July 28

Star Trek Beyond

I guess I’m a Trekkie at heart. I grew up watching the original series on late-night reruns, could recite the intro monologue complete with Shatner-esque pauses, and wanted to be Mr. Spock (pointy ears and all). Truth be told, while I love all things Star Wars now, I’d never even seen its original trilogy until my now-husband and I started dating in the mid-90s (just admitting that makes me think I need to hand in my nerd card). Still I would have said I didn’t favor one franchise over the other, as so many seem to treat them as dichotomies, until I saw Star Trek Beyond, which surprisingly topped the box office this past weekend. That’s not to say that the latest Trek installment is better than Star Wars, but its effect was more visceral for me at least.

Here’s my SPOILER-FREE review:

Star Trek Beyond is a beauty aesthetically – the special effects nearly steal the show – and given the way the camera lingers on shots of constructs – I’m guessing it’s what the director is most proud of. The film has a bit of a slow start and takes a while to set up the plot. But once the action starts it doesn’t stop. That nonstop action, in space no-less, keeps the movie moving even when some portions of the plot don’t quite make sense. What really awoke the Trekkie in me was a pretty intense … er, um, death of sorts (I’m trying not to give too much away) that, to me at least, rivals Han Solo’s demise in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (surely that’s not a spoiler by now).

From imdb.com
From imdb.com

Chris Pine delivers once again as Captain James Tiberius Kirk. If you remember back to when he first took the role Bridge, there was some question whether he was playing Kirk or playing Shatner, who so many saw as the epitome of the Captain. Despite my childhood nostalgia, I was never one to say there can be no other Kirk. And Pine really comes into his own in this film. There’s an exchange between him and Bones (aka Dr. McCoy), where Bones says Kirk joined Star Fleet to live up to his father and now he’s just trying to figure out who he is. That insight parallels Pine’s growth in the role, I think. Pine isn’t playing Shatner playing Kirk here; he is worthy of the Captain’s Chair.

From imdb.com
From imdb.com

I have a harder time being objective (or logical, ironically) about Spock. Zachary Quinto does a fine job I suppose. I guess my human side just has a soft spot for Leonard Nimoy.

From imdb.com
From imdb.com

I spent a large part of the movie either laughing at Bones or thinking Karl Urban was a bit over-the-top. There seemed to be no happy medium.

From imdb.com
From imdb.com

John Cho’s Sulu doesn’t get enough credit, though he does get a good line or two. I had a hard time watching Chekov on stage without thinking of the actor’s untimely demise (RIP Anton Yelchin).

From imdb.com
From imdb.com

Zoe Saldana’s Uhura gets to show off her strong, loyal side, and not just to her odd couple love interest Spock.

From imdb.com
From imdb.com

Of course, my second favorite character (after Spock) was always Scottie. He was always so loveable, so long as you didn’t mess with his baby, the USS Enterprise. I adore funny-man Simon Pegg in the role. He also co-penned the script this time around, which is evident with the number of one-liners (both the humorous and the poignant ones).

Those one-liners, along with the special effects and intense action, make for an enjoyable movie. Plus, there’s a pretty epic battle sequence set to the soundtrack of “Sabotage” cued up by a trademark-confident Kirk’s, “Let’s make some noise.”

So this nerd thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek Beyond. Though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I still prefer a good superhero movie over all the space racket. Lucky for me, neither Marvel nor DC show any signs of slowing down on bringing their comic book characters to life on the big screen.  The next big superhero … well sort of … film is Suicide Squad. No doubt it will have its own “noise” in the form of action and chaos along with a healthy dose of one-liners. Suicide Squad is expected to be pretty epic and is set to open in theaters on August 5.

July 25

Award-Winning! The Liebster Award


Well, I’m not sure I can pronounce the name correctly but thankfully no one can hear me on the Internet. This blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award!

The Liebster Award, created in 2011, is given to bloggers by bloggers in order to welcome and/or promote the nominated blog. Fantasy author Timandra Whitecastle nominated me on her blog. Thanks a ton, Timandra!

To receive the award, the nominated blogger should post a blog update that does the following (see full rules here):

(1) Thanks the person who nominated you – Thanks again, Timandra!

