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My First Blog Post

If not me, who? If not now, when?

— Emma Watson.

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?

Seven Things I Love: Inauguration Day (1/21/2021 – Special Edition)

I am going to guess I’ll be adding to this in the future but I want to get this posted this afternoon so I’m going to stop here…

1. This Celebration in Kamala Harris’ Ancestral Village – I believe I lived in India in my last life so this makes my heart swell.

2. This Poem Read by the Youngest Inaugural Poet in History – Amanda Gorman finished writing this poem immediately following the Capitol riots.

3. These Coats – I’m not ashamed to say it, I will always notice pretty things. What the First Lady wears (and so will what the Vice President and first families wear too) has always had a significant impact on fashion. Here’s a Town & Country article on the best coats at the Inauguration. Here’s an article on Dr. Biden’s inauguration outfit. Here’s an article about Vice President Harris’ ensemble. And here’s an article about what Michelle Obama was wearing.

Second Spouse, Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and President Joseph R. Biden
Emma Emhoff, Kamala Harris’ step-daughter stole the show with her coat.

4. This Performance by Lady Gaga Singing the National Anthem – Gaga did NOT disappoint. I had already been teary-eyed by openly weeping by the end of this.

And JLo’s performance was beautiful!

5. This Unfamiliar Act of Humility – looking forward to all of us acting more kindly, respectfully, generously, humanely, and with humility. Everyone knows you must lead by example.

6. This Field of Flags – between the pandemic and the potential risk of domestic terrorism there couldn’t be many people in attendance at this Inauguration so an installation of flags represented those who could not be present. The flags represent every state (with Washington D.C.) and territory including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Here’s a time-lapse video of the installation of the flags.

Flags are placed on the National Mall, looking towards the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial, ahead of the inauguration of
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Approximately 191,500 US flags cover part of the National Mall and represent the American people who are
unable to travel to Washington, DC for the inauguration. JOE RAEDLE/GETTY

7. This 93-year-old Inauguration Announcer – no explanation necessary.

8. I wasn’t going to include this but just had to.
Good night, good bye, and good riddance.

A POEM FOR THE END by Sheila Dershowitz

Good night loon,
Good night goon,
Good night nastiest man in the room.
Good night lies,
Good night spies,
Good night rants and alibis.
Good night twitter,
Good night tweets.
Good night all those crazy bleats.
Good night red hats,
Good night cruel chants,
Good night sniveling syncophants.
Good night wall,
Good night cages,
Good night endless midnight rages.
Good night fine people on both sides,
Good night losers, good night suckers,
Good night evil nasty fuckers.
Good night Ivanka
Good night Jared,
Good night Barron, we hardly knew ya.
Good night thief,
Good night grief,
Good night cruel and callous chief.
Good night fake news,
And Fox and friends,
This is how the nightmare ends.
Good night at last.
It’s time to go,
The American people told you so.

Goodnight Loon: A Poem For The End found on Crooks and Liars

9. And let’s end with the President’s Inaugural Speech – which Fox News’ Chris Wallace called the “best inaugural address” he’s ever heard.

10. One last one. The First Tweet from the @POTUS Account…. under new management. A significantly different demeanor from the previous @POTUS user, n’est ce pas?

[Updated – have to add this, from the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Five Things I Love (1-18-2021)

1. This Video of Annie Lennox Playing Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ – proving that even celebrities have to practice and worry about getting things “perfect.”

2. This (Supposed) Real Life Weather Report for Southerners – honestly, if all weather reporters did this I think we’d have a lot less accidents in the winter.

3. This Takeover of TikTok by Sea Shanties – I’ve been a fan of sea shanties for a few years, even before I saw the movie ‘Fisherman’s Friends‘ (and if you haven’t seen it yet, you must watch it!) Now they are popping up everywhere – marvelous!

(Stephen Colbert predicted the sea shanty craze.)

@miaasanomusic

Added strings to @anipeterson’s version as well because I got so many requests! @nthnevnss @_luke.the.voice_ #fyp #seashanty #wellerman #viral #fiddle

♬ original sound – miaasanomusic

Of course Seth Meyers was way ahead of the times with his Sea Captain….

4. This Cocktail Created for Genevieve Lantelme – I can’t remember the circuitous path I took to get to Genevieve Lantelme but the internet has a way of doing that. You start in one place and end up someplace completely unrelated and it happens fairly quickly.

Miss Lantelme was a French stage actress back in the early 20th century. Born Mathilde Hortense Claire Fossey, she had a tough childhood and a short life. Mathilde’s parents divorced when she was a kid and although custody went to her father, there is a memoir written by Simone le Bargy, another French actress, who said that Lantelme ended up in a brothel run by her own mother by the age of fourteen.

