Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ah, recovery. And Christmas movies that aren't so Christmassy.

We had a fabulous holiday of Beaufort County travel (me and the kids) mingled with holiday time here at home with my dad. I loaded up the kids to take them to Eastern NC the weekend before Christmas so they could meet my cousin Erica and her family who flew in from Oklahoma for a few days. It was so good to see her, and I also got the bonus gift of seeing my friend Renee who now lives in NYC.
Renee and her husband Stu were visiting her folks, who live just up the road from my dad. ( Now, in rural Eastern NC, "up the road" means about five-ten miles away.) Anyhoo, once I realized she was nearby, I arranged to stop by her mom's house after the kids were tucked away. Man, is there anything that's more of a deja-vu overload than sitting in your friend's mom's kitchen? Renee's mom, Ms. Dorothy, puttered around in the kitchen the entire time, putting together a pecan pie while Renee and I chatted. We sat at the same little kitchen table where we used to swoon over Rick Springfield and eat Manwich sloppy joes that we'd occasionally whip up after school. I felt fifteen again for the first time in a long, long while, and it was one of the coolest gifts I could've received.
We headed to Charlotte on Sunday, with my dad following behind. The next night he got to see the kids sing at church on Christmas Eve. Nate's group sang "Away in a Manger," complete with occasional swaying, and Liv's choir sang a rousing little ditty called "Dance and Sing." They went to bed immediately after church----is there any better bribe out there than Santa's pending arrival? The next day, after the dust had settled from the ripping open of a foldaway doll house, a robot, two guitars and yes, a set of bongo drums (if you see Santa tell him I'd like a word or two), we lounged and played for awhile, then headed over to Mark's mom's for an early dinner of beef tenderloin and all the trimmings. Delish. The days preceding and following that day have been sprinkled with my dad's peanut brittle, various butter cookies, egg nog and chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Awesome holiday. My pants are tight, but my heart is full.
Now it's the 28th, and the kids are watching their "Jungle Book" anniversary edition DVD (thanks Grandma!) and football's on the other tube. It's been a great couple of days. Last night hubs and I got the unexpected treat of having the kids stay at Grandma's while we went out for spicy Asian food and a cold cocktail. After that we even managed to stay awake during a real, grown-up movie. It was called "No Country For Old Men," and hubs wanted to see it because he'd read the book. It was pretty good, a tad violent for my usual taste, but I was so excited to be conscious after 9 p.m. on a Friday night I didn't give a hoot.
Aside from last night's outing, there have been several really good movies on cable lately, and a few of them, even though they aren't really "Christmas" movies per se, are must-sees for me nearly every year around this time. Oh, you feel a list coming on, don't you?
1. "Because of Winn Dixie". This movie came out on DVD in December of 2005 and Olivia watched it repeatedly until about March. It was also the last movie she saw in a theater with my mom. In the movie, ten-yr-old Opal often says upon meeting someone, "The first thing you should know about me is that I don't have a mama." And now I often feel like saying the same thing. I guess that's called "irony". Or, "shit-on-a-stick", but whatever.
2. "Moonstruck." It's wintertime in New York, and Cher gets her hair done big as a house and puts some lovin' on a crazy-haired, wild-eyed Nick Cage. Can't you just hear those jingle bells?
3. "Fight Club." Mark and I watched this with his friend Bernie Vogel when he came to visit at Christmas about eight years ago. I like to replace the guest soaps after watching it. Heh.

Turns out that's a pretty short list! And now, for the shows that drip Christmassy goodness. . . or badness, depending on the mood.

1. "Scrooged." Bill Murray with a still almost-full head of hair gets scared into a serious 'tude adjustment by a ghostly Buster Poindexter, among others. In the end, he gets with that cute girl with the freckly nose.
2. "A Christmas Story" Believe it or not, I'd never even seen this movie before I met Mark. My first Christmas with the Pellin clan included a late-night viewing of this one with Mark, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. Hence, "frag-eee-lay" has been part of the household vocabulary for 14 years.
3. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" My kids don't understand why I cry a little bit during this one. It's just, that poor, sweet tree must symbolize how we all feel sometimes until someone shows us a little love. And because---oh, the holidays!
4. Any "Little House on the Prairie" Chrsitmas episode. My kids seriously need to see other kids who get deleriously happy over a skinny little stocking with an orange and a penny in the toe.
5.Little Women--the '90's version with America's favorite five-finger-discount girl, Wynona Ryder. Susan Sarandon is radiant as Marmee, and there's a lot of gorgeous period costumes swooshing about. And more swooning over little Christmas miracles like oranges and sausage stuffing.

Hope ya'll had some poigniant viewing moments this holiday! See you in 2008!