(2) Answer the 11 questions the nominator asked – done! Scroll down past the important stuff. 🙂

(3) Give 11 random facts about yourself (optional) – also done! See below as well.

(4) Nominate 5-11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers AND give them 11 questions to answer. I nominate Kylie Payne, Sarah Simmons, Brian Rhodes, Darlene Campbell, Candy Mickels Mejia, and Kristin O’Keefe. Here are 11 questions for you all to answer:

  1. What book are you reading right now? Are you liking it?
  2. On average, how many books do you read a month? Is it more or less than you’d like?
  3. What is your all-time favorite book?
  4. What is your all-time favorite movie?
  5. Which fictional character (from any medium: book, TV, medium) best represents you (i.e., who would you be if you were a character)?
  6. Have you ever watched a book-based movie that was better than the book it was based on? If so, which one?
  7. Which do you prefer: reality TV or not? (Or no TV at all)?
  8. Other than your blog, do you have a writing project/work-in-progress? If so, what’s it about? What’s your plan for when you’re finished?
  9. Why do you write? And follow-up: why do you blog (is it the same reason or different goal)?
  10. Batman or Superman? (Or Wonder Woman?) (Or some other comic book character you’re crazy about)? (Or are you more of a Marvel vs. DC person)?
  11. What’s your best advice for other bloggers?

And here are my answers to Timandra’s (great!) questions:

  1. What book are you reading right now? I just re-read The Fifth Wave in preparation for the last in the trilogy. I loved it the first time I read it and was really disappointed with the movie; but the book is just as good second time around. I’ve got the third and final installment lined up for my beach trip next week, along with the first of Lauren Kate’s Fallen Series and David J. Kowalski’s The Company of the Dead.
  2. If you could meet a fictional character in real life, who would it be? I have to pick just one?? I’ve got some tied contenders: Superman (sorry, Timandra, I know you’re a Batman gal but my obsession with Superman runs pretty deep – just poke around my blog a little bit and you’ll see that). Harry Potter/Hermione/Ron (I know that’s technically three, but I’d want to just hang around them all).  Sherlock Holmes (though I’ll admit that there’s a strong possibility he’d drive me bonkers). Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush saga (but really just to ogle him a little while; am I right, MorganMorganMorgan?!).
  3. Which short story have you read recently? “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut.
  4. What extra would you love as an addition to your favorite fantasy book: awesome map(s) or cut scene(s)? Cut scenes, most definitely. Many fantasy books include maps already (or I draw them out in my mind while reading), but I’d like to see a little further inside the minds of the creator by way of cut scenes (of course then I’d just obsess about why said scenes were cut).
  5. If you could travel to the places described in a book you’ve read – where would you choose to go? Middle Earth. I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando twice; the first time was by myself in early December one year when there was hardly anyone there and it felt very real to me. I’ve also been to London for the Studio Tour and felt immersed in that world. But I’ve yet to experience to experience Middle Earth. Somebody needs to get on that.
  6. Insider tip for someone visiting your area? Don’t attempt to drive and/or park downtown during a biker rally (which seems to happen multiple times a year). Pokemon Go may be having the same effect on walking in that area.
  7. What is the most extreme thing you’ve ever done? I feel like you mean skydiving or some kind of extreme sport but I’m either too sane or too chicken to do stuff like that. So I’m going to go with waking my entire family up at midnight to break down camp in total darkness and drive the hour trip home because I couldn’t handle the loud snoring of a neighboring camper.
  8. Batman or Superman? (Or Wonder Woman?) Superman, always and of course (see number 2 above).
  9. What’s your favourite thing about blogging? Emptying my mind of whatever currently consumes it.
  10. Can you describe your blog in 5 words or less? Random, honest and funny (hopefully).
  11. Best advice for other newbie bloggers? Figure out why you blog and be true to that. Do you blog to be known? To develop a following? To spread a message? Or just to write? I started my blog way back when just to write (see number 9). Every time I’ve tried to shift away from that (to find a niche, get more followers, or whatever), my blog (and my writing) has suffered (either through sucky content or no content at all). Stick to you. There’s only one of you.

