a mish-mash of things

Um, I’ve got like 20 different posts started, and then I run out of things to write. So you’re going to get a sampler platter of the (estimated) 30 billion thoughts whirling around in my head.

First, I tried to do a Best/Worst of 2008, but honest to goodness, I couldn’t think of anything for the Worst part. Either there isn’t anything major, or I’m just blocking it out – regardless, I’m not going to think on it too much further because it ultimately means I had a pretty good 2008. The best of the best for 2008 are definitely:

*A summer in London and a month in California.

*Last Saturday night: Seven solid hours of eating really good food, laughing til I cried, holding precious baby boys in santa suits, playing Harry Potter Clue, Partini, Guitar Hero and MonkeyBall, and generally being boisterous with my best friends until the wee hours of the morning. You know you have the right group of friends when seven hours feels like one.

*This Christmas. It was a really great one.

*Getting my masters. I think back to a little over a year ago when I was still working, and it feels like a totally different life. And I like this one much better. So even if the very next job I get isn’t exactly what I want, it still means that grad school was the right decision, and that makes me very proud of/happy for myself.

Next up, some family shenanigans. I know I talk a lot about wanting to move out… and I do. But it should be known that I do laugh a lot with my parents. Here are a couple of stories:

*If you’ve spent any considerable amount of time with me, chances are you’ve heard me recall the occasion when my dad was trying to build a fire and something wasn’t going to his liking, so he grumbled to himself “Oh, balls”. And then I laughed for about half an hour. And I’m laughing right now as I’m typing this. I’m pretty sure this incident was about two years ago and I still laugh my ass off every time I think about it… Well, it turns out this little incident has a Benson family history. Apparently the phrase originated with my grandfather, who crafted it in an effort to stop cursing (because he thought it would be a bad influence on the boys). My dad said that the first time his dad used it, he had the exact same reaction I did. I’m glad to see the sense of humor runs in the family. I hope the guy I marry is willing to carry on this phrase. It might be a dealbreaker otherwise. Also, I joke that sometimes I have the sense of humor of a 14 year old boy and turns out, it’s actually true.

*My mother may be one of the sweetest women on the planet. She is so nice and polite and accomodating..and then you have my dad and I. Our favorite game is to tease her and joke around and try and get her to stoop to our mean, crass level...and then when she does, turn on her and act all sad and accuse her of being the mean one in the family. We pretend to comfort each other because we live in a house that is ruled by a tyrannical woman. I don’t know why she still talks to us.

*From the previous stories you can see that my dad and I are quite often in cahoots and guilty of ganging up on my mom, it’s true. She even gets the short end of the stick, even when we don’t mean to. The morning of Thanksgiving, I woke up and came downstairs, made myself a bagel and sat down on the couch in between Parker and my Mom…and then accidentally spilled my plate onto the floor. I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that I went by the five second rule – I inspected it for any major damage, which it had none, and then put it back down and started to watch the Macys Day Parade. After a few minutes I pick up the bagel, take a bite, and then, thinking I’m being a sweet, loving daughter, ask my mom if she wants any. She says yes thank you, and as I hand it to her she takes a comedically perfect pause and says, with just the right amount of sarcastic skepticism and timid emotion, “…is this the half that fell on the floor?”

Finally, I was bored out of my mind and was trying to continue the trend of Laura-izing pop-culture things you already know. So you’re going to suffer through my version of iTunes’ Celebrity Playlist. For the record, if I was a celebrity, I would be dating John Krasinski (or Seth Meyers, the guy from Chuck, or Demitri Martin).

Narcolepsy – Third Eye Blind: Yes, go ahead and laugh. This album just reminds me of the 90s and freshman year of high school, and I don’t know, I find it catchy. And the lead singer is hot. Also remember on Road Rules when they had to do a PSA for suicide and they used the song “Jumper”, and they showed it at a Third Eye Blind concert? How deliciously 90s. I miss those RR/RW days.

Love Soon – John Mayer: Old School JM, and it’s sweet and it reminds me of freshman year of college when I first started listening to him. I saw him twice that year, once at Roanoke College with KK and Matt, and again at WVU when Nikki and I got his autograph after the show…and we stayed wth Brian Haas. You gotta love it.

Say It To Me Now - Glen Hansard: (from the Once soundtrack) Moving away from the nostalgia trend, the way Hansard sings this is hearbreakingly wonderful. The whole soundtrack is great, but this one easily stands out as my favorite. I was watching the movie and upon hearing it, I immediately made a mental note to find it and download it, and couldn’t stop thinking about it the rest of the film.

Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi: Do I have to explain this one? I don’t think I should have to. If this song doesn’t instantly make you happy, you have some issues my friend.

Good Lovin’ – The Rascals: If I didn’t have my own personal ban on karaoke, I think this would be my song of choice.

Just Watch The Fireworks – Jimmy Eat World: One of my favorite bands, this is off their Clarity album, which many would agree is their best. I’ve seen Jimmy Eat World once before, and it was amazing but it was right when they were promoting their Futures album so there wasn’t a lot of room for songs from Clarity. They are actually playing Clarity in its entirety at 930 Club next year sometime, and it’s already sold out. I want to go so very badly.

OK, It’s Alright With Me – Eric Hutchinson: A new favorite! Great voice with a little edge to it. The whole album (Sounds Like This) is great, but this is a standout. This one and Rock & Roll, I recommend highly!

And anything by Huey Lewis. I don't know why I love him so much. But I really, really do.

So there you have it, my thoughts. Long and generally lacking substance. That's what she said?


siskel and ebert who!?

(Yeah, I took it super-old-school with the Siskel and Ebert. You like the throwback.)

So, I saw roughly three hundred movies this week. Or five. But still! Five! Three of them being new ones, and the other two being Michael Clayton and P.S. Bonus for me, almost all of them had cute boys: Paul Rudd, Daniel Craig (the body and the accent, not so much the face..sorry Daniel), George Clooney and Topher Grace!? Love it. Doubt...didn’t so much have the hotness factor, but that’s okay. My reviews other than the (shallow) latter? Of course, no need to ask!

1: Role Models. Hilarious. I have a gigantic crush on Paul Rudd, so I obviously enjoyed it. Plus he co-wrote it, so it increased said crush. Swooning over here. Um, anyway, putting aside my teeny bopper review, the movie was a great balance of heart and humor (regular and R-rated). I’d definitely see it again.

2: Quantom of Solace. It was…good. I dunno, I definitely liked Casino Royale better. But it wasn’t bad or anything. I just wasn’t ready to move to Britain and start kicking ass and taking names, like I was after Casino Royale.

3: Doubt. First of all, slightly annoyed that it apparently isn’t being released nationwide? So we (Tara and I) went to DC, specifically the E street theater in NW, to see it. But we made a whole day of it* so it was fun. Anyway, the movie. I liked it, but I wasn’t blown away. I was expecting to be emotionally bombarded with these heavy themes and tense scenes and it would be gripping and thrilling and all of that, and…I dunno, I didn’t feel all of that. There were actually funny moments. Didn’t expect that. I think it the movie could have been better…BUT the cast was really great. In that way, it was worth seeing.

Aaaand I’m not going to talk about Michael Clayton and P.S. because they both came out eight million years ago.

Finally, I am excited that Burn After Reading came out on DVD today. I wanted to see it in the theater but never did…thank goodness for Netflix, eh?

*Went to the Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum and ate at the new Busboys and Poets on 5th & K. Good times!

PS: This post has no point. Also, can't wait to see the out-of-town CC loves soon!!!!!


Imitation is the sincerest form of something

What am I supposed to write about here now that I’m kind of in a holding patten until I get a job? Maybe I can mirror that of other ones I love, but…kind of my own version (um, obviously?). Like, for example:

Amalah = child-having shenanigans. Um, since I don’t have any to speak of, I can talk about the last time I was at Kelley’s. I was feeding Jack and was clearly not paying attention closely enough because all of a sudden Jack said “Auntie Laura, this formula that you think goes IN my mouth, actually goes all over my own face and your sweatshirt – let me show you!” and proceeded to regurgitate forumula in old-faithful-geyser-like proportions everywhere. My first baby-related stains, awwwww! Totally gonna tell him that story when he grows up, and he’ll be all like “Aunt Laura, you’ve told me this story like twenty seven times” (how funny that Jack will talk just like me) and I’ll say “I know but it’s just so cute and I remember when you were sooooooooooooo little” and then I’ll realize I’ve become my parents’ generation.

