Awakening, Health & Fitness, Meditation, Movies

On Running With Wolves

“Women Who Run With the Wolves.” The title grabs you, does it not?

What does it invoke in you?

To my mind it brings the image of the wild child from Princess Mononoke, a beautiful film about Industry and Progress killing the Spirit of the Forest.

Princess Mononoke LITERALLY runs with the wolves.  She was raised by them.  She loves them, and she loves the Forest and hates the Industry that is stripping the mountains of their resources and beauty.

Ugh.  Just such a beautiful movie. 

But, I digress.

Women Who Run With the Wolves is about ancient stories full of symbolism and signs, almost un-interpretable to the modern woman, disconnected as she is (we are, I am) from the Earth, the body, the cycles, the rhythms.

Fortunately, author Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian psychoanalyst/poet/scholar who collected these stories and breaks them down for those of us who want to learn their lessons.

I am 1/3 of the way through it, and it’s helping me find my heart, my teacher, again. 

Despite 10 years of investigation into the mindbody realm, I still remained “separate than” – an analytical observer of things, dispassionate, unfeeling (except for when it comes to annoyance, frustration, and anxiety – those I experienced in spades).  Oh, I had glimpses and shimmers of connection with Self, but they were so fleeting – a flash of connection, and then the mind retreated upstairs, and the body went back to being an overlooked, shy, beautiful (but with glasses, frizzy hair and hand-me-down clothes) girl sitting in the shadows surrounding the dance floor – just hoping to be noticed and escorted back into the limelight. 

This book is helping me reintroduce my heart to my head.  It reminds me that as a Woman, I am meant to be Wild, attuned to nature, full of darkness and light and mysticism.  That is my birthright. 

Really, if this topic at all intrigues you, you just have to read this book!!  But here, to get you started and to pique your interest, are some symptoms of a disrupted relationship with wildness force in the psyche (I’m paraphrasing below):

  • Feeling dry, depressed, without inspiration, without meaning, stuck, uncreative, compressed, powerless, chronically doubtful, unable to follow through, inert, uncertain, overprotective of self, self-conscious, drawn far into domesticity or intellectualism or inertia because THAT IS THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE for one who has LOST HER INSTINCTS.
  • To fear to venture by oneself or reveal oneself, fear to set out one’s imperfect work, cringing before authority, numbness, anxiety. 
  • Afraid to try the new, to stand up/speak up, becoming conciliatory or nice too easily.
  • Afraid to stop, afraid to act, ambivalent yet fully capable.

Does any of that resonate?

This reads like an autobiography of my life.

But things are shifting – maybe like a 10% shift.  Not super seismic, just enough to notice, just enough to put me on a new course. 

When I feel myself rushing.  I slow down.

When I feel my insides getting pulled upwards by the storm in my head, I pull myself back in to my feet, my pelvis, and my heart center.

When I need to make a decision, I pause.  I check in and see what the answer is.  And I try to listen to whatever message comes up (and often nothing comes up, and that’s OK).  I express gratitude and respect to my inner teacher – my heart.

As a result, I NOTICE things.  I see the person in front of me, I notice the bark of the tree by the side of the path, I watch the urge to pick up my phone to kill time and I DON’T PICK UP MY PHONE

It’s a nice shift.  I feel more real.  I also feel scared that I will lose this.  But now I know that life is full of rhythms and cycles.  If I lose this.  I will find it again.

Cooking/Recipes, Health & Fitness, Movies, Paleo, Product Reviews, Uncategorized

Swedish meatballs, yoga pants, and crocheted slippers.

Chris Kresser links to the best recipes!  I found this recipe for Paleo Swedish Meatballs last weekend in one of his posts.  Holy cow.  These turned out sooooo delicious!  They were a lot of work for a weeknight meal, as you need to cook the meatballs in batches on the stove top until they are all done.  But they are so worth the effort.  Here are a couple of notes – I used a 2 inch scoop for the first batch of meatballs, and I had a really hard time turning them without them falling apart. I scaled down to a 1.5″ scoop after that, and those meatballs were much easier to handle, and they cooked much more evenly.  Also, I was 85% sure that the “gravy” would not turn into gravy.  It was super runny all the way up until I added the 3rd tablespoon of tapioca starch. Then, magically, it started to firm up to gravy consistency.  So rich and tasty.

