Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 2013 Round Up and Pinspirations

I've had this typed up since early April, but I hadn't had time to get the pictures ready. Finally posting it!

Dog image from 123RF. Rope frame by MandaBean (no longer available). Font is Kristen ITC.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
I didn't get much reading done, between traveling and my ankle injury. I read for about an hour in the ER, and then the pain made it too difficult to concentrate. I don't like holding a book or a Kindle over my head to read, so I didn't get much reading done at home, either, despite not being able to do anything but lay on the sofa (with my foot elevated above my heart, which meant I had to be laying on my back).

However, DH did read almost a whole chapter of Return of the King to Luke while we waited in the ER (after both Luke's DS and DH's cell phone had run out of juice; the picture was taken around 10 PM).

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: Dancing With the Stars started back. I'm not enjoying it as much this season as I have in the past. I don't think it is a problem with the cast, I think I'm maybe just a bit burned out on it, especially the time commitment it takes each week. I wasn't even sure if we would watch this season, but we decided to. (It is one of the few shows that both my parents and we watch.) Not wowed so far, but the first episode was less than a week after I hurt my ankle, so my impression may have been tainted. Most of our other shows had new episodes at the beginning of the month, then went on hiatus due to NCAA basketball. Saw the spin-off episode(s) for the new NCIS show. I'm not so sure about it. We watch too much TV anyway, so we'll have to really consider if we're going to watch it or not. Regular NCIS needs to back off; it has made me cry at least 3 times in the last 2 months.
* New Films: Had several of these, for a change. My ankle kept me flat on my back most of the month, which makes reading and internetting rather difficult, so I watched a lot more TV and movies than usual. It did finally let me get caught up on most of my 31 Days of Oscar recordings, though!
- La Bamba - No, I'd never seen it. It was okay. I actually think I prefer Lou Diamond Philips with a little age on him; he was such a baby in this (as was Elizabeth Pena)! Saw a few other familiar faces as well, including Joe Pantaliano so young that I didn't recognize him on sight. I saw his name in the credits, but without his voice, I don't know that I ever would have figured out it was him just from looking, even knowing he was in the movie!

- Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House - This was cute and sweet, and it "means more" now that I've owned two houses. I love Cary Grant, so it was worth it for that, but not one of my favorites of his.
- The Lady Eve - My first Barbara Stanwick film, I believe. It was fine. Everyone kept saying it was a comedy, and though I admit it wasn't much of a drama, it's not really what I would call a comedy either. I mean, the situations were a bit funny, but I didn't actually laugh much. I like her, though, and I wouldn't mind seeing some of her other work. I'm betting she's a top notch dramatic actress, from what I saw here.
- Footlight Parade - My first James Cagney film. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he really does talk like James Cagney? LOL It's just become such a cliche to hear people impersonating him that I didn't expect him to sound like that *all* the time, but he pretty much does. Overall, I liked the film, though I think it could have done with some more of Cagney himself actually dancing. Very classic Busby Berkley, which was great. I've always liked Ruby Keeler, though I thought her part would be bigger/more substantial. Joan Blondell is a new discovery for me, and I really like her! Will have to find more of her stuff. Overall, I prefer 42nd Street, but this one was good, too.
- Thousands Cheer - I recorded this one mainly in my quest to see all of Gene Kelly's films. It was mainly a way to stick together a bunch of their USO stars in a film, and they added in 30-45 minutes of "story" to provide a reason to have so many of their "war support" stars in the film (though much of the footage was reused and not shot especially for this movie). Definitely NOT enough Gene Kelly dancing for me, just one scene (which was wonderful). The girl is pretty impressive, too. I don't think I'd seen any of her films before but wow, does she have a voice!
- For All Mankind - This was a 1989 Oscar-nominated Apollo mission documentary that was quite excellent. There was no narrator, just splicing of footage with the voices of the Apollo astronauts themselves. My only quibble with the film is that I wish each speaker was identified as he spoke; I think some of the statements would have been even more impactful if you knew who was saying them. I could pick out a few of them sometimes, or I could deduce from context, but for the most part, I had no idea who was actually speaking. The footage was excellent, though, much of which I had never seen before. Great stuff if you like the space program.
- A Fistfull of Dollars - My first spaghetti western. I didn't really expect to like this movie, and I didn't, which is fine (though I didn't hate it, either). It was just one of those I felt I "should" see (there are a handful of movies/types of movies that I get flack for calling myself a film buff yet not having seen!), so when I spotted it on Turner Classic Movies, I recorded it. I do "get it" with Clint Eastwood, though. He's hard not to watch, especially in his youth like this (he was a smidge younger than I am right now, but I think of him as being at least in his 50s, if not in his 60s; that's the Clint I "know"). So yes, I've now seen it. Not especially interested in seeing the other two "Man With No Name" films, though I hear The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is the best of the bunch. We'll see what opportunities present themselves.
- 2010 - I was mainly curious to see exactly what kind of sequel could be done to 2001. It was okay. Certainly a more straightforward coherent (generally speaking) plot, though slightly less intriguing because of it. I absolutely *loved* seeing John Lithgow and Helen Mirren so young! (Apparently, Roy Schieder was never young, LOL, though this was several years after Jaws.) A few other familiar character actors as well; great to see them in their prime. Certainly not a waste of my 2 hours, but not great.
- The Muppets (2011) - I was sorry we didn't manage to catch this one in the theater when it was out. It did get good reviews from my friends, most of whom are about my age and grew up with The Muppets the way I did, so that was definitely in its favor. I was surprised when I saw that our channel guide gave The Muppets four stars. Not sure I would go quite that far, but it was great fun! Completely worth it just to see Chris Cooper rap. Yes, I'm serious! They stuck to the heart of things, they didn't go all wild and crazy with digital effects (IMDb trivia says they went out of their way to stick to practical effects where possible), and they added in some nice throwback moments and homages for us "old timers." (Am I the only person who choked up when they showed all the banjos hanging on the wall in Kermit's office next to a picture of Jim Henson? ::sniff sniff::) Excellent celebrity cameos, which The Muppets have always been known for. Just some all around good fun, and it brought back some fantastic memories.
- The Help -  I didn't really intend to stay up and watch all of this on a Sunday night. It was already after 9PM, and the film is a touch over 2 hours long. I thought I would watch the first hour or so, then finish it off later this week. 2+ hours later, it was approaching midnight, and I'd finished the movie! This is one of those that I would have seen at the theater pre-child, but just could not make it when it was out. I'm so sorry now that I missed it. I thought all of the performances were excellent! It walked that fine line between characature for effect and genuine representations of people and emotions. Some parts were over the top (intentionally so) to make a point, but the moments that mattered were not and were very powerful. Both Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis were absolutely amazing. I didn't necessarily love the movie as a whole (I prefer other films and their handling of similar subject matter), but wow, the individual performances were excellent. I'd put it right up there in the Southern Dramedy department with Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes (though this one had substantially less comedy than either of those).
* Old Favorites:  Galaxy Quest, LOTR: The Return of the King, The Lion King, Tangled, L.A. Confidential, The Cutting Edge, Stargate, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

We celebrated my maternal grandmother's 80th birthday with a party at my uncle's house (where I took exactly 0 pictures; both the one above and the one below were taken by my dad). I hope I look this good when I'm 80!

We also did Disney and LEGOland! Thank goodness I didn't mess up my ankle until after we got back; that truly would have been awful.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
We received a homemade baked ziti from a work friend since I haven't been able to cook with my ankle, which was super-sweet of her.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Too many, sadly, pretty much all related to my ankle injury. Crutches, an orthopedic boot, a folding chair that can get wet in the shower (so I don't have to try to shower and/or wash my hair standing on one foot), a hand-held shower sprayer (because we couldn't adjust the shower head so that it wasn't spraying me in the face when I sat down in said chair), and a memory foam mattress pad for the guest bedroom (mattress gets *very* uncomfortable after a few nights). The only reason we didn't have to buy more pillows is because I've inherited several from my father over the years, so we actually had enough to use in both the guest room and the living room to prop up my foot without having to move too many back and forth each time I change rooms.

What new foods, recipes, or restaurants did I try this month?

We had no choice but to eat somewhere new while at LEGOland. Lunch was just okay, but we did try their "signature food": Granny Smith Apple Fries. Wow, they were yummy! We actually *tried* to try a new restaurant at Disney, but that didn't work out very well. No way I'm waiting 90 minutes to eat somewhere (and we were there at 11:15!), especially at Disney. Too much other stuff to do!

