“Loving Eleanor” by Susan Wittig Albert. (Gotten through ILL from the Washington County Library because Hennepin County doesn't own) In the 1920's, Lorena Hickok was a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune (This was before it merged with the Minneapolis Daily Star.) Women were not really accepted as reporters then; she was a pioneer in the field. While she was not openly lesbian – which would have been dangerous at the time – she lived with the same woman for eight years, in the penthouse of the luxurious Leamington Hotel. When her lover eloped with a man, she fled and ended up in New York, working for the Associated Press. In 1928 she was given the assignment to interview Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the then Democratic candidate for the Governor of New York. Thus began a friendship, a long term relationship that had to be completely hidden. Hick, she was known, interviewed Eleanor several times when FDR was Governor, and wrote a number of significant stories about her. They saw more and more of each other, and became lovers, writing to each other every day. Eleanor Roosevelt had not had a sexual relationship with her husband for some time; FDR had a number of affairs.
Hick followed Eleanor to Washington, and at times stayed in the White House. When their closeness alarmed FDR and the administration, Hick was given a job with the Federal Emergency Relief Administration; she was to travel around the country and investigate the depths of the Depression. Even for a woman who had grown up in poverty on the plains of North Dakota, what she found was horrifying. It enabled FERA to give aid where it was needed most, but the book she wrote was too upsetting to be published until many years later. Despite occasional vacation trips together, the First Lady was too recognizable for them to have any privacy. Eventually, they drifted apart, but remained friends until Eleanor's death. Hick had a successful career as a writer. The letters they wrote each other mostly survived, and were released to the public many years later, after both women's deaths. Other books have been written about both of them; this novelization by Albert, an accomplished writer, is cogent and moving, and I strongly recommend it, especially for anyone interested in lesbian history.
Today is the 15th anniversary of the Twin Towers/Pentagon disasters. Nearly 3000 people were killed. I have been staying off the internet because I don't want to read all the hoopla. It was a tragic event, but it is hardly the only one in our history. Lately, it seems every generation has a tragedy that imprints itself on the people of the United States, and is hammered into our skulls – until the next one.
For my mother it was Pearl Harbor. Over 2400 killed, an attack by a foreign power on US soil. She told me she knew as soon as she heard it over the radio that life would never be the same. She told me that just after another such day of tragedy – November 22, 1963. I remember that day very clearly. It was terrifying; in the depths of the Cold War, many people though it might be the prelude to war, even invasion, that a foreign power might be responsible. It wasn't, but those were tense times. Five years later, there were two more assassinations: 4/4/68 Martin Luther King, and 6/6/68 Bobby Kennedy. People were afraid we would have rule by murder instead of ballot. (By the way, when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, 5 days after the Civil War ended, there were the same sort of panics and fears, albeit in slower motion, because the word spread by telegraph and newspapers instead of television. He was the first U.S. President ever assassinated, and it was shocking to most people that such a thing could happen.)
We have had many tragedies in our history, and I don't want to try to recount all of them. But there are three more that stand out for me, two in my lifetime, one before I was born. The Hindenburg disaster, on May 6. 1937; 36 people died in a most spectacular and gruesome way. It was remarkable because there was media there to cover the landing, not yet a routine event. The broadcast that included an announcer declaiming “Oh, the humanity” has become banal, but at the time it was the expression of a truly horrifying event.
A disaster that greatly upset me was the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. I wasn't watching live at the time, but a friend was and called me, and I watched replays on the news much of the rest of the day. Seeing that occur on live TV, because launches were broadcast, can etch the memory quite deeply. And lastly, another bombing that seems to have been forgotten in the last 15 years – the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. I remember at the time many people thought it was done by Muslims – until it turned out to be homegrown, white, anti-government right-wingers. The death toll was 168, nearly 700 were injured, and it was a traumatizing event for many, many more people.
I think we need to start asking hard questions about why these events occur (though I know two were accidents), and why we react to them the way we do. Not that disasters and tragedies should be forgotten, but what we do with the memories, what we are motivated to do, and not do, because of them.
We had been talking about going to England for a while, and finally chose a bus tour as a way to get us to some of the places we wanted to see. This might have been a mistake. I was slightly ill a lot of the time and it took a few days to figure out why. I seem to be getting more and more susceptible to motion sickness as I get older, and this tour turned out to have long periods on the road. Dramamine helps, but knocks me out, so not suitable for a travel when I want to be alert. I never really got up to speed from the jet lag going there, and motion sickness, so I really wasn't feeling very well a lot of the trip. Then, coming home, the same all over again, and my sleep cycle was messed up for days. Now, two weeks later, I am sleeping normally, and feel better, and I'm finally getting around to posting about it.
The tour went to a lot of places I, for one, didn't care about (one picturesque Cotswold village was enough, and we went to three). The bus broke down the first full day – the tour guide coped well, but made for a very long day, the first of many.
There were several places we wanted to visit (or Martin did, anyway) that we managed to get to. One was the Castlerigg stones just outside of Keswick in the Lake District, which is beautiful and worth visiting in any case. We went went with the tour group to Grasmere, then took a local bus to Castle Lane and walked about 15 minutes along a very narrow road, and found:
Martin really wanted to see this stone circle:
There was a bas relief of the whole circle at one end.
The tour went to Bath, a major Roman site which is fairly intact. The attached museum is aimed mostly at people who are not very familar with the history, so it was a bit boring for us, but seeing the pools was interesting, and there are some good things in the collection.
The springs bubbling:
The Head of Minerva:
The tour included Tintagel. I could not get down the hill, or rather, I was concerned I could not get up again, so I waited while Martin went. He took pictures, including what I like to call a shadow selfie.
