Saturday, December 29, 2007

On Holiday Films and Other Things

Yesterday, Danny and I went to see the film, The Golden Compass. The reviews were mixed and there were some accusations of anti Catholic material in the film, but we decided to see it anyway. I'm so glad we did. As you can see from the pictures I've included in tonights blog, the film is visually stunning. The story is compelling, the main character of Lyra is as plucky a little heroine as Oz's Dorothy ever was, and frankly when the film ended I was disappointed since I was ready to journey a bit longer with Lyra and her allies to find out just what the mysterious "dust" really did and if her uncle really had found a gate between worlds.

As far as accusations of anti Catholic material goes, I suppose if one really stretched a point, maybe, one could make a comparison between the rigid adherence towards established doctrine and stamping out of independent thinking of the Magisterium in the story and the Catholic church of the good old Inquisition era...but really one would have to stretch the point so thin as to make it flatter than a proverbial pancake. The Magesterium could also be a metaphor for the Soviets or Big Brother, Emperor Palpatine's corrupt Senate, Hitler's Nazis or any governing body that wants to reduce the general population to zoned out, puppet-like rule followers "for their own good". I don't think the Pope will need to lose any sleep over the Magesterium.

I wonder if those complaining also complained about the Harry Potter films promoting the Dark Arts?

Indeed, the themes in this movie should appeal to many, Here's a few examples: seeking truth, loyalty to family and friends, not giving up in the face of obstacles, facing and surmounting personal fears, helping those who need help even if they are virtual strangers, rejecting false values, promoting individual thinking.

About the only problem I had with this film was the voice of Lyra's warrior bear friend. His voice is the same voice as Gandalf in the Tolkien trilogy. Bugged me, even if Ian McKellan does have a great theatrical British actor's voice. Not a polar bear's voice though, as I imagined it. I might have liked Sean Connery for example. But, that's a small point. I didn't like Nichole Kidman as Mrs Colter. But then, I never like her in anything. She just annoys me somehow. She acted her vileness's part well enough and we're not really supposed to like her character anyway, so I guess that's okay.

Anyway, if you liked films such as The Wizard of Oz, Pan's Labyrinth, Harry Potter, Stardust, The Lord of the Rings check out The Golden Compass. I think you'll like it.

Aside from going to the film, Danny and I went to Best Buy and got me a photo printer so I can print out some of the 900 or so pictures from Amy's wedding...and of baby Alex. We also took a little side trip up to the pet cemetery where three of my beloved dogs and my mother's dog are buried. I hadn't been back to check their graves for a year at least. It was time. Tomorrow, maybe a Universal visit. If my back feels better. (I twisted lifting some very heavy packing boxes of books and pulled some muscles two days ago.)

Can't believe Christmas and 2007 are almost past. TTFN

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day 2007 Photos

Happy day after Christmas...otherwise known as Boxing Day. TTFN.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve.

We had a lazy nappy sort of day. I had an ear ache and Danny had a head ache, so after the dog walks and lunch we crawled under the covers for an hour or with a heating pad and Danny with a dog. We emerged to get ready for a Christmas Eve church service. Or so we thought. I'd checked the church website for our friends little country church which plainly gave the service time as six. Seemed a bit early to me, but convenient for getting dinner afterwards. The plan was to have hot cocoa, cheese and crackers, go to church and then be home around seven thirty for turkey breast, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie.

Well, we arrived at the church at five forty only to see the time listed on the church sign as seven. Oops. Despite the cocoa and crackers snack we were feeling hungry: we're used to eating dinner by six every night. We decided to find someplace quick-ish but nice to grab a bite and go back for the service. No luck. Every place nearby was either closed or packed. So, we drove home. I opened a can of chicken soup, we had a bowl, and dashed back to the church...just in time to get a parking place and a good aisle seat.

