Happy Mother’s Day 2013
May 12 2013

mothers-day-rosesAnother year has passed and another Mother’s Day is almost over.  Apparently my Happy Mother’s Day 2012 – Keep Up The Good Work post had several hundred views the last few days via google searches.  I still find that “greeting” card I took a picture of and put in that post humorous in an ironic kind of way…not even sure that makes sense or not.

This Mother’s Day, we find ourselves living in an extended stay hotel for a couple of weeks while we wait for our new home to be ready.  We’ve already had several friends over to eat and swim with us. Our new home was supposed to be ready in January, and we are crossing our fingers & toes that we will be able to move in soon.  So many amazing things have happened on this journey and invariably they involved wonderful people with big hearts who have gone the extra mile to make this transition as smooth as possible given the other unexpected changes in my life.  I really can’t thank some of these people enough.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be a grandmother with some of the best First World war stories ever!  :-)

So today for Mother’s Day, my son played soccer, the kids did their homework, they took me to Firebowl for lunch where mom’s ate free, we saw The Croods, they went swimming in the heated & nicely shaded hotel pool, they took me to Macaroni Grill for dinner (using gift cards the buyer’s of our house gave us), and they listened to me 90% of the time without me having to repeat myself multiple times.  All in all I’d say it was a very good day with the only downer being me having a cold.

I told the kids that I would share the fortunes (or statements) from the fortune cookies we chose at Firebowl in this post, so Happy Mother’s Day and here they are :

  • Embrace change, don’t battle it.
  • Don’t be so critical and overly concerned about details.
  • Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens.
  • Drastic means are not as necessary as you think.
  • Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.
  • Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent.
  • Help people reach their full potential.

 

Author: | Filed under: mom, mother, mother's day, movie reviews, parenting, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Do You Have The Guts Not To Fight?
Apr 21 2013

42 film poster.jpgI saw the movie 42 this weekend and it was *very* inspiring.  The theater was packed and people applauded when it was over.  Based on my movie going experience, it’s not often that people applaud after a movie.  It was about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player.  The movie portrayed what he went through to make a name in America’s top sport in the 1940’s.

One line from the movie that resonated with me was said by Branch Ricky, a team executive, played by Harrison Ford in response to Jackie saying “do you want a player who doesn’t have the guts to stand up from himself?”  He responded and told Jackie he wanted a player with the “guts not to fight” (or something like that), when people would surely treat him awfully because of his race, in order to make history and become a baseball legend.  It would be extremely hard for most people to sit back and experience the horrible, racist things he had to endure from slurs to being denied a hotel to stay in when he was on the road with his team.  Yet, he apparently had the strength to “turn the other cheek.”

Yes, sometimes it takes more guts not to fight as people like MLK and Gandhi have demonstrated.  Fortunately for Jackie, he had talent, desire, a little luck, and passion for the sport of baseball.  He knew he wanted to win at baseball more than he wanted to rightly punch somebody or stoop to their level.  Like many entrepreneurs, he focused on the end goal and didn’t let the mean spirited, those scared of tolerance/change, or the onslaught of scathing words get him down.

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Happy Holidays – 2012
Dec 25 2012

Merry Christmas.  Happy Hanukkah.  Joyful Kwanzaa. I hope everyone had a very Happy Holiday season and was able to spend time with people who you like and love and who like and love you right back.

Our Christmas was really nice and peaceful.  Lots of great presents under a small tree.  Tasty lunch at a Japanese restaurant.  An afternoon of putting legos and other toys together, followed by seeing Cirque du Soleil at the movie theater. I wasn’t sure if the kids would enjoy the show, but they did and were fascinated by the flexibility, strength, and costumes of the cast.

Happy Holidays!

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How People Believe in God
Dec 3 2012

Buddha Stone Statue in China

A movie and a book intersected in my life recently with stories about how God is experienced and perceived by us humans throughout the ages. Life of Pi (the movie, released in 2012) was made from a book written by Yann Martel in 2001.  A book written by Deepak Chopra called God: A Story of Revelation(Amazon link) happened to come to my attention through a marketing email, and I read it on my iPhone Kindle reader over the last couple of months.  I have been fascinated with stories about God, psychology, and philosophy since I was about 11 years of age.

