Monday, February 26, 2007

Keeping It In The Family

"Harry" has gone home with his new boy, Grayson. My nephew, Grayson. He joins poodle-in-residence Dawson as well as three new human family members. I am tickled pink.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Night, An Ongoing Post

Loving the opening sequence. Funny stuff. Peter O'Toole RULES. RULES, do you hear? I think I'm the only person in America who's hoping that Martin Scorcese does NOT win for "The Departed." In fact, the only thing I'd accept award-wise from that movie would be Marky-Mark winning Best Supporting. But I can't remember who else is nominated. Eddie Murphy just staring at the camera without speaking made me laugh like I did when he was wearing that leather suit.

Alex won't be quiet. He's on his own laptop, laughing his head off at an Oscar snapshot of Al Gore with Ludacris. Now he's doing an imagined conversation between the two. It's actually not bad, but I'm trying to listen to the teevee.

I *heart* Ellen deGeneres, always have. Dang, she's funny. NOT loving that suit. Dang, Ellen, velvet suits and white shoes are not appropriate for anyone, ever. Well, maybe Tom Jones, but only during the "What's New, Pussycat?" days. I think you let them talk you into a little too much makeup, for you, but you look pretty. From the neck up.

Alex just got up for something, and his knee went out on him, and he wound up pretty much face-down on the floor. I should have found out whether or not he was OK before I laughed. Relax. He's fine.

There's Peter O'Toole again. He is THE MAN. That is all. Oh, Jennifer Hudson looks pretty! Leo diCaprio. UGH. It causes me physical pain to admit how good he was in "The Departed." But he was, dangit. Still don't want him to win, though.

OH GOODY, GOSPEL CHOIR! Nothing exists that can't be improved by a gospel choir. I want to have my funeral before I die, so I can enjoy the gospel choir.

New James Bond Guy and Nearly Transparent Nicole Kidman, looking pretty good. Best Art Direction category. I have only seen "The Prestige" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" in this category. I is embarrassed.

Alex is super-impressed by Maggie Gyylleennnhhhaaalllll's gown. His exact words: "Now, THAT'S an outfit." Hmmm.

It's a shame that the technical award nominees are still treated like stepchildren, but to include them in the show, we'd have to drop the lame production numbers. Uh...OK.

Will Ferrell? OK, then. Enjoy your time on that stage, Will. Unless you can pull off one of those heart-wrenching roles that some other comedians have snagged. Why does he have a 'fro? JACK BLACK! Awesome. I would PAY Jack to "elbow [diCaprio] in the larynx." OMG, this comedian number is high-LARious, and illustrates the comment I just made above. And Helen Mirren IS hot. John C. Reilly is awesome.

Achievement in Makeup. "Pan's Labyrinth" is now two for two. Man, I can't wait to see that. But I live in Arkansas. Theaters will show "Talladega Nights" for twelve weeks here before they'll show something like that.

Will Smith's kid and Little Miss Sunshine...adorable. Short Animated Feature. Why can't we ever see these? Wait, I've seen that Skrit thing. Naturally, it did not win, but "The Danish Poet," which I've regretfully never heard of, did.

Best Live-Action Short, "West Bank Story," sounds either terribly offensive or terribly funny. Wish I'd had the chance to see it.

"The Hollywood Sounds Effects Choir." Brilliant. Clever. Uh, pretty good. I GET IT already. Move on. What do these people do for a living normally? It does look like a lot more fun than when I had the "privelege" of performing some Philip Glass pieces in the Governor's School orchestra. Something with radio tuners--I blocked it out.

Steve Carell and Greg Kinnear. Awfully good, they are. Greg looks sharp in his tux. Sound Editing. "Letters From Iwo Jima." Which we haven't seen yet. We want to watch it along with "Flags of Our Fathers." This guy's acceptance speech is giving him a major anxiety attack.

Jessica Biehl and Some Guy With an Accent. Sound Mixing. "Dream Girls." Makes sense, since so much of that movie kind of hinges on, uh, sound.

The random movie quotes running above and below the selected clips are distracting and stupid. I keep thinking they have something to do with the films being highlighted. But it's the same ones, over and over. "Well, do ya, punk?" and "IT'S ALIVE!" being the ones I keep noticing.

