The Sound of Hope and Fear (and Music)

Okay, so maybe the title for this post is too dramatic.  It’s just that I’ve been a fan of The Sound of Music for years and years.  It was one of my all-time favorites as a kid, which is saying something for a movie that required a kid to switch from one VHS tape to another.  That’s commitment.  Imagine my excitement when a new version is made.


image from, also check out those mountains!

You’ve heard about the live version that Carrie Underwood is starring in tonight, right?  It’s on NBC from 8-11 PM EST, in case you didn’t know.  I like Carrie Underwood just fine, and I love The Sound of Music, so what’s not to like?

The Sound of Music  - Season 2013

photo from

I’m really nervous about it though.  (As nervous as you can reasonably be in regards to a TV show.)  Julie Andrews is irreplaceable in that role, and Christopher Plummer makes a pretty fantastic Captain von Trapp.  And what about the 24 adorable von Trapp children?  How are they ever going to find a Brigitta who’s half as cute as the movie original?  And the scenery and the nuns with their awesome auto mechanic skills.  I’m not willing to write off the live version yet, but the Julie Andrews version sets a really high bar.  I guess we’ll find out how the new version stacks up in a few hours.  No pressure, Carrie.

Dark Knight (Cookies!)

Tonight is Batman night.  If you’ve watched TV lately, you might have seen a trillion ads for The Dark Knight Rises, which technically comes out tomorrow.  But Scott and I are going to the midnight premier tonight with a few friends.  Not only that, we’re going to an IMAX marathon of all three Batman movies that starts at 6 PM and ends with the midnight premier.  Not for the faint of heart!

I’ll admit that I’m a little bit afraid that I’ll fall asleep somewhere in the middle of the second movie and never recover fully to enjoy the end of the trilogy.  The ace up my sleeves is that I haven’t seen the second movie yet.  I’m counting on that to keep me awake.  Fingers crossed!  (I’ve had a problem with falling asleep in front of any movie or TV program for about, oh, 12 years.)

To prepare for the long (k)night, I decided to whip up some appropriate snacks.  We will be in the theater from 6 PM to about 2 AM, so I’m pretty sure I’ll get hungry at some point.  Yes, I’m totally one of those people who takes snacks into the movie theater in my purse.  I know that’s not smiled upon by movie theater owners/employees, and I know that they need to make money, too.  But what movie theater is going to provide homemade mint chocolate cookies?  Right.

I obviously feel guilty about sneaking snacks into the theater, hence all of the justification.  Before you judge me too harshly, you should look at this cookie recipe: Foodess mint chocolate cookies.

photo from

I changed the recipe a teeny, tiny bit by switching the peppermint extract for regular mint extract.  It moves the flavor from Christmas to summer in a flash, and I can attest to the fact that they still smell absolutely amazing baking in the oven with the regular mint extract.

At this moment in time, all I want to do is smell these cookies every day of my life.  Movie?  What movie?

Scenery Time

images from SitaSays (although I assume they're ultimately from Focus Features)

It’s one of those days/weeks that requires a whole lot of nothing when you get home.  Except that I’ve got a whole lot of something to do that I’ve been avoiding for a while.  I think the week before Thanksgiving was the last time I truly cleaned the house.  Yuck.

Anyway, as I’ve been figuring out which phone should be moved to which desk so that the least amount of reprogramming of phones has to happen (one of many fun tasks today), I’ve been thinking a lot about the scenery and music from the most recent movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.  It’s my favorite book.  I am aware that it’s a totally girly choice.  Oh well.  It’s got amazing dialog, and the main characters are wonderful.  Even the ones you hate most of the time are entirely entertaining.

The BBC version of the movie will always be my favorite because of how closely it sticks to the book, but the more recent version is just gorgeous.  The countryside and the light and just about everything else is perfect.  It makes me feel all relaxed and calm in a few seconds flat.  So I think I’m going to self-medicate tonight.  A little bit of vacuuming, laundry, and Pride and Prejudice.

Homemade Goodness and Pecan Spinwheels

Yesterday was Christmas baking day, but I didn’t factor in time for the dough to do its thing and for the oven to preheat and bake and bake some more, and for me to then take care of the trillion dishes that baking produced.  My kitchen looks like a disaster area or an example of a hundred and one health violations.  Don’t worry, it was sanitary before the baking happened.

The original intention was to make two batches (doubling the recipe doesn’t really work out in this case), so there are some extra ingredients and things scattered around the kitchen with all of the other mess.  Only one batch made it to completion, which brings up the next issue.

I have 3.75 loaves of stollen to show for my labor.  I assumed I would have 7.75 loaves at this point (that last quarter loaf is for necessary quality-sampling purposes and because you can’t take bread out of the oven without eating some).  Do I go for another round of baking?  Do I sacrifice several good hours of sleep tomorrow for the sake of tasty food?  I’m reasonably certain the answer to that question is going to be “no” this year.  Sorry, friends.  Several of you were slated to receive stollen in the next few days, but it looks like I’m going to have to be selfish with my meager baked output.

