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Archive for December, 2010

I don’t run to the theater every time a new movie I want to see comes out.  As a matter of fact, since I was struck with double vision in July, I haven’t gone out to a movie at all, mainly because I feared that seeing TWO giant screens might drive me mad.  Anyway, I digress.  Usually when I see previews of movies that look good to me on TV, I remember the titles.  Then I go to Blockbuster when they’re having big movie sales and pick them up.  This year they had five movies for $19.99 which is roughly $4 per movie, which you just can’t beat.  I bought ten.  I watched five over the holiday weekend and was actually surprised at which ones I liked and which sucked.  So, I’m going to give you the equivalent of $2.00 movie reviews.  I won’t go into the directing, artistic merit, yada, yada, yada.  I’ll just share my impressions in a sort of shorthand way.

Carriers – This was a “lethal virus wipes out most of the country” type movie, the kind I always like, particularly on Christmas day.  🙂 It features four young people (three I didn’t know and one, Emily Van Camp who plays Rebecca on “Brothers and Sisters”)  who are trying to make their way by car to a seaside resort which they think is remote enough that they will be safe.  The virus can be transmitted from an infected person by their breath or their fluids, so everybody wears a mask around their neck, just in case.  Gas is a rare commodity so, if someone wants you to stop on the road, you’re smart to keep going because (a) they might be infected and (b) they might kill you and take your car.  At the end of the world, laws don’t count for much.  I expected this movie to be mainly horror, so was surprised that it didn’t scare me so much as it touched me.  They do meet people along the way and it poses a lot of interesting moral questions.  I liked it even though it made me sad.

The Hurt Locker – Didn’t this movie win an Academy Award for Best Director?  I think so.  It stars Jeremy Renner as Staff Sargeant James, an expert at disarming bombs.  It’s set in Iraq and made me feel like I was there – the heat, the smells, the crowds and the danger.  He and his team go around disarming bombs and we come to realize that for some servicemen the danger is like a drug, making it impossible to ever live a normal life again.  It was good.

The Road – I had read countless glowing reviews of this movie by critics.  It is based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of a man and his son walking through a post-apocalyptic world.  Along with Viggo Mortensen as the father, Robert Duvall and Charlize Theron are also listed as co-stars, but the latter two play only cameo roles.  This is a BLEAK movie.  And by bleak, I mean it has scenes so horrific that I wish I’d never seen them.  One, in particular, regarding cannibals is seared into my brain.  In one of the early flashbacks we see the wife choose suicide rather than live in the world as it had become.  I think she had the right idea.  The movie felt authentic, but left me feeling empty.

Last Chance Harvey – This movie starred Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as two “older” adults who meet by accident in England and supposedly realize that “it’s never too late for a second chance at love.”  This was the movie I wanted to see.  The previews looked good.  I like Dustin Hoffman (“Kramer versus Kramer” is one of my favorite movies.)  I love England.  I should  have loved this movie.  All through it I kept telling myself it was good.  But seriously?  It sucked.  It was as if the writers liked the idea of the story but didn’t want to go to the trouble of actually filling in the details.  So it wasn’t witty and funny and romantic.  Actually, it made me feel tense.  Dustin Hoffman acted like Emma Thompson was radioactive, even though he seemed to stalk her throughout the movie.  There was never a tender touch or a romantic declaration.  The one time he kisses her in the entire movie, he kisses the SIDE of her mouth!  What’s with that?  Nope, the more I thought about it, the angrier I got.  Emma Thompson acted frustrated through most of the story.  That made two of us.

The Perfect Getaway – This movie starred Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez and Steve Zahn.  It’s about honeymooners hiking a jungle trail to a remote Hawaiian beach.  Along the way they hear that the police are seeking two psychopaths who are stalking and murdering tourists.  They decide to go on anyway with another couple they meet along the trail.  When I saw the preview for this movie, I just knew I’d love it.  I mean, come on, psychopaths stalking you along a remote trail…what’s not to love?  I was ready to be scared and I was.  But what appears to be a perfectly predictable B-grade movie turned out to be anything but!  It was suspenseful and funny and had a wicked twist.

