RSS Feed

Category Archives: commentary

R.I.P, Ebenezer Scrooge and Others

I hate to have another R.I.P. post so soon after Julie Adams, but I cannot let Albert Finney’s death pass without comment.  He is one of my favorite actors.

I first encountered Finney as the title character in Scrooge (1970), one of our favorite Christmas movies.  I saw it on television sometime in 1979 or ’80 and loved it.  As a matter of fact, I introduced Steven to Scrooge many years ago.  He had purchased his first VCR, and I insisted on buying the video of Scrooge.

He hates people.

Years later we saw Finney in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), which we rented from a video store.  Yes, video.   I think we rented it more than once.  Later, Steven bought the video for 75 cents when the store went out of business.  Now we have it on DVD.

Martin Balsam, Finney and George Couloris get a clue.

Finney really disappeared into the part, and he did look close to what I always pictured Hercule Poirot looking like.

I lost track of Finney for years after that till Erin Brockovich (2000), which we went to the theatre to see.  I saw Finney’s name in the opening credits and said, “Goody,” then promptly forgot all about it.  During the movie, I was just so impressed with the fellow playing Ed Masry.  I thought, “My God, he looks perfect, he sounds perfect, he moves perfectly!  That has to be exactly what Ed Masry was really like.  This actor is brilliant!”  After the movie, I remembered seeing Finney’s name and asked Steven where he was in the movie.  Imagine my chagrin!  In fact, when I saw the name, I figured he would look more like Ebenezer Scrooge.  Silly me.

He was a handsome young man.

I close with a picture of the young, handsome Albert Finney.  I love his acting at all ages.  The above picture is from Tom Jones (1963), a very fun movie we have on VHS (to show how long we have had it).  We may have an Albert Finney Film Festival this weekend.  We also have Big Fish (2003).  I say rest in peace, you fine actor, and thank you for all your wonderful performances.

 

Advertisements

Second Guessing my First Run of 2019

It is important to me that Saturday Running Commentary be a thing again, even if I neglect to make my post shortly after my run, which I feel is the best way to do it (that’s not a run-on sentence) (although I suppose a run-on sentence may be appropriate for a Running Commentary  post).  Anyways, I ran this morning and I am going to try to comment about it even hours after the fact.

It is my first run of 2019. I felt too tired after my New Year’s Eve celebrations (although they were tame by many standards) (then again, why should I worry about anybody else’s standards?) on Jan. 1.  Jan. 2, 3 and 4 I was working ten-hour days and TIRED, and I believe my blog posts reflect that.  I almost did not run today.  I considered going to the Mohawk YMCA and doing 30 minutes on the elliptical, I thought about taking a long walk and saying, “good enough.”  Then I said what the hell, got into running clothes and went.

It was in the low 30’s.  Weather on the One’s on Spectrum News said some freezing was still going on, so I was a bit nervous, but I thought it was not precipitating.  True, the roads looked wet… sometimes it is best not to think too long about these things but just to get out and start running.  So I did.

I did not head toward German Street, as is my usual practice, because it was close to eight and I saw a number of cars going by and I intended to the run in the road.  A mere glance at the sidewalk confirmed me in my intention.  As I ran down Bellinger Street, I saw a runner coming towards me running on the sidewalk and felt silly.  Then I thought I was ridiculous.  Normally I run on the sidewalk and feel self-conscious seeing other runners on the road.  Do I really think these other runners are judging me?  And why should I care if they do?  I choose to run on the sidewalk.  Or, like today, on the road. Similarly, other runners can make their choices.  Oh well, at least these thoughts keep me occupied while running.

The roads were not awful, but I did not completely trust them.  I felt there could be ice, and sometimes I knew there was ice.  A couple of times I dared to go up on the sidewalk, but I did not stay there, because I definitely encountered ice eventually.  But I kept running.  I was happy to see some people’s Christmas decorations still up.  Traditionally, decorations are supposed to stay up till Jan. 6, Twelfth Night.  I always have a hard time letting go of the holiday.

My intention was not to run too long, since I had taken four days off and only gone for a long walk the day before that (go ahead and judge me, remember I am not supposed to care who does).  As I ran back towards my house, keeping an eye on my watch and wondering how long over 20 minutes I could or should do, my legs were saying, “We cool. We got this.”  I was surprised.  Are these the same legs, I asked myself, that for three days at week were whining, “We’re tired!  We’re stiff!  We ache! Sit down!”  What the hell, legs?  But there is no point in trying to figure these things out; I am not clever enough to understand them.

