Create your balance. Design your life.

2014 in Review Part 1

2014 in Review Part 1

Dec 16, 2014

As New Year’s Eve and 2015 approaches it is time to look back over some of the fascinating ladies I have written about in the last year. I always find this fun to take a trip back and give these phenomenal ladies just one more glance before the year ends and the bad girls of 2015 take their place in these columns. This is Movie Bag Girl of the Week. We started the year out with three young ladies who are best friends and have a band that rocks. They are discovered by a shady record producer and are off on a whirlwind adventure as they rise to fame and uncover a sinister plot within Mega Records. Friendships will be put to the test as Josie, Valerie and Melody reach for their dream. The movie is “Josie and the Pussycats” and there is a lot that can be learned from the ladies in this very family friendly film. Here is just one bit of what we can learn as we look back at Josie McCoy: In life we have to do what we have to do to get by even if it means working more than one job and still having little to no money. However, you need a balance so you take time for your own pursuits. It could be music or writing or even a cooking class where you learn to make culinary delights. The point is we all have a hobby or passion and we should always push forward reaching for that desire. Josie balances this yet again taking time away from both to have a social life and fun which is equally important to being well rounded and happy. She has drive and ambition and thinks outside the box. Her theory “We need to make it happen” is very true. Nothing worth having in life is handed to us. We need to work in order to achieve our goals. I wrote about Lee Grant as Deborah Ballin in the movie “Visiting Hours”. She is fiercely independent and is television journalist with strong views. She is standing in defense of a woman named Janet Macklin who fought back and killed her abusive...

The Christmas Letter

The Christmas Letter

Dec 15, 2014

We are at the end of the year and the holiday season is in full swing. Christmas is right around the corner which means Santa is coming to visit, we’ll see family and friends, have a wonderful holiday dinner and exchange gifts watching the kid’s faces shine with smiles and delight. It also means that you may receive (cue ominous music) “The Christmas Letter”. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this particular item I will explain. Families send out a letter talking about happy events and good fortune they have had throughout the year. Some of the letters are okay and are truly beautiful and heartfelt while others are obnoxious and carry a tone of “it sucks for you not to be me”. Just once I want to see a Christmas Letter that reads something like this… The Christmas Letter Hello family and friends! 2014 has been an exciting year for us and we just had to share some of the wonderful things that have happened. January 2014: On New Year’s Day we woke up with raging hangovers and were sick for two days. I am so glad we can still party like rock stars!  I also took my husband to his first ever Gasparilla Parade! Imagine his delight as we stood in the middle of a bunch of raging drunk college kids and he saw that one was getting sexual favors from his girlfriend right there on the parade route. He also was surprised how easy it is to throw up when people around you are getting sick from all the liquor they have consumed. So much fun!!!! February 2014: Valentine’s Day is always special for us. We go out for a lovely dinner every year. This year was truly challenging. We got to the restaurant and somehow our reservations were not there. We know we made them and the error was on the part of the establishment. They told us it would be a three hour wait. We couldn’t wait that long for dinner so we decided to try a different restaurant. We spent the next 3 hours trying to find a restaurant without a long wait. We managed to find...

Christmas Trees, Past, Present and Future

By Mo Breden When I was a little girl, and throughout my childhood, my father would go out on Christmas Eve, after dark and buy the tree, it was the best bargain, but not always the best selection of trees. He always bought a tree that was full, but the trees were always too tall and wound up taking up half the living room. The smell was, Christmas. We would hang our stockings and go to bed. My parents (crazy as they were) would tell us that Santa was coming to decorate the tree and bring us presents. So from about ten o’clock on Christmas Eve, till God knows when, my mother wrapped presents, filled stockings and decorated the tree. I’m sure my father helped some with those jobs, but not much. On Christmas morning, when we came down the stairs, it was pure and simple CHRISTMAS MAGIC!! Stockings, which were limp, were now plump with treasures, the tree was decorated with lights and tinsel and ornaments and sometimes shaving cream, yes shaving cream. It was messy, but when it’s on the branches for a few hours it puffs up like fresh fallen snow, trust me it was beautiful to a child’s eyes. Since there were four children in my family the mounds of presents under the tree were enough to take your breath away. Never mind that some of the presents were things like a bar of soap and a washcloth, under the tree it looked as good as gold. My childhood Christmas trees will live with me till the end of my time and will always make me smile and yearn for those warm days at home with my family.   One year when I was an adult with children of my own an individual, who shall remain nameless, but who I no longer speak to, very quizzically asked me, “So what’s the THEME of your tree”. She proceeded to tell me that I should have a theme, whether it is red, or teddy bears, I don’t remember much else of that conversation and it’s not important. My Christmas tree as an adult has always been about my life. In my first...

