Best Films I Watched Over Break

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We’re on the roll again which means a more sparse posting schedule. So here’s an easy list based entirely on fact and doesn’t require the energy of me forming subjective opinions.

The sad thing: I have kept so well abreast of new releases this year that there was nothing novel to watch on the plane. So I watched Moana again (I cried) and then fell asleep watching Dunkirk. Because the struggles of the RAF are so relaxing.

Without further ado

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    Bien sur.
  • Saving Mr. Banks
    The irascible creator of Mary Poppins battles with the demons of her past and Walt Disney’s obsession with animated penguins. Just excellent.
  • The Shape of Water
    Beautiful and atmospheric GdT film that didn’t live up to my unreasonably high expectations but was still sublime.  Beautiful soundtrack, beautiful acting, beautiful images.
  • Undertow/Contracorriente
    I’ve written about this already on my list of my favorite films of 2017, here.
  • A Man Called Ove
    And this would have been on the list (probably) except that I saw it in January. It’s a heartbreaking Danish film about an old man determined to follow his late wife to the grave but whose suicide plans keep being interrupted by noisy neighbors, people in need of help, and a stubborn stray cat.  It gave me feelings deep in my chest.

The takeaway: Irascible adults are the butter on my toast at the moment (Ove, Luke Skywalker, PL Travers). Fittingly, I’m starting on Three Billboards now, featuring the always eloquently irascible Frances McDormand.

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Books I Read Over Break

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As this is my last full day in Boston and also a blizzard day (16-18″!), and as I have no books left from the library (I had to go back and cancel my extra holds yesterday 😥 ) this list isn’t going to go through any alterations before the actual end of the break tomorrow around 7 pm (at which point I will be at the airport) (unless I finish The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur SUPER QUICKLY), I can get away with posting this a bit prematurely.

I have packed my bags and read my last book.

  • The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair: An excellent and really interesting book about the histories of various culturally significant colors (like Mountbatten Pink, Lead White, Cerulean, et al.) featuring odd and various anecdotes from the past.  Each color discussed gets a few pages.  Very far from dry, perfect for increasing your store of random information for use at parties and family gatherings, and a very aesthetically pleasing book.
  • Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy: I’m a huge children’s lit reader. Possibly more so than I was as a child (and that’s saying something).  Watching the author discuss and examine childhood favorites (Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, Green Eggs and Ham) through an adult lens, with an attention to various social/cultural movements, is so fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that the author is really witty. I think I audibly chuckled a few times.
  • The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Hyemin Sunim: Part of what inspired my very crunchy and zen resolution list (the other part being that I’m just a crunchy and zen person) (well, I try to be zen).  Beautiful illustrations and lots of crunchy and chewy food for thought. So glad I stumbled on this in Shakespeare and Co. (And so glad BPL carries it!)

Contrary to my usual preferences, if was a very nonfiction-heavy vacation.  But I feel edified, improved, and most importantly full of odd anecdotes to share.

New Year’s Resolutions

I’m too lazy to do a straight up transcription, so here’s a photo.

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I don’t usually make resolutions because the bleak midwinter seems like a terrible time to stress out over lifestyle changes, but I was feeling a bit inspired to take a more holistic view of the process and this is what I came up with.

Do you have any resolutions?
If you could pick a month for the year to start,which would you choose?
I would go for April or May, when it starts warming up in this hemisphere. Or July, because my birthday really is what the year should revolve around.

Last Links of 2017

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Happy New Year’s (Eve) depending on where you are!

This is the last selection of links for the year of 2017, and it’s a blessedly short one.

Do you have New Year’s plans? It’s been bitterly cold here in Boston and will continue to be so tonight, so my evening looks like a cuddly warm stay at home affair. If I manage to stay up past 9:30. Jet lag. It’s still real.

La Vie en Rose: All the things I’m missing

Good vittles, love, and kissing…

There are a few things that are harder to find here than at home, and that I find myself pining for every once in a while.  A lot of them surprise even me!

  • Tex-Mex: One of the few cuisines that is easier to find in the US than in France. (By the way, did you know France has the Lebanese restaurant market pretty much cornered? It’s great for me, a falafel-addict).  I need a burrito- STAT.
  • Vegan cheese and mayo: France rightly takes a lot of pride in some specific dairy products (i.e. cheese) and any attempt to change it up a bit is SQUASHED. At least i assume that’s why I can find no vegan cheese (or ice cream for that matter). And I guess they’re also pretty partial to traditional mayo methods? I guess they did invent mayonnaise… right? I feel like I learned that from a pirates of the Caribbean blooper. On the other hand, they’re vegan yogurt here is SO MUCH BETTER.  Apparently their non-vegan yogurt is also better (I have been told).
  • Body oil: I’m on the hunt for some combined body and hair oil, but I haven’t been looking hard enough. Really this is about me missing my big Target/Stop & Shop/ Walgreen’s superstores, where you can find anything under the sun, except under very unflattering fluorescent lights. I think I need a trip to Monoprix.
  • Consignment stores: Paris and France in general has great vintage shops, but what I’m really in need of is some bulky lightly used knitwear. Particularly of the turtleneck variety. Having worn through two beige turtlenecks in quick succession, I’m finding the cozy side of my wardrobe uncomfortably diminished. Also consignment is just how I’m used to shopping.
  • Some hipster earthy crunchy ingredients: This is probably just because I don’t know how to say nutritional yeast or vital wheat gluten in French.
  • Thanksgiving: Instead the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day, which is like this weird wine-Octoberfest. Yeah, I don’t know either.
  • Watching the news: Although when my hosts have the French radio is on it is so often about Trump and it’s so cringe-y.
  • Saturday Night Live: SNL WHY are your youtube videos NOT AVAILABLE in this COUNTRY!?

And lots more, but that’s all that’s leaping to mind at the moment!

*On a similar note to the very narrow interpretation of certain dairy products, the French are also very specific about the things that you can and can’t do with grapes. Like you can drink wine or you can eat fresh grapes. There are no raisins here. Other dried fruit yes, but no raisins. And no grape jelly. Even though that’s the American staple jelly.  But I don’t miss these things because I’m not a big fan of raisins and because I’ve already written about HOW MANY EXCITING JELLIES THERE ARE HERE. Next up: rhubarb.