Year 4 of Movies

Here we are in our fourth year of movie dates with my mom. This year we only managed 10 movies, or 9.5 if you’re my mom.

This is the full list.

January – LaLa Land, which we chose because of the hype. Big mistake. I should know better. It was terrible.

February – nothing, there was not a single movie out we wanted to see.

March – Logan, the final entry of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, and it was wonderful, we both loved it. We also saw Beauty and the Beast with the kids, which doesn’t count on our date tally, but we did see it.

April – Gifted, starring Chris Evans (you know him as Captain America), and this was amazing. Just loved it. Could have been my favorite of the year.

May – King Arthur. This was my weird pick, only because my mom likes Charlie Hunnam. Did not expect it to be good. Turns out it was great.

June – Wonder Woman. The first female helmed solo superhero film in either universe and it.was.perfect.

July – Spiderman: Homecoming. LOVED this movie. How many Spiderman films have there been? It’s a “nothing new under the sun” and yet, this blew us away.

August – we didn’t see anything this month.

September – American Assassin. This was a film adaptation of a book we both love. It was okay. Not bad, but not as good as we had hoped. (Without mom, but also in September, I saw Kingsman 2 with Lane and it was fantastic and I saw American Made with Kelly and it was AWFUL).

October – we didn’t see anything this month.

November – Kicked off the month with Thor:Ragnarok and this was easily the best of the Thor movies and very high up in the overall pantheon of the MCU. Then, because it came out, we saw Justice League. Mom got sick halfway through and had to leave, which is why she only gets 9.5 credit, but I saw the whole thing and it was okay. DCU is just not hitting them out of the park. Wonder Woman is their only winner.

December – we had it narrowed to two. We chose to see Pitch Perfect 3 over The Greatest Showman and it was a mistake. PP3 was a terrible entry in this beloved series of movies. They should have stopped at 2. So stupid and such a waste to go out on that note. In January, I went myself and saw Greatest Showman and it was AMAZING. I loved every second of it, so it was too bad to go out on a low note, but it happens. They will not all be winners.

As today is January 31, we will not be kicking off 2018 with a movie, but we will pick right back up in February for Year 5!

Decadius Disseminatus

That’s Latin for “Ten Years of Blogging” (no, it’s really not, please don’t think that’s true, I totally made up the words of the sentiment. It’s not Latin for anything.)

But the gist is this: today, December 9, 2017, is the 10th anniversary of my life as a blogger. Ten YEARS I’ve been writing. On this very day an entire decade ago, I started out as a blogger. My friend Meg said, “You should write a blog” and so I did. Okay, there might have been more to it than that, I’m not that susceptible. I was going to repost my original blog, but, as it turns out, that site has shut down. Which means the first (just over) 500 blogs are lost forever. All that genius, gone in a wash of technology. (insert sad face smiley here)

I’d say it’s sad (see sad face smiley note), but I don’t know that it is (dammit! confused smiley). I don’t know if I need this to be permanent. The memories I’ll have either way but the granular details, I’m not sure we’re meant to carry those always. Maybe they are there just to color in the picture before it slowly leaches over time.

The point is, the stuff that matters we keep forever. but the rest of it, the stuff that seems so important in the moment? I don’t know that we’re supposed to keep it. I think part of life is letting go and moving forward. Hm, that is not a lesson I ever expected to learn through blogging, an exercise that by its very nature should show the opposite, but there you go.

This post, at the moment of publication is my 812th post. 812 times I’ve set out to tell you a story (at least here). My writing rate has slowed considerably. Five years ago, at the half decade mark, I wrote this post. In it, I told how it was my 1,000th post, 483 on this site and 517 on my first, now defunct site. If we include those 517 lost posts, then this is my 1,329th post.

(Remember my thing about numbers? This is a great place to demonstrate.)

I’ve technically written one thousand three hundred and twenty-nine posts (see? numbers are always more impressive if you write out the words.)

Over ten years, that is nearly 133 posts a year or a post every three days. Can you imagine? Every three days for a decade I wrote down my thoughts and published them on the internet for the world to read.

What was I thinking?

