Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Skeleton Twins: Movie Review
Since we are Catholic, mass “counts” for us if we go at 5:00pm on Saturdays. Never mind the loop hole sentiment, or screams of “Technicality!!!”, it works, and leaves us with Sunday mornings free. We often use them for movie dates. 

This morning, we saw a brand spanking new movie called The Skeleton Twins starring several traditionally hilarious actors like Kristen Wiig (my girl crush) and Bill Hader from SNL, Luke Wilson, and Ty Burrell (of Modern Family fame). Each is funny with impeccable comedic timing in most everything in which they star, just not in this movie. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are humorous exchanges and interactions. This movie is not about that though.

It is about siblings who were once close, grew apart, then are reunited under-less-than-desirable circumstances. It’s about trying to live your life. It’s about hurting, and hurting others. How parents, or other adults, can really fuck up kids in horrific, insensitive, and destructive ways by the decisions they make, or their actions, then it is up to those adult children to puzzle piece their lives back together again as best as they can. It’s about making mistakes, forgiving, and fucking up again. Try and wrap that up, and slap on a bow. Yet somehow, they share laughs. And we strangely laughed with them. 

The dialog was surprisingly intimate, and I felt like a “fly on the wall” observing these obviously sensitive and deeply connected siblings. They had an “us against the world” things going on. Though at one point, I was sick to my stomach, uncomfortable, with a strong desire to flee. Maybe I am being dramatic but it is how I felt for a brief time.

It is an intense movie with extremely strong, and disturbing subject matter. I don’t want to say too much so as not to spoil, but I found a review in Forbes magazine that describes it as “comedy and tragedy in perfect proportions”. In my opinion, the proportions are debatable (it was more dramatic to me), but there are both in this movie, and I highly recommend it (so long as you know there are trigger points in it as well).

So why did I stay? 

I stayed because I liked this film despite the bout(s) of nausea. Maybe because of it. Maybe I loved it. Yeah, I think I did.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Questions = All I Can Manage Right Now

Okay, so this isn't really "writing" like I said I would be doing. It's answering. It's easy. It's easy to do on my phone, which is currently all I have as a means for blogging these days. Over at, you'll find the list of questions for which I must find answers.

A. What are your favorite smells? Chocolate and roast turkey (or stuffed turducken). Peonies and jasmine. Babies and a soft waft of a man's cologne.

B. Can you go a whole day without caffeine? Of course, but the question is are you sure you want that?

C. Who knows more about you than anyone else? Tough one. Probably one of my oldest, closest friends who knows everything I did when I was younger. My husband knows all my bad habits and temperaments that no one else sees.

D. What song did you last listen to? Wake Up by NF. A friend turned me on to it earlier this week.

E. Do you have a crush on anybody? Every day. Usually someone different though.

F. Do you like the Beatles? Yes.

G. If you could choose one color to wear for a whole year, what color would you choose? If you consider black a color then that's my choice. If not, blue.

H. Do you cook often? I cook at least four nights a week. I enjoy cooking when I have the time. Actually, I should be cooking some chicken wings right this minute, but that would have required me to get off the couch and go to the market for ingredients. I have only managed to go to yoga today. That's it.

I. What was the last film you watched? Did you like it? We have a very large theater in our new neighborhood just two streets away. We saw "Chef" this week, and enjoyed it very much (even though it was a bit predictable).

J. Can you sew? I just scrunched up my face. Yes, I can and have, but I don't.

K. What's you favorite fruit? Strawberries with a dusting of brown sugar. Or tomatoes.

L. Are you health conscious? Very much, but not fanatically so.

M. What is your middle initial? M

N. Do you curse a lot? Constantly (in my head)! Occasionally they slip out. Or when I'm with certain friends, they naturally spring free.

O. When was the last time you had a beer? I love beer, but I haven't had one in a long while. Can't say the same for wine except that I love it too.

