Old Friends, Movies, Books & Television


Monty the cow is temporarily on the floor. He had to vacate his usual space on top of the lab stool so that we could put up the little white Christmas tree.

Scout has found a napping companion in Monty. My two kids are bonding.


I’m thinking that Monty rather likes this temporary arrangement. He looks a bit surprised, but then again, he always does.

I’m having trouble remembering just what day of the week it is. That always seems to happen around the holidays. Is it Friday? Is it Monday? Oh, right, it’s Sunday. An old friend of ours who lives in Los Angeles and is visiting New York City for the holidays is taking the train up our way today to spend a few hours with us. I’m so looking forward to seeing him again. Don’s known him for years and years and I got to know him when I worked with him in a couple of productions at the Old Globe. It will be the first time he’s seen our house. (I always wish these first visits could be in the summer when the gardens are blooming instead of during the rather bleak landscape of winter. Ah, well.) The important thing is that we’re going to get to spend some time with an old friend.

Recommendations from Yours Truly

Movies: We’ve been watching lots of old movies lately. I introduced Don to The Bishop’s Wife the other night and last night we watched Gaslight. I hadn’t seen Gaslight in a long time so I didn’t remember all of the plot, which was perfect, because I was surprised. Such a great movie! Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for her role and Charles Boyer is chilling in the role of her husband. Did you know that the plot of that movie (and the original play) inspired the use of the term ‘gaslighting?’

From Wikipedia: Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the     intention of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity. Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term “gaslighting” comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature.

It’s a wonderful movie, directed by the great George Cukor, with incredible set design and lighting, with all the contrast in highlights and shadows that can only happen in a good old black and white film.

Books: I’m currently reading Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon. Have you heard of this book? It’s the true story of Dr. Alexander’s rare and almost certain to be fatal illness that resulted in his being in a coma for seven days with the part of his brain that controls thought and emotion shut down. He had a Near Death Experience (NDE) that was simply extraordinary. As a scientist who previously discounted NDE’s as fantasies the brain created while in a state of being half-in, half-out of this world, this experience completely changed his life and his beliefs. The mere fact that he came back from almost certain death to tell his story is a miracle beyond imagining.

I have to tell you, this book is life-changing. Find it. Read it.

Television: If you love the Arts, as I do, watch The Kennedy Center Honors tonight at 9 pm on CBS. Simply the best awards show ever, head and shoulders above anything else in that genre. In fact, we think it is the best show on television, hands down. You will be inspired by the accomplishments and careers of the honorees, you will be entertained, and if you think the Arts are essential to our culture as I do, you will take heart. The show is always done stylishly, with impeccable taste. I find myself, each and every year, crying with joy throughout the show.

If you’re interested in education and the benefits of going back to school, read my post about my personal story, sponsored by Kaplan and BlogHer.

Happy Sunday.


You Might Like


  1. says

    I have never heard of those movies. Hubby is the tv watcher and I seldom have control of the remote LOL. I to set the DVR is I see something that interests me. I tend to like anything british PBS is a favorite of mine. Have a good time with your friend today :)

  2. Donnamae says

    Did not know the term gas lighting…how interesting! The holidays…or cold winter days….seem best when watching movies together…do you make popcorn too, for the whole movie experience..hehe? Have a great visit with your friend! 😉

  3. nancy says

    I watched Gaslight, last night, too. I love old movies, and I love to see the houses and furnishings of the period.
    Lots of fun!

    I’ll have to check out Proof of Heaven. I’ve read a couple similar books and they definitely change your thinking.


  4. says

    Claudia– Out of Town guests sounds fun! I bet there is beauty to be seen in the winter season outside your home!
    Scout does look content lying there with Monty.
    Ok, so I’ve not seen either of the two movies that you mentioned– so I must try and watch them, maybe Netflix or something. The GASLIGHT sounds particularly interesting, especially now after you’ve given the ‘gaslighting’ terminology and background. The other thing is, Honey and I went to the movies on Christmas day and one of the new movies coming out in 2014 — “Heaven is for Real” based on a true story about a young boy with a similar experience as the Dr you mentioned. I’m looking forward to seeing it.
    Hope your visit with your friend is a pleasant one and doesn’t pass to quickly! Pat

  5. Annette Tracy says

    With regards to your friend from LA coming to visit, the first thing I thought of was he is going to enjoy the weather, as we don’t have that kind of weather our here! So don’t feel bad there’s no flowers blooming! The gaslight explanation was fascinating so will have to so search for that movie to watch. Enjoy your visit.

    • Claudia says

      It’s raining here today. Our joke is that it always rains when someone comes to visit us for the first time!

  6. Nancy Blue Moon says

    Scout and Monty look quite content snuggled up together..I’ve seen Gaslight but it was many many years ago..such a terrible cruel thing to do to someone..It is a great movie though..Now I’m thinking I would like to watch it again..Enjoy visiting with your friend today!

  7. Janet in Rochester says

    Oh, that’s right, I nearly forgot. The Kennedy Center Honors! THE best part of the time between Christmas and New Year’s. I think I’ve seen every one since they began in 1978. Gulp – the year I graduated college. PS – bummer – it’ll be opposite PBS’ reruns of “Downton Abbey.” Along with the AFI evening, non-stop class from start to finish and the two best award shows on TV. Still expect to see Walter Cronkite walk out on stage at the beginning though. I wish they’d offer DVDs of the previous years – I’d love to revisit the tributes to Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn and many others. Well I’ll have to be showered and jammied earlier this evening so I can watch at 9. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Claudia says

      I remember searching for DVDs of both the AFI awards and The Kennedy Center Honors. Not to be found. I don’t understand why they don’t make them – I would buy them for sure. I think I even wrote the Kennedy Center about it. I used to have the Fred Astaire AFI tribute on video – I’m sure it’s unwatchable by now!

  8. says

    i have been reading so many different types of books recently instead of my usual tv addiction. it has been a nice hunkering down winter so far and i am enjoying stretching my mind. i want to read the book you’ve mentioned..sounds so intriguing. science versus faith? i also have fond memories of watching all of the old movies when i was younger..now i am also in awe of the clothing, furniture, light fixtures etc..as i am sure that you can relate.
    thanks for the posts i always enjoy visits to your little corner of the country. :)

Please check back to follow the conversation!