June 28, 2011

You need a license to buy a dog.....

   "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father."  This is one of my favorite lines from the 1989 movie Parenthood said by Kenau Reeves.      
     Sometimes you just have to wonder.  We have all heard/read the heartbreaking stories about a child who died after being left alone in a car.  Tragically 49 children died that way in 2010.  Recently 2 little girls, ages 3 and 4, were found alone in a tent after their parents left to get treatment at a methodone clinic and to sell their blood.  They told authorities that they left the dog with their girls so they would be safe.
    I was riding in the car with Emily and we came in on the end of this story:  A woman is suing a store after selling her child, aged 8, a sex toy.  The woman had dropped her child off at the mall for a couple of hours ALONE!!!  Of course she has NO responsibility in this matter now does she.  
    I just don't get it.  I understand that my view of parenting is well simply put STRICT. I monitor what my kids watch on TV, their internet use, music on the radio use even their friends. In case you didn't know,  my kids are teenagers.  When they were younger they never watched a new cartoon unless I was with them.  They grew up without Rem and Stimpy, The Simpsons and Family Guy.  They were never allowed to simply hang-out at the mall while in Elementary School or Junior High School.  Our mall in Orange Park has a rule regarding how large groups of children/teens can be.  Until they are in High School they may not go to the movies with a group of friends.  I believe that children should be supervised.
    I understand that the world tends to be much more liberal than I am when it comes to raising kids.  Regardless of whether you think Brittany Spears is a good role model for your daughter when did it become acceptable that we hold others responsible for the monitoring of our children?  Suing a store because your child bought an adult toy just blows my mind.   When I grew up the  Bay Shore Mall had a Spencers, many malls have one of these stores.  They always have the coolest shirts and current craze in their windows.  The stores are a dark and smell of incense~what unsupervised child doesn't want to go in there!  In the back of the store is a section of items intended for adults.  I remember my friends and I laughing as we opened each of the gag boxes, honestly not understanding half of what we were looking at.  Guess what ladies and gentlemen.... we in high school NOT 8. Now most malls I have been to have never had an adult store in it so I am going to guess that the child in the above story wandered into a Spencers and bought their toy.  Should the store clerk have sold it to the kid... probably not.  Do they deserve to be sued over it???
    Maybe it all goes back to the saying"It takes a village to raise a child".  I believe in that and am grateful for the help.  However the villagers are usually happy participants, not some teen at the mall making minimum wage.  A mother in California filed suit against Chuck E Cheese claiming the games are actually gambling devices her kids could potentially become addicted to.  HMMM easy solution ... don't take your kids to Chuck E Cheese.  (She has since dropped her damages suit)  Another Mom is suing Tyra Banks because her daughter appeared on her show in an episode featuring teen sex addicts without her permission.  Thought.....why didn't you know where your daughter was and I think you have bigger issues than her appearance on Tyra.
    What leads a mom to drop her 8 yr old child at the mall hand them some money and say I'll be back in a few hours?  How many times has a Mom dropped her kids off at Chuck E Cheese that they've developed gambling issues? How often is a daughter allowed to stay out with friends that she becomes a sex addict?  And where is the Dad is all these filings???  The only suits I found were filed by Dads in regards to outrageous bills.  I was unable to find a suit filed by a dad over what I simply believe to be "I messed up and now want you to give me some money" lawsuits; though I'm sure they are out there.
            Kuddos to this Dad in Texas. The Houston Chronicle reports that after Harris County father Jason Medley saw an online video that included three middle school students making fun of his daughter, he sent cease-and-desist letters to each of the girls' families, promising he would file suit if they failed to leave his daughter alone. He also requested a $5,000 donation from each family to support the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use.
  I'm imagining, maybe hoping, that the mom who dropped the kid off at the mall was between a rock and a hard place and believed she had no other options.  No, sorry, I can't make that work.

