Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratitude and the Week in Reviews

[I review the movies "Dallas Buyers Club," "The Way Way Back," "Scenic Route," "The Internship," "And While You Were Here" and the book "House in the Sky."]

But first
 

Gratitude

It's the day after Thanksgiving and, except for the scream I let out that was like a banshee from hell when I stepped on the scale, I am full of gratitude.

And when I think of all that I am grateful for, happy and sometimes funny memories come flooding back.

So the first thing I am grateful for is all of the happy and funny memories I have.

So here is my list of what I am grateful for with some accompanying happy and sometimes funny memories.

Hubby

We found each other over 30 years ago when we were both at loose ends, and over the last 30 years, we have tied those loose ends together and created a happy life.  He has been a good husband and father.

I am so grateful for that.



Happy, Funny Memory:  On our first date, late into the evening, we sang a boozy duet of "Endless Love" together (and I'm not talking about karaoke.  It was just the two of us).

I knew he was the one.


My son

He and I were all alone and I didn't know what the future would be until I met Hubby.  Now 33 years later, my son is a successful attorney and partner in a law firm.  But more importantly, he is a wonderful, kind man, husband and father.

I am so grateful for that.


Happy, funny memory: When he was about the age in the picture above, he told me he loved me "more than life itself."

I was so happy!  I couldn't believe it.  For one thing, what a mature thing to say, but even better, that he loved me that much.  It wasn't until later when he was watching Walt Disney's animated "Robin Hood" movie, which was a particular favorite of his, that I overheard "Robin" say to "Maid Marian," "I love you more than life itself."



So much for that. 



My daughter

My daughter was an amazing student, like her brother.  She was given the opportunity to go to Stanford and that has held her in good stead as she moves forward in her career.  But she is also a wonderful, kind woman who is happily married.

And I am grateful for that.


Happy, funny memory:  When my daughter was learning to speak she had trouble with her compound consonants such as "TR."  She would turn them into "F's."  She also used to like to point at things she would see as we were driving around and yell out what they were. 

Trucks were a favorite.

Well you get the picture.  My mother was not amused.



My parent's long lives

Since I wasn't born until my parents were 40, I am so grateful they both lived to be in their 80's and 90's.  When you think that my parents were 72 when my son was born, it was a miracle he and my daughter (they were 76 when she was born) knew their grandparents at all.  But even though they were young when they knew them, my parents are remembered by my children.  And it doesn't hurt to come from a family with longevity.

I am so grateful for that.



Happy, Funny Memory: My Dad playing and singing this on the piano.

A peanut sat
On a railway track
His heart was all a flutter
Around the bend came number ten
Choo! Choo! Peanut butter!!!
 
And then he would chuckle that deep so-satisfied-with-himself chuckle of his.

And this time of year especially, my mother's pies.



Facebook

I know there is much to despair about with FB but being able to keep up with old friends and meet new ones has helped me immensely as I have moved to a new town, embarked upon retirement, and, dare I say it, old age?  I can keep up with my children, my friends, my relatives, my old friends from long ago...

I am grateful for that.

Happy Funny memory:  I am talking to and sharing with friends from 40 years ago which brings back all kinds of happy and funny memories.



Seattle Stair Walks

Walking is my favorite exercise.  Yes, I go to the gym, but long walks are my exercise of choice.  Add to the walk new neighborhoods and environments and I am in heaven.  When we first moved to Seattle we went through at least two "urban walks" type books and that helped immensely to get to know the place, but we have had the most fun with "Seattle Stairway Walks" by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo. Seattle is a town of hills and stairs to get up and down those hills.  Every walk includes beautiful residential areas, lush greenery and stairs and more stairs.


Happy Memory:  That my ass is smaller because of this book.




Retirement

I am grateful that I have a pension from 30 years of work and can retire.  I know many people can't (like Hubby) or worry about how they will manage without a job.  Retirement enables me to spend time with myself, something I am finding very rewarding.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy Funny Memory:  Working on it.




