Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Artist

     This afternoon I went with my friend Carol to see The Artist. Upon learning this is a silent film, one might initially be reluctant to check it out, but I promise you this is a movie that you must see. It is a complete  delight. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, but it involves a silent screen matinee idol who is unable to make the adjustment to the new age of talkies. Though he speaks not a word, Jean Dujardin is masterful in the role of George Valentin. He has the swagger and dashing charm of Gene Kelley. Perhaps this came to mind as there are definite similarities between this movie and Singing in the Rain.
     I can't explain it, but after the first few minutes, you are oblivious to the fact that there is no spoken dialogue. There is music, however, and it is wonderful. The role of Peppy Miller is played by the lovely and talented Bérénice Bejo. There are other fine actors in this piece including John Goodwin and James Cromwell, and I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that Uggie the dog also gives an Academy Award worthy performance. :-)
     It has been a very sad week for me, and this film made me smile and cheer. If you love movies, see it. I guarantee you will love it as much as I did. It's an A+.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Packing Memories Away

    My home is very empty and quiet without Katie. Yesterday morning I gathered her things and stored them away in the cellar as I know that one day another schnauzer puppy will find its way into my life and heart.
     My cousin Linda and her little boy came this morning for a visit to cheer me up. He is a wonderful bundle of hugs, love, and energy. After visiting a while, we went to the playground where he had a great time trying everything out. It surely brightened my day.

     Amidst the sadness of the last few days, this glorious cymbidium came into bloom. I have had this orchid for quite a few years, and when it had filled its original pot I got the bright idea to divide the plant. It had bloomed faithfully each year, but after dividing it there were no blooms for two years until now. It spends the spring through fall months on my sunporch which it obviously likes. To set blooms the plant needs a few 40 to 50 degree nights, so my unheated porch provides the right conditions. Interestingly, the other plant shows no sign of blooming, but then perhaps it will next year.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Sad Day

     It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that my precious Katie took her final trip to the vet this afternoon. She had appeared to be improving with each passing day, but this morning she took a turn for the worse, and I chose to make the decision that all pet owners dread. Her passing was very peaceful, and the young vet who had been treating her could not have been more compassionate.
    Katie was my pride and joy, and I take solace in knowing that she had a long and wonderful life.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trying to Remain Positive

     On Monday afternoon, my dog Katie suddenly took ill. Besides being sick a number of times in the space of an hour, she was very unsteady when she attempted to walk. I rushed her to the vet who diagnosed her with Vestibular Disease which often affects the balance system in older dogs. He also mentioned the possibility that she might have suffered a small stroke.  I declined submitting her to a very expensive MRI as she will be fourteen in June, and I didn't think that would have been prudent. She came home with me that night with a prescription to help her balance problems as the vet thought she would be more comfortable at home with my care, and he felt it might take three or four days for her to show any improvement. I will tell you that I spent a good part of Tuesday sobbing as Katie was not doing well at all. She wasn't in pain, but her balance was totally off and she was not eating. I spoke with the vet later in the afternoon because I was prepared to do whatever was best for Katie.  He said to give her another twenty-four hours, and I am glad that I did as by Wednesday morning there was a noticeable improvement. Her head was no longer tilted, her eyes were equalized, and her limbs were much sturdier. When the vet called to check on her, he indicated that these were all very encouraging signs. This morning she was able to walk briefly around the backyard without too much difficulty .
     Katie, my pride and joy, has been absolutely the best dog ever. I will have her rechecked tomorrow, and hopefully she will continue to improve.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Super Bowl Bound

     I've been lax with my blogging, but I plan to do better. Thursday night I attended a lecture, "They came from Ireland," at the National Archives in Waltham, MA. In the past I've done some work on my family tree, and I picked up some good information that night. Click here for a list of upcoming genealogy workshops being offered.
     Yesterday, I drove with a friend through the blowing snow to Natick for a workshop on Photoshop Elements. We enjoyed it so much that we plan to return in two weeks for the intermediate level workshop.

      It has been a strange winter, and frankly, I'm glad we finally have a little snow on the ground. After church this morning, I went to take some photos at the South Shore Country Club. The lighting was very flat, but I was able to take these which appear to be almost black and white images.

