Sunday, November 28, 2010

Books and Movies

During the last week or two we have watched two movies and I have read three books. We watched "Invictus" and "Book of Eli" and liked both. Invictus stars Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar. The action takes place in South Africa in 1994-1995 as Mandela is trying the mend the country from the wounds inflicted by years of apartheid. The Springboks rugby team is an unlikely candidate to win the world cup, but Mandela sees it as a means to help bring the country together if he can get the team to play well and represent the entire country. Another part of the plot revolves around Mandela's security team integrating and coming together to protect their leader.  The title refers to a poem that Mandela thought of often as he was imprisoned for 27 years. Clint Eastwood directed.
Denzel Washington stars in the Book of Eli as the man who must carry the last copy of the Bible on a journey to the West to an unknown destination. He walks by faith not by sight in more ways than one. There is a lot of violence in the world due to a war that ended 30 years prior. A blast blinded many people and landscape is desert-like. There are confrontations and destruction along the way, most notably in a wild west type town controlled by a despot. Denzel Washington does a great job with this role. I remember some criticism of the movie as being religious when it played in theaters. Well, it is religous--it is about the last copy of the Bible for heaven's sake! I liked it.
I read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood at about the same time I watched the Book of Eli. Oryx and Crake also takes place in a bleak future world where the main character, the Snowman (aka Jimmy) seems to be the only human left alive. He is not alone though because his best friend Crake has invented a new human-like species which Jimmy has managed to save as the rest of the people have died from a fast spreading plague. Most of the book is flashbacks as Jimmy tries to remember his words and his previous life and figure out how it all happened. Oryx is a beautiful young women who finds her way from being a child prostitute in Southeast Asia, to the US where she meets Jimmy and Crake--and we have a love triangle. It is a good story which is continued in "In the Year of the Flood" which I have already read, but now will have to read again.
Also on my reading list was The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday by Alexander McCall Smith. I thought I had read every single one of McCall Smith's books but then I saw this one on the shelf at the library. It is part of the Isabel Dalhousie series and takes place in Scotland. I would describe it as a "gentle" book. Lots of introspection by Isabel since she is a moral philosopher. Good story.
And, last but not least, "I Still Dream About You" by Fannie Flagg. I always like a Fannie Flagg book and this was no exception. Maggie Fortenberry, a former Miss Alabama, is the main character of the story set in Birmingham. There is some mystery, a lot of humor, and some great characters in this book. Although sometimes predictable I really enjoyed it, and it made me feel good!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Easy as pie

It turns out pie is no longer easy for me. I used to make pies quite often and did not find making a crust all that difficult. Today as I was browsing through cookbooks trying to decide on dessert for Thanksgiving Day I decided I would make a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie. The recipe for the pecan pie suggested making it ahead of time and freezing it. I am all for getting things done ahead of time, so decided to do that this afternoon. I have no shortening on hand so found a pie crust recipe that uses oil instead. I messed around with that pie crust for about 45 minutes before I gave up and threw it in the trash.
I found a pumpkin cake recipe that my mom used to make so I will make that on Wednesday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meeting our deer friends

It is deer season, and Rob shot a deer last night. We have been watching deer run through our pasture all fall, well every day of the year, actually. Dave sat on the deck and took some shots at 3 different deer on Monday night, nicked one, but that was that. On Tuesday night, as we were heading south on Highway 15 toward Seward a large doe ran into our Honda. There isn't much damage, a large scratch in the paint on the rear passenger side. Dave was driving and I think we both saw the deer at the same time. There was no on-coming traffic, so he veered into the other lane, but the deer decided to keep running and must have kicked the car as she went across the road from west to east. I believe Dave something like "F#*^)@!' deer!!!! I think we were lucky she didn't land on the windshield!
Rob didn't want the deer, so after letting it hang from a tree in the yard all night, Dave has taken it down and is on his way to check it in. Then I think he is taking it Carole in Ulysses to process--that is what I am hoping. He did talk about cutting it up himself.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Seward County Dems

It was kind of an interesting meeting last night for the Seward County Democrats. We had a guest, W. Don Nelson, who is the editor of the Prairie Fire newspaper which is free to pick up at various places around town. I usually grab one at the library. Don came to have a conversation with us about setting goals for our group. He has a lot of political experience, having been an aide to Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey and Ben Neslon. He had a lot of good information to share with us and would be willing to come back again.
Once again, attendance was disappointing, with a total of 13 people there. When it came to picking a goal there were probably 13 different ideas. It might actually be easier if we had fewer people at our meeting from that regard. We settled on recruiting a candidate for the 24th legislative district for the 2014 election as one of our goals. We need to start now because our candidate would have to announce by 2012 in order to start raising money.
Personally I think we need to start working on the 2012 Democratic Caucus. It was announced in October that the Nebraska Dems will hold another presidential caucus in 2012. The caucus in 2008 generated a lot of interest in Seward County, so if that happens again it would be good to be organized and ready

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Catching up

I write blog material in my head almost on a daily basis. I don't seem to make the transition to typing it in 'Blogger' though. I wonder why that is. Now that I am here at the computer I can't seem to remember what I have been writing about in my head--it was quite interesting I am sure! I guess I'll just write about what we have been doing:
Dave and I joined the YMCA at Fallbrook and our goal is to attend the Water Fitness class 3 times each week. This week we will probably go 4 times if things work out right. Most of the class members are "seniors" and most people would probably think that you don't get much of a work out. Actually, we get a great workout--a lot depends on how much effort I decide to put into the work out, and I have not hurt my knees. Dave is usually the only man in the class, but he likes it too. There are different teachers on different days, so the workout changes. Afterward we sit in the whirlpool!
We celebrated Eleanor's 90th birthday on Nov. 6 and 7. It was great to see everyone, and I think Eleanor had a good time without getting worn out. She seemed kind of anxious and sort of cranky before the big day, so I am pretty sure she was worried about it. But, she had a good time, got lots of cards and gifts, and saw more of her family than she usually does. And now she is feeling pretty good and seems quite happy.
This past weekend Dave and I met our Minnesota friends Jeff and Sue in Des Moines. Jeff was a speaker at a meeting on Friday, so we met them at the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines. We went to the State Historical museum the art museum (both of those are free and very good), the zoo and the botanical garden. Des Moines has a lot of public art and has a nice downtown area. It was a good time.
Last night was my first meeting as president of Blue Valley Quilt Guild. It went pretty well. One down, 10 to go!
Tonight there is a meeting of the Seward County Democrats. I am going because I am the secretary, but the meetings are always kind of disappointing because the turn out isn't good, and it is hard to find people to serve as officers. And being a democrat in Nebraska is a lonely kind of deal.