A perfect weekend. Celebrating the ordinary.

I took a little break from my usual routines to enjoy a documentary I’ve been saving.  Life in a Day (2011) focuses on a single day, July 24, 2010, and includes scenes selected from 4,500 hours of footage in 80,000 YouTube video clips from 192 countries.

The story behind the film is fascinating. Originally created as a partnership between YouTube, Ridley Scott Associates and LG electronics, the project was outsourced, tasking people around the world to film their response to the questions, What do you love? What do you fear? and What’s in your pocket?  The preponderance of clips were obtained from people contacted through YouTube and more traditional television and news sources, but at least  25% came from cameras provided to people in the developing world.

I found the documentary totally absorbing. My eyes never left the screen.  Visual effects paired with an excellent score provides mesmerizing cohesiveness although there isn’t a traditional storyline . The clips are artfully pieced together in a seamless montage of scenes, some with dialogue, some wordless, moving through brief episodes depicting sadness, joy, inspiration–poignant by both similarities and differences in people around the globe.

In some ways fear and love are expressed similarly, but to the question what’s in your pocket? the differences are vast, as is artfully punctuated in a scene between a gentleman tossing the keys to his luxury car followed by that of a man in Haiti with empty pockets. Although the movie moved me along with a variety of emotional responses, what I’ve been thinking about is how most of the submissions represented small moments in one ordinary day.

Watching hundreds of small moments in this compact 90-minute film highlighted aspects of our human nature employed to shore up personal vulnerability, and in some instances of life and death, the complex measures that people use to cope, hold onto hope, and move forward.

Most of our days are full of thousands of small movements. Ordinary days. Routine, for the most part. I don’t think I stop often enough to be truly grateful for just that…an ordinary day.

I’m looking forward to a very ordinary weekend. It will be satisfying to get through a week’s worth of mail piled high on the kitchen table, mostly unopened. Laundry is a necessity. And how two people who are never home can so greatly upset order in one house I don’t know.

So I will do the most ordinary of household chores and establish some kind of restored order before a new week begins. I’m looking forward to it!

And I’ll also need to put some mental energy into solving the question of what to do with a growing tortoise  we are currently calling Destructo. Darwin (Destructo) has been climbing on the backyard train tracks again and has uprooted some of my succulents in the process. He’s digging in other parts of the yard, too, paddling in the dirt and eating small pieces of the gravel lining the path to his home. He knocked over one of my ceramic pots, breaking the pot and spilling its contents, and he has taken to chewing down some of the other succulents around the yard.

Do we need to build a corral?

I also need to spend time this weekend analyzing what has gone wrong in my vegetable garden. At the moment I think I have a few of the world’s most expensive tomatoes. As much time, money and attention as I’ve devoted, the yield should be MUCH greater. I always have a good tomato crop…but not this year. And what’s up with the tomatillos?

All flower and no fruit? I have seen bees…another mystery.

Ordinary, every day issues. If these are the biggest obstacles of the moment I’m altogether fortunate. I will happily accept an ordinary weekend and move about it with enjoyment.

I hope you have an equally enjoyable weekend with your  own version of ordinary. Do consider seeing Life in a Day. It’s in DVD–I streamed it from Netflix, if you have that service. Click HERE for a very nice YouTube trailer.  It makes me want to see it again.

So are we ready for one giant exhale? Yes!

Enjoy, Debra

46 thoughts on “A perfect weekend. Celebrating the ordinary.

    • Unfortunately I’m one of those people who can make a big ordeal just out of mail! Most of it is junk mail and could be disposed of without delay, yet I tend to “need” to open each piece just to make certain I don’t need it. It really does pile up that way! I am also a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to chores I don’t enjoy! I will celebrate tomorrow if I get a lot more done than I did today! Ha! :-)

    • I think Darwin may be unhappy that we’ve been gone so much lately! I never thought he needed a lot of companionship, but I may have been incorrect! I hope it might be possible for you to see “Life in a Day” at some point. You probably don’t have a lot of time for movies right now! But do keep it in mind. I found the project quite remarkable, and as we experience in our blogging, the movie highlights how the world seems to be getting smaller all the time! :-) Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the remainder of your weekend!

