Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wow! What weather!!

I think of the area I live in as being fairly arid...because it usually is. But today we got caught in a very strong storm while driving between cities. It was so strong that people were pulling to the side of the road, putting on their hazards, and actually SLOWING DOWN. The hail was collecting on our windshield, visibility was terrible, and lightening was striking very near us. It's humbling to realize that nature can quickly make us immobile in our modern cars and turn us into sitting ducks for bolts of killer electricity from the sky. So glad to be home, sweet home.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Incredible Hulk

Fun movie. I liked it more than Hulk (what was with that killer green poodle, anyway?). There were several cute nods to the original comic book Hulk, and the character playing Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk was more likeable than Eric Bana (too much brooding silence in Hulk for my taste). Check it out if you like comic book movies; it's a good one.

The Simpsons Movie

Yes, I actually watched The Simpsons Movie last night. After spending my early years turning it off when my younger brother tried to watch the show, I actually watched a movie-length episode of "The Simpsons". It's amazing how much society's standards have changed in the last fifteen years; irreverent humor that used to shock and appall me hardly fazed me last night. And I don't watch "South Park" or even TV! The movie made me laugh a lot, so I met my primary objective in watching it. Otherwise, it was drivel with nothing deep to say (most Americans come to realize we shouldn't litter way back in grade school).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sima the Witch

This movie is from Israel. According to the back cover of the DVD, Sima the Witch is supposed to be a cutting spoof about Israeli society. Apart from the obvious focus on prejudice towards different nationalities, I'm not sure what was being spoofed and what was just being made up completely. I don't feel like I learned a lot about Israel from this movie. There were some entertaining parts, but there was also far too much foul and suggestive language and reprehensible behavior. Other than being very loving to her grandson, the main character doesn't have much to recommend her as a heroine. Don't run out to watch it, but if you happen to see it on your library checkout shelf, you might find this movie to be an interesting use of 103 minutes.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Courage

I'm preparing a lesson for church next week on the subject of courage. The focus of my talk will be a recent message from President Thomas S. Monson, entitled "May You Have Courage". He specifically addressed young women (ages 12-17), telling the story of Esther and exhorting the young women to have courage in three particular aspects of their lives:
  1. the courage to refrain from judging others,
  2. the courage to be chaste and virtuous, and
  3. the courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness.
At a time when criticism is too often confused with critical thinking, the courage to refrain from condemning others is very necessary. President Monson says,
Unfortunately, there are those who feel it necessary to criticize and to belittle others. You have, no doubt, been with such people, as you will be in the future. My dear young friends, we are not left to wonder what our behavior should be in such situations. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior declared, “Judge not.” At a later time He admonished, “Cease to find fault one with another.” It will take real courage when you are surrounded by your peers and feeling the pressure to participate in such criticisms and judgments to refrain from joining in.
So much pain, alienation, and wasted potential in so many people's lives result from unkind speech. As a general rule, Thumper's mother was right: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NVP and smarter kids

A lot of blogs and Facebook posts yesterday looked at a reported study which shows that when mothers suffered pregnancy vomiting, their children came out a few IQ points higher than children whose mothers didn't have pregnancy vomiting. So glad to know there's an itty bitty silver lining now for women going through that wretched NVP now!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Holiday

We just watched The Holiday with Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Cameron Diaz. The warning on the cover about "strong language" isn't just empty words. And neither is the warning about sexual situations, so be cautious. I loved Kate Winslet's character (she is super nice to a sweet old man in the house next door to where she vacations), but Cameron Diaz's character was so selfish. It's hard to see what Jude Law's character can have really seen in her (they spend two drunken nights together and then one sober day and evening, and suddenly he's utterly in love with her). If you're curious about the movie, see it for Kate Winslet's character. She really is a nice, complex person, and (grrr, even though I hated Titanic) Kate Winslet does a great job playing her.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sense and Sensibility

The world can never have too many adaptation of Jane Austen novels, in my opinion. So, of course, when I came across a 2008 BBC version of Sense and Sensibility at the library last week, I had to check it out. I enjoyed watching it. Good to decent acting by everyone, beautiful scenery and good period clothing, and Austen's characters brought to life quite well. However, it did seem to move more slowly than needed; the movie is 174 minutes long.

