Tag Archives: goals

Movie Project: The Tim Gunn Movie Guide to Style

After reading Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney’s book and reviewing it, I am interested in following up on some of the books mentioned within, as well as attacking the list of “Films of Style” in the appendices. Netflix operates a little slower here (since mail takes about 2 weeks to go one-way), so it will be interesting to find these movies at the library, in Italian, or end up perhaps purchasing them.

Here’s the list.

Seen it, loved it, remember it.

  1. Doctor Zhivago (Thank you PBS!)
  2. Auntie Mame  (Thanks Uncle Michael)
  3. All About Eve  (Thanks Uncle Michael)
  4. Austin Powers
  5. The Devil Wears Prada (“loved it” is too strong for this one – it is slightly above “meh” for me, but it was really fun to watch!)

Seen it, or have I? Better re-watch it.

  1. Funny Face
  2. Dinner at Eight (hommage paid via a tv series and a movie short by the same name)
  3. Funny Girl

High priority prior to reading it on this list.

  1. The Philadelphia Story
  2. Valley of the Dolls
  3. Infamous (A movie whose content and title always remind me of this movie, that I remember watching in high school and really grasping how artist’s can reach out and grab your heart, and you don’t even see it coming.)
  4. Shampoo
  5. Grey Gardens (and of course, the well-received update by HBO)
  6. A Place in the Sun
  7. Cleopatra (ah, Elizabeth Taylor! There seem to be two recent remakes, one a tv series from 1999 with Billy Zane and the other coming out in 2013 starring Angelina Jolie.)

Never heard of it – hope it’s great!

  1. Blow-Up
  2. The Women (yikes! remade in 2008 with an all-star cast, but it looks terrible!)
  3. Dark Victory
  4. Persona
  5. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  6. The Palm Beach Story
  7. The Fountainhead
  8. Sleeper
  9. L’Avventura
  10. Metropolitan
  11. The Draughtsman’s Contract
  12. The Go-Between (Julie Christie! I love her. She’s still got magic in this movie dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.)
  13. Prospero’s Books
  14. Mildred Pierce (ooh, there is a 2011 remake starring Kate Winslet, I wonder what Gunn will have to say about that?)
  15. Last Year at Marienbad
  16. Masculin Feminin
  17. Desk Set

And, that’s it! I’m not sure if they chose sufficient movie listings to fit the page dimensions, or if thirty-two holds some magical numerical significance, but here is the list of Tim Gunn and Kate Moloney’s top thirty-two Films of Style. I have rearranged the order of the movies to categorize the movies. The second category “Seen it, or have I? Better re-watch” is necessary for movies like “Shampoo” which sounds familiar, but I always confuse it with the movie/production of “Hair” – merely because of the title. The same goes for “Funny Face” and “Funny Girl” – totally different movies, but I have a difficult time remembering which is which – the titles trip me up.

It is evident from this list, and from Gunn’s prose in the book, that his influences are heavily French-based (even if they are an outlying French colony). I am disappointed not to see any other nationalities get so much coverage, surely there are stylistically beautiful films from film-prolific India, or Japan, too? Perhaps the editors trumped on this one and directed the list to be trimmed for the target audience of the book, maybe Gunn’s francophilia runs deeper than we know. Nonetheless this looks like a great list of movies to watch.

Which have you seen? Are any of your favorites on the list?

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Running and POW/MIA/9-11 Rememberance Run


In honor of the POW/MIA 9-11 Rememberance Run 5k I ran this morning, the first in the Base-2-Base race series, I am going to list the top 5 reasons I love running:

  1. Setting goals, prioritizing my health, and achieving goals empowers me.
  2. I LOVE to sweat (this came after years of taking calculated measures to avoid sweating, but it finally happened).
  3. The aerobic activity helps the wheezing I sometimes suffer from allergies.
  4. Endorphins, baby! Running keeps me Jill-mellow, which is sort of glowing and shiny.
  5. Running presents extra opportunities to connect with: nature, my community, other runners, spirituality, my inner-Jill.

