Friday Movie Whimsy: Yesterday

Because Yesterday is a relatively family friendly movie, I saw the preview for the film many times in the previous few months. Every kids’ movie and every adult movie I watched featured the preview. And every time I saw the clip, I thought, “I don’t have any desire to see that movie with its ridiculous premise.” The truth is that it wasn’t until a blogger I like and trust said Yesterday was wonderful (in fact she said it was one of her favorite movies of all time) that I decided I wanted to see the movie. And I knew I had better hurry because it must be at the tail end of its run.

The British film features a cast with which I was mostly unfamiliar. I recognized Lily James from her Downton Abbey Days, and she plays the manager and closest friend of wannabe singer/songwriter Jack Malik. As hard as he tries, Jack finds no success and is becoming frustrated.

And then there is a never-explained event during which the entire world loses power for 12 minutes. Following that cataclysmic event, it doesn’t take long before Jack figures out that no one else in the world has ever heard of the Beatles or is familiar with any of their music. He takes advantage of that fact, and becomes an overnight success using their songs.

The story is poignant and mesmerizing as Jack is torn between the joy of finally being appreciated and the guilt in knowing that he has stolen the music even though nobody knows it. Or do they? The fun in the film for me is the opportunity to hear the classic and familiar Beatles songs performed ably by talented actor and musician Hamesh Patel who plays the lead. What, in fact, would the musical world be like if the Beatles’ music never existed?

The ending, which included a pleasant romantic conclusion, was satisfying and allows the viewer to leave the theater with a smile. See the movie while you still can!




Thursday Thoughts

Homeland Security
The other day, an intriguing post turned up on my Pinterest feed. It was an article about survival techniques for all sorts of random things. Things such as snake bites and tornadoes, but also things like mass shootings and nuclear bomb attacks. I bit, and clicked on the link. Then, the next day, another post showed up on my feed. The topic was how to become what they referred to as a gray man. Again, I bit and clicked on the link. That article was about how you can fit into crowds when you don’t want to be noticed; thus, you become a gray man. Now, I’m getting all sorts of feeds about how to hide out from people who are looking for me. I have finally gotten smart enough to stop clicking on the links. But I am undoubtedly being watched by Homeland Security at this point. If I could keep up with whomever is in charge of Homeland Security, I would plead with him or her to recognize that I am a simple girl from Nebraska, a wife, a mother, and the grandmother of nine, who makes pickles and peach pies. I haven’t the remotest desire to be a terrorist.

Summer Visitor
Bec arrived yesterday afternoon for her annual summer visit. She will be here for a few days before heading to Estes Park over the weekend. Her plans after that are to head to Fort Collins, where she has leased a VRBO in Old Town Fort Collins, where she will be able to sit on her patio with a glass of wine and watch the action in the city. I’m hoping to join her for a day or so. Her VRBO is small, but I think my sister Jen will let me crash at her house.

Summer Rain
Bec likes to come about this time every year because she (along with every other Arizonan) has had it up to here with the hot weather by now. That’s why she so enjoyed yesterday evening as we sat out on our covered patio as it rained. We didn’t have a glass of wine, but we did have a piece of peach pie. That’s even better…..

Day before yesterday was a big day at the David McLain household. Dagny (who turned 13 yesterday) and her father broke open the beehive and began harvesting the honey. I had a quick taste, and it’s as good as last year, if not better. I haven’t asked her how much honey they harvested, but they were working on filling up a big white bucket. Before you know it, D’s Bees honey will be available for sale…..


Sew What Else Is New?

When I walked into the small room that housed the sewing class, I immediately regressed nearly 50 years. The sewing machines looked a bit newer. I didn’t see hide nor hair of my old Home Economics teacher. Still, the sheer terror in my soul felt very familiar.

The last time I went head-to-head with a sewing machine was in 1970, and the knowledge didn’t stick. After learning the basics about the sewing machine (knowledge of which I have absolutely no recollection), we were sent away with instructions to find a pattern, purchase some material, and face the music the following week.

