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Jun. 24th, 2009

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All right darlings, I haven't been on here forever. But I am writing to tell you that Emily and I have a new blog. And it's amazing. It's hilarious. It's insane. Just like we are. You should follow us! It's called Screen Mavens, and the address is: http://screenmavens.blogspot.com/. The topics will range from Judy to Mary Tyler Moore to home videos to anything else that happens to come into our heads. It will be LOADS OF FUN. Come see!!

I promise I'll make a real post on here sometime in the near future. Because this is ridiculous. Bye possums.


Jan. 5th, 2009


I'm not entirely sure how long I have been in Vienna now, but surely quite some time. And I have gone this long without updating my livejournal. I don't know how you all are sure of my continued existence. Maybe you're not. Anyway, for better or for worse, I continue to exist.

I flew into Vienna with no glitches, and was met at the airport by Alex and her mother's friend Alba, with whom we are staying. We drove back to Alba's house, and I was met with the fact that Alba is INTENSELY generous. She basically gives us the entire world. It's amazing. It was late; so Alex and I promptly went to sleep, but not without first listening to Alba talk for about an hour. Another thing that Alba is is a talker. And a smoker. But more on that later.

The next day Alex and I went out to explore Vienna. We went to the Schonbrunn Palace, which is spectacular, and hung around the city center. There really isn't all that much to do in Vienna. Alex and I had this conversation a while ago, but Vienna is kind of a 'city that was'. It was horribly bombed in WWII, destroying a lot of the beauty and grandeur that personified it in the 18th century. It's really sad. When one thinks of Vienna, one thinks of glamorous waltzes, kings and queens dancing at ornate balls in the palace--but it is not that way anymore. It is more a city of nondescript cement buildings, with the odd palace that had the good fortune to survive the war still standing in random parts of the city. The one thing that does give the visitor a reminder of what the city used to be is the Stephansdom, a beautiful, beautiful church located in the city center. This is the miracle of Vienna, I have NO IDEA how it managed to not be bombed in the war. Not that people didn't try--there are massive bulletholes in the side of the church, including one 5 times the size of the others, the story of which I really want to know.

So that's essentially Vienna. Now on to Salzburg.

Alex and I went to Salzburg on Friday, and were expecting it to be very different from Vienna, in that it was a small town, situated right at the bottom of the Alps, with a tourism industry centered on Mozart and The Sound of Music. When we got there, we were blown away. Salzburg is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. It met every expectation I had of it, and went further. We went on the Sound of Music tour, which took us up into the suburbs of the city in the Alps, and it provided spectacular views of the lakes and little cities surrounding Salzburg. I also took pictures of everywhere The Sound of Music was filmed, and was TOTALLY excited about that, as I'm sure you can imagine. I was in hog heaven. Our tour guide sucked, but the tour itself was awesome.

We are now back in Vienna, and I'm hungry. More later.

Dec. 28th, 2008


Well, it is currently 5:00 in the morning in Paris, and I am up to pack my things for Vienna. I have to check out of my hostel room at 10:30, and I have to say I am going to miss Paris incredibly. I have fallen madly in love with this city. Not because of the alleged "romantic inclinations" of Paris (I have found these to be less than true) but because of the grandeur, the majesty, and the unmatched historical connotations of this city. In terms of the romance of Paris, I don't think it is particularly romantic at all. It's rather dirty, the metro (though intricate and far-reaching) is stinky, and I've seen two violent fights. But go down to the Rue de Rivoli and take in the Louvre and the golden statue of Joan of Arc, or go to the Notre Dame and stand on the Pont St. Michel, and oh my heaven, there is nothing like it in the whole world.

My third day was taken up by the Free Tour and the Pere Lachaise cemetery to see Edith Piaf. I have been looking forward to visiting Edith Piaf's grave since my early planning stages, so I left early in the morning to visit Edith's grave and then be in time for the Free Tour. Good thing I did. Edith's grave is located waaaaaaay in the back of Pere Lachaise, and it took me forever to find it. An Italian woman was also looking for it with her son, and she asked me if I knew where it was. I told her I was looking for it too, so we followed each other on a search for Edith Piaf's grave. I'm sure Edith was laughing at us.

Finally I found it first. It's a small grave (Edith was only 4'8") in the middle of the plot, and the only reason I found it was because there were a few people gathered at it. I stayed there for a while and took pictures. I'll post them when I get back to the States. Then I realized that the Italian woman never showed up. So I went back up to where I had last seen her, and told her that I had found Edith Piaf, and led her to the site. She thanked me and I hung out there some more. FInally I pulled myself away and got lost in the cemetery (EDITH.) before finding a wall and following it to the front. I then got on the metro to Saint Michel for the Free Tour.