My husband thought the only worthwhile thing in the movie was that one of the characters was played by the actor who is Mr. Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. (Men just don't get obsessed with Jane Austen, do they?)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rain

Rain is dripping in small amounts. Should I bring in the wash from the line or let it get sprinkled so that it will have the springtime moisture fresh scent once it is finally dry? Decision, decisions. Luckily, I have that basic principle of physics--inertia--to help me make my decision. I'm staying inside and reading for a while.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Extended Warranties

Usually I choose not to get extended warranties. However, in the case of our car tires, I'm glad we did. I accidentally destroyed a tire this weekend when making a left turn; the lanes of the street I was turning on to were narrow, and the left back tire of the car hit the median curb. But the tire's destruction was covered under the extended warranty since it was "road damage", and we left the tire shop only $15.00 poorer instead of the $100.00 it would have cost us otherwise.

And can I just say how cool my dh is for putting on the spare tire last weekend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shouldn't they have learned this back in law school?

A law firm in Philadelphia is making all its incoming associates receive further job training before they'll be assigned to client matters:
Rather than immediately assign the incoming lawyers to client matters, the firm will enroll its hires in a new training program that will provide courses on taking depositions, writing briefs, and meeting client needs. The instructors will include Drinker attorneys, professional development staff, and firm clients. The 37 first-years also will shadow partners' client meetings and court appearances. The associates may handle some client work, but at significantly reduced rates.
They need training in writing briefs? After three years of law school? Do you think some of them will get their spelling errors marked with a red pen by the professional development staff?

Mommy Math

I still use my math degree. Just check out this equation:

Hot morning + toddler overheated at park + too much milk = couch cleanup later

So, to change the outcome, less milk next time? We can't just stay inside all spring and summer!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Change in the Weather

Yesterday, we went to bed with the windows cracked open to cool the house down.

Today, my children are wearing hats and scarves and the heater is cranked up to warm the house. Spring is very volatile in the mountains of Colorado.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Psychosis is good for a child?

One of the arguments against homeschooling is that children need to be able to learn to deal with opposition while young. I agree. That's why I often tell my little ones "no". ;)

Seriously, there are those who forward this argument who even seem to think that it is a good thing for a child to have to face bullying because that's just part of "the real world". I'm not quite sure what real world they mean--adults generally just escape from bullies (unless they're stuck somewhere like prison) or take them on (which could end up in prison for them, so it's not a great solution in most cases). Most people will simply do what they can to get away from someone who is abusing them.

In my experience, when someone has been subjected to repeated abuse from which they cannot escape, they usually end up with serious emotional and mental problems. According to a recent study, children who are repeatedly bullied are more likely to develop psychotic symptoms in early adolescence (Medical News Today website). So, to those who think parents are harming their children by taking them out of school for bullying issues, which is the greater harm--a couple of years at home with mom or dad or teenage psychosis?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mamma Mia!

I finally saw Mamma Mia! last night. I was really looking forward to seeing it because I love so many of Abba's songs. My short review of the movie is as follows: visually beautiful, musically mediocre, and plotwise very weak. If you watch it, try to see it on the best screen possible so that you can enjoy the visuals. And afterwards, do resist putting on flamboyant pantsuits! ;)

Lilacs

I went walking this morning. Whenever I felt a little tired, I could lean over and smell a lilac bush to rejuvenate myself. There are that many lilacs where I live. The lilacs are just beginning to bloom, and they smell heavenly! I really hope that our lilac bush blooms this year.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kindergarten Homework

Not long ago, I saw an acquaintance grading a stack of homework. She's a kindergarten teacher in our local school district. Kindergarten is not only full-time (no part-time option), but they give the children a little bit of homework to do every night. Doesn't this just seem weird to you? These are children who can't even do their own hair, but they're "doing school" nearly as much as your average middle schooler used to. I was very sympathetic to the experience of the author of this NY Times (hat tip to Joanne Jacobs) article on kindergarten and play:
About a year ago, I made the circuit of kindergartens in my town. At each stop, after the pitch by the principal and the obligatory exhibit of art projects only a mother (the student’s own) could love, I asked the same question: “What is your policy on homework?”

