From Dirty Dancing to Totoro

There’s this challenge circulating in Facebook, challenging people to post pictures from movies that have impacted them somehow, ten movies, one per day. I did – or rather am still in the middle of doing it – but thought I’d make a post about them too, explaining why exactly they’re important to me. Since that’s “forbidden” in all of these FB challenges for some odd reason.

There’s plenty of movies to choose from – so many good ones and even some bad ones that have left some sort of mark on me over the years. Still, instead of having to select from too many movies, I found myself struggling to fill the ten with truly important ones. Many movies were good and touching and whatnot, but did they leave a permanent mark? Mostly not.

This is the list I came up with. First four were a no-brainer, so huge were they to me. The rest were more difficult to pick.

  1. Dirty Dancing
    dirtydancing
    If you were a teen girl in the eighties, it was more likely for you to fall in love with this movie than not. I think I was only 12 when it came out and I needed to have a parent with me to watch it; for some reason it was my dad taking me, not my mom.The movie opened a whole new world to me!

    Somehow, even though it’s set in the fifties, it opened the teendom to me. Launched me into teenhood. I remember wanting to become a dancer/actress/singer/writer/animal caretaker combo after seeing the movie.

    Favorite quote
    Penny: “Oh, Come On, Ladies. God Wouldn’t Have Given You Maracas If He Didn’t Want You To Shake ’Em!” 

  2. The Sound of Music
    soundofmusic
    I mean, obviously. The movie that made me fall in love with musicals. My grandma had this on a VHS and I first saw it with her, after which I watched it over and over again at her place. This movie was also my first brush with Nazis and what they did.

    Favorite quote
    Maria: “Excuse me sir, I don’t know your signal.” Captain: “You may call me ‘Captain’.”
     

  3. Victor Victoria
    victorvictoria
    Man, this one was an instant hit with me! Absolutely wonderful musical with good humor and great music. I absolutely love the scene where they do the “You and me” with a bunch of good natured bickering that just gives the audience the feeling that they are totally at ease with themselves as well as each other.

    Favorite quote
    Toddy: “I taught him everything I know.” Victor: “That’s why he has so little left.”
     

  4. Mamma Mia!
    Mamma-Mia-1
    Mamma Mia! What’s there not to love? I mean, Greek island, Abba songs, love and humor and Meryl Streep. It always makes me think of Tinos, and it always makes me cry. With every watch I find new things that touch me one way or the other. Dot dot dot!

    Favorite quote
    Donna: “I used to have fun.” Lisa: “Oh, we know!”

  5. Top Gun
    topgun
    Great balls of fire! Not too many things that would be more iconic eighties than Top Gun. Take My Breath Away was played in every school disco, multiple times. Motorcycles, riding into the sunset, all that testosterone in the sky. Man, I was so in love with Tom Cruise.

    Favorite quote
    Maverick: “It’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

  6. Brother Bear
    koda
    I just cry every. single. time. There is something absolutely beautiful about the story, that touches me somewhere deep deep inside. I love the way the spirits fly in the northern lights, how Kenai learns to care and love, all of it. Of course, the moose bros make me chuckle through my tears.

    First time I saw this movie was in the theater with my kids who were maybe three and five years old. I was struggling to hold myself together so that especially the very empathetic younger one wouldn’t get scared or start to cry too.

    Favorite quote
    Sitka: “Bonehead, just because his totem is wisdom doesn’t mean he’s wise. I mean, look at him.” 

  7. Les Miserables
    lesmiserables
    One time my son was watching this in the living room while I was reading in the library. There’s no door so I could hear the movie prefectly. Despite trying to concentrate on my book, I cried. Just cried. Another one of those movies with so much feeling, so much human tragedy, so many aspects that touch my soul. not to forget the amazing music.

    Favorite quote
    Fantine: “I dreamed a dream in time gone by… when hope was high, and life worth living…” 

  8. Coctail
    coctail
    Another eighties movie, another Tom Cruise movie. Beach Boys Cocomo. Dreams of the sun and just life. The movie made me think anything was possible for me, too.

    Favorite quote
    Bonnie: Excuse me, do I have “fuck me” written on my forehead? 

  9. Pretty Woman
    prettywoman
    And another one from the eighties. It was a debate between this and My Fair Lady, but Pretty Woman won. Maybe because there’s more I can relate to, kind of. Champagne, strawberries, hot tub scene. More modern cinderella story.I love the scene where Vivien tears down the street in Edward’s car noting that it “corners like it’s on rails”, and the one where Edward thinks Vivien is doing drugs in the toilet, when she’s just flossing after eating strawberries. Oh, and the hot tub scene.

