Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Procrastinating

Just spent an hour yelling at Jonah for not doing this stupid Ancient China project. He's had 10 days to work on it and he hasn't done a thing. I basically did it for him. I can't be too mad at him though. I was supposed to run a bunch of errands and clean the house today, instead I spent hours learning that Cups song from Pitch Perfect (thanks for youtube tutorials) and then just went shopping. Does CPS ever intervene because of plain ol' bad sense or laziness? Maybe they should.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

George Dope


  Here's the thing guys. I just can't get worked up over Lance and Manti. I think lying is bad but sometimes you just gotta lie. Let me deal with Lance first, Peter has tried hard to turn me. But I still kinda like the guy. There are a lot of reasons to hate Lance. And there are flaws to every argument I have in favor of Lancey. But here's the way I see it. Doping was a problem in cycling before Lance came on the scene. And if Lance had never happened to the sport, it would be just like any other sport. Cycling would just be a sport that people cheat at sometimes, like baseball. Unfortunately for cycling, the biggest jerk on the planet happened to be a cyclist. He admitted that he was willing to do anything to win, and he credits the cancer for that trait. For the sake of my argument, let's say that that's true. If he would never have gotten cancer, I don't think cycling would be the mess it is today. Lance would have been known as the cocky American who was a good cyclist, and he cheated sometimes like everybody else. Instead, Lance's will to beat cancer, mastetized into a will to beat down everyone who tried to get in his way. The same thing could happen to anybody. Inside every one of us, is a sleeping monster, just waiting to be awakened by the wrong event. 

  Take me for example, (mostly because I'm tired of talking about somebody that's not me) I think that I have the potential to be a really scrappy cage fighter. This is not a joke. You know what event would awaken that monster in me? If I were to get mugged or attacked right after a really bad meeting at the school. Sometimes I go to school meetings and I find my self stuck in a room with a really bad teacher and a lazy bureaucrat, most teachers are good but there are bad ones, and it is the bad ones who speak to me the most condescendingly. When I ask an apparently ignorant question, they respond with, "Oooowww you are suuuch a good mom!" and then they don't even answer the question. They just try to make me sign my life away in a hurry so that they can be on the road by 3:30. I may not be smart, but I'm smart enough to know when someone is speaking down to me, and I didn't carve an hour out of my schedule to listen to you talk about how much paperwork you have and why are we on opposing teams anyway? It is after an  altercation like this that my monster could potentially be awakened. I leave fuming and I think to myself, "I dare some crazy person to just out of the bushes and assault me right now." I would go absolutely bizerk. They wouldn't know what hit 'em. It would be a scene from a Tarentino movie, and I'm not even a violent person. But I would go for blood and like it, and that's when the monster inside would wake up and whisper, "You are not supposed to be a stay at home mom of 5, leave them  and fulfill your true calling as a badass cage fighter." And that's what happened to Lance, he got hit by cancer in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it turned him from a sorta cheating jerk athlete, to a superhuman life destroying douche, who was a great cyclist. You can't blame him, or as I like to say, you can't fight the moonlight. 

  And Manti, poor Manti. I don't have much to say about him, he just made up some harmless stuff and got caught. I can totally empathize with that. I mean, come on, I went to 2 middle schools and 3 high schools. I'll be the first to admit that a fake girl/boyfriend will seriously up your stock.

     "I totally have so many hot boyfriends you have no idea you guys, too bad they are all at my old school and there is no way for you to verify that."

    Ahh those were the days. The funny thing is that I thought I was the only person to invent a fake boyfriend. But when I was a freshman at BYU, the dorms were lousy with George Glass. "Oh I totally have a boyfriend, he's just on a mission."



