Saturday, February 06, 2016

My Ward Movie: Bless Up

This is my ward movie. The bishop asked me to write it. As with anything I'm asked to do in the church, I agreed but also made it clear that I don't really want to do it. (Pretty sure you don't store up blessings in Heaven that way but whatever.)

Nevertheless, I did write the movie. The concept was ward Pitch Perfect with an About A Boy finale. It's 7 minutes long. I thought of the idea because a men's quartet sang an a capella version of "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" in my ward for Sam's farewell and they sounded really good. Also, we have a talented rapper/singer/song writer in our ward. The movie was for a Stake Film festival. If you ask me, stake activities are kind of a waste of resources. Better things happen at the ward level. But if I were to choose between, say, a Stake Pioneer Trek and a Stake Film Festival I would—hands down—choose the Stake Film Festival. It was last night and it was pretty fun.

By the way, I was not given the choice and our stake's pioneer trek is in the works for 2017.  It will be long, but must go on. Put your shoulder to the wheel.

Enjoy Bless UP!

Monday, February 01, 2016

Blog Update, Recommendations, and a Word to Moms

When Ellen got very interested in hamsters, started researching them obsessively, and requested one for Christmas I tried to find my old blog post, "This is How I Really Feel About Our Pet Hamster." In it I describe how much I hate our [now long-dead] hamster. I could not find it. This troubled me. You guys don't even know how many blog posts I've written or for how long I've been blogging. Lots and long time. Christian finally found the blogpost, here. (But it was too late! I had already purchased and had been hiding a Syrian Teddybear hamster for Ellen in my closet for a week.)

I really want to be able to read and find all of my old posts and I want my kids to be able to read all of them because they star in many of them. When I'm dead they'll be so glad they have my posts. But right now my archives aren't easily accessible. So I'm trying to go through and organize things better with tags and tabs. It's a big project! For now you can poke through my archives via the topics to the right, but I know it's not ideal.

Also at right is my faves list. My blog has always been driven by faves. Last month all my faves were books. In case you missed them, January's picks were The Lake House by Kate Morton, a long and lovely mystery novel set in England; All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, one of my all-time favorite books set in France during World War II; The Road to Character by David Brooks, an interesting and thorough look at what it takes to be a good person; and the new Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. You will be shocked to learn that I never read this book. I only started listening in to Christian reading it out loud to Sam at bedtime about halfway through the book. I love the new illustrated version and I'm enjoying reading it for the first time. If only I could read all of the Harry Potter books again for the first time.

February's faves include season 1 of X-Files. I love the X-Files. The show was the training ground for some really talented TV writers (Vince Gilligan of Breaking Bad got his start there) and it was genre-busting and ground-breaking in ways that we take for granted now. Watching it with my kids I'm like every old person that can't quite convey how earth-shattering it was to see the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. "WE HAD NEVER SEEN SEASON-LONG ARCS BEFORE! IT BLEW OUR MINDS!"

As you know they have resurrected the X-Files with the original cast, show-runner, and writers for a 6-episode mini-season that is 2 episodes in with the third airing tonight. The first episode was not great, but it got the job done. The last movie was in 2008 and the show has been off the air since 2002, so there was some catching up to do. My favorite thing about it is that they used the exact same opening credits that they used for all 9 seasons of the show. The second episode was better and, according to critics, the show picks up steam from here on out.

I highly recommend watching every season of the X-Files for cultural well-roundedness. Remember, I went back and watched all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at great personal sacrifice after never watching it when it originally ran in the 90s. We make time for the things that matter most. Every season of X-Files has several must-watch episodes. It's so good.

I'm also recommending a nice face cream that I like. I hope to become a lady who uses an expensive french moisturizer sparingly every night and is so beautiful that I only have to wear mascara in addition to that. I'm not there yet but it seems possible with this Lait Creme that has a cult following. I basically love anything with a cult following.

I recommend In Cold Blood if you've never read it and you like long, detailed, true-crime stories that are somewhat bleak. I actually listened to the audio book.

And finally, a good friend gave me a grieving-missionary-mom care package for Christmas that included the book, A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918. It's non-fiction about fiction—one of my favorite genres.