The movie is intense, full of metaphors, and starts with the statement that once you hear Pi’s story, you will believe in God.  I don’t want to ruin the punchline, but it’s worth noting that Pi says “and so it goes with God” when he finishes telling the two versions of his story about the time he was lost at sea and the character listening to his story tells him which story he prefers.  One is a magical story of triumph with God’s help, the other reflects the darkest side of humanity and “survival of the fittest.”

Deepak Chopra’s book described the lives of several people of differing faiths and the paths that led them to profess that they heard God speak to them.  The people he writes about are: Job, Socrates, St. Paul, Shankara (similar to Buddha), Rumi, Julian of Norwich, Giordano Bruno, Anne Hutchinson, Baal Shem Tov, Rabindranath Tagore, and Einstein.  It’s interesting to note that all except one are men.  I guess women were too busy raising kids and taking care of their husbands to have the time to wander the streets, write poetry, or be thought anything other than heretical/batty if they proclaimed God spoke to them.

Those on a path to find God usually lead pretty persecuted and misunderstood lives where “bliss,” for lack of a better word is only sometimes achieved after much affliction combined with not “fitting” in to the time they were born.  But they all seemed to have felt as if God was within them and inside all living things.  Even probably 50 years ago saying things like God was anything other than someone up on high looking down on us (randomly helping us), would result in persecution.  However, now as Eastern philosophies blend with Western, it’s not so odd to think that we and everything on this planet are pieces of God.  Science has even started to prove that we are made up of vibrating energy.  His book states that science moved us away from mysticism/faith to cold hard facts and is now moving us back to the unexplainable and cohesive universal force that keeps things in order.

It seems that our belief in God and what & who God is evolves and changes based on the stories we tell about the human condition. Apparently, the more we explore ourselves & the universe and the more we share our stories, our relationship to and with God changes.

Author: | Filed under: book review, movie reviews, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Lincoln and Dealing with Change
Nov 18 2012

I saw the movie Lincoln last night. I left this comment on Fred Wilson’s post about the movie:

I saw the movie last night and was deeply impressed with how it was done and the actors rendition of all of their parts. Watching a movie like this gives you perspective on what we have to deal with today in most of our (very lucky) daily lives. The fear & demons Lincoln had to wrestle with must have been tremendous. One line I remember went something like “We can show people that democracy does not have to be chaos.”

As I observe start-ups and small businesses I’ve been involved with, those who have thrived attempt to manage chaos with some sensible structure, coordination among team members, & meaning. Those who don’t have that belief/skill set tend to build continuously chaotic companies with high turnover. Like with a child, the first year or so of chaos and sleepless nights are understandable, but after that healthy parents and healthy kids are expected to start “growing” up so to speak and communicate differently.”

On facebook I posted: “The movie Lincoln is a must see. So well done. Saw it last night. Definitely gives you perspective regarding what people were dealing with then vs. now. Standing up for your beliefs in a smart, intelligent, strategic way is not easy and most go the easy route because the fear of rejection is so huge in many of us.

The amount of change in our daily lives today gives us very little time to think about our decisions.  We often make decisions hastily without taking the time to analyze what is sometimes an overwhelming amount of information.  We often don’t make decisions at all because we are too used to the the status quo, we worry what people will think of us, or we are paralyzed with the amount of information we feel we need to sift through.  In Lincoln’s time the conflicting information he was receiving was also tremendous, and in his situation there were people’s lives at stake…not just jobs, profits, losses, and Wall Street earnings that many of us deal with today here in the United States.

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Of Politics, Pundits, Links, and Movies
Nov 9 2012

So much to write about and so little time.

As the world knows, Obama won!  I hope he can continue the trend around change and find a way to bring a divided nation together for all of our sakes.  Check out Fred Wilson’s (A venture capitalist in New York) post on the topic How Do You Take The Vote?.  I like the way he outlined the results.

I recently saw a movie called Cloud Atlas that was well done and though provoking.  I want to see it again to catch all the references I’m certain I missed.  It’s based on a book of the same name that was written in 2004  by David Mitchell. It interweaves six stories about people who show up in different life times that move from the South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a post-apocalyptic future.  Tom Hanks’ character gets better (i.e. fights his demons and trusts his instincts about love).  He and Halle Barry make an interesting couple throughout.  I know it is a science fiction, but I sometimes feel as if people I meet I’ve known before or have more close connections with.

