Tag Archive: death


The final post about the dog

Family Movie Night
by Karyn Bowman
We were in the back yard that is open to the side street since we do not have a fence.
A couple of kids were walking by when their voices became louder. “Burying your dog? Did your poor little dog die?”
By the sing-song tone of their voices I knew they were not being sympathetic. I knew they were trying to make a joke at my grieving family’s expense. So I gave them the look. The ‘mom’ look that let them know if they continued there would be trouble.
As some of you may know from Facebook, our black lab died suddenly at the end of February. We believe he had a heart attack. All I know is that I was there for his last moments, his last breathe. I patted his side and let him know it was ok.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur family was heartbroken. People cried or did ‘useful’ chores so as not to deal with the grief. But it has been very strange not to have the dog around prowling for food or sharing the couch with his humans.
A few weeks before his death my husband, the two younger kids, and I were on the couch watching a favorite tv show. The dog began pacing in front of the couch until he found just the right space to get up and join us. Once he was settled, the dog began slowly pushing off my daughter while making sure his head was on my lap. As far as the dog was concerned he was the favorite kid.
While we miss his companionship, we do not miss his food stealing or clothing eating ways. I found one of my husband’s favorite winter vests in the dog’s hiding place. Sadly, he had already chewed a piece of it off.
So now we must go on without him. Doing the daily walk, which I haven’t done in any sort of regular form since winter started, is going to be tough without the dog tugging and pulling for every squirrel and rabbit. Meal time seems strange without rushing to put everything away before we ‘let the dog out.’
I thought about him as my daughter and I watched Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. The story remains the same – boy meets girl and manages to offend her in every way despite his admiration for her. Only after she learns the truth about an unfortunate situation does she begin to realize his true worth.
Image from IMDb com

Image from IMDb com

The setting, however, is in India. And because this is a Bollywood production, the action can suddenly turn into a song-and-dance production featuring hundreds or a handful. The songs are fun, beautiful and always meaningful to the story. And who can deny the incandescent beauty of Aishwarya Rai?

As we watched the movie, I thought of how much Storm would have loved sitting with us, especially if there was the hope of eating some popcorn.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

stormtight

This morning around 4:00 a.m., my husband woke me up to say he thought something was going on with our dog.

I smelled the smell of poop and thought the dog had been sick.

But it was worse than that.

He was dying as he tried to get up the stairs to be with Mom and Dad one last time. I sat with him until he breathed his last. I patted him and tried to be comforting. I told him it was okay to go on.

A google search suggested it could have been a heart attack or a stroke, especially since there had been no signs of problems in the last 24 hours.

Here is a better accounting from my husband’s blog called Rambles With Storm at his Stray Casts website.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When Hollywood people die, it is always heard that they passed too young.

In the case of Cory Monteith, one of the stars of Glee that is true. The 31-year-old actor had been a star for the last four years because of the Fox TV show that featured musical song-and-dance numbers. His character, Finn, may have been a bit dim in the brain but quite the sweetheart.

Cory Monteith with Kevin McHale, Image from IMDb.com

Cory Monteith with Kevin McHale, Image from IMDb.com

The Canadian actor had started branching out into movies recently. His last role was that of a young man dealing with the aftermath of trauma and Monteith felt he could bring something dark to the role considering his past drug use. The movie is called All The Wrong Reasons and word is the film is heading to the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Monteith struggled with drug addictions for the last 15 or so years. Families who deal with that know how hard it is to watch a love one fight and not be able to help that person. There is no word yet how Monteith’s death will be dealt with on the show but I hope they give him a huge sendoff.

On Monday afternoon as I was trying to get something done, my husband announced that Dennis Farina passed away at the age of 69. Maybe you recognize Farina from his days on Law and Order, maybe you recognize him from his days on Crime Story. Farina played mob guys or cops and he did it well. The former Chicago police officer was a tough talker who was ready to throw a punch when he had to do it. But playing one sort of character can lead to typecasting for an actor and soon enough, Farina was more of a side character than the featured role.

Perhaps his most well-known part was that of Ray ‘Bones” Barboni in Get Shorty, a movie based on an Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. It was a tough role in which Farina plays a South Florida mobster looking for the Shylock he does not like who now lives in California.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

But this was not his reportedly best movie. That came nearly 20 years later when he starred in The Last Rites of Joe May. The story follows a down-on-his-luck low-level gangster who has always believed that good fortune is around the corner. When the man is diagnosed with a terminal illness, one would think he would finally feel down. That is until he believes that good fortune may once more be waiting for him.

If anything, the legacy of Dennis Farina is that you can be an ordinary guy and find your dream. He was good-looking enough and talented enough to get into a movie here and there until he wound up on a poplar TV show. Then came more movies, more TV shows, and special projects. It took a lot of work, a lot of perseverance. But if that is your dream, isn’t that what you will do to make it happen?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Remembering Roger Ebert

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

What is a sure sign of spring at my house?

 

When the weather is warm enough that I feel okay removing last year’s perennial stems. Usually I leave the stalks from the peonies and mums up over the winter. It gives the snow someplace to land that is not flat – and therefore – a little interesting.

