Monday, February 25, 2013

Mission: Best Picture Films

I called them films because it sounds classier. And aren't films nominated for the Best Picture award at the Oscars classy? They deserve to be called films and not movies.

A couple of years ago, we tried to watch as many of the AFI Top 100 Films of all time. We failed. We did watch quite a few and discovered that some that we thought would be really lame were actually entertaining! Of the films we watched, I recommend:
*The General: A silent film featuring Buster Keaton
*Duck Soup: Another silent film with the Marx Brothers
*The Graduate: DUH. This really is one of my favorite movies of all time
*Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: It really shows you that not much has changed over the years

Eventually, I would like to continue watching these films but my husband just isn't sold on the idea. While making our picks for the Oscars last night, I realized that I had watched 6 of the 9 Best Picture nominees this year. I think that is a record for me. In thinking over each of the 6 films I saw, it was hard for me to decide which I enjoyed the most. They all offered something completely different, which is why I really love going to see movies. Laughter, tears, shock, suspense. They all offered a variety of emotional response.

I've decided to start a new film project. I'd like to watch all of the Best Picture nominated films. Perhaps not ALL of them but I've started a list from 2008-2013. I've included a list of all nominees and put in bold the movies I have not yet watched:

2008: No County for Old Men, Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood

2009: Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

2010: An Education, Precious, A Serious Man, The Hurt Locker, The Blindside, Avatar, Inglorious Basterds, Up, Up in the Air, District 9.

2011: The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids are All Right, True Grit, Toy Story 3, Winter's Bone.

2012: The Artist, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Descendants, Money Ball, War Horse, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life

2013: Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Amour, Les Miserables.

That totals 16 movies, only 3 of which are streaming on Netflix (you are pointless Netflix! POINTLESS), and 2 on Redbox. So I guess I will be watching the rest via iTunes, if they are there! Maybe I can still find a Blockbuster in business!

What are the best movies you have watched this year? Or in years past?

Friday, February 22, 2013

In a yellow room

In this freshly painted yellow room, a conversation occurred. 

This room was an afterthought in the grand scheme of taking care of a big-ish house. It was the last room to be painted. In it sits a really heavy big box tv on a console that matches nothing else in the house. The walls were plain and there was no where to sit aside from the carpeted floor. The closet is a melting pot of blankets, towels and old speakers. Its purpose was to be a nursery but here it sat, unused, unpainted, unkept. 

The can of paint sat in the garage of over a year (perhaps longer) until he got the urge to paint one day. She decided to organize the garage as painting wasn't a favorite home improvement task. By the end of the day, they had a yellow room. A yellow room that was meant to house an infant, a toddler, a child. Instead, it was now the home to an Ikea chair and couch and the big box tv and non-matching console. 

It wasn't until the evening while she sat in the room did the purpose of this room depress her. What could have been. What should have been. What might be? Never, in the 3 years of living in this house, has she sat in this room and been struck by such sadness, enough to bring her to tears. 

The conversation began. Will we move on? What will this room become? Might it someday fulfill its original purpose? Truths were exchanged. Some surprising, some not. Back and forth we went, repeating the words of 6 months ago. "I want to be done" and "I don't." Back to square one. 

In this yellow room, decisions were made. Big plans were scratched out with a hypothetical black sharpie and new plans were penciled in. The idea of a different future is alive. A brand new path awaits us. How it will end, we don't know. 

The yellow room awaits an answer and for now, yellow doesn't convey loss and sadness. It brings hope and dreams come true.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cold Sore Be Gone!

I get cold sores. I'm not proud of it but perhaps if more people admitted to getting them, I wouldn't feel such shame walking around with a gross lip wound for 7-10 days.


Last weekend, I noticed a small bump on the lower corner of my lip where my cold sores live 99.9% of the time. They hibernate beneath the surface of that corner and once or twice a year show their faces to let me know they still live there and obviously, to challenge my self-esteem and patience. My husband said it was a pimple but I knew better. I woke up Tuesday morning with that tingle. If you are a fellow lip herpes friend, you know what I'm talking about.

