Sunday, December 18, 2011

November Movies

So we're halfway through December and I'm just now posting November's movies. I blame Pinterest. It sucks you in, I tell you! Although it has given me several good ideas for crafts, two of which I've already tried (more on that later). Anyway, movies! I did 5 this month, the 2 that were specifically on my list were Miracle on 34th Street and The Blues Brothers. There are still quite a few movies that I haven't gotten to yet, which means either A) Imma watch a whole lotta movies this month or B) I'm not going to get to them all. Since it's a week before Christmas and not only have I not shopped for stocking stuffers but I also have a toddler and a preschooler, my money's on B. And without further ado, the ones I managed to view:

A Serious Man (2009, Coen Brothers). I think this one hit home a little too much for me to sincerely like it. Loosely based on the story of Job, the main character's wife wants a divorce at the beginning of the film, and then everything goes wrong for the poor guy from then on. Considering we're on quite the unlucky streak ourselves right now, I found myself getting irritated with the man because he wouldn't just speak up for himself or stand his ground. I love the Coen Brothers (Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?) and it was a very well done film, but I just couldn't get into it.

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011, Kelly Asbury). Cute, predictable but amusing, not safe for small children if you don't want them learning quasi-swear words or seeing an elderly gnome in a man thong. Some seriously funny parts if you're paying attention, but mostly standard animated fare geared towards the 10-14 crowd. It's worth mentioning that James McAvoy has a voice like buttered velvet. That is all.

Sleepers (1996, Barry Levinson) This film was on my "watch eventually" list because way back in the day I had a semi-crush on Brad Renfro (Tom & Huck) and I read somewhere that he played the younger version of Brad Pitt's character. I also read that he had to wear blue contacts to do it, since he's naturally brown-eyed. Or was. Poor guy died the week before Heath Ledger and nobody noticed, cared, or even put him in the stinking slide show at the Oscars. Shame on you, Academy! Moving on. I didn't know what to expect of this film, and had I known I might not have watched it, but it was very well done and I'm glad I can check it off my list.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947, George Seaton) With all of the black and white movies that we watched growing up, and with how much I love Maureen O'Hara (redheads unite!) I haven't the faintest idea how this one escaped me all these years. I needed a B&W to fulfill my NYR for this month, and I thought I'd start things off with a little Christmas Spirit. Plus, Natalie Wood as a cute little tyke! Awww. Macy's hires a department store Santa for their parade, but lo and behold he claims to be the real Santa and many adventures in misbelief vs trust ensue. There's also a fake psychiatrist and a handsome laywer, and a lovely ending that has you pondering a visit to Macy's to get one of your own wishes fulfilled.

The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis). This one has been on my list for a very long time, and I have no idea why I've never seen it. Honestly, I wish I'd seen it sooner because besides the catchy blues tunes, I was kinda bored. Well, the catchy blues and Carrie Fisher wielding heavy artillery with perfectly manicured nails. Perhaps if I'd seen it when I was younger and it was still relatively new, I would appreciate the humor and plot points more. I did enjoy it though, and holy young Dan Aykroyd, Batman! I almost didn't recognize him, at first. "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark...and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December Movies

Final Month of my 2011 resolution! I've gone to type this 3 times now, looked at the number of movies on the list and gotten overwhelmed and shut the window again. I watched 11 movies this month. Eleven! I guess I wanted to end with a grand finale. My 2 NYR films were Ghost and Shadow of the Thin Man. I then watched 9 more for the fun of it! Thor, Hellboy, The Adjustment Bureau, Once Upon a Christmas, It's a Wonderful World, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Supersize Me, Warrior, and Morning Glory. Ready?  Go!

Ghost (1990, Jerry Zucker). I've seen bits and pieces of this since it came out, (the penny scene, for one) but never the whole thing (which is why it was on my list). I enjoyed it, I liked seeing how all the pieces I'd already seen fit together, and Whoopi was hilarious. Not gonna lie, the dark-shapes-dragging-bad-men-to-hell was freaky, no special effects needed there to get the point across! Bonus: now I know what scene was being spoofed in Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death! See, this is why I'm doing this in the first place, so I get all those references! Yay.

Shadow of the Thin Man (1941, W.S. Van Dyke) This was the last Thin Man film in the series that I had yet to see. (I thought the last one, Thin Man Goes Home, was on my list too but about 15 minutes into it I realized I had indeed seen it. I watched it anyway because hey, William Powell!) This particular one dealt with murder at a horse-racing track and the ensuing adventures thereafter. In my opinion, not as good as some of the previous ones but still amusing in its own right. The first Thin Man is still my favorite: "If this rampage of respectability keeps up, we'll have to get you a bullet-proof girdle!"

