Photo Friday: Birthday Lunch

Loved-One took me for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, 1775. I ordered exactly what I wanted at th Farm to Table Restaurant.

IMG_5307 IMG_5306








And a mixed berry pie instead of cake.  I love pie.  Sorry, not picture of that.  Yum.









2015 Oscar Prediction: Epic Fail

valentine's day 4

Good thing the only thing riding on my predictions was my pride.  I was horrible. In my defense I was unable to see 33 of the nominees:  Birdman, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Two Days, One Night, Wild, Still Alice, Whiplash, Song of the Sea, The Tale of Kaguya, Unbroken, Mr. Turner, The Reaper, Joanna, Our Curse, White EarthCITIZENFOUR, Finding Vivian Maier, The Salt of the Earth, Leviathan, Tangerines, Timbuktu, Wild Tales, The Bigger Picture, The Dam Keeper, Feast, Me and My Moulton, A Single Life,Aya, Boogaloo and Graham, Butter Lamp, Parvaneh, The Phone Call

So here’s the how the stats stack up:

I saw 15 of the movies nominated or about 39%

38 unique films got nominated for 25 awards

14 films won at least one award. 36% success rate.

I got 6 correct predictions:  24% success rate.

Of the films  I saw and that also won an award, but I failed to predict the correct winner, my record is a little better.  I saw 11 movies that won an award. My prediction was correct 5 times;  45% success.

Of those I haven’t seen, the only one I really, really want to see is Birdman. I’ll probably see CITIZENFOUR because it’s on TV this week. That’s a 6% success rate for “The Oscars,” as a way to drum up viewers.

(Last year I predicted about 50% of the winner, but I got to see a lot more of the films. )

Conclusion supported by the stats: Come on, let me see the movies before the award show.

Maybe a dismal viewership of the Oscars this year is a direct result of the movies' late releases.  

Best Picture

The Prediction:  Boyhood

The Winner:  Birdman

The Results:  Fail

Best Actor

The Prediction:  Eddie Redmayne.

The Winner: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

The Results:  Success

Best Actress

The Prediction Rosamund Pike.  

The Winner:  Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

The Results:  Fail

Best Supporting Actor

The Predition Robert Duvall 

The Winner:  J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

The Results:  Fail

Best Supporting Actress

The PredictionEmma Stone (Birdman) 

The Winner:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)

The Results:  Fail

Best Animate Feature.

The Predicton Boxtrolls.

The Winner:  Big Hero 6

The Results:  Fail

Best Cinematography

The Prediction Robert Yeoman (Grand Budapest Hotel)

The Winner:  Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)

The Results:  Fail

Best Costume Design

The Prediction:   Maleficent

The Winner:  The Grand Budapest Hotel 

The Results:  Fail

Best Director

The PredictionBoyhood. 

The Winner:  Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)

The Results:  Fail

Best Documentary Feature

The PredictionLast Days in Vietnam 


The Results:  Fail

Best Documentary Short

The Verdict Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.

The Winner: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

The Results:  Success

Best Film Editing

The PredictionBoyhood.  

The Winner:  Whiplash

The Results:  Fail

Best Foreign Language Film

The Prediction:  Ida 

The Winner:  Ida

The Results:  Success

Best Makeup and Hairstyle

The Prediction Guardians of the Galaxy

The Winner:  The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Results:  Fail

Best Music – Origina Score

The Prediction Alexandre Desplat. 

The Winner:  Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

The Results:  Success

Best Music Original Song

The Prediction I’m Not Gonna Miss You. 

The Winner:  Glory (Selma)

The Results:  Fail

Best Production Design

The Prediction:  The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Winner:  The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Results:  Success

Best Short Film – Animated

The Prediction:  Me and my Moulton. 

The Winner:  Feast

The Results:  Fail

Best Short Film – Live Action

The Prediction:  Boogaloo and Graham

The Winner:  The Phone Call

The Results:  Fail

Best Sound Editing

The Predition: Interstellar.

