bag lady

i unloaded my groceries one by one onto the conveyer belt, sorting them into piles of like kinded products. i threw my cloth bags on top and raced over to the “oral care” aisle to grab the toothpaste i had, until that moment, forgotten i needed.

i hustled back and the man who had been in front of me was still paying.


i hadn’t kept anyone waiting.

before the cashier started to ring up my purchases, she grabbed my bags off the top of the pile.

her: hey, i know this bag.

me: *grins*

and just like that, i’m a regular. it only took 8 years and visiting this cashier’s aisle two times. (we had an in depth conversation about one of my reusable grocery bags during that first visit.)

all i have to say is someone should give that girl a promotion because she sure knows how to make her customers feel important. (what? it’s always been a dream of mine to be a regular somewhere. my presence never seems to stick at bars, so i’ll take what i can get. thank you, my wegman’s bag, for making me a recognized customer at one of your competition’s stores!)

p.s. for those keen eyed readers, you’ll notice this post is reminiscent of my “conversations with strangers” series, and yet, that’s not the title of this. why? BECAUSE I’M NOT A STRANGER ANYMORE. woohoo! (hmm, maybe i should have asked for the cashier’s name, so she’s not a stranger anymore either. oops, my bad.)

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book club

BOOK HUNGRY: hunger games, the movie

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbach, and myself. here’s the deal. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email and the phone. we post a review on our individual blogs on the same day (3rd thursday of the month). we link to each other. done. i know, genius.

click on each one of their names (above) and it’ll take you to their review. browse. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is: 


i know what you’re thinking. a movie? but you’re a BOOK club. you’re right, but this is the book that started us off and with a busy month had by all members, we decided to cut ourselves some slack go back to our roots. with the movie coming out on march 23, it was the perfect solution to an otherwise lackluster book hungry month, so onto the movie review!

what it’s about from IMDB: “Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.” But really, if you didn’t already know this, stop reading this post and go pick up the book. trust me, it’s worth it.

my opinion, the bad: i liked the gale/katniss chemistry better than the peeta/katniss chemistry (and i LOVED peeta in the books, so this caught me completely off guard.) there was too much behind the scenes of the games and not enough behind the scenes in the districts.

okay, i confess, when the movie started filming and actually before that when they were casting the movie, i read every freaking thing i could get my hands on because i was so excited and so worried. the book is so important to me, the movie had to be good.

one thing i read that pacified me was that since collins was writing (at least the first draft of) the screenplay, it would be faithfully rendered, but because it’s shifting from first person in the book to third person in the movie, new angles could be pursued. i was expecting families and friends and “cousins” to be interviewed as they used that as a means to introduce us to the characters in the arena and in the districts. i already know the capitol is evil and devious and moves the players throughout the arena like pawns. give me some more depth here! give me more of district 12. it’s so rich in detail in the books and not so in the movie. the only thing we get of district 12 is a lot of shaky cam shots.

i also felt the games focused too much on katniss vs. cato and not enough of katniss’s alliances (with rue and with peeta.) yes, i said it. both rue and peeta are amazing, well-drawn out characters in the book, but in the movie they fell flat. that’s through no fault of the actors, but because of the writing and the decision to devote more time to the violence of the games and less to the quiet, good moments the games can and does bring out.

as a side note, what’s really bad is what the reviews/people are focusing on. like this article for instance. (the article is good, but the fact it had to be written is unforgivable.) people are saying jennifer lawrence is fat and/or not skinny enough to play a “hungry” character. that’s just ridiculous. liam hemsworth looked pretty darn muscular to me and his character is living under the same exact conditions as jennifer’s. this one sided judgment drives me up a wall. i realize it’s the society we live in, but honestly, it needs to stop. and i’m not even touching what some uneducated fans are saying about the castings of rue and thresh. collins was very clear in her descriptions of them and they were perfectly portrayed in the movie. moving on.

the good: jennifer lawrence as katniss. woody harrelson as haymitch. elizabeth banks as effie. lenny kravitz as cinna. stanley tucci as caesar flickerman. they brought these characters to life beautifully, realistically, charmingly. the capitol was as garish and overdone (perfectly so). the costumes throughout the whole movie. peeta’s interview with caesar.

but my most favorite part? the reaping scene. the colors: district 12’s gray vs. effie’s bright pink. the pacing/timing. the emotions! jennifer lawrence was spot on. liam hemsworth was great. josh hutchinson was perfect. the girl who played prim was fabulous. and really, all of district 12 was wonderful. it was more than i ever could have imagined. it was the most brilliant example of collins’ writing brought to life.

the grade: B, B+. the world building, especially the capitol, was so wild to see brought to life. the “side” characters of haymitch, effie, and cinna were wonderful. jennifer lawrence was stunning, but for me, the movie lacked a certain sizzle that the book just oozes.

(all of these should be read with the caveat that i know this book alarmingly well, so my first viewing was bound to be nothing but me comparing the book to the movie. i think i need to see the movie again to appreciate it as a different medium and to appreciate it for what it is, not what it isn’t, because this is really one of the far better movie adaptations i’ve seen.)

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spring is for new beginnings

the spring feels fresh and bright and like a good time to start anew.

what new things i’ve done so far this spring:

(1) bought into a new technological adventure (read: ipad 2, read: tax refund.)

(2) took my first online course and it’s been amazeballs. the price is unbelievably affordable. the teacher is unbelievably generous with her time and comments. it’s been worth every penny.

(3) tried a new beer. sam adams whitewater IPA. delish.

(4) was the primary caregiver for a(n almost) 2yo for three days while her parents were in the hospital being introduced to their newest offspring. holy exhausting! i bow down to mothers everywhere. raising kids is no joke. not that i thought it was, but nap time never been so necessary before.

what new things have YOU done so far this spring?

convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #27-29

i’m talking to strangers… here’s the reason why.

when you are pushing a stroller with a 23 month old girl in it, apparently it’s instant fodder for people to talk to you. i was doing just that a week ago on a gray and rainy friday. baby mac and i were cruising the mall because we had to get out of the house and there are so many exciting things to see at the mall, not to mention people to talk to.

after seeing us pass by for the third time (baby mac was there to see the sights, i was there to log some miles), an old man sitting on a bench piped up: “it’s my turn next.” I laughed (somewhat nervously) and pushed the stroller a bit faster.

baby mac was playing with the collapsible canopy and saying “hello” and “goodbye” as i came and went into view. we passed by a kiosk where they were selling some sort of lotion. the lady interrupted our game.

her: do you keep your nails natural?

me: *looks at short, bare fingernails* yes.

her: want to see something amazing?

me: *points to stroller* she doesn’t like it when i stop.

(thank you, baby mac! yet another reason why kids are so awesome. they get you out of the hard sales pitch the kiosk people put on you.)

and then down another level, in the starbucks, a gentleman tried to give baby mac one of the coffee cup sleeves to wear as a bracelet, but she was overcome by shyness and wrapped herself around my leg. he backed off, but as we went to leave, he stopped me.

him: do you think she’d like this?

me: i do, actually, thanks.

and then i bolted after baby mac who had untangled herself from my leg and was enjoying her freedom from the stroller a bit too much.

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