Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Loveliness gained.

Do you ever have days where, even though you didn’t get a thing done you really needed to; meant to, they were simply scrumptious? Today is that for me.

I had had a nice cappuccino, and was doing a little of this and a little of that before I got down to the “meat” of the day. In the midst of this, the Harry Potter books read by Stephen Fry had finally downloaded.

First of all, yes I’m a Harry Potter geek. Here's the proof...

If you’ve been reading, you also know I’ve a thing for Stephen Fry. He’s just… kind, adorable, debonair, and seems Good. He’s not my usual type (and thank goodness, as he’s gay), but his honest, vibrant, and even gentle ways are so seductive. Anyway, as a result of this fixation, I’m finding out about all sorts of projects he’s involved in, like reading the Harry Potter books.

So this morning when the bubble popped up saying the download was complete, I thought, oh why not listen for a few minutes while I deal with these odds and ends. I thought ten minutes, tops, before I need to get on with it. Um. About three hours later, I'm still sitting there, wrapped. And grinning. The entire three hours – six chapters, mind – grinning! It was a bit of heaven. Utterly divine.

I mean, he IS British, so he can do the various accents. But beyond enjoying the stories I love read so well, knowing it was him gave my imagination leave to me picturing his expressions as he sat there reading.

I’m not someone who can usually do audiobooks because I’m an intensely visual person. For instance, I always have to take copious notes for a lecture to stick. You tell me directions I won’t have a clue what to do and will most certainly get lost, however, you write them down and I read it once through, I’ll nearly always remember. It’s just the way I’m wired.

But with these books it’s different. I’ve read them multiple times – more than any other books in my life, truth be told. Therefore I know the stories, have seen the words, so they stick. But I’ve a feeling that if it were always Stephen Fry reading, I’d get it even if it were a first go around!

At the end of the sixth chapter I thought I’d at least go out and do my walk through the park for exercise. I’d been out there maybe ten minutes when it started raining. Seriously, it was fantastic. I LOVE this. I had started my walk still grinning from listening to the book, completely filled with delight, and now the rain just enhanced it. I know for most that’d be so off-putting, but I adore rain, so it was perfect.

I was inspired, delighted, and gaining energy. And now I’m home and I can’t wait to take a nice hot shower, get all cozy, and window fully open so I can continue to listen to the rain, indulge some more in Stephen and Harry! Hooray!

Nothing accomplished, loveliness gained.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The dream and me.

Goals are strange, often illusive things. We aspire to them, we try to tackle them, we aim for them, we fight for them, and every so often, we achieve them. Lately, I’ve been trying to determine what I need to make that every-so-often be simply every.

In saying this, I don’t mean to say that I want to have everything I ever desired. Honestly, that’d be quite cumbersome. Rather, I’ve been evaluating what the core desires in me are and then figuring out how to make them absolutes. No more “one day,” but rather, “on my way.”

Some of you know through reading here, as well as perhaps through personal interactions, that my deepest longings rest in writing and in experiencing. So, I want to travel the world not to have done the rounds and be able to say “I’ve been there,” but because I want to go and experience that culture, interact with those people, and see life from their perspective. I want the learning and growing of that; I long for the understanding of that. There is nothing deeper in me than this desire to experience every people group in every corner of the world… and to connect with them.

I don’t much care how it happens. I just know it MUST happen.

The writing is my wanting to share those comical moments when two cultures just don’t quite get the other. Sort of that “lost in translation” aspect. Not, I must clarify, to poke fun at either culture, but to show the humor in their meeting and the process of connecting. Then, too, expressing the beauty of these connections and the delight of discovery of… well, friends.

I guess my goal is sort of a cultural anthropologist on speed. Right, I do know that an anthropologist tries to observe more than interact, but still what I seek is understanding and connection on that deeper level that both embraces and transcends cultures.

This passion, this intense focus, that comes with this rather unusual goal is something that cannot be mollified or quelched. In that, however, it is isolating. Many people admire such vision and think they share it, but of these few really want it in practice, and even fewer really understand it. My family cannot really understand it. And, in truth, not understanding this means not understanding me at my core.

My dream is not the accepted “American Dream.” Even on book websites I have been called names and berated and admonished (and those are only the nice things) for these goals. The most harsh are the people that had similar divergent dreams, but fell into routine or made choices that forced them to no longer be able to easily pursue their dreams, so they chided and mocked me.

I, however, have not, will not give in to status quo. It’s a beautiful thing if that’s your dream. It’s my brother’s dream – a home of his own, a wife and a family to raise up in it, the traditional job scenario, active in the local church. I’m so incredibly joy-filled that he has achieved so much of this. But it’s not my dream. It simply never will be. I don’t like the idea of settling down. It makes my bum itch just thinking about it.

Also, I will not apologize for going for it. I won’t even apologize if I fail at it – more than once, if it comes to that, in order to attain it. Because it’s about me going for MY dream, not coming ‘round to someone else’s. And I do seek whatever means and wisdom that is out there to help me find that path to my goal. So in all this, I’m determining that this one will NOT be “the one that got away.”


Hello? [tap-tap-tap] Is this thing on?

Not a single comment on the last three posts. Did I forget deodorant? Does my breath stink? Anyway, just checking.

I sort of feel untethered and adrift in a vast ocean without an occasional check-in from someone. Hope each of you are well and having a great start to the week.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The devious nature of inanimate objects.

I love books. Passionately. I do NOT, however, love mass market books. You know the ones – 4” x 6 3/4”, horrid rough and dark pages, smells disgusting, frustrating to keep open (especially if it’s a long one), yellow quickly (like as you read it). I abhor them.

No really, I think they are evil. Well, since last night I do. You see, I was reading one, ignoring my sore hand from holding the nearly 800 page volume open and trying not to destroy the spine, while laying on my stomach. Because I was leaning on my elbows, I was holding it closer to my face than when I’m sitting properly.

Now, I already know that holding one of these Godforsaken volumes means that my hands get so dry touching those pages that even after I’ve put the volume down for the day, when I apply lotion, within two minutes I need more as my skin is still parched. That’s horrible.

But it’s nothing to last night. Because the book was closer to my face, I was breathing in that… shite. Apparently something – I can’t begin to guess what exactly – from the pages of the book was inhaled and imbedded in my lung. I was hacking almost all night. Whatever I did, nothing seemed to sooth it. It was like that one molecule was sucking out all the moisture in my chest. I was barking like a sea lion. The gallon of water did nothing (except make me need to pee), covering my mouth in order to breath in the warm moisture of my own breath did nothing, finally the third Sucrets allowed me to get to sleep.

I want to chuck this book and all the other mass market volumes I own at the person who came up with such an abhorrent idea. Cheap bastard. Except, I want to find out what happens in the story. I’m torn.