Rachel Weisz. Love her just because she's in a couple of my favorite lowbrow movies of all time, those "Mummy" movies. Best Supporting Actor. Shoot, I love Alan Arkin, and he was pretty amazing in LMS. Serpentine! Serpentine! This category is too hard, everyone's good. Again, I will assert that Marky-Mark was the best thing in "The Departed." And Alan Arkin wins, and I am happy for him. Serpentine! Blah acceptance speech, but he's emotional.

Ellen chatting up M.S. for a script called "Good Mamas," a cross between "Goodfellas" and "Big Mama's House." Funny. Please don't let "The Departed" win anything big. So overrated. If they wanted to give Scorcese a belated Oscar for Goodfellas, I'd be OK with that.

Oh, Lord, interpretive dance. Oh, but wait. They're just making silhouette shapes, like in that car commercial. That's OK, then.

The reel for "The Departed," with voiceover by Leo. My personal synopsis: 2 hours of gallons of bright-red spurting blood, especially from point-blank head-shots, 972 utterings of "F***," Jack Nicholson playing the same character he's played in 50 other movies, Matt Damon reprising his "Good Will Hunting" character, but with a badge and a warped sense of ethics, Leo diCaprio actually being GOOD (this is sooooo hard for me to admit), and Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and especially Marky-Mark Wahlberg woefully underused. There are no women in this movie, because apparently Scorcese doesn't believe we exist. OK, there's one woman, but he obviously resented putting her in, because the two main characters actually share her.

Two nominated songs in a row? That's odd. Wonder if they're gonna do all of them at once. Melissa Ethridge sounds great. I don't think I need to say Sweet Baby James sounds good. If you don't know that, you're impossibly young, and it's past your bedtime. Nope, just the two.

Leo and Al. Al Gore. Together. There are no words. Well, it's not as funny as Al Gore and Ludacris, I suppose. Announcing that the Oscars have "gone green." I'm assuming that means it's leaving a neutral ecological footprint, which is nice. Gore pretending to announce for President. *sigh* Music cuts him off. This feels so familiar...

WHOA. Jack Nicholson totally bald. I didn't think he could be any scarier, but there it is.

Cameron Diaz being introduced as "the voice of Princess Fiona from 'Shrek' " made me laugh. But it was a segue, because she's announcing for Best Animated Feature. Only three nominations this year? Sad. "Happy Feet" wins, which I heard from every mother I know, and read on many mommyblogs, was terrible. What gives? "Monster House" ruled, and "Cars" had Paul Newman. Come ON, people.

Just had to stop a poodle from drinking my soda. Poodles can get their own dang soda.

Ben Affleck being introduced as "Academy Award-winning screenwriter" makes me feel like I'm in The Twilight Zone. Does anyone believe he really contributed to "Good Will Hunting?" Really? "Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter" is STILL funny, and "Shakespeare In Love" was a LONG time ago. I think that these compilations of clips from past movies are my favorite part of awards ceremonies. Except for the one they're going to do later with all the dead people. That just brings me down.

Helen Mirren and Tom Hanks. Thank HEAVENS Tom cut that skanky hair. Helen is a vision. Best Adapted Screenplay. Have not seen "Children of Men," but adore P.D. James. I like this thing they're doing in which they're reading from the script to set up the scene. Cool. Oh, great. "The Departed." But the acceptance speech gives props to Peter O'Toole, so I am placated. First accepter to get played off the stage by the plinky but insistent piano music.

Alex is showing me the knuckles on his left hand repeatedly, insisting that one of them is dislocated. Apparently, it doesn't hurt, just looks funny to him. I don't see it.

Ellen carrying Oscar in a Baby Bjorn. Not bad. Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway. In character from "Prada." Nice try. Meryl Streep reacting from the audience, however--brilliant. I want one of those outfits from that first designer. Best Costumes, "Marie Antoinette."

OH THE LOATHING. Tom Stupid Cruise. I can't believe he's even taken seriously enough to be a presenter, much less for a lengthy segment. It's like watching a talking German Shepherd Dog. One who believes that mental illness is all Lord Xenu's fault. GET HIM OFF GET HIM OFF GET HIM OFF MY TEEVEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...

Thank you, Sherry Lansing, for finally coming out and (eventually) pushing The Cruiser out of the spotlight. But why are you talking like a robot?

Ellen chats Clint, takes a picture "for her MySpace." Has Spielberg do it, and instructs him on framing, checks it, then has him do it over to make it "more even." She's brilliant.

