Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Disclaimer: lest any of you wonder if I broke the law and set fireworks off my balcony for New Years and then grabbed my camera so I could take a picture mid-burst for the very purpose of posting it on the blog... let me come clean. I found this picture online, and copied/pasted it - right before I put in a movie (that I know I'm bound to fall asleep during) and brought in the new year ... passed out (in a deep sleep, the kind brought on my copious amounts of chocolate and/or Martinelli's) on my couch. Yeah, I'm a party animal. Wooooooo!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm pretty much the luckiest girl in the world

I mean... I don't want to brag, but I really am. Pretty much, anyway. Do you see this? Do you see the fabulous sunset, and the twinkly lights reflecting in the lit pool? I get to see this FOR FREE every night of my life. I. Am. Pretty. Darn. Lucky. (And because I'm also pretty darn nice, I thought I'd share it with the rest of you.)

The End.

The Christmas present that just keeps on giving

Yeah, I love this movie. I really, really do. As we all know, I loved it enough in the theaters to watch it three times the opening week. And when it came out on DVD, it was all I could do not to rent it, not to buy it. But I kept telling myself "Laurie... no. Wait for Christmas, someone will get it for you." And Santa did, bless him. I watched it this afternoon (in the full light of day, lest I get all freaked out again by The Joker... don't judge) and.... fell in love with Bruce Wayne all over again. Seriously, I do love him. It KILLS me that youtube doesn't have my favorite scene (when he's walking down the hall, dismantling the gun... yumma-dabba-do), but what's a girl to do? (Besides push pause and then freeze-frame that part?)

Anyhoo... you know I love it. This is truly a gift that'll keep on giving... for years to come. Yay, Santa! I love you!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A very nearly perfect day...

So, this morning I woke up thinking "there are so many movies out right now that I really want to see" ... and I didn't have to work today ... so I checked the schedule at the theater around the corner, found that the first showing of Benjamin Button was at 10:30, and hit the road. It turns out that working 12 hour days has been good for me. A sort of training for sitting for extraordinarily long periods of time. I had a triple feature, with a yummy lunch between movie #2 and #3, and then went ahead and treated myself to gelato afterwards... just for kicks.

Movie #1 --- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I'm a fan. It was kind of slow moving... but not in a boring way. More... in a slowly unraveling story kind of way. Like I said, I'm a fan. The clothes were FABULOUS, the story intriguing. Cate Blanchett is flawlessly beautiful, as always. In this movie, she reminded me of my cousins. She was very much a hybrid of Lisa & Shelly - in all the right ways. She had the willowy dancer thing going on (Lis), with a sheet of silky hair (Shell). PLUS, there was the element of time being bent. We all know that I'm always a fan of anything with an unusual timeline issue going on. Oh, right... AND it's been a good 12 hours since I saw the movie, and I'm still thinking about it. Oh, it was fabulous!

Movie #2 --- Seven Pounds

Again, I'm a fan. Of the movie. Not sure how I feel about the storyline (I'm still trying to process it). It's one of those weirdie Will Smith movies where the end is definitely not clear from the beginning. (Mind you, I am not saying "weirdie" in a negative way. I'm just saying that it's a mind bender.) I did figure it out about 20 minutes before the big reveal, so I am pretty proud of that. It's good, but not for the feint of heart. It almost gave me a headache, trying to figure out what the devil was going on. Overall, I'm a fan... but I'm not entirely sure why.

Insert my lovely lunch break here... I ran over to the gyro place (thanks, Myra, for showing me where it was when we went to Australia) and helped myself to a little lamb & cucumber sauce piece of heaven. (Seriously - the best dang tatziki sauce IN THE WORLD.) And, apparently, the short & round little Greek man who owns the place is a fan... because he brought over a free piece of baklava (that I later snuck into the theater so I'd have a snack in my next movie). Why is it always the short & old dudes who want to fawn over me & give me gifts? Whatever, I'm not gonna complain. I mean, who am I to look a baklava giving horse (or old man) in the mouth?

Movie #3 --- Marley & Me

Okay, I'm just gonna say it... the puppy was cute. But I'd have KILLED him. I mean... KILLED THE THING DEAD. For the first half of the movie I was torn between thinking Jennifer and Owen (love them like I do... and I really do love both of them, but... I still kept thinking that they just...) looked too much like they were in their 40's to be believable as a young newlywed couple. Not to mention, I'd have killed that damn dog. Lest you judge me for being a heartless woman, let me say that I did get all verklempt at the end (I'd have to have a heart of stone not to), but when it was all said and done... I've never been more happy to come home to Frank in all my life as I was after seeing the damage a D-O-G could cause. (As much as I threaten her - weekly - with taking her back to the pound if she doesn't stop being naughty, she's so much better than a dog would be.) It was okay. Good, I mean. I'm glad I saw it and all and I liked it okay... but I didn't love it. Don't know that I'd ever see it again.

And then after the movie... I went and got a gelato (1/2 mixed berry and 1/2 orange). It was divine. I mean D-I-V-I-N-E. My favorite thing about getting gelato? The mini shovel they give you to eat it with. Seriously, I do love the mini shovel. It makes me giggle.

All in all, it was a nearly perfect day. The only thing that could have possibly improved it for me would have been to have someone at the theater with me all day... And no, not only so I would have had to pay. (Please, I'm not that shallow.) I mean, I would like to have someone else pay for the tickets, the coke, the popcorn, the junior mints, the gyro and the gelato (I'm telling you, I went all out on me today) ... but even more than that, I'd like to be able to talk the movies over with someone. (At least the two that required thought and didn't make me want to kill dogs.) So, if any of you all saw Benji (yeah, I pet-named it) and/or Seven Pounds, let's talk.