One thing is for sure, I’m gathering all the ones I’ve read that don’t have sentimental value and am selling them to the used bookstore. I don’t want to wake up to find that while I was sleeping the mass market paperbacks attacked and left me completely void of moisture – meaning I’m cracking everywhere so that when a breeze comes through the open window, I blow away like dust. Like I said, EVIL.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's the little things.

A couple of interesting experiences from the last few days…

Scene One:

I was in my local Mexican hole-in-the-wall. It’s the kind where it’s clean and colorful inside, with a television always on a Spanish speaking station – that day’s show was “El Gordo y La Flaca” (the fat and the skinny). The food is truly authentic to the point that during the time I was in the restaurant for a quick lunch, easily twenty Hispanic people either dined in or took out. I was, in fact, the only white person there. That is until The Grannies.

Just as I was finishing up my amazing fish taco and horchata, three older ladies entered. One of them charged in yelling “HOLA” (she pronounced it hoe-lah). The other two scurried up behind as she said in one of the worst gringo accents ever, "¿Cómo estás?" The cook/owner kindly responded in simple Spanish, but it seemed those three words were about the extent of her Spanish vocabulary.

I went about the business of devouring more of the taco when bits of the continuing conversation wafted my way. She was explaining to her two companions what a burrito is and what a taco is. Now here in California, well, you’re just sort of born with that knowledge. Like knowing your cheeses if you’re from Wisconsin. It’s just the way of [your] world.

Still, I ate on. But I was again sucked in when one of the followers said in a British accent, “Guacamole,” (pronounced something akin to that amusement center game “Whack-a-Mole”), “that’s made with avocados, yes?” When the answer came in the affirmative, she said, “I’ll have this.” She then points to an item on the menu which is on the wall outside of the kitchen. So the person taking the order had no idea what she was referring to and just looked utterly dumbfounded when none of the three offered a further explanation as to what “this” was.

Well, that was pretty much it for me, I mean I’m sure they said and did loads of other funny things before they took their seats, but frankly I got the giggles. The three Mexicans at the next table looked at me… sitting alone… laughing... but I was giggling too hard to explain, so I vaguely gestured toward the ladies and just kept looking the fool. It was worth it. I was sorry I was done and had to be off.

Scene Two:

I was walking in the park again today. Third day in a row, fourth this week, so I’m feeling really good about it. Sunday is obviously more crowded than the other days (even Saturdays, actually). I’ve recently learned this breathing technique to do, and it’s especially good when walking. Without getting into it, I’ll just say it involves intaking all your air through your nose. Being spring, over the last few days this has been delightful. It’s a large park with a lake, and I walk the whole of it, so there are loads of lovely, fresh smells with everything blooming.

I was about two thirds of the way through the walk when, in the traffic of people on the trails, walking toward me were a man and a lady. Now, I must confess I don’t have any idea what the guy looked like because my eyes went straight to the lady’s fake boobs. They couldn’t help it, my eyes. Now, this lady was dressed like someone from Beverly Hills would dress if they were pretending to workout – all high end clothing, none of which would actually hold up to any real excerpted activity, and no actual bra underneath her purple designer spandex-with-spaghetti-strap top (yet oversized-boobs-on-tine-body are fixed in place). Her hair is big, and she’s even holding a designer water. Yet, somehow if it weren’t for the boobs, she’d not look so obviously over-done. Of course, with the exception of the boobs, having only had a glance, none of this processed until I'd passed them.

But the passing was the thing, because when I did I happened to be doing one of those big intake breaths… you know, through the nose. I sputtered and coughed, my eyes started watering. I was choking on the cloud of perfume in which she was encased. This also made me laugh – and I thought for sure I’d be found out as to why, so without really being able to breathe I rushed forward. Once breathing again commenced, I was chuckling for a while, because seriously it was an intensely pungent fragrance. I got to my turn-around point on the dam, back in the groove of the rhythm of exercise. As a turned a corner down the way a bit, there they were again. Luckily this time I could see them coming from a ways off, so I could make sure to be breathing OUT when I passed. But I still laughed.

Scene Three:

I was helping someone out with their start-up business, and ended up driving an hour away to babysit both Friday and Saturday. They were for about four hours each. It was fun (the work, not the commute); the girl is really cute. This business provides you with a basket of fun, mostly learning-related, toys and games. Yesterday, amongst other things, we built a wooden model of the skeleton of a brachiosaurus, played the memory game, and I painted her face. She loved it all, but especially the face painting.

With about ten minutes before I was scheduled to leave, she really wanted to do something from my basket of goodies again, but I explained that I was going to have to leave soon. She started crying and said she wanted her mom. Her mom, who had returned and was working in the next room, automatically asked what was wrong. Once she realized, she started laughing and left me to it. (I’m pretty sure her daughter was hoping mom would side with her and tell me to stay.) I came up with a solution that made my charge happy, but it’s pretty hilarious when someone outright cries AND wants their mom when you tell them you’re going to be leaving soon – especially when you’re at work.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The reality.

I am a reality TV hater. Truly. However, I did see the “preview” episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Honestly, what he’s trying to accomplish is so vital, and also so valiant.

He has gone in to the most unhealthy city in America. They have the most deaths from health problems resulting from obesity. So they are dying young. They are the most obese city in the most obese country in the world. So he went there to attempt to effect positive change.

He’s trying to start in one school, be successful there and they will start to adopt his ideas for the entire school system. But he only has a week. A week to make healthy food that meets the ridiculous USDA requirements, a week to serve fresh food on the same budget as processed, a week to feed all those kids and get them to like it. A week. I can’t imagine kids that have been raised only on processed foods could change their tastes and these eating habits they’ve had no choice in for pretty much the whole of their lives.

Worst of all, he’s got a kitchen full of women who pretty much hate and resent him. Their contempt is palpable. One in particular is a real ball-busting biotch. I CANNOT fathom not wanting someone to bring healthy change knowing that these kids they are feeding are the first in generations to have a shorter life expectancy than the previous generation. At least, I cannot imagine not being OPEN to a better way.

Having lived abroad, I think the saddest thing that Americans are known for is for being, on the whole, fat. I remember having been there about a month, when in a bathroom I heard two Europeans talking about this. I wanted to come out of the stall and say, “Really, ALL Americans?” using me as an example for the thin side… but I knew at that point a least I was only proof of their stereotype. It really bummed me out. Not because I cared about their opinions, but because I cared that we are so unhealthy. That I was (am again) so unhealthy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my body whatever it’s size. But I want to be healthy and fit as a way of life. When I lived abroad I achieved that. Without even knowing it, I lost 50 pounds. Just eating like the locals, walking everywhere, and frankly, being happy. And I truly didn’t have a clue it was happening.

