Reconnecting to Joy -Watching My Favorite Movies

 

My favorite movie Lord of the Rings Ring
One ring to rule them all

I have several favorite movies that I can watch time and again, even though I have practically memorized the dialogue. While I clean house or cook dinner, I can listen to them while I work and run back to the television to watch my favorite parts. I don’t need to watch each minute. After all, I know most of them by heart.

Here is a list of my top favorite movies:

  1. The Two Towers (Lord of the Rings) – This is my favorite of the three Lord of the Rings movies. The story is moving along, we know the characters and adventure happens. What’s not to love?
  2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. Need I say more?
  3.  Juno – This witty movie has so many cute lines I have trouble not just sitting down and watching it start to finish. Who needs a clean house?
  4. Little Miss Sunshine – A dark comedy that I know not everyone appreciates, but I love how the family grows together through their mishaps.
  5. The Birdcage – I know. Cage Aux Folles was the inspiration for this movie and many like the original better. But I enjoy the story line of the American version. Besides, Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are perfect together.
  6. Top Gun – This is Tom Cruise in his prime, in my opinion. High action, fast jets, good looking actors all combine to make me forget to cook.
  7. Independence Day – Will Smith’s jump from television to movies works for me. I am a fan of science fiction, inspirational speeches and I like happy endings. This movie has it all.
  8. True Lies – The interactions between Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jaime Lee Curtis and Tom Arnold are priceless. I think it is the only movie Tom Arnold did that I like! (I believe I am not alone in this opinion.)
  9. Scent of a Woman – Chris O’Donnell and Al Pacino are amazing. The line “I’m in the dark here” comes in handy almost every night.
  10. The Princess Bride – The best lines are “As you wish” and “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

There are few Dave and I always agree on and watch together:

Our favorite movie Red October
Red October, Red October
  1. The Hunt for Red October – I watched it so much, my daughter gave a copy of it to me as a joke. The truth is I still watch it as often as possible. She rolls her eyes.
  2. Blind Side –Such a good movie. Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw make a great combination for this inspiring story.
  3. The Shawshank Redemption – I think this one is almost universally loved. (Is love too strong a word? I think not.)
  4. My Cousin Vinny – Joe Pesci cracks us up. But I think Dave’s favorite is actually Marisa Tomei. Just sayin.
  5. Blazing Saddles – So politically incorrect yet so funny. It is shocking how much they got away with when they made this movie.
  6. Young Frankenstein – A ridiculous movie that makes me laugh every time I see it.
  7. Trading Places – A cast of stars from the 80’s all together to play a Robin Hood story.
  8. Oh Brother Where Art Thou– A clever remake of Homer’s Odyssey and George Clooney. What a combination.

Dave has his own list of favorite movies:

Dave's Favorite movies War
This means WAR!

1. Outlaw Josey Wales
2. Saving Private Ryan
3. Band of Brothers

 

and
4. Super Bad 

 

I do not have kind comments for any of these movies so I will refrain. He watches these when I am out of town or otherwise out of the house. (I have romantic comedy ones that I watch when he is gone. I think that’s fair. Don’t you?)

Final thoughts:

As I look over the list, I realize most of my favorite movies were made decades ago. I have found that most of us prefer the music we listened to when we were in high school. I wonder if my favorite movies are the ones I watched when I was younger. With DVD’s and the internet, I can keep watching the familiar ones. I enjoy new movies but still retreat the old favorites more often than not.

Maybe you want to play the game. Are your favorites on my list? I would love to see your list!

Favorite Movies camera
Let’s go to the movies

 

“The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn’t.” – Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Raptor Nest Search

