A Gaggle of Books & Films

Must read. Must watch movies. As many know, I’m in the Fifty Fifty challenge, which is why I must do both!

MOVIES: Now, as far as movies go, I’ve only seen three this month (last month I saw eight): The Descendants, which still has me wondering, why would anyone cheat on George Clooney? Inside Daisy Clover, starring a stellar cast that includes Natalie Wood, Robert Redford, Christopher Plummer, and a plucky Ruth Gordon. But this 1965 film is such a sad movie about Hollywood in its early days–when actors were under contracts and had to uphold a moral code set by the big studios–that touches upon themes of addiction, mental illness and homosexuality.

Whitney Houston as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard.

The third film I’ve seen this month is The Bodyguard. When I learned of Whitney Houston’s passing on February 11th, I felt compelled to watch this film once more. I hadn’t seen it in years, but I remember loving this film and especially, the music. For, Whitney’s music in this film helped me through my divorce. It was inspiring to me then, and this time around, I found it all the more poignant. And though The Bodyguard has a happy ending, knowing what we know now, makes it bittersweet, as in the end, no one could save Whitney from herself. Except, maybe, if Kevin Costner, who gave an incredibly moving eulogy at her funeral on Saturday, had still been her bodyguard.  If Whitney’s music touched you in any way, please be sure to check out my Huffington Post story on how her music made a difference in my life.


In January I read three books. So far, in February, I’ve read two. The verdict is still out whether I’m going to make the 50-mark, but, thankfully, I still have about eight months to go.  Here are the two books that I’ve read so far:

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley – This is a Flavia de Luce mystery, and it’s like reading a sophisticated Nancy Drew mystery, set in the quaint English countryside in the middle of the last century. Flavia is so nifty and knowing. She’s 12 years old and probably the smartest person in her village, cleverer than even the chief of police.

Mothers, Daughters, and Other Mysteries by Heather McPhaul – Fellow blogger and stunt woman extraordinaire, also known in some circles as Aging Gal, is a total hoot. She tells it like it is and makes the mundane seem hilarious. I discovered Heather when she was Freshly Pressed in March, 2011. Her post, about planning to one day retire to prison, where all her expenses will be covered–by taxpayers–and health care is free, still remains one of my favorites. It had me laughing so hard, I cried.

Her novel, Mothers, Daughters, and Other Mysteries, is about a young woman, Leeann Conklin who, at a crossroads in her life, decides to start her own detective agency in NYC. Leeann has issues with her mom, Ava Gerard, a diva-type who pops in for a surprise visit when she’s in town for the Daytime Emmy Awards. Of course, this all happens just when Leeann gets her first detective gig. Ava joins in the mayhem that ensues, coming up with a few crafty disguises to help solve the crime.

I like supporting my fellow bloggers when I can, and I hope you will, too, by reading Heather’s book. It’s a fun, easy read!

And speaking of books, I’m excited that, later this week, I’m going to meet best-selling author Jennifer Niven, whose book, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, will be featured at a special event hosted by Adventures By the Book. Now, I just adore Adventures By the Book events, because they’re not just your run-of-the-mill author book signings–they’re an experience! And, for this one, where the theme is all about flying, we’re going to be taking a tour of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Now, Velva Jean Learns to Fly happens to be a sequel to Velva Jean Learns to Drive, and I’m thinking I ought to read these books in order. Wouldn’t you agree?

So, dear readers, what movies have you seen lately? What books are you reading? Inquiring minds just have to know!

Voting Time in America

Apparently, my vote counts.  In a BIG way.  To look at my inbox these days, you would think that I alone am going to be the deciding vote on just about everything in Tuesday’s election. So look out, fellow Americans, I’m carrying a lot of clout, if you ask me.

Here’s how I know:  I’m getting at least 100 emails everyday telling me whom I should vote for and whom I should vote against.  Not to mention, where I should stand on the countless propositions on this year’s ballot.  Of course, this doesn’t include the barrage of telephone and text messages, as well as postcards I’m receiving daily.  So, is it just me, or is this election the biggest of the century—the only one that truly matters?

Not a recent photo, but this is how I picture him looking when he calls me about voting.

It seems a lot is riding on it and frankly, it’s got me stressed.  The 24-hour news cycle has whipped me into a frenzy. I’m pacing the hallways of my little home, wondering frantically what will the outcome be?  Which party is going to take the house? Which will control the senate? Inquiring minds want to know and cannot wait until Tuesday night to learn the answer.  That is really unfair, if you ask me.  I’m not the kind of person that likes to wait. “Impatient” should have been my middle name and, to all the pundits out there, you know what I’m talking about.

You know you guys can’t wait either. Every pundit has a prediction about the outcome of the election and each prediction has been different from the next.  So which one should I believe?  Who is credible and who indeed knows best?  This is almost as intense as predicting who’ll take home the Oscar.  (Colin Firth, I’m betting on you!)

And it’s not just the emails that have me in a tizzy. I’m also getting phone messages from none other than Robert Redford himself, which has me spinning out of control.  Mr. Redford wants me to vote “No” on something.  But I’m not falling for it. Nope. I’m not impressed.  It’s a recorded message after all.

Now, if Mr. Redford called to personally speak to me, I would let him fill out my ballot for me.  He’d have carte blanche.  I’d invite him over for dinner and he could tell me exactly who and what I should vote for, and what I should think, for that matter. It’s those blue eyes and come hither looks. Yes, I’m a sucker for the Sundance Kid. In fact, I’ll just go ahead and write him in as a candidate for governor and senator.  He’s bound to win with my vote.

And if all the emails and phone calls weren’t enough to stress me out,there’s all the political ads that make me feel like I’m watching a train wreck or worse, a reality show, like “Fear Factor.”  The way these politicians crawl all over each other, you’d think they were competing to win a million bucks, not a thankless political job.  In these ads, candidates says scathing things about their opponents and if I were to believe everything they say, well then we have some pretty awful people running for office, if you ask me.  The worst of the worst, bottom of the barrel folks.

Well, the election will be over in less than 48 hours.  At which time, I will no longer be Ms. Popular. My clout will be gone. Zippo. My email inbox will once again look deflated and woefully lonely, and my phone will stop ringing off the hook. I’ll probably never hear from Robert Redford again. Sigh.

At least I have the next few hours to look forward to more emails, calls and the like.  Until then, just do me a favor: don’t tell these folks I already voted.  Psst, I mailed in my ballot weeks ago.  After all, I’m too impatient to wait for Election Day to vote!  How about you, have you voted?  Well, if you haven’t, snap to it!