Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

I've decorated my home and wrapped all the gifts. I've taken the clan to church and said my many thank-yous. I've fed the family and some friends: smoked Cornish game hens, roasted winter vegetables with cranberries, pear-and-chestnut stuffing, and pot de cremes. I've tucked in my older daughter and sung Silent Night and The First Noel and Away in a Manger. We are now performing Santa duties, hiding stocking gifts from each other in a last attempt to be sneaky.

It's so different to be a grown-up at Christmas, even more different to be a parent. But I love this new role, love being the family member to host the big dinner, and the mom who picks out the most asked-for gifts. Christmas is magical for a new reason now: no longer about gifts and wants, now focused instead on giving, hosting, pleasing, loving. It is a fulfilling holiday, a reflective one, a joyful one.

Tidings of comfort and joy to you and your families. I hope your Christmas is magical.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Midnight Movie Musings

A lot of strange things go through my head as I nurse my baby several times each night. I compose beautiful blog posts in my head, I construct to-do lists, I replay conversations, I daydream of vacations, and recently I've worked out Christmas gift ideas. Most of these thoughts are completely forgotten by morning, but one has lingered.

I was thinking about my favorite movies, and which ones I would consider owning, even in this day of on-demand streaming. I think my generation of folks share a lot of the same favorites: The Princess Bride, The Shawshank Redemption, When Harry Met Sally, and the Stars Wars and Indiana Jones series come to mind. But there are a few movies that I adore that may be a little less familiar to people. Here is my list of lesser-known favorites.

- In America. After seeing this in the theater, my very masculine buddy asked if we could just sit for a while, as he had been crying. Our whole crowd was happy to just sit and relish the experience of moving storytelling. The acting is amazing. I rented it again recently, after having kids, to see if it was as good as I had remembered. It meant even more as a mother.

- French Kiss. In a decade of too many RomComs - and arguably too many Meg Ryan movies - this gem stands out. Meg is a charming level of cute, and Kevin Kline, as usual, steals the show. So adorable.

- Romancing the Stone. When Dad #2 moved in, he brought this movie with him, which I went on to watch several times a year. It is a ball of 80s cheese wrapped in a really entertaining adventure movie. I know no one who dislikes this movie, even if they'd be too ashamed to call it a favorite.

- Pixar of Your Choice (The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc. and How to Train Your Dragon are my tops). I have a masters in English, and I will adamantly argue that the best storylines for movies these days are in Pixar's "children's" movies. My friend who went to film school says it's because animated movies have one small team that takes them from first idea to final production, whereas other films are often rewritten and totally changed by several people over many years (case in point: Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights was originally written as a serious look at modern Cuba - ha!). Pixar tells funny, touching and beautiful stories for all ages.

What are your hidden favorites?