Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Halloween Humor

October 29th, 2014

Putting together Halloween humor has been a fun task. With surprised gratification I woke in the middle of the night thinking, for example, that a vampire’s favorite ice cream is veinilla (who would’ve thought?!) and that a ghost with a broken leg is called a “Hoblin Goblin.”

It might be obvious, but I take great enjoyment in all sorts of word play and creative punning. Such as,  “Where did the goblin throw the football?” “Over the ghoul line.”

What do baby ghosts wear on Halloween? White Pillowcases.

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No, they eat the fingers separately.

Where do fashionable ghosts shop for sheets? [This one is so bad that it’s actually quite good!] Bootiques.

What do you call someone who puts poison in a person’s corn flakes? A cereal killer.

What do you get when you cross a vampire and a snowman? Frostbite.

What do you get when you cross a werewolf and a vampire? A fur coat that fangs around your neck.

What does a vampire never order at a restaurant? A stake sandwich.

What do you call a witch in the desert? A sandwitch.

What does a vampire fear the most? Tooth decay.

What’s the problem with twin witches?  You never know which witch is which.

What do ghosts serve for dessert? Ice Scream.

What did the mommy ghost say to the baby ghost? Don’t spook until you’re spoken to.

What did the mummy say to the detective? Let’s wrap this case up.

What does the papa ghost say to his family when driving? Fasten your sheet belts.

What’s a haunted chicken? A poultry-geist.

How do monsters tell their future? They read their horrorscope.

How are vampires like false teeth? They both come out at night.

Why do mummies make excellent spies? They’re good at keeping things under wraps.

and lastly

Where do baby ghosts go during the day? Dayscare centers!!!

Halloween-Hero-1-H

 

Sunday in Nevada

October 26th, 2014

Lake Tahoe. Just speaking those two simple words turn up the wanderlust in many, and thought of a favorite vacation destination for others. Dreams of wining, dining and year-round recreational activities for everyone. Everyone that is, except lowlanders like myself that suffer altitude sickness. But that was already covered in a previous blog entry.

Lake Tahoe, a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California, was formed about 2 million years ago during the Ice Age. It’s renowned for the clarity of the water and the beautiful panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides.

I started my Tahoe experience at Incline Village on the north end of the lake and drove south along the eastern shore toward Sand Harbor where I took my first hike. As I hiked along the rocky coastline I enjoyed various shades of blue as the depths of the Lake changed. The water at Sand Harbor is crystal clear blue with sand below surrounded by dark blue water reflecting off the giant rocks below. Sand Harbor beach is a popular spot for swimming in the cold lake, paddle boarding or picnicking.

I continued driving South I drove through the dual bore Cave Rock tunnel. Cave Rock tunnels are at an elevation of approximately 6,360 feet and is considered a sacred place to the Washoe Indian Tribe whose ancestors performed religious ceremonies inside the largest of the caves. It was impressive.

My last hike of the day was at Nevada Beach at South Lake Tahoe, still remaining in Nevada before crossing into California. At an elevation of 7,100’ the beach is wider than any other beach on the lake. The parks tall pines and subdued atmosphere are welcomed characteristics, as visitors come to enjoy the peace and quiet of the lakeside mountain landscape.

Fun facts: Lake Tahoe is the highest altitude lake of its size in the USA, and the second deepest behind Crater Lake, Oregon. The lake never freezes over due to the constant flow of water. On average 1,400,000 tons of water evaporates from the surface of Lake Tahoe every 24 hours! And I, due to my fear of another episode of altitude sickness, am glad I took photos because I will not return for another look.

Lake Tahoe Nevada Beach 1

Nevada Beach

Lake Tahoe Nevada Beach 2

Nevada Beach

Lake Tahoe Cave Rock tunnel

Cave Rock tunnel

Lake Tahoe 1

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 2

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 3

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 4

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 5

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 7

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 6

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe 8

Sand Harbor Beach

Lake Tahoe Sand Harbor Beach

Sand Harbor Beach

Lake Tahoe Sand Harbor

Sand Harbor Beach

Life Lesson: Dealing With Discouragement

October 24th, 2014

I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Do you ever feel tempted to give up? Perhaps, even as you’re reading this, you feel overlooked, forgotten, mistreated and you want to quit. The enemy’s goal is to get you to do just that. Discouragement is his favorite weapon.

