Monday, December 13, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

After some encouragement from friends, I've decided to add a new feature to my blog. I thought I would share little slices of life that may have occurred recently or even anytime in the last say 20 or so years. While I consider myself an average, normal person, I seem to be a magnet for slightly disastrous events. For some reason, my friends find them amusing. I find them mildly annoying at the very least and for the most part just life as I know it.

One thing I can't seem to get away from is a flooding house. My first house was in TX and it had a tendency to flood when the spring flash floods would hit (but that's a story for a different day). Here in WA it rains.a.lot. And I'm lucky enough to live in a house with a basement. Not every basement floods but mine does. If it's just the typical drizzly rain that soaks everything but never collects, we're fine. But I happen to live in a neighborhood that has worthless drainage systems that somehow find a way to empty into my pipes when they get too full. Just outside my back door, there is a drain that is supposed to funnel all excess water out to the ditches. Instead it acts as a faucet that pours all the water in the neighborhood right to my door and into my basement. After 5 years of living here, you would think I would be on alert whenever it rains but no. We usually discover the flooding when we head downstairs and find ourselves ankle deep in ice cold water.

The last time it flooded (before last weekend anyway) Hubby was away on his monthly trip to TX. I came downstairs to check on the kids and stepped right into water. I hollered at the kids, "Why didn't you TELL me it was flooding!?" They had no idea what I was talking about as they were lost in video game land and oblivious to the real world. So I pulled on my rubber boots (I keep them close to the back door for just such an occasion) and went to work--after I called Hubby to complain about his being away, leaving me to mop up by myself.

Unfortunately, we've been getting ready to move and that means serious purging. Being the smart, efficient woman that I am, I'd been piling all the garage sale stuff by the back door, as well as some of the boxes I packed for moving. So the first order of business was to move all those boxes out of the way before anything else got ruined. Sloshing back and forth through the water, I moved everything away from the door and into my craft room--scraping my finger in the process hard enough that 2 months later I still have a scar.

In order to get all the water out, I have to hook up a pump and run a hose around to my bathroom shower for drainage. Great--except the shower was full with even more garage sale stuff--had to empty that out next. As I'm rushing back and forth with arms full of junk that I just don't have the heart to see ruined (hey, that game might bring in a whole dollar at a garage sale!) water is still pouring in and making it's way under the stair case and into my closet. I kick it into high gear when I see this. Reaching into the shower stall for another armload, I accidentally hit the faucet and TURN THE SHOWER ON. I scrambled to get it off but still managed to now get my top half, as well as an odd collection of paper dividers and throw pillows, wet. Because that's what I need when dealing with a flood is more water.

In spite of myself I got the shower emptied, got the pump and hose in place, and started rerouting the water. Eventually that kept anymore from coming in but I still had the water in the house to deal with.

During Hubby's previous TX trip, I'd finally gotten around to laying out the 10x10 carpet piece we had, even going so far as to make sure it was laid out underneath our freezer and bookshelves that were downstairs. Now this rug was a sopping mess that had to be taken out before it started to mold and stink up my house. Let me just tell you that a rug that has been doused in about 75 gallons of water is VERY HEAVY. But I drew on my inner Wonder Woman and managed to not only pull the darn thing out from under the furniture but to drag it into the bathroom where I shoved it into the shower stall so it could dry out (well, as much as it could dry out with all the water coming in from the pump). The rest of the day was spent literally sweeping water out the door, mopping up the floors, drying out what I could and spraying everything with Lysol in an only mildly successful attempt to kill the mildew smell.

Eventually I got it all done and things went back to normal. Until it rained again.

Movie Review: Prince of Persia

A period action movie that has an interesting plot and a hunky guy with chiseled abs? What's not to like?

Okay, so that's not really a review. Let me start again. Jake Gyllenhaal takes a break from brooding, independent films to try his hand at the action genre and he does a decent job. He's Dastan,the adopted son of the Persian king. Raised on the streets until being noticed by the king, he grows up continuing that street tough persona--fighting dirty, lax in his responsibilities, smirking at everyone he looks at. When he helps his brothers invade a holy city (against his better judgment), he comes into possession of a mystical dagger that holds within it the sands of time and can be used to turn back time. Gemma Arteton (from "Lost in Austen" and "Clash of the Titans") plays Tamina, guardian of the dagger.

After being framed for his father's murder, Dastan must go on the run--with Tamina and the dagger, of course--until he can figure out who set him up and who is after the dagger. Is it his brother who inherited their father's crown? Is it their uncle who is a trusted advisor to them all? Along the way, they run into plenty of action in the way of ancient assassins, desert thugs and even ostrich races. Alfred Molina appears to be having a great time with some comic relief and Ben Kingsley looks suitably questionable with his black eyeliner-rimmed eyes.

There's a lot of action, a lot of killing of bad guys (but surprisingly little blood). If you really try hard, I'm sure you can come up with a lesson here. Something along the lines of trust your heart and trust your family, I suppose. But really, the movie is just junk food for your brain, why spoil the fun? (***)

Movie Review: When In Rome

Another predictable chick flick, but what can I say? I'm addicted. This one stars Kristen Bell as Beth, an art curator who, with a father who's been married multiple times and a boyfriend who recently dumped her, isn't sure she even believes in love. When her sister's wedding takes her to Rome, she meets Nick, played by Josh Duhamel, and they hit it off. Unfortunately, it looks like he's already taken and was just playing her. Beth gets a little drunk and wades in the Fountain of Love. Local lore states that if you drop a coin in the fountain, you will find love. While in the midst of her drunken rant, Beth decides to save a few of the coins from their miserable fate and in doing so she puts a spell on the original owners of the coins so that they fall in love with her.

Back home in NY, Beth starts being stalked by a weird mix of crazies and losers (played by Dax Shepherd, Danny DeVito, Jon Heder and Will Arnett) as well as Nick. Again she really hits it off with Nick until she discovers that all these men are under a spell due to the coins...and one of the coins may belong to Nick. Of course she doesn't want the loonies chasing after her but can she live with herself if Nick is only with her because of a spell? Cue inner soul searching and a mad dash across town to release Nick from the spell, thereby setting him free.

Do we know how everything will end in the first 5 minutes of the movie? Yes. Are we supposed to care that the coins she grabbed all happened to belong to men? No. (Seriously, do that many men really toss coins in a fountain hoping for love? And especially THESE men?) Are we supposed to care that all these men just HAPPEN to live in NY (with the exception of the artist who moved there just for her)? No. But that's the thing about rom coms--you need to keep an eye on the big picture and not fret the details or you lose the fun.

I enjoyed the movie and would watch it again but it won't make it next to my worn out copies of "Ever After" or "You've Got Mail". (***)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

The Mystery Box

Going over my checkbook the other day, I noticed a charge that I didn't recognize. It was from a company called The Green Group--pretty generic, right? I asked Hubby and he didn't know what it was from either. Now here is how vigilant we are about credit card or identity theft--instead of reporting it, we just assumed we had bought something while we were at our show in Spokane even though neither of us remembered purchasing anything. (I can see my mother shaking her head at this.)

Honestly, we both forgot about it until I got back from Portland. I received a notice from the post office saying I had missed a package while I was gone. It was from "The Green Group." Before I could remember that charge on my account, my first thought was I was being sent some kind of collection notice or something. Then I noticed that I had missed a "parcel". Well, that's definitely bigger than an envelope and bill collectors wouldn't spend the money to send something bigger (would they?). I checked the box for redelivery and then Hubby and I brainstormed some more on what it could be. Still couldn't come up with anything.

Two days later a box is brought to us. Hubby calls me in to the kitchen. "Should we experience this together?" Uh, yeah. So he cuts through the tape and is about to open it when a thought occurs to me. I stop him from revealing the contents and ask, "What if it's a present for one of us?" It's not unheard of for us to buy each other Christmas gifts at the craft shows to surprise the other with later. We both looked at each other, then looked at the box, temporarily at a loss as to what to do. If one of us did buy the other a gift, we didn't want to ruin the surprise. But we didn't really want to haul the box to a third party just to have them tell us what was inside. So we agreed that if it was a gift, the recipient would just be happy, even if we did spoil the surprise. So Hubby pulled back the flaps and there it was...craft supplies we had ordered from eBay.

Yeah, I know. Totally anticlimactic. But I've still got Christmas to look forward to!

Movie Review: The Book of Eli

Thanks to my friends at Netflix, Hubby and I watched this one last night. Before I get to the review I think I should note that any DVD that doesn't include extras should get an automatic star deduction. Extras are almost as fun as the movie itself--if they're done right.

The Book of Eli is an apocolyptic drama starring Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman. Denzel plays Eli, a man who has been wandering the country for 30 years carrying a prized book--which are rare to begin with in these post-war days and even rarer is that it's the lone copy of the Bible. His sole purpose is to literally wander. He figures some day he'll know when he can stop but in 30 years it hasn't happened yet. Along the way he picks up Mila, who tags along initially to escape her life and then because it's the only way she'll survive in such a brutal world. Gary Oldman is a baddy who wants to keep the Bible from being discovered as it might undermine his plans for local (if not farther reaching) control.

Like all post-WWIII movies, this one is filled with stark landscapes, abandoned vehicles, and rag tag survivors dressed in layer upon layer of muted clothing, despite the fact that they all look like they are living in desert conditions. (Think Mad Max, The Road, or even Waterworld.)

In an attempt to distract you from the barely there plot that takes its time revealing itself, the director throws out plenty of gory scenes of violence where appendages are lost while Denzel slices his way through crowds of bad guys, without injury to himself of course. And if that isn't enough to keep your attention, it's a beautifully shot movie. Yes, the colors are muted in that now familiar way that suggests poverty and tragedy, but the shots are impressive.