For a side dish I made roasted brussel sprouts because I found some local ones at The Food Hub for 2.99/lb.  I used this recipe as a guide; however, instead of making the glaze, we poured the gravy over the cooked sprouts.  I have to say, we were not super happy with how these turned out.  They were very dry (maybe I didn’t add enough oil?).  So, when we stored the leftovers, we mixed the sprouts and the meatballs and gravy together. The sprouts marinated in that rich gravy overnight and were super moist and tasty when re-heated.

I also tried this recipe last week: Crockpot Ropa Viega with Cuban Style Rice.  This turned out OK.  Tim and I both thought the dish was a little over-spiced, and the meat didn’t turn out as tender as I hoped.  Tim ate the leftovers with white rice, however, which cut down the spice level a bit, and he said that was really good. However, this recipe did provide us with supper and enough leftovers for two more meals.

So on to my next piece of news.  For our anniversary Tim got me an amazing pair of yoga capri leggings from Onzie.  I wore them to an hour and 15 minute yoga class, and they kept me very cool (the fabric is really thin). I also wore them running, and they were very comfortable.  He got me the Prizm print.  It a cacophony of patterns, and it gives you something really interesting to look at while in downward dog. I don’t know if yoga pants are the proper dristi for yoga, but looking at them made me happy, so I think Yoga would approve.

I start my yoga teacher training class on 1/9, and I feel as if I really need at least one more pair of yoga pants for the class. Unfortunately the prints I really love at Onzie are all sold out of my size.  I’m going to keep my eye on it though.

And finally, the last topic of my post.  Ever since we were little, my mom has made us awesome crocheted slippers (the slippers are courtesy of Mom – the hair is courtesy of Lucent):


Mom has shown me a couple of times how to make them, but once she is not next to me, I forget how.  So I found this YouTube video on granny squares (the slippers are basically 3 small granny squares stitched into one big granny square).  With his help and a few texts back and forth to Mom, I was able to successfully make all the pieces for a pair of slippers:


And this is currently where I am stuck. Over the phone, Mom walked me through how to stitch the pieces together, but my first attempt ended very poorly. I was distracted by David Bowie’s hair and other things in The Labyrinth and didn’t have the pieces lined up well enough, so they didn’t connect where they should connect.  I’m going to try it one more time, and if that doesn’t work, make Mammacita sew them together for me. 🙂

So that’s my week in a nutshell.  Hope you are having a great Sunday and can get out and enjoy this 40 degree day.  Take some Vitamin D and eat some salmon, and you won’t even miss the sun!



True Grit

Tim and I saw True Grit yesterday.  Wow.  What an amazing movie.  It was the perfect mix of funny, touching, and beautiful.  The characters were all well-developed and engaging.  The actress who plays Mattie Ross, Hailee Steinfeld, is super talented – so self-assured and convinced.  Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper – they were all so good in it.

The cinematography was beautiful too.  The final scene, where an adult Mattie Ross, dressed all in mourning black, is walking over the crest of a hill touched by golden light was a piece of art.  I wanted to walk out of Rave Cinemas, away from all of the neon and commercialism and all the lost people and hop on a horse and ride off into the mountains.  Of course, the only time I tried to ride a horse, I couldn’t get it to actually GO anywhere, and there are no mountains in Iowa.  My point, all that being said, is that the movie is inspiring.

I read that it was filmed in Austin, TX.  Hopefully over the next 7 days I’ll be able to convince Tim to move there.  The film was beautiful, in many different ways.  I see this being a movie like Serenity, where I feel I have to convince everyone I meet to see the movie.  It’s so good, you just HAVE to see it.



Post Dos – My Favorite Movie

This is going to be harder than I thought.  I returned home from getting my hair done, ate some supper (delicious scramby eggs rolled into a burrito with red pepper flakes, jalapeno slices, and extra sharp cheddar), watched 7 minutes of Modern Family (I don’t see what all the fuss is about), and now it’s 8:41, and I still need to write a post before retiring to bed by 9PM!  Whew, best get started.

