Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Retired Librarian's New Year's Resolutions



Sigh. 

I can't believe that 2014 is almost here.

So once again it's time to make those New Year's resolutions. 

As you have probably surmised, I like to include my dogs in costumes in my blogs, but I realize that is just a way to get a cheap laugh, so my first resolution is to stop using dogs in costumes as a cheap way of getting a laugh, and instead, I will work to be more serious about the topic at hand.

Ahem.

Every year I make New Year's resolutions, but I usually don't go back and review them.  I think that's a good idea. 


So, in 2013, did I do what I said I was going to do? 

Let's see...

2013 Resolution #1. Lose weight.

No.

2013 Resolution #2. Exercise more.

Nope.

2013 Resolution #3. Pay more attention to my husband.

Oops.

2013 Resolution #4. Watch less TV.

Ouch.

2013 Resolution #5. Stop buying clothes (especially since you will be retiring and won't need so many)
Uh-uh...that's a no for "I can't believe how badly this is going."

2013 Resolution #6. Retire


I did do that.

Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.  But one out of six isn't so bad...
is it?
 
Most of us don't do so well keeping our New Year's resolutions.  Some statistics say we quit during January!
 
However, if you want to make some resolutions you can actually keep, why not try


The Library 


Pick at least three of the following and I promise you, your life will be changed for the better.
 

  • Download free e-books for your Kindle, Nook, IPad or other device from your library's website.

  • Take your child or grandchild to library story times.

  • If you don’t have a library card, get one. It’s free and is your ticket to so much: free DVDs, computer usage, and databases where you can find car repair information, genealogical research, newspapers and much more, all from the convenience of your own home. And you can't find this free on the Internet.  Libraries purchase this information for you.

  • Speaking of DVDs, why pay a service for them when you can check them out for free at the library?  They have the latest releases and you can place your requests online via the web page and check out a bunch at a time.

  • Never got around to learning how to use a computer? Many libraries provide free computer classes and learn how to use a mouse, find what you need on the Internet, use your email effectively, send attachments, copy and paste, all those things that have you stumped. And if you are a job hunter, we have a class highlighting job hunting resources on the Internet, as well as a laptop you can use in the library for as long as you need to.

  • Need help preparing your tax return?  Libraries partner with the AARP every year to help people fill out their tax returns. The service is free by appointment.

  •  New in town and want to meet your fellow residents? The Library is a community gathering place. 

  •  Is your little one just starting to read?  Libraries have books especially focused on new readers. And baby and family story times are designed to help your little one succeed in kindergarten.

  • Have a slow Internet connection or no Internet? Free computer usage is available at the library, and if you have a laptop, most libraries also provide free

 

This is just a taste of what awaits you at the library if you resolve to make your life better this year.
 
So get yourself to the library and start on those resolutions!


Now for those other pesky personal resolutions for 2014...

Sigh.

Let's try one more time...

1. Lose weight.
2. Exercise more
3. Pay more attention to my husband
4. Watch less TV
5. Stop buying clothes



But this year, I am going to take some tips from my friend Juhli over at Boomer Girl's Guide, a blog I highly recommend and add these:


6.  Keep learning
     I am working on my meditation practice and reading, reading, reading

7.  Focus on being happy in the present

      I am keeping a gratitude journal

8.  Give of yourself through volunteering

      I have been appointed to the local Council on Aging - my mother didn't have a
      good "end of life." I am passionate about people being able to end their days in
      their own homes or in the care of their loved ones

9.  Fill my days with meaningful activity

      All of the above and more

10. Laugh

      This is difficult sometimes when one is feeling down, but I do tend to have a
      wry take on things and can still find some humor in despair.



 
What are your New Year's Resolutions? 
(Besides getting yourself to the library, of course).

Best wishes for a happy and productive
New Year!



 
                                           Old habits die hard.



See you Friday for my Oscar Predictions
and the Week in Reviews.

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends

Friday, December 27, 2013

How Well Do You Know the Classics? A Quiz

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to make my way through the classics of literature, re-reading some, introducing myself to others

So as I make my list, I thought it would be fun to see how many of these you recognize.


See if you can match the picture and quote to the classic book.




1.


"Such helpfulness was found in her - so much power to do and power to sympathize - that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant 'able' so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength."






2.



"Fiddle-dee-dee. I'll think about that tomorrow."








3. 


"Fifteen men on a dead man's chest. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!"







4. 

"If I am the phantom, it is because man's hatred has made me so. If I am to be saved, it is because your love redeems me."








5.


"I told you! No wire hangers, ever!"








6.


