Post Thanksgiving

I’m lucky enough to have this weekend off (I usually work) so after being in a food coma for two days, we piled in the car and went to our favorite walking trails! Elizabeth was the first one in the car!

And the first one out to lead the way!

I let her off leash at these trails because she is very good at staying close and checking to see if I’m right behind her, a couple times I hid behind a tree and she’d come looking for me!

Snoopy loves finding holes and places where there might be critters to hunt!

We found a nice place to stop and look at the scenery. As the sun went down the sky turned colors.

Elizabeth also took a few minutes rest here, told her brother to bugger off and posed for a few shots…..

Love the way her eyes light up!

And then we set back out of the woods to go home, a little more rejuvinated and grateful!

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Movie Review “The Help” and “The Visitor”

I was in Texas for the weekend and got a chance to watch some good movies I hadn’t seen. I read the book “The Help” and loved it so I really wanted to see the movie. The second movie is called “The Visitor”  and just rented it on iTunes by chance, it was only $1.99.

“The Help”

Based on the book with the same tittle by Kathryn Stockettt , this movie stars Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Viola Davis among others. Set in the 1960s during the civil rights movement, in Jackson Mississippi.  It tells the story of Skeeter, an author who is writing about the help. Aibileen is an African-American maid who helps her. Aibileen works for Skeeters friend Elizabeth, caring for toddler Mae Mobley Leefolt. Minny is Aibileen’s sassy confrontational friend who frequently tells her employers what she thinks of them. Lets say she gets fired a lot. Minny’s most recent employer was Mrs. Walters, mother of Hilly Holbrook. Hilly is the social leader of the community, and head of the Junior League. The “bad guy” of the movie if you will. She does such a good job, you really hate her at the end and laugh whole heartedly when Minny gets back at her.

For me, what really struck was that this was different from anything ever written about that time. It took a closer look inside the homes of the characters, their family dynamics and their children. To give your children over for someone else to raise but then to treat the women that raise them with such disregard and lack of respect really struck a chord with me. It was so sad to see the character of Elizabeth threat her child with such neglect. To see Aibileen try to comfort Mae was heartbreaking. To see Hilly treat her own mother badly but also everyone else around her, including her own childhood friend Skeeter was also hard. Hilly is truly a product of her time. She really thinks she is a good person when she is nothing but ignorant and mean. Skeeter on the other hand is the opposite of Hilly, kind, educated and the hero for these maids because she gives them a voice. A voice to tell their stories good and bad.

The maids tell their stories of struggle, abuse, neglect, stories of love for the children they care for, and they can really paint a picture of the people they work for and the kind of racial injustice they had to deal with in their daily lives.

I became attached to the women and their stories.  I wanted them to succeed. I laughed and cried and felt with every part of my body and that’s what a good story is supposed to do!

“The Visitor”

“The Visitor” is a drama film written and directed by Thomas McArthy. It tells the story of a lonely man brilliantly played by Richard Jenkins. His life changes when he returns to his NYC apartment (that he has not been to in a long time, as he is living and working in Connecticut) to find an immigrant couple living there. He asks them to leave and they do so willingly but then sees that they have nowhere to go and lets them stay.

They drastically change each others lives as they know it.

This is not a story with a happy ending.

It’s a story about identity, immigration in post 9/11 New York and cross cultural relationships. It was sad and heavy and really carried a message about where we are as a country and the issue of immigration.

And as I watched this and “The Help” I could not help but see parallels and similarities.

We are still dealing with issues like racial injustice and immigration in a way that disregards and/or violate certain populations human rights. We’ve come a long way but stories like “The Help” and “The Visitor” remind us that we still have a long way to go.

Thank you for reading and I hope you watch these movies and they make you think as much as they did me!

For The Visitor, McCarthy won the 2008 Independent Spirit Award for best director

Richard Jenkins was nominated for Best Actor in the 2009 Academy Awards

Happy Thanksgiving

I just got back from Austin Texas(that’s another blog) so I’m thankful to be home safe and sound with my dogs and bf.

Being a Social Work student really gives me perspective and helps me to not feel sorry for myself. I work at a local community health center twice a week and see patients in real need, pain and despair. Basic human needs like food, water, shelter and medical care are things we might take for granted everyday but there are people all over the world who don’t have their basic needs met on a daily basis. That makes me sad and I think of them a lot but especially during this holiday season.

I encourage you to help, even if just with the little things like donate a bag of cans to your local food bank, volunteer your time and look at websites like http://www.heifer.org/gift for great ideas on how to give.

Living in Fairfield County CT, I also get to see the other side, the amount of wealth and excess never ceases to amaze me. I have a hard time not being judgemental of the wealth and excess. I want to hold these people accountable (many of them part of that %1) for not doing their part when they so easily can.

I try to rationalize it with “everyone has problems”  “money doesn’t buy happiness” and “we all process things differently”.

but it’s still hard to not let judgement rear its ugly head!

That said,  this Thanksgiving holiday I have some time off my school/internship/work schedule so I’m most thankful for the time that I’ve been given. I don’t take time for granted because I rarely have any!!! My schedule is insane right now. Grad school really eats away at a lot of my life so I’m looking forward to spending quality time with family and friends. I’m looking forward to getting into the city for my favorite holiday fairs. I’m only a 50 minute train ride from NYC and I love the city during the holidays.

I’m going to start my christmas shopping early and actually venture out on black friday which I have never done before.

And of course I’ll get to spend lots of time home with my doggies!

Elizabeth loves snuggling and lounging with me, which I’m so grateful for!

