Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

I was walking past a local bakery yesterday and they had chocolate  covered Easter Egg cakes in the window.  I know they weren’t left overs so maybe their regular customers were not ready to give up on these delicious treats and then again, religious observance of this holy day includes the following week until the Sunday of Mercy which is the following Sunday.

Of course the title of this blog  is a trick question because the rest of the query should read “…in movies”?  That’s right, Easter eggs in movie terms means something very different from the colored hard-boiled eggs we hunt for on Easter Sunday.  In fact an Easter egg in a movie is…well let me first tell you about the origin of the term as it applies to movies.  One day the cast of The Rocky Horror Show decided to hold an Easter egg hunt.  Some of the eggs were not found, until a couple of them appeared in some of the movie frames!   So now, in movie terms, Easter eggs are those hidden jokes and messages and finding one or more of them gives us the opportunity to point it out to other people to make ourselves look really smart.  Here are 10 you probably overlooked yourself!

I'll Have A Grande Americano

I’ll Have A Grande Americano

There’s a Starbucks coffee cup in every scene in Fight Club. 

Considering the movie is focused on analyzing how we are being duped by giant corporations, Director David Fincher decided it would be fitting  to include a Starbucks coffee cup in every single scene in the movie.  Some of them might be difficult to find, but I assure you they are there.

The DHARMA Initiative Logo Appears At The Beginning Of Cloverfield.  

If you’ve watched even one season of LOST, you know what the DHARMA logo looks like.  Odd that it should show up in the movie, Cloverfield or maybe not considering  director J.J. Abrams was a man involved with both Lost and Cloverfield.  So it may come of no surprise that he slipped the DHARMA Initiative logo into Cloverfield, ’cause DHARMA probably had something to do with that giant lizard monster coming out of the ocean, huh? It’s always easier to blame DHARMA. Anyway, check out the opening sequence for the movie and you’ll catch a glimpse of that now very iconic logo.

Hello Buzz!

Hello Buzz!

Buzz Lightyear Can Be Glimpsed In Finding Nemo.

Both Pixar and Disney are reknowed for their obsession with easter eggs – Yep, that’s him there, thrown amidst a pile of other toys in the dentist’s office. This begs the question, of course: is this the same Buzz Lightyear that we’ve come to love, or another model with his own life and history and everything? Does this, in fact, foreshadow future Toy Story installments where Buzz Lightyear somehow winds up in Australia, and the other toys have to come rescue him? No, it doesn’t, and that’s why I don’t work at Pixar.

There’s An “O. Penderghast” Sign Visible In Friends With Benefits.

During the scene where the lovely Mila Kunis is waiting at the airport, you’ll see that the name on one of her signs is “O. Penderghast.”
Who’s that, you’re wondering? The detective from Psycho? Uh, no. It’s the main character from the much better movie Easy A, which was also directed by Friends With Benefits director Will Gluck. Emma Stone played the character Olive Penderghast in that movie, so here’s a nice bit of meta self-reflection from the movie’s director, when he was, you know, working from a much better script, though – to his credit – it was devoid of any Kunis nudity, so I understand his motives.

There’s A Xenomorph Skull In The Trophy Room In Predator 2

Predator 2 is the sequel to Predator, and the sort of sequel that fans like to forget about. It doesn’t star Arnold Schwarzenegger, it isn’t very good, and Danny Glover is the main character – not a sidekick or anything. It might also, indirectly, be the one movie responsible for hellishly bad spin-off flicks like Alien vs. Predator, because – look – there’s a Xenomorph skull in the Predator’s trophy room, which kind of (almost definitely) implies that these two alien beings are part of the same universe.