I reasoned that if I ran 20 minutes, with my 10 minute cool-down walk it would be 30 minutes, the length of time I would have spent on the elliptical at the Y.  I ended up running for 23 minutes, so  I thought that was pretty good.  I was delighted with myself for running at all.  Would 2019 be the year I did not stop running in the winter but kept up running full time till next spring and summer?  Would I never again have to write “Begin again” in my running journal?  Then I thought, it is Jan. 5 and this is my first run of 2019, is that bad?  And here I am second-guessing myself again.  What the hell, me?

Next I am going to start second-guessing this blog post.  Is it really a Running Commentary?  Is it any good as a blog post?  As I have observed before, if dithering burned calories, I would have no problem meeting my weight-loss goals.

 

You Can Forget this Blog Post

I’ll never forget the time that…

Sometimes those words are followed by a delightful memory of fun times with family and friends, or a time somebody did something impressive, or any number of other good things.  Sometimes not so much.  Sometimes what we’ll never forget is the time that somebody did or said something that was mean and uncalled for.  Worse yet, sometimes it’s something I did myself and I still feel bad about.  Full disclosure:  most of my unpleasant “never forgets” are bad things done by others.  Oh, I’ve done plenty of things I’m ashamed of, but they don’t seem to pop into my mind as frequently. When you get right down to it, I am pretty much a stinker.  But I digress.

Here’s the thing that occurred to me this morning, sometimes it is a good idea to forget these things we’ll never forget.  What good does it do us to remember?  I often still feel the same hurt or regret, only the chances of making things right are extremely remote.  Oh, I suppose being a fiction writer, I could attempt to extract some petty revenge by fictionalizing my adversaries.  I personally have never had great success with that.  Of course, I have not so far had great success as a fiction writer at all, but let’s not probe that sore spot.  For one reason, I do not want to be saying at some future date, “I’ll never forget the time I was make a blog post and all somebody wanted to talk about was my lack of success as a fiction writer.

You may have noticed that I am not giving any examples of things I’ll “never forget.”  That is because I am attempting to follow my new idea of forgetting these things.  At least I will strive not to dwell on them.  I’ll let you know how that works out for me.

In the meantime, this will have to do for today’s blog post.  There is probably a much better essay to be written on the subject.  In fact, it probably has already been written.  Why should I think I am the first person to come up with these things?  No matter.  Some things bear repeating.  Happy Tuesday, everyone.

 

We Voted!

Well, that photo didn’t turn out as well as I thought it would.

So we voted, and my dear husband Steven insisted we take a selfie to commemorate the event.  In fact, we vote in most elections, presidential and otherwise.  Just as an aside, boy do I look old in that picture!

After we voted, we rewarded ourselves with dinner at PK’s Pub in Herkimer, NY (where we live).  It was quite the yummy dinner. I got the Blackened Chicken Salad, which was a good choice for me, because now I have some salad to bring to work for my lunch tomorrow.  Steven had a bowl of clam chowder, because he preferred something light.  I also had two glasses of Chardonnay.  They kind of went to my head (don’t judge)  (oh, hell, judge if you want to; I don’t care).

I posted the above picture on Facebook right after I put it here.  It has gotten seven Likes already.  Regular readers know I am kind of a Like junkie.  I guess we’re all happy about a lot of people voting. However, Mohawk Valley Girl tries to stay off politics and religion.  On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay off politics.  I believe that is a topic for another post.  For now, suffice it to say, I voted.  I hope you did, too.

 

Was This a Successful Blog Post?

I will begin this edition of Monday Middle-aged Musings by admitting that I am NOT what some people would call a successful woman.  Ooh, I just realized I could write an entire blog post about what constitutes success.  I’ll save that idea for another time.  However, today I received from my sister Diane a card reading, “11 Habits of Successful Women,” and I would like to talk about that.

Somebody sent Diane the card.  She wrote me that she does not have nor does she aspire to have all the qualities listed, so she thought she would pass the card along to me.  She invited me to pass it on to someone else.  I am still debating who I should send it to.  While I ponder that, I thought it would make a dandy blog post to note which of the habits I practice or would like to.

