Monday, August 24, 2009

Home Sweet Home….

Just got back Saturday evening after spending a little over a week in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Actually, I’ll take everyone’s word for it that it’s beautiful, because I didn’t see much of nature due to spending most of our time in the city. However, I did manage to catch a glimpse of Mt. Ranier after accidentally driving in the wrong direction away from the Arboretum (which is where we were headed). I told my husband, “I think you were meant to do that so we could see the mountain. We definitely wouldn’t have seen it from the other direction.” We also saw it, and its sisters as we flew over them on our way out of Seattle.

Anyway, it was back to good ‘ole Home Sweet Home. As usual, it was bittersweet. Although I very much enjoyed my one week holiday, part of me was definitely ready to come home. The other part of me (the adventure loving/shopaholic/shutterbug side) hated coming home to Hilliard, which isn’t exactly known for its plethora of culture or nightlife. For that, we usually go downtown to some place like Short North which has a gallery hop every month and no shortage of quirky shops and galleries to browse away the afternoon.

As a sort of “Material Girl,” one of the best things about being home is being surrounded by ‘my things’ again. Of course it’s also nice to get away from all that baggage and live a minimalist life out of a suitcase for a little while. I am always envious of people in movies and on television who can pack up all their life’s possessions in just one or two suitcases and be done with it. My book collection alone would take up more than that! I am slowly trying to “lighten my load” of possessions, but find it difficult not to acquire more. Thankfully my husband tolerates me and my collections.

Another reason I am glad to be home is more control over the menu. Although I very much like eating out and getting out of the kitchen, I found myself craving simple comfort food after just a couple days, and often dreaded deciding where we were going to eat dinner. The best meal we had was brunch on the Space Needle. I’m not just saying that because it was our most expensive meal. It really did taste outstanding.

The worst meal I had was at a Chinese restaurant where every type of food had its own page, so there was certainly no lack of selection. I just chose wrong and ended up with a plate full of mushrooms, celery, water chestnuts, and just a small amount of chicken and tiny pieces of peanuts. It was very bland and I just ended up picking out the chicken and leaving the rest, which is something I don’t normally do, but was a little fed up with my selection.

Probably the biggest reason I was glad to be home was to see our kitty again! Poor little Tamsin was at the kennel all week probably pining for us every day. We certainly thought about her quite a lot – especially after meeting the “Cat Whisperer” at the Pike Market in Seattle. He had two cats sitting on a little platform of sorts. Of course, being cats, neither really wanted to stay very still, so he took turns carrying them over his shoulder, much like a mother does with her baby. One of the cats was a tabby, like our very own precious “baby,” while the other was one of those 6-toed cats like Hemingway used to have. I made a small donation and he let me take photos to my heart’s content.

Now I just have all that unpacking to do…

Friday, August 7, 2009

the death of John Hughes….

Anyone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s should be familiar with the work of John Hughes. If not, he’s the creative mind behind such great classic 80’s movies as the National Lampoon “Vacation” series, the “Home Alone” series, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Planes, Trains, & Automobiles.” I only mention these few because they’re some of my favorites and I can quote from most of them.

Although you can’t really compare them to Academy award winners like “Sound of Music” or “Gone with the Wind,” I think his movies will still hold a timeless classic appeal for future generations.

If nothing else, the “Vacation” movies can perhaps make you feel better about your own family. Having been to London multiple times and driven through roundabouts where I live now on a daily basis, I would be remiss not to quote, “Look kids, Parliament, Big Ben!”

The “Home Alone” movies are great because every kid has probably had that fantasy at one time or another of what they would do if left to their own devices. I admit to sometimes having that fantasy myself on nights my husband is out (except I still can’t bring myself to eat a half a gallon of ice cream in one sitting) : ). I also really like that they’re sentimental too.

“Planes, Trains, & Automobiles,” though not my favorite by a long stretch, will always be memorable because my hometown was almost in the movie. Apparently they were scouting locations in the Midwest looking for places that had a little snow on the ground. If my memory serves, it must have been sometime between September and November because I think it was the middle of football season. My friend and I wandered into town either during or just after our local middle school football game. We saw that they had closed off “Main Street” and were filming a car driving back and forth down the street. Actually, I don’t think the car was actually being “driven” as much as it was being pulled down the street by a device with a camera rigged up in front of it. Although I can’t remember the name of the car off the top of my head, I do recall the tacky adult-oriented d├ęcor inside. It might have even had a fur interior, though I can’t substantiate that. Not surprisingly, I think most of that scene ended up on the cutting room floor.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will always be my favorite, even as an adult, because who doesn’t like to play hooky once in awhile? (though I’ve never had the nerve to fake an illness). Plus, Chicago is a great city in which to play hooky. I can’t imagine taking off in a fancy car and going to Cleveland while I was in high school. Almost none of the attractions that are there now existed back then. I think our only options would have been the zoo, a handful of museums (none on par with the ones in Chicago), and the old Galleria shopping center (and Higbee’s too).

John Hughes, may you rest in peace.