Friday, May 20, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I had the opportunity to preview Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in IMAX 3D this week. Overall, Dadda monkey and I really enjoyed it. It had a good story, compelling characters, and great action scenes (though maybe a tad too many). We wisely decided to leave the monkeys at home not just because of the late hour, but because it's rated PG-13. Some people think I'm over protective, but I'm just not comfortable with my children seeing violent scenes at these young ages.

On Stranger Tides was a lot more action paced and not quite as juvenile as the second and third installments of Pirates. The scenery is fantastic and the movie keeps you looking forward to what happens next. As the viewer, you get to go along on the adventure with Jack Sparrow and it's a long, tumultuous journey. To be honest, I felt it was about 20-30 minutes longer than it needed to be. That could also be because I'm used to watching short condensed children's shows or because we haven't been to a movie in eons. Along that line, some of the 3D effects were spectacular, but they got sparser and more mundane as the movie went on until the end of the movie where they picked up again. I'm not sure this movie warrants paying the extra money to watch it in 3D, but I do recommend you see it. Also, Dadda monkey didn't like Penelope Cruz's character. I didn't mind her, but there was a sub-story that started to intrigue me when they encountered the mermaids, but it doesn't seem to have come to a satisfying conclusion.

As with the other Pirates installments, this one left open ended so I won't be surprised to see a 5th one. If you liked the previous Pirates movies, you'll enjoy this one just as much if not more and even if you haven't seen the previous ones, you'll be able to jump right into this story.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Flies, Flies, Everywhere

We had a BBQ yesterday that went pretty well. For some reason Daddy monkey's coworkers don't feel the need to RSVP to our gatherings so we never know if we're going to have 2 or 20 so we always have leftover food. This time I think we have about a dozen burgers left and a few chicken breasts. I completely forgot to make the sweet potato fries so our abundant supply of them is my fault. We bought a new fire pit that has a table top option so that gave us an extra surface for guests which we really needed. The weather cooperated and it wasn't overbearingly hot. However, the flies around here have gotten worse.

Every year around this time, we have to leave our fly swatter out because the flies are everywhere! As a friend put it, each time the door opens and closes, we gain about 5 flies in the house. They're a horrible nuisance and unfortunately there's no great solution to reducing their presence. I've tried hanging clear bags of water (I don't think that worked at all) and we have a bug zapper. I consider it a success if I don't let the flies live long enough to make it upstairs. Of course for the BBQ, they decided to join the party. We've also have a bad wasp problem this year (in the whole neighborhood, not just our house), but we only had a couple of them appear yesterday. The flies are driving me crazy though. I wish they had a fly version of the mosquito repeller's that supposedly work for about an acre of land.

We have family visiting next week so I can't wait to put the fire pit to use and hopefully that will repel the flies a little. We're trying to enjoy the new deck as much as possible and I love spending time out there. Monkey girl asks to eat outside a lot and unfortunately we've had to say no more than we'd like to because of those pesky flies. I wonder if putting candles on the table would help. We'll have to experiment a bit more I guess and see if anything helps. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

I honestly haven't meant to neglect my blog this much. We've just added quite a few more things to our schedule and my days seem very regimented. I've also been trying to get to bed earlier. We joined the local YMCA so I could start exercising regularly. Both monkeys are going to The Little Gym one day each. We still have playgroup once a week and dance classes start for Monkey girl in a couple of weeks. Even small things like getting all the plants watered each morning is time consuming. However, I'm seeing results in my little garden. I have a couple of cherry tomatoes turning red, a large tomato growing, the grapes are getting bigger, and the blackberries are ripening. There's even a few more strawberries starting to grow. The pool opened too so we've been going there a few days a week. I love summer time, but it's starting to feel exhausting. I can't wait until our beach vacation in July!

Back to the YMCA...If you haven't been to the Y in a while, you might want to check it out. When we joined we made an appointment with a trainer to do a strength test and set some goals. It was pretty informative and really made me excited to get started. Additionally, they (I'm saying 'they' even though I'm not sure it's available everywhere) have an automated program called Activtrax. The trainer input my strength test results, along with my goals, and it sets up a routine for me to do each workout. It starts with a small warmup, then resistance training followed by some cardio.I just completed my first week and feel great. More importantly, I think I'm seeing results. I do feel better every time I go, even if it's just a mental thing. I'll post more, I promise, but for now I'm off to bed so I can head back to the Y in the morning.