Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Here I come, chocolate in hand, to one lucky winner

Well, interpeeps, I am mighty impressed.

Some of you really like to watch movies (like me). Some of you? Not so much into the remembering of the lines. Why is that?

The Husband thinks I'm a freak. He can't remember what happened last week, let alone in a movie. And it boggles his mind that I always remember the obscure lines from a movie I saw years ago.

Yes, it's a disease.

No, I don't care.

So, here are the answers of the next 11 movies I expect to see in your Netflix que:

1. As Good As It Gets
Who doesn't love Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall in this movie? He's just so insane that you find you actually relate to him. Admit it. You love him.

2. When Harry Met Sally
My other favorite line in that movie is "I'll have what she's having," but the scene at the end on New Years Eve is the best. Who knew we'd one day find Billy Crystal slightly attractive? Maybe that's what makes this movie so perfect.

3. Braveheart
Although, the line is also in "Shawshank Redemption," another of my favorites, I did write the quiz with a chiseled Mel Gibson wearing blue face paint in mind. An excellent, inspiring (albeit a teensy bit violent) movie.

4. Love Actually
One of my all-time favorite movies, and I just adore this line said by the often underestimated Alan Rickman. Snape character aside, I sure wouldn't complain if he got crumbs in the bed, you know what I mean? For his full deliciousness, re-watch him in "Sense and Sensibility." You will love him forever after his tender portrayal of Colonel Brandon.

5. Usual Suspects
Brilliant movie, total twist at the end. You will NEVER see it coming. Love it.

6. Pride & Prejudice
One cannot help but love Elizabeth for saying out loud that, yeah, a guy with money is pretty attractive, even if he's a little bit of a jerk. Hands-down, a lifetime favorite for me.

7. The Departed
NOBODY knew this one. It's a great movie, one most especially appreciated if you ever lived in Boston. A little heavy on the F-bombs, but still worth a watch. Another surprise ending you don't see coming.

8. Bridget Jones Diary
Ah, the ever delicious Colin Firth. I like you, too. Just as you are. Please call me, okay? And when you come, bring your Mr. Darcy costume. So, we can, uh, be sure of its quality, uh, workmanship. Yeah, that's it.

9. Steel Magnolias
Some of the best movie lines EVER come from this movie. I could do a post on just this movie alone. A classic, in its own right, for sure. It is one that must be passed down through the generations, just like a favorite old quilt or a set of dishes. I can't wait to share it with my little Hannah someday.

10. Terms of Endearment
Nobody guessed this one, either. This is probably my ALL-TIME-FAVORITE Jack Nicholson moment ever. I like it so much that I had to find the clip for you to watch. It's a little long, so if you are impatient (cough*Daniel*cough), then skip to about 5:19 and watch until 7:00 or so, you will see why I included it here. So very Jack. So unexpected from his character, yet also so befitting. It's my favorite part in the whole movie. Oh, and when you do watch this movie, you will need about eight boxes of Kleenex. I'm just sayin'.

Bonus: Good Will Hunting
A great movie, and an even greater line for the movie to end on. Makes me cry every.single.time. I love it.

Oh, and the random winner of the prize? I put all the numbers in a hat and had my kids pick one out. They picked:

Comment number 24..................GABI

Lucky for you, I already have your address. I will put myself in a box (with chocolate, of course) and be there overnight via FedEx. Please have a large stack of movies waiting.

Thanks for playing!

"Son of a @*%, he stole my line!"

I must tell you something about myself that you probably already know.

I love movies.

I love bad movies. I love good movies. I love old movies. I love new movies. (I don't, however, love horror movies). But a recent conversation with the Husband brought to mind just how much I love a good movie line. To me, there is nothing better than a well-written line. It's what takes a movie from ordinary to great. It's a singular sentence, delivered with precise timing and rhythm, that, out of nowhere, immediately resonates with your soul.

Do you know that feeling?

Maybe it makes you laugh. Maybe it makes you cry. Maybe it's just plain weird. And sometimes, it can be just so utterly brilliant that you know you must find a way to work it into casual everyday conversation, even though you'll never come off sounding as cool as Jack Nicholson did. But still, these lines stay with you long after a show is done. Sometimes a single line is greater than the sum of an entire movie.

So in honor of this, I thought I'd share my top ten favorite movie lines, and see if you could guess any of them. Though I could make this list about 200 long, I'll start with ten, and a bonus thrown in for fun.

