The Post Where Emily Sees "Juno"

So. I did it. I took the leap and saw “Juno.”

After my last experience with watching “Waitress,” I was very hesitant to see this movie. The thing is, other than the whole unwanted pregnancy (and the added domestic adoption piece to the film), I would have been jumping at the bit to see this movie. It just sounded so much like a movie that Hubby & I would enjoy immensely … especially after having read about the critical praise it’s been getting.

And after sitting through the film (and surviving with my emotions relatively intact), I have three words to say about it. I. Loved. It.

Sure there were moments where I bawled my eyes out like a baby. And there were times when I could feel Hubby squeezing my hand incredibly tight. And there were the moments when I caught Hubby giving me the good-old “sideways glance.” But in the grand scheme of things, the movie was just that. A movie.

To me there were two things that completely made the movie for me; the first of which was the writing. The story was just incredibly well-written – infused with the perfect balance of humor and emotion. The dialogue was smart and the story unfolded at the just the right pace. And the characters … ah, the characters! Each of them … well, except for one, in which I’ll go into more detail later … they were all well-developed with each role playing a specific purpose. (In my humble opinion, I just hate it when a character is introduced and then serves no value to the story, except maybe for eye candy.)

Now, I have to preface myself before I tell you about the second reason that I fell in love with this movie. In my mind, I find an actor is extremely talented when I lose myself in the actor’s character. For example, I love Johnny Depp. Not only do I think he’s incredibly sexy, but I respect his talent in acting. I was so excited to see him in “Sweeney Todd,” but knew that his character was not exactly “good-looking” like he was in, let’s say, “Finding Neverland.” Five minutes into the film, I lost track of the fact that “Sweeney Todd” was Johnny and was so immersed in the character. The same thing happened within the first minute of being introduced to “Juno.” Ellen Page, the actress who played Juno, was just simply astounding.

Juno is a very complex character. As Hubby put it, this was a girl who was young in her years but incredibly wise in knowing her limitations. She knew when she couldn’t handle things. She knew how to be brave when she needed to be. What sixteen year old would truly know what to do given the situations that Juno was put it? Even moreseo, what 20 year old (like Ellen Page) would? Ellen Page gave off just the right temperament for her character. And to me, she certainly is deserving of the Academy Award Nomination she’s just been given.

If there’s just one thing I would have changed in the movie, was the Vanessa Loring character, played by Jennifer Garner. She, for lack of better description, is the woman who wants to adopt Juno’s unborn baby. Throughout the movie, the character comes off as a person who is very cold. She desperately wants to have a child and is simply portrayed as having a “one-tracked” mind. There are however, two scenes in this movie that I can completely relate to Vanessa. I won’t spoil it for those of you that have yet to see the movie, but I do have to say that those two scenes were probably my most favorite of the film. Coincidentally, those were the same two scenes that I completely lost all sense of decorum.

Like I told my Hubby, I’m not sure if the reason I didn’t so much take to Jennifer Garner’s character was because I was being way too critical of her. I know what I would have done in certain circumstances and I know exactly what I would be feeling if I was in her shoes. But maybe that’s the reason why. I’m way too close to the subject matter in hand to look at it with unbiased opinion.

Hubby brought up the point that perhaps the way the character was portrayed by Jennifer Garner came more from the director’s vision of the film. That perhaps he (or she), like many others in this world, do not have a clue on the whole gamut of emotions an infertile goes through, and therefore the direction comes off as having the character played as cool, distant and controlling. (Which, of course, brought up another subject of how many other people in the world think that of us infertiles? Tyra Banks? Oprah Winfrey? The list could go on … but I digress.)

My only bone of contention is that I wish the movie delved deeper into the character of Vanessa Loring. I wish the film could have shown the rest of the world what it was like to want a child so badly. But in truth, this movie isn’t about infertility. And to me, this story isn’t even necessarily about teenage pregnancy.

This is a story of an incredibly wise, smart and quirky teen called Juno. And that’s what makes it a movie worth watching.

Okay, so now I’m off to download the soundtrack for the movie on iTunes …

Autumn Soundtrack & Apron Strings

I love autumn. It’s my favorite season of the year. There’s something about it that appeals to all my senses. The air smells crisp … which then reminds me of pumpkin pie and caramel apples. The leaves change to bright beautiful colors and once they fall, they are just so much fun to stomp on just to hear the crinkling sound. And of course, there’s the change in weather … Indian summer is great, but I do look forward to the drop in temperature just so I can start wearing my sweaters again.

Fall always invokes many memories. The absolute geek in me remembers being excited to go back to school so that I could crack open those new books and break in those new supplies. There’s also the annual trip to the cider mill to get fresh cider and hot donuts and/or to the apple orchards to pick fresh apples. And of course, there is always college football.

Over the years, I’ve started to associate certain songs with certain seasons. Most people associate certain scents with memories, but I’ve always been one that tends to gravitate to the music that has surrounded me during the periods in my life. I describe it as my own personal soundtrack to my life.

