Tuesday, February 1, 2011


It's raining right now. I suppose that should be a relief, I mean at least it's not another round of snow. And yes, it is a relief. We've had five snow falls so far this winter, and even though none of them have approached the depths of last winter's three blizzards, they are still an unwelcome hassle. Pretty as they are coming down and during the morning after, the reality of shoveling a walkway, and clearing the vehicle sets in, and then there is the constant dripping and refreezing of the of the snow melting off the roof onto the deck below. I hope we've seen the last of it for this year. Temperatures over the last few days would indicate that winter is making its exit, but I'm not nearly naive enough to buy into that. It was a balmy 48° F today, and it's expected to soar to 57° F tomorrow, but I'm no fool. February has just begun, and Februarys past have brought us some of our most memorable snows, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
That great old Stones hit was playing in my head, as I rolled out of Ruby Tuesdays parking lot on my way home last night. Ruby Tuesdays is a restaurant chain, and last night my sister, my mother, my bro-in-law, and me met there to celebrate my sister's 67th birthday. You would never guess her age by looking at her. She is still very adorable, and not just in looks. She has an equally adorable personality as well.
I gave her two DVD's of movies that I thought she would like. She was an art major in college, so I'm sure her interests are far more sophisticated than mine. Nevertheless, we share a love for a lot of the same things, especially beautiful things. I remembered her saying that she had not seen Memoirs of a Geisha, an absolutely beautiful movie, so I got her a DVD of it, and added a DVD of Girl With The Pearl Earring, about a young peasant maid, working in the house of painter, Johannes Vermeer, who becomes his talented assistant, and the model for one of his most famous works, an equally beautiful movie! If you have never seen it, I wholeheartedly encourage you too. Johannes Vermeers paintings are absolutely wonderful, with some of the most beautiful representations of light and color that I have ever seen. The wonderful thing about this particular movie, is that it is shot to look just like his paintings! I remember first putting it in the DVD player, and instantly falling in love with it! I had remembered my sister asking about Memoirs of a Geisha, so I thought that I would get that for her too, but when she opened it, she said she had just bought it for herself, so she will be giving that one to someone else. Well..........I guess 1 out of 2 isn't bad. Buying presents for someone is always a shot in the dark. That's why I write checks for my sister and nieces at Christmas time, so they can buy whatever they want. Maybe I should do the same for birthdays, but I'm not so sure. Birthdays are more intimate than Christmas, where everyone is getting something. Birthdays are our own special day. Shouldn't we all be made to feel special on them?

Ruby Tuesdays was a welcome departure from Red Slobster. Better atmosphere, and definitely better food! My sister and mom got the Talapia, my bother got his standard New York strip steak that he gets regardless of the venue, and I got their classic cheeseburger and fries (chips), and a plateful of salad from the salad bar. I have to have my veggies! I was hoping to get a buffalo burger, but sadly they are no longer on the menue. Mom and my sister shared some sort of torte, apple I think, with a scoop of some sort of nondescript (my sister couldn't describe the flavor) beige colored ice cream for desert, but I declined. My cheeseburger, fries, and salad smothered in Ranch dressing, had enough calories to last me until lunch the next day! I offered to helped pay for the meal, but mom said she wanted to put it on her card, and I wasn't going to argue with her over it! Never look a gift horse in the mouth!

On the way out after we parted with our b-in-l, and my sister raised her concern that not only did he not give her a gift, but he didn't even offer to help pay the tab, even though he is loaded. She remembered that he had come to our mother's birthday meal with no present, and paid for his meal separately instead of sharing the bill. She said she wanted to write him a letter, telling him how selfish he was, but I told her not to waste her time, because he was just a tightwad and it would only fall on deaf ears. You can't shame people like that. They are completely self centered, and any criticism rolls right off their back, like water off a duck.

After getting pretty fed up with my poor reception of the new broadcast digital TV channels, I succumbed to the lure of the internet and Amazon.com, and bought a passel of DVD's. After all, I have to have something to watch at night! If you look to the right resources, you can find a lot of good viewing out there. In addition to watching episodes of PBS Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey on line, so far I have almost completed watching HBO's mini series, The Pacific. It is an excellent series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielburg, and it is a vey accurate depiction of the US Marine Corps 1st Division combat on Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa in WWII. WARNING! You will get combat fatigue watching this series! When I said it was an accurate depiction, I wasn't fooling. Lots and lots of very realistic bloody close combat scenes, with no punches pulled. It was very hard to take at times, and I shed quite a few tears watching it, but I felt like I owed it to the many who gave their lives and sufferd the horrors, to experience what they went through, if only vicariously. If you don't weep for the those who fell, or lost their innocence in that horrible wretched war, then you are indeed a lost soul.

Another series I am into at the moment, is The Tudors. I love it! I've watched all three previous seasons of this depiction of Henry VIII, and his wives, and now I'm watching the final season. It is one of the most beautifully filmed series I have ever seen, and it really captures the politics and intrigue of his court, as well as Henry's own machinations and of course, his narcissism.

