Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Town Called Panic

(photo kidnapped from cinestalmeni)

Okay, this movie? It was absolutely adorable and completely hilarious. I was laughing damn near the whole film. No, I wasn't laughing. I was giggling. Like a four year old. I'm sitting alone in my house giggling and covering my mouth because I couldn't stop myself. Everything about it was so uniquely original and charming and I loved every minute. When the pigs were being launched into the house? I had to hit stop and catch my breath before I could continue. It was that funny. Oh my Lord Jesus, I urge you all to see this because it is chock full of non stop laughs.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Frustration to the Second Power

So I have been trying like hell to work on my Flemish, which I guess is more that I'm working on speaking Dutch with a Flemish accent and changing up a few words and some pronunciations. Idiot that I am, I thought I should do this at the same time that I try to learn Spanish. Yeah, at best, I am floundering at both. My house is like a weirdo version of Romper Room with post-it notes all over my house that read: estufa, nevera, cuarto, escalera, puerta, espejo, cama, armario, toalla - which I have to remember to say Colombian style, which means the two Ls are more like a J sound then the usual Y sound - the list goes on and on and onnnnn....

I also have PILES of Flemish index cards with the alphabet, words and tons of phrases. Yeah, have you ever tried to say the letter G in Flemish? It's like a bizarre combination of J, G, and Y. It's basically pronounced ghjay but when I try to say it I somehow wind up sounding Scottish. It's so unbelievably frustrating and I know that it's all for nothing because I will never have the courage to speak even a word in Flemish when we are in Belgium. Not even to Joris. Even when I say Hallo it sounds like a crappy dubbed version of German. Clearly, I am dreadful at accents. It's so sad. I'm pretty much a complete arse for even trying to learn Flemish since I'm sure everyone in Antwerpen also speaks English and there's no need for me to learn anything. The thing is, I looooove Flemish. It sounds more beautiful than any other language I've heard. Ya know, I really resent being an American sometimes. Everyone else gets to grow up learning a bunch of different languages and all I got was English with a crummy Mid-Atlantic dialect. One of thee most unattractive accents ever, if you can even call it that. Blah.

I'd like to note, that I am attempting to learn two completely separate languages while going vegan, working non stop overtime, juicing, and exercising every day, which I hate doing. I think I'm a sadist. For real. Yo soy una sádica. Now how would one say that in Flemish...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thursday in Pictures

Now this here is my kinda turkey:

Here's our Jackson and his big beautiful blue eyes:

Jax and Ashlee:

And this here is my hometown:

This year I was thankful that I was able to skip Thanksgiving Dinner and take my Ashlee to the airport. She's off to Seattle to spend 11 days with her fabulous fiancé, Sean:

Then back home to have some leftover pie and watch The Terminator with Jackson and my brothers. Oh, and then play, Where's Pooh Bear? with Jax. (I totally found him.) All in all, a relaxing and fun-filled day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


(photo kidnapped from juicyjaila)

I immediately ordered this album after seeing the documentary A Band Called Death. Few things are as wonderful as discovering new music especially when that music is old school punk from the 70s. The Hackney brothers are pretty much the coolest cats ever and the documentary showcased not only their talents but their decency and unwavering love for one another.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hasta La Vista

I finished my shift last night, went to check the mail and booyah - my DVD of Hasta La Vista finally arrived from Amazon UK! It was a unique story of three men, each with different disabilities, that travel to Spain and visit a brothel that caters to the disabled. And, yep, it was just as good as I predicted. Oh, I do so love a good road trip movie! (Jozef was my favourite - I'm a sucker for a nice guy.)

(photo kidnapped from recantoadormecido)

Monday, November 25, 2013

You and the Night

Skylar - my young coworker who keeps me up on all the latest greatest tunes - knew that I liked M83's last album and informed me of their most recent work. You and the Night is chock full of dreamy romance and whimsical mystery. The album is short as hell but I love each and every track. If you need some mellow music to wash away all the sadness and despair, this album is for you.

(photo kidnapped from mute)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I kinda wanna live here...

I saw this image over on the joys of being pure at heart and had to repost it. Isn't this remarkably beautiful?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Frances Ha

(photo kidnapped from zekefilm)

I have admired and let's be honest here, adored Greta Gerwig since I saw her in Baghead back in 2009. Bishop's husband told me about the film and I always take him up on movie suggestions. I was not disappointed. I immediately looked for more films starring Ms. Gerwig as well those by the Duplass brothers.