 

Image of Roger Ebert  from IMDb.com

Image of Roger Ebert from IMDb.com

This year as I cut away last year’s peonies stems, I thought about Roger Ebert who passed away last week. I grew up on Ebert’s and Siskel’s review show. I read his columns to find out how to write a proper review and to learn how to be better. But I also read his work because I enjoyed his writing style.

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Ebert and he was always gracious to me, especially when I was hugely pregnant with our last child and wanted an easy exit to the bathroom – just in case.  That spot was right in front of him which most people never do.

 

More than that, Roger was always interested in what other people thought and asked questions to the room at large in between screenings.  He believed everyone read as much as he did and was interested in what the rest of the room was thinking. For a man at his level of brilliance, it was humbling to know he wanted our thoughts.

 

If there was one thing that Ebert hope to inspire in people, it was to try a movie that may not have seemed like your cup of tea. He encouraged his readers to get out of their comfort zone, not only with his columns but with his Overlooked Film Festival, now known as Ebertfest,  in Champaign, Illinois every April. While the festival started as one thing, it became a chance to Ebert and friends to pick out movies that were not seen for a variety of reasons.

 

My Neighbor Totoro IMDb com 4 2013

Poster Image from IMDb.com

One movie that was out of my comfort zone was the family friendly My Neighbor Totoro. This Japanese Anime movie tells the story of a family who moves out to a house in the Japanese countryside. It is filled with soot sprites that need to be scared away.

 

But more than that, it is near the home of a giant Totoro – king of the forest. However, the young girls are also dealing with an ill mother who cannot leave the hospital no matter how much they miss her. Hayao Miyazaki directs what I  call a near perfect movie that explores Japanese folk tales and the emotions of two girls dealing with fear and grief.

 

I was blown away by the detail of the hand-drawn animation and the joyousness of the story despite the heavy shadow of the sick mother.  It sent our family on a journey to find more anime movies by this director and we have never been disappointed.

 

While I may not have Ebert to thank for discovering this movie, I do thank him for the wonderful writing he produced that was always, always, thought-provoking and moving.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Making Do

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

One of the problems of renting movies from the store in town is that the movie I want to see is not always back and ready when I am ready.

Case in point, Sunday I was ready to watch The Odd Life of Timothy Green starring Jennifer Gardner and Joel Eddgerton.

I wanted to watch a life re-affirming movie, one that reminds me a of the joys that are mixed in with all of the sorrows.  The story is about a childless couple who write down all of the aspects of their dream child that they have not been able to conceive. Then they take the papers, put them in a box and bury the dream in the back yard. Imagine their surprise when a child comes from that spot who slowly reveals himself to be all of the things they dreamed. That was the movie I was hoping to see.

What I saw instead was the movie box with an empty hook for the tag.

Someone had beat me to the movie, someone was enjoying it but I was not.

Bummer.

That is when I went with my second choice, Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp.

I had put this movie on my list of safe scares. Trust me, there are things here to scare a little kid but not a tweener or anyone older.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

A re-vamp of the 1960s soap opera, this movie brings Barnabas Collins (Depp) back to his mansion in Maine after being trapped for nearly 200 years. His goal is to bring greatness back to his surviving family members. Elizabeth Collins (Michelle Pfeiffer) is the strong matriarch raising her daughter while Roger (Jonny Lee Miller) is the weak willed patriarch more interested in lifting money than making it. Nor is he interested in his son, David,  who misses the mother who died at sea.

The family appears to be plagued by a curse. Their livelihood has failed, they are barely keeping the manor together. Elizabeth hires a new nanny for David who fits in perfectly, maybe too perfectly. But the curse is really a series of problems caused by vengeful former lover of Barnabas who has lived as long as he has and worked to create a fishing empire.

What works is Johnny Depp as Barnabas. He delivers lines well and remains true to the character, with the exception of one or two scenes that are entertaining but do not work. However, when he is paired with Pfeiffer the air crackles and pops. They share the same goal and intensity of saving the family. There are hidden layers for nearly every character that makes you want to keep watching.

However, I find there are some glaring problems with big holes in the plot and characters that do not stay true to themselves. I wanted more Victoria, David and Liz, less Doctor Hoffman. I wanted more gothic atmosphere and less killing.

For me this movie was a miss while my 15-year-old thought it was a hit. Perhaps it is a case of great style, little substance.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I was prepared to send a different column this week. But then we went to the drive-in theatre in Gibson City and watched The Hunger Games.

I had not read the book beforehand although my daughter did. She loved it  and is now clamoring for the rest of the series.

Before we went, I admit I wondered if this PG-13 movie was appropriate for my 7-year-old. The storyline is about a reality game in which the participants have to kill each other in order to win. Twenty-four participants, one girl and one boy, are chosen from 12 districts of the country and must fight to the death.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

The game is televised so that the whole country can watch if their tributes make it. We follow Katniss and Peeta from District 12, the poorest region, as they are chosen and make their way to the Capitol to become participants.

