d i s c o v e r i n g monsters

It’s like that

Posted in love, seasons by Jules on 20 February 2010

I can’t let this one go, because it’s deep. In there deep. Like, can’t talk while you’re doing dishes deep…

This song it’s in there. Deep, deep in there. It’s one of those that comes on, and I get that feeling… that same kinda feeling you get when someone you love so much gives you a hug from deep down in their soul… deep because they know you deep. Those hugs that come when you need them; need them because you think you might possibly split in two, or three, or a billion pieces. And that hug, far more than being comforting is literally like that person holding the pieces of you together, tight, tight, tight. Because they know. They know that you’re about to crumble, and they’re there… they’re going to hold you together until you can hold yourself together. That love that kinda hurts. Kinda hurts bad, because you need it bad, bad, bad.

This song. It’s like that.


We’re Not Screw Ups: Why I Love Film.

Posted in film, Life, love, school, seasons, tired by Jules on 12 November 2009

“We have a cardboard window.”

Sometimes you just need a beautiful film to remind you that, you are ok, or that you’re going to be ok – that even when everything around you seems foreign, crazy and unrecognizable as reasonable or sane, that you’re still going to be ok.

Film is often written off as a lot of things. Often it is supposed that I chose this degree because it’s “easy.” Film is a lot of things, none of which are easy. Because of course I would pick something that as its basis in history must battle uphill to prove that it is not simple – that it is not an art form that lacks intelligence. That in the face of everything that is “normal” – sculpture, writing, painting – that it too is art, something that deserves as much appriciation, and requires more from its audience than something static does. So that is why you break my heart when you assume that that which I love is simple-minded – that I am simple-minded.

You don’t always say it this clearly, but this is what is in your face. This is what I hear. This is what I see… The old argument articulated here by Benjamin, “Duhamel calls the movie ‘a pasttime for helots, a diversion for uneducated, wretched, worn-out creatures who are consumed by their worries . . . , a spectacle which requires no concentration and presupposes no intelligence . . . , which kindles no light in the heart and awakens no hope other than the ridiculous one of someonday becoming a ‘star’ in Los Angeles.'”

I don’t agree. I don’t agree with what you see. I see importance. I see something that saves. I see something that speaks. And if you cannot see that, then my heart breaks for you – for what you are missing… for the small life you choose. Because there is something abundant in film… And you are missing it. You have written it off… and there is life in it for you. And you are missing it.


Posted in change, everyday life, seasons by Jules on 4 October 2009

Kenna in Papa & Granny's Backyard

I haven’t started chewing on sticks yet, but sometimes I think I’m not too far away from that. I’ve been quiet, spending most of my time writing papers – lost in my own little world of films, theories, histories and criticisms.

If I were more disciplined I could be spending my Sunday afternoon at a tea shop, reading The Atlantic and enjoying the fall weather instead of what I am doing… sitting at my computer in the basement typing, typing, typing, typing—desperately trying to avoid becoming, as this brilliantly hilarious and deeply honest woman said, “[feeling] like and eyeball and a finger attached to a computer.” (A visual that never fails to bring a smile to my face.)

If last semester was the semester of barely-hanging-on, this semester seems to be shaping up as the semester of mindlessly drifting. Papers are being finished, midterms handed in, tests completed—nothing going awry… and I’m 1/2 way done with Fall Semester 2009. I’m working hard, but assignments just seem to keep coming in and going out—a well oiled machine. Not in a completely calm way, more in the vein of Chaplin in Modern Times (Charles Chaplin,1936).  I am still awaiting the deluge of work waiting to dump itself upon me when my weekend course on Hitchcock starts 10 October. More reading, more discussion, more watching, listening and writing. As much as I would like to say that I am fully! present! in! my! current! situation! it just isn’t true. I simply stand, like the tramp, screwing in bolts as they pass in front of me. Waiting for the whistle that tells me I can stop.

But until then it is Sunday, with an entire service dedicated to blessing little kids goldfish, old ladies cats and family dogs, with football, newspaper, The Amazing Race, Mad Men, and the Ladies are back!… and, least you become too relaxed, the ever-looming paper due in the morning.

Didn’t see it coming

Posted in change, love, seasons by Jules on 6 September 2009

Autumn Leaves

I walked outside tonight, and truthfully – it no longer smelled like summer. And my heart leapt. I love summer. I love being able to eat outside. I love wearing flip-flops. I love lawn games. I love the smell of Jasmine. I love going to the lake house in upstate NY. I love porch sitting, and camping, and going to the beach. I love entire meals cooked off of the BBQ. But my heart… my SOUL loves the fall. There was a SMELL outside tonight. And it was autumn.

My toes are a little too cold.

I needed a sweater to go outside tonight.

