Posted by: Erika | March 24, 2012

Saturday Open Thread

What are you up to this weekend?



  1. DH and the kids are going to see Hunger Games with the youth group this afternoon. I may go see Iron Lady [which, as an aside, DD always says when she hears that movie name, she thinks it’s a sequel to Iron Man].

    Been awake since 5:25 a.m. when my weather alert text “binged” to tell me that there was a dense fog advisory. grrrrrr.

    • I woke up when DH turned on his laptop and it made that big “I’m ON!” sound that Macs make. He didn’t realize the volume was up so high. Sigh.

      Did your kids read Hunger Games? Hope they like the movie! I really enjoyed it.

      • DH and DS have read the books, and DD is currently reading the first book in the series.

        I really enjoyed The Iron Lady — Meryl was amazing.

        oh, and yesterday, I saw Friends with Kids — that was good, too.

  2. At gymnastics. The coach just asked me if M wanted to move up a class. That would mean two classes a week from 3:30-5:00. Not sure I can make the timing work, but it would make the Saturday schlep easier. Plus, M would be really happy. I need a wife.

    • You need a coin. Flip it – Heads she goes up, tails she stays the same. If you flip it and you feel disappointed at what the outcome is then you know you actually wanted the other and you can go with that.

      Problem. Solved.

      • I like that approach and have used and recommended it.

        In this case, though, perhaps Laura’s DH should get involved in the schlepping (once able again) – that cuts it down too.

        • I wish- but the schlep in question is at 3:00 and DH is still in school at that point. Luckily another mom makes the same schlep & offered to drop M anytime. Once I get past April, I can handle it. M is thrilled- apparently a mid- session promotion is unusual and a big deal. She could use the confidence boost and it will make my Saturdays easier.

          • that’s awesome — and maybe you and the other mom can work a carpool trade-off. Congrats to M!

          • Ooh, that’s great you found someone who’ll help out. Hope you can arrange for this to be longer-term. And wonderful for M that she’ll get promoted!

  3. I’m about to start a class – Saturdy 1-6. I’m amazed that anyone signed up for this class but I have one student already here and 4 more on their way.

    Should be fairly fun though.

    • Enjoy! I’m so glad you have a job you like 🙂

  4. So exhausted. I worked until 4 a.m. this morning to get an order finished that needed to be delivered today, and the night before I was up until 1 am, and the nights before that midnight. I had planned to just sleep and sleep this morning but my new assistant called at 9:45 to see if she could drop off the work she had done for me. She didn’t end up getting here for two more hours! I could have been sleeping happily away.

    The good news is that I have a new assistant, and hopefully that means working until it’s time for the birds to wake up won’t happen any more.

  5. This makes me really happy: a personal hero of mine, Jim Kim, has been nominated to head the World Bank! I’ve idolized him ever since reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, a book that was really about Paul Farmer but Kim was the one I admired most. Dude is brilliant, with an amazing ability to not only zoom in on the heart of the most serious problems, but also the ability to roll up his sleeves and get things done. (His work in Peru on MDR resistant tuberculosis was game changing.) Whether he can do that with the World Bank is of course a separate question, but just the fact that Obama had the brains to tap someone like him gives me a certain hope.

    • you know, Lyn, it does give hope. I’ll be honest, I’m not familiar with Kim, but I’m glad to hear that you are impressed. If you’re impressed, then I’ll be impressed.

      Sad thing, though, is that most people, and practically all of those who think the worst of Obama, wouldn’t even begin to understand what the World Bank is.

      • Another of my heros is also impressed:

        Renowned economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, who openly campaigned for the post, dropped his bid for the position after the announcement, saying, “I support this nomination 100 percent, with my complete enthusiasm. Dr. Kim is an outstanding development leader, one of the great public health specialists of our age. He will make a historic contribution to the fight against poverty, hunger, and disease. He is exactly the kind of professional needed at the helm of the World Bank. I strongly commend President Obama for this selection.”

        • I’m really glad to hear Sachs endorse Kim so readily. I admit, I was entranced by the idea of Sachs heading the World Bank – a man with his depth of knowledge and focus on development! But Sachs is so … intemperate. You really need patience and an ability to herd cats with the World Bank. Kim sounds like a brilliant choice.