Rosey and I did the famous Free Tour in Amsterdam and Berlin, and are unabashed fans, so I couldn't possibly miss the one they have to offer in Paris. As usual, the guide was a young guy, aged about 24, and he was a theatre student from New York. He was really funny, and used his theatre background quite a bit in having us act out numerous moments in French history. He took us all over, beginning at the Fontaine St. Michel in the Latin Quarter and ending up at the Champs-Elysees, telling us important points about each stop. We saw the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay, Rue de Rivoli, the Comedie Francaise, the Pont Neuf, the Pont St. Michel, the Notre Dame, and more. I love those tours.

After the tour ended, I decided to get a cup of hot chocolate from the street vendors that convene for the Christmas fair on the Champs-Elysees, and began to make my way toward the Arc de Triomphe. I realized abot halfway down, however, that I was NEVER going to walk all that way, my feet were tired and I was in no mood to walk the entire Champs-Elysees. So I found a metro station and made my way back to the Louvre, where I had seen a magazine with Edith Piaf on the cover. I got lost. I decided that I probably shouldn't be spending the money anyway, so I found a metro and went back to the hostel.

I bought dinner again (guess what it was) and ate it in the chill-out room in the hostel, then went to bed early so that I could get up to pack and check out.

I don't want to leave, you guys!!!!!

Dec. 26th, 2008


I got up this morning thinking it was a lot later than it was, and thought 'Fuck...I have to get up NOW to meet Max and Claudine." It turns out that it was only 8:00 in the morning, and was just sunnier this morning than it was yesterday morning at the same time. WTF Paris. I was due to meet Max and Claudine at 1:00 this afternoon at Bar a Huitres, a restaurant in Montparnasse which is a bit of a metro ride from my hostel, so I decided to get a head start. I got dressed soon after getting up and went down to breakfast, wolfed down cereal and bread (the French are all about the carbs...my kind of people), and started on my way. I took 3 transfers and ended up in Montparnasse at 11:00am. Since I was so early, i decided to hang out and ponder exactly HOW Claudine is related to me.

Claudine is the daughter of Sonia, my great-grandfather's beloved younger sister. Sonia was born in Russia, but came to Paris to study French after high school (Claudine revealed to me during lunch that Sonia actually came because her older sister Clara was already there. I didn't know this) and ended up staying because she couldn't go back to Russia due to WWI. She married a Frenchman and had Claudine and her sister Monique in the 1920s in Paris, and there that branch of my family has stayed ever since.

So since Claudine is Sonia's daughter, she is my grandfather's first cousin. Given that you add a "removed" for every generation your cousin is...well...removed from you, I deduced that Claudine is my first cousin, twice removed. But Max calls her Tante Claudine (Aunt Claudine), so I suppose I should call her that too.

After that deduction (which only took up about 2 minutes of my time), I discovered that the Cemetery of Montparnasse was right around the corner. Taking into account my morbid fascination with graves, this was an immense discovery. I went around the corner and entered the cemetery, and thereupon discovered that who was buried there?

Simone de Beauvoir, Cesar Franck, Jean-Paul Sartre, and other people worthy of note.

WTF. So I spent the rest of the time searching for their graves, and unfortunately, didn't find any. I'm going back tomorrow, along with Pere Lachaise, where Edith Piaf is buried.

I went back and met Claudine and Max at the restaurant, and we had lunch. Apparently I had met Claudine when I was little, and I was unaware of this. Why doesn't my mother tell me such important bits of information? She doesn't really speak English, so we spoke French, and by the end I was exhausted. It's REALLY tough trying to listen and understand and speak every word in a foreign language you haven't been immersed in yet. Russian I have no problem. Spanish I have no problem. But this is my first time really being immersed in French, and so it was hard to have a lengthy conversation with a bunch of native speakers. Not to mention your family.

After lunch I kissed Claudine and Max goodbye and set off back to the hostel (stopping by Notre Dame for a quick visit beforehand) to change. Then I checked my email and went in search of some Edith Piaf sites. Like I said, she is buried in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, which is not far from her childhood home near the Menilmontant metro station, where there is a museum dedicated to her. I tried to find her home, but I couldn't navigate the streets. It was also dark and I didn't want to spend too much time in the dark there. That is NOT a good neighborhood. So I thought "Okay, I'll go see her grave and then I'm going back to the hostel." I found out the hard way that Pere Lachaise is only open certain hours. Blerg. But I'm going to go back tomorrow.

I bought dinner at the grocery store close to (bread and milk. I feel like I'm in the Bastille with my limited budget) and am currently trying to find a place to eat it. I might just eat it right here.