My Nexus card

We would go to Canada and when crossing the border see this entrance to the border patrol called NEXUS.  It hardly ever had any cars in it.  I decided to investigate.  Hubby and I are now "trusted travelers" and we can not only use that fast line to get across the border to Canada, but we can use the TSA Pre-check line at the airport.  We can keep our shoes on, no need to pull out the Ipad or the cosmetics.  It's quick and easy.  Love it!

I am so grateful for that.

Happy, Funny Memory:  Thinking nah-nah-na-nah-nah as we whiz through security at the airport or across the border.  No, not really, that would be immature and mean.
nah-nah-na-nah-nah




The fact that tea isn't fattening

It seems like such a small thing, but let me tell you...anything that is not fattening is a blessing.

I am so grateful for that.

Happy Memory:  High tea at The Ritz in London.





Skype

With children and grandchildren living hundreds and thousands of miles away, Skype helps keep us connected.



I am so grateful for that.

Happy Funny Memory:  Watching "Cars," the movie with my grandson.  He is obsessed





Tivo

When we first got TIVO, I thought this would change my life - well, my TV viewing habits anyway.  No more would I be a captive to the TV.  I could set up automatic recording for shows I liked and then watch them when it was convenient.  Well, that was the idea. 

The reality is it affords me the opportunity to watch way more TV than I ever could have without it. And that's not a good thing.  I find myself setting up Season Passes (this is an action that will automatically record an entire series of a program) for shows I probably never would have watched. 



Not so happy, but funny memory:  I fell to a new low when I actually watched an episode of "Buying Naked."



Slingbox

Hubby gave this to me for Christmas last year.  It works with TIVO and allows you to watch everything on your TV remotely from an IPAD or another device as if you were in real time at home.  It is very cool when you are traveling, especially in other countries where the TV is in a different language.  Not that I spend much time watching TV when I am traveling. Really, I don't.

Strange, funny memory: Here is what I have used it for.  When I am traveling, I turn it on and if I can access my TV from my IPad, I know my TV is still there and we haven't been robbed!



Libraries

I am grateful for libraries, not just because they sustained my career, but because libraries represent what this country is all about:  freedom - the freedom to read, the freedom to access information, the freedom to view and it's a place for people to gather to exchange ideas.

I am grateful for that.

Happy Funny Memory:  All of the wonderful people I have worked with and met, some very funny.



Wine

No elaboration needed here. 

And there is someone else who is grateful for that who will remain nameless, but his initials are W.G.P.


He is so grateful for that.

Speaking of which, my list would not be complete without my gratitude to the Wine Guzzling Poodle and his two cohorts.  They have given us too many happy, funny memories to recount.

This actually is not a complete list. 

I think of things I am grateful for every day.
 
I am grateful for that!


What are you grateful for?

 
 

Now on with the Week in Reviews. 

Take a break from holiday madness, do something nice for yourself, and lose yourself in a film or a book.

 
 

 


Dallas Buyers Club (2013)


Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a hard living homophobe who finds himself with the AIDS virus.  It's 1985 and he can't get the drugs he feels he needs to save himself.  So he sets up a "buyer's club" to help himself and other AIDS sufferers get the drugs they need from Mexico and other countries and the FDA tries to stop him.

Much was made of McConaughey's weight loss and his transformation is amazing.  But Jared Leto must also be recognized.  Looks like he did the same thing.  You would never recognize him from teen heartthrob days, though he makes a beautiful woman.  Both will no doubt be recognized by the Academy come Oscar time. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked Silkwood or Erin Brockovich, you will like this film.  But it's the acting that stands out here.
                         


***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)
 
 
 
Duncan is 14 and on vacation with his mother and her new overbearing boyfriend.
 
An unflattering picture of adults at play through the eyes of children.
 
It's interesting to see Steve Carell in an unsympathetic role, but Allison Janney is the one who steals the show in the role of the ditzy, drunken next door neighbor with a heart of gold.  You don't often see her play these types of roles.  I am thinking - Academy Award nomination?  Also Liam James is a fine young actor who can convey his character's transformation just through the use of his shoulders.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...a sweet coming of age story that shows how the sins of the parents can rain down on the children. 
Highly recommended.
 



