Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Emerging

Back.

Twins are napping, I'm back in my pajamas, soup is simmering on the stove, matzoh balls are resting in the fridge, house is (semi) clean, taking deep breaths after a glorious 16 1/2 days off of work. I think I'm ready?  Although I truly am suited to a life of leisure.  And let's face it: there is actually NOTHING leisurely about the holidays.  {Edit: usual disclaimer about this post taking days to write.  That idyllic imagery was actually on Sunday afternoon.  We're now into Tuesday and s**t is ON.}


My two-week holiday began with a 10pm, opening-night screening of Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens.  I'm clearly the target audience for this movie, having grown up in a family of Star Wars/pop culture nerds, and having cried my way through all 59 of the theatrical trailers (domestic and international).  Someone asked me what it is about the trailers that made me cry, and I tried to explain that they were tears of anticipation...tears of hype.  We watched it for the second time today, this time with Master T, and as I periodically cried throughout the movie, I realized that the tears are also tears of joy...tears of wonder.  I was a bookish nerd as a child, and have grown into a bookish nerd adult. I grew up in a household of sentimental, enthusiastic, whole-hog siblings.  There is something about sitting in a movie theatre and being transported to a faraway land, of believing and yearning for that world to be tangible and true that is particularly piercing in this particular franchise.  I watched the Big Yam in the theatre and he believes, he loses himself, and I do too.  This is why I get covered in goosebumps, why I'm willing (and able) to talk about minute details, to invest in this universe like it's a real thing.  Because of wonder.  It wasn't a perfect movie, by any means, but I don't need it to be.  It did exactly what I wanted it to do, which is transport me and make me believe.  JJ Abrams' used CGI judiciously, and relied on scaled models, and that one scene of Daisy Ridley's Rey standing in a dessert in front of the ruined wreckage of an Imperial Star Destroyer is so perfect that I can become a kid again.  This is what I want and what I so rarely find.  This is why Harry Potter is so perfect, and why we love Miyazagi films, and why I read comics. 
poe finn star wars animated GIF


Image result for daisy ridley star wars

Also, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and Adam Driver.  And Rey.  We took the Big Yam and his friend to the Star Wars pop-up in the City TV building.  There was a little half-Asian girl, around 3 years old, who was dressed up like Rey and the Dotytron and I almost died from the cute overload. 


Say what you will about George Lucas as a director, but he wrote a kick-a** story and created an awesome world.  JJ Abrams honors the spirit of the films, and picked a perfect cast, and crafted an entertaining (if repetitive) story, and gets human, affecting performances from his actors.  I just...I just really love it, guys.

It was so good. Then we had a chill Friday night with Dr. Rei and company.  We've got this good Friday night hang system dialed in. Dr. Rei and her fam come over after work on Friday, we eat takeout, laugh about a million different things (like, Hanbo being friends with the Sexy Stabba from the PATH on LinkedIn), and then everyone goes home and the kids are all in bed at a reasonable hour.  And THIS FACE:



What a Dimples McGee.  Zoony's continued trepidation around the Big Yam is a source of angst for my poor guy.  "Zoony hates me. Zoony doesn't like me.  He used to like me."  It's two sensitive goof balls bumping up against each other.

Then we had the Dotytron's extended family xmas dealie, which was fine.  There was some talk about not giving the prevailing provincial government "a single cent more of my money in taxes" but I let it slide. I don't know if I was being baited, but  I rose above and just ignored it.  The next day we had did an escape room with extended Micelli crew and we lost, but it was hilarious and fun times and we got to catch up with good people we haven't seen in a loooong time, which is always heart embiggening:




We got takeout for dinner from this new place called Loaded Pierogi.  We tried almost all the varieties and it was kind of expensive?  Each dish consisted of about 7 or so pierogies that you could get either boiled or fried and then topped with stuff.  I am doubtful that they even make the pierogies in house and the pierogies were just standard size.  I'm kind of over that as a restaurant "concept": taking something premade and then turning it into a "bacon loaded" or "buffalo chicken" version. Do you know how many bags of pierogies I could have bought for $125?!?  A LOT.   

 

We kept our nanny on board for half days for the first three days of the holiday break.  Each day, we'd take one kid out on an errand/outing and then go out for a restaurant lunch, then back home afternoon nap/quiet time. We did this in lieu of xmas presents to each other, and it was one of the best ideas I've ever had. Our kids never get two-on-one time and it was SO EASY.  It was like, negative work being with just the one. I feel like their individual personalities bloom a bit more when they have the independent space to express themselves and we have the time and energy to pay attention.  We took the Big Yam to see the Force Awakens pop-up with his friend and then followed it with his beloved hot dog restaurant, Fancy Franks.  Twin A got to go with us to Kinton Ramen, where he ate opted for plain steamed rice.  When his little dish of rice arrived, he spooned up a bite, moved it to the side of his mouth, tilted his head, and pronounced, "it'sth good."  A real gourmand.  Twin B got to come with us to Kinkai (formerly Guu) Izakaya, where he also ate rice while we gorged ourselves on salmon tataki and donburi bowls and baked oysters.  It was so civilized.

