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Archive for December, 2009

Precious

Gypsygrrl asked for a review of the film Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire. I saw it over the weekend, and was just blown away.

Honestly? I’m not quite sure where to begin. The amazing acting?

Mo’Nique was incredible—completely believable as a cold, harsh, abusive, sadistic woman who cares only for herself. Her assumed affection for her daughter and grandchildren is only for what she can get from them: welfare money, food, cigarettes, playing her numbers, and sex.

Mariah Carey was amazing in her role as an overworked and overtired social worker who is trying to get to the root of what’s going on in Precious’s life. It was very evocative of my brief tenure as a CPS investigator, trying desperately to understand what was happening in the families and wanting to help, but being completely stonewalled because I was an outsider, someone who couldn’t understand, it was none of my business, or perhaps because like Precious initially seemed to feel, nothing could help.

Paula Patton stars as Blu Rain, the reading teacher at the alternative school, and inspires Precious with her passion and dedication. She takes the time to sit with Precious, and teaches her to read, letter by letter, word by word. When Precious flees the horrors of her mother’s home, she goes to the only safe place she knows: the school. Ms. Rain takes her into her own love-filled home until Precious is able to get into a halfway house.

Gabourey Sidibe, above all, absolutely shone. She tried to avoid dealing with the horrors of her life by escaping into fantasy. Not until she is suspended from the junior high school she attends, and encouraged by the principal to attend an alternative school, does she begin to avoid escapism and face things full-on. Precious starts to come out of her shell, warmed by the love and acceptance of her teacher and the other people who come into her life.  But the blows keep on coming, and you wonder how long this stolid young woman is going to be able to keep on standing on her feet.

I can’t say enough good things about this movie. It’s agonizingly painful to watch. There are a few scenes that struck a chord with me because of my experiences as a child welfare worker, and it brought back a lot of memories. And I’ve spent plenty of my life escaping into fantasy, not because of the experiences Precious had, but because of the blows that life has dealt to me. But the hope that is blown from a spark into a fire will resonate with every viewer.

On Saturday I saw a play where the frequent refrain was, “There was hope! There is hope! There will always be hope!” The same refrain could be quoted at the end of this movie. “There was hope! There is hope! There will always be hope!”

It takes a lot of talent to turn something so ugly into something so beautiful. Kudos to all the people who worked on this movie.

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One More Thing

In the scene where Adrian Helmsley is riding in a cab e en route to his friend’s home/mine in India, he is reading The Consolation of Philosopy by Boethius, presumably translated by Chaucer. Any person, living or fictional, who enjoys Boethius is a friend of mine.

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Adventures in Movie-Going

Joe and I went to see 2012 Monday afternoon, as you may have guessed from my last post. It wasn’t an altogether flawless movie experience, though.  Approximately 2/3’s of the way through the movie, we noticed theatre attendants helping a couple to seats in the row just past the row I like to sit in, where I can put my feet on the railings.  We didn’t think anything of it until a few minutes later, when the man started talking really loudly. Then the woman took a header and landed face first on the floor. The man began loudly berating her for her clumsiness. Then she was groveling on the floor–I thought maybe she’d dropped something, but never did figure out what was going on. Then he began talking really loudly, etc. through the last third of the movie, despite some subtle and not-so-subtle shushing by other theatre patrons who were very annoyed.

As soon as the movie was over, I bolted for the bathroom, making sure to go behind the crazy couple instead of in front as I normally would. Joe bolted to ask for a refund from the manager. We left with readmission tickets.  While we were strolling through the mall, a few women came up to us and asked if we were in the theatre with them. We commiserated with them, and told them the theatre would give them readmission tickets so they could try watching the movie again another time.  Apparently the couple had been drinking (big surprise), and the man claimed he had been injured in an auto accident, hence the help getting into the theatre. Anyway, everyone there probably asked for a refund. It wasn’t fun.

