Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Out of Body / Home Again

If it feels like a ghost town over here on this little corner of the interwebs, well that's because it is. I have been so preoccupied with this whole moving business that I've gotten entirely out of sync with my regularly-writing self. In fact I haven't written much of anything these past two weeks be it on the internet, in my journals or my most frequently used canvas... the backs of those receipts that always seem to take up residence in my wallet.

Several days I have been toying with ideas on the proper way, the perfect subject, the most logical and yet compelling way to jump back into this world. My world. As usual nothing seems right enough to write. So instead I've decided to do what I've always known in the back of my mind to be the only way, to just jump back onto the horse before it, you know, runs away.

I think we all know what that feels like to some extent. There comes a point where action stalls for one reason or another and no matter what a good groove you found yourself in before said stall, or even how much love you have for the action itself, or the results it produces, if you let the stall last even a moment longer you will have to essentially hit that reset button in your brain and start all over.

How easily momentum can slow when we allow ourselves to become distracted.

It's inevitable, minutes become hours. Hours become days and next thing you know it's been weeks since you've touched fingers to keys, brush to paint, hands to hair...

Even my anti-sarcasm project has fallen by the wayside, and once again I sit wallowing in disappointment with myself. That is until words start spreading themselves across my screen as they are in this very moment, as if appearing on their own, completely separate from my efforts and mental hem hawing.... and once again I feel like myself. A feeling I instantly remember loving, though I had allowed myself to forget.

I am home.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rollercoaster Ride That is Moving

Well it's official, our tenants move in June 1st and the lease paperwork on our new home is at work with the husband as I type this. I cannot even begin to express how anxious I am to get my signature on those dotted lines! This time next month we will be living in a two story home with three bedrooms, washer/dryer and a garage!! Relieved is an understatement.

Why then am I having nightmares about hauntings and the like? Maybe just maybe the Amityville series was not a wise choice during this whole house hunting/moving process. I think from here on I'll stick with Halloween and Hellraiser since our new town isn't exactly Haddonfield-esqe and I don't plan on unlocking any mystical puzzle boxes anytime soon.

I'm also being hit with an unexpected dose of sentimental nostalgia over this little one bedroom condo I have wanted out of for so long. It really is a great place, small yes, but it's ours. It's seen our engagement, marriage, pregnancy and it's the home we brought our newborn son into. Yes, we've long since outgrown it.

But still...

Then there is this love/hate tug-of-war going on with our collective possessions that is not the least bit surprising to me. It's been a constant in our lives since we realized we were bringing a kid into this world.

Hoarders here we come!

Overall though, I'm just flat out thrilled!


In the mean time things may seem a little sparse over here... this post is brought to you care of a packing tape deficiency.

Here we go!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

We Have Renters!!

As the title suggests there is some big news over this way! We are in the midst of negotiating a lease with a lovely couple moving to the area and they want to rent our place! Which means we'll finally be able to move into a home that has... gasp! ...MORE THAN ONE BEDROOM!!

 Oh just the thought of turning in for the night without all the door creaking, tiptoeing, bedclothes rustling, fingers-to-our-lips whilst making threatening "If you wake the baby I swear I'll..." faces to each other in the dark, suspense. To lay him down for a nap and for once not be simultaneously trapped out of my own room. My room, where I keep my clothes... and a surprising amount of other things that I never seem to realize are in there until I need them, no doubt when Bastian is napping. Add to all of that the glory of having our own washer and dryer... I'm in Heaven!

Now, this lease is not signed yet and there is no guarantee that everything will go according to plan (is there ever?), but honestly? Things are looking pretty darn good at the moment. Which means that I have a LOT of packing to do. And fast! We'll need to be out of here in time for them to move in on June 1st. Two weeks from now!

Two weeks of frantic packing, cleaning, signing dotted lines... Oh, and figuring out where we are going to live.

Challenge accepted.

