Category Archives: Kansas City

Love’s great adventure?

Oh fine, I have to say that these weeks when I have to do 2 blogs in 2 days, I dont always have enough material to fill the space. I did sort of have something work related (again), but I’m sure you’re all tired of that by now, so lets try something different, and a bit more personal.

For those who didnt already know me, and the date, you might have missed the fact that 106 years ago on Friday, a baby girl was born in Kansas City. Her name, Harlean Harlow Carpenter, but far better known as Jean Harlow. Coincidentally, 33 years ago today, the last beau of her life, William Powell died, at the grand old age of 91! What would have happened had she lived beyond 26, who knows? Mind, 3 years later, Powell married Diana Lewis, and they stayed married until his death! Whether Harlow, and Powell would have done the same, we will never know?

The fascinating fact is that, at the time of Harlow’s birth, Powell was actually living in Kansas City, though being 18 years her senior, they never actually met until Hollywood! Yes, Jean seemingly had a thing for older men, as all bar her first husband were far older than her, but I cant talk, as my only long term relationship was with someone a lot older than me!

While we are talking about birthdays, and ages, in 11 days time, I’ll be 59. Still, now, I’ve got more than a few years of work to go, I believe it will be 8 more by the time I get to retire. But not that long ago, as a woman, I would have been 1 year from retirement! Now, by the time I get there, it will be 66, assuming I get that far, of course! Then, finally, I might get to Alaska, and the start of the Iditarod race…maybe? Mind, I might need a new body by then, but… I would need to split the flight there, both ways, due to length, and my physical health, and there is no way I can do that on a 7 day holiday from work!

Sadly, again this year, it cant race from Willow (Anchorage) to Nome, due to lack of snow in the early stretches, so it will start out tomorrow morning (Alaska time) from Fairbanks, and run the adapted northern route. Sadly, this means that the ghost town that the race is named after, wont be visited for at least 6 years, as the same thing happened in 2015. Amusing to think that a trapper, the last ever resident of Iditarod left, because the race came through every 2 years, and the place got too lively! To think, just over 100 years ago, at the height of the gold rush, over 10 thousand people lived there, all too briefly!

Oh, if anyone wants the details of my fiction piece, loosely based around the 2009 race (which did get to Iditarod), let me know! It also mentions the event that started it all, the 1925 serum run to Nome.

So fine, we have a tale of love, we have a tale of adventure, so the obvious video is…

Advertisements

A look back at 2014 – The US Edition

Yes, I think its fair to say that so much has happened in my life this year, that I can stretch this out to 2 parts quite easily. The UK edition will follow on Wednesday, by the way. A look forward to what I know 2015 holds in store, on New Years Day.

So, lets start with the first trip, the one to Kansas City, and the whole state of Kansas. Initially, the plan had been for this to happen in May, but things never work out quite as planned. Kate’s work got in the way, so it got put back to September. Thankfully, her main concern about doing that, extreme heat, and me, never cropped up. It was very pleasant, 70’s, and 80’s and all that, but no more, so all was fine.

Before we get to the main emotional stuff, I could never have got to Cherryvale without her, and I dont think she will ever realise just how much I appreciated her help in getting me there. But its what happened when I got to Cherryvale that really struck home to me, just how wonderful some people can be to a virtual stranger, that she may well never meet again. One amazing woman, named Tina. Not only did she really welcome us to Cherryvale, home town of Louise Brooks (and Vivian Vance, as she would appreciate me mentioning), she really welcomed us to town. A guided tour, photos of both Brooks homes, and a trip out to see the Big Lake nearby too. But on top of all this, she arranged for me to get into the museum, in town, on a day when it would normally be shut to the public. Someone I’m really glad to have met, and to give me the chance to get close to standing in Louise Brooks’s footprints.

Its fair to say that I’ll probably never get back to Cherryvale, but I will always remember that place, unless dementia gets me first!

On the same trip, after Kate had gone back home (she has a normal life, for heavens sake), I headed off into Kansas City, home town of Jean Harlow, of course. Funnily enough, for quite a while, I got no further than Union Station, on the edge of town. Nowadays the station has one through train (Chicago – Los Angeles), and 2 other services to St Louis, and thats it! Of course, back in the 1920’s, there were a lot more trains, and there is photographic evidence of Jean Harlow travelling by train, so its fair to assume that I very much stood in her foot steps there.

