Friday, November 30, 2012

Even I noticed...

Last night, my movie date friend Jenn and I went to see Anna Karenina. I had mixed expectations as I had read that the movie was too movie-esque -- so much artful cinematography that you are very aware the whole time that you are watching a movie, which makes it hard to be absorbed in the story.

Having now seen it, here is what I think:

While yes, on an artsiness scale the film would be a 10, it wasn't hallucinogenic artsiness. It wasn't like Moulin Rouge, for example. That movie is a bit eerie and dizzying and maybe it would be better if you were high as a kite while watching it. Anna Karenina is essentially set in a theater, with doors opening to new scenes and bedrooms on stage and rafter hooks and chains shown above a ball dancing room. While it may not be realistic, each transition from scene to scene is tasteful and often surprising.

Having not ever read the book or even known the plot, it was a bit confusing to know who was who at first (is Kitty a cousin, or is she Dolly's sister, or is she a princess??) but this didn't hinder my basic comprehension of what was going on. My favorite scene in the whole movie (and also the sweetest) is when Kitty and Levin are talking to each other with a mixture of whispers and alphabet blocks. It is so intimate, so secretive even though they are in a room with others, so loving --  I could tangibly feel the knot in their throats and their beating hearts as they discovered how much they deeply care for one another. That scene alone makes the movie worth seeing.

As for Anna and her lover (Vronsky... I had to look that up), I think they played their parts well. I could never quite get past the fact that Vronsky's hair was an obviously weird blondish color, and his mustache was....ummmmm....searching for the right word.... gross? It was not flattering. So that made it hard for me to understand exactly why Anna was so completely and utterly drawn to him -- aside from the fact that he certainly was dripping with sensuality and looked at Anna like she was ice-cream and he was the spoon (quoting a line from The Jane Austen Book Club.) Keira Knightley does a good job of capturing both Anna's charismatic sweetness and apparent psychosis.

For those who have read the book, I know you will have much to think about in comparing it to the movie. Having now known the ending, I'd like to watch the movie again as Jenn told me there is a lot of foreshadowing, which I completely missed. Forgiveness either given or withheld is strung from the very first scene until the last, and so much could be discussed regarding this theme. And of course, there is love. Love in all kinds of forms. If you have seen any of the movie posters like the one of Kitty and Levin above, you will know what I mean. Note Tolstoy's quote at the top of the poster...

Last but certainly not least, the jewelry and costumes alone make this film a must-see. Even I noticed Anna's jewelry -- this is saying a lot because I am often the world's most unobservant nincompoop. Granted, you would probably have to be blind to not see this:

Wow. Chanel Joaillerie. I'll take one. Ok thank you!


Russia is freezing.

Bottom line: go see Anna Karenina. I wouldn't have written my thoughts down if it wasn't still on my mind, so it clearly isn't a movie that you can easily forget. In fact, I think a movie is a let down if you aren't thinking about it the next day.

And I'm certainly thinking about it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

You know you're in Dallas when...

We spent the Thanksgiving week at home in Dallas. I hadn't been home in 8 months and was beginning to feel like I could live in DC forever. That is, until I got back to Dallas and was reminded of the glorious joys of:

  • Not fearing the clock when you are deciding to drive somewhere or not. There is no traffic. Doesn't matter what time. I literally was so nervous that we'd be late to everything... the movies, a friend's house, church, family dinner, rushing home to meet another name it. But no, in Dallas, everything is 5 minutes away. I have no idea how that is possible but it is.
  • Not wondering if you will find a parking spot or not. Parking will be there. You have no need to pray for a parking spot -- a daily ritual here in the hood. It will just be waiting for you. Amazing. 
  • Forgetting something at the grocery store and going out to get it and being back in 10 minutes. IMPOSSIBLE. No folks, as I live and breathe, I saw it happen. I have no idea how it's possible but it is. 
  • Jogging through the neighborhood and not dodging cars or angry pedestrians. THIS IS WHAT FREEDOM FEELS LIKE. And we were in shorts and T's. In late November. Fancy that. 
  • Texas. The warm air, the friendly people, men who actually know how to properly wear jeans, Johnny Football, Mexican food, "Secede" bumper stickers (let's disregard the fact that a state cannot succeed from the Union), SUVs, the Dallas skyline at the stoplight on Preston and Lovers, HP village lit up for Christmas ("I hope Heaven is like this"), and naturally, Blue Bell Ice Cream. 

Peppermint flavor, of course. It's a holiday favorite.

Being in Dallas is restorative to the soul for all of the aforementioned reasons, but clearly and obviously there is a no-brainer reason that I haven't yet mentioned:

Family! And "family" includes friends!

Here I am with Skippy and Barbie at a new park downtown. It's pretty cool. The trees are somehow knitted.

My mom threw me a mini-surprise-early-birthday party with new friends and old. She's a tricksy one.

Even Chris showed up.

Don't worry, he only barks. No bite.

We also celebrated sweet Bekah's real birthday with seriously the best chocolate cake maybe EVER.

Here's Michael with our sweet adopted grandad, big Joel, who has the biggest heart in the whole world.

And here I am with my new "sister" Tess. My mom gave us matching sewing kits. You can tell that I am utterly thrilled with this.

Does this mean I have to learn to sew?!??! Oh lordy. Here goes nothing.

I got to hang with Claire's baby G. She ate dinner while sitting on my lap. It was an experience. 

