Friday, June 24, 2011

My Moral Dilemma: Woody Allen

I’m not someone who judges art by the personal behavior of the artist. We all mess up, we all make bad decisions. I'll still watch Charlie Sheen movies, and though I think Sandra Bullock’s ex is an idiot, I won’t disregard whatever it is that he does for a living just because he cheated on his wife. What does he do anyway?

But there’s one celebrity I haven’t been able to forgive enough to welcome his art back into my life.

When I was younger I saw a number of Woody Allen films and liked most of them. But that changed - about twenty years ago, in fact. When his affair with Soon-Yi (Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter and for all practical purposes his daughter, too) was exposed, I vowed I would never, ever, ever do anything in any way to contribute to his bank account. In fact, even if I came across one of his films on television, I’d switch channels. It hasn’t been a difficult vow to keep. Until this last weekend.

I’d seen a couple previews for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and they intrigued me. And then I heard good rumblings about it too. But I never once heard or noticed that it was a Woody Allen film. I might not have been paying attention or maybe the promoters haven’t been pushing the fact. I don’t know. I just know I had no idea.

On Sunday at about 4:00, I glanced at the film times on my phone and saw that it was playing in ten minutes. My husband was game so we hurried to the theater. By the time we made our way to a couple empty seats - this wasn’t easy, by the way - the movie had started, but nothing much had happened. The beginning is a montage of shots of the beautiful city of Paris. But while these pictures are on the screen, stars' and producers', etc. names are popping up. And the last one listed was, of course, Woody Allen.

I gasped. I told my husband we couldn’t stay. Charlie (husband) has absolutely no sense or interest in things celebrity. He knows who Woody Allen is but he wouldn’t pay the least bit of attention to his personal life. Here’s kind of how our conversation went:

Me: Gasp. Oh, we gotta go.
Him: What?
Me: It’s Woody Allen.
Him: So?
Me: He married his daughter.
Him, after a pause: That’s disgusting.
Me: I know.

At that point, we were shushed by the people we’d walked in front of, those behind us and those in front of us. Husband shot me a look that said: should we go?

And, much to both my disappointment in myself and my sheer glee, we didn’t go. We sat through the movie and here’s the thing - I loved every darn minute of it. It’s sort of like what I'd heard, but there’s much more to it. It’s a movie for dreamers, artists of all kinds and people who just love to be entertained with a good and interesting story. I am horrified to say that I loved it, loved it! I’ll do my best to never see another Woody Allen movie again because I haven’t forgiven him, but if I was going to slip off my vow, at least I ended up enjoying the experience. Plus, it was a matinee, so not full ticket price. Yeah, that’s what I'll keep telling myself.


STATE OF WONDER by Ann Patchett
Okay, it's kind of a strange story with strange, totally bizarre and unreal things happening. The writing is more long-winded than I usually enjoy, but the words are all useful. There was something about this book that made me want to hurry back to it. I think (though I'm not really sure) it had something to do with the author's characterizations. Or maybe it was just the whole mystery and beauty and horribleness of the Amazon? Many books I choose to read are about places I'd never be brave enough to go but would love to learn about. I can't seem to pinpoint it, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Can't Believe I'm Talking About This . . .

The other day my husband and I were having a sharing moment. We were comparing our aches and pains. Shoulder joints, hips, knees, feet - we were having a serious conversation about these things, until we paid attention to what we were saying and broke into laughter. We've become "those" people, I guess.

But despite being old fogies, we ultimately decided to do a few things differently that should help us both.

Last year I started getting twinges of pain shooting from my wrists into my elbows. At the time I researched the ergonomically best way to sit: straight back, lower back support, elbows supported, arm bent at a 90 degree angle, and keyboard straight out from your elbows (see picture). I was sitting with my elbows up, like wings kind of. I made some adjustments and it has helped a lot. Yesterday, I analyzed my husband's sitting form and we fixed a few things there too. So, sitting form should be better.

