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What was the last song to which you listened in your car? Music and cars seem to go hand in hand. I remember very well growing up excited at the thought of driving a car not to get from point A to point B but because the driver controlled the airwaves or cassette choice. I’ve watched cars’ stereo systems transition over the years from radio to cassette players to CD players to the present array of systems including satellite radio and iPod links. I’ve listened to all sorts of music in the car over the years. I started out listening to the music of whomever was driving the car. Thanks to this, I heard a variety of music. When my grandfather took me for long drives, I listened to big band music. When my dad controlled the wheel, Hotel California or a Clapton tune would inevitably hit the airwaves. My mother was fond of cassette compilations featuring Barbra Streisand and Roberta Flack. Inevitably my music tastes are rather eclectic. U2’s “A Beautiful Day” will follow Doris Day’s “Pillow Talk.” Muse will follow Louis Armstrong which, to me, is great.
I’ve been more lenient, however, about sharing the radio system in the car with my offspring. Before I had children, I daydreamed that I would expose them to all sorts of music, but I especially daydreamed that they would listen to sonatas and symphonies, Beethoven and Bach. I was excited at the thought of little minds being exposed to masters such as Mozart and Haydn. Just because I don’t listen to operas (with the exception of Carmina Burana) isn’t a reason for my children to not listen to Carmen and other classic operas. That daydream flew out the window faster than a drag car at a track. When Kath was little, my wonderful hubby and I listened to the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack over and over and over again. We also sang the lyrics to the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack over and over and over again. My daydream turned into a nightmare that Kath would be in high school and still only listening to the same cassette over and over and over.
Kath is now a teenager. The 14 year old Kath is quite a contrast to little 2 year old Kath. She actually has Vivaldi on her iPod touch and has listened to The Four Seasons. Alternative rock is her love and passion, however. She has confounded teachers who expect teenagers to only know the likes of One Direction and Justin Bieber. Her favorite artists are Nirvana and Death Cab for Cutie. She was devastated last week when it was announced that Ben Gibbard was going to release a solo album. She likes to plug her iPod touch into the car’s system when I drive her places and it is just the two of us. My rule is I get to veto when it plays “I Will Follow You” by Death Cab for Cutie as that is one of the most depressing songs ever.
More often than not, it is not just the two of us as I am the mother of four. When MJ came along, I braced myself for another round of kid’s music on our car’s radio system. Children always do their best to surprise you. MJ has never really cared for kid’s music. With MJ, we were fortunate. When he was two, he heard Louis Armstrong. We now own a variety of wonderful Louis Armstrong CDs as he loved to listen to “It’s a Wonderful World” and “Hello Dolly.” Now he likes to listen to U2 and The Script.
So my musical tastes were appeased for a while and sanity ruled inside the car. I like alternative rock so I would happily turn on the alternative station and listen to U2, Train and Mumford and Sons in the car. Then came the twins, Cupcake and Chunk. Each child is different from one another and my little fraternal twins are no exception to that cliche. Cupcake presently loves a cassette of Bear in the Big Blue House music. Chunk likes a Veggie Tales CD. For a while, they would acquiesce and agree to listen to one and then the other. Then each would scream to listen to his or her favorite. Now one will scream for Bear and the other will scream to listen to “Mommy music.” Now it is Chunk who will let me listen to my radio station while Cupcake insists on Bear and Bear alone. Thanks to Kath, I know Cupcake will not be listening to Bear when she is in high school, but I do wonder what type of music they will both like. When we aren’t in the car, Cupcake dances to music coming out of my radio. She especially liked the Pretenders. This gives me a great deal of hope for her musical future and mine.

    America loves its celebrities.  My daughter and I were walking in a department store the other week and I commented on how many of the perfume and cosmetic counters had huge pictures of celebrities above their products-celebrities only too happy to endorse the product since the contract had multiple zeroes in the payment clause section.  Ever since the first movie shorts began to appear, people have been wanting more and more information about the people who appear on the celluloid screen.  While the studio executives at first wanted to only show the movies without releasing the actor’s names, that concept did not take long as the public longed for information about the faces behind the roles.  The preoccupation with celebrities and their love lives did not start with Brangelina or Ben and Jen.  As long as there have been movies, people have clamored for information from fan magazines and now the internet and Twitter feeds.  

     The actress I am featuring in my week four selection (drum roll and da da da dum) is not one of the classiest actresses to ever grace the silver screen but also had a life that no tabloid could invent.  She was beautiful, classy and a genuine lady:  Greer Garson.

     Once again, I hear the faint murmurs of the two or three people who might actually take time to read this post to murmur:  Greer who?  Greer Garson, redheaded British beauty, shot to stardom in her first major Hollywood role for which she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.  She costarred in Goodbye, Mr. Chips as Katherine Chipping, wife to the beloved British schoolteacher, Mr. Chips played by Robert Donat who is perhaps most famous for winning the Best Actor Oscar for 1939 beating out the likes of Jimmy Stewart in his marvelous movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind.  