Favorite movie.  Again, this is a tough one.  I think I can narrow it down to two this time, however.

1.  Serenity.  Tim and I had never heard of Firefly when we went to some random movie and saw the trailer for Serenity.  We thought that it looked like a cheesy movie, but it looked like it could be good.  So we saw it in the theater.  I LOVED it.  It was such a perfect mix of adventure, laughter, love, and loss.  Amazing.  I have seen the movie at least 5 times, and we’re watching it again Friday night.  One of my friends FINALLY broke down and watched all of the Firefly episodes, so I am making him come over to watch Serenity with us.  I’m going to stare at him through the whole movie to make sure he is reacting appropriately and appreciating this marvel of a movie. If he isn’t, so help me.

Soon after seeing the movie, I had my wisdom teeth removed, so Tim and I moved our mattress into the living room in front of the TV, and watched the whole season in two days while I recovered.  We capped off the weekend with Serenity, of course.  I almost regret having seen them, only because it means that I can’t watch them for the first time ever again.  They are that good.

2.  The other movie that I watch all the time, whenever I can’t figure out what I really want to watch or if I’m feeling blue or if I’m just feeling chill, is the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice.  Don’t get me wrong, I also love the 4 hour BBC production.  In fact, I would have called that one of my favorite movies prior to falling in love with the new version.  Actually, if I think back, when I first saw the new P&P, I wasn’t sure that it compared that favorably to the BBC version (case in point – the awkward, tacked on ending scene).  Much like Mr. Darcy, it improves upon further acquaintance. I love the setting, the beautiful English countryside, Keira’s beauty and perfect delivery, Mr. Darcy walking through the misty fields, meeting Elizabeth and realizing he still has a chance.  Ah, so good.  It’s the ultimate feel-good movie.  It’s so relaxing and peaceful to watch.  The scene where Darcy meets Elizabeth after the church service, during which Elizabeth discovers that Darcy is the reason Jane & Bingley were separated, is pure gold.  They so passionately despise each other that they can barely resist each other.  It makes my heart skip a beat every time I watch it.


Iron Man 2

Tim, Butterbrickled, and I attended the 4:25 showing of Iron Man 2 yesterday.  We got off to an inauspicious start – the theater was prohibitively laced with pockets of children – a row towards the front, and a row towards the back.  We choose to sit behind the back row of kids, which ended up maybe not being the best decision.  There was one guy who was trying to corral 3 kids, all under the age of maybe 7?  The, I suppose most people would say “cute” 4 or 5-year-old, kept turning around, staring at my husband, and telling Tim to quit looking at her.  He was, of course, not looking at her, but was looking at the screen behind her, but try convincing a 4-year-old of that.

For the first 15-20 minutes, the kids transferred from seat to lap to seat to bathroom to seat to lap, etc.  I think about half-way through the movie, the guy just gave up.  The whole crew got up, left the theater and were never to be seen again.  At least not by us.  Ahhh….

The quiet allowed us to focus on the movie, which, actually, doesn’t require a lot of focusing.  It was a very typical summer blockbuster sequel type of movie.  The robots/drones/Iron Man effects were cool.  The Genesis-System type robot arm was played up for cuteness again (oh, he looks sad…), Tony Stark had cool tech and invented cool tech, Mickey Rourke was, well, Mickey Rourke.  Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  It’s not nearly as good as the first one, but it’s entertaining.  I was really disappointed by the women in the movie, however.

Pepper Potts was a very strong character in the first movie.  In this movie she spends all her time mincing around in high heels and SUPER tight dresses, whining about everything.  SPOILER ALERT – She and Tony hook up in the end (Tony said he is going to “do right by” Pepper – how romantic), and their kiss is super lame.  If the character had been written smart and sophisticated, as she was in the first movie, their romance in the second movie would have made much more sense.

