Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bonus Brian Appreciation Day

I appreciate that when I call you, sobbing, from the car at an arcade birthday party where I am the only mom there and one of the dads has made me cry because I was trying to smooth out our childrens' relationship, and I feel like a tiny, short, idiot, that your first thought is "How can I fix it?"

Saturday Night Cinema

Brief Encounter
Starring: Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson
Director: David Lean
Date : 1945
Based on a Noel Coward play

I have trouble putting into words what I want to say about this film. It is the story of two people who meet and fall in love. They are tempted to have an affair but resist it and voluntarily end it before it goes too far.
I think what I like about this movie it it shows how strong temptations can be and how easy it would be to give into them. That the right thing to do isn't always the easiest or that the right thing sometimes breaks your heart.

I also enjoy the depiction of love at first acquaintance. Sometimes one meets someone and there is just an instant connection. Not love at first sight which is all about chemistry, but a perfect dovetailing of spirits that sometimes can not last.
If you are considering whether or not to let your teens watch this you might want to screen it first as it deals with the idea of adultery. I think it is worth watching because it is a whole story and the characters make the right choices.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Sometimes even a battle hardened mother of 6 very well behaved children can learn something from the mother of 3 ragedy and wild children. Such a moment happened last month when I was able to share some motherly wisdom with my friend.
Her baby was headed for the stairs and she was lamenting how hard it was to keep track of baby in the new and larger house. I asked her if she had taught baby to go down the stairs yet. She looked at my incomprehensibly and said "What?" I promptly took the baby to the stairs and showed her how to teach the baby to go down the stairs.
I assumed everyone knew this but then I realized, no one taught it to me, I just figured it out, so it makes sense that not every one has thought of it. And so, in the spirit of sharing knowledge I would like give this knowledge to you.

When baby starts trying to climb up the stairs there is no need to panic, there is no need to buy an ugly and/or inconvenient baby safety gate. The lessons are simple:
When the baby starts climbing the stairs stay behind him to spot, if you will. When baby has gone up a few stairs simply pull them down, feet first on his tummy one step at a time, placing his chubby little knees on each step pulling one leg at a time so that he is crawling backward down the stairs. Do this each time baby plays on the stairs. Baby will very quickly figure out that this is how you come down the stairs and will have no need to panic when he finds himself halfway up the stairs or at the top of the stairs wondering where Mom is.

I find this an important safety lesson. NOTHING (except Bruce) can keep a baby away from stairs so you might as well teach them how to use the stairs safely.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hollywood Inspirations- Posh Hair

I was trying to explain to my mom what I meant by 50's hair. This is what I mean Mom.
I am toying with these looks for the next version of Samurai Mom, that is of course after I grow out my hair long enough to get the the last vision.
The last vision was to be able to do some fabulous Victorian hairstyles with my own hair. I have an unseemly amount of thick hair and I think I can get away with a lot of fun hair styles, use a lot of hair pins and combs, and amaze people with the natural thickness of my own hair. I still have several inches and a couple of years before I reach that length.If I ever get to that point and have some fun with it I might revisit the Elizabeth Taylor in a couple of years and see how I like it. My concern is this: didn't women have to go to the salon once a week to get their hair set? What does that mean? Did it take a lot of time? Will I be too lazy to achieve this look.? Probably, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

It Started with One

***Notice: I spell "grey" with an "e" because I think it looks prettier. Sorry, if it annoys you."
I found the first one at our book discussion of "Middlemarch." I noticed something and I blurted out incredulously "Is that a grey hair?" The conclusions were mixed but we opted for "It is just a shiny blonde hair." Well, after inspections this evening there is more than one of those sparkly blonde hairs and a definite grey hair right in my bangs.
It is official, I have grey hair.
I blame Obama of course, because I found the first hair the week after the election during which I endured enormous stress and anxiety. The stimulus package sealed the deal and the shiny blonde hairs went straight to grey. I don't worry about my children nearly as much as I worry about my country.

