Tuesday, February 27, 2007

6 movies, 26 hours...

My nephew Jordan came to spend the weekend for the first time since he started working last summer. We made a movie weekend of it, starting Saturday morning with me getting up on 5 hours sleep for breakfast and then an early show of "Letters from Iwo Jima". He and my sister had just seen "Flags of Our Fathers" earlier in the week, via "Netflix", and so with it fresh in his mind he wanted to see it as did we. I haven't seen "The Departed", but I think Clint was robbed!

We went back home for a few minutes after that for lunch and to let Angel outside, figuring out in the meantime he had lost his wallet in the movie with his freshly cashed paycheck in it. Calling the theatre, they didn't find it, so we went back and hung around 'til the next show got out; he got it back, money intact! "Ghost Rider" was next on the agenda; I was already holding our seats while he and Dottie rescued his wallet. Dottie is a big Nicolas Cage fan, and we both like Sam Elliot in anything; it was a good movie. I'm looking forward to the extra stuff on a DVD down the road...

"Wild Hogs" was previewed here last weekend, and that was the 3rd movie for the day. The funniest thing I've seen in ages, from beginning to end! If you are lucky you might get to stop laughing long enough to catch your breath before you can't help but start again...

We went home and I had rented one Jordan wanted to see, "Proof" with Anthony Hopkins and Gwyneth Paltrow, and another that we had seen in the "arthouse" "Keeping Mum" with Maggie Smith and Rowan Atkinson. It's one of those "dark humor" comedies that sneaks up on you and you are enjoying before you realize it. Jordan was quoting some favorite lines from it all day Sunday. Since we had seen it already, I put it in first and cooked a batch of stir-fry chicken for dinner, we ate and then I loaded the dishwasher while it was on. Then we put in "Proof".

I was amazed at Gwyneth's performance. She matched Hopkins at every turn, no mean feat considering his experience in film and on stage. I didn't realize this had been a stage role for her before it was made into a film, and that might account for her astounding performance; all I know is I was impressed by the movie and the acting!

Jordan was pretty well exhausted by that point; he went to bed while we took showers and I watched deleted scenes and making of stuff off the two discs. I went to bed between 3 and 4, then was up at 8:45 again for the next early movie "Bridge to Terebithia". I had read enough to know what to expect, Dottie was a bit disappointed it wasn't more of a "Narnia", but still it was a good movie.

On the way home we stopped to pick up balloons and plate and stuff for a surprise birthday party for my Mom at her nursing home that afternoon. She turned 77 on Monday, and we were expecting cold and rain mixed with snow which makes it fun getting her around in her wheelchair, and knowing we could surprise her by having a party there instead of taking her out, we had been working out times and such through e-mails for a week, finally settling on 3pm Sunday.

Cindy had kept my grandkids over the weekend, so they got to pick out Mom's cake:

I had called on Friday and asked to reserve the table in the lobby for 3 on Sunday, but asked them not to put a name on it. Cindy and the grandkids went down to her room to get her and told her they wanted to go back to the lobby to look at the birds that live there.

The surprise worked wonderfully:

Left to right are my nephew Jordan, Cindy's younger son; my sister Cindy; Mom; Dottie; my younger son John; and my grandaugher Talia.

These were shot with my little Fuji digicam; the quality isn't what the Nikon would be, but we had enough things to take with us I "wimped out" and took the little camera.

Last but not least, since Boo had asked what I look like now:

Sandy pointed out that "only a man would say 20 pounds wasn't that many, lol". I have to confess, I wasn't looking at it in that light, but that having lost 100 that having a bounce the other direction of only 20% wasn't so bad; I know I can walk them off again. The part that was irking me was that 20 pounds was 6" and I had to go dig out some jeans I swore I'd never wear again!

I spent yesterday recovering from the weekend, doing a few little things around the house and trying to track down some Delco Voyager batteries for the bass boat. It seems I can't find them in town anymore, so ended up ordering a set in St. Joseph this morning that will be in tomorrow morning. In my cars I always put in "Die Hard" from Sears because I've had them last 6 or 7 years at a time, but the maintenance free aspect of the Delcos is nice when they are under deck, and some guys I know that fish tournaments say they are getting 5 seasons out of them, so an extra season or two is worth the premium over the lesser ones I can buy here.

Now I'm off to the garage to pull the 25 year old tires off the boat trailer and go replace them. They don't "look" bad, but I don't want to be that guy on the side of the road everyone feels sorry for...


