Monday, June 30, 2014

Lady With The Purple Umbrella

You might be surprised at the things and people the SconeLady comes across, along the way. Almost nothing can surprise me anymore. Most especially, once I become established in a neighborhood the people there wonder, quite a bit. They wonder why that lady is out there walking - and walking - and then again, walking. They are puzzled. Where is she going? What is she doing? Doesn't she work? And so on.

I know this, because they approach me on a daily basis. Friendly smiles, mostly. And then, hesitantly, "Who ARE you?" 

The questions depend upon the city, the town, or the state. Walking in England is interesting in its variety of responses because you really never know what they are assuming about you. I wore a bright yellow jacket with black accents (you've seen a million of these on bikers over here) and hiking boots. I carried a sheaf of papers, a cell phone, and a large map. It seemed odd how many people would stop and ask me for directions. As soon as I spoke, they would be surprised at the accent, and realize I was as completely CLUELESS as they were.

At last I found out why this was happening when a man said, "Oh - we thought you were the Surveyor!" It was the jacket. The boots. The map. The cell phone. It must have looked 'official', and I found this to be rather an asset. It seemed safer, somehow, than a lone woman wandering haplessly about along the paddocks of Gloucestershire.

In Southern California the questions will be decidedly different. "Ma'am? Do you want to buy some of these pain killers?" or the strange exclamations of the man who admired my 'fine, big calves', and went on and on about them to everyone around him. Talk about clueless.

In all states and nations, my favorite curious passersby are the dogs. Friendly, all. It clearly does not matter what accent you speak in or what language. Their eyes are all on you and their noses want to be. They strain at their master's leash and edge near and yet nearer, hoping for - I can't really say. Many of their masters simply stop, make them sit, and wait for me to pass. It isn't worth all the yanking.

In Oregon I find myself spoken to by a goodly number of State Policemen. They are not suspicious, waving arrest warrants or potential tickets. No. They want to know, "Are you stranded? Lost? May we help you, Ma'am?" I am pleased, and explain that, no, I am not lost or stranded or in need. I am just - walking down the road. It is so nice of them to be concerned. I do not think this would happen in somewhere like, say, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. They wouldn't have time. I am literally shocked by the fact that policemen here will actually stop and check. 

I, however, must compliment Southern California on one noticeable element of my walking, there. It may be an asphalt jungle, but I am confident of this - I am unlikely to run into any:


These creatures scare me and make me twitchy. They are rumored to slink around the outskirts of this sweet woodland town. They have even been spotted (so they say) in the tops of trees above the pathway I like to walk. Is this believable? Surely not. At least, I hope surely not..

Walking 10 miles a day, admittedly, isn't for wimps. But it sure is fun. Who knows? Maybe we'll run into each other one of these days. Keep your eyes peeled - I'm the one with the purple umbrella! You can't miss me.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Scones, In Tandem

Email is a wonderful thing when baking scones together, trans-Atlantically. Same recipe, different locales. Friend Rosie and I have done it again: Scones, at their best.

Friend Rosie is the quintessential cream scone-baker who graciously gave me The Little Book Of Scones, in Cornwall. Just writing those words - friend Rosie, scones, Cornwall - prompts me  to automatically type 'British Airways' into my search engine. This happens all the time, and is inexorable.

And really, why would not the SconeLady long for that sweet and lovely place? It is a place to escape to, a place that beckons, that enfolds one...

(Oh oops - I find it easy to get carried away).

So we baked them this weekend, together - on different continents. I believe friend Rosie used clotted cream, while I used whipped. More often now, I find people preferring clotted, but both are delicious (I would use it too, if I could FIND IT). 

We decided upon the Basic Sweet Scone recipe, from the book above. Ted was in the middle of his bread baking (his breads are superb!), but he paused that in order to come and sample. Below are Rosie's photos, featuring her grandmother's hand painted tea service. Aren't they lovely? 

         Rosie's grandmother's china

Taste-tester pronounces them 'delicious'

friend Rosie produces a quintessential cream tea!

But it seems the SconeLady may have been a little bit distracted, today. All of the dry ingredients were blended, then the buttermilk was added accidentally before the butter. This is not good! I was not watching the recipe! The dough was feeling awfully dry and I knew something was missing. I soon discovered the butter, ready and waiting in the refrigerator. A few steps too late!