Even as a big Denzel Washington fan, I wasn't bowled over by this one. It was just too slow for me, nothing much to invest in. For all the good reviews I read about it, I was disappointed. (**)
Sunday, December 5, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Happy Birthday to Me!

With my birthday coming up in 4 days, I know you all have been stressing over what to get me. I thought I would make things easier on you and just present you with a short list for you to choose from. That's just the kind of considerate person I am!

1. You can never go wrong with chocolate.
Ok, technically that's not true but it's a good start. Just be sure to avoid dark chocolate, white chocolate or any of those ones with the weird cream fillings. If I get the creams I may eat a few but for the most part I will be left with a box filled with broken-in-half chocolates that no one will eat because they've now been mangled in my attempt to figure out what was in them. You're best to stick with nuts and caramels. That's the good stuff.

2. I could never have too many books.
Forget the worm analogy, I'm more of a book fiend. Especially if it's a tragic memoir, a love story that will leave me sobbing on Hubby's shoulder, anything involving mythological creatures or just trashy romance. And used works just as well as new. I could spend many hours and many more dollars in Half Price Books.

3. Everyone loves a good chick flick.
Maybe not everyone, but they work for me. Especially anything Jane Austen, or something that would play for 6 hours on BBC. If it's a period romance, there's a good chance I'll be hooked.

4. If all else fails, give the gift of peace.

If I had to choose one gift over everything else? It would be time to sit and write. Time to tap away at the keys while purging my brain of all that the voices have been plotting while I've been doing my daily chores. I would ask to be cloistered away somewhere with only my laptop, some peanut M&Ms (my drug of choice) and a hot cup of peppermint tea with no interruptions of all--NO GUILT. I would ask for the freedom to sit and write to my heart's content. No obligations, no cooking (well, no feeding anyone since we all know I never cook), no phone calls and no running errands. THAT would be a gift to remember.

Is this enough to get you started? If not, let me know and I'll send you my categorized and alphabetized Wish List. I just finished color coding it so it's all ready to go! Happy shopping!
Thursday, October 21, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

As my kids are getting older, it seems like they get funnier. Our conversations involve things like whether or not babies come from kissing and do I REALLY let Daddy do that thing that makes babies? And while I have no problem embarrassing myself or being for all intents and purposes a complete idiot, I do (on occasion) feel a little bad about exploiting the antics of my children for a cheap laugh. Okay, I really don't feel bad at all but I do worry that they are going to forward their therapy bills to me when they get older as it will all be my fault.

When I first started blogging, I used alias' for my kids in an effort to provide them with a microscopic amount of self-respect. Then I decided that most people who were reading my blog probably knew them anyway so I might as well come clean. I'm finding that I'm swinging back to the other side of the fence again and feel the need to protect their identity. It's probably not necessary since I have approximately two readers of my blog but it's my blog so I'll do what I want! :)

So let me re-introduce you to my beloved children. Howdy is a sweet, freckled 11 year old who is obsessed with Legos and video games and sometimes girls (not that he'll admit it to me). He is also a perfectionist thanks to his Mommy's brutal genes. Bubba is my 10 year old who has a diagnosis of high-functioning Autism. He's a brainiac who likes to negotiate EVERYTHING and has no volume control on his voice. He's also the snuggliest of the 3. Sassy is my 7 year old and the only girl--poor thing. She is a rough and tumble tomboy who loves dressing up all girly but won't hesitate for a second to tell the boys exactly what she thinks. Hubby is my darling spouse of 15 years. I never dreamed that there could be someone so perfect for me and I am thankful that I have him (most of the time). And then there's me. You know me. Probably more than you ever wanted to know if you follow this blog...or even spend 5 minutes with me. I have no filter between my brain and my mouth (or typing fingers) so beware--things tend to get a little personal around here.

Men Are From...?

Wednesdays have become the traditional day for all my dad's friends to come and hang out in his shop. The hot dog griller is fired up and loaded down with "homewreckers" while men of all ages make the weekly pilgrimage bearing their half racks of beer. There is the occasional woman but for the most part it's just the testosterone crowd. If you can't handle drinking, swearing, crudeness and lots of male humor, you might as well skip it.

I stopped in yesterday to wish my daddy a happy birthday and I found myself just observing the group. People watching is one of my favorite things to do and this group was particularly fascinating to me if only because it just emphasized how different men and women are.

Here is what you will find on a Wednesday. Men of all ages, shapes and economic backgrounds are standing around the shop, brought together by a shared love of cars, beer, and my dad's warm friendship. While there are a few stools, most of the men stand around, beer can in hand, and visit with the guy standing closest to them. They may not know each other's names, may never see each other outside my dad's shop, but they can find plenty to talk about for the 2 or 3 hours that they are there. It's rarely personal, consisting of car stories, work stories and woman stories. After hours of talking and laughing and having a good time, they head home to their wives, girlfriends, or mothers, some not even knowing the names of the men they had such a good time with.

Now let's imagine the scenario with women. First of all, women would never get together in a shop. They'd find somewhere with chairs and sofas so everyone could be comfy. They may have drinks and food as well, but everyone would take off their coats, be introduced and the hostess would make sure everyone was comfortable before offering everyone their choice of beverages, coffee or tea. They may start the evening not knowing each other but by the time they head home, they know everyone's names, their kids' and husbands' names, their birthing stories, the little quirks their spouses do to drive them crazy (in both good ways and bad) and their favorite movies, foods and hobbies. In the space of a few hours, women will open up with each other and share things that would make men cringe to even contemplate.

I'm not saying one way is better than the other. I've been in the groups with women where far too much was shared but I've also been there when we laughed so hard we cried. I've been among men and heard them gripe about their wives but I've also seen them rally together to help out a friend. No group is better, just different. Those differences are what bring us together and yet also cause so many problems. While it would be nice to see men opening themselves up to their friends, do we really want to hear them comparing stories about passing that kidney stone or what happened at their last prostate exam?
Thursday, July 29, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Guilt, My Old Friend

It's been so long since I've blogged, I'm not even sure where to begin. I don't mean to go so long between blogs but it seems like I blink and another month has slipped through my fingers. However, my brain is constantly working, drafting blogs, stories and general observances about life. As I've said before, the voices in my head never shut up long enough for me to have any peace.

Then again, there is the matter of the guilt that likes to take up residence in my soul. My life is one big errand or project after another and if I actually have five minutes to sit at the computer, it should be spent doing something productive, not something fun and satisfying such as blogging or working on another one of my "books" (in quotations because other than the first, they are all just works in progress).

My main problem is that I'm just not disciplined enough to get up early and schedule that "me" time. I'd rather sleep. I'm tired all the time and it's hard to give up on a few extra z's. Yes, I have a rather hectic life (which I find amusing because we don't actually DO anything) but I also take medication that causes fatigue. I counteract it the best I can with vitamins and a very precise schedule of when I take it but I'm still tired most of the day. At any given point in any day, I could lay down and sleep for 2 hours...and still go back to bed and sleep just fine at night. Some days I have to take a nap because I physically can't keep my eyelids open or I can't get my eyeballs to both focus on the same thing.

And there is always so much to do. I've neglected my Facebook life for almost 2 weeks now and haven't been watching a lot of TV--in fact, I hardly ever watch it at all anymore. But I find myself starting to resent bedtime because it means that I have to stop whatever it is I'm working on or put off for another day what I WANT to be working on. It's that "there's never enough hours in the day" dilemma. But I am honest enough with myself to admit that more hours would just mean more time to do errands or other such things that make me feel like I'm being productive as opposed to selfish.

Guilt and laziness plague me as you would know if you are a regular reader of my blog. I try to be absolutely honest with myself when I do blog and I have accepted my faults and weaknesses. So why is it so hard to confront them and change things? It would be as simple as waking up an hour earlier so I could have some time to write but no matter how much my soul screams out to do just that, my body won't comply.

Why are the simplest solutions the hardest?
Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Yes, Mother, I Am In Fact Brain Dead

My mom asked me that question yesterday when I informed her that CJ had missed his flight to Texas. Now a missed flight does happen to people on a rare occasion but she knows all too well that this type of thing happens on a regular basis with us.

Usually I am the main offender. I'm the one who always flakes out on very important appointments or locks my keys in my car. I have to hand out spare keys to my relatives like they're candy just so I'll have someone to call on to rescue me. I pulled into a parking lot one day and my kids said, "Hey, this is where you locked your keys in your car!" The last time it happened, they all said in unison, "Again?!"

Things like this just have a way of happening to me. Like the time I closed the back door of my wagon and managed to get my fingers caught in night...while pregnant...and no one inside the house could hear me yelling. Or the time I was babysitting and I locked the baby in the car and had to call the police to rescue us. (No, I never told the mom. You're all wondering now, aren't you?)

Missed flights are such a common occurrence that all I can do when it happens is laugh. On our recent trip to Vegas, we couldn't find wi-fi to confirm our itinerary but I knew that our flight left at 12:15 in the afternoon from L.A. So we made our plans, drove our rental car back to L.A. and got to the airport in plenty of time. Only the ticket agent couldn't find us in the system. It turned out that we were supposed to arrive in Seattle at 12:15. I, of course, started laughing. Thankfully, the agent was really nice and super helpful and we made it back home that night.

Yesterday's incident I refuse to take blame for since I had nothing to do with booking the ticket. CJ did all that himself and we knew his flight left at 7:55am on Wednesday(today). He asked if I could check him in online. I tried but it wouldn't work. I double checked everything and tried again--still no luck. That's when I saw the date. He was supposed to fly out yesterday morning at 7:55am. He'd missed his flight by about 5 hours. After some serious scrambling, we finally got him to the airport around 4pm where we were informed there were no more flights going out. He would have to come back in the morning for the 7:55 flight we thought he was booked on originally.

