Crash – the movie

I finally saw Crash this weekend.

A provocative, unflinching look at the complexities of racial conflict in America, CRASH is that rare cinematic event – a film that challenges audiences to question their own prejudices. Diving headlong into the diverse melting pot of post-9/11 Los Angeles, this compelling urban drama tracks the volatile intersections of a multi-ethnic cast, examining fear and bigotry from multiple perspectives as characters careen in and out of one anotherÒ€ℒs lives. No one is safe in the battle zones of racial strife. And no one is immune to the simmering rage that sparks violence – and changes lives…

Wow. What a powerful movie. I knew it was about racism, but I had no idea to what degree.

It’s frightening, eye-opening and heart-wrenching, yet it is also thought-provoking and full of hope. I was in tears during a few scenes, both surprised and amazed by what my eyes were watching.

There’s no guessing how this movie will unfold. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting to know what will come next, but fearing it at the same time.

“Crash” has an all-star cast, is very well-acted and was excellently done. Because of the strong themes, language, etc., it is definitely not appropriate for all ages, but I really think this movie should be required viewing for all adults in America. Perhaps it will open some minds and some hearts.

Two thumbs way up.

March of the Penguins – movie

Carrie brought March of the Penguins with her on her visit to our house. She and I watched it together one night while Jody was out playing DnD, then Jody and I watched it again together a couple nights ago.

Synopsis: Each winter, alone in the Antarctica, a truly remarkable journey takes place as it has done for millennia. Thousands of Emperor penguins abandon the deep blue security of their ocean home and clamber onto the frozen ice to begin their long journey into a region so bleak, so extreme, it supports no other wildlife at this time of year. In single file, the penguins march blinded by blizzards, buffeted by gale force winds.

They head for their traditional breeding ground where – after a ritual courtship of intricate dances and delicate maneuvering, accompanied by a cacophony of ecstatic song – they will pair off into monogamous couples and mate. The females remain long enough only to lay a single egg. The males are left behind to guard and hatch the precious eggs, which they cradle at all times on top of their feet. Subjected to subzero temperatures and the terrible trials of the polar winter, they face great dangers.

After two months during which the males eat nothing, the eggs begin to hatch. The chicks can not survive for long on their fathers’ limited food reserves. If their mothers are late returning from the ocean with food, the newly-hatched young will die.

Once the families are reunited, the roles reverse, the mothers remaining with their new young while their mates head, exhausted and starved, for the sea, and food. As the weather grows warmer and the ice floes crack and melt, the adults march many hundreds of miles over some of the most treacherous territory on Earth, until the chicks are ready to take their first faltering dive into the deep blue waters of the Antarctic.

This movie is filled with some amazing, beautiful cinematography capturing the lives of some amazing creatures.

It was really sweet and beautiful to see how tender the male and female penguins are with each other during their courtship and mating.

And then, after the mother lays the egg, it was awe-inspiring to see the way the parents care for their new egg, and eventually, their baby. Talk about Attachment Parenting (especially for the daddies)! πŸ˜‰

After seeing some real doozies lately, it was refreshing to find a great movie that was safe for the whole family. Ava especially loved seeing the baby penguins.

I give it two thumbs up! πŸ™‚

4 things meme

I figured I’d snag this meme after seeing it over at True Blue Semi-Crunchy Mama (aka Running2Ks) and Knocked Up Vegan (aka Miriam).

4 Jobs IÒ€ℒve had:

Newsroom office manager
Salesperson in the shoe dept. at K-mart
Customer service rep at a bank

4 Movies I can watch over & over:
Breakfast Club
When Harry Met Sally
The Princess Bride
Napoleon Dynamite

4 Places IÒ€ℒve Lived:
(uh, that’s all)

4 Books I Love:
Our Babies – Ourselves by Meredith Small
The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent

4 Shows:
Arrested Development
My Name is Earl
LOST (when I remember to watch it)
Desperate Housewives (I admit it)
Edited to add: OMG, I can’t believe I forgot to put Smallville on here, which I admit to being totally addicted to. Who can resist Clark? πŸ˜‰ So I’m changing my answers to include Smallville and delete LOST. (Sorry, LOST fans.)

4 Vacation places: (Places I haven’t been, but I’d love to go to)

4 Websites I visit daily:
Yahoo! Groups

4 Foods:

4 Places I would rather be right now:
Tropical island
A beach
A hottub
On a massage table

4 Albums I canÒ€ℒt live without: (Artists)
Depeche Mode
(I’m totally stuck in the 90s *wink*)
Sarah Mclachlan

Promising workplace breastfeeding proposal

Proposal would require Colorado employers to permit breastfeeding at work

Under the proposal from Sen. Deanna Hanna (D-Lakewood), businesses would be required to set aside a “quiet, private” location for the process (breastfeeding) and would specifically exclude a toilet stall as a location for the breastfeeding. In addition, the measure calls for two separate 20-minute paid breaks for the new mother in addition to whatever lunch break is allowed.

