Tag Archives: entertainment

Waiting impatiently for Gilmore Girls

30 Sep


Two months to go and I can barely contain my excitement. I am one of the multitude of “Gilmore Girl” fans waiting to see the four episodes on Netflex that will update us on Lorelai and Rory.

When I think of “Gilmore Girls” I feel such joy. My daughter and I watched every episode together, even when she was at college.  It was our weekly mother/daughter event throughout her high school years.  It debuted during her freshman year of high school and ending during her junior of college.

We would talk about what happened and analyze every action and reaction. The relationships between mother and daughter; grandparents and mother; boyfriends; friends,   Each  gave us a starting point for intense communications. “Gilmore Girls”  was a great parenting tool.  It gave us a starting point and a comfortable way to ease into conversations. She was going through many of the same life cycle events as Rory: high School, dating, applying to college; going to college.  It was amazing.

While she was at college, we would watch the episodes separately, but then talk about them afterwards.  I would often save the episodes on our TiVo. Then we would watch them together, even though we had already seen them when they were first broadcasted.

When the show ended we were bereft. I purchased the seven season dvd set for my daughter.  Occasionally we would watch a few episodes.  But we never forgot about the Gilmores or their town or their friends.

My son wanted to have a show to watch with me like I watched with my daughter.  We thought we found that show in “Chuck.”  It was great for one season, but then the writers’ strike prematurely ended the second season. We never got back into it.  We tried. But “Chuck,” was no “Gilmore Girls.”

Luckily, years later, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ arrived on television. I finally had a show to watch with my son. Of course he no longer lives with us, but we still discuss it now and then.

A friend of mine, who only has sons, had never heard of the “Gilmore Girls.”  When she was ill,  I gave her my seven season set for her to watch and enjoy.  I would go to her house, and while she rested from her treatments, we would put on an episode.  I am sorry to say we never got past the first season before she became too ill.  But the few episodes she did watch entertained her. Neither of us could understand how she had never heard of this great show.

The intelligence of the show, the love and loyalty, the quick conversations all came together in the perfect combination.  It was a wonderful family show.  The only show I could compare it to was “Little House on the Prairie.”  Also a family show, but a fictionalized account of a real family, Little House entertained me for years.  I loved that show almost as much as watching the Gilmores.  As an adult, I journeyed to Mansfield, Missouri, to visit the Wilder home and see the family’s artifacts.

But I will admit, that even Little House can not compare to my intense appreciation for all things Gilmore.  Best show ever.

Now we have four more episodes to watch.  The teasers are making me crazy with excitement.  I have seen some of the original cast talk about the new episodes on talk shows, and the excitement builds.  I even purchased a magazine to read about the plans. Oy, a bit obsessed.

Even though my daughter is married and lives halfway around the Earth, we will be discussing the Gilmore girls when they return to enrich our lives.  I only hope these episodes can meet my outrageous expectations.

I Love Words With Friends, But What Rules Should be Followed?

4 Jan

I have a passion for words and puzzles. Combining these two makes it clear why I love word games. Like many word enthusiasts, my passion for word games started with Scrabble. This was the only game available when I was a child.

The difficulty was finding an opponent. When an adversary was available, I would play. But it had to be at a home with a board, which made it difficult. At home you have a limited audience.

Then Boggle appeared! I switched because it was much easier to carry the little cube around and I could play anywhere.

I had one friend, in graduate school, who loved Boggle as much as I did. We played whenever we were together and not studying. Sherry and I played hundreds of games of Boggle over the years. When we both lived in the same city, after graduate school, we played whenever we got together. We kept score and were extremely competitive. When she moved out of town and across country, we played whenever they came to visit. But we do not play Boggle anymore, although I still have my cube at home.

Playing word puzzles helped me when I traveled by plane or needed a quiet moment. I had books filled with word games throughout my house. I used these books all the time, working on word and logic puzzles.   I still keep one around for travel. But I no longer have one beside my bed and my chair in the family room. The Internet has overcome the book.

With friends all over the country and the world, I have turned to the Internet for my word games. For me, it seems that “Words with Friends” has won over my heart and my word play time.

I play “Words” with friends and relatives in New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Pennslyvania, New York, Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Three of my combatants I know from my childhood in North Bergen. We all went to high school together. Three are college friends. Several are cousins. It is a great way to keep in touch with people I do not see very often. Some I have not seen since we graduated! But with “Words with Friends,” we reconnect.

I also play with friends who live in my community. We do not see each other as much as we play the game. The best part of playing with these friends is we can keep playing even when I am on vacation. This is great as they can update me on what is happening at home.

That chat feature is good for many reasons! Sometimes I use it to complain about my horrible letters. Other times I use it to compliment my opponent on a great move. Whenever someone uses all seven letters, they get a texted congratulatory message! But it is also used to keep up on the news and sometimes just to say hi.

I usually have the maximum number of games going at once. To be honest, when I am not at work, I check my phone several times a day to see if there are any games to play.

