Netflix for Families

Moving closer to my parents has meant finding new activities that we can all enjoy. For the past 20 years, I’ve lived in major cities, so a parental visit meant short bursts of playing tourist. I have always loved creating the perfect itinerary so my family would enjoy the very best of cultural events, parks and dining, each chosen to suit their particular tastes. I’m a planner and I always want to have an answer to “what are we going to do next?”

Now, living out here in rural America my motto is “Make Your Own Fun.”  As the weather changes, fun more frequently includes a movie on Netflix and I have become the programming director at my parents’ house. When I visit, my dad now asks “So, what’s on for tonight’s entertainment?” as part of our regular post-dinner banter. I despise not having a well-planned answer. We’ve exhausted so many great options: Lillihammer, Happy Valley, Bletchley Circle, among others. However, you can only view so many Poirot episodes in a row.  With my first round of options exhausted (I should blog that list!) I’ve been challenged to find some new movies that engage the dramatically different tastes of my Jane Austen-loving mother, my war- & history-buff dad and pop-culture obsessed self. My father has more criteria for a “good movie” than all of the New York Times film critics combined. While not a complete catalog, the collective generally requires movies that are: very smart, but not too edgy or overtly political; funny, not insipid or bro-humor; intriguing, but with a linear plot; modern, yet with minimal violence or sex; not flashy or standard block-busters nor uber-indie. Green lit choices also cannot star Woody Allen, Ethel Merman or Bette Davis (among a myriad of other actors on the blacklist, so-to-speak). Finding something we can all enjoy is a small miracle. Sorry, Netflix: no mere algorithm can offer up just the right choices.

So, in addition to my annual Netflix Film Festival in January, I recently began curating a roster for the cold months ahead – maybe I should call it The Daylight Savings Film Series. Here – in no particular order – are the initial selections I’ll be queuing up for my oh-so particular audience.

 

  1. Planes, Trains & Automobiles
  2. A Witness to Murder
  3. The Producers (1968)
  4. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
  5. Patton (Also part of my AFI Top 100 challenge)
  6. The Conversation
  7. Flight
  8. High Noon
  9. Double Indemnity
  10. The American
  11. Double Take
  12. Strictly Ballroom
  13. The Usual Suspects
  14. M*A*S*H
  15. The Triplets of Belleville
  16. This Property is Condemned
  17. Generation War (Mini-series)
  18. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  19. The Paper Chase
  20. The Assets (Series)

 

I need to round out the series with a few more comedies, which will be added in a coming post. But tell me: What’s on your viewing schedule? Any suggestions to add?

Happy winter viewing!

 

j.

 

 

 

Shop My Closet: Trixie & Duke Trunk Show

Wow, my closets runneth over. I’m a huge fan of vintage clothes, the craftsmanship, the unique details, and the wonderful style make me ridiculously happy. Sadly, I’m currently living in a place that doesn’t really value fashion or irony, and I find most of this simply stays in the closet.  Some pieces I’ve just loved and outgrown, other pieces I purchased based on beauty and a hope it would fit “someday”.  But Gorgeous clothes need to be released to the world. You should benefit from my love of well-curated vintage and take a look at the current roster in the Trixie & Duke trunk show, just waiting for a good home with a fashion lover, vintage fiend &/or fashionista.

Head to http://www.ebay.com/usr/trixieandduke and check out the goods.

A little glimpse:

Nita’s Koffee Shop

Shelton’s hidden secret is Nita’s Koffee Shop on Railroad Avenue. Get there, relax, have a piece of homemade pie, or a burger that tastes like childhood. Strike up a conversation with the fantastic wait staff and learn something new about the world. Savor.

 

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Love Your Garden

While I’m working on my own major garden/backyard renovation, inspiration and ideas are key to keep me going on the overhaul. Well, today I stumbled upon this British show, Love Your Garden which left a lump in my throat within a few minutes. My next pruning session will be a moving meditation on good fortune, rather than an ornery task that must be completed.

 

 

A Nuclear Plant in the Backyard

Just 10 minutes from my house is the oddest of icons: a nuclear plant. Construction on the towers began in the 1980s but before completion, funding ran out and are now — Thankfully — dormant. The towers remain looming in the background of our lives and can be seen from a good portion the neighboring area. Today, I’m headed to take a tour of the former nuclear site, which has since been turned in to a business park.  Excited, very curious and hopeful to tour the inside of the cooling towers which have become a holy grail for northwest Instagrammers.

I don’t think I’ll pitch my friends’ awesome idea to make the place into a Simpson’s Theme Park. (Although it would be fantastic.)

 

Below: A silhouette of the ladders that zig-zag up the side of a tower.

Satsop Nuclear Plant (inactive)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impromptu Exploring: Wynoochee Dam

“How fast does a coyote run?”

Sunday, I set out to take the dog for a walk and ended up on a four-hour road trip exploring an area I’d never been before and it blew my mind. Who knew that the area around the Wynoochee Dam on the edge of the Olympic National Forest is a mind-blowingly gorgeous? (Driving Directions)

Luckily for me, this is just a 30 mile drive from my house. Of course, the speed limit on the long and winding road (which was only recently paved) is only 45 mph, so our arrival took more like an hour. The drive was spectacular, even on a cloudy day: Surprising vistas of the valley, around one corner, waterfalls around another and wildlife was in full force. A coyote even popped out of the bushes on the side of the road (pics below).  Hustling out of the car with hopes of snapping that great one-time picture, I never expected he would put on a runway show for me, barely losing eye contact with me the entire five minute photo shoot. (He was so unfazed by my presence, I zoomed in to a picture to make sure it wasn’t actually an abandoned dog.) While his demeanor made for great shots, I also wondered just how fast this creature could run and if I could get back in the car fast enough. Finally driving away he started following the car at a casual trot. How much do you want to bet loggers have been feeding him?

I’m excited to show you a snippet of photos from the trip. I’m sure there will be more trips as the season changes.


Olympia Rocks

The more time I spend in Olympia, WA, the more my affection grows. Downtown feels like the best parts of Seattle in the 90s: small, locally-owned stores serving a community of of no-nonsense Northwest quirky creatives. Then just a few blocks from great coffee and vintage dresses you find an amazing, Paris-inspired lake-front park and a gorgeous waterfront. What more could you want?

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A Puppy Came to Stay

I’d forgotten just how much WORK it takes to raise a puppy.

For over a week, this six-pound joy stayed with me while his mammas were off celebrating the New Year. He is the cutest guy – curious, cuddly, kind. The energy of youth was not lost on me. Go! Go! Go! Explore It ALL! I could barely keep up. In comparison, my six-year-old Frenchie, Henry, seemed like an old man. Henry played much less than normal; he was patient but obviously irritated by the whipersnapper literally snapping — piercing ears, legs and, ehem, privates. Bless his heart, my little guy played appropriately and came to me for solace when the playful gnawing went too far. Adding another pup to my pack is a goal and babysitting was confirmation our next family member will be more mature. Good information, isn’t it?

However, I just fell in love with this little guy and carried him around like a baby for almost a week. Passing him back to his moms was bittersweet. Happy to do a favor for a friend, but oh so sad to let this little man out of my arms. After years of indecision, the verdict is in — another Frenchie will be a real joy. Come on, 2014… bring our next family member this way!