Saturday, December 20, 2003

Lord of the Rings Afterglow...

Here it is almost 24 hours after seeing Return of the King, the last Lord of the Rings movie, and I am still in absolute amazement of how well crafted the whole trilogy was and how far movie making technology has jumped since I saw Star Wars on the big screen at 13 and really BELIEVED I’d been on other worlds!

Going out to a movie has become a rare treat in our household... it’s just too expensive to do unless it is a movie that we REALLY want to see. Baby sitters run about 25 to 30 dollars for supper and putting the kids to bed, especially on a Friday night right before Christmas... Tickets were $10.25 each and the food was another $12.00.... but oh, this was worth every penny!! I sat spellbound through most of the movie until I had to watch Nick’s shoulder for all the spider scenes and some of the cliff or Gondor over the wall shots triggered that vertigo/lemming feeling, but I just sat in awe as incredible directing, camera angles, close-ups, lighting, dialogue (staying true to some great Tolkein lines), special effects and some truly awesome actors combined to make a magical ride. I blubbered like an idiot for most of the end too... Goodbyes always do that to me.

Most of all, I love the intricate blend of humour and wisdom in the face of impossible odds that Tolkein and many of the great fantasy writers are able to share with us. To never give up... to do what is right even though it may not be easy or safe... to be loyal to your friends.. to speak out against insanity and injustice... to face down the hope against impossible odds... and to know that death is just the beginning of a new adventure.

Tolkein made the world a whole lot richer with his imagination... and Peter Jackson has certainly created a legacy of his own with this trilogy. It makes me realize that when you strive to do your very best, in whatever creative endeavor you undertake, rather than just trying to make as much money, as quickly as you can, it really shows... and I think it will stand the test of time.

I can still remember one young artist that was the buzz of the New York art scene when I was studying Fine Arts at Mount Allison back in 1986. Everyone was calling him the next great thing in Modern Art and claiming that his paintings would be worth triple their incredible prices by the end of the 20th century... He’s still considered to be a talented artist, but there is far less hype about his work now. Was it partly marketing and hype? Should you buy a piece of art because someone tells you it will be a good investment... or because it speaks to you or moves you in some way??

I guess that whatever I chose to spend my money on... I want to feel like it was worth it.

Watching Legolas surf down that trunk... or Gandalf’s face as he comforted a hobbit... it was indeed worth it! (Now if only I could get those scuttling spider sounds out of my head!!)

Friday, December 19, 2003

Mostly Set For The Holidays....

Well, this is my last quiet day at home for a while... kind of bittersweet, but also exciting. Both girls skipped out of the house today to give their gifts to their teachers. We also handed the morning bus driver a tin of mixed holiday baking that 5 Moms had put together while the 6th & 7th bought the Tim Horton’s Gift Certificates. It was a lot more practical to all work together than duplicate our efforts by each getting little gifts. Bethany also took 8 little Santa Pins that I painted for all the workers at her daycare, but she is VERY much looking forward to the 2 week break to “stay home with Mommy...... and Daddy!”

I’m actually making headway in cleaning up older e-mail messages and sorting out the piles of paperwork and receipts that have slowly been taking over every surface in my office since the girls had chicken pox. I sometimes think that the piles multiply like Dust Bunnies overnight. This is one of those times that I miss being an “employee” with just my own little division and tasks to follow instead of having to do it all. I am so much more of the creative type than the organized, know-where-everything-is type... and yet I also HATE to not know where something is when I need it in a hurry! Filing paperwork and keeping things straight makes me feel like a kid who needs to clean their room - I don’t like doing it, but there is that sense of satisfaction when everything looks ordered. Maybe in 2004, I can actually keep things that way!! (LOL!)

I have a few more Christmas presents to finish making as well, but those are enjoyable... and then there are the stocking stuffer fun things to pick up next week. I am actually REALLY looking forward to not traveling ANYWHERE this Christmas. It will be Bethany’s first Christmas at home and she is almost 5!! With far flung families, it seems as if we’ve always been traveling during the holidays... so this will be a welcome break not to have to worry about storm delays, lost luggage etc.

