It was important for me to launch my blog on the first day of autumn (if you continue to follow my blog in the future you will find out why.)
I have been thinking about starting a blog for sometime. People are often telling me I should write a book, but I’m not sure I actually have enough of a “story” to do that (or frankly, the discipline.) I have several social media accounts and I use them to discuss a variety of topics, but all of them seem too limiting. Because, the truth is, I’m a talker. If I had a nickel for the number of people who have told me to “try to be succinct” or “keep it brief” or “don’t be so wordy”, well, I’d be a super rich person.
To be honest, it was James Corden’s response to Bill Maher’s fat shaming segment that finally motivated me to get my rear in gear. I was incredibly frustrated that I didn’t have a real platform to discuss that specific issue. I also recently stumbled across a massive amount of information related to menopause and/or weight and I feel the need to share all of it as much as possible.
It was for these reasons that I knew it was time to finally create something where maybe, just maybe I could not only help other women who are going through menopause or starting menopause or wondering about menopause or are scared shitless about the prospect of menopause, but that perhaps I could also help people in general understand about women’s health, weight loss/gain, body issues, fat shaming and the mental health concerns that go along with all of these things.
I am not a medical professional, I am going to say that straight out, but I do hope to get opinions in the future from individuals in that industry. I also will be citing articles, studies, and books that contain legitimate scientific research.
So, there’s my first post. It’s not much, just an introduction really, but I think it might be one of the more difficult posts I will have to make. Because it was tough figuring out exactly why I wanted to do this and what I wanted to accomplish. Let’s see what happens. Are you with me?
1. This Reaction to a Young Fan’s Gift – If you’re not a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo already (or if you haven’t heard of him), you will be after watching this. THIS is the kind of athlete we want kids to have posters of on their bedroom walls and who they should hope to be like someday and try to emulate.
Here’s more… when asked by a reporter, who taught him about keeping his ego in check, this was Antetokounmpo’s answer:
“When you focus on the past, that’s your ego: ‘I did this. We were able to beat this team 4-0. I did this in the past. I won that in the past.’ When I focus on the future, it’s my pride: ‘Yeah, next game, Game 5, I do this and this and this. I’m going to dominate.’ That’s your pride talking. It doesn’t happen. You’re right here.
“I kind of try to focus on the moment, in the present. That’s humility. That’s being humble. That’s not setting no expectation. That’s going out there, enjoying the game, competing at a high level. I think I’ve had people throughout my life that helped me with that. But that is a skill that I’ve tried to, like, kind of — how do you say it, perfect it, master it. And it’s been working so far. So I’m not going to stop.”
By the way, I love Giannis full name – it’s Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo. How gorgeous is that?!?!
[Found the second tweet via CBSSports.com – you should read the full story, the guy who wrote it is very good]
2. This Auction of Sylvia Plath’s Recipe Cards and Rolling Pin at Sotheby’s – Sadly, when someone’s life ends so tragically, one tends to make assumptions about what their life must have been like or how they lived. Myself, being someone who lives with depression (albeit moderate depression), I think that if a person is so depressed that they are driven to take their own life they must be miserable all the time. I don’t know why I think that. It’s certainly not that way for me. But then, I’m not suicidal.
When I get depressed all I want to do is build a cocoon around myself and not let anyone in. I don’t want to talk to people, I don’t want to go anywhere, I don’t want to do much of anything. I just want to pass the time with things that will distract and take very little mental effort. For me that generally means watching mystery television series from the 80s, 90s or 2000s and doing puzzles.
But I know other people who have depression and their way of dealing with it is much different. Some like to throw themselves into their work. Some like to surround themselves with friends and family. Some like to clean their house or do gardening or repairs they’ve put off. No one deals with depression exactly the same way. Everyone is unique.
My point is, there is a lot more to Sylvia Plath’s life than her being depressed and having committed suicide but unfortunately, that is mostly what people learn about and remember. But it’s really lovely to see these recipe cards with Plath’s handwritten notes and the names/ nicknames included in the recipes titles, which for me always is indicative of affection and sentimentality.
3. This Movie (This Beautiful Fantastic), Which is Currently Available to Stream FOR FREE on YouTube – A friend of mine suggested this movie to me a while back and I was lucky enough to catch it while it was streaming (can’t remember where) but shortly after I watched it, it was removed. For months it hasn’t been available anywhere. Now it looks like in addition to being available on YouTube it’s available on Amazon Prime. But I’m never sure when I see something that says it’s available on Prime (for free) whether it’s because I have the Masterpiece & PBS memberships or if it just is generally free.