NO CHEATING. Get your mouse off that google search right now. Just see if you know any of these off the top of your head. For anyone who takes an honest crack at it, I will randomly draw a winner. The prize will most definitely involve chocolate of some sort. Or maybe my favorite movie.

Or maybe you get to have me on your couch eating chocolate. Watching my favorite movie.

You never know.

In any event, here they are (and in no particular order):

"Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

"I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

"Every man dies. Not every man really lives."

"Invite him out for a drink, and then after about twenty minutes, casually drop into the conversation the fact that you'd like to marry him and have lots of sex and babies."

"The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn't exist."

"It has been coming on so gradually that I hardly know when it began. But I believe it must date from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley."

"I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy."

"No, I like you very much. Just as you are."

"Miss Truvy, I promise that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair."

"I love you, too, kid."

"Sean, if the professor calls about that job, just tell him, sorry, I have to go see about a girl."

Good luck! Contest ends Thursday at 6 p.m. central time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trying unsuccessfully to make sense of the world in which I live

While perusing a high quality periodical this week (which is a whole other post in and of itself), I came across something startling. It took me by surprise, and I'll be honest, was more than a little disturbing.

What frightened me were two different full-page advertisements. The first one was for this charming product:

Monkey Cuddles, they call it. A miniature baby monkey wearing a diaper, holding a half-peeled banana to his cheek, and sporting a saucy little bow on top of his head. And all of this adorable cuteness can fit right in the palm of your hand.

Oh, the google searches I'm going to get this week for that paragraph alone.

But really. I must know.


I am guessing old ladies in housecoats and slippers, who shuffle happily between their shelves full of Marie Osmond dolls, and the yellow pictures of grandchildren from 1968 still on the walls. These are probably the same suckers victims who willingly send all their life savings to Mr. Liu Yan and his many relatives who have billions of dollars trapped in overseas banks. (Oh, Liu. All the horror, and yet you somehow manage to still send eight emails to me every day. You're such a trooper).

That demographic I kind of get. I will never BE that person, but I can begrudge the old ladies their little treasures. Whatever.

But this one I will never understand. Here we have disturbing advertised product number two:

Yes, a skeleton wearing blue jeans and a leather vest, riding a Harley that is decorated with other skeleton heads, and proudly sporting a pirate flag on the back of the bike.

Please help me understand. WHAT DEMOGRAPHIC IS BUYING THIS?

I could be wrong, but I just don't picture a tough, tattooed, chiseled biker taking the time to order himself a porcelain figurine. What would he do with it? Do you think he would put it in his curio cabinet that's full to the brim with miniature tchotchkies, and then proudly display it at his next Hells-on-Wheels meeting, where he and his crew eat homemade tea cakes that he tenderly serves on lace doilies?

Yeah. Not likely to happen.

And I'm not imagining granny in her housecoat wants the biker skeleton, either.

I really hope somewhere in this world is a factory full of unsold figurines. Because that would mean nobody bought this crap, and my life, as I know it, would still make sense to me.

Unfortunately, I am sure there are many a parcel in the mail today with these very things in them.

I think I must be missing the tchotchkie gene. Because I just don't get it.

[My apologies to any readers who actually own these items. Please unsubscribe from my blog. We clearly have nothing in common. You are definitely in the wrong place if monkey and skeleton figurines are your thing. No hard feelings, okay?]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What happens when dad says yes

A conversation:

THEM: "Mom, can we go out and play in the backyard?"

ME: "Umm, no. Hello, it's raining?"

THE HUSBAND: "Why can't they go out? Let them do it. Don't say no. It won't hurt anything."

THEM: "Yay!"

ME: Groan. Mumble. Curse silently.

Thirty minutes pass, and there is a knock at the back door. I open it to find this little cheery sight:

And that, my dear husband, is EXACTLY why I said no.

Any questions?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If that's not love, what is?

"Do you love me?
Do I what?
Do you love me?

For twenty-five years I've lived with him,
Fought him, starved with him,
Twenty-five years my bed is his,
If that's not love, what is?

Then do you love me?
I suppose I do.
And I suppose I love you, too.
It doesn't change a thing, but even so,
after twenty-five years,
it's nice to know."

You know that song from Fiddler on the Roof where Tevye asks Golde if she loves him? And she rattles off a list of chores she has done for 25 years that proves her love?

I think I finally know just what they mean.

