Capote--Great film. Watch it. All thumbs raised over here. Should give P.S. Hoffman an extra Oscar. Suggest taking away William Hurt's ("History of Violence") for this purpose.
Derailed--AVOID. If required, RUN AWAY. Not even presence of hunky Clive Owen saves this one. Supposed to have "twists." Hint to moviemakers--you can't call them "twists" if we figure them all out in the first 10 minutes.
Dreamer--Recusing myself, as I AM a girl, and HAVE horses, and DID crush on Kurt Russell in my childhood, and DO currently crush on Oded Fehr, cannot possibly remain objective. Will say that equestrian innaccuracies were not quite severe enough to induce vomiting in horsemen/women.
Chicken Little--Deemed HIGH-larious by all ages in this household, and held Bella's attention all the way through. Toddler-rific, with enough laughs for the big kids.
On The Importance of Knowing Your Limitations:
On Saturday, I decided it was time to go ahead and put J.T.'s coat in oil--poodles have to grow such ridiculous amounts of hair that dramatic measures must be taken to grow and preserve as much of it as you can. And so began the laborious process of that first "putting down in oil" of the dog, which goes something like this:
*Mist the dog with conditioner, a bit at a time, and line-brush meticulously, using a fine-tooth comb to locate even the tiniest tangles, then picking them out by hand. Lose points for each hair that breaks off in this process.
*Bathe the dog with Orvus Paste, using care not to tangle hair in the process.
*Rinse the dog.
*Rinse the dog again.
*When you're certain all the soap is out of his hair, rinse the dog again, like you have OCD. At this point, if you've been keeping poodle show-coat for any amount of time, you probably do anyway.
*Squeeze all excess water out of the coat, using a towel if neccessary.
*Pour magic tangle-repelling mixture over the dog, paying special attention to the precious, precious hair of the topknot and neck. Make sure the elixir of disentanglement is worked all the way through the coat to the skin. Our particular "secret weapon" is 2 parts #1 All-Systems pure lanolin oil to 3 parts Coat Handler conditioner, diluted in a half-gallon of warm water.
*Squeeze excess moisture out of the coat.
*Towel-dry, by which I mean patting and squeezing, no rubbing. For the love of Pete's sake, no rubbing!
*Take the dog out to potty, if he can be trusted to keep clean for this short break.
*Have dog lie down on his side on the grooming table, and set your stand dryer in place.
*With stand-dryer going, line-brush the coat dry (or at least dry of water). For EVER. OK, not forever, it just seems that way.
*Take the dry but slightly oily dog and have him lie on the table in the pose of a library lion, with his precious little noggin resting on a neck-pillow, and separate his topknot-hair into sections with a knitting needle. You heard me. Straight parts matter. I don't know why, but they do. And the person who taught me didn't know why, either, but I now know that they do. Band the topnkot hair in sections, then connect the sections to each other in front to keep the topknot from flopping down into Little Lord Fauntleroy's eyes. TRY not to laugh directly at him afterward when he looks like this. Remind him that he will soon be a champion, and that this is what it takes. And also that when it's over, and that certificate comes, we will have a huge hair-shaving, dirt-rolling party.
OK, so you have an idea of the process. Here is where I tell you that during the entire confined-to-the-bathtub part of the process, Bella was at my elbow, like that little dog that used to annoy Spike the bulldog in those old WB cartoons. Talking, talking, talking, and asking the same questions over and over and over, most of which were some variation on "Can I help?" Just wait, child. You can help one day, all right, and help you will. At one point, I told her she could help when she was 5 years old. She stepped to the bathroom scale, weighed herself, and announced, "Mommy, I think I AM five!" Oy. Anyway, at my breaking point, and after having asked her in 1,001 different ways to please, for the sake of peanut-butter annwiches and Grandmommies, be quiet, she stopped. For long enough to briefly consider, take a breath, and then give me her decision: "I'm sorry, Mommy, but I just...can't." The period at the end of that sentence, I tell you, was audible.
(Oh, and the good news about the "oiling" of the coat is that from here on out, daily brushing is eliminated, and replaced with twice-monthly bathing and re-conditioning. Ahhhh.)
AND, reason number 2,011 that no one will ever question this child's paternity--the setting, fixing our hair in the bathroom post-bathing in the morning:
Mine and Bella's heads whip toward each other, and we lock wide-open eyes.
Me: "What was THAT?"
Bella: "What WAS that?"
Me: "I think someone stepped on a FROG."
Bella: (yelling gleefully) "I think I tooted!"
Me: (noticing my eyes starting to water and some paint peeling, then inhaling before I knew what I was doing) "GREAT JUMPIN' CATS, BELLA!"
Me: "That was a STINKY toot!"
Bella: (still grinning, and cutting her eyes sideways at me) "But it was a GOOD one."