The Winner:  Whiplash

The Results:  Fail

Best Sound Mixing

The Prediction:   Interstellar.

The Winner:  Whiplash

The Results:  Fail

Best Visual Effect

The Verdict:   Interstellar.  

The Winner:  Interstellar

The Results:  Succeed

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

The Prediction:   American Sniper. 

The Winner:  Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything)

The Results:  Fail

Best Writing – Original Screenplay

The Prediction:   Dan Gilroy

The Winner:  Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)

The Results:  Fail



Gratitude Monday #66: Glass half-full

I’m sleep deprived from watching the Oscars.  A dismal record of guessing the winners.  I thought I could watch and complete a little photography project.  Nope.  It’s still cold out. I mean really cold.  I’m up against two deadlines.  What is there to be thankful about, anyways?

A little self-talk and I’m on the way to turning that frown upside down.  (Blechk.  I sorta, kinda hate that saying.)

So here goes:

♠  I have two Continue reading Gratitude Monday #66: Glass half-full

2015 Oscar Predictions

Disclaimer:  This year I came up short with viewing.  I sadly report that few nominated movies became available in my geographic area. As much as I love the my big yard and gardens and the smell of corn stalks and wheat in late summer, I rue moving so far out in the suburbs for one reasons:  Lack of diversity (movies, people, food, theatre.)

On top of that, OnDemand shifted their business approach.  Many of the movies remained unavailable or only available for purchase. Boo OnDemand, you made my binge watching a pain.

Okay, enough whining.  Here are my predictions, based on what I  saw and heard.

Best Picture

Nominated:  American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Whiplash.

What I saw:  American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything.

I loved all of these movies for very different reasons.  American Sniper depicted the stresses of war and PTS in a way the struck me in the guts.  Also the connectivity to loved-ones to those in conflict made me flinch.  I couldn’t stop thinking about my niece and her husband.  Boyhood, what a project!  The story wasn’t just about a boy growing up.  It was about a man growing up, and a sister, and a mother.  The Grand Budapest Hotel, this film left a permanent  impression of kaleidoscope whimsy and color on my brain and heart. A true measure of greatness for me. The Theory of Everything  I am relieved that the film is based on Jane Hawking’s book.  It was certainly as much about her as about him.  No wonder the film dealt so gently with his peccadilloes and obsessions. I end up loving Jane Hawking as much as I admire Einstein’s wife.

The Verdict:  Oh, I wish I had seen Birdman.  The previews look so good, Same for Selma.  Okay, eenie, meenie, minie, moe:  Boyhood.

Best Actor

Nominated: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher,) Bradley Cooper (American Sniper,) Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game,) Michael Keaton (Birdman,), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

What I saw: Bradley Cooper, Eddie Redmayne

What could be more difficult than portraying a person’s gradual disintegration over time. I’m not sure how Redmayne managed to do it.

The Verdict: Again I wish I saw “Birdman.” Hollywood does like to award actors that depict people trying desperately to reclaim their fame. Still, I have a feeling that I’d still say Redmayne.

Best Actress

Nominated:  Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night,) Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything,) Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl,) Reese Witherspoon (Wild.)

What I saw: Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike

The Verdict Rosamund Pike.  I can only hope that this level of evil is a far cry from the real Pike.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominated: Robert Duvall (The Judge,) Ethan Hawks (Boyhood, ) Edward Norton (Birdman,) Mark Rffalo (Foxcatcher,) J.K. Simmons (Whiplash.)

What I saw: Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawks.  Duvall made me hate and love him at the same time.  

The Verdict Robert Duvall 

Best Supporting Actress

Nominated: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood,) Laura Dem (Wild,) Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game,) Emma Stone (Birdman,) Meryl Streep (Into the Woods.)

What I saw: Patricia Arquette, Meryl Streep

I gotta say, Into the Woods wasted my time.  I never have been much of a musical lover, so I’m a bit prejudiced against Meryl Streep this time around.  Patricia Arquette seemed like the same person she always portrays. I love every role I see Keira Knightley and Emma Stone play.

