Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Zombieville Over Here

Or, at least, the adults in the building are sleep-deprived.

It's not been the best of weeks, but going over the reasons why would be wallowing and that wouldn't help either, so here's some forced gratitude for you.

1. Kimberlee Conway Ireton, a dear friend of mine, is blogging about the efforts of the International Justice Mission and Love 146 to end slavery and the sexual exploitation of children. For every comment on her blog posts, she has pledged $.50 and that money has been matched by a group of us so that for every comment, $10.50 will go to each organization. Our goal is $1000.00, so, please, click on her blog, read about our efforts and, pretty please, leave a comment. And join me in praying for the children who have yet to be rescued. Or contribute your own funds towards these excellent causes. Just because I am currently unable to physically join the forces storming brothels in far away lands and rescuing children who are enslaved doesn't mean I cannot make a difference in their lives, with your help, and Kim's, and all of our other readers. So, please, help us. And, Lord Jesus, please hurry the rescuers and make smooth their paths, physically and legally, to save the children you love.

2. I finally graduated from Physical Therapy on Tuesday. My ankle is at about 90% of normal function but, barring additional injury, it should keep healing on its own, especially if I keep up with my exercises. Please pray that I do so. Big thanks to the staff of Strive Physical Therapy in Marlton for their excellent help!

3. I took my mother to the movies last night to see Mirror Mirror and we both really enjoyed it. It was even better than advertised. I highly recommend it. And, only 1 more week until Avengers! I have a babysitter all lined up for next Friday night so Marshall and I will be able to have a nice dinner and see the movie together like normal people.

4. I took Alex to see the doctor on Tuesday and got a great report on his growth. I don't understand how he keeps getting taller without gaining hardly any weight; it must be a boy thing. We will probably need to raise his dose of AD/HD medicine before school starts in the fall, but we should be able to squeak by until then. His teacher told me when I picked him up from school on Tuesday afternoon that he's doing great in his classes and she can't wait to share with us at our IEP meeting on May 8 how much academic progress Alex has made since the start of the year.

5. While my early spring flowers are done (crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths tulips, dogwood), the next wave has started blooming. The roses are blooming, the irises are almost in the height of their glory, the broom should be in full bloom in a few days and the dianthus plants are about to pop open. And the callas and cannas are just starting to push their way out of the earth. I love flowers. I will try to have pictures soon.

6. My dear husband finished his paper on Mass Provisioning in a Heterogeneous Colocated Environment for the Professional IT Community Conference he's attending in a couple of weeks. I read it and liked it, even though my eyes glazed over a couple of times. Ah, life with a geek!

7. The Jerk is back on Simcha's blog with another hilarious movie review. Maybe my blog needs an alter ego.

And here's Jen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thank God It's Friday, Again

1. Thank God It's Friday, Again is the title of an early Farscape episode which takes place on a planet where people's memories are fooled into thinking they only have to work today because tomorrow is a rest day, but they wake up every day with this thought and the rest day never comes. Kind of like Narnia under the White Witch, when it's always winter and never Christmas (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). I feel like this today because my mind is bleary and I'm having some difficulty being reflective. What was it that happened this week again?

And speaking of Farscape, which is one of the best scifi serials ever, did you hear Ben Browder is going to be a guest on the next series of Doctor Who? Series 7 will start broadcasting in the fall, which means, one of these days, my darling husband and I are going to have to finish with series 6. We've only watched through episode 6.

2. One thing I did finish watching this week was "Avengers Assembled" a fan-edit of Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk, Thor & Captain America: The First Avenger. At more than 9 hours, I watched it over 3 nights. I did note a few things:

  • The people at Marvel Studios are good at planning films. All the pieces (however different they may be from the comic history) will fit together for Avengers
  • Don Cheadle is a much better foil for Robert Downey, Jr. than Terrence Howard ever could be. 
  • As funny and charming as Tony Stark is, I like Cappy much better. 
  • Tom Hiddleston is still one of the best things about Thor, but, apparently, Agent Coulson got to have a lot of fun in a bunch of deleted scenes which were part of this edit. 
  • I still prefer Jennifer Connelly as Betty Ross over Liv Tyler. Edward Norton is a much more believable geek, though, than Eric Bana
  • 2 more weeks!
3. Inexplicable, my children have switched from Phineas & Ferb to VeggieTales this week. It makes for a rather abrupt change of tone in the atmosphere around here. Not unwelcome, just surprising.

4. We had Miranda's IEP meeting on Tuesday afternoon and signed off on the plans for next year: the full-day Kindergarten class at Countryside School, which is the farthest school from us (10 miles on pavement) but the class should suit her perfectly. I will meet the teacher next week. We are pleased and very thankful to have such great support from the district, but a little bit sad to be leaving Springville Elementary, where we've been so happy for 6 years.

