Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Like Movies

The other night I was laughing with my friend Amy about how we can still learn lessons from John Hughes movies. Well, at the most, maybe we can really just waste a weekend afternoon as one of many play cable.

As I thought more about John Hughes movies, I remembered one of my very favorite, Some Kind of Wonderful. Most will say Breakfast Club or Vacation, but I remember this movie striking a chord with me when I was a moody and melodramatic teen.

Short story if you do not already know this simple story...poor, somewhat nerdy guy pines for beautiful popular girl while his tomboy best friend pines for him and resents beautiful girl. Like most John Hughes movies, there is a happy ending. The guy figures out who he should truly love and who he should share his teenage years.

Tim and I have had so many discussions about Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. I do not like that movie and he thinks it is gut-busting funny. I am actually annoyed by the movie. I think it is John Candy that annoys me because I also take issue with The Great Outdoors and I know that many people adore that film.

So, in the interest of dialogue, I am sure you have a favorite John Hughes film. If you don't know what he wrote, click on his name.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Black Friday

The build up to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, annoys me to no end. Just as the media builds the hype and the commercials claim the biggest deals, I am just as busy claiming that I hate it and would never do it.

However, I realized that for the last two years, I have actually gone out to the stores and the malls. I had company during both years and shopping seemed like a good idea. I think the trick is not going at the crack of dawn. We went to the new Philadelphia Premium Outlets. I had no idea how close these outlets were to my home. There are many stores that I have very little interest, but they had a Merrell store, Eddie Bauer, and a few others.

I am proud to say that I am 80% finished with my Christmas shopping and I have only purchased one of them at the stores. I have some odds and ends to finish, but most of the gifts are wrapped and under the tree.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'd Read It If I Could

I feel like I have not had any time to just browse a book store the way I like to browse a book store. At least when I worked at Borders, I could just grab a book that I had been eyeing for weeks on my way home. Now, I have to make a deliberate attempt to visit the book store.

So, here I am tonight without a book. I finished the book that I was reading last night and wonder what I will do when the sleepy hour rolls around and I find myself under four blankets and wanting something to read.

For me, books offer a time to be thinking about something. That sounds strange because my mind is a blur and a buzz all day as I wrangle and teach five year olds. Yet, I am not finding time to reflect and dig deep into my thoughts. I see it as a selfish time for me when I am having cozy reading time.

So, in honor of cozy four blankets after a nightly hot cocoa time, I list my next reads...that is when I get myself to the book store.

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography
by David Michaelis
After watching a PBS show, American Masters, where they told of Charle Schultz's life, I have had a mild obsession with Peanuts. I have always loved Peanuts and have a special affection for them since Schultz was from Minnesota. Having read my share of Peanuts, I knew they were dark, but I always thought they were funny. Even if they were making fun of the sad and mean parts of childhood, I thought they were funny. So, it turns out that Charles Schultz was a bit of a downer. I just want to know more about him and how he could create this ironic and clever story for so many years.

The Assault on Reason
by Al Gore

I am going to read this for the anticipation of 2008 and what I hope is a great change in this country. I am ready for people to start having conversations based on reason and logical ideas. I feel it turning around as I read and watch the pundits. People are on the road to recovery with questioning and thinking about the world and our place in it.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This young adult book is right up my 16 year old mentality. I have told many people that although I exist in the body of a 31 year old, I revert back to 16 year thoughts every once in a while. I love the idea that these two music lovers are drawn together. I like the idea of alternating chapters written for each teen. This is a perfect example of the type of book that is the opposite of all of the five year old decision-making that I do all day long.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Angry Nut

I was reminded again why I have pledged to stay out of the stores this holiday season.

I stopped at The Head Nut, this great little store near my home where you can get spices, nuts, baking items, and fresh roasted coffee. I always get my pecans, almonds, and walnuts there because they are so fresh and really cheap. I brought my friend there to show her this gem of the neighborhood. However, when the woman behind the counter started yelling at a man who made a snide comment, it all turned ugly.

She wanted us to make an organized line and the man said something like, "Well, there isn't a sign." She got super salty. She said, "I do not need your aggravation." It only continued when her co-worker came into the room and chewed them out for not having customers go out the right door. Just lots of yelling as we wait patiently for nuts.

I felt like I was in Seinfeld and wanting soup. I worried that I would get the angry nut lady and she might yell at me for not knowing exactly what I want. Thankfully, I didn't get her.

