Reunited And It Feels so G-o-o-d!

Dearly Beloved and I attended high schools 200 miles apart, so we didn’t know each other during our teen years.  I don’t mind at all.  That way, I can believe without any doubt that he was as terrific a football player as he says, as Troy Donahue-handsome as his mother says, and as hard-working and industrious as his friends tell me.

In contrast, he pictures that I was not the plain, skinny, mixed up girl I remember (an awkward stage I didn’t outgrow until my 30’s.)

Would I attend one of my own class reunions?  I’d sooner empty Miss Piggy’s anal sacs.

On the other hand, Dearly Beloved’s class reunions are held locally, so it’s easy for him to attend.  He has another one coming up this month– the big 5-0.  I’ve attended two of them and know that the record of the couple who produced four children in three years will remain intact and that the guy who had been divorced four times may have increased his lead, since the astonished expression on his new bride’s face at the last reunion revealed that she was unaware of his dubious distinction.

If they recognized the guy in the best physical shape, DB would be a strong contender.  Sure, his medical records have as much ink as the rest of us, but his exercise regimen–walking a couple of hours a day– has him looking as trim and muscular as he must have been in high school.

Earlier this week we were driving somewhere when he pointed out to me that the sport shirt he was wearing was one he hadn’t been able to wear for some years because it had been too tight.  To show me, he said confidently, “Reach over here and button the collar.”

I leaned over and gave it a try.  No dice.

“It’s not going to work because of your turkey wattle,”  I told him.

“My WHAT???”  He looked genuinely stricken.

“This,” I said, reaching under my chin and flapping my own seductively at him.

“You and I don’t HAVE turkey wattles,” he said, quite definitely, yanking down his visor to confirm his statement in the mirror.

See?  Rose-colored glasses!  I love that about him!

He reached up and buttoned the shirt himself.

“LOOK!”  he said smugly.

I nodded quickly so that he’d undo it before his eyes started bulging.

“Oh yeah.  Lookin’ good, Babe,” I answered.

Here’s a question for you:  Is it a waddle or a wattle?  If you want to waste an afternoon on the internet looking into it, let me know what you decide.  I tried, but stopped to try some of  the exercises one could do to get rid of it, like bending your head from side to side but not touching your ear to your shoulders.  The cellophane sound popping in my neck was so annoying that I moved on to Option B–something about rubbing female testosterone on it.  I couldn’t imagine DB being interested and, since we plan to waddle through life together, I looked no further.

Maybe I’ll knit him an ascot.  They worked for Cary Grant when he could no longer button that top button, not to mention Elvis.  Heck, he couldn’t button down to his waist some days.

Nah.  DB wouldn’t wear it and it doesn’t matter anyhow.  His reunion is the week before Thanksgiving.

Gobble, gobble.






(Fabulous photo of the ascoted turkey is being used with the kind permission of LynnGuppy.  Her blog is LynnGuppy: Live Music, Fine Art, and General Mischief.  I’m not sure whether this is art or mischief.)

Tasty Fare

Most of the movies we see aren’t shown at the lamestream theaters.  Yes, I  just paraphrased Sarah Palin and I promise to flail myself with a Wall Street Journal in penance.

We are lucky enough to live near two theaters which show independent and foreign films.  Sarah might dismiss them as the kind artsy-fartsy liberals frequent, but she’d be missing some darned good movies.

Cedar Rapids was our latest find.  Our local paper gave it a good review and the NYTimes found it noteworthy.  Good for them;  we might not have heard of it, otherwise.  The people in the ticket line didn’t seem familiar with it either because some were asking one another, “What’s the name of the one we’re seeing again?”

I missed the first ten minutes, so fascinated at my husband trying not to hoot aloud that I watched him instead of the movie.  It is hopelessly and hilariously Midwestern (think Fargo.)  Too, the story takes place at an insurance convention.  How funny is that?  Very.

I’ve read that it was filmed mostly in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan, but it’s authentically Cedar Rapids, Iowa, enough for anyone.

