Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks-Films about Royalty

I'm back!! Last week I knew diddley squat about Indonesian films which is a bummer but this week brings on another great topic-films about Royalty. So head on over to Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have chosen and maybe, you may want to join:) I was ready to pick "The King and I" and then realized I may have already spoken about this film. I was thinking about Henry the 8th to The Kingsmen (Yes! I Like that film!:)). There are some films I have seen but so long ago I felt I could not talk about them without seeing them again. So, without further ado, here are my 3....


This, I recently saw over the summer when it was playing on TV. I was enthralled to say the least. It is wonderfully acted by Anna Neagle as the young Queen who stands up to her mother and the officials who feel they know better. It is a romance that is a true romance since she did fall in love with her distant German Cousin, Prince Albert. He, by the way, introduced the Christmas tree to England and many other customs. These two were true equals and I prefer this version to the the most recent film with Emily Blunt. The Blunt film seemed a bit more .....boring because it was mainly on the Romance part whereas this film was much more well-rounded not only dealing with the Romance but with Young Victoria coming to power and why she was such a great Queen.


This is the best version of all the Musketeer films out there in my book. It has action, comedy and a high dose of treachery. Michael York plays the young D'Artagnon who is taken under the wing by the 3 Musketeers played by Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and Frank Finlay. Faye Dunaway is evil which she plays well and Raquel Welch is quite fun as the klutzy love interest. A great swashbuckling affair that, for me, has no competition.

3.MRS. BROWN-1997

Here is a wonderfully acted film about Queen Victoria near the end of her years. This is, again, based on fact and many have speculated if the Queen and her Scottish rogue ever did have an affair or were just very close. What is known is that he spoke to her as no one else dared and she let him! Judi Dench shone in this role and came to real prominence around the world with this vehicle and Billy Connelly stood his ground when it came to acting. It is a quiet film about human frailty and that companionship is needed no matter what the age.

What films about Royalty have you seen?  Which royal family intrigues you to most? (I have a thing for the Tsar's especially Tzar Nicholas and his family).

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Wonderful World of Collection Agencies

I am writing about one of the issues people deal with on a daily basis in my Credit Counselling world and that is...Collection agencies. You may have or you may know someone who has had dealings with these beings from another world. I am speaking of the typical tactics people experience when dealing with Collection agencies plus the legislated rules that the majority of people are not aware exist. Simply put, Collection agencies and agents get away murder (well not quite but you get my drift) when it comes to collecting money owed.

This applies to Canadian rules and regulations so please look up any laws in your Country or State when it comes to the Wonderful World of Collections(please insert Disney music). When it comes to finances, have you ever felt like this:

You have fallen behind with your payments to the point where the creditor has now sent the debt to a collection agency. The Collection Agency calls and the usual banter ensues:

Mr. Hasslebastle: "Am I speaking to Jane Moneytight"
Ms. Moneytight: "Yes, may I ask who's calling?"
Mr. Hasslebastle: "I'm calling on behalf of  Bank of Money, you owe them $3,560.
Ms. Moneytight: "I know I do but it has been so difficult. You see my child got sick and I had to take time off work with no pay. The next thing is I lost my job and I am still waiting for Employment Insurance so things fell behind. I am trying..."
Mr. Hasslebastle: (interrupting) " Why don't you go to a bank and borrow the money or go to a family member? You know, If you give us $2.800 we will consider this debt paid"
Ms. Moneytight: "I tried going to the bank but they turned me down and my family doesn't have this money..."
Mr. Hasslebastle: "If you don't pay this amount owing by 5p.m. today, we will garnish your income! You better come up with this money or else!"
Ms. Moneytight: "I am trying to work with you, I can send you $100 per month?"
Mr. Hasslebastle: "Not acceptable! I better see this money or else."
Ms. Moneytight: (crying) "I'm trying the best I can. I have found it so difficult...please can you...
Mr. Hasslebastle: (interrupting yet again) " I am calling the courts to make sure we sue you.

