Wednesday, February 18, 2015

In Which I Go To A Movie Theatre

I am not being paid by Disney to do this review, but really I should be.

Mr. DayInTheLife and I took two of our kids to see a movie last night.  We are not movie theatre goers.  So I am proud to say that if this is the only theatre movie we see in all of 2015, we made an excellent choice.

Why Seeing a Pre-Screening of McFarland USA Yesterday Evening With My Family Was The Best Decision I've Made Since Earlier Yesterday When I Ate a Whole Not a Half of a Cinnamon Roll

"McFarland, USA poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -,_USA_poster.jpg#mediaviewer/File:McFarland,_USA_poster.jpg

I encourage you to click the link, but if you are not inclined to do so here is the premise of the movie from The Google: 

Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominantly Latino high-school in California's Central Valley. Coach White and his new students find that they have much to learn about one another, but things begin to change when White realizes the boys' exceptional running ability. More than just physical prowess drives the teens to succeed; their strong family ties, incredible work ethic and commitment to their team all play a factor in forging these novice runners into champions.
1.  The boys' families in the movie are migrant workers.  Nearly all of our kids' grandparents were migrant workers at some point in their lives and just like the families in the movie they worked hard to ensure a better life for their kids.  I am not sure my kids knew what exactly migrant workers were until last night.  Now, they know.  Don't worry, I am not that naïve to think that a Disney portrayal of migrant life would nail it completely, but at least we are further along in the explanation than we were before the movie. 

2.  This movie borders on sappy a few times, but it is a great family movie that, unless you are completely heartless, will have you cheering.

3.  There is no sex, no violence, no drugs, and nothing really of questionable content.  And yet, it tells a pretty amazing story of perseverance in the face of incredible odds.

4.  I am an ex-teacher and I will always have a special place in my heart for teachers.  As rainbows and unicorns as this sounds, I truly believe teachers can change lives for the better.  Of course, there is the flip-side of that coin and I believe whole-heartedly in that, too.  This is a story in which the teacher/coach changes lives for the good.  And, yet (as you will see at the end of the movie when script is run about what happened to all the real life characters) life still happens and just because you are a high school phenomena does not mean you will not still make some poor decisions.

5.  I ran cross country track in high school.  I can't say this brought back any fond memories for me.  I mostly hated cross country track and I wasn't fast.  And, now I think you know I run because I love to eat.  Despite that, I thought about these boys today on my run.  I tried not to because I really hate sentimentality.  But I couldn't help it.  They made me not be so whiny in my head.  Me not whiny?  That's powerful stuff.

This movie made me happy.  It's the right stuff.  It's based on events that really happened that make for a great story.  It's about real people that worked amazingly hard and it paid off for them. 

McFarland USA premieres February 20.  Get yer' butts off the sofa and take some loved ones to see it!  You'll thank me after.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Didn't we do this already?

My kids are freaking me out.

I was at a conference the other day and the speaker said that middle school students and preteens behave a lot like toddlers.  Yes and yesser. 

I made you a list because I can't think about some of these things for too long or I think my head will explode or I will have to sanitize myself head to foot.

1.  Toddlers need their butts wiped.  My teenage/preteen bathroom is constantly out of toilet paperUntil I replace it.  This begs the critical question:  How are they wiping their butts?

2.  Ditto for toothpaste.

3.  Meltdowns.  Toddlers meltdown because you won't let them play with sharp scissors.  My thirteen year old and preteens meltdown because I won't let them see The Interview.

4.  Food issues.  Toddlers just want to eat hot dogs and Polly Pocket accessories.  My teenagers just want to eat carbs and Lindt  chocolates.

5.  Clothing issues.  Toddler girls want to wear the Snow White dress everywhere.  All the time.  If you say no, see #3.  Teenagers and preteens have to do their own laundry and when there is no more underwear instead of doing their laundry see #3.

6.  Which brings me to Clean Up, Clean Up, This is How We Clean Up.  Remember that?  Toddlers hate it.  Usually it's like the Clean Up music cues #3.  Ditto for teenagers.  I tell them to do their chores and it's like I am saying, "Katy Perry is dead.  Now, move on with your lives." 

7.  Toddlers will make you a faithful follower in the religion of Reverse Psychology.  If you say, "Do NOT put that in your mouth," said item will immediately go in their mouth.  I scream to my teens, "TURN THAT MUSIC DOWN RIGHT NOW."  Immediately the volume raises a number.  Your sanity is called into question daily because you want to just say, "Y'know what?  PLAY YOUR MUSIC AT FULL VOLUME AND PRESS YOUR EAR RIGHT TO THE SPEAKER.  YOU WILL NOT BE DEAF IN A MATTER OF SECONDS."