June 24, 2011

I'm Really More of a Daisy Girl

     I guess you could say I was a cheap date.  I really wasn't into expensive restaurants.  I didn't ask for jewelry.  And when it came to flowers I definitely didn't want roses.  They just seemed too much.  Give me daisies anytime.  Honestly my favorite flowers are tulips and hyacinths but they're incredibly short seasoned.
So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that there is a rose called Lady Bren.  That's right not just Bren but Lady Bren.  The cultivator named it for his wife.... how sweet.
       Herre's the thing. I was feeling not my cheeriest best.  Two completely unrelated issues just caught me off guard and I was moping plain and simple.  My day had been going pretty OK.  I tried a new recipe at dinner that was a hit then settled into watching Amelia with Michael and Em.  I was actually getting ready for bed when bam 1 then bam 2.  Ugghh.
     So to distract my self I was playing around on the blogger website learning different things when I saw the suggestion to google your blog name and see how high it places.  Yeah I rank 3rd.  There is a Lady Bren on LotteryPost who is very lucky and into astrology, she's number 2.  Ranked both 1st and 4th were references to a Lady Bren Rose.  Well you know I wasn't going to let that one go.  The Lady Bren rose is fairly new as it was introduced in 2004.  Finding info on it took some extreme digging and a number of pictures wouldn't let me copy them.  I learned it is a miniature with blooms averaging 2" yet having 26-40 petals. It is pink with a while reverse (?),  And it is available commercially~~ I don't grow roses.
     You know that staying stop and smell the roses.  I was never a big fan of that expression, maybe because I'm very allergic to bees so stopping and smelling a rose bush not the best of ideas.  But I get it.  The idea of slowing down enough to enjoy the simple pleasures that life has to offer.  WELL I am going to tweak that a bit.  I mean there I  was just really feeling left out and bummed.  I could have let that stew.  Heck I could have fussed about it to you. Being completely honest I thought I'd play Monopoly thinking that would lighten my mood but b/c that's such a mindless game at times it left me still thinking about the 2 situations. But a simple exercise completely changed my entire mindset.  And look what I found~~
     Now I am not suggesting that you all go and search to see if there is a rose named for you.  Here is the website if you want to see if there is one :)   But really for me this new approach of  redirecting frustration is great.  I know some people clean when they're upset.... so not me, though my house wishes it was.  In the past I usually I push frustrations or disappointments deep down or turned to food for my comfort.... oh there is some cheese in the fridge...nah.  For most of you this is probably old news and you've got that redirection skill down pat.   For me as I'm trying to learn new ways of dealing with disappointments/stress I get a little jazzed when something new works.

     So instead of going to bed grumpy and looking to a night of fidgety sleep I will now dream of bouquets of Lady Bren Roses *thornless of course.

June 23, 2011

What some parents do to their kids

     I will admit it right here and now I tend to be old fashioned in a lot of my thinking.  I like to cook from scratch whenever possible.  I believe in reading the classics.  I believe that families should eat dinner together every night.  I think Christmas cards should come in the mail and be hand written.  I think there's nothing better than homegrown tomatoes. I think old black and white movies should stay black and white.  And I think when naming a baby using a word just because it is a noun doesn't cut it. 

