Monday, June 30, 2008

Never again...ok, maybe once.

That's it. I'm finished. I've just spent the last 5 days lifting, cleaning, and sweating. I despise moving. I was lucky enough to have wonderful friends to help with the heavy lifting and some of the cleaning, but I just felt like the task was never ending. A majority of my things are now in storage while I am living in a fully furnished condo for a while. I've compiled a list of things for you to seriously consider the next time you are even THINKING about moving.

1. Do you HAVE to move?
2. Do you live in Arizona? If so, do not move in the month of June when it is 112 degrees outside.
3. Why do you own so much stuff?
4. Say you turn your keys in and then realize that you have left 3 items in a cabinet - just let them go. It's not worth going back there for one more trip.
5. Do you really need to move?
6. Maybe try giving monasticism a try. It's less stuff to move.

I think the high-light of this entire event was smashing my fingers in a drawer and then trying to get my keys off of the key ring to give to the apartment manager. I was putting all the effort I had into getting the keys off, and she just kept standing there. I was about to lose it. I was so tired, so sweaty, and the stupid keys were each on a ring. She finally offered to help after 5 minutes of smashing my fingers.

The new challenge about this move is that I do not have Internet in my new I'm blogging at the library. Since I only have one hour on the clock it doesn't lend much time for creativity. I'm sure I will read this later and wonder what I'm talking about.

I'm now heading out to reward myself for not losing it with anyone over the past weekend in the moving process or at work (crying or shouting - although I have done plenty of that on my own.) I'm thinking my feet have been asking for a pedicure, I picked up a new book, and a stop at Sonic is in order for a Route 44 Diet Coke. (Also, I'm preparing to watch Deanna bring the number down from 3 J's to 2 tonight.) Let the NOT-MOVING commence.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stream of Consciousness

In college, my roommates and I used to have "stream of consciousness" share time. Usually in one of our bedrooms, but sometimes in a car in the Starbucks parking lot, we would each take a turn to just... talk. No interruptions, no judgements on what was said. Just time for your thoughts to flow freely from your brain.
Tonight, faced with a blank screen and a blinking cursor, I bring you my stream of consciousness.
I'm going to a wedding on Saturday. I always forget the amount of time and preparation that go into leaving town. Especially for this trip: packing, checking out a book on tape from the library, wrapping the wedding present, buying some new shoes to wear to the wedding because I just need some new heels. My mind won't stop whirring and thinking about the weekend. That's probably why it's the first thing to seep out of my consciousness here....
I get pretty vivid deja vu fairly often. Is this normal at all? Oh and let's just skip over the obvious Matrix joke right now....
As has been established, I really love lists. Particularly entertainment/pop culture related lists. That's why the past week has been such a joy for me. As you know, last week was the AFI Top 10 of 10 list. Then on Friday I got my Entertainment Weekly in the mail. Their 1000th issue. Full of lists of the "new classic" movies (props to Lord of the Rings-- again!), tv shows (Gilmore Girls! Number 32! That's what I'm talking about!), stage productions (Hooray for WICKED!), books (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at #2-- they picked the right one!), and music (umm...whatever). THEN this week they started the ridiculously early but still entertaining VH1 series "I Love the New Millenium." It's weird to watch them comment about things that JUST happened and then make it sound like it's ancient history. Very bizarre. And apparently 2003 was my year, because they discussed Return of the King, The OC, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Clay Aiken. I mean-- come on! And for 2001 they discussed both Moulin Rouge and Pearl Harbor. Are these countdowns made for me, or are they made for me?
Ginger has finally succumbed to the Facebook Flair phenomena! I tried to warn her of the crazy addiction it causes, but apparently she already spent ages on it last night. So let's give her a big welcome: go send her lots.
Here's some movies that you need to see or see again. Add them to your Netflix queue. Or borrow them from me. I'd be happy to oblige. Try: The Others, The Prestige, Almost Famous ("I have to go home" "You are home"), Waiting for Guffman, Frequency, and Stardust. I think you'll really enjoy these. Or enjoy them again, because you know it's been a long time since you've seen Almost Famous. Now go knock yourself out.
Currently I am experiencing what can only be described as a hot flash. Second one of the day. Show of hands for who thinks I'm going through "the change."
I've had Toby Mac's Ordinary Love stuck in my head. All. Day. All day. Thank you, Julie. I never knew such bliss existed.
One time a couple months ago my brother left the stove on all weekend because he thought it was preheating. The stove. All weekend. We're kind of worried about him. (And I'm not even going to tell you how old he is. It's that tragic.)
You want to see my new weekend wedding shoes? Really?? Well...okay. They look like this, except they're purple. (And much cuter on me than in this picture.) I found these in the 12th store I visited looking for shoes. 12th. Also: the left shoe is looser than the right. Huh?? That will be one of the questions I ask God. Why make some of us with feet that don't match?
I've been making a lot of phone calls at work. Like really-- a lot. I've gotten my little spiel (schpiel?) down pat. And you know how people say when you say a word so often it doesn't even sound like a word anymore? Well I've said my phone number so many times it just doesn't sound like... anything. It's just noise. Now I have to tap my finger as I say each digit so as not to rush through the whole thing.
I cried during The Bachelorette the other night. Yep. That show. That's the one. Moving on.
I can't believe I've lived in my apartment for a year and a half! Does that make me a grown up yet? Hmm...really? Then why don't I feel like one yet?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Retro Post