Which brings me to Scarlett Johannson.  She, of course, also wears super tight dresses.  I honestly don’t believe that either her or Gwyneth could even sit down in one of those dresses.  She also wears a cat suit at one point, well, two points.  She is super gorgeous and has a beautiful figure.  But that’s pretty much all there is to her  in the movie.  She has a fight scene towards the end of the film, but it’s super fast and quick and unrealistic.  I can understand her wearing a cat suit for the fight scene – you don’t want your clothes to get in the way when you are vanquishing 20+ guys in the span of 7 minutes.  What I don’t understand, is why you wouldn’t put your super long hair in a pony tail or braid or something.  All that hair would totally get in the way.  So unrealistic.

Yes, in a movie about a guy with a flying exo-suit powered by a palladium core in his chest, I am complaining that a girl fighting with her hair down is unrealistic.  But really, the first thing any girl in that situation would do, is pull that hair up.

My final verdict on the movie – it’s worth watching for the cool effects and some funny material.  It’s worth a matinee ticket price.

Books, Movies, Uncategorized

A case of the Sundays

It’s been another lovely weekend in the Longoria household.  Not that it hasn’t been without its faults.  I re-potted two plants yesterday morning (and froze my fingers off during the process – literally.  Just kidding.  Not literally.  I figuratively froze off my fingers) but not before I dropped them three times.  One plant, the rubber tree, was actually dropped by Mother Nature.  A freakish and evil gust of wind blew the plant off our patio table, and the plant crashed to the ground.  The pot was a complete loss, but the plant seems to be okay.  The next plant I repotted was our beautiful jade.  The leaves seem to be falling off quite easily, so I postulated that the plant needed more breathing room.  As I shook the plant out of the existing pot, I noticed that the 14-inch tall plant was completely root-bound in its original clump of soil.  The circumference of this base was maybe 3 inches.  I broke up the root ball a little bit and then repotted it.  As I was taking it in the house, the top-heavy jade flipped right over and sprayed soil everywhere in our kitchen entry-way.  I clean it up, repotted the plant, and then cleaned the outside of the pot, which was completely covered in soil.  I walked 5 steps into the living room and promptly dropped the whole pot.  Dirt sprayed everywhere.  I was still looking at it mournfully when Tim returned from the grocery store and helped me clean it up.  Hopefully the jade will survive.  It lost many, many leaves.  It looks…curly, somehow.  I don’t think it’s supposed to look curly.  I hope it perks up.

That was pretty much the end of the tragedies for the weekend.  Although today when I was jogging, I did get glanced by bird poop.  It hit my sunglasses and the edge of my shirt.  It could have been much, much worse.

The good stuff that happened this weekend consisted of me making super delicious chocolate chip cookies, Lucent’s ear infection improving dramatically (thanks to Tim religiously cleaning his ear and putting meds in it daily), me purse-shopping and not buying anything, getting a tremendous deal on A Brief History of  Time and The Universe in a Nutshell book duo at Borders, finding nice folks at BWW who shared their table with us and relieved us from a 40 minute wait, and watching Shaun of the Dead.

Timmy Tee is ill, though.  He has a super bad chest cold.  I need to start sending him to work with a face-mask and rubber gloves.

I watched 500 Days of Summer on Friday night.  Gotta say, I’m not a fan.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt was good in it, but I found Zooey Deschanel to be affected and unrealistic.  They made her out to be some sort of guy fantasy.  I guess any girl with huge, blue eyes and a penchant for The Smiths is irresistable.  Maybe I’m just too used to seeing her sister on Bones.  Maybe one can only like one Deschanel at a time.  It’s interesting too, how being an architect is so often held up as being this laudable achievement.  I enjoyed architectural drafting as much as the next person, but I have to imagine that being an architect in real life is all sorts of tedious.  Drawing beautiful buildings would be awesome, but having to know thousands of building codes would not be awesome.  What’s wrong with being a greeting-card writer?!

I also finished I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (author of 101 Dalmatians).  I really enjoyed it up until the point that Cassandra (the 17-year-old girl who is constantly referred to as a “child” – is a 17-year-old really a “child?”!) falls in love with her sister’s fiance based on a single kiss.  Suddenly she is completely devoted to him.  It didn’t seem like realistic behavior for a girl her age, especially a girl who is continuously presented as being wiser than her years and more mature and insightful than her 21-year-old sister.  I liked the movie more, I think because you don’t get to know Cassandra as well in the movie, so her behaviour is less nonsensical.

