I nearly forgot that today is the official Star Wars Day. (The unofficial Star Wars Day for fans is the other 364 days of the year). I can’t believe I came this close to not reminding everyone. Fortunately I have Kacy who keeps me apprised of all the milestones in Science Fiction.

My son York is fifteen and Star Wars is pretty much the most important thing in his life (he has never had a girlfriend, strangely enough). I would like to think that I, his mother, am most important. I only gave him life and read Things That Go three thousand times to him.  You know, nothing special. Nothing like the things Darth Sidious has done for him. But he doesn’t have a corner of his room dedicated to me.


Nor does he have an assortment of posters with my face on them (you guys, this is only two of the Star Wars posters in his room.)

Nor does York have a clock featuring scenes from my life.

So I shall shrug my shoulders and make myself some cookies. Shortbread X-Wing fighter, anyone?


I meant to write a review of all the books I read in 2011, but I could only remember about three of them. So I’ll try to dig around my bookshelf and jog my memory. But movies are much easier to remember. Mostly because there aren’t as many to choose from.  As I’ve mentioned before, I see a lot of movies. Nothing scary because I hate scary movies. And nothing too dirty unless the guy in it is on My List. Then it is OK. (You weren’t familiar with that loophole, were you?)  Before you turn your snooty nose up at me for watching Rated R movies, I have made a New Year’s Resolution not to see any in 2012. And so far I haven’t seen any (except for The Descendents because I had already seen that in 2011. And naturally that means it doesn’t count. Which is another loophole you might not have known about but I do, being an expert on commandments and loopholes. Just governing myself here, people, like the Prophet Joseph said). Without further lame excuses, here is my list, in order.

My Most Favorite:

Midnight in Paris. I have always loved Woody Allen (except for that stinker The Jade Scorpion). This movie was enchanting because it was funny (natch), clever (allusion to “Miniver Cheevy”, one of the poems I really love? Check.), took place in Paris, and had to do with time travel back to the good ol’ days. I saw it three times in the theatre, I loved it so much.

Buck. This was a documentary about the real Horse Whisperer. His name is Buck (short for Buckshot, so he had no choice but to be a cowboy) and he grew up in a very troubled home. He got his act together and became absolutely amazing with horses. It’s both fascinating and feel-good. It’s a very quiet, thoughtful movie but I showed it to my kids and they all were mesmerized. Side note: I want his daughter’s hat incredibly badly.

Crazy. Stupid. Love. Yes, the worst movie title all year.  I had really low expectations for this but I was very pleasantly wrong.  It was so funny, so poignant, so true.  The cast is terrific and has the most hilarious scene of any movie all year (yes, even funnier than Maya Rudolph having diarrhea in the street.) I just adored this movie.

ContagionMatt Damon and pandemics: my two favorite subjects. If you don’t want to stock up your food storage after seeing this, you have problems.

I Am. This was a documentary that the critics hated because the idea is about trying to prove the importance of compassion and love. The guy who made this movie was a Hollywood big shot who got deathly ill and finally realized that his  life was pretty pointless. He set out to discover what is really  in the world. While it was not the best-made movie I’ve seen, it was super interesting and incredibly joyful. (By the way, the movie’s title refers to the question “who is responsible for making the world a better place?”.)


My Most Hated:

Just Go With It. I’m going to go out on a limb and say this was my most hated movie of all time. Not surprising since it’s Adam Sandler, who has made only one good movie in his entire life (The Wedding Singer). The premise is idiotic on so many levels (“my assistant is Jennifer Aniston and because she wears glasses I never noticed that she’s hot”). This is one of those movies based entirely on telling one lie after another which makes things incredibly complicated (hilarious hijinx ensue! Theoretically). As a very frank and honest person, I find this so incredibly frustrating; almost frustrating enough to scream in the middle of the movie. Also, there are very sassy kids in this movie. Sassy kids are not funny; they are horrid. I think they are encouraging people to accept underage sassiness in real life. Seriously.