Jack Burton's Vest

Jack Burton’s Vest

Jack Burton’s Vest From Big Trouble In Little Is Hanging On The Wall In Death Proof

Quentin Tarantino’s movies are renowned for their intricate references and homages to movies from across the span of time, though this one likely went over your head unless you happen to be a dedicated fan of John Carpenter’s brilliantly underrated B-movie extravaganza Big Trouble In Little China. Carpenter’s movie starred Kurt Russell, of course, who played ironic John Wayne-like hero Jack Burton. Russell also stars in Death Proof as Stuntman Mike, a murderous psychopath with a car crash fetish.
During the scene set in the Texas Chilli Parlor towards the beginning of the movie, then, keep your eyes peeled for this wonderful easter egg that acknowledges the fact that Kurt Russell is in a freakin’ Tarantino movie. That vest hanging on the wall admist all the other memorabilia? That, my friend, is Jack Burton’s iconic Asian-themed vest from Big Trouble In Little China. Being a trucker and all, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Burton pulling over for a beer at this, uh, “fine” establishment.

Han’s Full Name Is Revealed As “Han Seoul-Oh” In Fast Five

The character is called Han and is of Asian descent, it made super-natural sense that the Fast and Furious writers would give him a surname that plays homage to the iconic character of Han Solo from Star Wars, as played by Harrison Ford.  Anyway, this character started out being known as Han Lue, back at a time when somebody hadn’t made the obvious and undeniable connection between the words “Solo” and “Seoul” (capital of South Korea, if you’re wondering), and then we were gifted with this little easter egg-ish moment where we were given the chance to glimpse Han’s surname on one of Fast Five‘s many computer screens

X Marks The Spot

X Marks The Spot

X Marks The Spot To Imply Death Or Impending Doom Throughout The Departed

Remember how in Howard Hawks’ original 1932 version of Scarface the director included a bunch of Xs in lots of the scenes to imply that a character was going to end up die? Well, Martin Scorsese was apparently inspired by this little trope when he came around to making his own Oscar-winning crime masterpiece in The Departed: Scorsese opted to use an “X” as his own motif for implying that certain character wouldn’t be so lucky.

 There’s A Hidden Waldo In A Single Frame Of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto

For some totally bewildering, unexplained reason, Mel Gibson decided that – for a singular frame at this part of the movie – he’d include a shot of human being dressed as Waldo (the famous stripy-clad fellow whose job is to make himself hard to spot in all those kids’ books). Yes, in this very serious and gruesome scene, Gibson opted to have somebody dress up like Waldo and lay on top of all the dead bodies. That was how he spent a brief period of time and money on the set of his movie. Doing this. It was so important that it had to go into the movie.

Tony Stark Rethinks His Life After Eating A Burger In Iron Man – Just Like Robert Downey Jr. Did For Real

Here’s an incredibly dense and somewhat insane easter egg that will probably blow your mind in eight or nine ways (though probably just one, to be fair). Think back to the first Iron Man movie, when Tony Stark manages to break free from that terrorist-filled cave and gets rescued. You’ll remember that the first thing that Tony wants having survived such an ordeal is an American cheeseburger. Nothing strange about that, right? It’s at this point, though, cheeseburger on his mind, that Tony decides to change his ways and re-evaluate his life.
Without the right context, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is just another scene in another movie. But when I tell you that it was a Burger King which made a real-life Robert Downey Jr. change his own life in the pre-Iron Man days, things start to get a little bit meta. Yes, according to Downey, it was a Burger King that gave him the inspiration to re-think his position (he was a drug addict at the time) and start afresh. This isn’t some strange coincidence by the way – it was implemented purposely by Downey Jr. as a reference to the bad times.


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Cash Rang In The New Year!

Cash Rang In The New Year!

Our grandson, Cash spent part of the day and New Year’s Eve with us!  We all went to a private party held at our neighborhood coffee shop!  The owners close the diner, and set the tables with white tablecloths and put out favors and noisemakers.  The counters are covered with platters of smoked salmon, cheese, crackers and veggies.  And delicious hot and steaming sliders were passed around.  This is a neighborhood family affair and kids are welcome but of course since it Black Tie, Cash sported one of Papa Pete’s bow ties.

No hangover here from the Seven-Up or anything else that chocolate milk and pancakes won’t cure!

