After the Befores

I did it. I was that girl home alone on a cold Saturday night who had nothing better to do than Google “most romantic films”. No shame. Google can be such a good friend. It tossed a nice list of fifty suggestions with a film coming in somewhere in the teens that piqued by interest.

Before Sunset filmed in 2004, starring Ethan Hawke. Since I am being brutally honest here, I will admit that I chose this one because of Ethan Hawke. He was my first crush ever, you see. I have been an animal lover since I was itty bitty and seeing this guy befriend a wolf in White Fang back in the early 90s was absolutely amazing and impressive.

I read the blurp about Before Sunset and was made aware that it was actually the sequel to an equally applauded film released in 1995 called Before Sunrise. Before Sunrise made the list as well, it was just a few spots down. The blurp about Before Sunrise mentioned that it was the first film of a trilogy. Whaaaaat? As it turned out, Before Midnight was the final installment, was just released this year, and also received positive reviews.

A trilogy following the romance of two characters spanning almost twenty years of their lives? How cool is that? And all were well-reviewed? I downloaded all three films at once and knew I was in for a long night.

In the first film, the two characters were both in their early twenties and both adventurous and clueless about their futures. They were passionate, they were free, and they desperately fell in love. They were total romantics, they were curious, and they were transparent. “That‘s the way to fall in love,” I thought. It made me sad that smart phones, emails, and Skype didn’t exist back then. Then again, isn’t that what made love so romantic then? How it survived time, distance, and silence?

The second film picks up nine years after the first, with both characters now in their early thirties. Love did survive, but not without damage. Jesse, the male character, says that nobody will ever be everything you want in a partner. You just have to commit and the ability of two people to do so is what matters in relationships. Celine, the female character, talks about how foolish it is to expect relationships to be as passionate and exciting as they are at the beginning and that such a constant state of excitement could be dangerous and distracting. She then states how it is better not to romanticize so much. She continues to dream, but not in regard to her love life. Ugh.

The third film. They are now in their early forties and life has gotten the best of them. Celine has not aged as gracefully as Jesse and she is burdened by the fact that family life has usurped the life that she was in the process of creating for herself. Jesse keeps trying to have “unemotional and rational” conversations with her, which drives her up the wall. Celine then realizes that it is not only family life, but also her relationship that is stopping her from being her true self. She eventually comes to the conclusion that she is no longer in love with Jesse.

All three films made me think about my own relationship, where I want to be as an individual, and where I want to be as a romantic partner. I am one of those persons who is guilty of wanting my relationship to be as exciting as it was at the beginning. I want to be romanced and constantly have butterflies in my stomach, even though we are way past that point. I know I need to stop. I know it’s irrational, but I am also that woman who hates having to be rational. I especially hate being told to be rational. Just don’t – don’t do it. [laughing] Let me be a dreamer and a romantic forever!

When the third film opened, I thought, “Oh no! I don’t want to be old and have huge thighs and be bored!” How superficial of me. Well, I definitely do not want to be bored, but more importantly, I don’t want to stop being myself and I don’t want to fall out of love. At one point in the film, Celine lashes out at Jesse because she is tired of having to be the nurturer in her family. He then tells her to nurture herself for a change. Of course! How can you be a good partner if you cease to take care of yourself?

And will I really be bored, though? It’s exciting to grow and to change and to evolve. And it would totally suck not to watch this person who you have invested so many feelings into do the same. How can life become boring if it is constantly changing, if we are constantly changing? I do think it’s important to not give so much to a relationship that you lose yourself and your own aspirations in doing so. I think this will be less of a problem for us since we won’t be having kids, though. Huzzah!

I also realize that I over-analyze things and that love can be simple. Oops.

All in all, these are not your typical romance films. They are real. They are very well written. They are thoughtful and thought provoking. It does not matter what point of a relationship you are in – single, dating, engaged, married, divorced, widowed – you should watch these films and learn what you can from them. I will not go into details about how it all ends, what happened in between each film, or even where each film was set. That’s for you to see. You will be glad that you did. I certainly am.

I am sorry if I rambled and that this post is all over the place. It is life imitating art because that’s what Jesse and Celine did in all three films – they rambled. 🙂

Much love.

I’m obsessed.

Obsessed with my goal to remain a happy daisy despite the dropping temperatures and decreased daylight. Yes, I created a Pinterest board for this as well. Obsessed may not be a strong enough word…

Today is the 20th, which means that the solstice is about one month away, which means that soon the days will start to lengthen again, which is very good news.

During my morning walks with Canelo, I notice how bright and happy the sun is (as long as the morning isn’t overcast). The light hits all the oranges, reds, yellows, and persistent greens so beautifully in the morning, it’s hard not to smile about it. It’s probably the prettiest part of the day… Pretty enough to make me ignore that it is also the coldest.

I have therefore decided to add this to my happiness plan:

Go to bed early to wake up early and enjoy the morning sun. Do NOT sleep through these precious hours of sunlight. Wake up and get out of bed before the sun even rises so that you are up and going by the time the very first beam hits.

This is nothing new, really. During the summer, going to bed early to wake up early was also a necessity. Back then, I had to catch the cooler temperatures in order to go running. Now, it’s all about catching the sun. This brings me to a side note: do not tell me that seasons do not exist in Texas! Get your ass outside and you will realize that they do. November mornings are nothing like July mornings!

I have already caught some rays today (I’ve been up since 6 am), but am determined to catch more. I just need a reason to be outside. Another thing to add to my list of goals is to become a better photographer. I have completed two photography courses so far, though I know that I will never improve if I do not practice. Maybe I can go outside and click away. That’s where the beauty is, right? Right?

