Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review of Snow White & the Huntsman

I've not done a movie review on here, but I've been very much into fairy tales and archetypes lately and this movie dug into the heart of that material.  So here goes:

It would be so very easy to identify Ravenna as the villain in this tale, but I believe she played a dual role of villain/victim.  Her gift of magic (given to her as a child by her mother or grandmother) instead became her curse.  Her mirror was the closest thing to a lover she allowed as she could love no one truly but herself.  Her brother was a fairly accurate reflection of what she actually was - old, scared, and stuck.  And while her brother knew she was a sorceress, he could not "see" the mirror as she did.

There is much made of the idea of "reflection" in the film.  The mirror is the most obvious of course.  But Ravenna's army reflects what she is - an illusion which cannot last.  An illusion which will continue to fight because to stop is terrifying.  The land reflects the loss of the king.  There is some mythology that could be considered Arthurian here as the land dwindled once the king died and the king is married to the land.  There was also the White Hart (which is a quest symbol) later in the film.  

The princess could symbolize the re-birth of the land as well as purity.  I found it very interesting that Ravenna was the traditional Euro-American model of beauty (blonde hair, blue eyes) while Snow was the darker of the two (black hair, dark hazel eyes.)  Snow was able to access an area called the Sanctuary which I really believe pulled more from actual faery tales and fantasy fiction.  It would a gorgeous thing to look at, but I'm not sure how much relevance it had in the film itself.

On to the two men in Snow's adult life.  The Huntsman (whose name I don't think was ever given) was clearly the man of her present while William is the man of her past.  The ideal youth Snow preferred as a child can't quite compare to the complexity of the future.  While the film ended with no clear showing of the relational choice, it was quite clear that Snow's choice would have been the Huntsman.

Overall I was quite pleased with the film and am very glad I saw it in the theater.  Here's the song Florence and the Machine wrote specifically for the movie.  It is quite powerful & fitting.
Breath of Life

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The almost Whacktastic wedding

Sometimes when you're dealing with someone who has a personality disorder it can be easy to think that you're just imagining things.  Especially if that person is high functioning.  But.  When you begin to notice you're not the only person having problems with a particular individual you then have a behavioral pattern that pertains to more than just you.  That behavior pattern also screws with other peoples' lives.  And then you know that the problem lies with the individual who is displaying all this wonderfully whacktastic behavior (I'm aware it's not a word, but it's fun ;-)

I have't written about the incident which involved most of Donald's maternal family last summer because I needed some distance from it first.  Enough time has passed that I think I can present it with some sarcastic humor rather than just horror.

Donald's cousin was getting married and plans were being made.  The bride made the decision that she and her groom would prefer not to have any children at the ceremony because there were lots of small children in the family & they really wanted a quiet ceremony.  (As anyone who has children knows, they tend not to be quiet.  Ever.)  We got a very nice wedding invitation and had picked out the clothes we would wear because we were driving in & we needed clothes that could travel well.  Then I got a phone call.

Now, this was a very unexpected phone call.  The bride's mother (who is sister to the Borg Queen) was on my phone.  She and I get along quite well, but we don't talk often because she loves her sister and I avoid her sister like the plague.  It's a difficult relationship but we make the best of it.  Anyhow, she's quite frantic on the line and I'm having trouble understanding what's gotten her so upset.  The conversation went something like this:

Me - Hello?

D - Jenn?  Hi how are you?  I need to talk to you about something...

Me - Okay, what's up?

D - We're having a problem with the wedding and I thought the easiest fix would be to call you.

Me - (baffled) Well I'll be happy to help in any way I can...

D - well you know that (bride) doesn't want any kids as the wedding...

Me - Right...

D - well Borg Queen keeps going on and on about how she's bringing the kids to the wedding and she's got clothes picked out for them for the pictures and it doesn't seem to matter what we say to her she just keeps saying she's bringing the kids.  And (bride) finally just told me I need to take care of it because they can't have any kids there or the groom's family will be offended

Me - wait...Borg Queen is telling you guys she's bringing OUR kids to the wedding?  And she's bought them clothes?  She hasn't mentioned ANY of this to us

D - I feel so bad for calling you because I feel guilty, I mean she's my SISTER, but this is my daughter's wedding and I'm not going to let her ruin it.

Me - (silence for a moment)  Well we had already made plans to leave the kids with my parents in Lexington (wedding was in Louisville) since kids aren't supposed to be there so it won't be an issue.  I'm so sorry you guys have been dealing with this.  

