Saturday, June 30, 2012

We'll Miss You, Nora, Said Every Woman

Thank you, Nora Ephron. How many women have laughed, cried, and jabbed each other in the ribs over scenes you wrote in your wonderful screenplays? How many essays have we read and nodded in agreement? How many times have I looked at my neck in the bathroom mirror and remembered your hilarious and slightly stinging essay about it failing me? Try every day. Every. Single. Day.

"Our faces are the lies and our necks are the truth."  Was any more bitter truth ever spoken? But even while complaining more entertainlingly than anyone else you were able to remind us not to fall into the pit of self absorbed despair, because we do, after all have choices.

 “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

There was plenty of your advice that I wish I'd known earlier so have could have followed it religiously...

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.”
 I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman 

And then, of course, there were your screenplays. Films that women love and quote endlessly. They had those fantastical creatures, men who talk about women the way we want someone to talk about us and to us the way we want to be talked to.

(It occurs to me now, that men must really hate that.)

And on top of all of that, you did that really remarkable put our thoughts and feelings into words. Which is why we love you. Which is why when we run across one of your films while channel surfing we stop and watch until the man in the room asks "How many times have you seen this?"

To which we reply "How many times have you seen Tombstone?" because saying that we have seen You've Got Mail 56 times is something we don't really want to confess. 

What blogger hasn't felt this:  The truth is, no one knows about me. I feel like I'm just sending things into this giant void." ~Julie and Julia

 You've Got Mail

"The odd thing about this form of communication is that you're more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings." ~Kathleen Kelly 

 (Ah, the power of words)

“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void." ~Kathleen Kelly

(What woman hasn't wondered that...)

Sleepless in Seattle


 "Well, how long is your program? Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they just meant we were supposed to be together. And I knew it. And I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home, only to no home I'd ever known. I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like ... magic.



 Annie: "Now that was when people knew how to be in love. They knew it! Time, distance . . . nothing could separate them because they knew. It was right. It was real. It was . . ." 

Becky: "A movie! That's your problem! You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie."

(Isn't that EVERY woman's problem? Maybe every man's too, but those are different kinds of movies.)

Julie and Julia 

"I am way ahead of the others in this class, all men! All of them very unfriendly until they discovered that I was fearless, something I realized about the same time they did." ~Julia

 "What should I do, you think? I don't really want to go back into government work. Shouldn't I find something to do? Wives don't do anything here. That's not me, it's just not me." ~Julia

  "Someone is going to publish your book. Someone is going to read your book and realize what you've done because your book is amazing. Your book is a work of genius. Your book is going to change the world. Do you hear me?" ~Paul Child to Julia Child

(I secretly suspect that one of the reasons that women love this film, aside from the focus on food,  is because of how we see Paul talk to Julia.)


Streep: "You know, this is not your mother's house where you do something like that and everybody thinks it's cute."

Nicholson: "If it's not my mother's house, then why are you talking to me like I'm your kid?"

(Totally nailed both sides of this male/female dynamic.)

And thank you, Ms. Ephron, for reminding us that daisies are the friendliest flower, how spectacular Cary Grant was in An Affair to Remember, and that sometimes the perfect come back at the perfect time will only leave us feeling sorry and mean.

Good night, Nora. We'll miss you. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

So, I Was Like...

Like: interj.
a particle meaning roughly saying. (Always with some form of be. Never used in formal writing.) :  And I'm like, “Well, you should have put your hat on!” 

I say this a lot. And I'll admit to thinking it's annoying. I need a "like" intervention; maybe Grammar Girl could open a rehab. I'd gladly admit myself...

When did like become a replacement for:

"I said" and  "I thought?"

If you know someone who includes this in conversation, you may find yourself often asking "You SAID that?

 "Well...I didn't SAY it...but I was thinking it!"

This vagueness, this grammatical limbo, this unbound 50 shades of grey between what actually did or didn't happen and what was or wasn't said is part of the appeal for some.

For some of us it's a bad and lazy habit we've fallen into and we can't get up. Maybe someone should make a grammatical emergency alert button to be worn around the neck.

"Help! I'm constantly using like as an interjection that is unnecessary and makes no sense!

Like HELLO!"

Oh Geez.

It's another example of the fact that I write better than I talk.

(Notwithstanding this particular post.)

I should only be allowed to communicate by Etch a Sketch.

"And then I was like, 'Oh no! Our entire conversation was erased when I tripped over the dog!"

Okay, maybe that wouldn't be so helpful...

Do you have something you say out of habit that you wish you could stop saying?

Let me hear it and I'll be all like..."I feel your pain!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pretty OCD

Cosmetic heiress Aerin Lauder's dressing room. So very 1%

A fun event calendar she created.
Every girl wants a dressing room. A whole room to herself to spread out clothes and accessories to keep from digging through crammed closets and drawers looking for just the right thing to wear. If you've drooled over Mariah Carey's or Ralph Lauren's you may be wondering if it's within reach for the 99%. It probably is if you don't need that extra bedroom for an office or guests. I've been surviving with half a closet and two drawers for twenty nine years so I'm a little jealous of my daughter's set up that her husband created for her. It is supposed to be a bedroom, but what girl wouldn't want this instead? 
There is a clothespin (how apropos!) for each day of the month and the date is used to hang the invitation or ticket for that date's event.

