Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sta. Lucia Day

May you have peace on this beautiful day celebrating Sta. Lucia, an excellent woman and child from Ancient times.   I always wanted to play her at school in programs, but I am not Swedish, or blonde.  Well, ironically, neither was she.  She was originally from Sicily, I believe.  Here is something to enjoy, and the vintage photo reminds me of her; look at the girl in the center :)

Now 'neath the silver moon Ocean is glowing,
O'er the calm billows, soft winds are blowing.
Here balmy breezes blow, pure joys invite us,
And as we gently row, all things delight us.

Hark, how the sailor's cry joyously echoes nigh:
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!
Home of fair Poesy, realm of pure harmony,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

When o'er the waters light winds are playing,
Thy spell can soothe us, all care allaying.
To thee sweet Napoli, what charms are given,
Where smiles creation, toil blest by heaven.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Johnny Carson and the Bronte Sisters

Lately, I live in the past.  I love watching the original Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, now billed "Johnny Carson," on AntennaTV.  Last night, the show was from December 8, 1981 and featured Buddy Hackett, always a stitch.  He commented that he'd heard there was no sex in heaven, just sexuality, and then Johnny Carson quipped something like, "That's too bad; I was looking forward to getting it on with the Bronte sisters!!"
Image result for johnny carson tonight show december 8, 1981 buddy hackett public domain
Public Domain Image
Image result for bronte sisters public domain
Public Domain

Image result for johnny carson tonight show december 8, 1981 buddy hackett public domain
Buddy Hackett Public Domain Image

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson! 186th!

For the Belle of Amherst, an announcement below.  Immediately following is one of my tributes to her, published in my book, Sappho, I Should have Listened: 

Displaying image002.jpg

Dickinson Meets Hemingway

My life had stood a
Loaded Gun,
And so I shot the elk.

And then I said,
"Let's have a Drink,"
And so I
Toast Myself.

See below (and attached-note: if you print from the attachment, the poem text is legal size 8 ½ x 14 inch paper) poems to be discussed at the Bettendorf Public Library Saturday 10 December at 2:00 p.m.  Birthday cake from Café' D'Marie.  Also the text of my article about the program that was in the 1 December Bettendorf News.  See some of you Saturday, I hope-Hedy

Celebrate the 186th
Birthday of
Emily Dickinson
December 10, 2016

[Emily Dickinson by Kat Hustedde]Led by Dr. Bea Jacobson, St. Ambrose University

2 p.m. in the Emily Dickinson Garden (weather permitting) for a short commemoration, then immediately retire to the Malmros Room for cake and discussion of
 Books, Reading & Shakespeare in Dickinson's Poetry

Numbering of the following poems is that used by R.W. Franklin in The Poems of Emily Dickinson 811.4 DI

F435 (1862)
Not in this World to see his face -
Sounds long - until I read the place
Where this - is said to be
But just the Primer - to a life -
Unopened - rare- Opon the Shelf -
Clasped yet - to Him - and me -

And yet - My Primer suits me so
I would not choose - a Book to know
Than that - be sweeter wise -
Might some one else - so learned - be -
And leave me - just my A - B - C-
Himself - could have the Skies -
F512 (1863)
Unto my Books - so good to turn -
Far ends of tired Days -
It half endears the Abstinence -
And Pain - is missed - in Praise.

As Flavors - cheer Retarded Guests
With Banquettings to be -
So Spices - stimulate the time
Till my small Library -

It may be Wilderness - without -
Far feet of failing Men -
But Holiday - excludes the night -
And it is Bells - within -

I thank these Kinsmen of the Shelf -
Their Countenances Kid
Enamor - in Prospective -
And satisfy - obtained -

F531 (1863)
We learned the Whole of Love -
The Alphabet - the Words -
A Chapter - then the mighty Book -
then - Revelation closed -

But in each Other's eyes
An Ignorance beheld -
Diviner than the Childhood's
And each to each, a Child -

Attempted to expound
What neither - understood -
Alas, that Wisdom is so large -
And Truth -so manifold!

