Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Californians

I believe this is the first time I've ever posted twice in one day....  Shows how much downtime I have....


does it mean I heard from Ortho Doc???

Things happen fast around here when they finally happen, just like the cars on the freeways here.

Tomorrow morning I will be taking the 118 to the 405, getting off in Van Nuys right before the 101 to go right to the hospital for my surgery!  Surgery scheduler girl must have heard the desperation in my voice when I said, "What do you mean he might not do the surgery now?"

Of course she called the one minute I walked away from my phone, but was kind enough to leave a message letting me know that my finger and I should be present by 7am to check in for 10am surgery.

I thought we were at a dead halt.
But I've learned to stay on my toes around these parts.

Now, when we go back home I think Mr. T should take the 101 to the 170 and then hop on the 5 until he sees the 118 and take that to Sepulveda and then home.

(Hope you may have seen the Saturday Night Live skit about the Californians or this will sound absolutely bizarre.)

Lemony Limbo

Can you tell I was trying to find a "catchy" post title?  I noticed about two days after my last post that I had left the "s" off of birds.  Product of weird typing technique due to you-know-what.

Speaking of THAT, I guess thought I'd talk a little bit about how time is passing and some of the things I've not been up to.

Mainly we are kind of taking it easy and enjoying some very nice weather.

Yes, the Boston Bird is still at it - pathetic!

On the "good news" front, I have managed to resist the urge to gnaw off the "temporary" cast that is gracing my right hand in such a fetching way.

Visible grunge is from wearing black stretchy pants which apparently are disintegrating onto the wrap on the cast.  Other spots and "yuckiness" are from my comical/sad forays into the kitchen with my sous-chef, Mr. Tennis.

Which brings me to a "bad news" item.  Apparently I channel Gordon Ramsey of "Hell's Kitchen" when giving instructions on how to chop an onion for some ridiculously complicated spaghetti sauce I thought we should make at the height of my lack of knife skills. 

 I didn't realize Mr. T did not know how to chop an onion, to the extent of not knowing you had to remove the skin and outer layer first.  So the sauce had some crunch to it - fiber, right?  I never thought I would see such relief on his face as when I told him that we would spend the $2 for pre-chopped onions for the chili "we" made a few days later.

Evil Boston Lady even taunted him today by sending this picture from the grocery store:

His text back?  "What are those?  Onions?"  I hope he was kidding.

I've been reading a good book that is over there on my sidebar.  Not as depressing as it sounds, actually very entertaining and it has some great ideas in it for future reads.

I've been getting some good ideas from these magazines!  Just wait until my hand is better, I will be a creative, non-stop maniac!

I actually have one idea that I think I can work on a bit while recovering...we shall see.

More good news:  breathing is good. Cardio doc has given his go-ahead for the surgery as has my PCP.

  Bad news:  just talked to Ortho office - because the Cardio doc has requested surgery now be performed at hospital because the the fluid in my lungs gave my heart too much of a workout, just to be safe - the Ortho surgery scheduler told me she is waiting to hear from Ortho Doc because he may not want to perform the surgery now.


I am left wondering exactly what that means...



My good bloggy friend, Pat at "Corn in My Coffee Pot". (go over and take a look at her blog - she is amazing! And Funny!) had a great idea for all the lemon rinds and leftovers I have about.  She says to let them sit in (white) vinegar in a jar for about a month. 

 Strain and drain liquid after that amount of time.  Put said liquid in a spray bottle and you have the best natural, effective cleaner in the whole world.

Okay, she didn't say "whole world", but I am in the mood to exaggerate and be dramatic.  But I bet it will be!
Thanks Pat!

I will let you know when and if I get out of limbo.  Apparently I may be handling my own hand surgery - anyone have some popsicle sticks they are willing to donate to the cause?  I was a Girl Scout leader, afterall, surely this was covered in the GS book somewhere.  CG?  What say you?

And here is a picture of Mr. Tennis to prove that he is really doing well and I'm letting him rest with Stan between cooking stints in the kitchen:

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Birds Are Huge Here In CA!

