Sunday, March 29, 2009

Blue Light Movie Review

I have always secretly wanted to be a movie reviewer. Please who know me would find this interesting and unlikely because I am so un-opinionated. I do have opinions, I just tend to keep them to myself as I am not a great debater so if my opinion is tested or questioned I am likely to fold or concede pretty quickly, so I just keep it to myself. Not the best habit, I admit. I am getting a little better as my husband's family tends to be loud and outspoken so I have to try to talk a little more in order to be heard.

With that said, I am going to critique the movie I Love You, Man, which I saw with my husband yesterday. Two or three weeks ago I hadn't even heard of this movie, then suddenly everywhere there it was, talk of this movie about this new term Bro-mance. I believe my brother-in-law recommended it to us and we were looking for a reason to use our AMC gift card and also to celebrate our upcoming 2 year anniversary. So, we went. And it was definitely worth it!

The movie starts Paul Rudd (always adorable in my book) and Jason Segel of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (and full frontal nudity) fame. Paul Rudd plays Peter, a realtor and straight laced guy who recently is engaged to Zooey. Peter is clearly a wonderful and devoted boyfriend to Zooey, but apparently he has focused so much of his life on being in relationships with girlfriends that he has no real guy friends. Zooey expresses her concern, as she has a tight knit group of girlfriends she clearly tells everything (don't want to spoil it, go see the movie and you will see what I mean). So starts the hilarious search for a new male buddy. I don't want to spoil too much, but Peter goes through many awkward "man dates" with several candidates, none of which seem fitting to be his new best friend. Then enter Sydney (Jason Segel), the guy he meets at an open house. They click and the man dating begins. As might be predicted, Sydney is the anit-Peter; he speaks his mind very frankly and honestly, is astute at reading others, but shys away from committed relationships. They enjoy time bonding in his "man cave" jamming to Rush as Sydney gets Peter to talk honestly about his sex life. Of course their quickly fused friendship suffers some trials and tribulations, and affects Peter's relationship with Zooey, who isn't used to sharing him with anybody. The ending is fairly predictable, but it's more the way we get there that's enjoyable. By the end you really feel the bro-mance that's been so buzzed about and you really feel like you understand how these unlikely two became friends.

The movie has a great balance of humor and heart, likable characters, and realistic situations that make it watchable. I loved the multiple awkward moments in the movie when Peter is rambling gibberish in attempts to be cool (which he just isn't, no matter how hard he tries). Peter's brother (who is gay and likes pursuing straight guys for the chase) is also a funny character, and it's interesting to watch their relationship develop through the movie. Zooey's two best friends are somewhat annoying and one dimensional, but they serve a purpose. Overall, the movie had me laughing out loud and had me and my husband talking afterward about relationships, friendships, and life, so thumbs up for I Love You, Man!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why I am "working for the weekend"

Today I was sitting at work after my last client left feeling so frustrated! It's a frustrating case in many ways (that I won't elaborate on here), and I had just gotten an annoying email from my supervisor. The client I had scheduled after that had cancelled, so I spent the next hour combing through job search engines (probably not what they pay me for).

Ever since I moved to the Chicago suburbs, I have worked at the same mental health agency. I took the job with the idea that it would just be a starting point, that I would work there for awhile and hopefully launch into something "better". So I have been job hunting with various degrees of causalness and seriousness over the past nearly two years. I have sent my resume via email to more places than I can count, and multiple other times through websites like So many places that have never called or emailed back. My credentials and experience seem to be floating around endlessly in cyberspace. I even started going old fashioned and mailing out hard copies of my resume, with the same results. Over the past two years, I have been lucky enough to have had five job interviews (six if you count a phone interview), only one of which lead to a follow up, which unfortunately, due to the economy, they could only offer part time employment.

I think of all the reasons I want to leave my current job: the hours, the on-call, my supervisor and her passive-aggressive micro-managing, the ever-changing and increasing demands of the state on how we document our work, the ever increasing paperwork and likewise increasing limits on services we can provide. Stress. Ugh!

Then I think of what I do like, mainly...the clients. Not all of them, but many of them, most of them, even the ones that tend to be "pains" (clinical term) I typically can find something about them to like. I think of the ones I have helped, the ones who have made progress, the ones who I feel have really let me into their lives and developed a good working therapeutic relationship, the ones I have felt privileged to help, the ones who are so young, going through so much, and pushing on.

I try to think that there's some bigger reason why I am still there, something in God's plan...maybe it's the clients I am still working with, or future ones I have yet to meet. It's the only way to keep myself hopeful and not get burned out.

