Tag Archive: notes from rumbley cottage


Tom and Meg

Tonight I watched one of my favorite movies. It was made in 1998.

When did 1998 become twenty years ago?

It seemed like yesterday in the golden age of romantic comedies. But her I am, twenty years older, just like Meg and Tom.

Yes, I am on a first name basis with these two as are many women my generation. We watched them in Joe Vs. the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail.

I realize that Tom is really busy and Meg is taking time to work behind the scenes. But it is time for them to make a movie again.

Seriously.

They are a part of the Boomer generation and maybe it is time to see these two back in a romantic comedy. A romantic comedy in which the two people are the approximate same age going through similar circumstances with their business and family and life.

And I have the perfect vehicle for them.

It’s called Juliet and Romeo by Jeanne Ray.

Julie and RomeoThis book is about an couple whose families are life long enemies although no one is quite sure why. The both own flower shops and have large families. Julie is divorced while Romeo ‘s wife died a few years ago.

Their attraction begins while attending a seminar for small business owners who are struggling and need new ideas.

After seeing each other across a hallway, the two develop a bond. They fall crazy in love. But now they have to fight against old hatreds and new-fangled shenanigans from their children.

It feels like it could fit these two people who are now older but have feelings that are definitely something from when they were younger.

Now Meg and Tom would be the obvious choices for Julie and Romeo. But there are two daughters for Julie and several sons and a younger daughter for Romeo. And this could be fun casting. Personally, I would love to see Selena Gomez as Romeo’s younger daughter. She could hit that younger boho vibe with an iron will. You will need a few tough guys to play the oldest son and daughter on each side along with some star-crossed loved in that younger set.

I used to think Sandra Bullock would be great as the older daughter. But now I am thinking of someone else, perhaps Eva Mendez or Amanda Peet. Maybe Adam Driver could be Romeo’s older son who is a force to be reckoned with. He needs to lighten up sometimes. And for the old grandmother, you could go for the Italian stereotype or allow Betty White to do something besides the naughty old lady.

All I am saying is that Meg and/or Tom need to read this book and figure out how to make a fun movie out of it.

Is that so hard to do?

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Now that Christmas is over and we have eaten ourselves into holiday stupors, there is only one thing left to do.

Make New Year’s resolutions.

Or pretend that we are going to make them.

Sometimes what it takes is inspiration.

I was thinking about this when I saw the box for the movie, Stronger starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It is the story of a man who’s legs were amputated after being caught in the wave of the bomb at the Boston Marathon in 2013.

It is hard to believe that was 4 years ago when that big explosion occurred at one of the largest marathon events in the country. For Jeff Bauman, it lead to an extraordinary injury and a tough comeback. But what was even tougher was finding out people thought he was a hero.

One of the themes explored here is what makes a person a hero.

Stronger posterBauman was an ordinary guy trying to be at the end of the marathon when his on-again/off-again girlfriend crossed the finish line. Boston proud, this red sox fan needs to make sure his girlfriend is supported after her big run.

While getting into place, he passes a young man with a backpack. The young man disappears and Bauman focuses back on the race until a white flash goes off. And just like that, life changes. Bauman’s image is caught in the iconic photo of being taken away in wheel chair by first responders.

When he wakes up in the hospital, he discovers that his legs above the knees are gone. Most people have amputations below the knees which allows for more flexibility. His journey towards recovery is tough as he deals with family dysfunction, depression, and a sense of incredulous wonder.

People think he is a hero because he survived the attack at the marathon. People fete him and lift him up while attending the therapy sessions are more than Jeff can bear at times. But at some point, he begins to get it. And that leads to something more.

What makes this movie great are the choices by actors Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, and Miranda Richardson. They make the characters more human than heroic, more real than artfully earnest and triumphant.

Stronger pic 2Which is not to say there are not moments of triumph. Bauman has since gone on to school to become a prosthesis engineer. He created a solar energy capture device for his prosthesis legs. And he has a daughter that he loves to pieces.

