Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yes, I Used to Work At Blockbuster

A chilly Spring Break means movie time at the See house.

I thought I’d share with you some older movies we have enjoyed that may be off your radar. Because movie ratings have changed over the years, I’ve noticed that some older PG movies have bad language in them, so I would strongly suggest reading movie reviews from a site like Movie Mom before choosing for your family.

I have found that putting up with a few damns and hells has given us the chance to see movies with much better plots than some of the crapola being made right now (you know—all parents are idiots, the only things kids care about are dating and clothes-- basically anything on Nick or Disney Channel). It’s nice to find movies that I want to watch with the kids.

Once again, please check out movie reviews first. I mean, how many of us were scared to death by POLTERGEIST (1982)? That had a PG rating!

So, like us, you’ve probably enjoyed revisiting the “Free Willy” movies and “E.T.” Here are some other family movies we have enjoyed.

“The Rookie” (2002) Dennis Quaid, baseball coach and dad, gets a second chance at pro baseball.

“A Little Princess” (1995) Gorgeous version of Frances Hodgsen Burnett’s classic.

“Miracle” (2004) Kurt Russell plays the coach of the victorious 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team. Note: Hockey language included.

“Dreamer” (2005) Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, save an injured racehorse and mend their relationship.

“Fly Away Home” (1996) A girl saves a flock of geese by guiding them south and develops a strong relationship with her father.

“Believe in Me” (2006) Small town doesn’t believe in girls’ sports. Cutie-pie actor from “Burn Notice” plays their inspiring coach. Note: Rough language, and teen pregnancy alert!

All the “Shiloh” movies.
And you may remember

"My Dog Skip." I loved it, but the implied elderly doggie death at the very end sent Molly into hysterics.

What older family movies do you like?

Monday, March 29, 2010

We'll Miss You

A friend died two weeks ago. Because she confided in me a little bit, I knew she was sick, but I didn’t realize she was sick-sick. My friend was funny and serious, playful and stern. Her laugh, once she got rolling, was infectious. When we went to meetings together, she asked the hard questions. She was fun to sit next to, and we liked making snarky comments with each other. She was so involved in our church I wondered how she made it all work, with a full-time job, a family, and so many other commitments.

Because our church community is large, it wasn’t that hard for her to keep her illness quiet. With 3 different Sunday services, and people coming and going in our busy metropolitan area, you can go weeks or months without bumping into people. While this is NOT conducive to a caring, nurturing environment, it helped my friend stay under the radar her last few months on earth.

On a Wednesday, I found out she was going into Hospice care. On Thursday I learned she was already gone.

I’ve been thinking about my friend, and the way she handled her illness and death. A few months ago, when she shared with me, but told me not to tell anyone, she explained, “I don’t want people to see me as a sick person. I don’t want that to define my interactions with them.” I got it. I respected it. My friend lived and died on her own terms. It was so… HER.

My own mother, who died at age 46, didn’t know she was sick-sick. She had a ton of friends and well-wishers who wanted to visit her in the hospital while she was undergoing tests. She could have easily been overwhelmed with visitors, but instead she opted for a no-visitor policy.

Did she not want to be seen in a vulnerable state, teeth unbrushed, hanging out of a skimpy hospital gown? Was she afraid of being worn out? Maybe. But really, there was one nosy friend who volunteered at the hospital, and Mom thought it was important enough for her health and well being, to exclude ALL visitors rather than have this one woman poking her head in and out. This was in the ‘80’s, and I don’t know what we called “friends” like that then, but I believe now we call them “Frenemies.”

While I understood and respected my mom’s choice, and my friend’s as well, I’ve been witnessing the aftermath in our church community. There is a lot of shock. And pain. People wished they had known and could have sent cards. They wish they could have supported my friend’s husband and kids with meals. They wanted the chance to pray.

Reaching out to those in hardship helps those in need, but it helps the friends too. Doing something tangible may not change the end results in an illness, but it can make it feel as if we are coming alongside a friend on her final journey.

Christians are called to be Christ’s hands and feet on this earth. We are called to DO for others in need. Sometimes we answer the call, sometimes we fail miserably,
and sometimes we aren’t given the chance. I believe my friend handled her death in a way that was right for her. No sappy sentiments, no hand wringing, no goodbyes.