And then – as if by MAGIC. THE smell. THE autumn smell came wafting over. Sneaking through bushes, and yards, and still ripening tomato plants…. fire. Not forest fire. Hearth fire. Fire in a fireplace. Someone just lit the first fire of the season in their fireplace! I almost wanted to cry and jump around – to sprawl on the driveway, and stare into the sky and just take it in. Usually on these evenings Sean is around, and he holds me and smiles and kisses me, and says yes to taking the dog on a walk at night just so that I can SMELL the coming season. That smell

The spring is difficult for me because winter hangs on SO LONG, and the spring seems only to tease me with the coming summer. I’m READY for summer, and spring seems to simply be an annoyance, a penance I have to pay to get through to summer. But autumn.. ahhhh my love.

Favorite fall films are Dan In Real Life, and You’ve Got Mail….Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters, and Sleepy Hollow. As well as a smattering of Halloween cartoon tales Charlie Brown, and Ichabod Crane…

I will miss this most about Colorado. The real smell of fall. I will miss FOUR! VERY! DISTINCT! SEASONS! I will miss the last winds of fall that are so cold they make my nose turn bright red and run. I will miss the snow at Christmas. I will miss ducking into cafes for some coffee & warmth. I will miss the elation that comes in spring – the almost righteous anger at winter that you can yell out at the sky that has been pelting you with snow, “Take that bitch – summer’s coming!” And then sweet, sweet give-you-your-life-back summer with all that it brings.

And it’s as if I am ONE with Mother Nature … I picked up some Pumpkin Ale earlier today when I was out. I know, I’m really chomping on the bit when I’m buying pumpkin ale on the 6th of September. But it’s my FAVORITE. No surprise there. And they only have it for TWO MONTHS. And now… NOW I get to have my pumpkin ale, and let the first smells of autumn waft in the windows while I watch Mad Men.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up, and the sun will be bright and still hot, hot, hot. And it will still feel like summer. And that will be all right. I’m not one to kick summer out ungratefully… But I needed the smile and excitement that fall brings me.

Last Day Of Work

Posted in change, family, Life, seasons by Jules on 28 May 2009

Ron McCraw 1977


After almost 40 years of teaching, etc., etc., this man, my father is retiring today.

He will now have time to play endlessly with his replacement child Cody – a beautiful, albeit rambunctious, Red Golden Retriever Puppy. And obsess about his lawn, and listen to baseball games, and watch basketball and football, and visit his actual children, and granddaughters in so cal, drive around in his little red car, and have friends over for dinner, and maybe just maybe he’ll now have time to go on a vacation… 

I have watched this man work harder than anyone else in my life, and I am excited to watch him now do something that I have never witnessed in my life – relax endlessly. He has provided everything his family ever needed – but more importantly, we have always felt loved, and known, and cared for by him. My father is generous to a fault, and I hope that he is as generous with himself during his retirement, as he has always been with his friends and family. 

We could not be more proud of him, and we could not be more excited for what awaits him.

It is difficult to believe that he is actually retiring. As my beautiful niece Gwen asked him, “Are you joking me?”


(…just look at that baby face! Ron McCraw age 30, about 6 years after he started teaching.)

I will forever remember this.

Posted in change, Life, seasons by Jules on 14 May 2009

The Face of A Girl Who Survived.


…As the year I spent more hours glued to my computer screen than I did living.

…As the year I fought harder for myself than I ever have before. 

…As the year I found a best friend – a soulmate – a kindred spirit at 25.

…As the year that resurected the pen-pal in the most impressive way.

…As the year that pushed me far beyond any imaginable boundary I had constructed.

…As the year I lost my sister.

…As the year we moved to Denver.

…As the year my husband was accepted to Medical School.

…As the year my beautiful niece Lyla Starr was born.

…As the year I took 33 credit hours, and got straight As. 



Early Morning. Lunch. Happy Hour.

Posted in everyday life, food, seasons by Jules on 8 May 2009

Bialetti EspressoCut LemonWatermelon, Spinach, Steak Salad


One. More. Week. Left!

Doing my best to keep the stress to a manageable level. And what does that better than food? Well, food and incredible e-mails from friends, chats, runs, late night burger runs, lots of laughter on the phone, walks around the neighborhood, new music, and baseball games. 

I know that a lot of what consumes my every-waking moment is talk of school, and papers. At times it is all consuming. But this is something big. Larger than school. Larger than University. Bigger than each paper. This is monumental. This is changing me. This is pushing me – at times to the breaking point. As I struggle through each assignment, I stumble and drag myself one more day closer, I am ever closer to walking away from believing that I cannot, to believing that I can. A lot of self-doubt is falling away, a lot of questioning, and fear. And more self-doubt, and questioning, and fear fills its space..mostly. But not completely. In those small spaces are confidence and peace. My voice is becoming more clear, and I am beginning to believe that there is real worth in that. 

A wonderful and ridiculously brilliant friend of ours said to me recently, over one of the most incredible dinners ever, that my voice needs to be heard – that I needed to know that, and walk in that, and be confidant in that. There is a lot behind that, and in it, and what that will be, and look like… and it is slow in coming. But it is there. To be sure, I have not completely walked away from putting my head in the sand, but I am moving somewhere.

So I choose to struggle through 4 more papers, 1 final project, and one more exam. Hoping that at the end there is something. Something of myself. Something new. Something changed. Something different. Something better.