Thor (2011, Kenneth Branagh). I've been wanting to see this since I saw the previews, mostly because I love anything Natalie Portman's in and I'm a sucker for a good superhero movie. The storyline could have used some beefing up, the effects were good but the film as a whole kind of lacked the knockout punch to make it a really great film. I loved that Branagh brought his Shakespearean background to the dialogue, it made for some interesting depth with the immortal characters' speech. The scene (spoiler alert!) where Odin kicks out Thor was pretty emotional, a very lifelike father-son moment and I thought it was very well done. I wanted more character development for Thor, though, they made him go from "banished spoiled boy" to "self-sacrificing hero" a little too fast without enough development between. When he can't retrieve his own hammer, he's clearly upset, and Loki's lies that his father is dead and he can never come back obviously impact him, but in the breakfast scene he nonchalantly serves everyone else breakfast like he knows what he's doing. He's a god, for crying out loud, he wouldn't have the first clue how to do that no matter how depressed he is about his father's supposed death. They should have expanded the scene a bit to show him realizing that he's lost his power, his family, and his life as he knew it, (facial expressions, people! they work!) and maybe he's sitting there waiting to be served (like he has his entire life) and he realizes then that he doesn't deserve to be waited on, and maybe he takes the dishes from Darcy. Yeah, they should have made a slightly bigger deal about him taking the dishes from Darcy. Or perhaps included another scene that shows him realizing (and not just talking about) how horribly he's behaved to get himself to this point. The story line between Thor and Jane, though? Oh my word, so cute. I LOVE that he kisses her hand. And "I'll be back for you, I swear it"......swoon.

Hellboy (2004, Guillermo Del Toro) was pretty much exactly what I expected. Cheesy one-liners, decent special effects, an okay film. Nothing super special but not terrible, plus it had a cute love story between Hellboy and Selma Blair's character. Bogie informed me there was a sequel, I'll probably watch it to see where the story line goes.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011, George Nolfi) had in interesting premise, but it didn't live up to its own potential. Don't get me wrong, the acting was good, the plot was good, everything worked well but it just didn't wow me. The concept of an "adjustment bureau" being in existence is quite intriguing and makes for an interesting topic of conversation, but the film couldn't decide if it wanted to be a sci-fi or a romantic movie. And it couldn't manage to be both. Bonus for Anthony Mackie, though, he's one of my husband's favorite character actors and we were both pleased to see him in this film. Yay for being a good guy! I did like the fact that the movie drove home the point that you always have a choice, regardless of who is telling you what you can and cannot do. You make your own choices.

Once Upon a Christmas (2000, Tibor Takacs). My excuse is that it was December...had to watch at least one cheesy Hallmark movie, right? This one was a bit of a there's-an-hour-and-a-half-I'll-never-get-back. Okay, not a bit. A lot. The Santa's Daughter theme has been pretty overdone, but then you toss in the "saving christmas" plotline and pair it with Santa's oldest daughter is evil (how could she not be with a name like Rudolfa? poor girl) and you have Christmas Cheese to the Nth degree. The acting was meh, I believed I've already mentioned what I think of the plot, and since when is the tooth-fairy a lisping flamboyant cross-dresser? You only wish I was making that up. I cleansed my eyes & brain with White Christmas. And then followed up with A Charlie Brown Christmas. Ahhhh, that's better.

It's a Wonderful World (1939, W.S. Van Dyke) was amusing, standard 30's-40's fare. Jimmy Stewart and Claudette Colbert are thrown together in the midst of a murder-mystery. He's a lawyer for a framed man, she's a poet in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are mistaken identities, disguises, boy scouts, a play, fake accents, and even a Happily Ever After. Predictable but cute.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011, Michael Bay). Let's wasn't as bad as the second one? I figured out why these movies bug me so much (besides the standard Michael Bay Explosions-Are-Way-Better-Than-Actual-Acting). If you know me, you know that I love to watch cheesy sci-fi movies (and if you didn't, now you do!) We're talking the really bad ones, with horrible acting, terrible jokes, cheesy punchlines and laughable special effects. The Transformers movies are exactly that: Terrible B movies with first rate CGI/special effects. Don't get me wrong, I love special effects as much as any movie buff, but they should never EVER (take notes, Bay!) take the place of actual acting and a decent screenplay. They should be a side dish meant to compliment and enhance, not replace the main course. I did find it quite fascinating that everyone got incredibly dirty and bloody except the hot blonde in white. Now that's talent! I was also quite grateful that there were no humping 'bots, or 'bot balls, but slightly less terrible than atrocious still doesn't make a good film.

