About Me

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I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

#81 Cool Running

In 2005, Kylie Minogue was forced to cancel her Showgirl tour when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I could never understand why she seemed to rush back to work and finish her tour when her body and mind had been through something as gruelling as cancer treatment - surely she had enough money, right?

I attended one of her first concerts after her comeback and she struggled. She took longer breaks between songs. She had an intermission. And she continually drank some murky dark green concoction from a drink bottle. I just couldn't understand why she would do that to herself, until someone loaned me a copy of her White Diamond documentary.

In it, she spoke about the psychological importance of "finishing what I started." And then I understood.

In October 2009, I began training for my first marathon. I found the most divine running coach whose name is Alan McCoskey. Al would come and knock on my door early on Saturday mornings and he taught me to run. By January I was running 10km and by March, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Running stopped for a while and even when I was able to run again,  was so deconditioned that it literally took years before I could run 10kms again.

This year marked my 5th year of being cancer free and after years of being anxiety ridden about whether or not my cancer would ever return, I reached a wonderful place of calm. Cancer is in my past. I don't worry about it coming back anymore. I am well. I am strong.

And just like Kylie, I needed to prove that to myself once and for all, by finishing what I started - a marathon (well, a half-marathon - come on, I am 43!). Because I was well and healthy before I got sick, I felt as though I needed to be able to physically do something to prove that I am at least as well as I was back then. I needed to run.

I have been doing shorter runs for a couple of years now, with periods of injury and laziness. I've slowly built up my fitness and endurance (not my speed!) and this October (yesterday in fact), I achieved my goal by running my first half marathon in Melbourne. And it was nothing short of wonderful.

The conditions were perfect - still and calm - we ran up St Kilda Road through tree lined streets with only the sound of the occasional voice and cheers, and the pounding of 11,500 sets of feet. As we made our way around Albert Park Lake, I caught myself thinking twice (once at 4km and the other at 14km) that my mind was clear. I wasn't thinking. I was being. And it was liberating.

I loved every second of the first 19km and I hated the last 2km - I'd hit a bit of a wall because I didn't use my last gel pack because my tummy was a bit upset and I didn't want to risk it. I visualised lollies everywhere and was craving sugar like you wouldn't believe.

When we ran into the MCG, I took the time to look around and drink it in - I was running on the MCG! But as I got to the finish line, I didn't hear my friends cheering sadly, as I was too focussed on looking for the fruit stand beyond the finish line!

Was I in pain? Sure thing, but nothing like I'd anticipated. Am I stiff and sore today? Only a little. Was it worth it and will I do another one? Oh yeah! I cannot wait and am already planning on a little run this week.

Running frees me. And I plan to do it for as long as I can. Another bucket list item ticked off! What's your next goal?

Here are some photos from my run including some supportive notes from some wonderful runners and friends.

From the most mindful man I know - Mark!

From my fabulous friend and singing running buddy - Mel
Preparing the night before the big race

Me at about the 19km mark with fabulous Melbourne in the background

Running in the MCG right before the finish line - I'm the one at the back
The ever supportive Nat who flew down from Sydney to run and cheer me on

Proof - slow and steady finishes the race!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

#80 Spirituality

We are three weeks into our volunteer training for Hospice in the Home and our last lesson was an enlightening, warm and comforting session on spirituality.

I was raised in a non-practicing Catholic family, next door to my Godmother Bernie, who took it upon herself to enlighten me/us (my sister too sometimes) to the traditions of Catholic mass on a Saturday night or Sunday morning, and my favourite, Christmas Eve. Despite her best efforts though, I think I decided very early on that I wasn't religious.

As I've gotten older however, my spirituality has grown and in fact, I find myself quite interested in the different religions with a distant desire to one day learn more about them all. As a part of my post-grad studies I even compared the impact of religion versus existential spirituality on the psychological adjustment to living with cancer. I think it was then that I learnt a definition of spirituality that sat well with me and that opened my mind and my life to the concept that the guilt I felt at not believing in God, could indeed be substituted by my belief in whatever I found meaningful and purposeful in my life.

