Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Tastes in One!

My friend Diana and I drove into the D to watch two movies today.

Frost/Nixon was set in the 1970s after Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency, when David Frost - a British journalist/television personality - who is well known for his interview of Richard Nixon in a series of talks in 1977. Diana and talked about how we remember Watergate and watching some of the related hearings - and I think I was probably 14 or 15 at the time. We didn't much remember the Frost interviews though, but we decided it was because we were in our junior and senior years in high school, and our focus at the time was not political. There were things such as boys, classes, boys, senior year, boys, parties...(you get the picture) to think about. The movie was interesting to watch, and the acting was very good. Frank Langella, in particular, did a fantastic job playing Richard Nixon. Michael Sheen played David Frost. It was a good, good movie.

An even better movie is Doubt, with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and one of my faves - Amy Adams. Streep plays Sister Aloysius - the much-feared principal of a parochial school. She comes to believe that Fr. Flynn (Hoffman), the parish priest, has committed an impropriety with one of the students, who happens to be the only black child in the school, and is not wholly accepted by his peers. Amy Adams plays Sister James, a young and fairly new teacher, who tries to give her students the benefit of the doubt - much to the chagrin of Sister Aloysius. The interplay between the characters was interesting. The acting was phenomenal. I loved this movie!!! One thing that Diana and I noticed at the end was that the movie was dedicated to a Sister Somebody, who was touted as their Sister James. And...that person was the creative consultant for the film. We wondered if the movie was based on a true story, but I have not read or seen anything to that effect. Anyone know?

MK out.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Other Harvey

After two non-movie days in a row, I was able to go today:

In Milk, Sean Penn gives an amazing performance as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay individual running for public office. It is a true story, set in San Fransisco in the 1970s. Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, James Franco and Allison Pill also starred in this film and did very well. It was good.

MK out.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Woman's Perogative...

...is that she can change her mind.

I know I said that I wasn't going to purchase any yarn at the big end-of-the-year blowout sale at one of my favorite yarn shops...

First of all, I purchased Lucy Neatby's "Knitting Essentials 2" at the presale the other day.

I knew I wanted to purchase some of Lucy Neatby's DVDs; so, today I grabbed the "Gems" 1 through 4. I've been meaning to get the Yarnharlot's latest book; so, I grabbed a copy. I looked at two other books, and decided against them. My partner in the check out line had been finding neat yarn all day long and adding it to her pile. I kept saying, "I'm not getting any.more.yarn." I was firm in my conviction of not buying any.more.yarn until the last couple of hours of the sale. One of the other check out girls wanted to make a lace shawl and had found some Zephyr Wool/Silk. I considered that I would like to make a lace shawl, and I like the Zephyr; so, I walked over to where it lived, and picked out two balls of it in a pretty color named Ruby.

I caved.

So, sue me.

In other news, I was uploading my pictures for this post, and I had a cute one of my friend Kristina. She was the very first one in line this morning, waiting for the sale to start at 0600. I don't know how early she got there for that distinction, but she was holding the #1 ticket. The first 1-something in line, that got one of those numbered tickets...They received a little more of a discount for the sale. Anyway, two of my family members were talking with me while I was in the middle of downloading pictures, and I answered "Yes" when I should have answered "No," and it deleted today's photos from my camera. I have my new haul here at the house; so, I was able to take another picture of it, but no such luck with that picture of Kristina. Sorry. Y'all should have seen it...It really was cute.

No new movies today.

MK out.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Movie Challenge

I have thirteen days to watch thirteen movies that are currently playing in theaters. I know that I won't be able to go to the movies everyday, but we'll see how successful I am at my quest.

Today, I saw The Reader, with Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet. Those two gave superb performances, and the film tells a good story. It is based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink, and traces the life of a teenager who has an affair with a woman many years older than he. The actor who played Fiennes' character as a teenager was very good also. I really liked this movie.

Tomorrow, it is doubtful that I will be going to the the movies, as I have plans to be at my favorite yarn shop at 0530 to - not shop, as I did last year - but help them with the end-of-the-year blowout. I had a good time going last year, but then I got home and felt like I was missing the party. (Don't try to figure out that one.) Anyway, should be fun...

MK out.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and More Memories

We always wait until Christmas Eve, right before bedtime, to set out the presents. I think that tradition was in place before the Husb and I married. It's really a good practice, because I remember when my brother and I were little - We perfected the art of present peeking. We were so good, the packages never appeared as if they had been opened and resealed. The bad thing about that, of course, was that we knew what we were getting; so, Christmas morning was rather anticlimactic. What choice did we have, though. My mother would set out presents a couple of weeks before Christmas. Did she really like torturing us that way? I really don't think that she did it maliciously. I think she was oblivious to our plight.

When I got older, I would help my mother wrap the presents - even my own. The worst part was not telling my brother what he was getting. I would wrap things in different boxes from that in which they came. Just because I wasn't going to be surprised was not reason enough to ruin it for my little brother - even if he did tease me for being a geek or even if he would hit me for no good reason.

Remember how I told y'all that Australia deserved a Best Picture nomination? Well, I recently saw another movie that was even more worthy - Slumdog Millionaire. An Indian boy gets on the Indian equivalent of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and reaches the next to the last level knowing all the answers - all due to prior experiences he's had. You have to see it. I loved this movie.

Merry Christmas, Y'all.

MK out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Memories

When I was in 9th grade, I had this little boyfriend who was in 9th grade too. He gave me a little trinket for Christmas - I think it was a pendant necklace - that his mother made. It was really sweet. I wonder what ever happened to it, but I digress...