These women at the school kitchen Jaime Oliver is working in think they don’t have a choice. They just do what they’re told, so to speak. The school food board essentially say the same thing – they just follow the USDA guidelines. Two breads a day. At least this much sodium, at least this much fat. Blah-blah-blah. No personal responsibility, so no guilt. No ability to change anything (so they tell themselves), so no extra effort need be made. Worst of all, they don’t think anything is wrong with their status quo.

It seems to me we are allowing the government, yet again, to decide things for us. This time it’s the health of our children. It’s the length of their lives. I’m not even a parent and I care deeply about this. Yes, I’m pissed off that our government is so all-invasive and can control so much, but why I care deeply is that these are children. We, in feeding them this processed CRAP, are taking years off their lives and training them to do the same for themselves. Not to mention the things that can’t develop properly because they aren’t getting the proper nutrition.

I think the most significant thing that Oliver said in that episode is that he’s been to South Africa in the townships and those kids are getting fed better and healthier food than American kids are in school. Appalling. Parents should care. We as a community should care. I care.

I won’t be watching the show because I frankly cannot stand the platform of reality TV (if it were a documentary project I’d be all-in), but I will try to discover whether his project succeeded or failed. I know he did revolutionize the food system in schools in Britain, so there is some hope. I will hope. And eat veggies for lunch!

By the way, Oliver has a petition going to improve school food, if you’re interested.

Old dogs.

I’m someone who has a fondness for British television. No, not Benny Hill. I mean their current dramas, comedies, scifis, and such. Nearly all of my all-time favorite series are British shows, truth be told. I’ve become rather clever at using BBC America, Acorn, and PBS catalogues to find new British series in which I might be interested.

One such show I found this way and recently I started watching is called “New Tricks.” It’s sort of a cop show, but not in any way typical. There are three retired police that have been brought back in to be part of a team that tries to clear up unsolved cases. They aren’t actually cops, but they do work as detectives. The thing is, it’s hilarious. All the crap of being old, all their little idiosyncrasies – completely funny.

One of them has major neuroses, but also has a form of eidetic (photographic) memory, mostly for facts. Another has had three wives and a daughter by each, and is still a charmer. The third lost the love of his life, and still talks to her… at her grave in his backyard! It sounds so kooky, and it is a bit, yet somehow it’s all quite lovely. It works.

But for me, I think the best bit is their boss. She’s this hot blonde woman, but not at all in the style of a Hollywood-type (though in her youth she was once asked to star in a big Hollywood film, but her father was dying so she declined and was never asked again). She’s in her late 40’s and early 50’s for one. But she’s this tough, dare I say ballsy, copper that was on the fast track until in a raid she shot a dog and got bumped over to head this unit.

As a side note, the actress, Amanda Redman, who plays this “gov’nor” of the group has scars all down her left arm from being badly burned at 18 months old. She was in hospital until age 5 getting grafts and such, as she was burned all over her body… but the one bit they just couldn’t fix was that arm. Honestly, the show never addresses it and I love that she just takes it in stride – it makes her no less beautiful in any way. It is, in fact, a part of her beauty. How great is that? Fantastic in my book.

As for the show, I love that all the characters have depth. It’s so funny to watch how they interact and deal with their personal lives, yet in the end it is a cop show so they do solve crimes. I never thought of myself as someone who was particularly fond of cop shows, but lately I’ve realized if they’re good, it’s worth it. This one is, both good and worth it.

In truth, I’ve sort of become addicted to it. It’s had six series, which are about eight episodes each… and I’m on series three, so I’m not sure what I’ll do when I’ve finished them! Withdrawals are a b-word.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to be.

People of the blogosphere take note: courtesy should not be optional.

When a nice lady is on the tale end of a rather long walk, whilst still recovering from both ankle surgery and plantar fasciitis, finds your stray dog, cleverly and with some effort corrals him, and then walks him about a mile back to his home while slumped over in agony because she is holding firm to the collar, and she shows up, bright red from exertion and the day’s heat, holding said dog while you are on the phone she tried to call and was not allowed to leave a message on, maybe offer her a seat… some water… don’t simply take the dog in and never return.

Seriously – I had to ASK if I could sit for a moment on the retaining wall, I was panting so hard. YOU try walking a mile hunched with a dog pulling you faster, get a blister doing it, get your nice clothes all sweaty, then don’t get more than a half-hearted “thank you,” and tell me you wouldn’t be annoyed. The neighbor from far away was more thoughtful and considerate than the owner. By the way, that neighborhood hasn’t house numbers related to the actual long drives that go up, so I went down the wrong ones until that neighbor directed me. And yes, they are more like estates.

I just think something is wrong with our society when someone extends a kindness, and common courtesy, much less gratitude, is not shown in return. What happened to manners? When did being polite become unusual?

I say all this knowing it’s more likely that all dogs will learn to carry their leashes with them when escaping than for our society to remember how to and then regularly practice courtesy. I’m not jaded, I’m just mournful of such a great loss.

Little delights.

I know I’m going to seem like such an oddball for doing this, but I want to tout another blog. The thing is, it’s not your typical blog. It’s a blog for students in a classroom of the US equivalent to 2nd graders in New Zealand.

Room 10 @ PT England School gives their young students this opportunity to write a story, read it on film, edit the film, then post it online. You wouldn’t think it could hold your attention for very long, but each film I see is so sweet that I end up watching more and more of them. I find myself commenting on them, knowing how amazing that would have been when I was a kid to have someone from another country send me a note of compliment or encouragement.

These are, I believe, mostly Maori children, and it’s interesting to hear some of their stories, especially when it involves what they did on the weekend or about family life. It’s like little cultural exchanges in 30 second clips!

So wanted to share it with you all in case you need inspiration now and then. Because I assure you, these kids will do just that – inspire!

Aren’t they sweet?

Monday, March 22, 2010

When confusion makes sense.

It’s funny how once you incorporate a practice into your life, it becomes bizarre when you realize it’s not common practice. This happened yesterday when I was at the grocery story. I was back for a few items for the bread I was making as well as meat for dinner.

When I went to check out, the lady behind the counter wasn’t all that together, and while I was grappling with the many demands of the credit machine, she bagged my groceries in plastic. Didn’t even ask – not about paper vs. plastic, much less if I had a bag. She had just watched me take everything out of my reusable bag a few moments before, by the way. When I stated I had a bag, she asked, rather disgruntled, if I wanted her to change it. Well. Yes. DUH.

It’s not just I made a resolution – and easy one to manage, I’m finding. It’s not that it’s environmentally better. Not even that she used two plastic bags to my one only half-filled reusable. Nor even the stupidity of her question and lack of short-term memory. What honestly momentarily astounded me was that plastic was even an option. THEN all the other flooded in, but initially I looked at my items in those odd things, and thought, “what are they?”

I kind of like that.


I saw this on a couple of blogs I enjoy and thought I’d follow suit. Yes, I’m a bit late to the game.

