CLASSIC AND UNFORGETTABLE

I admire well-crafted movies, especially the old classic ones. If there are one or more A-list stars perfecting their Oscar moment roles, then those may be the movies to watch.  I say may be because sometimes the current movies can have all the talent in the making, but the story or directing or producing can still make it a mega-bucks disaster.  Great movies happen when all the elements of story-line, directing, producing and acting are seamlessly merged. That’s when audiences know they have seen something very special.

All classic movies have moments that are unforgettable. One example is the shower scene from the Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh movie, “Psycho.”  It’s why I’m a soaking-in-the-tub kind of gal and not a shower one. Another example is from the Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman movie “Marathon Man.”  Hubby and I watched it the other night. We both had seen the movie a couple of times, years ago, but it was Olivier’s portrayal of a ruthless, ex-Nazi dentist, who used his expertise on Hoffman’s teeth to torture answers from him. That scene, both Hubby and I never forgot. Another unforgettable scene is from Drew Barrymore’s “E.T.” in which the likeable alien is “hidden” among Barrymore’s collection of adorable “stuffies.” And what about that famous aerial scene of Julie Andrews, running up this grassy hill and swirling around in a huge field, while belting out the award-winning title song, “Sound of Music?”  Classic and unforgettable moments–each and every one of them.

Books all have that too. After all, without the books and/or well-honed scripts, there would be no movies. Writers,—and I humbly include myself in there—all have magnificent stories to tell. We do our best to pour our thoughts, feelings, diabolical plots, unforgettable characters and anything else out there for all to read and remember.

Winston Churchill was famous for all his gung-ho quotations, catchy phrases and words that were meant to rally morale during the dark years of World War 2.   Who could forget Churchill’s famous words, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Or this Churchill quote, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get his pants on.”  I never realized it was also Churchill who wrote, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”  Today, Russia can still be described this way.

I have been told there are only so many plots to form a story.  However, it’s the method of twisting conventional thinking with the unconventional or the unthinkable. Abracadabra–new plot! There are thousands, possibly millions of writers and poets around the world who plug away at their craft in their various languages. We all have one common goal–to craft the perfect story that  grabs readers’ attention; a story that challenges your mind, keeps you entertained and one your heart will never forget.

Okay–back to the keyboard. I feel a new story bursting forth. . . . .maybe this will be the one.

 

 

Lost and Found

I love new beginnings, fresh starts.  There’s something adventuresome, daring, even exciting at experiencing a pathway or project or something, that has not been done yet in 2019. So far, I kind of lost my Hubby and sort of  had my car stolen.

Hubby had treated me to a fabulous birthday lunch at one of our favourite places. “The Snug” has a spectacular ocean view beyond their lower gardens and outdoor eternity pool, appearing as if nestled at the water’s edge. It was cold and windy with sporadic bouts of heavy rain. I could see the hardier guests enjoying their dip in the pool, then scurrying off to the right to lounge in one of two hot tubs, privately screened by the ornamental bushes and trees. It was entertainment while we waited for our lunches. Afterwards, content and relaxed, we strolled back to the elevator taking us to the parkade. I remembered we had parked the car in a space that directly faced the door that separated the parkade from the elevator.  There was only an empty space where the Volvo had been left.

“Our car’s been stolen!” I yelped.

“Are you sure?” Hubby calmly replied.

“I’m looking at the empty space.”

“And, that’s definitely where we  left the car?”

“Yes, it’s been stolen!”

“Are there other levels of parking?” Hubby remained calm. That made me pause. I had always driven in, parked at that level and returned in the elevator that had always brought me back to the same level. We went back to the elevator and when it arrived, Hubby and I checked the panel.  Yep, there were three levels that I never noticed before. I pressed the next floor to see if that was the one we wanted.

“Wait here, Sweetie, while I run over to the parkade door’s window to see if our car’s on this level.”

I forgot to tell him to block the elevator  from closing its door and taking off. Just as I turned around to say, “Must be the next level,” the elevator door whoomped shut and spirited Hubby away.  The other elevator opened and a kindly man asked if I needed an elevator.

“Thank you, but I’m waiting for my husband to return on this one,” I replied.

“Oh boy, been there, done that,” he replied, rolling his eyes and laughing. “Good luck!”

My elevator eventually returned, along with a calm, relaxed Hubby and another couple who rode the elevator with him to make sure he got reunited with his lost wife.

“The next level is the one,” I announced, happy to find him patiently waiting and hopeful the family vehicle would be magically in its proper spot.

“Lost the car and my husband,” I cheerfully explained. They nodded and smiled.

“Happens a lot,” said the lady, laughing. When the elevator arrived at PL1, Hubby and I exited. Through the windows of the parkade door, our “Silver Bullet” patiently waited.

“I’m so glad you were still in the elevator,” I murmured,  hugging my calm, patient partner.

“Hey, I knew I wasn’t lost and eventually you would enter the same elevator. Besides I also met some nice people and our car wasn’t stolen. I like to think we were checking out new “addresses” while our Volvo was still residing at the same old one!”

