Shamelessly Smitten with Omar Sharif in ‘Funny Girl’

When Omar Sharif died earlier this summer, so did the fantasies of a 13-year-old girl who fell in love with him long ago, in the darkness of a movie theater, while downing chocolate malted-milk balls and buttered popcorn. Continue reading

Grocery Shopping with Style!

Grocery Shopping with Style!

This is a beautiful, well-kept place to shop! Indeed, the store manager has gone to great lengths to make the store attractive and inviting. For every piece of produce was neatly stacked. Every can, cellophane package, and plastic bag of rice or beans was in a precise, orderly row.

For a place that carries mass quantities of product, there was no clutter whatsoever! Continue reading

To Quote a Phrase…

To Quote a Phrase…

“To all the Sneaky Pete’s of the world who thought that maybe settling for mediocrity was a good idea because it was safe. Don’t do it. Take a chance, take a risk. Find that passion, rekindle it, fall in love all over again. It’s really worth it. God bless you.” — Bryan Cranston, when accepting the 2014 Emmy for “Breaking Bad”

“To be born, to have committed no crime at all and to be sentenced to death.” — Colin Firth’s character in “Magic in the Moonlight” I so agree! Continue reading

September: Fifty/Fifty Challenge

I read an entire book!

So, take that, Fifty/Fifty Challenge!

Now, I know there are plenty of you out there who can read a whole new book every week and, frankly, I’m jealous. I’m sure, that for you, reading 50 books in one year is quite doable–as easy as making a run to Starbucks for a grande, no-foam, non-fat latte.

But, for me, 50 books in 12 months is Mt. Kilimanjaro–daunting, impossible and out of my reach.

So, imagine my delight when I was able to finish one more book in the month of September! Which brings my book quota to 14 so far this year!  With three months left to 2012, I’m so close to reaching my challenge goal. Right?


Well, I could start getting all despondent over it and sulk, but, here’s the way I see it:

There’s always next year!

So, what book did I read?

An autobiography titled, My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business, a Memoir by Dick Van Dyke.

And, sure, the book was under 300 pages, but hey, at least it wasn’t one of those unauthorized autobiographies, if you know what I mean. At least, Dick Van Dyke approved what he wrote, which makes everything, in this “tell-all,” true!

Though, it wasn’t one of those juicy kind of tell-all’s at all. If you ask me, for a Hollywood star, Van Dyke led an ordinary life. Which, actually, is pretty refreshing.

Dick Van Dyke is one of my favorite comedic actors, hailing back to his days on the Dick Van Dyke Show, which was hilarious. Carl Reiner was the writing genius, who created the series, but Dick Van Dyke carried it, making it the perfect show for families to gather around the old television console and watch.

Remember the episode where Dick Van Dyke, as Rob, is remembering the story of how his son, Richie, was born, and the guy with the sandwich cart enters the office and somehow ends up spilling coffee on Rob’s pants? And, while Rob’s pants are sent to the cleaners, and he’s left in his boxers, Rob gets a call from Laura, his wife, to let him know she’s gone into labor? Which leaves Rob with no choice but to borrow Buddy’s trousers, that are way too short and wide for Rob. Throw in the police, a fender bender, a nosy neighbor, and a phone that ends up falling into Rob’s pants, and you’ve got the ingredients for one of the funniest and freshest sitcoms in TV history. Oh, Rob!

In his memoir, Van Dyke writes joyously about his lucky life. About his childhood, and how his parents would leave him alone in his crib when he was two, and go out on the town, and, how, when he was six, he’d babysit his younger brother, Jerry, while his parents went to the movies. He’s also candid about his personal struggle to give up drinking, his smoking habit, and his painful divorce.

The book also affirms what I always new: that Van Dyke is a nice guy who deliberately sought out to make the kind of films that families could see together. He’s a deeply spiritual man, too, who once considered becoming a minister, but then got the acting bug. He didn’t think himself a singer, but he loved to dance and do pratfalls. He loved making the film, Mary Poppins, but he didn’t like having to learn to talk with a British accent, as it proved very difficult for him. He married his high school sweetheart and together they had four children.

He is a man of compassion, speaking on behalf of civil rights with Martin Luther King, Jr., and later, when he was on his church’s board, suggesting that his all-white congregation reach out to the nearby African-American church in order to forge a relationship. But, when the other church members rejected his idea, he left the church for good.

He loved his career and shares snippets of memories of working with Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner, Julie Andrews, Paul Lynde and Chita Rivera. He didn’t want to retire, but when it was suggested, during production of his last series, Diagnosis Murder, that the show needed to move at a faster clip in order to appeal to a younger audience, Van Dyke did not go “gently into the sunset.” Instead, he said this:

“Growing old is not a leper colony where an unfortunate few are sent to die. It is a precious gift given only to some lucky human beings.”

My Life in and Out of Show Business is a must-read for anyone who has fond memories of Dick Van Dyke.

In the Fifty/Fifty movie challenge, I’m doing so much better, having been able to watch a few films while my daughter was home for summer break. Among them:

Bye Bye Birdie, a 1963 musical starring Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret and Janet Leigh.