  But Mister, Te'o was a step ahead of me on the fake relationship thing. I had to learn the hard way that if you are going to make up a boyfriend, it has to be a made up person. You can't go around telling people that you are boyfriend and girlfriend with a person that actually exists, and never EVER with a person that people actually know. AND Don't try and fool yourself with the logic that this boy is so popular that your friends will be too chicken to go up and ask him if the two of you are secretly going out, because the friends you thought were spineless will find the courage. I'll spare you the details of how the story ends, but it does end. Very very badly. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ezra Bud


   This post is not about whether or not Ezra is a wild boy. It's not about whether he needs better parenting. I know that he is wild and that he needs better parenting. I know that  boundaries and using a little discipline and follow through principles at home would go a long way to change his behavior and make my life easier. But he's my 5th and I am exhausted. And however much you judge me by Ezra's naughtiness, I guarantee you that I've judged ten times harsher. I spent my early mothering era as the queen of judgement. I knew exactly what everyone was doing wrong and how to fix it. And it has taken years and years of crying, and trips to the hospital (ER trips as well as actually having to make an appointment and have a child admitted which is much worse than the ER) and, vomit, and  diagnoses, and walks of shame, and cleaning up poop, and IEPs, (and did I mention the crying?) for me to realize that all of us parents are doing the best we can. And each of us go to bed at night feeling guilty so we should cut each other a break. I guess I'm just saying that you should cut me a break. 
  
  The above pictures are from Ezra's preschool nativity program when he decided to step three feet in front of all the other kids, sing in a devil voice and then shake his head back and forth so violently that he got dizzy and fell. It was amazing. Here are a few other facts about Ezra. 

1.His hair is a major point of contention in our marriage. I want it short but Pete likes it long. Sometimes when he goes to work I give it little trim. When I cut it too short Pete notices and gets mad. As a result when you see Ezra he will either look like a girl, or like that villain that Javier Bardem played in No Country For Old Men. 

2. A few months ago I went to Chick-Fil-A with a friend. I sent the kids into the play area alone to play while I chatted with my friend. Note: this might be a common occurrence in Utah, but on the East Coast, the children are supervised much more closely. This is probably because the mothers here love their children more and have no friends. See? There I go with the judgement. Anyway, I went in to round up my kids and there was a mom with an 8 year old child waiting for me. "Excuse me, I just wanted to let you know that your son hit my son every time he tried to go down the slide." So I went through  the motions of apologizing profusely and talking to Ezra about appropriate behavior, all for the benefit of the mom. When she was satisfied that my 2 year old had been sufficiently lectured for hitting a child twice his size, she left me be. 

3. A few weeks ago, Pete and I took the kids to Chick-fil-A again. And once again, I let them play unsupervised while we chatted. We didn't so much chat, it was more like bickering about Ezra's hair. The conversation ended with me telling Pete that if he wanted to be in charge of hair, he could, but Ezra looked like a girl and really really needed a haircut. Peter, defeated and annoyed with me, stomped off into the play area to retrieve the boys and take them to the barber. When he walked in and called Ezra, he was greeted just as I had been a few months earlier, by a mother standing with a 8 or 9 year old son who had received the wrath of Ezra. I don't exactly know what the exchange was between Peter and this poor mother, but let's just say that I think Peter would have made Larry David very very very proud. 

4. About an hour later, my Pete texts me from the barber, "
         These people here are all Viet. I'm going to listen and see if they talk about me. 
The big payoff for me came when Pete listened to the barber girls talking amongst themselves, "Look at this boy with the girl haircut, why would his parents want him to look like a girl?" It was really too bad for those unsuspecting Vietnamese barber girls. Because little did they know that if Larry David and Alec Baldwin had a love child, it would be a Vietnamese speaking Peter. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Les Misérables

  I have been begging Peter to take us to Disney World for about two and a half years now. The last time we went was about two and a half years ago. I have lots of great arguments about why we should go, and they are good arguments too. But none strong enough to counter Pete's arguements that  it's crowded and expensive and far and our kids have fun just about anywhere. When it comes down to it, he just doesn't love Disney like I do. There are two types of people, those who love Disney, and those who don't. I thought it was very insightful when my friend Heather explained one reason could be that  Disney is "like Christmas. You need early exposure to it when you still believe in unicorns and fairies and The Force for its magic to penetrate your soul." Otherwise it's like "introducing a ten year old to the concept of Santa." Cool but not magical. Well for me, it is magical. For Peter, it's expensive and crowded. 
  I was reminded of Heather's post on Disneyland this morning when I listened to a movie review of Les Misérables. One critic (Slate.com's David Haglund) made the same observation about the musical. He said that you really need to have been exposed to the musical at a young age in order for its magic to penetrate your soul. He could not think of anyone he knew, and neither can I, who was a fanatic of Les Mis, that wasn't exposed to it at a tween-ish age. Haglund cleverly observed that this might be explained by the fact that Jean Valjean is like a comic book hero. Super human strength, check. Villan who is obsessed with taking the hero down, check. Goes around doing good for others, check. I don't know if that's what drew me to the musical, but I am a broadway fanatic and a Les Misérables superfan.  Before the movie came out, it had been a couple of years since I had listened to the music, but I don't know anyone who listened to it more than I did as a kid. My parents saw the show when I was about 9 or 10, they brought home one of those new CD thingies and souvenir program. I looked through the program and listened to the music every day for months, maybe even years. I dreamt of playing young Cosette,  and then Eponine when I got older. I read the book in college and fell in love all over again.  Really, I am a superfan.

