Friday, December 28, 2012

Let the Creativity Begin...

I joined a writing group and received my first writing prompt. I could write a poem, story or just a few sentences.

I was so frightened that I...

I was so frightened that I closed my eyes
and for a moment thought I might be dead
I didn't shiver or shake or speak or slur
or listen with my head

I walked blindly with eyes halfway closed
braver at a faster pace
Running is not my cup of tea
I expect to lose every race

But at the end there is a place for me
where life is fast and love is slow
it's scary when you don't wish to see
what your heart should always know

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's a Good Day to Speak Up

I haven't blogged since October?! What kind of writer am I?! One of my goals for 2013 is to write more. I mean I've been writing my ass off in 2012, but it hasn't been for pleasure necessarily, it's been for work. Luckily, some of my work IS pleasurable so it all evens out. Kind of. However, writing for myself is something I need to dedicate more time to just for my own sanity and to constantly feed my own creativity.

I feel lately, as in the past few days, that I have had a very short fuse. It's pretty unusual for me because I don't get riled up too easily. It makes me think, am I stressed and not know it or are my reactions normal? And, what's normal? Clearly, for me, when I speak my mind or raise my voice or even talk "sternly" then I cannot be someone who has a backbone, who is confident, who wants to get a point across. I am looked at as a girl "in a bad mood" or more succinctly, a bitch.

It's been an argument women have been battling for years, decades even, and it's one that is frustrating to no end. Yes, there are some women who actually are crazy bitches, but if you poll the people in my life not one of them would say I am one. However, it doesn't mean I don't have my moments, and I feel that I am entitled to those.

When a male doesn't show emotion, speaks straight facts without a voice that's covered in sugar and rainbows, that is expected. But if I am not a perky cheerleader every day all day, then something is wrong with me. Ridiculous. And the more you battle the argument that nothing is wrong, the more people will needle you and say things like, "Whoa, you're in a bad mood" or "Don't want to make you mad." They say these things because they are used to seeing my smiling face. They expect it. I cannot be a ball of sunshine 24 hours a day. They think women are supposed to lay on the charm thick first thing in the morning, like we are not humans who also are tired, need caffeine or just a few moments of silence before being bombarded with idiotic questions and outright buffoonery.

What I've learned as I've grown older is that frankly, I don't give a damn. If I know I am acting in a way I do not regret, a way that does not intend to hurt someone's feelings, and does not shed me in a bad light, then I will not be afraid to speak up even if it means someone may not like it and may form a mis-perception about me. The truth is that people who look at outspoken women in that manner will more likely be shortsighted regarding other things. And who has time to teach an ignorant fool like that?

So because I am a thoughtful person, I've thought about my actions these past few days and have contemplated whether or not my shorter than usual fuse was called for or needs to be reined in. The final verdict is that it has been a growing of feelings that includes a mixture of annoyance and disgust. When feelings like that come to a head, there is a volatile volcano that might erupt, such as what has happened. It's bound to happen, meant to be. I have acknowledged it and moved on.

For the people who will continue to instigate such feelings in me, I will have to remember to choose my battles wisely. So much energy is exerted on people who don't have a clue about the ways of life is a waste of time.

I hope your Thursday was filled with more calm than my thunderous day. But if not, then I hope you are satisfied with what you were able to get off your chest.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Do you remember sleeping until noon? It was the norm, it was expected, especially after staying out until 2 a.m. I can't remember the last time I was up until 2 a.m. And if I was to stay up that late it would really have to be worth it or I would have to have insomnia because five days a week I wake up at 5:45.

When I was younger, I didn't think of what to do with my time. I thought getting through school and work, partying and having a good time were IT. Like that was all I had to worry about for the rest of my life. I didn't know that life was meant to begin before noon.

I'd like to stay I quickly grew out of that phase when I left college, but to be honest, up until about four or five years ago, it was still not that out of the ordinary to stay out until early morning hours and sleep late only to wake up because I needed something to eat. But it's amazing the shit you can get done when you aren't sleeping.

Trust me, I've always been one to value my sleep. I still do. But now I value my time awake, too. I make lists and plans and goals and I write them out. I don't say half-heartedly that someday I would like to travel the world/write a novel/score my dream job. I am methodical.

Even when I am sleeping, I'm dreaming about how I am going to make my goals come to fruition. I usually fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow, but on the rare occasion I stay awake those few extra moments, I silently give myself affirmations. It might sound crazy, but it definitely can change your mindset.

