Movies 2012: Weeks 15-17

The ebbs and flows of my film viewing are bizarre to me. How is it that I'll watch one movie in a week and not miss it at all then binge-watch. Wait I get it now. I feel guilty after watching only one movie in a week and try to make up for it by watching 5-10, feel like I wasted too much time watching that many movies, then go back to my more chaste viewing style. Ridiculous. Is this a cry for help? Maybe.

Week 15: April 8-14, 2012
60) The Descendants. George Clooney stars as a man looking for answers when he finds out his terminally ill wife was cheating on him. At the same time, he has some serious decisions to make about his family's valuable real estate. The stories don't mesh well and it's quite ridiculous. And yet... George... oh George. I like George. This film has its moments but overall it's at best, fair. 3.2 stars

Week 16: April 15-21, 2012
61) Marwencol. A documentary about a man who created a world full of dolls as a personal form of therapy after he lost his memory in a brutal attack. Fascinating. It would have been even more fascinating if it had been a short film. As a full length enterprise, the film dragged. 3 stars
62) The Iron Lady. Meryl Streep takes an Oscar-winning turn as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. There was too much emphasis on Thatcher's decline for my taste. It also floated back and forth through time somewhat recklessly. Not the best film. 3 stars
63) Anchors Aweigh. Gene Kelly & Frank Sinatra star as members of the Navy going on leave. I usually can't stand Kelly as an actor (I find him wooden) but he was enchanting from the outset. Cute but long. The cartoon segment, though? So ridiculous. 3 stars
64) Air Force One. Russian hijackers overtake Air Force One when Harrison Ford is playing the president. You just know it's not going down like that! Oh the hilarity and excitement that ensues! I also heard the worst line ever in a movie, "Gee boss! What are you doing here?" Really? Just terrible. Fun watch. 4 stars

Week 17: April 22-28, 2012
65) J. Edgar. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the FBI's notorious first director, J. Edgar Hoover. Overacted by DiCaprio with a plodding story line. Armie Hammer as Hoover's confidant, Clyde Tolson was pretty awesome. But not enough to make up for the dragging screenplay. 2 stars
66) Please Give. A successful Manhattan family develops a relationship with the granddaughters of the cranky old lady next door. Odd situations ensue as neurotic, narcissistic and indifferent personalities collide. Amusing and different. Enjoyable. 4 stars


Wedding Festivus

Post-DADT, I've actually gotten UNSOLICITED information! Yay!! My sister-in-law isn't really a wedding person so she's not having a big ceremony, just a family dinner in mid-June. She actually said "If you can make it" and "it's no big deal." Ma'am! We will be there! First, I'm looking for any excuse to go to Savannah! I mean what I meant to say was we want to help you celebrate! No really. How could we possibly miss that??? Not a chance! She insinuated cooking will be involved so I asked if she wants me to cook anything. She said probably and she'll let me know. I was like, "Cool!" Then I remembered Christmas 2010 and this past Thanksgiving where SIL and MIL both forgot the things I asked them to help with... and I whimpered a little. I'm not gonna know even a category to cook or bake in until the day before am I? DADT shall not reign here! I will ask again in a month. (It will torture me to wait that long.)

I immediately wanted to do something impressive since I will likely only be responsible for one thing versus the spread I try to do at holidays. My first thought? CROQUEMBOUCHE!! It took me hours to remember she's a vegan and that recipe calls for eggs, butter AND milk. :( It would be perfect for a wedding AND perfect for an occasion such as this where I can dedicate hours (4) of intricate work to one dish. I WILL make that one day. That day will likely not be in June. I have a few vegan recipes saved up but if you see something, shout me a holler, please.

SIL also added, "No, I'm not pregnant." Ugh. That again (number 7) (really pick just about any post leading up to our wedding)? We still haven't stopped asking women if they're pregnant (at any occasion where she's not crowning)? Please let grown people get married in less than 6 months without asking them if they're pregnant. Please! You know wedding planning doesn't HAVE to take 3 years, right? It CAN but it's not a necessity.

My mom loves adopting families. Her being from Mississippi but making a home in North Carolina means she got her family fix when and where she could. That didn't mean traipsing into the deep south multiple times per year. When we were growing up, there were always multiple families inviting us to birthdays, cookouts, holidays, you name it! If there was a cause to celebrate, adopted Aunt Ellen is there, kids in tow. Thanksgiving we house hopped and it was AWESOME! I hated turkey growing up (dry) so the thought of having one in the house for days and days after the holiday was beyond repugnant to me. House hopping eliminated that. Our adopted families all wanted us there so we would hit one house, eat, hang out, rinse and repeat at least two times. A.MA.ZING!! And the best part? To-go plates were insisted upon and of course only consisted of the best of the best! No taking home the gross, dried out anything! Only all-star leftovers!

My parents have been divorced over a decade but my mom still attends at least twice as many family functions on my dad's side as my dad. Part of this is because he's extraordinarily far from his own family. He's in Pittsburgh, the majority of them are in Charlotte. He also has a lot of female nieces with a string of women-centric events (baby & bridal showers) to which he wouldn't be invited anyway!

