So around this time of year you get a lot of people who say, “I don’t really do resolutions”. And I don’t know if I do them in the traditional sense; I don’t often make specific goals of exercising per week or certain pounds to lose; I don’t keep track of how many books I read or movies I watch or have fixed skills I’m going to learn or habits I’m going to stop.
But I’ve always liked the idea of looking at the year that’s just passed, and starting January 1st with a vision of things I want to focus on in the coming year. I feel like I’m starting with a clean slate; it’s like going to bed and sleeping in order to recharge for a busy day tomorrow.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” 2016 is my blank notebook, full of opportunity and yet beautiful before I even write in it. Who knows what kinds of adventures await me? So, in preparation for this year, here are my focuses for 2016: — — 1. RECONNECT WITH GOD
All throughout 2015, I felt emotionally distant from God. I had disconnection in my worship time, got defeated reading Scripture because it felt pointless, and my prayer time seemed like a rant without any resolution. And since the few times I set aside to try and get some spiritual rejuvenation in my life seemed to fall flat, I kind of pushed it to the back burner. Oh, I didn’t mean to, but the busyness of life just crept up on me and before I knew it, I had gone weeks without really talking to God about anything or pursuing Him in everyday life. And the weeks turned to more weeks, and months, and… you get the idea.
I know that my salvation doesn’t depend on my consistency of having a quiet time, and I know that I’m not supposed to be run by emotion. Sometimes I do all the right things and I still don’t “feel” God. But there is goodness and power in continuing to do the right things even when it feels like it’s going no where, because it’s still doing something. I just may not be able to see it.
I don’t really have a structure to “how many Bible verses I’m going to read per day” or “how long I’m going to spend in prayer each week”… but I do know that I want to refocus my heart on Jesus once again. Whether the emotions follow or not, I will do my part to seek God wholeheartedly and draw close to Him this year. —
2. FIND CONTENTMENT IN THIS SEASON OF LIFE
Even though I’ve had a job all year that I’m extremely grateful to have, it’s been really hard for me the past 6-months to accept where things are in my life. All I’ve ever really desired has been to get married, have kids and raise a family as a stay-at-home mom. I’ve never wanted a career, or to go to college, or to work all the time. Of course, I knew if I wanted to live on my own (which I’ve always wanted to do) I’d have to support myself. And now I have this great job where I can DO that.
I don’t know if this discontentment stems from laziness at not wanting to work, or if it’s from waiting on a dream that hasn’t happened yet… but this year, I’m determined to fight it.
Years ago, before my first relationship, I told God I wanted to figure out how to be content being single before I got involved with someone. And I was content, and then I dated someone, and now that it’s over I find myself having to go through the same hoops again. I’m not feeling committed to this season of my life… and that’s something I want to change, because why would God bring me into the next season if I can’t find my place in this one?
So one of my focuses this year is to learn to be content where I am: as a single, working, almost-26-year-old who is hopefully going to be moved out by the end of the year. I want to focus on my friends… on my blogging… on my ministry… on working hard and being excellent at my job… in fighting through the boring monotony of every day. I don’t have to worry about anybody else. Just me and God and what He wants me to do. I want to embrace my singledom so that, when the next guy come along, I have the wisdom to know whether it’s right or wrong instead of jumping into it due to desperation. — — 3. BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE
So I want to move out with my sister and be on my own, but that requires money and being semi-stable. So I’ve been working this year on saving up money. And I think I did a pretty good job, but suddenly I’m going to be turning 26 this year and I need to get my own insurance, and it feels like everything in my savings disappears before my next paycheck, and rent and food and utilities… I’m slightly overwhelmed with what living on my own and being responsible is going to entail.
So I want to focus on being more financially responsible this year. This does not mean that I can’t have fun and go on trips and buy things for people and splurge every once in a while… but it does mean that I need to work on my self-control for silly things that I don’t need. I’m going to try to cut out fast food for the first two months and really work on saving, and keeping the money that I’m saving. I need to be able to say no to buying things on impulse that are unnecessary. I need to be able to make a budget for myself and stick to it. Whatever it takes to be a good steward of my money, I want to learn to be that. I know I’m going to fail a lot, but my hope is that I’m also going to learn more restraint and discipline and budgeting and hopefully be better at all this by the end of the year. Because great plans of living on my own… come with great responsibility. Or something like that.
— So those are basically my main focuses. Of course I want to blog more and read more and give more and eat more healthily and exercise more and be more grateful and dance in the rain and live laugh love and all that mumbo jumbo… but if I focus on everything, then I’m really focusing on nothing! (Was that deep? That was deep! And now it’s in bold because it’s so deep!) So good luck with all your resolutions and goals and focuses this 2016! Happy New Year!
Eh, I was gonna do 5 movies with Al Pacino, but the Godfathers were all SO LONG (3 hours each!) that I decided I would just do 4. So I watched the Godfather Trilogy, and ended with Scent of a Woman. What did I think? Read on to find out!!!!
THE GODFATHER PART I
So Elizabeth said to me about this series, “It’s a good family movie.” Not meaning that it’s good for the family to WATCH, but that it is about family sticking together and that kind of thing. So I kept that review in mind as I watched it.
I didn’t realize that 1) Marlon Brandon was so old, 2) how much Marlon Brando looked like Paul Newman when he’s old, 3) how young Al Pacino was. I didn’t know what Al looked like, so it wasn’t until about 45 minutes into the movie that I figured out which one was Al. For this one, it was fun seeing all the You’ve Got Mail “Godfather” references in the first movie: “leave the gun, take the cannoli,” “Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday,” “go to the mattresses,” etc. I didn’t expect all the people that died to die. It was really long.
THE GODFATHER PART II
People say that this was the best movie of the 3… and I’m not sure why? It was certainly the darkest. Is that a good thing? Do people like it because it’s so cynical and shows you how far you can go if you live through violence and revenge? Because that’s what I got out of it. Michael becomes a jerk: to his family, to his wife… he’s controlling and manipulative, and I don’t understand most of the politics or what he’s trying to do or who he believes, and it was just dark and depressing and I didn’t like him at all. So… yay for darkness that says to not be like a mafia lord? Based on this movie alone, it’s not a family movie in either sense. But maybe I’m just too uncultured to get it. Anyone who likes this one, please feel free to tell me what I’m missing!
