Monday, June 25, 2012

Waterfights and Popsicles

My family celebrated my nephew’s 8th birthday on Sunday with pizza and cake and ice cream. We have family dinner every other Sunday and I love it, but it’s especially fun during the summer when we can eat outside. This time after dinner we ended up having a huge water fight with the water balloons found in my parent’s garage. By we, I mean me and the kids (my nieces and nephews). The other adults didn’t want to get wet, although with the right incentive, grandma will be right in the middle of things.  But we had a blast anyway.  And at 98 degrees, it doesn’t take long to dry. Water fights and popsicles are some of the best things about summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vacation is coming

My next vacation is coming up.  It will be my second trip to Europe in less than 12 months. The last trip was to Italy. This time I’m headed to Sweden and Denmark. I’m starting to get pretty excited. Although for this trip, I have probably planned fewer things to do and see than any of my other vacations abroad.  I’m not exactly sure why that is but I’m kind of looking forward to just letting things happen in between the planned adventures.  And if all else fails, I counted 63 unread books on my kindle and I never have a problem just camping out somewhere and reading.

It’s always fun to pack and get ready to go and the excitement really ramps up when it’s finally time to leave for the airport. But I think the moment I really know I’ve made it and not having some strange dream is when I finally get off the plane in a foreign country. It’s a very disorienting feeling. I’ve just been on an airplane for anywhere from 8-14 hours (and actually traveling for much longer) and I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus. I actually hate flying. Not because it’s scary or anything, but because I hate being shut up in that small space. I tolerate it because it’s the easiest and fastest way to get to the places I want to go. But I digress. The first things I notice when arriving in a foreign country are the smells, climate, and strange languages all around me. It’s noticeably different from home, even in an airport. When I finally leave the airport, the feeling is amplified.

I remember arriving in Hong Kong. We had just taken a train into the city from the airport and walked up the stairs to the street level from the subway.  The hot, humid air hit me and then I took a breath. Hong Kong has such a different smell and I will never forget it. It’s almost a mixture of old concrete buildings and cooking oil. I definitely knew I wasn’t in Kansas, er Utah, anymore. J It was the same way when I went to Spain.
It’s definitely a little overwhelming and bewildering getting into a foreign country.  But I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some favorite movies

I’m not really into modern “chick flicks” or even romantic comedies, although there are some I like, but I adore romantic period movies so I decided to make a list of my favorites.

1.      North and South (2004) – This movie has the best ending EVER! I seriously cried buckets (the good kind) the first time I saw the end of this movie. It has some great moments and I don’t see how anyone can not be affected watching John Thornton say “Look back at me.” After I saw this movie, Mr. Thornton became the number one gentleman for me, and it’s hard to top Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy. It’s not all about Mr. Thornton though. Nicholas Higgins and Mrs. Thornton are excellent characters as well. And the contrast between the north and south and rich and poor is well done. As a plus, this movie has some really beautiful theme music. 
2.      Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) – Oh, Miss Pettigrew! This is such a feel good movie for me. One crazy day and a down on her luck governess has her life changed forever. I never tire of this movie. Francis McDormand does an awesome job as Miss Pettigrew.
3.      The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) – Yes, I know they butchered the book here. I enjoyed the book but I think if you can forget about it and just pretend the characters share names and a few similarities, you can enjoy the movie. I think it’s fantastically entertaining and full of betrayal, loss, love, and redemption.  And I really like the happy ending.
4.      Persuasion (1995) – This one stars Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds (although I do like the 2007 version too). Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel. I love Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth and I like this adaptation of the novel. I like the way Anne has learned her own mind and tries to be a good daughter and friend but at the same time won’t give up her second chance for happiness. Ciarán Hinds may not be the most handsome man, but I think he’s a great actor and a great Captain Wentworth. And it contains what I think is one of the most romantic letters ever written.
5.     Pride and Prejudice (1995) – This was probably the first period movie I ever saw and loved. Until I saw North and South, Mr. Darcy was THE MAN. The scene where Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth stare at each other across the room is classic. As is the wet shirt scene. J
6.     Cold Comfort Farm (1995) – I love the Starkadders. “There’ll be no butter in hell!” has got to be one of the best lines ever, but there are a bunch of great lines in this movie. A house full of eccentric and crazy people is my kind of house. There are some great performances in this one, especially Amos, Judith, and Seth, and I love watching Flora make them all neat and tidy.
Interestingly enough, all of these movies were based off books and I have read every one of them except for North and South. I own the book, so I need to get around to reading it one day soon.
Some runners up:
Wives and Daughters (1999) – subtract major points for no kiss at the end, but the rest is quite good.
Northanger Abbey (2007) – this seems to be JA’s least well liked book, but I liked it and think the movie is charming and one day I will read The Mysteries of Udolpho.
Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998) – Drew Barrymore isn’t my favorite for Cinderella, but I do love that her character is strong and knows her own mind.
Twelfth Night (1996) – Helena Bonham Carter is great in anything she does and it’s easy to understand even with the Shakespeare.
The Princess Bride (1987) and Stardust (2007) – not sure if these last 2 are really period movies, but again they are both great romantic, happily ever after movies.