Before getting up for 9 a.m. yoga just so I can make it to the farmer's market before it got too busy would seem like a waste of time. Why couldn't I go to the later class or better, not at all? But now it seems like a relaxing morning, a great way to start the weekend.

Friday nights used to mean taking a power nap after work to go out early for some pre-drinks before...drinking. Now I look forward to Fridays on my couch with my guy watching movies we've seen a hundred times before or at a friend's house with bottles of wine. Wine. It used to sound so pretentious, still kind of does, but it makes me happy and sleepy and I can hear myself think and I can hear others talk.

I have never been fearful of getting older, of "slowing down" and not partying like before because I know if I chose to do that, I could. And, I think that's why it's not as appealing to me anymore. Being in your 20's, there is almost some kind of desperation to really have the best, most fun time EVER. And if you didn't, then you were lame or getting old or not enjoying your youth. When really, maybe you just ran out of fun ideas.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my party days. But when I drink too much now, it takes me days (plural!) to recover and I think, what a freakin' waste. Pretty much, it doesn't matter what you choose to do as long as you're around people you love and who love you. Not people you're trying to love or trying to get to love you.

Settling into life that's too full of fun things and excitement and contentment and anticipation and plans to NOT start it before noon - it's one of the best things about "getting old." Sleep all you can. But don't do it because you don't think there's nothing worthwhile to get up for.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Psychic Readings

I've been to tarot readers and psychics a handful of times. The best one I've been to was in the French Quarter in New Orleans. She was telling me a story about my life. Whether she was right or not, I'm not sure - I kind of forgot what she said.

I went to a psychic yesterday who reminded me of an old church lady that has a limp handshake and wears floral muumuus. She was a lovely lady though who was really adamant about two things: meditation and stepping outside the box. She told me two or three times that I needed to meditate, which I have done before. I'm not good at the whole setup with music and a quiet corner or anything like that, but I do like moments of quiet to really clear my thoughts. I get the point of meditation, I do. I think it's helpful for anyone and it doesn't "mean" you have to do anything, but let your mind be still.

She also said that I need to step out of my box. Which I don't like to think of myself being confined to a box, but she's right. I am comfortable in my life. I am happy and comfortable and things are fantastic, but there's always that thought that there is something more. Not something that will make me happier or feel more fulfilled, just something that I have not yet done that needs to be done.

I think this is probably writing my book.

The psychic also says she sees Hawaii in my future, which I liked to hear. Smart women she is to tell someone that they might be going to Hawaii. I wanted her to tell me I'm going to be traveling internationally soon, but the point of her reading was to tell me I have to initiate that. I can't expect that the opportunity is to lay before me. I have to "strike the match," - those were her words.

You want psychics are for, at least for me? They are to tell me things I want to hear not necessarily things I don't know. They are to make observations of things they "see" for me and I can decide if they line up with my life. She is right about reaching out to the opportunities to travel. To really make that part of my life not just a goal. How to make this happen?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

CASA Stands for Something

Today I had court observation for a new volunteer opportunity I'm pursuing. I'm going to be a CASA - a court-appointed special advocate. My job will be to advocate for my case child - one who is a dependent of the court, one who needs some consistency in his or her life. I am responsible for being a go-to.

I will be visiting with a foster child whose case has been assigned to me. I will work with a social worker, possibly foster parents, school teachers, and every other person that plays a significant role in the growth of any child.

CASA is a national organization and is something I've wanted to do since college. At one point I thought I'd become a social worker. At another time, I thought I might become an attorney. This volunteer opportunity kind of combines the two a little. In California, the branch of CASA is called Voices for Children.

If you sign up to volunteer as well, you go through intensive training. They are flexible for those who have working schedules and the training I attended was in the evenings after work. Today observing the court docket in the juvenile court, that was my last "duty" as a CASA trainee. Next week I will be sworn in by a judge and I will officially be an advocate for a child.

I am a little anxious, but mostly looking forward to the challenge. Children should receive equal opportunities, more than anyone. They are just beginning to form their dreams and gain useful knowledge and if it's stunted with emotional distress or physical abuse or a combination of the two plus being taken from placement to placement, it can really disrupt them from the path of success. More importantly, it can derail them from the path to happiness.

