Showing posts with label empty nest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label empty nest. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cooking in an Empty Nest

When I am at loose ends, I like to cook.  It relaxes me.

And as a newly retired, "empty nester," I am often at loose ends!

I love reading cookbooks and collecting recipes.  I have a little folder of all of the recipes I have cut out of magazines or printed off the Internet that I want to try, and I probably have over 100 cookbooks.

I even made myself my own cookbook. 
You might try this.  Find a big photo album, one of those with the plastic page covers and instead of putting in photos, add your favorite recipes that you have cut out of magazines or written on cards.  Voila!  Your very own cookbook of favorite recipes.

I am also the "Casserole Queen."  I just love making casseroles. 
Who knew?  I am not sure where that came from since I hated casseroles as a child.  When my mother would make a casserole, if my mother couldn't tell me every single thing in it, I would not eat it.  Sometimes she would try to fool me and not tell me about an ingredient I wouldn't like, but it didn't take me long to sniff it out.  I was a real "fussbudget" as my mother used to call me.  Now I love making and eating casseroles, but the issue with casseroles is that they usually feed 12, which is not a good thing when you are cooking for two.

So the big problem with my need to cook is...when I cook, I REALLY cook!  Like four or five or six dishes at time!

So my weekly routine usually includes my cooking several new recipes from that folder I keep.  I want to see what they taste like!  But then I make the recipe, taste it and move on.  Steam comes out of Hubby's ears and he goes mental when he sees all of the food I have prepared, especially when we can't fit all of the leftovers in the fridge.

"Who is going to eat all of this?" he will shout.

I slink off to the upstairs to watch some cooking shows.


There is also the issue of gathering all of the ingredients needed to try these new recipes.  I like to have everything I need on hand at all times, so whenever I find a new recipe, I automatically add the ingredients to my grocery list, even if I am not going to make that recipe in the near future. A friend once housesat for us and later asked me if I was a Mormon, because of all of the food we had stockpiled.  I said, "No, I just like to cook."

I can rationalize that if I spend a few hours cooking on the weekend and make several dishes, then I don't have to cook during the week when I don't want to.  Hubby can find something to eat on his own when he wants some lunch instead of bothering me while I'm getting caught up with "The Housewives" or doing some other important task.
So I know that what I am doing is not a particularly thrifty, healthy or smart thing to do since it's just the two of us.

And it doesn't help in the never-ending quest to lose weight to have all of this food on hand!


So what's a budding chef to do with the kids grown and a need to only cook for two?

Here are some ideas I have come up with:

  • Though I think it's a good idea to spend some time on the weekends cooking so that Hubby and I will have leftovers to eat during the week (and I will only have to cook when I want to), if the dish will not be consumed in one sitting, limit myself to one or two of those larger dishes per week.

  • When making a large dish, freeze half of it.

  • Probably should stay away from Costco.

  • Cut the recipe in half

  • Buy a cookbook aimed at cooking for two (just what I need, another cookbook!)

  • Or just forget about it and go out to eat instead

Any other advice?

In the meantime, here are some new cookbooks I have discovered recently and some recipes I plan to try (some habits die hard):

One Good Dish by David Tanis

Written by a New York Times food columnist, this cookbook deconstructs comfort food and elevates it to a gourmet level. 

From "Eggs in a Hole" to "Spaghetti with Bread Crumbs and Pepper," this is the kind of cookbook you will enjoy reading as much as preparing the recipes.  In his "Snacks" chapter, he shares a recipe for "Cucumber Spears with Dill," just small cucumbers, salt and pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme leaves, white wine vinegar, fresh dill and lime juice. Nice snack for those who shun carbs.

TIP:  Speaking of carbs, he recommended using a waffle iron to make grilled cheese sandwiches.  Why didn't I think of that?

Michael Symon's 5 in 5 by Michael Symon

Symons is one of the co-hosts of "The Chew," a cooking show I actually don't like.  It's a bit too frenetic and cutesy for me.  I am much more of a "Top Chef" kind of girl.  I like food competitions better than just watching someone prepare food.

