Advance Movie Screening

lighthouse-Blog

I went to my first Advance Movie Screening for “The Light Between Oceans.” Excellent movie. I belong to an Historical Fiction Book Club, which I found on Meetup.com. This was one of the books we read.

The movie will be officially released on September 2, 2016, so it was exciting to see the movie ahead of time. I felt like a “movie critic,” especially when the announcer came in and told us that normally they take our cell phones, but as they had not done that they were “requiring us” to “power off” all cell phones. No photos or videos allowed AND if they caught anyone turning their phones on during the movie they would be immediately escorted out of the theatre. At that moment there was a lot of noise as people made last minute texts, etc. before powering down. They had almost a full theatre. It “was” refreshing to watch a movie without people checking cell phones constantly.

Good news for those who like to read a book “before” they see the movie. There is still time! The book has the same title as the movie and was written by M.L. Stedman. This is a romance / drama / mystery and for sure you should have tissues handy while you read the book, it’s a tear jerker.

The title was clever, because the story is about a man who manages a lighthouse off the coast of Western Australia. He gets married and … well, I don’t want to give it away!

If you don’t mind a “spoiler” then click here for a quick preview of the movie trailer.

I give it a thumbs up, or is it 4 stars…?

HECK I am new at this!  Just read the book and then see the movie!  IT’S GOOD!

My First Race – Dragon Boat Racing

IMG_3594I heard a team captain say they were “short” one woman to be able to form a team for the Dragon Boat races that were coming up, so I shyly raised my hand.  DONE – I was part of the team!

Our day started at 5 AM on Saturday. We had to drive to the location, set up and prepare for the day’s events. A group got there before us and set up our tents. We all brought food for a pot luck and stored our bags, paddle, etc.  FYI: Never forget your towel and change of clothes. You do get wet, it’s fun, but not if you can’t change your clothes on a cold day.

IMG_3601When we practice we do not have a dragon head on our boat, so I was curious to see how this would look.  I didn’t realize that there is a real drum on the boat too. For those of you who do not know much about dragon boat racing I’ll fill you in. There are 20 paddlers to a boat. The first two paddlers at the front of the boat are called, “the strokes,” they set the pace for the boat.

The drummer uses the drum to set the pace of the strokes, so this person must have a loud voice for all of us to hear. When we are paddling it’s easy to get distracted by the boats next to us and their drum beats. I also learned that you lose time if you look up to see “how” you are doing in the race, best to stay focused and give your strokes ALL you’ve got. Finally, there is the steerperson at the back of the boat, who steers the boat and also gives IMG_3609commands to the paddlers. Here is a glossary of Dragon Boat terms.

We raced about 500 meters in 2.5 minutes. There were four boats racing at once and it took a little time to get us ALL lined up. I know 2.5 minutes might not seem long, but imagine how you feel when you are doing “planks” at the gym. You start out strong and then your arms get tired and it takes everything you’ve got to keep in the plank position. Same with paddling, you force yourself to continue paddling through the pain and finish STRONG. That’s where the drum beat comes in, it keeps the team focused.

BAD NEWS – We didn’t win!

GOOD NEWS – We had a lot of fun, we worked as a team and after our 3rd time out, we improved our time, and we finished STRONG!  It was a great day!   GO TRY IT!

Coyote versus the Fox

imageMy brother took this photo of a coyote in his backyard. Beautiful picture!

When I saw the photo, it made me think of a few children’s stories, i.e Little Red Riding Hood, Aesop’s Fables: The Fox and the Grapes and Pinocchio. However, I realized those stories use a “fox” as a character and not a “coyote,” but I thought how similar these animals look. So, I found a photo of a fox to compare to the coyote, you can see as well.

I am in the process of writing a children’s book and it seems that the animals most used are mice, bears, foxes and frogs.. not a coyote very often and if it is used it seems to be in a story related to the Southwest. Although, now the coyote has ventured to normal neighborhoods like our small town in Indiana.

imageAs the Universe would have it, I was reading the WSJ the other day and there was an article about coyotes by David Roberts called, “The Original Bolshevik.” It did not paint a pretty picture of the coyote. I enjoyed the article as it gave a little history lesson on who the coyote is and where he has come today.

I smiled when Roberts said in the past, the settlers would “fear” the howl, whine and chatter of the coyote and now when we hear the howling on a camping trip, we are not afraid, but more interested in catching a glimpse of this animal with the vision of the moon behind him, which is the picture etched in our minds. I guess it would be like catching a glimpse of a bat or a vampire… we want to see “what they are up to” in the dark of the night, from a distance, of course, so we can write about it!

In my Google search I read that coyotes/foxes do not normally hurt or eat humans, but they have been venturing toward neighborhoods in search of food. Many people leave cat/dog food out and they like it. They also eat squirrels, rabbits, mice, rats, insects, fish, frogs, berries and different fruits.

The howling is a group exercise I read and a form of communication between them, but nothing more and they are sneaky and smart with a keen sense of smell. I think this is why we find them intriguing, we just don’t know what they are “up to.”

For example, when I lived in Chicago the media was in uproar when a “coyote” walked into a Quizno’s sandwich shop during the day and went to lie down in the cooler where they had the cold drinks. That caught everyone by surprise.

I told you… they are sneaky!

Happy 4th of July!

imageAs we celebrate 4th of July this weekend, I thought how American this house looked. I came across this house on my walk and was happy to see the American flag in the window. It reminded me of when I was young, celebrating with a barbecue and fireworks afterwards. Of course, we were always told to “be careful,” so we wouldn’t blow our hands off or burn the house down.

The little community where I lived in Indiana always had a Fireman’s Ball for the 4th of July. They would open the firehouse for the evening, provide some food, hire a band and all of the neighbors would come. A nice way to bring the community together and also to honor and acknowledge our fire department.

I was reading Life In A Word’s Blog. He wrote about the “4 Miles in the Forest” yearly run that he participated in recently which honors and benefits the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Department. A few years ago 500 firefighters were in Colorado battling the Black Forest Fire, which was devastating. You can read the story on his blog.

I live close to a fire department and every weekend, as you can see in the photo, they are taking care of the fire trucks and doing different drills, so they are prepared for any call they might receive.

IMG_3292

With summer here and lots of fireworks this weekend, there is that possibility that a fire might break out. As my fellow Blogger mentioned in “Life In A Word,” the firefighters put their lives on the line every day for us.  It’s true, they are the “unsung heroes.”

So, this 4th of July, if you come across some firefighters, tip your hat to them or treat them to coffee/lunch… for sure, they will smile and feel appreciated!