Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Affair to Remember

It's my third week at the alzheimers residency, and A LOT of interesting and very very funny things have happened but this story has been the pinnacle of all experiences so far, and every time I tell it to someone I get very different reactions...so here goes.

Apparently the whole wedding/being married to another resident idea is not a new one in the home. There are women who think that some of the other men that live there are their husbands and vice versa, it gets tricky sometimes when family comes to visit but I think that most people understand its just the disease.

So I was talking to one of the managers and she tells me about another couple who wanted to get married to each other at the home. After a few weeks of the two of them talking about it the manager thought it would be cute and harmless to have a little fake "wedding." So she went to the Goodwill and bought a wedding dress, had a nurse stand in as the priest, and all the other residents sat in as guests.

It went off smashingly well, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, people were happy, the manager felt accomplished that she had been able to provide a small token of joy for this woman and man and then 2 hours later...


Apparently the "wife" had mouthed off to the "husband" and he didn't like it, so he looked her in the eye and said, "You're my wife now, you're gonna behave" and then hit her in the face...

You can imagine my surprise as she's telling me this and I'm getting starry eyed about this love story only to be abruptly jerked back into reality.

Of course this leads to a lot of paper work and counseling and families getting involved and lessons learned but I'm more surprised by this:

After all this time, after the disease has taken away this mans memory and all the things associated with it he still after all this time has the idea ingrained into his mind that once he's married to a woman he can hit her; that it's tolerable.

This brought up many of my mother's lessons in my head, saying things like, "be careful who you marry, and make sure to date a long time, because people can sometimes surprise you after marriage. Sometimes if you don't give people enough time to show their true colors it might be too late..."

According to this she might just be right.

So the moral of the story, mom's might be right and don't meddle in other people's affairs, you might just have a lot of paperwork to fill out after all is said and done.

Sorry, I don't know who the picture is by.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Stink

I watched Food inc. last night, and I didn't find it that ground breaking. I think what I was more shocked by is the idea that people STILL don't know this stuff?! The idea that the mass production of food for cheap all the while abusing animals and other humans is not a new idea, so why is this still a discussion? Things need to change, that has been the point for a very long time so why after all the messages we've been receiving is nothing being done?

I know that our food habits are ingrained in who we are but I think that that fact alone would encourage us to think more about what we're eating. When I was 12 years old I ate my last fast food burger, I remember biting off a piece, chewing it and it going down in a lump. I wasn't enjoying it, it didn't taste good or appeal to me anymore and I haven't eaten meat since, I'm almost 26. My point being we can all actively choose what type of food we put in our bodies, whether you eat meat or not, it just takes a litte bit of work.

There is a very big battle going on in this country, it couldn't be more obvious at the moment with Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution, Food inc, and all the food recalls we've been having right at the forefront of the media, cheap fast food and it's detriment to ones health vs. good wholesome cooked food and how expensive it is. This is something I think we've all known for a long time...right? The boy and I live in an town with a high proportion of families in lower economic brackets and on every block, every single block there is some sort of cheap fast food restaurant, don't tell me that you think this is coincidence?

These messages that we see in movies like Supersize Me, or Food inc or read in books like the Omnivores Dilemma are not new messages but we watch or read these ideas and stories and vow that we will change the way we think about food and how we eat it but then we slide back into our old ways and nothing gets done. Why is this? Why is it that even though we know whats in our food, how its processed and how others (farmers, workers, animals even) are affected by it we still don't fight for change and see it?

What's going on?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A simple review of a downright lovely read

I've just returned from a long weekend visiting the fam in Carmel. It was nice to be able to catch up with everyone and spend some time with the people who are most like me in this world. I even got to catch up with a close friend I haven't seen in years. Getting to see someone you have such good chemistry with is like putting on your favorite sweater, you've worn it in enough that it just fits perfectly in all the right places, it's comfortable, maybe a little worn from all the love, and you pick up right where you left off. With the two of us girls that was laughing; I'm sure of it.