The first grey hair brings up many questions. Should I start dying my hair again, what color? For how long? I figure I can dye my hair for the next 20 years at least before anyone becomes suspicious. what will I do when I am old and grey? Will I do the old lady crop? Chances are I will not have silvery white hair, I am going the way of the Salt and Pepper. So this fabulous style is out.
It also raises the growing old gracefully topic. I used to be all for the idea and now at the tender age of 30 I fell like growing old gracefully is a tough row to hoe and I might like to take an easier path.

I found this poem ...
My First Gray Hair
Mary Alice Walton

One day amid brown tresses there gleamed a silvery thread,
Life pages, past and present I wonderingly then read.
I saw a blithsome maiden, a child serenely fair,
A woman heavey laden now lifts her first gray hair.


O silvery strand, thou soft kiss of time,
The beauties of youth are now past, are now past.
For evening of life are pleasures unknown,
Tis love, only love, that will last, that will last.

Good to know I am now a "woman heavy laden," that "the beauties of youth are now past...."

I need to find some chocolate and dig out my box of henna.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sabbath Leaves

Our Beautiful World: Sunshine - we have been having an unusual amount of sunny days this winter. It is actually a little concerning but I am not about to complain. Here's to the SUN and no SAD this year!
Blessings: Personal Revelation - I have found out more about "Bully's" situation and praying for HIM was the right answer!
Striving: to help Commander C and his attitude.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Night Cinema

This Week: The 39 Steps
Starring: Robert Donat,Madeline Carroll with Peggy Ashcroft
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

This is one of my all time favorite movies. It has one of my favorite movie themes SPIES!

Set in London, but mostly Scotland.
Richard Hannay is suspected of a murder of which he is innocent. He flees to Scotland in search of a man in which to impart information from the spy who was killed in his apartment.
There are chases on a train and on a moor. There is a girl and handcuffs. There are sheep. There is humor, there is suspense. There are Scottish stereotypes and a man who is missing a finger!
I don't know why but the scenes on the moor seem oddly real to me considering this is a 75 year old film.
The scenes at the inn make me giggle. Stockings, they are so innocent yet risque. Handcuffs, surprisingly convenient.
Each time I see the train chase sequence I think how fun it would be if someone remade this film in the style of the Bourne films. Then I realize that what makes this film so great is the setting, the times and Hitchcock's brilliant camera work. A remake would try to distinguish itself and ruin what is great about this film.

This an old movie some of the DVD distributions out there are not so hot. If you rent this movie and the sound is spotty and the picture a little grainy just bear with it. If you buy the film, read the reviews and buy the expensive version, they say it is worth it in picture and sound quality.
The film was inspired by a short story of the same name by John Buchan. I have read the story and I liked it. Overall the book is similar but the 39 steps are actual, real, honest to goodness steps in the story and there isn't a love interest either. This is one time when I like the movie better!

7 out of 7 thimbles

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What To Do About Bullies

I felt impressed to share this on my blog, I didn't want to but I hope that there is a reason I write this.
My kid has his very own bully.
I don't know if he technically qualifies as a bully, but there is a kid that picks on him, calls him names and is physical with him. Commander C doesn't want to go to church/scouts if this kid is going to be there. (Can I just say, I am so glad I homeschool. If Commander C was in public school they would be in the same school with the bully 1 grade ahead. Classic.)
I don't fear for my son's safety just yet, but I know this child's family, when he grows up he is going to be a big kid, we are talking star of the varsity football team, my kids are not going to be big - runty is more like(I am not being mean it is just the hard truth) So I think it is best to nip this thing in the bud while they are both puny kids.