5. We did have a good week with multiple trips to Sahara Sam's Oasis. Alex and I went for a birthday party on Saturday and then last night Miranda and my mother joined us for our return trip. It was wonderfully un-crowded last night but Miranda was a little overwhelmed by the speed of the larger rides and I was worn out after 2 hours of fun. Also, Alex seems to have become a lot more sensitive to sound; he walked around with his fingers in his ears any time he wasn't in the water. I should have tried to get him some earplugs for our return trip, but I forgot.

6. Alex has been sharing the cold he was fighting last week, with both Marshall and I. It's not a bad one, just annoying, and I've been trying to rest as much as possible to keep it from knocking me flat.

7. I have not been successful every day in doing my PT exercises, but I am doing them a lot more often and have therefore seen better progress for my ankle. But it seems so slow! Ugh.

Jen's taking a break this week.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Can't I Just Post Pictures Like Last Week?

1. This is the last day of Spring Break and I will be so grateful to see the school buses come for my children on Monday. Not the least of which my husband and I just had that discussion again about why the living room has been a complete wreck all week (and I admit I have done little to fix it, probably because we spend so much of the day living in it and cleaning it while the children are home can be an exercise of futility). But I was reminded of this little story that's been floating around the web forever:

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a Cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, 'What happened here today?' She again smiled and answered, 'You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world do I do all day?' 'Yes,' was his incredulous reply. She answered, 'Well, today I didn't do it."

So, I probably could have been better motivated to keep the house cleaner, but all day every day with my kids with a husband working the late schedule, I'm going to give the verdict of "good enough" and move on.

2. So I was back at PT yesterday after 10 days away and the news was not good. The healing process seems to have stopped or started sliding backwards because I haven't been doing my exercises at home. I thought simply going on about my regular life would be enough; I was wrong. So I'm seriously not happy and have no one to blame but myself. Grump, grump, grump....

3. I recently decided that the big bucket of ivy growing in my front flower bed needed to go. We planted it years ago when we needed something to fill the space but ivy is just not very interesting, so on Saturday, I pulled it all out (with Miranda's assistance). Wednesday, I dragged the kids to Home Depot with me after we played at the park and I picked begonias, Alex picked marigolds, and Miranda picked pansies. Here they are:

I also planted more dianthus in my flower bed out back and picked up a few more pots of tulips to add to the front yard, in between the hostas. Next on my list: miraclegro the shrubs, borrow my husband's drill to put in the tree spikes, and then beef up the mulch. I should probably thin the hostas, again, but it's so annoying. Unless, of course, anyone needs a few hosta plants? Anyone, anyone?

4. I would really like to go to the movies tonight. I was supposed to go last week but was too tired; that will likely be true tonight as well, but I can dream, can't I? 21 Jump Street, Lockout, Mirror Mirror, Cabin in the Woods (even though I'm not a fan or horror, but it's Joss Whedon!), or Wrath of the Titans. Dang. Any bored babysitters out there? That drive and read my blog? Not likely.

5. Later this morning I have to drag the kids along with me to finish a list of errands: Alex needs new shoes from Olly, then we need to go to Barnes & Noble to pick out a birthday present for his friend, and then to Staples because we're almost out of paper (and other things). It's pretty rare for me to take them 3 places in a row; I expect bribery will be required to ensure good behavior, at least on Miranda's part.

6. So it's Sahara Sam's week. Alex and I are going tomorrow afternoon for a birthday party and then on Thursday night, Miranda's school is having a fundraising night there so I've bought 4 tickets to attend. I'm taking the kids and either my mother or my husband is going to come with me, I hope. Someone has to come with me. I'm not wasting that 4th ticket.

7. Poor Jen at Conversion Diary has a new scorpion story. Yet another reason to be glad I don't live in Texas. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Longwood Report

1. Jen over at Conversion Diary is taking a break for Good Friday, so I thought I would do an abbreviated post with 7 pictures from my trip to Longwood Gardens last Saturday. It didn't rain on us, but it was grey and chilly; nonetheless, we had a lovely time and the flowers were as beautiful as ever. Below are yellow broom and variegated nasturtiums, above is one of my favorite shots from the orchid room.

2. On Monday, I posted an updated 2012 movie list. I am planning to go to a movie tonight but cannot decide between 21 Jump Street, Mirror Mirror or Wrath of the Titans. Right at this moment, I'm leaning towards Mirror Mirror. Here's some wisteria, opening early in a pot with pansies and daffodils.

3. Tulips are my favorite flowers and I got lots of pictures of them, even though many of them hadn't yet opened. I'm hoping to return to Longwood with my mother in 2 weeks to see more.