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We Accept The Love We Think We Deserve
Oct 20 2012

Paul Rudd (high school English teacher) tells the main character (Charlie) in The Perks of Being a Wallflower that “We accept the love we think we deserve” when Charlie asks him why people are attracted to people who are not good to them or for them.  The movie was really well done and there were many humorous and thought provoking moments. The setting was in the 70s/80s when LPs, cassettes and mix tapes were still popular…brought back memories for me.

There are so many tragic love stories on screen and in real life.  I wonder how many people accept a dysfunctional type of love or avoid feeling love altogether because they think that’s what they deserve.   I also wonder how many people accept a dysfunctional work environment because they think they can’t find a better fit where they are valued.  It’s scary to leap toward the light of something potentially healthier when so often there is no one there to catch you.  Or when people you thought could be trusted, as in Charlie’s case, unintentionally led you to believe you don’t deserve to be loved the way you want or need to be loved.  But if we are to heal, we must leap and learn to catch ourselves with a little help from friends and family.

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Science Fiction, Halloween Parties, and Time Travel
Oct 8 2012

I love science fiction.  I’ve always been fascinated by outer space, intelligent aliens, and strange places.  I haven’t seen or read a ton of sci-fi, but movies and TV shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica always got my interest.  So, I was happy to hear that the 8th annual Halloween party theme at the place I work, Bulldog Solutions, is Sci-Fi/Glam Rock.  Everyone is invited and apparently 400+ people show up each year.  I already found my outfit (Star Trek theme), but I had to search for it online. I did not want to be Princess Leia from Star Wars and that was pretty much the only costume readily available for women at the costume stores.  All you have to do is RSVP on the Battlestar Spectacula facebook page if you want to come.

Oh, if you are into time travel go see the movie Looper starring Bruce Willis.  Guys in the future hire guys in the past to kill criminals/mob gangsters/enemies and when they decide they don’t need them anymore, they close their loop and send their older self back to be killed by their younger selves.  It’s definitely action packed and thought provoking. I wish there was less violence, but despite all the blood & guts, I found the storyline interesting.  I think they left it open ended enough that there might be a sequel.

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He Loved The Words More Than He Loved The Muse
Sep 9 2012

The movie The Words is unusual for a mainstream movie.  I was surprised it was showing at the biggest theater in our area instead of at the local independent, artsy theater.  I found it thought provoking and intriguing from a “wannabe writer” point-of-view.  I muse on this blog and at one point I had  aspirations to write a book.  Two books actually…one fiction and one based on real people’s stories.  I “finished” 1/16 of both of them.  The attempt at the non-fiction book resulted in the articles on my Success Profiles page.  Life, work, children, self imposed limitations, and personalities got/get in the way of completing them as they do for so many who have lofty writing aspirations.

Many aspects of The Words were intriguing, from the handsome, young writer (Bradley Cooper) married to a beautiful, dark-skinned, seemingly unemployed woman (Zoe Saldana) to his stealing someone else’s words because his own were insufficient to break the New York publishing barrier.

One line that struck me went something like “He loved the words more than he loved the muse who inspired him to write them.”  My handful of past and present muses (places & people) have triggered words (prose & poetry) that I never knew were inside of me yet found their way often uncontrollably into some of my writing.  I found that  most of those muses, including my children, I love or loved more than the words.  If a place served as a muse, I then loved the words more because they were about the people I loved.

The movie left you hanging because it ends without resolution on what was real and what was fiction.  The older version (Dennis Quaid) of the young, handsome writer has telling flashbacks. However, the observer is left to come up with her own conclusion as to whether the author’s life, the author’s characters, or his stories were real or fiction.  According to the older writer, fiction must never be confused with reality…

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What If Life Were Like A Woody Allen Movie?
Jul 29 2012

To Rome With Love is a typical Woody Allen movie with unusual scenes and unexpected turns of events.  His movies are usually intellectual and strangely disturbing and/or alluring.   In his movies (unlike in real life), people seem to shrug their shoulders if they can’t make sense of what’s happening and move on without an intense amount of guilt for lying, cheating, or stealing.  They don’t stay angry even if they were hurt or betrayed by someone else, well most times they don’t know they have been betrayed.  Midnight in Paris was similar in style and yearning.  He attracts a star studded cast and makes them act in his trademark style.

