Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Movies to Look Forward To

I already expect Veronica Mars to be my favorite film of 2014, but there are a few more movies to look forward to:

January 17
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (The reviews are decent and I've always been a fan of Jack's.)

January 24
I, Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart is usually interesting even when the movie is sub-par..)

January 31
Labor Day (The initial buzz was good but now it's popularity is fading.)

February 7
The Monuments Men (Looks like a lot of fun.)

March 7
300: Rise of an Empire (The trailer is so pretty that it might be the perfect popcorn movie.)

March 14
Veronica Mars (Can't wait! Can't wait!)
Need for Speed (Another pretty trailer for another popcorn movie.)

March 21
Muppets Most Wanted (Of course, I have yet to see the most recent Muppet movie. It's on my list!)

March 28
Noah (Could be interesting.)
Sabotage (Another pretty trailer.)

April 4
Captain America: Winter Solder (Looks awesome; still need to see Thor, though.)

April 11
Rio 2 (Loved the first one. Can't wait to see if Blue Sky can make more magic.)

May 2
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Liked the first one, even though I saw it on video.)

May 16
Godzilla (Looks terrifying.)

May 23
X-Men: Days of Future Past (Has the potential to be amazing.)

May 30
Maleficent (Could be interesting.)

June 6
Edge of Tomorrow (Another awesome trailer.)

June 13
22 Jump Street (Although I still need to watch the first one.)

June 22
Transformers: Age of Extinction (Sorry, I just can't seem to stop watching these. Besides, I like Mark Wahlberg.)

July 25
Jupiter Ascending (Yup, another pretty trailer.)

August 1
Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel has yet to let me down.)

August 15
The Expendables 3 (Another popcorn flick.)

September 26
The Equalizer (When is Denzel ever bad?)

November 7
Interstellar (Directed by Christopher Nolan. Good enough for me.)

December 17
The Hobbit: There and Back Again (Can't wait for more Smaug and the awesome Battle of the Five Armies.)

December 25
Into the Woods (Love the musical. Film could be good.)

And that's my first pass. Maybe I should go to the movies tomorrow.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Can't Feel My Toes

1. We've had a bit more snow here. It snowed most of Tuesday, in fact. Nearly 12 inches. So we've accumulated enough snow days to push VBS to the week of July 4th, which means we'll probably miss it to see our California family. Of course, each kid's been in school like 2.5 days this week, so they are happy.

2. I caught part of A Prairie Home Campanion from last Sunday and the skit called "The Secret Life of Lutherans" is funny enough to share. Yes, liking this show still makes me feel old. 40 is coming.

3. Myself and both kids spent time fighting a virus this week that manifested in a low grade fever and terrible headaches. The good news is, it moves on quickly. Still hoping it misses Marshall.

4. The good part about spending most of the week, hanging around with one sick kid or another, is that I got a lot of stitching done. Here's where I was 3 weeks ago:

Here's where I stopped last night:

And here's what I did this afternoon while watching the tennis final:

Here's what it will look like when completed. Day Lily from John Clayton's Connections:

I have officially passed the halfway point and it should go much faster from here on out because there are much fewer half-stitches and color changes than in the top half.

5. Last Friday one of the shelves in the pantry collapsed, reminding us that in the 13 years we've lived in this house, we've been using a make-shift set of shelves in there and they weren't particularly sturdy. So, Saturday morning Marshall went to Lowe's and purchased a very sturdy free-standing set of five shelves and I had the fun (with Miranda's help, of course) of taking everything out and reorganizing it into a new system. And, if at any moment, I dragged my feet, trying to put the food in some helpful order, she was right there to hurry me along. These new shelves are much deeper than the previous ones, though, which is great because it means the soup cans aren't so crowded they're always threatening to fall and squash your toes. That is, until you can't remember where you hid the cookies.

