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Everything in this blog is copyright protected. Please be kind and do not steal content.
Today I’m looking at some fun things that fit past What Caught My Eye posts! You can see all such posts by clicking on the phrase “Caught My Eye” in the Tag Cloud in the right sidebar (if you are viewing this blog on a p.c.).
Solid or is that Union Jack?
White: Fabulous Carolina Herrera creation in Vogue
Lower: Etsy (all now sold)
How adorable is this little wicker doll carriage? Source
Cotton Candy Pendant Charms. Source
A Scooter worthy of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday! Source
A can koozie for a true lady–Seersucker and Monogrammed! Source
Vintage flamingo glasses!
Recently, both Prince William and Prince Harry have spoken of the pain and grief of losing Diana–20 years ago next year. But what about other royal children? Have others lost a parent? The answer is yes–and within the lifetime of the current queen and the generation before her.
Photos are embeddable from Getty Images but reduced in size here.
72 years ago this week, the Queen’s youngest (surviving) paternal uncle, Prince George, Duke of Kent, was killed in a plane crash leaving 3 children without a father. Those children are today’s Duke of Kent (the “other” Prince Edward–named for his Uncle, Edward VIII), his sister Princess Alexandra of Kent and their brother Prince Michael of Kent. Prince Edward was then the nation’s youngest Duke. Prince Michael, born on the 4th of July, was named Michael George Charles Franklin–the last being for his war-time Godfather, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.
This royal tragedy was hardest on Prince Edward–Eddie as he is known in the family. His Uncle, King George VI, became almost a surrogate father to him. He had a difficult time growing up–so much so that his mother, Prince Philip’s cousin the former Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, removed him from Eton and sent him on to Le Rosey in Switzerland where his fellow pupils included King Albert II of Belgium and the Aga Khan. For Alexandra, just that much younger, and for baby Michael, the loss did not resonate as strongly. Eddie spent much of his life at school or fobbbed off on tutor Giles St. Aubyn (“tutor” in this case is an archaic term for a “male minder”–a younger man who keeps track of his aristocratic, or in this case royal, protege for a living).
Fate would deal Eddie another blow. His uncle, George VI, died when Eddie was just a 16 year-old schoolboy.
In the photo (right) right, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, is seen in the top hat, walking in the procession with his uncle (and Godfather) the disgraced Edward VIII (aka, Duke of Windsor). Photo source unknown, but possibly Getty.
Before the Duke of Kent’s tragic death, an air crash claimed the lives of Prince Philip’s sister, Princess Cecilie of Hesse and her husband (also his mother) and three of their four children (one of whom was born at the time of the crash). The surviving child was Princess Johanna–Prince Philip’s niece. Johanna’s elder brothers, Alexander and Ludwig, were killed in the crash as the family traveled to their Uncle’s wedding in London where the boys were to be little paige boys in the ceremony.
Photo sources: I believe these to be in the public domain.
The photo top right is the couple with their first three children, Alexander, Ludwig and baby Johanna. At the bottom right is the funeral procession–the blonde boy in the front row, carrying his top hat, is Prince Philip–Queen Elizabeth’s husband. His sister, Cecilie, is shown in the lower left corner.
This story had another tragedy yet to come. Although she survived the crash by being left at home with her Nanny and other relatives, little Johanna (who was adopted by her Paternal Uncle and his brand new wife–the wedding went ahead privately and they rushed back to Darmstadt to adopt the surviving child) died of meningitis only two years later. Johanna is shown at the top left with her surviving Uncle–adoptive father, Prince Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, and her adoptive mother, the former Miss Margaret Geddes who was English.
Prince Philip’s Great Uncle, Prince Henry of Battenberg, married the Great-Great Aunt of both Philip and Queen Elizabeth–Queen Victoria’s ninth and youngest child, Princess Beatrice. The couple were allowed to marry on the condition that they lived with the Queen. Therefore Beatrice and Henry’s four lively children were perhaps the best know to Victoria of all her many (40+) grandchildren. They are shown, looking suitably somber, in the photo at the left–obviously taken not long after their father’s death.
In 1895 one of the many “Little Wars” of Victoria’s reign started. Known as the Ashanti War, it was in West Africa and named for the principle ethnic group in the area. Prince Henry went off to fight. Sadly, he died of malaria before he reached the war. His body was supposedly preserved in rum so it could be returned to England for burial. His death left Princes Alexander (known as Drino), Leopold (a hemophiliac like his name sake Uncle, Victoria’s youngest son) and Maurice, who would die in World War I as well as a daughter who grew up to be Queen Ena of Spain. Ena, hereself, was nearly killed by a bomb on her wedding day! But wait! There’s more! 4 of Ena’s sons tragically inherited hemophilia from Queen Victoria who was a carrier and one was rendered deaf by illness. (Photo is in the public domain).