Either way, whether you try watching it at the link below or watch it via Prime, I highly recommend this movie. It stars Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey, Charlotte Wells in Harlots and Elizabeth McKenna in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) as Bella, Andrew Scott (John Parry in His Dark Materials, The Priest in Fleabag, and Moriarty in Sherlock) as Vernon, and Tom Wilkinson (Author in Grand Budapest Hotel, Graham Dashwood in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Gerard in The Full Monty) as Alfie Stephenson.
The premise of the story is that Bella lives alone in a small house which she rents. She’s a unique person, a bit compulsive, who likes to keep to herself. Now I’ll tell you, she works in a library, but that is only one of several reasons why I love this film so much. Many reviews call it a modern fairytale and it truly is.
Bella has a small garden behind her house and part of the rental agreement was that she needed to tend to the garden but she has let it go. She meets her neighbor, who is an ornery SOB, and not long after that happens, a representative for the owner of the house comes by for an inspection an discovers she has not kept her side of the deal. He tells her he’s going to have to evict her but she persuades him to let her have a month to fix the garden up.
I don’t want to tell you anything more but the characters are wonderful, the film is visually beautiful, and it has a magical quality to it.
4. This HISTORIC News from Chile – I mean, it’s actually rather pathetic that the first time a constitution is being written by an equal number of men and women is in 2021 but, well, it’s still commendable. (And there are negative nellies out there.)
5. These New Emojis – Turns out it was “World Emoji Day” on Saturday. I am excited about the disco ball! Though does it seem like these are a little male-heavy to anyone else? It could just be my mental state right now. These are awaiting approving and will become available in September.
6. This Airship of the Future – The airline industry is responsible for about 5% of global warming and these ships will “operate with 75% fewer emissions than a conventional airplane.” It may take longer (but look at how comfortable it will be.) Yes please!
7. This Incredible Pencil Shop in Tehran – There are a lot of bazaars in Tehran. I don’t think that this is in the Grand Bazaar. The video below says it is in the “Traditional Market” which I believe is also called Tajrish Bazaar. One person describes it as being “located in a corner of the bazaar between the two mosques in Tehran.” I can hear the call to prayer.
And here’s a video (pre-pandemic). You don’t need to speak arabic to be impressed or to find the owner, Mr. Rafieh, completely darling. Anyone so passionate and knowledgeable, how can you not love them?
1. These Japanese Pastries – Nobody makes more delicious looking pastries than the Japanese. These are from a patisserie in Iwakura, Japan. Aren’t they incredible? For more photos visit this Instagram.
2. This New Book by Architectural Writer John Ota – A friend of mine recommended this book and I must say, it wasn’t what I expected. It far exceeded my expectations!
Ota and his wife wanted to create the perfect kitchen so he decided to travel across North America visiting kitchens from various eras found in a baker’s dozen of renowned homes, several belonging to some rather famous people including Thomas Jefferson, Georgia O’Keefe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Julia Child and Louis Armstrong.
Each chapter begins with a simple, hand-drawn sketch of a kitchen as well as a floor plan. Not surprisingly, Ota discusses the aesthetics, features, and functionality of the kitchens but he also covers the history and culture of the person, place and/or time associated with the room. He ends the chapters with a short letter to his wife Fanny, sharing with her what he learned and what he felt they could incorporate into their own space.
3. This Video of Alan Rickman Making Tea – as the title says, it’s epic. (It’s been around for a while but Alan was trending a week or so ago and whenever I think of him I think of this, among the dozens of other fantastic roles he’s done.)
4. These Bulldog Puppies – If you don’t want to rub those little bellies you aren’t human. (And those piggies!)
5. This Art Jeweler, Sarella Suarez – I bought the piece below (in silver) at an art festival this weekend. I LOVE IT so much! It’s about 30 inches long so it can be doubled and worn as two necklaces or worn as one long necklace. During festival season many artists have few pieces listed on their websites so at the moment Sarella only has a couple things in her online shop – you may want to check back again around October.
6. This Hydrangea Bush – I love hydrangeas but I had never seen this color, isn’t it gorgeous??? A friend of mine and I went to the Whitefish Bay Art Fest on Saturday and we parked on one of the side streets. As we were making our way toward the main road we saw these. It wowed us.
