Friday, December 18, 2009

Pillow Fights amongst the clouds. . .

Around 12:30 it was like someone burst a big feather pillow in the sky. It doesn't happen often here in NC, but I do love it. I love it almost as much as I love this:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's back. . .

The most irreverent, but amusing Christmas Special of recent memory. I love it!

P.S. I keep getting Alicia Keys New York song in my head, and this addition of Stephen rapping just makes me like it more. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Casimir Pulaski Day

Not sure why I am thinking about it--it isn't until March, but I am. Though I did find out that five days ago, the President signed a joint resolution of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, making Pulaski an American citizen after being dead for 230 years. What does that mean? No health care bill, but just in time for Polish Independence day (today). Go Poland!

Oddly enough, like Craig Ferguson, I kind of forgot that it was also Veteran's day, so thank you to Casimir, Grandpa, Daddy, Lindy, Carl, Shane, Sheldon, and so many others who have fought and are fighting for our freedom.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sydney Dust Storms

I've been following various stories on the Sydney Dust Storms lately.

My favorite came from Flickr itself.

I can't seem to get these images out of my head. If someone were smart, they would grab a camera and film a movie. Or just capture the images, and then write the film. It is amazingly other-worldly. I sometimes forget that God has a sense of humor, and oftentimes when we think we are the most creative creatures on the planet, He reminds us where we came from.

This is my favorite--it reminds me of the Doctor Who where they moved the hospital to the moon. It doesn't seem real.

It is at times like this that I am incredibly grateful to be so blessed. There is a plan and we are just a small part of it, but the opportunity to take part is wondrous.

Beautiful Movement

Last night as B and I walked across a wet lonely sidewalk to the car, I couldn't help but be grateful for music and dance. Even this morning, as I ambled across the rain-drenched parking lot, I thought, I could leap across this much prettier. . . Great dance makes you want to join in.

B & her lovely boss received an invitation to watch the dress rehearsal of the Carolina Ballet's newest performance. At the last minute (and I mean very last), Miss Judy had to bow out (stupid sinus infection/cold/please-don't-be-swine-flu), and I was the lucky beneficiary.

What we saw was gorgeous. The first piece was okay, but I felt no emotional connection to the piece at all. The second piece was beautifully done, and they just got better from there. The stand out was by far the final act. A full mini-ballet set to newly commissioned music that used the paintings of Picasso as their inspiration. Gorgeous! Now just to go see the exhibit at the Nasher when Amanda comes. . .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Upon the anticipation of a visit

My dear, sweet, lovely cousin A is coming Thursday night. When we set up her visit over a month ago, I had no idea that the excitement of a visit would be come so exquisitely painful--can't she get here yet???? I want our Friday facials! And to see Ash at the fair (Deep Fried HoHos, really?)! And to have our shrimp boil! Why does time fly 99% of the time, and then suddenly move at a pace where even slugs are exclaiming, "Sheesh! Speed it up already?"

So, in honor of her visit (and because even my excitement that it is a Glee! night is not helping take the edge off), a list of my favorite A and I moments (in no particular order):
  • Singing along together to really twangy country music in the car on the way to Grandma's.
  • Watching Jupiter's Darling, Ivanhoe, A Town Like Alice, Summer Magic, or It Started With Eve, among others.
  • Reading books while sitting in trees or out loud while road tripping.
  • North Beach
  • Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup - post surgery
  • OVID!!!! with Duckwitz
  • Retold Fairy Tales
  • Las Vegas (with bull riders & cowboy bars)
  • Dancing!
  • Los Hermanos & Good Chinese Food
  • Sighing over boys
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries
  • Ordering Flowers
  • Squeaky Cheese!
  • "Always take backup!"
  • Playing with hair
  • Trying to decide who is Sense and who is Sensibility.
  • "Grandma, sometimes the Lord says, 'No.' "
  • Princess Dresses & Crazy Birthdays
  • Knowing that if anything is wrong, I can pick up the phone. Even if it is 4 in the morning.
I love you, Mand. We cannot wait for you to come!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gleefully Yours. . .

I know it isn't the most family-friendly, nor the most uplifting, but I LOVE the music. . . All of it. If that is wrong, I don't want to be right. . . Yep, I'm a

Also, Kristen Chenoweth, I love you. Just in case you weren't sure.

Friday, October 2, 2009


BYU taught me a lot of things, not the least of which is my love for otterpops. Funny enough, I have never found them east of the Mississippi. Until now. Thank you Rite Aid!
tambourineguy:  maxmcknight:  I just realized why they were called otter pops,they’re otters. I was very out of it as a child apparently.    why is the orange one sad? aww

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New addition to the TV shows I adore

The Big Bang Theory: I finally caved and watched it. Thank you Thells and others for promoting it, and Jim Parsons for being so funny at Comic-Con.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nuts & Trees & Gruesome Kidnapping Scenarios.

"The nut doesn't fall very far from the tree" is a favorite quote of my mother's. She should know. She is something of a nut.

Due to her crazy nightmares about getting stuck in a car in a lake, one Christmas we got a funky hammer thing that will pop your air bag, slash your seat belt, provide a flashlight, and crack your window/windshield. Another Christmas, she gave us this nifty little thing that gives your battery a charge if you can't find someone near you with jumper cables. And every so often, she sends insanely paranoid forwards (okay, she sends forwards all the time, but often they are of the paranoid warning variety that have usually been proven false) I am pretty sure that she has sent this exact email at least 4 other times--if not more (I don't read them all--and I know B doesn't). By the way, hilariously refutes a lot of it here.

So, note to self for this Thursday, don't get kidnapped and horribly murdered.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jet Setting

Every so often I think how nice it would be to be married--settled, a permanent date for Friday night who I am diabetically in love with, a couple of kids running round. . . Then I have a week like this one, where I am making plans to travel, or dropping everything to road trip with a friend (on the weekend); and I am grateful to be single, with no strings, and no massive obligations to anyone (except the state of North Carolina, but only from 7:30-4:30, M-F).

