Monday, July 31, 2006

late night phone calls

I'm getting old - I admit it. When the phone rings after 10pm, I immediately think of my Granny or some other really terrible possible situation. We just returned from vacation yesterday afternoon (week at Edisto Island). I'm usually keyed up after returning and trying to unpack and get the house back in order. So - I'm watching "While you were sleeping" at 11:18 (comfort movie). I knew it was 11:18, because when the phone rings, the caller id comes up on the tv screen. My heart skips a beat, and then I see the cell phone number and name of the 13 year old girl from Charlotte who has been calling my baby boy the past 5 weeks. Hubby answers the phone while I'm whispering loudly, "You tell that girl that he is asleep and she should be too and not to call so late!!" He does tell her that Sonny Boy is asleep, and then nicely says "That's okay."

When he hung up, I responded, "That's okay?! It's not okay! Girls can't be calling my son at 11:18 at night and think it's okay! Either her parents don't know that she is using her cell phone like this, or they don't care. You should tell her not to call so late!!"

Then I proceeded to tell him how I have suspected for years that I would be the "tough" parent when interested parties came to visit our children. They'll think the daddy is so sweet and cute, and that mom sure is tough and wouldn't want to cross her.

Why do I always have to be the meanie?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fun and Games with Bubba

Sunday is a really good day. It's the day of rest - a day to worship - a day to relax and enjoy good family time. Yesterday started off pleasantly enough. Kids and I went to church (Hubby was at a cousin's husband's funeral.) We arrived home. 95 degrees it was, and I thought kiddies and I might enjoy the free ice cream and music at the church block party. I thought I might have an opportunity to get to know some more people - people with whom I have things in common.

Well, kiddies wanted to go to Wet'nWild waterpark - where we purchased a family super saver pass last December. (It was less expensive than joining any pool in the area.) WW is not my favorite place, but at least it doesn't really matter how much skin hangs out from my bathing suit - no one would really notice. If it's not a tiny two piece and accentuated with numerous tattoos and piercings, it's just not very noticeable.

Kiddies and I arrive and decided to take up a chair in "pirate cove," where I can lounge, read my historical fiction novel and easily watch Princess swim while Sonny Boy seeks thrills on the more exuberant rides. But pirate cove was packed. Rock 92 banners were everywhere. Very large men in odd swim outfits abounded. It was, I came to discover, the Bubba Olympics. (Check out their website for lots more info.) Apparently, one must weigh at least 250 pounds, and consider himself "country" to enter - and also have a non-existent threshold of embarrassment. We could not avoid seeing a few of the events - the moon pie swim, the cannonball, and the water ballet.

So instead of conversing pleasantly with sophisticated people, and eating ice cream - I was thinking of my brother, seeing much more of people than I wished, and trying to list the brighter side of being a Southerner.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fun Way to Spend an Evening

First, take a 95 degree, humid day. Add a one hour drive at 5pm, with a fruit salad, sleepy daughter, and lots of traffic. Drive way out in the boonies on a dirt road to a very large, wooded camp. Arrive at 6pm to immediately go through the covered dish line while all the Boy Scouts wait (somewhat patiently) for the visiting families to get a plate first. Wait (somewhat patiently) for Hubby to set up camp chair so that you can juggle paper plate and drink on lap - while encouraging sleepy daughter to eat something more than just watermelon. Too hot to eat - but that never really stopped me before.

Dinner is over - wondering where the heck the bathroom is - but can only see the tents set up on wooden bases (smelly little places). Ask Sonny Boy for a tour - apparently there is one hour to wait before "Campfire." (What the heck will we be doing there and why are families supposed to come?)

Sonny Boy shows his smelly tent - which only houses his clothes and food - especially care packages from aunties and grandparents. Has so much sugar could open his own canteen. Say a quick prayer that he's brushing his teeth at least once a day. We see his tiny hammock - where he's sleeping at night. He's only had to knock two ticks off this week so far. Wish he would shave his head.

Continue tour. Take trail and realize almost 300 scouts from all over the place. Arrive at central buildings - thank heavens - decent bathroom at Cafeteria. Sonny Boy wants to show the lake - only 10 minute walk. After 20 minutes walking, hearing more and more thunder and walking towards the dark clouds - we turn back to campsite. "Just about 5 minutes!" End up walking fast as we can for almost 20 minutes on tiny trail. Sore body from 3 hours of tennis day before - wonder how bad it will be next morning (it's bad).

Get back to camp - storm's ready to hit. Closing campfire will be at Cafeteria. Walk different way there - but hit by storm first - soaked through and through and very glad not wearing a white tshirt. Chaos at Cafeteria. Staff yelling for everyone to cram into building and get off porch (15 minutes after storm has started moving away - wondering what the fire code is and if that outweighs risk of standing on porch.) Closing ceremony starts in building - wonder why they have to have families there - why don't they do this on Friday night with just the scouts? Then the "serious" part begins where they beg for quiet - some of the lilly white boys pretending to be in touch with their inner Native American and dressed appropriately so. Wonder if anyone in building has more native blood in them than Sonny Boy - who is a whopping 1/32 Cherokee.

