Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some Thoughts for the Season

I have not blogged in a long time (I guess since November 14), because life has just been zooming by with way too much to do. But I got an email today that included this quote, and it really brought me to a halt for a few moments and spoke to something that has been percolating in my heart, so I want to share it. Read it, think about it a little, read it again, and then see if you can find a way to live it out. Merry Christmas to all my many friends who don't read this, and especially to the few who do. I love you deeply and value you being in my life, though I know I dont say it nearly enough.

"The Gospel of Christ knows no religion but social, no holiness but social holiness... You cannot be holy except as you are engaged in making the world a better place. You do not become holy by keeping yourself pure and clean from the world but by plunging into ministry on behalf of the world's hurting ones." --John Wesley, Preface, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739.

Friday, November 14, 2008

You'll try and try, and one day you'll fly away from me . . .

Well, I knew this day would come. But that doesn't make it any easier to take. My youngest child, Curlyboy, turned 18 today. That is a huge milestone for him, one that he has been anticipating with excitement for some time. His Facebook page has had daily updates all week. I know he is excited to be stepping into adulthood.

But it's not that simple. I have tried to impart that little piece of wisdom to him, as has his dad, but, in keeping with one of God's little jokes on us all, an 18-year-old does NOT hear the words of wisdom, or if they hear, they dismiss with a roll of their eyes because, after all, they are invincible and all-knowing, and parents are . . . well . . . old. We've all been there, with our own parents. I also know that, around the age of 22, 23, something like that, a magical thing usually happens and we parents become wise again. It's like suddenly we KNOW stuff, and the things we told them all those many nagging days and nights actually make SENSE. And we just nod sagely and try not to say I TOLD YOU SO.

In the meantime, I know that I now have to prepare for the hardest thing of all. To let my baby boy go out into the world and learn the hard way, and have some hard knocks, and to balance on that fine tightrope of being there, having his back, but not rescuing or fixing problems that he needs to learn to deal with on his own.

I KNOW all these things, intellectually. But my heart, my very SOUL, wants to protect him from all the awful things that await in the world. I have experienced some of them myself, and I survived, but that doesn't make this any easier. He has led a pretty sheltered, easy life. Lifelong church attendance and meaningful involvement therein, two parents who are still married and in love and happy, many friends, many hobbies and activities enjoyed over the years, not rich or spoiled but certainly not doing without much that was desired. He's had a great life. And our hope is that he will have an even greater adulthood.

He has all the tools and character traits he needs for success (well, except for that procrastination gene - can't do anything but pray about that one). He's kind, compassionate, funny, gentle and tender when he needs to be, smart, talented, wise, level-headed, a great peacemaker, a good friend, handsome and never lacking for female companionship, especially friends that are girls, he will make an outstanding husband and father someday. He's an immensely talented musician who loves kids and wants to be a high school orchestra director.

But 18 is NOT a grownup, not in the sense that most 18-year-olds think it is. They are not prepared for leaving home, for all the responsibilities about to be thrust upon them in college, for financial decisions, for dating decisions without the oversight of parents to provide those bumpers. But then, is anyone ever prepared? Like, are we prepared to be parents? Not really, until we are, and then we figure it out as we go along, making mistakes and learning along the way.

So, on this momentous day of my youngest child's life, I just want to say that, in spite of all the mistakes I've made along the way, and there have been many, he's turned out pretty darned wonderful, if I may so brag. We have so, so many wonderful memories, and we will make more during this last year of high school, I've no doubt. The thing is, many parents can't wait for their kids to get out of the house, to be "free." But we actually LIKE to hang out with Curlyboy. He makes me laugh pretty much every day, and he's smart and good at intelligent conversation, and we have a lot of fun together. Movies are kind of our family "thing," and he and I share a love of several TV shows that we watch together. There are so many little things that we are going to miss terribly when he's off to college in another city (not too far away, but far enough). And he's already pulling away - independent, off with friends doing this or that much of the time. He still checks in with us, still keeps a reasonable curfew, still follows our rules. But every day that passes, we can see him growing up and away more and more. Just as it should be. As it's meant to be.

So, if all is as it should be, as it's meant to be, why is it so bittersweet?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Weekend Plans

Another brilliantly funny commentary on married life. This is SO my daughter and son in law and their friends. LOL

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Business Time

Ahhh, married love. . . This made me laugh so hard I nearly peed myself. Enjoy.

This is the future of our country?

Curlyboy is in a senior level AP Government class (i.e. college level work). They had an extra credit assignment to do a campaign poster for either presidential candidate. One of his female classmates did a poster that said: No experience, no citizenship, Nobama.

Yes, you read that right friendo. No citizenship. Curlyboy pointed out to her that you must be a U.S. citizen to be a senator or to run for president. My vote would be that this girl NOT get any extra credit. If you are in an AP Government class, as a senior, I'm thinking you should KNOW this little piece of trivia.


Word Up!

THIS is who I want to be for Halloween! My kind of superhero!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jilly Tales

You have not lived until you have heard a 2-year old girl singing the Imperial March from Star Wars . . . dum dum dum, dum da dum, dum da dum.

This child is already familiar with the music and all the characters, because her big brother is totally obsessed with Star Wars at the moment. They are going as Princess Leia and Darth Vader for Halloween. She refers to herslf as Yoda all the time, and they both do a pretty mean Yoda imitation. And, she has a keen sense of humor already. If you ASK her to do her Yoda imitation, she will say "Hmmm. Yoda" but rather than sounding just like Frank Oz (which she can), she says it, intentionally, in a high-pitched girly voice. And then grin from ear to ear and laugh. Cracks me up.

Overheard last night, a lovely tune sung by Jillian:

Darth Vaaaader, why are there so many songs about rainbows . . . one two three, four five six, ten eleven twelve, ladybugs came to the ladybug picniiiiic.

Like I said, a three ring circus. Of joy and laughter.

Chronicles of Sam

Overhead from my guest bathroom, where Sam was taking care of business:

Sam: Oh MAN!
Me, stepping around the corner in alarm . . .
Sam: Yeah, I think that will be enough. (as he pulled off one more foot or so of toilet paper to add to the bigger than a softball wad already in his hands . . .)
Me: Let me help you with that (laughing hysterically).
(Note: We used the appropriate portion, left the rest of the wad on the counter for the next seven or eight users . . .)

It's just a three ring circus, all the time. I love it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy . . . (john lennon)

Here are some senior pics of my beautiful baby Curlyboy (I can call him that here cuz I don't think he reads my blog . . .)

These were done by Major Images in Arlington, Texas, by an amazing gifted photographer, Bobbie Jo Majors. We had so much fun at this photo shoot, and she really captured his true personality. He loved the photos, and so did we!

Proud much?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Jilly Tales

Conversation between Jillian (2) and her mother today:

Jilly: Can I take my shoes off?
Mommy: No.
(Sound of velcro coming loose)
Mommy: I told you no, leave your shoes on.
Jilly: Off.
Mommy: I said no.
Jilly: (scowling hilariously) Raaaaaarrrhhhhh.
Mommy: That was not nice. What do you say?
Jilly: Sorry.

Me: Struggling mightily NOT to laugh out loud at this exchange. Her facial expressions were priceless.

I suspect this is the beginning of many anecdotes to report . . .

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Cardboard Testimony

This was sent to me by a good friend. It moved me more than anything has in a while.

Enjoy. Think. What would you write on your cardboard?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And now for the rest of the story . . .

So, Curlyboy is a senior at Martin High School. A longstanding Homecoming tradition for senior boys at Martin is the Fundancers. (And, if you happen to be reading this and are not from Texas, you might want to Google "homecoming" or "homecoming mums" just to read up on this Texas phenomenon of ridiculously oversized corsages/arm garters and all the other over the top traditions that accompany this most hallowed of all traditions in the most hallowed of all sports in Texas - high school football.)

So, Fundancers is a wholesome and heartwarming tradition where the senior boys, of all shapes and sizes, including big hulking football players (are you getting a visual here yet?) dress up as cheerleaders and the real cheerleaders teach them a dance routine, which they perform at the Homecoming pep rally. Hence, the aforementioned skirt - I should probably say the first one he's ever worn (that I know of . . .). Curlyboy advised me that "I've been waiting four years for this." So, being the beanpole that he is, he actually fit into a REAL cheerleading uniform, as evidenced here:

You know, you wish and hope and dream about all the wonderful things your child will accomplish in their high school career, and then they get to be part of the proud tradition of dressing up like a girl . . . makes a mother proud . . .

In case you were wondering (and you know you were), he is wearing boxers AND for extra coverage, a pair of white girls' Soffe shorts UNDER the aforementioned (in previous post) SKIRT. Said shorts had the letter R painted on them, as one highlight of the "dance routine" involved the boys lifting up the back of their skirts (or whatever else they had on if the skirts didn't fit) to spell out WARRIORS (the mascot) and some other words I could not read from my vantage point - this during a particularly slinky portion of the dance where they were sort of crawling forward on the floor in what might have been intended to be a "catlike" manner. SNORT.

At one point, he was also wearing some sort of sparkly silvery mask which you can see atop his curly head in the photos above. I particularly enjoyed the Caution Tape/Pageant Sash accent, and the red knee socks and matching headband are a jaunty touch (all his own idea - I did not have any input into this getup . . . er . . . ensemble). (Sorry, when I uploaded the pictures below, most of them are pretty small - I got them off Andy's Facebook so I can't make them bigger.)

