even a year, and it could not have been more disappointing. Maybe you just can’t go home, or to Stars Hollow, again.

A YEAR AGO: A disappointment-free Thanksgiving.

On & Off the Couch

Today I felt improved enough to venture a couple of miles down the Ridge to look for a new (to me) doorknob for the other door in the bathroom. You may recall that after buying the new door and accessories, it became painfully obvious that the cheapo knob on the cheapo hollow core door would have to go.

My back did not enjoy jouncing down the dirt driveway or the dirt road leading to my neighbor’s place:

I ignored it, though, and looked through boxes of vintage doorknobs and faceplates before narrowing it down to three finalists, and finally the winner:

I knew I wouldn’t find a match, but I did find one in the same kind of tone and with a taper, so I think they will work well together. The new knob got the Rob seal of approval, too. Currently we are planning to paint the now blue door shiny black, which should look great with the black and white floor tiles. I think Rob is also going to paint the bathroom white after mudding in the wall next to the new door. It’s going to look great.

When I got back home, I put on the heating pad and then applied Glam Glow’s Thirsty Mud mask and Bright Mud eye treatment while enjoying the soap operatic antics on Nashville. The best line of the season has to be Juliette Barnes saying, “I guess nice just ain’t my color.”

The Couch Report

I’m still on the couch, but I’m getting better. The Magic 8 Ball and I are both pretty confident that I’ll be able to go back to work at the jobette on Saturday. I’m all set up, with pills and water close at hand, along with phone and TV remotes, all the better to watch Daria with, my pretty. It occurs to me that Erica is much like Jane Lane. Also, is it wrong that I have a crush on Trent? I mean, he’s a lot younger than I am. Also, he’s a cartoon, so our relationship is probably doomed.

Probably.

From my vantage point on the couch, it has come to my attention that Yellow Cat seems to think that he is now a semi-regular member of the cast, rather than a cameo as I thought. My lack of mobility has impeded the shooing process, but I have twice ejected him from the studio, where he was chowing down on cat chow with an air of entitlement that I found disturbing. I also caught him peeking in the living room door, and he didn’t leave until I levered Self off the couch, tossed the blanket aside, found my sandals, and lumbered out into the garden, carefully avoiding the construction materials spread around in order to avoid yet another Calamity Suzy episode. Later, he was hanging out in the sun by the new tree, and I’m sorry to report that I turned the hose on him, Grinch Girl that I am.

I never thought I’d be the kind of mean old lady who soaks neighboring cats, but he started it by fighting with my cats. Fortunately, they seem to run into the house and avoid YC as much as possible, so even if he is here eating all their food, he isn’t clawing them to pieces, so maybe this is the compromise we’ll all have to live with. And you know what a compromise means, kids: it means nobody’s happy.

On the bright side, the cats have been keeping me company in my time of need. Clyde has been multitasking by keeping me company while simultaneously napping:

Roscoe took advantage of my relative immobility and flexeril induced carefree attitude to get a drink on the counter, which is normally forbidden territory:

Sometimes a guy just needs a drink.

Meanwhile, outside, Audrey was keeping an eye out for Yellow Cat and any other would-be intruders:

Who needs locks for their doors when they have Audrey and The Glare of Death to keep trespassers at bay? Except of course for Rob, who brought me frozen pizza and ice cream and worked a bit on my bathroom, keeping the invalid company. Even Audrey loves Rob.

Birthday Girl


Birthday Garden

As you can see, my birthday dawned bright and beautiful. All the doors are open, and scent from the honeysuckle bush is wafting in. There seem to be more flowers than ever this year, and the hummingbirds are buzzing around it all day.

Yellow Dog came by, still looking for Schatzi after nearly a year. I wish I could tell him that his friend is no longer here to play with him. I should try and find his continued visits comforting rather than sad. I didn’t realize what an integral part of my day seeing Schatzi was until she was gone. She would trot by a few times a day, never coming in the house but always nearby. I could always count on seeing her smile and her distinctive prance. We all miss her so much.