Anyway, this is a fun and easy cookbook in that each recipe only uses five ingredients.

He shows you how to use those five ingredients to make several different recipes, all in just five minutes.  He covers pasta, meat skewers, sandwiches, steaming food in packets, egg dishes, grilling and more.  One recipe that caught my eye was "Pappardelle with Mushroom Cream Sauce."  It's just pappardelle pasta, olive oil, mushrooms, red onions, sour cream and fresh tarragon (I know that's more than five ingredients.  Herbs must not count).  Love pappardelle pasta, love mushrooms, not so sure about the cream sauce. 

What's for Dinner? Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life by Curtis Stone

I am usually not a fan of the celebrity chefs (Except for Tony and Gordon), but this is the first cookbook I have come across in a long time where I want to cook every I bought it!

He includes recipes for every day of the week and has divided the cookbook into chapters: Motivating Mondays, Time-Saving Tuesdays, One-Pot Wednesdays, Thrifty Thursdays, Five-Ingredient Fridays, Dinner Party Saturdays and Family Supper Sundays.

It's a beautifully produced book, with wonderful photos of the food (a must!)

Here is a taste:

Grilled Shrimp with Rice Noodle Salad
Seared Ham Steak and Eggs with Smashed Potatoes and Sourdough Toast
Slow-Cooked Pulled Port Sandwiches with "Fireworks" Coleslaw
Banana Cream Parfait with Gingersnap Strusel


So I like to cook, I like to eat, I want to lose weight.

I'm doomed.

See you Friday for
"Our Mothers and the Movies"
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.

Check your local library for the books mentioned.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the Ending

Despite our 37 year age difference, I am struck by the parallels in my daughter's and my lives.


Both of us aspiring actresses who became librarians (what else do you do when you give up on acting?).
We both followed love and moved thousands of miles away from our families to start a new life.
We both quit jobs and moved somewhere where we knew no one to start a new career.

And now we both find ourselves at the same crossroads, but for very different reasons.

We are both currently unemployed - I because I have recently retired from a 40 year career; my daughter because she has just graduated from the University of Washington's online I School (they don't call them library schools anymore - not sexy enough). 

She is entering the library profession just as I am leaving it.

What will happen next?

As we work that out - I, how I will replace my working life with a meaningful retirement; my daughter, finding her first professional job - I am struck by the similarities in our situation. 

Some situations defy the 37 year generation gap.

Both of us spend time each day searching...she for a job, me for meaningful activities and purpose. 

We are both coping with bouts of boredom, depression, uncertainty, loneliness and stress that comes with starting a new phase of our lives. 

Speaking of the generation gap, the generation gap of the past was much different from what it is today. 

Though there is one to the extent that young people probably don't enjoy hanging out with old folks that much, baby boomers have a certain "street cred" to their children. My daughter and I can relate about many things - music (I mean, our kids are still listening to "our" music), social media, fashion, current events and work.

My mother and I had a 40 year age difference (I think I was one of "those" babies) and boy, you could tell.  She didn't understand rock & roll, she wouldn't have been involved in social media even if it existed then, she had very strict ideas about fashion (jeans were for farmers so I never wore jeans and, when I was in college, she once kicked me out of the house for going to the eye doctor in a very nice pants suit because "what would the neighbors think?) and her idea of current events was reading the evening paper.  As for work, my mother was a housewife.  Though she would wax poetic about the time she was the secretary to the bank president, when she married my father, she quit her job and did what most women did in the 1930's, she stayed at home and took care of the house and him.

So as I matured, my mother and I didn't have the same experiences to bond over.  Even when I had my first child, she remarked that she didn't even remember giving brith.  "They knocked me out," she said, and that was fine with her. She had a caesarean and swore that was the way to go.  I was born at exactly 10am so the doctor could get in a golf game. ( It's my understanding that many caesareans were scheduled around that in those days and there are many more like me born at exactly 10am).  She was 72 when I had my first child so by then she didn't have much advice for me, recognizing that things had changed.  She didn't go to college (though she lamented the fact), never had a career, her husband never cheated on her (as far as I know) and she never experienced divorce, all things that were part of my life.  She didn't get feminism, didn't believe in questioning authority and she would correct people's English, right to their faces.

