Since I will be away for the actual day, J and I decided to celebrate Valentine's Day this past weekend. I was in charge of planning, leaving much of the weekend as a surprise to J. She loved that, not having to make any decisions and getting pampered. After the boys left with their father, we headed out to an early showing of Pan's Labyrinth. I heartily recommend this movie. I was absolutely delighted just to be watching a subtitled film in a mainstream theater. This delight was heightened by seeing the truly crappy Epic Movie last weekend. Not only was it exciting simply to be watching a film in Spanish, the film was very good. We first heard about it when J read Stephen King's list of the best films of the year in a waiting room magazine. It was at once a wonderful fairy tale and a horrifying account of life just after the Spanish Civil War. It was pure pleasure to see a film, not in an art house, that starred people who just look like people. I grew up on foreign, old and indie films, walking from my house to the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs to see movies like Casablanca, Stranger Than Paradise and Fanny & Alexander. My mom loved Wim Wenders and Lina Wertmuller when I was growing up. I was even named after a character in Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. J never saw a subtitled film until she was an adult and usually doesn't have the patience for them even now. She generally picks vampire and super hero movies when we're at the video store. On the way out, though, she kept saying what a great movie it is and said, "I didn't even mind the subtitles." I hope more Americans see it & have their minds changed about subtitles and other film "oddities" not usually seen in mainstream picture houses.
After the movie, I took J to Steak 'N' Shake for dinner. It was a perfect place to be on a cold night. I had a chili 5-way and J a Frisco Melt, our usual selections when there. After dinner, we headed home for a long winter's nap. In the morning, we lazed in bed a little while, caught Rick Bayless on PBS and Paula Deen on Food Network, ate Pink Lady apple slices and Vermont sharp cheddar with our coffee. Then, we ventured out for our big craft store adventure. J picked up Sculpey supplies to work on beads for the charm exchange we are in and I found some of that hideous craft foam for a challenge posted on my altered books list. Rumor has it that if you heat the foam and then stamp on it, it looks really cool. I haven't tried it yet.
We stopped shopping for a trivia and hot wing break at BW-3. I won 3 times in a row and was sure I'd fall on my way out. This is an old family joke, stemming from a summer when my aunt Jeanie visited and we introduced her to wing house trivia. Several times that summer, the person who had won the most rounds fell down on the way out of the restaurant. Hubris. After we made it to the car with no spills, we headed to Pat Catan's to check it out. The prices are certainly better than at Michael's. J loved it. I was less thrilled with it, thinking that it felt like a trailer park version of a craft store. I know, I am a horrible snob. But, the feel of the store and the examples of crafts possible with the supplies were truly cheesy. Nonetheless, I managed to find things there to buy. Of course. We hadn't been on a real craft store bender in over a year, so we had a ball. I need to hit Crafts 2000 sometime this semester, maybe with Evvi and Garnet in collusion. I can make Garnet some chocolate soup (I'm sure Evvi would be willing to have a wee taste, too) and then we can go shopping.
Once home, we dragged out the craft supply tub and got to work. I didn't try the foam trick because my heat tool was buried in the outside closet and I was not up to the task of digging it out. Also, I have 25 season-themed tip-ins due March 25, so they need to be my art priority. While J discovered the joys of push mold bead-making, clay mixing to produce cool streaks and texturizing with whatever "tools" she could improvise, I worked on my tip-ins. I finished Winter and got three of the Spring tip-ins completed. I am doing 6 for each season and one for all the seasons together. My Winter ones are "Snow Ice Cream," "Be My Valentine," "Always Winter and Never Christmas," "Snowman Night," "Les Fées d'Hiver" and "Mardi Gras." The Spring ones I have done so far: "Easter Morning," "Dancing the Maypole" and "Paris in the Springtime." I am really having fun with this project! After playing with art all afternoon, J remarked, "I can see how Evvi got involved with all those different art forms. Of course, she's really talented, but I can see how once you try something new, you want to get better and better at it." I told J that she is talented, too, it's just that Evvi has been at art for a very long time. Well, that and a huge dollop of natural talent.
We stopped our art madness at 8:30 to change into dressier clothes (and a tiara, in my case) for dinner at the Cabin Club. We had some wonderful steaks & I had a glass of lovely Riesling, a 2004 Von Wilhelm. Ha! I try to make it sound like I know wine. I don't. At all. I rarely drink it. But, this was nice. The crème brûlée, though, was my favorite part of the meal. It wasn't as good as the crème brûlée at the Art Institute in Chicago or at Encore Bistro in Loveland, but it was very good. We had planned to get back to art when we got home, but we ended up in bed instead.
Sunday morning, I went to the adult ed class I shall soon be leading while J hung out in the church kitchen with the choir folks, preparing for the Souper Bowl fundraiser. We had contributed French onion soup. When we were ushered into church, the usher sat us in the same row as Deann and Adrienne, the other lesbian couple. We both thought, "What is this, the lesbian pew?" After church, we were talking to Deann and she said they thought the same thing. It was really funny. We had a nice chat with her while I tried to sell people on the idea of coming to book group at the end of the month. My favorite of the soups I sampled was Minnie Hurley's ham and bean soup...it was spectacular. Of course, when I asked for the recipe, she started to tell me the procedure instead. With no pen and paper, I have only a vague idea of what she told me and I am fairly certain that what I turned out would not be what she did.
After church, we went back to Pat Catan's so that J could get more Sculpey and supplies. She spent the afternoon crafting a necklace for my mom while I dug out the art supplies from the outside closet and reorganized them so they are easier to use. I am missing most of my stamps and am afraid they are under several boxes of papers. Ugh! We need a studio! Once Pie returned home, J played video games with him while I finished my organization task. Then, we all went to the grocery. J gave Pie $10 to spend on whatever he wanted, thinking he might get some crab or lobster. Nope. He bought 10 more cake mixes! That boy is baking mad. He had made a cinnamon swirl cake with his grandma over the weekend and last night, he and J made a German chocolate cake. I did the prep for our Aegean omelets and baked a batch of buttermilk cheese scones, then plopped on the couch with a book. I am anxiously awaiting the Fed Ex delivery of my school books (classes start tomorrow, so I sure hope they come today since I have 5 chapters to read for tomorrow's class!), but in the meantime am reading Ariel Gore's book about parenting teens. She is so funny! J made our omelets when they got the cake in the oven. After dinner, we had some reading time, then bed, where I rubbed lotion onto J's poor, dry skin.