Slipping Yoga In

While it’s great to have a yoga class to go to and yoga practice, I find the act of slipping a little yoga time into other parts of life rewarding. One place I do this is with my Adult classes. The students are there to learn English or computers or to study for their GED, yet, if they happen to be in my class, before they know it, they’re imitating a tree! I find it very gratifying, albeit sneaky, to give yoga to people who normally might not ask for it.

  Let’s be Trees!

These days, when I teach adults English or GED classes, there seems to be some unwritten rule that they are assigned a hot stuffy room–sadly, often called “community rooms”. Yuck. Then there are the computer classrooms, often in dreary windowless basements or shadowy caverns. Basically the ‘no one else wants this room so you can have it” variety. When you enter one of these rooms, all moisture is sucked away by the parched air. My eyeballs instantly protest. My lips crack. It’s no wonder why these often huge spaces are sparsely inhabited.

The rooms are crying for some vim, some energy, which I the teacher am charged with dispensing. Thank goodness I can wield a yoga respite as a very helpful tool. Sometimes we begin with a little warm up, but more often I use break time to have students up, stretching and breathing deeply. We love our class, yes, but we also love our breaks! I like to say that we can create our own ventilation. Of course, we have no other choice.

Some of my students might not know what yoga actually is, some are suspicious, and a few others believe themselves allergic to exercise of any stripe. But within the confines of a class setting it’s usually possible to ask that students try something new. I advertise the ‘break’ as a chance to get their brains flowing, which sounds enticing to most people who want to learn. There are the odd naysayers, but it has been rare. After all, it’s just 5 minutes! What can it hurt? C’mon, give it a try…

I am not a certified yoga master nor yogi, but I have been doing yoga on and off for over 20 years. To keep things as simple and efficient as possible, I mostly adapt sun salutations and basic asanas that highlight stretching, awareness of breath, and circulation. There is no room for pretzel postures or anything too bendy. I like to throw in a tai chi movement or two for flow, as well. People also like the pose names; they’re interesting or funny.

 Pretzels discouraged in my class

So, if nothing else, our modest yoga timeout brings a laugh and a smile. The students love that it alleviates yawn-i-ness. Most people in my experience enjoy a challenge, especially one that I set as deliberately relaxed. They also get a kick out of watching each other’s attempts. Just as a shared activity it’s worth doing. And if we’re lucky, it can accomplish a measure of true gain: lower stress, better concentration, alleviated stiffness and aches. My hope is always that they’ll ask for more, and then that they’ll want to bring what we learned home. Someone might even get the ‘bug’.

In one such arid community room I teach a class of awesome Russian, Persian and Korean Grandmas. These ladies have led long, fruitful, enduring lives. They deserve relaxation and time to enjoy. A flexible nature is one of the strengths that has them here today, in their later years still interested in study. Unsurprisingly, they are enthusiastic yoga participants.

Today our room was so poorly ventilated and so drily hot that one of the women began to feel faint. After water was dispensed and the door propped open, we stood to get our communal blood flowing. It is so gratifying to see how just 5 to 10 minutes can have people smiling and breathing again.  The faint student began to feel better and could continue with class.

   No competition here

My modest yoga break is one practice that always works, for me and for my students, and for that I’m so grateful. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it.

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Weave Me a Tale, Sing me a Song

Game of Thrones Season 3

THE HBO SERIES, A GAME OF THRONES, BASED ON GEORGE RR MARTIN’S EPIC SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, RENDERS A BRUTAL, PASSIONATE, FEROCIOUS TALE.

Now a third season is launching on March 31st, I’m reviewing the past two seasons.

In the ancient heroic tradition, this is a juicy yarn woven into fire-lit air. The crowded room listens enthralled as the story is revealed through the long night. The air is misty with cold, a veiled tent, or a campfire circle.  Or…We could stare rapt from cozy couch, electric blue illuminating our faces.   These tellers paint with bold colors that captivate.

  Tell us a Story O Great Martin

We have:

  •  Remarkable characters,
  • Exciting heroes, Intriguing villains,
  • Prowess, Exotic lands,
  • Call to battle,
  • Strands and depths of conflict,
  • Oaths, A love story,
  • Vendetta, Old wounds, Forbidden love, Betrayal,
  • Family unity and unrest,
  • Inner turmoil,
  • High born and low born,
  • Sex,
  • Intrigue
You wonder: Is there nothing that this story does not encompass?
I’d say that all-encompassing is an excellent description of this tale.