We were home again by eight twenty. I had the planned dinner on the table by nine. Easy to cook a feast for two! We ate by candlelight next to the Christmas tree while watching our favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Story. I never get tired of Ralphie and his Red Ryder air rifle passion, the major award leg lamp, the pink bunny suit, the Bumpus's dogs, and the Chinese Christmas turkey with the balls of harry serenade.

Tomorrow, Laura is coming for breakfast and gifts. Later we'll go a friends, then to Amy's house, finishing at Laura's for a Christmas steak dinner.

My very best wishes to everyone near and far for a wonderful Christmas. Peace on least for one Silent Night...good will to mankind and the animals, too. May no one be hungry or cold or afraid or in pain on this special night that we celebrate the birth of Christ. God Bless us every one!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Silent Night

I know this is a day early, but I'm going to be busy tomorrow with church and stuff. Readers of my story, The real Santa Claus, from the book Florida Shorts, do you recognize the mailbox? Yes, there is a Santa Claus. And there was, is, a real 'Annie Wagner'. God bless.


Felt stockings hang from mantle piece
with chocolate treats and oranges round,
outside the windows, snowflakes fall
on weary shoppers, homeward bound.

Upon the rug, stuffed teddy bear,
some presents wrapped in red and green,
foil paper catching candle’s glow
near Nana’s treasured manger scene.

Bisque angel smiles atop the tree
surveying trimmings strung beneath
candy canes striped white and red
hung just above, a small child’s reach.

Tiny lights of amber pulse
flashing on each golden row
of garland, stars, and crystal globes
draped across, pine boughs below.

Above the door hangs mistletoe.
The parents kiss, then leave the room.
Past time, they know, for slumbering
beneath this magic, Christmas moon.

Few hours yet, till early morn
when child shall wake, then rush to find
with puppy yapping at her heels,
gifts Santa Claus, has left behind.

Nancy Wayman Deutsch
November 2004

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas countdown

Todays photos: some holiday shots.

Well, boys and girls, we're almost there. Have you been naughty or nice? Don't answer that.

Have you got your stockings hung in a row? Your halls decked with boughs of holly? Will you be home for Christmas or will you have a White Christmas? Or a blue Christmas? Don't answer any of that, either. Just don't shout, frown, or cry and I'm tellin' you why: Santa Claus is Comin' To Town. Oh, I know I'm a little manic. I feel very merry this year. I can't wait to watch 24 hours of The Christmas Story on TBS again this year and see Bing and Danny in White Christmas. Read How The Grinch Stole Christmas to the dogs since there are no children in the house this year. Open gifts. Feast on roast beast. Tra la la.

I've even infected Danny, aka Grinch II, with my overflowing good will to men, we need a little Christmas, and God bless us every one sort of enthusiasm. Dead give-a- way: I've caught him humming Christmas songs repeatedly over the past week and smiling instead of Grinchy-frowning. He went to the holiday parties without grousing. Even no longer growls when my musical Christmas clock plays a jaunty little holiday ditty every hour on the hour. He's eaten all the homemade Christmas cookies already. Of course, he's going Christmas shopping today: a day early. If anything will kill his mood, that just might. Tra la la la la...we'll see.

I'll report tomorrow. Holly jolly. Ta.

Friday, December 21, 2007

This Christmas


It won't be the same this Christmas
without a small mountain of your gifts
still sporting price tags of black and white.
We'll miss you shaking your head, saying,
“It doesn't seem like I bought enough this year.”
We'll miss the apple cider, cookies, and canine chews
the silly hats, your snowman pins, and Christmas sweaters.

It won't be the same this Christmas,
certainly not the same at all,
not without you repeating things half-heard around the dining table
nodding between bites of turkey and pumpkin pie, saying,
“I didn't just fall off a turnip truck, you know.”

This Christmas, we'll be without your stories
our history, we used to think
we'd maybe heard, just one time, too many
but now would like to hear again,
now that you can't be here to narrate.
“Remember this,” you'd say,
“remember, when I die dead.”

