Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Auld Lang This!

I'm not sure why, but I've never liked  New Year's Day. It could be the football games. It could be that the end of the holiday season  is nigh. It could be that there'll be at least 5 months (at least in Northeastern Ohio) of gray skies, dun- colored grounds and skeletal trees. It's just a dull and uncertain time, uncertain because of capricious weather. Planning ahead for anything that involves travel, for instance, can be tricky because of heavy snow and icy roads. Even though I no longer drive, I don't even like to be in a car when it's snowing.
New Year's Eve used to be enjoyable time when I was younger. Lots of parties, lots of putting on my prettiest clothes, high heeled shoes and glitter. Most of my closest friends are gone off to green pastures, and those of us left are too old to drink in the New Year. And the thought of high heels, just the thought of high heels, makes my feet hurt. How did I ever wear those things, to say nothing of dancing in them. Oy!
 I went to get my hair cut this morning. The place I go is one of those chain salons which doesn't take appointments. I expected it to be packed, but I got right in with my favorite stylist. I asked her where the crowds were, assuming all the ladies would be in, getting all glossed up for the big night. She told me that people just don't do that any more, and haven't for some time, preferring to have informal gatherings. Poor things.
But New Year's Day is so un-joyous to me. When I was working, or in school, it  meant going back the next day, but  that's no longer the case. It's a good time to see a movie, at least. And in the Catholic church it's called The Feast of the Circumcision. That's something the nuns never explained.
The Boar's Head Festival was terrific, as usual. We had to sit in the west  transept for a change and found it even better than the usual place we have sat for years. The shepherds entered right in front of us with two small goats, one of which sang aling with them all around the cathedral and right up to the manger. We also went to a different Vietnamese restaurant, this time on the near West side of Cleveland.
Dessert was ice cream at Sweet Moses, a trendy creamery in an emerging neighborhood in that part of town. Wonder if it's open on New Year's Day?  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

'Tis the Season

I'm not sure what exactly impels our family toward the bleaker side of entertainment, but this Christmas season is one example of the penchant for the dark side. One evening at dinner, the subject of film noir came up. I mentioned one favorite of that genre, "The Kiss of Death,"  which I saw back in the late 40s. It featured Richard Widmark as a psychopathic hood named Tommy Udo,  with a chilling giggle, which he displayed copiously as he  pushed an old woman in a wheelchair (played by Mildred Dunnock, who had played Willie Loman's saintly wife , for God'sake !)  down a very, very, steep staircase. As soon as my progeny heard about it, the title was looked up on YouTube, and after the dishes were stashed into the dishwasher, Sally's laptop was connected to the big TV and the movie was enjoyed by all. This was on Christmas Eve eve.
We made up for it the next night by watching that first of the Walton's saga, "The Homecoming." I fell asleep.
We have gone to two noir films this past week: " American Hustle," and "The Wolf of Wall Street," both quite enjoyable, and both about pretty rotten cheaters who use gutter language, very noir- ish, only in technicolor. Tomorrow we are going to see the new Coen brothers movie, which is about a folk singing loser and promises to be quite depressing.
Tonight we are joining the normal holiday revelers at the Boar's Head Feast at the beautiful Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland.
By the way, those of you old enough to remember Frank Gorshin, the brilliant impersonator, who also  played the Riddler on the TV Batman, one of his greatest impressions was of Widmark's character in "The Kiss of Death." He even looked like him.

Monday, December 23, 2013

And a Merry Christmas To Y'all

This poor blog is being neglected these days. Blame it on Facebook, Netflix and general laziness. Thanks to Netflix I developed a meth-like addiction to "Breaking Bad," a modern day "Crime and Punishment"-like episodic television series. It is one of the best-written, best acted television presentations ever. I became a zombie-like watcher,  determined to watch just one episode at a time, but finding myself binge watching three more. I kept wondering to myself why an 86 year old, non-violent, non-druggy woman was so fascinated by this tale of a good man turned evil was driving me into an obsessed  IPad voyeur. As I said, it was just so good, and I was, I found out, not alone. Netflix has still not shown the last 8 episode, so I have yet to know how it all turned out.
Well, that's not so Christmassy, but it does account for my neglect of this poor blog.

I did this illustration weeks ago with the intention of making Christmas cards, but have not done so. Not being a driver can be constraining when it comes to more frivolous tasks, like going to places which handle blank cards. I prefer to use my ride mooching for things like doctor and dentist appointments or grocery shopping. So I am using this post and Facebook to send greetings out to friends (the actual kind) and family. This is Sixto's second appearance on one of my cards, succeeding the late card star Dupree. Sixto is an extraordinary cat, very people oriented and a very warm and comforting lap cat.

I am feeling quite well after my summer of discontent. I am back to water aerobics, even though rising from a warm bed at 6 a.m. seems a cruel thing to do to myself during the cold, dark days of the next 4 months.

It's the time of good movies, because the rush to get them into theaters before the new year is now on. Saw "American Hustle" the other day and found it delightful, with stellar performances. Going to see the new Coen brothers film about the folk singer later this week. Polly's here and Emily checks in periodically with Face Time, so we have a together family which is lovely
If Netflix finally gets those last 8 episodes I shall probably binge watch for a few days. No calls, please.