Current Book(s): See sidebar (how i roll: i'm reading). I really am reading all seven of them. Not my norm to be reading so many at once, but it’s where I’m at just this moment I guess.

I’m not liking Catcher, but the rest are really interesting in entirely different ways. No Impact Man is not at all what I expected, so personal and funny and conversational… I highly recommend it.

Current Playlist: Mostly classical with traditional Celtic thrown in now and then. Okay, and Celtic drinking songs, too. They’re hilarious.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: I don’t really do shame or guilt. Not in relation to pleasure, at least.

Current Drink: Chai, nice and spicy with no milk. When I lived in Italy I would fantasize about it and refer to it as “the nectar of the Gods.” It’s just next to me now. But also I found an old favorite wine the other night, Marqués de Cáceres Grianza and while it’s not as fabulous as I remember (or at least this vintage isn’t as tasty), I have still been enjoying it wholeheartedly with my homemade suppers the last few nights.

Current Food: Hmm, well I sort of had a festival of food this weekend in that I thoroughly enjoyed cooking up all sorts of lovely dishes from scratch… unfortunately the steak I grilled to go with my potato and mushroom au gratin, which I purchased last minute from the local Safeway rather than the market with the proper meat section, seems to have been bad so I tried to sooth my stomach with some of my homemade Irish soda bread I was trying to save for tomorrow’s breakfast. Fingers crossed it helps!

Current Favorite Show: Well, it’s not officially airing it’s last episodes for another week or so, but Saving Grace, absolutely. I can’t begin to say how deeply this show effects me.

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I’ve been trying to decide when I move what shows I’d still want to try to catch. As cheesy as this sounds, Bones made that list. Castle didn’t, but came close. I still love House, but would be okay without it I find.

Mostly I watch tons British shows, so whichever one I’m into at the moment would likely make the list (the advantage of them is that they only last from 6 to 8 episodes a season so it’s not exactly a long-term commitment). At this moment, that is Kingdom and Blackpool.

Current Wishlist: A job in and a ticket to Scotland. Oh, and my financial woes thrust upon me on the sly by my ex-boyfriend to magically disappear.

Current Needs: Money for the ticket, and the job of course.

Current Triumphs: Honestly, that I’m somehow maintaining a positive, hopeful outlook after all I’ve gone through. That I believe I am about to move forward with my goals, regardless of what my current circumstances look like from that horrid face called “reality.” Also, that I’m good with who I am as I am this moment. That’s huge.

Current Bane(s) of my Existence: Bouts of self-doubt. The garage with all the crap that must be gone through, gotten rid of, and most of all sold. The current situation of finances, of lacking relationships, of faltering belief in myself to attain; to live again.

Current Celebrity Crush: I guess it’d be a girl crush on Nigella Lawson. She is a goddess, domestic and otherwise. She’s stunning, confident, and completely at home in her curvaceous body. She loves food, loves to cook, loves to bring people together with it… and has the resources and high-brow connections to do so and make a living at it. May I please be her?

Also, Stephen Fry. I want to marry him. Yes, I know he’s gay. And English.

But honestly, he seems kind and witty, brilliant and compassionate. He both recognizes and embraces his differences, yet conveys an everyman's commonality with humanity. he's humble yet clever. In so many ways, he is endearing to me.

Current Indulgence: British television shows.

Current Blessing(s): Parents that have put up with (and financially supported) me all this time as I have been slowly, slowly emerging from the fog of trauma. My online girlfriends who support and encourage me just exactly when and how I need it. Going to therapy, silly as that sounds.

Current Outfit: PJs, actually. It’s late. But I wore one of my jail house striped tops today with jeans tucked into my awesome black Merrell rain boots, even though it was sunny. A girl can dream.

Current Excitement: I WISH I could say hockey, but my team has been sucking badly of late. That a dear friend got engaged this weekend. That I’m believing and working toward moving to Scotland. That I’m continuing to purge the detritus of life. That I’m allowed to wear heels again.

Current Link: I guess I’d have to say the blog that I first saw this list on, though I’ve been following the blog they got it from for a while, yet somehow missed this post on that one!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Starting out fresh.

One of my all-time favorite breakfasts is crepes. To be more specific, lemon crepes – simple, light, fresh, delicious. Give me crepes and a cappuccino in the morning, and I’ll experience nirvana, especially if it’s served out-of-doors.

So today I made them myself! This was first time since the debacle while I was babysitting a family of eight kids for sixteen hours straight who decided to make crepes, and at fifteen years old I didn’t seem to have the power to stop them. Well, not ALL of them. But that’s another story.

I had intended to go to the Farmer’s Market and then treat myself to one at my favorite place along the market strip in town. However, I neglected to set my alarm and since I stayed up far too late reading (another “old lady” pleasure that I’ve done since I was tiny), I didn’t awaken in time. I could have gone to town just for the crepe, but I would have been so disappointed about the rest that I couldn’t have enjoyed it as well.

So I looked up a basic recipe online and went for it. I quickly learned the importance of a hot enough (but not too hot) pan coupled with a quick twist of the wrist. Let’s just say the first one was more like a not-quite-cooked corn tortilla. Less batter is better, my friends. However, with a squeeze from the fresh lemon plucked from our tree and a dash of sugar, the rest of them were perfection. I was so excited to not only make one of my favorite things, but to know instinctively what to do to make it turn out better next time (whip the eggs first).

I’ve always loved cooking. Finding just the right spices to make the dish blossom on the tongue, being sure all the different parts of the meal flow together, presenting it in an inviting and beautiful way all contributed to this passion. I enjoy it enough to have once had a catering and party planning business. I was too wimpy back then to handle the business side (yes, ‘tis true, an entirely different me), so I actually lost money, but every party I did was a huge success mostly because I created the recipes to fit the events.

However, when it comes to breakfasts, I owe my cooking indulgences to my ex-boyfriend. His favorite meal was breakfast, so my skills were honed. Before he came around I was a cappuccino-and-brioche-girl. Now I love it. In the last few weeks I’ve made waffles, whole grain pancakes, awesome omelets, some kick-arse challah bread french toast, and now crepes. It’s strange to realize just how easy all this stuff is to make… and how much better it is than from even the best restaurants.

So later today I decided to make an Irish soda bread. I haven’t had it in years, but love it. It’d be a fun thing to have available for the week, and it’s another easy thing to make (I know this because I used to make it in Junior High). Plus if my hockey team plays as badly this evening as they have been this last week or so, I’ll need the distraction.

It’s exciting to accomplish something new and find you’re pretty good at it. Even more so when the results bring a favorite thing to your lips. It makes me wonder what breakfast challenge I might conquer next… madelines? croissants? The latter seems the most daunting, and it might be best if I didn’t discover a proficiency for making them since they are something to which I believe I can become addicted – especially if they are of the almond or chocolate persuasion. Mmm. But taking a little time and thinking outside the usual breakfast box is exciting!

