A Small Place of Enchantment

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In January, I came across a quote about enchantment that I love.

“I do not know how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.”   Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

I’ve looked at those words multiple times, since discovering them, waiting for the right moment to share them, to connect their truth to my story this year.

A couple of days ago, the opportunity presented itself.

A Small Place of Enchantment

Heimat: A Place of Belonging

Reading in a colleague’s blog a couple of days ago, I came across a word I did not know…heimat. German in origin, the word doesn’t have an exact English equivalent. However heimat conveys the idea of a “place towards which one has a sense of belonging and a deep rooted fondness”. It’s a place where one feels at home, for whatever reason. (Read Gabby’s post HERE.)

I felt charmed…enchanted actually…by this new found word. And suddenly, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings quote popped into my mind. Ahhh. I connected this German word to her words and also understood the wistfulness I experience when reading her quote and researching the word heimat.

My soul is drawn to the idea of dwelling in a place that resonates with me, manifesting a deep sense of belonging and fondness. Like Marjorie, a small place of enchantment to turn to is vital for me.

A Small Place of EnchantmentI will never be too old for a bohemian tent in the garden. 

Childhood Places of Enchantment

I’ve always searched for a small place of enchantment to turn to. As a child, those places existed outdoors primarily. The branches of a leafy tree, the landing atop a fire escape at the neighborhood church, the neighbor’s tiny fenced in area covered with honeysuckle vines, the big rounded bush in my backyard all offered spaces where I tucked myself away, for hours at a time.

Thinking about it now, I realize I roamed rather freely throughout my neighborhood as a child! Some might even call my actions trespassing. Yet no one ever ran me off. The neighbor’s fenced area became my Secret Garden. The church’s fire escape offered a grand view of the neighborhood while providing me solitude and a place to daydream.

When weather kept me indoors, I created blanket tents to crawl into, or simply sat with a book and a flashlight in my closet.

For me, enchantment equaled intimacy and solitude and nature.

As an adult, it still does.

A Small Place of EnchantmentCreating a small place of enchantment as an adult…my backyard garden.

Small Places of Enchantment as an Adult

I didn’t outgrow my desire to secret myself away.

As an adult my small places of enchantment are still found primarily outside. A rocky outcropping in the woods, a grassy bank near a gurgling brook and beautiful gardens all create in me that sense of heimat, of belonging.

I transformed my backyard into a personal paradise, with intimate spots to sit and reflect. In fact, inspired by the Secret Garden of my childhood, a corner of my garden is sectioned off, with clematis vines clinging to the repurposed metal panels. It’s a quiet space to meditate or read or enjoy a cup of tea while surrounded by peace and beauty.

Indoors my creative studio serves as a small place of enchantment. The walls and surfaces hold reminders of who I am and what I love. The six windows allow light to flood the space and also offer views of the backyard garden.

And Edinburgh, Scotland, an ancient sprawling city, inspires heimat in me as well, and ranks as one of my favorite places in all the world. The enchantment factor is high in Edinburgh, which helps to explain why the city draws me so, why I feel at home there.

A Small Place of EnchantmentLooking up toward Edinburgh Castle, past a picturesque church, in Edinburgh Scotland.

Clues to Creating a Small Place of Enchantment

Perhaps you’d like to create your own small place of enchantment, if you don’t have one already. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, captured the magic of her childhood by creating an enchanted farm in central Florida.

And therein lies the first clue to creating a small place of enchantment…childhood.

Where were you drawn to, as a child? Outdoors? Indoors? What locations became your favorite hangouts?

Did you prefer solitude, the company of a few friends, or partying with a crowd?

When outdoors, were you drawn to trees, water, mountains or desert? Did wide open spaces or secret places, hidden away, resonate with you?

Using the answers to these questions, think about where you live now. Are there spaces that you wander into, when you need time to think, or relax? What places inspire heimat and that deep sense of belonging?

Armed with this knowledge, consider how you can create an environment, within these enchanted spaces, that support you and inspire you. This is your special place. Let it be a reflection of who you are.

A Small Place of EnchantmentMy favorite indoor space…my creative studio.

A Small Place of Enchantment

I realize my long held desire to create a garden sprang from a deeper longing to return to the magic of my childhood. Fondness and a sense of belonging and creativity, intimacy and beauty all combine in this space.

It’s why I have a tiny Secret Garden and why honeysuckle grows on a trellis near my front porch. My DIY bohemian tent on the brick patio provides a place to hide away for an evening, while offering the grown up pleasures of candles and tea time.

This small place of enchantment is a balm to my soul, easing weariness and quieting busyness, sparking creativity and inspiring courage. I need to fall under such a spell frequently. It’s here that I joyfully reconnect with who I am and what’s important in my life. It is here that I simply am.

A Small Place of EnchantmentMy Secret Garden spot, with clematis instead of honeysuckle.

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FoodCubby Review

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

FoodCubby sent me this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Several years ago, I sat with my aunt during lunch at an assisted care facility. Recovering from a stroke, my dear aunt struggled with her spoon as she scooped the bland food from plate to mouth. Ultimately, I took over with the spoon, and we chatted as she allowed me to feed her.

At the time, I wondered if products existed that simplified the eating process for those recovering from illnesses or who found using utensils a challenge.

Fast forward to today, and the answer is yes! FoodCubby graciously supplied me with a couple of sets of their unique product. Recently my mom and I tried them out, during our weekly dinner together.

This is my FoodCubby Review, with my honest opinions.

FoodCubby Review

What is a FoodCubby?

A FoodCubby is a silicone food divider that attaches by way of suction to a flat plate. Available in bright green or orange, a packaged set includes a larger and smaller divider, allowing the diner to customize her plate.

The silicone pieces are food safe, BPA and phthalate free and dishwasher safe, up to 300 degrees.

To use, wash and rinse the divider. Leaving slightly damp, press the divider firmly onto a clean, dry, flat plate. That’s it. Use two dividers, to create four spaces for food, or one to divide the plate in two.

The dividers clean up easily after use and tote well to restaurants or to a friend’s house.

FoodCubby Review

Why Use a FoodCubby?

Uses for this ingenious product include:

Keeps foods separated, for those who do not like for their food to touch. This is especially common among children, however, some adults don’t like for their food to run together or touch. The FoodCubby is a simple way to keep foods apart.

Runny foods, such as gravies, sauces and juicy foods, are contained. They don’t “water down” regular foods.

Use a FoodCubby to push food onto a spoon or fork, without using fingers.

Ease the process of eating for toddlers who are just beginning to feed themselves, using utensils.