Chocolate Milk and Pancakes

Chocolate Milk and Pancakes

It’s about time for us to pull our act together and put on some clothes.  We have to go to the market to get the ingredients to make Lucky New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas Stew.  Not taking any chances here and will probably buy some Kale or Collards greens to entice money in the coming year.


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Many, many years ago I was invited to a neighbor’s house to celebrate Boxing Day.  I thought this was a bit odd since I wasn’t a servant and I didn’t have any servants.  I was soon introduced to an Americanized version of Boxing Day.  The premise here was to bring a gift all wrapped up that was actually something you had previously received as a gift and either a) you didn’t want it because b) it was ugly or useless.  Oh there were really some strange and odious gifts exchanged that day.  The gift-giving was done in the manner of a Yankee Swap;  You picked a gift and you kept it or traded it.  Well, anyway that’s how that Boxing day went down.

This is how we began Boxing Day this year!  We were all tired from the late night of Christmas Eve and the long day of Christmas night so everyone slept just a little bit later on Thursday morning.  But right after breakfast without any formal plan set, it just began to unfold….The day after Christmas could only mean one thing!  We MUST CLEAN!  Perhaps it is some genetic pre-disposition or familial personality disorder, whatever it is, this is what happened.

Joel got the vacuum cleaner out and he began vacuuming  the rugs, I took out the swifter and did the kitchen floor and the hallways and the foyer.  I used about 6 swifter pads;  There has been a horde of people going inside and out, through the garage, in from the pool and all about.  The house was recently renovated and all the floors  are now a white-washed wood and the swifter did its thing over and over again.  I left piles for Joel to swoop up with the vacuum.   Meanwhile, Chiara packed up gifts and swept up pine needles.  I tackled the stairs next and was quite pleased to see the white of the treads re-appear.  Elsewhere, dishes were washed, clothes washed and folded and the dishwasher emptied.  It was a glorious morning, the house had been reclaimed and restored to its pristine beauty and we had taken on Boxing Day and given it an Italian twist.

There would be a Yankee Swap later that night after dinner.  But first we had to do some preparing for tonight’s party. Oh yes, there WOULD be a party tonight, albeit not quite so large as yesterday but this one would be here!  Only 15 adults and 6 kids.  Chiara decided to make several baking dishes of Eggplant Parmesan, we would serve the pork loin left over from Christmas Eve and make a big salad and a bowl of quinoa.

Susan and JR were coming for dinner with their 3 boys, the youngest is Hunter who is a classmate of Finley’s.  Susan brought a huge spiral cut ham and it’s a darn good thing she did since the pork loin did not cook through and we couldn’t serve it pink and cool.  This party spread itself out through the house!  We had kids (big and little) watching Elf and a couple other Christmas movies, adults out on the veranda, a couple of us in the dining room dishing on everything and everybody, Finley and a couple of the boys had a bow and arrows and were shooting at the front door and lots of wine drunk in all the rooms.

JR took the boys home, eventually both the girls went to bed and the die-hard game players gathered round in the living room to play some games.  Joel had gone out with Chiara in the afternoon to buy some new games.  Tonight we were going to play Quelf and Loaded Questions.  We are hardcore, laughing, yelling, arguing and all the time playing to win!  The wine kept flowing, there was some other mind-altering substances and as they say, “Let the games begin”!  Quelf was hysterical as we watched Joel stand and try not to bend his arms and legs, Dennis had to sit on his hands, Justin did the color for a basketball game in the voice of a parrot as well as mind-bending tasks, some which were subject to group analysis.  Overall one might observe it as familial blood-letting!

Loaded Questions is an adventure in delving into your fellow players psyche.  Since I’ve already portrayed our family as the crazy bunch they truly are, you can only imagine how this game was played!  I’d love to tell you about it but like the New York Times only all the news that’s fit to print.  And on that note I think it’s time to close the chapter on Boxing Day with the Bertis/Clarks/Presses and Pucci’s came to an end.

