Sunday, December 28, 2008
My daughter has been obsessed with the movie Marley and Me ever since she saw the first trailer for it. What's better than a movie in which a main character has your name? Weeks ago, we bought the junior version of the book, Marley, A Dog Like No Other. The last week or so, every time a commercial comes on she squeals like a 60s teenager watching the Beatles.
Today was finally the day. We went with her best friend and her family to see the movie. In many ways, it was what I expected. I laughed. I cried. There were many scenes that reminded me of our dog, Bob (aka Robert Otis). There was more of the "human" side of the story than in the junior version of the book. I can't compare them because I haven't read the actual book. I suspect that the mischief Marley got into was actually downplayed for the movie.
What I didn't expect, though, in a PG rated movie--that the film production company had to know every dog loving girl in the United States was going to want to see--was the sex and violence.
Sex and violence you ask? Okay, it wasn't like a Quentin Tarentino film. However, there were some things I wasn't too sure about. Jen and John, Marley's owners decide to have a baby and we get to see that it involves some activity in the bedroom. We also get to see them take their clothes off to go skinny dipping. These scenes are really nothing compared to what you will find in your average PG-13 movie, but they were still more overt than I, personally, would prefer. My last quibble is one scene where a neighbor is attacked and stabbed during a home robbery. We never see the attack, but we hear Marley barking, a scream, and then John rushing outside and helping the neighbor who is holding her side that is bleeding. She states that "he" threatened to stab her if she screamed, but she screamed anyway. Oh... I was just not really comfortable with this bit of real world danger popping up in the cute doggy movie.
I don't know. Maybe I am overreacting. I certainly don't think my daughter suffered any lasting damage. I do wish I knew about the scenes beforehand so I could have prepared her for them. I also joked with my friend that maybe we would not need to have "The Talk" with our kids about how you make a baby, after all.
What do you think? Have you seen the movie? Do you think my concerns are valid?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Here are the rules:
1. Take a picture of yourself.. riiiiiight.. NOW!
2. DO NOT change your clothes. DO NOT fix your hair.. Just take a picture.
3. Post that picture with NO editing.
4. Post these instructions with your picture.
5. Tag 10 people to do this and leave their pics as a comment!
What do you have to grouse about this week?
Well, as long as you asked...
Our sink is leaking.
My grades aren't in (I am a freak about seeing the grades.)
Mini-migraines and other "girly" issues.
Banks. Grrrr. I hate banks.
I forgot one. How did I do that. It was something good and petty, I promise you.
Trusts. Estates. Lawyers. Partnerships. Arghh!!!
Personal boundaries... hate setting them. Hate that it is necessary to set them.
People ignoring personal boundaries. Grrrr AND Arghh!!!
I just want to stamp my feet and clench my fists and pout. (And maybe stick my tongue out to boot.) Okay, let's look at the big picture here.
How can you de-grouse this past week?
Marley was elected class president. She was so excited and proud. It was a tie and she will share her office with Jake. They will alternate days performing the duties of the office: take roll and lunch count, write the day's agenda on the whiteboard, lead the pledge of allegiance, and dismiss people to lunch or or "line up" events.
All I have left for Christmas shopping is stocking stuffers... just little stuff to go in between the "big" stocking stuffers.
I went to an ornament exchange last week. I saw the former principal of Colin's school, who is an old friend and who was the guest of honor at the party. I also saw Colin's 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade teachers. It was so fun to see them all and to see the women who had such an impact on his life, especially his 3rd grade teacher. I've talked about her before but she is a cross between Mr. Rogers and Mother Theresa. No joke. You cannot begin to believe that such a wonderful person exists. She has adopted two abandoned children, one who had multiple physical issues and learning disabilities. She always has a kind word. It just makes me feel better about the world whenever I've been talking with her. (You know she's wonderful when a sixteen year old boy will tell you that.) Anyway... it was fun to get out to a little party. Coincidentally, carolers came by and we were able to share our party goodies with them.
