Category Archives: Major League Baseball

Movie Triple-Header

There are lots of British stars in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

The Mister and I put the old AMC Stubs card through its paces last weekend, as we enjoyed three movies together. Our sons joined us for one of the films . . . let’s see if you can figure out which one (it won’t be hard).

First up was “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” featuring a bunch of wonderful British and Indian actors. Even though there is a love story between two attractive youngsters, Dev Patel (the hotel’s part-owner and manager) and Tena Desae, the flick definitely is skewed towards the older generation. The main cast of Brits are all in their 60s and 70s. There probably wasn’t anyone younger than age 45 in the theater (especially at an early matinee)!

All of these aging Brits are facing retirement, some with little money. All are drawn to (Jaipur) India’s Marigold Hotel, which is misrepresented as almost palatial in its brochure when it’s as rundown as they all are.

Maggie Smith sheds her Professor McGonagall persona.

I especially loved Judi Dench (as always) and Maggie Smith in this movie, which was delightful. You’ll exit the theater smiling.

“Men in Black 3”

1969 and present Agent Ks sandwich Agent J.

Yep, this is the one our sons were anxious to see . . . us, too. We’ve enjoyed the MIB series so far, and we weren’t disappointed by this most-recent effort.

Agent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to 1969 to try to stop Boris the Animal (Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement) from killing his partner, Agent K (a very aged and tired Tommy Lee Jones). J deals with the younger K, amazingly played by Josh Brolin, who nails the future K’s mannerisms.

My only gripe (and it’s a big one) with “MIB 3” is that a subplot involves the hated, hated New York Mets, who overcame my beloved Chicago Cubs’ huge lead, not only winning their division but also the World Series in 1969. No Cub fan needs to be reminded of those dark days.

Otherwise, this is a must-see for MIB fans.

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting”

A bevvy of pretty actresses are expecting babies.

All women who are or have been pregnant know one basic truth: “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” is THE must-read maternity bible. Still, it’s hard to believe that a movie was made based on Heidi Murkoff’s manual.

The just-okay flick follows five couples as they navigate the murky waters of having or adopting a baby. The best character was breastfeeding advocate Wendy, superbly played by Elizabeth Banks, who discovers that it’s tough to feel that elusive pregnancy “glow” when you’re so big that you’re zoned as a condo, and nothing feels normal. I could so relate to her experience . . . times two!

The dudes group, led by Chris Rock, was a nice touch, as the dads bonded with each other and their kids. But overall “What to Expect” is one for the Netflix queue.

Advertisements

Skedaddle to Seattle . . . Very Slowly

The *!@#* garment bag

The *!@#* garment bag

This is a sad tale of what happens when several dumb decisions plus poor timing multiplied by awful luck equal missing a flight to Seattle.

And it all centers around a garment bag.

Last Thursday we were supposed to be on the 8:55 a.m. flight from Houston’s Intercontinental Airport to Seattle. The main purpose of the four-day trip? My beloved #1 niece’s wedding. Oh, we made it to Seattle, but we had to wait until 2:20 p.m. to board the plane. Then again, who wouldn’t want to spend their first Pacific Northwest vacation in the airport for five and a half hours?!? The excitement, the thrills, the drama!

The #2 son is momentarily happy in the airport.

The #2 son is momentarily happy in the airport.

The bottom line is that when you’re a little bit late getting out of the house and into the car, as we were by five or 10 minutes, every extra minute of delay seems to increase exponentially. There’s bound to be more traffic. And the shuttle bus driver is bound to pick up two more slow passengers. And then you’re going to make a fatal mistake: You’re not going to see curbside check-in when the line inside to check bags is really long.

The #1 son reads in the airport.

The #1 son reads in the airport.

The basic problem for us was that we rarely fly anywhere. That’s because we rarely go anywhere. But when we do fly, we carry everything on. Each of us has a wheeled carry-on case (love those wheels!) and a backpack. But because we were going to the wedding, we had to have our grown-up clothes with us. You know, fancy duds. Yep, I even had a dress! There’s no stuffing that kind of garb in a carry-on. Hence the too-big, too-heavy garment bag that needed to be checked.

The Mister reads.

The Mister reads.

Suffice it to say, by the time we got the garment bag to check-in, we had less than 30 minutes before our flight was to take off. Did you know that you can’t check in a bag for a flight that has less than 30 minutes before taking off? I didn’t before, but I sure know that now! Very stressful!! The check-in gal suggested that the guys make the 8:55 a.m. flight, while the garment bag and the old bag travel on the next one at 12:30 p.m. I gave the guys their boarding passes and told them to make like Usain Bolt and speed to gate 39. Which, of course, was the furthest one from the security checkpoint.

A bored #2 son checks the Tour de France results on my iPhone.

A bored #2 son checks the Tour de France results on my iPhone.

I went back and leisurely finished checking in the garment bag and then went through security. Of course, by this time, which was almost 9 a.m., there were hardly any people around. Figures. My one thought was that as long as I don’t get a phone call from the Mister, all was well, and they’re on their way to Seattle.