So, please excuse me while I drown in a sea of boxes and ponder the ever-present question "how did we get so much stuff in this place?"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Amityville: A Squeamish Horror Fan's First Movie Review

I'm always a bit cautious about asserting myself as a horror fan. The need to clarify what I mean by that term is ever present and that compulsion only grows stronger as the "horror" genre falls further and further into the trend of glorified depictions of torture as entertainment. I personally find those movies disturbing more-so than scary, which kind of defeats the purpose for me. In fact, the fear I experience as a result of most modern horror movies comes from people's enthusiastic support of them. But then again, for a "horror fan" I am uncharacteristically opposed to gore. Blood, no problem. Gore? Too much and I'm out. (It's a fine line)

All that being said, I love me a creepy movie! Especially haunted house movies. Which is why it's so odd that it took me until last year to actually sit down and watch any of the Amityville films. I decided to dive in to the first film in the franchise late on in my pregnancy with Bastian when despite my heightened sensitivity to scares I still had the urge to consume some horror media. During that time I relied heavily on the Parental Guide feature on IMDB to prescreen movies for content I knew I would be unable to handle. I still do. After completing my due diligence I determined that this one would be sufficiently creepy without having any ill effects on my stress level. I get mega-stressed out when I'm scared, and though I love the feeling, I wasn't too keen on the idea of putting my passenger through those side effects in exchange for a little bit of an adrenaline rush. Now eight months post-delivery I finally got around to seeing the re-make.

The 2005 version, though it was definitely missing some things that were crucial in making the original so great, turned out to be a good movie all on it's own as well as a good reinterpretation of the story. I was disappointed that the sense of the house being a living, breathing, thing pulsing with evil from it's very foundation was not present in the remake when it was such a hingepin in the atmosphere and suspense depicted in the 1979 film. The first few ghost "scares" were far from scary and almost took away from the building tension, but things became more realistic and frightening as the movie progressed. Eventually the presence of actual ghosts in place of a malevolent house became a real positive in terms of overall effect, especially in the moments after the first roof scene with Chelsea and the scene between George and Billy's dog in the boat house. Without the presence of these ghosts the pit in your stomach created by those scenes just wouldn't be there. So, while this change was still disappointing I feel that it allowed for an increased level of character development that wasn't achieved in the original Amityville.

On that point, the acting, in my opinion was much better in the 2005 film. I may be alone in this but I never got the sense from the 1979 movie that George Lutz had ever been a nice guy. That lack of likability made it difficult for me to discern whether certain performances throughout were supposed to be evidence that the house was breaking him down/posessing him or if he was just being a your standard Jerk. Reynolds did a much better job highlighting the difference between his character under the influence of the home's horror and his normal state when away from it's supernatural hold on him. He managed to be much more menacing than Brolin even though Brolin's physical side effects seemed more believable the emotional element just wasn't as raw as the unraveling Reynolds portrayed. Also, while I did appreciate Margot Kidder's performance I could relate to Kathy's motivations and desperation as played by Melissa George a bit more. In fact the only character I felt was less believable than the original was the babysitter. I don't even know where to begin with that one... her performance outside of the few moments inside the closet was laughable.

The new(er) movie did have quite a healthy dose of religious symbolism which I felt was important, but even so I sincerely missed the interactions with the priest and his local parish that were left out. The somewhat separate storyline depicted in the 79 version was extremely compelling and lent quite a bit to the building of suspense while also adding an element of syncopation in the pacing of the film (if that makes any sense to anyone but me). The back and forth between the house and the church also played up the theme of demonic energy which to me is far more frightening than the direction the new film took by highlighting the notion that past human misdeeds, however horrific they were, left angry spirits behind to haunt the homeowners.

Also, while I would much rather live in the house from the '05 movie (oh, to have a house like that) the original was much creepier. I felt like the time era in the remake wasn't very well established, it was as if it took place today but had retro inspired elements that weren't fleshed out well enough to feel authentic. It all seemed too new. Any elements meant to indicate a different time felt like afterthoughts.