READY TO LEAP

Here we are with a sparkling new year, ready for our footprints to venture into new territory, or probably not-so-new territory, but perhaps different. I like to peruse the land ahead, figuratively speaking. Decide which new or old path to follow; discover if I’m enroute to a treasure or an adventure or just one of several dead-ends that lures a person forward only to end nowhere. I never consider this a waste of time, merely another of Life’s learning experiences and distractions. Dead-ends can be a gem, perhaps in the journey there; but, then again, dead-ends may be exactly what they are, dead-end duds. It all depends on attitude.

Attitude is everything.  Attitude carries the confidence to tackle whatever obstacles stands in your way–sort of like this Giant Ogre who stops you from the cache of riches behind him. You can only glimpse tantalizing sparkles whenever he inhales deeply. The view is blocked when Giant Ogre exhales, totally blowing you away. Meanwhile, we all know there is a trunk filled with valuables. We just have to figure out how to get around the ogre.

Cleaning out my files for the new year, I found my two unfinished stories. I had great beginnings and honking great endings, but this awful ogre is sitting smack dab in the middle. Thoughts of shooting it and/or blowing it up crossed my mind. I briefly entertained thoughts of bribing the Big Guy with my supply of dark chocolates. The bribe went into my tummy–to fuel my brain, of course—and the Hulk is still glued to the middle, with no intentions of moving along.

Being a serious, never-make-New-Year’s-resolutions Gal, I’m determined to somehow boot the Huge Oaf out and get moving. Enough is enough. Attitude and Confidence may not be enough. I’ll enlist Determination’s help too. My horoscope did say it was my year to shine—destroying the Ogre would make an impressive start.

 

STICKY NOTES

I really love “sticky notes.”  You know, those little bits of yellow paper with a bit of a sticky back that allows you to tack the paper to anything as a “reminder?” Well, Windows 10 has a sticky note app and it’s great. I highly recommend it. I have a lot of stuff happening—deadlines to keep, stuff I need to do and appointments I need to remember plus all the other things that can clutter up your day. I get to type each day’s reminder on a different colour sticky note, not just yellow ones. Yep, my life is relegated to a colourful strip of sticky note reminders.

Up to a few months ago, the computer’s sticky note system was working well. That is, until the dreaded Microsoft updates. My computer is getting older and it can be persnickety, but each time it gets its updates, something gets lost or changed. This time, it hit the sticky notes.

Poking my computer awake from its sleep-mode, no sticky notes were visible—nothing on my task bar and absolutely nothing on my desktop. I didn’t panic.  I did have my backup calendar–the real one.  Calmly, I headed for my list of apps and clicked on sticky notes. Bingo! My chronological rainbow list of sticky notes bounced back on my desktop.

Today, my sticky notes were missing. Nada on my taskbar; nada on my desktop. I went to my list of apps and clicked on the yellow sticky notes. Nothing. I did it again. Nothing. I had to call in my expert. Hubby went through all the steps I had just done. Not a sticky note in sight. Sighing with frustration, Hubby and I looked at each other and turned the computer off.

Fortifying ourselves with a Dutch Bakery Dark Chocolate Kahlua, we braced ourselves and turned the computer back on. We then repeated the whole process again with no success.  I clicked on “Setting” and typed in “sticky notes.” The sticky note app popped up with a “Reset” button. Next to dark chocolates, I love buttons that I can push, turn or pull.  I pushed the button. It was a post-Christmas miracle—sticky notes were back with its rainbow list. Time to put the computer to bed–I’ll keep my fingers crossed that those darn sticky notes will still be on my desktop tomorrow.

Chaos, confusion, wars and disasters exist around the world, including North America. In 48 hours, the Old Guy will be heaving a huge sigh of relief that he can finally pass everything over to the New Kid, whose cocky confidence of leaping into the skirmish will be his initiation to a brand new year. The Kid will have a lot to contend with. I only hope he knows what to do if those darn sticky notes disappear again. . . . .

 

HUGGER MUGGERS

(Thank you Gingerbelles and 3Bees for requesting this 2014 post from my Archives. All of you give fabulous parties with not a single hugger-mugger in sight! See you all in 2019)

I’m normally a non-violent lady who enjoys the quirks and foibles of her fellow man, but the one custom I’m not fond of is being bush-whacked by a hugger-mugger. Have you met any? I’m sure you know at least one or two. The reason I’m venting now is because another social season will soon be upon us and there are hordes of hugger-muggers ready to launch their hugs at any given moment.

Generally, these people seem very congenial and friendly until they clasp your hand and haul your unwilling self towards them to give you the mother of all hugs—up close and personal. I’ve  checked my etiquette book and this is one custom not covered well. Chinese people are generally not touchy-feely unless it’s someone we know well—like really well.  But in social gatherings, meeting some stranger for the first time and discovering too late they are hugger-muggers, makes a person think murderous thoughts or at best, a violent solution like a knee to the you-know-where.