The Christmas wasn't the memorable thing about it, but it was the only time I had a boyfriend at Christmas time, before I met Jim, and we started dating on New Year's and we were married by the next Christmas.Anyway, this 9th grade boy and I would talk on the phone for hours - unbeknownst to my father, who would have killed me on the spot. I wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend. On New Year's Eve, this boy showed up with a friend on my doorstep. My dad answered the door, and when they asked for me, he sent them away. I got in trouble for them coming over, and I had not invited them, nor had I known that they were coming.

In February, his family learned that they were being transferred to a different base. His father was in the Coast Guard. His mother took us to lunch the day before they left. We had open campus for lunch, and since neither of us were old enough to drive, his mom was our chauffer and paid for our "date." We went to the Emporium on The Strand and had subway sandwiches. I will never forget that.

I saw him only once after that when I was in college. I suppose it was my freshman year. He was working on the construction crew that was enlarging the football stadium on campus. I don't know how he had tracked me down, but I came home from class one afternoon, and there he was in my dorm room. We walked around campus a little and talked. That was the last time I ever saw him. I wonder whatever happened to him.

And now, I will leave you with a few movie reviews:

How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, starring Elizabeth Pena, America Ferrara and Lucy Garrado, was an interesting tale about three generations of hot, Latin women and their romantic exploits. It was alright.
In Married Life, Chris Cooper plays a man who plans to kill his wife (Patricia Clarkson), to spare her the humiliation of finding out about his affair with Rachel Adams. Pierce Brosnan plays his best friend. It was pretty good.
War, Inc. is about an assassin (John Cusack), who is hired to kill a Middle Eastern oil magnate while spinning a very elaborate cover. Hillary Duff, Marisa Tomei, Dan Akroyd, Ben Kingsley and the ever-present-in-a-John Cusack-flick-but-would-totally-be-missed-otherwise Joan Cusack also star. It was interesting and entertaining.
Kung Fu Panda is an animated adventure involving an out of shape panda, who is chosen to protect the village from a powerful enemy with his Kung Fu abilities. It was cute.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

MK out.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Smell Turkey...

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! My turkey is in the oven, the sweet potatoes are warming up to room temperature - waiting to be baked, I'm in the middle of making karithopita (Greek nut cake pastry) and the chocolate covered cherries are done.

Chocolate covered cherries mean the holidays have officially begun. They are a tradition started by Thia Maria. That woman was a pastry baker extraordinaire. Since she's been gone, I've not had one homemade chocolate covered cherry, and I've been kind of waiting around like a zombie for someone to make some.


Sometimes, I'm slow - but I did finally figure out that there was no reason for me to keep waiting for someone else to make chocolate covered cherries, or karithopita, or kourambiedes, or even...baklava. I keep thinking that I am still seventeen, when, in fact, I am s.e.v.e.r.a.l years past that number. It's time. I am stepping up!

Finally, after the feeding frenzy, the cleaning up and the tryptophan-induced nap - go see Australia. I'm sure it will garner a Best Picture nomination. It is kind of a blockbuster epic. Nicole Kidman plays a noble-woman who leaves her comfy little life in the Motherland to trek over to Australia to see what her husband is up to on their "little" cattle ranch.
Hugh Jackman plays the drover - he moves the cattle around. The movie is set during WWII. It was good, but be warned - it's two-and-a-half hours long.

MK out.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kick Off to the Holiday Season

My friend Jules and I decided that we should spend a half-day at the Spa at Coldwater Creek and start off the holiday season all relaxed and looking our best. After our pamper session, we walked over to Patrizio's for a quick bite. It was a lovely day and a great way to get ready for the onslaught that we know as "The Holidays."

So....movies - seen in the theater:

The Duchess, with Keira Knightley is a very good film, based on a true historical figure, Georgiana Spencer Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire. Ralph Fiennes plays the Duke. Georgaina is a clever young woman, who becomes the fashion and celebrity icon of her time. Much reminiscent of a certain other beautiful British figure (whose last name was Spencer before she married her cold, older man) of our time. It was well acted and beautiful to watch. Good movie.
Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway is about a girl (Kym) who gets out of rehab and comes home in the midst of preparations for her sister’s wedding. The family is on pins and needles, as Kym is an emotional tornado who can unleash her fury at the most inopportune moments. It was very good. Anne Hathaway did a mighty fine acting job.
The title of Zack and Miri Make a Porno should clue one in on the subject matter of this movie. That aside, I really wasn’t expecting it to be so graphic. (Yeah, I know…Pollyannaish of me, for sure.) Seth Roden and Elizabeth Banks star in this predictable story of two friends since high school who are living together to make ends meet. They get very behind in their bills and decide to make a pornographic film to raise money to pay the rent and utilities. If you can get past the raunch and predictability, it was pretty funny. The sad thing about it, it is rated R. It really should be NC-17, IMHO.
If Angelina Jolie doesn’t snag a nomination for her role in The Changeling, all is not right in the world. This movie is set in the late 1920’s and is based on a true story about the disappearance of a single mom’s son. The police bring her a boy whom they have identified to be her son, but in actuality, he is not. The movie was well acted across the board. It was excellent.

Until next time...

MK out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The New Vision

Now that the Birthday Season is way over, there's a period between it and the beginning of the holidays that should be calm and reflective...