Friday, December 26, 2008

So... uh... anyone wanna loan me a movie?

Hey kids... I'm hoping that one of you fine blog readers has a copy of Wall-E that you want to loan me this weekend. I've been told that I need to check the movie out by my girl Tiffany, and, well.... I'm too cheap to waste my netflix on it (esp if I can borrow it from one of you who have little rug-rats around who'd put this movie on their Christmas wish lists). So, does anyone have a copy they want to loan me? Anybody? ... Anybody?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Letters to Santa

So, remember how I've told you that I have the best mom ever? Not only has she been super cool & super smart since circa 1974 (and probably before then, it's just that that's when my own personal experience with her started)... but she's kept evidence such as the Santa Letter above as proof that once upon a time, I dictated letters to Santa. (And, you'll note, I'm sure... I was a bossy little thing, even when I was 5 "we are a good family every year - give us toys every year". Hey, at least I knew to be good, okay? And I knew that The Big Man was a mutual fan of Egg Nog.) Too, too funny.

This year, maybe a little bit more than in years previous, I'm incredibly grateful for parents who encouraged me to believe. Not only in Santa, but in Christ and in the Atonement, and in the basic goodness in humanity. It turns out that, once again, Mom is right... there is magic everywhere, if you're willing to look for it. :) I'm incredibly grateful for the childhood that I had, for the life that I have had. I am one of the most blessed people I know... my mind reels, really, when I try to figure out why I have all that I have. I know that I'm a little old to write letters to Santa, but if I could... I'm pretty sure that, this year, all I would say is "Thank you." Oh, right... and "the Egg Nog's in the fridge"...

Merry Christmas, ya'll....

Monday, December 22, 2008

I've been tagged by an elf! (or something)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? This is a toughie. I want to say "gift bags", because they're so much easier to peek in. (Yup, I'm a peeker - even at the age of 34. I can't help myself. I HAVE to know what's in there!) But, honestly, I prefer paper. You can make a paper-wrapped gift so much more... festive or something. I don't know. Like I said, it's a toughie.
2. Real tree or Artificial? I'm not gonna lie. I dig a fake tree. (for myself) Real trees smell DELICIOUS, but I like to have my tree up for about 6 weeks (maybe 8, depending on the year/mood) - and a real tree just can't make it that long.
3. When do you put up the tree? It depends on the year/mood, really. I've put it up as early as the weekend before Thanksgiving on years that I leave for Thanksgiving (so it'll be "Christmas" when I get back to my place). If I stay home for Turkey-Day, I do it that morning as the turkey cooks.
4. When do you take the tree down? There are two possible answers to this question, and it depends on how I'm feeling about the tree on New Year's Day. If I'm ready for it to come down - then it's down that day. If I'm still loving it... it stays until MLK weekend.
5. Do you like eggnog? Uhh, yeah. I drink it. I also bake with it and/or make ice cream out of it. LOVE THE STUFF! (My fav is an eggnog/sprite mix - 2/3 sprite to 1/3 nog makes a fizzy, delightful holiday treat!)
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Wow. I don't know. There were so many fab presents. The two that stand out most in  my memory are the year we got beds and the year of the unicorn. Oh, that unicorn was something else. I'll have to see if I can find a pic of it and I'll do a whole unicorn-themed post. (There's a little goodie for you all to look forward to.)
7. Hardest person to buy for? This year? Nature Girl. But, as that was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I'm pretty sure, I'll go ahead and give the real answer - my brother Brett. He's a toughie.
8. Easiest person to buy for? Uhm... me? (Do I count? I cannot go out this time of year and NOT buy myself all kinds of stuff. Seriously, I budget for myself. You never know what Uncle Remus will want to buy me, you know.)
9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, I have two. And I love them both. One is a little tiny guy - there are about 7 pieces, they're all clear glass and sit on a 5 inch round mirror. I got it from my friend Jo my first Christmas in Utah, when I wasn't going to be able to go home. My other is just Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus - also from Jo, my first Christmas in my apartment in Mesa. I'm SUPER LUCKY to have them (both the nativities AND Jo)! :) 
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Wow. There are people who email Christmas cards? Oh, that's horrible. I mean - HORRIBLE. (Mind you, I haven't actually sent cards - of any kind - for a few years, but if I did, I'd be UPSPing it)
11. Favorite Christmas Movie? Oooh, another toughie. I'm gonna have to go with It's A Wonderful Life (followed very closely by White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Miracle on 34th Street (the original) and Christmas Vacation - it's very nearly a 5 way tie)
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Where is 12? Oh well. One less to answer. Um, it depends. Pretty much whenever I see something I want to buy. I've been known to pick stuff up early (this year I picked some things up in Mexico in October) - but there are always a couple things I have to run out and get on Christmas Eve.
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Probably fudge. Or divinity. Or maybe sugar cookies. Or peanut brittle. Or maybe Sees'  chocolates. Or pumpkin roll. Honestly, there are so many delicious things to eat... I can't pick just one. 
15. Lights on the tree? Yes, please. And on the walls. And around the roof. And on the bushes out front. Anywhere we can get them, actually.
16. Favorite Christmas song? Oh, this is a toughie. Favorite to sing? Christmas Waltz. Oh, I love to sing that one... I sing it year round in the car and in the shower. Favorite to hear, and sit and ponder? O Little Town of Bethlehem. I love the words in that one, the promise in the 3rd verse is the most humbling thing to me. I love it!
17. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Define home. Home in my apt, or home at my mom & dad's? Both, actually. I'm here at the folks' until Christmas Eve mid-day, and then am headed home to my house for the actual day.
18. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Thanks to Deano's version of Rudolph, I sure can... "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen... Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen... but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all...?" (Oh yeah, I'm totally singing it now. Hope you are too.) 
19. Angel on the tree top or a star? Always a star. I have a wood star that my brother Kirk made me back when he was in high school. It's the sweetest little 6 inch wooden star - and I love it!
20. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Both. We grew up doing one present Christmas Eve (not the jammy thing... we could pick whichever gift we wanted) - and then we'd get Santa and the rest of the presents on Christmas morning.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? People get annoyed this time of year? Really? Who knew?! ... I can't think of a thing. I'm not even kidding.
22.Favorite Ornament theme or color? Red, hands down. "She likes red!" (1o pts to anyone who can name the movie reference there)
23. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Hahaha... okay, you're gonna love this. The Christmas Tree Pizzas. We make them on Christmas Eve every year. Mom does bread dough in the shape of a tree and then we "decorate" pizzas. Pepperoni, ham, onion rings and olives are ornaments, pineapple and/or tomatoes are the star at the top of the tree, different colors of bell peppers are the garland, with more pineapple and tomatoes to spruce it up. Yum!
24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Organic, Eco-friendly, and Sustainable. HA! I'm kidding, of course. I don't want to save the world, I'm more the type that diamond earrings - a new vacuum - Christian Bale and/or Hugh Jackman - a pampered chef choppie thing - a barette big enough to hold ALL of my hair - lasik surgery - some yummy hot chocolate - a new book - and... to have a peaceful and happy day. :)
Merry Christmas to every one of you! My blog and I appreciate your traffic and your comments, esp at this merry time of year!  

