Sunday, February 28, 2016

A (sort of) Time Travel Weekend...

Saturday February 27, 2016
My friend and I who are both proud members of Generation X decided to watch the pilot episode of "Fuller House," a spin-off of "Full House" which graced the airways 25 years ago. Hard to believe that much time has passed. Deep sigh. Anyway, all the former cast members were back for the episode minus Mary Kate/Ashley Olsen who played the adorable baby, Michelle. This didn't go unnoticed or unmentioned by the cast who all stared into the camera after it was said that Michelle couldn't be there because she was in NYC managing her successful fashion career (which is entirely true as the twins have their own clothing line). One couldn't really blame them since they were both only babies when the series started, so they didn't have the same bonding experience the rest of the cast had. Still, it would have been nice if one of them could have at least skyped in for the pilot.

Later that day Andrew and I went to see the studio Ghibli film, "Only Yesterday," which is about a young woman who grew up in the big city (and still lives there) but spends her vacation time helping out at a farm so she can spend time in the countryside. While there she reminisces quite a lot about her ten year old self. I could definitely sympathize with her difficulties with math, though for me it was seventh grade when I felt like the class dunce (that was the year we were introduced to geometry).

In the evening we watched a program on the BBC i-Player called "Back in Time for the Weekend." I wasn't sure quite what to expect when I saw the program description, but was pleasantly surprised after watching the first episode.

It's a bit of reality TV where a London-based family of four agrees to take part in a social experiment where they have to spend one week living life in another decade. Part of that entails letting their house undergo transformation (this means gutting their kitchen, living room and downstairs loo) rather than moving the family to another location.

This episode was set in the 1950s, so we got to see lots of cool mid-century modern wallpaper, textiles, and furniture, in addition to clothing and food choices. I agree with their 12 year old son, Seth, who said he had the easiest experience because so little was expected of him. Aside from attending school and Sunday school, he didn't have to do any chores, and he and his mates even got to go camping. His sixteen year old sister was a housewife-in-training who had a ballroom dancing lesson as her one extra-curricular activity. The father had to learn basic carpentry and install a doorbell and build a little table while the mother was left to cook and clean and do all the grocery shopping. Yes, life definitely sucked for women until the invention of modern appliances to help with some of the more grueling chores.

I can't wait to watch the next episode where they're put through the paces of life in the 1960s.

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

An Art Themed Weekend

Friday February 19, 2016
I recently received this invitation:

I'm excited to announce and invite you to my upcoming exhibition Brownie In Motion: Traveling Picture Show at the Columbus Cultural Art Center (CAC). The show will feature B&W photographs of crafts people made with Brownie in Motion, as well as color photographs that document our travels during the last three years (which was made possible thanks to your support!)
Please consider joining me, The Brownie, and your fellow supporters of the project at the opening reception this Friday 2/19 from 6-8pm. We will be serving complimentary drinks and snacks until they are gone!
Hence, Andrew and I (who donated to the Kickstarter campaign on this) decided to attend. 
We haven't been to many gallery opening evenings, but I can honestly say there was more food on offer at this one than at any other (except for perhaps one at the UA municipal center) I've attended. Sadly, I wasn't able to eat most of it due to my slow recovery after my recent gum grafts. Andrew said he felt funny taking a plate full of food. I agreed it does always feel awkward, but we made a considerable donation, so it's only right that at least one of us should be able to partake.
Anyway, the evening wasn't about the food (but I spend way too much time fixated on it these days). The spotlight was on Stephen Takacs, the artist and the inspiration behind the whole Brownie in Motion traveling picture show. The oversized Brownie is a camera obscura which Takacs used to take photos while on the road, in addition to pictures of the Brownie in front of various places (including famous landmarks - see below).
Takacs was pretty busy so we had to wait our turn to have a brief chat before heading home to grab some dinner (me, leftovers). Here he is getting interviewed (though by whom I do not know).
Anyway, I'm really glad we attended and I'm glad it was a fairly warm evening (at least by February standards). If it had been as cold as it was the previous weekend, we probably would have stayed home.