I wish that being a CASA means that I was going to change the world. Or, even change a child. But, what I really expect is to show up where I'm expected. I want a child to know that there are people who want to show up for them when they say they will. I want to teach them about accountability and dependability. I can do that be simply showing up. That's what they've taught us in our training. Hopefully, that is what I achieve during my 18 months dedicated as a CASA.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blah, Blah, Blah

Today I woke up feeling blah. Not good, not bad - just blah. Mondays are my best days it seems because they are so busy. Therefore, they go by really fast, but Tuesdays I have to keep chugging along. I've been grinding my teeth a lot more lately at night, and I think it's because I'm sleeping harder, which means I have something on my mind. I would share with you what's on my mind, but I don't know what it is. Sounds crazy, but really there is nothing at the forefront of my mind that would be responsible for such heavy duty sleeping.

I hate blah days because I feel guilty for having them. So everything in my day didn't go perfectly according to plan, why do I feel justified to be in a bad mood over that? I shouldn't. But I do. What's worse is when you will yourself out of a blah day into a good one and then end borderline bad. This happens when you have a lot on your plate, when things don't go your way, when you just feel frustrated and tired. I am not the only one who has these kinds of days and my blah day could be your good day. Your good day could be my bad. Perspective, I guess.

So I handled the end to my blah/bad day by doing what I do best and focusing it on work and something productive. This works the majority of the time, but not always. To really end the day, I will read gossip and fashion magazines until my eyes can't stay open. I will make sure to count my blessings and ask God for guidance like I do every night.

And, then I will thank my lucky stars that my blah day wasn't an all bad one. I will make my tomorrow better.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Facing the Fear of Public Speaking

Last week was a good week. I faced an ongoing fear of mine. I've never been comfortable with public speaking. As part of my job last week, I didn't have to speak publicly, but I did have to be filmed speaking for approximately three minutes about the value of social media engagement. The length was a blip in my whole day and the topic was one I know well, but to actually have all focus be directly on me and recorded, I wasn't looking forward to doing it.

I read something recently though that said people sometimes talk themselves into fear. My "fear" of speaking in front of others might be fueled by my thinking that I'm not prepared enough or good enough or capable of doing a good job. So instead of focusing on how uncomfortable I would be, how badly I might screw up, I prepared. I practiced in the mirror and on the way home, talking to myself in the car. That way when the day came, I felt like I had the tools necessary to get the job done. And the thing is this time I told myself how awesome I was going to do. I didn't let doubts enter my mind, and it worked.

Yes, it could've been smoother, but honestly the end product is something I was proud of. Additionally, I was just proud that I followed through on something that I had committed to. I didn't punk out. Doing videos for this part of my job is on a volunteer basis, but I felt that as a team member, I needed to step up and do my part. I needed to make it known that I could handle everything that everyone else can, not to my team, but to myself - and that included standing up for three minutes to speak on a marketing topic.

I've read tips on how to face your fears when public speaking. They say to imagine the audience in their underwear. They say to take deep breaths. But, I say be prepared and get the positive energy flowing. Tell yourself that you are going to do great. Focus on the moment and exactly what you're supposed to do, which for me was to speak to a camera in an intelligent way. Whenever you feel your heart start beating a little faster, focus your attention on something else besides your nerves. Focus on what you've practiced and work with someone who is patient and can direct you in a calm way. One of my team members let me know when I needed to slow down my speaking, but didn't make me stop and start over. Because sometimes you just need to power through. Whatever seems so scary, powering through makes you feel like you're in control.

Last week was a good week. Something that I didn't look forward to doing, something that I didn't think would turn out well actually turned out to go a lot better than expected. I know I can handle it when it comes my way. And having that knowledge helps boost my confidence.

First step, public speaking - up next, take over the world...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Don't Make Me Picture You In Your Underwear

I hate speaking in public. I don't like having focus shifted onto me unless I have specifically asked for it. If I should ever get married, I wouldn't mind if my groom would walk down the aisle while everyone stared at him and I would just stand at the alter waiting. In short, I don't care if people like to look away from me.

As a writer, I am fortunate that I don't have to speak to too many people on a regular basis. I rarely have to give a presentation and when I do speak it's about editing or social media or content. But as it is, my job has started a new video series for our company. The videos are meant to be short snippets of information for our clients and potential clients to learn about the ins and outs of what we do. It's a cool concept and hosting a video is purely volunteer.

But somehow I have volunteered! I have spoken up and said that I will do something I don't like! I'm not even sure how it happened, but now that it has I don't want to look like a punk and back out. I'm not nervous necessarily, but I'm already being too hypercritical of how I might screw up.

Also, it will just be me and the person running the video camera in the room, so it's not like I'll be publicly speaking, but I'll be put on the spot. And I don't do that. I'm not a performer! I'm a writer!

