Party Like It’s Your Birthday…

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Yesterday was my 36th birthday! I had a great day! My mother and her new husband, Bruce, took me and my husband out to eat at Perkins where I had some delicious spiced pear and cranberry waffles, then we went back to my house and visited for a while. Those of you who follow my blog regularly probably know I have a rocky relationship with my mother at times, but yesterday was actually really nice.

My mom also gave me some gifts, including cash and all this stuff:

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The llama dances to the tune of “Pocket Full of Sunshine” and is so adorable!!!

After my mom and Bruce left, my husband gave me his gifts for me:

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The t-shirt is awesome since I adore black cats and that lyric is from one of my all-time favorite songs (by Simon & Garfunkel). The black skeleton candle and Hello Kitty card are big favorites too!

A good friend of mine also sent me a little care package which was extremely sweet:

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I’m looking forward to reading that book since the movie looks pretty cool too. And you can never go wrong with ponies and cats!

Overall, I had a great day! Thank you to everyone who helped make it special!

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Puzzles! Snowgies, Belle’s Books, and Jojo Siwa!

Lately I’ve been really into doing jigsaw puzzles. I normally do smaller ones because bending over something for too long tends to irritate my degenerative disc disease and bulging discs in my neck. I even recently bought a lap-desk so that I could do puzzles while laying in the recliner.

My favorite puzzles to do are vintage ones that I pick up at thrift stores, especially ones that remind me of my childhood. But I do buy newer ones occasionally if I see some I can’t resist. The other day I found a few at Dollar Tree and thought I would share the finished pictures:

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This first one is obviously from Disney’s movie “Frozen”, and the main reason I got it was the adorable snowgies! I love those little guys!

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This second one I loved because I have always admired Belle’s bookishness. It is something I can definitely relate to! It is funny to see her loading down the beast with books too.

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Ok, to be honest, I find Jojo Siwa a little bit annoying, but there is still a part of me that is happy to see her succeeding since I watched her from the beginning in Lifetime’s “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” and later on “Dance Moms”. Now she is obviously quite famous and working closely with Nickelodeon. I try to support all the girls off “Dance Moms”, and while Jojo is far from my favorite, I am still happy to see her doing so well.

Feeling Invisible

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Any of you ever feel invisible? Most likely, you are human, so you have felt that way at some point in your life. Unfortunately, I feel that way a lot. I’m not sure if it is the bipolar, the autism, or the fact that I am simply a hermit, but I struggle with feelings of invisibility a lot and sometimes feeling like I don’t even really exist, which is a super weird feeling in itself.

Anyhow, as I was feeling pretty darn invisible lately, I looked up some quotes about the feeling and decided to share a few of my favorites here:

“It would be too easy to say that I feel invisible. Instead, I feel painfully visible and entirely ignored.” ~ David Levithan

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” ~ Ralph Ellison

“But most days, I wander around feeling invisible. Like I’m a speck of dust floating in the air that can only be seen when a shaft of light hits it.” ~ Sonya Sones

And lastly, some words from our old friend Eeyore:

“I didn’t notice you were here.”
“That’s all right,” Eeyore said as he sat down. “Nobody ever does.”

Maleficent movie review – Disney keeps heading in a good direction

Angelina Jolie in "Maleficent"
Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent”

Recently I went to see Disney’s new film “Maleficent”. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see it because I have never been an Angelina Jolie fan, but the movie pleasantly surprised me. I love the backstory – getting to see Maleficent’s childhood and why she grew up to be a “villain”. I have always adored stories of revenge and redemption, and Maleficent definitely fits into that category.

Probably my favorite thing about the movie though is that Disney continued their recent trend of not relying on the prince to “save the day” or to save the “poor defenseless female”. Looks like Disney finally has caught on that many women and little girls want to be strong, independent, feminine and loved all at the same time.

Like “Brave” and “Frozen”, “Maleficent” features love that is both redeeming and sacrificial…but it isn’t a romantic love relationship that appears the strongest. In “Brave”, the most important love relationship throughout the movie was Merida’s relationship with her mother. In “Frozen”, the love of sisters took center stage. I won’t spoil “Maleficent” by revealing too much, but once again, it is not romantic love that saves the day. I am so thrilled to see that other loving relationships are finally getting the attention they deserve. I have nothing against romantic love, I am happily married myself. But I have always believed that other kinds of love can be just as strong, if not stronger. Acts of true love between family members, friends, pets and occasionally even strangers can make as much of an impact on a life as any romantic relationship.