Just 4 more hours to get my work done and then Nick and I are off to see the last Lord of the Rings movie tonight. Yay!!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Tell Mother Nature she can... hmmm well....

Ok... I KNOW that when I first moved to the Maritimes, they used to say that if you didn’t like the weather, you should just wait a bit...but this is just plain silly! We woke up this morning to find that the temperature had soared to well above freezing and that more than an inch of rain had fallen overnight!! Those snowy roads that haven’t been properly plowed since Monday’s snowstorm are now puddly, slushy, slippery channels of cold, grey slush. As Erin and I walked up to the bus stop in the driving rain, I discovered that some of the puddles were far deeper than they appeared. Since I was wearing my ankle high winter boots instead of my mid calf ones.... this caused the dragon to do some pretty funny leaps! I also changed my socks as soon as I got home and made myself a hot mug of tea to wrap my claws around.... but I don’t think I have been warm since. By tonight everything is supposed to freeze again into nice hard slippery puddles... so I’m going to chip at any ice left on the driveway after lunch.

I’ve spent the morning trying to archive older e-mail, catch up on stuff I missed, and find the floor of my office which seems to have disappeared in the past few weeks. Nick and the girls are very excited about tomorrow being the last day of school and the start of Christmas break.... but I am trying to be as productive as possible in the next 48 hours ... as I savour the peaceful silence of the empty house!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Of Pageants & Surprise Guests, Stalled Vans, Big Orders and Bigger Biceps...

Well... I really shouldn’t have gotten so stressed over those gingerbread houses (though I laughed my way through the article in the January Canadian Living about a Mom whose experience was almost the same) because the three families had a GREAT time decorating the three houses I put together on Friday night from the kits. I did make my OWN Royal icing, because the goopy stuff in the kit wouldn’t work at all.

Saturday was marvelous fun except for our van suddenly deciding to stop dead in its tracks at only 18 months and 36,000 km. Nick got it towed to the dealer who was just as baffled until later this morning when after a few hours in their toasty warm service bay, it started like a charm. Perhaps something got clogged or frozen in the fuel line... so we shall see.

Sunday was the day of our Christmas Pageant during the service at church. Erin and Bethany were both angels with “real” feathery wings... but the highlight of the morning for them was when Nick’s Mother and Stepfather appeared to sit in the second row!! My girls just beamed through the service and then insisted on taking their grandparents out to lunch at their favourite restaurant.

I came home to find a very nice order from one of our distributors on the fax machine as well. Nick was even smiling because it was for our process colour leaflets instead of the chartpacks and he prefers to fold rather than collate and stuff bags. The weather warnings for another massive snowstorm were also out, so we went to bed not knowing what the morning would hold and Christmas parcels to ship out overseas...

When we woke up at 6 am to catch the headlines, we learned that schools were closed all across the province, despite the fact that not a flake was falling. Since the girls were still asleep and Nick was able to doze off again, I got up and headed down to the computer. In icky weather, I love the fact that my commute is only two flights of stairs. I worked until the girls got up at 7:30... and by 8 am the flakes were really starting to fly, but there was only about and inch or so on the roads. We decided to load the parcels in our borrowed vehicle and race up to the post office before the weather got worse..... but I was 26th in line!!! Apparently all the other procrastinators out there with parcels to mail had the same idea. Nick is still teasing me that the boxes are probably all sitting at the airport unable to move... but at least I am not tripping over the boxes in MY house.

So... do I want anther snow day with my family tomorrow and have my morning meeting canceled?? Do I want to have them all get out from underfoot since they will be home over the Christmas Break and I will no doubt miss my ability to work at my own pace in a nice quiet house?? I think that for once, I will just let Mother Nature do whatever it is she has up her sleeve and not stress about it. Since I cannot push a button and stop a snow storm... there’s not much point in getting all worked up about it.... especially since it will be such a great bicep workout!!