I can sit by myself for hours on end without any interaction and be ok. Of course, I'm not a hermit and don't prefer that, but I don't stand up and call to be the center of attention either. My personality is honestly borderline extrovert and introvert, but I feel that I'm only extroverted in situations I'm already comfortable in.

Although it's been quite some time, I do have experience with presentations. In high school, I was part of the forensics team and in college, one of my majors was Communication Studies, but since then I haven't really had to stand up in front of anyone. Ever.

But now it's the eve of my video and I'm not freaking out, but more just anticipating how things might have changed over the past decade? Will I feel more confident? Will I breeze through the video (which is short anyway)? No tricks work for me. No taking slow breaths or imagining the audience in their underwear, so stupid. I just want to be done with it. And, I want to do a good job.

Hopefully, I don't stammer through. Oh, and I also have to stand on top of a box of paper so I'm tall enough next to the wall TV that will be behind me. Don't stutter; don't sweat; don't biff it off the box.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What Does It Mean?

By now I'm sure you've heard the song "Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men. It's catchy and peppy, but a little bit haunting. Every time I hear it I try to figure out what it's about. It's a sweet sounding tune, so much so that you'd think it's about a long lasting love, but honestly every time I hear it I think about someone going crazy and "talking" to herself. My favorite part of the song is when it slows down and the lyrics go: Now wait, wait, wait for me, please hang around I'll see you when I fall asleep. What do you think that means?! Am I way off base? I don't think I am. I'm pretty sure I'm right.

Monday, June 18, 2012

30 and Not Hissing at People: I'm Doing Well

Courtney HartmannI saw this really fantastic, quirky movie, Lola Versus, filled with people you don't know doing things you probably don't care about, but in a really silly and laugh out loud way. Actually, you'll probably recognize Greta Gerwig as that one girl who was in that one movie with that one A-list star. She is a bit awkward, but also adorable and in the movie she goes through this semi-downward spiral after an abrupt breakup with her fiance.

She is also facing turning 29, which I guess is supposed to be scary. Why? Because 29 is almost 30 and 30 means you're supposed to a) have shit figured out or b) feel remorseful when you make a huge ass out of yourself because you got drunk/were dumped/had a rough week at work. 29 is still young and free and 30 is old and confined?  Such a crock. I related to Lola during her verge of a new decade of life/sink to the bottom, especially during one memorable scene in which she hisses at a store clerk.

Lola goes in to buy liquor, underpays and then runs out of the store in a frenzy. The store clerk runs after her yelling when all of sudden she stops and hisses at him. Then, she takes a big swig from a 40. In that moment, I was hurtled back to my 20 year old self who told my 20 year old guy friend that if we were not married by the time we were 30, we should marry each other. I also told him that if I am not married by the time I'm 30 that I would probably want to start hissing at people. Just for fun. Not because I thought I'd be that kind of weirdo. Or, maybe deep down I thought in my naive way that I would feel bad for not being married by 30 and turn spinster scary, and do things like eat my hair, become a hermit and yes, hiss at people.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, this did not happen. But sometimes don't you think, I just wanna fuck with people to see what they'd do. I just want to act totally out of the norm for reaction sake only. Is that called vanity? To think people care what I do? I'm telling you, the minute you start acting batshit crazy, people pay attention. Not necessarily a good thing, but entertaining nonetheless. At least for a little bit.

But, I forgot all about my thoughts of how it'd be when I turned 30 until Lola came along. So, I leave you with this: I am 30. I do not hiss at people. But, I'm not taking the option off the table. Go see that movie. Again, it's Lola Versus and it's only like 80 minutes long, so you can make it through. So far official movie reviews have been pretty unimpressed by it, but I thought it was great. The best friend, as always, is the true star of the movie and the actress playing the best friend co-wrote the movie. Although, Lola herself has a pretty sweet "move" right at the end. If you see it, then you'll know what I mean. 

On a side note, I have jumped ship from my 50/50 challenge. I wasn't getting a prize in the end anyway. The prize was supposed to be my own self-validation that I accomplished reading 50 books and saw 50 movies in a year. That pretty much was never going to happen. Plus, I'm not really a a fan of self-validation. I wanna be freaking recognized for my accomplishments. Hence, the hissing, I suppose. 