Adding new meaning to "special musical number"...

So, here's a funny story for ya'll. I got home (to my mom & pop's) yesterday right as they were getting out of church. Katie and I were sitting at the table eating leftover enchiladas (seriously, anyone who's an enchilada lover out there... I'm gonna go ahead and say it... if you LOVE enchiladas, you need to have my dad's - they're the best EVER! ... but I digress ... so, Kate and I were eating enchiladas when my dad walks in). 

Dad walks in, grabs a plate and says "welcome home!" to me. I say "thanks - nice Christmas tie, Dad" to him. (My dad has about 20 different holiday ties - they're pretty cool. He's been wearing holiday garb for over 30 years. We love it!) He holds up his tie, laughs, and says "so you want to hear my story from church today?". (Do you love my family? We're ALWAYS telling stories about our days.) I,  of course, tell him "I totally want to hear it!". 

As it turns out, my parents' ward did the usual Sunday-before-Christmas thing and had this big musical production, interspersed with testimony, ending with the Bishop's Christmas Address. (Enter my dad - as he is the bish.) So, they had this fabulous meeting (apparently my  mom got to sing a solo with organ, piano, cello and violin accompanists ... I really wish they'd let me know these things so I could have made it home earlier - but whatever) ... all the music was BEAUTIFUL, everyone's totally grooving on the Christmas spirit, and my dad gets up to share some thoughts and give the closing address. He's mid-talk, and gets a little emotional (yeah, we're all a little sappy) and leans in too close to the podium. Which would usually be a problem - like, if he hadn't been wearing a tie that SINGS when you press the bottom of it - but, the thing is... he was wearing one of those ties. Of course the tie starts singing "Hark the Herald". Does Dad address the fact that he suddenly has back-up music? No, he just talks louder into the mic to cover it. EXCELLENT! So, we had a little giggle and set back to eating the enchiladas.

Mom gets home about 20 minutes later and Dad says "Jude, did you hear the tie go off during my talk?" (like he thinks there's a remote possibility that she didn't ... because, you know, he talked really loud to cover it). Mom bursts into laughter and says "Dennis, you were standing in front of the mic ... did you really think the whole ward couldn't hear it? Yes, I heard it." It was pretty hilarious - the look of surprise on his face, when he realized that everyone had heard it. And then he pressed it again, so the tie'd start singing, and did a goofy chair dance sitting at the table.

Seriously, my family is the funniest! ... I only wish I'd come home 3 hours earlier than I did, so I could have been there to hear it myself. (Both Mom singing, and Dad's tie.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You know that person who's IMPOSSIBLE to buy for?

Yeah, usually my hardest person to buy for is my friend Jo. Well, Jo or... my brother Brett. The reasons being that Jo has everything she could possibly need/want and Brett... well, how many pairs of extra long & thick socks and/or a basketball can one 26 yr old brother need/want?

But this year? Yeah, this year I have a new IMPOSSIBLE person to shop for. Seriously, this HAS to be a joke. (Except that I know this girl, and I'm pretty sure she wasn't kidding when she filled her "wish list" out.) We're doing a Secret Santa exchange at work (yeah, I know... I didn't start until Dec 1st, and found out on my 5th day that we were doing SS with a $20 cap). Since not everyone knows each other equally, they passed out a "wish list" form that you could put your name and 3 gift ideas on. (You KNOW mine had Dark Knight at the top of the list.) I got the fruity nature lover/yoga girl. And this is her list:

1) Organic
2) Eco-Friendly
3) Sustainable

Uhm... WTF?! So, I guess I'm gonna have to actually buy her something. Clearly, one of my back-up stash of Gold Canyon candles won't work for her. Neither will any of the back stash Bath & Bodyworks lotions & potions. Everything I keep on hand to give the person that I wasn't expecting to have to shop for won't due. (I mean, the reason those gifts are great is that they're so chock full of chemicals and preservatives that they'll keep FOREVER.)