What he has come to understand is that people don’t admire him for being ht by a terrible awful bomb. They admire him for going on, for making the effort to recover when he wanted to quit. For showing up when he didn’t want to.

Because as we all know, showing up is the hardest part of any endeavor. If Bauman can show up for this, what could we show up for in our own lives?

Happy New Year and good luck with those resolutions.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Planet of the Apes

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This week is going to be a blur.

I already know it because it is the start of 4H judging season. This past Monday was the food judging night. We prepared by making cookies, sweet rolls, and cheese muffins.

Wednesday is the clothing judging day. And then starts the race to get all of the rest of the projects done. Along the way some of our chosen projects will get pushed to the wayside. We did not get them done and therefore, it is not going to happen. I am not sure if that is better or worse than the year someone’s corn stalks were attacked by raccoons or when it was so dry there were not enough tomatoes to put on a plate.

To me that is OK because there is always next year. Maybe something was too much of a challenge for this year but next year it will make more sense or have more relevance. At least, that is what I am hoping.

Planet of the Apes - DawnThis past weekend saw the release of Dawn of The Planet of the Apes and it is a movie that is being called better than the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It is very rare that a sequel is better than the original movie. The only other movies in my book like that are Toy Story 2 and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Both movies continue the story in spectacular fashion while making their own compelling and watchable film.

Over the weekend, one of the cable stations ran the 2011 Planet of the Apes movie. As I watched with my son, I noticed that certain elements from the original Charleston Heston movie had to be retained. The line, the famous line of “Get your hands off of him, you damned dirty ape” was re-written but included when a hateful zoo keeper tortures Caesar for fun.

It is a long movie, set in San Fransico. James Franco plays Will, a scientist looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease that plagues his father, John Lithgow. Caeser was born to an ape who was given a drug to help cure Alzheimer’s but it also made her smarter. Caeser inherits these abilities which become known after Will takes him home.

There is much, much more. But what I find most interesting of all is how the Apes develop. The back story involves a man-made virus. And the teens at my house felt that this was a reasonable concern. I told them that the original movie gave nuclear war as the explanation.

Planet of the Apes - RiseRemember the final scene when Heston comes upon the top of the Statue of Liberty on the beach? It is then that he realizes Man destroyed the planet somehow, that this is how the Apes came to take control. Funny how the explanation for what destroys life as we know it now comes in the final scene of the 2011 movie as well.

Both movies are compelling while dealing with our fears. Just as my generation feared nuclear destruction, it seems our children also fear a man-made tool of destruction. But this one is created in a lab.

Wondering who should watch this movie? I would go with tweens and older. I personally think parts of this movie is too long and drawn out to keep the attention of the younger kids. Some of the actions might be too violent for them as well.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

As the news came out this week regarding Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow’s accusation towards her father, I wondered if this affects how I feel about Woody Allen the artist. Can I support a man, artistically, who has this terrible accusation rolling about?

Poster Image

Poster Image

Currently, Midnight in Paris sits waiting to be viewed at my house. I really do love this Woody Allen movie in which Owen Wilson is magically transported to the Roaring Twenties and the ex-pats era. He meets the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. Giants. Gods, really, in the literary world. To have Gertrude Stein edit your manuscript is a dream come true.

My head hurts as I think about this because I feel the same way about Roman Polanski. He is a brilliant film director, The Pianist was/is a masterpiece that made us understand the suffering of the Holocaust even more deeply. And yet, Polanski has not been in this country for over 30 years because he is accused of drugging and molesting a 13-year-old girl.  Other girls/women have made similar claims against him. PianistEven being a Holocaust survivor cannot gild that fact over.

Pedophiles. We scorn them, hate them and never want to believe their victims. Who could do such a thing to a young child?

Who wants to believe that a priest, a coach, a trusted friend, a parent could ever do such a wrong to a child?