Luckily, I got to take a modern trolley car trip around the city, so did see a lot more, maybe I’ll get back one day, but I’m not getting any younger…

Bur despite all that, its fair to say, that in the end, that wasnt my most emotional trip to the US this year. In November, I went out to Albany (as was always planned), given an invitation by my wonderful friend, James, to join his family for Thanksgiving, a first for me. Really, really glad I did it, despite the snow dump on the Wednesday, about 9 inches. Thing is, the bus service didnt even blink, let alone stop. Over here, an inch, and…rolls eyes.

Thanksgiving Day, and everything surrounding it was amazing, so glad I got to find out what that was like. And no, I didnt go shopping on Black Friday!

But yes, the side trip to New Hampshire. I had discussed the possibility of doing a past life regression with S earlier in the year. There was only about 200 miles between him, and Albany, but getting there by public transport… We compromised, I got the coach to Worcester, MA, and he took me to and from New Hampshire from there.

Lets be frank, much though it would have been wonderful to have discovered I was Jean Harlow in a previous life, it wasnt really likely to be true. It wasnt, though I would love to have seen his face (I was deep in trance remember) when I said I was in Hollywood in 1928! I remember being asked the colour of my hair, giggling, and saying brunette, though of course I had no idea why he was asking me that. Yes, I was, in a past life, a small part actress named Clara Johnson, oh wow!

Sadly, finding anything out about Clara, even with the internet, has pretty much come up blank, apart from one credited part. Small parts never got credited before the mid 30’s, we know she made a decent living, but no more… Sometime, I really must get back to New Hampshire, let him put me under for much longer, and find out so much more about her. But until then, I know who I was, and just maybe, she worked, or played with Jean, when both were just small part actresses.

So yes, those 2 trips have tugged at my emotions no end, but I’m really, really glad I done both, and now know what I do.

Louise got married (at least) twice, Jean three times, Clara, just the once. For each of them, there must have been something of this. And of course, in the title of the group, Hollywood

The climax of the baseball season

Yes, tomorrow night, in Kansas City, the culmination of the baseball season begins. Given that the game will actually start at 1.00 am in the UK, on Wednesday morning, I wont be watching. But in spirit, albeit a sleeping spirit, I will be there.

Its a rare treat, in that I have actually been to both stadiums where the games will take place, and actually enjoyed visiting both of them. The last time there was a World Series when that happened, 1993 when Toronto took on Philadelphia. The Toronto stadium at that time, was the once I visited, but the Philadelphia one wasnt, having being demolished in 2004, and replaced by a very modern stadium that well, I didnt fall in love with!
The last Series between 2 teams I have seen play is far more recent, just 2 years ago, when San Francisco played Detroit. I saw Detroit play, in the now demolished Metrodome in Minneapolis.

But these two…

So lets start with where people leave their heart, San Francisco. AT&T Park is probably one of my all time favourites, probably helped by the fact that the first time I went there (have been twice), I went to an evening game, and not only did I get to watch the baseball, in a wonderful setting, I got to see the sunset over San Francisco Bay, and that was worth the money in itself.
But all in all, its a wonderful setting to see baseball played, though sadly, no one hit a home run into the water while I was there. Have seen it on TV a couple of times, but…

So yes, ironically, under any other circumstances, I would happily support them against most teams, but not this time around.

Because they are playing Kansas City!

So far, I’ve only had the one visit to Kaufman Stadium, about a month ago, when they lost to Boston. As was mentioned in the blog at the time, the service that Kate and I got from the staff, was truly amazing. And seeing those famous fountains, at the other end of the stadium…really good!

I must admit, there are 2 ladies who are the reason I follow Kansas City, Brooks and Harlow. One came from the city, one came from the state of Kansas, so all in all…a big soft spot for me. Neither of course saw the Royals play, they only started playing in 1969. Lets face it, pre war, travel made it impossible for teams to play that far west. And when teams started moving west, California became the big target, so…

And before you ask, I have absolutely no evidence that either lady ever saw a baseball match anywhere!

Given that San Francisco have won it all twice in the last 4 years, Kansas hadnt even made the play offs since 1985, when they actually won the World Series themselves, I might have supported KC anyway. But now, probably the first time I’ve really rooted against SF in all honesty.

