30 in 31: day twenty: grab bag

As I am typing, I do not know what will appear below. I have the final week of December planned, and a list to go by for a few other days. But today, for two disparate reasons, I have no plan. Yet, I am a regimented person when it comes to the least essential aspects of life, and so I felt compelled to post something.

Having had a look through the LCARS Annex, I've come up with photos of Young Robert Montgomery. Tomorrow's entry will be filled with import and meaning, I'm sure...

PrivatelivesWith Norma Shearer

Strangersmaykiss.Also with Norma Shearer

Tallulah1With Tallulah Bankhead

ThedivorceeNorma Shearer again. That tart.

JunebrideIn the following decade, with Bette Davis.

30 in 31: day seventeen: in your lifetime, a Christmas song countdown

Christmas song recordings I love from the past couple of decades or so.

5. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (I didn't find a live video with good sound, unfortunately)

4. Cool Yule (fun performance, but you'll want to stop at 3:30.)

3. The Nutcracker Suite—Brian Setzer Orchestra

2. Baby, It's Cold Outside (Pretty sure in rl roles would be reversed, but this is lush and cool.)

1. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 (of course)

30 in 31: day sixteen: from the Bussard Collector

I take screenshots of everything. I could make subfolders and subfolders, but right now they're all loose in the Bussard Collector on the desktop. Here are some ads I collected this year from several different issues of  Good Housekeeping and a few from LIFE magazine touching on one of my most cherished topics: The American Homefront in World War II.

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30 in 31: day fifteen: cute stuff I made this year

A representative sampling of stuff I made this year.

Babynosides BabyquiltsidesThis is the first official quilt I finished with the sewing machine. I made it for the new baby of my favorite internet writer/a favorite person in general, so I felt good that it turned out pretty well.

BikebagA cute bag I made for myself.

CalicotopA small quilt top.

CrazyquiltThe crazy quilt I made last winter. 100% by hand. I shared a few details of it here a couple days ago.

FirstapronThis is the first thing I made on my new sewing machine, which I got for my birthday in June. I sent it to one of my daughters.

PaintdaubsA painting I never actually finish because it isn't meant to be? It's this whole thing. Also it's not a very good photo...but I decided to hang it, anyway.

Stripeside InsideThis is a reversible bag. For some reason, I don't have photos of the blue side. But I did some finishing stitching at the top, then sent it to my daughter, thinking I'd make another. I have the materials, hope to have the time soon.

PurpletopAn experimental crazy quilt top. It's not done but I think it's neat.

TomatillosalsaTomatillo salsa.

TabletopperQuilted table topper

30 in 31: day fourteen: they're showing a repeat tonight

Personal Favorite Classic Holiday Films

I posted this a year ago today at the previous version of this blog, just made a few slight tweaks for reposting. This is partly a "best" list, but I will concede there are some good ones I left out, because they aren't personal favorites. If I were to make a true "best" list, I'd make it longer, to include a few more usual suspects. Hover over the links to see which are video and which are text. Also, at least half of these are available complete on YouTube.

Perennial favorites I never miss:

It’s a Wonderful Life 1946: I've never not loved this movie, and I could watch it several times a year. I have it on DVD now, because I wanted to always see it without commercial breaks. We watch it every year on Christmas Eve while drinking eggnog and eating cookies.  I think it's kind of a perfect movie.

Holiday 1938: I first saw this as a teenager as part of a double feature with Bringing Up Baby, but to me, it pairs better with The Awful Truth, one of the funniest movies ever made. Holiday has more pathos and tension, and is not a perfect movie, but it is still very funny, and one to hug and adore.

The Man Who Came to Dinner 1942: has a wonderful cast and lots of funny moments. It's staged very much like a play, which is enjoyable. And it has a lot of in-jokes that are extra funny if you know the references, but are still funny if you don't. It was written by Kaufman and Hart, who also wrote the hilarious You Can't Take It With You, which was adapted for the screen in 1938.

Desk Set 1957: This movie is gorgeous. It teams Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, a pairing I'm not overly fond of, but I like the offbeat nature of it, and all the supporting cast. As not a Tracy fan, this is my favorite role of his. It looks like one kind of movie, but behaves like another. I have this one on DVD as well, and watch it a couple times a year.

The Bishop’s Wife 1947: This is more of a true Christmas film than the previous entries, and I think it's one of the best, because of the cast and the nearly gross sentimentality. It's tender and meaningful, but also humorous. Monty Wooley has a sweet role, completely opposite his role in The Man Who Came to Dinner.

The Shop Around the Corner 1940: I love the setting of this film, and the real caring nature of it. It also feels like a play, and could have been too stagey if not done just right, which it was. When I was younger, I really disliked Margaret Sullavan's character, but I appreciate her more now. I always appreciate Jimmy Stewart. Deeply.
I like these next four, but only in the right mood, because I'm terrible at watching certain many most kinds of tension. I'm aware it's mostly me. I've watched them all with other people who don't feel the same gnawing sensation (horror,) and I still make sure to see them each year, because, well, because they complete the picture.

It Happened on 5th Avenue 1947: In this movie, people without homes for various reasons all end up in a mansion together for the winter. Don't look up too much about it; the story is really fun if you don't know how it will go. I always have this "fear of discovery," but of course, it's a comedy. You know it will eventually all come right for every one. It's got kind of a ham-handed message, but that's part of its charm.

Holiday Affair 1949: This is really good; I'm just never a fan of Robert Mitchum. It's a charming light romance in which a woman ends up choosing the man I would turn down, but that's how these things go, and everyone else is happy in the end. The mother and child scenes are really very good.