Speaking of coming in the house, Yellow Cat just came a few steps into the hallway by the “front” door. It’s lucky for him that Audrey is Elsewhere. He certainly is a handsome boy. Even though I don’t live in Michigan, where they are considering a limit on the number of pets per household, I think I’ll self-impose a three cat limit for this household. I’m sure part-time cat staff Rob and Megan would agree.

While coffee perked, I waited for the ever-slow satellite interwebs to download my email, which was taking longer than usual. I was horrified by the number of messages until I realized that about 99% were birthday, not work, related. Huzzah! There was a really nice one from John and a text from my brother saying, “I’m so glad you were born. When do you want your party?”

I’m looking forward to champagne (already chilling) and Season Two of Orange Is the New Black, which will be released on Friday. It used to be that Sex & the City started their new seasons near my birthday, so OITNB is my new birthday present. I’m looking forward to watching it with my fellow fan Megan.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! It’s lovely to be loved!

Slow Progress


Cuddling Cats

Yesterday, I woke up to the delightful and unfamiliar sound of rain on my curved roof. I knew it wasn’t enough to banish the drought which was recently declared in our County, but I enjoyed the sound. We got half an inch, but now we’re back to sunny skies (or clear, or fair – what’s the difference?) with a faint chance of rain on Friday at the earliest.

As for me, I’m better, but still tired, coughing, and using enough Kleenex to make me wish I’d bought stock in the company. Is it insider trading if you know you’ll be using the product by the gross for an extended period of time? Come to think of it, that’s probably the definition of insider trading.

Anyway, I’m sick of being sick and disappointed that I’m not completely better after more than a week. Of course, I’m still well enough to work, just not to do anything fun. Megan and I were planning to see a live broadcast of the National Theatre’s production of “Frankenstein” at the beautiful Arena Theater on Saturday, but we both reluctantly agreed that I wasn’t well enough. I really wanted to see it – it stars the delightfully named Benedict Cumberbatch, also the shining star of the BBC’s stellar series Sherlock* – not to mention the proximity of Franny’s of the magic coffee and cuteness.

But cooler heads prevailed, and I ended up watching the trashy soap operatics of Reign** (picture an even less historically accurate The Tudors crossed with the frothy, costumed delights of Gossip Girl) with the cats. Above you can see a non-great picture I took with my iPhone***. That’s Roscoe in the back. The boys hardly ever cuddle, so it was a nice treat.

*It’s finally back! And I’m not the only one who’s excited.

**I am officially old. Megan Follows, who played Anne in the “Anne of Green Gables” series, plays a wicked queen with a teenaged son in “Reign”. How did that happen?

**Which has yet to ruin my life.

EV

Like the rest of the world, I have fallen in love. Hard. With “Downton Abbey”. “Obsessed” is probably not too strong a word.

Sure, I love the fabulous costumes. The gorgeous settings (Highclere Castle is now a Destination for the Devoted). The wonderful ensemble cast (though I fear the next season appearance of the dreaded Shirley MacLaine, who has not yet learned to be more than mediocre or less than tiresome despite her multiple lives). The scandals and melodramas.

It is the Suzy-est thing EVAR.

But watching Season Two and the Christmas Special made me think less about these frivolous (yet delightful) things, and more about my grandfathers, Ernest and Ernest.

Ernest Victor, named for the Queen, was born in 1893 in Southwark. It was, and remains, a not-lovely part of London. It was bombed heavily during WWII – the war both my Ernest grandfathers fought in not turning out to be as advertised “The War to End All Wars” – and when I went to visit the site of his birth in 1993, the only thing left of that century was the long disused railroad stable, with the fading painted sign on the brickwork.

I only learned afterwards that the day I chose to go – and my father to accompany me, despite his lack of interest in geneology – was in fact Ernest Victor’s 100th birthday: October 13, 1993.

And it was much later that I started to piece together things about him that were odd. His mother registered his birth, a month after the fact, in a time when men almost always did these things. He was barely 21 when war broke out and he signed up.