For now, peruse the archives from my old stuff. I'm the mom of 4 kids ages 8-18 now, but all those humans were babies once. I birthed them and raised them and suffered through the trials of momness just like some of you are suffering now. The experience of motherhood feels so singular at times, which can be amazing, but it can also be alienating and sad. You're not alone! The "old moms" who you think can't relate to you because they can shower and grocery shop alone have been there and done that and we want you to know that we love you and you are doing a great job and we are all in this together even though some of us are awake at night missing our missionaries and waiting for kids to come home from dates and some of us are awake at night with colicky babies and toddlers who won't stay in their beds. Here, look:MomnessObvious Tips for Not-Very-Good HomemakersParenting: Bandwagon Dorkiness

Friday, January 08, 2016

Dogs Are Resurrected but I Personally Have Saved Many from Death

In Sunday School a few weeks ago we studied Revelations and I noticed that animals are resurrected, as clarified in D&C 77:2. This is great news! It's so cute to imagine. Nevertheless, sometimes I see a dog who will be euthanized at an over-crowded shelter and I hate to think of it being put to sleep, so I foster it though Rescue Rovers.
You know the only acceptable place to get a dog is from a rescue, right? There are too many unwanted dogs already so we shouldn't encourage breeders even though I sometimes dream of becoming a backyard breeder and Ellen LOVES The Puppy Barn. But if you want a dog, adopt one. I can hook you up. And if you hate dogs and don't want one, I feel you. There is inevitably a part of every day when I hate my dog so I understand completely.

Be that as it may, look at all the dogs I've saved!

Here's Gerti, the adorable Wheaten Terrier who loved to sleep with Ellen. 

And this is Winona, who I unwittingly got an abortion for.

This is Ezra, now known as "Dave" by his new adopted family. He came from New Mexico on the back of a truck loaded with piles of kennels tied together to escape a high-kill shelter. He wouldn't even walk. I carried him outside and back into the house until he was cured by my full-body hugging love therapy. He's the only dog I've ever had to use this on which equals proof of concept for my full-body hugging love therapy. He's probably the best and noblest dog I've ever met.
I'm not going to lie, I kind of hated Toodles. (Her name itself conjured this frustration.)  But she was a good little dog who looked like a miniature cow and deserved to find a loving family, which she did.

George was dropped at the shelter on Christmas Eve. Who does that? If you're me you're bringing out the animals you've been hiding in your closet for 2 weeks on Christmas Eve—It should be a coming out time for pets, not a going to shelter time for pets. Still, I don't judge. Christian and I had to take 2 of our dogs to the animal shelter once because they were killing our neighbor's livestock. I hope I have redeemed myself for those two dogs I couldn't keep from digging under our fence by helping other dogs. 
Not only did I foster this green-eyed dog named Annie, I fostered all her puppies, too, until she ran away from my backyard along the river trail with my own dog, Frances (who returned that night, bedraggled), and came back two days later having decided to wean her puppies and and to move on with her life. Two days away sometimes does that to moms. 

And there have been more! Many, many more. Just know that I love dogs. I won't watch your dog while you go on vacation or teach your dog any tricks. I'm not good with dogs and they don't particularly like me but perhaps when we are all resurrected things will go more smoothly. 

Remember, you can foster dogs too. If you're interested in a dog but not sure—try fostering it. You may just hate it, and then you'll know. You may just love it and want to adopt it. Or, like I do, you'll enjoy spending a couple of weeks with a dog and taking care of it until a permanent home can be found. It's pretty fun and, contrary to what most people thing, it's not hard to give the dogs away in the end. I'm always excited for them to go to their new home.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

El Vy, Ed Sheeran, Et al, on Sirius XM are Worth Hearing

Matt Berninger of The National
Remember when 1975 performed live on Sirius XM and it sickened me?

I believe that Sirius XM sessions are a litmus test of musicianship. El Vy is a great example of success.

Matt Berninger, whom you may remember from such groups as The National, is also part of El Vy. He performed their single Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to sing, with Crescendo) live for Sirius XM.

First, here's the track from their album:

And here's their version for Sirius XM. It's different, but good and worth hearing. 
I don't have any idea what this song is talking about but I do know it references places in Cincinnati such as The Serpentine Wall, pictured below.
These Sirius XM recordings are little gems and you can find them on YouTube. This isn't a sponsored post, although I would happily become their spokesperson.

A few more sessions of note:

Ed Sheeran's Don't

In this you will find proof of Ed Sheeran's adorability and talent. He uses nothing but a loop pedal and tiny toy guitar to play a song that will make you lose respect for Ellie Goulding and Niall Horan of One Direction. I thought we were mates, bro.

David Garrett's Smooth Criminal

In this you will find proof that violinists should be heard and not seen. I like this guy. I'm impressed. Respect, all round. But I just don't want to see anyone's face while they are intensely violinning.  I don't mean to be impolite because I think this is interesting music. But when people close their eyes tightly with joy to me it indicates they are having a private time that I shouldn't watch. Can you watch without looking away?
(Major props to Lindsay Stirling who has made great strides in this arena. It's not you, it's me.)

Let me know if you see or hear any Sirius XM sessions you think I'd like.
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