Finally, here are 11 random facts about me – I did a “random things about me” list years ago but people change so …

  1. I just finished my first book! I’ve had several WIPs for most of my adult life but finally finished a complete draft of one of them. It’s on the second version now and out to beta readers for comments/suggestions.
  2. I hate talking on the phone.
  3. I like naps (daylight makes me sleepy).
  4. I love teaching college students but often feel funny calling myself a teacher since I could never teach younger students (those people are saints!).
  5. I really liked law school (probably because I’m a nerd and like learning) but hated being a lawyer (probably because of number 1).
  6. I regularly plan to start my PhD (I even took the GRE again earlier this year) but have yet to actually do it.
  7. I’m starting to think I’m neither an introvert nor an extrovert. I can be either depending on my moody. Yes, I’m moody.
  8. I quit my “coke habit” (Coca-Cola, that is), for good a year-and-a-half ago, now drinking diet sodas and unsweet tea in between trying to get my daily water intake (64 ounces a day is easier than I thought but I still don’t like it).
  9. I love to eat but have to “feel like” cooking. The result is that I graze on deli meat without the bread and saltine crackers all day long. My kids are unfortunately developing similar habits.
  10. I have a bearded dragon named Smaug. We also have 3 dogs, a snake, two tarantulas and will be adding a bird soon. I like pets.
  11. I used to be a runner and know sign language. Neither of those things are like riding a bike, hence the “used to.”

I had so much fun putting this post together. Hope you enjoyed it too!

July 1

Adventures with spiders

I’ve been working on what I call the “blog book” a lot lately. It’s the “parenting book” I’m writing, using a lot of stories I’ve blogged about before. So, pretty much out of necessity, there’s been a lot of looking back on old posts and a little uncontrollable nostalgia. Then, this morning, one of those Facebook memories popped up from when we sold our farm house.

Two years ago, we moved from Austin (a little town north of Cabot, Arkansas) to Hot Springs, moving from the country to suburbia. I’d blogged about how the kids reacted to news of our move (Our Next Adventure) and looking back now, the story’s even funnier to me.

Wonder Boy was excited to no longer share a room with his “stinky” older brother. This is funny because Wonder Boy’s room most often has a “sweaty boy” smell to it, while the worst thing in brother’s room is excessive dog hair. And neither room tops the Girl’s, with its constant tornado-ran-through-here status and stench from the Chihuahua’s bad breath (seriously, it’s so strong it can stink up a room).

The Professor was distraught, worried that he takes too long to make friends and would never be happy. I remember the first day in the new house, he hid behind the couch almost in tears, rather than go out and introduce himself to neighborhood boys. Now, he’s got some of the best friends he’s ever had and won’t even joke about ever moving again.

The Girl was never really the farm type to begin with. She’s never liked getting sweaty and regularly complained about all the critters and pests (she has this exaggerated fear of dead spiders … really, it’s the dead ones that bother her, smh).  So I’m pretty sure she was genuinely happy when we said we were moving. That and her being worried about her brother’s lack of enthusiasm, she said, “It’ll be like an adventure, but without the spiders and such.” When I read that quote again this morning, I laughed out loud. Since moving to Hot Springs, dad has acquired two new … pets … tarantulas. He captured the first in our driveway, bought a habitat for it and stuck it on our bookshelf. Then, as if one wasn’t enough, he special ordered the second one (which I might add, is actually pretty cool looking).

So basically we moved out of the country and brought all the critters indoors. Well, she was right: every day is an adventure … with spiders.

June 22

Why Do I Write?

Author’s note: I’m a member of an online community called Becoming Writer. This week’s cafe question asked participants to answer “Why do you write?” I sat down to type up a reply and opened a can of worms. Might as well share it here.

I have a love-hate reaction to this question. Any time someone asks why I write, or even what I’m writing, I feel something between all the air being sucked out and me and a child who’s so excited and has to pee and just can’t take the time and can’t stop talking and …

Either stone-faced panic or rambling.

I’m probably doing it now.

There are so many little reasons why I write, but they may just be symptoms of the bigger cause. When I try to verbalize this to others, I feel at a loss for words … and I’m NEVER at a loss for words. It’s like one of life’s great ironies … ooh, ask Stephanie about her writing and watch her go … speechless.  Ha, ha, ha. Very funny, Universe.