Of course, the highlight of the routine, aside from the skirt-lifting, letter-embossed booty showing part, was the two boys who did tumbling runs across the gym at the beginning, and of course the stunts which involved tossing "flyers" in the air, a la REAL cheerleaders, and catching them. There was only one small problem - I believe the laws of nature dictate that if a bunch of very strong boys toss a smaller boy in the air, he will, ergo, fly VERY HIGH in the air. Meaning, 10 feet, maybe more, ABOVE THE HEADS of the tall boys doing the tossing.
This of course caused most of the adults in the room to gasp and say a quick Hail Mary that said flying boys would in fact be caught on their way back down. And they were. Mostly. One group had a bit of a stumble, but I don't think they actually dropped the boy, they just sort of fell over in a slow motion heap. But I did hear that a few were dropped during practice. They don't know their own strength, apparently. And high school senior boys will generally do pretty much anything, if someone suggests it and it sounds particularly ridiculous or foolhardy. In fact, the higher the exponential ridiculous and foolhardiness factor, the more you are pretty much guaranteed that they will do it. Fortunately, for the most part, this was just good, clean, ridiculous fun.

And of course, another Homecoming tradition is various theme days. Here is the Camo Day picture . . . see if you can find him hidden in the photo . . .

And just to show that Curlyboy cleans up pretty well when he wants to, here are a few photos from his regular Homecoming day attire and Homecoming game attire. The guys are all friends from school, and his date for the game was a girl he's known since they were babies in the church nursery. His girl is in college in Oklahoma, and the date is single, so they just decided to go together along with a big group of friends. Big fun was had by all.

Should have a few pics soon of his senior photo shoot, done by a totally gifted photographer who did some amazing work.

Can't believe it's his senior year. Fun. Exciting. Busy. *sniff*

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Little Teaser . . .

Overheard last night . . .

Andy: Well, this is the first time I've ever used the bathroom in a skirt . . .

Me: Laughing hysterically . . . I think I need to blog about this.

Andy: No, wait until we have pictures.

So, check back soon for the rest of the story, WITH PICTURES.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A New Chronicle of Sam

Walking down the hall at church on Sunday evening. Sam is lying on the floor outside his preschool choir classroom.

Me: Sam, what are you doing?
Sam: They made me come out here.
Teacher 1: (just inside door) Yes, he doesn't want to be part of the class today.
Me: Oh really, why not Sam?
Sam: They made me come out in the hall to sit.
Teacher 2: (Mom Lindsay) He would not behave himself. To Sam: Are you ready to come in and participate? This class is for big kids.
Sam: I want to PLAY.
Mommy: We are learning our songs now, we'll play later.
Sam: I'm HUNGRY.
Mommy: We'll have a snack after we learn our songs.
Sam: Starts kicking feet on floor having a small conniption.
Mommy: Okay, you can just stay out here since you won't be a big kid and participate.
Mommy goes back in room. Couple of beats of silence pass as I look at Sam.
Sam: Where are you going?
Me: I'm going home.
Sam: You can go on then. Waves dismissively.
Me: Well okay then.

I walk down the hall laughing silently to myself. Don't know if he was embarrassed or just didn't want me bothering his time out. LOL

Yeah, yeah, I know . . .

I haven't blogged since June. Been working full time and just never seem to find the time anymore. Trying to do better. So here's a short one.

Seen at my son's high school during open house: A sign posted outside the Little Theater asking cast members to go over their bios to make sure they are right. Here's the handwritten caption:

Please proff your bios.

I'm not lyin. I laughed out loud right there in the hall, then called Andy and told him. Higher education at work . . .

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yep, Pretty Much

I know, I know, I haven't posted in weeks and weeks. And I will, I promise. I'm in the throes of withdrawal from my lovely work-at-home job, having gone back to work full time out of the house. Sniff. My free blogging time has been considerably diminished.

But I just had to post this little gem, which I found on another blog . . .

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I don't need to add anything to this one . . .

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Seen recently at a local park . . .

Yesterday afternoon: Young boy alone in the middle of a huge grassy park, doing exuberant somersaults in the grass. Oh to have the joy and energy (not to mention the flexibility) of a child . . .

This morning: Two men, one with a fly fishing rod and one obviously instructing, practicing fly casting in the middle of this grassy park. Odd? Yes, but somehow appropriate. I stood and watched for several minutes. The motions of casting a fly rod are just lyrical.

I park right next to this open grassy park every day. I am curious to see what little slice of life it brings me next . . .

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Whiny McWhinington

Sigh. I am in a weird mood. Not really a funk. Just a creatively blocked corner of frustration at not having endless amounts of time to actually deeply delve into figuring out which path of creativity I really feel the most passionate about. Writing, photography, painting, drawing, collage - whatever. I have hardly spent any time in my office lately - the office I so carefully arranged and partially decorated.

This going back to work thing came at a time when I was just getting going on the creative thing, and now . . . I'm just too tired to do much after about 8 at night. That's just how it is. And every weekend seems full of stuff. Perhaps summer will be better. No school activities. I don't plan to go to camp, maybe mission trip but not sure. I just want to spend my hours doing what I want to do for my own pleasure - is that too much to ask . . .? Don't answer that. Waaahhh.

I am not good at making efficient use of small blocks of time. I've figure out about myself that in order to do something creative, to get it flowing, I need to have a chunk of time where I don't have the thoughts of something else I have to do on the tail end of it chattering away in my mind. And when, really, is that EVER the case? Bleh. Even when I was home all the time, all the stuff I have to do was chattering in my mind. I need to go to a hypnotist and have them do something so that I can just let stuff GO, without it bugging me that it's not getting DONE. I seem to find time to email, and I've broken through my blogging block and do that pretty often now. But the rest . . . I think it's going to take a radical change in my DNA or something - or at least a radical change in how I approach my daily life.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Books Have Arrived! Huzzah!

Just got my copy of Nice to Come Home To, by Rebecca Flowers, and Change of Heart, by Jodi Picoult. Most of you probably know who Jodi is, but if you do not, you must read something, anything, by her. She is fast hurtling toward Stephen King territory in name-recognition and number of bestselling books. She does not write horror, she writes what I would call "moral dilemma" fiction. No two books are the same, but they are always about hot button issues that get people talking.

Rebecca Flowers is an author I was not familiar with until I read an interview with her on Joshilyn Jackson's blog. Nice to Come Home To is her modern take on the Sense and Sensibility story, about two sisters and whether it is okay to "settle" rather than wait for your soul mate. I am really looking forward to reading it and posting my review here.

I currently have four books I am dying to read, and about ten more I want to read when I'm done with those. Plus I'm listening to The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd, in my car. And reading some really deep stuff for my online writing class.

Speaking of that . . . I still haven't set up my new writing blog (where this post really should go). I gotta do that . . .so I can post about my really amazingly cool and fun class.

Domani. (I'm going to start practicing my handful of Italian words, because Italian is my very FAVORITE language, and since reading Eat Pray Love, I want to learn more of it.)

Arrivederci. (that's two. . .)

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I've been in a bit of a funk the last couple of days. I have found the perfect remedy for the funky stinky blues. I have been reading the archives of Faster than Kudzu, the blog by author Joshilyn Jackson. I know she is a confessed overuser of hyperbole, but dang, it's the funniest, most snort-inducing, LOL hyperbole I've ever read.

If you need a good laugh, just go here. If you are reading them in public, you might want to practice that age-old art of turning your snorting laugh into a cough before anyone knows you are laughing. Because you will laugh out loud, or your funnybone is broke.

So. Enjoy. You can thank me later.

Off they go . . . into the wild blue something . . .

Well, CurlyBoy is off on his trip. We made it to the airport with no traffic, managed to find a park, and headed in. I have not flown nor been inside the airport since 9/11. It's quite a changed place. I was prepared to not be able to go in at all, but I was able to go with him to the place where the orchestra director was helping the kids get checked in and ticketed. They have these little automated check-in kiosks now, kinda like an ATM. And then the person at the counter calls your name, they check your ID, and hand you a boarding pass. Simple.

Then we went to another area where another director and some sponsors were doing their own thorough luggage search for each child. Smart move, and hopefully will avoid any problems or embarassing incidents. I feel sure some kid was dumb enough to try to sneak something by that they shouldn't. Fortunately CurlyBoy was not one of those. All smooth sailing. Checked the bag, and then he headed down to security with some kids and a sponsor.

This was where we had to part ways. I managed to get a side hug, on request (he was going to just walk on away without even saying goodbye). I then texted "I love you!" to him, so as not to embarrass him in front of his buddies.

Got back to the car, and discovered he'd left his hoodie in the floor. Called him, and fortunately he answered and was still at security. I walked all the way down (waaaaay down) to where he was, as fast as I could, and he was able to walk over to where I was and get his hoodie. I sneaked a kiss since no one was looking. Heh. You have to be crafty about this stuff with a teenage boy around his school friends.

They have been in the air now for about an hour or more, so they should be there in another hour and a half. (Oh, and I'm SO thankful that the severe weather is to the west of our area and the kids didn't have to fly into that!) I asked him to call when he got to his hotel room. We will see if that actually happens. I even was so bold as to suggest he call every night.

