Staycation Recap

My little staycation is coming to a close today.  Hubby finally returns home later tonight, after his first flight from Asia was cancelled due to mechanical issues, and he was forced to spend another night there on Wednesday night.  The airline put all 400 passengers on his flight in a hotel overnight that was about an hour away, but in the end, everything worked out just fine.  He is quite ready to be home again, even though he will now be tackling another new challenge at work that arose while he was gone when some people in the company gave their two-week notices last week.  Let’s just say that he is going to be very busy for a while, if not for the long-haul.  I am quite ready for him to be home, too.

I enjoyed my little staycation and even accomplished quite a few needed chores around the house and yard.  I have also spent some time with friends and family, reading, watching movies and even cooking, believe it or not.  The only meals that I have eaten out over the past two weeks were with friends and family, and it has been nice to just relax here at home at mealtime, cooking for myself.  I discovered a new crustless quiche recipe with a kick that was fabulous, and I will try to share that recipe here soon.

Probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of the past two weeks was watching some of my all-time favorite movies, mostly after dinner each evening.  I averaged two or three movies each day and loved every minute of it.  Sometimes during normal days at home, I may turn on a movie while working around the house, but seldom do I actually just sit down and watch it without interruptions.  Not so with my movie time the past two weeks.

It is always fun to relive great movie moments, especially since a number of them are based on true stories.  Here are some of the moments I enjoyed reliving over the past two weeks.

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Katniss and Rue in their heartbreaking final moments together in The Hunger Games,

Robin Williams humbly thanking his class at the end of Dead Poets Society,

Helen Hunt, after an entire movie of quirky events, finally falling in love with Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets,

Bruce Willis and Ben Afflek in their final hurried and tearful moments together in Armageddon,

Chris Pine hearing the unbelievable announcement that their wine had just won the elite contest in Paris, beating the French wines against all odds in Bottle Shock, (true story)

Jodie Foster finally making contact and (and suddenly finding she has faith) in Contact,

The tearful, gut-wrenching goodbyes in Marley and Me that bring similar moments back home in a sad but wonderful way, and remind me how blessed I am to have loved many animals in my lifetime, (true story)

The lunar spacecraft triumphantly splashing down safely in the Pacific Ocean, despite the long odds of a safe return after a horrible explosion, in Apollo 13, (true story)

Sandra Bullock stubbornly believing in Michael Oher when others did not in The Blind Side, (true story)

The many delightful interactions between Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman in Fried Green Tomatoes,

Mr. Spock unexpectedly dying in The Wrath of Khan, leaving every living Trekie in shock,

Darth Vader delivering his most powerful and devastating blow against Luke by saying,  “No, I am your father,” in Star Wars, Episode V,

The final, history-making race in Secretariat, which (for me) is still the absolute best moment in sports ever, especially when I finally understood the back-story, (true story)

When Johan Hill shows the film of the unlikely baseball hero to Brad Pitt, a profound scene in a movie that I absolutely, positively adored after I saw it the first time, Moneyball, (true story)

And, one of the most fabulous movie twists *ever* near the end of Ender’s Game.  I won’t give that one away because too many people still have not seen this great movie.  I have since come back time and time again thinking about this movie and its subject matter, too.

I also started reading Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, “The Best Yes,” and it is a fabulous read.  I highly recommend it for anyone, man or woman, who can identify with the topic, even though the target audience is women.  It is a wonderful look at how we can all make better decisions in our lives in a very honest and practical way, while throwing in a good amount of humor along the way concerning her own life issues.

I also enjoyed setting up my new Galaxy Tab 3 by tackling that task a little each day.  Ironically, I just saw where Barnes and Noble just announced their newest Nook device, which is a Galaxy Tab 4 device with Nook included.  Their price for this 8G storage device is $179.  I paid only $199 for my 16G storage tablet, and the two look identical.  The overall specs on mine also beat their new Nook device, too.  So, I’m glad that I bought my tablet at Costco at that price, for sure.  I have both my Nook and Kindle apps on it now to enable me to read all of my ebooks on one device, with lots of storage room to spare, although my favorite reading device is still my Nook simple touch with the glo-light.