Except for the Yankee Swap which was wildly funny as the swapping, trading, stealing took place.  Those that participated seemed to have a grand time and I think perhaps the $50 bill was the prize of the evening!

English: Gift ideas for men - wrapping paper e...

English: Gift ideas for men – wrapping paper example. Please source http://www.giftideasformen.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Wi-Fi Signal logo

Wi-Fi Signal logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Well, I’m off on another adventure to Florida!  Usually the “fun” begins when I’m there and I amuse my readers to no end with accounts of the daily craziness.  NOT SO this time!  Let the games begin! 

Today is Sunday and after racing around to finish up packing, getting a pedicure, trying on 3 different things that did NOT fit and not being able to locate one of the cats (we finally did) we finally left our apartment.   Since we were leaving late (apparently my fault) (NOT), tempers were already running high.  Add the 71 degree weather in the no-longer-air-conditioned apartment AND picture this – I have my rolling suitcase with a heavy tote bag on top of it, carrying my computer over my shoulder and one large canvas bag of Christmas presents; I’m wearing flip-flops because I don’t want to squish my new pedicure and all black because that’s what fit that would be ok to sleep in.  Peter is carrying a suitcase that must weigh 25lb on his shoulder that pulls his sport jacket down and he’s carrying another canvas bag with Christmas presents and a bag that has some last minute snack food I scavenged from the refrigerator and cupboards.  Actually the snacks are leftovers from Wednesday night’s gathering!

Hailing a cab turned out to be fairly easy but of course we got a driver who was indecisive about the fastest way to Penn Station.  First he started west on 86th St and then thought the FDR drive would be better so he U-turned.  The Drive was ok but when he exited at 34th St and headed west on 35th St, we virtually crawled across town.  I was already overheated, cranky and watching the meter climb was making me crazy.  $22 later we arrive at Penn Station a.k.a. Penn’s People Zoo.  It was MOBBED and it was hot.  

We were supposed to leave by 1:30pm but by the time we walked out the door it was almost 2pm.  Our intention was to get to the station an hour early so we could check to see if there were any cancellations for a roomette.  There were none, the train is sold out!  Oh, didn’t I mention that by the time we booked the trip they were no more roomettes left? And why did we book so late?  Look to my right…. therefore we are in for a 26 hour train ride in Coach seats, no beds.  I knew right away it was Christmas since there “was no room at the inn”. 

Getting onto the train was like being part of a herd of cattle.  There’s a cop at the top of the stairs next to the ticket agent and he’s shouting “Keep the families together, keep the families together” which means there are straggling kids with wheeling suitcases trying to push through the 5 lines of passengers trying to reach the top of the escalator!  

I boarded the train and turned right like the conductor said only to come to an immediate HALT.  There was a family of four trying to get out of the car against the tide of us trying to get in the car.  This necessitated a strange dance backwards of several people and their luggage with no place for them to back up.  Finally they got off and I lunged forward hoping to find two vacant seats together, lol lol.  Of course there were no seats.  I was ahead of Peter so I dropped one bag down on one seat and across the aisle and one row forward, I dropped another bag.  Then I tried to negotiate with the woman in the second pair of seats.  “ Excuse me ma’am would you mind switching your window seat here for the one over there so I could sit with my husband”?  She looks at me as if I asked her to move to rest room.  I try again and she leans over to look at the seat I’m pointing at and says, “No, I think I’d d rather be here”.   At this point Peter comes up the aisle and sees that I’m not standing in a pair of seats and I’m already putting the bags of Christmas presents up on the rack.  He loudly says, “What, aren’t there 2 seats together?” And then adds, “Well can’t you ask someone if they will move?”  I tell him I did but no one wants to.  I guess that did it because the lady announced she would move.  I said, “Bless you, thank you, you are so kind and you have no idea how he’s been, I’m never traveling with him on a train again! 

