Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hunger Games: Did This Happen To You?

 When the theater ushers opened the doors,  it was like watching Walmart shoppers on Black Friday. Bumped and jostled, with popcorn and a drink in hand,  we made our way to our seats.  Parents and kids were trampling one another to get a good seat.  That was the first disturbing thing.  I have an in-law that likes to use that term liberally.  "How was the trip to the store?" He would answer with a sound resembling  the old Buick my parents had.  He stopped, started and then he would say,"It was very disturbing."  His forlorn tone would immediately evoke, "OHHHH! Why?"  From there he would go into an in-depth synopsis of why someone's behavior, or lack there of,  was disturbing.  Interesting...

On the screen are the endless previews.  I hear screams coming from all around me.  Mainly from girls.  I know, go figure.  They can't wait.  The movie starts and the screams in stereo come full circle.  Between this, the  50 X 100 screen, and the increasing volume of the previews it was a little too much.  That's about when the Blair Witch like recording began.  

Jerky camera moves, greasy popcorn and I do not make a good combination.  Then the plot begins to unfold.  If you haven't seen the movie or read the book don't worry.  I won't give too much away.

 It wasn't that clear to me if it was the present day or future.  It looked like Coal Miners Daughter meets Alice in Wonderland.  Basically, in this particular place areas are divided up into districts. Kind of like counties.  In this state, for lack of a term that adequately describes the area as a whole, there is a lottery.  The lottery is for ages 12-18.  Parents bring their kids to this outdoor arena and the ruler of the state draws names from a glass jar.  She draws 24 names total, 12 girls and 12 boys.  

After drawing the names she says, "May the odds be ever in your favor."  The children are then taken to a remote, jungle like, area.  They are visibly scared, not really knowing what to do but they know what they must do.  Out of 24 only 1 can come home.  The 24 children fight to the death. The clock ticks and each time a killing happens everyone knows it, including the parents.  The killings are basically Skyped to everyone.

Before agreeing to take my middle schooler to see the movie, I did know what the premise of the movie was.  I knew but until it was right in front of me it didn't hit me.  

It took 3 days before I began to feel better.  My stomach was upset.  It was so upset I couldn't eat a lot.  I was literally sick to my stomach.  Maybe it was because I couldn't stomach what I was seeing.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunger Games: I'm Not Hungry Anymore

Well I'm not as hungry as I used to be after last Friday evening.  Hard to believe it's almost been a week ago.  I'm still feeling it.  I'm trying to look at the bright side of what happened.

So my daughter's friends were very excited about going to see a movie.  Most of her friends had read all of the books.  Her best friends had even bought the clothing.  All of their hair is now like "her" hair.  Can you guess the movie?  Yes, The Hunger Games.

When these books first came out, the only reason I knew anything about the first book was my involvement in book fairs.  I coordinate book fairs for elementary and middle school.  This book was one of those books heavily promoted.  All the kids loved it.  I, at the time, had only briefly read the back cover.  At the warehouse sale I picked up all three because kids were falling in love with them.  

This was awesome news for me.   I have a son who, at the time, was required to read a certain amount of books during the school year.  I knew that he wasn't anywhere close to his goal of  25.  How did I know,  you ask?  Since I coordinate book fairs, I am close with the Media Specialist.  The Media Specialist, in conjunction with his reading teacher, knows what he has read.  It's good to be involved.

Every kid, okay every kid from 10-15,  was raving about the book.  Parents were letting me know that their nonreader blew through the books.  Blew through the books! YES!  OMG, it is so difficult to find something for my son to read so this was a no-brainer. 

I bought the books, brought them home and proudly laid them on his bed.  He comes home from school and I say, "I bought you something today. I laid it on your bed."  His eyes lit up a little too quickly.  Maybe I shouldn't have been so enthusiastic.  

He looked at the back cover and said, "No."  I said in one breath, "What do you mean? All the kids love these books!"  "Just try to read it!"  He replied by saying nothing.  The book just sat at the end of the bed until he put then on the bookshelves in the living room.  Oh well, I tried.  I'm always trying.