But I have some issues. Some concerns I just cannot work out. And I do not want to offend anyone, but I have issues:

For example, when a game ends, who goes first?   Since I play multiple games with many people, I have found that sometimes we both hit rematch. So we start two more games instead of one. Also, I have decided that if I win a game, I will pass the first move on the rematch. But if I lose, I should get to go first. Of course there are two times that does not work. First if I look at my letters and realize I can use all seven to make a word. Then I go no matter what. How can I give up such a good move? Second if I have a hand that contains only vowels. Then I cannot take my turn and I pass.

There is one application of “Words” that really bothers me. I dislike the nudge ability. I love to play. If I am not playing with you there is a reason. I am busy with other things. Nudging me will not make me play faster. I never use that feature with my friends because I figure they are not playing for the same reason. Those who like to play, play when they can. They do not need any pressure.

Then there is the issue of how difficult should I be? How strategic? Should I try to win always? Or should I let someone who does not play as well as I do win sometimes? Just so you know, I always play to win. If the other person wins he or she knows that it was a true win!

“Words” is much more than just being lucky with the letters you get. But, I will tell you that some people are luckier than others. I have a cousin who gets the best letters. When I first started playing with her, I did not get an 8 or 10-point letter for weeks. When I finally won a game, I felt wonderful.   She still wins most of the time, but I am slowly getting more wins.

There is also the strategy. Where you place a word is important. Those triple letter/double letter and triple word/double word scores cannot only help you win, the placement can help your opponent. I try to not set my opponent up for a great score. But sometimes, it is the only place to put a word.

There are also the people who use special applications (aps) that help them figure out the best word in the best place. I do not use any special ‘aps’ when I play, I just used my brain. Part of my reason to play “Words with Friends” is to keep my brain active, using an ‘ap ‘would defeat this goal.  However, stringing some letters together that look like a word sometimes works.  And I have noticed a large number of Yiddish words are accepted on “Words” !

Another issue: when should you resign.   There are times when I know I cannot win. Just recently a friend got two seven-letter words almost back to back. I knew I was doomed, but I kept playing. It was a loss for me, but a really good win for her. I would rather play to the bitter end than resign. I always have hope that perhaps I can pull it off, even if I cannot.

Yes, I love competing via “Words,” but I just want everyone to be following the same rules.

Ballroom Dancing: Relaxation, Reflection and Exercise

3 May

Dancing the Fox Trot is the most difficult for me. It is not because of the tempo or the moves. I think Rumba and Cha Cha are more intricate. East and West Coast Swing are quicker. Tango and Waltz are more elegant. The problem with Fox Trot is the music.   The music breaks my heart.

My husband and I have been taking ballroom dance lessons for almost ten years. We are finally at the point where I feel comfortable dancing in public and believe we know what we are doing.   When the right music plays, I sway with the beat.

We move to the dance floor and just relax into the music and the enjoyment of dance. As we are dancing, usually I forget everything going on and just focus on the mood of the dance. At the same time, we realize that we are getting our exercise for the day, as every part of our body is involved in the dance.

Recently we were on a cruise and danced every night. The dance band was marvelous. There were five or six other couples who also enjoyed ballroom dancing. It was wonderful fun.   We danced every dance in our repertoire: Tango, Rumba, Cha Cha, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Waltz, Two-step, and Fox Trot.

My parents dancing at a cousin's wedding in Israel. My parents dancing at a cousin’s wedding in Israel.

But I often mess up the Fox Trot. I get distracted, off beat, or forget a step. My reason: the music — those classic American songbook songs — make me tear up. If I hear Begin the Beguine, by Cole Porter, I see my parents swaying. I hear the words, Embraceable You, by the Gershwin brothers, and I only see my parents dancing.   Add Summertime by George Gershwin, and that is my final straw. My Dad loved Gershwin music. I grew up listening to Porgy and Bess and Rhapsody in Blue. When a band plays any of his songs, and a few other composers as well, I sometimes find it almost impossible to dance.

My parents loved to dance. My Dad would put out his arm and sing the words, “When Frances Dances with me, Golly Gee. Oh How Happy I’ll be.” (He changed the words a bit.) Sometimes they would dance. And sometimes we would all laugh, because my Dad could not sing well at all. But that melody I know. It was my Dad’s anthem for my Mom and how he loved her.   (The Francis in the song was a guy. But since my Mom’s name was Frances, it worked just dandy.)

In the summertime, they would go out on Saturday nights to one of the big hotels in the Catskills for a show and dance. We knew where they went because they would bring home those little viewers on a keychain. When looking in the eye piece, we could see our parents in their ‘fancy’ clothes. I knew they probably had an excellent time away from us, and dancing arm in arm, and cheek to cheek.

Family events were another big dancing time. They did not like the wild music at the bar and bat mitzvahs, or the line dances. But when the band played ballroom music, my parents always danced. They loved going to weddings, not just for the emotions of the event, but because there was always great dance music.

Dancing swing at our nephew's wedding. Dancing swing at our nephew’s wedding.

My husband also loves weddings for the music. He dances with me. But when I get tired, he dances with our daughter, all of our nieces, my sister-in-law. Any woman who wants to dance can have a turn with my partner. Just be aware, he is a very enthusiastic dancer!