He made that flight with no problem and hopefully will make it home in 2 weeks without incident. However, considering that he is flying to Texas every month now and the whole family is flying in August, I have no doubt that we will find ourselves in the airport once again laughing at our stupidity while the ticket agent just stands there looking in bewilderment at the two idiots who missed their flight.
Sunday, April 25, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Confirmed Bachelor

Here is a conversation that occurred on Friday between Sassy and Bubba:

Sassy: "Bubba, why don't you like girls?"

Bubba: "Because they like romance."

Sassy: "Why don't you like romance?"

Bubba: "What...kissing? Love? Yuck!"

Sassy: "And you don't like kissing?"

Bubba: "No! It makes me think of girls!"

Hmmm...I'm getting the feeling that he has something against girls. I wonder if he knows that I pray God will find him a wife...
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Maturity is Highly Overrated

I wonder if there will ever come a time when my mental age will catch up with my chronological age. Chronologically I'm (pardon me while I throw up) 35, but mentally, I'm still in my 20s. When I look in the mirror I can see the little tell tale signs that I'm getting older. I'm starting to see the first signs of wrinkles,especially between my brows from my habit of scowling when I'm driving or thinking. The gray hair that has plagued me since my teen years is more abundant and even more resistant to Clairol. My body, while never firm and perky, is starting to give up the fight.

I can look around my life and see other signs of my age as well. I have a mortgage--not my first. My 15 year anniversary is coming up. My baby is now 11. Hanging out with other "young" couples makes me realize that I no longer fit into that category.

The evidence is all there, glaring at me like a neon sign, but I still can't seem to wrap my mind around it. In short, I am in denial.

There are times when I look around and think, "I can't possibly be old enough to be running a household that consists of 3 children, 2 pets, 2 businesses and an entire yard. I mean, I just graduated from high school a few years ago!" (The truth is that I graduated 17 years ago, but who's counting?)

I have friends who have careers and it makes sense to me because, after all, they are "older" than I am. I have friends with houses that are all put together, not cautionary tales in remodeling the way mine is. But that's the way it should be because they are obviously "older" than I am. And of course some of my friends have new cars that they are making payments on, but I don't because I'm not "old" enough.

I don't think of myself as my "high school self" any more because, let's face it, we all get better post high school and no one wants to cling to that yearbook image. But for some reason, I still struggle to come to grips with the fact that I am approaching (shudder) middle age. Forty is just around the bend as well as my kids' teen years. How did growing up and becoming an adult sneak up on me like that?

My saving grace is that saying, "You're only as old as you feel." If that's really true, than I still have a few more years before I have to start thinking about facing reality.
Thursday, April 8, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

G.I. Jane? Yes. Joe Barbie? Forget It.

A word of warning for you, dear readers. I have pulled out my soapbox and I am climbing on top. I've decided it's time to address the infuriating double standard that exists among our children. Truthfully, this double standard even exists among adults, but my concern for the moment is only for my kids. What I'm talking about is the fact that girls can be boys but boys are not allowed to be girls.

Let me elaborate. My daughter is a princess, as most young girls can be. She loves to dress up, wear jewelry, make-up and nail polish, play house and Barbies. She is a girly-girl. But she also likes to play Pokemon and Star Wars, have pretend battles with her brothers, play with Legos and soldiers. For Halloween, she dressed up as a commando soldier complete with faux six-pack and stuffed pectoral muscles. Everyone's reaction to my daughter's choice of costume and leisurely activities? "How cute, you have a little tomboy."

But here's the flipside. My boys (one or both, depending on the activity) in addition to all the rough housing and normal boy-type games, have enjoyed dressing up in sissy's dresses and jewelry, having their nails painted, playing Littlest Pet Shop games, and even playing house. The typical reaction to this? "You need to be careful so he doesn't get confused." I've had close friends actually imply that I need to watch out that these activities don't lead them to an alternative lifestyle.

I'm going to take a moment to scream at the top of my lungs in frustration before going on. Okay, I feel better.

Are you kidding me? Do you actually think that my son wanting to play a game of dress up is going to make him gay? Why is it okay for my daughter to do everything the boys can do and no one is worried that she's going to end up a lesbian? Why do boys have to always be rough and tumble creatures? Why can't they be free to explore their softer side?

I would love to be able to start a Men's Liberation Movement. Women have been demanding equal rights and equal treatment for years. Now it's time for the men. I want my boys to be able to do anything the girls do without fear of being judged. At the ages of 9 and 11, they already know that the things they do at home are not looked favorably upon in society. That's just not what "boys" do. To anyone who makes boys feel like they can't enjoy things that are typically considered "girly", I say take a long leap off a short bridge. It breaks my heart to see my son debate with himself over whether or not to have me paint his nails (even if I'm using green or blue) because he's afraid of what other people will say. He should be able to do it because it's fun, not worry about being judged for it.

If my daughter wants to be a Pokemon, Power Ranger, Luke Skywalker or Army ranger, she's applauded for being a strong, tough girl who knows her mind and as well she should be. But if either of my sons wants to dress-up, sew, bake, dance or wear jewelry, he does so knowing that he will be teased mercilessly. I've had enough. Boys can be sensitive. Let them be sensitive. Has anyone ever considered what would happen if our boys learned sensitivity, creativity, compassion, and artistry when they were young? How would things be different if every tough, macho man out there also knew how to be sweet and tender?

I grew up playing with Tonka trucks, watching He-Man and Transformers and hiding out in the woods playing soldier. When my husband was growing up, he learned to cross-stitch and paint and he was invited to girls' slumber parties. I think we can attest to being one of the most stable married couples around. Why not give our little boys a chance at growing up with the same opportunities and allowances that we demand for our girls?
Sunday, April 4, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

GOODwill? I Don't Think so.

Thrift stores are dangerous places. I'm not just talking about the army of germs that roams freely through the merchandise waiting to infect those who go in unarmed with hand sanitizer, or the real possibility of slicing your hand open while digging in the clearance bin all because someone carelessly tossed aside a dolphin shaped glass candy dish that exploded on contact. The danger I'm talking about is nothing so obvious. No, this is much more insidious, stealthy even. The danger lies in the allure of...possibilities.

As a crafter, and a fan of Martha Stewart when it suits me, thrift stores, second hand stores, even garage sales are indeed highly dangerous. I have to prepare myself before entering. I know what my goal is, I remind myself of my target and vow to not stray away from it. I gird my loins, bypassing the carts that I know I will have no need of and march bravely past the registers and into the heart of unknown finds.

I start out at a brisk pace but it doesn't take long for that musty smell of old books, mildewed clothes and long forgotten tchotchkes to envelope me, fogging my brain. My target starts to waver a bit and before I know what's happening, I find myself wandering the book aisles. It's just a detour. "What could it hurt?" I reason with myself. After all, I buy books anyway, might as well buy them at a discount.

When I am satisfied that I have read every title available and plucked out a few that will fit perfectly on my overflowing bookshelf, I finally move on. First through the shoes where, even though they almost never have a pair in my size that has any sole left, I eye every pair. I can't help but steal a glance at the furniture which is next to the shoe aisle. I have no room for anything in my house but if I found the right piece--the one that just needs some paint, maybe a few screws, perhaps a replaced slat of wood--I would find a place for it.

I do have enough will power to skip past the electronics section but that only leads to the glass trinkets. I can feel my knees go weak as I get closer. I used to be able to justify shopping down this aisle because I could find stuff for the crafts I would sell, but not anymore. I have no reason to go down this aisle and yet, I find I am too weak to resist. What if I found a bride and groom figurine to add to my collection? What if I really do have a use for that elephant pitcher that pours through the trunk? Maybe I'll find an abandoned set of china in just the right pattern that they're selling at a steal?

The wood aisle is actually worse because I know that with a little paint, many of those discarded shelves and plaques could actually be cute. They have potential. That candle holder is broken on the bottom? Put a flower ring around it. That wall sign has a crack in the corner? Glue a few decorative buttons on to cover it. There isn't anything I can't improve with a little bit of paint and hot glue.

I don't dare go past the baskets, that's just tempting fate. They are my Achilles heel. I am a strong, intelligent woman but I can be brought down by a clever wicker weave. See, I don't have to have a use for a basket for it to worm it's way into my hot little hands. It's as if they have a secret password into my brain--they know how to call out and tempt me until I am helpless to do anything but take them home and add them to the pile of baskets that have escaped from the forgotten bins of the second hand store and have been adopted into my welcoming home.

By this time, I've had to go and get a cart because my arms are turning purple from trying to balance all the items that I feel too guilty to leave behind. After all, if I won't give them a home, who will? If I'm lucky and I manage to shake out of that dust-induced coma, I will skip past all the ladies' clothing racks. Being an average size girl of average build there will be tons of garments for me to choose from as long as I'm willing to invest in some bleach, Spray 'n' Wash, and a few buttons to replace those that have popped off.

The guilt of pushing a loaded down cart up to the register when I only meant to spend five minutes in the store is soon forgotten as I realize that several of the items I picked out have the correct color of tag for the half-off discount. Half off what was already a great price? Can it get any better than this?

As I load my treasures into my car, the fresh air seeps into my muddled brain and the fog starts to lift. I sober considerably at the thought of having to explain to my husband why these particular items were just too big of bargains to not buy. It's only when I'm pulling out of the parking lot--my bank account emptied, the smell of an old person's attic permeating my entire van--that I remember that I was only supposed to run up to the store to find my son a pair of pants and I never even looked at the kids' clothing.

The thrift store defeated me again.
Friday, April 2, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Autism Awareness

Today is World Autism Awareness Day and April is Autism Awareness Month. It was just a coincidence that last night I watched a movie called "Adam", about a woman who starts to fall for a man who has Asperger's. It came from Netflix and it's been sitting here for more than a week but I finally watched it last night.

