The Case Files: Silver Linings Playbook

I don’t really go out to see movies. My philosophy is generally TV > Movies (sorry, movie buffs) and any movie I want to see will be on Netflix or Amazon Instant Video (oh man, I love Jesse’s job). Plus, it’s become increasingly clear over the last few months that I’ve missed out on seeing like 95 percent of all the “greatest” films. I have a backlog.

But, I was going to see Silver Linings Playbook. I sort of knew what it was about, I love Jennifer Lawrence (duh, Hunger Games Case File), and it looked kind of quirky, dark, and romantic, which are probably the top three qualities that I look for in any movie to deem it a favorite. Once it was nominated for an Academy Award, Jesse said he’d go see it. Winner.

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HOLY MOLY YOU GUYS. Such (such!) a good movie. I may have some spoiler alerts in here, so don’t read ahead if you’re trying to see it.

So, it won’t be a traditional Case Files because these people aren’t real. What it will be, is a celebration that even if you feel a little off, a little weird, or a little crazy (I have felt all separately or in unison at one point or another in my life) then this movie will give you hope.

The plot follows Bradley Cooper’s character, Pat, after being released from a in-patient hospital after assaulting his wife’s lover, which he discovered after walking in on the two of them mid-coitus, while their wedding song was playing.

Ouch.

So, Pat nearly beats this guy to death and basically has what he later learns is a break with reality as a result of undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Upon leaving the facility, the movie chronicles his experiences in therapy (P.S. I don’t think this is a good representation of a therapist), his battle avoiding meds, his desperation to get his wife back, and his slowly growing relationship with Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), whom he befriends because 1) he doesn’t get much choice in the matter, 2) Tiffany can get in contact with his estranged wife (who has a restraining order against him).

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Tiffany, is also quite challenged. A widow who lost her husband in an ironic dose of tragedy, she copes by sleeping with anyone she can. Once Pat turns her down for casual sex, she ardently pursues a friendship with him, bartering Pat’s role as her dance partner in an upcoming competition, as a way to justify her assistance in helping Pat win back his wife.

That’s your short summary and I’ll avoid going into any of the more intricate details because I don’t want to completely spoil the movie or detract from how subtle somethings were that I feel really made the movie for me. There’s one scene that I just loved and it made me chuckle and smile from ear to ear.

Pat is visiting his friend’s house for dinner, who happens to be Tiffany’s sister. This is where the two meet. Tiffany knows Pat’s story, but the chemistry between the two is undeniable. Tiffany kind of owns her crazy and immediately begins probing Pat about his past. Pat displays some typical behaviors of someone who is unmedicated bipolar, in that he’s super impulsive, he barely has a filter from thought to words, and he’s just really erratic. The two begin bonding at dinner over which meds they’ve taken, discussing the finer points of Seroquel and Trazadone.

When you’ve worked in an inpatient facility (which I have), you become familiar with these meds. I’ve had countless clients explain the nitty gritty details of taking meds for a variety of reasons, but most of them rejoiced in the way they felt on their meds. Sleeping is easier and being awake is more difficult, but when you’re depressed or going through a tough life transition (death of a husband or new bipolar diagnosis), sleeping a lot has its perks.  It reminded me of my old clients and it gave me a nice warm feeling inside.

The Case File

Straight up, this movie (for me) was a commentary on mental health. Sure, I was looking at it through that lens, but I don’t think the message was lost on others who weren’t. When you realize your mind is different, whether you’re in a tough life transition, you have a mental health diagnosis, or you just feel a little… out of sorts, you immediately begin to worry about the likelihood you’ll lead a normal life and most importantly, find someone who will not only tolerate your quirks, but love you because of them. This movie proves something I’ve known for a long time; we don’t have to have it all figured out to find and feel love. Also, the more we find someone who can understand us, the more likely we are to be happy. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being perfect for each other.

Find someone who can call you out on your stuff and then help you get through it. That’s a partner worth sticking around for.

Home

So, Saturday was a big day. Jesse and I started out our morning eating leftover Christmas crumbcake, drinking coffee, and preparing ourselves to go rental house hunting. We had a couple of hopeful houses on our list, so we were feeling really good. The rental market here in Seattle is super competitive, so we also knew we might have to sign a lease that day.

