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November 2010

Hurray for Hollywood!

This week, Ten on Tuesday. . . goes to the movies! 

It's time to reveal the Ten Movies We'd Like to See in a Theatre.  Now, I need to preface this post by explaining that . . . I rarely set foot in a theatre any more.  We have a nice, big HD tv, and I am perfectly content watching movies at home.  Every once in a while, though, it's fun to experience a film in its big screen glory.  The movies I'm listing today are movies that lend themselves, for one reason or another, to a big screen viewing.   (Note:  These are not my favorite movies.  Not even close.) 

Movies that have great effects, for example.  Movies like. . .

1 -- The Matrix

2 -- The Harry Potter series

Or. . . Epic movies that are just Too Big for anything other than the theatre; movies like. . .

3 -- The Lord of the Rings triology

4 -- Star Wars (the original)

Or. . . movies that are simply too intense or too scary to watch alone

5 -- Pulp Fiction

6 -- The Sixth Sense

Then, of course, come the movies that have cult status. . .

7 -- Rocky

And movies that just. . . aren't any fun without a crowd. . .

8 -- Rocky Horror Picture Show

Or. . . larger-than-life action movies (especially those starring Robert Downey, Jr.) . . .

9 -- Iron Man

And, last but not least, ANY, ANY, ANY movie with George Clooney!

10 -- George Clooney movies; all of them!

So, sit back, relax, and grab the popcorn.  It's showtime!




Piled Higher and Deeper

We have some really great municipal services here in Kalamazoo/Portage.  Curbside recycling always tops the list in resident surveys, but coming in a close second is . . . fall leaf pick-up.  Yes, if you pile your leaves at your curbside, the city will come by four times a fall and pick them up! 


It's a wonderful thing.  Although, things gets a bit tricky at this time of year -- when the leaf piles are high and dangerously hogging the roadways -- and you walk your dog. . . in the dark!  Mostly, the leaf piles look like this. . .


Neatly contained and manageable piles, just waiting for pick up.

But sometimes, they grow a bit bigger. . .


and bigger. . .


until you encounter. . . The Grand Canyon of Leaves!


Jenny and I encountered this pile the other night. . . in the dark.  We were so awestruck by the canyon effect; by the length and height of this particular pile of leaves, that I decided to return the next morning to photograph it.  But because the pile wraps around a curve in the road, it was not really possible for me to get a photograph that does this pile justice.

It stretches for half a block without break; the pile is over my head for most of its length; it stretches so far into the street -- and is matched by a somewhat smaller pile on the other side of the road -- that it really is like walking through a canyon (only one car can fit through the canyon at a time).

I decided to take pictures out my window as I drove past, hoping that it might help demonstrate the awesome-ness of this particular pile of leaves.  Here we go. . .


and driving. . .


and driving. . .


and driving. . .


and driving!


I'm glad I didn't have to rake that pile!

6 Through 10 Out Of 20


Happy Saturday! 


It's time for five more things about me!

6.  Shrub roses are my favorite flower.  I love their non-stop blooming and how hard they work in my garden.  I also love the fact that they aren't fussy, and really don't require much from me at all.  A little deadheading every week, and they just bloom and bloom and bloom.  They're even lovely when the frost comes.

7.  When I was in high school, I drove a 1964 Chevy Bel Air station wagon.  (Mine was white.)  It was in bad shape when my Dad brough it home.  Truth be told, someone paid HIM to take it . . .  because it had no front seat!  (I think he drove it home with a lawn chair; I was horrified.)  My Dad, ever resourceful, found an appropriate front seat for me -- but it was red. . . while the rest of the interior was blue.  I have many, many, many stories about this car.  Today, I'll share only one:  It could be started without a key!  Once people in my high school found this out, they used to hide the car on me.  Usually they just moved it from one side of the school to the other, but once it was parked in a nearby golf course parking lot for 3 days before I found it.

8.  I have a standard daily beverage progression.  I start out my day with two cups of coffee (with cream, thank you very much).  Then I move on to tea (typically Earl Grey, although I'm open to almost any type of tea) for the rest of the day.  After dinner (and sometimes during) it's time for wine -- usually red.  (I love cabs, pinots, and the occasional syrah!)

9.  My first job was at Dairy Queen.  I can still make the little swirl.

10.  I don't have a favorite color.  I like them all.  I tend to go through little "color jags" where I get in a bit of a color-rut for a while, but I don't tend to prefer any specific color. 

