Thursday, November 29, 2012

Everything I Need to Know About Life...

I learned from Secondhand Lions.

This movie is one of my all-time favorites for sure. And I always like it around Thanksgiving and the holidays, for some reason. I guess because it is hopeful and about family and belonging. Lots of good quotes (and we know how much I love good quotes!) and pieces of advice that I love. Plus, the movie is funny! Icing on the cake.

Lesson #1: Tough love has it's place. "Damn it kid, it ain't our fault you got a lousy damn mother." As long as there is some softer love to balance it out.

Lesson #2: Give people a chance; you may be pleasantly surprised. "Why not see what's he's selling?" "What the hell for?" "What's the good of having all that money if you're never gonna spend it?" "Could be the kid has a point." "Well, we'll see what the man's selling. Then we shoot him."

Lesson #3: Getting old in body and getting old in mind are different things, and the second is not necessarily caused by aging. "A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever."

Lesson #4: Live life to its fullest. "Just as we arrived in France, so did the Kaiser and the entire German Army. I wanted to go home, but Hub said we should tour Europe one step ahead of the Germans. And we did. What a time that was."
"They went out with their boots on."

Lesson #5: Be fair when you can be. "It's defective." "It's alive, that's the main thing." "Go ahead and shoot it then." "No, it wouldn't be sporting, shooting it inside a crate."

Lesson #6: True love is real. And always worth fighting for. "Many people say there's no such thing nowadays, it's something you only find in stories, but when these two set eyes on each other for the first time, this was honest to God, no kidding, sure enough, once in a lifetime, love at first sight." (My favorite quote from the movie.)

Lesson #7: Manhood is not proven by being an ass. "Here's a perfect example of what I've been talking about. Since this boy was suckling on his momma's tit, he's been given everything but discipline. And now his idea of courage and manhood is to get together with a bunch of punk friends and ride around irritating folks too good natured to put a stop to it."
"Now boys, you're fixing to let those teenage hormones get you into a world of trouble."

Lesson #8: Be who you are and be proud. "Who do you think you are, huh?" "I'm Hub McCann. I fought in two world wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, killed many men, and loved only one woman with a passion a flea like you could never begin to understand. That's who I am."

Lesson #9: There is always a way to rid yourself of unwelcome people, even unpleasant family members. "We're leaving. And we are not coming back until you get rid of that monster." "Well, the lion stays."

Lesson #10: Give second chances. "Twice I have held your life in my hands, and twice I have given it back to you. The next time, your life is mine."

Lesson #11: Believe in what you want to believe in. "Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; ... that love, true love, never dies. ... Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in."
This is a segment that I hold close to my heart. One of my favorite quotes (which I want a tattoo of) is from a song called Truth from Revolutionary Girl Utena (listen to it here). The line is "Shinjite-iru no, shinjitai kara," meaning (roughly) "I will believe because I want to believe."

Lesson #12: Be there for your loved ones. "You're my uncle. I need you to stick around and be my uncle. What about Uncle Garth? He needs you. What about the dogs and the pig and the lion? We all need you. I need you. ... And I know you miss Jasmine an awful, awful lot, but if you go, we'll miss you just as much."
I hope you enjoyed this random post full of quotes from one of my favorite movies. If you haven't watched Secondhand Lions, you need to!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving is here! For me, this is a little special because it is our first Thanksgiving in our new home. We are going to make a little dinner and have a couple other people over. We are all "Thanksgiving orphans," as in, not one of us was invited anywhere else with family or friends... sad, eh? Isaac's parents went out of town, but left his brother behind (he had to work), so he will (hopefully) be joining us. His sister, presumably, will be with the family of her husband. My mom is working. I'm sure my dad has plans with one or both of my aunts, but I guess the invite wasn't extended :P That's OK though. My sister will be with her boyfriend and family, I imagine. My brother may also join us. And perhaps a friend or two of mine. Thanksgiving orphans alright, but I am looking forward to it :)

I just want to take this time to tell what I am thankful for this year (man, is that cliche or what?).
1. Our new home.
2. That, even though money is tight, we can afford to make a nice meal and have people over to share it.
3. Always for my family who I love and who have always helped me and supported me.
4. For my friends who I love and cherish and who mean the world to me. I couldn't do it without you all.
5. For my boyfriend, through good times and bad. I love you.
6. That I have a job that I (usually) enjoy. I know using my degree to work at Starbucks may not really be the dream, but I am enjoying it while I can.
7. Romulus and Remus, our pet rats. A small thing to be thankful for, but they are great to have around. I love taking care of them and spoiling them and they make our home never feel empty. And they are so cute! What's not to love?
Sleepy rats in a rat pile!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope it is full of wonderful food and great company!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Beauty and the Beast Tale

I love fairy tales. And I love the re-telling of fairy tales. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites. I love the Disney movie, my first introduction to the tale. I got to go see the musical (which I posted about) and I loved that. There are other movies available and I'm sure that people have seen parts if not all of them.

