Honesty in advertising – what a concept. Be sure to read the fine print.


Diverted by Movies

Lately I’ve been diverted from reading by several movies. A new experience for me as I’ll take a book any day before a movie.

Okay, that’s a bit of a lie. For years, my friend and I read the foreign movie reviews in Friday’s Edmonton Journal and and then went to the Princess or Avenue theaters on Saturday to see the movie of choice. We saw a number of unique, bizarre, and amazing movies over the years. I miss those.

So what has partially drawn me back to movies? The Starz Channel. In the past couple of weeks I’ve watched:

Woman in Gold – Helen Mirren amazes — as usual — in the real-life story of a Jewish-Austrian woman’s efforts to reclaim her family’s famous “Lady in Gold” painting stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

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Akeelah and the Bee – Laurence Fishburne shines as the coach of a young girl from South Los Angeles who tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.

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Vicky Christina Barcelona – Penelope Cruz awes in this wild, witty portrayal of sex, love, lust, and marriage with an unusual format of narration throughout.

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Queen of Katwe – Lupita Nyong’o and the entire cast break your heart in this depiction of Phiona Mutesi’s struggle help her family survive and rise above their dire poverty. Through Phiona’s success in chess tournaments the family is able to find a better life.

If you’re not way behind the times (like me), you’ve likely already seen these. If not, take the time to find them. You won’t be disappointed.

PS If you have other “old” movies to suggest, please let me know in the comments.





An OMG kind of day.

Left home at 8:20 for a 9:00 am appointment as the doc’s office was at the other end of town (practically half way to Alaska!). I had, wisely, checked Google maps and written out detailed driving directions the night before.
Followed directions and took exit 14, went past Costco and ended up headed back to the highway so turned around. Back at Costco corner, turned the other direction. Went up a mountain. Finally found a place to turn around. Went down a mountain. Stopped and called the doc’s office. Followed directions and drove past Costco. Ended up on the highway going back downtown (where I live). Turned around and found a service station to ask for help. Followed directions. Turned where they said to turn and ended up in a forest.
Called Doc’s office again. “NO! Don’t put me on hold. I’m still lost!”
Found a place to turn around. Followed receptionist’s directions. Ended up back at service station. Asked for directions again. Followed directions and ended up at Costco. Asked a bunch of Costco workers on their break out back for help. Said I needed to find Mr. Mike’s Restaurant (was told by doc’s office that they were across from Mr. Mike’s). Costco staff gave detailed specific directions. “Go past the condo buildings and turn in the driveway on your left.”
Followed directions. Et, voila! Mr. Mike’s. A brown building blending in with all the construction around it and a huge tree in front blocking the brown sign. Saw Doc’s office fronting the parking lot–so convenient for spotting from the street.
Time 9:28 am. Entered office and said, “I’m here. Don’t know if I want to cry or swear. Which would you prefer listening to?”
Turned out they didn’t want to hear either so I took several deep breaths, saw the doctor, and then motored on only to miss a crucial turn for my next appointment. Arrrgh!

Free Trip to Egypt – the movie

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See Official Trailer here.

Muslim, born in Halifax, raised in Ottawa, Tarek Mounib, dons a Make American Great Again cap, attends a Trump rally and asks:  Would anyone like to take a free vacation to Egypt and see what life is like in an Islamic country?

Eventually seven Americans  accepted his offer. An Arizona single mom, a Kentucky beauty queen and born-again Christian, an African-American police officer, a soldier and one of his friends, and a retired school teacher (and her husband) who said she was a former liberal scarred by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“I’m so racist now, I can’t stand myself,” Ellen Decker says when she introduces herself during the film.

Mounib paid for the Americans to spend 10 days in Egypt in the company of local hosts. A film crew captured 250 hours of footage skillfully edited to create a film of not quite 100 minutes.

What began as a interesting documentary, morphed into a profound study of human nature and the similarities we share no matter where we live in the world.

I thought the film would be interesting. It was much more than that. In fact, audience members left the theater in tears (well, the women, that is). And we all stood in the theater lobby discussing the film before we reluctantly departed.

From the Ottawa Citizen: The film’s early focus on Mounib disappears as the Americans and Egyptians engage. There are a few tense moments, but more moments of bonding that seem both ordinary and remarkable. A heartstring-tugging episode or two movingly demonstrate that a common humanity greater than any cultural divide can provide much-needed consolation.



Jasper, Alberta, Canada — Part 1 – the safari

Within an hour of arriving in Jasper we saw a bear,

and mountain goats,

The next day we saw mountain sheep,

And elk,

not to mention the numerous squirrels and marmots that moved too fast for my camera,

And — ta da! — a grizzly! 

Unsurprisingly, bear-proof garbage cans and recycle bins were everywhere.

More of Jasper and Miette next week.



Jasper, Alberta, Canada — Part 3 – Look what I found.

Me: We’re taking the munchkin to Jasper for a few days.

My ultra ursaphobic friend: Watch out for the bears.

Me: Hey, girl, I know you’re terrified of them, but don’t worry. We have bear bells.

My ultra ursaphobic friend: Bells! Ha! They’re just an invitation to dinner.


Tell me this isn’t the perfect shirt for her!!!



Discovering Jesse Stone

We have just discovered—and  fallen in love with—the Jesse Stone movies.

Do not ask where we’ve been all this time. But, thank you for asking why we like them so much.

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Big city (LA) cop (who drinks too much) is now police chief in small town Massachusetts. The wonderful, laconic Tom Selleck (we’ve been fans for years) stars as Jesse Stone.  At first glance, nothing much happens. Just like the British shows we enjoy, we are not subjected to car chases, or scenes splattered with blood and gore even though there are some killings, or young over-confident know-it-all police officers…. Uneventful as the movies seem, we can’t stop watching because we simply must  know how it will all turn out. Plus, it’s a delight to see the subtle changes in Jesse’s character as the personalities, caring nature, and moral values of those he works with influence him and vice-versa, for his colleagues learn much from the seasoned cop.

In short, watching the movies is like reading a book. The slow pace allows time to savor the character development, the story, and the brilliant script writing.

Did I mention reading? The movie series is based on the Jesse Stone books written by Robert B. Parker. Normally, I would read the books and skip the movies, but with sincere apologies to Mr. Parker, this time I will watch the movies and skip the books. Besides, Mr. Selleck is always so easy on the eyes.

Night Passage (Jesse Stone Novels Book 1) by [Parker, Robert B.]


The Mall in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta)

Stores? Of course. Our favorite is the Liverpool department store. Click here

Decorations? Of course:


And fun for the kids!

There is also a “jumping place” ie trampoline area that the munchkin particularly loves. For more about the mall click here