     Shooting to overnight stardom brought a couple of roles that most movie historians have forgotten, but that I like.  I actually like her character in Remember?, a movie costarring Robert Taylor.  It revolves around a couple who separate, drink a potion to forget each other, and then fall in love all over again.  Parts of it predate Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by seventy years.  

     Even though Keira Knightley portrayed Elizabeth Bennet in a recent movie version of Pride and Prejudice, Greer Garson to me nailed her portrayal of Elizabeth to Laurence Olivier’s Darcy.  While I sincerely like the miniseries with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth and would watch that miniseries again, I love the movie adaptation with Garson and Olivier.  While the costumes aren’t period perfect, I love the expressions and the eyebrow raising of the actors from Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane Bennet to Edmund Gwenn as the long suffering Mr. Bennet.  

     Greer Garson’s career exploded to superstardom when she was perfectly paired with Walter Pidgeon.  Although many find it dated today, I love Mrs. Miniver.  Garson’s portrayal of plucky Kay Miniver trying to maintain her dignity and her family in the topsy turvy world gone wrong in World War II Britain is brilliant.  From worrying about her husband during Dunkirk to confronting a German pilot in her kitchen, Mrs. Miniver realizes that fear would bring the ultimate victory to the other side.  She doesn’t know what is going to happen to her or her family, but she will maintain her British composure even when her family makes the ultimate sacrifice in losing their beloved young daughter in law.  

     With this role came her only Best Actress Oscar, but she made up for it at the podium giving the longest acceptance speech ever.  She didn’t only gain an Oscar, but she gained a husband, marrying the man who portrayed her son Vincent, Richard Ney.  While that marriage didn’t last, her last marriage to Buddy Fogelson did.  Her philanthropy showed through and through with this marriage as she genuinely provided time and money to charitable places close to her heart.  

      Before she was Mrs. Fogelson, however, she starred in more wonderful movies such as Random Harvest.  This four hankie weeper has nothing on today’s soaps, nighttime soaps or reality shows.  It predated all of them with a plot that wouldn’t quit with its twists and turns.  Ronald Colman stars as Smitty, an amnesiac who fought in WW1.  He runs away from the asylum to find Paula, a showgirl with a heart of gold whose heart becomes his.  Together they slowly build a life while rebuilding Smitty himself.  One day just as she is pregnant with their first child, a car hits Smitty who then remembers his former life but not his life with Paula.  That’s just the beginning of this great classic.  Colman and Garson are both tremendously effective in their roles.  I love this movie.  

     She was also Madame Curie and after WW2 ended, she was Gable’s first costar in Adventure which had the tagline, “Gable’s Back and Garson’s Got Him.”  Greer Garson managed stardom and an amazing life.  She is an actress few remember but more should.  Watch some of her movies (but never The Miniver Story which makes Speed 2 look like the best sequel of all time.  The Miniver Story has my vote for worst sequel ever).  She’s an enjoyable actress who brings a level of class to her movies.  

 

As a new blogger, I have so many thoughts I want to share on my blog. So I decided that I will write about different aspects of my life on different days.
A friend of mine in college knew sign language. It didn’t take her long to determine what my name would be in sign language: the sign for movies with my initial.
I love movies. My love affair with the movies started when I was fifteen. My mother wanted me to clean my room. I did not want to clean my room. She called to me from her bedroom to see if I was cleaning my room. I yelled back from the living room that I couldn’t right now because I had to finish watching my TV show. To make it clear that I was watching TV, I found the remote, turned on the TV and turned up the volume. The station to which the television was tuned was showing a movie. I started to watch making sure that if my mother was to come into the living room that I would look enthralled so I sat with my eyes glued to the screen. It only took about thirty seconds for that look of fake rapture to become pure enthrallment. I had stumbled upon Topper.
For those of you who have never seen a black and white movie other than The Artist, let me share with you the story behind Topper. The Kerbys are your typical wealthy, debonair, gorgeous American couple, except for one small detail: they’re ghosts. Early in the movie, they crash their car into a tree and end up dead. George and Marion Kerby try to figure out why they are not in another celestial plane. They come to the conclusion that they need to perform a good deed and that the person who is in the most desperate need for a good deed is their good friend, Cosmo Topper.
Now that may seem a little tame in light of recent entertainment involving vampires, werewolves, wizards and the such, but this movie had something rare and different. It starred a young Cary Grant. So much has been written in the past twenty-six years since Cary has died (and I admit that I have not read the two latest books written by his fourth ex-wife Dyan Cannon or his daughter Jennifer Grant) that I think people sometimes focus on his life rather than sitting back and enjoying his legacy of movies. Not many actors could have a fifteen year old girl sitting on the edge of her seat to discover what happens to their characters as much as Cary had me sitting on the edge of the couch that day.
Topper and Cary Grant made me a girl possessed to see what other movies this actor had done. Wow does not do justice to the movies that I began watching. What could this man not do as an actor? Undercover agent? Check via the unbelievably cool and suave Devlin in Notorious. Businessman? Check via the businessman thrown into a world of espionage, cropdusting airplanes and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest. Loving father? Check via the heartwrenching father in Penny Serenade. Possible murderer? Check via the steely but gorgeous Johnny in Suspicion. Bestselling author and confirmed bachelor? Check via the hilarious performance in Arsenic and Old Lace. Archaelogist? Check via the scientist looking for his intercostal clavicle in Bringing Up Baby.
One of my happiest days as a teenager was the day I saw the ad in TV Guide for a movie starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart. The fact that one director was able to get the three of them to star in one movie blew my mind. (I’m still trying to pick up all the pieces.). The bad news was in the days before instant Netflix and YouTube I had to wait a week before I saw The Philadelphia Story, but it waa absolutely worth the wait.
Now that I’m a wife and mother, I still love watching Cary Grant movies. I still cry during Penny Serenade, marvel over Grace Kelly’s cool beauty capturing Cary Grant’s imagination and other things in To Catch a Thief, laugh when he performs his acrobatic stunts in Holiday, and sit enraptured when he melts Ingrid Bergman’s heart in Indiscreet. What’s especially great about his movies is that I can share them with my children. My daughter laughed during Bringing Up Baby, a movie which is a national treasure. She wasn’t as keen about That Touch of Mink, but I love the story in that movie when he wants to buy a little company whose owner won’t sell until Doris Day’s character Kathy persuades his character Philip Shayne to go ask the owner persoanlly to sell the company as the situation reminded of her Aunt Rachel who refused her suitor until he asked her in person. The company was General Electrics.
So many people have heard about Cary Grant or read a book about Cary Grant but have not watched a movie starring Cary Grant. Each week I hope to feature a movie star worth watching. For my initial movie blog, I chose the actor who entranced me to the point where I still love watching classic movies: Cary Grant.