One of the guys looked so familiar to me, but I couldn’t figure out where I’d seen him.  He plays one of those guys who think they’re so macho and he was really over the top.  It wasn’t until I saw Timothy Olyphant’s name that I realized it was him.  The last time I saw him was in three seasons of “Deadwood” where he played a totally serious, very straitlaced sheriff.  It was so fun seeing him in a role like this.   This was a totally enjoyable movie.

All in all, I’d recommend “The Perfect Getaway” for a good story, “The Hurt Locker” for an education, and “Carriers” for food for thought.  If you’ve seen any of these I’ve reviewed and want to chime in with your opinions, don’t hesitate.

After all, these reviews are probably worth just what you paid for them!  🙂

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Incognito!

Well, not to overreact or anything, but I may have to join the Federal Witness Protection Program.   Seriously

Right as I reached the end of taking the deadly steroid, Prednisone on Thursday, one of the side effects finally kicked in, giving me a puffy face.  And when I say “puffy face,” I don’t mean some little sissy bags under my eyes.  No, I mean I look like I sucked on a bicycle pump while someone kept pumping and lost track of what they were doing!  It’s horrifying!  I drew this picture to give you some idea of what I’m dealing with.  See how big my head is in relation to the rest of my body?  That’s due to the puffiness!

I’m the kind of woman who needs to look the best she can at all times.  It’s important to me.  I even put on make-up on days when no one is going to see me but me.  It’s vital to my self-esteem.  Now that I look like an official Freak of Nature, I feel like crying every time I look in the mirror.  I wear a mask (see my illustration again) every time I go out to the mailbox because I can’t bear the thought of someone seeing me and saying, “Is THAT Star?  Good Lord!  What HAPPENED to her?” Instead they probably just think I’m Zorro’s wife…

So I figure if this doesn’t go away, I may need the Feds’ help to start a new life somewhere where no one knows me.  Of course in that new life I’d probably be called, “The Puffy-Faced Woman” and would be a figure of pity and maybe scorn, but hey, what can you do?    Of course I’ve only been off the pills for a few days, so I’m praying that my face will go back to the way it was.  I was thinking of maybe poking one of my cheeks with a straight pin and see if a bunch of air comes whooshing out.  Gross, but it would be a fast solution.

Anyway, until I start looking like a normal person again, I’ll keep writing but you probably won’t see me.  I’m going incognito.  And now you know why.

 

 

Er, I mean, Sadie Zorro.

 

 

 

 

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Snowmen, Anyone?

Well, Christmas is over and winter, my most unfavorite time of year, is officially here.  Actually, I could cope with the bone-chilling temperatures.  It’s the sleet and ice and snow that eventually drive me up the wall.  So far we’ve been lucky where I live, not having had it too bad yet, but I’m sure our turn is coming.  The only two things I like about snow are: (1) the beauty of the untouched landscape (if you don’t HAVE to get out in it,) and (2) snowmen!  That’s why I thought it would be a good time to post my yearly “Snowman Post.”  I haven’t had a chance to make any snow people of my own yet, but if I do, rest assured I’ll share them with you.  Meanwhile, I’ve been cruising around and have picked up a few pictures I thought you’d enjoy.

I’ll start with the obvious “bargain” snowman…

Then there’s the unexpectedly limber one…  This one makes me smile.  Are those golf club legs?

As a counterpart to the last cute one, we have the violent ones…  I love the one leaning against the house!

Next we have this rather weird one which I must assume is pregnant.  Kinda cute.  That could be an alien baby in front.

And finally, my favorite – a bunch of town snowmen!

You know what I love about this one?  I love the idea of the people who built them.  Did they sneak into the town square at night to create this little army?  Or was it an effort of the whole town?  Did they bring their own buckets for hats?  It’s so neat when adults let themselves be kids again.  Last year when I was building a snowman on my driveway divider using the snow I had just shoveled off, I had a sense that some of my neighbors were watching me from their windows.  Were they thinking that I am just a little bit crazy?  Maybe.  Nothing new there.  But maybe they were a little envious that they couldn’t  just “let go” and come out and join me.  That’s what I’m thinking.

Happy Winter, my friends!

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My Own Christmas

Wow, here we are at another Christmas Eve.  And I’d be lying if I said that I’ve been filled with the Christmas spirit this year.  In fact, I’ve been really putting forth an effort not to give in to despair.  It’s just been a very hard year for me, what with unexpected physical challenges and their accompanying stress, missing a very dear friend, having for family only a sister who has gone off on her own and who considers me dead to her, and having friends who are all busy with their own families. It has really been a tough one.