    I just read where Olympic pitcher Jennie Finch and her husband Casey Daigle announced Sunday the birth of their second son ~ Diesel Dean Daigle... 3D.  Are you kidding me....Diesel. 3D!!  What is it with famous people thinking that ordinary nouns are appropriate names for their kids.  Let's face it if Diesel's mom wasn't famous he would get soooo teased at school.  Oh my I am coming up with way too many lines for this one.  Can't you hear some bratty 6 year old teasing Diesel after he passed gas.... My dad says those diesel engines always backfire.  Or, you can always tell when a diesel comes around by the smell.  It is just too easy.
   But seriously what the heck?  Now I know a number of people who have used the names of cities for their kids.  We all know Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom.  One of Meg's friends was named Savannah because that's where they lived when she was conceived.  Even Brooklyn has become a popular name.  However I'm pretty certain there isn't any child named Hackensack(NJ) or Crapo (MD).
   The thing of it is this isn't even a new phenomena.  I remember hearing my parents talk about Sonny and Cher and their daughter Chastity.  But that was coming out of the hippie age so what do you expect with all that free love drugs and rock-n-roll?  What else could explain Moon Unit and her brother Dweezle?
    Here's my reality check on these wild and crazy names..... who are you trying to impress???? See kids like Apple and CoCo are going to grow up in a very protected little world where no one is going to allow Gwenyth's or Courtney's daughters to be teased.  Fast forward to Centerville, USA.  Surrounded by a class of Olivias, Michaels, Nathans and Emmas they are going to be playground fodder.  This is the pure and simple reality of it.  Now I get passing along family names.  I'm not talking about that.  Or maybe you want your beautiful daughter's name to stand out so you spell it differently (we'll get to that in a bit).  I'm simply trying to understand what in heavens goes through a couple's mind when they settle on the name Pasta!  What dinner or grocery aisle was the inspiration???
   Again maybe I'm old fashioned.  We were playing with baby names once we decided to start a family.  Now this was pre-Internet so we only had baby name books to rely on.  I wanted old fashioned names. And I also wanted our kids names to be connected to family.  Though Emily always had another Emily in her class, when we chose her name it was for my grandmother's best friend (Grandma's name Harriette, was a bit too old fashioned even for me) and uncommon .  What were the odds though that she would have a best friend with the same first and middle name just 19 days younger than her?  Add our Patrick and MaryEllen and it just makes you think we're an Irish Catholic family....NOT!
     Another thing I don't understand is why parents want to mess with the spelling of a traditional name.  Having been a pre-school teacher I can assure you these kids spend so much time correcting things.  I'll admit this may not be so true today in the world of computers.  I had 3 little girls in my class one year who shared a name only in the sense that is was pronounced the same.  Megan, Maegan and Meghan would get very upset if their valentine or birthday party invitation came to them not spelled correctly.
     My last confusion in all of this is when people actually make names up.  Oh well we just love Italian and Thai food so we named her Thalian but we pronounce it Talia.  Really come on I can't get my own church to spell our last name right half the time what are these parents expecting?  Never mind the kid constantly having to correct teachers and other adults to the proper pronunciation of their name.  Sure every kid loves that.
    In 2007 a Chinese couple tried to name their baby @.  The father said that when the letters A T are translated into Chinese it means "love him"  I blame that whole deal on Prince and that symbol period he went through. The Chinese government intervened and said no.
   Would you do this to your child:
 In 1904 Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenberdorft Sr., {Germany;} had a Christian name for every letter in the alphabet, shortened it to Mr Wolfe Plus 585 Sr. The world's longest name officially used by a person. At least they're all common names?

One last thought.....
    Girls grow up dreaming of what they're going to name their child.  When was the last time you saw a little girl carrying around a doll named Audio Science?  If you did it was probably Shannyn Sossamon  as a child?

June 22, 2011

Hi My Name is Lady Bren....

     So I have this problem.  It is fairly new yet I'm concerned it could become quite serious.  Thing is upon doing research I learned I am most certainly not alone.  In fact there are different names for different aspects of this problem. So my friends I stand before you and admit.... I am becoming addicted to online gaming, specifically Facebook's Monopoly Millionaires. 
     Here's the thing I planned on writing this as a witty, entertaining story, don't worry this is not going to be a bummer so don't tune out!  What I was surprised to learn is the reality of this problem is truly quite serious.  I have heard about the problems associated with online gambling but gaming!   Take this test to see if your gaming is a problem  Most people who are struggling with gaming problems are playing massively multi-player online role playing games (MMORPGs) and/or multi-user domain games (MUDs), think World of War Craft and Halo.  Therapists are seeing addiction to gaming and facebook beginning to transition from social networking to social dysfunction. People are actually losing their jobs over an addiction to online gaming.  **Below you'll find info on how the USA and China are handing this problem.
     What I imagine is a room full of people implementing something similar to a  12 step program to help them get over their gaming issues.  As we go around the room people share their addiction.  Hi I'm Joe also known as GreyMouse224 in Halo.  Hi I'm Suzy also know as Powershopper14 on World of WarCraft,  Hi I'm LadyBren on Monopoly. All races, ages, and financial groups are represented.
 Once again I thought I was being creative and entertaining and what did I find: OLGA. On Line Gamers Anonymous complete with sponsors and 12 steps.  It is so anonymous that people create user ids when they log on.  Even AA doesn't offer that!!

