Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Today is the day that we sit down and reflect over the past year, and think about what we would like to accomplish in the new year.

My New Year's Resolutions can be summed up in one phrase - "keep trying." I will keep trying to exercise on a regular basis. I will keep trying to decrapify this house. I will keep trying to be patient, kind and understanding. I will keep trying to learn new things...

I wish everyone to have a happy and healthy 2008 - whatever your resolutions are.

Tonight, the fam and I are going to party with the Dallas STARS and then come home before "the crazies" are out driving on the road. We've done that for the last three years. It's fun and all, but I miss me a good, fun party. Maybe, next year...(I will keep trying to have/attend a fun New Year's Eve party again, once before I die.)

And if you think that my tree is still lightless, I leave you with this shot taken as Christmas Eve was turning into Christmas Day...

To think that I now have to take it all down...

Merry Karma out.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Yesterday was a yes good, very good day...It started out at 0415, when I got up and got ready to drive to my favorite knit shop in Plano - The Woolie Ewe - for their annual blowout sale. I got there at 0515 and armed with my list, I set out to grab as many items on it that I could. For some reason, I thought that the sale started at 0300. Dumb me. It really started at 0500; so, it turns out that I wasn't very late at all. It was a good sale - 50% off e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g until 0800, then I think it was 35% off. For the first time ever, books and needles were included in the sale. What a deal! Why wouldn't a person get up at the crack of dawn for those terms?

It was crowded. There was a definite traffic pattern, and even if you were walking with the flow, it felt as if you were in a school of salmon swimming upstream. I meant to take a few crowd shots, but all I had with me was my cellphone, and the pics would not have been that great.

I managed to get all the yarn on my list, plus four skeins. (The little colorful ones in the middle of the picture are the rogues.)

I also grabbed several books that have been on my wish list.

After paying for my purchases, I drove back home and was laying down on the couch for a little nap by 0700.

I got up at 1030, cleaned up and drove back to Dallas to spend the rest of the day with my friend Jules. We took a walk, ate lunch and saw two movies. I will save the movie reviews for another day. I got back home by 1800 (6pm), had supper, watched a little tee vee while flipping through my new books and fell asleep rather early. Wonder why...

Merry Karma out.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Y'all

I was feeling all "Bah Humbug" ish this year. Work was really hectic. Last year, the boss went out of town for half the month of December; so, it was an automatic vacation for me. I was able to complete all my Christmas tasks early and had some quality time to play. This year, not so much. He took off last Friday, is off today, and will return Wednesday just to start doing procedures for those people who want to get their colonoscopies in before a new deductible kicks in. I took off Thursday, but spent it catching up on the 30 dictations for the new consultations we've had in the last two weeks. I had done 10 here and there during those two weeks, but couldn't sit down long enough to string together coherant thoughts for the others. Well - after a few hours of that fun activity - my Christmas began!

I finished up most of the Christmas shopping on Friday. I also treated myself to a pedicure. The tootsies were tired. Saturday, I finally found the husb's Christmas present. It was after I had treated myself to a massage at the Coldwater Creek Spa. That was really an experience in relaxation. First, you check in, you change into a robe and slippers, and you are treated to a foot soak. They put a warmed neck roll on you. You sit in a room with comfy chairs and the lights are turned down low. There's one of those fake waterfalls on the wall that makes the light sound of water dripping into water. After 55 minutes of a wonderful massage, I went back into the relaxation room. You can stay as long as you want. I stayed for about 30 minutes while I calmly thought about getting the husb's present and getting home to start wrapping. It was soooo nice. Meanwhile, the weather outside turned windy and cold! Luckily, I had packed a warmer jacket into the car. So, I bought the gift, stopped by the local women's shelter in Denton to drop off a donation of clothes that no longer fit, ran by the store for nuts and raisins and headed home. I wrapped presents in between my chores around the house. I finished wrapping by 9:00 that night. Yay!

Yesterday, my mother and I baked some Christmas cookies. I baked a birthday cake for her. We had the in-laws over for supper and we celebrated...Happy BD Momma! I spent the rest of the evening on the couch knitting. I finished a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend for Christmas.