The Verdict: Emma Stone. I know it’s a stab in the dark. I still hope I’m right.

Best Animate Feature.

Nominated: Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, The Tale of Kaguya.

What I saw: Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2

All three of these  are fun.  I loved the gentleness of Big Hero 6.  I resisted Dragon 2.  I mean sequels are always iffy.  Better than I expected. I saw Boxtrolls in the theatre with a gaggle of grandchildren, and again with Loved-One on TV. I loved it both times.  I’m a sucker for good animation.

The Verdict Boxtrolls.  Yes, I’d watch it a  third time.  Beautiful, heartwarming, and original. Perhaps this is the rare movie I’d like to own.

Best Cinematography

Nominated: Roger Deakins (Unbroken,) Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman,) Dick Pope (Mr. Turner,) Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel,) Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lencewski (Ida.)

What I saw: Robert Yeoman, Ryszard Lencewski

The Verdict I had to check my notes; yes I did see Ida. The Grand Budapest Hotel is just so, it’s just so Grand. I love this style.  Even though I only saw two films, the winner has to be Robert Yeoman.

Best Costume Design

Nominated: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, Into the Woods, Maleficent, Mr. Turner.

What I saw: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Into the Woods, Maleficent.

As much as I loved Budapest Hotel, the costumes in Maleficent and Into the Woods seem much more impressive to me.

The Verdict:   Maleficent. Angelina’s costume, all by itself, left a huge impression on me. Plus, the costumes lent so well to the overall balance of good vs the impression of evil vs real evil.  Hmmm… I guess this movie left quite an impression overall.


Best Director

Nominated: Wess Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel,) Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman,) Richard Liklater (Boyhood) Bennet Miller (Foxcatcher,) Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game.)

What I saw: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood 

The Verdict: Boyhood. Holding the theme and cast together over 14 years.  Say what?  That’s worthy of a Best Director award all by itself.

Best Documentary Feature

Nominated: CITIZENFOUR, Finding Vivian Maier, Last Days in Vietnam, The Salt of the Earth, Virunga

What I saw: Last Days in Vietnam, Virunga

Virunga seemed disjointed.  What was it really about? The park, poachers, the wildlife, the people? I’m not sure. Last Days in Vietnam made me feel so clueless.  Where was I when all this was going on.  Oh yeah, that was during my days of diapers and potty-training, my lost decade.

The Verdict: Last Days in Vietnam 

I’m hoping.  maybe it’ll be CITIZENFOUR, a much more popular topic this year.

Best Documentary Short

Nominated: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Joanna, Our Curse, The Reaper, White Earth

What I saw: None

The Verdict Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.  Yes, it’s a complete shot in the dark, but still a 20% chance of being correct.

Best Film Editing

Nominated: American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Whiplash

What I saw: American Sniper, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Verdict: Boyhood.  Simply for the sheer volume of editing that must have been required.  

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominated: Leviathan, Ida, Tangerines, Timbuktu, Wild Tales

What I saw: Ida

The Verdict:  Ida (Well, I didn’t see anything else.) Again a 20% chance of correctness.  I might as well guess.

Best Makeup and Hairstyle

Nominated: Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy

What I saw: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy

The Verdict Guardians of the Galaxy, for Groot alone, plus that Raccoony person is great too.

Best Music – Origina Score

NominatedAlexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel,) Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game,) Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything, ) Hans Zimmer (Interstellar.)

What I saw: Alexandre Desplat, Johann Johannsson, Hans Zimmer

This is really tough because I remember saying the music really set the mood with The Theory of Everything, but on the other hand, Desplat got two nominations, and I loved the music in Interstellar.

The Verdict  I’m going with my gut and stacking the odds, with Alexandre Desplat. (and yes, I’m giving myself credit if either movie wins.  Call me ‘cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater,’ if you want.  I’m hedging my bets.)

