British Houses

Does anyone else watch perhaps too many British shows and movies and then, seeing houses you recognize from other things, feel at once comforted by them, but then a little later disconcerted because they didn’t actually use that particular houses inside for the inside scenes? Is it just me?

Driving=Hands on Fire

I am feeling awful today. All the driving caught up with me. My hands are on fire, I’m super accident prone, and it’s had to be a rest day. Fortunately I have a comfy blanket and a Greg to watch Netflix with. We are starting to watch Glee. I had intended to watch this with Ree, but he wasn’t interested. Greg was, so we’re fast-forwarding through the boring/sexy stuff, but watching all the singing and dancing parts. 🙂

Downton Abbey Movie!!

Nick and I had a rare afternoon movie date this afternoon. We grabbed a super quick lunch at Torchy’s Tacos, wherein I discovered the joy that is the happy corn side dish (unfortunately it was Nick’s- sorry babe!). Then we headed down to Time Square Cinema for the Downton Abbey movie. We’d bought tickets way ahead of time on Fandango, so of course it all had to go wrong. Apparently the movie theatre didn’t think anyone was going to want to see the movie, so they’d only scheduled one theater and the people all revolted and demanded more screenings, so ours got scrapped and moved, so our tickets were hiding in a pile behind the old ticket counter (which is now just the concession stand). We had to wait in the concession line for our tickets, our seats we had picked out online had been given to other people in the meantime, so we ended up sitting in the very front section. The whole thing was chaos because all the seats were messed up, so people had all gone to the places they thought they had tickets, sat in the them, and then had to be moved because when the theater redid the seats, they didn’t do it right at all and just stuck people in willy-nilly, so everyone was having to re-jigger themselves and try to trade seats to sit with the people they came with. This chaos went on all the way through the previews and until the actual movie went on, when everyone finally just shut up and sat where they were.

In any case, The Downton Abbey movie was most excellent. Many super improbable things happened and Maggie Smith was once again deliciously quick witted. We loved every bit of it, although we did yell at a certain character in our heads quite a lot that he was being dim witted. Ah well, at least it ended well. Really, we have watched this show so long that it felt like we went home, some how, like we had gone to see friends that we missed. It was delightful.

15 movies that have stayed with me…

When I first started this list (three or four days ago), I panicked and couldn’t think of any movies I’d seen, ever. Now I’m wishing I could do way more than 15!  So, here are a few lists:

Childhood

  1. Watcher in the Woods – Bette Davis, spooky house & trees, child possession & kidnapping, aliens, what’s not to love?
  2. The Dark Crystal – Jim Henson + Brian Froud = LOVE
  3. Back to the Future – Time travel, great music, Christopher Lloyd as a mad scientist…whee!!!
  4. Labyrinth – see number 2
  5. Time Bandits – weird, dark, British
  6. ET – alien comes and befriends a child (I am seeing a theme here, are you?)
  7. Wuthering Heights (with Laurence Olivier) – I was seriously too young for this, but hey, a ghost, a forbidden & lost & returned love, a child saved off the streets, an undying romance…
  8. Star Wars – seriously, if you don’t know Star Wars, I can’t be your friend anymore.
  9. The Goonies – pirates, bad guys, kids saving the world, underground paths to hidden treasure
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey – aliens, sentient computers, need I say more?
  11. Oliver – MUSICAL! I have the easy piano book and I played the songs over and over and over
  12. It’s a Wonderful Life – I love and hate this movie every year.
  13. Amadeus – Oh my goodness: fantastic geniuses are real people, too!
  14. Spaceballs – I love me a good parody and this one is GOOD
  15. Drop Dead Fred – silliness. lots and lots.
  16. Bedknobs & Broomsticks – magic, music, and mischief

