Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Movie Review: Seven Pounds

It's nice to read about other adventures of parents with their furry (and human) children, true. It's nice to share that info, too. But today, I thought I'd provide a bit of a newsworthy service, in the form of a movie review.

Last night, in a rare turn of events, my husband and I went out to see a movie. On a whim, we changed plans and saw Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith ( The movie asks a lot of its viewers, on several levels. It's written in medias res, or, as my high school Latin teacher would say, "ya know, in the middle of stuff." You begin the movie with an extreme close-up shot of an extremely emotional Will Smith, of which you know nothing about. Nor the cause of the emotion. In this way, the movie asks a great deal of patience (and suspension of expectation) from its audience.

Patience, from an American audience, is a tough thing to expect.

Over the course of the little over two hours, we begin to piece together what Will Smith's character meant when he said, in the opening scenes of the film, "In seven days
God created the world. It took me seven seconds to shatter mine." He must help seven individuals, all very different people with very different circumstances. We learn much more about some than others, and in a few we literally feel their hopes and dreams as they're unfolding.

The film also relies on subtleties that, if we aren't careful, we may miss. This is one of the greatest treasures of the film. They are so wonderful you can hear slight whispers between audience members to one another, to ensure they each caught it.

We find ourselves on a journey, and we have no choice but to wait it out.

In one particular character, Rosario Dawson's character, it's heartbreaking. No, heart wrenching..for the character, and suddenly, for us as well, as we finally learn the true extent of pain and suffering. Pain, and all kinds of suffering, are central themes of the movie. Dawson's character proves to be the tie that binds, and everything comes together quickly for us at the end.

For anyone who has ever experienced any kind of loss in their life, particularly a significant one, this will be an emotional journey through that personal pain. It will cause all of us to examine ourselves, and our relationships, just a little bit more closely. In one entity, a simultaneous celebration of life and pursuit of suffering.

This is one rare movie that everyone should see, as we will all come out better versions of ourselves.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Addicted to Blove

The interesting thing about blogging is that everything becomes interesting. For example, it was interesting to note where we might be headed today, to the beach, had my Mom not left without us this morning. Ok, it's slightly more complicated than that, we were out pretty late, something about a pub, siblings-in-law and ice cream shops shutting down in the winter.

Anyhoo! When one blogs, one really starts to examine the mundane. For example, I discovered that my yellow lab, who happens to be female, truly understands most of the English language. I know this because 1) she just does, and 2) when we had an entire conversation about taking my son to the playground, and whether or not we had left enough time before lunch, yadda yadda, there she was... sitting right behind me, so that when I moved, I tripped over her. She then followed me around until it became clear that she, too, was heading to the playground (and large trail system,) if we were. It was that simple. This is her 'waiting' pose:

I also find that mundane details that are captured via camera are much more exciting. For example, I simply stated a few days ago that we tailgated, what I didn't mention was the sea of others around us:

And finally, alas.. where we are NOT today (but could be:)


Monday, December 29, 2008

Where We're Heading Tomorrow


Defying Mediocrity with a Salad Spinner

Apparently, all of the toys my toddler was given for Christmas were mediocre, at best. That must be the case. Otherwise, he would probably have chosen to ride on the Winnie the Pooh ride-on train (where every magical button is another Pooh monologue, and there is no off-switch. We've looked.) Or, he could jump into the little round bucket seat of his very first red Schwinn tricycle.. we're talking the chrome rims here, the little chiming bell, the streamers out the handlebars. Wind on your bald toddler head. The real deal. OR he could pick up the "My First Tee-Ball" set, that my dad was very excited for him to use.

I understand why he ignored the clothes, and all the little ornaments that light up, but honestly, the train set that configures into a figure-eight that has a little engine that chugs around only when the conductor is placed on top, is just cool. All the adults think so. Even the dogs mustered up the courage to sniff it out. Just not my guy.

