miaxmas

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I didn’t forget about you, little blog. I think about you often. Whenever popcorn is brought up (NO, I don’t want any, gross) or marshmallows are mentioned (Rocky Road fudge season, what what), particularly. I literally have no time to do this. I know, I know, there comes a certain discipline with being a blogger, but I’m not one of those in any official or even non-official sense just as I am not an official baker, musician, or party planner. But I do all these things, to drive myself loco. It is this , I believe, part of what makes me me and causes those around me love and appreciate me so much.

So, just know that while I’ve been spinning in delightful circles at home, work and play, I’ve been enjoying every droplet of this wonderful time of year. And I’ve been thinking about blogging. Like, in my head, before I finally drift off, I write a little something. And then I start thinking about why I have so many polka dots in my wardrobe and I exhaustedly roll over and fall to sleep.

Also, yay Christmastime!

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Chelsea + Vodka

Makes a girl wanna take a nap.

2012 began with a book that’s been on my to-read list forever.  And a day.  And a bag of chips.  A long time.

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler appeared on my radar in the spring of 2008 when she released Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. I was working at a neighborhood branch and all sorts of readers were checking out her latest. It was as if –at the mention of alcohol and the allusion to a classic teen read—even book-club grandma was ready to try out this blondie on a lawn chair.

For me, I was interested but not enough to read her myself yet. At the time, I was reading a lot of memoir-y books about having babies since that was something I was considering at the time. Conversely, I was padding such weighty reading material with Martini Mondays and Mojito Tuesdays at my local watering holes at night, so I felt I was good on the vodka front as it was.

Still, I added her canon to my ever-elusive reading list and there it stayed.

Until I had to decide what to read first in 2012.  A classic? A best of 2011 pick? Something resolution-driven seemed most appropriate, but I’m 8 months pregnant and I’m not exactly hardcore hitting the gym or eating remarkably well and I had been craving a vodka tonic for the good part of 2011, so Chelsea it was.

And thank goodness. This book was exactly what I needed after months of feeling jolly and bouncy and, you know, righteous, for having created the best Christmas ever.  What I’m saying is, the only way to get off your high horse as the domestic goddess of Christmas is to have a drunken midget in a sombrero knock you off it.

The book would appeal to women and men alike and to people who like quick reads but also to those who can stretch out a book over a year (who are you!? return your library book already; people are waiting for it, creepy!). It probably won’t appeal to your book-club grandma. I mean, unless it does. I don’t know. I don’t know your grandma.

I finished this collection of hilarious-ridiculous short stories in no time and was sad to perhaps have to move on to another author. Luckily, the good librarian in me had chosen this title based on the fact that it was Chelsea’s first and I can now read more of her books. I can read more as if I didn’t just see the minute that I put down my Kindle that her written work is being adapted into a sitcom starring Laura Prepon as Chelsea and Chelsea Handler as her older sister Sloane (which I find to be brilliant bee-tee-double-yoo).  I am thrilled to see these characters come to life on television. I have to be a nerd, though, and finish all her books before I can watch the show.

Maybe I can celebrate with a vodka tonic with extra lemon once I’ve completed Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me. Don’t worry, gasping folk, I’m kind of a slow reader.

Christmastime Movietime: Scrooged (1988) & Four Christmases (2008)

Saturday, November 26 is the day I decided to do something for my soul. I had to rectify the mess that I made by starting off the season by watching something other than the actual A Christmas Carol or, it’s near-perfect adaptation and one of my top top top tops, Scrooged.

After saying she enjoyed Christmas Cupid, my mom got pretty much screamed at by me. We were going to watch Scrooged to make the universe right again.

Okay, so I love this movie. It’s got a thousand one-liners my sister and I quote all day long, Christmastime or Fourth of July. It has a stellar cast and Bill Murray. I am easily amused so the casting of Murray’s two brothers craaaaaaacks me up for no other reason than that family really, really looks alike. Also, I have Buster Pointdexter’s song “Hot, Hot, Hot” in my head almost the whole movie as he stars as the Ghost of Christmas Past. This is not annoying, as it may sound. We learned a dance to this song during my stint in dance when I was little. I’ll do it for you right now. Olé, olé.

Scrooged, always a winner.

Has anyone noticed how Vince Vaughn is suddenly the king of Christmas? I mean, how did this become? Is it a comment on how raunchy and cynical Christmas has become? Yes, I know, this from a mom who wished for a pretty, young Mrs. Claus (who would inevitably be slutty) for my son to go visit for pictures since he’s terrified of the real Santa. Okay, I just checked. He’s technically only been in two Christmas movies, but they were made a year apart and that’s enough for my tiny little brain to short circuit a little bit.

I expected nothing from this movie. The previews for it were God awful and I’m sorry, we’re at the point, right, where we pretty much know how any movie starring Reese Witherspoon is going to go? She’s the Meg Ryan of this time (which is odd, considering this movie poster that is currently bugging me). My BFF watched it earlier that week and just casually texted me how hilarious it was. I, being the ever judgmental one, wrinkled my nose at it like “ohhkay…” Still, her review of it was enough to push me and the hubs to order it (for freeeeee!)

Um, where do I begin? I hope the guy that was in charge of the trailer got fired and kicked in the butt by everyone he passed on his way out of the building. Always a sucker for ensemble casts (oh, get ready for Love, Actually…), I thoroughly enjoyed this movie at a really basic level. Beyond that, it stirred out of me some pretty intense laughs that frankly scared my young, sick, son.