Hopefully KC will win, as that would be perfect for me. But at the same time, if a National League team has to win it, well, San Francisco might be my call. But even so, I have to say it, go Royals!

The video, well its about KC, and produced in Cherryvale, surely the perfect combination? I have to thank my friend, Tina for posting it on Facebook in the first place.

Oh, and if any manip/photoshop experts out there want to send me a picture of Jean Harlow, in either a Royals top, or cap, I would so love it, and would post it up. I know, wherever she is watching it from, she’ll be rooting for her home town team

The tale of the last 2 days

I think that title will just about cover every thing, maybe?

OK, so cutting out the boring bits, like work, and things, the first big event was the interview. I must admit, yesterday morning, around 7.00, after very limited sleep, my brain, and logic don’t go well together. Because if they had, I would have caught on that a black dress, covered by a coat, and a top and black skirt, covered by a coat, look remarkably alike. But anyway…I know for next time! More on that later.

Oh, the dress, at work, not a blink. Well, no one commented at least, and I would have thought one or two would have done, if they’d wanted to! No, I stuck with the wedge heels, not the high heels during the morning, and I’m sure my feet were delighted with that call. The interview was meant to be at 1.15, so I’d planned to swap over about 1.00, so my feet were used to them, when I needed to walk in them. So I got told I could go in about 12.45 lol, so hastily put them on.

As much as I can tell, the interview went well, answered questions confidently, looked at the person asking the question, and all that. We will see, should hear sometime next week, but hey, first interview in a dress, and it felt great! Yes, you guessed it, I didnt change again after the interview…until I got home!

And the journey home was a bit longer than usual, though for once, the train company werent to blame! No, I stopped off to see the results from the photo shoot, and for now at least, you’ll have to believe me when I say they were amazing. You will get to see some, in good time, when I get the email versions of a few of them. Believe me, I want you to see them, they are that good!

Then lastly, today, I went off for what I’m jokingly calling my MOT. And yes, I passed. Fine, the right shoulder, the back, and the knees arent perfect, but they arent deteriorating either, seemingly. So the old girl will be fine for a while more.

The video, relates to the photo shoot, shall we say?

Oh, and for those amused by such things, the baseball. Kansas City Royals still havent lost in the play offs, though this will probably be the ‘knife in the back’ for that, this evening. And lets just say that when Jean Harlow, a native of Kansas City was asked for her feelings on the matter, this summed it up.

Happy to see you

Go Royals!

An early shift isn’t always bad?

I’ll be honest with you. Normally, when I get an 8.00 start to a shift at work, I groan, inwardly sigh, and simply get on with it. Why, because I have to be up about 4.45 in the morning, for one of those, that’s why!

Fine, I had one yesterday morning, and to say I wasnt full of joy when I switched the TV on, about 5.00, would be putting it mildly, to say the least. But you see, the thing is, the previous night, it had been on ESPN (UK), so thats what comes on first. And what do I get, baseball! Opens a sleepy eye, and yes, its live, and yes, its the Kansas City Royals, somewhere in the 10th innings, in the Wild Card match against Oakland.

For the next hour, or so (just under, in fact), I sat engrossed, as first, in the top of the 12th innings, Oakland scored a run, and that would seemingly be the end of the Royals interest in the play offs. Oh no, in the bottom of the 12th, first they tie the game, and then they get one more run, and win the game. Even in Kansas, that was nearly midnight! To say the stadium erupted would be to put it mildly.

And yes, fine, I was pretty happy too. It was pretty special being there, 17 days before, but seeing them win, in the play offs, at 6.00 in the morning, as they said in the ads, priceless!

Regardless of the level of my support (and yes, its principally because of Harlow, and Brooks birthplaces), they get my strong vote of support because of the wonderful service that Kate and I got, when we visited the stadium. My mobility isnt perfect, Kate’s even less so, and they looked after us wonderfully. So yes, even though she’s a passionate Boston fan, its fair to say she’s rooting for the Royals at this moment.

To quote her, and I’m sure she wont mind

All that being said, I can actually forgive most of that because the staff of the Royals and Kauffman Stadium are probably some of the best I have ever encountered in any stadium. They are all pleasant, polite and beyond helpful.

