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Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Shaken or Stirred? Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Two cars or one?

Nelly Bly, my Foster Mother, didn’t drive. She was fifty when they “adopted” me and so my world was limited to her care on a hill in Victory Gardens, with the occasional sojourn to a swimming pond or a grocery store with Daddy Jim. And of course mass every Sunday followed by a sundae at Zanelli’s and later dinner at Dick’s Diner.

There were no after school activities for me, no Brownie troop. I know, cry me a river. But I didn’t miss what I didn’t know about because most moms didn’t drive. I was a pretty happy kid in this Leave it to Beaver black and white world. I would get on my bike and cruise the neighborhood. I learned how to stand up to bullies, how to navigate friendships, how to avoid peeping toms who would slow down in their cars, all by myself.

Still, somehow I knew Nell wasn’t happy being isolated so far from town and later I realized she actually suffered from agorophobia. Jim had never wanted her to work, and even at such a young age I understood an essential part of the 50s female experience. You did what you were told.  A paternalistic system needs to be fed, go along to get along… Today, I see how hard it is for Great Grandpa Hudson’s generation of men to stop driving. Taking the car keys away from an octogenarian+ can be an effort in futility.

FDR promised a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. One car.

And for the past month Bob and I have been living with just one car. We drove my CRV to Nashville, where Bob signed up for city bikes and used Uber if I was at the Bride’s house and he’d been waiting for a plumber at ours. No problem. We walked everywhere else, the walkability score for our area is in the 90s!

Then as soon as we got back to the Blue Ridge, his Acura with a hefty 300,000+ miles on it, had to see its trusty mechanic, again. So we’ve been a one car family in the country for the past week too, surprisingly without incident. Which is to say, we schedule my car individually when we have errands, and drive everywhere else together.

When Bob was working this didn’t always work out. I was once stranded here, on 14 acres in the forest, for over a week in a snowstorm; talk about cabin fever.

But for now, we’re actually considering having only one car. It’s better for our planet and for our budget. I’m all in, but Bob’s on the fence. Either he’s really attached to that old car of his, or he’s dreaming about a sport’s car in his future?

Last night we took my solo car for a spin to see Wonder Woman. When I heard her say the Amazons had figured out what men were useful for (procreation) I laughed and reached for Bob’s hand. We all know men are better drivers, right Danica Patrick?

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The Summer Solstice as we contemplate big changes.

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I know it sounds a bit bizarre, but we are home from the South of France by way of meeting an old high school friend in Heathrow Airport courtesy of Facebook. Edie and her husband Steve had been traveling around Great Britain and we’d been following each other’s exploits – she kissed the Blarney stone, I made a quiche. You know how these things go. Facebook envy, it attacks when we least expect it…it’s what started us out on this journey; my vicarious following of a Facebook friend and her buddies hunting for mushrooms in Italy!

After a grueling day of travel in three airports in three countries, covering about 4,500 miles and traveling through many time zones, I had to roll all over the floor with my deliriously happy dog…then I turned on the TV last night to watch Bill Murray receive the Mark Twain Prize for Humor on PBS. I figured it would be better than a jolt of CNN after such a long news-free sabbatical. I missed the run-up, but caught his surprisingly sentimental speech, which actually took place at the kennedy Center last October, before the election. http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/watch-bill-murray-accept-mark-twain-prize-for-american-humor-w446373

Remember those happy Camelot days? Before Mr T (BT), when we thought anything was possible for our country, when we had a statesman, a gentleman for a President, and a First lady who actually lived with him and they seemed to love each other? Government may have been clunky at times, but it worked and was moving toward a brighter future for ALL Americans. After Macron’s victory in France, I was feeling pretty bleak about our state of affairs.

And on our last day in St Remy, I met a delightful, older (probably 80+) British woman who was traveling alone. I helped to translate a store clerk’s French for her – it seemed she had taken a bus to this town and the clerk thought that with the rain and the hills in the next town she should rest at the local cafe. It was too hilly and slippery the clerk said to this elegant, grey haired lady with a cane. Then my fellow traveler turned to me and asked, “Are you an American?”