THE GODFATHER PART III
This one was probably actually my favorite because it deals with the question of redemption; can he make things work after all of the horrible things he’s done? Is it worth it to confess his sins? Can he connect with his children and be the father he needs to be? I thought the ending was abrupt and unresolved… and I didn’t quite get the last shot. But I appreciated the redemptive themes throughout the movie and thought they made his character more interesting and less evil.
SCENT OF A WOMAN
I liked this movie! There was a lot of swearing and the dude did not have a good mouth, but I thought it was sweet. I liked watching the growing connections between the two main characters, and the kid was really sweet; I felt I could kind of relate to him and his struggle to help even though he had no idea what to say or do. He DID have integrity, and even if the climactic scene was cheesy and maybe a bit over the top, it was still cheer-worthy and cool. And I was happy that it ended with a clear assumption that their friendship was going to continue. This was kind of the reverse of his Godfather character; in those he seems nice but has meanness in his heart, and in this he seems mean but has niceness in his heart. Anyway, I liked it.
RANKED IN THIS ORDER:
1. Scent of a Woman
2. The First Godfather (thinking it over, the first might’ve been more interesting to watch than the 3rd)
3. The Third Godfather (but these middle two are still interchangeable)
4. The Second Godfather
I’m super late for my movie watching in September so I will postpone my musicals until October. Catch up with you then! 🙂
Kensington Posh was a proper detective. He had a lovely brown pipe, a distinguished taste in tea, and a pair of spectacles that made the most sophisticated teacher look like a primary school dropout. He never forgot a name, could identify a face with his eyes closed, was a whiz in British law, and he ALWAYS found Wally in under 3 seconds.
He lived in a rustic cottage by the sea. He had a maid named Meredith Turnipatch, a butler named Freud Lloyd, and a stable full of prize horses. His bank account held a generous fortune, and his library was filled to bursting.
But although Kensington had
pipe and maid…
butler and tea…
a house by the lake half a mile from the sea…
horses and stable…
and a mind that was able….
…he was missing one thing: Kensington Posh did not have anyone to love.
Lovey Papaya had the best smile of anyone in town. She could make troubles seem like opportunities and broccoli taste like peach cobbler. Her friends came to her with all their worries, and with a smile, a cup of tea and an inspirational saying, they all left feeling like better human beings.
Lovey owned her own bookstore called Papaya’s Pages; it was located on the corner of 5th and Potter Point Road, and was painted to look like a sunset on a book binder. She spent her days doling out reading tips and hosting Story-Telling events for the local children. Her nights she spent writing fan letters to famous celebrities and watching over her dog, Bagel the Beagle.
But although she had
and a dog…
and a store…
and a smile that made people’s troubles no more…
…she had one trouble she couldn’t fix: she was a secret alien from Pluto.
A knocking sound vibrated from the door of the Pish Posh Private Detection Agency. The utterance of “Come in” came from the lips of the owner of the door, and the perpetrator of the knocking sound enclosed their hand around the outside knob and made the proper motion required to open the entryway, stepping into the office in the process.
“Good afternoon,” said Kensington Posh, tipping his hat and sipping his tea.
“Good afternoon,” said the visitor, tipping their hat and tripping over the rug.
“Please have a seat,” said Kensington, tipping his tea and sipping from the saucer.
“Thank you,” said the visitor, sitting in the chair and fitting in comfortably.
“How may I help you?” asked Kensington, primping his flower vase and scrimping his balance book.
“I need you to investigate a person for me,” said the visitor, cringing their eyes and wringing their hands.
“Is it your spouse?” questioned Kensington, flinging out his arms and ringing his gong accidentally.
“No, it’s my neighbor,” said the visitor, licking their finger and flicking a speck of dust away.
“Why do you need me to investigate them?” inquired Kensington, tilting his head and lilting a tune.
“Because I think there’s something wrong with them,” said the visitor, kicking his foot and picking a favorite ice cream topping.
“It’s going to cost you,” said Kensington, drinking his beverage and sinking his eyes.
“Money is no object,” said the visitor, flitting his fingers and hitting a high C.
“Alright, I’ll start tomorrow,” said Kensington, spitting his tea and quitting his nail-biting habit.
It is a bright, sunny day. He wished it were raining. Then maybe the sky would reflect his soul.
He’s seen these characters before. He knows them all. Not a decent soul, not a one of them. He plods despondently yet determinedly down the street and up the sidewalk of the house.
This person must be a drug lord, he thinks as he trudges through his job. Or a kleptomaniac. Or an antisocial menace to society. Or maybe they’re an illegal American!
He gives one last, cynical look towards the brightly colored door. No one is that cheerful, he determines, and then knocks on the door.
The moment the door opens, hisworldchanges.He hears a chorus of songbirds singing out his mother’s favorite lullaby.A sunset sets over a beautiful mountain view, and he feels a fresh breeze right off of the ocean. He sighs in satisfaction as he tastes peach cobbler in the air.The aroma of peppermint and bacon permeates his senses,and his legs start tapping as he gets a sudden yet strong urge to dance the Charleston.
The sunset is beautiful.Truly beautiful.As he gazes at it, he can spy a face in the clouds.The songbirds trill in harmony, “How can I help you?”
As he watches the cloud face, he notices that the mountain look more like a door now, and that the cloud face is growing hair.He blinks slowly, calming his tapping legs.
Now he clearly sees a human face; but the sunset and sunshine are still there!They are in the face… in the smile!
“Hello, sir, how can I help you?” the person says again.
Well this guy has been standing here a while. He’s got some nice moves, though. Maybe he’s deaf.
“HELLO, SIR, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?”
“Hello, Sunshine Face. What’s cooking?”
“Um, I mean, I smell bacon and peppermint. Are you cooking something?”
“Um, no… no, I’m not. Maybe it’s my perfume?”