Ease the process of eating for adults who have had a stroke or struggle due to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or other disorders that affect motor skills.

Use a FoodCubby for portion control. Each cubby holds 1/2 cup of food within its edges.

Eliminates the need for divided plates, which are bulkier to store.

FoodCubby Review

My Experience with a FoodCubby

Mom and I each secured a large FoodCubby and a small one to our plates. We added two portions of stir fried veggies. We had plenty of space to add rice or a salad, if we’d prepared those.

I chose the bright green FoodCubby set, while Mom opted for orange. My sister and stepdad joined us for dinner and observed our experiment.

With the FoodCubby to push food against, it was very simple to scoop food onto my fork. My mom remarked several times that she didn’t use her fingers at all!

Typically, that’s a real dilemma. As food disappears, it becomes more difficult to get what’s left of the meal onto the fork, without using fingers or a hot roll or picking up a knife. With the FoodCubby, a secure edge was so convenient.

I can readily see how this product would benefit a child or an older adult that needs a little help. FoodCubbies offer a sense of independence for those who might otherwise require assistance. And those bright colors are fun!

After dinner each FoodCubby popped up when  we lifted the tabs on the corners. Clean up was a snap and they were ready to use again.

I imagined taking the dividers to a restaurant, so that an older adult or a young child could eat without help, preserving sense of self and independence.

FoodCubby Review

Order a Food Cubby Set

I can highly recommend this fun and useful product. It makes a great gift for children and adults alike.

Check out the company’s website, FoodCubby. Order your sets through their site. Or order through Amazon, in GREEN or ORANGE.

My sweet aunt comes to mind, when I use FoodCubby. She’s passed on, no longer in need of any kind of assistance. However, I think she would have laughed over the bright colors and the novel idea…and happily picked up her spoon to try it out.

FoodCubby Review

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Mystery Blogger Award

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I am honored to receive another award. Thank you to the blogging friend who nominated me, Ramae, owner of the blog Incurable Blessings. With transparency, beauty and hope, Ramae shares her journey that began after an incurable illness diagnosis. Encourage her by checking out her blog, linked above.

The Mystery Blogger Award, created by Okoto Enigma, brings attention and recognition to blogs that may not otherwise be discovered. According to Enigma, the Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blogs not only captivate, they inspire and motivate. They are among the best out there and they deserve every recognition. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and do so with love and passion.

Mystery Blogger Award

What are the Mystery Blogger Award Rules?

  • Place the award logo on your blog.
  • List the award’s rules.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
  • Mention the creator of the award and link to the award post.
  • State three random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers for the Mystery Blogger Award.
  • Ask your nominees five questions of your choosing.
  • Share a link to your best blog post.

Mystery Blogger AwardThree Facts About Me

I’m going to do something a bit different here…and link my three facts about me together. The reason will become apparent when I answer one of the five questions in the next section.

  1. In the book Sacred Romance, author John Eldredge shares that each of us possesses a unique soul name. I carefully considered what mine might be. I asked the Divine repeatedly, “What’s my soul name?” For three weeks, I kept hearing the word “mithril” in my head. I knew this shiny silver metal plays a key role in the Lord of the Rings stories. Finally I watched The Fellowship of the Ring film again, where mithril is first mentioned.
  2. In the scene, Gandalf leads the way through the Mine of Moria. Danger lurks in the shadows. Gandalf allows a small amount of light to illuminate the Fellowship’s path, saying, “Let us hope that our presence goes unnoticed.” I watched that scene, over and over. I recognized that I’d lived my life like that, barely allowing my light to shine, hoping my presence would go unnoticed, for a variety of invalid reasons.
  3. As the group cautiously creeps through the dark, they pause near a mine shaft. Gandalf allows the light from his staff to brighten, striking mithril that is glittering in the mine. Mithril is lightweight and very strong. When combined with other metals it creates a very protective armor. And it’s value is extremely high. Gandalf shares that Bilbo possessed a mithril shirt…and that its value was worth more than the whole shire. Mithril…the word that kept popping up in my mind, hidden in darkness until it is mined, strong, protective, valuable, shiny and silver. Mithril…my soul name…given to me through Divine inspiration.

Mystery Blogger Award Mithril

My Answers to Ramae’s Questions

  1. What is the story behind the name of your blog?  Blogging began as accountability for my desire to write daily. Needing a purpose and a theme, I found it through author Lu Ann Cahn, who spent a year experiencing something new every day. I adopted that idea. I chose the name Cindy Goes Beyond because trying something new, daily, provided opportunities to move beyond limitations, old beliefs and comfort zones, while also propelling me beyond my boundaries.
  2. If you could do it over again, is there anything you would do differently with your blog? Yes. With a do over, I’d more quickly connect with other bloggers and take educational courses sooner. I tend to be a loner, figuring things out as I go. It’s been a joy to enter into community with other bloggers and learn from them.
  3. What energizes and inspires you the most in life? Being who I’m meant to be in the great Flow of Life, energizes and inspires me. When I’m open to receive, creativity flowing and awareness high, and I’m doing what I love…I’m in my element and full of joy, passion, love and hope for a bright, magnificent future.
  4. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Eleven years ago, Coach Mark Semple told me, “Step up into the Mithril shaped space created for you…and occupy it fully.” I’d shared with him the story above. His invitation helped me to accept who I am, with all my gifts, quirks and unique characteristics. I didn’t immediately occupy that Mithril shaped space, however I began to, more and more. I inhabit it now, most of the time. Second best? A recent Divine conversation that I woke up having…”Do you want to be a pawn in someone else’s kingdom…or Queen of your own Kingdom?” My answer to that question is shaping this year. I am Mithril, Queen of my own Kingdom!
  5. Who was your favorite teacher and why? Mrs. Cathey, fourth grade, holds that honor. Her love and acceptance of her students impacted my young life profoundly. She laughed and played games, making learning fun and interactive. Mrs. Cathey taught me much more than math, reading and social studies. She taught me to view life differently and see the magic in it.

Mystery Blogger Award

My Best Blog Post

My post with the most views: Growing Clematis Babies    This fun gardening post has had more than 15,000 views and continues to pull in visitors daily. On Pinterest the post boasts 36,000 views…and growing.

My Nominees for the Mystery Blogger Award

One Exceptional Life  Wendy lost both hands and both feet in 2011. After years of wondering what to do with her life, she began an inspiring blog with a new sense of purpose. It features her story, adventures and how she’s overcome challenges.

Ai Love Music  Amy shares her deep passion for music on her blog, along with her vast knowledge about artists and a variety of musical styles.