See, my husband is not the flower-sending kind. Don't get me wrong. I have gotten them. Just not on a regular, everyday basis like I think I should.

My husband is not the foot massage giving kind of guy. I think my ugly, knobby feet might actually disgust him. He's more the type to try massaging OTHER parts, if you know what I mean.

And my husband definitely is not the "Surprise! I bought you a sparkly new diamond ring for no reason!" kind of guy (unlike some lucky girls - hi, Emily!)

But I do know that he loves me.

How do I know? Because he builds me things like this, of his own accord and design, knowing just how much I need it in my life:

A giant, wall-sized bulletin board, covered in a pretty red-checked fabric. Divided into three sections, topped with crisp white wooden letters, clearly, and oh-so-neatly, denoting each kids' spot.

He knows the piles of papers that come home from the school need to have a home. And he knows that their current home (which is piled up on my desk) makes me crazy. So, he spent a whole Saturday last weekend putting this together for little ol' moi.

In addition to that, he gave up his lifelong dream of having a man cave downstairs and put wainscoting on the walls in the basement, knowing full well he'd never get to hang that rifle, Danish flag, and beer keg lid on walls as pretty as these.

So does he love me? I suppose he does.

Although, if he ever wanted to send flowers or big, sparkly diamond rings in addition to the house stuff, I wouldn't necessarily refuse them. You know, because I'm just so nice like that.

Thanks, baby.

After almost 15 years together, I suppose I love you, too.

Monday, August 18, 2008

God bless refined sugar

Several weeks ago, a reader named Tracy (hi, Tracy! Got a blog yet?) sent me her favorite brownie recipe. And because I like you, internets (and am constantly striving to fatten you up), I am going to share it with you.

Plus, we made and ate two pans of these in one week, so surely it is not fair that I get fatter while you do not.

Here now is what I have dubbed 'Tracy in Iowa's Sell-Your-Soul-to-Satan-For-One Brownies.' May your thighs have mercy on your soul.

Mix up a batch of your favorite fudge brownies. From a box, because surely no one makes brownies from scratch anymore, right?

Bake according to the directions, and allow to cool. When cool, spread with your favorite cream cheese frosting. Mine is the kind in a can because I'm just so lazy homespun like that.

Be sure to lick the knife clean when you are done. This is CRITICAL to the success of the recipe.

Then take 1 cup peanut butter and 2 cups chocolate chips. Melt in the microwave until smooth and creamy (took me less than a minute). Add 3 cups Rice Krispies to chocolate mixture and spread over the cream cheese frosting layer.

I know, right?

Then pop the entire pan into the fridge to speed up the setting process. Heaven forbid one should have to actually wait for them to be ready on their own. THAT would be a sin.

Then hide them from the kids, and be sure to eat at least four. Preferably six. If you eat half the pan, I promise to hold your hand through your next Weight Watchers meeting. If you don't, then I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

Thanks, Tracy. Send me any more you've got because, clearly, this getting fatter thing seems to be working for me (at least in my neck, anyway).

What? You still here? Get thyself to the kitchen and start baking. Now!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gracias, mine interpeeps

How much do I love the internet today?

So, so much.

You sure do know how to make a girl feel good. Even you lurkers that decided to come out and play. I thank you. From the bottom of my very short-haired heart. I think next time I'm feeling bad about myself, I will whine about it here, and wait for you all to make me feel pretty again. Seriously, thank you. Your kind words meant a lot to me. I am just blown away by all of it.

Now onto other non-hair related things (you mean the world doesn't revolve around my hair? Shocking, but true).

Yesterday was the first day of school. A buzz of energy, the kids got all ready in about six minutes, and then sat around waiting until it was time to go. When the time finally arrived, there was some moaning as they lugged their school supplies to the bus stop, which I was absolutely no help with. I mean, someone had to be snapping pictures, right? Who else will document these milestones?

Once at the bus stop, I forced them to endure the gratuitous, cheesy smile pose that moms everywhere are snapping this time of year. Backpacks on, freshly scrubbed faces, new clothes. Note to self: Must get more creative for next year. I'm thinking headstands on backpacks, human pyramid, flame-thrower in the background. Something.

McKay had a lot more anxiety and nervousness about this year, which surprised me. Poor kid could hardly eat anything for breakfast because his stomach was all in knots. Lucky for him, I ate enough for the two of us. Just trying to keep the universe balanced and all that (or so I'm trying to tell my thighs).