7. This Trailer for Season Two of Ted Lasso – There are a lot of shows I’m watching but this one brings me the greatest joy. Ted Lasso is Mr. Rogers for adults. If you haven’t watched it yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. (Season two begins streaming on July 23rd!)
1. This Announcement that Pinterest Has Banned Weight-loss Ads – Pinterest is the first (and only) “major” social media network to ban weight-loss ads. Why is this a big deal? Not only does it end the constant promotion of the messed up theory that people (women primarily) can only be attractive if they are “thin.” But for people with eating disorders, it is removing a significant trigger that has lead them to have body dysmorphia. More social media networks need to follow suit.
In fact, the entire dieting industry should be investigated. Samantha Bee did a two-part story on her show a few weeks ago about how the weight lost industry is in overdrive now that the pandemic is being deemed “over,” focusing their ads on how people need to lose the weight gained over the past year and a half. As Samantha points out, we just survived a pandemic, that was STRESSFUL. If you happened to put on a few pounds and don’t look like you did in 2019 – so the fuck what?!?!
In part two she talks with a doctor who even says that dieting has been shown to do the opposite – it can cause people to put ON weight. I can attest to that. After a lifetime of chronic dieting all I’ve done is put on much more weight than I’ve lost. (If you haven’t heard about the ‘Set Point Theory‘ you should read about it.)
2. The New Statue Honoring Princess Diana – I think it’s lovely. But it’s being ripped to shreds by art critics and people who reported on Diana and basically, anyone who has a strong feeling and/or opinion about Diana.
I like what this woman tweeted…
3. This Woman, Kataluna Enriquez, Who is the First Openly Trans Miss USA Contestant – clearly she’s beautiful.
4. This Video Showing that the Problem at the USPS is NOT the Employees – I’ve always known this. Though I will say in MY neighborhood, it is the USPS delivery person who is also part of the problem. But that is a fluke.
5. This Early 19th Century Painting by Marie-Denise Villers – Originally thought to have been painted by David, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has rejected that attribution and determined it was painted by Villers. It looks like Marie, the model, is doing some sketching – I imagine she’s looking out the window. Do you think she’s drawing the couple across the way?
6. This Camera Man – Not only did he outrun all the sprinters but he did it carrying an 8-1/2 pound camera and dressed in street clothing. Here’s a video.
7. This SNL Skit – A friend of mine reminded me about this a few weeks ago (thanks Jeanne!) I laugh every time I watch it. And not just the ha ha kind of laughing but the belly laugh kind with a few snorts tossed in for good measure.
2. This New Show on HBOMax,Starstruck – It’s a good indicator when I binge-watch an entire series in a single evening that a show is good. When I keep thinking about it for days after and talk about it with multiple people, well, that’s a sign that it’s excellent and this series definitely falls into the “excellent” category!
Not only that, it could have been written especially for me – London, Indian leading man, sassy, hilarious, normal sized leading lady (though I’m sure they will refer to her as being “plus-sized” when they write about the show), did I mention LONDON!!! Swoon, swoon, and swoon!
3. This Podcast, ‘You’re Wrong About’ – The podcast has been around since May of 2018 so I’m a little late to the party (it was named one of the ten best podcasts by Time Magazine in 2019) but the topics they discuss are varied and most are historic (albeit more current history). Two journalists, Michael Hobbes, who writes for the Huffington Post, and Sarah Marshall, who is currently working on a book and whose work has appeared in Buzzfeed, The Believer, and The New Republic, review a specific media event and try to explain how the public was misled or came to misunderstand what really was happening/happened. For each podcast they bring in experts to include in their discussion on the topic.
A few episodes I’ve listened to so far – the Anti-vaccine movement, the Electoral College, O.J. Simpson, Tuskegee Syphilis Study and all five episodes they did on Princess Diana.
4. This Artist’s Work – Anna Hoyle‘s work makes me happy. I was drawn to her work for obvious reasons, the faux book covers and piles of books are fantastic. Not surprisingly, Hoyle is Australian. People from Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and some of the surrounding islands) seem to have the greatest sense of humor! The details are what make it so marvelous.
5. This Street Art – I was in my hometown of Dubuque last weekend. Over the past five years there has been a surge of street murals popping up in the downtown. As you can see, they are quite remarkable.