Tingle tingle. You run to a mirror to agonize over what is about to happen. It is too late. It can't be stopped. Tamed, maybe. Stopped, never. Lip herpes are fierce bastards. Fact: They are a close cousin to the menstrual cycle.

I ran to my car to grab my trusty Abreva that I keep nearby 24/7 but I knew that wouldn't be enough. I tend to be compulsive about these types of things. In my early 20's I had to throw away all my acne products because I was slathering TONS of products on my skin, causing it to dry out and in turn, produce more pimples. It was a sickness. I clearly didn't learn my lesson with the LH (lip herpes). Tuesday night consisted of googling home remedies (even though I already know them all), pressing hot tea bags against my LH, sleeping with a cotton ball of alcohol on my lip and adding more and more abreva during my waking hours.

I also tried ice therapy and a good old fashioned prayer before I went to bed Tuesday night. Wednesday morning was brutal. My lip was swollen and the LH was fully grown. Alcohol, ice, Abreva and one additional product later, my lip was red, puffy and needed a rest so I told myself that I would only add Abreva and a numbing pain reliever cream the rest of the day.

Yes, I added a filter to this picture. Is there any other way? 

That Campho-Phenique is legit. It helps to take away some on the tingly/pain feeling and helps to dry it out. It is also only $4 at Walmart. I wouldn't skip the Abreva though. It is worth the money! Wednesday night, I iced it, alcohol'd it, abreva'd it and campho'd it before going to bed. 

Is it still there? Sadly, yes. But it is already starting to dry out in some places and I hope it will be completely gone by Monday. The worst part is when it completely dries out and starts to crack and bleed. At that point, you just have to wait it out. I read many many home remedies online including replacing rubbing alcohol with vodka and even putting some vanilla extract on it. Yeah, I don't think I want to associate something I use for baking with the ol' herp. 

I just have to get through two more days of work (I work with teens so I hope they have enough grace to ignore it) and I can hide in my house over the weekend while it heals. In better news, I got some heat protectant spray for my hair and whoa! My hair is feeling silky soft. So if anyone makes a comment about my LH, I'll distract them with my shiny, silky hairs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Catch Up/Ketchup

-TWO WEEKS since my last post? I don't think I have ever gone that long without blogging.

-I developed an awful cough on January 30. Thank goodness I use Facebook to complain and make funny comments because I can track when I started coughing. I ingested 2 bags of cough drops in a matter of days and went through 2 bottles of cough medicine when I finally, after 2 weeks, decided it was time to see a doctor. Not because I was tired of coughing (okay, I was tired of coughing) but the mass amounts of medicine I was using was giving me vertigo. Diagnosis: Walking Pneumonia. Yikes. I never felt sick or under the weather but that cough was brutal. I'm doing much better now and can get through 8 hours of sleep without having a cough attack.

-On Friday, my aunt and uncle were down from Portland for a visit. We gathered at my dad's house for dinner and it was wonderful to see them. We usually see them at Thanksgiving but since we didn't go to my other aunts house this year, we missed them. Right when I arrived at the house, I greeted my dad then went on to say hi to my aunt and uncle when my dad asked me to go into the other room and get his phone. I told him to please hang on a second. I guess that wasn't good enough for him because he grabbed his cane, stood up from his wheelchair and walked into the other room and back. All by himself. I stood there and watched in amazement as he made his way to the other room and seconds later came back. That was a first and I was so proud of him. A bit scared but mostly proud. What a huge leap in his recovery.

-You know what sucks? Cleaning the garage! Garages are scary and gross. There are bugs in there that seem to crawl out from under each surface that I came in contact with. I managed to only see one spider on Sunday while cleaning and I composed myself and didn't scream. I hate bugs. HATE. "Cleaning" the garage was really me going through 5 boxes of high school/college/apartment stuff and getting rid of TONS of stuff. I filled up our garbage can with old papers, pictures and really lame crap that I thought was worth keeping. But I also found some great pictures and keepsakes from over the years. Our garage is still a hot mess of random crap so maybe someday we will organize it. Our neighbors have spotless garages. Like, they can probably eat meals in there. I barely like stepping foot in mine!