But remember this: while disappointments are inevitable, discouragement is a choice. Once we yield to doubt and fear, we can quickly find ourselves trapped in a web of self-pity. That’s NOT a fun party for anyone.

If you recall my previous “Life Lesson” it was on waiting. And you learned that I had waited 3 long months for the privilege of working in Nevada. Once I arrived the facility I was supposed to work in, they had hired others and forgotten about me. I was disappointed, and could have become discouraged if I didn’t have believe God’s promises.

During a very troubling time in Israel’s history, God directed Jeremiah to speak those words of hope and encouragement in Jeremiah 29 to the disheartened. If we are ever going to reach our full potential, we must fully trust God’s love for us.

God often uses trials to position us for greater blessings. Even in times of great disappointment, He has our best in mind. He knows how He wants to use the disappointment for our benefit.

When you feel tempted to yield to discouragement, go to our Father in prayer.  He sees the future, and knows the direction your life will take.

If you’re in a difficult spot right now, refuse to become discouraged. Ask the Lord to reveal His will and plan for your life. Commit yourself fully to Him. God will provide for you in ways that far exceed our human understanding.

I can testify to this. After praying for understanding in my current work situation, I received a call from a facility that is a better fit for me just down the road and I will start Monday. God works in mysterious ways! Hallelujah!

High Altitude?

October 22nd, 2014

I am spending some time in the highlands of Nevada this winter, so my Joke of the Week has fewer sweat stains on it. I am in Reno, about a 30 minutes from the North rim from Lake Tahoe, up around 8,000 feet. While here I’m learning to appreciate the simple things – like breathing. Nevada is an unusual state in many ways. For instance, they think that ‘high humidity’ is anything over 25%.

So today’s jokes deal in high altitude and wilderness humor followed by a very real warning about altitude sickness which I have been working through in various forms since arriving. Famous last words in mountain climbing

• I’m sure this way is the right way
• I’m okay-It’s just a little headache (that was me)
• I am sure the rope reaches all the way to the bottom
• Lets go for the top, we’ll get back before it gets dark.

……………………………………
In 1993 a woman called 911 from the top of Half Dome using her cellular phone. According to dispatch, she reported: “Well, I’m at the top and I’m really tired.” The answering ranger asked if she felt sick. “No,” she said, “I’m just really tired and I want my friends to drive to the base and pick me up.”The dispatcher explained that she would have to hike down the trail she had ascended. The visitor replied, “But you don’t understand, I’m really tired.” What happened next? “It turned out we got really lucky,” the ranger said,” her phone battery died.” (Boy, do I understand her fatigue!)

……………………………………

All joking aside, traveling from sea level to attempting to hike in an area of much higher altitude can be very dangerous to your health. In fact, each year people die from altitude sickness probably because no one had warned them. I’m warning you from my very own experience over the past 72 hours. If you are going to be traveling to a location above 7000ft, read this information and tell your traveling companions: http://www.altitude.org/altitude_sickness.php

First snowfall on the Sierra Nevada Mtns. looking westward out my backdoor. Beautiful from a distance, Mt. Rose peaks at over 8200', and I won't go hiking there again due to my symptoms of altitude sickness.

First snowfall on the Sierra Nevada Mtns. looking westward out my backdoor. Beautiful from a distance, Mt. Rose peaks at over 8200′, and I won’t go hiking there again due to my symptoms of altitude sickness.

 

 

Sunday in Nevada

October 19th, 2014

Today I decided to take my Sunday drive south and drove directly into Carson City. Carson City is the capital of Nevada, and named for the mountain man and scout Kit Carson in 1858. President Abraham Lincoln, recognizing the importance of Nevada’s silver and gold to the Union’s Civil War effort, signed the proclamation that ushered Nevada into statehood on October 31, 1864. It seemed like a quiet town, but with its area of 146 square miles, Carson City advertises itself as one of the largest state capitals in America!

I thought the Nevada State Museum would be a good place to start in order to learn more about the state I’m living in for the next 3 months. I was correct. The museum is connected to the United States Branch Mint Carson, Nevada and houses an original press that still works. The museum has exhibits on the Native Tribes of Nevada, a floor dedicated the natural history of Nevada, a simulated ghost town and an underground mine for visitors to tour. I really enjoyed the museum exhibits.

After the museum I decided to walk the Kit Carson Trail through the historic west side of Carson City. I started at the State Museum and passed many historic buildings including the State Capitol, the Bliss Mansion and the Governor’s Mansion (each decorated for Halloween) as well as the Nugget and Cactus Jack Casino’s. See photos for narratives.