Hannah was definitely the most excited, "Aboutstartingfirstgrade! Ohmygoodness!! I'minfirstgradenow!! I can'tbelieveI'mfinallysogrownup!! I'minfirstgrade!!!" And that's exactly how it sounded all morning, I kid you not.
Chase was hardly nervous at all - telling his usual round of jokes, searching the ground for frogs, and asking how soon it was until lunchtime.

But in the end, only my baby girl looked back.

But only for a second, and then she was gone. Leaving me, my checkbook, my novels, and daytime movies all alone.

Whatever shall I do?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Shelby was right, it DOES look like a brown football helmet"

All right, because you asked for it. Here is my new, unplanned hair. I still don't like it, but have at least managed to stop crying whenever I look into a mirror.

Pros of having short hair:
  • Not spending 25 minutes with a blow dryer every morning.
  • Not having to sweep up large piles of hair in the bathroom every day.
  • Less money spent on shampoo and product means more money that can be spent on shoes.
  • I could pose as a man and do undercover work, should I ever so desire.
  • On hot and humid days, my neck isn't nearly as sweaty.
  • No more ponytail headache.
  • Much more interesting bed head in the morning.

Cons of having short hair:

  • It's short.
  • It's really, really short.
  • It accentuates my fat neck (just ask the stylist from hell).
  • I don't know how to style it very well.
  • I am tempted to really tramp up the cosmetics in an effort to draw attention away from my hair, thus giving me a new look - drag queen in a bad wig.
  • Hannah still telling me how ugly it looks.
  • Having EVERYONE notice and comment on it is really embarrassing.
  • Every other commercial on t.v. is for hair products, demonstrated by models with long, flowing locks. Who mock my pain on purpose, I know it.
  • And I can do absolutely nothing about it.

P.S. Know the name of the movie where the title comes from? If you do, we are meant to be BFFs. If you don't, find out and rent it today.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Apparently I just don't speak hairdresser

Yesterday I made a mistake of colossal proportions. Ignoring the begging, pleading, and whining of the Husband, I proceeded, with my stubborn mind made up.

Girls, I am telling you now. Listen to your husbands. Sometimes, they just might be right.

I had decided that the time had come for me to cut my hair. And not just trim a little off the ends, but really cut. my. hair. It has been varying degrees of long for about the last six years.

And humidity and long hair? They don't get along so well.

I was tired of it and ready for a change, but also not wanting to go too short. So, for the last several weeks, I have been perusing websites, magazines, and people-watching in search of my new hair. One lucky day, I found it. It belonged to a girl who was innocently walking around the City Museum with her kids. Unbeknownst to her, I was stalking her hair, snapping away with my telephoto lens like a paparazzi. I had pictures of every angle of this hair, lest there be any confusion when I went in.

I need to pause in the telling of the hair story to tell you that I have not found my hair "person" here in St. Louis yet. I have gone in a few times for trims, but never really felt like I had found my stylist. Just haven't found that special someone. And if you're anything like me, this is a relationship that MUST be just right. It requires almost as much thought and prayer as choosing your spouse.

You know it's true.

So, armed with my arsenal of pictures, I made an appointment. The day arrived, and I excitedly headed in, ready to meet the new me.


The stylist I had blindly chosen did not agree with my hairdo of choice. She flat out refused to give it to me. Then, in a move I'll never fully comprehend, told me I was too old to be able to pull it off. Oh, and that it would accentuate my fat neck.

Excuse me?

There are a lot of parts of me that I will agree are fat and jiggly, but up until that moment, I was fairly confident my neck wasn't one of them. I should have gotten up and ran from her chair right then.

But the coward that I am, I stayed right there. And with a few thousand flicks of her scissors, she gave me her version of the haircut, which in no way, shape, or form resembled the one I was looking for. I left the salon in tears. My hair was not only A LOT shorter than I wanted, but I looked like I had a giant poofy bell taking up space around my head, ringing as I walked. It was HORRIBLE.

Calling and sobbing to the Husband did very little good, as he had advised against cutting it in the first place. To his credit, there were no "I told you so's," but we all know how well the men deal with the tears. They really don't know HOW to deal with them.

So, I frantically ran to my friend Mindy's house, tears streaming, and hair-bell ringing. Thankfully, Mindy is someone you can count on to be brutally honest, but in a kind, loving way. And with a hug and a diet coke, she handed me the phone and the number of a male stylist, the likes of which I should have seen in the first place.

