Friday, May 19, 2017

My Main Man Darcy

The other day I shared a post on Facebook that had to do with a certain portrayal of Mr. Darcy. The response I got reminded me of a post last year when I watched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and I expressed my hope that I wasn't dishonoring dear Jane Austen's memory by doing so. At the time, this prompted a comment-conversation with a friend of mine about various Darcys in some of the adaptations of Pride and Prejudice we've seen. That same friend and I started a similar conversation this time around, so that brings me here to this question; how many Pride and Prejudice stories have I actually watched? My final answer: 11! That. Is. A lot. Of those eleven, four are straight-forward adaptations set in the period (although that's even debatable for one of them, based on the costumes alone), four are updated to modern times, one straddles modern and period, one is a sequel based on published fanfiction, and the last is the aforementioned Zombies take (also a published fanfiction). But not all adaptations are created equal, and neither are the Darcys.

There are countless lists ranking the many Darcys, and naturally the world doesn't need another one, because really, it's all personal preference, anyway. But last year The Hubs got a kick out of the idea of ME actually rating them and creating a pro-con list as my process, so I went ahead and made my own list. Be aware that many in the middle are pretty interchangeable, and it's more a matter of which one I find the most watchable. But my lowest rankings and most especially my top ranking are set in stone and I will defend them with my dying breath. (You hear me, Heidi? My DYING breath.) Interestingly, the order of my watchable Darcys does not always line up with the order of adaptations I like best. I had one or two surprises as I ranked them. But mostly, it lines up. Especially Number One. But we'll start with number 11 and work our way up.

#11 Matthew Rhys, Death Comes to Pemberley

Okay, this is partly the source text's fault, because I felt like this "sequel" just committed blatant character assassination on basically everybody I love in the original story (I mean, who in their right mind makes Col. Fitzwilliam suddenly be this big jerk? That's just uncool). I couldn't even bring myself to watch the entire thing with my whole attention because I disliked it that much. This Darcy did not appeal to me whatsoever -- I think in general the actor's not a bad-looking guy, but I did not find him at all attractive as Darcy. There was no chemistry with his Elizabeth (their marriage is apparently on the rocks here, which also bugs me to no end). He was back to being a jerky snob through much of it, which meant he had to go through the exact same character development that he did in Pride and Prejudice, which is just a yawn when that story has already been told. Just. Didn't. Work. Blech.
#10 David Rintoul, Pride and Prejudice (1980)

It kind of hurts my heart to rank a Darcy from a straight period adaptation so low, but let's face it: this guy is nothing BUT stiff. Yeah, Darcy's a haughty fellow, but this guy barely changes his face. The text of this adaptation is the truest to the book, but that does not work in its favor; it makes it boring. I don't find his looks particularly alluring, and even when he's established as the good guy and is attempting to smile, it seems so incredibly forced. He's reading the lines but with a plastered smile on his face that doesn't ring true. Stiff as a board, and never seems like he can do anything but stare with his perfect, perfect posture.

#9 Martin Henderson, Bride and Prejudice

This is where we start to get iffy. This Darcy is an attractive fella for the most part, but his sensitive side is incredibly heavy-handed. Makes sense, as this is a Bollywood film -sensitive is their bread and butter-, but it really seems to force that side of Darcy while not doing much else with him. This is the Darcy that I really feel buys the heroine's love. They start getting along once he's taking her on elaborate helicopter dates and driving in his fancy, fancy car. Yes, Darcy's wealthy and Elizabeth jokes in the original book about falling in love with him because of Pemberley, but that's not actually why she loves him. Their chemistry seems kind of forced. Plus, he NEVER sings! How can I root for a guy in a Bollywood film that doesn't sing in it?!?!!?? They have Naveen Andrews (Sayid from Lost), of all people, singing and dancing (awesomely, I might add), so shouldn't Darcy have a turn once his character development kicks in? Such a waste.