True fact – Every entry in my journal from 1994-95 is addressed to “Dearest Sonet.” I was going for “Sonnet”, but that quite possibly makes even less sense. Why would you write to a sonnet? (The first entry to correctly spell sonnet is March 11, 1995.)

July 6, 1994
Dearest Sonet,

Today I traveled from Galveston to Tyler. I am staying with my Grandma here until Saturday. Last night in Galveston, I (and Grandma and Mom) went and saw the musical production of Show Boat. It was both boring and fascinating. Boring whenever they sang love songs but wonderful when they danced. Oh yes, and tonight Grandma took me to see the Disney movie, The Lion King! It was good. It was a little violent and kind of short, but all in all it’s sure to be a classic. I think one of the songs in the movie might even get an award! Well, I was up late last night and it’s already 9:27pm so I gotta sleep!
Bye for now My Sonet – GMM
July 17, 1994
Dearest Sonet,

Today we took the long and perilous journey from Dallas, TX to Trinidad, Colorado. We passed through about 50 miles of New Mexico. Tomorrow we travel from Trinidad to Euray. The motel we are staying in is called Budget Host. Budget is for sure. It’s better than the No go HO JO! (At least.) The mountains are beautiful! My sister and I thought the little hills of New Mexico were big. The mountains when we got to Colorado were huge. Mom says they’re going to get larger the deeper into Colorado we get. Well, I gotta try and get some sleep.
Bye for now My Sonet. – GMM

*And I know what you're thinking, and yes, I was a rebellious child. Just look at that butterfly out.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let's Go to the Movies!

I am a big fan of movies. I am also a big fan of lists. So when the American Film Institute comes out with a new movie list? It's like Christmas for me. Last night was their "10 Top 10" list: ten of the best movies from ten classic movie genres. I've long given up hope that any of my favorite movies will make these kinds of lists, so when they do, I'm more than a little excited.

For thoughts on my favorite movies that popped up on the countdown, as well as all the other thoughts I had while watching (no, really-- I wrote all this down while I watched), read on!

  • Jennifer Love Hewitt introduces animation. WHY? Because she voices a crappy character in a crappy sequel to a pretty crappy (save one great song) original? I'm not following.

  • "SHREK?" SERIOUSLY?? I mean, "Shrek" is a great and hilarious movie. But. Number 8? Seriously?

  • Shouldn't "Beauty and the Beast" be higher than #7? I mean, we are talking about the only animated movie EVER to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, right? Yes, that's what I thought....
  • "Fantasia!" Cool! I was worried the world had forgotten about that one!

