Thursday, May 27, 2010

Free-Range Crazies?

I'm a talk radio junkie. I admit it, I could listen for hours; local and national politics, news, gardening (it has helped though, I assure you my plants are still pathetic), advice and relationships... if they're talking, I'm listening. But last Saturday Boston talk show host Mel Robbins was discussing "Take Our Children to the Park & Leave Them There Day".

This is part of the free-range parenting movement based on the belief that we are crippling our children with our never-ending fears. This writer, Lenore Skenazy, suggests we need to give our children the opportunity to become self-reliant, responsible and confident - by not being tended to every waking moment by helicoptering parents who are riddled with overprotective thoughts of "what if". Sounds good, right?
But the means in which to accomplish this, by her advise, is to leave your kids in public places. Yes, drop them off, give them a pat on the head and tell them to be home by dinner.

Back the bus up!

But Lenore Skenazy practices what she preaches. You may remember her as the mother who let her 9-year-old son take the New York City subway home alone. Just because he survived, doesn't make it a good idea.

Mel Robbin was going on about what a fabulous idea this was. What the what? Seriously? She asked all her listeners to take their school-age kids (5 years and up? Right?) to their neighborhood park, drop them off and drive away.

Wait, why don't we call this "Pedophile Appreciation Day"?

Usually happy just to listen, I was speed dialing the show.

No way on Earth would I leave my child alone anywhere. Mel and I got into a heated debate. She questioned why I was so irrationally over-protective, that the chances of my child being abducted was something like 1:1.4million. I questioned her about how she would feel if her child was that one. One. That's one too many.

Moreover, it's not so much the abduction scenario that plagues my Mommy-mind, though it does, it's all the other, more likely likelihoods; bullies, accidents, the perv wearing nothing but a trench coat who likes to give a little looky-loo, other a-hole parents, and the one I could probably count on if I ever dumped my kid anywhere - the call to the authorities.

She said I was being delusional, people don't just call the police over nothing.
I replied that I was living in the real world, you know, the real world where my neighbors called the police on me for blindfolding my horses.

Yeah, it's called a fly mask.
And will I be getting conjugal visits?

I wish we lived in the kind of world that I could get rid of allow my kids to adventure off for the day, on their bikes, in the neighborhood. I grew up in that world. It was awesome. I wish my kids could too. But we don't.
Growing up, we knew our neighbors, we knew our whole town. We knew who we could ask if we needed help, and who to cross to the opposite side of the street when spotted.
And despite the fact I still live in a small town, I don't know my neighbors... Well, there's the guy next door, that we call Mountain Man, who throws parties all weekend which always include lots of booze (NTTAWWT), men screaming "NO! You're the needledick!" and something bursting into flames.
Then on the other side of our property we have these people. Well, we don't know them either. But their grounds staff seem very nice.

So despite our small, yet diverse little neighborhood, I've lived here 10 years and I really don't know many of them.

She questioned why I don't make a casserole and go introduce myself. My first thought is; I'd probably be shot just approaching either one of these houses.

But the truth is, in general, people keep to themselves. Our society doesn't want to be bothered. If they want to have a relationship, they'll send a friend request on FB. Sad, but true. I think, in large part, it's due to the "sue-happy" attitude of this country. If you don't know your neighbors, they won't come over and slip on your front step. No lawsuit, no problem. It stinks, but it's the truth.

I continued our little fight discussion by addressing the flip side of the coin; when I take my kids somewhere, say the park, I get annoyed and uncomfortable when there's unsupervised kids, especially when I'm the only adult. I don't know the legalities, but when I'm the only person over 18, I suddenly feel responsible for all the kids. And maybe I'm supposed to feel that way, you know, the whole it takes a village... But it annoys me that I have to feel that way, that the other absentee parents just assume I'll take responsibility. And suddenly, a trip to the park to have fun with my kids has turned into a stress-filled, un-paid babysitting gig.