F569 (1863)
A precious - mouldering pleasure - 'tis -
To meet an Antique Book -
In just the Dress his Century wore -
A privilege - I think -

His venerable Hand to take -
And warming in our own -
A passage back - or two - to make -
To Times when he - was young -

His quaint opinions - to inspect -
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind -
The Literature of Man -

What interested Scholars - most -
What Competitions ran -
When Plato - was a Certainty -
And Sophocles - a Man -

When Sappho - was a living Girl -
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante - deified -
Facts Centuries before

He traverses - familiar -
As One should come to Town -
And tell you all your Dreams - were true -
He lived - where Dreams were born -

His presence is enchantment -
You beg him not to go -
Old Volumes shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize - just so-

F627 (1863)
I think I was enchanted
When first a somber Girl -
I read that Foreign Lady -
The Dark - felt beautiful -

And whether it was noon at night -
Or only Heaven - at noon -
For very Lunacy of Light
I had not power to tell -

The Bees - became as Butterflies -
The Butterflies - as Swans -
Approached - and spurned the narrow Grass -
And just the meanest Tunes

That Nature murmured to herself
To keep herself in Cheer -
I took for Giants - practicing
Titanic Opera -

The Days - to Mighty Metres stept -
The Homeliest - adorned
As if unto a Jubilee
'Twere suddenly confirmed -

I could not have defined the change -
Conversion of the Mind
Like Sanctifying in the Soul -
Is witnessed - not explained -

"Twas a Divine Insanity -
The Danger to be sane
Should I again experience -
'Tis Antidote to turn -

To Tmes of Solid Witchcraft -
Magicians be asleep -
But Magic - hath an element
Like Deity - to keep -

F700 (1863)
The Way I read a Letter's - this -
'Tis first - I lock the Door -
And push it with my fingers - next -
For transport it be sure -

And then I go the furthest off
To counteract a knock -
Then draw my little Letter forth
And slowly pick the lock -

Then - glancing narrow, at the Wall -
And narrow at the floor
For firm Conviction of a Mouse
Not exorcised before -

Peruse how infinite I am
To no one that You - know -
And sigh for lack of Heaven - but not
The Heaven God bestow -

F776 (1863)
Drama's Vitallest Expression is the Common Day
That arise and set about Us -
Other Tragedy

Perish in the Recitation -
This - the best enact
When the Audience is scattered
And the Boxes shut -

"Hamlet" to Himself were Hamlet -
Had not Shakespeare wrote -
Though the "Romeo" left no Record
of his Juliet,

It were infinite enacted
In the Human Heart -
Only Theatre recorded
Owner cannot shut -

F1247 (1872)
We like a Hairbreadth 'scape
It tingles in the Mind
Far after Act or Accident
Like paragraphs of Wind

If we had ventured less
The Breeze were not so fine
That reaches to our utmost Hair
It's Tentacles divine.

F1268 (1872)
A Word dropped careless on a Page
May consecrate an Eye
When folded in perpetual seam
The Wrinkled Author lie

Infection in the sentence breeds
We may inhale Despair
At distances of Centuries
From the Malaria-

F1286 (1873)
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry -
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll -
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul -

F1489  (1879)
A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel -
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal -
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it's tumbled Head -
The Mail from Tunis - probably,
An easy Morning's Ride -

It has been 400 years since the death of the great English playwright William Shakespeare.  The Bettendorf Public Library has done its part to commemorate Shakespeare by hosting two scholar-led book discussions of "Richard III".  This month we are adding a touch of Shakespeare to our biannual discussion of Emily Dickinson's poetry which will be led by Dickinson scholar, St. Ambrose University Professor Emeritus Bea Jacobson.
Jacobson earned her doctorate at the University of Iowa where she wrote a dissertation on Emily Dickinson.  At St Ambrose she specialized in early American literature, women's literature, and ethnic literature with a focus on global feminism.
Jacobson noted that Dickinson refers directly to Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet in "Drama's Vitallest Expression is the Common Day" (1863) with allusions to Shakespeare in two other poems that will be discussed.  The rest of the poems on the roster will focus on the beauty and power of books and reading.  The most famous one is undoubtedly "There is no Frigate like a Book" (1873). But there's also "Unto my Books - so good to turn - " (1863), "We learned the Whole of Love - " (1863), and "A Word dropped careless on a Page" (1872).
We have always discussed Dickinson on or around December 10, the date of her birth, and on or around May 15, the date of her death.  She was an avid gardener and was buried with a bouquet of violets and heliotrope in her hands. The Library's Emily Dickinson Garden was dedicated on May 15, 2004, with a lecture, Dickinson impersonator, music and food indicative of the 19th century, announcement of winners of a poetry contest, and a butterfly release.  The garden was researched, designed, and planted by Scott County Master Gardeners and other volunteers.  It contained heritage plants which Dickinson herself was likely to have had in her own garden.  Certainly, they were named in one or more of her poems.  Over the years, some of these plants have died out and some have moved around, but the Emily Dickinson Garden featuring the bronze bust of Dickinson sculpted by Kenn Brinson has become an interesting ever-changing feature of the Library grounds.
Sometimes the bust will be wearing rabbit ears or a Santa hat or the eyes will be stuffed with red crabapples giving her a rather weird gaze.  There is always something growing, blooming, or reseeding attracting bees in summer and birds in winter.  The discussion on Saturday, December 10, will start at 2:00 p.m. with a brief salute to Dickinson in the Garden, weather permitting.  Participants will proceed to the Malmros Room in the Library for discussion and dessert on ceramic plates embellished with phrases from Dickinson's poetry in calligraphy by librarian Hedy Hustedde and illustrations by her daughter Kat who teaches high school art in Mequon, Wisconsin.   Hardcopies of the poems to be discussed are available at the Library.  Those who find poetry inscrutable are especially invited to the discussion.  There will be cake.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Louisa May Alcott