#8 Elliot Cowan, Lost in Austen

(sorry in advance, Heidi.) Okay, reallllly getting into murky waters here, because I've officially reached my interchangeable Darcys. The idea of a modern P&P fan changing places with Elizabeth Bennet is a pretty fun one, because her initial attempt to keep the story in line while she inexplicably and inevitably introduces chaos is kind of delightful. But this is another one where I feel like the story itself bogs down how much I can really like the Darcy here, even if he's good-looking dude. He has a few good moments, but there's no in-between with him. No, Heidi, a funny moment with Tinky Winky is not enough to save him for me. He's either totally stiff or totally passionate (remember, Darcy is hardly a Byronic hero, and to make him so while everybody else is pretty much in Regency-manners-mode is just strange). They change around his "ideal elder brother" act a bit, which I can't support because that was one of his consistently good qualities, even at the beginning when he's snobbish, and I just don't know about a story where Darcy doesn't end up with Elizabeth Bennet (who chooses to stay in modern times . . . quite frankly, we don't see enough of THAT storyline to suit me). All in all, he's a decent Darcy, but a pretty middle-of-the-road one.

#7 Orlando Seale, Pride and Prejudice (2003)

Yeah, if I weren't Mormon, I probably never would have seen this modern version. But this is one of those updates where it is reasonable since culturally we still put a great deal of stock into getting married. It ends up being kind of a fun romp, and this is a perfectly adequate Darcy for the task. He's cute, and has the curly hair and British accent working for him. The biggest turn-off for me is how much he tries once there's supposed to be romantic tension between him and Elizabeth. It's almost like he's trying to push with his eyes and is forcing those mood-changing moments that you see when two people in a movie suddenly get silent and things start shifting in an "Ooh, are they going to kiss?" direction. Still fun, but ultimately forgettable.

#6 Laurence Olivier, Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Do I really want to rank Sir Larry so low? Well, yes. This is an adaptation of P&P this is laughably unlike the book for being a so-called period adaptation (apparently, it's actually based on a play based on the book) (and then there are the borrowed Gone with the Wind costumes -- yikes!). It really focuses on the "comedy of manners" aspect, and that's what he does -- he has manners. It's a very stylized way of acting (which is basically what everybody else is doing in the movie, so can I really fault him for that? hmm...) that ends up being a little off for modern audiences, what with all the hand flourishes and dramatic poses. This actually doesn't bother me too much, but it does other people. But I've still got a bit of a soft spot for him because he has a few good facial expressions that very much remind me of my #1 guy, and I feel like he pulls off his anguish well. Plus, there's a moment toward the end when he and Elizabeth are kind of talking over each other, making up an excuse for privacy (away from her mother) on the fly, that's just too adorable.

#5 Daniel Vincent Gordh, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

This one was HARD to rank, mainly because it's an entirely different medium of seeing P&P in, being a web series rather than a movie or miniseries. As such, Darcy is in VERY little of it. Which makes sense, as he's actually in less of the book than you might remember, but in the web series you don't see his face until the modern analogue of the disastrous proposal, and at least in the book he's been in quite a bit before then. Since the book focuses so much on Elizabeth's limited perspective and information, it works for this web series to ONLY see her and hear what her impressions of him are, but it made it hard for me to warm up to the him once the audience "knew" he was the good guy. He was very awkward rather than snobbish, which was good for a setting update because it really wouldn't work these days to like a guy who sincerely looks down on people, and he's a cute guy, too. I just never felt like he got past the awkward stage, even when things were going well for him and Lizzie. Further viewings have endeared him more to me, which is why he's still fairly high in the middle, and he fits in the setting just fine. So there's that.

#4 Sam Riley, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This is my BIG surprise. For all I know that I'll likely never watch this movie again, I'm shocked at how watchable I found this Darcy and how high he's ranked in my list as I've thought this over. That raspy voice IS incredibly distracting, and let's face it, it's zombies in P&P . . . how much can you really approve? Not to mention the shoehorning in of a line from the book while he watches Elizabeth fight zombies made me laugh out loud. But surprisingly enough, he grew on me! I felt like he really fit in the setting that the movie gave us. The raspy voice actually worked for me once it was clear that he's a battle-hardened warrior of sorts, and his bold cleverness in one scene actually had me inwardly cheer for him getting one-up on Wickham (grrrrr on him in all forms). Although he's not the most physically-appealing Darcy to me, I felt like there was decent chemistry between him and Elizabeth. In a straight adaptation of the original book, he would NEVER rank this high, but yeah. What a surprise for me on this list.