Take my advice and watch this movie. It's just beautiful. Hugh Dancy plays Adam and he does a wonderful job. Rose Byrne is Beth, the woman who moves next door and finds herself drawn to him in spite of his quirks and oddities. It's a story of friendship, of love, of learning to adapt, of living in a world where you don't quite fit in. It's a great story.

Honestly, it didn't matter to me what the story line was, I had to watch it to see how well they portrayed Asperger's. I was very impressed. Hugh did a wonderful job of conveying the social awkwardness, the lack of empathy, the halting, stuttering way of talking and moving, the singular focus on one subject, the fear of change, the incapability of eye contact. He was just lovely as a man who is still a man despite not fitting in with those around him.

I have to be honest and tell you this movie made me cry. It does have some sad moments but I know the reason it made me cry was that I was seeing my son on screen. Not the son that I have now, and not the son who was first diagnosed, but my son just a few years ago. Bubba is not the typical Autistic child. While he may have regressed into a non-verbal, screaming machine with no eye contact and little regard for danger or people around him, he has made amazing strides to become a social, talkative boy who has--for the most part--learned to cope with transitions.

When Bubba was little, I never in my wildest dreams thought he would be where he is today. In my most secret dreams, the ones I didn't want to speak out loud for fear of jinxing them, I prayed that one day he would grow up to be as high functioning as Adam. I prayed that he would be able to hold a job, make a friend or two, maybe even be able to live on his own with some assistance. In all your dreams for your children, you just want them to live a happy, normal life. "Normal" takes on a whole different meaning when you are living with Autism.

Watching the movie last night, I cried. Okay, I sobbed until I thought my heart was going to break and I'm crying now. I cried because I recognized Adam. I cried because I recognize the frustration--of both Adam and the people who are trying to understand him. I cried because I know how painful it is for someone with Autism to be faced with change. I cried because I was familiar with his movements, his way of speaking, his bluntness, all the unspoken social nuances that went right over his head. I cried because he found a friend. I cried because he found someone to love him just as he was. I cried because he had to deal with a world that is harsh. I cried because he managed to make his way in that world, carving out a niche that suited him and his differences. I cried because I'm grateful that Bubba has progressed beyond what I ever dreamed possible. I cried because most Autistic children aren't like that. I cried because I have learned more from my son than he's learned from me. I cried because God has entrusted me with the care and upbringing of such a special soul.

Living with Autism is not an easy task. It drains the mothers. It's hard on the fathers. It wears on siblings. I have days where I have to convince my other children that they do love their brother no matter how difficult he makes life sometimes. There is nothing more heart wrenching than to hear your child say they wish they didn't have a brother. That's a knife to the heart with a wicked twist for good measure.

No one chooses this for their life, but it's my life. He's MY son. I love him 'til it hurts. I pray every single day that he will grow up to find someone who will love him just as much.
Thursday, April 1, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

I must confess that I have been a Robert Downey, Jr. fan since I was in high school. Maybe it's just that bad boy factor, but I've always enjoyed watching him and I always rooted for him to overcome his addiction problems. He was the only reason I ever watched "Ally McBeal" and I was sad when his personal life caused him to have to leave the show.

Throw together a big budget action movie with one of my favorite actors and you have a movie I couldn't wait to see. I was more than a little surprised to find out that Guy Ritchie directed this movie. He's known for British, independent oddball movies like "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". This is quite a step up for him and he definitely rose to the challenge.

Robert Downey, Jr. is the titular Holmes while Jude Law is his long-suffering Watson. The chemistry between the two is great. They play off each other in a relaxed, well-versed way that would be natural of two men who've spent years living and working together to solve the world's toughest crimes.

Watson is leaving, having just wrapped up his last case with Holmes, to get married and settle down. But as we all know, there can never really be a last case. He gets pulled back in when Mark Strong as Lord Blackwell apparently comes back from the dead with evil intentions.

I love the action, the look, the gadgets, the way we hear Holmes' brain work. I love the banter between Holmes and Watson. It's a highly entertaining movie. Of course, they left it open for the possibility of a sequel. And while sequels are rarely as good as the original, I will be one of the first in line if they have a "Sherlock Holmes 2". (*****)

Movie Review: The Invention of Lying

Within the first ten minutes or so of this movie, there is a conversation between Jennifer Garner and Ricky Gervais that I'm sure will turn off many people I know to the point they won't want to watch the movie. That makes me sad because this movie is one of the funniest ones I've seen in a long time.

"The Invention of Lying" takes place in a world where lies don't exist. They've never heard the word and can't even comprehend the concept. This is a brutally honest world. When I say "brutally", I'm not kidding. It's not just that they can't lie, it's that they are compelled to say what they are thinking and let me tell you, the truth hurts. There are no lies of omission, no skating around the truth. If someone thinks you're fat and ugly, they flat out tell you that you're fat and ugly. I know, I know, it's highly inappropriate and people's feelings get hurt. I think it was the outrageousness of the idea that I found so amusing. Watching this movie I became aware of how many ways we avoid the honest truth to spare those hurt feelings or misunderstandings. It's a kindness to others that we don't reveal what we're thinking every moment.

The story goes like this: Ricky Gervais is crushing on Jennifer Garner but she is in no way attracted to him because he's a "chubby, snub-nosed loser". Then one day, at the end of his rope after the worst day ever, Gervais' brain snaps and he tells a lie. He doesn't understand how it happened but he soon realizes he can take advantage of his new power. He gets his apartment and job back, gains wealth, succeeds at work and gets the attention of Garner. Life is good. Until he tells lies that gain the attention of the whole world. Everyone wants to know how he knows the things that he does and they want answers. Obviously he's telling the truth because no one lies. There's no way to explain what's going on without getting himself into trouble so he has to concoct more lies. It's a bitter cycle that starts to wear him down.

Besides being funny, this movie is a sweet portrait of a man who just wants to be happy and in his world, he would never have a chance by telling the truth. But you can see the endless circle that one gets caught up when lying. There is no way out but through more lies or telling the truth. In the end, he has to make a choice--lie and have the woman he loves, or tell the truth and most likely lose her.

This is a sweet movie. You completely feel for Gervais' character when you know that the deck has been stacked against him for reasons he can't control. But it's also sobering to see how easy it is to slide down that steep hill of lies. (****)

Movie Review: Couples' Retreat

Here's another offering from Vince Vaughn and crew. In this one, Jason Bateman and Kristen Bell are a couple who are considering divorce and decide to go on a couples' retreat in order to decide if their marriage is worth saving. They recruit 3 other couples to go with them so they can get a discounted rate. While the other couples are hoping for a nice, relaxing weekend, what they end up with is 6am New Age marriage strengthening exercises and questionable counseling sessions. The couples who were only there for a vacation end up confronting the problems they have but try to ignore. There were a few funny moments, but then, it doesn't take much to amuse me. Overall, I was very disappointed. There are certain expectations that come along with a Vince Vaughn movie and one of them is that it will be funny. This one? Not so much.

Of course, everything works out in the end. We don't watch Vince Vaughn movies to be reminded of bad things like divorce, we watch them to be completely glazed over and spoon fed happily ever after. I don't mind the spoon feeding as long as it's entertaining. This movie is not. Skip it. (**)

Movie Review: Love Happens

I've fallen behind on my movie reviews so don't be surprised at the sudden deluge of reviews.

"Love Happens" is another predictable chick flick. This one stars Aaron Eckhart as a self-help guru who is touring the country to promote his newest improvement program, this one to help people get over the death of a loved one. His own wife died 3 years ago but it seems that he just hasn't been able to make peace with himself. He can help everyone but himself. Jennifer Aniston comes along as a quirky florist who stirs up interest in Eckhart's character. (Just an aside: What is it about Aniston that makes directors think she would be perfect in "quirky" roles? She's best when she's just an every day woman. Quirky just comes across as awkward on her.) You can pretty much chart this plot from the get go. Being around Aniston and his in-laws forces Eckhart to come to terms with truths and pain that he's been avoiding for 3 years. The self-help master has to find a way to apply his lessons to his own life. As I've said before, I enjoy chick flicks even though they rarely bring anything new. The best part of this movie was that it was filmed in Seattle and I found myself shouting, "I've been there! I know exactly where that's at!"

This is a nice addition to the genre but it won't be remembered in a year. (Does anyone even remember it now?) (***)
Wednesday, March 31, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

What Happens in Vegas?

When it comes to travel destinations, I tend to lump them into two different categories. There are the places that I'm dying to see and experience, the ones that if I never get to visit them in my lifetime I will feel like I've missed out. These are the dream destinations. Then there are the places that I would go to because I feel like I have to. You know, the ones that just seem to be a place that every American should be able to say they've been to. These are places like Mount Rushmore or New York City or almost anywhere in South America. These destinations I like to think of as tourist spots. Sometimes I think the sole purpose in traveling to them is to be able to say, "Been there, done that. Check it off my bucket list."

Some of the places I count as my dream destinations are the African Savannah (or a nicely controlled game park would suffice), a Scottish castle, the water canals in Venice, and some place that is warm, tropical and has that beautiful, crystal clear, sapphire blue water that I believe only exists in screen savers.

Among my list of tourist spots is Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. I've never had any burning desire to go there. I don't drink, don't gamble, have no interest in shows and I'm actually offended by the commercials that tout "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." So when I found out we would be traveling there in May, you can imagine my surprise in discovering how excited I was by the idea.

It just hit me why I get that burst of energy in anticipation of the day. This will be our first truly adult vacation since we've had the kids. We took a trip to Puerto Vallarta for our one year anniversary and our next trip away didn't occur until about 3 or 4 years ago. We spent a weekend at a cabin by the Sound. It was no Marriott. It wasn't even a Motel 6! But it was just the two of us and it was lovely. Our second vacation occurred 2 years ago when we got the opportunity to visit my family in Virginia for a reunion. We had a great time, but we shared a hotel room and a car with my parents. No offense to my parents since we had a good time with them, but it's just not the same as getting away by yourself.