I once gave her a subscription to Ms. Magazine so she could understand my feelings about feminism and what I was dealing with in my life and career. I wanted to share that with her.  Later, she very politely asked me not to renew the subscription because she didn't like the "bad words" in the magazine.  So much for her seeing through to the content - and to me for that matter. 

As for questioning authority and all of the protesting that took place in my youth, she would always say, "The President must know what he is doing," though when her friends' sons started dying in Vietnam, she was against the war.

But despite that, my mother's and my lives ran parallel to a certain degree. 

Just as I moved thousands of miles from home (which must have broken my mother's heart), so too did my daughter move far away.  Just as my mother had children late in life, so did I.  And now, as I think of her all alone after my father died, I can relate to some of what she must have been feeling because raising her children was the center of her life.  She never complained. Her generation kept a stiff upper lip, something us Baby Boomers aren't as good at. Well, I'm not, anyway.

Despite our differences and that generation gap, my mother was always there for me and I know she loved me.

So as I said, my daughter and I have more to relate to and our lives are currently in parallel.

My daughter's husband recently accepted a professorship in a new town, miles from where he and my daughter started their life together.  While she was in library school, she worked full-time as a manager in retail.  So she quit that job to follow her husband to his new job and now must adjust to unemployment and the stress of finding a job and embarking on her new career.

Almost ten years ago, I likewise quit a library management job to move from California to Seattle where we knew no one.  The reason?  Part financial, part adventure.  I was able to restart my career and have now retired.  But I too am looking for a new job - the job of retirement.

As we both make this transition, I am drawn back to my search for a first library job.  Like my daughter, I moved to a new place to start my search.  I centered my search in Northern California which was probably not such a smart move.  This was the mid-70's and it was one of those library job slumps that seem to happen every ten years or so, though my daughter should reap the benefits of baby boomers retiring.  When you restrict your job search to a specific area, you are already limiting your options.

In those days, I didn't have the benefit of some of the job searching tools my daughter can use.  There was no Internet.  I had to rely on print ads in library publications and going door-to-door.  Yes, we used to do that in those days.  Under the guise of "seeking information," we would make appointments with people whose jobs we wanted and try to get help and leads.  And we would even do "cold calls." My job hunting base was Berkeley and I will never forget driving up and down the Peninsula, stopping at libraries, cold calling, hoping to meet with the library managers in hopes of finding something.  One day I stopped at the Menlo Park Library and the librarian kindly met with me.  She was very kind but when I expressed my frustration considering I had been an all A student in library school and even won the highest academic award available, she looked at me sympathetically and said, "My dear, everyone has those credentials."  My bubble was burst.

I eventually ended up in a small County Library in rural Northern California, supposedly mostly populated by retired policemen from Orange County.  Not the best place in 1974 for a girl with frizzy hair, a penchant for hippie clothes and granny glasses and a decidedly liberal air.  For the interview, I tried my best to look "straight."  I bought a polyester wrap dress from Penneys, pulled my hair back and tried to look the part, but my friend laughed and said so matter what I tried to do, I would never look like a librarian. I can't tell you how many times people have said that to me over the years, "You don't look like a librarian."  I am not sure what that meant or what a librarian was supposed to look like, but deep down, I think I took that as a compliment, considering the poor image librarians had then and still do to a certain degree. 

"You don't look like a Librarian."

I went to the interview and must have done OK because I got the job, but I should have been warned by the fact that after the interview, as I was driving back to the Bay Area, drinking my diet Seven Up,  I was followed out of town by a local cop all the way to the County line. I guess he wanted to make sure that gol' darn stranger got out of Dodge. 

Though I was happy to start my career, that job wasn't a good fit since it was difficult to make friends, my college-graduate husband who had very long hair, was not able to find a decent job, and the marriage ended.  But when you are young and just starting out, you sometimes have to take what you can get and make the best of it.  I lasted there three years, and since it was a small library, I learned everything about running a library since I was called upon to do everything from children's story times to difficult reference questions to lugging books from branch to branch.  So when I moved on to a larger library system south of San Francisco, I was well-equipped to move up quickly, which I did. 