That's why I enjoyed our lesson so much this week. Our instructor, a clinical pastoral care worker named Anne, helped us tease apart our thoughts about Religion Vs Faith Vs Spirituality. The differences in vocabulary that we chose for each category astounded me - words such as war and hatred were listed under 'Religion', while 'Spirituality' conjured only words like peace and calm.

We talked about the end of life, where people choose to die, who they choose to be with when they die, what brings them peace at the end and so much more.

Anne spoke of the ways she has helped people feel less scared at the end, and less alone. Comforted until after the very last breath.

I knew in part that I wanted to undertake this training in order to address my own fears of dying and I can honestly say, that in that room on Wednesday night, after that conversation, with every person in that room, I didn't feel a trace of fear at all.

I can't wait to see how I feel once the training is complete. I feel like it's already achieved my goal.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

#79 Dear Rocky - The Martian

Dear Rocky,

From the moment I saw the preview of The Martian I was engrossed and counted down the days till it came to our cinema. While the rest of our nation watched the AFL Football Grand Final last Saturday, my Dad and I went to see Matt Damon in The Martian.

How ironic that a film with that title is actually a very human film. Human spirit, human connection, human survival instinct, human humour, human nature. The list goes on.

The first observation I made was during the opening scenes of just how at home the astronauts appeared on Mars. I think this speaks to our adaptability, our adjustability as humans, and of course, our evolutionary processes. Granted, they weren't living up there without oxygen, but we could easily see the steps human beings were taking to ultimately cultivate life on another planet - once we completely destroy this one...

Next, Mark (played by Matt Damian = see photo above = HOT!) regains consciousness after being knocked out during a storm and ABANDONED by his crew mates (aka second family). He is about to run out of oxygen and has to do some very quick thinking to get himself to safety. Here we already see his scientific mind at work. Faced with his mortality - and what a harsh way to go! - Mark comes out fighting.

By this stage, we as an audience, have already asked ourselves 67 times, "what would I do if I was left on Mars all alone?"

Mark begins his video recordings. I guess in part this greatly reduces the sense of isolation - talking to someone who may or may not be listening. And here is where Mark's scientific brain really kicks in as he evaluated his very real (except it's a movie) situation and decides to "science the shit out of it". He truly is brilliant. I mean he grows potatoes after creating water and gives himself all sorts of humorous accolades along the way.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, NASA discover Mark is still alive! Doh! And we see the struggle between the desire to cover up a big fat mistake or to create a rescue plan. So much psychology at play - I was loving it!

Finally, thanks to all the genius brains being able to read each other's intentions from different planets, communication is made and Mark knows there is at least a little hope he'll be getting off this planet. His first question is about his crew - how are they now that they know he is alive - as well as reassuring them that it wasn't their fault.

But, the big bad NASA people haven't actually told them yet.


They are returning to Earth on their 19 month long road trip and no-one as let them know their mate is actually alive?

Luckily we have one emotionally intelligent character back on Earth who slips the information into a secret email! And we are on! The crew are planning their return to save their friend (who they must feel incredibly guilty about abandoning!).

There's a whole heap of cool human connection stuff that goes on in here, but this is already the longest blog post I've ever written so I'm going to cut to the important bits.

I loved that Mark would go out on his expeditions every day and still find time to take a mindful moment and sit on the top of a hill and breathe in the vista Mars afforded him "just because I can". I love that!

I adored how his spirit lifted when he was back in touch with his family (the crew), not to mention the lengths they went to, to come back and rescue him. I personally have a very irrational fear of being left in space, floating endlessly until my death, so there were times in this movie where I almost had to leave because of the suspense of those scenes. It was so well done.

This film makes me love science again and I wonder how many kids it will inspire to choose science as a career path. Maybe I could delve into some more study to be able to write some book about space! Ha! Who'd have ever thought I'd do that.

Anyway Rocky, I really loved this film. I'm still thinking about it a week later.

I can't wait to read your review. I want to know where they filmed it!!


You can read Rocky's review here!