I’m unable to get into the mind of that 17 year old girl who was me, but for whatever reason, I chose a pant suit — slacks and a jacket. That might not have been so bad, but the material I selected was — to put it bluntly — awful. It was some sort of wool plaid in shades of puke and baby diarrhea as I recall. I have to give my teacher credit because I don’t remember her even remotely blanching. Perhaps she had seen worse.

Needless to say, I never wore the suit, which was undoubtedly (pardon my French) shittily made. I’m sure it went to a thrift store, or perhaps my mother assumed even the homeless wouldn’t want to wear that suit. And for nearly 50 years, I didn’t sit at a sewing machine.

However, as you will recall from this previous post, I decided in my doddery that I wanted to make a wallet. And in order to make said wallet, I needed to know how to sew on a sewing machine. Before I could change my mind, I signed up for a class at Joann’s.

And that’s why I faced the fear of God last Sunday. We were to make a pillow.

“Did you bring your materials?” the teacher asked me cheerfully.

Of course, I didn’t. Because I didn’t read the confirmation email very thoroughly as I was making pickles. But it was no problem, because People Who Sew are very cheerful and forgiving.

“You need to go pick out two fat quarters and some stuffing,” she said.

And so the problems began. I had no idea of the meaning of fat quarters. I was vaguely familiar with the term because it was part of the pattern I had purchased to make the wallet, and much of the reason that I was taking the class. Fat quarters, for any other non-sewers who didn’t pay attention during Home Ec, are those little folded pieces of fabric that you see hanging on displays near the fabric bolts.

Once settled, I looked around at my classmates, all who were considerably younger than I. To my surprise and delight, they all had the same deer-in-the-headlights look that my face displayed. I was relieved, because it would not have been the first time I signed up for a beginner class that featured all non-beginners.

The teacher started the class by talking about the features of the sewing machine. After listening to features that sounded like I would be working on a computer instead of a sewing machine, I meekly explained to my teacher that the sewing machine on which I would be working was a cast-iron Necci that was built before WWII. I was delighted to see that she was completely nonplussed; she even told me where I can go to get the machine lubed up and running good as new.

While I will approach my project with trepidation, I nonetheless enjoyed the class. And I am happy with my simple result……

Hey, it might not look like much, but at least it’s not puke and baby diarrhea!

Almost Like a Day at the Beach

I mentioned that my mother was always the prophet of doom every July 4 when she announced that summer was half over. For my Denver grandkids, the summer was half over way sooner than the Fourth of July. Because tick tock tick tock, some of them go back to school as early as next week.

I have been promising Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole all summer long that I would take them to Pirates Cove, a smallish water park in one of Denver’s suburbs. A few days ago, I looked at my calendar and realized that it was yesterday or never. I have plans the rest of the week. No matter what Alice Cooper says, school isn’t out forever. In fact, they go back this coming Monday. God be with the three of them and their teachers. The other four Denver grands go back the following week. The Vermont grands have a bit more time, I believe.

Anyhoo, I spent yesterday at Pirates Cove in the hot sun watching the three of them swim and play and get huge buckets of water dumped on them and eat lunch and swim some more. Even I got a bit into the action (after I recovered from stuffing myself into a swim suit).

Not being as young as I used to be, I was tired last night. Thus, you will have to look at these photos and simply imagine what we did yesterday; then you can write your own blog post in your mind…..

Early in the day, before the fun had really begun.

Cole certainly enjoyed his cheeseburger for lunch.

And then there was the mid-afternoon snack of Nutella cups. Cole has been watching Kids You Tube. Notice the leg pop. And the dirty face.

And then it was time to leave for home, though a quick stop at Sonic for a limeade was a must-do.

I don’t know if they were as tired as I, but we certainly had a fun day.

A Pickle a Day

It all started with a tall bouquet of fresh dill at the farm store. A beautiful, fragrant bouquet of dill. A big bouquet that told me there would be pickling cucumbers somewhere nearby.

