Friday, December 31, 2010

The Friday Five - New Year's Eve Edition

1) There's a party in the house - and I'm not going. Instead, I'm at my desk penning the Friday Five. Aren't I a regular party animal?

2) Speaking of animals, I hope 2011 brings me some sexy animals of the male type.

3) Wait. Make that sexy animals of the male type WHO ACTUALLY LIKE ME. I see plenty of sexy males. They just don't like me.

4) Which brings me to my next point: WTF is wrong with them?

5) Today I honestly don't care. I kind of enjoy spending NYE by myself. I have a ritual I do every NYE that I am alone - and it brings me comfort, joy and hope.

Happy New Year you guys. Thank you for your love and support this year. I wish you a happy, joyous and prosperous 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Santa Claus Came To Town

Last Wednesday (I think - at my age, the days all meld into one big glob), I drove into my carport and saw a bag near my door. I got out of the car and walked over to inspect it - inside the bag was a beautifully wrapped Christmas present. There was a gift tag that read, "To PJammy, from Santa Claus." The other side of the gift tag read, "Do not open until Christmas Eve."

Oooh! So exciting! I just love surprises!

On Thursday morning as I was packing the car with gifts and all the other paraphernalia I needed to take with me to California, I remembered the gift, and put it in the backseat. What could it be? Who could it be from? I had no idea - especially as I did not recognize the handwriting on the tag.

I made good time into California on Christmas Eve. I unpacked the car, and put the gift from Santa underneath the Christmas tree at my dad's place. My dad said, "What's that?" I said, "Look! It's a gift from Santa!" He picked it up, looked at the tag, and asked me if I knew who it was really from. I said no, I didn't recognize the handwriting. He said, wow, so someone just surprised you? I said yes!

After dinner, was over, we were sitting around talking and I said, "Oooh! It's officially night time! I can open my gift from Santa!" I ran into the living room and grabbed it. I brought it into the family room and opened it.

"What is it," my dad asked. "Pajamas," I shouted!

I think, though, Santa hasn't realized that PJammy gained a bit of weight this year, and the jammies don't quite fit over her humongous bum... still the thought behind the gift almost brought tears to my eyes. See... I told a few people this year that one thing I miss during Christmas is that I no longer have a gift to open on Christmas eve.

When we were young, my mom started the tradition of allowing us to open one gift on Christmas Eve. Mine was usually a nightgown or pajamas, and I LOVED that. I always had new jammies to wear to bed on Christmas eve, which delighted me to no end. While my brother's gifts were varied, mine always remained the same, and I loved counting on the fact that I would have a new nightgown or pajama set on Christmas Eve. My mom even continued this tradition when I was in the Army, the few times I wasn't able to make it home for Christmas. I'd receive a box with gifts, and one of them was always marked, "Open on Christmas Eve."

After my mom died last year, it seemed as if the tradition died with her as well.

The thing is, I know I told this story to a few people this year. My memory, though, is bad - and I can't quite remember who I told. I think I talked about it with some of the guys at work during one of our breakfast walks - yet I know none of them left me the gift. I also think I talked about it at some wine and appetizer get-together I went to recently, and yet I know none of them were Santa - in fact, I didn't know any of the people there, and they certainly don't know where I live. So... Santa really is a mystery to me!

The pajamas might not fit, but the thought that someone cared enough to surprise me with them warms and delights me. And heck, maybe it's the incentive I need to shed a few pounds... but that'll have to wait until Father Time gives birth to the New Year's baby. No sense rushing into things...

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Friday Five

1. I guess it must have something to do with the whole "Christmas is coming" thing, because I find myself REALLY missing my mom. A lot.

2. When blowing out candles tonight, my eyes focused on a picture of her that is one of my favorites. It's not even a particularly good picture, but I love it. I think I took it. It was some time after we had the sundeck built. I was on the patio, and my mom was on the sundeck. I know my brother was with me, but he's not in the picture. She is looking down at us, smiling and squinting in the sun. "Snap!" The picture shows her on the sundeck, and nothing but sky above her.

3. My mom loved to decorate for the holidays - all of them. Valentine's Day. St. Patrick's Day. Easter. Even New Year's. I can barely even muster putting up my tree - but I will do it.

4. Speaking of, last year my dad went all out and spent days putting up almost all of the decorations. He decorated the backyard patio. The dining room. The living room. The family room. He even remembered to put out some of the decorations my mom had specifically designated for the bathroom. It took him about a week or so. He did it for my mom. And also for me. This year, he said he's getting a tree, but that might be about it.

5. I totally get it. Mom, we miss you - and without you, just don't have the energy to go whole hog. We hope you understand.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

On a whim I stopped into Smith’s on the way home from a party on Saturday night. I was still kind of keyed up and thought a movie from Redbox might help calm me down enough to get to sleep.

