Top Five Christmas Movies

Completely non-running related. But right now the only race on my calendar is the Jingle Bell 5k. And I’ve been so lazy about running I’m hoping just to run the thing. And really it’s more fun to hang out with friends, see all the costumes, and be in freezing misery together. Plus there are 3 dozen bars at the finish line and it’s totally acceptable to have a drink at 11:30 in the morning while you’re trying to remember what having toes feels like (it’s cold). I’m running/gymming consistently so far this week (yes, the week is only 2 days old. Shut it). I want to run. And have fun. But running is hard, yo. And sometimes I don’t want to go through all the trouble to get dressed to just end up feeling like I’m failing my run. I’m working on it though. I’m toying with another half marathon and if I want to get there I have to be running now. But that’s for another day.

Instead, today I bring you my top 5 Christmas movie picks. Because I’ll be watching them non-stop. And ’tis the season, amIright?

Without anything else, here we go. PS. I think this would be obvious but, SPOILERS abound

5. Elf

This is a new one. But I love it. Will Farrell insanely high on sugar! Bob Newhart! Zoey Deschenel singing! “I’m sorry I ruined your life and shoved 11 cookies in the VCR”. “I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.” You can’t lose.

4. The Santa Clause

Maybe a little part of me connected because I was the child of divorce and understood what it was like to share Christmas. But I think I come back to it because Tim Allen just brings it. His shift from grumpy Dad/mean business exec to Santa is movie perfection. He nails the timing to squeeze out every last funny moment whether it’s fighting with the Reindeer, watching his beard re-grow right after he shaves, when The List arrives. His lunch order. Meeting the elves.There are just gobs upon gobs of sweet/funny moments. And if you can’t embrace the magic when Santa Tim delivers the weenie whistle and the dating game then you just don’t have a heart. Oh. And the super handy tinsel that can cut through iron bars? Who wouldn’t like a little of that around. I also really like the Drifters version of White Christmas. I mean. It’s no Bing Crosby. But it’s still excellent. Ahhh. And the little girl that remembers he’s lactose intolerant. Yup. This movie is a keeper.

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Speaking of hearts. Year after year after year I come back to this movie. And though I know, down to the exact moment, that the Grinch’s heart is going grow three sizes I still cheer that he learned what we all know, deep down.

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!”

You just love Max and you have to admit, watching him rob all the Whos and leaving behind the bare wire on the walls and even stealing from the mice is true Dr. Suess genius. Also. Original only. The live action movie was certainly good. But it’s no animated film narrated by Boris Karloff (oh man, what an excellent name).

2. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Another classic. It should probably be my number 1 because of family tradition, but truthfully, though it’s a beautiful movie, I get a little…something with the story. Really it’s this high on the list because every year that I have any memory of, we’ve watched it as a family. My Grammy comes over with fudge. My Mom pops popcorn. And we sit back to enjoy. The stop motion is great. And the story. And the songs. But it’s a movie about misfits and sometimes I still feel like that middle schooler misfit and it’s hard to forget. That doesn’t mean I don’t quote it 365 days a year. “She said I’m cuuuuuute.”, ::smacks lips:: “Nuthin'”, “Eat, Papa. Eat”, “Bumbles bounce!” This is also an exception to the rule of many viewings. We watch it once. When it’s on TV. Except this year. Because CBS aired in BEFORE Thanksgiving. They’ve done this in years past, but then included a second viewing a couple weeks later. We assumed that was true this year as well. It was not. I call major BS. Who airs a Christmas movie before Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving? My mom owns it on DVD so the Christmas season is not totally ruined. But I don’t think we’ve ever opened it. We’ve never needed to. This will be a weird year.

And the number 1 choice is so obvious it hurts: White Christmas

I mean. Along with the voices and incredible dance moves of Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen, you have a complex story about loyalty, love, friendship, dramatic irony, good old fashioned meeting and falling in love in two weeks, and the most cashed-in arm injury in the history of the world. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again. I will never not cry when they surprise the General with all the men coming up and singing the Old Man. Never. I think I could watch this movie on a loop from post turkey soup on Thanksgiving Friday (screw Black Friday. Thanksgiving is family time) until the Epiphany and not get sick of it. And then the SNOW. The first time I saw this movie (admittedly I didn’t see until I was into my teens. Or, at least, I don’t remember seeing it before then) I thought that when it started snowing it was was of the greatest movie magic moments ever. There they all are. Doing the Christmas show for the old man. The whole army unit has reunited. The snow will save the Inn. And then they open the doors and the sleigh goes by. And then they’re all in those beautiful finale costumes and they lift the backdrop and come to the front of the stage and sing White Christmas and OMG how do you not just die of Christmas joy???

