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.