There are more obscure tales that are worth checking out. The original (I believe) was recorded by the Brothers Grimm. It is a German tale called "Hans, My Hedgehog" ("Hans mein Igel" auf Deutsch). It is a little different. About a woman who badly wants a child and eventually has one who is mostly hedgehog, which earns him the scorn of his father. Anyway, it is kind of a long story but eventually he marries a princess who discovers that at night he sheds his skin to become a human. She is forbidden to do anything with it, but is tricked into throwing his skin into the fire. In anger, Hans deserts her. In repentance, she travels everywhere to find him and after suffering many hardships, she does. (Actually, rather like Psyche and Eros, especially if you've read "'Til We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis. If you haven't read it, you should).

For a brief telling, watch the first episode of "The Storyteller" from Jim Henson Co. I believe it is on Netflix, but here is a YouTube link. You can watch it in one part and I love this version: The Storyteller: Hans My Hedgehog
Hans and his bagpipes on which he plays tunes that "start with 'hello' and end with 'goodbye.'"
An author that I often read writes several different versions of fairy tales (they aren't superb, but fun)--Mercedes Lackey. One series is an interesting take on the different fairy tales. The first book is the re-telling of Beauty and the Beast and it is called "The Fire Rose." It is the first in a series called "The Elemental Masters."

Her other series is called "Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms." These are more silly, so don't read them as though they are serious (or they are much less enjoyable). The Beauty and the Beast story here is called "Beauty and the Werewolf" and it is an amusing mixture of Beauty and the Beast and Little Red Riding Hood.

One of my very favorite re-tellings of this story is called "The Rose Daughter" by Robin McKinley. This one is very unique and I love it. Beauty has two sisters who have special and useful skills, but Beauty seems to only be able to grow plants. And roses, which only witches can grow. The scent reminds her of her deceased mother. When she comes to the Beast's palace, he asks her to take care of the roses, which are dying and she brings life back to his lands. 

Robin McKinley also wrote a book called "Beauty," which I long to read but have not yet.
Read it!
Even one of my very favorite movies, "The Labyrinth," is a sort of Beauty and the Beast story. I think that is one of the reasons I love it so much.
See? There is even a ballroom scene. As a side note, is it sad that I have thought that a Labyrinth ballroom wedding would be totally awesome? Anywho...

And just for fun: Beauty and the Beat. I think this is hysterical.

Anyone else have some good Beauty and the Beast spin-offs?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thoughts of a New Homeowner

For those of you who don't know, Isaac and I (with the very generous help of Isaac's parents for the down payment) bought a condo! It is a cute little place with two bedrooms and two full bathrooms. It even came with a washer and dryer, which is a wonderful selling point if you ask me.

As we move into the new place and talk about paint and furniture and, yes, the stereotypical curtains, several things are running through my head.

Our cute welcome mat! Bought at Bed Bath and Beyond.
 First and foremost, we are happy to come home.

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." ~Maya Angelou

In my first apartment, where I lived when Isaac first moved in, I liked it, but he didn't as much. And it turned out to be a bit small for two people and three hamsters.

The apartment we moved into had two rooms and much more space for the same amount of money. The night we started to move in, I cried. I didn't like it or the area. Isaac was excited to have more space and to make it ours. As I adjusted and unpacked, it started to feel OK. Except for the people above us continually flooding their bathroom. Which happened to be over our bed. And the kids banging on our door and running. And our windows. And occasionally throwing rocks at the windows... The area wasn't great. I didn't feel safe and Isaac began to feel uncomfortable with it all, as well. The result was that by the time Isaac's parents got us in on the condo, we were ready to move.

Now we are still moving, but the new condo already feels good. We are happy to come here, even with all of our boxes everywhere and nothing put away. Being happy, both of us being happy, with our home has made things so wonderful and fresh.

"I love this house. I thought I must stay here the moment I saw it. I can't explain it. It was if the house itself were welcoming me, asking me to rescue it from being so empty." ~From 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir'

I sometimes feel a little panicked. It is a lot more responsibility than the apartments, of course. Bills seem bigger (though overall we are paying about the same for everything). We need to replace the hot water heater (most expensive and pressing issue). Walls need to be painted (which seems like an exciting chore, actually). We need moulding in several rooms. Leaks are our problem now and we don't have plugs in our bathroom sinks (I nearly lost an earring already, but Isaac was nice enough to take apart the pipes for me and retrieve it). All of these things are our responsibility now. It seems like a lot (and there is more than what I have listed). We are going to try to fix the important stuff soon. And we have been talking about renting out the other bedroom until we feel a little less panicked about everything.