While I was home enjoying the gorgeous weather I finished my book, Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wisner. A true story about Franz being left at the alter and how he copes with the abrupt ending of the ten year relationship by going on his honeymoon with his brother. The honeymoon carries on into a 2 year trip around the world to 53 countries and follows the two brothers on their adventures while rekindling their previously distant relationship.

While its not a deep read, its a very interesting story following this man through a personal tragedy that I can imagine would be difficult to recover from for anybody. The book leaves one inspired to travel, discover oneself and cautious to settle down without going on a few challenging soul searching trips first. I found myself easily becoming jealous of these 2 men for their sense of adventure and willingness to drop everything they had worked for and just leave. I don't consider myself too attached to material things but I think too much to be able to just go, leaving everything behind and not think about the consequences of it all.

I've spent my life planning all the things I needed to accomplish with my education that I've left little time to be able to explore the world and all the beautiful things in it. I suppose I could look at is as I'm just taking a side journey first before allowing myself the freedom to travel but I know that once I'm out of school the responsibilities will just keep mounting. Someday...

I think that's precisely why I find books like this so intriguing. It's no secret that being able to afford to travel the world (both financially and merely having the time to spare) is a pretty incredible feat; something not many people are able to do in their lifetime. So when one finds a person who has been able to conquer thinking in the now, and has so little to tie them down therefore leaving them with the opportunity to discover the small corners of the world; well, its a story worth telling, and one worth reliving over and over in the pages of this book.

Mr. Wisner wrote a sequel to his story called How the World Makes Love, it's the next in line for me. I'm hoping to find it to be the male equivalent to Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert that I read last month. I'm hoping to find a male perspective in these pages that debate the same issues Ms. Gilbert was with her very female point of view. Sometimes the boys just need a chance to speak for themselves, hopefully he brings up some interesting questions for me. Let's see what he has to say, shall we?

Anyone else read these books? Or similar ones they would like to recommend?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is gonna get ugly

Ok, it's on. Our neighbors next door are this nice retired couple and they seem sweet except that they have taken it upon themselves to rescue every single homeless/stray cat in the neighborhood.

While I admire people who take in animals out of the kindness of their hearts, there are now cats EVERYWHERE! And now they have started peeing all over the front yard, porch and front door, and it smells like hell people. I was even leaving for the gym the other day and one walked right in front of the car, walked through the grass and peed right on the front door. Right in front of me!!

I researched what kinds of things I could do, my options:

Trap them: um, no...

Spray them with the hose every time they come in the yard: This requires me sitting out there for like a week so...that's out

Pour hot pepper flakes all over the front yard so that when they lick their paws it burns and then they wont come back: Um I'm not even sure I could fathom how many bottles of pepper flakes I would have to buy and besides I have a dog...she licks her paws too. Besides isn't this kind of mean?

Buy a chemical deterrant and spray it all over the yard: I did this and when I came home from dinner last night, there were 2 cats just chillin in the yard, rolling all over the grass where I sprayed the chemicals. So...

Buy types of plants they don't like: I went to Home Depot tuesday and bought Marigolds and Lavender, made a nice arrangement in the front yard planter box and I come out today and all the Marigolds are broken and lying on their sides from the cats walking through the plants and using it as a litter box!

So now I'm at a loss...

I have spent approximately $35 on items to rid our yard of feline harrassment to no avail.

I don't want to start a war with the neighbors, and they don't even let the cats inside, they all just sleep on beds on the porch so I'm not really sure what to do anymore. It's driving my Dog bananas and I'm almost there.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Marriage Ref

I don't know if any of you have been watching The Marriage Ref on NBC (you should btw it's hilarious) but I'm really enjoying it. While the idea is a little tacky, to help a fighting couple choose a winner, the fights, the couples and the panel of judges are very very funny. They do a great job of taking something that we think is a huge deal, like a big, never ending fight, and shed light on how ridiculous it is by using comedy...genius non? And then the panel votes on who has a better argument; and, they choose a winner supposedly to help end the fight for good (probably doesn't but still the idea is there).