Born to Be Boomers  Tricia left the corporate world to pursue things she’s passionate about. Her delightful blog is a lifestyle site for the over 50 crowd.

Teaching Wounded Angels to Fly  Alexandra writes, with whimsy and passion, about raising three rambunctious boys that she fostered and then adopted.

Flower Power  Liza is an outdoor enthusiast who writes fun and informative posts about improving mental and physical health.

Be Healthy Be Happy Wellness  Pam loves cherishing each day and shares her adventures as she helps others to live happier, healthier lives.

Ginger Rosemary and Time   Yvonne shares her passions for cooking and baking, traveling, saving money and learning something new every day.

Fluxing Well  Lisa’s passion is finding and sharing reliable information for navigating everyday situations. She approaches life with creativity and flexibility and the desire to experience new things.

Tom Teaches Physics  Tom’s passion is, you guessed it, physics! As a teacher he feels this subject deserves a fresh perspective…and introduces new, and fun, ways to learn.

Winds of Jane  Jane shares her passion for adventures and traveling. She’s visited 46 countries in the last 20 years!

Mystery Blogger Award

Five Questions for My Mystery Blogger Award Nominees

  1. What do you love most, about blogging?
  2. If you won a free two week vacation, to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  3. Who has influenced your life the most?
  4. Do you have a favorite movie? Why is it your favorite?
  5. What’s the craziest want-to-do item on your bucket list?

Once again, I am honored to receive the Mystery Blogger Award, which is a heartwarming form of encouragement and recognition from a colleague. I’m equally honored to pass it on to other fine bloggers.

This journey, and those journeying with me, mean so much to me. Life is an adventure indeed.

Mystery Blogger Award

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Family secrets…we all have them. Within even the healthiest and most stable of families there are a few dark tales or stories that no one talks about.

What about dysfunctional families or those that endure soul wrenching challenges or those riddled with abuse and addiction? The secrets buried within those families go far beyond a few skeletons in the closet. They carry with them deep shame and soul numbing detachment.

I met local artist Steve Head several years ago. You can read about our first encounter here. Standing in a coffee shop in downtown Joplin, studying Steve’s incredibly moving art upon the walls, a long buried piece of my heart shifted and opened. His unique depictions, full of symbolism and old photos, tell powerful stories.

More than imaginative works, these pieces are snapshots from Steve’s life, lived within a large family whose history includes poverty, alcoholism and mental illness. It’s a natural progression, to bring some of Steve’s art together in book form. Rather than strolling through a gallery, one can sit with the book,  which offers narrative to accompany the art pieces…and time to study each work, so that its story can be properly shared.

This is Family Secrets, the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

Why Share These Stories?

Steve answers this question at the beginning of this oversized, coffee table style book.

Several family members suffered with mental illnesses and alcoholism. Physical, sexual, mental, emotional and even spiritual abuse threads its way throughout the fabric of his family’s history. Add in poverty and dysfunction, and the enormity of it all took an emotional and spiritual toll on nearly everyone connected to this family.

As a result, Steve carried a huge void in his heart, where love and nurturing should have been. He also carried shame for who he thought he was and for all that happened to him during his childhood. Later in life he learned that redemption and healing can only come when that shame is acknowledged and overcome.

Steve’s art brings the pain and dysfunction into the light, exposing it while boldly proclaiming:

“None of what happened in my family was MY fault. And I don’t need to carry this SHAME any longer.”

By sharing his art work, Steve offers an invitation to others to talk about their own shame and secrets and begin to heal.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art BookSteve’s first mixed media piece, “Coke Dealers”, from Family Secrets the Storytelling Art of Steve Head.

A Visual Tour with Compelling Stories

Family Secrets showcases Steve’s art while sharing the family stories behind each piece. He uses mixed media and collage to create one of a kind works of art.

In “Lost and Found, The Redemption of Mary Louisa McBroom”, we learn the sad story about Steve’s grandmother, who spent ten years in the Central Oklahoma State Hospital, and died there. No one in the family spoke of this woman who lived during the Great Depression and birthed twelve children. However, her 50 year old hospital records provided horrific details about the final decade of her life. Steve created art that moved Mary Louisa from obscurity to being known. Her life has value and meaning, even if we can’t fully comprehend all that she bore.

Family Secrets is full of page after page of beautiful, haunting art…and the stories that inspired each piece. I love knowing the process behind the works. Studying each work of art I can interpret some symbols. Steve fills in the deeper truths. Abandoned buildings represent emptiness. A bicycle tossed into a murky pond symbolizes lost childhood opportunities and stolen joy.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

The Essence of the Human Spirit

This is a book that one can spend time with and learn from. And on some level, all of us can relate to the stories told by Steve’s art. We’ve all been hurt. Most of us carry scars from painful encounters with life, with family, with those who should have loved us.

Steve’s art cracks open a door in any heart that is willing to let go of old pain. As sorrowful as many of his stories are, he does not leave us without hope. His is a life that healed. His is a heart that became whole. He’s allowed the secrets and the shame to burn away and transform into a source of compassion and strength.

I love Steve’s Artist Statement, included in the book:

“The essence of every human being is his or her inward spirit. I believe that who we are as a person is the compilation of every thought, memory and human interaction we have ever experienced. My goal, as an artist, is to create visual expressions of those unseen places of the heart, of the child within, and of those shared experiences that connect our hearts to those around us.”

The boy who thought he lacked artistic talent, the boy who endured hardships that no child should have to experience, the young man who struggled with his own addictions, became the artist who now touches other hearts and sets them free.

Sitting with Family Secrets, you may shed hot tears. Old memories may surface from the shadows. And healing may begin, if you will allow it to. As Steve says, we all have untold stories. It’s time to tell yours.

Order Your Copy of Family Secrets

Order Family Secrets The Storytelling Art of Steve Head HERE. And check out The Art and Photography of Steve & Cindy Head Facebook Page HERE.

Family Secrets Storytelling Art Book

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you

 

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures Now

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

How many times has a friend or family member said, “Oh, I’ll save that for a special occasion.”

“That” might be the good china or an expensive shirt or a family heirloom or even a gift from a loved one. Saving something for a special occasion imbues that item with greater value, it seems. It’s not meant for everyday or regular use. Rather, a special occasion worthy of the item must occur first.

Greg’s dad frequently recited the “saving it” clause. He chose to wear the same shirts and trousers over and over and tucked away new items, meant to replace their worn out counterparts.

After his death, I uncovered stacks of unopened gifts and clothes still in their original packages.

What if, instead of saving the good stuff, we gave ourselves permission to enjoy treasures now?