FYI: B and I will totally bunk together if anyone wants to come for a visit. Seriously. It isn't hard. Book your flight now. A few flights to and from RDU have been relatively cheap lately, and we would love to see you! You, too, can feel footloose and fancy free!

P.S. Miss ABC is coming for my birthday, and I cannot wait!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Catching up.

So, I know I haven't written in a while. I have fun new duties at work (kill me now!) and have been travelling a little (yay!). Sean left on his mission last Wednesday (Crazy) to the MTC and then to Montana (Billings). So very, very crazy--it seems like just yesterday he was pushing his plastic shopping cart down Thornwood Ln.

I plan to start posting a little more regularly these days, and I apologize for not writing. Oh, hello, New Leaf, I will turn you over. Here goes nothing. . .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Those of you who have been watching my twitter account got real-time updates from my insanely perfect weekend. Those of you who didn't. . . stay tuned. I'll be doing posts of all 4 days of the San Diego Comic-Con this week. I saw famous people, and not-so-famous (to some people) people. I made a bunch of really cool friends who get it, and I ran into a few people who know the significance of throwing a fist up in the air and yelling, "Art Crawl!" All in all, despite the sleep-deprivation, personal-space invasion, blisters, and bruises; it was still completely and utterly worth it. I'll leave you with one of my favorite moments...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Catching the chocolate train...

When we were little, a Christmas tradition was making candy trains (they were easier than
gingerbread houses). A lot of white frosting and a bunch of candy would transform candy bars into locomotives; licorice into rail road ties; m&ms into coal; tootsie rolls into logs; peppermint wheels into actual wheels; lifesavers into the smoke stack; and Hershey kisses into the puff of smoke rising up from the smoke stack (and sometimes into Christmas trees).

I fell off the map on Wednesday, May 27th - well, the one of North Carolina, and into a pool of Chocolate (almost literally)! I entered the world of those childhood candy trains, and took off for an extended weekend of bliss.

Wednesday itself was full of packing and lazy travelling to DC, with stops at various thrift stores and second-hand book warehouses (ah, Second Story, my new-found love), and menu planning for a murder mystery dinner--British Accents and all. I found old friends and new ones, and probably stood in the cookbook section for a half hour alone. Then we met Lindy's friend Monica for dinner and a little more Bordering (Bargain Bin shopping, only! $1 book bins are amazing!).... We even had to unload the car into her apartment in Alexandria, VA in order to have room for our main event which started on Thursday--Hershey (PA) Weekend!!!!

Thursday was another lazy drive-- we knew we didn't need to be
in Hershey until around noonish to make sure we got our Chocolate Lab tickets. But Mechanicsberg called our name (as well as our costume planning), and we ended up at Fairey Godmothers Vintage Clothier after catching lunch at the Gingerbreadman (the local bar & grill--the seasoned fries were amazing!). We found the Major's va-va-voom murder mystery dress, and I gossiped with the outrageous proprietor about old-school film and how the Women was soooo much better than the remake (for the clothes alone!). B would have loved it--for the vintage cowboy boots alone!

We made our way to the Hotel Hershey where we were staying for Thursday and Friday nights, but they weren't ready for us yet. We checked on our Spa reservations, perused the gift shop and got a whipped cream, chocolate chip, and chocolate sauce drizzled hot cocoa at the Cocoa Beanery--and knew we were in heaven. As we headed back to the jeep, we were delighted to notice a little sign that said something along the lines of "guests of the Hotel Hershey receive free tickets to the Museum and the Gardens," so we started making
more plans!

The Chocolate Lab was amazing! Our class?

Where in the World? Learn some delicious geography by finding out more about the many places around the globe where cocoa beans are grown. You will be guided to recognize differences in cocoa beans' appearance and taste and make your own unique bar to take home.

I think I added a little too much chili powder to my chocolate bar, but other than that, the class was fascinating! I learned all about being a chocolate taster (my retirement career--seriously!). Just ask B, I told everyone who would listen all about it for the next few weeks. We couldn't stop talking about the free chocolate tasting we had done the last time we were there (each person gets one free shot, but they are huge shots, so all three enjoyed three different types).

We decided to swing by Hershey Lodge to see if they had the soft, squishy robes that both Mel and Monica wanted, and the Aztec Hot Cocoa that Monica dreams
of. Last time we were there, we noticed the gift shop prices on the robes were cheaper at the Lodge than the Hotel (I know--where would you be without my insider's guide?). We also realized that we were ravenous, so it was time to check in!

With our key, we were given Hershey bars, which was actually a great way to start our visit. And we headed toward toward the Fountain Cafe (the only restaurant where you don't need reservations). The menu there looked so good, we started trying to decide what we were having the next night and which was more important to have first--which is a great problem to have.

Funny enough, my favorite chocolate came that night as the after dinner mint. It was some dark chocolate, mint twig, and it was divine--smooth chocolate, but a crisp taste. I tried to find them in all of the gift shops, but I was denied. It was a little rainy, so we decided to hit the pool (hot tub), and were most delighted by the swimsuit drier--kind of a salad-spinner for swimsuits.

Friday dawned a little overcast, but after breakfast (with chocolate bread pudding in vanilla sauce), we started the day only dreamed of. Hot chocolate on the veranda overlooking the fountains? Perfection.

Having hot chocolate on the veranda overlooking the fountains between each spa treatment? Priceless. A cocoa massage, chocolate bean polish, sweet hands & feet, and a light lunch. . . could it get any better? How about a leisurely walk through the Hershey Gardens?

extremely relaxed bodies floated through. From the alphabet garden, to the rose garden, to Mrs. Hershey's Garden, and the arboretum, I don't think we missed anything. I felt extremely Zen in the Japanese Garden, though I wanted them to have one of those sand gardens with a rake--only life-size.

Those moments near dusk took on an ethereal quality, as we wandered the last of the gardens with live music streaming down to us from the Hotel at the top of the hill. Finally, the music of Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole pied-pipered us back up the hill to enjoy dinner during the sunset on the patio overlooking the valley.

