Friday, September 30, 2011

i will FORCE eiley to love books.

Today I read Eiley a book about a princess who wears pretty dresses, glittery shoes, and a tiara and has a dog named Sparkles. She goes to a ball and dances with a prince. The end. Seriously, the major conflict in the book is her painful decision of which gown to wear, and (spoiler alert!) she lets her freaking dog choose in the end. Now I'm not saying that children's books need to have some incredibly deep moral message or anything, but...come on. I'm thinking about throwing this book away.

I love books of all kinds, and I'm guessing that love stemmed from a love of children's books. But honestly, I can't think of any specific favorites I had as a child. I recall reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day from time to time, and I know I appreciated Jack Prelutsky's The New Kid on the Block, and I must have read several Dr. Seuss books. But none of those were ingrained in me. Maybe my parentals can chime in here and tell me something I'm not remembering. 

Anyway, what I'm getting at here is that I want to have a book that I read with Eiley. A favorite. One that we read so often and with such joy and love that I memorize it without even trying and the sight of its cover when Eiley is 57 brings her mind so fully to her happy childhood that she'll run to the post office and send lots of presents to me and Jeff in our retirement mansion. I thought I might choose Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss because it would be fun to master those tongue twisters, but after a third read I found it obnoxious. Bummer. 

Ideally, I'd  like this magical book to rhyme and be subtly sentimental. Really, I'd like someone to have illustrated the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme by now. Since that hasn't happened yet, I'm accepting actual children's book suggestions. Ready? Go!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Oh boy, is my little girl growing fast! All of the sudden she's busting out new skills left and right, and leaving me uber exhausted in the process. It's hard work learning to function like a normal human (for both of us?)!! Much appreciation goes out to my husband who is carrying us through this challenging season. I am also going to thank you in advance for letting me barrage you with a list of Sofia's new little abilities so that I can commemorate that there is some pay off to all our hard work. Here goes. Sofia is . . . 
  • Sitting up on her own [after 4 months of working on mastering this, I literally yelped when she mastered it]
  • Crawling
[this was on her first day of being able to crawl]
  • Pulling up into a standing position and walking with support [of course, her favorite place to practice is in her crib, when she's supposed to be sleeping - extra challenge for mommy!]
  • Visiting art museums and galleries [so many free ones around here, it's awesome!]
Sofia at a gallery showing that required
you wear these fuzzy grey caps
  • Waving hello and goodbye to people, places, food, stairway banisters
  • Taking naps in her crib [no, this is not supposed to be a big milestone, but it is a skill we didn't master until we moved to Maine, and I am just so thrilled she finally does it]
  • Dancing

  • Sleeping through the night [sometimes, let's call it about 30/70 good nights/bad now]

  • Playing dentist - she has two teeth chomping in full force, and about 5 that we can see the whites of but haven't fully broken yet. We regularly check her mouth to see if any have come out, so she returns the favor and constantly has her little finger fondling our teeth too. 
  • Saying "mama," "dada," "bye bye," and "hi" [mostly, there are babbling noises coming out of her mouth, but every once in a blue moon, it is clear she is saying these actual words with intention and meaning]
  • Eating solids: cereal, veggies, fruit, chicken [not happily], and as of this week, Cherrios! Her favorite food to date is green beans with basil, she can not eat that fast enough! She is NOT a fan of spinach.
  • Swinging

  • Saving two of my favorites for last, she turns pages in books as we read to her and
  • Trying to sing along when we sing to her, it makes me nearly tear up every time

After all of this, it is amazing to think that we've only just begun to learn anything in this big old world, there's so much more to go! 

Don't worry Sofi, we'll take it one step at a time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Post: Questions and Thoughts on Long Distance Friendships by Libby

And now, Lobsters, a guest post from one of my long distance friends, who is for me like a worn in pair of jeans that seems to fit perfectly, no matter how much my life keeps changing. To get to know her better, check out her blogTake it away, Libby!

When Zoe asked if I would share my experiences with growing friendships long distance, I was so excited to have the chance to wrap my mind around such a crucial part of life and be able to share a bit with all you wonderful readers. It is surely a journey we have all been on before. The reality of living in a big, stretched out world beyond the childhood home, the campus dorm, the treasured community that expanded the word “family” to each of us, is ironically here to stay.

