Descendants-A Movie Review

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How can any movie with George Clooney not be good?

This movie really was fun for me to see. It is filmed here in Hawaii and I was able to recognize almost all the places where the action took place. I had read the book and was anxiously awaiting the movie.

The story is about a family here in Hawaii. They are fictionalized, the name is King, but they could be the Rice family, the Campbell family, the Damons or many others.

The husband/father, George Clooney, is a lawyer but mainly he is trustee for a large family trust. He and the entire family are descended from a female relative of King Kamehameha who married one of the banker/missionaries who came to Hawaii 150 years ago.

Nobody in the family looks at all Hawaiian, and yet they all have Hawaiian blood.

As was the custom, her dowry consisted of land and so it seems that what was left was 25,000 acres on Kauai. Part of the movie deals with what to do with the land. Sell it and make all the cousins rich, or ? This is up to George to decide.

But the main issue is George Clooney’s wife. She is in a coma after a boating accident and she is not expected to survive. Daddy has to take charge of his two daughters and the rest of the family. The ten year old daughter is really broken up about her mother, but the seventeen year old daughter didn’t like her mother very much.

It seems that Momma was cheating on George and older daughter found out. She has the job of dealing with this and in handling her father through this sad state of affairs.

She is a great actress and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if she winds up getting an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. And a Golden Globe.

I don’t want to spoil the story and tell you what happens after George finds out, but what I have told you so far is not going to reveal too much.

I loved the local color, the homes, the way of life the movie portrayed. I went to Punahou School in the fifties and grew up surrounded by people just like the characters in this movie. It is very accurate. The writer really hit the nail on the head.

One of the most authentic portraits of these super wealthy families was evident in their choice of clothing. The men all wear ill fitting khaki pants and shorts along with very ugly cotton aloha shirts that are stiff and rumpled looking.

The women either wear unattractive muu muus or jeans and tee shirts. No makeup on the women and hair on both the men and the women is oily and out of date.

Not a fashion statement here. But a good movie and I give it a heavy eight.


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How do they do it?

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Sometimes when I am in Costco, I am amazed at their pricing. Today was a perfect example. I am supposed to take a low dose aspirin every day along with my blood thinner.

My first thirty were a prescription and the copay was $4 for thirty of the 325 full dose. Then I am supposed to switch to the low dose 81 mg from now on.

I meant to buy some at Walgreens, but I forgot. They were having a ‘special’. Two bottles of Bayer low dose 81 mg, 32 in a bottle and the price $5.

That would have been a two month supply at $2.50 a month. So when I was at Costco, I decided to check out their aspirin department.

Can you believe I got two bottles of Kirkland aspirin low dose 81mg, for $4.99? Guess how many are in each bottle? Bet you can’t guess. 365! So I have a two year supply for $2.50 a year.

I asked my doctor if a No Name brand aspirin was ok to take and she said sure. People just know the name Bayer and will pay ten times more, but aspirin is aspirin.

Now feeling very thrifty, I decided to check out their fresh turkeys, as Thanksgiving is was coming up in a few days. My plan was to go to Safeway after Costco and buy my turkey there. They had advertised fresh turkey at $1.49 a pound, so I figured a turkey would cost me somewhere around $20.

Costco had a huge case of fresh Foster Farm turkeys @ 89 cents a pound. A fifteen pound turkey cost me $13.75. Then when I went to Safeway, I found that the turkeys that were $1.49 a pound were ‘no name brand’, but the Foster Farm ones were $2.79 a pound.

So a fifteen pound turkey would have cost me $45.00, not $13.75. The amazing thing is that Safeway will sell out of these babies by November 22. They only had about a dozen. Costco had about a hundred or more and they will probably sell out by November 22 also.

Speaking of Costco, they have ready made mashed potatoes, ready made cranberry stuffing, ready made Harry’s gravy and ready made pecan pie. I love making all these things from scratch, but for the woman who works or just doesn’t know how to cook, this is really a Godsend.

I like to make my own. That way I can somewhat control the amount of salt and fat that I put in things. It is hard to be very strict when the basic food for Thanksgiving is turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. But I can try.

I did get a letter from a girlfriend telling me that the world’s greatest mashed potatoes are made with the addition of lard. Think I’ll pass on that one. Even though I eat ham and bacon, this Jewish girl draws the line at lard.

How to Use Chopsticks

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I grew up in Hawaii. I have used chopsticks for most of my life. When I got this email of how to use chopsticks I thought it was so funny, I thought I would share it with you, Dear Readers.

I have different kinds of chopsticks. The easiest to use are the wooden ones. These come in a paper wrapped package, with a set in each pack. These are the Japanese type.They are very cheap. You can buy a box of fifty pairs at Longs Drug Store for 88 cents.

When you buy a bento lunch, which is a Japanese box lunch consisting of fish or chicken, rice and a little packet of soy sauce and wasabi mustard, you get a pair of these wooden chopsticks attached to the box with a rubber band.