The Birthday Season was kind of a bust. First of all, a certain hurricane (who shall remain nameless) happened along, and the first several days - despite getting to watch a couple of pretty good flicks as it was approaching - were spent on the edge of my seat, wondering what had happened to my friends and loved ones. I did get to see movies I wanted to see - sometimes stealing away after an early end to my workday. I spent some time with cherished friends. I ate at a restaurant where I had not been before. Halloween was spent watching a high school football game. Even The Kid was a little rueful that we did not celebrate Halloween this year, and we should all know by now how much I love that holiday. My STARS have not playing so well. My dear Texas Aggies...not playing well would be an understatement. All in all, it wasn't a terrible Birthday Season, but I always feel that I could have done more.

So, now that's all behind us, and I am looking forward to the Holiday Season with a little trepidation. I am trying to finish several knitting projects, a couple of which are going to be gifted. I have a couple of others in mind that I would like to make for gifts, but I really don't want to start another project with so many languishing at the moment. There are plans to make...Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Then, there's Christmas.

The Husb and I would like to purchase a new tree. We set out to do so this weekend, but were unsuccessful. I can see it now...We will put up the same, tired tree - and it will stand gloriously naked - without lights until the middle of December...same old song and dance. Maybe, I need to change my vision, and things might go a little differently. Hmm...

I realize I haven't put up any movie reviews lately. I've watched about 4 movies in theaters in the last couple of weeks or so, but more on those later. Here are some videos that I've watched recently:

Amy Adams and Frances McDormand star in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Miss Pettigrew (McDormand) needs a job, and fast. She takes one as a social secretary for Delysia Lafosse (Adams), an up and coming American singer. Her duties includes tasks such as keeping date number one from knowing about date numbers two or three, and visa-versa times two. It was cute.
Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell and Amy Sedaris star in Snow Angels, a movie about dysfunctional families. A geeky teenager flirts with his one-time babysitter (Beckinsale), who is trying start a new life away from her estranged husband. It was alright.
Puccini for Beginners is about a lesbian, Allegra, who can’t seem to make a commitment to her long-time lover. She ends up sleeping with this guy, as well as his ex-girlfriend. I couldn’t relate to this movie on any level. Maybe, it deserves another look, but I have too many other movies I’d like to see first.
The Lookout was a bit of a suspenseful film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a high-school hockey star (named Chris Pratt) who suffers a terrible accident, leaving him with short term memory loss. Isla Fisher (who I think resembles Amy Adams) and Jeff Daniels also star in this movie. Chris is the night janitor of the town’s bank, and he is suckered into being the lookout for a robbery the local thugs are planning. It was pretty good.
There are many good actors in Zodiac…Mark Ruffalo (I heart Mark Ruffalo), Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey, Jr., Anthony Edwards and Dermot Mulroney, just to name a few. This movie is based on the true story of the Zodiac murders of the San Fransisco Bay Area that remain unsolved. It was good.
Leatherheads is a cute movie with Rene Zellweger and George Clooney about the beginnings of pro football, set in the 1920s. It was cute.
An American Crime is a difficult movie to watch, and it is based on a true story. Ellen Page (from Juno) plays a teenager who is left behind with her younger sister in the care of a woman while her parents run off with the circus...Literally. The woman, Catherine Keener, turns out to be i.n.s.a.n.e. Child abuse does not even cover it.
If you liked the series Get Smart, you will like the movie. Steve Carell plays the not-so-smart Maxwell Smart, and Ann Hathaway plays Agent 99. It was cute.
God Grew Tired of Us is a documentary about the Lost Boys of Sudan. Almost 18 years ago, when civil war in the Sudan began a murderous rampage of southern Sudanese males, tens of thousands of them left their homes and walked thousands of miles into Kenya. Most of them are living in UN refugee camps now. Many of them were young teens when they left. They took care of the toddlers they took with them. Thousands died on the journey. This film follows four of the ones chosen to be brought to the US and helped to start a better life. It was interesting to watch some of the things they encountered that were so foreign to their culture. Good, good movie.

Off to change my vision...

MK out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You May Now Return to Your Regularly Scheduled Activities

The elections are over, thankfully; so, we don't have to watch anymore mudslinging campaign ads, or listen to anymore poll statistics for a few years. (Yay.) The downside is that Tina Fey won't be entertaining us with her Sarah Palin impersonations. The other downside is that we will once again be privy to all kinds of things about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears that we didn't want or need to know.

Here's a few pictures to help you acclimate back into the real world and to turn your attention to things that are really important...like knitting.

My STARS socks are finished, and I've already worn them to a game.

My October socks in the Opal Rainforest Tiger colorway. I am working on the heel flap now.

Seriously? Yep, they are finished!

September socks and they haven't budged from this point. I love working with Koigu - my first time. And, they are toe up.

My poor June socks are stalled.

MK out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blast From My Past

You're an innocent soul who often has trouble understanding the world around you. You appreciate the value of heritage and are driven by a desire to find your place in the world. Just lose the ugly sleeveless dresses, okay?

Take the Dark Shadows Character Quiz, hosted by the Dark Shadows Journal Online.

I was very, very young (no, really) when I would race home after school to watch Dark Shadows. Then, Patty Nilsson and I would discuss what happened the next day on the playground at Rosenburg Elementary School.

I had the biggest crushes on David and Quentin.

I watched House of Dark Shadows on the Chiller channel the other day. It came on about 3:00am, but I recorded it. Unlike Barnabas, I work better when the sun is up. The next night (or morning) Night of Dark Shadows played and I recorded that one, too. Watching these movies brought back many memories, but I was surprised at how campy the show was.