Today I decided it was massage day. I’ve missed getting my weekly massage for several weeks, and my back was really hurting. So Joe decided to meet me at the mall so we could try again to see 2012.  Got the massage. It was lovely. Had dinner. It was good. Got chocolate. Mmmm. Bought a pair of glasses. Expensive. 

Then it was movie time.  Things started off well–the popcorn wasn’t stale, like it was on Monday, and there were fewer people in the theatre, and no one who appeared to be drunk.  We made it through the previews, and then it started. Someone in the row behind me was farting. Let’s just say I didn’t realize it because it was loud.  Joe asked if I wanted to move to another seat, but I kept thinking it would stop. It didn’t.

And then a guy walked in wearing a pimp suit and red hat and shoes, carrying a metallic briefcase.  As soon as he walked in, my prickles went off and I wanted to leave. But hey–it was the second time we were trying to see the movie (and trust me when I tell you that my suspension of disbelief was far less willing than it was the irst time), and I didn’t want to make Joe leave.

The person behind me kept gassing, so I told Joe sure, let’s move to another seat.  Yay! Fresh clean air! 

Someone walked into the theatre and sat down in the seat immediately in front of Joe, right by the exit. What are all these people doing, coming in way after the movie started?  He sits there for a while, then gets up and walks out. 

Two minutes later, pimp dude walks out.  My hackles rose again.  Joe leaned over and asked if I wanted to leave, and I did, so we did.

What was going on? Drug deal? Gun deal? Terrorist attack? (I’m kidding about the last one. I think.)  Whatever it was, we were both uncomfortable about remaining in the theatre.

And we’re not going to try again.  Apparently the powers that be have decreed that we will never see 2012 in its entirety in the theatre. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

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Thoughts After Seeing 2012

Robert Frost said it best:

Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

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Polyvore

Not to be confused with omnivore, which I am not, or vegevore (is that even a word), which I am.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading Tavi’s Style Rookie blog and getting inspired. She’s reminded me how much fun it is to actually put outfits together like you’re creating a work of art. I’ve started rethinking the way I dress, and it’s a hoot.

Then yesterday I discovered Polyvore.  Oh, baby. Mmmm.  I can spend hours putting together sets, finding new ways to combine clothes, shoes, and accessories.  It takes shopping to a whole new level, even if I can’t afford the $2K ring I was drooling over yesterday. And so far I’m not using it for shopping, although if one shirt I used in a set yesterday were available in size oh-my-gosh I’d have bought one. No, I’ve been putting together items from various designers and seeing what I can come up with. It’s fun. And if you click on the link over to the right, you can see my sets. And if you sign up to start making your own sets, please leave the link so I can do some more drooling.

Play! Create!

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Happy Burfday!!

Today is the birthday of the Incomparable Izzybella. I don’t have any embarrassing photos to upload right now, but tonight–I think I might come up with a cute one. In fact, I know I will. (Revenge is sweet, my dearest sister, saccharine sweet!)

All I can tell you is that she’s been my best friend since the day she was born, and perhaps before that, and I cannot imagine the world without her.

Happy birthday, baby!

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Yay! It’s my birthday today!

If you’re the one who left me a voice message at 3:30 this morning, please accept my apologies for not listening to it then. I will sometime today.

If you’re the ones who started my day off with loving birthday texts at 5:30, thank you! It was a nice way to start the day.

I got to work to find that the Grape Ape outdid himself. The last time he visited my desk, he just exploded. This time, he threw up and then exploded. Most excellent. There are purple balloons, streamers, feathers, beads, candy, bubbles, and even a cute little purple flip-flop keychain. And there is cake. Oh, yes, there is cake. White cake with white buttercream frosting and, yes, you guessed it, purple flowers.

I made the announcement yesterday on Facebook, but just in case you missed it: I have decided to be 13 this year. So bring on the fart jokes and juvenile fun and games. Woohoo!

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Things I Like

I’m no Oprah, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give you a list of things I like, right?

chirp. chirp. (Apropos of nothing, do you ever feel like you’re just blogging to deafening silence? I do. Does that stop me? Nope.)

