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It’s Friday, I’m in love…

This morning I am sipping Holiday Blend coffee from my Seattle cup. Because I really love these Friday posts, Friday mornings tend to be a time of reflection. Even though it is already the 17th, this is my first Friday post of November. We can blame this on many things… There was lots of traveling, lots and lots of quality time with some of my favorite people, more traveling, more quality time, half a dozen long doctors visits, a conference, quality time with the stranger-as-of-late, whom I share a home with- (this would be Chw, of course, though we had barely seen each other since mid-September!) a week-long battle with a seasonal illness all sprinkled with some work stuff and the menial tasks of adulting…

Over the weeks since my last FIIL post, I have been keeping a list of things to share with you! Full disclosure, however, what tops the list (and is not super sharable via links anyway) is getting to spend time with my son, his wife and their beautiful baby girl. (You guys, she has the best head of silky curls, and so much personality and so many expressions, and she is so smart and funny and amazing…)

This will top all of this lists, all of the time…

Now that I have made my position on the matter pretty clear, here are the things I’m loving this week…

1.) Coffee! This is also a huge relief to me. You see, people in the midwest just don’t get it. They may be trained, and know things to the best of their abilities (generalization… I am sure some people do get it, just not the ones I usually encounter.) The PNW gets it. While they may not have invented coffee or the many delectable drinks one can whip up, with coffee, the PNW really is responsible for this bliss being such a part of American culture. (note: NO, I do not give Starbucks all of the credit. In the midwest, Starbucks is kind of the IT thing. And I get it, I love a good Starbucks drink as much as the next person, BUT there, well- Starbucks isn’t the IT thing. It’s the sheep thing, and for anyone else who just wants an awesome coffee, there are TONS of other options.) Anyway, this is quickly becoming a coffee post and that isn’t my intention. Let’s not squabble over Starbucks, ok?

While I was home I had coffee from all of my favorite Idaho places, and it was heaven. (I was also really, really caffeinated.) Coming home, I shipped some beans from my favorite Boise coffee roaster, (which is tragically lost in the mail forever, I’m afraid, along with about $200 of other things… BOO) When the crushing reality that I was out of my Storyville coffee (favorite coffee EVER) and my Dawson Taylor coffee was lost in the mail (forever), my husband consoled me with the news that Starbucks Holiday Blend was now out! What?!?! This is, in our (And many other people’s) opinion, this is the only really palatable Starbucks coffee. Christmas angels rang out their Hallelujahs and all was right with the world… (Minus the previously mentioned illness, the husband’s back injury, the bitter cold weather, etc…) But, you guys… Then something even more wonderful happened! Storyville sent an email about a free shipping promotion (LoveEverybody is the code, what are you waiting for??? AMAZING Coffee AND it supports a good cause!) Since I hadn’t been able to get in there and stock up, while I was in Washington, this was amazing news! (plus, lets face it, it would just have been lost in the black hole of the US postal service anyway.)

2.) My awesome friend (who I love so dearly and miss already!!! You know who you are… COME TO MICHIGAN!!!) showed me this amazing weather app called What The Forecast?. Here’s the thing, weather typically sucks, right? And we all kinda want to complain about it, and complaining about it only makes us (or me) feel crappier. But what if you had a weather app that complained about the forecast for you, and in such a negatively funny way that you looked at the forecast and then LAUGHED with joy, AND THEN reached out to share that laugh with someone you love, (you may not do that, but I do. All of the time, because it is seriously super funny) pretty genius right? This app is fantastic! (and so accurate re: the forecast AND the sentiment.) (**IF you find yourself offended by things like the general use of profanity than good news! You can have the app edited to state the same funny things, but in a less crude way, profanity free!)