Today - I have a few errands to run that do not involve going to the mall.

There are a few good movies opening or have opened in the last couple of weeks. I have a list a mile long. I hope to see Enchanted, Charlie Wilson's War, There Will Be Blood and Sweeney Todd this week. I will leave you with an account of the movies I have seen.

In the last couple of weeks, I saw Dan in Real Life. Steve Carrell plays a widower with three girls. He writes a parenting advice column. Juliette Binoche plays a woman he meets in a bookstore. Emily Blunt and Dianne Wiest also star. It was almost as funny as Lars and the Real Girl, but definitely more predictable. The 40 Year Old Virgin was funny and very crude. This movie is funny and inteligent. I give it two thumbs up. The Golden Compass was really good. Nicole Kidman, Sam Elliot and Daniel Craig star in this adaptation of the best selling trilogy by Philip Pullman about parallel universes and fantasmagorical elements. If you like the Chronicles of Narnia, you will like this movie. I thought it was good. Finally, I saw Juno – I really liked this movie, it was funny, sad and smart. It is about a 16-yr-old girl, who gets pregnant and decides to put the baby up for adoption. The character has some really good, witty lines, but it made me wonder if a 16-yr-old could really be that witty and mature. Other than that, it was good.

Then, there's the list of DVDs, in case you are looking for something to watch while the weather outside is frightful:

Hairspray – If you wanna see John Travolta in panty hose – this movie is the one to see. It’s a cute adaptation of the Broadway musical. If my memory serves (and that’s iffy), Rikki Lake played the lead on the stage. Nikki Blonsky, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken and Amanda Bynes also star.
Waitress – Keri Russell stars in this movie about a waitress who bakes unbelievable pies inspired by events in her life. She finds out that she is pregnant, and she is not too thrilled about the prospect, because she is in a dreadful marriage. Cheryl Hines is also in it, as well as the writer/director of the movie, Adrienne Shelley. It was a cute movie, but on a sad note, Adrienne Shelley was discovered murdered in her NY apartment just months after the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.
Evening – Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Claire Danes, Natasha Richardson, Toni Colette, Mamie Gummer and Glenn Close star in this movie about a dying woman (Redgrave) who is surrounded by her daughters (one played by her real-life daughter – Richardson) as she remembers a one-night stand she had so long ago that she kept secret all her life. Danes plays her in the flashbacks. Mamie Gummer plays her good friend in the scenes when they were young. Meryl Streep, Gummer’s real mother, plays the character in the present. It was very good.
A Mighty Heart – This movie is based on Mariane Pearl’s memoirs about her husband’s murder in Pakistan by terrorists. Angelina Jolie stars as Mariane. She does a great job, as usual. Daniel Pearl was a journalist going out for another story, when he didn’t return home. It was a terrible tragedy, and my heart goes out to the whole Pearl family, but I really didn’t like this movie.
Pan’s Labyrinth
– Is it real, or is it Memorex? This movie, in Spanish with English subtitles, is set in
Spain following the Spanish Civil War. It is about a little girl, Ofelia, who may be the lost princess of an underground world. Her earthly mother has married a cruel army captain who is trying to finish off the remaining guerilla forces of the opposition. Her mother is pregnant and bedridden, when Ofelia sets off to complete three tasks that will return her to her real family. The big question, is this story just fantasy and we should just go with it and suspend a little belief, or is it alive in the imagination of a little girl caught in an impossible situation who uses fantasy as a coping mechanism? It was very, very good.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley – This movie is set in
Ireland in the 1920s. Two brothers have differing opinions about the issue of British rule in Ireland. An incident unites them and both join the Irish Republican Army, using violence to push the Brits out of Ireland. It was alright.
The Italian – cute little movie in Russian with English subtitles. It’s about a little boy who is about to be adopted by an Italian couple. He decides to run away and try and find his birth mother before it is too late and she is lost to him forever. I really liked it.
Imagine Me and You
– A rather dumb flick about this woman who catches the eye of her female florist as she is walking down the aisle to get married. Meh…

