Friday, December 31, 2010

'. . . with a fond goodbye!'

That's what Irving Berlin said about 'kissing the old year out'. God has certainly blessed us many ways this year --- too many to even list here. But I sure am looking forward to a new year. Hopefully 2011 will be more normal.

Today was the big year-end auction at the local auction house. Things started at 10:00am this morning and we didn't get home 'til about 4:30pm. It was really fun to see all the old stuff there, and there was certainly lots of stuff! Well, in just seven short hours this year will be over. And guess where I'll be??? In bed! :)
God bless you and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

'Just like the ones I used to know . . .'

It's finally happened! After more than ten years! We had a white Christmas! In fact, we actually had snow in the middle of the night, so when we woke up yesterday morning the roads were totally covered. They didn't clear off until the afternoon. We had a nice, quiet Christmas together putting up the tree and making cookies and lasagna. A couple of the homemade presents were not finished on time, so we're saving presents until next Sunday.

Today we've had some friends over. Elizabeth and I can't remember a Christmas in Ohio without them, so it's like having family. We always have a Cuban dinner together, and this year we even had a pineapple centerpiece! They stayed basically all day, then we washed up all the dishes etc., so it's getting late.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Five Special Years with Beatrice

Wow! I can hardly believe it, but we've had Beatrice five years as of today. She's my special girl-cat, who actually picked me. We had gone to the local shelter to get another kitty for Elizabeth since her little cat, Deanna, had just died. We hadn't been there for more than five minutes when this tiny, little black cat came up to rub on my legs. She was a little peanut of a thing (she weighed six pounds at the time and was actually overweight!) and so cute, so I picked her up. She climbed right into the hood of my winter coat and went to sleep. Well, I had to keep her, so she came home that night. She was seven months old and had been at the shelter ever since she was a few weeks old. All of her siblings had found their special homes, but nobody wanted Beatrice because she was black. Poor girly.

After five years, she is very happy, and the queen of the house. She never gets over eight pounds, and she's certainly the smallest cat in the house, but she's the queen of the place and everybody knows it! She has frenetic "frenzies" when she wants love and just rubs all over and can't stop moving. The only thing that calms her down in music be Brenda Lee. :) Beatrice is certainly a special little blessing . . . God knew that I needed her!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Well, it looks like we might actually have a white Christmas this year. That hasn't happened in, probably, over ten years! We've been white for about three weeks already, and it will hopefully stay another week. This is what the yard was looking like last week while it was snowing. It hasn't snowed for a few days, so the bushes and trees are pretty bare, but the ground is just as white.

With only days left before Christmas, we're trying to get everything finished up (presents and all) and get ready for the big weekend. Not a year, since we moved to Ohio, has gone by that certain friends haven't come over on Christmas weekend for a good old-fashioned Cuban dinner. The grand occasion is going to happen on Sunday, so we're going to get all the good dishes down and pull out the special table cloths. Gramma and Grampa just sent a huge box of plantains and that good stuff, so we're about ready! Got to go . . .

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

If I had $1,000,000 to invest . . .

Mom and I were talking yesterday, and we came up with a brilliant idea! It's just too bad that we haven't got a million or two to invest. Wouldn't it be really cool if somebody bought an old department store, say from the 1950s, and turned it into a consignment antique shop. Of course, not just any old antique shop with booths all over the place. Let people bring in only the nicest of stuff and set your store up exactly like an old department store. Have a clothing department, a shoe department, a toy department, a music department (including records, radios and sheet music) and so on and so on and so on.

Don't let individuals sell whole "booths" of stuff. Rather, let people consign as many (or as few) pieces as are in really nice condition. Tag everything with the consignment number, just to keep things straight, but make it look like a real department store. Don't sell anything past a certain date, and make your store look like that era. Cool thought, anyway . . .