The raunchy stuff coming out of John C. Reilly’s over-the-top character  is outrageous, yes, but wasn’t offensive to me, even though I’ve felt icky hearing the same phrases in mainstream movies.   As we were leaving the theater, Dearly Beloved said, “We can’t admit to our children that we saw that!” We quickly changed our minds about that and decided we’d not only admit it, we’d recommend it to them.

It was only after we came back home and were laughing over some of the scenes that we realized how many good lessons the movie carried within all the hilarity.   Films like this find a way to be laugh-out-loud funny without taking away the humanity of the characters.   The plot thickens to reveal the true nature of the characters, bringing the audience to the realization that there is much, much more to this movie than the laughs.

Still not convinced?  Watch this:

Found My Peeps! (Love, BO)

First, a word about the title.

Yesterday when I wrote about some members of my family being in last night’s Hallmark movie, The Lost Valentine, the title of my post was LOOK FOR MY PEEPS!  Do you suppose that’s how the entire post came to appear, to my discomfort, on a site which advertises child tracking devices?

Yes, I have found my peeps, so you can take it down now, people!  (Thanks and Much Love, Bo.)

Dearly Beloved and I watched the Hallmark movie with eyes like cafeteria cashiers, studying the background figures for sightings of our daughter and grandsons.

If we hadn’t  seen the photos of the clothes they would be wearing, we’d have missed them entirely because sometimes they were going instead of coming.  In the scenes facing the camera, by the time we spotted the clothes in the distance, the movie was off to a different scene and we weren’t fast enough to look at their faces.

So much for any career aspirations as an air traffic controller.  Hey, Hallmark already has the movie for sale though.   We can study and dissect it frame by frame.

The hair was a homing device for one of them.  In our family, hair has a personality of its own.

All of us have serious bedhead hair issues.

Bedhead brothers.

Even their little brother’s hair has its own ideas, as evidenced by how it began springing back to life not 10 feet out of the barber chair.

Cowed, but not licked.

Here’s a bedhead photo:

Fresh-from-the-pillow hair.

It’s pretty obvious why their mother keeps a spray bottle of water by the hairbrush.

Hat hair is not an issue in our family.  Well, except for Dearly Beloved’s unfortunate hat hair appearance at a birthday party.  He returned it that same day.

DB's hat hair incident.

Easiest to spot in the Hallmark movie was our towheaded grandson.  His hair is so light that it stood out even in the crowded sidewalk scenes.

On a sunny day, it really, really sparkles, like a halo.

That boy looks absolutely angelic.

Temporary tattoo there

And that, my friends, is acting!


Back in the fall, Dearly Beloved and I went to Georgia to keep little Elmo while our daughter and her two older sons (7 and 10)  spent the day on a movie set,  The Lost Valentine, starring Daughter & Sons and, oh yes, Betty White and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

SUNDAY NIGHT, Folks!   It is the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie on CBS and unless the damnsquirrels chew the cable wires, DB and I will be glued to the television.

They were “extras,” so I don’t know much about the scenes they’re in… don’t know for sure that they are even in the final version, but if the cuteness factor weighed in the decisions, they’ll be there.

While our daughter says that once was enough for her,  the boys want more, more, MORE!  Food was the attraction.  Apparently, local caterers go all out for those plum assignments.  There were, I understand, numerous food stations with elegant seafood dishes, roast beef, even chicken pot pie.  In addition, there were snacks galore… all kinds of chips, desserts, ice cream, soft drinks.  It was paradise for little boys whose junk food intake is usually monitored.

They aren’t in any scenes together and details are vague.  Daughter doesn’t know whether she’s married or not, but she did have a scene walking with a man.  She had her hair covered with hats or scarves in her scenes because highlighted hair wasn’t 1940’s.  The grandsons aren’t brothers in the film.

Their clothes– white t-shirts in one scene,  button-down collared shirts in another, look familiar.  I have pictures of their granddad in similar clothes.   Daughter had three costume changes because,  she said, being skinny and small breasted was an advantage for once.  (You can thank me later, Daughter– for the small breasted genes.  The skinny?  Must be from your daddy’s side.) She fit easily into the clothes in the wardrobe department.

Look for a very blond head and blue jeans on one grandson and brown pants and light brownish/blond hair on the other.   Wait!  You can go to daughter’s blog and see a collage which may help.  I’d include it here if I knew how.