This trip to Vegas is only for the weekend so we can attend a dear friend's wedding. But there will be no children. We won't be staying at a relative's house. Friends and relatives will be there but they're all adults who are fun to just hang out with. I can't remember the last time I was this excited about traveling. Our only obligation or planned event is the wedding and then the rest of the time there is ours. This is a real, adult vacation. And it's only taken us 14 years to get it!

Who Loves You, Baby?

It's a universal truth among mothers that no one, no matter how much they come to care for your children, can ever love your children as much as you do. It's simply not possible. The times that my kids help prove that truth are some of my favorite moments.

Driving home tonight, Bubba was upset because he had to miss an episode of his favorite show. His trauma was short lived, however, as he told me he would just go home and watch it on his invisible television. I told him that was a great idea. He then spent the entire drive home having a very animated discussion with an imaginary friend (audience? admirer?). I only caught a word or two here and there but apparently he and his friend were having a good ol' time. He did share with me when we were almost home that he was going to invent a video game and he was going to post it on his destiny (trust me, I have no idea what that means either). He said in a very enthusiastic voice, "You've heard of 3-D? Well it's gonna be in 5-D! That's a mixture of 2-D and 3-D." I, of course, answered in the usual way, "Alright."

Where all this comes from, I have no idea. And what any of it means is even more of a mystery. Even so, I couldn't help but smile as I spent fifteen minutes listening to his excited conversation...with himself. I just love that kid.
Monday, March 29, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

I Heard You, God

I've really been struggling lately with Sunday worship. My struggles revolve around trying to figure out whether that weekly community worship time is given to us for the purpose of rejuvenating fellow Christians or if it is to be a place for us to bring in those who are seeking or a combination of both. This is a struggle that has been going on for more than a year now without any real conclusions.

The source of all of this can be traced to an in-depth, 3 year journey that our church has been going through in order to figure out how to be a missional church and how to find out where God is working so that we may join Him there. It's been an amazing journey.

One thing I've gained from all of it is the desire to be an active participant, a recognizable presence in my own community. We need to be the face of God where we live. How can we expect our neighbors to have a relationship with God if we, as His people, aren't accessible enough to have a relationship with? And in today's society, how many of those neighbors would be willing to drive 30-45 minutes to attend a church that they haven't even gotten to know yet?

It's an issue that has weighed on Hubby and I for a long time. Last summer we started looking around at other churches, hoping to find what we had in Federal Way but closer. Of course, things never work out the way we want them to. But we have found a church that is active in a neighboring community and shares our outlook in being missional. We haven't necessarily embraced the worship service, however, and so we've been struggling once again. I can talk myself into circles over how to define worship, what that service means to me, how much of it is about me and thousands of other questions. I believe I may have dumped on Hubby for close to an hour Saturday night about these very same things and ended up just as confused as ever.

But then God spoke to me on Sunday. For once, I didn't feel like I was just an observer at our worship service. I felt His presence; I felt His peace. I still have questions, I still am up in the air on many issues, but I heard Him. He told me to just have patience. Have patience and He will reveal what He wants me to do and where He wants me to go so that I may be effective for Him. He is doing great things and I need to trust that He will guide me in the path that He is preparing, so don't fret, don't worry, don't overanalyze.

God, I heard you. Thank you.
Friday, March 26, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Thank You, Rod

Thanks to my computer guru, Rod, my blog has been fixed. The comments feature is up and running for anyone who would like to leave a message about how brilliant and witty I am. I guess you can leave other comments as well but where's the fun in that?


It's been brought to my attention that no one can leave comments on my posts. I'm working on getting it fixed. It has to do with the template I'm using. I'll let you know when it's up and running.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Make Yourself at Home

Have you ever had a friend that you were so close with you were just as at home in their house as your own? I've been pretty fortunate in life to have had two such friends, both named Amy.

Amy D. was my middle school best friend. We met in the 6th grade and we were inseparable until a tragic falling out in the ninth grade. Until then, we did everything together. We spent every weekend with each other. We invited the other on family vacations and we were like an extra daughter to the other's family.

The falling out that broke up Amy D. and I actually brought me closer to Amy R., who had been in my group of close friends all through middle school. We spent the next next four years together, the best of friends. It was just a given that we would be at the other's house. I started attending church with Amy R. and that brought us even closer.

I was so close to my friends that I was comfortable in their houses even when their families were home but they weren't. If I wanted something to eat, I could just help myself to the fridge. I knew where the TV and movies were if I got bored. I could just hang out and visit with the parents and siblings.

I did, however, learn the hard way that no matter how close you are, you should always knock before you enter. One morning, I arrived at Amy R.'s house around 7am. I was afraid of waking anyone so I decided to quietly let myself in (not something I was in the habit of doing). I walked in on her dad exercising on the mini his underwear. I'm still not sure who was more embarrassed.

But what happens to us as we get older?

I have a few (very few) close friends. One of them came over the other day and as I was showing her my new bookshelves she remarked, "I keep forgetting how big your house is." It struck me as odd that she didn't know my house very well. When I was at her house some time ago, I happened to be in her bedroom and I realized that it was probably only the second time I'd been in her room. I'm not saying that bedrooms should be open to the public, I'm just saying that I'm not familiar with her house.

Do you have friends that feel so welcome in your home that they can just help themselves to anything? My parents have this kind of house, they always have. The door's always open and everyone's welcome. Sometimes I wonder if my house doesn't look more like a fortress. It's not that I don't welcome my friends when they're here, it's just that I don't invite them to begin with. I want my kids to have friends like I did--ones who feel like this is their second home--but they haven't been learning from my example.

I can rightly put some of the fault on the fact that as an adult I have many more things pressing on my time. I don't have the luxury of hanging out and watching "The Brady Bunch" reruns for hours at a time. But that's just an excuse. How can my friends feel welcome in my home when I won't even let down the drawbridge for them to come in?

This my sanctuary, my place to unwind, but why not unwind with good friends? Why not take shelter with the company of those close to me?

I can't help but feel like God (if He blogged) would be writing this same thing. "My children make themselves at home in the world, why aren't they as intimately familiar with my home?" I know every inch of my house. I know where the floor squeaks and the windows draft and the water drips. I know the coziest spot on the couch and where to sit to soak up the best sunbeams. I know where everything is kept and the things that are never put back where they are kept. But am I as familiar with God's house? Can I honestly say that it's just as comfortable to me as being in my own house? Am I certain of walking in unannounced, knowing that I'll be embraced with open arms and told to kick off my shoes at make myself at home because, after all, I'm family?

There is no moat around God's house, no drawbridge to be let down. I doubt He even has a front door that we have to knock on. It's just always open and He's standing there in the doorway, beckoning us to come on in and "make yourselves at home."
Friday, March 19, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Here I Am To Worship

Yesterday I was driving home from Federal Way in rush hour traffic. The kids were being especially rambunctious--wrestling, hitting, shouting. I had the radio turned up in a pathetic and failed attempt to drown them out while my white knuckles gripped the steering wheel. It is in these ordinary, sometimes chaotic moments that God likes to make His presence known.

A song came on the radio, "Here I Am To Worship". It's a song that the kids know from singing at church and it's Libby's favorite. When the song started, the kids stopped everything they were doing so they could sing along. There were no words spoken that brought their games to a screeching halt, just the first few notes of the song. Everything else ceased to matter because they had to sing. It couldn't be helped.

After the song was over they went back to their usual routine of driving me insane but it didn't bother me nearly as much this time. In hearing them sing that song, I knew that God was laying on their hearts words that would bring them closer to Him. It is in those random, seemingly innocuous moments that God can be felt and heard. I am grateful to be in His presence.
Friday, March 12, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

A Spot of Tea

We are creatures of habit. We have our routines, our way of doing things. Even if you aren't a branch in my particular obsessive-compulsive family tree, I would bet that you have a lot of routines that you rarely veer away from. When you shower, you do everything in a certain order. There's a right way to load the dishwasher. When you get home, your coat, keys, purse, shopping bags, etc. are all dumped in the usual spot. When you get ready in the mornings, there is a system to follow. For me, it's go to the bathroom, get dressed, do my hair, brush my teeth, eat breakfast.

But what about those things that we do that aren't habit? Do you have anything you do just because the act of doing it is enjoyable? Do you do anything that's become more of a ritual as opposed to a blind habit?

Dictionary dot com defines habit as an "acquired behavior regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary." We've performed these routines so often that they've become second nature to us--like going on auto pilot on the drive home from work. Your brain checks out while your body performs it's ingrained tasks.

Ritual is defined as "any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner." There's a slight difference between the two but it's there nonetheless. Habits are done so frequently that we can do them in the same way each time without thinking, but a ritual is deliberate. We perform in a set manner. We perform on purpose.

I have a ritual that I perform most every morning and sometimes in the evening. For me, my ritual is making tea. I know, I know. That sounds insignificant. How can that possibly be a ritual? Isn't that just a part of your everyday morning routine? Yes and no.

I do make a cup of tea most mornings to have with my breakfast but I don't do it out of blind habit. When I go through the steps of making tea, it is a very deliberate, even soothing, task. To begin with, I refuse to microwave my water. It's not that I have anything against the microwave, it's just that it's not the same if I don't use my water kettle that looks like a cow (it's a water "cattle", get it?). I fill up my kettle with water and set it on the burner. I listen for the sounds of the water heating, the burner quickly drying up any spilled water that may have run down to the bottom of the kettle. When I stay in the kitchen, I can tell the moment the water is about to boil and can take off the kettle just in time. Most of the time, however, I wander out of the room until I hear the familiar high pitch whistling, alerting me that I'm needed again in the kitchen.