  6. Read this blog yesterday by a woman who wouldn’t let their kids see or read Hunger Games because Katniss is an anti- hero. Now for me, i can see the logic for younger kids, but teens? I’ve always been spiritual but reading anti- hero lit… And existential and Hindu and whatever other lit I was taught back in oh-so-liberal Catholic high school broadened my mind, made me think and grow, and did not hinder my later search for God. Rather it enhanced it. This super-protection of kids by conservatives upsets me. In the end, I became at least as Christian as my mom, even after decades of rebellion. They need to trust their kids AND their own parenting. Sorry -off my soapbox! My kids are still too young for Hunger Games so we’ll probably wait for rental.

    • I haven’t read Hunger Games, I doubt if it’s my cup of tea. However, by the time my kids hit teen years, they could read whatever they pleased.

      And you want to know “comfortable parenting”? My parents allowed me to read whatever I wanted, and in fact, encouraged me to do so. I did not grow up to be religious at all, while my mother still is. And it’s not an issue with her. None of her kids are religious in the least, as a matter of fact. But, you know, your kids are going to grow up to be who they are. Why on earth would you want to stunt that in them?

      • I just started reading it last night – I’m not very far in yet. It’s exactly the sort of book my 10 year old will devour, and he pretty mature for his age. But he still young enough to want me to protect him from disturbing imagery and things that might be too old from him. I won’t stop him if he decides he wanted to read it, but he’ll more likely than not follow my recommendation if I tell him he might want to postpone this one for a year or two.

      • Agreed! Why stump that? Trust them 🙂

        I have a hard time figuring out what’s age-appropriate for my kids, when I struggle with where they’re at! My 9yo might like it but is it too violent for her level?

        • I believe someone was mentioning their 9 year old had started the books, went to see the movie, and was traumatized. IMHO, though, anything violent or scary in the movies has a different affect that in a book.

          Perhaps someone else will weigh in~

        • I’m sure it depends on the nine year old. But it’s really violent. And icky violence too…brutal people trained as killers laughing while they stalk and kill other children. My eight year old certainly couldn’t handle it!

          • We’re in this battle now with my 11 year old. He has read the book but he’s such a sensitive kid and I just don’t think it’s wise for him to see it on the big screen.

            I know it’s a big hit and all but the very premise of it is currently bugging the snot out of me. My daughter (14) and my husband went on Friday – he said it was boring and she loved it.

            The larger problem is that all of the kids at the middle school will have seen it and my son is going to be the only one who doesn’t go. It’s hard to know what to protect him from – his own sensitivities to violence and gore or his peers.

            • Well..for what it’s worth, they fuzz out a lot of the blood. Not all of it, mind you. It was still a bit much for me. But they definitely didn’t make it as awful as it could have been. Of course, the way they fuzzed it was with that horrible fast moving action wobbly cam that they do…it makes me dizzy. And the whole movie is like that…kind of like it was shot with a handheld camera.

              It didn’t help that I was in the third row. My neck still hurts. Now get off my grass!!!

          • thanks…this is helpful! Hubby and I constantly disagree about this – he is a BIG gamer and likes to watch movies with Amelia. A fav of hers for example is Avatar. But I think HG may be too violent. It’s tricky with her disability.

        • Oh..and I’m really sensitive to violence. The books didn’t bother me much (though it gave me a lot to think about), but the movie was pretty haunting.

        • OK, not at all to my surprise my DS10 begged me tonight to buy the book. He’d already looked it up at the library yesterday and discovered that all of the copies were checked out. He was overjoyed to hear that we already had it, and crushed to learn that I am in the middle of reading it. When I expressed reservations about the content he said that half of his class had already read it, and his teacher has extracted a promise to read the book before seeing the movie, which he’s planning to keep. So he needs, neeeeeeds, to read the book.

  7. My 13 yo son went to a birthday party last night (till midnight), then also asked to spend tonight at a friend’s house (a quinceanera party for the friend’s older sister). He then also wanted to get together with his friends this afternoon to skateboard. I told him it was too much, he got angry, and round and round we go. I think I’m handling the situation fine–I’m not angry myself and I’m not reacting to his BS, but I’m just perplexed as to how to get the message across. I suspect he’s going to make our lives miserable for some time before he figures out that he has to study first to earn privileges like screen time and skate time. As for today, he’s done nothing but sulk, which means we’ll go through it all again tomorrow when I tell him he can’t skate with his friends because he hasn’t done any of his homework.

    • My daughter struggles with this. It does help her if I set very clear boundaries before it all goes down. Like…you can go to two things this weekend. You choose which. Or…you can go once you’ve done all your homework. It’s up to you when you do it.