We hated for our day to end,--we weren't quite ready--so we sat with our books in the fountain room. We talked about Hershey history and our favorite Spa treatments, sighing over what we would do next time and how we could start looking for discounts again. I wrote postcards to family, and couldn't wait to tell them what happened. Sean's text message said it all, "Are you in Heaven?" Possibly.

The next morning we sipped our last hot cocoa over breakfast, before hitting the museum; the outlets, and finally Chocolate World. The hardest part is deciding what to bring back. And how to pass up all that chocolate. The dark chocolate-mint shake was a nice parting gift. Making our way back to DC, it all seemed surreal--like some kind of washed-in-chocolate dream. We topped off an amazing weekend at a little street fair in the square in Alexandria where we met our dearest Sunni and went to Bilbo Baggins for dinner.

When we finally rolled into town with our prizes, we were plotting
our next Hershey adventure. Watching B's eyes light up at the gigantic cupcakes (really more like bowl cakes) I brought her, was just icing on the cake. Or maybe a light chocolate drizzle as kiss-shaped puffs of steam roll off a giant steam engine of chocolate dreams. . .

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July. . .

The Muppets say it well. . .


Friday, June 19, 2009

Handsomeness or Why I am bad at being a girl. . .

There is a new guy at work who is very attractive. In fact, he is almost too handsome. He reminds me of one of my celebrity crushes.

Today, I was speaking to a group with him in it. Oddly, I found myself staring. After realizing I was staring (because he was watching me stare at him), I looked away. My face started to feel hot, and I knew I was turning red. So, rather than look at him, I would glance surreptitiously, trying with all my will power to keep myself from blushing; and then look away quickly--so as not to stare. I know--I'm special.

Later, I thought, "I am pretty sure he thinks I am mentally slow." Seriously, I couldn't talk, just stared or wouldn't look at him, and then I walked away awkwardly. He was just uncomfortably good-looking, and the rational part of my brain just found a place to hide.

Tiny Fey describes it really well. They did a few episodes about it.

Maybe I just need a paper plate?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Breast In Show

So, I tried to put a team together for the Susan Komen Race for the Cure. Sadly, our Breast in Show team ended up being a team of two, but hey, Yay! for me and Taylor (and honorary member Lindy). You can still donate to my race page if you want!

As I got up at 5:30am to head out for the race, I wondered why on earth I would do this, but as we gathered with thousands of women (And men--wearing "I heart Boobies" T-shirts--LOVE it!), saw survivors, and walked together for this wonderful cause, you could truly feel how amazing (and moving) it really was.

My favorite T-shirt: "Stop the War on My Rack!" in camo with pink sleeves, and a pink ribbon in the middle of the wording. Awesome! Totally want one.

I have been thinking this week about the lovely women I have known with this and other forms of cancer. Some who have beat it, some who haven't, and those still fighting, and I am so very grateful and blessed that they are fighting for the rest of us. I feel so very blessed to walk for all those women and to celebrate every woman in my life. Please get checked early and often for breast cancer.

My other favorite T-shirt: "Fight like a girl." All the women in my life are smart, gorgeous, and powerful Wonder Women who can do anything. Maybe if we all fight like girls, we can truly beat this thing.

Loves to you all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thank you, Armed Forces!

Daddy and Granpa Larsen were in the Navy. Uncle Cliff was in the Marines; and multiple friends have served in various arms of the Military. Because I could never do this, I am extremely grateful to those who are willing to put their lives on the line, so I can enjoy my freedom--and it usually moves me to tears. That is why I laughed (and cried a little) as Stephen Colbert visited our troops (though sometimes crude and completely crazy, he tickles me).

Here is his first broadcast from the Iraq (the Word and the Suprise Guest at the end were my favorite):

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Late night musings. . .

My favorite part of tonight was watching the rain turn the screens in the window to sparkling treasures of light and diamonds. With the blinds slightly open and all the lights off, the sound of the rain outside is soothing and makes me miss the Midwest deep in the pit of my stomach.

I have grown to love this tree-infested area, but there are nights when the winds are blowing, the lightning flashes, and the rain pours; and I get a hankering for a Midwestern squall. The kind that reminds you that you are "not in Kansas anymore." The kind that makes you thirsty just listening to it. The kind that makes you shudder with its ferocity, but also take comfort in the drink of water the Earth is getting.

In The Rainmaker, the characters spend most of the movie trying to bring water to a drought-stricken area. When the rain finally does start to pour at the end, you can't wait to quench your own thirst; and yet your emotions well up and pour out of you. The Spirit of the Beehive also leaves your throat begging for water.

I have a bunch of posts I've been working on, but nothing I have finished because I have so much to say. The silence is nearly killing me, so here is a brief sip to quench the drought since I last wrote. There will be more soon, probably a deluge, but until then, you'll just have to content yourself with water droplets on a window screen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My relationship with books...

I had a discussion with a friend where we came to the conclusion that all of our psychosis came from a point in childhood where someone just put us in the corner with a book--some kind of separation from other classmates. As in, "Well, I need to work with these kids, you are fine--just sit there and read a book." Not that that is bad--just that it explains some of our less social behavior at times.

Some of my earliest friends were books. There is something so comforting in picking up a fictional world, and wrapping it around you like a blanket--or B's snuggie as she lays in front of the fire.

A recent read described it best, "Books can be possessive, can't they? You're walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what's inside will change your life, but sometimes you don't even have to read it. Sometimes it's a comfort just to have a book around. Many of these books haven't even had their spines cracked. 'Why do you buy books you don't even read?' our daughter asks us. That's like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat" (The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen p. 180). I'm allergic to cats (dogs, too). And you don't have to feed books.

Sometimes I think I have more book friends than friend friends. lets me keep track of some of them. I also enjoy rereading some classics in bits and pieces via email. It is almost time to beg for another bookshelf, except B really doesn't like the design feel of a room where every available wall space is covered with a bookshelf.