Super Size Me (2004, Morgan Spurlock). I'd seen bits and pieces of this, and knew the premise but I was still surprised by how quickly he got run down/overweight/sick. I mean everybody knows that fast food isn't good for you, but THAT bad? What in the world do you have to do to food to make eating it hazardous to your health?? The only part that really shocked me was the addiction and depression he experienced. Again, what crap do you have to put in food to make it alter not only your body but your mind? I know he focused on McDonald's, but it goes for pretty much any fast food place. Bogie and I were (and still are) on a diet at the time we watched this, but if we were eating any junk food this film would have been enough to make me quit it for good! Yuck. I think my favorite part was the school for troubled kids that changed their entire menu to fresh whole foods and saw a huge change in all the kids just from changing their diet! I think our diets play a much bigger part on our health that we realize, as evidenced by the change (good and bad) in mental states depending on what is being eaten. I can personally attest to this as we experimented with D-man's diet (to resolve some tummy issues) by taking him off gluten for a week. After 4 days his gut issues resolved, proving it was a gluten sensitivity, but what really shocked me was the change in personality/attitude. He wasn't super grumpy before and we frequently described him as laid back and chill, but once he was off gluten he was much less grumpy and waaaaaaay more feisty and talkative. He's spouting out words left and right, running all over the place, much more alert, has lots more attitude (which occasionally earns him a time-out) and is standing up to his sister more. It's not that he wasn't talking or standing up for himself before, but he's doing it so much more now it's amazing. He's so much happier now and since we had nothing else to compare it to we just didn't know how much better it could get! Moral of the story: cut some crap out of your diet and see what improves!

Warrior (2011, Gavin O'Connor). Fighting isn't really my thing, which might explain why I haven't watched Rocky yet (so much sweat and slow motion....), but I enjoyed this film. There were several factors (including the ending) that kept it from being exceptional, but overall it was well filmed, well acted, and well executed. They went for the fairytale ending instead of the realistic ending, which could have had just as much of an impact, and it seemed to end too abruptly with no follow-through on some of the story lines. I was irritated with how it ended, but after thinking about the ending for a while I decided it was better not to do the follow-through, it made for a better ending by being left open.

Morning Glory (2010, Roger Michell). This was a cute little film with an uncommon plot. Rachel McAdams' character, Becky Fuller, was pushed in our faces a little too much (as Bogie put it, "okay, we get it, she's spastic") but it fit with the story. The story of keeping a struggling TV show on the air definitely kept my interest, and once the film got going I was easily engrossed. Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton were fun to watch, especially when their characters started fighting with each other. Becky's personal life seemed a little out of place because the story didn't do much by way of developing her character except for the spazziness. If they had delved into her character a bit more and eased up on the ditzy energetic bit, the film would have been excellent.

And there you have it! 11 films for December brings my grand total of viewed-for-the-first-time films for 2011 to 42! I loved this resolution for several reasons, it was enjoyable, realistic, and I got to watch movies! I think I'm going to do it again for 2012, but I'll discuss this next year's resolutions in another post.
Star Trek, King Kong, Tangled, and Thor are my favorite films out of the 42. King Kong is just classic, Star Trek and Thor were great (fun fact: Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, also played Kirk's father in Star Trek. They did a great job of choosing actors who looked alike, because he and Chris Pine could definitely be related!) and Tangled was oh-my-word-so-cute. I have some of the songs saved onto a Pandora station, and I might have DVRd it just so I could rewatch the lantern scene.

I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews, let me know which films you've seen and which were your favorites! Did I inspire you to watch any films that you normally wouldn't have?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

(not so) Wordless Wednesday- Thankful edition

I'm going to be honest, I'm having to revert to some real basics to find some things to be thankful for this year. I've been unable to find a job (still), despite the fact that we're living with our in-laws and driving a borrowed vehicle, we still can't pay all of our bills right now, and now I'm having some medical problems which have resulted in a whole slew of tests being scheduled for the next 2 weeks.
Oh, and did I mention that the vehicle we're borrowing was backed into at some point in the last 2 days by an anonymous a**hole who didn't bother to leave information? Yeah. I honestly feel like my life is one giant joke right now, and I'm the punchline. And don't give me the "God has a plan" crap because what lesson could this possibly teach? "Hey, I know you have $130.03 to your name and tons of bills and 2 little ones to watch all day long, but I think it'd be fun if someone bashed in the back of the car you're borrowing because you know what? You don't have enough stress in your life, so let's throw a $500 deductible into the mix, shall we?"
okay, rant over. and with that being said, here are the things I am thankful for:

*we have food to eat, a warm place to sleep at night, and internet to entertain us.
*our children are healthy.
*no one was in the vehicle when it got hit and therefore, no one is injured.
*the doctor's visits and tests are covered at 100% because of an amazing program we're on (the single benefit of having no money)
*I have a brand new niece whom I will hopefully get to see soon!
*my parents are stopping by to see us on their way home from Thanksgiving celebrations
*with my birthday giftcard I ordered some presents for myself, and they arrived today! (blue and purple guitar picks, lavender essential oil and tea tree oil, in case you were wondering)
*Bogie & I are on a special diet which allows us 1 cheat day a week, and tomorrow's that day! Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, baby.
*my family and friends are amazing, encouraging people who are daily lifting us up in prayer

and now, for the actual wordless part of Wordless Wednesday, the three people I am thankful for the most:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You might be a mother if

-there's dried yogurt smeared on your arm (and you haven't eaten any yogurt lately).
-you put on your sweatshirt and a toddler fork falls out of the sleeve.
-you can't find any of your skirts because you haven't worn them in a really long time due to clinging toddler hands that would make the skirt end up around your ankles.
-you don't need to add detergent to your laundry load because there's so much bubble solution on your clothes
-you've ever checked on a sleeping child and accidentally woken them up because one of your joints cracked really loudly when you moved
-you've ever bought candy to reward your toilet training preschooler and ended up eating most of it yourself (helloooooo Reese's Pieces)
-you have ever had to reroll the toilet paper (and you don't live with cats)
-you've ever put a ban on a certain cartoon because your kid will watch it over and over and you're sick of it
-you have distributed more than 3 timeouts in a single day
-attending a birthday dinner where there is both a tablecloth AND lit candles on the table makes you excited
-there is a cartoon character sticker stuck to your floor. In more than one room.
-your shoes are not where you left them and you eventually discover them in another room, carried off by tiny hands or toddler feet (and possibly with toys inside)
-the occasions that warrant the wearing of makeup are so few and far between that you have to buy new items each time because your old ones have expired
-you have ever woken up in the middle of the night with an obnoxious song from a cheesy kid's movie stuck in your head
-you reprimand your child for doing something they're not supposed to, only to look and see that you reprimanded the wrong kid
-diapers, wipes and other various baby items make up for at least half of your grocery bill
-you're excited that Christmas is coming because it means a whole new genre of cartoons to watch (Grinch! Rudolph! Prep & Landing!)
-your son's hair is getting pretty long but you don't mind because it spikes better that way
-you leave your drink unattended and come back to discover a toy floating in it

Sunday, November 20, 2011

October Movies

Wow, so this is super late. Not that it really matters to the 3 of you that read this, but still.
I watched 5 movies this month, 3 of which were on my list. Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, Pretty in Pink, Another Thin Man, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Pretty in Pink (1986, Howard Deutch) was one of those 80's movies that I just missed seeing. I really enjoyed watching it, although I'm pretty sure if I had watched it back when I was still in high school it would have had much more of an emotional impact. I honestly wasn't sure which guy she was going to pick at the end, I was rooting for Ducky because he's just so adorable and protective of her, but I was also rooting for Blane because hey, why should money keep them apart? It was well done, albiet typically Eighties, and I loved that she made her own prom dress by upcycling 2 other dresses. rad.

Another Thin Man (1939, W.S. Van Dyke) is one of the films in the Thin Man series, which is one of my favorite series of all time. How can you not love William Powell and Myrna Loy? I fell in love with the first film, The Thin Man, back in my teens but I never got around to watching the whole series. Now I've seen 4 of the 6, only "Shadow of the Thin Man" and "Thin Man goes home" to go! If you haven't seen any of these films and you enjoy black and white, please watch them! They're full of snappy dialogue and smart jokes, you actually have to watch these films and pay attention to get the humor. They don't make them like this anymore. This film involves murder and intrigue, but don't they all?

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Wallace Worsley) has always been on my list because hey, Lon Chaney.  Plus silent films are always fun, not to mention that it's from 1923! I think my exact words were "we don't use the word 'jackanapes' enough nowadays". Having read the book I can say that this did not stick to the book's original ending, but apparently none of the films have (there are 10 so far), even the one that stuck with the original ending changed other parts of the story. I'm not sure why everyone keeps changing the story line and the ending, it's beautiful in its tragedy. No, it's not pleasant but that's what makes the impact! If you can tolerate a silent film, go ahead and watch it! It was quite amusing even from a historical standpoint. Fair warning, do not be expecting the Disney version.

