Saturday, May 30, 2009

Movie Time!

Ken's mom and stepdad are coming over for burgers tomorrow, so today Ken worked on the yard, and I worked on the house. It wasn't too bad, just some general tidying, plus vacuuming. Okay, it's been way too long since I vacuumed (not my favorite chore), I’ll admit it, but it felt good to make it look nice for company!

I have a couple of movie reviews for you today. When the summer rerun season hits, it's our chance to catch up on the movies we've accumulated. We've been very happy about recent movie choices, and have really enjoyed them! I mentioned "Night at the Museum," which we watched the other night. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise, not as silly as we thought it might be.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall Thursday night we watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," which starred and was written by Jason Segel, the tall guy (Marshall) from "How I Met Your Mother." We were expecting a very light comedy, essentially "fluff," and again, were pleasantly surprised. It was definitely a romantic comedy, but there was a bit of a darker edge that we weren't expecting. It's definitely not for the easily offended, with plenty of sexual situations, including full frontal male nudity. I remember seeing Jason Segel on a talk show when this movie came out, and he talked about some of his family members seeing him in all his glory. I can't even imagine! I remember thinking what a goofy and funny guy he was on that talk show, and after seeing this movie, I have an even greater appreciation for him. The guy has a natural talent for comedy, but he also has a sort of vulnerable, every-guy side that is very appealing.

Spoiler Alert

Segel plays a guy whose actress girlfriend dumps him for a British rock singer (brilliantly played by Russell Brand), then takes off for Hawaii to try to get away from the situation and his deep depression. Unfortunately, his ex and her new boyfriend are at the same resort, which results in some highly uncomfortable (and sometimes hilarious) situations. Segel's misery is almost palpable, because we've all been there. He meets a very pretty girl who works at the resort, and she slowly brings him out of his cocoon of self-imposed misery. The British rock singer boyfriend turns out to be kind of cool in a rakish way, and Segel's character encounters many others on his vacation who help him slowly but surely forget Sarah Marshall...including Sarah Marshall herself. One of my favorite parts of the movie was the musical version of "Dracula." With puppets. What's really astonishing is that Segel has actually been writing such a musical, and incorporated it into this movie. How gratifying that must have been for him!

End of Spoilers

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall" was a lot of fun, and I think Jason Segel has a solid movie career ahead of him. The guy has lots of talent, and is very likable, in a Tom Hanks sort of way.

Hey, it's intermission time!

Welcome back! Last night, we watched "3:10 to Yuma," a remake of a 1957 western starring Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. (We have the original, too, but haven't watched it yet.) This movie got quite a bit of buzz when it came out a while back, and it's warranted. We both love westerns, and this one takes its place among the excellent modern interpretations of the western, whether a remake or an original. In this version, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale star.

Spoiler Alert

310 to YumaEvans (Bale) is a rancher and Civil War veteran who is down on his luck--and pressured by the guy who owns his land to get out and get gone, because it's more lucrative for the owner to have the new railroad come through that particular parcel of land. Evans falls into a situation in which he can earn $200 from the Pinkerton agency to transport the captured outlaw Ben Wade to the train station for a ride to the prison in Yuma. The usual morality play ensues, in which we wonder if Wade is 100% bad, or if he has managed to retain some sort of conscience. We're drawn back and forth between the two, as he kills one of the guys guarding him...but helps Evans get away from the Apaches, as well as a posse who wants to capture him (Wade). The two eventually form an uneasy alliance and a grudging respect for each other, culminating in Wade avenging Evans' death at the hand of a member of his own gang.

End of Spoilers

I love all kinds of good westerns, but I find that the modern take on them has an element of ambivalence that I just love. I think that all westerns have that bad guy with a heart of gold character, but more recent movies muddy the waters even further. Old westerns, from the 30's and 40's, were more black and white (and I'm not talking about the color of the film); subsequent movies understood that there was always more than meets the eye, and infinite shades of gray. Modern westerns take that a step further, and show us heroes and anti-heroes who are truly conflicted, who have been forced into the life they lead. Of course, there are always the truly bad guys who choose that life, like Johnny Ringo, or the gang member in "3:10 to Yuma."