Once underway, the train cooled down a bit and we settled in.  As soon as one of the conductors came by, I inquired about Wi-Fi and was informed there was no Wi-Fi on the train and here I thought I would be writing my blog, playing scrabble online, cruising through ebay and checking in on Facebook, Not Happening! 

Shortly thereafter, a man came through asking is anyone wanted to make reservations for the Dining Car.  We looked at each other and thought a change of scenery would do us good later on so I told Peter to make it for 8:00pm. Well that wasn’t happening either because the only reservation he had was for 5:00pm and it was already 4:30pm!  And I wanted to buy a large sub for us to split on the train since everyone told us how expensive the food was and Peter said not to AND I listened to him, so really who’s the schmuck? 

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There are literally a couple thousand gifts, gift ideas, and/or catalogs devoted to gifts for Foodies on your Christmas gift list.  So every night I surf the net looking for the next  new and better thing out there and feature it in my count-down to Christmas posts.

I just came across a very cute and practical item.  I often serve olives as an appetizer before dinner or as an hors d’ouevre with drinks.   Eating olives can be a messy event if you use your fingers and I dare say most of do.  TOOTHPICKS are the answer.  You can always put the olives in one dish, then put out a small little bowl for the pits and place a whiskey shot glass filled with toothpicks alongside the bowl.  My main problem with this set-up is real estate.  Never enough room to put much out on my coffee table.

HEDGEHOGS to the rescue!  This little guy will hold the toothpicks for you, perched on the rim of the bowl of your choice.

Don't Worry - No Quills

Don’t Worry – No Quills

KLpik Toothpick Holder available at MOMA gift shop – $25.00

MOMA is short for The Museum of Modern Art, Manhattan NY.  You can buy online!


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English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pump...

English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie served on a glass plate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday is shopping day for me.  I’m off to Delicious Orchards to buy a Turkey Breast, a pumpkin pie and some apple cider – AND anything else that jumps off the shelf into my basket.  I know I will get sucked into buying some of the produce and ingredients there WHEN I know I will be paying more there than at Wegman’s but I can already feel the deep-bone tiredness that comes from store hopping and grocery shopping.  

Each year I tell myself not to overdo it and that it isn’t necessary to make every dish from scratch.  Intellectually that works right up until shopping day.  For the past several nights I have been cruising around the  Martha Stewart, Real Simple and Cooking with Nonna web sites and for every dish I eliminate, I add yet another.  I really love to make special dishes and prepare meals like Thanksgiving.  It’s not like I am creating dishes necessarily of my own, since if you read this blog, you know I pick out recipes that I think will be delicious.  Over the years I have compiled a large Thanksgiving recipes folder.  It’s filled with several different root vegetable soups, lots and lots of side dishes, salads, a good number of stuffing recipes and of course a bunch of ways to prep and season the turkey.  I even have pie recipes in there but I have to admit once I discovered Delicious Orchards, I haven’t made a Thanksgiving or Christmas pie.  However, lest you get completely disillusioned, let me state that I do make desserts, such as a cranberry trifle, a pumpkin cheesecake (to die for) and this year I making a chocolate ricotta mousse.

My grocery list is now a page and half and I have one day to do it all plus a few everyday errands;  You know the dry cleaner, Staples and the liquor store.  I can’t imagine cooking tomorrow night or Wednesday night, sounds like take-out Chinese!  

We’ve invited 4 guests so it will be six of us which is 3 more than originally planned.  So all of my OCD planning, recipe-reading, list making of what needed to be purchased for each recipe HAD to be revised so each dish will feed that many.  

Now if I can only find those plates!! I can’t believe I’m in this predicament, me who has no less than 4 sets of dishes in my New York apartment  cannot find the china plates for the cottage. This sounds weird I know, but here’s the deal;  The cottage has a 1950’s kitchen theme and motif so all of dinnerware and service pieces of Melmac or Bootonware or one of the other plastic dish wares of that era.  I have turquoise plates, pink plates, bowls in both colors, green service pieces, Jadite mugs, all of my glasses are from the 50’s – I just love it! I even have vintage cookware;  who remembers CLUB pots and pans?  Mine are turquoise.  However, as much as I love my dishes, I would like to serve Thanksgiving dinner on china plates and somewhere I believe there’s a set of Martha Stewart plates.  But where?  This is a teeny tiny cottage and  I know they are not in here, maybe the garage….

