November 29, 2009

Thanking the UnThanked

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays. This could be due to the fact that I am not the one cooking the turkey and tending to the numerous needs it shockingly maintains for a non-living, non-lovely creature. High maintenance is putting it mildly. It may as well have every cosmetic enhancement-attachment known to man, drive a Bentley and have a Heffy...aka sugar daddy. Or maybe Thanksgiving is so cozily intoxifying to me because sweet potatoes(canned, plus brown sugar, orange juice, maple syrup, marshmallows, oven...done and done) and (store bought)flaky on the outside, gooey on the inside rolls(generally served heated and in a basket masquerading-believably as homemade) are not too much of a strain on my acute lack of domesticity. Maybe it is all the pungent scents that fill the house; the tart of fresh cranberries, the sugar-nutty scent of pecan pie, the smell of wood crackling on the fire. Perhaps it's the rediscovered Christmas Cd's caroling melodically in the background. It could be the thrill of the football blaring on the television, or the sun burning stubbornly through the chilled fall air. Maybe it is the crunch of gold, ruby and amber colored leaves under my boots. Whatever the reason? I am thankful for Thanksgiving. Of course the togetherness is nice and we are all thankful for the heaped blessings we have like home and family, friends,health, food...not to be mistaken for health-food...Just so we're clear...that is a curse and not a blessing. As I was sitting post consumption (no tofu or granola in site) in my L-Tryptophan induced dreamlike mind took a little detour.I started to think about some of the things I am thankful for...things and people that may otherwise go un-thanked. here is the list I generated on my brief, familiar trip to Random-ville.

1. I am thankful for the orange-red poppies that bloom in my neighbors front yard during the sweltering summer months. They may as well be shiny-the way they grab my gaze as I stroll past their house. Not quite sure that I have experienced poppies outside of the fiery field in the Wizard of Oz that lulls Dorothy and her Friends into a dreamy sleep. But this little patch of poppies, on this simple suburban street, in this two-horse town, in my little corner of the beauty flower-ified. There is a quote that says "I would rather have flowers on my table than diamonds on my neck." I wouldn't be mad at either, but I definitely would rather have poppies in my neighbors yard than to suddenly develop a grassy green, soil-brown and wormy thumb. Although the poppies? They do gloriously beckon me to do so in their oh-so vivid "get some of us all your own" bursts of crimson and mandarin.

2. Okay so this is pretty lame, I realize. And I apologize for aiding the spread of consumerism like the small pox. I CAN resist Shmarshmucks MOST of the time. However, until the Starbucks Holiday Flavors arrive? Neither does the Christmas Season...officially. A friend of mine aptly describes their holiday coffees as "Christmas in a Cup".Be it gingerbread, eggnog, peppermint mocha...(the list goes on) have yourself alotta lattes...and you will be thankful too-EVEN if you have to make yourself an island of solidarity with your no-name joe, drunk black. Brewed via recycled filter, sipped roguely from your sad lil ugly chipped mug until next java penance for your herd-like Christmas coffee gluttony. Just Do enter cheesy, quippy commercialism...sorry. I'm so sorry...

3. Chugga-chugga-choo-choo- Enter the goofy train. I am thankful for music and how much it enriches our a non-singer, non-dancer, life is still significantly enhanced and defined by music. With the passing of Michael Jackson this year-I took a little moonwalk back (chacoot, chacoot*Michael noise*) and thought about what an amazing musical legacy he left behind. Truthfully I was weepfully wistful, because from Thriller:the first record I purchased with my own dime (um those were big, black, vinyl round disky things that played in a spinny box with a needle dealy...records, not dimes. Dimes still exist)to the WIZ (which I adored and ahem...may have allegedly seen at the drive-in-"Ease On Down The Road")...Michael left a white glove-shaped mark on my young life. His was the first face(via poster) to grace my bedroom wall and his was my first big concert. Creatively...he was a gift to us all. And then? Patrick Swayze left us too. And even though The Outsiders was not musical (It was still Brat-Packed with teen angst and tear drops)-Dirty Dancing most certainly was. I will never be able to hear "Stay," "Cry to Me." "Do You Love Me?"...or anything else from that soundtrack without being instantaneously pulled into summer-recalling in living color being a long-legged gawky tween in cut offs and a tied white button down (just like Baby) and dreaming of a Johnny all my own. One that MOST assuredly would disallow anyone to "put me in the corner"...and would log dance with me on a whim. For a gazillion reasons-sentimental and otherwise-I am thankful for music-and the memories with which they enrich our lives.