The most recent?
  • The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
  • The Sugar Queen & Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Jinx by Meg Cabot
  • The Weather Warden Series by Rachel Caine
  • The latest Sookie Stackhouse book from Charlaine Harris
  • Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

Books I'm in the middle of:

  • The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
  • The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The latest Dresden Files book by Jim Butcher
  • A Single Voice by Kristen M. Oaks
  • The Psychology of Joss Whedon, edited by Joy Davidson
  • So many others. . .

Books I pick up when I am feeling blue:

  • Jane Austen's Persuasion or Pride & Prejudice
  • Robin McKinley's Sunshine
  • Katherine Paterson's Jacob Have I Loved
  • Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle
  • Television Without Pity's 752 Things We Love to Hate (And Hate to Love) About TV
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones--or any of the other retold fairy tales edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling
  • Douglas Adam's The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (all 5 in the "trilogy")
  • The Book of Mormon

Or whatever mood I am in, and a certain friend is called for--a swashbuckling adventure, a glorious heartbreak, a divine passion, a sneaky caper--I will pick up something I haven't read in ages, or something that is massively careworn in the one place where a scene seduced me with its magic, as books are wont to do. And more often than not, if left alone, I will be caught reading my favorite dialogue out loud--possibly in an extremely dramatic way. . . But only when I am sure I am alone. . .

ETA: Dad & Mom came to visit for the weekend. Dad suggested that instead of another bookshelf I sell some of them--and he was tickled by the horrified look on my face and my response, "Why would I sell a friend? Would you make someone with a pet sell their pet?"

I may be in trouble. . .

Because I totally need another show I am addicted to. Or that I can't stop listening to the music from (I adore the version of Rehab around minute 28, and the last 5 minutes are golden--Who doesn't love Journey?). . .

Yes, K, you created a monster.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


It took a while to grown on me, but as soon as we hit "Man on the Street," I signed on. Thanks, Joss, for the first (and possibly only) season. It was fantastic.

ETA: We got another season, YAY!!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Updates from the pile of tissues next to me. . .

My mother gave me some "special" sinuses--like, "please, do I really need a nose?" sinuses. I have allergies year round, and about 3-4 times a year, a sinus infection that hits with the force of a mack truck. Monday, I went to work all kittens and happy times. The day was gorgeous (it wasn't as hot as it had been). My workload was liftable, and then it happened. I started sneezing. A lot. And I couldn't seem to stop it. I checked all my plants to see if any were pollinating--nope. By noon, I thought I had cotton stuffed in my head, and by 1:15, I had slunk out to the car to drug myself into oblivion (or at least out of my head). A few hours later, I had a raging sinus infection with a why-yes-please-stick-a-hot-poker-in-my-ear infection. Yes, I have been to the doctor, and yes, I have antibiotics. Sadly, this thing has me completely wasted and sporting a really low, sultry voice, that you shouldn't use on the phone because they will think you have a whole different job (or what Karen sometimes calls my "Just woke up" voice--brat).

Why am I posting about this? Because sleep requires breathing, and I can't seem to concentrate enough to read. And I need something to distract me between bouts of coughing up pieces of my lungs, so here it is--my list of things that make me feel better when I am sick (even if I can't seem to shake the other stuff).

1. Good Friends--who will bring you stuff, who chat with you via email even though you haven't talked in ages, who indulge you a little, and who let you hack a bunch after you have persuaded them to watch...

2. A little Buffy or Doctor Who or Supernatural or cheesy musicals--or anything else you are addicted to at the moment.

3. Real Tissues--Sadly, I don't have any at the moment, and I totally need to go get us toilet paper; as I am pretty sure I have single-handedly depleted our entire supply.

4. Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup--no, not the kind with any true redeeming value. Just chicken broth and tiny noodles. With a bunch of crackers crushed into it.

5. Showers--I know it isn't the most environmentally friendly, but it is the only way I have been able to steam the gunk out of my lungs (my roommate has been really nice about not getting mad when I crawl in to hack for a while at ungodly hours of the night--Love you, Ruby!).

I'm sure there are more, but at the moment, those have been the saving graces of this sinus infection. Is there something you can't live without when you are sick?

P.S. I'm sure the childhood memory pathos tie into nearly all of my favorite things. So, here is a clip that reminds me of riding up and down the Iowa hills in Cory's car on a spring day. Good times.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

String 'em along with a Song

I love a good sad song. The kind that make you cry a little bit inside and allow your heart to bleed on occasion. But I also have a love of songs that snicker and wink, and ultimately tease the participants. On that note, some of my favorites that I get made fun of for adoring (as I have been on a musical kick, you can presume that these are pretty much all from musicals) are posted below--mostly so I have them all in one place:

  • Hello Dolly -- So Long Dearie

  • Viva Las Vegas -- The Lady Loves Me

  • Neptune's Daughter -- Baby, It's Cold Outside (It's partway through the trailer)

  • Thoroughly Modern Millie (the stage show) -- Forget About the Boy

  • Funny Girl -- You Are Woman, I am Man

  • Jupiter's Darling -- I Never Trust a Woman (Yep, It is a musical about Hannibal's march on Rome--with Elephants and everything)

  • Oklahoma -- I'm Just A Girl Who Can't Say No

  • On the Town -- Come Up to My Place (can't seem to find it, but leaving it here nonetheless).
  • Mary Poppins -- Sister Suffragette

  • My Fair Lady -- Without You

Also see the Bill and Lois clips from the Ann Miller post (from Kiss Me Kate).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Movie of the Week: Movie Alternatives

So, I have seen a few movies lately, but none that have totally stood out enough to blog about them (Wolverine wasn't bad). I apologize for skipping the last two weeks, and I would like to put a plug in for a few movie and non-movie items:

1. Read a book. I've been doing it a lot lately.
2. Watch a TV show on DVD--Pushing Daisies, Chuck, Dollhouse, Supernatural, Doctor Who...
3. Have a Fred & Ginger marathon--have a lovely day to get lost in the rain or a fine romance...

