All posts by verily sherrilee

Directionally challenged, crafty, reading mother of young adult

It’s Statuette Time

One of my close friends is a big fan of the Oscars.  I think I’ve mentioned that every year when the list comes out, she makes a copy, checks of which movies she has seen and then spends the next month or so trying to fill in the blanks by watching as many as she can.  I love her dearly but just cannot bring myself to join her in this mania; I’ve thought for years that the film industry is the most insecure industry – the amount of self-adulation in the way of awards that it needs amazes me.

But because she’s a friend, I did click open the announcement today of what films will be up for Oscars this year.  It’s no surprise that I haven’t seen any of them (I quit reading when we got down to costumes) since I haven’t been to a movie theatre since December of 2019.  However it was a surprise that I had only heard of two of them.  I’ve noticed “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix and I did read a YouTube review of “Mulan” but none of the other movies in any category even rang a small bell.  Normally I’ve heard of a lot of Oscar nominees because I’ve seen the commercials on TV but not this past year.

Did these movies come out in theatres?  If so, who went to see them?  Have they all been out on TV on subscription channels (of which YA and I have only Disney+, because it’s free right now)?  Have other people heard of these films and I’m just more clueless than usual?  Do we even need Oscars this year?

Have you seen any of the nominees for this year?  Will you?  Anything you think the Academy has overlooked?

Pi Day – Not!

NO I DIDN’T HAVE A PARTY WITHOUT YOU GUYS!!  PHOTO IS FROM TWO YEARS AGO – SENT TO ME BY A FRIEND.

One year ago on the day before Pi Day, I read an online column in which I saw the “flatten the curve” phrase for the first time. Even though only one person had told me that they were going to skip the Pi Day party due to covid-19.  But after reading that column, I realized that I needed to get onboard immediately and I started calling and texting people, letting them know I was cancelling.

Like everyone else, I was thinking that we’d have a couple of bad months and then get back on track, so I kept all my Pi Day organizational materials: the list of ingredients that I had bought (and hopefully wlll need to buy again), my timing spreadsheet with what time various pies have to go in the oven and what temperature they need (sorted by temperature, of course) and the little placecards with all the pie names.  All these items are in the drawer in the living room and I see them occasionally and sigh.  And now it’s been a second Pi Day with no festivities in the house. 

Not entertaining has been a huge hit for me during pandemic.  I entertain a lot and I miss it a lot.  You all know that I try to keep my expectations low, so I’m hoping that I’ll eventually be able to have Pi Day fun at my place, but I’m not making plans.  And that’s made me think about other changes that I’ve made that may or may not be permanent. 

I am spending WAY more time texting and emailing than I used to.  I’m spending way too much time farting around on my phone.  I’m doing my Italian lesson (also on my phone) every day – I’m on a 310 day streak and I doubled my lesson time about 4 months back.  For the first time in decades I am hitting the gym more than 12 times a month (masked, sanitized and socially distant).  Pre-pandemic I used to follow several blogs, a couple of chefs, several science sites, husky dogs; I’ve quit following all of them and only occasionally check them out – usually if they pop up in my feed.  Last summer I sent thank you cards to people with great gardens that I encountered while walking the dog.  I’ve started sending birthday cards to people on a Facebook group of stampers – complete strangers and I increased the cards that I made for charity.  Way more gardening and more jigsaw puzzles.

I don’t which of these habits will continue if and when we get past pandemic.  I hope to keep all the good changes (reaching out)  and jettison the bad ones (phone games) and I hope like heck that I eventually get to celebrate Pi Day with my friends and loved ones.  Maybe Pi and a Half Day? 

How has pandemic changed you?  Do you think some of your changes will continue?

Pierced

I see in the news that Jennifer Garner just got her ears pierced.  According to her, the main reason she didn’t do it sooner was because she thought her father would disapprove.