I would like to see a combination of the positive elements of both of these films put together in one piece someday. The character development and paranoia achieved by the remake melded together with the missing storyline of the original and the sense of the house itself being completely enveloped in demonic forces. Now that would be truly nightmare inducing... come to think of it, that may be a little too scary for me. Because after all I am a real wimp of a horror fan!

What is you favorite horror franchise? What elements do you feel are necessary to a good horror flick? Or a good movie in general?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Schizophrenic Style: My First Mother'S Day

While we did indeed celebrate Mothers Day last year as a pregnant couple doing our best to nurture and care for our unborn child this year was my first partaking in the festivities as a mommy to a little person... one that breathes and crawls and laughs all on his own, separate from me. External from the boundaries of my body. Last year was amazing in that full-of-anticipation, semi under-the-radar sort of way... this year was, well... just indescribably awesome. And also verged on bittersweet, all those prayers, the planning, stress, worry and excitement and now it's real. I am officially someone's mother. A really, really amazing someone.

There aren't too many words to describe my day, at least not ones I can articulate properly at this moment while I'm still drunk with happiness and love. Unfortunately I took the day off of paparazzi duty and thus have no pictures of our adventures... however the husband was kind enough to document my outfit of the day to share with all of you. His skills of a photographer are improving, yes?

Dress - Target
Bolero - Thrifted
Gladiators - Kohls
Necklaces - Gifts (the round pendant one from Modcloth)
Belt - My Closet (i.e. I don't remember)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tough as Nails

I knew she was mad, how could she not be? But it wasn't until much later that I realized just how much my self-destructive rampage had hurt her. How difficult that hurt made it for her to look at me... be in the same room as me, acknowledge me without the urge to scream at the top of her lungs over-taking her. I was her baby, her child whom she raised up from a blonde-headed toddler to an inquisitive, artistic child. Through every bruise and bump, every drawing, question, hug and tear, smile and laugh she had built a deep well of knowledge, an understanding of who I was, and with that she constructed a foundation of trust, respect and love.

Then suddenly there we were arms crossed on opposite corners of a white-walled room in a behavioral health center, me with my faded pink bangs, scabbed up arms and legs, and eyes that no longer opened to reveal the girl she once knew. How did this happen? Didn't I know that with every slice I made into my own skin I was piercing her heart as well? With every midnight escape from the home she had made for us I ate away at her sense of faith in me... and likely in herself? How could I not have known?

All I allowed myself to understand at that moment were conclusions of anger and self-pity. "My mom hates me, look how mad she is. She can't even look me in the face." ...and she couldn't... because she loved me. And that love was tearing her apart.

Even then we were so similar it hurt. We both sat there seething, tackling the very same emotional roller-coaster ride from separate cars tumbling about in the same sky, breathing the same air, both wanting to scream and vomit. And to just let go.

Anger, confusion, fear, more anger... longing.

Wanting to hug each other and punch each other at the very same time.

Words bubbled up in our stomachs but caught in our throats and together we were temporarily mute knowing full well that if either unlocked the floodgates a well-intentioned spew of toxic waste would rush out only to further rip at the seams of what was once such a tight-knit relationship. Every minute of silence dug in deeper and deeper... finally she left the room.

The next visit was different. It had to be... we couldn't go on like that and we both knew it, but it was Mom who acted. This time when she entered the door she had a book in her hands along with her purse. As calmly as she could muster she told me what I had already known, she had been too mad to speak to me and she couldn't bring herself to have yet another screaming match or emotionally draining crying session with me, she was drained.

This time we would simply read. Back and forth we took turns speaking other people's words out loud because ours were simply too hard to articulate.

It was something we had done before, many times. Sat together and read aloud for hours. This time of course was different. We read because direct, one-on-one interaction was no longer possible, and the people in the book, though they were real, they weren't us and we could identify with them without all the first person blame and guilt and... well, pain.

