Petrifying Springs multi-use trail, Kenosha, Wisconsin

February 2, 2024: Petrifying Springs multi-use trail, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Another Week: Number 61

by | February 25, 2024

The important thing is somehow to begin. Everything grows out of those first few scratches.

Henry Moore, quoted in The Ultimate Seduction, by Charlotte Chandler

They say you are what you eat. I have been trying to figure out what I eat now. Four bananas, for example, not six or eight — and I just learned you can refrigerate them. Three avocados, max. One dozen eggs, not two. Boxes of salad are hard to finish, but too convenient to pass up.

For months, I refrained from playing my guitar. Amy had headaches and vomiting enough; she didn’t need me endlessly embarking on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”

Now there’s no one for me to irritate.

My office had been a vault, with papers and dust piling up since July. That was when my iMac became obsolete and I switched to a MacBook so I could work via hospital WiFi. Now the shredder and vacuum are running again. Little by little, surfaces are emerging from the clutter.

Emails, photos, contact lists, calendars, credit accounts, closets, drawers, socks, spice jars, shampoos, lotions …

I am often overwhelmed for a spell, pacing back and forth between rooms, my brain stuck in indecision. But then I find someplace to start, and even small progress is still progress.

Music is very tricky. As it turns out, there are lots of songs about loving someone or losing someone that will instantly topple my poised house of cards. On the other hand, a Kate Voegele tune I haven’t heard in years might pop up and set the perfect stride for climbing a hill. So — damn the torpedoes — music playlists are shuffling in my earbuds once again when I walk.

I logged 18.05 miles this week. On Wednesday there were girls on the beach in shorts. On Friday it was snowing sideways out of a stiff northeast wind.

And now seven more clicks of the ratchet are in the past.


Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Once again on Tuesday, my sister Karen stopped over and Grubhubbed us dinner from Chit Chaat (Pakistani food in the former Out of the Pan spot at 550 State St.). It’s good stuff. I do prefer the Chicken Tikka Masala to the Cilantro Chicken.

For our viewing pleasure, I rented Anatomy of a Fall via Apple TV+. It’s a Best Picture nominee and the Oscars are coming up on March 10th.

The story concerns two writers who are married to each other. Sandra Hüller plays the wife, a German now living in her husband’s hometown in the French Alps. As a compromise, they often speak English, so the movie is only partially subtitled.

They have an 11-year-old son named Daniel who is visually impaired. He has a guide dog — a beautiful Border Collie named Snoop.

Not long after the movie begins, Samuel, the husband, is found dead outside the house, and the rest of the film consists of detectives, lawyers, and the news media trying to establish how he died. There is courtroom drama. There is domestic drama via flashback. The dog has a scene for which it deserves an Oscar.

Sandra Hüller is nominated for Actress in a Leading Role and her performance rings true and real. Justine Triet is nominated for Directing and Writing (Original Screenplay).

This is an exceptional movie.


Nyad (2023)

Thursday was dinner-and-a-movie night at my mom’s. She and Karen and watched Nyad on Netflix. It’s a two-hour biopic starring Annette Bening as long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, and Jodie Foster as Nyad’s best friend and former partner Bonnie Stoll.

The movie circumvents a standard biopic pitfall by focusing not on Nyad’s entire life, but instead on a specific stretch from age 60 to 64. Also, Annette Bening does not do a Diana Nyad impression with lookalike makeup. Instead, she just portrays Nyad’s headstrong and indomitable personality.

Those traits are put to the test here because Diana Nyad did not succeed in her first Cuba-to-Key-West swim at age 28. Now she wants to try again — more than 30 years later.

I remember the news coverage of Nyad back in the second decade of this century, but I did not follow every twist and turn of her story, so there was more suspense watching it play out in excruciating detail here. It’s a mind-boggling feat to attempt, swimming 110 miles in 53 hours through shark and jellyfish-infested waters. I’m the same age and I feel triumphant when I walk for more than an hour straight.

Annette Bening and Jodie Foster both give fine performances. They are nominated for Actress in a Leading Role and Actress in a Supporting Role respectively.

If I could cut one element from this movie, it would be the short animations that depict Nyad’s underwater hallucinations during her swims.

If I could add something, it would be an epilogue regarding the disputed documentation that has kept the swim out of the record books. We shouldn’t have to turn to Wikipedia to discover this.

Nevertheless, this is a very inspiring tale, well-told and worth watching.



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