Scenic Route (2013)
 
 
Two lifelong friends are on a road trip through Death Valley and their truck breaks down.  Bad stuff happens. 
 
I enjoy the occasional horror film and that's what I thought this was going to be, but actually, it was more of a character study about what happens when you are stranded and broken down into your barest most base self and secrets and regrets are revealed - a kind of demented, violent "My Dinner with Andre."
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...It's one of those "will they or won't they" get rescued movies with an ending that will likely spark discussion. I liked it but, Josh, you are too handsome for a Mohawk and romantic comedies miss you!
 
 
 
Two salesmen (of the worst kind) find themselves jobless so talk their way into an internship at Google.
 
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are both funny guys and this was a cute premise, but this film misses the mark.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...This is no Wedding Crashers.  
It's predictable and I didn't laugh.
 
 
 
 
 
Unhappy married woman in Naples meets and falls for a young boy.
 
The lush Naples backdrop is the star here.  Otherwise, a rather vapid story with vapid characters.  Jamie Blackley, the young love interest, is worth watching.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like travelogues, you might enjoy this.  And can Kate Bosworth be any skinnier?
 
 
 


***Book of the Week***
 


A House in the Sky (2013) by Amanda Lindhout
 
 
An adventurous young woman travels to dangerous destinations and finds herself a kidnap victim in Somalia.

For 460 days, Canadian Amanda Lindhout endured all kinds of deprivation and sexual abuse at the hands of her captors, resorting to converting to Islam in hopes of finding compassion in her captors. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a harrowing read.  If you liked "A Mighty Heart" or "American Hostage," you might like this.


Try your local library for DVDs and books listed.






That's it for this week.

 


See you next Tuesday
where I will share my travel tips for seniors
(and others too)!
 



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Monday, November 25, 2013

Passing the Baton

My daughter graduated from library school in June.  I retired from my 40 year career as a librarian in July.

Just as I left the profession, my daughter began job hunting for her first professional library position.

She just called to say she had accepted a very good job offer.

I am so proud of her and happy that she has chosen the profession that sustained me for 40 years.

My daughter's and my lives have had many parallels, 37 years apart. 

We both moved thousands of miles away from our families, we both wanted to be actresses and we both became librarians.



We were born

"Welcome to the world!"


      1948                                                                                  1985                                                                                                     

                                                                        


        
 

 
We grew up in loving families.
 
 
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
 
 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We Graduated from High School
 


                 1966                                                                                                        2003                                                                                                                                                                                                      


                                                               

We Graduated from College







             1970
 
 
 
 
 
 2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
We Got Married
 


  




                                  1984                                                                    2010
                                                
 
 
We Were Actresses and Performers
                                                 
 
                                    
 
 
 
 

 
 
Then we became librarians.
 
 
 
Welcome to the world of libraries!
 
 
 
 
               
     My first job -  1974                                                   Her first job - 2013
 
 
A picture is worth a thousand words!
 
 
 
 
My mother got a real kick out of my daughter. 
 
 
 
Once, when my mother was particularly complimentary about her, I said, "Just like me, huh, Mom?" 
 
To which she replied, "Yes, only better!" 
 
Mom!!!
 
But she was right.  Don't we wish our children to be better than we were, to do better than we did?
 
And now my daughter has parlayed her education and three years managing a retail store (while her husband finished up his Ph.D) into a library management position as her first job, something it took me three years into the profession to attain.
 
As the conductor of my own life, I have chosen to retire from the symphony I conducted for the last 40 years, pass my baton and bow to the next generation.
 
I know some of what lies ahead for her. May she enjoy it as I have.
 
Now I am on to my next symphony!
 
 
Have you passed your baton to someone?
 
 
 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 
 
 
See you Friday for a Thanksgiving Wrap-up!
 
                                          
                                                         Thanks for reading!
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Remembering President Kennedy and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movies "Prisoners," "The Heat," "War of the Buttons," "Broken City" and recommend a good book.]

But first


Today is the anniversary of the day President Kennedy was shot. Not a day for levity.



I remember it well. 

