Saturday Night at the Movies

guardians

On the weekend I watched “Rise of the Guardians” with my grandchildren, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think they did too. The popcorn at any rate was a big hit.

When I was a child I believed in Jack Frost.  I had a teacher who told me if I didn’t stop pouting Jack Frost would come along and freeze my “mad” face and I’d never be able to smile again.  You better believe I took that guy seriously.  So I was a little surprised to be watching a movie in which children didn’t believe in him, even though evidence of his existence was everywhere in the magic of their winter fun.

What a great cast of characters!  All apparently chosen by the Man in the Moon.

Nicholas St. North, Guardian of Wonder (aka Santa Claus) has a very strong Russian accent, and Yetis working for him.

E. Aster Bunnymund, Guardian of Hope (aka Easter Bunny) is six feet tall and has an Australian accent.

The Tooth Fairy, Guardian of Memories, collects children’s teeth, which hold their most precious memories.

Sandy, Guardian of Dreams (aka the Sandman) doesn’t speak, but communicates with sand images above his head.

Pitch Black, the Nightmare King (aka the Boogeyman) the essence of fear –  because every story needs at least one villain.

Jack Frost, eventually to become Guardian of Fun, if he can just get somebody to believe in him.

It’s a simple story with a lot of tense situations caused by the Boogeyman, who wants to stop children from believing in anything except him and his nightmares.  It was especially sad when it looked like he destroyed the Sandman, but don’t worry, he came back.  Hope that doesn’t ruin the suspense for you.

And of course there’s a lovely happy ending, with the Boogeyman banished back under the bed.  Kids can still believe in him, but if they don’t fear him, he has no power over them.  And if they believe in the Guardians, they will always be there to protect them.  How totally awesome is that.

At the end we all picked our favourite guardian – Omayja loved the tooth fairy, Corey liked Jack Frost, Madison thought Santa was the best even though he was kind of mean. (Or maybe because he was mean, I’m not sure.)   Kale might have said the big rabbit, because he’s eleven and was playing computer games the whole movie and pretending not to listen and therefore declined to comment so I’ve made that assumption for him.  And I liked the Sandman because he was so lovely and quiet.

So there you go, it’s a movie with something in it for everyone.

Letter to Me, Aged 83

8/365 Matryoshka

Maybe I should be writing all this in bold caps for you my dear, since if you have managed to live this long I’m sure you’re mostly blind and completely deaf by now.  But I’m also certain you have the technology to enlarge my words and project them on to thin air 50 meters high, or convert them into shouting through implanted head phones or some such helpful communication device, all with the touch of your gnarled old fingers, in the year 2032.

Because if you haven’t changed too drastically I know you will have all the latest pads and pods and readers and gadgets at your fingertips, especially if your children and grandchildren still care enough to keep an old lady up to date.  And great-grandchildren.  Wow. Your self from way back here twenty years ago is having a hard time wrapping her head around that one.

So what can I tell you, now that you are a couple of decades older and wiser than you were in 2012?  This is very different from talking to my fourteen year old self (although I’m sure you’re not listening either) because I can’t give you any advice that wouldn’t be hopelessly old-fashioned by now.  All I can do is let you know what I hope in my heart you have become.

1.  Happy.  Please tell me you are happy with the things you’ve done and the places you’ve been and the people you’ve met in this lifetime.  If you’re not, shame on you, and there’s probably some great pills you should be taking for that, you grouchy old bag.

2.  Healthy.  You know, relatively speaking.  I hope your health issues are manageable and you’re not moaning and groaning and complaining all the time.  And I especially hope your main topic of conversation is not a long list of the people you know who died this week.

3.  Independent.  This one is a stretch when you’re in your eighties, but what I mean is that I sincerely hope you can still do many things for yourself on your own.  There is a fine balance here, because you also can’t be too proud to ask for help when you need it.  Just don’t be a burden.  And don’t climb up on the roof simply because you think you can get away with it.  Things like that could put you at the top of somebodys list of people who died this week.