His sister found out about the books after her friend talked about how good they were.  She couldn't put the book down.  In a short amount of time she had blown through all of the books.  I was impressed.  She was a nonreader just like my son.  She couldn't get enough of these books.  For Christmas she was given the last of the series along with a "Hunger Games" t-shirt.  Her sister, the reader of the two, followed suit.  

Both talked to my daughter.  They also talked to another friend.  They were all pretty intoxicated with the characters just by discussion, not because all of them had read the books.  It was kind of cute.  It was kind of cute until the movie started.

The other moms and I decided to go out to dinner before the movie.  The timing was a bit tricking.  We agreed on 5:30 @ Zaxby's.  Zaxby's would be quick.  Apparently there would be a tremendous waiting period.  WHAT!  I had already purchased the tickets.  Actually WE had already purchased the tickets AND picked them up.  One of the friends knows about the chaos and frenzy associated with the release of movies that have this much of a following.  We arrived a hour and a half before the movie started.  There were people already lined up outside of theater.  Already outside of the theater!  No, seriously.  I'm not talking about he people standing in line to purchase the tickets. This was the line INSIDE of the the theater.  We were already 6 deep on both sides of the doors leading into the actual theater.  It was CRAZY!

This will have to be continued...

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Fine Art of Complaining

Ginger is soon to be 7
I've been inspired, by another blogger,  to write about the fine art of complaining.  Their story was a bit technical in nature but basically said complaining isn't good for you.  Just in case you are interested here is the link,
 Their entry has very legitimate points.  Here are a few glowing reviews of those points from my perspective.

Ruffles is the old man of the bunch at 10 or 11
Okay, first of all the only members of my household that don't complain are my dogs.  My older dogs that is.   The puppy still complains in her own way.  She's in her kennel now because I really have things to do, like write.  I can't write and chase, retrieve things from a puppy mouth, keep her from eating the sofa as well as protect my older dog from her puppy teeth. Take a look at her picture. She looks scary but really isn't possessed and she doesn't have cataracts.  I'm still learning how to take a picture.  I'm 45.  You would think I would have an understanding of the basics of photography by now. 
Bella is the devil puppy.  She'll be 7 months old soon.

As I'm writing,  the whimpering and whining, while she is in her kennel,  is almost unbearable.  It reminds me of when my kids were babies and felt they were being tortured (restricted) while in their crib, carseat or Exersaucer.  In particular, my daughter.  No, we didn't put her in a kennel. Although...  Her Exersaucer was kind of like a portable kennel.  It allowed me to shower occasionally. 

When she was an infant/toddler/preteen she wanted to be with me all of the time.  I'm not complaining, only stating a fact.  I'm a stay-at-home mom.  This truly means that she could be with me 24/7.  Now that she's in school that is a little harder for her to do. When she was a toddler, her room at night was like a jail and her crib was her cell.  Very fitting because she was also an escape artist.  Many a morning I would find her next to me. I'm not complaining!

 As the article in Pure Women's Fitness stated, complaining is not healthy for anyone. The more people you complain to, the more people are fed and the more the complaining continues at an alarming rate.
As the years have flown by the whining, huffs and puffs, sighs, moans and groans, head thrusts, head banging, feet stomping, and verbal assaults continue.  It isn't all of the time.  Usually when one member of the family isn't complaining the other one is. When it's at it's best,  complaining is like a chess game.  

If I do/say _____  I hope they will notice and do ______. 

My husband and I started the game of hidden complaints.  We are filtering what we say but figure out other ways to get our complaint across.  It looks like my son will finish it with a combo of implied discontent and in your face verbiage.  He's working on his filter. When my husband and I complain we would probably say that we aren't complaining.  We are only stating a fact.  

On the subject of dinner-

My son...

                                Son: "Mom, what are we having for dinner?"
                                 Me: "Baked chicken, asparagus and a salad."
                                Son: "Please don't tell me it's crock pot chicken.Crock pot chicken is completely disgusting.  It makes me want to throw up.  Okay, now I can't eat dinner."

My husband...

                         Husband: "What's for dinner?" (I sense in his tone, and the pleading in his eyes,  he's hoping I'll suggest going out for Mexican)
                                 Me: "Baked chicken, asparagus and a salad."
                         Husband: "Ohhh"  

Now how motivated do you think I am to come up with something other than microwave quick or take out? Not that I'm complaining or anything. What are some of your complaints?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is It Just Me?