Hope your breakfasts bring you a bit of joy this week!

How I got old.

Last night I attended a party for a long-time friend who moved out of state and was back for a visit. It was a decade birthday, so quite a do. It was lively – body shots were had (not by me).

On the way to the party I was thinking about how when we’re young, we tend to watch all the movies that are considered greats, for instance. We lap up everything. We’re at a party and we’ll drink whatever is on offer – and likely lots of it. But there comes a point where one says, I really couldn’t give a rat’s arse about that film, academy award nominated or not. It’s not my thing. I’ve definitely reached that point.

So now fast forward to the actual event. Wow. Crazy happenings, lots of “WOOOs” were yelled out over the blaring party-dance music in the back yard of that high-priced suburban neighborhood. This isn’t a bad thing at all – this friend is a true party girl, and it suits her – carefree, flamboyant, youthful. She’s serving her famous “Panty Rippers,” a concoction so strong for a fruity drink as to be dangerous to drink around open flames, and she’s bouncing from group to group, challenging some to do Patron shots, jumping into the arms of her best friend’s new beau and flashing the rest of the party in the process, chatting and flitting, and honestly somehow doing it all with everyone feeling delighted and joyful – including family. That’s how she is.

Now, I have been as brazen and wild and rambunctious. In fact on occasion when we’ve been together, I’ve even outdone her. By a lot. It’s a complete blast to cut loose and just be. Bold. Brash. Ballsy. Confident and fun-loving.

In fact, there were to be further celebrations tonight with a smaller group of ladies taking on a local hot spot and I was invited. At first I thought it’d be great. But then I realized… all this – the party scene – it just isn’t me any more (not that it ever was – I just dabbled). Now, I’m not saying I won’t ever want to get wild and crazy (this was me), but honestly just now it sounds horrid – at least in that way.

As an aside, last night was also the first time I’ve worn heels since my ankle surgery back in October. Previous to going under the knife I quite literally wore crazy-high heels every day (lowest heel was 4”). EVERY DAY. I only owned one pair of flats aside from my sports shoes, and had only worn them on a handful of occasion. I thought heels were the most comfortable thing in the world. Honestly! Until last night. Holy crap! That was rough! Of course, I *did* choose my absolute highest heel – with a platform as well. At any rate, thinking of traipsing all over the area hot spot again in heels wasn’t the most appealing possibility!

So back to my mini-revelation. I was considering on the ride home how I may have inadvertently gotten OLD. I mean, as I write this, instead of being out on the town, I’m sipping a favorite red wine while listening to classical music after being rather domestic all day, doing laundry while suffering through last night’s recorded hockey game then indulging myself in the delights of both creating and eating an exquisite homemade risotto and to-die-for chocolate mousse. And I’m contented (especially my stomach). What’s worse is that I’m looking forward to going to the Farmer’s Market tomorrow and doing more of the same tomorrow evening. (Cooking, chilling.)

I want to think that I’ve just discovered how my dimensions have changed and am embracing them, but really… classical music over popular music at the club? Chill-out evening over a night out? How old is THAT?? Still, somehow it marking me as old doesn’t make me want to jump back to the other way. I’m glad I don’t feel that youthful compulsive need to drink whatever is going. I’m willing to try things, and have a diverse palate, but at the same time I know what I prefer. If it’s not the trendy thing going, and most often my drink selections aren’t fashionable, I don’t care. It’s what I like.

One more thing that is related to this insight is that recently I have been honing in on what I really want from my life, determining that the things that detract from that goal need to be set aside. Spending money to follow in my girlfriend’s wake as she parties the night away, not really getting to visit properly with her at all, isn’t helping me toward my goals. If it were about getting to connect with her, then absolutely I’d be there… but who connects on deeper levels at a club?

I confess it is disheartening to think that I’m not as fun and playful as have been my trademarks. At the same time, it’s really nice to truly know what brings me joy as well as that I can maintain my focus to achieve my goals. So in my dotage, I guess I’ll know myself well. Ugh. I guess my only hope is found somewhere in these two quotes:

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. — Anaïs Nin

My self-confidence comes from the fact that I have discovered my own dimensions. It does not behoove me to make myself smaller than I am. — Edith Södergran

That said, I hope I can manage tonight without the Ben Gay and Metamucil. Might need the walker, though.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just plain perfect.

So this is just a little post, but I couldn’t resist sharing this adorable picture of my precious niece. I’m hers utterly, and can you blame me?!

Abbie Grace, 10 weeks & the apple of her Auntie M's eye.

ICE it.

I was watching the Sharks hockey game this evening when the color announcer (Drew Remenda for those in-the-know) gave his Keys to the Game. What the team needed to do, according to Remenda, was demonstrate Intensity, Consistency, and Expectancy. I generally ignore whatever he says because he really can annoy, as well as say the most absurd things and present them as absolutes (plus he worships at the alter of Crosby, so on principle I MUST distrust him). Then he made an aside about it spelling “ICE.” Okay, appropriate for a hockey game, if cheesy.

However, because he said the acronym, the three words stuck. As the game went from bad to worse and I was unconsciously looking for anything else on which to ruminate, I realized that those three words – intensity, consistency, and expectancy – are exactly what I need to remember and apply to my endeavors to reach my goals as well.

It’s good to get the vision and keep it in front of you. It’s good to speak it out and to believe it. It’s great to work toward it. But without those three words, it’s likely the goal will be a long time in coming.

For me lately, because of unforeseeable and rather exigent circumstances, I’ve found myself faced with setback after setback to even get on the road to where I want to be, much less there. In that state, everything seems more strenuous and it’s difficult to keep my energies positive and my vision focused. In other words, my hope wanes and I get smacked across the face with the glaring reality of where I am so that my eyes have no room to see where I am going. When that happens, it’s hard to take a step forward because you can’t see that it IS forward.

It reminds me of when I raced triathlons. In the swim portion, it was important to keep an eye on the next buoy. If I didn’t take a peek every few strokes the current could take me off in some other direction. So focusing on my current situation is like never taking my eyes out of the water. I may keep moving in the direction I think is right, but by the time I run out of energy I could have swum in a circle and gotten no where, or worse, ended up farther back than where I started.

Beyond that clear vision, that focusing intensely on my goal, I need to be consistent in my work toward achieving it. Letting myself not do that work one day because of distractions is bad, but it’s far worse when I don’t do it because I’m discouraged. That’s exactly when consistency is the key. If a hockey player allows his game to suffer because he is upset about a call, he won’t be playing much the rest of that game… and won’t achieve his goal – nor be helping his team to achieve their collective goal.

