Apollo 13 and Me

Download-2Apollo 13 is one of my all-time favorite movies and a vast source of wisdom and useful quotes.

And no, not just "Houston, we have a problem." Real Apollo 13 junkies know that the actual transmission went like this:

Swigert: “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”
Mission control: “This is Houston. Say again, please.”
Lovell: “Uh, Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
But I'm nitpicking. My favorite quotes are almost all from Gene Kranz played by Ed Harris, uttered while all hell was breaking loose in the capsule: Download
-"These guys are talking about bangs and shimmies up there; doesn't sound like instrumentation to me." 
-"Well, what have we got on the spaceship that's working?"
-'Let's not make things worse by guessing."
All of these can be amazingly relevant to day to day life, with only minor modifications. For instance to a far-away ailing child: "You're talking about a raging fever, muscle aches and a raw throat. Doesn't sound like sniffles to me."
Or when I was trying to figure out home health care for my Dad, and kept running into one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after another in the household: "Well, what have we got in place that's working?"
You get the idea. So - and stay with me, because it is relevant - this week, we've had a contractor in our home doing a few repairs. TWICE I have forgotten he was here and left the house, automatically turning on the alarm system when I do. TWICE the alarm has then gone off when the poor guy opens the door, and TWICE the police have come, which by the way, results in a hefty fee.
AlarmYesterday I was walking out the door, and was about to punch in alarm code AGAIN when I saw a yellow post-it covering the pad, on which the word "No!" was written. Boy, my husband knows me well. Swagert
For super Apollo 13 affectionados, you will recognize this as a nod to the scene when Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) has taped a "No!" sign over one of his controls. Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) and Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) were working in "the LEM" (the lunar module) and he didn't want to eject them into space -and certain death- by mistake.
Okay, maybe the stakes weren't quite so high in my house, but my point is this: that movie contains the wisdom of the ages. 


Book Group - Hollywood's and Mine

I was excited when I read that the movie "Book Club" was coming out, especially when I found out it starred Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Jane Fonda. Oh boy! 

Full disclosure - I haven't seen the movie yet. But I did just watch this trailer. Oh. My. God. A bunch of 70-something women, not a wrinkle among them, giggling like school girls over dating, men and sex. The book they are reading? "50 Shades of Grey." 

The script writers have given them high-level jobs, plenty of money, and even a scornful reaction to the book selection, which apparently leads them all to explore their own sexual frustration. Over the decades they've moved from Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying" to "50 Shades," fueled by a lot of wine on the way.

Really? What a let-down. My book group has been together for almost 25 years now.  We've read dozens - no, hundreds  - of amazing books. Over the decades, we've shared more than literature, of course.

Our kids were in elementary school when we started. Now they are adults. We fretted over middle-school language placement, kids' drinking and drugging and dating in high school, college applications, kids looking for work, their first apartments, kids who are gay,  kids who are depressed, kids who got sick, kids who got married, grandchildren, etc. etc. We compare notes on aging parents, home health care aides, nursing homes and death. We lament our own lapsing memories - once we chose a book we'd already read.

Not to mention charting our own careers - triumphs and setbacks, layoffs and promotions. Five women in my book group (of 12) have had - and survived - breast cancer. 

And yes, we've discussed our own marriages, the joys and frustrations. Sex? Occasionally, but not in a giggling, school-girl kind of way. 

I'll probably see "Book Group" and I hope it's better than it looks. This afternoon I've got "RBG" on the docket, so to speak. Nothing silly about her.