I just hope she knows how much she was loved.

P.S. For those of you who are dealing with the end of life of a loved one, I recommend a book I read recently. A Sacred Walk by Donna Authers.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Random Friday Round-Up

So, in an effort to prove my life isn't solely defined by craptastic meat-buying binges, I thought I'd share a few highlights of the week.

Here's a pic of the meat; not a highlight, but definitely notable:

We continued on in the No Cavity Club. Molly is excited. Jake is concerned. He wants to voluntarily drop out, despite his excellent oral hygiene, because he thinks it's just "too stressful" waiting to find out if he has a cavity.

We moved from Cub Scouts (5 years of it!) to Boy Scouts. During the ceremony, when Jake pinned a gold pin on my shirt to thank me for all I had done to help him, I knew I didn't deserve it. Thanks, Tom, for pulling him through. I'm glad you know how to tie a knot.

Jake successfully lobbied his friends and relatives to give him money for his birthday, so he could buy this Lego set. Yep, more than 6,000 pieces. We didn't see him for a couple of days while he built it.

We brought one of my latest "dumpster dives" inside. It's a rusted little greenhouse thingy I found curbside. Right now it is housing Molly's 3rd grade Cabbage Project. Any suggestions for fixing it up, or should I leave it as is?

And today's big news. As you know, I NEVER fall for marketing ploys. Today I purchased my very own pair of Reebok Easy Tones. Guaranteed to tighten my butt as I go about my daily business. Here I am walking the dog in my new shoes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guess Whose Doctor Told Her to Lose 15 Pounds?

Yep, Shadow's in the dog house.

Guess I'm not the only one who did a lot of mindless eating this winter.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It Said "Monet" in the Corner-- just kidding

We're up to $887 for our Water campaign! I am so grateful to everyone who has contributed.

We have 76 days left raise the $5,000 needed to build a well in Africa. Woohooo!

Current Action:

Tom had some softball buddies over on Saturday night for a fooseball, air hockey and wii tournament. They chipped in $20 for the well and another $50 is on its way.

My neighbor gave me a small oil painting to sell in our huge yard sale. Don't even get me started on the nickel and diming people do at yard sales. It. Bugs. Me. The frame alone was worth something, so I decided to try Craiglist and just sold it for $30!

Of course now I'm having seller's remorse. We've all heard about the people who found a Degas in their basement or a Van Gogh on the street in NYC because some idiot didn't know what she had. I am probably that idiot.

You see, when I'm ready to get rid of something, I do it. I love to donate current stuff so I can get more, usually junkier, stuff. If I want to spray paint it, I do, regardless of the value. My dear mom had a very close relationship with Mod Podge, spray paint, and Contact Paper, so apparently the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Anyway, if I had kept that painting for myself, I probably would have spray painted over it because if you look closely, there are 3 creepy guys standing in that field of flowers. Perverts? Scarecrows? I just don't know.

Local friends are dropping stuff off in my carport in the next two weeks for the yard sale. If you live elsewhere, maybe there's a creative way you could drum up $10 or $15 to help provide a village with water.

Here's the donation page:

Friday, March 19, 2010

It All Makes Sense Now

When you entered our lives 11 years ago, the kingdom celebrated with banners and trumpet song. You brought a joy to us beyond what we had ever imagined or experienced before.

We served you with delight; your interests became our interests, your passions our passions, whether it was Thomas the Tank Engine, or more recently, Legos. We read what you read. We watched what you watched. We eagerly awaited your next decree: "No hamburgers!" "No soccer!" "No early mornings!"

The depth of your strong emotions seemed to come from a place more regal than just a middle class, suburban family. Were you a changeling? Did you know something we did not know?

When you had a good day, all was right with the world. When your mood turned melancholy, the entire kingdom suffered. Our schedules, our rhythms, orbited around your young, brilliant sun.

We wondered endlessly: Were you properly fed, attired, rested?

Some days it felt as if the kingdom was being ruled, albeit benevolently, by a tiny dictator.

The way you would walk away from an open car door, not bothering to shut it, and the manner in which you would call out, "Where are my shoes?" when surely you were the only one who would know such a thing, were certain signs of someone of noble birth, who need not be bothered with the minutiae of daily life.

