Stories of Focus, Resilience, and Determination

The long dark evenings of winter are when I most enjoy going to the movies or curling up on the couch in front of the fire with a good book.   I’m ordinarily an outdoors person, biased toward active pursuits, but when it’s cold and dark outside, and some of the best movies of the year are released, I’m often found curled up in a comfy couch at the Cerrito Theater, eating pizza and beer with friends while catching the latest release.

Zero Dark Thirty opened here Friday night, and Hank and I weaved through the torture protesters to watch the story of how driven CIA personnel stayed focused on the hunt for Bin Laden, culminating in the eventual Seal Team 6 raid on OBL’s compound in Pakistan.  The movie’s not for everyone, and the torture scenes made me grateful that President Obama revoked authority for the euphemistic phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  I first enjoyed Jessica Chastain’s work in The Help last year, but her performance here as the CIA agent Maya whose life’s work to find the 9/11 mastermind is riveting.  Maya’s a smart, capable woman who doesn’t take “no” for an answer, and sticks with the job until it’s done.  She’s a great female lead, and I expect both she and director Kathryn Bigelow will easily garner Oscar nominations.

I also found time over the holidays to absorb Cheryl Strayed’s Wild,  the memoir of her eleven-hundred mile trek up the Pacific Coast Trail as a broken down 26-year old, alone in the wilderness.   Staggering from the death of her mother, the breakdown of her family, and the end of her marriage, Strayed made the impulsive decision to hike the PCT by herself, with no prior backpacking experience.  Suspenseful, funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately, triumphant, I loved every page of it.  A backpacker myself, hiking the John Muir Trail  (a mere 210 miles in the High Sierra along the PCT) is on my bucket list, but with my bad feet, may never happen.  Although if I had the resilience of Cheryl Strayed, maybe it could . . .

Finally, it’s a new year, and I’m resolved to be better organized.  I re-read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and am determined to ably collect all of my various “to do” items in one central place, and eliminate Post-It Notes (or, as my husband calls them, paper brains) from my desk.  I’ll report back next month on how it’s going.

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