I’ve realized, however, that these first two don’t work without an expectancy. I get worn out on the work when I don’t have an expectancy to reach my goal. The sheer amount of stuff I have to tackle is overwhelming – paralyzing. But to do it and not think that it’s getting me any closer causes all motivation to wane, no matter how diligent of a person I am.

Honestly, I have to say that ICE is something I want to make a part of my way of life; my being. In the trauma of the last few years, the subsequent difficulties that piled on both physically and emotionally, and the general stress of daily life in the midst of turmoil, I think these three little words are good to keep as fixtures in my internal living room.

My only concern is if I can stay as conditioned in the areas I need to as the hockey players do physically for their sport. I want to, but I’ve never been one for routine and consistency does tend to lean on it quite a bit. However, I think I do have the power to change – I have done it many times – and while I will never embrace routine as a dear friend, I think I can learn to tolerate and even welcome it in when it serves my purpose… as a means to my desired end.

So thanks, Drew, for the Keys to My Future. (You don't know how much it rankles me to say that, as he really does get on my nerves.) I'll keep "icing" my bum areas to make them work better.

Intensity * Consistency * Expectancy

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What we have.

I want to start this post out by saying that this is NOT me preaching at you, this is me sharing my astonishment and expressing my realizations at how the way I live my life effects the world.

I’m so ashamed. When I actually consider my weekly trash output, I’m so ashamed. I’m someone who has always been, shall we say, ecologically conscious. I remember in the mid-80’s, for instance, long before recycling was touted, much less readily available, and being ecologically minded was PC (long before there was such a thing as PC), I would cart around my empty Coke cans in my bookbag to bring them home to recycle (meaning then later taking them out to a recycling center as home pick-up was unheard of). The last few Christmases I only shopped with reusable bags. Good things. Valuable things. Things I should and will continue. But what about all the trash I was outputting? Recycle or not, why am I using so many things for no more than a few minutes and trashing them?

By now some of you might be wondering what I’m on, as in what I’ve been ingesting mentally. You would be right to assume there was something. In a round about way, an online girlfriend opened up my world. It was a simple link posted on Facebook. A movie review, actually, and one that was just so-so. But she recommended a website, and as she is someone I admire and whose opinion I value, I checked it out.

No Impact Man. Heard of him? He’s that weirdo in New York City who tried to live, along with an 18 month old daughter and his reluctant wife, with no environmental impact for a full year. I was interested in practical ways I could live a more ecologically friendly life – simple things like when I made the resolution at the beginning of the year to only ever use recycle bags, otherwise I must carry the items without anything or simply not get them. Extreme? Perhaps. (Or at least to some.) But, though I’ve been far more ecologically sound than most of those in my neighborhood, I’d never taken that real step of making it an absolute. So far it’s been incredibly easy to live by. But I digress.

Through this simple post by a girlfriend, I discovered many things. One of the most impacting was the short video call “The Story of Stuff.” Wow. I mean, WOW. It really makes you think about what you buy… and even why you buy it. Even more, it opens your eyes to SO MUCH about the process of making, about how we became a consumer society, and so much more. Beyond that video, I discovered other products and possibilities as to change and how I can conserve.

But most of all, and especially after hunting down a copy of the book No Impact Man, I found out just how much waste I am putting out there every day. It’s astounding. I, for instance, had only recently started using handkerchiefs now and then, more as a novelty and a convenience in cold weather. But when I realized that the thousands and thousands of tissues I still use and translate that into trees, I was floored. How about paper towels? It’s so easy to pick up a rag for the dirty jobs and a dishtowel for the drying jobs that might cause me to normally reach for a paper towel.

But then one of the resources pointed out feminine hygiene products. Um. Yeah. Not getting into too much detail here, boys, but I must say I was astounded that there WERE these options. How come I’d never heard of them before now? I’m THRILLED not to have to ever worry about running out. I’m psyched that will not have to spend all that money yearly on products – ever again. For the lifestyle of living abroad and travel which I’m working toward, knowing that wherever I am what I need will be available by the mere fact that I have all I need always with me is revolutionary. And, then also it’s great knowing that I’ll never, ever again add that kind of waste to the environment. (Never mind that I won’t be putting bleached and not toxin free – none are, nor are such things regulated – paper-based wads inside me.) Girls if you are curious to know what I’m talking about, check out DivaCups and LunaPads. Mine are on their way!

So far I’m about a third of the way through the book, and I’ve not yet gotten to the big changes he (they) made. Like TP alternatives. Like only food produced within a certain distance from them. Like… well I don’t know as I’ve not gotten to that yet! But what I do know is that all my take-out waste is absurd; that when I ate at that restaurant last night, it would have been easy enough to have a cloth napkin in my bag so as not to waste the paper; that cutting back – especially my trash output – actually isn’t hard at all.

Most of all, what I’m realizing is that my grandparents had the right idea. Okay, my grandmother was a hoarder in many ways – not like those horrendous shows you see on TV with all the filth, but in the never-throwing-things-away sort of scenario. We cousins still joke about the Styrofoam platter that had the duct tape down the middle, which was used ever time we visited. The water used to rinse our plates had to be taken out and used to water the plants outside in the Nebraska heat. That idea of “waste not, want not…” the idea of being grateful for what you do have, these are good tenants to live by.

[Those positive psychologist have] discovered that happy people spend a lot of time being grateful for what they have and savoring their experience. They don’t rush through “now” to get to later. They don’t make taking care of themselves or their families something they have to get over with so they can get to the good stuff. Instead, they insist that this moment, whatever it is, is the good stuff. – Colin Beavan, No Impact Man

So their idea then, my grandparents and their generation, was that if we treat what resources we have as precious, we understand how this life is precious, too. We have less “need” for things because we are so full up with blessings for what we have in front of us. If that’s archaic thinking, bring on the Ben Gay and Metamucil.

(No offense, gang... but could YOU resist this picture??)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Giving and getting.

A friend of mine asked if I would host a charity event to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as she knew I could handle myself in that sort of a scenario. It was a speed-dating event held at a popular local pub.

Now, I found it a comical thing for me to be the face of. But I was more than happy to help and had a lot of fun. More importantly, so did the people that participated… and best of all, they could leave feeling great that the money they put forth goes to help this great cause. The other customers at the pub even took part by purchasing raffle tickets, and the management were very generous indeed, both on behalf of the bar and individually.

After it was over, a few of the participants hung around and it was lovely to chat with them. But after cleaning up, as I was heading out, a group of guys that had been there all night, now entertaining one woman, called me over. Having fielded questions all night about the event, I assumed that was what it was why.

Before I continue, I must interject that one of the married guys had interrupted a conversation I was having with this lovely, tiny, woman to see if she’d be willing to come meet his single friend who was interested in her. Yikes.