Instead of throwing it all out and starting again, I worked the butter in - late though it was. The scones looked ok, but I did not think they were as light as they could have been!

However, no scone is a waste, and my husband stated the following: "Oh, it was a GREAT scone, fantastic!" And so with that, I am satisfied.

    Basic Sweet Scones, by AllScone 

My own willing taste tester

The SconeLady declares success

Please do try these scones, dear Readers! Delicious.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Contemplating Water

We knew we were getting close because of the cries wafting up from somewhere off to the left. We parked, and just followed the noise.

Our little guy didn't say a word but slowly picked his way past some toys and garden implements along the side yard. He held his mother's hand, a little uncertain about the voice of crying just ahead. Little did he know it would be his turn, soon. Rounding the corner we came upon the pool, which was occupied by one kindly woman and the source of the aforementioned cries.

The kindly woman was explaining to the toddler what was going to happen next. "Ok, David, I'm going to let you go and you can turn over and float.." More cries wafted forth. She did let him go, at which time the cries ceased. He squiggled in the water, then turned over, and began to float -  face up. Success! 

Infant survival swim lessons. It's what this is all about. 

The neighbors aren't always very happy about the noise. Intermittent screams punctuated by splashes and more wailing? They are squeamish. "If people get lost getting here, all they have to do is follow the screaming." But as the days and weeks passed and we saw our grandson learning to save himself in water, we were IN. 

Southern Californians tend to go in for swimming pools. They are fantastic fun and a great way to stay cool on those horribly hot days of summer. But we wondered: what about the grandchildren! So we put in a fence with a locked gate. We doubled up on the lock going out the back door. And then the lovely daughter learned about this other step: helping the children rescue themselves, in an emergency. Giving them those moments to survive while they wait for help. Perfect!

All three of her children have had these lessons and have graduated. Do you want to know what the graduation exercise is? It sounds shocking, but the graduating child is dressed in full clothing - sweats, socks, shoes, diaper, hoodie - and then (there is no delicate way to describe this) thrown into the water - with the teacher of course within arm's reach. The baby or toddler swims to the top, turns over, floats, and breathes. Are you amazed? We were! They also learn to paddle to the pool side, hang on, and wait. I love this!

Pools, lakes, hot tubs, rivers - all of these are attractive to our littles. Those cooling, splashing bodies of water prove to be almost irresistible magnets. It behooves all of us to do whatever we can to protect and defend.

This small sweet thing gazing out the window is contemplating water. He can hardly wait to practice his newly learned rescue moves, with his mother. She also is eager - the sooner the better.

It's all about Life - it's what he deserves.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, June 27, 2014

Strawberry Season

We stood side by side, day after day, sorting. It was the middle of strawberry season and oh, the conversations that swirled around our aunt's ping pong table-turned sorting board. You get to know a person when you work with them through the heat of summer, and she was kind. She was funny. She was Imogene!

Our aunt ran a tight ship, but anyone could see we were having a blast. The hours never dragged, because the hilarious stories just kept on coming. And we always wanted more. 

Everybody joined in from the very beginning of a strawberry season: there was so much to do! First, we would be gotten up extremely early, then stumble groggily out to the strawberry fields to pick; then we would become truly awake sometime around mid morning and start a strawberry fight (there was always a strawberry fight if someone said someone else's mother wore combat boots..); then we might sing songs or tell stories while picking; and finally, we would have our berries weighed and placed on the truck.

When we became old enough, we were allowed to be a part of the sorting team, and then go up to the strawberry stand on the highway to sell. We felt this was the epitome of jobs. If you got to sell, that meant you were mature and trustworthy and you had very little supervision. At age 16, this was awesome! You could also drive our uncle's pickup to get more berries, or deliver money back to the farm.

Some of our customers up at the stand were rather strange.

One day a woman stopped her car, came over and looked suspiciously at my sister and said, "I want some berries that have NEVER TOUCHED THE AIR. NEVER. Get them for me, please." My sister stared at her, then ventured, "Umm, I'm afraid all of our berries have touched the air, Ma'am.."