P. Are you a pro sports fan? I like pro football and hockey.

Q. Is there a certain food you crave for no reason? Peanut butter (Skippy reduced fat)

R. What was the last book you purchased? Carsick by John Waters

S. Where was your last vacation? On a lake in the middle of nowhere.

T. Do you share fries? I share everything. I'm superb at sharing.

U. Girls, when was the last time you went out without a bra? Guys, when was the last time you went shirtless in public? Today at yoga because, technically, there is not a bra in a workout top. But if you mean free and easy without ANY support, I can't remember but YOU would if you saw it.

V. Did you ever play seven minutes in heaven? Most everyone who went through puberty in the 70's played it in some form or fashion.

W. What's the longest you've gone "unplugged"? Recently, two weeks. But growing up when I did, I could actually, and accurately,  say half my life.

X. Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how did it happen? Prior to breaking three vertebrae in my neck two years ago, I had never before broken a bone.

Y. How do you like you eggs? Over easy.

Z. What was your last argument about and with who? We sold our house, packed up, and moved on august. We were both short tempered and taxed, so it would have been with my husband about something stupid relating to the move. Once we very quickly acknowledged the source of the argument (stress from packing up a household of 22 years and displacing  ourselves and stuff), we moved on in seconds and vowed not to let it come between us.

I tried to recognize the source of these questions above, but blogging from my only available device (my phone since I know longer have an accessible computer, makes the process more challenging) So here I go again. The source is:

That's it! Off to Whole Foods for ingredients to make game day hot wings, which I do very, very well if I say so myself! The Bears home opener is tomorrow. Holla!!!! (I wrote this yesterday so that might make more sense here, and the Bears, of course, lost, but the day was awesome!!!)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Long Overdue Stream of Consciousness of Things Being Worth the Moment

I sat down in the middle of this day because I have been longing to write. For a very long time. I have been restless for a while. Opportunities have not existed for writing in particular, and neither has a means. Until now, that is.

I need to change some things. I am not completely sure exactly what that means, or I mean, or who, or what, will get changed. Just things. I have minimized my material life for now. That's been a big eye opener. It's other things, though, that are causing this lack of clarity. The only thing I am sure of is things need changing.

These thoughts didn't just spring into my head today. They didn't start the day before yesterday either. Maybe I merely acknowledged them then as a far too early, obnoxious light peeked through the slats of my not completely closed shutters. The red numbers on the digital clock read 6:38. That number is typically obscene to me unless it has a p.m. after it. I muttered, “Dammit! Who didn’t shut these completely?” Wow! Was I quick to blame “someone else” for this rude disturbance, or what? That is until I remembered. It was me. I didn't. I went to bed alone, and the sheets were still cold on the other side. (Maybe that had something to do with it, too.) 

But I do know what rises about that time on the westernmost edge of the Eastern Standard Time Zone. I hadn’t seen it in far too long, and I knew instantly I missed it. So I walked across the room, opened up the shutters, and let its orange glow bath me through my bedroom window. It was sweeping, and magical, and strong. Vibrantly casting itself like a huge fishing net across the lake from north to south. It was warm and friendly. It had been far too long.

And I started thinking.

I see more summer sunsets than most anyone I know. And while they are beautiful, and peaceful, and the perfect way to bid a day, good or bad or mediocre, goodbye, I don’t say hello to it hardly ever. I used to. I remember loving it.

So I thought further. 

Just standing there.

Maybe it is time to start changing some patterns. Maybe see a few more of those moments that begin days. Feel the newness. Maybe change a few other things, cycles, habits while I am at it.

I had ten minutes of time to myself just now and the impulse to get some words out of my head and onto the page was far too strong to ignore. It may not seem like I have written much here. It is a start, though. It is important to me.

I miss writing. I miss stream of consciousness writing. I miss my words on paper. I miss writing purely for me.