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The frost we had earlier this week pretty much killed off most of what was left of summer’s glory.  The pink begonias were black and the remaining basil turned brown.  I had already cut back the peonies and the day lilies and today I cut back the peppermint and we put covers on the patio furniture and the grill.  With Thanksgiving around the corner it’s a little strange to see the last few geraniums blooming by the back door and have a gourd and maize arrangement in the living room.  The seasons may be merging, global warming notwithstanding.  I can remember Thanksgivings that were bitter cold and some years we had snow.  Not sure what’s in store for us this year weather-wise and wonder if there will still be some “color” left in the yard besides the leaves from our neighbor’s tree.  FLASHBACK TO FORWARD.


Shades of September

Shades of September


Ghoulish October

Ghoulish October


YES Geraniums in November

YES Geraniums in November


Gourdish November

Gourdish November

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English: A milk chocolate Easter Bunny.

Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny

Well, if you thought my Not So Good Friday story was something, let me tell you how we spent Easter Sunday…  The fact of the matter is that in a way it was more traumatic but of significantly shorter duration and it ended with a funny episode. 

Finley was up before 7am and I think she went downstairs even though I had told her not to do that, the night before.  She came into my room and I gathered her up and put her in bed beside me foolishly thinking  just maybe she would rest a bit and I could catch another 15 minutes or so – NOT.  She began to weave a long tale about how she had seen the Easter bunny and he had told her she was special.  Then she told me that she knew the bunny had put one of the baskets in the office (and he had!).  That had me a bit worried  so I asked her where did he put the other and she said the closet – Whew! The other was hidden in the kitchen.  We got Frankie up and down we went in search of the Easter loot.  Sure enough Finley made a bee line to the office and snatched the pink pail off the shelf.  We got Francesca to look in a couple of rooms but basically she just kept asking Finley for some of the candy, so I guided her into the kitchen and pointed to the pail.  Happy smiles all around.

They each bit the head off their chocolate peanut butter rabbits and Finley ate at least half of her solid chocolate bunny I had brought from NYC – it was a gift from my friend, Alice.  Frankie was still chomping down the Reese’s rabbit. Well I guess breakfast is out of the question now!

We were going to take the girls to the playground in downtown Delray Beach and then to lunch at Crepes By The Sea.  Things didn’t exactly go down that way.  We almost got out the door and into the car but …..If you follow this blog you know that I made a pact with the family that my blog would not be a platform for letting the world in behind closed doors.  So having said that, here’s the upshot of what happened.  We ended up taking Francesca to the ER. YES SHE’S FINE!  It was just a situation where we thought it best to make sure all was ok. AND all is ok.  

However, making my way to Bethesda East on Easter Sunday was somewhat disconcerting, considering how we spent Good Friday!  I carried her in and stood there at the reception area while I watched one of the two nurses laughing and playing on her computer.  The other one looks up and says, “May I help you?”  Let’s see now, I’m holding a small child in my arms wrapped up and  even though it was Easter we didn’t come to trick or treat!!!  “I have an emergency with the baby”, I say.  OH! So I was ushered in and given a wheelchair to sit in because I couldn’t keep holding her.  

Francesca was such a good girl;  The nurse put a bracelet on her wrist which we all admired and told her it was her special bracelet.   She (Frankie) wasn’t keen on having her shoe removed and something wrapped around her toe so they could check her heart rate.  Then Finley announced that the machine in the room was a blood pressure machine and that she once had to have her blood pressure taken and it squeezed her arm so tightly that it hurt.  Thank you Finley for announcing that to Frankie.

