Monday, January 30, 2017

The Return of Winter...

Friday January 27, 2017
Tonight we saw another high school play. This time it was “Twelve Incompetent Jurors” at Darby H.S. It was supposed to be a sort of spoof of Twelve Angry Jurors. It seemed like the dozen teenagers cast in the various roles really enjoyed playing their characters, and forgive me for saying it, but this play was a perfect choice for a high school play due to the quirkiness of the characters. If you don’t want to strangle each one by the end of the play, then there’s something wrong with either them or you.

The plot revolves around the jury trial of alleged cat thief Donald Pleats who is being accused of stealing a box of kittens from a yard sale (though the kittens weren’t for sale apparently). Although there was witness testimony as well as a confession by Mr. Pleats, there is one juror who just isn’t completely sure of his guilt. She manages to cast doubt in the minds of some of the other jurors who can’t even decide whether they should be a hung jury. Pity the foreman who practically has a meltdown by the end due to the illogical theories being discussed by the jurors.

My favorite juror was the lady in red who has a tirade near the end when she points out the flaws of each juror one by one. It was both funny and satisfying, for her and us. I also liked the dark, and somewhat creepy Marilyn Manson wannabe who spent most of the play stroking a taxidermied cat and occasionally eating French fries (without sharing them).

I’m not sure I can say I ‘enjoyed’ the play, as much as endured it, but like I said earlier, these kids did their characters proud as each and every one was annoying in their own way. Hence, they’re somewhat grating to watch, though the audience, (which seemed to consist of quite a lot of their peers) seemed to find them pretty hilarious, which I probably would have done too if I had known any of them personally.

Saturday January 28, 2017
Today I was going through my stack of unwatched dvds and came across “A Christmas Story 2.” With the somewhat wintery weather this weekend, it seemed like an appropriate enough time to finally watch it, so that was our evening entertainment.

My husband and I went in with low expectations since sequels can sometimes be notoriously bad, and “My Summer Story,” which was the original sequel to “A Christmas Story,” got panned by the critics. Hence, we were pleasantly surprised when this turned out to not be half bad. Although it didn’t star any of the original actors (who would have been way too old to play themselves a few years older than they were in the original film), their replacements did them proud. My only question was why Randy stayed about the same age while everyone else was about five or six years older now. Minor point I suppose.

Ralphie was now getting close to the magical age of 16 when most boys dream of getting their driver’s license and owning a car. This was especially timely since my niece was just about to turn 16 the next day. There’s a whole storyline involving the car of Ralphie’s dreams and an unfortunate accident involving the soft top of his dream car.

You don’t need to have seen the first movie to enjoy this one, though it’s easier to get more of the references from the first film. Either way, it’s a movie I can definitely recommend for a little light-hearted holiday entertainment. Rated PG (there’s only one swear word in the whole movie, though it is repeated more than once).

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Warm Weather Weekend...

Friday January 20, 2017 
I happened to ask a coworker who had just gotten back from lunch how the weather was. He said, “Gray and dreary. The whole world is sad.”  I don’t think he was just referring to the weather, if you know what I mean. All I know is the sun actually came out during my lunch hour, so I went outside and took a walk. That and being a Friday meant I was in a good mood in spite of events going on in Washington.
In the evening my husband and I attended a play at a local high school. It was called “Geek” and was very much aimed at a niche audience – specifically fans of anime and cosplay. What is anime and cosplay you ask? Anime is the art of Japanese Animation. Cosplay is Costume Play, which is just one of the many events at a “con” (convention) in which fanboys (and sometimes girls) dress up like their favorite anime characters and sometimes stage a faux duel. Often points are awarded for best costume. As someone who has attended Ohiocon (Columbus’ annual Anime convention held every January) on at least a couple occasions, I can tell you people take this very seriously, and I would even go so far as to say it’s an obsession to some (like my husband perhaps, who watches at least a half hour of anime most days). I enjoy Anime too, but dedicate slightly less time to it than my hubby.

Anyway, the play revolves around two girls – Danya and Honey who are determined to get into their local convention (originally set in Cleveland, but for the sake of the local audience, it was moved to Columbus) to meet their idol Joto Samagashi and give him the dvd they, along with Honey’s (recently deceased) sister made where they reenacted scenes from Samagashi’s Anime. They don’t have tickets due to a complication, so their first obstacle is how to even get into the convention. After that it’s confrontations with a myriad of staff and other attendees that keep delaying them. Suffice it to say it does have a happy ending, which is a relief after all the obstacles they have to overcome to meet their idol.

Kudos to the two actresses who played Danya and Honey. Though I haven’t seen the off Broadway version to compare, I think these ladies could have easily held their own in the Big Apple. I also liked the young man who donned the costume of “Squeaker” and kudos to whomever created the costume. It’s pretty close (and better if you ask me) to the one I saw pictured in the NYC version.