My ineptness in blogging matters brings me to apology time.  Last night I was looking for a specific post I’d written and wandered into some of my early ones, back when no one, including my family and friends, even knew I had a blog.  I looked at them, cringed, and idly made corrections.  They weren’t supposed to go out, but the RSS Feed sent them out anyway.  OH, THE HORROR AND EMBARRASSMENT!!!  If you have a string of two-year-old posts from me, I’m so sorry!


Dearly Beloved shook his head when he read yesterday’s post about the iPhone saga.

“I’m a freakin’ buffoon,” he said.  “I used to think you were a good writer.  Heck, you’re just a stenographer.”

“You may as well start calling me Arlo,” he continued, referring to the Arlo & Janis comic strip with which he often identifies– when he isn’t feeling like the old fart in Pickles.  He polished off his poor pitiful routine by looking around the room for imaginary hidden candid cameras.

Later, we went to an evening movie–unusual for us since retirement, but this theater has no matinee.  There is one showing for three nights only, Monday through Wednesday, because it’s mainly used for plays.  It isn’t used in the daytime because there are city offices around it within the same building.

It’s a very unusual theater.

From the balcony.

Carpeting and fancy embellished seats.

The theater has been around since 1858 and another one stood on the same site 50 years before that.   They show films that don’t make the mainstream theaters.


(This one–Mao’s Last Dancer– was truly wonderful.  Both of us enthusiastically recommend it.)

We sat on the first row, left side, in the balcony.  (That’s DB there on the end in the first photo.)

I took along my latest knitting project–another sweater– because I knew we’d be early and I’d have a little time to knit.  I’m trying to make a sweater for each of our five grandsons and I’d like to do it as soon as possible because the smaller the boys are, the less I have to knit.

The lighting was good, so  I was able to complete a few rows before the feature began.  Since I was in the middle of a sweater row when the film started, I kept on knitting.  DB leaned over and whispered, “You’re NOT going to do that during the movie, are you?”

I finished the row and dropped the whole project onto the seat beside me.  Unfortunately, the yarn ball dropped in the crack between the folded seat and the seat back.  I leaned over and picked it up, but it had caught on the fittings that join the seats and I’d apparently picked it up on the wrong side, making it even worse.  Throughout the movie I kept trying, unobtrusively, to untangle it, but doing the opposite.

When the movie ended and the lights came on, I immediately dropped to my knees in the small space between the seat and the balcony railing to see if I could unsnarl it.  DB was astonished at my dip.  As the other theatergoers filed out, I lay with my butt in the air and my face against the floor, trying to see the mess I’d made.  My husband stood in the aisle, his ass on his shoulders.

The reason I pointed out the age of the theater earlier is that the space between rows is tighter than in regular theaters.  The only way I could really see it would have been to stand on my head.  My knees were already up to my chin and my arms with squinched up against my body.

DB couldn’t resist offering a few words about the wisdom of dragging my knitting around with me everywhere.  With a decisive yank, I broke the yarn.  It would have been a more impressive gesture had I not needed his assistance in pulling me up from my wedged position.

As we trudged up the aisle, DB gestured toward an anxious woman who was practically dragging two ushers with flashlights over to where he husband stood mid-aisle.  He was apparently marking the spot where they’d sat.

“She probably dropped a knitting needle,” my husband wisecracked.

I limped down the stairs and out to the car without a word.

Arlo, however, seemed to have added a bounce to his step.

Take Two HoHos And Call Me In the Morning

We needed a laugh yesterday and it definitely had to be an air conditioned laugh because it’s been hot as Hades around here lately, muggy enough to make our eyes water.

A movie sounded perfect to me, but not so much to the sports enthusiast who had his game watching plans all laid out.  Nevertheless,  he displayed his own sportsmanship and pulled the chariot around to the front door for me.

I chose the movie CITY ISLAND because of the good reviews I’d read, even though I didn’t know anyone who’d actually seen it.

Raising my hand here to let you know I’ve now seen it and it’s hilarious!  GO!

If you need movie cred with your spouse, drag him/her (I assume you know which it is) there.   Every time I looked over at DB  he was grinning or laughing out loud.  As he said afterwards, he had assumed it would be good, just not THAT good.