      But when things randomly pile on, it does get hard. At some point you have to call it and say “Done. That’s enough. I’m not paying the penalty for this later.”

      My son would rather stay home and play lego.

      • That’s it exactly, Carina. He can’t handle surprises like that. Once he settles down enough to listen, we need to clarify the rules. I’m thinking, either Friday or Saturday night, but not both, and he can spend the weekend afternoons skating if and only if he does his homework. He has been pretty obstinate about not studying on Saturdays (he understandably wants a day completely off from school stuff), but then he isn’t all that productive on Sundays. He’s smart enough that he could get away with that if he focused, but he doesn’t. I’m really struggling with how to instill a sense of personal responsibility, in terms of both studying/work and acknowledging his role in his experience (i.e., I didn’t ruin his Saturday by saying no, he ruined it himself by not getting over his anger).

        • if you ever figure that out [how to instill a sense of personal responsibility] PLEASE share the secret with the rest of us!

        • A couple things (this is mamacita, BTW — as if you couldn’t tell by the length!):

          My DS also wants to do more “out” stuff than he can handle. He has a fine time but then gets sick pretty easily, and he doesn’t have a way to self-monitor that. We have a “one sleepover per week” rule and a curfew that he still respects. It has helped some. Last night he was clearly exhausted and coming down with something, after being out late Friday and hiking yesterday, and he still wanted to go out. I counseled him to stay home and rest; he seemed to ignore me, but ended up doing just that. (That probably had more to do with his friends already being involved in stuff than listening to me 😉

          I pretty much gave over the homework / schoolwork stuff to him. I found there wasn’t anything I could say or do to positively motivate him, and therefore anything from me just alienated him. I felt my job was to make sure he understood that future choices, like college, would depend heavily on how he conducted himself academically. It took a while but eventually he did believe me when I said I really didn’t care about his grades, I only cared that he would have the options he wanted.

          His grades have never been stellar. He has, however, gotten into most of the colleges he applied to (we still haven’t heard from the last 2). I think he was accepted because he demonstrated initiative and talent in activities that were not school-sponsored or adult-run at all. Who knows, though, right? I guess what I’m trying to say is, You’ve got a smart kid. It’s gonna be okay. He will figure it out and get to work eventually. It might look different from how you or I or Lisa in Austin would do it, AND it still might work.

          And here’s my unsolicited advice for the day, FWIW: Don’t put his schoolwork ahead of your relationship with him, if you can help it. That comes from my personal experience and my work. I was in an IEP meeting on Friday with a high school junior whose rel’ship with his mom is pretty frayed because of her pressuring him about school, and conveying that she thinks he’s lazy and irresponsible. I know he is very hurt by that, and feels unloved. When he responds “I don’t care” to her, he really doesn’t; there’s nothing there for him but criticism so he’s given up. (Not saying your situation is remotely similar, just an example of a parent trying to help and getting it pretty wrong.) IMO that will get a kid into a lot more trouble than some Cs.

          Good luck with all this. It was / is very challenging for me so I feel like I know what you’re going through. I wanted a crystal ball to reassure me that trusting and allowing him to make choices I wasn’t entirely comfortable with would still mean things would be okay, and that’s been how it’s worked (mostly). xoxoxox

          • Thanks for this, rothko (hee, hee–so strange to call you that!). Right now I am pretty focused on trying to repair my relationship with my kids. I have gone from screaming harpy (when I was depressed over DS2’s condition) to distant/disengaging, and now I’m definitely better than that, but still have a long way to go (IMHO). I appreciate how you put the schoolwork into that perspective–it is definitely something to take into consideration. I know I have a tendency to blame and shame with DS1, and I’m really making an effort to break that habit. I was feeling pretty good about how I was handling the situation, until my DH said that something I felt was informative was actually threatening. Not my intention at all, but sheesh, how do you do this without threatening? I just can’t get it right. (And yes, I blame and shame myself, too. I’m a 1, so there.)

            Anyway, he did get a couple of hours of skating today, and it’s amazing what a difference that makes. He comes back in a really positive, friendly mood, whereas the late nights just turn him into the wicked witch of the west the next day. So for now, limiting the late nights and facilitating the skating makes sense–plus figuring out the message with regard to homework.

            Thanks again. Your perspective helps tremendously.