I don't drink my tea out of a dainty, decorative tea cup. No, I drink my tea out of a mug, one that is ideal for a cup of cocoa with lots of marshmallows or even a cup of soup. My tea mug has weight to it. I can wrap both hands around it and let the heat seep into my usually frigid hands.

I use one bag of Stash peppermint tea. I don't use loose tea leaves and I don't drink other flavors, just peppermint. Peppermint is the flavor of winter, the flavor of cozy blankets, the flavor of comfort. And I always add sugar, real sugar--two scoops.

My favorite part of making my tea? The sound of the water as it fills my cup. I always have my mug ready and waiting with the teabag in it. When I pour that steaming hot water in, I almost want to sigh. It's a soothing sound. At that point, I can almost taste the mint, I can almost feel the ceramic warming my fingers, I can envision myself wrapped up in a quilt while I lose myself in my favorite book. Although this is rarely what happens next, the thought is comforting.

What happens next is always different. Usually I busy myself with chores or the computer until it my tea has cooled enough to drink without scalding my tongue. Quite often I'll get distracted and only notice my cold and neglected mug hours later when I'm getting ready to fix lunch. At that point it's usually heated up in the microwave and drunk so it won't go to waste.

But how and when I drink it is never the focus behind the ritual. The focus is simply the task itself. The motions of making my tea bring more comfort than the tea itself. This is my ritual of contentment.

Movie Review: Observe and Report

I told myself that I wasn't even going to post a review for this movie. After spending an hour and a half watching it, I figured I'd already wasted enough of my life on it, why waste more? But then I decided if I could save just one person from the painful experience of having to sit through it then it would be worth it.

Seth Rogan--with his Rolf the Dog laugh and schlubby, idiot persona--has grown on me and I usually enjoy his movies which is why I checked this movie out from the library. He plays a security guard at a mall where he crushes on Anna Faris. This came out around the same time as Paul Blart:Mall Cop, which I found funny. This movie is not. There is nothing likeable about Seth's character. He is rude, delusional and quite possibly psychotic. He dreams of being a cop so he can wield a gun and kill people. When the real police get in the way of his solving the case of a mall flasher, he goes after them with his flashlight as a weapon and, after beating several officers, ends up sitting in jail as a bloodied punching bag. He's in love with Anna Faris' character who is a mean, stuck up, drug abusing shrew who throws up on him and treats him like garbage. Seth, meanwhile, is condescending and dismissive to the only nice person in the whole mall, a girl who gives him free coffee and obviously likes him (which would only happen in movie land).

The movie is twisted but not in a fun, dark comedy kind of way. You can't root for Seth's character because the thought of him actually becoming a cop is pretty scary. Instead, you find yourself thinking over and over again, "Somebody actually wrote this? Somebody thought it was good enough to greenlight? And somebody paid money to put this movie together?" That producer should be made to watch this movie on an endless stream for 24 hours. Maybe then he'll learn his lesson. (*)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Using My Powers for Good

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. I posted yesterday that I was going to try to get back on track and join the "real" world. For a first day, it wasn't bad. The kids got their individual school work done and then we did some work together. I put together a dinner menu for the rest of March and all of April. (As I mentioned in an old post, if I have dinner posted up on the fridge the kids know what to expect and there's less arguing, even if it's something they don't like.) Libby and I had some one-on-one girl time. I even did a little bit of leg work for my business.

This morning, I woke up at 7am and walked 2 miles with my dogs. After breakfast, the kids and I did some group work and now they are tackling their individual work. I'm running loads through my washing machine so I can take them over to my mother's house to dry--my dryer was kind enough to die on me yesterday. I still have a list a mile long of things that are urgent--most of them business related--but it's still early.

I think it's all just a matter of having the right attitude. I love to organize but I hate to apply that to my time. I'd much rather organize things and not my life. The funny thing about that is, when I just put my mind to it, I'm very good at getting us on a realistic working schedule. The kids will work better and behave better when I do that.

I guess the trick is to remember that and keep it as a priority.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Coming Out of the Cave

I am about to make a forced emergence from my cave. It's so much nicer in here--cozy, warm, quiet. I don't have any deadlines or obligations, no one counting on me for anything. It's a lovely place to be. But unfortunately, by spending time here I am letting down my husband and my children. They seem to be under the impression that they need things like an education, home cooked dinners, clean clothes, and an income. I may find all of those highly overrated but they don't agree.

Leaving is painful, dreaded even, but it's something I must do. My family is counting on me and I can't keep disappointing them. As the mom, I am the measuring stick by which everything else is measured. I set the mood for my children and how well they behave. I control the home environment and what my husband gets to come home to. I directly affect how well he can get his work done in order to support the rest of us.

Being selfish is so much easier, so much more appealing, but that's not what this life is about, is it? I'm going to break out of my cocoon, put myself on the back burner and remember that those closest to me are more important than anything else.
Monday, March 8, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Movie Review: Bedtime Stories

Here is something you don't see very often--an Adam Sandler movie you can watch with your kids. Adam plays "Skeeter", a guy who works at a hotel his father started and has always dreamed of running someday. He agrees to watch his niece and nephew while his sister goes out of town for a job interview. In an effort to entertain the kids, Skeeter starts telling them bedtime stories the way his father always did. The kids, of course, have to add their 2 cents worth and the stories are played out on screen. The next day, events from the stories start really happening. Skeeter, of course, tries to find a way to manipulate the stories so he can eventually win the girl and his dream hotel.

Guy Pearce and Lucy Lawless are Skeeter's foils--Guy is Skeeter's competition for control of the hotel and Lucy is a mean hotel employee who is helping Guy. Lucy will always be Xena, warrior princess to me so it was odd seeing her in a concierge uniform. And seeing Guy Pearce, all I could think of was, "it's been a really long time since L.A. Confidential and Memento". If you've seen other Adam Sandler movies, you'll see some of the usual faces as well as Courtney Cox as his sis and Keri Russell as the other babysitter for the week.

Over the course of the week, Skeeter gets to know his niece and nephew and discovers he really enjoys them (How could he not? They're all on the same maturity level.), and he becomes friends with Keri Russell's character. Things work out pretty much as you expect them to but that's not necessarily a bad thing. This is a fun movie that I was able to watch with all 3 of my kids without any embarrassment. That's getting harder and harder to find. (****)

Movie Review: 17 Again

This is one of those movies that I knew would see at some point but was in no hurry to run to the theater. It's another in a long line of "do over" movies, which, with the exception of "Big" and "13 Going on 30", if you've seen one, you've seen them all. Of course, the same could be said about most rom coms too but I still keep watching those.

Matthew Perry is the bitter grown up who is convinced that if he could go back to one fateful day in high school and do it differently, his life would be so much better. He gets that chance of course, thanks to a magical janitor. Zac Efron plays the high school version of him. I'm too old to have jumped on the Zac Efron/"High School Musical" bandwagon and I haven't seen him in anything. I was pleasantly surprised, however, with his performance. He's a sweet kid and I could see the "adult" version of him trying to come through at times. He had a few mannerisms and way of carrying himself that you just don't see in teens.

He reverts to being a teen but in the present. As a teen, he hangs out with his son and daughter and gets to overhear his wife talking about their impending divorce. What he has to figure out is, is he there to change his life or his children's?

This movie is rated PG-13 because of frisky teenage themes. There is a teenage pregnancy, talk of birth control as the school hands out condoms, teens making out. The language isn't bad though so it was a nice change of pace. It was a good, sweet movie that you could watch with your teenage kids. (****)

Life Lessons

Howdy had a grand plan the other day. He decided he wanted to create his own version of a Pokemon game. We cut up a bunch of cardstock for him to draw on and color. He started out disappointed because he knew he wouldn't get the desired color effects he wanted with marker or colored pencil and he was a little leery of possibly making a mistake and leaving eraser marks but he took everything up stairs and got to work.

That lasted all of about ten minutes.

He came downstairs with tears in his eyes, frustration obvious. Here's what he said:
"Mommy, something keeps happening to me upstairs. I'm trying to draw but something is making my body not do it and it's making me lazy."

Welcome to perfectionism, son.

I've known for years that he's picked up that particular family trait from both his father and me, and I do my best to help him cope. What struck me about his words were how accurate a description they were. If you're not a perfectionist (do I even know anyone who isn't?) then let me explain. Being a perfectionist means that you don't just keep trying something until you get it right. It means it has to be right from the get go, it has to be PERFECT from the start. If perfection can't be guaranteed, why start? And so you procrastinate. There's no point in starting something if you know it will be less than you imagine or expect.

I am well versed in the trials of perfectionism. I had my first stress related ulcer in the first grade--I was 7. I am now 30-something. It's taken me years to identify my perfectionism, which areas it relates to (spelling, scrapbooking) and which it doesn't (housekeeping, cooking), how to keep it reined it as much as possible and how to let some of it go. It took a long time to realize that I am a procrastinator BECAUSE I'm a perfectionist, not in spite of. So to hear Howdy be able to put words to what he's feeling at so young as age, I'm heartened that we'll be able to help him deal with the things that come along in life.

Knowing that life doesn't have to be perfect and ISN'T perfect is a hard lesson to learn.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Movie Review: The Hangover

As I've said before, the older I get, the lower my IQ goes. That's the only explanation for the things I find funny anymore. Needless to say, I found "The Hangover" hysterical. 4 men(?) head off to Vegas for a bachelor party 2 nights before the intended wedding. They wake up the next morning with their $4500/night suite completely trashed, a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet and the groom is missing. Oh, did I mention the chicken? And the missing tooth?

The whole movie is them trying to find the groom while piecing together what happened the night before as no one can remember a thing. This involves a stolen police car, a stripper (this is, after all Vegas), and a gay Chinese kingpin...for starters. Is this movie crude? Yes. Is there a lot of foul language? YES, way too much. Is it funny? To my rotted brain and twisted sense of humor, yes.