Alex is booing Gwyneth Paltrow. At least she's blonde again. Her dress is weird. Cinematography. Hey, I've actually seen one of these movies. No, TWO of them! But the two were "The Illusionist" and "The Prestige," so I think that only counts as one. "Pan's Labyrinth" wins again, and the other credits they announce for this cinematographer on his way up to the stage are "Night at the Museum" and "Spy Kids." I'd say this is his shining moment so far. He gets plinked off the stage by the piano, too.

Interpretive dancers make silhouette of "Little Miss Sunshine" van. Cool, and thankfully short.

Alex is still whining about his knuckles, and just made me feel them. One of them is definitely hinky, but he wouldn't let me push it back in, so I can't help him. Weenie.

Naomi Watts and ROBERT DOWNEY, JR., aka oneofmyfavoritestactorsofalltime. He is the greatest. I love him. Visual Effects. I have actually seen all these movies, because they don't have to be artsy to get nominations in this category, which means that they show them in Arkansas. "Pirates of the Caribbean II" won, probably because of the brilliant work of Erin's husband, and I could swear one of the artists' names is "Heil Hitler."

Catherine Denueueueuve and Ken Watanabe. He is tremendously handsome, and she apparently has an aging portrait of herself hanging in some attic somewhere. Best Foreign Language Film. Oh, boy, an "Impressionistic look" at foreign films! Oh, it's actually pretty cool. I think I've seen more of these movies than I have the ones that are nominated tonight. Aw, even that tiny clip of "The Bicycle Thief" just made me sad. I wonder how many of these 50 foreign films I could slip into our Netflix queue before Alex notices?

Clive Owen and Cate Blanchett, announcing Best Foreign--they look fantastic. He is a man's man, is he not? I don't think I've ever seen Cate in anything she wasn't good in. That was an awkward sentence. "Other People's Lives" wins. *sigh* Alex says, "Look at that big ol' German." He's right. That's one big ol' German. But wait--he sounds totally American. What up with that? I might have missed some crucial piece of information there.

Ellen behind the interpretive dance screen with the troupe, doing "Snakes On A Plane." Best one yet.

Ahhhhh, Clooney. You get better with age, you smart, beautiful man, you. Best Supporting Actress. Hey, I've seen one of these! No, two! But two of them were in "Babel," so does that count as three? Jennifer Hudson wins. Holy cow. As I've said every single year that "American Idol" has been on the air, at the point at which they let "America" choose the winners, "America, you are STUPID." Go on and have a brilliant career, Jennifer. Oh, Beyonce looks...let's just say, not genuinely happy for her.

"Babel" reel. I love movies that combine separate vignettes into a cohesive whole. It's just one of my favorite devices. And in my opinion, the brilliance of this one was the subtlety--just a good job all round. Here are actors from "Babel," whose names I can't pronounce, to introduce Best Short Subject Documentary. No question of not having seen any of these. They always look so good, too. "The Blood of Yingzhou District" wins.

Ugh, commercials. Watching television that we haven't pre-recorded on TiVo is AGONIZING. Apparently, Microsoft wants us to believe that Windows Vista will have the same impact on the world as the bikini. Uh, OK. I'm sure the Sports Illustrated "Vista Issue" is coming to a newsstand near you soon.

Jerry Seinfeld. Good effort, but...ehh. But he gets points for introducing the Best Documentary nominees as "incredibly depressing." Big surprise, "An Inconvenient Truth" wins. Go, Al! Have your moment! Isn't this better than a presidential press conference? I think it is. Points for starting acceptance remarks with, "My fellow Americans." Bless his heart.

CLINT EASTWOOD. There are not enough words. Just took the audience waaaaay too long to clap for a mention of "Fistful of Dollars." Get WITH it, people. Tribute to composer Morricone, who's done some amazing work, 5 nominations. He's getting a "special Oscar" tonight...are we just making up Oscars now? If so, I want them to go back and give Ellen Burstyn a big giant one for "Requiem For A Dream," even if it means they have to take them away from everyone else who won one in 2000 and melt them down for her Super-Oscar. Because I'm still ticked off over her not winning that year. OH NO, NOT CELINE DION!! WHY? WHY?!? I have to go away while my ears bleed. BRB. Ahh. There. Clint is translating for Morricone. IS THERE NOTHING CLINT CAN'T DO? Respect.

Penelope Cruz and Hugh Jackman. She looks beautiful, even if her dress is the color of a Band-Aid. I think Hugh has been in almost every movie I've seen recently, even "Flushed Away." Best Original Score--Gustavo Somebody wins for "Babel."

