Monday, May 05, 2008

The Birthday Weekend

So I came back to work with a thud this morning. It took me an hour in traffic to get here. I could so happily be back on leave! But, I've got a *lot* of catching up to do ... not just on writing my own blog but reading the 650+ items on my rss reader and sorting out a whole bunch of money-related things. One day when we get internet at home, I won't have to wait till I'm back at work to get my internet banking requirements out of the way ;)

Anyway, so The Birthday Weekend.

On Friday night Varen & I were taken for a birthday dinner by his folks before they headed to Jeffrey's Bay for the week. I enjoyed a kilo of prawns at the Harbour Fish and Meat Market in Bedford Centre :)

Then on Saturday Varen & I were up early to clean the house before my mom arrived (we've now spent 2 weeks without the maid - she had a hysterectomy. It's not been pretty!). I let Varen off the hook with a birthday present because we'd decided in December to do Xmas & Bday presents in one so he could get me my camera :) Plus he bought me that gorgeous jacket in London too. Plus I couldn't really think of what I wanted but I know when there's actually something I do want he'll get it for me ... no point in choosing just anything to match a date, ya know? So instead of a present, he cleaned the house. On his hands and knees he was scrubbing the dining room floor :) It was worth it!

And then we I headed to the airport to collect The Mom :) (While Varen collected his fam and dropped them at the airport too). Sadly mom had a migraine for most of the day and she slept and slept the day away. Let's just say it wasn't my favourite birthday. I felt pretty left alone. Although I did get plenty of phone calls and smses from friends, they still didn't fill the day.

Luckily by the evening Mom was feeling better and we got some yummy take-out from Ghazals and watched 27 Dresses, a rom-com that even Varen was watching by half way thru (he'd started out fiddling on his laptop).

Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl) has been a bridesmaid for twenty-seven weddings. One night when she is attending two weddings almost simultaneously, she is pushed over by a crowd trying to catch the bride's bouquet. A man helps her up and introduces himself as Kevin (James Marsden). He helps her to her taxi and brings her home. He is on his way home when he realizes Jane accidentally left her filofax in the cab, and Kevin picks it up. It turns out that Kevin is the person who writes the Commitments page for the New York City Journal, under the pseudonym of Malcolm Doyle, who happens to be Jane's favorite writer. However, he aspires to write larger articles, real articles. After seeing Jane's planner, he decides to write about "the perpetual bridesmaid" so he can advance his career.

This movie is great fun even while following the usual rom-com formula.

On Sunday I was still in a weird mood (I blame the birthday!) and I am generally driven by a bizarre need to fill the time Mom spends up here so that none of it is wasted. Mom would rather just chill out, watch the bunnies and read her book tho :) So the 3 of us headed to Pretoria Zoo for a visit.

I used to be of the impression that this zoo was way better than the Joburg one but with each subsequent visit, my impression has been depleted. It's still a decent place to visit if you've never been (this was my 3rd visit in my 4 years in Joburg) but it's wearing a little thin for me now. I will say we were amazed at just how many people were there tho, the place was packed! Which can't be a bad thing :)

After walking the afternoon away, we spent the evening relaxing, watching some more movies: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (kinda gives the story away there) and Perfume.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford tells the story of Robert Ford, a seemingly insecure man seen as a coward by those around him. He has grown up idolizing the outlaw Jesse James. He finds James in Missouri and joins his gang, taking part in a train robbery. Gradually, he forms a complex love/hate relationship with James, still admiring him to the point of obsession, but also becoming resentful and somewhat fearful due to James's bullying nature.

This movie was way better than I was expecting for a western-type film. Even tho it was truly long, I thought it was great and would recommend it.

Based on the Patrick Süskind novel Perfume, the plot tells the story of the misanthropic, sociopathic, olfactory genius Grenouille and his homicidal quest for the perfect scent, ending in his macabre death engineered by his own masterly powers of influencing people through scents.

I read this book a while ago (unfortunately before I started blogging my book reviews!) and was very keen to see this movie (sadly I missed it on big screen). It was very true to the book and I thought it translated well for those who haven't read it. I think I preferred the book just because I read it first and the shock and surprise and impact of the storyline was still a surprise for me when I read it. Still, if you aren't interested in reading the story yourself, the movie is definitely interesting to watch :)

On Monday I'd planned a Birthday lunch with Mom, Varen and a few friends who still happened to be around on the long weekend. We ate at my all-time favourite special-occasion restaurant, Roots at Forum Homini. It was a lovely 4 hour and 4 course lunch (with wine tasters for each course) and I had the first perfect day of my Birthday Weekend :) My mood had definitely worn off. Thanks to JofH (sans YogaCherryl who was off yoga-ing in Madagascar), GalleryGirl, DJMike and Bokkie for joining us :)

We got another dvd to while away the evening, Martian Child.

David Gordon (John Cusack) has just lost his wife Mary and is looking to adopt a young boy named Dennis (Bobby Coleman) who believes he is from Mars. After adopting the boy from Sophie (Sophie Okonedo), he manages to bring Dennis out of the Amazon box in which he stays to hide from the sun. He teaches the boy how to be an "earthling" and earns Dennis' love in the process with the help of his sister Liz (played by Cusack's real life sister Joan).

We knew nothing about this movie when we chose it but it turned out to be quite a darling film and very entertaining :) If you're looking for something light and enjoy the Cusacks (I do), I'd recommend it.

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