  1. She makes time for herself.  Hmmm…. I don’t know that I do that.  I certainly TAKE time for myself once in a while, most notably by sitting on the couch crocheting and watching a true crime show.  What I ought to do is make more time for cleaning my house, but I see that is not on the list at all.  That makes this a pretty good list in my estimation.
  2. She challenges herself with ambitious goals.  I ran the Boilermaker 15K, and I am writing a novel.  I’m going to count this habit as a “yes” for me.
  3. She educates herself and constantly improves.  Well, I read books, including a lot of history.  I would like to learn more, like a second language or sign language or how to play harmonica.  Let’s count this a a partial “yes.”
  4. She takes responsibility for every area of her life.  OK, does it count as not taking responsibility when you sit on the couch and say, “Honey, would you get me more wine?”  Because if so, then, no, I do not take responsibility for every area of my life.
  5. She smiles… a lot.  Oh, I do.  I smile at everybody all day at work, sometimes making a very silly grin.  It either makes them smile back, or it makes them wonder what I am up to.  And I smile at strangers in the supermarket, especially when I apologize for blocking the aisle with my cart when I am pondering grocery choices.
  6. She is financially savvy.  Not in the slightest degree.
  7. She has a life outside her job.  Obviously I do.  Otherwise, what would I blog about?
  8. She always keeps her promises.  I like to think I do, although it cannot be denied that shit happens.
  9. She is positive and enthusiastic.  Sometimes.  I think it would be annoying to be that way all time time, but I guess I couldn’t really say, because I have never encountered anybody who is.
  10. She celebrates wins, both big and small.  Oh, I do this.  Sometimes I celebrate when there isn’t anything to celebrate.  I like to celebrate.
  11. She helps others through selfless acts of kindness.  I don’t know about that, but I do donate the occasional afghan to a worthy cause.

So, I count four qualified “yeses,” five partial “yeses,” one “I guess not,” and one unqualified “no.”  How do you score?  Feel free to lie.  We’ll call it fiction.

 

Tricks and Perseverance

I reminded myself all day to go running and to make a Running Commentary post.  Regular readers may recall, that is one of my tricks to get myself to run after a long, tiring day at work: remind myself all day to do it so it will be automatic and I won’t talk myself out of it.  Sometimes I have to ask myself, how can I keep saying I love to run when it is so damn easy to talk myself out of it?  One day perhaps I will take a whole blog post to discuss the matter.  For today, let us just accept it as true.

So I accomplished the first part of my plan: I ran. Now I am attempting to accomplish the second.  As I type this, it is more than two hours after I finished my run.  Ideally, I do not wait that long.  In fact, after I finished the run, I thought, “That was a dull run.  I’m not going to write about that run.”  Well, two hours later and no other blog post in sight, I am going to write a little bit.

I am slowly working back into running after my week-long pause following the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K (just thought I’d plug them again).  When I ran on Saturday, I managed 27 minutes.  Here is how I decided to run 27 minutes:  I seemed to remember that there is a Turkey Trot 5K somewhere around here on Thanksgiving Day.  I thought I might like to run it.  I further thought, to be really comfortable running it, I would like to run for 40 minutes the previous Saturday.  Then I counted backwards from Saturday Nov. 18, if I was adding 10 percent to my run time each week, what I should run Oct. 21 to get to 40 minutes by then?

I often figure simple math in my head when I run.  It is another trick I use.  Back in Army Basic Training, when I learned to run, Drill Sergeant Dillinger told me that the secret to running is to distract yourself, so you don’t think about how much it sucks to run.  I later found out that it does not always suck to run, something I never would have learned without the distract yourself trick.

Getting back to today’s run, part of it was fairly sucky.  I have been working on my feet for the past two days; my legs and feet are TIRED.  However, as I have mentioned many times: I know how to persevere.  Eventually my leg muscles began to feel more supple. My feet were still not best pleased with me, but you’ll have that.  I reminded myself that I do not have any place I have to go nor anything I have to get done this evening.  No need to recruit my energies!  I could just go ahead and BE tired!

And, yes, obviously I did have one thing to get done this evening:  make my daily blog post.  And, look at that.  I just did.  Ha! In your face!  I say that to my inner critic, not my dear readers.  To my dear readers I say, thank your tuning in.

 

Run Before G.R.A.V.E.

Good things happen all at once.  Just when this blog ought to become All G.R.A.V.E. All The Time, I find it also must become All Fireman 5K All The Time.  Yes, this Saturday, Oct. 14 I shall run a 5K in the morning and act in a murder mystery in the evening.  I know, that’s not a huge lot on my plate (I know YOU probably do more before breakfast) (you know who you are), but you know how easily I get flustered.  I just got back from running and must study my lines for tonight’s rehearsal.  However, I shall first attempt a Running Commentary post in order to avoid Wrist to Forehead Sunday later.