And now that the Day of the 5th Grade Medieval Feast is upon us and you have been appointed Lord of the Manor, it all makes perfect sense.

Lord Jake, as your humble servants we ask you to continue to shine your favor upon us.


Mom, Dad, and Molly

p.s. At least I didn't have to make Chicken Pudding this year.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do a Friend a Favor...

Please oh please if you saw me at the bank, or at work, or at the grocery store, or at the kids' schools, or at church in the last 3 weeks-- please oh please assure me that the 2 inch long white hair I just discovered poking out of my upper cheek was not there. I am going with the theory that it sprang up overnight.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Did You Know Gullible Isn't in the Dictionary? Part Deux

Today's post was going to regale you with how I had the meat company's privates in a vise because I had immediately stopped payment on the $700 check.

It was going to be a success story of someone who knows the law (and the 3 day cooling off period when someone solicits you at your house) and who had followed every step the nth degree. Emails? Phone calls? Certified letter to the company headquarters? Check. Check. Check. Hefty bunch of legalese thrown in my letters for a fun flourish? You bet.

However, the bank just called me with the bad news that the Meat Company (whose name is plastered over the internet with complaints, soon to be joined by mine) has found a way of IMMEDIATELY using a check to draw from your bank account

My stop payment (and 35.00 fee) never had a chance.

The 3 day cooling off period is rendered useless because the company then goes AWOL and is impossible to reach.

So, although I am still working to get my money back, and make room in my freezer for the Edy's ice cream that is calling my name, eees not loooking good.

New Blog Slogan: "Anna See-- when the albatross around your neck is actually a steak."

Want some GREAT news, in the midst of the bad? Our Well Project fundraiser is up to $702 today (yes, almost the identical amount I gave to the meat crooks). An entire village in Africa is on its way to having clean drinking water for the first time ever!

I've shown how we can throw good money away every day, either on purpose or by accident. How about consciously choosing to give good money to save lives? Only $20 will provide water for one person for 20 years! I am blown away by your generosity and I know that our $5,000 goal is within reach.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Did You Know Gullible Isn't in the Dictionary?

I know you have been waiting with baited breath to find out what kind of mess I’ve gotten myself into. Ok, maybe not. But I’ll share anyway.

Did I get myself knocked up? No, that was 1998 and 2000. Did I tell my neighbor I used to date her husband? No, that was 2003.

The mess I’ve gotten myself into shall from this time forward be referred to as “The Great Meat Debacle of 2010” or TGMD for short. I’m hoping I’m safe leaving off the ’10 because I certainly hope this won’t be a yearly thing.

On Thursday, after a very full week at work, I was tossing a tennis ball to Shadow in the driveway when 2 men pulled up in a flashy van. Normally, when door to door salesmen approach, I do what anyone else would do— pull the shades and pretend I’m not home. On Thursday, however, I was cornered in the driveway, and before I knew it, I was engaged in their spiel.

They started opening boxes of frozen meat in my driveway, trying to convince me to buy CASES of the stuff, at GREATLY reduced prices. “We’re almost GIVING this stuff away!”

Now, I’ve been known to have a soft heart, even when it is undeserved, but I’m not really known for being gullible.

Did I used to take flowers to the creepy shirtless guy and his great dane who lurked around our elementary school because I thought they looked sad? Sure.

Did I buy overpriced candies and unwanted candles from my students who were trying to save up for class trips to New York? Sure.

Have I occasionally bought an unwanted magazine subscription here or there? Fine.

But I don’t easily fall for a scam.

Thursday was different. First of all, I had skipped lunch. They say not to grocery shop on an empty stomach, but what if the grocery store, a la meat truck, comes to you? My hunger made me vulnerable.

I’ve also been going through a big “I’m so darn tired of cooking phase,” so to see those hundreds of little steaks, chicken breasts, and salmon steaks all vacuum sealed and waiting for me, I started imagining not having to make dinner decisions for the next 6 months or so, and that appealed to me.

