The Tiny Documentary and Unfulfilled Childhood

It’s a little . . . dangerous?  presumptuous?  arrogant? judgmental? . . . yes, judgmental . . . to write about what you think is wrong about someone else.  But if the person made a documentary about himself and publicized it to the world does that make it less bad?  If you think so, you can read my thoughts on the documentary, Tiny: A Story About Living Small over at the Mirror.

Favorite movie musicals

Linking up with Jenna for Five Favorites . . .

Haley and Caroline, among others, have written lists of books that have had lasting impact.  Lately I’ve been thinking about the movies that have had the most lasting impact on me.  Surprisingly (or not?) they’re all light-hearted and most of them I watched in childhood.  Somehow they’ve kept a place in my heart.

Oh–I just noticed this–they’re all musicals.  That makes sense.

Roughly in order of when I first watched them:

WeeSing Together–the first VHS tape my parents bought.  Sally and her red dress.  Songs and lots of drama.  I loved it, and now my girls love it.


The Greatest Show on Earth–the circus, lots of singing, sparkly costumes, love triangles, near-death heroics, and a tragic clown.  Charlton Heston and Jimmy Stewart.  My grandma taped this for us from TMC and we watched it over and over and over.

Hello Dolly with Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau.  For some reason I still sing this line and crack myself up, “Out there, there’s a world outside of Yonkers, close your eyes and see it glisten, Barnaby.  Listen Barnaby!”  I am so weird, but that doesn’t mean this movie isn’t so so good.

White Christmas–My dear partner, when what’s left of you gets around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting, whatever it is you’ve got left.

That Thing You Do–music, cute guys, and the mod mod Sixties.  The perfect movie when you’re 14.  Or 24.  Or 34.

Bonus: Napolean Dynamite.  I saw this in theaters and thought, “They’ve made a movie about people like us!”  It’s not a musical, but it has arguably the world’s best dance routine and the world’s best love song.  So it kind of counts.

“Your mom goes to college.”


Mother-daughter themes, homeschooling, and cliches

What I’ve been into in November


I read Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple, on Christy’s recommendation.  I enjoyed it.  What I really liked

was the way it portrayed the love between Bernadette and her daughter.  Bernadette is slightly crazy, but she does right by her daughter, and that love pulls them through.  That’s kind of my fantasy during the rough patches, the times when I feel like I’m a complete mess and don’t do much of anything but, darnit, I do my best by my little girls.  Hopefully they’ll understand that.

A striking contrast is Sickened: A Munchausen by Proxy Childhood, by Julie Gregory.  Truly horrific.  I don’t know why I read it, except, I suppose, I saw it on the library shelf and was about MBP after watching The Sixth Sense.  What I’m still pondering is whether the author is a reliable narrator.  Clearly there are many generations of abuse in her family, and at a certain point it seems that a victims’ unmet psychological needs become more real to them than reality.  Sobering.

On the advice of Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy, I watched Pieces of April on the eve of Thanksgiving.  It’s billed as a story about a wayward daughter trying to make peace with her dying mother and rest of her family by hosting them for Thanksgiving.  Upon further reflection, I think the movie is really about how the mother is the terrible one in the family.  And she tries in her own limited way to make amends before she dies.  A good reflection on the power of words and how they can destroy relationships.  But the movie has a lot of funny parts and a happy, not-too-sappy ending.

Rounding out the mother-daughter round-up, I’m watching Gilmore Girls, for the first time ever, on Netflix.  I’m not inclined to like it because I get so annoyed with fast-talking, snarky characters who are always being ironic and having drama (except when they’re incredibly funny, as in Juno).  But I’ve heard so much about GG for so long that I’m giving it a try.

Update: I made it through the pilot and am starting episode two.  Possibly a good show to watch while blogging?

In other news, I’ve started doing home school work with the girls two days a week.   That’s going better than I expected; more on that later.

And laundry.  It’s so cliché to be a mommy blogger (or mom-with-a-blog) and kvetch about laundry.  But my goodness, it piles up.  And lately I’ve decided I don’t care about folding it and putting it away.  I wash; I dry; it piles up.  I’m not even trying to make it a priority any more.  The result was that Pat spent a good chunk of his Thanksgiving time off folding laundry.  Christmas isn’t looking too good for him either.

Happy Advent y’all!  I’m linking up with Leigh for her What I’m Into link-up.