I can certainly understand.  Getting your ears pierced started to become popular when I was in high school.  As the years went by, more and more of my friends started to get pierced but my folks, particularly my father, were adamant that I not join the “fad”.  Back then the only official way to get your ears pierced was at the jewelry counter of the big departments stores and you had to have your parents permission if you were under 18.  There were a few girls I knew who did the deed on their own with a needle and ice cubes, but that scared the heck out of me.  It never occurred to me to go against my folks’ wishes in this, even if I could figure out how.

The argument went on for a couple of years and came to a head toward the end of my junior year.  All the trendy and interesting earrings were now pierced; the non-pierced options all made me feel like my grandmother.  Finally my father made his big error in his argument; he said that getting your ears pierced was a form of body mutilation “like those Ubangi natives you put the metals rings around their necks to stretch them out”.  I remember these words, because he brought it up several times before I came up with a counter-argument, that being overweight was also a form of body mutilation.  (My dad fought his weight his whole life.)  I’m not sure what gave me the bravery to say this to my dad and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I was struck with the certain fear that he might kill me for this comment.  (No, my dad was not abusive, so this is not literal.)  But he did not.  He actually left the room and the next day told me that I was right.  And if I lost 20 pounds, I could get my ears pierced.

If I would replicate the process by which I lost 20 pounds, I could bottle it and retire to my own private island on the proceeds.  Took about 3 weeks.  I know that my mom yelled at my dad over this, but they both took the honorable path; my mom drove me to the department store, stood by while I got my ears pierced and even paid for it. 

It was a good decision for me.  I adore earrings and I have far too many of them.  Friends who know of my earring fetish has brought me earrings from all over, including some huge paper mache dangly fish from Hong Kong and some adorable pink pig earrings from a barbecue joint in Boulder.  I have earrings from Sicily, Hawaii, London and even New Zealand.  YA has made earrings for me and I have trouble not going overboard making them for myself as well. 

I did not repeat my parents’ dictions; when YA turned 10 she wanted to get her ears pierced for her birthday.  Off to Claire’s we went.  Too bad that Jennifer Garner didn’t have ME for a parent.

What have you tried to do differently than your folks?  How did that work out?

They’re Coming to Take Me Away

I’ve been aware for some time that nothing I do online is really private.  If I look at some clothing website on Tuesday, by Wednesday, I’m getting sidebar ads for that same clothing company.  If I watch a Paws for Hope video on YouTube, suddenly lots of their videos pop to the top of my feed.  Same with Facebook.  Not too irritating although it makes me wonder if cyberspace is smart enough to know what I’m looking at, why isn’t it smart enough to know when I’ve made a purchase so they can stop showing me the ads for what I’ve bought?

I have a “color-by-number” app on my phone – it’s a mindless game that I often play if I have the tv on or am listening to a book on tape.  It only takes up about ¼ of my brain (if that).  It has a function that offers me “hints” if I watch the occasional ad.  Most of the time I ignore that function, but occasionally the puzzles have little bits that are almost impossible to see, so I like to have a couple of hints available.  About a month ago I noticed that the ads on this game were aligning with stuff that I was searching for online using my phone.  Not 100% but close enough.  So now my game is paying attention to what I’m up to when I’m not playing.   I wasn’t sure if I should worry about this or not.

Then yesterday I had the tv on while I was working in my studio.  One of the interminably long Cindy Crawford ads came on – the ones in which they talk about the special melons in the south of France.  I flipped on mute and waited it out.  While I was watching out of the corner of my eye for the commercial to end, I thought to myself “Well, at least they don’t run those Crepe Erase ads anymore.”  I’m not sure why I don’t like these ads, but I don’t even like to say the words “crepe” and “erase” together.  I have nothing against Jane Seymour, their spokeswoman, but I just don’t like the ads.  So imagine my shock when about 20 minutes later, there was Jane Seymour hawking Crepe Erase!  Honestly, I haven’t seen one of these ads for a couple of years at least.  It’s clear they’re reading my mind – this crosses the line!

Do you have a favorite hat?

BestSeller

When I was a kid, the only things I ever sold were Kool-Aid (from a card table on the sidewalk) and Girl Scout Cookies every year.  We didn’t have school fundraisers back then and I don’t ever remember my family having a garage sale.