I'm not a huge fan of Russell Crowe, but I thought he was fantastic in this movie. I am a fan of Christian Bale (Has anyone seen "American Psycho'? Oh my goodness.), and he is great as the Civil War hero (kind of).

We enjoyed both movies, and recommend them highly! I'm hoping that our good movie streak continues tonight, but we haven't chosen yet. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Darn that Bob!

I am happy to report that Evil Fridge has been subjugated to our will. Ken plugged him in yesterday, and EF is currently chilling our beverages. He's humming away as if he is Happy Fridge, but I know better. We have made him our bitch, and he hates us for it. I will use extreme caution in my dealings with him, never letting down my guard. Cool me once, shame on you. Cool me twice, shame on me.

Hey, looky here! It's a meme! You all know that I rarely do these, but Bob tagged me. [waving] Hi Bob! [sip] I thought this one looked fairly intriguing, and decided to play along. I won't tag anyone else with it, but if it intrigues you, too, please feel free to participate.

1) What is your current obsession?
I don't think I have one at the moment; I go in spurts. When we first went to New Orleans, I bought several books about it, including architecture books. Same for Vegas. And Route 66. Oh, and birds. I don't think I can add anymore obsessions at this point (famous last words), because I do revisit most obsessions. If something really grabs me, as the things I listed have, I stick with them.

2) What are you wearing today?
A large pink Florida T-shirt. Earlier I had on shorts and a tank top, when I was sitting out on the deck.

3) What's for dinner?
A chicken and rice dish.

4) What would you eat for your last meal?
Eggplant Parmigiana made with fresh mozzarella, and an entire bottle of Chianti. If it's my last meal, make it two bottles. Might as well go out with a bang.

5) What's the last thing you bought?
Mundane stuff? Groceries. Fun stuff? Several CDs.

6) What are you listening to right now?
A slight breeze in the trees, and chirping birds.

7) What do you think of the person who tagged you?
I think Bob at
I Should Be Laughing is a sweet soul with a wicked sense of humor, and he is an outstanding writer, as well. I couldn't say no to Bob's tagging me for this meme.

8) If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
I thought about this for a moment, then realized that I'm living exactly where I want to live. What can I say? I love Nutwood, and it's the place to be for me!

9) If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
I can think of several things, but right now, I would go for an hour in Egyptian tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

10) Which language do you want to learn?
Italian. I love the sound of it, and I think I'd be pretty good at the hand gestures.

11) What's your favourite quote (for now)?
I don't know who said it first, but I remember my Dad saying it to me (he said it's always been his and Mom's philosophy): It's not the's the journey.

12) What is your favourite colour?
Hey, what's with the 'U' in favorite and color? This meme originated in the UK! Just call me Holmes. My fave color is Purple. I'm not sure why. Although it is the color of royalty. [grin]

13) What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
I can't say I have anything that would make me cry if I lost it, but a couple of go-tos for me are my black leather jacket--it looks good with anything--and a black sweater with a faux fur collar. I can wear it on its own as a top with jeans, slacks, or a skirt, or wear it over a dress as a light cover-up. Very versatile.

14) What is your dream job?
I can honestly say that for 20+ years, I did what I loved, and what I believe I was meant to do (microbiology). In the next phase...writing in some capacity...? I don't know. I'm content to just be for the time being.

15) What's your favourite magazine?
Time. I also get several mags such as Good Housekeeping, but Time is the one that I read in depth.

16) If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on?
Thanks for translating that to about $160 USD, Bob. (And I was right about the origin of this quiz! Ha!) Hmm. Probably books. Or maybe I'd save it until later in the summer and buy a bunch of clearance clothes at Kohl's. Are those the best sales, or what?

17) What are you going to do after this?
Talk to Ken about his golf game, if he's home by then; if not, maybe read a little more in my current book.

18) What are your favourite films?

Fargo, Psycho, The Grapes of Wrath, The Andromeda Strain (the original), The In-Laws (the original), The Usual Suspects, The Godfather (I and II), Goodfellas, Casino, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead; and in the guilty pleasures category, the awards go to Road House and Dirty Dancing.

