Date Day

As announced on Twitter, yesterday was a Date Day here at the Noll house. It ended up being a very full and fun day, and I feel the need to recap. Let’s be honest, it’s me talking, so “recap” is putting it lightly.

As per usual, the first thing we did after dropping our kids at school was head to Starbucks for breakfast and a big long walk around Chevy Chase. Basically, anytime we don’t have our kids, we take a long walk; it’s one of our favorite things to do together and has been since we met.

Then, because he’s my best friend in the world, John agreed to go see The Hunger Games with me. I have been waiting for weeks to see this movie, and despite having to see it at the Movie Tavern (which, gross. Just a gross place. we didn’t eat or drink anything there, thankfully), I was giddy with excitement.

Spoiler alert: Here’s where I give my thoughts on the movie, mostly for my friend Kelley’s benefit, so feel free to skip ahead if you are ready to rip your hair out over my obsessive compulsive issues with The Hunger Games.

Well, it was a great movie, really. I was glad to see the scenery come to life, especially the Capitol scenes. Overall, it was disappointing, but in the predictable way that a movie is always disappointing after the book. But of course, as I knew going in, without Katniss’ inner dialogue, the movie lost a lot in character development.

I felt like the movie portrayed Katniss as being more indifferent and unfeeling, whereas in the book you know that she is really just guarded and conflicted about her feelings, because she can’t trust what is real in this unreal situation.  And in the book Peeta is funny, witty, honest, true, and he offers her unconditional friendship (okay, love)–something I don’t think came out in the movie, with the time constraints. I was glad to have the basis of the book to go from–I think it helped me enjoy the movie, knowing what I already knew about the characters. So I felt a little bad for John, not having that background.

Case in point: the cave scene. One of my favorite moments in the book is when Katniss and Peeta are taking turns standing guard in the cave, and before he goes to sleep, Peeta wraps his arms around Katniss protectively (and also to stay warm). Katniss thinks, “No one has held me like this since my father died. No one has made me feel so safe.” That was THE moment in the book when I knew that she would ultimately fall in love with Peeta. Because, you know, she has been looking for that security (unconsciously) since her father died.

Okay, enough about that. As John can attest, I could go on for hours.


Okay, for those of you still with me, I appreciate your loyalty during my time of mental illness associated with this trilogy. For everyone: let’s continue with Date Day, shall we?

We had plans to meet my sister and Matt at Keeneland and we got there around 3:00, just in time for the 5th race. Going to Keeneland with my sister is always fun because she has a lot of access to places that I don’t. After we found my Daddy to say hello (he works out there during the meets), we found our seats and our box-mate Natasha, a veterinarian student from Southern California doing an internship here in Kentucky. To make things better, we won a race right off the bat, on a horse named Noble Charlotte, which we picked in honor of our niece Charlotte.

Then we headed out to the Paddock for the 7th race, where Jamie knew some of the owners and before we knew it we were standing in the winner’s circle area to watch the race. I’ve been there before, but only as media, taking photos for work, so it was fun to watch the race there, even though our horses all lost. After that we stood in the sun on the lawn for a bit–it was gorgeous out–and then for the last race, Jamie took us up to the Steward’s Stand, way at the top of the grandstand, where they watch the races with binoculars and make the final call on photo finishes, and all things technical. (Jamie can more accurately explain what goes on there). Standing out on that balcony, higher than I’ve ever been at Keeneland, it was just breathtaking. It’s overwhelming, really, how beautiful my old Kentucky home is, from that vantage point.

That was it. I’ll leave it at that, because what fun would it be if I tell you about rushing home to pay the sitter, and then all the kids had showers and John made the lunches…..Yeah, let’s end with the beautiful scenery at Keeneland.

Here’s a shot from the Steward’s stand, as the clouds were rolling in after a perfect day:

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