Thursday, 31 December 2009

Year in Review - Movies

I saw just a measly 47 movies in the theatre this year. I keep track of everything I see and each year I realize that I need to keep track of more and more info as I go. Last year, I just wrote down the movies I saw. This year I kept track of who I saw them with and the date. I think for 2010, I will add where I saw them and a rating. Going back at the end of the year and trying to remember how I felt about a movie I saw in January has been too hard. Although, if I can't remember how I felt about a movie then I think that kind of says something about it too.

I have done my best to order these movies from most enjoyed to least enjoyed. (I find that rating system best because I am not trying to claim these are the best and worst of the year just what I enjoyed - movie tastes are personal y'all)

Without any further ado, with scores out of 10, here is my final movie list for 2009:

It's Complicated - There wasn't a single moment of this movie that I didn't enjoy. There were some parallels to my own family and that made it relatable. I smiled and laughed through the whole movie.

District 9 - Aliens in Johannesburg forced to live in slum-like conditions. Fascinating, disturbing, and brilliantly filmed.
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Charming, funny, clever, cute. So much cussing fun!
(500) Days of Summer - Original, interesting, fun and you get to stare at Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel
Disney's A Christmas Carol 3D - The classic story done in stunning and beautiful 3D CGI.

Up in The Air - Original, interesting, relatable. The story of a man ready to make a connection
Zombieland - Badass zombie-killing fun. Clever and original (clearly I like clever and original)
An Education - A coming of age story about a teenage girl in London in the 60's who gets involved with a man in his 30's. Well acted, beautifully filmed.
Where the Wild Things Are - Melancholy and beautiful. So many layers to this movie,
One Week - Joshua Jackson rides a motorcycle across Canada from Toronto to Tofino looking to find meaning in his life. Beautifully Canadian and touching.
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
I'm not elaborating the above 3 because they are all 2008 Oscar nominees that I just happened to go see in 2009 and everyone already knows all about them.

Whip It - Roller Derby+Drew Barrymore+Ellen Page+fun+grrl power = my kind of movie
Bandslam - I didn't want to see this movie. I thought it looked like a terrible teen angst film but I went because I love movies and it's what TT wanted to see. I loved it. It had a John Hughes feel to it and I don't think we've had one of those kinds of movies at all this past decade.
This is it - Michael Jackson concert footage. Moving, spectacular and interesting.
The Blind Side - Feel good American movie. Does what it sets out to do - make you feel good.

The Hangover - ridiculous and fun.
The Proposal Hello, shirtless Ryan Reynolds, How you doin'?
I Love You, Man - Again, ridiculous and fun. And extremely quotable "Slappin' da bass"
The I Heart Revolution - Hillsong United's documentary on what just one person can do to make a difference in the world.
Doubt - Meryl Streep vs. Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Plus Amy Adams for good measure.

Coraline 3D - An adventurous girl finds a portal to a parallel world where everyone and everything is better...or is it!
Adventureland - Set in 1987 (always fun) A recent college grad takes a nowhere job at an amusement park and learns about the real world.
17 Again - A 35 year old man wishes he could do it over and wakes up to find he's 17. Zac Efron as the eye candy.
Funny People - Comedians, terminal diseases and friendship.
Julie & Julia - This movie would be so much higher on my list if it had only been about Julia Child.

My Life in Ruins - Nia Vardalos as a tour guide in Greece. Beautiful scenery, ridiculous love story and cheesy, stereotypical tourists. Somehow still entertaining and fun.
Star Trek - Expected to crush on Chris Pine as captain Kirk and instead fell for Zachary Quinto as Spock
Extract - Funny, quirky and kind of forgettable.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Brad Pitt ages backward...blah, blah, blah.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Did I see this? It's on my list so clearly I did but I have no memory of it. Why do I have it as a 7 then? Who knows...moving right along.

Paper Heart - I wanted to love this movie. It was fine. While filming a documentary about not believing in love, Charlene Yi meets Michael Cera and just maybe starts to believe in love.
Post Grad - Cute movie about life after college. It's missing the amusement park and 80's music.
New Moon - Much improved follow up to Twilight.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past - Not as terrible as you'd expect.
Terminator Salvation - Brooding and dark. Christian Bale as John Connor with Batman's voice. Anton Yelchin and Sam Worthington save the movie - Hello boys.

New in Town - Renee Zellweger is a high powered business women who moves to nowhere Minnesota in winter for work and butts heads with a very sexy Harry ConnickJr.
Confessions of a Shopaholic - Isla Fisher shops way too much.
He's Just Not That Into You - Ensemble cast talks about cliches of dating and then fall into all the predictable story lines themselves.
Duplicity - Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Should have been better.
State of Play - Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck. Should have been better.
Love Happens - Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart. Should have been better.
Fame - 4 years of performing arts school crammed into an hour and 45 minutes.

Everybody's Fine - Everybody is NOT fine.

Couples Retreat - not worthy of a write up.

The Ugly Truth - terrible!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Year in Review. Part two

Part two is all about elaborating the list. There are some great things on that list and I am doing them a disservice by letting them just sit there in point form all unexplained.