Thursday, February 22, 2007

The week is rapidly escaping...

and not a bit too soon!

Tuesday I played hooky, my first vacation day of the New Year. It was Dottie's day off, and after a leisurely morning and breakfast, we went down to look at a power plant lake an hour south of here we used to fish, checking the price on their ramp permits and such. The roads to the marina are all paved now; the free ramp at the north end has been redone as well. It was in the mid 50's, and felt like perhaps spring was trying to get it's foot in the door! Since it's a cooling lake for a generating plant the water is a bit warmer there and there were 8 or 10 tow rigs and trailers in the parking lot, though we only saw one boat on the lake.

On the way home I tried to find another smaller lake a friend, now retired, took me to once about 10 years ago. After some backtracking I found it, but by that point it was getting late in the afternoon and plans for movies slipped away in favor going home and fixing dinner.

I got my unemployment paperwork tonight; there are so many of us that the state gave it to the union to give to us rather than try and process us at their office or send people to the union hall like they used to. I'm beginning to look forward to this next week, it's coming at a good time for getting some things done uninterrupted by work!

And though sweet Boo thinks I should be looking pretty good right now, I've actually slipped the other way a bit. Too many things have been going on for me to get my gym time, and the list has seemed endless at times. I'm up about 20 pounds from where I was last fall, but though it's not that many pounds, the inches are scary!

I'm slowly getting a handle on things though, and these down weeks will help. They've told us we'll have another the end of April; by then the boat and trailer should be ready to go and it will be time to take some grandkids fishing!

Hopefully the week is being kind to you all, and the weekend will bring rest and relaxation for you!


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Not the Sunday post I had planned...

but yesterday was spent yet again shoveling snow, then shopping and fixing dinner while Dottie was at work. Caught up with some TV, then after she went to bed I worked on that video game some more, lol!

Today started later than I planned, shopping for some things I couldn't find yesterday, then I came home and downloaded the medical forms I have to fill out for the colonoscopy I've been supposed to have since I turned 50. I'm only a year behind...

Normally I have my physicals in July during my downtime, but last year we were in Vermont. When we came back I put mine off to make Dottie go do hers (she has to have annual exams on her replacement joints as well). By the time we got through those, I had figured out how bad my Chrysler really was; then we bought the truck and since then things have been a bit tight, between paying off the things that weren't covered on hers, paying the regular bills and then throwing in the holidays on top!

I called this last week trying to schedule this for next week when I am laid off, thinking I might want a day or two to recover, but of course the soonest they can get me in is late March or April! I'm betting this won't be the last of my downtime, so hoping if I go for the last week of March I won't have to give up any vacation days!

Daytona is on in the background at this point...scary how few names I recognize in the field anymore!

Somewhere back East I know Tony Stewart's number one fan is having a party!

Off to sort out the 1600 things in my inbox and fill out these (endless) forms!

A great week to you all...


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I had intended to get this up last night when I came home...sorry!

NPR's "All Things Considered" said last night that the first recorded Valentine's Day card was sent by a Frenchman from the Tower of London where he was being held, and that it was a note with a drawing of Cupid firing an arrow that pierced a heart. They didn't say what happened to him...

There are so many times a day when I think of the friends I have here- so many times you've each "helped me make it through the night" or day or deal with some obstacle I found in my path through this screwy world! I am grateful to know all of you and to count you among those I care deeply about.

The Happiest of Valentine's Days to all who find there way here!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

February 13, 1927

My Dad and his brothers; seated from left to right are Harvey, the oldest, born in 1922; Roudet (Rudy), born in 1930; Bill, born in 1924; and standing behind them is my Dad, Kenneth Ray (Kenny) born this day in 1927.

Dad in the late 50's or early 60's in the living room of this house I still live in. Sometimes the memories here make things easier, then there are days like today...what should have been his 80th birthday.

Dad and the "apple of his eye", my sister Cindy somewhere around 1970. No kidding, she was always his favorite, and never did anything wrong! Uncle Rudy used to tell me that it was always that way; that the oldest never does anything right, and when a parent sees how that works then they do a complete reversal on the next kid...

Dad, Harvey and Rudy are all gone now, in that order.

Most years it doesn't bother me so much, but something about this being his 80th has been weighing heavily on me. The grandsons he'd be so proud of; the great grandkids he never got to see. Though he would be pissed at me for saying it, I'd trade Mom for him in a heartbeat! I know in many ways I would still be a disappointment, and that we would have our disagreements; I know there are times he would infuriate me.