My son in law put up racks with shelves and matching hangers all around the room. The colored tabs on the hangers represent some elaborate clothing rotation system that she has explained to me several times and I still don't understand. 

Neatness counts! 

A place for everything and everything in its place...

Nice to be able to see your choices!

A girl can't have too many mirrors...

We were on our way to Mama Mia and Bossy insisted I wear this shirt she bought in Greece.

My other shirt was really cute, I promise!

You can sort of see how she earned the nickname "Bossy."

Yet another place to keep track of what's going on, and of course, you have to have good lighting and music!

A hook on the wall is a handy way to store your bag.

Entry to the dressing room. Rise and shine! (And check the {one of 4} calendar)

FOUR CALENDARS. Hence the title of this post.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Movie Review: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I have this plan that when I'm old I'm going to join the Peace Corps. That idea in the back of my mind of squeezing in one more adventure before I'm done with this world keeps me from the absolute dread of growing older. I'm a firm believer that constant learning, growing, and exploring is going to keep you young even as the body becomes less cooperative.

 It's never too late to start over.  That's the lesson of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  A film based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Maggach.

The film opens by introducing us to the cast of characters, all of whom are British and many of  whom find themselves in their later years in situations that haven't quite turned out how they'd hoped. In other words the movie starts off with a dose of harsh reality, especially in the current economic downturn which has left so many retirees with less than they had anticipated. We get a little insight into each of their stories and personalities as they embark on their journey to India where a clever young hotel owner has decided that it might be a good idea to "outsource old age" for the countries that don't like their old people. His sales pitch includes exotic luxury and intoxicating colors at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel..."for the elderly and beautiful."

This is an incredible ensemble cast with Judy Dench as a recent widow wondering if life has anything left for her and Dev Patel as the hotel owner. It features Maggie Smith as a small minded woman who finds herself in need of a hip replacement and is less than happy to be in India surrounded by Indians.

What we took away:

I'm not going to spoil the movie for you but it is chocked full of life lessons worth adhering to. There isn't anything, not even youth, that is more beautiful than a passion for life. The answer to the question "Do you think we'll be alright?" is that "It's going to be extraordinary." I love that. Not perfect. Maybe not comfortable, but wonderful in ways that perhaps you haven't imagined. Isn't that just like life? Of course you only get to benefit from that if you are willing to let go of expectations and open yourself up to new experiences. The film includes one character who is incapable of releasing her death grip on how she wants things to be and is a lesson in what the small minded and emotionally stunted who have a need for complete control miss along the journey.

This movie also brings another idea to the forefront, which is that we never get over being wanted and needed in all kinds of ways. And we never get over the wanting and needing. It also raises the question--why would you want to? The movie depicts the various characters trying to work that out with humor, wit, and tenderness.

"Everything will be alright in the if it is not alright, it is not yet the end." Is Sonny's (Dev Patel) motto, and it is repeated several times throughout the film. This is a charming movie about optimism and embracing life every day. As Evelyn (Judy Dench) says at one point "India, like life itself I suppose, is about what you bring to it." The sooner you learn that lesson, the better off you'll be.

 Where we ate: A friend has been recommending a local Indian restaurant to me for ages. Finally on our way to see a movie set in India, the Bombay House seemed to be a most appropriate choice for lunch.  They offer a lunch buffet which is the perfect way to get to sample several dishes if the cuisine is new to you. The buffet features: Chicken Wings, Tandoori Chicken, 2 Meat Curries, 3 Vegetable Curries, Daal, Basmati Rice, Garlic Naan, Chutney, 3 Desserts & Full Salad Bar. 

The chicken curry and tandoori chicken were my favorite dishes and the rice pudding (served cold) is comfort food at its finest. In fact the overall impression of the experience was that of being fed by someone's Indian grandmother. 

What I wore: 

I do so like a theme.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pretend Travel at Epcot

Traveling to Orlando with a 20 year old means that your child understands your desperate need for things like coffee and sleep.  First thing on the agenda as we began our day at Epcot: coffee.  We procured a map to study while we woke up over breakfast at Sunshine Seasons located in The Land pavilion. Fortified with caffeine and food we were ready to start our day.

After Space Ship Earth, which uses some clever technology at the end to make the ride a personal experience by inserting the rider's faces into a futuristic cartoon, we needed food. We'd rushed to catch the shuttle from our hotel, Hilton Garden Inn at Sea World. The shuttle departs and returns twice a day for Disney and the driver notes how many are in your party and what time you want to return to the hotel. The ride takes about 20 minutes or so and lands you closer to the entrance than if you drove and parked yourself. At the end of the day the fireworks start precisely at 9:00 and the last shuttle leaves at 9:45 giving you plenty of time to make your way out of the park and across the parking lot. Like most things in this area, they have it down to a science taking much of the worry and trouble out of the experience.

Okay, so today I'm having a little fun with the real vs. the Epcot versions of travel destinations...
Mr. Snarky in the real thing.