Scenes from Seasons One and Two:

Long-seated power is vanquished and three powerful families are placed on the board: The Starks of the North, the Lannisters of the midlands, whose daughter is the Queen, and the Baratheon clan, whose middle son is enthroned at Kings Landing.  The throne is composed of fused swords.

When safety vanishes, the Royal youngest flee across the water to grow. The Old Gods breathe in the Northern air at Winterfell. Seven Stark children grow, five trueborn, one of another mother, and the last a hostage.  Beautiful Lannister twins shine like yellow stars. They stand above their dwarf brother whose birth killed their mother. One twin is a Queen, the other twin the most formidable knight in the land who guards the King.  Kingslayer, Kingmother.   Three dark Baratheon brothers sit beneath the Stag’s banner: stern, robust and blithe.

Summer is long but…Winter is coming. A long Summer heralds an even longer Winter. Most alive cannot remember and have never seen Winter.

Secret and proud, the love of two siblings grows into a red knot that spreads outward in a bloody stain.  The gods flip a coin when the deposed kings were born—one side for madness, the other for greatness. Often it seems that all is lost.

Aptly named “The Wall”

A young girl, her father and protector beheaded, poses as a poor boy to wend a precarious way home. The Crows guard the North beneath the shadow of a mammoth wall—against what, few know. The world spins and children are flung from their roots. No one is safe. Roads choke with the lawless and delinquent. It is difficult to know who protects what.

King’s bastards abound and are found. Yet one eludes. A small man can prove a tall shadow. Brothels reveal shells of pearls, which are shiny covered sand. The least likely people can prove the most powerful; Some are obliging, others ruthless. Maesters dispense their ancient wisdoms to wary, leery and devoted ears.

 Mama’s Little Darlings

In a fiery grave 3 Dragons are born into a world that believed them extinct. Their orphan mother wills herself to grasp an ancient claim to the throne.

A new flock of crows plod through the barren North of the Wall, a world without color or sun.

Now that the King is buried, his two brothers vie for their right to the throne. The rosy glow of the South radiates on new king, whose maliciousness reveals himself petal by poisonous petal.  A bold woman dares to become a great knight. While the city waits in a fearful hush, the Little Bird perches captive; She is a riddle no one can decode.

The honorable King of the North cannot lose.  To be Iron-born is to be truly bereft.

The Red Witch leads one brother and a wily would-be Queen comes out of the South for a place.  A night of alliance and sound-intent: One will be King of the South and One will be King of the North. But tragedy is inescapable. The bereft knight whispers that a mother is brave with not the bravery of knights—but a worthy bravery nonetheless.

Wildfire lights up the sea and decimates a hostile fleet. Thankful cries ring in the air, “Half-man, Half-man!” A pat of mud is hurled at the new king’s head, symbol of his subjects’ scorn. Tensely, we wait atop the wall for a Victor.

 Evil or just Utterly Frustrated?

Kept cornered below, The Queen is bitter, patting her captive bird between her paws.  A mother’s wisdom: Kings don’t marry for love.  Is a Wildling a friend or foe? Who is the captive, the woman or the Crow?  Some women are viewed by some as a collection of profitable holes.  There is an abundance of bared breasts. This is a lusty story—too bad it’s mostly for + from a man’s point of view.

..—..

Magic grows and is readying for return to Westeros.

But on this day…
The Goddess of Mercy has left this land.  The Seven are burned.   Children hang black-charred.   Prostituted women are slung up.

Dragons call for their mother, grow. A foreigner pays his debts with three names. Warlocks and Lords practice their tricks, blinded by a sweet heard and silver hair. The Kingslayer is loosened and the Northern dominoes fall.

We mark the players moving.

Reeling from loss, the red witch whispers to her champion that he’s wrong.  There is still much loss and blood to be borne. Almost everything will be lost.

It’s a small scene, but perhaps the most relevant. It is the prophesy for the future of our heroes. There will be far more than what we can guess now. What seems important now might prove illusion.

Because already, those who are great have been felled.

