Month: May 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Giving In

That makes it all sound so much more dramatic than it is. Ah, well. Sometimes I just do that.

So here’s what happened:

After more than two (2) years of cutting my own hair, I finally went ahead and got a Real Haircut. You can see from the pics above that I have been attempting the longer hair. Not long hair, because, well, I just don’t grow long hair. It tends to disintegrate soon after meeting my shoulders. But the hair I’ve been sporting for the last couple of years has been… longer. Until this week. Now it’s shorter again, which is where it belongs. Not short (that ruins my marriage). Just shorter. It’s  not yet available in a photographic-evidence sort of way, but maybe after a few more days (when I figure out how to “do” it – I’m still in that “Hey, how did she make my ends do like that?” phase). In general, it’s four inches shorter in the back, and can I  just give an “aaahhhhhh,” about that? To touch my hair and not have splinters of it come off in my hands? Lovely.

In the front, it’s a bit longer than chin-length, and if it were thick (or even thicker) hair, it would be chunky – long layers and whatnot. But it’s not thick. Or thicker. It’s baby hair. So it’s more like see-through than piece-y. But I love to feel it. Because it’s more healthy. And I like more healthy.

And now that you have the Becca’s Hair Update, you go ahead and feel free to carry on with the pieces of your lives.

Over and Out.

All the Answers

I’d never leave you hanging for days at a time wondering what in the world the Wilhites do during those long, long Frozen Mountaintop Winters. So here are the answers to my little bout of Movie Madness.

#1 is “What’s Up, Doc?” Starring the absolutely stunning Barbra Streisand. We love this film. And I put it first, because my Mom was a huge Babs fan, and Monday was her birthday. (My Mom’s. Not Babs’. As far as I know.) Watch it. No excuses. There’s a line about secret government underwear that makes my six-year-old son squeal.

#2 is “Ghostbusters.” That was my favorite show in high school. I can still (um, several years later) quote the entire thing. Even the parts I shouldn’t. These days I watch it to cure insomnia, because I rarely make it past “The flowers are still standing.”

#3 is “The Three Amigos.” If you (like Kim) weren’t allowed to watch this in your youth because of its crudity, well, I don’t know what to say about that. Except, yeah. But it’s so, so funny. And it has Phil Hartman in it, for just a minute. I *heart* Phil Hartman. Also, this was Martin Short’s first film. I’ve heard him say in an interview that Chevy Chase and Steve Martin told him they were wearing their Amigo costumes to the premier, and so he did and then they didn’t. I don’t know if that’s true, but it should be.

#4 is “Philadelphia Story.” This is the movie where you’ll understand why the world was in love with Katharine Hepburn. And why I’m still a little in love with Carey Grant. And Jimmy Stewart. Great dialog, and Miss Imbry has perfect hair.

#5 is “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?” You either love it, or you hate it, I think. I love it. I love the music, the crazy colorizing, the hair-jelly, the toad. *Sigh.* This approaches movie perfection for me.

#6 is the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I hope kids still watch this movie, now that TV stations don’t show films like this during December every year. Donna Reed is one of the most beautiful women ever captured on film (second maybe to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca – another one I adore and watch often – especially to covet her white suit dress in her first entrance at Rick’s. Love.).

#7 is “Little Women”. I love this movie. But not the book. Very seldom – okay, maybe never – will you see me say that. But here? Yeah. Can’t read it. It’s too dense and too long and too formal. Oh, but I love this version, with Wynona Ryder and Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale *heart*.

#8 is “The Princess Bride,” and if you didn’t know that, I have to say it: shame. Get it INSTANTLY and watch it until you have it memorized. Then buy the book. Read it. Out loud. To anyone who will listen. That will be all.

#9 is “Emma” (with Gwennyth Paltrow of the lanky neck). This is one of the only Jane Austen remakes that Husband has watched twice. (I think he’s seen the Ang Lee version of P&P twice – you know, to my seven hundred viewings.)

#10 is “Newsies.” Christian Bale again. Singing. At age 17. He is ridiculously adorable. And so is that Spot Conlan character. We love this so much that its soundtrack is one of the most popular playlists on my iPod.

And that is that. Thank you for playing!

passing the test

Words of Becca’s Wisdom for today:  Some stuff just stands the test of time.

I’m specifically thinking of movies right now – ones I’ve watched over and over with similar delight. Want to know what some of them are? How about I give you a hint (like three quotes from each)? Then, if you know what they are, tell me in the comments. And if you hate them as much as I love them, we’ll never, ever run out of things to talk about.

(*UPDATED TO ADD: All of this came straight out of my memory. I didn’t look up anything. So, all the mistakes are mine. But so are all the wasted brain cells!*)

1. “Bannister? As in sliding down the?”
“Roast beef. Double thick. Mustard on the top, mayo on the bottom and a bottle of diet anything.”
“This is a person named Eunice?”

2. “I collect spores, molds, and fungus.”
“Nobody steps on a church in my town.”
“Ray. If someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES.”