He hangs up and Ms. Moneytight is left crying and in fear. This is typical, unfortunately, and also typical that people, like Ms. Moneytight have no idea of their rights.

What are their rights? Well here we go!

1. A collection agency must state who they are, where they are calling from and the amount you owe.

2. They must confirm they are speaking to the person who owes the debt. They can not speak to anyone else about your debt unless you give them written permission to do so. The collection agent can only say who he/she is and leave his/her number to call back.

3. The Collection agents all have registration numbers, so you can ask for their number and they must give it.

4. If all they do is call, you do not know, truthfully, who they are, they must send one of their form letters to confirm they are collecting on the debt.

5. They can call between 7am and 9pm but not before or after or on a Statutory holiday. They can call on a Sunday but only between the hours of 1pm and 5pm.

6. They can only call 3 times per week! If they talk to you, someone else or leave a voicemail, that does constitute 1 call.

7. If you give them your number but they continue to call you at work or any other number, it is considered harassment.

8. If they scream, yell on the phone, are demeaning or give misleading information, it is considered harassment.

9. They can not give excessive, undue or unreasonable pressure. (Insert laugh here since this is their norm)

They break these rules and regulations on a constant basis but you have rights! You can contact the Ministry of Consumer Services at follow the links for Collection Agencies and make a complaint right on line if necessary. The Ministry must follow up each complaint. The Collection agencies can be find up to $25,000, they can lose the license to operate and the collection agent can lose their job. The last has certainly happened more than once.

Collection agents can make bonuses on top of their regular income which is an incentive....sad but true. How does one combat these calls?

1. Document every call! Get their name, registration #, where they are calling from and what was stated in the call. If you can tape the call-Tape the call and tell them that!

2. Never promise something you can't do no matter how obnoxious they become. If all you can pay is $5 per month, then don't promise $10

3. Remain as calm and business like as possible. If you can, talk like a Robot-Data like (for all Star Trek fans out there). Talk in the same monotone voice, say ""I am"  or "I have" instead of "I'm" or "I've". Pronounce every letter ie: I am going to Toronto tomorrow" instead of  "I'm goin' to Turono temorro". Collection agents are on the phones daily so they can sense fear in one's voice-don't let them sense it.

4. If you promise a certain amount, follow the call up with a letter to them and state how much you can send, in what manner and what time of the month you can send it and then stick to it! Send the money! Almost every single time, they take the money and, if they take it, they have accepted it.

5. Place, in the letter, where you can be reached and that you will keep them posted because they can't call any other number or it can be considered harassment.

6. If you actually get court papers, you have the right to defend yourself so go to the court house and file a defense with Small Claims Court. It costs $45 but you will stop any garnishments. If a hearing is set, you can show all the information including the payments you sent to them, the judge usually sides with you. If you are on Employment Insurance, CPP or Disability, they can't garnish your income.

Always be careful when someone calls saying they are a collection agent as there are many fraud cases out there who claim to be Collection agencies and they are not. I have had clients who have paid only to find out that the so-called collection agency is an empty lot. Make sure you have something in writing from their agency first before sending any payments.  Remember, too, that there are always wonderful services like our non-profit agency that can help and assist.

This is lengthy but I felt the need to write this information since so many people are dealing with financial stress. Collection Agencies can become a real stress to many, many people. The more knowledge you attain, the better prepared you are.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inspired by a....Bowling Ball!

Alphabet Challenge- Tis The Season
52 Christmas Cards-Green and Purple(closed now-missed it-dang!)
Craft Your Passion-Anything Goes
CHNC-Anything Goes as long as it is Christmas
Eclectic Ellapu-Pink Team-Balloons, Banners or Bows
Simon Says-Christmas
Sparkles Christmas Challenge-Christmas Decorations
Whimsy- Anything Goes-Holidays

So, a couple of weeks back, the lovely Jo at Jo on Food, Life and a Scent of Chocolate, who can't wait for bowling each week had a picture up of a bowling ball. I am not sure if this is her own Bowling ball but I bet it is. I loved the swirly look of white and purple on the ball and immediately thought of a Christmas card. Yup, her bowling ball was my inspiration. Also I had seen a beautiful card, over at 52 Christmas cards, created by one of the design team members, Fabiola, who I just had to mean emulate:) I think her card is nicer but that is just me. I must take in the Insecure Writer's Support Group motto by not doubting.