If you avoid R rated movies, do not go see this one. If you want some junk food for your brain, entertainment with nothing to offer but a couple of cheap laughs? Try this one.

Movie Review: Gamer

Confession: I generally hate sci-fi/futuristic movies. Actually I usually steer clear of sci-fi and horror. But I made an exception for this movie for one reason and one reason only--Gerard Butler. *sigh* He's my current choice for movie eye candy. That's why this movie showed up in my mailbox last week.

It's a well used plot--criminals from the future can earn their freedom by participating in televised fighting. You survive, you go home. There's a twist to this one, though. The criminals are controlled by regular citizens. They are real life avatars playing in a real life Call of Duty. They use real weapons and lose real limbs. Blood, death and dismemberment abound. Gerard Butler is the most successful so far, having won 28 of the required 30 games to earn freedom. Of course, he's been wrongly convicted and he's got a wife and daughter on the outside to keep him motivated.

There is NOTHING redeeming about this movie, not even the sight of my favorite Scot could save it. Besides the "slayers", as the convicts are called, there are other people acting as avatars in the "Society". Imagine an R-rated version of the Sims and you're getting close to the idea. Fat, lazy, freaky people control these avatars and make them do everything they've ever fantasized about doing. Let me put extra emphasis on the fact that these people are FREAKY. Let's just say dress codes are a good thing and leave it at that.

Take it from me, you do NOT want to go see this movie. You will thank me for it. (*)

Movie Review: Duplicity

This movie seems to have everything. A-list stars? Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Good plot? Two spies who are in love with each other but can't figure out if the other one is playing them or not. It sounds good on paper but really it was a big flop on screen. As I said, they are both spies--Julia for the CIA and Clive for MI6--who quit so they can be together. They plan the scam to top all scams so that they can run away with the money and live happily ever after.

The problem is, the movie keeps jumping back and forth between various past meets and the present without being real clear as to when you're back in the present. I pretty much kept up with the gist of the story but unfortunately the story was incredibly boring. There was a lot of "can she trust him" and "is she or isn't she playing him" that I think was supposed to keep you guessing but I found myself getting sick of the constant back and forth. All I came away with was, "Wow, he needs to find a new girlfriend."

Unless you're just a rabid fan of either one of the actors, I would say skip this one altogether. (**)
Monday, February 22, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

So Much For Superwoman

As a mom, you have to deal with all kinds of gross things. It just comes with the territory. Some of us deal better than others. I have no problem with sick children. I can handle vomit better than many adults. I don't freak out over blood. (That's how I got volunteered to pick the gravel out of my friend's elbow when he wiped out on a motorcycle.) Runny noses? Got it covered. Split your head open? Slap some ice on it and you'll be fine.

But it seems that even us moms, superheroes though we may be, have our weaknesses. I have just discovered my kryptonite. It's a simple loose tooth.

My kids' teeth are as stubborn as they are. They do not come out until they absolutely have to. When a tooth finally does fall out, the new tooth is usually already poking through. So when a tooth is just hanging there as Sassy's was this afternoon, you know it's ready to come out.

Her tooth was literally hanging by a thread, making it next to impossible to eat lunch. I knew all it would take was a simple tug to free it, but I couldn't do it. It made me nauseous just to look at it. So instead, I tried to encourage her to take care of it herself. She wiggled and twisted and tugged but nothing happened. The only thing it accomplished was making my stomach turn. I really thought my insides were staging a revolt for awhile. Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up. But she finally did it. She pulled her own tooth out. It took a little harder tug than she'd been doing but it came out. The only thing I had to do was wash the offending tooth.

Let me just say that I'm grateful that all this occurred before I'd eaten lunch. Is it wrong to wish the whole thing had been as simple as the stomach flu?

Movie Review: The Wolfman

Anytime I can actually see a movie in a theater, I'm excited. But a creature feature on the big screen? Now that's a good time.

Casting Benicio Del Toro as the titular Wolfman was brilliant. He just looks like he has a beast inside of him, waiting to claw its way out. Emily Blunt co-stars as Gwen, his recently deceased brother's fiance, and Anthony Hopkins is perfectly cast as his father.

This movie was good but I felt like it should've been so much better. Del Toro's character, Lawrence, has been living in America and has a mostly Americanized, bland accent. I so wanted to hear him speak with more of a hint of his real accent. I know, it's just a little thing but hearing him speak kept distracting me. I felt like he was a watered down version of what he could have been.

If you're going to see this movie, the plot isn't all that important, but here it is. In trying to find out what happened to his brother, Lawrence encounters the beast that's been terrifying the town and gets bit in the process, turning him into a werewolf. Can Gwen save his soul or is he doomed to be a monster forever?

Got it. Now, let's talk special effects. There was definitely not a shortage of budget when it came to karo syrup blood and fake intestines. Limbs are ripped off with abandon and bodies are used as chew toys. Even knowing what the movie was about, I was a little surprised at the level of gore for pure entertainment's sake. This is NOT a movie for children, despite the disturbing attendance of a five or six year old little girl at the theater.

I have mixed feelings about the actual werewolves. For the most part, they were great. When Lawrence first experienced the change, I thought to myself, "boy, they've come a long way since 'Teen Wolf". But whenever I saw his face, I just kept thinking of the old black and white version with Bela Lugosi. He was almost too...cuddly.

Yes, I'm probably being a bit too particular. I want my creatures to either be very impressive or "B" quality cheese. I don't want them somewhere in the middle. But overall, "The Wolfman" was an entertaining ride, worth seeing on the big screen

Movie Review: Funny People

I am a fan of Adam Sandler. I've been following him since his days on SNL where he was one of my favorites. His movies, however, are hit or miss. Sometimes he's great, sometimes he's a little too crude and infantile for me.

When I got "Funny People", I knew this wasn't a typical Adam Sandler movie. I knew this was one of his attempts at "serious" acting. It co-stars Seth Rogan, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill so I had high hopes. I wasn't disappointed.

The movie is about Adam Sandler's character, George, who is a famous comedian living the high life (big stretch there). Then he finds out he has a rare disease; he's dying. The problem is, George is not a likable person. He sleeps with every woman he can, he's rude, his comedy is crude. He has no one in his life. The love of his life, played by Leslie Mann, left when he cheated on her. He's all alone with his money and mansion and fame.

He sees Seth Rogan's character, Ira, and hires him to write jokes and be his assistant. He's mean to Ira and treats him poorly for the most part but Ira manages to help George have a life again, even as he's dying.

Don't get me wrong, this is no redemption movie. George starts out as unlikable and ends up as slightly less unlikable. But I enjoyed watching Adam Sandler deal with adult situations in a real and honest way. He actually appears grown up. Yes, this movie has comedy but it doesn't hide behind it. It deals with George's life in a way that's so believable for his character. He's just not the type of guy who would pull a Scrooge and turn his whole life around just to have a happy ending.

If you're looking for an Adam Sandler comedy, this isn't it. If you're looking for a grown up movie about honest, sometimes uncomfortable situations, there are worse ways to spend an evening.

A Friend By Any Other Name...

I've just spent the last few days hanging out with my sisters. It's something we only get to do a few times a year because of distance and work schedules. A few days spent with my sisters is a few days of having fun, acting stupid, making a fool of myself and laughing until every muscle aches. Who could ask for more?

It got me thinking about the role they play in my life as not just my sisters, but as friends. Think about the friends you have in your life. I don't mean how many friends or even specific names. I'm talking about what KIND of friends you have. You see, God gives us all kinds of friends to fill all kinds of needs that we may have. I got to thinking about these different types of friends and the role they play in my life.

My sisters fall into one of my favorite friend categories. They belong to the group of friends that I can be loud, rude and completely obnoxious with, as well as inappropriate and embarrassing. This is actually a need that I have to have filled in my life and they are there to help me fill it. This is a great group for me because I can make a complete idiot of myself and they will still hang out with me.

But what other kind of friends do I need? What other types of friends has God provided me?

I have "mom" friends. These are the friends that totally get it when I say that I'm ready to beat my children or shoot my husband. They understand the feeling of loving your child's smile while at the same time wishing you could cover it up with duct tape to prevent hearing the words "mom" or "why" come out of that mouth. We can share our struggles with discipline, bills, housework, meals and marriage and know that we have a sympathetic shoulder to lean on.

I have "young" friends. These are the friends that I love hanging out with because they make me forget that I'm older. We all have kids so we're emotionally the same age, right? If you're a mom with young children, you instantly have something in common with other moms, even those that are younger. We can talk kids, babies and the desire to have more or to shut down that factory forever. We exchange ideas, recipes and hand-me-downs whenever we see each other.

I have "single" friends. These friends are some of the most fun. For me, I see them mostly at church functions but I look forward to them being in attendance. When I'm with them, I feel like I'm in my twenties again. We're silly, goofy, and always funny. Life isn't quite so serious when you don't have a mortgage or dependents.

I have "lifelong" friends. Lifelong friends are few and far between. These rare individuals are some of my closest friends. I may only talk to them once a year or once every few years, but at any time I can call them up and we can pick up our conversation as if no time has passed. There's no need for long explanations because they just get it. They know me.

I also have "peripheral" friends. I think for most of us, this is the category that most of our friends fall under. These friends are always there at the edges of my vision but it's only when I change my focus that I really benefit from that friendship. These are women such as other homeschool moms. I only see them at co-op but they make the day enjoyable and I value their suggestions and support. Most of the women I attend church with fall under this category. Church, bible class, retreats and gatherings just wouldn't be the same without them. I look forward to these events just so I can spend some more time with them. I may not see them often outside of the usual meeting places, but I know I can call on them in the event of an emergency and they will be there, as some of them have already proven.