It wasn't until much later that the person who hired me for that first job told me she hired me mostly because I "would be good" for that town, meaning she thought they needed someone like me who was different. Thanks.  Didn't know that was in the job description and not recommended for a particularly happy life.  But she was lucky.  I was a good librarian.

My daughter is also limited in where she can find her new job. I hope she will have more options than I seemed to back then and that she doesn't take the first thing that comes along if it doesn't feel like a good fit.

At some point my daughter will find a job and embark on her career, and I wish her the opportunities I have had to make a difference.  A library career is a meaningful one.

So when my daughter gets a job her "beginning" will end.  She will be off and running.

Now that I have retired from my career, my "ending" has begun.

But that just starts the cycle again, because our lives are full of new beginnings.  Every day is an opportunity for a new beginning.

At some point, my daughter will find the perfect job and I will find my true calling and these days of uncertainty will be behind for both of us.

And then our lives will take off in a different direction again.

I just hope that one day our directions will lead us closer together.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

20 Books and Films That Helped Shape This Baby Boomer's Life

We all have books and films that evoke something of the past in us. When we think of them we are reminded of a moment in time. 

But there are also books and films that did something more...changed us in some ways or added a new layer to our lives. 

These books and films are not necessarily on any "best lists" or necessarily highly rated.  I have different lists for that. 

These are films and books that helped shape my life or changed me in some way.
(In a somewhat chronological order)


1.  I have to start with a book that I now can't find. 

I know I was in middle school or early high school and was at my friend Linda's house.  Her parents had a book on their bookshelf called something like "100 Masterpieces of World Literature."  This would have been the late 1950's or early 1960's, so it wouldn't have any titles published beyond that.  I remember it listed "Alice Adams" by Booth TarkingtonSomerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage" and "Not as a Stranger" by Morton Thompson, authors not much read today. 

But that book made me want to read every one of the titles listed --  so I did. 

I started at "A" and went all the way to the end, reading my way through that list. 

It was a thrill to go to the library and search in the dark stacks for the next books on my list, finding those titles and reading  "adult" books.  And some of them were quite educational!  I was already a reader and a library user, but it fueled my desire to read books I was not familiar with and to learn about the world outside of my small town in Michigan. 

I think I might have stopped when I got to "Ulysses."
(though I read that later in life.)

2.  "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell.


I was 12 and reading my first book over 1000+ pages. 

I was already in love with Clark Gable and had seen the movie when I was really young.  Can't remember why I wanted to read the book, but all of my friends were, possibly because the movie was coming to town again. 

With all of our technology and ability to see movies on DVD only months after their release in the theatres, we forget there was a time when, if you didn't catch the movie when it came to town, it was lost forever to you.  So "Gone with the Wind" was playing again, and there I was in the theatre, reading the last few pages of the book as the lights went down and the curtain rose.  A politically incorrect book, I know, but the character of Scarlett O'Hara was a mesmerizing one and the story riveting. 

Margaret Mitchell's life was also an interesting story, and it is amazing that this was her only published novel.  When my daughter lived in Atlanta, I toured her home and an homage site outside of town.  Neither was very impressive. 

The book and movie so affected me that I thought there would be a recreation of Tara on Peachtree Street!

3.  "Marjorie Morningstar" by Herman Wouk.

I read this in high school and as a fledgling actress it spoke to me. 

It's the story of a young girl who also wanted to be an actress.  One thing I still remember vividly in it was her saying she didn't need to be a star, but she had to try to make it as an actress or she would forever wonder if she could have.  However, she ends up a housewife in some small town.  So that was my mantra. 
"I don't care if I am a big star, but I just want to be an actress so I won't wonder what could have been." 

Guess what?  Well, I didn't end up a housewife, anyway.

4.  "What Every Driver Must Know" - State of Michigan

Not exactly a book, but reading this spelled...


(I warned you that this wasn't a critically acclaimed list!)

5.  "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote


Not sure which came first, this book or my interest in true crime. 