    Favorite quote
    Vivien: “Did I mention, my leg is 44 inches from hip to toe. So basically we are talking about 88 inches of therapy wrapped around you for the bargain price of three thousand dollars.”

  10. My Neighbor Totoro
    totoro
    The troubled kids whose mom is in the hospital. The friendly Totoro and cat bus and all, that help them cope in the new home while dad is working. Plus, those siblings always remind me of my own kids. The dynamics are so similar.

    Favorite quote
    Tatsuo Kusakabe: “That’s wonderful. Good for you! I’ve always wanted to have a haunted house. It’s been my lifelong dream!”

     

Some other movie trivia of my life:

  • First movie I ever saw in the theater was Bambi
  • I went to see it with my friend and her dad
  • At that time, there was no dubbing in Finland, so parents all over the theater were whispering the subtitles to the kids
  • Other important childhood movies were The Fox and the Hound, E.T. and this Finnish movie “Kuningas, jolla ei ollut sydäntä” (King who had no heart)
  • My strongest negative memory stamp is from the movie Electric Grandma; the scene where she poured milk from her finger icked me bad
  • When I was a kid, my dad was more likely to take me to the movies
  • He always bought a bag of popcorn (no fresh popcorn in Finnish movie theaters at the time), a Royal chocolate bar and a box of “Amerikan pastillit” (m&m type sugar coated chocolates, in the Featured Image pic)
  • At home I watched a whole lot of old Finnish movies from the Ansa Ikonen & Tauno Palo era with my dad
  • I have never been big on horror movies; they give me nightmares for a long time
  • I gave in to my sister once and watched Pet Sematary when I was maybe 20
  • Other negative impact movies are The Thing and Bladerunner
  • The first movie I went to see underage (K16 movie when I was 13) was Tequila Sunrise and I loved it
  • I went to see every single Tom Cruise movie in the theater
  • I love old MGM musicals and have a nice collection of them as DVDs
  • Some of my favorite MGM musicals are Summer Stock, Singing in the Rain, Top Hat, Swing Time
  • Other beloved musicals are e.g. Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins returns, Grease, Footloose, The Greatest Showman
  • I have a Holiday Time movie list I watch through almost every Christmas time: Borrowed Hearts, White Christmas, Holiday, and Love, Actually
  • I saw It’s a Wonderful Life so many times as a teen that I can’t stand the movie anymore
  • Some favorite contemporary movies contain Out of Sight, Avatar, Tron Legacy, Star Wars series, Marvel Avenger movies (Thor movies, especially), Kingsman movies
  • I usually prefer reading to watching movies and only watch movies when my daughter asks me to watch something with her
  • I go to the movies usually once of twice a year, generally with my offspring
  • The last movie I’ve seen is The Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

ADHD alphabet

Just because it’s fun. This thing was in my Facebook memories on Friday. Here we go, first word that comes to mind for each letter – and the first thoughts said word inspires. Here we go:

  • A – ape – Distant relative, who might well get to test a vaccine before people
  • B – basic – When all else is ripped from life, back to basics it is.
  • C – champagne – My favorite drink.
  • D – dude – Dude, dudette, whatever.
  • E – evening – Sun goes down and it’s time to chill.
  • F – funny – …as a heart attack. Life is.
  • G – garage – We have one, full of stuff. In our previous home it was H’s mancave.
  • H – hair – I really need a haircut. I really need to at least snip my bangs.
  • I – irony – The irony is that there’s nothing ironic in Alanis’ “Ironic”.
  • J – joke – As long as we have a sense of humor, we’ll be fine.
  • K – keeper – I just finished Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper a few days ago.
  • L – laugh – It’s good to laugh, it helps your mind stay healthy.
  • M – manhole – Learned this word some seven years ago and it became a favorite.
  • N – novel – Well, I do love reading.
  • O – ornament – I like peculiar ornaments.
  • P – paramount – Pictures? Also one of those words I really like.
  • Q – quarantine – Really, was there any other option here?
  • R – rice – H keeps telling me that soon we’ll all be just eating rice.
  • S – sushi – Not eating this favorite food of mine while avoiding fast carbs.
  • T – tornado – None of them generally here in Finland.
  • U – usher – Another favorite word, but I myself don’t like to be ushered.
  • V – variety – It’s good. Because we’re different and like different things.
  • W – water – Clean water is the most important thing for life.
  • X – X-ray – no xylophones, ok!
  • Y – youth – …is stupid. Like those students in Florida despite Corona.
  • Z – zebra – In Finnish it’s spelled with an S and double E, seepra.