Meanwhile though I just wait for Friday to come...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lent update

So here's an update on how I am doing so far this Lent with my Lenten promise/sacrifice

1) Fast food:
*I decided to give up eating fast food while working, hoping to save money by bringing my lunch. (I decided fast food had become a big vice, I was pretty frequently running through the drive through on the way to work or during my breaks--McDonald's, Arby's, Wendy's, Starbucks, and Dunkin Donuts being some of my favorites)
*So...I haven't eaten anything from a drive thru or bag since Fat Tuesday!
*I did buy food twice from the deli at Jewel. I rationalized this as not being fast food. Not sure if all would agree.
*Instead of Dunkin Donuts (which are everywhere in Chicagoland! There were like 2 in Bloomington!) or Starbucks, I have been making my own tea or coffee to drink or just drinking water or those packets you pour into your water bottle, though for awhile I was buying more cans of pop at the work vending machine. Good thing I didn't give up caffeine this year!
*I have been eating alot of microwave meals (Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers are actually pretty good, and don't need refrigerated), PBJ, and meal replacement/energy bars when I am in a time crunch.
*I was guilty last week of eating a candy bar for lunch, as well as way too many leftover 7 layer brownies that I made for my husabnd to take to work but they stuck to the pan, so the two of us have been eating it since (they still taste good! but I am pretty sick of them now!)
*So overall I don't think I have been eating healthier!
*However, I think I am saving some money. Our credit card statement actually did seem lower, I hope due to less swipes for mochas and double cheeseburgers. But I have been spending a little more at the grocery store buying lunch items.

2) Praying:
*I haven't done too well praying in the morning...I think I need to put a post-it-note on the mirror or something!
*I have been doing better at praying in the evening, as my husband and I got a prayer book from our church we have been reading together. It's been a good experience because while we do go to church together every week we don't discuss religion much outside of church. The prayer book also includes some history and information about why we do what we do and it's been a great experience to share with him.

Easter is three weeks away. I hope I can keep it up and do even better.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

..."I will follow..."

I am such a follower.

I always have been, I think I even wrote in one college scholarship essay that I was more of a follower than a leader, but then I explained the value of a follower. After all, if we were all leaders then how would work ever get done? Who would do it? And we have all heard expressions like "too many chiefs and not enough Indians" or "too many cooks in the kitchen" or whatever that one is. Maybe I am just rationalizing my own fault. But seriously, we can't all be the stereotypical leader, right?

Thoughts of how I am a follower came to me yesterday, after I bought my first Cubs t-shirt. Let me help you understand why this is significant. I grew up in Southern Illinois, where we are closer to St. Louis than Chicago (and tend to disassociate ourselves with Chicago and anything Chicagoan) and my father is a HUGE St. Louis Cardinal's fan. He raised me to love Whitey and Ozzie and Swingin' Stan the Man. The first professional sporting event I ever attended was a Cards game at the old Busch stadium with my father and brother. And a part of me will always feel a loyalty to the Cards. It's probably mostly sentimental.

So, enter my husband, who is a HUGE Cubs fan (as well as Bulls and Bears). In our 5 years together, part of me has been absorbing the hours spent watching Cubs games, not to mention all the sports commentary shows on t.v. (and the radio). Gradually, through watching the games with him and hearing him talk about the team, I got to know the current players, found guys I really liked and wanted to root for, and found myself rooting for the team. I felt the same frustration and devastation (though I am sure not to the extreme level) of other Cubs fans last fall when for the second year in a row they froze in the play offs and got swept.

So, how does this all make me a follower? Michael (my husband) never coerced me into liking the Cubs. I ask myself, if he hadn't been a fan, would I be a fan now? It makes me think about so many other things that I like to do, the shows I like to watch, music I listen to, and I think about how what I like tends to change depending on who I am around. For instance, I didn't play strategy games before I met my husband. In fact, as I think back, I have always tended to take on interests and activities of my boyfriends and friends, but not the other way around. For example, the music I listen to will change depending on who I am spending the most time with, but I am not sure that any boyfriends or friends have ever taken on my musical interests.

I guess a better term to describe me is"easily influenced". Or also "gullible". No, I guess that's a different ball of wax.

I guess by now (almost 30) I would hope that I would have a pretty developed sense of self and who I am and what I like or don't like. Part of me is a natural pleaser. But I guess another part of me is just open to new things and new experiences. But there is a negative connotation to being a "follower". Like we are the people who can't make up our own minds and just mindlessly fall in line and do whatever we are told. I am guilty of this at times. But sometimes I will march to the beat of my own drummer, I just tend to do it quietly.

I hope at some point that I have some interest that is something I discovered and cultivated on my own that I can in turn share with others.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's been a week...

Eeek! It's been a week! I guess I have been busy! So I have a back log of things on my mind to blog about on here.