With all of that beautiful baked bread/dessert at home, I still managed to buy Little Debbie Pecan Spinwheels today at the grocery store.  I consumed two of them within twenty minutes of the purchase.  Spinwheels have been a long-term favorite.  They’re totally sweet and desserty, but they’re just on the okay side of the junk food spectrum.  They’re kind of a natural color, after all.  You could pretend they’re not bad for you, unlike most of their Little Debbie cousins.  (Swiss Cake Rolls?  Not even remotely close to being healthy.)

Enough of a reverie about food for one day, right?  I promise I have other interests.  Sometimes I think about friends and books and other things between thoughts about food.

Speaking of other things, I recently watched Saving Private Ryan for the first time.  It was a fantastic movie–sad and powerful and all of that.  I did have to watch it in small doses though, and it was the TV edited version.  I have a hard time watching war movies with semi-contemporary weapons now that my brother is in the army.  The end of the movie threw me off, too.  If it was trying to make me feel better about all of the sadness of the first 95% of the movie, it totally failed.  If it was trying to portray the brokenness of the world, it achieved that goal.  I’ll be on a strict regimen of comedies for the next week to recover from all of that.

Napping Soundtracks

I called it a day at noon.  It was necessary.  I did manage to get lots of good tech-ish stuff done in the morning, and nobody wanted my tired face around the library anymore.

On my way out the door, I thought I would look up a list of movies that are known for their good cheer.  It seemed like a solid idea for background noise while napping.  Something about subliminal messages seeping in.  I napped to an episode of Jersey Shore once, and I definitely dreamed about some crazy stuff.

The biggest surprise on the movie list was Dead Poets Society.  I mean, come on!  There’s a suicide in that movie.  It’s dark and cold and sad.  It’s also inspiring and a great movie in general, but I wouldn’t ever pop it into the DVD player to cheer myself up.  Not sure who wrote that list, but I’m wholeheartedly disagreeing with him or her.

Worst comes to worst, Peanut can sniff something out for me.  Most of my movies are chick flicks anyway, and those are known for their predictably happy endings.  As long as he doesn’t pick The Last King of Scotland (which is the one movie that inspired me to scream at the TV), we’re set.

It’s about a movie and a blog (not mine).

Okay, I love chick flicks.  This is a long-established fact that my friends and family have learned to deal with.  Most of the time, I don’t inflict my problem on them, so it’s no big deal.

I also love Design*Sponge.  I think it’s one of the greatest blogs in existence.

Both of those loves are all girl.  Well, there’s an element of manliness on Design*Sponge, but it’s about the same percentage of manliness that exists in a cinnamon dolce latte.  Even though I’m sure lots of men enjoy that beverage (oh so much), they probably don’t proudly declare that fact during a football game with the guys.

Photo by Starbucks official folks

Anyway, Design*Sponge has lots of types of posts.  One of the categories is called “Living In,” and it takes favorite movies (theirs) and picks out items that could be straight from the set (clothes, house stuff, etc.).  If you ever secretly wanted to live in Alice in Wonderland or something, Design*Sponge can help.  I don’t usually get all excited about the stuff that they have listed, it’s just fun to look at the posts anyway.  And to give them full credit, their favorite movies range from things like Dazed and Confused and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to Big and Amelie. There’s something in there for most people.

When Design*Sponge tells me that I haven’t seen one of their favorite movies, and that movie is a classic chick flick, I fix that.  They recently described Love Story as the Holy Grail of movies, which is pretty high praise.  How can you pass up that kind of recommendation?  I then saw that particular movie in the $4 sale stack at Target, purchased it, went home, and started watching it that night.  It’s a couple of weeks later, and I’m still watching that darn movie in five- to ten-minute chunks every single day.  I really should have checked the total film length before I started watching in the first place.

On the one hand, this strange movie experience is like reading a book before bed.  I get through a page and don’t worry about falling asleep promptly at the end of that page.  On the other hand, this is supposed to be an amazing love story (hence the name).  I can’t even make it through 10 whole minutes of the thing.  I feel kind of disrespectful, like I’m heartlessly ignoring the fact that these people are in love and tragic things are happening to them.  Then I don’t care again.  I also remember at some point during the guilt that these are imaginary people.

None of this matters in the grand scheme of things.  I just thought it was noteworthy that there’s a classic chick flick out there that holds absolutely no interest for me.  Wasn’t prepared for that.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Christmas in July came to my house last night.  First, there was a giant storm–thunder and downpour and everything, which left Peanut scrambling for cover and me totally content.

If that wasn’t enough to make my night, my DVR now contains Step Up 2: The Streets.  Oh yeah!  Step Up 2 is one of those movies that’s so bad that I’m not ashamed to like it.  It’s not marginally poor quality or anything, it’s complete junk.  Somehow the combo of bad acting, catchy music, and absolutely incredible dancing hooked me.  In fact, it’s the only movie I ever borrowed twice when I had Netflix.  I’m still not comfortable spending money to buy it, but I won’t be erasing it from my DVR any time soon, either.