Most of the fights have been over the top but comical, like the husband fighting over the dining room table that the wife refuses to use except for Thanksgiving, or the wife fighting with the husband who had their dead dog stuffed which now resides in the living room and creeps her out...but last thursday there was this couple...

The Spiegels. You can go read the description of the couple for yourself but I have to tell you it just doesnt do them the justice that they deserve. Clive, the husband is well...close with his mom, meaning he tells her EVERYTHING. She in return is sabotaging his 14 year marriage to his wife, Jacqueline. The mom is completely, 100% in Clive and Jackies business, she talks crap about the wife to her son regularly, telling him she's uneducated, and how awful she is and he just sits there and listens to her. It just gets worse and worse and worse escalating to a most unhealthy level to the nth degree. It was horrifying and I have to be honest I cannot for the life of me imagine that the wife has dealt with this for so long, the mother in law has been given a freedom she never should have been allowed and it's sickening. Oh, yeah did I mention he's a psychiatrist?

This got me thinking, how much information and freedom to roam should the in laws or your parents have in your relationship? I know we like to confide in our parents and we want them to be a part of our lives but how far is too far?

The boy is awfully close with his family, he tells them an awful lot (something I have taken issue with in the past), and his sister who is married has a room at her house all devoted to when their parents come to visit; which I have to say is well A LOT. I think its weird how much she lets them in to her marriage, I think it's dangerous ground. I don't have parents who are always here to see me, and I have to say I appreciate that. They have allowed me to grow up and be independent and do my own thing and it would weird me out and exhaust me if they were always here to "check in" and come for a visit. I sometimes feel that the boy's sister has allowed their parents to be too involved in her personal life with her husband. I know that she's close with her mom and I admire that but it's a bit too close if you ask me.

With a parents tendency to want to keep and eye on their kids and want the best for them even when we've grown up, what happens if you allow the freedom of openness in your romantic relationship as well? I know when I go home I try to avoid telling my dad and stepmom too much about my relationship because I know they would meddle if they were allowed and they certainly try when I'm home leaving me upset and questioning parts of my relationship I felt good about before I went home.

So, how far is too far? And how do you go about protecting your personal relationship without alienating your parents? At what age are we supposed to stand up for our love lives and start to keep privacy and distance?

I know that the boy and I could have that problem from both sides but we also love our parents and don't want them to feel unwelcome in our lives, our parents do often have experiences to share and advice to give that we may not know nothing about at this point in our relationship. But I do know that I certainly don't want to end up like the Speigels. There has to be boundaries and protection without causing distance...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

some people just stick with you

I haven't even worked a day and I'm already hearing interesting tales...

There is a woman at the home that was asked by one of the other residents if she would marry him after they had been spending time together for about 6 months. She walks around the home every day asking if she can have money for her wedding dress so that she can finally have her wedding.

I find it interesting that even though this man and woman have problems with memory they remember each other day in and day out, but I suppose there are some people in this world that just stick with you.

I found out today that man she was promised to died almost a year ago, and to this day she still wakes up every morning asking for a wedding dress for her wedding. She has never forgotten him, through the cloud of her disease, but she's glued to the promises of her past and for her its never going to change.

I find this so tragically romantic.

photo by algophotos

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Working 9 to 5

I don't know how this happened but I have a job, yay, however its pro bono, sigh. But this is good, it'll give me purpose and something to do during the day rather than sit around eating M&M's, blowing bubbles for the dog and doing yoga dvd's which has been how I've been passing the time for a good while now.