All cooking/food related blogs = I really like potato bread, but we don’t have the slices so I have to make these pathetic little sandwiches using our hot dog buns. My dad wonders why we run out of buns so much faster than we do hot dogs, and I laugh to myself. Also, I go through phases of food that I like. These days I’m either eating: pasta (vermacelli preferred) with butter, parmesean cheese (none of the real stuff, I prefer the sweet green Kraft bottle…that’s right) and garlic salt OR my potato bread sandwich with cheese, bread-and-butter-pickles and lettuce. You’d think I was pregnant, except for that I have the palette of a seven year-old.

Any fashion-related blog = Um, I came thisclose to buying like 4 different zip-up hooded sweatshirts from Target. And NY&Co is my fancy place to shop. My nail polish rule is: dark red for short nails, and when they’re grown out switch to light pinks and beiges. I’m breaking all the rules over here.

Gossip blogs/Go Fug Yourself = omg you guise, did you totally see what Parker was wearing the other day!? OMFG I KNOW.

This one works for Cute Overload, too.


Enough already

CLEARRRRRLY I've been in a bad mood lately. Thanks for putting up with me, World Wide Web-friends. (And real life friends?)

I'd like to give positivity a try, and push those other entries further down the page, so here is a post filled with happy things that make me (and maybe then you?) happy:

+When you grow up (only a little bit, it's still me, after all) you realize the things that really shaped you and mattered...I definitely think Girl Scouts was one of them. Maybe I could help lead a troop or volunteer in some other capacity...in any case, I think it'd be really fun to get back into working with them.

+These crazy kids:

They very much make me happy. Get to see them in two weeks. To be honest, events from the past three years** have kind of put a dark cloud over Christmas for me and I have NOT been looking forward to any of it...but I'm slowly coming around to being more excited, and it's completely because of those kids in the picture and their parents (The Parnham family, if you didn't already know that). We've been celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas together for about 15 years now and they are always the highlight.

+Tomrrow, I am turning in my final assignment as a graduate student. As soon as grades are posted...I will have a Master of Arts in Arts Management.

+Tara's boyfriend Brian is making Tara and I fancy food tomorrow to celebrate our completion of our MA program...we will eat said fancy food while watching The Office and 30 Rock and it will be glorious.

+Watched Iron Man tonight. Hadn't seen it before...thoroughly enjoyed it.

+Am so excited for/proud of Rosa. She got a totally cool and kickass job in NYC. Did exactly what she set out to do. Way to be.

+I've been spending almost all day everyday out of the house, because I can't get work done at home. So whenever I finally roll in at night and greet Parker, he gets kind of emotional and vocal about it....and then runs and gets a toy and acts all tough to compensate. It's adorable.

That's all for now....hopefully my positivity will translate to the rest of the world and good things will come my way and then I can inform you of (brag about??) them.

**not to ruin this upbeat post, but....last year: my maternal grandmother died and we spent Christmas and almost new years in the hospital, and it was our first Christmas without my fraternal grandmother (who passed in August of 07). The year before that my uncle died. The year before that my fraternal grandmother was in rare form and made me cry on Christmas Eve. AWESOME CHRISTMAS MEMORIES.


oh, me.

Seriously scary...four years + four days ago …

“Finding a job sucks! You know what I don't like? How everyone says, 'What you get your degree in really doesn't matter, it's the college education that counts.' Okay..but...that doesn't necessarily work when you're trying to find something right after graduation. You need EXPERIENCE in the field you're working in!! ... How can I get experience if I can't even get my foot in the door b/c my resume may not have all the qualifications they're looking for. I think I have them anyway! I'm a quick learner,and probably have one of the strongest work ethic's of people my age … Grrr! Oh well...we'll see what happens, I guess. But I don't think this is going to be an easy process for me.”

Same shit, different day.


Patience is a virtue or some such nonsense

Hi. I'm still busy trying to get through the end of the semester (and my degree) with dignity....aka something more than just "as long as it's in English and not scribbled on loose leaf, turn it in". God willing, I'll have more to say in a few weeks.

In the meantime, check out this web site, We Feel Fine. You can pull up any country, city, state, town (you can look up Reston, even) and it pulls out things people are posting on the world wide web from that location, and gives you a reading of that location's "mood". Little snapshots of people's lives add up to a feeling (or two, or a million). I'm not sure I'm explaining it well...but it's a cool site to look around. Neat idea and a really nice design. http://www.wefeelfine.org/ Check it out.

lovesss youuuuuuuu.

PS I added more pictures to my Flickr! Pics from Thanksgiving (stolen from Taylor!) and Heather's wedding (stolen from a variety of places) can be enjoyed.