Saturday, November 22, 2014

Two Word Movie Review - Mockingjay Part 1

Here are your two words:

Smoldering Embers

In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn't feeling great when I caught the early matinee with The Husband today.  I was kinda tired.  And if we'd been planning to go to any other movie, I would have chosen to stay home.  That's how great I wasn't feeling.
But I'd been looking forward to The MockingJay, so we went.

Also, you should know that I've read the trilogy, and I know how it ends.

And I probably should mention that the third book was my least favorite of the three.

These three things probably play into how I felt pretty blah about a movie I'd been looking forward to seeing.
As The Husband and I left the theater, I said, "All the really good stuff was in the trailers."
Yeah.  It kinda was.

But again, this is from someone who has read the books and knew at every turn what was coming next.
(There was one scene where I leaned over to The Husband and whispered Katniss' next line, word for word, a split second before she said it on the screen.  "Was that in the book?" he whispered back.  I replied, "I don't know.")

When LionsGate announced they were splitting the third Hunger Games book into two movies, a friend of mine predicted where the book would be split.
He was right.
So, even that part wasn't a real surprise for me.

At least twice during the show, I thought to myself, "Geez, this movie is long."
That's never a good thing.

That all being said, the movie was every bit as good as the book.
Considering most of Katniss' angst throughout the series is expressed internally, the scriptwriters and Jennifer Lawrence do a beautiful job of letting us know what Katniss is thinking and feeling.  That's a real trick, and I think they pulled it off spectacularly.

I think if you have not read the books, you will find this movie intriguing.  You may get much more out of it than I did.  It may surprise you more... especially if you didn't spend the last few months watching every movie trailer and clip posted on YouTube.

One more thing...
You need to have seen the previous movies or have read the first two books to understand anything in The Mockingjay Part One.  There is no review.  No one explains to you why Katniss starts out in a hospital. You get no background story at all.
(But here's a quick 3 minute review you can watch ahead of time.)

I think the fourth movie will offer more excitement than this one does.
This one introduces District 13 and sets us up for Part Two.

So, "smoldering embers" it is from me on this one.
Once those embers ignite, then it'll get hot.


P.S. On the way home from the movie, the subject of Katniss' love life came up.  I imagined outloud the exchange between Gail and Katniss after the first (technically the 74th) Hunger Games.

Gail:  Geez, Katniss.  I saw you kissing another guy on TV!
Katniss:  Yeah?  How about seeing 22 other kids trying to kill me?  Didn't that bother you just a little?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chaplain Jane and the Rose Garden Yarn

It had been two years, but the moment I stepped into the hospital lobby, I felt as if I had just been here yesterday.

Dad was in the hospital again.
I walked the familiar halls.  Remembered sitting on that bench before hours waiting for someone to happen by and let me past the locked doors to his room.  Wondered if the cafeteria hamburger would taste as dry today as I remembered it tasting when I ate it alone with a heavy heart two years ago.

I thought about sitting with my brother for eight hours in the family surgery waiting area as Dad had cancer removed from his kidney back then.  It had been expected to be a six-hour operation, and we had received updates from the doctors every two hours right up until the surgery was supposed to have been done.  And then we stopped getting updates.  But no one came to tell us it was over, either.  That was a long wait.
My brother spent the time catching up on some of his paper work; I crocheted a hat. I had purchased the yarn special for this purpose because I suspected I'd have a lot of time to play with it.  I had walked the yarn aisle with my hand outstretched, waiting to find the one that wanted to come with me.  The yarn that called me was named "Rose Garden".  Of course it was.

As my brother and I had sat there wondering why there was no news, a woman approached us and introduced herself as Chaplain Jane, the Lutheran chaplain at the hospital.  She asked how our loved one was doing, offered to pray with us... which we welcomed.
As she stood to leave us, I asked her, "Do you have cancer patients that you minister to here?"
"Oh, I can't talk about other patients."
"The reason I ask..." and I pulled out the hat I had crocheted during Dad's surgery.  I explained that the yarn speaks to me, and that I had no need for a hat myself because this one belonged to someone else.  "I think you will find someone who needs this," I said.
Chaplain Jane tucked the hat into her bag and promised me she would do her best.  I had the impression that she didn't quite understand what was going on, but that she was being polite for my benefit.

 That was the last I saw of the Rose Garden hat.

Dad came out of that surgery with one less kidney, but free of cancer.  He recovered quickly, and went home to a mostly normal life.

This past Monday morning I sat in my Dad's hospital room, relieved that the worst of this most recent ordeal was also working out in his favor.  There was a knock at the door, and a vaguely familiar looking woman let herself in.
She introduced herself as Chaplain Jane.  She told Dad that his pastor had called her and asked her to look in on him.
I said, "I think we met in 2012 when Dad had kidney surgery."
"I might remember you," she said.  "What is your name?"
"I'm Roses."
"Yes, I think so..."
"I gave you a hat."

Chaplain Jane's face lit up.
"Yes, you did!  You asked me to find a recipient.  And I did!"
Again, she regretfully told me she could not discuss other patients with me or tell me anything about the person to whom she gave the Rose Garden hat.  But she spoke with wonder and amazement about presenting the hat and explaining how she had come to have it.
She said, "It was very warmly accepted... to near tears."