 

We are still going hard with trying to "embrace winter" which means that whenever it's not a full work day, we try to bundle up the kids and take them out for a walk.  We reap the benefits in the form of the twins being completely knackered and up for a solid 2 hour nap and some well-deserved quiet time in the house for our own personal projects, or lazy couch times.  One of my favorite things in the world is lying on the living room couch, the room lit only by the tree, and having the Big Yam come up to me after he's hit his independent play limit and ask to lie with me.  It inevitably ends up in the two of us falling asleep and burrowing our way slightly sweaty from the sheepskins an hour later.  It's the best re-charging in the world.

I legit thought this kid would never be able to occupy himself doing crafts and behold!  He spent an hour decorating a keep sake box.


On Christmas Eve we ate takeout Congee Queen and a million cookies and watched that new David O. Russell movie, Joy, which is as terrible as the critics would have you believe.  Sanitized, Oscar-baiting David O. Russell is not a David O. Russell I need to see.  His continued need to cast Jennifer Lawrence in roles that are well beyond her years results in movies that are coasting on her charisma and there is a chuckle or two, but overall, it's all getting rather formulaic and maudlin, to boot.  

My 2016 cookie plate - from left to right: skor chocolate chip, malted milk chocolate, gingerbread, nutmeg sugar cookies, Dorie Greenspan's world peace cookies (recipe below), ginger molasses, homemade twix bars, snickerdoodles, cardamom butter cookies, and buckeyes along the bottom. I started making all the dough in November and was actually concerned on the morning of Christmas Eve that I "didn't have enough variety."  I have issues.

Obviously Momma D went crazy, again.  The Dotytron and I were pretty restrained.  We are responsible for 1/27th of this loot.  

Christmas dinner was at my MIL's and my kids were terrors.  There are a few things working against us: space, expectation of quiet, people who haven't been around young children in a looooong time, expectations of good behaviour, the fact my kids had a traditional WP turkey dinner...it's a perfect storm.  The best thing that happened was when my SIL was taking drink orders around the table, I heard Twin A lisp, "I want white wine!"  LOL!  So good.  


My sister and her brood showed up later that night and Xmas with my family (us, my sister and her family, my brother and his fiancé, and my MIL and SIL invited for dinner) was the exact opposite.  It was a bacchanalian feast.  Whereas my MIL was worried about people filling up on the hot appetizer I brought (blue-cheesed stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates) to her dinner, we pre-loaded my family up with shrimp cocktail, 60 oysters, a charcuterie board, and then went hard into porchetta, pasta bolognese, my sister's green bean casserole, peas, garlic bread, and Kool Moe Dee's magnum opus, a croquembouche:


We had started the day with scrambled eggs, french toast, bagels, chicken liver, gravlax, and pastrami smoked salmon.  Then we went to the park and basically played nonstop games.


 
This kid's face, man.  I can't even.










This kid's face.  I can't even.


Two notable events for the memory books happened over the course of that weekend. 1) Xmas 2015 will forever be known as "Chairpocalypse" about 3 different people fell out of, and/or broke chairs while sitting in them at my house.  It was very strange, but I guess the moral of the story is: we need to upgrade our dining chairs.  The second thing involved one of the Big Yam's Xmas presents.  Santa put a whoopee cushion in his stocking, which was met with great acclaim by the next generation.  All that is, except for Twin B, who self-selected himself OUT of the basement rumpus and came clambering upstairs at one point talking gibberish about "tooting" and being "'cared" of said tooting. We didn't think anything of it.  Later that afternoon,the Big Yam came running up the basement stairs bearing this news: "I need to tell you something. The WHOOPEE CUSHION. IS IN.  THE TOILET!!" Which of course made all the adults give each other the something strange is afoot at the circle K look.  Then it was revealed that Little Little Cuz had just exited the bathroom prior to Big Yam.  So we hauled up the Big Yam and Little Little Cuz for a good old fashioned, Lagerfeld-family interrogation.  

Little Little Cuz did not hold up well under scrutiny.  He definitely denied doing it, but did so while progressively shifting lower and lower in his chair and failing to meet our eyes.  The Big Yam claimed that Little Little Cuz hadn't gone into the bathroom with the cushion in hand, but it was all a stew of unreliable witnesses.  At the end, realizing we wouldn't get an admission out of either of the two 5 year-olds, we dismissed them, chalking it down to one of those times when it's just not worth the effort interrogating a child to get the answer you're expecting.  What we did come away with, with reasonable certainty, is that it is likely that Cousin M peed on the cushion in the toilet, and didn't think to mention it.  Later, the older gen discussed it at length and came to the conclusion that it was odd that the kids didn't fess up.  During dinner, we thought to ask Twin B whether he did anything to the cushion.  At first, he gave us this face, glowered a bit, and refused to say anything:

Then, finally, he said, "I flushed it."  LOL!  We died.  Imagining Twin B so terrified of the whoopee cushion that he conquered his fear just enough to try to eliminate the problem via our plumbing system (as so many before him have tried to do), is all kinds of hilariousness.