He went to France and saw unimaginable horrors. He was gassed. He suffered from what I now realize was PTSD, called “shell shock” then. It has lately been acknowledged that most, or perhaps all of the painfully young men who were shot at dawn for desertion suffered from what we now call post traumatic stress disorder – the same thing that haunts every day and night of my friend Paul’s life after what he saw and did in the Vietnam War. The same that woke Ernest Raymond, my mother’s father, screaming, just as it does Paul.

I learned that all 306 young men shot at dawn for cowardice were posthumously pardoned – in 2006.

Ernest Victor never spoke to anyone in his family again after he returned from France, other than his sister Elsie, who in turn would become my father’s confidante.

He was a big shot in international banking at Lloyd’s, an incredible achievement for a man of his background. He never once told his only son he loved him. That was, my father said, understood. But my father’s last words to me were, at the end of a routine phone call, “Love you lots.”

Ernest Victor, for all I loved him, is a mystery to me.

Halloween

Before we get back to our regularly scheduled post, I just have to say (well, shout):

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

Yes, for the first time in 56 years, the San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions!

I still can’t quite believe it. Wow.

I followed the game’s finale with the final two episodes of this season’s “Mad Men”, and without giving away the plot, I’ll just say that I found the ending unconvincing and weird. Also that it was the bleakest season yet. Can’t wait for next season, though. Same goes for the Giants.

And now back to Halloween…

roscoetv
Roscoe gets in the Halloween spirit

On Halloween morning, I introduced Jessica and the kittens to “The Munsters”. Jessica was immediately captivated, especially by Lily*, seeing through the make-up and finding her beautiful. She also liked Lily’s signature bat necklace, saying “And it’s bling, which we love.”

Megan came by to pick us up, and we started our grand Halloween tour in town, where there was a party at a pet food emporium. We met up with Lu and Harlow:

harlowchief

You can see that Harlow is much bigger than last year.

In addition to bobbing for hot dogs for the dogs, gift bags for all, raffles, and games, there was face painting. Jessica got in the Halloween spirit with a spider:

jessspider

Then we stopped in at the Town Hall to see the Day of the Dead exhibits. It was so wonderful that it deserves its own post.

Finally, we all repaired to Lu’s house so Jessica could get ready. I was charged with putting make-up on around the spider. The white make-up supposedly glowed in the dark, but it didn’t seem to when the time came. It was kind of a challenge blending the white with the green and the spider. Also, Jessica’s skin is so fair it’s almost translucent, and utterly smooth and flawless.

She wouldn’t let me give her witchy eyebrows, so I just darkened hers:

jesswitch1

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there are glow sticks around her wrist and ankle. Needless to say, her mother made the dress:

jesswitch2

I have to admit I was a little surprised that Jessica didn’t want to be something more unusual. But she looked adorable.

In the village, Dr. Karen’s office was open and decorated to the nines (or thirteens). She was dressed as a mad scientist and dispensed treats for dogs, cats, and kids as well as grown-ups, in the form of free wine. We went on to the street fair, where the Flynn Creek Circus performed:

circus

You can see that the weather had finally cleared up after trick or treating us with ten inches of early rain. As the evening went on, the stars were out in full force, as if they had missed us.

Despite the starlight, trick or treating in the dark was tricky for Self, though Megan and Jessica had no problem bouncing along the village streets. I lagged behind, convinced that I’d trip over something or fall into a hole, but I managed to survive this particular Halloween unscathed, unlike last year.

We ended up at the historic Crown Hall, where there was a costume judging contest for the kids. I can’t begin to describe the racket in that place. Not for the first time, I marveled at parents and their patience, and wondered how my own put up with so many kids and so many Halloweens, so long ago.

*Played by the lovely Yvonne De Carlo. She was the secret Canadian in the show. You’ll find one in every TV show. You’ll see.

Survival Modish

Whew. That’s over, at least for now. I was thrilled to wake this morning to the welcome sight of the fabulous fog wrapping the palm trees in glamorous glory. The girls are no less delighted than I am, and are racing around the house instead of wilting furrily by the door, gasping for any errant wisp of air. If panting wasn’t so undignified, they would have been doing it right along with me.