Best Music Original Song

Nominated: Everything is Awesome (The Lego Movie,) Glory (Selma) Greatful (Beyond the Lights,) I’m Not Gonna Miss You (Glenn Campbell Goodbye Tour,) Lost Stars (Begin Again.)

What I saw (or listened to): Everything is Awesome, I’m Not Gonna Miss You, Lost Stars

Everything is Awesome is Awesome in it’s ability to immediately recall the movie and create an ear worm, Lost Stars is great, as is Adam Lavine, I’m Not Gonna Miss You is absolutely haunting. I didn’t even know Glenn Campbell suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Verdict I hope, I hope, I hope that the winner is I’m Not Gonna Miss You. If you know anyone who suffered from dementia, you’ll know why I picked this one. (if you only click on one video, click on this one.  You won’t be disappointed.  I promise.)

Best Production Design

Nominated: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Mr. Turner.

What I saw: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, Into the Woods.

The Verdict:  The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s just my favorite of the ones I saw.  I really don’t know jack about Production Design.

Best Short Film – Animated

Nominated: The Bigger Picture, The Dam Keeper, Feast, Me and My Moulton, A Single Life

What I saw: Not a single one of theses.

The Verdict:  Me and my Moulton. Based only on the title.  Heck, I still have a 20% chance of being correct.

Best Short Film – Live Action

Nominated: Aya, Boogaloo and Graham, Butter Lamp, Parvaneh, The Phone Call

See above.What I saw: Not a single one.

The Verdict:  Boogaloo and Graham. Based only on the title.  Again, a 20% chance of being correct.

Best Sound Editing

Nominated: American Sniper, Birdman, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Interstellar, Unbroken

What I saw:  American Sniper, The Hobbitt, Interstellar.

The Verdict: InterstellarI know nothing about sound editing, yet, the blend of silence, music, and sound stuck with me on this one.

Best Sound Mixing

Nominated: American Sniper, Birdman, Interstellar, Unbroken, Whiplash.

What I saw:  American Sniper, Interstellar

The Verdict:   Interstellar. For the same reasons I mention for Sound Editing.  What do I know? 

Best Visual Effect

Nominated: Captain America: Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, X-Men: Days of Future Past

What I saw:  What?  I saw all of these!

The Verdict:   Interstellar.  These all had great visual effects.  I just liked Interstellar the best.

Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay

Nominated: Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice,) Damien Chazelle (Whiplash,) Jason Hall (American Sniper,) Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything,) Graham Moore (The Imitation Game.)

What I saw:  American Sniper, The Theory of Everything

I didn’t read any of these. Both originals are written by wives. Both are a bit controversial from my viewpoint.  It’s really a coin toss in my mind.

The Verdict:   American Sniper. 

Best Writing – Original Screenplay

Nominated: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel,) Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye (Foxcatcher,) Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler,)  Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman,) Richard Linklater (Boyhood.)

What I saw:  Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, Dan Gilroy,  Richard Linklater.

Nightcrawler got this one lonely nomination.  A freaky-scary movie.  This movie really stuck with me.

The Verdict:   Dan Gilroy. Probably a long shot


Looking back over my predictions, I conclude that I like a lot of different kids of movies.  I had very few repeats.

What are your predictions?



Photo Friday Link-up #20: A Promise of Spring

I took these pictures with my iPhone5.  The close-ups are with an attachable macro-lens.

These are all the same bouquet of Valentine’s  flowers.

February ended with a 144 year coldest-ever record. No February in recorded history has every single day below freezing.  Eight more days and not a respite in the forecast.

It's All in the Details
It’s All in the Details
Impressions of Springtime
Impressions of Springtime
Hope is in the Air
Hope is in the Air
A Promise of Spring
A Promise of Spring

What’s in your lens this week.  Please give me a peek by clicking the Inlinkz-frog below.

The Trouble with Labels

I have a problem with labels.  I resist being put in a bucket with one label on it. I am more complex than Woman, Mother, Graduate, White, Catholic, Feminist. I’m more than a label.

