Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I hope you're all enjoying the holiday as much as I am . Today was very special for me, because today, the live-action version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast came out in theaters! I was so happy and excited--heck, I'm still feeling that way . It was wonderful. It was everything I hoped it would be, including the new stuff . Emma Watson was especially good as Belle . I knew she would be a good choice for the part. Dan Stevens was phenomenal as the Beast , and I loved the computer animation use with the enchanted objects. It followed the original cartoon very closely, with a few new things, like some extra songs , character development, some minor story changes, and a slightly different look on characters. There was also more magic . When I saw the permanent winter snowfall around the Beast's castle, I came very close to asking, "Let me guess; it's always winter, and never Christmas?"
My only real complaint , really, was the fact that a bunch of idiot parents brought in kids that were pre-school age, and totally not ready to see a movie like this. If it weren't for my extreme love of the story itself, and concentrating really hard on the film, and some very hard-earned patience I've learned over the years, I would have come very close to yelling at those morons to get their kids out of there. When are these people gonna learn that PG-rated Disney movies longer than an hour are not events you take little toddlers to?! Or babies for that matter?! You wait 'till they are 6 years old (at minimum), for God's sake! We had kids going in and out with their parents, we had babies crying, and kids making a ruckus in various parts of the theater. It's no wonder some people opt for child-free airplane rides. I'm amazed we all didn't go stir-crazy . I work with babies and toddlers at my job, and I know for a fact they are mentally not ready to sit through a two-and-a-half-hour movie and stay quiet. Seriously. Best you can do is pop a pre-school DVD in the player at home or at the daycare center and let the story run in the background . Either that, or get a GD baby-sitter and go without the danged kids!
The only thing worse was watching nearly FORTY MINUTES of previews! (Well, it felt like 40 minutes ). It's like..."Did we come to see a movie? Or an endless stream of commercials about movies we don't care about?" (Though the new Wonder Woman, Power Rangers, and Transformers movies look interesting). I ask you, do we really need another Smurfs or Despicable Me movie? Hell, I wouldn't have watched those, even when I was a kid! There are times I have half a mind to take a short nap while waiting for previews. Problem is, I'd risk sleeping through part of the movie too . Oh well.
The family had wanted to go to the city today, to see a museum, a park , and eat at a famous restaurant, but the problem was, some of us had stayed up late and were almost zombies when we got up at 8 a.m. To make matters worse, we realized that traffic would be difficult, due to all the St. Paddy's Day parades going on, so we decided to do the day-trip next weekend. Oh well . I still liked seeing Beauty and the Beast instead.
Two weeks ago, the whole family teamed up to do some extreme gardening. It's not as crazy as the ordeal our poor gardener has had to do, but he likes earning a living, so he is more than happy to do jobs that involve a chainsaw or hedge-trimmer on those monstrous plants in our backyard (I'll explain in a moment).
See, we moved into this lovely new home last summer that passed all the tests we had for house requirements:
- under 20 years old
- 2 sinks in the master bathroom
- a powder room
- a large, fenced-in backyard with a high fence (for our doggy, Domino)
- a 3-car garage with an equally large driveway
- not too expensive
- an island in the kitchen
- decently-spaced-out rooms
However, as with any home you buy that's not new, you have to deal with the crap the previous owners left behind. It turns out the wife of the previous house owner was totally nuts about the desert environment she had left behind in her homeland. So she chose to grow Agave, and other desert plants. Problem was, she refused to have them trimmed or kept up for 18 years, and now our backyard has these gigantic, monstrous-looking desert plants all over the place. While they are artfully arranged, it still feels like walking into an alien landscape. The two types of Agave look like tentacled monsters ready to lash out and eat you. However, in measuring their heights, I got up close and personal (literally) with these beasties , and thankfully, they will not eat you , but they do poke and scratch a lot. They don't move unless you push on their leaves, or the wind blows through the yard. We live at the top of a gently sloping hill, so the wind is a little stronger in our location when it blows.
Mom tried advertising the plants for sale online, but nobody seemed interested. Best we've been able to do is let friends dig up the baby plants that have been allowed to grow around the base of the giant Agave's. Some people like or even love desert plants, and having them in your yard when living in the desert would be practical, due to the plants being natives of that environment, and not needing much water. I have an aunt in Vegas who does that, Xeriscape gardening, it's called, to save on water. However, my family doesn't like desert plants, and we really don't like having gravel and "ankle-breaker" rocks everywhere instead of grass, so the desert plants have to go.
I didn't want to leave Domino alone in the house or backyard during the job, so I locked the leash on its fullest length, looped it around the front banister of our front porch (we have a ridiculously large, deep, cavernous front porch), clipped the dog to it, and I brought out a bowl of water for him to drink from in case he got thirsty. He liked being included, even though he didn't know what we were doing in the yard . We've done it before with our dogs, so it was an easy setup. Periodically we'd talk to Domino from where we were working, or go over to pet him. When the job was done for the day, we brought him back into the house. It's a nice way to keep your pet from being lonely, but you can also keep track of them too.
Like I said before, the whole family teamed up two days in a row (though dad had to work on the first day) and we cleared out a strip of dirt along the front of the two flowerbeds. I cannot tell you how crazy it was, having to dig not only gravel, but big rocks out of the soil as well. We threw all the large rocks into the side yard nearby, and they made loud crack! sounds when they landed. They almost sounded like minor fireworks when they landed. That area is supposed to lead to the west gate, but we locked that permanently when we moved in, so we don't care if nobody can reach it easily. The soil was terrible. It was like baked clay, and we had to break it up and fill in the holes with potting soil for each new flower we planted. Mom wants lilies and hyacinths. I'm going to plant Stargazers eventually. The potting soil technique was one we developed in Illinois, years back. Same problem too, with crappy, baked clay soil (despite living in an area with rich sod for farming). Stupid landscapers brought us cheap river-bottom clay instead of rich black soil , so we had to compensate for our gardens. It works, I'm happy to say . I think mom's eventually going to have the men in the family install that plastic landscaping border we got from the store. It'll prevent the garden from being lost to the yard or the gravel we left behind. Coincidentally, it rained the day after the second day of gardening. Guess God wanted to water our plants too . We have more work to do, but it's a good start, and our front garden looks better already.
Spring is most definitely here.