R.I.P. 50/50. You didn't offer me enough to stay.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

50/50 Challenge Update

photo credit: Google Images

Book number four of the 50/50 Challenge goes to Ms. Jodi Picoult. Her latest book, Lone Wolf, is true to Picoult form covering a controversial topic. The characters face the challenge of whether to keep their father on life support. In addition, Picoult also did extensive research about wolves, which is a strange, but interesting subplot. However, of all her books this is near the end of the list. I was at the book signing for this book which always enhances a book, but the story itself wasn't my favorite. Maybe it's because I didn't care about the characters as much as books past. She's already started on her next book, which I am looking forward to. Book #4 though, check!

On to movies...I saw four movies this month for free! Movies 11 and 12 were two that I hadn't seen much publicity about. Girl in Progress starred Eva Mendes as a single mother trying to do a good job raising her more mature teenage daughter who has convinced herself that she needs to force her "coming of age." For this specific preview, I went to a special screening that included pastors and youth group leaders because apparently a rep from the studio is promoting to Christian audiences because of it's positive themes. But it's not a Christian movie. While, it did have good lessons, I think it's a little of a stretch to promote it that way. But what do I know? I'd say this movie is a renter.

Movie 12 was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is the worst name for a movie. But the movie was surprisingly cute. It's an odd premise about a bunch of senior citizens from England who all go to this hotel in India as a getaway. There were a lot of separate story lines with none really interacting in a real way, but it was cute. A little slow at times, but endearing, sweet. Dev Patel was the best with his hyper-optimism over his failing hotel. This movie is a renter.

So, slowly I'm gaining speed with my challenge even though I have a really long way to go. Really, I'm not even halfway to my goal? And really, when I reach it what will I do? Cheer silently to myself?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

50/50 Challenge: Creepin' Closer

photo credit: 

I made it to 10 movies! Last week I saw Think Like a Man - for free, no less. It was HILARIOUS! I highly recommend this movie and to be honest, didn't have that high of expectations going in. Kevin Hart is great comic timing and I'm a fan of Terrence from 106 & Park. But overall the cast worked well together and it wasn't too sappy, wasn't trying too hard to be funny. It was just really freakin' funny. This movie makes movie number two of the month that I was able to see before it was released and for free. Lesson: sign up for free stuff, it's great. I have two more screenings scheduled this month, too. I love my free movie watching life.

If you want the brief synopsis of Think Like a Man it goes like this: Steve Harvey wrote a book to help women catch and keep a man. The men find out they they're being "played," try to play back and in the end turns out everyone wants the same thing. It's another lesson for single girls to follow the rules by not following the rules that don't work for you - make sense?

photo credit:

In the same week that I hit my big goal of double digits for movies watch for this 50/50 challenge, I also ready my third book. Woo! Still Missing by Chevy Stevens is fucked up. I'm sorry there's no other way to say it. I read it a night, like I had previously mentioned, which wasn't the smartest thing and not really recommended. I mean doesn't take a genius to know to read about abduction by a psycho right before trying to sleep. But the real reason that the book was so messed up was because of the "turn" in the middle/near the end. It was horrible. It brought the book to a complete stop for me, which was sad because up to then it had such great momentum. It was very descriptive and good character development and all that stuff that makes a great story. But when you find out what really happened, the story behind the story, it's a little bit like, really? C'mon, REALLY? That's just me though. I have book club to discuss this book in a couple of weeks and we will then if I'm in the minority on this.

I re-watched Julie & Julia. I know I can't count this towards the challenge, especially since I watch the movie about once a month. I just love it. I also have about six fashion magazines to read through, which by page count should count towards my book reading, but alas I'll play fair.

Until my next update, I think I'll finally finish Lone Wolf. But I'm always up for book recommendations. Anyone?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

50/50 Challenge: Almost Double Digits

I admit, I've been slow with my 50/50 Challenge. At this rate, it'll be a miracle if I see 20 movies and 20 books this year, let alone 50. So sad too because I had very high hopes. I'm still working on reading book number three. But in my defense, I haven't had any books capture my interest to read the whole thing. Books I've started and haven't finished have included: Smut, The Year of Living Biblically (I think that's the title) and Harvesting the Heart. I just think I haven't been in the mood to read. Currently, I'm reading Still Missing which is totally creepy and not really the kind of book to read right before bed, which sucks, because I always like to read right before bed.

Good news (I guess) is that I've almost reached double digits with my movie watching. I finally saw Jurassic Park (#8) and while it was good, I know that it would've been better had I seen it when it came out. Dinosaurs are quite the spectacular creatures and I thought, why did no one ever think to make a real Jurassic Park with mechanical dinosaurs, of course. People would pay for that. The kitchen scene, which is the only scene I had seen previously, was still the scariest. I'm a fan of the herbivores myself, like the dinosaur from The Flinstones.