If there's a family, my mom is IN THERE. Seeing facebook pictures of everyone makes her feel like a part of my new family as well. So of course when I tell her about SIL's dinner my mom says, "I wanna go!" And so you shall! Roll out!

And one last bit of DADT news: Rashan does have a little history of breaking DADT. This 16-year family tradition was thrown out 2 weeks after we started dating. He told his family about me and asked them if they would like to meet me! This despite over a decade of dating lesser women (LOL) with his family none the wiser. He didn't know why he was breaking DADT but he did. Awwww! :)


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 139

1) My body is too unused to running three days in a row. It absolutely rebelled on Saturday after the third day in a row. I did not tell it to do this and do not appreciate its disobedience. HMPH! But I shall listen and run two consecutive days more often to get my body in the direction of three days in a row in a few months. (I had Gu (a gel for running fuel to be taken during long runs) for the first time Monday and UGH!!! TEXTURE!!! It's like the unholy middle ground between pudding and honey!)
2) Our neighbors are probably two of the worst people in the world. They are at least the worst couple I have any sort of tangential awareness of. Four fights from Wednesday to Sunday. Guess they were saving it up. I hate them.
3) It's no secret that the internet causes people to overshare... but I really feel like I've gotten more than my fair share of people oversharing in my direction. I don't need to know everything that goes on in your household. Thank you ever so much.
4) I found a nearby half-marathon in August!!! Training started this week! Now all I need is a sponsor! :)
5) LOLOL @ Rashan, who wins tweet of the week: Jameil is reciting "Annie" like I do "Friday" or "Belly."
6) The NYT has cut the number of free articles available from 20/month to 10/month and it is CRAMPING MY STYLE!!! Literally. The Style section is my favorite.
7) Can we stop passing along every statistic we see sans attribution? If we're not gonna stop doing this, I'm going to start making up a stat every week. Actually I know people won't stop doing this. Here is your first fake stat: One in five Americans eats 5 steaks a week. Shocking, isn't it!?
8) I am witnessing punctuation mark abuse on a regular basis and it's making me nuts! You can't react to everything with !!!!!! and ????? and ?!?!!?!?!? How do I know when you're actually excited or stunned???? Plus you're making me really weary. Of course because it drives me crazy, this post is filled with them...
9) I've decided to talk about babies on the blog again. I have them on the brain. I alternate between joy at my childless existence [Sleep, not dealing with someone else's waste matter (!!!), Rashan had to point out to me that pregnancy will likely mess with my marathon training over the next decade.... :(((] to wanting one RIGHT NOW. The latter wins out far more often than not. But can we talk about how much I don't want to lose myself, this runner's body and all of the delicious foods I love (soft cheeses, sushi, over medium eggs, medium burgers)? Have you seen the list of "potentially harmful" things lately? It's ridiculous. Basically a modern version of sticking menstruating women in a hut. This article (and its comments) made me feel better about it. Some things (many) are really beyond our control no matter how much we restrict the things to which we're exposed. Cigarettes & salmonella for all! J/k.
10) There are so many movies I'm not seeing in theaters these days that I'm acutely aware of the time it takes for them to go from theaters to Netflix. PLEASE HURRY UP!!
*I thought this posted on Monday (since that's when I scheduled it) so just pretend like it did.


DADT Strikes Again & Again

Rashan and his siblings (really his entire family) have a well-documented policy of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' aka DADT. Essentially don't start none, won't be none. If you stay out of my business, I'll stay out of yours. He might talk to or see them quarterly. As someone who talks to her mother 5+ days a week most of the time, I found this policy not only ridiculous but downright outrageous! For the most part, I let it go while we were dating. The only things I insisted upon were that he told his family about me when it was clear this was a serious relationship and that I meet his family. He had no problem with either of these things. I was quite nervous, he was very chill. I wanted to make a great impression (of course!) and he felt no need to seek their approval. He didn't care if none of them liked me. He loved me. Side eye to him not caring but he was serious on that point. Fortunately for me, the one who cares, they all love me!  And I find them wonderful!

I've mostly continued to let them have their little ways but I can't say it hasn't begun to grate on me again.  For instance, my brother-in-law and his family moved down to Savannah last month. I asked Rashan, "Why are they moving down there?" He says, "I don't know." I say, "... Are you gonna ask?" He says, "No." To condense this conversation considerably he doesn't know why they're moving down, WHEN, where they're living, what jobs they have, basically any pertinent information you would ask if a stranger was making a move let alone your family... I can't with them. So I take it upon myself to accept my role as somewhat of an outlier (the one who chats up everyone and has complete and utter disregard for DADT) and ask all the questions I wanted to know. And what do you know? He gave them to me without a fuss. Not difficult, right? Right.

