Tag Archive: notesfromrumbly cottage


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This Saturday is April Fool’s Day. Do you have your practical jokes ready?

This is one of my favorite non-holiday days. Every few years I try to come up with a neat and elegant practical joke. I say every few years because I like my family to not know if I will do something this year or not.

SlashLast year I went with a classic. I printed out a picture of Slash the guitarist and taped it on my son’s tire. I woke him up just a little earlier than needed and told him there was a slash on his tire. That tire needed to be changed before he goes to school, I told him.

So he got up and went to change the tire. Once he saw the picture, he knew he had been tricked. So he smiled to himself, took the picture off of his tire, placed it on one of his father’s car tires, and waited till his father was napping before telling him the tire had an issue.

I laughed and laughed.

My favorite joke actually came from someone else. My friend’s mother used clear thread to sew the utensils for dinner onto the place mat. Unfortunately her new husband did not have a sense of humor. His total acknowledgment was to get up from the table to get a fork out of the silverware drawer. I love this joke for its simplicity and elegance.

Those are the jokes that make me laugh hardest – simple and elegant slapstick. That is why I loved Abbott and Costello. This comedy duo made people laugh during the years of WWII and the post war era. Their most popular routine – Who’s On First – is repeated or referenced to this day.

I became enamored with the duo when their movies were constantly played on TV during my youth. It was always something in the line of “Abbott and Costello meet…” One time it was Frankenstein, another was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Or they were ‘in’ someplace, such as Hollywood or in the Foreign Legion.

Abbott and CostelloBud Abbott was always the straight guy, the tall man with the charm while Lou Costello was the guy who over-reacted to whatever situation what happening. It didn’t matter if he was being chased by the Wolf-Man, a cop, or an errant bad guy, Lou always reacted with big wide eyes and clumsy movements. Bud might be more restrained in his performance but it bounced off of Lou perfectly. Later when the men broke up as a pair, Abbott tried to work with another partner. Even he admitted he worked best with Costello and it was hard to replace him.

Start your Abbott and Costello journey with Buck Privates (1941), one of the best WWII comedies. Hold That Ghost (1941) is their first meeting with the supernatural with Lou’s terrific terrified responses. After that, you can find a number of movies that ate filled with their vaudeville routines and slapstick comedy.

Their brand of humor made America laugh with simple but elegant routines. And that is something to aspire to being.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Do you ever watch an older movie and wonder whatever happened to the cast?

Last week, for whatever reasons, I decided to watch Godspell. You know, the religious movie for the Pepsi generation.

GodspellIt’s the one set in New York City with deserted streets and building tops where the cast dances and sings about the Gospel of Matthew. It is a little quirky with people dressed in tee shirts and jeans and suspenders. Jesus has a huge afro and clown paint around his eyes. John the Baptist wears a multi-colored morning coat.

People are happy and incredibly intune with each other. It’s a hippy version of the Messiah story that still ends with Jesus dying but being with us. It is a very 60s kind of thing.

When I watched it this time, I finally understood how one could have a personal relationship with Jesus. He was there holding hands with his disciples, singing and laughing. It was natural for these people to do that with the master. I remember people in college talking about having that kind of relationship and it made me wonder how such a thing could happen with an onipotent being like God or Jesus.

But there was Victor Garber, looking so young and beautiful. His eyes simply captured a person. Even now, 40 years later, Garber is still handsome. Maybe you know him from Sleepless in Seattle as Tom Hank’s brother-in-law or as Jack Bristow from Alias. But now I have this picture of baby-faced adult Jesus in my head thanks to Victor. I loved how credible he made the character. He was Jesus but still human at different points, sweet without being sickening. That is hard to do.

Godspell ParkAnother actor I recognized was Lynn Thigpen. She was great. I knew her from the old children’s program Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego​? She played the Chief who was always trying to find super thief, Carmen Sandiego, with the help of the pre-teen contestants. Lynn played that role a little crazy and over the top. But she had other roles where she played it serious such as in the TV show The District. Sadly. Thigpen died of an aneurism in 2003 but her memory lives on as the name of a huge grade school in Joliet.

