Dinner And A Movie Monday – 5 Flights Up

5 Five Flights Up is a 2014 American comedy-drama, starring Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors) and Diane Keaton. The film is based on the novel Heroic Measures written by Jill Ciment and was released on May 8, 2015.

Alex and Ruth Carver, an older couple, want to move from their charming apartment because living in a 5-story walk-up is becoming too difficult for them to manage without an elevator. Alex is a painter and uses one of the rooms as his studio. Ruth is a retired school teacher. They have lived there so many years that it and the neighborhood have become intertwined with their lives. Their niece Lilly is their broker and is pressuring them to sell because she believes the apartment is worth up to $1M.

Three other plot lines develop simultaneously with the sale of the apartment. Do they pay for an expensive operation for their elderly dog or do the humane thing and put her to sleep. The second is an alleged terrorist who may be lurking in the neighborhood near the Carvers’ apartment and how it impacts the sale of their apartment. The third is the Carver’s search for the perfect new home.

Their decision in the end may come as a surprise. Or not. But it was a lovely story about growing older and all the things that go with it, both good and bad.

Meatloaf – An economic staple from my childhood made a hundred different ways. This is my recipe. 1 – 2 lbs ground meat, 1/2 a sleeve crushed saltines or bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 cu chopped bell pepper, 1/2 cup catsup or tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix together. Press into a loaf pan and cook at 350 degrees until done in the middle (about an hour) Serve with macaroni and cheese and fruit salad.

Caleb’s Story continued

Sprites

Chapter 4 – Episode 1   

     Floren rolled around on the ground clutching his shaking belly and laughing like a hysterical hyena.

    Owen glared at him. “What’s so funny?”

     The dwarf pointed at him, hiccupping uncontrollably. “I can’t help it. The very idea. Owen, a ranger with the reputation of being the greatest swordsman ever playing mommy to an orphan baby dragon. Think about what that’s going to do to your reputation.” He covered his mouth in an attempt to hide snorts of laughter.

     Misa threw up her arms. “I think it’s sweet. Don’t you Calebth?”

     The elf had a point. It was kind of endearing. And the little dragon was so dang cute, and he started to say so, but when he saw the ranger’s angry expression, he shrugged his shoulders and shut his mouth in a hurry.

* * * *

     They managed to salvage their supper. Calebth scraped the burned spots off the fish, and Misa shoed him how to sauté the mushrooms until they were plump and juicy. After supper, when stomachs were full, everyone was in a better mood.

     Misa handed Calebth a bucket. “Take this down to the river and fetch some water.”

    Floren snorted. “Sure that’s a good idea? I’m willing to wager the boy can’t do that without making a mess of things. Anybody game?”

     Calebth drew himself up to his full height and frowned at the dwarf. “Of course, I can. That’s simple enough for a child to handle.”

    Misa patted the boy on his arm. “Don’t pay any attention to Floren. He likes to think he’s funny.”

    Calebth walked away from camp and down to the river’s edge, dragging the pail behind him and feeling sorry for himself.

     I’ve got to stop making mistakes. Misa feels sorry for me. Floren thinks I’m a joke. And as far as Owen is concerned, I’m useless. He’s never going to teach me to use the sword if I don’t show him I’m not a complete failure.

     He was so busy trying to think up ways to prove his worth, he didn’t notice the splashing in the water. Or if he did, he thought it was a fish. He didn’t see the sleek green head with scales poked up out of the water. Another one joined it. And then another. Pretty soon there were six pairs of eyes following the boy.

     He got down on his knees to fill the pail, and when he did, arms grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him in the water. He held his breath as long as he could before swallowing mouth full of water, thinking I’m going to drown. One of the creatures blew a bubble that covered his face, and suddenly he could breathe again.

     When Calebth didn’t come back to camp Owen, Misa and Floren went down to the river to look for him.

     Misa plucked and iridescent scale out of the mud at the edge of the water. “Are there sprites in these waters?”

     “Aye.” Floren shook his head. “They probably took him.”

     Owen drew his sword and called out. “Give us back the boy. He’s worth nothing to you.”

    “One of the sprites popped his head up out of the water. “Of course we will, ranger. For a price. Give us your shiny gold coins. All of them. We can use them to light up our home under the water.”

     After a  moment’s hesitation, Owen reached for the moneybag he wore around his waist.

     Floren grabbed his arm and hissed. “You can’t do that.”

     “We have no other choice,” Misa said.

     The ranger held the bag in the air. “Release the boy unharmed, and it’s yours.”