Bonus track – the scandic letters (and obviously Finnish words):

  • Å – åsikt – Opinion (in Swedish). We all have one.
    Really, this is a totally Swedish letter, even called “the Swedish O” in Finnish. I don’t think there are any Finnish words containing, let alone starting, with Å.
  • Ä – äiti – Mother. Me.
  • Ö – ötökkä – Bug. Soon it’s summer and all sorts of bugs are out again.

No, I’m really not bored

People are complaining about being bored at home now that the world is kinda closed and everybody should just stay home. That, being bored, is an opportunity I have yet to have. Even though our dance school is closed now and I have two more evenings at home during the week (yes, really, that was the extent of my away-from-home hobbies), I feel like I have even less time for everything.

I have always a gazillion small or big projects and ideas just waiting for me to have time for them. I work long hours – really, remote working hasn’t slowed that down in the least; more like I’m working even more than average right now. It’s the busiest time of spring for me at work, remote on not, Corona or not. I have dozens of books just waiting to be read and always a couple in the reading. We have remodelling projects going on always, and there’s the daily and weekly tasks like cooking for people and dogs, laundry and other such stuffs.

No, I do not have idle time. On the contrary, I still pick and choose and prioritize what I do in my free time. I try to have time to read every evening, but it doesn’t always happen. I try to spend some time with daughter every evening; she pretty much makes sure that at least happens always 😉 I go out with the dogs, and now that the weather is getting nicer and daughter is getting bored at home, we try to go out for longer walks with the dogs together.

Sometimes I dream of having so much time on my hands that I actually get done with everything and find myself bored shitless. I know you should be careful what you wish for, ’cause you just might get it. No, I don’t want to be unemployed or anything and it’s not likely either being that our company is exactly in this modern remote working business as a cloud consultation company. Just, a few month sabbatical or something would be nice.

Is suppose there’s three things here:

1) I’m quite good at entertaining myself with writing, reading, and photography, all of which go before any Netflix series or movies currently. There’s times I watch a lot of Netflix, then there’s times when I only watch movies when daughter asks me to watch one with her.

2) My husband is quite good at keeping me busy – no, don’t go there, nothing X-rated about this! As I said there’s the remodeling and renovation stuff going on in this house of ours and when my husband does things, he doesn’t do things half-assed, so things take time. He also has a bit higher domestic standards than the bohemic little me, so there’s always stuff to do around the house (even as under-cleaned the place remains).

3) I don’t live alone. There’s always stuff to do when you have dogs and kids (though there’s only one left here now). Oh, and a spouse. Not to forget the spouse 🙂

If I now had too much time and too little to do right now, while stuck at home, I’d do some online dance classes (not to say I might not get to that anyway!), since due to this Corona stuff our dance school is offering video dance classes on their website. I’d also watch some Broadway shows, at least for the seven day free trial (if I had too much time I probably would get the subscription too). I’d also go more for longer walks outside, as long as the weather permits. I’d take my camera with me – and be fiddling with the photos a long time again afterwards.

In case you’re very bored, you can also read my daily jaddajaddas about my #coronageddon on my diary page 😀

Throwback to the blog-slow year 2019

[Suomeksi]

This year, 2019, has probably been the slowest one ever, when it comes to posting blogs. It’s not like I’ve stopped thinking and having opinions, it’s just that I haven’t seemed to have the energy to form full blog posts, write actual articles. Maybe I’ve also been a tad more turned toward myself than usual. I’ve been reading books rather than writing anything myself. According to the Goodreads stats, I’ve read approximately 1,5 times as much this year than either of the previous ones (when using Goodreads) – and the year ain’t even over yet.

readingstat2019.jpg
[My Year in Books]

However, there’s more to this year than books, too.

January
Pic of the month: 

2019-01-20 12.18.30
We sure had snow!

