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!

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.

Year 2 of Movies

I just realized, yesterday, as we saw our first movie of the year (yep, already behind schedule) that I never posted the results from last year. So, without further ado:


January: Into the Woods & The Gambler

We knew February was out, so we decided to double up in January. Into the Woods we saw with Lane and I remember not really liking it. But that’s about it. The Gambler was Mark Wahlberg, whom I pretty much always enjoy….but I did not care for this.

February: None because of surgery for my mom.

March: Cinderella

This live action version of the story came out for my birthday and my niece wanted so desperately to see it. When it was over, I said, “that’s the best version of that story I’ve ever seen.” Truly.

April: None because there was nothing we wanted to see.

May: Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2.

It happened to work out that there were two I desperately wanted to see in May. May is always a good month for movies. Avengers 2? Um…awesome. Not perhaps as delightful as Avengers 1, but still very good. And PP2? Well I adored PP, and made my mom watch it so she could go see this with me. And she and I loved them both.

June: None because of another surgery.

July: Spy & Ant-Man

Well I think Ant-Man was a no-brainer. I see all movies in the MCU. This was enjoyable. I struggle, then and now, buying Paul Rudd as a superhero, but it was still good.

Spy was because we wanted to make up for June, so my mom suggested this. Normally, not something either of us would go see, but it was…terrific! Funny and smart. Loved it.

August: Trainwrecked* & Ricki and the Flash

Trainwrecked was not part of our plan, but my brother Zack wanted to see it. Definitely a movie I would NOT normally see. But it was actually better than expected. Surprising movie. Ricki and the Flash was our pick this month. I enjoyed it, but it is a very slow story.

September: None, again because of surgery.

October: The Intern

Possibly the biggest disappointment on the year. What an utterly stupid movie.

November: Spectre & White Christmas

The new James Bond. No brainer here. It was good. Perhaps not quite as good as the previous movies in the trilogy, but still very James Bond/Daniel Craigish. As a bonus this month, I took Mom to see White Christmas, one of our all-time favorite holiday classics, which was showing on the big screen. Now since it originally came out in 1954 when neither of us was born, we didn’t ever see it on the big screen, so we were super excited. And it did not disappoint. It was glorious on the big screen, and we sang along to the songs, as did most other people in the theater. Possibly my favorite thing I saw last year.

December: Sisters and The Good Dinosaur

We needed one last film for the year and chose extremely unwisely. Sisters is an atrociously awful film. Hated it. Wanted to leave. Luckily, my mom had planned to take my niece to see the latest Pixar release while she was off school. I crashed their date and we pretended this was our actual final film of the year. And in true Pixar fashion, this was adorable and sweet.

So, despite multiple surgeries screwing with our plan, we ended up seeing 14 movies in 12 months. Most were even pretty good. And the plan continues!

Thirty Five – Part III

This part was my celebration with Elena. She and I had very special plans. Back when I was in grad school, living by myself in DC, I met this girl who was obsessed with the show Veronica Mars. I had never seen it, but had an excess of time on my hands (I didn’t work while living in DC) so I checked it out. I quickly understood why she liked it so much. It’s a smart and savvy show. Unfortunately, it was cancelled, abruptly after the third season and left wide open with no actual conclusion. They always talked about one day doing a VM movie, but as the years passed….

Well, after a record setting kickstarter campaign, they funded it last year and released it to limited theaters just in time for my birthday this year. Last year, after the campaign, I added VM to my tv dates with Lane and she rushed to complete the series just in time for the movie release.

We had to go to an AMC theater to see it. There is one of those about 2 minutes from her house…Roseville, but I don’t like that theater and it is so expensive. I browsed online to find that the Coon Rapids AMC was offering discount tickets to the show, along with DreamLounger and reserved seating. Um, hallelujah? We bought tickets and I reserved two seats for us.

We decided to go to dinner at this place called Patricks? Billys? I seriously cannot remember the name of it. Anyway, it was in the city of Anoka and we were off on an adventure.

Oh, look at that. Apparently Billy’s. And now I remember thinking we should take a photo of ourselves just so I could remember that. I’m so smart.

And then it was off to Coon Rapids to the theater. And they had those crazy new touch screen pop dispensers. I honestly was stymied by it. I couldn’t figure out how to get pop from that machine. Luckily the girls using the machine next to me were kind enough to teach me. Crazy machines. So high tech. And slightly annoying to pay like $5 for a 16 oz pop that I have to serve myself. Basically paying for the cup.

And here we are in front of the theater marquee. It’s harder to read than I thought it would be.

Then in our dream loungers.

Yes, we’re pretending to sleep…and yes, she is peeking.

And the movie.


It was awesome. Can’t recall the last time I had so much fun at a movie. Knowing every person in there was a fan of the show…we all loved it already. It was a little like seeing a movie with all your friends…everyone in there. We were talking and chatting with strangers. Cheering for the movie to begin. Applauding when it was over. Crazy. And fun.

Elena and I (and many others) actually GASPED loudly when Logan first appeared on screen. It was priceless. A wonderful way to celebrate my birthday.

