Batkid in San Francisco

I'm sorry, I took this picture from the NBC website for this post.

I’m sorry, I took this picture from the NBC website for this post.

Best story of the year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you heard about this story?  San Francisco turned into Gotham City for a 5-year-old who wanted to be Batkid!  How awesome is that?!

The San Francisco Chronicle changed to the Gotham Times for the front page.  The mayor called for help from Batkid on TV.  People  came out from everywhere to help and to cheer him on.  If you haven’t seen it, please, please, follow this link to the story.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/batkids-make-transforming-san-francisco-gotham/story?id=20899254

This is the best story I have seen in a long time!  I’m just so impressed with everyone involved in helping make this adorable boy’s wish come true. The Make-A-Wish Foundation and everyone in San Francisco just really did a “solid.”

I cannot imagine how much time, money, and energy this took for it to be such a success!  A whole, big city coming to help this little boy get his wish!  Just really puts a big smile on my face.

It’s so sad when a little guy like this has to battle a disease like leukemia.  Good for him for being in remission!  Way to go for saving Gotham City!

I can’t believe I missed Batkid by one week; I was in San Francisco visiting just a few days ago.  I would have really loved to see this.

I wish all kids who wished for it could have a fantasy day like this.

Toys R Us Online Ordering Nightmare!

Makes this giraffe very sad!

Makes this giraffe very sad!

 

I love to shop online.  I do a lot if not most of my shopping online.  Everything almost always goes smoothly, I always try to get free shipping, and everyone is happy.

Recently, however, I have had the most awful experience with Toys R Us and an online order I placed.  I placed a simple order for five Lego minifigure packages and three Star Wars Advent Calendars.  Paid for it, clicked confirm purchase, done.  I received a nice email confirmation of my order and a follow-up shipping notice.

What I received was a super-gigantic flimsy cardboard box that did not survive the shipping.  It had been busted open, bashed in, and clumsily resealed with tape.  In the meantime one of the minifigure packages fell out of the box and never arrived.  The three advent calendars were so crushed, there was no way you would give them as gifts to anyone.  Some of the pieces that you would open on each day leading up to Christmas were already punched out due to the substandard shipping.

As required, I called Toys R Us.  I was told that I would receive a replacement shipment and a paid, return shipping label.  Okay.  I could wait.

I quickly received an email with return postage that I could print and adhere to the return package.  After a few days, I received the replacement.  Imagine how surprised I was to find that entirely different items had been shipped to me.  I got some Lego minifigures but not the ones I ordered.  I got a different type of advent calendar. 

I called Toys R Us back, got another return shipping label, mailed all of the items back—from both shipments—and waited.

I received an email that my returned items had been received, and I was being credited for them.  Each item was credited for $0.01!  I bought $116 worth of items and received $0.06 back!  Wow!

I have been on old off and on today for close to an hour trying to get this straightened out.  Nightmare!

Ever had anything like this ever happen to you?  What about the opposite—super excellent results from an online shopping trip?  I’d love to hear about it.

By the way someone needs to tell Toys R Us that their hold music is way too loud on the phone!!

Top Five Movies of all Time

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If you could only see five movies in your life, which five would they be?  Such a tough decision! Comedies?  Historical significance?   Sports?  Hunky dudes or sexy gals?  Maybe the internet can help you narrow down the possibilities.

On IMDb, they list the top grossing films of all time:

Avatar, Titanic, The Avengers, The Dark Knight, and Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.

They also list the top five by popular vote:

The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Pulp Fiction, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Another listing can be found on the British Sight & Sound website:

Citizen Kane, Bicycle Thieves, Tokyo Story, Vertigo, and The Rules of the Game.

At the New York Times, you can look through a list of the top 1000 movies of all time to help narrow down the choices.

The American Film Institute chooses these:

Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, and Lawrence of Arabia.

Tim Dirks at Filmsite.org has chosen his top five (although I am including his top six because I believe Schindler’s List deserves a mention):

Casablanca, The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather (series), Star Wars (series), Gone with the Wind, and Schindler’s List.

Entertainment Weekly has also selected a top six:

Citizen Kane, The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (tie), Bonnie and Clyde, Casablanca, and Psycho.

I found this list to be particularly helpful and interesting.  The Movie Times lists the top-grossing movies adjusted for inflation.  Check out the full list here: http://www.the-movie-times.com/thrsdir/alltime.mv?adjusted+ByAG.  The top five:

Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, E.T., and Titanic.

I found a list of the top five children’s movies on the Huffington Post:

E.T., Explorers, The Goonies, The Sandlot, and Toy Story.

