Saturday, December 30, 2006

2 Movie Day

In an attempt to finally catch up on the movies I missed this fall, I decided that a 2 movie day was in order today. Luckily, the movie gods were on my side, and some of the movies I needed to see were still playing in Salt Lake.

First, Nick & I went to see The Departed. I had heard such great things about it, claiming it was Scorcese's best film to date. It got plenty of awards attention, so I knew I had to see it, even if I'm not much of a fan of gangster movies in general. And I must say, it's great. I had to tune out the pervasive language, and sort of block out the violence, but once I did that, I really loved it. It's some fantastic acting from Leo, and the rest of the cast as well. I think it's fantastic casting, using guys that are really from Boston (Matt & Mark) as they come of as very natural in their setting. It was a great movie.

And for movie #2, Melissa and Trish joined us for The Queen. Again, I had heard such great things, and it didn't disappoint. Helen Mirren is amazing. I am constantly in awe of her acting talent. She has a very distinct voice, and I thought it would distract me and remind me who I was watching, but it didn't. The whole cast was wonderful, and it offered me a whole new perspective on things I remember happening 13 years ago. I had no idea that the British felt the way they did about the Queen, and it left me wondering if all is better now.

If I can just manage to see Babel before it leaves Salt Lake, I believe I will feel better about my movie going for the year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Our Christmas Card

It was a day late getting out, and in case it gets caught in anyone's spam filter, this is our Christmas card for the year. It's Ben's design, which is always original, and I love it. You'll have to click on it to be able to read it.

I'll be back to explain the goings on of the weekend later. . .

Best Santa Ever

I may have the best Santa Claus anywhere. I know what you're thinking. You think YOU have the best Santa. But I'm pretty sure you're wrong.

My Santa, also known as my sweet husband, spoiled me quite beautifully this year. Unfortunately, far more than i spoiled him. But I plan to make it up to him. . . The after Christmas sales are going to be our friend.

This is just a small selection of what Santa left me. And let us remember that I did not pick ANY of this out. He just has good taste.

Fox & the Hound, to add to our ever growing Disney DVD collection.

A Prayer For Owen Meany (although the cover is different) which I have seen listed on about a MILLION people's favorite books of all time. My family loves the movie, but I've never read the book.

Bath and Body Works Fiesta!

A gorgeous new jewelry box. I have all of my earrings, necklaces, watches, etc. all jammed in a wooden bowl on our dresser. There is no order to it. It takes a good long time to find what I'm looking for every time I decide I need to wear earrings. It's just not efficient. I told Ben I wanted a jewelry box, but I didn't picture something this nice. It's beautiful. & to add to it, he got me a gift card to Argento to get some new jewelry to fill it.

Seriously. Best Santa ever.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jingle Bells

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm done shopping (except for one last trip to the grocery store for pot luck offerings). I have almost everything wrapped. We delivered the Sub-for-Santa gifts. And I have finally finished this year's Musical Fruitcake CD. I have even come to terms with the things I just can't get done. I put Ben in charge of our Christmas e-card, so that's one less thing.

I only have a few things left on the list.

I have CDs of my parent's slides to finish that I've been working on FOREVER. It's a project that isn't remotely finished, but I have made SOME progress, so I'm giving them what I have.

AND I have to finish my other present to my parents. Last year they asked us to start writing our personal histories as a gift to them. Last year we did up to age 5. This year the assignment is our elementary school years. I had a hard time with it last year, since I don't really HAVE a lot of memories before the age of 5. This year the trick will be narrowing it down and making it flow well. I have a list as long as my arm of memories to work from. I just have to decide which ones to include.

I'm hoping for a relaxing couple of days. Maybe some movie watching. Maybe some cards and some puzzles. Maybe finishing those aprons that I put at the bottom of the long list. Maybe hanging some drywall with my dad. Regardless, I just want to have a few days to decompress and remember why I love my family. I think I can manage that.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Holiday

Last night Melissa and I had Chick Movie Night as Ben had lots of homework to finish. We went to see The Holiday. And it delivered. It's a great chick movie. I was pretty annoyed with Cameron as the movie started. She was incredibly twitchy and could NOT sit still for the first 15-20 minutes. Ed Burns was annoying, as usual. But once it got going Cameron didn't bug me as much. The other three, no four, leads were fantastic. There's an extra story line in the movie that isn't advertised, with an older gentleman, that was really sweet.

The movie isn't going to win any Oscars, and it's not really intellectually stimulating, but it's a fantastic chick movie and the acting is great. How can you not love Kate Winslet? She's amazing. & I LOVE it when Jack Black tones it down and plays it more real. He's so much fun to watch. And Jude Law does a pretty darn good job as well. It's a thoroughly entertaining film.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fresh Squeezed

One of my favorite things in the world is fresh squeezed orange juice. There's a little place called Juice N' Java in Provo that I used to go to before work when I had a cold and get a cup of it for about $4. Yes, that's a ridiculous price to pay. But I loved it, and I felt I deserved it when I was sick, because it helped me heal. . .

OK, yes. That was extreme rationalization. But it's not the point.

For our wedding, we registered for, and received, this beauty:

I was giddy. It plugs into the wall and all you have to do is cut the orange in half and hold it on there. The machine does the rest! I was so excited to make my own fresh squeezed juice. #1, because I no longer work in Provo and there is certainly nowhere at Thanksgiving Point that I can drive through for a quick $4 juice like I could in Provo. & #2, because I figured it would be a lot more cost effective. All that was left was to wait for orange season.