Paranormal Activity 1 (2007, Oren Peli) and 2 (2010, Tod Williams) weren't planned viewing, but it was close to Halloween and Bogie said "hey, scary movies. you in?" The first film was very low-budget and became a huge smash hit. It was done very simply with a single camera, home-video style, and follows the lives of Katie & Micah in their house as they deal with what is apparently a demon haunting Katie. For the budget, the film was very well done. What it lacks in pizazz and special effects it makes up for in creepiness and potential reality. The second film is (plot-wise) a prequel to the first, and continues in the same style, this time following Katie's sister and her family. We get some more background (although it still doesn't really make sense to me, logically) about the whole haunting, and some interesting plot twists which eventually pave the way for a PA 3. Scary movie wise, if you're into that sort of thing, go ahead and watch it. From a Christian standpoint, it's pointless and only serves to needlessly cultivate fear. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" 1 John 4:4

5 movies in October, I've got 2 so far for November but neither are from my list so I've got to get going on that. Anyone want to come watch some movies with me?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Apple Orchard Adventure

While applying for a job application, I pondered what to submit for the writing sample portion of the application. When Bogie overheard me telling my MIL a story from my childhood, he suggested I use that as my writing sample. I wrote up a simple 2 page short story, had him proofread it, and was quite pleased with the results (the only 2 sentences he didn't like were the ones I didn't like either).
Unfortunately, when I went onto their website to apply for the position I realized the vague directions from the newspaper ad weren't clear enough. They wanted a writing sample on how past work experiences made me a qualified candidate for the job, not a random story I could think up to show off my mad English Major skills. Their loss is your gain. My chances to write nowadays are few and far between, and even rarer the likelihood that given the time, I'll actually get something down on paper. I can't let it go to waste, so enjoy! (complete with random apple pictures I found on the interwebs.)

An apple orchard is an enchanting place to a 9 year old. Growing up in a family that struggled financially, my parents did everything possible to feed us healthy food while still hanging on to their hard earned money. Every year we grew a generously sized garden of organic fruits and vegetables. Fresh peas straight off the vine are still my favorite vegetable (only because I have been told that pumpkin pie does not count as a vegetable). My mother also canned and made her own juices, jams, and sauces. The cheapest way to acquire fresh produce (besides growing it yourself) is to buy in bulk, so when Mom wanted to make applesauce we scheduled a trip to a nearby apple orchard.
            I remember the drive up there taking a very long time, but I was anxious and excited. It was an adventure! A place I had never been, an experience I had never had; I couldn’t wait. The orchard was nestled back into the mountains, snug between two large hills. The trees were round and short, every branch sagging low like a Christmas tree bough hung with too many ornaments. Rows upon rows of apple trees stretched out across the hill, each tree the same size as the next, pruned to match. I remember thinking that with some liberal applications with white crepe paper (Yes, crepe paper. I was only 9, after all) it would be a beautiful setting for a wedding. Switch out the crepe paper for some quality decorations and I still think an apple orchard would make a quaint wedding venue.
            We were each given our own bucket and allowed to choose our own tree. I wandered among the trees imagining my dream wedding while my brother and sister started picking. An accidental tread on a mushy apple brought me back, and I squished my way to a taller tree that looked just right. We were there at the peak of the season, and most of the trees were so full of apples that it didn’t take us long to fill our buckets. 
Once Mom was satisfied and had the amount of fruit she wanted, we got to explore and play while Mom and Dad chatted with the orchard owners. I don’t remember how many apples we got that day, nor do I know how much they cost. I do remember that in wandering through the trees waiting for Mom and Dad to finish talking, I found my “X marks the spot” treasure chest of this little adventure we were on. Halfway up a plain looking tree was the biggest apple I had ever seen. It was perfectly fat and smooth, with smoky red skin and a heft like a bowling ball. It took both hands to hold it, and my hands were large for a young girl. I cradled that apple like it was Cinderella’s pumpkin, and took my treasure back to show my parents. Everyone agreed that it was the largest apple they had ever seen and even though we had already paid for our fruit, the orchard owner told me I could have it. I thanked him and admired it some more before deciding that a great find like this shouldn’t be wasted. I couldn’t very well keep it forever and in that seize-the-day way that most 9 year olds possess, I decided to eat it right then and there.

            I polished it vigorously with my sweater sleeves until it was beaming like a ruby, and then bit in. It was crisp and sweet, juicy and white, everything an apple should be. It took me about 3 times as long as a regular apple would have, but I finished that whole thing. The applesauce we made with the remainder of our harvest lasted us a long time, and it was very good applesauce. But I don’t really remember the applesauce we made, or the time it took to make it. 20 years later, however, I still remember my pumpkin apple.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Things I love Friday

1. Job Interviews. I don't currently have any (frowny face) and they're actually not my favorite thing, but when you don't have a job and need one, they're a bright ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy unemployment storm.

2.  Axe "Dark Temptation" body spray. I got this for Carl for Christmas last year, it was a gift set in a shrink wrapped box so I actually didn't even know what it smelled like. Holy smokes, it's my favorite. This stuff smells like freshly showered man & dark chocolate. It's amazing. I actually loved it so much that I got some for myself!