Everything is Illuminated
– Elijah Wood plays this guy who collects all kinds of things that pertain to his family’s history. He travels to the
Ukraine to meet the woman responsible for saving his grandfather from the Nazis. His guide and the guide’s grandfather provide some humor on this quirky little road trip that they take.
The Hoax – Richard Gere stars as Clifford Irving, in this based on fact film about an author (Irving) who tries to convince McGraw Hill to publish his biography about Howard Hughes. He tells them that he has the blessing of Hughes to publish this exclusive story, and in exchange, they write a check to Hughes for one million dollars. Many other well-known actors star in this picture – Hope Davis, Alfred Molina, Marcia Gay Harden and Stanley Tucci. It was pretty good, although frustrating to watch this guy dig himself deeper and deeper with his lies.
– This documentary is another Michael Moore perspective on a very real problem – financial barriers to health care. It’s rather slanted and it does not give the complete picture.
The Namesake – Kal Penn plays a guy who is born in
New York to Indian parents. He grows up becoming very westernized and ignoring his roots. Things happen and he has to grow up quickly. It was very good. There is a lot of Hindi spoken, especially in the beginning, that is sub-titled, but the majority of the movie is in English.
Breaking and Entering – This film was a stupid movie with good actors. Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn and Jude law star in this movie. A teenager breaks into this business owned by Jude Law. Jude is dating/living with Robin Wright Penn who has this autistic daughter from a previous marriage. Juliette Binoche is the robber teen’s mother. The actors did well with the material, but it was a big, fat “who cares” in my book.
– Oh.My.Gawd. This movie was pretty bad. Samuel L. Jackson, Edie Falco and Julianne Moore star in this film about a woman (Moore) who reports that her son was kidnapped by a black dude who hijacked her car. It was just bad.
Ratatouille – cute, cute animated flick about a rat who can cook. It is set in gay
The Nanny Diaries – cute movie with Scarlet Johanssen who plays a nanny for this
New York couple – Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti. I liked it, but it is rather fluffy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Merry Karma out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

2008 Knitting Resolutions

One of the many knitters I am lucky and happy to know challenged the Lone Star State Knitters to post our resolutions regarding the yarn. Here are mine:

In 2008, I resolve to:
1. Continue knitting down my stash. My goal is to be stashless one day. I hesitate to say by the end of the year, because I think that it may have to be a neverending goal.
2. Finish the fingerless mitts that have been on hold all of 2007.
3. Finish the tie that has been on hold all of 2007.
4. Frog the still-incomplete pink ribbon top, start over and complete it.
5. Complete the carseat blanky.
6. Complete the Louisa Harding shawlette.
7. Complete the baby sweater and send it to the recipient already!
8. Complete a bootie and cap set and send it to the recipient already!
9. Get organized on Ravelry by loading pictures of my stash, finish adding my books and complete my needle inventory.
10. Make an Absolutely Fabulous afghan for me.
11. Make the Storm Water Shawl for me.
12. Learn how to incorporate beads in my knitting.

That's it. I had to get those UFOs on a list to encourage me to get them finished. Nothing like accountability.

MK out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lions for Lambs

I saw this movie today. It was well acted and it was a good story. Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise star in this movie with three intersecting stories about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Redford and Streep were marvelous. Tom Cruise was his usual narcissistic and manic self. It was hardly a stretch for him. Redford also directed this film. There was political undercurrent to this movie, and it was a tad manipulative. I will say, that no matter what your political leanings are, there is one point in the movie that rings true. Instead of complaining about something and doing nothing about it, a body could try to change the situation. Even if nothing comes of it, at least doing something is better than doing nothing.

Merry Karma out.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Writer's Strike

I do have favorite television shows, and I've mentioned most of them before. The majority of them are guilty pleasures - Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, and Women's Murder Club and Ugly Betty. They are entertaining, but not that important in the grand scheme of things. ER and Men in Trees - may be guilty pleasures for some, but addictions for others. (I fall in the latter category.) True - most television shows are not that important in the grand scheme of things, but I say po-tay-to and you say po-tot-to.