One of my teachers let me revise a project so that I could get a better grade. I had a good grade (A-), but I wanted a better grade so that I could keep my GPA at 4.0. She was very nice to allow her anal-retentive, grade-obssessed grad student do this. Thanks to Prof. Z.
I finished a good book this week, The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchet.
All that big picture stuff... healthy kids, my husband's job seems secure, a house to live in, cars to drive, etc.
I got two walks in this week (not including this morning's walk in the rain.) I need those walks. They may not be as far or as fast as they could be, but they still happened.
On those walks, I was not alone and I got to visit and chat with a friend each time.
We ordered a Honey Baked Ham for Christmas. Yummy!
I think that's all the de-grousing I have in me today. Not too bad, though, is it? There are good things in my life. Always, there are good things. I need to remember that. Right now, the last week or so, some of what I mentioned in the grousing section has been becoming more difficult. My way of dealing with serious difficulties is a combination of avoidance and detachment. Things are getting difficult to avoid, and with that, my ability to detach is tested. (I am not recommending detachment as a coping mechanism.)
So, I am having to deal with difficult things and make difficult choices. The result of behaving in a mature manner in the crisis stuff makes me want to act like a child in other areas of my life. My poor family! So, if you are the praying type, I would appreciate the prayers. I think things are going to get more uncomfortable before all is said and done.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Last week we witnessed the fruits of our efforts to persuade and her hard work. There were six performances of the play. Marley did very well and a couple of moms actually came up to her and told her that she and her fictional son were their favorite part of the play. Of course they whispered this to her because they didn't want her own kids to hear their disloyalty.
It was an exhausting week to be perfectly honest. Getting Marley in and out of her costume and helping with mics... then
I'm posting a couple of pictures. I didn't get too many but when I get more from other parents I'll ask permission to share. The kindergarteners and first graders are a must see. The kinders were candy and the first graders were the Oompa-Loompas. You will just die from all the cuteness.
In very, very sad news, we lost a member of our church this past week. His death was sudden and unexpected and it has left many of his friends in shock and sadness. Although I have known J. for years, I wasn't really more than an acquaintance. He was friends with many of my friends, though. I knew his parents years ago at our old church. As a parent, I cannot help but think about how I would feel if it were my child who died.
J. was supposed to play drums at church this past Sunday and so there was an empty drum kit that served as an extra reminder of our loss. The theme for this Sunday was Love for the second week of Advent. (We are a week off the regular schedule, I think.) I had been asked to do the Scripture reading and a meditation. I was somewhat at a loss for words but was able to find a passage from a book that had some words appropriate to both Advent and the loss.
I am thinking of J.s friends and family every day. I hope that the they are able to find comfort in each other and God at this time. I know loss... but not one as close as this one is to them. My heart aches for them, truly. I am also extremely grateful to have my family with me, safe and sound.
I'll end this with a particular Scripture that came up multiple times on Sunday. Without any discussion or coordination, it was in one of the songs we sang, in my meditation and in the communion meditation. I've been in a King James kind of mood so I'll use that version, from Romans 8:38-39...
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Gee thanks! Now I keep thinking about that and feeling like I should do something about it. Of course, what better way to hold myself accountable than by announcing it on this blog. (Shhh... I know I have announced good intentions in the past. Shhh!) Taking NaBloPoMo as my inspiration, I am creating my one woman challenge: December Exercise Daily Month or DeEDMo. I had to add that extra 'e' or else it would day DEDMo and I didn't like the sound of that!
Monday, December 01, 2008
In the last week, when did you feel most grateful?
Well, I didn't have to cook on Thanksgiving. We did have to work on the house, but we worked a little throughout the week and some that morning (mostly Paul) and it all worked out. The day was relaxing and yummy.
I also felt grateful for lots of birthday wishes. Facebook is awesome if you like people wishing you a happy birthday. I had a lot of wall messages, a couple of phone calls, a few birthday presents. My friend Julie made me a birthday dinner when we all were at their house on Friday... salmon, steak, mashed potatoes and more. YUMMY!
