Friday, November 21, 2008

Hello & Welcome to Moviephone...

I love movies...

My mom used to work for United Artist & MGM so I got to see LOTS of movies growing up and had tons of movie memorabilia. Had I known Ebay was in my future, I would have held on to everything and would now be spending my time traveling back and forth between my summer and winter vacation homes.

Super disappointed in the new Bond movie. Daniel Craig is easy on the eyes but even that was not enough to keep me awake...I fell asleep in the movie. Granted, we saw the "late show" at 8:45 (can't tell you the last time I've seen something other than a matinee) but I'm a night owl and always up until midnight at least. It just was Boring...

What happened to the great action scenes? To the GADGETS? I know there weren't any gadgets in the original books but we have grown up watching super cool James Bond and all of his techy-gadgety things. That was the fun part of the movie. There was no witty dialog, no sexual innuendo... no cheesy Bond is supposed to be cheesy. What is it that they are going for with this new generation of Bond? It's not really action, not really spy, not a comedy or romance. Just kind of blah.

I'm bummed because I waited too long to pre-purchase my ticket to Twilight to go with the ladies tonight and it's sold out!!! I know... the books were written for teenagers but I am one of the millions of adult fans that have been swept up with Bella and Edward mania. I'm SO totally going to Forks after I see the movie to scope everything out. It has been a long time since I've read a series so quickly. I sitll haven't even made it all the way through the Harry Potter series. Each time a movie comes out, I start to read the next book but usually lose interest about 2/3 of the way in.

Serendipitous girl gave me the Twilight book to read in France and I read it in 2 days. I was dying to read the third so bought it at Heathrow airport for the flight home. Of course, I HAD to know how it all ended in book 4. I tried to be good and wait for it to come in at the library but the suspense was killing me so, after waiting a week to hear from the library, I bought it. My nieces can borrow them now. Then I finally got around to book 1 and it was equally good even reading it out of order. I'm excited to hear the movie has gotten good reviews and fans of the book like it.

So, the holiday movie season is taking off and it looks to be pretty decent. Here's what else I'm looking forward to:

Australia - Hugh Jackman, lots of good Aussie actors and epic WWII love story. What's not to like?

Four Chirstmases-This looks hysterical and is not going to be your typical holiday feel-good movie. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star together. Interesting combination...

Transporter 3- I love action movies and the Transporter series has not diappointed.

Frost/Nixon - About Robert Frost's interviews with Nixon post watergate. Lots of Oscar buzz with this one.

The Day the Earth Stood Still - Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly and John Cleese in a dramatic role? Should be an interesting mix. Sci-fi seems to work for the dude.

Seven Pounds- Will Smith is back with the director of Pursuit of Happyness so you know it's going to be good. The storyline is similar to My Name is Earl but not so funny. Could be Oscar contender.

Bedtime Stories- Opens Chirstmas day iwth Adam Sandler. Love the concept of this movie and looks like totally cute family movie for Chirstmas day.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Also opens Chirstmas day. Seems like this one has been in the works forever. Brad Pitt as an 80 year old? I have always thought that life should be lived backwards.

Marley & Me - About a couple, Jennifer Aniston & Owen Wilson, and their dog Marley. Why do I torture myself with these animal movies? You know the damn dog is going to die... why...why?

Revolutionary Road - Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are reunited in this film about an uhhappily married couple. Oh, come on... could it be that bad to be married to Leo? I think I could be very happy living unhappily with Leo...

Valkyrie- On the fence about this one. I want Tom (Cruise) to do well and want this movie to be good. I find his performances are always just slightly over the top though (except for in Cocktail - love that movie! :o) and there is something about his voice that I can't quite get past. I haven't heard enough in the previews to hear if he is even attempting a German accent so will have to wait and see. Will he have me at guten tag?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's late and I'm playing with Photoshop

So it's very late...about 2:40am and I can't sleep. I'm playing with Photoshop. I'm in my second quarter of it right now. I love my current teacher so and wish I had had her the first quarter. I'm learning things that should have been taught the first time around. Anyhoo...the first pic above is the original picture. This was taken on the road from Rousillion to Cucuron in Provence. If anyone saw the movie A Good Year, Cucuron is a little town they filmed the outdoor movie scene where Max and Fanny have their date. I feel like I have talked about this already. Sorry. It's late.
I have ever so slightly adjusted the levels in a bit

And now I played with curves, copied the photo and blurred the heck out of it and then added overlay. Altogether took about a minute. Subtle changes. So very fun.