#3 Colin Firth, Bridget Jones' Diary

I will preface this by saying that although there are two sequels to Bridget Jones, I am basing my ranking only on the first one, since that's the one that is actually the P&P story (kind of . . . you know what I mean). This is the best setting-update version for me, Darcy-wise, because he comes across as kind of snobbish and awkward, but still seems like a real person with a sense of humor who ultimately wants to overcome his own foibles and sincerely likes the eponymous Bridget (our Elizabeth in this telling), even with all the things she finds wrong with herself. I mean, come on, it's a bonus that it's Colin Firth, although who knows what possessed him to essentially reprise a role that stereotyped him for years? Oh, well, I don't mind, because his hilarious fight with Hugh Grant is worth seeing (it's not often you get to see the Darcy character land a knock-out punch on the Wickham character, so that's satisfying), especially when they briefly pause to sing "Happy Birthday" in the restaurant they've barged into. Not bad, Mr. Firth.

#2 Matthew Madfadyen, Pride and Prejudice (2005)

All right, anybody who knows me knows that I often refer to this adaptation as P&P as written by Charlotte Bronte. It looks and sounds gorgeous, but it focuses so much on that and making everything ten times more dramatic that the original delight of the story gets totally lost. Lady Catherine showing up in the middle of the night to chew out Elizabeth, an anguished-but-please-still-let-them-be-sexy proposal in the rain, the ultimate getting-together in the beautiful morning light while half-dressed? It all looks really good, but . . . it doesn't sit right with me. That being said, this is another case where I don't think I can really blame Darcy's actor; he does a good job of fitting into what this film does with the story. He's a good-looking guy who's willing to do proposals in the rain and carry them off pretty well. My big complaint about him? He talks at 500 miles per minute most of the time, and that makes an otherwise emotional performance come across as more stiff. Maybe that was a conscious choice to show him being nervous or awkward, but to me it seems like he's just trying to cram in at least some of the story amidst the rolling vistas and long shots of him walking in the sunrise. See, my problem isn't so much with this Darcy as it is with the setting he's put in. He definitely fits in well, though, so he's got a high ranking.

#1 Colin Firth, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Long live the King.

This will surprise precisely no one. He was my first Darcy, and what a lucky girl I am that he was. He handles the Austen dialogue like he actually belongs there (and he's fortunate that he's in a five-hour adaptation that doesn't force him to talk so fast), and he's haughty while still appearing like a real person. You can see his sense of humor early on with some pointed zingers directed at Miss Bingley, his attraction (and inner conflict with regard) to Elizabeth is clear, and that first terrible proposal is awesome through-and-through, from his hilarious inability to sit still to his incredulous expression at Elizabeth bringing up Wickham's name to his subtle pain when Elizabeth delivers the "gentleman-like manner" shot. Then his flustered reaction to Elizabeth's appearance at Pemberley is just . . . perfection (and not just because he's soaking wet; really, it wasn't until I was much older that I realized people were looking at that as a sexy thing. I just thought it was a great addition to make him that much more uncomfortable). I love his panicked look after he changes clothes and is running around and afraid Elizabeth's taken off. And if anyone was doubting his ability to emote, I refer them to the infamous held gaze between him and Elizabeth while she's turning pages at the piano and they understand each other and she smiles and he's SOOOOO in love. Just . . . ahhhhh! Could you melt into a puddle watching him watch Elizabeth? I almost think you could. Not to mention we get to see him actually search for Lydia, which is pretty fun when he turns his angry glare on Mrs. Younge. There are about two things in the whole miniseries that bug me, and one of them is his floating head in the carriage window when Elizabeth's remembering his first proposal . . . it's just odd. But I don't blame Colin Firth for that; he didn't write the script. But all in all, I can't imagine anyone coming close to him, and that's okay with me. Well done, Mr. Firth. Well done.

So that's my Darcy list. One big surprise, a few middling performances that I can't choose among, a couple of major downers, and then the far-and-away best of all. Isn't it so nice that we have so many Darcys to choose from? It's definitely a wonderful world.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Two (or Three) Cents

The Hubs says I need to write out my thoughts about the new "Anne of Green Gables" series, titled "Anne with an E" in a blog post, because . . . well, let's face it. There's no way I could confine all my thoughts into a readable facebook post. I already gave my opinion following the first episode, and that was mainly that while it's done well, the way it's been handled is simply not my cup of tea. I agree that the premise of Anne being traumatized by her experiences before coming to Green Gables is something worth exploring, and it's an interesting new angle. However, it is handled in far too grim a fashion for my taste.

