Tag Archives: children

Mom’s Official Day Off

by Lillian Csernica on May 9, 2015

Here in the United States, tomorrow is Mother’s Day.  This is the day on which we recognize all the love, the effort, and the sacrifices mothers provide for their children.  The traditional observance is taking Mom out to brunch or perhaps dinner, so she doesn’t have to cook or clean up afterward.

Mothers deserve more than one day of official recognition.  We deserve two weeks’ paid vacation with full benefits and room service.  Then maybe somebody would notice how many people it takes to do all of the work just one of us accomplishes on a daily basis.

When John was little, he was a “runner.”  He got out the front door one day and took off up the stairs to street level.  I went after him, slipped on one of the steps, and tore my right calf muscle.  I was laid up for about two weeks, spending the first week off my feet entirely.  My mother came over to help.  My mother-in-law flew in from New Jersey to help.  I think the final total was five people coming on board.  While my leg put me in a whole new world of pain, I must admit I rather enjoyed the validation of my nearest and dearest finding out just how much I really did do around the house.

I do not recommend this method of getting people’s attention.

So to all the mothers out there, birth, adopted, foster, grand-, god-, and fairy godmothers as well, I salute you and all that you do for the people you love.



Filed under Family, Goals, housework, mother

N for The NeverEnding Story

by Lillian Csernica on April 16, 2015

I’m going for the hat trick today.  That’s right, three movies for the price of one!

From Wikipedia:

The NeverEnding Story (German: Die unendliche Geschichte) is a 1984 West Germanepicfantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young warrior whose task is to stop a dark storm called the Nothing from engulfing a fantasy world. The film was directed and co-written by Wolfgang Petersen (his first English-language film) and starred Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach, Moses Gunn, Thomas Hill; and Alan Oppenheimer as the voices of both Falkor and Gmork. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film produced outside the USA or the USSR. The film was later followed by two sequels.[1]

Sounds pretty good, yes?  International cast, plenty of money, and based on what sounds like a strong fantasy story.  What should be a classic quest/coming of age story does include some aspects of Joseph Campbell’s Journey of the Hero.  I didn’t like the movie when I first saw it and I still don’t like it, all for the same reason.  The movie feels like one big Dark Night of the Soul.  That’s really depressing, especially in a movie designed for children.  Here’s an article that articulates quite well all the problems I had with the movie:

9 Reasons Why Adults Should Never Watch “The NeverEnding Story.”

Author Michael Ende was none too pleased with the movie either.  Here’s what happened next:

Ende felt that this adaptation’s content deviated so far from his book that he requested that production either be halted or the film’s title be changed; when the producers did neither, he sued them and subsequently lost the case.[2] The film only adapts the first half of the book, and consequently does not convey the message of the title as it was portrayed in the novel. The second half of the book would subsequently be used as the rough basis for the second film, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. The third film, The NeverEnding Story III: Escape From Fantasia, features a completely original plot.


Bastian Bux (Jonathan Brandis) is having troubles at home: his father Barney’s (John Wesley Shipp) busy workload is keeping him from consoling Bastian’s fear of heights.

Now how often is that going to come up on a daily basis?  That’s not exactly a common feature of teen angst.

Bastian flees from his problems to an old bookstore when he hears the Childlike Empress (Alexandra Johnes) summon him to save Fantasia. There, he reunites with Atreyu (Kenny Morrison) Falkor (voiced by Donald Arthur), and Rock Biter and meets a new character: a talking bird-like creature named Nimbly (Martin Umbach). Bastian now faces “the Emptiness”, created by the evil sorceress Xayide (Clarissa Burt) and her mechanical “giants”.

Why am I thinking of the White Witch from Narnia?

Because Bastian is capable of stopping her, she has a machine constructed in which each time he makes a wish to AURYN, it will strip him of a memory. After Bastian and Atreyu confront Xayide at her castle, she feigns surrender and persuades Bastian to make a series of ridiculous wishes.

I know Bastian is still a kid, but if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a stupid hero.

Upon reading the NeverEnding Story, Barney is surprised to see his son’s exploits therein.

This probably explains a lot about Bastian’s fear of heights.