1. Boscia blotting linens. Have you ever tried these things? They are of the serious awesome. I have one pack in lavender, and another pack in green tea. You pull out a blotting sheet, blot your nose, your chin, your t-zone–basically anywhere that your face gets a little oily. The sheet absorbs the oil (and it’s really disgusting, in the same way your ped egg gets disgusting after you’ve attended to your feet), and your face goes back to looking nice and natural. I hear Boscia.

2. “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” –Rabindranath Tagore. I don’t remember the circumstances under which I encountered this quotation, but I really like it.

3. The Bath & Body Works coupon sitting on my desk that will give me a free item of my choice with any purchase of $10 or more. Seriously–spending $10 at B&BW? So not difficult. I may have to stop by there on my way home today.

4. The library. Except when I return something and they lose it. Grrr. I have two books that I think I returned and they think I haven’t. So I’m going to have to search some more.

5. Doctor Who. And BN, who very graciously put series 1-4 (of the new series) on major sale, and my honey, who very graciously said we could get them.

6. And while we’re talking about DVDs, my new Bluray player. I haven’t even bought any Bluray discs yet, but how it makes my regular DVDs look just blows me away. The picture is so crisp and clear. Makes me happy.

7. My dogs, and their delicious personalities. Scout gets cold very easily, so the other night Joe and I got him the most adorable little jacket. He absolutely loves it. And Molly hates wearing clothes, but I swear she is jealous over his jacket. The looks she gave me! So I need to get a tee-shirt or something for her.

8. Warm baths and good books. Yes, at the same time. I mean, I can enjoy a good book without a warm bath, but it’s virtually impossible for me to enjoy a warm bath without a good book.

9. Ped Eggs. Whoever invented those things is a genius. I splurged and got a new one this weekend. I know you can just buy replacement parts, but I wanted one with the long handle. It’s easier to use.

10. Fireplaces with fires on cold days, and my husband who takes care of it. Honestly, when he’s not in town and it’s hella cold, I am either in bed curled up with a warm dog, or else I’m on the love seat with a blanket and a warm dog. I don’t mess with the fires too much. So one more bonus of Joe being home is that he keeps a nice roaring fire going when it’s chilly.

11. Sisters. The incomparable Izzybella stopped by for a short visit yesterday. That’s an all-too-rare event, and I really enjoyed it.

12. Smith’s Rosebud Salve. Don’t ask. Just go get some. I got a tin with 3 things of salve for $10, I think, at Sephora.

13. Nakey emperor. He’s nakey.

14. VegNews. I love it so much I finally subscribed.

15. My husband. I’m actually very fond of him.

Now if you’ve gotten all the way to the end of this list, and want to remind me of something I’ve forgotten, please leave a comment and I’ll add it to my next “Things I Like” post. ‘KThxBai.

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Just thinking about things

I’ve been reading some books about strengthening one’s marriage lately. Every now and then I have to take a look at myself, see where I stand, and see where I need to make some attitude adjustments.  The perfect marriage doesn’t exist, if I define perfection by no disagreements, no hardships, no frustrations, no clashes due to any reason.

But maybe I’ve been spending too much time thinking about all the ways that I’m hurting, and not enough time thinking about ways to count my blessings and be happy.  Maybe I’ve not spent enough time thinking about how I can help my husband be happier at home. It’s not like it’s any secret that he likes to have the house neat and orderly. And honestly, I do too. I’d just rather have someone else do the work to make it neat and orderly. 🙂

Yesterday I read a comment about Brigham Young thinking that the ideal day consisted of 8 hours’ work, 8 hours’ recreation, and 8 hours’ sleep. I had to laugh, because that’s so not how my typical days go. I’m already in the debit column on the recreation side of things by the time I get home from work. Well, that is, unless you count my hour and a half daily commute as recreation.  Now that Lolo no longer commutes with me, I’m back to listening to books on CD as I travel, so I suppose that would count at least a little bit in the recreation column. It also usually keeps me interested enough in what I’m listening to that I don’t scream and cuss out the drivers on the road who don’t drive exactly as I want them to, which is also a bonus.