Sid Somebody (Guiness?) from the Academy fast-talking his way through a description of what the Academy is. I still don't know.

Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. They look squinty and weird, like they were just backstage getting stoned together, and Tobey is barely making it through his lines. They're doing the voice-over script-reading thing, too. Well, SHE is. Best Original Screenplay. "Little Miss Sunshine" is the winning movie, and the guy who wrote it, Michael Arndt used to be Ferris Beuhler's personal assistant. I love him because he's a professional writer, and he just used the word "funnest" in his acceptance speech, with no hint of irony.

Interpretive dancers make giant devil-shoe for "Prada." Now who is this commentator? Why do we need him when we have Ellen and the 912 presenters? Seriously?

Alex just pronounced J-Lo's dress "awful." I'm more than a little amused at his investment in women's fashion tonight.

The "Dream Girls" musical number. I've been waiting for this one, but this isn't the one I wanted to hear. Oh, well. Whatever engineer is responsible for keeping Jennifer Hudson's bodacious ta-tas contained (barely) in that dress should win a lifetime achievement award. Whoa...Beyonce is being outsung by an "American Idol" loser. That's gotta hurt. Alex just predicted a "wardrobe malfunction" for Jennifer's dress. Great minds think alike, you know. Hey, there's The Other Girl. And A Guy.

We just got distracted by Gabby turning around 97 times, digging obsessively, in her bed, until we were both yelling, "LIE DOWN ALREADY!" That dog ain't right.

MORE GOSPEL CHOIR! You can not have too much gospel choir. Shots of the audience pretending they're really into it, and not impatient to get on with the show. Heh.

John Travolta and Queen Latifah. Now that is an odd pairing. More Latifah, less Travolta. Thank you. Best Original Song. Melissa Ethridge wins for "I Need To Wake Up" from "An Inconvenient Truth." Pretty decent, since there were like 8 nominations for songs from "Dream Girls." I think everyone is as sick of Randy Newman as I am, so that wasn't happening. Nice acceptance speech, too--made a point but didn't preach. Didn't get plunked offstage by the piano.

"Little Miss Sunshine" clip. This thing was great. Ah, here's Will Smith. Does anyone NOT like him? I do occasionally want to staple his ears to his head, but I love him. Here's another montage, this one about directing, I think. I love a montage. Aw, crap, they ruined it with a Tom Cruise "Magnolia" snippet. Wait a sec--no, I'm OK. Not gonna vomit. Back into the montage. Good music choices with it, too.

Kate Winslet. Pretty dress, classic hair, blingy earrings. Best Editing. "The Departed" is in this category? That movie had some horribly clumsy cuts and edits! What in the--? What. Ever. AND IT WINS. Sheesh. There were scenes that were cut together that were obviously filmed at different times--is that not part of editing? Maybe I'm upset with the wrong person. Thelma Schoonmaker is the editor's name. Alex says, "She is WEARING that shawl!"

Jodi Foster. Weird dress. It has a drape on front, but a belt underneath that? OH NO, SHE'S INTRODUCING THE DEAD PEOPLE MONTAGE. Here it comes. Dangit. Alex may not make it when they show Don Knotts. He's the only man I know with an autographed picture of Knotts as Barney Fife hanging on the wall above his desk. Between Don Knotts and Done Sheehan (Scottie from "Star Trek"), he may have to just have a moment of silence. *Whew* They saved Robert Altman for last.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, presenting Best Actress. Geez, you can hardly go wrong in this category. Meryl doesn't need another one...it's got to go to one of the Brits, doesn't it? Doesn't it? Judi Dench and Helen Mirren are both heavenly. And YESSSSS. Helen wins for "The Queen." Helen Mirren deserves an award just for all those years of "Prime Suspect" on BBC. If you haven't seen those movies, start Netflixing them RIGHT AWAY. Her Jane Tennyson is one of the best characters ever brought to mystery film. This is one classy dame. Young actresses of America, THIS IS HOW A LADY LOOKS, ACTS, AND SOUNDS. Comport yourselves likewise. I guarantee you Helen is wearing underpants.

Interpretive dancers make silhouette of a pistol for "The Departed," and one of them even approximates a bullet firing by shooting some sort of projectile out of their butt, I think.

