There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Movies, movies, movies

One of my blog friends does a really good job of reviewing movies....that would be Lorraine of the famous Koi Head Awards for excellence in movies rating scale. Me? I am a lousy reviewer......example.....Movie X (fill in any title) was good because...I liked it. See? Bad reviewer.

When I was a kid I absolutely loved going to the movies. Every year at Christmas my godmother would take me along with her daughter to Grauman's Chinese Theater to see White Christmas. After the movie we would go to Clifton's Cafeteria for lunch where I would throw pennies in the fountain by the entrance and make a wish. While this was a special event, going to the movies was actually a routine Saturday thing for me starting at the age of eight. No, my folks didn't take me; I went by myself. I would walk the two blocks from home to Fremont Avenue and wait for the Mooney Sixth bus.....alone....ride it to Main Street and go to either the Coronet, Alhambran or the El Rey movie theater. It was a quarter to get in and five cents for an AbbaZabba candy bar. I was in heaven.

I was a loner growing up (and still am for the most part). The movies were my escape from school where I was the odd kid in the class and from home where my parents were always arguing. I could become Ann Blythe or Jane Powell, maybe Rita Hayworth or Betty Grable if I was feeling particularly homely. There were no movie ratings back in the stone age so I could watch what ever movie I wanted.

I still love going to the movies. Before we moved to Idaho in 1998 Steve was always on the road for work or in Idaho "getting away from the stress of traveling." I was at the movies pretty much every weekend....alone. Now? There is only one movie theater in Sandpoint and it plays a lot of animated stuff; not always my favorite kind of flick. DVDs are my movie fix now.

I have several favorite movies; ones that I watch over and over again. If you have seen these movies, know of them or have read some of the books that they are based on, you will have some good insight into me. I have talked Steve into watching The Accidental Tourist tonight. Quite a fete as it has no monsters, race cars nor is Star Wars in the title.

So what about The Accidental Tourist ? The odd woman gets the man of her dreams in the end...she has a son, the man loves the boy, they live happily ever after.

9 1/2 Weeks: I would bet most people think this movie is about S.E.X. It's not. It's about total control; mental, physical, sexual and environmental. In the book, there is actually very little sexual activity. While the movie did have sex as the focal point, if you really watch and listen to the dialogue you will see that all of that hot steamy stuff is just whipped cream. And then there is Micky Rourke at his best looking ever; Kim Bassinger is also quite nice to watch as well. The scene where she dances for him? The one and only scene where it is obvious that sex is not the focal point.

Other movies I love to watch: Murphy's Romance, Falling In Love (Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro in love), Overboard, Moonstruck, While You Were Sleeping, Shirley Valentine (one of my very favorites), Enchanted April, Sweet Home Alabama, Maid In Manhattan (JLO I know but it is sweet...), The Canterville Ghost, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Laura, The Red House, Portrait of Jenny, Unfaithful, Shall We Dance (remember the life witness part?).....a lot more. I'm hoping this is the start of Steve's movie watching beyond noise, wheels and creepy looking things on the screen. Maybe we can start Movie Night with popcorn and sodas.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

An anniversary.

One year ago today, SweetPea found me. The whole spring and summer of 2007 revolved around Pea and her babies. Some days I went out to Pea's little nest in the pole building 7 and 8 times. I loved her; I still do. Her little paw print will be on my heart forever. She is living the high life now in a place where she is happy, has lots of love and the life she deserves. Kiss, kiss SweetPea.
Because of SweetPea I have these two wonderful little kittens in my life now. Steve and I swore to each other we would not get attached to Pea or the kittens. We wanted to find them good homes and feel OK about letting them go. Steve fell in love with crazy Emma Lee and I fell in love with 3 steps forward 2 steps back Guido Fortunato. They keep us active, make us laugh, and warm us at night. Kiss, kiss my babies.

Monday, April 14, 2008

One picture....

......Tells the whole story......

And the second one is adorably telling..... come here sweet little boy and Gigi will get you whatever you want and make it all better.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm so proud!!!

See these adorable children? You've seen pictures of them before. They're two of my from my youngest son and his wonderful wife. There is a surprise statement about Sachi at the end of the post.

Below is a picture of Sachi being a gymnast....she loves gymnastics....the picture was cut to fit a frame...sorry.

Here she is again in perfect form. Below she is with her sweet little brother.
Here she is on her big girl bicycle. See her hair in the picture above? Long and pretty. She cut it off and donated it to Locks of Love. Pretty wonderful and a great thing for a kid to do don't you think?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

At least someone knows......


Taken in the yard.....and yes there are still mounds and feet of snow. We have had 3 snow days in April already.

Big, puffed up TOM, strutting his stuff for the girls. I was in the garage working on the wood finishing and heard lots of turkey business going on.