And then when we got back to her house, I got loads of gifts. A beautiful necklace that she MADE for me. This was weird, because as I was driving to her house that day, I was planning my outfit for my actual birthday and worrying because I didn’t think I had the right necklace for it. Then she gave me one…and it was perfect. And she had no idea what I was wearing. She’s a little psychic like that. She did the exact same thing a few years ago…got me the perfect necklace for a birthday outfit. How does she always know?

She also got me a wall hanging for my entry way that is so incredibly perfect I couldn’t have picked better myself. And beautiful decorative plates that still need a home, I’m working on that. And black lentils…which was just funny. But the best was she filled the bottoms of the gift bags with candy. I never thought of that, but what a great way to make a gift extra special.

It was a terrific and memorable way to continue ringing in my birthday.


If I Only Had a Brain

Happy Halloween!

“I could while away the hours, conferring with the flowers, consulting with the rain. And my head I’d be scratching while my thoughts were busy hatching if I only had a brain. I’d unravel every riddle, for every individdle, in trouble or in pain. With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’ I could be another Lincoln if I only had a brain.

Oh I, could tell you why, the ocean’s near the shore, and then I’d sit and think some more.

I’d not be just a nuffin, my head all full of stuffin’ my heart all full of pain. I could dance and be merry I could be a dingaderry if I only had a brain!”

And, yes, for those who were wondering, I do know all the lyrics to the song and did not have to look them up, and yes, I DO sing the song while wearing this costume!photo


That’s me, at work (closest thing I could find to a corn stalk!). And of course, the incredible Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, in the movie.

And here’s a lovely picture of my sign in the library.

 I made this costume back in 2003, a decade ago. Which is also the last time I wore it. We had a costume contest at work that year (at Awada’s) and the whole staff dressed up. I won! Supposedly we’re having a costume contest here, today, we’ll see how it goes. I’m surprised and happy that it still fits, though I apparently forgot how uncomfortable it is! (Straw is itchy and poky…)

More photos to come from trick-or-treating tonight, but for now, have a safe and fun Halloween. Even if you have to be at work all day.

L-where’s my picture?!?

Happy Halloween!

Day of Fun

Last Saturday, my sister needed a babysitter. I said I’d take her for the day. Usually I call my mom to come hang with us, but I really wanted a day of just the two of us hanging out.

Our first item on the agenda was for me to fix the Christmas tree, a strand of lights had burnt out. For her, it was to walk around my house and find everything that could be turned on and to turn it on.

After a while, she got dressed and we went to breakfast. Denny’s. I so rarely eat breakfast and almost never go out for breakfast, it was a real treat for me.


And, evidently, for her.

Once we finished eating, we headed out to the Conservatory to smell some flowers and take some pictures. I’d already talked to her about letting me take pictures and she agreed to stop and smile and look at the camera while smiling. I was so excited. I took tons of pictures of her and with her and we just explored.


My new phone wallpaper.


So cute!


One of my favorites. Sticking out her tongue is her newest thing when getting her picture taken….so we did one on purpose and she loved it.

Since it was also a really nice day outside we went out to see the animals. Most are indoors this time of year, but the arctic fox and the buffalo and the reindeer were outside.


I said, “Arionna, what are those?” “Reindeew” she replied. I yelled at that one in front.

“Hey, Dasher!”

No reaction.

“Hey, Dancer!”

No reaction.

I was fully prepapred to say them all, but Arionna said, “It’s Rudolph.”

“Hey, Rudolph!”

And he turned his head and looked right at us. No kidding. I got so excited and said to Arionna, “you were right, it really IS Rudolph!” And she said, “Why is he taking a nap?” And I told her it was so he could rest up because he had to fly to everyone’s house on Christmas and bring presents, even her.

It was probably my favorite part of the day.


She’s pretty into cheesy faces these days. Tell her to say cheese and you get that cheesy smile that all little kids do about this age.


And even with the cheesy smile, that’s still a darn cute photo.


As is that. My sister said she was so happy I fixed her hair. Not much cuter than curly pigtails in my book.

We also made time to check out the koi pond.

Those suckers were nuts.

This dude wanted to eat my camera string.

A very nice woman offered to take our picture together. Arionna doesn’t do strangers. Which is why I have five of these:

Ah well, it was worth trying.

After the koi, she was looking for fish in every water we passed.

We also saw a poisonous tree frog…in a  cage. Normally I wouldn’t care except:

That picture turned out kind of amazing, so I am including it.

But, at the end of the day, we used my self timer and managed to get my new favorite photo.

Love, love, love it. And Arionna liked doing pictures on the self timer, so I’ll remember that for next time.

Finally, as we were headed home, she was playing peek-a-boo behind skinny trees. She’d poke her head out and yell PEEK! and I knew I had to try to capture that on film.


Hello, happiest girl in town.

It was such a fun day and I’m so pleased to have all these amazing pictures to help us remember it. Finally, when we got back home, I popped in a movie for her and she chose to watch The Wizard of Oz, one of my all-time favorites. We watched the whole thing and she just loved it. LOVED it. She even borrowed it to watch at home because she loved it so much. Another wonderful thing I’ve shared with her.

It was a Christmas present to me, spending the day with her.