Thursday, May 5, 2016

"I Am Pleased to Present the Victors . . .

". . . of the 782th Hunger Games," or whatever number they were up to by the end of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2. We watched it on an iPad the other night, a terrible idea. We watch a lot of movies and TV shows on an iPad but they usually have some dramatic merit to compensate for the small size of the screen. I went to some of the other Hunger Games movies mainly for special effects and mindless distraction. And I usually love to watch Jennifer Lawrence and What's-His-Name What's-His-Name What's-His-Name* but neither had anything worthwhile to do in this movie. The best supporting role went to the white streak in Julianne Moore's hair. I was relieved when Primrose's cat showed up in the last scene and Katniss stopped screaming at it long enough to realize it had stolen the entire movie from her.

The show over on our velvet chair was a thousand times better so I spent most of the time watching that:

*I can never remember Philip Seymour Hoffman's name, which is why I count myself lucky to have a friend who is a walking IMDB.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Possum Preens

When I saw Possum stretched out on the bed with Wendy the other day, I was reminded of Holly Hunter's scene in Broadcast News, where one of her frustrated colleagues says to her, "It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you’re the smartest person in the room."

Jane misses the sarcasm and says honestly: "No, it's awful." 

Watching the movie for the first time in 1987, I felt a tiny shock of recognition. I knew just what she meant. I've grown steadily less brilliant as the years have passed, however. Fortunately.

Looking at Possum, I couldn't resist saying that line to him. He hasn't seen the movie yet.

He agreed that it's nice to always be the smartest person in the room. It was a little more perplexing when he was younger, he said, but now that he's 6, he's used to it. Just as always being the best-looking person everywhere he goes is not a problem anymore, either.

"But, Possum," I said, "How can you be so sure you're always the smartest and best-looking?"  

He said, "Your asking me that proves that you will never have to worry about finding yourself in my position. I'm scheduled to nap now. Why don't you go do things?"

I did.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Where Did April Go?

April is just about gone, and it went fast. I think it went into the water dish tonight with Wendy's favorite toy, Green Snakie. 

April was strange long before the Snake Soup. I kept finding myself wearing a down jacket with my sandals because the weather couldn't make up its mind and neither could I. And early May isn't looking much better.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Discussion

Possum and Wendy had a talk the other day. I think the topic was political, although the cats recently discovered that they can't vote and had mixed reactions. Being practical, Toffee and Lion designated my husband and me as their proxies and moved on to focus on other interests, like flying and crawly bugs and the inadequate supply of them in this apartment. Harris pouted for a day before becoming philosophical. He figured that if a fabulous, important cat like him can't vote, it couldn't be worth doing. Wendy's opinion was inscrutable, as usual.

Possum had the strongest objection and protested for a few days, at all hours. But he simmered down when I told him that all Americans have to be 18 to vote. He pointed out that, at 6, he is more educated and better informed on political subjects than many American teenagers. I agreed but told him that it was the law, and he settled down to wait 12 years.

So I don't know what this discussion was about, but I could tell that Possum was annoyed while Wendy looked smug and self-righteous. She often looks like that when they are talking about the Tea Party but, as I've pointed out before, she thinks their whole agenda is to add a fourth meal (tea) to the national diet, and she is rarely interested for learning new information or testing her understanding through reading or study. I thought Possum had pretty much given up on enlightening her but he's an optimist and values education.

Their disagreement was not the thoughtful, respectful kind:

Paws were about to be raised when I asked them to behave like adults. "You don't want that!" replied Possum. Have you seen what that looks like lately?" He had a point. About  of this nation is crazy and most of the other half is cranky. It's hard to know what to say anymore, or how to say it without raising more hackles. But things still must be said.

In the end, Possum surrendered and gave me the "What can you do? It's hopeless...." look he often shoots me in regard to Wendy. Wendy continued to look smug. But I know he will try again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Last week I spotted the full moon rising between Trinity Church and the Hancock Tower, and wished for a tiny camera with a serious lens that would fit in my pocket like my phone... or for a phone with a better camera. Then I realized how spoiled I already am, stopped wishing, and enjoyed the sight.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Liberty Prints at Uniqlo

I continue to be in a flowery mood. Maybe it was all those window boxes we saw in Beacon Hill. 

The Liberty London partnership with Uniqlo means that we can all wear Liberty florals at affordable prices. The women's Liberty collection includes tops, dresses, shorts, and accessories, as I will show you. There are also a few men's linen shirts in various blue prints ($29.90). After all, in some ways, the '60s should never have ended for men as well as women:

There are Liberty prints for little girls and babies, too. How cute is this dress ($14.90)? 

