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Dear friends,

Today I imagined myself having a dialogue with with my feet after I finished swimming and wanted to wear socks under my ballet shoes because it's cold outside. Well, they refused to go into my socks. "Feet! don't do this! it's cold out there!" But they would not listen. Each time I tried to put a sock on one of them it would seize up and I'd have to walk back and forth back and forth until the foot relaxed. They are very unreasonable, unreasoning. "Foot" (said I) "this will not do."  But it would not not let me put it in the sock without seizing up worse. 

I wear socks in the gym in the sneakers I go in ballet shoes and in winter wear socks when I change back from the sneaker to my ballet shoes to go home. Now I can't put the socks on when I get into the car for the space I sit in is small and if I tried to reach my feet, I would have to contort my chest or torso and that often causes me to have spasms in my chest ligaments.

My feet and I. My bunions are getting worse, my feet bones more deformed. The training shoes (well built sneakers) are beginning to hurt me if I keep them on a long time. It used to be wearing them enabled me to walk a long time - the only drawback was I'd sweat so in heat my feet would become wretched and unbearable. Now I find in the gym when I'm on the machine, my toes begin to seize up and go into configurations of strain. It hurts terribly. This can happen when I swim too. I try to keep my feet relaxed when swimming but I can't do anything about the shoes. Jim said to me that I can wear ballet shoes to the gym, just not street shoes. I hope so. I shall try ballet shoes this Friday.  I'm once again trying to go to the gym twice a week. It's good for me.

We are past the first week of January. It's supposed to be snowy-month according to the revolutionary calendar. But no such thing.  Tonight Yvette had the same kind of stress in her lower calves while sleeping.  She is doing well at work and likes it there very much. The people are kind and good and treat her with respect and flexibility -- she even has a short ride there by bus too. The other day she really looked serene. When it snowed, she said it was picturesque coming home. 

Her social club had started up again too; they met for games and fun in the Jewish Community Center itself. She had not been able to go to the Xmas party because both our cars broke down that day and had not been able to collect the plate she had made the previous month. It's a plate for our pussycats to eat on. You see their twin heads, Ian, the boy is a ginger tabby and Clary (Clarissa on the plate) a tortoise.

Yvette's pussycat plate


Today she was very tired from another long (8 hours!) day: she has begun one of her projects to sort out and build a website for information that right now is in the Tremendous Mess! She can do this kind of thing very well but on top of meeting with people and other tasks a long day is a long day.

I was tired too - I've almost finished my paper: "'What are rocks to men and mountains?': The content of Ann Radcliffe's Landscapes."  One more paragraph on Radcliffe's Journey book and quick conclusion to go. I did it in four days, steadily working sometimes 8 hours a day.  On Thursday I have to read two books for this coming term (Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Tilberg Clark's Ox-Bow Incident) and then make a syllabus. I have to try to work out an assignment that is called a Quality enhanced research project. I can figure out what they want: instead of asking students to write about a favorite book from childhood, I can first ask them to discover why they got that book into their hands in the first place: the marketplace, control of what's published by corporations and then what's introduced to young people by teachers and parents. But it's not easy to figure out what they could research for that? Teachers databases I was thinking, about the coterie prize culture. I'll have to seacrh the database where I teach.

So I have been busy, more or less at peace, enjoying my days and not feeling lonely because I begin by posting to listservs and to friends who have written me. I read their blogs and they read mine over the day. Facebook is a pleasant place to keep up with others.

I follow Caroline on Twitter and read her blog (she has an intelligent defense of Downton Abbey, at least not defending its reactionary content but its imitative bent). She told me offblog that Penelope Wilton is a modern middle class woman in line to be next dowager.



I knew Dan Steevens was male lead:



She wrote further:

The series opens on 16 April, 1912, the day after the Titanic sank. Lord Grantham (the current Earl of Downton Abbey)'s cousin James Crawley, who is the heir presumptive, and his son, Patrick, have both died in the sinking. With no immediate male offspring, a distant cousin is named heir. But what is worse for the family is an entail on the estate, which means that the heir to the title will inherit the land and all the money the current Earl gained by marrying Cora, who was an American heiress. The eldest daughter, Lady Mary, had been engaged to Patrick but now the land and wealth is threatened. The new heir, Matthew Crawley, is a middle class lawyer, son of a middle class doctor, thrown into a life he didn't ask for and traditions he doesn't understand.