We don’t so we give that person a pass. They move on to a different job, a different family, a different child.

Philip Seymour HoffmanWhat about Philip Seymour Hoffman? Does our image of him as an actor/artist change because now we know about his heroin addiction? We know on the morning he was supposed to be picking up his kids for a day of fun, he started it off with getting high. We can laugh about parents who need wine to deal with their kids. But really, did Phil need that high so badly? Was he a bad person because the fix was sooooo important to him – beyond kids, beyond personal relationships, beyond work?

Heath LedgerIt gives me flashbacks to Heath Ledger – so talented, so young, so driven. His were legal prescription drugs but still, too many are too many. Like Hoffman, Ledger and his companion, Michelle Williams, were on the outs because of his addictions. Knowing these people cannot function without their drugs, does that change my mind about their work, their artistry?

The same goes for Hemingway. I know his reputation – the boozing, the women, the multiple wives. But as I read A Movable Feast in which Hemingway examines his Paris years, I find myself liking him and enjoying his writing. I want to get to know him better, I want to know his opinion about other writers. While I dislike Hemingway personally, I see what draws people to him. He has style, he Movable Feastlikes fun, and he is not afraid to get into a fight. When Hemingway writes about why a young boy should always carry a knife, it makes me realize his homophobia might have had some real basis to it.

Back to the original question – Does an artist’s personal life affect how we view their art?

As much as I want to say ‘yes,’ the truth may be more of a ‘no.’ I enjoy the work of Allen and Polanski, of Hoffman and Ledger. Their abilities have a certain pull, a certain truth about them. I would have never said I feel the same about Hemingway till I started reading this memoir.

When it comes to the person, I cannot say the same. Allen and Polanski have such allegations that are reprehensible. Hoffman, Ledger, and Hemingway fought against a different demon – one of addiction that most will tell you is a battle royale with addiction being the victor most of the time. The latter three I can excuse or make exceptions. But of the first two, I cannot.

I probably will watch movies by Allen or Polanski again but I will always think about their predatory behavior as well and wonder how this has affected the movie I am watching.

If that is the case, then the answer will always be yes. I might be able to make excuses for some. But knowing what I know, I will always look for clues of those unearthed secrets in their works. I will wonder if there weren’t signs of it before the accusation.

I will always wonder.

Making the Christmas List

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

Now that snow has fallen on the ground, it can truly be considered the holiday season.

 

It is not Christmas, or winter even, until the snow has fallen. Otherwise, winter becomes this cruel joke with cold winds and gray surroundings. There is no fun in pulling a sled across hard dirt or grass. While a fake snowman made from scrap wood or metal pieces might be funky and kind of cool, it cannot replace the real thing.

 

I like winter days when we brave the cold, spend an hour or so doing something ‘outdoorsy’ before coming in for hot chocolate and cookies. There are also days in which I spend time playing games or doing puzzles because it is just too darn cold to go outside. Cookies and hot chocolate make those days special as well.

 

For now, Christmas will seem like Christmas, especially if the temps stay in the low 30s so that it is not too cold to enjoy being outside. Those temperatures make it possible to be out without being an icicle in two-minutes flat. Very helpful as there are many outdoor events to take in during the next few days and weeks.

 

Sifting through our mail find the start of Christmas cards and holiday catalogs. I love seeing all of the different products that are out there. We also get dvds from various companies. But one that I felt I had to watch is called Chicago’s Christmas Tree Ship.

 

Image from VAP Films

Image from VAP Films

The story is about Captain Herman Schuenemann who brought thousands of trees from the Upper Pennisula of Michigan on his schooner every year to Chicago. He was known as Captain Santa. But in 1912, as he prepares his ship for its annual run, the weather takes a nasty turn. Barometers belonging to the local people in Michigan start going crazy. Even the rats flee the ship. Schuenemann decides to go ahead anyway.