Monday, April 07, 2008

A project....

Last year at almost this same time I was finishing a wood trim border for the upstairs bathroom. It was a miserable experience because it had been several years since I had done any kind of wood finishing/refinishing. I had forgotten some simple rules like: Heat the garage BEFORE starting the project; put the stain and finish containers in the garage so they and the wood will be at the same temperature; be sure to get all of the sawdust OFF of the project BEFORE staining....and on and on. Sling is a master carpenter/finisher...and I mean master. He gave me some hints and the mess turned out OK in the end.

I have always enjoyed refinishing furniture and I have probably a dozen pieces of furniture projects in the house that I have done. The very first piece I ever refinished was a chest of drawers I found at the curb ready to be picked up as trash. I was a young mother living in an almost furniture-less duplex and my dad was a hobby carpenter. My dad drove his station wagon to the house where the chest was sitting, picked it up and within a few days he had repaired the broken and falling off drawer fronts, glued the chest to its sturdy former self and all that was left was the refinishing. I thought my dad was going to finish the chest, but he had other ideas. I got my first lesson in wood refinishing.

Here is that very first project. I stained it and the finish is absolutely miserable way to finish anything, but that was my only choice way back then (1962). The drawers still squeal when I open them, but the chest is beautiful and all of my kids got years of use from this chest.

I didn't take a before picture of the current project, but here is Violet (an added value to the picture I think) on the stairs. See the stencil? I was sick and tired of it so I painted over it (all 4 walls of it) and 5 coats later I was done.

Here is that same wall with our accurate location line...I am the wood finisher person, Steve is the put-the-wood-on-the-wall person

This is looking down the stairs with our two kind of accurate location lines. I think the bottom line is the one we will use. The wood trim will go up the stairs on only two walls.

Here is the project in progress in the heated garage....wood, stain and finish product all in one place at the same temperature. I sanded the wood and removed all of the sawdust, have applied the stain and the first coat of clear satin finish. I can never remember if it is called Urethane or Varathane.....but it is one of those finishes.

Here is the design of the border......I stained it colonial maple. I think it is going to look really nice once it is up.
This is the last refinishing project I did. A friend was going to take this chest its two matching side tables to the dump. All of the pieces were painted white.....hard color to get totally off but I did it. It took me all summer and part of fall 2004 to finish the three pieces.
I got this sideboard at a local auction for $80.00 Structurally it was in great shape. The finish was really dull and dirty with a few water spots on the top. All I did to this piece was clean it, rub mahogany stain over it and applied tung oil. See the crystal pieces on it? Those pieces are the same as the ones I saw at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This chest was a HUGE refinishing mistake. It had been finished in the ever-so-popular-1970's white paint with gold flecks to make it look antique....honest. Some how the mirror that went with it managed to get sold at my we-are-moving-to-Idaho-and-let's-get-rid-of-everything yard sale. It was a miserable, messy job getting all of that damn paint off of it and I didn't do a test stain and it is dark, dark, dark. I left it in the garage for several years because I just hated the stain and it would not come out with sanding, paint remover or kicking it with my foot. Finally I put tung oil on it and hauled it into the house. It is growing on me. I'll post finished hall project pictures next week as well as a chair project that is not done yet (see the chair next to the sideboard that is half finished).

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Looking for America....a really long post with pictures

DAY ONE, Friday: Here we are in the birthplace of the United States, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The flight was surprisingly uneventful....a rarity when Steve and I travel.

The weather has been cool, windy and rain has been predicted, but we have not seen a drop yet.

OK, boring minutia. I have fallen in love with my country, our forefathers and the process that made us the United States. We did some whirlwind touristing (made that word up) today.

We started out at the National Constitution Center where we saw a production on the birth of our, a short movie and a live narrator. We visited the exhibits and the huge gift shop. From there we went to the Mint. They were doing inventory today so no machines making pennies, but we could see the floor of the operation and bins with coins and were able to figure out the general process. Another good gift shop.

We had lunch and then went to the Liberty Bell Center. The Bell isn't as big as I thought it would be.....but it is still amazing to see this wonderful piece of history. No gift shop.

The last place we visited was Independence Hall. At all of the sites we heard great historical information and facts. No gift shop.

I guess most of my regular blog readers know how apolitical I am. But, today, I have felt more patriotic/political than I ever have. As Americans we have such a short history. Too see, hear about and realize what our forefathers risked, gave up and fought for so all of us could enjoy the freedoms we have is amazing (well, except for women, Blacks and the Indians back then). I always found American History kind of boring in high school and college....not terribly romantic and then there were all of those dates to memorize. But, today I know that I have the right, the ability and freedom to express my political views and know that my one vote does count. I hope with all of my heart when November rolls around we will see new eyes with a clearer vision looking out from the White House. OK, I fell off the soap box.....tomorrow ART and will be at the end of the post.