Imagine George Clooney at 76. He won’t be more handsome than Uncle Ken.

In my Freshman high school health class, I learned there are three levels of mental impairment:  moron, idiot, and imbecile.  Really?  My grandmother told me that she glued a lock of her hair to the inside of  Uncle Ken’s baby bonnet because she didn’t want anyone to think he was a moron.  She explained that morons lacked hair and didn’t speak, just like Uncle Ken until he was almost three years old. (This by the way, made me laugh out loud, given Uncle Ken has George Clooney good looks and grace, along with a successful engineering career and a beautiful family.) Continue reading The Trouble with Labels

Gratitude Monday #65

valentine's day 2I opened my journal to write, and Sasha plopped down on top of the pages.  How does she know I’m writing?  Does she hear the scratch of my fountain pen against the paper? I am so lucky to have a cat who aspires to be a writer, or an editor, or perhaps just a critic.

Oh so much gratitude this morning:

♥  An inspiring Mom: full of vim and vigor both physically and mentally. She’s 87 tomorrow.  Still my wisest friend.

♥  A husband who spontaneously Continue reading Gratitude Monday #65

Photo Friday Link-up #19: Good Morning Sunshine

It’s still Friday.  I know I’m late to the party. I had a newspaper deadline.  I know.  Excuses, Excuses.  I’m really proud of the feature article I did about Karen Kockler, a speech pathologist.

Now my eyes burn, I need to clean my house, and I just want to listen to soft music with an eye pillow infused with lavender.  Okay, enough bellyaching and day-dreaming.

I snapped these photos with my iPhone, right after I dropped CoCo off at work. She’s a courtesy clerk at  the local grocery store.  She helps people take their groceries to their car, and collects the carts from the parking lot.  In 5 below zero windchill, she stayed outside for an hour at a time with no warming breaks.  Now that’s something worth complaining about.


I love the look of naked trees against a morning sun.  How about you.  What in your lens this week.

Tenaciously Focused On the Next Shiny Things

It’s been many years since I graduated from anything. It’s several months before the next graduation.

Still, Tim Minchin‘s UWA graduation address resonates with me.

I never had a dream. Except maybe to be a nun.  I changed my mind when I realized I couldn’t have my own children, so that can probably be considered a short-term passion.

I see lots of shiny things that I follow.  I’ve been a lot of things and had a lot of different titles.

In a bit of chronological order with a lot of overlap:

  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Student
  • Car-hop
  • Waitress
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Auntie
  • Sanitarian (Yes, that’s a real job that requires a degree)
  • Microbiologist
  • Single-mother
  • Certified Pest Control Expert
  • Chemist
  • Manager
  • Director
  • Seminar Instructor
  • Wife
  • Vice President
  • College Teacher
  • Blogger
  • Consultant
  • Journalist
  • Freelance Writer
  • Photo-Journalist
  • Novelist
  • Webmaster
  • Newsletter Editor
  • Business Owner
  • Volunteer
  • Grandmother

I’m also a reader, bicyclist, hiker, camper, listener, gardener, farmer, senior, yogi, knitter, quilter, crocheter, cook, cake decorator, and chief bottle washer.

And still I feel that’s not all of me.  I’m not through yet.  Passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals.  Micro-Ambitious, that’s me.

Sunset on the water fills me with peace

Gratitude Monday #64

Here I am again at Monday, hardly knowing where the week went.  A busy life is one very important thing to be thankful for.  Let’s see… What else?  Off the top of my head in no particular order:

♥  Below Zero days:  Fahrenheit, for the benefit of my non-USA readers.  Brrr… my jeans are stiff and the flesh in my nostrils stick together.  Below Zero days make sunshine and a just-freezing temperature seem like a balmy spring day.

♥   Cats paws.  Shasha and Misha each have a tender way of touching my face or arm with their soft front foot-pads that seem like an infant’s ‘I love you.’ Followed by a friendly Continue reading Gratitude Monday #64

A Noun Blog

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