Monday, December 16, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 12/15/19: Eels and Sloths, Royalty and Vera Stanhope, Family Ham

1. After finishing up some morning tasks, I settled back into the Vizio room and watched the last half of "The Mystery of Eels". Astonishing. My current interest in eels began with Lucy Cooke's discussion on Radiolab (the episode, "Silky Love" is here) and so I put an order into the library for her book, The Truth About Animals and I watched Lucy Cooke's scintillating TED talk on the sloth, here. For others of you who might be, like me, slow moving, Lucy Cooke's insights into the virtues of the sloth's life in the slow lane are both inspiring and reassuring.

2. I'm not binge watching The Crown. I watch no more than an episode at a time. It had been around a week since I watched the first episode of Season 1 and today I watched the second. It's much like watching Shakespeare's history plays. For starters, it's fiction. The story is grounded in historical events, but I'm not looking to this series as a history program. Much like Shakespeare, the creators of The Crown have written compelling drama, deep studies of human character, and a vision of how these characters respond to and perform under pressure and stress. Much like the characters in Shakespeare's histories and tragedies, because these characters hold high positions in their world, their behaviors, actions, idiosyncrasies, and emotions are magnified and I think that we, as viewers, get a clearer, enlarged picture of our own character and how we behave and act in our much less lofty lives.

After watching this episode of The Crown, I switched gears, although I stayed with British programming, and watched the first episode of the ninth season of Vera. I was introduced to Brenda Blythen years ago at the Bijou Theater in Eugene through her work in Mike Leigh's movie Secrets & Lies and I'm sure I've seen her in other movies. I loved watching her today as DCI Vera Stanhope as she and her fellow detectives worked their way through a labyrinth of local history and local secrets to solve the murder of young forensic psychologist.

3. Family dinner tonight was at Christy and Everett's. When we walked in the door, Christy handed each of us a smashing holiday bourbon drink with tones of cinnamon, cloves, (maybe orange), and cranberries she makes and I enjoyed mine a lot. After this cocktail and some crackers, and cheese, we enjoyed a beautifully baked ham. Christy served it with a terrific potato dish, a crisp green salad, and a fruit salad. We yakked about all kinds of things -- versions of A Christmas Carol, holiday parties my sisters have hosted and attended, the latest developments on Fox's The Masked Singer -- a show Christy and Carol rave about, but I haven't tuned into -- and other things. As we snacked on sesame cookies and truffles for dessert, we also nailed down our holiday/birthday meal schedule and now we know what meals we are having when, not only for Christmas Eve, but for my birthday and Christy's. Our plans are solidified and look really fun.

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