And what about liability? If little Billy pushes little Susie and breaks her arm, can the parents come back to me and say "why didn't you stop it from happening?". Technically, yes, they can. And as ridiculous as it sounds, then can sue me. They may not win, but I'll still be on the hot seat... and in the hole financially just to defend myself.

That's the world we live in.

And how do I know if that guy dragging the crying child off the playground is a parent of the child who wants to stay and play.... or something else?

At the end of my little on-air chat, my mind had not been changed, and Ms. Robbins was still living in a fantasy world where every adult is trust-worthy and every child is safe and sound.

I'm all for teaching my child how to be confident, self-assured and independent, but my first responsibility is to keep my child safe. How could I live with myself if I actively failed at that.

So what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Birthday Girl

It's hard to believe she will be 8 years old on Friday.

Dear Time,
Please slow down just a bit. It's all going by too quickly.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Frankly, My Dear....

LaBev and I traveled to Boston on Friday to meet the infamous Frank, who may or may not have flown all the way from Texas just to meet us.

On the car ride south, Bev and I discussed escape plans, in case he was a freak pondered what the night might hold.

While sitting outside Cheers, we regretted not requesting Frank to wear something that might make him stand out in a crowd, such as a kilt or a bowler hat... but hell, this is Boston, that stuff is common-place. Bev insisted she spotted him, but I disagreed since somewhere in my mind I believed he would be wearing this outfit;

and of course, driving this;

Of course, Bev was correct and Frank surprised us with dead dandelions flowers.

And in case you were wondering, yes it was bright and sunny in Boston on Friday.

We made our way to dinner where Bev and I enjoyed a bottle on Pinot Gris, while Frank gingerly sipped un-sweetened ice tea.

At which point, Bev and I were maybe a smidge worried.

But then we found Frank's weakness; Bacon and Blue Cheese Martinis.

... and the party began!

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Who likes to party?

This guy!

Frank even attempted to recreate his one moment of fame:

Frank was much shorter than I had imagined.

Give me "sexy"

Give me "special"

So there you have it. Good times. Frank is as pervy fun and witty as we could have hoped for. And we left him relatively unscarred.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dust Off the Mantle

I'm on fire! Two posts in one day! You'd think I have nothing better to do...

LaBev has graced me with a major award! As an "Awesome Commenter" I need to don an evening gown receive my award by simply answering 10 questions, so here goes:

1. What is your most embarrassing moment of all time? Oh which one do I chose? I guess I'll go with the time I had BOTH of my boyfriends show up at my horse show. Luckily, they arrived just as I was heading to the ER, but the last words I heard were one of them saying to the other, "So, are you like a friend or something?". Ackward.

2. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? EASY! Bev's Chicken Tikka Masala!

3. How old were you when you had your first kiss? Kindergarten on the short bus. Brian L. We're still FB friends.

4. What is your browser's home page? Gmail Homepage. Wild, right?

5. What color do you never, ever wear? Anything Dayglow

6. Are you a nature-lover or a city-slicker? Nature all the way.

7. If you were granted 3 wishes, what would they be? (none of that "more wishes" crap!) The power to make good things magically happen, the power to make bad things magically not happen, and Ralph Fiennes obsessively in love with me.

8. Do you have any scars? How'd you get them? I have many. But they're in the inside. I don't like to talk about them.
Ah, just kidding. Lots of scars, most of which I don't recall how I earned them; falls, kicks, bites... and 1 surgery.

9. Ever seen a ghost? Yes, I had a man who used to stand and watch me in the barn. I'd catch him out of the corner of my eye. He left after I consulted with a Shaman.

10. What is your dream job? I'm probably living my dream job; owning my own horse farm. Of course, ask me again when it's -15F.