Good for the first day of school to introduce yourself or for friends’ autographs on the last day of school next Spring.
Or Make a Pencil Case from an old Soda Pop Box
(I imagine someone will do one from a beer box instead)
Locker Decoration and Organization
Lunch Packing Station, Lunch Bags and Sandwich Wraps
Don’t forget the ubiquitous salad in a jar for lunches or simple homemade “lunchables”
Grab one of these per kid and keep them in the car–one per child and grab a box of wax liners at Costco or Sam’s
Homework and School Supply Stations
After-School Activities area drain on the budget–pack snacks and keep an “office” binder in the car with school supplies for homework on the go.
Have any great tips, ideas, Pins or blog posts on this topic? Share them in a comment.
By now you’ve all probably heard of this book. Like Me, Before You, I’m probably the last to read it….and LOVE it.
In case someone else has missed this wonderfully fun story, here’s the gist. Don Tillman is a geneticist at an Australian University.Don decides to apply his scientific research and analysis skills to finding a wife. Don is a lot like Spock on the old Star Trek. Logical, unemotional. Maybe its Asperger’s? Anyway, picture Spock dating, but with a sense of humor. He meets Rosie, a PhD student and barmaid. He realizes that he’s enjoying himself, but there’s a problem–well, two. One is, she doesn’t meet the scientifically determined criteria for a wife and the second is she’s very troubled by not knowing who her biological father is. Probably you see where this is going.
Having been socially awkward pretty much all my life, I could so relate to Don’s problems in dating. I, too, pushed the good ones away! But as you also probably guessed, things turn out better for Don than for me! This book is a delight and I’m anxious to read the sequel–the Rosie Effect. The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion.
After Downton Abbey added a racing car driver I read that the story was inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Vile Bodies and figured I would enjoy reading it. Yes and no. Brideshead Revisited it is not. I did love the caustically funny names–Lord Metroland, Lady Circumference, Miles Malpractice, Prime Minister Outrage, etc. The story itself was just “ok.” He tried a funny thing that didn’t work–angels named Chastity and other virtue-names. The story is of the so-called Bright Young Things who did roaringly funny and fun things like treasure hunts that involved stealing a Bobby’s police helmet.
They were so utterly full of themselves, of booze and of money that you had to be one of them to stand them. Think most obnoxious fraternity on campus and multiply it by at lest 7. I did like Adam and Nina and Agatha though. The rest…well, at least it isn’t a very long book. It did make me want to re-watch the 1970’s Duchess of Duke Street about the hotel and it’s owner fictionalized in this book, too. Rosa Lewis ran London’s Cavendish hotel as the playground of invited aristocrats only. That part was pretty amusing too.Sadly, as it was released in 1930, it does predict the next war, but because of the real war that little part doesn’t stand the test of time.
There are better books by Waugh, though, if you are interested in his work. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh.
I mentioned this book in last week’s First Lines post. This was another fun read. A little girl is born to two foodies–one a chef the other a sommelier and the mother cannot cope. She leaves and the story goes on from there. The girl, born with a once-in-a-generation palate for food and wine, but grows up knowing neither of her parents. This story takes interesting side trips, explores a few fascinating rabbit trails and ultimately comes to the not stereotypical conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more of this author’s work. It was enhanced by having a reader (audio version) who had the regional accents perfect. A fun read or a great gift for your favorite foodie. Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal.
What have you been reading? Leave me a link or a comment.
Pre-ordered and can’t wait! YEARS in the writing, so I will read it instantly. Blanch Wiesen Cook’s 3rd volume of her Eleanor Roosevelt biography.
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellow’s novel, Belgravia
What are you Top 5 Books to read by year’s end? Leave me a comment.
Questions? Before I was blogging…..which time? First time was way, way back in 2005? 2006? And, do unread Kindle books count? I’ll just try to pick some from both pre-blogging, and stopped blogging, time period. There are too many unread Kindle books to list–anyone else have that problem? Thank you Book Bub.
Don’t miss yesterday’s posts–just click the link to read:
What have you bought and not read yet? Leave me a link to your post or a comment with book titles. Or why not join the fun at The Broke and the Bookish.
The description of this book promises an older man-younger woman romances based on intellect. It delivers and then some. If you’ve read here for long you know that older man-younger woman romances (not “trophy wives,” but real romance) are my thing! My own books are all built on what I term cross generational romances. I run an occasional series of blog posts on such romances in real life, film and fiction–you can find them by clicking on the terms in the Tag Cloud in the right sidebar. So, on to this great book!
