Sunday, January 30, 2011

Price of Perfection

Just last week I had a "mom's day out." What this entails is meeting up with a group of moms including Izzy and Holly, and we go out without our children and our husbands and basically do something that Izzy has planned for us. She's our Mom Coordinator. This last trip involved a manicure, with a fabulous new nail polish that is dry right away and is still perfect a week later, shopping, and dinner. I'm really not a shopper and on top of not being a shopper, we were headed to the Christmas Tree Shops which I find totally overwhelming and sometimes disturbing. But wouldn't you know that I was the one who spent the most amount of money there. I truly had no intention of buying anything but I wandered aimlessly around the store, I stumbled upon the frame section and found a bunch of dark cherry frames, in all different sizes, with matte board already in them. Now, this past summer I had professional pictures taken of the kids and had yet to do something with them. So I picked up three 11x14 frames, four 8x10, four 5x7 and three 4x6. Because although I didn't intend to buy anything nor did I need anything. I have been wanting a montage of picture going up the staircase. My aunt and uncle have this as well as just about every perfect tv family. This is another one of those things, as a little girl, I knew my house would one day have.

So remember a long, long time ago when I started this little blog and told you all about my commitment issues? I'll give you a minute to hop over to that post and refresh....

I filled all those frames and laid them out the way I would place them on the wall. And in a moment of what I thought was complete genius, I took the paper that comes inside the frame, you know, the one with the beautiful, posed people, and taped them to the wall in my pre-determined arrangement. I stood back and stared at my template with pride. Then I made Dan admire it with me, and I am sure not to be a buzzkill, he said, "You know the frames are going to take up more space than those pictures...just sayin'." I hadn't really thought of that in my moment of genius. So I held some of the frames up to make sure they would all fit, and they totally did, until they didn't, and I had about 18 holes that needed to be spackled and repainted.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fitting In

Don't think I have forgotten about the blog; I have about four half written entries. I start to write them with passion and vigor and then I lose my train of thought and the entry no longer makes sense. So I walk away for it for a while and become distracted in other half finished projects. ;)

Natalie was invited to a birthday party, well, she has been invited to many birthday parties, so many in fact that I have just begun storing gifts in my closet because it is just silly to be going to the store every other day for another gift. I have to give her credit though, she has become very efficient at gift shopping. But recently she was invited to a party that requested that the gift not be a gift but a gift card. Many of you may already know about this birthday party as I have vented, for lacked of a better word, about the details of the gift giving request. I was really tormented by this whole idea of a gift card. First because the birthday girl was turning four, and I just can't imagine any four year old requesting a gift card. Secondly, I took issue with the gift cards that we suggested as a gift...American Girl Store, Build-A-Bear, or my very favorite, a VISA gift card. I reiterate, she was turning four..a VISA gift card, really?

I need to explain this, Natalie doesn't just get invited to a party here and there, next week or the week after she has one week. So I have to sort of, kind of prioritize our gift spending budget. We have best friends who are like family, we have best friends who are part of our every day life, we have good friends that we have known for a while now, and we have friends we are just getting to know. For this particular party, it was for a little girl we just met at the start of this school year. And while she may become someone who is a part of our greater future, the truth is, right now, I don't really know her. Do I need to say more? She is on the less expensive end of my gift budget spectrum. That doesn't mean that she wouldn't get a great, fun gift it just means that it costs less money. American Girl, Build-A-Bear and VISA, well, they don't cost less money. Therefore, I let Natalie pick a gift and then spent the last week in knots over my decision.

Like I said, I don't know this little girl very well, nor do I know her parents. I did that which I always do in times of uncertainty and asked other people if they were going to be giving gift cards, and they were. So I hemmed and hawed, and Dan gave me a hard time about it and told me to stick to my gut feeling that a gift card was an inappropriate gift for a four year old. But I couldn't let it go. Because my insecurities got the best of me, and I just wanted to fit it and not make anyone mad at me. So this morning, the day of the party, I took Natalie to the mall, and we purchased a gift card.

And wouldn't you know, when we arrived at the party, there were people there who brought a proper present. Another item for Dan to add to his "I Told You So" List.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Loosely Adapted

Have you ever read a book and the whole time thought to yourself, this would make a great movie. I do it all the time...well all the time is an overstatement, but often the books that I find worth finishing, I think this. When I am done reading, I will think of who would be perfect to play each part. Most of the books I read eventually turn into movies, so it is always interested to see how I do. I remember reading The Time Traveler's Wife and having a really tough time casting it in my head, but ultimately, although they glossed over the complexity of the book, the casting was good. I wish I could say the same about My Sister's Keeper, but poor casting is the least of that movie's issues.

So I recently finished reading The Romantics, which is the first book in a while that I didn't want to put down. The story telling, the depth of insight into each character, the ability to connect to a place and time and feeling sucked me right in. I knew that this book had already been turned into a movie, one which although "star-studded", went straight to DVD. I knew that this movie herald such esteemed actors as Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamal, Adam Brody, Anna Paquin (who, once upon a time was a serious actress and while I'm on the subject Katie Holmes has some great flicks to her credit not to mention a stellar run on the beloved Dawson's Creek and yes, I am serious, so don't hate on the creek.) As I read, I was intrigued to see how these characters fit into this book and as I did my extensive research on IMDB, I found the casting off, with the exception of Josh Duhamal and they cut out, like, two major characters from the book! I know that Hollywood likes to take a little poetic justice and cut out seemingly insignificant details, but in hindsight they must look back and think, hmmm, that may have been important. I will watch this movie, just so I can complain about how this book was butchered...a past time that started in high school.