I'm also very fond of old TV westerns...........and no silly, thats not transvestite westerns! I'm talking about old television cowboy shows. I saw an add for the complete late 1950's series Wanted Dead Or Alive, starring a very young Steve McQueen, and I had to jump on it! It's great! Just as good as I remembered, when I saw it on it TV, as a 10 year old kid! What amazes me, is how they were able back then, to pack a great story into one 30 minute TV show, but after watching the timer on my DVD player I had a clue. Today, an hour of TV has about 20 minutes of commercials. These old shows ran an average of 25 to 26 minutes, meaning that they were interrupted for commercials less than half the time of today's TV shows, and a 20 second Speedy Alka-Seltzer commercial was a whole lot more entertaining, than a depressing, intensive two minute hard sell pharmaceutical, or cancer treatment center commercial is today. Thank god for the mute button!

Another great mini-series I'm watching is the Emmy award winning series, The Corner, about the lives of hapless souls, trapped in a drug ridden neighborhood of inner city Baltimore. A modern day Dickensian tale, but with true stories about real people. Truly great stuff, filled with very sad, hilarious, and poignant moments!

I also got a BBC collection of Dickens' works, including Our Mutual Friend, Great Expectations, Hard Times, Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit, and Oliver Twist. I can't wait to dive into them! I do love Charles Dickens! After a life of many frustrations, I can identify so well with his subjects.

On A Sadder Note
Unfortunately, I removed myself as a follower from a certain person's blog today. I had been contemplating it for a while, but refrained, because I was still unsure of this person's true nature. I truly admired her for her independent spirit, and especially for her artistic abilities, but she had dark side that always disturbed me. She would occasionally type angry polemics about the state of affairs in American politics, and recently began to pen angry diatribes against the mainstream trans community. Her latest angry rant was the last straw for me. It left me wondering, who pissed in this poor girl's cornflakes? Who, or what has caused this trans woman to be so angry with the rest of us, that she would go out of her way to push away people that tried to befriend her? It made me sad, to leave. I love most people and I'm more than willing to forgive them for their faults, but who wants to befriend someone who wants to smack you in the mouth, every time you misunderstand them? I'm sorry girl. I sincerely wanted to be your friend, but you pushed me away. I leave you in peace.

Happy Candlemas, everyone! Only six weeks til spring!

Melissa XX


Halle said...

While we haven't yet purchased any of the dvd's of 50's and 60's shows, it is tempting, if only to see what some of them look like without snow (the television screen type :)) making the picture so fuzzy.

It is good to hear you write about spring... we are awaiting the arrival of the 'big storm' up here...

Enjoy the rain. :)


Melissa said...

Bundle up and light a fire Halle! From what I have seen on TV, you are in for a major dump! Hope your power stays on, and that you stay warm and secure!

Take care.
Melissa XX

Caroline said...

Dickens still fills me with horror, one of my worst memories of early school days is sitting on a cold floor to watch a treat of a black-and-white film of a scary Dickens book. I thought I was living the life of Dickens character, they still had slates for us to write on in those days and that sound and scratching on Slate still sends a shiver up my spine.

He did write one good piece about how awful the food was in railway restaurants. The food has not been improved in the last century and he got it just right. One of my grandmothers cooked for the railway, my father hated her food! Thankfully she never cooked anything for me.

Vermeer certainly painted Magic, I love that film. I remember as once going to an exhibition of Dutch painting, it seemed like about 10,000 paintings of drunken pub scenes, thankfully the Queen had lent one Vermeer so I rushed past everything the Dutch love and stood entranced in front of this one picture for an eternity.

Roll on spring, it will be most welcome after this winter.

Caroline xxx

Becca said...

I look forward to being able to go out wrapped up against the cold. 6 weeks still feels a long time.

As for the DVD's - if you liked the Pacific maybe you might like Band of Brothers (if you haven't seen it before). I thought it was amazing and it had me glued to the TV :-)

Anonymous said...

We loved Girl with the Pearl Earring! Scarlet Johannson fit the part perfectly. We both tend to like art from the Dutch golden age. We saw an exhibit last year that came mostly from the Rijksmuseum. Only one Vermeer, despite his top billing, but so much other great work.

I've never seen The Tudors, but I think it's been one of the most successful shows on CBC. I'm thinking, however, that Henry was never as hot and thin as Jonathan Rhys Meyers. :)

Melissa said...

@ Becca

I have seen Band Of Brothers, and yes, I did like it. It was also produced by Hanks and Spielburg, if I'm not mistaken. That series was actually more relevant to my father's experience, since he fought in France and Germany after D-Day.

Melissa XX

Melissa said...

@ Ariel

Henry may have been a rock star in his youth, but certainly not by middle age. You really ought to get the series and watch it if you can. I just can't imagine you not liking it. It is so wonderfully done! The costumes alone make it it worth watching. The ladies of the Queen's court all look absolutely gorgeous in their elegant, luxuriant, low cut, form fitting gowns!

Melissa XX