I enjoyed making this card by, first, sponging shades of purple and green on a white background. I took purple distress ink, wet it down and, with a brush, made the swirls on a cut out circle, added white sparkle and the silver stickles. I stamped a bough branch a couple of time plus added stickles on the branches. I used pop up dots to have the ornament hang from the branch and added a silver string and made a bow! I then mounted it on green and purple cardstock. I hope you like it Jo:)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

No Thursday Movie Picks this week

Hello all! So I am not participating over at Thursday Movie picks this week because the topic is South East Asian films. Um......I know nuttin' 'bout this. I will enjoy seeing what other bloggers have picked but I am 0 for whatever when it comes to this theme.

I decided to discuss a few flicks I have seen. I have seen quite a few actually but I am just going to talk about a few. Some are good, none are great and one is horrible. Oh and they are all new!


This  is a post World War 1 film so not a true war film. It is actually more about love, journeys and forgiveness. It takes place in Australia where a father finds out his 3 boys are missing and considered dead. His wife, beyond grief, commits suicide leaving the man to travel to find his boys and bring them home. Russell Crowe is my hubby's favourite modern actor and I enjoy him also ( the actor...and my man but that is too TMI). He not only acts in this film but he directed it as well. It is flawed and it is not a great film but it is a good movie. I especially love how honorable the man is to his wife's wishes and his determination to find his sons. A worthy watch.


My hubby and I just watched this film last night. We heard wonderful things about this film and Blythe Danner's acting performance. Blythe Danner was in a M.A.S.H. episode playing a nurse and Hawkeye's love of his life. She is in Parenthood and happens to be the mother of the stick, Gwyneth Paltrow. Anyways, she plays an older lady, stuck in a rut, enjoying her wine a bit too much who sees her friends often to play cards and golf. Her life changes when she meets the very hunky man, Sam Elliott (I always had the hots for him) and we watch her on her journey. It is a small film with good names in the film like Rhea Perlman and June Squib. It is a comedy drama and I found it enjoyable but, like my hubby, I thought another actress would have played the lead better, like Jessica Lange. My favourite scene is when the 4 gals decide to enjoy some "Woodstock" memories ending up buying lots of junk food at the grocery store. Another movie worth seeing-not great but nice to watch.

3. SPY-2015

Comedy is tricky because what one finds funny another finds rude or boring. My hubby and I laughed so hard at this movie. No it's not going to win any awards but who the Fluck (see Pat Hatt:)) cares? It is a fun take on the Bond movies and I love how they mess with the characters Jason Statham usually plays. It is funny and we had a fun night watching it. It is over the top as it should be.


It should be called "Hot Mess". Lousy flick. Blechhhhh Can the people who make these posters photoshop these gals any more? Witherspoon overacts her by the book naive numbnut character while Vergara is sounding more and more like Charo. There are a few scenes where we laughed...a little but mainly groaning. If someone said to watch this film again, you will see me pursue my ass in the other direction.

I will be back next week with my usual picks. Have a fab day!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Mock Squid Soup Film Society-Mr. Holland's Opus

Another month has passed-I can't believe it's not butter!  Oops sorry, I can't believe It's November already and soon I'll be baking, decorating, shopping, gift wrapping and going crazy. Typical for all of us:)  Anyhoo, over at Mock and The Armchair Squid, we get to choose, from a ever-growing list, a film that another member has already written about. I chose.....


I saw this film in the theatres, Holy time warp Batman!, 20 years ago. I thought it was time for a revisit. Richard Dreyfuss (of Jaws fame) carries the film. He is, basically, in almost every shot. It starts off in 1964, which is a great year (I was born that year), when this would be composer decides to take a teaching job to pay the bills. He is reluctant to teach because his love is composing but, over the years, he invests so much of his time and heart into his job and to his students that his life changes in many ways- he inspires his students and is inspired by them. It is a feel good picture.

