Sunday Bookends: Christmas romance movies off the agenda, Christmas prep with Michael Buble, British cleavage, and social media detox failure

I wrote last week that I was on a Christmas movie binge, but, no. I’m over it.

Oh. My. Word.


How many more movies can I watch where one parent of the main character is already dead at such a young age? Or where the husband has died and now she’s looking for new romance?

Duuuuudes. Stop the tropes already. I just can’t take it.

I just want one Christmas movie where Mom and Dad are still alive and their death isn’t the reason someone hates Christmas.

So, bah-humbug. No more of those cheesy Christmas romance movies.

Back to reality.

(Oops. There goes gravity…sorry that line immediately made me think of Eminem’s Lose Yourself. And I don’t even really listen to Eminem.)

And part of that reality was watching a 1934  film from England called The Scarlet Pimpernel (yes, there have been a few remakes) where there was plenty of harsh reality and cringeworthy brutality. The movie, starling Leslie Howard (no idea, but I think he’s a famous British actor)  opens with the beheadings of French citizens during the 1792 French Revolution’s Reign of Terror by the guillotine. Movie makers from the 30s made in England didn’t bat an eye at disturbing visuals or sounds, let me tell you that.


According to the trivia link on Amazon (yes, Amazon! And no, I’m still not trying to sell Amazon Prime to you and have not been paid for this reference. Ha! But I should be.), movie makers of the 30s also weren’t afraid to show a little skin. However, the folks in the United States weren’t pleased with that skin, based on what the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America said about the movie: “There is cleavage in Reel 1. There is cleavage in Reel 4. There is gross cleavage in Reel 8,” adding that it was the last film it would pass containing ‘scenes of offensive cleavage.'”

(My husband interjects here “That was during the time of the Hayes Code which was basically the movie industry censoring itself because parents were complaining.” Thank you movie and history trivia Rain Man. And actually, I like his little interjections of history, so don’t take this teasing too seriously).

I read this bit of trivia before I watched the movie so I immediately turned it back on to find out where the cleavage was, not because I enjoy cleavage of women (I don’t swing that way) but because I wanted to see if it was truly “offensive.”

My verdict? There was definitely- gasp!!!– dare I say it? Clear and fairly offensive cleavage from Miss Merle Oberon who leaned over quite seductively more than once! By the way, be sure to say cleavage in a very pompous or posh British tone or it doesn’t work at all for this conversation.

I actually kept watching the movie as a joke because of the cleavage trivia but then I got engrossed in the story and couldn’t stop watching it. The story is basically that aristocrats in France were being marched to the guillotine on a daily basis but some were being saved by an English man called the Scarlet Pimpernel, which had the ones doing the beheadings on high alert and on the lookout for him.

Cleavage or not I highly recommend the movie (on Amazon or wherever you choose to watch it.). The movie was well written and acted.

Here, I took a photo of the cleavage for you in case you’re curious….

I’m kidding. You can find the cleavage yourself and be appropriately horrified, even though it’s tame compared to what we see in today’s movies. The censors of the 30s would have a stroke if they saw what was on today’s movie screens.


Enough about the cleavage of the French, er, British pretending to be French. Also, I’m not writing the word cleavage ever again because I feel like a weirdo now. Plus, I’ve written the word how many times now in this post? Let’s not count.

We got more snow this past week but it looks like we will not have a white Christmas this year since the predicted temps are set at the mid-40s.  I’m okay with that since snow on Christmas could mean we can’t get to my parents to spend the day with them. We went to their house Friday so we could help decorate their Christmas tree.


I’ll probably ramble on about Christmas decorations later in the week.

I’m not doing great with my social media detox lately but it’s better than it could be. Last year my detox involved not logging on to any sites at all but this year I find myself logging on to check certain groups only. The issue with that is that I sometimes trail off of those groups and get stuck into the ridiculousness that is our world today.

(A beautiful painting of a newborn baby as Jesus and then a thread moaning over how white the baby is? Come on already! It was the sentiment behind the photo that mattered, not the perceived race of the baby! Social media makes us horrible, bitter, nasty, self-serving morons. I mean, how many more things we once enjoyed can everyone piss all over so we are all a bunch of depressed, uptight, self-righteous, finger-pointing, miserable people like most of Hollywood?)

I actually had to pull up the post I wrote last year where I made a list of suggestions of activities a person can engage in other than social media to remind me of activities I’ve been remiss on participating in because I have been distracted by the stupidity that is social media.

To try to take my mind off of everything with house selling and buying this weekend, I put on Michael Buble’s Christmas album this week (and did NOT look up to see what anyone’s opinion of it was), pulled out a book about Advent (also did NOT look up what anyone’s opinion of THAT was), kept working on my novel, watched more Dick VanDyke and read more light mysteries (The Cat Who) and romances.