A few hours later, lots of laughs in the second salon at my botched job, and my hair is as fixed as it can be. It is, unfortunately, really, really short. So short, in fact, that I am not in a mental place where I can even take pictures of it yet. In a few days I might be ready, but not today. I'm still working on coming down off this ledge.

Which would probably be easier to do if Hannah would stop telling me just how ugly it is, you know, every eight minutes or so.

By the way, she's for sale. Cheap. And she comes with a lifetime supply of polly pockets. Any takers?

The only bright rainbow in this cloudy hair storm? At least I found my new hair person. If only I'd found him a few hours earlier.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Picking the collective brain of the internet

After a weekend spent ignoring my family reading, I finished a few days ago. [And I will only say that I liked it, was mildly disappointed in the anticlimactic ending, and would rather have had a little more written detail about the you-know-what that was going on ALL OF THE TIME, apparently. Stupid young adult audience. Spoils it for the rest of us.]

Anyway, I am left with just one question.

Now what do I read?

I have been on a reading frenzy ever since our catastrophic vacation. I have sped my way through all of Philipa Gregory's Henry VIII books (and loved each and every one of them. I may even be a little in love with crazy Henry now. I know. Don't tell my boyfriend Edward. And certainly don't tell the Husband).

I have devoured this, this, this, and this in the last few weeks alone, among others.

But I find myself at a loss. Browsing my favorite online bookstores is not netting me any inspiration. What should I read next? Where can I focus my near-obsessive personality?

Certainly not my husband and children. Oh, no. Not them. They wouldn't know what to do with themselves.

So, I look to you, dear interpeeps, to help me in my time of need.

What are your favorite reads? What have you read lately that you loved and could not put down?

Please tell me another book or series that I can become addicted to. Give me some more reason to ignore my laundry, dirty bathrooms, and children [as if blogging weren't enough, right?]

Right. You know what I'm talking about.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The last week of summer

I am starting to think that I just might miss these little friends when they go back to school in nine days, 16 hours, and four minutes.

But who's counting, anyway?

Summer Fun Photo Contest

5 Minutes for Mom is having a little photo contest. Somebody has to win, right? Here's my little try. Thanks, Girlymama , for the heads-up. Here goes nothin'!

Friday, August 1, 2008

A plea, in spite of myself

Tomorrow, the fourth installment of my Edward fix the Bella/Edward/Jacob saga will be released. And you know that because, like me, you, too, have shred every ounce of dignity and self-respect by caving into the mania that is the Twilight series.

I wanted to NOT like these books. Really, I did.

I tend to want to buck trends simply out of spite. I don't like to do something, just because everyone else is doing it or saying that I should.

I resisted reading even the back cover of the first one until well after the first three had been published and were dominating all the best seller lists. I listened to friends prattle on about how romantic they were, how lovely Edward was, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

And teen fiction?

I wasn't reading that when I was a teen.

But Ms. Meyers has created another tragic, haunting hero that I have grudgingly put on the mental boyfriend shelf next to Heathcliff, Mr. Darcy, Edward Ferrars, and Atticus Finch (come on, you know you all want him, too).

Edward (in spite of the fact that he's a blood-sucking vampire) has become a household name at women's gatherings. We talk of him, we dream of him, and some women out there even make shirts, plastering his name across their chests. In my grown-up, semi-responsible mother world, I have never seen anything like this. It feels like the Beatlemania of our housewife generation.

And here is where I make a solemn plea to our dear Ms. Meyers.

Tomorrow, I will pick my copy up, bright and early at the bookstore. I will most likely spend a couple of days ignoring my family while reading this new book. But should I get to the end and find that Jacob The Dog wins, I will be seriously ticked off that I wasted any time on these books at all.

You did not suck me into this teen crap to leave our darling boy alone for all eternity. Do not go for an ending with controversy, as some authors are prone to do. GIVE US WHAT WE WANT ALREADY. Have him suck the life out of her, turn her into one like him, and let them spend eternity hunting mountain lions together, as two perfectly beautiful stone-cold vampires.

[Oh, geez. Tell me I did not just write that last sentence. I really need help, as do all of you, vehemently nodding your heads in agreement while reading this in your "I heart Edward" t-shirt. Come on, you know who you are.]

But seriously. If it doesn't end well, I be one unhappy mama.

Please let it end well.