Edit: 8:40am - Note to self - no more mochas at 6pm while waiting for ferry. SSG raises an excellent point about seeing the sunflowers alive next time. I think they are striking half dead. Can you imagine these all in bloom?

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is for my girl SSG and her soiree tomorrow. Have one of these little yummies for me! Wish we could be there sistah to relive our fantastic trip. It was amazing!! Can't wait to plan another. Italy 2010... here we come! Just need to find a job soon to finance that little trip. BTW...we haven't seen all of your pics yet. Love camp Portland and we love you. Hopefully, we'll see you in a few weeks.

While SSG is whooping it up and drinking lemon drops until the wee hours of the morning, I'll be taking care of sick husband, working on final projects for classes, taking little bob to dance class and playdates. She doesn't know it yet, but she's going to High School Musical on ice Sunday. Luckily for her, grandma has nothing better to do than enter every contest that comes her way (yeah retirement) and she won tix for the show. We usually get some kind of free item on a monthly basis from her contests. Lots of movie passes, tickets to shows in town, etc. We have won a weekend away and hubby got 2nd grand prize in a Taco Bell contest a few years back and won a full size SEGA Star Wars pinball machine. It now happily lives in grandma's basement. I regularly make fun of hubby and his mom for wasting time on these contests. Why they continue to invite me along as they enjoy the fruits of their labors is beyond me... I just wish they'd get the numbers right for the lottery.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sorry, this picture isn't the best. Predo has a really fun post today about his addiction to music. His post took me back to 1982 and Freshman year. I couldn't get the photo out of the frame (yes, it's that old) so I had to scan the whole thing.

OMG I was the biggest idiot in high school... especially Freshman year. I guess most people probably felt this way at some point or another in high school. Right? Anyone?

Anyways, I totally remember taking this picture and what I was wearing, which illustrates my point about being an idiot perfectly. So from the top up, I don't look so bad huh? Oh contraire mon ami because if you could have seen the entire ensemble you would understand. Let me paint the picture for you... envision my grey top, bright red painter pants (with the cuffs rolled up because I'm so short), grey argyle socks and (I kid you not) purple Nike's. Also, you can't really tell that my hair is half-way orange colored from all of the Sun-In I used on my hair that summer. I remember this outfit because for some reason I felt very cute in it. What in THE hell was my mother thinking letting me out of the house like that? To add to the horror, I now realize what I must have smelled like all day long living with chain smokers in the house. My mom drove one of those tiny little Honda Civics and would chain smoke, with the windows rolled up mind you, on the way to school. It was like a scene out of Fast Times at Ridgemont High as I arrived at school and exited the car with puffs of smoke swirling about me... only not the good kind.

Somehow, I survived Freshman year with a bit of dignity intact. I progressed a little Sophomore year and went with the fashion forward hairstyle where one side was extremely short and the other side was left long and in a bob. Was there a name for it? The chopped bob or something or other? I really rebeled and got a second ear piercing on one ear...against my mother's wishes. She didn't notice for 4 months until my grandma commented on how cute it was.

Junior year was super fun. I let my best friend talk me into getting a perm. I ditched the Sun-In and went to get my hair professionally bleached. For some reason, I thought just doing my bangs would look awesome...? I also discovered tanning that year and turned orange. I got my drivers license and my first job as an ice cream parlor girl at Flakey Jakes. Anyone remember those places? You would order a hamburger with no toppings and then head to a condiment bar to add the condiments to your hearts content. That job didn't last long because I kept calling in sick to go to parties. Or, would have my friend call in for me as my mom. One time I actually got a sling and walked in with it on my ice cream scooping arm. I proceeded to pretend to try to work until they sent me home. The rest of that year was really just one big party.

By senior year, I had settled down a bit. My hair was all one length and completely highlighted. I had my first serious boyfriend and was IN love. Maybe that's why I don't remember much about senior year until I hear a song from that time. Careless Whisper by Wham, I Feel For You by Chaka Khan, Crazy for You by Madonna, Don't You by Simple Minds, West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys... Any of those take me back to a really fun time in life. Thanks Predo for the trip down memory lane. I'm looking forward to the next time warp.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Wrap-up and a Holiday

Ok, so the weekend was fun. Drowsy Chaperone ended up being all that I thought it would be. Nuff said after my long dissertation last time.