Organic, eco-friendly & sustainable, huh? Maybe I could get her a fruit basket? Some bottled water in a biodegradable container? I'm fresh out of ideas. Help me, please!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Making Merry

I was going through some emails and found this little treasure. For my birthday last year, I asked for professional pictures. (I'd asked for pics in the pirate hats. Since we had the appiontment, my mom went ahead and brought the Santa hats so we could do a two-for-one.)

Holy cow... I do love my mom & sis. We have a ton of fun! (As the picture above shows.)

Merry Christmas... Happy Holidays... Ho-ho-ho... and all that jazz.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My New Favorite Thing

I do love these little guys... They're SO FREAKING GOOD, I can't stay out of the danged box!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fred Claus

So, here's a confession from me that I'm sure you won't be too surprised to hear...

I LOVE CHRISTMAS MOVIES. I do. I love them. Even when they're ridiculously cheesy (something ala Lifetime, Television for Women's Fa-la-la-la-Lifetime series), I can't help but sit down and watch them through. I'm telling you, I've seen a lot of dumb-dumb-dumb holiday flicks in my time. But every once in a while, a truly hilarious/heart-warming story comes along. And last year's Fred Claus is one of those. Seriously - I love this movie! It makes me laugh (the "I'm gonna go super-nanny on you" bit is my fav, but I couldn't find that clip on youtube). And it makes me cry. (The "there are no naughty children - every child deserves a gift on Christmas" slays me. As does the Silent Night bit towards the end. Oh, it's beautiful and just thinking about it totally makes me tear up. I'd show you that part, but in case you haven't seen it, I'd hate to ruin that moment for you.)

If you haven't seen the movie, please do. It's pretty fan-freakin-tastic...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Calcium - I have a serious deficit

You know, the repercussions of my childhood milk allergies never seem to let up.

The fact that I literally cannot stand up straight because my shoulders are stooped (thanks, scoliosis when I was little... that was fun). Or how about my being a little bit pigeon-toed (yeah, I had to wear braces when I was a kid - how horrible is that)? I'm pretty sure that my bone mass is already at the state of a 54 yr old (even though I'm only 34). Add to that the fact that my teeth are a in a pretty constant state of decay (even though I'm a neurotic tooth-brusher and flosser). I've had 4 (count them - 4) teeth crumble in the last 10 or so years.

...But last weekend I hit an all-time-low with the teeth - when my crown busted wide open. Yeah, I broke a crown. (Who does that?!) And when I say "broke", I mean "shattered". It's a mess, all jagged and sharp on one side, and completely gone on the other... I'm not entirely sure how that happened, since all I was doing was eating a cheese crisp and minding my own business, watching trashy tv on Sunday afternoon... but leave it to my rotten luck, it broke - in a glorious manner. (I was fishing tooth/crown shards out of my mouth for a good 20 minutes.)

And you know what that meant - I had to call the dentist. And, as it happened on a Sunday, I had to leave a message. Always a good time... You know that I rambled on and on like and idiot, and stated my case at least three times. Egads.

The good news? I got a call-back within 24 hours and now have an appointment scheduled for next Monday. Here's hoping the good doctor doesn't find anything else too dramatic going on in there. With my teeth, you never know. (The year that Dr. West put the crown in - yes, the crown that broke wide open - I had 17 cavities. Yet another embarrassing personal fact I really ought not to put out there on the www, but there you have it.)

I know, I'm a trainwreck. Seriously... who breaks a crown? And then calls the dentist and leaves a 3 minute long message about it? Good grief.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Yeah, I've always been a baker...

When I was home for Thanksgiving, my mom and I were going through some old boxes (read: "boxes full of stuff that's 30 years old") and we found this little prize. Apparently, I was dictating recipes to Mom one day, and she decided to write them down. How hilarious is that? ... Apparently, I thought you used a lot of water in pie. Ha!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Because I never do get sick of embarrassing myself...

Or my family, for that matter.

This post is about what geeks we are. I finally got the Thanksgiving pictures off my camera and on to the computer - some of them made me laugh SO HARD that I had to share them.

So, we all know that Thanksgiving (as well as every other day of the year) is a little different at my house than it is just about anywhere else. Here's a little visual confirmation that we really do have more fun (and ingest more sugar) than we ought to.

Exhibit A: the freezer, as of 6:00 PM Wednesday night (I count 5 cartons of ice cream and 7 pies - there were 5 pies already cooked at this point in the game)

Exibit B: the still-frozen 20 lb turkey (this pic was taken at about noon on T-Day)

Exhibit C: the egg nog chronicles (Mom actually drinking out of the bottle... it was a theme that weekend)

Exhibit D: I told you we ate food as soon as it's ready... this is Mom picking at the potatoes

Exhibit E: and the lineup picking the turkey off and dipping it into gravy (the yams & green beans were still in the oven)

Exhibit F: 20 lbs of potatoes - and a pot full of gravy (we're Gravy People - yeah, that merited caps)

Exhibit G: the left over gravy & potatoes (hilarious, no? - there were only 6 of us there, and we ate all that... in one meal)

Exhibit H: coloring... I was in the middle of a project when I packed to go home for the weekend... so I packed my project up and took it with... both Mom and Kate helped out

Exhibit I: the best sport in the whole wide world - not only did Dad lie on the floor with headphones so he could watch the game while we blared Christmas music and danced around the kitchen (yes, literally) all day - but he did the dishes that night, without being asked (he is the nicest!)