3. Sunshine. It gets light at 5:30am now (go on, ask me how I know that) and it's getting dark at 5:30pm. When the sun shines during the day I want to curl up in it like a kitty and take a little nap (which I have done before, just not lately).

4. Toys. If items for our children to play with did not exist, I would be in a looney bin right now. Be it intricate little mazes to pop a ball through or a simple cardboard box, I am so grateful that my kids have toys to keep them occupied! Although usually the household items are the ones holding their attention, hence the reason why Bogie and I have hardly ever purchased toys for our kids. Nothing beats an empty cardboard box and a set of measuring cups! (I'm not joking. get a couple extra sets at the dollar store and see how long they play with them. lots longer than that $20 noisemaker your son got for his birthday!)

 5. Brooke Courtney Photography. Brooke and her husband T.J. are awesome people and they did a wonderful job at our recent family photoshoot (despite the fact that our children were racing around like fiends most of the time and it was wicked cold and windy to boot). If you need a photographer, check them out!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughts on the Penn State situation

"...It is not enough in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country; it is not enough that in his single person he never did an evil act, but always voted according to his conscience, and even harangued against every design which he apprehended to be prejudicial to the interests of his country. This innoxious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. That duty demands and requires that what is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent; that what is evil should not only be detected, but defeated. When the public man omits to put himself in a situation of doing his duty with effect it is an omission that frustrates the purposes of his trust almost as much as if he had formally betrayed it. It is surely no very rational account of a man's life, that he has always acted right but has taken special care to act in such a manner that his endeavours could not possibly be productive of any consequence..."
Edmund Burke 
excerpt from Thoughts On The Cause Of The Present Discontents, 1770

It is this passage that is believed to have originated the phrase "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".
It's easy to know what "should have been done" in retrospect, but can be much harder to know what to do when in a situation. With that being said, doing the bare minimum will always result in heartache for someone, whether it's yourself that you're selling short or the object of your original actions.
This is not about a single man, but about a collection of men in positions of power who declined to advocate and protect the youths over whom they were put in charge. They prioritized wealth, power, and sports over the health and well-being of fragile children. 
Shame on them.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An open letter to God

I was speaking with both my mother and sister about our current need for finding a new place to live and how I can't find what I want. They both made it clear to me that God is a Big God that cares about small details. My heart knows that He is a big God who can Do Anything, but sometimes my head convinces me otherwise and due to all the crap (technical term) that's been happening to us lately I'm a wee bit jaded as far as optimism goes. However, I am trying very hard to believe that God will give us just what we need while also hoping that he'll give us some wants as well, all without trying to make him into Santa Claus God. So here is an open letter to God, in the same form that I emailed it to myself (my way of "sending" it to God) on what we're looking for in a place to live.


3 bedrooms: 1 for us and 1 for each kid
spacious rooms for our belongings and the kids to play
decent sized, fenced in backyard for the kids to run around in unrestricted

decent sized kitchen, lots of counter space
washer/dryer included
$1000 a month or below, all utilities included
lots of windows for natural light and sunshine

an extra bedroom for an office/library
gas stove
a walk in pantry would be amazing
it'd be awesome if there was a laundry room
walk in closet in the master bedroom

Wherever we live next is where we'd like to stay until we can afford a house, so we're being slightly more rigid in our requirements, because "good enough" might become intolerable after a few years.
We have an appointment to go look at a place at 10 am, I drove by it yesterday and not gonna lie, it looks a little iffy but it also has several porches and sunrooms attached and looks like it would be big enough for our needs. It has a very large backyard but it's not fenced. We'll see, I guess.
If ya'll reading this know of any places that fit the bill above, please let me know! and if you wouldn't mind keeping us in your prayers as we search (for a house and a job for me) we would really appreciate it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Five Things I love Friday

I am going to ignore the depressed voice that says "life sucks" and attempt to count my blessings in the form of a Five Things I love Friday post despite the fact that I don't want to. So here goes:

This is the guitar I have! pic's not Duncan though.
1. my guitar. Ever since the one Sunday a few months ago when my FIL led worship and asked me to play guitar on the worship team, I've been a fairly regular member on the stage. I've been on the past several Sundays straight, it's been great being part of a worship team again and remembering all the little quirks that go with the territory. I've loved getting to know Duncan again (yes, I named my guitar. His full name is Duncan McTavish, if you care to know. I got him in high school, what do you expect?) and I have a new set of strings in my purse just waiting to be put on, and am on the search for some more picks (fun, brightly colored ones because let's face it, they're tiny and easy to lose, especially in a black guitar case). It's an emotional creative outlet that I never should have stopped utilizing and I'm glad I have started again. As are my kids because I let them strum the strings while I play and we've even looked up the chords to "Hokey Pokey" and "Five Little Monkeys".