So there’s my list. You may not agree. In fact I bet you don’t. Leave a comment with your favorite.

hearts and Chritsmastimejoy

PS This list does not include Love Actually because, though it is Christmas themed, I watch that thing all year. There’s noting to cheer you up more than a papier mache lobster head and Hugh Grant crab dancing.

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Headcold and Non-Running Running commentary

Oof. I got slammed into by a nasty head cold this past weekend. Normally I think “Rub some dirt it in and get back in there” but this time my body said “no way, Jose”. I stayed home and slept Friday and Saturday. Saturday night I went out for a few hours because I had committed to a dinner months ago and really wanted to help celebrate my friend’s upcoming marriage. Sunday I was back to feeling icky again and Monday I woke up and sounded like I’d been smoking a pack a day for a thousand years and walking downstairs to make oatmeal was too much effort so I called my boss and we agreed I should work from home. Yesterday I was back in the office but it was exhausting and thanks to my cold and my body’s insistence that I lay down for 4 days, my apartment was one more mostly empty soup bowl away from an episode of horders. Tonight I went to another Red Sox game (let’s just not even talk about it yet. It was not a good night for the boys of Fenway). This is all to say I have not gone running since Thursday. I will be going tomorrow and I’m hoping to mostly pick up where I left off. Until then, here’s a running commentary of the night because my stupid phone battery is awful and can’t stay charged to save it’s life and I couldn’t #LiveTweetThatBitch

I now present to you what it’s like to go to a Sox game with my BFF

Pre PS: Don’t hate me for using BiFFLe. It’s late and I’m home alone and it’s cracking me up to call her that. ❤ to you KP.

We find our seats. We made it in the top of the 1st inning. A new best for me for the year. Turns out it was because an entire ice age came and went during the 1st inning. My favorite current player, big Shane Victorio steps to the plate and I try to woo. Because of my cold, I can’t woo. This makes me sad. Also makes us think of the Woo girls episode of HIMYM and the sad fact that yes, we are woo girls. And by sad I mean awesome. Because when is wooing not awesome! Also, BiFFLe said it sounded like when the woo girls were sad woo girls and that was even more of a bummer.

2 outs, top of the 2nd. When we CHANGED PITCHERS. Webster went 1 and 2/3 innings and gave up a bazillion runs. Lame.
Me: “Um. It’s 8:10 It’s just now the 2nd inning. We’re never leaving”
BiFFLe: “I think I’ll have to just drive back to work after the game”
Me: “This was going to be a 2 beer night”
BiFFLe: “I think it might be a 3”
Me: “Yup”

Middle of the 2nd – 8:16ish
Me: “Ok. We’ll go for a beer after the Sox bat, or 8:45, whichever is first”
BiFFLe::side-eye::
Me: “Ok. We’ll go for a beer after the Sox bat, or 8:35, whichever is first”
BiFFLe: “Deal”

We I used the ladies, then we got dinner and went for the beer. After April’s promotion of $5 beers the prices went back to normal. Domestic Draft (Bud Light):$8.50. Premium Draft (Blue Moon): $8.75. We were shocked. For a quarter WHO’S DRINKING BUD LIGHT. The pourer at the Blue Moon stand agreed. (I don’t know. Is there a name for this person? Is there a beer sommelier?) (PS I spelled sommelier right on the first try ::drops mic::)

::catches mic:: a la John Krazinski on J-Fal this week (Google/Hulu it)

We were gone for all of 10 minutes and missed the whole third inning. At this point the innings started to blur together. The Twins kept hitting the ball (they did it 19 times) and the Sox kept whiffing. Or stranding runners. Or getting thrown out at first. This became my chant: “Stop letting them hit the ball”

I do know the 4th and 5th went by quick enough. But I think that was mostly because I was focused on not dropping pizza. Also, baby pictures on facebook. What? KP and I haven’t seen each other in a month. We have a lot of catching up to do!