Me - Victoria Winters? Hmmm....

MK out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tales of the G - Part 3

It appears that debris from the back of the house (the bayside) was pushed to the front and is coming out through the garage.

Blue tarps cover some roofs with beautiful blue sky in the background.

What is left of Murdoch's Pier stands defiantly alone .

I was so startled by the boats on the side of the causeway coming into town, that I did not snap any pics...

...But I was ready on the way out of town.

The little time I spent there was enough to put me into a depressed state. The words "my Galveston is gone," kept going through my mind. Not that I ever expected it to stay forever the Galveston in which I grew up and always remember. And likely, the post-Ike Galveston will emerge better than the one before.

By rights, no one should ever have been allowed to live on Galveston, as it is a barrier island - but too late now...People have built on it and have lived full, colorful lives. The ghosts of many adventures roam the island, and now, more spectors will settle there.

One ironic thing I noticed while surveying the damage - the water looked beautiful. It was as if it was trying to deny its culpability in the devastation.

Another ironic thing I saw were the "help wanted" and "now hiring" signs in front of the restaurants on the Seawall that are open. The island is crowded with workers and the only places to eat are feeling the effects of a town missing two-thirds of its population.

It remains to be seen how the island will bounce back, but bounce back it will. The people of Galveston are a hardy stock. There are families that have been there for generations. My only concern is the fate of the medical school. There are rumors that the State will use the damage from the hurricane as the excuse it needed to close the school. I seriously doubt that, but I am worried about how much will be eliminated from the facility. Something interesting to see was the legions of workers that were being bussed in to clean out the buildings at UTMB. There were big lines and groups of people wearing white jumpsuits and masks traipsing into the hospitals. It looked rather sci-fi.

I don't know when I will be able to go down there again, but hopefully next time, I will see more signs of life.

MK out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tales of the G - Part 2

The Flagship hotel sustained a little damage.

The driveway onto the pier to get to the Flagship is gone.

Best sign I saw.

Belongings put in the yard to dry.

Debris mountain at one of the transfer stations.

MK out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Baby

Today is my child's 18th birthday, and I forgot to wake him up with the Birthday Song. I also forgot to let the Birthday Fairy in last night to decorate the breakfast table and leave her gift. She has been leaving a gift for him to find every morning on his birthday since he was about 3.

I'm a bad mom.

I need to sulk, but I must be off to work.

While I am away, Blogger is loading a boatload of pictures for a story I must tell. It may take more than one post.

MK out.

Tales from the G

It has taken a while for me to process what is depicted in these images. Overall, the island looks sad and dirty - but amongst the anguish and devastation, there are glimmers of hope. There is debris everywhere one looks, but some streets and neighborhoods have more than others.

Harbor View and parts of Fish Village look like a bomb went off. It's earily quiet, with few people around. There are several boats in slips at the Yacht Basin, but the once full-on-weekends parking lot is empty. The boat storage warehouse that burned during the height of the storm is a mangled and charred mess.

The grass is dead in this yard, littered with debris.

This street looks very sad.

This pile, in front of a stately home in one of the finer neighborhoods contains ruined furniture, mattresses, soggy sheetrock and the like.

This stump is left from a tree that was almost blown over during the storm. The root system is exposed.

Ruined merchandise and shop furniture from a business out by the curb.

MK out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sundays are for Movies

I've watched a few in the last month and a half:

Eragon was adapted from a book that was written by a 15-year old boy. It a fantasy about a young boy who finds a dragon’s egg and soon finds out that he has been destined to become a dragon rider who must defend his world from an evil king. It was good, but I have not read the book and I was told that it is very different from the book.

Curse of the Golden Flower has deceit, revenge, romance – It’s a real entertaining film, set in the time of the Tang dynasty. The emperor has ordered the royal physician to drug the empress and make her go insane, the empress has a lover, who also happens to be the lover of the royal physician’s daughter…It can be a little hard to keep up. Set the language to English. It was good.

The Bank Job is based on a true 1971 bank robbery. Some small time bad boys were enlisted to rob the safe deposit boxes of the bank, where the true treasure was evidence implicating high officials and members of the Royal family. It was a good renter.

The Band’s Visit is about the Ceremonial Police Band of Alexandria, Egypt, who travel to Isreal for a performance. No one meets them at the airport; so, they set out to find their destination on their own and wind up in the wrong town. They have to spend the night with some of the locals, and each faction learns a little about the other’s culture. It was good.

Autumn Hearts: A New Beginning is set in the 1980s. It is about three concentration camp survivors who reunite and put a few past demons to rest. Susan Sarandon, Gabriel Byrne, Max von Sidow and Christopher Plummer star in it. It was pretty good.

Thumbsucker is basically about growing up. A 17-year old, not very popular – socially or academically - high school student still sucks his thumb as a coping mechanism. He gets diagnosed with ADD, is prescribed medication and becomes an overachiever. It was a bit on the quirky side.

Set in England in the early 1980s, Son of Rambow is a film about two boys from different backgrounds who join forces to make a movie. It is really, really good.

Baby Mama is pure, entertaining fluff, but it did have a message underneath it all. Tina Fey plays a high-powered career woman who is unable to conceive. Amy Poehler plays her baby mama – the surrogate she hires to carry her baby. It was pretty funny.

Persepolis is the big screen adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s bestselling autobiographical graphic novel that gives us a glimpse of what it was like growing up as an outspoken Iranian girl during the Islamic revolution. It was pretty good. In the set up menu, you can choose to watch it in English or in French.