I was really excited. Jesse and I moved in together when I started this blog (July 2011). We were a couple weeks shy of one year together, but considering we started dating living four floors away from each other and working together, we felt pretty good about this next step (we hadn’t killed each other yet). It was July 2011. I was super excited to try living with a boy (gasp!) who was my boyfriend (double gasp!). Then, Amazon happened and Jesse moved to Seattle on Dec. 1, 2011. It was nice while it lasted, though.

Flash-forward to a year later, I graduated from my master’s program and moved to Seattle. Jesse got a 13-month lease, meaning our lease for his studio apartment wouldn’t be done until Jan 31, 2013. Which means we’ve now lived in the studio apartment longer than we lived in our Florida townhome. It also means I don’t really feel like we’ve ever had a home. It also means I feel really cramped a lot of the time.

I believe our experience has generally been good for us. Because we’ve been through so much change and so many different environments, I believe it’s made us stronger. The distance did so much for my certainty in knowing Jesse is the guy for me, living with him in a tiny studio has reminded me what a great person and roommate he is, and looking for a home has really made me excited about our future. We want the same things out of a home and out of our life. It’s cool.

Anyway, after a full morning of looking in the dreary cold, we found the place we’re going to live! I’ll show you some pictures from the rental posting with the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Look at how cool and open it is!

It’s a real home! It’s a home I want to go directly to West Elm for and buy a bunch of overpriced pillows. It’s home I can see my friends and family staying in, our dog frolicking through, a warm fire, a happy cat, and a place where I feel safe and comforted. It’s a place where I believe Jesse and I will evolve and grow as people – together.

This is something I’m really excited about. It seems like a big piece of what I’ve wanted from this transition to Seattle is now in place. I feel like I’m growing up. It’s weird.

A Vegan Hanukkah

So, Sunday nights are known as Dinner with the Vegans night here. It started as just me, Jesse, and our friend Jeewan, but it’s slowly grown. We started it as a way to enjoy awesome vegan food and each other’s company, while hosting a rotating cast of characters over the weeks. We added a movie after dinner. We moved it from Thursday night to Sunday night. It’s grown.

Jesse decided to take on a massive dinner this past Sunday and cook us all traditional Hanukkah fare. The morning started out with us lazily rolling out of bed. I got groceries (brrr, it was cold out there!), coffee, and I made scones.

I thought my day would be spent watching shows on Netflix and creating some Christmas gifts for my family. Right now, our Netflix is skewed so strongly toward Jesse’s preferences because he’ll stay up long after I go to bed watching crazy movies. I wanted to reclaim my stake in Netflix so it doesn’t suggest things like, “80s Horror Movies,” or “Gritty Action/Adventure Sagas” or whatever. I log in and all it wants me to do is watch really bad 80s Horror films. I don’t even like scary movies!

Anyway, as the day progressed, it became apparent I was needed to help make this Hanukkah dinner happen in time. I was kind of excited – I’ve never cooked Hanukkah food before! So, Jesse got crackin’ on the Matzoh Ball Soup, wearing the only shirt suitable for the occasion.

He’s very focused in the kitchen. It’s cute. Once the matzoh was in the fridge (it has to chill for a bit), we got moving on the seaitan roast. Holy moly, it’s good. We also had it for Thanksgiving (by the way, I finally updated that post with links to all the recipes we used. It’ll take you to my Pinterest board for vegan Thanksgiving).

I was tasked with making latkes. Look at me go. I look a little confused, though.

Jesse also made kasha varnishkes, but I didn’t snap any good photos because I was covered in potato goop.

When all was said and done, we had a beautiful spread, a great group of people, and we finished the night by watching Love Actually. Such a good movie.

We were really happy with how the roast, the kasha, and the latkes turned out. The broth for the matzoh ball soup was god, but the balls were… not very ball like. I have no idea what any of it is supposed to taste like, so I was pretty happy overall. Jesse proclaimed he would make his own recipe next year, which I am really looking forward to trying.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have found such awesome people here. People who are open-minded about joining in for a night of food and fun, without worrying if there will be ribs. People who want to get together and watch sappy holiday movies are fantastic. Most of all, boyfriends who can and do cook quite often are the best. Jesse shares his background and culture with me, which makes me feel happy and loved. I like Hanukkah and I look forward to celebrating it for years to come. Happy Holidays!

All the recipes Jesse used can be found here.