The legoes were ignored and not opened. Same with the wooden blocks. The Playmobil castle with the little knights and dragon and the little wizard, got a second look. HEre's the rub: the castle opened and closed, so it was given a fair shake. The toddler-scale vacuum got some good action, for more than a minute.

Then we opened the kitchen tools bag.

My mother-in-law knows her grandson, it's as simple as that. She gave him a little bag of cookery treasures. When he discovered the little rubber measuring cups, his eyes grew big. The baster? A little bigger. His own strainer.. cool! Finally... wait for it. The magical, splendid salad spinner. Holy cow, was he happy. Hello, entertainment. He hasn't stopped spinning things in it since. We even put it on top of the booster chair when he was finished eating, clearly ready to get down again, but the "adults" at the table wanted the time to savor. He carefully placed his leftover carrots inside, and spun. Giggle, spin, giggle.

Moral? When in doubt.. spin away the mediocre with the salad spinner!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

65 Degrees and Sunny

The weather and my disposition! That's what it was in North Carolina today. This is why people move here. I swear, every time I come home there is a new strip mall, a new free-standing CVS, and a new 500-home subdivision around the corner from my parents' house. It's surreal, coming back here from Northern Virginia where space is such a premium, and the 'strip' malls are from the 30's.

This weekend was a rare event, the effects of which were dramatic and life changing: my being away from my 18-mo old toddler for 1.5 days. Woo-hoo! Two days ago, my husband and I left the kid, two dogs and most of our sense of responsibility, and took off to our college bowl game in Charlotte. We'd lived in Charlotte for a few years just after we were married, still in D.I.N.K. (Dual Income No Kids) mode, resided in an urban condo with downtown views and NO dog hair or baby furniture.

As part of the full college bowl experience, my husband and his best friend, who lives downtown, packed the car full of coolers, with required accoutrements, and drove three blocks (that's right), to a parking spot next to the stadium. It was full of our like-minded fans, replete with toddler-sized charcoal grills (nod to irony), free beer koozis, Bloody Mary's and good friends. It was grand. After the game, we went and de-tailgated (similar to a de-brief, but more fun) at a nearby friend's house, and saw even more friends and ate ever more food. To top it off, we went and met two friends for dinner, cramming one more event in before heading home, in the shiny new sports car borrowed from Dad.

Other than the fact that we lost, and a drunk friend got in a fight in the men's bathroom, it was a magnificent time to be "normal" again. And I know you know what I mean there. It was like a two-day long deep breath of fresh air, we came back recharged. Well, tired and recharged at the same time.

And when we went to change the little guy's diaper this morning, we could tell what they had fed him the previous evening. TMI?


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
Bloggers were blogging by key and by hand.
Laptops were staged at the in-laws with care,
In hopes that Santa (the muse) would rescue them there.

Our toddlers and relatives were snug in their beds,
With visions of blog posts stamped in their heads.
And I with my keystrokes and my iGoogle maps,
Had just settled down for some quick blogger taps.

When out in the blogosphere there arose such a post
I nosed over to check who had the most
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a Santa blog following all eight cute reindeer.

I went to to check his progress,
But my maps got me confused and I really digressed,
When I found Santa's blog at
I knew in a flash there was no cause for alarm.

He was on his way with his sleigh and his jolly red self
And no man or blogger could mess with this elf.
Come hell or high water or pie in the sky
Gifts will get wrapped and bows will be tied.

So perk up you bloggers with your typeset so fine,
Have a beer, some eggnog, and a very fine wine.
Together with Santa we'll sing and we'll cheer it:
The finest gift of the whole year: our good Christmas spirit.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time in a Bottle

One of the most frustrating things about having a toddler and dogs in one's household is the lack of the shared concept of the past, or the future. "The now" is the only state in which one lives, if one is an enthusiastic toddler or an active adult Labrador retriever. It is difficult, however, from my perspective to only live "in the now" (this is not to be confused with "being present", which is something that, as a parent, is most challenging but most important.)