19) What is your special talent?
Hm, I've never thought about whether or not I have a special talent, so this is a pretty good meme. I think it might be that I can keep my cool in most situations. While all about me might be descending into chaos, I can usually stay calm and try to figure out what to do about the problem, or at least try to calm the situation down. I'd probably be a pretty good person to have around in a disaster, although I hope I never have to find out the hard way.

20) What inspires you?
Nature. A nicely written phrase or paragraph. History, including seeing abandoned places (it fires my imagination). Music. Art, although I don't often get to art museums...but when I do, I find it fun to really ponder the artworks and think about them and what they mean to me.

21) Your favourite books?

The Grapes of Wrath, The Stand, Mine (Robert McCammon), The Starlight Drive-In (Marjorie Reynolds), The Andromeda Strain, F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack novels, Stephen King's Dark Tower/Gunslinger series

22) Do you collect anything?
Penguins and books. In fact, I have a few books about penguins. However, I have no figurines of penguins reading books. I have penguins fishing; a penguin knitting; I even have a penguin playing a trombone. But none are reading. Illiterate little buggers.

23) What are you currently reading?
Still stuck on The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett. I read more of it today, and although I'm enjoying it, I have a feeling I'll be on it for a while yet. I'm about ready to start a marathon reading session and plow through this thing.

24) Go to your book shelf, take down the first book with a red spine you see, turn to page 26 and type out the first line:

"Whatever it was, he didn't like Scott and this was his revenge," she marveled to the empty, sunny rooms above the long barn. "This...poison-pen clipping." From Lisey's Story UNDER by Stephen King. By the way, I had to choose a book shelf. There are five downstairs and one upstairs. What is this singular book shelf in the question?

25) By what criteria do you judge a person?
Honesty, lack of pretentiousness, empathy for those less fortunate, ability to generate and/or tolerate drama, a sense of humor.

Whew, I made it through!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is there a problem, Ossifer?

Ahhh, nice to have some downtime and solitude at home. I went to the grocery store today, and got a start on climbing Laundry Mountain, but I've been able to get mostly caught up with blogs, even if I didn't comment on each and every entry.

Evil fridge I'm still fairly sore today, and I think most of that is because of Evil Refrigerator. Ken and Randy moved almost all the big stuff, but there were some appliances that had to come to our place. Ken's Mom is giving us their washer and dryer and their old garage fridge, and we're storing the stove until we have our garage sale this summer. So yesterday morning, Ken was unloading those appliances. Most went into the new garage, which was no problem, but Evil Refrigerator had to come into the old garage, which involved steps and ramps and uneven surfaces. I was trying to get around Ken to move the ramps, and as he adjusted a little bit, the fridge slipped part way off of the dolly, and the door opened down onto my upper arm and wrist. It hurt like a mother, and believe me, the expletives flew! Ken was able to get it back under control, and got it up into the garage, where it sits silently (for now), plotting its next evil maneuver.

I iced my wrist right away, because that was what hurt the most, and that seemed to keep the bruising down. It's still a large bruise, but it's not the lovely, deep violet color of the one on my upper arm. I think there are shades of rose madder in there. (I think Mark will get that one!) It honestly could have been a lot worse, so I'll thank my lucky stars it wasn't. Ken also got knocked on the wrist by a floor lamp, and he's sporting plenty of bruises, too. All in all, there were no major injuries, just minor ones. Bumps, bruises, a slight puncture wound to Randy's forearm, I got some cactus stickers in my thumb...but we survived!

I mentioned the drunk and disorderly incident, and I'll tell you about that. I've seen plenty of D&D, but it's mostly been in college age kids or younger adults...not in older adults who theoretically should know better. I'm sure these people will never read this, but I still won't mention them by name, because he's basically a good guy. I'll just say it was a family friend who was helping to load things up. The trouble started when we were loading things up from the kitchen, and there was a big jug of orange juice that needed to be gotten rid of...and a big bottle of vodka close by. Someone suggested screwdrivers. I love screwdrivers, but I wasn't ready for one right then, so I abstained. Ken had a couple of mild ones, and then stopped. The family friend--let's call him Dave--kept going, and then the enabling neighbor got in on the act. He started making the drinks for Dave, and his recipe consisted of a big glass of vodka and ice, with a splash of orange juice. Dave's wife took a sip and almost spit it out and the enabling neighbor just laughed. Real freakin' funny, A-hole.