But damn I sure miss him!


Monday, February 12, 2007

I left my last post up...

for some extra days hoping desperately that someone else might go badger the Forest Service a bit. Hopefully they did!

I remember reading somewhere in the last few years that when the "old growth" was being cut in the Northwest last time that it was all being shipped out of the country; we couldn't even afford to buy the timber ourselves! That may have been back when Julia Butterfly Hill was sitting in "Luna" to save her from the axe.

(Sometimes things that happened last week seem a very long time ago; other times things that happened 40 years ago seem like yesterday!)

Found out when I got up today and checked my e-mail that for the first time in 5 years, I'm getting laid off due to lack of car sales. Only a week at this point, but it's a financial reverse I really didn't need right now!

Meanwhile "the Shrub" is out there touting how well the economy is doing under his watch. Housing sales have tanked, all the other car manufacturers have been fighting this (to the point Toyota is offering 0% and rebates on the Prius). Somehow our sales had stayed strong enough I hoped we might avoid the same fate.

The first 15 years I worked I was laid off almost as much as I worked, barely keeping my seniority at times. There are a lot of those I work with who hired in as little as just two weeks after me who did "break time" and now have 1982 or 1983 "seniority dates", meaning they lost 4 or 5 years towards whatever retirement we'll end up with when the time comes. This was always a bad time of year as people are trying to pay off their Christmas debt and waiting for their IRS checks, but these last year we had been very lucky. A lot of my financial woes come from living on plastic back then...

To more pleasant subjects...we're finally above freezing for the 2nd time in a month! Of course, it's raining and at sundown the temperature is going to start dropping until it hits 21 sometime in the middle of the night with the rain freezing then turning into snow. 2-4 inches tonight, continuing tomorrow with a high of 22!

"Lovely weather we're having..."

(from an old Louis Armstrong song)

At least my friends up north get enough you can really do something besides just shovel!



Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Way too important to let slide!

A friend put up her first post in a while and in the links she included was one for this. Apparently Bush and friends are after our natural resources again, this time it's the old growth timber in Alaska! If you click on the title above, or here it will take you to a page that explains what they're up to, and how to attempt to stop it.

At some point in my life, like Will Rogers so many years ago, "I gotta see that Alaska". It would be nice if it was still there when I get to!

I spoke to one of the new transferees at work as we were walking in last week and found out she had lived there, and she spoke of catching 30-35 pound salmon 'til her arms ached. I can't imagine!

Please help if you can!


Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday comes again...

much too soon! By the time I finished my movie and laundry last night it was 5AM...

But it's nice to have the movie playing again in my head as I rethink scenes! The music had stuck with me all these years, and some of the scenes had, but it's not like "Casablanca" where I know every frame by heart...yet!

Off to run errands before work. May the week be kind to each of you!


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Love and Kieslowski and...

I can't remember how many years ago I fell in love with a movie named "The Double Life of Veronique". I had read something about the director, Krzysztof Kieslowski in a film magazine, and when the movie came on HBO or more likely Cinemax, I made a point of catching it. I was amazed, awed, stunned, and moved to many thoughts. The beauty of Irene Jacob, the gorgeous and haunting score by Zbigniew Preisner (I will acquire some discs of his scores this year, somewhere along the way). I then devoured Kielsowski's "Three Colors" trilogy, along with most of "The Decalogue" and some of his earlier work before the art house that also rented movies moved and that video rental was no more.

I bought "the trilogy" when it became available on DVD a few years ago, but hadn't collected anymore of his works. Off and on this past year I had been looking for my
"off the air" copy of "Veronique" because like re-reading "Wuthering Heights" or "The Passion" or "Orlando", I have felt like I needed to revisit it.

Either through Amazon or through Video ETA I had figured out that not only was it going to be issued on DVD finally, but in a deluxe package with interviews and extras...

So after we had our taxes figured today, since I had a coupon and we had some certificates for Borders, I used them. Sometime this weekend, family permitting, I'll be curling up with I friend I hope is as dear now as it was then!

Apparently in the transition from the "old" to the "new" my e-mail address got dropped off my profile- it is back again. Things seem to be settling down a bit I think. I do miss being able to use my phone to check my blog to read comments on the "awful" nights at work, but for some reason it doesn't like "the new". Good reason to come home sooner I guess...

May your weekends all find you warm and toasty!

(cuz it's awfully cold here right now!)