 

It is a storm of epic proportions that water logs an already burdened ship. The waves confronted by these sailors are massive. Water that goes into the open hulls freezes immediately. The ship is lost. That is until the early 70s when a diver finds the wreckage, nearly intact, approximately 60 miles from its destination.

 

If I was giving this video to someone, it would be to a Chicago history nut, someone who loves diving around old wrecks, someone who loves being on Lake Michigan. If they love the History Channel, as my father does, I am thinking they would like this dvd. It is filled with old pictures of the time period as well as pictures of Capt. Schuenemann and underwater footage of the wreck.

 

Now you are probably wondering where you can buy this wonderful video that will make an excellent present to Uncle Al who used to sail on Lake Michigan as a merchant Marine or whatever shipping company it is that brings/brought goods back and forth on the lake. All you have to do is visit www.VAPFilms.com or call 608-873-5784. They will happily process your order for $24.00. There are other movies in the catalog that might intrigue you as well.

 

 

Until next week, see you in the Rental Aisle.

Lent and Tuna Salad

Now that it is Lent, one must break out the tuna for Friday.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Tuna Salad Sandwich

I have nothing against tuna but I really do not like fish all that much. I will eat them in a taco or if they have a hard shell. Can we say shrimp scampi?

On the way somewhere the other day my daughter asked if fish is considered meat, why is it okay to eat on the days you are not supposed to eat meat?

Can you tell we are not Catholic? I don’t think she would have ever questioned that if we were because it would simply be a fact of life. Friday is meatless and that means tuna for lunch.

Tuna Salad - Fennel Seed JarThe problem with tuna is it gives off a lot of gas. It does not always sit well in the tummy.

There are all sorts of ways to make tuna tastier. Some people like chopping up an onion, my husband puts in celery. My favorite is a grilled tuna sandwich with swiss cheese.

But when it comes to the base recipe for tuna salad, I like to use fennel seed. It gives a slightly sweet anise flavor and it decreases the amount of gas made by the tuna.

The basic recipe I follow is one can of tuna, a hard boiled egg diced, one small celery stalk chopped fine, a few shakes of garlic powder, a dollop of mayo, and a handful of fennel seeds that I crush by hand. Some times I put in relish and/or mustard.

Seeds in the hand

Seeds in the hand

I know some people like the onion but it stays with me all day and it not enjoyable. Pickle relish is another ingredient that I could do without. I guess you could put red pepper in it or other ingredients. Personally, I love to have a slice of tomato on my tuna sandwich.

So please share the way you think is the best way to eat tuna, especially if you feel you must during this Lenten season.

New Year’s Again

Image from IMDb.cm

Image from IMDb.cm

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

New Year’s Day always brings out the resolution list for me. Being that it is my birthday as well, it seems like a doubly good reason to set goals for the coming year.

The most popular ones are counted as quitting smoking and losing weight. In the last few years, I vowed to eat healthier and exercise more which had lead to a drop of about 40+ lbs. It wasn’t easy, took longer than I thought it would and is totally worth it.

I always vow to write more, to see more movies, and to spend more time with my family.

One of the movies I was finally able to watch this past week is about making change, it is about hope when there seems to be none. When my daughter saw that The Odd Life of Timothy Green was actually in, she grabbed it for our movie night. This is a movie I would watch with tweens and older. I do not think many children under the age of 10 would want to watch this movie because the pacing is too slow for them.

The story is about a couple who have tried nearly every way possible to have a child. Finally they have been given the news that there is nothing more the doctors can do, they are not going to have a child the old fashioned way.

So that night, in the midst of their disappointment and despair, Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) begins to write his idealistic aspects of the child he is never going to have. His wife, Cindy (Jennifer Garner), joins him in the exercise. Then they put the pieces of paper in a box and bury it in a garden, making the hardest resolution of all. They say goodbye to their dream of having a child.