Monday, September 28, 2015

#78 Hospice In The Home

Did you know that on average, in Australia, only 15% are able to die at home? Granted, many people need medical assistance and are required to attend a hospital, but as I've recently learned, dying is not a medical issue - it's a natural process that isn't spoken about nearly enough. Is that why we fear it so much?

Dying in hospital has large financial implications, a burden which can be removed by respecting the wishes of those who choose to die in the comfort of their own home.

I am still haunted by memories of my Nana's last weeks in hospital, fearing that at the age of 92 she would be forced to move from living in her own home and placed in a nursing home. She was dying, but no-one said that. No-one told us she would never go home again and we argued with her about her need to stay in hospital. No-one listened to her. They/we all knew better. She died alone one early morning around 4am in her hospital bed. I know she would have been cold.

Of all my regrets, I wish I'd stayed with her instead of saying goodbye to fly 1800km away. I wish I'd advocated harder for her and took her home one more time. I wish we'd let her go home, where she wouldn't have died alone.

I guess I am just realising as I'm typing this that my latest project is very much about righting that wrong.

Last week I started an 8 week training course to volunteer for Hospice in the Home, a new not-for-profit organisation aiming to assist patients and their families to have the choice to die at home when the time comes.

I'm doing this in a way to give back to my community, but if I'm honest, I'm also doing it to learn more about death and dying.

If you want to read more about this amazing organisation, follow this link.

Friday, September 25, 2015

#77 Reading... and Wuthering Heights

I don't think it's a coincidence that every time I type 'Wuthering' it comes out as 'Withering'.

Let me begin at the beginning...

Children become readers by growing up around readers. Children learn to love reading after they read the first book that introduces them to the magic that is their imagination.

Children who love to read grow into adults who love to read.

I used to love to read in that way where you couldn't wait to finish work/run/dinner-at-friends' just to be able to get back to your book. I loved reading so much that I'd think and even talk about the characters even when the book was nowhere in sight. I could devour 3 books a week and never had a pile waiting - they didn't last that long once I got my hands on them.

But, one day, I stopped reading. And I've missed it. It's been literally years since I've read that way. The last book I read was I am Malala. It took me seven countries and nine months to finish it. I initially blamed my lack of interest in reading on the fact that I was writing. For some reason, I couldn't seem to do both. But I haven't written for most of this year, so that couldn't be it. I think I just got lazy.

It became too easy to be brain dead in front of the television, or to lose literal hours on social media. Brain numbing - brain dead. I don't want to do that anymore. I used to have an expansive vocabulary. I used to read in two languages for goodness sake! Until this week, I was lucky to be able to read two pages in a row and hold my concentration.

So I decided this week that I would fall in love with reading again. I went on an excursion to Collins Books and I bought a handful of books. I promised myself no television and no social media - just reading - and I HAVE LOVED IT.

I began by reading some Young Adult (YA) fiction - Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. I have to tell you, I hope the movie is better! Didn't matter though, because I was still motivated to read it and spent every spare moment I could until I finished it in two days.

Simultaneously, I listened to the audiobook version of Wuthering Heights just in case I really couldn't read anymore....

I also have always wanted to read the Classics. I thought this was one of them. I thought it was a love story.

My very brief summary of Wuthering Heights is this:

A narcissist with antisocial personality disorder torments two generations of the same inbred family. The End.

In my opinion, Emily Bronte grossly overuses the words ejaculate and erect. What an ugly tale about ugly people. I don't think I can bring myself to listen to Pride and Prejudice now for fear of what it might reveal.

Book-wise, I'm settling in to read The Umbrian Supper Club by Marlena De Blasi now. After just visiting Umbria, I'm excited for the memories it might evoke.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#76 Sometimes, when the planets align...

When I feel content, centred, happy, it's never a coincidence....

Garlic hanging in the sun in Tropea, Calabria
That it happens when I'm feeling connected to my family and friends....
Padlocks and blue, blue sea in Tropea, Calabria
 It happens when I'm taking photos...

Chillis - Tropea, Calabria

It happens when I'm exercising....

Herbs and spices, Civita di Bagnoregio, Umbria
It happens when I feel useful at work....

Umbria, Italia

It happens when I read....