Here are two videos.  The first is the trailer for City Island.

This one has nothing to do with City Island.  It’s a dose of Monday morning giggles.  What could be cuter than a dog and a baby playing tag?

Down By the Riverside

Although we love the beach, we also enjoy going into downtown Wilmington, which is built along the Cape Fear River.  The area is steeped in history, both good and shameful.  It was explored as early as the 1500’s and the town was founded in 1739.

On Water Street where the riverboat docks. the street is paved with bricks, but down at the end where the old houses have been made into restaurants and specialty shops, the bricks give way to the original cobblestone street and trolley tracks.  The combination makes for a very bumpy ride, but it IS the street at that point.

Behind the row of small houses on Water Street, the old seawall protects the large,  gracious historic homes which face Front Street.  Some of the homes are B&B’s now and the right bedroom gives one a marvelous overview of the river.  More than a few actors came to make movies or TV shows in “Hollywood East” and bought homes here.   We’ll do the home tour another time.  Or the ghost tour.

High seawall.

Did you ever see that most suspenseful movie, Cape Fear?   The original one with Robert Mitchum as the bad guy and Gregory Peck as the good one?  Nobody could be badder than ‘Mitchum’ or ‘gooder’ than Peck.  Neither that movie nor its remake was filmed on the Cape Fear.  Robert DeNiro is the bad guy in the remake and  is said to have had Southerners in several different small towns read his lines so that he could hear the accents.   Director Martin Scorsese found the one DeNiro chose really creepy, so DeNiro would call Scorsese’s home and leave messages in THAT voice.

The downtown, mile-long River Walk is a popular tourist attraction.  It widens in spots to allow for outdoor cafes like the one we chose Sunday evening,  a lovely place to watch the sunset.

This boat was docked in front of the restaurant.  Guess who had the curtains closed.

Gag me.

The Battleship USS North Carolina is docked here permanently and is open for tours.  Seeing the dentist chair and the operating table made me woozy, imagining what it would have been like to have appendicitis or an abscessed tooth on a rough sea.    Kayaks, barges, pleasure boats all share the river and the Coast Guard ship, the USCGC Diligence is moored downtown near the Hilton Hotel.

Part of the river is a segment of the Intercoastal Waterway and it also gives us our drinking water.

Cruising, with the battleship in the distance.

In all the years we’ve lived here,  I’ve never seen this drawbridge lift.

This elevator bridge is part of a very busy highway.

Until this trip.

Who's coming a'calling? Somebody important?

Good grief.

MCT Breithorn

That’s even more obnoxious than Mr. Popular.


Dearly Beloved and I went to a movie this week–my post-Mother’s Day reward for not pushing to go anywhere during the golf tournament on Sunday.

I had read the book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but DB has not.  He knew nothing about what to expect and although the film would have not been his first choice, he was a good sport about going.

Even with subtitles,  this Swedish-made film has enough intrigue and mystery to grab one early on.  Actually, the subtitles helped–I’d have probably missed some of the conversation if it had been dubbed in English.  Subtitles simplify things.  Someone on the screen reels off  about 60 words and the translation on the screen will say something like “He left an hour ago.”

The plot was heavy, with  many of the characters greedy and ruthless, their secrets dark and evil.   The action was sometimes difficult to watch, but since I’d read the book, I knew what was coming and could watch through slitted eyelids.  DB was on his own.

Although the movie is faithful to the book, there were few city scenes,  and most of the film takes place on a small island where the heirs of a wealthy Swedish family reside.  The cold countryside was dark, stark, and lonely,  yet there was a strange beauty to the snowy bleakness.  Nevertheless, even if Sarah Palin were elected our President, I don’t think I could move to that island.

We saw the film at a neighborhood theatre which shows smaller, independent movies.  It is at least 50 years old, built in the days when the seats weren’t plush and the restrooms were small.  The bathrooms are up a winding staircase, although the  owners have brought it up to code by turning a downstairs closet into a small “for handicapped patrons only” restroom.   The theatre is a favorite of senior citizens and most make the mad dash upstairs when nature calls.  We’ve learned to order small drinks;  it’s a long trek up there.