2. Psych. New season started yesterday after a super-long hiatus (what was that all about??), we DVRd it because of the NLCS game and it's sitting there in that little black box calling to me. I even told Bogie how good I had been because I had resisted watching it all day long! What a good girl am I. Now, does anyone know where I can watch last season's episodes and get all caught up before we start the new season? I'll use my birthday candle wish on you!

3. Candles. We're sliding in the Autumn season now, it's colder and windier with fairly frequent rain. The leaves are changing colors and it looks like (probably because of all the rain we had...anyone?) the colors will be spectacular this year. My reigning favorites for fall are Pumpkin Spice and Cranberry Chutney, although I'm currently burning the rest of a Warm Apple Pie so that I can light up the new Pumpkin Spice.

4. Birthdays. Bogie's is the 20th. Mine's the 25th. We usually do a joint birthday celebration, which I love. We're currently planning a shindig or two and I can't wait! I've lost track of how old we are, but I'm pretty sure we're going to be 29. And no, that will not be my age for the next 10 years because I think that's a stupid habit. or tradition. or whatever you want to call it. Your age does not define you, just because the number goes up doesn't mean you're suddenly old or unwanted or useless. Own your age! Be proud of it! You've worked hard and overcome a lot to reach the age that you are and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Yes, there are people that are younger than you and there always will be, just like there will always be people older than you (probably. unless you're the new Methuselah, in which case I recommend investing in some vintage baseball cards and comic books). I know quite a few people that pretend (even though everyone knows they're lying) that they're much younger than they are and I think it's ridiculous. Stop worrying about your age and start worrying about your health, if you look great and take care of yourself nobody will care how old you are!

These two have been amazing to us these past few months.
5. Family. We are not in a particularly good place right now, financially, emotionally, etc. I'm still on unemployment (laid off 9 days after I came back from maternity leave) and if it weren't for the generosity of our family, we'd be in a very bad way. No job, no home, no car (yeah, it died. no COD yet) but we're healthy (well, mostly. D-man's got a stuffy nose and we're currently on day 2 of no dairy to try to figure out why he poops 50 times a day and the smell could gag a rhinoceros). We have food to eat, warm beds to sleep in, and we're all alive and well. and I'm not going to say "it could be worse" because the last time I said that our car died like an hour later.

Hey, I did it! It's been a rough week, and I'm kind of in "I have to laugh or else I'll cry" stage. I mean, it can only get better, right? There can only be so many bad things that happen in a row before I start writing it all down to turn it into a dark comedy screenplay. If I were Harold Crick, I would most definitely be in a tragedy right now. But notice I said "right now"! I am not in a Shakespeare play, I can change the genre AND the acts. and I will, I just need a nap or two, maybe a little red wine and chocolate.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I haven't the faintest idea what's going on...

so this has been a hell of a week. I'm sorry, but it has.

Monday morning I found out that I did not get the job that I waited 2 weeks to find out about.
A few hours later Bogie calls and tells me the van has died and it looks like the transmission's gone.
Later that evening we find out that our church's pastor has resigned under very not good circumstances and the whole church family is still reeling from that.

and because all of that wasn't enough, yesterday my Grandpa (mom's dad) passed out at the doctor's office, and ended up being admitted to the hospital since it was the quickest way to find out what's wrong (which they still don't know).

Seriously, what is going ON?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Five Things I love Friday Fail

I really wanted to write a Five Things I love Friday, but I'm having a really hard time coming up with some right now (that I haven't done already, that is).

We're potty-training ZaZa and it's not going well. (except for today. today's the best she's done so far, with only one accident and that was during naptime so she probably didn't even know what was going on) we switched up the reward candy tonight, so that might help too. we don't feed her candy, so we figured one smartie every time she peed in the potty would be great incentive. tonight we switched to Reese's Pieces since we were almost out of smarties (we MIGHT have eaten most of them), and I think she likes those even better!

