Blast from the Past

29 10 2007

I was having an IM conversation tonight with a friend of comparable years of “life experience.” I mentioned Galveston in the conversation which segued to Glenn Campbell who sang the song about Galveston which somehow strangely segued to Leavin’ on a Jet Plane. We pondered for a moment about who sang that song. As our memories failed us, I googled it. That sequed us to John Denver who wrote the song which then segued me to YouTube to see some footage. That segued me way, way back to my childhood crush who looked like a short-haired version of John Denver.

I fell “in love” on the first day of kindergarten with my underwear showing (hey, at least I was wearing underwear and not pulling a “Britney”!) as I almost crawled onto the school bus. It had stopped over a little water gully by the front walkway. The gap between the cement stoop and the first step was such a “great divide” to my little legs that my skirt slid up as I stretched my legs into a near split to bridge it.

Somehow, I’ve always remembered that moment, the first time ever I boarded the school bus. He was already in the front seat shy and reserved sitting next to “Kimmy Kim Kurls” who was so eager to meet new friends that she moved to the top of the steps to greet me.

We journeyed through 13 years of school together often sitting side-by-side because his last name began with C and mine with D. We were study buddies, lab partners, and afterschool club mates. But, sadly, we never dated….sigh. I guess neither one of us had the guts to ask…at least I know I didn’t. And you know what I say…no guts, no glory!

And now for your nostalgic enjoyment, here are a few Leavin’ on a Jet Plane videos.  There are videos of John Denver singing solo, but I think he’s cutest on this one.

 And this one’s just cute…

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Only Cyrano Knows For Sure

27 10 2007
‘Tis well known, a big nose is indicative
Of a soul affable, and kind, and courteous,
Liberal, brave, just like myself, and such
As you can never dare to dream yourself
Rascal contemptible!  For that witless face
That my hand soon will come to cuff–is all
As empty. . .
–of pride, of aspiration,
Of feeling, poetry–of godlike spark
Of all that appertains to my big nose
                                – Cyrano de Bergerac,
Act I, Scene 1

I apologize for the bad pun, but how could I possibly resist?? I saw Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway last night starring Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner, and Daniel Sunjata. With his aristocratic bearing and sense of comedic timing, Kevin Kline fits the character of noble Cyrano like a hand in an isotoner glove. Jennifer Garner plays the perfect ingenue and Daniel Sunjata, her macho but intellectually-challenged beau.

I was enthralled  during the first 3 acts with the Shakespearesque witticisms. The fencing scene in Act I between Cyrano and a viscount is particularly fantastic. During the intermission, my friend Maureen and I were reviewing our past experiences with Cyrano.

Maureen talked about how she was moved by Derek Jacobi’s interpretation of Cyrano on Broadway in 1984. I replied that I had never seen Cyrano on stage, but I remembered the movie with Steve Martin. Of course, Maureen was quick to point out that that movie, Roxanne, was actually a modern interpretation of Cyrano. In fact, Steve Martin’s character was named Charlie Bales and not Cyrano…doh!

But, in my own defense, Kevin Kline and Steve Martin share similarities in their comedic timing and intellectual delivery. Why shouldn’t Kline’s performance bring Martin’s to mind??

After the standing ovation at the play’s conclusion, we agreed that the show was definitely worth the price of the tickets although Maureen said that Derek Jacobi had actually moved her to tears during the final scene in 1984. Kevin Kline did not so move either of us here. Whether that is because Kline is just acting the part versus being the part or whether we’re just older, more cynical, and less gullible, I do not now.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed Cyrano immensely and, if you can, go see it!

In case you’re interested you can watch Jose Ferrer in the 1950 film version of Cyrano for which he won an academy award here. You can download the play as an ebook from Project Gutenberg here. You can get more information about the soon-to-open Broadway production here.





The Fall Reel

23 10 2007

I heard strange sounds dancing at me from the other room this morning at 6:30 am. It was Ian. Odd, he’s not usually so vocal at that hour. When I asked what was up, he mumbled something about the Fall Reel.

