Monday, June 29, 2009

An extraordinary woman

As a teenager, I idealized Agnetha from ABBA and Farrah Fawcett Majors, the glamorous one in Charlie's Angels, as she was known then. Both are/were powerful, attractive women who reached for the stars and achieved.

And then life gets busy and one moves fully to inhabit one's own life as one should and the crushes and people who inspired them are forgotten.

Last week, I watched Farrah's Story and I was struck again by the woman--not this time because of her head of golden hair and huge American smile, but by how human she was, how vulnerable, how strong and compassionate, how full of life. And her spirituality and deep faith--Roman Catholicism--astonished me because we don't really associate that with people living in Hollywood. It was astonishing to see her wheel her rosary beads in her fingers and watch her kiss the crucifix as my mother would

Having been brought up Roman Catholic, I knew intimately this woman's visceral need to continue believing in a benign God and last minute possibilities as she rested her head on her balcony and talked to God and said she's seriously in need of a miracle.

Her unflinching bravery as she allowed us to view the most intimate periods of her fight against cancer, her bouts of tears that weren't self-pitying, her desire to shield her aged father--a plain-talking Texan with a huge heart--from yet another death that would obliterate the last of his immediate family, the last moments when her son came to visit and she didn't recognize him, the medical peaks and troughs she traversed as she searched in Germany and the US for a cure, all showed what a truly remarkable woman she was and had become.

Michael Jackson's death--in itself a great tragedy--overshadowed this woman's last day on this earth. But she will be remembered.

Farewell Farrah and rest in peace.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Whisking through the city

Just back from three tremendous days at NYC with Larry and my brother Seamus.

Stayed at the Hilton at Times Square as we wanted to be near to the action and my brother doesn't walk so good, result of a road accident when he was twelve.

First day was spent visiting the WTC and Rockerfeller Center followed by dinner at our fav Indonesian restaurant just off Restaurant Row. My brother can't understand why so many Americans want to line up to be seen waving during the Today Show. During teh afternoon, we stopped by an IMAX as Seamus hadn't seen a movie on IMAX before. Star Trek was showing (which we'd seen the previous week and really enjoyed) and Night at The Museum 2. Even the fact it was on IMAX couldn't save such a ridiculously hokey movie. Time Ben Stiller moved on.

Next day saw us doing the Empire State building, including the ride--not so good. A bit of a rip-off actually, given the quality of the photography and the gimmicks a la Kevin Bacon. Yeah, that guy really is degrees of everywhere.

After that, we went to see Chicago--which we all enjoyed--followed by drinks and dinner at The View, the revolving restaurant on the 48th floor of the Times Square.

Last day was spent at the Hayden Planetarium and Museum of Natural History. I'd never been before and the last time Larry was there was when he was a schoolkid in the Bronx being chaperoned by his teacher. It was very enjoyable, especially the African exhibit with its huge herd of elephants. It was worrisome (and quivers of political correctness threatened to extinguish my pleasure) when I read the the herd that included a huge bull and two calves was 'collected' and then given to the museum by an individual (not Teddy Roosevelt). Was 'collected' a pseudonym for 'shot'? I mused.
They were 'presented' in 1905 which made me feel better, though I couldn't help wonder how the magnificent creatures still sporting their huge tusks had died in their prime.

Knowing what we know now about elephant society, even culling is unacceptable.
The dinosaur skeletons, on the other hand, produced awe of a different kind.

And then our trip was over and we were speeding back to Bucks through the horrid rain.

Friday, June 05, 2009

A visitor

Gone a little off the Engine 2 diet as my brother Seamus is visiting currently--although not very much as we're eating delicious veggie dishes five times a week.

So far I've managed to lose 10 lbs so I'm quite pleased with my progress--very pleased actually since I'm hooking up with my writing group on Tuesday evening and Marie wants to see how much I've lost on account of how I raved about the diet.

I'm also submitting a couple of chapters of the new novel--less than I'd have liked but I'm showing my bro' the wonders of Bucks county. Next week, Larry he and I will spend three days in NYC doing theater and restaurants, etc. Looking forward to being a tourist there myself.

It's great listening to my bro yak with his kids Oran and Eimer on the phone (the other two are older and out of the house; Seams really is a dedicated Dad, but being an Uncle is definitely the way to be. Love 'em on your own time. LOL

Tomorrow we're holding a BBQ for him--looking forward to kicking back with some vino and friends.

And a big shout to my nephew David and niece Ciara (Seamus's daughter) who've just completed their exams and second year at the Queens University Belfast.