Millionaire Duane L. Bliss built the Bliss Mansion in 1879 to showcase the fortune he earned from selling lumber to the Comstock mines, and from being involved with railroad commerce. However, when Bliss bought the land there was a cemetery on the grounds. Being the man he was, Bliss had the bodies exhumed, and moved to another cemetery to build his home. Some believe those disturbed pioneers still haunt the grounds.

Millionaire Duane L. Bliss built the Bliss Mansion in 1879 to showcase the fortune he earned from selling lumber to the Comstock mines, and from being involved with railroad commerce. However, when Bliss bought the land there was a cemetery on the grounds. Being the man he was, Bliss had the bodies exhumed, and moved to another cemetery to build his home. Some believe those disturbed pioneers still haunt the grounds.

Peter Vincent "Cactus Pete" Piersanti  is namesake of two Nevada casinos. This was originally a gas station with slots!

Peter Vincent “Cactus Pete” Piersanti is namesake of two Nevada casinos. This was originally a gas station with slots!

Carson City Children's Museum

Carson City Children’s Museum

After all that walking and fresh air I was ready for lunch! I decided on a favorite local diner. The Cracker Box opened in 1980 offers the best breakfast in Carson City. Very good homemade bread and hash.

After all that walking and fresh air I was ready for lunch! I decided on a favorite local diner. The Cracker Box opened in 1980 offers the best breakfast in Carson City. Very good homemade bread and hash.

Governor's Mansion Halloween cemetary

Governor’s Mansion Halloween cemetary

For over a hundred years the Governor's Mansion has been the residence and offices of Nevada's Governor. Construction was completed in 1909. The total cost was $22,700.  Legend has it that it was a neighbor's wife donated the land, while her husband was out of town on business. Hmm… Upon his return he was naturally rather distressed to learn of his wife's generosity on his behalf, but it was too late to renege on the deal without losing face.

For over a hundred years the Governor’s Mansion has been the residence and offices of Nevada’s Governor. Construction was completed in 1909. The total cost was $22,700. Legend has it that it was a neighbor’s wife donated the land, while her husband was out of town on business. Hmm… Upon his return he was naturally rather distressed to learn of his wife’s generosity on his behalf, but it was too late to renege on the deal without losing face.

Governor's Stateroom

Governor’s Stateroom

While living in Carson City with his brother, Samuel Clemens used the pseudonym Mark Twain for the first time while reporting on legislative sessions, the constitutional convention and other Carson City events. Now their home is used as a lawyer’s office.

While living in Carson City with his brother, Samuel Clemens used the pseudonym Mark Twain for the first time while reporting on legislative sessions, the constitutional convention and other Carson City events. Now their home is used as a lawyer’s office.

Nevada State Museum

Nevada State Museum

Carson City Nugget Casino opened in 1954 and it smells like it. Yuck!

Carson City Nugget Casino opened in 1954 and it smells like it. Yuck!

Carson City Office of Attorney General

Carson City Office of Attorney General

The most visible dome in Carson City is that of the Nevada State Capitol Building and marks the symbol of Nevada's Government since it’s completion in 1871.

The most visible dome in Carson City is that of the Nevada State Capitol Building and marks the symbol of Nevada’s Government since it’s completion in 1871.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

October 15th, 2014

Have you ever had one of THOSE days? You know the kind that begins with gum stuck in your hair, followed by enough calamities to fill a country music CD? Alexander has plenty of those days! Poor thing finds little sympathy from his perfect family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, until his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Time has a way of teaching us that life has a distinct balance of creating moments to both cherish and dismiss. I think it’s safe to say that everyone has had at least had one bad day they wish it could erase and redo. Maybe you came down with a terrible illness on Christmas Eve, maybe the job you worked so hard to get wasn’t the paradise hoped for, or maybe it was having your mouth set for your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant and they don’t have it anymore. Nothing puts people in a cranky mood faster then to have a day where everything seems to go wrong for no good reasons.

Eleven year old Alexander Cooper was having a really terrible day. He woke up with gum in his hair, and that was just the start of the horrible day before his birthday. At midnight, he made himself a birthday sundae and made a wish that his family could walk in his shoes for a day. No one was safe from the curse of a bad day!

I expected the gag of having a bad day become old very fast. But I had fun watching the mishaps happening to someone else! Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day reminded me of the classic Disney movie, Freaky Friday, which had a similar idea of a super natural wish within a suburban environment crossed with Modern Family.