Thank you, Chaplain Jane.
More than one person believes you to be an angel.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bug + Shoe = Funny

Me:  Elder Son, I'm a girl.  Can you come kill a bug for me?
He:  Sure.

Moments later he arrives carrying a shoe.
He:  Where is it?
Me:  ::points over there::
He:  Wow, it's a big one.

After a couple thuds of the shoe, he is dumping the carcass into the trash bin.
Me:  Thank you.  I could have done it if I had to, I just didn't want to.
He:  You notice I used Younger Son's shoe.

Me:  ::falls on floor laughing::

Friday, November 07, 2014

Kind of

Sitting down to dinner.
We are serving our meal with the food in the middle of the table still in the pots it was cooked in.
Younger Son lifts a lid to start serving himself, but Elder Son reaches for the serving spoon first and dishes food onto his own plate. 

Younger Son stands there stunned for a moment, then says, "I guess I'm being kind."
I ask, "Kind of what?"
"Kind of stupid, apparently."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Silly stuff my family does.

We are a hugging family. We do it all the time, most often for no reason other than because one of us is simply walking past someone else. 

So, it's nothing special that I reached over and gave Elder Son a squeeze during lunch. 
"Love you," he said.
"Oo," I responded. "That's the most awesome squeaky toy I've ever heard!"

So naturally, I got up and hugged Younger Son. 
He belched. 

I went back and forth several times while the boys came up with different things to say and sounds to make with each squeeze.

Hug:  "Mommy."
Hug:  "Grrr!"
Hug:  "help me!"

 It was the most ridiculous, silly fun. 
Remember, this is a nearly 50-year-old woman and two nearly adult teens. 

The Husband, who had left the room for a moment, came back not knowing anything odd was going on. 

So naturally, I hugged him. 
"Oh, honey," he sighed. 

The boys and I fell over ourselves laughing. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oh, I'm so sorry. That's the wrong answer.

Me:  (whispering) Excuse me.  You have a couple dead flies in your meat case.

She:  Oh, that happens.

Me: ...

She:  Yeah, this isn't my department.

Me:  Maybe you could tell someone, then.

She:  Oh, yeah.  I will.

Oh, yeah.  I believe you.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Parenting Advice - Why?

The Husband and I had agreed long before we had children that we both thought it would be important when raising children that we explain why we ask our children to do things.

Most of the time, we've done that very well.
I'm pretty frickin' proud that we've never, ever had to answer the question, "Why?" with "Because I said so."

It's not to say that the boys have consistently done what we've asked, but we've found we don't have to "nag" them about things we've explained as often as when we fail to give a good reason.

 Case in point:
The boys have the run of the basement.  As long as they keep it clean, we don't care if they eat pizza, drink soda, and entertain their friends down there every day.
The boys are good about picking up food, paper plates, and recyclables.  However, all of these things get crammed into the trash basket downstairs... and stay there.

You would think that after the basket got full, someone would empty it into the garbage can in the garage.  But no.  That's grown-up thinking, not kid thinking.
Grown-ups think, "That's going to start to smell bad and attract critters."
Kids think, "I wonder how big I can make this pile before it falls over," and "It'll be cool to gross out the guys if this starts to stink!"

The other day while doing laundry, I passed the overfilled trash basket.  It was stacked so high with teenage snack waste that it looked like a picture in a Dr. Seuss book.  (In all fairness, it was an impressive show of balancing skill.)

I know I had mentioned to both boys that they had needed to take the trash out, and one or the other had replied, "Yeah. I know."
But, there it still stood.

So, the next time I saw Younger Son (who hosts the most friends), I asked him again to empty the trash downstairs. 
This time I worded it differently:
"You'll want to empty the trash before mice decide to move in downstairs."

The trash was gone in minutes.
And I'm pretty sure the next time the basket gets full, he'll think about mice climbing in it, and he'll empty it right away without further prompting.

Parenting high five!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

De boys... Dey gives me prouds

Elder Son, after pulling an all-nighter gaming with friends, came home at 2pm... and washed the dishes... before falling asleep on the couch. 

No one asked him to do the dishes. 
What a good kid. 


Younger Son also did a good deed for one of his friends. Details are not mine to share, but he was a stand up guy regarding his friend's privacy and reputation. 
I'd like to say I taught him that, but in all honesty, I told him he has shown more respect for his friend's privacy than I have shown for my own friends. 
What a good kid. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Looking, but not looking.

She:  I need a new job. 

Me:  I'll keep an eye out for you. 

She:  I hate my job. 
Me:  What else would you like to do?
She:  I don't know. Anything. 

She:  I've had job interviews, but everyone is being weird. 
Me:  Weird, how?
She:  I don't know. 

She:  My office is going out of business and is closing its doors next week. 
Me: Here's a job that just opened and the name of my friend who is in charge of hiring. I can put in a good word for you. 
She:  Actually, I was looking forward to not working and sleeping in for a while. 
Me:  ... 

And that's how you never get a job. 

Monday, October 13, 2014


The worst thing about being sad for no reason is that your brain will fill in reasons to be sad. 

Stupid brain.