The one positive about working in a brothel is that Mathilde met a lot of rich and powerful men and one of them, Henry Poidatz, a banker and owner of Le Matin newspaper, was able to back her stage career. That was when she became Genevieve Lantelme (Lantelme was her mother’s maiden name.) Her nickname was ‘Ginette’.

It took about 7 years but she eventually made it big, getting a leading role in 1908 which resulted in her being pictured on postcards and magazines covers, fashion designers creating gowns for her, and newspapers and magazines in both the U.S. and Europe doing stories on her. She was a star.

She also became the mistress of a playwright (Alfred Edwards) who was on his fourth wife. He divorced the fourth and married Genevieve in 1909. In early July 1911, Lantelme, her husband Edwards, and a few of their friends boarded Edwards’ yacht, L’Aimée. On the night of July 24/25, Lantelme disappeared, and a few days later her body was discovered in the waters of the Rhine River. She was twenty-eight years old.

The death was determined to be an accident but many people suspected that she had been dispatched by her husband. In fact a few newspapers even ran stories with the accusation and Alfred Edwards sued them and won. (FYI, not surprisingly, Alfred Edwards was 27 years older than Ginette. He died less than three years after she did from influenza though he was only 57. He had also married his sixth wife, another actress named Gabrielle Colonna-Romano. Gabrielle was five years younger than Ginette.)

The Ginette Cocktail

  • 1 oz Cognac
  • ¾ oz Dubonnet Rouge
  • ¼ oz Lemon Juice
  • ¼ oz Maraschino Liqueur

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oils from a lemon peel into the glass, rub the rim with the peel, give it a twist and toss it in.

Of course if I were going to invent a new cocktail for a French woman whose nickname was Ginette it would have most definitely have included gin. It also would have included champagne and/or St. Germaine. Probably like this St. Germaine Champagne Cocktail.

5. This History of the Tiny Doors of the U.S. Capitol – everyone loves miniature things and these have (had) a purpose.

6. This Artist Known as the “Glitter Queen”Sara Shakeel uses actual Swarovski crystals, glitter, and constellations to create physical and digital imagery which she uses to share her passions, chronicle current events, and convey her opinions on social issues. Plus it’s sparkly!

Be sure to watch the video…

7. This New Stanley Tucci Series on CNN – VERY excited about this one! (thanks Ann.) Debuts on Sunday, February 14th.


Word of the Day


Quote of the Day


Have a Fantastic Week!

Seven Things I Love (1-11-2021)

1. This Photographer, Kirsty Mitchell – she is possibly my favorite photographer and I was lucky enough to get to see an exhibit for her book “Wonderland” in 2017. And incredibly they allowed photographs! I purchased the book (a completely worthwhile investment) but I love that I have several gorgeous digital shots. Here are a couple of my favorites (a few are close-ups of sections of photos; I thought I should limit how many full photos I posted – to see more be sure to visit Kirsty’s website!

2. This Indian (Comic Book) Super Hero – excellent use of a popular character to get health messages to kids! You can download a .pdf of the comic book here.

3. This 3-Year-Old Who Dressed Up As All Her Role Models – when Scout Penelope‘s “Nonnie” was diagnosed with breast cancer her mom Ashley tried to think of a project that they could work on together that would keep both of them occupied. The result was a series of amazing photos, a few of which are below with many more at this link. Scout is three-years older now (have been looking through things I have filed away so I’m finding older articles and links); don’t be startled when you look at her Instagram.

Frida Kahlo and Scout
Princess Leia and Scout
Malala Yousafzai and Scout
Betty White and Scout
Nonnie and Scout

4. These Formal Memos between the Produces of the Original Star Trek Discussing Vulcan Proper Names – this is very clever and hilarious! These people clearly are having fun and have a good working relationship.

Vulcans T’Pring, played by Arlene Martel, and Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy. T’Pring was “bonded” to Spock when they were children and they were supposed to marry. This all played out in the episode ‘Amok Time’ which ‘TV Guide’ ranked the 2nd best Original Star Trek episode ever.

Here’s the first letter:

FROM: Bob Justman

DATE: May 3, 1966

SUBJECT: STAR TREK PLANET VULCAN PROPER NAMES

Dear Gene:

I would like to suggest that all proper names for denizens of Mr. Spock’s “PLANET VULCAN” follow a set routine. To wit: all names begin with the letters “SP” and end with the letter “K.” All names to have a total of five letters in them—no more and no less.