In the 6th, we’re ready for our final beer. Ok. I was ready. KP wasn’t. So I enabled her by telling her “I’m done, drink faster”. We ran down and I ran to the bathroom (I’m trying to drink a ton of water to get the rest of this virus out) and I thought, Well. We’re down by a lot. But it’s the 7th. There’s still time Yes, Jennie, “we”. The Sox aren’t the Sox without the fans. I came of the bathroom and there was already a beer waiting for me. Because my bestest friend is THE bestest. I think we were gone for 7 minutes max. That was the fastest that’s ever happened.

We got back up and in the middle of the 7th I looked around and was wondering why we weren’t signing Take me Out to the Ballgame. It’s because it was the middle of the 6th inning. It’s hard to keep track from the bleachers. Also when the Twins are kicking the Sox all over the field. I’m pretty sure it’s as hard as being a gangsta.

Middle 8 we sang Sweet Caroline. By then so many people had left, we were surrounded by empty seats so I didn’t have hundreds of voices bombarding me. I could actually hear the sound of the crowd bouncing off Fenway. It was odd.

Somewhere in all of this Ellsbury made a weird catch off the Green Monster that I’m hoping someone can explain to me tomorrow. Was it a fly out or a hit??? We don’t know! This is when I continued to yell “Stop letting them hit the ball” and added clapping to punctuate.

The biggest cheer other than the brief glimmer of hope in the bottom of the 1st was finding out the Bruins won. (Go B’s!)

At some point Johnny Gomes was up and KP wanted him to hit a homer to us, right into our beer. Like that Mariners fan. Didn’t happen. Sad.

I do know in the 9th, I yelled “Don’t swing at bad pitches. That’s how you play baseball” And decided I could be a coach with that kind of wisdom tonight. And then I begged the Sox for one more run. It wouldn’t been a win, but at least it would be worth it to be still sitting there in the bottom of the 9th in the start of a rain storm after a crappy game. No dice. At least we got a nice night of weather at Fenway. And beers with a bestie are never a bad way to spend a night. We walked to Kenmore and went our separate ways on the Green line.
At this point my phone was dead, so all I could do was wait. And wait. And wait. Anyone who lives anywhere on the green line knows that the train you want never comes. I looked at the clock: 11:10. It was so late. I just wanted to go home. And so I waited. And waited. And I couldn’t believe I was still waiting. I figured it was at least 15 minutes. I checked the clock 11:17. Seven minutes had passed. Seven. All sense of time is distorted with no iPhone to distract. Finally the B line showed up and I pumped my fist with joy. The woman next to me said “Exactly”
Once on the B line many things ran through my head, I wish I could have written them down. But I was getting tired and there was some commotion and I can’t remember any except when I rested my head on my hand: My hand smells like beer

Finally in the car and driving home I saw a flash of lightening and yelled “Lighteniiiiiing” Though thunder and lightening can happen in a snow storm it’s rare. So to me lightening means spring is here and summer’s coming. And that means the beach! And hopefully those boys of summer working over at Fenway can get their bullpen in order and start playing like April again. If not, it’s going to be a looooooong baseball season.
Hearts and sleepytime!

There are so many words. And yet, there are no words.