The prettier ones are the Chinese type that are readily available in Chinatown. These are usually cloisone or painted wood. Sometimes they come in a satin lined case, or a brocade chopstick case good for carrying in your purse. These are not quite as easy to manage as the plain wooden ones, but they are much classier.

When my youngest daughter worked for Duty Free Shoppers, she often went to Hong Kong on buying trips. On one of her trips she bought herself a dozen pair of beautiful chopsticks. Each pair had different carvings and now she can throw a Chinese dinner for twelve and have the perfect chopsticks.

For those of you not familiar with the correct way to eat Chinese food, here is what you do. The food usually comes on platters family style. Each person is given their own bowl of rice. You take your chopsticks and help yourself to some food from the large platter, put it in your rice bowl, hold the bowl to your mouth and you don’t have that far to move the chopsticks.

You can also spoon the food onto your plate and using your chopsticks lift the food from your plate to your mouth, but it is a lot farther and you have to be pretty good at this.

Peter  prefers to use chopsticks for just about everything but scrambled eggs and ice cream. He thinks forks are barbaric.

I used to carry a pair of pink flowered chopsticks in my purse, just in case I wanted to go out for Chinese food. The ones in the Chinese restaurants are usually plain white plastic and very slippery.

I always wonder if they give that type to the haoles (white people) and then go in the kitchen and laugh. In most Chinese restaurants, they put a fork by your plate if you are not Chinese.

I always ask for chopsticks and always get a funny look from the waiter, as though I am trying to impress him. Which I am not. I just don’t think Chinese food tastes right when you eat it with a metal fork.

Don’t Get Sick on a Saturday

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OK> Dear Readers, I am not really ‘sick’, but yesterday I woke up with a big swelling on the top of my foot. It was blue and bruised looking, but I didn’t hit it on anything or drop anything on my foot. There was no break in the skin, so it wasn’t a cut or a bite.

Just a very odd looking blue egg shaped puffy lump on the top of my foot. So I got back in bed, elevated my foot, put on an ice pack and read a book. About an hour later I called my doctor.

She said to soak in warm water and if it wasn’t better to come and see her tomorrow. (which was today, Saturday).

So when I woke up this morning and my foot was now swollen all over and even bluer, I called my doctor. “She can squeeze you in at 11:15. You will be her last appointment of the day, as she only works half a day on Saturday”.

She seemed totally bewildered by this and thought first of all that I should have a cat scan and a blood test. Except that the cat scan requires pre authorization from the insurance company and it was now Saturday at noon, so we would have to wait until Monday for that part.

So just get the blood test. “Uh,oh, the lab closes at noon on Saturday, you will have to get the blood test on Monday.”

OK “We’ll just get an x-ray, so here are the orders, just go to radiology”. So I did and guess what? Radiology doesn’t take any walk ins after noon on Saturday.

I probably should have gone to the emergency room in the first place, but it didn’t seem like a real emergency. I just went home, wrapped my foot in an ace bandage, applied heat and took a nap.

If my foot is still swollen on Monday, I will go back and do all the tests I couldn’t get done today. Moral of the story, if you have a medical problem, don’t try to handle it on a Saturday. (And of course Sunday would be totally out of the question).

Thanksgiving Table

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Here is a photo Peter took of my ‘table’ yesterday. I used a scarf I have had for many years as a table cloth, Grandma Berdie’s dishes, Grandma Claire’s turkey gravy holder and ‘gold ware’, green plate chargers from Ben Franklin, turkey candle holders from Williams and Sonoma,¬† and the turkey plates I got at Pottery Barn about seven years ago. Olive plate from Salvation Army. Individual olive plates, Botanical garden by Portmeiron. Very homey. p.s. Apples are not real. Just artificial.
Would Martha approve?

p.s. Covered butter dish (blue/white in foreground) is really great. You put cool water in the bottom and a cube of butter in the top liner. You can leave it on your counter and butter is always at perfect spreading consistency. It will not spoil. Couldn’t live without mine.

You can probably buy one at any fine kitchen store like Williams and Sonoma or online at a kitchen supply company. Here in Hawaii, they carry these (or something similar) at the Executive Chef in Ward Center.

There is also a different style called a butter keeper or a butter bell. There are many of these choices online. Check out butter keepers, butter crocks, butter bells. King Arthur, the company that makes the ‘good’ flour has one at $14.95 that looks very nice.

Happy Feet 2-My First 3-D Movie in over forty years

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The day before Thanksgiving I went to see Happy Feet 2. I haven’t seen a 3-D movie since 1965. At that time there were paper red/green glasses and it really wasn’t that great.

For a senior to go to a 3-D movie it costs $11.50, rather than $7 to see a regular flick. As Happy Feet without the 3-D was only playing at 10:40 AM, that sort of decided for me which one I would see.