4. There is an outdoor ice rink near my house. One that I have never set skate on. But there is something so Norman Rockwell about it- that it (like Tom Cruise when he was more Maverick-than Maniac) simply takes my breath away. Encircled in icy-blue twinkle lights in a courtyard dressed up to its' mistletoe in Christmas. Tucked into a side street decked in wreaths, garland and holly. There is even a shiny silver Airstream vending steamy hot cocoa. This wintry wonderland could not be more magical, well...if it were magical...Oh and it reeks (in a caramel-apply goodness kind of way)...of Serendipity. You can't go wrong there. If you haven't seen the movie? Don't admit it out loud. Order it from Amazon, don't bother renting.Merry Christmas from John Cusack to you.

5. Finally...I am thankful for laughter. The loud unchecked kind that shakes my babies' bellies. Because there is no other such example of pure, unabashed joy as the giggles that run rampant and take us over in waves. How frequently get entangled in the stresses and the troubles of the irrelevant trifles that we allow to occupy us...that we forget what it is to cut loose and laugh so hard that tears stream down our cheeks and the air escapes our lungs in jovial fits. What a delectable way to suffocate! Who couldn't use more laughter and whimsy? Serious is overrated. Silly is the new sophisticated...Or hadn't you heard? Regardless...

Alas, I find it quite pleasurable here in I am gonna' chill here...maybe get a little giggy wid' it...but you better be getting back. By all means, come and visit me here again. Consider it an open invitation...Next time? Bring your thank the thankless box and show me what ya' got in there. Deal?

November 22, 2009

Who Let The Wolves Out?

Warning: If you plan to see New Moon and have not? The following blog is soaked in spoilers...marinated to my own personal taste...You may want to hold off until after the movie, novel, or both...Then? Please, consume it raw...haha...okay...enough vampire references...for a second or two at least.


Like gaggles of other Cullen-Cravers ranging in age from twelve to sixty two,and dieing to take a bite out of the latest installment of the Twilight Saga, I saw New Moon this past weekend. Of course the flick was proceeded by sushi, sake and screaming girls, of which-shockingly,I was not one. This is not to say-mind you,that once the theater got dark-I didn't gasp involuntarily. Nor will I swear that a suppressed squeal,or two might not have sneaked through my parted lips.I will neither confirm nor deny that a few throaty vamp growls broke loose from my throat...but this? ALL of COMPLETELY appropriate behavior in a world where vamps have hair so fantastic that it puts 90's super models to shame. Where they slink and crouch around like Barishnikov in couture that fits like a sparkly diamond encrusted Italian glove designed by Versace. Oh...and the growling thing? Even more acceptable in the high temperature, shape shifting, volatile and impassioned world where wolves pounce, snarl and savor the flava of crimson eyed blood suckers with dreads...Oh!...And they can't be troubled with shirts as they are far too restrictive for their switchity-split,fast paced lifestyle. Welcome to Forks Washington, the cloud shrouded moss covered place where the mythical mingles with the locals and camouflages its magic with the mundane monotony of small town life.

The long and the short of it is...I entered the theater with a cherry coke and a cup half full of expectation (also a twinkly Twilight Saga tee and Cullen necklace that although unplanned,matched my friend Jen's). You see, New Moon is my least favorite of the four books in the Twilight Saga. This has very little(if anything)to do with the actual writing of the novel and volumes to do with what occurs, or doesn't occur between its covers. Where the sudden, fate driven, angst-ridden, forbidden and fiery, all-consuming "young"love of Edward and Bella take center stage in Twilight...-in New Moon, with the prick of a finger, the stumble of Bella, the snap of an arm, and the jump of a Jasper(the newest and least practiced"Vegetarian Vampire" in the Cullen family),the story takes a darkly, don't-bother-getting-out-of-bed anytime soon- dramatic turn for the depressing...With the words,

I promise that this will be the last time you’ll see me. I won’t come back. I won’t put you through anything like this again. You can go on with your life without any more interference from me. It will be as if I’d never existed.
Edward Cullen, New Moon, Chapter 3, p.71

Edward abandons Bella to grasp feebly at the mere vapor of what she had believed to be her destiny. She is left shrouded in a pain riddled, doubt evoking darkness without an escape plan, a Snuggie to warm her,or so much as a pen light,to illuminate her path tangled with brush. Still she stumbles ahead, blindly, in search of her Edward.

