2017 disney rewatch · life with muse and maestro

Disney Rewatch: 1941 – 1944!

Today I have some adorable animated films centered on animal protagonists from the early 1940s!

I don’t think I watched Dumbo a whole lot as a little one, so a lot of Dumbo seemed pretty new to me! Dumbo’s designed for maximum adorability (and they definitely achieved that!), and I think I forgot about his mouse friend completely. The sequence where Dumbo is forced to be a clown is kind of heartbreaking (not a sentence I anticipated writing today). I also forgot that they spend very little time on the flying elephant thing or even really building up to it! Dumbo and his mouse friend get drunk and they wake up in a tree 80% of the way into the movie and that’s when they figure out Dumbo can fly finally, with the help of some (weird racist-stereotype) crows.

Goodness, you guys. Bambi is just about the sweetest, most adorable movie ever. I don’t think I watched it very much as a child (the princess movies were more my jam than the ones about animals, I guess!), but that just means that it was more surprisingly delightful than I anticipated! Seriously, everything about Bambi is lovely: the animals are so adorable, the art is beautiful, the music is lovely. Sure, Bambi’s mom still dies and his father is still kind of a deadbeat, but everything else is lovely. 🙂

Saludos Amigos
I am 100% certain I never saw this as a kid, which kind of makes sense because it’s essentially a travelogue with some animated interludes. Basically: COME TO SOUTH AMERICA! DONALD AND GOOFY REALLY LIKED IT!

The Three Caballeros
I don’t remember if I saw this one when I was younger, but I enjoyed it! This is another animated/live action hybrid about South America. (Saludos Amigos talks a little bit about the Disney animators going on a trip to South America so I guess they got a couple of movies’ worth of material out of it!)

I’m mostly familiar with the eponymous trio from the Gran Fiesta Tour at Epcot, a boat ride where they teach you a little bit about Mexico!


Next up in the Disney Rewatch are the animated features of the late 1940s (Make Mine Music, Song of the South, Melody Time, The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad)!

2017 disney rewatch · life with muse and maestro

Disney Rewatch: 1937 – 1940!

My husband (whom I refer to as Maestro on Ye Olde Grande Internette for various reasons) and I are homebodies, for sure, and fairly broke ones at that. Between a student working part time (me) and a professional musician (him), we don’t make a lot of extra money to spend on entertainment. Thus, we are big believers in Netflix and other such streaming services, and also what the kids call “bingewatching.” We are also big Disney nerds – I have been for most of my life, and I converted Maestro well enough that we spent our honeymoon last year in Disney World.

Having caught up on all the television shows we’re currently interested in, we decided to embark on a grand rewatch of the Disney animated canon, as well as things that are animated and live action! We might decide to throw a few of the solely live action movies in as well, but we figured even just the animated movies would keep us busy for a while!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White, the character, holds a special place in my heart – when Maestro and I first dated (back in high school), the first song he ever wrote for me referred to me as Snow White. She’s sweet and kind, thoughtful and self-effacing, so even though she’s fallen out of fashion these days I still love her and aspire to be like her!

That said, rewatching Snow White’s tale was delightful! I hadn’t seen it since I was very little, so I’d forgotten many of the less-famous songs, and the art and aesthetics are absolutely beautiful.

Pinocchio is MUCH stranger than I remember it being – and for the record, I remembered the donkey thing and the whale thing, so I remembered it being strange enough. I didn’t remember that some animals can talk and others can’t with no real rhyme or reason to it, and I really didn’t remember that Jiminy Cricket was just a random cricket hobo who got appointed as Pinocchio’s conscience for no dang good reason!

I think that we can all agree that Figaro is the cutest Disney cat, though.

I remembered the parts of Fantasia that I liked as a child – namely, the parts set to the Nutcracker suite (I took ballet lessons as a child and loved ballet music!), especially the snow and flower fairies, and the Pastoral Symphony with the pegasus family that looks a bit like if Maestro and I were pegasus (pegasi?) with a bunch of pegasus babies.

