Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Antinous, Foo Foo and the London Olympics

Foo Foo the cat, happy this morning, but miserable and wet yesterday around 8 pm after enduring the second storm outside.

It rained yesterday! It rained a little bit, then a lot and then a whole lot more, all night long. A violent storm, really. With lots of thunder and lightening that made my old Boston Terrier, Bullwinkle, quake  for about 6 hours, his tongue hanging six inches out of his silly looking head. His eyes bulging in fear.

But I didn't care, because it rained!

As much as I have been enjoying our Mediterranean-style  weather, I also understand we are not Greece and Olives are not our main export.

I was dreading having to spend 18 dollars for a cucumber in the fall at Atwater market. The Harvest is my favorite time of year and I expect to be carrying home bags and bags of Mother Nature's bounty for about 30 cents.

But we've had no rain at all. The lawns are brown and the riverbeds are exposed and dry. It's all landed in the UK and Denmark, where my brother lives.

Raindrops on my Magnolia. Yea!

Now, I must admit, I've been watching the UK Forecasts, hoping that their miserable weather is going to clear up for the Olympics. Not that I have a great niece in the high jump or anything, just because it seems a shame to spend a hundred billion on an event and have it wash out.

This week it did, indeed look promising. London has had its first taste of sunny summer days, but today I checked and it looks like the rain will return just in time for the opening ceremonies.

This is actually one of the only times I am happy not to be in the UK! I've already experienced an Olympics, in Montreal in 1976.

I was 21, a nice age to watch very fit men row, and run and jump. I especially liked the rowers, the best of which were Romanian I think. Everyone expected them to want to defect!

Wet leaf-strewn porch. Double Yea!

Fleeting memories: Bruce Jenner. I got tickets to preliminaries of the decathalon and I remember thinking the American Guy was a bit too buff. Too Popeye-like. The second place guy, a Russian named, I think, Asimov, was more to my taste, slim and super-broad shouldered.

Juan Turino (I'm not sure of the spelling.) I had a close up seat of the 440  I think. Very close up. That's a beautiful race. The runners I mean. Like exquisite carved animals with gaits like, well, wild animals.

The only other person I saw who had a smooth gait like these guys was a friend of mine. who said he had never played a sport in his life. Never even thrown a ball. He was very tall. He wore glasses. He was also academically-inclined and gay. But one day on campus, this friend  realized he was late for class and he sprinted across the field toward his lecture hall like a gazelle. A real thing of beauty. I turned to a mutual friend and said, "So and So" runs so gracefully, so powerfully! He's actually athletic!"  She just nodded, as surprised as I was.

Oh, and I remember seeing a group of tall tall women coming up the escalator at a department store, and for the first time in my life, feeling average. I'm five foot 11, you see. These gals were speaking a Slavic language and I figured they were the Russian Basketball team, or something like that.

(Of course Nadia Comaneci, the Perfect 10, was the star of the Montreal Games. I did see a preliminary gymnastics event, but I had a far away seat and I don't even remember which gender I saw.)

In honour of the upcoming Olympics I've been taking tours of  Ruins, some Roman, some Greek, on YouTube. And then reading up on what I've seen. It's been a while since I studied Art History, many decades.

I visited Hadrian's Villa, first in a virtual re-construction, then with some tourists in the ruins. He has a lot of statues erected to his dead lover, Antinous, I think he was called. Then I decided to check out his wall, in Northern England and watched a very long HD BBC program on the wall, which was very very interesting.

(When I was young, I remember asking my father, who lived in Carlisle as a child, "Did you REALLY live near Hadrian's Wall?? Did you take a piece as a souvenir?" I guess we learned about Hadrian's wall at elementary school. My husband even remembers, and he doesn't remember hardly anything he learned at school:)

And then I found another YouTube video where a pair of goofy guys were attempting to walk the length of the wall...a good way to see the countryside of Northern England.