Over the next few visits we slowly verbalized word by word the stories of other adolescent girls struggling in ways similar and all-together different than I was. The pages of that copy of Reviving Ophelia are stained with tears and tinged with the soreness of healing even now. As the days went on we paused and added a few words of our own here and there; "that's how I feel" and "what do you think of this?". Soon we were talking more and reading less. It wasn't a cure, but it was a start.

Looking back I know that it was her courage that brought us back together. Her courage to let me be mad at her and to let herself be hurt by me instead of shutting me out and leaving me to fail on my own. She let me hate her for the sake of my safety and well-being when it would have been so much easier and more gratifying for her to play the friend card instead of donning the hard role of Mom. She embraced her pain but let go of her anger the only way she knew how in what turned out to be one of the most crucial turning points in my life.

It is no word of exaggeration to say that her courage literally saved my life.

To this day it has also been the model by which I live that life she so graciously gifted me with, in more ways than one.

Giving birth is only the beginning.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death, Justice and Carnival Rides

Sometimes things just can't get any better, and so instead they must somehow get worse, or at the very least more complicated. This past weekend has been one of the very best of my life, ranking up there with some very important dates. I spent time with my running mates in this thing called L.I.F.E. I heard some of the most amazing talks from the mouths of some of the highest caliber leaders living today. I watched in joy as my son played, explored and grew in ways that can't be captured in words. I spent the most amazing night with my very best friend eating great food, engaging in great conversation and topped it off with some gallivanting around a local carnival like the teenagers we were when we first met each other, laughing all the while. Then last night after all was said and done and I was on my way home, I got a text message informing of the news that has everybody talking today; Osama Bin Laden was killed.

I'm not going to lie, my very first reaction was joy.

I didn't think twice, it was news worthy of celebration.

I also don't intend to hide the fact that I still sort of feel like cheering, which is very different from breathing a sigh of relief... and for that I feel a little guilty. Relief makes sense. Actually, I identify with almost all of the reactions I've witnessed to some extent however big or small, so in that way joy, excitement, worry, fear, skepticism, etc. all make sense. To me anyway. But since sleeping on it I'm rethinking my celebratory stance.

Yes. I am thrilled that justice was served by those whose calling it was to do so.

At the same time it was not my calling. My calling is to love my enemies while at the same time supporting justice carried out by the authorities as was ordained by God (which was described so eloquently in this article). I have not the perspective to judge, and joy over the death, and subsequent eternal suffering, of a fellow fallen human seems wrong. Is wrong.

Yet, how then do I honor those whose mission it was while still honoring the loss of a human life. How do I separate my feelings of relief at justice served from all of my other feelings.

Feelings of anger over the lives Osama took.

Feelings of joy for the lives that can no longer be taken at his hands.

Feelings of hate toward a man who caused so much pain and destruction.

Feelings of skepticism that this is all as it seems. Distrust in our media and our government.

Feelings of fear that this single battle won will lull us into a false sense of security making us easier targets for attacks from a multitude of different enemies, internal and external.

Feelings of paranoia that perhaps this news was intended for the purpose mentioned above (the makings of a conspiracy theorist right here people...)

Feelings of pride in, and gratitude for our troops, and their families who make the biggest of sacrifices every day to preserve our freedom and safety from threats like Bin Laden and Al Qaeda

And, of course, as mentioned from the start, feelings of downright joy. All of these thoughts and emotions floating around in my mind at once bumping into each other wreaking havoc on my sense of mental and gastrointestinal stability. My stomach feels today the same as it did last night during our daring adventure on the gravitron machine.

So what is a woman to do?

For now the only thing I know to do is pray, focus on the positive and remind everyone that I can what a blessing it is to live in the good old U S of A... and what is more American than cotton candy and funnel cakes?? Nothing I tell you. That's what!

So sit back, relax and enjoy these awesome carnival photos I snapped last night!

There she is folks, the best friend a lady could ever ask for!

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