High School

  1. Untamed Heart – who doesn’t love this movie? (teenaged boys, probably)
  2. The Piano – a mail order bride who speaks only through her piano gets her piano taken away from her by her uncaring new spouse  runs off with the man who offers it back to her
  3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail – probably my most often quoted movie. I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
  4. Rocky Horror Picture Show – I first saw it when I was 14 and there’s no turning back after that.
  5. Benny & Joon – crazy girl falls in love with crazy boy? oh yes.
  6. Fried Green Tomatoes – crazy girl falls in love with other crazy girl and runs a cafe?  I never could decide if I liked the book or the movie better. Both had scenes that the other one didn’t have that I ADORED.
  7. The City of Lost Children – French, weird, dark. Loved it!
  8. A League of Their Own – I have been known to watch this more than once back-to-back. I don’t even like sports, but I love this movie.
  9. Lady Jane – I love a movie that can make me interested in real, actual history. This one was beautiful.
  10. Total Recall – Once I found out that there were BOOKS and STORIES like this, I went on a three month Philip K. Dick reading binge. It was awesome! I can’t believe they’re remaking it.
  11. The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen – Weird, Dark, British. Check!
  12. Dead Poets Society – I remember that we could get Mrs. Sanders off topic for an entire day in school if we mentioned this movie. It was that awesome and controversial. I just loved the idea of young men running around spouting poetry. I wanted to find me some of those.  Where were they? (Hiding from me!)
  13. Pretty Woman – Ah, who can forget the story of the prostitute in love? I have no idea what our parents were thinking letting us watch this movie, but we loved it so much!
  14. Four Weddings and A Funeral – I still love this movie. I can’t help it. British, silly, love, yup!
  15. When Harry Met Sally – I love movies that feature finding each other over and over again throughout the years. I don’t know why. I just do. This is my favorite of this kind.

College/Post College

  1. Sliding Doors – Alternate futures played out back and forth across timelines, possibly my favorite movie of all time
  2. The English Patient – again with two timelines being told at the same time, undying romance, war that is mostly off-screen
  3. Clerks – this one just says “college” to me
  4. Rebecca – Nick brought this to my attention and I love, love, love the creepiness and story.
  5. Pride and Prejudice, the six hour version – Colin Firth. Enough said.
  6. Bladerunner – I saw this when I was a child and loved it, but we watched it and read it and talked about it enough in college that that’s where my brain puts it when I’m thinking of movies.
  7. The Nightmare Before Christmas – Was this college? Or high school? No idea. Just a favorite. I sing the songs in my head a lot.
  8. You’ve Got Mail – our first internet/love movie. Whee! Love everything about it.
  9. The Long Kiss Goodnight – Love how she transforms from this perfect vision of wife/mother to this scary ninja spy lady. Love Samuel L. Jackson, too. I will watch it any time it is on.
  10. Men in Black – He’s wearing Edgar like a suit!! Ok, so that was really gross, but the rest of the movie: silliness, aliens! EEE!
  11. Dark City – Dark & weird. Really weird and really dark. Sometimes I have nightmares. I won’t say I love it. I just can’t stop thinking about it.
  12. French Kiss – French. French. French.
  13. A Room With a View – I want to crawl inside this movie and live there.
  14. The Talented Mr. Ripley – Creepy…and awesome…and creepy…and I just think about it and shiver.
  15. High Fidelity – I don’t know why I love it, but I do. I am not even a big fan of the music.

Post-Children

  1. Chocolat – French…chocolate…nostalgia for the past…mmm
  2. A.I. – Robots, kids, the future, the sadness of it all.
  3. Amelie – French (for real!), weirdness of the happiest kind
  4. Gosford Park – British, nostalgia for the past when people who had people that did things so they didn’t have to?, manners
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – British, I cried when it started, I don’t know why I was so excited
  6. Love, Actually – British, lots of stories to follow, LOVE
  7. Possession – British, what-if storyline, two stories to follow
  8. Wall-E – future, robots, LOVE
  9. Kate and Leopold – time travel! LOVE…the whole thing….
  10. The Lake House – time travel! LOVE…the house, the quietness, the waiting….it was just exquisite
  11. I, Robot – Robots, humans, what’s the difference?
  12. Sense and Sensibility – British, LOVE, manners, and Alan Rickman. Lots of Alan Rickman.
  13. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – weirdness, lots and lots of weirdness
  14. Til There Was You – LOVE, what-if storyline, awkward, awkward love stories
  15. My Best Friends Wedding – LOVE, silliness, lots of silliness.