            • I was thinking of you this evening. DS came in to talk to me and it was clear that we were going to Have a Talk. It slowly dawned on me that it was time for the airing of the grievances! I guess you never know when that day will come but for me it was today.

              Anyway, he got a little angry (which is rare for him, and something I wish he’d do a bit more), told me some things I was not aware of and very sorry for, so I apologized, we made some commitments about the future, and had lots of hugs and kisses, and all in all it was a really good air-clearing thing.

              At one point he said, “I have a therapist now!” like he was putting me on notice. I’ve only been try to make that happen for, oh, 8 years?!! That was his way of informing me that he plans to stand up for himself. Hallelujah! As I told him, If you can stand up for yourself with Mama, your future partners will be ever so grateful. (He and DH both have a thing about needing to take care of my feelings but really, I am not delicate! I blame that on DH’s mom, who he actually did have to take of, his entire life.)

              Anyway during the ugly midst of it I was thinking to myself, You really need to watch that advice-giving habit of yours because you always get zinged and put back in your rightful place within hours or days 🙂

              I’m glad it was helpful to you. I love that we can hold each other up this way. When I’m feeling really ashamed and guilty about my parenting I *try* to remind myself we are all in the process of becoming here. It’s not just the kids who are growing up. So please be gentle with yourself, okay? xoxoxo

              • you know, we’ve often talked hear about relationships between spouses being constant works in progress. It’s the same with growing and grown children. The ground just keeps shifting.

                In an open thread a couple days ago, I wrote about what I thought was a hilarious post from a young father. He wrote about how he’d feel he’d failed as a parent if his sons did certain things. I laughed. And I’m still laughing. Cause, you know, I could have said those same things 20 years ago.

                When a baby is placed in our arms for the first time, it’s difficult to keep from thinking about all the possibilities ahead. And yes, we want to be a part of those possibilities, and it’s difficult to always understand that they are going to grow up to be real people. Who think thoughts and have their own ideas. We then sink the next 20 years into trying to make everything as good as we can for that baby, so of course, we’re a little put off to think that our efforts aren’t appreciated. Then we think back to our own lives and wonder how far we’ve wandered from the dreams and imaginings that our parents must have had for us on that first day of our lives.

                This weekend, my husband’s niece married. This is my late sister in law’s youngest daughter. The one who found out she had a malignant brain tumor while carrying this, her last baby. Niece is now pregnant and on Saturday married the young man. Someone, and I think I know who, has been filling her head with how she’s now ruined and wasted her life. At 20 years old. I let her know that there were few things one could do at twenty that truly “ruined” their lives. From where I’m at on the life time spectrum, at 20, no matter what you’ve done, there’s still a whole life ahead. Endless possibilities. Yes, even with a baby, or maybe with grades that haven’t been stellar or habits that don’t always seem the most “mature” to us. Most kids have a way of making it. We hear the horror stories, but in truth, most will go on to have decent enough lives. And I am learning that we’re the wisest when we let them do just that…even though we see them work harder than we know they had to, or make life harder for themselves than need be. But, you know, WE managed…and we didn’t do it all just like all of our elders said we should. And most of the time, I feel we’re better for the ride.

  8. Enjoyed the spring weather.

    It’s unseasonably warm and sunny here and we’re enjoying it. Puttered in the back yards, did some laundry, spent the afternoon at the local playground, then at a neighbor’s over tea. Finished off baking pancakes for dinner and had a quick skype chat with DH before the girls went to bed and he took off to the airport to fly home. The flight seems to be on time and he should arrive mid-morning, so that’s nice. The nice weather is forecast to continue for another week or so. 🙂

  9. Oops.

    I was working and decided midnight was late enough. Then I realized we’re changing to summertime today. Ouch! DH’s flight is scheduled to come in just before 9, so it won’t be a long night. Better get myself to bed pronto!

    • I hope you guys had a happy reunion, after you got a good night’s rest. Midnight is definitely late enough to work, girlfriend ! I’m glad you’re getting to enjoy some nice weather. We’re having a storm here and I’m very happy about it.


      • We had a very nice day yesterday, enjoying the weather and the fact that we were all home.

        Glad you’re enjoying the storm. Mainly because it means cooler weather? Are you holed up with a book?

        I haven’t quite figured out your alias – I figure you sound like mamacita. Is this you?

      • Just read in the thread above that indeed, this you you, L. Good to ‘see’ you here 🙂

        • this IS you, of course

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