Happy 184th Birthday to the beloved author of so many wonderful books, certainly a Muse of Mine!!

Below is something I wrote on Alcott and dolls in her books; it is a brief excerpt from a longer MMLA paper; enjoy, and Happy Holidays!!

In his essay,  “A Philosophy of Toys”: Baudelaire writes that “ the whole of life exists” in a “great toy shop” and it is “far more highly sparkling and polished than real life.” Those who love films like Mr. "Magoriums Wonder Emporium "would probably agree with him.    Dolls and toys represent life in miniature, brought to a scale and level that children can understand.  A child’s life extends through the life of her toys, and her imagination animates them, as Andy’s does in the Toy Story Films. For a child, her dolls are her companions, portraits, actors in her plays, and scapegoats for her miseries.

"Little Women", 1868, one year after my Great-Grandmother and Laura Ingalls Wilder were born: Nowhere does the doll represent an extension of her owner than in Alcott’s "Little Women."  Since the book was written, there have been hundreds of doll representations made of the characters, in paper and 3-D form, in all media.  There are also many other works or art, both serious and kitschy, that immortalize them, as well as several films and TV series.

Alcott herself was 13 when Charlotte Brontë died, and was aware of "Jane Eyre."  There, Brontë writes of the importance of dolls as companions to children, and the orphan Jane only has her doll to comfort her in the desolation of the Reed house.

 The March girls do not have many toys, but they have their games, pastimes, and theatrical play. Beth is the only sister described as having dolls.  Thirteen year-old Beth March is the shyest of the four March girls.  She loves her pets, her six misfit dolls, and her music. Anne K. Phillips writes in “Toys, Games, and Play in Little Women” that given the family’s poor economic status, six dolls seem “ a surprisingly large number of toys”. Beth is a juvenile “Angel of the House,” and at thirteen, is her mother’s best companion.  She helps with household chores, but is still very much a child who cares for her sisters bedraggled, broken, and cast out dolls.

Beth often saves them from the trash or ragbag.  The following description describes the relationship Beth has with her dolls: "Beth was too bashful to go to school . . . She was s housewifely little creature . . . not lonely nor idle, for her little world was peopled with imaginary friends . . .There were six dolls to be taken up and dressed every morning, for Beth was a child still, . . . not one whole or handsome one among them; all were outcasts till Beth took them in; for when her sisters outgrew their idols, they passed to her . . . Beth cherished them all the more tenderly for that very reason, and set up a hospital for infirm dolls.  No pins were ever stuck into their cotton vitals; no harsh words or blows ere ever given them, no neglect ever saddened the heart to the most repulsive, but all were fed and clothed, nursed, and caressed, with the affection which never failed.  One forlorn fragment of dollanity had belonged to Jo; and, having led a tempestuous life, was left a wreck in the ragbag, from which dreary poorhouse it was rescued by Beth, and taken to her refuge."