New phone (iPhone8), son bought his first car, took a heartbear tattoo on my left arm (my tribute to the animals of my life)
Book of the month: Playing with Fire, Tess Gerritsen – an excellent psychological thriller
Quote of the month: “The fact that Ewan McGregor’s brother Colin McGregor is a pilot in the Royal Air Force and his aviator nickname is ‘Obi-Two’ is my new favorite bit of knowledge” – im not right in the head.com

February
Pic of the month: 

2019-02-02 11.42.38
Horse football at Ypäjä open doors day

Just life, I suppose. Ypäjä (where my son studied) open doors day
R.I.P. Matti Nykänen (the Finnish ski jumping hero)
Book of the month: The Tinker’s Girl, Catherine Cookson – an interesting story from the poorer side of the 1800’s England (than Austens)
Quote of the month: ”Feelings come and go, unless you don’t feel them. Then they stay, and hurt, and grow pear-shaped and weird.” – David Duchovny (Holy Cow)

March
Pic of the month: 

2019-03-10 13.34.32-2
It ain’t spring till the great tit sings…

Overnight in Uusikaupunki (business trip) and while I was gone, daughter and husband changed our broken dishwasher to a new one
Book of the month: Karhunpesä, Venla Hiidensalo – a beautiful story of being a finn over the past hundred years or so
Quote of the month:
“The inner battle of an AD(H)D/OCD:
– okay, good enough
– but it’s not neat!
– okay then (hasty tidying)
– still messed up
– but I don’t have the patience to do better!
– aaarh, that hurts my head, my eyes, I can’t live with that!
– you have to!
– I can’t!
– ok, fine (some more touches here and there)
– well, better, but…
– no! no more buts! walk away and forget!
– but…!
– no!” – me

April
Pic of the month: 

2019-04-06 17.45.31
My beloved orchids ❤

Youngest one turned 16, my orchid family got three additions, growing chilis, parliamentary elections (I voted), MRI of my head (no regrowth)
R.I.P.
Lasse Pöysti (a Finnish actor who also used to read children’s stories on TV)
Book of the month
: Perunkirjoitus, Roope Lipasti – a humoristically written story that actually delves surprisingly deep into human nature
Quote of the month: “I’m a mother. I catch things.” – me

May
Kuukauden kuva: 

2019-05-14 20.25.18
One persistant little violet growing through gravel

Eldest graduated from Ypäjä, youngest finished junior high and thus ended her mandatory school, long weekend in southern France with the middle one, European parliamentary elections (I voted)
Book of the month: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Roy Arundhati – slight bit slow and detailed, but very intriguing book about India and sexual diversity (in India)
Quote of the month: “What about the worm? He got up early and died.” – Rat (Pearls Before Swine, Stephan Pastis)

June
Pic of the month: 

2019-06-04 18.45.19
Kayaking with my colleagues

Muse in concert at Suvilahti, kayaking with colleagues, company summer party, building our deck
Book of the month: The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton – a beautiful story about secrets and diversity in middle-age Amsterdam
Quote of the month: “I always feel kinda warm inside when someone says fuck more than me” – me

July
Pic of the month: 

2019-07-08 15.36.31
I read just a few Harry Potters during my vacation (all of them, of course)

Got our deck ready, got a hot tub on the deck, built some boxes and a small storage cabinet on the deck, and I had my four weeks of summer vacation!
Book of the month: Antautuminen, Anja Snellman – a biographic book about life as a hyper-sensitive person (HSP)
Quote of the month: “Toisinaan taikuus on turhaa” [Sometimes magic is unnecessary] – Wizard (The Wizard of Id, Parker & Hart)

August
Pic of the month: 

2019-08-02 21.13.33-1
Crawfish party in our own yard

Terrace warmer! Company kick-off in Suomenlinna, slow-juicer (that has been used weekly ever since), little extension of my library, 25th anniversary meetup of my theology class
Book of the month: Uskollinen lukija, Max Seeck – a thriller of the best sort (published in English as The Faithful Reader)
Quote of the month: “You’ll never find another me. Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing, but it’s the truth.” – i’m not right in the head.com

September
Pic of the month: 

2019-09-22 13.44.40-1
There were still some summery days left

Middle one turned 18 and got a proper party, eldest turned 19 (and partied with friends)
Book of the month: The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern – a beautiful dreamy fantasy
Quote of the month: “Teen beating around the bush about my schedule after work.
Me: What are you getting at?
Teen: I was wondering if you could make me some dinner.
Me: But… you only just ate yesterday!” – me and my youngest

October
Pic of the month: 

2019-10-07 17.27.57-1
Autumn came, again

Conch-piercing in my left ear, daytrip to Tampere (on business, but got myself some lovely new Laura Vitas from the trip too), “Mies joka rakasti järjestystä” (The man who loved order) in the theater
Book of the month: The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Kate Morton – a mystery woven so talentedly, that the mystery itself is almost like an afterthought
Quote of the month: “Do we have enough wine for you to take all the seeds out of these?” – Husband, when looking at the about million rocoto chilis waiting to be de-seeded

