Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Childhood memories, winter soup inspiration and another dead celebrity.

Let’s begin today with celebrity news, okay? Apparently German-born actress Luise Rainer has passed away at age 104 of natural causes, because when you’re 104 even a hangnail could kill you. Until today she had been the oldest living Oscar-winner who wasn’t dead yet.
Rainer won back-to-back best actress Oscars for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) portraying Anna Held (Florenz Ziegfeld’s first wife) and for The Good Earth (1937) as a Chinese peasant with a German accent. When MGM production chief Irving Thalberg died shortly thereafter, however, Rainer’s movie career died, too, as Louis B. Mayer wasn’t especially crazy about her. I, on the other hand, always thought she was adorable, and I think you owe it to yourself to see her performance in The Great Ziegfeld.

I bought myself some happy WINTER SOUP INSPIRATION this morning from Amazon! My order included a package of four teeny tubs of Knorr concentrated vegetable stock, a can of convenient Keystone all-natural ground beef for senior citizens and one lovely quart jar of Harmony House Italian Vegetable Mix. I am especially delirious about the vegetable mix, which contains the following herd of colorful dehydrated thingies for soup: real kidney beans, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, onions and cabbage. Oh boy, right? Incidentally, I’m already a huge fan of Harmony House’s regular vegetable mix for soup (carrots, onions, tomatoes, peas, celery, green peppers, green beans, and parsley) so I know their Italian mix will be just as awesome ... because REAL KIDNEY BEANS!
And as long as I’m waxing hysterical about soup, I also ordered the following from Wal-Mart so they wouldn’t be jealous: two packages of Knorr concentrated tubs of chicken stock and two tubes of AmorĂ© tomato paste. I threw in two jars of raspberry glucose tablets for the hell of it because I have diabetes and I have to keep these things in every room of the house almost.

In case you’ve always wondered what I looked like at ten years old, here you go. This is my fourth grade class at Highland School in Skokie, Illinois, and I’m the fresh-faced future blogger in the fourth row circled in red. I can actually still name every single kid in this picture except for three. From top to bottom, left to right, they are: Steven, Marilyn, Mrs. Taylor, Donald, Laurie, Harlene, Herby, Stephen, Karen, Kathy, Scott, Anita, Joel, Sandra, Mystery Kid #1, Nanette, Brad, Ariela, Mystery Kid #2, Sam, Marie, Mystery Kid #3, Me, Larry, Roxanne, Robin, Sandra, Brad (another one; he’s a duplicate), Janice, Laurie and Marsha, who grew up to be a neurosurgeon in Iowa.
A few weird isolated memories from fourth grade. Our class focused on the Kennedy/Nixon election that fall and did mock debates; I always thought Ariela looked like John Forsythe (pictured at left) from the “Bachelor Father” TV series; I took ceramics classes from Marie’s grandmother; my two best friends were Robin and Sandra (the one in the bottom row, not the one in the third row); and my crush was Larry because he was tall.

You will be pleased to know that I squeezed in a FOUR-HOUR NAP this afternoon. Four hours! This was a perfectly fabulous way for a retiree with shitty knees to waste a cold, dark winter day, and I hope sincerely to do it again as often as possible. Thank you for reading this!

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