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures Now

Enjoy Treasures Now

I get it. I’ve tucked heirlooms and vintage items away too. The fear of breaking or wearing out something often overrides the joy that the item brings.

That changed for me a few years ago, as I kept “rediscovering” pieces I’d put away. I asked myself, “What good do packed away treasures do? What joy do they bring?” Overcoming fear of loss, I pulled those pieces out of storage and began incorporating them into my everyday life and décor. I’m not sorry!

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowThe first vintage item that I hauled out of the attic…and repurposed. This is my grandfather’s WWII Army trunk, enjoying a second life as a vignette holder.

I am more relaxed now with my treasures, allowing them second lives or renewed purpose in my home. From my experience, I offer 5 reasons to enjoy treasures now…rather than keep them in storage.

Tucked Away Treasures Don’t Bring Joy

This is a Marie Kondo teaching. A champion organizer, Marie loves to tidy up. One of her guiding principles involves holding an object to see if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it and if it doesn’t, give it away, sell it or throw it away.

If a treasure is tucked away, how do we know if it brings joy? In fact, thinking of the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind”, how do we even know what we have?

This thought led me to uncover all my treasures, several years ago, and find ways to use them again. Otherwise, I kept forgetting what I had, until I came across it again.

I began with my grandfather’s trunk and kept going, one or two items at a time. These pieces bring me great joy. And it’s not just vintage pieces that I am now using. I have comfy shirts, fun socks, favorite pens and dinnerware that I regularly use, simply because I enjoy them.

The fear of wearing something out is as great as the fear of loss. However, never wearing my single pair of bright yellow plaid socks is not only a shame, but a waste. I bought them because they spark joy and make me smile. I may wear them out. However, what joy do they bring, folded in a drawer? None!

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasurs NowWearing the greatest socks ever!

Treasures Tell Stories

This is one of my favorite reasons for keeping my treasures around me. With vintage items, there is the fear of breakage.  Packing an item away appears to keep it safe. I know first hand that is not always the case.

My neighborhood lay in the path of the 2011 EF5 tornado that devastated Joplin. I lost a vintage globed table lamp that fell casualty to debris bursting through a window. All in all, my house fared better than most around me. Half a block away, uprooted houses rested in the middle of the street or resembled nothing more than a pile of rubble. Safekeeping treasures did nothing to protect them in that storm.

The experience renewed my determination to enjoy treasures now, because I don’t know what tomorrow brings. Scattered throughout my home, these old pieces whisper their stories to me, every time I glance at them.

My mother’s wooden shoes, from her childhood, tell a story of love. My father’s Harley Davidson woven throw recounts his courageous battle against cancer. Grandpa Moore’s 119 year old china doll reminds me that he cherished that special toy, as a small boy. Leta Moore’s vintage curling irons speak of her connection with her mother, as a young girl.

I want these stories told. I want to hear them. Tucked away in closets and drawers, the stories become muffled and eventually lost to me.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowBill Moore’s china doll, happily gracing my dining table.

Repurpose Treasures in Fresh Ways

This fun way of displaying treasures brings enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction. Inspired by using Pop’s trunk to hold quilts or holiday décor, I turned many pieces into vignette holders. The vintage suitcase, Aunt Roxie’s old footstool, Aunt Annie’s red box and an old wooden sieve (pictured above holding the china doll) all serve now as backdrops for arrangements containing other keepsakes.

My backyard garden features old rusty buckets and big metal washtubs that hold colorful flowers and aromatic herbs during the summer. An old red toolbox protects succulents and an old wheelbarrow transforms into a fairy garden while vintage minnow buckets allow candlelight to spill out into the twilight.

Bringing new life to an old, worn out item, extends the usefulness of that piece. Decorating with and using these pieces in fresh ways sparks joy, yes, and also ramps up my creativity. Study a treasure that no longer works well in its original form or purpose, and let it speak to you.

I set out an item and look at it multiple times the day until I get a creative idea or a visual download that guides me in repurposing it. Pinterest provides amazing ideas as well.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowEvery treasure in this vintage suitcase, repurposed to hold vignettes, tells a story.

Continued Usefulness

Not all treasure are beyond their intended purpose. These items still serve in useful ways, once fear of loss is replaced with enjoyment.

Many of my vintage kitchen pieces came from the old shed in Grandma and Grandpa Moore’s backyard . Packed away because something new replaced them, I found delight in rescuing these treasures and bringing them home. That was 40 plus years ago…and I still use some of these items daily.

Concerns about wearing out those beauties proved futile.

Heavy glass pitchers hold lemon water or home made almond milk. The enamelware colander still cradles freshly washed veggies. My aunt’s glass juicer makes me smile when I twist half a lime on it. I decorate with old glassware, drink from vintage teacups and decorative  bowls perfectly display fruit.

Do I fear breaking something that is irreplaceable? I think about that possibility and use care when washing an item or displaying it. I recently broke a treasure, unpacking it from a box. The 1940s cookie jar belonged to Greg’s parents. My heart sank as it slipped from its protective bubble wrap and hit the floor with a cracking sound. Fortunately, it broke into only two pieces. Repaired it can still serve as a container or simply grace a shelf. I am grateful.

However, if something breaks beyond repair, I’d rather know that the treasure brought me great joy while I used it instead of sitting forgotten in a closet. I can live with the risk. It’s helped me too to discover previous repairs in some of the treasures. They’ve been broken before! Somehow I feel better knowing that.

It’s a choice one must make. If losing an item breaks a heart, keep it safe. Or display it with care. For many years the china doll remained safely in a closet. Now, she delights me from various places around the house. She’s not for playing with. And I handle her carefully and mindfully. She’s too precious, however, to hide away.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures NowThis vintage glass pitcher gets used weekly.

The Next Generation May Have No Interest in Treasures

While not intended as a judgment, the truth is that children and grandchildren reaching adulthood may have no interest in family treasures. Carefully preserving heirlooms and keepsakes may come to naught, when the next generation doesn’t feel the same way about them.

I love the current trend among many young adults to live with less and travel more. Additionally, the tiny house movement and the minimalist lifestyle encourage a life lived with less stuff. There’s nothing wrong with those trends at all.

All it means is…don’t save treasures to hand down, when there may be no one willing to take them. Use those keepsakes, repurpose them, let them bring joy. And if a child or grandchild wants to keep that story alive, by owning the treasure, wonderful. And if no one wants those treasures, at least they were enjoyed for a time. Truly, that is enough.

Don’t Save Anything for a Special Occasion

Madeline Engelbreit says,

“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.”