After I got started, I couldn’t stop, obviously. I’m still thinking of movies that ought to be on each of those lists. Hmm…Netflix is calling my name….

Aside

For a lovely, wonderful three-hour block today, my sister and kids and I watched Doctor Who. It was beautiful. Since she left it’s been nothing but soap operas. Apparently my mom only tolerates Doctor Who for my sister.

Doctor Who is Fantastic!

Date Night!

We are having a fancy dinner tonight! All sushi, all the time. And cocktails. Because it’s not a date without cocktails. Well, not an evening date without cocktails in any case.1495507_10153640503780634_380142181_n

We ordered WAY too much food for ourselves for one night, but sushi does not do well sitting in the car, even in this coolness, for the length of a movie, so we had to leave it behind. Woe. But then there was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and we were all happy again.

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Now with Bonus Content!

I’m feeling list-y at the moment.  Some things I’ve done/am doing lately:

  • Finished the CD uploads to iTunes.  Put the CD’s in boxes.  Put the boxes in the garage. Nick is taking one to his mom and I’m taking the other to Goodwill.  Then I put all the little games into the newly emptied drawers and I’m not tripping over them any more.  Yay!
  • Finished reading the Albert Campion series and the extra short story books.  Now am looking for new things to read.  Nothing seems good enough.
  • Listening to The Dead Tossed Waves while I’m at the gym on the recumbent exercise bike.  I figured this would keep me going to the gym, but I am finding the narrator so annoying that I skipped a couple of gym days last week.  I’d borrow another audio book, but I’m awaiting email from the library telling me what’s gone wrong with my digital account that it tells me I’m no longer entitled to check-outs.  Oh well.  Back to the gym I go.  Must get in shape so I don’t die walking everywhere in Ireland in July.
  • Trying to put together my PTA board for next year.  Yes, I got talked into being President.  You may laugh now.  Only two people showed up to the meeting and one decided not to join us.  Yay.  I’m trying to be all Bright Side about it; we’ll have a kick-ass Parliamentarian. 🙂
  • Bought new pretty things for my backyard with money from sale of backyard things we no longer used: a new table umbrella, some pretty chimes, a cushion for my bench, pillows for the bench, vinyl tablecloths for the tables.  Also pretty things for the front yard: 3 spinny-flower-things and a set of tiny chimes and a new bright red watering-can.
  • Greg bought seeds, potting soil, tiny plastic pots, and some tiny fences and started planting a garden.  We need to transplant those little plants today.  Must Not Forget!!
  • We also put a bunch of those seeds in the front garden, but I can’t tell the little flowers from weeds at this point and don’t know what to pull up and what to leave.  We did a variety pack and I have no idea what those flowers look like as babies.
  • I worked at the kids old MDO last week.  Super fun!  Love being with the little kids.  Getting money is just bonus!
  • I’ve been watching the last season of Doctor Who over again as I fold laundry the last week or so.  Whee!
  • We did another Spring Recital at church. Nick MC’d, his mom and Ben and David all performed, and I made the programs and decided the playing order.  It went really well. 🙂  Ben played two beautiful piano pieces.  David played one march-type piano piece and another march-style trumpet piece.  They both did really well.
  • We also did a clothing exchange at church.  I gave away a couple of bags of our clothes and got more than a couple of bags of clothes back.  I’m passing some on to my sister-in-law who is similarly sized, but has different tastes in clothes than I do (colored pants freak me out and she seems to love them).  I also got a bunch of shoes!  Little cute flat shoes!  And one pair of platform sandals that are evenly platformed, if you know what I mean.  No slope.  I can wear them, look taller, and not fall.  Must find more of these kind of shoes.
  • Now I’m washing all these new-to-me clothes and watching videos on how to tailor some of them to fit me better.  I’ve never done that before.  Should be interesting.  If I’m not working tomorrow, it will be sewing day!  I haven’t been crafty in more than a week now, so it’s definitely time!
  • Photos will appear in the sidebar at some point today or tomorrow.  Apparently I haven’t updated them since February?!  Aie!