As he follows Bastian’s journey through the book, Atreyu realizes he must stop Bastian before Xayide’s hold over him becomes too strong to break. This leads to a fight between the two boys, whereafter Bastian finds the machine collecting his memories and confirms Atreyu’s suspicion.

Now I’m thinking of Dorothy yanking aside the curtain and discovering the real Wizard of Oz.

Bastian tries to use Atreyu’s horse Artax follow Atreyu and Falkor, but is nearly killed by Xayide, and later directed by Nimbly to the correct location. Once there, Bastian sacrifices his memory of his beloved mother to wish Atreyu back to life. Xayide appears and urges him to use his final wish to return home; but he instead wishes her to show compassion, whereupon she destroys herself and restores Fantasia.

It would make a lot more sense if Bastian wanted to use one of those wishes to bring back his mother.

When thanked by the Childlike Empress, Bastian is able to face his fear of heights by jumping off a high cliff, thus returning home safely. Before the end credits, AURYN reappears on the front cover of the Neverending Story’s book.

How bad is this movie?  It is so bad that its rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site is a staggering 0%.


This astonishing piece of work features Bastian in high school facing another set of bullies called “the Nasties.”  His father has remarried.  Bastian’s stepsister Nicole is not at all happy about this.  At school the bullies come after Bastian and chase him down to the boiler room, where Bastian finds his copy of The NeverEnding Story waiting for him.  That gives him a fast exit to Fantasia, where his services are once again needed.  Fantasia is imperiled by an invasion of “the Nasties.”  This gets so bad there’s a “giant crustacean” that attacks the Childlike Empress.  Somehow Nicole has used AURYN to make a wish that drags everybody into a local shopping mall where the big showdown takes place.

Oh my stars and garters.  I can think of so many movies that take a troubled teen, drop him or her into some far-off world, and make a much, much better story out of it.  One of my favorites is Warriors of Virtue.  If you haven’t watched it, it’s well worth the time, if only to see the stunt team in kangaroo suits performing martial arts and acrobatics.


Filed under bad movies, Blog challenges, Depression, Family, fantasy, Fiction

Something Completely Different

by Lillian Csernica on February 28, 2015



My writing has most often taken the forms of fiction and nonfiction.  What most people don’t know is that I have written poetry.  When I was in high school, I decided sonnets were my favorite form, and of the five variations, I enjoy Spenserian sonnets the most.  Alas, I am not much good at writing sonnets.

In the course of my experiments with poetry, I’ve come up with six examples I consider worth keeping.  Given that we are on the brink of Spring, I will share with you the poem I wrote that best suits the oncoming season.




Child of the summer dawn

Child running on the lawn

Singing high and sweet and clear

Never known such pain and fear.

Sweetest Babe, O Blessed Child,

Save me from this world so wild

Running free to chase the sun

You’ve no battles to be won.

Lucky child, no age have you

Dancing on the morning dew

Never old, you’ll ever be

Deep within the heart of me.

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Filed under Family, fantasy, Goals, Writing

R is for Roller Rink

by Lillian Csernica on April 20, 2014



By now you’re thinking, “She’s got to be running out of ideas.  Soon she’ll have to just start making things up!”  Well, that day is NOT today!  There is in fact a chocolate roller rink, and it’s located in Canela, Brazil.


From http://daveswworld.blogspot.com/2011/09/cross-country-travel-day-5.html:

” We stop at a cute shop and I quickly fill boxes with chocolate of all kinds for my American friends.  The cashier tells us to make sure we head upstairs to see what is up there before retreating to our car.  Of course our curiosity is heightened and we head up past

the chocolate waterfall and life size chocolate figures.  We come to a room with music playing.  After further investigation,  we see two kids ice skating, but this is no regular rink – the kids are skating on chocolate.  Yes chocolate.  I watch a while and think of putting on a pair of skates myself,  but it is a small rink and we have more of Canela to see.”

Yes, folks, the Brazilians are so cool they have even created a skating rink for kids where the floor is pure chocolate.  I ask you, did you ever think you’d see something this cool?

Now tell me this:  if you could build an entertainment location out of chocolate, what would it be?  Miniature golf?  Bowling?  The kind of games you play on the midway at the State Fair?  Come on!  Let’s hear some ideas!


Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, Family, Food, history, Humor, science fiction, Writing