Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heartwarming Animal Stories: Pup Helps Family Cope with Loss of Soldier

Oh my God! This story is beautiful!

I was watching 20/20 last Friday night, and this story and its continuation showed up. The story is that a soldier in his twenties stationed in Iraq, Justin, was killed in an explosion. However, he had sent his girlfriend back home photos of him holding a puppy from the night before. The puppies lived in a latrine close to where the soldiers were. After Justin's family discovered these photos and saw how cheerful he looked in them, they were determined to get the puppy. They succeeded, appropriately named her Hero, and she now lives with them in New Hampshire to this very day!

The story in its entirety is very depressing, but this puppy puts a positive swing on things. She is how Justin's loved ones are coping with his loss. Hero brings the canine term "man's best friend" to a whole new level.

The 20/20 segment concluded with this image of the dog. The family believes that this is some connection with Justin's spirit. Some people believe that it is merely a coincidence, such as something having to do with the camera's lens, with no spiritual connection, and that it isn't something to take seriously in regards to anything beyond this world.

I say, even it is coincidental, what is wrong with it having spiritual connection for people? The light shining on Hero in this photo has so much significance for the family. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Let's Celebrate with Some of my Favorite Thanksgiving TV Specials!

This is the cover of this week's parish bulletin hanging on our refrigerator. I made the border around it in 4th grade for art class. What it is is a cardboard border attached to a plastic bag and in this plastic bag you display artwork, etc. If I remember correctly, the border is made from pieces I cut out from a magazine pasted on the cardboard with a brush on glue. You brush the glue underneath it and a top of it. I think the whole set up looks very Thanksgiving. :)

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday, isn't it? I think it is one of the few times of the year I am actually relaxed. There are plenty of traditions that I still live by, such as the days off from school and work, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Purina National Dog Show following it, and then the main attraction: dinner with family with the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and veggies. And, of course, the reason for the season, being thankful for what you have.

Recently, people have been peeved by how Thanksgiving seems to be totally skipped over and often disregarded as a holiday, and I've noticed it as well. This article in The Monclarion states it pretty well. It is almost considered the "Pre-Christmas Eve" rather than its own holiday. Everywhere you go there are more Christmas decorations than Thanksgiving ones right after Halloween ends. I have always associated Thanksgiving with Christmas in a sense because it is the leeway into the Christmas season, but it never seems to stand on its own or have its own spotlight.

Well, one obvious reason for this is commercialism. Thanksgiving doesn't sell as much as other holidays, so therefore it's going be somewhat ignored. Also, if you notice, there aren't many Thanksgiving TV specials. Well, not as much as other holidays anyway. However, I do recall a select few, and those are the "Peanuts" and "Winnie the Pooh." Both of these series have a tendency to cover everything.

I have taken it upon myself to share these traditional favorites with you for your Thanksgiving enjoyment!

This clip of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" actually includes one scene that is excluded from the made for TV version, and this is the scene when Snoopy and Woodstock set the table for their own Thanksgiving dinner after Charlie and his friends leave for Thanksgiving dinner at his grandmother's house. After we see the kids in the car, it would go to commercial and return to the end credits with Snoopy and Woodstock. My father would always tell me about the excluded scene and even showed it to me once on YouTube, so I am thankful I found this version to include on this post!

Unfortunately I can't seem to find "A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving" in its entirety, but at least I found this trailer for the "Seasons of Giving" VHS it is on. It's heartwarming in itself. <3

Oh, and here's a trailer for Disney Pixar's The Incredibles. I don't know if they still do this, but back in high school I noticed that every Thanksgiving night this movie would play on television, so I consider it a Thanksgiving TV special memory and thought I'd acknoweldge it as well.