With shaky legs, ignoring the fact that my action was useless, I followed him into the forest. The evidence of his path had disappeared instantly. There were no footprints, the leaves were still again, but I walked forward without thinking. I could not do anything else. I had to keep moving. If I stopped looking for him, it was over. Love, life, meaning… over.
Bella Swan, New Moon, Chapter 3, p.73

When she finally allows the realization that Edward has gone and taken with him, her hope and her need for air, Bella lets the deep, suffocating, darkness engulf her.

The waves of pain that had only lapped at me before now reared high up and washed over my head, pulling me under. I did not resurface.
Bella Swan, New Moon, Chapter 3, p.84

Edward has decided for Bella, that she is better off without him. Providing her with only a few cryptic clues of his plan the days proceeding his departure. He leaves her in a fetal heap of raw, broken pieces on the forest floor. This is where Sam Uley,(sorry but I expected him to be more commanding and ferocious in the film) who we later find out is the alpha dog in a pack of Native American shape shifting wolves...sweeps up her emotional remnants in his massive wolfy paws and lays her out cold and crazy on Charlie's couch. Now I am not sure if it is Edward's calloused delivery of his half cooked plan, his shortsighted lack of consideration for Bella who allegedly brought his cold-dead heart back to life, or his foolish notion that while he will carry this "burden" eternally,she is shallow enough to forget him when he takes her photos of him and of his family, a few material items and the CD of the song he wrote her. Regardless the reason,I spent the rest of New Moon cursing Edward as if it were me he left screaming out in torture in the dead of night, rather than Bella. So from this point forward, I read and viewed with a mammoth, pretend vampy chip on my shoulder. Because, HOW DARE HE???!!!!(BOO) Pretend Vamp-Charmings should be forced to behave as such.

Oh right! The movie. I loved it. The over all production quality was better than that of the first. Found the changing of the guard-or director, as it were, in Harry Potter-esque fashion- to be a wise move. Seemingly bringing a fresh perspective to each novel in the saga appears to be a positive. The film introduced the pack of wolves spiritedly.They are both menacing and playful,comforting in their refuge and disconcerting in the threat they pose to the Cullens-whom we still love in spite of ourselves.Taylor Lautner is perfectly cast as Jacob Black,his smile bright as the sunshine he brings to radiate its warmth through Bella's bleak barely there existence. He naturally embodies Jacob's charisma and warmheartedness handily taking on the role of Bella's best friend/wolfy,playful man child. (Whoop, whoop...quick shout out for the Team Jacob girls-to whom I identify, and with whom I hang, but of which I am not).There were some mumbled concerns that the barely legal Lautner would be able to show the physical transformation that Jacob begins in New Moon and continues through Breaking Dawn, but hand Taylor credit, because it is due. The audience never doubts Taylor as Jacob. In addition, Kristen Stewart does DESTROYED really well. I would go so far as to say that her performance in New Moon may have had more bite(pun completely intended) than her Twilight portrayal of Bella Swan. What little we see of Robert Pattinson as Edward and Ashley Greene as Alice... along with the mere glimpses we are permitted of the other Cullens-leave us appropriately, thirsty for more. I've read all of the books. Hang on...they're coming....finely threaded and juicy with surprises. So while it is not going to get a warm embrace from Oscar, New Moon is all that it promises to be; romantic, heart wrenching, thrilling and full of imaginary deliciousness.

My list of criticisms is short. With technology being what it is, I would have fathomed that the wolf transformation could have been or Tolkien-esque (sorry don't do tons of sci-fi-horror) and by that, I mean..."believable"...and perhaps a bit less Never Ending Story or Land of the Lost (the original) quality in the technological department. Admittedly, I giggled a few times. Presumably,watching your friends shape shift into giant wolves, should be alarming and disconcerting and not so much laughable to an eye watering degree. That is an issue in the area of effects, not in the performance arena. Also in the effects department, the Volturi looked more to me like they should be doing the little Star Trek wave, than sweeping frightfully at light speed across the room to drain you of life. In the book the Volturi are lavish, regal and traditional, they strike fear but yet arouse your curiosity and fascination...They are vampire royalty and wrench your respect from you with their mere presence. I didn't so much get that. Aro was sort of wussy and that whole scene seemed rushed. Why bring in a name like Dakota Fanning and not give her time to bring the face of a cherub, grip of a demon-Jane to life? She IS capable of doing so. Finally, the ending? Have to reread...but I could have sworn that was an Eclipse thing. I am sure they had good reason for rushing that along, cliffhanging suspense perhaps? Again, these are creative decisions and I am being nit picky. None of these things, kept the movie from being a vamp-stravaganza, wolf-tacular success. New Moon the movie, successfully brought New moon the novel to living, breathing, bounding, venomous life in it's transference to the big screen.

