Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up, Plus a Few Movie Reviews

February 9, 2010

We started off this fantastic three day weekend with an awards ceremony on Friday, where Danielle was awarded Principal's Honor Roll. Since they gave out the awards during my prep period on Friday, I was able to go see her and take her picture. (It's actually worked out pretty well these past couple of years--they moved when they give out the awards, and it almost always coincides with my prep period. It's definitely a perk of the elementary school being so close to the campus that I can run over to her school during these assemblies and not have to miss any of my own classes.) I am so proud of Danielle for all of her hard work this year--she's doing such a great job of being responsible and caring about doing her best work in school.

Later that night, we headed out to Family Dinner Night. This week happened to be Danielle's week, and she chose IHop. Her question of the day (the person whose week it is to choose the restaurant also gets to come up with the question of the day all week) was "What's your favorite restaurant that is no longer in business?" I was actually surprised that everyone was so easily able to come up with an answer to that question. My answer (one that my siblings will recognize immediately) was The Big Yellow House. When we first moved to the Fresno/Clovis area, we tried out lots of restaurants in town, but our favorite by far as a family was The Big Yellow House. We'd go there after church most Sundays. It was a completely family-friendly restaurant, which is a big plus for a family with five kids. What we all loved most about it was that they charged you, if you were a kid, by weight. There was a great big oversized scale right there in the lobby, and if you were under 12 years old, you got to step up on to it before you were seated. Depending on where the needle fell, you were charged 99 cents, $1.99, or $2.99. In my present world, as an adult, I am fairly certain I would not be thrilled about being charged by my weight in a restaurant. But in those simple childhood days, what one weighed was just a number, without all that baggage attached, so to speak.

So....back to the weekend. Next up, Doug went out to play some music with his buddies, so the kids and I had the whole evening together. I had been thinking about taking the kids to see New Moon at the three dollar theater, but I was skeptical that Nicholas would enjoy it. I didn't see much else in the way of options, though, until I told the kids that Fantastic Mr. Fox was also playing there. Both of the younger ones perked up and begged me to take them to see that one--exactly what I was afraid of. I had seen a few stills from the movie, and suffice it to say the animation style did not attract me at all. Brianna was even less enthusiastic. I gave in, though, and told the kids we'd check it out. I enticed Bree to be a good sport and play along by saying that she and I could sit and make fun of the movie together. We're good at snarky comments. It's one of our hobbies. She couldn't resist.

Let me tell you, I am so happy we went! That movie just cracked me up! I haven't laughed outloud and so unabashedly since I watched The Hangover (NOT with my kids) in the theater. There is just so much in the film that is unexpected and weird and surprising and witty and sardonic. And the animation style completely supported the tone and moods the movie was trying to convey. Bree and I were genuinely laughing so loudly that Danielle shushed us more than once. I had to lean over to her to explain that we weren't in fact laughing AT the movie, as I had planned--we were laughing WITH the movie. Well...kind of. You know what I mean. All I'm saying is, if you haven't seen it, see it. It will make your day.

The next day we had a fairly mellow morning. In the afternoon, all five of us went to a family birthday party for Kathryn, who had just recently celebrated her sweet sixteen. We had a lovely dinner and lots of good conversation and way too much to eat. I can't believe she's already sixteen! Yet another reminder of how quickly all of our children are growing up.

After the party and after the delivery of the kids to their dad's house for the remainder of the weekend, Doug and I went back home and settled in for some movie-watching. We throw a big Oscar party every year, so we try to take in as many of the Oscar-nominated movies as possible before the big event. On tap for Saturday night was District 9. District 9 is not a movie I would normally go out of my way to see, which is part of the beauty of our Oscar-movie-watching plan. I am exposed to films outside of my comfort zone. It's a pretty dark but thought-provoking allegorical film that addresses the issue of race relations and humanity. The protagonist begins the film as a milquetoast middle-management type for whom the moral compass is unexamined, taken for granted. Throughout the course of the film, the tables are turned and he begins to question his own role in the inhumane objectification of others. His transformation, both literally and figuratively, is artfully and deftly explored through the actor's powerful performance. It's a movie that will stay with you for awhile. (Not only that, it's got some rousing good action sequences, if you're into that sort of thing.)

Sunday, of course, was the Super Bowl. I have to admit, I've never been a huge football fan, and up until about five years ago, I had never even watched a Super Bowl game. There was simply no allure for me. I now recognize, however, that it's okay if I don't recognize the teams or the quarterbacks or know who is favored to win or know why the underdog is the underdog. What I do know is it's a great excuse to get together with friends, enjoy food that's way too fried and fattening, and root for somebody--anybody--while getting to watch all those cool commercials they air between the huddles and the passes and the spectacular tackles. It's just good fun! I'm a convert. We spent this Super Bowl Sunday with our good friends Rick and Julieann and Jason and Heather. To be honest, there was a lot more laughing and eating than there was actually watching the big screen TV, but I was totally okay with that.

Finally, Monday came--a glorious Monday of sleeping in. No alarm clocks, no school. I love that we celebrate our presidents on two consecutive Mondays in February. It helps us make it through the dreary winter months. Though we did get a little cleaning done, Doug and I also did a whole lot of nothing, catching up on our DVR backlog. We also checked out another movie that's up for some Oscar love--Nine. I'm a big fan of musicals and this one is packed with big names and faces, so I've been looking forward to seeing this one for quite a long time. I will say I very much enjoyed it, but it was not the movie I was expecting to see. I thought I was going to see the brother of Chicago--a fun, rollicking flick despite some of its sordid story line. What we saw instead was more reminiscent of All That Jazz. It was the story of a director/writer struggling with his demons and wrestling that fine line between defining his reality and creating his fantasy worlds. Guido, our protagonist, is sympathetically depicted despite the fact that he has brought on his turmoil through his own choices--it's the push-and-pull of the artist who is both victim and perpetrator of his own artistic license, lost somewhere between the two and affecting all those who touch his world. The musical numbers that make up his sirens' songs are mesmerizing, enticing, powerful and seductive. They made me want to know more of their lives, their back stories. Guido, we know, but his women? We are only allowed glimpses of them through his eyes, through his imagination. Ultimately, it's what makes Guido sympathetic, that he gives us these women, part reality, part fantasy, inextricably tied with his own needs and desires. He is, after all, human, fallible, real. And we feel his struggle.

So now....back to my reality, back to work. My weekend? Fantasy, fun, flirty, fabulous. My Tuesday-that-is-like-my-Monday-this-week? A little less siren's song, a little more gritty reality. Thank goodness there's another three-day weekend on the horizon.


  1. Ok, so that was a loooong blog, but I loved it...as usual. There's so much to say, but I'm just going to leave it at this:


  2. Did not love District 9. Really liked Nine. Downloaded a couple of the songs. Have not seen Mr Fox. We don't have a cheap movie theater here so I will wait for the DVD. Thanks for your reviews :)