Therefore: Mr. Spock aptly fits this pattern. Other names would be as follows:

Spook, Spuck, Spack, Speek, Spouk, Spaak, Spilk, Spiak, Spunk, Spank, Spink, Spenk, Sponk, Spilk, Spalk, Spelk, Spolk, Spulk, Spirk, Spark, Spork, Sperk, Spurk, Spawk, Spauk, Speuk, Spuik, Spouk, Splak, Splek, Splek, Splik, Spluk, Spakk, Spekk, Spikk, Spokk, Spukk, Spark, Spirk, Sperk, Spork, Spurk, Spxyx.

Hope that the suggestions are of immense help to you. I remain,

Your humble and obedient servant,

Robert H. Justman

5. These Classic Movies Done in the Style of Persian Miniature Paintings – these are amazing drawings done by Turkish illustration Murat Palta. You can see several more at this link, though most seem to be from rather bloody films. And then there are more here.

Here are two of my favorites:

Kill Bill

The Little Prince

6. This INCREDIBLE Colorized Collection of Short Historical Films – I’m a huge fan of Denis Shiryaev’s restoration work. I particularly love how he starts his videos explaining all the work he did to create the videos and the changes he made – fascinating! In this particular video he makes sure to clarify that his work is not completely historically accurate – he doesn’t know exactly what the original colors were, etc., so he needs to make educated guesses. Plus he sometimes will enhance things to make them look better, but again, sometimes it requires him to use his best guess. I think the final result is fantastic.

7. This Ad Seeking a Wife from 1865 – I must say, my favorite lines are the last three: “I want to buy bread-and-butter, hoop-skirts, and waterfalls for some person of the female persuasion during life. That what’s the matter with me. But I don’t know how to do it.”

I had to look this up but I think by “waterfalls” he means “waterfall bustles”.


Word of the Day


Quote of the Day


Have a Great Week!

Seven Things I Love (1-4-2021)

1. This History of Chestnut Trees – this actually is something to both love and hate. I hate the story behind why we’ve lost the vast majority of the American Chestnut trees in North America (not surprisingly it had to do with some wanker deciding to import a dozen Chinese Chestnut trees to the US from Japan. Because there will always be people who have to have bigger, better, new.) There’s further details on the blight here.

But what I love is history, and the history of the Chestnut tree is fascinating and extensive. These were enormous trees, strong, hearty, and they provided for everyone and everything that lived around them. Another thing I love is that there are people working to bring back the American Chestnut. One organization in particular, the American Chestnut Foundation, leads the show and they are getting close. According to this article from 2019, the final stage/cut should take place this year and then they should be able to start repopulating the Appalachian Forests with blight-resistant American Chestnut trees. Hope!

2. This Article on the Regency Design of Bridgerton – Have you watched Bridgerton yet? If not, get thee to the television and start streaming thy Netflix!

My favorite era in British history has always been the Edwardian era (and I mean design-wise) with the Tudor era in a close second. BUT I must say, this show made me start to wonder if I should rethink that.

3. This Incredible Photograph of the Chicago Skyline – it really does look like flames are shooting up!

4. This Video of Robots Dancing to “Do You Love Me?”Boston Dynamics is one of the most advanced Robotics company in the world. They have a huge following on social media and for good reason – their robots are incredibly impressive. They created this video for their fans for a holiday treat. AMAZING! (full disclosure – I’m a robotics nerd.)

5. This Incredible Bridge – my friend Kathy sent me this photo. It’s the Golden Bridge in Vietnam. We were trying to decide whether we loved it or found it disturbing. Truthfully, it’s both but in the end we decided we loved it much more than we found it disturbing. I think it’s all a matter of your upbringing and how you look at it.

6. These Pandemic Words – Here’s an article that includes an interview with Ben Zimmer who is the chair of the American Dialect Society’s New Words Committee. They discussed not only the winning words – COVID was the word of the year – but also some of the nominees. Here are a few that I liked:

gleethreshing (ph) the opposite of doomscrolling, reading some good news for a change.

oysgezoomt (ph), being Zoomed out. You’re fatigued by being overexposed to Zoom.

Very interesting too about the term BIPAC. Need to read more about that.

Here’s another article on how the newly developed pandemic words are helping people cope.

7. This Short Film ‘Opera Performed by Animals’ – it’s from a few years ago but it makes me as happy now as it did in 2019. And HEDGEHOGS!!!


Word of the Day


Quote of the Day

Have a MARVELOUS week!

Seven Things I Love (12-28-2020): New Year’s Edition

1. This (Uncensored) End-of-Year PSA – (ICYMI, it’s scientifically proven that people who swear are more honest and more intelligent. FUCK YAH we are!)