I love that quote! It’s at the heart of what I desire, with the treasures in my keeping. Don’t save them for a special occasion. Use them. Wear them. Repurpose them. Repair them if necessary…but don’t hide them away and forget about them.

Enjoy treasures now.

5 Reasons to Enjoy Treasures Now

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

91st Academy Awards

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It’s Oscar time, with the 91st Academy Awards.

In spite of hiccups leading up to tonight’s award show, I am so excited. There are many firsts that will take place tonight, and I am right here, watching, cheering and blogging as it all unfolds.

91st Academy Awards

Incredible Opening

One of the controversies shadowing the 91st Academy Awards is the lack of a host, for the first time in 30 plus years. Instead of a 20 minute opening monologue, the ceremony began with a  musical bang.

Although I’ve teared up before during moving speeches or when the Memoriam is played, I’ve never cried during the beginning of the Oscars. Tonight, I do. Queen opens the show, with Brian Lambert singing lead. To see Brian May and Roger Taylor on stage, playing their hearts out, moves me deeply. After a couple of songs, Freddie Mercury appears on the big screen behind them. What a start to a great night. Alone, in the intimacy of my bedroom, I stand along with the audience and applaud.

In lieu of a host, presenters are making the most of their time, handing out awards and having a bit of fun while doing so.

91st Academy Awards

91st Academy Awards

Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry present, with a hilarious nod to The Favourite.

Oscar Highlights

Lots of firsts tonight, among presenters, and among the winners.

Black Panther, the first superhero film ever nominated for Best Picture, garners early Oscars in Costume Design and Production Design. It also wins for Original Score.

Roma, to no one’s surprise, picks up Best Foreign Film, along with a well deserved Achievement in Cinematography.

Bohemian Rhapsody, dear to my heart, picks up 3 Oscars so far, for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing. “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds,” as Freddie’s father says.

Best Animated Feature Oscar goes to Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.

“Shallow”, from A Star is Born, picks up the Oscar for Best Original Song. Bradley Cooper, who feels nervous about singing at the Oscars, gives a magnificent performance with Lady Gaga

Best Original Screenplay award goes to Nick Vallelonga, for Green Book. For Best Adapted Screenplay, the Oscar goes to Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman.

91st Academy Awards

91st Academy Awards

The Biggies

As the 91st Academy Awards finishes up, and a delightful show it has been, the top Oscars are handed out.

Best Supporting Actress – Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk. This movie goes on my “must watch” list, so I can check out Regina’s winning performance.

91st Academy Awards

Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali for Green Book. He’s won every award he’s been nominated for this season, and deservedly so.

91st Academy Awards

Best Actress – Olivia Colman for The Favourite. She edges out Glenn Close, which for many will be a surprise. Olivia herself seems shocked. However, a more gifted woman one could not find. Her emotional acceptance speech brings more tears to my eyes. What’s up with me tonight?

91st Academy Awards

Best Actor – Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. More tears, dang it. This man is one of the most kind and most gracious actors I’ve ever seen. I am beyond thrilled for his much deserved honor.

91st Academy Awards

Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. Predicted to win for his touching and beautifully done film, Alfonso has picked up several awards tonight. Will he get Best Picture? I’m about to find out….

91st Academy Awards

Best Picture – Green Book. Of course, I hoped Bohemian Rhapsody would win the Oscar. I predicted Roma or Green Book. Still, as the announcement comes, I feel happy surprise. Of all the nominees, Green Book is my second favorite film, right behind Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m glad it receives recognition.

91st Academy Awards

That’s a Wrap

I thoroughly enjoyed the 91st Academy Awards. I didn’t miss a host. The presenters moved smoothly from award to award and the show finished in a little over three hours. Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most Oscars, with four total.

I jotted down a list of films to check out, including Can You Ever Forgive Me? and First Man. During the Oscars an announcement was made about an Academy Awards Museum that’s being built. That just went on my “must visit” list. Who knows? Perhaps someday I’ll attend a Red Carpet event, as a tribute to a lifetime of appreciating movies.

I’m already looking forward to the 92nd Academy Awards.

91st Academy Awards

For a full list of Oscar Winners, click HERE

Download or rent Green Book at Amazon Prime Video or pre-order HERE

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Movie Review: Vice

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Seeing Vice, the biopic featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney, completed Best Picture nominated films this week. I didn’t purposefully place this movie last. That’s the way it worked out with Regal’s viewing schedule. However, I admit this film appealed to me the least.

I’m not a political person. I say this with apologies to my grandson Dayan, who is a political science major at University of Missouri. There’s nothing wrong with political movies. They just aren’t anywhere near my favorite genre. Nonetheless, when I commit to watching all of the Best Picture films, I keep that intention even though it only matters to me.

As usual, I find that I learn from the movies I would not watch otherwise.

Movie Review Vice

Vice Cast

Vice stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry and Jesse Plemons. Written and directed by Adam McKay, this historical drama carries an R rating, for moderate language and adult situations, and has a run time of 2 hours and 12 minutes.

Vice is nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Adams, Best Supporting Actor for Rockwell, Best Actor for Bale and Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, both for McKay.

Movie Review Vice

The Cheneys

Spanning four decades, Vice focuses on the life and political career of Dick Cheney (Bale) and his wife Lynne (Adams). As a young couple, Dick struggles to find his purpose in life. He drinks too much. He works menial jobs. After a second DUI charge, resulting in an overnight stay in jail, Lynne gives Dick “the” speech. “Get your life together…or I walk away.”

Fast forward a few years and Dick becomes a congressional intern for Donald Rumsfeld (Carell). The two become very close, working together on a variety of projects. Now a father to two daughters, Liz (Rabe) and Mary (Pill), Dick pursues a career that makes his wife proud.

Rumsfeld gets sent away, becoming an ambassador, due to conflicts with the Nixon administration. And then Watergate happens and Nixon is out. As one of the Republicans not involved in the scandal, Cheney promotes to Secretary of Defense, in the Gerard Ford White House, and then moves up to Chief of Staff.

Cheney researches the legal theory called the Unitary Executive Theory, which states, simply put, that anything the president does is legal because he or she is the president. Carter wins the next election, and Cheney is out of a job.

Movie Review Vice

Running Mate

Back home in Wyoming, Dick runs for Congress. However, during his campaign, he experiences his first heart attack. Lynne campaigns on his behalf, and ultimately, Dick wins.