The Astronaut Farmer was a cute, feel-good, family film about a man who has always wanted to build a rocket and launch it. Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen star in this good renter.

Young@ Heart is a cute documentary about a choir made up of 70 and 80-year and they sing works by modern groups such as the Ramones, the Clash – They are not happy to sit on their rockers and listen to elevator music. I liked it.

I saw a couple of films in theaters:

Towelhead is hard to watch. It is a film about a young teenager, now living with her strict Lebanese father, who becomes rather obsessed with sexuality. The film is set in Houston during the first Gulf War. There is pedophilia involved. The recognized names starring in this film are Toni Collette, Aaron Eckhart and Maria Bello. It's not for everyone.

I was able to catch The Dark Knight finally. While I thought Heath Ledger did a marvelous job as the Joker - and truly, what a tragic end for him - the movie was nothing special. Christian Bale did a good job as Batman - but the material - not so good. I think I lost interest with the Batman movies after the seeing the second one.

MK out.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Flying Monkeys

I like to walk around the hospital singing "da da da da dah da" - You know...the theme song for the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. One of the cardiologists I know was amused that I was singing that particular ditty, as he thinks I'm nice...too nice to think of myself as the Wicked Witch of the West. (Little does he know...) Anyway, in that conversation, we discovered that we both hated the flying monkeys. They scared the poop out of us when we were little kids. While we loved the movie, those damn flying monkeys...not so much.

A couple of weeks ago, I ran through McD's and got a happy meal. I really don't keep up with what they are giving away these days. Apparently, it's The Wizard of Oz and of all the possible characters...( I would have loved a witch or Dorothy or Toto or the tornado - ha ha), but no.

They gave me......a damn flying monkey.

Speaking of monkeys, I worked on the No Purl Monkeys at the Dallas STARS preseason game last night. The STARS need to zip it up a little. They did win the game, but their power play and penalty kill sucked. The regular season starts soon, and they have until then to clean up the roster by a third and get their act together.

The socks are my August project in my personal socks club. Yes, I realize that it is almost October.

My July socks are also not yet finished, but I am getting closer. I decided against doing a short row heel, because when I was ready to start the heel, I didn't have my instructions for one with me. Oh well...I still like the socks, even though a little bull's eye heel would have been cute.

Finally, here' my progress on the February Lady Sweater. I would have been further along, but this is the second time I've knitted the yoke. I didn't like the gauge on the size 6 needles and restarted the thing on 7s.

MK out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Burial Dress Watch, Day Six

The burial dress is safe and sound. My SIL was able to get onto the G today and she went to my momma's house. Not a drop of water had gotten in the house or in the garage. The electricity was working and the refrigerator was cold inside. I am also happy to report that the tea cookies my momma made the last time we were on the G for her after burial party (I cannot make this stuff up), although defrosted during the storm, were frozen once again. They are standing ready awaiting their call to action.

Y'all can rest easy now.

Good news for sure. I am so thankful and feel the need to pay it forward/give back - whatever you want to call it.

The Rosenberg Public Library holds a near and dear place in my heart. We didn't have a lot of extras when I was growing up, but we managed. I have always been a voracious reader...from the time Mrs. Stein taught me how to read in kindergarten - to this day, although most of my reading these days happens in spurts. A library card did not cost a penny; so, I had one and I used it liberally. Once, during a fight that I had with my brother, I hurled out the words: "Books are my friends!!!" As if that statement would make me seem less nerdy in a heated discussion that centered around his claims that I was basically a stay-at-home nerd.

The Library held all manner of programs that were free of charge. I remember one time, Michael Guckian invited me to join him and his mother (we were in middle school at the time) to attend a performance of selected scenes of one of Henry David Thoreau's works.

Some of my best afternoons were spent upstairs where the periodicals were kept - researching the subject of the week in Mrs. Robert's English Comp class when I was a senior in high school. I would pass the children's sections on the first floor on my way upstairs and think to myself that when I had children, I would bring them to the library and hopefully cultivate the love of books in them.

I was quite saddened to read that the children's collections at the Rosenberg Public Library were lost in the hurricane. The first floor flooded and everything got wet. I think I have identified one way to give back in this tragedy...I will become a friend to the Rosenberg Public Library.

MK out.

More Degrees of Thia Maria

For those of us who were lucky enough to know Thia Maria, we'd all agree that she was a force of nature - and not at all in a bad way. She was very active in the community and our church. She was also a businesswoman. Thia Maria owned the knit shop on the G. She taught me how to knit when I was about 6 or 7. When I was about 11, she would have Theo Demas pick me up on his way home from his half day at "The Wharf" on Saturdays and bring me to the shop. I would answer the phone, help restock, bag yarny purchases and generally breathe in all the yarn fumes. Then, more often than not, I would get to go home with her after the last customer would rush over, fresh from a game of Mah Jong, to get her fix of yarn to last her for the weekend. Frequently, I would get to spend the night. We would stay up late, long after Theo Demas had gone to bed, watching old movies and knitting or needlepointing.

Thia Maria's four kids are a few years or so older than me. When the first grandchild came along, it was my biggest delight when her parents would bring Stephanie over to visit her grandparents while I was there. Then came Stephanie's little brother, whom everyone called Baby Demo. (He was named after his grandfather.) To this day, people call him Baby or Little Demo. In fact, he just got married in June. When I got to the church, there he was standing in the back and it caught me by surprise. (I don't know why it would. Afterall, I was there to witness his nuptials, and his attendance would be expected.) "Baby Demo!" I exclaimed and gave him a big kiss before I helped my momma to our seats. Anyway, two more grandchildren came along - Angie and Marika - and both joined their cousins in being my baby dolls.