Happy hump day, folks!

Fashion challenge!

My effort to remain positive and happy even though this is my least favorite part of the year continues. I have decided to challenge myself to be more creative with a new challenge each month. My inspiration for November/December was the fact that the holiday season is upon us.

Now, you would think that I would challenge myself to give gifts that I myself made. Uh, not happening. Who even keeps that sort of stuff? And the point is to make the season more enjoyable. Making gifts will only add to my stress. Can you even imagine the cleanup that would be involved? Do you know how many people are on my list? There is no way.

This is how the holiday season inspired me: I love clothes. I constantly shop sales online and spend hours are thrift stores, perusing through my options and spending my money as wisely as I can. Although I only buy things on the cheap and absolutely never splurge on anything extravagant, it is still money spent.

I therefore decided to stop shopping for myself until I do this: wear EVERYTHING in my closet (as long as it is weather appropriate) at least once before buying another clothing item (jewelry, accessories, and shoes are excluded). This will take at least a month or two, especially since most days my outfits consist of scrubs and workout gear. It’s the perfect challenge for this time because not spending money on myself means having it available to spend on gifts. Am I brilliant or what?

And nothing like a cold front to kick this challenge into motion! I spent Wednesday sorting through clothes to get jackets and sweaters out and put away shorts and tanks. What an ordeal.

Too.. much.. clothes!

I also separated the clothes that I no longer wear and prepared it to be donated to the Texas Regional Animal Rescue’s thrift store. Hopefully, they can make some money off it. Some of it was stuff that I refuse to wear now because of my aspirations to transition to a completely vegan lifestyle.

50% wool is a 100% no-no. Buh-bye.

Although it took a couple hours, I finished and was quite happy with the end result. Everything is nicely organized and ready to be worn so that I can complete my challenge and eventually shop again!

I will continue to wear florals in wintertime!

So the challenge is on! I am confident I can do this, especially since I will have the help of a Pinterest board that I created featuring items similar to ones I already own. I am excited about the money I will be saving and how creative I will have to get to complete this. And I must say that I am happy that I am doing this now because with spells of cold weather, I can layer some items and cross them off the list all at once!

Whoo hoo!

Oh, dear. November is here.

Well, October flew on by, just as I had expected it to. I am trying to think back and remember what I did throughout the month that made it pass so quickly. Thankfully, I over-document things through photographs on Instagram. My memory can easily be refreshed.

Highlights from October:

Early in the month, I celebrated Canelo Dog’s 13th birthday. I truly wish I had started doing this years ago, taking a photo with him each birthday. Oh well.

I am such a proud doggie mom!

Midway through the month, I had some adventurous times at The State Fair with Dustin and at Strangling Brothers Haunted House with my best friends. No October is complete without Big Tex and scares!

Big Tex is a total phoenix.

Riding all alone and loving the adrenaline!

Fun fun fun!

Heather was obviously thrilled! 

Towards the end of the month, Dustin, Justin, and I went to see Tim Kasher perform an intimate solo show at Three Links in Deep Ellum. I fell in love with that guy. The way he sang and the way he spoke to us. Also, the silliness that ensued after the crowd had bought him a few drinks! He sang Recluse and Album of the Year, which made me so damn happy! After the show, I was determined to meet him and have my picture taken with him. Boom.

Goofiest smile ever and all up on him like a fangirl! 

Finally, Halloweenie. Halloween at work was fun! Some coworkers brought candy and cupcakes to share with the staff. I couldn’t eat any of it because it wasn’t vegan, but I still thought that it was a nice gesture. Someone also brought a huge, HUGE skeleton and placed it in the shower in one of the bathrooms. By the end of the day, it was wearing a shower cap and holding a loofah in one if its bony hands. So funny!

Well, pardon me.

We also pranked one of my coworkers! Sabrina was the mastermind of it all. She came to the back and mentioned how fun it would be to jump out of a cabinet to scare someone. She decided that Laura would be the best person to scare because she has a great sense of humor and would probably just laugh it off.

At first, we thought about hiding in a cabinet in the operating room, but couldn’t think of a legitimate reason for having Laura go in there. Then we thought it would be funny for someone to hide in a body bag and suddenly start moving. Jocelyn volunteered to be “the body”. I volunteered to be the person to bring Laura to the back. All I had to do was tell her that I needed to show her where I placed a lab sample for Fed Ex to pick up. Worked like a charm! Everyone in the hospital was watching and cracking up! One of the doctors even hid in a mop closet so that he could watch her reaction. Of course, Laura was a good sport about it all! She even requested a copy of the video that Kerrie took. Ha!

Here’s the link to the video, which Kerrie posted on her Facebook page: Halloween Prank

When my shift was finally over, I rushed home, tore open the bags of (vegan) candy I had purchased, painted my face and greeted trick-or-treaters. The things kids do for candy! It was obvious that some of the smaller ones were afraid of me, but they marched right up to me, winced, and held their bags out for their treats. It was all so cute and fun! I ended the night by watching The Nightmare Before Christmas with my nephew and cousin. All in all, a very good Halloween and end to October!

My Halloween make-up. 5-minute job.

November has already started off with a bang. Frank Turner’s show at the Granada, a Walk for Farm Animals through downtown Dallas with fellow vegans, and Young the Giant’s show at Three Links (which just so happens to be winning me over as my favorite local music venue) last night.

I hope more adventures are headed my way. I hope I can stay happy and positive even though this weather and lack of sunshine totally blows. We shall see.

I think I will spend the rest of my day off all cozied up reading. Then I will run. Then I will consider going to Cults’ show at Trees tonight.

Keep it classy, y’all.