After Bush’s presidency, Cheney considers running for president. His numbers are low however. And his younger daughter, Mary, has come out as gay. Rather than risk his supportive relationship with her, Cheney opts out of running. Instead, he becomes the CEO of Halliburton, choosing involvement in the corporate world for many years, until George W. Bush (Rockwell) calls him.

Initially, Dick refuses the role of vice president, to GW Bush’s president. Lynne cautions her husband, calling the vice presidency a “nothing job”. Talking to George later, Dick asks for more than a typical vice president role. He wants to oversee major departments. And he wants his daughter Mary off limits. George agrees.

After a close race in the 2000 election, George Bush and Dick Cheney win the White House.

Movie Review Vice

The White House Years

Once settled in, Dick has total oversight, including receiving intelligence briefings before the President. He gets tax breaks for the wealthy and places key personnel throughout the administration.

Tragedy strikes the United States on 9/11. Cheney makes decisions during that time that no other vice president has ever made. Post 9/11 Cheney and Rumsfeld focus in on Iraq and Sadaam Hussein, even though Colin Powell (Perry) wants to gather information on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Eventually the American people are convinced Saddam needs to be stopped. The war in Iraq begins.

Throughout these years, Cheney quietly moves forward, with the tenacity of a bull. The war doesn’t go as expected. ISIS comes into existence. War crimes are uncovered. Donald Rumsfeld takes the heat and is removed from office. And Dick Cheney’s heart gives out, literally, over and over again.

Finally, told there is no hope for recovery, Cheney faces death unless a heart donor can be found. In a bizarre twist in the film, one comes available.

The film concludes with an interview with Dick Cheney, in which the character breaks the fourth wall in the movie and looks directly at the audience. After being asked to defend his practices while in office, Cheney replies that he is fine with judgment and incrimination. He did what needed to be done so that our loved ones could sleep at night. We chose him. He did what we asked.

Movie Review Vice

My Thoughts on Vice

The characterizations of these familiar politicians is amazing in this film. Christian Bale is unrecognizable, after gaining 40 pounds for the role, shaving his head and bleaching his eyebrows. He portrays Cheney so well that I forgot, frequently, that the man on the screen was not the former vice president. I’m reminded of Gary Oldham’s turn as Winston Churchill last year in Darkest Hour.

Amy Adams is marvelous as Lynne Cheney, who is a powerful person as well. All of the actors were carefully chosen for the roles they stepped into, and that care is very evident.

In a unique role, Jesse Plemons serves as narrator. The camera cuts to him between scenes as he explains what’s going on. His connection to Cheney is revealed, in a surprising way, near the end of the movie.

Movie Review VicePerry and Carell as Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, respectively.

My take aways from Vice are these:

It’s not just the one who holds power that influences events. It’s who has control. And sometimes the quietest among us are doing the most to create major shifts.

Vice is another film that is difficult to classify. Is it humor or drama, satire or smear? Perhaps it’s a character study of Dick Cheney. Or perhaps it’s more a commentary on the American people. I wrote at the beginning of this post that I am not a political person. At the end of Vice, I recognized the detriment in holding that belief. If these events in Vice happened, and fact checking shows that some of the scenes are creditable and some are not, then it is on me to be more aware, more involved.

It’s on all of us.

Vice opens up my awareness. It makes me want to study who people say they are and what their actions show about them, in the political arena. Vice possesses the potential to sharply divide people. But what if its true intention is to wake us up?

Working for Donald Rumsfeld, young Dick Cheney asks him, sincerely,

“What do we believe in?”

It’s a great question for Vice to leave me with. What do I believe in?

Movie Review Vice

It’s Oscar Time!

I’m minutes away from the 91st Academy Awards. Curried lentils are bubbling in the slow cooker. Vegan snickerdoodle cookies and a hot cup of herbal tea await. I’ll be blogging through the awards show and post a second late post tonight.

Here are all my reviews, for the eight Best Picture Nominated films:

Download or rent Vice on Amazon Prime Video HERE or purchase the DVD

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: The Favourite

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One look at the title of this film, The Favourite, and you know by the spelling of the second word that this story is connected to England. This Best Picture nominated movie is based upon the brief and somewhat obscure reign of Queen Anne, of England.

My mother, an avid history buff, accompanied me to this second to the last movie, during Oscar week.

Movie Review The Favourite

The Favourite Cast

This biographical drama, with comedic overtones, stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicolas Hoult, James Smith and Mark Gatiss. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite carries an R rating, for language and sexuality, and has a run time of 1 hour and 59 minutes.

The Favourite is nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Colman, Best Supporting Actress for Stone and Weisz and Best Director for Lanthimos.

Movie Review The Favourite

Queen Anne of England

It’s early in the 18th century, and England nears the end of a war with France. The reigning monarch, Queen Anne (Colman) is frail in body and mind and fraught with anxieties.

The government is divided, with Robert Harley (Hoult) and Sidney Godolphin (Smith) leading the opposing parties. Their grappling for control wearies the Queen, who relies on her companion for support and guidance. Sarah (Weisz) and Anne grew up as childhood friends. As the queen’s health declines, she depends more and more on Sarah to attend crucial meetings and carry out royal duties.

Sarah Churchill is intelligent, in a cunning way, and very much in alignment with Godolphin, who supports continued war with France. Her husband, John, Duke of Marlborough (Gatiss), leads the troops as the war winds down.

Movie Review The Favourite

Abigail Arrives

Sarah’s status with the Queen shifts when Abigail (Stone) arrives. Abigail is Sarah’s cousin. Her life took a downturn years ago, leaving her destitute, fallen in society, and seeking employment. Although she begins as a scullery maid in the castle, Abigail quickly works her way into the Queen’s favour. Anne suffers horribly from gout. When inflammation creates swelling, sores and tremendous pain, Abigail applies a soothing herbal poultice.

Abigail’s new position as the Queen’s personal assistant alarms Sarah, and the competition between the women begins. Sneaking into Queen Anne’s bedchamber one night, Abigail makes a shocking discovery. Sarah and the Queen are clandestine lovers.

Movie Review The Favourite

Who is the Favourite?

As political strife heats up, Queen Anne finds herself caught between opposing parties, and between equally opposing women. Sarah continues to urge the Queen toward war. Abigail, who aligns with Harley and peace with France, appears more sympathetic and helpful toward the Queen.

Both women know that being Queen Anne’s favourite brings power and prestige and wealth. For Abigail, it even brings an arranged marriage that will restore her place in society.

As the Queen’s health continues to deteriorate, and her mood plummets, Abigail and Sarah vie for the coveted title of Favourite. And there can only be one.