Just kidding, I like it. And I’m okay with it. I’m honored and touched and surprised that people actually do read it. People, that is, that are not my family or my friends. Since 219 people actually follow this blog and I’d guess less than 15 of them are the aforementioned friends and family, color me grateful and pleased.

What’s the point?

Well, there isn’t one, really. I just happened to stumble across my five year anniversary post only a couple weeks ago and it struck me, forcibly that I was dangerously close to this major anniversary. I knew then I had to take a moment and honor this date with a post, but as I thought about it in the days leading, I never found my story. Instead, today, without cleverness or guile, you get my thoughts. Just random scatters of notions sprinkled here for your enjoyment. Because I’m awesome like this, I’m going to link ten of my favorite posts.

Nope. Not favorite. Popular. I went to the site statistics and I found a list of all my posts ranked by number of views. So here we go, the Top 10 most popular posts on Livlife.

10.  Blog Crack

9. Buddy Coke

8. 35/35 (Kel, can you believe one of your birthday posts is in the TOP TEN? Of the 178 times that has been viewed, how many were you?…tell the truth!)

7. All About Me (Huh, that’s my intro page, which makes sense I suppose, but feels a bit like a cheat. But I did write it….)

6. Cheese and Macaroni

5. Christmas Letter

4. Magic Necklace

3. The Danger of Brushing Your Hair (in that post I am talking about something that happened 16,000 times and I spell out the words sixteen thousand and comment on how much more it seems. In 2011. Clearly I’ve believed this theory for quite some time).

2. Christian Kane Concert (this could well be MY favorite post I’ve ever written. Certainly it is to reread. I’m probably half of the page views (though I don’t think I count) and I’m both oddly pleased and disappointed it is number two)

1.  Purple Stripes – Never in a million years did I think this would be the most popular post on my site. Not sure what I thought WAS, but I wouldn’t have thought this, that’s for sure.

I’m adding one more: The Universe Wants Me to Listen to David Gray because I have always liked that post. And I think of it whenever a David Gray song comes on the radio or my iPhone. It’s number 33 overall which is still pretty high, so I’m including it as an honorable mention.

Ooops, make that two more. Wouldn’t Time Be Out To Charm You? This is another all time favorite of mine, the detailing of one of my life stories, a defining life story at that. I had to search for this one, only to find it is #73 on the list overall. But to me, this one would absolutely be top ten of my favorites, so I’m leaving it here as a second bonus.

What else can I say after ten years of being a blogger? Let’s see how long it lasts and where it goes, I guess. I certainly never thought I’d be writing a blog still after a decade.

Hm, how do you end these things? You’d think after doing this more than thirteen hundred times I’d have a foolproof system for getting out once the work is done (twss) but, unfortunately, I do not. Sometimes I’m pithy, sometimes it’s natural, sometimes I think I just stop typing.

This will be one of those times.

 

Twenty Eight

Happy Birthday, Kelly Jo. No suspense here, this one’s for you. I started out with a grand plan to make you a video, I even got up early this morning to do it. I did several takes and finally got it right. Then as I stood up, I dropped the phone and somehow, in the picking it up, I deleted the freshly completed video. Which is how my celebration of your day started out with a giant Fuck You to the universe. Man, oh man, that made me crabby. I didn’t have time to re-record the video because I’d done more than one take to try and get it perfect.

Then I spent the entire day stewing over it, because I was annoyed my plan had failed. I had every intention of heading home tonight and doing it again, except that it is dark when I get home now and the lighting in my house is terrible and I knew it would look better in natural light.

Then it hit me. Kelly likes words. Specifically, she likes it when *I* write words for her (feels like there is more than one meaning to that sentence!) And in days gone by I used to write sonnets to our friendship or post montages of photos glorifying our BFF status and post them to my blog. I don’t use the blog much anymore, at least not for things like that.

But I could.

I did.

I am.

I’ve spent all day thinking of you. I was in a meeting this morning (that I was NOT late for, despite my tech snafu, thank you very much) at the University of MN and the woman was talking about the children’s picture book digital art collection and I thought of you and how you’d be able to use that for your art unit.