The best part (for the kids) was that each little curtained-off room had its own TV screen and we all got to watch Tom & Jerry cartoons.  Things move slowly even in an ER, so I would say we were there close to two hours.  Because Francesca had been such a good girl, we were going for ice cream.  She wanted strawberry which was probably because Finley wanted strawberry.  I had to convince them both that we should have some lunch first and didn’t everybody want to go to Crepes By The Sea?  

After lunch, we headed to Orange Leaf which is one of those places where you can fill a cup with your own choices of frozen yogurt and toppings.  The entire room was filled with double pump stations with flavors ranging from chocolate to banana to coconut and red velvet BUT NO STRAWBERRY. You coulda guessed it, right?

Gen X You WIN!   Everything in Chiara and Tom’s house is highly technological and complicated. Did I ever tell you how the night that Finley Ray was born and all the grandparents (that would be 5 of us) were staying at the condo, NONE of us could get the TV on!!  Well, the night I stepped on the glass,  Peter was out;  He had taken Tom’s new BMW to go visit a friend.  He almost didn’t get there because he couldn’t get the car started. The key didn’t turn it on!  He thought the dashboard looked like a rocket ship and no matter what he did, he could not turn the car on.  I’m not sure if it was Peter or Theresa the cleaning lady, who finally discovered the button that actually turned the car on!  Coming home the gas light went on and Peter stopped to get some gas. BUT how to open the gas cap?  Can you believe he couldn’t find out how to open it and the guys in the gas station couldn’t figure it out either.  He drove to a second station and again the attendants didn’t know how to access the gas tank.  Really now! He just drove home, parked it in the garage and threw up his hands in amazement. Gen X You WIN!

On Sunday, we thought it would be a good idea to put some gas in the Truro for the morning run to the airport.  Peter is not a fan of self-service gas stations to say the least.  In fact, he downright dislikes the whole idea of them but hey here we are in Florida and this Shell gas station has only self-service.  He pulls up to a pump and turns to me and says I have no idea how you open this gas tank.  In our car, a RAV 4, there is a lever on the floor clearly marked with a gas pump symbol.  No such lever here, no symbol on the dashboard or the console.  Mmmm well the car is still running and I suggest we look at the manual.  The fact that two adults who have over a 100 years of driving experience between them can’t open the gas cap is ludicrous.  I looked in the index and there was nothing about where the cap was or how to access it. We looked at the page that identified all the things on the dashboard and there was NOTHING about the gas tank there.   We started going through the manual page by page – still nothing.  Meantime,  we are sitting in the car with it running on Easter Sunday.  I thought just maybe the guy in the building might know because after all it was a fairly common car.  Peter looked at me like I had two heads and said, “You mean the guy who is selling cigarettes and gum?” Ok maybe it was a dumb idea. Five more minutes and fidgeting in the car, I suggest Peter go out and locate the gas tank. Now he looks at me like I have 3 heads and says, “Oh and you think it opens manually?”  One minute later, Peter opens the car door and says, “I have the gas cap, it opened manually”.  I burst out laughing, uncontrollably.  I couldn’t stop and neither could he – it was one of those crazy times when ALL the stress and tension you’ve had about a complicated problem(s) is resolved in the simplest silliest way.  We just laughed and laughed, tears rolling down our faces.  It was then that I thought perhaps the guy selling gum and cigarettes was sitting in his booth saying to himself, “those two guys can sit out there with the car running all day, I’m still not going out there.  Can’t they read the sign that says Self-Service”?  And that brought more gales of laughter.

Gen X you win!!!!

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Christmas postcard, 1911

Christmas postcard, 1911

T’was the day before Christmas and all through the morning

No one was talking but I could hear all the groaning.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, not a good day to be mad,

‘Cause Santa knows who’s good and who’s bad!

No breakfast to eat, no paper to read,

Please go get me the Starbucks, I so desperately need.

Oh my how the years have come and gone by

No turkey to roast, no baking of pies.

The tree is much smaller and actually pink

Because we’re in the cottage, what did you think?

One or two gifts litter the floor

Hardly like Christmases years before.