Here are a few questions I want to peruse about this life-giving source of long distance friends:
*Why are long distance friendships important?
* Who do we hold onto and why?
* What will I do differently to better maintain these friendships?
* What are some ways we can engage in these relationships?

We’ll tackle the first two today and the next two in another post.

In this over-scheduled society, it’s easy to view relationships as something that fits nicely into our calendars or not. I tend to think that the people I rub shoulders with every day are the easiest relationships to “grow” because there are shared experiences and a wealth of opportunities to talk. Why is it important to hold on to people who don’t get to share a meal across the table with you or play with your kids? One thing I can’t escape is that relationship matters greatly to Jesus. He was all about cultivating relationships while He was on earth and He set up the Church to function and breathe through community. We are very fortunate to live in a world that takes us to the ends of the earth, but in some ways it makes it harder to see those who Jesus meant for us to love and serve. The Apostle Paul was constantly on the move, spreading the Gospel far and wide and forging new friendships everywhere. His letters are chock full of affection for his fellow believers around the region. It is good, I see, to have friendships that last beyond the borders of my hometown. It is good to invest in people who God has laid on our hearts to connect with.

So who do we tend to hold onto and why? I have some long distance friends who challenge me and can see the truth in a situation over the phone that would be harder to see if they were in the middle of it with me. I have friends I love dearly who haven’t put their lives into Jesus’ hands, and I feel called to stick with them and love them across the miles. I have friends who are just plain comfortable to talk to, like a good worn in pair of jeans you never want to outgrow.  There are friends who walked through the storms of my life and my gratefulness doesn’t allow me to let go and detach from them.

Your turn :-) Why are your long distance friendships important to you? What has made you stick with those when others have stepped
into the background?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More tales from Maine

We've now been in Maine for over a month. I've been a bit remiss to do much updating on our time here, but that's because we've been so busy. Mostly I've been busy trying to keep up with Sofia, but we've also enjoying our new home. Every box is officially unpacked, we just have some decorating and baby-proofing left to do. 

As I continue to meet tons of great people, I keep seeing this nervous look in people's eyes as they ask me, "how do you like Maine so far?" I can't quite figure out why they are always so surprised when I tell them I love it. Is life a blissful carefree holiday for me here? No. But I figure most of that has to do with mothering an infant. I think they also don't immediately realize I've yet to experience winter. Perhaps I will update you even less frequently during that season, you know, "if you have nothing nice to say. . . "

So the place we moved into is amazing. We are still adjusting to having so much space after all of these years in small apartments. But it wasn't quite ready when we moved in, so we still have a constant trickle of repair men visiting Sofia and I during the day. 

We have dubbed her "Sofia the Supervisor"
And in case you hadn't picked up on it in earlier posts, we are loving our yard. 

Though spending time in the yard involves about 2 milliseconds of idyllic bliss, and the rest of the time is chasing after Sofia who wants to eat everything in sight. 

Despite all the new space, Sofia's voracious appetite for stimulation, and my need to move around keeps us on the go exploring the area. I love moving to a new town, getting myself lost, then figuring out how to find my way back home. It allows me to explore new areas and get more familiar with all the roads. Here are some of the spectacles we've stumbled upon in our disorientation:

Stepped out into this while walking through the woods behind our hosue.
For Labor Day weekend, my parents came out to visit us Sofia. Our infant-toting pace of life was a bit slower than their touristy eagerness, but I think they cuddle time made it all worth it. I know at least Sofia had a great time.

Maine is famous for lighthouses, lobsters, and meese. Remember this guy? I refer to him as "Eeyore the moose." We got the moose sighting taken care of right away (the day the moving truck arrived). 

photo credit: Manny Reyes 
When my parents visited, top of the list of the must-do activities for my dad was making lobster for ourselves at home. [stay tuned for a whole photo shoot of our visit to the lighthouse] So we ventured out to the Saturday farmers' market as a family, perused all the wonderful vendors, and picked out six lobsters [spending under $30 total]. They spent the day squirming around in my fridge while we did some more sight-seeing:

And then they squirmed around in a pot for a bit:

And then, after slathering them with lemon juice and butter, we devoured them. Do not worry, Lobsters, I promise never to do this to you.

