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Oh, no she didn’t. . .

Once upon a time, I wrote movie reviews.

I still watch a ton of movies. I still love romantic comedies.

I told one of my classmates in my LTA program that I used to write reviews. And the question she asked was interesting. She wanted a list of romantic comedies in which the heroine wasn’t stupid, or the plot wasn’t stupid.

Go Red Brooch 29 shop heart com

Rhinestone Dress Brooch ($29.00); picture from http://www.shop.heart.com

My immediate thought was don’t watch a single Kate Hudson romantic comedy. I never watch her movie with Anne Hathaway but I felt pretty certain it was awful, too. What disappoints me is that in Almost Famous Hudson was great, luminous and raw. I could have watched her all day.

So as I thought Bout this list, I realized I was starting way back. I am not going into the silent movies but there are a few from the 1930s that are must sees.

I would start with My Man Godfrey (1936) starring Carole Lombard as the ditzy rich girl who is only interested in partying during the depression. It takes their new butler Godfrey, played by William Powell, to help her figure out life is about something more. This is one of the first screwball comedies but a classic as we know what will happen with a few surprises.

Because they apparently worked well together, Grant and Hepburn starred in The Philadelphia Story (1940) just two years later. Here a divorced couple meet up again just before her wedding to another man. Because it is a society wedding, reporter Jimmy Stewart shows up with his girl friday. Snappy dialogue along with plenty of drinking makes for a lot of fun,

To be honest my next pick is a Christmas movie but I find that Barbara Stanwyck is still one of the

Christmas in Connecticut IMDb com

Picture from IMDb.com

smartest actresses I’ve ever watched. In Christmas in Connecticut (1945),  Stanwyck is a Martha Stewart-like writer without the farmhouse, husband, baby, or the ability to cook. Then her publisher (Sydney Greenstreet) wants to spend Christmas with her and invites a recently recovered war vet. Stanwyck invents a husband, farm, and baby. She then promptly falls in love with the soldier.

For whatever reasons, my next pick doesn’t come until the late 80s. But if you haven’t seen Roxanne (1987) starring Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah, you might learn to love this Cyrano redo. Martin plays a firechief in a small mountain town who happens to have a big nose. Hannah is a lovely astronomer who come to town for the summer to relax. During the scene when Martin invents 20 insults that someone could have used, start counting because I think there are more than 20.

An article like this has to mention When Harry Met Sally (1987) and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). These are two of the smartest and funny romantic comedies I have ever seen. Before I go to my favorite, my honorable mentions goes to Return To Me (2000) starring Minnie Driver and David Ducovney as well as While You Were Sleeping (1995) with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. Love these and will Watch them again and again.

Forget Paris IMDb com

Poster image from IMDb.com

But one of my favorite romantic comedies is Forget Paris (1995) starring Billy Crystal as an NBA ref who meets Debra Winger in Paris and falls immediately in love. Instead of being about the ramp up to a relationship, this movie gives us the after with ups, downs, and constant curves. THe Pigeon scene still makes me laugh as does Cynthia Stevenson.

Please share your picks for great romantic comedies with smart heroines in the comment section.

 

 

 

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Flowers, Birds, and Butterflies

Last week, we had a garage sale.

There wasn’t a lot of stuff put out and traffic was slow. People were expecting fishing stuff and my husband didn’t have a lot left.

So I sat under a tree with my phone and crochet in the hopes I would get started on a blanket for my niece. What I ended up doing was watching the birds and butterflies visit my pollinator garden.

cup plant silphiumperfoliatumThe goldfinches were enjoying the mini sunflower clusters of the Cup plant. They moved back and forth, hiding from me and my camera, as they hung upside down carefully eating the seeds. The sparrows and other small birds left them alone to eat from the bird feeders hanging off of the porch.

Meanwhile, the monarchs were flitting around the milkweed. They would float around the tiger lilies and hollyhocks. But they actually stop on the milkweed, stopping for a moment before running away again.

I tried to imagine what music could be played to fit the movements and I kept hearing the soundtrack of My Neighbor Totoro. I could see Mae, the little sister, tracking and dancing with the butterflies.