But when I heard about this book and that it would be published in installments in the New Yorker, I moved heaven and earth to get copies of those installments, which wasn't easy in the pre-Internet days.  My library didn't carry the New Yorker, so I had to get photocopies through interlibrary loan.   I then read it again when it was published in hardback and that book scared the crap out of me.  To think that an innocent family like the Clutters could be living their lives out in the country in Kansas and be so brutalized was just astonishing to me.  Capote's prose was sparse but dramatic and he drew you in - you were there. 

The book was so riveting I have since been a fan of true crime, but I am also now afraid to be alone at night.

6.  "Primary Philosophy" by Michael Scriven.

Philosophy 101 - Freshman year. 

Though the text was not just about the existence of God, his arguments for and against faith and beliefs affected me. He argued that faith alone was not an adequate way to prove the truth of beliefs.  

My father was a Christian Scientist and my mother was a Lutheran.  I went to church every Sunday, mostly at the Christian Science Church.  My father felt he didn't ask much of us so he expected we would do that for him, get up and go to church.  So we did. 

When I went to college, I took advantage of being away from home to not have to get up on Sunday morning and go to church as I had for the last 15+ years.  But  I can't remember how fervent my beliefs were when I went to college, though I believed in God.  Reading this text, however, made me question faith and what that meant, andthink that's what college is supposed to do, make you question things. 

Years later, I was at a party far from where I went to college and somehow this subject came up.  I was talking about how affected I had been by this book, but couldn't remember the name of the textbook or the author, but when I described it, one of the people in the discussion shouted, "Scriven!"  So I was not alone.

My son-in-law is a philosophy professor and I bought him a copy for Christmas, so I had a chance to look at it again 40+ years later.  I found it as I remembered it - asking all of the right questions.

A rational look at belief and faith.

7.  "Baby and Child Care" by Benjamin Spock

Dr. Spock's advice was still relevant in 1980 when my son was born, even though his book was first published in 1946.  Since I was born in 1948, it was probably the advice my mother took as well. 

He was the first to espouse parents being more affectionate and flexible when raising their children so most of us Baby Boomers probably benefited from his advice. However, the fact that he also was a liberal who was against the war in Vietnam led critics to brand his parenting advice as permissive and entitling, that we somehow expected instant gratification, and because of that, in turn, they blamed him for young people becoming protesters during the 60's and 70's.  Kind of a leap. 

But we Baby Boomers are getting it on both ends.  The current younger generation also blames us for the world as it is now and leaving them with school loans, a bad economy and who knows what else. 

But wait, our children were also brought up on Dr. Spock.  And aren't the Millennials (most of our children) the "Me generation?

And those children born in the 1980's constitute a birth rate almost as high as the Baby Boom generation. 

Here is what USA Today said about them in 2007:  "Developing a meaningful philosophy of life" decreased the most, across generations, from 73% for Boomers to 45% for Millennials.

"Becoming involved in programs to clean up the environment" dropped from 33% for Boomers to 21% for Millennials."

But this generation also appears to be even more liberal than us Baby Boomers, supporting gay marriage and other social issues.

I wonder what their legacy will be.

8. "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

This was a favorite book for both of my children and I am now reading it to my grandsons. 

 I defy any of you parents out there to read that thing without crying. 

My god, after giving the boy everything, her fruit, her branches, her trunk, until she was reduced to a stump...the boy came back...

–”I don’t need very much now”, said the boy. “Just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired”.
–”Well”, said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, “well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down… sit down and rest”.
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy."

Geez, I'm crying right now. I can't stand it.

9.  "Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed

This is a very recent book for me but it had a profound impact. 

I tend to read mostly nonfiction these days, biographies, true crime, pop culture stuff, but this book will appeal to fiction readers as much as nonfiction readers. 

After the traumatic loss of  her mother, Strayed decides to walk the Pacific Crest Trail on her own.  She describes her day-to-day journey and it goes from harrowing to exciting to insightful. 

But the bottom line, the takeaway for me was, no matter what life throws at you, keep putting one foot in front of the other.