Saturday February 20, 2016
Today Andrew and I decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather (a high of around 70 degrees, but quite windy!) to park at the Gateway Film Center and walk the few blocks to the Wexner Center to see the current Noah Purifoy Junk Dada exhibit. This is the first show since the "After Picasso" exhibit last fall where a tragedy took place inside the gallery space (and some of the art was badly damaged). Hence, there are new restrictions on what you can and cannot bring into the gallery, so I left most of the contents of my purse at home traveling light with just my wallet, phone, and a bag in which to put any extraneous reading material I might pick up. Honestly, it felt liberating, though I can't imagine traveling that way all the time.

We definitely feel like we got our money's worth (first time in a long time we've not gone on the free first Sunday) and pretty much had the place to ourselves since the warm weather obviously kept people away.

I'm not sure what my favorite piece was, but here are some of my favorites:

"The Last Supper"

"The Crucifixion"

Although we were running a bit late getting to the Wexner Center (we wanted to make sure we had enough time to have lunch before our 2pm film at the Gateway FC), we ended up having plenty of time without having to rush. We had lunch at Panera Bread (one of the few places where I could get soup), and still had almost an hour to kill, so we got ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, then spent the rest of our spare time at Barnes & Noble.
I told Andrew I decided to just celebrate my birthday today since it's exactly one month away, because I know that no matter what we end up doing then (on Palm Sunday), it won't be nearly as fun as it was today.

We both very much enjoyed the Studio Ghibli film, "Pom Poko" which is about a herd of raccoons living in Japan struggling to coexist with humans. The urban sprawl finally becomes too much for the raccoons (who are also shape shifters and can turn into humans), and they wage war with the humans by sabotaging construction sites. Lives are lost on both sides, but in the end, the raccoons are able to at least partially restore their habitat and reach an amicable living arrangement with the humans. Although it's quite a good film, it's a bit long at best part of two hours and I feel some of it could have easily been cut out without losing the essence of the story.

After the movie I went to church, then had dinner with Andrew before sitting down to watch an oldie, but a goodie, "Amelie," probably my favorite French film of all time (followed by "Chocolat" which I hope to watch some time between now and Easter).

Sunday February 21, 2016
Though it wasn't as warm as Saturday, it was still pretty sunny and nice. Our little outing of the day was a trip to Barry's Bagels to claim our freebies (only to discover you can only use one coupon at a time). Andrew claimed the free bagel with cream cheese while I got a cup of chicken noodle matzo ball soup (surprise surprise!).

Otherwise, the rest of the day was nothing special with just the usual list of chores, though we are planning on going to see "The Lady in the Van" tonight.


Sunday, February 14, 2016


me holding a bouquet of tulips from Andrew
Having been married now for just over 17 years, Valentine's Day isn't exactly a very big deal to us. Some years we celebrate more than others. This year we had a nice lie-in where we literally just cuddled under the covers until we started feeling guilty about not letting the kitty out of the basement.

We had a slow breakfast of steel cut oats (along with several side dishes), while reading the Sunday paper and soaking up the sunshine in the kitchen. Afterwards Andrew phoned his parents who had just returned from their trip down under (which went well he reported).

About mid afternoon we went to the Gateway Film Center to see the anime film, "Ocean Waves," produced by what would later become Studio Ghibli. It was as good a choice of movie as any other since it was about two (male) friends who let their efforts to romance a new girl get in the way of their friendship, but they make up at the end of the film. I don't think either successfully wooed the girl, and there was certainly a lot of slaps and even a punch or two thrown. Not my favorite Ghibli film by any means, but not my least favorite either.

After the film, I dropped off Andrew and headed over to Target to pick up some lunch meat for him, and some cheese cubes in spinach for me. While there I also picked up a fun dessert for us:
While writing this, Andrew shouted to me that a skunk was in our back garden. I saw it run past, head to our neighbor's, then do an about face and head back our way ending up near our other neighbor's shed. Having lived in our house now for just over 10 years, we have yet to actually see a skunk (though we're aware that they're around), so today was a first!
Plans for after dinner include watching "Downton Abbey" and whatever else before calling it a day. Have a good week everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Friday January 29, 2016
We had another busy weekend. My parents drove down from Northeast Ohio on Friday and were staying with us, so we all went out to dinner. It was a toss-up between Matt the Miller’s or J. Liu’s, but J. Liu’s won because they accept reservations (though we’ve actually managed to get in on a Friday night without one). I’m glad we did reserve ahead because it got busier and busier the longer we sat there.