 Alcott goes on to write that the poor doll has no top “to its head” and “both arms and legs were gone, she hid these deficiencies by folding it in a blanket, and devoting her best bed to this chronic invalid.  Beth lavishes more love on this doll than on the others, and brings it “bits of bouquets,” reads to it, takes it for walks, “hidden under her coat,” and sings it lullabies, kissing “its dirty face, and whispering tenderly,” I hope you’ll have a good night, my poor dear."  Significantly, this doll is named Joanna.  Later, when Beth is terminally ill, Jo will care  for her as tenderly as Beth cared for the bedraggled Joanna.  As Phillips observes, none of Beth’s play is “orchestrated by Marmee: Beth chooses this activity, and her dedication to the dolls is supported by her sisters” with Jo making sure there is a clear path, even in winter, so that Beth can take Joanna on her daily walks (408).  Doll play suits the nurturing Beth, who is, ironically the most motherly of all the sisters, though she will never experience motherhood herself.

Alcott herself tried at one point to support her family as a dolls dressmaker, reportedly chasing the neighbor’s chickens for feathers with which to decorate fancy doll hats (See review of McDonough’s "The Life of Louisa May Alcott."

Doll dressmakers were needed because by about 1870, little girls would have more dolls than their mother and aunts would have had.  Anne K. Phillips writes of the last part of "Little Women", that “Later in the novel, Meg’s children Daisy and Demi are depicted as having more plentiful and more diverse kinds of toys” including a cooking stove and a group of wooden bears. As families became more prosperous in the 1870s, the toy market grew and grew, and there were more store-bought toys available.  One sees the same effect in The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In the early books, Laura’s doll is a corncob, later replaced by a rag doll her mother makes, who is named Charlotte.  Mary has a rag doll, and both girls make paper dolls.  They use the ragbag to dress their dolls and make others out of twigs and dolls’ teacups out of acorn caps.  Later, Nellie Olsen of a more prominent family has a china doll and an expensive wax doll, and Grace, Laura’s baby sister, has a china headed doll as well.

Of course, Beth also had three older sisters and Alcott is clear that her dolls are castoffs in derelict shape. Anne K. Phillips writes that according to Miram Formanek Brunell in "Made to Play House".  “Though the number of toys had increased since the colonial period, there were still few dolls around in the average middle-class household in the 1850s, a fact of doll demography that would change dramatically only after the Civil War."   Phillips also quotes Formanek-Brunell for the idea that Joanna ‘s torso-like state exemplifies Jo’s, and other girls’ aggression towards their toys. There is  also a doll burning in "Little Men". Actually, there were many doll parts and heads sold, as well as patterns in "Godey’s"  and other magazines for making dolls and dolls’ clothes.  Dickens, writing somewhat earlier, creates Jenny Wren because there were indeed many shops for making dolls and clothes, many run by women. Young girls led respectable lives making dolls, either in family businesses a la Kestner, or the wood doll artists of Thuringia, or in groups sheltered by doll makers like Jumeau and Bru in France. Cloth dolls and handmade dolls of  all types populated millions of households during the era Alcott wrote, even lower middle-class houses.

 See, Wendy Lavitt's, "American Folk Dolls", and Coleman’s, "The Encyclopedia of Dolls",

Volumes I and II.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Holocaust Education Committee


Authors, exhibits, Holocaust specialists and dramatic presentations are provided to schools, libraries, churches and other community venues through grants and collaboration with community groups.

Since 1993, Holocaust institutes and workshops have been offered to Quad City educators, students and community members.  Institutes are scheduled in the fall of odd-numbered years.

The Jeff Leibovitz Special Collection, housed at the Western Illinois University Quad City Campus in Moline, provides access to over a thousand resources, including sets of traveling curriculum cases focused on Making a Difference, Rescuers and Resisters, and Diaries and Memoirs. 

The Ida Kramer Children and the Holocaust Essay Contest and the Meyer and Frances Shnurman Holocaust Visual Arts Contest are open to students in grades 7-12.  Submissions are due annually on February 1.

Applications for the Rauch Foundation Teacher Scholarship, from $200 to $2,000, are due annually on April 1 or October 1 to support professional development.  The scholarship covers expenses for travel, housing, and/or registration for conferences, workshops or tours.
Youth, 18 years old or younger, interview, research, write and illustrate a 10-page book about a Holocaust survivor, liberator or rescuer.  
Promoting a higher awareness of the Holocaust as a unique historical event with universal implications for today

WEBSITE: www.hecqc.org

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dr. Disnarda Norniella, My Teacher, Boss, Mentor, Second Mom, As Excellent a Woman as you can Get

Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella

Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella
October 31, 1926 - August 13, 2016
Byron, GA- Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella, also known as "Desi" to those closest to her, transitioned into eternal life with God on Saturday, August 13, 2016. She was 89.
Disnarda was born in 1926 in Suluetas, Cuba to the late Francisco Valdés and Francisca Aurelia Perdomo de Valdés. She graduated from the University of Havana in Havana, Cuba earning a Ph. D. in education and an M.A. in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Norniella began her teaching career as a missionary teacher at the Presbyterian Day School in Encrucijada, Cuba. In 1961, she and her husband, Orlando, and their two children immigrated to the United States as Political Refugees. She taught at San Angelo College in San Angelo, Texas, Bennet College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Dr. Norniella retired in 1991 from Augustana College.
In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by her husband, Orlando Eladio Norniella; and brothers, Arnaldo B. Valdés and Chris Valdés. 
Those who are here to carry on her memory are: her children, Edith N. Norniella of Byron and son, Joaquin O. Norniella (Bonnie) of Kenosha, Wisconsin; grandchildren, Derrick Norniella of Kenosha, Wisconsin and Holly Norniella of Jacksonville, Florida; great-grandchildren, Briana Allen and Isabella Norniella; as well as eight nieces and nephews. 
The family will receive friends at McCullough Funeral Home in Warner Robins on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A religious service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 18, 2016 at Houston Lake Presbyterian Church in Kathleen. Following the service, Disnarda will be laid to rest in Parkway Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Disnarda Norniella to Houston Lake Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 101 O'Brien Drive, Kathleen, GA 31047.
Friends may go to www.mcculloughfh.com to sign an online registry for the family and to view the memorial video once it has been finalized. McCullough Funeral Home has the privilege of being entrusted with Dr. Norniella's arrangements.

View the online memorial for Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella

Funeral Home

McCullough Funeral Home
417 South Houston Lake Road Warner Robins, GA 31088
(478) 953-1478

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ahead of her Time; Pym Comments on Religion

I listened this morning to a British writer on NPR discussing the role of religion in our lives. One interesting comment he made was that even atheists, like himself, need exposure to religion for intellectual and cultural enrichment, if nothing else.  More on that in some other future post, especially in Dr. E's Greening Tips for the Common Person, where one of my original tips is "be spiritual."

The second point the British author made was that in our world, religion is being replaced by other institutions, including and especially, Medicine.  Medical science does indeed seem to be our God, even if it's just WebMD.  I could wax poetic on this topic, too, but suffice it to say that civilization once looked to its hunter/gatherers for survival and inspiration.  Then, it looked to its bards for it, then to its priests, who replaced the bards and the hunter/gatherers.  When it became easier to find food to survive, and shelter to protect us, we could look to our souls.

Then, we turned to medicine, to live longer and stay younger, and all else fell by the wayside.

Barbara Pym realized this shift in religion, if you will.  She had a foot in religion, medical science, and social science, as well as literature. [Please forgive the cliché/bad metaphor].  In Quartet in Autumn, we see the shift take place with Marcia.  Marcia's god and knight in shining armor is Mr. Strong, her surgeon, who sees her through her battle with breast cancer. Religion is not big in her life; instead, she is inspired by Mr. Strong, and by collecting bags, milk bottles, and string.

Norman, her coworker, is more in tune with religion, but with him, it is more a hobby than a matter of belief.  It is his lifestyle, his "something to love."

If you are interested in reading more on this topic, see my book, The Subversion of Romance in the  Novels of Barbara Pym.

Image result for quartet in autumnPublic Domain

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Doll Museum: Choosing Dolls; Collect what you Love; there are n...

Doll Museum: Choosing Dolls; Collect what you Love; there are n...: How a collection is selected tells us something about the person.  A doll collection is a portrait of its curator.  In fact, one branch of ...

Monday, August 15, 2016

In Memory of my Grandmother

On this Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, I celebrate the life of my Grandmother, Marie F., who would have been 113 years old today. If there were ever an excellent woman, she was it.  I am named Ellen Marie for her, and for my paternal grandmother.  They were friends as little girls and studied sewing together.  They grew up to be seamstresses.

My grandmother dressed the brown haired doll, top left, but I made her pinafore.

My YiaYia Marie was kind to everyone; she went to school till about the 6th grade, but her own children finished college and became professionals.  She had six children, and five lived to adulthood. When she was a little girl, her father died.  She, her sister, and her mother all wore black. Later, even when her youngest son died at only 30 years old, she didn't want any of us to wear black.