When you have a few days of intense heat in a row, it seems to accumulate like compound interest. By yesterday afternoon, it was suffocating in my house. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe, like I was drowning in hot air. It’s a horrible feeling. Fortunately, by late evening, the sea breeze started up, and overnight the fog fairy granted my wish.

My cheapness won out over my love of luxury, and I didn’t flee to a motel after all. Instead, I watched How to Marry a Millionaire, especially enjoying Betty Grable’s befurred insouciance as she visits a snowy Maine lodge with a grumpy older man, under the misapprehension that the lodge in question will be full of Elks rather than surrounded by, well, elks. Fortunately for Betty, the lodge is accessorized with a handsome forest ranger*. Meanwhile, back in New York, Marilyn Monroe is a sight for sore eyes while trying to hide her near-sightedness in the belief that “men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses”. Honey, believe me: you could be wearing Coke bottle specs and they’d all still be at your feet. Especially in that red number.

I was amused to note that Lauren Bacall’s character is named Schatzi! I’ve seen the film many times, but never made the connection between the Park Avenue princess and the canine one. I wonder why that is?

My favorite scene is still the fashion show, where all three girls model clothes for Schatzi’s would-be beau, who Schatzi is convinced is poor, while in fact he is a billionaire. It was a great way to take a girl’s mind off current circumstances: beautiful cast, gorgeous costumes, and New York, New York!

*I love that old TV show, The Forest Rangers. It’s so charming.

L’Ennui Suzy

Lately, I’ve been catching up on the most recent season of Damages. Yes, it ended in April, but I usually wait until a TV series ends, then download it, so I can watch two or three episodes at a time instead of having to wait a week for a new one. Not to mention avoiding commercials, particularly those for boy problems* and girl problems and various syndromes (why is everything a syndrome now?). Patience is not one of my few virtues, so pretty much the only things I watch live are sports and sometimes the news (though I think the news can be summed up nearly every day by saying the messed up parts of the world are still messed up, someone shot someone, and there’s a missing kid somewhere).

Anyway, everyone on “Damages” is spying on or secretly taping everyone else, and I couldn’t help thinking how insanely bored someone would get staking out my house.

“The car hasn’t moved in four days.”

“She’s coming out of the house…oh, she’s picking up the paper and feeding that stray cat.”

“Leaving the house…going to BART. Must be going to work. She never leaves the office except to go straight home.”

“Car heading in different direction from BART. Oh, it’s the Safeway and the library** again. (They’re right across the street from each other.)

“Can anyone’s life really be this boring? It must be a cover.”

*The number of Viagra ads during the last World Series made me wonder if it was a comment on the players, the viewers, or both.

**A guy was found dead outside my library branch a month ago, though I didn’t hear about it at the time.

Sicko

Today I followed the advice of a wise friend and took it easy. I stayed in my PJs all day and other than necessities, like feeding indoor and outdoor cats, mostly watched TV, which is one of the only good things about being sick. After the Red Wings game this morning (3-0 Detroit!), it was a Veronica Mars binge, whose sweetness was tempered by the bitterness of knowing that it, like almost every other TV show that gains my love, has been cancelled.

In one episode, Veronica summed things up perfectly for me: “I’m so sick of not having money! I’d be the best rich person. Seriously. I’d be the perfect combination of frivolous and sensible. Money is so wasted on the wealthy.”

Really, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Since I am, sadly, not wealthy (or at least not yet), I have to work, which involves going to Sacramento for a conference tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll feel better by then. Remind me to tell you about my foray to Golden Gate Park yesterday, and about the creeping menace, ‘K?

TV

I don’t think I’ve watched as much teevee in the past 20 years as I have in the past couple of weeks. My Mom always has the tv on (ironically, since my parents would hardly let us watch any tv when we were kids) in the hospital, even though she’s asleep half the time. It seems rude to read, so I just watch tv with her, whether she’s awake or not.

The result of this is that I’ve really gotten into ER, about a million years after the rest of the world. There I am, just doors away from a real ER*, watching it on tv (back-to-back episodes at 10 and 11!). My sister, who works in a real ER, just rented the first season on DVD, and when we’re done at the real hospital, we go home and watch the tv one together. Is that weird?