As summer winds down and we all get back to our normal routines soon, I am quite thankful that I had a nice way to pass this two weeks at home alone… well, almost alone.  My dogs are always good company, and thankfully, Red is doing just fine after getting stitches for his cut last weekend.  All in all, it’s been a good, relaxing time. 🙂

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Freezing Friday

Baby, it’s cooooold outside!

Chill factor has dropped 66 degrees in 14 hours
Winter has arrived with a fury

The temperature has dropped 53 degrees and the chill factor has dropped 66 degrees in about 18 hours.  The front first hit with a typical haboob around 2:15 pm yesterday, although it wasn’t too bad as compared to others we’ve had over the past couple of years during the drought.  I was finishing my errands just before it came through, and it was pretty neat to watch it come in from the north.  The weather isn’t going to warm up until Monday or Tuesday, so we will be below freezing for an extended period and nothing is going to melt off.  We need every drop of moisture we can get, but it looks like we will have some icy roads to deal with before it is all over.

Yesterday afternoon, I brought home almost all of the food from the RV that we were planning to take on our camping trip, so it’s nice that we already have our weekend meals planned out and didn’t have to fight the crowds at the grocery store yesterday afternoon before the storm moved in.  That is certainly something to be grateful for, as the lines were pretty long and even made the news yesterday.

We have tickets to go see Catching Fire this afternoon, and I hope the road conditions hold out long enough for us to go see it and not have to try again another time.  I’ve read all three books, so I know what happens, but my son is coming along, and he has not read this book yet.  He is usually the one who has already read the book before the movie and enjoys watching my reaction as the one who is learning the story for the first time, so it will be fun to be the one to watch his reaction for a change.  Catching Fire is a pretty intense and emotional book, and it sounds like the movie is going to stick very close to the storyline.  The ending of this book is just… well, go and see it for yourself.  I will try to come back and share some thoughts after seeing the movie in another post, but I won’t be a bit surprised if this movie is better than the first one.

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NASA Turns 52

One of the reasons that I am partial to all things NASA is the fact that we are the same age and “grew up” together.   Others in my generation hold this same respect for them as well, especially respect for the earliest pioneers of the space program.  Hearing about our beloved Apollo astronauts and their missions was a regular part of my childhood and early teen years, and each mission was a very big deal.  Indeed, the first moon landing was literally a world-wide event.

Those younger than I am probably do not hold this same level of awe with NASA because NASA has done its job so well over the years.  They have come to expect all the perfection the agency and its fine people produce.  While that is a good thing in its own way, I feel a bit sorry for everyone that did not experience NASA’s growing up process and the many achievements as they happened, including all of the moon mission firsts.

I have adopted NASA lore as a bit of a hobby over the past couple of years because I don’t want to forget all of those wonderful experiences and learn even more about them today.  It is quite fascinating, too.  Some movies have done a good job about NASA’s early days, some more than others.  I love “The Right Stuff” in particular.  It walks the fine line of history, drama, heartbreak and lots of humor, mixed with some great musical scores, and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially today on NASA’s 52nd birthday.

Here is a great clip from “The Right Stuff” of astronaut Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn, one of my favorite actors of all time) being recruited to the astronaut program by two recruiters (Jeff Goldblum, Harry Shearer) who are having some “issues” on the aircraft carrier while approaching Shepard about the space program.  I just love this movie!

Like many others, I’m a pretty disappointed (if not downright frustrated) in the way things are shaping up for NASA these days.  But, we’ll keep hoping that the dream does not die for lack of interest.  At least I can say that I was around and witnessed (via television) some of the greatest achievements that the human race has ever accomplished.  I just hope that my grand kids will someday be able to say that, too… if I have grand kids someday… another dream!

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