August 2008

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Do you know how old you will be when you grow up?  Do you know who you are now?  If presented to you, would you take the opportunity to be someone else?

These are just a few of the questions explored in Michelangelo Antonioni’s beautiful and beguiling filmThe Passenger, released in 1975.

I like to think of this film like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, with Jack Nicholson in the lead role.  It is Jack before he was “Jack.”   Smooth, all the mannerisms and quirks we’ve come to expect from him are only shimmers on the horizon, scarcely perceptible to this viewer’s eye.  He is handsome, too, shirtless and wiry, very easy on the eyes.

As our caterpillar, he’s David Locke, an award winning journalist, devouring life, but never really appreciating all that he has and sees.  He’s trudging around the Sahara, hungry for a story, looking for the right person, looking for himself.  Despite his critical success and his marriage, he is impatient, edgy – immature.

Then, when a man bearing a certain resemblance to David dies, he assumes his identity, faking his own death, entering the chrysalis and the shady world of arms dealing.  Still somewhat unsure of himself, he proceeds slowly, traveling around Europe, dodging people who know him from his past life, and those who believe he is the new man.

When the butterfly finally emerges, it is with beauty, conviction, and self assurance.  This is ME.  This is what I do.  Such a glorious journey.


This is a little something that I bought from the Etsy seller Jennifer Morris Beads.  Don’t you love the pretty packaging?

Though all of her work is amazing, I could not take my eyes off this piece.  I love the bright blue and brassy combination, a little funky, very Colleen. Then I caught the name, rather serendipitously, it is called “Soft Parade,” also the name of a Doors album.  You may recall that I kind of like their music. That pretty much sealed the deal.

I had her make it into a brooch, and it is perfect.  My picture does it no justice, so I’ll try to wear it the next time I see you.  For now, here is a link to her picture of it.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find something for yourself while you are there.

Thank you Coveiter for pointing me in her direction!

Ahh, the Little Man.  A few weeks ago, he hurt his right back hip pretty badly.  Who knows how, he gets into all sorts of mischief.  Anyway, the cutie was gimping around the house, a source of mirth, wonder, and sadness.  Why?  Well, sometimes, he would be in so much pain that he thought something else was causing it (a ghost maybe – we need Ghostbusters!), and, in his mind, thought that if he hissed at the offender that the pain would go away.  Sadly, it didn’t.

So we decided that a little indoor R & R was just what he needed to heal his wound.  The problem was that after a couple of days, he really wanted to go outside, pleading at the back door, scratching at the glass, or otherwise laying in prostrations that made it easy for him to trip us and exit.  So, thinking, golly, if he wants to go out this badly, he can’t be in that much pain, we let him go.

We were wrong.  The gimp got worse and he hissed at the invisible entity more and more.  Lesson learned.  He could not go outside, no matter how much he pleaded or tried to trip us on the way out the door.  It took ten agonizing days of him meowing his little heart out, and me cuddling him as I left, giving him variations on these words of encouragement:

“Your body is healing Little Man.  You’ve got to stay inside until you quit hissing at yourself.”

“I know this feels like punishment Doodie, but Mama loves you and wants you to get better, so no matter how much you meow, you cannot go outside.”

“A few more days of inside time and you’ll be right as rain my sweet boy.”

The funny thing was, as this cat healing was going on, I was going through my own struggle with my cleanse.  Boy did I want some sugar!  Gimme! Gimme!  So I made some rice pudding with coconut milk and added sorghum and brown rice syrups to sweeten it because this wasn’t cheating.  It wasn’t cane sugar.

You bet I ate that pudding up, gobble, gobble, gobble, and, like Milo being let out too soon, I got sick.  I felt like the guy in the Alka-Seltzer commercial, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”  My tummy went topsy-turvy and I wished and I wished that I hadn’t eaten it.

Then I looked at Milo, curled up at my feet, and realized that it was like the first time I let him out.  Message received.  So, not surprisingly, I’m talking to myself now:

“Your body is healing, Colleen.  You can’t have those sweets until you are all better.  Even then, just a little.”

