31 July 2013


Monday I checked our mail to find an envelope from the Office of Licensing. My first reaction was sheer terror. When Moose arrived home I had him open the envelope why I kept cooking. Moose read the letter which stated that we are certified to have no more than two children from Foster Care in our home. I was surprised. Part of me thought we wouldn't get certified for one reason or another. I thought I was nervous before but it doesn't compare to the scared excitement I feel now. Every time my phone rings now I wonder if it is about a child who needs a home. I joke that at least if I were pregnant I would have nine months to prepare for a child.

We needed a place to put the certificate so I put it in a sheet protector in my piano book. Speaking of my piano book I got some new music. I am a sucker for soundtracks. When it comes to piano music I really like learning anime soundtracks. I've decided the reason is that they are adventurous and most people haven't heard them. Playing songs people already know is just asking for a comparison, even if it is unconsciosly. I have a new song that is a jazz song. I can now plat two of six pages at half speed. So far, so good. Sorry for any mispellings. I am using Moose's Nook and it doesn't have a spellchecker that I can find.

26 July 2013


A month or so ago, Moose and I stopped off at the grocery store and decided to see if there was anything worthwhile in the Redbox machine. The last four times we’ve looked we haven’t gotten anything. As we were scrolling through the various options I caught sight of HITCHCOCK. Since Moose and I had recently discussed how much we’ve enjoyed the Hitchcock films we’ve seen, I put it in the basket on a whim. With nothing else planned for the evening we decided to give it a try.

HITCHCOCK is a Hollywood “documentary” of Alfred Hitchcock’s life during the filming of PYSCHO. I can’t tell you how much of the movie is completely factual, but when I checked some of the facts later, I think they did a decent job. The movie was released in 2012.

The things that draw me in: The cast (with one exception). Boy oh boy, was I impressed, especially with Anthony Hopkins who played Hitchcock. I have seen several episodes of the TV series, and I thought that Anthony Hopkins was spot on. He would tilt his head back and give the impression of looking down his nose despite looking up at other people. I also thought the actor who played the actor who played Bates (I couldn’t resist), did a really good job. He looked exactly like Bates it took me by surprise.

I liked the story. As Larry would say “I laughed. I cried. It moved me, Bob.” I didn’t expect to get that involved in the movie that I picked on a whim. For those of you who are wondering, it is not a horror, it is a drama. It doesn’t actually show any actual film of PYSCHO, though it will give some of the surprises away. So, if you want to see PYSCHO watch it before you see HITCHCOCK.

What I enjoyed most is how much I came to appreciate Alfred Hitchcock’s films more. I have always been a fan of his. (My mother showed us NORTH BY NORTHWEST when we were young. It is her favorite. I have watched nearly a dozen of his films and enjoyed pretty much all of them.) I never thought Hollywood that glamorous. In fact I pity most celebrities because they have no personal life. Hitchcock was married to a woman named Alma. Alma in her own right was very talented and good at her job. This film shows some of the discord between then during stressful times of filming. I wish I had known about her sooner because of everything she’s done.

The things that kick me out: There was one actress that I thought could have been cast better. Part of the problem was she wasn’t really her character, but the same she has been in all of the films I’ve seen her in.

There are a few parts where Hitchcock is hallucinating, and I thought they were just a bit overboard. It wasn’t bad, but I thought it could have been a little less extravagant.

Should you watch it? If you are a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, yes. If you have always been curious about Hitchcock, yes. If you like drama or character driven stories, yes.

Should you buy it? I will if I find it for a good price. I know I will want to watch it again.

24 July 2013

Happy People

This last week Moose and I were on vacation. We went to Cannon Beach Oregon. I had been to Oregon once before. It was a fast Spring Break with my roommate. We felt like we needed to get out of the Dorm and so hopped in her car are drove in a giant circle for three days. It was a blast, but we really didn’t get out of the car much.

This trip was significantly different. Moose and I still drove quite a bit (one way is close to 13 hours). . . . I am going to toss my cat here in a moment. As I am trying to type she is lounging on my chest with her claws digging into my shoulder. She will stay still for a minute then move, blocking my view of the computer screen. And yet, I still wouldn’t give her up for the world. . . . Back to Oregon. We stopped off in Boise on the way up to break up the drive. We arrived in Boise hours before we had scheduled.v The only plan we had was to visit an old roommate of mine (different from the one who drove to Oregon with me). We had a nice early dinner with her and then headed back to the hotel.

As we were driving back I noticed a little store in a strip mall. Boise Disc Golf (966 S Vista Ave). Our hotel was right next to the Ann Morrison Park which has a disc golf course. Moose and I enjoy disc golf and Moose had been lamenting that we hadn’t brought his discs (although the more we thought about it we came to remember that his brother borrowed them and we think he still has them). Moose collected his discs while he was serving his mission in Texas. On their preparation days they would head over to the course and wander the roughs. He found half a dozen that way.

When we entered the small store I was a little taken aback by the clerk. He looked a little on the punk side and I felt really foolish. When he finished with the other customer he came over. I have never met anyone so excited to explain how the discs work. He asked us if we played much and if we had noticed the discs doing anything consistently that we didn’t like. He went on to explain how the discs were rated and the differences between our playing styles. By the end of the conversation Moose and I had new discs and an appreciation for this fellow. I wish I understood more of what he was saying, but we got enough of it to know what to look for in the future.