And always, whether from the apple-cheeked teacher in the public school or the earnest administrator of the “child centered” private one, I was met with an eager nod. Oh, yes, each would explain: kindergartners are assigned homework every day.

Bzzzzzzt. Wrong answer.

"Wrong answer" for me, too. If the local schools won't respect my child's tender years, she'll stay under my primary tutelage instead. Can you imagine how burned out you would be at the prospect of 13 years of compulsory schooling with homework every night? Especially if you were five years old?

Monday, May 4, 2009

I miss sugar!

Since I've been feeling better recently, I took a risk last night and ate a chocolate-frosted brownie and one little chocolate donut hole at a church event last night. I paid for that sweet indiscretion today. I'm so ready to feel like a normal human again. One that can drink hot cocoa with her little children, one that doesn't find pepperoni pizza too spicy, etc. Just six more months....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Schultze Gets the Blues

We watched the movie Schultze Gets the Blues last night. It had some fun moments, but it was far too long and seemed really unrealistic. I worry that Germans who have watched it might think they know something about the USA afterwards.

Cold house

It's been cold and rainy. I spent a couple of hours hiding under blankets today wondering why the house was so chilly. We have a nice heater that generally keeps most of the house at a pleasant temperature, but for some reason, the heater wasn't kicking on. Then I remembered that our smaller daughter was recently turning something behind the heater. I checked behind the heater and realized she had turned the dial from "on" to "pilot". Once I fixed that, the heater came on promptly and now the inside temperature is rather cozy again. I love living in a modern society with natural gas available at affordable prices.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Temporary Carnivore

In general, I hate meat. It just kind of grosses me out (especially after seeing it how it was displayed in grocery stores in the Philippines and Ecuador). But I'm getting really tired of other sources of protein. I've been drinking soy milk and kefir, eating peanut butter and cheese and nuts, and forcing whole grains down my throat when I'd rather just go to bed starving. All because I know this little fetus in me needs me to get enough protein.

Today, I ate 1-1/2 cheeseburgers. They were yummy. My body craved them! I haven't felt like such a carnivore for a long time. I washed them down with soy milk mixed with chocolate milk, though.

Religious Illiteracy

Today I sat near a group of college students and overheard an interesting conversation. They were commenting (with a bit of incredulity) how one of their friends wasn't getting "it" with his girlfriend because of religious reasons. One of them said that it was unexpected for him to show restraint in that area given how much alcohol he drank.

They then launched an ignorant discussion of Jesus Christ: "Well, didn't Jesus turn water into wine?" "Yes, he must have been drunk 24/7!" "And what about that Mary Magdalene?"

Um, what about her? The Da Vinci Code was fiction, gentlemen. And no one familiar with the New Testament would consider Jesus a carnal drunkard. Thank you for putting on display your lack of knowledge about Christianity. The next time someone inveighs against Christianity, I'll just remember how unlikely it is they actually know what they are talking about.

Twilight

We checked Twilight out from the library and watched it last night.

The book was OK, and the Twilight movie captured the book fairly well. In fact, pathetic as Bella is overall as a character, the movie seemed to make her look a tad less so than the book did. Still, I don't like heroines who muse about how nice death is and can't wait to turn into bloodsucking immortals who have to hide in the shadow and move residences every few years. Edward was pretty good, but I hate the hairstyle! My husband was unimpressed with Edward; he thought Bella should have gone to prom with Mike Newton.