6. I recently downloaded Spades to my phone to pass the time (Plants vs. Zombies 2 is impossible to win unless to pay actual money for upgrades, which I refuse to do.) It was a game I spent many hours playing in college and I've come to understand what a poor player I was back then and why only one of my friends would partner with me. Thanks, Bub. You really were an amazing friend.

7. The Australian Open just finished and I am already sad. I skipped blogging last week because I was too busy watching hours and hours of Novak, Andy, Roger, Rafa, Stan and others. Thank you ESPNHD. I think I am a FedFan. It was so hard to watch him lose to Rafa in the Semi's. And, how cool is the Stanimal? So great to see Li Na and Stanislas Wawrinka win their first Grand Slams. Couldn't have happened to nicer players.

And here's Jen.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

This Weather is Bonkers

1. Did you know the Veronica Mars movie comes out in 2 short months?!

Have you seen the trailer? It's awesome!

Can't wait! Can't wait! Can't wait!

If you need more details, here's an article. But if you are late coming aboard the Veronica Mars bandwagon, I am so sorry for you. Your life can only be richer post-Veronica. Trust me.

2. I will not, however, be seeing the movie opening night because I just booked a trip for myself and the children to go to San Antonio, Texas, for March 10-15 to visit my college roommate and her family. We chose these dates because that's when her kids will be on their spring break. Of course, my kids are supposed to be in school that week, so they will essentially be getting 2 spring breaks, one in March and one in April. I'm sure this will be a popular aspect of our trip, especially when I ask their teachers to excuse them from all homework and classwork for the week. Sometimes it helps to have an IEP.

This will however necessitate a postponement of my viewing what I'm sure will be my favorite movie of 2014, but these friends are worth it. We haven't seen them since spring break of 2005. Collectively, 4 kids have been born since then.

This will be my first trip flying alone with the children, but our summer trips to San Diego and back have given us a lot of practice. And we're flying Southwest (as always) because they are extra kind to families with special needs kids. And Marshall promised to get new travel batteries for the Nabi's.

3. Miranda's new favorite show is The Muppet Show. The library helpfully has the first 3 seasons on DVD. Fortunately, Kermit is her favorite Muppet; I was so afraid it would be Miss Piggy. They are a lot alike.

I thought I would like the show more than I do. I have only vague memories of it from my childhood. The memories of Muppets that I do have are of watching The Great Muppet Caper over and over and over again. Still love that movie. At least, I think I do. I don't think I've seen it in 25 years.

What I watched this week was the series 5 premiere of Justified (the writing is so good it still leaves me breathless) and the pilot for Intelligence, which I enjoyed.

4. I was really planning to go to the movies this week but I never got around to it. I guess there wasn't one movie that I was dying to see to make me prefer it to a book or a nap. We saw The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug last weekend and it was really good. If you only see the movie to see the dragon, it's still worth going. Maybe I'll see Frozen this week. Maybe not. I would like to see Her but I don't dare go without Marshall. And I want to see Saving Mr. Banks but with my mother, and she doesn't return from CA until late Tuesday.

5. I think I've decided to cut my hair short. I think. I need a change. Maybe it's the weather, alternating between frozen and not and frozen and warmer and frozen again that's making me crazy. The high on Tuesday was 11 degrees F, I believe. Flannel sheets are your friend.

6. I'm continuing to work my way through the list of the best romance novels published in 2013. As of today, I've read everything published by Sherry Thomas save one (waiting on ILL for Not Quite a Husband) and am now working through all of Anne Gracie's novels. Excellent writers, both.

7. My honey has a new blog about dysthymia. Don't know what that is? Go read all about it.

Bonus 8. How did I forget? The Australian Open starts tomorrow (or rather, tonight, here in the States). So I'm going to be spending all my days and nights watching tennis for the next 2 weeks. :)

And here's Jen.

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Always Have More

1. It's a new year and a snow day (haven't you already seen my snow pictures on Facebook this morning? I mean, seriously, you're not on FB? Even my grandmother is on FB. And the rumor is that Marshall's grandmother will soon be on FB. Everybody's doing it!) and I rushed around all over town yesterday making a zillion stops so that we could just sit at home today, play in the snow, and rest.