It’s quiet around here, no sirens or noise

And of course no grandkids and noisy toys.

The cats hung their stockings in hopes that St. Nick

Will show up tonight and bring them  cat nip.

A different Christmas eve’s about to begin

Left-over pastas and martinis with gin.

Not trusting the programmers of commercial TV

We stocked  the house with Christmas DVDs.

First on the list is The Bishop’s Wife and 

Soon to follow, It’s A Wonderful Life.

Only the classics for us old folks you know

We like what like from years ago.

Last year was a gala ugly-sweater event

Tonight  a few friends but there’s no lament.

Although there’s no sitting by the fiery log

Or getting tipsy on killer egg nog,

None-the-less, we’ll enjoy the leftover food

And glasses of wine put all in a good mood.

As we clink our glasses filled with good cheer,

We wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I’ll put out the cookies and milk with a wish

That tomorrow morning I’ll find an empty dish.

Then I’ll know that dear Santa Clause stopped by to see

How clean the house was and how pink the tree!

I sent him my letter early on in the season

I wanted him to know I had a good reason.

It would take him some time and certainly some doing

Some planning, some cutting and lots of gluing.

I hope, I hope,  he thinks I’m not  too absurd

For wanting a “55 pink Thunderbird!

Oh YES!!!

Oh YES!!!

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Cropped screenshot of Bing Crosby and Danny Ka...

Cropped screenshot of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye from the trailer for the film White Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone has a favorite Christmas movie and I think last year I asked my readers to send in their fans-so why not again this year and let’s see which one emerges as most popular choice.  I love the holiday movies and look forward to seeing the old classic Christmas movies.  Here are 8 of my favorite holiday films:

  1. THE BISHOP’S WIFE – My perennial favorite with Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven.  Made in 1947, this movie is terrific.  Cary Grant as a charming  angel tempted by the lovely Loretta is amusing and can you EVER really get tired of looking at his oh-so-handsome face?  David Niven is perfect in the role of the uptight minister.  WHY do they remake an already fantastic film?
  2. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET Year and year out ever since I was a child, I have watched Kris Kringle charm little Susan into believing.  Suitable for kids of all ages and timeless.
  3. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – A holiday tear jerker for sure but I never get tired of watching it.  Jimmy Stewart in the lead role of a small town boy all grown up and itching to go to the big city. However, love steps in, evil lurks around the corner and this lovely tale of good and evil and David and Goliath is well-acted and will bring out your holiday spirit. Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers flesh out the cast and are superb in their roles.
  4. HOLIDAY INN – With Bing Crosby singing and Fred Astaire dancing and Irving Berlin writing the songs…really now you know this is a very entertaining movie.  A 1942 romantic comedy and set in New England, this is a true holiday movie because the Inn is only open on holidays. Produced in 1942.
  5. WHITE CHRISTMAS1954 Twelve short years and Bing is back in the hotel business.  This time he has even more talent around him to make this a cute song and dance film.  Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney and Dean Jagger.  Everyone pitches in to help save the inn! 
  6. A CHRISTMAS STORY – 1983 YES there was a time in our lives (well mine anyway) when you or your brother could actually ask for and GET a B-B gun for Christmas.  Ralphie is a pudgy nerdy-looking kid who is perennially picked on and molly-coddled by his mother.  Some of the most memorable scenes are the tongue-sticking on the freezing pole, the pink bunny pajamas, the leg lamp and the fateful visit to the store Santa.  Darren Magavin as the Old Man.
  7. A CHRISTMAS CAROL – I know of at least 6 versions.  My choices are the 1938 film starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge, the 1971 Alastair Sim  and Michael Redgrave movie and the 1984 George C. Scott version.
  8. THE GATHERING A 1977 made-for-tv movie starring Ed Asner.  This is 5 tissue tear-jerker, believe me.  Adam (Ed Asner) knows he’s going to die so he tries to pull his torn-apart dysfunctional family together for one last Christmas celebration.  I wish I could see it again…


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