  • I love Sean Astin. But it's so funny-- he makes everything sound like it is of the upmost importance. He could probably make his grocery list sound gravely pressing. Then you'd have to stop and be like, "WHAT? You're talking about SOUP and YOGURT! Give me a break!"

  • "Groundhog Day." Love that movie. So funny. But-- a fantasy? No. Same goes for "Big." I'm just not sure about this....

  • Number 2 fantasy is "The Fellowship of the Ring!" Yea! Dominic Monaghan! YEA!! (ALTHOUGH-- let me just say this. The only clips anyone ever shows of this movie are the ones we have seen a million times before. People who have never seen this must think all that happens is that Gandalf recites a little poem about the ring, Frodo falls and drops the ring, and then Gandalf yells 'You shall not pass!' and then falls. Yep, that's the whole movie!

  • "A Clockwork Orange?" Really?? Gross.

  • "2001: A Space Odessy" beat "Star Wars?" Wow. And no "Close Encounters?" Wow.

  • "Field of Dreams." "Lion King." "Star Wars." Way to go, James Earl Jones! Does this mean we can hope to see "The Sandlot" in the sports section? ;)

  • "Jerry Maguire?" Not really a sports movie. Sorry. But no.

  • My own personal favorite sports movies? Glad you asked. They would have to be: "A League of their Own," "Rookie of the Year," "The Sandlot," "Remember the Titans," "Bend it Like Beckham," and "Field of Dreams."

  • Way surprised that "Hoosiers" wasn't higher up on the list. Way. (Not my favorite movie, but I'm not gonna say I didn't tear up at that clip of the winning basket. It might have happened. Maybe.)

  • I wish, for Sean Astin's sake, that "Rudy" would have made the list. Even if he'd made it sound like the best movie, the first movie ever. For him, I wish it had made the list.

  • NO "CHARIOTS OF FIRE?" Whaaaaaat? And this is with them calling "The Hustler" a sports movie?? Also, no "Natural" or that 'Win one for the Gipper' movie?

  • Even if I haven't seen them all, I like to think that I've at least heard of a lot of old movies. But in this Westerns category, I'm coming up pretty empty. I mean, "Cat Ballou?" "McCabe and Mrs. Miller?" I mean, what is that??

  • BUT, I was very surprised not to see: "The Magnificent Seven," "Treasure of the Sierra Madre," or "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." Also, would "Dances with Wolves" not count?

  • Forgot all about "Shane!" DUH!

  • Totally called "The Searchers," though! Totally.

  • Gangster movies. Bleh. Whatever.

  • Pause for "Dark Knight" commercial. Amazing. That movie is going to CLEAN UP on opening weekend. 70 million, easy. No-- 80. At least.
  • Hmm. I really like James Woods a lot. I wonder why that is.

  • Where is "The Thin Man" in the mystery category?? That makes me sad.

  • I've always wanted to see "Laura." Now... I really really want to see "Laura!"

  • "Vertigo" and "Rear Window" are amazing. If you haven't seen them, go. Go now.

  • WHY is Jessica Alba introducing Romantic Comedies? WHY?

  • "Harold and Maude?" No. No no no.

  • "When Harry Met Sally" is #6? SIX?? Wow. I thought it would be much higher.

  • "Philadelphia Story:" yea!

  • Aww, "Roman Holiday." Awwwww.

  • "City Lights" is considered not only a Romantic Comedy, but the very best Romantic Comedy. That one's a bit of a head scratcher.

  • Why does "The Princess Bride" not count again? That should be on here somewhere. Romantic Comedy. Fantasy. Anywhere. Couldn't they find a place for it?

  • 'A dingo ate my baby!!!' Lol.

  • "12 Angry Men" is such an amazing movie. I could watch that movie every day. I really think I could.

  • Aww, Kirk Douglas. Seeing him like this makes me sad.

  • "Titanic!" YES! Yes yes yes.

  • I really love the 'I'm Spartacus!' scene. I do.

  • "Gone with the Wind" is only #4? Sad.