3. “It’s like living with a six-year-old.”
“Do you have anything besides Mexican food?”
“It’s a Tubman 601. I flew one in “Little Neddy Goes to War.””

4. “Mac the night watchman is a prince among men, and Uncle Willy is … a pincher.”
“Maybe it’s the ghost of Bridegroom Number One.”
“Don’t say “stinking.” If necessary, say smells. But only if necessary.”

5. “An entire gopher village.”
“Any of you gentlemen smithies, perhaps? If not smithies per se, otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts?”
“Of course it’s Pete. Look at him.”

6. “You call this a happy family? Why’d we have to have all these kids?”
“You don’t like coconuts? Say, brainless, don’t you know where coconuts come from?”
“I didn’t have time to get any fashionable underwear.”

7. “I do not wish to be courted by someone who is still in love with my sister.”
“I told you they dressed me up, but I didn’t tell you they powdered and squeezed and made me look a fashion plate.”
“How can such an extraordinary person expect to lead an ordinary life? Go. Embrace your freedom.”

8. “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.”
“Love her as I loved her, and there will be joy.”
“There are a shortage of perfect breasts in the world. It would be a pity to damage yours.”

9. “The Coles are nice people, but we’d have to go outside to get there.”
“Is it so much to ask, Lord, that if he cannot marry me, he simply remain single?”
“There is a shocking lack of satin.”

10. “He put an egg in his shoe… and beat it.”
“We need some of them – whaddaya call ’em? Ambastards?”
“It’s like the Waldorf out here.”

Hey – Want a Free Book?

I know, right? Duh. Who doesn’t want a free book? But here’s the thing. It’s not me who’s giving one away. Try this. Click here, on Ally Condie’s blog, to read the official blurb and synopsis of her upcoming book MATCHED. I have to tell you, I’ve read it (because I’m LUCKY that way) and it is remarkable. Ally is a gracious soul, and her grace pours through her writing. And make sure you zip over to her Home Page to see the cover (*gasp in delight*). May the random number generator be with you…

Buggin’

Terresa at the Chocolate Chip Waffle posted a list of things that irritate her this week. What could possibly be more fun than that? Here goes (and thanks, Terresa, for the inspiration on such a brain-dry day).

1. The Empty Bread Bag Mystery: Why is it that we must leave the empty bag in the bread cupboard? At a glance, it totally appears that there’s bread in there. But no. Just an empty bag. Related bugginess: the two-crumb tortilla chip conundrum and the toilet-paper tube dilemma.

2. Laziness. Mine. What a drag. Complete lack of motivation to work on my story when my head weighs approximately seventeen pounds.

3. Snot. ‘Nuff said.

4. Overscheduling: Why? Why do we all do this? Why must every recital, concert, playoff, test, and assignment fall in May? (And also December, but I’m so not there yet.)

5. The I-Should-Know-Better: When I eat sugar, I get cranky. Also fat. And my teeth hurt. So, duh. I shouldn’t. But I do. Also, when I eat a great deal of popcorn, I have guilt. And also fat. Similarly, when I yell at my kids, we all feel bad. So hey – here’s a thought: Don’t. Um? No deal.

6. My Kitchen Window Screen Issue: There are bugs trapped in there. Flies and wasps. In between the screen and the window. See, they can get in. But they can’t get out. Until I open the window to experience Spring (finally!) and then they join me at the kitchen sink. Delightful.

7. Blisters: I put on sandals on Sunday for our family walk. Ouch. Really? And every pair of my shoes touches that spot. Yep. Both feet. Boo.

What’s buggin you?

And Thank You Very Much

“Aw, buddy,” his Daddy said, “You’ve been holding on to that cold for too long.”
“It’s time to give it away. Go share it.” Ha. Ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha.

So he gave it to me.

Not the gentle, nose-running cold.

The throat-scraped-raw,
Eyelashes-on-fire
Oh, my hair hurts
Sinus infection
Kind of cold.

And today I can’t talk.
Only sort of squeak, sort of whisper.
And can’t take a sick day, because now Daddy has the flu. (Ha. Ha-ha.)

But it’s pretty quiet around here, just the same.

It’s Not a Rant, Exactly.

I’ve been doing loads of writing this week – just not the blogging kind. The BOOK kind. Manuscript is growing! We’re at 60% word count now. I know, right? It’s excellent. However, one of my main boy characters has a place-holder name (because I sort of just spewed a name out there), and I want to change it to something more interesting. I even had something in mind. But yesterday I read a book (mostly yesterday, some of it the day before) that had a guy named ______ (that name I was thinking) and I didn’t like the book, and I’d really hate for anyone to connect them. Strangely, the 2 main characters in that book had names of two of the major characters in a classic MG historical fiction that I love (okay, I’ll quit being so vague – the one I love is “Nory Ryan’s Song”) but I didn’t really make that connection until I was doing dishes this morning. So maybe nobody would connect – but he needs a different name anyway.

Isn’t it funny how hard I worry about naming my characters? Honestly? This is harder than naming my children was. Of course, they’re named Kid 1, Kid 2, Kid 3, and Kid 4, so how hard could that have been?