DAY TWO, Saturday: No rain yet, but it was cold this morning. We walked to the Reading Terminal Market for "brunch" at 10AM. The market consists of aisles and aisles of stalls with everything from coffee, hand made Amish fabric items and canned goods to sushi, pastries, Philly cheese steak sandwiches and anything else you can imagine that is edible. There were folks entering with empty rolling, folding personal carts and others leaving with them packed with groceries. It is an awesome place and smelled yummy. We got Philly cheese steaks and Mocha Lattes. Tomorrow we are going back for sticky buns. I saw a $675.00 hand made quilt in a Wedding Ring pattern that was lovely, but a little over my quilt budget.

From there we went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We saw the Frida Kahlo exhibit. I really can't describe her works and do them justice.....they are stunning, the colors vivid, are very personal expressions of her life and beautiful. There were also a number of photos of her early life with her family and throughout the years she spent with Diego Rivera, her husband. I think she was a beautiful woman. We used the audio equipment and were able to hear about her life and interpretations of her paintings. Talk about gift shops.....the best EVER are in the museum. I got t-shirts, magnets, book marks, note cards, a scarf made of gossamer I swear, and just lots of "things."
Since I picked the Kahlo exhibit, Steve got to pick what he wanted to see. He went straight for the American exhibits. We saw Shaker furniture, old bottles and jugs and there were three pieces of cut crystal that are EXACT matches to ones I have that were my grandmothers; a punch bowl and pedestal and a water pitcher. While I don't think they are worth a lot, it is kind of cool to think I have museum quality pieces in my home!

Our last stop was the Franklin Institute of Science. Lots of kids running all over the place with their screaming parents running after them. Steve loved the place. Hands on things that made sparks, noises, movement, colors and changed form delighted him. We saw a cow eye dissection. Ummhum. Delightful. And just when I was ready to scream myself, we went into the Star Wars special exhibit where I refused to have my picture taken with Darth Vadar or put on a Princess Leah wig.

We are ordering room service tonight. We are old, tired and our feet hurt. We had planned on taking the train into Manhattan tomorrow but we stopped at the 30th Street Station on the way to the Museum and learned that 2 round trip tickets would cost $240.00. Not going. Day three will be a surprise I guess.

DAY THREE, SUNDAY: Mentally we had great plans for today....The Betsy Ross House and the National Jewish American Museum. But, after our trip to the Reading Market, we were already tired. No sticky bun stall open so I got a piece of apple cake and another latte....still yummy. We walked the Gallery Mall, I got a $9.00 barn jacket at the worst K-Mart I have ever been in....but, great deal on a neat jacket. Back to the hotel we went, checked out and shuttled to the airport hotel because our flight is at 6:30AM tomorrow. We watched a movie, P.S. I Love You...we both liked it a lot....and hopefully the flights tomorrow will be on time and we can get home to our doggies and kitties early.

DAY FOUR, WE'RE HOME: We had an absolutely wonderful time. While the traffic and crowds took me out of my comfort zone.....I would love to go back.....and will.....and see the same places all over again and all of the places we missed. All of our beginning American History in one place. Awesome. Here's to Philly!!

Looking out our hotel window: William Penn.

Another hotel window view.....

Christ Church Cemetery.

I probably would have liked this guy....

Ben Franklin's grave.

The Mint...really cool gift shop.

Isn't that Bell amazing? This is my tourist face/smile. I also look touristy fat....and really old.

George Washington (the real GW) in front of Independence Hall.

Here is Independence Hall in all of its glory...and it is a glorious place for sure.

A painting depicting the signing of the Declaration of the face of someone's kid in the corner.

This picture replaced the wood carving of the Coat of Arms of the King of England...hung by the signers of the Declaration. The wood hanging was burned.

The room where the delegates from the colonies debated the Declaration.

The room where the delegates adopted the Declaration...pretty impressive room.

Lancaster County hand made quilts...the $675.00 one is in the background on the left.

In the wind area with "plane wings" at the Franklin Institute....trying to lift off....umm, there isn't enough lift around to get me off the ground. That's Louie Jr. on my shoulder purchased especially for this trip. Isn't he cute?

Steve and me in front of the statue of Commodore John Barry, the Father of the Navy with Independence Hall in the background. We are holding our local newspaper.....the paper has a section called "We took the Bee.....". Our only chance to be famous for 15 seconds.

Taken from the airport hotel room.....wonderful Philadelphia.

Because Steve spends more nights at Marriott Hotels than he does at home, we got a suite/sweet room upgrade.

That's all folks!!!!!