To me, the biggest cast member is the city of New York. They were able to close off sections for short times of filming. One dance was done on the top of the World Trade Center just after construction had been completed. Another takes place in a deserted mansion filled with antique furniture. There is the fountain scene and the entire time in Central Park that amazes me for being so deserted. We get to see the beauty of New York without the distraction of people.

It is a simple movie about complex ideas. I planned to allow our youth group members to watch this movie. I also realized that I was going to have to stop it after each segment to explain what was being taught, such as during the scene discussing the beatitudes. It may not stand the test of time as Jesus Christ Superstar has done but it is still very interesting to watch.

Here is the best song I remember from this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

I have chives that have lived for near 20 years in the same pot. And every year I wonder what plants to mix with it to look pretty against the chives.

From yougrowgirl.com

From yougrowgirl.com

Sometimes I have luck with it, other times the flowers die out too quick. and leave a mess. This time around I went searching for some potting ideas. What could I put with them to make it worth while. That is when I came upon this idea.

I really like what this blogger did with her pot. She used two different types of thyme along with a viola plant to add some purple. I liked it, really liked it. The purple against the pink chives, the variant colors of green from the thyme.

So I gathered the components. The chives pot was the easiest. Next came a four pack of violas along with two thyme plans. I told the husband to pick up two varieties. What I got was two plants of the same variety. Well, I guess it should have been me doing the buying so no whining this time.

container components I don’t have a nice galvanized bucket with handles but I guess the one I do have will have to do. This year, the chives are not as full as they have been. I suspect my husband became over anxious and took out last year’s dead leaves a little too soon. Our spring this year has been something close to normal. We had a frost the other night so when I did this pot, the chives were not as thick and full as they had been in the past.

Having recently attended a seminar on tricks from the pros, I guess I could have done things differently. Like leave the plants in the plastic cups so I could easily interchange them. Violas will not last through the hot summer and it will be a pain to dig them out. But that is not how I roll. I dug out holes for the plants, removed the plastic pots and stuck them in.

After they found their new home, I took the other half of the violas and put them in a back shade garden. Everyone was happier once I showered them with water.

Will this end of looking as nice as the picture above? I don’t know yet.

But I do know that the replica Easter Island statue is keeping an eye out on everything.

container with statue

How is your container garden growing?

Watching a Christmas Movie?

by Karyn Bowman

So what makes a good Christmas movie?

This time of year we all talk about what we like or don’t like in a Christmas movie. But it comes down to a few factors, two actually.

Redemption and Reconciliation.

After much thought and deliberation, it seems true that the best movies in this genre are all about the redemption of a lost soul or the reconciliation of a relationship whether it is between lovers or among family members.

Do I need to bring in a case in point?

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

Bruce Willis going through a window in “Die Hard.” Image from IMDb.com

How about Die Hard? In this movie the good guy, that’s Bruce Willis, is visiting his wife and children in California. He is a New York City police office unwilling to move to California but he still loves his wife. So he comes to visit at her Christmas office party.

To say things go horrible wrong as terrorists invade the party would be an understatement. But with a few smart moves and a partnership with a Los Angeles police officer, McClain is able to save his wife and most of her co-workers. In the end, there is a satisfying reconciliation between the couple.

If you need more, there is always A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer find redemption from being a miser who cares about no one to a man who keeps the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year-long. Granted, he needs the help of four different ghosts and to see what lies ahead in the future if he does nothing. We stick around for the journey because we love the destination of Redemption.

What other movies can we label this way?

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

Elf   – Reconciliation and Redemption

It’s a Wonderful Life   –   Redemption

A Charlie Brown Christmas  – Redemption

A Christmas Story   –   Redemption

The Holiday  –  Redemption

Love Actually  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

The Cheaters  –  Redemption

Bad Santa  –   Redemption

The Santa Clause   –  Redemption

Miracle on 34th Street   – Redemption and Reconciliation

Any Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

We could go on and on like this. The truth is if movie makers could figure out the perfect Christmas movie we would have more of them that are great. But perhaps we must remember Bette Davis who once shamed a reporter who tried to say there were many great movies in the vaults. She responded by saying that about 5 – 10 great movies were made on any given year but the rest were crap.