Dreyfuss was up for an Oscar because he carried this film but he had some great competition and I am actually glad he did not win since he was up against Nicolas Cage for Leaving Las Vegas (He won) and Sean Penn for Dead Man Walking. My favourite character is the phys-ed teacher and coach played by Jay Thomas(whatever happened to him?).

The music is excellent since you go through the 1960's all the way up to the late 80's (I think). It makes me think about getting the CD (yup I still buy those). The kids  go from looking sweet and so well dressed to...not, but the kids are all pretty nice. Something that is not realistic.

His final piece, the piece that he has been working on for 30 years finally is heard and lasts all of 2 minutes-Hahahaaaa. If I was his wife I would be smacking him with my purse thinking "After 30 years that's all you came up with you idiot!"  but he is able to showcase something that he loves to the school and kids he grew to love. It is without doubt sentimental and schmalzy but that's ok. I forgive  the schmalz since we all need this from time to time.

In the end, if you love music and love a nice movie you will like this one and, let's face it, we all wish we had a teacher like this. Some of us have been lucky to have had one.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks-Films about Music

So, this week over at Wandering Through the Shelves, the topic is films about Music/Making Music/Musicians (no Musicals or bios about about real life Musicians). Oh I am skipping next week's entry since it is about films from South-East Asia...I know nadda, nyet, nuttin about those films. No Clue so I may just write about something else:)

I had to think for a bit on this one and let me tell you, some brain cells were sacrificed in this doesn't take much. Here are my 3


A silent movie!? About music?? Yup and a great one at that, thanks to the legendary performance of Lon Chaney (Snr). This film has been remade countless times with various changes in the plot mainly, making the actual phantom more of a victim. The reason? Lon Chaney's performance that's why! The phantom hears the beautiful operatic voice of a young lady whom he deems must be a star and quite rightly. He eventually kidnaps her and brings her to his underground lair under the Paris Opera. The scene when Mary Philbin unmasks Chaney still sends goosebumps. Chaney went through horrible pain to achieve the effects he wanted for his film roles as well as try to be as close to how the book described his characters. In this film he inserted wire in his nostrils and uptilted his nose with fishskin pulled up. Yikes!


I stumbled across this movie when I was a young teen and fell in love with it. It came on TV quite frequently and I watched it every chance I could. It is all about a young delinquent who, by the power of music, changes his life forever. He is brilliant with the violin and finds a home in a place dedicated to music. Of course the home has a cash shortfall and may be closing. The great violinist, Jascha Heifetz is centre stage in this movie. It resonated with me because no one listened to the boy and he had to struggle but the power of music got him through the toughest of times.


Hold the phone! Yes I am showing a recent picture. I have not fallen off the stool but was really impressed with this movie. I don't think I am cheating either because, even though it shows people that actually existed like the great Etta James, it is more about the struggle to keep this music label alive featuring African American Artists. The record label was started by a Polish man of Jewish decent and shows the struggles of the label and yes the people behind it. OK If I am cheating...only slightly, don't yell....I am just bending the rules a bit and for a film that deserves more love than it got. As with any film based on something historical, you know things will be omitted or twisted, but the acting is quite good and the singing is excellent.

What films would you pick?  I omitted one I could have picked but will talk about it on Friday:)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Day to Remember....

Craft Your Passion-Always Anything Goes

Today is Remembrance Day...a very humbling day. Canada really showed themselves to be a nation in World War 1 and the poem, "In Flander's Fields" represents that. My mom's first name is Elfriede. (El-free-deh). Her Grandmother named her-Elf, in German, means 11 (11th month of the 11th day of the 11th hour) and Friede means Freedom.

My Dad fought in World War 2 and was wounded near the end of the war. He was part of the liberation of Holland. He always made sure to have no one come in for work on November 11th (we owned a sawmill). He was an avid reader of history especially the Wars. This card is for my dad, who died when I was 23 and too young to ask him questions about his war time experience.