I thought about you in the parking ramp when the person in the next spot parked so close to me that I could not fit between our cars and that was the driver side. And I ended up climbing in the passenger seat and over the console and contorting my body to squeeze into my driver’s seat. And even though it pissed me off, as I drove away I thought how funny it was and wished you were there because we’d laugh about that craziness for YEARS to come.

I stopped at Subway and thought of you and how much you enjoy Subway and how much you enjoy eating out, and that time you called me on the phone to tell me that Subway started offering breakfast and it was awesome.

I drove past Peppers & Fries and thought fondly of our lunches there, with and without your children. Then I thought of all the other lunches we’ve had and how much you enjoy going out to lunch. More than anyone I know.

All day today, every little thing I do, my mind has found a way to relate it back to you. Given the two very different lives we lead, this should seem a difficult task. But it isn’t. I can connect almost anything to you. And the reason is that we’ve been friends for twenty-eight years. 28. Our friendship is old enough to vote, buy cigarettes, lose money at a casino, drink alcohol and rent a car.

The Civil War lasted four years. World War I lasted four years. World War II lasted six years. The Korean War lasted three years. The Great Depression lasted ten years.

Our friendship outlasted all of these major events….added together. We have been friends longer than it would have taken to fight in four major wars and survive the greatest economic hardship our country has endured. With a year to spare.

I’ve spoken many times on my blog about you and our friendship. I’ve listed those if you wish to reread my words about you.

25 Birthdays

35/35

Lent Letter

Brecken’s Ultrasound

The Wonder (I think this is my all-time favorite Kelly post)

Chicago Trip (Although this is a close contender, still makes me LOL, literally)

The Right Stuff

33

First Sleepover

One of these posts contains a different list of posts about Kelly (there are a LOT to choose from) and in that one I put four and mention specifically that I stop at four just for Kelly. In this one I stopped at nine. It killed me to do it, but I did. Only nine lovable posts about my BFF. Because she likes lists that don’t conform. It’s me who doesn’t.

But here’s the crux of the thing. I love you, Kelly Jo. I’ve been loving you forever since 1989 and fully plan on that being the case forever. It’s a remarkable thing to know someone that long. Outside of blood relatives, there is no one I’ve known longer, and I know it is the same for you.

When we met, we didn’t have boobs. We didn’t shave our legs, we’d never gotten our first periods. We’d never kissed a boy. Our lives were small and sweet and innocent, as a child’s should be. The size of the world has grown immeasurably since we met, but it is in keeping with our friendship. More succinctly, the older we get, the better friends we become.

I know this is your first birthday since losing your dad and I know how hard that has been, and still is, on you. I think of you every day hoping, praying, that today will be a better day than yesterday. Also, I think of him, his warmth and his laughter and how very, very, very much he loved you. He is responsible for us, he moved you from Woodbury to St. Paul, and if he hadn’t done that, in 1989, you and I would never have met, never become friends, and what an immense loss that would have been. Nearly as awful as losing your dad. I hope that brings you comfort. Of all the things he’s given you, and Heaven knows that is a lot of things, he helped give you my friendship. And I’m still here, always.

Sometimes, Kel, sometimes it is hard to write to you because there is literally nothing I don’t say to you. I love that about us, our openness, even on the rare occasions that we fight, we always communicate our every thought. So many times I’ve set pen to paper (okay, fine, fingers to keyboard, but whatever, pen to paper is more poetic, and alliterative) to talk about you, about friendship and about how incredible it is that we are still forever friends.

Or BFF. As you like to say.

You are never far from my thoughts, and today, well, you are my favorite thought.

Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy birthday.

39 happys. Really. Count them.

Love you always, BFF.

kel

P.S. even though I never specifically mention NKOTB, I do reference them in the post. And because it felt weird to write to you, on your birthday and NOT mention them, I felt compelled to at this postscript to point that out, thus sneaking in a mention of your favorite band. I’m clever like that. Happy Birthday #1 Fan!

Long Live Livlife

My friend Elena recently had someone reach out to her on Facebook. As most of you know, I don’t do FB. But this person, Katie, reached out to Elena asking for my contact info because they wanted to send a yearbook.

