Friday, August 14, 2009

Seven Quick Takes



By a complete accident, we had two Netflix films this week focus on World War II.

Netflix had previously recommended The Diary of Anne Frank to me and we received it last weekend. At 3 hours, it took me two days to watch it all, but it was worth it. It is very well done and, while it has been a long time since I read her diary, it was wonderful to see the persons written of in her diary brought to life. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to remain hidden in an attic for two years, though I imagine it would have been impossible with small children who never keep completely quiet. It turned out that, should she have lived, Anne Frank would have turned 80 years old in June, August 4th was the 65th anniverary of her arrest, and it is the 50th anniversary of the film. A very moving film of history that ought never to be forgotten and well worth the visit.

James chose Grave of the Fireflies from Studio Ghibli. It is not your usual Japanese animation film. It is a sincere depiction of a boy and his little sister as they try to survive while the Americans are bombing Japan. When their mother dies in an air raid and their aunt treats them with disdain, it becomes a matter of survival, especially in the securing of food. It is a very moving film based on a true story. It is not for small children and I would recommend watching the subtitled version in Japanese as the voice of the little girl in the English dubbing is done by an adult and irritated me to no end. It actually really deprives the viewer of the full effect of the film. The film made me wonder: those high and mighty who decide to start wars, do they ever even consider the innocent - even their own innocent - who will suffer because of their decisions?


Another film I watched was The Philadelphia Story starring Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Katharine Hepburn. I really enjoyed it. I don't know if I've ever seen Jimmy Stewart so funny - he plays a wonderful drunk. Katharine Hepburn was wonderful as the high-and-mighty socialite of Philadelphia who learns a lesson or two and Cary Grant made me want to look up more of his films. Hepburn divorced Grant two years ago and she is preparing to marry someone else. Stewart is a magazine writer whose editor blackmails Grant into getting Stewart as a guest at the wedding so the magazine can publish a story on the wedding. A love triangle and some interesting and comical theatrics ensue. I was worried it would be one of these "reporter intends to exploit someone but falls in love with them, decides not to do it but gets published anyway and has to apologize" plots but I was pleasantly surprised it was nothing of the sort. It was much better.


After not having really cleaned since May, (as I said, 9 months pregnant and a newborn can put things on the back burner), I finally finished thoroughly cleaning the upstairs. Yeah! Victory over red fuzzies! Down with dusty nightstands! James cleaned the basement last weekend. That leaves the main floor, which will be my next cleaning endeavor. Beware crumby kitchen counters and dusty bookshelves, I'm coming!


Well, I began exercising this past Monday. Every day at 4pm James gets playtime with Cecilia and Felicity while I put Elizabeth in a baby carrier, turn on Discover Health and hop on the treadmill for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 60 minutes. In the past four days I've walked 8.53 miles, all but 2.15 miles of that carrying a little 12 pound or so bundle and that little bundle can actually make a significant difference. So, for fun, I've added the Walk to Rivendell on my sidebar to play a little with how far I manage to walk over time. I plan to do this every week day and exercise some on our Wii Fit on Saturday taking Sunday off as it is the day of rest.


Once again I find myself with the wonderful problem of being so "in to" two books that I am torn which to pick up when I have the opportunity to read. Both Jane Eyre and The Omnivore's Dilema have me captivated. I don't want to put either down and have divided my day to be able to read both a little each day. At least it is a good problem to have.


Well, our garden yielded its first tomato, red and beautiful with that fresh tomato scent. Hmmm..... fresh jalopenoes, fresh tomatoes......just need to buy some onions and I can smell the salsa just calling my name!


This weekend the most recent film from Studio Ghibli is being released in theaters. Hayao Miyazaki directs Ponyo, a story inspired by Anderson's classic fairy tale "The Little Mermaid," about a young and eager goldfish named Ponyo and her quest to become human. On Rotten Tomatoes it is already getting very good reviews. It is rated G and we are hoping to take the girls to see it sometime next week.

See more Quick Takes at Jen's Conversion Diary!


  1. Philadelphia Story is my all-time favorite movie, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Congratulations on the exercise plan, sounds wonderful and very doable.

  2. Isn't studio Ghibli the Spirited Away folks?

    I remember reading Winnie Mandela's book, being very sympathetic to the cause then and now of black South Africans, but being disturbed by her attitude about her kids. As I recall, it was kind of a "the cause is more important than a few people" sort of thing.

  3. If you want another movie with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn I recommend "Holiday." I love that movie...actually I love almost his movies! :-)

  4. The more I've thought about the film the more I've liked it. It is the first of the older ones I've liked enough to consider owning. Thanks!

  5. It is on my Netflix list, although so are many others, so I will get to it but I don't know exactly when. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. Yes, Studio Ghibli made Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle and now Ponyo. All very good movies.

    I'm afraid I'm not familiar with Winnie Mandela's book.