Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, folks -- it's that time of year, again. The time where I stay up until the wee hours of the morning baking pies. Tonight it's pumpkin pie as usual, and I was supposed to get to the pecan pies tonight, but it didn't happen. So I'll have to wake up early to do it.

But before I do, I wanted to express some gratitude -- because what else do you do when it's dark outside and quiet all around and pies are in the oven?

Things I am thankful for:

  • A job. First and foremost, a job.
  • Quietness, or as a friend recently called it -- the "quiet slice[s] of life."
  • My 15 nieces and nephews.
  • The ability to read.
  • Compliments from people I respect and admire.
  • My new Winter coats.
  • Christmas music.
  • A home.
  • My daily walk to and from work.
  • A body that (mostly) works.
  • Modern dentistry.
  • Milk -- that wonderful, glorious drink that goes with everything.
  • Rain in California.
  • Fresh flowers.
  • My family. Always, always my family. (MommyDaddy, Cami, Summer, Brooks, Blake, Lexi, and all your spouses -- I love you.)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope it's a good one.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Best Picture, Again

I've been sick for the last couple of days, so I watched "The Nun's Story" while I sat alone in my apartment, aching and congested. I almost didn't notice the loneliness and aching and congestion, though, because "The Nun's Story" is so good. It takes me to a quiet, thoughtful place, where nothing seems to matter except this question: "What will my story be?"

And although Audrey Hepburn is a great actress in all of her movies, I can't understand why "The Nun's Story" isn't everyone's favorite. People go on and on about "Breakfast at Tiffany's," but this . . . This is by far the best movie she acted in, in my opinion.

I blogged about this movie way back in 2005, but as I watched it today, I felt I needed to blog about it again. My hope is that if you didn't heed my advice then, you'll heed it now.

Here's my original post about it:

Yes, it's late; I know. But I just finished watching "The Nun's Story" on Turner Classic Movies with my mom. When it started, I thought, "Boooo. Who wants to watch a nun's story, even if it does have Audrey Hepburn in the lead role?" The running time is about 2 hours and 50 minutes; I started watching it as the 2nd hour was beginning. I was captivated. CAPTIVATED. (Brooks, you'd LOVE this movie!) 
Here is a short summary found on IMDb
Gabrielle Van Der Mal gave up everything to become a nun. But her faith and her vows are forever being tested: first in the missionary Congo hospital where she assists the brilliant and handsome Dr. Fortunati and then at the mother house in France when World War II has broken out and the nuns are forbidden by the order to take sides. 

It was directed by Fred Zinneman in 1959 and was nominated for several academy awards in 1960, including best actress and best picture. Why it didn't actually win any is beyond me. The tagline for the movie is: "The most gripping and dramatic personal story of this decade on the screen!" I think "gripping" is a highly over-used adjective in movie review jargon, but in this case, it's right on the money. It is gripping. Truly. To use a metaphor Brigham Barnes (whose blog can be found here) used in a recent post, I would say that this movie was a dagger that stabbed me to the quick. The proverbial pulls on my heartstrings were in full force. And the ending -- oh, the ending. My mom says I can tell all of you that I am a hopeless romantic like her, and what can I say? It's true. But looking back, the ending was perfect. No, it didn't quite satisfy me with perfect closure, but the story ended in the very beginnings of the 2nd World War. So the incomplete and restless feeling experienced in the last scene was probably necessary for the full emotional effect. 
DON'T let that stop you from watching the movie, though! It's wonderful! I don't know how to express to you that this movie is so worth your time. I will just have to tell everyone in person from now on. "Hello, I'm Sara. I think you should watch "The Nun's Story" as soon as you get the chance." 
Just watch it. Watch it!

Thing I'm thankful for: antiobiotics

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On Paris and Facebook's Blue, White, and Red

I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head right now (when do I not?), so I'll start with Paris. More specifically, I'll start with the reaction to the Paris attacks from a couple of days ago.

The day the attacks happened and every day since, I have seen more and more friends on Facebook change their profile pictures to reflect their empathy for and solidarity with Paris by adding the French flag overlay. I thought it was wonderful.

And then, as usual, people had to get snooty about it. "What about all the other problems going on in the world?" they said. "Isn't it dumb that people show their support for Paris now, just because everyone else is?" they said.

Well, here's what I say: Why not now? Why not show support for Paris now, just because everyone else is? Is that so bad? Besides, showing empathy for and solidarity with one group of people, does not mean that someone can't––or isn't already––showing empathy for and solidarity with another group at the same time. Sure, maybe some people are simply jumping on a bandwagon they don't know much about, but maybe––just maybe––they know more about it now. Maybe this is the piece of news that changed the way they approach news forevermore. Maybe seeing all the blue, white, and red has made them realize how important it is to pay attention to the news and to feel things for people and to do something to help.

As a child, I read People Magazine because my mom subscribed to it for fun. I didn't pay attention to non-celebrity news at all, and even if I had, I probably wouldn't have understood it. All of that changed in an instant, though, when I heard a 90-something year-old man talk about his daily routine. He said he woke up every morning around 5 or 6 o'clock to read the newspaper. I was impressed to do the same, and since then, I've tried to keep up with current events. I think it's a civic duty and human responsibility.

But remember, I didn't always think that. It took someone else to make me see, and perhaps that's what's going on with the French flag overlays. Maybe someone is more aware of world news now because someone they respect changed their profile picture on Facebook. Is there an objectively better way to come to such a realization? I seriously doubt it.

Thing I'm thankful for: new winter coats

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Flowers for Myself

I love fresh flowers. Most women do. Unfortunately, most men think flowers are a waste of a gift because they know the flowers are going to die soon. Here's what, though, men: If you get your wives and girlfriends flowers for no reason, they will love you and love you. Don't believe me? Try it.*

At any rate, I love flowers. All kinds of flowers. If I had the money, I'd have a fresh bouquet of flowers in every room of the house!

I recently decided that I'm going to budget for at least one bouquet every couple of weeks. I figure that if I spend about 15 bucks on a fresh bouquet every other week, that'll cost around $375 a year. It's really not that much. A lot of people probably waste that much money on produce going bad. Or on eating out. Or just buying junk on sale at Target. Fresh flowers, though -- I can always count on those to make me happy. Every time I see them in my kitchen, it puts a smile on my face.**

*Incidentally, I've only gotten flowers from a man twice in my life: once from a boyfriend who I guess listened when I said I liked them (how nice!) and once from a boyfriend who was about to give me bad news (lame).

**If, for some reason, you feel the need to get me a gift but have absolutely no idea what to get, then just get flowers. I'll love you forever.

Thing I'm thankful for: usable spice containers