   Pete raised another interesting question. Is there anyone who read the book before they heard the music that absolutely adores the musical? Peter says no. I don't know, we'll have to do some polling. I wonder if my friend Sarah D' read the book first. I'll be she's a superfan. I heard that when someone at church once asked Sarah what her favorite book was, she immediately answered Les Misérables. When she opened up the RS newsletter that Sunday, she learned that her favorite book was "Lame Is Rob." True story. 

   So you can guess how excited I was about the film coming out. I didn't see it right away. But I read dozens of Facebook posts about people crying through the movie. My friends loved it. Heck, I got choked up every time I saw a trailer! "Did you know it wasn't pre-recorded?" I would knowingly say to my friends. They already knew. Everyone already knows that. Last weekend we had a free night, I told Pete I wanted to see it to which he responded, "Meh, I'm still not sure whether or not I want to see that in the theater." So I guess that he wasn't exposed to Les Mis at a young age either. What kind of parents did you have Pete? Do we even know each other anymore? Why are you trying to change who I am?After some dramatics on my part, we got tickets. 
 
  I arrived at the theater ready, extra tissues, no eye make-up. The show started. And I didn't shed a tear. I have to admit that I was very moved in the scene just after the bishop gives Valjean the silver and he decides to become an honest man, (I think that might just be the remnants of Dosteyovsky talkin' though--I'm keen on themes of redemption) But no crying here. I should have guessed that the film would feel a little off for me right from the opener when everyone was singing "Look down,'' but no one was actually looking down, they were all looking up. Don't get me wrong, Russel Crowe had me pretty close to tears, but for all the wrong reasons. Even during, "I Dreamed A Dream," nothing. I was actually surprised that so many people were moved to tears during that scene because the 10 minutes leading up to it were totally weird. It was almost like the Lovely Ladies scene was directed by Tim Burton. Surreal and creepy but trying to be funny. I can't switch gears like that. I'm not a machine. Or maybe I am a machine, because I felt nothing. The entire movie I was a bit confused. The close ups weren't raw and emotional, just sort of strange, some people were broadway stars, some were actors who could sing, some were just actors. I kept thinking that I should be really moved, but I never was. I even snuck out half way through to tell the manager that the volume was too quiet. And you know another thing that bugged me? At then end, when Fantine's ghost came to take Valjean up to heaven, why was her hair still short? I think she should have been completely de-whorified. I'm saying that the film should be completely true to the musical, or that every singer needed to be perfect. But it could have been a great movie and it wasn't.

  When the movie ended, I had to admit that I liked it, I don't know if it was because I genuinely liked it, or if I was just defensive because Peter didn't love it. I'm going to have to see it again to decide. As soon as we got home, I hurried to my computer to listen to the music. But I think it's pretty telling that I had to listen to the original '87 version and I couldn't bring myself to re-listen to a single song from the movie. I'm kind of in this state of limbo where I can't really say that I loved the movie, but I feel this really strong desire to see it again. If anyone has any input to help me work through this that would be great, but I think that the take home lesson from all of this is that Peter should give the green light on a Disney World Vacation, don't you?
  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jensen Family Christmas Card

I just thought I'd post our annual Christmas letter. It has received mixed reviews. Everything from, "I loved your letter, you are the most amazing person I've ever met I wish we were best friends!" (that was actual feedback) TO "I never thought I'd read the word 'crotch' in a christmas letter." And then there is just total silence from my parents, like it never even happened, which is much worse than disapproval. Anyway, hope you enjoy it.  Sorry the text is so small.