Meridian (yeah, I winced at that, but really odd names in fiction are a pet peeve of mine) or “Meri” as she was often called, is a bright, ambitious young woman arriving at the University of Chicago just in time for the Manhattan Project to start plucking all the great physicists out of their ivory towers and secreting them away in the high desert at Los Alamos, New Mexico–then an unknown and undeveloped afterthought of U.S. geography. But before the fateful envelope arrives in the Physics Department, Meri develops a romance with professor Alden Whetstone (yeah, that one made me wince, too). A fairly typical student-prof romance at first, the young, fatherless girl hangs on her older mentor’s every brilliant word, while the professor looking at the downside of 40 is jazzed to have a fabulously smart young protege who also happens to adore him.
The story really takes off after the war–when Alden and Meridian get married and settle into life in science community at Los Alamos. Meridian finds other wives with science backgrounds and continues, at first, to think she will finish her education and become an ornithologist. Since this is the 1940s we can all make an intelligent guess that this isn’t going to happen. Photo source
For some the words “marriage,” “spouse” and “till death do us part,” quickly stifle passion, growth and freedom. So it was for Meri who seemed to be a 1970s woman caught in a 1940s marriage. But, had there not been such women, we’d not now take for granted that women can be physicists, astronauts, and possibly even POTUS.
My own short-lived marriage came to mind as I read this story. Alden, a man of his time, took for granted that his bright young wife would find magically adjust to a life of baking cakes, playing bridge and ironing boxer shorts. Meridian, though, hungered for intellectual rigor and deep scientific discussions that had fueled their courting passion. Unlike wives in the rest of the USA, she couldn’t be a sounding board for her husband’s work dilemmas because all aspects of his work were highly classified. Her she was, a very capable scientist, drawn to her husband by his brains and now he cannot share with her, cannot teach her about it all now. Her role as his helpmeet was too narrow now, too confining. But, Elizabeth Church’s writing made me feel the emotions of both characters. I could see the times Alden was making an effort and I rejoiced at the times when Meri realized it.
This stifling life of no intellectual challenge is what led to the formation of the women’s movement, to consciousness raising, to the ill-fated E.R.A. and to so much more that women today take 100% for granted. Alden’s aging, his inability to see his wife’s side, his inability to give was matched by Meri’s equal self-centeredness and, in my opinion, her refusal to grow up. What redeemed the story to me was her decision to care for Alden when he became so ill. She even dares to acknowledge a few things about him that were good. I’m glad. No marriage is all bad or all good. This one suffered more from selfishness than many, but in the end there was loyalty and caring. Photo source
Sadly, there was one truly disgusting comment that shouldn’t have been in the book. That chapter was necessary, but it went a bit too far with one observation. But it’s a tiny nano-second of the book. So why mention it? So you won’t throw this otherwise excellent book away because of it. On the positive side, who wouldn’t love a book with chapters named for groupings of birds? A Parliament of Owls, indeed! I loved this. I do wish there had been notebook pages included from Meri’s observations though– her graphs and drawings, that would have been really fun to see.
I hope Elizabeth J. Church has many more novels to come. I can’t wait–that’s how profound this story was. Amazing writing that deserves years of success.
Of all the high school books and all the coming-of-age books, this is the one that spoke loudest to me. It is the one that connected me with what I lived in high school; lived–not lived through. I was often that awkward, disconnected kid. I had to retreat at times and put on music and lock my door and escape from it all. Charlie! Charlie, you sweet boy. And Patrick, Sam, Brad, Mary Elizabeth–I’m with you all in my heart.
This is a book that well-meaning adults often seek to ban. It uses words they don’t like and discusses themes that will never have any bearing on their child. Yet, this is a book that would bring about such amazing learning in the hands of the right teacher. (Yes, I do know that most classrooms are not blessed to have the “right” teacher). Even a mediocre teacher, armed with a good heart and a study guide, could do a lot with this. But well-meaning people fear discussing mental illness, pre-marital sex, teenage angst, abortion and recreational drugs, let alone homosexuality and betrayal of a child’s trust.
That’s a shame, because this book isn’t about those–yes they are IN the book, but the book is about navigating the world, about finding solid ground to plant roots and grow in. It isn’t about hooking up, it is about self-discovery in the deepest sense. It’s about putting together the pieces of a very scattered puzzle and finding a the complete picture. It is about an awkward boy who knows he is awkward and isn’t ready to face why. When it finally happens, and he must face the truth, he does so commendably and with the loyal support of friends and family. Charlie loves his parents, loves his friends and is a loyal and steadfast friend to them. He takes great care to give thoughtful and loving gifts, but he realizes that he can and does”use thought to not participate in life.”