Me: Hey, call us at least once every day. It can be in the evenings at bedtime.

CB: Every night?

Me: Well yeah, we just want to talk to you and hear about all the fun you are having. It can be late and short. Or send me a text.

CB: *rolls eyes*

Me: *trying not to sound desperate* Or take some pictures with your phone and send them to me . . . ?

We'll be lucky if we hear from him tonight and no more, based on other trips away. Oh well. Safe travel is all we really hope for. And no shenanigans that will cause him to be handed over to local authorities. Yeah. That exact phrase was in the handout. Made me giggle. But I think they are actually serious.

Be good son. Cuz we won't bail you out . . .

Catching Up

Mea culpa. I've not posted in a bit, and I've managed to totally lose track of posting my "beauties." It was a busy weekend, and a busy week. National Honor Society induction Monday night for CurlyBoy. Oh by the way, I've decided to give preciously cute nicknames to my family members, brazenly copying something I saw on another blog, just cuz I think it's cute and funny and I need to be cute and funny - it makes me feel good about myself . . . but I digress.

CurlyBoy is our 17 year old son. Anywho, NHS induction. Very proud parents. Weird experience. Many kids crossing the stage, and as the names are called, I am experiencing flashbacks to kindergarten graduation. That's how long he/we have known some of these kids.

This afternoon, CurlyBoy is leaving for Orlando on a school orchestra trip to Disney World. To say he's pumped would be an understatement. He has not flown since he was 5 1/2 and we went to Disney LAND (the one in California). He did not go on the orchestra trip last year, as it was to Branson, and he thought it was lame (we agreed, and were happy not to spend the $600).

This morning, I received a text message:

CurlyBoy: Hey most of my friends on plane 2 are getting out of school at like 2 (I am cracking up that even in a text, kids use "like")

Me: I will have to call and see if it is excused. How are you using your phone? (school rule is can't use phone or they will take it up)

CurlyBoy: I turned it on to text you in orchestra because we are not doing anything.

CurlyBoy: Parents are calling. I think it's good because it's halfway through 4th period and I'll have time to get snacks.

(I call the school attendance office, and after looking at his schedule and seeing that he'd just be leaving early from his Jazz Band Class (both his music classes are on the same day), she said she'd allow him to leave early and not count it against him. Whew. He and some other friends are making a run to the dollar store to load up on snacks for the plane and hotel room. All is right with the world now . . . )

Me: Okay, called and got permission for you to leave at 2. (I'm thinking to myself, man if he gets that phone taken up before this trip, I'm going to throttle him. Parents have to sign a form and pay $30 to get the phone back).

Should be big fun. Sorta wish I was going. I actually like hanging out with teenagers, and CurlyBoy's orchestra friends are mostly pretty cool kids.

Don't really have any beauties to speak of . . . watched Juno. Beautifully, brilliantly real script. Everything is getting green and there are many gorgeous azaeleas in my neighborhood. I washed my sheets yesterday and they were delightful to fall into last night. My first cup of coffee this morning tasted exceptionally delicious for some reason. I got nothin for touch. But this is not too bad. I guess if you spend a moment thinking about it, you can come up with beauties even when you thought there were none.

More to write later . . .

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy . . .

My beauty for today is my 17 year old son, Andy. I was thinking about him several times in the last few weeks, as we've begun to really get into the college prep groove (he's a junior). I came to a realization that I want to share here, and I hope no one takes this the wrong way or thinks I'm being . . . well, icky.

We have managed to raise a son who is exactly the kind of guy I would have wanted to date and marry. And I'm really proud and happy about that. He's not perfect, don't get me wrong. His room is a toxic waste dump, but I know maturity and a good, patient wife will probably make a difference there. He's a procrastinator, but he comes through for the things that really matter. He doesn't always do what I tell him to, but he has good judgment most of the time about following our rules and making good choices.

But he's funny, witty, compassionate, kind, self-deprecating in a charming sort of way, generous, artistically gifted, really, really smart but not obnoxious about it, a good speller (hey, I have my quirks), and just generally lots of fun to hang out with. He loves God with all his heart and has a deep desire to serve him and to live a life that honors Christ, and he actively seeks ways to do that. He is nice to everyone, and really tries to be a peacemaker among his pals and not gossip or get into the drama that's an inherent part of teen life today. He's very cute, but not so handsome that he's unapproachable. He loves kids of all ages, and will make the most amazing dad someday. I can tell by the way he relates to his 4 year old nephew and his 2 year old niece, who adore their Uncle "Annie." He has a LOT of friends, and I believe it's because of these very qualities.

I know that he would not be the young man he is today without God's hand on his life. But I also feel very proud and thankful that together, Jay and I have done a good thing here. It's been very hard work, and we haven't always agreed on how to raise this boy, but we have been on the same page where it counts. We used to joke that Andy and Jay were joined at the hip, but I believe that strong father-son bond is another part of why he is turning into such a great man. Yikes, I said that out loud, didn't I?

So, for today, Andy is my beauty. I know he doesn't like mushy stuff much, but he knows I love him more than words can say. So son, if you are reading this, let me just say that you are awesome. And God has a very special girl who is going to be very lucky to get you one day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Five Beauties, sort of . . .

Don't have five for yesterday . . . just didn't encounter a lot of beauty, or I wasn't lookin', not sure which. I've been way too busy this week. But here's what I have:

Sound: I'm sensing a theme here . . . I was listening to the score from The Holiday, which is one of my favorite movie scores. Just lovely music, very romantic. Not pop songs, but the actual instrumental score. I have a lot of film soundtrack CDs. When the music in a movie stays with me, I will buy the soundtrack. More often than not, it's an instrumental score, but sometimes I like the ones with pop songs, etc. on them. Dan in Real Life has some really unusual, funky little songs all by the same artist. Really fit the movie well. Love Actually has some fantastic songs that I love, plus some great instrumental tracks. Something's Gotta Give has both as well, and a lot of French songs, which normally I wouldn't choose, but they are in the movie and so I like them. Anyway, I ramble . . . I love movie scores, and if the movie is a particular favorite, the score calls up memories of the film and how it speaks to me.

Sight: A vine of the most amazing rusty red flowers growing up a fence and power line on a street by my home. Not sure what the heck they are, but they are breathtaking.

Taste: I got nothin. Boring day yesterday in the food department.

Smell: Same thing. Some unpleasant smells, but we won't delve into that here.

Touch: Well, I got a new pair of flats that are really soft and comfy leather. Does that count? They feel really good on my footsies.

I'll try to do better. Some days there is more beauty to be had than others I guess.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Time Travelin'

I've been listening to Ya Yas in Bloom recently in my car. It's the third installment in the series of books by Rebecca Wells. The most well-known of course is The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and the other is Little Altars Everywhere. They are set in Louisiana and are all about the four women who are the Ya Yas (Vivi, Teensy, Caro and Necie), friends from childhood, and their husbands and kids (the Petites Ya Yas). The books mostly center around the Walker family, and their four children. The books are told as vignettes in first person by various characters. Divine Secrets of course focuses on the damaged and nearly irreparable relationship between Siddalee Walker and her flawed, beautiful, deeply damaged mother, Vivianne Joan Abbott Walker.

Sidda is exactly my age, having been born in 1953, and throughout the stories, whenever she is talking about her childhood, whether it be clothes, or makeup, or music, or cars, or how their mothers looked, or whatever, it's like she's looking back into my very own past. I also had a beautiful, very flawed mother, and though some of the passages in the books are almost too painful for me, I still am just devouring them because they ring so true to me of my life, my mother, the time period, just the whole feeling of the times. I am at a place now where they are going to see the Beatles in Houston in 1965, and all the descriptions of Sidda and how she is dressed, and how she and her friends are in love with the Beatles and each have a favorite, and how they watched them on Ed Sullivan, and wishing they looked like London girls when they wore their Yardley makeup . . . yep, that's all me, to a T.

These books might not be everyone's cup of tea, and while there is much humor and a lot of irony and great stories, there is also much pain, horrible things that families do to one another, and yet still hope, because in spite of all they've done, there is a deep and true love for each other along the way, mess that they are. They are all narrated by Judith Ivey, a wonderful stage and screen actress who captures the voice of each character, from Vivi to her husband Shep to Sidda to her little brothers, and on down the line, bringing each one to life for me with the most delicious, rich, thick Louisiana drawl you'd ever want to hear. These books, to me, are like life. Bitter and sweet, funny and sad, and they make me care about every single character, even the ones who are not so lovable.

That's good writing to me.

My Five Beauties for the Weekend

Hey, it's the best I can do . . .

Touch - My Dorkie, Maddie, lying warm against my back as I lay on the bed watching a movie last night. She's a snuggler when she's not being hyper.

Taste - A big ole bowl of Kraft Rich & Creamy Mac & Cheese all just for MEEEEEE for dinner. Yum. Comfort food.

Smell - My new shampoo and conditioner. Herbal Essences Dangerously Straight with Honeyed Pear. (Trying to tame the hair . . .) Is there any shampoo that smells better than the various Herbal Essences? I used to use the original one in the 70s when it first came out and I had long hair. The fresh, green foresty fragrance would fill up the shower, or if I washed my hair in the sink, it would just envelop my whole face, and my hair would smell fabulous as it swung around me. Ahhhh.