The thing with customer service at little shops like that is that people will still come because it is special. There isn't another store where you can get the diversity of treats and goods that The Head Nut offers. However, I get why she was so salty. People can be jerks. She probably takes a lot of grief from people because they come into her store and want what they want at the expense of her sanity.

Friday, November 16, 2007

You Asked for It

When I was a junior in high school, I had to take speech class. We were asked to give a speech about a person that we admired. Flashback to 1994. Knee deep in the Clinton presidency. I had big love for Bill and Hill. More than a normal 17 year old girl should have. However, little did I know that my speech teacher was a big, big republican hatin' Hillary type.

Well, this love has not changed. Fourteen more years later, I am really wanting Hillary to make it all the way.

All of the democratic debates lately remind me of a Saturday Night Live skit with Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton right after the whole impeachment mess when he comes out to the rose garden at the White House and he says, "Next time, you best bring kryptonite. I. Am. Bulletproof." Right on.

Keep in mind, I also like Obama and Edwards, but I prefer Hillary. They bring their best to the debates and she is such a skilled debater and defender, that it just bounces off of her. It's like she could say, "Nice try."

I like that she is tough. I hope she gets even tougher. Not the crazy, hawkish tough that we have right now in the Oval Office. You can't come out of the Clinton presidency and not have the toughest skin in politics. She is wicked smart, people.

Now, I am not going to go into the ins and outs of her stands and their stands. Nor should you. Or at least on MY blog.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Time Wasted Well

Wikipedia is my new favorite way to waste my semi-precious time. I love the thread of learning that occurs. For example, I decided to look up Tom Selleck because I had read something about his conservative politics, which led me to Magnum, PI, which led me to "Jump the Shark"...a reference to when The Fonz jumped a shark while on water skis in a Happy Days episode. The show was nearing the end and was doing its best to keep viewers. I learn the funniest things just by typing in one reference and seeing where it leads me.

Wikipedia makes me feel less stupid. If there is a reference or a historical event that is mentioned in the news or in a show, I just type it into Wikipedia and my mind is at ease. Sure, it is not 100% reliable, but I am not writing a term paper. I am just being curious.

I spent at least 40 minutes last night reading about The Sopranos. Wikipedia is there for when I need more of something good. I watched the bittersweet last episode of The Sopranos and was left with wanting more. Wikipedia was there for me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Baking Helps

I am starting what will be a very stressful week.

I have parent-teacher conferences.

I will be getting ready to host my second Thanksgiving.

I have honed some pretty good coping skills for stress over the years. I make lists. I spend extra time at school as to feel prepared for my conferences. I make lists. I spend extra time with my recipe books. I make lists. Well, you get the idea. My computer space is covered with grocery lists, student lists, recipe print outs, report cards. I think it might just be the perfect storm for me. We'll see. I am going to take it day by day with a large coffee instead of a medium.

On a brighter note, I have enjoyed a new cookie recipe that is perfect for this time of the year. I am definitely a seasonal baker. I like to make things with seasonal fruit and spices. So, this week's recipe is Soft Ginger Cookies. I froze them and have high hopes that they will freeze well. Enjoy.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Listen to Rosie

I am still loving Rosie Thomas and wanted to put a few of my favorite songs together for you. Remember...RT writes a lot of bummer songs and a lot of love songs. The whole love song thing is one of my secret music behaviors.

La Promenade

Who knew that Renoir would be the force that propelled me to drive into Philadelphia again for the second time this weekend! With my coffee in my cup holder, Courtney and I ventured along Kelly Drive to The Philadelphia Museum of Art to take in the Renoir Landscapes exhibit.

Along with some high art, we took in some general entertainment at the movie house. We saw Dan in Real Life with Steve Carell. Not my usual type of movie to see in the theater, but it was cute and simple and just the right thing. Unless you are the lover of romantic comedies, I would wait to rent it.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Midwestern Endorsement: Rosie Thomas

Sometimes, I just love Philly.

Sometimes, I just love me in Philly.

Last night, I drove downtown to catch a show at World Cafe Live with my chum, Courtney. We heard the lovely and real Rosie Thomas. She only writes two kinds of songs, downers and love two favorite kinds of songs!

I loved that she was wearing just regular trouser jeans that I would wear to teach kindergarten and she had this amazing stage manner where she showed her sense of humor. I kept thinking, "I think Rosie Thomas and I should be friends."


I guess I will just listen to her amazing music instead.