P.S. I wrote a very emotional, difficult, and probably hurtful (sort of) poem a few days back. It's not really about anyone. I know I've said that before. That my writing wasn't about someone or something in particular. But writing is always motivated by something or someone, is it not? It is about friendship. It is general. These are some of the most potentially hurtful (I've just used that word twice in a few sentences) words I have ever strung together in my life. I have certainly never said these words before, or written regarding (a) friendship. Why did I write them or it? I think, for now, they or it will remain like those letters you write when you are trying to get something off your chest, but then you never send them. It's probably one of those. Maybe.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm Restless

“I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.” ― Ana├»s Nin How about you?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Quick and Dirty Fifteen (Questions on a Sunday)

Here is a quick and dirty Sunday Stealing where the questions are plentiful and the answers sometimes nonsensical. Of course, I should be packing, or outside at least as it is a beautiful day. This first, then that!

1.    You have been awarded the time off from work and an all-expenses paid week anywhere in the United States. The catch is that it must be somewhere you have not been before. Where do you choose to visit?  This is hard. I had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the country for my job once-upon-a-time ago, and most of my travel desires are for destinations far and away. Sonoma County, California. I have been to Napa, but friends rave about Sonoma. And I love wine. More on this below.

2.    Name your guilty pleasure. Wine. Chocolate. Wine and chocolate at     the same time. Secrets. Wine and chocolates and secrets all at the same time.

3.    The best kind of milkshake is: I have two favorites. The first choice is always chocolate malt. A close second is root beer. And one of my favorite things to do is have a shake for lunch.

4.    What do you value most in people? Honesty, the ability to dig beneath the surface, and a non-judgmental nature, passion, sense of humor, compassion. Was I to pick just one? Impossible.

5.    Be honest. Do you sneak some raw cookie dough when you’re baking cookies? I ONLY bake cookies so that I can eat raw dough first. My sole preference for dough is chocolate chip. I like brownie batter, too.

6.    Have you ever looked back at your life and realized that something you thought was a bad thing was actually a blessing in disguise? No, not really. The truly bad things I have done are things I would not do again.

7.    What is the most beautiful place you have ever visited? In the U.S. of A., it is Telluride, CO and its gorgeous box canyon. Abroad, hands down, it is Positano, Italy (actually, the entire Amalfi Coast) with Lake Como framed by the Alps as a back up choice.

8.    Are you more of a thinker or feeler? This is hard because I spend much of my day deep in thought. The more I think, the more I feel. Sometimes to the point that thinking and/or feeling hurts. I guess, I am more of a thinker, but my decisions are usually made by gut feelings first.

9.    Have you ever participated in a three-legged-race? Yes, at a State Farm’s annual picnic back when I was in my early twenties.

10.         Name three things you are thankful for right now. My health because I may soon lose a friend, my family although we are imperfect but close, the quality of the friends who share my life.

11.         When you are at an event that plays the National Anthem, do you place your hand over your heart? Always. And my gaze is to the flag.

12.         Have you ever been on the wrong side of the law? Yes, once time in college. The circumstances were such that I was called down to the police station in the middle of the night. I was luckily let off the hook without incident. If the same course of events happened today, I would have spent the night in jail.

13.         When was the last time you intentionally surprised someone else? Yesterday, I surprised someone else when an explicative accidentally slipped from my lips. Surprised myself at the same time. Not that I don’t swear. I do. It was the timing of such that was surprising.

14.         When was the last time you deliberately surprised someone else? I can’t remember a specific time off the top of my head. SAD! Although, I do sneak sneak up on one of my closest friends often and give her a little love pinch and she usually screams.

15.         What is the last really funny movie you watched? I have not seen a movie in a long while. Again, SAD! I have been looking for a good side splitting movie to rent, or book to read (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was my last hilarious read, or Quesadillas). Any suggestions? But this is hilarious...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Please Vote for Shedd Aquarium as Best in North America!!!