  1. That documentary sounds fascinating. Darwin seems to be a lot of work. Does he need a lover? Sorry to hear about your tomato harvest. That’s so disappointing. It may be due to the strange weather you’ve been having in the US. I do hope your next season of tomatoes is much better and keep the ceramic pots away from Darwin! xx

    • I never thought a tortoise would require quite the level of attention he seems to be demanding at this time! You may be right…he may need a more “intimate” partner! Ha! I don’t think I could handle the responsibility of another tortoise, however, so we may simply need to put up with him acting out! The documentary was so good, Charlie. You might be able to find it sometime, and I’m sure you’d enjoy it–although I’m not sure how you’d fit that time into your busy schedule! I marvel at all you do! :-)

  2. the programme sounds fascinating Debra – focusing and celebrating the ordinary. We were talking last night about the film Amelie, and how it is ordinary, about life – no major catastrophes or huge upheavals, just life. We (humans) often search for the drama and the dramatic, the spotlights and soundbites, raising our voices above the din, but as yous aw we can speak quietly to each other, stop and listen and think. A lovely post Debra, and one which as you know is resonating!
    And oh Darwin the Destroyer! Do you think he’s getting frisky :)
    I’ve neve rgrown Tomatillos before, I hope one of our clever gardening friends sees this and has some bright but ordinary ideas :)

    • The idea of Darwin getting frisky just makes me smile! Poor guy! I don’t think I’m up to finding him a mate…he isn’t nearly full grown, and two would be really something else! Yikes!

      This particular documentary, “Life in a Day,” really affected me. I’ve thought of it quite often since I watched it Thursday evening. It was such an ambitious project from its inception, and I cannot imagine the scope of the editing work that made it possible to subtly tell a story from little snippets of lives around the world. Very impressive! You are correct, it was a quiet little movie, but quite profound. I think I need to see it again with friends so I can have a chance to really talk about it! :-)

    • Yes, Karen, my garden has really been a disappointment. Not sure why, but I’ll continue to investigate and ask some questions. I’m not sure how we’re going to handle Darwin’s continued growth going forward! We really may need to create a large pen at some point! And to think I was concerned about the responsibility of a dog! At this point I think a dog would at least be more predictable! :-) Thanks for stopping by…hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, too!

    • You’re so right about Darwin’s freedom! I don’t want to hamper his ability to get around. I suppose we could try some baby gates! :-) That may be next…temporary fencing around some areas when we’re not home to supervise! :-)

    • It never once occurred to me that poor Darwin might need some intimate companionship! Poor guy! Now I’ll probably feel guilty, but I can’t imagine trying to feed and house two of them…although I admit to being slightly curious! :-)

  3. “Life in a Day” sounds worth seeing, Debra. Thanks for the recommendation. Our Ballad group meets today in Berkeley, so I will be cooking this morning and then going early to help our hostess who had surgery recently. Sunday I will be home attending to whatever needs tending to and Monday I am back at jury duty again.

    • I hope you had a lovely time meeting with your Ballad group, Sharyn. You’ve had jury duty for more than a week, haven’t you? If it’s going into another week you probably really relished being with friends today! If you find the time to view Life in a Day I’m quite sure you’d be very interested in it. I’m convinced I need to see it again with friends so I can discuss it more thoroughly! There were a few poignant moments I would have enjoyed sharing in my post, but I hope others might have the opportunity to see it, and I didn’t want to weaken the impact!

  4. We’re having a similar problem with our veggie garden. The radishes came in great as did the early cherry tomatoes in the hanging pot (we’re STILL getting an an occasional tomato from new shoots!), but the regular tomato and bell pepper plants are just that – plants. Lots of leaves, no fruit and only one flower. Last year we had bumper crops; I can’t figure it out.

    Yes those millions of little moments that make up each day really do need to be noticed and appreciated. You’re so right.