It may not be the great comedic movie of the year, but parents waiting for a movie that they can enjoy with their children will be surprised by how much they’ll be laughing along with the kids. Despite the title, Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell, as Alexander’s parents, lead the family through it’s curse as they each learn about why bad days are necessary and making it to Alexander’s birthday.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is an enjoyable, fun children’s movie for the entire family. Disney knows how to make movies that kids enjoy, and they succeeded again.

 

 

 

Life Lessons: Those Who Wait

October 12th, 2014

Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him. Isaiah 64:4

If you’ve been following my daily journey you know that I’ve finally arrived in Reno, Nevada. I was supposed to be here on August 3rd. But I had to wait for approval from the State Board. Once I was ready, it took me over 24 hours of travel time due to airline delays. Now that I’m here, I still have to wait until next week to start working. I will wait on the Lord …

In this hurry-up world, waiting for anything can cause anxiety. When we’re waiting for something it can be hard to think of anything else and we might lose our tongue or tempers. No one enjoys waiting in line, at stoplights, for dinner. We don’t even like waiting for good things, like for a job to start. We want what we want right now.

Yet the word of God insists that we learn some of life’s greatest lessons while we wait. Waiting rooms can be hard classrooms, but God promises vast rewards to those who wait for Him. God plans to use the long pauses in our lives for our blessing, if we let Him.

Think of waiting on God as something like planting a garden. You put a seed in the ground, water it and wait. And wait. And wait. Finally one day you begin to see evidence of what you planted. Now, suppose you had grown impatient and dug up your seeds because nothing seemed to be happening? You would have ruined your garden.

It might be you’re waiting for something right now. A loan approval. A new job. A relationship. A child. While we’re waiting we can’t imagine how God will move on our behalf. Yet, we can be confident He does so above our understanding, and He will act with perfect timing when we wait for Him in faith. Remember, some fruit takes a long time to mature. God knows exactly how long we need to wait.

The Judge

October 10th, 2014

Hello movie friends, today I was seduced by the opportunity to see both Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall sharing the same screen.

The basic story is about big city lawyer Hank Palmer (Downey) returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s esteemed judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family in the most gut wrenching way.

At 141 minutes, The Judge isn’t a simple courtroom drama. Instead the story takes a hard look at Midwestern family life from the point of view of the returning son. Prodigal or survivor? It’s about Hank’s struggle to understand his relationship with his father and to accept where he came from. It’s about identity, family, and all the messiness and contradictions of life. It takes it’s time to establish the background of this family, touching on a hint of a mystery, disease, death, love, despair and redemption in the process.

Robert Duvall is captivating as the bull-headed, moralistic judge and Hank’s father. Where others would let Hank soften under his father’s pressure and training, Robert Downey Jr. keeps Hank strong and sharp. In his best role yet, Robert Downey Jr. shows us that he has matured into one of the solid actors working today. Together they offer very engaging performances.

Billy Bob Thorton is intense as the prosecutor and Shepherd is very good as the small town lawyer at Downey’s side. Unnecessary, and almost forced characters, were Vera Farmiga and Leighton Meester as mother and daughter. I know every film needs a romance story but it felt like it got in the way and could have been cut from the final film.

The Judge is one of those rare films that tell a strong story without selling out to the usual Hollywood exaggerations. I don’t know that I was ready for the strong emotions it evoked from me, but it’s definitely worth sitting through for the riveting performances by both Downey and Duvall, who should both be up for Oscar nominations for their roles. You will quickly be reminded precisely why Duvall is one of the most enduring screen performers of all time.

 

The Unfortunate Donner Party

October 9th, 2014

Today I drove over the mountains to Donner Memorial State Park and have come to the conclusion the horrific tragedy never had to happen if the Donners leading the nearly 90 emigrants wouldn’t have been willful and self-important. Instead the brothers seemed unwilling to take advice from reputable guides about the best route to take. You be the judge.

In the spring of 1846, the group of nearly 90 emigrants (42 children) in 20 wagons left Illinois and headed for California led by brothers Jacob and George Donner. The brothers decided to take a new and supposedly shorter route to California laid out by an unscrupulous trail guide. Who, by the way, had left on an earlier wagon train traveling an established route. Dumb! I’m sure their wives weren’t happy. Naturally, they soon encountered untested, rough terrain and became trapped by heavy snowfall high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Not only did the group follow the decision of poor leadership to take this route, but they had no hunters or fisherman in the group leaving them hungry in a forest filled with game, setting up cabins on a lake full of fish that they could see but not catch to survive. Over the course of the winter, the unskilled group was reduced to cannibalism to survive, only half of the original group was rescued and reached California the following year. This didn’t have to happen. It was one bad decision after another that led to a terrible tragedy for these families … and this blog entry.