The 2 PM matinee audience, as usual, was comprised of a few dozen old farts.  And us.  We know we’re different, even if our senior rate tickets don’t designate us as such.

Just after the lights dimmed, two men (perhaps in their 30’s) came quietly down the aisle.   One sat in one of those fold-up portable wheelchairs as other man pushed him.

Instead of stopping midway at the shortened row which has a couple of seats removed for wheelchair patrons so they won’t stick out in the aisle, the man pushed the chair farther on, past us,  and toward the front third of the theatre.  They  finally stopped about three rows beyond us and he reached down and set the brake on the chair.  It seemed an odd spot, but there was no one in front of them, so it wouldn’t have been in anyone’s way.

However,  the man hitched up his pants, braced his legs, then bent over and put his arms under his friend, lifting him from the chair.  He did it as one would cradle a sleeping child, legs and feet over one arm,  the other arm bracing the the man’s head and neck.  The friend appeared unable to move his arms or legs to assist in any way.

The man managed to carry his invalid friend to the middle of the row without faltering and gently sat his friend in the middle seat,  where no one would need to get past them.  He  took a couple of minutes to straighten the other man in the chair and carefully arrange the frail legs, feet, and arms.  When he finished,  he went back into the aisle and moved the wheelchair.  Although there was no one else on their row, he still pushed the chair down to the front of the theatre,  folded it, and put it out of sight.   He went back up the aisle to the concession stand and came back shortly with a candy bar, then sat down next to his friend.

For 2 1/2 hours, they were just two guys watching a movie.

I love finding movies that both DB and I enjoy, and this one passed the test.  Afterwards, he asked me how I thought he liked the movie and  I was pleased and relieved when he announced that he loved it.

Still, we’re apt to remember it as the one where the most memorable scene in the theatre wasn’t even in the film.

Seriously! About This Movie!

Regal Theatre gave us 14 points yesterday for seeing the Coen Brothers’ latest movie, A Serious Man. I think we deserved more.

Dearly Beloved loves the Coen Brothers. The Big Lebowski? A cult hero to the guys in our family who dudespeak with ease.  DB, son, and sons-in-law know–and quote by heart–most of the lines and have given each other Lebowski t-shirts.  One has even gone to Big Lebowski conventions for several years.  (Yes, they’re real and yes,  “Uncle Dude” attends.)

I would rather pluck nose hairs than watch that movie again.

It isn’t that Coen movies are BAD, it’s that even the funny ones are painful to watch!   Just looking at the characters can depress me.   They’re too familiar to be funny– people I avoid because I know I’d become a babbling buffoon just trying to get a conversation going.  Mending socks would be more stimulating.

So many bad accents…so many stiff hairdos…so much plaid!  Just watch the movie trailer!

After the first 20 minutes or so of this one, I tried to send DB to the restaurant next door for a bottle of wine and a straw. Another 20 and I was crawling down the aisle, begging strangers to lend me a pocketknife so I could slit my wrists.

After DB pulled me out from under the seat where I was attempting paper cuts on myself with the popcorn bag, he whispered that he’d make it up to me.   In the meantime, he kept grinning at the movie.

I WISHED for someone’s cellphone to ring.

I pulled my sweater up over my eyes.  It was a v-neck.

Eventually, having to concentrate on keeping my eyes from crossing or rolling back in my head offered some distraction.

I watched the last half in a fetal position in the aisle, beating my head against the wall.

The story, in case you haven’t heard, loosely retells the story of Job, 50’s America style.  JOB, for goodness’ sakes! Think cursed Jewish physics teacher with sullen, bratty teenagers,  morose Uncle with sebaceous cyst, and unloving wife with cement hairdo.  Happy talk, huh?  The Coens did an outstanding job of sharing the pain with their audiences.

The women in the audience had a reaction similar to mine and totally different from the men’s.   At least I didn’t talk back to the screen like some of them did.   No!!!… Yes, she did!…Don’t do it!…Oh gawd, no… !

In Lebowski-speak, the dudettes were not abiding.  I could feel the vibes of at least 20 women wanting to cause bodily harm.   One woman was beating her husband with a hairbrush.   Several were bleeding from the eyes.

