Sunday, May 15, 2016

Movie Reviews

I am a big movie fan and look for movies with strong and sympathetic characters.

Here are a few that I've seen in the last few weeks. Our local library has movies that can be checked out, including a good selection of foreign movies. I also like to browse the FREE movies on my cable network. 

"Room"  This is a new release and the lead actress (well deserved) won the Academy Award for Best Actress. I was a little apprehensive about seeing this movie because of the premise of the story, but it turned out to be different than what I expected. "Ma" is a young mother who was abducted as a teen. She and her five-year old son live in a shed. The abductor is a shadowy figure (thankfully the filmmaker did not make this a graphic movie). "Ma", whose real name is Joy, has created an imaginary world for her little boy, as he has never been in the outside world. But now he is getting older and she realizes that he is getting smarter and more aware, so she plots an escape from this hell. This could have been a very dark movie, but it is ultimately about love and the resilience of the human spirit.

"Wit"     This movie, with Emma Thompson, came out about 15 years ago. It is a stark and real portrayal of a cancer patient. Professor Vivian Bearing speaks to the camera as the intellectual that she is. There is a poignant scene of one of her professors coming to see her in her final days and reading a children's book, "The Runaway Bunny." A caring nurse is played by singer and actress Audra McDonald. "Wit" is based on a Pulitzer-prized play written by a former teacher, the only play that she has written.

"The Boat is Full"     Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film in 1981, this is a movie that takes place during World War II. A group of refugees escape to Switzerland and are discovered in a barn by an innkeeper. The innkeeper's wife wants to help them, but her husband wants to turn them into the police as was the law at the time. I don't know if this was a true story or not, but it was more than likely based on true events. At the end of the movie we see the refugees walking across a bridge, not knowing what the future holds. It is only in the postscript that we find out.

"Goodbye Solo"     I found this gem of a movie as one of the free Sundance movie offerings on my cable network. This movie is about two different men. Solo is an African cab driver in North Carolina and William is a gruff, elderly white man. William wants to end his life on a certain date and wants Solo to be his driver. He wants to go to Blowing Rock. Solo is charming, optimistic, hopeful and endearing. Solo wants a better life for himself. He used to be a flight attendant and has hopes of leaving his cab driving days for a better future. When he meets William he is intrigued by the private man and seeks to help him, even though the older man doesn't want his help. This is a wonderful movie. 

If you have a favorite movie recommendation please feel free to comment. Thanks!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

Today was Mother's Day. It was a perfect day. My daughters surprised me by taking me to lunch at a seafood restaurant about an hour's drive from here in a quaint little riverfront town. The kind of southern restaurant that sits on the river and serves sweet tea and hot cornbread in little iron skillets and tin plates for the appetizers. The food was good and the service was great. They were prepared for a busy Mother's Day, seeing all the servers in their matching polo shirts.

Afterwards, my granddaughters wanted to buy some potting soil and seeds, so we made a trip to Home Depot. They miss the garden, so my daughter told them that they could grow a few things in clay pots. They wanted strawberries and heirloom tomatoes and marigolds and even bought some watermelon seeds (the small variety), so we will see how it goes. I was excited that the girls, ages 5, 9 and 11, would show an interest in growing things. They are outdoorsy kids and would rather walk around the block instead of staying inside. 

The drive home.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Be Still, and Know that I Am God

Whenever there is a crisis or a situation that I can't control I turn to this scripture.

The past few weeks have made me turn to this scripture more than once.

An old friend was diagnosed with cancer.

Another family that I know lost a son.

A young woman that I know was in a serious car accident and is still in a coma.

A young family member is undergoing a crisis.

And more...

We want to ask, "Why?"

My friend went from being a healthy person one day to becoming a cancer patient the next day.

While they were enjoying life after their retirement, my other friends are

mourning the loss of their son.

The young woman is a mother of a young child and now lies in intensive care.

These are things that we don't understand. We look for answers, but sometimes they aren't there.

The only thing that we can do is "Be still, and know that He is God."

New Dishes

One thing that I inherited from my German mother is the love of dishes. When she passed away she had no less than eight tea services! Thankfully, with four daughters we were able to split them up without having to sell any. The two services I inherited will go to my daughters.

I've always loved blue and white china and when my mother passed away my sisters gave me her blue and white pieces, like the ones in the picture below.

I spent half of today making room for my new dishes. Yes, I couldn't resist. A few weeks ago my oldest daughter and I were shopping at Belk, in the housewares department. The blue and white "Devon Cottage" by Johnson Brothers were on sale and being discontinued. My daughter found out that each piece was marked down to $5.99. For fine china that is a deal! I also had a coupon with an extra discount. "Come on, Mom," my daughter encouraged me, "Go ahead and get them, because you have been wanting these for years." So, I did. Now I have to invite some friends over for dinner or a tea party.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Springtime = Allergies

Is it April already? I am glad to say say good bye to March. 
My allergies and sinus congestion
have been particularly annoying this year. 
Still, I went to the park on Saturday to enjoy the weather.
It was still a bit chilly, but the sun was shining 
and the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


One thing I like about having the DVR on my television is that I don't have to sit through the commercials. I can tape a show and later, while watching it, fast-forward and end up watching an hour-long show in 45 minutes. I also like the pause button. If the phone rings or I have to throw a load of clothes in the dryer, or if I am interrupted for any reason, the pause button comes in handy. 

That's in a make believe world. We can interrupt the annoyances. And get back to the "real" show.

But real life is not like that. A dear friend has been diagnosed with cancer after an ordinary trip to the emergency room last week. Another friend from church lost their son last week. A cousin is facing unsettling medical tests. Where is the pause button?

Sometimes I would like to fast forward through all the bad news, or better yet, press the pause button for just a moment and take that phone call.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Morning Rituals

          I listen to your footsteps in the early morning
turning on the kitchen faucet
and starting the coffee
I listen as you unlock the door
and walk to the end of the driveway
to pick up the morning newspaper

I listen to the clock radio
as another Top 40 record plays
and as the DJ tells another silly joke
I pull the blanket over me
through the weather report
and the latest news headlines

You open the bedroom door, softly
to see if I am awake
I rub the sleep from my eyes
and reach for my robe
which had fallen to the floor
and wrap it close around me

You pour my morning coffee
as I hunt for my reading glasses
You chatter; I am quiet
the early bird and the night owl
 We are familiar with each other's habits
especially in the early morning hours

(c) 2005 Anita M. Ashworth

(I wrote this several years ago)