     I love to play games.  Weird thing is I didn't even know facebook had games until 2 months ago! I grew up playing games with my Dad and sister.  We had shelves of games in our basement that didn't collect dust.  I brought my kids up playing games.  In addition to Monopoly, Clue and now Risk are my favorites.  When I recently redesigned our hall closet (taking away most of it to make a linen closet in the bathroom) I made sure the remaining shelves were wide enough to hold our games.  I'll also openly admit I LOVE to win.  My Dad didn't believe in letting us win a game and we always played by the enclosed rules.  Money for Free Parking???? I don't think so.  How many cards do you pick in Uno~ however many the player handbook says.  My kids have grown up the same way.  WE always keep our rules and if they win they know it was fair and square.  BTW they always beat me in those concentration games, even the Fisher Price Barnyard Game and that was before my stroke!
      I don't think I am a very competitive person until you put a game board in front of me.... I HAVE to win.  I love playing games but know I do everything in my power to win (outside of cheating b/c that's just no fun).   So when I found Monopoly on Facebook, no one was surprised that I fell in love with it.   For some reason my kids won't accept my requests and play, I wonder why?  I was very happy and  having fun building my houses and collecting rent,  Then I realized I can get ranked with other players.  AND I get prizes for advancing to different financial levels.  It only got better when they added leader boards....oh my heavens is my name on it this week!!
      The other day I learned there was a Monopoly Millionaires Community Forum page.  I can now without hesitation assure I DO NOT have a problem.  There are gamers on the forum who have created Monopoly spread sheets.  They keep track of who rolled on their board, and who sent a gift.  Another Millionaire (as we're called)  actually spent the time figuring out which housing deal makes better fiscal sense~ I thought I was a math geek.  Maybe I should post that quiz on the forum????

By the way: Friends are welcome to join me on Monopoly anytime...hint hint
 ***Just in case you are interested here's what I learned during my research:
  In August 2005, the Chinese government, where more than 20 million people play online games, introduced an online gaming restriction limiting playing time to three hours, after which the player would be expelled from whichever game they were playing.  In 2006 they relaxed the rule so that it only effect players under the age of 18, however many of those kids found ways to beat the system(big surprise).  Then in July 2007 the rule changed with a twist.  After playing for 3 hours players under 18 (they are identified by their resident ID #) are prompted to stop and "do suitable physical exercise"  Should they keep playing their gaming experience is diminished. If they continue, their characters gain 50% of the usual experience. After five hours, their characters gain no experience at all. In 2010 Chinese parents were enabled with the power to limit their children's online gaming by directly communicating with game operators.  The Ministry of Culture has a department strictly for the purpose of monitoring online gaming and its effect on the population. One study showed that over 19% spend more than 20 hours a week just gaming.  Education has always been a priority within the Chinese culture and parents were afraid that their kids were gaming instead of studying.  Since this article was published in February 2010 I have not been able to find any updates on how this program has worked
   Here in the USA, Deborah T Tate, a FCC Commissioner stated in 2008 that online gaming addiction was "one of the top reasons for college drop-outs". However there were not statistics to back this up.  As of 2007 the AMA has not recognized excessive Video/Online Gaming as a formal psychiatric addiction wanting more research before it is declared as such.  The AMA has found that there are "concerns about untoward side effects (from video gaming), ranging from physical symptoms such as seizures and tendonitis, to socially maladaptive behaviors such as increased short-term aggressiveness and overuse syndromes" 

June 17, 2011

It was a blogged day :0)