10.  Search Inside Yourself, The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) by Chade-Meng Tan.


Here is another recent find.  The author was a trainer at Google, which might explain why Google is doing so well.

It's self-help, but it's humorous and a fun read and attempts to help you deal with triggering situations.  I found this when I became interested in meditation but this goes further. 

 My big takeaway was his mnemonic.

"Siberian North Railroad" helps you remember to Stop, Breathe, Notice, Reflect, Respond when dealing with triggering events.

Try it, it works (if you can remember the mnemonic).


1.  "Gone with the Wind"

The movie had even more of an impact on me than the book. 

The film was released in 1939, but its popularity was such that it would be re-released from time to time.  My mother took me to see it when I was five and it is one of the few memories I have that far back. But it's a vivid one.  Then I saw it again in 1960 and then several times after that.

That was when I decided I wanted to be an actress and it was probably because Scarlett O'Hara got to wear so many beautiful clothes.  But hey, we all have our reasons.

2.  "Hard Day's Night"

If you have been reading my blogs, you know I am not only a huge Beatles fan but that I also feel they have great significance to the popular culture of Baby Boomers.  

In case you missed it, here is the link. 

I have probably seen this film 10 times or more.  In my youth, all I cared about was that it was about my idols.  But now, of course, it is recognized as a brilliant little film directed by acclaimed director Richard Lester. 

I think the Beatles and this film spoke to me and other Baby Boomers, because as the Wilson sisters ("Heart) said in their recent oral history with Charles Cross, "Kicking and Dreaming" , they didn't want to marry the Beatles, they wanted to BE the Beatles.  I so get that.

Though I have to say I did want to marry Paul, this film also made me want to be them, to be there (in England) and do what they did. 

3. "West Side Story"


This film changed the face of musical theatre and musical films forever.  

It was such a big event that it played in the theatres like a stage play.  My friend Linda's parents took me to Chicago with them and we saw it there.  It was the first time I had sat in a movie theatre while an overture was played, with the skyline of New York City superimposed on the movie curtain.

Of course, "West Side Story" had already taken Broadway by storm, but for a girl of 12 from Michigan who didn't have a prayer in hell to get to New York City, seeing this movie was a revelation. It took on social issues, combined those with a classic story, and a sublime score and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim.  It was gritty, beautiful and sad and changed my little 12-year-old self forever. 

I must have played that soundtrack thousands of times in my room, and when I die, I want "There's a Place For Us" sung at my funeral.

4.  "Citizen Kane"

Orson Welles was just too much of a genius to play the Hollywood game.  That's my theory anyway, because all of his films are classics but he didn't get to make very many, and he didn't make much money.

Citizen Kane" gave me a tutorial in the art of innovative filmmaking.  He was the first to shoot a camera looking up from below and his scenes at the breakfast table between Charles Foster Kane and his wife show the disintegration of a marriage in six short vignettes all within two and a half minutes.

Here it is.

Brilliant just brilliant.

5.  "Rebel Without a Cause"

James Dean.  Natalie Wood.  Sal Mineo.  Teenage angst.  Drag racing.  Sounds like teen spirit. What could be better when you are a teenager yourself in the late 50's and early 60's?  And then Dean was killed in a car crash. 

I was agog.

6.  Easy Rider"

And then came the 1960's version of "rebel." 

I literally let out a yell in the movie theatre at the final scene.

7"Up Series"

This incredible series of films has followed 16 British children every seven years since 1964 when they were all seven.  The first film was titled "7 Up," followed by "14 Up," "21 Up," etc.  The most recent, "56 Up," was just released this year. 

It began as a study in class where the assumption was that each child's class would predict his or her future.   The premise of the film was taken from the Jesuit motto "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man", which is based on a quotation by Francis Xavier.

The aim of the series is stated at the beginning of 7 Up as: "Why do we bring these children together? Because we want to get a glimpse of England in the year 2000. The shop steward and the executive of the year 2000 are now seven years old." 

But it is a study in realism, dreams realized, dreams dashed.  We see these kids grow up before our very eyes.

Director Michael Apted has been chronicling these children's lives since the second installment for an incredible 42 years.  What a feat!