While…Babes who hide in unused rooms, tree tops, beneath skirts and behind innocent eyes move across the board as well. We’ve had the privilege of watching their hatching onto this game board.

 We’ll get to watch this one grow up

The epic group of books are bound to unfold like a scene where the focus changes as you move across the picture. First, you see what is in the foreground. But then there is a shift and the camera moves into the background. The characters in the front disappear while those who’d been hiding in the shadows resolve. Shift focus, time moving, that which was a seed becomes a giant. We will watch the innocent grow and blossom into their own menaces or protectors, or both.

For now, we will get a new chapter of song. The first half of Book Three will be played for our enjoyment. Pick out your seat early, bring a big glass, and prepare to be beguiled.

Blogging is a We, not a Me

Today I learned something new. A few things actually. Today was my day to learn more about blogging. I went down to my local library and talked to the Reference librarian who happily stacked a pile of books on my table.

 I was surrounded with titles like the ubiquitous Blogging for Dummies…

Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog   and the violent sounding Smashing WordPress

I wondered for the hundredth time, what have I gotten myself into?

When I began my blog January first, it was a new year’s resolution. I just wanted a nice little corner to sharpen and prove my writing chops again before moving on to writing for magazines.

But…This blogging thing is way more than I bargained for. It’s way more than I realized it was. It’s bigger, farther reaching, broader, far more in depth, and a hell of a lot more work than what I thought I was going to do. For no pay.

Lots of work = no pay.

So why am I doing this? And what’s more, why are gazillions of others blogging doing this too?

I repeat, I repeat. It’s not for the money. Yes, there are get-richers, but like in most other sectors, they are the vast minority. This, from my short experience and from the blogging books today, I have learned.

My goal, my Mount Olympus on this quest, is Magazine writing. Yet I’m realizing that’s another fruit from blogging in almost every single way… if you are following an apples/oranges scenario.

When I used to write articles, I signed off, they went to press and voila, my writing was out there to be anonymously read by a whole bunch of subscribers and people who picked up the magazine from the rack. I didn’t have to talk to them or communicate. There was no back and forth. There was little or no commentary. Assignment done. Bang. Ka-ching$

What I learned today, the infant that I am, is that blogging is a form of social media. Well, that is a whopper to have gone over my head, I know.

I’ve been writing theblluroom for about two and a half months now, and I’ve learned a lot just by trial and error. I just learned what an RSS feed is last week. Not that I know how to use it yet.

Or, honestly, want to.

I’m sure as time passes I’ll want to and wish I had figured it out long ago. I do want people to read my writing, after all! But I’m not in this as a business venture. And yet… I’d love to be paid to write (as I’ve blogged about).

But the truth is that bloggers, the ones I have painstakingly found and love, the couple I add to my following list each week, these writers blog because they love to write.

The book said that too. Several tomes I scanned today underscored that there’s really no way to continue persistently without the passion. I’ve got the passion to write. But to blog? To persistently, consistently keep the creative spigot on? History will tell that one.

The last thing one of the blogging books said that got me was that I’m supposed to have shorter entries. I use my old format of longer articles, like I’d write for a magazine. But perhaps the long format keeps people from staying with my writing, and the last thing I want to inspire is snoring.

 sorry!

I know what I’ve liked in other’s writing, and the entries are usually shorter than mine. So, from now on I’ll give my entries a snip. I’m interested to see how that pans out.

Yet, the most important realization I had today about my blog adventure is that as time-consuming as the writing, commenting, finding and following process is, I’m surprised to say that I’m enjoying it.

It’s intriguing, this blog process. It’s honest and bare, funny and lame. It’s a lot of mommies. Who rock. And shared neighborhoods across the world.  It’s a complex, strange habitat of partially known people sharing tidbits right alongside their deepest hearts. It’s structured by these white pixel-lit squares we stare into.

 Recognize yourself?

This is how I see bloggers.

We bloggers are often not friends, but we’re intimate. We support, but not in a chat-roomy dogmatic way. Even when we are using other’s thoughts and words, we are using our thoughts and words to do so. I’m learning that blogging’s not so much about my thoughts as our thoughts.