6. This New Collaboration Between Diverse Dining and CityTins– For my fellow Menopause Broads and anyone else following me who lives in the Milwaukee area…
I have been a fan of CityTins for years. The female-owned company was co-founded by Christin Cilento and Tara Laatsch in 2009. They had the brilliant idea of using those wonderful bar coasters as a way to promote local restaurants. The way it works is you buy a tin full of at least 20 different coasters. Each coaster is worth $10 off from the place that the coaster advertises. Tins are worth minimally $200 but once you’ve used three coasters you’ve paid off the cost of the tin.
The benefit to the restaurants is that it gets people in the door and maybe even gets new customers. I know that when I buy a tin I tend to try all the places (admittedly, I go to my favorites or places I’ve been first.)
I hadn’t heard of Diverse Dining. It “creates a space for people of different backgrounds and cultures to come together to remove barriers, engage in meaningful conversation, and foster togetherness through food, fun, and friendship.” I can’t think of a better program for a time when we, as a country, need to work harder on diversity and anti-racism.
There are different themed tins for you to choose from. I’m definitely getting a Diversitin and a Milwaukee Tin. There are restaurant tins for Madison, Lake Country, and Fox Cities. There is also a special “Staycation” tin for Cedarburg. They make fabulous gifts!
7. This Toaster Museum – TOAST! People that know me will understand my excitement at finding out there is a toaster museum. You know how Tom Hanks is obsessed with typewriters? I think that is fairly common knowledge, right? Well, I’m about that obsessed over toast and toasters. (Though admittedly I don’t have the money or space to have dozens of antique toasters in my home.) Still, looking at this takes my breath away.
1. This Happy Baby Penguin – though I disagree with what the person wrote on the post. I don’t believe that a baby penguin can ever be too excited for cuddles!
2. This Impersonator – Mary Elizabeth Kelly’s expertise is as a “mouth impersonator.” When you watch the video you’ll see what she means by that. Visit her Instagram – she has so many videos and each one is more amazing and/or hilarious than the next.
3. This Tweet for Pride Month – Genius!
4. This Little Guy – He is going to be famous someday!
5. This Video on How ‘I Spy’ Books Are Made – I’m too old to have enjoyed ‘I Spy’ books as a kid (obviously) but having been a children’s librarian for 12 years I was able to live a second childhood and appreciate many things that most people my age only know about if they had kids (which I suppose most do.)
I’m sure, like me, those familiar with Walter Wick’s work have never given a single thought as to what goes into making one of his books. I had NO IDEA – just wow!
6. This Beaded Art Installation by Liza Lou titled “Kitchen” – “The 168-square-foot installation, a monument to unrecognized women’s labor, started off as a riff on Pop Art, as seen in the razzle-dazzle brand-name cereal boxes and cleaning products scattered throughout the scene. But over the years of making the work, Lou became increasingly activated around feminism and started to see beads as a metaphor for the female experience: ‘small, pretty, diminutive, decorative — those sorts of things that are kind of pejorative that we have around femininity, around women,’ she said.”
It took her five years to complete it. Absolutely gorgeous!
7. The Statue of Liberty’s “Little Sister” – France is sending us a gift again, a second Statue of Liberty! This one is 1/16th the size of the original, weighs almost half-a-ton, and will stand on Ellis Island opposite her “Big Sister.”
“The statue symbolizes freedom and the light around all the world,” said Olivier Faron, general administrator of the CNAM (Conservatoire national des arts et métiers – In English: National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts). “We want to send a very simple message: Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment. We have to conserve and defend our friendship.”
1. This Hand-painted Art on Trucks in India – There’s art everywhere you look in India. You can be in the most isolated, rural village and find wonderful sculptures at the side of the road or in front of a hut; ornate carving on archways, doors and pillars; incredible paintings on walls; or beautiful saris hanging out to dry.
Indians see a blank canvas in places most of us wouldn’t – trucks (and taxis) are two canvases they use with extraordinary creativity and skillfulness.
Here are more photos I took on my trip last February (returned just two weeks before the “lockdown”)…
2. This Flower Installation – done by my sister-in-law in Camas, WA. She and my brother own an amazing place called Acorn & The Oak. It’s a restaurant (inspired by Midwest supper clubs) paired with a flower shop. If you are ever in that area I highly recommend you stop there. Or if you know people who live in Washington State/the Portland area (it’s only about 30 minutes from Portland) be sure to tell them about it!
Happy Pride Month!
3. This Stand-up Act by Bob Newhart – I’ve been a fan of Bob Newhart’s standup for decades. Sadly much of it didn’t age well (though I personally still enjoy it) like his bit on Sir Walter Raleigh and “To-bac-co”. Well, now that I think of it, in essence, pretty much none of it ages well because people don’t talk on the phone anymore and they certainly don’t use landlines but regardless…
This one still works and he’s just so damned cute.