After installing a small bird feeder in the backyard last week, I was ready to snap pictures of the feathered visitors that seemed to swarm here out of nowhere.

Alas, the small feeder took a fatal fall, either the victim of the windy days we've been experiencing or from the weight of the enormous squirrels that hang around this neighborhood.

In the midst of a wild health week, Mr. T knew that putting up a new feeder would help me feel better.

  So up it went and as I watched for new visitors, I realized that we had some crazy big black and white birds eating the seed!

Guilty as heck!


Holy Bostons Batman!

Now how desparate does a dog have to be to eat bird seed?

Come On!

Now that the black and white "pigeons" have finished cleaning the spilled "treasure"  I hope to start getting some pictures of the wonderful variety of birds that show up in this backyard.

Here's one I hope you can see.  Hard to get a picture and I need to refill their special feeders - these hummingbirds are quite plentiful.

Can you see it?

Fingergate Update:  Still in limbo for repair surgery, but I think I will get the go ahead within a day or two.  Turns out I had a lot of fluid in my lungs, not pneumonia. Was sent to a cardio doc to interpret check xrays, get some meds to stabilize BP and get rid of fluids.  Three days later I am 15 lbs lighter.  All liquid!  Breathing finally better. After surgery I will need to follow up with Cardio Doc to figure out why this all happened.... I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it all, but I guess I can say my little finger probably did save me afterall.

All the best for the week ahead. 
 Some bloggy friends going through some tough times right now.  I have you special people in my thoughts!

(And , "yay" for Ben Affleck!)

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Boscars! My Quirky Take on the Real Thing

Welcome to the second annual (not necessarily consecutive, as I fudged it last year) Boscars, my take on the past years' movie offerings - whether recognized by The Academy or not.
(Who needs them?!)

First let me put everyone's mind at ease lest you think I am wallowing in self-pity that I am not attending this years' red carpet, full of loud screaming, camera-wielding fans such as myself, due to the last week's turn of events.  I received notice today that I was "unfortunately not selected" to wait for hours on the red carpet for a fleeting view of the "stars" as they sauntered by - so I am somewhat grateful that I don't have to "feel" like I will be missing anything (that I've always dreamed of doing and could have now that I live here, but obviously cannot due to clumsiness and illness - I'm not bitter).

Enough of my shallow dreams, time for this year's Boscars!!!!!

Disclaimer:  I won't be hurt or hold it against you if you scroll through.  This was a wonderful way to keep myself quiet as I recoop and I had fun with my little recap:  Scroll away!

Cue trumpets please!

Everyone's been hearing about the official contenders, and I'll give them some due as well, but I like to also give a nod to some of the movies that people perhaps missed (maybe there was a reason for that, but hey, this is my show).

Movies you probably didn't see but should have, and can (!) on Netflix:

"Jeff Who Lives At Home"
Jason Seigel in a subtle, humorous, sad performance with props to Ed Helms as his brother.

This movie was so enthralling and an unusual turn for Jack Black.  Based on a true story and using some of the real characters from the true life events, this movie was great!

"Safety Not Guaranteed"
Small, small. Did I say "small"? Independent film inspired by a true life personal ad placed in a small newspaper.  Suspension of belief and patience required.

"Dead Dad"
Had to put a plug in for my DIL's first casting credit film.  Another small budget film with a good, relatable storyline.  Way to go Sammy!

"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"
A quiet little gem starring the beautiful Emily Blunt and handsome Ewan McGregor.  Watch out for a fantastically manic performance by Kristin Scott Thomas.

Most Uncomfortable/Unsettling Film That Went From the Film Festivals Right to Netflix: 

Based on actual events, this was a movie I watched on Netflix that just left me confused, disgusted and outraged.

Prettiest/Most Violent Film, set in 1920s Los Angeles:

"Gangster Squad"
Beautiful people, beautiful clothes, gorgeous sets and locations. Very violent movie about a very bad time in the history of the city of Los Angeles.