"Well I don't WANT those berries then. I want only the ones that have never touched the AIR!!!" The woman wouldn't be convinced and so my sister very delicately opened the berry cooler, rooted around in it, and finally brought out a flat of berries saying, "Here, Ma'am, here are some strawberries that I found at the very bottom. They might be just what you're looking for."

The lady inspected the berries, found them satisfactory, paid, and left. We never did work out how any berry in this world would have grown in an airless environment. But, as every American knows, The Customer Is Always Right - and that is an attitude that will always sell berries!

On a recent visit back to that farm, we drove up to see my sweet aunt. There she was, as funny and full of great stories as ever. The first thing she said to us was, "You want some strawberries?" Strawberries! Of course! "They come from the store in town, but they're still pretty good."

We sat, and visited, and ate our berries. They were very good, but still not quite the famous berries from decades ago. No one could match those berries, no matter how hard they tried. But that didn't matter right then. Seeing my aunt was what mattered.

And as always, she was kind. She was funny. She was - Imogene!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, June 26, 2014

When Wimbledon Got Real Interesting (2)

Two Sisters and Their Dad

No one in the world of tennis had ever seen anything like those two girls. Their father had raised them to become champions, and never looked back. Richard Williams even drew up a 78 page plan for how to make it happen - before they were born. From the time each turned 4 1/2, they were out there slamming away at tennis balls, doing drills, listening to their dad, and inching their way upward.

"White people thought tennis was 'their house'. I wanted my girls to be in that house too, so I brought them up to practice hard and play hard no matter what anybody thought."
This was no easy dream. Mr. Williams needed someplace the girls could have access to tennis courts. He moved the family to Compton, California both for the free courts and to "toughen the girls up". In a recent NPR interview Williams described those tennis courts as "run-down, filled with gangs - Crips, Bloods, and everything in between." He'd clear them out, using fists and other sundry 'items' (which the interviewer politely declined to discuss). Then he told the girls: "Alright, get on out there and practice." And they did.

The two little girls just kept on playing, gang or no gang. Two champions. Two sisters. They were each other's biggest fans, and greatest competitors. 

I remember the first time I saw them play at Wimbledon. Something in the way they attacked a ball made me pity any hapless opponent. If it were me, I would be afraid. Very afraid. In fact, sometimes they ended up playing each other, just because they had beat everyone else along the way. 

Venus and Serena are well known for their strict loyalty. If one sister looses, she is known to sit in the stands rooting for the other. Even if her sister is the one who beat her.

Let's just look at their Women's Wimbledon Single's titles: a Williams won Wimbledon in each of the following years:

2000 - Venus
2001 - Venus
2002 - Serena
2003 - Serena
2005 - Venus
2007 - Venus
2008 - Venus
2009 - Serena
2010 - Serena
2012 - Serena

I am amazed and mesmerized by this list. And Serena's name can be found on the 2014 roster, inching its way upward once again. I don't know what the experts are projecting, but something tells me the name of Williams still bears watching. 

She might be far from the tennis courts of Compton, but she is still the toughest game in town.

Richard Williams

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

P.S. Dear Readers, see if you can find an interview of Mr. Williams somewhere on the airwaves. He is interesting! (and perhaps unexpected..). 

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What A Little Girl Found There (3)

Another Grandmother's House

She awoke to the sounds of laughter and the smell of breakfast. People downstairs were setting the table, making the porridge, buttering the toast - and laughing. She lay in that comfy bed just thinking of what might happen next, and was content.

They had arrived late the night before so there had not been a chance to notice very much, so tired was she. "Take her up to her bed. She must be exhausted, poor dear," said her grandmother. And indeed, she was asleep before they reached the top of the stairs.
Jessie (for that was her name) was to attend first grade here. She had always loved this house and could hardly believe she would stay so long! It had an upstairs and downstairs, a big porch, and even a cellar. She remembered once descending to its depths, to gaze below at the rows of cereal boxes. They were all so nicely arranged, organized by size and type, and there was enough to last a whole winter. Bliss!

