Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Post of 2006!

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

---William Shakespeare, the Tempest,
Act IV, Scene i, Lines 148-157

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.

All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
"For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord."

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"Song of the Angels" by Bouguereau

Happy Christmas to the world! Christ is born! Alleluia! May Christ's love warm your hearts and souls this Christmas and all the days of your lives.

Lady Jane

Thursday, December 21, 2006

HP Book 7 Title Announced!

Finally, we have the title for the last book in the Harry Potter series!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!!!

What do you think of it?

AP: Final 'Harry Potter' title announced---

NEW YORK - We now have a title for Book VII: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows."

But if you want to find out for yourself, visit J.K. Rowling's Web site,, and play a little game of hangman.

Rowling's U.S. publisher, Scholastic, Inc., released a brief statement Thursday announcing the name of the world's most anticipated children's book, the finale to her phenomenally popular fantasy series.

No publication date or other details were offered. Rowling is still working on the book, she wrote on her Web site in an entry posted early Thursday.
If you want to play the game, go to and use these instructions from the article (if you can't figure it out yourself):

If you go to her home page, click on the eraser and you will be taken to a room — you'll see a window, a door and a mirror.

In the mirror, you'll see a hallway. Click on the farthest doorknob and look for the Christmas tree. They click on the center of the door next to the mirror and a reef appears. Then click on the top of the mirror and you'll see a garland.

Look for a cobweb next to the door. Click on it, and it will disappear. Now, look at the chimes in the window. Click on the second chime to the right, and hold it down. The chime will turn into the key, which opens the door. Click on the wrapped gift behind the door, then click on it again and figure out the title yourself by playing a game of hangman.
I just did it.

I am curious about the title. Does it have something to do with Godric's Hollow where Harry lived with his parents and where they were killed? Obviously, the spelling is not the same, but they were murdered by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (aka Lord Voldemort!) on Halloween. Halloweens have always been featured in the HP books. Really, though, I think it must be something to do with Godric's Hollow. I have always believed Harry would have to go back there, to where his parents died, where he managed to live after Voldemort tried to kill him, to face the past, the truth, and his enemy.

Curious!!! No publication date has been announced.

I am so excited!

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to Jane!

Today is Jane Austen's birthday! Jane is my favorite author and one of the greatest novelists of all time.

Jane Austen

Happy Birthday, Jane!

Some Jane Austen links:
The Jane Austen Centre in Bath
Jane Austen Society of North America
Jane Austen E-Texts
Bibliomania: Austen E-Texts
Jane Austen's House
Republic of Pemberley

Send a birthday card in honor of Jane's birthday at Mollands.

My favorite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

I am a Dedicated Reader

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Josh Alert!

Josh Groban Fans: Josh will be appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show on Monday, 11 December. I saw a commercial earlier this evening and I am excited to see it! Don't forget!

AND, you can hear Josh sing "I'll Be Home For Christmas" here. Do enjoy!

You can buy Awake here.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

POTC: DMC Out Today!

I'm quite excited, as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is out today on dvd! If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend buying or renting it (Use my Amazon link to purchase anything at Amazon and I get a small percentage).

Also out today, 24-Season 5. Hooray!

Plus, shopping through my Amazon store (for anything Amazon sells) will give me a tiny bit of revenue. Please consider it! :)

Thank you!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Special Episode of the Closer

A special two hour episode of The Closer (official website with great stuff here) is on TNT tonight. It starts any minute and I am SOOOO excited!

Kyra Sedgwick is awesome as Brenda Johnson!

If you haven't seen the two seasons The Closer, you can buy the first season dvds or watch the second season on TNT. Season 2 will begin reairing Tuesday, 5 December at 10pm (and will be every Tuesday at 10pm). The show is fabulous!

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all joy and blessings on Thanksgiving. May you be surrounded by family, friends, and good food!

I am thankful for God, giving me life

for the United States of America

for the United States Military (say thanks to the Military here)

for President George W. Bush

for my family and memories of my dogs

for my friends

for books :)

for my blog friends and readers

and for Faith and Freedom.

God bless you all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Josh on Leno

Josh Groban is on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight! Don't forget to watch or set a tape!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"You Will Lose Everything."

Over at Mugglenet interested Harry Potter fans (or people who might be interested!) can see the first poster for the fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The film comes out 13 July 2007.