Swing Time is my favorite. I love that she complains that he is all morals (the song starts around 4:38).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Foodie Stuff

So, I know that I have been a little silent of late on anything other than film, but when you are trying to keep up steady posts to two blogs, you can get into a rut. I will try to post a little more variance here. . . Sorry.

Here are some of the posts I've done (semi-recently) for the other one:

I'll have a few more updates soon. It's been a crazy month.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Random Note: Film Junky

Yes, I know that I have been on a movie kick of late. Sorry to those of you who would rather I pontificate on the state of my relationships or the lack/melodrama of said relationships by picking them apart, revealing every nuanced interaction. Or to those of you who want me to talk about the latest book that has left a gaping wound in my still-beating heart (that one is coming), but for some reason, I have been fascinated by film of late.. I think it was showing off the wish list section of the TiVo to B (I have a lot of old school screen stars in my list) or maybe watching Easter Parade (which I should own, but don't). TCM has been my TV channel of choice for the past week.

Today, I was given a second gift. My google reader is constantly filled with stuff I want to read but haven't gotten around to, and usually I end up deleting off a few. This title of this post from Slate seemed odd, and though I nearly deleted it, I decided to click. Thank Goodness I did. It is a classic movie lovers dream.

Though I am poor as a church mouse, there is no doubt that for $19.95, I will probably write up a list of my favorites, and start to decide what I can cut out in order to have a few of the movies on the list--that movie I have always wanted because I saw it at 3:00 am on TCM and adored it; but have never seen it again. I cannot wait. I hope more studios will make my dreams come true the same way. If you love movies--classic film--then you won't be able to stop yourself from smiling at this golden chance to love Hollywood in black, white, color, silent, sound, or stereoscope. I'm nearly giddy with the notion.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Movie of the Week: What a Way to Go!

This kooky gem stars a gorgeous Shirley MacLaine and a ton of top Hollywood men. What I wouldn't have given to play opposite all of these, knowing that they were all going to woo me! Wow. It had to be extremely intimidating. . .

A young Shirley is charmed by Dick Van Dyke, Paul Newman (lucky, lucky girl--so jealous), Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelley, and Dean Martin (with a fun appearance by Robert Cummings as her therapist). She is a sweet, simple girl in search of a good, simple life. Sadly, it seems she is cursed to bring amazing financial luck to all she falls in love with, but that only makes them spend less time with her. . . I love how each part of her life is turned into a movie:

Black & White Silent Film (Almost Chaplinesque)

Dark, Brooding French Film (Complete with Subtitles)

Crazy, Posh Fashion Film (with so many extravagant costume changes)

MGM Musical Extravaganza! (You can't have Gene not dance!)

And finally, a bit more down on the farm. . . .

It is extremely odd, yet oh so lovely. Do not be surprised if it feels a little trippy. But you can't help but root for sweet, little Louisa May Hopper Flint Anderson Benson Crawley. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Feet on Fire: An Ann Miller retrospective

Ann Miller's birthday was on Sunday. You can read her bio here, but her on-screen partners will tell you a lot. She danced with Gene Kelley, Fred Astaire, and Bob Fosse (among others) and shared the screen with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and so many more. Making a total of 47 appearances on the screen (TV and Movie), she never failed to impress. Sadly, she never got to be a leading lady, but usually played the second female lead in most of her shows. Below are some of my favorite movies she danced through. Funny enough, in many of her musicals, her moments are steal the show (for me at least). . . possibly because her numbers are saucier than the lead's goody-two-shoes numbers.

  • Stage Door - She's only a bit player, but I had to include this movie as it is one of my favorites. Yes, that is Miss Ginger Rogers she is rehearsing with.

  • On the Town - With Gene Kelley and Frank Sinatra (I adore the fact that she is looking for a Neanderthal Man, and I think my cousin adored the fact that she was an "Anthropologist").

  • Small Town Girl - Love this because it stars Jane Powell in a Deanna Durbin remake--why not take a bunch of old movies and remake them with a younger girl? No one will notice. Whatever. I still will always love Jane for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
  • Kiss Me Kate - Kiss Me Kate is my favorite Ann Miller movie (and hers). Though starring Jane Powell's costars from Seven Brides (Howard Keel & Tommy Rall--Frankincense), Annie tends to steal a few scenes (and how great is it that her name is Lois Lane?). Here are my favorites . It doesn't hurt that all the music is by Cole Porter either. . .

    Tom, Dick, or Harry, Too Darn Hot, and Brush Up Your Shakespeare (which doesn't actually show Ann, but I love it) are featured in a few tiny clips during this Ann-narrated piece on Kiss Me Kate.

  • Why Can't You Behave

  • True to You in My Fashion

By now I know that C is rolling his eyes and saying something like, "Of course you like these!" somewhat exasperatedly as I'm usually a sucker for the songs where the guy has to get the girl to commit, rather than the other way around. Anyway, Happy Late Birthday, Annie. You are missed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Movie of the Week: Easter Parade

I adore Fred Astaire movies. I love Judy Garland. Put them both together, and you get this week's Movie of the Week. The sumptuous hats! The gorgeous dancing! The catchy Irving Berlin tunes! I adore the supporting players--the ever-feisty, fastest-tapper-around, Ann Miller; the gorgeous, totally-had-a-crush-on-him-for-years Peter Lawford; and the bumblingly amusing (one of Ann's costars in On the Town with Gene Kelley) Jules Munshin.

I've been longing for an amazing Easter bonnet now for the past few years (partially due to this movie, and partially due to a cross between the Ascot Races scene in My Fair Lady and the Ribbons Down My Back scene in Hello Dolly). Sadly, finding a hat shop is a little difficult these days. The closest google got me was near DC. So sad.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter, and enjoy some Fred & Judy. . .

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nothin' could be finer. . .

