Sunday, May 31, 2009

Costume Shop Not in the Know

This may seem like a very silly little thing to blog about, but it is bothering me and so now I need to go and write it down. Yesterday, I went into a local costume shop. My daughter, who is nine years of age, is doing a dance in her school talent show to "Dancing Queen" by ABBA. A very light (as in small) and gay (as in just that) and young (although he didn't look too awfully young) man in a combat uniform, altered to look more like a uniform that one would wear while dancing on a catwalk, bounced up to greet me and ask what we might need. I told him that we needed an ABBA type costume for my daughter who is going to be doing a dance to "Dancing Queen" and "yes" my daughter and her friend were both standing with me in said costume shop. "Oh, I don't know if I can help you with that," he said dismissively waving his hand in a loose jointed wrist motion with fanning fingers, "That is way before my time," this was said with a haughty, French like blast of laughter. I proceeded to ask him if he had seen "Mamma Mia." He told me that he had not ( I guess that movie must have been before his time...hmm...maybe his time is only up to and not before yesterday?) I was surprised, most people have at least heard of if not seen "Mamma Mia" and are thus aware that the movie features a great deal of (O.K., ALL and is clearly not a movie before young man's time) ABBA music.

At this time, a young woman approximately the same age as the man who had been helping me and dressed in a Barbieschoolgirlmeetsgoth outfit came up and blurted loudly and a bit gleefully, "ABBA, that is so cool, like in Mamma Mia!" May little gay friend turned on his heel and strutted off, sniff in the air, while I actually proceeded to get some help from this nice young woman who must live way before her time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

CRS is Taking Hold

I have that disease, "Now what is it called again? Oh, that's right, Can't Remember Shit (CRS for short)." It is aggravating, infuriating even. I did it again today, I planned an extra work project around the schedule of my child who has a big ballet performance coming up in a couple of weeks, thus extra rehearsals that are not set in my mind, I planned everything around extra rehearsals for next week when really the extra rehearsals don't start until the week following. A number of phone calls, "Uh sorry, but I have CRS you see," later I got it straightened out. It is a good thing that I had those wonderful waking hours between 2:00 and 4:00 am that have become regular for me or I might have not remembered at all.

Credit for the CRS term goes to a friend of mine. She struggles with it too. In fact, just today, she left me a voicemail message and couldn't remember why she called. The funny part was that she was talking to herself and trying to work out why she called over the message. It has made me smile all morning. Yes, she does read this blog, maybe she will post a comment finally! These CRS struggles are good for me to see though, that way I don't feel like I am the only one.

It should also be mentioned that I am a consummate list maker. I have two calendars, one for home and one for the road in addition to my paper lists, I have found that there is more hope of me actually remembering something if I write it down. Even with this level of support I manage to double book myself or my kids, this is especially true when I am trying to fit in extra things to do at work. "Why do a do this? That's right, I suffer from CRS."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just For Today...

Just for today... I solemnly pledge to do the following...hopefully...

...Cut down on my carb intake (Megs, you are a true inspiration here)
...Just don't swear at stupid drivers (is "stupid" a swear word? I thought not)...even, if only in my mind (I usually have kids in the car, so it is not often that I swear outloud)
...One glass of wine can be enough (unless it is really super good!)
...I can write for an hour a day (on my organzied weeks I do this)
...Feel good about myself when I walk by a mirror (OMG! where do the wrinkles come from and what is the deal with my midsection!)
...Use positive discipline techniques with my children (although I try and try yelling just doesn't work even though I did it just now. I have been up from the computer to run interference between my kids six times since I started writing this little post and I wonder why I can never get anything done!)
...Think more and talk less
...Go to bed when I am tired (hey! what a concept!)
...Learn how to do something new