Also on the list is our mattress. We have one of those mattresses that has a foam pad on top. We thought it would be wonderful, but it isn't. In fact, the last couple of times I've slept on a plain hotel mattress, I've had fewer aches and pains. I don't know what we're going to do, but we're researching.

I've been treadmill walking for years. I started when I blew my knee out and have just kept going - well, 30 minutes a day. I've decided I need to do more stretching before and after my walks to keep things limber and moving better.


I once heard that it's harder on a body to sit in a chair all day than it is to play a professional sport. Writing is the first 'desk' job I've had; combine that with getting older and I'm realizing I've got to take better care. Again, sigh, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Sending well and ache-and-pain-free wishes to everyone!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Slow Down!

I know, I know, everyone tells you that your kids will grow up quickly. If you pay attention, you might hear someone say it at least once a day.

But, seriously, there is nothing anyone can say or share that can prepare you for the truth - "quickly" doesn't even begin to explain what happens. One day, a flood of memories will hit you at once: Feeding him at 2:00 in the morning and wondering when he'll be able to get his own Pop Tarts. Chasing him in the doctor's office and wondering why you really wanted him to start walking in the first place. Watching his kindergarten graduation and wondering if he really will be good at math like the young, new teacher said he would be. Watching him smile when the eye doctor says, "Not only do you not have to wear an eye patch any longer, you don't even need glasses." Wondering if he'll even remember not being invited to that boy's birthday party (he won't, by the way). Wondering when he'll finally be too big to run and jump into your arms. Thinking that it's impossible that he's going into Jr. High. One day, looking up to talk to him instead of looking down. Watching him shave. So many others . . . and these memories will hit you often, but my big moment this year was as I watched him drive down the street headed to school - on the first morning I didn't follow close behind.

My kid finished 10th grade this week, which, to me, just means that I've only got two more full good years with him in my house. That is, unless I can convince him that he and whoever he marries should live in my basement. Trust me, I'm going to try.

No new books this week. Hopefully, something next time. Happy Reading!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Woman at Work

I really don’t travel much and most of the places I do go are because of some sort of sports event or camp for my son. This last year has been surprisingly full of travel adventures that haven’t had anything at all to do with my kid. I’ve had fun, but boy did I pay for it this last week.

I’m not staring down the barrel of any imminent deadlines, but in the past couple of months I’ve missed a number of my self-imposed smaller deadlines; you know, the things you should stick to or your big deadlines get ugly and impossible. After returning home from D.C. I told myself that I had to get caught up, get back to my planned calendar. I’ve spent the last seven days attempting to do just that. I’m not there quite yet, but the edge of panic has worn off a little. However, it looks like I’ll be spending my summer either missing the nicer weather or hauling my laptop to the backyard. Hope your summer (I'm calling the end of the school year the official start of summer) is off to a wonderful all-deadlines-met start.

I did read a book on the planes to and from D.C. that I really enjoyed. FLAT-OUT LOVE by Jessica Park is a digital book only (uh, I don’t think I’m wrong about that, but there might be a paperback version in the future). I thought I would do some work on the plane rides but it just wasn’t happening. Instead, I chose to read, hoping to find something that would make the narrow seat and the elbow in my side from the neighboring passenger not so horrible. I got lucky.

FOL is a young adult novel; a genre which I’ve been reading a bunch of lately and have found they can either be really, really good or torturous. FOL is in the really, really good category.

The main character is a young adult but not as young as some. She’s a college freshman. I think this age isn’t written about enough - or I’ve missed these books, which is possible.

Anyway, I don’t know Jessica personally but we are Facebook friends and I think she’s hysterically funny. I bought this book fully expecting to like it, but I was surprised at how much I liked it. I knew she’d be good at the funny stuff, but she's also good with the serious and heart-wrenching stuff. It's got romance, mystery, laughs, family dysfunction. It’s all really well done, and it made my plane rides fly (grin) right on by.