Back to the now. All day today, and yesterday (which, remember, doesn't exist to my audience of three), I was exciting both canines and mini-human alike by saying, "are you excited to go for a car ride? Do you want to go to grandma and grandpa's house? Are you excited about CHRISTMAS?" The looks of expectation were overwhelming, the whines (oh, the whines), the feverish excitment, and I wanted nothing else in the world but to take them right then, at that moment, to the car to grandma's to Christmas, to the NOW.

The dogs are always ready. You just have to be ready. You just never know, and you must be ready for anything, at any moment, to GO. So, they are always ready. My toddler is ready to grab his coat and put it on and head out the door at any moment as well, sans shoes, sippy cup, or Mom. That is living in the now.

It's forced me to re-define the future, over and over again, which is an interesting conundrum. Back to the future, starting NOW..


Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Yogis

So I teach this yoga class to seniors, every Monday morning, while my 18-mo old is at preschool. It started as a community service gig, and has transcended itself (and me) into something much more personal, more compassionate, and more important. Each week I find myself caring a little more about each of the individual seniors, ranging probably from 60 to 80 years old, each from a varied Asian or Southeast Asian country. Not one can understand me. But there I am, each week, talking my way through the poses and sequences. Worrying about someone fainting.

The first week, I bent down to scratch my ankle, and the class followed.

Today, for a special treat, after I'd taught, I got a round of hugs from the ladies. They wished me happy holidays, happy new year, and a happy toddler throughout. That felt really great.

It made me realize, suddenly, that that might be the way for all of us to "brave" our families through the holidays. Call it spreading a little Zen around. For a lot of my friends, it's the in-laws that set them over the edge.. for me, it's a little closer to home. It's in the genes. Civility and listening just weren't in the DNA.

Hilarious in-law stories are heading my way, certainly, from various parties when the holidays blur into the New Year, and I so look forward to those.. but in the meantime, I'll be thinking of all of them as we dive into the season.. arms first.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pearlstein and our Economic Dent

My favorite Washington Post columnist, Steven Pearlstein, today likened the big 3 Automakers "bailout" (or, more correctly, emergency bridge loans to get their house in order) to an insurance policy. Just like an auto policy we take out to protect our cars from total loss, the government insuring us all against the worst of the worst.. a prolonged, deep recession, nay, a "Great Depression." I think this is an interesting way to look at it, especially considering the billions of liquid money that the Fed has pumped into our economy, seemingly into a black hole, since there is no trace of it in the credit markets.

So, in our nod to the rough economic roads ahead, we did our part today. All day. All. Day. Christmas shopping. At, of all places, a mall. (Gasp) And, with a toddler in tow. (Deeper gasp)

However, I'm happy to report that it went well. Through the herd, around the herd, we made our way through the Legoes, the Hannah Montana, Transformers, and did you know that Galaga is back?! (A little remote control you plug into ANY television, that comes pre-loaded with 200 games from my childhood, Galaga, Dig Dug, Pacman, Tetris, Centipede.. are you having flashbacks yet?)

Ho, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum (though the Lego Pirate ship ironically didn't picture any. Factual?) Our 18-mo old was a star, waving when he was asked, making funny faces when he saw himself in the mirror, entertaining himself by careening down an aisle at LL Bean just as I'd set the 5 or 6 large packages down next to my purse next to the stroller next to the crowd gathered by the fish tank. JUMPing out at the lady as she walked into LL Bean, having mysteriously crouched himself behind a sign. Ah, the holidays and childhood.



My favorite Washington Post columnist.. and I'm not the only one that thinks so.

One part snark. Ok, many parts snark. One part David (vs. Goliath), you know, fighting for the little guy. One part Liberaltarian. That's right.. you read that word here first. That's my own doing. Of course, after I post this, I'll Google it to see if anyone else has come up with something similarly brilliant.