Ellen is doing a vacuum gag, making celebrities lift their feet. Eh. Oh, here comes Reese Witherspoon to present Best Actor. Please, not Leo. He should lose on the basis of that awful Australian accent alone. Peter O'Toole. I think I have made myself abundantly clear on the topic of Peter O'Toole. Ryan Gosling, Will Smith, both good. Smart money is on Forest, though. Let's see. Yup. Forest Whitaker for "The Last King of Scotland." He has been an OPERATIC TENOR. THAT I did not know. Good for him, but Peter, I love you forever. You are Laurence of Freakin' Arabia, man. FOREVER. So far, Forest is making the most people get all teary-eyed. Awwww. Sweet.

Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg. Apparently trying to be funny. I think. Best Director. I'm afeared they're gonna give it to Scorcese, but...and they did. Hopefully, that means that "The Departed" will NOT win Best Picture. Please. There's freaky-looking Shaved-Head Jack Nicholson again. Martin Scorcese looks like he's wearing one of those fake glasses/nose/eyebrows thingies. Good GOSH, I can't stand to look at Jack Nicholson and his stupid sunglasses that he wears every dadgum place.

Is it just me, or does the director of "Babel," Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, look remarkably like Sacha Baron Cohen?

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. I hope she washes her hands after. This is where I have a feeling of foreboding. Is it only funny to me that the director of "Little Miss Sunshine" is named "Friendly?" Oh, crap. "The Departed." SO overrated. Alex just said, "That movie SUCKED." I don't know if it was terrible, but it sure wasn't great. The best way I can define it is this: I'd love to watch "Little Miss Sunshine" or "Babel" again and again. I don't ever want to see "The Departed" again. This is the same way I felt when "Titanic" won Best Picture.

And it's over. All in all, The Golden Globes were MUCH more satisfying.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Poet And No One Knows It

As promised, here is a copy of the, er, "poem" that my husband wrote me to accompany my Valentine's gift. I will elaborate on the events that inspired it later, since this only HINTS at the gruesomeness that was The Honeymoon of Horror.

A Tribute

Now, Belinda, my love, let's take a moment to remember;
A day that was the 9th of December.

A day that began the life which now gleams,
Because I finally had found the woman of my dreams.

Yes, I knew I had found you, it was time to celebrate,
And our wedding and reception could not have been more elaborate.

The very next day we left for our glorious honeymoon
To see parts of the world we would not forget soon.

We traveled through areas we'd considered so quaint,
That we now affectionately refer to as "America's taint."

We arrived in the Poconos; our hearts they did sink,
When we saw the "grandeur" that was Analomink.

Still, our spirits were not dampened, and in fact, we had chills,
'Til we arrived at the charming-alarming resort named Penn Hills.

Charming.....well, then again, maybe not.
I would have rather slept in a tent, on a cot.

The room we were given was not exactly heavenly.
It was stuck in a time-warp some time near 1970.

A big round bed with a huge hole at its hub,
And it was so cold that night we could skate in the heart-shaped tub.

We complained and were given some sort of a suite,
A bed and some heat made it much more complete.

It had a TV that I think had three channels.
One for news, one for porn and I think one for flannels.

And remember the great big room they had for dining.
It was right out of a scene from that movie, "The Shining."

And that crazy little club with walls painted like tar,
Full of people that looked like they were out of the Star Wars bar.

Though we still had anticipation of our pending visit to New York,
Penn Hills had me wanting to commit Hara Kiri with a spork.

Yes, dear, we survived that experience, and the memories now I hold dear;
Yet an invitation to return would surely fill me with fear.

Unless the only things I had to remind me of this place
Were some trinkets to inspire good memories and the bad ones erase.

I hope you enjoy these, my love!

I love You!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Well, Obviously

Upon reading a newspaper article about the Queen Mary 2 and its crossings between the U.S. and England, which featured a photo of a ship's steward walking a guest's bulldog on the deck:

Me: "Where do you think they take the dogs to--"

Alex: "The POOP deck. Duh."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Because We Didn't Have Enough Pets--UPDATED

We adopted this over the weekend.

We think we're sticking with "Jack" for his name, just because. He's about 7 or 8 months old, neutered, good with kids and dogs, and highly entertaining. Alex is in charge of regular bathing and nail-clipping, since it's "his" cat. Sleeps on MY head, but it's "his" cat. Go figure. Anyway, Alex has missed having a cat in the house ever since we've been married, and having plunged him into the depths of dogtown and horseville the way I did, I couldn't very well say no when he brought up the notion of having a pet cat again. Apparently Buddy the Barn Cat didn't count, because he wasn't a cuddly, snuggly lap-cat. I think I'll adjust pretty well, despite never having been a cat person before--this is one darn personable cat. And! No sneezing by me!

