Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Great things about 2013

Let's face it, 2013 was not my favorite year.  A lot of rough and challenging things happened this year, big disappointments and little.  But rather than focus on that, today I want to muse about the things that happened this year that I absolutely loved.
1. Spending time exploring Chicago with my two girls.  What a fun place!  Museums, parks, zoos, beaches, movies, and shops.  Will always be a favorite place of mine.
2. Riding the train across country.  Got to do it three times.  Twice alone, once with Dad and my girls.  Absolutely my favorite way to travel.  If I had the time and means, I would ride Amtrak to all its locations.
3.  New friends.  All the wonderful people in Chicago who took me in and made me a part of their family.  I love them and miss them.  All the new people here in Utah who have opened their hearts to me.  
4.  Old friends.  People from high school, college, and other walks of life that have chosen to bring themselves back into my life at this time.  This year has been the year I have learned what true friendship means.  
5.  Family.   My parents and siblings have been so kind, nonjudgmental, and willing to sacrifice for my little family.
6.  My daughters.  My wonderful, intelligent, amazing daughters.  The moments I spend with them are the best of my life.
7.  Music.  From Kelly Clarkson and P!nk to Broadway, music has helped me get out bed on the worst days, and given me the spirit and strength to continue on.
8.  Work.  Allowing me to make a living, support my children, and do some good in the world.  
9.  My health.  I may not be the skinniest, most healthy person, and I may get a few too many headaches, but I am generally healthy and better off than so many in this world.
10.  Technology.  My friends are spread far and wide.   Facebook, phones, texting, all ways that I get to keep in touch with those I love.
11.  Good entertainment.  From Live Theatre, TV, Movies, Music, and more, I would say that 2013 has been a stellar year for entertainment.
12. Road Trip! Driving across country by myself helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin, eat excellent food, and really appreciate the beauty of the world.  It was also the birth of Maren's Daily Musings.

Let's all look for a better 2014, but also remember that even in the bad years, there is still happiness and excellence.  Happy New Year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

My inventions wish list

A conversation with a friend today lead me to muse about inventions.  Over the last 100 years, society has seen the most amazing changes known to man.  The fact that I can sit here and type on a computer and then post something that could immediately be read by someone across the country or the world is something the major newspaper publishers of the early 1900 hundreds could never even dream of.  Looking at inventions this way, I submit a list of things I would love to see invented in the near future.  Haven't we all been taught to believe in our dreams? :)
1. A happiness inhaler.  When you feel sad, just use this inhaler, and suddenly you get the same sensation you would have when standing in Disneyland, or on a beach, or in a french pastry shop.
2.  A Willy-Wonka-esque Pinterest.  You pin it, and then suddenly the item you have pinned is transported to your screen so that you can take it out and possess it right then.
3.  Hermione's handbag.  Seriously, its all I want.
4.  Speaking of Willy Wonka, someone needs to invent and perfect the meal gum.  I don't want to turn into a blueberry, but some days I am too tired to cook and would love to have the capability to serve a stick of healthy nutritious dinner gum.
5.  If they can invent robot vacuums, why not robot maids?  It worked in the Jetsons.  It should be on the top of invention priorities.
6.  Some kind of chip in our brain that makes celery taste like french fries.
7.  A way to take mental exercises and have them work towards burning calories.  The more you think, read, or be in any way intellectual, the more calories you burn.
8.  Sunblock that you only have to put on once, and it stays forever.  And doesn't sting your eyes.
Any more?  Things you all dream of to make life better?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Daily Musings Bonus: Movie Addition

Yesterday I saw Saving Mr. Banks.  My first disclaimer is that yes I know they took liberties, yes I know that some of the events did not happen just the way it was depicted in the movie, and all I can say to that is if you ever find a movie that is one hundred percent true to real life, I will eat my own hat.  Or something equally as silly.
First of all, anything that Emma Thompson does is pure gold, so therefore it is not necessarily surprising that I loved the film.  Second, I adore Disney, so yet again, we are not shocked by my statement that I loved this film.
Having said that, let me reemphasize. I. LOVED. THIS. FILM.   As an aspiring writer, who can admittedly do well with short reviews and small humorous posts but struggle with long and meaningful, the idea of pouring ones heart and soul into a piece of work, only to have that work turned into something that you had never envisioned, is rather horrifying.  Especially when the story had such strong emotional ties to your childhood.  The bravery that it takes to write the things of your heart, knowing that they will be forever subject to various interpretations, is bravery that I only endeavor to have.   I also empathized with the difficult choices you have to make in order to make ends meet.  How sometimes we give in what we want for what we need, even if it saddens us or makes us feel less than who we wish to be.
Another thing I loved about this film was the depiction of the collaborative effort that it takes to make a film and most especially to write music.   I found myself tearing up thinking about how it must have felt to know that you wrote a song that children will be singing for generations.
Emma Thompson's character was portrayed at first as someone who was difficult to work with, but the flashbacks of her life helped us understand why she would think and feel the way she did.   The characters, from the driver, to the script writers, to Disney himself, masterfully played by Tom Hanks, were all so well played that the movie felt so strong and heartfelt that it is one I feel I would watch over and over.  What's more, it made me want to find ways to be more creative in my own life, and find ways to collaborate with the creative people I know and love.
It also made me want to know more about the creative process behind the movies that I love.  It made me better understand that most stories have a reason behind them, and most people tell stories from the deepest part of their hearts.
Mostly, it reminded me that story telling is one way to help bring people together, and that we can use stories to help people see and understand one another.  We can also use stories to help us cope with when real life does not bring us the happiness we hope to have each day.  We can still choose to have happy memories, and bring that happiness with us.  
I really hope Hollywood continues to make more movies like Saving Mr. Banks.  I would encourage everyone to take the time to watch this film.  Bring tissues.  To say much more would spoil the experience.

