Monthly Archives: February 2012

One-Word Wednesday

My younger son poses as that contemporary rapper, Joseph Haydn.

Wiggy!

The camcorder captures my son and his homemade wig; this was for a music history project.

Has Spring Sprung?

What a day brightener!

The end of February rolling into the beginning of March is my favorite time of year in the Houston area. The temperatures are warming (lows are more often around 60 degrees now) . . . .

Is it purple or blue?

. . . and the wildflowers are starting to kick up their heels! Or could that be their seedlings?

Bluebonnet bokeh fun!

No matter how you look at it, it’s bluebonnet season! Our state purple-blue wildflower is blooming in our neighboring master-planned community where I do long runs. After my Sunday-morning workout, I returned in the afternoon to shoot and marvel at all that bluebonnet beauty.

Oh, how I love Texas’ bluebonnets!

A bee gets busy (as a . . .).

The bees seem to agree!

“The Artist”: Well-deserving of Its Oscars

Not only is “The Artist” in black and white, but it’s mostly silent, too.

Back in 1983 (pre-the Mister), I couldn’t believe that “Gandhi” had beaten out “Tootsie” and “E.T.” for the Academy Award for best picture.

Then I saw it. Yep, it was totally deserving, as was Ben Kingsley as best actor.

I wasn’t about to make another Gandhian (well, it’s in MY dictionary) mistake this year. Which is why I made sure the Mister and I saw “The Artist” just hours before last night’s 84th annual Academy Awards telecast.

After we walked out of the theater (along with the rest of the early-matinee, senior-citizen crowd), three thoughts came to mind:

1) What an amazing movie! So glad we saw it.

2) “The Artist” definitely would win best picture, along with Jean Dujardin in the best-actor category.

3) Too bad the dog, Uggy, wasn’t eligible to win. He was wonderful!

Peppy Miller sticks by George Valentin.

When I explained to the Mister that “The Artist” was a silent movie, he, of course, didn’t want to see it. Perhaps he was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough noise to mask his snoring when he fell asleep during it. But he became just as big a fan of the movie as I did. As he said, it takes a lot of skill to make this kind of film so interesting. Not only was there virtually no talking, but it also was in black and white.

Fortunately, the story about a silent film star (Dujardin as George Valentin) who sees his stock plunge with the advent of talkies in the late 1920s and early ’30s kept our interest from start to finish. You couldn’t help but cheer for George and the perky starlet who not only becomes a megahit but always looks out for George, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo).

The music, which won a well-deserved Oscar for original score, was inspiring. And Uggy, a Jack Russell terrier, was awfully cute.

“The Artist” won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s one of the best movies I’ve every seen. Maybe as good as “Gandhi.”

The Oscars

Octavia Spencer poses with Oscar.

There weren’t too many surprises during last night’s Oscar show . . . including that Billy Crystal can’t sing anymore. Remember that 1983 “Gandhi” win? That was the last time that the magnificent Meryl Streep won the golden statuette (“Sophie’s Choice”).

I was torn between Streep and Viola Davis (“The Help”) for best actress. I felt that Davis carried her movie, but Streep was hers (“The Iron Lady”). They were equally deserving; I wish it had been a tie vote. There was no question in my mind, of course, that Dujardin earned his best-acting award. And “The Artist” as best picture? Slam dunk!

I loved that Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) won as best supporting actress. Minny was a tough character, and Spencer played her perfectly. I’m going to Netflix “Beginners” to see if Capt. Von Trapp (aka, Christopher Plummer) deserved to be picked as best supporting actor.

Bret McKenzie (left) and Jemaine Clements during their Flight of the Conchords days.

My younger son, who pretty much ignored the telecast, was thrilled when Bret McKenzie nabbed the Oscar for best original song, “Man or Muppet?” (great tune!). My sons love “Flight of the Conchords,” McKenzie’s short-lived TV show. We just wish Bret had mentioned Jemaine (Clement) in his acceptance speech!

Finally Finished!

“Mommmmm!”

Using the iMac’s thesaurus: Finished, completed, concluded, terminated, over (and done with), at an end; accomplished, executed, discharged, fulfilled, done; wrapped up.

Any way you say it, the conclusion is the same: My younger son is finally done with his first semester of his junior year, which he completed online. It took almost the entire six-month period he was allotted, mostly because he seriously dragged his feet on his last subject, physics. That’s hard enough in class, but it’s extraordinarily taxing when you’re on your own, especially the labs. It was no fun at all.

That’s more like it!

I’m also thrilled to report that my #2 son is so much happier than he was in 2011. Which makes his parents so much happier. He’s handling his second semester back at his public high school well (making an amazingly easy transition) and enjoys playing basketball with friends at least twice a week. He’s almost completely back to the way he was before last year reared its ugly head.

Almost . . . because he is, after all, a 16-year-old boy who loves to procrastinate and push his mom’s buttons. Still, seeing that goofy grin on his handsome face always makes me smile.

No matter how exasperated I am with him! So far, I’m loving 2012!!

Books and Movies

Just see the movie.

I started reading “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (a title that I never can remember, by the way; I always have to look it up) before the movie came out. I was only about halfway through the novel when the Mister and I saw the film, finishing the book soon after. That gave me an interesting perspective of both media.