Go Carolina! Congrats to the Tar Heels on their fifth National Championship!
Here is Franklin St. from last night:

Franklin Street: The Celebration from The Daily Tar Heel on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Movie of the Week: Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm is a movie I can watch over and over again. Kate Beckinsdale shines as Flora Poste (or Robert Poste's child depending on who you are), weaving together and "fixing" a beautiful cast of characters (and more than solid actors) in this made for TV movie. Eileen Atkins, Rufus Sewell, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, a young Rupert Penry-Jones (of MI-5/Spooks fame), and Joanna Lumley (of AbFab fame) round out the cast.

The story itself is massively quirky and very British, but if you aren't drawn in by the odd introductions to Flora's country relatives, then the minute Ian McKellen (As Amos Starkadder) says, "Seth, drain the well. There's a neighbor missing," you will start giggling. There are so many moments that I adore.
  • The letters from the relatives.
  • The moment she hears about Seth & Reuben.
  • Going to watch Amos preach to the Quivering Brethren.
  • "Bull's out."
  • Elfine in London & Seth at the party
  • The moment the Gone With The Wind theme song starts to play.
  • "I'd take her, too, but she's gloomy."
  • My Mybug trying to declare his love and all of his other odious declarations.
  • Going to talk to Great Aunt Ada.
  • Flora realizing she may just not be a novelist.
If you want an odd night at the movies, or a perfectly quirky laugh (there is so much to catch, you sometimes have to watch it more than once), grab a copy or borrow mine. You won't regret it. The intro if you are interested.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chomping at the bit. . .

I get my wisdom teeth out tomorrow. I will admit I am a little nervous. Not really due to surgery, but mostly due to a reoccurring nightmare I have had for years where my teeth fall out. It completely freaks me out.

The other reason is a distinct possibility that I may lose wisdom--like I need to let any of that go. The etymology of wisdom teeth is very intriguing. So I could lose wisdom or judgement--perfect. At least I'll have an excuse to catch up on my sleep, and to take good drugs. It also means B has to be nice to me, and I can eat all the ice cream, pudding, and mashed potatoes I want. Yep, already losing wisdom and judgement.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What Grief Is: A Response

***** Warning: The next post may be too emotional for some readers. This blog will have heavy and light moments. This one isn't all that light. *****

In response to the What Grief Is article on Slate...

The 27th of the month before someone's birthday always makes me a little bit queasy--mostly just family members, but close friends, too. Two of my three brothers died on the 27th; one before his 18th birthday (I was seven), the other before his 21st (I was 23). Even now, seven years after Nathan died and 23 years after Cory, I have moments that sucker punch me out of the blue.

I think it is the nature of grief. I know they are both in a better place, but that is not what hurts. What hurts is the moments I long to share with them--moments where Cory would wince at his overenthusiastic little sister or where Nathan would tease me until I would want to kick him in the shins. Quiet moments where I just need a hug from someone who loves me one moment and hates me at the next but still would protect me from here to doomsday.

I long to see their faces when, at some future moment, they would have met my husband-to-be (whomever he may be). My youngest brother is not that intimidating--who is going to threaten to kill him if he hurts me (only as a joke--kind of)? Who is going to tell my kids (someday, hopefully) what I was like as a child? My parents remember bits, but not the sneaky stuff you do just with siblings. And my next younger sibling is seven years younger. I won't get to meet their potential spouses or kids, and see the amazing men they would grow into. My heart aches for those moments.

I experienced a lot of death during my college years. After Nathan's sudden and tragic death, I hated anyone who said, "I'm sorry..." or "How are you doing?"

"Really? I am too!" or "How do you think I am doing?!?" What was I supposed to say? "Yep, It is all your fault?!?" Logic doesn't figure into it. I came back to school after the funeral, and all I could think that first night was, "There is no one here who has any inkling of how I am feeling, and everyone seems so far away." I spent the evening crying myself to sleep, and subsequent days watching a lot of Buffy--specifically the one where Buffy's mom dies. It is very stark and raw--and you know deep down that someone has also ached like you have. I had good days and bad, and yet on certain days I had friends who would ask me how I am while their eyes begged me to not tell them. You could almost see them running, screaming in the other direction rather than face such naked emotion.

Years and years of society's repression of real, genuine emotion has led to our only getting obsessed with some of the more shallow aspects of life around us--clothes, celebrities, movies, TV, electronics--material items it is okay to show emotion for. Yet true emotion, deeply-felt emotion is not allowed. It is too scary. And that is what I think it comes down to. For some reason our culture has decided that any emotion other than elation or ambition is supposed to remain behind closed doors. We are supposed to think with logical heads, go with our intuition, but keep our feelings to ourselves. Sadly, we are not wired that way. Yes, I, too, have bought into some of the shallow, but some of our best writers who have explored grief have written for TV of late. I've read a lot books about grief, and I've found that sometimes those rituals we no longer practice are extremely therapeutic (which is probably why generations now need much more therapy).

It has taken a lot of therapy and many dear friends (not to mention an intensely personal relationship with God as well as a firm belief in the healing powers of the atonement) to get me to a point in my life where I am okay. I realized it shortly after I turned 30 this past year--I am doing really well, and my life is really good. I still have my moments, but moments come and go; and my closest friends are those who know how to just be and let me be when I need it. And they know not to say, "I'm sorry" or "how are you doing?" And they know why I loved Veronica Mars bringing to justice her best friend's killer.

Our family is a lot closer now. My sister and I are extremely different yet best friends (which probably wouldn't have happened if Nathan hadn't died). My little brother alternates between being spoiled by us and exasperating us. My parents, though struggling through the financial crisis right now (Nathan was going to take over our small family business), have become a stronger couple by burying two sons together and yet believing their entire family will be reunited someday.

Ultimately, I am much more likely to express all the emotions I feel, and those around me have come to learn to deal with it. I am not pulling punches anymore. Somehow our culture has to learn a better way to deal with grief, or we are going to have countless groups of people suffering in silence until something ultimately explodes. And why has grief become the equivalent of religion--"you can believe in something, but for heaven's sake do not share it!"