Looking back, here are some of the tactics the guys used on me:

Told me my neighbors bought from them (LIE)
Told me they needed to sell me the meat because a neighbor’s freezer was broken (LIE)
Started opening packages even when I said I was not interested.
Blocked my driveway with their truck.
Took up so much of my time that when I tried to decline and slip away, it felt as if I’d already passed the point of no return.
Appealed to me as a mother, wife, and cheapskate.
Made me feel sorry for them, “We’re taking a loss on this…”
Showed me pictures of their children
and more...

I guess you know how this is going to end.

By the time Tom pulled up, providing a perfect opportunity for a Good Cop/Bad Cop getaway, I was too far gone.

Tom firmly said we didn’t want the meat, but at that moment he was no longer my husband; he was just some shmuck trying to stand between me my own little Meat-Lover’s Paradise.

Bottom Line:

I bought $700 of meat I didn’t need and didn’t really want.

Tom was pissed.

I felt stupid.

He immediately googled the company and found reams of complaints about their sales tactics, but it was too late. Our freezer was stuffed. I knew that every time I pulled a steak out of the freezer to eat, I'd really be eating crow.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story…

Friday, March 12, 2010

Unhappy Friday

Well hello there!

I was hoping to write something funny and/or insightful today, but it's not going to happen. You see I've done something tres stupide and have gotten myself into a little situation. I'm dying to write about it, if for nothing more than to make each and every one of you feel far superior to me, which would be a nice little "going into the weekend gift" from me to you, but I'll need some time to try to fix things before I share.

So, given that I'm in a major snit, and I can't write about what's really bothering me, I thought I would do a little free association list of some OTHER things that get stuck in my craw. One of which is the expression, "Stuck in my Craw." What the heck does that mean, anyway? Sounds gross, and I'm too afraid to Google it.

When I started blogging, I made a list of things that bugged me.

Here are some additions:

Self Checkout at the supermarket: Why would I want to do someone else's job when I could be doing a quick scan of People and US Weekly instead? And if I am going to do someone else's job, which only happens when I'm pressured to do so, why can't it ever work out right? Why does the disembodied voice NEVER BELIEVE I am putting what I am putting on the conveyer belt? And, if the checker has to come over and help me anyway, then send me to purgatory (the service desk), are we really saving any time or money here?

"Let Go and Let God": Just bugs me. Always has. Always will. Great concept; annoying phrase.

Magazines that encourage us to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles by "stopping the flow of urine midstream." Puh-lease. Telling that to someone who has squeezed out 2 kids is like telling her to go climb Mt. Everest before school pick-up time.

Living In Overcrowded 'Burbs:
I do not appreciate having to get up at 5 am to register kids for swim lessons, or tennis, or preschool. I mean, who wants to be wait-listed for VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL for heaven's sake? That just seems wrong.

Not enough Samoas in a box to satisfy me.

Mouse poop in my can of refried beans. Yep. Happened on Wed.

Providing snacks for every child-related event.

Muddy Paws.

High Pressure Sales Tactics. (more on this next week)

Feeling Foolish (more on this next week)

Tripping on everyone's stuff. Every darn day.

My blue jeans rubbing off on the new car's leather seats.

A 60 lb dog who hangs out ON the kitchen table while I'm at work.

And last but not least:

Wayward pantiliners.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March: In Like a Lion, Out Like a MAN?

I was digging in my purse today and saw something Molly doodled on the back of an offering envelope in church. It was a joyous springtime tribute to March.

See anything interesting?

Looks like something other than ROSES is coming up this time of year.

Oh my.

Thanks to your generous contributions, our Well Fund is up to $467! I have faith that we can get to $5,000. Please check out our donation page and save lives.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Recipe for Disaster?

Take one 10 year old boy. Add an all-night church lock in. Keep him awake for 32 hours straight. Top off with the final basketball game of the season. Watch as absolutely NO hilarity ensues.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let's Dig It Together!

You may remember back in January when I posted that my immediate family and friends from my small group had decided to spend this year finding creative ways to raise money to build a well for people without access to clean drinking water. We would have yard sales, clip coupons, host parties and beg generous blog readers to join us.

Well, somehow January soon became March, and this Year of Living Generously needed kicking off! In my search to find the perfect organization, and one that would enable blog readers to securely donate online and track progress, I found Charity: Water!