To illustrate: some of you here know that I do have a few medical challenges that prevent me from a lot of physical activity. Even with the premium seats we got, I was having difficulty navigating the stairs and seats. One of the Royals staff came running down, and said “You are not going to be comfortable here. Let me see what I can do to find you better seats.” (and keep in mind, the original ones were fabulous…)

Long story short, she was back in minutes with seats that were better than the ones we had originally, and did not require me to navigate the steps. Other staff also came to check on us to make sure we were fine, and the young man who was bringing drink and food out to the section gave us better service than some that I have gotten in supposedly fine dining establishments.

I saw the staff assisting people with various physical issues in various ways, even running carts from the stadium to take people to their cars (and I’ve been in larger parks where they don’t do that.). The care they were taking with anyone who had any kind of challenges was impressive.

Don’t get me wrong…you know I loves me my Fenway Park. But, EVERYONE, from the ticket people at the gate to the concession stand workers to the stadium staff to the people manning the elevators simply could not have been more courteous and pleasant. Even the Royals fans were polite to the throngs of Red Sox fans that decended upon the K, (despite losing three out of four games-heeheehee).

I strongly recommend that, if your team ever plays in KC and you get the opportunity, you go to the K to watch a game. You won’t regret it.

So yes, not only the players are great, the backroom staff are even more amazing.

Tonight, the divisional series starts in Anaheim, and if the game hits 4 hours (average is about 3), I will catch the end in the morning.

So, from myself, ‘Jean’, and probably Kate, I wish them all the best, for the rest of the play offs and hope someone from the club gets to see this.

The video, I heard this at Kauffman Stadium, and I gather its one of the team songs. And hey, I love it anyway

The one benefit of Transatlantic flight

Yes, I admit it, I’m one of those who fall into the group of surviving the flight across the Atlantic, not enjoy it. Doesnt matter what I do, an 8 hour flight, I get bored. I know, I’m not the only one, but anyway, this time around, the flight out flew by, and the one back wasnt so bad either, though I’ve given my knee a bit of a bashing, trying to get into a decent sleeping position, but…

The difference? I had a really good book to read, the Louise Brooks biography, by Barry Paris, and its really good.

Fine, I already knew Louise could be a ‘bit’ awkward to deal with, but reading this, I’ve discovered just how much of a nightmare she must have been to deal with, throughout her life! It really is fair to say that the only thing angelic about her, was her looks! You could forgive her some of her awkwardness in later life, due to all the health problems she had, but Louise was the same throughout her life!

Still glad I discovered her though! 😉

No idea what I’m reading for the Albany trip though at present. I do have a Jean Harlow biography, but have been advised that I ‘might’ get annoyed by some of the tales in it. Hmm…?

Oh, and lastly, I might be a 30’s girl at heart, but there are some modern tricks that are a boon. This morning, at Manchester Airport, no more showing your passport to someone, my chipped passport gets slid into a machine, a photo check done, and…through you go!

Ah well, tomorrow, back to work we go!

The video, perhaps what we have to offer up for (Mary) Louise Brooks,

Following in Jean’s footsteps

Today was the last ‘proper’ day of the holiday, given that tomorrow starts the journey home at an early hour. So today, I ended up heading to somewhere where I know I was following in Jean’s footsteps. Union Station, Kansas City.

See, the station has been there a century, so its the same building that Jean would have used when travelling by train, to and from Kansas City, to Los Angeles. There are a number of photos of her boarding, and disembarking trains, and back then, there really wasnt any other way to travel long distances. Mind, Union Station was a lot busier back then, obviously! Nowadays, there are just 3 trains each way a day, 2 to and from St Louis, and one from Chicago to Los Angeles.

But the station hasnt changed, it has such a feel of history to it, when you step into the building. And though I might have failed to literally stand in Jean’s footprints, I made a good effort.

After that, a trolley car tour of the city, a really nice meal in a restaurant, then back here, for the last night in town. I’m glad I came to her home town, its been a marvellous experience for me. Next year, all things permitting, I’ll pay my respects at the other end of her life, in Hollywood.

In between, a Thanksgiving trip to Albany, but for now…

Oh fine, how else could I end this trip to Kansas City, but with a little bit of Jean!

Catching up on things

Yes, you may, or may not have noticed there wasnt a blog yesterday, well, there wasnt really enough to post on, in all honesty. Very much a calm day, after the storm of Tuesday, shall we say?

