Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I lied. In January 2002 I told a bold face lie to a circle of about 20 other sophomores in a room off the side of the Campus Center. We were preparing to leave for a semester in Oxford in just one day and had somehow found ourselves being led overseas by some really interesting characters. No comment.

To create more unity and team building (probably to avoid some form of culture shock - they liked to throw around that phrase about every two minutes to scare us into obedience) we were all supposed to go around the circle and talk about a present that we begged for as a child for either Christmas or a birthday. I panicked. I couldn't recall ever having begged for something so desperately as a child. I was not listening particularly closely to the answers as the conversation went around the circle, I was too busy crafting a story of my own design. I think someone mentioned a pony they never actually received, and another student talked about a keyboard. When it was my turn I said something about a surfboard so that I could surf at our family beach house in Galveston. My friend David promptly turned to me and whispered, "Show off."

I didn't know a lot about unfulfilled longings in my childhood. I was raised in an amazing home and really seemed to always have more than enough. I just don't remember agonizing over not possessing something. If only I could go back to that simpler time!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

True story. I think my heart has been sick for a while. My current desire is for answers that feel as they are just out of reach. I've seen quite a few hopes drift off unfulfilled. At least that's how it feels.

I'm ready to see that tree of life come back.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Enthralling Movie Musical Numbers

Blah Blah Blah blog absence. Blah blah blah sorry about that. Blah blah blah, who cares, right? Moving on.

I read several handfuls of movie blogs a day. One of my favorites is Lara and the Reel Boy. Okay, so it might have SOMETHING to do with the fact that it’s written by two very dear friends, but they have some seriously quality reviews, retrospectives, and most importantly: lists.

Lara and David have some amazing ideas for Top 5 lists, like favorite “the child sending a favorite pet away scene,” or the top 5 barfing scenes. Random categories, but I love it. Recently they posted a list that I can’t help but chime in on: “Top 5 Most Enthralling Movie Musical Numbers.” Why yes, this does have my name written all over it, doesn't it?

Now this list does come with some slightly infuriating stipulations, but I wanted to play along the right way, so I am bumping a few of my favorites for the sake of staying within the bounds LatRB have set. They are:

"1. No Disney movies.
2. No musical performances by a band (i.e. Stillwater in Almost Famous).
3. No live action Disney Movies, which, apparently, goes hand-in-hand with no Disney movies. I hadn’t realized this until late in the process (Newsies, noooo!!!)
4. No putting on the stereo and singing/dancing scenes. Nothing that could be found in real life.
5. No animated movies.
6. No singing only, slow musical songs. Only songs with choreography invited."

Yeah. Big time stipulations. But I think I’ve figured it out, so without further ado…

Val’s List:

5. “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” from Hairspray.

This movie is just so joyful, and the ending culminates in a song that is so bursting with energy and happiness, I can’t help but smile! This epitomizes a lot of the reasons why I love musicals, chief among them the emotions that these characters can’t express outside of singing and dancing. “You Can’t Stop the Beat” is perhaps one of the most singalongable songs in the history of musicals.

4. “Cell Block Tango,” from Chicago.

I fell in love with this movie when it came out during my sophomore year in college. I mean, in love in love. My roommates and I couldn’t seem to do anything but talk about Chicago, unless of course we were singing the songs from it. We couldn’t go anywhere in the car without listening to the soundtrack, particularly “The Cell Block Tango.” We each had certain characters that we’d do the verses for, and those were always OUR characters. In fact, we loved this song so much, we sang made up an outgoing answering machine message song using the chorus (“We are not coming! We are not coming! We are not answering the phone! So try back later! Or leave a message! And we will call you when we get home!”) This song is powerful, cinematic, and completely hilarious.
*Sidenote: Julie and I always used to get the Ukrainian girl’s phrase, “a rendorsegen megmagyarazni,” stuck in our heads. And sometimes we’d confuse it with Elfish. Yeah, we used to be really cool.

3. “You Make My Dreams Come True,” from (500) Days of Summer

This is most definitely one of the best scenes in any movie ever. It perfectly accentuates how Tom is feeling in this moment in a way that makes you believe his excitement is liable to jump off the screen at any second. I can completely relate to this feeling that you just absolutely need a soundtrack to dance to and a marching bird and a little bluebird to flutter around because you are just feeling TOO MUCH. Absolutely incredible.

