just because we can…

…doesn’t mean we should.

Americans tend to assume that our right to freedom of speech is God-given and encompasses everything and anything our brains can imagine. No matter that some of us have brains made of silly putty. Which, in my opinion, is the case with Messrs. Rogen and Goldberg of The Interview fame.

I may be old-school believing that some thoughts should remain just that…thoughts. However capitalism being what it is…“show me the money!”…as exclaimed by Cuba Gooding’s character in the film Jerry Maguire…even hair-brained schemes can see the light of day.

As moms the world over will agree…sometimes the only way a child learns his lesson is the hard way. And it looks like corporate mogul Sony who backed the low budget $40 million dollar fiasco hoping to reap $30 million in the first weekend alone, got punked and pranked up the wahzoo!

Back-pedaling is something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the media these days. Politicians do it all the time, as do celebrities. And lately, even mega rich sports figures have had to defend their questionable habits.

Thankfully the majority of us still know how to filter what it is we would like to do, and what it is we should and shouldn’t do.

It’s no secret that the rest of the world views America as the land where the spoiled children live. And yet, many still make their way here hoping for a little of what most of us luxuriate in every day.

Fortunately there’s more that’s good about America than the few crazies who make the headlines…

………hugmamma.

 

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errol flynn…an enigma

Remember him?  Errol Flynn…that swashbuckling, acting hunk who portrayed…Robin Hood…among many other memorable characters? 

I was absolutely delighted when I came across Flynn’s autobiography in a small, mom-and-pop type bookshop. It was sandwiched between a couple of other shops along the main road in a rural town where I often peruse for antiques, collectibles, and other vintage treasures.

Talk about unearthing a treasure!  

Errol Flynn – My Wicked, Wicked Ways – The Million Copy Bestseller – His Side of The Story in His Own Words has been more than I expected. Although the racy title was enticing, I was far more interested in learning about the man behind the gorgeous facade. What was he all about? What did he think of the actors with whom he worked? Did he and Olivia de Havilland, a leading lady with whom he’d starred in several films, have a yen for one another off-camera? Was he an alcoholic and a pedophile, as had been alleged and widely publicized while at the peak of his career?

In reading celebrity biographies I’m always curious to learn if, in fact, they lead such totally different lives from those of us whose lives hover below, if not completely off, the radar. Are they really all that special when not appearing as hot commodities on the big screen?

While a quick read on the surface, Flynn’s story was substantive enough to slow me down. He is definitely NOT the same man he portrays in all those super-macho roles. If what he writes is true, Errol Flynn was a man given to satisfying any and all curiosities regardless of the risk or devastating results. Sex and alcohol were his undoing, physically and financially. In the end, they were probably the cause of his departure from this world. Along the way, bouts of depression nearly did him in prematurely. It seemed he had a pact with death which he tried to cash in a couple of times, unsuccessfully. He got his wish at age 50, when he died of a heart attack.

In his journal entry dated 10/14/55, Flynn wrote of life as a contradiction.

I know I am contradiction inside contradiction. … I can love women and hate them and this may seem a contradiction. … You can love every instant of living and still want to be dead. I know this feeling often. …I might be quite famous, but not feel famous, only feel sometimes like a heel. I can be worth a million or two million and feel like a bum and be a bum and live like a bum. … I know that there are two men inside me. One wants to ramble and has rambled around the globe more than once, in the sky and below water. The other man is a settled fellow, who thinks sometimes he is or should be a husband-man, and that he should sit settled in a house by the side of the road or by the side of the sea. Both are inside of me. Each is true. … No, contradiction has a place in human nature, in social values, just as it has in mathematics. Contradiction is neither true nor false. It is.

As if he were a tragic figure soliloquizing in a Shakespearean play, Flynn lists his many contradictions.