Sight - The Robin(s?) I have seen in my yard all week. Not sure how many as I only see one at a time, but they are so beautiful.

Sound - The soundtrack to Father of the Bride, which I watched yesterday afternoon. I own the CD as well. Watched the movie and listened to the CD countless times during the year of planning Lindsay's wedding, often with tears and much sentimentality, and used that version of The Way You Look Tonight for the father(s)/daughter dance. That music conjuures nothing but the sweetest of memories for me.

There were probably more, but that's my weekend list. Anyone else playing besides me and Julie?

Friday, April 04, 2008

John Mayer is My Hero

I am a huge John Mayer fan, as most of you who know me will know. I occasionally visit his webpage, and have read several of his blog entries. They almost always have something pretty profound to say.

This morning I happened upon his latest entry and it touched me so deeply with the raw, honest truth of it that I just have to share it. I don't know that I can post the entire entry here - there may be some copyright laws involved and I don't want to get in trubs. So please, please follow this link and read the March 27 entry titled "From the Heart." It's a message that everyone needs to see and join the conversation about, especially if you have any contact or influence over a teenager in your life.

The man is deeeeeeep.

Read it. Now. And then let's talk.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Five Beauties for Today

Okay, my friend Julie has issued a challenge to find five things of beauty every day, to enhance your creativity and inner life. I like her idea of looking for one for each sense, so I'm stealing . . . er . . . emulating her here (how's THAT for a five dollar word!)

Taste: I had a wonderful Asian chicken salad for lunch, with oranges, chicken, almonds, cucumbers, and sesame dressing. A delightul combo of sweet and salty, with crunch to boot.

Smell: My freshly laundered sheets that still smelled great this morning before I got up. Fresh laundry is my very favorite smell.

Touch: My beautiful granddaughter's arms around my neck this morning, giving me a sweet sloppy kiss.

Sound: The hilarious sound effects Sam (4 year old grandson) was making from the back seat as I took him to school. The turn signal, the motor sounds as he said it felt like we were on a roller coaster (a twisty road actually), and so on.

Sight: The faces of my grandchildren as they wrestled and played, giggling and smiling at each other.

Sorry, I guess there was a grandchild theme here, but I saw them this morning and it was of course the highlight of my day.

Anyone else care to play?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Meme All About MEEEEEE

So, I've been taggedby my friend Julie on this blog meme. I love these sorts of things, and I'm that annoying friend who emails you every single one I get. So, if I tag you, you MUST do this on your blog. Within 72 hours. Or bad things will befall you. Oh, sorry, that's those annoying chain emails I get from my dear cousin.

Anyway, here's the thing (hehe). Link to your tagger (me) and post these 3 rules on your blog.

1. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
2. Tag 7 people at the end of the post by leaving their names and links to their blogs. (hope I can think of 7 . . .)
3. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my facts, all about MEEEEEEEEE:

1. I have three children, by three different fathers (all former/current spouses), each 10 years apart. Oh yes, there are stories there. Many stories. But they are awesome kids. And hubby number three is a keeper - been married 21 years.

2. I went to 1 preschool, 6 elementary schools, 1 junior high and 1 high school, and lived in at least 9 places before I left home (3 in California, 1 place in Texas 3 times and then once more as an adult), and 24 places since the age of 16 (when I got married the first time after getting pregnant). Wow, I've never counted all that up before. Longest time ever living in one home - 12 years (home before the one I'm in now).

3. I only made one C in my school career - in typing. Ironic, eh?

4. I've only had two hangovers in my life (both in the 70s, by the way). One from tequila, not so bad. Last one from beer (which I hate), way too much beer, at a toga party (I'm not kidding). Felt so horrible the next day, I've never been drunk again.

5. I could eat pasta for dinner every single day, in one form or another, and be happy. Even without any meat.

6. The shortest job I ever held was at the front desk of a dentist's office. He was really weird, and his dental assistant was a total nutjob, and they were having an affair. And he had a colostomy. And she was pretty, and he was not. I lasted 3 months and had to get out. Longest job was about 15 years at a law firm, through various joinings and breaking apart of partnerships.

7. I have very little college (just a few classes), but I think I'm as smart and well-read as most people I meet with much more education. Not bragging, just proud of myself for educating myself by reading and learning constantly.

I tag . . . Lindsay H., Sharona, Caitlynn, Teri, Christine, Joshilyn (well, she's not a PERSONAL friend, but I read her blog daily, so I will tag her and she can ignore me and I won't be offended, I promise), and . . . yeah, I'm out of people, unless Julie wants to do another. I have lots more friends, really, but none that have blogs. Kinda sad, eh? I need to get my friends to blog more.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just Call me Yoda

Much more to post about, but no time right now. However, one of my writing class members posted this link to a Spiritual Types test. http//

Pretty fascinating. I took the test, and apparently I am a Sage. Snark. Just call me Yoda. In reality, this pretty much describes me to a T, as those who know me can attest. I swear, these personality test things are really smart - no matter how you answer, unless you just out and out lie, they are usually right on. Freaky.

"You are a Sage, characterized by a thinking or head spirituality. You value responsibility, logic, and order. Maybe that's why you were voted "Most Dependable" by your high school classmates. Structure and organization are important to you. What would the world be like without you? Chaos, that's what! Your favorite words include should, ought, and be prepared. What makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof it's tradition! tradition! tradition!

Because you love words, written or spoken, you enjoy a good lecture, serious discussions, and theological reflection. Prayer for you usually is verbal. You thrive on activity and gatherings of people, such as study groups. Sages on retreat likely would fill every day with planned activities, leaving little time for silence or solitude.

We need Sages for your clear thinking and orderly ways. You pay attention to details that others overlook. Sages make contributions to education, publishing, and theology. You often are the ones who feel a duty to serve, give, care, and share with the rest of us.

On the other hand, sometimes you seem unfeeling, too intellectual, or dry. Can you say "dogmatic"? You may need to experience the freedom of breaking a rule or two every now and then. God's grace covers Sages too, you know! "

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Reality Came Crashing In

For those many readers clamoring for a new blog posting, I need to plead my case here. I know, I know that I promised to blog at least once a week, and even asked a couple of you to hold me accountable to do it. BUT, this week I had to actually begin going to real job, in an actual office that I must get up and drive to every morning, in a real office. This new development was necessitated by the basic requirement of making enough money to pay the bills so I can keep my Internet service so I can blog . . . Circle of Life and all that. Waaaahhhh. I'm actually working with really cool, fun people over at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. But it's not in my home office in my sweats with my TV on for company. Waaaaahhhh.

So, I do have a number of really fascinating things I want to blog about. However, I can't really do it at work (though I am making this short post at work - shhhhh!), and I am still trying to adjust to having to be out of the house all day and managing all my domestic tasks and other social engagements in the evening, along with taking an online writing course that requires quite a bit of reading.

I also plan to start a new writing blog where I will post about my class and all the great stuff I am learning. Like I need ANOTHER blog to keep up with. Pfft.

Hang on, dear readers (all three of you) and I promise I'll be posting another scintillating anecdote in the really, truly near future. Thanks for caring!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Peep Show

Nice pasties . . .

No Duh Headline of the Day . . .

I was reading an article on Yahoo News about how Daylight Savings Time actually costs us more in energy bills, etc., blah blah (I believe it does, based on their data).

So, at the end of this scientific news article, is THIS piece of GENIUS journalism:

In related news, it was also revealed that Daylight Saving Time actually creates no additional daylight.

Wow, REALLY? I think we've made a real breakthrough here, folks!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Look What I Can Do!

Wheee, I added a little bookshelf widget to my blog showing the books I'm currently reading! Haha, I've SEEN the word "widget" before, and I know it's not, but it just sounds like a midget witch . . . Anyway, I never really knew what it was, but I was reading someone's blog and they had one, and it was just too cool not to steal . . . er . . . copy.

You will note a number of books. I am currently reading, or have at least started, all but two of them. I am a multi-tasking reader, yes I am. Mostly reading Atonement as my main book of the moment, and listening to Vanishing Acts in my car. The others have been started and set aside, or bought and are waiting to be read. Plus, my friend Julie has another probably dozen books to loan me. I wish I could read all day long, without feeling like I was stealing time from something I "should" be doing. Every time I walk in a bookstore, I want to buy everything I see, as I deeply inhale the intoxicating smell of BOOKS, wonderful BOOKS. What IS it about that smell?

AND, wheeee, I won a signed copy of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming (see blog below), due to my Shameless Book Plug!

So, check out my little bookshelf. It's sorta cute . . .

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Hair and Other Scary Subjects

OOPS! I forgot to come back and comment about my haircut as promised. It's pretty okay. It doesn't quite look like the picture in the magazine, but then, do they ever? I'm not sure if it's the wrong length, or if I just don't know how to style it right. But I'm happy with it, so I guess that's all that matters. So, no bad moods from bad hair.

The other scary subject is that I am about to start an online writing workshop class called The Care and Feeding of the Girls in the Basement, taught by Barbara Samuel, an author I really love. I am pretty pumped about it, but boy am I out of my league. Everyone else in the class has been writing stories and plays and things since they were kids, and most have been published at least once somewhere, and most have several manuscripts completed or near completed. Me . . . not so much. I write on here a LOT, and I write lots of emails, and I have a couple of book ideas in my head, but have been too afraid to actually start writing. So this class is designed to help inspire and encourage me and to help me find and nurture my creative spirit. A pretty important key if I want to write, no?