Hi Everyone,

If you have read some of my posts in the last 5 months, you know that I am a diver in the Amazon Rising Exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, which opened on May 30. 1930. Okay, I will admit it is not a glamorous job by any means because I scrub the tanks. Sometimes, I even get to catch turtles. The cool part, though, is I am up close and personal to so many amazing (and large) animals including a tank full of piranhas! I remind myself every time I dive to spend a moment looking around, watching the animals move peacefully, trying to be thankful for where I am, and what I am seeing. I don’t touch them, but they touch me. Some are all up in my business, particularly the turtles.

So the reason for this post is USA Today is conducting a “Reader’s Choice” poll for all sorts of things with one being BEST AQUARIUM IN NORTH AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!

Please consider voting for Shedd Aquarium! It is an incredible museum! Check out the website. Explore. And when you come to Chicago, hit me up! I would be happy to walk you through my favorite exhibits (Amazon Rising (of course), The Caribbean Reef, The Wild Reef, Seahorses, and the Beluga Whale tank).

To vote, just follow this link:

Tanks (as we divers say) bunches!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Should Be Packing. I Don't Feel Like Packing: Books

I am a night owl, and lately I’ve been getting up early too. This means I am tired all the time. Sometimes being tired all the time also means I may be crabby. But here, I’m meant to be talking about books.

Waking up this morning, early, I planned to get further in the packing process of our house. [We accepted a nice offer last week and the family requested a quick close so their children can be somewhat settle before school starts. We have exactly two weeks from today to get the heck out of dodge. We’re fine with this, with the small exception that we have yet to find somewhere to go (with all of our stuff). Hopefully, this will be remedied today when we go apartment hunting in the city.] However, what I really felt like doing was heading to yoga. I vowed that after yoga I would begin packing.

On the way home from yoga, I ran into a neighbor who was sweeping her driveway. I like this neighbor, and I may never see her again after the move, or not for a long time because you never know what will happen over the course of time. I stopped to chat. It felt so nice to take the time to just talk and catch up. I told her about the move, and that I should be packing instead of chatting. “It’ll get done,” she said.

When I got home, I hung up my yoga mat to air out and planned to get further in the packing process. However, what I really felt like doing was writing and talking about books, both of which I haven’t done in a very long time because I’ve been busy selling this house and contemplating packing. After I finish writing and talking about books, I plan to get further in the packing process.

What have I recently finished?

The Vacationers by Emma Straub. I expected more from Straub, and I’m not entirely sure why, but I just did! Here is my short review on Goodreads:

[I just changed this review to 3-stars. It was okay, and I liked it more than I didn't. I think it was me; I've been crabby lately.]

It has been a while since I've been annoyed, dulled, and disappointed by a book. It took an un-Godly amount of time to finish. I felt the writing trite. The storyline never really went anywhere, and then tried desperately, it seemed, to tie up too many loose ends too tightly. It didn't work for me. So disappointed this book didn't live up to my expectations, or the hype. I suppose I'm not an Emma Straub fan after all.

What am I currently reading?

I am listening to Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. At this point, about three quarters of the way through, I am anticipating that I’ll give this book 5-stars. It may be that the narrator is fantastic. She is Nigerian so she gives this book all the nuances only someone who is narrating a book about Nigerian people can do. Plus, she nails the British inflections as well (and, boy, do I love me some British accents!). This story is about race, and about romance, and about struggling. I am loving it and will be recommending the heck out of it as well.

I am reading a short story collection called Can’t and Won’t: Stories by Lydia Davis. Short story collections are always difficult to describe. This is one has some of the most unusual writing I have ever read. I am not entirely sure how I feel about it at this point. Some stories, I like very much. Others are confusing.

Lastly, I am reading To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris. I won this in February as a “first read” from Goodreads. Just now getting to it. This writing is very, very good, and clever, and funny. The perspective of the protagonist is unlike any I have ever read (or can remember reading). More to come on this one!

What will I read next?

I will let you know after I vacate these premises!!!

What are you reading? I am always interested in suggestions and perspectives!

Thanks to Should Be Reading for letting us drop off our book lists at her premises.