This guy must be onto me! Maybe my Alien is showing itself through scent! Though Pluto smells more like ice cream rainforest than bacon and peppermint… still, I’ve gotta throw him off the scent!
“Oh, I’m so sorry! Sometimes when I try to shake people’s hands I push them down the stairs. There, that’s better. Do you still smell bacon and peppermint?”
“No, not really. But I sure do have a craving for peach cobbler.”
It worked! Go Universe!
“Would you like to come in? I’ll make you some tea and you can tell me about what you came here for.”
“Oh, oh right! What I came here for… you sure don’t seem like an alien.”
“I mean, you don’t seem like you’re an illegal American immigrant.”
“Oh! Oh right!”
That was too close! I’m gonna give myself away! If only I could share my burdenous secret with him. He seems like such a nice man…
“Here you go!”
“Wow, this is some of the best tea I’ve ever tasted! And I have a distinguished taste in tea. This is out of this world!”
“Oh no it’s not! I made it right here in this kitchen, I promise! Nothing unearthly here in this house!”
“Haha, I meant it’s delicious.”
“Oh. Thank you, heehee.”
“I like your laugh. And your smile.”
“I like yours, too.”
Monday’s Log: Went to Target X’s house. Doesn’t look like illegal alien. Might be hiding drugs in tea. Very good tea—suspiciously good.
Tuesday’s Log: Target X might be magician; delightful hallucinations appear whenever X enters room. Maybe hypnotist. Tea is clearly British, however; very distinguished.
Wednesday’s Log: Target X definitely not kleptomaniac; always leave house without missing anything. Tried to leave hat but X ran out and returned it. Had to hide cuff links in bathroom towel to have reason to go back tomorrow.
Thursday’s Log: Cuff links returned, cleaned and sprayed with scent. Smells like pine trees on a beach. Possible location of drugs? Left coat there today.
Friday’s Log: Joined X for story-telling time with children at place of business. Ruling out possibility of X being social menace. Coat smells lovely.
Saturday’s Log: Helped Target X bake cookies. No use of illegal drugs during process. Hypnotism still working theory; songbirds won’t stop singing.
Sunday’s Log: Took day off. Met Target X for casual conversation at diner. If on duty, conclusion would still be negative for any form of public or criminal or social menacing.
Monday’s Log: Target X acting suspicious. Became evasive about my looking for band-aid in medicine cabinet, stopped my search. Investigate further tomorrow. Songbirds sounded sad today; feelings match.
Lovey: (paces room anxiously, wringing hands) I can’t stand the secrecy! I can’t lie to him anymore. I have to tell him!
(Kensington enters house.)
Kensington: Hello, Miss Papaya.
Lovey: (runs and flings herself at him) Kensington! I can lie to you no longer! I MUST come clean!
Kensington: No, Lovey, it is I who must confess! (holds her hands)
Both: I’m not who you think I am!
(Both fling the other’s hands away in shock)
Kensington: I told you I was an interior decorator! (falls on knee in remorse) But I lied. I’m a private detective and I have been investigating you… for PROFIT!
Lovey: (gasps) No, Kenny! Not for PROFIT!
Kensington: Yes, for PROFIT! (throws himself on floor and wails)
Lovey: Oh, Kenny, I believe I can forgive you… for my secret is far worse than any you could confess! (puts hand on forehead) I told you I was an Englander! But… I’m not! (falls against wall in agony)
Kensington: (sits up, stupefied) You’re not… an American! But… the tea! (grabs teacup and hurls against wall in confusion)
Lovey: No, I’m not an American!
Kensington: Don’t tell me you’re from Australia! South Africa! Asia! Canada! The North Pole?
Lovey: No, never! I’m not a decent human being!
Kensington: (stands and grabs her hands) Oh, Lovey! You’re the most decent human being there ever was!
Lovey: (gazing into his eyes) Oh, Kenny! I guess, when you think about it that way, I’m a pretty decent human being… for somebody who is NOT a human being at all!
Kensington: (drops hands and backs away) Lovey! What are you saying?
Lovey: I’m an ALIEN! (flings out arms dramatically)
Kensington: From where??? I’ve covered every place I can think of!
Lovey: From PLUTO! (flails arms hysterically)
Kensington: (gasps) What??? How could you be???
Lovey: (falls backwards over arm of sofa and hangs forlornly) I was exploring the galaxy 70 years ago, and I crash-landed here. It was so lovely here that I didn’t want to go back! Pluto is so cold and frozen. Here you have seasons and animals and forests and beaches! (sighs heavily, writhing into new position) So I found ingredients to make a potion to make me look human. I picked a name, learned your language, and bought a business. (stands up and runs at wall, hurling herself at it with arms out as if hugging the house) I love it here! But I don’t deserve it! I’m a fraud and a liar, and I deserve to be swoggled like a bambett and fleaflogged like a collybobble!
(Kensington looks stunned and confused.)
Lovey: That’s Pluto speak.
(Kensington looks less stunned and confused.)
Kensington: Lovey, I don’t care that you’re not from planet Earth! (runs to her and grabs her hands) For the first time in my life, I’m hearing the birds and watching the sunsets, all because of you!
Lovey: (clutching his hands) Really?
Kensington: Yes! Lovey, as long as you’re not a druglord or a kleptomaniac or a menace to society or an illegal American, I want nothing more than to marry you!
Kensington Posh was a proper detective. He smoked a brown pipe, drank lots of tea and solved many cases. He lived in a rustic cottage half a mile from the sea that was taken care of by his maid and butler.
But Kensington also had a lovely wife. Her name was Lovey Papayaposh, and she had the best smile of anyone in town. She owned a charming bookstore and was friends with everyone she met. She loved writing fan letters to celebrities, and she and Kensington both took care of their dog, Bagel the Beagle.
Kensington promised to never tell anyone that she was an alien, and in return, they made plans to visit Pluto together on their one-year anniversary. She would show him the bambetts and the collybobbles, and then together they would return back to the earth… back to England… back home.