Just so I can brag, in three hours I went to the Hazardous Materials drop off center in Mansfield, the dry cleaner's, Shop Rite, the library (drive-thru drop off), the post office, Wegman's, Burger King (drive-thru) and CVS (drive-thru). Then I came home and practically collapsed but ate my Whopper anyway. I'd earned it.

You're asking yourself why 2 different grocery store stops the day before a snow storm. One, because I'm crazy, and two, because Shop Rite has peanut butter but not Vanilla milk and Wegman's is the reverse. Someday, there will be one store that carries all I need, but in the meantime, I shop at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Aldi, Shop Rite, Target, Wegman's, and Costco. And that's just for groceries.

One of my friends shared this video yesterday that perfectly sums up the general South Jersey mood before a snow storm. It's hilarious. And for the record, I was at Shop Rite yesterday morning at 10:30, and the bread shelves were empty. Not that I needed any; I buy my bread at Costco.

2. If you were in my Renaissance Lit class in college (I don't think any of my readers were, but I digress) you would have spent hours in analysis over A Hymn to God the Father by John Donne (published 1633). Some days I do really miss Professor Blumberg. Or, if you took Survey I (that means you, Kimberlee and Aaron; oh, wait, Dawn, too)!), you would have spent 5 minutes reading this:

A Hymn to God the Father

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
         Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
         And do run still, though still I do deplore?
                When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
                        For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
         Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
         A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
                When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
                        For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
         My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
         Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
                And, having done that, thou hast done;
                        I fear no more.

It came to mind today because of the title of my post, I Always Have More, so much so that I had to retrieve my Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition, Volume 1, (it's on page 1121 if you want to look it up) off of the bookshelf and flip through the Table of Contents until I remembered John Donne was the poet I was thinking of and then flip through all of his pages, looking in the margins for my notes, so I could find the actual poem I only vaguely remembered. Never let it be said my college education was wasted.

But the point I'm trying to make is that "I Always Have More" is my continual answer to Alex whenever he sees me pour out for him the last grape juice in a bottle or take out the last cheese stick in the drawer or the last tortilla chip in the bag. His anxiety blooms when we don't have his foods at the ready, so I always try to have reserves. So my answer to him, over and over, is "Yes, honey, I have more."

But then, just now, rereading this poem I haven't read in at least a dozen years, I remember the abundance of God's grace, for He always has more.

3. I was feeling so calm and on top of things last night that Marshall and I sat down to watch a little television and I, miracle of miracles, got my cross stitch out to work on it for the first time since (flips through blog posts) August 2nd. Here's a new picture, although I had to frog several times last night in that bottom right section, which makes it 4 times for that particular corner. Hopefully, it's the last time.

If you can't remember, the finished project looks like this:

4. If somehow you missed our Christmas letter post last week, here's that helpful link again. And if you're really bored and missed all the previous letters, you can change the number in the address and read all the previous letters, back to 2001. But remember, no letter last year, so don't try 2012.

5. If the world reemerges from the snow tomorrow and our babysitter can get to us, Marshall and I are going out to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I just re-watched the first film, the extended edition this time, which I like mostly for Andy Serkis. I have a feeling my favorite part of the new movie will be the conversation between Bilbo and Smaug.

6. I am annoyed to realize Thor has stopped playing in the theatres near me. Stupid nasty cold ate my whole month of November.

7. Sometime last month, the author Julia Quinn posted this list on her Facebook page of the best romances published in 2013. I have been happily making my way through it and reading some excellent books, which you may have seen if you follow me on Goodreads. Of course, at the same time, I've introduced my husband (who listens to audio books on his way to and from work) to the Dire Earth Cycle by Jason M. Hough. I made it through the first book but then needed a break after I started the second. I also want to read Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie. I read a lot of book reviews; find a lot of good books that way.

And here's Jen! I want to read her book, too, but it's not out until April.