Saturday, February 16, 2013

On those silly little 12 year old girls...

On Valentine's Day, I wrote of the newly discovered plan of my son to ambush surprise a classmate with a Valentine in her locker.  I was scared of entering this stage of his life.  I wasn't prepared for him to be at this stage in his life.

As it turns out, it may have been much more innocent than at first suspected.  Maybe.

As his mother, of course I was itching with curiosity all day.  It took everything I had to not meet him at the door and question him endlessly...

"What happened?"
"What did she say?"
"What's her name?"

I restrained myself and played it cool.
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.
.
.

For about 5 minutes.

When he came home it was the usual conversation with his siblings, the search for the after-school hunger craving, and settling in for a full evening of homework.  As I walked through the dining room where he sat figuring out the value of "x", I (very) non-chalantly asked him how his Valentine's Day was at school.

"Eh, it was okay."  (Uh-oh - what did the lil' trollop do?)

What happened?

"Well I put a valentine in someone's locker...but it was a failure."

{gulp} (omg! He told me!)  Really?  Why?  Why do you think it was a failure?

"Because when she opened her locker this morning, all these other valentines fell out, not just mine."

(Oh thank you Jesus!)  Well that's okay, that just means she has a lot of friends.  (Right?)
So...who is she?

"Nobody mom."

Ummm...is she cute?

"Ehhh...so-so.

(Dude!) Dude! (I mean, great! Not going on looks alone...smart move kiddo!)

"Well mom, I just looked down the hall the other day, picked a random locker and decided that's who was getting a valentine.  And the locker just happened to belong to a girl."

So this was like a random act of kindness thing?  (I really do love this kid of mine!!)

"Yeah...that's it."

So what's her name?

"None of your business mom."
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Hmmmm...maybe it wasn't so random after all????





Thursday, February 14, 2013

Of Hearts & Cherubs...and 12 year old boys...

It's Valentine's Day.  Generally not a day that I get overly excited about.  There's the hearts, the flowers, the little naked cherubs, blah, blah, blah.  It's not that I get shafted by Mr. D. for Valentine's Day (Hello... spa day)   I'm just not big on sharing "special" days with the rest of the world population...although the chocolate can be a major perk.

Relax...I didn't forget about him.  He's getting what could quite honestly be the most perfect card (don't you love being able to find that perfect card?).    And there's also Triple Chocolate Cookies for him.  Well, us...because it's chocolate, and he knows that he'll have to share.  ;)

The last few years, I've discovered it's rather fun to shower my children with valentines on this day.  Maybe it's because I don't have to go crazy or overboard to surprise them with little fun treats that really make their day, and remind them of how absolutely incredible I think each one of them is.  This year it's M & M's and an Arch card...and I know they're going to think it's freakin' Christmas when they see them.  Little things still excite them.

I caught a glimpse of a change on the horizon last year, when D-man (who was 11 at the time) came home from school on Valentine's Day a bit down.  He told me a group at the middle school was selling chocolate suckers that you could purchase and have delivered to someone special at school...and he didn't get one.  My immediate thought was, dude...you're 11!  But out loud I merely asked him if there was someone special that he had hoped to receive a valentine from.  He grinned and said, "No mom!"  (Okay...good...not going there yet...let's move on, shall we?)

Fast forward to this year.  This morning Mr. D. pulled me aside and let me know that he was taking D-man into school early instead of having him ride the bus.

How come?
"Because he asked me to."
But why?
"Because he put a valentine in someone's locker after school yesterday, and if he rides his bus to school, he'll get there too late to see her open it, and he wants to see her reaction."

Wait...an actual girl?
He laughed at me.

This is not funny!  When did girls come into the picture?  There have never been girls in my son's life other than his little sister...and me!!  I mean, I'm supposed to be the love of my little boy's life...not some nameless, faceless little 7th grader who apparently has captured his heart.

(I know, I know...it's just a valentine, not a marriage proposal.)

And for that matter...what if, as he stands there watching her open her locker, discovering her valentine, reading it, and then...what if she publicly rejects his feelings for her?  (Let me at the little trollop, I'll show her she can't stomp on my boy's heart like that!)  Or maybe it was a secret admirer valentine?  (That's my boy...keep it cool)

I'm just not ready for this.