When my parents passed away just nine months apart, I could barely dance. It seemed wrong to be on a dance floor trying to do something fun. I should just be grieving, not dancing.   I stopped dancing the Fox Trot. I honestly could not listen to that music without bursting into tears.

But slowly my attitude changed. My parents loved to dance. They would be so happy to know that I was dancing. And each dance is a memory of them. “When we are out together dancing cheek to cheek, I’m in heaven,” thinking that my parents are dancing with each other Cheek to Cheek (by Irving Berlin) as well.

These wonderful songs deserve to be heard and danced to by people who love to dance. As I twirl about the floor with my husband, in our not so totally graceful moves, my mind sees my parents dancing at family events, or even in our living room, always smiling and laughing.

When my Dad died, we placed a photo of the two of them dancing with him so they could always be together. And whenever I dance the Fox Trot, I feel them next to me…dancing forever cheek to cheek in a wonderful embrace.

I hope we have passed the love of dancing to our children. I know my daughter loves it. She has taken lessons as well. I do not think she understands the memories of the music. But she holds the beat and the rhythm of the songs when she dances. And I know that wherever my parents are they are as happy as can be, knowing the love of dancing continues.

And for me, ballroom dancing brings me relaxation, reflection and exercise, the perfect combination for a hobby to share with my husband.

 

 

Music lyrics:

http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/g/georgegershwin8836/embraceableyou299722.html

 

http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/c/coleporter5950/beginthebeguine235309.html

 

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/g/george_gershwin/summertime.html

 

http://www.sheetmusicbackinprint.com/popular/whenfrancis.html

 

 

I AM the Grand Master GumShoe!!!

3 Dec

I love gentle murders.

Not real ones, of course.   Rather the ones in a ‘cozy’ mystery.  Where someone dies at the beginning of the book.  Someone I don’t care about.  But then my fun begins.  I get to try to figure out who committed murder.

I don’t like murder mysteries where the author puts you inside the mind of the murderer.  Or mysteries where you know who did it from the beginning. Or murders that are vicious and mean.

I want to be the detective on a murder, where I get to examine the clues and see if they add up to the murderer as the story unfolds.  I flip back to pages I read before to check facts.  Doom to the author and editor who make a fact error in the story!  I will find it!

Mysteries are my way to relax.  I read intense best sellers….I read literary ‘masterpieces’….I read Pulitzer and Booker Man prize winners. But for true enjoyment, I want … I need…a mystery.

I also love live performances.  My husband and I have season tickets to three different theaters in the Kansas City area.  And we attend additional shows at other venues when something catches our attention.

So imagine my delight when I discovered,  “The Mystery Train”! Every two months, a new murder occurs on a ‘train.’  The people in the dining car….a private room in a local restaurant… participate in the mystery.   There are four or five actors leading the show, including a conductor who keeps everyone on course.  But they also chose people from the audience to play some of the characters.  WOW!  Murder! Mystery! And Audience participation! What more would I want to do for an evening?

I have gone twice.

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The both times I went with my husband, Jay,  and good friends, Beti and Jules.  The first time,  I was chosen to be one of the participants in the story.  I was Mrs. Rita Radcliffe, a rather bossy woman.  (My sister called it typecasting when she heard the story.)

I loved it.  I got a bit of a costume and a bit of the story, along with a partial script.  I had to answer questions when members of the dining audience came to ask.  But I also had the opportunity to guess who was the murderer.

I did not do well.  It is very hard to discover information and form a hypothesis, when people kept coming and asking me questions about my character.  But I was polite and did the best I could.

We did send Jules to several tables to question the other characters in the play.  But even with this input, none of us did well.  And Jules is an attorney.

But we had a wonderful time, and a good meal.

So we decided to try it again, when the mystery changed.  This time we arrived a little late.  We were put at a table with other people, instead of one by ourselves.  None of us was chosen to play a part.  So I could devote my entire brain to mystery solving.

I LOVED it!

I listened to every word.  I took notes.  We sent Jules to interrogate the other actors and characters again and report back to us!

And I heard something that no one else paid attention to or noticed.

How do I know? I was anointed “The Grand Master Gumshoe.”   We had write “who” we thought did it, “why” and “how”. My deductions were correct, just like Sherlock Holmes.

I received my own magnifying glass and a blue velvet case to keep it in.  But more important, the actors told that I was the first person to ever mention one specific clue in my explanation.  They had not even realize how important that one clue was until I wrote it down. But to me it was “elementary, my dears!”

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I admit, I am proud of this accomplishment.  When my sister came to visit, I showed her my magnifying glass every day of her five- day stay.  She might have become tired of seeing it. But since she was in my house and had no escape…and I keep it in my family room…she was doomed to keep viewing it.

Beti told me to carry my magnifying glass with me at all times to show it off.  Perhaps that is a little much?  However, I am proud to let the world know that I am and was the Grand Master Gumshoe, of one showing, one time, one night of the Mystery Train.

How can I top that?