Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Couch Film Festival (CFF) 2021

It’s established that I love a good movie. I haven’t been to the movie theatre for far more than a year, having seen only one film in the theatre in 2020 (“1917”). We’ve done a few high dollar rentals over the year but mostly have found things worth watching on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Prime.

One item on my “21 things in 2021” list is to watch 21 movies from “best of” lists. Mostly movies I have missed but one or two that I want to see again. This April and May friend Jenny and I have started a Film Festival, which I thought we should call COVID Film Festival, but I have just named it the Couch Film Festival. We miss the Rochester International Film Festival, so we are going to look for great international films or Academy Award nominated films to watch, hopefully each week.

We started out the Film Fest with a fun romp that is neither international nor award nominated, but was just loads of goofy fun – “Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar.” It is over-the-top and surprising but there were big laughs! Those women are geniuses! I now own the digital copy so if you want to see it, come on over!

We watched “Minari,” the subtitled American film nominated for Best Picture, which is about a Korean family’s search for the American Dream in 1980s Arkansas. We rented the theatrical release on Prime and I think it was worth it. I would have wanted to see it in a “normal” year, and I’m glad it was available to us this year. Often the little great films don’t come around for long, so it is really nice to be able to find them and pop your own popcorn.

Tonight we watched a nominee for Best International Film, “Another Round” (Denmark). It is billed as a comedy, but there were moments that definitely weren’t funny. In the end I hope they all got their Joy for Life back. That’s what I’ll choose for them.

What’ll be next? Who knows… What is your favorite International Film?





Hong Kong






Bosnia and Herzegovina

Best Picture NOMINEES


David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers


Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers


Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers


Christina Oh, Producer


Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers


Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers


Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers


Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers


Written by me in 2016, with revisions in 2020:

Mothers. Mothering. Being mothered. I’m so blessed with incredible women in my life: my mother who exudes unconditional love, my daughter whose joie de vivre shines in her mothering, my sister-in-law who is raising amazing, compassionate humans and my stepdaughter and aunts and cousins and friends and all who are gracefully teaching life lessons to children – their own or the children of others.

It’s hard work, mothering, but such important work. Reading the origins of Mother’s Day is humbling and reminds that mothering doesn’t start and end with flesh and blood.

In 1908, Ann Jarvis petitioned to start mother’s day in honor of the passing of her mother, a peaceful activist who cared for soldiers on both sides of the Civil War.

She was a blessing and being a blessing to everyone you meet and lifting them up so that they can also bless others is great important work, as well. Maybe the greatest.

Hope everyone had a fantastic Mother’s Day! Virtual hugs to all!

“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” George Eliot
“She taught me that fear is not an option.” – Diane Von Furstenberg, on her mom.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try doing it the way your mom told you to do it from the start.”
“Being a mom has made me really tired and so happy.” – Tina Fey

Hunkered Down, but not Out!


We have enjoyed watching Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show at Home and he and his guests have been talking about how it is day 14 of their social distancing / quarantine. I can’t imagine. My pattern of life hasn’t changed, so far, even though life surely has changed. Chris and I are still working our regular shifts, so time away from work has been spent recovering from work or preparing for work.

This weekend was a little glimpse for me – I had a 4-day weekend. Chris just had a regular 2-day weekend so Friday and Monday were on my own. Friday night I had a virtual happy hour with some friends and Saturday night Chris and I played online games with Marissa via Zoom. Who heard of Zoom before two weeks ago?

This weekend we made homemade deliciousness, we ordered in to support a local restaurant, we exercised via computer trainers and we watched Netflix (Tiger King, just like everyone!). It felt like a weekend at home, but we didn’t get to see any family or friends IRL (in real life). I’m a social being, so that’s hard for me.

Dr. Elvis on Fox iHeart Radio Stars at Home concert

We watched the concert on Fox last night. It’s been hard to keep up with all the “at home” events and special things streamed; Broadway shows, piano and art lessons, meditation courses. I’m trying to pick and choose a few things that bring joy, as well as comfort during this crazy time. I know my book reading has suffered due to social media and news watching. Hopefully I can get a better balance going forward.

I wonder what our new normal will be like? What will we keep? What will we change?

National Love Your Pet Day

Murphy Jameson Guinness Brown Grimsrud Walsh

So it looks like we are petless during this National Love your Pet Day – this year – but we will have little Murphy in time for Walk Your Pet Day – Saturday! Chris couldn’t wait so he is meeting the family Saturday night! We have a few more nights of uninterrupted sleep and puppylessness, but we look forward to full hearts and the joyful Wheaten Greetin’!

Can’t wait to introduce you all to Murphy! ❤

Oscar nominations 2019 (and those I’ve seen – in BOLD)

I haven’t written about movies in a while and with the Oscars coming up one week from tonight I have been thinking a bit about the movies I saw in 2018! I certainly have not been to as many movies I have in other years, but it is nice to look at the list below and create a new list of movies to seek out, once they leave the theaters. I’m working on another post of movies that I saw in 2018 that didn’t make this list – more to come!