Later that night, a thundering storm comes through. The couple wake up, hearing a loud noise downstairs. While getting everything settled back into place is when they discover Timothy. A nine-year-old boy has suddenly appeared in their house. He has leaves on his ankles and there is a hole in the garden where the box was planted.

What can they do but what they do which is to love him. They accept him in their family and start being parents. Interestingly enough, they learn the hardest lesson of parenting during the short time Timothy is in their life. As you can imagine there is a sad part of this movie and a happier ending. It is a movie where fairy tale endings can and do happen.

More than that, Timothy Green leaves us feeling hopeful, he inspires the American can-do spirit without the meanness. The boy reminds his adopted parents and us that anything is possible. While the violent movies as of late show us one way to solve our problems, it is not practical nor morally correct to take a machine gun to places that anger us. Instead, this movie encourages us to think of new ways to solve our problems – whether it is making a different pencil or becoming a parent.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

On The Hunt

With Christmas over, the hunt for perfect gifts is over as well.

As I have been hunting around for presents, I have taken on a near ‘buyer beware’ attitude. The other  week when I was in the stores I thought I had found the perfect present for my mother.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

It was a “Sherlock Holmes” set on DVD with four movies, episodes from an old TV show, and a featurette. Right on the box was a picture of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. These two men were and will always be what I think of first when I hear “Holmes and Watson.”

On a closer look, I read the titles and realized that Nigel Bruce was in only one of the movies. The Hound of the Baskervilles in the set which meant these were all of the lesser movies. That was very disappointing. So I put the box back on the shelf and moved on. If I am to give my mother a box set of Sherlock Holmes movies, Nigel Bruce and Basil Rathbone have to be together.

Thanks to the Guy Ritchie movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as the British detecting duo, interest in Sherlock Holmes has been renewed. Ritchie’s version of the detective is less clean, less proper than Rathbone’s version. Then again, Rathbone was a Shakespearian actor and carried that Victorian gravitas with him.

I like the Downey Jr. version of Sherlock, it makes him more approachable and understandable in some respects. I see a man who has many interests, many abilities but with a touch of the lack of social niceties. He knows enough how to be in society but only because he remembers what happens when it does not work out well.

There is a new edition of Holmes on TV in the CBS show Elementary starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as the detecting pair. The premise is that Sherlock has recently left rehab and Watson is a former doctor who is his ‘sober companion.’  The British citizen has a beautiful but messy grey stone and consults on cases with the New York City police. His contact there is played by Aiden Quinn.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Sherlock is rude, brusque, incredibly smart and highly annoying. Watson is constantly frustrated at his behavior, amazed at his deduction abilities, and constantly thwarted in her efforts to help Sherlock on his path to sobriety. But they work well together as partners when it comes to solving crimes. The writing is crisp and fast moving without giving a person whiplash. There is not a box set of this series – yet. I tend to watch it on my computer since I never get to watch it when it is actually broadcasted on Thursday nights.

The other night, the husband and I went out to see a different British detective in the movies. We finally got out to see Skyfall starring Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench. The opening sequence of this movie is worth the price of admission. The story focuses more on M and her career at MI6 but Bond is right there in nearly scene trying to figure out who is trying to destroy M.

This movie still has those fantastical chase scenes and an incredible villain in Javier Bardem. But the realistic point are the meetings and hearings that M is forced to attend to give testimony regarding her agency and if it is necessary any more. I was thrilled with all aspects of this movie and heartily recommend it to action movie fans. In my mind, Craig may be the best Bond after Sean Connery.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Next week we will go to the polls.

Image by J. Durham

Next week, you and I will fill out ballots to elect school board members, town board members, state reps and senators, U.S. representatives and senators, and the president.

But here is the deal. Someone is going to lose. Maybe it is Obama, maybe it is Romney.

And when that happens we need to remember that if our guy lost, there is simply one thing to do.

Keep moving.

We have seen a nasty, nasty election season. So many hateful things have been said on both sides. But once the election is over, there is work to be done.