Finally over. Still raining. One hour drive back still soaked to bone. Arrive home 10pm - immediately shower, get Princess dried off and then answer phone from Hubby (who was scheduled to stay these last two days). Large tree had fallen and blocked the road; one tent collapsed, tornado warnings the whole time.

Thank goodness Jon Stewart came on tv soon after to salvage the evening.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest

My family and I have been anxiously awaiting the new Pirates movie. We own the first installment (have watched it a number of times) and headed out to an early showing on Friday. (So yes, we have contributed to the record $132 million it's taken in this weekend.) My viewing experience wasn't premium. We were at an older theater, since it saved us about $10 (even with matinee prices) - thus my head was looking straight up at the screen the whole time. And Sonny Boy kept nudging my arm saying, "I'm starving!! Can I PLEASE have some popcorn?" "No! You ate just before you came! Hush and let me watch the movie!"

Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. About 10 minutes into the movie, I thought - "This is like The Empire Strikes Back!" Empire is my favorite of the original Star Wars trilogy (I just pretend the prequels never happened). I sat in the theater Friday thinking about three main characters who thought they knew their situation in the world suddenly being thrust into new circumstances - new worlds. Their plans had gone awry - and in these new worlds, they discovered parts on themselves they didn't realize were there - for good and for bad. Conflict ensues, loyalties are tested, and we are left hoping the good will win out, but also knowing that no one is all good or all bad.

I have always loved swashbucklers. Maureen O'Hara is my favorite actress of all time - especially when she was aboard a pirate ship. Once again, Pirates had creative, interesting and exciting action sequences. The best action took place this time, not on board, but on land. There were nods to the original - but the action was not contrived or repetitive. I liked the twists and turns in the original movie, and appreciated the continued twists and turns.

I have heard complaints about a complex plot. I did have to think about the plot (esp. with Sonny Boy begging for popcorn), but thinking about a plot and figuring out the twists and turns is part of the joy I find in a good movie. The plot was not too complex or difficult - but interesting and thought-provoking. I figured out fairly easily what was happening as the movie progressed (even though I must confess to having no clue how the gambling game worked on board The Flying Dutchman). I do also wish there had been just a touch more humor (and I know that's hard to do when part of the time is spent with Davy Jones).

The acting was great as usual. Johnny Depp has no peer, and I found Jack Davenport's role especially intriguing. Bloom and Knightly were quite good as well, but I was wishing for a little more meat in Bloom's role (Knightly had plenty with which to deal).

Overall, the storyline was interesting, the acting was very good, the action scenes were engaging and exciting, and it was a fun ride. The ending is incomplete - we know that the 3rd movie is half done already - and I will probably go the day it opens again. These characters have new worlds to explore - both within and without. My grade - B+

P.S. - Stay until the credits are over :) You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

We're a nation of eaters - not athletes

Anyone who reads this blog on occasion realizes the great and undying love I have for my favorite sport - tennis. I am in the midst of one of the best two week periods of the year - the Championships at Wimbledon. After spending the morning suffering through the 100 degree weather at the downtown 4th Festival, I was able to hole up in the air conditioning with ESPN2 and the women's Quarters. Anyone who halfway follows tennis realizes there is not one American (male or female) left in the singles' events. This is huge news. I think I heard one of the commentators say the last time it happened was 1922, and no Americans entered Wimbledon that year. American dominance of this great international sport is over - and with very little hope that a young American is on the rise to be a top 5 player.

This news just after the US's predictable early exit in the men's World Cup.

And what is the byline on ESPN2 today? That same crazy guy from Japan (for the 6th year running) has won the world hotdog eating contest (53 3/4 this year). Who came in 2nd with 52 dogs? An American! Yeah!!!

We suck at sports - but we sure know how to eat.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Cars - the movie

A couple weeks ago, I took Sonny Boy and Princess to the latest animated "family" movie - Cars. I had read some favorable reviews, so I was hoping and praying this would not be another Spongebob Squarepants movie (definitely one of the worst I have ever seen). I was fortunate that Cars was far superior.

Now part of me felt like I should see this movie just because I am from North Carolina. I have never actually seen a NASCAR race, but I know I can name more race car drivers (and even recognize their faces) than I can pro football players. It's just osmosis in this part of the world. I was delighted that several of the actual NASCAR drivers (including the King himself, Richard Petty) voiced characters. Cars is about actual cars - the primary character being a snazzy red racecar, Lightning McQueen. He's all about the glory, the babes, the money, and the sponsorships. On this way to the destination of fame and fortune, Lightning gets waylayed in a sleepy Route 66 town. (There's even a nice little side story about commercialization and major highways missing the local beauty.) The story itself is by no means original - I sometimes had flashbacks to Doc Hollywood. Yet, the way the story is told is quite creative and original and engaging.

These were cars - but I felt like I knew each one. When Lightning left the sleepy town, I was so sad. I didn't want to leave this town and the people in it. I wanted to go back and stay there. (I probably watched way too much Northern Exposure years ago.) I'm sure you can predict the ending - but as with the story itself - it's not the destination that counts; it's the journey.

The journey is just a lot of fun. The characters are interesting. The dialogue is snappy and heartfelt without being cheesy. The voices were well chosen. Even the soundtrack is impressive (Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts). This really is a feel good movie that all ages can enjoy - and I will happily see a sequel when it comes (as I'm sure it will). My grade - A-