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Reading

Lately I have been perusing blogs whereby the authors of said blogs are posting their summer reading lists. "I wish," I say to myself each time I run across one of these, "that I could be so organized." I mean, really, to actually know what I might want to read in advance! What a concept. I read all of the time. Really I do. More than once friends have asked (sometimes it is the same friend) "How do you find the time?" My question to myself is, "How do I not find the time?" Reading is a stress release for me. I can get lost in another world, other than my own. Maybe that is why I am so picky about it. I read based on feeling, "Let's see, what book in my numerous stacks by the bed and on the bookshelves, looks good today?" Then I pick it up and start it. I do this at the library as well. Last summer was a slew of surprises in reading, books that I never thought that I would pick up and good share of them out-of-print or hard to come by in this country to boot. I made my selections based primarily on how near they were to children's areas that my kids were perusing. How random is that? I would say it is fairly random, I broadened my literary scope greatly using this method I might add as well. Then there are the book clubs. Actually I should say book club. I used to belong to two, now Book Club Gone Bad appears to be on permanent hiatus so I am now down to one book club. I usually get around to reading the required reading. I usually get around to finishing it too, sometimes because I actually like the book, other times because I just can't stand to leave it unfinished unless it is really bad. I am thankful to say that no book club member has picked a really bad read yet, oh, yeah, there was one. It was so bad that I don't even remember the name, I struggled through that one, very poorly written. I can't stand it when something is poorly written. I would rather not understand what the hell the characters are doing half of the time than to read something poorly written. With that said, I will go forth and finish "The God of Small Things" which I have been meaning to read almost as long as it has been in print. Then it will be off of my "reading list," that would be the one that I will be developing as I go along. Happy summer reading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reality Television Gone Bad

I have been loosely following the debacle that is the John and Kate Plus 8 series lately. Why? I have to ask myself. I don't really watch television much at all anymore. The screenwriters strike last spring helped me to become unaddicted so to speak. I must admit, however, that the John and Kate Plus 8 series was one that I followed closely in earlier times. I am the mother of multiples and a singleton. While I have twins and the Gosselins have six plus twins, I still found that I was able to relate to many of the things featured when the series was still young. Also, I liked how Kate was more normal, organized, and realistic than some other moms of large families featured on reality T.V. With that said, I gave up the series some time ago when it was not longer reality T.V. I don't want to get caught up in the tabloid presentations of the current state of the family, but one could see where it was headed long before the Gosselins became tabloid headliners.

Subtle hints of things to come like Kate's persistent need to remain obsessive with eight young children at home, fairly consistent talk of needing things to be bigger and better, focusing on freebies and perks, involving more and more outsiders in the family, yada, yada, yada. These things started to turn me off from the series. I don't begrudge a family success, but when it starts to look like it is at the expense of their children, rather than for them I start to lose interest. I don't get too caught up in the fact that Kate appears selfish and overly concerned about her appearance. Most women who have had their heads down in dirty diapers, spit up, and bottles for years on end go through a period of selfishness while they try and re-find who they are. Most women don't go through this on live television. Will the show go on? I don't know. It seemed like a good the it has all just become too Hollywood for me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

First Camping Trip 2009

We had our first camping trip this year at Birch Bay State Park up North, near the Canadian border. The kids like it because there is a really awesome water park, not very crowded and no long lines like other water parks in our area. I like it because of the beautiful beaches, great seafood, and wonderful company. We have been camping with members of this group that we went with this weekend on and off for over ten years now. This was a great start to summer and the weather was outstanding. I am so excited that it is finally warm.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gifford-Hirlinger Winery

This is a small winery in the Walla Walla, Washington and I just don't have enough good things to say about their wine. I first visited this winery on a wine tasing weekend trip with some friends last fall. I had another chance to explore new flavors at a local wine tasting at which the owner of Gifford-Hirlinger was present. This is a small, family owned winery. I haven't had a bad vintage from them yet and thanks to addicted friends I have been able to sample more than just a few of their fantastic wines I recommend the LV or Stateline red for starters. Good with food or just to sip at the end of a long (or short) day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ballets Russes in HD