Moving back to the article, how do we teach dealing with grief better? How do we mourn with those that mourn? Why is it that we expect people to come back "all better?" Why do we think everything should be fine after a few months? Do we reinstate the rituals of before? Allow there to be public mourning? How would you solve this problem? There has to be a better way to teach future generations, so they do not have to shatter and slowly come back together like I did.

I have a lot of other feelings on the subject, but I don't want to bog this down too much by preaching from my pulpit of healthy grieving. Do you have any thoughts?

To commemorate yesterday, I was going to write a different post, but someone else beat me to it. I'll let her speak for me: Thanks, Ruby.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grammar Pet Peeves: P.S.

So, for the second time this week, I got an email from someone where they finished the missive with PS. They then followed it with PSS. PS means postscript. With additional PS's added, it is usually PPS (Post-postscript), adding more Ps the more post the postscript you go. PSS drives me crazy. Postscript script? Nuts.

I have read a couple of places where people have rationalized a definition of Post-sub-script, but that seems like it is reaching. The indefinable "they" then go on to say that the next PS would be PPPS, so I am not sure I buy it.

It is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me, like people who say/write Sister-in-laws instead of Sisters-in-law. But I learned long ago that you come across as condescending and pedantic by trying to correct people's grammar, so I keep my mouth shut even though my head is screaming "my barbaric YAWP!" Sometimes I even have to grit my teeth.

So, grammar pet peeves? In the one place you can share them without coming across as though you are correcting someone? Just randomly mentioning grammar that drives you crazy--not the people who use it. Sound off in the comments if you need to add your "barbaric YAWP!" My thanks to Mr. Whitman.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Movie of the week: The Spirit of the Beehive

The Spirit of the Beehive haunts me. When I first saw it back in college for an assignment, I didn't realize that I would go back again and again to listen for its whispers in the dark. A quiet, lovely, Spanish film with a deceptively simple storyline, it continues to speak to me ten years after I first saw it.

Though the cinematographer was going blind at the time of filming, the film is stunning. Dusty, warm colors permeate the daytime of the two little girls who are the center of this film. You almost get thirsty watching. The only relief from that dryness are the nighttime moments--things hidden in the cool dark of night.

A story of alienation, loss of childhood innocence, longing, and so much more, hiding a subtle protest against Spain's Franco dictatorship. I can still see little Ana's eyes looking out at me--weighing, measuring, everything she sees. If you have a chance to see it, do. If you want to borrow it, I have it. A slight warning--it may haunt you, too.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Movie of the week: Penelope

I grew up adoring fairy tales (if you are a little bit of a snob, read: faery or faerie). From the Jewel-named Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby, etc. books to Hans Christian Andersen (or Fairy Tale Theater to the Nick Jr fairy tale cartoons), I was hooked. I have grown up trying to find the best retold fairy tales ever since, to create that world of wonder. There are some very good ones out there (bless you, Robin McKinley), some nifty short story collections (I LOVE Cockroach in Loafers, an updated version of Puss in Boots set in New York--I could look through my books for the anthology if you really want me to), as well as some really bad ones (mostly geared toward young adults because someone has decided they only deserve drivel).

Penelope is a charming fairy tale. Not overly complicated, but you won't be able to help smiling through it, unless you hate fun or expect every movie you see to eviscerate your intestines. It doesn't hurt that James McAvoy is extremely charismatic, or that leading lady, Christina Ricci is extremely likeable. There are some great supporting efforts from continually-crazy-mom Catherine O'Hara, always interesting Richard E. Grant, the ever-affable Reese Witherspoon, and the crazy-talented Peter Dinklage, among others. But don't take my word, check it out. . .

I was going to include the trailer, but all the trailers give way too much away! Sorry.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Movie of the week: Wonder Woman

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved Wonder Woman. This multiplied in college, when I found out that every day when I got home from campus at 4:30 or 5:00, the SciFi channel would replay the old Lynda Carter series, and I would make my roommates watch (and then sometimes we would watch Quantum Leap reruns after).

It could have been her Greek mythology background because as a kid I also had a fascination with the Greek myths. Or the fact that she was an Amazon, and I was (and am) very Girl Power (Go Ajnuat, leader of the feminazis!--random, high school joke, sorry, I am not actually a feminazi). Whatever it was, I loved her. Don't you just want to spin and change your whole wardrobe? The lasso of truth that makes all of its wearers confess their secrets, wristbands that block bullets, and an invisible jet--who wouldn't want to be Wonder Woman?

This week a new Wonder Woman movie came out, but you probably didn't hear about it. Probably because it is animated... and it came out straight-to-DVD. But that shouldn't stop you from enjoying it because it is charming! Recently, I got my hands on the book based on the screenplay (thanks, Melinda!) and really enjoyed it. It is witty and amusing, and definitely more for teens and superhero fans, not little kids (the book was better, but when aren't they?).

It doesn't hurt that the leads are voiced by Keri Russell (of Felicity and Waitress fame) and Nathan Fillion (Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog), two people I truly adore (I do not stalk Nathan, I swear... Call me!), or that Rosario Dawson, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen, and others assist. But don't take my word for it, have an Amazon night, fight for right, "and the old red, white, and blue. . ."

Wonder Woman Official Trailer

A quick history of Wonder Woman (the comic):

P.S. It is even fun to watch with guys. However, afterwards, you may want to let them win at cards.

P.P.S. I have liked Nathan since his Two Guys & a Girl phase (though not as far back as his Soap days), and I have loved him as Captain Tightpants and Captain Hammer. His new show has me tickled, but I've only seen the pilot.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Movie of the week: The Taming of the Shrew (BBC version)

As a terrifying woman myself (I believe the term is usually "intimidating"--at least that is what my Mother told me as I headed out to Provo, UT for my first year of college--Love you, Mom!), I have always had a soft place in my heart for Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. Be it the Elizabeth Taylor version or the Cole Porter musical version, I love that Katherine is a spitfire, albeit one who is "tamed" by the right man--a man just as screwed up as she is in all the right ways for her. This is probably the reason I also love Much Ado About Nothing, and why I am always pining for a Benedick to my Beatrice.