So a while ago I wrote a blog about my Nostalgia Album called “Crazy Happy Nonsense”, the album of nostalgic songs that I would do covers of if I was, you know, a singer and someone asked me to do a personally nostalgic album. Well, I’ve had multiple other “albums” or themed playlists I’ve been working on, but this one was the one I finished next.
When I say this is my “Emo Album”, I think of the overly dramatic and “woe is me” songs, either full of self-pity, doom and gloom or just kind of making fun of sad things in life. Not all of these songs fit the “Emo” category perfectly; some of them are more pretty than funny, and I have a few reverse Emo songs to bring some cheerfulness into the doom and gloom attitude. But this might very well be a playlist that I would enjoy listening to if I wanted to feel sorry for myself while keeping myself from getting too depressed at the same time. This album is titled “I’m a Punk”. –
1. Close Every Door (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) This was clearly one of the obvious choices for my emo album. While Joseph definitely has a good reason to be as sad and discouraged as he is, this has great dramatic lyrics full of angst and woe. This is one of those songs that I can sing both in a sad way and in a “having fun with the drama” way. I figured this was a good one to start the album with; jump right into that emotion!
I do not matter, I’m only one person Destroy me completely, then throw me away
(I don’t know what the Swiss Army Knife is doing on the screen)
2. I’m a Punk (The Cat in the Hat cartoon) This is the title song mostly because it’s the personification of the overdramatic emo to me. If ever I’m feeling down on myself and thinking that no one likes me, I can express my insecurity through song at the same time as I’m reminding myself how silly my fears are. How can you not laugh at yourself when you’re singing lines like “I’m untouchable unless you wear antiseptical gloves”?
I’m a punk; a kratunkulous schnunk
Nobody loves me, not one tiny hunk
3. All Alone in the World (Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol) Mom used to sing this depressing song to us kids, and then a year or two ago we finally decided to watch the Mr. Magoo cartoon. This song is one of those super sad ones that has a lot of emo lyrics for a kids’ show, hehe, but it always makes me giggle. Clearly it belongs in this album.
A hand for each hand was planned for the world
Why don’t my fingers reach?
4. I’m So Blue (Madame Blueberry) When I remembered that this song existed, this had to go on the list of options. I was actually debating between this and “Pizza Angel”, which has more drama, but I personally like this one more. Sometimes you just gotta whine and boo-hoo-hoo the blues.
I really can’t stand it, I think I might die Now where is that hanky? I’m going to cry!
5. All for the Best (Godspell) And here we have a bit of an optimistic song! While it is directed at people who are feeling very emo, it has the positive attitude of “hey, it’s all for the best, so don’t be too distressed”. I wanted to put a few “reverse emo” songs in this album in order to help lighten it up, and to remember that you can still sing about how your temples are graying and teeth are decaying and yet have a positive outlook. 🙂
Your mood and your robe are both a deep blue You bet that Job had nothing on you
6. Adelaide’s Lament (Guys and Dolls) I wanted to have something about being single in the list (though this song just means it in the legal sense) because that’s one of the biggest issues of angst in society, right? I was also considering several other sad love songs, but this one has the word “lament” in it and has far more drama than just sadness.
From lack of community property and a feeling she’s getting too old A person can develop a bad, bad cold
7. Happy Happy Happy I recently discovered this song on my MP3 player by Groovelily and actually listened to the lyrics, and while the emotion in this song is more anger than sadness, it’s still full of lyrical self-pity. I like the way that the music becomes more angsty as he sings about how unfair life is for him, and then instantly switches to the gentle ukelele when he’s telling his friend how happy he is for him. Groovelily is great at making the words and music do exactly what they want it to, and this is a fun example of that.
But still, I’m simultaneously wishing you were dead and feeling Happy, happy, happy, happy for you
8. Not inNottingham I wanted to make sure I included a sad Disney song, and this is one of my favorite overlooked ones. It’s very short, and this song is less “emo” because their sorrow is not more than what should be felt according to their situation. But it does have a very melancholy tone with some “things’ll never get better in THIS town” kind of lines, so I wanted to include it.
Can’t you see the tears we’re crying? Can’t there be some happiness for me?
9. Oh, My God (Jars ofClay) I recently discovered this song, and while I don’t know what it’s talking about entirely, I’m fascinated by it! I think it’s about the depravity of the world and the sovereignty of God. But it’s mostly about the depravity of the world. It has haunting lyrics, and I wanted to include a dark Christian song in this list, and as soon as I thought of this I figured it was the perfect candidate. 🙂
All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense
10. Agony (Into the Woods) I was needing one more love song for my emo album, but I couldn’t come up with a good one… until I remembered Agony. This fabulously encompasses the drama that is often associated with emo, and while the characters singing it are clearly not insecure about themselves, their competitive misery is a great lament about the tortures of unreachable love.
Agony! Far more painful than yours!
10. Mad World This is another song that I don’t think I entirely understand, but it’s one of the saddest sounding songs I know, with dramatically-written, melancholy lyrics. It seemed like an obvious choice when it comes to “emo”, and I wanted to include a bit of a modern song. It’s a bit overplayed maybe, but the haunting tone works great for this album.
Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
12. How Lucky You Are (Seussical) And now it’s time to jump into something slightly more cheerful after some majorly heavy songs! It’s time to remind yourself that, even though the world is mad and depraved, and even if your world is literally tilting upside down, you haven’t died yet, so you’re pretty stinkin’ lucky! But yes, your world is literally spinning. But you’re still lucky!
And if worse comes to worse, as we all know it will
Thank your lucky star you’ve gotten this far
13. Still Small Hours (Sleeping Beauty Wakes) I wanted to throw another category in here to be emo about, and what better topic than insomnia? It’s not a pleasant song to listen to, but its lyrics nicely capture the distress of lying awake throughout the night, and the music gets good and frantic in an anxious way during the bridge of the song. (There’s no video but you can listen to it on their site through the link.)
All the horror, all the dread, just restore me to my bed At least then I could sleep while I scream
14. Larry Sings the Blues And finally, I wanted to end the album on a semi-happy note, so I figured this “anti Blues” song was a good way to complete my album. The ever-cheerful Larry just does not sing the Blues very well, despite Lemon Lincoln’s attempts at teaching him the point of it. So, on this note, while it’s fun to occasionally lament dramatically, remember what Larry knows: you can always find joy!