As for the cast:
(Actor: Character) 
Crawley family:

Hugh Bonneville: The Right Honourable Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, head of the Crawley family
Elizabeth McGovern: The Rt Hon Cora, Countess of Grantham, The American wife of the Earl 
Michelle Dockery: Lady Mary Josephine Crawley, Eldest daughter of the Earl        
Laura Carmichael: Lady Edith Crawley, Middle daughter of the Earl       
Jessica Brown-Findlay: Lady Sybil Crawley, Youngest daughter of the Earl 
Maggie Smith: The Rt Hon Violet, Countess of Grantham, Dowager Countess and the Earl's mother            
Dan Stevens: Mr Matthew Crawley, Third cousin, once removed, of the Earl; heir presumptive to the title and estate               
Penelope Wilton: Mrs Isobel Crawley, Matthew's mother

Staff:

Jim Carter: Charles Carson, Butler   
Phyllis Logan: Elsie Hughes, Housekeeper   
Brendan Coyle: John Bates, Lord Grantham's valet  
Siobhan Finneran: Sarah O'Brien, Lady Grantham's maid  
Rob James-Collier: Thomas Barrow, Footman
Thomas Howes: William Mason,  Footman
Joanne Froggatt: Anna Smith, Head housemaid   
Rose Leslie: Gwen Dawson, Housemaid        
Lesley Nicol: Beryl Patmore, Cook    
Sophie McShera: Daisy Robinson, Kitchen maid     

Fascinating cast if you know who these people previously played.

***************

And a few other friend's blogs too; on Twitter also Amanda Vickery whose Tweets are often interesting essays she's reading or has found on the Net.

So I feel life is good. 

Like or probably much more than Yvette I'm too tired at night to enjoy and work out my life in this way. I can listen to novels through using my ipod but the Librivox books thus far have not been good. I so miss the audiocassettes --- and David Case who was one of the charms of my life for many years, his voice and reading of great books as company.

I am trying to face up to this new failure or loss at night but it's very hard -- I forgot my multiplication tables a few years ago, then I began not to be able to remember names just faces; two years ago I lost my tight hand and eye coordination and can't take down what people say in conversation in sten any more and my handwriting is awful

Well,. I used to be able to read at night and can't now. Sometimes I can't stay awake enough to watch a movie. I nap and then can blog -- like I'm doing now. It's frustrating and I do get very sad at my stupidity (using the word as Austen would).

Sometimes I also worry that these huge corporations will shut much of the Internet down through their control of copyright and ability to terrorize others with suits.  I would have to return to a diminished frustrated existence with no place to write. Many social sites would shut down lest copyright be violated. China and other horrible regimes control people's access to pleasure by military terrorism and total dictatorship; the US would do it through the private property system. Until the Net came into being I never realized quite how the world is made up of narrow coteries all with closed thresholds, built on exclusionary practices. I didn't think about how much an outsider I was because I never had a chance to be part of groups and experience them as an insider. Now I do know.

Can something like this be taken away? probably. the power of these huge conglomerates of people with huge sums of money and lawyers at their disposal is terrific. One has to hope other corporations will stop them.It's hard to think the US courts would decide in favor of the public interest. The courts in this country are so rightist.

It would hurt all four of us -- my whole family very badly. The admiral may never write but he loves to spend his days reading what others write on blogs which are not controlled by private interests/property again. Would there be no DemocracyNow.org?

Sylvia

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jill Spriggs
Jan. 12th, 2012 02:14 am (UTC)
Fight against The Machine
One small beam of hope: the barricades in front of Occupy Wall Street were removed today, and protestors are streaming in again.
Jill
misssylviadrake
Jan. 12th, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
Were they? I'll try to find it on the Net. Where did you see this? Sylvia
misssylviadrake
Jan. 12th, 2012 04:30 am (UTC)
I did see the video with the people coming back in. There are many rules making it hard for them to start to live there again. It would be important if they could as they are centrally visible.

Edited at 2012-01-12 04:42 am (UTC)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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