Ok, devoured really isn't a great word. Amidst of all this lobster preparation was a two+ hour battle to get Sofia to bed. Not getting to sit down to eat my lobster until I had succeeded this exhausting task, I relished each bite, conscious of little else going on around me. It was a good reward!

One of the greatest blessings to me in settling into Maine has been all of the other moms I've been able to meet. I prayed for over a year that God would provide community for us here, and He has delivered this blessing in abundance. I've been invited to oodles of moms' groups, made a handful of mom friends, started hosting a weekly women's bible study, and run into new mom friends out and about town almost every time we walk out of the house. Praise God! These moms have been full of super useful advice and have been a great resource in discovering new and wonderful things in the area, such as this park on the water: 

photo does not do it justice 
And now the leaves are beginning to change, and I'm looking forward to seeing a whole new side of New England! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

good and evil

created by:

Movie Review Monday #19: Trollhunter

Last night I watched a Norwegian documentary called Trollhunter. No, seriously.

This film is an edited version of tapes that were found, so it's totally true. Basically, a crew of Norwegian film school students is doing a story on some bear attacks, and they end up following around a professional troll hunter. I don't want to ruin the ending or anything, so that's all I'll tell you. 

My favorite thing about documentaries is that you are simultaneously learning and entertained. Wonderful! So for this review, I give you a list of things I learned while watching this film:

1. Trolls can smell human body odor, so the best way to disguise yourself from a troll is to wipe troll stench all over your body. 
2. Trolls can also smell the blood of Christians, so if you love Jesus, stay away from trolls. I know I will.
3. Trolls are not very nice.
4. Trolls always start with one head and one eye, but they sometimes grow extra protuberances that look like extra heads.
5. Trolls can be killed with sunlight because they can't process the Vitamin D. It ends up either making them explode or turning them to stone, depending on the age of the troll.
6. The Norwegian word for "okay" is "okay."
7. Wearing crudely formed armor is not the best way to guard against a troll attack.
8. A smart thing to do when you see a troll is to scream "TROLL!!!" and run away.
9. The Norwegian government knows about the troll infestation, but they are doing VERY little to fix it. I mean, there's only Hans taking care of business. He's only one man, and there are tons of trolls out there. People should be worried.
10. Norway is freaking gorgeous.
11. Sometimes I have too much time on my hands.
12. There are many different kinds of trolls. I don't remember all of their names at the moment, which is good because I'm already pretty embarrassed about remembering everything I've already listed here.
13. Spoiler alert: At the end of the film, it says "No trolls were harmed in the making of this film." But trolls died in the film. It made me wonder if this was actually a documentary. Hmm.

In conclusion, I have to give Trollhunter one claw up. You can find it on Netflix if I've piqued your curiosity. Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sabbath Sunday #19: So much laziness

Today I celebrated the Sabbath by sleeping in accidentally, going out to lunch with my sister, BIL, and Chad at Five Guys (aka Slightly Less Delicious Than In-n-Out), then playing games with Chad. He introduced me to Bananagrams and I loved it! I think tonight I'll turn in early since I was out late the last two night and I'm an old lady.

How did you observe the Sabbath, Lobsters?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Theater - Top Five

I love the theater. That's good, since I married an actor and have seen him in oodles of productions. I loved the theater before I even met Jeff, though. My best proof of that fact is that when I graduated from high school and got to choose between a trip to Hawaii and a trip to New York, I picked New York just so I could experience a Broadway production. 

I've often thought about posting reviews of shows I've seen, but decided that wouldn't be universally interesting since most of you Lobsters aren't stuck living in Virginia Beach. So, as a one time thing, here's a list of my Top Five favorite shows I've ever seen (of course, these are off the top of my head, so I could totally have other favorites):

5. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I'm fairly certain that when I saw this for the first time in seventh grade, it was the first production of anything I'd ever seen (Christmas plays aside). I still love this show, and I've now seen four different productions of it and loved them all. In fact, Jeff once directed this show and used the money he earned from that to purchase my engagement ring. Sentimental crap aside though, I love the simplicity and sweetness of this show. Wait, that still sounds sentimental. Good grief.
4. Dancing at Lughnasa. This was my favorite show that Jeff has starred in thus far. It's about an Irish family in 1936 (why, yes, I did look the year up on wikipedia, thanks for asking), and I loved everything about it from the set to the acting to the dancing. Most of all, I loved the relationships between the sisters in the play. Arabella also starred in this show and did some impressive snot acting. Beautiful.
Dancing at Lughnasa. Photo stolen from Regent Theatre's Facebook Page.
3. Cleopatra's Wake. This was an impressively entertaining show that I saw at Vanguard University. It was a mystery, but also happened to be one of the funniest shows I'd seen since Urinetown. Also, there was an autistic character played by the wonderful Chelan Glavan, and I was blown away by her acting. She had obviously thoroughly researched the character and autism.
2. Urinetown. Probably the funniest show I've ever seen. Ever. My mom and I saw it because we were in New York and were brainwashed by advertisements on taxis throughout the city. It was amazing.
1. Wicked. Look, some things are trendy for a reason. I have seen Wicked three times now, and it has blown me away every time. I can't stress enough how much I love this show. Parts of it are so musically beautiful that I end up worshipping God for creating such sounds. Imagine, wholly focusing on worship while a green witch laments doing good deeds. Yeah, kind of blows your mind. 

I can already think of several other favorites I could have included in this list, like Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (one specific production out of the three that I've seen), Aida, Hamlet (an artsy fartsy pared-down version that I saw three years in a row Santa Barbara), How to Succeed, and more. 

What about you, Lobsters? Seen any good shows lately?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eating with Zoe #2

Recently, I've discussed my opportunity to try out the restaurants of a new town and how this has gotten me thinking about restaurants I'll miss in places I used to live. Last time I mentioned a few of my favorite Texas restaurants. Today, how about a few California spots. I lived both in Northern and Southern California, which some people might argue are separate states all together, so I'll group these eateries accordingly.

Bay Area, California (San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland):

A) Khana Peena. While Goode Co. is the BBQ restaurant I measure all other BBQ by, Khana Peena is the Indian Restaurant I measure all other Indian restaurants by. Manny and used to refuse to eat Indian because it was unfamiliar and therefore scary. But our community group decided on Indian for a dinner get together once and brought take out into our apartment. We had no choice but to eat it [or starve I suppose, and like I've said, I like food, so that wasn't an option]. It is delicious. I've never eaten anything there I didn't love. And their lunch buffet is only $7, which includes a soda and naan - absolute steal! It converted Manny and I and has left us longing for something as good ever since. One of my favorite memories here was when Manny and I went in for the lunch buffet and saw three boys, about 11 years old, walk in with cash in their pockets and go to town on the buffet and soda. I was so impressed that young guys had such sophisticated taste that took me more than a couple decades to develop. I tried to sneak a picture of them through the window as we left, but they caught me and so I got this: 

B) Tomate Cafe. This is definitely a spot I find myself homesick for a lot lately. A quiet little cafe back in a Berkeley neighborhood, it has a mexican/earthy American sort of flare, free refills on coffee, and wi-fi. We used to love having breakfast here [we LOVE breakfast!] and hanging around working on papers until the lunch crowd started to trickle in.

C) Fenton's. Featured briefly in the movie, UP, this is an historic Oakland establishment. Old school ice cream parlor/diner. Yes, I did once order both an ice cream sundae AND fried mozzarella sticks in one visit [shout out to Ieesha!]. This made for a great special occasion spot, a bring-out-of-town-visitors-to spot, a late night hang out, and just a fun place to get some treats. I highly recommend their peanut butter fudge topping - I've never found anything that begins to compare.

Southern California (specifically Santa Barbara and San Diego):

I. Los Arroyos: I was first introduced to Los Arroyos when it was brand spankin' new and we used them to cater an event in my first full time job. The owner is a warm, kind man and the food is just simply amazing. With a couple locations around Santa Barbara, it's worth stretching the budget a little bit to enjoy a visit. La Superica is the foodie-Mexican spot in town, but I personally enjoy Los Arroyos so much more. Sorry to disagree with Julia Child.

II. Wired Cafe. Simple little French cafe with salads, paninis, pastries and the like. Service is slow, but the food is great. Another great study/work spot (I'm all about scoping out the free wi-fi!). Not super touristy or anything - just a nice little un-assuming lunch spot off the beaten path.

