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It’s Friday I’m in love…

 

Isolation is not a friend to most. Even the most pure of introverts will whither without actual connection/interaction with others. This week cloaked me in isolation. Much like the image above, yet tragically minus the mountains, this was my life. Bleak, blustery and utterly alone. And cold. The husband was traveling, my car is still out of commission and the snow/cold temps settled in around me. It was bleak, but honestly these very things are exactly how I think of January all year, so it also felt like a descent fit. (minus the car situation, but let’s be honest- aside from a possible jaunt to Target, I wasn’t going anywhere. It’s JANUARY and this PNW girl is not a fan of Michigan Januarys…)

I wrote. I read. I organized. I deep cleaned,  and I did laundry. I began every day the same, with hot coffee and thick smoothies. I listened to music I love, the sort that fills my heart with joy, but more on some of that later… I did not have the television on much, but when I did it was only really to watch a series I loved 20 years ago. I played with the dogs, I grew frustrated with the dogs. Here we are, on Friday morning, and the dogs and I needed a nice break from one another. (Additionally, I survived the Michigan meteor, which is pretty great too.)

This week’s favorite things are of the more simple nature, which is pretty ok, don’t you think?

  1. Chw and I LOVE Saoirse Ronan quite a lot, and are proud to say we DO know how to pronounce her name! (In fact, shout out to Amazon, because Alexa also knows how to pronounce her name!) She seems like such a good sport about no one really saying her name correctly, which is pretty sweet. During awards shows this season, the pronunciation of her name has been the thing I was MOST KEEN to pay attention to. (hey, don’t judge, It’s the little things.) At any rate, this video is pretty cute. When you can’t beat em’, join them… (Bonus: I was once a big Glee lover and this is where I was first introduced to Melissa Benoist. Now, Chw watches Supergirl (I don’t) and so I am vicariously following her career a bit. This video is pretty funny (and really, James Corden is kind of the best) and I’m happy to say that I have ALWAYS pronounced her name the french way. I am confused as to why they would do anything but that way! And I had no clue that she does not say it that way.)
  2. I was up late last Friday night, and the TV was on in the background when this guy came on. Seriously- I DIED. So funny. This is the EXACT act I saw and it was so perfect. Chw and I spent a big chunk of the weekend video stalking him online. Instant big fans!
  3. I know it’s starting to feel like this week’s post is brought to you by YouTube. I want to be sorry, but I am sort of not. And also- it’s January… Anyway, I realize Christmas is over, but while we were watching videos on Sunday of Treiball* dogs, we stumbled upon this video. I watched it several times, (in a row) and have to say I learned three distinct things about myself: A.) I am entirely too untrusting and skeptical. Had it been me, I would have grown suspicious as soon as I pulled out the items which only apply to a corgi owner. B.) I am apparently a total bowl of unset Jello when it comes to anything involving a dog and a surprise, or trick, or _______, on YouTube. C.) I love Corgis. I knew this, BUT this little puppy with its sweet little legs and that hat… I did not realize, before this, how much I adore them. I am pretty sure I do not have a Corgi because my heart would melt into a tiny puddle every time it ran after a toy. EVERY TIME. (#teamcooper) (also… YOU GUYS! While getting the link for you- this came up. Serious puddle of salty tears here. So happy for the two men in these videos! Also love how happy THEY are about their dogs! That’s it, let’s make the world THIS happy… Puppies for everyone! (well, everyone but my dog Emma, who hates puppies, and my friend Sarah. Everyone else though- PUPPIES!!!) (Maybe this will be Oprah’s first act, as president) (*If you aren’t familiar with Treiball, here you go.)
  4. Party of Five. Like I mentioned, before the barrage of YouTube links, I have been re-watching a show I loved 20 years ago. As a still-then teenager, and a young wife from a very broken childhood, I really loved this show. I remember identifying with so many aspects of it, and can honestly say it is probably the very first TV show that I really connected and grew emotionally invested in. Now, as a new empty nester, in an entirely different stage of life I am watching it again. I don’t really know why, but I am glad that I am. I am seeing it with new eyes and gaining insight that I am grateful for. (also, THE CLOTHES! The clothes are awesome. Could we not just go back to that, and stay there? And the music…)
  5. It was with a huge grief filled heart that I learned about the death of Delores O’Riordan. In the way that mentioned Party of Five and the nostalgia of it above, the Cranberries were the first group whose music I really allowed myself to be lost in. I remember the very first time I heard them… I was a passenger on a road trip, weaving throughout an Arizona mountain range. The radio station was coming in and out, (as they did before streaming music and satellite radio) and her voice kept cutting through. I remember feeling like some internal floor that I hadn’t known about, just gave way. Who was this voice? What was this song? (also a dilemma of times past, as now we have apps for that) Eventually, (although for days I scoured every channel, almost around the clock) I learned that the band was The Cranberries and she was Delores O’Riordan. Not much older than me, and with a voice like none other. Over the years, her music (their music, her voice) would walk with me through all of the dark times, and most of the bright ones. Her death did not make this list because I was happy about it. It made the list because she was important, not just to me. Her art was art that made a difference and touched people. Her transparency about her childhood abuse, her struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide reached people. Delores was a gift, and as heartbroken as I am over her passing, I am so unfathomably grateful to have known the small piece of her she shared with the world. I listened to her sing this week, often. With each track I felt filled with even more thankfullness and love. Thank you, Delores…
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It’s Friday I’m in love…