November
Pic of the month: 

DSCN2839
We had first snow in November (but nope, it did not stay)

Eldest moved to his own home, I bought myself an Apple Watch, postal workers were on strike for some weeks
Book of the month: Winternight Trilogy, Katherine Arden – a romantic fantasy adventure in the Russian winter
Quote of he month: “Whenever you cry, I wish I was a spider. Then I would spin you a tissue.” – Walter, 6 years old (@fearlessfranny)

December
Kuukauden kuva: 

2019-12-20 18.59.11
In the opera. Husband’s iPhone 11 takes excellent photos in the dark

Crsis that broke our government, company Christmas party weekend in Lehmonkärki, La Bohème in the opera, Christmas break
Book of the month: Surrounded by Idiots, Thomas Erikson – a book everyone should read. Helps understand yourself and others, and maybe communicate a bit better
Quote of the month: “You know what it takes to make a star shine? A shit load of fuking darkness.” – unknown

Fragments

Two drunks are sitting on the low wall next to Lidl. Skinny legs crossed, beer can in hand, puffy face turned to look at the store-goers and sneer at those better-offs getting our of high-end cars like BMWs and Mercs. People like us. When we come out, they have vanished.

Driving out of the parking lot and turning on to the main road, we see a fragment of a hat, a glimplse of a face, a ray of light reflecting from a beer can. The dudes have migrated to a nook in the little patch of forest on the other side of the road. “That’s one kind of a life, I guess,” I think to myself as I wonder if they have a family somewhere, wishing they were home instead.

A young woman sporting a backpack running down the street in jump shoes. Is she out for a workout or in a hurry to get somewhere? “Would be fun to try out jump shoes sometime,” I note, as another thought enters my mind: my family would not let me put them on, in fear that next they need to call an ambulance.

Middle-aged man in an electric wheelchair in the hardware store with his wife. Wife is browsing the shelves while the man sits helpless in the wheelchair, waiting. Wife finds whatever tool she was looking for and they go through the cash register. “How would that feel? To be bound to a wheelchair, not being able to contribute,” I wonder and recon that it would still be different for me and for my husband. I might take it as a relief from all this *doing*. He might go down in despair.

Three teens sitting in swings in the park, just loitering, being teens. For a fleeting moment I think: “Ah, that freedom of being young! With no care in this world!” Then I remember it’s just an illusion. Teen years are harsh and probably more difficult than anything that comes later. Unless you’re BPD and have a permanently underdeveloped frontal cortex.

The tram starts from the traffic light. It was all predictable, but I fall down on my ass all the same. My balance has failed me, again. It was less than a week since it did it in a bus. I find myself sprawled on the tram floor, in my clunky heels and in my dress. Less than gracefully I gather myself up as fast as I can. People look away demurely. Only two young ladies seem worried as they ask if I’m ok. I decide not to be embarrassed, smile at them and tell them I’m fine. With an aching ankle I step out as we have reached my stop, and hold my head up high as I walk towards my destination.

Stories. We all have our stories and when we see other people out and about, a small fragment of our story is revealed. Most of the time it is puzzling to anyone watching, because the short moment is out of context. Only when you get to know a person, talk to them for some time, do you get to know the outlines of their story. Only when you spend time with them for years on end, might you actually learn their story.

Take a random excerpt from a book. It may intrigue you, it may be meaningless, it may sound completely insane. Read the book flap and it may make sense. Maybe you want to read more and decide to get the book. Maybe it is disinteresting and you will never find out what lies beneath those covers. Obviously, you will never be able to read all books in this universe. Obviously it’s not necessary either.

In her book called “Outline” Rachel Cusk delves into people’s stories in a way that the main character remains practially unknown. All of the characters do, really. It’s all about fragments, pieces of life, that get told. Some stories you can relate to, some not so much. It is an interesting read, but so intense that it felt like overload. Like being trapped in a social situation, forced to listen to people cite their life to you. In the end, I wouldn’t have cared to learn more about any of them. I also decided that I didn’t care to read the rest of the trilogy.

This blog of mine, it too is just fragments. Little bits and pieces of my life, crumbs and morsels of my mind. We all choose what we share with the rest of the world, irl and online. We all construct an official story to show the world and conceal the real one lying beneath. Occasionally the curtain flutters, occasionally you might see through someone else’s curtain. You will still see only a little bit of what’s beyond.

So be kind, do not judge. For you don’t know the whole story. You don’t know what the smile covers up.