3.) Flying has changed a lot. This was my first time flying in a decade, and to celebrate I decided to fly on five planes over the span of 15 days. (Bold move, I know.) Security is a nightmare (seriously, EVERY TIME… And depending on the airport, such things as Essential Oil cough drops or a cut out in a dress may be seen as contraband and HIGHLY threatening.) After I was in Washington I stumbled upon an article about a Michigan man who had SEVERAL guns and ammo in his carry on. Naturally they found him and naturally he was arrested. Rumor has it, it was a bigger terror plot. Here’s my question though, what the heck size of cajones do you have to think those things will simply slip by? Had he also not flown in a decade? THEY CHECK, SCAN, SWIPE and XRAY EVERYTHING. My bag was hand searched every time. I was put in what is equivalent to an airport time out for COUGH DROPS. Every inch of my body was shown more affection that a stranger has ever had the privilege, in both Detroit and Seattle. (I wanted to find the article and link it for your reading pleasure, but what I found instead were 4 separate instances of other people with impossibly large cajones attempting the same stupid thing- SINCE JULY. I mean, what the? I wouldn’t even attempt fingernail clippers, I was so nervous about it.)

That rant aside, Flying has changed a lot. I was able to track my flight on the tv screen in front of me. My bag texted me when it was safely on the plane, when it securely made my connection and when it was safely off the plan. After the luggage nightmare I had in 2006 in LA, this is the most geniusly wonderful thing in the history of travel- EVER. You get real snacks (Kind bar please, no nuts for me), have the option to purchase meals AND free wifi to Imessage (or FB message) til your hearts content. All in all, well worth the molestation and need to re-pack (over and over again) when awesome people are waiting for you on the other side.

4.) Catstudio is SUPER fun! Specifically THESE. (I want so, so badly, to have four of them.) I’ve seen them in person, and they are amazing!

5.) Christmas movies! (I know that was the topic of my last post, but seriously… It’s Christmas time!) The movies I’m referring to are the two Christmas movies currently in the theater. (Both parentally themed, oddly enough.) The first one being Daddy’s Home 2. I loved Daddy’s Home and was super cautious of this one because, well, it’s a sequel AND Mel Gibson is in it. (I found myself screaming, why??? Why???? when I first saw the announcement.) I had minimal expectations (which might be the best way to go in to any movie) and I absolutely loved it. I mean, LOVED IT! We laughed so hard, and the funny thing about Mel Gibson’s character (in the movie) is that he just sucks and everyone accepts it. (#typecast ???) It was endearing and funny (SO FUNNY) and we had a great time! The second one is Bad Mom’s Christmas. (I am going to stop right here and say that I realize I have some readers who fall on the more conservative spectrum of things and that is totally ok. TOTALLY. I absolutely respect that conviction. So, those of you who are there- this movie isn’t for you.) I saw it in Boise with my bestie and, honestly, I was really disappointed. It had some funny parts, but the one thing I CANNOT stand being used in entertainment is little kids using BIG profanity. I just can’t… And since this happened at the very start of the movie, I think I was just irritated for the rest of it. Once I was back home and settled, I kept seeing trailers for it and remembering not only the really funny stuff but also the pretty deep point of the gigantically emphasized caricatures of the storyline too. Chw had really liked the first one and had really wanted to see the second one, (I would have known this had we not been separated by thousands of miles of ocean and land for two months) and so after a really stress filled day of hospitals and annoying doctors, (so many doctors) we went to see it. Knowing the big evil was there, (you know, the kid/profanity bit) I was able to really enjoy the movie and it was still so very, very funny.

So, I guess it isn’t super terrible that it’s a lengthier post, since it’s representing an entire month, right? But now what should you do, after investing the time in this novella? You should go buy some Storyville coffee (you will not be sorry!) and then enter my Christmas giveaway!

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beautiful, creative, entertainment, family, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, parenting

My first Christmas Gift, of the season…

My heart is all a flutter these days as darkness blankets the world earlier and twinkly Christmas decorations span the city streets. Part of my adult heart still feels a bit surprised when evening brings such Christmas magic to life. Isn’t adulthood kind of like that? Each holiday season seeming to approach sooner, and never seeming to hold quite enough of those peaceful, magic-filled moments we crave… Maybe it’s just me. (It isn’t though, right???)