Epcot China.

Epcot England

London 2001
In Epcot China, he compared what he was seeing to what he saw when he was in China a couple of years ago, and shared memories of that amazing trip with me. He decided that there weren't nearly enough people to make it feel authentic. In Epcot Venice I explained the things that we were seeing and what a sad imitation they were of the actual place. In Epcot Morocco we ate an exotic dinner complete with belly dancing and discussed the trip we would like to take to North Africa at some point in the future. My son has his mother's adventurous spirit and we imagined that we'd be the only family members interested in that particular journey.

Epcot Venice, St. Mark's Square
At some point during the day, surrounded by snippets of global architecture, and park visitors from around the world, we wondered, why it is that when people are so much alike--nations just can't seem to get along. Discussions of big ideas, the world's problems, and potential solutions are one of the rewards you reap after years of saying "No!" and fighting over bath time. I'm thoroughly enjoying having adult children who are thoughtful open minded adults.

Wasn't that the goal all along?

In the real thing, with a snarky sign for my daughter
Epcot does Mexican
Loving me some Chichen Itza!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Zen and the Art of Roller Coaster Riding

I loved cave tubing in Belize and snorkeling in Cozumel. Climbing to the top of Mt. Vesuvius? I didn't even flinch. In fact I took a little run along the rim.  Sky diving is on my list. But roller coasters...well, they make me nervous. My son and I were at Sea World Sunday and I was focused on shows and exhibits. Roller coasters really weren't on my radar screen. The rides however have become a big part of the Sea World experience. The moment you enter the park you hear screaming. Screaming always makes me a little uneasy. People don't tend to do it when everything is okay. People do it when they are terrified. It was apparent right away that this wasn't going to be the serene marine life experience I'd planned.

Here's why: if you give me a challenge, I'm probably going to take it. I'm weak that way. I can't bear the thought of arriving home and wishing I'd done something when I had the chance. So naturally, Sea World's newest scariest roller coaster had me in its sights.


We got soaked on our Journey to Atlantis!
Mr. Snarky and I stood underneath Manta and watched. Its signature moment is when the track drops near a pool and a carefully timed fountain spray gives the illusion that the riders themselves are skimming the water. My son and I looked at each other, studied the ride, and decided to go ride Journey to Atlantis. I needed to get my roller coaster vibe going on something a bit less thrilling. Let me tell you that you WILL get wet on this ride. A better word may be soaked depending on where you are sitting. At the exit of the ride there are family dryers available for $3.00, if you don't think the summer Florida heat is going to dry you fast enough. On a cool day, it might be worth it though.

Our hotel for this trip was the *Hilton Garden Inn at Sea World, which is within walking distance of the park. The hotel supplies a shuttle to Sea World which is nice, especially if you have little ones, but if you are traveling with older kids, teens, or in my case my college student being able to walk less than a city block to the park whenever you want is extremely convenient. One of the perks included in the price of your stay at HGI is Complimentary Quick Queue Unlimited (front-of-the-line access) at SeaWorld. A savings of $14.95 to $25.00 per person depending on the season

That front of line access didn't allow me all the time I wanted for hand wringing and worrying. That was probably a good thing. We walked in the quick queue line and right up to the ride. I had a moment of panic, but was determined not to be undone by fear.

My son and I sat down in the seats. I'm guessing that fighter jet pilots are not strapped in any more secure seats than exist on this ride. Just about the time I was thinking how secure this contraption was the ride started and the first thing that happens is that you go from a seated position to a face down position. The ride starts and you climb to a height of 140 feet. I opened my eyes as we neared the top and realized what a horrendous idea that was. I closed them and took some deep breaths. I allowed myself to experience the physical sensations of this ride and the powerful Gs it pulls. (I tried not to think about how that might be making my skin sag.) You know those pictures they take on these rides for you to purchase where everyone is smiling and screaming? In our photo my son looked like that. I looked like I was at yoga. Eyes closed. Totally relaxed. Zenning my way through fear.

I didn't open my eyes until I heard my son say  "It's over. Mom, you DID it!"

I wasn't sick. I didn't have an aneurism. My harness didn't come undone dropping me to a sudden death. I actually felt...good.

"Get ready Kraken, I'm coming for you."

I was suddenly feeling bold.

"Mom? Are you sure?"

"Oh yeah. I've got my roller coaster groove on now."

"Oh, you do? Well, let's go!"

Want a virtual ride on Manta? Click here to view the video compliments of Orlando Attractions Magazine.

*Our accommodations were provided by Hilton Garden Inn.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Few Dinner Pics From Morocco

I missed that Friday posting, you may have noticed. Mr. Snarky and I are enjoying a weekend hosted by Hilton Garden Inn at Sea World. Real posts are on the way here and on the travel blog but let me share our dinner from last night! He's so busy with work and school that it is nice to have these three days to just hang out and try some new Moroccan food at Epcot's Restaurant Marrakesh.

It was so very Casablanca!

My happy go lucky travel companion.

This was an elegant dining experience.

Moroccan salad.


We'll catch up soon, but this morning we are headed to Sea World!