Earlier in the spring and summer, I worked to limit the number of cup plants in my garden. I had to dig them out to ensure the cup plants did not exceed their area. These six foot tall plants with small flower heads grow fast and require a good shovel to remove them.

milkweed-plant-monarch-butterfly.jpgI was removing them while trying to retain the milkweed. The flowers were small pink clusters but now they are done and seed pods are forming. I keep looking for caterpillars. I see none but I do see holes in the leaves.

I hope those Japanese beetles didn’t do too much damage while they were here. I did my best to get rid of them by pushing them into a bath of warm water and Dawn dish washing liquid. I found them on the milkweed and hollyhocks. They dastardly bugs nearly killed my hollyhocks a few years ago. and they really whacked my rose bush a few years before that.

I thoughJapanese-Beetle-Picturet about getting a trap but the husband told me it would attract every Japanese beetle in the neighborhood. I didn’t need that. But the little swimming pool worked out well. I put gardening gloves so I wouldn’t have to feel those creepy little things.

I am not sure a pollinator garden was my intent. This is a sunny area that has been filled in with purple cone flowers, blackberry lilies, tiger lilies, among a few. Next year, if we are still in this house, I am planning to put some Russian sage in an empty spot to bring in a bit of blue and remove hollyhock so that the lower part of the garden will get more space.

Over the years I have learned that gardens are ever changing, ever growing or shrinking, depending on how much effort you put into it. As the season begins to wind down, I have to wonder what next year will bring.

Girl, Wash Your Face

I recently read the book Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.

I have to admit I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I wanted to love all of it. I wanted to love everything she had to say. But I didn’t.

Girl wash your faceIn fact, there were times I wanted to stop listening. Maybe it was the chapter on sex and the chapter on telling yourself to say no to a bad relationship or figuring out when that glass of wine becomes needful instead of wanted. .

The book is set up on the essential lies we tell ourselves, lies that Hollis has told herself over the years. She shares a lot of her life, willingly telling us the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Much of it is poignant, and sometimes I feel as if I am getting too much information despite her best efforts to keep it vague.

But Hollis always comes back to how she propelled herself to a solution She might have a faith-based solution or portion of the story to share.

As the book repeatedly came back to my library, I noticed who was talking about it. Then I started asking question about how they liked it.  It was a fifty/fifty proposition. Some people loved it while others were willing to read  just to get it done. This caused people to say they thought they would relate to her and were surprised when it didn’t go that way.

Some people liked the mild spiritual writings while others wanted it to be more ‘there.”

Maybe some people resented the spirituality. Others thought it could have been more.

Some people just don’t get it, some wished it wasn’t so much about Hollis despite this being her life story.

In the end I did take away a few things. Get together with friends, forget the “i’m too busy not to” excuse. Another was to make goals, set time limits to make your dreams happen instead of just saying you will get to it. Everything in this book is not going to speak to you so take what works or makes sense to you.  The biggest take-away is that we need to honest with ourselves to make our lives more joy-filled.

Was it the greatest, maybe not but I did listen to it getting more inflection from the author.I would still refer this to my younger friends. As for the older women, I would say read it. You will get something out of it.

 

 

In this current climate when each Southern state feels the need to come up with a crueler-than-the-one-before legislation regarding abortion and women’s health, I keep seeing this meme.

 

Meme sex birth control

 

My initial visceral reaction is to scream “Fuck You! Are you fucking nuts!?!”

But that is not how I respond. I say something along the line of how cruel this statement is to women who are raped, who are unwilling partners, girls who are raped by family members. women who are in abusive situations and cannot afford to leave.

In my head, this statement says we always have a choice when the truth is we don’t. The truth is someone we know or don’t know will force us into something we don’t want. And should we complain, tell, or file a report our word will be questioned every step of the way.

All of these new laws carry dangerous ends for women. Some of them want to force a woman to report a miscarriage to the local police. Some want to imprison women if their miscarriage is found to be an attempted abortion. So the mother will be at fault if something goes wrong, depending on how the judge and jury finds her liability. So does that mean women with hostile wombs will be in jail a lot? I hope it isn’t because her partner hit her in the stomach on purpose because we all know what will happen. His jail term will be much shorter than hers.

