Monday, September 1, 2014

The Identical -- A Review

Greetings Dear Reader!

After a long bout of online inactivity, I am glad to be back. Though school will be starting in the next week or two and the busyness of life will be in full force.

Recently, I was asked to participate in a prescreening of the movie The Identical starring Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd.  The movie comes out September 5th.  I really enjoyed this movie.  Ashley Judd is a favorite as is Ray Liotta (even though he often plays villains -- hey it's a thing with me, it's hard for me to like an actor when he plays the bad guy so incredibly well).  This is a poignant story of Wade Ryan who is searching for purpose and eventually comes to terms with who he is and who he could have been, had circumstances been different.  It is also a story of forgiveness.  Sometimes in life we do the best we can, knowing that our best sometimes is not good enough for others.

I was impressed with this movie, though, I was a bit confused at first. The movie trailer I saw immediately put me in mind of Elvis as I am sure it was meant to do. Blake Rayne (who plays Drexel Hemsley a secondary character -- and Ray Wade -- the main character) looks like Elvis, sang like Elvis, danced like Elvis and dressed like Elvis.  So, at first, I thought it was a fictionalized retelling of Elvis' life.  I figured there would be creative license involved and was prepared for it. And then, the movie took a bit of a left turn and I thought I must have misunderstood and it was really a what-could-have-been story of Elvis' twin (My understanding is that Elvis was the only surviving twin of his parents).  The story line closely matches what I have heard of Elvis, so I was thrown for a loop.  I was having a hard time reconciling three key factors:  what I knew of Elvis, the title of the film and what I was sure was creative license.

Let me be clearer than the movie trailer I happened to see before watching the film: this is not the story of Elvis.  And evidently, it's also not a movie about what could have been if Elvis' twin survived.  Once I figured that out, I was a bit perturbed that so much of it reflected Elvis' public persona.  In one part of the movie, a character goes on a rant and even mentions Elvis.  I guess this was to reiterate to the audience that the movie was not about Elvis.  Or this was their way of stating a disclaimer.  I dunno.

I also have a minor pet peeve that I must address:  Please, please, PUL-EASE someone, ANYONE give Seth Green a part where he can play a role that does not require him to act as a complete dufus.  I am so tired of seeing Seth Green relegated to idiotic characters.  And I am tired of idiotic characters. I understand the need for comic relief and it's a secondary character that gets pegged for it.  Fine.  But does it have to be a role that reminds us of "Dumb and Dumber" every single time we see a movie nowadays?  We are paying good, hard earned money only to be subjected to the stereotypical druggie/70's hippie.  Many, many people lived through the 70s and were not hippies -- how come the movies always insist that only hippies existed during the 70s?  Annoying.

Now, having said all that: it was a good film. It is a well written, if a teeny bit predictable, story -- but you want it to end the way it does. It is well acted.  I even forgot I was watching my beloved Ashley Judd and was immersed in story right away.  It has catchy tunes -- I even listened to the music playing during the credits.  Partly bc the tunes were good and partly bc I wasn't quite ready to have the movie end.  If I'd been in the theater, I would have been the last patron out and walking backward toward the exit watching the impossibly fast credits roll up the screen.  It's worth the $8.00.  It's definitely worth the matinee price.  And you will want to see it again when it hits the $1 movie theater.

Just sayin'

Counting it all joy,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Why Going "Crazy" Is One of the Best Things Dad Ever Did

When I was a kid and I realized Dad was on his way out the door on his day off, I would ask him where he was going.  His answer, without fail, was, "Going Crazy."

This, of course, was alarming and confusing to my young self.  What could that possibly mean?! He looked perfectly OK.  He was acting perfectly OK -- aside from the mysterious air about him and a half grin that graced his face.

I soon learned that Dad was on his way out to do his own thing and basically have time to himself -- probably because if he didn't he would literally go crazy. Or he was going crazy cooped up in the house, so he needed to get out.  I couldn't possibly understand what (or who) he could be getting away from, but who understands why parents do the things they do anyway?  Not my little eight year old self.

This routine happened weekly.  I could never figure out what was involved with "goin' crazy."  But I know I wanted to go.  I would often ask if I could go.  Usually the answer was, "Not this time."

One day though, much to my amazement and delight, Dad told me to put on my shoes and coat because I was getting to go with him.  I was gonna get to "go crazy" with Dad?!   Didn't have to ask me twice!  I couldn't wait to see what in the world he did when he went "crazy."

He took me to breakfast.  We swung by a second hand shop to check out what was new.  Probably got gas and stopped at the store to pick up dinner fixin's too.

At first, while I loved going out to eat, I was disappointed.  THIS was what he did when he went crazy?  I mean, THAT was it?  That was all he did?!

No sliding boards?  No movie and a popcorn?  No secret agent-like activities requiring binoculars, duct tape or twist ties?!

Um. Evidently, I was under the impression that my dad was McGyver.

After a few times of "goin' crazy," I realized that it wasn't what we did together, but that we were together that mattered.  We talked a lot -- Okay, okay I talked a lot -- in between licking donut icing off of our fingers.  Sometimes we did crossword puzzles while eating bagels and sipping hot chocolate or coffee.  We often found deals at the second hand shop too.

It was during those times together that I learned so much about life's details like when it's OK to turn right on red, why our blood looks blue under our skin, and that dad likes his eggs over medium and his coffee "sweet and blonde."

It was also when I learned about big things like the fact that love isn't the squishy somersaults that your stomach attempts when a cute boy suddenly notices you exist.  It's where I first learned about commitments and keeping vows.

Dad sacrificed his time to spend time with me. It was an amazing way to show me love.  And I cherish each of those times.

When I the kids and I visit my parents, and we see him putting on his coat, he is invariably asked, "Where ya goin', Poppy?"  His answer is always, "Goin' Crazy."