Wednesday Photo

Posted in love, photography, school, seasons, Vacation by Jules on 22 April 2009

Utah Desert - Arches National park


That one’s for you.

Finals mix is on the way.

Winter Fruit Bleeding Into Summer Veggies

Posted in change, food, Life, school, seasons by Jules on 21 April 2009



…So that for a brief moment we have spring. 

My computer is fixed. It was simply a problem with [insert lots of technical, incomprehensible jargon here] but now it’s fine!

Lately I have been experiencing the typical pull between oh-my-gosh-my-life-is-moving-so-slow-it-feels-like-the-turtle-in-Steinbeck’s-novel and WHAT-THE-HELL-MY-LIFE-IS-MOVING-TOO-FAST-I-PRACTICALLY-HAVE-ONE-FOOT-IN-THE-GRAVE! Which is fabulous because it really wreaks havoc on my digestive tract, the constant nausea only intermittently stifled by the shoving of anything resembling a carbohydrate into my mouth. (And no, you baby-crazed loons, I’m not pregnant, this is s-t-r-e-s-s, or grief, or fear, or any combination of the above.) I’ve been in a continual stall pattern for the past five years, and now all of a sudden we’re packing up the apartment, Sean’s moving to California, I’m moving back to Boulder, in August I will begin my final year of this degree, Sean will start medical school, and so all of a sudden the stall is over – the flood gates have opened. Hence, the nausea and shoveling of carbohydrates. It’s been difficult living on the merry-go-round of life, but I at least understood how to do that, now I feel as if the merry-go-round sped up and flung me off… leaving me in a patch of itchy, dry, brown-ish green grass, with my head spinning, still trying to understand what the hell just happened. There is nothing unique, or particularly interesting in this experience, but it does cause a bit more silence in my life. Less inclined to write, and more to contemplative staring while I wait for my head to stop spinning.   

I’m doing a lot of this, and reading her, and him, and lots of other people with their brilliant thoughts on film, but I feel more like a ghost, and less like a sponge lately – more passing through than soaking in. Simply tired.

The spring sunshine, and early beginnings of summer vegetables and herbs have been a welcome change from what has been a long, long winter season. I am starting to believe that summer might just come after all, with it’s barbecues, and sangria, and sun dresses, and long, long evenings outside.

Keep, Give, Throw, Box, Move.

Posted in home, lists, moving, photography, seasons, writing by Jules on 4 April 2009


List: What To Take To California & What To Give Away


And so it begins. Pandora is keeping me motivated these days. One car load has already been taken to the thrift store, sure to be followed by many more. There is such a freedom in simply giving away. My heart feels lighter. 

Many are surprised at the fact that we are already making lists, and getting rid of stuff, and asking people what furniture they may want. But the truth is that we will be on the road moving Sean out to California in three months. I still have to finish this semester, and there is a lot of work to be done so that we can be ready to move, and therefore every weekend from here on out there will be some sort of moving-related activity happening. Learning from past moves, I am a big proponent of doing a little bit for three months rather than doing everything at the very last moment – even though inevitably there will be a few things that still haven’t happened once moving day arrives.

This question (because they are all really just one big question) still seems to continually float just above my head: How do you move only 1/2 your family to another state? How will this work?  Can we do this? What if I can’t? What if I’m not strong enough to say goodbye? 

Moving “Home”

Posted in home, school, seasons by Jules on 30 March 2009

California State Flag


Yes it means exactly what you think it does. No games, no gimmicks, no jokes. I will be here in the beautiful state of Colorado for another year finishing my degree, and my husband will start school in California on the 10th of August 2009! 

There is still a lot of processing, and adjusting – and the eventual thoughts about having to pack up everything and move yet again… But for now we are excited about being close to family & friends who we have missed for the past 5 years.  

Pack up the scarves, pack up the snow boots – Hello Golden State.

Tea Season

Posted in everyday life, food, seasons by Jules on 26 March 2009

First Spring Flowers


It’s SPRING! ..until it snows. And then it will be WINTER! …until it is 75 again. And then it will be SPRING! 

I looooove/hate the spring. Partly because I must start out every day in scarves and jackets, and finish in tank tops and flip flops. 

Regardless of the clothing debacle that spring may inflict upon me, spring is the tea season. Hot tea, iced tea, sweet tea, black tea, green tea, white tea…. tea season. My love of coffee always seems to take a bit of a back seat during this season. Hot tea in the morning just seems so fitting, and seeing that pitcher of sun tea waiting for me in the afternoon is beyond comforting. 

Earl Gray or any Breakfast tea from the British Isles (Irish, English) & a comfy sweater and scarf in the morning. Sun tea, and hands that smell like earth in the afternoon. 

I am ready for a new season. I am ready to garden, and sit on porches. Ready to soak up sunshine at outdoor cafes, and spend long afternoons in the park. Excited for that first smell of freshly cut grass & afternoon rainstorms. Awaiting dinners outside – the smell of vegetables and meat on the grill.

Ready for spring. Waiting for Summer.