Um, what?

Elena asked me and I asked who this person was. You see, I don’t really remember high school. But Elena does. So I figured she would know who this was and if it was worth sending along my contact info. She said, “I think she went to HS with us.” Well that’s strange. If Elena doesn’t remember her, then who is this person? More importantly, how does this person know that Elena and I are friends?

So I gave Elena permission to pass along my contact info, but not my regular email, my junk email, the one I use to sign up for stuff, and, apparently, pass along to people I may or may not know from Elena’s FB page. Obviously, I was curious. Then, Elena emailed me, “there is more to this story.” GAH! Tell me. Tell me NOW. She said she’d tell me in person, fortunately, we were seeing each other last night.

We went to a concert and Elena slipped in just as the lights were dimming, so there was no time to talk. After the show, after hours of waiting, she gave me this.

Katie Whatsherface reached out to me on FB about a yearbook. Apparently, she learned that you had died and wanted to send a copy of the yearbook to your family.

WHATTHEEVERLOVINGWHAT?!?!?

I’m not dead.

I’m really not. This is not a ghostly memoir. I’m a real, live girl, who reads a lot of books.

Now, of course, I have so many questions, so.many.questions, and I am just waiting to see if Katie Whatsherface reaches out. She’s had my email for two days and I’ve heard jack, with a side of squat. I’m wondering if she’ll even bother now that Elena confirmed that I am, indeed, still among the living.

Also, if I were dead, why would my family want my high school yearbook. Which is especially weird because I have a high school yearbook. One from every year (which I plan to use to look up Katie Whatsherface tonight, I forgot last night after hearing the story.) Junior high as well. And one from sixth grade. All on my bookshelves. So if my family wants them they are free for the taking when they clear out my house.

So odd. So, so, SO odd.

But I am here to state, firmly, that despite the fact that I am not a member of the Facebook community, I am, as a matter of certainty, alive and kicking. (I even just did an air kick just to prove it.)

I am alive.

Long Live Livlife.

Year 3 of Movies

We did much better this year! We actually saw 12 movies, but we only saw them in nine months, so that’s a bit odd. Here’s the 2016 recap of our movies.

January – None, there was nothing out we wanted to see, so we started off 0 for 1.

February – We saw Deadpool, which we both really liked, it’s very different for the “superhero” genre and it is NOT FOR CHILDREN, but it is a good flick.

March – This month, we couldn’t find hardly anything we wanted to see, but I wanted to go see a movie ON my birthday, so I ended up picking London Has Fallen with Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart, which was better than expected. I do like movies about badass guys, apparently. Mom liked it too. Then, naturally, after my birthday, out came Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We saw this and it was okay. DC has a long way to go if they are going to catch Marvel,  I vote for them sticking with TV, they’re pretty good at that.

April – In April, we wanted to see different movies, so instead of compromising we just saw both. I chose My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which was awesome, easily as adorable as the first. Mom loved it, too. And Mom chose, Doris, which looked far better on spec than in execution. Neither of us liked this much, just okay.

May – Ah, May, the month in which I saw Captain America Civil War. If you know me at all, you know I’m a Cap fanatic, so for about three years I’d been waiting patiently for this movie, the follow up to Winter Soldier, one of the best superhero movies ever made, and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It is easily as good as Winter Soldier. Maybe 1% less good. I loved it. Mom loved it. Audiences worldwide loved it. And Captain America wins again. #TeamCap

Also released this month was the newest entry into the X-Men franchise, another favorite of mine, Apocalypse. This was another very good movie. It wasn’t perfect, but super solid. Mom is not into X-Men, but went along and she liked it as well.

June – Me Before You. I had read the book and made Mom read it, too. I don’t think it is integral, and I didn’t love the book, honestly. But I really liked the movie, it was very well executed, one of those rare instances when the movie wins. Mom agreed here.

July – Jason Bourne. Mom and I are both big Jason Bourne fans (again with the badass men thing) so this was a no brainer. It holds up. A very solid entry into this franchise.