“Unfortunately,” I replied, “I am.”

She looked me straight in the eye and wagged her finger at me and said in her proper British accent, “No, no, you must be proud to be an American! I am sure you are referring to Trump?” And I shook my head resolutely. In fact, I nearly cried. Some people you meet in passing bring out that Ann Tyler moment for each of us. Then she took my hand and told me that he will not last forever, that my people are smarter and stronger and there will be change. That everything changes.

So I sat with Bob at a cafe for an almond pastry and deux cappuccino and I told him her story. And we talked about how Europe takes the broad, balcony view; because of their history, maybe Brexit will be just a blip on the larger screen.

And as I was falling asleep in our own comfy bed, in that place between reality and dreams, I thought of meeting our friends at Heathrow, like the movie Love Actually. And I thought about Bill Murray’s speech, talking about the trampoline in his heart. That love is like that, it bounces out to touch others. People beyond continents and time.

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“Be Honest Truthful and Warmhearted. Make compassion the basis of your determination”

This is the message that greeted me this morning, after Bob slammed into my still open carry-on at 4 am. It’s a little reminder from the Dalai Lama to keep it real, be mindful, and all that other old/new age stuff. It reminds me of Viola Davis’ performance in The Help. You know the one, where she is holding her young charge full of blonde curls by the shoulders and imprinting these words on her:

“You is Kind; You is Smart; You is Important.” 

Well, Viola introduced Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes the other night, and I thought, ‘poor thing.’ She could barely speak, she had lost her voice and I strained to hear her accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award for her life’s work. You see, Meryl is my age, she grew up in NJ and went to public schools. I’ve always loved and admired her work as an actor. I always thought, There. But. For. Fortune…

They gave me three seconds to say this, so. An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that — breathtaking, compassionate work. There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.

In her elegant way, she eviscerated Mr T, and she didn’t even have to speak his name.

Bob and I had just seen LaLa Land, and being old musical comedy nerds we adored the movie. Two young people chase their dreams, in a sumptuously saturated set. An actor, playing an actor in Hollywood. A musician finally plays the jazz he loves; and I thought about my son, packing up his life and moving to LaLa Land. The kind of bold determination and passion it takes to pursue art as your career.

The movie dominated the Golden Globes – a pure escape from the reality of this past year. And while this was the backdrop, Meryl called us back to the Here and Now. She called out our POTUS-Elect as a reality-star-in-chief. The kind of juvenile, pompous person who would make fun of a disabled reporter. His electoral victory giving rise to the mean, underbelly of racism and hate still present in our country.

A couple feels free to write “We don’t tip Blacks,” on a waitress’ check in VA.

A number of bomb threats are phoned into Jewish centers in NJ, SC, FL and Nashville

This hits too close to home. This is unacceptable. This is why we march. 

I will not listen to pundits decipher Mr T’s Tweets about Meryl’s acting abilities. I will not read about his appointment of his son-in-law to a West Wing post.

This is why we march.

We believe in loving kindness. We believe in fact-based science. We believe that every person has a story, and we are all equally important.

And just as Republicans in VA feel free to constrain our right to assemble, by introducing legislation upping the charges of not obeying orders by the police – you know that non-violent assembly thing that MLK Jr was so fond of – from a Class 3 to a Class 1 misdemeanor…  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+sum+SB1055

This is why we march.

Because all the world is a stage, and it’s time for all of us to pry the hooks out of our hearts, and pull on our big girl boots. If I am arrested, it will be an honor and a privilege.

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Last night I had a nightmare. Of course it involved a car, my usual scenario. It was one of those “Please let this be a dream” nightmares as I was waking up. It had all the usual elements: I was lost; the man driving the car was a maniac; and technology was winning. Yes, my iPhone was in my dream. When I tried to open Google Maps to find my way home, it was stuck – I couldn’t move the screen – it was stuck on me, on the pedestrian me, and someone was watching my every move…maybe I shouldn’t see that new movie Snowden?