These last few weeks have been rough. It is excruciating for me to watch my family have fun and bond WITHOUT ME via facebook. I hate when people have fun without me!!! Especially when our youngest niece, who's now almost 3 treated us like strangers at our wedding and now she'll know everyone but us!! We're now the only people on his side not in Savannah. Yes, I am actively seeking employment in Georgia now!! (Among other places...) And now they're sharing secrets! And juicy news!

Around the time BIL and crew moved, Rashan gets a facebook message from a guy he went to high school with. We'll call him S. S & Rashan were close enough for Rashan to be in S's wedding in 1998 but their communication has been essentially nonexistent henceforth. They're facebook friends and that's about it. In the ensuing time, Rashan's gotten married, S has gotten divorced. So when S sends Rashan a facebook message, it's absolutely out of the blue. Even better, it's out of the blue to say, "News flash. Did your sister tell you that we were getting married?" Rashan reads it and is like "WHAT??? What am I supposed to say to this????" Did we even know you were dating??? That would be a no. I'm like, "Ask him if it's a joke!" Rashan can't think of anything to say, decides to wait on it then decides he's waited TOO long and that he also shouldn't ask his sister or the dude because if she wanted him to know, she would tell him.

I wrote a letter. Like to hear it? Here it goes.

Dear D. A. D. T. ,

I hate your stinking face.


I'm incensed! HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT TO KNOW!? Or worse, how can you want to know but not enough to break this foolish code????? Rashan tells me I can ask but I'm like how crazy do I look going to her with now third hand information? Your alleged fiancé told my husband you're getting married? Is this true? Must we share such information via facebook and second or third hand at that? Can I at least get a text message? A smoke signal? Carrier pigeon? Nah? *shoulder slump, slinks off*

Fast forward to last night. S updates his relationship status to engaged. Minutes later, her page says she's engaged to him. I'm about to blow a gasket. (Do I have a gasket?? Mayhaps. If not, I grew one for the purposes of blowing at said moment.) "RASHAN!! CALL YOUR SISTER RIGHT NOW!! DO SOMETHING!! THIS SHALL NOT STAND!!" "She's your sister, too. Send her a text." Whyyyyyy??? Why can't you even call/text her right now??? Whatever. Not a moment longer!! I immediately send a text and acquire all of the details. Rashan thanks me for being his go between and gets the ill side eye. In some ways I think he's closer to my family than his own. He's far more likely to get into my sister's business than his own sister's. He'd probably prefer not to know either but following my sister on twitter makes that a moot point. I suppose we take our cues from each other within reason. Allow me to sigh again. SIGH!!!

In the midst of our rapid-fire texting, SIL says, "Told [S] about our DADT policy [yes... they even call it this amongst themselves... ugh] and he didn't believe me. Thought if he told Rashan that he would say something to me... Totally won that bet."


They both thought that was HILARIOUS!! *scowl* Also, how did NONE of his family say anything about this!?!? In any capacity??? More DADT. And thinking, "Surely she must've told Rashan by now." Except... she never did. Basically Facebook did. I told Rashan right then and there, you need not think another shocking text/fb message/ANYTHING else will pass without me doing IMMEDIATE follow-up and/or reconnaissance. Down there in Savannah keeping secrets. I SHAN'T HAVE IT!! But I would be wrong if I were to DADT getting pregnant, right? I'm just gonna tell you now that when the day comes I'll be really REALLY tempted to slide in some sly message that tells a fraction of the story. I don't know how you tell a fraction of a pregnancy but I'll figure it out! How about "I'm p..." then don't finish it. Then announce it on facebook. OR after weeks with no asking what "I'm p..." means (DADT), I finally say, "Pregnant with possibility. False alarm." Would they even care??? Doesn't matter. DADT or not, all bets are OFF!!!


10K #2: Cary Road Race Recap

When last we meet I had prepared for myself a training schedule after a disappointing first 10K. I wanted at least a three-minute improvement over my first 10K. I knew I could get under 1:18:00. In training even with walking segments I had done a little over 1:18:00. My secondary goal was 1:15:00. I had added some new speed workouts and hill training into my preparation hoping I would be able to see some relatively quick results. I knew I wouldn't be able to run the course prior to the race so I also needed to do some research.

A quick google search yielded a runner's forum about the race so I knew there was  a big hill in the first mile. Since it was a modified loop, we would hit it again in mile 3. My strategy was to go out relatively slow in the first mile or two to pace myself, then pick it up in mile three. In the previous race, I picked it up in mile 4 and that was way too late to make enough of a dent in my time.

Thursday I gathered all of my running gear to pack for my trip up there. My mom picked me up on Friday so we could make this a dual purposed occasion. I would run my race and we'd also hang out with my sister to celebrate her birthday! I was very excited! The girls would be back together! And Rashan really hates getting up for races. It turns out he was up before 8:30 (the start of the race) anyway without me waking him up.

Friday night, I'd decided to cook Thai. But both of them were not interested in the coconut milk. Seriously? So I made my old stand-by of angel hair pasta with diced fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion & crushed red pepper. I switched it up a little by adding spinach and mushrooms. It was delicious but everything takes longer in an unfamiliar kitchen so my feet were hurting by the end. Ugh.