And then, this weekend, Ben went to the store for Christmas baking supplies, and what did he come home with? Something that looked kind of like this:

Yes, I think he must like me or something. . .

I have had a much larger quantity of juice than Juice N' Java ever gave me for the last few mornings, for probably 15 cents, rather than $4.

And I feel pretty good about that.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Snow, Ice, and the Days Inn Lehi

We spent Saturday evening at the Christmas concert at the Conference Center, and it was lovely. Sissel performed, and though her stage presence threw me off a bit, she had a beautiful voice. Haunting and beautiful. After the concert, we went up to Syracuse to have birthday dessert for Nathan's birthday. There was snow forcasted, and the clouds were hanging low and looked like it might start snowing any second. But we decided it would be better to beat the storm home (even though we left at midnight) than to drive through the 4-10 inches that were supposed to fall overnight.

It seemed logical at the time.

All was well up until about 45th south in Salt Lake. Up to that point there had been a few flurries, and a bit of wind through Farmington. Nothing particularly dangerous. But when we were half way through the city, the snow started falling. & it was cold, which meant the roads were icy. REALLY icy. We started seeing cars sliding off the road, one almost hit a police car that was attending to someone that had already slid off the road in that spot. Ben slowed down to between 30 and 40 MPH, and we continued on, being as careful as we could. It was so slippery that even the idea of changing lanes to try to get off the freeway was way too scary.

Unfortunately, not everyone on the road was as diligent about their speed as Ben was. And there was far too much traffic for 12:30 am. People in crappy little Dodge Neons were zooming past us, having no fear for the conditions. There was a minivan ahead of us, and a pickup behind us, driving a little to closely to us for Ben's comfort. The van decided it was going to move to the right, into the next lane, just as a car came up behind to pass him on the right. He hit his brakes.

At this point everything went in slow motion. The van started spinning. It probably spun 3 or 4 times as we approached it. I was sure we were going to hit it. Absolutely sure. Ben took his foot off the gas, but we were still headed in his direction. He was spinning toward the HOV lane, but not quickly enough to be over before we got to him.

It was at this point that Ben did something I would NEVER have done. It's a good thing he was driving instead of me. He jerked his wheel to the left, toward the HOV lane. I'm not sure if the van stopped in the other lane, or if we just squeaked by. Either way, the next thing we knew, we were past the van. We didn't hit it. We didn't slide ourselves when we changed lanes. We were going straight down the road as if it had never happened.

Except that I was hyperventilating a little and Ben was saying "It's OK. We're OK" a lot.

A mile or so down the road, the pick up truck that had been behind us pulled up on our right side, rolled down his window, leaned out and gave Ben a thumbs up while mouthing "good driving!" It was just the comic relief we needed.

Point of the mountain was awful. I was sure we were going to leave the road and roll down the side of the mountain. There was no sense of lanes, just the attempt to follow in others' tire tracks. Which only helped a little. By the time we got past Thanksgiving Point, I was done. The snow was only getting worse on the other side of the point (we were sort of hoping it would be better) and I had the overwhelming feeling that something awful was going to happen if we kept going.

We got off the freeway, very carefully, and made our way to the Days Inn in Lehi. The $50 we paid for a room was nothing compared to the repair bill on a Saab if something had happened. . . even if we had just slid off the road and had to be towed out. . . so we felt OK about it.

The next morning we waited as long as we could for the snow to slow down (it had snowed all night long) before we left. When we finally did, we followed a zig zag path between side streets and freeway to get home. The first time we hit plowed road was the old state street/highway in South Provo/Springville. NONE of the other roads had been cleared. Not even a little bit. It took us an hour to get to Springville from Lehi.

We didn't leave the house for the rest of the day, and we are still counting our blessings that we weren't part of one of the 200+ accidents on the roads on Saturday night and Sunday.

And I agree with the trooper in that story. It's the "result of stupidity".

SLOW DOWN PEOPLE! Your Dodge Neon is not equipped for that kind of driving!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Golden Globe Nominees

If you haven't noticed by now, I have a lot of love for movies. I make a habit of trying to see all of the movies nominated for Oscars when they come around. I figure I'm seeing the best of the year if I do that, and it's nice to have a guide. Plus, it's a matter of pride.

This year, however, I have fallen behind, and I fear I will not get to see The Departed before the awards happen. It's gone from all the Utah theaters and will most likely not show up on DVD in the next couple of months.

If any of you have access to a For Your Consideration DVD that you want to let me watch, I wouldn't say no.

In the mean time, here is the list of Golden Globe nominees, as announced this morning. There are some surprises on this list, for me. But I'm not going to talk about that yet. First, I'll just give you the list.

Best Motion Picture - Drama



The Departed

Little Children

The Queen

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

The Devil Wears Prada


Little Miss Sunshine

Thank You for Smoking

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Best Original Song - Motion Picture

Bobby ("Never Gonna Break My Faith")

Dreamgirls ("Listen")

Happy Feet ("The Song of the Heart")

Home of the Brave ("Try Not to Remember")

The Pursuit of Happyness ("A Father's Way")

Best Animated Film

Best Television Series - Drama

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television