I may follow my friend Julie's advice and start a separate writing blog to talk about the class and my journey. Whaddya think? All three of my readers, that is?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Post Correction - Oops!

I blogged that the charming James McAvoy was Irish, when in fact he is a Scot. Sorry Jamie!

AND, apparently Daniel Day-Lewis is from England, not Ireland. However, in my defense, he has lived in Ireland since 1993, so perhaps he's picked up the accent.

I was tired . . .

Need I say more?

If you know me . . .

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar Post Script

Just realized that all four acting awards went to Europeans. Tilda Swinton (Great Britain), Javier Bardem (Spain), Daniel Day-Lewis (Ireland), and Marion Cotillard (France).

Interesting . . . wonder if that's ever happened before.

And one more thing . . . I was disappointed that Keira Knightley wasn't a presenter. I so wanted to see her come out in that glorious emerald green silk dress from Atonement. The scene where she is standing on the terrace in the night breeze in that dress is just gorgeous.

Oscar Time: Part Cinq

Amy Adams is giving the Best Score song. She's just too cute. They are playing familiar phrases from some of the most famous scores. Wow, Ratatouille is nominated. That must be unusual. Atonement won. I recall that having great music, but 3:10 to Yuma, also nominated, had music that stuck with me more. But Atonement was a lyrically beautiful film, so I'm glad it won something finally.

Tom Hanks is up now to give the award for Documentary Short Subject. Tommy is looking good. I am guessing he's one of the best liked men in the biz. Cool, they are having soldiers in Baghdad announce the nominees and winner. Now they are doing the Documentary Feature. Several of these look interesting.

Harrison Ford is up to give the award for Best Original Screenplay. Indy is looking pretty good for 65. I hear he still fits into his costumes. But he's doing something funky with his eyes. I hope Juno wins, but I bet it will be Michael Clayton. Ratatouille is nominated. Wow. That's pretty amazing for an animated movie. And the winner is . . . JUNO!!!!!!! Awesome!!!!! A real success story. Whoooo hooooo!!!!! The little movie that could! Diablo Cody. Love that name. Not a fan of her dress, but I don't do animal prints. But, it kinda suits her.

Must be time for Best Actor - they are showing a montage of past winners. Helen Mirren is giving the award. I guess anyone who watches knows this, but the prior year's winner of the opposite sex always gives the award, and then in Best Director the prior winner gives it. Not sure what they do if one is nominated two years in a row there. If Daniel Day-Lewis does not win this it will be the biggest upset of the night. Yep, he won. Well deserved. Brilliant performance. If you are watching, note how much younger he looks in person than the characters he plays. And how soft spoken he is - just a demonstration of what a great actor he is. He's very humble. I've heard him referred to as an actor's actor. Very gracious speech. Didn't mention Heath. He had just died when the SAG awards were on, so I guess it was more on his mind then.

Time for Best Director. Here's the montage. Quite a few actors have won for directing. Hadn't thought about how many before. Clint Eastwood. Kevin Costner. Robert Redford. Mel Gibson. Warren Beatty. Ron Howard. Martin Scorsese is giving out the award. He's one of my favorite directors. I predict the Coen brothers or Paul Thomas Anderson. Yep, the Coens. Not a surprise. They are some talented guys. They are funny too. Quirky and weird funny.

Here's my man Denzel to give the Best Picture award. This one is an open field. All great movies. I've seen them all this year, loved them all. Overall, I'd say No Country or There Will Be Blood should win, or maybe Atonement. Hard to pick, they are all so different. No Country for Old Men won. Good pick. I had to drag my family to see this - they had never heard of it. Saw it right after it came out and told everyone I know about it. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but a brilliant film. I bow to the genius of little indie movies!

Well, there you have it. This was exhausting. I take my hat off to the professional entertainment bloggers. I barely left my computer all night long. Hope someone enjoys reading this. It was good practice for me either way.

Over all, gotta say, a few surprises, and no really horribly fugly dresses or hair to grouse about. Disappointing . . .

Gotta go pee now . . .

Oscar Time: Part Quatre

Okay, Jon Stewart is playing Wii tennis with the little girl from the song. Silly. Again.

Squeee! Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are singing their song from Once. THIS BETTER WIN! Love that movie, and we saw them in concert in Austin. This is SO cool! LOVE LOVE LOVE that movie and that album. You must get it if you haven't heard it. They were awesome in concert. Oh, Colin Farrell introduced them, and got all emotional talking about the movie being filmed in Dublin.

Jack Nicholson is introducing a montage of former Best Picture nominees. It's too early to do that award unless they are breaking tradition. We shall see. Just a montage. I've seen most of those movies.

Renee Zellwegger is on to give the award for Film Editing. Her hair looks better up close. Bourne Ultimatum won again. Wow, three Oscars for a movie that didn't get any major noms. But a great movie.

Nicole Kidman is giving a special award to Robert Boyle for production design. She's pregnant and looks beautiful and glowing. But, she has had the ole botox in the brow, and some lip stuff done, which she really doesn't need. She's also gained some bosoms with that pregnancy. I'm happy for her. I hope her marriage makes a go - they have a tough road with Keith Urban's drug addiction past. This guy is really old - two women helped him out. He's worked on many movies - they showed a montage.

Penelope Cruz is up to give the award for Foreign Language film. Don't know much about these, have no idea what is favored to win. Penelope looks very pretty though, as usual. A movie from Austria won.

Patrick McDreamy, er Dempsey and his hair are introducing another song from Enchanted. Wonder if they will cancel each other out so Once can win? Bleh. Nothing special. But I hear the movie was really wonderful. Not sure who this guy is singing, but his voice is so breathy. Simon Cowell would blast him. Hehe.

John Travolta came out and did a little turn with one of the dancers from the Enchanted song. He is giving out the Best Song award. Crossables crossed . . . WHOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!! YAAAAAAAAYYYY. Glen and Market won!!!!! That just made my night. So talented. So humble. Fantastic music. Buy it. Buy the movie! They started the music before Marketa got to speak, but she's very shy so I bet she didn't mind. Wow, Jon Stewart just brought her back out to let her say something. How cool is that! She's encouraging independent musicians to pursue their dreams. She is awesome. Andy has a big ole crush on her. She's only 19. She's his dream girl - plays piano, sings, writes music.

Cameron Diaz is up now. Can't say cinematography apparently. She looks a tad sunburned to me. There Will Be Blood won. Just saw that, it is a deserved win. But, I was rooting for the Assassination of Jesse James. That movie had amazing cinematography, it was just beautiful. The train robbery shot in the early part of the film is pure genius.

Hilary Swank of the classy dress and old lady hair is introducing a montage tribute to those who died this year. There are always a few in these that surprise me because I didn't hear that they passed. Don't know most of these people so far. Wow, I didn't know Ingmar Bergman died this year. Actually, I thought he died a long time ago. Last one was Heath Ledger. Very sad. Wonder if Daniel Day-Lewis will dedicate his Oscar to him if he wins. He did his SAG award.

Time for a break. I think we are getting to the last biggies soon.

Oscar Time: Part Trois

I'm back. Didn't get a cookie yet.

Jessica Alba is on. She gave out the Scientific and Technical Awards, which are given at another event since the show doesn't have room for them. They give awards to people who come up with technological innovations that give us better movies, though we usually don't know about them.

Josh Brolin and James McAvoy are giving out an award together. Two good actors - two great movies. They are quoting great movie lines - must be the screenplay award. James McAvoy's hair needs some work though. Okay, this is Adapted Screenplay. Hope Atonement wins. Reading the book now, and it's a great adaptation so far. But I bet No Country for Old Men wins. I read that book too, so really it's a tossup for me. Yep, the Coen brothers won for No Country for Old Men. Freaky good film. They did change a few details in the book that I think made the story better, but still, it was great. These guys are weird, totally weird, but I love their movies!

The AMPAAS prez is on now to do the usual little pep talk. He's talking about how the process works. Showing a little documentary about it. Actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors, etc. Everyone gets to nominate the best picture, but they must see all the movies. Not clear if they all vote on all the nominees or not.

Miley Cyrus is up. Such a cute girl. Presenting the third nominated song, again from Enchanted. She is very poised and confident for a 15 year old. Yay, Kristin Chenowith is singing. She's AWESOME! She has extensions I think, because her hair was fairly short in Pushing Daisies. Great dress too. Cute number. I'm sure it was cuter in the movie though.

Judi Dench and Halle Berry are up. Haha, it's not really them, it's the guy from Knocked Up (Seth Rogan) and the guy from Accepted (Jonah Hill) giving an award for Best Sound Editing. This is one of those awards where you don't notice the sound editing if it's really good, but you notice it if it's bad. The Bourne Ultimatum won. Cool. Great movie, best of the three if you ask me. No they are giving one for Sound Mixing (my son in law does this, not for movies, but it's very hard and technical). Bourne Ultimatum won again. Cool.

Now a montage of Best Actress winners. I predict Julie Christie for this one, but I'd love to see Ellen Page get it. Julie Christie is so gorgeous, still. I've not seen her movie, Away From Her, yet, but I want to. She's pretty outspoken, so if she wins, she may say something interesting. She doesn't seem to care about stardom at all.