There we go: content unlocked.  🙂

Lisa

Mental Health Day (a cross-post)

I am starting to think that what I really need is a mental health blog.  Or to combine all my little blogs into one big blog so I can stop repeating myself from different angles.  Who knows.

A friend of mine committed suicide this weekend.  We weren’t close lately, hadn’t been for a couple years, but once upon a time I lent her all my books about depression and gave her my number and talked to her about my experiences with therapy and brain chemicals that just don’t work right . Through her, I lent her husband the book “How to Help When Someone You Love is Depressed” that I’d gotten for my husband ages ago.  She still had a few books that hadn’t made it back to me.  I guess they never will.  These aren’t the thoughts one generally shares, I know, but somehow they are the ones my brain is holding onto right now, instead of blubbering insanely about how sad it all is and how hard I tried to help her and how I failed to keep up and how I regret it and how I am never ever the person I mean to be when it comes to other people and how I should have kept up with her when she went silent.  Because once I get started with them, the tears start, they don’t stop.

THIS YEAR.  I CAN’T TAKE THIS YEAR.

One of my good friends from junior high died this last year: breast cancer.  My ex-boyfriend from high school was accused of sexual misconduct with a student and I can’t quite bring myself to admit that I really do think it’s something he did, because then I’d have to admit out loud to my family and other people how awful he was (in college I had girls email me out of nowhere and ask me to join their therapy group because ….) and they don’t need to hear that.  Then there was my mom and the hospital last summer. And another ancient friend’s husband died unexpectedly from pneumonia.  Another one’s brother died and I somehow totally missed it and I feel awful about it, but don’t know what to say now.  Another friends son had a terrible car accident months ago and is only now walking.  And then the husband of a girl here in town that was one of those friends-of-a-friend that you always hear about that you feel like you know even though you’ve actually never met them?  The one you’ve heard dozens of stories about?  Yeah.  Her husband died trying to save someone after a car accident. And now this.

I told my spouse that I needed a Self Care day.  He was busy, of course, because we are NEVER not busy these days, and said the wrong thing and that made me cry more.  He apologized and said the right things later but I ….well…  I am broken at this point.  And thanking God or the Universe or Whatever I’m Believing In This Week that I asked the doctor for those anti-depressant, anti-anxiety meds way back in October.  Because I don’t know what or who to believe in these days, but SCIENCE seems like a good thing.  Quantifiable, you know.  I don’t, I just don’t know.  Nobody is available on a Saturday to talk, so I’ve been making due with a bunch of movies (The Decoy Bride I need to own and Wild Targets I’m going to rewatch and A Good Woman I’m in the middle of, but it’s kind of bland so far despite good reviews – I’m thinking I just don’t like Scarlet Johanssen) and a bottle of wine and a box of chicken quesadillas.

Thank you for listening and thinking about me.  I know we don’t see/know each other in person, but you mean the world to me, you really do. *big big hugs*

Don’t Just Talk About It, Days 13,14, & 15

When I first made my list earlier this month, I had no idea that I’d end up having the kind of week I have scheduled ahead of me.  Monday I have a two-hour webinar for scouts, Tuesday I’m going to spend all day driving to and from Dallas with David, getting his back checked for scoliosis, Wednesday I have a half day playdate (planned for two weeks ago, then rescheduled) to catch up with a friend that I haven’t seen since my birthday last April, Thursday I’m going in to the hospital to have an EEG done to see if I’m having mini seizures, and Friday I’m having another catch-up playdate with a different friend (also rescheduled) who I thought I’d seen this month, but apparently haven’t yet.