Donner Party's Murphy family cabin site memorial. The rock face formed the Murphy fireplace and lists all members of the ill-fated Donner Party.

Donner Party’s Murphy family cabin site memorial. The rock face formed the Murphy fireplace and lists all members of the ill-fated Donner Party.

The Pioneer Monument was erected in honor of all who made the difficult trek across the western plains and mountains to reach California during the 1840s.  The pedestal is 20' tall, the depth of the snow covering their cabins.

The Pioneer Monument was erected in honor of all who made the difficult trek across the western plains and mountains to reach California during the 1840s. The pedestal is 20′ tall, the depth of the snow covering their cabins.

Donner Lake is a beautiful freshwater lake used for the usual water activities including swimming, boating and fishing. Except by the Donner Party.

Donner Lake is a beautiful freshwater lake used for the usual water activities including swimming, boating and fishing. Except by the Donner Party.

Sunday in Nevada

October 7th, 2014

After patiently waiting weeks in anticipation of traveling to Reno, Nevada, I have arrived. I didn’t waste a minute stepping back in time for a wild west adventure. Come with me to Virginia City.

Once a vital settlement between Denver and San Francisco, Virginia City influenced the entire country. During its boomtime, Virginia City’s mining proceeds amounted to millions of dollars, equaling billions today! Every inch of this picturesque, Victorian-era town, celebrates it’s colorful history. I strolled along authentic board sidewalks to Old West saloons with historic suicide gaming tables, shops, museums, and restaurants. I took the trolley past historic churches, 19th century homes, public buildings, and quaint cemeteries. Their cemetery had sections for every group, including the Irish. I found that amusing along with how the tombstone messages reflected their unconventional lives.

While the Virginia Truckee Railroad transported bullion from the rural highlands of Virginia City to Carson City,  the Catholic Church preached to a congregation of 4000, the Territorial Enterprise, with literary whiz Mark Twain, delivered news of the day to the vibrant mining metropolis of 25,000 citizens.

Away from work, the people of the Comstock enjoyed performances at Piper’s Opera House, which still stands today as a favorite for events and weddings. The citizens also played baseball as a favorite pastime, and unwound after a long day at Virginia City’s many saloons that topped twenty-two at one point. Many attended school, with the Fourth Ward School once educating grammar and high school students. It’s considered a must stop on the driving tour of attractions in town.

The history and stories of Virginia City are as unique, rich, and colorful as the streets and buildings themselves. One must see Virginia City to even remotely understand how the West owes so much to this mountain mining town.

Scroll down for photos of Virginia City. To see photos of the Reno area click: http://emiling.com/photos/nevada/

Barrels of Candy is  loaded with barrels of old fashioned candy.

Barrels of Candy is loaded with barrels of old fashioned candy.

In spite of its sinister name, 'the Bucket of Blood Saloon' gives off the charm of the old time hey-days with its many hanging lamps and mirrors. Memories of a time long ago await the visitor wandering in to the bar for a cold drink in this cool oasis since 1876.

In spite of its sinister name, ‘the Bucket of Blood Saloon’ gives off the charm of the old time hey-days with its many hanging lamps and mirrors. Memories of a time long ago await the visitor wandering in to the bar for a cold drink in this cool oasis since 1876.

Located in Virginia City Nevada, this watering hole has been a local's favorite and been servin 'em up to folks from far and wide since 1876.

Located in Virginia City Nevada, this watering hole has been a local’s favorite and been servin ’em up to folks from far and wide since 1876.

Comstock Mansion

Comstock Mansion

Original Comstock Mine

Original Comstock Mine

Opened in 1876,  the majestic four-story Fourth Ward School could accommodate over 1000 students, and it boasted state-of-the-art heating, ventilation, and sanitation systems, as well as water piped to all floors.

Opened in 1876, the majestic four-story Fourth Ward School could accommodate over 1000 students, and it boasted state-of-the-art heating, ventilation, and sanitation systems, as well as water piped to all floors.