I graduated from UC Davis with a neuroscience degree, but went into the petri dish research side of it for 2 years before I got laid off. I started looking around for a place to volunteer (I've completely accomplished every possible task I threw in front of myself after I lost my job, I learned how to cook, be mildly domestic, go to the gym, start a yoga regimen, garden, compost and knit...I even started an etsy store) and found a home for people with Alzheimers just down the street from me, I went in, talked to the director and man did she have plans for me. I'm now in charge of completely revamping their entire acitivites department at the home.

This is going to be a HUGE project. This place has been open for 20 years and it was just taken over by the daughter of the founders who is a surgeon from L.A. and she has a lot of plans for cleaning the place up administratively. So there's a lot of things to be sorted out and worked through. The place is great, they really want the best for their residents and I think they will be very forward thinking when it comes to working with me on ideas.

Needless to say however, I have NO IDEA what I'm doing. If you wanted to know what happens in the brain to ppl with Alzheimers I could give you a pretty good idea, but when it comes to working with them directly? No experience whatsoever. I'm now in charge of observing activities, and daily functions of the entire home; and then creating some sort of exam to administer to new and old patients to categorize them into appropriate groups that compliment their level of mental deterioration and comprehension. This is a whole new experience for me, but the benefit of it all? If I do a good job, and I create a usable, unique and professional program they're going to publish it and give me credit! So by the time I go to grad school this fall I could already be published. That's pretty cool man.

And given some of the things I've heard about the residents in this home? I could have some pretty interesting stories...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Music of the Night...again.

Phantom of the Opera, the longest running show and safe to say the most popular musical of all time having been shown in over 27 countries to over 100 million people now has a sequel.

At the end of the original we're left wondering what happens to the phantom as he mysteriously disappears. Now a supposed 10 years later in Love Never Dies we are reunited with our characters; the Phantom, now a wealthy man running a freak show on Coney Island, Christine married to Raoul, with a ten year old son who appears to be a bit of a musical genius in his own right and we watch as Christine and the Phantom navigate through the treacherous waters of a rekindled romance.

I have to be honest here, I never really thought of Christine and the Phantom as romantic, he kind of creeped me out. I have always found his possessiveness and oh I don't know tendency to kidnap Christine and imprison her a little off putting.

Andrew Lloyd Weber says he has poured everything he has into this musical. While I'm sure most of us could agree that the music from The Phantom of the Opera stands alone Weber goes so far as to say that the music from the new show goes further than the original music. He even says one of the songs he wrote for the new show is a stronger song than Music of the Night. That's an awfully heavy statement I think (I have heard the song and it is good but...).

I wonder now after how long The Phantom of the Opera has been in our lives if we really want a sequel. We've spent enough time and exposure to the story (through the movie with Gerard Butler, the music, books and the reproductions etc) creating our own ending to the story, people have kind of made their own closure. Why open that all back up again and answer all the questions people have already tried to answer for themselves...

Andrew Lloyd Weber of course disagrees with me, 'You know, I think it's slightly unfinished business, because all we do is we just leave a mask on a chair,' and what happened?" he explains. "What did happen? Did Christine really live with Raoul happily ever after? I doubt it. So, there had to be a continuation of the story."

And that's exactly what he's doing, whether we like it or not. The show opens tonight at the Adelphi Theater in London and will open on Broadway in November. I'm sure we'll all have more than enough opportunity to go see it at some point. Will you? Or would you rather leave that story alone...

Do you think this show will be another great success? Or is Mr. Weber setting himself up for failure? It's an awfully large risk.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The little gold man strikes again

I don't usually watch the Oscars, I usually get bored or I don't have the time, but because of the genius of DVR and the fact that I can fast forward through the boring parts I indulged. I liked it, I was shocked at some of it (how after 82 years Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman director to win? what?), I'm glad The Hurt Locker won so many awards, it's a great movie. If you haven't seen it, definitely do. But the fashion, oh the fashion...

I don't care what anybody says, I loved Sarah Jessica Parker's dress by Chanel. It was gorgeous. Pretty color, great shape, and lovely details. I've always been partial to a dress you can eat in, let your belly hang out in and no one knows...However...