III. The Cottage. Ok, this one is a bit cliché. It is a huge tourist destination for La Jolla, but it is also frequented by locals because it is just too good and too cute. Based in a sunny craftsmen style house with a huge patio surrounded by a white picket fence, the Cottage is airy and bright and the food is phenomenal. Breakfast and lunch, I can attest to - dinner is a new addition that I didn't get a chance to check out before moving away. Pout. After Sofia started having a regular - EARLY - bedtime, this became our special occasion destination because at least we could always count on being up super early and ready to eat a nice meal in the mornings!

Really, this is just an initial smattering of some restaurants I enjoy. I doubt many of these are making hip and trendy magazine profiles these days, but I love, miss, and recommend them! Have you been to any of these Lobsters? Any other recommendations in these areas? What is your favorite restaurant to miss from far away?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reader Request: Similarities and Differences Between Eiley and a Pet

This Reader Request comes from Michael McLendon. Mikey is in the MFA in Acting program with my husband, we go to the same church, and he's my friend. Also, I made him hold Eiley once and it was hilarious. I've never seen such instant discomfort in a grown man. 

I feel that the best way for me to approach this topic is to make it personal. From here on out, "a Pet" will be Buster, my dog. Without further ado, similarities:
  • Love to eat, sleep, and defecate!
  • Are amused by simple toys.
  • Tend to slobber a bit.
  • Constantly desire my attention.
Here she is, begging for my attention yet again.
  • Good for a warm snuggle.
  • Furry.
  • Require my assistance when bathing.
  • Whine when super hungry.
  • Have lovely smiles.
  • I love both dearly.

And differences:
Note the humiliation. 
Photo stolen from Chadley.
  • Buster looks humiliated in costume (he has a Santa costume from Aunt Tab); Eiley looks adorable in costume (she has tutus galore from Aunt Tab).
  • Buster knows his name; Eiley does not know her name.
  • Buster can walk; Eiley cannot.
  • Buster can wag his tail nubbin; Eiley has no tail nubbin.
  • Buster eats his food from a dish; Eiley eats her food from a me.
  • Buster knows his way to the mailbox; Eiley would totally get lost, I just know it.
In conclusion, it appears that there are more similarities than differences between Eiley and a pet. Maybe that's why I can't stop calling her monkey.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Becoming Attached

    During my move, I finished reading a book called Becoming Attached by Robert Karen, Ph.D. It's not exactly a light weight summer read. It's an extensive history from Freud to the mid-1990's of the research and political debate around the psychological theory of Attachment. But honestly, the writing and stimulation made it the source of the most fun I've had in ages. 

    Attachment theory was born out of the research, curiosity, and work of John Bowlby. It created a huge shift in thinking amongst many psychologist from the idea of a person's well-being fully centering within the individual to having a great deal to do with a person's quality and history of relationships. As I've mentioned before, for me, almost all things come back to our relationships. And if it hadn't been for Bowlby and the crew, there would be little valid intellectual space for us to discuss such an idea and its implications. 

    While this book was lying around my abode, several female friends or relatives would notice it.  Inevitably, I would hear a comment to the effect of, "I don't think I would like to read this book. It would just make me feel guilty for all the ways I messed up as a mother." And I imagine the non-mothers who noticed it [or are reading this post right now] thought, "I don't need to read that, it's about mothering and I'm not a mom." To the second point, it is about relationships. We all have mothers, and we all have relationships, and this book is written so artfully, I think non-mothers should seriously consider it. To the first point, that is a very valid fear, but Karen holds that fear with such grace that I would invite perhaps even the most guilt-ridden mothers to consider checking it out. It might provide you with some much needed grace.

    There was a point at which it occurred to me that I had two plans for my future in my head:

    1) Have a stunning, entrepreneurial career where my leadership provides significant help to people and community.

    2) Have a beautiful family with a husband and children that are my 100% full time concern and priority, undistracted by work of any kind until my children leave the home. 

    Somehow, it took years before I realized these two pictures - as I envisioned them in my head - were mutually exclusive and in great tension. But I was so thoroughly perplexed about where this fierce tension was coming from. Who were the voices telling me one option was good, another was bad, vice versa, and that they were so entirely mutually exclusive?? My mother both stayed home for a time and worked for a time. I had been both encouraged in my academic pursuits and in my desires for a family. Everything I could look to had been so uplifting, where was the animosity coming from that I feared so much? 