I also attempted to do some watercolor painting.  I discovered that any talent I may have had has completely deserted me.  This is all I have to show for my attempts:

I decided to give color a rest and pick up my old standby, sketching.  I used a 2H pencil to sketch out Lucent, and then darkened it up with a nice charcoal pencil.

I think I need to find a good house to paint – maybe then I will find my mojo again.  If you have a good house photograph – one with interesting light and shadows (and uncomplicated detailing), please send it my way.  Maybe if I am beholden to an outside entity to do another painting and to do it semi-well, I’ll actually stand a chance.


I Capture the Castle

I had another Friday night all to my lonesome last night.  Tim was on a trip at Central, so I took him some delicious Jimmy Johns, and then retreated homeward to see what Netflix could do about my insatiable need for a good romantic movie.  I scrolled through the list of movies in the Romance genre and start to feel more and more hopeless.  I didn’t want to watch anything with Julie Roberts or anything with a rating of less than 2 stars.  I think I set my standards way too high.  Why is it so hard to make a good romantic movie?

I finally settled on I Capture the Castle. I liked the looks of the English setting (in a dilapidated castle surrounded by untamed grassy hillocks), the English people (beautiful pale skin and big luminous eyes), and the premise – a writer (the awesome Bill Nighy) using the proceeds from his great literary work, Jacob Wrestled, to take out a 40 year lease on castle.  He moves his wife, two daughters, and son into this castle, attacks his wife with a butter knife and quits writing for 12 years.  The story picks up again when 2 Americans, who have inherited the castle and the surrounding land, come into the picture.  The 2 Americans, conveniently enough, are young, handsome, and rich.  The oldest daughter, Rose, immediately sets her sights on the elder brother, Simon, and his well-endowed bank account.  As she is maybe one of the prettiest people I have ever seen, he of course falls in love with her almost immediately, and they become engaged.  The most interesting person in the story is Cassandra, the 17-year-old who is narrating the story by way of writing in her journal. She is wise beyond her years, beautiful in a more interesting way than Rose, and is also in love with Simon, after he gives her her first kiss.  The person who really should have given her her first kiss, in my opinion, is not her soon-to-be brother-in-law, but Steven, the Greek-god/house boy who has lived with the family for a decade.  He is in love with Cassandra, but she sees him only as a friend.

The story comes to a head when Cassandra tells Steven that she doesn’t love him, but loves Simon instead. Cassandra also tells him that Rose doesn’t love Simon, but is marrying him for the money (money that would save her destitute family).  Several weeks prior, Steven had witnessed Neil (Simon’s brother) and Rose kissing, and he suspicions that Rose and Neil really love each other.  He goes to Neil, explains that Rose doesn’t love Simon, and that Cassandra loves Simon.

Of course, Neil goes to Rose, who truly does love him.  They run away together and live happily ever after.  Simon is still in love with Rose, however, despite how poorly she treated him (the power of a pretty face, I guess?), and Cassandra is still in love with Simon.  And Steven is still in love with Cassandra.  I’m happy that at least one set of people in the story have a happy ending, I guess.

I wish situations like this would only occur in movies (or in the books on which the movies are based), but I know that’s not the case.  No matter how little sense our emotions make in a sane reality, we are often powerless to change them.  I remember that when I fell in love with Tim, an older woman in my congregation invited me over the have French-pressed coffee.  I knew from the outset that it wasn’t just about drinking fancy coffee – we were going to have “a talk.”  This was a woman I greatly respected and whose opinion I treasured.  She was worried about the direction I was taking – falling in love at 19 with a boy who did not fit in the mold of a typical Witness.  I mean, he dyed his hair blond at one point!  And he had sideburns!  I remember telling her that the conversation was too late.  There was absolutely nothing I could do at that point to alter my feelings for Tim. It would have been physically and emotionally completely impossible for me.