I could go on and on.  Everyone seems to have a list of the top movies.  However, if you could only watch five of them, which would they be?  It seems that many people would agree to Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Titanic, and The Godfather.  Would you choose the same?  Maybe you’d like to pick the five longest movies.  According to AMC, the longest running English-language movies are:

Hamlet, The Iceman Cometh, Gods and Generals, Once Upon a Time in America, and Lawrence of Arabia.  For those of you who are curious, Gone with the Wind comes in sixth.  There are some much longer European movies, so if you want to really live it up and read subtitles while watching a nice, day-long movie, check with the internet for those.

For me, the choice would come down to which movies I personally enjoy enough to watch again and again.  In my younger days, I watched An Officer and a Gentlemen a couple of hundred times, but that was for eye candy.  I also love The Full Monty just for fun.  I can’t remember how many times I have been watching TV late at night and got sucked into another viewing of Tremors.  Somehow I just can’t pull myself away from that movie.  I won’t count any kid’s movies that I watched with and for my kids, so no Little Mermaid.  I have watched The Shawshank Redemption many times, and that would probably be my first pick for my list.  I think I would also agree with Gone with the Wind.  I just love that movie.  It’s so big.  So that’s two.  Star Wars is just good fun, and who doesn’t love looking at Hans Solo?  That would be my third choice.  I have to pick a classic—Psycho? The Birds? Rear Window? Vertigo?  I’ll go with my favorite from that list:  Vertigo.  For my final pick, Saving Private Ryan.  Such a great movie.  Great actors, great action, great story.  I can watch that movie again and again.

So there you have it; my picks for the five movies I would choose if those were the only movies I could ever see.  I think it’s a good list; there is a little something for everyone.

The Shawshank Redemption, Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, Vertigo, and Saving Private Ryan.

What do you think of my list, and which movies would you put on your list?

Summer Bucket List 2013, Part II

Summer is on the way out.

Summer is on the way out.

Time to revisit my summer bucket list post from May.  I’m not sure how well I did.  Let’s check it out.

Watch seasons 1, 2, and 3 of Game of Thrones!  I’ve been reading the books (awesome!), but we didn’t have HBO before we moved, and they haven’t replayed season 1, so I’m way behind!
Nope.  But I have watched season 1.
Figure out how I am going to make it to Hawaii with my husband and younger son to visit my older son who is stationed there with the Navy.
Nope.  But I am meeting him elsewhere next month.
Unpack more boxes that are taking up valuable space in the garage and keeping my car out.  Note: should be completed before a hurricane comes.  The car is safer in the garage.
Yep.  I still have several boxes to go, but I made a good dent, and the car is in the garage.
Get back to scrapbooking on a regular basis.  Moving and packing up the supplies really put a damper on one of my favorite past times.
Yep.  I went on a crop weekend, have created some cards, and am back on a roll (slow, but still a roll).
Take more pictures!  So many beautiful blogs with gorgeous photos are out there.  I’m inspired.
Maybe.  I am taking more pictures, but still not enough.  Seems I spend too much time behind the computer.
Get to know the neighbors.
Yep.  Have had a few barbeques and such.  Nice people.

Explore my new city more.
Ehh.  I’ve done a little.  I should get out there and take pictures while I am at it.
Use FaceTime!  Every time I use it, I love it, but I always forget about it when I make a call.  It’s so great to actually see your friends and family when you are catching up.
Nope.  I still forget, and sometimes I just don’t want the other person to see me.
Read more fabulous books.  Send me some recommendations!
Yep.  I joined a community book club and have completed several books.  My favorite so far:  The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman.  Superb book.  I highly recommend it.

Well, I’m slightly ahead on my list.  How did you do on yours?

Hollywood Stars’ Homes Tour

Somebody lives behind these gates, or else I wouldn't have taken this picture.

Somebody lives behind these gates, or else I wouldn’t have taken this picture.

While in Los Angeles recently, we decided to take one of the tours of the stars’ homes.  You see them advertised all over the place, and several companies provide the tours.  They last about two hours and wind around the hills of Hollywood.  It’s actually fun, and there are some great views.  What you don’t get are great views of any of the stars’ homes!

We saw a lot of gates, walls, and fences.  The tour guide had us looking in a photo album to see some overhead shots of the houses behind those gates, walls, and fences.  Nice looking houses.  Very nice looking.  However, I couldn’t see them.  If I wanted to look at pictures of the houses, I could have searched online and seen them there.  I’m sure the pictures would have been sharper, and I would have had many to look at.  Then, I could have spent my money and my time doing something more constructive, like looking at the fake people in the wax museums.

The tour did take us past some of “Old Hollywood’s” houses.  Apparently, in those days (pre-Kardashian and paparazzi days), the stars lived in almost normal houses on normal streets with normal yards and with neighbors who could actually walk over to the house and say, “Hi!”  Now they live in fortresses that cost way too much money and keep them neatly ensconced inside until they choose to come out—in their Land Rovers.