It was the very beginning of the Depression, but Grandfather had a job, an orchard and a garden, and the house seemed fairly bursting with food. Jessie liked thinking of the prospect of breakfast, as she lay there so wonderfully comfortable. Suddenly she heard, "Breakfast is ready!" so she quickly got dressed and started down the stairs, all the while hearing the cheerful voices of the kind people below. 

Aunt Stella, Aunt Louise and Uncle Clarence were there, and greeted her heartily. Grandmother was stirring something at the stove, and Grandfather sat at the table. Everyone smiled when they saw her. "Well, hello! Good morning Jessie!" they said. "It's so nice to have you here."

She felt utterly welcomed. Uncle Clarence fluffed her hair as he sat, and breakfast began. Lively conversation, gentle joking, earnest discussions of interesting topics - it was so very enchanting. What a lucky girl she was! 

This was going to be a simply splendid year.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What A Little Girl Found There (2)

She was the eldest of 6 children, and the Depression was hard on them all. But Grandfather said they came from 'good stock', and there was no doubt they would come through.
One day as the little girl walked along the road she saw some children skipping along in her direction, and they were holding oranges. Oranges - what a rare treat! Oh, how she would just love an orange right about then. She could almost taste its sweet tanginess on this hot, dusty day. If she had an orange, she would peel it slowly and eat it slowly, taking her time to savor it...but what were they saying about the oranges?

"They're government oranges! Yes, really. They came in from Tacoma and families can claim them!"

The little girl continued walking toward home, thinking about the government, and thinking about oranges. Then she thought about home. She learned a lot at home, because Mother and Dad seemed always to be talking. They talked around the table; they talked in the living room after the children were in bed, their ideas floating upward and through the heating register in her bedroom. 

Even at 10, she was pretty certain that one of these ideas might be paying cash for oranges. It was an idea that many held, in those days. It was not wrong to receive government oranges, and each family had to decide for themselves. But for now, she would wait for them.

Months passed. The days grew short and cold, and soon it was time to think about Christmas. Would it snow? One could always dream, even during the Depression! The children poured over the much-used Wards and Sears catalogs, looking and dreaming and sighing with delight at each page. All this looking and dreaming was really half the fun.
At last it was Christmas morning, and the children ran squealing toward the Christmas tree. The oldest girl walked in more slowly, her eyes wide and watchful. She saw her littler siblings discover her own gifts for them - gifts she had made and spent time over, finding just the right thing for each. 

At last, she glanced around the room and saw the stockings hanging there on the mantel. They looked suspiciously heavy...with something quite large and round in the very bottom. Could it be..?

She ran past the tree, and past the children on the floor. She took her stocking down and began removing its contents: the hard candy, some sweet small gifts from her mother, and then - she upended the stocking to find - an ORANGE! Oh joy! 

She wanted to eat it right then and there, but remembered her summertime vow. She would find just the right moment to peel it slowly and eat it slowly - taking her time to savor it.

Christmas. The Christ Child. Oranges. Warm food. Happy children. And Mother - standing nearby, laughing and smiling her own sweet way, and Dad - holding the newspaper just so, but peering over it toward his oldest daughter. A twinkle in his own eye, beaming over the heads of the children.. right at her. 

The best things in life are free.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Monday, June 23, 2014

When Wimbledon Got Real Interesting

Have you noticed? It is once again Wimbledon season, bringing with it all of the non-stop buzz: the players, the coaches, the media, the clothing and, of course, the hair. Hair seems to be of high interest at Wimbledon. I am especially remembering a significant Wimbledon where hair was just about the only thing being discussed in the run-up.

It was all about Andre Agassi. There was a media frenzy surrounding him - endless discussions about his hair, his tan, his clothing (he was reportedly refusing to wear traditional white on the Wimbledon courts) and his girlfriends. We heard this speculation from the moment we moved to England, until Mr. Agassi's first game day. The cameras snapped, reporters gasped, girls screamed, and the guys mostly yawned. For Andre Agassi appeared in....TRADITIONAL WHITE! 

His concession for submitting to this requirement? He wore a loose shirt that showed his belly button upon each swing at the tennis ball. We saw more snaps of that stomach than we cared to! But people could not get enough of it.