      It is as if the universe was cheering my blogging the other day.  Okay probably not but what a great thing if that happened don't ya think.  Thursday wound up being one of those days when I just look back and went Really; Are You Kidding Me; and Wow!
   Two of my recent blog topics were a part of my day. Maybe it isn't all that glorious but I did find it intriguing~ see for yourself.
  Wednesday night, as we all know, is trash day and woo hoo I found a treasure.  Cool thing is it wound up becoming a double purpose treasure find.  I have one of those bookcases you get at a box store.  It's great but needs more shelves.  I priced the shelves out and the 3 would cost me almost half as much as a new bookcase.  So driving home from church Wednesday night I see that someone has put a dresser to the side of the road.  And in my mind what do I see .... book shelves FOR FREE ( I keep hearing Adam Sandler when he says that in Bedtime Stories).  So I pull out the drawers, tear off the backing and with the help of some passing kids load this stripped down dresser into my van.  I didn't call ahead this time to warn Michael.  When I pulled up he just said ..... you're late what is in the back!!  Well not only did I get the 3 shelves I wanted for my bookcase there was enough mdf left over to build an additional and much moaned about shelf for the cabinets out in the garage!! WOO HOO.... see pictures below
     The other day I blogged about Friends and how Facebook is affecting that sphere of relationships.   While talking about the week with my Stress Therapist I brought up my Friends/FB blog.  Well it seems I am very timely in this matter as she just read an article in one of her journals about how all of this social networking is having an incredibly negative effect on relationships.  I personally believe it is going to stunt the maturity of our kids as well.  We talked about handling all the "friends" on facebook and why we feel we have any obligation to people we don't really know.  She used a phrase I really related to..... digital suicide.  Now suicide is NOT something to jest or take lightly so please read that into my musings.  We've all seen the dramas where some poor creature is incredibly wrought with life and calls 95 different friends telling them good-bye before they swallow the bottle of pills...obviously needing the attention and ruckus it sends everyone into as well as knowing/hoping someone will stop them.  How many times have you seen a post on FB... I think I am leaving FB it is all becoming too stressful?  (This is termed digital suicide) Then you see all the replies: no please don't leave, you need this, we are here for you, and so on.  Heck I've responded that way.  What absolutely amazes me is that in just these last 6 months of 2011 I have had not one, not two, but five different FB friends post something like this.  AND more than one of them has posted their digital suicide more than once.  Now I get that there are times when we do need a break from FB but guess what You don't need to announce it.  It's a bit of crying wolf.  What is going to happen when that person really is in crisis but we've all rallied 'round one too  many times?  Too many people are using FB as their therapy and how many of us really are little more than arm-chair therapists?  People posting recurring digital suicide truly need professional help and when we feed their needs we are simply becoming enablers. Well the rest of the session we worked on my recurring issues with apshasia, oh how frustrating that is.  The session ended with my therapist encouraging me to pursue writing more than just blogs (um..NO)
     Before getting ready to head out to the movies I got on-line.  Checking on my blog I saw that there was a comment attached to my latest posts.  It seems that someone whom I had unfriended read my blog and knew it was all about her.  How she really is my husband's friend and she would leave me alone.  You know what, I'm OK with that. I deleted her comment as I didn't think mentioning a mutual friend was appropriate or necessary.  While my family has grown accustomed to being mentioned in my blog I don't and won't mention other people by name unless it is with a sense of  fun.   .
   My day ended on a wonderful up note.  My friend Jane found out that Stephen Sondheim's CompanyOnScreen was playing here in town.  How many times have you watched the preview for an "EVENT" while sitting at the movies and think to yourself, I'd like to see that.  Well this time I finally got to attend an Event!!  It was absolutely wonderful.  Neil Patrick Harris is incredible as Robert. His supporting cast featured  Martha Plimpton, John Cryer, Steven Colbert and the sensational Patti Lupone.  I am unashamed to say that I applauded as if I was sitting at a live performance :0)
                       Side by Side from CompanyOnScreen                                                                    Trailer for Company