  • Similar to "Fellowship of the Ring"-- all we ever get to see is the trainyard body scene, the fire, and Scarlett's 'I'll never go hungry again!' line. And maybe Rhett leaving in the end. But still. Ugh. It's like a four hour movie! There's more to it than that!

  • They've just shown "Ben Hur." WHAT IS THE NUMBER ONE EPIC???

  • Ooooh. "Lawrence of Arabia." Again, the totally called for: DUH.

  • Yea! Dominic Monaghan!

I love movies. Gosh.
        For a full list of winners, go here. Sorry this was so long- thanks for sticking with me!

        Centennial Blogging

        This is our 100th post! Hooray!

        We're really quite good at the hoopla, had you noticed? ;)

        Really though, thanks to the 4 or 5 of you who keep up with our fascinating lives. It means a lot, and we're glad you've stuck with us!

        Monday, June 16, 2008

        Fly me to the moon...

        I’m not sure how I manage to do it, but once again I found myself pulling out of my airport parking with tears rolling down my face. It was everything I could do not to lose it in front of the friendly man who handed me my bottle of water and asked for my credit card. He smiled and said, “Do you have a coupon?” I blinked back the tears and said, “I used to have one.” I’m sure he was puzzled by my response, but didn’t ask as he quoted my $50 fee. As I pulled out, I let my overly tired tears fall.

        Let's take it back, shall we? - Thursday, June 12th, 2008.

        • I pulled into the parking lot ready for an exciting weekend in the Washington D.C. area. I was thrilled to get to see an old high school friend and make up for the inattentive time I spent at the Smithsonian Museums in 1995. My alarm rang at 3:45am (yes, that’s right) and I had managed to arrive relatively on schedule. I not only made it on to my desired flight (I was flying stand by), but I arrived with no travel hassles. It was so very…green. Gosh I miss grass…and leafy trees…and water. I’m sure Sarah must have tired of my remarks of the plant life and the variety of architecture over the course of our weekend. And rather than typing out the entire journey, I thought I would list the most noteworthy happenings.

          1. I stayed in the basement of a purple house in Silver Spring, Maryland. There was no air conditioning in the basement, and yet we were comfortable. Mystery to me.
          2. I was plagued by a ten year old in the Portrait Gallery. She literally found her way into my space at every portrait, no matter which direction I chose to take. She wasn’t seeking out conversation, but apparently thought I knew the way? Just a guess.
          3. Eating on the grass at the National Sculpture Garden with live jazz in the background is a great way to spend a Friday evening.
          4. The film "The Savages" was partially filmed in Sun City, AZ. I flew to MD only to have Snowbirds follow me.
          5. Beaches in Maryland are different than beaches in Florida. Picture large red rocks that radiate heat. No, not that big. That’s Arizona. Smaller rocks, but bigger than the sand I’m used to.
          6. My hair hates humidity. I don’t think I have one decent looking picture from the trip.
          7. I hate humidity...
          8. You can buy a small bottle of water outside the Lincoln Memorial for $1.95.
          9. If your show choir is selected to sing on a little stage outside of the Washington Monument I would suggest you work on your enthusiasm.
          10. I kept keeping my eyes open for someone I might recognize. I don’t even mean politicians or journalists. I know of about 5 people who live in the city, but not well enough to give them a call. I was at a party in a random house in the middle of the city on Saturday night, and one of them walked through the door. You would have thought we were sisters by the way we greeted each other. (At least like the sisters in the movies.)
          11. Lots of good food to be found in the D.C. area. (Lebanese, Italian, Seafood, Cuban, you name it.)
          12. My friend and her co-workers and everyone living in D.C. are trying to save the world. It was all very interesting. I asked myself these very questions: How many reports have you had published in journals lately? Are you working with a conflict resolution NGO or at a think tank?
        • 13. Flying stand by is stressful.
          14. Having your suitcase as a carry-on item torn from you and put under the plane can be worrisome…
          15. Especially if you are the only passenger to remain on the Baltimore to Indianapolis flight. You wonder, “Will my luggage be getting off to stay in Indianapolis for the day?” You almost call out to the flight crew to keep an eye out for your little bag that was not packed to be checked.
          16. If you had packed your bag to be checked you would have removed your new running shoes, makeup, library books, small camera, glasses, medicine, favorite Bible, and keys. Alas, you had no time to respond – you were the last to board the plane and therefore holding everyone up.
          17. When I landed in Phoenix I silently pleading, “Please let my luggage be here. Please let my luggage be here.”
          18. I arrived at the baggage claim area and watched for an hour. No bag. They will give me a call when they manage to locate it. (No one was overly reassuring or calming.)
          19. I finally make it onto my shuttle to the parking lot thankful for my phone, giant camera, and wallet. The keys might have been more reassuring though.
          20. Luckily, I have a spare key – and the alarm only went off for 5 minutes.
          21. As I pulled my car up to check out I realized my coupon for 10% off was in the zipper pocket of my luggage at the Indianapolis Airport. That was all it took to push me over the edge.