Friendship is a very flexible thing that changes with the seasons, our situations in life and sometimes even our moods. God puts people in our lives to satisfy all the different needs we may have for companionship, mentoring, acceptance, entertainment and assistance. Some people may fall into different categories at different times. Others may just fill a role for a short period in our life and then be gone forever. Whatever their particular role or purpose in my life, and no matter how much I may neglect them or take them for granted, I am so very grateful that God has placed all these women in my life.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

A Matter of Genetics

I had to talk myself into blogging today. I'm feeling rather lazy as usual. The funny thing is, I usually blog as a way to avoid all the other work I'm supposed to be doing. So how bad am I if I'm getting too lazy to sink into denial and procrastination? I would hate to think I've really sunk that low so...I'm blogging.

Today was a beautiful, sunshiney day. A little on the cool side, perhaps, but just right with a small jacket on. And my children (being that they are, in fact, MY children) had to be forced to go outside and play. They could not be convinced to go outside and enjoy the weather until we threatened them. We told them they couldn't play on the video games until they'd spent some time outside. For every 10 minutes they played outside, they earned 5 minutes of video game time. Even that was only enough to keep Howdy outside for about 10 minutes. It was only after Daddy suggested they play "trampoline dodgeball" that Howdy reluctantly went back out. Nothing will change his mind faster than the thought of inflicting pain on his siblings.

How many children have to be forced to play outside on a sunny day? We just bought the kids a trampoline for Christmas, we have a huge pile of rocks and dirt to dig in and they have little cars and bikes they can ride. Why aren't they begging to go out there and play every day?

Why? Because they are my children. Apparently when they were being knit together in my womb, my DNA got bossy and took over the place, kicking most of Hubby's peaceful DNA out of the way. The compulsion to remain indoors? They got that from me. The insatiable desire for books? That's all me. The angst, worry and stress? Their therapists can reassure them that also came from me. The picky palates? OK, that one can be blamed on the both of us. But the point is, most of these little quirks and odd personality traits can be traced back to yours truly.

Sometimes I actually feel a little sorry for them. Why couldn't they have their dad's love of sports and the coordination required to be good at them? Where is Hubby's laid-back, don't-worry-be-happy attitude? Where is the love of the outdoors? And if they had to favor me, why did they have to inherit my hermit nature and my perfectionist tendencies?

I know a little of Hubby's DNA lurks in each of them, waiting until the Sheri DNA has become lax and unsuspecting. I know it because I see it appear for brief moments before the Sheri DNA beats it back into submission. Knowing my husband's reluctance to rock the boat, I'm not sure his DNA really stands a chance. I can only hope that one day, it will rise up and take over. I'll know that day has come when my children ask me, completely of their own free will, if they can go outside and play in the sun.
Monday, February 15, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Movie Review: Passengers

"Passengers" stars Anne Hathaway as a therapist called in to help survivors of a plane crash deal with what happened. The survivors all have varying reports of what really happened and the airline investigators are not too forthcoming with information. This movie wants to be a tense thriller with its missing passengers, creepy men who keep appearing in the shadows, and annoying barking dog. The problem is it just doesn't make sense. Which I guess is the whole point. They're trying to keep you guessing.

My husband guessed a major plot point way before I did (he has an annoying habit of doing that) but it took me awhile to catch on. When the final twist was revealed and I finally discovered what's really been going on the whole time, I believe my precise reaction was, "Huh." It was a major let down after all this build up of suspense. I'm a big fan of Anne Hathaway but I don't think this movie is worth the price of a rental. I picked it up on loan from the library and free is definitely the only way to watch it. (**)
Sunday, February 14, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Connecting the Dots

I loved today's sermon. Scott preached today about using every moment that we're given to sing the praises of God. When something good happens, we need to make sure that it all points back to Him. "Of course," we answer quickly. That's what we always do.

Is it really?

I went grocery shopping last night. I got in one of the only 3 lines they had with my cart full of groceries and unloaded everything onto the belt. But then I noticed a woman behind me with only 2 items. If I was her, I wouldn't want to wait in that line just for 2 items, so I let her go ahead. Then a man walked up and got in line behind me with only 1 item. Again, I let him go ahead of me. By the time I was done, 3 people had been allowed to cut in front of me in line. I do this all the time, although it's usually just one person. I was being nice and they thanked me. My response? "You're welcome." End of story.

But what if I had answered differently? What if I had said, "God bless your day"? Instead of them walking away thinking, "That was a nice lady", would they have possibly walked away thinking about God? Why didn't I do that? It would've been absolutely painless. And if they didn't like it? Who cares? Chances are I will never see them again in my life. It was on the tip of my tongue as the last gentleman thanked me and I couldn't do it.

I put myself out there all the time. Not as much since I've left high school and college, but on occasion I do embarrassing things. I love it. I'm all for self-induced public humiliation. I've mooned traffic from an overpass; I've performed as a mascot at a school that considered me a giant nerd; I've raced through an airport wearing my pj's, bathrobe, slippers and hair curlers; I've sung karaoke in a Teriyaki bar; I dressed as a clown for my kids' birthday party that was attended by more adults than children. And some of these I would do again (just don't ask which ones).

But mention God? Are you kidding me? What would people think? What would they think of me? What if they thought I was one of those weird Christian-types that was just trying to convert them? What if they got offended? Or uncomfortable? What if I got uncomfortable? What would I do then?

You know what I would do? I would suck it up and get over it. Will it make people uncomfortable? Quite possibly. Guilt does that at times. Will they think I'm weird? Maybe. Will I be uncomfortable? At first, yes. But when did God ever promise us comfort? When did He ever say that we should go and preach the gospel to other Christians who already know what we're talking about and therefore won't take offense? I believe that verse can be found in 1 Procrastinators chapter 1.

We are here to serve Him. Period. What does He want us to do? Tell others about Him. How can we do that if we never say His name? "Oh well, I'm just going to live a faithful life and others will know Him from my example." Great. But how do you explain why you do things the way you do? What are you going to say when they ask you why you are different? And are you different? You should be.

Something great happens at work? "Praise God!"

Enjoying a meal out? Offer blessing right there at the table.

Someone cussed in front of you? Correct them. They probably wouldn't do it in front of the boss or their grandmother so they are more than capable of refraining.

Your kids' friends come over and they use language you don't like or want to watch TV that's not allowed in your house? Tell them no and explain why. There's a good chance they will go home and tell their parents what you said. Perfect. Their parents may not even realize there's anything bad with the shows their kids are watching to begin with.

Sprinkle His name in. Blame all good things on Him. Call on Him during the bad times. Offer up comfort in His name to those who need it, whether they believe in Him or not.

If they reject you, move on. They are rejecting the love of the Father, not you. And if they do publicly, or even privately, reject you--move on. This life is not a contest to see who dies with the most friends. Bottom line? Some people just won't like you. It's a tough pill to swallow. Believe me, I know. But the point is, to make sure that every man, woman and child has heard the name of Jesus. Whether or not they choose to accept it is out of our hands.

When I was in AIM, Rex Boyles used to always say (and I'm paraphrasing here), "If you get doors slammed in your face all day, but one person seeks to know more about God, was it worth it? If you've gone all week with no one responding to your outreach except for one, was it worth it? If you work for months, even years, but you've only saved one soul, was it worth it?" The answer is YES!!

So put yourself out there. Make sure that all the dots on the page connect to Jesus. You may not see the results but you could be planting a seed for someone to come along after you and water. And if all you ever do is plant seeds, is it worth it?

Friday, February 12, 2010 | By: Slacker Mom

Don't Judge Me

I have a confession to make. Lately I've been spending a lot of quality time with 2 men, neither of whom are my husband. I realize that what I'm doing is wrong but I just can't help myself. They are both smooth, enticing and yes, irresistible. CJ is aware that they are in my life but I don't think he knows to what extent.

Anytime I head out to go "grocery shopping", I offer up a fervent wish that I will find them waiting for me. And I do. They're always there, calling to me, tempting me.

When I'm bored, they give me something to do. When I'm stressed, I can take all my worries out on them. When I want to celebrate, they are right there with me, the life of the party. They listen to me without judgment and simply offer up more of themselves.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few downsides. No matter how cautious I may be, they always leave their mark on me. My body just hasn't been the same since I've started spending so much time with them. They've become an addiction for me. I'm afraid nothing short of the loss of my car keys and wallet could keep me from them.

I sneak in a little quality time whenever possible. There are days that I don't even wait until after dinner when I know my husband will be occupied. I admit I've even been known to cozy up with them before lunch.

I know it's not right and I do feel guilty on occasion, but how can something that feels so right be wrong? I won't try to explain how much this relationship means to me. I don't think anyone else would truly understand. Say what you want, but for now, I will continue to indulge in my passion for Ben and Jerry's.

Movie Review: Coraline

If you haven't seen this movie yet, don't. I don't know what I was thinking. Libby picked it out from the library. I had reservations since A) it was from Tim Burton and B) the commercials had seemed a bit creepy. Well, it turns out I was right about the creepy.

The story is about a girl named Coraline who discovers a secret door in her new house that leads to a world where her parents, friends and life are all perfect, not like real life where she's often neglected and doesn't get her way. She likes this new world better than the old one of course.

The problem is that "New Mother" is one scary chick. She's evil and wants to suck out Coraline's soul. I watched this with my kids. I know, big mistake. What possessed me to do that and why didn't I reach over and hit the "stop" button on the remote? I have no idea, but I paid for it when both the boys woke up with nightmares.

This is definately NOT a children's movie despite what the marketing campaign may say. Not only do we have to deal with frightening other mothers, haunted ghost children and missing parents, we also have a neighbor with a size EEE chest who appears in pasties and bikini bottoms. Try explaining that one.

So unless you want to permanently scar your children and even your own psyche, skip this movie. (*)