I don't usually sleep well pre-race but I had slept terribly the entire week previous so I knew I'd be able to get some decent sleep. Except... I went to sleep around 10 knowing I'd need to be up at 6 to eat. When I woke up before my alarm, I felt extremely rested but hungry and a little thirsty. I decided if it was 5 something, I'd just get up and eat. Except when I looked at the clock, it was 1:18!!! Are you kidding me? Before my last 10K, I used that mid-sleep hunger and ate something at 3 a.m. It worked pretty well. So this time I got some pasta and did a load of laundry. I know!! I'm nutty. I finally got back in the bed around 4 but couldn't fall asleep until about an hour later. That made me a little groggy when it was time to get up but like I said, it's become a race morning ritual so I'm used to it. And I'm in good company. Lots of people share the same inability to sleep pre-race.

Race morning, I had to corral my mom and sister to get them out of the house on time. The bad thing about racing is that I have all of the energy and excitement of the race and sometimes it's just another morning of being up way too early for the people who are with me. I need them to be way more excited. Plus they were moving too slowly and I wanted to be out of the house at 7:30. We were 9 minutes late and I had an attitude. This wasn't going well. When we got in the car, I was cramped into the back seat of my sister's tiny G5. THEN there was some radio "discussion" foolishness about snitching. I can't. I requested music and she always has fast-paced stuff so my spirits picked up immediately.

We get to the race site and I get my timing chip then go to the bathroom. We are now 5/5 in non-portable toilet race bathrooms!!! I was quite happy! There were bread samples pre-race so I got some Great Harvest cinnamon chunk deliciousness to knock off the pre-race hunger I often get. I had brought tangelo slices as well just in case. This was the first time I was running with a reusable chip that attaches to your shoe. Every other race, I've had the foam chip attached to my race number. I decide to do a little warm-up then get my mind right so I leave them about 12 minutes out. I had written the times I wanted to hit each mile on the inside of my forearm so I reviewed those again as well. Organization was bizarre here. There were signs for registration/chip pick-up/packet pick-up but none for the start of the race. What?? So I asked one of the chip volunteers and he had no idea. I had to just follow the other runners. Usually there are bullhorn or microphone announcements prior to the start. It was even set up for that with a podium & mic but nothing. The horn went off and we started moving. I was in the back so it was really the guy who was calling out the countdown clock who helped me know the race was starting on time. Umm... I guess.

I wanted to hit 12:30 in my first mile. I started off a little fast as race day can do to you but I knew I needed to conserve in case there was something crazy happening on that first hill. There were multiple people who were ahead of me and two or three behind. I was in a little pocket of Jameil by myself. And I heard the end of the race sweeper cart way too close. Like I turned around like what is that??? I was like okay I'm really not going THAT slow for you to be doing all that. I started to catch the group of 8-10 people who had sprinted past me so as not to be last but 1) we weren't to the hill yet, 2) I didn't know how fast they were going, 3) I have to run my own race. I had to remind myself that some of those people may be running their first 10K and they will burn out. I don't want to be burning with them.

When I hit the first hill, it was long and steep. The group in front of me was walking up it. I decided to run it but then I realized I was expending a little too much energy and could get up it faster by walking. I still passed several people in the :10 or so it took me to get to the top then started running again as I would do the rest of the race. I knew there would be volunteers to call out times at each mile so I was looking forward to 1) hearing how close I was to my projected time and 2) seeing how off my Runkeeper GPS was as far as mileage. Pretty close. This time my GPS was behind. That's very unusual so I wondered what was up. I took a little hit in my time and ended up hitting the first mile at 13:04... my official average pace for my first 10K. Ummm... NO. I knew I felt like I was barely moving even while running at some points but that's just unacceptable for me. I kicked it up and decided to count my steps per minute. You pick a foot and count the steps on that foot for one minute and you should hit 90 or more. It gives you a short stride and helps you be more efficient in your running. It was like magic when I tried it on Tuesday so I knew I'd be pulling it out for the race.

Waving at my family!
When I hit mile two, I had made up that time and was right around my target time of 24:30. By the time we rounded into mile three, I was seeing my family. Yay! I love seeing my people on the course! (I have no idea why in that picture it looks like I'm running alone! LOL I was also about 1:30 faster than where I needed to be and still feeling strong. I was ecstatic! I spilled water on my already finicky headphones (shout out to Apple for those God awful headphones that have the controls on them) and they shorted out around this time. Because I do at least every other run without music anyway, I was prepared. I was also coming up on the second hill. I saw people walking again and had already picked out two nominees for the next people to pass. They were walking up the hill together and talking. It was time to attack. I took that hill just like I do in training... WITH GUSTO!! I chanted to myself, "Kill the hill! Kill the hill!" As I was about to pass the nominees, one saw me coming and said, "Let's run again." They were doing a run-walk pattern so I knew even if they were running now, by the time they started walking, I would pass them. I decided to ride their pace for a minute or so to give them the false sense of security they apparently needed since they started running when they saw me but also so as not to waste too much energy on passing two people I knew I would eventually pass anyway.