August – Again with the superhero movies, we saw Suicide Squad. It was okay, not fantastic, but a fairly decent movie. Once again, DC just missed the mark. Mom had no prior knowledge of the characters or anything about the Suicide Squad and she enjoyed it, didn’t love it, but was entertained.

September – Bridget Jones Baby, um was there a world where we don’t go see this? No, there isn’t. And you know what? We loved it. Both of us. It was utterly charming and delightful. A fitting end to this story.

October – I’ve got nothing. I didn’t write anything down, and can’t remember. So either we saw nothing or saw something unremarkable, in which case, it doesn’t bear remarking.

November – Man, this was a good year for superhero films! We saw Doctor Strange. Another excellent entry from Marvel. This was extremely well done. I’m now very invested in the Doctor Strange universe.

December – we ran out of time and didn’t see anything this month, which turned out okay because that landed us at 12. Although Lane and I did go see Assassin’s Creed (see badass men, above, and also because, well, Michael Fassbender). We both liked it a great deal.

There you go. Another year of movies and we continue, already having completed January in 2017. I’ll let you know next year.

Customer Disservice

I owe some blogs, certainly, but this one couldn’t wait. I bought appliances in October, I bought them from Warners’ Stellian, a locally owned/family owned appliance store and people I know have happily bought appliances from them. My story is a trainwreck. And unfortunately I didn’t look at reviews until afterward, but my story is not uncommon.

I’m going to post the full text of the email complaint I sent in yesterday, it explains it better and then you’ll know the whole story. Stay tuned at the end for the results.

Okay, so I don’t feel like I was irrational or even asking for the moon. They screwed up, royally and repeatedly and at MY cost. It was a disaster from the get go. I think my point that they should have given me my money back and been done with it is valid. Instead, after a full business day of waiting, they lowballed me.

They offered me the exact cost of the contractor’s estimate, which did not include the cost of paint and said so right on the invoice, which was $250, plus the cost of groceries, if I sent them an itemized list.

That pissed me off, too. I am the wronged party here, ME, and they have the nerve to lowball me and then ask me to itemize my costs? Um, no. That’s what the email was, and itemized list of grievances, and I gave you my cost, you ignored it. But, I also am so sick of dealing with this mess. It has been consuming my life for a month. I want to be done. So I responded and told him I would settle for $400, but made it clear that they were in the wrong and that they didn’t even apologize.

Okay, they sent me a form letter apology. That doesn’t count. Not in my book. It wasn’t even personalized. “Dear customer we strive for the best and are sorry that your situation….blahblahblah” is not an apology.  I think at the very least the asshole lowballing could have offered up a sincere apology. But no.

I want this out there, not to complain or vent, but to tell anyone who is in Minnesota to simply not use them. Their customer service is atrocious. And from what I have seen, they simply do not care.

DO NOT BUY FROM WARNERS’ STELLIAN.

Reading in the Rain

I know I’ve talked ad nauseum about how much I love to read outside. I LOVE it, it’s just the best thing in the world. I’m honestly surprised I don’t go into depression when I can’t for nine months out of the year.

At my house, I have a three season porch off my living room, which is on the second floor, that means my patio has a roof, the floor of the porch. I have my swing  hanging from the porch and that’s where I spend 99.99% of my outdoor reading time (once it was too sunny and I sat on the bench for 15 minutes, that’s the other 0.01%). Because of the way the three season porch is designed, it doesn’t get wet underneath. The rain has to be blowing virtually sideways to get rain underneath. The same is true inside the porch, so I’m lucky I can leave those windows open day and night, from April to October.

Okay, so this means I don’t have to stop reading when it is raining. This is a HUGE plus for me, especially this summer when it has been super rainy. And since rainy days are prime reading days, it’s basically heaven on earth for me.

Cut to Tuesday night. I was out reading and it rained a bit. No big deal. Then it got dark and a storm blew in. It was rapidly cooling off outside and I was considering heading in (I was reading on my iPad, so the dark didn’t matter) but it was a good part of the book and I was enjoying the sounds and smells of the storm, so I stayed put.