The Lucky One starring now hunky and of age Zac Efron is the latest from the Nicholas-Sparks-wrote-a-book-that-he-knew-would-become-an-instant-chick-flick-classic installment. This made for movie #9 for the challenge and it was pretty good. I mean not Oscar-caliber performance by any means, but very saccharine Nicholas Sparks type feelings that are needed every now and again. This movie I saw as a screening, which means that I had to wait in line early to see it (bad) but also they had treats - cupcakes and sodas - (good). BUT, also in movies like this for screenings people feel like they can talk out loud during the movie and giggle and cat call during kissing scenes, which makes it kind of an annoying environment. But who am I to complain? Free movies work for me!

So, there it is. I've not even made it 10 movies and fuggedabout the books because I am still at a lowly 2. I feel like I can have a summer blitz though, you never know. I hope my fellow 50/50ers are doing this challenge justice.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

50/50 Challenge: Book It!

Do you remember Book It! that ingenious incentive to get kids reading? A personal pan pizza all to moi? As a kid, a book nerdy kid no less, I could ask for no more. When my friend first told me about the 50/50 Challenge, my first question was: what do I get? And you know what I get? Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Nothing. Call me crazy, but even as an adult, I still enjoy prizes! Maybe that's why I've been lagging behind on my challenge, especially when it comes to reading. And, I love reading! However, a recent visit to see one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, read from her newest book Lone Wolf has re-energized my reading efforts. So now I can say I have achieved reading a whopping two books for the 50/50 Challenge.


Songs of the Humpback Whale is one of the first Jodi Picoult's books. And now I can say there are only three of her published books that I have yet to read - all three which are on my coffee table. SotHW was not my favorite of her novels and that pains me to say because I am a HUGE fan of her work, her writing style and her dedication. She writes a book every nine months with three months press tour. She has been doing this for the past twenty years, so it's easy to do the math. And these are heavy-hitting, thought provoking, well-researched books. She is an idol for sure. SotHW is the story of Jane, who leaves her emotionally and sometimes physically abusive husband, to travel cross country with her daughter Rebecca on the way to the East Coast. Her brother Joely guides her by letters and her husband tracks her using his oceanographer skills. In true Picoult fashion, the characters are told first-person from each point of view. This writing style helps controversial or conflicting stories be told with more honesty and less judgment as to which side is the "right one" to take.

The next books, which will be numbers 3, 4, and 5 are: Harvesting the Heart, Mercy and her latest, Lone Wolf. Already though, Jodi Picoult is ready to release her new book next year - The Storyteller. So if she can produce the work she does in the time that she does, I guess it shouldn't be so much of a stretch for me to at least try to read a little bit faster.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

50/50 Challenge - Sometimes Love is Not Enough

This weekend I checked off movies 6 and 7 for the 50/50 challenge and finally read a book! I thought the book part would be the easiest of this challenge because I love to read. I started about two or three books since the first of the year and finally finished one.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides was heavy to say the least. He is the author of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex (for which he won a Pulitzer Prize). I haven't read either, but heard that his writing style is just that. Heavy. But the story felt real. It was a love triangle that began in college and continued through travels and marriage and craziness. The love part was secondary to me and frankly, quite boring. The travels though - through Europe, through India - love letters and self-realizations, in addition to dealing with mental illness are strong enough issues that they could've stood on their own. Maybe they should've each been a separate book versus trying to mash it all together in a big, complicated mess. But, I guess that's life. And love. And loss. Pretty heavy.

Movie #6: Safe House. Definitely not a romance, but in the end seemed sort of romantic-ish. Ryan Reynolds is a great allure, of course. Even in an interview, when asked what would bring in a female audience, Denzel Washington said, "Come see Ryan Reynolds." The two of them are pretty great leading men and Denzel is greatest when playing the hard ass, slightly crazy alpha character. The movie is full of action, a little bit of comedy and it's a stretch, but there's romance.

Movie #7: The Vow: The ultimate for this pre-Valentine's weekend. Channing Tatum (also on my Top 5 celebrity man list, you know THAT list) is such a charmer in this movie. The movie was sad in the fact that you can't remember people's memories for them and you can't wish enough for two people to make things work. Rachel McAdams is so sweet, but in this movie, for whatever reason, wore the worst clothes. Sorry, that's just something that went through my mind. There was a little surprise within the movie, but in the end, you'll see if love survives. It's not always in the way you think.

