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2003-11-02 | 11:52 p.m.

corduroy licorice won first prize in the pumpkin carving contest. he credited the win to his superior pumpkin interior scooping and scraping skills. to him the award was a hollow victory.

***

movie review:

i've said it before and it still rings true: sunday afternoons and foreign films were made for each other. especially french films. this weekend i saw a perfect sunday afternoon cinematic bon-bon, although it was bittersweet.

it's a documentary called to be and to have. i read that it's the highest grossing documentary in french history or something to that effect.

it covers the school year of a multi-grade classroom in the french countryside taught by a wonderful, soft-spoken, gray-bearded, turtlenecked teacher named georges lopez who is nearing retirement. out of his 35-year career, he has spent 20 at this school.

unlike the equally delightful documentary about american school kids called spellbound, this film didn't dig very deep into the lives of those who let the camera watch them. the film crew did much more observing than interviewing. while that left me wanting to know more details, it was still fascinating to watch this tiny corner of the world through the seasons of childhood.

the children are painfully cute and cherubic and their teacher is a model of gentle guidance. i misted up several times watching these innocents struggle with schoolwork, home life and each other. occasionally the director, nicolas philibert, would steal away from the classroom to focus on "still life" scenes in the beautiful surrounding countryside which captured the quiet, timeless rhythm of nature--nicely framing the interior stories. to be and to have is a lovely valentine to teachers and the students who love them everywhere.

***

i like to send ex-boyfriends birthday greetings. it's an unobtrusive way to wish them well and see how they're doing once a year.

following this tradition, i sent desert storm an e-card for his recent birth anniversary. it's been two years since he tried to initiate a movie outing with me in reply to that year's birthday greeting. i hemmed and hawed my way out of that one. it just seemed like an altogether bad idea. one of us was bound to want to pick up where we left off and since we are basically both the same people we were when we broke up lo those many years ago, we'd just be asking for trouble.

last year i just got a "thanks for remembering!" reply, which was fine but spoke volumes in its simplicity. he was angry or disappointed or both that i had passed on his movie invite. i expected a similar response from him this year, but i was pleasantly surprised with a compliment more flattering than any he gave me when we dating:

"you are still the best girlfriend in the world!"

hefty sentiment for a cynic like him. especially when it was bestowed on an ex who he had at one point ex-communicated.

my ego had to smile, but my intuition went on red alert. what was he up to now?

turns out he has some really tough stuff going on with his loved ones and is taking it pretty hard. i think he spoke out of his vulnerability and confusion. my heart goes out to him, but i shouldn't go out with him.

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take a peek at these - (c) 2000-2003 nictate:

health tip
2005-03-16

health tip
2005-03-16

moving house
2004-11-19

quibbling with quitherfeather
2004-11-17

catcher in the wry
2004-11-16