But YA is a selling whiz. She has all the apps and programs down pat and excels at the various online ways to get paid and how to ship things or if something needs to sold locally.  She says she doesn’t use “C_list” anymore because everybody wants to bargain the price down to nothing.  We have a small stockpile of boxes in a corner of the attic that she uses for sending things off to various buyers.

She also has a good eye for what might sell and how much she might get for it.  She is careful with her shoes and clothing and likes to have what is current and trendy, so many of the boxes shipped off are her used clothing. Outdated electronics have gone out as well as a bike that she had outgrown.  The big surprise this past year were two corduroy Apple baseball caps that I’ve had in my closet for decades; I got them from a supplier years ago when I was still working for Software, Etc.  I was cleaning out stuff last summer, getting it ready for Goodwill/Value Village when YA spied them.  She sold one for $150 and the other for $140.  I was gobsmacked.  Yesterday she sold off a PS4 game station that I bought her years ago but which went mostly unused.  It works perfectly well and her buyer thought it was a good deal at $250.  Again I was amazed as I would probably have put it out at a garage sale for 10 bucks.

So I’m letting her be in charge of selling off the household bit by bit.  If it’s an item that is clearly mine (hats) or that I initially paid for (PS4) then we split the money.  Right now I’m trying to get her interested in putting some of my old stamp sets on the market. 

What chore/job do you like to offload on others?

Winter Attitude

It’s not spring yet… it’s not spring yet… it’s not spring yet. 

It’s my mantra right now.  Most of the snow and ice is melted from the yard.  I’m able to get out (without a coat or even sweatshirt) and walk the dog.  The footprint of my bales, where there is not grass, is showing.  YA has mentioned plants for the garden this year as well as some solar light that she thinks we need in the back.

But I’m cynical and am waiting for the other shoe to drop.  It’s just too unbelievable that spring is here.  Didn’t the groundhog see his shadow?  My winter attitude does well for me.  I was able to run errands this past February (when it was hovering around zero) with a sweatshirt, scarf and gloves. So I’m a little skeptical that I can break out the zorries and tank tops.  If I lose my winter attitude, what happens if spring is just jerking us around?

How do you handle the changes of season? Do you have a favorite?

A Watery Surprise

For many years, I was a Marvel / DC movie fan.  Not a rapid fan, mind you, but enough of a fan to watch the movies.  And not enough of a fan to pay money for those movies…. that’s another story.  The last few years have soured me however.  I never could keep the X-Men timeline straight and the movies became darker and darker.  When I started to see spoilers about who would die in the last big Avenger extravaganza, I decided it was time to take a pass. 

Over the weekend, I was surfing around the on-demand movies and saw the Aquaman had once again jumped to the top of the list.  I turned it on with a little trepidation, telling myself that I could always just turn it off – not like I had and expensive ticket stub in my pocket or a full tub of popcorn on my lap.

It was a classic underdog good guy against bad guys who just seem to be bad because they can. Aquaman’s human name is Arthur, which was a bit endearing, and I managed to suspend all sense of reality.

But the big surprise was the lead female character, Mera.  She was intelligent, strong, driven and a magnificent warrior.  In every fight scene (and there were many) she held her own and in fact, saved Aquaman at one point.  Never did she scream, faint, shrink back behind the hero or need to be rescued by him.  Towards the end of the final battle, she is the one who plants a whopper kiss on him, not the other way around.   The only other female character (Arthur’s mother) was also fabulous – a warrior queen who made the ultimate sacrifice for her family.

It’s too bad that there were only two of these splendid characters.  The rest of the movie was fairly predictable, although it had a few minutes of wry humor here and there.  It was entirely because of the two women that I can say I enjoyed the overall film. 

Tell me about your favorite women movie characters!

