8 1/2 things

1.  I watched “Hanging Up” for the bajillionth time today; it’s with Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, and Lisa Kudrow, and Walter Matthau.  I cried at the end, like I always do, and the thing that keeps me coming back to this movie (aside from Meg Ryan’s floor-length camel coat, which I WANT in an unnatural way, and can’t even find anything remotely similar to) is that Walter Matthau reminds me of my father.  To be specific, Walter Matthau’s arms remind me of my dad’s arms – his relationship with Meg Ryan also hits a nerve.  I miss my dad every time I watch this movie.  I miss my dad, period.

2.  It’s summer in southern California, never mind the calendar. It’s warm, and dry, and breezy – no giant fires yet, but October isn’t over.  Our seasons should be renamed – Three Days of Rain, June Gloom, Hot like the Surface of the Sun, Still Hot, Fire Season, and Cold and Dry. (We’d go from four to six seasons, but at least they’d be more accurate.)

3.  Go see “Seven Psychopaths.” Don’t question me, just read about how good it is, and go.  This movie deserves attention; it’s well-written, funny, and has Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Colin Farrell (and Tom Waits with a bunny). Who else do you need for entertainment?

4.  I loved how the SF Giants ended their playoffs, 9-0, in the pouring rain.  I also love how they’re playing like bosses in the World Series.  I read a great line once, that baseball is a game of moments, and that’s how I appreciate the sport. And the last game in the NL playoffs was a moment; congratulations, guys.

5.  I have recently been listening to a huge amount of country music.  (When I say “huge,” I mean that before two weeks ago, I would be able to listen for about three songs of any country artist and have to tap out.) I will be back later to expand on this development, as I’m finding it very interesting, but have no way to account for it.  I believe that Joe Walsh may have something to do with it, as I watched him on an episode of “Crossroads,” playing alongside Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, and other country stars. I’m convinced  some  strange sort of transference occurred, because I will now listen all day. I will also take suggestions, as I’m all over the place right now…y’all. Uh-oh.

6.  The bathroom remodel is a go for Tuesday; our guy Mark estimates between three and four weeks.  To have a bathroom with walls, and a pretty shower and tub, after three years, hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Once it happens, I may continue writing from the bathtub, as I plan to take many long bubble baths after being deprived of them for so long.

7.  Please vote.  I won’t ask you to think the same way as I do, but I will ask you to go vote on November 6th (or sooner, if that’s what you do). If you are a woman, remember that we didn’t always have the right to vote, and that women fought, were jailed, and died, so that we could. Vote – vote – vote – vote – vote! It makes a difference.

8.  Knots of Love is a wonderful organization that accepts hand-knitted  and hand-crocheted caps and donates them to cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, so that they might feel better.  One of my caps was accepted by the organization, and sent to someone in Laguna Beach, so that they could wear it and feel better. I share this because it was important to me to do something that I love to do, and be able to help someone who needed comfort.  Also, I share it in case any of you are interested in knitting or crocheting caps for Knots of Love; their website is https://www.knotsoflove.org/.

Phew! Time for Italian food –  Ciao!

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I am Julie’s nose

When I was about 19, I fractured my nose in a three-car accident.  On the way to the hospital, one of the paramedics said, “Oh, you broke your nose.” He could tell just from looking at me that it was broken, but apparently the doctor didn’t agree.  At 22, I decided to have my nose fixed – I’m not sure how it works today, but I had to meet with the doctor for a consultation before the surgery.  He asked me why I wanted to have the procedure, and I said that I had been in an accident, and that I wanted to look better.  We decided that it would be best not to change my nose too much, since my eyes were so large; he would just straighten it, and thin it out (I bounced off the steering wheel and dashboard in the accident).  After the surgery, the doctor said that when he started to sand down my nose, it basically broke, so apparently I had had a hairline fracture for three years.  I walked around with a bandage on my face for about a week, and when it was removed, I could see the difference.  Here’s a visual timeline of the state of my rhinoplasty (great word, right? Really boosted my confidence):

1.  Senior high school photo, before the accident – I was never as Greek as I was here, and the nose knows

1.  At 19; this could have been the year of the accident, but I think this was taken before it happened

2.  Post-accident, post-surgery; I think I was about 25, and a student at CSULB

3.  High school reunion, 37 or 38 – hard to see it, but the face seems to be holding up under the pressure of 40 looming on the horizon

4.  Took this one today

I have considered going back under the knife recently to smooth out the bump on my nose that seems to be more prominent than I would like; after some thought, I have decided against it, mostly because I just don’t want to go through that again. My mother used to tell me that my face had a lot of character; “beautiful” wasn’t part of her vocabulary when it came to anything, so I gave up waiting for that term to be applied.  I have learned to appreciate what I look like, and be grateful for things like good DNA (Mom never looked as old as she was, even at 87).