I am telling you all of this because in the early 1990's I very nearly got to watch the Men's Wimbledon finals. In Centre Court! How did I accomplish this? And why did I not go? Well here's the story:

As you might know, members of the public can enter a sort of 'lottery' for Wimbledon tickets by simply applying. This was exciting and I figured, Why shouldn't I??  So I sent in the application, and imagine my disbelief when I found that I had not only won a ticket - I had won for the CENTER COURT MEN'S FINALS - the most prestigious tennis match ever! 

And (although no one knew this yet) Andre Agassi would be playing. How cool is that?

But, dear Readers, in the end I was not able to go! Are you sad for me? This was due to a U.S. concert date conflict which could not be worked out or changed, no matter how I tried. Some other lucky person sat in my place, that lovely Wimbledon day.

I sat somewhat desolate on the airplane the day of the match, listening as the pilot intermittently announced the score. When finally he said Andre Agassi had won, the plane erupted in cheers. Little did they know that one of their fellow passengers could have been there. Could have sat cheering along with the Queen, the prince, the princess, and a gaggle of other assorted Royals. I felt almost famous.

While recently perusing some photos of Mr. Agassi, I came upon the shocking realization that NONE OF HIS HAIR REMAINS. I imagine it is a lot easier to play tennis without it. But there may not be the same parade of cameras snapping, the screams of girls or the belly button revelations.

I guess we all grow up sometime.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jersey Boys

Just Four Simple Boys from Jersey

My sister and I tried to see it in London's West End, but the screaming hordes got there first. I tried again two years later, only to see the line stretched right around the building. Too bad! But when we heard it was a movie, we dashed downtown for a ticket and settled in just as the lights dimmed. She and I had been curious about Jersey Boys because we loved their songs - not to mention Frankie's falsetto voice. They had been on the Ed Sullivan Show before and after the Beatles, so better than that it does not get.

I wondered whether the actors could actually pull it off. Frankie Valli would be a tough one to imitate, and I wasn't sure. 

The theater in this sweet woodland town is not known for its great sound system, so it was kind of hard to hear everything (this also happened when Les Miserables came through town. Can you imagine I Dreamed A Dream at an excruciatingly low volume?? I never recovered).

If any of you are expecting this to be the sweet rags to riches tale gently typical of the 50's, you might wish to see a different movie (perhaps How To Train Your Dragon 2?). If you are expecting to hear mild oaths such as 'darn', 'heck', or 'shoot', might I also direct you elsewhere? Because in a word, the language is...rough (their mothers must have forgotten one of the great purposes for SOAP).

I suppose the screenwriter and book authors and others who told the story had to 'keep it real', but it was all rather disappointing. The boys may have started out sweetly enough, but soon they were sporadically in a lock-up, then sang together, then gained notoriety, then drank too much, then became famous, then ignored their wives, then fought, then lost control of their money to an idiot, then shouted a lot, and then split up. Sound familiar?

It is similar to other fame stories that bring heartache in the end. Is there any group, any person, any quartet or trio who did NOT fall into the pattern? Fame apparently does not equal happiness in this world. So why do so many human beings wish for it? It's a quandary to me.

I can't utterly disparage this film. The music alone was almost worth the money. Whoever portrayed Frankie sure had a nice vibrato, and sure seemed to be a decent guy. All the same, I don't think I'll rush over to the West End for tickets anytime soon. 

But come to think of it, I actually wouldn't mind seeing How To Train Your Dragon 2. It's probably a better use of my time.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

In Search of the Waymark

It is true that a walking tour is not for the faint hearted. This I discovered, on my first walking tour day in September. In the Cotswolds. In the rain.
But I couldn't wait to experience that famous countryside and get from place to place as clearly stated in the directions. For the directions were all very clear, very thorough. If anything, there seemed to be too many directions, page upon page to digest each day, before setting out. Above all, travelers were told always to 'Follow the waymarked path. It is clearly signposted.'

I had every reason to believe this promise. Of course it was the truth! They wouldn't print it otherwise..

It was just that I did not always see the waymarked path. For an uninitiated American, those signs were not perhaps over-obvious. 