Yes!! I did it!  Always knew I could.
I know it's all a part of the journey but ... don't you wish at times you could pick out the frustrating lessons of life and recycle them.  Why not give them to more worthy individuals? If everyone would just behave and do what they are supposed to do we wouldn't have these problems.  We wouldn't need jails. No really?!!  Why should someone else's shortcomings fall on my family's shoulders.  Let me breakdown the recent weight of the world.

First there is school.  Both my daughter's and son's schools have a problem with communication.  Let me begin by saying I like my daughter's and son's schools. I like the administration and I like the teachers.  They all seem to be personable and nice enough.  Personable and nice enough in person.

 Generally speaking, it seems as if my daughter's and son's needs are being met.  She really doesn't have many needs aside from a little extra help in reading.  She manages to always stay motivated, even when things were not going so well.  They weren't going so well last year and the year before.  Teachers couldn't offer up any other options to increase her comprehension.  At the school she is at now, they have other options. This is awesome! 

What she doesn't lack, some of her teachers do.   Motivation is a problem for some of her teachers.  You can throw some of my son's teachers in there as well.  These teachers do not seem to be motivated in the area of communication.  That is, responding to communication from me.  I'm a little disturbed by this.  I need clarification and I need it pronto.  I don't know how long the "issue" has been going on so I need for the teachers to respond to my questions/statements within a reasonable amount of time.  I'm usually good with a few days.  I understand they are not just waiting for me to email them so that they can respond.  They have a thousand and one things to do.  Well, so do I!  Communication with the parents should come in second, right behind teaching.  If a teacher doesn't communicate what is going on,  then parent doesn't know.  If it's a parent like me they will either assume the worst or just want clarification so they don't assume the worst.  If they need to they try another route to get what they need.  What I need are answers.

Award's Day
 Comprehension isn't my daughter's strong suit.  If there is a comprehension  "issue" it needs to be addressed in a timely matter because the class will move onto the next standard or subject.  How will negating my email  help my daughter who struggles with comprehension?  It puts her behind the 8 ball.  She will be left behind which will leave her frustrated and eventually less motivated.

This Certificate of Achievement Is Stupid
My son has motivation issues himself but he is a freshman in high school.  He is not an adult nor a teacher.  He claims his "issues" are that he needs to be in all advanced classes.  "The classes are too easy and I get bored.  I don't hand things in when I should or do them when I should because I don't care.  I am bored."  Really.  Wow!  My response was, "Sorry, you have to do the work or you'll end up being 30 and working at Dairy Queen.  If that is your goal in life so be it.  That is your choice." At least I know where he sits with all of this.  

Emails to his teachers are to voice concern so that maybe they can talk to him.  They might be able to say something that will snap him out of it.  I can always pray for that lightbulb moment. The switch can't be flipped on if there is no switch.  I'm not getting anywhere when I email some of his teachers because they aren't motivated enough to respond.

What Just Happened
SOOO Close!
Moving on to sports.  Both of my kids have always played sports.  They need an outside activity.  We live in the burbs and it's either a playing a musical instrument or sports.  Sports it is!  

They have played all types of sports.  Currently, I coordinate games for my son's high school team.  I am in touch with the coaches in the league to figure out who we should play and when.  The less experienced teams we should play first.  This makes the most sense because many of our kids are new to the sport.  We need time to develop our team and we can only do that by playing not by getting creamed.  

When I first started speaking with the coaches, to schedule games,  I thought they were being honest.  I believed them when they said 1/2 of their team is new to the sport and 1/2 of their team have some experience.  This hasn't proved to be correct yet.  I know. I know.   Honestly,  I think I'm a little too naive.  Why would a coach lie to me though? I didn't lie to them.   Why would a coach say their team and our team would be evenly matched when they know that isn't the case?  Are they in it for the win?  Looks like it to me.  What is this teaching the kids?  What is this teaching adults?  Domination is a good thing.  That's just life.  Winning is the most important thing.  Do whatever it takes to win because that is the name of the game.

Nice, huh?? Okay, I need a glass of wine. It after 4:00 pm somewhere.  What's wrong with a glass or two after 12?

Is it just me?

Are You Talkin' To ME!!