You can see the terrifingly creepy poster here. (It features He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!!!)

Curtsy to Lady Lori for the news!

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, GB!

Today is Gerard Butler's Birthday!

I'm a big fan of Gerry's work, especially his films The Phantom of the Opera, The Miracle Match (aka The Game of Their Lives), and Dear Frankie. Watch one today, in honor of GB!

Happy Birthday, Gerry!

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Don't forget to visit!

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Josh On Regis & Kelly!

Today, 10 November, Josh Groban is scheduled to appear on ABC's Regis & Kelly! He'll be a guest and sing a song.

You can buy Awake here.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Josh on GMA!

Tomorrow morning, 8 November 2006, Josh Groban will be on Good Morning America, on ABC. According to his website he will be performing 2 songs!

It also looks like Josh's webpage has a new look! You can find some wallpapers and buddy icons here.

Buy Awake here.

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Finally, today's the day that Awake comes out!

I'm off to work and then to buy it and listen all night!

UPDATE-4:15pm: I have my cd and almost got in 10 car wrecks on the way home, while listening! Ok, I wasn't close to having a single wreck, but I just wanted to close my eyes and be dreamy!

What do you think of Awake?

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Monday, November 06, 2006


I love country music. Brooks & Dunn and Brad Paisley are among my favorites, so I was happy to see they won awards at tonight's Country Music Assocation Awards Show.

AP: Brooks & Dunn Among Early Winners at CMA Awards---

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Brooks & Dunn's inspirational song "Believe" won three awards, including single and song of the year, during the 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards Monday night.

The duo, who hosted the show, also won music video of the year for "Believe" and opened the night by performing "Building Bridges" with guests Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow.

"This has been another huge year for country music," Kix Brooks said. "Tonight, we're here together to show off what it's really all about, and that's the greatest music on the face of the earth."

Brad Paisley, who was shut out last year despite six nomination, went into the night with a win this year. Before Monday's show, he and Dolly Parton won musical event of the year for their spiritual song "When I Get Where I'm Going." It was Parton's first CMA award since 1996.
Both "Believe" and "When I Get Where I'm Going" are beautiful Christian songs. I am so glad to see that one musical genre still honors those.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #7: Josh Groban Style

Jane's Thirteen Favorite Josh Groban Songs In Honor of the Arrival of Awake, Josh's new cd on 7 November 2006!

I LOVE Josh Groban's music. Have you heard him? Gorgeous voice. Gorgeous man. I think he looks like Lord Byron reincarnated and sings like one of God's Angels. His new cd comes out on Tuesday, 7 November, so I thought I would honor him with 13 of my favorite Josh songs. These are listed in no particular order. AOL has all 13 of the songs on the new album for you to listen to, if you can't wait until Tuesday (I can't wait!).

So, without further ado, here are 13 of my favorite Josh Groban songs (some of the song links take you to clips, the ones from Awake are the full song):

1. Romeo and Juliet, from Awake. It is the song from the old Romeo & Juliet film starring Olivia Hussey. Josh sings it in Italian. Time to faint!

2. You Raise Me Up From Closer. When I sing along with this song I consider it a prayer to God. He always raises me up.

3. You Are Loved (Don't Give Up) from Awake. This is a beautiful reminder that we are all God's creatures and we are all loved.

4. Alla Luce Del Sole From Josh Groban. Italian! His voice is so gorgeous on this one.

5. Remember When It Rained From Closer. Very powerful.

6. Mi Morena From Josh Groban Live at The Greek (CD/DVD). In English. I just love the way he sounds in this one and the music.

7. Cinema Paradiso From Josh Groban. In Italian. Beautiful!

8. Remember From the Troy: Music From The Motion Picture (Score) Soundtrack. Very haunting.

9. Canto Alla Vita From Josh Groban. In Italian. Full of life and joy.

10. Per Te From Closer. In Italian. What can I say? I LOVE listening to Josh sing in Italian.

11. All Improvviso Amore From Closer. In Italian.

12. Believe From The Polar Express Soundtrack.

13. Un Amore Per Sempre From Josh Groban. In Italian.

BONUS I keep listening to Lullaby. From Awake. It is so gorgeous and soothing! I want to listen to it as I fall asleep tonight.

What is your favorite Josh Groban song?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Listen to Awake!!!

You can listen to some of Josh Groban's new album Awake streamlined on the internet here. The cd comes out Tuesday, 7 November.