I peered in over his shoulder, and there he was, glued to YouTube. On screen his Watchung Hills Ultimate teammates were diving, running, jumping, colliding and rolling for the white disk. He cheered every layout or grab and then said to me that he was in it.

You can see still shots at Dan’s smugmug site. Here’s the video and if you pay attention around 2:40 minutes into it, you’ll see Ian pull in the frisbee over the heads of several opponents.





It Takes Guts to be a Kidney Donor

17 10 2007

Barbara Buda

It takes guts to be a kidney donor, but my friend Barbara did it. Last week she underwent surgery in Connecticut to donate one of her healthy kidneys to her brother Ken who suffers from a degenerative kidney disease.

Now she’s home resting and recuperating as is her brother. Both surgeries went smoothly. Both patients seem to be faring very well all things considered.

 Barb, Ken, and Barb’s husband Pete are active participants in the Endless Feast. They are each excellent cooks in their own right. Pete, a hunter, is a master on the grill and introduced me to beer can chicken and deep fried turkey. Barb makes fabulous salads and mojitos and presented me with a very mysterious sauerkraut soup that is a family tradition on Christmas. Ken makes amazing pierogies. We had an informal pierogie cook-off a while ago. He even shared his recipe.

 I’m so happy and relieved that things have gone well. And, I can’t wait to resume the Endless Feast…the cookie baking season is not that far off!





May Need Remedial Training

16 10 2007

One of my friends posted on my Facebook wall this afternoon “im trying to get the hang of this. May need remedial training.” (I’m leaving the typos in there intentionally to emphasize the “remedial” point.) Another of my friends blogged about her recent Facebook experience…she wasn’t impressed as you can read.

 Of course, we’re all in the “over 40” crowd and growing older. But, we are technically savvy. We work in the high tech industry. We use computers everyday to email, text, IM, and surf. So what’s the deal? What is so compelling for teenagers and college students that is not compelling for us golden oldies?

My teenager is constantly on Facebook. He uses it as a communications tool, although how much he could possibly have to say to anyone that he hasn’t already said in the 500+ text messages per month that he manages to send on his wireless phone?

If only he’d communicate as freely with me. Our conversations are like surfing the Web using a dial up connection. I “download” complex compound questions and he “uploads” monosyllabic answers…go figure.

This leads me to ponder another mystery about my teenager. How is it that he can master the latest computing and personal electronics technology but still can’t manage to operate the washing machine or the dishwasher? Last time I looked that technology was at least 20 years old. Happily, he seems to have added the toaster oven and the microwave to his operational repertoire. At least I know that he won’t starve even if his dishes and his clothing are dirty. (Am I right, people?)

Yes, may need remedial training, indeed.





Bouleversement

9 10 2007

Bouleversement…this was dictionary.com’s word of the day a week ago today, October 1. I wanted to blog about it when I saw it but had to jump on a plane to Dallas…again. However, now that we’ve got an trifecta of bouleversements, I have to speak out.

 Bouleversement is a noun of French origin that means, to quote dictionary.com, “complete overthrow; a reversal; a turning upside down.” Last Monday morning at 5 am I thought either someone at dictionary.com has a sense of humor, or someone is grieving deeply, or someone is a Yankees or a Phillies fan and laughing his/her butt off.  That this should be the word of the day the morning after New York’s “Amazing” Mets’ complete crash and burn is too ironic to be mere coincidence.

Ok, I thought, we can still cheer on the Phillies and the Yanks, right? Ha! That’s where the trifecta comes in. Sadly, after snatching the division title, the Phils were swept in 3 games in their playoff series. And, even though the Yanks managed to win one game against the Indians, which, I suppose, lifts their performance out of range of a bouleversement, the 3 games they lost were just uninspired. So, I’m counting it anyway.

There is no joy in Mudville, at least not in the New York or Philadelphia metro areas.





Philmont with the Boy Scouts

5 10 2007

Ian at Philmont

Here are a few pics from Ian’s cavalcade at Philmont, the Boy Scout ranch in New Mexico. He said he had a great time, and the photos attest to that.  He spent seven days and nights on horseback in the mountains in August. I’m so proud of him! Adventure camping 2000 miles from home with no amenities, iPod, cell phone, TV or computer takes guts.