Movie Review The Favourite

My Thoughts on The Favourite

I attend the Best Picture nominated films with as little foreknowledge as possible. That way, I experience the movie and the story with a fresh perspective and no expectations. I’ve seen many historical films about England’s queens and kings, however, I knew very little about this particular monarch.

The Favourite is unique, in that it includes rich complex characters, an abundance of humor, and modern elements including clever camera work and music that is often jarring. Perhaps the best classification for this movie is dark comedy with historical overtones!

Queen Anne is the central figure and the movie revolves around her. She alternates between being reasonable and competent, and lost and child-like, wailing with despair. Her despondency and fragility is better understood when it is revealed that the 17 rabbits she keeps as pets in her bedchamber represent the children she lost. Losing one child fractures the soul. Imagine what losing 17 does.

And although he is not mentioned in the movie, the Queen had recently lost her spouse as well. With no surviving children, Anne is the last monarch of the House of Stuart.

Olivia Colman deserves her Oscar nomination. Her portrayal is nuanced and compelling to watch. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are equally captivating in their roles. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see The Favourite, before tomorrow night’s Academy Awards.

Movie Review The Favourite

One More Best Picture Movie to Review

I watched Vice tonight, completing the list of films. Watch for that review tomorrow.

Here are the nominees. Click the links for the reviews.

Rent The Favourite on Amazon Prime Video HERE.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Movie Review: Green Book

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details

I’m grateful that Joplin’s Regal Theater brings in the Best Picture nominated films, so that people like me can catch each movie ahead of the Academy Awards. I discovered this week of special showings last year and anticipated the event this year. Using my MoviePass card, and points racked up on my Regal Crown Club card, means free passes all week.

Having already seen four of the eight nominees, it’s been relatively easy to pick up the remaining four. A couple of days ago, I caught the matinee viewing of Green Book.

Movie Review Green Book

Green Book Cast

This comdy/drama, based on a true friendship, stars Mahershala Ali, Viggo Mortensen, Linda Cardellini, Dimiter D. Marinov and Mike Hatton. Directed by Peter Farrelly, the screenplay was written by Nick Vallelonga, Farrelly and Brian Currie. The biographical movie carries a PG-13 rating, for adult themes, smoking and moderate language, and has a run time of 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Green Book is nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor for Mortensen, Best Supporting Actor for Ali, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing.

Movie Review Green Book

Tony Meets Dr. Shirley

In New York City, in 1962, Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (Mortensen) works successfully as a doorman and bouncer at the Copacabana Nightclub. The club, however, closes for two months for renovations, leaving Tony without work during that time.

With his wife Dolores (Cardellini) and two young sons to support, Tony hustles for any work he can find, including engaging in a hot dog eating contest at a local restaurant. As he struggles to find a genuine yet short term job, he’s asked to interview for a driving position with Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala).

Arriving at the address, Tony discovers the doctor lives in an apartment above Carnegie Hall. And the man is not a medical doctor. He’s a gifted musician…a classically trained pianist. The Don Shirley Trio has an eight week tour, traveling from the midwest to the deep south, and Dr. Shirley requires a driver who can also handle trouble, if encountered.

Although initially the two men don’t connect well, Dr. Shirley hires Tony, after checking in with Tony’s wife.  Eight weeks is a long time to be away from home. She gives her approval, as long as Tony is home by Christmas Eve.

Movie Review Green Book

On Tour

The record company Dr. Shirley is associated with provides two cars, one for Oleg (Marinov) and George (Hatton), the cellist and bassist in the trio. Tony drives the second car, with Dr. Shirley riding in the back. As they prepare to leave, a rep with the record company hands Tony a green book.

The Green Book, also called “The Negro Motorist Green Book”, was published from 1936 to 1966. The guide helped African American travelers find lodging, restaurants and other businesses that would serve them. Initially published to cover the southern regions of the US, the book eventually included most of North America, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

The two men find their equilibrium together, as they drive. Dr. Shirley…Don…is reserved, highly educated and prefers quiet and solitude. Tony is outgoing, talkative and never passes up an opportunity to eat. During the first few days, as they get acquainted, they often annoy and perplex each other.

However, listening to The Don Shirley Trio, on the initial tour stops, Tony recognizes genius. He comes to appreciate the incredible gifts that Don possesses. And Don Shirley sees that Tony is an open, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of man, with a good heart.

Stopping for lunch one day, Don watches as Tony struggles to write a letter to his wife, Dolores. Don asks if he can help. He dictates romantic, poetic words for Tony to write down. Back home, Tony’s letters become a bit of sensation, as Dolores reads each one aloud to gathered family members.

Movie Review Green Book

The Deep South

The Trio is well received by audiences, everywhere they go. However, as the group travels deeper into the south, attitudes shift. The hotels for Don become seedier and seedier. More and more businesses refuse to serve him. And although the venues where Don performs are packed and the crowds applaud heartily, the owners of those grand houses and nightclubs treat him differently when he’s not performing. He’s not allowed to eat in the main dining room, or he’s asked to use an outdoors toilet or he’s given a janitor’s closet for a dressing room.

Horrified, Tony observes these unjust actions and narrow mindsets.  He itches to react in the way he knows best…with his fists. Dr. Shirley tells him,

“You never win with violence. You only win when you maintain your dignity.”

As the tour draws to a close, the group arrives at the last venue. When Don is treated with grave disrespect, Tony declares “Enough!”. But if the trio walks out and doesn’t do the show, Tony doesn’t get the last half of his much needed pay. If they stay, however, it’s another show in which Don must smile politely, remain silent, and pretend it’s all okay.

Whatever they decide….they must decide together.

Movie Review Green Book

My Thoughts on Green Book

This was another “based on a true story” film that absolutely pierced my heart. Both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali gave outstanding performances, worthy of their Oscar nominations.

Viggo gained 20 pounds for the role. I admire actors who go to such lengths to get into character. And Mahershala’s portrayal of a gifted yet carefully restrained musician was spot on…and heart touching.

There are fun touches in this film. Nick Vallelonga, who co-wrote the screenplay, is Tony’s actual son. Nick appears in the film, as do several other actual family members, which lends authenticity to the characters.

What I love most about Green Book is the relationship between Tony and Don. They come from such different backgrounds. Their perspectives about the world differ, as do their experiences of the world. Yet they respect and genuinely like each other, sharing a friendship rather than an employer/employee relationship.

And how important their friendship becomes. In a world that struggles with segregation and inequality, they offer the best of themselves, to each other and to anyone open enough to receive. I grieved and teared up over Don’s mistreatment. I cheered for the deep friendship and mutual respect between Tony and Don.