Last night a pedestrian was killed by two cars in Keswick. Someone just walking along a road, was hit by a Volvo of all things and then hit again by a pick-up. And a few weeks ago, a woman from California was dropping off her Freshman son at UVA, when she was killed in a relatively new shopping center here in Cville. She and her husband and daughter were just crossing a street, she had probably made her son’s dorm room bed. Maybe his sister had organized his CDs? Do kids still have records or is everything on their phones?

In VA, everyone stops for pedestrians, at least that was my understanding.

The day before, Bob and I had just been to Trader Joe’s in that place and remarked at how the design – the streets, the parking, the signs – was God-awful. http://www.nbc12.com/story/32808255/family-dropping-off-son-at-uva-struck-by-car-mother-killed

We go to Trader Joe’s for two things, Bob’s maple syrup and my unsweetened green iced tea. And we might go to the new cinema in that shopping center, the one I call Stonehenge but is really “The Shops at Stonefield.” In fact we plan on seeing that new Amy Adam’s movie about aliens there, because I need to be frightened just a bit more before Halloween. Here is the trailer that the Rocker produced:

Amy Adams Deals Directly with Aliens in ‘Arrival’ Trailer

I feel like I am living in a nightmare, a war zone lately. Seaside, and Chelsea and a knife-wielding monster in a MN mall. But then I am reminded by our President, who is in New York at the UN, that we must open our hearts to Syrian refugees. Only to read a convoy of trucks full of humanitarian aid was barrel bombed on its way into Aleppo today. I am reminded that in fact, I am not living in a war zone, but these poor people are. The cease fire, such as it was, is over. Russia is playing coy, not claiming responsibility, I imagine waiting to see who will win the US Presidency.

And so we talk about Skittles, and baskets of deplorables.

Maybe the best news of all was hearing that five years from now we will all be driving around in driverless cars. This IS good news, right?  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/17/business/ford-promises-fleets-of-driverless-cars-within-five-years.html?_r=0   17ford-master675

 

 

 

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“There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.”                

Willa Cather

I wonder about the Star Wars hype this weekend, will Star Wars: The Force Awakens live up to its name? To be honest, I was enamored of the first trilogy. In fact, we took the Bride to “see” her very first movie when she was six months old, 1980s The Empire Strikes Back. She was enthralled with the lights for the first half hour, then fell promptly asleep in my arms.

We know that this is really an old fashioned morality play, a fight between good and evil. George Lucas and writer/philosopher Joseph Campbell were friends, and we know that Campbell’s book, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” helped Lucas flesh out his sci-fi plot. But the story is as ancient as Aristotle. A young hero arises, is given a test, finds a mentor, must go into a cave to fight the dragon, returning victorious. Of course in each telling, the journey becomes infused with different details, but the story remains the same.

Carl Jung also detailed creation myths and archetypes of universal characters from around the world long before the internet helped to flatten it. The Swiss psychologist wrote about “… constantly repeating characters who occur in the dreams of all people and the myths of all cultures (and) suggested that these archetypes are a reflection of aspects of the human mind – that our personalities divide themselves into these characters to play out the drama of our lives.”

Jung spoke to our “collective unconscious.” A place where every culture invents its own religion and set of rules in order to make sense of the vast universe, to answer some old existential question like how did we get in this mess?:

” A young hero, the wise old man or woman, the shape-shifting woman or man, and the shadowy antagonist.”     http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero’s_journey.htm

Listening to the GOP debate this week, it all sounds too familiar. ISIS is the Evil Empire, and for some reason it will take one of these conservative hawks to defeat it. But they are not the heroes in my playbook. Because they can’t see what’s happening right here at home. The bloodshed our own home-grown terrorists have caused, our own mentally ill with guns – killing themselves, accidentally killing their children, murdering unarmed people on the street. Killing a nine year old boy for the “sins” of his father.

When the whole LA County school system has to shut down because of a threat, we may be too late to the battle. One thing Campbell’s hero would have done, he would have recognized these GOP tricksters for what they are. He OR She would have found a way to change our collective perception of Evil.

I heard a refugee from Syria on NPR say the jihadists are all young men buying candy bars and Cokes with American dollars. We need to fix our American dream, in order to sell it to them. We need to reawaken the hero in us all.