Suddenly, something wet and slimy landed on my bare leg. Okay, I just got a chill typing that. Truly. It was dark outside, so I couldn’t see it. Instead, I just freaked. FREAKED. Remember this? It wasn’t quite that bad, because I wasn’t naked, but still, I was in capri pants and it was on my bare skin.

So I freak out and start kicking both legs, which were previously resting on a footstool. Kicking like a maniac with one hand holding my iPad to keep it from crashing to the ground, I felt whatever it was leave my skin.

I calmed down and finally brought my legs to rest on the footstool when whatever it was touched my other leg! Again with the freaking and kicking and not knowing what the hell was happening. So I removed my feet from the footstool, but I was so freaked out I didn’t want to put my feet on the ground because I didn’t know what was happening and I was barefoot (my sandals were under the footstool where I had slipped them off) so I simply stuck my legs straight out. And, naturally, because I was on a swing, I start swinging wildly about in the dark with nothing to anchor me. During this time I was chanting, out loud, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf, pleasebealeaf.  After maybe 20 seconds, my legs were starting to hurt, but I was calming down and I realized I needed to figure this out. On the heels of that thought was the reminder that I was holding an iPad IN MY HAND and it emits light. Um, duh?

So I flipped the screen toward the ground and, obviously, saw nothing, since the fear of the ground was all in my imagination, and finally put my feet down. As I stopped moving I was able to turn toward the footstool and I aimed my iPad again.

There it was, the source of all this drama.

A tiny green tree frog. Okay he wasn’t tiny, like maybe 1.5″ long. Which is sizeable, but by no means terrifying. Frogs do not bother me in the least. Except when it is storming, and dark and they are wet and land on my skin, uninvited, then, I guess, they bother me plenty. But I was laughing as I saw him, and I leaned forward and pushed him off the footstool with my hand. Because frogs don’t bother me. I touched him, he hopped off, I resettled in my spot and dove back into my book.

But something was bugging me, niggling in the back of my brain…

Finally, I switched over from the book to my browser and googled how high tree frogs can jump. I mean, I see frogs and toads frequently and they hop a bit, I’ve seen them jump great distances, forward, but never have I seen one jump high. Maybe and inch or two off the ground, but that’s it. However, this particular frog landed on my leg, on the footstool, which I am guessing is close to four feet off the ground when all is said and done. Four feet in the air! So my brain was wondering if he was on a tree or something and got blown onto my leg? I mean, it sounds crazy, but how else did he get there.

And then Google told me that tree frogs can jump up to 7 feet in the air, or 50 times their own body length. Wowza. I mean, that’s impressive, but also strange that I never knew that. Now I’m a little creeped out. Before I saw frogs and thought nothing of it, but now, knowing that if I am walking and see a frog on the ground, he could literally leap up and land on my head. That’s a little creepy.

Anyway, I filed that information away for later and finished my book. I was so close that even though I was cold and living in my own private dramedy, I wanted to finish. So I did. As soon as the book was done, I shut off the iPad and lifted my feet to the ground. I stuck my left foot under the stool and slid it in my flip flop. Then my right, but I couldn’t quite reach it, it may have gotten moved in the frantic flailing of the aforementioned dramedy. So I stood up on my left foot and reached further and my toe caught the edge of my shoe. I scootched it toward me and finally slid my foot in…and my toes met something slimy!

Again with the instinctive reaction, my foot kicked and the sandal went flying. Not far, mind you, just off my foot. STILL standing my my left foot, I leaned backward and grabbed my iPad, turned it back on and shined the light. My flip flop was about a foot away and now sole side up. I leaned forward with my hand and picked it up and that little frog was sitting underneath. Apparently, he thought he could make himself at home in my sandal.

Not true my freaky, jumping, little nemesis. This time I picked up the shoe in my hand, put it on, and grabbed my iPad to head inside. I kept the light pointed at the ground the whole time so I didn’t accidentally step on this frog, or worse, he didn’t hop right inside with me. As I stepped across the threshold, I turned back for one last look and the dim light from the screen could barely touch him several feet away, but it was enough to see the gleam of mirth in his froggy eye as he sat there mocking me.

Damn frog.