Some of these laws will make a woman guilty of filing a false report of rape if the case goes to trial and the man is found not guilty. Considering only 2 in 10 rapes make it to trial and 1 in 10 get a jail sentence. Even then there is no guarantee the judge will give a justified sentence as we saw in the Brock Turner case.

Do we really want this for our daughters or granddaughters? Do we want to judge them all so harshly?

Considering birth control isn’t always covered by insurance (but viagra still is), considering that there are many options that may not be available to a person, I am not sure there are affordable options, let alone those free options are that the meme talks about.

But more importantly, in an age when the birthrate is the lowest it has ever been in America, this meme slut shames every victim who couldn’t fend off a relative or a religious person or a serial rapist or a person they thought was a friend or a true love. I don’t care that you think this  meme is speaking the truth. What you are really saying to these women is “Fuck You! Too bad you couldn’t get your happily ever after. I got mine and I don’t give a shit about you.”

I wouldn’t say or imply that too loudly because you never know when the laws set forth by these Christian Sharias will turn on you and take away your rights as well.

Rice Pudding

My husband loves to watch cooking shows.

And we watch them all.

Because of these shows, I have worked to try new foods and new recipes. Which can be difficult because the family does not like to try new things. I always make sure there is an old favorite along so the new thing isn’t a total disaster.

As some of you know, I have been fighting Type Two Diabetes for the last few years. I am always trying to find ways to make old favorites amenable to the new way of life. The family is not always happy about these changes. I am the only one who like brown rice. And no one was interested in cauliflower/mashed potatoes mixture.

rice-pudding-end-product.jpg

They don’t really like rice pudding, well a few of them. But while watching Milk Street on PBS, I saw a recipe utilizing mango and knew I had to try it.

The Senagalese Mango and coconut rice pudding also includes coconut milk and shredded coconut.

This is suppose to add more flavor while reducing the amount of sugar in the dish. Sometimes it feels as if I am always looking for the holy grail of foods that allows me to have what I like without the damage of carbs.

Now, there is a small part of me that is fiercely anti-creating old favorites when you have turned a new leaf – voluntarily – foodwise. Vegan burgers, vegan chicken nuggets, vegan cheese make no sense to me. I also don’t understand why you want to re-create the taste and texture of a food you are no longer eating for moral reasons.

We had a long discussion over the dinner table about this in which my daughter who should become a lawyer argued that I am doing the same with my mashed caulifower, dark chocolate, and no bread rule.

rice-pudding-ingrediants.jpgNope, I am not doing the same because I am making changes by force and not due to want. Bread and pasta are slowly being eliminated from my diet. I recently had a unwich from Jimmy John’s and liked it. I didn’t miss the bread, almost.

I used to eat more pasta but I have asked my husband to serve those meals on the nights I am at school. I eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. I think about going Keto but the lack of beans really doesn’t satisfy my taste buds. Nor do I want to ask my family to make that huge jump for me.

I am willing to adapt old favorites. So when I printed out this recipe, I was able to decide how to adapt or change based on what was available to me. Coconut milk, right there. Unsweetened coconut. Not so much so I ended up using a sweetened version.

Rice Pudding - toasting coconutBefore I even started the first step, I made sure everything was poured out and ready to go. Knowing that toasting coconut can be tricky, I wanted everything to ready to go.

So when my pan was ready to go. I poured in the coconut and stirred.

Walked away, stirred again.

Tried not to get too anxious. Stirred again.

Took a picture. Stirred some more.

Waited, let more than half of it finally get brown.

This takes place in a minute and a half. Maybe two minutes.

rice-pudding-sauce.jpgSo I pour in the coconut milk, finally. Sugar, vanilla, and salt go into the pot as well.

The recipe says to let it get to a simmer.

Then I am supposed to let it stay on medium heat for five minutes.

So I stir and walk away. I take a nice picture.

Gwen is cutting up the Mango for me and I show her how to score the fruit once the sides are cut up.

I stir a little more and deem it ready for the next step. You want it to reduce a little bit but not too much. Once that is done, you add the rice.

I had a mixture of Basmati and white rice. They were leftovers from a taco meal. The Basmati may have been leftovers from another meal. The point is it needed to be used up. So I put it all in which was just a little more than the two cups required by a quarter cup.

rice-pudding-final-additions-and-simmer.jpgThen I added a cup of water. This is not in the list of ingredients but it was in the instructions. So I put it all in the pot at a nice little simmer.