4.  With it and Wise.  Yes, I know you’ve never really been either one of those things, but it’s never too late to try, is it?  If you’re not convinced that what you’re about to say makes sense, just sit there and say nothing.  People will mistake your silence for deep thought.  And I think it’s time you gave up the phrase “life is too short to….” because obviously some lives are not that short after all.

5.  Generous.  You can’t take it with you, whatever it is you’re clinging to, or whatever it is you’ve got in the bank or on paper or cluttering up your house.  If there are people around you who need it more than you do, give it away.  If they throw it in the trash once they’re out of sight, that’s okay too.  What you don’t know can’t hurt you.  And what you no longer have you also no longer have to dust.

6.  Kind and Loving.  Don’t ever stop loving your family and being there for them, no matter how extended or far-flung.  They’re the ones who will carry your memory with them after you’re gone, and it would be nice if those memories could be good and beautiful ones, not the kind that make them shake their heads and roll their eyes and pray they didn’t inherit any of your cantankerous disagreeable old genes.

7. At Peace with the World.   Stop fighting and accept the things you cannot change.  Let all those annoying young people you’re now surrounded by take over.  They have way more time and energy for all this nonsense than you do at this stage in your life.  Take a long nap.  You’ve earned it.

8. Unafraid.  Fear is such a waste of time and energy.  If you’ve been paying attention, you will have deduced from number seven that you don’t have huge amounts of either one of these things to spare. Don’t distress yourself with dark visions of doom.  You know what I’m talking about.  But if you’ve forgotten, never mind, that’s great, forget I mentioned it.  However, you should NOT give up your fear of stairs.  That’s a healthy one.

9. Tolerant, Understanding, Unbiased.  I hope you keep an open mind, even if you’re losing it. Never stop listening.  Never stop learning.

10. At Peace with your Soul.  Never regret who you were and who you are and whatever dumb and stupid things you did with your life.  You did a lot of good things too.  You deserve to be the happy, peaceful, loving soul of your dreams.  If what the psychic told you all those years ago is true, you have eleven more years to go.  I hope you enjoy every single minute of it.

Dora Does Living Colour

Dora does the stink eye.

Pink goes well with blue hair. And red arms.

Could be an Irish ballet.

Dora tries her hand at face painting.

This is coloring after my own heart.  I LOVE green hair.  And would you not just kill for this last ensemble?  And go totally overboard with the self-tanning to complete your look?  If you say no, there’s a lot more you need to learn about having fun.  Thank you Maddy and Princess O.  My fridge has never looked better.

On My Own Again

The pony tail girls with newly pierced ears!  All pictures for the next little while will be posed sideways.

My fridge has a new look, thanks to some industrious grandchildren.  They were here for two days.  I imagine if they stayed for a week I could get them to paper the entire house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a great visit – they got to spend a day at Galaxyland, go to the Wimpy Kid movie, color and paint, play some kind of queen/guard/chef/servant/royal dog game (I didn’t get a lot of the details straight since all of them were elaborating on them at the same time),  turn the basement into a disaster zone while watching tv (they are great multi-taskers), do stuff on the computer, decorate the driveway with chalk, eat A LOT of pizza and freak out about the crazy rain and thunder storms.

Then just like the end of a wild storm they were suddenly all packed up and gone.  My part-time loaner dog has happily left me too, picked up by the vacationers on their way home from the airport early this afternoon.

And here I am, alone again.  The silence is deafening.  I think I need a nap.

How To Grow Weeds In Your Own Back Yard


I am delighted to report that my defunct fire-pit/barrel-planter landscaping project is flourishing despite an almost complete lack of enthusiasm, personal interest, concern or care on my part, except for the odd brief confused and frowning contemplation of it, and subsequent picture snapping.  Because it’s pretty hard to describe this in mere words.

I catch a glimpse of it from my kitchen window and think, shit, I should do something about that.  But then I can’t think what, except maybe to destroy it, and really, it’s not hurting anybody, is it?

If anyone would like any pointers on growing unidentifiable (to me) green things in big pots by accident, I am definitely your go-to person.