Umbria, Italia
 It happens when I have great things to look forward to....
Umbrian Farmhouse, Italia
 It happens when I feel on top of things like work and the housework....

The Chapel at Mel & Ant's - Acqualoreto, Umbria
It happens when I watch movies....
In the garden at Mel & Ant's, Acqualoreto, Umbria
It happens when I travel....

It happens when I feel part of something bigger than myself.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#75 Dear Rocky - The Breakfast Club

Dear Rocky,

In 1985 when The Breakfast Club enjoyed its Australian release, I entered my first year of high school, still a twelve year old.

I'd already met Molly Ringwald in 16 Candles the year before, I had only one more year to wait until Pretty in Pink enhanced my adolescence in a way on Hollywood can.

My teenage years were defined by movies like these - they helped shape us and introduce us to so many aspects of life - I'm sure many of them passed right over my head.

In the past few weeks, one of our television stations has been playing back-to-back Molly Ringwald films and I'm so happy to say, I stumbled across The Breakfast Club one cold wintery night.

Not only did I sit down to watch an iconic film from my past, I flew back in time to 1985 at a time in my life when I discovered boys and the importance of fitting in with my peers.

Those themes are still so important and maybe even more so in some ways for teenagers today. Goodness knows, teenagers today have more technological challenges than we ever had to face - but the themes are the same.

The Breakfast Club is about teenage roles and relationships - the Athlete, the Princess, the Brain, the Criminal and the Basket Case. We might use different terminology now, but the moulds are the same.

I want to share some of my favourite quotes and lessons that continue to resonate today:

I can only rate a film that meant so much in my life at the time a 10/10.

I can't wait to read your thoughts Rocky. Read Rocky's review here.

Which movie will we tackle next?


Monday, August 10, 2015

#74 Dear Rocky - 84 Charing Cross Road

Dear Rocky,
I am so glad you chose this film for us to review, my only wish being that I wish I knew about it a couple of weeks ago while I was in London so I could go looking for the iconic address.
Well, if nothing else, this is a film about relationships. And books. You know, there are so many similarities between the friendship that is struck between Anne Bancroft's character Helene and Anthony Hopkin's FDP and ours! The friendships were both created through correspondence stemming from a mutual love of the written word. We've sent packages (you more than me!) and supported each other through life and although we have never met face-to-face, the friendship is real and enduring.
In the film, Helene forms deep friendships with all of the staff at the book shop and they with her. She sends them lifelines of food at times of hardship and they send her a lifeline through the English classics she is unable to source in New York.
She spends her life longing to see her England - the England of English Literature - and although her friends are able to travel and visit the shop, she does not until it is too late.
Judi Dench, whose blue eyes are not shining in this film, calls her Helen. Why is that? I was curious about how she saw this friendship between the American and her husband, but just like everyone else, they formed a connection that saw Nora (Dench) comfort Helene when Frank died - through written words.
My favourite scene was of Helene dusting her book shelf, surrounded by the numerous books the shop had sent her over the decades and her voiceover, describing their importance.
Not sad, the ending had Helene walking through the abandoned book store and instead of us regretting the timing, she showed us her connection to the place was as real as ever - letting Frank know, she made it.
To tell a story through the two sided correspondence is one of my favourite ways of watching a film. This movie is gorgeous. It made me miss London. And New York. More importantly, it reminded me to write.
I give this movie 8/10. Can't wait to hear your thoughts and your stories about this film.

Read Rocky's Review here.


84 Charing Cross Road

A scene from the film when the staff at 84 receive a care package from Helene.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#73 Dear Rocky - Hector and the Search for Happiness

Read Rocky's review here!

Dear Rocky,

Thank you so much for indulging me with this film that was recommended to me by my ex-husband - he knows me well.

I loved this film. Everything about it. Firstly, I identified with Hector, not because I'm a psychiatrist, but as a psychologist I have at times found myself opposite my clients, feeling involved in their lives at times when I haven't felt so involved in my own. So I understood Hector's research, especially since I think I've done my own versions of that over the past few years.