Stephanie and her husband live on the G. Her husband is an ER physician at UTMB. Stephanie and their two children evacuated, but B had to stay behind - although the hospitals were evacuated of patients and to date, are not officially open for business, as only a portion of the main hospital is running on generator power. Still, because some people chose to stay, and there are many people there in official capacities, there are plenty of minor emergencies that are being addressed tirelessly by B and his crew.

I spoke to Stephanie today for the first time since the storm. I had heard from my brother that her home was hit hard in the hurricane, and she directed me to a website with pictorial evidence. It is not pretty and my heart goes out to Stephanie and B. The power of that wind and storm surge was beyond belief. The hurricane-grade windows and doors were blown off with the framing. One wall is only studs.

The devastation in Galveston is very hit and miss. We are hearing more and more encouraging news about my momma's house. She lives hear the Yacht Basin. Friends that live on the water near the Yacht Basin and about a mile from my momma's house reportedly had five feet of water. Other friends who live two streets closer to the Yacht Basin from her had about an inch of water in their house. Stephanie informed me that my momma's neighbors, across the street and two houses down from her had no water in their home. My SIL told me that George, Stephanie's uncle, went by my momma's house today and as far as he could tell from the outside, he didn't think any water had gotten into her house. We continue to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, until someone actually gets into the house and knows for sure - but things look hopeful. I hope to speak with George myself tomorrow. I have to thank him for checking on the house, and to find out how his home fared.

Keep those thoughts and prayers coming for all the people touched by the storm.

MK out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned

Not knowing the status of my momma's home is enough to wear out a body. Yesterday, the Galveston city officials allowed people who owned businesses on the island to "look and leave." Essentially, they were to check out their business, safeguard a few things, and leave before the curfew started. Unfortunately, the volume of returnees was not considered. Recovery workers were stuck in traffic jams and could not get on the island on a timely basis. The residents were supposed to be allowed to return for a "look and leave" today, but it was cancelled last night, after yesterday's overwhelming response.

My SIL was able to get on the island yesterday. She rescued her cats and was reassured to find that, while water had gotten into her garage, none had gotten into her home. We still do not know how much water damage my momma's house sustained, but we do know that it is still standing.

Amid all this uncertainty, I have managed to stay caught up with work, and am getting pesky little chores done around the house.

I've also been to a few movies...

Transsiberian is a pretty good thriller set on a train crossing through Siberia – how original! Ben Kingsley (another movie with Ben!), Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer star in this film about an American couple riding on the train and who and befriend this other couple. Then, when Woody’s character accidentally gets left off the train during a stop, all kinds of sinister stuff starts to happen. It was good.

Bottle Shock is based on the true story of a contest in France between French and Californian wineries that put California wines on the map. Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman and Dennis Farina all star in this cute little movie.

The Women is a remake of the 1939 classic screen adaptation of Clare Booth Luce’s play about some society women friends who spend their time going to the beauty shop and to fashion shows, until they find out that one of them has a cheating husband. It's been updated a little to reflect that, even at the high society level, women can choose to work, to raise a family or to do both. Eva Mendez is no Joan Crawford, but she does a decent job as the home wrecker. It also stars Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Candice Bergen and a small, but big role by Bette Midler. It was cute, cute, cute…

Burn After Reading is not one of the Coen Brothers’ best efforts. Of course, it’s hard to top Fargo and O Brother Where Art Thou. Despite the movie's cynical little tone, Frances McDormand, George Clooney and Brad Pitt give great performances. They all looked like they were having a good time. Tilda Swinton is also in it. Her character is a cold, snobby bitch and I would guess that she had fun playing that role. Then, there's John Malkovich...It was good, but it could have been better.

Before a couple of the movies I've seen recently, a montage starts playing, and it is unclear - the first time one sees it - whether it is a preview or a commercial. Beautiful scenes and thought provoking images appear, and a voice-over discusses "the journey." This question is posed:
Does the person create the journey, or does the journey create the person?

Um...It's a Louis Vuitton ad.


MK out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An Ode to Excedrin Migraine

Oh little pills, you are the best.
You put my headache to the test.
And went it's gone, what can I say?
It's sure to be a better day.

And on the Hurricane Ike Aftermath front - Galveston residents will not be allowed to return to the island before Tuesday, possibly longer. The integrity of the causeway bridges have to be assured.

Knitting? Did someone say knitting? I gathered all the projects that I have going into one big bag. I will post pictures soon - when I am no longer in denial.

MK out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Riding Out the Storm

Back in the day, hurricanes were a source of entertainment. Well, not the hurricanes themselves, but the opportunity for getting together with people to ride out the storm.

My mother's best friend, whom I called Thia Maria, lived with her husband in a big house on the "west end" of Galveston. We lived on the "east end." My father, being in the merchant marines, shipped out quite regularly, and Thia Maria took us under her wing. We were included in all manner of holidays and celebrations. Gloom and danger from impending hurricanes were no exception. Theo Demas, her husband, was dispatched by Thia Maria to swing by on his way home from "The Wharf," to pick us up and bring us to their house. One year, I remember, my brother and I were so sad that my mother declared that our cat would be left behind in our house. We got to Thia Maria's and spent the afternoon lamenting our problem until Theo Demas was dispatched to our house with one of us to gather the cat and bring him to the safety of the house on Denver. Nevermind the fact that, if Galveston had been hit by a big one, the chances were that none of us would have survived, let alone the cat.