We did a lot of driving over the break.  Driving to Diana's to pick up seafood on the eve of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, where Twin B poked the eye of some Norwegian fishman with his light saber, driving to Schmaltz Appetizing to pick up pastrami-smoked salmon and gravlax, driving to Nu Bagel to pick up some proper, wood-fired everything bagels.  I was harping on the Dotytron to be careful driving and not let us get t-boned, which is my usual habit because I feel like the drivers of vehicles are always looking out for themselves, amirite?  He took a left-hand turn that was a little close for my liking, but was actually totally safe and as he did so, fake-cried out, "T-Bone Burnetttttttttt...." and I literally died laughing.  If "T-Bone Burnettttttttttt..." is the last thing I hear before getting T-Boned at the Dotytron's hand, I'd be so upset.

We had visits with our friend from Montréal, I, and the Roomie and her family.  We spent New Year's at L's farm.  It was all-around a really, really good time.  It's nice to be somewhere else on New Year's.


There was also the Dotytron's birthday, where we celebrated by engaging in some high-octane birthday parkour:

video

We also set up an air mattress and let the twins be very unsafe, because we are fun, but reckless parents:

video

In keeping with fun, but reckless, we also let the Big Yam go on his first-ever friend sleepover.  Which in hindsight, might have showed a lack of judgement?  The Dotytron spent the night kind of freaking out about it.  We gently probed Master T the next day and it didn't seem like anything sideways happened, but kids are unreliable witnesses.  After watching Spotlight, this world, man...it will sicken you.  Do I have a kid who likes to show people (always in a place where he's surrounded by family), his junk?  Yes.  Is it horrifying to think of someone taking advantage of that childhood bodily innocence and exploiting it like a monster?  Yes.


Spotlight is a really good film about print journalism, which might just be a 2-film genre consisting of itself and All the President's Men.  I'm obviously predisposed to like this genre because it's all about research and digging and libraries and old-fashioned pre-internet searching and I love s**t that romanticizes my profession.  Although, I agree with what Ty Burr says - the film doesn't lionize journalists, it just depicts them doing the at times tedious work that they do to bring issues to light.  So, I guess the film doesn't romanticize my profession, I am the one romanticizing my profession.  Can you blame me, though?  Look at all these clown steppers who think they know how to find out information.  It's the worst.  Also, people who are "internet smart."  That's where the person does a tonne of "internet research" and comes up with the most basic, predictable, opinion on stuff because they are an algorithm eating robot and not a real person.  I know someone who claims to be a "foodie" but then will slag legit-good restaurants when all he eats all day, every day at work is a bowl of broccoli steamed in a microwave.  He's the one who's always claiming really good stuff is, "overrated" and in general, his opinions are the polar opposite of what Kool Moe Dee and I think about stuff, which is fine, if you can defend it in a way that makes us believe you've actually thought about it in a considered, heartfelt way, as opposed to being a Reddit regurgitating internet smart robot.

Also: it is heinous and reprehensible what the Catholic church did.  I think the movie is solid but it's not, earth shattering or ground-breaking.  Just some solid, reliable, workhorse filmmaking that allows me and Kool Moe Dee to practice our egregious, insulting, fake-Boston accents by attempting to insert the phrase "pahk tha cahr" into every conversation for the duration of the film.  It was also gross how the institutions of Boston (including the newspaper) were implicated in the cover-up of this case.  Do spotlight-type teams exist in every newspaper?  They should.  Guys, investigative journalism is dying and it's a sad, sad, thing.  No wonder people are dummies nowadays.  There's been a lot written about the normcore clothes the protagonists wear and how accurate that is for newsrooms - it seemed pretty period-correct, to me, although I don't know why journalists wearing khakis from the Gap constitutes a news story.  Maybe people just wanted to be able to throw the normcore word around?  Who knows.  The Boston Globe has solid coverage of the history of the events that make up the core of the film.  You can find that here.


Sicario was another dudski.  It was all faux-ominous and faux-ratcheted-up-tension with this over-bearing brass-blast score and your standard take on the seedy, immoral, (yet-Hollywood alluring) drug trade.  Like, stop it Hollywood.  And don't give us the straw-man of Emily Blunt's protocol droid moral quandary.  I kind of found it sexist.  Like, it was so, "this is a MAN's world lady, and yeah, you could handle it for a bit, but you're breaking down when it comes time for MANLY MAN DRUG ILLEGAL STUFF TO HAPPEN?!?  MAN UP, LADY!"  At least, that's the subtext I got and I wasn't in for it.  The movie was totally forgettable other than for how sloppily it trades on tropes.

That pretty much brings us up to date (mostly).


This happened. 

Fin.

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