    In reading this book, Karen put names and stories to those voices. He shows how convoluted scientific research can really be when subjected to political forces and personal priorities and fears. He sheds light on the debate between stay-at-home and working moms. I felt relief both by the story being told, but also by the way Karen weaves his own comforting voice into the story to make it one of encouragement and support to all mothers, whichever side they may fall on in the debate. Should you miss out on the wonderful experience of reading it for yourself, let me tell you what 2 key morals I gleamed from the story. 

    Moral #1: We need to take the sole responsibility of human development off of the shoulders of mothers. Not because mothers have better things to do in the marketplace [key word being "better"], but because it is such a significant job that no single human being can carry the burden alone. It takes a full time investment, and then some. This response both profoundly validates the hard and exhausting hours I pour into my daughter, and also frees me to seek support, partnership, and relief. It gives so much honor to the sacrifices my husband makes to spend time with my baby, as much as it defies certain gender roles. It invites my parents and in-laws and sister and friends into the work in a significant way. And it helps get me off the hook as being the only person to blame if Sofia should ever commit any trespass. So, whether you are a mom or not, if there is a child in your midst, you have a weighty opportunity to play a role in developing a constructive future citizen. 

    Moral #2: Moms have GOT to quite pointing fingers at one another. For a great gift for a new mom, go out and buy the Must have Mom's Manual - its a great guilt reliever as you stress out about how to do everything right, because it has two mom's talking about their different styles of parenting and supporting each others' different choices. We need so much more of this! We all divide up into our groups according to working-moms vs. stay-at-home-moms vs. work-at-home-moms, or breast feeding vs. formula, or what have you. This book gave me a sense that we all have a common enemy and that we should be supporting one another instead of tearing each other down. 

    Ok, that's all very heavy, but I hope it is encouraging and thought provoking. I hope you'll consider checking the book out for yourself. I'd love to hear how these ideas and voices have impacted you. If it is too personal to comment here, please know you can always reach Emily and I at: Happy relationship-ing Lobsters! 

    For some other thought provoking reading on the role of mother, you might also enjoy these links:

    Motherhood as Vocation from Q Ideas
    Difficult Questions: Part 1 and 2 from me 

    P.S. Today, I have a particularly acute need for some prayer - from those of you who pray - for my willingness to actually seek that support, cause I really need some lately, but I have a lot of trouble reaching out. K, thanks.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Movie Review Monday #18: Instant Gratification Version 2.0

    Okay, turn! Netflix Instant Recommendations (Does it super annoy anyone else that there's not a place on Netflix Instant where you can simply browse all the titles? I just know there are some hidden amazing shows that I haven't thought to search for but would love nonetheless. Grrr. I guess I can't complain too much for $8 a month.):


    1. 3rd Rock from the Sun. This show used to annoy me when I was younger for some reason. Now I think it's hilarious. I wonder what's up with that.
    2. Parks and Rec. Seriously. Watch it now.
    3. Life Unexpected. Occasionally cheesy. Often melodramatic. Always entertaining. Plus it stars Shiri Appleby from Roswell and Kerr Smith from Dawson's Creek and Britt Robertson from Dan in Real Life. That's a lot of awesome. Also, I'm developing a mild crush on the other male lead. He might replace whoever I had as my number 5 celebrity I'm allowed to kiss. I'll keep you posted, Jeff.
    4. Switched at Birth. Also cheesy, melodramatic, and entertaining. But also gives some realistic insight into deaf culture, which I find fascinating.
    5. 30 Rock. Tina Fey. Obvs.


    Honestly, I've only watched two docs on Netflix so far, but I really enjoyed both. Of course, both were Disney related. Check out The Pixar Story and The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story. It's inspirational and interesting stuff, especially if you love Disney films.