If they say I am inconsistent let them say it, for it is true, because inconsistency is a part of living nature.
I am the epitome of the twentieth-century cosmopolitanism, but I should have been born an explorer in the time of Magellan.
I am sour on women but cannot do without them and I need them incessantly so as to feed my sourness.
I could have killed Bruce Cabot but I can forgive him.
I am bitter about what Lili Damita did to me, but I also laugh about it.
I crave the indulgence of my senses but this is countered by an interior desire that is even keener than my senses to know the meaning of things.
I want to be taken seriously. I feel that I am inwardly serious, thoughtful, even tormented, but in practice I yield to the fatuous, the nonsensical. I allow myself to be understood abroad as a colourful fragment in a drab world.
I have a zest for living, yet twice an urge to die.
I have a genius for living, but I turn many things into crap.
I am dangerous to be with because, since I live dangerously, others are subject to the danger that I expose myself to. They, more likely than I, will get hurt.
I will do a great deal for a buck; then when I get it I will throw it away, or let it be taken from me.
I am very tough, but also I am a patsy.
The pursuit of gold, pleasure and danger motivate most of my springs.
I am alternately very kind, very cruel.
I love art, but finance may be my forte.
I want faith, and I am faithless.
I look for causes, and they wind up with me a romp.
I love and hate myself.
I want to be loved but I may myself be incapable of really loving.
I hate the legend of myself as phallic representation, yet I work at it to keep it alive.
I despise mediocrity above all things. I fear it, yet I know some of my performances have been mediocre.
I generally deny that I was ever a good actor, but I know I have turned in a half-dozen good performances.
I call myself a bum, but I have been working hard most of the days of my adult life.
I portray myself as wicked, hoping I will not be regarded as wicked. But I may really be wicked in the Biblical sense.
Women do not let me stay single. I do not let myself stay married.
Cheers for Mama. Damn her too.
Give me the artistic life, except when I’m producing, directing, organising, banking, playing the stock market and in other ways being a businessman.
I hate the law and spend too much time with lawyers.
I have been called the eternal Sophomore, the perennial youth. I can do nothing to alter this. I am hung with it. The stamp is upon me. It is too late for me to become a scientist, saint or messiah. If I symbolise anything it is that I am the eternal sempervive.
I laugh a lot, and I weep secretly more often than most men.

I have requested all my life for truths and I wallow in bromides. The bromides themselves wallow in truth.
I live polygamously, but but I am fascinated by people who appear to live happily monogamously.
I am on the side of the underdog, except when I am on the side of the rich.
In me, contradiction itself, as a principle, finds its own raison d’ etre. I am convinced of the validity of contradiction. There are many worlds. Each is true, at its time, in its own fashion.

Parental relationships always interest me when I read about others’ lives. Oftentimes these relationships drive individuals to do what they do, for better or worse. In Flynn’s case, the physical absence of both parents since his teen years left the would-be actor to create a life for himself. And so he did.

All my life I have tried to find my mother, and I have never found her. My father has not been Theodore Flynn, exactly, but a will-o’-the-wisp just beyond, whom I have chased and hunted to see him smile upon me, and I shall never find my true father, for the father I wanted to find was what I might become, but this shall never be, because inside of me there is a young man of New Guinea, who had other things in mind for himself besides achieving phallic symbolism in human form.

I am living with this brand–even relatively happily–but I wish it hadn’t happened. I do not know whether I have conveyed it–or tried not to convey it–but I have been cut by my own sword, so deeply that I am ready for whatever befalls. Flynn is not always In. Sometimes he is far, far out–at the bottom of the chasm, at the bottom of the cleft.

It saddens me to think that Errol Flynn might have been so much more than…

…just another pretty face.  

………hugmamma.

NOTE: Photo courtesy of wikipedia.

 

 

 

six word story challenge: film

Escapism at its best…or worst.

My preference…always oldies, but goodies.

Sunny, light, fun…dark, chilling, scary.

Something you put into a camera.

Sex sells sinful, slimy, silly stories.

What’s acting these days? Being yourself.IMG_5134

…give me the good ole days!…

………hugmamma.

birds of a feather…flock together

A post written by Candice at http://wrygrass.com/2013/08/28/fire-frenzy-and-calmness-in-a-fur-coat/ had me laughing…and thinking I’d found a soul sister.

Could it be that there’s another woman out there who lacks common sense? I thought for sure I was the only one. I’ve never admitted it before, but reading about Candace’s behavior in the face of a crisis empowered me to speak up. Until now, only those nearest and dearest to me knew the truth. At least…I hope so.

“Common sense” according to Webster’s is “sound practical judgement; normal native intelligence.”Well, I’ve never been practical and at times I’ve jokingly told my daughter that I was “aby-normal.”

Cover of "Young Frankenstein [Blu-ray]"

If you’ve never seen “Young Frankenstein,” you should. When Gene Wilder asks his hunchback sidekick, Marty Feldman, whose brain he got for Frankenstein, Feldman replies “Aby someone.” Wilder asks “Aby who?” To which Felman says “Aby Normal.” I loved that line and have since borrowed it. 

Now where was I? Oh, yes. I was talking about Candice and I being…birds of a feather…or chickens with their heads cut off…or Chicken Little running around crying “The earth is falling! The earth is falling!”

Like Candice, I had a run-in with my oven.