I write because I love words. I love stories. I even love grammar.

I write, as one participant said, to not forget. Much of my blog is dedicated to preserving memories with my children.

I write, as another said, to get out of my head. I spend way too much time here.

I write, as another said, for therapy. Who doesn’t?

I write, as yet another said, because the story’s always changing. That’s what keeps things interesting.

I write because … because … because …

Because I can’t not. When I’m not writing, the words don’t stop. They float around in my head (I envision a wide-open empty space up there … perhaps with a few cobwebs in corners), giggling and dancing around. Maybe they start out as cuter versions of those mucus monsters from that medicine commercial. And then more join. And then more. And then more. What, on a good day after writing, started out as fun gathering of close friends turns into a mosh pit at the worst metal band concert of all time (or what I imagine that would be like since I’ve never actually seen a mosh pit … no comment on the worst metal band concert). Then it’s all crowded and overbearing and every gasp for air only fills my nostrils with the stench of sweat. And then someone turns ups the heat, raising the sweaty word-bodies up like water just about ready to boil over. But just when I think the edge is near to provide some relief, like little droplets that run down the side of the pot, there’s no longer any water … instead the word-bodies are now the hard-boiled eggs whose cook forgot to turn off the heat. Crackle. Singe. Pop. BAM.

Have you ever tried to clean exploded, dried, over-cooked, egg off of a wall? It’s no fun.

That’s what my brain feels like when I don’t empty out the words …

The truth is, I’m never empty of words. Even when I struggle getting the words on paper, which happens a lot, they’re always there, always replenishing. And that’s a good thing. I just have to write to keep the ones that live up there to a manageable mass.

Otherwise, somebody’s going to have to scrub exploded, dried, over-cooked Stephanie brain off of a wall. And, despite being headless, it’d likely be me on clean-up duty. Cue the “ain’t nobody got time for that” meme.

Category: Writing | LEAVE A COMMENT
May 21

Out with the Old, In with the New

May is a time of endings and new beginnings; this truth is never more evident than with high school and college graduations. But even without a current graduate* in the house, we’ve had our own share of endings and beginnings this month.  (Technically, Bryan graduates in July with his Doctorate of Nursing Practice!)  Truth be told, that’s why I haven’t had much time to write as of late.

I was busy reviewing portfolios and compiling final grades for my spring composition class. Once that was done, I started in on preparation for the summer class I’m teaching online starting next Monday. While online teaching has many benefits, in some ways it requires more work: you have to anticipate questions and prepare for everything to be presented to students in writing … no longer able to just save some things for live discussion. This past week, I’ve been knee deep in lesson modules, content folders, assignment links, and discussion forums – on top of drafting syllabi, project assignment sheets and lecture notes/slideshows. Fortunately, I’m a nerd for that kind of stuff.

This month has brought many other transitions as well. We said goodbye to Aunt Bee after more than 8 years, trading her in for a spaceship. Okay, not really. But when I’m sitting in the cockpit (driver’s seat) of my new, bright white Dodge Durango Citadel, I feel like I might take flight. The verdict is still out on a name for my new toy/family vehicle, and I’ll consider all suggestions. For some reason, I keep thinking of Stormtroopers, but they’re bad so that can’t be it. The Girl cried at leaving Aunt Bee behind; her heart hurt for Aunt Bee’s inanimate feelings.

RIP Aunt Bee
RIP Aunt Bee

The almost 9yo said goodbye to his crooked teeth (literally, he said, “goodbye crooked teeth” in the car before going in to the orthodontist) and got what will likely be just the first round of braces to correct teeth and an under-bite. He didn’t cry but was clearly nervous; I had to hold his hand the whole time.

How adorable is he?!
How adorable is he?!

Bryan has decided he’s going bald. Well, let me clarify: he’s been going bald for years. Now he’s just decided to embrace it and maybe help things along a bit. He’s been going every week or so and getting a closer buzz, working his way up to a Mr. Clean look.

Perhaps one of the saddest changes was the night the almost 16yo brought this picture from her room to ours:

Noah's Ark
Noah’s Ark

Pepa purchased this painting for the Girl’s room when she was still growing in my belly. It’s been in every room of hers in every house we’ve ever owned ever since. Now, as she fills her walls with fandom posters, pics of friends and other random teenage girl decorations, she no longer has a place for Noah. I’ll admit, it was my turn to tear up a bit.

