Wednesday, November 23, 2011

(not so) Wordless Wednesday- Thankful edition

I'm going to be honest, I'm having to revert to some real basics to find some things to be thankful for this year. I've been unable to find a job (still), despite the fact that we're living with our in-laws and driving a borrowed vehicle, we still can't pay all of our bills right now, and now I'm having some medical problems which have resulted in a whole slew of tests being scheduled for the next 2 weeks.
Oh, and did I mention that the vehicle we're borrowing was backed into at some point in the last 2 days by an anonymous a**hole who didn't bother to leave information? Yeah. I honestly feel like my life is one giant joke right now, and I'm the punchline. And don't give me the "God has a plan" crap because what lesson could this possibly teach? "Hey, I know you have $130.03 to your name and tons of bills and 2 little ones to watch all day long, but I think it'd be fun if someone bashed in the back of the car you're borrowing because you know what? You don't have enough stress in your life, so let's throw a $500 deductible into the mix, shall we?"
okay, rant over. and with that being said, here are the things I am thankful for:

*we have food to eat, a warm place to sleep at night, and internet to entertain us.
*our children are healthy.
*no one was in the vehicle when it got hit and therefore, no one is injured.
*the doctor's visits and tests are covered at 100% because of an amazing program we're on (the single benefit of having no money)
*I have a brand new niece whom I will hopefully get to see soon!
*my parents are stopping by to see us on their way home from Thanksgiving celebrations
*with my birthday giftcard I ordered some presents for myself, and they arrived today! (blue and purple guitar picks, lavender essential oil and tea tree oil, in case you were wondering)
*Bogie & I are on a special diet which allows us 1 cheat day a week, and tomorrow's that day! Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, baby.
*my family and friends are amazing, encouraging people who are daily lifting us up in prayer

and now, for the actual wordless part of Wordless Wednesday, the three people I am thankful for the most:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You might be a mother if

-there's dried yogurt smeared on your arm (and you haven't eaten any yogurt lately).
-you put on your sweatshirt and a toddler fork falls out of the sleeve.
-you can't find any of your skirts because you haven't worn them in a really long time due to clinging toddler hands that would make the skirt end up around your ankles.
-you don't need to add detergent to your laundry load because there's so much bubble solution on your clothes
-you've ever checked on a sleeping child and accidentally woken them up because one of your joints cracked really loudly when you moved
-you've ever bought candy to reward your toilet training preschooler and ended up eating most of it yourself (helloooooo Reese's Pieces)
-you have ever had to reroll the toilet paper (and you don't live with cats)
-you've ever put a ban on a certain cartoon because your kid will watch it over and over and you're sick of it
-you have distributed more than 3 timeouts in a single day
-attending a birthday dinner where there is both a tablecloth AND lit candles on the table makes you excited
-there is a cartoon character sticker stuck to your floor. In more than one room.
-your shoes are not where you left them and you eventually discover them in another room, carried off by tiny hands or toddler feet (and possibly with toys inside)
-the occasions that warrant the wearing of makeup are so few and far between that you have to buy new items each time because your old ones have expired
-you have ever woken up in the middle of the night with an obnoxious song from a cheesy kid's movie stuck in your head
-you reprimand your child for doing something they're not supposed to, only to look and see that you reprimanded the wrong kid
-diapers, wipes and other various baby items make up for at least half of your grocery bill
-you're excited that Christmas is coming because it means a whole new genre of cartoons to watch (Grinch! Rudolph! Prep & Landing!)
-your son's hair is getting pretty long but you don't mind because it spikes better that way
-you leave your drink unattended and come back to discover a toy floating in it

Sunday, November 20, 2011

October Movies

Wow, so this is super late. Not that it really matters to the 3 of you that read this, but still.
I watched 5 movies this month, 3 of which were on my list. Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2, Pretty in Pink, Another Thin Man, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Pretty in Pink (1986, Howard Deutch) was one of those 80's movies that I just missed seeing. I really enjoyed watching it, although I'm pretty sure if I had watched it back when I was still in high school it would have had much more of an emotional impact. I honestly wasn't sure which guy she was going to pick at the end, I was rooting for Ducky because he's just so adorable and protective of her, but I was also rooting for Blane because hey, why should money keep them apart? It was well done, albiet typically Eighties, and I loved that she made her own prom dress by upcycling 2 other dresses. rad.

