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I was watching a movie with my brothers last night, and the scene was one of those notorious “opportune moments.” The hero had a chance to confess his love – or tell the truth – or something useful, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it. But he had planned ahead and brought with him a little gift, which he laid on the table between himself and the lady.

 

My brother summed their plight with the poetic description: He laid a gift on the moment’s grave.

 

Tonight I was reading the dictionary – not just to read it, but as one does when one is trying to get somewhere in those pages, and must journey through dangers and distractions like those of Odysseus. (I’m such a terrible speller of Greek; is that right? I am only newly acquainted even with the story of Odysseus, and most disappointed in his character.) My brother is reading The Federalist Papers, great essays on government and history and economics, which employed the word “temerity.” It happens to mean foolhardy or brash, but before I discovered this, I saw a picture.

 

To be honest, I almost always get caught by pictures, and carried away by root words. That is the way dictionaries have with me. This picture was of a little hog-like rodent, and the caption was like a Boggle-champion’s dream: tenrec. How simple. How very likely to occur in Boggle. How unheard of. Honestly. Have you ever heard of a tenrec?

 

No? Well, I suppose that is to be forgiven, since it, like so many interesting creatures, makes its home on Madagascar. The tenrec is a hedgehog-like mammal that eats insects (thus the nose looking like a pig’s, though it could have looked like an anteater and made itself more obvious). Our dictionary’s entry reported that this beast inhabits Madagascar and the adjacent islands.

 

Adjacent Islands!!! Who ever thought? Almost an oximoron! I mean, we’re not talking about islands connected at low tide but not at high. Maybe they were connected during the ice age. But then they weren’t islandS; they were AN island. So my meticulous brother commanded (he’s the one with leadership skills) that I look up “adjacent.” And it turns out that “adjacent” has as its first definition, “to lie near.” Still, I think that “Adjacent Islands” would be a great title for something. The image is so poetic.

 

Movies are almost always on in my house, maybe coming from so many of us enjoying long movies, or maybe because there are so many of us who think we need our own turn at choosing the program. Tonight there was yet another movie, and it was simply horrible, because the message of the movie was that when grown ups lie to children, the children owe it to them to sort of believe, because they want to believe, and miracles happen when you believe… The end of the movie had very little to do with this subject, as it consisted of the main little girl receiving three separate pairs of roller skates for Christmas. The last pair came from a blind man. And the little girl responded that she had a gift for him, her arms now full of metal and wheels. The most natural thing to expect her to give was a pair of roller skates. But then we pictured a blind man skating down the road… Don’t give such gifts to blind men!
 
Oh!  I signed up for all sorts of restaurant email updates, and have coupons and freebies rolling in!  Mostly they just want to give me something free with purchase, but I have plenty of choices!  There is something so pleasing about having a coupon in one’s purse.  Tonight I used a Kohl’s discount they sent in the mail, and saved a whole $1.50!  The best sign-up’s so far are Coldstone Creamery, Red Robins, and Lone Star Steakhouse.  Wendy’s gives a coupon for a dollar off.  But I’m still waiting to see what happens on my birthday.  I’ll let you know. 
 
The movie from last night (Wednesday) was Sense and Sensibility.  There are 4 versions I know anything about.  The earliest was made by BBC in the 70’s or 80’s, and according to my brother, who picked it up by mistake, is acted by robots who sit on teeter-totters sideways trying to converse with each other.  Next in importance/quality is a strange version made in India.  In fact, I believe the English is dubbed.  Not anywhere near as good as India’s Bride and Prejudice.  Now we come to the competitors.  In the 90’s, Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay for Sense and Sensibility.  She also starred as Elinor.  Alongside her were Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet, the latter reporting that she scarcely had to act; her personality was so much like Marianne Dashwood that Kate simply had to play the part.  That movie is beautiful.  Funny.  Sad.  Thoughtful.  With the exultantly happy ending highlighted by the perfect score.  I have my objections.  Hugh Grant – he’s not handsome, and his stuttering is annoying.  Colonel Brandon (I should know his name) isn’t very handsome, either, and Jane Austen movies aren’t known for their realism, so we should aim for attractive.  Finally, the version we were watching is the latest BBC adaptation, made in 2008.  It is about 3 hours long, with pretty scenery.  Other than that, the characters are poor imitators of the really good Sense and Sensibility.  Andrew Davies failed to convey emotion with his screenplay, and I don’t think most of the actors understood their characters.  The movie has its moments of interest.  Anyway, the actor who plays Colonel Brandon was recognized by all watching, but we couldn’t place him, so I looked him up.  IMDB is great!  I have been spending a lot of time there lately, for one reason or another.  The actor is David Morrissey, whom I recognized from The Water Horse.  Ah, the relief of answers! 
 
Have a good night.  Don’t waste your day. 
 