Now in turn, I'm supposed to select my top 10 commenters and offer up 10 questions for them to answer. But as you may have noticed, I took my Top Commenters widget down to give it a tuneup and I accidently dropped it and it shattered into a million pieces. So being the non-conformist I am, I'm switching it up and picking the folks who NEVER comment. I'm looking at YOU Encino, CA (this includes LA, Van Nuys and Santa Cruz), Miami, FL, Eugene, OR, Hooksett, NH, Tallahassee, Florida (my linky junkie! I heart you), Ireland, and anyone else who been hiding in the lurker section.

C'mon, we don't bite...hard.

Here's your questions;
1. If you won $1Million dollars, what would you do first?
2. Which celebrity do you most resemble?
3. If you could live one day over in your life, which day would you pick?
4. If you could live another person's life for 1 day, who would you chose?
5. If given the opportunity, would you travel into space?
6. If you were forced to, which high school course would take again?
7. If you created your own cocktail, what would it be called?
8. If you had to chose only one, would you chose to be beautiful when you're young for a short time or when you're old for a long time?
9. If you wrote a novel, what would it be about?
10. What super power would you wish to possess?

There ya go. So if you're here and you've never commented, this is for you. Just leave your answers right here in the comments or a link to your own blog.

I'll be very hurt if you don't comment and will probably have to seek some sort of therapy due to your blatant rejection.Looking forward to hearing from you.

It's Only Funny on SNL

So someone decided a few weeks ago that waking me up at midnight to make the bed (not change the sheets, mind you. To make the bed, you know the one I was already sleeping in.) was a fabulous idea. Apparently, he couldn't go to bed until we re-tucked everything in, neatened the sheets... and then proceed to pull back the sheets to get in, naturally un-doing everything we just did.

reminds me of something....

I think I've mentioned that Mala likey her sleep. And after 10 years of marriage, I'd assume he'd know this fact as well. Moreover, don't wakey Mala to do housework. EVER. Especially inane, and INSANE, midnight chores. Seriously, don't wake me up unless the house is on fire. And by that, I mean only the part of the house I'm sleeping in. Just let me sleep if it's the other part of the house. Got it?

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when he woke me up to partake in his insanity.

In other news; guess who got a dozen roses and one, yes ONE, round trip ticket to anywhere!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Prom

'Tis the season. And with Bev's wondrous powers of magic and illusion, I now remember my prom much more fondly.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Holy First Communion, Batman!

I know, First Communion is supposed to be serious business, but c'mon, this is my family we're talking about. We don't do serious.

But I admit, I was a bit stressed dealing with dress, unruly veils and keeping Beck presentable (read: keeping him in unripped clothing. It's harder than you think. The boy can blow out the knees of a pair of pants by just thinking about it.)

But once both ruggies were dressed, I hurriedly tried to take photographic proof that they were both neat and clean and well dressed, you know, just in case they spilled something or sat in any mysterious stickiness on the 10 minute ride to the church. 'Cause that would happen. Trust.

Yeah, I know I have you staring directly at the sun, but dammit, stop squinting!

Beck, did you just yawn? I'm sorry, am I boring you? Ugh. Let's try one more picture, shall we?

Oh, damnit! Forget it! Just get in the car. And don't get dirty!

I'm not sure why I spent any time doing Morgan's hair either. It was W I N D Y!

Finally we made our way inside.

After Morgan nagged me for most of the mass with "I'm hungry, when do I get to eat the bread?", it was her big moment.

And as soon as Morgan received her communion wafer, Beck shouted out, "I WANT ONE TOO!". Ugh.

At the conclusion on the mass, Father Steve called the girls up and gave them each a special gift.
"Nice gloves. Madonna used to wear ones just like these."

"Now remember, boys have cooties..."

"Did your Mom do your hair? It's a mess. Here, let me fix that."

So we made it! And everyone stayed clean and tidy... well, until the ride home when Beck somehow got his hands on a marker and decorated his new dress shirt. *sigh*

Even the dog was wiped out by the end of the festivities.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

(the rest of this post is for the benefit of family members that weren't able to attend. Of course ya'll are free to stay. We'll break out slides from last year's vacation. Now let me whip up some dip.)