My ranger/friend invited me to join in a raptor nest search. Of course I said yes. This meant that one day this past week, I had to actually get up and move at a much quicker pace than normal.  It was worth it.
raptor nest search red cliffs
Utah cliffs where bird like to nest
Our task: To monitor previously discovered nests in an area 2 hours north from where I live. A ranger from another park joined the party and the three of us went hunting. Our main goal was to scour the area looking for “whitewash”. This is a polite name for bird poop on the cliff walls. A lot of whitewash means there is probably a nest there, but there are tricky spots with less poop that they deemed were “perches” instead of probable nest sites. The actual nests are rare. In the 20 mile area we searched, we only found a couple dozen potential spots.  Luckily, we drove from one cliff area to another so I did not have to walk the whole twenty miles, but at each spot we did a lot of hiking.
While we did not see many birds, we did find a rabbit warren, a prairie dog town, paw prints from a large cat (young mountain lion? large bobcat?) and the remains of a trash pile near the remains of a long-gone house. Among the debris, we found a bunch of rusted tin cans. They had the old church key holes on either side of the top. I had to explain to the younger ranger that the weird holes meant that they were beer cans. We all learned something that day. (Okay, some knowledge will come in handier than others.)
We decided to head back but wanted to check out one last place. Lo and behold, one of the rangers spotted a huge nest on a cliff. Could it be a golden eagle’s home? Sure enough, he was perched on a nearby cliff!  Far enough away that I had to use binoculars to see him, he still looked regal up there, surveying the valley. He stayed there a long time, but we were patient. Suddenly,  the eagle swooped off his perch and flew! Circling the valley, he found his prey. We watched as he dove towards the ground with his talons out. He missed! (Aw. For once I was rooting for the predator.) Finding a spot to perch, he recovered a bit before soaring back up to his distant perch. Our raptor nest search had come to a rewarding close.
This raptor nest search program requires that the nesting areas remain secret to protect the wildlife.  My camera phone could not capture any of the action anyway. The eagle was too far away and difficult to photograph. Naturally I am now considering upgrading my equipment, but today I am still basking in the joy of watching the eagle in action. In a way, it was nice to just watch, knowing I could not take the ideal picture; I had permission to just enjoy the experience.
Raptor Nest Search Golden eagle
Golden Eagle Soars

Eagles: When they walk, they stumble. They are not what one would call graceful. They were not designed to walk. They fly. And when they fly, oh, how they fly, so free, so graceful. They see from the sky what we never see.Unknown

Reconnecting to Joy – Salt Lake City Weekend

Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City from the top of the hill

Our adventures took us to Salt Lake City this past weekend. On a whim, we drove the almost six hours north to visit the capitol city of Utah on Saturday. We prefer booking a hotel close the center of the city. This allows us to walk to the sights. Therefore, we found accommodations only one half block from the center of town. After all, we only had one afternoon and evening to explore the area. We like to be near the action!

Salt Lake City
Mormon Temple Salt Lake City

Naturally we started at Temple Square. Brigham Young and his followers have created an impressive place to tour. While the temple itself is not open to the public, everything else is available. Despite our best efforts, we only had time to explore about half of the twelve buildings there. Eager, friendly young people fill the square and stand at each building, ready to answer any questions. I am impressed by their ability to refrain from pushing their mission too hard while still welcoming tourists.  We watched videos, toured houses, read signs and, as a result, learned a lot. Even our fellow tourists were friendly and kind. Like begets like, I think.

 

Salt Lake City
Utah Capitol building Salt Lake City

Next stop was the Utah state capitol. This sits on the top of the hill above downtown Salt Lake City. Walking uphill increased our breathing and heart rates but the climb was worthwhile. The building is full of beautiful white granite designed to make the most of the natural grain in the stone. Consequently,  wedding photographers from around the area find the capitol a perfect spot to pose in their gowns. We saw many beautiful women being photographed on the steps, in the alcoves and against the sparkling walls. Every single bride looked dazzling.

 

The city lights up at night with trees full of twinkle lights and buildings lit with colorful spot lights. Things felt safe since there were plenty of fellow travelers and many shops open late to lure us in. Those of you who know us will realize we zeroed in on a brewery called Squatter’s. Their motto is “Good for what ales you” and it certainly was. The bartender served us food, beer and friendly conversation. Somehow, he found time on a busy Saturday night to talk with us about snowboarding, traveling and life.

Sunday morning brought the best experience of the trip, listening to the Mormon Tabernacle choir. We arrived early enough to hear the rehearsal. We listened to their accomplished director make small corrections to an already amazing performance. A couple of the choir members talked to the audience about auditioning, practices and finding inspiration in the music they get to sing. Then, after a request for quiet, we watched cameramen filming the half hour live broadcast. The music filled the hall and me with its power. What a privilege to be present for this display of musical talent.

Finally, the ride back to Natural Bridges brought more beautiful scenery. We added in a stop to visit a friend in Green River and another for vanilla malts in Hanksville. I highly recommend all of the three (yes, three) restaurants in little Hanksville, Utah.  Each time we eat here we come home full and happy. This time was no exception. The entire weekend gave us joy.

Brigham Young Salt Lake City
Brigham Young

 

 

Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up.” – Brigham Young