Movies I’ve watched, sneakers I’ve ordered, and what I’ve been into

1. Here are some movies I’ve watched over the past month (or so):

I Don’t Know How She Does It:  This was worth the $2.99 to watch it on Amazon.  Not as good as the book, but an entertaining, feel-good-in-the-end story of a stressed-out working mom.  I read the book back when I was working a lot more hours (litigating, at that), and it stressed me out because it was a bit too close to home.  But now the movie just makes me laugh.

Better Off Dead: I had to buy a used VHS copy of this movie, but I finally saw it.  Really funny!  Over the top but not stupid.  To be honest, I liked it but Pat really liked it.  It had that badass-underdog-has-his-day-gets-the-girl theme (like Ferris Bueller).

How To Marry A Millionaire: This was fun.  Material for lost of cultural commentary (basically, we’ve lost all our class; also, does golddigging even work nowadays, with everyone giving it away for free?  To a limited extent, see e.g. Anna Nicole Smith, but boy has the game changed).  Mainly though, it was fun.

The Bling Ring: Fascinating real-life crime caper about a bunch of bratty high schoolers who burglarized celebrity homes.  It has the same dreamy feel of Sofia Coppola’s other movies, Marie Antoinette (which I liked) and Lost In Translation (which I didn’t).  The Bling Ring is only about an hour and a half, which is the perfect movie length to me.

Now and Then: This was okay.  I remember when it came out way back whenever and finally watched it.  Lots of fun late 60s pop tunes.  I had to listen to “Knock Three Times” over and over the next day.

O: Supposedly based on Shakespeare’s Othello.  Mostly about high schoolers having sex and playing basketball.  Couldn’t make it past the first fifteen minutes or so.

Thanks For Sharing: A movie about sex addiction that was funny but still had the appropriate gravitas.  Really.  A few scenes I skipped but overall a good movie, I thought (in contrast to most critics, apparently).

(All of the above are on Amazon Prime, as best I recall, except Better Off Dead and Now and Then.)

I want to watch They Came Together, a spoof on romantic comedies.  I planned to watch Mom’s Night Out, but I saw a trailer and it looked sooooo dumb.  I couldn’t do it, Daily Connoisseur recommendation or no.

2. Today Girl 2 and I noticed a rip in her dress.  She said, “Uh Oh!  Like in Little House!”  (Pronounced “Wiwl Howse.”)  She remembered seeing this picture in Little House in the Big Woods, and the summary I gave her, several days ago:

photo (2)


Is she brilliant or is she brilliant?  Girl 2 needs a post of her own here someday soon.  She is wonderful (and terribly two).  She takes up just as much of my time and attention as Girl 1 (actually, more).  She just doesn’t confound me as much, so she doesn’t get as much virtual ink.  I think she is ISFJ.  She’s definitely more IS and J to Girl 1’s ENFP personality

3. I think I found THE ONES!  (I’ve been searching for just the right casual cold-weather, non-boot shoe.)

Puma’s Caroline wedge sneakers.  Cute right?

They’re on super sale right now at a lot of online stores.  I guess they were hot last year and are washed up this year but who cares.  I just ordered them to try out in two sizes.  They got iffy reviews on comfort, so I’m apprehensive.  Update to come when they arrive.

4. We were so very into Halloween around here.  It’s not my favorite holiday, but Girl 1 was very taken by the elaborate decorations in a yard down the street.  She wanted us to keep up with the Joneses.  We didn’t, not by a long shot, but not for lack of her trying.


I got the Charlie Brown Halloween movie (the one about the Great Pumpkin) from the library for the girls to watch.  They’ve learned all sorts of great things from those classic Charlie Brown movies: words like “stupid” and “blockhead” and sayings like “never walk into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.”  Girl 1 kept saying “wet sucker, wet sucker” over and over again and cracking up.  How does she know the most inappropriate things to say?

Somehow I’m not sorry.  I love Charlie Brown.

5. Amazon Prime music!  It exists!  Why did I not find this out until a few weeks before it’s time to cancel our Prime subscription?  I made the sorry old mistake of signing up for a 30-day Prime membership trial and then didn’t cancel it in time.  Our year is up this month, when I’ll cancel it and go back to Netflix.  But I’ll miss Prime music.

6. Modern Mrs. Darcy wrote a good post about what makes a good book club read.  It reminded me of a post I wrote a little while back for Mary’s blog, about five of my favorite non-conventional book club reads.  Check it out!

