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May 12, 2021

A Few More Thoughts on "Young@Heart"

Alg_young In response to some reader e-mail, I've been thinking about why I was so drawn to the people featured in this wonderful documentary, which I reviewed here.

In short, they inspire me, and I can think of nothing better than to be that gutsy, feisty and just plain brave when I'm 80-something. Clearly, being a part of this group adds life to their years.

A couple of years ago, I took a comedy improv class through our local adult-ed school, and I saw a similar thing going on there. We beginning improvers ranged in age from late teens to 70s. When we were performing, having a ball and living in the moment, it didn't matter how old anyone was. In fact, some of the older members of the group were some of the least-inhibited and most-entertaining improvers.

1172935553 It didn't mean they didn't have aches and pains, or that they were able to do everything that they physically wanted to do in an improv sketch. But it didn't matter to them and it didn't matter to the audience. It was just so energizing to be in that room with them.

Yes, it's incredibly sad that the group in Young@Heart has some very tough days dealing with the loss of some close friends and fellow members. But they also have the comfort of knowing that each of those people was doing what he or she absolutely loved to do, right up until the end.

Could any of us ask for more from life?

May 11, 2021

Go See "Young@Heart"!

Young_at_heartWhat a wonderful Mother's Day gift I received! Randy and Matt took me to see "Young@Heart," and it felt like a full-body workout. I laughed, I cried and I was glad I wasn't watching it at home in the den. This felt more like a community event.

The theater was packed with people ages 10 to 80, and we were all so involved in the movie, everyone was silent. (When's the last time that happened at the movies?) OK, we were silent when we weren't laughing or stomping our feet. But there were a lot of silent tears, too. Check out the trailer. Then grab your kids (over about age 10), grab your parents and GO!

April 24, 2021

Knock Yourself Up (No Man? No Problem!)

As a book reviewer, I've had fun carrying this hot (shocking pink!) little number around town with me this week, reading a few pages during my son's piano lesson, taking it along for a solo lunch at a favorite little Mexican restaurant — and never knowing who might see the cover and wonder...

Of course, like the just-too-funny promos for the new movie "Baby Mama" (about a woman who enlists the help of a surrogate), which opens today, the title Knock Yourself Up (Avery), by Louise Sloan, is meant to be an attention grabber.

But once I cracked the cover, I found solid information and lots of real stories about single women over 30 who are trying to make the right decision on this life-altering issue by doing a lot of research, doing a lot of soul searching and enlisting the support of family and friends. Sloan shares her (touching and often really funny) experiences and those of many others who've decided not to let being single stand in the way of becoming a mom. 

Got questions? The book answers these and a lot more: When do I decide it's time to go it alone? How do I choose the right sperm? Is this fair to the kid? Can I afford to do it? How do I tell my parents? How do I tell my dates? Have I gone totally crazy? Will I ever have sex — or a life — again?

For those who want to discuss these juicy questions with their book club, there's a guide with discussion questions. For even more info, stop by

While I had a man involved when I got pregnant, I can't say Randy and I exactly did it the old-fashioned way. Having gone through in vitro fertilization, I could relate quite a bit to the tales of hormone injections, blood tests and waaay too many doctor appointments involving transvaginal ultrasound and stirrups. Trust me, nobody goes through all this stuff on a lark.

As "Baby Mama," Knock Yourself Up and my own IFV experience will attest, there are lots of ways to bring a baby into the world these days. But one thing remains, and you can surely can see it in this melt-your-heart picture of Sloan and her son, Scott: Women are making these decisions based primarily on something that mothers have had in common through the ages: love.

January 27, 2022

Nothing Lasts Forever...

It was comical to see my husband's and my attempts to sit down and watch a movie this weekend. Normally, we rent a DVD, pick an evening, and watch the movie. No biggie.

But this was a crazy week. We had had the DVD, "Away from Her," sitting around the house all week, but we seemed to be watching the film in 20-minute dribs and drabs when we weren't busy picking up our son, Matt, and taking him places — or falling asleep!

If it had been a lesser movie, we probably would have said "Oh, forget it" after the second re-start. But we found ourselves being drawn back to it despite frequent interruptions.

This beautifully written, heartbreaking film, about a couple who has been married for 40+ years and who now faces the wife's slow decline into Alzheimer's, will stick with me for a long time. It jolted me from my to-do list and reminded me that this stage in my life — filled with baseball games, swim meets and piano lessons — is but a phase that will be over all too soon. (Just ask Matt, who can't wait to grow up and who knows exactly how many years and months it is until he starts college!) And I'd better appreciate and enjoy it.

Sometimes it's easy to complain about all I have to do, about all my obligations and concerns. But I know that someday (I hope, at least), I'll be looking back on all this craziness with fondness and happy memories. Someday, I hope, Randy and I will look back on a long and happy marriage. We're already  almost to the 15-year mark, and I try not to take that for granted.

Because anything can happen to any of us at any time. And a disease like Alzheimer's is such a thief.

Rent this movie. I can't guarantee that it won't be tough to watch. But I can promise it will leave you with a lot to think about, and appreciate, in your life. And as busy as the lives of today's parents are, that's a gift we need to give ourselves more often.

Here's the trailer from the film:

August 08, 2021

"I Can't Wait 'Till My Kid Can See '_____'"

I have to admit, one of my favorite movies of all time is "Bull Durham." My husband loves it, too. And we're all big baseball fans in our family. We even go to minor league and independent league games now and then.

(In fact, if you live in Southern California, check out the Long Beach Armada, the local team for the independent Golden Baseball League. It's a great family atmosphere, the price is right and you can watch brave volunteers play "dizzy bat" between innings. It's a fun family night out.)

But back to the movies. I found myself thinking the other day, "Boy, I can't wait 'till Randy and I can watch "Bull Durham" with Matthew." Well, Matt is 11, and baseball fun aside, I'm just not ready for him to watch Susan Sarandon's character, Annie Savoy, tie Tim Robbins'  character, Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh (gotta love that name), to the bedposts!

What are some of your favorite movies that you can't wait to share with your kid "when he's a little older"?

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