The Weekend to End Breast Cancer
Walking 60 kms over 2 days was only part of this experience. I trained for this event by walking. A lot! Stef and I walked nearly every day in the spring and summer and it felt amazing. I found a passion and love for walking that I never knew I had. And while we walked, we tapped into creative inspiration. We talked about writing, painting, creating, God, faith, and so much more. Each walk left me feeling inspired, exhausted, energized, excited. When the actual walk finally happened, it was so much more than I could have ever anticipated. I wrote a post about it that sums up exactly what the weekend meant to me - you can read it here.

E's day 5 transfer
I got to be present and hold the hand of my dear friend E for her day 5 embryo transfer. After too long a time of trying to conceive, this was the moment that it all boiled down to. I had no place being there and yet there I was. F was deathly ill with the flu and couldn't be there and I was called in as back up. It was an honour to be a part of that experience and I now like to pretend that the sweet, precious, adorable little girl who was born last month is somehow partly mine. E and F are going to be the best parents that little Z could ever have.

Going back to school
I had been thinking about going back to school for at least the past 4 years. And for whatever reason, it just stayed a thought and never an action. It was one moment in the summer that finally changed the thought to an action. My friend Annette was talking about the archivist at her work and somehow it triggered something in my brain to click into place. The next day I applied to school, a week later I was writing an entrance test, and 3 weeks later I was sitting in my first college class in 7 years.

Getting an A+ in English
This pretty much speaks for itself. Yay!

Getting more rooted in the course
The course is A course in Miracles. It is my spiritual belief/practice/faith/lesson. At its core, it is about forgiveness. Forgiving ourselves, forgiving others. For me, it is a guide for how I want to live my life. I took me years to find it, years to start reading it, years to understand it and this year I finally got planted in it.

Moving to a great new apartment and getting a roommate
I knew I needed to shake up my life and make some changes. I had lived alone in the same apartment for too long and was increasingly dissatisfied with my situation. Then I got a phone call from the only person I ever said I could live with asking me if I wanted to move and get a roomie. My answer was instant and a few months later, we found the perfect apartment in a great location. We've been here for 7 months now and I love it. I don't think I would ever live alone again.

Having a family that held me up and supported me
In a challenging year, my mom turned into my rock. She was solid, supportive, constant and grounded. I couldn't have gotten through this year without her.

Figuring out that Cooper LOVES fancy feast
My too skinny cat stopped eating his expensive mature cat food and in a moment of desperation I bought a can of fancy feast just to see if he'd eat it. He now eats a can a day, has packed on a couple of pounds, is no longer grossly thin and is adorably happy.

Going on a cruise
My sisters, bro-in-law and I flew down to L.A and cruised home. Food, drinks, games, food, laughs, food, watching love boat every morning while drinking coffee in bed, lounging, strolling, food, drinks...

Being healthy
I spent nearly 9 weeks being sick at the beginning of the year. It was a cold that became the flu that went back to being a cold and held on for dear life. Since then though, I have been extremely healthy and I am grateful for it.

Summer trip to Canim Lake
Friends of ours have a cabin on Canim and invited a group of us to go for a weekend in the summer. It was such a great time. Relaxing, beautiful, peaceful, fun.

Weekend getaways to Nanoose
Spending weekends hanging out with my dad, playing crib, swimming in the ocean, watching eagles, spotting deer and seals, making good dinners, watching fun tv (Head Case anyone?), it doesn't get much better than that. except for the next thing on my list...

Dad moving to Vancouver
My dad and S got a place downtown and it is really nice having my dad so close by. I have been able to see him more frequently. I love being able to hang out in Nanoose but the very best part of that is spending time with my dad so to have him closer is good.

The cute kiddies in my life
Two new kiddies joined the ranks this year. Ziya was born a few short weeks ago and Truman in May. They are two of the cutest babies I know. My cousins' kids all fall under this category too...Melody, Andrew and Katie, Daniel, John and Elizabeth. Then there is Lily and many cuties. I love them all.

Discovering the park by my home
I have to give credit to my roommate for this one. I have lived in this hood for 8 years and I have walked past that park more time than I can count. And I had never noticed it. L found it almost immediately after moving here and we spent hours sitting in the shade of the trees during the unbearable heat wave we had this summer. We'd take books and fruit and cards and while away the summer days.

Having a subscription to entertainment weekly
It was a Christmas gift from L-Dub. The joy of receiving a new magazine in my mailbox every Friday was sometimes all I felt like I had going for me during some of the hardest times this year. EW offered escape along with its entertainment. I got another subscription this Christmas from L-Dub so the joy will continue through another year.

Seeing a lot of movies
As of this moment, I have seen 46 movies in the theatre this year. And I have plans to see another one tomorrow. I have seen some terrible movies and I have seen some great movies (that will be year in review part three). I have rented or seen on tv, 23 movies. My concentration is much better in theatres so I preferred to see most movies on the big screen where I can't check my email, get up to make a snack, answer the phone, get distracted by Cooper.