4. This Photo of Anthony Fauci and Joan Baez – Joan Baez was recently one of the honorees at the Kennedy Center (along with Garth Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, violinist Midori and choreographer Debbie Allen) and she took Anthony Fauci as one of her plus ones! How cool is THAT!?!
I guess they met after Dr. Fauci saw a portrait that Baez painted of him and they ended up talking on the phone. When Baez called him to ask if he’d be her guest to the Kennedy Center event he said well, it depends, there could be a problem. So Baez responded, “Tony, you’re not going to tell me the sexiest man in the world doesn’t have a tuxedo, are you?”
Fauci replied that he did indeed have a tux but that he needed to know what the COVID safety protocols were. He’s the real deal!
In case you’d like to see the painting Baez did of “Tony,” it’s here.
5. This Diffuser from Thymes – It smells like I imagine heaven smells like. With the weather being so warm I’ve been trapped inside with air conditioning (I do not do well in weather over about 78 degrees.) I feel like I need to have a few diffusers around the house to freshen things up. I think I may have included this in a previous ‘Seven Things’ post but this is on sale right now. (If you buy it I recommend also getting a refill and a packet of reeds too. Besides the fact that the refill is on sale as well, the three things combined will get you over the $50 minimum to get free shipping.) Click on the picture below to go directly to the product page.
6. This Incredible Necklace Entitled “Sheer Elegance” – I actually have TWO extremely talented and artistic sisters-in-law. Here’s another wow-inducing item from one of my Illinois sisters-in-law. This one makes all her jewelry from these tiny little seed beads. This piece is truly a work of art. If you click on the image below it will take you to the product page or you can click her to go to here ETSY Shop.
7. This Really IS the Funniest Flight Attendant Ever – There’s a reason why Southwest Airlines has a reputation for having entertaining flight attendants and I’ve seen several videos of safety speeches that were hilarious but this one is by far the best.
1. This Design by Stephen Burrows – If you haven’t watched Halston yet on Netflix, DO! They rather thoroughly cover “The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show” which occurred on November 28, 1973. Publicly it was advertised as an event to fund raise to revamp the Versailles, which was in dire need of restoration, but it also was an opportunity for American designers to show that they could hold their own against the French.
Many of the designers who were involved in the ‘Battle of Versailles’ have either retired or passed away but Stephen Burrows is not only still around but he’s on Instagram!
2. This Parody of the famous Queen Song called ‘Menopause Rhapsody’ – I mean, is there anyone who doesn’t love the song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,” even when it’s used for satirical purposes? This is kinda genius.
3. This Painting – ‘The Merchant’s Wife at Tea’ by Boris Kustodiev, painted in 1918, oil on canvas; at the State Russian Museum.
4. This Fascinating Short Film about the Last Matriarchy in Europe – Kihnu is a small island off Estonia’s western coast. There are men on the island but they work as fishermen and leave for long periods of time. So the women are left alone and have learned to do everything for themselves. It’s an incredible microcosm and it would be tragic if it was lost. In fact, the Kihnu culture is on Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list. But the younger members have been leaving to go to larger cities, where they can make more money and have more options.
Of course this is happening everywhere in the world. It used to be that people grew up and tended to live in the community where they were born. I know if you look at my family, both my parents had three siblings and five of them live within a 50 mile radius. Then if you look at their kids, even just on my mother’s side of the 14 grandkids only TWO live within a 50 mile radius.
Still, I think there are young people who would like to live this lifestyle. All those millennials into cottagecore.
Still, trying to find them might be difficult and of course they all would want wifi. And the current residents of Kihnu may not welcome newcomers.
5. These Gorgeous, Biological Illustrations by Ernst Haeckel – “Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel was a German zoologist, naturalist, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including ecology, phylum, phylogeny, and Protista.” [Found on MessyNessyChic]
6. This Poemby Alison Luterman – thanks to my friend LeAnn for posting it.
7. This New Series on PeacockTV – To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have watched this (I can’t start a new series!) but then I saw the cast – Sara Bareilles (Jesus Christ Superstar and who doesn’t love her song ‘Brave‘?), Busy Philipps (been in a bazillion things and I just adore her), Paula Pell (most famous as an SNL writer but also recently did a hilarious Quibi series called the ‘Mapleworth Murders’), and Renée Elise Goldsberry (one of the original Schuyler sisters!) The premise of the show actually seems made for me (the only thing I would have changed is making them an 80s band instead of a 90s band – obviously.)