This card is also my inspiration from the recent Battle of the Bands. The song is "I was only 19" and one can find this over at Mike's Ramblings.  I had no poppy stamp so I used roses which I stamped in black, on watercolour paper, and embossed in a black sparkle. I used my tombow markers and did some watercolour effect. I stamped the angels on glossy white and coloured them with Tombows as well. I chose sombre colours trying to reflect the angels we see at cemeteries. I embossed the black card and used perfect pearls to highlight around it.

To all the brave souls past and present-I humbly bow my head in deep respect.

Glitter and Sparkle-Use some red
Happy Little Stampers-November Sketch Challenge
Crafty Creations-Make it colourful

This is more upbeat obviously. I had some fun with alcohol....alcohol inks, cuddlebug, sizzex machine and some crystals. The picture makes the base colour look orange when it is, in fact, red. I started to drink actual alcohol trying to make the blasted bow:)

Christmas Cards All Year Round-Christmas Trees
Crafty Hazelnut Christmas Challenge- Bright and Sparkly
CASE Christmas-Case their card-be inspired

This was fun! I stamped the white cardstock with this deer image in a blue (Me use blue? Who Knew? Oh,) I adhered it to the light blue cardstock. The trees were cut from sparkly white paper using the sizzex machine and placed on the card with pop up dots and I added the red bow and stickles to the trees in the centre..

Crafty Hazelnut Christmas Challenge 2-Always Christmas Anything Goes
Whimsy Stamps Challenge-Fall Colours or Christmas

Why not white! It's bright. Shimmery white pearl paper, The cuddlebug and sizzex machine to create the embossing and poinsettia and finish it off with pearls. Obviously, I went Christmas themed here:)

Happy hump day...not humping day...Hump (oops the devil made me write it)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks-Secret Agents and Spy Films

Another week and the first Thursday in November to pick three films that work with the topic which is Spy Films and/or Secret Agents (That song Secret Agent Man is going through my head right now-Love the British TV show and The Prisoner). Head on over to Wandering Through the Shelves to see what the other bloggers have chosen.

I love spy films. I could have picked so many from The Bourne films to the Jack Ryan Films, name it! I should call myself a new name, you can call me...Ta-Tania...Ta-Tania Enassenwhopper. OK so I am no Pussy Galore, Plenty O'Toole or Ivana Humpalot but then that name can still work:)


This is a great post war spy intrigue film. I consider it a spy film since it takes place post World War 2 Berlin where intrigue was rife at this time and tensions were high between East and West. James Mason plays a man caught between 2 forces who tries to find a way to be able to stay in the West and not in jail. When a British diplomat's sister is taken by the East's spies by mistake, Mason's character is her only hope to get her back safely to the West. I love the music in this film. This film is rare and has not been released on DVD in North America which is a crime!


This is one disturbing film that was not seen for over 30 years either because Sinatra decided not have it shown or the studio just didn't show it due to lack of interest. I had heard it was banned due to the content. Whatever the reason, it was not re-shown until the late 1980's. A troubled war hero is used as a pawn by the Communists to infiltrate high levels of government. Brainwashing, torture, PTSD are all involved in this film and it is riveting. Angela Lansbury, of Murder She wrote fame, plays one nasty mother.


You think I would not post a James Bond film? Listen, he is an egotistical, alcoholic whose dick will probably fall off due to gangrene and his lungs will implode from his smoking but...who cares! It's fun and the gals all swoon for him while he finds the bad guys. I always love the opening numbers and Tom Jones belts out the main theme. It also introduces another Bond music that is played during the action sequences, the highlight being under the water. I had to include a Bond film even though my favourite opening is not from the Bond films but from a Leslie Nielsen parody called Spy Hard:)

Gosh I could have picked so many more....

Monday, November 2, 2015

Maureen O'Hara

Maureen O'Hara was born in Ireland on August 17, 1920 and just passed away on October 24, 2015. She was strong, beautiful with her red hair and green eyes, and about the only woman allowed in the Men's club of John Ford's group that included John Wayne and Ward Bond.