This writer's strike thing is causing serious trouble for millions of Americans who can no longer get their weekly fix of entertainment. What are we going to do???

Luckily, I have 63 movies queued in my Blockbuster On-Line account.

On a serious note, I think that the writers have valid arguments. I hope that an agreement will be reached soon.

MK out.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Early Oscar Buzz

I know that the Oscars aren't set to air until the end of February, and the nominations have not been determined, but I've been watching movies (so tell me something new) and some of them have been getting early Oscar Buzz.

First, I saw Across the Universe. This musical is a Beatles fan's delight. The entire soundtrack is made up of music written and made famous by the Fab Four. Even those who didn't grow up in the era will enjoy it. Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess star as Lucy and Jude - two star crossed lovers who navigate their story set in the 1960s. Notice their names? All the characters are named after people found in Beatle songs - Max, JoJo, Sadie, Prudence...It was surreal. The whole movie was a bit surreal, and there were times that I felt as if I were trippin on the LSD. (As if I've ever been on an actual LSD trip.) The movie is tagged PG-13 – with Drug Content, Profanity, Violence, Adult Situations, Nudity, Sexual Situations – ummmm…that’s an R by definition to me. It was a good movie, none-the-less.

Next up, I saw Elizabeth – The Golden Age – Cate Blanchett once again plays the famous monarch in this sequel. Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen and Samantha Morton also star. The costumes, the cinematography and the acting were all top rate. They took some liberties with the historical facts, but this is Hollyweird we’re talking about. I loved it.

I really enjoyed Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney, Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson. George plays a janitor for a powerful law firm with many clients – some of whom get themselves into situations that need cleaning. One of the firm’s clients is a company involved in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. The partner who is leading the defense quits taking his meds and has a psychotic episode. George is sent in to take care of the situation. It is a good story and the movie was well acted. Very good! Of the movies I’ve seen so far, it would be a contender for Best Picture.

If I had to pick Best Picture today, Lars and the Real Girl would win. It was so funny and it had a good story. People were rolling on the floor in the theater. It’s about a very introverted guy (and there is a reason for this personality trait) who buys himself a girlfriend – a life sized, anatomically correct doll. He treats her as if she is a real person, much to the dismay of his brother and SIL – who are already worried about his bazaar behavior. Soon, the doll takes on a life of its own. Excellent film!

Emile Hirsch stars in Into the Wild as Christopher McCandless, who graduates from college in the 1970s, leaves behind his possessions, burns his cash and hitchhikes to Alaska. He wanted to leave the materialistic world behind and live in the wilderness. William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Vince Vaughn, Catherine Keener and Jenna Malone also star. This film is based on a true story and it was directed by Sean Penn. It was pretty good.

Now, for a little violence, there's American Gangster . Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and Josh Brolin star in this movie adaptation of a true story. Denzel plays Frank Lucas, a drug kingpin who brings in a better product and sells it for less than the competition. His way of smuggling it into the country is pretty innovative. Crowe plays Ritchie Roberts, the narc who brings him down. I liked it.

And if that wasn't enough violence, then watch No Country for Old Men with Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Kelly MacDonald and Tess Harper. This thriller, by the Coen Brothers, is supposedly a “distinctly American crime story that explores timeless Biblical themes in a contemporary southwestern setting.” A guy comes into a wad of cash from a drug deal gone badly, and he decides to make a run for it with the money. (As if…) He knew that someone would be coming after that money, but it didn’t stop him. Oh no…not him. Well, I don’t know about those timeless Biblical themes, but everyone knows you can’t throw good money after bad, especially if you’ve stolen it. Thou shalt not steal didn’t enter into anyone’s mind, apparently. The movie is set in Texas around 1990. It was graphically violent, yet well acted; however, it missed its mark somewhat with me. I left the theater wanting more...not more violence, just more.

So on that note dear Internets, I will leave you for now.

Merry Karma out.