Well, I’ll start by being blatantly honest… My least favorite thing this week was the weather which went from -20 (with wind chill factors) to a toasty 55 degrees. Our 55 degree Thursday, (of which, to be clear, I am in huge favor of) took away our snow, left everything soggy and morphed into today. Today it is 20, with a wind chill factor of 7. (SEVEN!!!) Oh yeah, and we accumulated 3″ of snow within one hour. Lucky us, it is still snowing, and it took about 10 minutes for mine and Elenor’s deep set footprints to be covered up.

If there is one thing Elenor can not stand, it is fresh untouched snow. She finds the mere thought of it offensive. (other things which equally make this list include, but are not limited to: breakfast being late; dinner being late; socks laying around; gloves laying around; La La Land (the film, she loves the soundtrack) and Leah Remini’s Scientology show. (Re: the latter, I think it is because she feels so much empathy really, she just can’t bring herself to not get passionate about it. Elenor is such an advocate. This may, in fact, be the motivation behind the sock/glove issues as well. She feels strongly that socks and gloves belong on hands and feet. When she finds them elsewhere, she will promptly carry them over to me, drop them at my feet and look at me with sheer disgust. See? ADVOCATE…))

Getting on with the reasons we are actually here today, and not my Overlook Hotel volume of stir crazy nonsense. (But let’s be real for a second. If Jack had had access to the internet and communication with others, it is fair to speculate none of that horrible ax wielding would have occurred. In the current day adaptation I guess Jack would simply have connected with a long lost high school friend, via Facebook, and had a torrid online affair leaving Danny to still go a little crazy… They were doomed any way you look at it.)

I’ve dutifully been jotting down the awesome things I want to share with you. The cool things I’ve really loved this week. Full disclaimer though, I’m super overwhelmed, struggling with some depression, LOTS of sadness and so, maybe these details will have an affect on my top five. Then again, maybe they won’t. At any rate, I felt you should know…

1.) After weeks and weeks of procrastination, and the urging of those who truly know me, I have finally signed up for Fantasy Movie League. It’s super cool, so far, but I think I wish it were a little more socially interactive. I’ll let you know how my first box office goes!

2.) It is Awards Season (My favorite of all seasons, of course) and while literally everyone has morphed into lemmings, chanting Oprah and running right off a cliff (no offense to Oprah lovers, It was a great speech.) but I’m all over here in a camp of one, with tears in my eyes over Guillermo Del Toro’s acceptance speech. I absolutely love this speech, so much! As a writer, as a dreamer, as a human being, it is just lovely!  Maybe it is because he followed Oprah’s presidential teaser, and so the masses were still a little dazed? (also, it’s a little funny and sad to see how guilty and victimized these men seem just by BEING MEN, after Natalie’s remark.) (plus, I REALLY love his movies!) (lastly, this was a refreshing turn of the evening when Stedman no longer seemed comatose, and finally charged to life… I know, it was Oprah’s speech.)