June 15, 2011

The reality of it all

    I'll be honest I'm writing this blog with a bit of attitude.  I am just tired of accepting certain things as reality when well they're simply not.  However I also realize this perception of reality has been considerably altered by technology.
     Quick think back to when you were growing up, who was your best friend.  Maybe there was a group of you, 3 or 4, that were inseparable.  Those were your best friends.  They were the ones who always knew what kind of candy you wanted for the movies.  They treated your siblings with the same love or disdain as you did.  They were probably pretty constant throughout the years.  You may have had a best friends necklace, the heart one that broke in two and boy was that special...However you weren't writing I Love You everywhere.  You probably didn't hug every time you left each other.  Nor were you declaring you were BFF's every chance you got.
     I don't understand today's generation's definition not only of Best Friend but simply of friend.  First the best friend issue.  How many do they need?  Do they really think someone out there is keeping score for the big trophy?  If they share more than 5 minutes of communal air they need to declare they are friends,  I blame facebook for a lot of it.  Then the BFF issue! If you are FB friends with a teenager look at their different lists.  They have best friends, bestest friends, people they can't live without. It is almost as if they are afraid that if the relationship doesn't have a classifier in front of it than it can't be real.  Drives me absolutely bananas.
     We spend a lot of time on "The Tube" last summer when we were in London.  One of the favorite stories from those rides is of two little girls.  Each was with their father and about 4 years old.  They were sitting across from each other in a fairly empty car when one of them shouts in her sweet little British voice ~ "Won't you be my friend?".  They went on to play Monster chase until one left, sharing a sweet little hug before leaving the car.  For the rest of the trip every now and then someone would repeat "Won't you be my friend".  The girls giggled and entertained those on the tube that morning and when they parted their friendship ended.  Their "friendship" was for the moment, it served a purpose and was done,  Why do we feel the need that once we share the slightest time with someone there's an obligation to maintain that connection?
    According to research the human brain can hold about 150 meaningful relationships in their head.  This number is actually called the Dunbar number.  NPR did a great story on Dunbar's Number last week.  Your family members are a part of the 150, so really not leaving alot of room when you add co-workers, neighbors and such.  Well thanks for FB we don't actually have to hold all those relationships in our head, they're stored right there on our profile for us.
   Now I'll admit I have more than 150 FB friends.  I have my real friends then I have a group of friends simply for playing Monopoly (yes I have a problem that will be another blog). I am very selective who I even play games with and those people are blocked from seeing anything on my wall that isn't related to the game.  Granted I had to learn how to really tweak my privacy features to do that but I've got it down. 
  So now that we're all reconnecting with EVERYONE from high school, regardless if we actually did more than sit behind them in science, we're also connecting with mutual friends, spouses of friends even friends of our spouses.  So here is where my questions begin:
  • Where does the line get drawn?
  • Which friends can you really be honest friends with ?
  • Which people are willing to put up with your nonsense for a reasonable amount of time adn then call you on it? 
  • Are you comfortable in calling people out on their stuff? 
  • Should FB create an acquaintance only page?

      See here's my spin on it all.  I am glad, really glad, to friend someone.  I've even been introduced to others through facebook and a rare few have worked out great and I enjoy posting with them.  BUT I am tired of feeling obligated to tolerating someone's mess when the reality is we're not really friends in the first place.  If we met there's a strong change we wouldn't be friends. The kind solution is to simply "block all by ??" nope that's not me... I have NO problem hitting the unfriend button.  Goodness gracious the way people react when you unfriend them you'd think I ran over a basket of kittens simply because I don't want to be your cyber friend anymore!  99.99% of Cyber friendships do not = reality

     The pastor of our church believes in the number 5 when it comes to small groups.  Using your hand he explains you can only be responsible for 5 people at a time, yourself included.  Think of how you make a fist, your thumb/you protectively covers the other 4 fingers/friends.  What a tight and strong group that becomes.

    Won't you be my friend.... mmmm maybe not.

You hear this whenever the doors open

The lines are color coordinated so you don't get on the wrong train Yellow= Circle Line

Just chilling on the Underground

June 12, 2011

Not laughing at me now are you !!!