Here is the full list of 2019 Oscar nominations:

Best Picture:

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“A Star Is Born”


Lead Actor:

Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Lead Actress:

Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”

Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”


Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Adam McKay, “Vice”

Animated Feature:

“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Animated Short:

“Animal Behaviour,” Alison Snowden, David Fine
“Bao,” Domee Shi
“Late Afternoon,” Louise Bagnall
“One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
“Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez

Adapted Screenplay:

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Original Screenplay:

“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay


“Cold War,” Lukasz Zal
“The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Best Documentary Feature:

“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
“End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi

Best Live Action Short Film: 
“Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
“Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
“Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
“Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Skin,” Guy Nattiv

Best Foreign Language Film:

“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)

Film Editing:

“BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
“Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
“The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
“Vice,” Hank Corwin

Sound Editing:

“Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst
“First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
“Roma,” Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay

Sound Mixing:

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”

Production Design:

“Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler
“First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
“The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
“Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
“Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Original Score:

“BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
“Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell
“Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Original Song:

“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Makeup and Hair:

“Mary Queen of Scots”

Costume Design:

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
“Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
“The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell

“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

Visual Effects:

“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Mini Takes The States 2018 #MTTS2018

We are in full prep mode for our road trip in July. Thursday we brought our car in for an oil change and check up, the spare tire rim is being shipped, Monday we are having decals placed, hotels are booked and the packing list has started.

While we were at the dealer we walked the lot and scoped out our next “dream” cars… This was mine. A Caribbean blue convertible. Soooooo impractical. Soooooo cute.

Today I’m trying to figure out our trip documentation… Daily blog posts? Instagram Highlights? Facebook stories?

Ah… The anticipation continues to build!


Friends’ Thanksgiving episodes

So, for fun this week, I watched all 10 Friends’ Thanksgiving episodes. I haven’t watched Friends in a while, so it was fun to just dip in once per season to remember what was going on in their lives. It was easy to do on Netflix; most episodes were number 8 or 9 in the season. Almost all of them said “Thanksgiving” in the episode synopsis. But below is a list of episodes ranked – I assume great to good.

All 10 ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving Episodes – Ranked

What other tv shows have memorable Thanksgiving episodes?

11.13.2017 – Prime Time

I never watch TV during prime time. Or at least Live TV during prime time.  I stream a lot of TV or watch recordings or on-demand TV. I’m sure that it is more the rule than the exception in 2017.  (Speaking of 2017, today’s date – all prime numbers – is the inspiration for this post!)

Image result for prime numbers

One prime time show I am keeping up with – either on Hulu or my DVR – is This is Us.  I’m sure it needs no introduction, as it is much-watched.  I like the stories told in the present and in the past and think that it is pretty clever and well done.

Other Prime-Timey shows I have been watching are:

  • Speechless – about a family with a teenager with cerebral palsy who is nonverbal and uses a communication board. Minnie Driver plays the mother who advocates heartily for her son and drives her minivan like a maniac. It is pretty funny and cute.
  • Great News – about a mother who gets an internship at the the cable news program in New Jersey where her daughter works. I think it’s pretty hilarious and love the actors in it.
  • Younger  – about a divorced woman who is returning to the workforce and finding it unfriendly for her 40-year-old self, so she poses as a 25 year old and gets hired in the publishing business. Starring Sutton Foster (of Broadway fame) and on TVLand (or, where I’ve been watching). I’m savoring the last few episodes of this season…
  • The Mindy Project – the final episode of her series, which moved to Hulu, airs tonight at midnight. This show is the reason I subscribed to Hulu, so I could keep watching it after it left TV. I won’t stay up to watch tonight but will catch it tomorrow!

As you can see, I lean towards the light and comedic. If Chris and I are watching TV together we watch a LOT of International House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters from our DVR – we watch a lot because they make a lot!  It’s fun to dream about living abroad and living even tinier than we are. We also love to laugh at the people who want an America Kitchen in their Vietnamese apartment or the walk-in closet and full-size appliances in their tiny house.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I am looking for holiday themed movies and television shows on all of the streaming options. Tonight, it’s Home for the Holidays, the 1995 Holly Hunter movie about coming home for Thanksgiving.  I remember the year we discovered all the Thanksgiving episodes from Cheers – what a hoot.  Maybe this year I’ll look for all the Friends episodes! I do love a theme…

Do you have favorite Thanksgiving movies or television episodes?

And now, a list from Wikipedia of films set around Thanksgiving!  I think there are some to add to my queue!






  • Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County (1998), a family is terrorized by extraterrestrial creatures while celebrating Thanksgiving
  • Blood Rage (1983), a psychopath goes on a homicidal rampage after the twin brother he framed for murder years earlier escapes on Thanksgiving
  • Boogeyman (2005), around Thanksgiving, a man is stalked by the entity that haunted his childhood
  • Home Movie (2008), home video footage documents a family’s descent into violence and madness; includes scenes of various holidays including Thanksgiving
  • Home Sweet Home (1981), an escaped mental patient embarks on a killing spree over Thanksgiving weekend
  • Intensity (1997), a young woman encounters a serial killer while visiting a friend’s family for Thanksgiving, then follows him to try and rescue a teenager he’s abducted
  • Kristy (2014), a college girl who is alone on campus over the Thanksgiving break is targeted by a group of outcasts
  • Thanksgiving (2006; short film), two couples are taken captive and tortured by a sadist during Thanksgiving dinner
  • Thanksgiving (2007; short film), an insane, turkey-obsessed pilgrim commits a series of random murders on Thanksgiving; directed by Eli Roth
  • ThanksKilling (2009), a group of students are hunted by a demonic turkey during Thanksgiving break
  • ThanksKilling 3, a 2012 film sequel to ThanksKilling
  • Thanxgiving, a 2006 film, directed by Bobby Ray Akers, Jr. about Spectre, a college film student, who takes his film crew to a deserted campground to finish his thesis film over Thanksgiving break