The directions said to simmer for about 15-20 minutes to get it to a nice semi-thick consistency.

So I stirred and walked away. I put away all of the ingredients. I got bowls and spoons out. I stirred the pot.

I put the mangos on the table. My husband lamented there was no whipped cream. I stirred the pot after rolling my eyes. When there was more rice than liquid and almost but not quite sticking to the bottom, I turned off the burner.

I had decided not to do the camelized honey for the mangos because I wanted less sugar. I am sure it would have taken no time at all. In fact, I could have done it while the pudding was on it’s last simmer. Have two teaspoons of honey in a skillet and at the right moment throw in the fruit of a cut up mango.

But I didn’t.

With a 1/4 cup of reserved liquid of the sauce mixture, we added the mangos to the rice pudding in our bowls.

So good. and there were no leftovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memory Pillow

We all want keepsakes of our loved ones even when, or especially when, they are gone.

My father died four years ago.

I can’t believe it still and I know it happened.

Sometimes I smell his cologne around the house, sometimes it is pipe tobacco.

But I also wanted something tangible of his to hold. That’s when I saw shirt pillows.

pillow chairYou take a loved one’s shirt and convert it into a pillow. To make it easier to wash the insert or replace it, a zipper is placed at the bottom of the pillow.

I took one of Dad’s favorite shirts, with Mom’s permission of course, to make into a pillow. The patterns I saw called for a 16″ pillow. But Dad was a big guy and we came to realize that an 18″ pillow was going to work much better.

Making the pattern was the easy part. I cut out an 18″ square out of newspaper. Originally I thought I was going to make a 16″ pillow and created that patter piece in the same way. But we quickly realized the pockets would be cut on the ends. Mom didn’t want that so I went two inches bigger.

pillow pattern cut outOnce I placed the pattern on the shirt and pinned it down, it came for the really hard part.

I had to cut the shirt.

In cutting the shirt I had to admit to myself just how real this all is. Dad is not coming back. He is not going to come around the corner quacking at me or the kids. He is not going to say “It’s too damn hot” or “it’s too damn cold.”

The door to the house will not open and he will not walk through. Cutting the shirt seemed more final than when we spread his ashes.

I had to wait until I was back home before I threw out the remains of the shirt. I couldn’t do it at Mom’s house where I made the project. All in all, it took me an hour to get the courage to cut around the pattern, giving it a half inch seam allowance.

pillow front stitch downAs I began to work on the shirt, I followed the good advice of my friend, Steve. It was tempting to simply leave the shirt able to open at the buttons. But puckering was a concern. Steve suggested that I sew down the button over lap, making it look like top stitching.

Another great suggestion was to put in the zipper before I created all of the side seams. That way the zipper is in before trying to make it fit. Once the zipper was in, all I had to do was create the side seams with a traditional 5/8 sewing line.

To be safe I did a zigzag stitch along the edges just to make sure there would be no raveling of material. After that, it was a matter of waiting for the pillow form to come from Amazon. Once it did, all I had to do was fluff the pillow form, bend it in half, and zip up the closure.

pillow finished

If I had to do it again, I would top stitch along the zipper for less gap. I can always go back and do that.

I might have used a 19″ pillow to fill out the corners better and to have a more pop of pillow fluffiness.

Otherwise, this went well. It only took a few hours in real time. I did have to take a while since it was the first time I made this project. Steeling your courage without alcohol takes time.

While I have some of his other shirts in quilted flannel, they are not going to get the shirt treatment. They are too warm to cut up.

Still, it makes for a great memory keepsake, especially when you need a little warmth or hug back.

pillow supplies

 

Supplies

1 Shirt

Matching or coordinating thread

Zipper – I had a 16″ zipper because that is what I planned initially. I would go with 1-2 inches shorter than the form size you plan to use.

Pins

Pattern

Pillow Form – On inch bigger than your pattern for a bigger fit.

Seam ripper – for all necessary unsewing

 

Resolution

Have you made any resolutions this year?

Is there a change in your life you are willing to make to make the next step of your life better?

I have.