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Les Miserables...5 weeks late!

How could I, one who claims to love musical theater, have waited 5 weeks to see this movie?

Eh.  Chalk it up to any number of excuses, the fact is I couldn't get to the theater to see this movie before now.  And the fact that it was showing at our local little movie theater where ticket prices were only $5.50 a piece, plus a medium popcorn, large cherry coke, and peanut M&M's came to less than $20...yeah, I'm happy to say I was a cheap date tonight.

At any rate, five weeks after the movie opened, I was finally getting to see Les Miserables.

Mr. D. and I have seen it on stage...decades ago...way back when we were still young and stupid in love.  I've read the novel...the ridiculously long novel.  There was the screen version awhile back with Liam Neeson, and it was adequate enough, but let's face it...in my musical loving heart, that film was missing something.  The music!  I've always loved my soundtrack that I've owned (for decades), it was actually the first Broadway cast recording that I ever purchased.  So when I first caught that this movie...this MUSICAL movie version was going to be released, I had hopes, but still remained cautious about getting too excited.  What would they do to my beloved musical?

Thanks to my five week delay in getting to the theater, I was able to catch numerous reviews - both professional and from my friends.  I had yet to hear a single negative comment about this movie.  Major award nominations have been announced, and this movie was a favorite to win.  Each passing week, my expectations were raised considerably.

I wasn't disappointed.  Not much.  Not really.

The movie soundtrack began, and I was instantly sucked in with the huge, full orchestra and familiar strains of music that I've known for so long.

WIthout further ado, here are my thoughts on the movie...both positive AND negative.

Remember how I said that I had yet to hear a single negative comment about this movie?  I'm going to give you one now.  I can't help it.  I've thought twice about keeping my comments to myself, but in all honesty Russell Crowe was incredibly disappointing as a vocalist.  I get the overall vibe they were trying to portray with him as Inspector Javert, and sure, he can carry a tune well enough, but his singing voice was not nearly strong enough in this roll.  The passion, the emotion, the strength that the good inspector needs to carry himself with was missing.  His one saving moment was the "confrontation" moment with  Jean Valjean.  It was during that song that I caught a minimal glimpse at what I would have liked to have heard from him throughout the entire movie....and all too quickly it was gone, and I could only wait for his exit scene later on in the film.

I was thrilled to see Colm Wilkinson make an appearance - downright giddy even!  This genius who originated the role of Valjean, rightfully deserved a part in this movie, and he played his role beautifully!

Anne Hathaway (who will always be Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries) was magnificent in her roll as Fantine - again, I had my doubts if she could pull it off musically.  I knew she could act the roll, but sing?  As a prostitute with a shaved head who is dying?  Yes she could...and she did!

A few odd ball thoughts - there were a lot of English accents going on (sweet little Gavroche, for example) considering that the story is set in France...Hugh Jackman had a "Charles Ingalls" look going on in one scene which Mr. D. was so quick to point out to me, and then I was completely distracted waiting for half-pint to walk through the door before I remembered that this was the French Revolution and not Little House On The Prairie.  Also, wouldn't a wounded man who was dragged through the sewer have a high chance of dying from e-coli?  Thankfully for our dear sweet Cosette, Marius survives being heave-ho'd through the underground of Paris.

At one point, Mr. D. leaned over to me and commented that the actress who played Eponine (Samantha Barks) was the best singer in the lot.  Well, she should be, considering that she played the role of Eponine on the West End for a year, and also for the 25th Anniversary celebration of the stage musical.  I'd have to agree with Mr. D., and I think Samantha was my favorite actress on screen.  She's adorable to watch, her voice is rich and full, and I even found myself loving the dingy costume that she wore (or maybe it was just me admiring and wishing for that tiny little waistline.)

The film locations and scenery were beautiful and striking, and the 19th century Paris streets were breath-takingly grim, lacking any color except for the blood red in the streets and the color on the waving French flags.

I can't wait until this movie makes it's way onto DVD, so I can have my own copy to put in anytime I get the urge to enjoy a good musical.  Despite the "questionable" moments that Mr. D. and I may have had at certain points throughout, this was still a fantastic movie, and well worth the $20 for the night out.

;) C.