    Every generation of parents does things that just drive their kids nuts.  Today's kids are probably the most vocal about their dismay as opposed to their elders but let's be honest if it has happened to every kid.
     Growing up it was my Dad ~ oh how he used to drive me nuts talking to complete strangers in the stores.  Asking them this or that, sharing his opinion as if it truly mattered, just horrible embarrassing things. Well I can assure you that MY kids Never Ever complain about me doing that one.  My Dad also had the habit of actually talking with the sales clerks.  Making eye contact with them, sharing a smile.   But he'd also think nothing of showing those baby pictures in his wallet when we were shopping with him as teens. 
     As if that wasn't enough my Dad had this insane habit of tinkering on things.  Now our house wasn't full of unfinished "stuff" as he would be singularly focused on his treasure until he finished it.  We had some pretty cool things around the house that he brought back to like.  BUT OOHHHHH how embarrassing was it when he asked a neighbor what this thing was in their trash and would they mind if he tried to fix it.  UGGHHH DAD..... of course the child of that family would have to share with everyone at the bus stop how Brenda Fender's Dad (see why I go by Bren) dug something out of their garbage.  It didn't matter that the thing was on top of the garbage for all to see. My Dad was a trash picker!!!
     Well dear friends I have also inherited that trait.  Now let me specify..... I only take what I can see.  A few years ago we were trying to kill grass in an area and so whenever I saw large pieces of wood/paneling I'd throw them in the van and then laid them on the path..... NO Grass.  Like most families with kids in the 90's we have the Little Tykes table with Yellow chairs... found extra chairs.   Emily loves large bags for school and they were lying all over her room..... Now they're on a Hat Tree.
     Regardless of the good intention that I may have with my Treasure Troves from Trash my family loves to pick on me.  In fact recently I decided that I want to create a drip watering system for my garden.  This is going to require a lot of hose.  Well I don't know why but on one Wednesday 3 different families in a part of our neighborhood had hoses out for the next day's trash.  One even had a large hose storage container THAT works.  We now have approximately 150 feet of hose and we haven't found a hole yet!  Why this seems to work so well is that I drive Meg home from Youth on Wednesday so I get to see everyone's trash out for the next.  The boys now know when I call the house at 9pm or so and say meet me in the driveway I have found one of my Treasures.... and the teasing and fussing about carrying out my treasures commences. 

Patrick like most teens his age wants workout equipment.  However a bowflex isn't happening anytime soon in our budget.  Patrick leads the teasing I usually get when I share the latest treasure find as well as the fussing about carrying it out back. Can you guess where this is going....
Today while driving to church I barely left my driveway when I had to pull over.  
There in a neighbor's drive way sat a weight bench with stack weights!!!
Boy would my Dad be proud!!

June 8, 2011

Old Meets New

     100+ years ago village women gathered for a quilting bee....40 years ago moms had their coffee clutches.  Then it was taking Jazzercise classes together followed by going for frozen yogurt.  The new millennium brought the coffee clutch back but instead of meeting in some one's home after they get the kids to school they meet at the local Starbucks.  Well tonight I have seen it come full circle.
     When we need to kill some time on "the Island" (Fleming Island for all you not in the know lol) we drag our laptop and hang out at Panera.  Well tonight we did change our routine up a bit. After we dropped the kids off at church (woo hoo all 3) we parked our cars and took a nice 45 minute walk around Eagle Harbor.  Applause please considering I did PT today this really was an accomplishment.  After our walk I volunteered to hang out on the island while Michael went home.  Settled in at Panera I planned on spending the 2 hours playing games and reading blogs but here I am sharing these precious moments with you because this is too cool not to share....
     There is a group of a dozen + women sitting together at Panera.  They've had to pull tables together to fit them all.  So what would this varied group of women with ages ranging from what I would guess to be young 20s to 60+ be doing???? Knitting!! That's right here in the middle of  2011 a group of women are knitting.  This is where it gets even better.  I figured maybe they were from one of the communities around here or possibly one of the churches.  NO these ladies found each other on the Internet.  I kid you not.  So in my lame brain I'm trying to envision a yarn lover's version of match.com.  Couldn't you imagine those ads.. Knit one pearl two WE'LL find a new friend for you!! (Obviously advertising is not one of my fortes) 
    They met through a website called meetup.com  This website is devoted to helping people meet up with others of similar interests!! To show you how out of it I am there are 389 groups with over 40,000 members in 13 countries around the world simply devoted to knitting.  Who knew!!
So have you been to this site?  When the home page comes up it gives you multiple options...where to you live, what are you interested in?  So I decided to have some fun and found myself wanting to join more groups then I could possibly really participate in.  Granted the more rural you live the less choices you have but still I advise a gander.
    So what do you think our grandmas from the 1800's would think of this group here at Panera?  I think they'd order the Broccoli-Cheddar soup and swap out their favorite sweater patterns!

     (Secret: I may have seemed a little stalkerish as I keep staring over at their table absolutely amazed at what they're doing.... Oh how I have always wanted to learn to knit)

June 2, 2011

The next generation of Panhandlers...