I was in chemistry class (10th grade), and when the principal came on the PA system and said, "Our President has been shot," it was so far from the realm of possibility for my young mind that I thought he meant the Student Council President.

And after that day, life was forever changed for us Baby Boomers. 

We may have been afraid of the bomb, but witnessing the images of our President being shot and the aftermath, shook our lives as if the ground had literally shaken beneath our feet. If something could happen to the President, then none of us was safe.  Perhaps that is what fostered the Baby Boomer uprisings - protests, hippies, drugs, sex and rock & roll.  We realized we had to make our own rules and live life while we had it.

I recently heard that the pink suit Jackie Kennedy was wearing that day has been put away in the National Archives, not to come out until 50 years from now, so none of us Baby Boomers will live to see that in the flesh, but I don't need to or want to.  It was enough to live through those times.



Where were you when you heard President Kennedy had been shot?

 
 
 
 
***The Week in Reviews***
 
 
 
 
Two little girls are kidnapped and their fathers will go to almost any lengths to find them.
 
Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman do a fine acting job but this script lets them down.  It's starts out well and will have you on the edge of your seat as you anticipate what might happen next,  but as the film goes on the plot has more holes in it than swiss cheese. I think it's about practically everyone in this film being a prisoner of some kind, but it's quite an unpleasant film to watch and it's way too long.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...though some critics disagree with me, I think you can save yourself the $11.00 and if you are still interested, see it when it comes out on DVD.
 



***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)
 

The Heat (2013)
 
 
A tight-laced by the book cop is paired with a ruler breaker cop as they work together to bring down a drug lord.
 
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy star.
Here is my criterion for judging a comedy.  Did it make me laugh out loud?
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...it was really funny.  Made me laugh out loud.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's 1944 and young boys from two different French villages wage a war in counterpoint to the backdrop of the "real war" going on around them.  The spoils?  Whoever captures the most buttons from opposing gangs.
 
Heartwarming French film starring the cutest kids (and you know how I usually dislike kids in films).  And how much cuter can you get than cute kids speaking French? And ah, what kids get up to when adults aren't around. Gloriously lush French countryside adds to the film as it hides the evil of the French villagers who are collaborating with the Nazis. Subtitles.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...C'est enjoyable!
 
 
 

Broken City (2013)
 
 
Usual story of disgraced cop trying to uncover the corruption in his city.
 
Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones star.  I have never forgiven Russell Crowe for his singing in "Les Miserables."
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...lots of clichés but at least Crowe doesn't sing.  Thank the Lord!  If you like this kind of thing, it's mercilessly short.
 
 
 


***Books***
 
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (2009)
 
 
Kingsolver's first novel since 2000 tells the story of Harrison Shepherd, a spectator in the world of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo during their friendship with Leon Trotsky in 1930's Mexico.  Shepherd goes on to become a novelist attacked by HUAC but it his chaotic childhood that haunts him.
 
I found it a difficult read at times but you can't fault her beautiful prose. My book club read this together and it inspires good discussion.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...readers who like historical fiction and detailed prose will enjoy this.
 
 
 
 
***Theatre***
 
 
 
A drag queen travels to the outback with his drag queen and transsexual friends to meet his son.
 
 
This musical version of the film the Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), is a very campy, fun  The songs are all pop songs of the 80's and 90's, mostly disco.  The costume designer for the film won an Oscar for the costumes.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...lots of fun but not much substance.  The costumes star.
 


***Food***
 
Stoneburner Restaurant
 
If you are in the Seattle area, highly recommend new restaurant Stoneburner.  Owned by the same folks who brought us Bastille,  Poquitos, Macleods Scottish Pub and Von Trapps, this new eatery embraces Italian cuisine.  The charcuterie plate is king here.  Heaps of choice sliced meat presented on a wooden tray with pickled veggies and a hot, hot mustard.  Fresh pasta and pizzas also great. The bar is lively and expansive.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...new favorite place.  Will definitely return.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hipster bar offering delicious craft cocktails and comfort food.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Great retro atmosphere, friendly bartenders and BIG drinks!
 



 


That's it for this week.
 

See you next Tuesday!
 



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