Archive for December, 2012

Top ten

AO & I took off the three work days in between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so that has meant we have had a nice, long break. AO will have had, in sum, two weeks off from work when he heads back because he stayed home with Bear the two days last week that her day care was closed due to the blizzard. Because we are bad parents, or maybe because we are good ones who know our limits, we sent Bear to day care today and the previous two days. Hey, we’re paying for it whether she goes or not. And we wouldn’t want her to forget what school was like and traumatize her when she inevitably returned in the new year. Anyway, it’s been a really, really nice break so far. So, I’ll keep you in suspense no longer. I bring you, in no particular order, the top ten things of my holiday break.

  1. Bear clapping when my mom opened her iPad, which is a gift from us & Severa, and is engraved “Grandma’s iPad.”
  2. Seeing a double feature yesterday: This Is 40 followed by Silver Linings Playbook.
  3. Drinking coffee & a Bloody Mary (made from AO’s own mix) & doing a deep conditioning treatment (thanks, GAOOG) on my hair as I type this.
  4. Using my savvily-bought $39 voucher for an awesome massage at Elevation.
  5. Finally using my $200 Groupon to get that awesome Maurice Sendak Magic Flute poster framed (though I didn’t enjoy the frame shop worker not knowing who Maurice Sendak was). The total was $210.
  6. Seeing Bear sleep in my mom’s arms on Christmas Day.
  7. Taking Bear to day care yesterday in my nightgown and leggings. No bra. Sometimes Wisconsin weather has its advantages. #wintercoat
  8. Eleven days off of work in which I have thought only a handful of times about the papers still left to grade and the petition for certiorari that I have to file upon my return to the grind.
  9. Time with my family, including a bizarre series of texts in which my aunt Terry insisted John Hughes’ glorious romantic comedy detailing the heartache of high school with just the right amount of class commentary is actually a horror movie; specifically that it is Carrie. How she confused Molly Ringwald with Sissy Spacek is one mystery that I don’t think can be solved.
  10. Wednesday’s nap and the nap that I see in my future for today.

Honorable mention: going to Green Bay to see the Packers rout Tennessee & watching Rodgers do a Lambeau leap.

Happy New Year, all!

It’s the holidays. It’s true.

Especially in light of the horror of last week’s events, I think we are all taking extra time to be grateful not only for our health and safety, but for the little things in life that make us happy and full of wonder (the good kind). I have been hugging Bear closer and kissing her more often (which I didn’t think possible). But in addition to all of the really important things for which I’m grateful, I’ve also been recently reminded how grateful I am for the movies. I don’t mean this in any sort of trivial manner. As you know, Dear Reader, I love the movies and am often left in awe at a good movie’s ability to transport me to someplace else, to make me think of things in a new way, to make me wonder at things I never thought to wonder at. AO & I saw Lincoln on Saturday (thanks again to the Madison grandmas for watching Bear) and it really was amazing. I was worried that it would be too dry or melodramatic or bellicose, but it was none of those things. Thanks again, Mr. Spielberg, for lifting me up and leaving my mind spinning. I appreciate it more than I can ever say.

The holiday movie, as a genre – or more specifically the Christmas movie because I suppose Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve could be subcategories of The Holiday Movie genre – is particularly fun. I think a good one usually consists of a lot of sparkle, a little adversity and plenty of good cheer. So, let’s talk favorites. It’s a Wonderful Life tops the list for me for obvious reasons. As for other classics, Miracle on 34th Street really never gets old. I also have always enjoyed Christmas in Connecticut and need to see Holiday Inn again because I remember thinking it was pretty nifty. More recently made favorites include The Holiday (I can’t help it: I always watch it when it’s on), The Family Stone (Diane Keaton AND Rachel McAdams? What’s not to like?), While You Were Sleeping (I love Sandra Bullock in a Chicago toll booth taking subway fare with a passport in her pocket ready to head to Florence should the moment present itself) and Love, Actually (because it is actually pretty damn fun). As for the movies set at Christmas time but that don’t exactly make you feel warm & fuzzy, I think I’d probably put Die Hard at the top of my list.

I know I’m forgetting a million (some deliberately) so please tell me what flicks put you in the holiday mood. And happy holidays!

I sorta admit it, but I don’t care

I am pretty into Parenthood. The show. I wasn’t right away, but then I got hooked sometime in the middle of season two. Look, I know it’s no Homeland or The Office or Parks & Rec or The Wire, but come on, people, those shows are crazy good. And sometimes we just need a little melodrama, don’t we? I admit that Adam can drive me crazy (he really needs to let his eyes settle into his head and try to keep them there – they don’t need to be bugging out all the time) and Max makes me anxious about autism and Sarah is just an annoying person because Lauren Graham is an annoying actress. Ok, but despite that, I love Amber and Crosby and Sydney and Camille. Kristina has really grown on me (so much so that I couldn’t handle the thought of losing her last night and repeatedly and nervously assured Aaron – read: me – that there was no way the show could kill her off). I admit that it can be a little (melo)dramatic, but it’s not like it’s ER or Grey’s Anatomy where all of a sudden a bus of burning blind children comes barreling through the hospital that just lost power and we have to wait and watch in terror as people scramble to save lives in the dark. For the most part, the stuff on the show is pretty normal, every day kinda stuff: relationships, marriage, divorce, parenting, job stress, money stress, life stress, etc.

Nonetheless, I can laugh with Slate taking some jabs at it. The fact that Slate is devoting a bunch of time to this show that us old people are watching, though, shows that they’re watching it — and hooked on it — too. I consider myself in good company.

A word on hosting

To do or not to do: the cash bar version. I am not a fan of the cash bar. At both of my weddings (I know), it was very important to me that people enjoy themselves without having to pull out cash. When you invite folks to your wedding, you are often asking that they travel – meaning plane fare or gas money, as well as a hotel — that they wear fancy clothes and, perhaps, that take time off from work. They also frequently buy you a gift. That’s a lot. To ask them then to pay for their beer seems like too much to me. I wouldn’t ask them to pay for a drink at a barbecue in my backyard, how could I do so at my wedding? Now then, I acknowledge that not every one (a) sees things this way and/or (b) has the luxury of doing things this way. I will not argue that if you can afford to throw a wedding at all, you can afford to provide your guests with booze, but instead offer my thoughts on ways to manage your liquor bill reasonably. I have been to many a wedding where wine and beer is free, but cocktails cost some change. I have been to a wedding where the bride and groom have chosen a fun specialty cocktail to offer, as well as wine and beer. I think these are very reasonable ways to deal with alcohol expenses. I have been to the Miller Lite only wedding, which I think is really stretching things on the tack-factor scale. The worst, though, was the wedding I attended at a super out-of-the-way resort with a two-night minimum stay where, post-dinner, the bride & groom provided guests one barrel of beer and once that was empty, everyone was on their own.

But I guess that really isn’t the worst. The worst it seems is the latest (and only the second I think) Bachelorette wedding. Ashley Hebert & JP Rosenbaum wed December 1 in Pasadena. The big event was filmed and will air this week on ABC. Apparently, ABC paid for the event, but after production stopped, the bar went from free to cash. And, this being Pasadena, cocktails were in the $16 range. Holy tack-asaurus. Now, perhaps it was just bad planning, but if you’re going to get an essentially free wedding, the least you could do is pay for the booze. I do not recommend this approach.


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