Sometimes the signs looked like the one above. They were often in the middle of a field or paddock, surrounded by farm animals. Sometimes they could be found by looking beneath the foliage of an overgrown tree. Only I missed the foliage. 

In the afternoon, my directions told me to look for a stump in the middle of the field, and that the stump would reveal the waymark, 'clearly'. It took a while, but I finally saw the stump. It is true, it did contain the waymark. In fact, more than one waymark - there were 3, each pointing a different direction. Three yellow arrows, but without clear wording for a destination. Hmm. This could get interesting. 

It was at this point that I felt uncertain, and (it must be said) alone. Friendliness surrounded me, but none of it was the living kind. All was lovely and green, with sweet bovine groups huddling off in the distance. Standing as the only humanoid, holding the maps and paraphernalia of travel, I said a prayer (knowing, of course, that HE is always alive and listening). 

Presently, a man and woman came ambling along the paddock, toward me. The woman was holding a map (suspiciously like mine) and appeared to be studying it vociferously. I held up my map and called out, "ME TOO!!" and we all laughed. Kindly they took me under their wing. Carefully they ascertained where it was that I (we) wanted to go, and decided to walk together for a ways.
"We have been wanting to see that village anyway, so we'll come along."

The three of us couldn't really figure out where we were, at least not until we had gone a fair distance. When at last we did figure it out and it was time to part company, I felt sad to leave them - we were friends already! They gave me their number and said, "Call us tonight when you reach your B&B! We want to make sure you are ok."

These two were not the only sweet guides I found along the way. The country is filled with them! I just love it. One can be so much more optimistic when meeting kindness face to face, far from home. It is rather like coming upon a bright yellow arrow or two, etched with just the right wording you had been hoping to see all along.

Such 'Waymarks' are clearly signposted. You can't miss them.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Bods</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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Friday, June 20, 2014

What A Little Girl Found There

Visiting the farm was always fascinating, and a treat. Especially alluring was the Library, and she loved tiptoeing inside for it was filled with the books of a lifetime. Books lined the four walls, books sat stacked floor to ceiling, even along the floorboards. Besides these treasures Great Grandfather owned stuffed birds and small animals, encased in glass. These last were her especial favorites, and she ventured inside to stare at them whenever visiting. There, she could be alone to peruse everything at her leisure. 

Great Grandfather's name was Jeremiah. He had a son named James, who had a son named Isaac, who was her father. It was the year 1930 and strange things had begun to happen in her world, something about stock markets and crashes and who knew what else. She was not yet sure about the nature of these worries, but grownup conversations were suddenly focussed and rather grim. She liked being with her grandmother in the kitchen, but when they began to talk, she quietly climbed the stairs, crept into the Library, and lost herself among the books.

On one such day the girl came upon an odd looking and dusty volume. She slowly pulled it out to see what it looked like. The front cover seemed to portray an image of doom, but she thought she would look inside to be sure. The book, as she opened it, emitted a strange odor she did not like. As she looked at the photos (and there were a lot of photos), she tried to understand the words that explained them. The smell continued to build the more she read, until finally she closed the book with a thump.                                                           

She went back down the stairs, but the aroma of that book seemed to follow. 
Over the weeks and months, the little girl went back to Dante's Inferno, intrigued but alarmed. She knew what the photos were saying, how they interpreted Hell to all who chose not God. They were striking, and stayed with her - rather like that strange odor. 

They stayed with her as the months turned to years, as Crash became Depression, and as her parents struggled to provide. In time there was high school, there was work, and marriage. And then, amidst the busy-ness of farming and children, she heard and learned that to choose God was to trust Him, and to run to Him. Kind people came and showed this Grace of Christ, and the remembered photos and words of Dante gained context. 

She soon learned that there was more to Dante's story than Inferno: Paradiso! Heaven, freely chosen. People very often read only the first part, and forget to keep on going. 

My mother (for that is who this little girl is) did keep on going. She says Inferno served its purpose, but that now her eyes are, and forever will be, fixed on Paradise.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read more:

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Devil Wears - SPIKES

I just couldn't stop thinking about it last night. 

Emily Blunt, as I was saying to you, grabbed our attention as the impatient, the irritable, the testy first assistant to Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. For those of us who don't think over-much about fashion, the whole thing was an unexpected look-in at a world which carries on, apparently, without most of us. 