The passion derived from a book or article are both discrete delights that I love. But what I’ve found special about blogging, what I really dig, is that in this blogsphere passion is shared and followed, and when the writer gets it right, that passion blossoms into something loftier than the original post. The comment section can become a sort of jubilant town meeting.

Blogging, I’m finding, is a we, not a me.

And I like being part of this organic, electronic being.

Why I Can’t Write

It’s looking like I could dedicate a blog to writing about why I can’t write. For now, I’m going to concentrate on the simple act of writing about writing about why I can’t write.

Whew! Confused yet?  Just stay with me!…

When I teach conversation or brainstorming, I say, “If you’re stuck, just talk or write about why you can’t.”

In other words, if you can’t think of anything to say, talk about why you can’t. Even if you have to write, “I can’t write, I can’t write” over and over. Even if you have to keep repeating yourself. Just keep going. Sooner or later, almost always, something new will emerge. Some new words will begin tumbling out.

So here I am. I can’t write, and yet I’m obviously writing… Because once you get started writing about what you can’t write, it works! You’ll be getting ideas out. Maybe not Shakespeare or Toni Morrison, but I doubt they began with perfect thoughts either.

We all know many legitimate obstacles than can keep us from writing. Not writing is so bloody easy and writing, even if it’s our favorite, most beloved past-time, can prove so damn hard to do.

Sometimes we have not nothing, but too much to say. This takes the form of information overload, the kind where you catch yourself at 2am bleary eyed from delving the webiverse that you’ve been surfing for—OMG—the past six hours! There was a commercial—for what I do not know—where a zombie-like person kept randomly spouting Wikipedia factoids. My brain can certainly feel like that.

A related problem, we’re presented with choices everywhere we look. There are news, features, ads, happenings. How to know which one to follow, which one is relevant? How to let the flow of information to gush past, blessedly unnoticed, while magnetizing the important bits to us? Wouldn’t that be gorgeous? Advertisers, unfortunately, are trying to accomplish that all the time—as if their product is the necessary part.

Because of this, we need the opposite help. We need a magic scientific algorithm to understand our unique needs and point of view. Then we could use that tool to bar what is static to us, while allowing what is useful to us onto our front page. Problem: half the time I’m not sure what I need to hear.

I often get caught up in the presentation of previews or posters for a show, or a summary of a book. I try very unscientifically to descry from the wording what I will like. Sadly, I’ve learned that is an unreliable method. There have been many times where my sketchy impression was proven wrong.

For example, there was the documentary about origami. In no way is folding paper interesting to me or in my life. But as I watched, I became captivated. Presently, I happen to be reading a whole book about being plastic free. I’m interested in the topic, but I was skeptical about the size of the book. How many ways can a person talk about reducing plastic? Yet so far I’ve enjoyed every page. Then there was the one about the sushi chef. Why—I asked myself—should I care about the life of a sushi chef? Interestingly, I found out why.

Did I enjoy this information? Yes. Is it something my grey matter should be storing? The answer, so far, does not compute.

Luckily, I have found a couple of places where I can find information that I’ve consistently appreciated. Rotten Tomatoes tops that list. The way that they throw all critics into a blender to form one number on a spectrum is brilliant. That clear simple computation is so comforting. I know that it represents many intelligent, cogent voices. Ah.

That is also to say that in any other part of life except movies (movies .5%, other life 99.5%) I still have the time consuming job of sifting information. It’s like a swarm of gnats on a hot summer night. We get more mail now in a week, I’ve read, than people used to get in a year. You can swat the information gnats, but it’s a waste of time.

Ah, time…

The modern favorite: Not enough time. Well of course not! When we’re spending so much time swatting gnats.

Now here is the good news. In all cases, writing about why we can’t write is an excellent start to writing.

This is because, one, I am putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys. Two, looking at obstacles is in itself very helpful. Thinking about what’s stopping me in my life gives voice to often unquantified issues that nag but aren’t clear. Diving into the why of why I can’t write allows me the space to study myself in a way that I often don’t, or can’t. It’s a doorway into studying –even recognizing things—thoughts, feelings, pressures—I might not have realized were there.

Ironically, by studying why I can’t write, I begin to write! Every word I find, every realization, even repeated, represents words on paper.