It did allow me to catch up on a few things that needed doing, so there was some blessing from such a day. But be it sinus issues, a cold she had caught or whatever, on top of the tough day driving Tuesday, Kate was struggling with her health.

We went out to eat in the evening though, and ended up at a burger restaurant of the quality kind, unlike some bunch that have a clown (apt?) as their spokesman, and had a really good meal. Seriously, when did McD’s last cook a burger fresh, for everyone? So yes, in the US, eat at 5 Guys instead, just saying…

Jean Harlow would probably have wanted to ‘make eyes’ at all 5 guys, I settled for the 1 serving us, but not surprisingly, didnt work, no discount lol!

So this morning, after saying our goodbyes, Kate and I went our separate ways. Me, I set out to discover Kansas City, and its public transit system. Like most US systems (unlike ours), its cheap, and it works! I headed for the Country Club Plaza, and my only mistake was in looking for an indoor shopping centre, not an outdoor one. Ah well, they do generally call the indoor ones malls lol!

Beyond that, the biggest news event today was happening back across the pond, the Scottish independence vote. And no, I have no estimates on how the voting has gone, though it has been mentioned on the news over here at least.

Tomorrow, the last full day, I’m planning on going into the heart of KC, and see what its like, should be fun.

The video, well this is Scottish independence vote day, and this blog is coming from America, so…a live version, pretty recent

Monday, Monday, it just turns out that way

Well, the plan was for today to be a fairly quiet day, to give Kate a relative break, before the big drive to Cherryvale tomorrow, the home town of Louise Brooks. I suspect they dont get a huge number of visitors, even less so from the UK, so it will be quite something tomorrow, I’m sure. But thats looking into the future, so…

About 11.30 we headed off to the Westport district of Kansas City, home to a vintage clothing store that Kate had been tipped off about. It was sound advice, I must say. It didnt take me long to find a gorgeous Harlow like cape, and dress, but in a size so small, I would never get into it, without losing at least 10 pounds, and I’m not a big girl! And then I saw it, the dress, and cape, so absolutely perfect, I didnt want to look at the price tag, especially as it was in a larger size, that I would get into. Pleasant surprise, $100 including a cape/jacket, so now what could go wrong?

Seemingly, nothing. I tried it on, it fitted, it looked gorgeous, and I ended up getting 20% off, on top of that bargain price. So, brooch, and clutch bag later (same discount), I left the store, absolutely thrilled. In theory, I need a hat, but Kate is working on that. If I get a picture of the dress during the week, I will post it.

After that, my first taste of mid west barbecue food. Loved it, pork ribs, the meat literally falling off the bone, and all that.

Then late afternoon, back here and a relaxing evening. Oh, a delight I dont normally get, Monday Night Football. Because for me, its silly hours of Tuesday morning football! Got a reminder of just how gorgeous Jon Gruden is because of that, swoon.

So, Monday, Monday, it just turns out that way

Tomorrow, Cherryvale, birthplace of Louise Brooks, looking forward to that.

Take me out to the ballpark

Yes, today, one passionate Red Sox fan, and one less passionate follower of both the Royals, and the Red Sox headed out to Kaufman Stadium for a game between those 2 teams.

Not many stadiums have fountains, even fewer have as many as this place does, but it does make a spectacular sight. Oh, and to show how things are, fans from each team sit together at the stadium, and WW3 doesnt break out. Soccer fans, please note!

Me, I got a t-shirt very cheaply before we entered the stadium, a small charitable donation, and I’m the proud owner of a ‘Be Royal’ shirt. I also own a neat little batters type helmet, though not of a material that would be used on the mound!

The match was fun, and ended with Kate happier than me, as the Red Sox won. Before you say anything about neutrality, the Royals are in play off contention, the Red Sox arent! Not that they didnt try at the end to let Kansas back into it, but anyway…

A wonderful day out, wonderful service by Royals staff in so many ways, including a young man, who washed out the helmet for me, so I could take it as a souvenir. Why it needed that, It had contained Nacho’s, and sauces, and was so full of food, that even between us, we couldnt finish it, on top of hot dogs.

A good game, great company, and wonderful weather, what more could I ask?

No video, I’ve done most of the neat baseball ones before, more than once.