Archive | October 2011

The Top 6 Reasons I Love Living in the Country

I love living in the country.   I spent my childhood on a farm and even though it was hard work I wouldn’t change the memories for the world.  I suppose the saying is true, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.”  I guess that’s why I moved back to the farm when I grew up and married.

Reason #1: You can grow your own food.  I like to plant vegetables and flowers then watch them grow.  It allows me to preserve some of    my own food and I can decorate my house with fresh-cut flowers if I want.

Reason #2: There are no street lights.  It is so dark you can see the stars.  When you look up it feels like you can see the whole universe from your back yard.

Reason #3: You can go for a walk in the woods.  It’s a great stress reliever plus you get exercise.  Who knows you might see a deer, a turkey, or a squirrel or two.

Reason #4: I love the sounds of nature.  You can listen to the birds singing, the frogs croaking, and the crickets chirping.  Nature has its own soundtrack.

Reason #5: The homes are farther apart.  You feel like you have more privacy.  Even if you can see your neighbor house it isn’t as close as it would be in the city.  You have room to breathe.

Reason #6: You know your neighbors.  You may even know their parents and grandparents.  When something bad happens your neighbors are the first ones there to lend a helping hand.

I feel like country life is more pleasant and peaceful.  I realize that everyone will not agree with me, but that’s OK.  Everyone has their own preference.  There are people who love city life as much as I love country life.  Which do you prefer?



One thing in this world never ceases to surprise me.  Kids can come up with the most creative ideas you could ever imagine.  I would like to tell you a little story that exemplifies this very point.

My great-niece Kass is a very bright and active five-year-old who loves to save money.  It thrills her to receive money for her birthday or Christmas.  A few months ago Kass decided she wanted an iPod.  To teach her the value of money, her parents suggested she save her money and buy one.  So Kass did.

She is very proud of buying it herself and has all of her favorite pictures and music stored on it, but one thing is bothering her.  She spent all her money.  The fact that she doesn’t have any is nagging at her.  This is amusing to me since she is only five.  It is bothering her so much that she has figured out a way to earn money.  She set-up tolls inside her home.

Yes, I said tolls.  Her Dad came home from work one day and saw little bags on every door knob in the hallway.  He was curious about why they were there and asked her Mom.  Her reply was, “Ask you daughter.”

The toll bags in the hallway.

When he questioned Kass about the bags, she told him that everyone had to put a dollar in the bag to go into the room.  He asked what he should do if he didn’t have a dollar bill and she told him he could use a credit card.

Gramps left a surprise.

Every day when she comes home from school she immediately runs to check each bag for money.  So far the only money she has collected is from her Gramps.  He left her a $1 to surprise her.

Clearly, this is the relative I need to be very good friends with, because with an imagination like this she may be a millionaire some day.

Dark Shadows

How many reading this post can remember the 1960’s soap opera Dark Shadows?  Chances are not that many, but an upcoming movie may bring this gothic soap opera tale to the big screen as early as May 11, 2012.  The movie is reportedly based upon the original series, which ran from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971 and aired weekdays on ABC for a total of 1,225 episodes.  When the series began in 1966 it was filmed in a black and white format, but after 15 months updated to color.

For those not familiar the series, the story follows the strange happenings within the wealthy Collins family who live on the Collinwood Estate in Collinsport, Maine.  A young girl named Victoria Winters is hired as a governess for young David Collins.  Victoria is hoping to unlock memories of her past by working for the Collins family.  The young David Collins tells everyone that he talks to ghosts and that Sarah, his best friend, is a ghost who lives in the original Collins mansion.

Willie Loomis, the caretaker, accidentally releases Barnabas Collins [a vampire] from his 200 year sleep in the family mausoleum where his family entrapped him.  He introduces himself to the family as a cousin visiting from England.  Barnabas wants to find a cure for his vampirism, but causes chaos in the small town.

During a séance, Victoria is transported back in time to the 1700s and meets Barnabas before he became a vampire.  She also meets the Angelique [a powerful witch] the woman who cursed Barnabas to become a vampire.  Barnabas betrayed her and fell in love with a woman named Josette.

The show featured alternate time-lines, reincarnation, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, zombies, and black magic.  The series became popular only after the introduction of the supernatural themes six months into airing.

The series still has a fan base and the DVD sets are available from  There were other attempts to bring the series back to TV in 1991 and 2004, but each attempt failed.  If the director and cast of Dark Shadows is any indication this should be a fantastic movie.

The movie is being directed by Tim Burton known for making movies with dark and unusual themes.  A few of his films include The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Sleepy Hollow.

Burton’s collaborator on Dark Shadows is award-winning actor Johnny Depp who has worked with Burton on approximately eight films.  According to an article in Entertainment Weekly magazine (September 30, 2011 issue) both men grew up watching the TV series and Depp has wanted to make the series into a movie for some time.  Warner Bros. finally procured the rights and Depp approached Burton about collaborating on the project.  Seth Grahame-Smith is the screenwriter.

 The movie is being filmed in London and according to Burton it will be released in 2D format.  The setting is the year 1972, which should make it seem more like the original.    The recent popularity of supernatural themed films in the past few years bodes well for the movie to become a box office hit next year.  The well-known cast and crew may lead fans to have high hopes for the upcoming film.  Below is a list of actors/actresses cast for the film and their roles as pictured from left to right.

The cast of Dark ShadowsPhoto by Leah Gallo (

Helena Bonham Carter – Dr. Julia Hoffman, a live-in Psychiatrist

Chloe Grace Moretz – Carolyn Stoddard, a strong-willed teenager

Eva Green – Angelique Bouchard, a dark witch

Gulliver McGrath – David Collins, a troubled 10-year-old

Isabella Heathcote – Victoria Winters, governess to David

Johnny Depp – Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire

Ray Shirley – Mrs. Johnson, the elderly housekeeper, Willie’s aunt

Jackie Earle Haley – Willie Loomis, the alcoholic caretaker

Jonny Lee Miller – Roger Collins, David’s father, brother to Elizabeth

Michelle Pfeiffer – Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Carolyn’s mother and family matriarch