November 2009

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Rize

“We’re not gonna be clones of the commercial hip-hop world because that’s been seen for so many years.  Somebody’s waitin’ on something different,  another generation of kids with morals and values.  They won’t need what’s being commercialized or tailor-made for them…custom-made, because I feel that we’re custom-made.  And we’re of more value than any piece of jewelry or any car or any big house that anybody could buy.”   Though the quotation is from Tiger Eyez, all of the young people in this moving and fascinating documentary film from David LaChapelle represent his beliefs.  These are young people literally dancing for change in a place filled with violence, irreverence, and complacency.  The place they call home.

That fact really rung out for me.  Home.  Though we never had much money growing up, we always had enough.  We also lived in a neighborhood that was mostly free of violence and crime, as well.  I can only imagine what it would be like to have home be a place where I worry about getting enough (of anything) or that I am mistaken for another person and shot dead on a street corner.  What would I do?

For the people in the film, they act out their frustrations through Krumping (Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise) or Clowning.  It is dance, freestyle moves of exuberance and exaggeration, pumping and popping with incredible skill and speed (I don’t think I’ve ever seen bodies move so fast!).  It is not only a vehicle to escape gang life, but a meaningful way to express, via often harsh hyper kinetic movements, their anger with the world.

It is a wonderful film about the ways we can choose to uplift, not only ourselves, but the those around us via positive beliefs and actions, with dance as the dazzling centerpiece.

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To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.

Johannes A. Gaertner

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These are perfect seasonal muffins, delicious plain or with butter and honey.

1  cup flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or use all regular – I like a little extra fiber)

1/3 cup sugar (these aren’t very sweet, so if you like a sweet muffin, use 1/2 cup)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup chocolate chips (I made this addition for the hubster – add more cranberries and walnuts, if you prefer)

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup orange juice

zest of 1/2 of an orange

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.  Blend milk, egg, oil, orange juice and zest.  Pour into flour mixture and stir until moistened.  Mix in walnuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips.  Fill muffin cups (greased or lined, your choice), and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.  Makes 9-12, depending on how you fill your muffin cups.

Enjoy!

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They’re looking at each other.  Do you feel the love?

When we first got our cat Paris (14 1/2 years ago!), and her personality revealed itself (half fruit, half nuts), our vet recommended that we get another cat.  To be precise, she said a male kitten to help bring her out of her shell.  The vet being the professional, we admitted our ignorance and presumed she was absolutely correct.  So, at our first opportunity (a nice house and yard for everyone to live happily ever after), we got Milo, a tiny male kitten, just what the doctor ordered.

Eleven years later, despite his utterly adorable face, we are still paying the price.  Paris, Ms. Half Fruit Half Nuts has NEVER gotten over becoming a big sister to this oafish little man.  Moreover, Milo has never ceased to be confused (and riled, look at him – he’s not entirely innocent) by his big sister’s puzzling behavior.  Paris will initiate play, and the two will romp happily together for approximately one minute before we suspect this dialog occurs in the mind of our little princess, “Whoa!  Whoa!  What am I doing playing with this evil interloper?  He took away my lush life!”  Then the screaming begins.  This is no exaggeration either.  Paris screams, very LOUDLY, all because the vet said she needed a friend and her stupid humans believed this sorely mistaken person.   Bless her heart, what Paris really needed was a throne.

Oh, but they are cute, and cuddly, and our kitty cats.  I am grateful for them and all they bring into our lives, well, maybe except for the vomit and the dirty litter box!

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Mad Men

Not having cable, and perhaps, being generally behind the times (in a good way), the hubster and I have only recently discovered the merits of Mad Men.  I heard a great interview with Jon Hamm and Matthew Weiner on Fresh Air with Terry Gross (she is awesome, by the way) that convinced me to move the videos to the top of our Netflix queue.  Boy, am I ever glad I did.

We just finished the first season (no spoilers if you’ve seen more!) on Wednesday and hope we receive the first of season two for our weekend viewing pleasure.  This is such a terrific show, one that we love watching together.  We both love settling in for the evening, as we can’t just watch one, ready to be dazzled, flummoxed, and delighted (especially by the fashion).  Though we are quite late to the party, it’s great to finally have arrived.

The video is a little Saturday Night Live bit Bridget told me about – fun and ever so true!

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