I want to clarify that I am not annoyed with the fact that "Anne" was "re-made". Just look at how many "Pride and Prejudice" adaptations there are; despite what many of us may think, there are a lot more "Anne of Green Gables" adaptations out there besides the beloved 80's version starring Megan Follows. I've caught a couple of them. Interesting stuff. I read an article about Netflix cashing in on nostalgia, a la "Fuller House", but I don't see a new adaptation of "Anne" really fitting the same mold as that. "Fuller House" is basically exactly what "Full House" was twenty-five years ago, and is very much hitting that nostalgia button (which I eat up, I will admit; I have watched both seasons). "Anne" is one of those literary institutions that will always be redone, because the story itself is so timeless. So no, I'm not offended that they dared re-make perfection.

I am offended that the creators/writers of this particular go-around are bound and determined that anything that could go wrong, DOES go wrong. Apparently it's not enough for Anne to have every-day battles that develop her character. Everything is an enormous struggle and over-the-top heroic deed. I want to give as few spoilers as possible, but I'm going to give one right now. There's a house fire in Avonlea and the whole community is there fighting it. And who is the one to save the day? It's Anne. And suddenly more people decide she's worth the time of day! Ummmm . . . I have issues with this.

She has a similar experience in the book and previous adaptations when she and Diana are forbidden from being friends (thanks, currant wine!), and then she saves Minnie May's life and Mrs. Barry comes around and lets Diana and Anne be friends again. This still happens in this show (yay!), and you can't help thinking that Mrs. Barry is sure a fair-weather friend. I can't help but feel this way about the people who are only willing to give Anne a chance after she's the heroine of the afore-mentioned house fire. Do you really want everybody to give that "fair-weather friend" impression? What kind of lasting friendships is this reallllllly going to lead to? Instead of small, ordinary victories or people simply improving their characters and recognizing that Anne is an extraordinary person, it's only after she does something enormous that they decide to like her.

So this just further solidifies my first reaction, in which I stated that "this version is saying that a heroine is not a heroine unless her life has been awful, that the overly dramatic spins on old tales are the only ones worth telling, and that a victory is only a victory if it's won against impossible odds."

So now that I've finished the whole thing, besides this aspect of it, has my opinion of it improved? Well . . .

I came around to this version's Marilla, and I was very close to approving of Matthew, and then the last episode happened and he acted in a way that shut the door on it for me. "Nope. Not my Matthew." Sorry. Diana was good for me a great deal of the time, and I'd say the same for Rachel Lynde. Anne herself was charming, if uneven. Sometimes I was very affected by her, and sometimes her behavior just didn't make sense, even within the arc and mood set by the story being told.

I know what you're all thinking. What about Gilbert, right?!?? Cute kid, but the way his story was told and how his life developed was still in that "everything must be a tragedy" vibe, and I was baffled by where he ended up at the end. (And I'm not talking metaphorically; I mean physically where he ended up.) He also suffered from having to be around the other teenage boys, who were given dialogue that was incredibly out-of-place in the setting. It seriously sounded like they were 2017 boys dressed in 1900 clothing. I was waiting for one of them to whip out a "dude" any minute.

And the feminism angle: okay, aside from one (or was it two? they've blurred together) episode where it seemed especially heavy-handed, and I was justified in predicting that there would be overly misogynistic men in authority, it was surprisingly subtle. But maybe it just seemed subtle in comparison to where it was heavy-handed, and when it was heavy-handed, it was terrible. This is not an exaggeration of a response made by a woman in a "progressive" sewing circle (okay, maybe it is a tad exaggerated, but not by much): "Feminism? What an interesting word. Whatever does it mean?" Um. sigh If you're going to be feminist, please please write it a little better than that. It was excruciating to watch. I don't like decrying a show for being feminist; it's a good thing to be feminist. It's not a good thing to tolerate bad writing.