Suffice it to say we both enjoyed it very much (as much as one can enjoy something that evolves around a tragedy – that being the death of Honey’s sister). Although it was only a meager audience (mostly friends and family I suspect), the kids didn’t let that dampen their spirits and gave their all and it showed. Another winner at Hilliard Davidson H.S.

Saturday January 21, 2017
A good day for several reasons:

1)    I managed to offload our four bags of Styrofoam from when we cleaned out our crawl space over NY’s weekend. I also met a nice older lady who was the one who volunteered to take our Styrofoam for recycling, after which she planned on stopping at a bakery in the nearby vicinity. She told me that was her ‘ulterior motive.’ Either way, I was glad to be rid of the Styrofoam because of all the space it was taking up in our garage, and it’s at least three months until the next Styrofoam collection locally. It was nice to meet you Sandy and I hope our paths cross again!

2)   My ‘Change Oil’ light came on and I was able to get an appointment at my dealer on a moment’s notice and use the coupon they sent me which saved me $50. Woohoo! The downside is it took them two hours to do since I also had to have an airbag replaced due to a recall in 2016. At least I was able to have lunch at a nearby restaurant and get quite a lot of emails sorted and filed on my laptop.

3)   It was pretty warm with temperatures in the high 50s, low 60s, so it was quite pleasant to be outdoors (at least until a late afternoon shower). Hence, I tidied up a few things in our garage and vacuumed out the inside of my car, which I probably wouldn’t have done if it had been a normal cold winter day.

4)    Earlier in the day when I was at the grocery store I saw a coupon someone had left on the counter for $5 off a $50 purchase. Because I had already swiped my credit card, the checkout girl told me to take my receipt with the coupon to the Customer Service counter where they proceeded to give me $5 and some change as a refund. Thanks to whomever left the coupon. Hope I can pay it forward sometime!

5)     We went out to dinner. I had wanted sushi, so we stopped in at Daruma, a local Hibachi Grill that also serves Sushi. However, being a Saturday night it was pretty noisy and somewhat crowded. I could tell from the sour look on my  husband’s face that he wasn’t very happy, so we left and went out for Mexican instead at the much quieter Lunada (a favorite we had been to on one other occasion), which was just across the way.

Sunday January 22, 2017
Another gorgeous mostly sunny day. I tried to take advantage of the nice weather by spending as much time outside as I could by picking up more twigs strewn about the yard, replacing one of the brass caps which had blown off our gate (actually my husband did this), and just sitting in a lawn chair reading one of the books from my husband’s Calvin & Hobbes boxed set. Our cat seemed to enjoy herself too spending quite a lot of time in the back corner of the garden (where all the catnip grows). She was happier today since there were no run-ins with our neighbor’s cat, Izzy, who had come by for a couple visits on Saturday.

About midafternoon my husband and I took a walk along the Scioto River (the stretch near our neighborhood that starts in UA and runs into Columbus). We weren’t alone as we saw lots of people walking, running, playing, walking dogs, etc. Saw the new Gregory S. Lashutka event center that was built on the east side of the road due to open in May. We also walked down to check out the waterfall further down that is the source of our local drinking water. After seeing the yellowish/brownish color of the foaming water, my husband said he wasn’t feeling too good about our water supply. You could hardly blame him since the swirling, frothing, water closely resembled the brown peaks on the mashed potatoes we top our Cottage Pudding with. Actually, I should probably not make that association for fear it puts me off of Cottage Pie, or at least the topping. At least we haven’t had any more warnings about algae blooms or whatever in our water supply.

When we got home I decided there was time to go through at least one box of stowed away items from down off the shelf in the basement. I selected a box of ceramic items containing several teacups, saucers, bowls, a mug, and some other misc. items. I carefully unwrapped each item before making two piles – Keep and Donate/Sell. After checking with my husband I ended up with about two somewhat even piles. The good news is I managed to pretty much fit all my ‘Keep’ items in the two kitchen cupboards where our excess china is currently stored. This way I can enjoy it more than when everything was wrapped up and stowed away. This is a huge plus of paring down (though I know it feels kind of sad when you don’t have enough storage room for everything you want to keep). 

Still trying to decide whether or not to keep my four ivy Corelle canisters. Although I’m not sure canisters are still in vogue or not, my husband reminded me my sister has a set she uses, so I might try experimenting with some different locations around the kitchen and see if I can work/fit them in. That’s my decluttering lesson for the weekend. Not sure which items I’ll tackle next weekend, but I plan to continue my quest of getting rid of excess stuff until I am down to a more manageable amount of items I can enjoy.

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Early Spring Cleaning

Friday January 13, 2017
In spite of it being Friday the 13th, and there being a full moon, not a particularly unlucky day for me. There was a chance of freezing rain in the evening throughout the next morning, and we managed to dodge that bullet (at least in Hilliard).