When I was in my late 20s living on Long Island with my hubby, I decided to take a sick day from work to bake up a Christmas gift for some friends. At the time I was heavily into making, and eating, chex mix snacks. Still in my flannel nightgown, I put my first batch into the oven and wandered off. Not long after, the smoke alarm started going off. Hurrying back to my teeny-tiny kitchen I was alarmed at the sight of a fire in the oven. In a state of panic I reached for the phone and dialed my husband at his office…in NYC.  I stood out in the small, enclosed foyer talking to him as the fire continued to burn. Ever the practical one he told me to call 911 and get out of the house. I did as I was told, feeling slightly foolish standing in my snow-covered front yard with the phone cord stretched to the max as I dialed for help.

In no time the fire engines arrived…two, I think…with firefighters hanging off the sides and backs of the trucks. Of course the neighborhood was alerted by the sirens blasting, as if calling one and all to bear witness to my stupidity. I’m sure I wanted to find the closest mole hole and crawl inside with my heretofore sworn enemy…Mr. Mole himself.

The firemen stormed into the house, hatchets and fire hose in hand.  Soon one of them emerged flinging my baking pan onto the lawn. All that remained of the chex mix was a charred blob. Meanwhile, the windows and doors of the house were thrown open to allow the billowing smoke to escape. I don’t recall if any water was used. I don’t think so. But with the passing of time I can only recall what I did…and didn’t do.

While I know this wasn’t the first time I pulled a humdinger of a boo-boo, it was the first of many, many stories my husband has loved retelling. Thank goodness he has a funny bone that runs the length of his body. If not, my marriage might not have lasted as long as it has…42 years.

English: A chicken running Français : Un poule...

Have you a “Chicken Little” story of your own to tell? Or are you…

…the one with the common sense?…

………hugmamma. 

64 years later…???

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wasn’t there when he was pulled from his warm, inner sanctum screaming at the top of his newborn lungs. And for obvious reasons. I was probably just a thought away from conception myself. Funny, how 2 infants, complete strangers at birth, are  inseparable soulmates 42 years after tying the knot. From umbilical cords to marital ties, a quantum leap…taken…one step at a time.

Faced with the conundrum of celebrating yet another birthday, I happened to mention it to my hairdresser Zorianna. We’re best buds, having my “crowning glory,” my hair, in common.

“I’ve no clue what to do for my husband’s birthday. After 42 years, what can I give him that he’ll really like. Men aren’t really into chachkas like we are.”

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To which Zorianna brilliantly responded, “You should take him to the iPic Theatre in Redmond Town Center!” Thanks to her, hubby and I had a fantastic date night on his birthday.

Prior to the movie, we snacked on seared ahi tuna atop won ton chips. While I sipped on a delicate blackberry mojito, the birthday boy guzzled a tall glass of a real man’s beverage…beer. A half-an-hour later we made our way to our plush, reclining seats. Yep! You read right. We were going to lie down in public to watch Men in Black III in 3-D! And like the Greeks and Romans before us, we were going to be further wined and dined…lying astride our couches…underlings running back and forth to do our bidding. Well, not quite…

Eating our Angus sliders and truffle french-fries in the dark was a trick. Trying not to dribble ketchup down our fronts was impossible for my husband. He remarked a couple of times “I shouldn’t have worn this shirt.” It was comfy…but white.

Struggling to add cream and sugar to my coffee in the dark without spilling it on my lap was a juggling act I thought I’d lose. You see the cup’s cover was not giving up its grip without a struggle. Me and the plastic cover battling it out in the dark, while Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were duking it out with gross-looking aliens on the big screen. I could appreciate what they were going through.

An hour into the film, I think hubby and I both nodded off. I don’t think we snored. At least I hope not. Thankfully, I’d selected 2 seats with aisles on either side which put some distance between us and our neighbors.

Not being a fan of the Men in Black films myself, I thought this, its third, was pretty good. The story line was a little sentimental, to my liking. The action was fun, without being loaded down with a lot of blood and gore. What there was of it was more corn than protein. Albeit at times it was both…corny and cheesy. 

We decided, hubby and I, that as a destination iPic is a once-in-awhile luxury. Twenty-two dollars a pop for each member is fine in small doses, as is the decadence of dining on gourmet food while covered with a light blanket. Comfy, cozy…but more preferable…

…in the comfort of our home…and on my wonderful…memory foam mattress…aaahhh…

………hugmamma.  😉     

New luxurious movie theater coming to Redmondof course…we didn’t have to recline…but hey, when in rome…  😉

daily post challenge #204: does your mind go blank…when you close your eyes?

Illustration depicting thought.

