Showing posts from August, 2011

Carnival--August 27, 2011

Maya and I had a fantastic time at the carnival at our local mall on Saturday evening. Perfect weather (not too hot, not too cold, not too windy--those evenings are rare in Nebraska), possibly the best funnel cake I've ever eaten, and lots of rides for a bargain price of $15 for the unlimited rides wrist band.

I always loved the Tilt-a-Whirl as a kid, and Maya went on this one at least five times.
Maya just starting the slow ascent before the quick drop of the Super Shot. As the guy waiting to go on the Super Shot on the next round said to me, "She did not like that AT ALL." Wish I had video footage of her reaction because she looked completely shocked, even after watching others on the ride before deciding she definitely wanted to go!
A view of the Midway, showing the height of the Super Shot.
Maya just getting started on her favorite part of the night, bouncing on the special trampoline. The attraction, which was supposed to last for five minutes for $7, lasted for at …

The Heiress

I just watched The Heiress (1949), starring Olivia de Havilland (guaranteed a lasting spot in film history through her role as Melanie in Gone with the Wind), Ralph Richardson (ditto for his role as Alexander in Doctor Zhivago), and Montgomery Clift (born in Omaha, Nebraska, about 50 miles from where I live). I vividly remembered the ending from an earlier viewing--long ago, when I was probably way too young to really appreciate the movie.

Richardson plays the wealthy, arrogant Dr. Sloper, with de Havilland as his daughter and only heir, Catherine. They shine in their roles, and the movie is really about their relationship. Clift, who is always pretty and elegant, does well enough as Morris Townsend, a fortune-hunter who turns his eyes to courting Catherine.

My favorite line from the move comes from de Havilland:

He's [Morris] grown greedier over the years. Before he only wanted my money; now he wants my love as well. Well, he came to the wrong house - and he came twice. I sh…

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is, in different parts, slightly entertaining, unrealistic, annoying, fatuous, scattered, long, and sometimes sweet, IMHO.

The main focus is on Steve Carell's character as he deals with the fact that his wife, as played by Julianne Moore, wants to end their marriage after almost 25 years. Apparently from sheer boredom, or maybe from being the self-absorbed waste of space every other Gen X female in this movie is also portrayed as, she already cheated with a co-worker played by Kevin Bacon.

So enters Carell into the world of the nightclub and one-night stands--and the equally disturbing portrayal of Gen Y women as vapid--with Ryan Gosling's character as his guide and Svengali (or Miyagi, as the movie states).

Besides the portrayal of women, I didn't feel the movie showed me the connections for the two core relationships. Beyond the length of their relationship and having children together, I didn't see a single reason to root for Carell and Moore&#…

Lincoln's Sunken Gardens--August 20, 2011

The Sunken Gardens , a popular location for weddings and senior photos in Lincoln, is particularly beautiful at this time of year. Butterflies and dragonflies run rampant, and the koi are fat and active. Maya and I spent a lovely hour there on Saturday.

Heirloom Tomato Salad at Venue

[Photo by my friend Keli because I forgot my cell phone that day.]

I'm always drooling over food photos on other blogs, so I want to share this photo of the Heirloom Tomato Salad from a visit to Lincoln's Venue Restaurant & Lounge on Saturday.

This and That

Here's a photo of Maya from yesterday, heading off to her first day of second grade. She had kind of a mixed first day. That really doesn't surprise me because she doesn't like change. At least she didn't have a terrible first day, right?

Sorry for the recent shortage of book reviews on this blog. I'm neglecting my reading as I search and apply for jobs. I'm also working to get back in a letter-writing mode with mixed success. At least the letters are fun; the job search is frustrating, ego-harming, etc.

What's new with you?

Lincoln Children's Zoo--August 14, 2011

With second grade starting tomorrow for Maya, we spent our last summer day together at the Lincoln Children's Zoo.

This is Maya's favorite butterfly, and she spent a long time coaxing it onto the piece of orange she held.
"I don't really have a butterfly on my sunglasses, do I, Mom?"
This horse seemed huge compared to the ponies they usually have for kids to ride.
Maya loves the Humboldt penguins, new to our zoo this year.
This white peacock likes to hang around the food court.

Petition to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

In case you're interested, you can sign a petition against TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline through Credo here.