To God be all glory.
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For my birthday and the willingness to accept their advertising emails throughout the year, I received several free things: Coldstone ice cream, Baskin Robbins ice cream, a burger from Red Robin, and an entrée from Lonestar Steakhouse. 

 

My dad took me to Lonestar (he’s a fan of steak), though we had to drive across town to the nearest location.  I’m writing to endorse the Lonestar Steakhouse in Littleton, Colorado.  Their service is absolutely tops.  Here is my story. 

 

Arriving at about noon, the parking lot was full, but the two of us were seated right away.  The waiter came along in a minute or two, the intervening time spent with pails of peanuts.  He was polite and efficient, asking us what we wanted to drink and if we would like a few more minutes before ordering.  Having looked up the menu before we went, both my dad and I knew what we wanted, so we ordered right away.  The waiter continued his courtesy and thoroughness, proving a knowledge of the user-friendly menu.  He collected our menus and departed. 

 

At this point I scanned the restaurant, including the staff and the other patrons.  One wall was painted an orange and yellow Texas scene.  There was a saloon style bar on one side, and on the other a row of tables flanked by walls of hunting trophies, longhorns, saddles, spurs, and my dad even noticed a jackalope.  After a short discussion about the range of jackalope and antelope, the waiter delivered the free brown bread and butter, which proved to be soft, warm, and tasty. 

 

I watched a man who seemed to be organizing his wallet.  Another waiter a few tables over made an excellent offer of drinks to a child, “Can I offer you a Pepsi product?”  I mean, how many times do you sit down in a restaurant and before you can find the drinks on the menu, they’re asking you which you want, and you ask them what kind they have (because Mt. Dew isn’t available if they serve Coke, and Coke is no comparison to Pepsi)?  Then they have to go through the whole list when they could have simply asked the way this waiter did.  A man with a limp walked by, leaning on the seat of each booth as he passed, so a waiter offered him his arm to get him to the hall leading to the bathroom.  An older employee bussed one table in a hurry as a favor to the host, who was in need of the table. 

 

Dad’s appetizer, a Texas Rose (deep fat fried onion with spicy-creamy dip) came out shortly thereafter.  I don’t like onions, but Dad said it was good. 

 

When our waiter delivered food to the table next to us, he stopped by ours, promising in what I interpreted to be that flippant, have-to-say-something way, that our food would be right out. 

 

A few minutes later, as I tired of the endless football commentary silently playing on the TV screen in the corner, I began to watch the busy activity near the kitchen door and computer/cash register/order station.  A few waiters were looking our way and I subconsciously shrank in my seat, desperately hoping the mostly male staff wasn’t going to sing for my birthday.  I didn’t go on my actual birthday (the actual day I went to Olive Garden, where the wait and host staff gathered around to light a candle on a free cake and sing thanks for coming to Olive Garden), so they really didn’t have to sing.  Who sings before the meal, anyway?  They didn’t come my way, so I straightened back up and pushed aside the bread and butter tray to make room for my expected plate. 

 

Dad commented that ten minutes wasn’t exactly “be right out,” but I made the excuse that the waiter was just saying that.  I mean, we’re talking about steak.  You don’t rush steak. 

 

Wearing a white button-up shirt as opposed to the black t-shirts the waiters wore, a man I assumed was the manager came up to our table.  He explained that he was sorry for the delay in our order, that the wait was unacceptable, that he didn’t know what caused the extra time, and that the inconvenience would be reflected on our bill.  He even offered to bring us something else (more bread or water?) while we waited. 

 

After we thanked him he walked away, and Dad and I looked at each other, puzzled.  In the middle of a lunch rush, we weren’t waiting all that long.  “Did he hear you?” I asked doubtfully.  There was no way he heard Dad’s comment.  They just have really good service. 

 

In a short thereafter our food was brought, my salmon and some of the best mashed potatoes ever and Dad’s steak and sweet potato casserole.  Then a woman came up to our table and introduced herself as Winona, the manager.  She had my coupon for free birthday meal in her hand.  “I’m going to give this back to you,” she said, “because I don’t think you got a good experience out of this free meal.  I’ll sign it on the back, and even though it expires next week, I’ll write that it is good whenever you want to come back.  Today’s ticket is on the house.”  She added that our order had been misplaced, resulting in the extended wait. 

 

We weren’t impatient.  Our food was good.  We didn’t complain.  The service was excellent.  And they gave us both my dad’s steak, his appetizer, and my salmon all for free in addition to another free entrée whenever I want.  It was incredible.  I was all around impressed. 

 

Dad asked for a box (in which he put half a ‘Texas Rose’)and then double-checked that we had properly understood the manager, that there was no bill for the meal.  We got up and left feeling abundantly full and blessed.  Now I just have to figure out how to justify going back to Littleton for my second free birthday lunch. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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