My cookies and ice cream, they both gone away But that don’t bother me none!
Since I’m not likely to do another Pinterest blog for a while, and I’ve got a whole month of doing special things with food, and because someone told me I should blog about it, and since I won’t be watching my 5 movies until next month, I’m gonna blog about my work health challenge! I’ll do one blog each week until I’m done with it. But first, let me explain what this challenge is.
I joined a 30-Day Challenge from my work health incentive program; it is called “Eat This, Not That”. It goes from July 13-August 9, and I’m on a team with 4 other co-workers. I’m at the beginner level, which means I need to: eat 3 servings of Nutrient Dense foods every day, and substitute 3 unhealthy foods with healthier options each week.
I couldn’t tell you exactly what Nutrient Dense means if you asked me to define it, but from the paperwork they gave me it looks like it means fruit, veggies and nuts. Basically just anything that is super dense of nutrients. (Because that is the scientific way to say it.) So since my paperwork emphasizes fruit, veggies and nuts, that is what I’m gonna eat!
Don’t eat it!
As far as the weekly substitutions, that will require some extra thought since it’s not as straightforward as just “eat veggies”. I almost only drink water, I don’t eat out every week, and there’s not any specific dessert or dish I’m always munching on. If I say to myself, “I need to substitute something… I feel like going and buying a milkshake, but I’m gonna drink some lemonade instead!”, does that count as actually substituting it? I don’t know! But I guess I’ll figure it out as I go! 🙂
The challengers were given a list of fruits and veggies and how they rate on a nutritional scale; the higher the number, the healthier they are. Most of the fruit and veggies you would find in our house are in the bottom 3rd. The highest vegetables are Kale, Watercress and Collards at 1000. I’m gonna be making Kale with a friend the week after this challenge, so I intend to try both Watercress and Collards in the following month. I also have discovered that I like asparagus fairly well, so I’m going to try to be creative with that, too, since I’ve only eaten it one way.
My plan is to make my meals of experimental veggies on the weekends, when I’ve got more time to shop and be at the stove and everything. Plus it works best for any meals that need
Try ALL the veggies!
to be eaten hot. I may make a few meals to refrigerate and take to work the next day, but I’m mostly going to try to have things to snack on or to have as side dishes during my work week.
On the Saturday before the challenge started, I spent the morning finding recipes for Watercress, Arugula, Collards and Asparagus, and while I did I also found some good recipes for Strawberries. (It was all on one particular site, so you’ll probably see recipes from there a lot.) But since I couldn’t start counting the healthy eating until Monday, I just stocked up on some basic snacks for the first week and will do some more meal cooking as the challenge goes on.
I bought almonds, cashews and mixed organic nuts and divided them into 21 single serving bags for snacking on at work. (A serving of nuts, according to this challenge, is 1/3 cup.) I also bought carrots, added some celery, and made 4-5 bags of 1 cup of veggies (a serving size for veggies). These are in my work fridge.
I also bought asparagus, scallions, mini peppers, several frozen bags of vegetables, 2 frozen pasta-veggie meals for lunches, and I also have a gallon of 100% orange juice in my work fridge. One glass of legit juice counts as a serving size of my Nutritional Density, so yay for variety!
I’ll post next week about my first 2 weeks of the challenge and how it went. I know that I have the habit of starting out on these things all strong and excited, and then kind of petering out, so we’ll see how it goes. Feel free to throw snack or veggie or recipe suggestions my way, and I’d always love getting together and cooking with someone to give me better motivation, and of course to share the food. 🙂 Enjoy the blog!
Clint Eastwood month was chosen and filled with my dad’s suggestions. I didn’t manage to watch all 6 (I did 6!) in June; I think I carried over a week. And since I didn’t write ANY of my reviews until YESTERDAY, they all kind of blurred in my head. While I did enjoy them for probably different reasons, they are all the same movie with the same character to me right now. But I did my best to say something different about each movie. Also, I do think Clint Eastwood is a good actor despite how much I poke fun at him in my reviews, so just keep that in mind. Here goes!
Fistful of Dollars
A simple western movie about a “Stranger With No Name” who comes into a small town and does what he can to save everyone secretly. He was young and mysterious, and though I’d never seen Clint before, he cracked me up because his voice and his serious face and attitude were PERFECT for that kind of lone-ranger man of mystery. He was all, “I speak to no one, I can take care of myself” in a deep, grovelly voice. Of course he didn’t SAY that exactly, but he was totally that personality that Joel always wanted to play as a kid in character games; the moody, intelligent man who clearly has a past but doesn’t want to talk about it. My favorite part was when he accidentally punched the girl in the face and he made his one expression in the whole movie of vulnerability/fear. He was totally freaked out; it was great. Anyway, aside from making fun of his taking himself so seriously in my head, I enjoyed the movie fairly well. There was violence.
This was the one movie I watched with the older members of my family (as opposed to just myself). It was different to see him as a cop than a cowboy, and he did talk more and have a bit more of a personality. The plot was good and interesting, though it definitely had lots of language and some raunchy dialogue scenes. We just talked over those. It was exciting, though, and ended satisfactorily. There was violence.
People said that this was one of his biggest “vigilante” movies and that he got flack for it… and it was true, in a sense, but I think it ended in a fitting way. I saw him as a character weighed down by the evil of the world and the fact that he wasn’t able to do much about it legally, and he eventually developed the resignation for the consequences that come with violence on the job. It had a famous quote. It was interesting. There was violence.
A retired cop, but still a cop, I got to see him as an older person. My dad pointed out that he plays the old, cranky guy really well, and I totes agree. He was, again, the same character: competent, man of few words and no facial expressions (you can never tell if he’s thinking hard or completely bored), able to deduce everything, always ready to shoot a gun but still has a caring heart on the inside. He just likes to hide it. This one was interesting, and I TOTALLY guessed the answer right away even though I didn’t know I was right, so I was proud of myself. Well, I was debating but that and another theory. But I sort of guessed it. But anyway, the movie was a good one. There was violence.