It won't be the same this Christmas
no, not the same at all.
This Christmas, we won't all be together,
not like before, or maybe ever again.
We will be merry and bright, though
unwrapping, feasting, laughing
as the old year slips away toward the new.

Should you look down from a flickering star
don't be fooled, not even for a minute.
We may pretend we don't notice your empty chair,
but we will notice, and remember.
We will miss you this Christmas.

Nancy Wayman Deutsch 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Have Yourself A Busy Little Christmas

I had a little fun with one of my favorite Christmas songs, changing the lyrics to suit. Sing this little ditty to the tune of Have Yourself a Merry little Christmas. If you dare. If you can't sing on key, oh well...who cares!

Have yourself a busy little Christmas
get the whole thing right
you'll be such a total wreck
by New Year's night.

Next year you won't be in such a frenzy
or so, you always vow
But, for now
you've got to get it done somehow.

Here you are as in olden days
in a holly daze once more
this must be the most perfect Yule
better than the ones before!

Go to several dozen Christmas parties
eat, a ton of food
sing Rudolph and White Christmas
'till you catch the mood.

Hang the lights upon the Christmas tree
send out a hundred cards
bake cookies and wrap presents
and decorate your yard.

There you are in the mall again
as in holidays of yore
charging stuff on your credit cards
that is sure to leave you poor.

By Christmas Eve you'll have it all together
if the fates allow
until then
take naps and struggle through somehow
and have yourself
a happy little Christmas now.

My apologies to songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Bane and the late Judy Garland and late great Frank Sinatra who made the original song, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas with the actual lyrics a beloved Christmas classic. Bit of trivia: Judy first sang the song to little Margaret O'Brien in the 1944 film, Meet Me In St Louis.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

grinchmas 2007

Here's the Universal Grinchmas photos I promised.

Monday, Monday

Brrrr...its cold outside. Actually, its cold inside too. The temp outside is in the forties, but its a wet cold that seems to cut right through your clothes. When we walked the doggies after dinner, I had on fleece pants, a T shirt, a sweat shirt, a sweater, a parka, and gloves! I know that sounds like overkill, but that's what it took to get me warm. If I'd had a serape, I'd have probably worn that too. Abby and Chili are furry enough not to be cold outside but Ginny has a short 'grey hound' sort of coat so we put on her fleece lined plaid jacket and she seemed grateful for it.

Today was Danny's birthday and since he is somewhat inclined towards being Grinchy about Christmas, what better to do but to go to Universal's Islands of Adventure and see the Grinchmas Musical production?

It being Monday and frigid, the park was under populated by fun seekers which was okay by us. No water rides today though: red fish, blue fish, cold fish, dead fish! Instead, we rode the Seussy rides, toured the shops, rode Spiderman for probably the two dozenth time and finished by eating dinner at Jimmy Buffet's Margarita ville. Fun!

Busy week end. After eating dinner at Aladdin's Cafe on Friday, I spent most of the rest of the time getting ready for our Christmas party which was Sunday. Chili had another seizure on Friday, but seems okay. Just before the party in fact, she jumped up on the kitchen table and ate six of the gingerbread cookies I'd made on Saturday night. Fortunately, I'd made a whole lot of cookies (since there wasn't time to make more) and even more fortunately she got gingerbread instead of the chocolate stuff. Chocolate is toxic to dogs. Anyway, forty five friends showed up for fun and frivolity, the weather got a little nippy towards mid evening forcing people to leave the pool area (where they tend to park by the bar) for warmer quarters indoors where they hopefully noticed all my decorations and the crazillions of candles Danny lit.

I served my usual sort of party fare: turkey and ham with assorted breads, cold shrimp, my special meatballs in wine sauce, hot spinach/artichoke dip, layered bean dip, cheese platter, veggie platter, hummus, deviled eggs, ginger, chocolate lace, and sugar cookies, brownies, baklava, and warm dipping chocolate with apples, angel food cake, cherries, and strawberries. This year I dropped the smoked oysters and added crab and lobster balls.