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(look at them omg!)

I did NOT remember the talk about evolution before the Rites of Spring interlude (or, frankly, the dinosaurs at all!), and I didn’t really remember the last part set to the Night on Bald Mountain and the Ave Maria. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I enjoyed the same parts the most on this rewatch – I haven’t changed that much since I was little, I guess!

me: why are these fish so sexualized
Maestro: (grimly) that’s the 40s for you.

(watching dinosaurs starving in the desert) aw that’s going to be us soon! 😬

Watch this space for more Disney Rewatch fun soon!

everything and nothing

How To Conquer Writer’s Block In Five Easy Steps

(note: I am drafting this here because I assume it won’t see the light of day on the school newspaper. enjoy my frustration!)

an article by a student with writer’s block

So your writing teacher wants you to write an article for the school newspaper. That sounds like it should be easy enough! You could write about an event going on at the school, or one of the clubs that meets on campus, or maybe address an issue that has a lot of resonance with your peers, or you could even write a movie review for a movie that’s come out recently. But what if you are like me, someone who is Very Old, lives off-campus, has crippling social anxiety, and doesn’t have enough money to go to the movie theatre? Well, I happen to be very much like me, and I’m here to help you!


1. PROCRASTINATE by doing all your other homework first.
Hey! A lot of your other homework is writing, right? So if you do a bunch of writing, you’ll prime those writing muscles for action and your writer’s block will be solved! Or maybe not. But hey, you got all your other homework done! That’s not a bad thing!

2. ASK someone else for an idea.
Your first stop will be your teacher, the one who gave you the assignment. She will tell you that’s not her problem, and she is right, but that doesn’t solve your issue unfortunately. Start asking the (person/people/animal(s)/ghost(s)) you live with for suggestions. Most of them will be unhelpful, especially if you are asking your pets, since you’re fairly certain your fellow students don’t want to hear about how delicious chicken is or how fascinating cardboard boxes are.

3. MAKE A LIST of all possible topics for your article.
This is another tip along the lines of the first, but gets you thinking more creatively. Start writing down every single possible article topic you can think of, whether or not you think they’re a good idea to follow through on. What’s the deal with 90’s nostalgia anyway? Why my cat likes vanilla ice cream more than cat food. Why my cats are so cute. Pros and cons of being an Old and Married student. Should people get married? Should anyone get married? I like my marriage a lot but is it an outdated tradition? Would my cats still get the benefits of a stable & loving home if we weren’t married? Penguin dust, penguin dust!* So what if your list starts sounding like stream of consciousness Beat poetry that happens to mostly be about your cats! Maybe the Beat poets were really just trying to cure their writer’s block after all! Maybe Allen Ginsberg had a cat! Maybe you should write an article about it!

4. Get up and DANCE!
This is around the point where the (person/people/animal(s)/ghost(s)) you live with will start to notice that you are frustrated. After asking if there is anything they can do to help (“probably not, Biscuit, since you wanted me to write about cat food and how cute you are”), they will turn on an upbeat song from the late 1960s and bid you to dance with them. This is actually a good idea: getting your blood flowing and dancing as silly as you can with someone (ghosts included) that makes you laugh will help to loosen up your writer’s block. To go back to the muscle metaphor: a muscle that’s all tensed up and knotted can’t work, so getting it loose will help you to be able to use it properly again!

And if all else fails…
5. WRITE about your writer’s block.
Well, it worked for me.

*Penguin dust credit to Gregory Corso and his poem “Marriage”

everything and nothing

just stop holding your tongue

I’ve kept a blog of one kind or another for…oh, gosh, more than a third of my life at this point. I’ve kept a handwritten journal longer (partially because blogs weren’t really a thing until I was in my teens, and then I didn’t get the internet at home until I was about twenty), and I find that these days I rely more on my handwritten journal than I do on blogging of any kind.