    • Well, I’m so sorry about your garden, too, my friend! Your garden sounds so much like mine. I am still getting tomatoes, but one or two at a time, not at all what I’m accustomed to enjoying. The squash has done well, so I feel like it isn’t soil, sun or water, but I haven’t seen quite as many bees as I have in the past. Maybe that is it, I just don’t know. Another small research project to look forward to, I think! :-) I hope you’ve had a very lovely and “ordinary” Saturday! The movie was so interesting…I’m glad I shared it with you. You might come across it sometime!

  5. Did you purchase that documentary or can it be found on-line? I’d love to see it, it sounds so powerful in it’s themes and messages! My tomatoes are growing but every single leaf is a limp withered scrap. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.. so, guess I’ll just keep observing my science experiment!! Yes, I’m with Charlie on this one.. Destructo is bored, I think… and needs a lover:D

    • Barb, I like your thoughts about the garden being a science experiment. Just because I grow a few things every year doesn’t in any way make me an expert. Ha! I will need to find an on-line troubleshooting guide and see what I can learn!

      We subscribe to an on-line movie source, Netflix, and that’s how I found the DVD. I don’t know what you may have that is a similar source, but I think “Life in a Day” should be fairly easy to find through a DVD source. There might be a way to see it online…it did start as a YouTube project, so it’s worth a little investigation. I know you’d enjoy it!

  6. I think Darwin is confused, thinking he’s something other than a tortoise. Did you let him watch the Olympics? It sounds like he’s begun training for Rio in 2016.
    I, too, am having tomato troubles and feel your pain. I’ve got mine in containers two of which have hairline cracks, something I discovered in the middle of the heatwave. Between the heat and lack of water, they never had a chance. I hope you can find out what’s wrong so that you can salvage the rest of the season — or find a very good farmers market. ;)

    • You may be right about Darwin, John. We have spoiled him up until this point and I think he may indeed by confused. I could go on and on about the things he gets into! I think he’s training us more than we him! So you’re having tomato troubles, too! Others have shared similarly. It makes it very hard to understand since we are all in different geographic settings. It may be the extremes of weather and we don’t always know how to adjust. You had such horrible early heat, and we were almost too cool at the beginning! There hasn’t been enough from the garden to satisfy at all, but yes, the farmers markets are so consistent I almost wonder why I try so hard to grow the few things I do! It’s almost impractical…but then, I do a lot of things that are hardly practical! :-) Like blogging? LOL!

  7. I am not sure I would be so patient with Destructo. I have enough problems with other peoples cats using my garden as a public highway and latrine. No wonder I HATE cats.

    • I think Darwin is still easier to feed and house than a cat or dog, so I’m just going to need a little more creativity, or perhaps time to be Darwin’s therapist! :-) I can understand being very unhappy to have your garden be a giant “kitty litter box!” We have feral cats living under our office building, and the odor is most unpleasant! I wonder how your yard became the designated hang-out! I think cats can almost read our minds, so perhaps you need to send them loving thoughts, and in true reverse psychology, they’ll leave just to show you their independence! :-)

  8. We are having an ordinary weekend around here too. We don’t have many of these. Definitely worth enjoying. I can’t believe how much damage Darwin can do! I had no idea tortoises could do that! Enjoy your nice relaxing weekend Debra.

    • We didn’t foresee how Darwin would grow from the size of a fifty cent piece to such a large, and ever-expanding strong creature. And he’s still growing! We probably need to learn a bit more about his habits and instincts. He is fascinating, though. I hope your “ordinary” Saturday was a good time to begin replenishing the energy we lose during such busy weeks! Thanks for stopping by, Kristy! :-)

    • A hurricane watch, although not too unusual where you live, is still not an ordinary occurrence in my mind, Nancy! THe potential of the storm is very much a news event even in our state. I was in Miami in August one time as a hurricane was anticipated and I was really on edge! Watching all the building begin to board up windows and make preparation was very eerie. I hope Isaac simply doesn’t do any growing! I’m sure you have other things to do, too, beyond battening down the hatches! (I honestly said that without thinking of your name at the time. I almost never have the ability to create an intentional pun!) Ha! You take care!