The "Other Musical" I quite enjoyed in spite of lots of shots of Tom Cruise's stomach:

"Rock of Ages"
I thought this movie was just fun!  Great songs, caricature performances yes, but totally enjoyable.  And Tom Cruise was great as an aging, over-the-top old school rocker.

The "other" Tom Cruise movie I was surprised I enjoyed this year:

"Jack Reacher"
I'm a big fan of the books and was skeptical that little Tom Cruise could pull off this role.  He made it work and it was an entertaining, yet violent movie.  Most importantly, Tom caught the essence of Jack Reacher's character.

Favorite 007 Actor I will miss in future Bond films, but fortunately shows up in movies when you least expect it:

Dame Judi Densch
Love Her!

Favorite Actor I haven't seen in anything this year:

Colin Firth
Love Him!

Guilty Pleasure "girls night out" that the guys might have enjoyed too:

"Magic Mike"
Yes, it involves male "dancers", but there is a good story in this movie that raises it above the expectations that it would just be a "beefcake" movie.

Movie that made me cry throughout its entirety, but I still can say was excellent because it made me cry throughout: 

The pride and determination of an aging couple to do things on their terms.  Very familiar territory for a lot of people.

(This ties for best Foreign Language Film I saw this year along with):

"The Intouchables"
This was such a delightful, surprising movie about two people from different worlds finding a connection and being the better for it.

Best Richard Gere movie I've seen in a long time:

Richard Gere's character is a ruthless businessman who finds himself in circumstances beyond his usual control.  Susan Sarandon is excellent as his not-so-in-the dark wife.

Quirkiest/Most Original Film with Excellent Cast and Film Technique:

"Moonrise Kingdom"
Unusually quirky and cleverly filmed little gem.  Every last detail is fun to look at and the disjointed cast is delightful.

Favorite Cat in a Film:

Jennifer Lawrence as "Katniss" in "The Hunger Games".
Strong, young female heroine.  Can't wait for the next installment!

Second Favorite:  Anne Hathaway as "Catwoman" in "The Dark Knight Rises
Unrecognizable as our little, fragile "Fantine". Anne Hathaway shows another side in her turn as Catwoman.

Lots of Super Heroes all at once in a non-stop action film:

"The Avengers"
Favorite Avenger?  Robert Downey Junior as "Ironman"

Super Violent Film I was talked into seeing and glad I was:

"Django Unchained"
Different take on the issue of slavery, Tarantino style.  Which means lots of blood, seemingly tasteless humor and a lot of politically incorrect stuff.  Why go see it?  It's originality, fine acting and deeper messages.

Favorite performances in "Django" (the"j" is silent):
Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, two worthy nominees for Best Supporting Actor

Heartbreaking Performance by one of my favorite actors and seat-clenching plane crash scene:

Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Oh my, I'm more used to seeing Denzel as a true hero and he takes a dark turn in this role.  An almost anti-hero. Great story, characters and special effects.

Most Visually Beautiful Movie that left me slack-jawed and wondering "how did they do that?":

"Life of Pi"
Spoiler Alert!  I had a hard time believing what I was seeing wasn't real, but was clever CGI effects.  This movie perfectly represented the images I had running through my head as I read this book several years ago. This was pure genius.

Best Use of Maggie Smith and her "Downton Abbey" "rival",  Mrs. Crowley with an ensemble cast including the kid from "Slumdog Millioniare":

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Fun! Isn't that enough?!

Second Best Maggie Smith/Ensemble film directed by Dustin Hoffman:

Sweet, funny, poignant, beautiful.

Second Guilty Pleasure Chick Flick:

"The Lucky One"
I think the picture speaks for itself!

Best Action Flick with a Message:

Confusing for me at first, but the last half of the movie takes a terrific turn and it all makes sense.

Role in Oscar contender I wish they had cast with someone else:

"Russell Crowe: as Javert in "Les Miserables"
Russell Crowe is such a gifted actor, but singer? Didn't work for me.  I found him distracting in the midst of a beautiful movie.