She is one of my all time favourite leading actresses and one woman I wish I could have met. It is a shame that Hollywood of today talks more about overly botoxed idiots that never show any ounce of working than speak of someone with such class, grace and wonder like Maureen O'Hara, who, incidentally, could sing as well.

I have put together a list of my favourite top 11 films I have seen her in. There are some films I have not seen like "The Black Swan" or The Spanish Main," but I think I still put together a pretty decent list that I hope, some of you, will get the chance to see some of these one day. So here is my list:

11. BIG JAKE-1971- She had a small part in this film but yet you could feel the warmth and genuine respect she and John Wayne had for each other. She plays his estranged wife who has requested for him to find their grandson.  A wonderful western.

10. THE RARE BREED-1966- She stars with both James Stewart and Brian Keith in this film that has some comedic overtones. Her daughter has trained their bull, meant to produce new stock, to come when whistled for. Of course, Ms. O'Hara is the object of affection from both Stewart's and Keith's characters. This film is not shown much, which is a shame.

9. THE PARENT TRAP- 1961- This is a famous Disney film where twin girls try to reunite their divorced parents.  It is a fun movie to watch especially with Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith as the parents. By the way, Maureen O'Hara was not too happy with Disney.

8.  RIO GRANDE-1950- This film is the first of 5 films she made with John Wayne and she loved him from the start...and vice-versa. She plays his estranged wife come to take her son back who has joined the regiment his father leads. A great western showing a beautiful tenderness between the 2 leads.

7. MR. HOBBS TAKES A VACATION-1962- James Stewart takes his wife, Maureen O'Hara and their brood to a seaside cottage. It is fun and a very pleasant comedy with teens being frisky as only a G rated movie can show other words, unrealistic, but it is so much fun.

6. ONLY THE LONELY-1991- I have not seen this film in a long time but yet it is one of the sweetest that John Candy ever made. He plays O'Hara's son who falls in love with a cosmetician who works in a funeral home. His mom is not pleased with her son's romance even though her son seems very happy with his new girlfriend. In turn, Anthony Quinn plays a neighbour who has the hots for the mom. On a side note, John Candy had a big trailer compared to the much smaller one for Maureen O'Hara. He requested the executroids to give her the same size trailer but they stated the budget wouldn't allow it. Candy gave her his trailer and took the much smaller one. When the Execs found out, they gave him a new trailer!

5. HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY-1941- A great John Ford non-western showing a small village and the family living in this village and working in the mines. Maureen O'Hara is the beautiful daughter who falls in love with the local  minister and vice-versa. This won the Oscar that year over Citizen Kane. Even if Citizen Kane is the better film, this should not diminish how good this film is.

4. MCLINTOCK-1963- What a fun, rousing western! Of course she plays the estranged wife of John Wayne who has come back to town and knows how to rattle his chains! He knows how to do the same and they know how to "duke" it out. She often did most of her own stunts so the famous mud scene has most of the actors doing the stunts themselves although she stated that falling from the ladder into the horse's trough was the most dangerous.

3. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME-1939- She plays the beguilingly beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda to Charles Laughton's hunchback. Charles Laughton actually discovered her and brought her to Hollywood with this being one of her first films. This film still makes me tear up and is my favourite of all the remakes (sorry Lon Chaney).

2. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET-1947- We all know this classic and who else could play the beautiful, independent mom in charge of many people than Maureen O'Hara. She plays the scenes with such conviction and can show authority and compassion equally.

1. THE QUIET MAN-1952- Oh of course this would be #1!! She was never more beautiful, starring in a John Ford film with all the favourites in it including John Wayne who falls for the beautiful maiden. He plays a former boxer who refuses to fight. She falls for him but feels he is a coward for not fighting for her dowry that her brother refuses to give. It all culminates in a wonderful drag out fight. Wayne's character literally drags O'Hara off the train, through the fields over cow doo-doo to "talk" to her brother. I found that scene one of the most romantic moments!

So there is my top 11. I could not do only 10.

Here she is singing Danny Boy...enjoy.