I hit the jackpot – many of the movies I wanted to see were actually available for rental. Of course, that made my choice a little harder. What to choose…what to choose…? I decided on Eat, Pray, Love. Let me first say this: I am not a huge Julia Roberts fan, nor did I read the book. In fact, I had no desire to read the book. At all. Memoirs aren’t really my thing, but I thought perhaps in movie form the story might be compelling.

I was wrong.

I know it’s supposed to be the cool thing these days to be on the Eat, Pray, Love bandwagon. It’s all the rage. All the cool girls read the book AND saw the movie. They laughed. They cried. They grew. I so wanted to experience some of this… whatever it is. This wave that’s going through women’s groups all around me. I wanted to be able to talk about the subject with some sort of knowledge. And, believe it or not, I wanted to like the movie.

And I did not.

I am sure after reading what I am about to say, I’ll get a bunch of comments like, “You really have to read the book to get the full effect.” Let me say right here and now, no. I am not going to read the book. While I realize that movies don’t always capture the essence of a book, I saw enough to know that this woman’s “insights” were not anything I really want to read about.

For those of you not familiar (and that would probably mostly be the men on my friends list), a woman in her mid-to-late 30’s basically has a mid-life crisis. She tells her husband she doesn’t want to be married any longer, and is surprised when he is bitter during the divorce proceedings. She meets a guy, and decides he still isn’t what she’s looking for, so she packs up and goes on a trip to find herself.

First stop: Italy. This is where the “eat” part comes in. She supposedly eats her way through Italy, discovering the joy of food. Personally, I didn’t see it. I understand that the author gained weight. Julia Roberts? Nope. Stick thin. I thought I read somewhere that she gained weight for the role, but if she did, I certainly didn’t see it. Face it: Julia Roberts has *that * kind of body – she will look thin until the day she is almost 400 pounds. That’s just the facts, and she can’t fat it up for a role, no matter how much she insists she did. So did I buy it at all when her character had to shop for “fat pants”? Nope. And even when there is a shot of her lying on the floor in the dressing room trying to zip up a pair of pants, I didn’t buy it – especially since the point of the pant buying exercise was to buy a pair that would make eating more comfortable. If you have to lie on the floor to zip up a pair of pants, you will NOT be able to eat in them comfortably.

The Italy portion of the movie was probably the least irritating – and that’s not saying much. Julia Roberts’ character becomes perturbed every time an older Italian woman suggests she needs a man. And… I get it… but it becomes the running “gag” of the movie. For in each place she visits, there is some older woman insisting her life would be better if she had a man. I guess the viewer is supposed to sympathize with her, and high five her mentally when she spouts her feminist reasons as to why she doesn’t need a man. Instead, I found those moments annoying.

After Italy, she decides to waddle to India for the Pray portion. Here she lands in some sort of ashram or something – some place where basically all people do is meditate. She meets some cranky Texan who calls her “Groceries,” because of her appetite. Still… she doesn’t look fat to me. Not even chubby. Of course, Mr. Obnoxious Texan gets under her skin, and even the viewer begins to dislike him – until we get to the requisite “let’s squeeze some tears out of these women” scene. Turns out, he almost ran over his child in a drunken stupor, so he’s been meditating and working on himself. I was so touched I cried.

I lied. I knew a scene like this was coming – the whole set-up could be seen a mile away. I just really wanted it to hurry up and end so we could get to the Love part.

There was a side story of an Indian girl who was entering into a family-fixed marriage. And the Julia Roberts character was supposed to be all wise and sisterly and stuff, and I think we were to believe that because of JR, this girl was happier going into the marriage, but I dunno – that wasn’t quite pulled off, either. I mean, seriously – these little stories are just so cliché. If this woman REALLY lived this stuff, she knows how to make her life one big giant cliché after another.

We finally get to the Love part, and of course the “meet cute.” This guy runs Julia Roberts’ character off the road. She hates him, and then meets him and eventually falls for him. Because of COURSE he is sexy and sweet and everyone’s idea of the perfect man – well, almost perfect. Let’s remember he doesn’t drive well.

The love story falls flat, because while I can see why this guy is the bee’s knees, I don’t quite get what he sees in her. She whines. She pushes back. Oh WAIT. I get it now. All men like the bitch! That’s why. Okay. I should try that in real life.

So besides the fact that each portion of Eat, Pray, Love has been done to death before (and I know, this is supposed to be REAL LIFE exclamation mark), the other thing I found irritating was that she had the time and money to go “find herself.” In this economy, that luxury of self-indulgence just fell flat.

“Look at my life! It’s a disaster. I think I’ll take a year off and find myself. I’ll gorge myself in Italy. I’ll pray in India. And then I’ll fall in love in Bali! I’ll pull my hair back into a ponytail, so it looks like I’m slumming it. But really, I could go to the local salon and look like a runway model if I wanted to!”

For $1.08, it was probably worth seeing – but I sure feel sorry for you suckers who paid ten times more to see it in the theater.