Dec. 25th, 2008


Here I am in Montmartre, after a VERY long first day in Paris! No sleep, lost phone cards, the skyrocketing euro, and a metro system that would make Moscow blush are enough to make anyone want to throw in the towel (which I forgot, by the way...I don't know how I'm going to work the shower thing). But Paris is absolutely beautiful, and my hostel is right on the Seine. I don't particularly like my hostel, it's too big and frat-partyish. No one is speaking French, which makes me upset (I have this pet peeve about tourists not trying to speak the language of the country they are visiting) and I feel like a nerd for speaking it with everyone who I know speaks it. But whatever. I'm only here for 3 days, and I have to cram everything I can into those 3 days!

My flight was rather uneventful, it was 10 hours long, and went by quickly. I've had far longer flights, so maybe that's why I didn't really notice. But every time I get on a long flight, about 3 hours before landing time, I start to get really antsy. Then I distract myself and my impatience goes away. This time the antsiness lasted only about 10 minutes or so. When we did finally start our descent into Paris, I had to turn on 'Bonjour Paris,' because it seemed very appropriate to play Kay Thompson at such a moment.

Customs was an easy process, and I proceeded to go to foreign exchange to change my money. My $300 that I had brought as petty cash ended up turning into only 188 euros. WTF, euro. It was so low just before I got there!

I found the directions to my hostel, got on the metro, and took the 5473808475 transfers necessary to get to this section of Montmartre, then walked the 54380958 blocks from the metro station to the hostel. It turned out that my room wouldn't be ready until 2:00, so I went to try to use my phone card to call my mother. It didn't work. So I eventually had to go get another one. I used it to call my mom. Then I went on a search of a good French baguette, and took it on the metro with the intention of eating it at the Eiffel Tower. What I didn't know was that the Eiffel Tower requires another 32039847 transfers, BUT...the Bastille was right on my line! So I took my lunch to the Place de la Bastille and ate it there.

 Then I discovered that I had lost my newly acquired phone card. I decided this was because I was super tired and exhausted, and since it was now 2:00, I went and checked into my room. I'm rooming with three wild and crazy Australian boys. Great, I thought. I lay down and took a nap. I guess I didn't realize how exhausted I was, because when I woke up, it was 6:00 in the evening. I NEVER nap. Not even for like, a minute. So I must have been really beat.

Then I set off toward the Eiffel Tower. I was determined. I finally got there, 3 metro lines later, and boy was it worth it. It's all lit up in blue right now, and it is HUGE. HUGE. HUGE. I kept thinking about Kay and Audrey and Fred up there. I'm so classy.

I bought some postcards, and returned. And here I am. Tomorrow I'm meeting my relatives at a little restaurant near the Eiffel Tower. I'm excited!

Nov. 26th, 2008


I am now officially in possession of one of the few copies still in existence of Dorothy Kilgallen's autobiography, Girl Around the World. I still can't believe it. I don't know how many copies of this thing there are left in the world, but there can't be many.

The book itself is small in height and length for the period--219 pages. The cover is light blue with the title in black at the top. Directly underneath it is a drawn picture of a woman carrying two pieces of luggage. The name DOROTHY KILGALLEN is at the bottom. Simple cover.

On the inside there is a picture of Dorothy on a map, with lines drawn to those places where she went. Above it the previous owner wrote her name: BERNICE BERNHARD. HOME ROOM 306, ROOSEVELT JR. HIGH." Ironically, my mother works at Roosevelt Middle School. The handwriting of this person, however, suggests that she acquired the book a long time ago, probably soon after it was published, 16 years before my mother was born.

There is a very sweet foreword at the beginning of the text, written to Dorothy by her father, James L. Kilgallen, also a newspaper man. Essentially he is telling Dorothy how proud he is of her, both as a father and as a person of the trade, and how he felt such pride watching her take off for her voyage around the world. It's written with amazing love. I don't want to reprint the whole thing here due to time constraints, but I really do want to share it with you, so perhaps another time.

I am already so much in love with this book. I'm still in shock.

Oct. 30th, 2008

The Muppet Show is my Seconal.

This one is 100 different kinds of wow.

Everybody remember to watch the premiere of 30 Rock tonight!!

Oct. 27th, 2008

Uhh..Brice, Fanny Brice.

Gotta love Fanny. When I was younger, I used to wander around the house doing this number.

Sep. 15th, 2008


Hear ye, hear ye, all Judy fans!

I have a new LJ community!!! It is called Judy's PlaceCollapse ), under the search heading of judy_placeCollapse ). It's a place to network with other Garland fans, share information, photos, experiences, etc. It just started, so at the moment the only members are Emily and me. Please do come join!! I'm super excited!! And look at the profile I made for it too, because really, Judy exploded up in there.

And in other news, I have to take my sister to get her blood drawn at Kaiser today, and then go to Mills to get my lab results from my own. Why is blood drawn so much in my family?

Aug. 20th, 2008


I find it so strange to hear Rue McClanahan speaking in her normal voice. Blanche has invaded my mind.

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