Sigonella 2011 POW/MIA 9-11 Rememberance Run 5k

The sun was just edging over the horizon in the east, Mt. Etna looked down on us from the north; she was spewing a steady stream of smoke this morning which formed the only cloud in the sky. Up ahead, I could see the streams of runners coming together at the registration booth. The air was nearly crisp, hinting at an autumn that is still weeks away. After we registered, we chose a slip of paper from the basket bearing the name of a POW, MIA or 9-11 responder. The run’s theme was a “Rememberance Run,” and we were running in honor of the dead, lost, and imprisoned who bravely put their duty ahead of their safety.

Police dogs and their trainers getting ready for the Sigonella 2011 Rememberance Run 5k.

I pinned the tag to my shirt, read the name Ronnie Gies and wondered who he might have been.  My heart caught in my throat and I could feel tears rising in my eyes. The feelings caught me off guard since I had been focused on light stretching, loosening my joints and planning my mental race. The announcer called for a moment of collective silence and a calm descended on me. “I will run hard for those who can no longer run.” This simple thought would return to me throughout the run.

Jill before the run.

We were still meditating in silence when nearby sprinklers sprung out of the ground and started squirting water. This was as good of a start signal as any, and the group took off. The “Chief” selectees lead the way, running in formation. (History of Chiefs here: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq46-1.htm). The great turn-out of about 500 people clogged the narrow pathway and it was a slow jog for the first half-mile or so as the runners stretched out on the road.

The sunlight was getting stronger, but was not yet hot, and it produced beautiful orange and yellow tones as it struck the tall grass on either side of the path. As Dave and I came up alongside the Chief formation, I listened in shock to the highly offensive stanzas they were calling and repeating, “killing commies” was one glorified activity included in the chant. I shrugged and felt more strongly than ever that I would not fit in with such a group. Though I respect the heck out of the work Chiefs do, I still can’t stomach lines such as those. Perhaps the sailors, soldiers and first-responders being honored had trained to such cadences. It occurred to me that I do not understand much about the training of the very people I was honoring during this run. Perhaps such lines are cues to seek out the enemy, and naming “commies” is just antiquated language from the caller’s training runs. “I will run hard for those who can no longer run.”

Here we are in the soft morning sunlight. At the very front of the pack pictured here, you can see the tops of the flags at the head of the Chief’s formation.

Refocusing on my mantra, I settled into a steady pace, I felt amazing: quick, light steps on the ground; a straight line from my hips to my temples; and a slight pitch forward as I leaned in and let my legs propel me ahead. We rounded the last corner and had just under a half mile to the finish. I turned up my exertion another notch, and then another, my cadence and breath increasing with my acceleration.

As we neared the finish line, I realized there was no finish line. This race wasn’t about setting a PR or even knowing your time, it was about community, camaraderie, and remembering those who couldn’t run with us. The benefit of the run was recognizing the collaborative efforts of all different kinds of people who agree to work toward a common goal. I may not understand those who put their lives in harm’s way to protect me, and they may not understand me, but they go out there to fight for me all the same. In honor of all Ronnie Gies and all of the POWs, MIAs and 9-11 responders, and for those who continue to put yourselves in harm’s way, thank you for your service.

Sigonella 2011 Rememberance Run 5k tag honoring Ronnie Gies.

Read about Mr. Ronnie Gies, of FDNY, here: http://longisland.newsday.com/911-anniversary/victims/Ronnie-Gies.


Filed under 5-100, Running

“Running just as fast as we can…”**


  1. Got a date for our housing inspection! September 15th.
  2. Used the bidet. They are everywhere, I decided it was time to get with the program.
  3. Found out that, as a devoted pet-owner (they are family), I am in good company in Italy. About 9 million Italian families brought their pets on vacation in August (Ferragosto); estimated to be almost one-third of vacationing families. And guess what! 1 million of those pets were cats. I still prefer to get a cat-sitter, but I do miss the guys when we’re away.
  4. Worked out some more details with friends who are visiting in October, and settled on some Skype times with friends and family for calls on Thursday and Friday.
  5. Spent time exploring blogs, brainstorming about this blog, and drafting potential changes. Your input and suggestions are always welcome!