Once I learned about "Bully" I went to the trusty Internet for help. I was blown away, all this blabber for years about how serious bullying is and there was no practical help at all. The most common was "Check with your school about their anti-bullying program." Thanks - that really sounds like it will protect my son. Apparently, talking to the bully's parents can work wonders or make things worse. Depends on the kid. My friend says that she tells her son to "punch the little blighters in the nose." While practical, I don't know that it is applicable to our situation yet.

The fact that this is a church bully makes it stink worse. This is the place where people are supposed to be nice to the fat kids, kids with glasses, lisps and every other target. How do you try to convince your kid that the people at church are nice, if they aren't.

How do adults handle bullies? For the most part we don't put ourselves in situations where we have bullies. If someone is mean to us we just steer clear of that person. Kids don't have that option. Generally, if you are an adult dragging your family to 9:00 am sacrament meeting, arriving at 8:30 just to find a seat and them spending 3 hours at church, chances are you want to be there and have made the choice to be nice to other people. I don't have church bullies.

I had found out about this situation by likening the scriptures. I was pulling an Alma to his son Corianton - Commander C. has been having some severe attitude problems and we had decided it was time to call him to repentance. As I was wrestling with this bully business I wondered what the scriptures would say about this. I thought about Nephi and his brothers Not sure that is really bullying and while confounding and shocking the bully with the power of God would probably be effective, I don't think that is going to happen either.

And so, what to do?
Well, I am grateful for the blessing of personal revelation on this one. The thought came to me that we should pray for him. Pray for "Bully" that he will realize the way he is behaving is not right. I know he has been taught this, what he needs is to recognize what he is doing. I suggested to Commander C that we pray for "Bully." He agreed readily. I am praying for Commander C as well that he can bear it and learn from this situation.

And then this morning, to illustrate the point in 2 Nephi 32: 3 "Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. " I remembered this scripture perfect for dealing with bullies " Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." Luke 6:28

Tender mercies. While I may or may not have a talk with "Bully's" parents I will continue to pray for him, and be grateful for the scriptures and personal revelation

Hollywood Inspirations - Dial "M" for Marvelous

One, we shall now refer to purses as "handbags."
Two, in "Dial 'M' for Murder" Grace Kelly has more than one handbag and changes the love letter from handbag to handbag. Grace Kelly has more than one handbag, so shall I.
Three, Grace Kelly appears to have tiny coin purses inside of her handbags so that she doesn't lose things like her pass key. I shall devise small bags to keep all the sundries in my handbag organized.
Question: Was it really necessary for Ray Milland to steal his wife's handbag? Couldn't he have read the letter while she was in the shower or asleep? I suppose he needed the blackmail angle.
Observation: Ray Milland and Robert Cummings are pretty chummy as the husband and the lover, I would expect more friction.
Second Observation: If Grace Kelly is rich enough to murder for her money why do they live in a tiny one bedroom flat? It isn't even fabulous like Ingrid Bergman's in Indiscreet

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hollywood Inspirations- The Bachelor and the Decorator

Watching "The Bachelor and the Bobby-soxer" the other evening I spied a set dressing in Richard Nugent's apartment that is destined for my front entry. I was going to tell you all about it but I think I will let you guess.
"The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" is a surprisingly good movie despite Shirley Temple and Myrna Loy up against our leading man. Commander C. and I were giggling and clapping with excitement. You can find it on Netflix on Demand for free (if you have a Netflix subscription) or find it in other ways. If you guess the correct item and leave a comment you will win a prize.

I will certainly add pictures once it is installed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The House Where Samurai Mom Grew Up.