A double-feature of Bridget Jones Diary and Bridget Jones the Edge of Reason (Yay! Colin Firth!)

Grey Gardens, an HBO movie starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. Based on a true story, Drew won an Emmy for her portray.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, fun chick-flick with Kate Hudson.

The Company Men, good but depressing movie, starring Ben Affleck, filmed during the height of the economic downturn.

So, what books did you read? What films did you catch up on last month?

Thoughtsy Tagged me!

And Nate Shenk, Behind My Stunnas, and Dogdaz did, too!

Though, if you ask Behind My Stunnas, she’ll say she pimped me.

And, if that’s not enough, Lisa W. Rosenberg and Genesis Meranda each gave me a Sunshine Award, and Lisa, Eloise and Behind My Stunnas also gave me The Versatile Blogger Award (That makes six, so I must be very versatile, indeed!). Plus, not to be outdone, Renee gave me the Lovely Blog Award, while Lisa also gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award! Yikes! So many awards for little, old moi?? Why, I declare! I do believe I’m blushing.

Someone, puh-lease get me my smelling salts!

All these accolades have come in recent months, and I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve been remiss in showing my gratitude. Until now, that is.

So thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank my fellow bloggers who have bestowed on me such fine awards. You’ve made me feel pretty, pretty special.

But, before I get too full of myself, I must now answer some questions put forth by these crazy kids who saw fit to tag me. And, frankly, as there are altogether too many questions, I’m only going to answer a few.

  • Pop-Tarts: frosted or unfrosted?  Definitely frosted and only the kind of the strawberry persuasion. Love the sprinkles, too.
    Do you think I’m pretty? You can use this picture as a reference.  No, that’s not me asking this question. This was put forth by Thoughtsy of Thoughts Appear. And I think Thoughtsy is, indeed, very pretty, with a quirky sense of humor, a love of sweets, and a healthy obsession with zombies.
  • What’s your favorite quote? That’s easy.  “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.”  Sir Walter Scott said it—not Shakespeare, as some think—and, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was thinking of me when he wrote it.
  • What are you proud of?
    I am proud of the fact that, no matter what mayhem is thrown my way, I’m the kind of gal that likes to look on the bright side. So, move over, Pollyanna, two can play at this game!
  • What country (other than America) would you like to live in?  Forget country! I’m picking a continent: Europe. After all, why just settle for one nation?
    What TV show do you watch that you’re embarrassed to admit to?  None. I’m not ashamed of any of the shows I watch, whether it be Ringer, Parks and Recreation, The Daily Show, General Hospital (now that my own soap has been unceremoniously cancelled)r Masterpiece. As long as they’re not reality shows (which I absolutely detest), then they’re all worthwhile.  
  • What ambition do you still have?
    To write, write, write. To write until I’m blue in the face or hell freezes over, whichever comes first. Oh, and to get published. Wouldn’t it be nice if my book made it on the New York Times‘ Bestseller List? Dream on, I say!
  • Do you believe that the government should legalize marijuana? (heh-heh you don’t have to answer, I just wanted to mix things up a bit).  Yes, Nate. This is a no-brainer. It’s silly not to, akin to Prohibition. People are going to use it anyway so might as well legalize it and tax it heavily (like we do cigarettes), so we can pump much-needed dollars into states that are currently struggling—like California.  If we did this, we could get rid of the national debt in a heartbeat!
  • Who would you like to meet who is still living?  Colin Firth. He’s a man for all seasons: A great (handsome) actor who’s British (and that’s always a plus!). He’s also charitable, an advocate for the environment, a loving husband and has just about every other quality that is good in this world. And, if given a chance to meet him, I’m bringing along Meditating Mummy, who shares my devotion.
    And, while I’m at it, I’d also like to meet all my fellow bloggers and readers, who regularly comment, and say nice things about my insipid writings, and who have amazing blogs that I thoroughly enjoy reading. I’d throw them a party, and serve Mango Margaritas, and we’d laugh and banter into the wee hours of the morn. And, as the sun begins to rise, I’d sing a song about drunken sailors, and we’d all dance a round of the insidious, mind-boggling classic, the Macarena. We’d culminate with a game of miniature golf. It promises to be a blast! So, who’s in?

So, now I’m passing these awards on to the following folks who all have wonderful blogs, so be sure to check them out! Finally, not to be outdone, Henry, too, has picked a few of his faves. So here’s our list:

Bassa’s Blog

Bongo Dog Blog

Arkwrights of Orton

The Big Green Bowl

The Film Fatales

Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace

I Know I Made You Smile


The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein

Meditating Mummy

Musings by an ND Domer’s Mom

One Sister’s Rant

Reinventing the Event Horizon

Savvy Working Gal

The Ten Things She Thinks About

Apropos of nothing, I just returned from a fabulous trip to Seattle where I took a class on memoir writing and will tell you more about my visit in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!

Now, that you’ve all been tagged, know this. There are rules. I’m supposed to give you questions to answer and then you’re supposed to tag and/or award to others. But, I say–and Henry agrees–make your own rules! Or not.

And, most of all, take pleasure in knowing you’ve been honored by a jury of your peers (if Henry and I count as peers). Enjoy the accolades. You deserve them!