Fortunately I’ve already done days 16 & 17.  YAY.  So today I’m going to try to get 13, 14, & 15 all done.  Watch for updates.  There should be some.  You know, unless I fall over and hit my head or something. *sigh*

Update 1:

BEFORE:

The craft supplies extend into the two carts on either side of the desk and also into the big binder, box, and accordion file under the desk

Two hours later, I have emptied the entire desk-that-was-my-grandmothers (now referred to as the craft desk because that’s a less unwieldy phrase), taken stuff out, looked at it, pitched some of it in the trash, designated other bits -one entire drawer actually- for sale on ebay  (anyone interested in some Stampin’ Up?), and moved another whole drawer over to another area, where I feel like I might feel more compelled to write notes & cards (since I won’t have to dig through the scary deep drawer to find them).  I have also dug through the entire cart, following the same process as above, a drawer in the other cart, and the small three drawered cubby as well.  I watched episode 1 & 2 of the first season of the UK version of Being Human while doing so.  I say “watched” but listened was more like it.  I wanted to see it because I liked the werewolf from when he was on Little Dorrit.  I liked him here, too, which was unfortunate because the show is too bloody for me.  😦

Now the children are home, it’s lunch time, and we’re digging through drawer 2 of the second cart.  We may have to stop to do tie-dye before we move on, since it takes up a lot of space and the children would rather we tie-dye today than throw it out unused.  I agree with them.  If only we had some white t-shirts.  Off to check for shirt availability.

Update 2:

An hour later, Nick has gone off to work and I have finished emptying the second cart.  Another trash can has been added, as the first one is FULL.  The tie-dye did not pan out, as only one kid has a shirt available for  it.  The top of the desk is left to do, as is finding a home off the floor for all the paper products (which do not fit into the desk).

MIDWAY:

See, the top is still left to be sorted out.  That'll be left until the ebaying is complete, sadly.

However, the day is still rain-free, the kids are awake and at liberty, so they are being drafted into “Day 15” and will help me carry heavy stuff in the garage.  I can hear them discussing it amongst themselves right now.  “We have to help her because she’s TIRED.”  “We’ll carry the heavy stuff and then she’ll be happy and let us have screen time later.”  They are SO RIGHT on both counts. (In other news, my bff read my earlier update & called & excused me from coming to her house this weekend, which was a relief because I was fairly certain I’d be dead by then.  Two trips to DFW in one week do not make for a happy Lisa.  On the other hand, I had wanted to see the Harry Potter party leftovers and love on her and her kids.  Ah well, there will be time for that next month.)

Update 3:

Another hour later, because I’m about to pass out and this may be the last update of the day.  The two younger kids have been very good helpers, as evidenced by the quotes above (you all knew that was Ben & Greg, right?).  David got mad about 3 minutes in because I wouldn’t let him keep his large supply of sticks in the garage any longer.  He left to take a giant bag of Lego bricks inside (why was it in the garage?  no idea) and never came back out again.  Greg and Ben helped me break down boxes, sort things into recycling bins (certain things can go in the one that goes out to the street that can’t go directly to the recycle center and vice versa) and the dumpster, and sort other things into whose room in the house they belonged to for once they go back inside.  Now we have a couple bins of things that go back in the house, which worries me a bit.  But the garage has been tidied up a reasonable amount, my trunk is full of more stuff for Goodwill, and in a few minutes it’ll also have been swept.  And then I’m going to go lie down on the couch and watch The Secret of Moonacre again with Greg because it is a delightful movie and I am exhausted.

Update 4:

(Are you shocked?)

Well, another hour has gone by and I haven’t passed out yet.  The kids didn’t want to watch a movie just yet.  “It’s a lovely day, Mama!”  And it is.  Breezy, warm.  Non-standard January weather.  They wanted to ride bikes in front of the house.  Sure, why not.  Well, here’s why: we tidied the bikes into a figurative corner and couldn’t get them out without getting the van out of the garage.  As long as the van was out and there was more space to move around in, why not reconfigure the garage so the bikes are easy to get to and the van seats (which rarely leave the garage these days) are less open to the elements?  So the kids got their bikes out, I shifted the other stuff while they were riding, et voila!  Now they can get to their bikes & helmets & padding on their own and I, thanks to some hooks hung on the wall to contain their never-used golf sets, have comfy seats inside the garage to watch the festivities from, out of the sun and elements.  Wahoo!