But, as I’ve always believed – it’s not what happens to you that counts, but rather how you choose to react to it.  Rather than dwelling on all of things I miss, I’m going to concentrate on all of the many blessings I do have.  When I look around, I realize that there are so many people much worse off than I am.

And therefore I’m going to begin this day by praying for all those who are out of a job, those who are losing their homes, those who are in chronic pain, and those who are losing or have lost loved ones.  I’m praying for the homeless, the helpless and the unloved.

As for Christmas day, I’m going to unplug the phone and, alone, celebrate the birth of God’s son and how He changed the world and my life.  I’m going to take some quiet time for reflection, to talk to God and to reaffirm my faith, which, I’m sad to admit, has faltered a bit the past few months.  But, even though I’m far from perfect, I know I won’t be alone and I will be forgiven.  And I have a feeling that this communion will be what truly fills my soul with the Christmas spirit, not flashy presents or big dinners or crowds of people.  This will be my own Christmas.

I wish all of you who are reading this a beautiful and fulfilling holiday and want to thank you for being a reader of my blog.  I have made some lovely friends here.  So many times one of you will leave a comment that was just what I needed to hear that day.  You just never know when you’ll make a difference in someone’s life.

I urge each of you to treasure the time you spend with family and loved ones.  Enjoy them as if it were the last time you’ll ever see them because, you never know, it just might be.  Life can turn on a dime and it gives no guarantees.  I know.

And, for heaven’s sake, have some fun!  Be goofy, laugh and let out your inner child.  I have ten movies I just bought at Blockbuster  and I plan to spend a lot of time in the next few days in the land of my imagination and I just can’t wait!  Life is too short not to give in to joy however and whenever you can.

May God bless you all…and Merry Christmas!

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An Unwelcome Gift

So there I was, taking a card out to my mailbox, scurrying along because the temperature was only 24 degrees.  On my way back toward the house, I noticed the earth seemed to be disturbed in front of my porch.  I slowed down and took a good close look.  What was it?  And then I KNEW…

MY ARCH-NEMESIS, THE MOLE FROM HELL!

I couldn’t get a picture to show how tall the mounds of earth were, short of getting on my stomach on the cold concrete sidewalk, but trust me, he tore up quite a bit of the earth!  He did this under the snow, when I thought the earth was frozen stiff.  Those of you who have been regular readers of this blog know that I had a running battle with this mole all summer long.  And yes, this is the same mole. Don’t ask me how I know.  I just do. It is The Demon Mole that will never die.

At any rate, you’ve heard the phrase, “seeing red?”  Well, when I saw these mole mounds, I virtually saw red!  I stepped into my foyer, grabbed my rubber mallet from the front closet where I keep it for situations just like this, and stormed back out, no time for gloves or scarf.  I began to pound down each and every mound with all my strength.  Yes, I know.  The neighbors probably looked out and said, “She’s at it again.”  But I don’t care.  This was really too much! I pounded and pounded until my fingers were so stiff with cold that I was afraid they’d drop off.

But that’s not the worst of it.  Three hours later I happened to look out and he had pushed two of the mounds back up again! Can you believe that?  The war was on!  Naturally, I pounded them back again.  You think he’d realize by now that he cannot beat me. Funny, I thought this battle was over, at least until summer returns, but obviously I was wrong.

So okay.  Two can play this game.  I have a little gift for him. I have a couple of long sticks of dynamite I’m going to stick down into his tunnel and light. It will be just like in the cartoons.  He’ll come bursting up on a geyser of dirt, looking  terrified.  Then we’ll see who’s laughing.

Merry Christmas, Mole,

Love,

 

 

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In my last post, I talked about how satisfying it is to find a good solution to a problem that has been plaguing you and wrote about how I avoided paying $45 for a replacement bowl for my mist fountain.  Well, today I have another one to share.

I have two nightstands that don’t match.  One is tall and narrow and one is shorter and much wider.  Recently I decided to switch them around because I realized I needed the wider nightstand on the side of the bed I use, in order to have more room to set my tea and other things.  After moving them I realized how much this narrowed my path to the master bathroom, so much so that I kept hitting my hipbone with the corner of the nightstand, especially in the middle of the night.  I checked the other side of the bed and there was about 12 inches from the nightstand to the wall!  So, why not move the bed?