Being a movie lover, and a Christmas lover (Christmas itself and not the consumer induced frenzy of chaos and clutter that seems to misrepresent the season, anyway) I find that movies really do act as the glue which binds my season together. For roughly forty-six weeks of the year I am a pretty critical film watcher, with fairly high standards, but come early November I melt into that girl who loves nothing more than spending a snowy afternoon or at-home-evening in front of the fireplace with a Hallmark Christmas Movie on TV and a cup of something deliciously warm and comforting in hand. Sure, its cliche. I’m pretty ok with that. These are among the rare moments I have ever shared with my mother. This is the very description of many a Christmas season moments in our home, once my motherhood was the route of my journey. Of course though, Hallmark is not the only source of Christmas movies which hold my heart… I love so many, from the really funny ones (Christmas Vacation, Elf, Surviving Christmas, A Christmas Story) to the heart-layered-lovely ones (Step Mom, The Family Stone, The Holiday) and so many beautiful classics (Miracle on 34th st, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Bishop’s Wife)… Many of these fall on my must watch every year list, which naturally inspires one to wonder: does this girl do anything other than watch Christmas movies in November/December??? The answer to this, naturally, is sort of… They are almost always on, in the background. Sometimes I focus on them, sometimes they simply go about their two-hour time period bringing comfort, like an old friend, while I go about a work project, gift wrapping, card signing, baking, or mundane household chores.

If I am being honest though, I’d have to admit that my all time favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. This Christmas is finding me at 41 years old. For as long as I can remember, my holiday seasons have held this movie as a part of life’s festivities. It never grows old and I somehow still manage to cry and draw kernels of wisdom and truth from George’s story, despite the fact that every inch of it is already stitched into my heart. Though Michigan may not be my favorite leg of this life’s journey, one thing I truly love is at Christmas time when we bundle up (because the weather here is usually pretty rocky on this day, and Ann Arbor seems to intensify the rockiness of the weather) and head to the Historic Michigan Theater for a Sunday December afternoon showing of It’s a Wonderful Life. The seats are snug and tiny, and every inch of our surroundings are rich with history and family sharing millions of moments just life the one we’re partaking in. The theater has both warm popcorn and beverages, and proceeding the film there is a jolly man playing the best of all fun Holiday jingles on a larger-than-life pipe organ. When ever I think of Christmas and the bits I truly love, this one always illuminates my mind first. The entire afternoon is sheer perfection.

I love my old school, time-honored favorites. I am a sucker for the new Christmas movies too. There are already two out, and I’ve seen them both. (Like I said, I am pretty die-hard about this whole Christmas movie thing. Speaking of Die Hard– ALSO a Christmas movie I love! ) The movie I am REALLY looking forward to this season is The Man Who Invented Christmas. (Fun fact sidenote: I also read A Christmas Carol every December)

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

 

THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS releases in theaters on November 22.

As if it isn’t exciting enough, I also have a behind the scenes featurette to share!

So tell me, are you feeling in the mood for Christmas yet? Well… I have a little Christmas giveaway to add to the spirit. I would love to give one of you a Christmas movie DVD pack. I’m leaving the title’s a secret, BUT to make it fun- I will tell you that each of the three films has some significant tie to this movie The Man Who Invented Christmas! Intriguing, right? Entries end at Midnight Thanksgiving day!

To enter to win this awesome little package all you have to do is leave a comment RIGHT HERE, about your favorite Christmas movie. That’s it. (and yes, Hallmark movies COUNT! They totally do!)

entertainment, family, parenting

Goodbye, Christopher Robin…

Many who frequent here are aware that I spent the better part of a decade as a film critic. It was really an amazing experience and awarded me many really cool opportunities. Criticizing for a living also has this way of leaving one jaded. I walked away from the job when I realized I had lost my ability to simply enjoy a movie. Some habits die-hard, but I believe I am a lot more tolerable to watch movies with now, than I had become at one time. You’d have to ask my husband to know for sure…

It’s pretty rare that I step up, when asked, to review a film. I’ve found that, for me personally, I go into it with a certain level of expectation. I have a list of things to look for, this white glove test is an intense one, I’m afraid.