For autumn, there is something about The Cure that sticks out in my mind, particularly the “Disintegration” album and specifically the song “Pictures of You.” I’m sure it’s because I remember seeing them in concert during the fall of my senior year in high school; and the song has this haunting melody that reminds me of saying goodbye to friends that have graduated and were heading off to college for the first time.

And speaking of college, another song sparks memories of that first weekend of college and moving into my dorm room. “Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy reminds me of leaving that sheltered environment of Catholic school and expanding my horizons. I remember this song being played by a person I had just met and was surprised that this particular person would like this song as well. It reminds me that you can never judge a book by its cover.

Then there’s “Hands to Heaven” by Breathe. Every time I hear this song I remember my first date in my Junior year in high school. It was the Homecoming Dance at my school and I was escorted by none other than the person I would eventually marry nine years later. Can you believe back then we were going to the dance strictly “as friends?” I think it’s rather interesting that the chorus to that song starts out as “So raise your hands to heaven and pray / That we’ll be back together some day.” Hmm… must have been a foreshadowing of what was to come.

And the last quintessential song for my Fall Soundtrack is none other than the song of which my blog title came from. “Apron String” by Everything But The Girl has been a song that has been part of my life since I was in high school. The first time I ever heard it was by listening to the soundtrack for the John Hughes film, “She’s Having A Baby.” Not that I really liked that particular movie, but John Hughes, in my humble opinion, always had a knack for picking such great songs for any of his films. Anyway, this song reminds me of fall simply for the fact that I remember playing that soundtrack over and over one autumn season.

It’s funny how “Apron Strings”, as a song has always been part of my life. First, during that one autumn season that I played that song over and over again. Then, as I began to fall in love with my husband one spring day during a trip to Ann Arbor my senior year in high school. And finally as I have struggled emotionally over the past ten years with infertility.

My husband came up with the name of the blog, I think, strictly on the fact that he knew that this was probably my most favorite song in the world. What he didn’t expect was that this blog and that song would be pretty much the running theme for what I “needed” to blog about. I’ve had people ask me why I decided to name my blog “Apron Strings,” as the common reference to actual apron strings is about either being tied to one or needing to be cut from one.

For me, the song “Apron Strings” is all about longing. When put in context with infertility, it becomes specifically a longing for a child. If you haven’t had a chance to read the lyrics to the song, feel free to read it here. Then let me know what you think.

But getting back to the whole Autumn soundtrack, music has always played a part in my life. I’d like to know what other songs people associate this season with. There’s some R.E.M. songs that I can think of as well as some U2 songs (hmmm … perhaps “October”?). Or perhaps it’s something as silly as a song from the “Grease” soundtrack. Come on … I can hear you humming a song in the back of your head … let’s “hear” it in writing!

Mmmm … all this talk about autumn has got me craving some warm apple pie and of wanting to snuggle under a warm blanket with Hubby. I’ll be catching you guys later!


There are few bands out there that completely surprise me any more these days. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the older I get, the more music starts to sound the same or similar to another song that’s out there now. Or perhaps there aren’t many original bands out there this day.

I usually leave the task of updating my iPod with music to my husband. He’s pretty good at picking up music he knows I’d enjoy. A couple years ago, my Hubby downloaded the album “Night on Fire” by VHS or BETA. I had never heard of them before, but they instantly became a favorite of mine. Their sound reminded me of bands that I loved back in the 80’s. To me, without reading any previous reviews on them, they sounded like a cross between Duran Duran during their “New Romantic” era and Robert Smith from The Cure. It was the type of music that made me want to roll down my car window and sing at the top of my lungs, like I used to in high school.

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I were listening to them in the car (and yes, I was singing along). I turned to him and said, “If these guys ever come in concert, I would love to check them out.” Imagine my surprise when last week, he told me they were coming to Detroit. Yeah, we definitely had to go.

So last night, we drove to the Magic Stick to check the band out. I was taken back by how relatively empty the place was. I would have thought that more people would have dug their sound as well. It wasn’t until VHS or BETA actually came on and said that they were happy that anyone showed up at all as Morrissey was also in town, that I remembered that bit of news. Regardless, the band totally ROCKED! (How 80’s sounding is that?) And since it was such an “intimate” atmosphere, that made it all the better.

But going back to the whole “surprised” part of it. The band itself, was not at all what I would have thought they would look like. I pictured tailored Durannie-looking outfits and a mostly synth-based, drum and bass-loaded band. What stood in front of me was a skinny better-than-early-Axl Rose-without-the-big-hair-looking band. And what I thought would be mostly pre-recorded tracks on a Mac laptop that was hooked up to the keyboards was really a full-out band. And the way they played together, it was just a perfectly engineered sound. A very very tight sound. (And on a completely different note, I was totally floored by the fact that the lead singer was Asian… Represent!!)

So there you have it. A big thumbs up for VHS or BETA from me. If you guys ever get a chance to see them, I recommend that you do. In the mean time, check out the video for “Night on Fire” which has got to be my favorite tune from them. And let me know what you think … you be the judge.