2. “Singin’ in the Rain,” from…well, you know

When I first wrote this list out, I gave the number two slot to “something from Singin’ in the Rain.” Because ALL of those songs are “enthralling movie musical numbers!” (Well, maybe not “Beautiful Girl”....) And I knew I’d pick one of those songs to go here, so I left it at that; something to think about later. Yet here I am, still debating, because I just can’t pick! I love this movie so dearly, and picking a favorite number is sheer torture for me. I actually narrowed it down to “Moses Supposes,” “All I Do,” “Make ‘Em Laugh,” “Good Morning,” and the title song. Which is not really a narrowed list much at all. So here I am, down to the (self-imposed) wire, having to pick one. And in the end, I just can’t pick anything but “Singin’ in the Rain” itself, for its exuberance, Gene Kelly’s mastery of dance, and for its representation of this film as a whole.

1. “Your Song,” Moulin Rouge!

And now we come to one of my most beloved movie moments in the history of film. I can’t even begin to describe to you the chills I get when Ewan Mcgregor opens his mouth and begins his mind-blowing serenade to Satine. I mean really-- his voice lights up Paris! And when he gets to the words "You see I've forgotten if they're GREE-EEN or they're blue!" Swoon.

Every single moment of this number is exquisite and breath-taking. From the song to the dancing to the clouds to the red umbrella to the moon to the glitter to the twinkle lights to the Eiffel Tower, it’s just…perfect.


So what's on your list?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Everywhere else.

Everywhere else
Anywhere else
I look
And I look
Everywhere else

Words on my arm
And lines on a page
Hoping for wisdom
To come without age
Wishing that this was easier
Hoping my heart was stronger
Doubting my future is filled
At all
With things that I dream that I wish for.

And so I look
Everywhere else
Anywhere else
But to you.

I hope to be brave
I try to be free
Sadly ending
Back at the start of me.

"O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning." Isaiah 33:2

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is It Possible To Be EXCITED To Death?

I have been running around practically non-stop like a CRAZY person for the past 3ish days in an attempt to get ready to fly to NASHVILLE tomorrow! I mean, seriously-- crazy. I had Dani on the phone last night as I was walking into Kohls, whispering worriedly that I looked like a complete mental case walking around at 9:00 at night in laundry-day clothes and purple flats talking on the phone in a nearly empty store. AWKWARD. But that's been the story of my life lately, non-stop doing and especially SHOPPING.

Here's a fun shopping story: I tried on clothes at a certain store and when I was about to leave the dressing room I realized one of my earrings had popped off! I looked around my little area as best I could, then shrugged because Eh. In the grand scheme of Val's earrings, these... were not uber special. I get to the NEXT store and again enter a dressing room try on clothes, where I found my missing earring! Twilight Zone, right? Well I will let you venture your guess as to where it was, but first you have to read the rest of this crazy blog entry....

Because the point of all this? Is-- no, Julie. Not to make more records.

The point is tomorrow.

Because tomorrow? This:

(This video was taken the day we got to California in January. The song is "Fly By," which used to be OUR SONG. Too much fun.)

I'M TOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because I get to go to Tennessee and be reunited with my ROOMMATES again! It's been WAY too long. Dani's wedding, in fact!

This time? This time we stand with our dear Julie, who so deserves this happy ending (and happy beginning!) with Todd, an awesome guy who is into Glee, which definitely makes him a winner in my book!

ALSO? I get to see my Pal Joey.

Also? I get to see the blog goddess herself, Miss Annie P.

I mean...can you even imagine?? Because I sure can't.

Okay, this needs to be all for now! Seriously. The bed? I need to get in it. And see if I can sleep. I don't know HOW though! I'M TOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!

But first! The thrilling conclusion to The Case of the Missing Earring! When we last left our story, my earring escaped its earlobe home and reunited with me in a completely different store thirty minutes later. How did it come to be there?

Well, if you guessed that it would later be found INSIDE MY BRA, then congratulations. You win! Also: you're super creepy. Why were you thinking about my bra??

The End.