“I know this feels like punishment sometimes, but I want to feel better, so now matter how much I want a sweet, I cannot have one.”

“In four more weeks, you’ll be right as rain.  Then you can have a little sugar.”

I guess it is just one of those times of grace.  The Little Man got hurt so he could teach me about my own healing.  Thanks, Boo, Mama loves you, too.


Hello, Mars Blackmon here.  Not really, it’s just me, Colleen, but the title fit today’s topic, and I’ve got a soft spot for Spike as Mars, especially with the glasses.  Well, to be honest, Mr. Lee’s spectacles are always pretty spectacular (HA!).  Seriously, they are.  The man’s got good taste.

I loved those Nike commercials when I was in high school.  I even had the poster with Michael Jordan palming Mars’ head like a basketball, his feet suspended in the air.  Very cool.

But that isn’t what this post is about.  It IS the shoes.  I love them!  Loafers, flats, and wedge styles being my favorite, but I also wear very practical Birkenstocks and sandals around the house.  They’re not very cute, but they keep my feet happy.

Almost as much as I love shoes, I love a good deal, scoffing at the idea of paying full price.  This photo is my latest batch of exceptional bargains from Nordstrom Rack.  I paid $110 for all three when the original prices would have had me spending $395!  That’s only 28% – a banner day!

My other favorite spot for bargain prices, and not just on shoes, is Sierra Trading Post (  I’ve gotten nearly all of my Birkenstocks there and usually at 60 – 70% off retail, not too shabby.

Three cheers to Mars, happy feet, and good deals!

Greetings Gentle Readers,

I don’t remember where I first saw that written, but I have always loved it.  Calling a reader gentle feels so kind and inviting, like home.  When I think about it, this isn’t far from the truth.  In this space, we are all Under a Red Roof.

Anyway, welcome to my very first formal category: Spotlighting.  Each Friday, I will focus on some aspect of film-making, books and reading, or music.  I might tell you about a movie (or, like today, an actor), a book that I love, or the soundtrack playing in my head.  I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts about topics that really get me jazzed.  I hope you enjoy it, too.




The first time I saw Lee Pace was on one of my all-time favorite television shows to not get a chance – Wonderfalls.  He played Jaye Tyler’s underachieving big brother Aaron.  Despite being a “genius,” he lived with his parents, had no job, and a penchant for dirty movies.  I liked his interactions with Jaye and the rest of the family, and found the character and the acting very authentic.

Since Wonderfalls, I’ve seen Mr. Pace in a host of other roles, representing a marvelously broad range of characters.  He was rather creepy in Infamous, the second film about Truman Capote and his quest to write In Cold Blood.  I recoiled every time his slimy murderer with scarcely a hit of remorse came on screen.  In another film I saw with my movie buddy Bridget, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, he played the loyal and dedicated ex-boyfriend Michael Pardue.  He’s the one who really loves the heroine Delysia Lafosse – plays no games, but does tickle the ivories and sing.  He’s the one I’d want, too.

In another television series, which appears to have a chance – Pushing Daisies, he is Ned, the handsome and charming Piemaker, the man who can bring the dead back to life with a touch, but sadly, only once, or they are dead again.  The show and his character are a little old fashioned (a Lincoln Continental with suicide doors! The height of coolness and sophistication, my friends), yet have a modern edge, with a streak of mischievousness and sentimentality – a bit like this writer.

Perhaps it was the magic of that evening, but until I saw him in The Fall last week, I did not take him very seriously.  Yes, I thought he was fine and his work true, but that is all.  Were it not for his great skill in this film, I would only have seen Lee Pace, the guy from those other things I like.  Instead, I watched the broken Roy suffer through his losses, retreat into utter darkness and despair, and come out hopeful and willing to see the world with new eyes (and me to see this actor with new ones as well). 

Well done, Mr. Pace, and thank you for a magical time at the movies.

p.s. You look great in eye-liner.

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