Sherlock Holmes: I’m sorry. I couldn’t stand it.  Filmmakers: If you don’t want to make a movie that takes place in the Victorian Era, then don’t. But don’t pretend that you do and have it be completely modern in every way except the costumes. Also, there are lots of explosions.  Explosions are to adult movies as farts are to kids’ movies: they’re a cop-out and a sign of poor storytelling.

J. Edgar. It was choppy, confusing, the makeup was terrible and J. Edgar seemed like nothing more than a power-hungry wacko (not in a good way. Just in a I-wish-he’d-hurry-up-and-die-so-this-movie-would-end way).

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Did you know it’s possible to make an incredibly boring and slow spy movie? If you didn’t, check this out. Because who doesn’t want to see not just one but two (!) scenes of Gary Oldman swimming slowly across a lake.  Even Colin Firth can’t make this interesting.

Hop: Yes, it’s a kids movie. But it was painfully stupid. Even James Marsden, whom I love (and who loves me too, I just know it) couldn’t make this movie palatable. It was like Alvin and the Chipmunks but with only one chipmunk. Who makes candy.


Movies I Refused To See For Idealogical Reasons:

The Smurfs. I totally worshipped the Smurfs growing up. I bought my kids Smurf stuff a decade ago when I could only get it on ebay. But when I saw this preview my blood ran cold. Cartoon characters in Manhattan??? Uh, I already saw that movie and it was called Enchanted. The Smurfs need to stay in a European forest where their shenanigans are accompanied by classical music, just like the cartoons. The Smurfs are gentle (except for that dumb Jokey who’s always giving gifts that explode) and slightly goofy.  They need to stay that way, Hollywood.

New Year’s Eve. I saw Valentine’s Day and it was atrocious. Why would I see it again?

Footloose. I hate musicals. I hate remakes. I especially hate movies whose theme is “dancing makes everyone get along”.

If you have children you probably have quite a collection of DVDs. If you children are old enough to work the DVD player, they probably take them out and leave them lying all over the floor. That’s not just my kids, right?

Perhaps one of our DVDs will make it out to the car and somehow end up with juice spilled all over it, wedged between the seats. That’s just a hypothetical. Things like that never happen for real around here. Never.

OK, fine. It’s a sad life to be a DVD at our house.

That’s where Fast Disc Repair comes in. It’s a great company that can repair just about any DVD, CD or video game. This isn’t just cleaning a DVD (did you know that saliva is the best cleaner there is? Try making your kids lick their dirty DVDs and see how they freak out!). This is actual resurfacing. Unless the disc is actually cracked, it can probably be fixed. And if it’s not fixable, they won’t charge you. How great is that?!

Here’s how it works: you pop your disks in a padded envelope and send them off, and they’ll be fixed and mailed right back to you in New York or Timbuktu or wherever you live. Or if you’re in the Austin area, you can drop by the business in Cedar Park (right across from City Hall). All for $7 a piece! Think about the alternative: tossing your badly scratched discs in the garbage and having to buy new ones. If you’ve paid $50 for a game, your only other choice is to throw it away, and that is just painful. It makes economical sense as well as environmental sense–keep all those messed-up discs out of the landfills!

I can’t rave about this enough. We have so many movies that we haven’t watched for years, simply because they skip really badly or freeze up. Now they’re good as new. Fast Disc Repair even fixed the dreaded circular scratch on one of my friends XBox games.

The nice Fast Disc people are allowing me to do a giveaway of their services. Leave me a comment by Wednesday 7/27 at 10 pm (central time) and I’ll choose a winner to receive free repair for four discs (CDs, DVDs or games). You can enter no matter where you live. Even on the other side of the Earth. Just get your discs to Texas and they’ll take care of the rest.

You can get more info here. And no, they are not paying me for this. I just love it so much.