The dogs were banished for the evening to my mother's house. I'm not sure they liked that but it made entertaining easier. Gone are the days when angelic (Catahoula) Belle calmly snoozed on my bed and (Akita) Nikki pretended to be a rug during parties. The current Mutley Crew doesn't cotton too well to large groups in the house. Chili barks and hurls herself at the door all night and Abby is inclined to eat door frames or try to dig under the door. Ginny usually barks a little then settles into a chair on the porch and watches, but one well behaved girl out of three doesn't cut it.

Well, tomorrow folks I fear I must begin Christmas shopping. I always save it for last on my December list of must dos. Danny took some photos at Universal today. I will post them as soon as he gets them to me. Probably tomorrow. TTFN

Postscript: The pictures are Danny and me at Universal last December when it wasn't cold and Ginny and Abby being cold weather cuddlebugs.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

ho ho ho

Hello Holly jolly bloggers,
Here are some more seasonal pictures. The first is yet another living room shot. Are you yawning yet? Well, several folks have commented that I have trees in pretty much every room except the living room, so I did another small one as there was no room in the inn for a big one. You can see it (the tree) next to the secretary desk if you squint.

The other photos are 'The Snowflake Sisters', aka Chili, Ginny Lou Whoo, and Abby.

I'm pretty well ready for my party this week end. That is, I'm organized. The house is about as decked with boughs of you know what as it can get. The pool deck was pressure cleaned and re epoxied today. The maids come to clean tomorrow. I went shopping for the bulk of the party food today and miracle of all miracles, managed to squeeze it into the fridge and freezer. I still have to get some turkey, wine and beer, and clean the pool furniture (volunteering here Danny now that your exams are done and you got straight As?) Tomorrow I will iron the tablecloth for the dining room table and set out all the buffet serving things. Saturday I will make the cocktail meatballs, the sugar and gingerbread cookies, the spinach dip, etc. Sunday I set up the bar on the porch, get ice for the coolers (Danny hopefully volunteering again here) and do the rest of the food prep. I'm expecting somewhere between 40 and 50 people. Fun!!

This was Danny's semester final exams week. He took his last tonight. As I mentioned, he got As on all four. Congrats, honor student. In between studying and taking exams, Danny accompanied me to the Theater Guild Christmas party on Monday night and the Art Festival Christmas party last evening. Today I went to a holiday luncheon. I'm so glad I stopped renovating for the month of December so I can enjoy all these activities!

Here's a little Christmas poem I wrote awhile back.

The Promise
By Nancy Wayman Deutsch, 2004

Long years ago and faraway
a humble child was born
in stable rude, near Bethlehem
on that first Christmas morn.

Watched over by the animals
and shepherds in the fields
while angels sang in Heaven
as God's promise was revealed.

Three wise men sought to find the child
led by a brilliant light
though great princes never noticed
man's world had changed that night.

A carpenter and teacher
Heaven's chosen messenger
he taught God's word in parables
one truth for all to share.

His life was not an easy one
he wore a crown of thorns
he died, in pain, on wooden cross
so ridiculed and scorned.

Betrayed by friends he trusted
he nearly lost his faith
yet showed us life eternal
God's mercy and His Grace.

On Christmas we remember
God's gift of holy son.
No man should hate another
all people love as one.

The angels sing on Christmas Eve
as they sang at Christ child's birth,
"A blessing on each one of you.
Let there be peace on earth."

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Hey Bloggers,
Here's some more pix of the house dolled up for the holidays. And the fully installed cook top. I love using it in its efficient pristine snow whiteness! (Unfortunately, as I discovered this morning, it is still possible to burn French toast on a state of the art Jenaire as on an old beat up unit.)

