Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Wanamaker Christmas

Tomorrow I am going to see the Wanamaker's Light Show. Yes, I know, Macy's...but it will always be the Wanamaker show to me. 

I hear it is different. Someone said they got rid of the dancing fountains- I sure hope not, I loved them. I know that the magnificent voice of John Facenda has been replaced by Julie Andrews- who has a lovely voice, but is not the iconic voice in Philadelphia. And, I hear it has been shortened. Oh well, we all know nothing is ever as good as it used to be.

I am going with a former student to "do" the Christmas thing downtown. The Light Show, the Dickens Village, and lunch at the Reading Terminal Market. I would prefer lunch in the Crystal Tea Room on the 9th floor of Wanamaker's, but alas, that is also a thing of the past. 

But, it will still be fun. We will start at the Eagle, of course, the most famous "meet me at" in Philadelphia.

I am looking forward to a trip down memory lane, and the view through the eyes of a much younger generation. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

White Advent

This is a picture from one of the news channels of a street near downtown Philadelphia this morning.

It has not been a good couple of days for Philadelphia weather forecasters. Sunday we were supposed to get "a coating to an inch in the northern and western suburbs". It started 3 hours earlier than they predicted and lasted longer. We got 8" in parts of Philadelphia, and up to a foot of snow in several areas within a 25 mile radius of center city, including south and east. In fact, particularly south, as most of Delaware got clobbered. Today we were prepared for 4-6", most schools and even some colleges and universities were closed, people were encouraged to stay home if possible, etc. Guess what? We got about 3", the main roads were clear throughout, and even our little one way streets were clear by 1:00. Now, I am NOT complaining!!! I am always on the side of "stay home in snow unless you are a policeman, fireman, hospital worker," etc. there are not a lot of people who "need" to go to work in bad weather, just a lot of companies and businesses that make employees come in because business must go on. Actually, no it doesn't need to go on, but, that is current, stupid society. 

We did get a few smiles today watching the Weather Channel. Poor Jim Cantore. He has gotten such a reputation over the years for being in the places where things are the worst, that I have frequently heard "if Jim Cantore is in your town, you need to leave". Well, if you missed it, Cantore was in Baltimore today, where it hardly snowed, and the temperature stayed high enough that it melted as soon as it hit the roads. TWC would go back to him every so often, and he'd be standing there, trying to find something to talk about. Another thing you sometimes here said about Cantore is that he gets to travel all over the country. It never actually gets to see or visit anything, because if he is there, it is usually likely that everything is closed. Today, he made a half-joke about going to the Aquarium in Baltimore since there wasn't anything to report. I hope he did!

The good news is that Advent advances and our preparations for Christmas with it. Today I am washing all the lace and sheer curtains from the first floor, putting snowflake clings on the windows, and hopefully, hanging wreaths and putting in window candles. So, one step closer to decorated. Christmas is coming quickly, but we will be ready! (Maybe, lol!!!)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A long and pretty useless week.

So, somewhere, I caught another cold. Spent basically the whole week either in bed or the recliner and accomplished very little. I did a little bit of online Christmas shopping, and worked a few rows more on my current crochet project, but that's about it. Next week is another round with doctors and dentists. Yeah, that's plural on the dentists- I now need a dentist, a periodontist and an endodontist. Have I mentioned before that I hate my teeth?

In the "missed" column are both the Cardinal Dougherty Christmas party and the Delco Flybabies Coffeefest. Two special groups of people whom I spared my germs. 

I have been having mixed feelings today about the large amount of stuff going around the Internet about Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I have visited Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial twice and it is a somber and amazing experience. I agree that the men and women who died that day should always be remembered and honored. It is a pivotal, defining moment in our country's history. I only hope that the ubiqitous reminders do not generate a prejudice against the Japanese for the generations far too young to remember 1941.

Our television watching is currently dominated by what my DH and DS have termed "Christmas Beatdown Movies"- so titled because they beat you over the head with love and the spirit of Christmas. One thing we have determined- Larry Levinson is in some way responsible for at least half of the CBMs available. Hallmark Channel was originally our primary source for CBMs, but there are also some, of a different quality and tone but still ok, available on Lifetime. Yesterday we discovered the UP channel, and they seem to offer more serious CBMs with a higher caliber of story and acting. 

We enjoy figuring out where the plots came from. There is a "Groundhog Day" CBM, many versions of "it's a wonderful life", a "Mannequin" CBM, actually we've already seen 2 of them. They all include a predictable cast and an even more predictable plot, but if the actors and/or the writing are decent, then they are enjoyable. There appear to be certain actors for whom CBMs are their primary incomes- they do at least one every year. So, a common question as we watch is "what else was he/she in?"

So, that's what I've been doing lately.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

World AIDS Day

Twenty years ago I lost one of my dearest friends to AIDS. He was funny, loving and incredibly talented.

I met Marcus during our first days at LaSalle freshman year. We were friends throughout college and stayed friends for the rest of his life. His talent on stage was stunning. I remember seeing him in the national touring company of Bubbling Brown Sugar. The show opened with an almost completely dark stage, yet I could pick him out in the darkness by the way he stood. Years later I picked him out from a block away in NYC- I could not see his face but could recognize his beautiful way of moving. 

He always called us the "Odd Couple"- the black, gay dancer from Germantown and the Irish Catholic girl from Kensington. I have many memories beyond watching him on stage- lunches in NYC, almost getting arrested in NE Philadelphia, and especially, his way with my children. He encouraged both of them in their interests in performing. One of my most special memories is him teaching my daughter to sew the ribbons on her first pair of toe shoes.

He called me, almost 2 years before he died, at Christmas time- he was in Philadelphia and wanted to get together for lunch. There was something in his voice and I had a knot in my stomach from the moment of his call until I saw him. We met in a familiar tavern in Chestnut Hill. We chatted the usual catch-up stuff: his work, my husband and kids, his sister and her kids, stuff like that. Then he told me; he was sick, it was AIDS. The knot in my stomach tightened. It stayed that way until he died, when it was replaced by the hurting hole in my heart. 

Today is World AIDS Day. I remember Marcus with love and a great sense of loss. I think of him often, but the red ribbons all over the Internet today are a harsh reminder of what his death has meant to many people. I still love you, Marcus, and I still miss you.