Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Springtime Under Glass

We knew a blizzard was on the way today, Tuesday, Jan. 21 so we had a good reason to go to Longwood Gardens on Monday. A balmy day near fifty degrees was a huge contrast to today's snowstorm which is forecast to accumulate over a foot of snow. The conservatory was decorated with all the springtime favorites. It's always gorgeous and makes everyone smile.

Since temperatures are dropping rapidly today, it makes me wonder how much heat loss they sustain to produce a springtime atmosphere in the conservatory. The plants were thriving as usual and the aroma of jasmine and gardenia greet you when you enter. The springtime colors of yellow, pink and purple were abundant alongside some winter favorites like amaryllis, poinsettia, and cyclamen reds. 

The silver Mediterranean gardens and desert landscapes kept very arid conditions even with dew on the windows. It is always a feast for the senses to visit their beautiful displays.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mr. Magoo

There are days when I venture out into the wide world, I wonder if I should be like Mr. Magoo, classic cartoon character from the past. His wide-eyed optimism and “who gives a flip” innocence is so appealing when considering what happens in the world of today, it would also be helpful if everyone had a “Cholly” to save us from our own challenging situations.

I began thinking about Mr. Magoo when I was driving home this week to be confronted with a lady heading toward me on a one-way street. Long story short, we managed to avoid catastrophe, she went on her way and I mine, no harm, no foul. It could have ended far differently.

Also this week, I was driving into the local post office on a one-way street entrance when I had to wait for a lady pulling out of a parking space in the wrong direction and trying to exit the parking lot by going out the same direction that she had entered, which was a one-way street. I went on my way and paid no attention to how she finally exited the parking lot. It was doubly annoying since I had just waited through a very long traffic light behind a fellow who was so busy with his cell phone, he ignored the green light and a line of traffic behind him had to wait through two cycles for him to stop using his phone and pay attention to his driving. Yes, yes, at least the car was stopped while he was on his phone. He could have pulled into a parking lot rather than choosing a traffic light stop to use the phone.

Actually, I am beginning to feel more like the “Cholly” who has to patiently wait out the Mr. Magoo, clueless drivers of the world, and save them from their carefree approach to traffic laws or patterns.

I live near a very busy north/south highway that is divided in several areas and it seems to confuse some drivers. However, a left turn lane into a shopping mall should not be a mystery and when the light goes red, traffic is required to stop. I had to sit waiting under a green light waiting for five, yes five drivers, to continue in the left turn lane while ignoring the red light in the left turn lane. Oncoming three lanes of traffic had the green light, but the five drivers didn’t care. Cholly had to save all the Mr. Magoo drivers that day. Three lanes of traffic sat blowing their horns while five people continued to turn left into the mall.  Blocking the Box” is being taken more seriously in some areas thankfully.

When the headlines scream “man shot in theater over texting argument”, I’m not surprised. Cell phone use in theaters have made it such an unpleasant experience that I have become a fan of Netflix. I watch movies in my own home rather than putting up with inconsiderate people acting like they are at home when they are in theaters. When among the public, we never know who is mentally ill, carrying guns, high on drugs, physically impaired, or just plain criminals looking for trouble. We have more people in the “Cholly” category in the population thankfully, and all we can do is try to work around the situations, while Mr. Magoo blows it off with “Oh, Magoo, you’ve done it again.”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014



We have been having fun with the Wallander Series from Masterpiece Theater because it is available on Netflix. The series we like has Kenneth Branagh who does drama very well with his Shakespearean background. I have not read the books written by Henning Mankell, nor have I seen other productions of the series such as the one with Swedish actors.  It is about a Swedish detective who deals in dreary murder mysteries, but it is a very compelling mystery series. The environment is very dark, depressing and moody. The people are very somber and they seem so depressed and almost afraid to be cheerful.

I don't know why, but it is almost over the top and makes me smile because it works so hard to set a dreadful atmosphere. We always laugh when his cell phone rings because it is such an annoying ring tone. It is like scraping finger nails over a chalk board. It just makes my skin crawl.

I highly recommend it because it seems such a relief when it ends and the perps are revealed and arrested or contribute to their own demise in the attempt. It is very absorbing and like a lot of British productions in that it isn't like action adventure American films. This series is about people and the endless nuances of human nature. Guns show up once in a while and sometimes a car is trashed, but it is mostly about the people and the agony of their lives because, after all, they live in a most depressing part of the world. At first I thought it was in Denmark, the land of Hamlet, but it is Sweden. All the same, those Scandinavian countries have the most wonderful vegetation, but it is always cloudy, foggy, rainy and dreary in the land of the midnight sun. Obviously,  the sun occasionally comes out to produce all those nice greens and flowers, but they rarely show it--that would be much too cheerful, I suppose. We all need a little vicarious pathos in our lives to remind us how much better we find our own existence.

I notice so many things in that series beyond the plot. Something has to be very absorbing for me to notice something other than the plot. I am such a plot junky. I am hooked on the presentations and trying to decide if I want to tackle the written version. We have seen three of nine episodes that are listed. I will have to see if there are more that we haven't found yet. They are very long for each episode but there are no commercials or breaks. I would be thrilled if they continued the series and produced a few more seasons with Kenneth Branagh.