Tom Fords face is basically exactly how I felt about SJP's hair. I wonder if he caught a look of her in the camera. Girl needs some hairspray.

Maggie Gyllenhall looked beautiful and the colors in her dress were amazing. It was like a painting.

I don't know why for the love of God Victoria Beckham was there (she should have been banned just on principal for Spice Girls the movie) but her dress was very pretty. I like the shape and the understated color. It looks great on her, good advertising for her own clothes.

Anna Kendricks dress is lovely, pretty color and gasp! Not a strapless. She might be on to something...

Sandy (I feel like we can be on a first name basis, she seems like she's that kinda gal) looked gorgeous. How did they get her hair to look like that? And those lips? Fab. Her dress just tied it all together. She could have just won an oscar for that hair. Period. And besides, her accpetance speech made me cry. I watched it again today and it still gets me. Grace, humor, humility and style, doesn't get better than that.

I know that the top looks like she just put on a full body spanx and then put a floaty skirt over it, but I like the color of Miley's dress and I think she looks pretty. Especially for a girl of her age, it's more classy than I would have given her credit for.

The very bad...
Hillary, Hillary, Hillary...what are you doing? We've really gone downhill here, especially from that pretty long sleeved navy number you wore when you won for Million Dollar Baby. Girl you need to reevalute this dress. You have nice boobs, we get it. Now go put on a real dress. You look like a walking advertisement for that new show "V."

I'd be laughing too if I were Zoe Saldana. The top of the dress is stunning, halfway down she looks like a window display for Anthropologie. Um, no.

BORING. And too dark. Dark hair, dark eye makeup, dark dress. Nicole Richey looks like an extra from Twilight. She needs to stick with color.

I know I'm supposed to like Vera Formiga's dress but she looks like something out of the sea. Like a sea sponge, or coral or something. I'm just not feeling it.

This one gets me every time. Its like just in case she needed a snack she just glued 2 cinnamon rolls to her chest. Rosettes on the boobs, why did we think this would be a good idea? I don't care who you think you are...John Galliano...no no no.

Ok there, my favorite part of the Oscars, judging people.

Have a god day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Alice, a quick review

For those of you that are going to see Alice in Wonderland I thought I would give you my two cents since I saw it last night, I "midnight showed" it as my friend likes to say.

I liked it, the boy did not.

I thought it was good for what I was expecting. It's not life changing but for Tim Burton its better than I thought it would be. It got horrible reviews so I wasn't going in expecting much; and, with that in mind I was surprised at how much better it was than what I was expecting especially after the doom and gloom of the reviews.

Do not go in expecting the Disney storyline that you're used to, the story is completely different, the only similarity are the characters, other than that there's nothing the same, that may have disappointed some people. Seeing it in 3D was cool, but its not required like it was with maybe Avatar.

The boy was a little extreme in saying that its one of the worst movies he's ever seen. Saying it's contrived, over the top, and the whimsical aspects were not whimsical at all merely forced. He thought it was too obvious and there were very few layers where as the original had a lot of hidden messages and meanings in it. He thought the ending was a let down and was not impressed at all.

I thought it was fun, not deep (like I said, not life changing) but it was a movie you go to see and don't have to think too hard about. It was kind of nice to be able to relive a childhood classic but with a little dark adventure thrown in (It is a Burton after all). As I'm sure most of you were expecting Johnny Depp has a main role in the film, he does a good job of being mad but not over the top annoying like I thought he would be, he had a deeper character in this version I think. You liked him and felt sorry for him all at once. The actor I found the most irritating was Helena Bonham Carter, she's extreme and over the top and I'm tired of the same dark angry character she seems to embrace in most of her films. Mia Wasikowska (of In Treatment from HBO) does a lovely job as does Anne Hathaway.

So there it is, it's good, not great. Go see it. And let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shopping at the GAP means going for the green

THIS is awesome.