Now you're probably thinking, "If you disliked it that much, why in the world did you keep watching it?" Well, I felt it worth giving a shot, even if I knew that it would be a "grittier" re-telling. Sometimes you're surprised by these things. And there were perspectives and little bits that I thought were interesting and thought-provoking. For example, the book mentions the Cuthbert's hired boy, Jerry, maybe a couple times and then forgets him. In this, he's actually a character who you come to care about (although his French accent sure wobbled; but at the same time, i don't exactly speak French). There's a memorable part of Anne's growing up that all girls experience (oh, lucky us), and you thank heaven that you live in a time when you were prepared for it, even if your mother was out of town like mine was when it started for me. (is it obvious what i mean?)

You experience some moments of joy and tenderness, and that's wonderful. That's what you (or at least, I) want to get out of "Anne". But the whole series for me is bogged with downer after downer, and it's no fun feeling like you're just stuck in that quagmire. It even ends in a way that I wanted to tear my hair out and yell at the tv, "You really had to squelch that hopeful, up-beat ending with a completely made-up plot tease?" (Really: completely manufactured for this series.) What a disappointment that they felt the need to do such a thing.

So those are my thoughts on "Anne with an E". Have I completely turned you off of watching it? Or if you've watched it and disagree with me, are you going to dare talking to me about it? Or if you've watched it and agree with me, are you going to commiserate with me? Or have I teased it enough that even if you think along the same lines as me, your curiosity is going to get the better of you? So many possible ways this could go! I've found online reviews that echo exactly my feelings on it, and I've found online reviews that simply love it (nothing in-between, interestingly enough). Which camp are you? Will you dare? What makes you trust my word on it, anyway? That was surprising when I first posted on facebook that I was going to watch it; people wanting my opinion! Well, you certainly got it, and probably more than you wanted. Sorry. I'm a talker. Just like Anne.

And now I'm going to watch the happy version and take joy in that moment of crossing through the White Way of Delight with our dear Anne and the REAL Matthew Cuthbert.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Tender Mercies

Yesterday was stake conference. Which means over two hours of sitting (or trying to sit) in one place with a three-year-old boy and then hope to maybe glean some spiritual inspiration from the messages shared. Yeah, good luck to us.

But a few minutes into the meeting, another small family came in and took the two empty seats next to us. A couple with a young boy, who, it turns out, was close to Little Man's age. So, while we may not have had nursery, here was someone that could potentially be a pseudo-quiet playmate so we could get through the meeting without much blood, sweat, or tears. I'm not going to say the two boys took to each other immediately, but they did indeed distract each other so we weren't constantly trying to rein our kiddo in from running up to the pulpit while Pres. Staker spoke (as it was, there was only one time that came close to happening -- yay!). As the boys connected over airplane books and giving high-fives, the fellow mom (hereafter referred to as "Other Mother") and I whispered a few times to each other, complete strangers having this inexplicable bond because of children who are still learning the concept of whispering. (And if we're competing, my kid was much better at whispering. Go Team Us!)

I usually don't take many books with us to church for distraction purposes; cars are more Little Man's speed. But yesterday I packed many, many books, just in case. And, as it turned out, they were just what Other Mother needed, because her husband had not packed any for their son. Oops! I was more than glad to share, and she told me that I was an answer to prayer. All because of some books about airplanes and dinosaurs.

Now I don't think I was particularly inspired by the Spirit to pack six books instead of one; I was thinking more along the lines of, "How do I keep my kid reverent for two hours without resorting to cars that he'll probably roll around the gym and distract the entire stake?" And I'm sure that this couple was only thinking, "Hey, empty seats!" when they sat next to us. But they were a help to us, as well, not only with giving Little Man another boy to decipher, but during a tiny whispered snippet of conversation between Other Mother and me, I felt a small answer to an unsaid prayer of mine.

At one point, my sweet hubby had both boys on his lap while looking at the airplane book that fascinated them both. Little Man was a bit wary of this, even saying at one point, "He wants to get down!" when the other kid was clearly very comfortable while turning pages. This prompted me to say something I've thought many times in the last couple years. "This kid needs a sibling." And she turned to me and told me she thought the same thing about her boy.

