Sunday, April 13, 2008

A House Full of Girls

Kulani took this picture of me and the girls today before church. He saw us all dressed up in spring colors, and he wanted to take a picture of us in front of the few daffodils I planted last fall, which are now blooming. I love this picture. Poor Kulani--he's surrounded by girls, and he's a guy who's not accustomed to being around a lot of girls. He didn't have a bunch of sisters; just the one, and she's much older than him. But he's a great sport. Recently, Lilia has started wanting privacy while dressing, and she closes her eyes if she sees me dressing. It reminded me of my mom and grandma. My family isn't exactly shy about being half nude around each other. Well, actually it's my mom's side that isn't shy about nudity. Don't get me wrong; around others we don't even expose our midriffs, but with family, we let it all hang out. Let me provide the following humorous examples.
When I was about 9 my mom took me and my two youngest siblings to visit Grandma McEuen in California. We went to the beach one day, and all of us got sunburned. I was sleeping on Grandma McEuen's living room floor later that night when I awoke to see my grandma completely nude from the bellybutton up. My mom was applying aloe vera to her shoulders. No attempt at covering up was made when they saw I was awake. Then my mom bared her chest, and Grandma applied aloe vera to her shoulders. It was no twisted dream; it was life-scarring real life.
My mom never bothered to put on a robe when she exited her bathroom, so it was natural for us to see her nude growing up. We never saw my dad nude past maybe age 2 or 3 (when mom would plop us in the shower with him to save water and time; I have a few memories of me, B.J., and Dad showering together). But mom: common place. Kulani, on the other hand, never saw his mom even in her underwear. So Kulani was on his first visit to my home in Idaho while we were dating. He awoke on Sunday morning to shower and get ready for church. He was shocked to see my mom ironing her dress in nothing but her underwear. He was very embarrassed, but my mother thought nothing of it. Later he told me about how different that was from how he grew up. Thankfully he still wanted to marry me, and I hoped he'd shake the image of seeing my mom in her underwear before we got married.
But now that Nohea is getting older and is so fun, we're thinking maybe we'll try one more time for that boy. (No, we are not pregnant, so please don't ask.) And if it turns out to be another girl, all the merrier. Hopefully the girls will marry nice guys like their dad, then maybe Kulani will have some sympathy around here.

April Whimsy

April is a busy time around our house. Mine and Kulani's birthdays are both in April, as is our wedding anniversary. I'm one year closer to my goal of hitting 100 years old. I just know that if I can hold on until 100, I may be invited to the White House to get my picture taken with all the other people born in 1976 for the country's tricentennial. If my mind is gone by then due to Alzheimer's, will someone please nominate me on my behalf?

I love having a birthday. I don't care if I get presents, but I just love getting older. Thank you to all who sent me a birthday greeting or called or sent a card. I am very much appreciated. My little Lilia made me a nice gift with the following inside:

She said it's a picture of me and her shopping for flour (notice the flower picture on the package). I really like that we're wearing matching outfits in the picture. She can't quite spell yet, but she likes to copy letters. She also included a family movie ticket she created for when it's time for family movie night. Thanks, Lilia! Lissy and Nohea gave me hugs and kisses. Kulani got me a great triathlon bag, and he said I'm also getting new clipless road shoes with daisy socks, but he's saving that for our anniversary. I can't wait! We celebrated my birthday by going to Outback Steakhouse with our best buddies Lani, Patrick, and Alika. Michelle and Vivian also showed up. It was a great night with family and friends.

My mom has started a tradition of giving us $2 bills for each year we've been alive. So this year, I got 32 $2 bills. She always includes a poem with the money, and each year so far, the poem has changed. The poem this year is as follows:

Eyes and ears and socks and gloves,
Lips and hands and turtle-doves,
Feet and shoulders, cheeks and shoes
All these things come grouped in two's.

Our birthday wishes come that way.
Two hearts that love you want to say
We think you're great! Just Super Dandy!
Better than gold or chocolate candy.
We hope this year's a special one,
Filled with joy and lots of fun.

Our gift to you won't come as news.
By now, you should expect the two's $
And with the bucks come love and kisses
From your Idaho Patriarch and his Mrs.

