Friday, December 23, 2005


Two and one-half hours spent in a world of gorgeous cinematography, sometimes lush settings, and beautiful girls – that was my visit to “Memoirs of a Geisha”.

Before the movie started, I sat in the theater checking out the demographics of the viewing public. Most likely one is not supposed to do that, but I am used to going to movies at noon or so and being practically alone in the theater. Of course, this is the holiday season, so more people go to the movies, but at 1:00 P.M. today, the theater was rapidly filling up with other people just like me who were there to see this movie at its first screening in our cinemaplex. The place was crowded.

Asian girls and young women with many countries as part of their heritage, flocked in as groups. African Americans made up a decent share of the audience, along with Mexican young couples. Older women were also a part of the audience. Of course, there was a large percentage of women in the theater, but there were also lots of men along to see this new movie.

As I stated earlier, I am used to going to the theater basically alone, so I was in fear of being bothered by the noise of such a large crowd, but there was none. This movie is so mesmerizing, that I do not remember hearing anything from the audience, except for the occasional intake of a collective breath when there was a particularly poignant moment.

I loved the movie, but I am not writing this as a review. That has already been done. I am writing about an experience, that of sharing this lovely movie with a large and very appreciative crowd, one with an all-encompassing cultural make-up. A lot of us sat there with tears running down our faces or in our eyes – the two Black ladies on one side of me, and the two Asian older women on the other side. We all loved it, and the audience applauded at the end of the movie.

The theater I usually patronize is a Century 16, but they don’t always get the very good art movies. I was not totally expecting Memoirs to be screened there, and one of the clerks in the post office told me today she didn’t think it would be there either. I have had to go to Berkeley this year a few times to view the excellent movies that Century feels will not draw a crowd.

Go see it!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas Train

Thursday morning, the Seniors went by San Pablo Rec Dept bus to Woodland, to take a ride on the “Christmas Train” - Sacramento River Train. The day started out very cold, but it was sunny and beautiful by the time we got to Woodland. I thought this would be an ideal activity to get some Christmas spirit in my life.

The train has several old cars, with Christmas lights strung along the outside and waves painted on the sides. Our car, the first one entered on the way into the train, was quite nice. It had been gutted, and was furnished with large round tables and plastic outdoor chairs. There were interesting fans suspended from the red, curved ceiling; a Christmas tree in the corner, and decorations scattered around.

We headed to the Sacramento River, very slowly. It took quite a bit of time to reach the river from Woodland, at that speed. We then rolled slowly along the river, with a nice scenic view out the windows. A strolling fiddler – banjo player went from car to car entertaining us. He was quite amazing. He could play many types of music, but Bluegrass or Appalachian style fiddlin’ is his favorite. He won First Place in the biggest competition for that type of music. He can also play classical music, and played a few pieces for me. He CAN NOT read music. I was totally impressed. He is very friendly, and sat at tables where there were empty chairs, just visiting with people, and strumming his banjo. He also had a great singing voice, and was wearing overalls with a sunflower printed long sleeve shirt, just like a blouse I have that I love.

A very cute woman dressed as an elf entertained us kids with “The Night Before Christmas”, and helped with serving desserts and drinks. She was always prancing around with her bells on her toes and outfit jingling merrily. The other crew members on the train, the Conductor plus another young guy, and waitresses, were all very cheerful and friendly.

Christmas Dinner was served – turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, salad, roll, cranberry sauce – a very nice large plate full of food. It was delicious, and was topped off with hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.

When we were just on the outskirts of Sacramento, with the skyline in the distance, the engine was switched to the other end of the train, and we headed back to Woodland. What a delightful way to spend three hours on a sunny day the week before Christmas.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


It is cold, windy, rainy, and dreary here in sunny California. The condition has lingered all week. It isn't inspiring at all. In fact, it has been warmer in good old New York State than it has been here. Of course, I know that, because it is where a good share of my relatives reside.

Perchance I'll write sometime - don't know when. I have been too busy doing photos and writing for ebay to stay involved with the blog. I am hoping to sell a lot of stuff, so that I have fewer items to move when it is time to do so.

The computer monitor is still driving my eyes nuts. They are all red and burn like crazy. The eye doctor will not be happy with me.