Sunday, December 28, 2008

Marley and Me and Marley and Me

(May contain information that to some people may be considered spoilers.)

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 from the LUE Family

Here we are at our Christmas Eve service. One of the nice things about our new facility is that the seasonal decorating is done for us! We took advantage of this very nice tree to get our biannual family portrait. I take what I can get folks, so if I have to live with a goofy teenager and bribe my daughter with gum--so be it.

 


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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Monday, December 22, 2008

The First Annual LUE Christmas Tree Tour

Have a Very Meme-y Christmas

I was tagged by Lamont of Uphill Idealist to do this meme. I actually did it on Facebook first. I'll let the tags on Facebook count, but if you want to do this one, go ahead. It is an easy, quick, and fun one to do.

Here are the rules:

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!

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Sleeping with Bread: Grousing and de-Grousing

Are you ready folks? The first part of this ain't gonna be pretty. Selfish and childish, maybe. Pretty, no.

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.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sleeping with Bread: the Highs and Lows of Parenting

The Highs...

A few weeks ago, I shared the drama\trama that was The Class Play. Marley was cast in a role that she did not like and there was much weeping (hers) and gnashing of teeth (mine). A lot of listening, some "discussion," and one bribe later and Marley was willing to give it a go.

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 having getting to watch the show for all six performances. (They did do a great job, but still--six times is at least four too many.)  I am very proud of her though.  She did her German accent and hysterical mommy of a chocolate fudge boy bit very well.  She knew her lines and blocking.  She endured having medical tape applied and removed multiple times. (It hurts!) It really was hard work.

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.

Mrs. Gloop and her little snausage-vausage,
Augustus in front of the vat of chocolate.


Marley gets her mic checked.  She was being a little silly because
the sound guy wanted her to do jumping jacks.  This was before the second morning's performance and the kids were a little tired.


You can see why I don't have more pictures of my kids. 
This is their attitude toward having their pictures taken.
We did not get through the week without bribes
of chewing gum and soda in exchange for smiles.


the Lows...

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

Quirks R Us

Tonight I made myself a cup of tea.  The the tea kettle started whistling.  As it did, I realized that I have developed this quirk in my tea making.

Some years ago, I read that when you make tea, it is supposed to be boiling water that you pour over your tea.  The same article said that Americans don't know how to make/serve tea.  The water is never hot enough.

Ever since then, I will not turn off my whistling kettle until my cup is warmed (a whole other quirk) and the tea bag in place.  If I haven't prepared the cup while the water is heating up, I just leave it whistling until I am good and ready.

Now, I know perfectly well that 30 to 60 seconds is not likely to make a difference in the tea. But if I turn it off before the cup is ready, the water won't actually be boiling.  

That's just silly.

What about you?  Care to share a quirk or two?


The State of the Blogger Address

DeEDMo is, indeed, DeaDMo.  I haven't exercised since those sit-ups, although I can claim busyness of an extreme nature.  I won't have succeeded in exercising daily in December, but I am getting back on track--today.  Between a 10 a.m. meeting and a 7 p.m. gymnastics lesson for Marley, I don't have much on the books.  Exercise will happen today. 

For all intents and purposes, my semester is over!!!!!!  There are one or two little details to finish up--a reflective journal entry to write for the program and a meeting with one instructor to go over the key assignment--but the real work is done.  Yippee!!!!

Finally, this is what greeted me on my home page this morning:



Looks like this blogger has some reading to do over the next couple of weeks.

Friday, December 05, 2008

DeEDMo Update

Well, the third day in and I failed.  Boo Hoo!!!!  I had two productive days (in general) in a row and then my body distracted my brain.  At two in the morning (yes, a time I should have been in bed), I remembered that I hadn't exercised.  I considered doing a set of sit ups but decided against it.  It was two in the morning!  I was afraid any exercise would cause me to stay awake even longer AND it was already the next day anyway.

Bad Mary-LUE!

However, whether it redeems my failure or not, I did go for about a three mile walk the next day, Thursday.  Something I felt later on that day, I can tell you.  Still, it felt better to go on the walk and feel a little bit wiped out than it did to NOT exercise.  I have plans to go for another walk with the same person next week.  We would schedule more but with Marley's class play next week, it will be tough to coordinate our schedules.

I also have to confess that today is not looking so good.  I have a splitting headache (not a migraine) which I might be able to contribute to a complete Mary-LUE malfunction today.  I had two separate conference calls today to deal with issues surrounding my father's trust and estate. It is mind-boggling to say the least.  Have I mentioned the importance of having ALL your affairs in order when you die?  Trust me.  It is very important if you own anything of value. Probate, estate taxes, CPAs, trustees, lawyers, appraisals--it goes on and on.  

After the first call, I came home and just kept myself from having a cry-fest.  After the second phone call, I had to struggle to keep from banging my head against the wall.  In the long run, the calls were more productive than not (fingers crossed), but it is exhausting for a non-detail oriented, conflict-avoidant person.

Anyway... that sob story is just to say that I pretty much retreated to my bedroom after that and pulled the covers over my head.  Now, it is 8:33 p.m. and I am not feeling very motivated.  I am anti-motivated--um, unmotivated?--to get my bottom up off the couch.  I'm hoping that writing this and confessing my previous lapse will help.  We did put up the leaning tower of Christmas tree, put out the nutcrackers, and tucked Marley in.  Maybe if I relax for a half hour I can manage those sit ups or the stretching tape.  

I'll let you know tomorrow if I did.

Happy Weekend!

Update - 10:05 p.m.  I actually did 80 sit ups.  I'm sure I'll be feeling it tomorrow, but the power of blog accountability worked!  

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I have sober briquette to thank for this...

In my 28th NaBloPoMo post, I made a comment about not being able to do anything for 30 days that I really needed to do, but I could get NaBloPoMo accomplished.

Sober briquette commented on that commented by saying that, "...now you know that if you made the commitment to exercise every day, you could do it."

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!

My commitment is very low key.  I will do some form of exercise every day in December.  It might be my AM/PM stretch DVD or a quick walk around the block.  I may get inspired and go for a really long walk.  Somehow though, something will get done.  Hopefully I will see enough benefit to see me to January when I will hopefully begin a proper exercise program.  I have a hard time seeing myself being successful at school next semester if I am not feeling more energetic.

So, DeEDMo is a challenge for myself.  I am not making badges, buttons, or dohickies of any sort. If someone wanted to join me that would be great.  I love company.  Either way, I will post my daily bit.  The side bar is kind of full right now, so I will probably just do a quick post on days I am not already posting.  

I've already done today's exercise (and I did exercise yesterday).  Here is my official tally:

December 1, AM Stretch workout (25 minutes)
December 2, AM Stretch workout (25 minutes)

Wish me luck!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sleeping with Bread: with Thanks and No Thanks

Thanksgiving week lends itself to examen questions of gratitude. One less decision to make. I like it.

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.

But still...

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!)