Image via Wikipedia

Heck no!!! My mind has never been blank. At least not that I can recall. I remember very vividly asking my husband of only a few months what he was thinking as we lay in the dark, after going to bed. “Nothing,” He replied. “Nothing?” I asked, incredulous. “That’s impossible. You must be thinking about something.” “Nope.” Came the retort. I think I tried to convince him that he must be thinking something, but to no avail.

Imagine that ? A mind free of clutter. Free of yesterdays, todays, and tomorrow’s stuff. No lint to pick off one’s brain. Totally clear and unemcumbered. Like an “in” tray on a secretary’s desk, cleared out and ready for the next day’s tasks.

Regal Cinemas 24

Image by marklarson via Flickr

Meanwhile my brain is like a Regal Cinema with several theatres running the latest films concurrently. The difference is I often run the same movie over and over again. It could be an event that makes me feel warm and fuzzy, or one that has me pondering the “what ifs.” Only in recent years, with my husband’s patient reminder that I shouldn’t worry about something over which I have no control, and Dr. Daniel Amen’s advice that negative thoughts are at the heart of our mental undoing, have I opted to shut down the movie reels when I finally lay me down to sleep.

Regal Cinemas

Image by _rockinfree via Flickr

Of course that doesn’t prevent dreams, sometimes even discombobulated nightmares, from awaking me in the middle of the night, or early morning, making it difficult for me to fall back to sleep. And then the reruns begin. But I try to pick and choose. If my mind has to run flicks nonstop, then they’ll have to pass the “G” rating…only family attractions allowed and, of course, always in technicolor. No blood, no gore, no violence…only happy endings…and happy-in-betweens.

if i can’t beat ’em…and i have to join ’em…then it’s going to be…on my terms…hugmamma.

fantastical!…harry potter

harry-potter-book7

Image by Colin ZHU via Flickr

Last night was a first for my husband and me. We’d never, at least not as middle-agers, stood in a line waiting for a movie to begin at 10:30 p.m. But in recent months we’ve become more adventurous. We’ve been stepping outside the box, so to speak. Rather than resort to our nightly ritual, me blogging, and him snoring in front of the TV, we decided to go for some hamburgers, followed by Harry Potter in 3-D. I felt giddy to be out so late, with the younger set. Fortunately, there was no crowd, the line was pretty short, the theatre rather empty for the final episode in a blockbuster series. Perhaps the earlier shows were fuller. No matter, we had a great time. Even better because there were probably less than 80 in attendance. We could all spread out, watching in relaxed comfort. No need to elbow neighbors. I was on an end seat; my husband had no one seated on his other side.

harry potter review harry potter review harry ...

When the show ended, I remarked a couple of times how the 3 main actors had started down this path as middle-schoolers, and now they were all young adults. That’s a long time to have been involved in a project, and one that made them all millionaires. I’m sure they couldn’t have known their amazing, good fortune. Just as J.K. Rowlings couldn’t have known that her fantasy epoch would make her the first billionaire author. Their lives have been as fantastical as the fantasy with which they were all involved. They certainly hit the lottery, big time! But I think we did as well.

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter an...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a wonder how Rowlings penned a fantasy so rich with twists and turns, and imagery beyond compare, and concocted a phalanx of characters the likes of which boggles the mind. The author seemed to fill every nook and cranny of her unfolding wizard’s world, with details that enriched and enhanced her storytelling. I couldn’t have imagined everything she imagined, not if I tried for a million years. It’s certain she researched some aspects, but it’s more likely she is a creative genius. I think Rowlings has carved out a unique niche in this generation’s literary archive.

We’re indeed fortunate that J.K. Rowlings sat down one day to apply herself to paper. Otherwise a literary rock star might have gone undiscovered. And Harry Potter’s adventures would never have materialized. And what a loss that would have been.

In a recent interview, Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, 21-years-old, reportedly said     

     “I think about being Dad quite a lot, …I can’t wait to have kids.” 
     So the next time Radcliffe revisits Harry Potter, it may be reading those adventures of a magical boy to his own children.
     “I imagine I will,” Radcliffe says, his eyes glistening. “It will be very, very strange, though.”  

made me feel like a kid again…hugmamma.

“balancing action and inaction,” life

Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

Image via Wikipedia

Today is Palm Sunday, signifying Christ‘s triumphal arrival into Jerusalem. A week from now we will be celebrating His resurrection from death. That is the pivotal point for all Catholics, when we are saved from eternal damnation. And so today begins the holiest week in the Catholic Church, and the busiest. Each day provides us an opportunity to participate in the ritual leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

During Jesus life on earth this next week, Holy Week, unfolded as his own personal hell. He went from riding on a donkey, his followers waving palm branches as they honored Him, to being scourged and made to carry a wooden cross, upon which he would then be nailed, a sign over his head mocking Him as king of the Jews.