And when Charlie faces that un-face-able truth, he decides he will go forward participating–this is the part that really hit me. I was not as much a non-participator as Charlie, but so much of this story WAS ME. And, yet, I didn’t make the decision to participate until my late 30s. I don’t regret my life–I really don’t, but I admire that this was his decision–and that another kid could do so because he or she read this book and had it speak to them. Charlie is a true phoenix and that matters. That is something so many kids could draw on if they were allowed to read and discuss this book.
Plus, Charlie managed all of this without a cell phone or internet. That will be as huge to kids today who are accustomed to 24/7/365 access to friends, no matter what rules their parents think they set and enforce.
I’d love to tell how a few of the conversations in the story affected me, but they would be spoilers and I can’t spoil this for you.
I am amazed at what read this book, reading Looking for Alaska, and reading a few other YA coming-of-age books has done to help me sort out my own awful adolescence. If you can relate to what I’ve written, then get the book and read it. I listened to it–it became very personal hearing Charlie’s voice as he read the letters. It forged a deep connection and with that connection came some long-over-due healing. Not magic bullet healing, more of a “that’s it…” “that’s how it was” kind of healing. Healing helps at 16 or at 54.
What a book. I don’t know if I can watch the movie or not yet. Some day.
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
“Well, we never thought it could happen, but here we are living with Gran in East Haddock (Mass.).”
“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized that when caught by her charms as the Tarleton twins were. In here face were too sharply blended the features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father….”
Ok, that’s the first TWO, but from memory. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
“In early January of 2011, forty-five hundred red-winged black-birds fell dead from the Arkansas skies.”
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church
“A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and hate.”
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
“Lars Thorvald loved two women.”
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
Do you enjoy fun lists like this? Then join the Goodreads.com group Top 5 Wednesday and be part of the weekly meet-up.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored,
He has loosed the fateful lightening of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on….
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
l can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on…..
Before I begin the list, I must tell you I’m a lifelong Civil War fanatic. I wrote earlier this year about a Civil War themed book that validated much of my childhood as a geek more interested in the Civil War than in David Cassidy or Donny Osmond. You can read that post here if you like. Lest there be any doubt, yes, I’ve read them all. Some (not only GWTW) more than once.
Rhett Butler–the ultimate Bad Boy. Scarlett O’Hara–a Southern Belle Badass. Melanie Wilkes, a Steel Magnolia of the most refined sort. Ashley Wilkes, spineless dreamer. Sigh….now I’ll be forced to go home and re-read my favorite parts for the 400th or so time.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is the home front story of the devoted wife and daughters, waiting for Father to return.
March by Geraldine Brooks is Father’s story.
Note: There are other editions of Little Women–I just happen to love this new annotated version. If cost is an issue, just pick up any version for the story. Remember, I do not make money if you click on a link.
The three books by Jeff and Michael Shaara are very, very readable. The epic movie Gettysburg is based on The Killer Angel
Gods and Generals, The Killer Angels and The Last Full Measure by Shara. These books are also available individually.
I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe was the first ever women-as-a-man book that I finished and believed could have been true.
Lincoln by Gore Vidal
Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnish`d rows of steel,
“As ye deal with my contemners, So with you my grace shall deal;”
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel
Since God is marching on….
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on….
If The South Had Won the War by MacKinlay Kantor This book practically invented the “what if” genre. An excellent, fast, read.
CSA: Confederate States of America by Howard Means What if…in a current-day setting.
I’m not big on Christian publishing, but I anxiously await Lynn Austin’s books. Of the three books in this series, I enjoyed the middle one most–so much so that I asked her to write a sequel. Since I’m not her agent I won’t hold my breath, but I do wish she’d consider it.
Refiner’s Fire: Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night and A Light To My Path by Lynn Austin–also available separately.
Southern Indiana Quaker’s, across the river from Kentucky, must rely on their faith in times of tria.
The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West
Mary Chestnut’s very observant eye helped her Confederate Cabinet Member husband, James, during the war. Her diary is a gold-mine of home front information, Cabinet gossip and war-weariness. One of my all-time favorite Civil War books.
If you missed these in school, read them now. You’ll love them even more.
Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, is the story of a young soldier’s fear in battle.
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, I read this on a band trip in 1976. It’s still excellent.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
Join the fun on Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke