The Great Wall

My husband and I have enjoyed going to movies as much for the viewing experience as the actual flick. We choose opening nights for certain shows simply because of what happened when we watched Snakes on a Plane. We knew that was going to be crazy, but we didn’t expect to find a kinship with others who were there for the same reason. It made the whole night so much more fun.

So when we first saw the trailer for The Great Wall, we knew we were in.
And when our local theater promoted an IMAX Fan Event, date night plans were made (hello extended Valentine’s celebration!). Knowing the theater had only sold 11 tickets by the time we left to get there only made things better. Popcorn, souvenirs, AND room to breathe. Ahhhhhh.

We knew little of what to expect. The trailer made it seem like there might be dragons…or hordes of zombies reminiscent of World War Z. I hoped for the former. There were neither. =)

It’s important to note that going in with few preconceived notions makes it a lot easier to enjoy the story, because you’re not worried about it living up to anything, and it’s free to be what it is.
In the end, as the opening studio logos rolled, I just wanted it to be good.

The first spectacular thing for me was all the rich colors. My ever-knowledgeable husband says this director is known for his use of color in his films and that’s a big thing that draws me in. The different colors and styles for the armor were enthralling, as were the different fighting styles.

Yeah, I haven’t seen a battle use a wall so well. Ever.

And I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t realize until the end that I’d seen a weapon used that I’d made up for my novel. So so cool!

That Matt Damon is awesome goes without saying. So was Jing Tian. And oh my goodness did I love the women’s role in the fight.
I had similar ideas for fighting styles in my novel, but seeing it on the big screen was even better than what was in my head. Awe. Pure awe.

Though this is fantasy, there are things I imagine are logical for the time period, and certainly for the story. Just because they had gunpowder didn’t mean they’d perfected every use for it. Yet, they were pretty inventive with it.

Yes, there’s death and gore. But the whole thing was very well done. I have no criticisms because we got exactly what we were hoping for: a fantastic experience with a movie we didn’t have to turn our brains off to watch. Intelligent story, great characters, and action that leaves you breathless and saying, “What a ride!”

This movie is not for the feint of heart (or stomach), but is very enjoyable.

(Movies it makes me think of for slight comparison: 13th Warrior, Reign of Fire, John Carter, LOTR The Two Towers, Pacific Rim, Braveheart)


Some Things Just Aren’t Meant To Be Pt 2

Most normal women paint their nails all at once with only a few minutes between coats. Then they’re rendered useless while waiting for the polish to dry.

I have never been accused of being normal or like most women. And as a caregiver…well, there are reasons my nails enjoy naked freedom.

But darn it, this dinner would be worth it, and they could certainly last one night for me, right? Well, timing problems became apparent right away as it took me longer between coats to get done what I had to do. No problem. I still had plenty of time. I could make it.

My last coat didn’t go on until the sun was coming up Sat morning, and after flawless applications all night, I hit something and one of my nails wiped off, down to the nail bed.

Come on! This is why I let each coat dry thoroughly. It wasn’t fair.

Too exhausted to think, I decided to fix it and try the cold water quick-dry method. Since I hadn’t paid attention to the instructions before then, I had to come up with cold water fast, no time to let the ice melt as per the directions. Instead, I filled two little bowls with ice and poured in cold water from the fridge then plunged my fingers into the arctic.

Four minutes later, my fingers hurt beyond belief. Certain I’d given myself frostbite and that they were going to fall off (but wouldn’t they be gorgeous?), I pulled them out of the water and tried to shake some warmth into them.

The polish appeared solid, so I rushed off to finish my last task before sleep. A nap more than a luxurious night of shut-eye at this point.

Before I finished, my nails remembered they were still wet underneath and the tips wore off. On one nail, the polish slid to the side, and clung to the edge of my skin like a glacier on a mountainside. Not easily fixable.

By then I’d lost too much time to shave and fix everything; I’d already been up for over 24 hours. I went to bed for a 3 hour nap, disappointed that the knee-length dress was no longer an option.

When I got up, I realized the pants I’d planned as an alternate weren’t clean. My choice was a fast wash or wear yoga pants. Yeah, right. Fast wash it was. By the time my husband would be ready, I’d have just enough time for the pants to be dry if I dried them at a higher temp than normal, assuming nothing else crazy happened.

And wouldn’t you know it.

There are certain aspects of life with a wheelchair that you just have to deal with whether you want to or not, whether you plan for it or not, and whether you have the time or not. We did what we could to make sure it would not be one of those times.

But again, this is me we’re talking about, and it’s still during this crazy year that has chewed us up and spit us out into completely unrecognizable territory.

We took care of it. There was no choice about it.

Stress level quickly ratcheting higher, we ripped through our final preparations in record time, and managed to make it into the car without a minute to spare.

Just before we set off, I painted a layer on the disastrous nail. At least it would appear to have color on it. And I’d just have to keep my fingers splayed on the steering wheel as I drove. No problem. Not as gorgeous as I’d hoped, but I still looked decent enough for the event.


(You’d never guess these were perfect when I finished them this morning. At least the toes came out good.)







As we got on the highway, one of the alert boards showed a wreck ahead, and times that normally read 9-11 minutes stated 45 mins or longer. We passed too quickly to see where the accident was exactly, but I grew up here and know several alternate routes.

The traffic came to a standstill just after the last exit before the one we needed, and there were flashing lights at the one we would have taken. I got off at the earlier exit. But on the over-road, another sea of red lights greeted me. Great, must be the bleed off of everyone using side streets to avoid the accident.

After several light changes, we were finally close enough to see that the traffic going straight, down another back road I could use to skirt to the highway I needed, had cleared. Though I was in the turn lane (hoping to get to a closer access road), the car behind and next to me went slowly enough that I was able to jump over.

Now we were moving again. Not ideal, but we’d still make it only a few minutes late.

At the next access road, I turned right…and came to another standstill.

Just like on the highway, traffic had stopped and there were flashing lights at the ramp I needed. Ugh. We sat through 4 light changes not moving AT ALL. I was able to jump over to the turn lane, but it ended in a neighborhood with no outlet. I made a U-turn and headed in the opposite direction I needed to go.

It was a long work around, but would eventually put me on the highway I needed to get to. At this point, my husband was giving up on ever getting there.

I wasn’t done yet, though. We’d been in plenty of tight situations before and somehow always managed to pull through and get where we needed to be.

The road passed one of the back roads back to our house, and as we stopped at the red light there, the engine started coughing and sputtering.


At this point, there was no way we would be less than 30 – 40 mins late and my brain quickly flashed forward to the car engine quitting on the way home, if we even made it there.

That was the final straw.

I made a U-turn at the next light and headed back for the road to home, engine running fine. My husband asked why, and I pointed out how many figurative walls we’d hit trying to get to this thing. I was done.

He called Disney Dining (who seemed mystified that this event was happening, and on Disney property), and they eventually got him transferred to the restaurant. Unfortunately the managers were all occupied beginning the event, so the woman took our name and number and said someone would eventually call us back to explain the cancellation procedure and what it entailed.

Very nice speak for “kiss your money goodbye.”

As this was taking place, we passed another bad accident on a busy overpass, very glad we weren’t stuck behind them, because there was no way to get off the bridge. Those cars weren’t going anywhere for a while.

It felt like the world had gone crazy.

For whatever reason, we were not meant to be at that dinner. It was mystifying. Sure there have been bad accidents in the area before, and blockages on local highways weren’t unusual. The timing of these were. Never had we been blocked at EVERY access point and stuck in traffic that did. not. move.

I’m not saying some deity caused those accidents so we wouldn’t make our event, but I don’t believe in coincidences. And the engine sputtering was hard to ignore.

I went out the next evening to pick up groceries and supplies and had no problems.

I told my husband we may never understand why, and we never heard back from anyone. It wasn’t like it was just an expensive lesson because there wasn’t anything to learn. Had we left as early as we’d wanted, we might’ve been involved in any one of those accidents. And when we did leave, there was no reason we shouldn’t have made it on time.

Fast forward to Monday evening though, and we got an email receipt showing they’d refunded the entire cost.

Now I’m making reservations for his birthday. A nice, quiet, normal dinner. No nails will be polished, and my hair color may have faded by then, but I just might get to wear that dress after all.

Some Things Just Aren’t Meant To Be Pt 1

Just before Thanksgiving, I set about booking my husband’s January birthday dinner at Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs, but while perusing the site, I found out about the Sake and Shine event in collaboration with Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming.

Are you kidding me? A progressive dinner starting at one restaurant, with dessert across the courtyard at the other, overseen by both Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Chef Art Smith??

Copywrite Disney

Copyright Disney

No question we would go!

Over the weekend though, I began to realize I didn’t really have anything spectacular to wear. Fortunately, Amazon was running their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and one happened to be for a really pretty dress. Cue my interest.

Now, I’m not a small woman by any stretch of the imagination, and clothes shopping is an exercise in mutilating self esteem, let alone figuring out whether a garment’s measurements would fit sight unseen.

Yeah, the sale dress ended up nowhere near viable. (Since when is US size 6 known as XXL???) But a few hours of clicking later, I had one inexpensive black dress on order that almost certainly would fit. I knew I had one shot. It would arrive Wed (thank you Prime), and if it didn’t work… No, it had to.

Dress settled, I started shopping for shoes—a painful exercise in itself. My wide feet like to slip out of shoes that should fit and yell at me if I try the size smaller. I kept coming back to one pair that I liked, but they hurt just walking around the store, so I left empty-handed.

Wed, my friend joined me. Surely, two women could find ONE pair of shoes that would work. Surely!

Hahahahaha no.

I arrived home disheartened, but determined. Okay, I had a pair of black sandals that would do. They were back ups for ones I wore around the house (those looked too ratty to be a good option). So I dug out the new ones and wore them Thurs to start breaking them in. My big toe pitched such a fit, I started worrying about pressure sores. Could I just wear my sneakers with the dress?

Pride told my feet to suck it up for a few hours, and I set about painting my nails.

In the meantime, my husband took his shoes to a place that would restore their awesome blackness. It’s a pair of orig Dr Martens he got on a school trip to England some 20-odd years ago. Benefits of not walking: shoes last forever. Drawbacks of limited dexterity: polishing the shoes himself would have ended in disaster. =)

In between letting my nails dry forever between coats, I did a few loads of laundry. I’d have finished everything Thurs if I hadn’t had to dye my hair and get up early the next day.

Fri was a trip to my husband’s barber. I dutifully wore the sandals and my feet seemed resigned to the idea. Good little toes.

By the time I could get back to finishing my nails, it was about 9pm. The color looked good enough that I decided to paint my fingernails too. Risky, but I figured any effort would be worth it.

I must have forgotten who I am though, and what a messed up year this has been…

Please Join Me


A Gentle Password Reminder

In case you haven’t heard about the Yahoo data breach, there’s been one. A big one.

Whether or not it’s been a while, it’s time to update your passwords. Can’t hurt to do all of them.

One simple trick I use is to incorporate the date in the password either by numbers, letters, or symbols that let me know at a glance when I last changed it. Then all I have to do is update that part of the password for a few changes. Saves having to come up with a new password every single time I change it (considering how often that should be).

Remember: long and nonsensical, containing as many different types of keys as the site allows (not all sites allow symbols, but should).

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Yesterday, I found out an uncle passed away 2 months ago.

As frustrating as it is to learn about it so much later, I understand that this is the price one pays for leaving Facebook. Loss of contact and information.


The other 3 members of my immediate family all attended the funeral. Not one of them bothered to tell me.

Whether or not I could have attended, I deserved the choice. I deserved the chance to send timely flowers and condolences. I deserved to know. It’s common courtesy.

But this is the type of self-centered thoughtlessness that truly characterizes them. I’ve spent years overlooking these types of things and believing the best of them.

To my own detriment.

But good came from this. I realized that I needed to reach out to others who would love to hear from me.

I called my husband’s aunt, and we talked for a couple of hours. Of course she’d had no idea about all the things we’ve been going through this year. She assured me over and over that she’d be helping in any way she could if we all lived closer.

But she did help. Her listening ear and understanding heart are things I’ve desperately needed. This has been the hardest year of my life, bar none. And it’s been made infinitely more difficult by the callous lack of compassion and care that I’ve encountered.

The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. And it hurts.

I Can Only Care About Me

Kind of a pretentious title, don’t you think? And yet, that’s precisely what one learns in certain circles.

I can only control me; I can only choose my actions, and that’s how I will cope: by choosing me, by focusing on me. I’m “sorry” if you feel differently, but your opinion—you—no longer matter in my world.

No wonder people have become more and more self-centered.

I remember a great man once said, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Whatever happened to the people who checked up on you when you were going through a hard time? Where are the friendly neighbors who cared? When did we decide that helping someone else was a sacrifice we’re no longer willing to make?

We’re so busy looking out for number one that we don’t see the pain we’ve inflicted, the hurts we could heal if we honestly cared.

My sadness is that the person who’s going to come out the other side of this modern view in therapy is a stranger, no longer the one I once knew and loved. It was never about saving someone else; it was always about love.