While you’re thinking about that and wondering which one of us needs the most help, here’s some advice on pillow shopping.  If the plastic bag says “extra firm” you should take that seriously.  The two new replacement pillows for my bed which I brought home yesterday were hard to force into cases, there was so little give to  them. They took on the appearance of over inflated balloons with not a wrinkle to be seen.  No punching was required to get myself propped up in a comfortable position to read, but it was also kind of like placing my head on a slightly squishy rock.  This morning I wondered for a bit if my neck might be broken.  But it was just at some weird angle it’s not used to dealing with and seems to be straightening out as the morning progresses.

It’s been a long time since I’ve said anything about my beautiful, intelligent, astonishingly amazing grandchildren.  Here’s four of them and one large dog. They’re growing like weeds in their own backyard.   
Don’t think because I put them here that they’re less important to me than actual weeds. Sometimes it’s just fun to save the best thing for last.

‘Tis the Season

It’s creeping up on us!  Like it does every year when we’re not paying close enough attention to the calendar.  Less than a week to go and Christmas will be here.  ‘Tis the season for shamefully neglecting ones blog because there’s so many other more interesting things to dwell on and not enough time to write about them.

I spent two weeks with the four GP grandchildren last month, and this weekend with the St. A. one, so I’m feeling a little less guility that we won’t be with them all on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning this year.  And rather than thinking of words like boring and lonely, I’m trying to concentrate more on the notions of restful and relaxing and quiet and peace on earth instead.  With a lot of ‘dragging my butt to work’ thrown in.

We had a good time this weekend, even though I was kind of dreading the crowds.  Kenzie had a list of people that she wanted to shop for, and who has more time to go with you for that than grandma?  Plus a little extra money thrown in here and there doesn’t hurt either.  Her choices were all very well thought out, even down to the wrapping of the Toblerone bar for Mr. Ho (her math teacher) in paper that said Ho Ho Ho.  I think her friends will be happy with the things she picked out for them, but it won’t compare with how happy it made her to be able to give them each something special.

We knew the mall would be a zoo, but we tackled it anyway, standing in lineups and finally getting everything we needed.  We also made a side trip to “Laugh and Learn” where she was able to give me a LOT of hints about what might be a suitable gift for her February birthday.  Always a good idea to give grandma some help in that department or who knows what kind of strange thing you might end up with.

Once we were done with the shopping and the wrapping we did some other christmas-y stuff including an attempt at rice krispie coconut snowmen, which are pictured above.  How in the world anyone ever ends up with something that looks like that is WAY beyond us.  It is NOT as easy as you might think.  We didn’t have any coconut for one thing, (and Kenzie doesn’t like it anyway), or stick pretzels (we could only find the twisted ones) and we got gummy worms instead of licorice whips.  So that’s pretty much three strikes you’re out.  But we soldiered on.  The box does not stress strongly enough that you need to let things cool off and solidify.  Our first attempt at putting three balls together slowly flattened itself down into pancake shaped discs, very much like the way a snowman melts.  Interesting, but not the look we were going for.  Ever tried slathering icing all over a weirdly shaped pile of rice krispie cake?  Or sticking smarties to things with melted chocolate?  And trying not to lick your fingers??  Man. Now I remember why I try to avoid this kind of holiday fun.

There is a RESULT to show the world for all our efforts.  The generous sprinkling of icing sugar hid a lot of imperfections so I’d highly recommend that for whatever creative baking endeavour you’ve got dreamed up for your own afternoon of self torture.

I’ve also purposely kept the picture small so that you won’t be tempted to copy what we did.  We named this piece of artwork “Invasion of the Toothpickarm Aliens”.  I don’t really care if it gives you nightmares.  Kenzie refused to take it home with her, pretending that she was doing us a favor by leaving it on our counter for our holiday enjoyment.  W says he’ll take it to work with him tomorrow because the guys there will eat anything.

All the stuff to go north has been picked up!  I hope we didn’t forget anything important.  If we did, chances are it wouldn’t have fit into Dana’s little car anyway.  It’s going to be packed tight.  So there is no reason on earth to do any more shopping for ANYTHING.  Well, except maybe for whatever we want to eat on Christmas day.  I do have a small turkey but perhaps there should be a couple of other things on the menu.  I can pretty much guarantee you that rice krispie horrors will not be one of the dishes.