We did actually try a new restaurant here in Atlanta this month. We've been driving past Monterey's on LaVista for over a decade now, swearing we would try it "one day", but we love our little Decatur Mexican place so much that we just never got around to it. With my ankle, traveling that far for dinner wasn't really practical, but I really wanted Mexican, so we decided to finally visit Monterey's. It was fine, but not as good as Los Loros. That's what we get for cheating! LOL

What Pinspirations did I try this month (besides any recipes above)?
Um, yeah, not so much with the ankle. (And likely not much coming up in April, either.)

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

As you all know by now, I spraining my right ankle to the point of very nearly breaking it. Um, ow. And crutches stink!

What were my accomplishments this month?

I can't say that Disney went off without a hitch, but it did go quite well, I think. LEGOland was a fun new experience, though I think we all prefer Disney (except for the crowds). We all managed a few new things at Disney! Primeval Whirl, Conservation Station, The Little Mermaid ride, and the Riverboat. We also did a Braves game while we were there for the first time since 2009, I think, though I didn't get any pictures of us there (bad me).

Making it into and out of my building on crutches was quite the accomplishment. There is only a single path where DH can drop me off that does not involve stairs up to the front of the building. All of the "handicap accessible" entrances take the majorly long way around, which is fine if you have a wheelchair, but not so great on crutches. (I also have a new appreciation for how stupidly most bathrooms are set up for handicap accessibility (or lack there of).) I will never ever again be annoyed by the handicapped parking spaces!

I do feel I should mention my husband's accomplishments, too. He cooked dinner for the first time since I've known him. Well, I exaggerate. He's cooked frozen stuff before, but this was his first time (to the best of my knowledge) that he has ever cooked from a recipe in the 17+ years we've been together. We were just all so tired of fast food after 9 days! I picked easy ones for him, and he followed my directions (from the sofa! LOL) exactly. I may have helped chop an onion or test the boiled pasta for doneness, but other than that, he did it all. He made marinated chicken, crockpot BBQ pork, hashbrown casserole, chicken with dried beef (my most favorite meal), . Well done, honey!

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Luke checked off a new ride of his own at Disney: Dinosaur, which he seemed to love! (I suspected he would, if it didn't scare him to death.) He also had his last basketball game (which we're all sad about), and moved on to soccer (new group/program), where he played his first game in the snow! That's certainly something I don't care to repeat anytime soon. It was bitterly cold!

We also introduced Luke to Star Trek: The Next Generation. He'd seen several episodes when he was younger (enough that he would come running so he could listen to the theme song), but he doesn't remember. I was trying to wait for him to be old enough to listen and understand (more of) what is going on. Not sure we waited quite long enough, but he's come back twice since Encounter at Farpoint to ask to watch more episodes, so he seems to be enjoying them. (Yes, we are skipping a few, like The Naked Now; really don't want to have to explain Data and Yar. Haven't decided about Skin of Evil yet, not because of the death, but because I think the episode is stupid.) I'm actually looking forward to some of the Borg episodes; I think he'll like those. And he does like Q! Gee, I wonder where he gets that from?

What were this month's disappointments or frustrations?
ANKLE!!! Soooo frustrating, the whole experience. The embarrassment of falling down the stairs for no reason we can figure out, the actual pain of the injury, the 5+ hours in the ER just 2 days after getting back from Disney (though better than before!), having to keep it elevated, using crutches, having to crawl up and down the stairs just to get into and out of the house, not being able to carry anything while "walking" (unless it's in a backpack; so, for example, I can't make myself a cup of hot cocoa at work, because I can't carry it to and from the hot water spigot), having to be driven everywhere because it is my right ankle so I can't drive. I can't sleep in my own bed (too high for me to get in and out of), I can't sleep on my tummy (must keep my leg elevated, and even when I don't have to, I can't put my legs flat down if I'm wearing the boot), I miss sleeping in the same bed as my husband (too many pillows and too much tossing and turning on my part). I can't cook (very hard to do on one foot), showering is a major event that requires two people, my hands, back, shoulders, and hips hurt worse than my ankle now.... I'm trying to be grateful that it wasn't a nasty break or something that requires surgery. I'm trying to be grateful that it happened the week after Disney, not before. I'm trying to be grateful that the only thing I hurt was my ankle and my pride (not my knee or my wrists or my head, all of which could have very easily happened). But it's still an overall pain in the patootie!

Anything else noteworthy to record?
Good grief, I hope not! That was more than plenty for one month.

Monthly Round Up concept courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady, tweaked by me.

Currently feeling: very late on my round up

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Blandings... one of my very favorite movies :)

    Have you read The Help? I enjoyed the book as much as the movie!


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