Putting on the game face
I dropped them heading into mile 4. And I didn't see them again. I had lost a tiny bit of time though so I knew it was really REALLY time to kick it into gear. I looked at my mile 5 goal and decided I was still on target to crush my sub-1:18:00 goal and in a good position to beat my sub-1:15:00. I found my next nominees. They were separate. One woman started running again when she heard me then raced on the downhill. I was chasing her hard at first then I remembered what I read about downhills seeming fun but having the ability to trash your quads so I slowed down a bit. I knew I would catch her. I also knew I was still picking up some good speed and making great time to hit my own goals. At the end of the hill, the lady who was racing was exhausted. I passed her easily when she began walking. I had a lot left so I kicked it back into gear for what I knew was mostly flat from here on out (the best part about a loop on an unfamiliar course). By mile 5 I was ahead of my now set sub-1:15 target by almost 2 minutes. I dropped the other girl who also started walking. We both did a cheer at our mile 5 times and got around the lake. (You might think running around a lake is pretty and scenic... but you could be wrong. It was brown and kind of murky-looking. But it wasn't a big deal.)

About to overtake some people nearing mile 6
I left them behind and set my eyes on the next nominee. I got a little water to drink (not from the lake) and bore down. Did I mention the weather was PERFECT??? It was a little chilly pre-race but once I was moving and the sun was up a little more, the temperature was right around 60 degrees. Your performance can begin to suffer for every degree over 60. I was feeling great! I love running in that weather! You don't need a whole lot of clothes and can just strip off the layers plus the cool air keeps the sweat in check. My next nominee was doing a good job with her pace and still looked strong but I was closing in. We were about 3/4 of a mile from the finish and I wanted to gun it at the end. There was a small but steep hill right in front of us that I thought I could attack and push past her and I was right! I caught her right after the hill! Then I saw my family again and I must've looked very serious and determined(/worried???) because my sister asked me if I was okay. SURE AM!!! I saw two more passing nominees. I thought, can I really pass two more people??? Hmmm... This is the last quarter mile! GO FOR IT!!

Right before we hit 6 miles, one nominee (ringing a cowbell!!! LOL) turned and said to the other, you can do it! I used it for myself and pushed past them. You should have seen the encourager's face. I basically came out of NOWHERE and shocked them! I hadn't been less than 1/4 mile near them all race. At mile 6, I heard, "72:12" and thought "OMG!!! I CAN GET SUB-1:14:00!!!" .05 later I  was starting to fade a little but refused to be caught in the last .2 miles!! As I rounded the last corners (it was really winding in this portion), I saw the finish line clock was at 1:13:30. WHAT?!?!? I kept pushing and crossed at 1:13:46!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Basking in the glow of my PR!
OVER. THE. MOON!!!! More than 7 minutes off of my previous time, I paced myself better AND I beat 1:18 AND 1:15!! I would like to thank all of the many articles I read on the subject of 10Ks and running in general, speed work & hill repeats! How was the water container empty when I got to it, though??? That's a fail. I had my own but I was still not pleased. I got a piece of bagel then got in line for the free Tijuana Flats chicken tacos! Yes! That was the first restaurant Rashan & I went to when I moved to Gainesville so it has a special place in my heart. I also won a frisbee but a kid won a free dessert and asked to trade with me. Um of course! LOL I also got free stretching. When the dude cracked my back, I yelped and mom heard the crack 100 yards away! Insane!

For some reason at this race, the fun run is AFTER the main races. What??? My sister was running it so we had to wait until almost 11 for the start. You know I was ready to eat 8 or 9 horses, right? I had burned 847 calories! Yeah...  After that, we went back to my sister's apartment and my mom cooked breakfast while I made bellinis then promptly fell into a deep sleep. I am usually awakened by everything. They left and went to the mall and I didn't hear them until they returned. Then my sister took a nap. I went back to sleep for another hour or so until it was time for dinner.

A couple more things about the race: they announced it was short on the first turn so it wasn't technically 6.2 miles so the course record, which a guy hit by 7 seconds, wouldn't count. How awful is that? Poor thing. He passed me twice running his little heart out with the closest competitor two minutes behind at the end and a simple mistake cost him a course record. Not cool. I hope he gets free registration for next year. It's only $13 but still. If you didn't want them to keep time for you it was only $10. That meant I passed more people than were on the race docket. Cool with me! And of COURSE I'm counting this PR!

Overall, I had a great time! I now know I can run a little faster at the outset and go a hard pace and probably be even faster. I'm going to take it a little easy this week. I'll clock no more than 10 miles of running versus my usual 12+ and next week I'll begin training for a half marathon!!!! I'm so geeked! I expect to have at least two months before my next 10K should I run another one so my goal for that one will be sub-1:12:00 with a secondary goal of sub-1:10. If I'm even faster in training, with continued speed work & my long runs getting to be so much longer than a 10K, I might adjust even more! Wheeee!