The gnats swarm, the information beckons. Time cruises by and people interrupt. But, if I take the time to, at worst complain and at best, set myself on a course for brain opening and revelation, I give myself that sacred time where I communicate with myself, and hopefully, my thoughts communicate with others’. This blog entry is evidence of that undertaking. Complaints, revelation–writing.

Celebrating Girls: Nurturing and Empowering Our Daughters

  by Virginia Beane Rutter

Important and nourishing, for any caretaker who wants to connect more deeply with the girl in their life. I have a few friends who are adoptive parents and when I read this book I couldn’t help think of a couple of the men who are raising daughters. These pages offer a well of insight into what it’s like to be a girl and a daughter.

Celebrating Girls: Nurturing and Empowering Our Daughters  Dig those 90s outfits!

This short book of 187 small pages needs to a new edition! Published in 1996, a lot has happened during the past fifteen years that a revised version could incorporate. I say this because this book is a keeper. Cover to cover provides thorough advice on how to celebrate your girls.  Via personal stories and anecdotes, as well as studies and historical evidence, rutter highlights important fundamentals about the feminine as well as means to recognize and celebrate them in your lives together.

The chapters follow key changes as girls grow into young women, focusing on simple traditions, inviting us to recognize their hidden depth. Everyday actions such as bathing, hair care, dress and choosing adornment that we all undertake are revealed as important doorways of connection that, when shared consciously, can become lifelong treasured traditions. This book was written when feminists and scholars were engaged in exploring the feminine journey. Under this intensive investigation, female history, literature, and mythology confirmed troves of new understanding and wisdom about human history. Steeped in this environment, Celebrating Girls emphases feminine symbol, myth, and historical tradition. Whether discussing the importance of jewelry boxes, sports, or body awareness, a mood of respect is ever-present. Each page and chapter permeates with respect for the way of girls, respect for the feminine and respect for the parents who make the commitment to honor the process of growing up a daughter.

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman ArchetypeThis book embodies women’s writing in the 90s

The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future This one too… on every  Gen X college girl’s bookshelf

Books about children are picked up because we wish to become more effective parents and care-takers. However, the best books about children—indeed about any subject—allow the reader to recognize their self in the text. Rutter recognizes that part of raising a child is knowing what nourishment you did or did not receive while a child yourself. Understanding that the caretaker’s fulfillment—or lack—is handed down to the next generation, she includes rituals for mothers and elders, as well as daughters.

I’m not going to lie and say this book was written for everyone: it’s implied audience is mainly mothers of daughters. However, one significant gain of fifteen plus years working towards women’s equality is a greater sense of inclusion. At the time of publication, writing a book solely for women, and specifically mothers, was a powerful act in itself. But how amazing and quickly the times have evolved so that a powerful act today would be to write for care-takers of all stripes!

 Such an adoptive father…

link to story here …http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/living/braids/

That being said, the information about girls in this book could and should be used by any caring party. As it stands, caretakers of all stripes will find rich fare. Adoptive fathers, for example, might find this a treasure trove of insight into a girl’s childhood that they did not experience. If you are hoping to gain insight into the ways of girls, whoever you are, Celebrating Girls will give you much to ruminate, explore and, above all, enjoy.

The Author’s web pages, go: http://www.daughters.com/article/?id=202

For more books by Rutter, go to http://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Beane-Rutter/e/B001IXNYLA

I love this: AMOUR (LOVE) Oscar Winner for Best Foreign Language Film 2013

In film, violence has become an accepted drug of choice. Horror films crowd around us, fanged and gruesome. Yet, there is an important place for pain. Pain is integral to life’s ebb and flow, a darkness that lends sweetness to luck and joy and laughter.  Amour offers an acceptance of pain, a cathartic versus violent place. Here lie sweetness and pain, loss and acceptance. This film is a meditative, complex journey into shadow-lands, and one worth taking. 
Love, the 2012 French-language drama film written and directed by the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, stars Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert. 
Select Awards: Palme d'Or, Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, European Film Award for Best Actor, BFCA Critics' Choice Award for Best Foreign Language Film,  BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film, European Film Award for Best Film, 5 Oscar nominations including best foreign film and – unexpectedly – best picture.

