I'm off Facebook.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It kind of makes me feel a little fickle....that doesn't seem like quite the right word, but you know, someone who just can't stick to their guns. Flip flops. Can't make up their mind and knuckle down. It's only the second time I've done it though, that can't be too bad. I'm sure there are lots of people who have gone back and forth many times. There has to be---one of the click boxes FB provides when it asks you as you are deactivating, why you are doing it is, This is just temporary. I'll be back.

I clicked 'other'. I wrote in the box It's so shallow.

It was about 4 years ago I think that I got off FB for the first time and I had some specific and pretty much completely different reasons for that which I won't go into here and now. This time however...I'm just tired of the shallowness. Now, for anyone reading this now who is still on FB, please don't take offense. As I heard recently, and quote with satisfaction: "this is descriptive of my life, not prescriptive for anyone elses".

I'm just tired of seeing status update after update about trivial things that people are doing. But it's not even that so much, it's the lack of interaction--true, real interaction. People just making flip, sarcastic comments, trying so hard to be the funniest, the cleverest, the cutest. I was falling into it myself.
And then the politics. People accepting friend requests who don't even know each other, people cutting others out of their friend lists without even as much as a 'hey there'. I'm just tired of it all. You send messages to people that they don't respond to...as a real friend of mine said recently on FB, she wonders why it's become acceptable to ignore invitations or stand people up. I learned the hard and disappointing way that FB allows you to reach this huge group of people...only to have 75% of them ignore your plea. That hurts. And we shouldn't be doing that to each other.

So now I've deactivated and I've got a page up that will show me how to actually delete (cuz you know when you deactivate, you're still actually there...what makes it different from logging out is beyond me). My husband wondered why I just didn't stop going to it....because I'm weak I suppose. I keep thinking of things that I'll miss and regret about doing it...a few friends who I enjoyed seeing their posts, the PRS group I started and now has over 700 members actively talking and sharing their experiences and problems. My business page is a sticky problem that I'm working on and should be able to get around...I hope. But even if I don't fix it...is it really going to make that huge of a difference if my business doesn't have a FB page? I suspect not.

So, for anyone who's reading (mom, lol) this is why I'm not there today. Or tomorrow. And hopefully not ever again.

Little boys

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

As you might have read, I watched a live performance of Annie on Friday. Sometime on the weekend, I pulled up some of the songs on youtube, specially the ones from the 1999 movie remake, which I favour. One song I watched though was the old Carol Burnett version of "Little Girls". I remember quoting some of the words on my blog when I found out I was having Afton and would therefore have 3 girls. :-)

But I don't think you can find a song about how exasperating little boys can be. Not that they aren't...lol.

I was just directed to this through Cindy Beall and read it with interest...but as usual, I sigh at the end. I don't like to be the mommy that's always pointing out that my boy is different, but it's a little like being a handicapped person who has to be the one to speak up about the lack of ramps around the church, school, whatever. So many resources out there are addressing.. ...ahem...typical boys (that's specialneedsspeak). Certainly I can read that post and take things from it. But alot of it I can't. And after 10 years of reading advice that I can only use 1/2 of....it gets a little discouraging.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Or is it tattle-tail?

I have a real problem with the general parenting philosophy that discourages tattle-tales. I've heard it since I was old enough to have ears, you've heard it just as long, tattle-taling is wrong. A sin, right?

Well, I would love to be enlightened with the scripture on that one.

Now that I have kids who are well acquainted with the blessed skill of tattle-taling, I've been questioning this more than ever. Let me tell you why I have a problem with the anti-tattle-taling movement.
  • We tell kids that if they are being bullied, they need to come and tell a parent. Of course, we don't call that tattle-taling. But how's a kid to know the difference? Take this even further, we tell kids that if they are being abused or molested by an adult, they need to tell someone. But just don't tattle.
  • When Cain asked God "Am I my brothers keeper?", he was not setting an admirable precedent. He was being sarcastic, because, yes, we're supposed to be concerned with the safety and well-being of our brothers, friends, neighbours, etc. We want to teach our children to be sensitive and compassionate, ready to reach out and help someone in need. And yet when we tell them not to tattle-tale, we're instilling a sense of apathy, of self-centredness.
I started to realize this when I would go to have a shower, or otherwise leave the kids playing somewhere where my eyes were not watching every second (down in the basement or backyard, let's say) and have to admonish Honour to keep an eye on her siblings. I would often add, 'But don't come running to me every 5 minutes tattle-taling'. But then I'd rethink that and say--unless they are doing something dangerous. I used to often say that 'it's not tattle-taling if it's happening to you', to encourage my kids to stand up for themselves and get help from an adult if they were being hurt by someone else. So now we have two exceptions to the tattle-tale rule. That's alot of distinctions to expect from 5 and 7 year olds.