And there you have it.  Five more intriguing things about me.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thankful Thursdays: Movin' Me Down the Highway

This November, I'm counting my blessings . . . by thinking about connections. . . and how vital they are to my life.  This week, I'm thankful for the infrastructure . . . that keeps me connected. . . to the people and places I love.

The Road to Denison 025

Soundtrack . . .

Yep, I'm talking about the highway system!

The Road to Denison 001

It sounds a little goofy. . . to be thankful for the highways.  But I've been driving back and forth to visit my Mom and Dad quite a lot lately, and it's got me thinking about how easy it is to make that drive -- because of the highway system.

Husky Hockey Jan 2010 vs Muskegon 019

What I really wish is that we had better mass transit here in Michigan (that will remain a wish, I'm afraid, here in the Land of the Automobile!), but, since we don't, I'll take an efficient highway system any day.


Movin' me down the highway . . . keeps me connected.

Ticket to Ride


This week, it's time for a little . . . vacation dreaming!  Hit it, boys. . .

I like to travel.  I really like to travel.  I've been fortunate to have taken some pretty fabulous and dreamy vacations over the years.  I've been to Maui and Belize; London and Napa Valley; Vancouver and Manzanillo; Sanibel Island and Calgary; San Diego and Boston. 

London trip 005

But I'm always thinking of where I might want to go next.

And I'm much more inclined to . . . just GO . . . now that I've stepped away from the edge.

London calling 004

My advice:  if you're dreaming of a vacation . . . make it happen!

London trip 007

Here's my current list of Ten Dream Vacations.

  1. New Zealand
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Scandinavia
  6. Nova Scotia
  7. Scotland
  8. Ireland
  9. Prague
  10. Montreal

Now.  Go get that ticket to ride!

Fall Back

Oh, I love it when we turn back to Standard Time!  There's just something about . . . falling back. . .


that makes me feel more productive.


And more rested.


I love stretching that extra hour. . . into something that seems to be so much more than 60 minutes!  Even though the evening comes so much earlier now, I love having that "extra" hour back.

I spent my extra hour cleaning out some closets.  How about you?  What did you do with your extra hour?

Twenty Things

I've been having a slow-blog period lately.  My schedule has changed.  I'm knitting gifts that I can't talk about on the blog.  My garden is quiet.  My kids are gone.  I thought about taking the NaBloPoMo challenge for inspiration. . . but I missed posting on November 1, so that was out.  But.  Now Margene and Carole are posting Twenty Things about themselves on Saturdays (5 each week during November), and I decided to (uninvited) join them. 


So.  To start things off, here are five things . . . that you probably don't know. . . about me.

  1. I'm a Master Gardener.  I took the class six years ago, passed the exam, and now do a lot of volunteer gardening in the community.  I really enjoy this part of my life.
  2. Once I served as the chauffeur for Gloria Steinem when she did a couple of speaking engagements in Michigan.  I was a young, mini-van driving mom at the time, and actually had to move Brian's carseat and brush away the crumbs so she could take a brief catnap in my backseat!
  3. I have a "collection" of college degrees. . . with a whole slew of "careers" to match!  I tend to reinvent my professional self every now and again!
  4. I had never been to Europe before last fall, when I travelled to London with my sister.  We both had such a great time (GREAT) that we're planning another trip.  This time. . . France, with maybe a little Amsterdam thrown in for good measure.
  5. I really like birds -- real birds out in the garden, birds as art, bird motifs on clothing and household items, almost anything with birds.  But.  I don't like to be close to them when the flap around.  (Which is a bit of a problem, because now I'm caring for Brian's parrot, Puck.)

And there you have it.  Five things.  Intriguing, non?

Thankful Thursdays: The Power of Connections

November is one of my favorite months; Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays; it's time to climb aboard the Thankful Thursdays Express.

This year, I've been thinking a lot about . . . connections.  How important they are in our lives; how very many kinds of connections we have; how lonely life would be without connections.  And so, this year, my Thankful Thursdays will carry that "connections" theme.

This Thursday, I am thankful for the tools I use every day to keep me connected.


I am thankful to live in a time where I can chat with my far-away kids with a quick text message; where I can converse with my husband half a world away on the computer; where I can let a friend know I'm going to be late for our lunch date (again. . .) while I'm on my way; where I can watch TV or movies any time I choose; where I can talk to my Internet friends every day; where I can find new knitting patterns (okay, maybe too many new knitting patterns) at any hour of the day; where I can take my music and my books with me . . . wherever I go.

I am thankful for the tools that keep me connected with the people and the things I love most!