Not much excites me the way planning a running schedule does. This morning, when I obtained the “Base-2-Base” Race Series calendar from the gym, I was ecstatic! (Yes, enough so to warrant the exclamation point). Here are the races you can look forward to hearing about:

September 9: POW MIA 9/11 Remembrance Run 5k (3.1 miles)

October 15:  Walk the pink out of it Run 2 miles

November 19:  Turkey Trot Run 5k

December 10:  Jingle Bell Jog 5 miles

January 7:  Resolution Run 6 miles

February 11: Stupid Cupid Run 5k

March 17: Base-2-Base 10k

I love to run!

A photo from the archives. Running rocks.

I ran the last 10 miles of the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon with a great friend in June 2011. She dominated the full marathon. We had a great celebration, like always.

**Extra points to anyone who picked up on the blogpost lyrical title and is currently singing: “…Holdin’ onto one another’s hand/Tryin’ to get away into the night/And then you put your arms around me/And we tumble to the ground/And then you say/I think we’re alone now…” Which version is your favorite? Tommy James and the Shondells? Or the 80s classic Tiffany version?


Filed under 5-100, Running

“Name it! Claim it! Rejoice in it! Share it!”


  1. Chatted with a friend at the library.
  2. Started a new book, “The Tiger’s Wife” by Tea Obrecht.
  3. Got caught up on my to-do list; updated my to-do list.
  4. Emailed Fiat to ask for the opportunity to promote the newer Cinquecento model on my blog. Wouldn’t it be perfect for me to be driving a Fiat Cinquecento (or this one)? I think so, too.
  5. Ate a yummy stir-fry Dave made: rice with onion, garlic, red pepper, mushroom, radish and a touch of jalapeno, finished with a hoisin sauce we’re trying out. Does anyone know how to make hoisin sauce at home? (searching for a link brought up three different recipes, but I still wanna hear from you!)

“Name it! Claim it! Rejoice in it! Share it!” I can still hear Father Ed screaming his homily in Shell Lake. Perhaps it was because we sat in front, or the spittle he projected, or maybe it was a special Grandma Smith memory. No matter what, this memory pops up whenever I’m developing goals. Identifying a goal is often as difficult as achieving it. Today I named it: a Fiat Cinquecento! Next, I must claim it, hmmm, maybe I could make a “Jill flag,” go to a dealership, and declare the Fiat 500 “discovered?” Hey, it worked for this guy.

*Dear reader, the link function is directly related to the browser I use when I write my blog posts. I apologize for the inconvenience, but from time to time, links will be presented in the old-fashioned manner of all the ps and qs listed right in the text. I hope to have regular access to a modern browser soon.*


Filed under 5-100, cinquecento, Food. Cibo.

Tipping in Italy: Ambiguity rears its enigmatic head.


  1. Made lemonade out of dead battery lemons. My friend’s car battery died, canceling our planned outing, so I used the extra time to prepare for the interview. Okay, okay, I read a bit of “Watership Down,” too.
  2. Had fun finding five new blogs. One of my goals is to look at five new blogs each weekday, in order to glean good blog etiquette, gather ideas and inspiration, and make new friends.
  3. Ran. It was relaxing.
  4. Met new people while dining at a new restaurant with Dave and his colleagues. (Photos below)
  5. Recognized I made an error, admitted it and repaired the damage. Oops, sorry, yay!

Tipping. We all have a unique perspective on when and how we let go of our money, and differing philosophies can lead to tension and discomfort at the end of an otherwise enjoyable meal. Fortunately, inItaly there is often a “coperto” or cover charge, which removes some pressure. Then, the standard is to leave a little extra. Ack! Ambiguity rears its enigmatic head. What is a “little extra”? Guide books suggest 10%; locals either shrug or say that’s too much. So, as before, may your conscious be your guide. For me, a “little extra” means 10%, maybe even 11%.