For your enjoyment, because I was so excited to find it! Michael Buble’s Christmas Album and the Yuletide Log at the same time! Enjoy (or run away screaming if you aren’t a fan of either.)

So what were you reading, watching or doing this past week? Let me know in the comments.

Lisa R. Howeler is a writer and photographer from the “boondocks” who writes a little bit about a lot of things on her blog Boondock Ramblings. She’s published a fiction novel ‘A Story to Tell’ on Kindle and also provides stock images for bloggers and others at and

What I’ve been reading (suspense and meandering southern tales), and watching (vets in the English country side), and doing (not much)

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I usually read something light before bed but I’ve been having a hard time putting down Taken by Dee Henderson. It’s listed as a Christian suspense novel but the faith conversations are not too overt or cheesy. The story is captivating, yet also hard to read because of the subject. It surrounds the story of a 27-year old woman who was held captive for 11 years after being kidnapped at the age of 16 near her home in Chicago. She enlists the help of a retired Boston police officer, now private investigator, Matthew Danes, whose own daughter was kidnapped at one point and returned to him eight years later.

Together the two try to bring down the people who kidnapped her and also ran a child abduction and burglary ring. The story definitely isn’t light as Shannon, the woman, deals with her abduction but also some surprises in her family since she’s been missing. I found myself both disturbed and intrigued by the story but learned I needed to put it down before bed or I would have unpleasant dreams. Or more unpleasant than other nights. However, one night this week I didn’t read it before bed and I dreamt I was hanging out with Paris Hilton, so maybe I shouldn’t read lighter things at night.

As a writer myself, I don’t like to be critical of books, knowing a lot of hard work put into them but honestly there were entire chapters I would have completely dropped from Taken. There were definitely unnecessary parts written that did not move the story forward. One of those was a huge, unrealistic section about how much money a person could make from photographs of landscapes. Take it from this photographer, very few photographers are raking in millions for landscape images. The author probably should have done a little more research there. Or she did do some research and there is an untapped market out there that I’m completely missing out on because I don’t have an art agent. That’s always a possibility.

All in all it was a good book, but I’ll be cleaning my pallet with some different types of books this week – mainly The Hobbit, which my son and I are reading for his homeschool. I’m very behind on that but he’s cheating by listening to a reading of it I found on YouTube while reading along.

68251I’m also still in book two of the James Herriott books and watching the BBC show All Creatures Great and Small, which Amazon just included with our Britbox subscription. I haven’t watched the show since I was a teen so it’s fun for me to watch now that I’m older, though the makers of the show definitely made the show very realistic and graphic when it came to caring for the animals. I’m going to have to Google and see if those actors actually had to stick their hands up the rear ends of cows and pigs and horses for some of those scenes. While looking for a photo to go with this post, I saw that they are rebooting the series for PBS. I don’t plan to watch it as I think the original was so true to the books, especially the actor who played Siegfried.

I finished Book 6 of the Mitford Series, In This Mountain, and still have two books in the series that I haven’t read – Light From Heaven and Home to Holly Springs. Like I’ve said before I enjoy the Mitford books because they really are a meandering walk through the lives of the people of Mitford. Jan Karon really takes her time building up her characters through little snippets of their lives. There are a lot of characters too; so many that sometimes it is a little hard to keep up with them. I like having so many characters to get to know, though. My mom once said you can pick up a Mitford book and feel almost like you are coming home because of how endearing the characters are. You can also pick up any of the books and read them again and again and see something new every time because they are so dense.

In between reading books and watching shows based off books, I’m in the midst of rewriting and tightening my novel ‘A Story to Tell‘ which I have been featuring on the blog on Fridays and plan to publish for fun on Kindle next week. I’m also working on the follow-up to the story which I’ve tentatively entitled “Waking Up.” Soon someone will come across my writing and do to it what I just did to Dee Henderson’s. Ouch. I probably won’t enjoy that but I also recognize we have different tastes and just because we don’t like one aspect of a person’s writing style, doesn’t mean we don’t like their work overall. I should remind myself that I didn’t say I didn’t like Dee’s writing – I do like it. I just felt part of the descriptions and long pieces of dialogue were unnecessary but others may have found it was needed.

In between writing and reading (and watching) I’ve also been homeschooling my children (as mentioned above) and editing photos for my stock photography accounts (of which I make a little money with so I keep plugging away at it).

On my reading list for the next couple of weeks (a bit eclectic):

  • Fear is A Liar by Dr. Daniel B. Lancaster
  • Of Windmills and War by Diane Moody
  • Lead Me, Holy Spirit: Longing to Hear the Voice of God by Stormie Omartian
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling).

Some of the posts I’ve featured since I last posted an update for Sunday Salon include:

So how about all of you? What are you reading, watching, or up to these days? Let me know in the comments and if you are participating in the Sunday Salon on Readerbuzz’s blog (which this post is part of) leave me your link.