No matter how little sense people make when falling in love, I can understand it and appreciate that pain and struggle. Love doesn’t make sense, and it’s messy and complicated.  It’s also an intricate web of physical, emotional, and mental connections that cannot be teased apart.  I’ve never believed in evolution, and the fact that human beings love is more evidence of some outside force influencing humanity.  Why would we evolve with the capacity for love?  It’s not for the propagation of the species – people can procreate without love, and it would probably be more beneficial for the human race if love was removed from that equation.  It would be much better for the species if people bred for the improvement of the species than for love.  Love gets in the way of survival of the fittest.  Love just doesn’t make sense in the context of evolution.  It only makes sense, to me at least, in the context of a God who enabled humans to experience something magical and painful, something that can help us transcend the commonness of daily life.  Love helps make life meaningful.

Health & Fitness, Movies, Uncategorized

Yoga my head into the ground

I had a very positive day yesterday.  I started off on the right foot by drinking two cups of delicious fresh ground 8 O’Clock Columbian roast, one cup of twiggy Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Root tea and by eating rolled oats with cinnamon, raisins and ground flax.  I was bursting with healthy energy, so I headed to the gym and did 35 minutes on the treadmill, working up a shirt-drenching sweat.  Tim put all sorts of excellent hip-hop and electronic music on my eyepod that kept my energy flowing – stuff like this awesome song with the best bass beat ever:

I always play my iPod on random, and a few Kid Cudi tracks came up, and maybe even some Robyn?  Anyway, it was a mix made to train my body and soul.  After the treadmill action, I headed out to Ultimate Fitness to catch the 11:15 yoga class.

Sara had us do all the usual poses – mountain (where you get in touch with the earth), tree (where you try vainly to balance on one foot whilst keeping the rest of your body on one plane), cobra, downward dog, etc. She tried some intermediate moves too; she had us do boat, or at least I tried to do boat. You do this pose by sitting on your mat, with your legs stretched directly in front of you. You scooch your hips back, so that you are sitting on your sit bones and not rolling back on your butt. You place your hands behind your back for stability and then lift both legs off the ground. It sounds so easy, but it’s insanely hard for me. I can only lift one leg at a time, and I can’t even keep the one leg off the ground for more than 10 – 20 seconds. Sara makes it look as if it’s the easiest thing in the world. It’s just insane.

Fortunately, she closed with savasana, the corpse pose. In this pose, you lay on your back, with your legs flat to on the ground, knees and feet pointed upward. Sara walks your mind through your whole body, relaxing each muscle as your thought touches it. Once you’ve relaxed everything, from the skin between your toes to your inner ears, you focus on your breathing. You imagine your breath coming into your body like waves coming on to the beach. With each exhalation, the wave retreats, taking with it some of bad things residing in your body. I was telling Tim today, that yoga is the kind of thing that works well for those who believe in it and probably not at all for those who don’t. I guess I’m a believer because it always makes me feel better when I go, at least until the day after. I might have pushed myself too far yesterday, because today I am pretty much sore EVERY WHERE. But, I still feel positive about it because I can feel myself standing straighter, and I feel much more tuned in to my body. It feels less like a mysterious package surrounding my brain and more a part of me.

After yoga Tim and I went to Major Art and Hobby where I got my Prang watercolors and brushes and erasers and rulers for my Architectural Drawing class that starts on the 16th. Major Art and Hobby always seems very poorly stocked to me. Maybe it’s my Americanized custom of always seeing plenty of everything. But, despite appearances, they had everything I needed, sans cold press watercolor paper and a masonite drawing board. The paper will come in this week, and I found the board at Hobby Lobby – it looks exactly like the drawing boards we used in high school. I can’t wait to slap some paper on that board, tack it down with masking tape and have at it.  My drawing desire was re-awakened Saturday morning when I drew up simple plans for a tea box the Bennzy Boos is going to make for us. I forgot how relaxing it can be to draw rulered lines with a pencil on paper with a nice tooth. Ahh… the little things in life.