Now, having joined this group, the one single guy he’d been talking about begins to chat me up. I was having a nice time, but then I knew what kind of woman he liked, right? Über-thin I am not. However, confident I am. Here’s the thing, though. This same gentleman in all politeness tells me that they talked about me. Okay, I figured. But then he sort of concedes that I’m beautiful… after qualifying it with “full-figured.” Hmm.

Can I ask you, what woman would even need, much less want, that qualification? Really? I know what I look like, and I’m more than happy with myself. If you like what you see, then don’t be telling me that I’m “big” or “thick” or “full-figured” or any of that. I’m a WOMAN. I’m beautiful at any size and shape. And I know at any given moment what that size and shape is. Like or leave it, Bubba! Sure I want to be more fit (mostly so I can do my sport again and better), but this is me right now, and I really am all that just like this!

Now, as I was leaving – leaving him wanting more, of course – he asked if he could see me again. Well, sure, okay. I enjoyed talking to him and he really was a gentleman who paid me some lovely, thoughtful compliments along the way. However, on my way home I thought about the fact that he preferred the beautiful, tiny lady, and wondered why I agreed. Eh, cop or not I’d eat him alive really. But maybe I’ll gain a friend.

"Every new friend is a new adventure...
...the start of more memories."

Patrick Lindsay

Monday, March 8, 2010

And so it goes.

I confess I did end up watching The Academy Awards last night. As I said, I really wasn’t all that interested, but thought I’d fast forward to the acceptance speeches. Then that opening happened and I just kept watching. *Sigh.* I disappoint myself. (Kidding.)

I was a little astounded that I predicted every single winner, including the more obscure which I didn’t list in that last post. That’s most certainly a first. Of course it helps that I was able, through the more illicit bits of the internet, to actually see most of them. Also, and most of all, because I finally acknowledged the politics of the entire process instead of going just with my heart.

On the “yes-yes-yes!” side: I think it was really exciting that we had for the first time a woman director win. I thought Sandra Bullock showed extraordinary poise, grace, humility, graciousness, and humor - her speech made me almost glad she won. I loved all the dedications to those who serve in the armed forces. I enjoyed how they again introduced the top actors and actresses. Seeing some of the clips made me excited to see some of the other films I hadn’t gotten around to watching yet which is nice for a change. I thought James Taylor doing the memoriam was lovely. And it was my year for dresses as there were so many RED ones! Hooray! I thought Gabourey Sidibe’s confidence was wonderful. The tribute to John Hughes was nice. Lastly, Neil Patrick Harris was great!

On the “not-so-much” side: Bridges speech, man, was not all that groovy, man. (His wife is still a stunner, though.) I was terribly disappointed that District 9 didn’t get some of the periphery awards (though as I said, that’s what I figured). I wish Streep had done it, darn it. I also would have liked it if more winners were gracious and witty like Bullock or heartfelt like Waltz and Bigalow (and Bullock). Wish we could have had another Roberto Benigni moment… this show was a bit dull, wasn’t it?

Some questions: Who makes up the seating chart? I want that job! How on earth did those dancers manage to fly like that? No really, HOW? How precious were the nervous winners? Why is it that although I recorded the show a half hour over what they allotted, I still didn’t get the speech for best picture?

I had some other witty observations, but I can’t recall now. Perhaps that’s a good thing for you! I will say it was a nice show overall because it wasn’t so over-the-top. But I was still glad for the fast forward button.

I guess Hollywood just doesn’t impress me anymore. I used to love the glamour and keeping up on the films and such. Now I’d rather focus on the latest language I’m learning or go for a hike or watch a hockey game than pay attention to any of that. Give me a scifi over a serious drama or a kid flick over the critic’s choice any day! Yet films can give us insights and perspectives into things we might never have been exposed to otherwise, and that’s something to value, particularly if it’s done well and unbiased.

In all my blustering about not being into the Academy Awards here, I’m sure I’ll again at some point in my life consider what my acceptance speech would be were I to win. It’s just a part of having a dream, even when it’s not actually a Hollywood dream… and I plan to keep dreaming!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Celluloid dreams.

“And the Academy Award for best picture goes to… District 9.” Wouldn’t a shocker like that be exciting? It’d be nice to have the Oscars shaken up a bit, to be sure, but even more I actually prefer this film to the others up for best picture.

To be fair, I haven’t and most likely won’t see Precious. I just don’t do those kinds of films that show the never ending horror of a life without a possible way out; without hope. That fatalistic perspective does it for some, but as a person who doesn’t do anything by halves – especially glasses (and their fullness) - I think something like that just enforces the false assumption that there’s no way out; no choice. In my opinion there are always options and choices (we may not like any of them, but they are there).

In all honesty, though, I don’t think the Oscars are likely to hold any surprises, even with ten films duking it out for the top spot. That’s disappointing… and why I likely won’t watch it this evening. It’s ironic, really, that I’ve finally seen nearly all of the films nominated, but don’t care about the show.

Maybe it’s my new perspective on waste and want in our culture (read: consumerism), but not even the fashions really get me excited. I don’t know why I feel the falseness and pretention this time over other years, but I do. Is it that nominating ten films for best picture seems so obvious a marketing strategy rather than a desire to open up the field? Is it that I no longer give a toss about the actors and their lives? Is it that the quality of films today as a whole are so lacking? Of course in all that, I’m still curious about the outcome.


Of the ten nominees, I was most impressed with District 9. Allegorical and intensely revealing, it showed us the best in worst in humanity through the medium of scifi. After that, Avatar for all it’s beauty and with it being a technological joyride, seems like a Disneyfied, animated lollypop. Don’t get me wrong, I immensely enjoyed Avatar, but in story and intensity it can’t compare to District 9. And anyway, I think Up is a far better film as a whole!

In all reality, though, Avatar is likely the only gate crasher to The Hurt Locker’s party. Because that’s the one will likely win. It’s really a good piece of filmmaking without the heavy-handed polemics in which modern warfare films seem to revel. Inglourious Basterds is a extreme longshot only because the Academy doesn’t hold with a brash loudmouth like Tarantino. Too bad, really.

I do wish it was about what’s best and not Hollywood politics. But when has it ever been really about what’s the actual best performance or best film? I can’t remember a time.

Oh, and I think the best director will likely be Bigalow for The Hurt Locker, though her ex-husband Cameron could give us another lame King-of-the-World speech – potentially in Na’avi this time – if Hollywood is less thoughtful and more financially motivated in their decision.


In both cases, I think it will be less about performance than about rewarding those the Academy haven’t bothered to honor yet. If you were looking at performance alone, Renner of The Hurt Locker should get it, hands down. With Clooney in Up in the Air, there was nothing really challenging in it, was there? He was just sort of… Clooney. He’s a good actor, but this role seems almost rote for him. In Invictus, Freeman was convincing but really not amazing. (I think it’d be fun if he won, though, because he does so many joke sketches on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson!) I think Firth in A Single Man will be overlooked for the subtlety of his layered performance as the Academy at large tends to prefer showy.