Another Thin Man (1939, W.S. Van Dyke) is one of the films in the Thin Man series, which is one of my favorite series of all time. How can you not love William Powell and Myrna Loy? I fell in love with the first film, The Thin Man, back in my teens but I never got around to watching the whole series. Now I've seen 4 of the 6, only "Shadow of the Thin Man" and "Thin Man goes home" to go! If you haven't seen any of these films and you enjoy black and white, please watch them! They're full of snappy dialogue and smart jokes, you actually have to watch these films and pay attention to get the humor. They don't make them like this anymore. This film involves murder and intrigue, but don't they all?

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923, Wallace Worsley) has always been on my list because hey, Lon Chaney.  Plus silent films are always fun, not to mention that it's from 1923! I think my exact words were "we don't use the word 'jackanapes' enough nowadays". Having read the book I can say that this did not stick to the book's original ending, but apparently none of the films have (there are 10 so far), even the one that stuck with the original ending changed other parts of the story. I'm not sure why everyone keeps changing the story line and the ending, it's beautiful in its tragedy. No, it's not pleasant but that's what makes the impact! If you can tolerate a silent film, go ahead and watch it! It was quite amusing even from a historical standpoint. Fair warning, do not be expecting the Disney version.

Paranormal Activity 1 (2007, Oren Peli) and 2 (2010, Tod Williams) weren't planned viewing, but it was close to Halloween and Bogie said "hey, scary movies. you in?" The first film was very low-budget and became a huge smash hit. It was done very simply with a single camera, home-video style, and follows the lives of Katie & Micah in their house as they deal with what is apparently a demon haunting Katie. For the budget, the film was very well done. What it lacks in pizazz and special effects it makes up for in creepiness and potential reality. The second film is (plot-wise) a prequel to the first, and continues in the same style, this time following Katie's sister and her family. We get some more background (although it still doesn't really make sense to me, logically) about the whole haunting, and some interesting plot twists which eventually pave the way for a PA 3. Scary movie wise, if you're into that sort of thing, go ahead and watch it. From a Christian standpoint, it's pointless and only serves to needlessly cultivate fear. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" 1 John 4:4

5 movies in October, I've got 2 so far for November but neither are from my list so I've got to get going on that. Anyone want to come watch some movies with me?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Apple Orchard Adventure

While applying for a job application, I pondered what to submit for the writing sample portion of the application. When Bogie overheard me telling my MIL a story from my childhood, he suggested I use that as my writing sample. I wrote up a simple 2 page short story, had him proofread it, and was quite pleased with the results (the only 2 sentences he didn't like were the ones I didn't like either).
Unfortunately, when I went onto their website to apply for the position I realized the vague directions from the newspaper ad weren't clear enough. They wanted a writing sample on how past work experiences made me a qualified candidate for the job, not a random story I could think up to show off my mad English Major skills. Their loss is your gain. My chances to write nowadays are few and far between, and even rarer the likelihood that given the time, I'll actually get something down on paper. I can't let it go to waste, so enjoy! (complete with random apple pictures I found on the interwebs.)

An apple orchard is an enchanting place to a 9 year old. Growing up in a family that struggled financially, my parents did everything possible to feed us healthy food while still hanging on to their hard earned money. Every year we grew a generously sized garden of organic fruits and vegetables. Fresh peas straight off the vine are still my favorite vegetable (only because I have been told that pumpkin pie does not count as a vegetable). My mother also canned and made her own juices, jams, and sauces. The cheapest way to acquire fresh produce (besides growing it yourself) is to buy in bulk, so when Mom wanted to make applesauce we scheduled a trip to a nearby apple orchard.
            I remember the drive up there taking a very long time, but I was anxious and excited. It was an adventure! A place I had never been, an experience I had never had; I couldn’t wait. The orchard was nestled back into the mountains, snug between two large hills. The trees were round and short, every branch sagging low like a Christmas tree bough hung with too many ornaments. Rows upon rows of apple trees stretched out across the hill, each tree the same size as the next, pruned to match. I remember thinking that with some liberal applications with white crepe paper (Yes, crepe paper. I was only 9, after all) it would be a beautiful setting for a wedding. Switch out the crepe paper for some quality decorations and I still think an apple orchard would make a quaint wedding venue.
            We were each given our own bucket and allowed to choose our own tree. I wandered among the trees imagining my dream wedding while my brother and sister started picking. An accidental tread on a mushy apple brought me back, and I squished my way to a taller tree that looked just right. We were there at the peak of the season, and most of the trees were so full of apples that it didn’t take us long to fill our buckets. 
Once Mom was satisfied and had the amount of fruit she wanted, we got to explore and play while Mom and Dad chatted with the orchard owners. I don’t remember how many apples we got that day, nor do I know how much they cost. I do remember that in wandering through the trees waiting for Mom and Dad to finish talking, I found my “X marks the spot” treasure chest of this little adventure we were on. Halfway up a plain looking tree was the biggest apple I had ever seen. It was perfectly fat and smooth, with smoky red skin and a heft like a bowling ball. It took both hands to hold it, and my hands were large for a young girl. I cradled that apple like it was Cinderella’s pumpkin, and took my treasure back to show my parents. Everyone agreed that it was the largest apple they had ever seen and even though we had already paid for our fruit, the orchard owner told me I could have it. I thanked him and admired it some more before deciding that a great find like this shouldn’t be wasted. I couldn’t very well keep it forever and in that seize-the-day way that most 9 year olds possess, I decided to eat it right then and there.