In 2005, the BBC did a miniseries that updated four Shakespearean plays to today while keeping a little of the dialogue ("I come to wiv-ed wealthily in Padua"). Thanks to Netflix, this is now available to watch online or on DVD, though you still cannot purchase it in the US. I have now seen 3 out of four of the episodes, and my by far favorite is their version of The Taming of the Shrew. Starring Rufus Sewell (who is known more for his villains, though see him in Cold Comfort Farm and you know better) and Shirley Henderson (Yep, Moaning Myrtle); it is a delight. Their physical comedy alone is a pleasure.

If you have a chance to see it, do. It is a bizarre treat. I've embedded a little clip of when the two meet for the first time, enjoy (go to the point around 4:15 if you want the exact moment--Oh, and yes, that is Twiggy as Kate's mom).

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Recent Music Obsessions

I can't get you out of my head. . .

  • The Wailin' Jennys (the old lineup vs. the new)
  • The entire soundtrack from Once (a lovely, sad, yet uplifting film).

  • Smile (though I don't suggest you actually do the things in the video. . . )

They have been running through my head now forever. . . Yep, a bunch are from the British Isles--what? I'm an anglophile!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A foodie blog

I have resisted starting a food blog, mostly because there is very little I feel I could add to the discussion out there now. Sometimes I adore foodie blogs, and other times I feel that the writers of said blogs are pretentious and snotty. Against my better judgement, I just threw myself in the ring.

I recently was assigned to run the Dining In & Dining Out Group for our enrichment. In order to facilitate that and add a twist, I started a blog for all in the group. Hopefully, soon, there will be more than just me writing about everything food and sisters related. There better be.

Go check it out:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Movie of the Week: Hope you enjoyed the Oscars

So, best intentions and everything, I totally missed the movie of the week. Really, though, I was too busy enjoying the Jubilee to get to anything last week (yeah, Ruth!). So, here for your entertainment, my favorite oscar moment from a few years ago (I can't find the screenwriting one from this year, as it was my favorite--Tina Fey is a godess!).


A recap of this year:

Stay tuned later for this week's movie...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Ruth!!!

See how many leading men you can identify (without reading the actual notes on the side--click "Play All" and maximize the screen)--1 point for movie or TV show title, 1 point for actor name, and 1 for character name (There are about 86ish points available). . . We didn't watch every moment of them, but they are pretty Ruth-centric. Click on "Happy Birthday, Ruth!" to take the quiz. . .

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Movie Of the Week: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever

So, I've decided to do a movie of the week (We'll see if I can keep up that kind of blogging frequency; but I am kind of keeping up on my daily journal writing goal, so it could happen). The movies will probably will have no particular order but end up on the list due to the mood I am in that week, someone saying a line in passing which triggers that movie in my head, or my getting a song in my head relating to or from the movie.

This week: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Hypnosis, reincarnation, telepathy, relationship woes, crazy-fast gardening, trysting lovers, Academic Freedom, smoking-cessation help, 19th Century England, con-artist orphans, witchcraft trials, and so much more--wrapped up in a musical. Starring Barbra Streisand (with a cameo by an extremely young Jack Nicholson), it is a visual delight mixed with a kooky story, and the music is crazy addicting. Someday I will be doing a one-woman show of songs from this (admittedly silly) guilty-pleasure movie. . . among others.

The song that has haunted me all week though is "What did I have I don't have now." The inside of my car has had multiple performances. But almost all of the songs are really fun to sing/listen to:
  • "Hurry, It's Lovely Up Here," seen below, makes you want to dance amongst flowers on a gorgeous spring day.
  • "Love With All The Trimmings" is a sultry song that kind of makes you crave really good food topped off with a satisfying kiss.

  • "Go To Sleep" debates various types of love. Do you go for the one who may not be that into you but who makes your heart flutter, or do you go for the one who likes you a lot but you're not really sure about?

  • "He Isn't You" croons true love to a man you cannot have, not because he doesn't love you, but because you live in two different time periods. . . (Ridiculous, but oh-so-fun to sing).

  • "What Did I Have That I Don't Have?" frantically runs through the qualities that attracted him in the first place, wondering where they went and how you can get them back.

  • "Come Back To Me!" is a guy begging a girl to come back any way possible, my favorite line, "under drugs, under glass..." or "wrapped in mink or Saran, any way that you can--Come Back To Me!" Awesome.

If you have a moment, enjoy the extremely random opening scene to this bizarre yet lovable movie...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Watch Now!!!

Joss Whedon is awesome. I adore him. Though on the surface he seems like just another Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV writer, he is much more than that.

Joss has helped me through sweet times and traumatic times. Sometimes with blisteringly real, raw emotion, letting me know that I am not the only person in the world to feel that way; sometimes with complete escapism, allowing me to run away for a while; sometimes with the jarring genres of Western meshed with Space Opera, writing deeply flawed yet lovable people that you worry about like true friends--but almost always brilliantly. I have sung along to his musicals, shuddered (and yelled at the TV) through the suspense, and adored his hysterically amusing wit (that puppet episode had me in stitches for days). Oh, and he, too, loved Veronica Mars...

So, tonight at 9:00 pm eastern/8:00 pm central when he debuts his newest show, I will be watching... you should too.

When Fox cancels it after three episodes, played out of order, after not really promoting it, and burying it on Friday nights (or switching around its schedule), I will have enjoyed the perfectly crafted, succulently served, delectable dish he chose to gift us with. And I will have yet again been seduced by that man's sexy brain and continual insight into the human psyche. Did I mention I love him? Sigh...

ETA: There is an intriguing review on Slate today if you are interested

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Just a quick shout out to that amazing woman who raised me (she is the one in the middle). I adore you!

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