Thursday, December 31, 2009

Picture This! -- Part 3

Back in March 2005 and April 2005, I wrote a couple blog posts about my neglect of putting family photos in albums since my oldest son was about 18 months old. His sister came along when Avi was two years, two months and two days. And his brother came along a few years later, in March 2000. Imagine all those baby pics, sitting in photo processing envelopes, in supermarket bags, strewn in drawers, in cupboards, in crawlspaces.

Back in 2005, my husband threatened to take all the pics and put them in albums himself -- my neglect has continually been a sore point with him -- but he would have done so haphazardly, without any sequence. I panicked and was supposed to take on the project  a few years ago.

I didn't.

I am pleased to say that I FINALLY took on this photo arranging project this past week.

As I told my husband, Ron, it's the ultimate punishment, the ultimate "I TOLD YOU SO." I've been going batty, trying to find the sequences of  each child. Yes, I had actually labeled and dated some of the photos  when I got them back from the developer. But those photos in their envelopes are not sitting in any orderly fashion, according to months and years. It's somewhat of a guessing game as I plow through these moments in time.

But I am slowly making headway, and was able to help my firstborn celebrate his second b'day in pictures, then finally bring my daughter into the world and watch her in her first few months.

I stopped putting the photos in albums for now and in the meantime have just been arranging the envelopes with dates and years so that they can be in the correct sequence for when I do place their pics in the albums.

What can I say? It's definitely labor...but a labor of love, as I review our life in photos -- with cherished family members and friends...some of whom have departed this world and whom we miss enormously.

Perhaps lucky for me, my pics mainly carry me up to about 5 years ago. After that? We went digital!

I guess I can sum up my long-overdue photo archiving experience in this way, with this wonderful quote by an unknown author:

She glances at the photo, and the pilot light of memory flickers in her eyes.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I watched this movie tonight with my husband. Peter Riegert, Isabella Rossellini, Eli Wallach, Beverly D'Angelo, Rita Moreno, Eric Bogosian are just some of the stellar cast. It's a sweet, quirky film co-written and directed by Peter Riegert...the "pickle man" from CROSSING DELANCEY.

A man looking for a new purpose in his life finds one that last place he expected in this comedy. Leo Spivak (Peter Riegert) is a man slowly sinking into the quicksand of a midlife crisis. He's become increasingly unsatisfied with his career in product testing, especially now that his young assistant Ed (Jake Hoffman -- [Dustin's son]) has taken to stealing his ideas and passing them on to his boss as his own work. Leo's marriage to Rachel (Isabella Rossellini) is not what it once was, especially now that she's shifted into a constant state of near-hysteria over their daughter, Elena (Ashley Johnson), and her budding romance with an aspiring juvenile delinquent. And Leo is spending every other weekend with his aging father, Sol (Eli Wallach), who has lost his will to live but uncooperatively won't die. As Leo puzzles over his path in life, he finds some very unexpected answers when he makes the acquaintance of Evelyn Fink (Eric Bogosian), a "freelance Rabbi" with some unusual spiritual advice. King of the Corner was directed and co-written by leading man Riegert; the screenplay was adapted from stories in the collection Bad Jews by Gerald Shapiro. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Ramen Girl

I watched this movie on TV last night and although I turned it on about a half hour into the movie, it was WONDERFUL.

Please click on the title of this blog post and you will link to a trailer of the movie.

I'd only seen Brittany in fluffy kinds of movies before, but she was rather masterful in this one.

It was a sweet story, and although Brittany's character Abby is a stranger in a strange land, where things get lost in translation, she manages to overcome and prove her worth.

The characters in the film are well portrayed and I'm glad I sat up till 1:30 watching it.

I give it 4 ****.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Year in Review: A Brief Summary

What can I say?

I lost my dear father this year in early March. That set the tone for the rest of 2009.

We celebrated -- in a toned down way -- our dear daughter Adina's bat mitzvah in August.

We traveled as a family to Israel in August.

My oldest child started high school in September.

His braces came off while his friends' braces went on!

Some of my poetry was published.

I marked 16 wonderful years of marriage to my beshert.

The good mixed in with the sad. Such is life...

As 2009 nears its end later this week, I will continue to remember this year's goings-on and will look forward to a brighter 2010.

I wish each and every one of you a bright, happy and healthy 2010. May your year be filled with celebrations of every kind and good times shared with family and friends.

A Blog Oops

You may notice that the front page of my blog looks slightly different. Unintentionally, I modified the page, but in doing so, my blogroll was erased. So some of you have disappeared.

I've been trying to recall the URLs of those blogs I read/have been reading over the past five years, and am slowly remembering and listing them.

Please, if you know that I read your blog, and you don't see your blog's name on the right-hand side of the page, do me a favor and contact me to tell me. A gentle reminder is all I need.

Thanking you in advance...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Grey Gardens

Last night I sat and watched this film, starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, and released this year. What a brilliant film, what brilliant acting.

Drew, who normally has quite a noticeable speech impediment, took vocal coaching to learn how to speak EXACTLY like Little Edie. Boy, did she do a super job. As did Jessica.

So super, that these women come across very spooky on the TV screen.

Apparently, much of the film was shot in Toronto -- news to me!

What was even spookier was right after the movie finished, another GREY GARDENS came on, but this time it was the actual documentary released in 1975 about Big Edie and Little Edie. I was very tired and could only stay up to watch a little of the movie, but the eeriness was in the fact that the dialogue, the scenery, the wardrobe were identical (as much as can be) to what I'd watched for two hours prior. Having seen the great similarities, I could then stress even more what fabulous acting Jessica and Drew did.

I do recommend both the documentary and the contemporary films. Perhaps rent them both and watch them in the other order than what I saw: watch the earlier movie first and see how well it was interpreted and reenacted by the 2009 crew.

Another "thinking man's film."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Condoms & Jewish History

I recently finished reading this book; perhaps it's not the type of book that I'd normally read, but I'm glad that it was recommended and sent to me by a book publicist.

Fromm's story is a fascinating one -- a blend of family, sexual mores, and business...combined with general and Jewish history -- and it left me quite sad and even angry. I might've heard stories in general about the Nazi regime and the power of the German government, but here is a story about a particular family who was robbed of so much of its personal identity.

Fromms Act was the first brand-name, top-quality condom in prewar Germany, and Julius Fromm was the man, the successful entrepreneur, who made the condom and the business behind it a business landmark in Germany.

This book tells about Julius's rise as an emigre from Russia, his work ethics and attempts in the business world, the conditions of Germany for the Jews and general public in the twenties and thirties, and his success. The conditions began to change when Nazi power came into effect, and Fromm's Act and Julius's financial state began to falter.

Julius and his family fled to London in 1939 after being forced to sell his model business for a fraction of its worth. We learn about his homes and personal effects -- and finances --being taken over by the Nazis. This man, who was proud to call himself a German Jew and had built himself up into a status entity, was cheated by the government. . . as were so many others.

The book provides an historical and social look at German Jewry between the wars, and the tragic outcome that befell the country with the onset of Hitler coming to power.

Translated by Shelley Frisch, the book was written by Gotz Aly and Michael Sontheimer, and features photos of the Fromm family and their businesses. It is put out by Other Press. .

For an insightful read about a Jewish family within an historical and business perspective, I suggest you find yourself a copy of Fromm's: How Julius Fromm's Condom Empire Fell to the Nazis.