Just to be on the safe side, my husband, Andrew decided we should stay close to home to see the movie, “Hidden Figures,” so we went to the Movie Tavern. Although he was less than pleased with his meal of a chicken parmesan sandwich and fries, I liked my turkey sandwich and salad (I later discovered a bit of cranberry sauce stuck to my shoe).

The plot revolves around the black women, specifically Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who did the calculations that helped contribute to the successful launch of John Glenn into space. Like with most African American history, this fact is at best a footnote in history, but hopefully with the release of the movie, the women will, at long last, get the recognition they deserve.

Though these were the Cold War years, it was also the advent of a strange new device called an I-B-M that could do the calculations of these women in a tiny fraction of the time. However, when the computer doesn’t give satisfactory calculations for John Glenn’s landing, it is Glenn, himself, who insists that ‘that lady’ do the math instead of the computer. It’s not often man triumphs over technology, but in this case the victory is sweet for Ms. Johnson.

I can whole heartedly recommend this movie. It’s both educational and entertaining. Our theatre broke into applause at the end, which I haven’t heard since “The King’s Speech.” I can only hope “Hidden Figures” does as well at the Oscars as “The King’s Speech” did.

Saturday/Sunday January 14th & 15th 2017
Nothing too exciting to report as I spent most of the weekend organizing and decluttering. I was proud of myself for getting rid of 6 boxes of Christmas items and 1 box of miscellaneous stuff, all of which I took to our local Goodwill drop-off point.

I also donated a box of vases/ribbon/artificial flowers and a Christmas centerpiece to one of my neighbors who was looking for various items for her daughter’s school fundraiser. I believe she is going to make something out of all the miscellaneous items she receives.

What’s left is a few boxes of items that will either get donated to Kidney Services, taken to Half Price Books, or sold on Craig’s List or E-bay. My collection of empty boxes (which I usually give to people who are looking for moving boxes) will get used to collect day old bread/pastries when I take my turn at picking up Kroger’s overrun in Feb, Mar, and April. Having done the collectiion once last summer, I now have a fairly good idea of the procedure, in which I found having containers to put all the bread and pastries in would have made it much easier on the Food Bank employees so they didn’t have to scramble for containers (to prevent having to put the food on the concrete floor). I also discovered having someone help you load and unload, makes it go that much faster too. Thanks in advance to my husband, Andrew, for agreeing to help.

In spite of clearing out quite a lot of stuff, the job isn’t over yet. I still have quite a lot of stuff to sort through, and this is the time of year I tend to get the most done. On next weekend’s agenda is jewelry and cameras (hoping to get rid of the old point ‘n shoots). Hence, some of those empty boxes might get filled up with more outgoing stuff, but it’s never a problem acquiring empty boxes (which I get from work). I am also sorting through a box of old ball point pens of every size, shape, and color.

I hope maybe I’ve inspired a few of you out there to have a go at doing some early spring cleaning. For those of you who don’t have much stuff, good for you. Feel free to come over and help me get rid of some of mine!

Have a good week everyone!

Friday, January 6, 2017


Friday January 7, 2017

Sorry it's been so long since I've made a blog entry. Like most of you I suspect, I was pretty busy over the holidays. In addition, I also had to work through part of it, so I wasn't just at home for the last two weeks. I am now back at work and slowly settling back into the daily routine. 

Among other things I did when I was off was see movies. My sister, niece, nephew and I saw "Sing" last Friday and thought it was pretty good, though I wouldn't have minded if it was a bit shorter. For those unfamiliar with the plot, Buster Moon (a koala bear) owns an old theatre which is hemorrhaging money. To raise money to pay his creditors (i.e., loan sharks), he comes up with the brilliant idea to hold a singing contest where the winner goes home with $1000, only, due to a rather unfortunate typo, the amount on the flyers ends up reading $100,000. As expected, contestants line up around the block. Their try-outs were rather enjoyable, and much preferable to watching their human brethren (I'm not a fan of "American Idol" et al). Eventually the list is whittled down to a few solid acts, and we spend the rest of the movie getting to know these characters. The performance scenes at the end were definitely the stand-out moments of this film and left me wanting more.

On New Year's Eve my husband and I went to see "Rogue One," the newest "Star Wars" prequel. Although I thought the fight scenes were better in this film, I kind of almost preferred last year's JJ Abrams adaptation, if only because it had more familiar faces in it. We do get a glimpse of R2D2 and C3PO and another surprise face from the past (at the end), but otherwise it's mostly a new cast of characters. I also had a hard time taking Darth Vader seriously after seeing James Earl Jones on "Big Bang Theory," not to mention that Volkswagen commercial with the little boy pretending to be Darth Vader. That's just me though (trying to suppress giggles). Still, it's a decent enough film and you don't need to have seen the others to enjoy it. Also, don't try to keep track of the characters and the timeline. It's all a bit confusing and really unnecessary. Just take each film on its own merit.