We really didn't say much about our respective fertility issues -- how much are you really going to share with a stranger? -- but it was clear from the couple of things we said that she and I are in a similar boat. Not much trouble getting the first kid, but has it ever been a struggle getting a second kid in the picture. And do you really have the right to complain/struggle/be frustrated when there are women out there who haven't even been able to have ONE? At least we've got one, right? This has been the main thing that's kept me relatively quiet on the fertility front, because I don't want to tick off the families that struggle with getting pregnant and having it stick even once.

But here was a woman who understood what it was I was dealing with, so even though our conversation about our kids and getting pregnant was limited to about three sentences (and I'm amazed that we shared that much with each other because again . . . stranger), it was something for me that someone else gets it. And maybe my frustrations/regrets/struggles/resentments aren't so stupid or callous if I'm not the only one going through it.

Because what right do I have to complain? I've got at least one kid, and there are lots of women who don't, and while he keeps me busy, there are lots of women who have several kids who keep them busier. Don't I have it so easy in comparison to all the women in just those two categories? And yet . . .

I still cry every month. I still tear up when somebody "on the inside" asks me how the whole pregnancy front is going. I still look back on my ectopic pregnancy experience and get inordinately angry that something like that happened to me. I still resent a little that Little Man came along so easily and gave me the false impression that every pregnancy afterward would happen just as easily. I still wonder if it would have been so hard if I had gotten married at age 20 and started having babies THEN. I still get a little annoyed at the fact that at the same age I am now, my mom and sister were done having their four kids.

And the list goes on.

Look, I know all hope is not lost. I know I've got it good. I know many people in the world have worse struggles than I do. I can't help thinking right now that I sound like a whiny teenager who won't stop dwelling on what she doesn't have. I also am seriously considering deleting this entire entry because 1) my last blog post was a year and a half ago and it was about -- what else? -- period dramas; and 2) who really wants to know about this and maybe it's better I just keep this to myself -- at least I've written it down once. Except I've written this down more than once. I've thought this more than once. I've felt this more than once. And I've felt alone in my situation many times.

So that's why Other Mother yesterday was an answer to my unuttered prayer. There is someone else out there who goes through what I do, who may think and feel what I do. I know that I have support from others, and in that sense I'm not alone, but I often still think that they don't truly understand because they are in different circumstances. So even though I probably will never see Other Mother again, I sense (and even feel) a little better that I'm not alone.

I don't write this to elicit sympathy or stories that will give me hope that more kids are just over the horizon for me. That's not the point. I always like hugs -- quite frankly, I don't think I get enough of them in general -- so give me those. I just write, and that's the point. I just needed to write this to get it out into the universe. And to publicly say that there are tender mercies even in the midst of struggle, like strangers with airplane books and little boys that give kisses.


"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on." -Carl Sandburg

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

See You in the Movies

I have come to a conclusion about myself: I am in big trouble if I ever have daughters. And not just because I still don't know how to french-braid hair.

It's because of these.

I love these books and their respective miniseries adaptations. And when I say "love", I ain't just whistling Dixie. It is a very strong devotion. Just ask anybody who's ever watched them with me. Ask my dad, who remembers too well the way my friends and I would audibly swoon over Colin Firth the many MANY times we watched Pride and Prejudice as teenagers. Or ask my husband, who knows very well the smile that is plastered on my face after watching North and South.

Seriously, get through this scene without smiling. I dare you.

So I very much plan on introducing these books and movies to my daughters, should I have any. And I think it will be very painful for me if they don't love them, too. That's the first thing that could get me in trouble with daughters. Them not loving the books. See how I'm hopeful that I introduce them book-first, but that doesn't always happen. Not only did I see Pride and Prejudice before reading the book, I religiously watched Anne of Green Gables before I even knew how to read (boy, did my brothers love that). But while these hypothetical daughters are reading, I'm going to be so antsy, hoping that they love these books, and can I mask my disappointment if they don't?

My first "ship".

The second thing that could get me in trouble is wondering if they'll be able to endure watching the movies with me. Because there are times when I realize I have not changed how I watch them.

I was 13 when my mother first rented Pride and Prejudice. (I still can't believe I reached eighth grade without even hearing of it; I read it almost immediately after seeing the miniseries, though.) When she invited me to watch it with her, I had no idea of the love affair that was about to begin. This was in the days of VHS, and she had only rented the first half of the movie! So when it ended and we were left on a cliffhanger that I had no idea of how it was resolved, it was bad. And the only thing I remember about the extent of my mother's enthusiasm was that she wanted to get to the video store (remember those?) to rent the second half that same evening (fortunately, it was still available when we got there), and she knew the story and how it would turn out. So it's obvious she's into these movies and likes them. But she definitely isn't a crazy enthusiast like me.