And sometimes he even takes one of us with him.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why I No Longer Hate Snow Days

With the weather doing it's global warming thing and schools all across the US closing this week, it
occurred to me today how different snow days are for me now.

I used to hate snow days.  It meant that the kids stayed home and I had to rearrange MY schedule for the day in order to accommodate them.  I secretly loathed the moms that touted, "Yay!  Snow day!  A day with the kids!"  I mean, what were they smokin'?  Make sure whatever it is stays far away from me!

That is such a lousy, lousy attitude, I know.  It revealed that I was all about me and how I didn't
want to shove the things I wanted to do over to the back burner while I entertained kids all day.  I used the excuse of scaling mountains of laundry, grocery shopping, and meals to plan.

Yada, yada, yada . . .

What was really, I mean REALLY, going on was I wanted to do my own thing -- I called it a "break."  I am not talking about those times when you NEED a break -- a legit break.  We all have them and need to take them from time to time just to keep sane.  But I am talking about being torqued bc I wasn't interested in spending the entire day and then the entire evening with my kids.

They are a lot of work!  And it made me tired!

And they bickered constantly!  And it made me tired!

And wanted things like, well, lunch!  And then dinner just a couple hours after that! (Tiring!)

And to watch tv!  And to play games!  Make blanket tunnels, shaving cream hills and snot bubbles!

And they wanted snacks!  And drinks! Ugh . . . Calgonnnnnnn!

::deep mental breath::

Now things are different.  Oh, they still clamour for lunch, snacks, drinks and to be entertained (to a certain extent).  But it's my attitude that has changed.  My focus.


When Whirling Dervish, my youngest, started school full-time I realized that I only had about five hours each day with my kids: The frenzied hour before school and the frantic gotta-get-homework/showers/dinner-done-before-bedtime hours after school.  At first I couldn't decide what I was going to do with all that wonderful " me time" I was going to have while the kids were gone.


I quickly realized that not only did I only have five hours with my kids, but their teacher had about seven or eight hours with them.

Ugh . . . Whaaaaa?!

Now, my kids had good teachers, but I was shocked.  I was jealous.  I felt anger clawing up from an unexpected pit in my stomach.  It also dawned on me that just about anything could happen to them during the school day and I may or may not find out about it.

Ooooo, boy!  THAT terrified me.  The fact that we moved quite a bit made it hard for us to develop good relationships with the school personnel.  The kids couldn't really develop good friendships that might foster a kind of a safeguard against bullies -- or worse.  With each move it was even more possible that my kids would come across more opportunities for things to go very, very wrong.

This was a big factor in my decision to homeschool.

With that in mind, and a few other reasons, I decided that if I were to homeschool, then I would have to have a MAJOR attitude adjustment.  My focus, Biblically, should be my kids anyway. Here I was going the opposite direction!

I am not saying that adjusting my attitude was easy-peasy.  But with a lot of prayer and support from family, I was able to make the leap.  The leap turned out to be more of a hop, really.

Now, I barely notice when schools are closed unless it's plastered across FaceBook by my non-homeschooling friends.  We just do our usual thing with a healthy dose of sledding, of course.  I get to spend loads and loads of time with my kids -- not all of it is wine and roses.  In fact, some days are filled with whine and "He pulled my hair!"

Do I hold a full time job outside our home?  Have I written that novel?  Ever completely empty the hamper, if for only an evening?  Nope.

Do I care?  Nope.

What I do get are the light bulb moments when The Affectionate One finally remembers 7 X 7, the afternoon cuddles during "God of Wonders" from Netflix, photo ops of hot chocolate mustaches, creating Lego dinosaurs and WWII tanks that go along with our history lessons, and sharing in a ministry with my kids for our church.

These are the things that our new "Snow Days" contain.  I wouldn't give a single moment of it up for The Great American Novel.

Not even close.

And it is so very, very joyful.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hey, dear reader!

I wanted to let you know that you can also find a little more about me on my "journey into healthy living" blog called jubilee's journey.  Hope you will click over and comment.

counting it all joy,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My eHarmony and PayPal Nightmare -- Update

Thought I would give you an update on my eHarmony and PayPal nightmare  (Missed it the first time?  No worries:  get the scoop by clicking here).

eHarm (emphasis on harm)

eHarmony (hereafter to be known as, "eHarm") never did respond to my email inquiry.  Those 10 days they had to respond are long gone.  I was not even given the courtesy of a form letter denial.


Oh, they still expect to be paid.  I will probably be hounded by creditors before long.  Who knows what it will do to my credit rating.  But since I pay cash for everything, I am not one bit worried about a credit rating.

PayPal did, indeed, try a second time to pay eHarm through my bank account.  Thankfully, my bank did as instructed and stopped payment, so I was not charged.  ::sigh::  I love hometown banks!  PayPal sent me a form letter telling me that a second denial resulted in PayPal paying eHarm with the balance I had in my PayPal account.

Thankfully, that account was $0, so no payment was made.  I have no idea what happens should I ever accrue a PayPal balance.  PayPal did come through with their promise of a $25 "bonus" for my troubles.  Bonus?  Yeah, okay, we'll use their terminology.

It has been much harder to give up on PayPal.  I have not made any purchases through them since "the incident," but shopping online has been greatly hampered by not using PayPal.  I am still of two minds about ever using them again, knowing their "hands off" policy and disinterest in educating their workers on how PayPal actually works.

How do I find the joy in this situation?  Hmmm . . . joy . . . I cannot find joy in this situation unless it is to say that at least eHarm is a service I can do without.  And I do have a blog with a few readers left with which to share my experience and warn the unsuspecting.

Counting it all joy,

Verse of the Day