Oh my. What a jackpot!

While the fundraising amount was higher than I had anticipated (interesting how we are often stretched beyond what we think is do-able), I was stunned to discover that 100% of every penny raised goes DIRECTLY to well projects and sustainable clean water solutions in the areas of greatest need around the world.

I can't wait for you to read about Charity: Water, and I can't wait to see how you might be prompted to respond.

To add to the, errr, excitement, Charity: Water fundraising projects run for only 3 months spans.


This means that while my family and small group will be raising money all year long, the particular well project we have signed on for needs to be funded by early June.


Let's see.

Thank you to the An Inch of Gray reader and funny gal who already donated $100 to kick things off.

Go to our Year of Living Generously Page and check out how you can help!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Maybe I Should Break Out the Garanimals

Scene One:

So when I dared to give Molly clothing advice for Friday, when she will be getting up in front of the entire school and has been told to “dress up,” she scorned my choices immediately.

I did not like her tone. A skirt flew through the air.

Keeping my voice low and calm, I said, “You may wear what you want, but I refuse to accept your telling me I don’t know anything about clothes.”

More eye-rolling, mocking.

“I was, as you may have heard, voted Best Dressed in high school.” Yes, I'm not above playing the Senior Superlative card with my 8 year old.

Her reply: “I wouldn’t brag about that. Everyone knows that was the 80’s.”

Scene Two:

Upon presenting my beloved son with a shearling lined hoodie from Lands End, I was distressed to see he rejected it because, “It looks like it’s for a girl.”

Molly agreed.

Jake continued, “Sorry, Mom, but I have to go with Molly on this one. She’s Present Day.”


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Whether you are a Snuggie Mocker or a Snuggie Lover, I have a cool opportunity for you. My blog buddy Kristina, over at Pulsipher Predilections, has decided to channel her Worldwide Snuggie Power into helping elderly folks in nursing homes. Go check it out! My only complaint is that she's not paying me royalties for using me as the chest model in the graphic below.

And stay tuned for an update on our Well Project which will kick off THIS WEEK! I am so excited!

Monday, March 1, 2010

It's All about Me, Right?

So I was having a fabulous dinner with college friends this weekend when one of them mentioned a guy I dated a bit in college. She had seen him on Facebook. I continued eating my salad, but all I could think of was “Holy Batman! He’s on Facebook?!”

After nearly 20 years of nary a peep and zero updates through friends, I now had a chance to see how he’d been doing. Most other exes of mine are still friends. Tom and I go on double dates with a guy I dated for 2 years and his wife. One lives 2 doors down . Several came to our wedding.

But this one was different. He was the last guy I dated before Tom. He was at a tough time in life when he just seemed rudderless, and I worried about him. We had no closure, as we were just “hanging out,” and then one day we weren’t.

Earlier, when I dated a guy who didn’t seem that into me, I was secretly relieved when he later informed me he was gay. So, I think I tried to convince myself that if THIS guy hadn’t really hung around, captivated by my sparkling personality and inescapable beauty, he must be gay, too. File that under “Narcissistic” please.

Anyhoo, I had wondered over the years, because although I had been able to see other exes find their way, establish careers, and start families—I had heard NOTH-ing about him.

Well, upon my Facebook perusing, I see that not only is he NOT gay (hot wife, adorable kids—I know there are exceptions to this, but still…) he has established a great career in a town where you don’t have to wait a freakin' hour to get into the parking garage to go to a darn movie (just venting here), and he appears to have a fantastic quality of life.

During my Facebook stalking (PLEASE tell me he has not yet discovered the “See Who Has Been Viewing Your Profile” function!) I had mixed emotions.

You see, a wee little part of me fantasized that he’d be miserable because he didn’t have me to give his life meaning and purpose. File under "Narcissistic part deux," please.

Because I had neither seen him nor heard from him, in my mind he was still that endearing yet confused 22 year old needing someone to help him. I had stuck him in a box, but he had obviously crawled out of it a looooong time ago, while I went right on worrying. And, really, he was never mine to worry about in the first place.

Have you ever put someone in a box, or in a corner ("Nobody puts Baby in a corner!") only to be surprised when they didn't stay there? Has anyone done this to you?