Women's cotton-modal tunics are already on sale for $14.90, such a deal compared to prices at Liberty London and J. Crew for classic prints. Uniqlo calls these "tank tops" but they are A-line and much longer than they seem. If you are handy with a sewing machine you could have your way with it and give it a more traditional fit. This print is lovely in both colors:

There are lots of more traditional tees for women in classic prints and creative variations — like this one, featuring an enlarged detail of the print above: 

Uniqlo always has a line of "Relaco" rayon shorts, but now they come in Liberty London florals. too. I bought a couple of these but haven't worn them yet. These seem like they'll be great with a cotton tank for sleeping or lounging around the house in hot weather. They are soft, a nice length, and have pockets. They are $14.90 and come in lots of pretty prints:

There are two dress styles with built-in bras for $39.90. the top price point. I like the shorter version, with a gathered waist and full skirt. (There is also a less-forgiving calf-length dress.) Here's the Betsy print:

It's gorgeous in person, but a bit too cheerful for me. I'd go with this one, in navy and white:

There are also sleeveless tops with built-in bras ($19.90), a great idea for summer... unless you are like  the woman we spotted over the weekend. She was wearing a pretty tank top with a wide, low-cut back, which fully revealed her dingy old nude bra when she turned around. We always debate about why women make these choices: does she not care, does she think it's sexy, or does she just never look in the mirror or think about the rear view? My husband thinks it must be deliberate; I have no idea.

They make the top in different colors of the Betsy print:

There were also wristlets and canvas tote bags, at similarly nice prices, which sold out instantly (but may reappear at any time, only to get snapped up again). There are house slippers, too. Whatever stock is left will go on sale in a few weeks, so if you're interested, bookmark what you like and watch it. (I picked up two Ines de la Fressange jackets, which were originally $89.90, marked down to $19.90 recently. I'd thought they were of surprisingly nice quality at their original price.) 

If only Uniqlo made Liberty radios and Liberty scarves and Liberty pillows and dishes and bird houses and....

Liberty Prints: In London and Elsewhere

I've always loved prints from Liberty London. I wore them, and similar florals often as a child in the '60s — as did my Barbie, Francie, Skipper, and Tutti dolls. My mother made dresses for me and used the scraps for doll clothes with teeny-tiny working buttons and zippers; I can't imagine how she did it. It has recently occurred to me that I peaked at being well-dressed around age 12; I'm working to get back there.

Liberty-branded clothing is expensive, and, hard to find in the U.S., aside from J. Crew, eBay, and vintage clothing stores. Until recently, my wardrobe has only included a beautiful Liberty voile blouse from J. Crew, which comes out with a small Liberty collection every spring.  Their current Liberty selection for women is very limited: mostly swimwear plus one or two ruffly shirts, like this Wiltshire print for $118:

You can also get matching flats, pretty cute (and probably pretty painful) for $138:

If you love to be matchy-matchy with your accessories, you could add this Roberts radio for Liberty London (£225 — you read that right; it's about $328).

Or, for £9.99 (about $13), you could just carry this Liberty Coloring Book around. I haven't jumped on the coloring bandwagon yet but this one would finally persuade me to invest in a set of markers:
It's certainly cheaper than a scarf. Here's a silk twill beauty in their famous Hera print, with peacock feathers, a design they've carried since the 1890s. It's £195 ($284). Someday I'll splurge on one of Hera print scarves, and I won't let moths get near it, as happened with my Liberty challis shawl, a gift from a very dear and very profligate friend back in the '90s:

Around Boston, at Party Favors and Portobello Road, you can buy paper plates and napkins for your next tea party in the popular Betsy print. Prices are in the vicinity of $10 or less:

 With what you saved on party supplies, you could take a trip to London and splurge on this Liberty "Bird Box." It's £69.95, or around $102:

But that same $102 will go a lot farther on Liberty print clothing at Uniqlo, my new favorite place to shop. Stay tuned for another flowery post very soon.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekend Walk in Beacon Hill: Cedar Street Cat

Just as I finishing up with the flower boxes along West Cedar Street on Saturday, my husband spotted this distinguished fellow taking in the view from an upper-floor window seat:

He reminded us of our Snalbert. We don't have an orange cat anymore and we think that's too bad.

Weekend Walk in Beacon Hill: Cedar Street Window Boxes

I took my husband for a walk along West Cedar Street in Beacon Hill over the weekend. It runs parallel to Charles Street and is mainly residential rather than commercial, so it's a good alternative for fast-walking locals who want to avoid getting stuck behind meandering tourists or double strollers or distracted by enticing shop windows.

Along West Cedar, we found other distractions. It looks like several neighboring townhouses are having a friendly horticultural  competition. Photographing their outstanding parlor window displays felt like shooting fish in a barrel. I worked quickly because it was past dinnertime and we were starving, but I took a few close-ups to show the pretty mix of colors and textures in many of the boxes.

What's up with those lotus pods? Someone covered them in grass seed? Or toasted coconut?

And one more, on a side street:

 Stay tuned for something else we saw on West Cedar Street.