The Passion of the Christ

Image via Wikipedia

Actor/Director Mel Gibson‘s movie shown several years ago, was the most horrific representation of Christ’s suffering from the moment He was struck repeatedly with leather straps whose tips bore lead beads, to the crown of thorns shoved mercilessly into his scalp, to the huge nails that were hammered into his hands and feet. I was unable to watch most of the film, and I tried to muffle the sounds by shoving my fingers into my ears. I hadn’t imagined how overwhelmingly gruesome the depiction would be. That is one movie I will never be able to watch again. Never.

I find it difficult to fathom the suffering human beings can endure. After today’s lengthy reading of the scriptures, Father Brian launched into his homily. The contrast was jarring. Somber words one minute, near-shouting the next. A mimimum of movement one minute, bold, sweeping ones the next. He spoke of a friend with whom he visited in Bellingham, a town bordering British Columbia. It was almost as though Father was speaking of Job, the man who couldn’t get a break from the bad stuff life was throwing his way.

Andy, Father Brian’s friend, was married, with a baby on the way. At about the time he and his wife learned of her pregnancy, he was stricken with cancer throughout his abdomen. He was going through chemotherapy treatment, which left him depleted. Advice from friends and loved ones runs the gamut from fighting the disease with all of his might, to letting go and allowing God‘s will be done. Needless to say the ordeal has Andy wafting in and out of depression. Somewhere along the line, the doctors discovered that the cancer has spread throughout his spinal column.

Jesus calls Lazarus to Life

Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr

Wouldn’t it be nice if Father Brian had the ability to relieve Andy of the cancer, by performing a miracle? That’s what the non-believers taunted as Christ hung on the cross. If He was truly the Son of God, then why didn’t His Father rescue Him? That, as we know, was not God’s will.

While Andy’s situation exemplifies human suffering at its worst, Father Brian drew a parallel between his life, Christ’s life, and our lives. Though our challenges may not be as great as theirs, like them we vacillate between agressively promoting that about which we are passionate, to passively accepting our fate and putting our lives into God’s hands. We are constantly seeking the right balance. In doing so Father concluded that we should not only pray for guidance, but that we should also find someone with whom we can openly share our sorrows.  Both will enable us to shoulder whatever burdens we will bear throughout our lives.

a fine balance…this gift of life…hugmamma.   

 

365 photo challenge: wonder

Never thought I’d one day see the real thing, when I developed a crush on actor Louis Jordan who starred in “Three Coins in the Fountain.” But I did!

 

and the trevi fountain was truly a WONDER to behold!!!…………hugmamma.

“real” reality tv

Glee

flooding “down under”

Super Bowl Sunday

egyptian citizens protesting economic deprivation

Angelina Jolie, “Cleopatra”

mother nature reeks winter havoc

Oscars

mubarak thugs descend upon unsuspecting protestors

Oprah celebrates birthday

initiative to continue funding educational programs

Justin Bieber, “Never Say Never”

monroe prison guard killed

Crystal Mountain Ski Lodge, gondola, weddings, Summit restaurant

revolution spreading as i type

that’s how it is on “real” reality tv

are you getting the picture?…hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

“george, who would be king”

Enjoyed another great night at the movies with close friends Sylvia and Jim. She and I were particularly keen to see “The King’s Speech.” Sylvia was a subject during the rule of George VI and was, therefore, very excited to see the film’s portrayal of England’s beloved monarch and his queen. Revisiting her homeland by way of the vivid photography was an added bonus. I’m a devoted fan of Colin Firth who acted the part of the king. But I too wanted to see what George VI was really like, the man beneath the crown. I’d heard of his speech impediment, but wanted to learn more about it, and how such an introvert as he, dealt with the problem. Our spouses were on the fence about the film, but decided to accompany us. They were both very happy they did.

Colin Firth did not disappoint, nor did Geoffrey Rush as the king’s speech therapist, Lionel Lough. Firth’s handling of the king’s prominent stutter was excruciatingly realistic. It pained me to watch him struggle to speak. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the dilemma to form words and emit them naturally were so physically apparent. Firth’s eyes bulged and teared, beads of sweat sprung up on his forehead and beneath his squinting eyes. He seemed unable to breathe at times, the words sticking in his throat. I felt his dizziness, his nausea. I wanted to collapse alongside him, under the weight to speak publicly as the people’s sovereign, especially when he announced that England was joining the war against Hitler.