Wife, Mother and Murderer? Revisiting “Dolores Claiborne”

Wife, Mother and Murderer? Revisiting “Dolores Claiborne”

Dec 9, 2014

*This column contains spoilers. If you have not seen “Dolores Claiborne” you may want to view the movie before reading* In 1990 Kathy Bates wowed the world with her performance as Annie Wilkes in “Misery” even earning the Best Actress Oscar for that year. In 1995 Ms. Bates would star in another adaptation of a Stephen King novel as Dolores Claiborne from the novel of the same name. She didn’t earn an Oscar nomination this time but her performance was equally enthralling and captivated the world as she played a woman full of witty sarcasm who stands accused of murder for the second time in her life. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week. “Dolores Claiborne” is a unique film. It is like watching a movie inside a movie. In the present day we have Dolores (Kathy Bates) being investigated for the murder of her employer and companion Vera Donovan (Judy Parfitt). Heading up the investigation is Detective John Mackey (played by Christopher Plummer). Years earlier he tried to prove Dolores guilty of murdering her husband Joe St. George (played to hateful perfection by David Strathairn). In his career as a detective this was the only case he failed to convict. Detective Mackey is out for blood.  Dolores’ estranged daughter Selena (Jennifer Jason Leigh in an Oscar caliber performance), who is an alcoholic and takes all kinds of pills for stress and depression, comes home to support and help her mother through this although it seems that she isn’t entirely sure her mother didn’t commit murder. The rest of the movie is told through a series of flashbacks that lead up to the death of Dolores’ husband and the investigation that followed. The core of the story is the strained relationship between Dolores and Selena. It is obvious that Selena is not happy to be home and is not happy to see her mother. Their conversations are awkward and unpleasant. There is no question that Dolores loves her daughter very much. The feelings of her daughter seem to be quite the opposite. Together the ladies go on a journey dealing with the problem at hand and reliving painful memories from the past which will...

Motivation, Macrame, and Green Beans

Motivation, Macrame, and Green Beans

Dec 4, 2014

I thought about writing an article this week called, How to Survive the Holidays with your Health and Sanity Intact (even if it wasn’t in the first place). I was going to tell you all about how to make healthy food choices that weren’t depriving, spend more time relaxing and less time perfecting, and yada yada yada. While I do think this topic is an interesting one, and I have a lot to say about it, I kept putting off getting it down on paper. I noticed this was happening, because every time I opened my computer to write, I got “distracted”: Researching such topics as the Cascadia fault line, the current and forecasted weather report for places I thought might be warmer than here in january, public swimming pools in my area, and how to make a net grocery tote bag out of string. What? Procrastinating, you say?! I decided it was time to write about motivation. There is a lot of space for me between procrastination and motivated action. If procrastination is defined as putting off an undesirable activity, well, I did desire to write about the holidays! The problem was, I didn’t feel inspired and motivated to do so. I felt inspired and motivated to daydream about travel, and plan some art projects (okay the fault line research motivated me through fear), and ultimately to think about what lights me up. What I want to move towards, and spend more of my time doing. Things like writing about what’s exciting me in the moment, and working on a fiber arts project. The next time you find yourself just not getting something done, consider not just why you are avoiding it, because you may not be. Consider what you most want to be doing in that moment, and ask yourself why you aren’t focusing on that. When we are inspired, we are more productive, creative, relaxed, and oh yeah… HAPPY. Once I got there, this article on motivation pretty much wrote itself! P.S. Regarding the holiday sanity piece, I’ll give you a hint: cultivate your own happiness and let your holiday cheer and choices pour out of a cup that is being refilled....

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