What Would Charlie Do?

I’m officially done with the AFI’s Top 100 film list! I didn’t watch the films in order, and I couldn’t have planned a better final viewing: Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times.

Charlie Chaplin
Courtesy of tasteofcinema.com









I’ve watched a few of his other films, and this one is my favorite (so far). As I laughed out loud while watching it, I marveled at the fact that I was laughing out loud while watching it. This silent film that Chaplin produced 80 YEARS AGO was still funny and relevant and entertaining.

Chaplin plays a factory worker who has a breakdown caused by the monotony of being a cog in the industrialized machine. He gets himself into all kinds of comical scrapes, meets a girl, gets into more scrapes. Somehow he and his girl escape the scrapes and the film ends on a hopeful note.

I read that this film was supposed to be his first “talkie” but he decided to keep it silent to preserve the Little Tramp’s charming, childlike persona. Smart move.

If Chaplin were alive today, I wonder how he would poke subtle fun at the current society: even more industrialization, computers, smartphones, social media. He would have SO much good material.



Holiday Outings

When I found out that my boyfriend had never been to Portland, Maine, I booked a trip straight away. Portland is one of my favorite cities: good beer, good food, good shopping.

Needless to say, we had a great time. And lucky for me, I was also able to check off a birthday list item. I finally made it to the Victoria Mansion.

Victoria Mansion
Victoria Mansion











It’s closed for much of the winter/spring, but it opens for about a month at Christmastime, with its rooms decorated for Christmas by local businesses and organizations.

It was a mob scene of adult females with their young daughters/nieces/granddaughters in tow on the morning that we visited, but we made it through. The rooms were just gorgeous. The big attraction was this tree:

Victoria Mansion









Awe-inducing, no?

And a week later, I embarked on my next holiday outing. Solve this equation:

Burlesque + The Nutcracker = ?

The Slutcracker!

This was the eighth season of the Slutcracker. I was expecting a night of raunchiness with “dancers” gallavanting around in little to no clothing. I was not expecting a night of classical ballet with DANCERS performing in little to no clothing.

Yes, many of the dancers were professionally trained. The choreography was excellent as were the costumes (although there wasn’t much to a lot of them). I also appreciated the presence of different body types and ethnicities onstage. It was a fun night out with friends.

Here it is, New Year’s Eve already. I wish you all the best for 2016…the best year yet!

Finding a Long-Lost Relative* by Way of a Hamster


I worked in a Wegmans bakery department throughout high school and college. One day, a coworker proclaimed that I laughed like a hamster. And a nickname was born.

I don’t remember the details, but my coworkers gifted me with an actual hamster after I had given notice. I couldn’t care for the hamster for very long…I’m assuming because of my impending move to London. A friend of mine took him/her in. Tragically, the little critter escaped from his/her cage and ended up crawling into the oven through a hole in the wall. End of hamster.

Present Day

The other day, a friend pointed me to a YouTube video of Phat Daddy Mac Dancing Hamster. As the clip ended, I noticed a link to a video called “The Story of My Hamster” on the page. “I had a hamster once,” I thought, as I clicked on the video.

OK. Right away I learn that the storyteller is (1) English and (2) we share a last name. So we’re obviously related. And (3) he is HYSTERICAL.

Dan Howell. I immediately subscribed to his YouTube channel and have been watching his videos off and on since I discovered him. He has a pal named Phil who is a riot as well. They are releasing a book this year and going on tour. Come to Boston, lads!


* not a fact

Tempus Fugit

The past few weeks have been a blur of work, volunteering, holiday shopping, holiday card sending, holiday lunches and parties, post office trips. And now it’s almost a week till Christmas.

Without fail, at least once during the holiday season, I buy someone a gift and buy myself the same thing. This year, the “one for you, one for me” is:








I found two of these signs sitting on the shelf at TJ Maxx the other day. I immediately picked one up and thought, “Mom needs this.”

“Oh, and I need it, too.”

My first reaction to the sign was laughter. Yes, we both over-schedule ourselves so much that it’s laughable (not to mention stressful at times).

But then I had a more mindful thought: This sign should serve as a reminder for us. We really don’t have the time to waste on busy-ness; our time should be spent more wisely. We need to make the time for relaxing, meditating, just being.

First (and maybe only) resolution for 2015.