And now, we invite you to lift a finger for this cause, which we feel–and speak–quite strongly about. Text 🖕 to 1-877-EFF-THIS (1-877-333-8447) to donate $5 to the Mental Health Coalition*, share this video with everyone you know, and join our conversation on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook with #EFF2020. 

2. This New Year’s Card from LovePop – the card is so popular they’re already sold out, but you can sign up to be notified for when they get more in stock. Course now that I’ve included it in my “7 things” I suppose I won’t need to mail out as many as I had planned…”

3. This EXCELLENT Argument for Permanently “Cancelling” New Year’s Eve‘Cancel New Year’s Eve Forever’ by Sarah Miller from the New Yorker. I must concur.

4. This Google Year in Search Video – it’s gonna to make you weep, both in a good way and a bad way.

5. This Last Monologue of 2020 by Stephen Colbert – Colbert, Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah kept me sane this year. In fact they kept me sane the past four years.

6. This Virtual New Year’s Eve Concert with Pink Martini – one of my favorite bands!!! You can purchase the New Year’s concert ticket here. A portion of each ticket supports Kentucky performing arts. Always good to support the arts!

7. This Liz Climo New Year’s Cartoon – She just gets me.


[Update on 12-29-2020: a few additions that I came across since I posted this…

Bonus – This New Netflix Special, Death to 2020 – I laughed my ASS off for most of the Tennyson Foss (Hugh Grant) segments. Grant has brilliant comedic timing. SO many good people in this!!!

Bonus – This Meme that My Brother Sent Me – can’t you just hear it?

Bonus – This Series of AP Photographs from 2020 which “Captured a World in Distress” – I can’t say I “love” these photographs but it’s a record of our history and they are incredible to see.

My New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Lose Weight – always on my list but this year I’m actually going to try.
  • Have a more positive outlook – I’m tired of being negative.
  • Take better care of my skin – been working on a blog post on this.

What do YOU plan to do next year? (Besides get a vaccine of course.)

Word of the Day


Quote of the Day

Seven Things I Love (12-21-2020): Christmas Edition

It’s almost Christmas, YIPPEE!!!!

I want to thank my friend Ann who was the person
who shared a few of this week’s ‘Things I Love’ with me. Thanks Ann!

1. This Suffragettes’ Christmas Card – Savvy Twitter users who could read music noticed that the music at the bottom of the card was actually for ‘La Marseillaise,’ the French national anthem. One Twitterer pointed out the song was indeed used by the movement.

In fact it was called “The Women’s Marseillaise‘ and it was the official anthem of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU.) With words written by Florence Macaulay, the song was sung by suffragettes both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. I don’t think women today can truly grasp how much we owe to the Suffragettes of the early twentieth century.

2. This Netflix Series, ‘The Holiday Movies That Made Us’ – a holiday version of the popular ‘The Movies That Made Us,’ the series covers two films: ‘Elf‘ and “Nightmare Before Christmas.’ (Personally, I enjoyed the ‘Elf‘ one better, even though “Nightmare Before Christmas‘ is one of my Mom’s favorite movies of all-time.)

3. This Excerpt from a Letter from Virginia Woolf to Violet Dickinson. – This excerpt of the letter is from the site ‘Letters of Note (LoN).’ I’m rather obsessed with ‘LoN.’ ‘LoN’ started as a book (I have a personalized copy) and eventually turned into this incredible online museum, all the brainchild of one person named Shaun Usher. Now there are multiple volumes with more on the way. I suggest signing up for the newsletter so you get a handful of letters delivered straight to your inbox daily.

So you know, Violet Dickinson was an old family friend of Virginia Woolf. Here is some information about her from Ellen Moers NYT review of “The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume I: 1888-1912“:

“Violet Dickinson gave far more than affection. She nursed Virginia at her Welwyn home through her suicidal depression in the summer of 1904, and then introduced her to the women’s editor of The Guardian and to Nellie Cecil. The Guardian assigned Virginia books to review and published her first writing; with Nellie Cecil (a professional critic, as will as daughter and wife of peers – her nephew is Lord David Cecil) she collaborated on a literary column for The Cornhill. From then until her marriage, Virginia Woolf was a hard-working literary journalist; she adored it.”

It is Christmas evening, and we are all soporific from the effects of a Christmas tea eaten on top of a Christmas turkey. Sophie never lets us off on Christmas day at all, and when this letter is finished, I shall have to go down and attack the turkeys legs which were left intact. Thoby had such a large helping that another plate had to receive the overflow, and he ate impartially from both. They spent the afternoon in making Rum Punch, which is made half of rum half of brandy, with sugar and lemon and hot water thrown in: the house smells like a public house in consequence, and we shall have a very merry evening. Isn’t this better than your high and dry aristocrats? We all talk at once, and make such brilliant jokes as never were seen.