Marie met my grandfather via letters; they corresponded, and he came from the States to marry her in Paris, where he bought her a complete trousseau.  He had left Greece as a child, and in 1927, he couldn't go back, so they met in Paris.  Their best friend was best man.  He later became the Mayor of Kalamata, and the Communist guerillas hanged him during the Greek Civil War.

She was often ill, but never complained.  Later in life, she suffered a broken him and knee, and was in excruciating pain, but never let on to anyone.  She loved poetry, and used to cut out poems from the newspaper with her pinking shears.  She made little books of the poems by fastening them together with big safety pins.  She loved dolls, but never had any as a child because she always had to work.

Later, my aunt and uncles would bring her many dolls from all over the world.  Two of those dolls  started my own collection.

In central Illinois, she and my grandfather ran a restaurant, along with his brothers.  During the depression, men who walked the highways for work and food would stop by the house asking for a handout .  She would make them egg sandwiches, and ask if they wanted mustard.

She hated any kind of nudity; if I left a naked doll out at night, it had an exquisitely sewn dress on by the next morning.  She used to cut pictures out of National Geographic, even when my mother was in college, if the photos were to racy for her.  She also made one of my uncles paint clothes on figures on the Greek vases.

She  never passed any church, Greek Orthodox or not, without crossing herself.  She was a fantastic cook and baker.  Her specialties included pies, cherry nut cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and corn au gratin. She could crochet and quilt, and often didn't need a pattern. She could also crochet pictures.  She liked giving her doilies as Christmas presents to her friends; these she laid on red and green tissue, packed in white boxes.

Her mother in law was her best friend, and after my great grandmother died, she would sit on the porch all night, rocking and crocheting because she was lonely.

She was the diplomat and peacekeeper among her three sisters in law, and I've never heard her say a bad word about anyone.  She seldom lost her temper, either.

She and my grandfather took care of me the first four years of my life, until they moved cross country.  She taught me Greek and made aprons for me so I could help her to bake.  She made dolls and doll clothes, wrote me letters with dollar bills in them, and slipped me small trinkets from her own collection.

I miss her every day; she left us too soon one cold November, at only 78.  If indeed there is a heaven, and there is a test for those  worthy to enter,  she has passed with flying colors and then some.

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: September Sneak Peek!

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: September Sneak Peek!: Beginning September 3 doll collectors can look forward to several sales presented by Sweetbriar Auctions featuring the eclectic colle...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: My Speech; It's all Original!!

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: My Speech; It's all Original!!: 06/16/2000 Along with our Executive Director, and the rest of Quest College, I’d like to welcome you to our school.  Our new name stems...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Moussaka Recipe For the Gentlewomen of No Fond Return of Love and A Few Green Leaves!

Moussaka; Sort of a Greek Lasagna!

1 egg plant
1 large red pepper, or squash, green pepper, etc as desired
3 medium Idaho potatoes; other work, too, but you may need more of them
1 lb lean ground beef [85%] is good, or crumbled boca burger, ground chicken, lamb, or turkey
Chopped onion or scallions, even garlic, to taste and as desired
Oregano, basil, rosemary, fresh or dried
cooking spray or olive oil
1 can tomato soup, about 8 oz, or tomato sauce, V8, or crushed tomatoes

Cheese for melting, shredded, Romano grated, mdzithra grated, etc.
butter, about 1/c melted
about 3/4 c milk
3 beaten eggs
Spray bottom of a large glass cooking pan, or other pan, or wipe with olive oil. Preheat oven to $375-400 degrees.  In other countries, check centigrade or metric system conversions.

Brown meat in pan with about 1 TBSP olive oil and onion.  If you use boca burger, just heat it lightly, maybe with melted butter.  Add tomato soup with 1/4 can water, or the sauces.  Stir, and you can add the spices now, too. Fresh mint is also good to add.

Take baking or cooking pan, and layer sliced potatoes and peppers on the bottom.  Alternate with sliced eggplant.  You can cut the eggplant earlier, sprinkle with salt, and wrap with paper towels to dry it out, but we've never done that at home.  Just slice it thin.

When meat is done, drain if necessary.  Spoon a layer over potatoes, peppers, and egg plants.  Add spices and about 1 TBSP salt and pepper.  You can add more later when it is cooked to taste.

Top meet with another layer of the vegetables and potatoes, and keep going till you are done with them and the meat.