That’s right, 24 young people must kill each other in order to win. It is brutal although not gory.  I was surprised at how the filmmakers were able to keep down the blood while never letting up on the tension.

We had turned the back of the minivan towards the screen, removed the back seat and faced it towards the screen. This allowed the kids to sit in the large back area and the middle seat stayed in place.

During intermission, I knew that we should not have gone to this movie with our youngest. It was too intense for him. He responded by moving around a lot in the minivan, at times hiding behind that middle seat.

He told us it was not too much. Our oldest wondered how this movie differed from so many others that dealt with killing. He is right, action pictures do get into high body counts. And that includes the comic book movies we love that have endless minions being killed off.

To me, this movie is different from those other action movies. The faces of the dead are not adult minions but children. And some of these children are young, age 12, who must fight against 18-year-olds.

Image by DHarder

As I watched this movie, I thought about the short story, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, and the bookThe Lord of The Flies by William Golding. I remembered other reviews that compared parts of this movie to The Last of the Mohicans. Another movie that came to mind was an independent flick from about ten years back called Series 7: The Contenders, about a reality game show in which the willing participants killed each other.

How young of a child should see this movie? Personally, I think those 12 and older are the target audience. My 10-year-old daughter handled it fine although if she had been less mature I would have had second thoughts.

In the end, I felt that The Hunger Games was well-made and tells a compelling story with a heroine that you can support. The questions it asks about power and control, distribution of wealth and resources are ones we need to continue, and how we treat the people of our nation are ones we need to continue processing. But it is emotionally intense and will live on in your thoughts for days after leaving the theater.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Is that a Porsche?

I love cars.

While I am not a gear head, I can look at the insides of a car with basic understanding. Spending a day under the hood is simply not my idea of fun.

However, I do like a great car.

Ferdinand A. Porsche was a man after my own heart. He designed great cars starting at the tender of age of 23. During the mid-1950s, his father – Ferry Porsche – decided he wanted a new style of the classic company car. F.A. Porsche began working in the technical design department as an apprentice after studying at Ulm School of Design during this time.

Image of F.A. Porsche from Global Motors.net.

While many styles had been rejected, in late 1959 F.A. presented his design and it was accepted. He changed the 356 while keeping the sloping lines in back. The headlights retained that ‘face’ look.

The world responded by falling in love.

Some models were meant for us regular folk, others for the rich and then there are the race cars. Hearing the name Porsche still incites a thrill because this company exudes style and class, something it has done once WWII was over and it could build cars again.

F.A. once stated “Design must be functional and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics , without any reliance gimmicks that have to be explained.”

Image by Alvimann

For those of us who know nothing of design, that means that back slope of the car allows the wind the pass over it quickly – and therefore move faster.  We can see that it will happen without someone telling us.

According to a poster on Treehugger.com, F.A. Porsche worked to make models for the regular guy that worked well. He helped to create the “20 year” model with the idea that a car could last for 20 years. Treehugger.com also had a picture of a current Porsche model that is electric. Global Motors.net credits F.A. with designing the type 803 racing car and the Porsche 904.

F.A. stayed with the company until 1972 when he created Porsche Design which created luggage, sunglasses, pens and all sorts of products related to Porsche.  He later came back as chairman of the board in the 1990s.

The car that he designed has been modernized over the years but it has never left behind the essential style of the original. And when you see one of the street, there is always a bit of a gasp of astonishment in the beautiful vision before you.

Today, the New York Times reported the death of F.A. Porsche at the age of 76 although a cause was not listed. With it goes another designer who wanted to make the world a more beautifully functioning place.

Image by Clarita

Ahhh…

I know other bloggers must go through what I am going through today.

I had a topic that I wanted to write about, an oldie that gets me riled to fantastic measures.

Then Egypt happened. And a neighbor who was only 33 died.

Picture by Embalu

On TV, I see the pictures of rioting, I hear reports of the police and the army protecting what they can. But then I hear that the trash is being picked up and the subway is running. That has not stopped  people from gathering to protect their neighborhoods.

People are seeing their country’s government break down and be re-born. I can’t imagine what is going through the heads of the ‘regular’ people.

Nor can I imagine what my neighbor is going through. Her husband, who was only 33, has died. All week there have been cars at her house, people are surrounding her and her girls. We did not speak, not because of any problems. I just never saw them despite our kids being similar in age.

I guess that happens in neighborhoods. There are a bunch of people in my neighborhood that I would talk to if I ever saw them outside of their houses. They have kids, we have kids. But to talk to people you have to get out of the house. To talk to people, you have to make the effort to say hello when you see them at games or concerts. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.

Picture by Click

My thoughts are with her as the family has the funeral and I plan to send a card later in the week. In the back of my mind, no matter what I am doing,  is the constant thought of wondering how she and the girls are surviving this loss, this huge loss at such a young age.

I also think about my pastor and his wife who lost their 33 y.o. son a year ago. We are not meant to bury our children. And yet, they have and mourned the loss with every holiday and special event. The anniversary of his death is coming up and all of us at church are trying to remember them in our prayers and actions.

To write about anything else seems trivial and pointless. By Wednesday, I might be ready to be more silly.

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