Frozen Food Day

I think I’ve mentioned that I got a fun “every day a celebration” calendar by Sandra Boynton for Solstice?  According to the calendar (verified on other sources), today is National Frozen Food Day.  Apparently Ronald Reagan decided in 1984 that we needed a day to celebrate frozen foods – there is actually a proclamation (#5157) to this effect.

Frozen Food Day caught my attention because I just watched a documentary last week about some of the great “inventions” of the 20th century.  It began with the Kellogg brothers and CW Post, battling it out for cereal sales.  When CW Post passed away, he left his company for his daughter, Marjorie, who turned out to be one smart cookie.  In 1929 she bought out the entire Clarence Birdseye company (one of the other great inventors in the documentary).  With the General Foods backing, the frozen food industry was able to grow by leaps and bounds. 

In our freezer there are lots of things that we have frozen: berries that we’ve picked, pineapple puree cubes (YA makes these), my sun-dried tomatoes, my jams.  I also keep my coffee and my Ralston in the freezer and we have lots of assorted fruits.  Waffles and cookie dough. Ice cream (Moose Tracks right now) .  Assorted things we find (mostly at Trader Joe’s).

This is too much for just our freezer upstairs so we have a small freezer in the basement as well.  It’s nice to have a spot for extras or the occasional bulk purchase.  I’m very glad that Clarence Birdseye developed the flash freezing process and even more glad that Marjorie Post put her considerable company and funding behind it.  Even enough to celebrate today!

Anything interesting in your freezer?  Any guilty freezer pleasures?

Snollygoster

Dictionary.com still sends me an email every day.  Some days I already know the word and most days I think “I’ve never seen this word before and I doubt I’ll ever see it again.”  But it’s still fun.  Last week, the word snollygoster hit my Inbox.  It means a clever, unscrupulous person.  This definitely falls into the category of “I’ll probably never run into this again” but it seems like such a fun word that maybe I should play with it for a bit.

If you are clever

But a bit unscrupulous –

A snollygoster!

Can you use it in a sentence?  Extra points if you can do a better haiku than I did!

Holes

I’m not a critical movie watcher.  You’ll guess this when I tell you that my favorites include How to Steal a Million Dollars, Sneakers, Laura, People Will Talk, Dial M for Murder, Sahara, Hopscotch, Moonstruck….  If you can find any pattern here, let me know.

Last week I came across Ghostbusters (the original) and although I wouldn’t call it a favorite, I like it enough to watch it again.  About 2/3 of the way through the movie, Bill Murray’s character shows up for a date at the apartment of the Sigourney Weaver character.  She has been taken over by an evil spirit and is waiting for the “key master”.  Bill Murray calls his ghostbuster colleague and during the conversation he says “I’ve got her whacked up with 300 cc of Thorazine”.  I’ve heard the line before in previous viewings but never thought much about it.  Now I’m thinking “why does this guy have Thorazine on him to go on a date”?  (And, of course, he’s a psychologist, so where would he even GET Thorazine?)

This made me think about other plot holes that I’ve willfully ignored over the years.  In To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant gets dropped off at the beach club at Cannes in swim trunks.  How does he get home with no clothing, no shoes, no money?

In Sneakers, all the bad guys are hanging out at their fake company in the middle of the night but for some reason the head bad guy isn’t hanging out in his office (which the good guys are breaking into).  Why?

In Sahara, the bad guy is about to blow up his solar energy plant and is escaping in his helicopter.  His henchman is left behind and instead of wondering why his boss has abandoned him and trying to get away from the plant, he’s still trying to throw Matthew McConaughey off the tower. Why?

In Dial M for Murder, Ray Milland says to Swann (the man he wants to murder his wife) that they only attended college together for a year, since Milland started during Swann’s final year.  Then Milland pulls a photo off the wall, saying it’s a reunion photo and it shows Milland and Swann sitting at a table together.  Why would they be at the same reunion if they were not in the same class?

Obviously these plot holes don’t keep me from watching these movies (repeatedly); I guess I get more from the movies than the logic of plot.  But I do wonder how many plot holes I’ve missed over the years.

Do plot holes bother you?  Can you watch something after you caught an error?