Christmas movies get us in the heart whether it is about a reindeer, a journey to the north pole, or an old man who says he is Santa when logic tells you there is no way that man could be Santa. I love watching them and know I will be doing a lot of that this weekend.

So what about your favorite Christmas movie? Is it about reconciliation or redemption?

To

From the Bookpile

Have you ever had an off day, a not so good project?

For me the last few weeks have proven I am not always as efficient or competant as I like to believe I can be. So I understand when this happens to other people or at least I try to understand.

I have been on a reading tear lately, reading authors in the genre I want to write in to see what makes them good, what makes their stories readable or not.

One of the authors I have been exploring is Barbara Delinsky. She writes women’s fiction and has been at it for a long time. I read The Secret Between Us and Sweet Salt Air.

So what happened? I loved one book and totally hated the other. I almost gave up on her because the first book I read, Sweet Salt Air, was the one I hated.

Book Sweet Salt AirThe story is about two friends who come back together to write a cook book about the Maine island where they spent their summers. Both have secrets that could dammage everything.

I liked the writing, the decriptions of the island. I felt as if I was there. But it was the lack of suspense, the excessive reference to the one big secret (three times in the first chapter before being revealed in the second chapter) was the real turn-off. And that was before some conversation turned me off to one character in particular. I kind of sort of read the end but even that did not save my interest in the book.

I hated the book, gave it what I felt was the appropriate rating on Goodreads and felt guilty. I wanted to like it, I really did and knew I was telling the author she stinks when maybe this was just a bad outing. So I used the resources at hand, I asked another librarian to help me find a book by this author.

My thought was maybe I caught Delinsky on a bad day, maybe it was the topic I didn’t like, who knows. That is when I was handed The Secret Between Us. As I type this in, my mind is going into bad soap opera drama voiceovers. That voice in my head is going deep and melodramatic. Book the secret between us

The story is about a mother and daughter who are in a car accident. Their car hits a man on the side of the road during a rainy night. He dies but what everyone does not know is that the daughter was the one driving. She is on a permit and so Mom is right there. But Mom doesn’t tell the police that. She lets them assume she was driving.

There are more secrets that will come out. And we have to deal with an autocratic father, a selfish ex-husband, a pregnant sister, a child with vision problems, and the grieving family members of the victim. But I liked this book better. Perhaps it was because I can identify with this cast of characters better. Perhaps it seemed to me that this situation could really happen. Perhaps it was because the secret affected people but it was not as longly held.

For whatever reasons I felt one book was better than the other. When I looked at Goodreads I noticed that both books received positive reviews, both received negative. I hoped that Sweet Salt Air was one of her earlier efforts but it came out last year. Secret was published in 2008.

Perhaps Delinsky’s next book will hit me better. In the meantime, I am reading Delinsky’s 3 Wishes. Strangely enough, it feels like an upbeat Steven King book.

What are you reading?

Are you a youth group leader?

Then you know what I am about to say is true.

Picture by Xandert

Picture by Xandert

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we get stale. How many times can we do the same lesson to a bunch of kids who may or may not want to listen?

There is a scene in Soul Surfer in which the kids are listening to their youth group leader  quietly and attentively.

That was real fiction because I have never had that happen. When I mention it to the kids, they usually say “you know that is a movie, right? It is not real life.”

So the other night when the kids gathered, I asked then to pair up and gave them six pieces of paper. I tried to hum the theme song from “The Dating Game” before I announced that tonight we were going to play a new game.

I called it “Things I Don’t Remember Talking About in Youth Group?” or something similar.

The kids laughed because they realized I wanted to make what we talk about fun but not like a test. At some point I wanted to see if they remembered anything we talk about because most of the time they are busy trying to out-talk me.

The five questions went like this:

*Who was the guy who freed the Jews from Egypt?

* Name one of Jacob’s two wives.

* What was the first name that Paul went by?

* Name six of the twelve disciples?

* Where was Jesus born and where did he die?

Bonus Question: How many people did David have to kill to prove to Saul he was worthy of being King?