And who can forget about this holiday favorite? Like The Incredibles, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's version of March of the Wooden Soldiers pretty much has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but yet it is played on television every Thanksgiving Day. The only thing with this one is that its time conflicts with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, so I have to keep changing channels back and forth. However, this is also a holiday favorite of my father's and he has shared the tradition with me, especially the final battle scene between the boogie men and the wooden soldiers. For the color version, click here. I am thankful that I found both versions in their entirety. ;)

So there you have it, a collection of some of my favorite Thanksgiving television specials and traditions for your enjoyment this Thanksgiving Day. 

I am thankful for where I am at in my life right now. I am thankful for my family, friends, and everything I have. I am thankful for my experiences, talents, and interests so far and look forward to what more life has in store for me.

What are you thankful for? I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving! :D

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious) SPECIAL EDITION: My Neighbor, Betty

Yes, I know it's not Women's History Month yet, but this post couldn't wait.

Today I attended a birthday party for my 100-year-old neighbor, Betty. I mean, she reached three digits! It's very rare that something like this happens, so she deserves a spotlight blog post.

This woman is one of my heroes, not only because she has lasted this long, but because she has lasted this long and remained healthy and strong doing it. She is known on the block as the woman who shovels the snow. This is New Jersey, so we get a lot of it.

My family and Betty at Betty's birthday party

When I was younger, I used to visit her and her now deceased husband Harold, whom she married when she was only nineteen, on their front steps while they were sitting outside. As I grew older, I didn't do it as much, and I feel kind of bad about that. Also, it's difficult to have a conversation with her because she is hard of hearing and struggles to speak. 

However, I want to learn from her. She has been around for 100 years! She has seen a century worth of history! She has seen the liberation of women and it's many stages. Imagine the stories she could tell me about her life journey. On the walls in her house there are black and white pictures of her around my age. That is just so amazing to think about. She was once in my position so many years ago and has lived through so much that I have yet to experience. I feel so young, so new, next to her, and I can't imagine being 100. It seems like such a stretch to me.

Betty has always been my inspiration and role model on how to live a long and prosperous life. I wish her all the best, to keep going strong, and a very happy birthday! :D

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

I just wanted to use what's left of the day (exactly one half hour) to celebrate on my favorite blog.


It was a very happy, enjoyable, carefree, and relaxing day. It was actually one of my best birthdays ever. Thank you to my family and friends for making it such a great one! :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My First Montclarion Theater Review of Junior Year!

This photo was sent through MSU e-mail advertising the show

Friday night, October 21, I saw the Peak Performance A Chorus Line at Montclair State University. When I first saw it announced on the school website this past summer, I found it interesting that it would be playing in the Memorial Auditorium. I had just finished saying how Memorial Auditorium wasn't exactly used for school productions anymore, but I guess I was wrong. I really liked the use of Memorial Auditorium for this production because it is not often done anymore and I enjoyed the comfortable home community feeling it brings. It just seems like a very nice theater in which to perform and it was equally as nice to sit back and watch. In other words, it's not like Kasser, which is this huge, Broadway like theater. Memorial Auditorium belongs to the students and is their realm. I guess it seems the most school oriented than the other theaters on campus. I keep thinking that a good word to describe it is "quaint." A Chorus Line was actually the first musical I saw there since Wimzie's House Live (see page for that background story) and the first Peak Performance production I saw there as a student. It was nice to see a show performed there again besides organization performances and the Vagina Monologues.

Unfortunately, this article was published later than expected, but please enjoy my review about A Chorus Line! I really like how not much editing was done with it and the editor-in-chief told me that it is very well written, which made me very proud. I guess that shows that I am improving. A Chorus Line is actually one of my favorite MSU productions so far. I went by myself, sat towards the front on the side with not a lot of people around me, and relaxed. I was actually thinking about seeing it a second time, but was unable to. There was no intermission, so it was a nonstop two hours of pure theatrical enjoyment with laugh out loud moments, simple storylines, memorable songs, and everything in between! All in all, it is a very cute musical and I liked watching it.

My article made the print edition as well! I didn't expect this considering the show is no longer playing and was so happy when I saw it today!