Anyhow, I cannot wait until everything is moved in and settled. And I love, LOVE not having to haul my laundry to my mom's. Doing it here is so convenient and wonderful. My mom said, "And getting to do your laundry in your own home! That's sure confirmation of adulthood." Haha. It all continues to be exciting and wonderful (and generally less stressful than our last move, though we have had a couple small spats).

"But it was your home." "It was a place I once lived. End of story." "Then must plan on making Paris your true home." "What is it with you and homes?" "Well for one thing it's something every normal person wants." ~From 'Anastasia'

Since all of this is so new to me, I will probably be learning bits and pieces about home repair. I will try to keep a log of that here. Maybe it can come in useful for other first-time home owners.

Next step: finish moving. Then put things away. Then host a house-warming party. Oh yes :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tim Burton Halloween Party

Themed parties are always good fun, I think. This year, ours was Tim Burton. (And sorry for the delay, we are in the middle of moving, again...).

We put together some hangings that alternated black and white streamers to put up on the walls. Tim Burton essential colors, you know. Black and white, grey, red, and sometimes blue. Gold and bright colors can be applied for certain moods like memories and fantasies. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to watch more of his movies... (the color schemes are essentially the same for every movie he's ever made, and on that note, please watch this hysterical video: Tim Burton's Secret Formula "Something original?" "No!"; "Get my wife and Johnny Depp on the phone!")

We had some carved pumpkins. I carved one that looked like this:
My friend, Katja, carved a couple of white pumpkins to look like Jack Skellington and one was wearing a Santa hat. Some people brought simple white Xmas lights. All of the paper plates were black and white as were the napkins. The plastic-ware and the cups were red.

I made a couple of posters (I was in charge of Sleepy Hollow decor) to hang up. One was the cardinal from Ichabod's optical illusion. I sketched it out on red poster board and outlined it faintly in black glitter glue. The second was a horse like the headless horseman had. I sketched that one on black poster board and also outlined it in black glitter glue. For fun I added a glittering red eye.

We put up some fake cobwebs and candles. A few vases of black roses were left on tables.

Food was roughly Tim Burton themed. Katja and I made tea sandwiches and Krissy made cookies that said things like "Eat me." The "Drink me" bottles were delicious shots that David made. Willy Wonka brand candy was a must. Katja and I made a red velvet cake and Cat decorated it like so:
The tree is made from sugar paper. It is hard to see but the designs are in glittery black and red frosting and there are some pearly blue sprinkles on it. It was tasty!

I also made a punch that was a nice shade of red. It was called Dragon Blood Punch. The recipe I found here: Adult Halloween Punch Recipes. There are all sorts of good punch recipes out there. I used this one because I didn't use a punch bowl, but a container with a spigot. Cat and Drew carved out a pumpkin and inserted a spigot and cider was provided for that. Awesome.

Katja, with the help of Cat and Drew, made shepherds pies (in place of meat pies from Sweeny Todd).

On top of all that, we dressed in Tim Burton themed costumes. Here are some cool pictures of my friends all dressed up:
Katja as Mrs. Lovett. Love this pic.

Drew and Cat as Jack and Sally. :)

Mrs. Lovett and Krissy as Sweeny Todd.

David as Adam from Beetlejuice.
Some of our guests did not dress to the theme, which was totally fine. Some did not dress up at all, which was fine, if a little lame.

I dressed as Katrina Van Tassel from Sleepy Hollow. She has a few outfits, but I wanted her riding outfit which looks like this:

I know it is difficult with this picture to tell the colors. The dress itself is a sort of grey-blue patterned material. It looks like a corset and skirt. The lace at the top would probably be part of a dress worn under the outside clothing. The jacket is grey with the bustle at the back. The large buttons in the front are ornamental. It also has buttons on the cuffs and the cuffs are very nice if you can find a good pic. You can't tell in this picture, but the collar of the jacket and the trim are dark red.

I made this costume on the cheap and on the fly. I only had about 12 hours to work on it, total, so I took a lot of short cuts. I did not use a pattern. I left the back of the dress mostly open (because I wore a poofy dance skirt underneath to give more volume and the long jacket would cover it). I did not make a corset, just a sort of tank top with trim sewn down the front. The lace from her under-dress translated to lace sewn at the top of the tank-top.I sewed that to the skirt and put a zipper in the back (badly). The jacket was interesting. I just kind of made it up as I went along. I didn't have dark red fabric so I used plain red scraps for a make-shift and poorly made collar. All the buttons I sewed on were ornamental. I did add a little lace at the cuffs. The bustle I just pinned up and tacked in a (hopefully) aesthetic manner. Here is how it all turned out:
Sorry for the picture quality. It was taken with a phone and it was pretty dark. You get the idea, right?
A little rough around the edges, I know. If I had had more time, this costume would have been so cool. Maybe one day.

Next year, I believe the party theme will be Disney villains! Woo!