Virginia Woolf | Letter to Violet Dickinson, Christmas Day 1904

4. This Scatelogical Celebration in Catalonia – I actually wish this was a thing here. These are called “caganers” and they are meant to bring luck. They need to be placed in a Nativity and the idea is that the defecating (caganer supposedly loosely translates to “the defecator”) figure is fertilizing the soil and therefore will bring good crops – basically it’s a symbol of fertility and good fortune. This explains why there are more figures of beloved people/things taking a poop than of ones that are disliked.

People buy a new one every year and they amass quite large collections apparently. I know I would be one of those people.

5. This Map Showing the Favorite Christmas Treat for Each State – if you’d like to see a larger version you can click on this link. Not sure if you agree with the map. I grew up in Iowa and we never had oreo balls. But we were right on the border of Wisconsin & Illinois so we weren’t really typical Iowa. I’ve lived in Wisconsin for the majority of my life (about 37 years,) and I don’t particularly recall seeing a lot of Andes Peppermints around during the holidays.

6. This Special Reading by Neil Gaiman of ‘A Christmas Carol’ – Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors and it’s not just because he’s an amazing writer but it’s also because he’s a HUGE advocate for public libraries. There are many Gaiman quotes to choose from about public libraries but his most “famous” in the library world is this one:

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” ~ Neil Gaiman

7. This Collection of Rankin/Bass Christmas Specials that includes the “Vintage” Commercials

Another vintage show with original commercials…

[Bonus] 8. These Vintage Ceramic Christmas Trees – one of my favorite things about Christmas is decorating and the reason I love it so much is because it takes me back to my childhood. Every year, right after Thanksgiving, when I start to open up the boxes that store all my Christmas decorations I find myself mostly thinking about my Mom. Which is the best part.

I inherited a lot of her Christmas decorations and as I look at them, every one of them makes me think of her and the Christmases we spent together. The memories have become hazy but the feelings haven’t.

We actually never had one of these trees when I was a kid, not that I remember (as I said, hazy) but there is still something very familiar about this tree and I now own one. They are absolutely delightful. There’s a wonderful history of the trees written up here. And here is an article from Taste of Home with advice on how to find a ceramic tree if you are interested in having one for yourself.

via Amazon

Christmas collectibles have great sentimental value. Nowadays there isn’t a lot that gets passed down from generation to generation anymore. Mothers don’t give/leave their children china or silver or antiques. But that treasured tree topper or those favorite Christmas ornaments, well, that is something that any kid of any generation will appreciate.

[Bonus] 9. This Christmas Playlist – and don’t forget to check out the Menopausal Broad Playlist: Christmas Edition. I’ve added some new tunes and I’m sure that I’ll be adding even more music as the week goes on…


Word of the Day


Quote of the Day

(We’ve been at the threshold of hell most of this year but we’re close to being saved!)


Wishing You All a Very Merry & Healthy Christmas

Seven Things I Love (12-14-2020)

1. This H&M Christmas Short Film directed by Wes Anderson – I’m a fanatic when it comes to anything Wes Anderson so it’s rather shocking that I missed this advert from 2016. (Though it is also very possible that I have simply forgotten it. Damned menopausal brain. Though on a bright note, if I did forget it, I am getting to enjoy it all over again.) Either way, it’s wonderful!

Another amazing Christmas advert (I LOVE THEM) – be sure to have some tissue nearby.

2. This Animated Video Series, Rollin’ Wild – What if animals were round? (Or more accurately, what if animals were inflated like balloons?) Makes me laugh every single time I watch them. There are more videos at their channel. Sadly they only made a handful of Rollin’ Wild videos. I wish they’d start making them again, they’re delightful!

And here’s a Christmas video…

3. This Video on Accepting Compliments – so this chap is the husband of a friend of mine. Hearing him talk about his wife is especially wonderful for that reason. But because of the personal connection and his storytelling skills (and marvelous accent) the message really resonated with me. May be some of the best advice I’ve ever received. I probably should have learned this 40 years ago! (And why do we teach our children not to accept compliments????)

4. This Series of Holiday Photos with Stormtroopers – to see all of them you’ll need to click on the date (it says 5 years ago) right below where it says Mr. Llama. HILARIOUS!

5. This A-Frame Cabin for Rent on airbnb – One word – COZY. Click on any of the photos to go to the airbnb site to see interior shots. Next year I’m going to be traveling a LOT.