It's so easy to like Greta because her performances are so real. Her characters are usually flawed and vulnerable and silly and sometimes embarrassingly awkward - ya know, kinda like an actual person. It's refreshing to watch her because of this, because it seems so rare that you see a movie and recognise the characteristics portrayed on the screen. So often I see women who are super tough or ridiculously perfect and who can identify with that? Greta's characters are real and that is so much more interesting.  

Frances Ha was visually stunning and beautifully acted and executed. The scene of her running through New York to David Bowie's Modern Love was certainly a standout moment. She's happy and feels secure and looks positively effervescent as she dances her way down the street. I just loved this film and I can't wait to see what Ms. Gerwig does next. Cheers, darlin'; you are wonderful!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Free to Be

At an early age I was made all too aware of the fact that I do not have the right look. I am not conventionally attractive and I haven't been what one would call pretty since I was about eight years old. As a female in America, it is nearly impossible to grow up and not be fully conscious of who you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to look and behave. So much of who a female becomes is determined by those she will never know. This was never made any clearer than in John Lennon's incredibly insightful and remarkable feminist anthem Woman is the Nigger of the World.

We insult her every day on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she's young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb

The images that surround us are difficult to ignore. So as not to be inundated with society's ideal image of a female, I don't read magazines, listen to the radio, read the newspaper and I don't have television or internet. The only time I go online is at my mum's to check email, update my Netflix queue (I have a TV and a DVD player but no reception and no cable), order books, do some occasional research and work on my blog. I don't belong to any social networks, unless you include Instagram, and even with that, I only follow my nieces and nephews and a small handful of close friends. I don't need to stalk former lovers or concern myself with who unfriends who on FaceBook. It just isn't my thing.

I suppose the reason I avoid the media is because I have enough problems dealing with people and their opinion of how and what I look like on a daily basis; I don't need to look through perfume and shoe ads to feel worse. I know I will never look like the people on TV or on billboards and at this point in my life I'm pretty much okay with how I look. What I am not okay with, and what I struggle with constantly, is how other people see me. I am fortunate that the people who I share my life with know me and love me for who I am as an individual. They like me for my sense of humour, compassion, energy, kindness, manners, affection, and my support and advice. But the sad thing that I have discovered is that a woman without beauty has no value in this world. Physical beauty is fleeting but kindness is eternally beautiful, yet so few of us know this. As a feminist and as a woman approaching my forties, it is increasingly disheartening to see how females are perceived and treated in this world. I sincerely worry about the children in my life and how they will feel and who they will become based on what they see in the media. How much longer until they are broken down and begin to feel that they are not good enough, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Instilling self confidence and self worth in a child, especially a female, is a job more difficult than coal mining or picking cotton in Georgia in August.

Even though I knew that I never quite measured up to the standard ideal, I'm lucky in that I've never felt the need to change who I am or how I look. I am not a woman who feels comfortable with long hair so I keep it short, which is not something that the majority of men find desirable. I haven't the time nor the inclination to spend hours applying makeup, so I don't. I rarely wear a dress, and if I do, it's probably over jeans or leggings. This dates back to when I was five years old. In nursery school, recess was all about making a mad dash to the big wheels, of which there were three, and to take off around the parking lot. The one day I got to claim a big wheel, I was told by my teacher that I was forbidden to ride it seeing that I was in a dress and it was not proper. There ya go. If wearing a dress means that I can't do everything that I want, then I will go the Katharine Hepburn route and be fabulous in trousers. Which I totally am. I honestly cannot be anything other than the truest version of myself.

In regards to my looks, I have always felt kinda bad for my parents because, as the only female child, I imagine that they would want their friends to say, "Oh, your daughter is beautiful," as that is the compliment most heard given to the parents of a daughter. Second runner up is how "bright" she is. Instead, my parents have always had to hear that I'm funny, or the absolute worst compliment, "She's got a great personality." That's code for "your daughter is a swamp monster who will die alone with her knitting needles and cats, but at least she has a pleasant way about her." Dear reader, should you ever feel the words "great personality" about to escape your lips, do yourself and the world a favour and suppress the urge to speak them.

I guess the reason for this little rant is to just remind people that while everyone enjoys a pretty face, perhaps take the time to realise that true and everlasting beauty is something far greater than can be measured by the human eye. Look closer and recognise that we are all individuals and we are all exceptional; it's just harder to see in some people. Be that person that takes the time to find the beauty in everyone and everything.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Whitman's Beard

Rama Bauer and I worked together back in the early aughts at a humble little bookstore in South Jersey and look at him now! All growed up and co-running a charming second hand bookshop in Westwood. The above photo was kidnapped from The Daily Bruin which featured an article focused on the Arts ReSTORE LA project. These two comments from Rama are the very same reasons that I seek out used book stores.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I went to a used bookstore looking for one thing, and on the shelf above or below, my eye catches something,” Bauer said. “I mean you pick up a used book and maybe someone wrote something on the margin or someone’s name is in there and it’s something that has its own history.”

