Joy

It is Sunday, and the weekend is almost over, but I want to begin a blog on the positive.  Cameron always wants us to tell the best part of our day and the worst part of our day when we sit down to eat, but I just want to focus on gratitude and things that give me joy.  There is simply too much complaining and bitching and moaning in the world [in fact I am living with so much negative energy right now] that I often feel like I need to counter it by being more positive.  I could focus on all the problems I have… which would fill several pages at least and might even be book length, but that would bring me and everyone else down.  So this week, I plan to blog each day on the things in that day that bring me joy!  If I need to complain, at least it will be countered by gratitude.

Joy #1:  Today, the first moment of joy I experienced was at the altar rail.  I am on the other side of it because I am a lay eucharistic minister and at that moment I was bearing the chalice for those coming to receive communion.  Sometimes I get lost in thought and sometimes I am just transfixed by the motions and the words of the sacrament, but this morning I looked at the rail and there were six boys kneeling on the gospel side of the rail.  All had their heads bowed and all but one had their arms crossed [indicating they intended to receive a blessing as opposed to communion] except for one, the oldest and largest who is about 16 years, who was receiving the Eucharist.  After they left the rail, they followed Christy and her husband [the parents of two of the boys] back to the pews and each followed suit in kneeling and bowing or leaning their heads over the pew in front of them.  I guess it was seeing all these boys and young men in church with their family taking up nearly three whole rows and watching the visiting boys mimicking what the others were doing that made me smile.

Joy #2:  A quote in the bulletin:  Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. I had also heard in the lyrics to a song that morning…”praying to a God I don’t believe in..”  Sometimes I have so much doubt and wonder who I am praying to, so this quote offers an interesting prescription.  Oh, and here is the video of the song which includes the lyrics I refer to, not because it has much to do with this entry, but because it is a cool song.

Joy #3:  Later, my daughter-in-law, Jennifer and I went to the nail salon.  I was having a gel fill and she was having a pedicure.  Having my nails done is a very relaxing experience.  I get to experience a stillness that I don’t usually allow myself to very often since I am always running here and there or thinking of the next task I need to complete.  So, when I have my nails done, it is almost like church in that I am quiet and still and I stay put for about an hour.   My hands are in someone else’s hands and I have to allow them to go fairly limp so that she can turn and manipulate the nail as she fills, and files, and paints.  There is the steady hum of a small fan embedded in the table, the warmth from the extension lamp overhead, and the gentle, lilting, cadence of Vietnamese with its decidedly musical qualities.  I always feel like I could curl up and take a nap, I am so relaxed when I leave the nail salon.

I had my nails painted Midnight in Moscow.  Which, unless you have been in Moscow at Midnight, you probably will not be able to picture as a color.  Let me tell you that this color is most likely quite similar to midnight in a number of other locales.  It looked like a rich eggplant or velvety dark brown in the bottle, but on my nails it looks, well, kind of gothic.  I am not sure how many days I can live with it, but it is different and a departure for me.

Joy #4:  A beautiful sunny day at the park.  I went to meet Jason and his family at the park where they had organized a pick up game of kickball.  They had invited some people from their church, and then had picked up a few more folks who happened to be watching them.  When I arrived, I saw a couple of my students and invited them to join.  We had people from age 4 to well, I guess, I was the oldest out there at 46, and only a couple of the players were any good at all [with quite of few of us being not only ignorant of the rules but blatantly bad].  I have been working on getting up a kickball team, but after today I am rethinking this.  We had fun, but I am not a very good player.  I am not sure why, knowing I have never been an athlete, I am trying to be one now.  I pulled my leg right away sprinting to first base and had to push through with a slight limp the rest of the time.  Now, you might be thinking, this activity does not sound like a joy, but it is… because it was sunny, and 60 and I am able to run and play with my family.. so it’s all good.  But, like I said, I am rethinking this whole kickball league thing.  The jury might be out until this muscle in the front of my left thigh recovers.

Joy #5:  Tonight is the Academy Awards Show, so I am looking forward to that!!!  I love award shows… I love seeing what the women wear– who looks fabulous and who looks, well, less than fabulous. Shana and I often talk on the phone during award shows discussing these celebrities like we know them and making funny observations.  I love seeing which films were chosen in each category, because I simply love movies.  I see a lot of movies– in the theater and on DVD.  I have always wanted to have an Oscar night party and if I had a large room and a big screen TV, I certainly would, because I know lots of other people who love to watch award shows too and it would be a great reason to get together and enjoy some great food and drink.

Now, I feel I should make my predictions for the major categories, so here goes:

Best Actor in a leading role:  I am pulling for Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, which, strangely enough I haven’t even seen.  I have heard his performance is incredible, and I like him.  Also, I don’t think George Clooney deserves it for Up in the Air… I don’t even know how he got nominated for this one other than this is a tough category to come up with the goods.  I wish I had seen some of the other nominees in their respective movies, because I love Colin Firth and Morgan Freeman and I will frankly be happy if either wins.

Best Actress in a leading role:  So, you know this is between Meryl and Sandra.  Sandra outdid herself in The Blindside and had me believing she was a very southern Republican with a big heart, but Meryl became Julia and gave me a whole new appreciation for this zealous and enthusiastic chef.  In fact, Julia, became one of my new heros and her marriage in this movie is the vibrant marriage I aspire to if I ever get married again.  I will have a man who simply adores me, or I will have none at all.  So, I am going with:  Meryl Streep.  I won’t be disappointed, though, if they give the gold man to Sandra Bullock.  Gabourey Sidibe outdid herself in Precious, but she is too young and we don’t know what else she can do.  I did not see Helen Mirren in The Last Stallion, although, I do love her, and aspire to look like her in my next few decades. Also, The Last Stallion sounds like something I want to see.

Actress in a Supporting Role:  Monique.  She made us hate her so much we wanted to kick her ass and we felt sorry for her at the same time.  And, she’s a comedian– go figure.  She made such a big splash that all the other contenders were jettisoned out of the pool.

Actor in a Supporting Role:  I only saw one of these films, so I am going to have to go with Christoph Waltz from Inglorious Basterds since he clearly nailed it in his performance as a chilling Nazi narcissist.

The last one I will weigh in on is best picture.  There are 10, count ’em, 10 nominees in this category this year– which seems a bit much to me.  Avatar won at the Golden Globes, which is often a predicting factor… but honestly, I don’t think Avatar is best picture material.  Sorry, James Cameron, Titanic was, Avatar isn’t.  Not to say it won’t win, because it could… I will simply be disappointed if it does.  I only saw six of the 10 films nominated, so I am at a serious disadvantage in picking a winner, but The Blindside did thrill and inspire me and Inglorious Basterds was impressive.  I am not sure either of those should win, however.  IB has a better chance than The Blindside, as I am not sure America is ready for a best picture win where Tim McGraw is a principal ‘actor.’  Up was the finest of animated pictures I have seen in many years, but not an overall BP category winner.  Up and Away was not as weighty as you would expect a film in this category to be, so I am going with the stunning and emotion-wrenching Precious and I will be so happy to see Tyler Perry get some recognition for who he is and what he does given where he came from.

And so, I am off to make a pork roast, which with any luck might turn out to be joy #6 😉

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