And AOL has a Josh Groban Listening Party! All the songs. Videos. More!

I'm listening to Romeo & Juliet in Italian! I think I'm going to faint!

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Only about FIVE days until Josh Groban's Awake comes out on cd!

You can see an Amazon exclusive in-studio performance/interview here.

Here you can see a bit of Josh performing "Romeo & Juliet" (a song). Gorgeous!

Lots of info on the cd and Josh's upcoming performances on various talk shows here.

I am SO excited!
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

One More Week Until Awake!

Ladies, only ONE MORE week until Josh Groban's Awake comes out! Can you wait that long?

More on Josh and the cd here.

Plus, lots more from his website:

  • Catch Josh on TV! Tune into NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, November 16th and Entertainment Tonight on Oct. 31st to see a special segment on Josh. Check your local listings for time and channel.
  • Josh performed Live in London tonight from the Mermaid Theatre! You can stream his performance online at BBC Radio 2 ...Josh’s performance is approximately 1 hour into the show. Below is the set-list:You Are Loved, February Song, Un Dia Llegara, Smile, So She Dances, Not While I’m Around, Broken Vow, Machine,
  • Catch Josh on TV! Tune into ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, November 8th to see Josh perform two songs! He will also be a guest and perform one song on Regis and Kelly on Friday, November 10th!
Lots of great appearances!

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Season 6 Trailer!

24 fans: you can see Sneak Peek Season 6 trailer here. Exciting!!!

More related to 24 here, here, here, here, and here.

Plus, hilarious Jack Bauer facts here.

Season 6 of 24 premieres next January 2007 with a 2 Nights, 4 Hours: Sunday, January 14 at 8pm and Monday, January 15 at 8pm.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Breakfast For Dinner

Tonight for dinner we had breakfast: eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and . . . Gingerbread Waffles! Of course, the waffles are a Rachael Ray recipe.

I LOVE gingerbread, so these were fantastic. The recipe made a ton of waffles, so I plan to freeze some for later. I think this would be a perfect recipe for a Christmas Morning Breakfast. Heat up the syrup for a perfect accompaniment.

I look forward to making them again! The whole house smells like Christmas!

What are your favorite kinds of waffles and what do you eat with them?

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Very Diverting!

Jane Austen fans will enjoy this crossword at

I love Jane Austen and have a ton of books, but I still had to look up some of the answers. It is a lovely challenge.


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Monday, October 16, 2006

St. Hedwig

Most people know the name "Hedwig" from the Harry Potter novels (Harry's owl is named Hedwig), but there was a Saint Hedwig.

Today, 16 October, is the Feast Day of Saint Hedwig.

Saint Hedwig was the

Daughter of the Duke of Croatia. Aunt of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. Married Prince Henry I of Silesia and Poland in 1186 at age 12. Mother of seven. Cared for the sick both personally and by founding hospitals. Widow. Upon her husband's death, she gave away her fortune and entered the monastery at Trebnitz.
She is the Patron Saint of:

Bavaria; Berlin, Germany; brides; duchesses; death of children; difficult marriages; diocese of Görlitz, Germany; Silesia; victims of jealousy; widows
More on St. Hedwig:
-Catholic Encyclopedia -Catholic Online -St. Hedwig -EWTN

(Crossposted at A Lady's Ruminations)
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Friday, October 13, 2006

Banana Bread and Shepherd's Pie

Goodness, I've just been in a cooking mood lately. It feels like I have been in the kitchen all day.

This morning I made two loaves of former Seattle Mariner Jay Buhner's Banana Nut Bread (I didn't put the nuts in). The recipe comes from one of the Mariners Wives charity projects in 2000, a cookbook titled Home Plates- Favorite Recipes of Mariners Players and Staff.

I usually double the recipe to make 2 loaves.

Jay Buhner's Banana Nut Bread

1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 teas baking powder
1/2 teaspoon
2/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teas salt
1/3 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 Tbs milk
1 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup nuts, chopped (pecans or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the sugar and shortening until light. Add eggs-one at a time. Add milk. Beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and bananas, alternating, to a creamed mixture. Beat until smooth. Fold in nuts. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8x4x2 loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until tester inserted in comes out clean. Melt 2 Tbs butter all over the top. Cool on a rack.