Blank Land Rovers seem to be the car of choice for celebrities.  You are much more likely to spot a celeb in a Land Rover than behind the gated walls of their homes. I didn’t even care to see the celebs; I really wanted to check out a few houses.

My advice while in Hollywood:  take your own tour of the Hollywood Hills, check out the stars’ homes online, and use your money for a nice lunch or dinner.  Who knows; your waiter could turn up on TV next week.

I Miss My Dad

Every day I miss my dad. He was so awesome and unique. It’s very hard to celebrate Fathers’ Day since he’s been gone. I’m very lucky to have a fabulous husband who is such a caring, involved, wonderful dad. I just have a hard time buying presents and cards when I can’t celebrate with my dad.

I wish a wonderful Fathers’ Day to all of you who are raising children, mentoring our youth, and making a positive difference in their lives. Love

Kudos to Cheerios!

We're all black, white, and gray mixed together anyway!

We’re all black, white, and gray mixed together anyway!

I love the new Cheerios commercial with the adorable biracial daughter, white mother, and black father.  It’s a cute commercial:  she sprinkles Cheerios on Dad’s chest to help him get heart healthy.  Did I mention that the little girl is ridiculously adorable?

Unfortunately, there are people in this country that I live in who still define a “mixed” marriage as a problem.  Apparently, General Mills had to close the comments on the YouTube of the commercial because they were getting so many racist and nasty comments.

Click here to see the news about the commercial.

Click here to see the commercial on YouTube.

I suppose that we have to mention that people have the right to their opinions and free speech and all, but it surprises me that so many people still have these views about interracial couples and children.  Every day I see loving families made up of all sorts of people.  Some are related biologically; some are not.  Some are the same ethnic and/or racial background; some are not.  Some have two moms or dads; some are lucky to have one or a grandparent.  People are beautiful no matter what size, shape, or color.

I don’t know about you, but I plan on buying a few more boxes of Cheerios tomorrow!

Summer Bucket List 2013

1415610_hello_beach[1]I was recently perusing a few blogs, and I came across a Summer Bucket List by Alycia at Habitual Homebody.  What a great idea!  Since I always have lists for everything (and keep adding to them), I decided I would create my own list.  I’ll check back at the end of the summer (does summer ever really end in Florida?) to see what I’ve accomplished.

  •       Watch seasons 1, 2, and 3 of Game of Thrones!  I’ve been reading the books (awesome!), but we didn’t have HBO before we moved, and they haven’t replayed season 1, so I’m way behind!
  •       Figure out how I am going to make it to Hawaii with my husband and younger son to visit my older son who is stationed there with the Navy.
  •       Unpack more boxes that are taking up valuable space in the garage and keeping my car out.  Note: should be completed before a hurricane comes.  The car is safer in the garage.
  •       Get back to scrapbooking on a regular basis.  Moving and packing up the supplies really put a damper on one of my favorite past times.
  •       Take more pictures!  So many beautiful blogs with gorgeous photos are out there.  I’m inspired.
  •       Get to know the neighbors.
  •       Explore my new city more.
  •       Use FaceTime!  Every time I use it, I love it, but I always forget about it when I make a call.  It’s so great to actually see your friends and family when you are catching up.
  •       Read more fabulous books.  Send me some recommendations!

I’d love to see some more examples of Bucket Lists for this summer.  What’s on yours?

There Is no such thing as Good Pizza in Florida

I want this pizza!

I want this pizza!

Really! I had no idea that finding a great pizza would be so difficult or make me feel so homesick. Since we have been here for several months, we have tried many different pizza places in the area. Coming from the Midwest, I like a nice, thin, crispy crust. Everyone here has New York-style pizza with a thin, soggy crust that you are supposed to fold up and eat like a pizza sandwich. Yuck! I long for my hometown pizza joints with a nice spicy sauce, plenty of small pepperonis, and even some of that cornmeal on the bottom.
Soggy crust pizza is tasteless and bland. The sauce is bland. The pepperonis are bland. The texture in your mouth is bland. The vegetables aren’t cut up into bite-size pieces, so you have to cut with your teeth as you eat. If you don’t fold the slices in half, you may end up with a “drip tip” that oozes sauce and cheese onto your shirt.
I had no idea how many different styles of pizza there are until I started checking while looking for a good pizza place in South Florida. With so much variety in pizza types, you’d think I would be able to find something here besides soggy, fold-up New York-style pizza. I used to love pizza nights at home. What a great way to avoid cooking and enjoy a fun meal with the family. Now, I have no options for a no-cooking night except soggy pizza, take-out chicken or Chinese, or fast food. I’m contemplating ordering pizza from my hometown to be shipped to my new home. That’ll be some expensive pizza, but it just might be worth the cost.