I have been waiting a really long time to see Goodbye, Christopher Robin. Like every other girl of the early 90’s time frame, I have a strong affinity for Classic Pooh. (yes I did spend my 23rd birthday in a Disney Store issues Classic Pooh denim jumper, and no, it was not my only type of Classic Pooh clothing.  shut up…) The trailers sold this film as so heartwarming, at least that is how I perceived it. And maybe, maybe I’m not really the most impartial person to criticize this movie. The truth is, there were things I genuinely LOVED about this movie…

And there were things I absolutely detested.

I loved that, as that Classic Pooh loving place in my heart would swell and sigh, this film is visually stunning! There are so many images taken straight out of the beloved illustrations. (Perhaps I would be much more in favor of this visually beautiful film if it were silent, minus some gorgeous music playing over the course of these images.) There are some genuinely comical moments and, for the most part, the acting is good. Nearly everything else, for me, would be a negative. I feel as though my love of such an ironically classic childhood treasure has been unknowingly a supportive party to something tragically dark and terrible. It is, in this way, that the title of the film haunts me all the more. Goodbye, Christopher Robin. Goodbye, innocent love of the beloved characters and the hundred acre wood.

Alan “Blue” Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) is a fairly successful play write, returning from the war zone known as WWI. Suffering with immense PTSD, it seems as though some amount of pressure falls upon his wife Daphne, (Margo Robbie) to pull him out of the dark places and make him successful once again. It is in this way that the two come to be parents of Billy Moon, whose Christian name is Christopher Robin. It is all lovely and beautiful until around this point. Soon enough, the beloved nanny, (played impeccably by Kelly Macdonald) arrives on the scene. It is, sadly, only thanks to her that sweet little Billy/Christopher Robin grows up knowing any love at all. As an adoptive parent of kids who have been deeply wounded by the self-centered abuses and negligence of birth parents, I find myself very sensitive to such themes. While our sweet boy is never actually abused, he is beyond neglected by his parents. His mother, from my perspective, only ever seems interested in the fun bits of motherhood spotlighting her, while her real focus is on position, fame, glamour, money and attention. His father, for one brief and beautiful season, allows himself to surrender and lose himself in the enjoyment of time and adventure with his son. It is from this very incredible time that our stories are born. Sadly, his effort at Fatherhood ends here, and no one realizes any of this until our sweet boy is a man gone off to fight a war against Hitler. This interim, for Christopher Robin is, often times, nothing short of hellish and isolating.

As I sit here, however, I have to admit that although this story is tragic, depressing and has potentially robbed me of something sweet and precious, it is not the film’s fault. This movie simply depicts the true story of a damaged man, his selfish wife, and how these things affected their son. And maybe that is where the magic potentially lives. Not one of us are a perfect spouse or parent. Not one of us hasn’t been responsible for a wound in the life of a child. As terribly sad and ugly as this background is, the happiness and love that stems from the pages of A.A. Milne’s beloved Pooh bear, and the very reaching effects it has had must count for something.

Did I love this movie? I did.

Did I hate it? I did.

It is complicated and confusing. It is a beautiful and thoughtfully filmed piece of art about a tragically sad and little known story.

It is honest.

 

beautiful, chronic illness, confession, entertainment, fibro, gratitude, journey, Lately, list, Uncategorized

It’s Friday, I’m in Love…

Before the sun sets this evening, I will be jet-setting my way to the Pacific Northwest, likely with the biggest smile I’ve worn in a while. (This is my optimistic point of view, in reality I am pretty anxiety riddled over the whole flying part…) In an effort to think of happy thoughts, let’s get to the top five of this week, shall we?

1.) My oldest niece delivered an incredibly handsome and captivating baby boy. Though I am yet to hold him, or breathe him in, the photos have confirmed that I am already head over heals for this little man!