The answers were pretty interesting, especially when everyone remember Rachel but not Leah. And the most disciples anyone could remember was four. Well, guess what the next few lessons will be focusing on. Yep, we are learning about each disciple.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

As we move close to Easter and the resurrection, it is important to know about the men who kept the movement going after Jesus left the earth.

I am not sure if I will go into the deaths of each man but their lives before meeting holds interesting facts. None of these men were perfect, like the rest of us.

I can’t wait for next week’s youth group. I just need a way to make it fun.

Suggestions, anyone?

How long is too long?

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

Have you ever had that feeling of knowing something was good but the downside was that it took too long to do?

 

This past week I brought home The Adventures of Tin-Tin. This is a great movie that was directed by Steven Spielberg and was nominated for an Oscar in 2012.

 

adventures of tintinI love the way the animation folds out as if you are reading right along in the graphic novel that is the source material for the movie. In some ways it reminded me of Inception starring Leonardo Di Caprio. The books, by the way, have been popular in Europe for years, and Spielberg seemed to be the perfect director to bring Tin-Tin and his dog, Snowy, to life

 

The problem started as every single kid who walked into our house had the same comment when they saw the dvd box on the table.

 

That movie is too long.”

 

Some tried to justify it by saying they fell asleep and when the woke up (a couple of times) the movie was still playing. Or they said it was good but they couldn’t keep up with it. This seems strange to me since the movie has plenty of action and adventure with blinding rain storms and a chase along the narrow streets of an old city.

 

Many times the Oscar movies are longer. They want to tell all aspects of a story and sometimes you need more than the usual 90 minutes of the average feature film. And that can be fine, especially in a movie such as any of the Lord of the Rings trilogy which flew by very quickly for me.

 

son of the maskThen again, I have been to some movies that were only 70 minutes long – the bare minimum for a full length feature film – and felt as if they would never end. There was a Dana Carvey movie like that which should have been better but never seemed to get done. I could say the same about Son of the Mask starring Jamie Kennedy as well as the Scooby Doo live action movies.

 

With all that in mind, I looked up the length of the movie for Tin-Tin. It was 107 minutes which translates into 1 hour, 47 minutes. Most movies are 1 hour, 30 minutes long.

 

I am not sure what this all means because these are the same kids who play video games for hours on end until we turn off the TV and kick them out of the house to get some fresh air. An extra 17 minutes drives them to distraction? Really?

 

pride and prejudiceWell, I will remember that the next time I am watching all glorious 129 minutes of Pride and Prejudice starring Kierra Knightly and Matthew Macfayden. The time seems to fly when I am watching this movie – all 2 hours and 9 minutes.

 

Until next week, see you in the Rental Aisle.

 

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

When the date for the opening night of Catching Fire, the second movie in the Hunger Games series was published, my daughter wrote it on the calendar.

 

Image from Hunger Games Catching Fire Wikia

Image from Hunger Games Catching Fire Wikia

We were going to the midnight screening and that was all there was to that.

 

That is until we found out we could go see the movie at 9 pm instead of midnight. I was happy for that since I worked the next day.

 

I have read the books and know what to expect. The story continues from the last movie in which Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) must now live as victors and go on tour. They must continue pretending to be in love or risk the lives of their loved ones.

 

But all around them, rebellion is on the rise. They can only watch as people are killed for believing in the hope of rising against the capitol. What can the government do but propose another Hunger Games for the 75th Anniversary in which past tributes are reaped for the games.

 

The acting is tremendous. Jena Malone made me forget she was ever in Pride and Prejudice. Donald Sutherland continues his great performance as the wicked and devious President Snow. Jeffrey Wright shines as Beetee. Philip Seymour Hoffman is simply perfect. I was enthralled most of the time despite having read the books and knowing what to expect.

 

For those people who have not seen the first movie or ever bothered to read the books, you may be wondering if this is a stand-alone movie. Let me be honest, it is not. It is the second movie in a four-film series. If you are new to the series, I strongly suggest renting Hunger Games before you go see Catching Fire. Relationships between the various characters will make sense to you once you do as will the reason for the games in the first place.