Endings can be bittersweet, but change is a part of life. And so are kids growing up. Here’s to the beginnings that follow endings. And a really cool spaceship.

May 3

The Evil Doubt Fairy

Not too long ago, I had a really productive day. That’s meant to sound like an anomaly, because, sadly, they don’t happen for me very much anymore. I’ve talked before about how I used to kick the proverbial butts of to-do lists on a regular basis, but, in the last 5-10 years seem to have lost my get-it-done mojo. So, a week or so ago, when I wrote more than 5000 words IN ONE DAY toward my parenting book project, I was on cloud nine … for a little while.


Then darkness came.

No, really, it was night. I was lying in bed, trying to go to sleep, when I became overwhelmed with doubt. What do I know about parenting? What can I say that hasn’t been said before? Why would anyone listen to me? Who cares what I have to say? Today was a complete waste. My words are useless. I might as well give up.

I’m not exaggerating. If anything, the above doesn’t convey the depths of my despair. And I didn’t write words for days.

A few days later I was sharing my woes with a fellow Tribe Writer, and she said, “Sorry you were visited by the evil doubt fairy.” It seems like such a trivial thing, but knowing she “got me” was really helpful. It reminded me that all writers go through periods of productivity and doubt. I just need to work on increasing the recurrences of my productive periods and, as she continued, “tell the evil doubt fairy to stuff it.”

It’s time to revoke the invitation to the evil doubt fairy. Doubt is no longer welcome to come and hang out with me.

How about you? How do you beat the evil doubt fairy? Share your tips in the comments.

Category: Writing | LEAVE A COMMENT
April 18

Faith Required

Remember that saying about best laid plans? I feel like this is the story of my life. I recently made a decision (much like flipping a coin but it took a lot of debating in my head) as to which writing project I was going to focus on. See, my problem isn’t lack of ideas … isn’t getting words on paper … but that’s not the point of this post. Okay, so after much debate (some of which hubs had to listen to), I decided to focus on gathering stories from this blog to put together a book on parenting. Of course I’m no supermom; I was just thinking, “hey, I’ve been doing this for a while now and they’re still alive, so why not, right?”


Over the past couple of weeks (pretty much since the coin flip) , we’ve had some …erm, issues … arise that have thrown me for a loop. Parenting is hard, y’all. There’s no instruction manual. Every kid is different. Yada, yada, yada. So what do we, as parents, do when something comes up and we feel blindsided or out of our depth? Where do we turn?

To God.

Seriously, I don’t know how I would have made it lately without faith, without knowing that God is for me … and my kids. (He’s for you, too!) Praise music helps me remember this. Even when I wanted to cry, I’d feel so much joy driving down the road listening to Lauren Daigle.

These past weeks have reminded me that my children, even when they drive me crazy, are blessings. God entrusted them to me. But He didn’t just say, “Have at it; you’re on your own.” He’s with me every step of the way. Rather than leaning in to Him only when the going gets tough; I should keep Him at the center of every step. He should be on my mind and in my heart not only when I tell my children how much I love them, but also when I’m disciplining or having the tough conversations.

And I need to be sure I tell them how much He loves them too: how His love is infinitely more perfect and true than mine could ever be even though I’m their mother.

We don’t need to be super-parents. We just need to trust in Him.

April 7

Calling all Hot Springs’ writers!

What motivates you to write? Do you have a favorite writing spot? Or certain music to type along to?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I used to have so much more motivation and focus than I do now; though I’m not 100% certain, I often blame having children for my diminishing productivity. But how can I still blame them when they’re out of the house?! So, I’ve been taking steps recently to build back my writing habit.

One thing I’ve always been interested in is writing groups. Not so much a club, like school days of old, but more like what I imagine Tolkien and Lewis did in the Oxford days. From what I understand about the Inklings, the group would meet regularly to read/discuss/critique each other’s work, or simply to write in each other’s presence.