Forrest Whitaker is giving out the award. Boy he's come a long way since Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Another upset! Marion Cotillard won for La Vie En Rose. Wow. Totally unexpected. Never heard of her at all. Wow, guess I need to see that movie. She is overcome and very emotional. Obviously she didn't expect to win. Two upsets out of three of the main acting awards. Those critics must be shaking their heads. I don't know of one who predicted this win. Wonder what other surprises await . . . Maybe Juno will win Best Picture?

Taking another break. Check back for Part Quatre.

Oscar Time: Part Two

Costume Design, given out by Jen Garner (so pretty). And the winner is: Elizabeth, The Golden Age. Haven't seen it. Wanted to, so I need to rent it. The first one was great. Wow, this woman is weird looking. I guess if you are a costume designer you don't have to look good.

BABS* is on! *Barbra to those of you not in the fan club. They are showing a clip of when she won her Oscar. "Hello gorgeous!" She tied with Katharine Hepburn. Wore that groovy see through pantsuit and that angled bob. She was just so fab in those days. Now she's smart and political and very passionate about world issues, and apparently very happily married to James Brolin, after many years of having affairs with nearly all her costars.

Nice montage up now on Oscar moments. I've seen all but a few of them, I'm proud to say.

Steve Carell (LOVE him) and Anne Hathaway are giving out animated feature. Hoping Ratatouille wins. Such a charming and smart movie. My grandson has been inspired to learn to cook (he's only 4) by that movie. YAY, it won!

Katherine Heigl is giving out the Best Makeup award. She's very nervous. But looks just absolutely fabulous. La Vie En Rose won. Meh. They are playing off the lady accepting. That's just rude. They should just let them talk. The show runs long every year anyway, so just let them have their moment, please.

Amy Adams is singing a song from Enchanted. Another one I haven't seen yet, but I wanted too. She is perfect as a Disney-esque princess. I could SO see her as Belle. And she can sing well too. That girl has the whole package. Check out Junebug if you don't believe me.

More Oscar moments. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Sweet. But she hasn't done much lately, wonder why?

The Rock is on, but they used his real name instead. Guess he's trying to get known as a real actor. He's a good looking guy, for sure. He is doing Visual Effects. The Golden Compass won. Don't know if I'll rent that or not. Lots of controversy, and I didn't want to spend my bucks at the theater, but I'd like to be able to dialogue about it intelligently.

Cate Blanchett is very very pregnant. She's even walking pregnant. She's a very good actress, I have liked everything I've seen her in. She's doing Art Direction. I hope Atonement wins. All the details in that movie were wonderful. But I bet Sweeney Todd wins. Yep, I was right. It was great also, I admit. And very unique and hard to bring the musical to the screen I'm sure. I just loved all the period details in Atonement. Yikes, Johnny Depp's wife (or girlfriend, not sure) is French and has a big space between her front teeth, that looks really bad with dark red lipstick. Unfortunate.

Now a montage about former supporting actor winners. Love the montages. Meeeeemmmmmries . . .

Jennifer Hudson is giving out the Best Supporting Actor award. This should be no surprise - Xavier, er, Javier Bardem will win, though Casey Affleck was brilliant also. Yep, he won. Brilliant portrayal. Dedicated it to his mother in Spanish. Sweet.

Writerless Oscars Salute to Binoculars and Periscopes. Bad Dreams - An Oscar Salute. Sorta funny.

Here's Keri Russell to introduce the second nominated song from her movie, August Rush. I have not seen that, but I heard it was great. Just too many movies to get around to this year. Keri's necklace is really pretty and sparkly. The girl singing this song is 11 years old. Wow. How does a kid that young handle singing live on the Oscars? Man.

Owen Wilson is on. He looks good, his hair is even fixed. He was in rehab recently. I wish him well, he seems like a really nice guy. A little trivia here - the Wilson brothers' mom is a successful and talented photographer who lives in Dallas. He is giving out best short subject I think. Sorry, those never interest me because I never see them.

Okay, Jerry Seinfeld's Bee character is giving an award. Didn't see that movie, and I got really tired of the promos. They are showing a montage of clips where people are getting stung by bees. Silly. He's giving Animated Short Film. Another one I don't really care about, though some of them look interesting.

Now a montage of former Best Supporting Actress winners. Alan Arkin is giving it out. He's a great actor who is not in that many movies. I have no idea who will win this one. Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan is just weird, I'm sorry. I don't get it. She doesn't look or sound like him except for the wig. Oops, I made a mistake - I said Saoirse Ronan had an American accent in Atonement, but it was British. Alan Arkin said her name right - good for him! I'd love to see her win. She was riveting in that movie. But Amy Ryan's portrayal of an totally unsympathetic character really stuck with me.

Wow, Tilda Swinton won. First upset of the night. She was never mentioned in any of the favorites. She did a great job, but I'm surprised. Her dress has one sleeve, and the other side sleeveless, and it's basically a black satin sack. She has great bone structure and would probably be beautiful with makeup. And is apparently very witty and funny. She was the White Witch in the first Narnia movie - pale in that one too.

Okay, posting here and starting a new one. Gotta get a cookie!

It's OSCAR Time!

The 80th Oscars! And I've been watching for . . . 48 of those years. Man I'm old.

The opening looks like a video game filled with images from many movies. Kinda silly.

Here's Jon Stewart. He is sometimes really funny. But I miss Ellen. She is never mean, but always funny. Haha, he's commenting on the writer's strike and called it the makeup sex. Hehe. Commented that Vanity Fair cancelled their big Oscar party out of respect for the writers, so he said maybe they should actually INVITE the writers TO their annual Oscar party. That's funny right there, I don't care who you are.

He remarked how many of the Oscar-nominated movies are about psycopathic killers. "Does Hollywood need a hug?" "All I can say is thank God for teen pregnancy." Funny stuff. Just referred to Javier Bardem as Hannibal Lecter with Dorothy Hamill's wedge cut.

Norbit got a nomination for makeup. "Too often, the Academy ignores movies that aren't good." I laughed out loud at that one.

Diablo Cody, nominated for the Juno script, used to be a stripper. Man, that's gotta be an interesting story. She's very pretty, interesting looking, black bob with bangs, and some tats. And that's a cool name. Totally.

Gaydolf Titler. Hahaha. Too long to explain, but it involved a joke about Barak Hussein Obama overcoming his name.

Okay, the awards are starting. On to the next blog.

Hooray for Hollywood: Part Trois

Now for ABC's Oscar Red Carpet coverage. I don't think this is live, but it might be. Not sure. Regis Philbin is the host, which is interesting, since his show is on another network.

They are doing little film bio pieces on the nominees. George Clooney is up now. Yeah. That man is a REAL movie star. He looks a million times better than he did when he was young. And he's so funny. Classic tux, what more do you need? That doubles his appeal for me. He has his girlfriend with him, who looks much younger. She didn't say anything. Boring dress.

Marion Cotillard is up now. Haven't seen that movie. Her dress looks like a mermaid - fish scale designs and all. It's Gaultier. No wonder. He's kinda weird. She's very pretty and French looking. French women have a particular look, hard to describe but it's there.

John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Nice couple. Love him, even if he is a Scientologist. He looks good, very short hair, I like it. And he was great in Hairspray. So funny. Kelly's dress is bright golden yellow. Not so much.

Laura Linney's piece is up. Haven't seen Savages yet but I want to. She and Philip Seymour Hoffman are two of the finest actors around today. She's really got a lot of range, and is very pretty in a "real person you might know" kind of way. Class black satin strapless dress. Nothing special, but looks good on her.

Javier Bardem. Yeah. That man was so scary and creepy in No Country for Old Men, with that icky hair. He's VERY handsome in real life, and very Spanish. Speaking of accents. Yeah. And dimples. Mmmmm hmmm, that's what I'm talkin' about. He should win tonight - I'll be shocked if he doesn't. He's already won several awards. He's dating Penelope Cruz. Can you imagine how beautiful those babies would be?

Here's Miley again. HER ponytail would totally win in a throwdown with Cameron's ponytail. I'm just sayin.

Ooooh, Dr. McDreamy's hair. Nuff said.

Jennifer Garner is on again. Wow, her boobs (which aren't that big)are about to pop out the top of that black dress. Hope we don't have a wardrobe malfunction.

Daniel Day-Lewis and his wife (who is a playwright) are on. I am always amazed when I see him in person - he's very softspoken and modest, completely and totally different from the larger-than-life characters he tends to play. Very handsome in a rugged sort of way. His wife has on a hideous black dress with some weird red straps. Big ole black broach looking thing in the middle. Ick.

Ellen Page is up now. Juno is a fantastic movie - everyone should see it. She looks very pretty. Simple updo, nice makeup. She's not a glam girl, so I'm glad to see she's dressed up for the occasion. She just turned 21. Very smart. Black dress, kinda plain and simple.

Oh my gosh. Regis just said "Xavier Bardem." What an idiot. Jack Nicholson is on the front row. In his dark dark glasses. As usual. WHY is he on the front row? He's not nominated. I think they just like to get his facial expressions.

Okay, that's it. The show's about to start!