D - she's also been complaining about the wedding cake (bride) picked out because she can't stand fondant icing and so she brings it up all the time that the cake is going to be awful.  I just don't know what to do!  

Me - well she can't do anything about the cake but complain, so (bride) can do whatever she wants.  And like I said, the kids won't be an issue.  If there's anything else we (meaning Donald and I) can help with please let me know.  

D - please don't tell her I talked to you.  Thank you so much - we were so worried about this!

There was more to the actual conversation, but there's the gist of it.  The thing that really got me was never once did the Borg Queen apologize for putting her family through this.  And it was very stressful on the bride, her mother, and the groom's family dealing with the Borg Queen's behavior.  So while I have my own problems with her, I always remind myself that I'm not the only one.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Nature's ability to keep going through any and all things has always amazed me.  Humans have some of this ability, but it seems to me that Nature in all her majesty is the master of this.  Take this little nugget for example:

Last year one of my neighbors found a nest of raccoons living in a tree in his backyard.  His solution to this was to cut down the tree.  I didn't know at the time what happened to the raccoons but I wished them well & hoped they were able to find a new home.

This spring looking up into a tree that lies just on the edge of our property and this same neighbor's, I saw something way up in the tree that might have been a nest.  I continued to keep an eye on said tree and sure enough, that evening we saw a raccoon.  Now, most people don't really understand what I mean when I say that I gravitate toward animals and natural things in general, but that evening is a fine exampled of what I mean.  I stepped out on to the porch and saw the raccoon at the same time it saw me.  We both froze & just continued to watch each other.  After a few moments the raccoon went back up the tree.  In those moments I made a mental agreement with the raccoon.  Basically it went like this - I won't bother you if you don't bother me and mine.  Laugh all you like at the idea of a grown woman talking to a raccoon in her head, but after that the raccoon went up in the tree and I went back in the house.

We haven't had any issues with raccoons getting into our trash, harming our pets (our cat is only about 8 pounds), or causing any general ruckus.  A few days later I noticed several other nests high in the trees in my neighbor's yard.  These raccoons are amazing to me as they have proven smart enough to build high in trees where they won't be noticed, and also smart enough to stay away from the human homes that might take their tree home from them.  I continue to be amazed at the resilience in the natural world around me, and try to learn and commune with it as much as possible.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I will not be brought down by my pain

Lower back pain has been a problem for me as long as I can remember.  My massage therapist tells me I have a high tolerance for pain, which can be both a good and a bad thing.  Lately it's been more of a bad thing because I ignored pain in my knee for about 2 or more months.  If I had actually gone to a doctor and had it looked at, I may not be in the state I'm in now.  

There have been very few times in my life when I've experienced pain great enough to make me cry.  Each time I've been in labor I've cried, the last time I really threw my back out I cried, and for the last four days I've been crying.  I honestly didn't know my knee was as bad off as it was, but man is it letting me know now.  There have been times over the past few days when (much like migraine pain) I just want to slam the knee into a wall to make it quit hurting. I did go into the version of an ER we have at Langley AFB where they put me on crutches.  :-/  This only made it worse - creating spasming in my lower back.  

But really, the point of this whole post isn't to point out how pitiful I am and how much my life sucks.  Because it really doesn't.  The pain I am experiencing right now is only a small part of my life, and really I have a pretty darn good life.  We may not make a ton of money, but we have enough to pay our bills.  All of our kids (even the 1.5 million dollar baby) are healthy little hellions who keep me busy every day.  The internship site I'm working at is WONDERFUL and I couldn't ask for a better place to learn how to use my counseling skills.  Donald and I are getting along better now than we have in YEARS (with the exception of dealing with the Borg Queen, but I'll take what I can get).  There's a short story I've written that has the potential to become a publishable novella (hello dream!)  Over the last year while Donald was TDY to Guam I made a TON of new friends on Twitter, which is really awesome for me because I'm so very introverted it's really difficult for me to be around loads of people.  Lots of my Twitter friends are what I consider "real" friends because they aren't too faced, they don't judge, and they accept me for the accomplished mess that I am ;-)  And...I have possibly the best parents on Earth who are literally dropping everything to come back here and take care of my kids while I'm laid up.  (I'm going to be really sad when they take the kids back to KY early, but it's awesome that my parents can do that!)

So even though I'm in pretty severe pain right now, my life definitely doesn't suck.  And I refuse to be brought down by my pain.