I had every intention of starting a regular blog. I researched diligently the difference between blogspot and blogger and other blogging sites. I had received an iPad from my husband for my birthday so I had a tool with which to type a blog. I had four children who provided minute by minute material providing much material about which to write. I received e-mails or read Facebook links from friends telling about their blogs. Everything seemed all set for me to start my blog.
So what happened? Life happened. I had a series of events which seemed to pull the wool out from under me. So I stopped blogging. Tonight I discovered I miss putting down my thoughts onto a computer screen. I found out that all of those ideas that have been running through my head need an outlet.
So I’m going to start over with my good intentions intact again. I’m going to give it another go around. This time I’ll learn how to put tags on a finished blog. I will write more than two blogs in a year. Hopefully.

As a stay at home mom, I am used to a lot of different looks. Over the next couple of blogs I am going to discuss the different looks different people give me. While I am going to chronicle the different looks my children give me, today I am going to start with the looks that I get from people who don’t know me.
Specifically I mean the look I get when I tell people I am a stay at home mom. I get the look of “oh you poor thing.”. A lot. You know the look even if you’re not a stay at home mom. The look of I’m glad it’s you and not me type of look. The look gets even more exaggerated when I explain to people that I have four children and that two of them are twins.
Of course, when I tell people I have four children, that look often changes from “poor you” to a couple of different looks. There’s the sheer panic look followed by the look of relief that that person does not have four children. Then there’s the look of what am I doing to the planet. I have had people who have three children give me that look.

I happen to like my life, my husband, and my four children.  I have gotten accustomed to those various looks.  I’ve even tried to cut back on the looks I give people, but sometimes in traffic, you just have to give someone a look when your twins are little parrots.  Because you never know what they are going to repeat to your mother-in-law.  Or to the minister at your church.  Or to other moms.  And the looks that come from people when your two year old says something you said to another driver who cut you off.  Those type of looks are another blog altogether.  “Those types are another blog.”  (Apologies to Airplane!;  I love that movie and in my life, that’s the way it should be.)

There are memorable firsts in every life. Depending on your age, these firsts can range from your first steps to your first kiss to your first Social Security checks.
I don’t quite fit into the last category yet and it was definitely a while back that I took my first steps. I fall into that lucky group that has quite a few different firsts: the first time I met “the one,” the first time I met his parents, the first time (and in my case only) time I walked down the aisle, the first time I saw my newborn baby, the first time I saw my newborn son and the first time I saw my newborn twins.
Yes, that’s right. I am the fortunate mom of four children and this is my first blog. I hope it won’t be my last blog and that I will find time to write future blogs. Firsts are such a part of every life. I think it will be fun to share some firsts and some of my life with the world; however, I am old fashioned to think there are some facets of life one should keep to oneself. Just like there are some firsts that you only share with that special someone.
So if you become a reader of my site which will range in different topics from movies to life as a stay at home mom of four active and different children, you will be introduced to some other firsts in my life, but I always reserve some firsts to keep with my husband and myself. Which is always the way it should be.

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