The second part I loved was Hector's notebook. He writes and draws and it's simply divine. I would buy that book!

I know you struggled with it in the beginning and I have to agree that it was pretty far-fetched, especially in Africa. But... and it's a big BUT... Hector's note book saved all of those moments for me.

When Hector finds himself in China with the immediate temptation and excitement, at first I felt disappointed that he could so quickly move on, which detracted from his relationship with Rosamund Pike even though it appeared bland and mundane. But I found the fact the young woman was a prostitute organised by the sceptical businessman from the plane very poignant and a real learning curve for Hector.

Of course I agree with you about the profoundness of the scene on the aeroplane with the dying woman and her line "listening is loving" made me again consider what it is I do everyday and reminded me not to minimise the importance of that in other people's lives.

I know you loved Toni Collette's character, as did I, and I think we can all relate to the daydreaming about the one that got away - what if...? I also think this storyline was handled so beautifully and played wonderfully by Toni Collette who seemed so, well, happy.

But of course, my favourite storyline was that of the Buddhist monks and the prayer flags - happiness is all of the colours - which of course tied in with one of your favourite parts of the movie, and mine too. They are all there.

So maybe I'm a bit more taken with this one than you Rock, but I'm a sucker for so many of the things they've included in this film.

I loved your comparison to the Wizard of Oz by the way. But how true is it that "there's no place like home."

I give this film a 7.5/10.

What next Rock?


Sunday, May 31, 2015

#72 Dear Rocky - The Woman In Gold

Read Rocky's review here.

Dear Rocky,

I apologise for my absence - thank you as always for keeping our Facebook Page alive and well!

I finally have a breather from uni teaching and I've been able to watch some movies.

Gush Alert:

I'm going to try to contain myself here, but Helen Mirren has most definitely become my new Dame Judy Dench. What a brilliant actor. Wow.

There is so much to love about this true story set in Vienna during World War II. Maria Altmann (Mirren) is the Jewish niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, The Woman in Gold. Her uncle had commissioned the artwork by Gustav Klimt which hung in their family home until stolen by the Nazi's when the young, newly married Maria fled the country with her husband.

This is one of the best movies I have seen in such a long time. I know you'll write about the production, but I thought the way they interweaved the past and the present was very clever.

Of course, the main plot is that of Maria hiring young lawyer Randy Shoenberg, brilliantly played by Ryan Reynolds who did not rely on his good looks to carry him in this role. How incredible that Shoenberg's grandfather was also from Vienna and a friend of Maria's family, not to mention also a famous composer. Together, the dynamic duo take on the government of Austria to regain possession of the now incredibly valuable heirloom ($100 Million).

What struck me the most in this incredible story were the relationships. Firstly, those of Maria and her family. We were shown the intimate details of her childhood and the importance of her aunt and uncle in her life - reading the storybook, dressing up, the necklace. And of course, Maria and her parents and her new husband.

The wedding scene conveyed such love and romance and the entire plot about Maria and her husband escaping Austria was incredibly suspenseful. Although I found that the chase scene occurred in the movie alone and not real life, I was surprised to read that Maria's husband Fritz was held at Dachau for 2 months prior to their escape and it took them three attempts before they successfully made it out.

Of course, the most sad of scenes for me was when Maria had to farewell her sick father and mother, knowing they would never see one another again - her father giving his blessing and urging her to leave and live and "never forget us". Heart breaking.

While Helen Mirren, with her perfect Austrian accent, blew me away once again with her precision acting, the young Maria, played by Tatiana Maslany also stole my heart. Her beautiful face conveyed so many subtle emotions throughout the story that my heart sang and broke time and time again.

It's also amazing to compare the actors with the real couple and see the similarities:

I don't know that I have ever hated a government as much as I hated the Austrian government while watching this film. Not only did they make it near impossible for anyone to fight for the justice of having their family belongings returned to them, they were downright unfair about it.

The process was fascinating and the impact it had on Randy and his family financially that was later rectified by the successful outcome was so just. To further endear us to Maria, she sold the painting to Neue Gallery in New York with the stipulation that it be accessible to the public everyday, forever.