Girls5eva used to be a popular girls band back in the 90s when these women were only teenagers. The name plays on the number of band members. Unfortunately things happened and the band separates and loses touch.
One day Dawn (Bareilles) hears a popular rapper doing a cover of one of Girls5eva’s songs on the radio. It occurs to her she’s owed some royalty money so she checks in with her old agent. She finds out he’s been sitting on the royalty checks for almost three months and the checks will be void with a day so because she doesn’t want her former bandmates to lose out on the cash she decides to deliver them and reconnects. I don’t want to get into any more of the storyline but here’s my thoughts:
I had no idea that Sara Bareilles was just a good actor (yes another one of those people who is multi-talented
Sara Bareilles wrote the songs used in the show, so of course they are amazing
I really wanted to like Renée Elise Goldsberry’s character (Wickie) better but I feel like they haven’t developed her character enough/told enough backstory – I pray they do a second season!
Was kinda bummed that they had all the women except Paula Pell play themselves as teenagers because she’s the only one who isn’t “thin.” I think they should have gotten teenagers that looked like the three other girls too.
I think anyone who considers themself a Menopausal Broad can use a “second chances” story.
Word of the Day
Quote of the Day
One last thing that I have to close with, a video from ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.’ He wasn’t on the air but he did gift us with one of his delightful web exclusive videos. As usual, John Oliver nails it.
1. This Patent Drawing – Which finally puts to rest the question over or under. I don’t mean to gloat but I KNEW IT and my Mamma never lead me astray.
From My Modern Met:
Over or under? This is the question that has plagued the Western world since the invention of modern toilet paper. It was in 1857 that New York-based inventor Joseph C. Gayetty developed the first packaged variety to be made widely available in the U.S. However, it wasn’t until 1871 that perforated rolls of toilet paper were invented. Seth Wheeler filed a patent for his innovative design for the first time that year, and he filed another for a refined version of his invention again in 1891.
The illustrated diagram from Wheeler’s 1891 patent sheds some light on how the toilet paper roll was originally intended to be used. According to the image, it appears that the dangling end was designed to hang over—rather than under—the roll. This may be a crippling blow to those who are of the persuasion that under is the way to go. Even so, if hanging your toilet paper roll under is wrong, they probably don’t want to be right.
2. These Videos about Women’s Clothing in History – They are all just too good. The first talks about how women’s clothing may actually have been created to help protect. The second gives the history of how standard sizes came to be and the motivations behind doing so (hint, it’s always money.) The third video is a fascinating history of why men traditionally wear pants and women traditionally wear skirts (or did they….)
And last but not least (and this is a a wee bit of a stretch but I’m including it) a video about the clothing in the show ‘The Nevers‘ – my current favorite television show, which can be seen on HBO Max. They’ve already aired the first half of season one (8 episodes) and will be airing the second half sometime in the fall I believe (another 8 episodes.) As the vlogger mentions, the show is extremely historically accurate with their costumes (and she should know, it is her area of expertise.) She takes the opportunity to bust the myth that clothing from that era was extremely restrictive. There have been anti-corset campaigns for some time. Certainly the extremely boned corsets that reshape the body are not/were not good, but for women of this era most weren’t wearing the tightly drawn or heavily boned corsets (like Scartlett O’Hara). Unless a woman was from a wealthy family she would have been quite active and probably wouldn’t have had the luxury of having a ladies maid.
3. This Article about the New Version of the Game ‘Oregon Trail’ – A fascinating essay where the author, who is a black historian, is in a battle between his longing for childhood nostalgia and truth-telling in history. Is there really any correct way to make a game about colonialization?
4. This Article on Book Curses – In medieval times, because books were handmade, written by scribes, and took a long time to make, they were rare and had great physical value. Most scribes and book owners did not have the financial means to protect their libraries with armed guards so instead they used words to fend off would-be thieves. Fortunately for them, most people believed in curses so it worked fairly well.
What I want to know is why don’t we use book curses today? They would look so nice on a bookplate. Even if most people don’t believe in curses anymore, at least it would remind them to keep their paws off of things that aren’t theirs.
I looked up some more and found one [here] that I am going to make into stickers so I can put it inside all my books:
Whoever steals this book Will hang on a gallows in Paris, And, if he isn’t hung, he’ll drown, And, if he doesn’t drown, he’ll roast, And, if he doesn’t roast, a worse end will befall him.