So then I analyzed, why do we discourage tattle-taling?

Well, it's cotton-pickin' annoying for one. We can all remember a whining, constantly complaining kid in our past who came running to you or his parents or whomever with a teeth-grindingly exasperating litany of "she did this to me, he did that to me".

So is annoyance a good enough reason to lay down a wide-spread moral law to keep your hurts to yourself?

We can see this played out to the final result on your average cop show. Bad guy or witness gets caught, is being interrogated and encouraged to tell the police what he knows. But he won't budge--why? He ain't a snitch.

If there's something that really gets my goat, it's when I see people or kids getting angry at someone who 'told' on them when they've done something wrong. This is just so wrong in itself! My kids do it all the time--they get told on, or tattle-taled on and found out for the wrong they've committed, but they aren't remorseful or repentant...instead, they are angry at the person who told on them! I'm usually quick to nip that in the bud. If you do the crime, you do the time--no one else can be blamed for your bad decision and all that.

There is the heart condition of the tattler to consider however, and perhaps therein lies the key to this. We don't like tattlers because they are smug. They are usually self-righteous. They are often quite pleased to have caught someone else--often a sibling, in a wrong. This is so far from a godly attitude that it's not funny. We are told in scripture to graciously uphold and correct one another. We need to remember when we're 'tattling' that there but for the grace of God, go I. Even a child can recognize that they themselves have likely done the very wrong they are tattling about, or could easily do it.

I don't know where this leads. I'm not writing a nice, neat, loose ends tight, Focus on the Family type article (No offence to FOTF meant WHATsoever; I'm highly supportive of them, but you know what I mean, right?)
I think it will mean for me that I will not be so quick to lay down or enforce the "don't tattle-tale" law. Because if in the future one of my girls is making some really bad decisions and putting herself in mortal (or moral) jeopardy, I want her sisters to feel they can come and tell me. I just can't be present and involved for every minute of my children's lives and sometimes, I'm going to have to rely on others to be eyes and ears for me--until they reach the time that they are fully accountable for their own actions.

A review of "Annie"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On Friday, I took the girls to a production of Annie at Hamilton District Christian High school, which is a quick 5 minutes away from me. I've never written a review for something like this, but I thought I would give it a shot.

We arrived at about 11:40 for a 12noon matinee showing. We were directed at the front door by a student who was apparently part of the production, that they weren't quite ready for guests to come in. We sat out on the front patio for a few minutes before one of the girls indicated a need for the facilities, so we went in to get that task taken care of.

When we came out, I decided to head for the gymnasium as it was now between 10 and 5 to the hour. I was a little chagrined to come in and see about 75% of the seating already filled. This would put my little girls and I about 3-4 rows from the back which was a little disappointing. Fortunately we were facing a bonafide stage which was raised about 4 feet off the floor. Still, we ended up stacking their chairs so that they didn't need to perch uncomfortably for the entire production.

And it was fortunate that we did that, as the the production ran, with intermission, a full two and a half hours. Phew! My five year old barely made it.

I took note of a live orchestra/band off to stage right, but on the floor and prepared myself for the inevitable sounds of a high school band.

The production began only a minute after 12 with an exuberant introduction by a teacher (I assume) who was part of the direction of the musical (I assume). He told us his name, but I don't recall it.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you the cast, as there were no programs, and my online searches have not turned up any listings. They did have a 'Wall of Stars' outside the gym on a large bulletin board, but I didn't take the time to note any names. So I'll just be referring to the actors by character.