Back to the topic of the book I didn’t like: Am I just grumpy? Because this book was probably good. It certainly has a gorgeous and dramatic cover. It’s very sellable right now. But maybe what I need to say is this: If you’re writing paranormal romance, please give me something new. I don’t mean rewrite The Story with a new Fictionalized Monster Who’s Misunderstood Or Just Not So Bad – give me something really different. “But, Becca, Wait!” you say. “Nobody’s done Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Mermaids! This is Different!” Okay, I’ll say. It’s maybe different. But not if the girl, who lives in a strangely cold and weathery place, suddenly receives romantic attentions from Dangerous Guy, who turns out to have magic powers/be undead/want to eat her. And then he saves her from the Real Danger. I’m done with that plot. I am SO not talking about one series here. If you think I am and just trying to hide it, ask me for specifics. I can think of 4 books I’ve read very lately that follow this line. And I’m not pinging on anyone in particular, least of all Someone who May have made a great deal of money in recent years writing very popular teen paranormal romance. Because my take on that is, good for her. Or him. You know.

Is it completely unfair of me to ask this? Probably. Because I write romantic comedies. Characters generally follow the same lines in my books: There is a goal. Something/someone is in the way. There is laughing. A little kissing. Sometimes a bit of crying. And ice cream. (I think everyone in all of my books eats ice cream. This is why there are no Zombie Mermaids: it’s a refrigeration issue.) My books have happy endings. So maybe I’m formula, too. And maybe it’s crazy for me to expect new books to be vastly different than the ones that have been selling like mad. But hey, what can I say? Sometimes I’m a girl who demands the illogical.

Burning Bushes

When Moses was shepherding his father-in-law’s flocks, he saw a bush on fire, flaming but not being consumed. He found that a little strange. He said to himself, I’m going to take a minute and check this out. Because here’s something you don’t see every day. I wonder why the bush isn’t burnt?

Because he stopped and because he looked, the Lord spoke to Moses out of the bush. He called him by his name, because that’s what the Lord does, and he asked Moses to take off his shoes. “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning said:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

How do I become the one who sees? Can I figure out when the presence of God is near, when I’m on Holy Ground, and remove my shoes? How can I find the divine in the drudgery?

When my kids were little, needy and demanding and helpless, I’m afraid my first reaction to a burning bush would be to toss a bucket of water on it. One more emergency to deal with. One more demand on my time and sanity.

When they were bigger, I think my reaction would be different. All right you people. Who has been playing with matches? You know the rules. You’re all busted.

Some days, don’t you feel too tired to care? After work and dinner and cleaning and dishes and homework and dentist appointments and practices and laundry and family night and concerts and presidency meetings and emergency room visits and games and meets and matches and scripture study, could you (like I could) look over your shoulder as you flop onto the couch and say, “Huh. That bush is on fire. Hope it doesn’t singe the furniture. Pass the remote.”

And when the kids are grown and gone, are there times we peek under beds and search out fingerprinty windows, desperate to regain a tiny portion of that sweet innocence, only to ignore the flaming bush in the middle of the room?

The Lord wants us to recognize the “great sight” in our path. He rewarded Moses for turning aside, seeking out the miracle. We will also be rewarded for seeking out the miracles.

There are plenty of barefoot moments in motherhood. Some of them are messy, some of them are funny; some are precious and sweet and sacred. All these moments testify that God is near.

Do you remember the first time you took your fussy baby out of church and walked the halls, muttering about why am I doing this? I’m getting nothing out of these meetings, and we’re disturbing everyone within a fifty-foot radius only to have that little person hang over your shoulder, lean behind you, point to a painting of the Savior and say “Jesus.” Remember that you didn’t even think that child knew that word? Remove thy shoes.

Remember the time you came downstairs because you heard someone crying? Grumble, grumble – these kids are always fighting. I’ll give them something to cry about. Here you come, ready to dispense justice, and find your youngest cradled in the arms of an older sibling who’s kissing away the hurt and coaxing a smile and a laugh from behind the tears. Take thy shoes from off thy feet.

Remember that one time – that one time – you got that note, that email, that text that said, “Thank you, Mom”? Remove thy shoes.

And watch them, as adults, choose each other as best friends. See them seeking out each others’ company. Listen to them laugh together, remembering the happy times that are buried somewhere in your memory, under piles of muddy shoes and broken dishes and dents in cars and angry words. The memories are there. Take thy shoes from off thy feet.

We can train our eyes to see the “bush afire with God” – to notice the things that could not be, without the influence of the Lord. If I want that gift, that ability, I only need to ask for it, to work for it. To write it down when I see it.

And when we stop, and remove our shoes from off our feet, we can hear the Lord call us by name and remind us that the place we stand is holy ground, the position we hold is ordained of God, the people we nurture are really His children.

(*I wrote this last year for a Mother’s Day weekend event. Since maybe three people read my blog last year, I’m willing to risk a rerun.)