605 N Bell Blvd.

Suite 103

Cedar Park, TX 78613

512 633-9195

Good Gravy, the last few days have been crazy. When did summer get so busy? (Answer: this week.) I thought it might be easier to explain things as story problems, although I always hated them when I was in math class. Instead of figuring out the dumb problems, I always got all existential instead. Why did Jose and Sally get ten cookies and Mark only get three? Who was the dunce handing out cookies and why didn’t he do it right to begin with? And why do I care what time two trains arrive, travelling at different speeds? They get there when they get there. Sheesh.

Let’s see if I can come up with some story problems that are a little more relevant.

1. If Jennie and Mr. Jennie are celebrating their 19th anniversary, what presents do they get for each other?

A. The 19th anniversary gift is traditionally bronze.

B. Dinner and a movie at the Drafthouse theatre. That way they can eat and watch a film at the same time and thus aren’t reminded that they ran out of things to talk about seven years ago.

C. Earrings for her, Sex for him.

D. Presents??? The entire budget will be spent on Jasper’s birthday three days later. Thanks for being born two weeks early and messing up the anniversary, Jasper!

Answer: B. (Sort of.) We did go to a combo lunch/movie at the Drafthouse to see Midnight in Paris (which was excellent). But we only went there because the popcorn is so good. Mister and I still have plenty to talk about even after all this time.

2. Which of these activities can be performed in the most coma-like state?

A. Picking up mother from the airport at 11:15 pm. Because of course that’s the cheapest flight.

B. Picking up teenage daughter up from a party at midnight, the very last minute before her curfew. Apologize profusely when you realize you’ve rung the doorbell at the wrong house.

C. Tapping at Scout Leader’s door at 6:00 am to pick up son from Scout sleepover in order to get son to Cross Country running practice. No other Scouts or leaders may be disturbed or points will be deducted.

D. Taking 6 year-old back to bed because, “the sun is mixed up and it’s shining but really it’s still nighttime. So go to sleep and don’t get up until the first number on your clock is a seven.”

Answer: D. At least I think that’s how it happened. I was so tired I don’t really remember the details.

3. Name the activity least likely to be performed while trying to make Jasper’s birthday cake:

A. Giving 12 year-old a beginning hammered dulcimer lesson because Jennie “promised and swore that Thursday would be the day”. Never mind that it requires 20 minutes tuning the stupid instrument first. After wasting ten minutes looking for the tuner.

B. Cleaning up cat barf. Twice.

C. Dropping everything to go to the grocery store because there are still items Jennie forgot despite two grocery store trips earlier in the day.

D. Like it really matters. It’s so insanely hot here that the icing will melt and run down the cake, looking like something from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.


Answer: B. The cat did throw up twice but I made India clean it up.

I loved When Harry Met Sally so, so much. Naturally I was excited to see that a sequel was in the works. With Helen Mirren! Check out the preview. Hope you’re not drinking anything because you’re going to laugh! (There are a couple of swears. Sorry!)

There is something going on in our family that I haven’t wanted to talk about. It’s been very traumatic for me and I’ve had a hard time dealing with it. But I need to be upfront. I need to get this out in the open.

My husband likes country music.

You guys, I’m from Detroit. I never met anyone who listened to country until I went to college. I always thought that the people who like it are the countriest of bumpkins. (I know this isn’t really true because the hickest people I’ve ever known all liked Heavy Metal.) It was the kind of music that everybody made fun of when I was growing up; the musical equivalent of living in a trailer. And now my husband likes it. Not just likes it but buys it! He even goes to concerts. Since I can’t bring myself to spend a lot of money on music I don’t care for, he has been taking India to concerts with him. And now she likes it! (That plan really backfired on me.) Next think you know he’s going to chew tobacco and buy a pick-up truck.

Oh wait, he did buy a pick-up truck. I thought he was just being practical.