As I sit here at Starbucks, I wonder how many of those around me with laptops are doing the same thing I am. Perhaps that’s just another way my mind distracts me from purpose, but nonetheless, there’s something about knowing that the people you are with are working towards similar goals that pushes us. Maybe it’s accountability, maybe it’s encouragement; but, hey, whatever works, right?

I’ve been looking for a similar group near me but am not sure they exist. A colleague from UALR (who now works at UCA) used to post on Facebook about writers meeting, but that was in the Little Rock area. I also recently discovered that Hot Spring Village has a writer’s club. I’m planning to visit their next meeting, but, based on a review of their website, I’m not sure they spend time writing together.

So if you’re a writer in the Hot Springs area, and you’d be interested in this type of group, I’d love to hear from you!

March 25

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Updated 4/1/16 (see below).

Yesterday was the day I’d been waiting for with mixed emotions: the premiere of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Thrilled to once again see my beloved superhero on the big screen; anxious at the possibility of him being relegated to second best by that annoying bat. Don’t get me wrong: I like Batman. I like him a lot. But I love Superman more. I got over initial qualms about Man of Steel nearly three years ago and ended up loving it. So, this time, despite my mixed feelings, I was excited for the premiere.

Now, having seen the movie, I still have mixed emotions, just different ones.

I don’t know how movie reviewers do write ups without spoiling the whole shebang. To tell you everything I loved and didn’t love (hate is too strong a word) about the movie would give it all away. My intention is to keep this post SPOILER-FREE. It will not, however, be unbiased; I’ve already told you I love Supes. You’ve been warned.

All I could say last night after the movie:


So, I realize my “verdict” isn’t exactly a raving review, but it’s the best I could come up with at the time. Every moment I lay awake trying to fall asleep and every moment I awoke during the night was consumed with thoughts of the movie. Yes, I’m a big nerd; we’ve established this already.

Director Zack Snyder is a comic book guy … meaning he knows his source material. The movie stays true to a couple of major comic book arcs of days gone by. That’s good or bad, depending on whether you liked those arcs. Part of my issue last night was I was remembering one of those arcs slightly wrong, which threw me into a silent, sulking tailspin until my tired but geeky brain reconnected the dots correctly.

Here’s what matters:


Cavill is super again; in fact, he’s even better the second time around. Yes, he can be my Superman.





Affleck does just fine as a crusty old Batman.





Gadot rocks it as Wonder Woman (shut your face, all you “too skinny” body shamers).





And, as for Eisenberg as Alexander Luthor: I think he’s the character folks are going to be the most divided over: either loving his portrayal or not. I think he knocked it out of the park. Anybody complaining probably just didn’t like his hair (or simply that he had any), which is about as silly as me hating on Amy Adams for not being a brunette.


The things I worried about going in to the movie:

  1. That the powers that be would make movie-studio-golden-boy Batman somehow defeat my Superman, thereby answering the age-old question of “who would win in a fight” in Technicolor and 3D for all the world to see.
  2. That the movie would essentially be another Batman movie, of which we’ve had PLENTY. Can’t my boy get his day in the sun without being overshadowed by batwings?
  3. That the next generation of fanboys (and girls), i.e., kids, will pick the Bat over the Boy Scout. It seriously bothers me that kids don’t want to be Superman anymore. I know, first world problems.

Those same worries after the movie:

  1. Without getting too much into it and spoiling the whole thing, I’ll just say I’m satisfied with how this played out. That’s it; I can’t say any more than that.
  2. The first 20 minutes is all Batman. Granted, it’s a 2 and ½ hour movie, but still. Also, Affleck gets top billing. And, of course, it’s Batman vs. Superman, instead of the other way around.
  3. [Intentionally omitting a response because anything I say will give too much away].

Things I worry about now, having seen the movie:

  1. There will be MORE Batman movies. More movies where he’s the center of attention. I shouldn’t be hating on any superhero movie potential. And, I’ll see them all, of course. It’s just, see the first #3 above.
  2. Of course, that first one is in direct contradiction to this second worry: That those movie reviewers I mentioned earlier will flex their critical muscles, focusing on negative opinions and scare people off. Basically, that bad reviews will put a damper on, maybe even kill our chances of seeing more of the same and new DC heroes brought to life. I don’t want to have to wait another 30 years to see Supes on the big screen.
  3. That the average movie-goer, the non-comic-booker, basically the masses, will think that … or even that …. (yeah, I can’t really share that either, though I bet the comic-booker knows what I’m not saying).