In the Line of Fire
Secret Service Guy! Same kind of job, but at least he gets a different title. Hostage things are sometimes more interesting than just plain copping, so I liked it. He was, again, old in this. But I was so proud of him! He laughed and smiled and flirted with a lady… several times! Like, it was a part of his personality and not just 1 line that they gave him to meet their quota of proof that he cared about anything! He had some emotions! The story was also fairly interesting, and the ending climax was solid and thrilling. Everyone did a good job. There was violence.
I was told that Clint directed this and that it was really anti-violence which went against all his “vigilante” films and threw everyone off. Maybe I had too much of an expectation of it, because it was one of those that is a subtle portrayal of the evils of violence and I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean, clearly it showed that violence is destructive, but since there was that ending stuff with Clint, it didn’t feel like HE learned his lesson, unless his lesson was that you can’t change enough to withstand going back to who you were when there’s pressure. And maybe that WAS the point; that you should stay far away from it. Like not going to the bar if you don’t want to be an alcoholic. Which was probably totally the point of the movie. Anyway, it seemed very serious and deep, but it was unpleasant to watch in times. THERE WAS VIOLENCE.
I’m not going to put these in order because I don’t have enough opinions to differentiate them in my head. If anyone wants to recommend to me any comedies or romances that Clint is in where he plays any kind of a different character, let me know!
In closing, since I’m halfway through July, I may just wait to do Al Pacino month until August. I guess we’ll see what I feel like doing and what I have time for. Stay tuned for future blogs and thanks for reading! 🙂
Hey, guess what? I haven’t done a Pinterest-y blog since I made the homemade “Cheez-Its” last year, so this is the perfect time to do it! 🙂 I was reading a blog about Disney themed food the other day; there were a bunch of recipes that were either from movies I didn’t know very well or didn’t seem to stick out as iconic from the movie, but the recipe for “Ratatouille” caught my eye. I glanced through the instructions, and though it seemed like a bunch of vegetables that our family wouldn’t all necessarily eat, it looked simple! I quickly bookmarked it as an iconic Disney food to try soon.
As I moved on, they had one for Beauty and the Beast that was NOT “The Grey Stuff”. You know that line from Be Our Guest: “Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious! Don’t believe me, ask the dishes!”? Well, that would clearly have been an awesome recipe to have, so when I saw a different one from Beauty and the Beast, I was like “aw, they missed that opportunity!” But then, voila! On down the line they had a SECOND one from Beauty and the Beast and it was, you guessed it: The Grey Stuff! Well, I instantly bookmarked THAT, and in a few days I had collected the ingredients to make both dishes!
This dish is almost all veggie; it has a sauce on the bottom composed of tomato sauce, garlic paste and chopped onions. I didn’t have any garlic paste, so I just ended up using garlic powder instead. Once that’s all mixed up, it gets spread on the bottom of a 9 inch pan.
Then, you chop up a bunch of vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, squash, and two different colored peppers. Our squash had gone bad by the time I cooked all this tonight, so we just skipped that. No one in my family has ever had eggplant before, so we had no idea how it was supposed to look or taste… but we chopped it up and added it anyway!
Once those were in semi-normal-looking slices, I layered them systematically throughout the dish. Then it gets sprinkled with olive oil, and I also added little droplets of tomato sauce, because I was worried about it not being moist enough. Then into the oven it went, with a circle sheet of parchment paper over it, for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.
The recipe said to sprinkle parmesan cheese on the top once it’s out of the oven, but that didn’t seem like enough cheese to me, so I also grated some mozzarella cheese onto the hot dish right after it came out of the oven. Once it melted, it was ready to eat! Here was the result:
My Mom, my Dad, my sister Bekah and I all tried it for supper. It was really difficult to tell if we did it right or not, because my mom didn’t like the peppers, my dad’s not into that many vegetables by themselves, and nobody really liked the eggplant much. But we all decided that it had good flavor. We meant to make rice with it, which I think it would’ve gone really well with the dish, but I forgot.
If I made it again, for myself, I would switch out some vegetables. I think I would remove the eggplant, maybe the zucchini, and replace them with potatoes and/or mushrooms. But even though we probably won’t make this for a meal again, it was definitely fun to try!
THE GREY STUFF
Though people argue that the ACTUAL grey stuff was probably something more like a “liver pate”, the recipe I used said that this is what they serve in the Disney Be Our Guest restaurant. It’s basically Oreo pudding, so this was clearly something my siblings would eat!
I read the directions a little too hastily, so while The Grey Stuff recipe said to mix the instant vanilla pudding mix with 1.5 cups of milk, I followed the pudding box directions and made it with 3 cups per box. I don’t know how it would have changed the consistency of it had I done it correctly, but the rest I think I did right; I crushed up 15 oreos and added those and a package of Cool Whip to the pudding after it had set, and then put in 3 tablespoons of chocolate pudding mix (though I probably should have put in twice as much of everything since I’d used 2 boxes of vanilla pudding).
Once that was all mixed in, I let it sit in the fridge for an hour, and this was the final product:
Did you notice that it looks more brown than gray? Yeah, I did too. Have you noticed that I’ve been spelling grey 2 different ways in this article? Yeah, I did too. But hey, I might’ve done this dessert wrong, but we tried it, and it was delicious! And our dishes will tell you so, too!
Well, I managed to finish the 5 movies assigned to me by Elizabeth before the month ran out, so I had an extra week to watch two more! Go me. These are seven Best Picture winners I hadn’t seen before this month, in the order that I watched them in. Enjoy!
P.S. I have semi-spoilers for Birdman, King’s Speech and Cuckoo’s Nest. Just… don’t read these if you haven’t seen the movies. Thanks!
I don’t know much about Mozart, but I thought the movie was fascinating. It was uncomfortable in parts, what with, you know, the devious plotting and psychological tormenting, and neither main character was a great person, but I loved the way it looked at the music, and it was a great story with interesting people even if they weren’t nice. Definitely a good movie, and though not something I would necessarily want to repeat much, I can see why it won the Oscar.