As for the 50/50 challenge, still 49 books to go and 43 movies. Any good book recommendations? There were a lot of good previews before The Vow so I think the movies are going to be covered. I'm so happy this blog post could include photos of two hot men just in time for Valentine's Day. You are welcome.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

50/50 Challenge - Movies 3, 4 and 5: '80s Still Rule

Three movies in one weekend, pretty impressive, huh? I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy without knowing quite what to expect, but I always enjoy a "who is it?" premise to any movie. It's about a retired intelligence officer who is looking into who could be a mole. The first half of the movie was dreadfully slow and I dozed off for about five seconds. I counted to five in my head and thought, if I keep them closed any longer I will be full-on napping.

The movie didn't turn around until the last oh, 45 minutes and even then, I was still working out who was who and where were they from. Who was Tinker again? No one was actually named Spy? Can we start again and I promise not to nod off? It was an interesting premise, but definitely hard for me to keep straight with the flash backs and location changes and all the names. There's a book, my friend told me and I don't know if that would make things clearer or just more confusing. Oh and also, Tom Hardy - I dig you. I recognize you by your lips.

I also watched The Queen starring Helen Mirren for which she won the Oscar and while I thought the movie would be amazing, I dub it "eh, ok." The movie circles around the time immediately following Princess Diana's death which was of great fascination to me during that actual time and led into a full-on crush on Prince William for a few years following. My friend recommended the movie, but secretly I feel it is only because of all those Corgis, her dog of choice.

Those two movies, while fine films, do not match the third movie I watched which was Some Kind of Wonderful, a John Hughes film I somehow missed during the years. First, let me just say the '80s is one of my favorite decades for fashion. It's so eccentric and out there and awesome. Mary Stuart Masterson is my style hero with her cut off gloves, biker jacket and perfectly glossed lips. Anyone who has ever seen a John Hughes film doesn't have to guess the premise - girl loves boy who loves girl who doesn't love him.

It shocked me to see that Lea Thompson was considered a babe, even in the '80s. Also, was nostalgic seeing Candace Cameron as a youngster and definitely MSM with her attitude and angst and raw emotion was amazing. I freakin' love '80s movies. Keith telling Watts: "You look good wearing my future." Swoon. But, one of my favorite parts was at the party and the guy says, "I'm here to kick your ass, and you know it and everybody here knows it, and above all you deserve it." I want a shirt that says that. Can't mess with the classics and John Hughes definitely knew how to crank them out.

In regards to the book portion of the 50/50 Challenge, I'm still on the first book - "The Year of Living Biblically." When did I become such a slow reader?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yoga No No

I told myself this year, I am going to try to make it to the gym at least three days a week, if not more. To do this, I realized that I would have to switch up my routine as to not get bored. I typically do kickboxing and zumba, but have recently added in yoga as well. And, when it gets nicer outside, I'll try more hikes and trail walks. But back to yoga. Sunday was my first class in a long time and so I got there early, picked a space away from suspicious looking people that looked like they could be heavy, weird breathers and was grateful when my friends showed up and set up shop next to me.

We were in the middle of a rotation or salutation or whatever they call it when you're speedily doing a semi-pushup and then up into a downward dog in a smooth, graceful manner, when in walked Mean Old Late Lady. She laid her mat out behind and to the left of me, right next to the mirror. My space was not in hers and vice versa just as yoga is intended to be.

More than half way through class I'm holding yet another graceful pose when I hear her tell me, "Move up!" At first, I thought she meant move up on my mat, which I thought she was giving me a helpful tip about foot placement in yoga, but no, Mean Old Late Lady wanted me to move my mat altogether.

One, we're in the middle of YOGA. You're supposed to be quiet. And zen and not bossy. Two, you were late! As in, let's squish my mat in where it doesn't fit late. Three, I'm not going to stop in the middle of class to move my mat because you hissed at me to move. She, in response to my non action, decided to shove my hoodie and flip-flops, which were laid directly beside my mat forward. I gave her a puzzled look and my friend gave me a look in the mirror to see if I was going to throw down. In yoga. With an old lady. Which, let's be honest, it crossed my mind. Keep your hands to yourself. You learn that in kindergarten.

But, I didn't say anything. I continued yoga'ing, practiced my breathing, cleared my head and felt great. When class was finished and I'm rolling up my mat, chatting with my friends, Mean Old Late Lady pointed at me with her wrinkly, bony, long finger and snarled, "Why didn't you move up?" To which I replied, "Maybe next time ask nicer." And then I nodded my head as in, "Understand what I'm saying?" which was I'm not moving my mat.