Finally the truck was loaded up, and it's amazing that Dave didn't injure himself or anyone else. That's one of the things that pissed me off about the whole thing, because moving can be dangerous business (as I discovered yesterday morning), and if Dave wants to endanger himself, that's one thing...but Ken was also moving these heavy objects, and it could have endangered him. Dave was to the point where he was trying to help Ken with something, drink in hand, and tipped his drink all over Ken's leg. What amazed me is that most people witnessing this were laughing. I don't think Ken was all that amused to have screwdriver poured all over him, and I know I sure wasn't amused by this behavior. I thought it was getting out of hand...but at least the truck was loaded.

Then we headed over to Dave's house (his wife drove) to spend the night. At least he was home and wasn't driving anywhere, because he wasn't done yet. There was plenty of beer interspersed in there, too, and then he switched to margaritas. That seemed to be the same basic recipe as the screwdrivers: a big glass of tequila with a splash of margarita mix in there. [shudder] How he managed to not puke his guts out, I'll never know. At least he was more of a happy (if loud) drunk rather than a mean one, but he became boorish and exhibited extremely poor etiquette at the dinner table. Nothing got real nasty, but I was not impressed, and I'm sure my face showed it. A couple of exchanges took place.

Dave: [to me] Is this the best potato salad you've ever had? [His wife made it.]

Me: It's really good! [It was, I liked it.]

Dave: But isn't it the best you've ever had? [Why he asked me specifically, I'll never know.]

Me: Well, I'd have to say that's my Mom's. [Sometimes I'm too honest for my own good, but I was not going to diss my Mom's potato salad!]

Dave: Awww, no way! This is the best!

Me: I gotta go with my Mom's, but this is right up there.

Dave: Second best, then?

Me: I'd have to give that to my sister. [She makes it like my Mom does.]

Dave: Awww, man, no way!

Me: Okay, it's in the top five.

Ken's Mom: I'm a little disappointed that you didn't mention mine. [Dear God...let this conversation end soon, please!]

Me: That's right, I'd forgotten that you made potato salad for us at some point. Yes, yours is in the top five.

Frankly, my own is in my top five, because I make it like my Mom and my sister! Of course, I've never made up a list of my top five potato salads, so I wasn't thrilled about being put on the spot that way, or being hectored into saying that his wife's was the best potato salad I've ever had. It wasn't. It was good, and I ate all of what I'd put on my plate, but it was not the best I've ever had. If someone asks me such a rude question, I have no problem with being honest and telling them what I really think. If you have the nerve to ask the question, you might not get the answer you want to hear.

Another exchange happened when Dave said something in reference to me, and for the life of me, I can't remember what it was, and neither can Ken. Again, it was nothing really bad, just sort of teasing and challenging.

Ken: [laughing] I think that would be a bad idea.

Me: [helping to clean up in the kitchen, not looking up] That would be a very bad idea.

Ken: After she gets done kicking your ass, I will.

So here's the thing. Ken and I love our beer and wine, no doubt about that. We also enjoy the occasional cocktail, with a particular fondness for Bloody Marys, Margaritas, and lately, martoonis. But we seem to have a switch that flips in our heads that keeps us from getting too wasted or too out of control. What was the deal with this guy? Ken has known him for a while, and he says that's "vintage Dave." Ken's Mom said that she thinks it's his coping mechanism, that he was bummed about them moving away and that was how he reacted to it. I think he needs to find a different coping mechanism, because as much as I love vintage stuff, I can't say I like vintage Dave too much.

Drunk guy From the little I've been around the guy, I'd say that 95% of the time, he's really a good guy. A hard worker, funny, willing to do anything for a friend. That other 5% is very unpleasant to be around, and makes things very uncomfortable for anyone who happens to be in attendance. The enabling neighbor was laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world as he made these drinks that consisted of almost straight booze for the guy. How is that funny to anyone, at least anyone so many decades away from college age? And why would anyone think it was okay to get so obnoxiously blasted?

I told Ken that if it were him getting so stinking intoxicated, I'd be humiliated, and there would be a talk involved. I also told him that if I ever got that way, I'd expect him to give me a talking to. If it were me that got that bad, you can bet that I'd be apologizing the next day up and down and right and left to everyone I'd subjected to my obnoxious behavior. "I'm really sorry about last night...I don't know what got into me...I was feeling bad about this move, and I over-compensated...if I said anything that offended you, I am SO sorry...."

I have no problem with celebrations, or even partying hearty, but there's a line that can be crossed, and I believe it was crossed that night. Dave is a good guy, and I hope he can get a handle on that sort of drinking. When he's drinking beer, it's not an issue, but my advice to him would be to stay away from the hard stuff, or learn how to limit your intake of it. You just don't handle it well, dude, and I don't find it funny OR cool...I just find it sad.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A day off

I’m too tired and sore to write an entry tonight, so I’ll catch you tomorrow. An unfortunate incident with an evil refrigerator this morning left my arm bruised and sore, and I’m not feeling very coherent tonight. Carry on, citizens!

What a relief!

Whew The four of us (me and Ken, brother-in-law Randy and his wife Michele) worked really hard today and got the truck unloaded! (Except for garage sale items which we will unload and store at our place.) While Ken and Randy worked on arranging things in the garage, Michele and I worked on putting together and making the beds and getting the shower curtain up in the bathroom. There is still much unpacking to be done, and I'll be helping with that tomorrow, but we definitely kicked ass today, if I do say so myself. By the time Ken's mom and stepdad got there later in the afternoon, the four of us were sitting at the patio table under the umbrella, having cool amber beverages.

When Ken's mom came in and started looking to describe it? Keep in mind that we rented it without her ever seeing it except for pictures that we took. She walked through each room, saying "I love it!" She was so happy that we'd made the beds so she didn't have to worry about that tonight, she loved where we'd put almost all of the furniture, she loved the big trees all over the property, and when she saw that we'd set up their patio table and chairs and umbrella, she said again, "I love it!...and then she started to cry. Awww! This was happy crying, not sad crying. I think the tension of worrying about this move for the past six months was really rough on them, and I can't begin to tell you how pleased we were that she liked the place so much. It made me well up a little bit, you know? Believe me, it was also a relief to know how much they both liked I told Ken, it's a little nerve-wracking to know that you're picking out the place where someone is going to live for the next several years!

Oh, and early in the afternoon, the nice neighbor lady poked her head out the door when Ken and I were setting up the patio table and asked us if we'd like a cold drink. We were fine, but went over to meet her. She and her husband were so nice! When Ken's mom got there, she and I went over so she could meet them. Turns out the nice neighbor lady is also a cancer survivor (as is Ken's mom), and her husband also has back problems (as does Ken's stepdad). It's a small world when it comes to illnesses and injuries, and while I hope that's not all they find to talk about, perhaps it will be a start to a friendship.

The weather? Today they were calling for showers in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon. The morning showers happened before we started unloading, and the afternoon thunderstorms happened after we were finished. Is that awesome, or what?! No major injuries to report--just some general bumps and bruises. My arms look like a Rorschach test. I had an iron garden hook with rabbits on it fall on my back, and that will probably leave a bruise--good thing it didn't hit me in the head, or it could have been Death By Bunny! (That one was for you, David!) Ken had the base of a floor lamp fall on his wrist, but we iced it for a few minutes and I think it will be okay. The patio umbrella bit him in the thumb, and Ken and Randy told me that I made a very dangerous move when I closed Randy's pocket knife, almost slicing into my thumb. I don't know what they saw, because that's how I always close a pocket knife: press the dull edge of the knife against the surface and let it snap back up into the body. Seems to me that using both hands to close a knife is exactly how I would hurt myself. We've both taken some Advil, Ken is already in bed, and I'm on my way soon. I'm hoping that our current aches and pains will fade with the blessed balm of slumber!