And then I had to take a step back again. The reason my yucky house takes up so much of my recreation hours–in addition to the obvious fact that I’m away from the home a little over 10 hours a day–is because I’m a slob. And now that I’ve been actually working to get things orderly, get rid of clutter, clean, etc., it’s taking a lot of time because I’m making up for a long time of slobitude.

I know I’ve mentioned before how much watching the show Hoarders helps me. I’m not anywhere near the degree of hoarding that the people on that show are, but watching their struggles has helped me see where I’m hanging on to things unnecessarily. So before I get going on a marathon declutter session, I’ll put on an episode of the show (thank you, A&E, for having a few full episodes available to watch online).

The other issue tied up with the hoarding/clutter/decluttering, etc., is bringing things in. I love to decorate homes. I think I’d be a fabulous interior decorator. (I’m also a fabulous personal stylist. Love to dress people.)  But when it comes to my home, it’s like I never know when enough is too much. When we painted the living room, for instance, and completely changed the colour and decor, I kept finding little knickknacks that would be perfect. I think my frequent exclamation was something along the lines of, “This was made for my living room!” And okay, it was, but do I need it? Do I have a place to put it? Is it worth the cost? Because the cost is far more than the few dollars I paid for it. It’s also the cost of looking at a cluttered mantelpiece, the cost of the little dog knocking it onto the floor and breaking it, the cost of having to clean over, above, under, and around it.

In the latest declutter session I did, I went through my guest room. I decided that it’s no longer the Egypt room, and decided that I no longer need to keep stacks and stacks of books on Egypt that I’m not going to read anymore. So all the books went out of the house, and I took them to Half-Price Books. I got a few sheckels in return–nothing even close to the value of the books–but it worked out beautifully compared to the value of having that much less clutter. I also took all the Egyptian decorations off the walls and shelves, and took them to Goodwill, along with a huge bag of clothing that needed to be removed from my closet. I know what colour I’m going to paint that room, and normally I would by now be looking for accent pieces (artwork, knickknacks, etc.). But I’m learning that I don’t really want to. Yes, I would love to have a nice piece of art to hang on the wall when the room gets painted, and I feel confident that in time I will find something. But I don’t want things all over the place in there. I want that room to be clean and tidy.

I know that for anyone who knows me, or who has read my blog, knows that I’m always talking about decluttering but never do it. It’s actually getting done this time. I’m taking my time, but I’m being a lot more ruthless.  Last Saturday, f’rinstance, I took three black trash bags stuffed full of clothes & other things that are still good but that I don’t need to Goodwill, along with a large woven beach bag full of things, and one more paper trash bag full of things. I also took a bag full of books to Half-Price Books (the Egypt books had already gone earlier in the week). That pretty much totaled a car full of things that had been in my house and were now gone.

I also–much to the dismay of my husband–got a huge binder that holds all our DVD’s, and put them into the binder, discarding the cases. Now there is one place for all our DVD’s, and they’re not scattered over three rooms in the house (living room, bedroom, & guest room). He asked me if I’d at least alphabetized them, so we’d be able to find what movie we were looking for without having to go through the whole binder. Well, no, I didn’t. It seemed like a waste of time. How many times have I alphabetized all our DVD cases, only to have them out of order within a matter of days? And how many times have I picked up a DVD case and opened it, only to find that it was either empty or had a different DVD in it? Now everything is in one place. And it takes up much, much less room than the two DVD towers we own and the third DVD tower that I was about to buy because there wasn’t enough room for them all in the two DVD towers we already own.

Being a slob sucks. Being a reforming slob sucks only slightly less, but will pay off when I’m no longer a reforming slob, but an actual former slob!

I’m also finding that the more things that I get out of my house, the more peaceful it feels inside my house.

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