I was very, very thankful for Colin and Paul. For reasons to be disclosed in the next section, I was not that productive. Paul kept busy on the kitchen and other parts of the house. Colin did quite a bit of picking up, some vacuuming, and other odds and ends. All without complaint. That is deserving of the Nobel Atypical Teenage Behavior Prize.
In the last week, when did you feel the least grateful?
Let's see. Marley was sick on Tuesday and Wednesday, so Tuesday night I was up with her a lot. Her moans from a high fever woke me up every couple of hours. She will not take ibuprofen or acetaminophen right now. It is sooooo frustrating. I also had a paper due on Wednesday, which was my fault because it was due the Wednesday before. I had been very busy and under the weather due to a migraine, so I asked for an extension. Picture me tired and settling into my paper on Wednesday, early afternoon, when a migraine strikes. Again. Within two weeks. I actually laughed. Welcome to the LUE House, otherwise known as the Theater of the Absurd. I wasn't laughing a few hours later after pushing through to get my paper done. It knocked me out. I wasn't moving too quickly on Thursday but was able to enjoy the day. Friday found the LUE family on their way to see friends. After being there for a couple of hours, BAM!, Migraine 3. I grabbed my meds, drank two cups of coffee, and persevered. I had to lay down a couple of times but managed. Since then I have not felt well. Sensitive to light, headache-y and nauseous.
When I get into a migraine cycle like this, I start to get very depressed. I can handle one once in awhile, but so close together I have this frustration with getting so many and then a fear of getting another one. Right now, I have too much to do to. I can't keep getting these migraines. I need two good weeks. Two weeks. I had plans on getting at least a few things done for school over the break but I got nothing done. I even missed my class tonight because I wasn't up to it.
I am feeling better tonight. The hormone fluctuations should not present a problem for the next few weeks. Fingers crossed and a lot of prayer and I will get through this. (I actually went forward in church for prayer. I never do that!)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I am glad I did it though. I found a few new blogs--that is always fun. It was thirty days of discipline--always a challenge for me. And now I get to put up my "I did it!" badge. That is kind of cool.
I am going to leave you with one of my works of creative writing art from two years ago. I had forgotten all about this one. It was a prompt from Writer's Digest in which you were to write a 20-line poem (rhyming or nonrhyming, your choice) about your favorite possession that cost you fewer than $10. I cheated and wrote 24, but it was fun to write and fun to go back and read. I hope you enjoy it!
As I sit here and ponder just what to write,
my deadline is coming right at midnight.
So in quest of a prompt--no, I do not jest--
I head on over to the Writer’s Digest.
And there it is, my prompt for the day:
for under 10 bucks, my favorite possession to say.
It doesn’t take too much of a look
to know that my fave is the paperback book.
Might it be a Burke book by Vachss?
A book which spurs me on to fax
my local state senator to say,
"Make those pedophiles go away."
Or that man of the horses, Francis, Dick?
There are so many that the titles can’t stick
in my brain along with the plots.
But I love those horsey books lots and lots.
A paperback book, the size is just right
to take with me everywhere, day or night.
On a restless day I have only to begin
to read over again one of my dear friends.
Paperback books there are so many!
How do I, among them, a favorite choose?
For one of them to win means
all the others must lose.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
A pop star nutcracker. Of course Marley assumed it was a Hannah Montana nutcracker, which is the one she wanted.
Christmas celebration begins after Thanksgiving and pop star nutcrackers are forbidden. Is that too much to ask? The LUE family nutcracker is just going to have to wait until a more suitable one can be found.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I'm writing this post in the car on the way home from spending the day with friends. We headed out around lunchtime and hung out, had a nice dinner, hung out some more, watched the kids play Jenga and then got in the car. These are friends who used to live two blocks away and when they moved (five years ago?), it was quite an adjustment. It was a perfect day-after-Thanksgiving day to have. One fly in the ointment was the onset of another migraine. I think this one was triggered by my looking at too bright of a light. I know that I am extremely light sensitive at times and I am pretty sure when the disharmonic convergence of too much stress and/or hormones happens, a bright light will set off a new headache. I took my medicine and just worked through it, at times stopping to lie down and close my eyes.