DB gave it a B.  He may have rated it even higher if he had not had to keep taking sharp objects away from me.  The NYTimes gave it a noteworthy review and said, “You don’t have to be Jewish to like this movie, but it will hurt more if you are.”

Really?  It hurt plenty.  Maybe I should give lox and bagels another try.

Fireside Chats

We may need a refresher course in conversation around here.

We also need for it to stop raining so that one of us can get outside.   Two days of being inside with a wet-smelling, snoring, farting dog is wearing thin.  All three of us need some exercise–especially Miss Piggy.

Dearly Beloved is reading Beach Music, having just finished Conroy’s new book and enjoying both, despite the fact that neither was another Prince of  Tides. He had been boycotting Conroy’s books because, he reasoned, there could never be another Prince of Tides. Besides, just hearing the name Pat Conroy reminds him of the movie The Prince of Tides and he hated that.  He feels that Barbra Streisand butchered it.

“Maybe not the same,” I’d told him. “But Beach Music is very good.”

I read the book when it first came out and can’t remember enough now to discuss it with him.  I think he’s suspicious that perhaps I did not read deeply enough.  Reading fiction is one of his retirement enjoyments, but he takes his reading seriously.

Maybe he’s right.  I read for enjoyment; he’s the one that looks for symbolism, parallels, allegories, metaphors, and anything to get inside the writer’s head.

Last night I was watching something on TV and he asked me would I mind turning it down a little so that he could concentrate on his book.  He was over in the sunroom in The Reading Chair.  That is the only thing one should be doing in The Reading Chair, unless one dozes accidentally.  That is the way his mind works.  I knit, do Sudokus, even write e-mails in The Reading Chair.  Furthermore, I often read on the sofa.  All sacrilege on my part.

What can I say. . . ?  I’m a wild and crazy woman.

So I turned down the television and he began explaining something about how one had to absorb the words with Conroy because it’s obvious that he selected each one after careful consideration.  I can picture Pat plucking just the right adjective from his bonbon box of literary delights.

That was fine. . . blah, blah. . . I was trying to reknit a sweater vest because the neckline was too tight to go over my grandson’s head.  I had visions of making five by Christmas. HA!   So I’m concentrating on the knitting and he informs me, “His sentences are so long.  I’ll bet this next one has fifty words.  I’ll count them.”

I wait while he counts the words.  If I don’t, I’ll screw up what I’m doing.

“32 words,” he calls out. “I’ll count the next one.”

“NO!” I shrieked.  “It doesn’t MATTER!”

I’m not making fun of him, implying that he’s dense.  I’m making fun of him because that’s so MAN-ish of him!  What would he say if I told him that this vest has 53 stitches I am about to bind off in a super stretchy bind-off for the first time?   I learned it from watching a video.  Would he give this accomplishment the proper respect?

Of course not.  In the first place, I learned from watching the video and reading instructions.  That nullifies my accomplishment right there.   Men never read instructions.

He offered to fix lunch for us earlier since I was in the middle of another project.  I had a package of three-cheese tortellini in the fridge.  He doesn’t have much of a cooking repertoire, but this required three minutes or so of cooking, grabbing some basil leaves from the plant on the screened porch, and tossing it all in olive oil.   He does it well and we like it.

Today, he added some sundried tomato bits and they were a little crunchy.

“You could soak those in boiling water for a bit,” I said innocently.

He looked a little surprised that I would offer advice to the Chef de Cuisine.   I backtracked.  “I mean,  just read the instructions on the container.”

I swear to you that he put up his arms in a cross sign, warding off the hex I was casting.

“READ the instructions?  NEVER!”

THAT is the man thing in fulll bloom.  Well. . . not exactly, but you know what I mean.

A few minutes ago he asked me was I writing e-mails.

“No.  I’m doing a blog.”

“What’s it about?”

I flicked my index finger toward him and he came to read the first few paragraphs over my shoulder.  Here is what he said:

“South of Broad.    That’s the name of the book I just finished.  You should mention the name of his book.   I also read My Losing Season.  You should add that, too.”

He started to say something else, then stopped in mid-sentence.

“I’m proving your point, aren’t I?”

I love it when we have these chats.