It was pouring rain when we got up this morning.  I was guiltily happy to postpone my run.  I even wondered if the rain would keep up enough to make an indoor run on the mini-tramp eligible.  For one reason, I never finished watching the John Barrymore silent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that I started watching the last time I ran on the mini-tramp.  However, the rain soon stopped.  When I stepped out on the front porch to get the newspaper, I noticed how muggy it was. Yikes!  I hate a muggy run, and it’s October, for heavens’ sake!  However, after Steven left for work shortly before nine, I suppressed my feelings of ill-usage and got into running clothes.

I sought out the loosest shirt I could find, which was a large, low-cut, sleeveless t-shirt I wear when I go swimming (for a bathing suit, I wear spandex shorts, a sports bra, and that shirt to cover my fat gut).  My sports bras showed, so I made sure I wore colors that didn’t clash with light pink: hot pink and grey.  I know I will never look like anything but a plodding, overweight middle-aged lady when I run, but at least my colors are coordinated.  I further decided to run with a bottle of water in my hand.  I felt desperately thirsty by the end of yesterday’s run.  Also, I planned to run to Herkimer College, which would bring me right near the spring, for a re-fill.

Oh, it was warm and muggy.  There were puddles to dodge around.  I had taken the precaution of wearing an older pair of running shoes, so that was all right.  Still, I don’t need all that dirty water splashing up my legs, so I dodged.  I felt tired and ploddy, so I decided to run up to the college the back way.  It is longer but less steep.  Also, it is in a wooded area, so there might be shade.  I treasure shade.  By the way, I do not care if ploddy is a word or not, it is how I felt.

As I approached the road I wanted, I noticed a new sign saying “Do Not Enter.”  Score!  I could feel like a rebel! The little sign below said, “Authorized vehicles only,”  so I figured it was only closed to vehicular traffic. I thought they would not object to a ploddy, overweight, middle-aged lady, especially on a Sunday.  As I plodded up the road, moving just fast enough that I could pretend to myself it was a run, I saw they are doing work on it.  I made a note to myself to keep running this way on occasion, so I can mark their progress.

My body was not loving this run.  However, one must persevere, especially when one has a 5K to run in less than a week (yikes!).  Actually, you can ignore that parenthetical comment;  I have no reason to “yike,”  I am in plenty good shape for a 5K.  I don’t expect to get a good time, but I feel sure I will have a good time, if you see what I mean.  As I often observe, one must push through the bad runs to get to the good ones. This run was not horrible, at least, not yet.  I continued on up Reservoir Road, which is uphill but more of a gentle slope.  I still struggled a little, but you’ll have that.  Finally I was crossing over and starting on my way down.

And that was when it got horrible.  The sun had come out and was reflecting off the wet pavement like a wide, bright beam of headache.  If I had been wearing my polarized sunglasses and wearing a hat with a brim, I’d have been fine.  As it was, yikes (here I have good reason to  “yike”)!  Still, I didn’t see anything I could do but keep going and hope for a cloud.  Twice I was able to in the grass and take advantage of the shade offered by a row of trees.  Ah, I love to go off-road on occasion (I know some people mean something different than that, and I like those runs too).  At last I got to Lou Ambers Drive, where the trees offered some shade.

Of course the shade did not last.  However, a handy cloud gave some temporary relief, and as always, I tried to count my blessings.  Another blessing is the wide shoulder on that road, because a couple of cars were coming up it.  This is why I like to run on sidewalks when possible.  Occasionally the wind would pick up, and that was another blessing.  It was not enough to dry my sweat, but I was sweating profusely.  Sorry if that gives you an unfortunate mental image (but not real sorry).

I ran for 44 minutes, which was last week’s time.  Normally I try to up it by 10 percent each week, but today I must recruit my energies for this afternoon’s G.R.A.V.E. rehearsal.  Additionally, it should take me less than 44 minutes to run the 5K, so I can feel confident about that.  If the headache the bright sun gave me goes away (can’t say the sun never gave me nuthin’), my life will be perfect.

For more information about the East Herkimer Fire Department 5K, visit their Facebook page.  For more information on A GR.A.V.E. Murder, visit its Facebook event.  And Happy Sunday, everyone.