    1. Winter's Bone. See my recommendation here.
    2. Ballet Shoes. This was a surprisingly touching, well made film based on a book by Noel Streatfeild. I watched it because Meg Ryan mentions the book series in You've Got Mail and because the film stars Emma Watson, which are terrible reasons to randomly watch a film, so I was pleased to truly enjoy it. It reminded me of The Little Princess, in that the little girls in the film are essentially orphaned and rise above poverty in a fairy tale kind of story.
    3. My Future Boyfriend. If you like bad movies, this one's for you. Thanks, ABC Family Original Movies. (I was also hoping to recommend Sunday School Musical for the same reason, but it ended up just being plain old terrible. My sister and I could barely mock it properly.) 

    Seriously, Lobsters. Give us more suggestions. Ready? Go! 

    Movie Review Monday #18: Instant Gratification

    Emily and I have found ourselves plowing through several Netflix Watch Instant features in this season. As I burn through my queue, I'm always needing recommendations for new stuff - so it's been great for us to be able to offer each other suggestions to keep things fresh and entertaining. Perhaps you also enjoy some good movie watching recommendations? Perhaps you have some I should add to my list? Let's compare notes. Here are some of my recent faves:

    I find a good series quite comforting. I have an addictive personality, and this is one of the healthier addictions I indulge in. The familiar characters I can come back to when I feel stressed out seem to help dissipate the anxieties of new challenges. 

    My friend Emily [not of this blog] from grad school bugged me a million times to watch this show. She is this crazy cool goddess-like creature, but I thought this was her secret dorky-side coming out ["Beets. Bears. Battlestar Galactica."], so I smiled and nodded and resisted for a good long while. Maybe it was her dorky side, but oh wow did I get sucked in! I started seeing everything in life according to Battlestar Galactica themes, but I just couldn't stop until I had seen every.single.episode. Thanks Em! 

    Something about having my own daughter is making me curious about what my parents were like at this stage in their lives. One thing I vividly remember is sneaking upstairs to the den and peaking around the wall to watch Thirtysomethings over their shoulders until they caught me and sent me back to bed. Watching it now as an adult and parent is really tripping me out because I think they spied into the future into my mind to depict a lot of the things I'm going through lately. Also, the 80's were a funny time!

    Just watch it now. 

    I love good stories. And while a good fairy tale can be great to revisit, it's amazing to hear some old ones for the first time. Super short episodes masterfully wisk you away to far away lands. Good work Jim Henson!

    I may be a little bit addicted to being in school. So when I have no classes to attend and need that intellectual-stimulation-fix, a good documentary can often do the trick. Even if I don't agree with the message of the film, I love having food for thought.

    Philosopher Kings
    Janitors at universities and colleges tell their stories and impart their wisdom. Surprisingly amazing, touching, inspiring. Really worthwhile one hour and nine minutes!!

    God in America (6 episode series)
    Holy cow [;)] This was an amazing and thought provoking series that had Manny and I jabbering at each other for days as we unpacked all our reactions and emotions. We attended a christian college and decided this series should have been a required part of the curriculum for all students. While I don't hold the same perspective as the film makers, I really appreciated the way they helped me to be humbled, challenged, and even inspired. Really worth watching!

    Soundtrack for a Revolution
    I love music and I have a shamefully inadequate knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement - so this won on two counts. It is inspiring, emotional, difficult, uplifting. It really caught me off guard how much I enjoyed this film!!


    My mother-in-law tipped me off to this one. Honestly, I started watching it just to be able to tell her I did. But was great. It considers what life would be like if we could know when we would meet "The One."

    Two women, one othodox Jew, one Muslim, are both entering arranged marriages and teaching in New York a public school. They navigate the challenges of living between their own culture and American culture together. Really endearing and an atypical approach to a familiar theme.

    Young princess is cursed with a pig nose and seeking a husband to break the spell. Delightfully charming.

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Sabbath Sunday #18

    Fall is upon us and I have been finding the recent weather just painfully gorgeous. I am hoping to rest today by trying out another church, exploring a new town, hopefully sneaking a nap in somehow, and finding more excuses to be out doors enjoying the beauty that is a New England fall! 

    How are you Sabbathing it up today? Are you finding any ways to be grateful for God's provisions and creation? 

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Snapshot Saturday #18: descend

    I'm so drawn to the simple clean lines and the gradation of light that even a dull stairway can provide. The fact that Sofia always got very quite and calm here also caused me to pause and pay attention to what might be fascinating her so much.

    Stairways seem to lend themselves very naturally to symbolism, what does an image like this represent for you?