Epilogue

During the credits, photos popped up of the real Dr. Don Shirley and Tony Lip Vallelonga. My research shows that the two completed a year long tour together, before Dr. Shirley headed to Europe. He continued to offer his musical gifts to all.

Tony returned to the Copacabana. Later he became an actor, appearing in several Martin Scorsese films and cast as a regular on The Sopranos television series.

The two men remained close friends for the rest of their lives. They both died in 2013, three months apart.

Movie Review Green Book

The Best Picture Nominated Films

If you’ve missed any other my other reviews, here are the films I’ve seen so far. I’ll have a review up tomorrow, for The Favourite. And I’ll see Vice tomorrow evening. Watch for that review on Sunday, ahead of the 91st Academy Awards.

You can pre-order Green Book on Blu-Ray and DVD   ahead of its March 19 release date, or rent on  Amazon Prime Video.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: BlacKkKlansman

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details

The countdown for the Academy Awards continues this week. Next up for review, on the Best Picture nominated list, is the biopic BlacKkKlansman. I have the delightful challenge of watching the final four films before Sunday’s award show broadcast. As a movie buff, it is a challenge I am enjoying.

Bear with me as the blog becomes a movie review blog for the next few days. I hope you will enjoy my insights on these extraordinary films.

Movie Review BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman Cast

BlacKkKlansman stars John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Robert John Burke, Corey Hawkins, Jasper Paakkonen, Ryan Eggold and Harry Belafonte. Directed and co-written by Spike Lee, the crime drama is based upon the book Black Klansman, written by Ron Stallworth. The film carries an R rating, for language, moderate violence and scenes of injustice. It has a run time of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

BlacKkKlansman is nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Driver, Original Score, Best Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Movie Review BlacKkKlansman

First Black Police Officer in Colorado Springs

In the 1970s Ron Stallworth (Washington) becomes the first African American police officer, with the Colorado Springs, Colorado police department. Chafing at his entry level position, in the filing room, Stallworth convinces Chief Bridges (Burke) that he’s ready for more action.

The police chief sends Ron out on his first assignment as an undercover cop at a local Black Panther rally. Wired, and instructed to get a feel for what the group intends to do, Ron sits in on the meeting. Detective Flip Zimmerman (Driver) listens in from an unmarked car. A known activist, Kwame Ture (Hawkins), is scheduled to speak. At the rally, Ron meets Patrice (Harrier), president of the Black Student Union at the college. Ron listens, intrigued by Ture’s passionate words, and impressed with Patrice’s devotion.

Later Ron and Patrice meet for a drink. Off duty, but keeping his cover, Ron doesn’t tell Patrice that he is a cop, even when she recounts a disturbing experience from earlier in the evening. Driving Ture back to his hotel room, the car is pulled over and the occupants are harassed by a couple of officers.

After hearing Ron’s report, Chief Bridges declines to look further into the Black Panthers. The newly promoted officer is sent to the intelligence office, to answer phones and record leads. Not one to sit and do nothing, Ron makes a phone call that launches a risky undercover investigation.

Movie Review BlacKkKlansman

Infiltrating the KKK

After seeing a recruitment ad in the local paper, Ron calls the Colorado Springs chapter of the KKK. Speaking to Klan chapter president, Walter Breachway (Eggold), Ron poses as a white man, interested in joining the organization. Impressed by Ron’s Aryan rhetoric, the two arrange a meeting.

Ron realizes he can’t attend the meeting. However, Detective Flip Zimmerman can! Because Ron erred, using his own name, Flip becomes Ron Stallworth. He meets with Breachway and another Klan member, Felix (Paakkonen). Felix is immediately suspicious of Flip. He suspects the new recruit is Jewish and pelts Flip with questions.

Ultimately, Flip is accepted into the Klu Klux Klan. Flip and Ron coordinate an in depth investigation. Ron handles all phone calls, including frequent info gathering chats with the Grand Wizard of the Klan, David Duke (Grace). Flip attends all local Klan meetings, always wired, while Ron stalks the group from a distance, taking photos and listening in.

Meanwhile, Ron continues to see Patrice. She is disturbed by the number of Klan flyers being distributed in the neighborhoods.

Movie Review BlacKkKlansman

Induction into the Klan

Flip receives his KKK membership card. For his induction, the Grand Wizard himself is traveling to Colorado, to attend. Duke is impressed with the young man, due to the lengthy phone calls they’ve had. In a wry turn of events, Ron receives the security detail for Duke.

Tension mounts in the community. Duke arrives to lead the induction of new members. Patrice gathers students to hear guest speaker Jerome Turner (Belafonte) speak of sad injustices from his youth. Ron warns Patrice that there are rumors of a planned KKK attack. He begs her to cancel a student march, revealing at last that he is a cop. Infuriated, she sends Ron away.

And a couple of Klan members intend great harm, secreting away a bomb while they wait for an opportunity. Will Flip’s cover be blown before the investigation is completed? And can Ron and Flip prevent the violence that is threatened?

Movie Review B;acKkKlansman

My Thoughts on BlacKkKlansman

This intriguing film pulled a range of emotions from me. Abundant humor sprinkled throughout the movie lightens a very heavy subject, without taking away from the seriousness of justice and equal rights for everyone. I loved the camaraderie between Ron and Flip. Both become acutely aware of racial injustice and work together to make changes. And both men uphold honor and the desire to protect, as police officers.

I’m always drawn to films based on true stories. The events portrayed in the movie actually happened. However, the true name of Ron’s undercover partner has never been revealed. Flip existed…in Ron’s book he’s referred to as Chuck…but nothing is known about who he is and where he is now.

Watching the movie, I also felt sorrow, shame, anger and finally hope. Several times I felt the sting of tears in my eyes. Racism is still very real, and it’s extremely difficult for me to understand how someone can hate another because of race or ethnicity. Some scenes were hard for me to watch in BlacKkKlansman. Injustice riles me and breaks my heart. The most moving sequence occurred as Jerome, played by Henry Belafonte, recounted horrific events from his childhood, while across town, the Klan watched an old black and white film depicting the very events he spoke about. I watched with tears in my eyes and a catch in my throat.

Spike Lee unapologetically offers a powerful, thought provoking film. I’m still thinking about it and feeling the weight of it…and longing for acceptance, equality and freedom for all.

Movie Review BlacKkKlansman

Best Picture List with Reviews

Check out all of the Best Picture Nominated Films. Links are provided to the reviews I’ve written so far.

Watch BlacKkKlansman HERE on Amazon Prime, or purchase on Blu-Ray or DVD.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you