            I polished it vigorously with my sweater sleeves until it was beaming like a ruby, and then bit in. It was crisp and sweet, juicy and white, everything an apple should be. It took me about 3 times as long as a regular apple would have, but I finished that whole thing. The applesauce we made with the remainder of our harvest lasted us a long time, and it was very good applesauce. But I don’t really remember the applesauce we made, or the time it took to make it. 20 years later, however, I still remember my pumpkin apple.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Things I love Friday

1. Job Interviews. I don't currently have any (frowny face) and they're actually not my favorite thing, but when you don't have a job and need one, they're a bright ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy unemployment storm.

2.  Axe "Dark Temptation" body spray. I got this for Carl for Christmas last year, it was a gift set in a shrink wrapped box so I actually didn't even know what it smelled like. Holy smokes, it's my favorite. This stuff smells like freshly showered man & dark chocolate. It's amazing. I actually loved it so much that I got some for myself!

3. Sunshine. It gets light at 5:30am now (go on, ask me how I know that) and it's getting dark at 5:30pm. When the sun shines during the day I want to curl up in it like a kitty and take a little nap (which I have done before, just not lately).

4. Toys. If items for our children to play with did not exist, I would be in a looney bin right now. Be it intricate little mazes to pop a ball through or a simple cardboard box, I am so grateful that my kids have toys to keep them occupied! Although usually the household items are the ones holding their attention, hence the reason why Bogie and I have hardly ever purchased toys for our kids. Nothing beats an empty cardboard box and a set of measuring cups! (I'm not joking. get a couple extra sets at the dollar store and see how long they play with them. lots longer than that $20 noisemaker your son got for his birthday!)

 5. Brooke Courtney Photography. Brooke and her husband T.J. are awesome people and they did a wonderful job at our recent family photoshoot (despite the fact that our children were racing around like fiends most of the time and it was wicked cold and windy to boot). If you need a photographer, check them out!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughts on the Penn State situation

"...It is not enough in a situation of trust in the commonwealth, that a man means well to his country; it is not enough that in his single person he never did an evil act, but always voted according to his conscience, and even harangued against every design which he apprehended to be prejudicial to the interests of his country. This innoxious and ineffectual character, that seems formed upon a plan of apology and disculpation, falls miserably short of the mark of public duty. That duty demands and requires that what is right should not only be made known, but made prevalent; that what is evil should not only be detected, but defeated. When the public man omits to put himself in a situation of doing his duty with effect it is an omission that frustrates the purposes of his trust almost as much as if he had formally betrayed it. It is surely no very rational account of a man's life, that he has always acted right but has taken special care to act in such a manner that his endeavours could not possibly be productive of any consequence..."
Edmund Burke 
excerpt from Thoughts On The Cause Of The Present Discontents, 1770

It is this passage that is believed to have originated the phrase "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".
It's easy to know what "should have been done" in retrospect, but can be much harder to know what to do when in a situation. With that being said, doing the bare minimum will always result in heartache for someone, whether it's yourself that you're selling short or the object of your original actions.
This is not about a single man, but about a collection of men in positions of power who declined to advocate and protect the youths over whom they were put in charge. They prioritized wealth, power, and sports over the health and well-being of fragile children. 
Shame on them.