Here is my hero in the aviary. He just got a new iPhone, after years of refusing to come over to the Light Side of Apple. May the Force be With You!  IMG_3616

 

 

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Instead of a curse, let’s end our Yiddish journey today with a little blessing. Let’s honor the opening of Star Wars this week with an homage to another favorite sci-fi franchise of mine – the logical, side-kick, Star Trek character, Spock. Did you know his famous greeting, the Vulcan salute with the ring and middle finger separated, actually came from an ancient Orthodox Jewish blessing?  “Live long and prosper.”

This is the shape of the letter shin,” Nimoy said in the 2013 interview, making the famous “V” gesture. The Hebrew letter shin, he noted, is the first letter in several Hebrew words, including Shaddai (a name for God), Shalom (the word for hello, goodbye and peace) and Shekhinah, which he defined as “the feminine aspect of God who supposedly was created to live among humans.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2015/02/27/the-jewish-roots-of-leonard-nimoy-and-live-long-and-prosper/

Leonard Nimoy worked tirelessly to keep the Yiddish language alive. He said it was the only way he could communicate with his grandparents. He recorded many stories in Yiddish for the Oral History Project of The Yiddish Book Center. This is a valuable resource for anyone who would like to learn more about the language. And pssst, Ada, they even have a podcast! http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org

A leben ahf dein kop

A long life upon your head

This is usually said while praising someone like; “Well said! Well done!” Plus, who doesn’t want to live to be one hundred and beyond? Today, thanks to modern medicine, many of us will! But better it should be a long, healthy journey, which is often determined by the luck of our gene pool.

And imagine my surprise to find out the famous Hannukah game of chance, the dreidel, was actually derived from an Irish game! “…the dreidel was brought from Ireland to Germany during the late Roman period. Men would gamble with a top known as a “teetotum” in bars and inns. Originally the letters on the teetotum corresponded to the first letters of the Latin words for “nothing,” “half,” “everything” and “put in.” Read more: http://forward.com/culture/326379/the-true-history-of-the-dreidel/#ixzz3uIViitvK

I’m so happy the Bride sings the Yiddish lullaby that Great Aunt Mary taught me about raisins and almonds. Now when I start to sing “Rozhinkes min Mandln” to the Love Bug, her eyes start to flutter.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLrvZiU7slc

Happy Hannukah from our house to yours!  IMG_3538

 

 

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“We’re gonna have a good time!” Even though it’s not a “special” birthday, marking a decade or anything, it’s nice to know I’ve made it through another year on the mountain. As Bob would always say, “It’s better than the alternative,” meaning I could have had a funeral. Nothing like an ER doctor to put things into perspective.

According to Native American culture, I was born during the Duck Fly Moon. And last night, unfortunately, we missed seeing the total eclipse of the moon in VA due to a stack of clouds. Amazing pictures have been scrolling across my Facebook feed, along with birthday greetings from friends near and far. Sometimes I just shake my head at political commentary, or shrug about people sharing TMI, but sometimes you just gotta love social media!

Today we plan on going to the movies to see Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway in “The Intern.” People are raving about it, even my brother, Dr Jim, told us it’s a good take on aging. He said when some HR person asks DeNiro, the new intern, where he sees himself in ten years, and the answer is, “You mean when I’m 80?” his expression is priceless.

We could use a good laugh. And to be honest, I don’t see myself on this mountain for another ten years. I reluctantly moved South to be closer to the Bride, but she’s working on her career in Nashville while the Groom’s interviewing all over the country. Who knows where they will settle; and the Rocker and Ms Cait? I’m pretty sure they will be West Coasters for the foreseeable future. It’s time Bob really thought about retirement, and it’s time we thought about our Golden Years.

When we are no longer driving, I’d like to live in a walkable neighborhood. We know only too well how circumstances can change. And as much as I’ve enjoyed the serenity and the views from my aviary, I know we have another move left in us. But for today, I’ll eat some cake and think about all that tomorrow.

Sunset on the Porch

Sunset on the Porch

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