The Movie Extravaganza

Friday, 26 December 2014 / Day 9
It’s become a tradition, of sorts, for me to brave Target or Barnes & Noble to pick up next year’s Christmas cards at half price. Or more—I think they were 75 percent off at B&N, which was where I stopped on my way to Jesse’s place.

It was a leisurely day. I hung out, read, played with the cats …

Max, in the tuba gig bag.

Max, in the tuba gig bag.

Penny had to get in on the action.

Penny had to get in on the action.

… Jesse ran errands, straightened up, worked on an arrangement he needed to get done … and later we went to another fabulous movie: The Imitation Game. Afterward, Jesse—a public school teacher—said, “So we’ve just seen two movies about guys who didn’t fit in, didn’t conform—and they were brilliant guys who changed the world. But they would never succeed in the school system today, which wants kids to sit down and follow the rules and be quiet.” It’s something to think about.

Driving back from the theater at sunset, the city was ringed in rocky peaks that were black against a golden yellow sky. Wish I could have taken a photograph but there’s just no place to stop on the freeway—and that’s where the views are. Up high.

Here’s one down low—a gorgeous Phoenix sunset, even if the palms are blurry (because Jesse was driving while I was photographing).

Here’s one down low—a gorgeous Phoenix sunset, even if the palms are blurry (because Jesse was driving while I was photographing).

Later I stopped at Fry’s (one of the local grocery store chains) to buy a couple things—we’re going to make chicken salad tomorrow—and I asked the clerk if he could just put in my phone number so I could get the store discount. My keychain, with a scannable barcode card on it, along with the key to the car, was back home in Tennessee. Of course he could use my phone number. “Six one five,” I said.

He stopped me. “Your area code is six one five?” I smiled and gave him the whole number, and sure enough, it worked. Kroger (my local chain) owns Fry’s. Just a little tip for the next time y’all are in Phoenix. 🙂

Saturday, 27 December 2014 / Day 10
It was so nice to not have a lot to do! When I’m at home there’s always something. So Jesse and I talked a lot about a career change he is planning to make. The pros, the cons.

Then I drove down to Chandler to hang out with Margaret’s daughter, Marina, with whom I’ve become close. Closer since Margaret’s health issues have arisen. We see eye to eye on most things, our mutual concern for her mother being just one of them. We met at a Chick-fil-A that had a great playground, so her boys were mostly occupied while we chatted.

Later Jesse and I went out to eat at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant (the name of which I’ve forgotten) and then to the movie, Birdman. My first experience in a theater with the reclining seats! (Yeah, yeah, I don’t get out much.) It was a normal size (for a multiplex) room but only about sixty seats (maybe!). It was like being in a La-Z-Boy recliner—roomy! When Jesse came back from the snack bar he said it looked like we were all at a slumber party. The cost was the same as for a non-La-Z-Boy theater …

And BIRDMAN. Holy smoke, kids. You should see it. Michael Keaton was spectacular. Also, it was funny.

Sunday, 28 December 2014 / Day 11
I was very excited today to meet one of my authors—Cindy Kelley. We have phoned and Skyped, but this was a first and I was thrilled that she was willing to make the drive up from Tucson. We met at St. Francis for an upscale Sunday brunch.

Me and Cindy in front of the outdoor Christmas tree.

Me and Cindy in front of the outdoor Christmas tree.

Afterward Jesse and I drove to Scottsdale to see our final Christmas-season movie, Whiplash. It was very good, though it made me cringe a lot. Being a professional musician himself, Jesse had plenty to say about about it. We now know J. K. Simmons won the Oscar for his performance as Best Supporting Actor; but I’ll tell you, I’ll never see him with the same eyes.

Monday, 29 December 2015 / Day 12
And that was it for my Christmas vacation. Pris dropped by for an hour so that we could discuss her wonderful book I’ve been working on. Then Jesse picked me and my luggage up. We had lunch—Windsor—and hung out at the house a little.

It’s always hard for me to say good-bye to my son. The older I get, the more difficult it becomes.

It’s always hard for me to say good-bye to my son. The older I get, the more difficult it becomes.

I will say—regarding flying out of Sky Harbor—I was annoyed that I had gone to the trouble of getting pre-approved (don’t have to take off shoes or coats or remove laptop from bag, and so on; it’s a faster line) which went really fast and smoothly in Nashville … only to find out they’d closed the pre-approved lines in Concourse D in Phoenix, although I didn’t know that at the time. Because I thought I was in a pre-approved line, I did everything wrong, which meant I set off the red flags and thus had to go through the naked-scanner (twice) PLUS had to get the pat-down PLUS they took everything out of all my bags.

And they weren’t nice about it. “You have to be pre-approved,” the guy said.

So I said, “But I AM pre approved!” I held out my boarding pass.

“Well, so you are, so you are. But it’s closed on this concourse.”

“What’s the point of having it but not opening it?” I asked.

“If you want to go thru a pre-approved line, you can go to concourse A or B or C and make your way back here,” he said.

I gave him the Mom look. “It’s a very large airport,” I said. “It would be a very long walk for me, all by myself.” He just looked at me. Not trying to win hearts and minds, the TSA.

Got home late, my housesitter picked me up, and it was all good, in spite of the TSA. Sometimes we middle-aged gals get a little cranky, that’s all.

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