This is the house where Samurai Mom Grew up (well sort of, yes, I did grow up in this house but it was much smaller and way less cool when I lived here.)
This is the living room that I did not grow up watching TV in, this used to be our yard and deck. But now it is a large and fabulous room for having one's friends over to visit in. Note the balcony and hard wood floors and how the rooms flow so freely. We had tiny little boxes unfit for company.This is not the kitchen I learned to cook in. The original kitchen was as wide as a hallway and as long as a bathroom. It was tiny and had a cut out that looked into the living room.
This is the Living room that I did grow up watching TV in, it had pink carpet, there was a door where the china cabinet is.This is the Piano that belongs to me but lives at my parent's house. Since I don't play, I don't miss it too much, but I do love it. There used to be a wood stove and brick hearth in the corner on the left. That stove kept the house so warm that sometimes we would have to open the doors in the winter because it was so hot.
This is the bedroom I slept in from 5-8 years and 14-17 years. It used to have a dark 80's trim window that I would sometimes imagine was ebony. That is the vanity that was in my room and It is one of my favorite pieces of furniture, there is a matching dresser and bed, but the bed has structural issues. Yes that is a massage table in there. Don't ask.
This is the bedroom that I slept in from 8-14 years. My dad and the missionaries built it for my eighth birthday. (Those are my snowflake toes.)
It used to be pink with a fantastic old fashioned blue and plaster ceiling, not pictured here because it has been painted over because no one around here respects tradition. The plaster on the ceiling made little pictures that you could look up and imagine stories about - like finding shapes in the clouds.
That is the little window that was all the natural light for the room, and the fire escape. Nice.
This is the laundry chute in the bathroom. It is a hole my dad cut in the floor of the bathroom closet. I am sure a few children went down it, (never me - definitely Mr. Moss) we were always being told to keep the door shut so the current baby would not fall down it. Now there is no door and grandbabies are free to fall down the hole at will.
These are some of Boss Moss' cowboy hats. To the right you can see the sleeves of his band uniforms...Remind me to tell you about Boss Moss' musical talents some day.

This is a new addition to one of the walls in the house, a huge framed map of Montana, I am jade green with envy, my mom will not give it to me and Moose says I can't bring it home.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my childhood home. I meant to publish this in December but the pictures wouldn't load and then ...I forgot.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Night Cinema - True Love Edition

I have been searching all week for an appropriate Saturday Night Cinema recommendation for Valentine's Day. I wanted a movie about true love, good love, a move that made you feel good about being in love. I was a bit disconcerted to learn that all of my favorite love stories are a little bit twisted; Jane Eyre - wife in the attic, Hero - killing, Brief Encounter - spouses in the way, and the list becomes more sordid.

I nearly settled on an Affair to Remember but that seems a bit done, "Holiday" with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn is the last film I watched and it was a great movie but not the love I was looking for. Finally, I settled on an indisputable classic and a movie everyone loves. Honestly, have you ever met anyone who didn't enjoy "The Princess Bride?"
Boy loves girl. Boy declares undying love for girl and sets out to make his fortune, girl thinks boy is dead, girl is forced to marry the wicked Prince, boy, now sexy pirate, saves girl. The girls love it because it is romantic, the boys like it because it is funny (and for the revenge), and the kids like it for all of those reasons. The title of the book (which is even more hilarious than the movie) even includes "Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure." What more can you ask?
Watch this movie with your sweetie, quote each and every line, admire the wedding dress that you wanted to have, and you can let the kids watch it with you or not.

Appreci8 - Day 14 - St. Valentine's Day

I appreciate that ever since I finally tricked you into admitting that you loved me that I have never, ever doubted your devotion.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Appreci8 - Day 13

I appreciate that you pick things up at the store on the way home from work.

I appreciate that you always have a plan....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Appreci8 - Day 12

I appreciate that you dream BIG dreams with me.

I appreciate that you support my blog, my Etsy shop, The Miss Moss School of Needlework and everything else.

I appreciate when you bring me Sushi.

Prize: My mom's Valentine's Suckers. I take out the Garbage again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Appreci8 - Day 11

I appreciate that you take care of me when I am sick.

I appreciate that you are learning to play the guitar.
P.S. My parents and I gave that fine looking guitar to Moose for Christmas, he carried it everywhere he went for 48 hours.