This is probably the documentary that inspired my life-long love of this genre (and why, dare I say it?  I love reality TV). 

8.  "Night and Fog"

This is also a documentary - a shocking depiction of the Nazi concentration camps shortly after the war. 

If you have any doubt the holocaust happened, you need to see this film.







9.  "Taste of Honey"

This 1961 British film, directed by Tony Richardson, father of Natasha and Joely, is part of the "kitchen sink realism" that changed the face of film.  Speaking of faces, this is when actors and actresses started to look like real people, you and me.

There was one "art house" in town and my friends and I were able to get into see the films there, even though you were supposed to be 18 (and we weren't).  I  think we had fake ID's.

Rita Tushingham starred and I related to her because it was the first time I saw a movie where the lead actress wasn't classically beautiful.  She had an odd look.  Since I wanted to be an actress but was insecure about my looks, it heartened me to see a successful actress who didn't have the classic Hollywood face.

10.  "51 Birch Street"

A son discovers the secrets of his parent's marriage after his mother dies in this documentary about  the more subtle forms of repression, secrecy and denial within a family, and the complexity of marriage. 

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed with my Dad when I was about 12 and asking him why I knew my friends better than I knew my mother and him.  He said something about parents not wanting to worry their children.  But even as a young girl, I wanted to "know" and "be known." 

As humans, I think our deepest desire is to be known by others, but we don't know how to do it. 

That's what this movie is about. Cinema verite at its best.

What books and films shaped your life? 

Let's get a discussion going!


***Rosy the Reviewer's Week in Review***


A great week for movies.


This French film was not only nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (which it won), but for Best Picture and Best Screenplay as well and there is a reason. 

It's a wonderful story about the love between an old couple and what happens after the wife has a stroke.  It's all about dying with dignity and what we are willing to do to make that happen. 

 I have thought about this very thing when I think about my Dad, who died at home with his loved ones around him, and my mother, who died alone in a nursing home.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a must see.  I know, you have to read subtitles but do it,  it's worth it.


This psychological thriller directed by Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") reminded me of "Inception," with it's "is this real or imagined?" scenes.

Rosy the Reviewer says...despite some "huh?" moments, James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson are outstanding.

"Shadow Dancer"

This British-Irish drama is about Colette, a young IRA member who is arrested and given the choice of working undercover or losing her son.  Andrea Riseborough as Colette is amazing and Clive Owen is always good.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Taut thriller and I didn't see the end coming at all.


Took a break from the Bumbershoot Music Festival to have a lovely meal at the Tilikum Place Café in Seattle.  Had the most delicious hand-cut pasta in sage butter as a starter, followed by pork tenderloin on a bed of creamed corn.  Hubby had a wonderful New York steak with onion rings.  And the onion rings were done right.  Don't you hate it when you eat onion rings and when you bite into them, the onion comes out of the coating?  These didn't do that.  They were perfect.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Seattlites and visitors - this is a special place.  Don't miss it!


According to Elle Magazine, fall is all about polka dots, nautical-meets-military and surrealism.  Colors include bedazzled black, navy and pastels. 

Rosy the Reviewer dress accordingly.


I think I can manage the black and bedazzled thing.


This week it was all about Bumbershoot, the three day music and arts festival that takes over Seattle every year over the Labor Day weekend.  We attended on Saturday with the express purpose of seeing Heart but also found some other up and coming acts.

Diamond Rings

Davidson Hart Kingsbury

Lake Street Dive

The Jason Bonham Experience opened for Heart on the main stage.  Jason is John Bonham's son, John of Led Zeppelin fame.  So it was all about paying homage to Led Zeppelin.  Heart followed with all of their hits.  Both Nancy and Ann were in fine voice.  Mike McCready of Pearl Jam came out to play with them on "Crazy on You" and the encore included six Led Zeppelin songs accompanied by Jason Bonham and his band.  Ann Wilson sang Robert Plant better than Robert Plant!  Gorgeous Pacific NW day.  Fabulous concert.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Bumbershoot is an annual event I look forward to and a great way to support new, young talent.

See you next week!