Here was the problem:  First, for some reason there is an indention in the wall and my movers put the head of the bed into that indention.  I don’t know if this picture helps or not, but the bed was in the niche where the star is now.  The far right tip of the star shows where the wall juts back out.

So, the bed would not only need to be moved sideways, but would also need to be pulled forward first.  And that was the second problem…moving the bed.  My bed is a big queen-sized four-poster with a mattress and box springs and big heavy legs that look like this:

It had no intention of going anywhere!  I could push and pull with everything I’ve got and it didn’t budge, not even a little bit.  And I certainly don’t have four strong men I can summon up with the snap of a finger.  So, I thought I was stuck.  However, I decided to call my friend, Iris, who is a strong, independent do-it-yourself-er like me, to brainstorm the problem.  At one point we came up with the idea of sliding off the mattress and box springs and trying to move it then, but we quickly dismissed it.  One time I tried to flip my mattress by myself and ended up pulling my back out!  We’re both too small to handle that.  Then Iris said, “What about those furniture sliders you put under your TV and stand when you had to move it for the new carpet?”  Bingo!  That 32″ TV and stand were also very, very heavy but once I managed to get sliders under every leg, I scooted it with no problem.

I bought four really big sliders and a pry bar of sorts.  Here were the tools I ended up using.  It turned out that the end of the pry bar was too thick to slide under the bed’s leg, which was sunk way down into the carpet.  I thought I was out of business before I started.  Then I got a screwdriver and found I could get it under.  But it, alone was not enough so I put in another and then lifted both screwdrivers just enough to enable me to get the edge of the pry bar under the leg.

Then I pulled the pry bar back very SLOW-LY and, as that big heavy leg raised up I quickly slid a furniture slider under it!  This whole procedure turned out to be one of timing and strength and it took some time.  After I finally went through it for all four legs, it was the moment of truth.

I began to push the bed out and…it moved easily!  To the side…easily!  Hallelujah!  Another problem solved!

And you know what?  It felt good.

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Don’t you love it when you have a problem for which you suddenly find a solution…and it works?  I do!  It’s one of my favorite feelings in the world.  It’s not usually easy to arrive at an answer, but that’s what makes it even more fulfilling.  I’ve had two such successes in the past week.  I’m going to tell you about one here and the other in my next post.

First off, maybe you regular readers remember me talking about my mist fountain last year.  For those of you who weren’t around, I have a mist fountain that I run in my bedroom every evening and it solved a problem I was having every winter of having scabs in my nose from the dry air.  Humidifiers didn’t help, but this thing did.  Go figure.  Anyway, this is what it looked like.

I say “looked like” because last week when I was cleaning it in the bathroom sink, the bowl hit the marble too hard and I found myself with a sink full of broken glass!  So sad.  After cleaning it up and cutting myself a million times, I got on-line and began to look for a replacement bowl because I need that fountain. The only one I could find that was in stock was about $45.00!!!!  That’s just a little less than I paid for the entire thing!!!  But, what was I going to do?  I put it in my cart and was just about to fill in the credit card information when I thought, “It’s just a bowl…decorative edge, yes, but just a bowl.”  So before I did anything else, I started looking at big serving bowls and giant salad bowls and saw many things for $20 or less.  So I decided to wait until the next day when I could check real stores.

I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and found a set of three Pyrex bowls with lids for $19.99.  And the biggest bowl was really, really big!  I knew it would work!  But that’s not all!  I had a 20% off coupon which made it $15.99.  But that’s not all!  It had a $5.00 mail in rebate which made it $10.99.  Then you take $10.99 and divide it by three bowls and I got a replacement bowl for $3.66!  And I got a bonus of two other bowls with lids!  This new one is not curvy or frosted glass, but it’s neat looking in its own way.

And, what with it being clear, you can see the little color-changing lights in the bottom.

So, did I do well, or what?  I’m very pleased.  Sometimes you’ve got to think out of the box!  Next post I’ll tell you about my other problem solving adventure which was even a bigger dilemma.

Stay tuned…

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