 

That said, I can only tell you that with an increased budget, you will notice better sets, cinematography, and costuming. The world portrayed in this story is still bleak but interesting as hope filters down to the oppressed districts. The movie does what it sets out to do – propel the story while giving us the battle scenes from the games. 

 

 

Image from Hunger Games Catching Fire Wikia

Haymitch’s house, Image from Hunger Games Catching Fire Wikia

What intrigues me is the mix of eras in this movie. Design of the homes is Victorian while societal norms appear to be Depression era. The computer technology is farther along than we are now but they still use coal for heat and fueling factories. Costuming also appears to be a mix of eras although anything from the Capital seems to go for the most outlandish things possible.

 

I have to admit I would love to see this movie one more time on the big screen in order to catch details of what I might have missed as well as to enjoy the spectacle. And if I do, I would take no one younger than ten because I believe the context of this movie is meant for those who are an older pre-teen and up. It deals with issues of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, government corruption on a large scale, and how people deal with stress in times of oppression.

Catching Fire Hunger games poster 4

It was a near perfect movie that slows in the middle till it picks up again and we are back on that roller coaster ride of thrills.

 

Until next week, see you in the Rental Aisle.

 

Seven little turkey vultures all in a row.

Six little turkey vultures all in a row.

 

 

Talk about your strange sights that you see along the road. I have never seen these birds lined up on a fence row like this before.

 

Have you?

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past week has been incredibly busy for our family.

Image by Mathew Hull

Image by Mathew Hull

There have been several ball games, graduation, 4H activities, the parade, town wide garage sale, two birthday parties, and various concerts. Other people I know had dance recitals and graduation parties to host.

While it is an incredible time, it is also incredibly tiring. A few times I wondered if I could fall asleep right where I was but knew I had to stay awake. In truth, I love these moments even during the most hectic moments. But when it is all over, I want nothing more than relax.

Once Sunday arrived, I was ready to do nothing. Which I did rather successfully beyond reading a book, planting a few new plants, and making stuffed shells for dinner. Later that night, the husband and I watched Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.

Midler and Crystal play grandparents who have been reluctantly asked to watch their only grandchildren. Once in the house, Midler realizes that they are the ‘other grandparents,’ the ones not seen as fun but as a burden. During this week, she wants to create memorable moments for the kids and asks her husband not to screw it up for them.

Image from IMDB.com

Image from IMDB.com

This might be hard because their daughter, Marisa Tomei, is a bit of a helicopter parent but she is aided by the rules of their school and social circles in which kids are told to use their blue voice and baseball games don’t count runs or strike pitches. Old school clashes with new school as grandparents try to figure out a smart house and a set of rules of life that do not always make sense.

This is not a deep movie, there are some moments that one might call cloying or manipulative. But it has nuggets of truth hidden in the biting or bitter remarks made by various characters.

As parents, we strive to do better than what we thought of our parents’ parenting styles. We try to eliminate bullying or unhappy feelings. We strive to make everyone feel good about their accomplishment.

I understand the daughter’s point of view of wanting to be different from her parents. I mean, how many of us have seen the saying “I opened my mouth and my mother’s voice came out” and giving a head-nod of agreement? How many of us vowed that while we love our parents, we were going to raise our kids differently which meant ‘better’ in our heads.

It is not always like that.

Some modern tricks have value as do some of the old ones. I think that not all modern tricks and tools work as well as some of the old ones. I think sometimes kids have to lose games and develop skills from that loss. I think kids need to be taught how to speak to others without being a manipulative bully – and when that happens call the kids for acting out in a manipulative manner.

In the end, parents have to be parents which means setting boundaries and consequences for inappropriate behavior while allowing kids to have fun. It also means that kids have to learn how to treat others in a respectful manner. And sometimes, you break every rule you ever set for a magical moment.

Would I watch this movie again?

I think I might. There is a sweetness as Grandpa learns to bond with his grandchildren. There is some honesty in one of the subplot’s involving careers. While this movie might be acceptable context-wise for those who are pre-teen, I think it is best for adults who get both worlds of parenting.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.