Sometime back I read a biography of Coco Chanel. Now I don't consider myself to be a person who is hugely into fashion, I like clothes that are comfortable and that fit. If they look good, I consider that to be a bonus. Before I read the biography of Coco Chanel I was channel surfing one night and found myself watching the Lifetime movie about her life, the one with Shirley Mc Clain. This inspired me to learn more about the eccentric woman who changed the face of women's fashion forever. She was also a supporter of the Ballets Russes and Stravinsky. Now I have developed an interest in the Ballets Russes and Stravinsky as well. I watched a documentary about Ballets Russes and many of the members who danced in the 1930's-1950's were still living and were interviewed in this film, which was made in the year 2000. It was fascinating. Also, where Balanchine got his start, but that is another story.

Our wonderful SIFF Cinema here in Seattle showed an HD production of three Ballets Russes performances, Firebird, The Rite of Spring, and The Wedding. These were done by the Kirov Ballet and filmed in Russia in 2008. What awesome reproductions. Because of choreographers like Balanchine, ballets are no longer performed with quite that much going on in terms of sets and actions (unless it is the Nutcracker). Everything today is more specialized, we have ballet, drama, theater, modern dance, etc., etc. and they each occupy a niche, but do not often overlap. These three productions comprised all three and pretty much all at once and all to the dark swirling cacophonous overtones of Stravinsky's melodies. Beautiful.

The Rite of Spring started riots at its Paris debut in 1913. The theater was in such an uproar that the dancers were counting outloud on stage because they couldn't hear the music. People were upset because the music was not the sweet and peaceful kind usually paired with a ballet, the dance was decidedly modern (perhaps the first modern dance to ever be brought to stage), and the story was about sacrificing a virgin. I have to say, of the three, this was my least favorite. I am a sometime fan of modern dance, but I just like watching ballet more.

My favorite performance was Firebird. The woman who danced the part of the Firebird, well I could just sit and watch her dance all day. They say that arm movements are very important for Kirov dancers and her arm movements were just lovely. The stage was also fantastic, more like a theater or opera setting. I loved the mixed artistic pairings all the way around. I am so glad that I made time in my busy mid-week mothering and work schedule to see this.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ah! The Hippo

We were at the zoo a couple of weekends ago. The hippos were quite frisky. There were three of them and they kept leaping from the water and wrangling with their jaws. A fair amount of water jumping and cavorting was also observed. In all of my visits to our local zoo I have never seen the hippos do anything but pose, half submerged in their pond. I also noticed the sign, the sign that said no rescue attempts would be made for persons falling into the hippo area. They are big, yes, jaws fierce, yes, they seem so docile, no. An adult hippo weighs approximately 7,000 pounds, the mother hippos often have to guard their young and keep them in the water because the fathers will not attempt to eat the young hippos when they are water bound, and a hippo can snap a full-grown crocodile in half with one bite of it's massive jaws. No wonder nobody would be willing to mount a rescue effort.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Revolutionary Road

I finally got around to reading this book, Revolutionary Road, I have yet to see the movie, though now my interest is piqued and I think that I will have to. If there were ever any doubts that a man could write masterfully about domesticity from both sides, this book would dispel them. Richard Yates did a fantastic job of turning this 1950's marriage inside and out. It helped that the couple spent so much time talking, it helped in terms of writing the novel, it certainly didn't help in terms of the couplehood which was in sad decline from the get-go. There was a short period in the middle of the novel where the reader had a sense of hope for Frank and April Wheeler, this hopeful period was shrouded though in the reader's mind. Reading this book one does get a sense of doom.

In my opinion it was a great romance. Depressing, surely, but great nonetheless. I am not, nor have I ever been a sappy, happy romance kind of gal. Nicolas Sparks is not for me. I like pivotal realities in the relationships that I read about or view cinematically. While I don't like the fact that love and romance isn't all happy, I like it even less when books and movies make it into something that defies everything, even individuality. Revolutionary Road did not defy individuality. Even when the couple was their most together, one sensed that the individual would come out, the foreshadowing was there. All-in-all a fantastic read.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thankful for Advances in Women's Health

Warning (i.e., Loud Larry) this post may be TMI for some participants.