Exhibit J: my health nutty brother, Tyler. He was juicing anything he could find... all weekend long. Friday he made apple/carrot juice. Even though the pulpy side looks ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING, I'm not embarrassed to say that I tried the juice, and it was FREAKING FANTASTIC!

Exhibit K: my bbq-ing brother, Brett (note that he is taller than the door behind him... he's pretty much a giant)

Exhibit L: the sharing of the last of the Mug. Mom fashioned an extra long straw and we passed it around the table and laughed our fool heads off while we tried to swallow (instead of spit) root beer.

Exhibit M: my goofy sister & me - we made pumpkin pie on Saturday and it smelled so amazingly good that we sat at the table and smelled it up... and then, we realized that it smelled EVEN BETTER if we blew across the pie at each other. My mom (understandably) thought it was (we were) disgusting... but she took a picture anyway. :)

Oh yeah, it was a FAB weekend. I'll stop bragging (and showing pics) now. Just wanted to show the world (again) how much fun we are (in our own freaky-pie-blowing-way). :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm using the Flux Capacitor and ... going back in time

Yes, that's right. The flashback feature for the week is none other than Back to the Future. Ahhh, yes. One of my first experiences with the time-travel genre. Always good for a laugh - and always a good time. And I say this as someone who grew up with the "severely edited version". My mom taped it off tv... she only taped what we were allowed to see... we wound up with a 45 minute version of the film. Suffice it to say, you have to know the movie really well to be able to follow the version we had. The part where George's up in the tree? Cut - because he was doing the Peeping Tom thing, which was highly inappropriate. The fact that Marty ended up in the house (in Lorraine's room... wearing "Calvin Kleins") - gone. For obvious reasons. George cleaning Biff's clock at the dance? Gone, because Biff wasn't being very nice to Lorraine (in the erm... backseat of his car). ...I could go on and on. Like I said, I grew up with the severely edited version. Which makes the fact that I'm gonna see the whole, uncut movie in a theater even that much more exciting. (Yes, that's right. I'm a 34 yr old rebel. And you can tell my mom, I don't even care.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Emperor's Club

I re-watched this movie this afternoon. I'd seen it on my shelf last week (as I was enjoying the spoils of unemployment) and had thought "Oh, yeah... I'd forgotten about that movie. I know I liked it, but I can't remember why. I'll have to watch it." So, I pulled it out and put it on top of my movie shelf, and promptly got busy doing something else that didn't really matter (like watching dvd #3 of Prison Break season 3... or something like that). When I got back into town today and had an afternoon to spend doing whatever I wanted... I saw that movie and thought "Ahhh... I'll do that". So I made some popcorn and poured myself some DP and put in the dvd. And as the credits rolled and the movie started, the opening lines gave me shivers and suddenly I remembered... I don't like this movie - I love it.

Oh, this movie is a beautiful thing.

From the very beginning, as the older version of Mr. Hundert introduces us to the subject matter; character. He says, "As I've gotten older, I realize I'm certain of only two things. Days that begin with rowing on a lake are better than days that do not. Second, a man's character is his fate."

To the end, when the older Deepak Mehta says, "A great teacher has little external history to record. His life goes over into other lives. These men are pillars in the intimate structure of our schools. They are more essential than its stones or beams, and they will continue to be a kindling force and a revealing power in our lives."

Man, I do love this movie. It's a softer Dead Poet's Society. It has the drama, the honor... the contest for popularity in an exclusive all boys school, the absolutely horrible father who's so consumed with his own need for power that he doesn't even look at his son. It has all of this, without Robert Sean Leonard (who I loved when I was in High School, btw) committing suicide.

Like I said, it's a softer DPS. They both have merit, but today... today, this movie spoke to me. It made me remember how important it is to be honest, to have character, to contribute.

If you've seen it, but it's been a while, I recommend watching it again. If you've never seen it, and you're a fan of DPS and/or (one of my other all-time-school-teacher-movie-faves) Good-bye, Mr. Chips, I'd recommend adding this to your netflix. Oh, it is fabulous. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Can a girl be picked twice in the same game of tag?

I ask, because my cousins Shelly and Lisa tagged me in this one. Bless them... I'm gonna go right ahead and assume it's because it thrills and delights them to learn a little more about me. (Rather than the obvious of, when you have to tag someone... I'm a good bet, because I can never pass it up. Which, I know, is the real reason they did it. But whatever.)

So... This is the 5 Things Tag

1) What 5 shows do you watch?
   a) Heroes (even though I can't figure who's good & who's bad this year)
   b) Lost (yes, I'm counting it even though it doesn't come on until January)
   c) Desperate Housewives (don't judge me...)
   d) Prison Break (on dvd... I'm almost thru season 3 and it's killing me...)
   e) Pushing Daisies (I'm HEARTBROKEN that it's being cancelled)

2) What 5 restaurants do you eat at over and over again?
   a) Salty's (but only in Scottsdale - their salsa is FABULOUS!)
   b) Paradise Bakery (Mmmmm.... the crumbly blue cheese salad)
   c) Cheesecake Factory (Chicken Madeira... need I say more?)
   d) My Big Fat Greek Restaurant  (best hummus in the whole wide world) 
   e) Texas Roadhouse (best ribs EVER!)

