Back to the Future

Great Scott! It's Back to the Future Day

October 21, 2015

That’s right—today (Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015) is the day Marty McFly time-traveled to in the second of the Back to the Future movies, the imaginatively named Back to the Future II.

While we’re not zipping around on hoverboards or in flying cars, we do have a few of the futuristic (in 1989) tech advances mentioned in the movie, including video calls and fingerprint technology. And as of this writing, the Cubs are still in the playoffs. Barely.

The Back to the Future movies were great fun when they came out—and they might just warrant a rewatch, especially since we are now “living in the future.”

That’s heavy.

If you enjoyed the Back to the Future movies, which was your favorite?


More Like the Movies?

July 16, 2014

Photo courtesy mconnors

“They say the movies should be more like life—I think life should be more like the movies.”
—Myrna Loy

Which movie(s) would you like your life to be more like?

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Brought to You By the Letter "G"

June 30, 2014

Today I’m joining in a meme I read about at A Work in Progress, and originally started by Simon at Stuck in a Book. His instructions were as follows: 

I’m going to kick off a meme where we say our favourite book author, song, film, and object beginning with a particular letter. And that letter will be randomly assigned to you by me, via If you’d like to join in, comment in the comment section and I’ll tell you your letter! (And then, of course, the chain can keep going on your blog.)

You, my dear readers, are welcome to play along. If you’d like me to assign you a letter, please comment below. You can participate even if you don’t have a blog—just leave your favorites in the comments.

My randomly assigned letter was “G,” and here are my favorites beginning with that letter: 

Favorite book: Gift From the SeaNot hard to choose this one.

Favorite author:  Elizabeth Gaskell. I have a couple of favorite “G” authors, but I think Elizabeth Gaskell ranks first. I’ve read North and South and Cranford, and have Wives and Daughters on my TBR pile.

Favorite song: “Gonna Get Over You,” Sara Bareilles. This was the hardest category to choose, but Sara is one of my favorite singer songwriters, so she gets the nod.

Favorite film: The Great Mouse Detective. I love this animated movie starring a Sherlock-Holmesian mouse. Ratigan, the villain, is voiced by Vincent Price. Great fun.

Favorite object: My girth, which keeps the saddle on my horse, is definitely one of my favorite objects!

Girths are not necessarity MY favorite objects...
OK, who wants a letter?

Armchair travel

Armchair Travel: Take Off Without Taking Off

May 21, 2012

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

I don’t know how many of you like to travel, but I love it. (You may have guessed that from some of my posts.) I don’t do as much of it as I’d like to, and until the day comes when I can take off on a whim for parts unknown, I’ll make do with armchair travel—which, come to think of it, would be good for those who do not want to travel, but would like to broaden their knowledge of the world in general.

Of course, reading books and watching movies set in different cities and countries is one of the best ways to get a taste of a location. My favorite getaway movies include Shirley Valentine, My Life in Ruins and Under the Tuscan Sun.  For books, I often return to old favorites The Enchanted April (also an excellent movie) or one of Mary Stewart’s older novels, set in Greece: This Rough Magic, The Moon-Spinners or My Brother Michael, for example.

Now, however, there are even more ways to get your travel fix without leaving your comfortable home. The internet has brought us closer together in a number of ways—there are websites devoted to cities, counties and nations with photos that can transport you there with the click of a mouse.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could learn a language. Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and Tell Me More are three well-respected, fee-based options. You could also check out free podcasts on iTunes and elsewhere, or check out websites such as

My current method of enjoying armchair travel is Laure Ferlita’s Imaginary Trip to Greece (see for a list of all Laure’s terrific classes). Not only am I improving my sketching skills, I’m also learning more about Greece with every lesson.

Erechtheion Porch of the Maidens
Whether I’m looking at someone else’s pictures or creating my own, armchair travel keeps me (somewhat) satisfied in between actual trips. How do you satisfy your yen for travel?


Pass the Popcorn

March 30, 2010

When I’m sick, feeling a little down, or too tired to read, one of my favorite things to do is escape into a familiar, comforting movie. I think a lot of people have movies they turn to when they just want to veg out. For my husband, it’s usually action and adventure—the more exciting the better. I prefer a movie in which I don’t have to cover my eyes to avoid splattering gore, or my ears to block out explosions, though he seems to find these things soothing. (Sometimes, however, his go-to movie is Gosford Park. Go figure.) I like a good story, interesting and clever dialogue and beautiful scenery. (And I don’t want any animals to die, either, thanks very much.)

Here are a few of my favorite feel-good movies, and why I like them:

Under the Tuscan Sun. Frances discovers love is all around, even if it doesn’t look like she expects it to, while restoring a gorgeous old house in romantic Tuscany. Sigh.

Shirley Valentine. Shirley comes out of her shell, and falls in love…with herself.

What Shirley might have seen (Santorini, Greece)

Last Holiday. Georgia opens herself to all the good things in life, and instead of losing it all, gains even more.

Georgia (could have) slept here

American Dreamer. (Synopsis for those who have never heard of this movie: A housewife wins a writing contest, and the prize is a trip to Paris. On the way to a luncheon in her honor, she is hit by a car and wakes in the hospital convinced she is “Rebecca Ryan,” the main character in the series of books the contest was based on. Mayhem ensues.) What’s not to like about someone named Kathy winning a writing contest and going to Paris?

My Life in Ruins. I originally wanted to see this because it takes place in many of the Greek sites I visited on my own life-changing trip nearly three years ago. I’ll keep coming back to it, because of the lovely message about regaining your kefi, or zest for living.

My life, in ruins (Delphi, Greece)

Thinking about these movies, I realized I had a sort of theme emerging: woman leaves husband/job/ordinary life, goes to foreign country and “finds herself.” Hmm. I wonder what that says about me? Perhaps I think I have to travel somewhere, leaving my ordinary life, in order to learn about myself and what I really want. I do know that I love to watch women opening up to the world, stepping outside their comfort zones to embrace life, probably because in general I’m such a big chicken about doing that myself. I live vicariously through them, when I’m not willing or able to buy a house in Italy or spend all my savings on food and clothes and snowboarding in Europe.

I suspect I’m not alone in having a theme arise in my favorite movies. When I mentioned my theme to my mother-in-law, she noted that many of her favorite movies have a road trip theme. In fact, she’ll rent or borrow a movie she’s never heard of before if it includes a road trip. (My husband’s theme seems to be good triumphing over evil, after a heck of a lot of blood loss.)

On a real road trip with Mom-in-Law in NC

What are your favorite feel-good movies? Do they have an underlying theme and what do you think that means? Share them, and maybe I’ll have some new ones to add to my list.