6. This Iconic London Hotel attached to a Train Station – The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel opened in 2011 and uses spaces that were once occupied by the Midland Grand Hotel (which officially closed in 1935) and the St. Pancras Chambers which were apartments used as railway offices.

I have stayed at the hotel several times, I LOVE it there. And I especially love it there during the holidays (I am DEFINITELY going to spend a week in London next November). Not only is it convenient to have one of the major train stations right outside the door (and the British Library across the street) but there is shopping in the train station too. I mean, in theory I could go here and not leave a the building except to walk across the street to go to the library. IN THEORY (there are too many other places I have to visit when I’m in London, like my friends most importantly, and Fortnum & Mason, which is my mothership, and the V&A Museum, and Broadway Books in Hackney and of course there may be a show playing that I cannot miss, and, and, and … well, the list is endless!

Well before the St. Pancras opened, even after Midland Grand had been closed to being used as offices, the Spice Girls filmed one of their most famous videos at this location.

There’s an interesting story behind the filming of the video.

One last thing, and I haven’t been able to able to verify this, but I was told a story about how, when the Midland Grand Hotel was first built back in the 1870s, the air was so thick with smog that architect Sir George Gilbert Scott decided to paint the vaulted ceiling above the grand staircase with a night sky since London residents weren’t actually able to see through the haze. Whether that is true or not, it does make sense. Here is more information on the grand staircase.

7. This Banksy – ending the year with a SNEEZE…


Word for the Day


Quote for the Day

Have a
WONDERFUL Week!

Seven Things I Love (12-7-2020)

How is it already DECEMBER????

1. This Tea Party – Truly amazing. I belong to the Facebook group called ‘The Gilded Age Society.’ The Edwardian Era has always been my favorite time period, even before ‘Downton Abbey’ was a thing. Recently a young person name Paul Ryan T. Co, who is also a member of the group, posted these photos. He recreated a most magnificent Edwardian Era tea. I wrote to him immediately and asked if I could share the photos and he said yes so here they are.

An Edwardian Tea created by Paul Ryan T. Co

Here are some of the details included in Paul’s description:

The menu includes fresh fruits, dried fruit with nuts, chicken truffle quiche, scones with clotted cream and jam, and the pièce de résistance is a Lady Baltimore cake, which is a white cake filled with nuts and figs and then frosted with a fluffy marshmallow meringue icing. THAT sounds divine!

Paul used the original 1906 recipe which was copied in several newspapers, including Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s Daily Gazette and BulletinThe Columbus Journal, and The Washington Times.

There is a fascinating history of the cake on this site.

I myself might try a more modern recipe and am thinking of giving Martha’s version a try.

Additionally, the service is traditional to the period. It’s made up of an American sterling tea set by Gorham from the 1880s, a set of monogrammed sterling cutlery by Watson from 1902, a silver cake server by Whiting (from their King Edward pattern introduced in 1900 to commemorate Edward’s accession to the throne, which makes it rare), a Ridgeway dessert service, a Minton cake pedestal, a double-handled, molded Prussian cake plate, and a trio of Coalport tea cups (all produced from the late 1800s to early 1900s.) This guy needs to be hired by a production company, STAT! He’s a true artist.

Tell me you wouldn’t pay beaucoup bucks to attend a tea at this place!

2. This Governmental Body – The Irish Parliament discussed the “Santa Claus Issue” and formally announced that Santa is exempt from their national quarantine, that he will indeed still be visiting homes in Ireland, but social distancing should still be practiced and people should remain 2 meters away from him. Gotta LOVE THIS!

3. This Xfinity Short Film – It’s not really an advertisement. I saw a brief clip of this on television and it was so intriguing I wanted to watch the entire thing. Steve Carrell is a fine Santa Claus!

4. This Video on Mourning a Relationship You Never Had – I love Anna Akana so much and I really wish that she could time travel back to the early 80s and tell me exactly what she says in the video. Course I’m not sure if I would have been smart enough back then to listen to her.

5. This IG of Chris Evans Playing the Piano! – just when you think he can’t get any more adorable/perfect/wonderful….

and then watch Jimmy Fallon’s response to Chris’s piano playing viral video, it’s HILARIOUS.

6. These Recipes and Tips for Roasting Chestnuts – unless you live in a pretty large city (with lots of pedestrian traffic) you probably don’t run across many places selling roasted chestnuts during the Christmas season (despite what Hallmark movies makes Christmas look like). Myself, I’d actually never had them until well into my 50s.