For the first time ever, I thought the movie actually was better than the book! Eric Roth, the screenwriter, did a masterful job separating the wheat from the considerable, overwrought chaff penned by Jonathan Safran Foer. I know there are plenty of people who loved the novel, but I thought it needed better editing. Or it just could be that I didn’t like Foer’s writing style.

The narrator is different in the book.

On the heels (or should that be “hooves”) of seeing and finishing “Extremely Loud,” I next experienced “War Horse,” first by movie and then by book on my Kindle. The Mister and I loved the flick, so I couldn’t wait to read the novel it was based on.

Talk about your quick reads! Of course, it helps that it’s geared towards children, which also meant that those graphic war scenes on the big screen were added to the already-rich story. The biggest surprise for me? The book is narrated by Joey, the horse. What a novel (hee hee!) idea!

I wouldn’t say I was too caught up with the story’s sentimentality and sweetness, but I’ll admit that I felt a little embarrassed when I was finishing the book while eating lunch at Chipotle. I sat hunched over my Kindle trying not to let any of the other patrons see me cry at the ending.

I did discover, though, that tears give guacamole an unusual flavor!

So far, so good!

Right now I’m speeding through “The Hunger Games” (free on my Kindle through Amazon.com’s Prime lending library). It’s so compelling that it’s tempting to just read all day and let the laundry pile up. I love books like that!

I sure hope the movie, set to debut next month, does the novel justice. I can’t wait to finish the book, go to the theater, and judge for myself.

Stay tuned for the review!

One-Word Wednesday

Looking out my driver-side window during an afternoon rain shower (in a parking lot)

Raindrops!

Baby G Turns One!

Baby antlers!

Remember this baby?

There’s a new sheriff in town . . . and he’s awfully cute!

Guess who’s a year old (as of February 15)?

Glive tastes his cake.

Glen V, the adorable son of our friends Kelly and Glen (IV)! Glive celebrated his birthday at a western-style home party last Saturday filled with lots of toddlers and a trio of nonwestern-wearing schlubs who, as usual, stood out like hicks at the ball. In fairness to the Mister, our younger son, and I, we didn’t get the memo about what to wear, not that that would’ve helped, of course.

Mighty good!

Yes, I’ve lived in the Houston area since 1983 and own nothing I’d be proud to wear to our annual rodeo, and the same goes for the rest of my family. That is, if we ever got to go to the rodeo (it’s outside our 10-mile travel radius, after all). We’re yahoos who rarely get to say “yeehaw.”

Sweetest little boots ever!

Meanwhile, Glive was dressed head to toe (well, when he would wear a cowboy hat) in his western best. Impossible as it seems, he looked even cuter.

Hamming it up for the Nikon

There’s one thing that’s for certain about little Glen’s future:

Love that milky, drooly grin!

He’s destined to be a heartbreaker!

“This Means War”: A 10 on the Creepiness Scale

Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are best friends and romantic rivals.

Are you younger than, say, age 30 or so? Then you might like “This Means War.”

For the rest of us in the, ahem, older demographic, it’s just a waste of time that we could’ve spent, say, seeing “The Artist.” Please, Mister, can we finally see what might win the Oscar for Best Picture?

Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) spends time with FDR.

Top CIA operatives, Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine), are partners and best friends. They, unknowingly  to each other, make a play for Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), who ends up dating both of them. I think you can fill in the blanks about what happens next.

While there were funny parts to the movie, the ick factor was just too great. Because Tuck and FDR work for the CIA, they’re able to bug Lauren’s house and spy on each other in an attempt to derail each other’s efforts to woo her.

Creepy. Creepy. Creepy. Creepy! Slimy even. And Lauren takes forever to figure out that something’s going on. What supposedly savvy gal would be so clueless? Most of the late action was formulaic and easy to figure out. Well, it was for us, not for Lauren.

Surprisingly, Chelsea Handler livened up the movie in a positive way. Normally, I would be cringing at her profanity, but as Lauren’s friend, she was refreshing, funny, and wise.

Wish I could say the same about the rest of the flick.

Rental!

Future Parenting (Conversations With My #2 Son)

Is my younger son dreaming about Luke and the gang?

The other night as the Mister, our younger son, and I were in the family room watching TV, our teenager said, “I want to talk to you about a parenting problem.”

Immediately, the Mister and I exchanged worried glances. What did we do this time? I’m sure that he was thinking of ways to blame me for whatever crime we had committed, because I was doing the same thing in my mind. Remember the last time our #2 son accused me even though I was innocent? And it really was his father’s fault?

Yep, the theme is playing in my head, too!

“When I have kids, should I have them see the ‘Star Wars’ movies in order or start with four, five, and six, which is how you both saw them when you were younger?” he asked.

Wish you could’ve seen the relief on our faces! While the Mister debated the pros and cons of seeing the six movies in order vs. the original trilogy first, I couldn’t get one thought out of my mind:

My son wants to have kids! Hooray!!

Sugary Yet Helpful

I rock!

Why are conversation hearts only sold for Valentine’s Day? They can start some interesting discussions! And they taste good, too!! Well, except for the purple ones.