For dinner tonight, I made Rachael Ray's Ground Turkey Shepherd's Pie. This tastes even better the next day. I love it with chicken, but it is also good with ground beef. You'll also find the Shepherd's Pie recipe in Rach's Cooking 'Round the Clock, along with a 5 Minute Bread Pudding Recipe (it is her "UK Comforts" meal). If you haven't had Shepherd's Pie, it is traditionally made with lamb. You cook the meat with carrots and onions and then make a gravy and add it, along with peas. Mashed potatoes cover the top. Yum-o!

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What kind of Intelligence do you have?

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Southwest Casserole

I haven't made this in awhile, but I made it for dinner tonight. Yummy!

Southwest Casserole

olive oil
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, in bite-size pieces
package taco seasoning mix (or mix up your own)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (or more) corn
1/4-1/2 cup salsa
1 can diced tomatoes (with chiles would be great)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups crunched up tortilla chips

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add some olive oil and then the chicken. Cook until the chicken is cooked through. (You could add onions, bell peppers, etc. with the chicken). Add the taco seasoning, beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and some water. Mix it all up and cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the chicken mixture has simmered, transfer it to a 9x13 dish. Cover the top with the cheese and the crushed tortilla chips. Bake for about 15 minutes.

I like to serve it over rice.

Tonight I added a few dashes of chipotle sauce. You can add whatever sort of heat you like and additional vegetables, as well. I imagine crushed Doritos would taste great too.


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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere

Most people are excited when Pumpkin season comes around, but sometimes, one can only make so many pumpkin pies or pumpkin bread (which I am currently eating, toasted warm and buttery).

Luckily, the internet holds countless pumpkin recipes to break you out of a rut.

And, conveniently, Yahoo gathered 30 Ways To Eat A Pumpkin. Yummy! I have a great pumpkin cheesecake recipe, a delicious pumpkin gingerbread recipe, and a couple of fabulous pumpkin scones recipes. What I would love to try making is pumpkin pancakes. Delicious!

What do you like to make with pumpkin?

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Monday, October 09, 2006

"Not 'Sagna"

Don't know what to make for dinner, but want something really fast, easy, and good? This is the perfect recipe!

Not-sagna Pasta Toss

Like most of the recipes I try, this is a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal. Rather than spending hours putting lasagna together and then waiting for it to bake, you can make this delicious "Not 'Sagna" super fast.

My mother and I have made it 3 times, including for dinner tonight. Each time we made it in less than 30 minutes (25, 25, and 22). I think even making it alone I could do it in less than 30. The ingredients are all things we generally have on hand and are (if you use low or non-fat cheese) healthful. The flavors are delicious and the pasta toss tastes even better the next day.

I highly recommend this recipe! I love it.

Rachael also makes a Vegetable Not-sagna Pasta Toss (which I have seen her make on 30 Minute Meals).

As Rach would say, "Yum-o!"

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Penblwydd Hapus, Ioan!

Today is the 33rd birthday of one of my favorite actors, Ioan Gruffudd. He's a gorgeous Welshman with a gorgeous accent and plenty of talent to spare.

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To Ioan,
Have a lovely birthday and many blessings throughout the year.
God bless you and your endeavours!

Penblwydd Hapus, Ioan!
Happy Birthday, Ioan!

Some of my favorite photos (lots more at Ioan Online):

Here are some of my favorite Ioan movies:

He is probably best known for playing Horatio Hornblower in the tv film series of the same name: Horatio Hornblower. They have made 8 films based a few of the 11 novels, so far, but Ioan has said he would love to play Hornblower through the end. From his lips to God's ears!

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Last summer, Ioan played Reed Richards, aka "Mr. Fantastic," in Fantastic Four. He was excellent, though often overlooked. They are currently filming a second F4 film.

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Two years ago, Ioan played Lancelot alongside Clive Owen's Arthur in King Arthur. He seems perfectly suited to the role, if one uses Tennyson's description in my favorite poem, "The Lady of Shalott":

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
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nd, in 2007, Ioan will play British abolitionist William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Apart for Four Hundred Years

Curtsy to Gentleman Jay for the link and story. Thank you!

UK Telegraph: V&A brings family together after 400 years apart---

A husband, wife and their children, separated for more than 400 years, have been reunited for a spectacular exhibition on the art and culture of domestic life in Renaissance Italy.