This past weekend was fun. Some good friends from Indy came to visit, an old friend from high school/home and her husband (who through the years I consider as friend too). As far as couples go, they seem to be the couple who best "clicks" with me and my husband. The four of us are all very different personality-wise, like my husband and I are pretty opposite in many ways, my friend and her husband are very opposite (she is outgoing and talks alot, he is pretty quiet, rarely speaks his mind, at least until you get to know him more) but somehow they make it work. Somehow, our personalities compliment each other well. Together, we mostly enjoy just hanging out, talking about life, going out to dinner, and, above all, playing board games. Not just regular board games like Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly, but the Euro-style gamer games (trust me, if you aren't into them, you won't know any of the titles. But if you are interested, go to My husband is into these kind of games and introduced them to me. Mostly they are strategy-type games, which I have never thought I would enjoy or be good at playing, but for some of the games I am actually pretty good! Anyway, I am getting off-topic. So we introduced these kind of games to this couple and they are really into them, so now whenever we hang out we tend to play. So, in a nutshell, it was a fun time and great to see them!

Also, the weather has finally taken a turn for the better, which has really lifted my mood. It's been consistently sunny, warmer and spring-like for several days in a row. And though initially the time change messes with my internal clock, now I am liking it because it is lighter later. I love when the sun stays out longer! So even though there are a few cases at work stressing me out now, and the news daily recounts how the economy is getting worse, and the world seems so dark and uncertain, I have this overall feeling of being hopeful and happy that I usually feel in early spring.

Well this post seems to be very rambly and random, so I think I will close here.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Valentine's Day Take Two

Yesterday was a great day. I got up and went to the gym to work out, came home and hung out with my husband. We spent hours just talking and laughing, snuggling, without the t.v. on, which was a nice change! We decided to use our gift card for Buca di Beppo (which had been our jilted plans for V-day) and went out and had great food and a great time just the two of us (not to mention our server gave us an extra $10 off if we did the survey--you know, the one that's always on every receipt everywhere---at the restaurant, which was really cool).

After two years of marriage and nearly 5 together (yesterday he said 3! I had to yell at him for that!), I have found the best times are the quiet times, the spontaneous times, the ones we don't plan.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Signs of Spring

Can you see them?

Look closer. Now, can you see them? The tiny buds on our Bradford pear tree? Tiny signs that spring is really coming, finally!

It's been a long winter. But that's what I get for living in Chicagoland. Cold. Snow. Ice. Wind.

So here's to spring finally starting to spring.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This Past Weekend, or A Tale of Nephews, Wine, and Cake in Three Parts

So it was a busy weekend.

Since the holidays, my husband and I have had a good deal of "down time", which on one hand has been nice, but on the other hand gets boring after awhile, especially when it's been super cold outside...good conditions to develop a case of cabin fever. However, we made up for it this past weekend as suddenly family and social commitments smacked us in the face.

Friday-30th birthday party for a friend of ours, someone Michael met through work who we have hung out with outside of work here and there. We have met a few of her friends (yes, I said her, my husband tends to make lots of female friends and yes I completely trust him) who were there for awhile, but once they left we did too, as the majority of people there we did not know. But it was nice to enjoy a few sangrias, appetizers, and cake with someone who is really nice and we should hang out with more often.

Saturday-my nephew Dathan's 1st birthday party. In Decatur. 2.5 hours from where we live. But I was determined we would go, I only see my nephew every couple of months and though he won't remember it, he only turns 1 once. So we drove, had a failed attempt to meet up with my parents for lunch beforehand (as we were there later than expected and they [scratch that, my mom, the queen of anxiety] were anxious to get to the party, though my husband and I went ahead and ate and arrived 10 minutes after the party started). Can I just say my nephew is such a sweet, cute, precious little guy? His blonde hair has grown into curls and he has bright blue eyes--very Arayan. But he's a smiley, happy little fellow and I wish I could just steal him away for a weekend and spend some quality aunt-nephew time together. OK, don't get creeped out, I am not a kidnapper. I just realize I wish I saw him more. So the party was nice, more cake, ice cream, and opening cute baby/toddler presents. Then driving 2.5 hours home. Which we had to because-

Sunday-my husband's cousin's engagement party. Scratch that, mini wedding reception. All joking aside, it was a lovely party. But before I met my husband I had never even heard of "engagement parties", but they are a must in his family, not sure if it's an Italian tradition or a Chicagoan tradition...we had one, well actually two; a small one back home for family and friends that wouldn't want to make the drive to the Chicago suburbs, and then one up here for my husband's family and friends and the wedding party. It was a nice lunch at a restaurant. The one on Sunday was at a reception hall complete with an open bar and bottles of wine on the tables, a d.j., and dancing. Plus, you might have guessed it, more cake! And a giant sweet table! Good thing I didn't give up sweets for Lent! All in all, it was fun, we got to spend more time with our other nephews, Patrick (age 3) and Luke (2 months) and see other family and friends we haven't seen since we've been in winter hibernation.

So all, in all...

nephews = good!

wine = good!

cake = good!

However, after this weekend, I am definitely going to have to go on a mini-diet!