Last night when I was in bed I got an email from The Gap with and announcement for their newest sale event. Usually I don't pay much attention to these as The Gap can be kinda boring to me and I usually only shop there for the basics.

The announcement says that if you bring in a pair of your old jeans they will give you 30% off your purchase of a new pair.

Recently they've been making some pretty awesome jeans with their 1969 collection, they're more fashionable and high end and less mom jeans lookalikes. I've bought a couple of pairs in the last year or so and I really like them, they're comfortable and up to date with the newest fashions.

So I went down there today to look at their new jeans. I wanted to know what they were going to do with the old pair, and it turns out if you give them a pair of your old jeans they're going to recycle and send them to be used for eco-friendly housing insulation. I LOVE this! Not only do you get a new pair of spiffy jeans at a pretty good discount you get to get rid of your old ones and know that they are going towards a great cause. SO much better than just throwing them away!

The "Recycle Your Blues" event is going on from March 5-14, so go on down there and get your self a new pair of blues and give your old ones up!

I got these pretty babies,

And I'm thinking about taking more of my old ones down just because I can barely close my jeans drawer as it is, so I might as well. Go for it! And let me know what new jeans you get!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We're all mad here, I'm mad, you're mad

Is anyone as excited about Alice in Wonderland as I am? It comes out this friday and I'll be right in front. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and I still love the books. I just watched the movie with my 5 year old sister and its still pretty magical.

Tim Burton is doing quite a different take on the whole thing. His movie starts out with Alice, now 19, revisiting Wonderland after having been there ten years before. She is the only one who has the ability to tame or kill the Red Queens dragon and end her reign of terror.

It seems like it's gonna be all sorts of weird. I can't wait.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

These boots are made for walking like a rock star

I have wanted a pair of ankle boots for about 3 fall seasons now and I never am able to find a pair that I really want. There's always something about each pair I'm not impressed with. I thought maybe my "need" for ankle boots would dissipate but it's still there. Then I found these:

Sam Edelman Zoe boots. I love them so much I might just puke. They're very clear knock offs of the Balenciaga boots from a few seasons ago; but I just don't care. These are rock and roll at its finest. These need to be mine.

Mary Kate has a pair of the Balenciaga boots, and I just love them. You will be mine boots.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rapunzel Rapunzel Girl you gotta cut that hair

So I did it. I cut my hair. I haven't cut my hair in over 4 years. When I was in college I had a short bob so I could avoid having to style it every day and then when I graduated and became a poor struggling research scientist I decided to grow it out and never ended up going to get a cut...ever. It was long, probably the longest I've ever had it. Like this:

The hairdresser cut off almost 3 inches and its still long. Here was my inspiration:

I wanted lots of layers, like I told the boy, I wanted to get rid of my long hippy hair, I wanted less Jonie Mitchell and more Josie and the Pussycats. So after cutting, curling and styling I now look a bit like this:

Hah! This cracks me up. After spending years blow drying, coloring and straight ironing my hair almost everyday I gave up about a year ago with all heat products for my hair, it was destroying it. I was starting to look like a fuzzy tennis ball with how many frayed ends I had on my head it just wasn't looking healthy so I started letting my hair air dry and leaving the wavyness I have just stay there. But I'm liking the barrel curls that I had when I left the salon today, there was a bounce in my step, I felt like a 60's sexpot. The boy even walked in (having forgotten I got a hair cut) and went "Whoah, you look gorgeous. Your hair is so beautiful." So I'm gonna go with it; for now, it makes me feel good!

I was wondering for all of you lovely ladies out there that style your hair in the mornings, are there any recommendations you might have for the best hair rollers or curlers out there I can use to achieve large wavy voluminous hair that isn't going to cost me a ton of money to get? After embracing my long hippy hair I feel out of the loop of styling products for my new tresses. It was like living off the grid but only on my head.

I will post pictures of my hair at some point but after taking a nap and going on a bike ride it no longer lives up to my Farrah standards :)

Have a great day. xoxo