My affection for my parents grows every year. I pretty much think they're just about the most perfect parents ever. My mom is always so cheerful and positive, and my dad is just a great listener and just great. My one birthday wish is that I can provide the same love and care for my kids as they did for me.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Best Movie Ever

So if you're going to have a post about the worst movie ever, you inevitably must have a post about the best movie ever. But for me, that's harder to admit. I mean, you're really putting your neck out there to say "This is THE best movie of all time," because it's hard to narrow it down to just one. But I'm going to try, and I think you'll be surprised at my winner.

To start out, I'd like to give a shout out to Kulani's favorite movie of all time: the Shawshank Redemption. I don't think that movie ever gets old. I love it too, but I will leave that movie to Kulani.

The first movie I ever saw that really affected me to the core was E.T. I saw it in the movie theaters when I was around 6 years old, and I had nightmares the rest of the summer. I hated the scene where E.T. is sick and white and on the verge of dying. When I was living with Grandma McEuen as a freshman, I watched E.T. again. I fell head-over-heals in love with it. I re-watched it right after having watched it, as if I was 7 again re-watching Disney's Robin Hood for the third time in a day. When the 2002 Olympics were in Salt Lake City, the host city also gets to host a lot of cultural events. So Steven Spielberg allowed E.T. to be shown at Abravanel Hall for the 20th anniversary of the release and for the Olympics. The two producers flew out to introduce the film and spoke a little bit about the magic behind making the film. I bought 10 tickets to attend the premiere, but not very many people were interested in going with me. I invited a few work associates, and gifted them the $10 tickets. I didn't enjoy the film as much, because I was nervous that the others wouldn't like it as much as I did. But even so, I think what spoke to me was the love between the boy and E.T. As prickly as I may appear on the outside, love is what really speaks to me when viewing art. And I don't mean love in the sense of "I'm falling in love with you," although that can definitely be part of it. But I'm thinking more in terms of charity--the pure love of Christ. So with that in mind, let's continue.

I was also in college when I discovered my affinity for It's a Wonderful Life. I'm pretty sure one of the most romantic scenes I've ever seen in any movie is when George Bailey and Mary are both talking to Mary's boyfriend and George's good friend on the same phone together. George is in a foul mood about having to stay in this "crummy little town," and the electricity between them is amazing, when he finally puts down the phone and turns to Mary and just starts kissing on her. The whole movie is just so absolutely, gut-wrenchingly sweet, but it pulls it off. The dialog and acting couldn't be better. And the overall message of the movie definitely wasn't lost on me.

And now for a different tone. I present to you a movie that has no overarching theme of love and forgiveness, but rather quite the opposite: The Godfather. The Godfather may be the textbook movie about how to get even. But if you love movies, as we do, The Godfather can't be overlooked. It's just a beautiful movie. It's a gripping story. And it's a classic. The Godfather was my gateway drug to other gangster films, which I craved watching for many years.

And finally, for my favorite movie of all time...brace's Forrest Gump. From start to finish, that movie gripped me and did not let go. It's simple and deep at the same time. Perhaps I see myself as a bit of a Forrest Gump-type person. Life seems somewhat easy. You have a few simple rules to live by, and you live by them. Others may think you are dumb, but what do they know? Two scenes that really get to me are when Forrest finds out he has a son, and the first thing he wonders about is whether his son is dumb like him. The way Tom Hanks reflects that in his face says it all: I don't want my boy to have to suffer the way I have. And then the next to last scene always does me in. Forrest is standing by Jenny's grave and he's talking to her, and in those few sentences he sums up pretty nicely the whole point of the movie, and coincedently, how I also feel about life: "Jenny, I don't know if Momma was right or if, if it's Lieutenant Dan. I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. Maybe both is happening at the same time." It brought back into focus the feather floating through the breeze motif. And the music in the movie--few movies have used music as well as Forrest Gump. It was like listening and watching a slice of Americana being served up ala mode. I just loved it.
So now I want to hear your favorite. Don't be shy. Defend it with your thoughts and own up to what is you.