The funny thing is that I imagine that I am embracing the “country lifestyle”. I mean, we live in Texas! By choice! And we love it! But there’s only so far I can go. You can take the girl out of Detroit, but you can’t take Detroit out of the girl, I guess. Maybe I like The Country the way it’s portrayed in movies. All the houses are darling and have pies in the windows and every town has a cute little main street. There is no mention of WalMart, double wides, or people wearing camo with every outfit.

Mister explained why he likes country music. “The lyrics are uplifting. The songs are about things I identify with like being a good person and having a family.” And then he played me some song about a dad whose little boys prays because he sees his dad praying. And it made me cry.

I sort of get it.

And then he played me a song about riding on a big green tractor.

Don’t push your luck, Mister.

Excuse me for going AWOL. I finally, after months of hemming and hawing, got an iphone. My texting days of pressing the button three times to get an “s” are over. Praise be!

On top of that I had to get a new hard drive for my laptop. All my music was backed up on Mister’s hard drive (which he misplaced for two months!) but it was a complete mess when I restored itunes. I lost all my playlists (because of course my ipod died at this exact moment too). This has been very distressing to me because I spend a lot of times getting my playlists just right. They are finely crafted and the songs have to flow perfectly. I like to base my playlists mostly on my moods. Cheery music (both cheery classical and cheery vintage) and pensive music. I have my Western Swing playlist (Come on, I’m in Texas!), my workout playlist, my sassy playlist, my playlist for when it’s a sunny, beautiful day and I’m just in the best mood, my Jane Austen playlist, my playlist for when I’m making dinner (I have a couple of those). The playlists go on and on.

Have I mentioned that I pretty much only listen to old-fashioned music? (Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade/century. But then I think how much trouble I would get in for my smart mouth and how I hate being bossed around which would be my lot in life as a woman a hundred years ago. So then I’m really glad that I do live now.) Yes, I sound like an old grump when I hear those young whippersnappers and their crazy music (is it just me or does every song nowadays sound the same?) But I like what I like and so what if I pull up at the stoplight and have Fats Waller blaring? (Fats Waller is the best, by the way.)

That was a very long explanation for why I haven’t been blogging. Instead of blogging I’ve been trying to get my life in order, musically speaking. And I’m trying to figure out my iphone, which is only somewhat intuitive despite what my husband claims. I got a nice calendar app with lots of alarms since I have turned into a complete space cadet in the last couple of years. And I have the scriptures app so I can pretend to be following along in Sunday School but can really be reading about celebrity baby names (I never brought my scriptures anyway. Why should I? They always read the scriptures out loud.)

I know most of you are not Luddites like me and have had an iphone for years (including Mister who waited in line all night to get the very first iphone back in ’07.) What advice would you give me? What apps are your favorite? What can you just not live without?

P.S. I’m also over at Segullah talking about hating Utah. Sort of.

This is my review of the new movie Inception:

me: [the entire first hour] I have no idea what is going on.
me: [the second hour] OK, I kind of get what is going on.
me: [the last half hour] Wait, I have no idea what is going on again.

Also, Ellen Page must be a very tiny woman. Like the size of an eight-year-old. And Marion Cotillard looks about eight jillion times better than she did in La Vie en Rose. I kept hoping those two would get in a fight. Why are there no good girl fights in movies? Except in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That had great fights. I loved that movie. I did not love Inception. It’s fine, but I thought it was just trying too hard to be all mind-bendy.

Have you just been dying to hear me talk in real life? No? Well, here’s your chance anyway! Mutual of Omaha contacted me to do a tiny, little piece about an Aha moment that I’ve had (they’re going all over the country interviewing people about their Aha Moments). Sadly they edited out all the great stuff I said (it was all so brilliant!) and made it sound kind of lame, but whatever.

Just take a look here

P.S. Do I need to mention that I think I look bad and my voice is dumb? If you know me in real life, please don’t agree with that sentence.

The toys every little girl needs.  So hilarious!!! (even if they don’t pronounce it the right way.)