     Later it was time for the AFC Championship game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. I was extremely anxious throughout this hard fought game. Our team, the Patriots,  ultimately triumphed. Now it's on to the Super Bowl!!!! Awesome!!!!!
     Finally, had my mom not passed away in 2007, today would have been her 100th birthday. She was a wonderful woman, and I will always be eternally grateful that she was so remarkably healthy and happy and remained at home until the last three months of her life. I truly hope that I have become half the woman that she was.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

     Our fifty degree days have disappeared, and the cold is now with us. Katie doesn't even seem to mind wearing her coat when it is this cold out.
     There haven't been any posts this week as I have been quite busy. On Tuesday, I had a lovely lunch with a group of fellow retirees at the Inn at Bay Point. Wednesday it was dinner with my quilting friends. Thursday it was dinner with the Dancing Queens, another group of friends at Not Your Average Joe's. On Saturday night,  I went with two friends to another friend's home to watch the big game between The Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots.  It wasn't even close, 45-10 on a bitter cold night in Foxboro. This morning I did a search to see how the Denver papers would report the game. One used the word "ruthless" to describe Bill Belichick; nah . . .  he isn't ruthless, just brilliant!!! Tom Brady's performance along with the rest of the team was masterful. Finally, today I attended a 'berry' cool Strawberry Shortcake themed sixth birthday party for my cousin's little girl. What a busy, fun week!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Better Photo of Gift Quilt

     On December 27th, I posted a photo of the quilt that I made for my cousin and his wife for Christmas. That photo wasn't very color accurate. Today a friend came and spent the day quilting and later sent me this photo of me holding up the quilt at a recent guild meeting during show and tell . The colors are more accurate in this photo.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Doc and The Descendants

     I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately. Some of it has been admittedly mindless, but one exception was Mary Doria Russell's Doc, the story of Dr. John Henry Holiday, frontier dentist and professional gambler. Why this book? There is an old adage which states, "Never just a book by its cover."To me, that is senseless as it is the cover which often draws one to a book, and so it was in this case. On the cover there was a photograph of an old, upright piano and next to it a worn, wooden chair with a dark western hat resting on it. I purchased it along with a number of other books at the Borders closing sale.
     The history of the American West has always fascinated me. As does all good historical fiction, this book transports the reader to another time and place, in this case Dodge City, Kansas, in the year 1878. Though it was a slow read at first, I kept going and was gradually drawn into it. The characters are fascinating from the erudite main character, Doc Holiday, to Kate his on and off again companion and lady of the evening, and finally two young laymen,  Morgan and Wyatt Earp. This story takes place three years before the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, which has become the stuff of legend. Overall, it was a very good read.
     This afternoon I went with friends to see George Clooney's powerful new film, The Descendants. He portrays an anguished husband keeping vigil at the bedside of his dying wife. The film deals with some troubling family dynamics, but there are also a few light moments. The acting is superb, perhaps one of Clooney's strongest performances, but do beware this is a very, very sad movie.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Undecking the Halls

     First of all, Happy New Year!
     This morning I began the process of undecking the halls.  All of the outside decorations and lights are packed away.  When I finished, I decided to take Katie for a walk. It had turned colder than it had been this morning, so I decided to go only around the block. As were walking on the next street I happened to glance to my right, and what do you think I saw? Not ten feet way from us in the driveway of the house we were passing, there was a flock of turkeys! Katie and I both froze;  we stared at the turkeys and they stared right back at us. They were not the least bit  concerned that we were so close. We watched them for a few minutes and then continued on our way.
     I spent the last few days at a quilting weekend in Stoughton. I should have been working on the "Joy" block of the month as I am a month or two behind, but I didn't want to work on something so demanding and time consuming. I wanted to work on something fun, so I started a new project. I had purchased this pattern, "Boots All Around" by June Jaeger, at the Houston Quilt Festival. Here's a peek at the center of the wallhanging waiting to be sewn.

Aren't these boots cute? I loved going through my batik stash in search of just the right fabrics.

 They will eventually be surrounded by a border of six inch Ohio Star blocks. I have completed six of those blocks and need to do ten more. When completed, this piece will hang in my sewing room.