Sure enough, just on the other side of the counter were stacks and stacks of pickling cucumbers, small and lumpy and ugly,  but perfect for making pickles. I bought three or four pounds of cucumbers and took them home to make and can some dill pickles.

My annual canning day is something to which I look forward every year. I used to can tomatoes and jelly and peaches and dilly beans as well as cucumber pickles, but I’m not quite the woman I used to be (in so many ways).

To illustrate my diminishing capacities, though it was the dill that set me down the pickling path, I went home without buying dill. I went back a few days later and bought the bunch of dill about which I waxed so eloquently above. It was so big, I could scarcely fit it in the back of my Yellow Bug. My car smelled like dill for two full days.

When I got home, I put it in a vase to stay fresh. It was so tall that it wouldn’t fit on my counter without hitting the ceiling. I made it work by chopping off the bottom quarter…..

Pickling Day arrived. I washed out all the glass jars I could scrounge up and found some unused bands and lids. I cut up my cukes into spears and put them in the clean jars along with the vinegar brine, the garlic, the mustard seeds, and some of the fresh dill. Alas, I had purchased only enough cucumbers for six pints of pickles, and the dill looked as big and full as ever!…..

I looked at the dill for a full day before deciding that I couldn’t throw it away. It was too beautiful. So I trekked back to the farm store and bought some more cukes, having decided to make more dill pickle, this time slices. Of course, I didn’t have any more jars, not even in the basement where I can usually find a few dusty masons. So I went to the grocery store and bought a case of canning jars.

I made and processed my dill pickle slices and they were beautiful……

Still, the dill bouquet continued to look virtually unused. I tried to talk myself into just tossing what was left, but it was so pretty.

I decided to venture into new territory and make dill pickle relish. This involved chopping. Lots of chopping. If I was a normal person, I would have used my food processor. But I wanted relish that was cut into larger chunks and cramped my hands from chopping….

I filled six jars and processed them in the water bath. Afterwards, I still had eight cucumbers left, six half pint jars, and, yes, dill. I gritted my teeth, chopped up the remaining cucumbers, and finished my day by making sweet pickle relish.

As the relish cooked in its water bath, I hollered at Bill to open the door. I ran outside and tossed the remaining dill in the trash with my eyes closed and my teeth clenched. Pickling season was over. And I am left with six jars of dill pickle spears, six jars of dill pickle slices seven jars of dill pickle relish and six jars of sweet pickle relish. Enough pickle products, my friends, to make even Caroline Ingalls proud. Little house on the prairie, indeed…..

And it all started because of a tall bouquet of fresh dill from the farm store. The dill cost me $3.99. The cucumbers, jars, spices, and time commitment cost me much more.

Friday Book Whimsy: The Sentence is Death

Author Anthony Horowitz is one of my favorite writers. He is the creator of and writer for two of my favorite Brit mystery programs: Foyle’s War and Midsommer Murder. He has also joined the legion of folks who have written Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but done a much better job of most. With his  2018 novel The Word is Murder, he came up with one of the most clever story ideas I’ve ever come across as a reader. He continues this clever idea in The Sentence is Murder.

What is the idea? With a wink at Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Horowitz writes himself –not a takeoff on himself, but actually his very own person — as a character in the book. In fact, he is Dr. Watson to London private investigator Daniel Hawthorne’s Sherlock Holmes.

London attorney Richard Pryce is found dead in his home, having been hit over the head with a bottle of expensive wine. It seems clear from the get-go that one of his clients — a famous, if odd writer is the murderer. After all, she threatened to kill him with a bottle of wine in front of a restaurant full of people. Still, just like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, nothing is as it seems.

though Horowitz (the character) is getting much better at figuring out the nuances of the mystery, he still is pretty klutzy when compared to the much-more astute Hawthorne.

The mystery is good, but the real fun is reading about Horowitz’s insecurities and problems around writing and producing real-life shows like Foyle’s War as part of the story line. And it was fun to get to learn a bit more about the heretofore secret life of the brilliant detective Hawthorne.

I loved this book, and can’t wait for the next.

Here is a link to the book.