Bachelor Mother 1939: David Niven and Charles Coburn are in this film, and I love them both. Ginger Rogers plays the woman mistaken for a single mother, and finds herself going along with the narrative assigned her. I don't generally enjoy stories which go that way, but she's so good and they're so good, and if you've never seen it, you'll laugh.

Remember the Night 1940: This stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, who are devastating together in Double Indemnity, which was released a few years later. This one's mostly light-hearted, and they have real chemistry between them, which is why, I suppose, they did three more films together. But it's another thing wherein someone has to pretend to be someone they aren't, and a little of that goes a long way with me (which is why I hardly ever watch Christmas in Connecticut.) There's a fairly recent remake of this story, but I don't recall the name because I didn't like it.

30 in 31: day twelve: about Christmas films on TV

You thought it would be Sinatra, didn't you? But you can see all that here.

Here are four currently rotating TV Christmas movies I watch and rewatch, and one that is my current arch-nemesis. I might do another list later on of specifically high quality ones. This is not that list. All of these will be on TV several times this month.

A Golden Christmas (ION, 2009) please ignore the reviews. For all of them. Reviewers have little business reviewing TV Christmas movies. Sure, this isn't a great movie, but that doesn't stop me from watching it every year. I watch it hoping poor Nicholas Brendon will pull himself together for good and also because of the dogs. And it's sweet.

The Road To Christmas (Lifetime, 2006) starring adorable husband-and-wife team Jennifer Grey and Clark Gregg. This is when I discovered Clark Gregg. I admire him. Little Pixel Heart Little Pixel Heart  It's the kind in which she's irritable and high-maintenance and he's laid back and cool and they learn to love each other. Frankly, I think it's the best one of that sub-genre, despite what I said before about the quality of this list. Don't go reading the details, it'll ruin the fun. I think this one is on Hulu.

A Princess For Christmas (Hallmark, 2011) one of the best in the "becoming Royal" at Christmas time sub-genre. Yes, that's a thing. It has people in it you can care about, and the disagreeable ones are enough cartoony to not matter. Plus, Roger Moore is in it.

Love at the Christmas Table  (Lifetime, 2012) is a very funny movie that is fun from beginning to end, with just enough plot to keep it going. It stars Danica McKellar, which you know if you already clicked on the link, and who should be in more of these things. She's in a new decent one with Rupert Penry-Jones, called Crown for Christmas, which will go on my rewatch list for next year. I think this is also on Hulu.

That brings us to last year's Teri Polo entry which I saw half of last night, A Christmas Shepherd. Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Hate. Seven of the eight people who've reviewed it on IMdB at least partially agree with me. I can't talk about it. Ugh. The review called ridiculous premise says most of what I can't anger-type, except he leaves out the fact that I'm sure they all end up together. I wrote my own idea for an ending, instead:

Merry Christmas!


30 in 31: day eleven: stuff I enjoyed eating this year

Here are seven things I enjoyed eating this year, and three from before this year, because I was in the mood for ten.

20140807_134356_16136932841_oI had these tacos last year. I was in the middle of Southern Ohio somewhere.

20151029_182348_21963946073_oHere's some fettucine I enjoyed. I don't remember everything I put in it, but I know it was good because I put it in one of my square bowls.

8781854253_fce68319ca_oThis is some kind of bruschetta I had at a restaurant in Montgomery in 2013, at least, I was on Montgomery Road, and I don't know whether that part is called Kenwood, just east of the odd shopping center with the big Half Price Books store.

Crispy-skin-walleye_17267817522_oI had this tasty walleye at a restaurant near OTR last spring. It was on a corner, and I will remember the name pretty soon and add it here. They had fun odd cocktails.

Dsc_2806_18314043834_oThis is steak tartare and ceviche at my favorite (probably) restaurant, a block from Music Hall on the other side of Washington Park. They were both very good, and we had good cocktails that night, I might edit and add that photo.

Dsc_3688_21097458421_oThis is a delicious sandwich I made recently. Basically, I guess I like meat to be either cured or raw or for it to be seafood.

Dsc_3891_21007315064_oHere's some good stuff I made; pita chips, white bean dip, and bruschetta.

Dsc_4017_21709493240_oI don't remember everything on this pizza. I see red onions, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomato bruschetta (from a little jar,) and probably goat cheese.

Noodle-lunch_16088860981_oFrom 2014: udon noodles with hard-cooked egg, homegrown snow peas, chili-garlic sauce.

Spaghetti-with-sauteed-vegetables-and-eggs_17031137747_oSpaghetti and eggs! My favorite lunch except for the photo above and probably a couple other photos above. This time it had leftover roasted vegetables, as well.

30 in 31: day ten: some good books I read

Here are the seven books that I gave five stars to on Goodreads this year. A couple of them, I'd say they are five stars within their genre, and maybe four more generally. So that's a thing to note. Also, I'm an optimistic reviewer. I don't enjoy being down on stuff. What I've done here is taken screenshots of their covers and blurbs at Goodreads, and if you click on the picture, it'll go to that page.

7. The Dry Grass of August
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6. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
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5. The Edge of Dreams
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4. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
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3. The Longbourn Will
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2. Dreaming Spies
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1. The Nature of the Beast
Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 7.11.59 PMYou know, I loved this book as I love most all Inspector Gamache books. And this description is way too esoteric and not even the thing. So, here is an actual review. The comment beneath the review is apt. And the reviewer would probably feel differently about the stereotypical gays if she'd gotten to know them from the beginning.