From a 15th century manuscript owned by Count Jean d’Orleans.
5. These Articles about Coco Chanel and Her Nazi Connections – I’ve always been a huge fan of Coco Chanel so when I first read about this it made me extremely sad. The first article was from nearly a decade ago and appeared on MessyNessyChic. It was written about eight months after the book Sleeping with the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan was released. This was the first book to really include details about her involvement with the Nazis (not just that she was dating one) such as her code name, agent number, that she was included in nazi missions and worst of all, that she had taken advantage of her “Aryan rights” (meaning the seizing of Jewish-owned property and businesses.)
The second article was equally interesting. This one appeared on Forbes last year. The author is trying to determine if we can justify overlooking such a horrifying past in someone like Coco Chanel, whose left such a legacy. It’s an interesting question. I think this might be a good analogy – what if there was a building built by the nazis and after the war, all that remained was the foundation. So the French come and build a ground floor and the English build a 1st floor and the Norwegians build a 2nd floor (I’m doing the european counting of floors) and the Danish build a 3rd floor and so forth. And each floor is filled with beautiful things. But ultimately that base was built by nazis – should the entire thing be torn down and rebuilt? Should it be moved? I don’t think so.
BUT what I do think is that Chanel should stop avoiding Coco Chanel’s horrific history. I know that they think it can’t be good for PR but what they need to do is use it to help and get ahead of it. Just admit – we realize that our founder was a nazi sympathizer, possibly a nazi collaborator and our response is that we are appalled by the information as much as you are. Our founder was a talented woman and we cannot deny that Chanel wouldn’t exist without her genius but the nazi atrocities were unforgivable and that she was involved is a huge black stain on the origin of our company. They could put their money where their mouth is and contribute to a Holocaust organization.
My believe is that we should not be completely erasing bad history but instead we should be making it accurate and using it as a teaching opportunity.
6. This Article about How Women in the UK/Ireland Were Duped into Believing it was Bad to Drink Tea – Though it’s me who is saying that the women were actually duped. The article implies it but doesn’t come right out and say it. Neither does this one.
Here’s the situation – first and foremost, tea was considered expensive back then. So was sugar if you wanted to sweeten it (because milk and honey in tea just doesn’t work.) Right away men (husbands and fathers) were going to say that women shouldn’t be drinking something as expensive as tea.
Then there were the wealthy, who liked to feel that drinking tea was something the gentrified did, certainly not the poor.
And of course, there was concern that women who sat around drinking tea would have time to talk to one another and that could lead to anarchy.
Even without social media, the “powers that be” managed to get messages out that women shouldn’t be drinking tea – said it was “unhealthy”, it made you lazy, etc. And the worse part is that the poor, uneducated women were the ones that bought into the lies and helped spread it. Hmmmm, that sounds vaguely familiar.
7. This ‘Self Portrait’ by Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston – I was thrilled when I finally found out who this photo was of and what it was about. I’ve loved it for years! Taken around 1896 by the photographer herself, it is supposed to represent the “new woman.”
Here’s a great article about the photo and the photographer from Smithsonian.
1. These New Quarters – Can you believe that these are the first U.S. coins with women on them? Now I know what you’re going to say, you’re going to say, but wait, there was the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar but come on, that wasn’t really a serious coin. How many people use silver dollars? They just did that to placate us.
2. This Documentary about Rita Moreno – I’ve always loved Rita Moreno. She reminds me a lot of my Mom’s best friends but I also think her time on The Electric Company, well, she’s one of those celebrities who you feel like is part of your family, do you know what I mean?
I watched this as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival (you could still buy a ticket, it’s virtual and goes until May 20th). There will be several options for you to see it in the future:
On June 19th the film is going to be shown in theaters nationally
PBS is going to be airing it as part of its current (35th) season of American Masters (probably in the fall or early next year)
And it will be available to stream on the PBS app once it airs (the PBS app is free)
So, depending upon how badly you want to see it (and whether you are already vaccinated) you can seen it next month or you will have to wait a little bit but either way I highly recommend seeing it.
3. This Rental Property – It’s the home of The Royal Tenenbaums! One of the best of Wes Anderson’s films. $20,000/month is a lot of money but there are six bedrooms so if you got five of your friends to join in, $3333/month for a place like this in NYC would actually be kind of a bargain.
