My Summer of Breasts and Revolution


I’ve been busy this summer with professional projects and personal issues and events. Unfortunately, this has left me little time to post to my blog or visit the blogs of others. I apologize and hope to have more time later in the fall.


In July I reviewed the page proofs for my forthcoming book, Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast. It covers everything you always wanted to know about breasts in history, art, fashion, literature, movies, popular culture, and science. It should be out in October, or perhaps even before that. Grazia De Michele reviewed it for the Breast Cancer Consortium. You can read the review here:


I’ve also been working on my next book, another encyclopedia, titled World of the American Revolution (ABC-CLIO). As the deadline approaches (GULP!), I am scrambling to write numerous entries on a wide variety of topics. Let me just say there have been ISSUES. Contributors dropping out; contributors not coming through with acceptable articles; contributors who plagiarize. . .But I have also had some wonderful articles submitted. So it goes.


In addition research, editing, and writing entries for my books, I’ve been writing many test items this summer—after all, I have a daughter getting married and there are a few expenses to be covered. The bridal shower has past and the wedding will soon be here. I can’t believe that something that seemed so far away is now almost here! There will be more on that topic in the future.


With so much going on, my husband and I did not even attempt to make vacation plans, but we have taken a few hours here and there to visit places in the area. Following my theme of “revolutions,” we went to Eastern State Penitentiary for the “Bastille Day” Celebration as envisioned by the Bearded Ladies theatre troup. My husband and I stood for free with the mob. We cheered and jeered as Edith Piaf introduced celebrated figures from the past to help bring about revolution. Or something. Well, we all know from Les Miz that revolutions need songs. And apparently they need line dances, too. Because this is Philadelphia, Marie Antoinette—joined by Tonya Harding—threw TastyKakes from the top of the prison with the cry, “Let them eat Tastykakes!” It is true Philadelphia craziness that has to be experienced to be believed. You can see more about it here.

IMG_1464 IMG_1465

After the “execution,” my husband and I went on an after hours tour of the prison. If you are ever in Philadelphia, visit this museum. It is fascinating. The prison opened in 1829 and was considered a model prison with each prisoner kept in a solitary cell. The prison was in use until it closed in 1971.


On another day, in lovely summer weather, we walked through the famed Philadelphia Museum of Art. We saw an exhibit of proposed architectural changes to the museum. The alterations, if they happen, will be done in stages, and will take decades to complete. The proposal that has met with the most discussion is one that would change the famed “Rocky” steps.


After visiting the Medieval and European galleries, we went outside to have a picnic lunch and walk. It was a beautiful day to walk by Boathouse Row and along the Schuylkill River. When looking walking along the river, it is easy to imagine the nineteenth-century city of Philadelphia.


Looking at the Philadelphia Museum from the Waterworks


A solitary rower on the Schuylkill River


We have also managed to make two brief trips to the beach (down the shore, as we say here), as well as some trips to local wineries.


So this is my summer of breasts and revolutions–and a soon to be wedding. It’s been brightened by family and friends, sunny skies, stress-busting trips to the gym, and some glasses of wine. Chocolate, too, of course. I hope all of you are having a good summer! Back to work for me.



8 thoughts on “My Summer of Breasts and Revolution

  1. Golly, Merril, your accomplishments this summer (the length, breadth, and depth of them) make my head spin. I just read the marvelous, in-depth review of your “breast” encyclopedia, and written by a breast-cancer survivor to boot!

    I’m glad you made time for little excursions away from the books and other beasties. The Bastille Day celebration with TastyKakes (hilarious!) is one Cliff and I would definitely enjoy. And to think it meshes with the “revolutionary” theme of your next book. The only thing boring about your summer may be writing test items or so it seems from my vantage point.

    You don’t need to apologize ever for not keeping up with blogging. I know comparisons are dangerous, but I feel like a sloth next to you. Congratulations on making it this far – soon it will be cork-popping time. Wonderful post – what a grand life you have!

  2. Gosh, Marian–I always think of you as a dynamo. Thank you for your very kind words. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Your comments always make me feel great!

    If you and Cliff get to Philadelphia next June, you should try to make the Bastille Day celebration. They’ve been doing it for 20 years, but we had never been to it before.

    I actually sometimes like writing the test items. Sometimes the order and guidelines are a nice break from other work, and I make up stories in my head about the “characters.”:) Of course, at other times, it can be another chore.

    Thanks again for your good wishes.

  3. Merril,
    Congrats to a fulfilling summer and , especially, the celebration of love of Meghan and Claire. Their marriage symbolizes all that we hope for: love, happiness, family, and man many years of sharing a deep, meaningful relationship.

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