Kenzie Says

Kenzie (age 10 and a half) (in the middle wearing shades) says writing a blog is probably easy if all you have to do is just answer lots of questions.  So I asked her lots of questions to see what she had to say.  All of these questions are taken from Kid Chat Too (Bret Nicholaus and Paul Laurie)

If you had to paint a message on the roof of your house that could be seen by anyone driving or walking by, what message would you paint there?

Kenzie Lives Here!  Chico Lives Here!  Sal and Johnny Live here!  And My Mom Too! (It’s a pretty big roof.)

Suppose that for one week, instead of saying ‘”hi” to someone you had to greet them with the sound of a farm animal.  What farm animal’s sound would you choose for your greeting?

MOOOOO!  And I’d wear my cow slippers.

For each of the four seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) what is your favourite sound?

In the spring I like the sound of the rain falling, and the sound of the birds chirping.  In summer I like the sounds of big thunderstorms.  In the fall, the best sound is kids yelling Trick or Treat!  And in the winter – HO HO HO!

If you had to do a job someday that required you to wear a uniform, what job would you want more than any other?

I would like to be an ambulance person, the one who goes in the back of the ambulance with the people who are hurt and takes care of them on the way to the hospital.  Or I could be a person who takes people on a tour, like a guide at a museum, and tells all about the history of something and explains everything, like telling people everything about the titanic and everything that happened.

What do you think will be the most difficult part of being an adult someday?

You have to drive everywhere, and go to a job, and pay all the bills.

If the door to your bedroom could be in any shape you wanted other than the standard rectangle, what shape would you choose for your door?

A circle, or a heart, or a very small square, or a diamond would be cool too.

If you could change your last name to something completely different from what it is now, what would you choose as your new last name?

I like my whole entire name just the way it is.  I’m going to be known as Kenzie my whole entire life.  I really like my name.  Your name kind of tells people who you are.

If a toothpaste company asked you to come up with an all-new flavor of toothpaste for kids, what flavor would you tell them to produce?

Something yummy like chocolate cake and ice cream.  But not exactly.  It would still have to taste like toothpaste or kids would just eat it.

If you could wake up tomorrow morning and be able to speak perfectly any language in the world, what language would you choose?

Chinese, because it sounds kinda cool.  Or maybe Irish or French.  That’s all I can think of right now.

Would you rather have school start earlier in the day and end earlier in the day, or start later in the day and end later in the day?  (In other words, would you rather sleep later in the mornings or come home earlier in the afternoons?)

I’d like to start school at seven o’clock and come home at one thirty!  Actually, I’d like to never go to school again and just stay home.  Because I hate math.  I’d rather have history all day long and learn everything about the titanic and there would be no such thing as math.

Which of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch) do you think would be the hardest to live without?  Which do you think would be the easiest to live without?

It would be easiest to live without smells.  Because think of farting and burping.  Ewwww.  The hardest would be if you couldn’t see.  That would be really really hard.  If you’re blind you need to be good at hearing.  And if you’re deaf, you need to be good at seeing.

If you could permanently rid the world of any one type of insect or other creepy-crawly thing, which one would it be?

I have three.  Flies (I HATE flies, especially horse flies), wasps and hornets, and mosquitoes.  Oh wait, there’s four.  Also great big spiders.  Small and medium ones are okay.

If you could have in your backyard a statue of anything or anyone at all, what or whom would the statue represent?

I would have a big statue of the Titanic!  Or if that’s too big, it could be somebody from the titanic like Molly Brown, or Captain Smith, or Jack, or Bruce Ismay.

If your full name actually appeared in a dictionary, and the editors of that dictionary asked you to write a definition of who you are, what definition would you give yourself?

Kenzie is a very awesome polite girl who is interested in millions of things.  She has a wonderful family (refer to picture of cousins above).  She is happy that she is very thoughtful.  And she likes to eat the icing off the cupcake first.

(Sounds like a future blogger to me.)