People want jobs which includes civilians and returning soldiers. Infrastructure, education, and healthcare need to be addressed. Foreign policy  requires a light hand and understanding.

So let’s ask those members of Congress to do something simple.

Work with your president.

Forget the B.S. that he is not your guy. Forget your platform or that the other side has to move to your side because that shit has not worked. It has been obstructionist and has caused the country to halt. While I am not saying turn a blind eye to obvious problematic issues – such as Benghazi – I am saying it is time we put the best interests of the country to the forefront.

You want to fight with the president because he is not doing exactly what you want. But then the Speaker of the House works out a deal where the POTUS concedes a few things and you concede a few things so that everyone can win. That is until Congress goes against the deal because it is not exactly what they want. Why did our bond rating drop? Because Congress would not work with the president.

Quite frankly, it makes our government look like a bunch of kids who take their baseball home because things did not goes their way. And you know where that leads, don’t you?

Out of office in the next election.

I am talking to the Tea Party members who have proven to be a big bunch of babies but it will include Democrats who can’t figure it out as well.

I don’t want to hear anymore stories about secret meetings that took place the day of inauguration in order to plan the downfall of the newly elected president. I do not want to see voting not happen because the plan wasn’t ‘their’ plan despite the fact it was based on their plan or that it will help the regular people of this country.

More importantly, I am tired of the fighting when solutions are needed. I can’t believe I am saying this but New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has become the example of working together during the aftermath of a major storm despite his negative rhetoric earlier in this campaign.  While that is the example to follow, come next election I will vote out every single one that I can who cannot be bothered to work with the other side.

Image by Expressive Grafix

Forget your petty squabbles, the need to be right. It is time to do the right thing for the American people. You know who they are, right?

They are the ones paying for your salary and that great health plan.

 

 

 

Like all of us, I read many of the freshly pressed posts of the day. I want to see what people are writing about and find topics other than mine interesting.  I also like to see what other people make in their kitchens or craft rooms. Some of it is very inspiring.

So today, I was looking at EcoWomen: Protectors of the Planet as they discuss green resolutions that can make a difference for our planet. This post resonated with me as the hubs and I do many of these things. We recycle and compost. Our water bottle usage is less as we re-use those bottles until they can no longer be used. We have a garden and use it well. We have re-useable bags that need to be used more.

The one thing I cannot do on this list is give up meat – even for one day.

I am willing to try to lessen my paper towel dependance and I do try to hit the local farmer’s market for produce. Our garden produces wonderful vegetables. We want to plant at least one more tree in our yard.

But the meat thing is a sticking point.

My family has a history of diabetes running through it like wildfire on both sides. One of the things I have noticed is how protein really helps keep my blood sugar from going crazy. My diet has become a balancing act of fresh produce and proteins so that I do not get dizzy while keeping the calories at a point where I continue to lose weight.

When I was college age, I did try the vegetarian diet. I went for less beef and more chicken. Slowly, I realized it was the grease that made me sick so I went for lean meats. I tried tofu but I didn’t like it all that much. I do some bean dishes but they are not my main source of protein. I learned how to cook what I like in a tasty manner which means there can be a lot of cheese. Many of our meals might be chicken as opposed to beef.

However, as I get older I find I want meat – especially beef. There is nothing like a real Italian Beef sandwich. A hamburger made well is a thing of glory. I do not need bacon on my burger but sharp cheddar or blue cheese takes that burger to another level. I feel better when I have an animal based protien. I would like to think this does not make me a bad person just one who needs certain foods to survive. I am sure there are plenty of vegans who will tell me differently, that a few minor adjustments will make life better for me.  

The suggestions made by the Eco-Women are wonderful. I agree with most of what they say. While I am willing to give up using plastic bags, and our family will continue to compost and recycle the one thing we are not doing is giving up meat. 

I wonder if planting a new tree will make up for my meat consumption.

Are you making any resolutions to help the planet?