The last time I saw Erasure was my senior year in high school. I can remember that entire day clearly. It was unfortunately the night after my Godmother (Ninang) past away. I hadn’t cried yet; I was still in denial. I was close to her, and particularly her son who was the same age as I was. During her sickness (she died of ovarian cancer), we spent a lot of time with her and those people that were close to her. After all, these were the Filipino families that I spent most of my childhood growing up with. It certainly helped they were the families that my parents would spend their weekends either playing in bowling leagues or otherwise gambling through the night playing mahjong. Us kids would spend those long nights either playing in the arcade room at the bowling alley or entertaining ourselves by playing board games, listening to records (yes, records), or even making random prank phone calls a la-Bart Simpson-style. So when we finally got the news of my Godmother’s passing, I didn’t know how to feel. This was, after all, the first time I had experience the death of someone really close to me.

Since I was a senior in high school (and therefore “old enough to make my own decisions”), I had every intention of still going to the Erasure concert as I had already paid for the ticket, and let’s face it … I knew every single word of their songs. My Mom, however, had other ideas. She felt that I owed it to my “God-brother” and Ninong (Godfather) to be there with them. That feeling of being torn between responsibility and escape was ultimately what broke me down into tears over my Ninang’s death.

I can clearly remember secluding myself in my bedroom closet and crying. At first it was over the argument that my mom and I had. Then it was about feeling guilty about letting my “Godbrother” and Ninong down. And finally it was about the loss I felt over my Ninang’s death. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stop crying, why I suddenly felt so alone and so lost for any other emotion other than sadness. I must have stayed in my bedroom closet for what seemed like hours just crying and eventually napping on and off. Ultimately (and I’m not sure if she just felt bad for me), my Mom let me make the decision as to what I wanted to do. And well, as you already know from the first line of this entry, I chose to go to the concert.

I have a feeling my Ninang was looking after me that night. It’s as if she knew I needed the distraction of this concert to let me experience a little bit of happiness in the coming days. My friends had picked me up in the midst of what ended up being one of the biggest snow-storms that year. We ultimately made it to the Masonic Temple in Detroit (after our friend made quite a few unintentional 180-degree spinouts along the freeway) over an hour later than when the concert should have started. Lucky for us, Erasure also just arrived and still had to get the stage set up. An hour after arriving, Vince Clarke and Andy Bell treated us to a great performance, allowing me to forget for a moment how sad I was actually feeling inside. I sang my little heart out that night and was able to laugh at all the silly flamboyant outfits that Andy Bell would put on. And afterwards, as we made our way to Greektown for a late-night Pizzapapalis fix, my friends and I recounted all the adventures that we had that night. I didn’t end up getting home until after 2 am that night; well past my curfew. But the next morning, nothing was said. Again, I’d like to think that my Ninang had something to do with that as well.

Now, why am I recounting such a memory at this time? Well, it’s because this past Tuesday I had the opportunity to see Erasure again, more than 17 years since that winter evening back in high school. Come to think of it now, I’m more than twice the age I was back during that initial concert. (Yikes!) It’s also brought back memories of singing and harmonizing to Erasure songs on road trips to Chicago. And it brings back yet another memory of driving to Ann Arbor in the midst of another snowstorm just to visit hubby in college.

Anyway, the concert this past week was such a great time. It gave me the opportunity to sing all the classic Erasure songs that I used to harmonize back in high school and dance that “old-skool new-wave sway.” It’s also given me an opportunity to think of my Ninang again and remember her fondly … the way I do every time I sing one of their songs.

Click on album below to view more pictures from the concert:

Erasure Concert

The Start of Summer

It’s coming up on the Fourth of July, which for most of us, marks the middle of summer. I love the 4th for many reasons; one of which is that it means my birthday is coming up. When I was little, I used to think that all the fireworks and sparklers and picnics were meant specifically to celebrate my birthday. Imagine my disappointment when I realized it wasn’t! Still, it’s a fun holiday and it’s meant to be a mid-summer celebration.

But before we can get to mid-summer, there’s always another holiday that I enjoy immensely. That would be Memorial Day. For me, that holiday marks the beginning of the summer season. When you are once again allowed to wear white shoes and white pants. When walking around in shorts doesn’t seem so odd. Even (gag) the weekend where most people try to finish planting their spring/summer garden. (Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit my mom’s green thumb.)

But while others might be gardening or grilling outside for the first “summer” holiday weekend, my husband and I tend to be elsewhere. We, being Detroiter’s through and through, make it a yearly event to head downtown to Hart Plaza every day during that weekend. That’s because it’s the Movement Festival: a weekend celebration of all things electronic music; specifically techno. The festival has had many reincarnations over the 7 years it’s been in existence (political, economical issues, etc), but the main core reason the festival continues to draw the crowds (whether it’s a free or paid event) still exists. It’s a weekend of great (insert your choice of electronica music -ie- techno, house, drum n’ bass, etc) music. From four stages to choose from, not to mention the afterparties, it’s a weekend of pure “get your groove on” fun.

And even though it gets harder and harder every year to be there all day and every day or be out late every night for the afterparties, my hubby and I try to make an effort to go. Not only because we love this type of music, but also because it helps celebrate the history Detroit plays in electronic music. Go Detroit!