7. Happy weekend everyone!  I’m linking up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes and (very late) with Leigh for What I’m Into .



What I’m Into–September

1.  Arts and crafts: I’m not into them at all.  At all.  But Girl 1 is.  So now I am too, and Girl 2 as well.  Our fireplace is covered with paper napkin snowflakes.  Today they’ve moved on to Halloween decorations.


2. Thin Within:  Weight Watchers is out, Thin Within is in.  I can eat whatever I want, and I never have to be hungry, and I’m still (slowly) losing weight.  The catch?  I can only eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m just barely full.  So hard, but exactly what I needed to work on.  Kind of like Geneen Roth but from a Christian perspective.

3. I haven’t been reading much else lately, recovering from my book binges of the last few months.  Our book club is reading  Incidents In the Life of A Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, so I’ll start that soon.  I know it’s super sad, so it’s taking me a while to get the nerve to dive in

4. Movies: I’ve watched a lot of movies, the main criteria being finding it for free on Amazon Prime or at the library.

Footloose: Continuing my 80s kick.  I’m finishing it as I type this.  Looking forward to a big dance finale at the end.  I should spend more of my life dancing.

10 Things I Hate About You: Funny watch this movie about high school seniors, which came out when I was a high school senior.  Now I get what the fuss about Heath Ledger was about.  That and why all the kids kept singing, “You’re Just Too Good To Be True” over and over again on the bus to World Youth Day 2002.

The Prince and Me: Slight Julia Stiles kick here.  (Round-faced girls of the world, unite!)  This was cute enough but I got bored and fast-forwarded to the end.

Hope Springs: Another movie starring Meryl Streep as the long-suffering wife of a jerk.  Only in this one the guy comes around.

High Fidelity: Waste of time, tho Jack Black is pretty funny.

High Spirits: Watched this on fast-forward the whole way through.  (Don’t ask.)  Thus, a slightly lesser waste of time.

Rounders: About poker.  Entertaining enough.

Moonstruck: Sweet, despite Nicholas Cage.  Why don’t they make rom coms like this anymore?

Big Wedding: Just awful

Next up: Moms Night Out, on Jennifer Scott’s recommendation.

5. Pandora: This was a big thing ten years ago?  More?  But it’s still the only way I listen to music.  I’ve put together what (I must admit) is an easy listening station.  Most of the songs are from before I as born.  But they put Adele on there so that’s something right?

Be careful if you “like” Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen because they will play every single damn one of the 234354353 covers every musician and his uncle has made of it.

I never get tired of hearing this song:

6. Consignment Sales: For the first time, I sold some stuff at one of those biannual kids’ consignment sales.  Between it and a pre-sale that a friend hosted, I net about $40.  I spent $47.  So . . . worth it?  I dunno.  It’s a lot of work for the return it brought.

It’s nice to have all that stuff out of my house, and have something to show for it (namely . . . more stuff, but newer stuff that I wanted . . . I think).  The things I sold would go for little to nothing on eBay and probably wouldn’t do well at the local consignment store, either.

I read a blog post by a woman who supposedly makes thousands of dollars selling at these things, and I have a lot of trouble believing it.

Still, there’s something satisfying about it.  I just like buying and selling stuff.

7. The search for a signature scent, or at least something new: the hunt continues.

8. I’m still obsessed with Myers Briggs.  I compulsively try to guess the MBTI type of everyone I know.  Pretty sure Girl 1 is ENFP.  I was reading the description of that type last night and though, “Aha!  That explains a lot.”  Maybe it’s dangerous to categorize a kid so early.  But it’s healthy, I think, to think about how certain traits might be part of her personality that need to be worked around, not rooted out.

. . . Linking up with Leigh Kramer.  Thanks Leigh!  (Also, possibly with Jen for Seven Quick Takes at a later date.)

It’s Been A Brat Pack Summer

Plus something truly truly truly outrageous

I don’t know if I’m regressing in maturity or what but I’ve been on a 1980s teen film kick lately.

1980s movie posters

It started with

1. Sixteen Candles, which I think is hilarious.  A few more thoughts on it here.  Sixteen Candles led to . . .

2. Pretty in Pink, which I also enjoyed, though not quite as much.  If you’ve seen it: do you prefer the actual ending, or the original ending that was changed before the movie’s release?

So after those two, I had to finish out the John Hughes/ Molly Ringwald trilogy with . . .