Running time: 127 minutes

Grey, the grey of parchment skin. Grey of sameness, the sheer roll of days. Grey that is left when color slides away, the grey that sneaks onto the body slowly, into eyebrows, into arm hairs, leg and finger and beard hair. And eyes. Grey dawning upon the surface, a gradual ice age. While below the grey routs itself into every passage, every path, brain, vein, nerve. Grey brittling and freezing.

Color submerges, becomes hidden. Color is painted over. But color resists attack and endures. Every heart beat pumps gorgeous living color so that a person continues to live another day, to love, to read books, to hear symphonies, to laugh.

Our fragile human bodies. But love, amour, is the strongest substance we can know.

I’ve heard many points of view about this film. Some elders in my life tell me that to them the story is nothing special; they know all about it. My husband found the intimate view into aging difficult. Myself, I was taken, enthralled.

The conflict between fragile and resilient anchors the story of Georges and Anne, a married couple in their eighties who live a well-trodden, steadfast middle class existence in Paris. Now retired, they once enjoyed long careers as musicians and music teachers. Within the confines of their apartment we watch Anne’s decline due to a stroke. Their family consists of one grown daughter and her family, whom we barely see. We follow Georges, resolute and constant until the inevitable end.

The depiction of aging, decline, and illness is difficult on several levels. It’s ugly, painful, scary, embarrassing, and very private. Hidden. Locked behind closed doors. Georges tries that with his daughter, barring her from his mother’s room. But he fails. The film is too bent on revelation.

Revelation lifted up. Revelation at its basest.

When I was in film school I was preoccupied with the bittersweet, the quiet. I needed to explore how love and pain mix. Some of my favorite films were: The Conformist, Tokyo Story, Wings of Desire, Hiroshima Mon Amour.

If you’ve seen Amour and done your homework into the background of the cast, you know where I’m going with this. As I viewed Amour, the age of the actors and my horrible memory of names obscured the facts from me. Only afterward did I discover to my delight that the two elderly actors were once among my favorite. Perhaps more importantly, they were also favored in the storied halls of French and European Cinema. Jean-Louis Trintignant helmed several great, acclaimed films including The Conformist (La Conformista [Italian]) and Emmanuelle Riva graced dozens of French films including the New Wave, extraordinary Hiroshima, Mon Amour.

Each actor was once touted and feted for their panache, their beauty, their flair. And here they are in their twilight, obscured by the webbing on their skin and the bending of their bodies. Yet, despite all of this, this pair remains beautiful, skilled—perhaps more now than ever.

Once long-limbed and solid, Emmanuelle Riva embodies a shrunken marked Anne. Yet time-tempered pride of a master musician and teacher stiffens, lifts her spine. Her sharp cheekbones jut tantalizing. One wonders how they sat in a younger face.

Beneath overgrown brows a spark of debonair, flashing eyes remains in Jean-Louis Trintignant’s Georges. A tender gaze hints at a once passionate and loving man.

Among the handful of critically acclaimed films Michael Haneke has made, I’ve only seen Cache, which I loved, and I saw the connection between the two films immediately. Each is notable for their intensive view into bourgeois French family life. Yet while Cache was clinical and chilling, Amour bestows a gentler tone. Color and connection. A quiet well of emotion flowing, accessible, beneath the surface of polite French living.

Breakfast in the unfussy kitchen at an old wooden table. An empty hallway and an open window. High doorways into warm pocket rooms. Leg exercises. An old sink. Books read in bed. The water delivery. Crammed book shelves. Learning how to steer a wheelchair. Lips and hand curling into themselves. Gibberish. And then the word “pain” yelled, moaned, cried, “Mal!” Whispered: Pain.

If this film were a song it would bequeath quiet sustained notes that pulse into passionate peaks, then down low again lingering and extended. Repetitive. But calm and rhythmic. Constant.

Watching Amour, we see love as the title Amour suggests. We wonder at the ways of love. Haneke stretches ways of loving to the borders. With this love of Anne and Georges he colors love grey as well as red, pale as well as robust.

In many ways Amour is a documentary. The study of what happens to a family in a set of rooms could be set anywhere and—done right—it would be riveting. Luckily, a single culture—in this case French—in all of its interaction and nuance is portrayed with stunning depth in this film. A million tiny details are conveyed. We are offered thousands of particulars and minutiae inside the couple’s apartment walls.