I think for that reason they will select Bridges. I haven’t seen Crazy Heart, but honestly haven’t heard anything good… Bridges is pathetic, drinks to excess, sings, and apparently even flashes a pot belly which, put together, is the Academy’s weak spot (over-the-top, sappy, pathetic, looking-your-worst roles). I think, though, he will be chosen because of his body of work, not because he was the best of the five this time with these performances.

Best actress is where I most hope the Academy doesn’t do what I expect them to do. I’ve a feeling they’ll reward the sweetheart of the screen who finally had a vehicle to showcase her abilities in a way the Academy likes. Now, I like Sandra Bullock, but in this field this year, she was nowhere near the others. Mulligan (love her!) lit up the screen in An Education, but she didn’t have as deep a role as some of the others. I think Mirren will likely be overlooked because her film wasn’t as embraced, though from what I here her performance was a stunner. I’d say that no matter how great Sidibe’s performance was, as a freshman, a true unknown with little marketability (thinking like Hollywood here, peeps), the odds are against her.

Personally, I think Streep’s performance in Julie and Julia was incredible. I only saw Child when I watched her, which is an astounding feat. It was subtle as well as showy – just like Child herself. She’s the most decorated, though, so though hers was the best performance I think they’ll skip her for Bullock. But a girl can hope!


Well, in short, wouldn’t it be awesome if Waltz from Inglourious Basterds won? I hear Tucci was truly horrifying in The Lovely Bones, and he’s really a fantastic actor (he really WAS lovely in Julie & Julia), but I don’t see them giving it to him for some reason. Harrelson in The Messenger is unbelievably fantastic (this from a girl that doesn’t much care for him), but I don’t think he’ll pull it either. Matt Damon has proved to be a great actor, but this roll in Invictus? Really? Plummer? Same as Mirren, not a widely embraced film. I’m thinking Waltz. That’d be cool.

I think this category is a lockdown for the women. This is likely where they will show tribute to Precious – and from what I hear, rightfully so. Apparently Mo’Nique is set herself in a league all her own with this performance of the horrifyingly abusive and manipulative mother. I did see Up in the Air, and while I do think that Kendrick brought energy, humor, and pathos to the film, it wasn’t enough… I mean, even if Mo’Nique’s performance wasn’t all that it’s being touted (and I’m thinking it is because how often do they talk about lesser comedians in this way?), the Academy likes to be seen rewarding the films that show the horror of the plight of the underprivileged. Somehow they think they’ll be forgiven their insane riches. Please. But, though I don’t want to go anywhere near the film, I do think this time around the performance is likely worthy of the PC nod.


Right. I know this isn’t one of the “big six” categories, but it’s been my favorite in recent years. I actually saw all five nominations this time… even the more obscure The Secret of the Kells. Can I just say that while I may be in the minority, I thought Fantastic Mr. Fox was dull and rather lame all ‘round. Sadly, I saw it in the theatre. Bleh. (The one thing I did like was when they were going to swear, they always used the word “cuss.” My favorite was “mothercusser.”)

Coraline was great animation and even a good story, and while I did like it a lot, I actually had a nightmare after watching it. Me. Br-rr-rr! The button eyes – horrifying! I can’t imagine the Academy going for it. But maybe that’s me. The Princess and the Frog was sweet and sappy – a true old-fashioned Disney… though not as good as those of the past. The music really was fantastic, though!

Up was “FULLY AWESOME!” It’s so heartwarming and fun and sweet, without hurting your teeth. Even my date teared-up in this one! It’s one of my favorite movies of the year, if not my absolute top film. For heaven’s sake, it’s up for best picture (see how good it is??) – of course it will win here.

But I must, must, must give my two-cents about The Secret of the Kells. It’s not your typical animated film. It’s artistic in how it’s drawn, almost architectural. Like Frank Lloyd Wright doing background animation. STUNNING. But then, the story was deep and touching. It involves faith without explaining the faith, it involves hope and survival and love and curiosity and wonder and so much more. Honestly, I absolutely loved it. I kinda wish that Up would win best picture, so that The Secret of the Kells could win here… but the Academy wouldn’t do either part of that scenario. They’d choose all four of the others over this one in my opinion. Very sad.

I know it’s silly to have written this long post when I’m not all that into the Oscar show itself this time around, but for whatever reason it was this year that I was able to see so many of the nominated films… I guess it seemed a waste to not talk about them! Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the glamour. I think I might just go read a book.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The last hurrah.

So yes, I didn’t write this entry in a timely fashion as I was in mourning. You know, wearing black, lots of weeping. I’m sure you all understand… the US hockey team loosing the gold medal game in overtime was too much to bear.

I mean, Zach Parise scoring a goal for the US to tie it with 25 seconds left in the game was heart-stoppingly thrilling. Ryan Miller was absolutely inspirational in goal. The team as a whole played with passion and fight. But the day was Canada's, obviously.

Now, I don’t actually have anything against Canada… but their fans holding up signs that hockey is Canada’s sport really rubbed me wrong. I mean, which country keeps loosing teams to the other (Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques anyone)? Which country was home to a mere one third of the Original Six teams and only one fifth of the teams now? In other words, which country supports the league? I get that it’s their national sport, but to say that it’s THEIR sport (i.e. no one else’s), then why the heck is it in the Olympics to begin with? After all, the Olympics are about international sports. Yeah, I was riled.

Then there are the incredibly Canadian-bias announcers. This will never shut them up. Every single time they all made excuses for any problems… like the fact that they lost to the US earlier, or nearly lost two other times. Every time, no team had a chance in their eyes. A clue, MEN, a group of really talented guys does not a team make. And bias is bias is bias… please, for the love of hockey, stop making excuses and stop glorifying only Canadian players. I know, it’s a fantasy that will certainly now never be achieved.

You all know I also really don’t like the constant hype about Crosby. He’s good, but he’s not the best. But him scoring that game-winning goal in overtime? I’ll NEVER get to win that argument now – particularly with my Canadian family! Honestly, him being the one to score it hurt a lot more than them winning it. Still stings… a lot.

But mostly I ached for our boys who never let up, never wear even behind in a game in the entire tournament until that last game, who played with heart and without excuse. I wanted gold, but they deserved it. One thing is for certain, though... it was one heck of a game.

As for the Olympics as a whole, I had a great time. Apollo Ohno’s story was really delightful to watch unfold, seeing different countries winning in sports they don’t normally win in was exciting, and of course seeing all the men and women in flight one way or another was a blast. All the uplifting and inspiring stories that went along with the events were as always touching and wonderful. I’m glad I watched. Good show, mates.

And yes, gang, this blog in now an Olympics-free zone. Mostly.