It was a fun movie! and I liked everyone in it. Meryl Streep, the boss whose "That's all.." was the ultimate dismissal, was funny and splendid. But I just could not get over those shoes..


There came a moment when Andy knew she had won the boss's heart. Or, if not her heart, at least her recognition. I don't know that it always takes buying a new outfit or wearing spiked heels. Sometimes it's easier than that but for Andy, the penny finally dropped and on went the spikes.

At first I felt betrayed that our girl-next-door gave away her hideous skirt, her ... (oh by the way men, if you don't know what we are talking about, it's ok if you just sort of fade out for a minute or two) ... her clunky sweater and her appalling flats. I thought, "But I LIKED her that way! I thought the sweater was OK even if the skirt WAS hideous, and anyway there was too much makeup around there.." 
But then as soon as Andy sauntered out of the dressing area with (do you REMEMBER?!) the most adorable New York-ey slenderizing outfit - black mini skirt with long black coat, tall spiky black boots with tights and suddenly awesome hair - I was drawn IN. Didn't ever want to see the clunky sweater again.

Neither did her boss. Because the moment Andy won her respect was the moment Andy stopped (just a teensy-weensy bit) being herself, and became (just a teensy-weensy bit) like her boss. From then on, the dreadful flats were replaced by excruciatingly tall heels, and she wore them with apparent ease for (almost) the whole rest of the movie.  
                                                                              Ladies: (men, go back to sleep for just a moment or two longer): spikes. What do YOU think of them? I think spikes are horrible and dangerous and might be the end of the women who wear them. How do their feet survive? At the same time, they are so lovely and fashionable that any photo of them on any foot makes the hapless viewer want them. Even the scary red photo on this page has its tug on my attention. But the SconeLady must look at such things from afar, for fear she will lurch embarrassingly into traffic and injure herself.  We can't have that.                                                                                                                                                       

And so dear Readers, you must, soon, grab the DVD and see what happens in the end. It will help take your mind off the scary news of the Middle East, the unexpected struggles in eastern Europe, and all the awful pre pre-election shouting. 

Just pop in the disc, lie back, and be entertained. 

"That's all..."

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">hsuanwei</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">K嘛</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Edge of Tomorrow

It really all began with Ghostbusters, brought to us by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Can anybody be any funnier? I ask you. This turned out to be hilarious and scary and rather spookily frightening, and Bill Murray became everybody's favorite funny man. For us the movie was a first of sorts, because we were so seldom in the same place at the same time. The brothers and their wives, together on a summer's evening, for dinner and a movie while grandma watched the kids. It really could not have been any better.

After that we tried very hard to do that same thing each summer. We sometimes lived thousands of miles away in beloved England, but we tried. From 1984 to 2014? That's a pretty good record, and the tradition still stands. We call, we text, we email: "Dinner? Movie! When? Meet you out front!" 

This week we gathered to see the new Tom Cruise movie, The Edge of Tomorrow. Have you seen it? I hope you will! I loved it, even though Cruise is about 20 years older than Emily Blunt, who plays opposite him. Never mind that his first movie was made in 1981, before she was born. No one is worried about THAT, because men can always be DECADES OLDER THAN THEIR LEADING LADIES. Oh, the unfairness.


Granted, Tom Cruise is well worth watching and somehow keeps getting better. But as soon as I heard Emily Blunt would be in this movie I was really especially keen to go. Would you like to know why? Hmm? It is because of my favorite movie, The Devil Wears Prada. Have you seen it? I hope you did! Emily Blunt is such a quirkily impatient, woeful, understated Brit that one wants to see it - and then see it again. She shines in this new movie as well, only this time as an action hero - somehow, she too keeps on getting better.
For all the years of our standing tradition, Grandma has always watched the kids. They were having their own hilarious cousin-time on the farm: riding scooters, driving the four-wheeler with Grandpa, tons of food, movies, popcorn, games, and sleeping bags on the floor. Summer nights, the sun still up at 10, doting grandparents? Bliss. The funny little things thought it was all about them. 

Little did they know..

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">twm1340</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">lewishamdreamer</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>