Woody is often noted as being “ahead of his time.”  If we can laugh at our human foibles like we do at the characters in his movies, then I do hope he’s reached his time and we have the opportunity to sing in public as well as we do in the shower. :-)

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The Business Of Movies
Jun 25 2012

Good movies provide such wonderful and safe escapes from our daily worlds into world’s dreamed up by others or into accelerated views of someone else’s “true events.”  They speed up the mundane and let you experience a gamut of emotions that people typically experience over decades in a couple of hours.  A friend of mine who has been writing scripts for years in Los Angeles recently sent out an explanation as to why the movie John Carter, which I didn’t see, flopped after much anticipation that it would do really well at the box office.  The reasons had a lot to do with marketing and business execution.  No matter what industry you are in, you can’t escape the fundamentals of business, timing, and a little luck.  Now for a quick review on some movies I’ve seen recently:

Rock of Ages.  It’s based on a Broadway musical, and I liked this more for the music than the actual storyline.  It was fun to see famous actors (Tom Cruise reinvents himself again) and actresses playing the parts of rock singers and their groupies.  The songs were from my teenage years. I knew all of them and they triggering an array of memories and feelings.

Hysteria. A really good, somewhat comedic take on the guys who invented the first electric vibrator for women after determining that manual stimulation was just too cumbersome to “cure” women of alleged hysteria.  It wasn’t until 1952 that the “hysterical” diagnoses for women was removed from the medical field.  It’s hilarious what they labeled as women’s symptoms of hysteria (i.e., wandering womb)!

Madagascar 3 – Europe’s Most Wanted. I love most animated movies.  This one was good, but still not as great as the first one.  Polka dot, afro, polka dot…

Brokeback Mountain. I rented this because I had never seen it during it’s big hype period.  I was expecting the relationship between the two cowboys to be more subtle but it was right there in your face.  It was an interesting story but mostly irritated me at how selfish they were given the other people in their lives.  I’m glad it lost to Crash for best picture that year.

New Year’s Eve.  I also rented this one and it was as I expected.  Full of stars.  Not great acting.  Sappy, unrealistic ending, but good for a few smirks.

Men in Black 3. Great movie.  Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin are great actors.  Will Smith is one very talented dude.

The Raven. Named after one of Edgar Allen Poe’s poems.  This was a morbid and dark movie and very much like Poe’s poems and writings.  It was a bit too morbidly uncomfortable and depressing for my taste.

Casa de Mi Padre.  A Spanish cowboy movie starring Will Ferrell.  A strangely funny, yet awkward movie.  Very cheesy, but many scenes made me laugh out loud.

Sliding Doors.  I watched this on Netflix.  It stars Gwyneth Paltrow and shows two different timelines of her life based on whether she caught a certain subway train or not.  It reminded me of how gullible most of us women are when it comes to what men do, say, and don’t say.  It was a little Woody Allen-ish.

I’ve seen a few others this year and rented some more as well, but I can’t really recall what they are right now.  The next movie I want to see is Brave.  I think that one will be a box office hit…they have marketed it very well so far!

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Time Is The Undeniable Constraint
Feb 19 2012

We all have the same amount of time (barring unforeseen, usually dire circumstances) to do what we are meant to do or want to do while here on earth.  It doesn’t really matter if we are born knowing what we are supposed to do or we aren’t.  In the case of Hugo (movie), he discovered his purpose in life was to fix other people, things, automatons, and clocks.  A series of unfortunate and fortunate events led him to the automaton/person he was meant to fix.

Sometimes time feels like it ticks so painfully slowly when you aren’t able to do what you want to do, be with the people you want to be with, or ironically figure out what your purpose is in life.  But then all of a sudden you look up, notice that time has slipped through your fingers and you realize…you rationalize…you reason that maybe this was just all the way it was supposed to turn out.  But you know there were points in the road of life where you could have gone a different seemingly easier or treacherously hard way.  Would it have resulted in fame, fortune, finding your soul mate, and great health or would you have been run over by a bus?

Timing is everything, but the passing of “time” is the one thing none of us can change until my kids someone invents a time machine.  Many of us spend so much time chasing something just out of our reach, so much so that it must be human nature.  But when do we stop…do we stop?  We can’t stop!  Or can we?  Well, maybe after we discover intelligent life on another planet.

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Are Brilliant People Secretly (or Publicly) Miserable?
Dec 4 2011

I’ve seen a couple of movies recently that were really good and one of them got me thinking about how some brilliant people are very insecure and miserable.  The movie that made me think about this was My Week With Marilyn which is about Marilyn Monroe, Colin Clark, and Laurence Olivier.  Michelle Williams is a fabulous actress and seemed to really capture what was going on with Marilyn Monroe.  Marilyn was (and Michelle is) gorgeous and talented.  Marilyn was portrayed as very insecure and needing drugs just to cope with the pressure.  It made me think of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Charlie Sheen, Owen Wilson, Woody Allen, etc.  All very talented but some were/are miserable, neurotic, anxiety ridden, mean, and/or drug addicts, etc.