After we got back to the house, mom requested I pull out some of grandpa’s old slides, which are currently somewhat disorganized. I’m not quite sure how they got that way since it’s unlike me to have things out of order (except for when it comes to papers), but nonetheless. It took mom and I a little while to put some slides in empty containers, and of course they were all upside down so we had to take them out and put them in all over again. Lesson learned. Maybe next time I’ll put a ‘T’ for top or something.

We closed out the evening with a Johnny Carson “Tonight Show” marathon starting with an episode from some time in the mid 80s when Johnny invited David Letterman on the show so they could settle their dispute (with Judge Wapner) over a broken headlight on David’s rusty pick-up truck that Johnny once “borrowed” as a practical joke. In case you’re wondering, Judge Wapner awarded Johnny damages in the amount of $24.95.

Saturday January 30, 2016
Today was a big day for Carter and Grandpa who were racing in the annual Pinewood Derby being held at a local church in Hilliard. Grandpa brought his vintage car which was engineered and raced about 30 years ago (when Jim was a boy scout) we figure.

I think there were something like 30 races maybe because each child’s car got to race in 3 heats due to any discrepancies that may occur during any one race (like the car being put on the track facing in the wrong direction, a wonky wheel, etc.).

Carter’s car and Grandpa’s car didn’t get off to a very good start as both stalled about halfway down the track not crossing the finish line. However, both improved in their second and third races, though neither took home a trophy that day. The highlight for Grandpa was when they let him press the release button to start the race.
Carter's car is the multi-colored car on the right.

Grandpa's car (on far left) crosses the finish line!

By the way, Grandpa’s car raced in a “Classic Cars” race where other parents/grandparents brought in their vintage cars. There was also a sibling race where a few sisters got in on the action. I don’t think that was an option 30 years ago, because if it was, I might have been interested in participating. After all, even though I played with dolls, I was still a bit of a tomboy who also liked cars and some other boy toys.

If nothing else, for those of us who are nonparents, it was an interesting study in what names are current among 8-10 year old boys.

We wrapped up the day with Ashley’s 15th birthday party. Unlike at most social occasions held during the last few years, the guest of honor was actually present accompanied by her friend, Gabby. In fact, that’s the most I’ve probably seen of Ashley in a long while.

Cute little kids have been replaced by pets at these parties as Jeannie and Lloyd always bring their miniature poodle, Lilly. It’s funny to watch how she behaves around Lucy, whose house it is she’s invading. However, all Lilly has to do is snap at Lucy and Lucy quickly cowers and retreats. This was particularly funny at Christmas when Lilly took possession of Lucy’s abandoned bone. All Lucy could do was watch from across the room while Lilly licked her bone gleefully.

After dinner we enjoyed cupcakes, ice cream, and rice krispie treats (thanks Karen!). After one of Ashley’s candles failed to go out, Carter was called in as the designated blower (he has a healthy pair of lungs from blowing up balloons to make animals, etc.). He blew so hard that he accidentally blew the icing right off one of the cupcakes. It was okay since Karen keeps a pretty clean counter, so we just scooped up the frosting and put it right back on the cupcake (like a man missing his toupe!).

Later in the evening Ashley opened her presents (which is a dying tradition as money seems to be the #1 gift for tweens and teens). I bought her a NYC Times Square panoramic puzzle, and a NYC coloring book (which had more lame pictures than good ones, but I didn’t really look through it much before purchasing it). Mom bought her a Disney Mickey-Mouse ear themed glasses case stuffed with cash, and one of her other grandmas bought her a beautiful bracelet. Ashley seemed grateful for the gifts, or was at least gracious about receiving them.

Sunday January 31, 2016
Today was a movie marathon day as we decided to cram two movies into one day (because of trying to keep up with the amount of movies coming out). Actually, one of the movies was a series of (Oscar nominated animated) shorts that spanned nearly two hours followed an hour later by another nearly two hour movie (“Kiki’s Delivery Service”), so all total we sat for about 3½ hrs, but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I am grateful to Andrew for braving the long line for popcorn just so he could treat me. It was my fault we were so late to get back in line after popping next door to Barnes & Noble to kill time between films. I didn’t count on there being such a long line to the concession stand (since we almost never buy food or drink at the movies), so we probably should have come back about 10-15 minutes sooner.

All in all a pretty good weekend definitely jam-packed with activity!