"Hardworking folks only smell bad to people who have nothing better than [to} stick their noses in the air. Well, whenever you stick your nose in the air, Nellie Oleson, it's going to get punched!"








7.


"I must be crazy to be in a loony-bin like this."








8. 

Elwood P. Dowd:"I've never heard Harvey say a word against Akron."








9. 

"I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes."







10. 


"Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?"



How did you do?


Here are the answers.

1.  The Scarlet Letter

2.  Gone with the Wind

3.  Treasure Island

4.  Phantom of the Opera

5.  Mommy Dearest

6.  Little House on the Prairie

7.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

8.  Harvey

9.  Great Expectations

10.  Romeo and Juliet


You may disagree with me on what constitutes a classic, but these are definitely "classic" reads, guaranteed to amuse, delight or enlighten.

I plan to read the classics this coming year. 

Why don't you join me?

(All of these titles should be available at your local library).

What recommendations do you have?


 
 
Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Baby Boomer's Christmas Eve Memories

 
It's Christmas Eve and we are spending it alone. 

That's life, as my sister would say.

When you get old and your children have their own lives, this happens.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was always special. 

My family opened presents on Christmas Eve, Santa came the next day and we spent Christmas Day either at my grandparents house or they came to ours for the big Christmas feast.  I never realized we did it this way, because it's the way they do it in Scandinavia, Germany and other European countries.  Since my mother was Swedish, it makes sense.

So when I had my own family, I followed that same plan. When you start on Christmas Eve, it drags the holiday out in a delightful way. Why crowd Christmas day with all of the fun?

But now our children have their own families and will have their own traditions, and we are navigating that time of our lives when we need to get used to that.

But we have our happy memories.

My first Christmas.



My 5th Christmas.
(Animal fur didn't seem to be an issue in the 50's)
My 7th Christmas and Echo the Dog's first.
(Motorcycle jackets were big for 12 year old boys, I guess. I am surprised my mother let him wear it in the picture)


Childhood memories include the tree falling down every year, sleeping with my brother as we awaited the arrival of Santa (not sure how that hastened his arrival), homemade Parker House rolls, snow falling on Christmas Eve, worrying Santa would leave a lump of coal in my stocking (a threat my mother used) and my Mother's delicious pies.



Somewhere across the world in Turkey my Hubby-to-be was celebrating Christmas too.







My son's first Christmas.





My son's second Christmas.
(The tree was in the playpen for its own protection).
First Christmas with Hubby.






  
First Christmas for our daughter






The carol-playing bell-ringing Santa from Grammy that played carols and rang his bell over and over and over and over...fun gift for the son, not so much for the parents. 

He disappeared mysteriously.


 

All the grandchildren received Blaze the Horse from Granddaddy.
 
  

 
As they grew, so many more memories:




Visit from Aunt Posy (my sister) with Twinkle the cat.

 
Traditional Christmas Eve dinner:  Pizza

Traditional Christmas Eve activities:
  • Singing Christmas carols in the car while riding around looking at Christmas lights and the kids whining about when it would be over so we could open presents
  • Presents - 10 each and we all had to watch as each one was opened so it would go on and on
  • Reading about the birth of baby Jesus, followed by "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  Kids yawning.
  • Bedtime for the kids - never easy
  • Party time for the parents, thus making putting up basketball hoops and putting bicycles together all the harder.


Christmas Eve 2012


We are all older now and on different paths. 

But, hopefully, our happy memories hold us close.



Now us old folks are making some new happy memories!

 Mildred


 Frederic



 Tarquin


Happy Holidays Everyone. 

See you Friday!

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Worst Movies of 2013

The Holiday Season is also the movie season.

Many Hollywood blockbusters open on Christmas Day and for many families, going to the movies on Christmas is a holiday tradition.  Also movie production companies are releasing their films in time for Oscar consideration.

So since I have been traveling to visit family and trying to get all of my holiday tasks completed, I haven't been watching as many DVDs or going to the movies, so instead of my usual Friday Week in Reviews, I thought I would take a break and weigh in on the worst films of 2013 (I will make my Oscar predictions later this month) in my usual trenchant, insightful and opinionated way.  These are films you don't even want to see on DVD.  Trust me.

Yahoo put out a Ten Worst Movies of 2013 list and checking on some others, most lists seem to mostly concur with this one, so see what you think.


I have added a few of mine so it's actually the
15 Worst Movies of 2013.




1.  A Good Day to Die Hard


John McClane travels to Russia to help out his son who turns out to be a CIA operative.  We sure don't know our kids very well, do we?

Rosy the Reviewer says...Die Hard 1 and 2 were actually quite good, but you beat something to death enough and it dies...hard!