The other movie I saw was The Descendents with George Clooney.  That was a very good, depressing albeit probably realistic movie.  George Clooney is talented & handsome and so far the press hasn’t indicated his misery out loud.

The kids and I also saw Happy Feet 2 (good, happy, but unrealistic) about penguins who, with the help of other animals, get out of a death trap and Arthur Christmas (see previous parenthetical comments) about a modern day technology driven Christmas.

Thank goodness for movies.  They let us escape our lives and get perspective by portraying the not so glamorous lives of other people.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love
Sep 12 2011

What a great title and a really good movie.  A friend and I saw Crazy, Stupid, Love this past weekend and it was really good.  Steve Carrell (the Office) pulls off his character well.  Even though it’s been out for a while, it was sold out at Alamo Drafthouse Village but had tons of seats open at Regal Gateway so unfortunately we couldn’t snack & drink while we watched the movie.

Marriage is hard.  Life is complicated.  Raising kids is rewarding but exhausting.  Teenage kids are teenage kids.  This movie makes the stupidity of love & marriage “funny” and acknowledges the imperfection of humanity.  It reminded me of American Beauty but it was less dark.  I’m amazed when people can stay married for over 25 years.  I mean, what are the odds of picking the winning horse (or lets just say the horse you will back in sickness, in health, in bad behavior, in richness, poorness, in decency, in bad judgment, in affection, in rudeness, etc.) or them picking you 50 years in a row?  I guess like there are few people who can win or finish the Iron Man Triathlon, there seem to be fewer marriages making it past their children’s graduation from high school.

So, what is love?  It’s crazy, it’s stupid and it usually makes no sense.  In the case of this movie, it means fighting for your soul mate (even if it’s teenager stalker like).  It meant people admitting to and owning their mistakes.  It comes down to communication and listening.  When I was a teenager, I believed in soul mates.  As I got older, not so much.  According to How Many People Do You Have To Meet To Find Your Soul-Mate, you have to meet 23 for a 50/50 chance of finding them.  If you do happen to find them at some point in your life, chances are they will be unavailable.

A guy I once knew told me that “men fall in love; women settle.”  He told me not to think about it too long, because I would realize it was true.  I guess the biological clock or other familial or economic necessity is stronger than the desire for a soul mate.  Plus, if you found him or her and you had babies they’d probably be messed up, kind of like with inbreeding.  :-) Yuck!  That certainly would explain a lot of literature.

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Black Swan – Psycho Thriller
Dec 18 2010

I saw Black Swan with a friend tonight and I’m still reeling.  It really shook us.  Natalie Portman will probably win something for her performance.  It was recommended to me by a friend/business mentor who during a difficult transition point in my life suggested I participate in a weekend workshop he and his wife have been involved with for years called The Search Within at the Search for Truth center.  I took the course back in August of 2009 (seems forever ago) and was on the support team two weekends ago.  It knocks your emotional socks off whether you are taking it or serving on the support team and it’s about getting in touch with your heart and living from authenticity versus fear.  So I took the recommendation seriously.

The acting was superb and you never really knew what was real and what wasn’t….a true psychological thriller.  For any of us who have striven for perfection only to realize it’s unattainable until ironically, you really let go to who you are, it’s a perfect but scary movie.  If we can’t blend the parts of ourselves together as many of us have trouble doing because we were told we had to be a certain way that we equated to perfect, in some it results in a mental mess where we can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination.  Driven to madness.

Fortunately, we went to PF Chang’s for dinner after the movie and after waiting 25+ minutes for our table, because most restaurants are really busy on a Saturday night in Austin, we got a great waitress named Summer who helped take the deep edge off the surreality of the movie.  She was funny, light hearted and made us laugh.  My head hurt literally for about 20 minutes after seeing the movie as it was so intense.  Thankfully Summer and some wine helped us move on to more interesting topics of discussion.

Our fortunes (nay statements) in our cookies were “A great man never ignores the simplicity of a child.” and “Your smile is a curve that can get a lot of things straight.”  Guess which one was mine? :-)

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