The petition reads as follows:

The tar sands represent a catastrophic threat to our communities, our climate, and our planet. President Obama, you have the final word. You do not have to negotiate with Congress or industry. We urge you to demonstrate real climate leadership by rejecting the requested permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

For more information about the pipeline, I like this Mother Jones piece titled Scientists to Obama: Keystone XL Pipeline Sucks.

My Persian-Speaking Friends

[This post may be of particular interest to Claudia and sapphireblue for their daughters.]

Maya has a new pen pal. She lives in Iran, and she's eight years old. We found her through the pen pal program called My Persian-Speaking Friends.

To become a participant in the pen pal program, you must:

Be between 7 and 18 years old
Live in the United States or Iran
Be willing to write a letter every month or so
Sigh. No opportunity for middle-aged me to participate directly.

Maya just completed her first letter to send to the program in Massachusetts for translation before being sent to the pen pal. Maya can hardly wait for her first return mail. I'll keep you posted!

Cowboys & Aliens

For Herb's birthday, he chose seeing the movie Cowboys & Aliens as his celebration. He also worked all day, and he enjoyed work more than the movie.

The movie starts with Daniel Craig wakening in the desert with amnesia and an odd piece of metal attached to his wrist. Harrison Ford plays the former Civil War officer who now runs a small town named Absolution. Olivia Wilde plays the pretty girl. The aliens are, well, almost comical in terms of looks, and they aren't at all scary in a movie that's apparently supposed to be deadly serious.

I feel like I'm on a string of not liking much of anything, but, yet again, I'd recommend saving your money instead of heading to see Cowboys & Aliens. I can't even generate the enthusiasm to suggest renting the movie later.

I'd love to hear your thoughts if anyone else has seen the movie.

Mail from Joel

More mail to share from my pen pal Joel, who lives at the House of Dreams Orphanage in Bolivia.

Thank you for the photo you sent [of Maya at her birthday party]. My favorite color is yellow. Chuck E. Cheese is a funny name. [From Angie--He couldn't stop laughing about that and kept saying it over and over.] I send you hugs too.
I like to sing. I like to play games. I like to sing a song called I See I See. I like fireworks. [I sent him the photo of Maya with a sparkler.]

Lancaster County Fair--August 7, 2011

We really had a fantastic time at the Lancaster County Fair in 2010, and Maya could hardly wait to return this year. Unfortunately, we didn't have the best experience this time. The highlights are in the photos below. The lowlights include a tiny midway, the worst sno-cone and cotton candy I've ever had, and Maya's concluding comment on our drive home, "We wasted our money today."

The plan next year is to visit the Iowa State Fair instead.

This and That & Stationery Giveaway

Here's the ultimate in easy for entering a giveaway. Leave a comment on this post, including an e-mail address where I can reach you, or send me a message at with your mailing address, and I'll send you a surprise package of stationery, including some combination of notecards, postcards, bookmarks, and paper. Please limit your special requests, if you have them, to "I really like/don't like [postcards, bookmarks, etc.]." And, yes, I'll send to international addresses.

If you're in Nebraska, take a look at the Stand with Randy events scheduled for this weekend. Randy's a Nebraska rancher fighting TransCanada, the moral equal of Wal-Mart (pretty much the worst insult I can give a business), and their plan to build a pipeline through the Nebraska Sandhills, arguably one of the most wonderful ecosystems in this country. Okay, I'm biased, but it's still beautiful and worth preserving, not risking senselessly, and don't e…

Please Vote in My Mail Poll

Time for another poll on this blog.

I notice most of the blogs related to letters and pen pals have posts about incoming and outgoing mail, generally photos of actual items and, if applicable, linking to the blog of the sender or receiver.

Update--Good point from the comments section. I definitely wouldn't share anyone's addresses, or even full names, on posts. I'd have something along the lines of "Postcard from Penny in Canada," "Letter heading to Dana [with a link to her blog]," etc.

Are you interested in seeing those kinds of posts on this blog?

Feel free to vote in the poll and leave a comment.

Maya & Liz, July 31, 2011

I still can't decide what I want to say about our weekend trip to visit my sister and niece in Iowa. I guess I'll just say that the pictures are the best part of the trip. The timing of our visit was off, and we just didn't have a very good weekend. That happens sometimes, especially with family and also staying at someone else's home.

The Winner is. . . Gaby!!

The winner of The Secret Year is Gaby.

Thanks to everyone who commented for your chance to win!