Meanwhile, make a rue, with flower, and melted butter.  Take off the heat to whisk or stir it.  Slowly add the milk, and dashes of salt and pepper.  Stir smooth.  You may have to vary the amount of milk.  Then, whisk in the eggs.  This makes the crema or bechamel sauce.

Pour over the meat and vegetable mixture.

Sprinkle with cheeses.  Bake for about 55 mins.  Then, add slices of munster, cheddar, American, or provolone on top, bake five more minutes.  Make sure the juices are drunk up, or "dry."  Moussaka freezes well, and may be kept in the fridge and reheated, about 4 days.

If unsure of something, check basic recipes for behcamel sauce and moussaka in The American Women's Cook book, any Greek cook book, or recipes on the web.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Μουσείο κουκλών του Δρ Ε στα Ελληνικά : In Memory of George Kieffer, Home is the Sailor, a...

Μουσείο κουκλών του Δρ Ε στα Ελληνικά : In Memory of George Kieffer, Home is the Sailor, a...: Ρέκβιεμ ο Robert Louis Stevenson Κάτω από την μεγάλη και έναστρος ουρανός Σκάψει τον τάφο και με επιτρέψτε να βρεθώ. Ευτυχής ζωντα...

Thursday, June 30, 2016

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Cumbered with Serving, Best with Woes, Learn of th...

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Cumbered with Serving, Best with Woes, Learn of th...: In times of great stress, we take comfort in small things, hence my fascination with the little book, "In Small Things Forgotten."...

Miss Pym Keeps up Appearances

I've just posted a link for "Miss Pym's Day Out", (1991), starring Patricia Routledge, aka, Hyacinth Bucket of "Keeping Up Appearances."    Miss R. is around 87 years old today, and has had a distinguished and varied career, including a role in "To Sir with Love."  I found it interesting in reading of her that her costar in "Keeping up Appearances", Clive Swift, married Margaret Drabble, a novelist I included in my study and book on Pym.   A Google search produced a lot of information about Routledge and her co-starts.  As I wrote in my own book, she plays numerous characters that are very much in line with Pym's Excellent Women.  For those interested, there are several video reviews of Pym's novels, and other documentaries about her.

MISS PYM'S DAY OUT (Patricia Routledge) (1991)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Barbara Pym on Collecting and Antiques

Novelist Barbara Pym on Collecting and Antiques


Marcia and her milk bottles, plastic bags, and tins are frequently commented on in books on collecting, like Susan Pearce’s The Collector’s Voice-Modern Voices. Other characters have their collecting predilections and hobbies, too, and several types of collectibles appear in her novels. Here is a list of a few of them:


  • A Faberge Egg
  • Miss Grime’s Bits and Pieces
  • A Father Christmas Figurine
  • Cycladic Idols made of dough
  • Norman’s love of “stuffed” animals at the museum
  • The Bishop’s soap animals
  • The character who loves to “collect” unusual license plate numbers
  • Numerous jumble sales mentioned
  • James the antiques dealer in The Sweet Dove Died, and Leonora’s antiques and collectibles
  • Characters have hobbies like knitting
  • Flower arranging
  • Reading in general
  • Love of cookbooks, themselves a hobby and collectible

Courtesy, Theriault's

Courtesy, Theriault's

Courtesy, Theriault's

Barbara Pym and Cycladic Idols

Barbara Pym and Cycladic Idols


 One female character, Daphne, is so in love with Aegean, that she tries baking Cycladic idols from bread dough.  See my book, The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym, or my dissertation, ‘In Small Things Forgotten’: the Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym. She also approximates a Greek peasant lunch of bread, olives, cheese, and tomatoes.  Frankly, I cut all these up and make tomato Greek salad, and use the bread to dip into the olive oil mixed with crushed tomatoes. 


Pictured is the Cycladic idol I photographed in Milwaukee.  More photos exist online, and in the website and catalogues of Sadigh Gallery. The idols are goddess figures, more than 5000 years old.  The large size of the doll or figure in Milwaukee is, in my experience, unusual.  I have an alabaster example and another modern figure cast in bronze or brass metal. There is more on them in my posts for Collect Dolls at About.com and on my own blogs “Doll Museum”, and “Dr. E’s Doll Museum.” Winifred Gerin has written an excellent pamphlet on ancient dolls, which I bought on Amazon.com a few years ago.