Sen. Deanna Hanna said, “It’s a simple accommodation (for businesses). It’s short-term. We all know people who smoke get those accommodations to leave the building for periods of time during the day and that’s part of their work day. I think nursing babies is a lot healthier than taking smoking breaks.”

Well said, Senator. πŸ™‚
I hope this passes.

(The wording seems a bit unclear, but I assume this applies to mothers who choose to pump their breastmilk at work, not just actually breastfeed.)

A few new pics of the kiddo and Auntie

Took these pics of Ava and Aunt Carrie today while we were out and about on a outside pedestrian mall. There’s a rock playground there, if you will, for kids to play on. Ava enjoyed messing around by herself until the bigger kids came. Then she kept saying “wow” “wow” “wow” as she watched them run and play all over the place. πŸ™‚ (You may notice that “baby” came with us on our adventures today. She likes to accompany Ava on her excursions.)

By the way, Carrie and I made Indian food for dinner tonight – a veggie palak paneer (using tofu instead of cheese). And, while it wasn’t the best, it still turned out pretty good (once we added some salt and red pepper flakes for an added kick). Didn’t have any naan though so we used pita bread. πŸ˜‰

Good finds!

While cleaning out my basement yesterday, I came across some little silverware that my mom saved from my childhood for my future children. My mom saved A LOT of my old stuff (you’d be amazed), but I’m always thankful when I come across something that Ava likes to play with (like my old toys/dolls/books) or can use (like clothes or this silverware). We have had the hardest time lately trying to figure out what she should use to eat with. Our silverware is obviously too big for her, but the infant spoons from when she was a baby are too small. We had not yet gone out looking for something in between the two and now I’m glad that we didn’t. This silverware is perfect Ava-size! Thanks, Mom! πŸ™‚
(Note the bears, Cookie Monster and Annie’s dog Sandy on the handles. Not sure where Annie went!)

As previously mentioned, I’ve been on the lookout lately for a good small chair for Ava. I’ve seen some plush ones at Target for $20, but they all have princesses (or is it Barbie?) on them and I just want something plain and simple. A friend of mine mentioned she found her daughter’s rocking and wicker chairs at a flea market, so that’s where Ava and I headed this afternoon. We found this great little rocking chair for $19.99. πŸ™‚ I was so thrilled!

We also saw a cute little wooden play kitchen stovetop/cabinets that Aunt Carrie might get for Ava for her belated Christmas present. We’ll be going back up there this week for sure. πŸ™‚
So anyway, I plan to go to the flea market more often. There is so much to see there and many things that I think would come in handy as props for my photography business – like other little chairs, hat boxes or baskets (for babies/kids to sit in), etc. Yay! I’m glad to have discovered it.

Fun night and good, productive day

We had a really fun time last night. Jody, Ava and I went over to our friends’ house – Dax, Brandy and 2-yr-old Creed – to ring in the new year with them and another couple – Sonja and Troy and their 7-week-old daughter Annabelle.

We had a potluck dinner with lots of yummy appetizers and other foods, and we actually had a few drinks as well. Anybody who knows us knows this is really out of the ordinary for us. We just don’t drink much. In fact, the bottle of Jose Cuervo we took with us to make our margaritas is easily three years old and only had about 3 ounces missing from the bottle (and now only has 7 oz. missing)! LOL

We had plans to play games, but the conversation kept flowing, so we sat around and talked all night.

Ava and Creed had a BLAST playing together. They’ve known each other since Ava was a few months old, but it’s only in the past few months that they’ve both reached an age where they can really play and have fun together. πŸ™‚

Anyway, we had planned on only staying til 9 or 10 p.m., but we were having such a good time we didn’t leave until 11:30. We were home by the time the clock struck 12. Happy New Year!

Today has been really productive around here. Jody and I took the Christmas tree down, I did a few loads of laundry including our bed linens, Jody straigtened up the extra bedroom (in the basement) for my sister’s arrival in two days, then I went down there and did a bunch of organizing and rearranging. I gathered up a big box full of things to give away – curtains, blinds, sweaters, coats, magazines, old purses, etc. Guess I’m getting started on my voluntary simplicity living. πŸ˜‰

Jody has the day off tomorrow, but a friend of his will be in from out of town, so he and all the boys are getting together for an all-day DnD session. Blah.

I think the lil miss and I will run some errands. I’m on the lookout for a cute little chair for her that I can also use for my photography business, so we might hit a flea market or second-hand shop or two. We’ll see. Also need to do a bit more cleaning before my sister gets into town. She’ll be staying with us for six days. She hasn’t seen Ava since her 1st birthday in June so she’s very excited about getting to spend some time with her niece. And I’m excited to see her too. πŸ™‚

And now I’m going to go read some more about simple living. (Thanks for the link, Amy!)