Saturday night I took my daughter to my niece's harvest festival. The school gym is being renovated so they had to have it at another location this year, which just happened to be my old elementary school. The picture above was taken Saturday night in the girls bathroom that looks EXACTLY the same as it did 30 years ago. I know I'm dating myself. They still have the Boraxo soap dispensers with the powdered soap(you know the kind of soap that never completely washes off.) I can't even begin to tell you the plans that were hatched in that bathroom. We dreamed up the Great Shaving Cream Incident of Halloween '79 in that bathroom... allegiances were made and destroyed in that bathroom... tales of love and devotion to Robbie Dean were discussed in that bathroom... I guess we spent lots of time in that bathroom. Hmmm... what were the teachers thinking letting 3 or 4 girls go at a time? Tuition money well spent I tell ya!

Here is the stage where I made my acting debut in the critically acclaimed portrayal of... Wendy in Peter Pan. There were 4 performances, 3 different girls playing Wendy, and I got to do 2 of the nights since I so rocked at playing Wendy (plus I had previous acting experience since I filmed a season of Romper Room when it came to town.) I had big dreams back in the day. Sadly, my acting career ended in high school when I decided to party and hang out with my boyfriend instead of with the stupid drama club. What could have been... It was really fun seeing my old stomping grounds. This harvest party was way more fun than the one at my daughter's school because they have beer and wine at this one. Our's doesn't because Sr. Principal doesn't want the kids to know we drink. Come on Sr. Principal.... They know we drink - we're CATHOLIC for crying out loud - or did you forget?

Completely switching topics now. I just wanted to show the domestic goodness that came from my kitchen tonight. I don't have school tomorrow (thank you veterans of America) so my family actually got a home cooked meal. I finally seasoned my wok (that I've had for about a year or so) and pulled out my cookbooks and whipped out this baby... Hoisin Beef & Veggies. Yummy!!
It's a combination of recipes from the two cookbooks below. I went to a cooking class taught by the author of the Breath of a Wok and learned how to make some really tasty stir-fry and other delights for Chinese New Year. I think the seasoning part of the wok sounded much more ominous than it turned out to be and that is why I procrastinated.

I got the main recipe from Robin Miller's book acutally. I just added some extra seasonings from a sauce in the Wok book. I really like this cookbook by Robin Miller. She's not my most favorite gal on Food Network (Ina - you're still my top girl) but I like her recipes and have made several recipes now from this book that are quite tasty.

I have a serious addiction to cookbooks. Serendipitous Girl can attest as she has seen my stash. I don't always cook from them. I just like to know that they are there if I need. In addition to cooking and baking, I really like food styling and photography so sometimes I buy a book just to look at the pictures. I know... it's a sick addiction.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sarah's Greatest Hits

What I'm thankful for this Sunday?  That we avoided this... this could have been the potential next President of our country.  All I can say is thank God!  Can I have a "vast variety" of Amens people:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Told you so...

My mom, sister and I went to New York a couple of years back to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday. Sis and I had both been several times but never together and my mom had never been so I knew it was going to be a great trip.

I am the official planner of the family. I plan most events and all of our trips together and they are always fabulous so everyone wants me to do so. I love to travel and spend lots of time researching and dreaming up trips that I have yet to take. It is a job I willingly and happily take on. My sister on the other hand, is not a planner...and not in the good, because she is a spontaneous type of a girl kind of way...more in the it's just too much work kind of way. Obviously, this can be a combustible combination of factors when trying to plan a trip for a group. I'm not a dictator while planning. I research, present options and try to gain a consensus as much as possible and then move on to final plans.

Here are snippets of our conversations:

Me: "So here are some great websites and lists of things to check out. Let me know what sounds interesting to you. I'm really excited about.....blah, blah, blah."
Sis: "ok....when I have time."

Several weeks later

Me: "did you get a chance to look at anything yet? We need to decide what shows we want to see and what else we want to do that might require us to buy tickets ahead of time."
Sis: "ok. I kind of want to go see a TV show being taped."
Me: "oh...which one?"
Sis: "hmm...I don't know...something."
Me: "ok...probably need to get tix ahead of time so we should decide."
Sis: "ok."
Me: on the other end of the line silently screaming inside and stabbing pen into my eye... biatch...make up your mind

And this is how it continued for several months. We finally decided that we did want to see two Broadway shows while we where there. I suggested that we buy our tickets ahead of time. Yes, I am aware that you can wait in a line and get half priced tickets on the day of a show but, from past experience, usually the shows you want to see are not available then. We both knew that we wanted to see Wicked but from there it was a stand-off. I had seen the Tony awards and read reveiws of Drowsy Chaperone and knew it would be a great show. It won the award for best Musical that year. I lobbied heavily for it. Sis did not want to see that and didn't know what she wanted to see. She thought we should "run down" the day we want to see something and pick one that looked interesting. She said "run down" so casually, like it would be a quick little 10 minute trip. Besides being the planner of the family, I am also the peacemaker, so as usual, we "compromised" (read - I caved) and we bought our tickets ahead of time for Wicked and agreed to get others while in NYC.