#2's self-portrait taken with the camera upside-down.

#2's self-portrait taken with the camera upside-down.

“When a Man Loves a Woman” started playing from my iPhone at 8:55 a.m. Oh, oh . . . that’s the Mister’s ring tone. Not a good sign. Sigh! They missed the flight. We didn’t realize that the gate had been changed from 39 to 31; by the time they got there, the doors were closed to them. And the Mister was very tired and winded. And, of course, unhappy.

Yay, we made it!

Yay, we made it!

So I gave up my 12:30 p.m. seat, and we were confirmed on the 2:20 p.m. plane. Which meant lots of time together in the airport. The highlight was probably seeing the Houston Dynamo soccer team’s players, who eventually were on our flight. I don’t think the Mister and I were ever so happy to get on a plane! And then to finally land in Seattle, where the temperature was about 20 degrees cooler than in Houston. I loved that part the best!

Safeco Field—home of the Seattle Mariners

Safeco Field—home of the Seattle Mariners

That night we attended the Seattle Mariners baseball game at Safeco Field with our relatives and my niece Becky’s friends. The Mariners were playing the Texas Rangers.

Sidebar: Even though we live in Texas, we are not Rangers fans; we are Houston Astros fans! We prefer the National League. I’m originally from Chicago, and I’m a lifelong Cubs follower. I will never like the White Sox. Hope I’ve made that clear!

A Mariners' wild pitch gets past the catcher.

A Mariners' wild pitch gets past the catcher.

Of course, I had my Nikon D300 with me with the Nikon 105mm lens. We were in the upper deck near home plate, and I was able to get a few good photos from that vantage point.

The Rangers score their only run.

The Rangers score their only run.

It was great relaxing with my mom, her two sisters, and my oldest sister Fran (Becky’s mom). The Mariners managed to win the game 3-1, the boys got to see a major league baseball game in a park in a different state, and I was beginning to shed the airport-saga stress.

And the irony of the whole flight-missing tale? The garment bag made it to Seattle before we did! It was on the 12:30 p.m. plane and was waiting for us in the airport. Hope it had a good time!

Random Snippets

ice-cream-truckWhile I was watching the #2 son coach his third-/fourth-grade division flag football team Sunday, my senses were assaulted for about 20 minutes by an ice cream truck that had spied a prime opportunity to feed a hungry crowd of athletes. I listened as the chiming tones played a bunch of the usual ice cream truck standards that have been beckoning kids forever: “It’s a Small World,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Happy Birthday to You,” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Then it played a song that literally made me smile: “The Theme From Love Story.” Wonder how that got in the rotation! I guess love means never having to say you’re sorry . . . that you can’t buy any ice cream!

Spelling Manor

Spelling Manor

In real estate news

People.com reports that Candy Spelling, Aaron Spelling’s widow, is planning to downsize from a 73,500-square-foot mansion to a “tiny” 17,000-square-foot condo (the same size as an attic in the mansion, which also has three gift-wrapping rooms)!! Candy’s walk-in closet measures 3,500 square feet; that’s bigger than our house!

Any takers, readers?

smaller-houston_astros

Win-win situation
The first pitch has been thrown: Major league baseball has begun! Personally, I have a split set of loyalties: I’m a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan (go ahead, call me a loser; I can take it; I’ve suffered through years of mourning yet another lost season), but I’ve lived in the Houston area since 1985, and I also root for the Astros.

chicago-cubs1

It just so happens that the ’stros’ season opener is against the Cubs. Monday when I turned the game on the TV, I told my family, “Yay, we’re winning! Darn it, we’re losing!” I figured that no matter which team won, I’d be happy. So far the two teams have split the series, with the Cubs taking the opener, and the Astros winning last night in extra innings.

And, no, I am not a Chicago White Sox fan. Anyone who lives or has lived in Chicago understands that! It’s kind of like the University of Texas and Texas A&M rivalry.

Was this the face in the clouds?

Was this the face in the clouds?

How could Jigsaw have been the face?

How could Jigsaw have been the face?

Solving the Mystery

So what face do I see in the clouds in my blog header? When I asked the #1 son, he said, “You mean that Easter Island head? It looks like Jigsaw, the villain in the ‘Saw’ movie.” Really? Could there be any less resemblance?!? Very puzzling answer!

Actually, as Lazy Mom Leslie guessed, it’s good, old honest Abe! He’s in the clouds and along the side of the road in Pearland.

A proud mom moment

Last Friday was a red-letter day in the history of the #2 son: He actually, for the first time ever, put his towel back on the towel rack after taking a shower. Without being nagged. Without being reminded. A moment of silence, please, to mark the occasion. I can almost hear my future daughter-in-law cheering in the distance.

Speaking of #2, after I finished his brother’s résumé, I blazed a trail from his door to his closet. It did take an exhausting 10 minutes!