3) 5 things that happened today
   a) I woke up (at 6:30)
   b) I was able to go back to sleep (a thing which hardly ever happens)
   c) I woke up again (at 9:15)
   d) I had some pecan pie - and a waffle - for breakfast
   e) Uhm... I started this post? (So far, it's been a slow day - obviously.)

4) 5 things I'm looking forward to
   a) Lunch (is that so wrong?)
   b) The Dark Knight coming out on dvd.
   c) My next netflix movie. (It's as close as it comes to personal mail for me.)
   d) Going to Australia (the movie) with Myra.
   e) December's book club (I do love Little Women)

5) 5 things on my wish list
   a) A new vacuum. (You  know, one that'll suck up cat hair.)
   b) A new car. (One that has a blinker that works... all the time.)
   c) To be able to go to Cousin Shelly's wedding in January.
   d) A pampered chef choppy thing. (I love those. I need one!)
   e) A date with a guy who is taller than me, who talks in complete sentences (some of them being questions he's asking me), and, most importantly doesn't campout in a bus, on a goat farm.

I now tag the following people: Genevra Lynn, Jennifer June, Lizzie, Myra and Geniel

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What's your sign?

Thanksgiving Horoscope for Libra

You're the sign most likely to upstage the host or hostess with your charm.

Your signature dish: Green bean casserole

Your signature dessert: Chocolate cake

This holiday: Make plans early and stick to them. It's easy for you to change your mind.

The most hilarious thing to me? NONE of this is right. First of all, like I could EVER upstage Judy. Uhm, no. Esp when it comes to charm. The woman is an angel - I'll never be able to compete with her in that arena. Secondly, I cannot stand the green bean casserole (unless Jo makes it with bacon and cream cheese... then it's good). It would NEVER be my signature dish. Thirdly, I'll give that the dessert would be right on for any day other than Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, there must be pie - and plenty of it. And lastly, as for me changing my mind... never gonna happen. If I have the option of coming home, that's what I'll do. And I'll stay here. (See post below if you are wondering why. Why would I eat anywhere else when I can live in suspended chaos here at home? Really...) Granted, I may (okay... will definitely) head over to the Solomons' for some pit-cooked turkey later this afternoon - but then I'll come right back to D & J's for more pie. It's how I roll. Still... it's always fun to have a horoscope, right? :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's true... you are what you eat. (Or at least I am.)

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable

You're the glue that holds everyone together.

There's No Place Like Home....

Instead of... you know, packing for my trip home this weekend... I thought it would be fun to take a moment and reflect on the joy of holiday traditions. Now, mind you, at our house... "tradition" is a word we use loosely. Not because we don't have them, we do (and in spades). But what we call tradition, other people might call madness. (To which we say "whatever, we have more fun".) For example, here's a run down of how Thanksgiving dinner usually plays out at my mom & dad's house:

7:00 PM - Wednesday night - we start baking (and then eating) pie.

8:00 PM - Wednesday night - someone makes a last ditch run to the store for ice cream (because Heaven forbid we run out).

9:00 PM - Wednesday night - the pie is gone, and we start rummaging for more pie-baking ingredients (because you really shouldn't have Thanksgiving w/o pie).

11:00 PM - Wednesday night - we roll into bed and think ("why, oh why did I drink so much water with my pie? ... it's definitely the water that has me feeling like this").

4:00 AM - Thursday morning - Mom wakes up (not to start cooking, mind you, just because she wakes up that early, poor thing). Since she's up, she starts the jello - or maybe the dressing. (And, I'm telling you... there is NOTHING in the world that smells as good as that dressing... homemade bread, mixed with diced onions, butter and sage... steaming in a double boiler on the stovetop all day long. Oh my gosh, my mouth is literally watering, just thinking about it.)

7:00 AM - I get up (and maybe Ty... and maybe Dad... Brett & Kate are still out for the count... or just MIA). We wonder why there is no more pie, and commence on thinking about cooking the turkey.

8:00 AM - Wishing there was pie for breakfast, we settle for toast and starting running water over the still-frozen 30 lb turkey, trying to get it to thaw all the way through so we can cook it.

10:00 AM - Mom makes rolls, hoping that turning on the oven will help the middle of the turkey turn from ice to... you know, turkey.

11:00 AM - The rolls are done, and amazingly enough, the turkey is ready to go in. We put the turkey in the oven as we take the rolls out, and commence eating the rolls while they're still hot.

12:00 PM - Now that we're sick from eating all that hot bread, we think about taking a nap. But first, we check the dressing to see if it's done. After adding more bread to the bread already in our stomachs, we again blame the water for having made us full & sleepy and we sit down (Mom & I in the living room, so we can get as far away as we can from the sounds of football that are, by now, coming from the family room). And we fall asleep.

1:15 PM - We wake up from the bread induced coma to the smell of turkey that's barely starting to cook.

1:30 PM - Since the turkey's "almost-done" (whatever... it so isn't... but at least we can smell it cooking, which is a good start), I start on the mashed potatoes.

3:00 PM - The potatoes are done, and they're good. So we eat them out of the bowl (yeah... dipping fingers into the bowl is a family tradition). They're buttery and peppery and... GOOD.