Set on the fictional Archer Avenue (real address: 339 Convent Avenue in Hamilton Heights), the 1899-built Flemish-meets-Romanesque-Revival house was built by Jacob D. Butler (who’s also behind the Neo-Romanesque Lincoln Building in Union Square). It’s roughly 100 feet wide (on the side facing West 144th Street), with large bay windows on one end and a turret on the other. Inside: 6,000 square feet cover five levels (the bottom three of which have elevator access), with six bedrooms, six gas fireplaces, and over 50 windows. Plus an inordinate amount of original character: antechambers, stained-glass transoms, closets with skylights, and ornate mantelpieces carved with urns and flowers. It’s renting furnished for $20,000 a month.
4. This Video for the Song ‘Pretty’ by Ingrid Michaelson – Michaelson is a big fan of the show ‘Stranger Things’ and each of the songs on her album ‘Stranger Songs’ is inspired by something from the show. I think this is (IMHO) the best song and I love the video – so empowering.
5. This Anti-Smoking Sign from 100 years ago – Sadly it shows how difficult it is to fight against major companies who have access to politicians. Think about the fact that there actually were people 100 years ago who knew that tobacco was bad for us (not that you needed a rocket scientist to figure it out) and the tobacco industry and even members of the medical profession would promote smoking as being safe. The first warning labels didn’t show up on cigarettes until 1965 with the “The Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965.”
6. This Instagram – Illustrator Mauro Gatti believes that positive attitudes are the key to reducing anxiety and good mental health. After the year that we all want to forget he started “The Happy Broadcast.” In addition to his Instagram he has a website and a podcast. Check it out for a daily dose of positivity!
1. This Little Girl Who Got To Meet Her Hero, Reyfrom Star Wars – This shows how important it is that we have more strong, female lead characters in films. I LOVE Rey. I wish we had role models like her when I was a kid. “Younger” Leia was okay but nothing like some of the women girls have today, even “older” Leia. Still, it’s only a start.
2. This Essay by George Orwell on How to Make a “Nice Cup of Tea” – Originally published in The London Evening Standard on January 12, 1946, the essay includes eleven rules that Orwells says you need to be follow to make a good cuppa. The text below is rather small so if you click on the graphic it will take you to the Orwell Foundation website and the full text (which is owned by the Orwell Estate and Penguin Books and why I’m not reprinting it here.)
3. This Swedish Street Food: Tunnbrödsrulle – Tunnbrödsrulle is mashed potatoes, sausage or hot dogs, lettuce, shrimp salad, mayonnaise dressing, onions, ketchup and mustard all wrapped up in a thin piece of flatbread. Anthony Bourdain once said that one particular Swedish street food was, “…the most disgusting thing ever…and I love it.” I know that I want to try it! I May give it a go this summer if a few other people are game to try it with me…
(By the way, I found out about Tunnbrödsrulle from Beryl Shereshewsky who is one of my most recent obsessions. She did a video on how people [around the world] eat hot dogs. Here it is.)
4. This Image that Shows How the Athenian acropolis may have looked with its original paintwork back in the 5th century BCE – I LOVE these sort of then and now images. I wish there were more of them.
5. This NYC Ballerina with Alzheimer’s Listening to Swan Lake – no explanation necessary.
6. These Virtual Origami Classes through the Japanese Culture Center in Chicago – Lasting only 30 minutes, they are held every Wednesday and Saturday. It’s just the right amount of time to do one project. Loads of fun and by doing it every week you can improve your skills.
The classes on Wednesday and Saturday are the same so choose which day works better for you; the class is at 1 pm on both days. The cost is a donation – recommended amount is between $5-10 per class. You can sign up for a free trial class here.
I made this on Saturday (my first class.) In case you can’t tell, it’s a table and chair. The thing I think is great about these items is the first several folds for these are used for many other origami pieces.
7. This Photo of LeVar Burton and Patrick Stewart – Two of my most favorite people on the planet. (By the way, Levar did a new ad for Ryan Reynold’s Aviation Gin and not surprisingly it was a hoot!)
Word of the Day
Quote of the Day
Three good friends went for a swim. The one who was fat wished she was thin. The one who was curvy wished she was clever. The one who was clever wished she swam better. The really great swimmer wished she was witty. The one who was witty wished she was pretty. All three friends thought the other two were just fine. If only they could let their own bright light shine. So throw on your swimsuit if you’re fat or you’re thin. Enjoy fun and friendship …. love the skin that you’re in!