When I get into one of these migraine cycles, I really start to lose my positive attitude. I forget how minor my migraines are in comparison to some. I forget that I have a lot of excellent support to take over for me. I forget that there are worse maladies in the world. I just start to get into my "woe is me" mode. I want to shout and shake my fist at the headache gods. Only my fear that the headache gods are as capricious as the Greek and Roman gods holds me back. I'm afraid I'll be sent on a 20 year odyssey or made to push a rock up a hill, only to have to repeat the task the next day, and the next, and the next. No, I'll not risk their wrath.
(No longer writing from the road. The roads were too bumpy and a shaky screen coupled with a migraine makes for car sickness extraordinaire!)
Marley is shipshape today. No fever or sore throat. I think she might end up with a stuffy nose but that is preferable to the fever.
Let's see… oh! On the way to our friend's house, we got a close up view of some of the fire damage from a couple of weeks ago. On the south side of the freeway we saw completely blackened hillsides with charcoal trees and burned out condos. On the north side of the freeway, it was looked more like a culinary torch had been at work, the hillsides looking more like a crème brulee. It was hard to imagine what it would have been like when the flames were burning. Seeing it on television just can't be the same.
As we head into the weekend proper, we will be very busy. Our church is moving tomorrow and Sunday we'll have services in the new location. There is homework to do and laundry to do and, of course, with all this on the agenda, I want nothing more than to go see some good movies. I doubt I'll get the chance. It may have to wait until Christmas break.
Paul was asking me why the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday. I don't know the real reason, but after today, I might say because people die the day after Thanksgiving. A Walmart employee was killed when a crush of shoppers pushed through the entrance of a store. I think that was in Florida. Here in California, two women broke into an apparently bloody fight. The men they were with brought out guns and shot each other. Both men died. This was in a Toys R Us. I guess this isn't any more mayhem than happens on any given day in this or any other country. Somehow, though, I associate it with this mad consumerism that has people up at 4 a.m. to wait in line for a Nintendo Wii or Furby or whatever it is they have to buy. I also know this is a case where I am taking evidence and using it to support my extreme prejudice against the holiday shopping frenzy. However, I can't keep thinking about that Walmart employee. Did he have children? Will the holidays ever be the same for his family? Ugh. It is just so sad.
While all this gift buying madness was going on, there are situations all over the world which are scary and heartbreaking. The most recent hostage taking rampage in India is one example. The names and stories of individuals are beginning to be known. I once read that it takes the individual to bring the horror of any larger situation to life. I think there is some truth in that. Over 100 people shot and killed sounds bad. A rabbi and his wife killed, leaving behind a small child? The tragedy comes into a fine focus. It is harder to gloss over it all once I've heard a specific story like that. I still remember, during the Bosnian-Serbian conflict about 10 years ago one story I heard on the news. A young couple was separated in one of the refugee camps. They tried so hard to stay together but she was sick with pneumonia or something like that. In order to get treatment, she had to leave to go to another camp. Her husband called her his Juliet. At the time the story was aired, he had not been reunited with her. I wept over that and I still wonder sometimes… did he find her—his Juliet?
I don't know if this post is coherent at all. I am pretty nauseous. The nausea tends to be worse when I do what I did tonight, push through and try to function. It doesn't feel so bad when I am doing it. I was able to enjoy my conversation with my friends, eat dinner, have a good time. Now, though, I feel sick.
So why am I blogging? Because it's NaBloPoMo 2008! This is really ridiculous. What is it about this month of blogging that has me so committed I will blog through homework assignments, child illness, migraine, holidays, birthdays? I can't keep a commitment to myself to exercise regularly but I better not miss a day of NaBloPoMo. I'm not sure I understand it all. Anyone have any ideas?