Enjoy our locals-favorite full bar in the ambience of the old Red Dog Saloon, dating back to the heyday of the Comstock mines.

Enjoy our locals-favorite full bar in the ambience of the old Red Dog Saloon, dating back to the heyday of the Comstock mines.

Main Street

Main Street

Virginia City Museum

Virginia City Museum

Virginia City Museum

Virginia City Museum

Original Virginia & Truckee railroad depot. You can still experience Nevada’s Comstock silver mining history aboard the V & T train daily.

Original Virginia & Truckee railroad depot. You can still experience Nevada’s Comstock silver mining history aboard the V & T train daily.

 

 

This is Where I Leave You

October 3rd, 2014

I got to a laugh-out-loud movie yesterday! It may not sound funny, but when their father passes away, and four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens for Shiva, it’s funny.

Looking at the cast of This Is Where I Leave You, it’s easy to get interested about seeing the film. The director of this family dramedy is Shawn Levy, best-known for Night At The Museum and The Internship. Here he’s crafted a witty, wise and hysterical 2 hours of entertainment. This Is Where I Leave You is a rich, bitter, quirky film about love and family that teeters along the thin, broken lines dividing life and death, and comedy and tragedy.

Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) is having the worst year of his life. The last thing he can handle is the death of a family member. But he must go home to attend his father’s wake. Once there, Judd and his siblings, driven Wendy (Tina Fey), stern Paul (Stoll), and quirky Phillip (Driver), must abide by their father’s dying wishes, as relayed by their mom Hilary (Jane Fonda): they are to sit Shiva together for seven days! It proves to be a week in which secrets are revealed, tensions run high, and love sneaks through amidst all the lies and loss.

What keeps the film’s content of tragedy and comedy from tipping into farce are its endearingly real characters. It’s easy to see the wealth of love and resentment that binds the Altman family together. The siblings argue to the point of bloodshed over who will take over their dad’s sporting goods shop, and they tease one another with the poker-sharp memories of years of enforced familiarity. But they also let their guards down around one another: Judd chats out his troubles with his sister Wendy, perched atop a roof; the siblings complain about the loss of privacy stemming from their mom’s best-selling book about their childhoods, but still find themselves turning to her in moments of deepest grief. “You’re idiots,” Wendy declares at one point to her brothers, “But you’re my idiots”, a sentiment that most of us would agree applies to siblings.

The ensemble cast is a joy to watch in action. Bateman anchors the entire film with one of his most sensitive performances yet, but everyone around him gets a chance to shine. Fey, better known as a comedian, mines Wendy’s troubled relationship with Horry for genuine emotional trauma, while Stoll and Driver (as the goof-up brother) round out the Altman quartet with steady, appealing turns as the eldest and youngest brothers who just can’t get along. Fonda is impressive, carrying off the comedy with remarkable grace, while creating a picture of a tough, sexually progressive woman with plenty of depth and love for her children.

Like the fractured, dysfunctional family at its heart, This Is Where I Leave You isn’t perfect. It can be slow at times, and its characters occasionally speak in sound bites. But the film is also a tender, silly, deep, smart and ridiculous look at a family in mourning. It finds the hidden joys and awkward sadness in a group of people who sometimes love more than they like one another. And it serves as a potent reminder that life, happiness, tragedy, and everything in between, keeps happening, often when we least want it to.

This Is Where I Leave You is a movie l think most mothers and adults from large will love, and is a nice change from the generic action movies. Clever writing, realistic characters and some interesting lessons will keep you entertained, if not on the floor with tears of laughter in your eyes. It’s definitely not a high drama movie, but it’s about love for people that matter, even if you forgot who they are. Go see it.

 

 

 

Buzzing Around

October 2nd, 2014

Yesterday I observed two bees buzzing around what’s left of my mother’s rose bush when I swear I heard this conversation:

“How’s your summer been?” asks bee number one.

“Not too good,” says bee two. “Lotta rain, lotta cold. There aren’t enough flowers, and not enough pollen.”

The first bee has an idea. “Hey, why don’t you head south and hang a left? There’s a bar mitzvah going on. Plenty of flowers and fruit.”

Bee two buzzes, “Thanks!” and takes off. An week later, the bees bumped into each other again.

“How was the bar mitzvah?” asks the first bee.

“Great!” replies the second.

The first bee, however, notices a small circle on his friend’s head, and inquires, “What’s that on your head?”

“A yarmulke,” is the answer. “I didn’t want them to think I was a Wasp.”

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.