No(i)sy Neighbor

Sooo... I've never been the one to over-interact with my non-age similar neighbors. There is an extremely motley crew (or crüe if you prefer that spelling) among the six apartments in two houses over here. Can we just talk about some of the things I've seen?

One of my neighbors gets multiple HUGE boxes several times a week. Her and the mailman are BFFs. What on earth is she doing over there??? Either the world's busiest meth lab or... IDK what.

Another neighbor always talks to me in the middle of conversations. I see her twice a month max and yet every time she starts talking I feel like she's picking up the conversation where last we left it. Ummm... ma'am... BEWILDERED and yes, FLUMMOXED. (S/O to Naima LOL) For the last two weeks, she's walked by her mail every single day and left it in the box. It hangs out, is very distinctive and right next to our box. You can't miss it. One day we got excited and thought she got it. Nope. She just put it in the chair beneath the box. What?? THEN after two days of that, she put it back in the box. She finally took it in the house Sunday as far as I could tell... but there's new mail languishing there in its place. But why??? Why do you hate your mail???

The best, though? Our new neighbors. They have a baby so they smoke outside. Fine. They've been here a month. When they were looking at the place, they said they were worried about their baby making too much noise and disturbing the neighbors. I've decided that was code. In the first three weeks they had four SCREAMING, door slamming, stomping, stuff throwing, knock down, drag out fights. Every one before 10 a.m. Three before 9 a.m. All of them woke us up. And they last the good part of an hour or more. One time he left, called, more screaming solely from her end this time, came back, more screaming, left again. So awful. And scary, honestly. I don't want shooting to start and a stray bullet to come flying through the walls. Or for him to be beating her so badly that she dies. After the third one, enough was enough. I really wanted to call the cops after the second and the third but once the third hit, that was it. I said, the next time I'm calling the cops.

Time number 4 arrived last Wednesday. The day after time number 3. Seriously, people? I called the cops, then opened my windows to listen to the interaction. They come to the door like nothing happened even though they were still yelling as the cop was pulling up. They start talking about their baby and how they weren't arguing and all kinds of other placating foolishness. I heard something about getting pulled over and not having a valid license and concussions. The cop said, "Well maybe you were making a little bit too much noise." Maybe?? Only God knows what's actually going on over there but all of that is no excuse for you to be waking the neighbors with your noise four times in less than a month.

In the week since, they have been as quiet as church mice. But I'm not optimistic that this is a permanent solution. I'm ready to go. If moving was as simple as saying I'm ready, we would've been long gone. Right now there's no point in us moving since I fully intend to have a job by September. Whether my job is local or elsewhere, we're definitely blowing this joint. Oh what a day of rejoicing that shall be!


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 138

1) My 2nd 10K is on Saturday and I'm already in obsess mode! Thinking about it all the time! I also super love reading runners' race recaps!
2) I didn't cook dinner yesterday. Whaaaaat??? So I'm doing it big tonight! Can't wait!
3) Yep. Newborns are still creepy looking.
4) I saw this actual facebook status this morning, "SRRY II DIIDNT GT A CHANCE 2 C YALL MYB NXT TYME..... P.S HAV A SAFE TRIIP BAC HME..." First. Why are you typing in all caps??? I know what you're thinking... THAT'S FIRST?? I really didn't know where to start. Second, why? I'm all for people expressing themselves but this is just...
5) ROTFL @ this tweet of the week from a middle school friend: Some grown man is out there right now gettin their Steve Harvey or J. Anthony Brown outrageously colored suit together for tomorrow!
6) We did a round of Easter calls yesterday. 
a. I make my grandma's WEEK every time I call her! She tells me so! :)
b. My MIL tried brussels sprouts because I said they were good & she also liked them!

c. Our 14yo niece LOVES US! Every time we call to talk to anybody in the house, she eventually grabs the phone. YAY!
7) It's been too long since I watched my favorite movies to quote ad nauseum: When Harry Met Sally, Superstar, Mean Girls, Brown Sugar. It's beyond time! I watch so many new to me movies that I forget to love on my old favorites!
8) I have not eaten enough meatless non-breakfast meals lately! Must remedy this week!
9) When I was a kid, I wanted to do slang translations of the Bible for Sunday School. LOL I never got around to it.
10) One of my fellow Hamptonians always says, "Don't let your Monday steal your Sunday!" I love it! Not only because it drives me nuts to hear people say on Saturday night or Sunday morning, "UUUGGGH!! The weekend's almost over!!!" but also because it's so positive and uplifting!
11) I think I'm always exactly where I need to be. It may not be where I think I WANT to be but it's exactly where God NEEDS me to be. Every day is a new opportunity to learn and grow. I'm so glad I went to UF. I met one of my favorite people in the world there! Also... GO GATORS!!!
12) I'm in a good mood today! I hope you are, too! :)