One thing I definitely know is weird is pet food commercials. The makers of these gross-out fests seem to be laboring under the delusion that dogs and cats shop for their own food. No self-respecting cat I ever met would deign to do such a mundane errand, and dogs never know what’s good for them, so the people end up doing the buying.

News for pet food purveyors: We ain’t gonna eat the food. So close-ups of gelatinous brown chunks don’t make us want to buy them. It makes us want to blow them. Got it?

*There’s some debate in my sister’s hospital about renaming the Emergency Room the Emergency Department, since it’s more than one room and everything else is a department. And the ER staff I’ve seen here are nowhere near as cute as the ones on tv. Go figure.

Rainy Monday

When the alarm went off this morning, it was raining so hard that I almost called the whole day off on account of weather. But after a cup of coffee and a couple of chapters of The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, the rain had decided to go and annoy someone else. The sky looked very confused, as if it, like me, was wondering where the hell this rain came from and why it took so long to go somewhere like Seattle, where it belongs. I hope my umbrella stays where it is, gathering dust, until Thanksgiving. After all, it’s practically summer.

Which means that the TV season is ending. Seems like just about every show has its season finale this week or last week, other than Sex & the City, which starts up again in July. It used to start on or near my birthday, but S-J Parker’s unscripted pregnancy seems to have thrown the show’s writers a curve. I wonder how they are going to handle it? They can’t have both Carrie and Miranda with babies. One baby is more than enough, and has often been proved to be too much. Look at Mad About You. Destroyed by Mabel.

I watched the season finale of Dawson’s Creek on Sunday morning. Yes, I realize that I am far too old to be watching the Creek, and that everyone else is over the Creek, but since I have no vices to speak of, I think I can be allowed this one. Anyway, Pacey was trying to talk to Audrey, his justifiably pissed-off girlfriend, before she got on a plane to go home to LA for the summer. So he bribed a security guard to let him use the PA system, and broadcast a heartfelt apology (which of course won her over). He ended his impassioned speech with an equally impassioned “Free the West Memphis Three!”, which I thought was so cool I almost woke John up to tell him about it.

If you aren’t familiar with this case, check out this site and/or watch the two documentary films, Paradise Lost and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations. Truly one of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent years, and especially frightening when you consider that these three young men are facing life in prison in two cases and death in the other simply for daring to be different in their intolerant, Bible-beating home town. So help if you can, and be thankful you don’t live somewhere like West Memphis. If you do, move. Now.

Mary & Rhoda

Remember that scene in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” where the two title characters are arguing bitterly about which is the “Mary” (i.e. cute) and which is the “Rhoda” (i.e. less cute)? The argument gets so heated that they actually have to pull over, even though up to that point they were speeding along traffic-free freeways (which never happens to me).

Even when “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was in its heyday, I thought Rhoda, with her wisecracks and actual personal style — even when she was supposedly fat — was much more attractive than stick thin, uptight Mary with her matronly clothes and stiff, lacquered hair. The Mary of “Dick Van Dyke” was so much cuter and sexier in her little capri pants. What happened? The MTM Show Mary’s puritanical personality could and did rob even a miniskirt of its sex appeal, whereas you got the impression that Rhoda was much more, shall we say, warm-blooded. Plus she’d make you laugh afterwards, and possibly even during, which I consider to be a bonus.

And I gotta say, Rhoda has the last laugh. I saw a few seconds of a trailer for Mary’s latest TV movie, undoubtedly some form of tear-jerker, and she looked freakish and frightening. I don’t know if she’s the victim of platic surgery gone disastrously wrong, but she looks like a hard-faced creature from another planet. Valerie Harper, on the other hand, has made a couple of guest appearances lately looking fabulous — on “Sex & The City” and “That 70’s Show”. She’s still got wit and style and is undoubtedly still turning heads — and not because she looks like an alien. Maybe one day that scene in “Romy & Michele” will be funny because viewers will wonder why anyone wants to be the Mary.