3.) If we interact at all, in real life, then you’ve likely already heard your fill of my happiness over this non-revolutionary idea… You guys, I’ve been putting cinnamon in my ground coffee beans, when I brew them. It’s a game changer and super awesome. The end.

4.) I’m taking my husband to see these guys. They are AMAZING! How they never crossed my radar before, I do not know! (I mean, SERIOUSLY!!!!)

5.) Ryan Murphy is an absolute tv genius. I may not love everything he does, but let’s face it- he kind of makes something for everyone. There is no limit to his creativity, vision, story-weaving, and art. Obviously, I am a big fan! His new show 9-1-1 does NOT disappoint! So great!

There you have it… My life, these days, needs all the happy bursts of sunlight that can be offered, so if you’ve got something awesome to share- PLEASE do!

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Romance, toothpaste and popcorn…

It has been my experience that the very idea of romance is not only subjective, but so incredibly misunderstood. Growing up as a white, middle-class girl in America, I was taught to believe that romance involved specific things like  soft music, candles, wine glasses, fresh-cut flowers, jewelry, fancy clothes and long love-filled gazes. Even sex, when painted with a romantic sense of imagery, would involve candles, wine glasses, soft music, rose petals, and tender-lasting moments… Anyone who has ever turned on a tv show, watched a movie or any amount of commercials would know that this is what we are taught romance is.

Those things can be pretty romantic… But those things, in and of themselves, are simply unrealistic ideas. They may be better suited as goals, ideas, inspirations- but they are not the things which romance lives in.

My husband has this (terrible) habit of telling me that he is not romantic. My husband is also pretty incorrect about a few things, and this would be one of them. I have never known anyone who IS romantic. Is romantic something one can actually be? I know that I am not romantic, by nature. The conclusion which I have come to, in my own personal journey, is that romantic simply means stepping outside of myself, with my spouse in mind. It really is that simple. Twenty minutes of the “romantic” evening described above, and both Chw and I would be bored out of our minds. It just isn’t us, so it wouldn’t really fill a need we may have for romance. Romance is not a department store greeting card with someone else’s sentiments. It is not wilting flowers, cheap candy boxed in the shape of a heart… These are things we are told are romantic because someone else is wanting to profit from the money spent on such thoughtless things. Romance requires thought. Romance breathes on the air of thoughtfulness.

When Chw walks through the door with flowers, I swoon. For me, this is romantic. Not because flowers were involved, or money was spent, but because he was thinking of me and knows that I LOVE flowers! My BFF hates flowers, so if her husband did this it would probably be the most UNROMANTIC thing he could do…

Most weeknights Chw and I do not make it to bed at the same time. I’m a nightowl, often finding my most productive bursts in the late evening hours. He leaves for work well before the sun comes up, most days. It’s kind of how it has always been so it is pretty normal for us. Whichever of us is getting ready for bed first will put toothpaste on the other’s toothbrush. It is small, but it is so thoughtful. This is a tiny effort that, over time, has grown to mean so much. It may not be much of a romantic gesture to anyone outside of our marriage, but for us it simply speaks love.

When I’ve made it into bed much later than expected, and make it a point to wake up with Chw, in the morning, to make sure he gets a healthy breakfast, coffee, or at least a groggy-goodbye kiss- that is romance. It is casting aside my selfish want for a cozy bed to put thought into what may help his day start off better.(allow me to point out that this is not something I do everyday. I also may very well lie to myself and say that it is good it isn’t every day, that keeps it special.)

Under our roof, romance can look like washed dishes, folded towels, notes left in the shower, (we do that, all the time, btw. This is possibly one of our favorite things) a scraped windshield, a shoveled walk way, fresh-baked cookies, a neck rub, Chipotle carry out, a spontaneous trip to the movies, a walk hand-in-hand, a funny exchange over text, a vigorous game of Mario, a hand of cards, a lazy brunch we made together…

Real romance does not have to cost anything other than a little thought backed up by sincere effort. In today’s culture of flash mobs, promposals and youtube EVERYTHING, the true idea of romance seems even more unclear. The pressures we put on ourselves to be romantic, (and I say that specifically for my husband) aren’t real… They are not truth based… They are comparisons we have of our limitations vs. the things we see. Hundreds of likes, oodles of attention by strangers and bigger price tags DO NOT make it more romantic. (or romantic at all) I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had, with other women, where they questioned their husbands love for them because he did not do the things that characters in books, tv and movies do. This is so sad, and so unfair to everyone.