2.  Movie 43


A series of interconnected short films follows a washed-up producer as he pitches insane story lines featuring some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

Rosy the Reviewer says... what happens when you put Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Elizabeth Banks, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Liev Schreiber, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Naomi Watts, Kate Bosworth, Halle Berry and Uma Thurman together (and there were more big stars). 

Unbelievably...crap, that's what.



3.  After Earth


Will Smith and son in a sci-fi adventure.

Rosy the Reviewer says...there is a reason there are nepotism rules.




4.  The Lone Ranger


An attempt to revive the old classic TV show.

Rosy the Reviewer says...it didn't work.
When Johnny Depp is unrecognizable, what's the point?




5.  Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters


Hansel & Gretel are bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world.

Rosy the Reviewer says...It's campy and the special effects are hoaky but, I didn't actually mind this one.  If you like TV shows like "Once Upon a Time" and "Grimm," you might actually like this one.




6.  Machete Kills


Machete is actually a person and is recruited by the U.S. Government to take down an arms dealer in Mexico who wants to launch a weapon into space.


Rosy the Reviewer says...Sophia Vergara's machine gun bra says it all.




7.  Grown-ups 2


Three years after the first "Grown Ups," Lenny moves back to the town where he grew up and crazy stuff happens.

Rosy the Reviewer says...we didn't like this puerile, moronic humor the first time.  Why make another?




8.  Oldboy


Josh Brolin sets out to discover why he was kidnapped and kept in solitary confinement for 20 years and to seek revenge.  This is a remake of the 2003 mystery thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I am not a fan of remaking perfectly good films just because the first one was not in English.  "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a case in point.   But at least the American remake was OK on that one. 

Spike, Spike, what happened?  Why remake a perfectly good film and then remake it badly?  I expect more of you.






9.  The Canyons

You have Bret Easton Ellis as writer and Paul Schrader directing this tale of mind games and bloody violence.  What happened?

Rosy the Reviewer says...someone must have pitched this as "We have Lindsay Lohan, we can't lose."




10.  The Hangover III


The Wolf Pack is back.

Rosy the Reviewer says... Once again, if you have something good like the first Hangover film, let's keep making it over and over and over.  No one will notice it's really bad.  Not!

In France this was called "The Very Bad Day," and that's what you will have if you see this film.



Now I have to add a few of my own:




11.  Only God Forgives


Ryan Gosling plays a drug smuggler in Bangkok who goes on a blood bath revenge spree to avenge his brother death. (I reviewed this in my blog "Will Your Husband Cheat? and the Week in Reviews November 1, 2013)

Rosy the Reviewer says...And Ryan, I hope God forgives you for this bloody mess.






12.  The Big Wedding


A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding in what is supposed to be a comedy.

Rosy the Reviewer says...You may ask, how can a film with Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried go so terribly wrong?  Don't ask.  It just does.




13.  The Counselor


 A drug deal goes terribly wrong and everyone pays.  (I first reviewed this film in my blog "Will your husband cheat?")

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is one of those films where you just know something really, really gruesome is coming.  And it does...over and over.  You expect more from writer Cormac McCarthy.







Another installment in the Iron Man franchise. (I first reviewed this in my Week in Reviews October 11, 2013).

Rosy the Reviewer says...Smart ass Super Heroes are annoying.



15.  To the Wonder


After falling in love in Paris, a couple moves to Oklahoma. (I first reviewed this in my blog "Baby Boomer Fashion Show.")

Rosy the Reviewer says... Moral:  Don't move to Oklahoma from Paris. Terrence Malick films can be real yawn fests.  And this is one.



What do you think of this list? 
Any to add?


Take a break from your holiday stress and weigh in.


See you Tuesday for a Baby Boomer's
Christmas Eve Memories.

Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends

Friday, December 13, 2013

Alone for the Holidays: A Checklist and The Week in Reviews

I just about had a heart attack when I realized there were only two more Saturdays until Christmas. But then I realized we were going to be alone this year anyway and I guess Saturdays don't really matter that much anymore to me since I am retired.  Every day is Saturday.  But I still get nervous about getting everything done.

Here is what I have already done.

Sent out holiday cards.  Check
I griped about the lost art of correspondence in an earlier blog  so I take my own advice.  I don't believe in the annual "bragging" letters so many people send out.  I like hearing from my friends but reading about their dog's graduation from obedience school or little Jimmy's home run last April isn't my cup of tea.  What I do want to hear is that I have been a good friend.  So that's what I try to do each year when I send out my cards.  I write a little personal note letting my friends know what they mean to me or I remind them of a happy memory that includes them.  All in all, it doesn't really take that much more time than that long, typed, impersonal letter.  By the way, did I tell you my son made partner in his law firm?  Oops.

