Sunday, December 23, 2012

Charlie Brown Christmas

Perfection is overrated.  We try to be the perfect parent, give our children a perfect childhood, go to lengths to look perfect, decorate our homes perfect, and seem to do it all perfectly.  All that striving is exhausting.  Maybe we should just go out of our way to embrace imperfection. 

My Christmas decorating centers heavily around the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon.  When I was a child (and those of you about my age will remember) they only played CB Christmas once a year in December and if you missed it, you missed it.  My brother and I would scour the tv guides to make sure we knew when it would be on so we weren't one of the unfortunate ones.  I always felt so sorry for Charlie Brown but it did seem like a real childhood life we could all relate to. 

When I married I found that my husband would still eagerly wait every year to watch Charlie Brown at every holiday.  It became a family event when we had our son.  We would get some popcorn and all cuddle up on the couch.  They are some of my favorite memories.  Soon they would come out with the lighted vignettes and then recently the lit houses.  Now everywhere you look in my house at Christmas, Charlie or Snoopy are somewhere in sight. 

Over the years we have tried fake trees and real.  They all have their limitations, from storage and dust to pollen and dropping needles.   Now, due to our storage limitations and the realization that a stored tree is just as allergy prone as a real, we go with a real tree.  This year when we went out to find a tree, I just knew I wanted something small and sweet.  A real Charlie Brown tree.  We visited several centers--at one place the trees were dried out, at another they were very expensive, but at our third try we found our new tree.

We walked into the store and started rummaging around.  At first I was dismayed.  There were fat full trees, tall trees, long needled trees, but nothing was right.  Halfway through the store I thought maybe we should just turn around and leave but as I was losing heart I spied a spindly group of tiny trees.   I knew the moment my eyes lit on him.  He was a misshapen, bedraggled, sad little balsam fir sitting in a lonely little spot.  In an instant I made my decision.  No one else would take him home, he needed to fulfill his role as a Christmas tree.  I could feel that he was yearning to hold ornaments and be the center of our Christmas cheer. 

Two men walked past and I indicated my choice.  I could see them holding back a smile,  "You sure?" one asked.  "Yes." I firmly replied.  They carried it to the back to put the net over it and then to transport it to our vehicle.  My husband could have carried it out in one hand but I enjoyed the joke. 

Carrying it into the house, we set it on a little table in front of our window and started decorating.   Adding decorations we had gathered over our 25 years together was a walk back into the history of our lives.   My husband indicated a large hole in the branches - "What are we going to do about this?"  he inquired.  "I have just the thing."  I answered pulling out a large Charlie Brown ornament that played music.  I hung it from a branch.  A light from the tree dangled above the ornament bathing it in a light glow.   Perfect.

We took a step back and looked at the little tree.  It was perfect--in all it's imperfection. 


So now I wish you a merry imperfect perfect Christmas. 

...and as always Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some of My Favorite Movies

I don't know anything more enjoyable than watching an old movie on a wintry, Sunday afternoon. 

Everyone loves lists, right?  I read them to see if they match what I might choose.  Sometimes I learn new books, movies, or restaurants to try.  I thought I would share a list of favorite old movies with you.  There is nothing scientific about my list.  No one voted, no one is talking about them in an intellectual way.  They are just light, fun entertainment. 

We sometimes look back at history as a kinder, gentler time but I realize that wasn't always the case, so watch out for the occasional politically incorrect situation or cringe-worthy moment!  But, it's the fashions, the funny lighthearted stories, the settings, the songs and cinematography-- these are the things I love in old movies.  I hope you try them out and enjoy them as well.

(In no particular order)

1.   How To Steal A Million  -  Audrey Hepburn, Peter O'Toole
2.   Bundle of Joy - Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher
3.   Indiscreet - Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman
4.   The Big Sleep - Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
5.   The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison
6.   The Long Trailer - Desi Arnaz, Lucy Ball
7.   Mr Smith Goes to Washington - Jimmy Stewart, Jean Arthur
8.   The Quiet Man - John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara
9.   Two Weeks With Love - Jane Powell, Ricardo Montalban
10. Gigi - Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier
11.  The King and I  -  Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr
12.  Charade - Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant
13.  Inn of Sixth Happiness - Ingrid Bergman, Curd Jurgens
14.  Dark Passages - Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
15.  The Mating Season - Gene Tierney, John Lund
16.  Yours, Mine and Ours - Lucy Ball, Henry Fonda
17.  The Prisoner of Zenda  -  Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr
18.  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance -  John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart
19.  Father Goose  -  Leslie Caron, Cary Grant
20.  Brigadoon - Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse
21.  The Inspector General - Danny Kaye, Walter Slezak
22.  Move Over Darling  -  Doris Day, James Garner
23.  Roman Holiday  -  Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck
24.  My Six Loves  -  Debbie Reynolds, Cliff Robertson
25.  That Touch of Mink  -  Cary Grant, Doris Day
26.  Key Largo - Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
27.  Anastasia -  Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brynner
28.  Without Reservations  -  John Wayne, Claudette Colbert
29.  Tammy and the Bachelor  -  Debbie Reynolds, Leslie Nielson
30.  On the Town  -  Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra
31.  The Shop Around the Corner  -  Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan
32.  Breakfast For Two  -  Barbara Stanwyck
33.  To Have and Have Not  -  Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall
34.  In the Good Old Summertime  -  Judy Garland, Van Johnson

While going through my list I find there are a lot of the same actors--like now, actors tended to be in similar films when they were successful.  It's always fun when you recognize a supporting actor from one movie appearing in a different one.

I'm sure I've forgotten some gems--please leave me a comment here about any old movies you enjoy!!  Thanks for reading!!