If I have a daughter I introduce Pride and Prejudice to, will I be able to keep calm and act like a normal person? I am very good about watching beloved movies with first-time viewers -- spending the summer of '07 introducing North and South to allllll my friends trained me --, so I don't think I'd give anything away, but I react. Boy, howdy, do I react. Still! After seeing them countless times! Shouldn't I be the mature one? Here I am, 30 years old, very much an adult, and there are still things I swoon over. Audibly. And happily. And sometimes loudly. Shouldn't my behavior have changed since I was 15? Or is it all right that I still act silly?

Last year I watched North and South with my mom and sister. My mom was the one who introduced the book to me when I was 19, but I was the one who told her about the movie four years later . . . or maybe she'd heard of it, but she didn't watch it until I raved about it. So Mom had watched it before. My sister had never seen it. And they watched so calmly, so quietly. (I did, too, but again . . . my sis was a first-time viewer, and I'm very nice in those situations. I think.) I had no idea if my sister even liked it because she gave very little reaction! I think she did, but  I was going crazy inside because I had no outward confirmation! (Contrast that with my friends, whose reactions ranged from "best movie ever" to the memorable "I hate you, Megan" -- in the sense that I introduced her to a movie that ruined her for other movies.) I'm pretty sure my sister's never been as dramatic as I am, so it's only natural she doesn't watch movies the way I do. I'm not saying her way is wrong. What I am saying is: what if her way's right? And I'm just too insane? Have all my friends who were just as crazy and loud as I was now grown-up and able to watch them without uttering a word? I don't quite want to give up my enthusiasm, because I know it at least entertains my husband (seriously, he laughs at me and then tries to blame it on the water he's drinking), plus I have fun being a little loony. But what if I'm wrong and I just need to grow up and calm down?

Because any future daughters of mine should probably think of me as the grown-up in the relationship, and watching these movies with me could seriously undermine that idea.

But I guess that's what assigning chores are for.


"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder." -Alfred Hitchcock

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Step in Time

One month down, more to go.

Well, my first 30-day challenge has ended, and it was quite, quite, QUITE successful. (hooray!) In a month, I lost 14 pounds! Whoa, baby! Five inches off my waist, and three off my hips. Again, I say, Whoa, baby!

Of course, this week decided to beat me down and bloat me up a couple of pounds just to remind me that everybody has off-weeks with their body. But aside from a couple of Halloween treats that I allowed myself (and to only have a couple is miraculous for me!), I've still kept to my goals and eaten well and knocked out exercise each day. So even if my measurements aren't going in the direction I want them to come Monday morning, I know I've done my best. And hope that next week goes better.

People are starting to notice, too. Glen told me a couple weeks ago that he can tell my waist is smaller when he hugs me (awww...), my pal Tiffany tells me basically every week that I'm looking great (i already miss you, girl), and another friend in the ward told me the other day that my face is looking thinner. (of course, she thought that was because i'm pregnant and have been throwing up. wrong on both counts, colleen.)

So, can I keep this up? Yes, I can! I've got to, if I want to be able to fit into my goal-shirt without embarrassing myself (which isn't just pre-baby, it's pre-marriage; so that's quite a ways to go!). Tried it on fifteen minutes ago and I could actually look at myself without cringing, but I've still got some more inches to lose before I'll willingly wear it in public.

But, as Angela Lansbury sings, "After all, it's a step in the right direction."


"Baby steps to the elevator . . ." -Bill Murray, What About Bob?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Go the Distance

And the lack of cheating pays off! Today I am officially ten pounds lighter than I was three weeks ago. Yay! I'm not just losing pounds, either; I'm also losing inches. Seriously, why was I being so lazy before? Oh, yeah. Because it's incredibly easy to do.

I've still got some tough terrain ahead, and my 30-day-challenge is still a week away from being over, but I'm pretty excited about this. Even as I stared at the chocolate chip cookie in Glen's hand last night, very tempted to just swipe it out of his grasp, I knew that I'd regret it the instant I succumbed to temptation. Not because it would make me feel physically terrible later, but because I've already gone this long and done this well, and I don't want to beat myself up.