The tour went to Stonehenge, which has become a major tourist attraction and a place for selfies. No point in posting pictures, because there are hundreds of them online.
Finally the tour was over, and we were on our own in London. We went to the British Museum, which was fascinating, and Treadwells Bookshop, where we bought a couple of books. We went to Greenwich so we could stand with a foot in each hemisphere:
and on the way back, stopped at the Atlantis bookshop, where we didn't take pictures but we did buy books.
We took a train, then a bus, to get to Avebury, which Martin really wanted to see, and I wanted to see again. To me it's more impressive than Stonehenge, because it covers so much more area, with very large stones over greater distances.
By the way, I think Stonehenge is the only stone circle without sheep.
The last day, we walked through Kensington Gardens, and went to the Science Museum, which was fun, and the Victoria and Albert, which was incredible; some excellent statues: a relatively modern Diana, and the Saxon God Sunna rendered by a 19th century artist.
There was a beautiful display of jewelry, and the the most gorgeous place to eat I have been to in along time, designed by the William Morris company – it was the first museum restaurant. I was so stunned I forgot to take any pictures of it.
So we're home now, and have been for two weeks, and I still haven't yet sorted out the reciepts. We have two Oyster cards with 12 pounds on each one, if anyone is interested.
Jack Daniel's Cookbook, Stories and Kitchen Secrets from Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House,
by Lynne Tolley and Mindy Merrell
If you are interested in Southern cooking, this has some excellent recipes. There is Jack Daniel's whiskey in places I wouldn't put it, but I think it works fine in barbeque sauce. There's a long chapter on barbeque and grilling. Southern standbys like cornbread recipes and coffeecakes abound. The fried chicken recipes, or rather, instructions, are what I remember from neighbors in my childhood in Maryland. Anecdotes from the old boarding house add to this unusual book. Not much for vegetarians, and there is bacon grease in recipes that have usually written it out in the 21st century.
The Tower will be open from 5 pm to 8 pm. Be prepared to wait - there is usually a long line. Bring a camera if you want - the view is incredible.
The Pratt Ice Cream Social is also Friday, 5:30-8:30, at Pratt School, 66 SE Malcolm Ave, Minneapolis. There will be ice cream and cake, and other food, games for kids, a plant sale, and a silent auction to benefit the Pratt PTA.
For more information go to: http://www.pperr.org/events/icecream-so
So the search began for another clock.
All the stores I checked had nothing but digital clocks. Finding a dial clock was difficult. I made the mistake of buying the first one I did find, which turned out to be battery operated, and IT TICKED. OMG I hate ticking clocks. There are clocks online, but I couldn't tell if they ticked. Or had a dial that could be seen at night, but wasn't too bright.
I found one today, at Flamingos, an antique store on Cedar Avenue. It's an old Timex. Just what I wanted. Cheaper than anything new, and probably better. The light is dim, but enough to read the time. And it's a nice little dial clock. This made my day, and maybe my week.
By the way, is there anyone local who could use a small electric clock? I lost the receipt to the battery clock. It just needs one AA battery.
Also, mrissa was kind enough to review it - http://mrissa.livejournal.com/900656.htm
I just came back from the Oscar Nominated animated shorts at the Riverview Theater. They will be shown again tomorrow at 10:45 am. Three really excellent, a couple of good, and couple of, well, meh.
"Get a Horse" brings Micky Mouse into the 21st century by breaking the 4th wall and is hillarious. It starts as an old cartoon, but at one point, Mickey is catapulted through a hole in the screen into the "theater" which is in color, and has to get back to rescue Minnie from Pegleg Pete. Edited to add: the cartoon is new, but the creators use archival footage of Walt voicing Micky for the audio.
"Possessions" is Japanese, based on the idea that when objects are around long enough, they become embued with spirit, and react to being discarded or mistreated. A traveling fix-it man is caught in a rainstorm, and takes shelter in a hut which turns out to be filled with discarded umbrellas, cloth, and other things that must be dealt with.
And the third and best, the Oscar winner, is "Mr. Hublot", about a man and his robot pet. The artwork is some of the best steampunk illustration I have seen, and it's short and sweet.
I didn't like "Feral" because I found both the artwork and the plot unappealing. ""Room on the Broom" was a Witch story I really wanted to like, but it was too juvenile and too long for the amount of plot. It's from kid's book, and despite the cast, I found it tedious.
"The Missing Scarf" was narrated by George Takei, and was, I think, a parody of moralistic kiddie cartoons. I'd seen "The Blue Umbrella" before, but it was fine to see again.
Really, if you like animation, or any of these sound appealing, go. After tomorrow, they'll be gone.
Edited to add: all of these have Wikipedia entries, if you want more information.
By Steven Posch and Magenta Griffith
You won't find any eye of newt or toe of frog in these witches' kitchens. What you will find is a collection, more than three decades in the making, of seasonal and regional foods for celebration and mindful eating from the Land of Sky Waters: Cinnamon Wild Rice Pudding, Pesto delle Streghe ("the pesto of the witches"), and what may well be the world's oldest Yule recipe. Plus tales and wisdom from living Midwest pagan tradition, including a breathtaking repertoire of natural dyestocks for the most beautiful Ostara eggs ever.
Steve and I are two of the founders of Prodea, perhaps the oldest coven in Minnesota. Paganistan is the Secret Witch Name of Minneapolis-St Paul and the 13 surrounding counties. (But don't tell anyone we told you so.)
It's $15 online; we will be selling it at Paganicon this weekend for a special introductory price of $13.
To order go to:
We hope to have it available through Amazon in a few weeks.
Here's the cover:
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Nearly 100 years. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
1 stick butter1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan and add brown sugar. Over medium-low heat bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Return to heat and bring back to boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir in vanilla and stir in powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread onto cake while still workable.