Fun With Make-up, Costuming and Set-design and excellent casting:

Attention to detail is what makes this movie a fun one. And some insight into what made that man tick.

Two Movies that every parent, educator and student should see:

Documentary showing the heartbreak and tragedy behind bullying.  Let's hope it gets better one day.

"Won't Back Down"
There's a school here in LA that the parents have taken over just as it happened in this movie.  We all can be the change and we all need to be involved in the education of our children.


I'm Sure I've forgotten a lot of contenders along the way, but, whew! Can't list any more working with a one hand handicap!

NOW, as if you hadn't heard me yammer on enough...

And my take on the major category nominees?

If I had my way "Silver Linings Playbook" would sweep all nominated categories, for acting, screenplay, directing, best picture. (And not just because Bradley Cooper is in it, heh, heh) Because it is a departure from the usual nominees by the academy. Humorous, educational, emotional, real people performances, triumph over tragedy.

In my other fantasy Oscar results Ben Affleck's "Argo" will win Best Picture because I like to throw myself behind the underdog, I really liked the movie and although it used "dramatic license" (it's a movie) it effectively showed us a snippet in time during the Iranian Hostage Crisis that we may not all have been aware of.

Since Ben is not nominated for best director (shame), nor Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty" (double shame),  I put my fantasy win in for David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook".  This movie was a personal journey for Mr. Russell and it showed in the careful handling of a difficult subject - one in which  we learn that we can find humor and hope and most importantly, acceptance.

Who I think will win:  Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln" and well deserved.

Fantasy Best Actress:  Jennifer Lawrence/Jessican Chastain - I can't choose!

Jessica Chastain is one of those actresses who transforms with every role she plays.  She is the new Cate Blanchette, in my opinion. A chameleon with great depth and versatility.  Just compare her in this role to her nominated one from last year's"The Help".

Who will probably win:  Jennifer Lawrence. What a character she played in this movie.  So many layers. Just loved her ease living in the skin of her part.

Fantasy Best Actor Choice:  BC, you know. (There he is in picture above with Jennifer Lawrence) I felt that he really showed his full range of abilities as an actor and I appreciate how he is taking his participation in this film out into the world to bring awareness and education regarding mental health issues.

Who will probably win:  Daniel Day Lewis, deservedly so, he WAS Lincoln.

I am in awe of this actor who first captured my heart in "My Left Foot".

Surprise Winner?:  Hugh Jackman in a transformative turn as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables"

Fantasy Best Supporting Actress:  
Jackie Weaver from "Silver Linings"  
Such a kooky, lovely performance and a total departure from her Oscar winning role in "Animal Kingdom"

Who Will Probably Win:  Anne Hathaway. Vulnerable, fragile, yet resilient.    

Surprise winner?:  Sally Field/Kerry Washington

Such a difficult character to bring to life and I like the way she humanized Mrs. Lincoln.

Heartbreaking performance as Broomhilda that brought a touch of humanity to a film displaying such inhumanity. Strong vulnerability.

Fantasy Best Supporting Actor:  Robert De Niro/Christoph Waltz/Samuel L. Jackson - can't choose!

I cried when he cried.

I cheered him and his good intentions on.

He made me despise him.

Who will probably win:  Tommy Lee Jones, I love him, but this performance just did not stand out for me.

Surprise Winner?:  Leonardo Dicaprio . Evil incarnate. A long way from Jack on "Titanic".

Obviously I'm all over the place with the supporting cast nominees.  All gave such outstanding performances, each in their own way.

Well, that's my take in a very large nutshell.  I know this isn't everybody's "thing", but I always have fun with the spectacle, sometimes the debaucle, that is The Academy Awards.

And we haven't even gotten into the hosting, the performances, the speeches.  That will be for another time.

Anyone want to chime in with their guesses/fantasy wins/hopes/opinions?  Please do and have a wonderful weekend.

For those in the path of yet another huge, destructive winter storm, please stay safe, warm and know that lots of people are thinking of you and praying for you.