3. The Breakfast Club: I had the impression this was such a classic, but maybe that’s just because it played every single weekend on TBS every week of my youth (I wasn’t allowed to watch it).  I don’t see what’s so remarkable about this one.  Were there no angsty teen movies before this?

4. Say Anything: Okay, I really like this one.  Am I just a romantic sap, or is it actually good (setting aside the f-o-r-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n)?  I can’t tell.

5. What should be next on this list?  Just don’t say Dirty Dancing because I started watching that and couldn’t get past the abortion-as-compassion motif.  Pat got me to watch two of the Back To The Future movies (I fell asleep during the third).  Should I give them another try?  Or something else?  Oh, and I liked Ferris Bueller.

Linking up with Heather for Five Favorites (even though #3 isn’t my favorite; it’s someone’s favorite).  🙂


Wait a second, forget The Breakfast Club. I just stumbled across a real favorite:

Molly Ringwald is starring in an upcoming movie about . . .

JEM and the Holograms!!!

Truly outrageous.  Truly truly truly outrageous.

That just made my day.

7 quick takes on Quality Cinema, Kindergarten Theology, and Princess Kate

1. By 11:30 am today, Girl 2 had watched Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings, Barbie: A Mermaid Tale, and was back to a second viewing of Tinker Bell.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when Girl 1 is at school three days a week this school year.  

Go ahead and call me Jerry Falwell if you must, but aren’t these fairies giving each a look that’s not quite . . . platonic?

2. Girl 2’s boredom this week was due to Girl 1’s being in Vacation Bible School all week.  She loved it.

Vacation Bible School piqued Girl 1’s interest in matters theological.

Me: “Jesus Obeys God’s Word” (reading the title of a coloring sheet she brought home).

Girl 1: “But Jesus is God.”

Me: “Yes.  Well. . . .”

Girl 1: W”here is God?  Is God up there?”  (pointing at the sky)

Me: “Well, yes, God is in heaven.   God is in lots of places. . . .”

Girl 1: “Is heaven where we go when we die?  I don’t want to die.”  

3. Pat has been underappreciated around these parts lately.

Girl 2: “Dee [Girl 1] — queen.   Det [Girl 2] — Princess.  

Da [Dad] –Bad Guy.”

Me: “What?  Daddy’s not a bad guy.  Daddy can be the king.”

Girl 2: “Otay.  Da — Ting.”

4. And that night, when Pat was making Girl 1 go to bed, Girl 1 uttered a tearful, spontaneous, impassioned prayer:

“Dear God, Please take away Daddy.  He’s being mean!”

5.. At church recently, I genuflected and told Girl 1 that we kneel down that like because Jesus is there and Jesus is the King.  

She thought for a second, then fanned out her skirt and bowed low in an elegant, exaggerated curtsy.  

Princess that she is, I kind of hope she keeps it up.  

6. Which reminds me: here’s a picture of Duchess Catherine curtseying to the King of Belgium.

Here is the most graceful woman in the world, performing what is certainly a well-practiced and exactingly correct curtsy.

Still it looks painful and awkward.  I think curtseys are best left for those wearing ball gowns.  

7. I just came across this bit of eye candy on Pinterest.  Isn’t It lovely?  This is the look I’m going for in Girl 1’s room.  

Image via House Obsession on Flickr

House Obsession on Flickr


Happy weekend everyone.  Check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes.

Seven Quick Takes About Dancing and Other Offensive Things

1. Girl 1 had her first ballet recital a week ago.  Too bad she’s so shy.

ballet recital

2, My girls have watched Sleeping Beauty quite a bit.  Which view of the movie do you take?


3. Or Simcha’s?

I’m with Joannie.  I guess I see Simcha’s point but . . . meh.  I still like the movie.

4. My girls have moved on to Robin Hood.

They watch a lot of movies.  They wake up at the crack of dawn, watch a show, bug me for stuff [TBT they’re usually bugging Pat for stuff at this point b/c I’m still asleep], eat their first breakfast, get dressed, bug me for stuff, play outside, fight, bug me for stuff, eat their second breakfast, play outside again, fight, watch another show.

And I’ll look at the clock and it’ll only be 10 a.m.  Summer is way too long, and it hasn’t even started yet!

5. They were dancing around, entertaining other patients in the chiropractor’s waiting room the other day.   Charming everyone, making me so proud.  And then, Girl 1 starts shaking what her mama gave her.  I about died of embarrassment.