Hooray for Hollywood: Part Deux

I'm back. Helen Mirren is talking to Ryan. What a class act. So funny and very un-Hollywood. Looks great, simple blonde bob, lovely red dress. Red seems to be the major color tonight.

Don't blog about guys much - I mean a tux is a tux, just notice the weird ones. But Sean Combs is on and looks good. He was on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun, and then they made a TV movie out of it. I would not be surprised if this guy has a successful movie career. People make fun of him, but he is a savvy businessman.

Here's Cameron again. Yeah, that hair is a mess. She keeps having to brush it out of her eyes. But the dress is pretty. Blondes look so good in pink. Very simple, blush colored makeup too. Someone will say it's bland I'm sure, but I like it. She has the greatest smile.

Ew, Hilary Swank has an old-lady French twist. What the heck? She usually looks great! Haven't seen her dress yet. Okay, still don't like the hair, but the earrings are great and the dress is nice. One shoulder black Versace.

Good Lord! Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) is not particularly attractive anyway, and she has bright red hair and pretty much NO makeup, that I can see. And a severe, ugly black dress. Is she TRYING to look blah? Like, "I'm a SERIOUS THESPIAN, therefore I don't NEED to look glamorous." Meh. Her hair is nice, but that's it. Great actress, nominated for Best Supporting Actress and well-deserved (a creepy part), but sheesh. Every barn needs some paint, especially the pale red-headed ones.

In contrast, Anne Hathaway, another pale girl with very dark hair, is wearing a bright red dress (more with the red) and dark eye makeup and red lipstick. Very striking on her. It's workin'.

Jennifer Hudson, white dress is okay, but it just emphasizes her large bosom. Not really doing anything for her if you ask me.

Wow, Colin Farrell is there with his mother, who is just beautiful. Man, I wonder how old she is. She looks about 40, but that's not possible. Dang. And again with the gorgeous Irish accents. My friend Julie is loving this, I can bet! Colin's hair is a bit long but he looks very handsome, as usual.

Casey Affleck was so great in The Assassination of Jesse James and Gone Baby Gone. He is married to Joaquin and River Phoenix's sister, Summer. I'd forgotten that. She's quite pretty. He's a great actor, but not the most attractive man.

Hmm. Renee Zellwegger has really short, very blonde hair. Not sure how I feel about it - need to see it some more. Just got a glimpse. Silver dress. Too little color for her pale self. She needs some color on her face and body. The hair is just not right for her, though I like the style.

Katherine Heigl is totally working the Marilyn Monroe Old Hollywood glamour look. Again with another red dress, off the shoulder, looks fabulous with her platinum hair. Red lips, minimal eye makeup, 40s hair. She looks fabulous.

Viggo Mortenson has a nasty looking beard, but he's there with his daughter. She looks ethnic, wonder if she is. Very cute. He's another great actor who is not great looking but sometimes looks good.

I think the preshow is almost over. Gonna stop here and tend to a couple of things, and I'll be back for my Oscar blog(s).

Feel free to comment if I missed anything of note.

Oh, a disclaimer. I usually pride myself on my spelling and grammar. However, I'm blogging this in real time so I'm not going back and checking. Feel free to point out errors.

Hooray for Hollywood

IT'S OSCAR NIGHT! FINALLY! Didn't think it would happen, and now it's here. I look forward to this night every year. I LOVE THE MOVIES! And I love those awards show blogs that give a blow by blow, so here's my version. I won't blog about every single person, just the ones who strike me for one reason or another, either gorgeous or fugly.

I have watched the Academy Awards EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. since 1960! Top that! I was worried when the writer's strike seemed to be threatening the Oscars going on this year. I cannot imagine a year without this annual ritual for me, the biggest movieholic I know. I was raised on Silver Screen and other movie magazines (precursors to the tabloids of today, with more pictures and less scandal). I love movies, I love movie stars. I don't love all the trashy stuff of Hollywood, don't get me wrong, but I love the wonderful universe of film, for the same reason I love books.

I was at a theater last night watching There Will Be Blood. I HAD to see it, it was the only Best Picture nominee I had not seen. First time in forever I've seen them all. I was sitting there in the dark, thinking to myself, "This is absolutely one of my favorite places to be - in a dark theater watching a great movie." Watching them at home is nice and comfy, but nothing takes the place of the anticipation as a film starts up in a darkened theater and you are transported for that couple of hours. There's something about that environment that allows me to completely escape into the film.

So, here goes. This is just for me, and my few readers, cuz I LOVE THE MOVIES!

E! Red Carpet Show:

Saoirse (sur-sha) Ronan, the young Irish actress from Atonement (fabulously romantic and tragic film - reading the book now), and nominated for Best Supporting Actress, is on. She had a blonde bob in the film, has her dishwater blondish hair in a severe ponytail. Not a good look, though she's quite lovely and fresh - barely any makeup, as is appropriate for a young girl. But her dress, though it's Alberta Ferretti, looks like it's made of green nylon and reminds me of my mother's 60s nightgowns that I used to play dress-up in. Too bad. On the plus side, Ryan Seacrest just interviewed her and she's quite poised and has a beautiful, strong Irish accent. She had an American accent in the movie, and there's some serious talent there.

Another young one - Miley Cyrus. Looking very lovely with subtle age-appropriate makeup and her dark hair pulled back in a low ponytail, very elegant, and a smashing red Valentino column dress. She often sports too-long extensions, but this look is very understated, a little sophisticated for a 15 year old, but nevertheless she looks beautiful. Except for the huge chandelier earrings that are half the size of her head. Yuk. One of the few young ones left who is setting a good example for our teenage girls. So far. Hang in there Miley, don't let 'em change you. Love this -her mom is there with her, and telling a story that she was grounded last time Ryan interviewed her because she had a shirt that was too short and she didn't change it right when her mom said to. You go, Mom! What a great example and keeping it real!

James McAvoy (Atonement). Another lovely Irish accent. Love me some accents. He's very short. Shorter than Ryan, and that's pretty darn short. Good actor.

Jessica Alba, pregnant, in a gorgeous burgundy strapless empire waist gown, simple makeup and hair. I just love it when stars put their hair up in a very simple, almost careless updo. Very sexy. Wish my hair would do that. Of course it's short. . .

Amy Adams, from Enchanted, Talladega Nights, Junebug, The Office. Delightul, hilarious comedienne. Very pretty redhead. Dress - meh. Not bad, just not memorable. But so pretty and sweet. I predict a big future for her.

Ruby Dee, from American Gangster. She's 80-someodd years old! Sheesh! I don't look that good now! Her salt and pepper hair is stylishly short and tousled, and she's very slim, and wearing a beautiful tomato red sheath dress. So elegant. That woman is class embodied. Her part in the film was small but very powerful. She's a favorite to win, as a sentimental favorite for her body of work. I'm actually rooting for Amy Ryan from Gone Baby Gone, but I would not be surprised if Miss Ruby wins.

Jennifer Garner just glows. That girl has the most glorious complexion, and dimples. Haha, Gary Busey just stepped in to speak to Laura Linney (also looking very lovely), who's standing with Jennifer, and Ryan asked him if he knew Jennifer, and he said oh no, how are you and gave her a huge, awkward hug. Wow that was WEIRD. But Gary Busey is weird, always has been. Anyway, Jen's hair. Another sexy, almost like I just threw it up there cuz I just don't care hairdo, but a little too in the face. And the nude lipstick kinda looks like she put the foundation on and then forgot the lipstick. Dark strapless dress, mermaid bottom, not feeling it.

Keri Russell is wearing a nude strapless dress. Very pretty, matches her coloring well. Another updo. Loved her in Felicity, and in Waitress. Lovely girl.

Kristin Chenowith from Wicked and Pushing Daisies - that girl has an impressive rack for such a tiny person. She's not quite five feet tall, but she has on a strapless dress and the girls are on display (but not in a tacky way). So cute and hilarious.

Cameron Diaz in a beautiful pink dress. But the hair - oh Cammie, a messy ponytail and bangs in your face? Sorry, casual updo is one thing, but this looks like you were running late and skipped the hair chair. But I love her anyway.

Commercial Time. Posting this. Putting cookies in oven. Be back for Part Deux.

Shameless Book Plug

Here's a shameless plug for a new book by one of my favorite new authors, coming out this month. I am entering a contest by posting this, and I might win a signed copy of this wonderful book, OR possibly an AUDIO book (my favorite kind). I guess it's not totally shameless, though. I mean, yes, I might win something, BUT I'm also helping spread the word to my two or three readers (one of which already knows about Joshilyn, but I digress) about this wonderful author who, by the way, writes the funniest blog ever. I just got done laughing out loud to her latest post about the non-dessert banana bread. See a link to her blog, Faster than Kudzu, to the left. So, BUY THIS BOOK when it comes out. You will be glad you did!

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the very literal family skeleton stays buried or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neat and on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 14-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne.

The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gimme a head with hair, long beautiful hair. Shinin', gleamin', streamin', flaxen, waxen . . .

And if you don't recognize that song, you are NOT as old as ME!

In an odd coincidence (Jules?), I was contemplating what I might blog about, and I thought I might blog about my hair. Then, while awaiting a work-related email reply, I was skimming blogs, which is my favorite way to kill a few minutes (or hours). I read Elizabeth Berg's blog about her bad-haircut-related bad mood. May I just say, madame, I second that emotion! (Another song for OLD people - though I prefer "ripened" - or does that sound like almost stinky fruit?)