I haven't mentioned Katie Holmes yet. She was okay.

I think I give this movie a solid 9/10.

Anyway, I'm off to cook some brownies. Over to you Rock!


Saturday, May 30, 2015

#71 Life

Wow, I can't believe I haven't written on here since March 9th this year.

It's funny - for the past five years I have struggled to strike a balance in my life. As I've written previously, since having breast cancer, I have swung between the extremes of trying to fit in as much life as I can per minute (you know, just in case...) and trying to live a calm and stress free existence.

I'm happy to report, that I think I'm just about as close as ever to the elusive 'B' word - Balance.

I really only have two free weeknights - Tuesdays and Thursdays. They have inevitably been filled with exercise, appointments, my nephews, uni preparation and up until this year, alternating between salsa classes and camera club. So you see, really, I had no nights off.

This year, although most of that still happens, I've managed to come to the understanding that you just can't do everything and so, I no longer stress out if I don't feel like going to salsa and I haven't been to camera club all financial year. It took the pressure off in the best way.

I've managed to finish my book after 2 1/2 years and although my literary agent is yet to find a publisher for it, I'm remaining optimistic and am even thinking about what I can write next. Maybe a couple of blog posts!

March 9th coincide with the beginning of the university trimester and I was lucky enough to teach a subject called The Human Mind for the coolest class of students. I've had a ball. It's finished now and I have some spare time again.... until next trimester that is. I've found it so important to have some variety in my work and although it's stressful, I've very much enjoyed and become comfortable in my sometimes role of Academic. Who would've thought....

The other thing I've been able to do, is binge watch some movies.... stay tuned for some movie reviews.

Hope you're all great!


Monday, March 9, 2015

#70 Dear Rocky - Still Alice

Read Rocky's Review here.

Dear Rocky,

I'm so glad we decided to review Still Alice, but more importantly, I'm so, so glad we decided to review the book as well as the movie.

Not so long ago, I caught a short flight. I've often found that some of the best books I've read have been those chosen spontaneously at the airport and read during stop-overs and flights. Still Alice was no exception. In fact, I would go so far as to say, Still Alice is the best book I've read in the last ten years.

Big call? Well, maybe, however I fail to recall any book that penetrated my psyche the way this book did.

As the author cleverly introduces us to the symptoms and progression of early onset Alzheimer's disease through the experiences of Alice and her family, I began seriously questioning whether they were Alice's symptoms or mine! This wasn't helped by a trick played on me by a houseguest - adding an unfamiliar photo to my heavily photo-laden fridge - while I was away. I came home and noticed it early on, completely perplexed at how I had no recollection of ever seeing the photo much less pinning it to my fridge!

This book got me in, massively. It took no time at all to read it and I felt every emotion portrayed on the pages.

Needless to say, I couldn't wait for the movie version, for which of course, Julianne Moore won her Best Actress Oscar.

Can I just put it out there from the get-go. I have never been so disappointed by a movie - EVER. Well okay, maybe it's close second to the disappointment I felt by Gone Girl.

First - the casting. Who in their right mind thought that Alec Baldwin was the best choice for John? Where in the book John struggled to cope with his wife's illness and couldn't step-up when she and the family needed him to, I found him to be a little week of character, a little pathetic if I'm honest. In the movie though, Alec just oozed arrogance and I found it gave a completely different feel to that sub-plot. It's controversial and thought provoking, isn't it. What would we do if our spouse was suddenly diagnosed with a degenerative, terminal illness.

I also couldn't come at the casting of Kate Bosworth as Anna. Yes she filled the role of the high achieving oldest offspring, lawyer, perfectionist, but I found her performance cold. I didn't feel anything about Anna, and so therefore I wasn't invested in her genetic test result nor her IVF success. It wasn't the only time I didn't 'feel' during the movie. Nothing about Alec Baldwin's performance moved me either. This is why I was so disappointed. I wanted to be moved. The book had me scared and crying all over the place!

The storyline was so rich and ripe for compelling, moving performances, but I'm afraid to say that Julianne Moore's performance gave me nothing either. Nothing. Except maybe in the very, very last scene, when she could no longer talk. But no tears.