I don’t have a gas stove so I have two options – one is two use my gas grill and the other is to roast them in the oven. I prefer them on the grill because they’re on an open flame but when it’s too cold (doesn’t happen much anymore with climate change) or when I’m visiting family and it’s too much of a hassle, the oven method works just fine. Especially when I use them in recipes, with, oh, for example, Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon.

In fact, last Christmas I tried to make the above recipe at my sister-in-law/brother’s house. In the notes it says, “If you prefer to roast fresh chestnuts instead of using vacuum-packed ones, cut a slit in the shell of each chestnut with a serrated knife.” I’m going to tell you something – a freaking serrated knife will not slit the shell of a chestnut. I mean, it will, but it’s like trying to saw wood with a butter knife.

Recently I ran across this nifty gadget and now I know that next year I will be completely prepared! It will score the chestnut so that it doesn’t explode while roasting (after all, that’s the primary reason why you’re cutting it.) Once you roast it, it should be easy to peel.

Bring it on Christmas 2021! I’m ready for you…

Chestnut Nutcracker

7. This Search Result When You Google Alex Trebek – SO sweet!

Before I get to the Word and Quote of the Week I strongly recommend that you watch these two movies before the end of the month. They are very different films but there’s one major similarity – you will figure it out quickly.

What I couldn’t help but think while watching both of them is how much better the world would be if people weren’t so judgmental and how so much bad behavior – masculine toxicity, repressed emotions, abusive tendencies, the list is endless – are passed on from generation to generation.

The first movie is Uncle Frank – amazing cast.

The second is The Happiest Season and it’s on Hulu (Dan Levy not surprisingly steals every scene he’s in.)


Word of the Week


Quote of the Week

Never Forget…

Seven (+2) Things I Love (11-30-2020)

1. This Discovery of the Fountain of YouthScientists in Israel claim they have been able to reverse the aging process simply using oxygen. GIMME SOME OF THAT!

2. These Cardamom Cookies from Unna Bakery in New York – I found these locally a while back but couldn’t remember where I bought them. Damned menopausal brain fog. I checked to see if I could order them online and yay, I could! LOVE these cookies. They are my favorite treat to have with a cup of tea in the afternoon. A box contains five packets of two, all individually wrapped, so you don’t have to feel obligated to eat the whole package just to keep them from going stale (which is what I tell myself when I do that.) They are just the right amount of spice and sweet. In my opinion, the perfect cookie. The Swedes do so many things right and baking is on that list to be sure.

There are other flavors to choose from too. I ordered some Coconut Oat Cookies to try and they were different but equally good.

3. This Recipe for Sweet & Sour Brussels Sprouts – thanks to my brother Chuck for sending this to me. I’m a big fan of Camila Styles and I’m subscribed to her e-newsletter, but lately my inbox has been inundated so I’m missing a lot.

This girl (me) can’t get enough Brussels sprouts. Sadly, this girl also is on a blood thinner which means she has to pace herself. Well, you know what Julia Child says, “Everything in moderation.” (FYI, the full quote is, “Everything in moderation… including moderation.”) You can find the recipe by clicking on the photo or here.

4. This Book Review (and Interview) of Henry Winkler’s Newest Book by Master Crocheter Jonah Larson – they are all so damned adorable! Note Henry Winkler’s pillow behind him – love it! And Jonah Larson is a wunderkind! You can read more about him here and here.

5. This Cookware from GreenPan – I’ve bought all my GreenPan Cookware from Food52 but it’s available in many places including World Market, Kohl’s, and Amazon. One of my favorite pieces, which I use ALL the time, is the 12-Inch GreenPan Venice Pro Nonstick Ceramic Everyday Pan (pictured right). It’s no longer available at Food52 but they still have it at World Market. And there is a slightly smaller 11-Inch version called the Chatham Nonstick Ceramic Everyday Pan at Kohl’s for significantly less.

From the GreenPan website:

GreenPan is a Belgian brand with an international reputation. It’s the brainchild of two school friends: Jan Helskens and Wim De Veirman.

Upon discovering that traditional non-stick pans released toxins when overheated and used PFOA during the manufacture of the coating, they set out to create a new alternative.

After a long search, they found the perfect material for their range: a ceramic coating called Thermolon™.

With the biggest challenge out of the way, the duo put an expert team together and had a lot of pleasure in designing cookware that looked beautiful, performed brilliantly and made cooking even more of a joy.

10 years later their pans are loved around the world.

6. This Test Flight – I may not be a fan of Elon Musk (I think he ‘s batshit crazy) BUT I cannot deny he has vision and his company is achieving astonishing things. Besides, my nephew works at SpaceX so as long as he’s there I know that they they must be cool!