Technology has really come a long way, and I must say the 3-D effects were really well done. First a notice came on the screen right after the Please Silence Your Phones. It said to put on your glasses. These were handed out as we entered the actual theater.

Now all the coming attractions were in 3-D. The movies were mostly cartoons, many with a pirate theme. I ducked a couple of times as swords were thrown toward the audience.

Then the feature presentation: I loved Happy Feet One, and was really looking forward to Happy Feet Two. It really wasn’t as good as the first one. I had been looking forward to hearing the voices of Brad Pitt and Matt Damon as two sea creatures, but they sounded so much alike, I couldn’t tell which one was which.

The story is simple. Mumbles is now grown up. He was the penquin who couldn’t sing, but was a great dancer. Now he is ‘married’ and has a child. Eric, the little child penquin can’t dance, but he has a beautiful singing voice.

There are messages throughout the flick concerning global warming and shifting of the glaciers in the AntArtic. This has a terrible effect on the wildlife in the area, in this case, stranding the penquins from the sea, which is where they get their food.

The end result would have been starvation for thousands of penquins if Mumbles and Eric and their friends hadn’t come to the aid of the stranded penquins.

By ‘dancing’ and stomping on the snow, they were able to cause an avalanche which made a hill that the penquins could climb.

I hope I didn’t ruin the ending for you. It is really sweet to see just how they were able to accomplish this feat. The best part was at the end of the movie when bubbles floated out into the audience and popped right in front of your nose.

p.s. The closest I ever came to seeing how animals help each other, was in 1995, when I bought two little kittens. The first night I had them at home, I put them in the kitchen where I thought they would be safe. The next morning when I came to check on them, there was only one kitten.

I searched everywhere and finally heard a little meow from under the sink. It seems that the kitten had crawled between the bottom of the sink and the floor through a little crack in the floorboard. I couldn’t even get my hand in the space.

But the other kitten took both paws, pushed them through the crack and pulled the other kitten out by its head.

This was so amazing to me, the slightly larger kitten, helping his little brother. Needless to say, I duct taped the crack so this wouldn’t happen again. Sort of like locking the barn, after the horse is stolen.

Thanksgiving Day

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Every year when I make Thanksgiving dinner, I think I enjoy it more. I must be getting good at it, as I have made Thanksgiving dinner over fifty times.

I am vary traditional. The day before Thanksgiving I bake a pumpkin pie. This year I tried the Marie Calender crust and wasn’t too thrilled with it, so today I made my from scratch crust for my pecan pie.

Also yesterday, I made the turkey broth to use for the stuffing and gravy. Today I made my usual, Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing. I chop up celery and onion in the cuisinart, add a few pecans and brown all that in half a cube of margarine. I usually use butter, but I am trying to be somewhat heart healthy this year, as I had a heart attack a month ago.

I boiled the potatoes for the mashed potatoes, and in another pot, I cooked cut up peeled yams. I add a little butter and brown sugar, a squirt of orange juice, mash and top with marshmallows. Just before serving I will bake this for a few minutes until the marshmallows puff up and get golden.

For the mashed potatoes, I add a little butter or margarine, then a glob of mayonaise (this year I used the Best Foods olive oil type) and a press of a couple of cloves of garlic. Salt and fresh ground pepper and just before serving, I add a little milk and heat.

I made the New Cranberry sauce by cooking half a bag of fresh cranberries with a half a chopped up onion, some grated fresh ginger and some pressed fresh garlic. A little orange juice for the liquid and 1/4 cup of sugar. Cook and stir till cranberries pop and sauce is nice and thick.

For those who don’t like such a sophisticated dish, I have the regular canned Ocean Spray. I also am a big fan of fresh uncooked cranberry relish. This is fun to do. Just put half a bag of fresh cranberries, half a chopped up navel orange with the skin on, and 1/4 cup sugar in the Cuisinart. Pulse for a minute or so. Voila.

My daughter Sherry is a girl scout leader and this year she taught the 24 girls in her troop how to make Thanksgiving dinner. Of course on her menu was the Cranberry orange relish that she grew up with.

Since there are only going to be three of us this Thanksgiving holiday, this may be an overkill on the cranberry sauce, but at least everyone will get to choose their favorite. Plus it is good for the leftovers.

I couldn’t resist making the green bean casserole. I will probably be the only one eating it, but it just doesn’t seem right not to have the beans with the french fried onions.

I always have olives on the table and usually I buy dinner rolls. But I forgot the rolls. I found a box of Jiffy Corn Muffins, doctored them up with some fresh grated white cheddar and a spoonful of chopped jalepeno peppers, baked them in my heart shaped muffin tin and that will have to do.

The worst part is the clean up. I already filled and ran the dishwasher once today. It seems like you have about the same amount of pots and pans whether you are cooking Thanksgiving for three or ten.

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