I’m not sure what I thought of this movie. It was definitely interesting; but this one was also very uncomfortable in parts (though of course it was supposed to be) and it was a very angry movie. It felt like every single scene was trying to make a specific point about race and being too prejudiced and not paying enough attention to everyone else’s prejudice, and I had a hard time understanding what some of the points were, and so I couldn’t quite get the movie as a whole. Most of the people I thought maybe I would like turned out to be confusing and just as bad as the rest. Which might have been the point of the movie, that everyone is a jerk and a nice guy. (My favorite character was the locksmith, who was not a jerk.) But despite the fact that I didn’t particularly enjoy the watch, I recognized a lot of people, I’m sure it was meaningful and deep, and I can see why it won the Oscar.
THE KING’S SPEECH
Definitely the lightest of the movies this month, and I really enjoyed this one. Colin Firth was awesome in his role, as were the other two, and it was a great story. I thought that his speech improvement would be quicker and that he would be “cured” by the end and showing off his speech, but it wasn’t nearly as cut and dry, and the ending speech was so much more moving when you know that it’s still a struggle but that he’s learned how to overcome it and keep going. The friendship between him and Rush was also really cool. I can definitely see why it won an Oscar.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
This one was also an odd one. The second time seeing Jack Nicholson, first time seeing him young. He was very good, and it was an interesting story… but I’m still trying to process how I thought about it. I think my issue with it is that it didn’t have any strong, emotional impact on me, which was what I was expecting. I thought moments of it were very sweet and happy. I loved the way he connected to Chief, and how his personality made for great days of fun and joy for the men around him; the “baseball game”, the fishing day, and the party. I felt like his presence really brought something fresh to their lives. And even the ending showed that, when in the last few moments something so sad could push someone to freedom. I did have a hard time along the way trying to decide if this was a conspiratory asylum, or just people with strict rules. And I don’t think I ever decided. But it was definitely interesting, and I can see why it won an Oscar.
This one was really interesting. First off, the cinematography was fascinating, and it made the movie move at a different, surreal pace, which added to the aura and feel of the story. I thought everyone was great, and it was a unique story with characters who grew on me even though so many of them had issues. However, the ending really confused me at first. It clearly wasn’t sad, but then it couldn’t have been literal, because that doesn’t fit the movie at all. Hannah’s conclusion was that it was metaphorical, and I think that’s a good explanation that satisfies my confusion. Overall, it ended better than I thought it would, it was very interesting along the way, and I can see why it won an Oscar.
TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
The second movie with Jack Nicholson! This helped close the gap in age between Cuckoo’s Nest and How Do You Know, the only movies I’ve seen him in. Also, my second Jeff Daniels movie! Anyway, it was fine. It wasn’t a bad movie, but I didn’t love any of the characters, and I just had a hard time figuring out who I was supposed to root for. It had sweet moments, and I guess as a movie following people who try to work out their imperfect love as imperfect people, it was kind of cool. But it definitely wasn’t one of my favorites. Good acting jobs, though. I think the ending is the only reason it won the Oscar.
Trying desperately to watch two extra on my list before the end of the month, I chose a 3 hour movie! But it was definitely a good one. Ben Kingsley did an excellent job. I did NOT realize that Ghandi lived that recently! I always thought he was, like, 1700-1800s! Shows you what I know about anything. Anyway, it was a fascinating biography. I was very intrigued by how determined he was to be nonviolent, and amazed by everyone’s devotion and willingness to follow him. In a way it was kind of eerie to see how devotedly he was followed and the power he had over them. But you could tell he was really a good guy, and if you’re gonna follow someone political, he’s a good choice. Anyway, it was educational, it was well-done, and it clearly deserved to win its Oscar.
My Bottom Two: Crash, Terms of Endearment (I have to like the characters, and I didn’t much in these) My Middle Two: Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (very well-done and admirable, but both I was ambivalent about emotionally) My Top Three: Ghandi, Birdman, Kings Speech (Likeable characters, drew me in, kept my interest all the way through, satisfying endings after they sunk in) — Next month: Clint Eastwood movies picked out by my Dad!
Sometimes, going through this life can be hard. As Christians, God calls us to unity, but so many things get in the way. Listed above are things that are incorporated in our battle for unity, whether they’re the reasons we want to do what’s right or the reasons we sometimes get it wrong. We are the Body of Christ, but sometimes it feels like we’re just a mess of hypocrites who prefer to talk rather than listen. Sometimes we feel like our little corner of the Church is more about worrying about the person next to us than dealing with ourselves. Or sometimes our corner of Church is fine, but the Church “out there” (on the media and in the articles and floating through cyberspace) just needs to be more like Christ, or even just like my version of Christ. —
Anyone know the feeling? Well, it’s not because the Church isn’t being the Church. Every single person who has God’s Spirit inside of them is a new creation, with a purpose and a place and He’s working good in them. And altogether, we are an amazing spiritual body! —
Then what’s the problem? Heck, I don’t know! I don’t have the answers. But I can speculate. And I think it comes down to this: — We’re all just humans. And we’re all just different. —
We go through transition times, in our culture and our communities and our world, and things change. We have people coming into our churches who are starting to question things that have been taught for years. We have people searching books and blogs and different denominations to find new revelations. We are all people who are trying to fit the entire universe into our own, little, narrow perspective that we’ve collected these past however-many-years we’ve been on earth. And it’s hard, and it’s challenging, and it grows us, but sometimes we get it wrong. —
Sometimes the things we believe, or even the person that we are, is very different from who we were or who we will be. My 17 year old self is not the same as my 25 year old self; and then another 5 years will change that; and then another 5, and another 10, and so on until we look back and see the many times God has been planting and shifting our lives to broaden our perspective so that it captures more of His. But God’s a whole stinkin’ eternity old, and I think we’ll need a little more time than 70-100 years to figure Him out. —
So where am I going with this? —
Sometimes we can get discouraged when we think about our relationships with other Christians. Miscommunications, betrayals, strong emotions, arguments, words said, words restrained, speaking too much, giving too little… it is so easy to see only the broken parts of ourselves! Shouldn’t Christians be more loving and forgiving then the rest of the world is? Seeing only the struggles can make it easy to be disheartened. — BUT- No matter how much hurt or pain has passed between other Christians and myself… — No matter how many times I fail to listen or love…. — No matter how many disagreements or heated words or frustrations of being misunderstood I have experienced… — I KNOW that in Heaven, this will all be gone! —
Bitterness will be a thing of the past. Hurt will disappear. Anger and frustration and clashing personalities will seem like a fading dream compared to the beauty and glory of Heaven and Jesus’ presence. No matter what our differences are, we still share the same bond of Jesus. —
I anxiously await the day when I can heartily shake the hand of every Christian I’ve ever known, look them in the eye and truly see them through the eyes of Christ. When we can rejoice in who we have become and take delight in each other’s varied yet completed reflections of God. When we can be a perfect Body, in our perfect bodies, and just worship Jesus together in true unity. —
Everything will be made clear. All the seeds we’ve planted will be seen and sown. Our perspective will finally open up to encompass God’s mighty understanding, and everything we’ve ever wondered about will be at our fingertips to discover. —
I can’t wait to enjoy that beautiful freedom and adventure with everybody in the Body of Christ. We can take all of eternity to explore, create, laugh and enjoy LIFE together! Seriously, it’s beyond my comprehension! —
Through prayer, Scripture, and listening to the Holy Spirit, God can lead us to reach more of that in our lives here on earth. But even when it feels like we’ll never make it, we can all smile in anticipation for the day when these differences, that seem so mountainous now, will fade away into the background as God truly shows us His glory in ways that we can never imagine today. Come quickly, Lord!