We only played 8 holes that night and the new disc didn’t make my game amazing, but I could see a difference. I wasn’t quite as far behind Moose. (We were both playing conservatively because the course had multiple holes over a stream and we didn’t want to have to fish the discs out.) I love finding little stores like this one and it seemed every day we were finding another store with someone who was passionate about what they did and made it that much more enjoyable. The photographer at the studio we went to. The clerk at the candy story. The treasure hunter at the jewelry store. The usher at the zoo for the concert. Overall, Moose and I agreed that this was the best trip we’d taken together. So much fun, and so relaxing.

05 July 2013

Chasing the Prophecy (Beyonders #3)

by Brandon Mull

CHASING THE PROPHECY is the third book in the Beyonders Trilogy by Brandon Mull. (Book 1 – A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES, Book 2 – SEEDS OF REBELLION) The story continues where SEEDS OF REBELLION left off and it continues at break-neck pace until the end. Jason and Rachel may be in for more than they realize when even the prophecy seems to lead them astray.

What draws me in: I didn’t feel like Mull was trying to hide anything important. Instead of focusing primarily on only Jason and Rachel’s viewpoints, there are quite a few other characters that we get narration from. This was nice because it didn’t leave me wondering what was going on where Rachel and Jason weren’t. This gave enough clues to let me guess and yet still be surprised by things. Including the solution at the end.

I like characters. They are just people I can get behind and cheer. I grew attached to them . . . I didn’t want to see them hurt. I liked how they all had different philosophies and opinions. Just because they were fighting for the same cause did not mean they were doing it for the same reasons.

I liked how Mull tied all of the books together. Things that happened in the first and second book were important to the third book. I had to wait each year for the books to come out and I didn’t reread the books in preparation. I think I would have gotten more out of it if I had read the books closer together.

What kicks me out: The ending was satisfactory, but not what I wanted. I am glad I read the series but there are a few things I wish he had done slightly different. My brother and I had a discussion. He liked this series more than FABLEHAVEN and I liked FABLEHAVEN’s ending just a little more. As my brother pointed out, BEYONDERS is meant for an older audience and Mull is not one to shy away from death in any of his series.

Should you read it? If you enjoy fantasy then absolutely. If you enjoy Brandon Mull then yes. These are fascinating, fantastical, clean YA fantasy books.

Should you buy it? They would make a good present for a YA fan.

03 July 2013

A Clean Home and Fond Memories

This last week was one of firsts. Happy and sad.

Last week we completed our home study . . . yay! For those of you who don’t know, that means someone comes into our house, interviews us, and makes sure the house is safe. This happens every year we want to be a Foster Parent. But the first home study is the most important. This would decide if they thought us appropriate for being Foster Parents. Granted they can always revoke our license later if something comes up, but now we are in the door.

During our Foster Care classes we heard multiple horror stories of people trying to pass the safety side of the home study. Some close friends had their licensor practically go through every cupboard and closet. When doing Foster Care there are specific criteria that must be met. If there are young children you have to have gates for stair cases and outlet covers (common sense). There is a realistic demand for window well covers. I can even understand locking up all of the harmful chemicals, such as gasoline, and medications. What I kind of dropped my jaw at was the fact that we had to lock up our daily vitamins and dishwashing and laundry detergent. . . okay. I can see the point behind those.

So here is what we learned. You can lock everything in the garage. Moose installed a dead bolt that requires a key from both sides. Now we can lock the garage with all of the power tools, chemicals, and other random items as the need arises. We installed a cabinet over our dryer that we can lock which has all of the household cleaners and our medications. This means there are two new keys on my keychain. This also means when we get children in the home, I have to keep my keys with me at all times. I mean what is the point of locking the stuff up if the keys are available. Our licensor was a little more laid back and friendly. He did not go through every closet, but I swear they were clean.

The other first was that I spoke at a funeral. I wasn’t very happy when I was first asked. I didn’t think I was the right person and I didn’t want any more stress. I said yes . . . Moose complains that I never learned to say no. I was to give a life sketch and read the obituary. I was really nervous. I haven’t been to many funerals and I wasn’t sure exactly what the audience would be expecting. I knew that many of the audience members have been to quite a few funerals. I just didn’t want to embarrass the family by saying anything wrong.

I wrote several drafts but none of them really felt right. The more I worked on it, the more I remembered the wonderful experiences I had. I would read through my notes as if I was at the funeral and just randomly add stories. It sounded terrible, even to me. I looked up articles about reading eulogies at funerals and the one that stuck out most was that I needed to have it written down. I stayed up until almost one to write out exactly what I was going to say. I practiced it multiple times for our cat since I didn’t want to disturb Moose. I finally got to the point where I felt comfortable reading it.

When I arrived at the funeral I panicked. I realized that my little life sketch was completely biased by me. I had more of my own personal memories and stories and not many that involved other people. I thought about trying to rewrite bits to include other family members but nothing came to mind. I came to the conclusion that it might sound self-centered but it was all I had.

I am pleased to say that it went well. I probably could have done better. I was happy people told me I did a good job. I probably developed a slight ego in regards to my writing ability. I just hope I don’t have to do it again for a long time.