3:30 PM - Mom mixes Aunt Marg's fruit dressing (to go on the red jello) and I actually get in trouble for pinching some of it. (Marg's fruit dressing is the only thing I get in trouble for eating ahead of "dinner". Well, that and Granny's dressing - but that's only if I'm eating too much and Mom thinks we might run out.)

4:00 PM - The turkey is almost done. Mom pulls the pan out, sucks up the drippings in her super cool turkey baster, and starts making gravy. (And when I say gravy... I mean... a BOATLOAD of it. 30 lb turkeys have a lot of drippings - and we like a lot of gravy. Think... the biggest saucepan you own, full of gravy, and you've got a mental picture of how much gravy we have on Thanksgiving.)

4:20 PM - Now that we have gravy, we're dipping everything we can find into it. (The rest of the rolls, spoons full of mashed potatoes, uhm.... just big spoons.) We do love us some gravy...

4:45 PM - The turkey is FINALLY done. We think "next year, we're gonna start this earlier....". We take the turkey out, so we can switch the yams into the oven (so the marshmallows can burn) - and we commence eating the turkey. (As in, as Dad cuts/carves the turkey, we kind of hover over him and take whatever we can get. And then we dip it into the gravy - see above shot of Mom from last year.)

5:00 PM - The yams are perfectly toasted, so we set the table and sit down to eat. The potatoes are still warm - barely. There are about 8 rolls left. The jello has a couple pieces cut from it - and there isn't nearly as much of the fruit dressing in the bowl as there should be (I'm telling you... it's GOOD). The turkey's half gone, as is the gravy. None of us are actually hungry (for various and obvious reasons), but we eat anyway.

5:20 PM - As we finish what's left of Thanksgiving Dinner and start to be sad that... we already ate the pie... Mom gets up, takes a couple frozen pies out of the freezer, and sticks them in the oven. She'd been hiding them from us the night before, knowing that we'd eat whatever we could find the day before, and the day of Thanksgiving... but at the end of the day, what is Thanksgiving without pie?

6:10 PM - Dad looks in the freezer and realizes that we have pie, but... no ice cream (which won't work). So he hops in the car and goes down to the school to see what they have left from their last ice cream social (gotta love having a dad who's the principal and insists on having ice cream socials to celebrate just about anything). He comes back with 5 half-gallon cartons of ice cream in various states of "already dipped into". (My favorite thing about dad "borrowing" ice cream from the school? He is literally borrowing it. He'll only take it on days that he can't go to the store to buy it (like on Sunday, or a national holiday) - and he buys more to replace it as soon as he can.)

6:30 PM - We (again) make ourselves sick with the pie and the ice cream and then, while the boys go out with their friends, Mom, Kate (and sometimes Dad) and I sit down to watch White Christmas. Of course, we're too full to stay awake for the whole movie, but as long as we get in the "I'll Follow The Old Man" and "What Do You Do With A General" parts, we tear up and have Christmas-is-coming-Bonding.

By 9:00 PM we're too tired (and full, still) to stay awake for one more minute... so we go to bed. Full, tired, and happy that we are lucky enough to have a mom who doesn't make us eat vegetables with our Thanksgiving dinner, who loves us enough to have more than enough pie (to make us sick on two consecutive days) and a dad who'd sacrifice life & limb (or just drive down the street...) for ice cream.

I'm telling you, I know that to most people this sounds like chaos (and... it is... a little bit) - but to me, it's home. To me, this is what Thanksgiving, and family (at least... my family), are all about. And I'm so very grateful that I'm close enough to go home. As much as I appreciate my friends' invitations to eat dinner with them, should I have stayed here in Mesa, I don't know how much they'd appreciate my proclivity for dipping turkey (right off the bone) into gravy (that's still in a pan, on the stove)... All things considered, I'm gonna have to say that Dorothy was right: there is no place like home.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby, I'm-A Want You

I dropped some books off at my friend Brooke's yesterday - and I was tortured by the site her neighbor's car (yet again). Those of you who know me (or just read the blog, really... since I put up all kinds of random facts about me online) know that my dream car is none other than the classic VW Beetle. And Brooke's neighbor has a kickin classic Bug. Seriously, did you see the roof rack (not to mention the chrome trim and the hubcaps)?! Oh, how I covet this car (and on the Sabbath, which I know is w-r-o-n-g, wrong, and yet I covet it - in a big way).

I wonder who owns it, if they'd be willing to sell it (for about $200 because that's all I have left in the world), or donate it (to the Unemployed Girl of the Week - me), or... better yet... what if the owner is a mid-30's single man looking for a fellow classic car fan? (Look, I know that's probably not the case. But a girl can dream, can't she? And I do. About classic VW Bugs. And single men. I can't help myself.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

The perks of unemployment

So far, the perks of unemployment are a) I was able to leave town for a long weekend (have been hanging out at home with the fam since Friday - eating sugar and partying it up pretty much non-stop), as well as b) I FINALLY have time to read. 

This is my bookclub's book of the month - I've known what it was, and have been wanting to read it, since early October - I just haven't had time. Now, thanks to the FDIC, I have time (and nothing but) ... so, in between downing bowls of ice cream and boxes of Sees chocolates with my parents & sister this weekend... I've been reading (and LOVING) this book. 