8.  Pushing my buttons.  Scientifically based on my six years raising toddlers, they are born with an instinctive ability to know what will make you plumb crazy and they do it 24/7.  With a smile usually.  Ditto for teenagers/preteens.  Daily I say through gritted teeth, "Do not roll your eyes at me."  Usually this is met with another eye roll (add a smirk).

9.  Toddlers do this thing where they become limp in the grocery store.  Like a cat who has been given a sedative.  Teenagers do that same thing.  Often times in the morning when it's time to get up for school.  Or sometimes when they have to do #6 and they don't go straight to #3.

10.  I'm pretty sure it's based on science that toddlers can melt your heart in less than a nanosecond (and if you are not a rocket scientist, that's pretty damn fast).  Surprise, surprise.  Teenagers can do the same.

Aw!  Happy endings, y'all!  Turns out my teenager and preteens have not made me totally bitter yet.  I still have a heart!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I needed something else to do.

This is my brain on "serious."
Did you see the new badge in my sidebar?  I'm pretty excited about it.  My four kids, three jobs, and one husband have left me with plenty of time (and money) and I was looking for something to do.  Wait.  No.  That's not how it happened.

I was feeling somewhat depressed the other night while I was ignoring the pile of work on my desk and blog reading.  In the hopes that I'd won a Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, I decided to check my email one last time before heading to bed.  Better than a sweepstakes, I had an email from BlogHer about an opportunity to participate in an initiative called #womenslives.  After I did a little research into this project, I thought probably they had mistaken me for someone a bit more influential.  But, no.  I am a woman after all.  And, turns out, my voice matters.

#womenslives is an amazing venture.  SheKnows Media and Public Radio International are partnering to produce in-depth reporting about women and engage communities in discussions.  You can read more about its inception here.

This may seem like a crazy thing for me to want to participate in when my blog is mostly about putting my pants on one leg at a time and trying to cook a meal without the smoke alarm going off. 

Don't worry.  I'm not changing and to prove it I made you a list of why it's not really that crazy.

1.  They want me to contribute to the conversation!?  For once I did not have to complete an eight page application, or have my blood type tested, or hand over my 25 year old GPAs, or write down my ever dwindling income level.  Being a woman is what has qualified me.  How great is that?

2.  I am a quality news junkie.  I am addicted to NPR.  I shush people (mostly my own family) when I am listening to a good show.  Most of my sentences begin like this:  The other day I heard this show on NPR...

3.  Did you know only 24% of news stories are about women?  That's shocking news for a news junkie.  This project affects all women (and men).  If we can change that statistic (and more importantly, people's mindsets) by this initiative - I'm all in.

4.  This affects me.  I've been thinking a lot lately about my life choices.  I had a career and then I left it to raise my family.  Now I am trying to make a Come-back and it's not easy.  In the past six months I think I've read everything the Internet has to offer on How to Re-enter the Work Force After Taking Time Off to Raise Your Family and I can't help but think there's got to be an easier way.  Everything from decent affordable child-care, health-care, and career choices have taken the fore-front in my brain.  To complicate matters - it turns out the successful career I had is not really the one I want now and I'm not sure it was the one I ever really wanted.  I want my girls to be able to do this thing called work and family better than I have and with more support from the community. 

5.  This affects my family.  I have three girls (and one boy that will someday, possibly like a girl?  gah!) who I am trying to raise the best way that I know how.  I try not to, but I worry about all sorts of things when it comes to my girls.  Some days my thoughts hover around:  How will I protect them from date rape? to I hope they make wiser career choices than I did. to I hope they have great affordable child care and wonderful health benefits. to Are they getting the education they need?  Participating in expanding the news coverage on topics that affect women is something I can share with my girls and actually do because worrying is a waste of time.

7.  Sometimes when I hear shows from PRI about women I'm left with a feeling of wanting to discuss this more with someone or I'm left wondering What can I do?  Here's my opportunity and I'm pretty psyched about it.

There you go.  I'm looking forward to the discussions and conversations.  I'll be posting some articles here and over on the Day In The Life Facebook page that I'd like to share with you or better yet, discuss with you.  And I'll be tweeting about it, too.  Grab some coffee or a beer.  Change starts here, right?