This afternoon, we're off to the Knights Templar Christmas party. Yesterday, I did some Christmas shopping and after dinner we went to the Mac Rae Group Artists Holiday Open House. This is a cool annual happening where 22 artists who rent working space in a local warehouse open their studios for the night showcasing and selling their art. Danny and I know most of them from our years on the board of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and always enjoy the event.

We had two couples meet us at our house and since parking is so awful at the Mac Rae event and we only live several blocks away, Danny and I had the bright idea to walk over. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention it to one couple who arrived in party shoes and without jackets. The wife was, understandably, not pleased. Her husband afffably borrowed a flannel shirt to wear as a jacket from husband number two since they were about the same size and we were off on an iffy adventure. It was very dark out which didn't bother Danny and me who are used to walking that same route almost nightly with the dogs.

Next, since we were walking, I decided not to take my purse, completely forgetting that I'd planned to look for something for Laura's Christmas. So, I couldn't buy anything. Shopping rule 101: when you forget your wallet, you always see lots of way desirable, reasonably priced stuff.

We almost immediately lost track of both couples at the Open House which was crowded and chaotic. After about an hour, we reconnected with both...the party shoes lady wanted to leave, but nobody else did. So, I suggested I walk her and her husband back to my house and everybody else stay put. I planned to fetch my car and purse and drive back. Of course, when I got home, the other couple's car was in my drive, blocking my car in the garage. So, I hitched a ride back with the party shoes lady sans purse, since I didn't want to walk back alone in the dark without dog power for protection.

While looking for my group, I was found by party shoes lady who went home and drove back with the borrowed shirt that her husband had forgotten to take off! I eventually found Danny but not couple number two who thought we'd left and walked back to my house where we weren't. The entire night was a comedy of errors. I'd also forgotten to tell couple number two that couple number one was joining us in the first place.

Maybe its just the Christmas season that throwing me off, but I wonder what else I'm forgetting? Hopefully, nothing. Maybe I better go check that I've paid all the December bills. Ta Ta for now.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Birthday Girl

December 7, 1981-

Happy Birthday Amy.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time Flys

Sorry, bloggers! I've either been too busy to write or too tired lately.

We had company all last week end...Danny's mom and sister (pictured above on a recent London trip) came to see us from their home in the great state of Georgia. We had a delightful time shopping, eating out, and catching up on face to face conversation. They left just before lunch on Sunday. That afternoon, Danny and I took the dogs to the dog park. Then, from Sunday evening on, we were totally engrossed each night watching the nine hour mini series, Tin Man on Sci-Fi Channel. If you're not familiar with the film, it is an imaginative re working of The Wizard of Oz. Some similarities but more differences from the original. Engrossing though, and I recommend it.

The handyman was here all day Monday doing tile work in the kitchen and finished the cook top project yesterday. Yes, Virginia, there is a new cook top. In my kitchen. At last. 'Nuff renovation stuff until next year!

I'm getting ready for Christmas. The parties begin this week end. Whoo-hoo. If only I had something to wear. If only I hadn't sliced my left index finger on a butcher knife tonight and could use both hands to type! Oh well, gotta keep this short. Live long and prosper.

Here's a poem from Flights of Nancy. Just in time.


I used to believe that time, as a concept
was a tablet God carved deep in stone.
Immutable, unyielding,
unending, and fixed,
if only dear Einstein had known!

At the writings of Hawking I sit ever gawking,
his theories adrift in my head.
They make my brain ache. I throw down the book,
as I creep, oh so weary to bed.

When morning is nigh and I open my eye,
I am never quite sure of the date.
What day of the week, or month of the year?
Is it early in life, or too late?

One day can seem long, while a decade speeds past.
Perhaps it is futile to worry.
Yet if it would wait, I could catch it I think.
Why must time, be in, such a hurry!

I so envy the beasts in the field and the air,
who do move through their lives unaware,
of time’s ebbing and flowing,
and shrinking and growing.
They don’t see it, or feel it, or care!

December 2001