I'm so grateful for a respite from work, for a long weekend full of fun & yummy food and... for good books. Oh, how I love to read. It's great to have time to do it again!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jurassic Park

Oh, yeah... The flashback feature today is none other than the 1993 classic, Jurassic Park. Oh my gosh, I love this movie. I love it because it was the first "real" dinosaur movie in... well, ever, frankly. (And my dad is a lover of all things, well... Jurassic... so I should know.)

I'll never forget the first time I saw it (and that's not just because I was having a pride issue and could not let Melvin and/or Jared know I was freaked the hell out by the Velociraptors - they'd taken a bet before we went into the theater which one of them I'd "hold on to" when I got scared, Melvin told me that Jared had been unreasonably confident it would be him - I was determined that I wouldn't show ANY kind of fear and thus sat with my arms crossed, biting my bottom lip so as not to let out even a squeal at point in the movie).

This is a bit of a family classic. My dad got it on VHS for Christmas (probably from Uncle Remus) the year it came out, and I don't even know how many tapes he's worn out. This is his "bed-time story" of choice. All 6 of us kids can hum the soundtrack at the drop of a hat, because we heard the music coming from my parents' room night after night because my dad would put it on so he could watch until he fell asleep.

Oh, yeah, this is gonna be a great show. It's not like I don't know how the story goes (I could see it with my eyes closed, actually), but the opportunity to see this on the big screen again (after 15 years?!) is too cool to pass up! As always, if you want to come with, shoot me an email or give me a call and I'll give you the details.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Word

And the word is thanks. Thanks to all of the men and women who have fought for my freedom, both on land and at sea, during peace and war times. I'm so incredibly grateful for the country that I live in, for the freedoms that I enjoy, that I was privileged to be born here and raised by parents who taught me by word and example to love God and Country. My life is so amazingly and richly blessed, and at the top of the list of the things that I'm grateful for (and we all know that I am a lover and maker of lists, so I'm not kidding when I say that I have one...), is this country and the people who protect it. Many thanks to all who have served, in any and all capacities. Thank you, thank you, thank you - and may God continue to bless America.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One reason why it's good to be home

There you go. Lincoln Burrows. Oh, how those little Mexican men with their shirts buttoned down to their navels made me miss my man, Linc. Try as they might, they just didn't have it.

Maybe if they'd shaved their heads. (Oh, and had a bod like Dominic Purcell.) Maybe. But I somehow doubt it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's a jolly holiday with Ma-a-a-ry...

That's right, folks. It's Flashback Feature Wednesday again, and the movie of the week is none other than one of my personal faves... Mary Poppins. Wahoo! I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oh. My. Gosh. That was the best vacation EVER!

So, I'm tired. And I'm dizzy. And I'm hungry, and there's no room service to call up and order food. (It's tragic, really.) But before I haul my sorry, dizzy self up off the couch and toddle into the kitchen and rustle up some food, I wanted to post some pictures really quick. I plan on making a couple slide shows (for the different ports, Halloween, and Celebrity Sightings), but I don't have the stamina to do that today. For now, these brief shots will have to do. Honestly, this cruise was the most fun I've had in... uhm... forever. It was SO relaxing and SO much fun all at the same time. I don't know how I'll ever vacation on land again, to tell you the truth. Here are some of the highlights... I'll get back and dish more later. ;-)

This is the view out of our stateroom window. The picture doesn't do the view justice, it really doesn't. But this was one of my favorite things of the whole trip. Water, as far as you could see. Every day. Oh my word, it was beautiful!

Port #1 - Cabo San Lucas. How awesome are those rock formations? As soon as the water camera pics are developed, I'll do a post devoted exclusively to this port. This is where I took a "water taxi" - I know, so brave - and almost died because I got in the stupid ocean for once in my life. (Eek!)

Port #2 - Mazatlan. Wow, Wednesday was one crazy day. The city itself? In a word, FILTHY. (As Mich would say, it was "1/2 step above Tijuana".) The resort that we, erm... got suckered into driving to and listening to a time-share presentation at... however, was FAN-freakin-TASTIC! Check out this view. Private beach. Sweet accommodations. Too bad I'm not made of money, or I'd be kicking it at this beach tonight, instead of sitting here on the couch talking about it. Gosh, it was GORGEOUS!

Port #3 - Puerto Vallarta. Oh. My. Gosh! This was my favorite port, favorite shore excursion... and probably one of my top ten favorite days of my life. The pictures do not do it justice. We went through the city, up into the mountains and then rode horse-back into the jungle. Holy moses, who knew that Mexico could be so green?! Oh my word, it was honestly the most beautiful thing I think I have ever seen in my entire life. It's truly TRAGIC to me that the pictures don't show the 32 different shades of green that were in that jungle. Oh, it was absolute heaven, that day was. I loved it!

The most beautiful part of every day... the sun setting. I went up top every day that I was ... erm, awake ... and watched the sun go down. Again, the picture does not do it justice. You all know that I'm a sucker for a sunset - period. But a sunset behind the ocean, with the last rays of light reflecting off the water? Oh, it was unbelievable.

And my favorite thing on board the ship? Room Service. Specifically, the International Cheese Plate. Holy crap, this was AMAZING! Mich and I would order the cheese plate around 5:30-6:00 in the evenings as a snack (we had the late dinner shift - 8:30), so we wouldn't be hungry and miserable through the pre-dinner show. This cheese plate kicked the crap out of the buffet food upstairs, and that they brought it to our room?! Oh, it was absolute heaven. H-E-A-V-E-N!

Oh, I want to go back. Right now. Seriously. ...Or, at the very least, go and buy a bunch o' cheese.