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Timeless Pleasure of Zenda

The Prisoner of Zenda. That is, honestly, one of my favorite novels (including the sequel Rupert of Hentzau)! Not only was it a stage play in the 1890s, but it's been filmed over and over again in the attempt to bring an imaginary Ruritanian world to life. Opinions differ as to which version is best, but if you ever read the book, then you'll realize that, try as they might, Hollywood never captured the beauty and excitement of the book. Take a look at how Rudolf and Flavia have changed (or not) over the years.

In 1922, Rex Ingram made a spectacular silent film production of the novel. Lewis Stone starred as Rudolf Rassendyll/King Rudolf V with Alice Terry as Princess Flavia and Ramon Novarro as Rupert of Hentzau. I've never seen this version, but it sounds as if they held to the novel better than the later "talkie" versions. Lewis Stone appeared again, in the 1952 film, as the Cardinal.

In 1937, Selznick Pictures built Ruritania in a back lot and tried again. This is considered by most people to be the best of all the Zenda films. I would totally disagree, but it's all a matter of taste. Ronald Colman is Rudolf, and though Madeleine Carroll makes a pretty princess, she doesn't quite capture the beauty and regality of the written Flavia.

Then, in 1952 MGM came back to make an almost scene-for-scene remake of Selznick's version. This time Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr portrayed the royal pair with James Mason as "young" Hentzau. Well, the ages were a bit off, but it's my favorite of all the films. Rudolf's personality is perfectly portrayed, though I would Mel Ferrer looking more like the book's description. It is a true shame that Granger never brought the sequel to the screen. He would have been amazing!

Elizabeth and I have read quite a few books over the years that mention The Prisoner of Zenda. In fact, even Agatha Christie had a special place in her heart for the novel as seen in her mystery Postern of Fate (Tuppence fondly recalling her youth):
"She sighed with enormous pleasure at the remembrance. 'The Prisoner of Zenda'. One's first introduction , really, to the romantic novel. The romance of Princess Flavia. The King of Ruritania. Rudolf Rassendyll, some name like that, whom one dreamt of at night."

If you've read this, then I hope that you enjoyed the book as much as I did. If you haven't read it, well . . . read it.
Qui in hac civitate nuper regnavit
In corde ipsius in aeternum regnat
Flavia Regina

Friday, December 10, 2010

Collecting Roy Rogers Books by Whitman Pub. Co.

Selling on eBay does have a few perks . . . like doing a little shopping on the side with some of the profits! I'm trying to get a collection of those cool Roy Rogers (and other Western stars/subjects) novels that were published in the 1940s and 1950s by Whitman Publishing Company. Generally, the books are in rough shape, having been printed on very acidic paper and having pretty cheap binding.

After plowing through a bunch of auction listings though, I've picked up five that are in pretty beautiful shape. Roy Rogers and the Rimrod Renegades even has the dust jacket! I'm still looking for about four more of them (RR and the Brasada Bandits, RR on the Trail of the Zeros, RR and the Outlaws of Sundown Valley & RR King of the Cowboys), so the search continues!

Winter has finally come, and it's beginning to feel like that white Christmas that I'm always dreaming about. We've had snow for a whole week now and temps are down in the 20Fs (on the good days). We're keeping the wood stove on high!

Selling on eBay has been pretty nice, but we're nearing the end as it's closer to Christmas. I've started working on a great present for Mom, but I still need a good chunk of time on it . . . and the days are ticking down. :) Oh boy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Winter, Rise and Shine . . .

. . . I love the early morning time. Those are the opening words to our favorite picture books while we were growing up. December already and today marks the first snow of the season, and it wasn't one of those little ice flurries either, but some real honest snow! I just love Winter with snow.

The down side to this means that Christmas is really creeping up here, but we won't think about that. We have to run up to town for some cat food, so we aren't up in the attic this morning. The poor cats have just been having a lot of trouble with food lately. All these fancy formulas are a bit crazy, so we're going back to a food that they ate for years to see if it's better than we thought it was. :) Well, Elizabeth is calling me and she's turned on an opera duet, so that means I better "git"!