I interviewed for a job last monday the 26th, and was told I would hear by that friday. friday came and went. I called monday afternoon, they were "still in the decision making process" and she would let me know by THIS friday. take a wild guess what happened. that's came and went, not a word. Bogie told me I had to wait until Monday to bug them again. This job could work out really well for us, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt but seriously...does it really take two weeks to make up your mind?

we found a townhouse we like, but while it's in the area we want, it's pretty small and kind of awkwardly laid out. we found another townhouse that we like even better, it's larger, cleaner, and will probably be cheaper in the long run, but it's much farther away than we wanted and if I get the above mentioned job would mean a 40 minute drive to work for me. We're filling out the application for the bigger one tonight, but I was really hoping to have heard from that job by now because no landlord wants to hear that your income is unemployment. oh, well.
both my mom and my sister told me to give God my specific requests for our house and let him do the rest. so I sent him an email and did just that (technically, I sent an email to myself and addressed it to God but it works all the same).

so yeah...there's a whole mess of crap going on right now and I don't even remember what normal is anymore. coffee. coffee is normal, I think. coffee will be one of my favorite things until the end of time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September Movies

This month's movies include some bonus films, and I'm having problems finding some of the films I want to watch (y'know, the "you haven't seen that yet??" ones)
My 2 films for the month were Calm Yourself (1935, directed by George B. Seitz) and Desert Flower (2009, directed by Sherry Horman).
Calm Yourself was an odd little film, not much character development and an underbaked plot. The film opens with two people kissing, and when the girl's father walks in and starts yelling we discover he (the father) is the man's boss. Kissing Man gets fired, decides to start his own business and names it (ready for this?) "Calm Yourself". His business is basically taking care of tricky little problems that other people don't want to take care of, like firing someone (his own being his inspiration for the company), pawning jewelry, or retrieving drunken husbands from bars. He takes on some cases that all eventually get intertwined with each other, and in the beginning he professes love for the girl he was kissing in the beginning (they were going to elope at one point), and by the end of the film he's kissing another girl who was actually a client's daughter and we're led to believe they're suddenly all "happily ever after". Maybe I missed a crucial character development scene when I went to keep D from getting in the trash (again), but I don't think so. Toss in some policemen, an angry Great Dane, a baby, and a costume party and that pretty much sums it up. Not horrible, but nothing great.

Waris Dirie
Desert Flower is based on the life of Waris Dirie, a famous supermodel from Somalia and now the UN spokeswoman against FGM (female genital mutilation). I first read Dirie's story in the Reader's Digest, back in the 90's when it first came out, so when Carl said he had the film I was interested in seeing it. Her story is a rather miraculous one and very inspiring (although we can't all have that marvelous bone structure).  I'm not going to go into too much detail about what she went through as far as the FGM, if you can stomach it look it up, but suffice it to say she was subjected to brutal torture at the age of 5 and endured a great amount of pain until she had corrective surgery as an adult. I will also add a warning that there is a very disturbing scene towards the end of the movie that has to do with the FGM. The film itself was fairly well done, it had some amazing cinematography shots that were breathtaking, and then there were other parts that were kind of "meh" (one scene seemed irrelevant altogether, and there were other scenes that belonged but were too short and choppy and could have used a little work.) or maybe the editor needed a little work. I can't say I recommend viewing it because it's definitely very intense in several scenes, but it's a story worth knowing on a topic that is still either taboo or unknown, and if the film raises awareness than more power to it! I had no idea that such a thing as FGM even existed, much less that anyone would actually think it was a good idea!

I had 3 bonus films this month too:
Tangled (2010, dir. N. Greno & B. Howard)- so cute! The classic story of Rapunzel revamped, with some animal sidekicks because hey, it's Disney. A couple scary scenes for little ones, but a lovely story with great animation, cute songs, and the standard Disney love story with a few twists. (and yeah, totally crushing on Zachary Levi now. dude can sing!)

The Conspirator (2010, dir. Robert Redford)- apparently there was a team of people behind Lincoln's assassination and this is the story of one woman who was put on trial for conspiracy and treason. Mary Surratt owned a boarding house that John Wilkes Booth frequented, in addition to allegedly distributing weapons and plans for Booth. I had no idea there was a team of people behind the assassination, much less that a woman was arrested as well. Interesting story, very well done film.

The Next Three Days (2010, dir. Paul Haggis), woman is arrested for murder she didn't commit (or did she?), husband decides to bust her out when they lose the appeal. Tension and drama ensue. it was okay, rather mediocre fare but decent enough that we weren't left disappointed.

I made a partial list of films that I need to see (the aforementioned "you haven't seen that yet??" ones), 4 of them I can view on Netflix watch instantly, and the rest I'm going to browse friends' and family member's DVD collections. If you have any of these, would you be willing to lend it to me? or better yet, bring it to me and watch with me? I'll make popcorn! I'll sell you Mike & Ike's and Raisinettes for $6 a box. It'll be epic.

usual suspects
blues brothers

2001: a space odyssey
raging bull
16 candles
pretty in pink
the godfather
silence of the lambs
apocalypse now
bull durham
big lebowski
groundhog day
stand by me
life of brian
the truman show

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

okay, so maybe a few words. these are some of the photos I'm considering for submission for our local fair's photography contest. enjoy!