Movies 2012: Weeks 12-14

Week 12: March 18-24, 2012
48) The Lie. A man tells a HORRENDOUS lie to get out of going to work and things just SPIRAL as a result. An already unlikeable man becomes reprehensible. The tale of annoying hipsters. Not to mention the pace of this movie is sloooooow. AND I hated the end. Just terrible. 2 stars
49) Submarine. 15-year-old Welsh boy Oliver Tate wants to be with the girl of his dream and save his parents' marriage but can he do both? He's sure gonna try! I was thoroughly amused by this quirky coming-of-age film. 3.9 stars
50) Chaos Theory. Ryan Reynolds stars as a strictly regimented man who blames his wife setting the clock 10-minutes fast on his whole life spiraling out of control. Rather amusing film throughout ruined by a poor, non-sequitur ending. You really don't even need the conceit proposed in the beginning. There's no reason for this to be a tale told from the present about the past. 2.9 stars

Week 13: March 25-31, 2012
51) Carnage. Roman Polanski adapts a play about parents who meet when their children get into a fight. What begins as a stilted affair full of forced pleasantries quickly begins to devolve in a series of awkward and passive aggressive ways. Excruciating to watch. I wouldn't want to live through it let alone watch it happen to fictional strangers. And at the end it just stops. Why? 2 stars
52) Martha Marcy May Marlene. An indie film about a woman who joins a cult and is brainwashed into believing she was in a loving relationship. When she calls her sister to rescue her, the woman can't remember what's real and what's not. Pretty crazy. Quite good. 4 stars
53) Mrs. Henderson Presents. A rich widow (Dame Judi Dench) shocks Britain when she buys a decrepit theater and opens a nude revue. Harmless film. Would not have been worth watching without Dench. And still... eh. 3 stars
54) Chasing Papi. Silly silly SILLY movie about three women who get caught up in a sting right as they find out they share a boyfriend. I giggled throughout at the horribleness. So mostly unintentionally funny. Sofia Vergara stars. 3.3 stars

Week 14: April 1-6, 2012
55) Miss Bala. Mexican film about a pageant contestant who unknowingly becomes a drug war pawn when she witnesses a nightclub massacre. Painfully slow film. Lots of emotionless stares from the lead. At the end, the film just stopped. ? 2.5 stars
56) How Do You Know. Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson & Paul Rudd are the points of a love triangle about a woman who has to decide what she wants while her professional life is in turmoil. Too long at nearly two hours and missing some of the practicality you might desire if you were silly enough to expect that from a movie whose outcome is obvious from the outset but cute enough. 3.3 stars
57) Sabrina. The Harrison Ford-starred remake of the Audrey Hepburn classic about a chauffeur's daughter who goes to Paris, comes back and entrances the sons of the rich family she grew up with. Fine. A little too long. I could see this being on free television when I was a kid. 2.9 stars
58) Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton. Terrible "documentary" about Marc Jacobs' connections with the famous French company. Flippant, annoying narration I'm sure was meant to evoke a whimsical air representative of the subject. It was incredibly annoying. It was supposed to be a behind-the-scenes look but the director squanders what he tells us repeatedly is exclusive access by rarely using any meaningful commentary or interviews from Jacobs himself! But most annoying was the unstructured nature of the film. You could drop in at any point and not have missed anything. Halfway through did I know anything new about Jacobs? No. There were also moments where people were completely unintelligible whether due to accents or interviewing in rave-type atmospheres. This could've been a 15 minute segment of a television show. 1.4 stars
59) Being Elmo. A wonderful documentary about the puppeteer behind Elmo. What a great guy. My only qualms surrounded the narration by Whoopi Goldberg. She's so recognizable that it was a distraction. It got worse when she was an on-camera interviewee. Very strange. The parts without narration were really stronger. The second half of the film was amazing. 3.9 stars


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 136

1) Instagram is a tool, not a magician. It can not make your ugly pictures pretty. And please stop using 18 filters on every single picture. Love, everyone you know
2) When I meet another Jameil (Jamel, Jamelle, Jemele), I'm always excited! What do you do when you have a common name? Other than compare unusual spellings. I'm so used to having a relatively rare name that the idea of the opposite fascinates me. Any rarer names ever met anyone with their name? Do tell!
3) Ummm... Good Reads? Rating and getting book suggestions??? Yes, please!
4) I got Rashan GOOD for April Fools yesterday! Love it! LOLOL  He was like, "You got me." And then he laughed bemusedly.
5) I hate what Time Warner Cable On Demand did to exercise on demand. How can I take something seriously that's called "Exercise Sportskool" and looks like it was filmed in a grandma's basement circa 1987? It. is. TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!
6) I boycotted the Muppets movie because it was over promoted. I felt like they were trying to MAKE me see that movie. So I refused. I'm sure I'll see it eventually but I'm still not over it.
7) I still haven't seen a lot of the best pic Oscar nominees after seeing all of them before the awards show the previous two years. This must end! And soon!
8) Rashan and his brother geek all the way out over Wrestlemania. I sit here with the stone-faced.
9) Know what I love about our moms? They are not even the least bit pressuring us about having children. They are excited by the prospect but not pressuring us. Know what else I love? My mom's saving her sabbatical for my first born. Awwwww!
10) I've given up on saying I have no desire to run a marathon. The more I read about it, and knowing myself, the more I believe it's inevitable for me. Half-Marathon 2012. Marathon 2013. Triathlon 2014. Wow.
11) I got carded twice at the same store this weekend. Who wants the over under for when I stop being regularly carded? I'm 29 now. I'm going to say 34. Laaaawd it's gonna be a long 5 years!
12) Have I told you lately I love the first of the month? 9 months of marriage as of yesterday! Woot! Our first 9 months of living together were way more annoying than our 9 months of marriage. I also love that we're 9 months in and have 900 (or so LOL) more months to go! Yaaaaay!