          The weekend really was wonderful. I had a lovely time with Sarah and am so thankful I had the opportunity to go and enjoy a weekend away. Finally, I would like to make the observation that even though 85 degrees and humid is miserable, 110 degrees is worse. Dry heat my foot. You come try it. Oh, and flip flop tans are forever.

        Edit: Apparently my luggage caught a flight into Phoenix this afternoon, but would not take a cab. I returned to the airport to collect the bag at 7:30pm. Now we can all sleep soundly.

        Tuesday, June 10, 2008

        Vicariously and Empathetically Deluded

        It's a strange thing when a best friend gets engaged. I've squealed with close friends over their engagements, and come to their showers and to their weddings. I've been to numerous family weddings, been in their house parties, and stayed after the ceremony for pictures.

        It's something else entirely, though, when it is a best friend.

        My Dani is getting married. I know! Aren't you so excited?? I certainly am. This is someone that I've known (and traveled with, and shared secrets with, and lived with, and everything else you can think of with) for nearly six years. We've done it all, and we've certainly said it all. And I mean ALL all. All.

        trust: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

        One of the great things about having such a close friend is the amount of implicit trust she seems to have in me. If I tried hard enough, I honestly might be able to convince her to wear a dress made of meat or carry a bouquet of socks down the aisle. Not that I would ever do that, or that she doesn't have a mind of her own. But even she will tell you: I can be pretty convincing.

        Although. It must be said. This has not always been the case. Freshman year I tried to convince her that the gorgeous hairstyle Kisha had spent hours on looked amazing on her (it did), but that didn't stop her from sticking her head in the sink!

        Just saying.

        Dani is one of my dear college roommates. We all live our experiences through each other, and at times it feels like we are all going through it together because the amount of details that are shared. This is one of those times when I feel as though it is me.

        em·pa·thy: the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

        But really, empathy does not even begin to describe what it is like to witness her current euphoria. There are times I am literally reminding myself, "No, Valerie, it's not you. Dani is the one getting married. Dani. Not. You." This may sound weird, or self-absorbed, and I may not be saying this right. But it's just so wildly, fascinatingly bizarre for someone so close to me to be going through this!

        Sometimes I honestly feel so vested in this that I think I should be a part of everything. "When are we...I mean you...going to have the wedding?" "What do of this dress?"

        I think a big part of this is the fact that we have gone through so many formative experiences together. From thinking we were grown-ups during our first year of college, to pretending to be grown-ups in Europe, to trying to be grown-ups in our very own house. From graduating college to moving to different cities and convinving ourselves that that didn't necessarily make us grown-ups, because...gross. We've lived it all simultaneously, and experienced all the big events at once. So maybe even though she's doing this one without me, I feel like I should be going through it too.

        vi·car·i·ous·ly: felt or enjoyed through imagined participation in the experience of others: a vicarious thrill.

        Yes, that one is pretty much me. Trying to hone in on her joy and giddiness...all through my own imagination. This need to remind myself that she is one that is wearing a sparkly ring. Not. Me. So what is going on with me?

        de·lus·ion: to believe something that is not true

        Okay, enough with the definitions.