So here's to another week of willpower! I think the fact that I'm seeing results is helping to motivate me to look beyond the month of October and keep up my momentum until I'm back where I want to be. (and then to stay where i want to be.)

Of course, the next couple of months will be a challenge, considering the holidays, but I think if I keep on doing what I'm supposed to be doing every day, I won't feel guilty for splurging on special days. And denying myself the goodies now are sure helping me to look forward to and increase my appreciation for those special occasions.

Because I really want a cookie. :)

More Isaac pictures for your enjoyment. I love my silly boy.

Megan and Tyler came to visit for the day, and we went out to Bluebell. Isaac reaallllllly liked the cow train.

Got some hand-me-down costumes from my sis and couldn't resist squeezing Isaac into this one, considering how cute it looked and the fact that in two weeks I won't be able to fit him in it.

My next challenge begins on Saturday, only this is an intellectual challenge. I'm finally biting the bullet and participating in Nanowrimo. My thanks go out to my supportive hubby for reminding me of and encouraging me to do it. Life's sure fun when you actually make and keep goals!


"I believe that every human has a finite amount of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine by running around doing exercises." -Neil Armstrong

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Can't Hardly Wait

And now I am at the end of Day 11 of my 30-day challenge. And how am I doing? I'm impatient.

I'm impatient because it's been a week and a half and I want to be 10 pounds lighter already! I did drop about 4 pounds the first week (wow!), but I have a feeling that won't be the case this week. Which makes me a tad irritated. My brain is thinking, "Come on! You've been so good and haven't cheated on food and have worked out every day! Your body should already look wildly different!" And then I remind myself that I've got plenty of years of bad habits to correct, and it's not as easy now that I've hit 30 and have had a baby.

To that reasonable side of myself, I say, "Grrrrrrr."

But, yes, miraculously enough, I have not cheated. At all. The closest I came to cheating was when we went to Provo on Monday and went out to lunch. Somehow I avoided the bread at the table, and I didn't touch the croutons in my salad! Don't get me wrong; this diet does not deride bread/grain/wheat/what-have-you -- but it sure doesn't allow me to eat as much of it as I used to. (insert sad face here.)

I even have deliberately made myself sweat twice in one day the past two days! That is totally unheard of. But when your husband leaves you alone every Tuesday night for his night classes, you need to come up with something to do. So I've played Just Dance the last two nights for fun. And believe me, Just Dance is a lot more fun for me than my work-outs so far. I'm counting on them eventually getting fun, but for now I'm just glad that I've moved past feeling sick when they're over.

It's been interesting being part of this challenge group on facebook. These are complete strangers to me, so it's weird to see them "like" a post I leave about how I'm doing (or the "sweat" pictures we're supposed to post after each work-out this week, blech). But I'm picked up by their success stories and am always glad to know I'm not alone. And to know that if/when I cheat/slip up, I won't be alone in that. I have been surprised by how many people are reporting their slip-ups. I'd prefer NOT to be put in that position, even though they'd all be perfectly nice about it. Yay, accountability! It keeps me from succumbing to temptation.

Because there's temptation. Every morning when my alarm goes off at 5, there's the temptation to stay put. There's the temptation to stop a work-out early when I feel like it's too much (and to be honest, it never is; i'm just a wimp). There's the temptation of the cookies I made the other day for my boys (and my boys only!). There's the temptation of the tortilla chips I want to snarf down with some mango salsa we bought at Costco. I am successful so far, but there's temptation. Darn it!

But I'm going to make it. I am going to make it. Eating less food is definitely a TON easier than it was last week, I'm learning about what works for me in what I want to eat, I'm getting a little more used to the various routines/exercises, I'm training myself to STOP looking at the clock when I work out, and I'm still really good at drinking my water. I will succeed. I will succeed.

To round out the post, here are some more pics of Isaac.

It almost looks like he knows what he's doing at the computer 

 I'm still amazed that he can fall asleep like this

Dad's shoes. He put them on himself. Correct foot and all!


"I'm not waiting until my hair turns white to become patient and wise. Nope, I'm dyeing my hair tonight." -Jarod Kintz