BEFORE:

messy, hard to get around stuff

Messy messy back wall of garageMessy, messy garage looking out of big doors

AFTER:

stuff we like to use front and center by the door, tidied up & purged of extras (except that small desk, which is destined for my in-laws house once their remodeling is complete, which will be soon)

The back wall of the garage, tidied up. :)Looking out through the big door of the garage, all tidied up

Happy November!

Did I say that the other day?  I do love November, though.  It’s one of the nicer months of the year.  Here in Texas it is finally getting crisp and nice outside.  The boys and I spend as much time outside as we can.  I also like that for us, at least, it is one of those months that doesn’t have any family disagreements built into it, holiday-wise.  My in-laws do their Thanksgiving a few weeks after, just in time for their anniversary, so that just leaves us one family to do Thanksgiving with.  🙂  (Of course there are still multiple celebrations: my son, my niece, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law all have birthdays this month.  Whee!)

Catching up on life: We had a great vacation.  We went down to Galveston Island (about 5.5 hours from us) and stayed in a condo near the beach.  We got up later than we normally do and watched the sunrise on the balcony or on the shore every morning and went back out there again for the sunset.  We listened to the seagulls cry.  We walked nearly everywhere: restaurants, church, the beach.  We had time with friends.  We went to Schlitterbahn Water Park (just the indoor part) and Moody Gardens.  The weather was perfect.  I really did want to stay there forever, which never happens for me on vacation (usually I get more and more stressed and want to go home).  It was a delightful trip.

Since getting back home I’ve tried to work a little more of that laid back vacation attitude into regular life.  I head out onto the front patio with my tea in the morning and sometimes even make it back out onto the back patio in the evenings.  Nick and I made a joint decision to watch a little less TV than we had been, so we deleted a few shows off our DVR, just in time for the World Series.  So I’ve watched less TV, at least.  (Things we dropped: Raising Hope, Fringe, & some of the new stuff we’d recorded but never watched) I’ve spent that time reading or doing crafts, which I love.  I have a secret project I’ve been working on for a friend, so I’ll post about that after the gifting has been done.  I was hoping to add some more walking into my schedule, but that hasn’t worked this week yet.  After this week I’ll have more time, so maybe Greg and I can go take some long walks at the park trails.

Another new thing in my life is piano lessons.  I took piano from the time I was in 3rd grade until my senior year of high school.  I was considering going on to music school in college, but got extremely burnt out on everything and quit taking lessons and went on to be an English major instead.  But I’ve kept up with music; I sang in choirs at church, taught beginning piano and clarinet lessons for a bit while in college, played my clarinet in various community groups throughout the years, and have been doing piano duets with my mother-in-law at church lately.  I can still play well from sheet music, but I wanted to learn to improvise and accompany.  My kids piano teacher had mentioned that the system she uses with beginners (the kids will be starting it soon) had a corollary program for “professionals” and she also had a time slot open.  I figured out a way to fit it into the budget  (no more lunches out and no more fancy beverages pretty much did it; the added bonus is that theoretically that will help with weight loss, right?) and off I ran with it.  I started last week in David’s time slot while he was away at camp with a school program.  I’ve already managed to memorize 3 chords and their minors & 7ths, which had totally eluded me in the past (perhaps because while my teachers always told me what kinds of chords things were during lessons, the chords themselves weren’t what I was practicing, not in my mind).  I have my second lesson today.  I’m very excited.  🙂  Unfortunately all the practicing is making my hands more twingy and achy, but I’m trying to figure out the best way to deal with that and I think I’ll go back to doing my hand stretches in the morning again.