A great actor, but not necessarily a favorite of mine, Geoffrey Rush acted the role of Mr. Lough with eloquence and restraint. If you’re not well acquainted with Rush, you might remember him as Johnny Depp’s nemesis in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Barbossa, captain of the haunted ship, the “Black Pearl.” In this role and others previous, Rush seems verbose, wordy. In “The King’s Speech,” he spoke in reaction to Firth. The part of therapist was to encourage the king to speak, a lot.

As the story unfolded, it was apparent that Lough’s value to King George VI transcended the professional. Lough became mentor, confessor, friend, and “family” to the king. They remained so, for the rest of their lives. As is so like me, I shed silent tears here and there.

How sad that George VI’s difficult childhood contributed to his stuttering. How sad that his brother abdicated with little thought to the burden he was placing upon George, who would be king. But how wonderful that he had his wife and daughters, and Lionel Lough to love and support him throughout his reign. And, of course, the overwhelming love of a grateful people.

a beautiful and touching “fairytale,” deserving of an “oscar” for all involved…hugmamma.

“big night,” small town bijou

I’m pretty sure that’s what movie houses were called back in the day, bijous. When my friend Sylvia mentioned that she and her husband had frequented the North Bend Theatre a few times and loved its charm, I knew I had to experience it for myself. So I made a date with them, for my husband and I to see the lone show featured tonight at 5 p.m., “The Little Fockers.”

I was somewhat surprised when Sylvia assured me that she and Jim were great fans of the “Focker” installments, and that they were excited to be able to see this, the most recent. I must confess to only seeing the first, and thought the humor was rather inane. I can take or leave Ben Stiller’s humor. So to think that friends in their 70s found the stories hilarious, was extremely surprising. Even my 24-year-old daughter, who dislikes the Focker family series, was taken aback. But we agreed that Sylvia and Jim are not your run-of-the-mill senior citizens. They’re pretty progressive, and very energetic. They could run circles around my family, to be sure.

Well neither the theatre nor the movie were disappointing. In fact, they were both downright enjoyable. The bijou is owned by a private family, probably as a pet project, a contribution to their community of North Bend. Bravo for them! It’s well maintained, inside and out. The lobby is tiny, probably full to capacity at 25-30 people, all standing elbow to elbow. High-schoolers staffed the mini-snack bar. Popcorn served up in good, old-fashioned brown paper bags, in several sizes. Jim and I threw caution to the wind, ordering a couple…with a few squirts of butter. Naughty, naughty! Tasted like the sort I got at the five-and-dime Kress Store, when I was a kid in Maui.

My husband and I wandered in to find our friends who’d preceded us to “save” seats. They needn’t have bothered, since the theatre was three-quarters empty. Even with that I almost burst into chuckles when I spotted Sylvia and Jim sitting in the next to the last row of seats. They were almost in the snack bar, literally! Then I remembered that he wore hearing aids, which might amplify the sounds beyond his comfort zone. Since the “Little Fockers” was not a movie I’d been dying to see, sitting… soooooooo… far back was no big deal. Nonetheless, I still smiled to myself.

Well surprise, surprise! I laughed through the entire film. Stiller and the actress who played his wife were not the objects of my hysteria, although he was very good. The supporting cast of A-list actors, Blythe Danner, Robert de Niro, Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman, were absolutely great! Performing more light-hearted roles than usual, they were all wonderfully funny: de Niro as the fanatical, retired CIA father-in-law who’s out to make mincemeat of son-in-law Stiller, is paired with mild-mannered, Danner, who plays fantasy dress-up to add spark to their senior sex life, as Hoffman is off learning to dance flamenco in Seville, Spain, while wife Streisand stars on her own sex-advice talk show. Funny! Funny! Funny!

Once we collected ourselves, and braved the pelting rain outside, we headed for a bite to eat at the North Bend Bar and Grill, our favorite eatery in town. It was packed to capacity, to our surprise. However the 20 minute wait was well worth it. The food, from soup and salad to entrees were all delicious. My meatloaf was a delightful change from the norm. Formed as a small loaf, it was stuffed with crumbled bleu cheese, and wrapped with strips of bacon. The entire loaf was then glazed in a flavorful, dark brown gravy. I’m licking my chops just imagining it. I was glad I’d foregone the side of potatoes, mashed, baked or fried, in favor of additional veggies. The blend of green and wax beans, broccoli, and carrots was probably one of the best I’d tasted in a long time. I’m guessing that’s because the veggies were sautéed in butter. Lordy, my cholesterol! Thank goodness butter hasn’t crossed my lips of late. Tonight was the exception, and well worth “falling off the wagon.”

good friends, good show, good food…hugmamma.

inspirational thought, from a mom who inspires

Wanted to share the following from my friend, a great mom of whom I’ve spoken in an earlier post. Katy is the CEO in her family, having weathered a divorce several years ago. Her 2 children have benefitted from her management style, one of unconditional love that, like many moms, attempts to fix everything. But God bless Katy, she does manage to “build castles out of sand.” Her daughter is a successful events planner for a retirement community, even as she faces ongoing health issues that would suck the life from most of us. Her brother, Katy’s son is continuing to resolve his health issues as well. Both siblings had set their sights on stage careers, the daughter as a ballerina, the son as an actor in musicals, and perhaps a director.