The musical began with a view of the room where the orphans live, plain metal beds lining the back wall of the set. The girls took their places and the lights were dim; they were obviously supposed to be sleeping. A slightly confusing moment occurring shortly after as Annie enters to calm the nightmares of little Molly, leaves the viewer wondering why Annie was up and roaming the house at 3am.
It appeared that each girl was outfitted with a head mic affixed along their cheeks, however the sound quality left something to be desired, quite muffled and fuzzy sounding (my technical words). I grew accustomed to this as the show progressed, so it wasn't a lasting annoyance.
The first vocal number arrived, with Annie consoling the young pigtailed Molly as she insisted that her parents would be returning for her, performing "Maybe".
While Annie's arrival on stage had been somewhat lackluster and void of definite function (was she the kind big sister? The tell-em-like-it-is hard nose? Not sure...) this young actress had most definitely been chosen for her singing voice. Pure and clear, with a strong sense of pitch (a necessity when accompanied by a high school band), her songs from beginning to end were strong. Her range from low to high was fairly consistent, her very highest notes slightly thin and less full bodied, but still quite adequate for the part. Her very pleasant voice nearly made up for her somewhat stiff appearance, her acting not quite reaching her eyes.

The rest of the orphan cast were average singers, with none standing out particularly during their one-liner opportunities. "It's a Hard Knock Life", usually a rousing, attitude laden number, was somewhat less saucy then hoped for. I would have to give the girls the benefit however, as the kind of belting, broadway type voice needed to give that song real oompf, is just not commonly found among teen girls. They did the best they could.

The shining, wise-cracking breath of fresh air arrived with Miss Hannagan. I would truly say that she was the star of the show. Full of vim and vigor, and just the right amount of sleaze, Miss Hannagan was all I hoped her to be. Young actors can often overdo the anger emotion, and Miss Hannagan came dangerously close as she arrived on the scene to scold the early rising girls, but she reigned it in and showed us some coy stylings that were a delight to watch.

A beautiful Golden Retriever made a quick appearance during Annie's runaway street scene...with the dog nearly running off with her. I suppose it was necessary to have a leash on the dog, although a simple leather or even rope lead would have been a little less distracting to the 30's style set than the bright blue extend-a-lead. While I applaud the director for incorporating a real dog into the cast, poor Annie had to adlib a stage right to left movement during the climax of the flagship song as Fido decided he needed to smell something particularly yummy, singing actress on the end of his leash or not. Annie graciously and easily finished out her song with a quick kneel to give the dog a squeeze (and warn it to behave, I'm sure!)

A poised and beautiful Miss Farrell arrives to introduce Annie to her future father. The assistant to Oliver Warbucks was well done, her cultured yet not arrogant character just the right blend of style and competence. As Annie catches her first glimpse of the Warbuck mansion, we meet the timeless Daddy Warbucks. Also well done, Warbucks is tall and striking, his strong baritone sometimes rushing his lines just a bit. The staff, including butler Drake are crisp in black and white, appropriately demure and helpful.

Hannagans brother "Rooster" and his dame are next to arrive on set. As sly and greasy as his dame is ditzy, their trio "Easy street" was arguably the weakest song of the production. Again, the kind of vamping required for this big band/New Orleans jazz number can hardly be expected from high school students. The incredibly high key of this, and other pieces throughout, also handicapped many of the singing actors. Miss Hannagan made an admirable stab at all her numbers, but it was apparent that her chest voice vastly out performed her head voice. I would imagine that little could have been done about this however, since the band provided live accompaniment and incidental music for the full 2.5 hours of the production. While the musical fare was as you'd expect for a high school band, I have to give them kudos for keeping it up for that length of time. (And a weekend of performances to follow...poor little chops!)

The sets were quite impressive. Two large panels on either side of a middle entrance doorway were expertly hinged to swivel from the centre, creating the two main sets of the orphan bedroom and the Warbuck mansion. A few stand alone panels were rolled out to add a street scene, the Oval Office, and the orphanage door from a street perspective. All were artistically rendered and scene changes were smooth, if not somewhat lengthy.

Overall, I would give the production three out of five stars. For a such a reasonable entrance fee (free!) I would head over to HDCH again. Especially if Miss Hannagan found her way out of New York!