As best I can discern, the particular move she employed was inspired by this scene:

Little John shaking what his mama gave him


6. I recently discovered how to make .gif files and, you might have noticed, I’m spending way too much time making them.

Pat, on the other hand, enjoys photoshop-type creativity:

Singe 'Er Ella


7. I saw this on clearance at the grocery store the other day.


Ideal man valentine candy


My first impression was that it’s funny.  My second impression was that Pat wouldn’t see the humor.  Third impression: Of course he wouldn’t see the humor because it’s horribly, offensively sexist.  I don’t even know what sexist means anymore, but I know it when I see it [name that quote?] and this is it.

So on that completely inappropriate note, happy Father’s Day tomorrow to all fathers out there (all two of you who are reading this)!


ballet recital


For more quick takes, head over to Team Whittaker, who is hosting the link-up this week.

What I’m Into (a look back on May)

Veggies, VHS tapes, trouble at the Episcopal church rummage sale, and more . . .

Vegetables:  I haven’t cooked much at all lately (that’s another post for another day).  But I signed up for a CSA months ago.  We’re now getting our weekly shares, and right now it’s greens greens and more greens.  Kale, spinach, chard, lettuce, bok choy, and more kale.  I don’t like it because I have to cook it all before it goes bad.  I like it because I’m forced to cook it all before it goes bad.


Dinners on the grill: Pat grills burgers and chicken.  I cook up some CSA veggies in the quickest way possible. We open a bottle of wine.  We sit down and eat.  . . . .  We’ve had two meals in a row like this and I’m hoping for many, many more. . . . No special meal prep for the girls (sweet, blessed, relief).  Girl 1 will eat her grilled chicken (with ketchup) and (certain) veggies if bribed with dessert.

The What I’m Into linkup on Leigh Kramer’s blog, which I first learned about from Modern Mrs. Darcy.  I’m new to Leigh’s blog and the link up.  I might not be doing it right, but I really like the idea.

Professor Linda PrzybyszewskiI look forward to reading her new book,  The Lost Art of Dress.

From her recent Tumblr post:

Since time out of mind, fashion illustrations and store mannequins have exaggerated the female shape into something so long and tenuous one wonders why they didn’t snap in half.  . . .   [A]djust your eyes to the shocking sight of a dress on a young woman with full cheeks and curves.

Times sure have changed, haven’t they?

Buying VHS tapes at the thrift store for $0.33–cheaper than renting!  When I’m done I throw them away or give them back to Goodwill.  So far I’ve watched.

  • 28 Days (Sandra Bullock)
  • Green Card (Andie MacDowell, lovely, why can’t they make rom coms like this anymore?)

I’ve bought the girls more VHS tapes than I can count, some favorites being:

  • Cinderella
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Peter Pan
  • Robin Hood (all the classic, Disney animated versions)

Pat has found a way to digitize VHS tapes, so the girls watch their movies on our Roku box with software called Plex.  With that in mind, I picked up VHS tapes of some old favorites that are worth digitizing, saving, and watching over and over:

VHS tapes left to watch (but probably not to save):

  • Fargo (I like a lot of Coen brother’s movies but somehow haven’t watched this yet)
  •  Spanglish
  • Now and Then
  •  The Net (interested to see a movie about internet ID theft from ~ 15 years ago)
  • Little Black Book (okay, I might regret this, bu I guess it caught my eye since its star, Brittany Murphy, died so unexpectedly)

Prints of Delarue paintings of Paris, found at the Episcopal church rummage sale for $2 apiece, paired up with frames I found at the same sale for $1 a piece, spruced up with some black spray paint and matting from Michaels.


Lucien Delarue



More Delarue prints.  I’m hoping to make some moolah off these on eBay (it worked with the blazer I [fortunately/unfortunately] bought at the same church’s previous rummage sale).


Losing my keys at the Episcopal church rummage sale, and being locked out of my minivan.  Well, I’m not into this but it happened.

Living in a small town such that I was able to (a) snag a ride home from a second cousin-in-law who just happened to be at the sale and then (b) have my keys delivered to me the next day from a friend from church who also just happened to be at the sale.

Having a two-year old who stuck a popcorn kernel up her nose.  Again, not so much into it, but it was into her.  Yuk yuk.  We can add this to the many stories of children in the family sticking things up their noses: peas, beans, crayons, pebbles, Baby Jesus figurines . . . the normal stuff.

Hoping for a less-sluggish, uneventful June filled with more beautiful weather!


Thank you Leigh!