Pearlstein writes for the Business section for the Washington Post, and is not on anyone's "side". Definitely not Washington's "elite" politicos. He tells it like it is, and calls people out on "it", whether it is bank executives, blowing up their fiduciary responsibility from lack of attention to details like leveraging themselves to the brink of failure, or the car manufacturers for failing for years upon years to take their efficiency "mandate" seriously. Or drug companies for.. being drug companies. Or an Administration, for taking too long to solve the credit markets seizing up, and for failing to cool down markets that flare up. Or--and this is my favorite, Mass Media, for creating frenzied waters that more often than not, would be a lot more calm if people were lead to think what they would think on their own. Without the help of "sky is falling" "Great Depression" references that tell us there is no hope in tomorrow. That, friends, is GONE.

Whomever it is, they aren't getting off easy. He lets 'em have it, and backs it up with actual information: financial instrument details (that I particularly enjoy, having worked on a trading floor for Risk Management,) credit markets structure, capital markets, equity markets, business savvy and general common sense.

Sometimes it's that last one that goes the furthest.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Stay at Home Dinosaurs

Before I get started on the insanity of toting a toddler around on holiday errands, and digressing down the story slope of what happens when you SHOW the toddler the train table, then attempt to get him to move along so you can get some shopping done, I'll share this dinosaur stuff.

As reported in the Washington Post this morning, the journal Science printed an article today detailing evidence that points to father dinosaurs sticking around the nest, doing the "brooding and incubating", while the Moms are out, you know, doing what Moms do best--everything else. In the female dinosaurs case, eating a LOT. Scientists discovered this studying the fossilized leg bones. Who knew they had it in them? Would the average 21st century dad find incubating fulfilling? Food for thought.

In other news, possibly my favorite sound at the moment is happy toddler chatter (this is not, however, to be confused with bored toddler chatter.. which is like devil music.) Happy toddler chatter seduced me into giving my toddler the privilege of replacing the toilet roll onto the holder, and he pulled the 'ol bait-and-switch on me.

I got the ol' bait-n-switch at Barnes&Noble, where said train table had gotten the better of our attention. Using what I like to call "the hand off", my 18-mo old toddler, whom I'll call the Bear, took a bunch of stuff off the shelves nearby, as soon as I started to hunt around the close vicinity for gifts. When I bent down to replace the items, he turned to me and started to hand me all the Thomas the Train trains. Having no choice but to accept them (so as to redistribute to the other toddlers playing at the table,) the Bear turned right back around and began unloading the shelves again. Mission accomplished!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ode to My Blogging Friends

..all three of you. If any of you (said, pleading in an English accent) know how I could possibly remove that solid blue line from going directly through my main page, I would owe you a debt of gratitude. I don't know how to get rid of that. Also, how to link to other blogs. I have a feeling this last one will resolve itself with something else I lack.. patience.

Last thought for the day: does blogging cause an increase in the U.S. imported coffee market?


Where the "Paws" Are

My just-turned 5-year old black lab just ambled up and placed his chin delicately on the couch, next to me, inspiring me to upload this new photo of him. Those brown eyes could end wars. Here's to the paws in the family.. all eight of them.


Crafting the Blog

Finding a muse, choosing a theme and expanding on one's world view. Whatever it's called.

The truth is, I've been blogging all my life. I just never knew it.

(Though, through the advent of "typing" and "the internet", it takes much longer to spew out the non-stop verbosity of everyday life, and, therefore, we are spared the drama. A little.)

My favorite quote for today is: Is SpongeBob Squarepants supposed to be terrifying?

Certain things will always be true. I will always have more going on than I should. I will always be a Mom. I will always love the Tarheels and thin mints. I will always be distracted.

What was I doing here? Oh yes, blogging. I started blogging over a year ago (didn't everyone?), life all in pictures, and thought of it purely as a technically updated diary. You know, for the record books. But, I quickly realized I couldn't keep up with it, as the blog photos took 2 and 1/2 hours to post.

So, here we are. Shiny and new. And like all toddlers, we must grab onto that shiny new object, and not let go until we've figured it out. Good luck.




Copyright © 2008-2009 C.D. Bucher. The content on these pages, including text and images are the sole property of the author and may not be used or reproduced in any manner without consent. All Rights Reserved.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP