Song of the Moment

Song of the Moment: "Shake it Out" by Florence + The Machine

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas: In the Eyes of a Six Year Old

I recently spent the day with my niece and nephew, who are six and two and a half.  It’s this time of year where watching children get excited about Christmas is really fun to see.   As we get older we forget what it’s like to wait for Santa to come down our chimney and surround our tree with presents.  We rush around from store to store to hurry and get our shopping done.  We’re often too busy to stop and look around at the affect December 25th has on the little ones.  I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell a little story of what Christmas is like for a six year old.  After the post, if you’d like to share your favorite Christmas memory from when you were a child you are welcome to in the comments section.  Merry Christmas!  

Abigail opened her eyes and saw a stream of light coming through the curtains in her bedroom.  It was morning, but it was much brighter than usual.  She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes.  She shoved her special blanket, which was mostly just a ball of yarn now after being loved so much, under her pillow so it wouldn’t get lost in the clutter of her room.  She got up from her bed and went to the window.  Outside on the lawn was fresh dusting of snow.  It had already snowed three times this winter but her excitement never diminished.  Each sight of snow was like she’d never seen it before.

Abigail rushed to put on her clothes.  She dug through her drawers to find something warm enough to wear in the snow.  She hurried down stairs, said good morning to her parents and ran out the door.  After just stepping a foot in the snow, the front door opened and Abigail was told to come back inside.

“Have some breakfast first and then you can go play.”  Her mother said.  This did not sound like a good idea to her.  Who knew how long the snow would last?  She had to enjoy every minute of it!  Abigail came inside, took her boots off and went over to the kitchen table.  She sat and ate her toast with peanut butter and watched the cartoons her two year old brother was watching.  She had so much excitement filling every muscle that she couldn’t sit still.  It was like the entire days energy was going to burst out of her pores.  She ate the last bite of her toast and asked her mother if she could go back outside.  She was told that she could play for a few minutes, but then she had to get ready for the trip to the mall.

“I don’t remember you saying we were going shopping today,” Abigail said as she put her boots back on.

“We’re not going shopping today.  Today is the day we’re seeing Santa.”  Her mother said casually as she was cleaning the peanut butter off her brother’s hands.  That last sentence her mother spoke stopped Abigail dead in her tracks.  “We’re seeing Santa today?” she thought to herself.  That definitely changed her plans of playing in the snow.  She had preparation to do!

The ride to the mall was excruciatingly long.  A 45 minute drive felt like a lifetime to her, especially when the most exciting time of the year was within reach.  She had practiced what she was going to say to Santa when she saw him.  She repeated it to herself throughout the whole car ride.  “Please, Santa, I would like a Barbie Airplane,” she said to herself.  She remembered that Santa liked children with manners, so she was going to remember to say please and thank you.  She knew that the Santa she was going to see at the mall wasn’t the REAL Santa, but he was one of his helpers and would relay the message on what to bring her, and would probably tell him if she wasn’t polite.

The days after seeing Santa dragged by.  Christmas morning wasn’t coming fast enough.  There weren’t enough activities during the day to keep her busy and help distract her from what was really on her mind.  “Was Santa going to bring what I asked for?  Was I good enough this year to get what I want?” she kept asking herself.  She hoped and prayed that she was on Santa’s “Nice” list.

Finally, it was Christmas Eve.  She was exhausted from playing with family at the Christmas party and it was time for bed.  The last of the relatives had just gotten to their cars.  Her brother had fallen asleep on the couch so her dad was carrying him upstairs.  Her mom turned off all the lights in the living room, except for the tree lights.  While her parents were putting her brother to bed, Abigail looked down into the living room from the top of the stairs.  The twinkling lights were hypnotizing.   Each bulb on the tree was glowing from the lights reflecting behind it.  Blues, greens, pinks, purples, all colors of the rainbow were shining in her living room.  It wouldn’t be long until Santa came.  Knowing how Santa can’t come if you’re awake, she rushed into her bedroom and jumped into her bed, throwing the covers of her head.  She pulled her special blanket out from under her pillow and was asleep before her parents came to tuck her in.

In the middle of night, not quite before the sun had come up, Abigail heard a noise.  It was just the furnace turning on, but the sound made her remember that it was Christmas morning.  Not knowing how early it was yet, she quietly got down from her bed and looked out her window.  It wasn’t as dark as it had been that night so she was sure it was almost morning.  She had to see if Santa had come.  She had to know if his helper had given him her message.  She opened her bedroom door slowly so it wouldn’t squeak and tip-toed down the stairs.  She kept her eyes closed and tried not to look at the tree, so she would have the full affect once she was in front of it.  Her last foot reached the bottom step.  She opened her eyes.  The colorful, sparkling tree was surrounded by mounds of presents.  In front of the tree, in all it’s glory, was her Barbie Airplane.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Black Swan" Movie Review

Now that I have this blog going, I’ve decided that it would be fun to review a movie once a month.   I’m thinking once a month is probably enough since sometimes it’s fun to just watch a movie and not pick it apart. Combining my love of movies with my love of writing sounds like a fun activity!  But, this is my first review I’ve ever written, so we’ll see how it goes…

“Black Swan” Directed by Darren Aronofsky.  Starring Natalie Portman & Mila Kunis

I checked out the reviews on Yahoo before I started this post to see if my thoughts were similar to the people that do this for a living and was surprised at what I found.  Usually if critics like a movie, it usually means I won’t, and vise versa.  This is why I generally don’t read movie reviews.  The average grade this movie received was an A-, which is what I would give it.

Natalie Portman portrays a ballerina named Nina, up for the lead role in her ballet company’s production of “Swan Lake”.  Early on you are shown her dedication to her craft, which can be construed as an obsession.  She is an uptight, naive, and is set at achieving perfection.  Watching her stretch out her feet and hear the cracks and pops of her joints was enough to make my stomach queasy and have to set down my popcorn, but I’m sure that was the affect they wanted out of the audience.  Natalie Portman was completely believable as a dancer.  She has a petite figure already that with a some training you had no idea you were watching an actress and not a classically trained ballerina.

Once Nina lands the role as lead in the ballet production, she becomes paranoid that the new dancer  in the studio, Lily (Mila Kunis), is trying to take her role.  Nina brushes her paranoia aside and eventually believes that Lily is just trying to be a friend.  Her friendship with Lily slowly breaks down her walls and loosens her up, which is what the director of the ballet wants most from her.  In order to possess the dual roles of the white swan and the black swan in the ballet, she needs to display her strong technique, but have a more fluid and relaxed delivery.  Not only does Lily help bring out a more relaxed and reckless side of Nina, she seems to rescue her from her obsessed mother.  Nina’s mother was also a dancer until she gave it up to have Nina. She lived vicariously through her daughter, to great extremes.  There were times when Nina’s mother reminded me of the crazed mother from Stephen King’s “Carrie”, not with the religious elements but the way she was just so over the top like Carrie’s mother was.  But, Lily’s efforts to help her fellow dancer didn’t over power Nina’s intense paranoia and psychotic tendencies.  Nina went to such extremes that would have anyone committed.

What made this movie so suspenseful was not knowing, throughout almost the whole movie, whether Lily was really out to get Nina, or if it was all in her head.  It kept you guessing throughout the whole hour and 45 minutes.  Another great suspense feature was the camera work.  The camera followed the characters with every move and the unsteadiness that would normally drive me nuts with most movies, added an element of terror that made you feel like you were experiencing the horror that Natalie Portman’s character was going through.   If you’ve ever seen a live production of “Swan Lake” or heard the music from it, you’ll know how creepy and dark it is.  The score from this movie was probably the second most affective element in creating suspense.  By the end of the movie my heart was racing and my hands were a little shaky.  This movie definitely achieved what it set out to do.

Melissa gives this movie an A-

photo credit: Fox Searchlight

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Life According to iTunes

I got a great idea from a fellow blogger, Lee (  Check it out and play along, it's sooo much fun!  Read the directions below and then check out my results :)

How To Play: Grab a pen and paper and write down #’s 1 through 18. Open your iTunes to “Music” so your entire library is displayed. Click the Shuffle button. Click Play. Now WITHOUT SKIPPING ANY SONGS, write down the first 18 that play. Once you have the list of 18 songs, label them as follows:
Song #1: Opening Credits
Song #2: Waking Up
Song #3: 1st Day of School
 Song #4: Falling In Love
Song #5: Fight Song
 Song #6: Breaking Up
Song #7: Prom
Song #8: Life
Song #9: Mental Breakdown
Song #10: Driving
Song #11: Flashback
 Song #12: Getting Back Together
 Song #13: Wedding
 Song #14:  Birth of Child
 Song #15: Final Battle
 Song #16: Death Scene
Song #17: Funeral Scene
Song #18: End credits
Now remember: DON’T CHEAT! NO SKIPPING SONGS! That way when you’re done you’ll have laughed out loud, squeed, scratched your head, rolled your eyes, facepalmed more than once and very likely had a whole heckuva lot of fun!
Here are my results!  Some were pretty spot on with what I'd pick, some...not so much. lol
1. "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift
2. "Ready to Start" by Arcade Fire
3. "Wait Another Day" by Uh Huh Her
4. "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell
5. "Untouched" by The Veronicas
6. "Strip Tease" by Danity Kane
7. "I'm Not Over" by Carolina Liar
8. "Talking in Your Sleep" by The Romantics
9. "I Want You" by Kings of Leon
10. "Voices Carry" by Til Tuesday
11. "You Can Do Better Than Me" by Death Cab For Cutie
12. "Pity of Fear" by Death Cab For Cutie
13. "Shadow of the Day" by Linkin Park
14. "Danger Zone" by Gwen Stefani
15. "Head Lights on Dark Roads" by Snow Patrol
16. "Dreams in the Mist" by Heart
17. "Eyes Wide Open" by Snow Patrol
18. "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers

Wow, blogging is harder than I thought!

Well, here we go...I'm publishing my first post, wow!  So exciting!  I bet you're riveted already.  No?  Well give me time *evil laugh*.  Just kidding, I'll go easy on you at first.

Look out for my reactions/reviews of my favorite shows, updates on writing my book (which is coming along VERY slowly, hence needing this creative outlet to get the juices flowing), or any other adventures I go on while riding the roller coaster that is LIFE!