March 2008

Monthly Archive

I am Legend

Posted by on 29 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: musings, review, Uncategorized

We got the movie, I Am Legend, from Netflix yesterday and watched it in the evening (we missed seeing it in the theaters). It was really good, but I might give it more than a PG-13 rating, just because it is somewhat disturbing. It was NOT a movie for young kids, for the faint-of-heart, for those who tend toward apocalyptic thinking, or anyone who is disturbed by macabre, sad things.

People die in this movie. Animals die. There is violence, there is some “choice” language, there is a host of disturbing images. There is no sex or nudity which catches the attention of the censors.  Personally I find the violence less easily dismissed than an occasional glimpse of skin.

I don’t think it’s more violent than (for example) The Matrix (which was rated R and had brief nudity and sexual content), but I think it has a more immediate, urgent sense of danger, a more personal unease it engenders. This one is in great part about relationships, sanity and the ability of humanity to destroy itself. A film with a similar sense of the fine balance between sanity and insanity that comes from the isolation of being the only one left is The Good Earth, which is also available from Netflix. The Good Earth is not for kids or teens of any age… by the way. Much too intense in my opinion.

By the way, some (or most?) of these movies may be available from other services, but the only one I know of is Netflix. We use it, we like it.

Moving right along, before watching this movie, we had the children watch the precursors, on which this movie is based: The Last Man on Earth (Vincent Price) and Omega Man (Charlton Heston). The new movie incorporated the best parts of the previous movies, and added some more modern touches to give it a reality that was missing (I thought) in the others. Perhaps at the time, the earlier movies had similar effect. By having them watch the earlier ones, which were less realistic, they were hopefully more prepared for some of the sadder portions.

Finally, I have enjoyed watching Will Smith develop as an actor over the years.  His comedic timing comes into play in this movie in unexpected ways, breaking up the intensity to make it just (barely, for me) tolerable.  At the same time, he carries himself with dignity and a fair amount of weight as the potential savior of the world, aware of his importance and mission.  Without his impeccable performance, I believe the movie would have been overly dark, and less believable.

I think if you are a fan of Will Smith, this movie will please you.  If you like dark, action-packed, apocalyptic movies, it might seem a bit tame, but it has enough content to entertain.

For older teens (or mature younger teens with parental presence and discussion) and up.

I revised this on 30 March 2008 to clarify and add details.

Spring? I don’t think so!

Posted by on 27 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: garden, Gardens and Life, Uncategorized, weather

And if you look at the expression on this little statue’s face, SHE doesn’t think so either!

flower girl statue in the snow

This was taken this morning!

Critter Central

Posted by on 27 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: critters, friends, fun, Uncategorized

In addition to the eight muddy paws and small avian resident in our home, for the next week we are hosting a bearded dragon (lizard), several mice, and two degus. In order, here are pictures.

Bearded dragon

Mice huddled under their ladder

two degus hiding under the exercise wheel

Finally, a new permanent resident. The elder stidkid had been asking for a turtle since we moved here 8 years ago. When his former science teacher needed a home for a soft-shelled turtle…

Here he is, as-yet unnamed:

turtle resting at the front of the aquarium

So if I complain about things being a bit crowded for a while…

A kindness

Posted by on 20 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, Making a Difference, musings, Uncategorized

I did something the other day that helped someone out a little bit.  And in response…

white tulips in a blue planter, a bright spot in my garden on a gray day

It was not expected, but it is MUCH appreciated!  I love how the color of the blue pot matches the patina on the candle-lantern behind it.

When the tulips stop blooming, I will put them in the front garden under or near the medlar tree so I can enjoy them for many years to come.  Thanks, K.L. for your kindness to me.

SPRING!!!! (spring spring spring)

Posted by on 19 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: garden, Gardens and Life, good things, Uncategorized

I love spring.  I love all the seasons, actually, but spring has so much in it!!!  Birds, flowers, trees, sunshine.  Yesterday I saw a hummingbird sipping from the redflowering currant in the back…  this one in fact:

the red flowering currant peeks from behind the generator's cover.

I walked in the garden when I got home this afternoon…  at about 10:30 this evening it will officially be Spring.  And I wanted to see what will greet me when I awake on the first full day of Spring.

And in the cedar grove (which is just to the right of the edge of the above picture…):

two trillium peeking out from behind deer ferns

And in a different part of the grove…

a

And then, I walked around to the front and admired the bed next to the front door.  It’s a bit sparse this year, many of the daffodils didn’t show up.  The interesting yellow shrub is a lingonberry.

the front garden showcases the pink hyacinths and daffodils

So, Spring is here in this small corner of the world.

Happy Days!

This is interesting… ~a site that rates blogs

Posted by on 14 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: stidmama, Uncategorized

I can’t remember how I came across this website, blogged.com, but I visited it yesterday, entered this site in and within a day they had given me a pretty good rating! You can surf away from the page that highlights my blog to look at entire categories, rated and ranked.

I am in the “Stay at Home Mom” category, though there are probably several I might have easily fit into, with my eclectic tastes.