     Owen, Misa, Floren took Calebth went back to camp. The boy sat next to the fire, shivering while Misa piled on more wood. Four miserable faces stared into the flames.

     “What are we going to do now?” Calebth sniffed and wiped his nose on his sleeve. Cold, sopping wet and depressed. He couldn’t have been more miserable if he tried.

     “You tell me.” The dwarf muttered. “Thanks to you we have no money for a boat to take us to Dragon Island. And we can’t go back to the mine because it’ll be overrun with bats. We’re back to square one.”

     “Quit blaming the boy.” Misa waved a branch at the dwarf.   

     Owen spoke up. “We’re all to blame. Especially me.”

     Everyone stared at him like he’d lost his mind.         

    “Misa, either you or Floren should have gone with him to get water. And none of this would have happened if I’d been training the boy like he asked.” The ranger was right. And they all knew it.

     When they camped the next night, Owen gave Calebth his first lesson. Once they finished, the ranger showed him how to clean his sword while they listened to Misa and Floren, arguing over choice of weapons and whose was better. Mowg curled into a ball at their feet.

     The elf waved her wand in the air. “Mine is light and can be used at long range.”

     Floren snorted sarcastically. “Someone could snap it into without even trying. An axe weighs more and can do more damage.”

     “I can do spells from a 100 yards away. You have to be up close to inflict injury.”

     In the middle of their argument, Mowg jumped to his feet and growled, glaring out into the darkness.

Labor Day

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Labor Day. In the US, it is celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American Labor movement and contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is a federal holiday and is considered the unofficial end of summer in the United States.

To me, it means farewell to road trips, weekends at the lake, trips to the beach, camping. By now, we’ve all gotten sunburned at least once, fought off mosquitoes, stayed in the water until our skin was wrinkly and eaten dozens of hot dogs.

Now it’s time to shift gears, and get ready for cooler weather, football games, and sitting out under the stars enjoying s’mores. I’m ready. How about you?

Kids and Imaginations

When one of my grandsons was younger, I brought a whole truckload of styrofoam packaging home from work. Nothing special. Just something they were going to trash. My husband thought I was crazy, but Caleb had so much fun. First he used them like giant Legos. Built forts and castles. And then he got another idea. Construct a suit of armor. You can tell by his face he was dead serious about getting it just right. That’s when his big sister dubbed him the “knight in packaging armor.”

Kids and imaginations. They go together. Even though he turned 13 this year, he still has one. And I’m betting he’ll never grow out of it.

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Meet Joe Black

The movie stars Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, and Claire Forlani. The screenplay is loosely based on the 1934 film Death Takes a Holiday. It was the second pairing of Hopkins and Pitt after Legends of The Fall.

His daughter, Susan, is considering marriage, but her father can tell that she is not passionately in love. He tells her “Stay open. Who knows? Lightning could strike!”

Joe Black (Death) arrives at Bill’s home in the body of a young man, explaining that Bill’s words have piqued his interest. Susan falls in love with Joe. She tells him she has loved him ever since that day in the coffee shop. Joe is attracted to her as well, but he realizes he must set aside his own desires and allow Susan to live her life. Bill makes his peace with his daughters.

This is one of those movies that makes you think about truly important things in life. It doesn’t really matter how long it takes to recognize them as long as you do, because you’ll never be truly content until then. Also, Anthony Hopkins is one of my favorite actors.

Susan meets Joe at an old fashioned diner. One of my favorite places to eat. Especially for breakfast. Everything is fresh and hot. Served with strong, hot coffee and pancakes if you’re lucky!

Yesterday

This is something I wrote a long time ago. One of the first things I ever submitted to a contest. Needless to say, it’s gone through some editing since I won first place with it. A writer never stops tweaking!

These days, I just sit out on the front porch in a daze.  My family doesn’t know what to do with me. To them, I’m an old woman living in the past. They don’t know I can time travel. Snicker all you want, but it’s true.     

Anything can trigger it. A gentle breeze lifting the hair on my arms, the sound of someone’s voice, smells like honeysuckle or roses, children’s laughter. The memories come, faded at first like old black and white photographs of days gone by. And if I concentrate on them long enough, I’m young again, full of hopes and dreams and promises.

It’s a trip. Sparks of emotion exploding into fireworks. An aching lump in my throat. Joy mixed with regret. Bittersweet. Too much to bear sometimes, but I can’t stop myself. 

When I was young, I charged ahead at breakneck speed without savoring precious moments or taking the time to breathe. Learned my lesson far too late. Now I take my time. Close my eyes and watch everything unfold again. 

This is where I want to be from now on…