Patriot’s Day is the number one best day to be from Massachusetts. And wasn’t it just the bees knees that one of my very good friends decided to run it. And in the process introduce me to a whole bunch more runners. When I’d heard she’d be running, I knew I’d be out on the course, cowbell and signs in hand to cheer her on. If you’ve spent any time on this blog, my facebook page, or twitter you’ll know I post a lot. And I usually post pretty ridiculously silly things. Today started just like that. I was orange head to toe in support of the Liver Foundation, the charity my friends are running for, and I went about capturing the day just like I’d capture any other. That’s something a lot of people don’t know. To run Boston you can qualify by running another designated race in less than 3:05 (3:35 for women). Or you can join a charity team and raise money. The amount needed to be raised is usually between $3,000 and $6,000. People work the whole year to raise this money to run in the name of these great causes.
All winter we think “Why don’t we live someplace warmer” Driving into the city all I could thing was “this is why I live in Boston. Marathon Day is the best.” Who knew that I’d be proud to be from Boston for a whole different reason by the end of the day. I hate that this happened. But the response from runner’s finishing the race and running to donate blood, first responders running towards the danger seconds after the explosion, people setting up a google document to offer their couches and spare rooms, restaurants feeding stranded runners, all the way down to my friends giving me refuge when the closed T stranded me on the opposite side of the city from my car.
This is just so wrong. On my phone sit a handful of odd photos, a small glimpse into what was supposed to be an epic day. In my head are the jokes and puns I wrote, driving into the city, riding the T over to my spectating spot at mile 22, or relentlessly checking the BAA app for updates on my friends. I don’t know what to do with them now.
I was in place by 11 and watched the wheelchair division race by. Soon enough the elite women flew by, followed shortly by the elite men. And then the rest. If you’ve never experienced the Boston Marathon it’s really quite something. Runners just keep coming and coming and coming for hours. We were more than 4 hours into cow-belling and catcalls of “Yeah marathoners” and “Go Liver”.
Around 3 I received a strange text message. “Are you ok?” from a friend. I replied “???” thinking she had sent it to the wrong person. And then she filled me in. Quickly after that, texts and emails started pouring in asking the same question “are you ok?” My phone was dying, we didn’t know anything, and my friends were still running. So we kept cheering and I answered any texts that came in. Along with sending a text to my mom “I’m ok.” It was then that the first of my friends since the explosion was running by. We cheered for her and then I told her there were explosions. We still didn’t know it was a bomb. To be honest, I didn’t know if I should tell her or not. But I couldn’t bear the thought of her running into chaos, after running 23+ miles and not knowing anything. Shortly after that our next friend came by. We started to say hi and tell her what happened. She said she already knew, told us her mom was at the finish and then ran off yelling over her shoulder “I have to find my mom” clearly worried and focused on that singular task. Find her loved ones. It was then that it was really sinking in. Maybe it was time to stop cow-belling. And maybe put the signs away. The last of my friends came through shortly after. She was pretty sure her family was safe but wanted to go find the other friends that had just gone by. I gave her a huge hug and sent her on her way. And then the other two spectators that I was with and I didn’t know what to do. What do you do in that situation? Your beloved city is under attack. Close friends are frantically searching for family members. This glorious event has been marred. And we’re 3 miles from the finish watching police and ambulances go flying by. The race was stopping and they were holding runners so we thought we’d go catch up to our friends and see if we could help. But word finally came through that runners were being held all the way at Boston Common and we didn’t think it would be smart to add 3 more people to an already chaotic spot. By then we had more news from twitter and news websites and realized the T was probably closing, a fact I confirmed with the next police officer we passed. My fellow spectators offered to give me a ride to my car, but the marathon route was still closed and we couldn’t cross the city. I have friends that could take me in and eventually one of them was able to have dinner and drive me across the Marathon route to my car. All the while they’re making announcements not to congregate in large groups. As I was driving out of the city it was hard not to be a little nervous. And I just don’t understand how this can be real life. How this is the society that we live in.

20,000+ people have been working for months or years to train to be here. More than 20,000 volunteers were on the course at the very crack of dawn. Millions of dollars have been raised for truly noble causes. Fundraiser upon fundraiser has been organized, executed, and attended. I personally bid on a date to the Aquarium with a good looking guy (I don’t like the Aquarium, but he was cute. And it was in the name of liver research. Unfortunately he ended up getting a little too out of my price range, when the bidding dust settled). And now marathon hopes and dreams have been shattered, lives and limbs destroyed. And all in the name of what?

People are already asking why. And truthfully, I don’t think any reason could ever be given that would be enough to make me feel better about it. I don’t know who did this. And when he, she, or they are caught, I don’t ever care to know names. I don’t care to know faces. I just want them to face justice and see the full letter of the law brought down on them, feel the full weight of a city that may forgive, but will never forget.

I just want to hug the whole city. And punch something. And sit and cry. And I was 3 miles away. Though watching terrified runners go by will be something that sticks with me for a while. I can’t imagine what it was like at the finish line. You just can’t believe it’s real. I still don’t. It’s like it’s ripped from TV. Someone bombed the Marathon finish line? No. That’s not a real thing. But it is. And it’s more tragic than I think will ever fully be understood. My thoughts and prayers will be with the victims and victims’ families. Boston and the Marathon will rebuild. I hope those whose lives were forever altered will find some peace. I still don’t know what I’ll do with the pictures on my phone. But I will share one. This day ended so tragically. And so differently than it should have. And though it did, Boston still stands. As I was driving home, I looked over and saw this. I’m sorry it’s blurry, I was driving. Here it is. A city that stands stronger and brighter despite this horrible event.