28 down, 2 to go
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This post brought to you hours early by my daughter's sore throat/fever and my son's stomach ache. I was afraid if I waited until later to post, I would miss the deadline due to vomitus eruptus.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I was not too sure what to make of the Twitter world.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Okay, I am the kind of person who likes to rearrange her furniture twice a year. I get bored with the same thing month on end. So, to embrace my fickle, changeable side, I am dispensing with the Sleeping with Bread logo today. Don't you think this little piece of French bread is cute? Besides, the toasty look goes with the past week California has been having.
I haven't heard all the latest, but I know in our area, most--if not all--of the evacuees have been allowed to return home and the freeways are open. In California, you just pretty much can't survive without your freeways.
I wrote a lot this week about personal stuff this week... Marley and the Meltdown, Politics and Loathing in the Blog'verse. I kind of got a lot of my reflection out of the way. But, at the risk of being repetitive, I will go with a gratitude theme this week. It is almost Thanksgiving after all.
In the last week, what have I been most grateful for?
Emily and her thoughtful response to me at her blog
Encouraging emails and comments I received
Shari for sharing her journey with me
Marley for working through some hard, third grader stuff
Paul for not running away from me (!!)
Colin for getting a B average and being pretty much self-sustaining
Marley's teachers--over and over again
My assessments are done!!!! I still have to write a ginormous case study for this class, but the assessments are done!!!
Dr. KBA--the behind-the-scenes, knows what needs to be done professor in my dept.
Life on Mars... love, love, love that show (I'm beginning to gush about it. It's embarassing.)
I figured out how to get rid of the "Friends You May Know" recommendations on Facebook.
In the last week, what have I been least grateful for?
Fires, fires, fires
Ill-considered trusts and wills
I have a lot of Ts to cross and Is to dot before the semester ends
Star Trek doesn't come out until May
And with a new twist...
I think it is clear that I have more on my "to be grateful for" list than my "not grateful for" list.
Thank you, Lord. Seriously.
C'mon over to the Sleeping with Bread site and read some more post by other SWB'ers.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This picture was taken from the top of a hill about two miles from our house. This is a fire in Brea... there are also fires in Yorba Linda and Corona. While the L.A. fires are fairly far away, this one is not. You can see all the brown grasses and brush on the hillside and understand how this situation is dangerous. We have also been sorely lacking in rainfall for the last couple of years.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I am dead on my feet tonight and I just remembered I owe the NaBloPoMo gods a post sacrifice. I guess the title could have been Mary vs. the Volcano! I do feel like I have a brain cloud.
As tired as I am, I am feeling well tonight. The tiredness is from a few days of messed up sleep. I took a nap at 10 am yesterday. 10 am!! I slept for 2 1/2 hours, so it is little wonder that I did not go to sleep until after 1 am. I kept myself busy tonight and refused to take a nap. Maybe I'll get to sleep before midnight. Woo Hoo!!
There is good news to report on the Mrs. Gloop front. Marley worked on her lines this morning before I woke up and then we worked on them together before she left for school. She was excited to get to school because it was her day, along with the other third graders, to work with the director. I was optimistic that she had processed most of her disappointment (at least until it was time for the padded costume.)
I had decided to talk with the teachers to give them a heads up about what had happened last night and to ask them to keep an eye on her for me. I went to pick her up early, hoping to find my chance to talk to one or both of her teachers. The kids were still in the multi-purpose room working with Mrs. S., the director. Mrs. J., one of her teachers, saw me and approached me. She told me, without my even saying anything yet, that Marley was doing a great job so far. She and her little (not so) Augustus had made all the kids and teachers laugh with their performance. Mrs. J. said she thought that Marley and her fictional son were going to be the funniest part of the play.
Granted, it is just the first day of rehearsal, but I am so happy to hear that Marley was really going for it today. During lunch, which the third grade girls eat with the teachers every Friday, the other girls and the teachers all complimented her on her performance. Mrs. J. said that you could see Marley pick herself up and hold her body differently. (Doesn't that make you want to cry happy tears?)