        I cannot wait to fly to California and celebrate the amazing union of one dazzling woman and her dashing fiance. After all, this crazily awesome friend of mine is, as we've already established, pretty much me by extension.

        "There is nothing like sisterhood. We stand together, determined to love one another and share life, from this moment to next summer to our weddings and milestone birthdays, and on to the rest of our lives." ~Katie Noah

        Thursday, June 5, 2008

        Summer Reading

        I realize that you could just as easily turn to Oprah or Maureen Corrigan and pick up some books for the summer – and that I just blogged about books recently, but I can’t help but share the wealth. Humor:
        I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman - Nora Ephron

        The Russian Word for Snow - Janis Cooke Newman
        Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year – Anne Lamott
        Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War, and an African Farm - Lauren St. John
        Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust - Immaculee Ilibagiza

        Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire - Jim Cymbala (as good the second time around)
        Grace Eventually - Anne Lamott
        The Irresistable Revolution – Shane Claibourne

        The Lost Daughters of China – Karin Evans
        Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading. – Maureen Corrigan

        Oddly enough I started a book with plenty of potential, but the book smelled horribly – I couldn’t get past chapter four. I had to read the last chapter and then set it aside. Maybe your copy will be fresher.

        All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: An American Misfit in India - Rachel Manija Brown

        Happy Reading.

        Monday, June 2, 2008

        Holy Mole-y

        You guys. You do not even realize how excited I am about a certain piece of reality television returning to the airwaves tonight. TONIGHT!

        "The Mole" is one of the best examples of smart reality programming, and I'll tell you why: viewers aren't just viewing. We're participants. And I don't mean participate like we "participate" in American Idol and call in our votes. With "The Mole," you are, in a sense, playing along with the contestants, and reasoning and deducing right along with them.

        The basic premise of "The Mole" is this: 12 people are competing for money. Nothing new, right? Actually, in the case of "The Mole," is that part of the game is all about earning the very money that one contestant will win. They use teamwork to complete various challanges and tests. With each task that they complete, more money goes into the group pot. The person who wins the game wins the all money. How do you win the game? Figure out the identity of the Mole.

        The Mole tries to sabotage the games and keep the team from winning money. But they have to be crafty about it, because their first objective is to not be discovered. They may purposely lose a game for the team one day, then lead the team to victory the next day. It's all about shifting the blame and keeping the other players guessing. If any player does poorly on a task, the other contestants will instantly suspect them of being the Mole. That's perfect for the real Mole, because the more people who are suspecting the wrong players, the less that discover the true identity of the Mole. At the end of each episode, the players all take a quiz about facts of the Mole: What was the Mole wearing at breakfast? Who was sitting next to the Mole in the car? And ultimately: Who is the Mole? This forces the players into copious note-taking, because even if they know who the Mole is, they still have to answer the questions correctly. The player that does the worst on the quiz is sent home, being the latest victim of the Mole.

        I first started watching "The Mole" when it first aired, back in 2001. This is before reality tv hit it truly big. This is also before I was even allowed to watch television on a weeknight, so I had to be stealthy about it....

        To get back into the swing of things and remind myself how the previous Moles had manuevered the game, I bought cheap copies of the first season of "The Mole" as well as "Celebrity Mole: Hawaii." Ask anyone who has been around me in the week or so: it's all I've been able to talk about. And now that we get a brand new season to figure out a brand new Mole, I have a feeling it will continue to be all I talk about!

        A few tips for tonight's episode: The Mole will probably not throw the first few games, meaning there won't likely be any clues tonight. If they do mess things up, it's going to be really small things; the Mole won't want to be too obvious so early on. Pay attention to details, because the show does like to slip in clues. Also, don't listen to the contestants. The ones that are wrong can be very passionate in their reasons for why they think someone is the Mole, and they can be pretty convincing. But remember that the smarter players will rarely reveal who they're really onto as the Mole, and may even convince you that they think it's someone else. It's all a ruse. Take nothing at face value!

        Enjoy! You know I will be....
        (No, I didn't draw this awesomeness.)