So, yeah, I need to see it again. And I think everyone should go see it, critics be damned. Come on, folks, don’t kill my Superman.

Update 4/1/16, after second viewing:

So I was finally able to go see the movie for a second time yesterday, and I’m so glad I did. The second time around was infinitely better. Perhaps it was because there were no surprises and the shock had worn off, although I still cried at parts. Nevertheless, it was even better the second time around, and I’d go again in a heartbeat. THAT’S  why it breaking all the box office records. So, in my best Shawn & Gus sing-songy voice (Psych) to critics and haters: suck it.

Category: Movies | LEAVE A COMMENT
March 18

If Cars Could Talk

I think we’re all feeling a little nostalgic about Aunt Bee. Not the original Aunt Bee.

Image credit: IMDB.

See, that’s what we call the van.  She’s getting on up there in years and, with her dents and dings and moans and groans, she always seems frazzled and on the verge of breaking down. But, nevertheless, she always comes through for us. And, sometimes, there’s cookies. Okay, not really on the cookies (unless we buy them), but hopefully you get my point.


Aunt Bee joined the family when the 8yo was just 6 months old. Even still, the older two barely remember the family vehicle we had before (a white jeep Grand Cherokee that could handle my curb attraction a bit better). She’s pushing 200 thousand miles and seems to need some sort of work every other month, but she’s hard to let go. I keep saying she’ll have to quit on us before we quit on her. Now, 8 years and 200k isn’t bad for a vehicle, and it sure is nice not having a car payment for years. There’s a line from the first Indiana Jones movie, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Well, where Aunt Bee is concerned, it may not be the years, or the mileage, but the … experiences.

You see, Aunt Bee has not only been there for the raising of three children. She’s also survived at least 6 moves, countless road trips (with and without dogs), carpools with friends, and a wide variety of live and inanimate cargo – from instruments to sports equipment to furniture to household pets to farm animals. Over the years, Aunt Bee has toted humans, dogs, birds, lizards, snakes, spiders (!), mice, dairy goats, chickens, and rabbits. And I’m still likely forgetting something.

But it’s not just what she’s carried; it’s what she’s “seen.” There’s a “conversation mirror” on the outside of the sunglasses holder, just above the rearview mirror.


It’s been a surprisingly nice little feature, allowing me to truly have eyes in the back of my head (something all mothers need at times). The other day, the Girl said we needed to install a wide-view camera to capture all the conversations and happenings that take place within the van. I think she may be on to something. Lord knows a good majority of my blog material has occurred in that setting.

Take for instance, the latest random conversation:

This past weekend, we traveled to Birmingham to visit family. While on our way to dinner with Mema and Danny, we picked up on an earlier conversation Mema had been having with the kids. No, not one about grades or school or friends. No, that’d be too normal. Instead, they’d been talking about who would do what job after the apocalypse. Because it’s always good to plan ahead.

So, Mema would be the cook. The Girl is supposed to be studying up on plants so she can be the resident Neville Longbottom in the event the world as we know it ends. Apparently they’d decided that Boy Genius (or the Professor, or Turdnugget, depending on his attitude) needed to study up on alternative fuels but he’d rejected that appointment. He wanted to be the hunter or basically do something with guns. Now, I’m the executioner: I’ll be the one to decide if you’re an asset or a liability. If you’re good for the community, you get to stay/live; if not you’re outta here. The Girl did not like this idea at all; she’s got too big a heart. She doesn’t think anybody should be killed for any reason; don’t even get her started on inevitable cannibalism!

Well, when her brother started arguing about not liking his assigned job, I said, “Dude, I’m gonna have to kill you.” Thinking he could play to sentimentality, he whined, “But I’m your son; you couldn’t kill me.” To which his sister piped up: “I could. I couldn’t kill anybody, but I’d kill you.” Silence. Then laughter.

So it’s probably a good thing there’s no camera in Aunt Bee. And clearly my nostalgia for her will go out the window when she stops being useful.

But we’ll always have cookies.