Jack welcomes all visitors, and enjoys napping, taunting poodles, eating, sleeping on people, "catloafing," and Windowsill Theater.

Especially when there are squirrels, which is pretty much daily.

Special thanks to MFOA rescue, and Jack's fostermom Kristen. We'll give him a good home, with plenty of live theater!

Edited for Avalon (because I give the peoples what they want):


Friday, February 16, 2007

Surprise

The promised Honeymoon of Horror post is forthcoming, along with Alex's brilliant poem, but right now I'm reeeeeally tired, plus I just had a fabu haircut, and must share.

BEFORE (Look how giddy I am, because HAIRCUT!! IS COMING!!!):
"Before"

DURING (seriously almost stopped here, because I had such fond memories of rocking the late-80's New Wave Asymmetrical):
Where I Was Tempted to Stop Her And Just Go With The Late-80's Vibe

AFTER:
Ta-DAAAA
I particularly like that picture, courtesy of Alex's cell-phone, because it looks like a leather-blazered assassin has walked right out of Goodfellas and is about to "whack" me with a shot to the back of the head. But I'm weird like that.

(And yes, the finished product is asymmetrical. Ah, the nostalgia.)


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Be My Valentine

Won't you, please? Consider this my little folded cardboard love-note dropped into the construction-paper-covered shoebox on your desk.

So, this year, Alex and I agreed on a very low spending limit, to try and take some of the commercialism out of this Greeting-Card-Company-imposed "holiday." That, and we're broke. In the past, we've made these agreements, say, for example, at Christmas, but as it turns out, sometimes we lie. So this year solemn promises were made, using stump-water and the toenails of a barn-owl under moonlight. We take that kind of thing seriously in these parts. That kind of thing, and Dwight Yoakam-inspired finger foods.

The way I approached the issue was to get creative in the kitchen, knowing that nothing pleases my man quite like Food That Would Like To Kill Him Dead. I fired up the mixer, and whomped up some shortbread, which, in case you didn't know, is just butter, sugar, and flour. Oh, and a little salt. You know, for the health benefits.

And since that probably wasn't enough to stop a grown man's heart, I thoughtfully melted some toffee bars with some heavy cream, to make shortbread topping. And once I'd done that, I couldn't very well NOT crumble up more toffee bars on top of all that, could I? Could I?

I cut it into bars, packaged it all up into a cute little red canister, and stuffed it clumsily into a shiny gift-bag with some heartsy tissue paper, and I was done. Very creative and thoughtful, I reckoned--I mean, I love him so much I made him something delicious, but I ALSO love him enough not to have made enough of it to kill him at one sitting. I'm good like that. (And if you'd like a pictorial on how to do the chocolate-toffee 2-layer topping for the shortbread, you can start here.)

As it turns out, I wasn't the only one who got creative. Alex came home and presented me with this haul:
Some of it is obvious--you can see the rose, the candle, and the card. The pile of stuff on the right is pretty good. It's a stack of mementos that we never got on our honeymoon, because at the time, we were so traumatized by this particular honeymoon destination that we pretty much just tried to block it all out. Thankfully, the second half of that trip was spent in Manhattan, which went a long way toward repressing the memories of the Poconos resort that we booked sight unseen. I'm guessing that all of their bookings are done sight unseen, because if you saw what we saw on that fateful vacation, you would run, and run FAST and FAR in the opposite direction. Alex wrote to them and requested these keepsakes, on the premise that we visited there on our honeymoon and it was "an unforgettable experience." Woefully, that is true, because it all came rushing back. It's been six years now, and I'm just starting to be able to laugh about it. I think I need to write more about The Honeymoon of Horror. Maybe tomorrow. Yes, if I can keep from having nightmares tonight, I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

I may also post the contents of that paperwork on the left, there, because that, my friends, is an original poem by my husband, done in a strikingly similar style to that of Dr. Suess. I guess all those readings of "The Lorax" this week have not been in vain. Yup, he gets bonus points for poetry--even bad poetry. Even--maybe even especially--poetry that contains rhymes using the words "taint" and "porn," while still managing to make me smile and say, "Awwwwww."