I found mashed potato on my leg several hours later. Love it! And Gwenny Bear! 

And I got to hang with the the likes of these shady characters:

"Ah! How good it feels, the hand of an old friend." - Mary Engelbreit 

But alas, we are back in our little abode in the big city. But we are full of 

and joy because of the many people we are thankful for! And for getting to spend time in Dallas. And because really, DC isn't that bad either. Except for the traffic. And the parking. 

And the politicians. 

Oh don't get me started. 

Bonne nuit! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Funday

Just because it's Friday...

and just because it's fun...

and just because my brother reminded me of this recently...

and just because I know you want to be anywhere but in the office...

It's time for the "My Band" game!

To play:

1) Go to Wikipedia and click "random article" on the left toolbar, or just click this link. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2) Go to Random Quotations. The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3) Go to Flickr and click on "explore" and then click "interesting photos from the last seven days," or just click here. The third photo on the page, no matter what, is your album cover.

4) Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Here's mine.

 Here's Chris':

5) Cherish your band!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The things you do for love


This was hard to witness.

This gives a renewed meaning to "what's mine is yours."

And this is now my life: DC plates in place of Texas, and a Duke sticker attached to my beloved jeep. Who am I?? What is my life??

Never forget you who are!

At least Virginia is still better than Duke at football.

Oh wait...

Oh hush.

The things you do for love.

Let's be honest, this was easy. I love my man.

When I was little, I use to pray that I would get a flash from God really quick -- like a quick word on a screen -- of the name of the man I was going to one day marry. I spent countless nights doing that. Praying that I could just see his name just so I would know it was HIM when I met him. A girl's gotta be ready! I knew I couldn't wear sweatpants the rest of my life (NOT: I'm wearing sweatpants as we speak), but I at least wanted to be dressed to impress once I finally did meet THE man for me.  For the record, I had on jeans and a size XL Sea Island sweatshirt when Michael and I first laid eyes on each other. I was also with 7 of my girlfriends who are all beautiful...

Not sure how I won the day with that one...

Oh wait, yes I do. It's all about placement. And having good friends who rock the matchmaking.

Anyway, the point is, I always wanted to just get that quick flash of a name so that I would know a) that I was actually going to get married one day and b) who it was I was going to marry. Of course, that flash never came, but it is sort of fun to look back and think about things now that I am married. What was I thinking when I put my UVA sticker on my car after I found out I had been accepted? What was Michael doing at that very moment in December of 2003? Did I ever think that my future husband would one day put a sticker from his school on that car? (Lord knows I didn't... I thought I'd be driving a Volvo SUV minivan by now with 2 kids and 1 on the way... just kidding... I am so weird.)

I don't really know where I'm going with this here post, except to just say that things happen for a reason (that is secular talk for "The Lord Reigns"), and that includes both things monumentally important to you (like who/if you are going to marry), and things monumentally important to the world (like who the president is). To quote my mother: Heaven Rules!

And Duke stinks.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I love ME.

My dear friend Avery lives in Portland, ME, and I hopped up the coast to visit her last weekend. Of all of my friends who could live in Maine and live in Maine well, it would definitely be Aves. She not only is the coolest person because she is super creative, likes ramen noodles (this was a new discovery on my part), owns 2 kitties, keeps up her dance skills with weekly ballet class, and has kept her haul of costumes from college (not surprising), she also has an attitude of adventure. And Maine is an adventure! 

I had never been so far north in the US and was expecting sub-zero temperatures... in October... But no, it was so pleasant! I think it was actually warmer in Portland last weekend then in DC. 
View as we drove down the hill to Avery's house

That is water in the distance -- can you see it? I forgot to take a pic of the actual water that basically surrounds the peninsula where Avery lives, but it definitely took me by surprise when you come over the hill. Ta-da! Water! Portland felt to me like Annapolis and San Francisco combined. Lots of water and charming homes like Annapolis, and a trendy but laid back vibe like SF. And kind of spooky on a cool night with the fog coming off the water. 

We spent Friday afternoon at Tim's brewery after eating a perfect lunch of panini sandwiches and truffle fries at Duckfat:

Tim = Avery's boyfriend. Fascinated with her ballet shoes. 

Oxbow: An American Farmhouse Brewery
First taste!

I had never tried any Oxbow beer before, even though it sells in DC. Let's be honest, I'm not really all that knowledgeable about beer in general. (Do they have Bud Light Lime??) But I loved it! Not too heavy but really flavorful.
Tim gives Dee some beer. 

We also took a a little jaunt through the woods around the property, beer in hand. And then we ate a lot of pizza from this country store that you definitely wouldn't find on Google maps. Avery = knows the local gems. 

On Saturday, we explored Portland from top to bottom. Coffee, brunch, walking through orange, leafy neighborhoods, walking into all the home good stores, loving everything I saw in the home good stores, buying everything none of what I saw in the home good stores, watching Friends re-runs and letting our tired legs rest, eating dinner at this ramen noodle place that was off-the-charts good, and going out for Halloween! 

And eating late night pizza again. Felt like college. Love. 

Avery was such a great hostess. We hadn't gotten that much one-on-one time probably since ummm gosh I don't even know. Maybe since high school when we would watch Dead Poets Society or when we would dress up for the Harry Potter midnight book releases at Barnes and Noble. 

Oh yea. Living on the wild side.