I also couldn't understand why they changed the setting for the story from Boston the NYC and why was their favourite diner now a Yogiberry?

So I've already mentioned I found the book dealt with the spousal coping scenario much more thoroughly and satisfactorily. I also thought it dealt incredibly well with the concept of genetic testing and all of the children's dilemmas regarding testing and their results. I know books have more scope to deliver background information about internal processes, but I almost felt like the film skimmed over it.

There were a couple of scenes that I could empathise with, I suppose. In the photo below, we see Alice standing in front of her psychology class about to give a lecture that she had given hundreds of times before. But she can't figure out which lecture she is supposed to give. We see her scrawling through her folders, and she doesn't have any idea which to click on. That's painful to watch from the perspective of a psychologist and a university lecturer - one of my teaching nightmares in a way.

I could also relate to the scene depicted below involving Kristen Stewart who I think was brilliantly cast and ironically, the most likeable character. In this scene, she asks her mother what it's like when she doesn't remember. I think it's poignant and human and also a question I think I'd find myself asking.

I can't believe Julianne Moore won best actress. I'm sorry because I know you wanted her to win. But for me, that performance was lacking. I think Felicity Jones did a much better job.

I'm not going to rate the film Rocky, other than to say, I clearly loved the book more!

Over to you.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#69 The 2015 Oscars

Read Rocky's review first here.
Dear Rocky,

I completely agree with you that the 2015 Oscars were incredibly impressive.

I had a huge laugh while still on the red carpet at the exchange between mother and daughter, Melanie Griffiths and Dakota Johnson. Did you see it? Melanie was asked if she had seen 50 Shades of Grey and was adamant that she would not. What ensued was a "One day she'll see it" vs "No I won't" argument before Dakota finally said something like "for f#%@ sake" and eye rolled. You have to watch it - such a normal mother/daughter discussion. Here's a link.

Enough can't be said about John Travolta "the creepy uncle" and the innumerable GIFS going around today. Here is my favourite that fits with your quote from Neil Patrick Harris.

I don't feel fully qualified to comment on the winners and losers - I'd only seen 3 of the nominated best films, so bear that in mind. Having said that, I am looking forward to seeing the ones I missed.

I completely love that Eddie Redmayne won. I agree with you that it was a truly physical role and he played it to perfection. What kind eyes he has and such a beautiful smile. I loved his very heartfelt speech. Just brilliant. Did you know he went to Eton with Prince William?

I liked J. K. Simmons speech as well. I haven't seen that film either, but I will. And I will call my mum.

I loved Common's and John Legend's acceptance speech for the Best Song Oscar too, it was really moving, but I didn't find it any less political than Patricia Arquette's. I agree that theirs related to Selma and hers did not relate to Boyhood - but she's not the first person to use the stage to make a point. I have to say it was nice seeing Meryl so animated.

I loved Julianne Moore's acceptance speech too, but I didn't love her performance in Still Alice. I had such high hopes because I ordered the book, yet the movie did not move me until the very last scene and that disappointed me.

Although, I don't know who I would have preferred to win best actress. I did like Reese in Wild and I did like Rosamund in Gone Girl, and of course I loved Felicity in the Theory of Everything - actually, as I write that, I would choose Felicity Jones. I don't know how much of that choice is her acting ability or the character she played. Perhaps both were amazing.

Rocky, did Joan Rivers really have anything to do with making movies Rocky? I missed that whole section but of course would have loved to have seen the part about Robin Williams.

I love Neil Patrick Harris and I adored the opening number with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black. She's incredible. Watch it here.

This is the first year I haven't watched the Oscars from start to finish. I don't know why - they started late and I was tired. I'm going to make a promise for 2016 to start earlier, watching all of the nominated movies before the ceremony and drumming up as much enthusiasm as I can.

To make up for my lacklustre performance this year, here are a few of my favourite moments.

Jennifer Aniston/Reese Witherspoon - so cute!

I just love Jen!

How gorgeous is this friendship.

Thanks for your review Rocky. What will we take on next? Still Alice?

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