Yes, folks, my husband. A born romantic. I hope you all had as sweet a day as I did, and that you never have a trip that is anything like the first half of our honeymoon, and that if you DO, you're with someone you love, and can laugh about it later. Years later.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Uh...Hey, Look! A Puppy!

In a shameless attempt at diversion and stalling:

going home
"Trip," the "big boy" of the bunch, has gone home with his new poodlemom, Janice, to live the good life in Mississippi with multiple canine and human housemates. Trip will enjoy long walks, fine dining, frequent hair-care, naps in laps, agility competition, and possible forays into the conformation ring. Now to see to his siblings...

That'll hold ya, won't it?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Things I Made This Weekend

A Valentine Mailbox, with the eager assistance of a helpful four-year-old.

A pot of Hungarian goulash, in SPITE of the eager assistance of a helpful four-year-old. Yes, it was MUCH better than it looks.

Not pictured:

14 mistakes
1 ham sandwich
3 errors in judgment
1 week's dinner menu
1 grocery list
several messes
1 grocery-shopping trip
1 major decision
6 tentative, "pending" decisions
22 lame jokes
492 sarcastic comments
457 apologies for sarcastic comments

...and oh, so much more. I just haven't had time to turn around, much.

Oh, and remember the laptop? That we shipped to Dell last Monday? It arrived back here on THURSDAY. Seriously. Thursday. Which would be great if Dell had, in fact, fixed it, but for some reason, they sent it back to us with the bottom panel unscrewed, detached, and DENTED, for crying out loud. And still without a working power source.

Hello, Apple? You just got a new customer. Referred by? DELL.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pardon My Decrepitude

I've been scarce around the internet lately, for a number of reasons.

First, we had to send our laptop back to Dell AGAIN to have the power outlet replaced AGAIN. According to them, it goes bad because we "put too much pressure on the AC cord." According to me, Dell is full of crap, because the only time I ever "put pressure" on the AC cord is when it stops maintaining a connection without supplemental jiggling/fiddling. Typing with one hand while holding in a power cord at an odd angle is no fun. So now any computer time has to be spent shackled to the PC upstairs in the guest room, which means no multi-tasking. This is not how I'm meant to use the computer.

hint hint
Also, we have been Working Out. At the gym. Getting sweaty, which I hate. Using my muscles, which I hate. Elevating My Heart Rate, which I also hate. Don't even imagine me as a Cute Little Aerobics Chick. Think more about your great-grandmother doing those exercises that they teach at the community center for old people to do while sitting in a chair, or chest-deep in a warm pool. Today was the first time I fought through The Lazy and actually stayed on the treadmill for a full 30 minutes. I won't lie, it sucked, and no, I didn't feel a rush of accomplishment that made it all worthwhile. It's still exercise, and we don't hang. Yes, I will feel better and be healthier. Yes, I will keep doing it. But yes, I wish there were another way, a way that didn't involve getting out of my recliner at the end of the day. Point is, by the time we get home, it's time to get Bella fed, bathed, and in bed, and then it's bedtime for us, except that somewhere in there I need to do a minimum of two loads of laundry. What-Ev.

My mother bought me a Big Box O' Supplements intended to bolster my puny immune system. So don't be surprised if, between this, the new clean air system, the cessation of Coca-Cola consumption, and the Working Out, I become some sort of superhero.

You'll hear it from me first. I'm hoping to develop the ability to teleport. What would be YOUR chosen super-power? Please try to do better than Alex's lame "invisibility."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Do Not Doubt That My Mom Is High-Larious

Or that we share a brain. Um, she got the good parts.

Case in point: Viewing of the Superbowl halftime show, in which I was disturbed by Prince's headgear.

My response, spoken, was, "What's up with the Aunt Jemimah do-rag?"

Then today, I read this email message from my mom:
RE: sooper bowl

"I didn't watch the game but I did watch the artist now known as "Aunt Jemima"! Hey, I'll bet you said the same thing."

Yeah, I did. Only not as well.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

No More Snow Days

What is this? My child, she is a hardhead. Who could have seen that coming? We are going through a heck of a phase here.

We had two "snow days" last week. In Arkansas, "snow days" are when it is technically winter, and precipitation occurs that freezes for any amount of time, no matter how short, and the schools close and people make mad runs on the grocery stores (unless you're me, and you have 3 pounds of shredded cabbage, 4 loaves of bread, ten pounds of frozen chicken, two gallons of frozen milk, and countless boxes of brown rice, pasta, etc. because it was all ON SALE and you HAD COUPONS and hey, your total was 66% SAVED last time).