“Being able to pick up authors and read something by Henry Miller, (Ralph Waldo) Emerson or (Jack) Kerouac, these were hugely influential in my life because I found that I’m not just this entity that’s floating around,” Bauer said. “They were other people who had felt like me, and I think that’s really important, a sense of connection.”

I seriously could not be happier for these two fellas and I hope it's an incredible success that brings each of their lives a richness they might never have otherwise known. I miss ya, Rama, and I still love ya like crazy!
(photo of Rama Bauer and Stephen Rohal by Felicia Ramirez) 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Brandywine Ruins

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday at the Movies

Ashlee and I hung out all day yesterday and finally got a chance to see Captain Phillips. Without question, Tom Hanks' best acting to date. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Permanently Sexy

Bishop and I will often talk fashion and Orson Welles undoubtedly comes up each time. He was always impeccably dressed and incredibly handsome at any age and at any weight.

(photo kidnapped from wsws)

(photo kidnapped from pinterest)

(photo kidnapped from thefilmchair)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baldwin's Book Barn (& Then Some)

Yesterday Nicole and I drove out to West Chester to check out the Book Barn, and man, did it deliver. This place makes Murphy's Loft look like a shack. The man who worked the front desk was wonderful and charming - exactly the face you want to greet you as you cross the threshold. I picked up an old leather bound copy of Far From the Madding Crowd which was previously owned by Elizabeth C. Smithers. She kindly left newspapers clippings between several pages. They date back to 1964 through to 1981 and are mostly regarding author Thomas Hardy but she did include a few on John Schlesinger's film version of the book. I also managed to locate a cute little travel book on Belgium and of course, postcards and pictures of strangers. (I was so excited to see that they have a small wooden box at the front desk with old photographs labeled "Instant Relatives" - more on them in future posts!)

After I spent the afternoon with one of my nearest and dearest I dropped her back home then dashed over to The Ritz at the Bourse to finally see The Broken Circle Breakdown. Yup, it was wonderful and even though no one wanted to see it with me and I had to go solo, it was totally worth it. I had seen Johan Heldenbergh in Moscow, Belgium, Antonia, The Misfortunates, Any Way the Wind Blows, and tonight I'll watch him in Ben X, but his performance in Broken Circle Breakdown was simply outstanding. Such an authentic actor. Who's obsessed with Belgian Cinema? Um, that would be me. But enough about my silly, little life. Check out Baldwin's Book Barn and I double dog dare ya to not go for a visit.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Best Pick Me Up

Earlier this week I wrote a note to my niece Kayla to tell her just how much I appreciate our relationship. A year ago, she was going through a really tough time and Donna dropped Kay off at my place for some one on one therapy time. Since then, she and I have become extremely close and she is without question one of my best friends. I wanted to let her know that by trying to help her see how awesome she is and how she deserves to be here and live a beautiful, happy life that it helped me to see that I too deserve to be here and to be happy. Well, the text message she sent after reading the card was nothing short of adorable and uplifting. I've said it before, but it bears repeating - I am seriously surrounded by the best people ever created.

(and yes, i still haven't updated my iOS - i just don't like the new look at all...)

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Mouse House

What was I doing at quarter to five this morning when I could not fall back asleep? I was Googling old friends. Like a crazy stalker. "I wonder what Hayley is up to and where she is these days...", I said to myself. So I typed in Hayley Shaner Crouse and booyah! I got the low down. She and Garrett are still married - no surprise as they were an ideal match - and they have two super adorable kids! Hayley was always such fun and a truly sweet girl and it filled me with tons of joy to know that she's out there somewhere and she's happy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Which to choose???

I want to order a new journal for when Ashlee and I go abroad next year so clearly I went straight to Etsy and, more specifically, to Bad Books. But which one do I buy?? They are both fabulous, but I must pick one. Damn this Sophie's Choice...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nicola Conte

Seriously one of the best albums of all time. Back in the day, Rachel introduced me to this after hearing it at a gallery opening in Philly and it's been a favourite ever since. Every track is just plain perfect.

(photo kidnapped from coveralia)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


by Hans Werner Sahm

(photo kidnapped from pinterest)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ms. Portman

(photo kidnapped from fanpop)

The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a “feminist” story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathise with.

(thanks to letsdoitgaryoldman over on tumblr for bringing this incredibly insightful quote to my little old life.)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Oh, I just gotta have this...

(photo kidnapped from teamart)