After Major Art & Hobby, Tim and I hit up Great River, had a couple of pints, headed to Evergreen for a T-square (they were closed), and picked up some wings at BWW for supper. I tried the mango Habanero sauce, per a friend’s recommendation. It is pretty sticky but very delicious. It took about an hour for my lips to return to their normal color. We watched Zombieland while eating supper. It was actually a pretty unsettling movie to watch while eating chicken wings. As I was ripping chicken flesh off the bones – orange, sticky sauce all over my face and hands – on the television, human beings were ripping entrails out of fellow human beings, while projectile vomiting black mucusy syrupy disgustingness. Besides the aforementioned graphicness, the movie was actually pretty funny in many parts. The Bill Murray scenes alone make the movie worth watching. Woody Harrelson was my favorite character – nice and insane. I didn’t like the girls in the movie – the idea that they could snooker those two guys so completely multiple times seemed t0o far-fetched to me.  I think it’s definitely worth watching, but it’s no Shaun of the Dead, not by a long-shot.

Today has been a very mild day so far, which is what I needed after all the exercise and exciting art supply shopping yesterday. Tim and I are sitting here in the computer room; he’s tagging pictures and being very patient with me as I try to get WordPress to do what I want it to do. Yep, the Teemz is good people.

So, it’s back to work tomorrow. Another weekend come and gone in a flash. I can’t wait until Robots take over the world and start treating us like beloved pets. They will give us jobs, so we don’t completely lose purpose in life, but we’ll only have to work 3 days a week, and the rest of the time we can pursue hobbies and play awesome iPod games created by our cool Robot leaders. I can’t wait for the future.  Please note, Google, that I capitalize Robots to show respect.

Books, Movies


It’s Friday night.  Tim’s working.  Laura and I stopped at Woodfire Grill on the way home from work and got a super healthy, delicious supper of fried pickle chips and chips and salsa.  I got a Blue Moon, which was the best Blue Moon I’ve had in ages.  We were served by the nicest guy with the craziest eyes I’ve ever seen.  I got home around 7PM and contemplated how to spend my evening.  I wanted to have a drink, but “someone” – I’m not saying who – drank all the orange juice, so I had no mixer.

But, it’s probably for the best.  I didn’t end up drinking anything.  Instead, I fired up the X-box and trawled our queue.  I settled on The Boy Who Could Fly. I remember watching the movie as a youngster and really liking it. I was in the mood for nostalgia.  Unfortunately, Netflix was not in the mood to accomodate me.  I got maybe 7 minutes into the movie, just long enough to recognize that the mom in the movie is McClane’s wife from the first Die Hard, when Netflix kicked me out, back to the launch screen.  I shut down the X-box and tried it again with the same result.  I guess everyone is watching The Boy Who Could Fly tonight.  So, like I always do, I scrolled through all the different Netflix Lists – Movies You’ll Love, Romance, Comedy, TV Shows, Revenge Drama, Fantasy, etc.  I almost resorted to watching Three to Tango, which I am positive is horrible, when I stumbled upon Arranged.  Its multicultural theme reminded me of Outsourced, another Netflix gem I discovered while Tim was working.  Anyway, the movie got 4 stars and the description said that it was about a Muslim girl and Orthodox Jewish girl who teach at the same school.  They should hate each other, but they become best friends, bonded by the experience of entering into the arranged married process.  Sounded interesting.

I really enjoyed the movie.  These two young women (in their early 20s) are very intelligent, gifted, beautiful women who respect their family and their heritage, even while they rail against the restrictions those treasures put upon them.  The movie showed how they could keep their faith while still keeping true to themselves.  I especially enjoyed the scene where Rochel (the Jewish girl), frustrated with the pressure put upon her by her mother to pick a husband from a very dismal pool, visits a cousin who has “left the family.”  Her cousin admits that she misses her family, but she loves her life the way it is.  To show Rochel what life is like on the other side, she takes her to a party.  Rochel is very uncomfortable there – with the dancing, the drinking, the drug use, the sex.  She goes back home, confused about where she fits in and where she can be happy. Of course, there are many gradients of experience – Rochel’s choices are not restricted to orthodox Judaism or drunken orgies, but I really identified with this experience.  Growing up as a Witness I often felt as if I didn’t fit in 100% with that world, but whenever I left that world and the friends in that world, I didn’t usually feel comfortable in the “worldly” world either – I disliked the drinking and the swearing and the meaningless of the constant quest for pleasure.  I’ve found where I belong now – with Tim, a person who feels comfortable in the same sphere as me.  It’s truly a struggle, trying to find one’s place.