We started with a lovely beer, produced and bottled at the restaurant, Donna Fortunata Pizzeria, in Motta Sant’Anastasia. The beer is unfiltered and fermented in the bottle. It had a nice medium body with a mild flavor that had mere hints of grass and floral flavors without interfering with the crisp finish. As my dad says all too often, it was quaffable.


I had the casarecci pasta dish with a sauce called “siciliana gratina” (sorry for the poor picture quality). “Casarecci” are the pasta, which were narrow rolls of pasta, almost tubes that were twisted a bit, too. The pasta was cooked perfectly with lots of texture but not too firm, and there were olives, a light tomato sauce and cheese baked into the pasta. Finally, it was finished with bread crumbs which offered nice texture without affecting the flavor. The dish had a mild flavor spiked with the salty goodness of the olives.


Dave had a “foccacia ripiena” or stuffed foccacia. Mmmmm…



Filed under 5-100, Food. Cibo.

Buon giorno? Ciao? Which is it?


  1. Enjoyed reading “Watership Down”        (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76620.Watership_Down) while sipping tea with my breakfast. I also learned that the library terrace employs a broadcasted bird call for bird and pest deterrence. It reminded me of the owl statues used in Seattle (http://www.harborfreight.com/Great-Horned-Owl-Garden-Scarecrow-42265.html?utm_medium=cse&utm_source=nextag&hft_adv=40011&mr:referralID=1565c6f8-d3a9-11e0-891e-001b2166c2c0). The owl statues are more quietly effective.
  2. Set up a job interview!
  3. Attempted my speed workout for this week. I got some good speedwork in, and it helped me decide how to structure my running goals; baby steps instead of moon-surface-leaps.
  4. Completed all of the errands on my to-do list!
  5. Got a good snuggle out of Maki, my less-snuggly cat.

Salve, buon giorno! (Hi, good morning!) Here inItaly, it is common to call out a greeting when you enter an office, a store, or someone’s home. Greetings are a polite way to announce your arrival and they show respect, especially to the elder generation. Once you are friendly with someone, or at the very least you are familiar with one another, then you can switch to the less formal greeting “Ciao!” You should never use “ciao” when speaking to an elderly person, always stick to “buon giorno” until about 1-2pm and then switch to “buona sera” (good afternoon/evening). Arrivederci!

***Random photo today***

This woman was waiting at the bus station during my lengthy wait.

Like most Italian women, she seemed to be no-nonsense…

…and then her phone rang.

Her ringtone was Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A



Filed under 5-100, Adjusting, Kitties

Somebody call 9-1-1! Shawty fire burning on the dance floor…whoa-oh


  1. Survived my first very close call on the road (I was a passenger, a real estate agent was driving: he was watching ahead to avoid hitting a car in the front, which was crossing our lane of traffic; meanwhile, a towing truck came up from behind and maintained its speed and direction and passed within inches of my face as we were still slowing moving into that lane).
  2. Had a great running work out – started developing my training program aiming toward my fitness goal of a 24-minute 5k.
  3. Saw another beautiful home, which was nice, but ended up confirming our greater interest in a different home.
  4. Watched “Swiss Family Robinson.” (Among my all-time favorite movies.)
  5. Read another chapter in “Cooking with Italian Grandmothers.” (Thanks, Monica!)

Today I cover another chapter in the “what’s that smell” series. If you’ve lived at all, you’ve probably had the chance to smell the unique odor of burning garbage. No? Trust me, it has a distinctive pungency. Here in Sicilia, I found a smell that is nearly as potent, though not quite as stinky: burning vegetation. The countryside holds many an agricultural plot, and to eliminate excess weeds and perhaps to condition the soil, farmers burn the vegetation. Many times, the fire burns up to the road’s edge and you can feel (and smell) the heat wave as you pass.

*Title inspired by Fire Burning” – performed by Sean Kingston*

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