Monday, November 30, 2009

A childhood dream

Don't laugh, but as a child, my favorite part of Thanksgiving wasn't the turkey or the rolls or even the pie and especially not the football. It was the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I loved the balloons, the bands, the 'stars' that rode on the floats and even the glimpses of an excited crowd. The magic was even more complete when the parade heralded in Christmas with Santa ending the parade.

As an adult (woman) I really resented being stuck in the kitchen cooking while I knew the parade was happening. Sounds selfish, but watching the parade was the Thanksgiving tradition that was special for me.
Usually my sister and I take turns hosting Thanksgiving at each other's homes. We pore over the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit 2 months ahead of time. We review the recipes we've made before that were hits and finally, we plan a huge menu.

This year, we all decided to make a Thanksgiving detour to NYC for the fabled Macy's parade. It took hours of planning via email & phone calls, several hotel changes, tense ticket purchasing decisions and last minute tweaks, but it was all worth it in the end.
We started off our trip with a ride on the Polar Express (Amtrak) from PA to NYC where we were able to relax, stretch out and enjoy the trip rather than the hair-raising rides I've had into NYC via car with hubby at the wheel. We kicked off the trip with a visit to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular before the main event of the parade.

I won't lie, I got all weepy when the first floats and balloons came into view. The crowd is jaw-dropping enormous and excited. It's a party with over 3 million people. We had a great spot on the street thanks to hubby claiming some territory early in the morning. Better weather we couldn't have asked for and seeing the same excitement I have in the eyes of my children and my neices made for more teary moments. My sister and I had our fair share of screaming over the 'stars' we saw on floats, possibly most excited to see several Food Network stars on one float. LOL
And the traditional Thanksgiving dinner? No turkey was consumed, no pie was eaten. We did have a very nice meal at a restaurant not far from the parade route where the total for the meal was probably not much more than the total for groceries we purchase for the yearly Thanksgiving dinner (though hubby refuses to believe it, but he's never done the turkey day/hosting shopping trips alone). And the chief cooks were relaxed & no one had to do dishes. I'm not ashamed to use the cliche that the memories created on this trip were priceless. I hope you and yours were able to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday as well. I am most thankful that my family went along with me on this crazy journey and even in their initial skepticism, fully embracing the magic in the end.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Creatively Fighting Cancer

My blogging friend Jennifer has started a new Etsy store selling cards, etc to raise money towards fighting cancer.

I'm going to be sending her cards as I can put aside a few minutes to make them. If you would like to help, let me know or Jennifer know and we'll get you the info.

I think there is no question that ALL of us have had the ugliness of cancer touch our lives whether through the suffering of family & friends or through personal experience, but it can't take away our spirit & will to fight, to support one another and to find ways to creatively fight cancer.

Check out the Jennifer's Etsy blinkie to the right and join the fight!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

At The Movies

It seems that nowadays, you have to take out an equity loan to afford a simple night at the theater, right? In my town, it's $10.50 for a ticket. Add in popcorn and soda for another $10 (actually more) plus $10.50 for your date's ticket and you could've adopted a Worldvision child. The kicker is that with the quality (or lack thereof) these days in what Hollywood is churning out, I often walk out wishing I had that two hours of my life back.

Am I alone here? LOL

So, hubby and I don't often go to the movies. When we do we usually like one of the following:
1. Be a must-see on the Big Screen, i.e. movies like Iron Man (actually, I'll go see Robert Downey Jr on any size screen) or Lord of the Rings trilogy or most lately, Paranormal Activity.
2. Be an interesting independent or foreign film (which our town never gets). Comedies & dramas are usually saved until they come out on DVD unless we feel they are super special.
3. Have a movie pass or go to our favorite theater, Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, PA.

The Majestic Theater is almost too good to be true. We keep expecting to show up one night and find it closed. Nestled in downtown historic Gettysburg, the Majestic has converted part of its space into 2 small movie theaters that show independent & foreign films nightly for $7.50. Some seats are love seats. And they have a frequent customer card; buy 6 tickets and your next ticket is free. Can't beat that.

There are several decent places to grab a bite to eat within walking distance. Between the college students, tourists and natives griping about previously mentioned students & tourists, the people watching abounds.

But not all good movies have been Majestic only movies. If I watch a good one, I'm happy to give it a thumbs up.

Movies this year that were worth the ticket (or cable) price?
Bright Star ~ John Keats and Fanny Brawne as told by Jane Campion.
Adam ~with Hugh Dancy. If you enjoyed Lars and the Real Girl, you'll probably like this as well.
Sunshine Cleaning ~I first enjoyed Amy Adams in Junebug. Quirky & gritty, I liked it a lot.
500 Days of Summer ~Ahhh, almost perfect. Tried too hard in a few places, but on the whole about as good as it gets.
Food, Inc. ~Not a fictional film at all, but a thoughtful look at the business of food production. And before you think it's all hate on big biz, they actually paint Walmart (the favorite mega-villian) in a positive light.
Last but not least,
Taking Chance ~ If there were one film on here I'd recommend you watch, it would be this one. A thoughtful portrait into the journey home for a soldier lost in war. Hubby and I cried rivers throughout this one. Kevin Bacon does a powerfully understated performance here.