I have decided this year I am no longer using or tolerating the words rethuglican or libitard.

I am sick of the devisiveness. I am sick of any argument ending with those insults. If that’s the best you can do in the start of an argument, think again.

Where does this get any of us?

Oh, we throw down that insult and it feels so good. But it does no good, it creates ill will and breaks friendships. There are people who used to be my friends that I will never speak to again because a snowflake is just another libitard.

Well to hell with that!

You want to argue your point then bring it on. Use facts from irrefutable sources and not websites that show they are only conservative or only liberal. You want to spout tea bag party bs or progressive pie in the sky dreams. fine and back it up with statistics and facts. Actually take the time to look it up.

And trust me when I say that is what I am planning to do as well. I don’t need to call Mitch McConnell a turtle. And I will not call Bernie Sanders an old fart or a commie. I don’t need to because I know how to research.

If I want to prove your point is false or wrong all I have to do is a little research. I don’t have to call you names, insult your political affiliation, or insult your family tree.

That’s right, I don’t need to insult you. It won’t make my remarks feel that much more powerful. And I want to look myself in the mirror without self loathing.

So this year I am not using those words, I am not insulting people with those decisive labels. We have enough ill will floating in the air. Let’s not add to it with hateful labels.

So join me. Make the effort to use facts and not insults.

It could make the run up to the next presidential very interesting.

 

 

Dear Governor-Elect J.B. Pritzker,

You won a hard election, congratulations!

I want you to know that even though I voted for you, I did so with reservation. You are a businessman, just as our previous governor was. I have high expectations for you and I do expect you to be better than the last guy.

I was happy to see you put together a transition team quickly. I hope this means you are hitting the ground running. But there are a few things I want from you.

Do not, and I mean this, do not work your policy agenda through the budget. I understand that cuts need to be made and some taxes increased. But we also need to have good consistent budgets and consistent bureaucrats  for business people to work with. No one wants to work with a group in which no one knows what is happening.

That said, I know you have to make cuts. Please remember to not let down our neediest citizens. Those people who are medically fragile need to continue to have the care they need. Special need kids need therapies to get better, to learn how to make gains that will improve their standard of living, to be more than people ever expect.

I also know that you want to legalize pot. And there are many therapeutic reasons to do so. Pain relief would surpass that of opioides without the high rate of addiction. Unfortunately, pot is mixed with other drugs when sold on the street creating dangerous combinations. Do us all a favor when you legalize pot and make the same penalties for pot usage while in a motorized vehicle as we do for alcohol.

I know, crazy idea, right? But hear me out. We learned the hard way that taking liquor off the market made things bad. We learned that making liquor legal again caused a rise in drunk driving accidents and fatalities. Thanks to MADD, we learned how to legislate to decrease drunk driving fatalities by nearly 50%.

Do the same for pot. Tax the crap out of it like we do liquor and cigarettes. Allow medical marijuana facilities to operate so parents can get that oil that helps kids have fewer seizures, so people with chronic pain can have relief without opioides, so cancer patients can have an appetite during chemo.

I don’t doubt that there will be abuse. We have that now with alcohol. So emphasize treatment programs and support groups. Regulate those facilities for purity of product. Shut people down when they don’t live to code. Then use that tax money for crazy things like improving infrastructure, creating job training programs, and improving our schools beyond what money we get from the lottery.

I want you to succeed, to do great things for the state. I want our state to be a place people stay, despite the cold winters. But let me tell you this. If you play stupid games with policies, with budgets, with the betterment of the state, the citizens will hate you. Make sure you have this ‘being governor’ thing down or you will be kicked to the curb.

Just like the last rich ‘businessman’ guy.

Sincerely,

Karyn Bowman

Notes From Rumbly Cottage

 

Dr. Who Love

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

With the new year comes resolutions to be better, to do better.

We all have some goal we want to accomplish. Maybe it is losing weight or gaining more muscle or learning a new skill or getting rid of clutter.

I usually set goals for how many books I will read throughout the year on Goodreads.com. I would like to do that for movies but I tend to watch quite a few without a goal. Another goal I like to set is trying to figure out better nutrition for myself and my family. That and getting rid of clutter. I am always trying to get rid of clutter.