Let me begin by saying that I think my hair is probably my best feature. Not that I have tons of good features, but I have always had pretty good looking hair (except for a few unfortunate forays into perm-land in the 70s-80s and that one mulletish do which I believe they called a "bi-level" at the time). It's pretty thick, has quite a bit of body, and is sort of straight but has a little bit of wave. And the last few years, I decided to let my gray go free, and the result has been a really nice salt and pepper shade, a little more in the front, that I really love. It gets me lots of compliments, and some people even ask if I have it done that way. I just smile and tell them it's all God's handiwork. It is flattering to my complexion, and I now wear different colors than I used to, to go with my hair. Gray is the new blonde, or hadn't you heard?

So, I have worn my hair pretty short (think Sharon Stone or Winona Ryder's short cuts) for a number of years. This year, I decided I was a little bored with the shorty short cut, but I don't want LONG hair either, as I just think women of a certain age can't pull it off unless they are models or movie stars. I just wanted a bob sort of like Katie Holmes has been sporting (without new scary bangs). Her hair is a little curlier than mine, but her bob was sort of natural looking and went with some of her waves. My hair won't do the stick straight, slick and smooth bobs that you see, without the application of a lot of work with the flat iron, and I don't have time for that. That's the reason I had short hair all those years - I'm lazy. I want GREAT, FABULOUS, people think you just came from the salon hair, but I don't want to spend more than 15 minutes or less on it.

I have managed to survive the dreaded period when you are growing out short hair and can only manage matronly looking styles or looking like a teenage boy. My hair is now in a shortish bob shape, but the layers are in need of attention, because, as anyone who has done this knows, you don't want to cut ANY off while you are growing it out, so it's been quite a while. I have been trimming the nape myself, just to keep it in check. And I trim my bangs myself, as I just have learned how to do them the way I like them.

You know how it is when you get to that place where one day, your hair looks pretty good, and the very next morning, you suddenly need a haircut and your hair won't do a thing? Well, I reached that place about a week ago. But I was in search of WHAT exactly I wanted to do with it next, before I go to my daughter for a trim (Lindsay has gone to hair school, but does not work in a salon). She prefers that I have a picture so I can tell her EXACTLY what I want. I have, on a few occasions, gone to a stylist and just told them to do something interesting that they thought would look good on me, and the results were usually good. I'm pretty adventurous with styles. But that's a dangerous route to take with your kin . . . so we go with specifics. Works out better for both of us, believe me.

I bought a hairstyle magazine (I have a bunch, but I wanted something new) and found a style that I think will work with my hair. Basically all I need is to get the layers trimmed and texturized pretty heavily so they are choppy (I like funky, choppy hair, rather than a smooth, too-styled look - again, another reason why I kept it short), and the picture had some shorter angled bangs. I did the bangs this morning, tried a new way of drying it, since I was not happy with the way the round brush thing was making it look (it was faster too, bonus!). Also used a different combo of product (I am a TOTAL hair product junkie, so I have all sorts of concoctions in my cabinet, but that's a whole different blog).

Pretty happy with the results, but I know I need that trim for sure now. It's a little round-head looking at the moment. Not a good look if you already have the round, I've gained weight and my face is sagging, look going for you. Going tomorrow, and praying that with the trim I can get my hair to at least sort of look like the photo, which is pretty cool. I wish I could find the pic online so I could post it here.

I will update tomorrow after the trim and we will see if I'm in a GOOD mood or a BAD mood! Elizabeth is totally right, a bad haircut can really bum you out, especially if it's your best feature. I mean, what else do you have to work with after that? I can't exactly put the girls on display (my hubby would say *they* are my best feature, but they are for his eyes only . . . hehe). So my hair's gotta be workin' it for me. I refuse to have old lady hair. If I was younger, I'd have freaky colored streaks or something.

BUT, as Elizabeth also pointed out, there is so much happening in the world that really puts anything to do with personal appearance squarely where it belongs - in the NOT REALLY IMPORTANT column. In this election year, it is exciting to see that so many people are actually talking about issues, talking about change, talking about where we might go from here. It's about time. We can't go on the way we have been, no question about that. Maybe I'll blog about that next.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Two Films and a Confession

Hey, this is my 100th POST!! An actual milestone . . . yay me!

I watched two very, very different films over the weekend, and each of them affected me in very different ways. I loved them both, a lot, and they both resonated in my mind long after the credits rolled. I guess that's really what any filmmaker strives for - that elusive thing that makes a movie memorable, that makes people want to watch it more than once and tell their friends they just HAVE TO see this movie.

The first was Across the Universe. I did NOT want to see this movie. I had seen the previews numerous times, and it just looked too trippy dippy for me. AND, most important, I LOVE the Beatles, and I am a Beatles purist. I really don't want to hear ANYONE sing a Beatles song other than the original Beatles recordings. The Beatles were the soundtrack of my youth - I watched them on the Ed Sullivan show when I was 9 years old and fell in love. Their albums and their films A Hard Day's Night and Help are burned into my memory. Just hearing a few lines can conjure up scenes, people, moments. I remember what I was doing when I heard that John Lennon had been murdered. So, needless to say, the Beatles are on a pretty big pedestal for me, and I don't like anyone messing with their genius.

But, Andy (my 17 year old) saw it, loved it, and had been bugging me incessantly to watch it with him, promising, swearing, that I would love it. Then Lindsay (my 27 year old) started in on me about it, and she had been a huge Beatles fan since she was a young teen. I could not get away from this movie. So finally, I bargained with Andy that I'd watch it with him if he would watch Hairspray with me (a movie I had been bugging HIM about, promising, swearing, that he would love it). Plus, he had finally watched Lonesome Dove with me after many years of refusing (and he liked it - hah!).

I am here to confess - I WAS WRONG. Boy, was I wrong. I was prepared to dislike the music and think the story was silly and cheesy. But from the opening scene where Jim Sturgess sings "Girl," sitting on a lonely, windswept beach, and looking straight into the camera in a closeup, I was hooked. Julie Taymor (the director) has somehow managed to craft a story, weaving in and around many Beatles songs, using the songs to advance or illustrate the story, just like in any musical. She has managed to find amazing singers and has worked with music directors to help her singers interpret these oh so familiar songs in new, fresh, and completely wonderful ways, so that they are not imitations of Beatles tunes, but a whole new vision of them. I was mesmerized, delighted, and awed at the visionary film she created, at turns cute and funny and melancholy and tragic and deep and heartbreaking and joyful. It's a love story at its heart, set in the mid- to late-60s - MY time, a time that shaped who I am.

Cast almost entirely with unknowns (at least to film), except the female lead, Evan Rachel Wood (who has only really done teen roles before now), this film should launch several careers. Most notable is Jim Sturgess, a charming Brit with smiling eyes and a beautiful, pure voice and great acting skills; and Dana Fuchs, who plays a Janis Joplinesque character and just blows off the screen with her larger than life presence and huge bluesy voice. She just tears it up. And Evan Rachel Wood has a gorgeous voice that seems to meld perfectly with the beautiful melodies of Lennon and McCartney, from early pop tunes to the sad Blackbird. There are cameos by Joe Cocker (didn't recognize him but for that voice), Eddie Izzard in a crazy, Monty Python-like musical number, Salma Hayek, and Bono, who also looks pretty different but again, has that familiar voice. If you watch it, be sure to watch the special features about the casting and how Julie Taymor brought her vision to life. This movie was such a delightful surprise, I will be buying a copy, and we've ordered the soundtrack. Who knew? I was wrong. Now to get Andy to watch Hairspray . . .

The second film was Gone Baby Gone. I had wanted to see this in the theaters, but it was only showing in far North Dallas in a couple of theaters. I bought it unseen, which I rarely do, but I had read enough about it to know it was a movie I wanted to own. Ben Affleck directed the movie, and Casey Affleck is the star. He has had a great year in movies, between this and the Jesse James movie (for which he received an Oscar nom, well-deserved in my opinion). It is a melancholy story about a missing little girl, and Casey plays a private eye called in by the family (along with his girlfriend/partner) to help find her. The girl's mother is a woman of questionable moral character - well really, bluntly, she's a really crappy mother. So, though her daughter is missing, it's hard to be sympathetic for her pain, and you even wonder if it's real.

Brilliantly brittle and harsh performance by Amy Ryan (also Oscar-nominated for this film). Morgan Freeman (anything he does is informed by his innate dignity), Ed Harris (one of my personal favorites), and a number of other lesser known actors are all wonderful, but in this movie, the story is the thing. The film is raw and real and populated not only with actors but with some real people from the Boston neighborhood where it's filmed. The Affleck boys grew up in the Boston area, so they know how to make it real on film. The story takes a number of twists and turns, and I won't say much more so I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it. It presents, at the end, a really thought-provoking moral dilemma about which "right" is really the best "right" choice. Does a bad mother feel the same pain of loss as a good one? The choices we make, right and wrong, make us who we are. Not a happy feel-good movie, but a gritty, real film with a complicated story and no easy resolution.

Two very, very different films, but both dealing with choices that, once made, can take life in a different direction, and with stories and characters that will get inside your head and heart. One will make you sing and smile and cry, and one will make you think about what you might do if confronted with a similar dilemma. I'd recommend them both.