Below is the official rating scale… perhaps in future I will see what I can do to improve my blog. In the meantime, I will keep on with what obviously works…


Rate this Blog at Blogged

For comparison, here is a blog that received the highest possible rating, TechCrunch, and one that appeals to me just on the basis of being a subject I enjoy (rating 9.3) – This Garden is Illegal.

Finally, the worst blog they ranked that I could find… 4.8: Haute Talk. Perhaps it’s just too pink for them? Or just not updated recently…

Flowers I Didn’t Have to Grow

Posted by on 11 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

This are from my darling Tom, for our 17th wedding anniversary last weekend.

red carnations and alstroemerias brighten the kitchen counter

Block Printing

Posted by on 10 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: art, Art Museums and Galleries, children, education, good things, Uncategorized

On March 1, the day we did our big museum day, we also made block prints — my mother, the children and I. I don’t have Mother’s block or print to scan, but here are the boys’ and mine. They are actually all the same size, but to fit the horizontal one on the page I had to shrink it a lot.  You can see a high level of detail and thought went into these! On mine, the print made on yellow paper was the second state — I cleaned it up and added my initials for it.

Elder Stidkid's work -- our pets

younger stidkid's print -- a forest, trunks and limbs

my print -- and two pulls, first and second state to show how I changed it

I hope that, decades from now, the children will look back on this last March 1 as one of the more pleasant and interesting days of their lives — I hope that they will always be able to enjoy visual, literary and musical arts and share them with people they love.

I wish that our society’s current emphasis on “basic education” would not reduce children’s exposure to these arts. In contemplating art (music and visual), the entire brain is engaged. Shape, proportion, the way parts relate and inter-relate. All of these (and more) are essential skills for an educated person. Truly educated people, people who think, need all of these ideas, all of these ways of looking at life and its complex problems.

If we teach our children merely to read and write passably, to calculate and compute, even to research, but we do not teach them to question, to enjoy or to create…

then they not only won’t be able to compete on the world stage —

their very existence won’t hold much meaning.

International Women’s Day

Posted by on 08 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: editorial, Making a Difference, parenting, Peace Making, Politics and War, poverty, social justice, Uncategorized

Happy International Women’s Day!Women make up approximately half of the world’s population.

Every person in the world has a biological mother with whom they were connected for at least 9 months.

Women are often the primary tradition-carriers in a culture — they prepare the traditional foods, teach the children when they are young to follow the social customs, and serve as teachers, doctors, political leaders, and many other important occupations as well.

And some women are inspirations for the rest of us: my friend Liz Elmont is off on a walk through the Dead Sea area to raise money for Dogs for the Disabled.

Here’s to the women of the world!

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Signs and Portents

Posted by on 07 Mar 2008 | Tagged as: environment, musings, Politics and War, poverty, Uncategorized, weather

Okay, this starts out a little silly, but here are some headlines that caught my attention this last week…

Let’s start with a “sexapus” — a six-legged cephalopod (its parents and siblings are presumably octopi).

And then there are the avalanches — on Mars, in addition to the ones that have plagued the local mountain passes in the last couple months.

Not to forget, the white orca found in the ocean off Alaska, presumably not from one of the local Puget Sound pods.

Unusual, maybe alarming when juxtaposed with the information we have about Life, the Universe, and Everything (thanks to Douglas Adams). Things are falling apart everywhere, even in places most of us never go! [If you have been to Mars, please contact me, I would like to interview you.]

Do we see what we want to see? Do we see what’s important? Do we see only what we are expecting?

Speaking with one of the children earlier this week (yesterday, actually), I reminded him that a scientist has to be careful about how the questions are phrased. The question determines how the experiment or investigation is set up — carefully controlling for some variables, you might forget about others — or include some that really don’t answer what you are asking. It’s sort of the old concept that the very act of watching changes what happens…

I am trying to keep perspective. There have been hard times in my nation, on my continent, among my ancestors of various cultures, in the world as a whole.

Diseases, even devastating epidemics, have run rampant as long as there have been “critters.”

Economic problems have existed as long as there have been droughts, floods and storms (frequently in the history of our young, active planet).

Fighting among members of our species has been one of the constants in every mythology, every historical record, and many if not most schoolyards. We seem to naturally exclude or attack people who are different, whether they are stronger or weaker than us.

It can seem that today, right now, things are worse than ever before. The wars are more brutal, the illnesses more untreatable, the weather less predictable or helpful… but it we stop and take a look back across the years, decades, generations, we see that all these things ebb and flow.

Economically, it appears we are headed for significant “ebb” and weather-wise there is a bit more “flow” than most of us like.

Current conflicts around the world seem to escalate and drag on without rhyme or reason.

But think for a minute: these things have happened before. I am, we all are, the product of a long heritage of survival. Somehow, our grandparents and other ancestors weathered tough times. We will, too. We can live with less, with determination, we will be fine.

Not sure if there can be a conclusion to musings like these… just trying to stay as positive as I can and remembering that change often leads to growth, even if it is uncomfortable.

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