But I will be thinking of those in need, I will try to not take anything for granted and try to be as green as possible(It’s hard to think of the toll holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas have on our environment but that’s another blog!)

And since I don’t want to leave you on a sad note, here are some pics of Elizabeth from past Thanksgivings and Snoopy too!

Happy Thanksgiving to you from all of us!

Snoopy loop

I’m not sure where to start with this blog because it’s about Snoopy….. the JRT that manages to make me laugh, cry and truly live with the saying “There’s Never a Dull Moment”

He is smart and funny and trouble all in one! It’s his intelligence that is constantly getting him into trouble. We just have to keep him exercised so he is too tired to do anything else.

This could really be a book but I’ll keep it to the funny places the little monster likes to lay on when he’s not getting himself into trouble. Here are some of them.

This is a clean basket of laundry, he will also just lay on piles of clean laundry if I’m folding it on the bed or couch.

This is my favorite beach bag, he really like this one too, especially if there are towels in it to make it cushy.

Here he is in the basket of shoes we keep by the door. There is actually a dog bed right next it. I dont know why I bother buying dog beds at all.

 Here he is on my yoga mat, very hard to concentrate on yoga and breathing with a dog taking up room on your mat.

 Sleeping with his daddy, he loves fleece blankets and pillows.

He also like to lay side ways with his legs up in the air or on something.

Every once in a while I catch them sleeping together and it makes me happy that they have each other. They are never touching, just close by.

He loves laying out in he sun. I call him our little sun-god because he will look for sunny spots to lay in. He will lay out with me in lazy summer days.

And through it all, we love our Snoopy! We wouldn’t change him for the world!

Elizabeth Josephine Love!

Elizabeth Josephine Love is my 7yr old Scottish Terrier. She is my partner in crime, my soul mate and my BFF (best furry friend).

She was born September 17th, 2004. I got her from a breeder in NJ a week before Thanksgiving, when she was 3mths old.

This time of year reminds me of the awful drive to New Jersey we took that Saturday in 4 hours worth of traffic with my boyfriend extremely frustrated because we had to be back in town for a church Thanksgiving event with his grandma, but it was so worth it!

My boyfriend was not happy I was getting a dog. He already had Snoopy, the JRT from hell(just kidding, sort of) Snoopy was a rescue my boyfriend took in and they had a really nice bond. They were and always will be boys! I wanted my own puppy to have a special bond with.

The moment I saw Elizabeth I knew we were meant for each other. And almost like she knew she had to win him over, the first thing she did when she saw my boyfriend was reach up out of the box she was in to kiss his face.

From the beginning she was so sweet, and loving. She slept alot as a puppy. I would bring her to work with me, at the time I was working at a dance studio and could keep her in my office. The children and parents loved discovering the puppy sleeping under my desk. She grew up there and when she was old enough, I started leaving her at home with Snoopy.

She loves children as long as they are gentle, and if they aren’t she lets them know!

She’s a great playmate to her brother Snoopy, even if he steals her toys.

We celebrate her birthday every year and she loves getting special treats.

Shes so patient and kind, even when I make her do things she doesn’t want to do, she’ll do it to please me, and for the attention.

She makes everything better, even snow, which I hate!

I’m more of a beach type of girl, and Elizabeth loves the beach.

Shes a deep thinker. I heard the Dali Lama say if you are an animal, and you’re good, you can come back as a human and I really do believe that in another life, she will be an amazing human being!

Shes part of my family, and I can’t imagine my life without her in it.

So this is for you, my lovey girl Liz, mama loves you!

The little things…..

So I went to Starbucks this morning, the first time in a while because I’ve been on a Dunkin Donuts kick. I love their coffee but not the espresso drinks. Today I wanted a caramel machiatto, skim, no foam please! I was going to need it for a long day ahead.

The barista at the drive thru hands me the red holiday cup and I literally gasp! I think I scared him.

There is nothing like the Starbucks red cup to get me in the holiday spirit!

Some of you might think, “really? a freaking red cup? I say yes! When I see it, I think about the holidays, dinners with friends and family, Christmas vacation and days off at home with my doggies and boyfriend (who I don’t have a day off with my current schedule).

I compose myself, look at it and it says “Lets rediscover why we are best friends” and I think, yeah, lets!

I’m a true believer in the saying ” It’s the small things in life that count” and the Starbucks red holiday cup is the perfect example:

I had to work 8-6 on a Sunday, I was running late ( and my boss actually docked the fifteen minutes off my pay at the end of the day) but getting that holiday cup this morning put me in a great mood.

It made me stop feeling sorry for myself, things aren’t so bad, the holidays are almost here, a new year lies ahead and all is well!

Take the time to appreciate the little things!

Thankful for Fall

It has taken me almost 17 years of living in Connecticut to really appreciate fall in New England. I grew up in Puerto Rico where it was always warm and sunny. I had an amazing childhood mostly because I grew up in such a beautiful place. It will always live close to my heart.

I had never seen snow before moving here in the fall of 1994.

So when fall came I would immediately think of the cold weather coming, and was never really able to enjoy. Now after all this time I can finally say, I do love the fall and all its beauty. My boyfriend loves the seasons and always said his favorite is fall. I love my Summers and always will but Fall is a close second. I feel lucky we live in a place where we get to see all the four seasons. I try to enjoy Fall while its here and soak up Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays with family and friends!

Looking back a couple of years, I have accumulated lots of nice images of Fall in Connecticut. I love taking pictures of nature. I thought I would share some of my favorites. Enjoy!