Change is inevitable in some things.

Such as Dr. Who.

Doctor Who_Series 11_Costume Reveal

Jodie Whitaker as the latest Dr. Who

Some of you may have been watching the British show since the 60s when nit first came about. Others might have started in the 70s when Tom Baker was the enigmatic Doctor. My children have watched the show with Matt Smith and David Tennant. The current doctor is portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to portray the Doctor.

Everyone I know seems to have a favorite doctor and not all agree on who is the best. For me, it is Tom Baker. He started the super-long scarf craze and seemed just wacky and tough enough to be a great doctor. But there is a part of me that loved the last doctor portrayed by the Scottish Peter Capaldi.

The basic story line is that the Doctor is an alien humanoid who travels through time and space, trying to help whatever group he/she may encounter. Some episodes find us in the past, some find us exploring the future. The setting might be a spaceship in distress or a countryside facing evil from other aliens. The Doctor always has an human companion, some more skillful than others, some more dear than others.

Like the Doctor, companions have changed out over the years. Sarah Jane was one of my favorites. But I also grew to love Rose and Clara. My kids loved Amy Pond. It wasn’t really that hard to like her or her husband, Rory.

dr-who-the-daleks-How do we forget the villains? The salt and pepper shaker inspired Daliks? The weeping angel statues? The creepy cybermen? My favorite was the robot who eliminated people if they showed any signs of sadness.

There have been many enjoyable moments as some of my favorite actors have appeared on the Doctor. I loved it when Michael Gambon starred as a scrooge-like character. Not too long ago Alan Cummings portrayed King James. Alex Kingston portrayed Riversong to unpredictable perfection. To list them all would take too much time.

Doctors come and go. The back story, especially that with Riversong, is long and complicated. And yet, the Doctor draws people in to a certain level of fandom that is only equaled by Trekkies and Star Wars fans. I recently read that there is a warehouse/store/museum in Indiana filled with Doctor Who memorabilia. To me that sounds like a road trip in the making.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

ChristmasMovies

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

It is the Christmas season. And every year I find myself talking about the same movies.

New movies come about and one wonders if they are to be new classics.

I know a lot of people like to watch Elf but I have never warmed to that movie. There are others that are meant for older teens and adults but not for children. I love Bad Santa, Love Actually, and The Holiday but their content is adult focused. It’s hard to display these as family friendly movies when the are definitely not for the kids.

Other movies or shows are meant for kids, a whole variety of cartoon characters have special christmas episodes. Maybe it is Thomas the Tank Engine or Angelina Ballerina or Dora. These are really meant for kids and only kids.

Man who invented ChristmasOne of the newer movies made for Christmas that intrigues me is called The Man Who Invented Christmas. The movie is about the time period in which Charles Dickens was writing A Christmas Carol. Some might say that this is Dickens’ masterpiece. The movie takes place in the 1840s as Dickens is going through a tough time financially as his last three novels were flops.

His latest serial is not doing well and Dickens needs a better cash flow. That is when the idea of his classic tale comes to life in his head. But writing it all down, creating the story is hard work. Dickens is blocked in his attempt to write and illustrate the story during a frustrating six-week period.

As he is writing, characters come alive and state how they want to be treated in the story. Scrooge ridicules the writer while demanding his story be told through his own written narrative. Soon, other members of the cast show up and help him figure out the rest of the story.

Dan Stephens plays the author with gusto and creativity. He is joined by Christopher Plummer as Scrooge in a performance that defines the character. This movie has received a variety of awards from family movies groups. It is wonderful and weird watching the writer in his process.

the-man-who-invented-christmas windowMost of the time I would tell you watching a writer create is not exciting. We sit at a writing table or a keyboard and work to create by typing and checking our research. Dickens apparently used to walk through London, even the dodgy areas, while in the middle of creating his various stories.

But by making these characters come to life, some who are also played by members of the household, the director, Bharat Nalluri, adds dimension to the process.

We know that A Christmas Carol is a classic story that our society enjoys every year. Dickens’ story changed the way England and America celebrated Christmas. It brought back hope and goodness that we now associate with the season.

In seeing how this story was created, we develop better understanding of this wonderful traditional Christmas tale. And that can make the story all that more special.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.