2.) Before my husband headed back to Australia, we were fortunate to catch an early screening, (it’s out officially now) of Only The Brave. You guys, even if you do not like movies, please consider seeing this one. Films like this, stories like this, are why movies exist. It is incredible…

3.) Serenity Gel caps. I am a big fan of the Serenity blend of Essential Oil, but I was not 100% about these capsules. In the past week I have come to the full realization about how much they help my sleep, and I saw my husband rock star his way through pretty severe jet lag with their help. BIG WINNERS!

4.) My awesome friend had the opportunity to catch a Dreamcar show, in L.A. awhile back. She kept the awesomeness that is their music, to herself, until about a week ago. Honestly, I am OBSESSED. Incredible. What do you get when you combine the male members of No Doubt, the lead singer of AFI and a sound reminiscent of every great new wave song found in the great John Hughes films of the 80’s??? You get DREAMCAR!

5.) This both barely made my list AND was an absolute addition. (I know, I make no sense sometimes.) Here is my review of Goodbye Christopher Robin.

BONUS:

I already did a music link, so I didn’t want to add another one but I just couldn’t share. I am OBSESSED with this song!

So, what’s up with you?

chronic illness, confession, fibro, food, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage

This RX weekend…

I am a pretty big fan of RX bars. I have to be honest though, if someone had offered me one and told me it was awesome, I would probably have hated them and considered ending the friendship with said-person. Why? They are pretty different. And sticky. And stick to teeth, and that is annoying.

BUT… They are pretty awesome really. Weird, stickiness aside, they are honest and healthy. They do not taste like cardboard, and they aren’t painful to digest. All in all, they are pretty tasty, easy to tuck in a handbag and nothing to nutritionally feel terrible about.

The other thing I love about them in their simplicity. Right there, on the front of their packaging is their ingredient list. Not only is this brilliant marketing, but it is respectful to the consumer because it says “Don’t waste your precious, already overwhelmed time reading our tiny print list, HERE.” And honestly, I really like that too.

I am going to treat my weekend like an RX Bar. Why? Because I don’t feel like carefully crafting some post which might feel better, or worse, than it actually was.

-Alone. My husband left early friday for another near month of apart-ness, so naturally, my weekend hasn’t been a ray of sunshine. On the other hand, it has felt pretty natural because he was already gone for a month and I developed a series of routines. The 8 days he was home kinked those and it was good to have a feeling of normal.

-I do not (at all) like that it feels more normal when Chw is gone.

-chiropractor appointment. It was awesome.

-Dog Park. Also awesome, especially for our Emma. She’s really weird though.

-Seven Coke Zero Sugars. (SEVEN)

-massive headache that came and went, until it came and stayed.

-terribly painful hip x-ray, with not the best results, sad to say.

-a good chunk of day where my heating pad and DVR were my very best friends.

-meals like Taquitos and Kahiki sticks, because I’m the only one around.

-Planned: a relaxing bath with essential oils and salts. Reality: stumbling into bed, exhausted, because I fell down a Scientology hole, on the internet, waiting for my husband to arrive in Melbourne and call me. This journey may or may not have included a brief stint of me contemplating how I could single-handedly rescue John Travolta from this hell. (Tom Cruise is both crazy and a lost cause so I wasted no imagination on this.) Also, as a side note- Leah Remini’s nails drive me INSANE.

-Six Oreo Lemon thins.

-Renting a movie and watching it ALONE, only to excitedly tell my husband about it and him to say “Oh yeah, I saw that. Hilarious!” What? When? Oh… On a plane? Gotcha. (If we were to pie chart his time, the largest piece would be Australia, second to Delta, third to his office and fourth to home. I’m trying so hard to have a good attitude about this.)

-my neighbors quickly and quietly moved out. I am sad as they were really great.

-fourteen piles of dog poop picked up through about 4,478 various dog walks.

-two chapters of homework.

-one Hallmark movie.

-two loads of laundry.

-one suitcase, mostly packed.

-The last of what may be our sunshine, for a good long while.

How about your weekend?