When her children lacked the energy, Katy sustained them until they regained their determination to look ahead towards another day, another sunrise. They are as remarkable as their mom. Despite her share of setbacks, my friend has discovered new horizons for herself. Katy’s on the verge of becoming a movie actress!!! Now living in California, she’s dabbled in theatre. It seems the play in which she’s acted, “Pink Squirrels,” is being made into a movie. Her part has even expanded, from a smaller role, to one vacated by another actress. So if you find yourself in a viewing of the film, watch the actress playing a Lesbian lawyer. She’ll be my amazing friend, Katy! 

So it’s with joy that I pass along another of my friend’s gems, the other being the youtube video of dance clips to the music of “Footloose.” Not one to advise others on how best to live their lives, Katy just does it by example. It’s my guess, she finds daily inspiration from the following. I hope you do as well.

We face magnificent opportunities throughout our lives, each of which is brilliantly disguised as an impossible situation.

 for a mom who inspires, a holiday toast!…and huge hugs…hugmamma.

made my day, “footloose”

We all have one of those days now and then, maybe even more now, than then. I went to exercise class bright and early this a.m.; would’ve preferred remaining warm under the covers. As I age, Hawaii, its warmth and sunshine, beckons ever more. Like sirens of old, it calls to me, “Come lay your weary head upon my white sands, and let the warm waters of the Pacific wash away your concerns.” If I could only bottle the sun, releasing its warmth and light, as needed.

Of course exercise class always gets my endorphins moving, and my heart rate up. When I returned home, I spoke with my daughter, who agreed, that Kristina, the instructor, gives one fierce workout. Only time, and body, will tell how long I can keep pace with the younger women, those in their 40’s and 50’s. While I can always “take it down a notch,” as my daughter reminded me, I never see that as an alternative. I always challenge myself to do everything 110%, or at least 100%. I don’t usually drag myself around after working out, but I could barely register enough energy to get up out of the chair to fix a bite. But I did. Then I ran a couple of errands, returned home and plopped myself back down in the same chair, the one in front of my computer. That’s when my day took a turn, for the better.

A good friend must’ve read my mind, and knew I needed a boost. Dancing and rythmic music levitates my spirit like nothing else, well…almost. Watching my daughter dance gives me a tremendous “high,” that lasts and lasts. But I smiled nonstop during the following video which my girlfriend emailed, moving my head from side to side. The movie “Footloose” was great, but this version combining pieces of 40 movies or so, should be awarded a prize of some sort. Congrats to its creator, whoever he or she might be. Of course, I’m thrilled that an excerpt of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” was included. That was like “icing on the cake.”

So I share my friend’s gift to me, as an early holiday gift to you.

huge holiday hugs…hugmamma.

not a job for everyone, ballet

Hollywood is coming out with yet another ballet film, The Black Swan, starring Natalie Portmann. My daughter and I saw the trailer for it before the feature film Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera  and Cher. We couldn’t say enough great things about Burlesque. On the other hand, The Black Swan will not get my money. Out of curiosity, my daughter may see it with her dancer friends. I’m not a fan of Stephen King books or films, and this latest dance movie seems to fit that bill.

Last night on one of the entertainment news shows, Natalie Portmann and Milla Kunes spoke briefly of their experience during filming of The Black Swan. They both implied that there was a mean-spiritedness among ballet dancers. There was no indication whether or not they worked with a real ballet company, or if they were speaking from hearsay. Generalizing that ballet dancers are one thing or another in a news clip, doesn’t make it true.

 The media has done a good job to help stereotype people from all walks of life. Don’t we all know more than we care to know, about Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears? According to the news that drones on about these two, they are out-of-control, spoiled-rotten, alcoholics. I’d just as soon leave them alone to sort out their own lives. Give me a break, and them.

I personally think ballet is not the right fit for everyone. Moms wanting their toddlers to dance prettily in ballet slippers, pink leotards and tights, should be very careful not to overstep their children’s enthusiasm for the art form. When it stops being fun, or when the children have mastered all that they can, and can do no more toward advancing to higher levels, moms should accept that their children may want to, or need to, involve themselves elsewhere, where they may be happier, and more successful.