I hope that Disney continues to explore love in all its many forms. As for “Maleficent”, if you haven’t seen it yet, I would definitely recommend it. It is surprisingly sweet and funny, with good acting and lovely visual effects. Know that it does not follow the earlier Disney version of Sleeping Beauty exactly, but it is an interesting and magical story on its own. Don’t think of it as “replacing” the old classic, but instead, just telling another side of the story.

Thoughts on the new ‘Jane Eyre’ movie

Tonight my mother and I went to go see the new ‘Jane Eyre’ adaptation featuring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender.  I considered dragging my husband and foster son along, but since they seemed more excited at the prospect of being castrated, I decided to leave them at home.  I’m glad I did, otherwise I’m sure my husband would have fallen asleep and my foster son would have been whining about being bored the whole time.

However, do not take that last sentence as an insult to the film.  In fact, many of my favorite movies bore the male members of my family to distraction (perhaps because the majority of our male population lacks emotional depth and appreciation for movies without battle scenes).  Now, on to the film itself…

I have been a fan of ‘Jane Eyre’ for many years, so I went to see this movie with several other beloved film versions and the book itself in mind.  Even though I did find a few flaws with the film, overall, it was worth watching.  I didn’t really like the way the movie kept bouncing back and forth between present time and flashbacks, but that was mainly because I was worried that my mother (who was unfamiliar with the story) would have a hard time following what was going on.  Luckily, she was able to catch on fairly quickly.

I also felt that the film didn’t give enough attention to Jane’s years living with her aunt and at Lowood.  These years were very important to the development of Jane’s character and shouldn’t have been rushed so much.  Previous versions of the film did seem to do these scenes better.

As for the acting, Mia did a fine job as Jane and I loved Fassbender as Mr. Rochester.  The passion and brooding misery that is Mr. Rochester came out loud and clear.  The little girl that played Adele wasn’t quite the enchanting little entertainer I expected, so I felt that character fell a bit short.  The revelation scene where Jane finds out about Mr. Rochester’s first wife also seemed a bit flat.  I didn’t think that they completely illustrated how insane this woman is supposed to be.

Overall, this movie is worth watching, but is probably not the best version of this classic story.  The cinematography of the film is very dark and subdued, but beautiful in its own simple way.  A few of the shots at first were shaky and almost made me dizzy, but the film soon smoothed out.

“Soul Surfer” – truly inspirational with an unexpected message

Today my husband and I went to see the movie “Soul Surfer” while our foster son had his visitation with his biological family.  I wanted to see this movie because I figured it would be inspiring.  The story is about Bethany Hamilton, the girl who lost an arm in a shark attack back in 2003.

Beth was on the fast track to becoming a champion surfer when the attack happened.  Even with her arm gone, Bethany never doubted that she would surf again and even become a pro.  Perhaps it was because she was still so young, or maybe she just has a fighting spirit, but Beth never really gave up hope on her dream, even when things looked impossible. 

The movie also shows the turmoil that Bethany’s friends and family went through after the accident.  Although everyone was supportive and encouraged Beth, it was obvious that many of them didn’t think that Beth could really achieve her dream anymore.  In some ways, Bethany’s friends and family started treating her like an invalid, even if it wasn’t intentional.  They wanted so much to make things easier for Beth that they almost crippled her.  However, Beth refused to let them treat her differently, regardless of whether it was at home or during a surf competition.

The movie did have one unexpected aspect.  It had a strong Christian message, even quoting the Bible at various spots.  I didn’t realize that Bethany was such a spiritual girl, but since her faith seemed genuine, I didn’t mind the religious overtones.  When Bethany won a Kid’s Choice Award for courage in 2004, she even told the audience that she believed it was Jesus Christ who gave her the courage she possessed.  What is even more inspiring is that Bethany doesn’t just use her faith to help herself, but has also been using her unexpected fame to help others by partnering with World Vision, a charity that helps children and disaster victims all over the world.