Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes for January 4, 2014

Johann Georg Hainz's Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Johann Georg Hainz’s Cabinet of Curiosities, circa 1666. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

During the Renaissance, cabinet of curiosities came into fashion as a collection of objects that would often defy classification. As a precursor to the modern museum, the cabinet referred to room(s), not actual furniture, of things that piqued the owners interest and would be collected and displayed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes is my 21st century interpretation of that idea.
Dear Internet,


Hasty Death: Edwardian Murder Mysteries #2 by Marion Chesney
(Amazon | WorldCat | GoodReads | LibraryThing)
Status: Finished

Chesney/Beaton doesn’t disappoint. You have your “oh she’s supposedly so well educated but portrays herself as a half-wit” heroine who comes from exceedingly good stock; the mysterious and fallen main male lead who “oh really publicly hates the heroine but secretly loves her” and yes, it’s all very predicable and cliche-y.
There is no stretch in the research or imagination here, and if I had not been well attuned to Ms. Chesney/Beaton’s writing style from before, I would probably like the book even less but you know, at the end of the day, it’s a frippery of a read that while it may not have educated me, it did keep me entertained.

The above was written about Snobbery With Violence and much could be said for book two in the series. Rose is still flighty as ever, Daisy is one step ahead of everyone else, and poor Captain Harry is just reviled that he could be in love with Lady Rose Summer.
I immediately started book 3 after finishing this one and what I can say about the series at this point is they make great books to use for research on Edwardian themes since Beaton was kind enough to reference many period items and sayings. But other than as reference points, the books are incredibly dull.


  • Death Comes to Pemberley
    I finished the three part series on NYE, and my first impressions were not terribly far off. The conclusion to the mystery was kind of weak and I did a lot of eye rolling to the entire thing. Fabulous cast, many of the actors did superb jobs of their characters with what they had, but ultimately the writing, the need to have one of the characters lead us through the mystery, and the final ending was just meh.
  • Vicious Christmas special
    I could watch Sirs Jacobi and McKellen snipe and love each other till the end of time. So, so thrilled this is getting a second season.
  • The Thirteenth Tale
    Based off the book of the same name, this taut gothic televised adaptation was rather good. Surprisingly good and kept me riveted to my seat during the entire 1.5 moments. Having read the book, sure, there were moments of cliche and gloss, but overall not a bad story.
  • Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer
    Presented by Neil Oliver, it tells the story of Princess Arsinoe, Cleopatra’s sister, who was killed to preserve Cleopatra’s line to the throne.
  • Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer
    A two part series on Henry’s creative efforts and works made in his name may or may not override his destruction of treasures later in his reign.
  • Edward VII: Prince of Pleasure
    Interesting documentary on Edward VII, for whom the Edwardian period is named, and his life, loves, and monarchy.
  • Miss Marple
    Mainlined all of the most current (season 6) of Miss Marple — the first two were excellent, as always but the last one left us a bit on the “WTF?” side. Turns out it was a later Christie story, without Marple, that was adapted to include Marple as a almost fourth wall character, but not quite. When/If this shows up on PBS, you can miss the last episode without regret.

Weekly watching: Raised by WolvesBBC Tudor Monastery Farm, Reign, DraculaProject Runway All-Stars, Breathless, Atlantis,  Elementary, Doc Martin, QIPeaky Blinders,  Sons of Anarchy,  The Vampire Diaries


What have you read/watched/listened to this week?

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2013

Le mie passioni, parte I: European dream

(Le Mie passioni, Italian translation of “my passions,” is a an occasional series of things I really, really love.)

I have been working on the Conversations about Mother cycle these past few weeks, only to find that I am emotionally drowning. The entries are all over the place, heavily bloated and I’m finding it difficult to make cuts and edits where there should desperately be cuts and edits.
I should have made an outline. The whole purpose of this exercise is to get rid of the pent up energy that prevails about my family, it is a “them vs me” moment, and yet this time the “them” is the words themselves. In addition, someone very important to me stepped back into my life after some time which pushed my heart beyond capacity. But that is another story for another time. Many of you may already know that I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2003-4ish.1 One of the techniques for managing BPD is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and one of my favorite DBT tricks, as it were, is self-soothing. The idea is to create an environment, a safe haven, of things that feel, taste, smell and are visually pleasing to me. I’ve decided to step that up a notch and create a visceral list of things that soothe me. To remember, to remind, to help whenever I feel like I’m in crisis. Additionally, I decided that it may be time to infuse a little frivolity into my writing and this blog, to take the pressure off the Conversations about Mother cycle and the heavier stuff. I’m not writing because I’m mopey about the cycle and when I’m mopey about a cycle, I’d rather discover 15 new ways to reinvent the wheel then write. I also realized, after wandering around the blogosphere as of late, that sometimes the very best writing comes when we’re not taking ourselves so seriously. And if there is anything I have learned about myself in these last few years, sometimes the stick is wedged up my arse a tad too snugly.
Forthcoming is a list of things that are capturing my heart at the moment, one per blog entry to keep it on the lighter side. In no particular order, things that I’m passionate about as of late:

Castello Nel Borgo, Terni, Umbria, Italy

.EU Vacation Home
If you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have), the headers that rotate throughout my site are all images taken by me from trips across the pond. Paris, Rome, Edinburgh to name a few cities, I’ve been to eight countries in the .uk and .eu since 2004, with TheHusband and I planning on visiting more in the future. While TheHusband and I do not typically agree on a lot of things (music, books, film), we do agree on lifestyle choices. We’re both desperate to shed our American lifestyles and head across the pond, permanently. Our goal is to accelerate payments on Throbbing Manor (payoff in under 15 years), fast pass student loans (payments currently set so the final payment is to be made in 2021) and continue to save money in our villa fund. The ultimate goal, if all goes to plan, is within a decade we’ll BOTH be debt free and have a good chunk to put towards our vacation/European home.
But where to move to? My desires to live in various places is always dependent on the moment: When watching Doc Martin, I was desperate to move to Cornwall and open up a B&B. Then I’m reading P.G. Wodehouse and M.C. Beaton and I want to be in the Cotswolds, in a thatched little cottage while creating merriment and havoc around the countryside, while hilarity ensues. Again, while running a B&B or a used bookshop. Or I want to be in the Highlands, own a sheep farm while spinning my own wool. I’ve got dreams! TheHusband is much simpler, he just wants land, fruit trees, and a bubbling brook. In seriousness, we’re looking at places in Italy for our future dream/vacation home. Why? We love the culture, the food and the people. Italy is essentially the Detroit of Europe, therefore real estate is cheap. We’ve been to the south (me in Rome) and the north (TheHusband in Milan and Florence).
It’s fairly centrally located to most of mainland Europe. I have a huge art history boner for Baroque, specifically Caravaggio and want to see all of his works in person, at least once. Italian is a romance language and my sketchy French would help me tremendously to learn it, and it would be wise for me to have another language proficiently under my belt before we moved. While I could be happy just about anywhere across the pond, and so thus would the TheHusband, right now Italy calls to our soul. After we settled on Throbbing Manor, we started looking at Italian real estate. Right now, it’s Umbria. Other days, it’s Abruzzo. Who knows where the wind (or in this case, the olive oil) may take us?
1. Part of the hiccup with writing the Conversations about Mother cycle is that I need to delve into BPD and discuss it. It’s one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses and I should be bringing a voice to it – problem is, sometimes my heart breaks and I just do not feel strong enough to do it. But I have to and, I will.