Two Days of Flannel

Yesterday I finished this dress for Nutmeg. Flannel that has been in my stash for 7 years from McCall's 3949. I wanted to make something girly but warm and flannely. I did want an eyelet lace on the hem but decided to forgo it of a long eyelet petticoat. Perhaps faux buttons on the front?
I am very happy with it save 2 exceptions. It is too wide in the body so it hangs a little tent-ish. This is what comes from having a tiny girl, something I have never known for myself and therefore do not plan for when sewing. If I can find the right ribbon I will add a sash to take it in.
And the collar. Why do I have perpetual problems with peter pan collars? When I draft them myself they are too small and if I follow the pattern the collar goes out past her shoulder caps. I just want a tiny little collar. The finishing was too difficult to attempt to save this dress, but if I use this pattern for Easter I will fix it.
Today we are feeling a little bit lazy and Boba Fett and Nutmeg are recovering from slight colds and I am bravely defending myself from a threatening one. We are still in our jammies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Appreci8 - Day 10

I appreciate Knitting Season tolerance.

It's Spreading...

My friend K, from University has a cute little blog full of fabulous pictures of her baby. She has made me so happy. She has started Dad Appreciation Days in her home and is blogging it too. Some of the things I remember about K is that she is always very thoughtful and purposeful. I want to be like her so much, one day I will blog about her. I am, to say the least, flattered that she likes the idea of Appreciation Days

This makes me wonder, Is anyone else planning Appreciation Days for their beloved? If so leave me a comment. You can link to your blog if you have one. Let's have a goal to spread the appreciation word to everyone. I think in this topsy turvy world it is important that we let out children's fathers know that we think they are important.

(K, I hope you don't mind that I swiped this picture from your blog)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Appreci8 - Day 9

I appreciate that you help me. -Boba Fett
I appreciate that you bought me a guitar. - Commander C

Prize: Tootsie Rolls

Practically Blind! Our Experience with Amblyopia.

I just got back from Boba Fett's eye doctor appointment and I am so happy!

Let me take you back19 months when Moose and I noticed that suddenly one of Boba Fett's eyes was turning in. We made an appointment with an eye doctor right away. We arrived and went through an exam when the seriously tall, dark, and deep voiced doctor said to me..."Your son is practically blind in the left eye." WHAT? I tried not to cry. How could he be seemingly fine and now you tell me he is almost blind!?!
A little bit of advice to you eye doctors, this is not the way to break a diagnosis of severe amblyopia to a mother of a 3 year old. I was a mess for the month it took us to get in to the pediatric ophthalmologist up at the eye clinic.

Slowly I learned that this is not a terribly unusual condition, that it is a problem with the brain not receiving the information from the eye NOT a problem with the eye itself. I learned that it is easily treated with patching and not something to grieve over. No one at the eye clinic has ever said the word "blind" to us.

Boba Fett has been wearing glasses since the initial diagnosis and we are so greatful for them. Those thick frames are the finishing touch to that boy's adorable personality. When you see those glasses you know you are in for an exceptional kid. We have a hard time imagining him without those glasses.

We have been patching for about 18 months now. At first we used the sticky patches but that caused serious problems because they hurt. Then I heard about Patch Pals and ordered one, true to form once I received it I figured out how to make my own for pennies and now when we misplace a patch I just run into the sewing room, grab a piece of felt and whip up another. For the fist few months we patched for 4 hours a day, now we patch for 2 hours a day. If all goes well we can move to 1 hour a day or 2 hours every other day.

At the beginning Boba Fett's left eye was 20/200 with his glasses on now it is 20/25 which is awesome as the ideal is 20./20. Actually we got down to 20/35 in a matter of months but the last few lines is the hardest part. At our appointment in December he had gone back a little bit because we had been really inconsistent with patching. This time we were very consistent and we made big improvements.
Today the Dr. was thrilled and didn't even have much to say, just that things were going well. We also talked about V8 because Boba Fett insists that is it medicine for his eye and mentions that each time he has a can. Boba Fett certainly contributes his eye improvement to faithful V8 drinking.