I'm sure you can guess where this is going. We did see Wicked and it was AMAZING! Because we already had tickets and I knew which theater it was playing at, I was able to choose a fabulous little restaruant ahead of time to have dinner and we had plenty of time to arrrive and were refreshed and realaxed when we got to the show. The next show?? Not so much. We "ran down" to pick up tickets and waited for about 2 hours only to arrive at the ticket window to not so much of a selection. I don't remember what all of the choices were but nothing too exciting. We ended up seeing The Wedding Singer, which turned out to be ok. Constantine from American Idol had just joined the show so it was mildly amusing. We didnt' have time after the wait for much of a dinner and had to run to the show. To top it all off, a few months after we got home, my sis had a friend report they had seen DC and loved it. Sis wished we had seen it when we were there. Arrrgghhhhhhh!!!!!!

This is an extremely long and round about way to tell you I'm going to see the Drowsy Chaperone tomorrow. No, it's not the bright lights of Broadway and not the same cast, but it will be good. Sis wants to come along now but doesn't work out with her schedule. sniff...sniff.. for her. Look at the picture above (and behind to my left) and notice, unknowingly to us, what is behind us in one of our pictures in Times Square.

An epilougue to this story is that sis never did decide what TV taping she wanted to see so everyone thought that option was out. Plannergirl...that would be me... had written away to several shows for tickets and the day before we were scheduled to leave was called by the Martha Stewart show and told there would be tickets waiting for us at the studio. It was a great surprise for my mom and one of the highlights from our trip. Here are a few pics from that event:

Waiting to go into the studio. Martha had great appetizers for all.

Martha seems to live-up to her rep. People were scurrying around trying to please her.

Oustside the NY Stock Exchange.

Chelsea Market where Food Network and some fabulous little shops are located.

I do adore my sister which is why, despite our differences in approaching situations, we do so much together. We are 14 months apart in age which made life interesting for our parents for sure.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I feel Giddy

A new day... I'm still giddy from last night.

What a night! It was one of those that I'll remember for the rest of my life. I can recall so many moments in time and exactly where I was and what was going on when something monumental has happened. I will never forget at 8:01 last night when the polls closed on the west coast and the announcement that Barack Obama is President Elect of our country. I will never forget jumping up and down and screaming in a group hug with my family and with my neices and 5 year old daughter jumping up and down too and getting caught up in all of the excitement. What a night.

What I'm struck by this morning is how much the rest of the world is celebrating right along with us. Already, we see change starting as nations around the globe embrace the news of change in our country and are hopeful for what that means to helping bring about change in the around the world. I am struck by the images from around the country of SO many people out celebrating and embracing each other. So many flags being waved, tears being was an amazing sight. What this election means for my daughter and nieces and all of the young people in this nation will not be truly realized for years to come but I know it's effect will be far reaching.

So back to work today... I have a big Photoshop project due tomorrow and lots of other homework to do. Little Bob is still under the weather so is home from school...lots of laundry and housecleaning to do. The usual exciting stuff... I will be doing all today with a silly little grin on my face.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope Floats

I think I have been depressed since the election of 2000. I knew the country was heading in the wrong direction with the election of Bush. This depression was compounded by 9-11 and the Iraq war. There was a glimmer of hope with the 2004 election. I just knew that America would see the error of it's choice 4 years ago and finally do something to turn it around. How couldn't we all see the cronyism, corruption, misguided judgements, and downright pitbull attitude of the current administration? Americans are smart. I just knew that we would recognize all of this and realize that America is so much better than the direction our leaders were taking us.

Election night 2004 is the first time in my life that I lost hope. Our country bitterly divided and ruled by fear do you counter that? Continually talking about 9-11, war, terrorists ready to take us all out - it's easy to see why it happened this way. We were always under the threat of attack from the unknown and they only way to stay safe was to keep the current party in control.