Of course, in the movie, the two main characters both find their places.  Nasira, the Muslim girl, is presented by her parents with a handsome, young engineer who she immediately sparks with and eventually marries.  It’s an arranged marriage, but she is happy because she loves him, and he’s not a thinning-haired, snaggle-toothed slob.  Likewise, with some interference from Nasira, Rochel ends up being introduced (via the proper Jewish channels) to a handsome, smart, wonderful Jewish young man, who she ends up marrying.  It’s also an arranged marriage, but she is also happy because she loves him, and he’s not a dominating, self-absorbed 40-year-old.

I’m a huge fan of happy endings, so I did enjoy this aspect of the movie.  However, I wonder how many of these arrangements end up the way the movie presents them.  I hope that the majority of them do, but I doubt that they do.  Of course, I have no basis for my supposition, as I know no one who has had an arranged marriage.  It just seems so unlikely that it would end well in 2 out of every 2 cases.  I think the movie might have been more interesting if one of the girls was forced to make a choice between her family and faith and true love.

I really enjoyed the movie though.  I am so glad that I watched it instead of ” Three to Tango.”  In fact, I’m embarrassed that I even considered” Three to Tango.”  I feel as if I’ve been coddling my brain too much lately – watching too many Gilmore Girls episodes and too many re-runs of my favorite movies and TV shows.  I’m wearing a comfort rut into my brain, and it’s unpleasant when I try to climb out of it and watch something new and different.  I’ve been making a concerted effort lately to bust the rut by watching movies that I normally would shy away from and by reading books that I normally would not pick up – Beneath the Wheel, and Not Quite What I was Planning to name a couple.  I’m also starting a book my Mom passed on to me  – The Elegant Gathering of White Snows.  It’s a women-journey book – totally not my thing, but I’m reading it to shake up things upstairs a little bit.  Who knows, maybe I’ll become a better person – more perceptive and wiser.  Or something.

Movies, Music

‘loose, Footloose, Kick Off Your Sunday Shoes!

Tim and I watched Footloose on Netflix Streaming last night.  Well, truth be told, Tim sat on the couch next to me and read the news on his Sony e-Reader while I watched Footloose.  I have to say, outside of the hair and the dance moves, that movie really stands the test of time.  Its message is still very relevant – censorship is bad and dancing is good.

The movie really made me think about my youth.  I think that every one of the songs in Footloose – Let’s Hear it For the Boy, Almost Paradise, Holding Out for a Hero – was played at every single congregation get-together in the 80s and 90s.  I even remember doing the bus-stop (poorly, since I have the same amount of rhythm as Willard (Chris Penn)) to Footloose.  Ah, good times.   It was actually kind of ironic that the music from Footloose was so prevalent at our congregation parties, as there was always a lot of concern in the congregation about kids listening to inappropriate music and about music awakening improper and dangerous desires in the impressionable  youths.  I guess, though, most of the concern about the music was focused on rap and heavy metal, which were of course gateways to drugs and spiritism.

Hearing those songs, though, really activated some memories.  We always had the congregation dance parties in the same place – the community center.  There was always a set of long tables sighing under the weight of deviled eggs, baked beans, scotcheroos, Fastco chips and 2-liters of soda.  The room had dusty wooden floors that were perfect for dancing.  After the buffet was over, the tables from the center of the room were moved to the edges and the bus-stopping and chicken dancing began.

I was never a quick learner at anything that involved coordination of multiple limbs simultaneously.  One of our congregation elders was kind enough to spend a good portion of his adult life trying to help me overcome this weakness.  He tried to teach me how to roller skate, ski, and dance.  It’s actually pretty sad because I still cannot do any of those things well.   But, despite my handicap, I still had fun at these dance parties until I was in my later teen years.

While the religion that we grew up in would be viewed as strict and restrictive by many, at least we were allowed and encouraged to dance (in the proper way and at the proper venue).  And no one ever advocated book burning, so that was good.  My Mom asked me not to read “MASH”, but that was the closest I ever came to censorship.

Thank you, Footloose, for bringing back some good memories.  And, thank you Netflix for streaming classics from the 80s.