I am so grateful that we were able to go to a good doctor that specializes in this type of condition, that there was a simple non invasive treatment and that we have been blessed with good health.

Boba Fett got to choose 5 stickers at the doctor's office.

If you would like to make your own patch let me know and I will send you a pattern. The patch in the picture was made and hand embroidered by me. it is also our most used and therefore shabbiest patch.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Appreci8 - Day 8

I appreciate that you let me play the Wii - Commander C

I appreciate that you support us in going to church. - Samurai Mom

Prize: Peppermint Altoids

Sabbath Leaves

Our Beautiful World: Junco Sparrows that live in my back yard. I love the coloring; a dunn breast, tan body and black head. They are so small and fat.
Blessings:Three gorgeous, healthy, smart children.
Striving: To get to church on time.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Notes to Self (and Moose)

Do not take the kids out to eat.

Do not take the kids out to eat at Newport Bay.

Newport Bay is much more expensive than you remember.

Newport Bay has cut down on their portion sizes, 5 slices of seared Ahi Tuna for $22 is not a good value.

Order the Salmon.

Nutmeg will NOT eat her burger - just order fries.

Newport Bay DOES take reservations - waiting 35 minutes is not fun.

Your cell phone has a cool game to play while waiting.

It is amazing how Newport Bay can take an inch of apple and slice it to look like 3 kid's servings of apples.

The $15 off card you get in the mail will pay for the tip or you could look at it as they pay for 2 kid's meals which your kids will not eat. This is NOT a bargain.

The next time Samurai Mom is too depressed to cook dinner she should make a run to Sushi Town and pick up a box of corn dogs on the way home.

Even though $14.99 a lb at the market seems dreadfully expensive it is a bargain compared to eating at Newport Bay. It is OK to buy $3o worth of salmon at the grocery store.

We will be eating off of the food storage this next week to make up for the bill at Newport Bay

Print out this note and refer to it the next time you are tempted to eat out.

Saturday Night Cinema

When I was a kid back in the days before AMC (which used to be back and white movies all the time) our local (local as in 4 hours away in Spokane) PBS station had a show called Saturday Night Cinema where "Steve" (which is what we alled all the guys on PBS) came out and introduced the old movie and then we watched the old movie. I realize this isn't very impressive now but in the old days it was great. This is where I first saw "Some Like it Hot," "Bringing Up Baby," "The Quiet Man" and "It Happened One Night."

As an homage to my youth I present a new recurring topic on Samurai Mom "Saturday Night Cinema" wherein I tell you about a movie (usually an oldie) I think is good and you can then locate said movie and watch it for yourself.

This Week: The Third Man
Starring: Joseph Cotten,"Valli," Trevor Howard and the ever riveting Orson Wells.
Directed by: Carol Reed
Screenplay by: Graham Greene

Thanks to The Jolly Porter for this recommendation. This film noir screenplay was written by Graham Greene. He wrote the narrative specifically to take the screenplay from. Later he published it as a novella.

Set in post-war Vienna a man arrives to find that the friend who summoned him "Harry Lime " is dead. The friend is concerned as the the circumstances of the death and investigates for himself. There are Russian Communist bad guys as well as international no goodniks.
This is my favorite Orson Wells performance, maybe because you don't feel bad about not liking him even though he is much handsomer than usually potrayed. There is a girl but no sappy ending.I found the music horribly annoying and out of character for the film. I am sure they meant it that way but I would have enjoyed a more traditional score.
Take the time to watch this film and you will find yourself asking "Who killed Harry Lime?"

6 out of 7 thimbles

Appreci8 - Day 7

I appreciate that you are so patient with me.

I appreciate that you never, ever leave the toilet seat up.

Prize: M&Ms