I still explained to Mrs. J. the drama of the night before, and she will watch Marley to make sure she isn't having a hard time. My hope, though, is that the positive reinforcement and success she experiences will get us through. Mrs. J. also said that she will talk to the director about the degree of padding Mrs. Gloop requires. Marley is smaller than her "son" and Mrs. J. is thinking the contrast of a taller and chubbier Augustus and a shorter, thinner Mrs. Gloop might actually be funnier. I want to balance being sympathetic to Marley with helping her see that some things just have to be done a certain way, so if she has to wear the padded suit, so be it. Right after I finished talking to Mrs. J., my friend Rebecca leaned over to tell me that Marley was doing such a great job, she was so funny, etc. Yeah! More positive feedback!
After school as Marley and I were walking to the car, I talked to her a little about how she felt and explained that I had received a glowing report from Mrs. J. She played it very casual but then told me, "Mrs. S. said I was funny, too." You have to know Mrs. S. and how the children view her to know that this was a big deal. I was also able to give Marley some good, albeit tempered, good news. Mrs. J. is pretty certain that Marley will wear a mic for the show!
I could tell that I needed to start pulling back and stop talking about it. She was going to get self-conscious about it, but what a turnaround! We may still have some bumpy moments--she isn't all that happy about one scene where she has to squish her son's cheeks--but I am very optimistic and relieved... and grateful for my friends (bloggy and otherwise) who listen to me, Marley's teachers and classmates who encouraged her, Paul who was as much at a loss as I was but supported my instinctive, flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants parenting.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
That was yesterday. Today, after the play meeting, she dissolved into hysterical tears. She doesn't want to wear a padded costume (the Gloops are a hefty family), she doesn't want to take German language classes (I tried to explain she just had to say her lines with an accent), she was upset that she NEVER gets an important part, and the ultimate insult? She doesn't think she is going to be one of the children chosen to wear a mic. (She might get mic'd but without knowing for sure I wasn't going to get her hopes up.)
Seriously. What's a mom to do? The third graders get the "bigger" parts. The kinders are going to be candy, the first graders and a few second graders are the Oompa Loompas and all the other roles are divided among the rest of the second and third graders. Marley is not the best actress or singer of the bunch. She got an appropriate role. She got a role with more lines than the previous year. But she is devastated.
This is no my strong suit as a parent. On one hand, I understand why she is upset. Getting to wear the mics is something all the children covet. She's not stupid; she knows that Mrs. Gloop is not a key role. She wants to be a star. On the other hand, every person can't be the star. There are other kids who are more talented--or at least louder. She is a part of a community and this is not the first time she is going to be disappointed with her part, whether it be on stage or in life. Do I tough love it or just lend a sympathetic ear. Do I do some combination of both?
I probably spent 10 minutes just watching her cry and feeling a combination of helpless and frustrated. Finally, I pulled out the big guns: bribery. I know, I know, it is the evil parenting technique designed to spoil your children and give them a sense of entitlement that will hinder their every relationship.
BUT (watch me defend myself here)...
This is not a common practice of ours.
This is not an everyday experience of hers.
I didn't know what else to do.
I told her that I understood why she was upset, but that the director gives out the roles and there is nothing we can do about it. I said we could talk to her teachers so they at least knew she was sad; however, her teachers would not change her role. I told her that if she cooperated with her part, practiced saying her part in a German accent, cooperated with the padded costume, and exhibited a good attitude, we would buy her a new Nintendo DS game.
She sobbed and sniffed a little more, but it wasn't too long before she started quizzing me. Could it be a new game and not a used game? Could it be any game she wanted? Could we go get it today after we ran her lines?
Great. Another dilemma. Another parental cave in. After telling her that the point of a reward is to get it at the end so that her cooperation was insured, I decided that I couldn't take looking at her tear-streaked face. I am such a sucker. (Paul will agree with me.) We compromised and she knows that if, at any point, she doesn't cooperate, she will have the game taken away. (And I know I will follow through with that--no problem.)
As I type this, she is sitting on the living room floor trying to figure out how to buy another puppy on Nintendogs: Lab and Friends. In a few minutes, we'll run through her lines again. She needs to practice saying "I vant" instead of "I want." Wish us luck!