Getting a ticket to the bronze medal game
JM won tickets. This is another on of those cases where I almost have no business being the one he takes with him, yet, he is taking me with him. I am very grateful and very excited!!

good tv
glee, true blood, modern family. Just three shows I fell in love with this year. I jumped on the True Blood train a little late but oh, how I love it.

good music
lady gaga rocked the charts and my heart. I haven't heard a song I don't like and I LOVE her style and her commitment to being herself. You go girl! Yes, I just said that.

good concerts
I am actually going to a show tonight but since it's still in my future, I can't quite add it to this list yet. I saw some amazing shows this year....and I am not much of a concert goer. I think I might become one though for how much I loved the ones I did see. My review and list will be posted in Year in Review Part Four.

Getting the perfect purple purse two years after starting my search
Two years ago, I set out on a mission to find the perfect purple purse and lo and behold there were none to be found. Purple was not a colour that purses came in. I settled for a gorgeous chocolate brown purse and then tried to fill the colour void with cheap purses that never lived up to the perfect purple purse in my mind. This year, for Christmas, my mom gave me the triple p. It is buttery soft and a deep dark blackberry that shines purple when the light hits it. And I love it!

The year in review. Part one

2009 was dubbed a few different things at various points throughout the year for me. Most of them not very favorable: the worst year ever, the hardest year ever, the suckiest year get the drift. I clearly remember thinking all the way back in March that I wish 2009 would just end already. Well, here we are. Three days left in the year and oh what a difference a year makes.

About a week ago, I started composing this post in my head. I knew I wanted to write a year in review type post but I also knew that I wanted to keep it uplifting. I wondered how the hell I was going to do that when it was such a terrible year. (by the way, it is worth mentioning that I have read numerous 2009 year-in-reviews by different peeps lately and 2009 seemed to be difficult for a lot of people - coincidence? I think not!)

I started think about how I could write an uplifting post about a tough year and so I grabbed a pen and paper and started making a list of the good things that happened this year, no matter how small. If it was good, it went on the list. As I thought of more and more good things, I started to realize that 2009 wasn't the worst year ever. It was a really challenging year that pushed me to change and grow in ways and places that I had been stuck. It was hard, but I came out stronger, healthier, more faith-filled, and more grounded.

So here is my list of great things that I did or that happened in 2009. I will elaborate on some of these in part two of the year in review.

The Weekend to End Breast Cancer
E's 5 day transfer
going back to school
getting an A+ in English
getting more rooted in the course (a course in miracles)
moving to a great new apt
getting a roommate
having a family that held me up and supported me
figuring out that Cooper LOVES fancy feast
going on a cruise
the women's conference
making new friends
getting a laptop so that I can write anywhere I go
finding a love and passion for walking
being healthy
summer trip to Canim lake
weekend getaways to Nanoose
dad moving to Vancouver
playing cards at the beach all summer
The cute kiddies in my life: Ziya, Truman, Lily, Harper, Lizzie
discovering the park by my new home
becoming deeply rooted in faith
winning 2 wine drives
having a subscription to entertainment weekly
seeing a lot of movies
getting a ticket to the bronze medal game
true blood
lady gaga
friendly fires
snow patrol
modern family
getting the perfect purple purse 2 years after starting my search

I spent a lot of 2009 feeling anxious and stressed. I spent way too much of my energy in fear. But looking back on the year, a lot of really good things happened. I learned that worrying about the past and trying to plan the future are wastes of energy. I learned that all I ever have is now. I learned that the only way through something is through it. I learned that everything always works out exactly how it should. I learned that a healed mind does not plan. I learned that I am happier and more joyful with faith in my heart.

This year had only one bad experience worth mentioning. Losing my grandpa. I miss him more than I ever expected to. And in the wise words of Forrest Gump - "that's all I have to say about that".

In years to come, I have no idea how I will look back on 2009. And if I've learned anything, it's that it doesn't really matter. All that matters is now. And right now, everything is fine.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


So no student loan. Apparently I make too much money. The irony is that if I use the money I make to pay for school then I have nothing left over to live off of. So I make too much money but not enough money.

Ah well, it allows me to continue at a more enjoyable pace. One or two courses at a time is perfect. I have registered for an Art History class and am once again on a waitlist for an English class. I am hopeful though and have pretty quickly moved from 12th to 6th on the waitlist. I was told this week that the general rule at another college is that if you are 7 or lower on the waitlist, you will get in. So I am hoping that this is also the case for where I'm going.

As for the course I just finished, I loved it! I loved reading stories, analyzing them and then writing about them. I received 100% on the first essay I wrote and on the last day of class the instructor handed it out to all of the students (without my name on it) and told the class that this was an example of an excellent essay. We spent the next half hour studying, analyzing and critiquing my essay. It was a bizarre experience. I felt simultaneously proud and embarrassed. The instructor used words like 'fresh', 'perfect', 'unique', and 'clever'. She called the author a 'great writer' and I blushed rather furiously.

I wrote my final exam just this last Monday and am now patiently waiting for my final marks.
...oh how I hate waiting!