There was a point in my life where the opposite was true, when I felt…not like I had to share everything with the world, or that I had anything particularly worth sharing for that matter, but that I needed the validation that came with my words being seen and heard and sometimes responded to. I made friends through blogging sites, sharing our day-to-day thoughts, our struggles and triumphs, our dreams. I’m still friends with some of the people I connected with in those venues, and am grateful for both those friendships and the platforms that made them possible.

These days…I don’t know. I feel very much like I don’t have anything all that interesting to say, nothing unique or important or vital. If anyone else came to me and said these things about themselves, I would be the first to tell them that no! everyone has something unique to say! everyone has something important to share!

But for me? I don’t know. Is it that it’s not important, or that it’s too important? Is it that I don’t have anything to share, or just nothing that I want to share? I don’t know what flicked that switch back the other way. Am I just getting older? I’ve always been a very private person despite trying to share things, maybe that’s just gotten moreso as I’ve gotten older.

Anyway. Blogging about not knowing what to blog about – or whether or not I have anything to blog about at all – is absolutely the most boring thing to blog about, for sure. So that’s it for today!

everything and nothing

if you’re so smart, tell me why are you still so afraid?

My husband thinks that I am too hard on myself. Or rather, he likes to say “you are good at everything except recognizing how good you are.” I think this is maybe an exaggeration. When I press him on it (“everything??”), he admits that I’m probably not any good at basketball, considering I am about five-foot-one and not super coordinated. But he points out that this is what he’s talking about: I’ll focus on something that I can’t do to the exclusion of things I can, up to and including focusing on the things I have no interest in trying to do.

(“You don’t know my secret dreams of winning all the basketballs. Putting all the balls in all the baskets.”
“…that’s…not how it works…”
“Oh yeah, how does it work?”
“…Space Jam?”
We are not Sports People.)

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, this is not the way I see it. (I suppose if I did, it would be easy to say “well, maybe I should just stop being so hard on myself then!” and do it.) I feel like I have very realistic expectations of myself. I am not particularly critical of my own skills at drawing or painting, for example. I don’t think that I am particularly good, but I don’t think that I need to be, either. Or the aforementioned basketball: I am not super-critical of myself there because I don’t think I need to be an excellent basketball player, nor have I put any effort into becoming one.

It’s things that I do think are important that I don’t think I am very good at because I know I could be better, or that I’ve tried to be better. Many people have told me – and I have read all the advice anyone else has, too – that berating myself over my faults or failings isn’t going to help me be better at the things I want to be better at. That accepting oneself is the way to progress. To me that’s always felt like giving up and allowing myself off the hook.

But to be honest, my way hasn’t worked so well either.

love trumps hate

where there were deserts I saw fountains

It’s times like this that I despair of living in the suburbs. I don’t even want takeout at crazy hours of the night or anything, I just wish I could run to the airport to join the thousands of people protesting the Muslim ban at Logan Airport.

My heart hurts, but in a good way, to see people react so strongly and so quickly to something they see as wrong. I saw a video of protesters cheering as people were released at Dulles airport and just cried. I can’t imagine how frightened the detained people who got released – any of the people affected, for that matter – must be. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to walk in to the cheers of those crowds!

I hope it does something. Sends a message to those who should be listening. There’s so much love in those crowds. I want to believe that will matter.

life with muse and maestro

oh don’t you cry for me

This morning, Maestro woke me up by standing next to the bed & serenading me with the banjo. (He’s barely started to learn to play the banjo! He bought it a while ago, but his first banjo student ended up quitting and he only just got his second this week…)

Anyway, so instead of getting up, I rolled myself up in the comforter like a burrito and enjoyed a song about how I needed to get up and go to work.

I did eventually get up to give him a round of applause, but now I have “O, Susanna” stuck in my head, even though that’s not what he played.