True New Years Resolutions

For many years I have made the same resolutions most of you have.  Eat healthier, exercise, lose weight, contribute in some way to a meaningful societal change.  2013 has humbled me with its challenges, changes, and my own awakening to my flaws as well as my true priorities.  So I humbly submit my list of true resolutions for the next year.
1. I will have more fun with my children.  I will play with them more, not freak out as much about not having the toys put away, and cherish more of our fun time together.
2.  I will find more time to do the things I enjoy.  I will read more, I will see more plays, I will watch more movies, and not waste time on useless entertainment when there is plenty of real entertainment to keep me busy.
3.  I will relax more.  No one cares if my clothes are folded perfectly or if my clothes look perfect or my hair looks perfect.
4.  I will go swimming whenever I want, even if I don't look good in a swimsuit.  If someone is really offended by seeing me in a modest, fat lady swimsuit, then they can swim somewhere else.
5.  Speaking of fat, I will only step on a scale when the doctor makes me.  
6.  I will try and move a little more, and eat a little less, but will not deprive myself just to try and fit into some ideal.
7.  I will laugh more.
8.  I will cry when I need to cry.  I will allow myself to be human and have emotions.
9.  I will spend more time with those I have learned are my true friends, and remember that there are many who love me.
10.  I will allow myself to feel comfortable and confident and realize that everyone is trying to do the best they can.
11.  I will listen to music more and sing more.
I look forward to 2014.   Even if great things don't happen, I know that good things will.   I will rejoice in the good and remorse with the bad and let myself be happy with who I am and where I am.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pinterest Humor

Bad days come to everyone sometimes.  We all need coping mechanisms.  One of my go to solutions is the humor boards on Pinterest.  Laughter truly is the best medicine.  Therefore, in no particular order, some of my favorite Pinterest Humor Finds:
1. Hooray Sports! Do the thing! Win the points!
2. I'm not always rude and sarcastic.  Sometimes I'm asleep.
3. Dieting is when you eat food that makes you sad.
4. Philosophy of Narcissism 101: "Sit for a spell and listen to my list of why all my faults are all your fault."
5. Watching Hoarders is the only thing that inspires me to do housework.
6. Being such a good cook that even the fire alarm cheers you on.
7. If I have not slapped you, cut you, or cussed you out, please know that the Lord is working in my life.
8. Rather than us agreeing to disagree, why don't you just be quiet?
9. If you see someone crying, ask if it is because of their haircut.
10. If you want to go running with me, you better be prepared to walk a lot.
11. I don't hate you.  I am just not necessarily excited about your existence.
12. Don't judge me by my grocery cart.  You have no idea the emotions I am trying to eat away.
13. This too shall pass...painfully, like a kidney stone, but remember it will pass.
14. You are not stupid.  I just think you have bad luck when thinking.
15. I will never get over the emotional damage British television has caused me.
16.  I'm not so good with advice, but may I interest you in a sarcastic comment?
17. I gave up trying to make ends meet.  Now, I'd be happy if they'd wave at each other from the corner...
18.  What I lack in skinniness I make up for in awesomeness....
19.  I stuffed the turkey with xanax so we can all have a relaxing holiday this year.
20. Don't worry if you have had a bad day, remember there are people who have their ex's name tattooed on their body.
Have an amusing day!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Maren's Daily Musings Migration

I have been prodded by many to move my musings to a blog or other format, so here we go.  You all win!  My new years resolution is to allow Maren's Daily Musings a more creative format/outlet.  For today, my musings will be my top favorite media entertainment moments of 2013, in no particular order.
1. Thor.  I had no idea I could enjoy a sequel so much.  Must be the Norse God in me.  Or the fact that Norse God's are good looking.  Or that their mothers are tough.  Or perhaps its because the show has lines like this in it "An Astrophysicist with three degrees should be able to change her own ringtone."
2.  42.  If you have not seen it, you should.  Really one of the most inspiring films of the year.
3. Gravity.  Someday I bet we find out they filmed it in space.
4. Catching Fire.  There is a moment near the end when Jennifer Lawrence is laying on the ground.  To say more would give too much away, but lets just say AWESOME.
5.  Dolby Atmos.  Look it up and check it out.  In Utah you have to go to the Megaplex in West Valley.
6. Frozen.  Scandinavian Princesses with freckles and Xmen-esque powers voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel.  Really can't go wrong.  Throw in a dancing snowman? Sold.
7. Star Trek Into Darkness.  JJ Abrams got me to care about the Star Trek Franchise.  Amazing.
8. Now You See Me.  Wait what?  That is what I was saying most of the film in my head.
9. Much Ado about Nothing.  Well, actually, I still haven't seen it.  But the idea of a bunch of cool stars hanging out at Joss Whedon's house acting out Shakespeare....what more do you need.
10. Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.  Again, Joss Whedon.
11. Pinterest.  Oh dear, wonderful Pinterest.
12. The Big Bang Theory.  All episodes, but in particular the Scavenger Hunt Episode.  When is Neil Diamond going to be a guest star?  Someone somewhere needs to make that happen.
13. Saving Mr. Banks.  Still haven't seen it, but the trailer makes me happy.
14. Audra McDonald singing Climb Every Mountain on NBC.  That needs to happen more often.
15.  Neil Patrick Harris.  Just the fact that he is alive.
Yes I know I probably left your favorite out.  Go ahead and tell me.  I can handle it.  Tell me anything else you would like me to muse about.