In high school, I had to read The Scarlet Letter. As I am sure many of you did. I loved, loved, loved this book. It was a literary soap opera and since then, when under pressure, I have always turned to this book for a writing topic. (ie Mass English Teaching Subject Test). But truly, I thought the book was genius and weren't we so excited, when shortly after reading the book, it was made into a "major motion picture" starring none other than Demi Moore as Hester Prynne. I don't remember the acting of whomever played the tortured Dimmesdale nor do I remember the villainous Chillingworth, which is sad because they were played by Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall. (I had to look that up).

This is what I did take away from this movie:

1. The director/producer/screenwriter took bits and pieces of The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible and melded them together as one god-awful "loosely adapted" presentation of an incredible piece of literature. *Sidenote, both of these stand quite well on their own accord, there was no reason to take Tituba out of The Crucible and send her over to The Scarlet Letter.

2. This was truly my first and ultimately that which I return to to say with complete certainty that the book is always better than the movie. Yes, I am sure there are expectations, but I can't think of one off the top of my head, so I am going to continue with this theory.

3. I don't remember Hester Prynne bathing herself in a seductive... corn? wheat? barley? bath while Tituba watched.

4. Nathaniel Hawthorne rolled over in his grave the day this movie debuted

It makes me wonder why I bother casting good books in my head and furthermore why I torture myself by watching someone else's casting and very loose adaptation.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Health Nut

Natalie is learning about the body and nutrition in school. I'm all for nutrition and health, but I am finding it interesting, frustrating, and entertaining how a five-year-old processes this information.

I make 90% of our meals. I am not perfect, we do eat out and order happens. But most of the time, I am meal mapping, cooking, and Dan will tell you always substituting something in a recipe. If it calls for sour cream, chances are mine is made with nonfat plain yogurt. If it is a baked good with butter or oil, chances are mine is made with applesauce, that Dan and I made and he canned to boot! If we need sugar, which I do have, but often opt for honey (bought locally), pure maple syrup or agave nectar. We never have white rice...on the rare occasions that rice hits the table it is brown. All of our bread is multigrain and homemade. That's right folks...I haven't bought a loaf of bread in over a year! My man makes us a loaf whenever I request one. Our pasta is Barilla Plus, and I buy dry beans and hydrate them. In fact, the only staples we have in this house at all times are milk (mainly for the Bro), eggs (bought from the farm of boy in Nat's class), and butter. Everything else is on a week to week, meal mapped basis. I go out of my way to find ways to make things we love healthier for us.

So Saturday, after we went to Chuck E. Cheese as a super special surprise for Natalie, and she ate Chuck E. Cheese pizza, which I assure you was most definitely not healthy and then begged and pleaded for the pink cotton candy, which I also allowed her to have, she tried to tell me that the dinner that I was going to prepare was unhealthy.

Did you read the intro paragraph to this post?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Protect Mode

Dan has arrived home after a long, lonely week without him. Granted, normally he is at work all day, so that wasn't so different, but the evening hours were missing something. And now that he is home, I feel that for the first time all week I can actually relax and let my guard down. Dan informed me that I was in "protect mode." I didn't know that this existed separate from just plainly being a mother. Now, as much as I want to spend time with him, all I really want is to close my eyes and have a good night's sleep (without Natalie in my bed kicking me - as though it weren't enough that she kicked me for six months from the inside - oh and she was a KICKER!) and let someone else worry for the night.

All this time I thought being a dad was the best gig ever, come home, be fun, throw the kids around and they go to bed an hour later...but it is kind of exhausting.

And for my mom friends who have husbands who travel regularly, relocated, work the evening shift, are schooling...kudos to you ladies. I don't know how you do it, but you all do it well!

On that note, I hope your husbands, wives, partners, lovers, whathaveyous, are with you tonight and your evening is a little longer (in a good way) and definitely less lonely!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What's the Point?

In late fall, Dan and I went out to dinner with our friends Brendan and Kim. Towards the end of our evening, talk of my blog came up, about which Brendan asked me, "What's the point? What are you trying to achieve?" It started as a place for me to use a skill or talent, I guess. I mean, I have always been able to write, so maybe all these years I thought I was talentless, I just didn't realize that not everyone could do this. A place where I could vent for lack of a better word. A place that belonged to just me and what I think.

And then people I know started approaching me about this blog. "I read your blog and..." "What I love about your blog is...." My friend Jess, yes you Jess Rowse Moran, always refers to my blog when we chat, and I love it. We don't get to sit down with each other for long amounts of time and have conversations over coffee, but she reads my blog and we find commonalities.
And there are people who read this blog and blog themselves might I add (check out the other Kristen Dattoli) who are so fabulously different from me.

So maybe the point is that it is nice to have a perspective for people to read and cling to and let out a deep sigh of relief that someone else feels the same way and maybe the point is to read this and let out a deep sigh of relief that my life is not your life.

Maybe the point is that it is here to be whatever you need it to be, just as it is for me. But a book contract and an adapted screenplay would be a good point, too. ;)