Jon Favreau stars as Vaughn’s brother (as he tends to always do) and, also, so does Tim McGraw. At first I didn’t recognize him and then it got oh-so-real. That in itself was reason enough for me to love this movie. Oh, and Robert Duvall, my beloved Tom Hagen, is their father. Mary Steenburgen is Witherspoon’s mom (Elf, I’m coming for you, baby) and Kristin Chenoweth is her sister (no singing this time). Carol Kane is her aunt (hellooooo Ghost of Christmas Present) and to round out the country music singer-actor casting, Dwight Yoakam is Steenburgen’s boyfriend. Oh, there are more. I’m just kind of tired of looking at IMDB to make sure everyone’s name is spelled correctly, to be honest.

Despite its moments of gut-busting laughter (I’m thinking of a specific game of Taboo) the overall charm of this movie is the main plot line. It’s about two people who are so stuck on fighting the traditional path of 30-something couples, that they don’t even see that it’s something they might actually want. It’s about when the having fun with just the two of you runs out. It’s about realizing that your families are crazy, but you kind of are a little bit, too.

Enjoyed. Watch it.

Christmastime Movietime: Christmas Cupid (2010) & Deck the Halls (2006)

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The day after Thanksgiving began with a visit to the pediatrician. The boy was sick. With my mom in tow, our day of holiday preparation became one of couch hostages. We were okay with it. We had some nursing back to health to do and some bad Christmas movies to watch.

Okay, it didn’t start out that we were intentionally going to see bad movies but in lining up my M.O.I. (movies of interest) list, I did choose some saccharine-laden-made-for-tv-with-clear-breaks-for-commercials selections that my husband rolled his eyes at. My mother, however, it game for any “bad” movie. In fact, they’re her favorite. Her entire DVD collection consists of $2 clearance films starring has-beens and, often, animal actors.

We began with Christmas Cupid (2010), an ABC Family film from last year (I could tell since it began explosively with some serious character establishment to the song “Oh, Santa!” by Mariah Carey, a favorite of last holiday season). Before this time, I only knew Christina Milian as my little brother’s high school crush. I IMDB’d her and realized we were the same age. The movie progressed with quite the teen/early 20s drama that ABC Family requires to exist. Then, at some ridiculous point way too far in the game, I realized the storyline was based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This then made me 100% more interested as I looooooooove picking apart adaptations.

All in all, it was cute (perfect adjective, right?). I didn’t hate it. Jackée Harry emerged from my 80s memory as Milian’s daschund-loving mom. The little girl from Growing Pains also joined her. This is always entertaining for me. It’s ACC value was pretty decent for an intended audience that was likely to be texting through the whole movie. Plot points were clearly spelled out and linked to the literary work. That bugged me, but was probably helpful for someone using this movie to do their Dickens’ book report. I do have to say, though, that the green dress above has more likability than the movie as a whole, but that’s a little unfair because I really like emerald green.

Next.

I got a lovely email from Cox saying they’d give me 3 On-Demand movies for free this holiday season. Mom and I decided to cruise the On-Demand holiday movies for prospective next-watches. $4 for Home Alone? Golly. Glad I own it. I get Deck the Halls and Jingle All the Way (over-the-top, weird ensemble cast, Christmas carol lyrics, ugh) so I selected the preview for Deck the Halls and look at that, clumsy fingers, I bought the movie. So, I had to watch a movie I’d already sort of seen and not particularly liked despite the fact that it stars often-entertaining actors.

Let me summarize. Massachusetts. Christmas lights. Odd marital pairing of Kristin Chenoweth and Danny DeVito and even more odd marital pairing (for the SATC set) of Kristin Davis and Matthew Broderick. Families falling into irreparable debt and growing apart from each other, respectively. Davis has about 17 lines and is wearing pjs or a robe for nearly all of them. Out of place, but totally obligatory singing by Chenoweth. Kal Penn, Fred Armisen, and Jorge Garcia have small parts; two of them with accents. I don’t want to see it again. It was more like an improv plot thought  up on a whim by these four actors than a film that was planned and paid for.  Good sick day movie if there is nothing else on and it’s Christmastime and you hate yourself.

Christmastime Movietime: A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

This year, I decided to give myself an early Christmas gift: relaxation. Despite accounts that it makes “people sick” or that I’m “a crazy person” because I have all my Christmas decorations up and all my gifts wrapped under a decorated tree, I would like to argue that I won’t be the one running around traffic and stores in December or messily scrawling addresses on Christmas card envelopes. Sitting at home with friends and family 7-8 months pregnant watching holiday movies sounds much more appropriate for fostering the whole “peace on earth and good will towards men” spirit to me. So, this year, I’m getting to all those holiday movies I’ve never seen as well as viewing my favorites as well.  I begin with perfection…

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A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired on television in 1965. I find its seemingly dated concerns of Christmas “turning commercial” quite poignant since, yes, I’m writing a blog about watching a movie as the peaceful alternative to holiday sale shopping. Christmas has, unfortunately, fully turned commercial to most and I’m afraid that with the rise of Black Friday shopping creeping further into Thanksgiving (leave us alone, stores! there’s cranberry sauce to clean off my chin yet!), it’s becoming downright savage (that’s why I shop small, local and slowly in November).

This mini-movie is amazing. Vince Guaraldi’s score has become a modern classic and Linus’s speech about the meaning of Christmas is one I sweetly throw at Scrooges this time of year. I admit, I didn’t see this tv special all the way through till I was a teenager. That’s when I noticed the little boy dancer in orange dances like my dad. Like, for real.

Last night’s viewing was fun! We figured we should have the boy sit and watch this one since it was a mere 25 minutes and surely he could squeeze that into his schedule (toddlers are very busy). He found Snoopy and Woodstock hilarious (as, I think, little boys are required to do) while my husband had the epiphany that I am Lucy. Good for him and his epiphany, I say.

We had hot cocoa and it was over all too soon. Good warm up for what I hope to be a month of heart-warming, cheeseball holiday movies. Deal with it, Scrooges.