Keeping the romance alive for us looks like:

  • making the time to connect regularly.
  • stepping outside of ourselves to do something we KNOW the other person will like/need. (NOT to be appreciated. NOT to pat ourselves on the back, but simply because we love them. )
  • engaging. Eye contact, verbal contact, skin contact. Sometimes, a hug is just the very thing a day needs.
  • prioritizing fun and special. Sure, the toothpaste at night is wonderful, but the “outside of our routine”, special gestures are necessary too.
  • having regular time scheduled, to spend with each other. No matter what stage of life we find ourselves in, “date nights” HAVE to happen… Even if the bank account is low and this means it is time at home, alone.

We are big dinner & a movie people. We’ve gone through phases where we might panic a little and wonder if something is wrong with us. Doesn’t society say that’s a rutt? The thing is, we enjoy other things too, but we REALLY LOVE going to dinner and a movie. (or lunch and a movie. Or brunch and a movie. Or a movie and dessert… you get the idea.) We talk together about movies coming out that He wants to see and I don’t, that I want to see and he doesn’t, and that we really both want to see. (I’m not going to lie, the priority of this topic on a regular basis is pretty much level with budgeting topics. We’re cool and pretty juvenile like that. Whatever, we’ll own it.) A movie we are both looking forward to seeing is Forever Your Girl. It kind of has that feel good Hallmark vibe, but far better quality. (Here’s the trailer.)

Forever My Girl tells the story of music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.  Forever My Girl is an uplifting romantic film about second chances.  It releases in theaters on January 19.

So, now you see that we can be pretty boring. No need for huge gestures here, and that’s ok for us. What about you? What do you feel romance is? What is the most romantic thing you’ve done/received?

 

entertainment, family, journey, parenting

He was a hopeful bear at heart…

There are so many things to get excited about, when a new year comes around. Being the movie lover that I am, that is one of the major things I get excited about!

When I was a little girl, I LOVED Paddington the Bear! When I was a grown woman, mom and (Very young) grandmother, I was more excited, (and a little apprehensive) about the live action movie. Pleasantly surprised, I found it charming and so, when a sequel was announced, that glee-filled little girl deep inside of me was pretty excited!

 

Paddington 2, (trailer here) looks heart warming and absolutely adorable! It is releasing this Friday, January 12th, nationwide.

Following the worldwide hit “Paddington,” one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington (Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it.  But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.

Paddington 2 stars: Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Sally Hawkins (Jayne Eyre), Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm), Julie Walters (Mamma Mia) and Ben Whishaw (The Hollow Crown) as the voice of Paddington.

I won’t lie, I’m pretty excited!

What childhood character still tugs at your heart-strings?

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Think Casey Kasum, in tens…

2017 was a year, I will give it that! A full year in every sense of all the ways… Growing up in the 80’s I grew up with January 1st being the big Casey Kasum rehashing of the year we were still freshly saying goodbye to. There are some things I still, after all of this time, really miss. That would be one of them… So, in trying to reconnect with a few old traditions, these are a few of my favorite things in 2017:

Lost myself listening to…

  • Paramore (All, but specifically their newest album- After Laughter)
  • Dreamcar
  • Portugal, the Man
  • 21 Pilots- Blurry Face album
  • Matt Maeson
  • Phoenix- (newest album- Ti Amo)
  • Weezer- Pacific Daydream album. BRILLIANT!
  • Silversun Pickups acoustic sessions
  • K-pop (Exo, Monsta X, Crush, Dynamic Duo, T-Max, Kae Sun, BlackPink, etc.)
  • Dear Evan Hansen Broadway recording

I was moved by…

  • All of the devastation this year, through storms, fires and ill-intended human beings, and yet the quiet resiliency which would rise up among the bravest, in love.
  • My husband’s rescue of a stranger, and the way he and the other Hero worked side by side, seamless and instinctually.
  • Dylan Farrow’s article, and the reality it subtly insinuates.
  • The continuing search and hope for Danielle Stislicki
  • my husband reaching a goal and completing a half marathon
  • seeing my son as a father, with his daughter
  • This Lifetime commercial.
  • The Glorious video, by Macklemore
  • The adoption journey and completion of my beautiful friend Tia and her son
  • My friend’s motherhood journey, and her beautiful little, perfect family.