-I'm obsessed with Windows Movie Maker and want to take videos of everything and make movies all the time. I put together a one minute clip of my nieces at gymnastics class and it was so fun! Second career perhaps?

I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Be My Friend

In the mentoring program that I run, my students were instructed to come up with a "commercial" telling other students why they would want to be their friend. The lesson of the day was about Prejudice and Self-esteem. We first discussed prejudice and I played a game that involved the students participating in a spelling bee. One group got very easy words and another group was given difficult words. I told them that I gave the one group easy words because they had blue post it notes and I like blue so they get easy words. "RACIST!" they shouted out after the 4th round. I confessed that since they had yellow post it notes and I don't really like yellow, they were given more difficult words.

"NOT FAIR!" "RACIST! You are judging us on our post it note color!" They got it. 

A few of the high school students stated that they didn't feel bothered by the difficult words because they had faith that they would know how to spell the words. The middle school students didn't feel the same. More on that later. Back to the commercials. Students were to present their commercials in front of the group. I thought it was only fair that I also participate in this exercise and I wanted to share my commercial with you!

Be my friend! I'll always return your emails/texts/phone calls!

Be my friend! I love cookies and cake!

Be my friend! After we eat cake and let it digest, we can go to the gym and race each other on the treadmill.

Be my friend! I'll show you pictures of my cat even if you don't want to see them.

Be my friend! We can go shopping together and I'll be honest if those jeans make your butt look big-and you can tell me the same!

Be my friend! I'll share my nail polish with you and we can look up fun designs on Pinterest and attempt to copy them.


I wrote this in about 3 minutes while most of my students had a hard time grasping this concept and coming up with something to say. A few just said two or three things but I think that was a direct reflection of not using time wisely. It made me realize how much different we are as adults. How we are so confident in who we are, how we tend not to question ourselves as much or worry about what others think. 

One student, an 8th grade male, had a very difficult day. He is very short, wears glasses and is quite quirky, to say the least. His comments always seem to garner confused looks from his peers but for the most part, he has very high self least outwardly. He was the one who claimed racism when his post it note group received difficult words to spell (he spelled his correctly). When students had to fill out a worksheet on their likes and dislikes, his demeanor changed. Usually very upbeat and outgoing, he started to look disconnected. When it became time to go around the room and share the answers on the worksheet, he fled to a corner, put his hood on and stood there. I recommended seeking someone out to share his answers with but his response was that no one would want to be his partner. I reminded him that he was isolating himself in the corner and he would find this easier if he walked around and approached someone.

When I gave the instructions on the commercial, he seemed downright miserable. He sat in his desk with a blank look on his face. The teacher who helps to advise the group walked over to him with a piece of paper. He looked at it but his expression didn't change. I wandered back to where he sat and asked if he wrote anything down. "Ms. Smith did it for me." Recognizing that this was challenging for him, I praised the teacher and said how great it was that she saw so many wonderful qualities in him. He seemed unaffected by my praise. He and his high school mentor were the last to present their commercial. He carried the piece of paper up to the front of class. He started speaking (very matter-of-factly, serious look on his face, eyes looking at no one in particular). I don't know if he read from the paper or came up with his own reasons but the class erupted in applause when he was done. He remained tight lipped and expression free. 

Next week, we discuss bullying and his reaction to this lesson has inspired me to create a new activity for the group. These types of students need to understand that being different is okay and that even if they don't have friends now, in middle school or even high school, it won't be like that forever. His differences will set him apart and in the end, he will go through life embracing his personality.

There are times when I think being an adult is hard. But when I see the challenging life events middle and high school students go through on a daily (hourly even) basis, I count my blessings that I made it out alive and continue to thrive as an adult.