George Carlin stuff As for their "stuff," another whew. As we were unloading, it became pretty obvious that they have too much of it! Ken and I have talked about how we know it's hard for them to downsize, but while the storage space there is limited, the living space is a very good size for any couple. I told Ken that he might have to have a chat with his Mom about it, but he said he wouldn't have to...they'd see the limitations and make adjustments. Sure enough, after the dust settled, they started talking about making more room in the garage, and Ken's stepdad agreed that his bigass, freakin' heavy tool cabinet that was falling apart (the one that got called a few expletives over the course of the past few days and holds power tools that are no longer used, a car waxer that they haven't used for years, and a trailer hitch that they used to tow the pontoon boat they no longer have) has to go. The offer was made that Ken could have it, and I swear, he has grown to hate that thing so much that he said that he'd be happy if he never saw it again in his life!

I won't ponder about this too much tonight--I'm just way too pooped for philosophy--but it made me want to weed through things a little more closely and resolve not to accumulate too much "stuff." Someone, Mary I think, wondered if they have a lot of kitschy stuff that they're having a hard time saying goodbye to. Not so much. They have a lot of western motif decor, and a lot of it is pretty neat, but it can be a little bulky. I'm probably more of a "kitschy" person than a lot of people! I think it's just a matter of them going from having a 5-acre ranch in rural Missouri to a smaller place in Oregon, then to a smaller place back in Missouri, and now into a place that doesn't have plenty of storage. It's definitely an adjustment, but my initial impression is that they are so pleased with the actual living space that they are okay with saying adios to more things. We shall see.

I will eventually defend my collections, but that is a story for another day. I'm almost dizzy from being tired, so I'd better head off to bed and sleeeeeep.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back home, but still very occupied!

We got back tonight, but it will be another early night as we plan on unloading the truck tomorrow.

No major mishaps, although there have been some adventures so far, including (but not limited to) the sighting (not by us) of a monkey in the road, a case of drunk and disorderly (again, not us, and fortunately, no authorities were involved), double dipping (definitely not us), and an enabling neighbor. Details to follow.

I'm quite proud of myself for driving all the way back by myself--it's been years since I did a long road trip--although there were a few scary moments when the rain came down so hard I could barely see Ken's taillights. We had walkie-talkies with us, so we were able to keep each other company and I was able to share my usual jokes at certain points. (A large wooden statue at a Route 66 shop has arms that slowly rotate, so I always do that as we drive by. When we cross the Mississippi, I like to say, "The mighty Mississippi. Old Man River. The Big Muddy." in a dramatic voice. Got to do that twice. When driving by a big Doppler radar ball, both of us mention the Super Double Viper Doppler in homage to all those news stations with their Super Doppler. We're weird, I know.)

Check yes or no I also amused myself by interspersing some new CD's (The Fratellis, The Plain White T's, The Ting Tings, the new Pretenders, Ludo, the latest Dandy Warhols) with listening to conservative talk radio and talking back to the nonsense I heard them spew. I think I caught all the players at some point: Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, that Savage guy (who kept mentioning "Ein Volk [with the V pronounced as a V, rather than the proper German pronunciation with an F] Ein Reich, Ein Obama"--hahaha!), Laura Ingraham, and my personal fave, Sean Hannity, who asked his guest, "So what's the deal? Do Hillary and Bill like Obama?" What a gossip queen! Maybe the President can have Rahm pass notes from him to Hillary and Bill that say, "Do you like me? Check yes or no."

Hm, guess I missed O'Reilly and Gallagher, but the others were entertaining enough. I can only take so much blather, anyway.

We've still got plenty of work to do this week, so my reading and commenting will be limited for a little while longer. Ken's mom and stepdad seem to be really excited about their new place and about being up here. It's been stressful for them, as moves always are, but I think that now that the time has arrived, they're excited to get up here.

More soon. Miss you guys!