In conclusion, since completing the saga, it has been my opinion that Bella is a bit too quick to forgive and forget. Crazy glue doesn't work on hearts. Still she is so utterly amazed by Edward's return that she just can't stop staring...understandably of course, but with the delivery of a few well-timed lines?

So I thought I’d explained it clearly before. Bella, I can’t live in a world where you don’t exist. (Edward)


After all the thousand times I’ve told you I love you, how could you let one word break your faith in me? (Edward)


My heart hasn’t beat in almost ninety years, but this was different. It was like my heart was gone—like I was hollow. Like I’d left everything that was inside me here with you. (Edward)

Bella is all too willing to let the whole..."Edward shredded my soul and left me for stupid or dead" thing go. I am not sure how sound this is...How dare I question the realism of a vampire, wolf, ordinary girl love triangle?...Still, Edward vows:

I’ll earn your trust back somehow. It’s my final act. (Edward)

and how could you NOT let him at least TRY to make it up to you? No faulting Bella there, however, he should at the very least be in the naughty corner until book 3.

That is just my humble opinion...

November 11, 2009

You Say I'm Spoiled Like It's A Bad Thing...

At some point or another, we have all been accused of and/or have accused others of being spoiled.

Every single person that I know is at least a pinch spoiled. Naturally, we all like things to go the way that we desire for them to go...Where we want them to go, when and how we want them to go...It would be a tad strange in a "there might be a pill for that" or a "you look like you could use some rest" kind of way- if we savored inconvenience and relished discomfort...And so, in a sense,this "spoiled" thing is essentially in our hard wiring. Although, I am not sure that wanting things to go your way qualifies you as spoiled-or selfish even...I think that it may be the unbending expectation of getting our way in everything ranging from importante to minuscule,and our toddler-like reaction to that expectation not being met...that sends spoiled bubbling up (sometimes over) to various degrees. Hahaha...So...Do you sniff a mystery Scooby?...Not a mystery so much as a teensy confession that I have already justified...thank you very much.

In my super young, ultra-exciting, endlessly glamorous life (hahaha) I have known a lot of self absorbed, child-like, temper tantrum throwing, spoiled rotten people. Even if you have not known them personally, we all encounter these self serving little tyrants in our every day lives. Typically we find them waiting until the lane ends and cutting off a mile-long snake of cars who got over when they were instructed to...because their time is simply THAT much more valuable than the rest of ours. Perhaps they are pitching a fit at the Barista in the front of the line at Shmarshmucks because their "Why Bother" has half a percent of fat, or an ounce of caffeine, or perhaps their soy is not soy enough, or their vanilla not beany enough...Regardless, we stifle a laugh or cringe in discomfort for the object of their wrath...perhaps we pull up a chair and grab popcorn...and undoubtedly, we feel sorry for their mama...if they have one-that is...

Truly, thankfully...(I would do the cross thing and look to heaven if I were Catholic)... I am not that style of spoiled. I am spoiled in the sense that I have a difficult time denying myself or those that I love...the things that we want...Within reason of course...Not talking Italian sport cars, eight carat diamond earrings, or gazillion dollar entertainment systems...More along the lines of...a cherry coke, or a new lip gloss-maybe the Munchkins want an ice cream or the latest Disney movie...THOSE are the areas where my discipline is lacking and my resistance is futile. The smells good, tastes yummy, looks fabulous, sounds spectacular, feels oh-so hard to say no to...for me at least....And so I indulge myself and those around me...just a tad. Actually, that is not what I believe makes me spoiled so much as when I cannot for whatever reason- partake and share such things...I put on the sulk...Yep, a big ruby letter S on my sweater...unintentionally...and I don't wear it proudly at all-but still it slinks in and sticks around uninvited...just for a spell. Just until another opportunity for a little bliss pops up...and for that reason-I suppose, I am spoiled-I am just not so sure that I would have it any other way...except for the sulking. Maybe I should just go all gladiator and take what I want by brute force...then the sulk would have outlived its "usefulness"...If you knew me- you would be on the floor rolling in fits of laughter trying not to wet yourself...that visual is so laughably preposterous...

But? I know you are spoiled's only fair. So, c'mon admit it-you can tell me. There are things in this world that turn you into Verruca Salt...What are they? Golden Gooses? Tell me already. Pretty please?