4. Stargazer lilies were in my bridal bouquet which began my love affair with them, but I'd never seen double ones before last Saturday. They were gorgeous and smelled heavenly.

5. Here is my mother-in-law, MaryLee, standing in front of one of the stranger plants we saw. It's called a chenille plant and they had them hanging in baskets in several places in the Conservatory.

6. My favorite tulips have a combination of colors, especially these red and yellow ones. So striking.

7. I have never seen jasmine flowers as large as this one and they smelled so sweet!

If you want to see all my pictures from Longwood, they are here.

I am working on a post comparing 3 performances of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing that I hope to post in the next couple of days, but that would depend on how much sleep the children allow me. I have felt groggy all week, without the benefit of allergy medicine. Spring Break started this morning and I already feel behind because of a lack of sleep.

I also finished Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series on Wednesday, reading book 5 in one sitting, non-stop, while my children played and ate around me. I really enjoyed it. Now looking for something new to read.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Movie Update

I think you can see by the poster posted above what movie I am most looking forward to in 2012. (Oh, Joss Whedon, you're my hero!) Although I haven't been watching the trailer over and over again since there have been lots of other trailers to watch. In fact, I'm starting to like trailers better than the actual movies, which just means that the people making trailers are doing their jobs better than actual movie directors. Sad, that.

2012 Movies

January 20
Haywire (I didn't manage to see it in theatres so now I'm waiting for DVD.)
Underworld: Awakening (even though the first one was only mildly entertaining and the second one was so problematic I had to refer to Wikipedia's plot summary to figure out what was happening while I was watching the film on cable, Kate Beckinsale is a lot of fun to watch run around in black leather with double pistols. Maybe on DVD.)
Coriolanus (It never came to NJ. I will have to see it on DVD, dang it, in June. I have already been looking forward to this for months, but then I'm a sucker for Shakespeare anything)
February 10
Safe House (because Ryan Reynolds is just so appealing and I like cotton candy action movies; I still hope to see it in theatres.)
March 9
John Carter (of Mars. It was awesome! You should have seen it. Rumors of its failure were greatly exaggerated.)
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen looks really sweet. Maybe on DVD.
March 16
21 Jump Street got incredible reviews, which makes me curious.
March 30
Wrath of the Titans (even though it seems to have stolen most of its plot from the Percy Jackson novels, it still looks like cool eye candy. I still hope to see it in the theatre.)
Mirror Mirror got really good reviews; now I want to see it.

Films still to come

April 13
Lock Out (awesome trailer; hope the movie is as good)
April 27
Safe (I will probably wait until video, but I'm developing quite a taste for Jason Statham)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits from the makers of Shaun the Sheep, which might make it appropriate for the kids.
May 4
The Avengers (So excited! I'm not watching the trailer every week, like I did with Star Trek, but I still expect it to be my favorite movie of the summer and worth at least one return trip to the theatre.)
May 18
Battleship (I am curious; if the reviews are bad, I'll just go see The Avengers again.)
May 25
Men in Black III - (MIB is my  mother-in-law's favorite movie so she might want to see this, too.)
June 1
Snow White & the Huntsman (I was doubtful until I saw the trailer, which makes it look fascinating.)
June 9
Prometheus (this is the movie Marshall is most looking forward to in the summer of 2012; with a cast that includes Noomi RapaceMichael FassbenderIdris Elba and Logan Marshall-Green and directed by Ridley Scott, it would be hard for this to fail. Possible, but unlikely.)
June 22
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (I'm curious; I'll wait and see what the reviews say.)
Brave (Pixar's new film that we don't know much about yet.)
June 29
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (looks like so much fun! I was one of the few who enjoyed the first film.)
July 6
The Amazing Spider-Man (this picture has transfixed me for months.)
July 20
The Dark Knight Rises (Can Christopher Nolan really finish his trilogy well? Is the Pope Catholic?)
August 3
The Bourne Legacy (Basically, I'll watch Jeremy Renner in just about anything.)
Total Recall (maybe; I like Colin Farrell and am not fond of Paul Verhoeven so I might find this version an improvement, maybe.)
August 17
The Expendables 2 (the first one was amusing; I will probably will see this on video.)
September 14
Argo (sounds interesting, although I have yet to watch any of Affleck's director projects)
September 21
Dredd (Karl Urban is a good actor and I've read enough about the project on Wikipedia to read the reviews and think about seeing it.)
September 28
Looper (comparisons to Moon can only be good.)
November 9
Skyfall (new James Bond; end of story.)
December 7
Les Miserables (love the musical so am curious about the film)
December 14
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (do I have to make any explanation about why I want to see this movie?)

Unannounced Date
Much Ado About Nothing (directed by Joss Whedon, cast includes innumerable old favorites--what's not to like?)

And that's my list, so far.