Paulo Veronese, one of 16th century Venice's greatest artists, painted a pair of double portraits of the wealthy da Porte Thiene family, of nearby Vicenza, in 1551. They were to hang in the hallway of their new palazzo, built for them by Andrea Palladio to demonstrate their importance.

The young Veronese, a contemporary of Tintoretto, divided the family along gender lines in his portraits.
You can see a photograph of the portraits, side by side, here.
In one, he showed Count Iseppo da Porto, a knight of the Holy Roman Empire, with his eight-year-old son, Leonida.

The other was of his wife, Livia Thiene, wearing a marten's pelt with a jewelled head and gazing devoutly at her husband, standing with their daughter, Porzia, aged about four.

Though the Palazzo Iseppo da Porto still stands, the portraits disappeared from it by the end of the 16th century and scholars did not hear of them again until the early 20th century. Then one, father and son, surfaced in the collection of Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi. It now belongs to the Uffizi gallery in Florence.

The other appeared in the shop of a Florentine antiquarian and was bought by the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
Don't you want to know where they were for all those years?

I do wish I could see them:
They go on show, side by side as Veronese intended, for the first time in four centuries at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, west London, from Thursday.
Four centuries!?! Amazing.

You can visit the Victoria & Albert website here. (Fun activity from the website: design a Renaissance Room!!!)

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I Prefer Earl Grey

Well, this is good news for those of us who love, love, love tea.

Reuters: Beat stress, drink tea ---

LONDON (Reuters) - Regular cups of tea can help speed recovery from stress, researchers from University College London (UCL) said on Wednesday.

Men who drank black tea four times a day for six weeks were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than a control group who drank a fake tea substitute, the researchers said in a study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

The tea drinkers also reported a greater feeling of relaxation after performing tasks designed to raise stress levels.

Andrew Steptoe, of UCL's department of Epidemiology and Public Health, and one of the report's authors, said the findings could have important health implications.

"Slow recovery following acute stress has been associated with a greater risk of chronic illness such as coronary heart disease.

"Although it does not appear to reduce the actual levels of stress we experience, tea does seem to have a greater effect in bringing stress hormone levels back to normal."
Of course it does. I always find tea to be a comfort when I am stressed or upset or feeling ill.

My favorite is Earl Grey, but I love tea generally. I had some English Breakfast this morning.

What kinds do you like to drink? How do you take your tea?

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All About Gerard

I love Gerard Butler! Have you seen his movies yet? (especially The Phantom of the Opera?)

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In the past two weeks, GB has had two movies come out on dvd (unfortunately not in theaters): The Miracle Match (aka The Game of Their Lives) and Beowulf & Grendel.

I saw The Miracle Match last week and absolutely loved it. It tells the story of the 1950 US World Cup soccer team. They hadn't a chance against the professional teams fielded by other countries, but the scrappy American players pulled off what I have heard described as the greatest upset in World Cup history. I enjoy sports, so the soccer aspect of the movie was fun. More importantly, the film was very patriotic and family-oriented. Gerard plays Frank Borghi, the keeper (goalie). The movie also stars brothers Louis and Costas Mandylor, Zachery Bryan (the oldest brother from the tv show Home Improvement), Wes Bentley, John Rhys-Davies (aka Gimli from LOTR), and Gavin Rossdale (singer and husband of Gwen Stefani). It was excellent and moved me to tears.

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I haven't yet seen Beowulf & Grendel, but I have read the epic poem it was based on. From what I have seen (photos, etc.), the scenery is breathtaking. (Not to mention Gerard.)

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Buffalo News: Butler did it---

With his striking good looks, irresistible Scottish brogue and magnetic old-Hollywood screen presence, you would think Gerard Butler would be an international superstar of paparazzi-obsessive proportions.

The fact that Butler is a darn good actor and a funny guy who isn't above making fun of himself only adds to his appeal.

So what gives? Maybe it's that Butler takes on flawed characters and roles that defy typecasting - not the usual Hollywood thinking. He's equally at home in wonderful "small" films like "Dear Frankie" as he was in the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," or taking on Angelia Jolie in "Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life."

Butler's two newest films to arrive on DVD again show the diversity of his projects. One is an inspiring true story with mainstream appeal; the other is a visually stunning movie based on an eighth-century poem.

I highly recommend The Miracle Match. It is a movie the whole family can watch together and cheer during.

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Absolutely gorgeous. And that Scottish brogue . . .

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