We also are invited to peer into comings and goings from the outside: Who helps, who is absent; who calls and what they say; who visits and who is absent. We see what people send and bring and who works doing what: The young nurses, the unsettled student, the invisible grandchildren. These pieces form a complex and thorough microcosm of modern French society.

This is a most cushioned, a most comfortable haven, as solid and settled as a life could be. Every floor board, cushioned chair, paneled doorway, breakfast repast, and landscape painting is lovingly painted into the two hours. Stroke upon stroke piles onto the canvas of this long married life.

In film, violence has become an accepted drug of choice. Horror films crowd around us, fanged and gruesome. Yet, there is an important place for pain. Pain is integral to life’s ebb and flow, a darkness that lends sweetness to luck and joy and laughter.  Amour offers an acceptance of pain, a cathartic versus violent place. Here lie sweetness and pain, loss and acceptance. This film is a meditative, complex journey into shadow-lands, and one worth taking.

Only Half There

I had wanted to do a review each week of the Oscar films up until this day of the Oscars, but it hasn’t worked out that way. First, I haven’t been inspired by all of the films I’ve seen. Second, I have loved films that I haven’t yet reviewed, but I haven’t felt ready to post… or life got in the way.

I’ve had…

1 husband who was

3 days away on a trip

About 15 loads of laundry… a fun bout of lice visited us this month and all bedding has been packed into white garbage bags and loaded into the back of our Volvo wagon for about 3 weeks now.

We have planned on doing laundry approximately 5 times. But something always got in the way… like the stomach bug that hit the night after our pizza dinner last Thursday. My daughter woke up at 4 in the morning complaining of stomach pain. She kept saying “ouch” and I told her not to be so dramatic… until the hurling began. I lost two days of work to that one. Oh, and then I got said bug. And spend the night emptying the contents of my body. I never knew a human could hold so much STUFF. I know those intestines are incredibly long, but damn, do we really walk around with pounds of refuse in us all the time? That was an eye opener. In the end, I won’t complain about my smaller tummy.

In one of my favorite short-lived shows, “Accidentally On Purpose” the main character is a 30-something city girl now 8 months pregnant. In need of closet space, her boyfriend pulls out a slinky dress and says “what about getting rid of this one? You’ll never fit into this one again.” And she says “that’s my virus dress. Every woman has one.”

I thought that one of the sagest, funniest things I’ve heard on TV.

I tried to write another review, and got fairly far but my daughter got tired of her puzzle and started rolling around beneath my legs. There’s only so much rolling around beneath one’s legs a mom has patience for.

There were the 5 days of giant snow storm and 3 days kids were off of school where we were stuck in the house or anywhere we could make our way through snow. We had to carry a shovel wherever we walked.

When my husband got home from his trip I ran out to the local movie. We have no theater near us in Roslindale Boston so you have to travel at least 20 minutes whichever direction you go. Someone please get us a theater! I left at 6:35 for a 6:55 film knowing it was doubtful I would make it. First of all, it was a Saturday night. Second, the theater is in a huge mall where there would be a zillion cars and I knew I’d have to troll around for parking. Third, the theater is like an enormous whale. You have to rush down passage after passage, then escalators then long giant-made hallways to even reach the ticket windows. I would have to run a marathon to make it there on time. But still I went and I tried. I made it by 7:10 but then… it was sold out. I knew I could get to another film wayyy across town if I booked it. They had the same show at 7:50.

I made it. Was it worth the gas and trouble? Probably not.

The call came in the morning that my nephew is in the hospital for gall bladder infection. Family debates, talks, lots of web research and phone calls.

Finished a review of a film I loved… But haven’t been able to edit it. We had to eat dinner and it wasn’t going to cook itself. Thank goodness for leftovers… and microwaves.

Alas, this entry won’t get finished. My husband is giving me the eye. Has given it to me about a half dozen times so I’m about out of free time… Got to get to my errands list before kicking back to watch the show. That seems very far away from now. By then I’ll hopefully have done said loads of laundry (Bubbles Laundromat here we come), gone food shopping, picked up a new broom, groomed and cut family’s hair, put clothes away, swept, convinced my husband to vacuum, and that’s what I can think of for now.

Well, 1 computer put away and onward.