Hannah had a great discussion with Wax Woody Allen in this picture.
(Well I’m reviewing these all at once because I forgot to review them as I watched. I usually have to wait a few days, at least, in order to see how a movie settles with me, but writing them all together may mean that they get kind of combined in my head. But I’ll do my best.) —
Hannah loves Woody Allen, my mom hates him because he’s too dark, Dad doesn’t like his comedic timing as an actor but enjoys his stories, and I think Elizabeth likes him fairly well, so I was interested to see where I would come out on the subject. The only one I’d see before was Midnight in Paris, which I liked and is the only one my Mom likes. So, here are my 5 Woody Allen movies that my sister, Hannah, gave me in April.
This was a good story, and probably one of the top of the week. I thought both Allen and Diane Keaton did a great job, and I enjoyed the format of the story; the way that Woody Allen’s character kept talking to the people around him and you could see into his head.
My older sister loves this movie, and so I think I was expecting to be a little more emotionally moved by it than I was. It might’ve been that for her, this was one of the first movies where she’d seen a good representation of a realistic relationship ending, but ending well. This didn’t feel like the only movie I’ve seen that’s done that (though I can’t think of any other examples) so I think it just didn’t connect with me as strongly as it did for her. But I thought it was very well done, it entertained me along the way, and I cared about the characters. It was a solid one.
The Purple Rose of Cairo
I had no clue what this one was about, and as soon as the major thing happened that made this movie what it was, I was like, “What? It’s THIS kind of movie?” The story gripped me quickly, and I very much wanted everybody to do well. The main guy was so charming! It was a great story that blended fantasy and reality beautifully, with moments of whimsy alongside the mundane. I was warned ahead of time that it ended sadly, so I was prepared for that and ok with how they did it by the time the ending came. It was definitely sad, but not necessarily hopeless. This one definitely entertained me and drew me in.
Take the Money and Run
The second one starring Woody Allen (see how nice my pattern was? He starred in every other movie) started off setting the tone right away, with its documentarial narration filled with zany silliness and morbid humor. It had me giggling all along the way, even for the jokes that didn’t make sense (him being a rabbi as a drug side effect made me laugh out loud even though it was nonsensical), and the movie kept its tone throughout the whole thing. It was surreal and making fun of itself, and while there clearly wasn’t a lot of depth to it, it was definitely a fun one to watch.
Bullets Over Broadway
“Yay John Cusack!” I’m pretty sure that’s what I said when I saw that he was in it. Anyway, this one was the most NORMAL feeling movie of the month; the one with the least amount of weird reality dimensions playing throughout. I liked this one pretty well, too, though I remember having some negative emotions towards it after finishing it; I can’t remember what they were now. The movie took an unexpected turn through the middle, which amused me, and I think when it climaxed that it resolved itself quickly but efficiently by the end. I remember being a bit worried that it wouldn’t end well, but overall I was satisfied. (Though I found it quite annoying when the lady kept going “don’t speak” and clamping her hand over his mouth constantly.)
This one was a mix for me, because it had some very sweet moments, but it also had many more explicit innuendos (not surprising, considering the story) which I never enjoy, and the weird-reality-dimension-narration in this one was… odd. Maybe if I understood anything about whatever mythology they were talking about and how it connected to the story, it would make more sense and feel less out of place. So I just ignored it and assumed I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to get it. But despite those aspects, I did think it was a sweet movie and it had characters I rooted strongly for. (Also, Little Red Riding Hood from the recorded stageplay of Into the Woods with Bernadette Peters was in it, and I was very excited when I recognized her.)
PUTTING THEM IN ORDER
5. Mighty Aphrodite (sweet story but had several things I disliked)
4. Bullets Over Broadway (solid story and characters but I had conflicting emotions; maybe that would change on a rewatch)
3. Take the Money and Run (a solid silly one that was great fun)
2. Annie Hall (a very good story that I expected to like more than I did)
1. The Purple Rose of Cairo (the one that I was most connected to emotionally)
That was almost the exact reverse order of how I watched them! 🙂 Overall, I think Woody Allen has some great concepts and executions of stories, and while I’m a sucker for happy endings and his aren’t always happy, I love how he throws surreal atmosphere throughout the movies; it keeps them interesting, and I think he does a good job of the ending matching the tone of the story. —
Next time… Elizabeth’s pick of 5 Best Picture Winners!