Should I have moved? Eh, maybe. But I hate rudeness. I hate rudeness for no reason. And, I definitely am not going to listen to it from some lady who was late and who doesn't have any manners. Old people should know better, they've been around longer! They don't get a free pass. A please. A smile. A whisper and polite request is how to get what you want. At least it is with me. Do better.


Monday, January 16, 2012

50/50 Challenge - Movie #2: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

For movie #2, I won free passes from San Diego Reader for a pre-screening, which wasn't technically true because the movie had been released in several theaters, not that that matters. One quick word about winning free stuff though: On average, I probably win something once every other month. Maybe more if I enter more contests. I'm saying this both to brag and to tell you that the old saying really is true - "You can't win, if you don't play...suckas!"

The movie, which is based off a book by Jonathan Safran Foer, looked to be a tearjerker. I didn't read the book, which is not typical for me as I am a big advocate for reading the book before watching the movie. However, it got less than stellar reviews from two of my friends who did take time to read it.

I was disappointed to find out that the trailer was the saddest part of the movie. While the film's story was indeed a sad one, the oddities had me frowning more out of WTFness than sadness. If you haven't seen the previews because you've been living under a rock, it's the story of a boy who loses his father, who was in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Oskar's dad, Tom Hanks, pre-tragedy sends his son on "expeditions" to search things such as the sixth New York City borough. After his death, Oskar finds a key that he believes must be to a secret that his dad has left for him.

Oskar: He is a precocious mind that makes you want to strangle him and hug him simultaneously. Incredibly smart, active mind, brave and dull all at once somehow.

I won't spoiler alert it as I semi-did in my blog about Jurassic Park III (which I'm sure the majority of people have seen), but I will say that the ending left me wondering another question that had nothing to do with the original story, but did have to do with that dang key!

The meat of the story is the journey Oskar takes and the photos and stories he puts together for his own records of where he's been. The intrigue lies within seeing a glimpse of lives you don't know behind closed doors, the lives you walk into unannounced, the lives that continue on even when a loved one has died. That was the heart of it for me.

And, seeing New York City. I love that place.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Movie #1: I Almost Watched Jurassic Park

I finally did it. I watched Jurassic Park. Or, so I thought I did. My first thoughts were: dinosaurs are kind of scary and wow, William H. Macy looks exactly the same. Then, I was Googling when Jurassic Park came out and I didn't see William H. Macy on the cast list. Then, I looked at the DVD box again aaand I watched Jurassic Park III. Fail.

So, it looks like the original Jurassic Park is still on my list of movies to watch. I liked the movie just fine. Wasn't great, wasn't bad. My favorite part was near the end when they show all the dinosaurs at once just hanging out on their island. Kind of surreal. I was a little thrown off when all of a sudden the Navy and Marines come in to save them and then it just ends. I mean, I guess how else were they to be rescued, but it seemed very "oh, hey, they just came out of nowhere."

Which Jurassic Park movie has the scene with the scary dinosaur in the kitchen? Is that the first one? Because I remember that scene from somewhere. Is that in one of the movies? Or, did I dream that? Dinosaur eyes are creepy, but their allure overall is similar to UFOs or ghosts to me. Their larger than life factor makes them fascinating. Jurassic Park III, your dinosaurs tricked me into thinking I was watching the original. So close. Next time, JP, next time.

Movie #1: Jurassic Park III

Saturday, January 7, 2012

50/50 Club

My friend sent me an email asking to join her on the 50/50 Challenge of 2012, which is: watch 50 movies and read 50 books before 2013. The prize: your own personal accomplishment. This is totally up my pop culture, book nerd alley and I gladly accepted. Although, I did realize that I would essentially have to read a book a week, which who has that kind of time? But, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

Reading more is on my 2012 to-do list anyway, so this is a good reason to set a goal for myself and really have a focused concentration in broadening my horizons. Wow, I am such a geek.

But it starts today - first on deck is a movie. Choice: Jurassic Park. Yes, it's true I have never seen the movie and recently shocked some friends not to mention my boyfriend with this news. I thought they might disown me. As far as I know, no relationships have been severed over my startling announcement.

I thought blogging about my challenge might help me keep track and "create a visual" towards my goal. Ok, now I really sound like a nerd so I'll stop. If you have any book or movie suggestions though, please feel free to send them my way!