As with anything in life, parents need to walk a “fine line,” between what they want and what their children want. I think the best approach is to involve our children in the direction their lives take, on an ongoing basis. As we help them strategize we should pay heed to the signals they give off, whether vocalized or not. Of course they don’t always know what they want, but often times they know what they don’t  want. I think both are equally important. Steering them through a maze of choices is not easy for us or them.

After seeing a close friend perform in a recital, our 8-year-old daughter decided she wanted to dance. So she enrolled in jazz, tap and ballet classes at the same studio as her friend. During the three years she danced there, our daughter advanced into classes with students older than she. After year-end recitals, audience members approached my husband and I to congratulate us on our daughter’s dancing. Those were the first times I heard words I have continued to hear at her performances, “I couldn’t take my eyes off of her” or “She has tremendous stage presence.”

When we moved west, our daughter enrolled in a private studio originated by former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal, Deborah Hadley. When she first saw our daughter in a ballet class, her arched feet had Hadley inquiring “Who’s that girl?” That December, our daughter was cast in the role of ballerina doll in The Nutcracker’s  party scene. Her joy at receiving such an honor dissolved when upon opening night, the Russian teacher responsible for staging the ballet, told our daughter she had not “performed” the role, but only executed the technical steps.

When our daughter told us what had happened on the ride home, we were, of course, upset. But not wanting to cause her additional grief, I advised her instead to perform for herself, not for her teacher. I also told her something I’ve continued to tell her “Dance every role, no matter what it is, as though you’re a star. You’ll have done your very best, and that’s all you can do.”  The only thing I tell her now, before a performance is “Have fun!”

Throughout her entire journey towards a career in ballet, our daughter has received encouragement from all who have seen her dance. Teachers, artistic directors, choreographers,  and fellow dancers,  have consistently told us that she had great potential. Audience members have congratulated her performances. I was most moved when a brother-in-law, who saw her dance for the first and only time, said his eyes welled with tears when he watched her perform a solo with Northwest Professional Dance Program in Portland a few summers ago.

With what our daughter seemed to have going for her in talent and work ethic, becoming a professional ballet dancer was still no guarantee. There was competition, disappointments, stresses, politics, tears. Having been a corporate career person before becoming a mom, I suffered the same traumas in my workplace. The difference is I was paid better, but my daughter has more passion for her job than I had for any of several I worked.

When I moved to Atlanta to enable our 16-year-old daughter to train with Atlanta Ballet in the hopes she’d become a member, moms of students there would ask the secret to her success thus far.  I would tell them it took 50% talent, and 50% a combination of other things.

From what I could see, the right candidate for a professional dance job needed to be able to withstand the extraordinary pressures of competing for company openings, and then roles, socializing with older, more senior dancers, speaking on one’s own behalf with staff, maintaining a healthy body, physically, mentally and emotionally, and living within one’s means, on salaries that are below minimum wage in some cases. Who could, or would, want to subject themselves to such a career? Not me, but then I’m not cut out for such a life. Not many are, but my daughter is.

Just as not all people are created equal, not all ballet companies are cut from the same cloth. Probably unknown to the lay person is the fact that there are many, many, many dance companies throughout this country, and abroad.  Some are big, with 50 or more full-time dancers, and then there are companies like my daughter’s where there are only 15 members, 8 men and 7 women. Besides the difference in numbers, there’s a huge difference in budgets. Bigger companies, like Pacific Northwest Ballet, enjoy $15 million to $20 million budgets; my daughter’s gets by on a shoestring budget of $4 million.

Just as a corporation’s modus operandi  reflect the style of the  “head honcho,” the CEO/President, so too does a ballet, or modern, dance company reflect its artistic director’s style. And we all know that the top man can run the gamut, from monster to saint. Having witnessed both styles in my former career, and my husband’s and daughter’s careers, it seems what kind of boss and work environment we get is in the “luck of the draw.” I’ve always subscribed to the belief that within any organization, be it a household, a company, or a church, whatever occurs, filters from the top down. Bad management begets a bad environment begets mostly cranky, negative whiners.

So while there are ballet, and modern, dance companies who fit the descriptions of Portmann and her fellow actor, there are those like my daughter’s, whose artistic director has shown courage and concern by allowing her a 3 month leave to address health issues, with a guarantee that she can return to her job in January. He and his staff have shown her great love and support. So I know, first-hand, that one size does not fit all in the ballet world.

neither is ballet a career for everyone…hugmamma.