In my recollection, before this weekend, there were only two really bad hurricanes that hit Galveston. I don't remember Carla, (I was about 2) but anyone can read about that storm. The next one was Alicia, and I was out of college and had just moved to Dallas at the time, living the high life of a bachelorette. Woo hoo. So, luckily for us, all those hurricane parties at Thia Maria's turned out to be alot of wind and rain, a few trees down here and there, the normal flooding of the usual spots on the island and no loss of life.

Enter Hurricane Ike. The local CBS affiliate in Houston, KHOU-TV, has been broadcasting continuously on the Weather Channel since yesterday. The dangerous thing about Ike has been its size and the size of the storm surge it has been pushing ahead of it. There was some flooding way down the island by yesterday morning, before the wind and rain actual made it. The eye of the storm didn't hit Galveston until 2:00 this morning. Right now, the stupid thing is passing over Huntsville. The outer bands of the storm are still dumping water on Galveston.

The media is a two-edged sword. While they are masters at creating hype and frenzy, with the technology we have today, they do disseminate a few valuable facts here and there. Despite all the tracking equipment, projections from meteorologists and warnings from city officials that rescue would be difficult at best and likely nonexistent during the height of the storm, there were quite a few people who chose to stay behind.

My mother still has a house down there. I've shared this tidbit by e-mail to a few friends: She does not care that her house might have been destroyed. She's worried that she has left her burial dress down there hanging in the closet. (Oh yeah, that's the first thing I would pack when I'm getting ready to go anywhere.)

Hope you are yours are safe and dry.

MK out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Elegy means...

...a song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentations.

I was far from sorrowful today. Despite the clouds and impending arrival of Hurricane Ike, I had the best day that I've had in a couple of weeks. Work has been really demanding since I returned from the end-of-summer-vacation. I was ready for a break after the first day back...

I showed up at the first hospital, looked at my patient list, checked labs, finished dictations and determined that our part was complete for all the patients on the list. I drove over to the second hospital and the only two patients on that list were both undergoing endoscopic procedures today; so, I didn't have to see either of them. I conferred with the boss and I was free! It was 12:30, and I was done for the day. That hasn't happened in quite a while.

I ate a quick lunch and headed out to go see a movie.

I chose to see Elegy, in which Ben Kingsley plays a professor who has never quite grown up. He has a habit of dating his much younger students, after grades are turned in, of course. Enter Consuela, played by Penelope Cruz. He is instantly enthralled and the two become involved. The prof has a longtime girlfriend, Patricia Clarkson, whom he continues to see while he is seeing Consuela. Dennis Hopper plays his best friend. It was really good.

I've seen two other films in theaters recently:

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (I love saying the name), starring Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz, Patricia Clarkson and Javier Bardem, is about two friends who decide to spend the summer in Barcelona. They meet a charismatic artist (Bardem) and they become the targets of his affections. It was good.

Brideshead Revisited is the big screen adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel about forbidden love, set in England before WWII. The martriarch of the family, Lady Marchmain, is played by Emma Thompson. She is excellent in the role. Comparisons have been to the 11-hour mini series starring Jeremy Irons. The movie has not faired well against the mini series; however, to me, it's like comparing apples to oranges. I have never seen the mini series, but despite that, I really liked the film. The characters were very complex and interesting. The story was great, the roles were well acted and the cinematography was beautiful. It is a great film.

Until next time...

MK out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Six Random Things About Me

My friend Nancy tagged me for this meme. Here goes:

1. I took singing lessons before I got into PA school, just so if someone should happen to "catch" me singing, he or she wouldn't run away covering their ears from the horror of it.*


2. I am an Olympics purist. I think that the Olympics should include just track and field. I do not think that any sport that involves a ball, a puck, a stick, a racquet, a sled - you get the idea - should be a part of the Olympics. I do make allowances for swimming and gymnastics.

However, the fact that I think hockey, basketball or beach volleyball should not be Olympic sports does not deter me from watching any of the competitions.

3. I took several masters level classes in fashion design a while back. I have no delusions of trying out for Project Runway.

4. I would like to perform in community theater someday...but not sing.

5. I would like to meet Stevie Nicks in real life.

6. My toenails have to be painted at all times. My fingernails don't.

*I wouldn't recommend you trying to "catch" me singing anytime soon.

Tag...You're it!



Jorge - (as if he reads my blog)




MK out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to School

The Kid started school two weeks ago. It's his senior year. Did that stop me from taking a picture to document the first day of a new school year? ("Mo-o-om! I gotta go," he said, as he stopped for me to snap the picture.)

I would seriously consider changing my name, (Dr. Funk...Paging Dr. Funk), s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y.

MK out.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Balcony is Open

Despite my travels and concert-watching, I have managed to watch a few movies here and there. The season for movie watching is about to heat up; so, I thought I should catch up with my reviews of DVDs that I watched in July and August.

In Bonneville, Arvilla (Jessica Lange), with the help of her friends (Joan Allen and Kathy Bates), sets out on the arduous task of delivering her husband’s ashes to her stepdaughter; so that Francine (Christine Baranski) can bury him next to her mother. Arvilla knows that her husband wants his ashes scattered, but she has no choice, because without a will saying otherwise, Francine owns the house where Arvilla lives, and she has threatened to kick Arvilla out of the home if she doesn’t comply. It was pretty cute, in a dark humor sort of way.