A tiny flicker of hope started to shine when the presidential campaigns got underway. At least we'd have a new administration regardless of which party that might be. But something else has happened along the way... someone started to talk about hope and bringing people together. Not just the usual rhetoric of crossing across the aisle in Washington, rather bringing all people together again as Americans. Not dems or republicans, red states or blue states...but all people working together for the good of our nation. Someone finally realizes that America has just lost her way. Our can-do spirit and world renowned optimism hasn't been lost forever, only buried under eight years of politics that divide and push fear into peoples hearts.

I have cautiously guarded my developing little flame of hope... careful not to let it go out too early. It has been stoked over the last 18 months by watching democracy in action. Seeing young people become involved in the democratic process for the first time and so many people energized again and believing again in the promise of our country. It has been stoked and tended and is burning bright once again.

Just as Sandra Bullock found hope again in the aforementioned title of this post...I too have let hope rise up and float again. I'm excited for today. I am HOPEful that we will have a new President that will lead us and restore our standing in this world. Someone to fight for all people in this country...not just the ideology of one particular party or faction of a party.

I am prepared for the possibility that Obama may not win. If it weren't for the fact that the Republican choice for VP is completely inept, I would even be OK if McCain wins. What comforts me this time is that so many people are involved again and realize that our voices do matter and our votes do make a difference. I think that whoever gets into office will have the voice of the people to answer to. I am hopeful that we will never allow another administration to hijack the will of the people. I have hope.

I realize this post is a little sappy and might be over the top to some. I can't help it. I am hopeful again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I *heart* TJ's

I love Trader Joe's for so many reasons... Where does one begin? Did you know there is a website for fans of TJ's?

Check it out

It's filled with news, recipes, product info and even a forum for fans to connect. I found out there is a groups for singles in Seattle who want to flirt and meet at TJ's... who knew?

One of my more recent obsessions there are these little bundles of chocolatey goodness

These have been my salvation in helping me through my serious France withdrawl symptoms. Nothing will ever replace the original mind you but I will suffer through the pain and make it with the help of TJ's and their chocolate croissants. If you have not tried these you must immediately get up out of your chair, go to your car, and drive directly to your nearest Trader Joe's. They can be found in the frozen foods aisle. You have to do a little planning with these because they have to sit out overnight but it will be SO worth it in the morning.

While in the frozen food section, make sure to grab one of these as well... great for when you are having that curry craving. Pop it in the micro for 8 minutes and you have a delicious meal. It's chicken breast, veggies, sauce and rice all mixed in curry love. Throw a piece of TJ frozen naan in the oven for a minute or two and you have a full meal.

Anyone else have any favorites from TJ's? The holidays are coming so there will be lots of new little goodies to try at the store. I love shopping there during the holidays in particular. Lots of great wines (inexpensive) to try, treats, appetizers for parties, etc.

Joe, are you listening? I ~heart~ you!

Hello November

Pics from my most favorite season...

Daddy is so proud of my costume choice!

Hard to believe that it is November 3rd. Friends of ours said see you next weekend for the play. What??? The play is November 9th not next weekend. Checked my calendar and yes, next weekend IS November 9th. Seems like if I ever post here is it always about time flying by and why I haven't posted. Boring...boring...boring.

So, this fall has been chock full o'fun. N has played her first soccer season and did well. She progressed from being afriad of the ball and crying if she got bumped to actually going after the ball a few times. Check out this action...

My daughter is in a new version of soccer known as "ballet ball'... I'm quite proud of how high she can kick. She puts on quite a show with her moves!

So November is upon us and I'm so excited for several reasons. I'm sure no one is aware that the election is in 2 days!!!!!!!! OMG, OMG, OMG! Can it be that we might have reason to hope a little again? Folks, I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Other reasons to be excited about November? I get two holidays from school and I don't have to cook this Thanksgiving. That means I can put up my Chirstmas decorations that weekend. I might even *gasp* put them up before Thanksgiving. I know for some that is against the rules, but I figure if I'm going to go through the trouble of putting them up, I might as well enjoy them for as long as possible. I try as hard as I can to not play Christmas music until Thanksgiving weekend however.

I don't really have much shopping to do this year either. We decided not to buy gifts for the adults in the family this year. What will I do with all that extra time? Maybe I'll be able to post more.

OK people...make sure to VOTE...VOTE...VOTE....VOTE....VOTE....VOTE....VOTE...VOTE... VOTE...VOTE...VOTE....VOTE....VOTE....VOTE...VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!