Monday, December 9, 2019

#MicroblogMondays: It's a wonderful movie

When I was a university student, back in the late 1970s/early 1980s, there was a film studies professor who would organize a campus showing of the Jimmy Stewart movie "It's a Wonderful Life" every year in December (with a film projector! -- VCRs were only just starting to take off at the time). It was his personal pick for the greatest movie ever made.

I actually never attended one of those campus showings, but I heard about them and read interviews with the professor about the movie. I finally saw it on television several years after I left school and got married, and in the years since then, it's become known as, if not the greatest movie ever made, then certainly a holiday classic -- and one of my own personal favourites. It's a long movie, but I love how it builds and builds to an emotional crescendo -- so that by the time George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) starts his joyful run through the snowy streets of Bedford Falls, shouting "Merry Christmas!"  to everyone he meets, I am a weeping mess. I start crying the moment he begs Clarence, his guardian angel, to help him get back to his wife and kids, right on through to the final chorus of "Auld Lang Syne."  I haven't actually sat through the entire movie in several years now, but I almost always manage to catch those last few minutes on TV, and that's enough to send me searching for the Kleenex box.

I enjoy some of the more modern Christmas movies, like "A Christmas Story" and "Elf" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" (one year, my team at work booked the conference room, ordered in Thai food and spent an extended lunch hour watching that one -- and howling with laughter -- together).  But for me, there's nothing quite like the classics.  Beyond "It's a Wonderful Life," my favourites also include the Alastair Sim version of "A Christmas Carol" (although I love just about any version of  "A Christmas Carol")(the half-hour Disney version with Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit & Scrooge McDuck as Scrooge (of course) probably ranks a close second in my books, lol), the original "Miracle on 34th Street" with Maureen O'Hara & Natalie Wood, and the original version of "The Bishop's Wife" with Loretta Young, David Niven & Cary Grant.

Do you have a favourite Christmas/holiday movie? 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  

Monday, December 2, 2019

#MicroblogMondays: Annoying things & small pleasures

Annoying things: 

  • The big dump of snow we got yesterday & this morning, and the resulting slushy mess. :p  
  • People who insist on driving like maniacs on snowy, slippery roads. 
  • Having to pull our winter boots out of the closet to wear outside. 
  • Lineups in all the stores (already). 
  • Getting an email from the airline last night, advising us they've cancelled our return flight home (after spending Christmas with my family) & rebooked us on an earlier flight the same day -- but  3.5 hours earlier. Which will mean getting up & leaving my parents' house early in the morning, instead of mid-late morning, as originally planned. Did I mention that my parents live more than an hour's drive away from the airport?  And did I mention my sister & her boyfriend -- neither of them especially great at getting up early -- will be driving us??  Ugh. (We could try to rebook ourselves on a different flight, but there's not a lot available that day -- the timing is even worse for the other flights that day -- and I am sure they are already pretty full.  So we're sticking with the flights the airline assigned us, but ugh...) 

Small pleasures:

  • From dh:  Not having to shovel said big dump of snow/slushy mess (see above).  ;) 
  • Not having to leave the house during bad weather to get to work, etc. 
  • Underground parking in cold, snowy weather. 
  • Snow sticking to the tree branches -- so pretty & Christmas-y (even though I know I'll be sick of it by February...!).  
  • Trying (& liking) a new crockpot recipe last night that I found on Pinterest for easy chicken & dumplings. Perfect on a cold, snowy night! 
  • The lights on our Christmas tree. 
  • A bunch of new books delivered to my e-reader at steeply discounted prices via Cyber Monday sales. 
  • Crossing items off my gargantuan pre-Christmas to-do list. 
  • Nephew's dog curled up in my lap underneath a cozy blanket when we visited there this weekend. 
  • Holding our new little great-nephew, and seeing him wearing one of the cute little outfits we bought for him. :) 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Right now

Right now... (an occasional meme, alternating from time to time with "The Current")

Reading:  I read four (5) books in November (all reviewed on this blog):
With one month to go, my Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge YTD total now stands at 45 books -- 21 more than my goal of 24 (188%).  :)  Jess challenged me in a previous comment to double my original challenge goal ( = 48 books), which would mean reading three more books by the end of December. Even if I don't get anything read between now & Christmas, I usually read a couple of books while I'm at my parents' house over the holidays, so it just might be do-able...!)

Current read(s): Deciding on the next one! 

Coming up:
  • No library book club meeting in December. Our January discussion will be about "The Alice Network" by Kate Quinn, which I read & reviewed earlier this year here. It was supposed to be discussed at our meeting LAST January (2019) -- the first meeting I was planning to attend. Alas, there was a heavy snowstorm and all library programs that evening were cancelled. :(  A few people were complaining about revisiting a book they'd read last year, but I'm glad we're finally getting another chance to talk about it!  (Which reminds me, Quinn's "The Huntress" is also in my TBR pile...!) 
  • My D.E. Stevenson group will be waiting until the New Year to begin our online discussion of "Mrs. Tim Flies Home," which I recently read & reviewed here. After that, at my suggestion :)  we're going to tackle my personal DES favourite, "The Baker's Daughter," which the group last read & discussed some 20 (!) years ago. I read & reviewed that one here back in early 2016, but may do a re-read, especially since it's one I love. :)  
(Some) recent purchases/additions to the TBR pile (that I haven't read yet):
Watching:  We didn't see any movies in the theatre in November. :( 

On television:
  • The fifth and final season of "Poldark" on PBS wrapped up with a slightly ridiculous finale episode. This season departed from the source material (the books by Winston Graham), and as a result, I found it much less satisfying... but I do still love the characters & actors. Hoping they will be able to reunite the cast in another 10 years or so to film the final 5 books in the series (which take place 10 years after the original 7 novels)!  
  • Still haven't had time to get into Season 3 of "The Crown"... hoping to watch it all before we head west for Christmas!  
  • Anyone know if "Victoria" will be returning soon?? 
Listening:  To a few episodes of the podcast "Kidless" with Ashley & Eric, who are childfree by choice. They recently had a great conversation with Katy of Chasing Creation, who is childless-not-by-choice. Check it out!

Following: Weather reports... lots of warnings/advisories. It was raining this morning, which turned to freezing rain, and is now a snowstorm. Glad to stay safe & warm at home today! 

Drinking/Eating:  For lunch:  leftover fast-fired pizza from dinner at the mall last night:  cream sauce, mozzarella, onion & garlic, spinach leaves, chicken & sausage. Yum!  For dinner:  trying a new Pinterest recipe for crockpot chicken & dumplings, using a can of cut-up Pillsbury biscuits for the dumplings. We'll see how it turns out, but it IS starting to smell good...! 

Buying (besides books, lol):  Christmas presents (of course). (Time is rapidly running out, yikes!!) Baby clothes & diapers (when they're on sale), for Great-Nephew. :)

Wearing: My Christmas-themed long-sleeved waffle-weave shirts from Old Navy, around the house. :)

Wanting: To see our little great-nephew.  :) 

Enjoying: The lights of our Christmas tree, which we put up on Wednesday & decorated on Thursday.

Loving: Spending time with our new little great-nephew. (And the dog!  lol) 

Feeling:  Relieved (incredibly so), that our little great-nephew arrived safely and is doing well. Happy that it's Christmastime. :)