Hugger-muggers are very sneaky people. They look so ordinary and normal until they get hit with any excuse for hugs at social gatherings. Give them a glass of wine or two or three and hugger-muggers are in their dangerous zone. This is when their hands tend to roam all over as part of their friendly hugs. Hugger-muggers do not read body language well and will translate a verbal “no” as “yes.”

So, to all hugger-muggers who are perfecting their hugging techniques–take note. I’ll be wearing my Kevlar vest, my 3″ stiletto heels and bringing my 6’3″, 4th degree black-belt martial arts husband. I may be short, but I won’t be defenseless if confronted by any hugger-muggers.

 

There is Something About the Holiday Season

There is something about the Holiday Season, aka Christmas, that I both love and hate. I’ve noticed this as each Christmas comes and goes. I know some of you are thinking, “How can you not love this time of year?” Easy, I say.

The very first thing I dislike is hearing Christmas songs in October. How can anyone possibly think Christmas trees and jingle-bells when Canadians haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet and Halloween hasn’t ghosted by. Early displays of fake Christmas trees mingled with Halloween costumes doesn’t do anything for me except destroy whatever holiday spirit is struggling to survive.

Christmas should be in July because December travelers have to struggle through snow storms, blizzards, cancelled airlines flights, cancelled ferries and buses. Recent powerful West Coast gale-force winds caused extensive power outages that resulted in more winter chaos and holiday headaches for determined travelers. Travelers want to be with their families at this time of year and they go through a heck of a lot to be there.

I love the pastries, desserts and fantastic home-baking that comes out of Christmas. What’s not to like when you’re faced with butter shortbreads, minced tarts, gingerbread, sugar cookies, triple chocolate snickerdoodles, panettone, biscotti, tortierre and so much more. Oh wait–this also includes dark chocolate dipped marshmallow Santas and snowmen. When these are allowed to “age” for a month or two, the marshmallow becomes chewy and that’s the best time to enjoy them.

I hate the postal lineups because people like me, somehow wait ’til the last minute before firing off those overseas or international cards and parcels. This year I had the best excuse of all for being late–Canada was suffering through intermittent “roving” postal strikes.  This meant that even if your parcel or card was processed in your city, it may have been stalled in another city that was the designated “strike of the day.”

Regular shopping goes out the window at this time of year. That’s when the shopping ogres and grinches snarl their demands, apply their pushy ways and display attitude—lots of attitude. Leisurely browsing and shopping are put on hold ’til later, much later.

Now that Christmas is a mere 2 days away, the frenzy has dropped to a simmer because if the  important thing isn’t done by now, then it will likely never be done ’til afterwards and by then, it won’t matter anymore.  Most people are much nicer and the smiles are more sincere; after all, in 48 hours all this will be over until next year. I have this vision of a very weary and battered 2018 passing over the reins to an energetic, bouncy, fully-charged 2019, who’s eager to leap into whatever is awaiting us. That’s the moment in time I love—everything is new and ready for our footprints.

Thank you to all my friends and readers who have been following Chocofigbee—especially those leaving your comments when something I’ve posted connected with you. I always enjoy hearing from you.

May the love and joy of Christmas stay with you throughout the coming year. And, may 2019 be the year you reach for your dream and hold it in your hands. Merry Christmas. Everyone and a very Happy New Year. . . .

Triple Chocolate Doodles

When I was growing up, everyone in my family could cook or bake or do both, equally well.  We weren’t fancy cooks or bakers, just good at comfort foods and family favorites. One of the family faves was “Triple Chocolate Doodles” that my grandmother baked.  As I grew older, I realized it was actually a variation of the “Snickerdoodle,” a vanilla flavored cookie dough, soft enough to drop from a teaspoon, onto a cookie sheet. Snickerdoodles were good too, but if your tummy had a craving for chocolate, then the Triple Chocolate Doodles filled the bill.

The problem is, Grandma didn’t have a written recipe for this family favorite. It was made so often, the recipe was engraved on her brain.  It wasn’t exactly a real recipe when Grandma would show her grand-daughters, “Now, a chunk of butter like this, a couple of large eggs, a dollop of vanilla, cups of flour plus a smidge, until the dough feels right. . . .” and as she was talking, my tiny grandma would be beating the life out of the butter and eggs.  Fry’s cocoa powder played a huge part in the recipe as well as lots of chocolate chips. When the cookies were hot out of the oven and cooling on the racks, Grandma would add the finishing touch by drizzling melted dark chocolate over each doodle.

Every time Grandma made these, they were melt-in-your-mouth delicious and absolutely fail-proof. It didn’t matter if you asked what precise measurement would make a “chunk” or  how much exactly was a “dollop?” After all, it had to be the same every time because scientifically, a more or less difference in chunks or dollops would produce a less than perfect triple chocolate doodle, right?  At least, that was my logical reasoning. And another thing, when does the dough feel right?

Well, I just figured out the secret of the family recipe–precise amounts of ingredients won’t work. Throw logic out the window. Go with the chunks, dollops and smidges.  Add lots of chocolate and a heaping amount of love. Triple Chocolate Doodles are still a winner and absolutely fail-proof when you use “Grandma’s recipe” with her own special measurements.