7. This Music Video (and tweet) – Daniel Stewart is Patrick Stewart’s son. The music video is awesome!

8. This Virtual Chess Game Against Beth Harmon (at four different ages!) – I ADORED ‘Queen’s Gambit’ (along with everyone else) and now I’m obsessed. Chess.com has developed this clever online experience tied in to the hit Netflix series. I finally got brave enough to try to play 8 year-old Beth. It was a draw because we ran out of moves. I thought my brain was going to explode though it was working so hard.

9. These Edible Christmas Ornaments for Outdoor Trees – I’m a Hallmark (and now Lifetime too) Christmas movie junkie. This year Hallmark has an incredible number of new movies. One of my favorites is called, Christmas with the Darlings. In addition to the usual christmas cookie making/baking scene that occurs in every Hallmark movie, in this one they made animal-friendly ornaments and I thought it was brilliant. I will definitely be doing this next year! There are two different links. The link on the photo below will take you to a recipe for the birdseed ornaments pictured. The link at the beginning in bold takes you to an article with a variety of ideas and links.


Word of the Day
(is actually the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year for 2020)

If you click on the graphic below it will take you to an analysis of the use and significance of the word pandemic for the year.

Quote of the Day

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and stayed safe!

And I don’t want to rub it in so I’ll let Charlie say for me what I can’t say myself….

Gramma Celeste’s Drunkin Pumkin Pie

Recipe as written by Jean Stoltz in the cookbook she made for her daughter, Jennie.

Makes two 9” pies

Ingredients

  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • ¾ c. butter
  • 1 c. PET (evaporated) milk
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 c. pumpkin (note from Jennie, or 2-15 oz. cans of pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp. each cinnamon, mace & nutmeg
  • ½ c. whiskey (bourbon) or to taste –  (plus a ½ c. for Gramma – WHOOPIE!!!)

Cheat – 2 frozen deep-dish pie shells, thawed (another note from Jennie, or if you are looking to make a pie crust from scratch and need a recipe, I love this one.)

Directions

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add beaten eggs and spices, PET milk & pumpkin and mix well.  Add bourbon and mix well.  Pour into pie shells and bake at 400 º F for 50 minutes.


Recipe History

This recipe was given to your great-grandmother Canepa by Mrs. T. G. Breant in 1898.  Grandma was the head housekeeper at Selma Hall * outside of Festus, MO.

Added this history of Selma Hall….

* Selma Hall, or “Kennett’s Castle”, is located four miles south of Festus and one mile east of Highway 61. Selma Hall, its formal name, is a house patterned after North Italian Renaissance country houses. It was designed by George I. Barnett, English-trained St. Louis architect, for Ferdinand Kennett, Mississippi River steamboat operator. Probably the finest antebellum home in Missouri, it was built in 1854, at a cost of $125,000, and was called Kennett’s Castle by river men who have persisted in calling the mansion this name. Its gray limestone walls and square, four-story tower crown a succession of terraces, which to the east overhang the Mississippi River, and to the west overlook landscaped grounds which include a formal garden. The house was gutted by fire on March 13, 1939, during the ownership of William O. Schock of St. Louis, but has been restored by the firm of Nagel and Dunn to approximately its original appearance.

Selma Hall was built on land given Mrs. Kennett (formerly Julia Deadrick) by her grandfather, John Smith “T”, an expert marksman in duels, and one of the largest lead-mine operators. The castle was occupied by the Kennett family until the Civil War time, when the castle was frequently fired upon from boats on the Mississippi. The family fled to St. Louis for safety. Tradition says that Union forces stabled their horses in the stone mansion, and this magnificent and historic structure, like many others of the antebellum period, was left in ruin. The home was eventually restored to its original impressive elegance. Selma Hall and its imported furnishings were indicative of the wealth and tastes of two aristocratic families – the Smith “T” and Kennett families – both prominent in early land development, lead mining, and other business activities of early Missouri.

from Historic Sites of Jefferson County, Missouri (Eschbach, Walter L.)

Sadly in 2018, Union Pacific, which had acquired the property from Missouri Pacific in 1986, decided to close Selma Hall (or Selma Farm as it is also known) as part of their cost-cutting measures. There is a fantastic article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about the history of Selma Hall with a lot of photographs. I’ve included the dining room photos with this recipe for obvious reasons. If you click on any of them you’ll pop over to the article.

The dining room featured murals on the walls in 1934. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
A view of an arched bay window in the dining room in 1934. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
A view of the dining room in 1940, after reconstruction work. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

And, in February of 2020, I found a listing for Kennett’s Castle (yet another name for Selma Hall/Selma Farm) for the mere price of $24,750,000.

Bon Appétit!