Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pardon Me While My Soul Recovers

Those of you who've read the Harry Potter books will of course be familiar with the Dementors, those soul-sucking wraiths who drain the joy and goodness right out of you.

Well, I took my kids to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese on the Saturday before Valentine's Day, and the overall effect on my psyche was remarkably similar.  

It smelled bad.  It hurt my ears.  And not just mine--during the official "birthday celebration" part of the party, all of the hostesses yelled out a birthday song/cheer which the kids were supposed to learn.  The teaching of this cheer seemed interminable.  Once the other tables of revelers had been worked up to a Lord of the Flies level of fervor, we were all to do the routine, which culminated in frenzied screams.  At this point, our birthday girl covered her ears, rolled her eyes up in her head, and trembled violently from head to toe.  And our table of Christian school pre-schoolers just looked around in bewilderment.  Willem shot me a look that said, "Am I safe here?"  Nels's teacher leaned in and said to me, "We don't encourage this at school."

No.  And never again.  Next time we're invited to a party there, Shaun takes the kids or he sends our regrets.

Fortunately our Sunday was more on the restorative side.  We actually went to church, and the boys really liked it.  I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that they served pop in Nels's Sunday school class.  We spent the afternoon driving the back roads. The goal was to take a hike, but there was too much snow on the ground to even drive where we'd planned to go.  Plan B was to make various stops in places of interest for Shaun to take photos, ending up at B.J.'s for dinner. It's not the most exciting place, but it's family-friendly, and one can count on getting a good beer there. Sometimes that's all one needs.

The next weekend we were lucky enough to have some time to ourselves. Shaun's mom took the kids overnight.  We got a late start on Saturday, so we just walked around Portland a bit before heading to Toro Bravo to line up for dinner.  We got there just in time, which was about 15 minutes before they opened.  Those who came at 5 had a 1 1/2 -2 hour wait.

I'm including this not terribly flattering photo of me (my new haircut is actually less helmet-like than this) because I like the colors and it represents our fancy-free day pretty well.

We had a relaxing breakfast out on Sunday and enjoyed the quiet.  It was a nice contrast to the everyday boy noise.  (For example, right now Nels is yelling, "Willem, stop talking to me!  You keep talking and it's making me all sweaty!")

Our one misstep of the weekend was watching the movie The Dark Knight on Sunday afternoon. Now, I know I will bring a bucketful of grief down on my head for saying this, but I wish I could have the three hours of my life back that I spent watching that movie. Yes, Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker was amazing.  The movie was just too too dark for me.  I've heard a lot of talk that The Dark Knight was elevated beyond mere "action" status by virtue of its dealing with big moral issues.  But I felt that these issues were raised and dealt with in a shallow, formulaic way. It IS a comic book story, so I don't have a problem with that in and of itself.  I just felt that nothing about it was thought-provoking or redemptive enough to counteract the feeling that I had just spent three hours wallowing in yuck.  It just wasn't for me.  

OK, phew!  I'm feeling better already.


paola said...

I'm not even going to see the Dark Knight for exactly the reasons you describe...I don't even understand why anyone can ENJOY seeing a movie like that.

Slumdog Millionaire, OTOH, is incredible...

Gretchen said...

I hate when I feel that way after going to a movie. I actually felt a little like that with the movie "Coraline". A little less dark but still disturbing.

Gypmar said...

Slumdog Millionaire to the top of the Netflix queue it is.

Gretchen, it's funny that Coraline was the "in the theater" option I was considering. I'm just getting too cheap to go to the "real" movies anymore. I so seldom find it's worth it, for whatever reason.

Amy said...

I also agree with your "review" of Dark Knight. No shame here. =)

kylee said...

the world is better when Gypsy blogs

Anonymous said...

That's pretty funny how you described that movie because Ariana has said the exact same thing about other movies before. And, if you're sick of the high prices, check out Academy Theater that has $4 movies and $5 babysitting or try the McMenamins theater pubs.

Gypmar said...

Oh yes, thanks Jeff--I've heard of the magical theater with babysitting, but I never knew the name. I can't fathom why we're not all over that.

Jana said...

YOU are a national treasure!:) I always love to hear you "talk". And I think your hair looks cute.

Gypmar said...

For the record, I'm going to have to make a retraction...after hearing from folks and seeing a few clips, I have concluded that I am WAY too tender-hearted for Slumdog Millionaire and won't be seeing it.

I've heard that it's ultimately very uplifting, and I wish I weren't so sensitive, but there it is.