     This is truly a gripe blog.  I really need someone to explain this new thinking to me.  Now years ago when we all lived in small tight communities.  When we all knew pretty much everyone.  When you were either from Xville or Xburg and were dang proud of it.  Back then under those circumstances  I understand everyone rallying around the town _____ (fill in the blank with a sport of your choosing) team and raising money to send them to state.  Jars would pop up on the counters around town for residents to drop their spare change in.  There was a sense of pride in helping send "our" team to state.
     However today it is a totally different story.  The kids who make up those teams that represent Xville or Xburg may not even live in that town.  There are a plethora of different tournaments and championships to choose from and it seems as if every single season there is a team from your town heading to a championship somewhere.
    When I grew up The Jerry Lewis Telethon was the mark that summer was over and school started any day.  The 7-11's had jugs out collecting change for Jerry's kids.  It was Labor Day Weekend so you knew you'd see Fire Fighters out with their boots collecting money at the intersections for Jerry's Kids.    In fact I remember one year watching to see the Long Island Press Carriers check being presented and being so proud I was a part of that.  Collecting money for the benefit of other children ..... it seemed so noble.
    I can't remember when it started maybe it was with the Children's Miracle Network we started seeing stores collect money for different charities and they'd decorate their walls with paper balloons, shamrocks or feet.  Even then customers gladly would add $1 $5 or $10 to their order to support these great causes.  Remember the first time you asked a cashier what their button YCJCYADFJK meant and smiling when you added a dollar to your order.?
   So WHEN did it become OK to pounce on these noble traditions and turn our children into panhandlers????  I seriously do no think I have been to a certain BOX STORE without someone asking me for money.  Sometimes it is for the Veterans ~ I'm OK with that, but I have to admit it can be a little sketchy.  Sometimes it is kids selling candy for school ~ I'm kinda okay with that.  And who doesn't get tired of being asked to buy Girl Scout Cookies or Boy Scout Popcorn during those seasons?
    What absolutely gets my goat is that people think it is OK to basically BEG strangers for money so that they can go on a trip.  Call it the State Championship, the Regional Playoff, heck even call it Pee Wee Olympics I don't care,  When I see you dressing your kids up in their uniforms holding buckets and asking strangers for money it is simply begging.  And then when they set up at major intersections and have patrols on all 4 sides basically team tagging cars as they're stuck at a light~~~ are you kidding me.  One time last summer there was a sports team and they had the parents working the corners proudly wearing shirts so we knew who their child was, while other parents and the kids were sitting in chairs watching TVs and grilling, I kid you not~~Truly only in America.
     Oh I  completely understand the cost of travel I do.  However asking someone to fund a trip so your family can go away for a weekend is crazy.  Why not be honest with the kids from the beginning of the year, we have this much money and if we want to go to Superville this is what we have to do to EARN the balance.  Look, we've been involved in sports and music programs that have required travel.  You never ever saw any of us begging outside a store for money.  We've had spaghetti dinners, bake sales, yard sales to raise money, one summer we had a "rent a kid" program.  You see that's another problem with this panhandling... We are teaching our kids that they can get something for nothing.  I can't tell you how many car washes I drive up to and give whatever change I have in my purse and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I especially do that when the kids have picked a really bad weather weekend.  How many of us give the kids with the candy bars the money and not take the candy?  I know I've bought cakes at bake sales for more than what I'd pay at Publix.  Why do we do this?  I believe it is because we see an effort.  We know the kids and their families are working together towards a goal.  We don't see hands out. We don't see kids wanting something for nothing. 
    I do think it tanks that any type of program that travels rules out the less financially blessed and I think there should be a way to correct that but I don't have the answer, sorry.
     In true disclosure I will address the letter we all get supporting some one's mission trip.  My daughter has sent them and has been blessed by them.  She also has written a thank-you note to everyone who supported her.  Not one letter was sent to a stranger (duh).  Nor did she stand on a corner asking people to put money in a bucket so she could go serve.  I also think the difference here is the purpose of the event.  A mission trip implies a sense of service of sacrifice.  As opposed to the opportunity to add another trophy to our collection.
   Hats off to a church whose name I don't remember.  They took over a major intersection last summer, one that we usually see some sports team begging for money at.  When they approached our car we were reluctant to roll the window down.  Then we realized they were handing out FREE bottles of water.  Do you know they wouldn't take any money when we offered it.  They said they simply wanted to bless the people of the area.
  That's what supporting your town should be about