Early this morning I had a mammogram. My mother is a post-menopausal breast cancer survivor and I am very thankful for these advances in women's health. I am also keenly aware that these advances do not exist in many parts of the world, particularly in parts of the world where women, and thus their health, are not valued. It is not hard to find derision for feminism in the media or in every day conversation. I wonder if women have really thought long and hard about what the world was like prior to feminism. One really need look no further than the Middle East for a plethora of examples, but only a century ago things were not so different for women even here in this country. Yet, people seem to want to go back to that time...a time when women died in childbirth due to poor nutrition and health care, a time when women were not allowed to vote or own property, a time when women were not allowed to travel alone or file for divorce from an abusive husband, a time when a woman would lose custody of her children simply because she was a woman, a time when it was considered obsecene for a woman to work, these are but a few examples of the pre-feminist world. Call me crazy, but I am going to take today to be thankful for women's health and thankful for the technology that may one day save my life.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

I picked this short read up from the library recently. I liked the title. It is supposed to be almost summer, but in my neck of the woods (Seattle) the seasons can't seem to make up their minds so we go from freezing, raining, wind storms to hot and sunny all within a matter of days. My expectations of this book were not high, I thought maybe it would be boring. As I was only checking it out and not buying the book, I figured that I would take a chance. What a nice surprise. As it says in the introduction, it is almost as though this book is about nothing. However, it is about something, it is about the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother. The girl's mother has died and she and her father and grandmother summer, as they always have, in their cottage on an island off of the Finnish coast. Sadly, I had not heard of this author/illustrator, Tove Jansson, prior to this book. She is quite well known in her own country for her artwork and writing, she died in 2001.

In this book the child and the grandmother have many simple and wonderful adventures together. The father is more a backdrop in this story, he is present usually sitting or working, not interacting. It is the granddaughter and grandmother that are wound in their own secret world. Their adventures include such things going for long walks in the woods, discovering secrets in the attic, and sharing in nature, animal, and people exploits together. Grandmother has some interesting ideas about human behavior, many of which match my own, that I have not heard articulated in a book prior to this. For example, the granddaughter wants to hear about grandmother's long ago exploits as a Girl Scout. Grandmother searchs her mind to try and remember. She does remember that when she wanted to share these exploits with her family, no one was interested and now she just can't remember anymore. I understand that. A newcomer builds a huge house across the water from the family's cottage. Grandmother and granddaughter row out to it and it is padlocked. Grandmother says that they should pick the lock and go inside as no one on the island has ever locked anything before, people with class would never trespass, but to be faced with a padlock and a "no trespassing" sign is like a slap in the face to the common decency of the islanders. Like I said, it is a charming narrative. I will be looking for more by this author soon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Deep Thoughts from a Friend of Mine

Tequilla should always be sold with an instant camera attached to it so the next day you have some idea of what happened!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Love Actually

Alas! I am in the throes of yeat another busy day and I am lazy about writing these days so I really wanted to do a video post today. When I set out to do a video post it is usually something very specific and today was not any different. What I wanted to appear on my blog was the introduction to the movie Love Actually. I wanted to show the beginning scene where travellers are meeting at Heathrow Airport and everyone is embracing and well wishing. Unfortunately that scene does not seem to be available for downloading. I found a British version and a Portuguese version. The British version could not be downloaded in this country (United States) and the Portuguese version had the embedding disabled. Now this is frustrating as this post really deserves a visual. Sans visual, I will write that this is my favorite movie introduction and seeing it gives me the faith in humanity that I sometimes lack. I don't mean to be a cynic, but so much garbage happens out there in the world everyday that it is easy to lose sight of those ties that bind us to one another here on earth and sometimes I need to be reminded of that. Today I will think, love actually and maybe try to practice a little love instead of cynicism.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Deep Thoughts

Sometimes naked
Sometimes mad
Now the scholar
Now the fool
Thus they appear on earth
The free men

-Hindu verse