Actually, the first night it snowed, there really were some hazardous conditions on the roads. It took Alex and I over an hour to get home from choir practice, a distance of maybe 10 miles. Let me take a minute to share my husband-taught technique for Arkansas snow/ice driving without benefit of 4-wheel-drive: If you can keep moving, you just do that. If you have to stop, like we did, over and over Wednesday night, you spin your wheels until you burn through the layer of snow/ice enough for your tires to grip the asphalt below. Alex did OK, because he had a half-ton or so of feed in the back of his truck*. I, on the other hand, slid a good bit. There was no way we could make it to our street, much less down our curvy driveway, but fortunately there is a back-road, gravel, that leads all the way to the rear of our property, and we were able to take that while everyone else just sat on the highway...maybe 'til the next day, I'm not sure.

So one snow day, that's all right. We snuggled up, watched movies, read books, played games, stuff like that. And all the snow and ice pretty much went away during the day. And then night fell, and so did more snow. Not that the ground temperature was cold enough for it to matter come morning, but of course the schools were still closed. So that left Bella and I home while Alex went to work. Many books, many games, many repeat viewings of "Hip-Hop Harry" (God save you all from Hip-Hop Harry) Ach, my Aching head. By the time Alex got home, I had a wild-eyed look and a seige mentality. The only conversation I remember was warning Alex not to confuse his Diet Dr. Pepper can with the other one, because the other one contained not Diet Dr. Pepper, but milk. I think he asked me why that was, and I think my response, which was something like, "BECAUSE SHE ASKED TO HAVE HER MILK IN A DIET DR. PEPPER CAN TWO-HUNDRED-AND-NINETY-SEVEN TIMES, AND I JUST DON'T CARE ANY MORE," frightened him out into the yard with its crazed delivery.

But, I have to tell you: A bright spot in that day? This:

OMG, Jon Stewart is on Jack's Big Music Show

JON STEWART GUEST-STARRING ON "JACK'S BIG MUSIC SHOW." Great jumpin' cats, but that was awesome. They re-run these things, so I highly recommend trying to catch the Groundhog Day episode. Wowee, wow, wow. Jon, you are my hero. Thank you.

Looking For the Groundhog
He Is Looking Right At Me, Telling Me What a Hot, Hip, Smart Mommy I Am
Giving the Gang the Peace Out Chest Thump
And There You Have It.
Click pictures for more. Yes, sadly, there is more, and yes, I've reached the point where I can make myself believe that Jon Stewart is speaking directly to me through that there talkity-box.


*My mom, who likes to point out serendipitous occurrences, cobbled the following together nicely, after we managed to get home safely with Alex in the lead: "Just think, if you hadn't stood up for what you felt was right(1), and then if Alex hadn't done the right thing in going to the feed store (2), then he wouldn't have had that extra weight in his truck bed that allowed him to drive safely in the snow(3)."

(1) I stormed out of a local feed-store because the owner was ranting about the evils of "blacks, Mexicans, and feminists." Nope, just couldn't give him my money. Desperately needed feed, but just...couldn't do it. This weird balkish boycotting streak in me sometimes provides my family with amusement (as they wave their Nestle and Nike products tauntingly at me--YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), but I simply can't help it.
(2) When I got to town and blubberingly told my story, and that I was going to have to drive to another town to get feed before the store closed, Alex insisted on going in my stead, which meant that Bella and I were at church, warm and dry and eating homemade soup, while he was schlepping feed back toward us.
(3) Seriously--we saw multiple pickup trucks off in ditches and down drop-offs. One went off right in front of Alex. We suspect that some Manly Men (especially those who drive pickup trucks with no real need for a pickup truck) just forget that the rear section of their macho vehicle is very very light, and then are surprised when the back wheels just get away from them.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Looking For A Beat-Down

Me: "Of course, that was a broadly-based assumption on my part."

Alex: "You being the broad?"

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything...OR ELSE

The other night at Dixie Cafe, I think I stumbled upon just one method of keeping those Veggie Tales characters in line. If you were Larry the cucumber, would you violate your morality clause after seeing this?
This fried pickle is dedicated to Jer.

Also enjoying wholesome (*ahem*) Southern foods that night was Isabella, who had really had it with the Parental Paparazzi.