Movies 2012: Weeks 9-11

Week 9: February 26- March 3, 2012
35) If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. In this Oscar-nominated documentary, Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman use an inside connection to a so-called eco-terrorist to take us inside a group known for burning properties in the name of environmentalism.The naivete of these kids going out there and burning things, trying to save the world. It wasn't the environmentalism it was the ignorance of consequences and lack of forethought. Absolutely baffling. I love the subjects of Curry's films and many of the ways he tells them but I'm always bothered by the way he inserts himself. It often feels unnecessary and distracting. Still a worthwhile film. 3.9 stars
36) The Guard. Don Cheadle stars as an FBI agent sent to Ireland to break up a drug ring and the guard (local cop) who helps him. Quirky comedy. Amusing at times, kind of boring at others. It was difficult to pay attention sometimes through the oddities. 3.3 stars
37) A Complete History of My SexualFailures. A documentary about an independent filmmaker who goes in search of his old girlfriends to find out why he's single. He's definitely a loser. You have no problem seeing that almost immediately. His despondence is unintentionally funny. Some bizarre nudity. I liked watching his train wreck, though. 3.5 stars

Week 10: March 4-10, 2012
38) Happily Ever Afters. An Irish screwball comedy about two weddings booked at the same time at the same reception site. Of course it was silly but still watchable. 3.3 stars
39) Hugo. A 12-year-old boy living behind the clock in a French train station meets a girl who holds the key to his deepest desire. So cute! I understand why this was nominated for and won so many Academy Awards. Fantastic cinematography. Engaging story line. Directed by Martin Scorcese. 4 stars
40) Like Crazy. A couple meets in college in the U.S. but things begin to unravel when her visa expires and they have to navigate a very long-distance relationship. Meh. Just kind of there. I wish they'd gone handheld with the cameras less. There were some shots that were shaky for no reason other than to show this was an indie movie. I guess to make us feel like we're just in on their lives? But there were plenty of effects that freed us of that illusion. 2.9 stars
41) The King and I. A musical with less than engaging music. Set in Siam around the time of the American Civil War, a British teacher heads to the country with her young son to teach the Siamese king's children. I usually like musicals but this one was boring. I could have skipped it. 2.8 stars

Week 11: March 11-17, 2012
42) Jockey. A 2004 Emmy-winning documentary about the horrors of being a jockey in competitive horse racing. Really, really disgusting what these men do to their bodies to meet highly restrictive 112-pound riding weight limits. Many essentially become bulimics. Very difficult to watch. 3.6 stars
43) Babies. A documentary about babies around the world. Some ridiculously cute new humans!! Set among some stunning vistas with limited adult speech, it's quite a fun watch... for the first 20 minutes or so. Then it's like is this supposed to be a commentary on life? On how we raise our children? How alike we all are even in our differences? Even still we can probably do that in less time, no? Yes. 3 stars
44) My Week with Marilyn. Michelle Williams earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. The script feels plodding. Like after every memorable moment for the writer behind the story there's a huge pause. "Reflect! Feel the memory! Wonderful, isn't it?" Well... when you MAKE me reflect, less so. Williams and Monroe are both too well-known for me to separate them... or make them the same person. I see Williams with only short flashes of Monroe. And some people seemed like they were over-acting in an attempt to earn themselves an Oscar. That list decidedly does not include Dame Judi Dench who may have been the best actor on the set. 2.9 stars
45) Young Adult. Charlize Theron stars as a divorced former homecoming queen who returns to her small hometown to win back her high school sweetheart... a man who happens to have a wife and a brand new baby. She plays a truly awful character... and I loved it! An unlikeable train wreck. Don't expect to guffaw, more like smirk. Definitely a dark comedy and worth watching. 4 stars
46) She's Gotta Have It. Spike Lee's first film centers around a woman juggling three men who know about each other and vie for her attention. There was some terrible acting. And yet... the story line was an engaging one if not outrageously sexist while exposing double standards. You still wanted to know the outcome. I did wonder if liking Spike Lee made me overly forgiving of the film's faults. 3.8 stars
47) Heaven Can Wait. 1943 comedy about a dead man telling his life story to the devil. It's amusing that this dude is actually trying to talk his way into hell. Wait, what? Cute film. 3.7 stars