I Saw…

  • Goblin (Korean Drama)
  • The Book of Henry (film)
  • Fun Mom Dinner (film)
  • Wonder Woman (film)
  • Hero (video) by Monsta X
  • The Big Sick (film)
  • Lego Batman (awesome)
  • Twin Peaks: The Return (tv)
  • Only The Brave (film)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

The hardest/darkest parts…

  • Knightley. Loving him, knowing him, losing him…
  • When my kids struggle/hurt.
  • watching my mom go through dementia and deteriorate more and more, each day.
  • potty training puppies, on little to no sleep
  • when my husband was in Australia
  • Saying goodbye to my son and his family, multiple times.
  • When my grandmother’s vintage bowl broke
  • Having friends walk through really dark chapters, in their journeys, while I was helpless and too far away to really help.
  • My own chronic illness issues increasing so rapidly.

Adventures & Moments…

  • Meeting, and getting to know, my grand-daughter Victoria.
  • Celebrating my daughter Gennica’s high school graduation.
  • meeting my (first) great-nephew.
  • My sweet grand baby Ethan’s first birthday!
  • Celebrating my mom’s 70th birthday.
  • Traveling to Washington state and Idaho to absorb love and moments with beautiful people.
  • forty-four Mask Mondays
  • celebrating my sister Jennie, and two beautiful friends, in creative ways throughout the year.
  • Switching over from a paper calendar/planner to a digital one
  • The Dear Stranger letter challenge.

Tasted…

  • Devils on Horseback (bacon wrapped Dates) at the Silver Pig
  • Bourgeois fries at Boise Fry Company
  • homemade pop-tarts, with my mixed berry jam. (best tasting summer berry hodgepodge of luck, ever.)
  • Chipotle getting queso. (!!!!)
  • raspberry chocolate torte from Cantoro
  • sweet mini-pepper tacos
  • Burger Fi herb & Aoli fries
  • Korean Tacos at the Yard House
  • Harney & Sons PARIS tea
  • Chocorite, sugar free (and AMAZING) “candy”.

Creative:

  • Chalkboard doodling
  • Making an interactive trivia game, as a gift
  • essential oil sugar scrubs, sprays and creams.
  • Total Gallery wall
  • Made a photo/journey book, for my family
  • My Twin Peaks 41st birthday
  • the Twelve Days of Christmas for my husband
  • Traveler’s Notebook
  • Bible Illustration & creative journaling
  • Painting a palette sign with other, beautifully creative women

I learned…

  • how to love so deeply, and lose (Knightley), and then make myself ready to love again. (Elenor)
  • how to accept my limits, with grace and self love.
  • as silly as it sounds, I learned a ton about gum/oral health, and WHY certain practices are necessary.
  • that unknowingly, I matured beyond the Oscars and a passion about/for them.
  • How terrible/hard/ugly/difficult that distance between loved ones really is.
  • Tai Chi practice is life changing.
  • that I definitely need regular chiropractic care.
  • that I am an advocate of the legalization of medical marijuana, and why it’s important.

I discovered, and then I obsessed…

  • the ATTN: videos with Nev & Laura. I love them!
  • Blue Babies Pink podcast
  • S*Town podcast
  • Harvest Moon IOS
  • Flow magazine and periodicals
  • Brothers and Sisters reruns, on Hulu
  • Disney Emoji Blitz (because, apparently I am 12…)
  • Puppy collar bow-ties and flowers.
  • the love story between Paul Betany & Jennifer Connolly

The best money I spent…

  • airline tickets
  • FabFitFun
  • Elenor
  • Blowouts
  • Vinyl Record Albums
  • LuLaRoe Madison Skirts
  • yellow box flip flops
  • New suitcase
  • Storyville coffee
  • essential oils and a few EO products