  9. I don’t think I knew that turtles could be destructive!? Fascinating! However, Darwin is so super adorable, I also don’t know if I could be mad at him either. Maybe he is acting out because he wants something. That is my best guess, based off of my beagle mom logic. :-)

    • I think that Darwin is mostly destructive because he is just so big! And maybe like children who get a little clumsy when they grow too fast, perhaps he doesn’t have a good sense of his own size! I know I’ve tried to squeeze into jeans too small, too! LOL! I think beagle mom logic is pretty reliable, Stephanie. He may just need a little extra attention! :-)

  10. Life in a Day sounds fascinating, Debra. I’ll take some time to watch it, hopefully tomorrow. Thank you for sharing it.

    Everyone here is complaining about their tomatoes as well. We’ve all been having this odd weather all summer, which may have something to do with, and I suspect that the absence of bees may be part of the problem as well – at least here. I think we broke some heat records again today. Sigh. Maybe Darwin is just acting out how some of us feel this summer. Then, again, there is that thought that he may be looking for a mate.

    When all is said and done, ordinary is pretty good. Enjoy, Debra.

    • I’m so interested in what you said about bees, Penny. It did occur to me that perhaps there was a connection, but I’ve seen “some” bees, and I don’t really know how many I might need! There really is a lot I don’t know, but I can see another research project coming on! I’ve had several comments about disappointing garden results, and they have come from regions in the east, midwest and south! I think it must be partially due to the weather extremes, but then when I think about that, I’m sure we’ve had summers like this before. We may never know what’s responsible, but if it is the bees, then I’m concerned! I think poor Darwin is growing so fast he doesn’t know how to calibrate his movements! Poor guy!

      If you do get the chance to see life in a Day I know you’d enjoy it Penny. It’s very moving, and altogether fascinating as a cinematic work of art! :-) Enjoy the rest of your ordinary weekend!

  11. Maybe Darwin has reached his teenage years? All that extra energy and hormones do create havoc with all species. ;)

    I will definitely watch that documentary. Sounds wonderful! Thanks for telling us about it. :)

  12. Pingback: All as one | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

  13. I remember buying the coffee table book some years ago… Will check out the video. As for your trouble maker, you might have to corral him/create a small walled area for him… sorry! The tomatoes look bugged… just my two cents.
    Hope you have a great week ahead! ;-)

  14. Dear Debra, I clicked on your link and discovered that YouTube has now posted the entire film for us to see. So I hope to watch it this evening. I’ve bookmarked it. I looked at the beginning and heard the woman explain about the magical time between 3 and 4 am. so I’m excited to watch. Both her words and yours speak to me. Your curiosity about life is a wonder. I admire you greatly. Actually your thoughts and posts bemuse me. And I like that. I do so hope you can figure out what Darwin’s up to. Peace.

    • You’ve given me a big smile, Dee. I have to laugh at how I started this blog in some ways because I do get caught up in a variety of very small interests, and I have an equally very small number of friends who share the same delights. They have their own, of course, but we aren’t necessarily on the same wave length! I have a feeling you understand that! Ha! I’m so glad we can share together, even long distance. I didn’t realize the whole film was on YouTube. That is just great! I absolutely know you’ll appreciate it. There are few scenes that disturbed me, but that’s only because there are disturbing things that do tell the story of “us” as a whole. If you see it and want to email me your impression of it, I’d love to hear! D

  15. Dear Debra, Dee here again. After doing my morning blogging/commenting, I read the comics in today’s newspaper (Kansas City Star). And it was then that I realized who you remind me of. Do you read the comic strip “Sally Forth”? You are so like her–so balanced and compassionate with a good sense of humor and a twinkle in your eye for the foibles of human kind. Peace.

    • Oh I do hope you find the time to see the film. I was later told that someone watched the entire thing on youtube. I don’t know if you have access to that where you live. I think there may be restrictions, which I have never figured out! Darwin is a misadventurer for sure.It was nice to hear from you again! :-)

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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