All of the trees are up and decorated.  Check
Yes, I said "all."  Not sure how it happened but we have a tree in the living room, tree in the family room and trees in the bedrooms.  Two are real.


Living room tree. 

Real tree in old fashioned decorations topped off with red velvet bows.

(2016 Update - the living room tree is now a fake tree with a new look)

 


Family room tree. 
 
Real tree in gold and white accented by pieces of ribbon.  My more sophisticated effort.  And yes, that's a large Beatles poster behind it.  I told you I was a fan. ( Remember my blog, "Why the Beatles Matter?")


Bedroom tree. 
 Fake tree with all of the leftover ornaments.  But it's comforting to have a little tree in the bedroom since I spend so much time there.

There are also little trees in the guest rooms.




Decorations are up.  Check




Presents to those far away have been sent.  Check.


So that is what I have done so far.

But it is actually a rather sad exercise as we will be all alone this Christmas. 

Those three stockings on the right are for our dogs. Our two children will be spending Christmas with their other families this year.


I still need to

  • Buy decorative empty boxes so it will look like we have presents under the trees.

  • Get out the dogs' holidays sweaters and Santa costumes.  At least we have them.

  • Bake.  No one will be around to see you get fatter, so what's the diff?

  • Watch Lifetime Christmas movies and cry.

But then, after the "to do" list is done...

Get over it, throw a party and then head off to some great place!




Like Paris!


Are you going to be alone this Christmas? 
If so, what are your plans?



Now on to the Week in Reviews.

It's been a slow week because of the holidays.

 

It's Nazi Germany right before WWII and young Liesel is being fostered by the Hubermanns, a German couple.  When she arrives, she can't read but has kept a book to remind her of her dead brother.  She learns to read and finds solace in stealing books and reading them to others, especially the young Jewish man the family is hiding.

When Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson are starring you can usually expect some good acting.  Unfortunately the characters are stereotypical and the script and dialog is a bit of a jumble.  This film is an adaption of the best-selling and award winning book by Marcus Zusak and appears to be suffering from the translation.  Trying to pack everything from a book into a two-hour film sometimes doesn't work.  It didn't here.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Good intentions, but just misses the mark.  Wait for it on DVD if you still want to see it.



***DVDS***
Movies You Might Have Missed
And some you will be glad you did!
(I see the bad ones so you don't have to)

Hapless failed NYC playwright stages a fake suicide to get her boyfriend back only to end up back home with her gambling addicted mother.

The jury is still out on Kristin Wiig in romantic comedies.  She is a brilliant comedienne, but she struggles with the pathos.  Annette Bening is the star here.  I always forget what a good actress she is and here she plays against type as a floozy.

Rosy the Reviewer says...See it for Bening's performance and a few laughs.

True story of an Alaskan State Trooper who joins forces with a young woman, who was almost a victim of a serial killer, and together they bring him to justice.

It's up in the air about Nicholas Cage's acting, but here he does quite well.  On the other hand, there is no question that John Cusack is a consummate actor and here he is slimy and twitchy as befits the serial killer, Robert Hanson.  And it's all very frozen and cold and Alaska-like, as it should be.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Wasn't expecting much.  But this film delivered beyond expectations.  A recommended crime thriller.

A journalist and his girlfriend get pulled in while they investigate a cult whose leader claims to be from the future.

I am a big fan of Brit Marling, who co-wrote this screenplay.  She also co- wrote and starred in The East and Another Earth, two other very interesting indie films.

Rosy the Reviewer says...See this for Marling.


***Book of the Week***


Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin (2013)



An inside look at the enigmatic, fiercely private Carson by his lawyer and friend.

It makes me sad to think that the current generation probably doesn't know who Johnny Carson was, but for Baby Boomers, he was a welcome addition to our homes late at night.  I know he kept me company many a night while my husband was in Vietnam.  He hosted "The Tonight Show" for 30 years (1962-1992) and was the highest paid performer of his day. I sometimes have a problem with biographies about people who are dead as there is no way to know the truth behind the dish, but Bushkin was there for much of Johnny's career and he has a lot to share, such as Carson's womanizing, sometimes heartlessness toward his family and a run-in with the mob.  However, it's a bit heavy on the business side of Carson's life and career (divorce settlements and contract negotiations), but I guess that's to be expected since this guy was his attorney and business manager.

Rosy the Reviewer says...He was one-of-a-kind.  If you are not that familiar with him, a better "starter" book might be Lawrence Leamer's "King of the Night."  Check your local library.



That's it for this week.

See you Tuesday!


And Happy Holidays!


Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it and/or email it to your friends.