I am fond of saying that my forehead is going to look like Clint Eastwood’s pretty soon, and I am constantly trying to smooth out the frown lines with my fingers (I must have done a LOT of frowning in the last ten years, because it’s not just my skin that has frown lines – my bones feel wrinkled, so weird.)

I know that we all do things to make ourselves look younger; when I was at the doctor, having my consultation for my nose, he asked me if I would want to have implants in my jaw, since my chin was short, and the implants would give me a stronger jaw. I turned him down.  I knew even then that I didn’t want to put anything fake in my body (at least, anything that wasn’t necessary to be there for my health).

It’s a personal choice, and if you have surgery to look better, it’s your decision; I did it because I wanted to look better, so I get it. We color our hair, exercise, deny ourselves the food we really want, and do whatever else we think will make us look younger and better.  But so many women who have plastic surgery don’t look good – they keep going back to tweak their faces, and eventually, all of the emotion and spark is taken out, and they look….unreal. I think I’ll stick with my real-time appearance, for now. Now if someone figures out a way to reverse the gravitational pull on the rest of me, you know where to contact me…!

Hot enough for ya? Knit something!

We are experiencing a heat wave in southern California, and I sort of think that a lot of us can’t handle it; actually, we tend to go right off the rails when it comes to any type of weather that is outside of the range of 68-74 degrees.  I include myself in this focus group – I was born and grew up in California, and if the weather goes above 80 degrees, I whine; same if the weather goes below 60, although I prefer warmer weather to cold.

It’s not just the crabbiness, though; Californians have never been patient drivers, and when the heat gets to us, we get even worse.  I watched cars speed around other cars in the parking structure at Bella Terra this afternoon (the temperature was 91 at around 3:30) to rush to get a place to park.  We do the same thing when it’s raining – we behave with entitled arrogance here, as if no one else exists, much less matters.  Even though the sheen is officially off the Golden State, we still behave as if we live in the land of eternal sunshine and riches, in which we are all the stars of our own reality shows, rather than in a broke and broken state in which manners and courtesy don’t seem to be evident, having been replaced by the celebration of street level stupidity.

Maybe the heat is getting to me, too.

*****

I had a nice afternoon, in spite of the wicked weather. I went to Happy Nails at Bella Terra for a lovely pedicure done by Kayla, and my toes are remarkably cheered up, and so pretty! I also started working on a hat for Knots of Love, a charity that creates and donates knitted and crocheted hats to chemotherapy patients.  I’m grateful to do something with my knitting for a good cause, and also remember my father and sister-in-law, both of whom were lost to cancer. If you are interested in finding out more about Knots of Love, visit http://www.knotsoflove.org for information.

One-day Olympics clearance sale – everything must go!

Pick up one of these little goodies for yourself, but hurry, they’re going fast!

I loved the Olympic opening ceremonies.  I thought they were dark and strange  – and really cool:

The nurses and the poppies reminded me of the movie “Tommy,” and some of it reminded me of a Pink Floyd show, before the fans started crawling around on the floor and up the stairs during the concert (a story for another time).  And a segment on health care in an Olympics ceremony? Danny Boyle must be daft! God save the Queen! And speaking of the Sex Pistols, I noticed that during the music medley, NBC chose to cut away when “Pretty Vacant” started playing (excerpt below is from the  website http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/us-news-blog):

Punk goes pop

The Sex Pistols have long passed away from being subversive and instead become quintessentially British. But perhaps not as far as NBCwas concerned. Their song Pretty Vacant only made snatches of the broadcast either side of a break and was largely cut.

NBC did have to cut away for commercials; I just find their timing to be very interesting. I wonder if John Lydon had to give permission for the song to be used, or if he even owns the song any more, or if he even cares about it at all:

John Lydon – the man always has an opinion, even if it’s that he doesn’t give a rip.  Good thing he’s calmed down and become more dignified:

*****

I decided to stop worrying 24/7 a couple of days ago, and it’s going pretty well. I am a gold-medal worrier; I will worry about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, stuff that is going to happen, and if you ask me, I will worry for stuff that is happening or is going to happen to you, for no charge!  A couple of days ago, I surprised myself with a couple of non-worrisome hours (not in a row; baby steps!), and I felt great in a way that I hadn’t felt for years; being able to admit that I worry ALL the time actually makes me cry; it’s exhausting, and I finally figured out that I don’t want to do it anymore.  One of the side effects of not worrying is that my concentration has returned, so I’m not all over the place, and I am able to focus on what I’m doing, without wondering if I should be doing something else. For me, practicing not worrying involves a little self-talk and relaxation, as well as my understanding what needs to be worried about, and what doesn’t; it’s going to take some conscious effort, but I’m already feeling better, and I’m encouraged that in a few weeks, I will feel even better.