Cassandra’s Dream is a Woody Allen film about two brothers (Colin Farrell and Ewen McGregor) who enlist the aide of their rich uncle (Tom Wilkinson) to settle gambling debts and provide seed money for a business venture. Uncle Howard has a request of the boys in return. It ends up tearing the brothers apart. It was pretty good.

21 – Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and Jim Sturgess star in this film about counting cards and cracking the code on the way to winning big at blackjack in Vegas. It was definitely entertaining.

The Bucket List – Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freemen are two terminally ill men from different walks of life who meet in the hospital. Freeman’s character introduces the idea of a bucket list – the things one would want to do before “kicking the bucket.” Nicholson’s character – a wealthy man – decides to fund the adventures the two men put on their lists. It was really, really good.

Definitely, Maybe – A little girl (Abigail Breslin) wants to know the story about her father’s past relationships; so, he changes the names and tells her about the three important women in his life – one of whom is her mother – and she has to try to figure out which one.

Penelope is a cute, little renter about a girl whose family was cursed long ago. It seems that the next girl born to the family would have a pig’s snout for a nose. Penelope was the unlucky family member in whom the curse was expressed. Christina Ricci, Reese Witherspoon, Catherine O’Hara, James McAvoy and Peter Dinklage all star in this film.

Chalk is a mockumentary set in an Austin, TX high school. It focuses on four teachers, one of whom is brand new and very insecure. The gym teacher, who is female, spends her time making sure everyone knows that she is not gay. It was a little quirky, but definitely a renter.

Trust the Man – Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Eva Mendes, Ellen Barkin and Garry Shandling star in this relationship movie about how breaking up can be harder than staying together. It was okay…there were some amusing moments…definitely a renter.

Shine a Light is a documentary by (the Oscar Winning Director) Martin Scorsese that is centered around concert footage filmed during a two-night engagement at the Beacon Theater in NYC as part of the Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang tour. Two things that are hysterical – snippets of interviews with each member of the band from the 1960s and the Keith Richards, in general. The Kid and I agreed that he looks as if he could be a character in the Pirate’s of the Caribbean movies. The Kid thinks that Johnny Depp may have patterned his Captain Jack Sparrow character after ole Keith.

Bella is about a life-changing experience for an international soccer star as he is on his way to signing a big-dollar contract. Years later, he meets a struggling waitress and changes her life. I think that it is a beautiful story, but I think it was too nuanced in places and the screenplay did not adequately explain the most pivotal part of the whole film. Still, it is good and worth watching.

Bee Movie is an animated movie, produced by and starring Jerry Seinfeld’s voice in the lead role of Barry B. Benson. Barry has just graduated from bee college and is rather miffed that his only job opportunities have to do with making honey. He also resents that humans appear to be stealing the product out from under the bees; so, he attempts to sue the human race. It was cute. Many big name actors lent their voices for the characters: John Goodman, Megan Mullally, Rene Zellweger, Sting, Kathy Bates, Chris Rock, Larry King, Oprah Winfrey…the list goes on.

Under the Same Moon tackles the difficult social issue in America about illegal aliens. A mother, who crossed the border from Mexico, is working hard in California to make enough money to bring her son across. When granny dies, the kid makes it across on his own to go find his mother. It was very good and entertaining.

MK out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

And She Was an American Girl...

...Raised on promises.

Steve Winwood opened...

Tom Petty headlined...

Tom was thrilled that MK is in the audience...

Tom and Steve jam together...

Tom sends MK a kiss at the end of the concert...

Some back story: When The Kid was but just a little kid, he learned all the words to songs on my Tom Petty and Elton John cds. He was so cute, singing at the top of his lungs, and frequently - he would sing what he thought the lyrics were. I can't remember any of his derivations, but it was amusing at the time.

Sooooo, when the Tom Petty concert was announced, I told The Husb that we would have to go and to take The Kid.

It was an awesome concert. It was a ginormous singalong. The crowd was made up mostly of people who were in their twenties and thirties when most of the songs were new hits on the radio and deejays referred to a particular artist having a new album released. Of course, no good concert with a band from the 70s and 80s would be complete without smelling the pungent aroma of a certain plant being enjoyed...

MK out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fifty-one Cent

No, I will not be discussing any rap stars.

When I go for my power walks, I usually find a penny. Today, I found one quarter, one dime, three nickels and one penny. That equals fifty-one cents. I am so happy!!! Seriously? Yep...seriously.

Speaking of Seriously?, here's the post that was supposed to be: There is a sock yarn colorway by sKNITches called Seriously? in honor of the tee vee show, Grey's Anatomy. Y'all know I'm a fan. The name comes from the colors in the yarn - Anatomy Red, Blue Scrubs, Lab Coat White and Meredith's Grey. Clever, huh?

Here are my socks two days ago. They are my July Socks. Yes, I realize it is August, and there is only about 3 inches of knitting there.

I've been in a sort of non-knitting zone for the last few weeks. I'll knit a little here and there, but not much progress is being made. More than that, something has been bothering me about these socks. I love the 2-by-2 rib. I'm even thinking about doing a short-row heel, because it will give me a cute little bullseye effect. I figured out what I did not like. Check out the cast on edge. I didn't like that teensy bit of grey at the top. Had it been a few rows of grey - no biggie. So, for the last two weeks, I've been debating about what to do. Yesterday, I frogged the socks and started over. Seriously? Yep...seriously.

In other news, here is the progress on my June Socks. Seriously? Yep...seriously.

MK out.