*****

This is kind of a neat little list, and I’m lucky in that I have all three:

Happiness is not a word that I throw around lightly – I like that this list makes happiness into something real and recognizable, for me, anyway.  Happiness doesn’t always wear a name tag, does it?  But this song might help you pick it out of the crowd of emotions in your day (sang it in sixth grade Glee Club, and never forgot it):

Dark Knight – the rising and the aftermath

I went to see “Dark Knight Rises” on Saturday with my husband, and although I know this  probably isn’t going to win me any friends, I didn’t think it was that good. Too much exposition, no grand cinematography, and exactly two scenes near the end that were close enough to what I was expecting from the movie to make me think that the last half hour had been directed by someone different than the first two hours, but I was wrong. The movie settled right back into its half-way long shots that didn’t astound me, and so much dialogue to build the story, instead of action to illustrate the story, that I got up and left twice, just to get a break from the endless stream of yammer – (not like Tarantino yammer, which I eat up like jellybeans; this was more like, oh, you need to know all of these details or you won’t know what’s happening, which makes me squirm).

I have seen every Batman movie from the first one with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, and liked them in varying degrees.  I wonder about myself so often, and even now I wonder if what happened in Colorado affected what I thought of the movie.  I don’t think that it did, but I still wonder. And I wonder what was going on in James Holmes’ mind that night, and what had been going on his mind for so long that led him to the theatre that night. I think helplessness and rage are just two of the emotions that I’m feeling about what happened, along with being terribly sad.  My heart goes out to the victims and their families – there are no easy answers here,  just pain. I won’t stop going to the movies, and from the looks of the packed houses on Saturday night, most other people won’t stop, either.  The irony (for me, anyway) is that now one of the places that we could go to escape the pain of life has become another reminder of that pain.

Summer’s knitting, inside and out

Here’s what I’ve been doing recently instead of writing:

These are all in various states of completion (two are actually finished); at last, a clear illustration of either my tenacity or my OCD – it’s a tough call.  They do look kinda cool all lined up like this, though…I’m knitting like a fiend, hoping to have these ready for the Christmas season.  I might have to throw some hats in there as well, dunno –

I can add the Turtles, and Micky Dolenz to my concert list – went to see the Happy Together tour at the Pacific Ampitheatre last night, and it was wonderful.  The Turtles, the Grass Roots (saw them at Magic Mountain when I was 13!), Micky Dolenz,and the Buckinghams; and when the Turtles launched into the beginning of “Peaches En Regalia,” which I determined was their way of saying “Hi, Frank (Zappa),”  I thought I was going to pass out from joy. Being surprised in life is….well, surprising, and I love when it happens. Well done, guys, well done.

I’m going to see “Savages” this afternoon; Oliver Stone is always over-the-top, so looking forward to some scenery-chewing, lurid, gory good times. “Moonrise Kingdom” was one of the two movies that I liked this summer; “The Avengers” was the other one.  We’ll see if I can add “Savages” to the short list – off to the movies I go!

1967 – How much is your childhood worth?

I’ve been fooling around on my laptop tonight, and for some reason, thought about the first thing that my mother let me send for through the mail – it was 1967, and I really wanted the Yellow Pages dress, so she let me mail a dollar bill with the order form, and reminded me that it would take “six to eight weeks for delivery.” When I got the dress, I was a little dismayed to realize that it was paper, and I ended up tossing it after a botched styling attempt with scissors. I was unbelievably shy when I was a kid, and there would have been no way that I was going to wear a paper dress out in public, especially one that I had cut to micro-mini status. (And I know that this conflicts with being an introvert, but  I was also a tomboy who loved to play kickball and get into fights with boys, and if I was going to do either of those things in a paper dress, it was certain that my day would end badly.)

In 2007,  “Antiques Roadshow” had someone on the show who decided to bring their version of the paper dress to have it appraised; the appraisal value was from $1800-$2200. Now, if I had been a savvier little girl (or psychic), I would have put away the scissors and kept the dress in a Zip-Lok bag for 40-plus years.     I would have also kept my metal Slinky, except that my brother and I were bored at daycare one morning, and decided that we would stretch the Slinky out completely to see if it would go all the way around the playground (it did), and my Click Clacks:

If I remember correctly, Click Clacks were found to be dangerous, as they tended to crack and sometimes shatter – it’s a wonder I survived my childhood at John A. Sutter Elementary School, although I was more in danger of getting beat up than anything else.  I had no problem squaring off with boys, and girls, too – I did get smacked a few times, and a girl stabbed me in the leg with a stick in the bathroom, but otherwise, I got out of grade school intact.  (Only one boy socked me in the stomach, and as it turned out, had a crush on me, and got into trouble for carving my name and his into a tree. Cute.)

If I were to gaze into my crystal ball, or check my Magic Eight-Ball (which is still sold today, so no reason to have held on to that toy), what little gadgets would we pay large dollars for in 2046? Maybe you have an idea – I’m going to go check my steamer trunk for those Click Clacks.