Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trick or treat

Halloween - that time where kids dress up, candy is bought last minute so that it makes it to outstretched little hands on Oct 31st rather than in outstretched adult mouths as soon as they get in the house.  I grew up in New York in the late 70s and the city was pretty much fright night 365 days a year.  Crime was out of control, the city was falling apart, Son of Sam, blackout where it all went wrong, streets were dirty, there were garbage strikes that added to the stink already there and let the rats run amok, strikes were the horrid yet necessary fashion of wearing sneakers with work clothes came to be as people walked over bridges to work.  This was the city of graffiti subways and basically every bad movie you have ever seen - well it was not far off.  We would have cheered for Charles Bronson as a vigiliante - we did in the form of Guardian Angels minus the killing.  The city was going bankrupt. So much for the good old days. 

Into that my friends and I were not exactly "encouraged" by our parents to trick or treat.  The threat of being taken or getting a razor in your apple - candy often got thrown out as soon as it came back to the house.  The idea of paying for a costume..not in an blue collar - middle class mostly immigrant neighborhood.  No those babies were thrown together with some serious imagination - pillowcases sometimes used as candy collectors.  The places you were allowed to go very limited by parents - basically if they did not know the family (and oh yeah this was the time of parents who did not see the need to always follow children around like we do today - they just forbade you to go if they could not see you) you were not going.  Maybe you could do your building - except there was always at least one old lady who yelled at everyone.  Into this there were eggings - shaving cream fights - and a fear of these 2 even if they were only things you saw the day after on cars, doors, etc...you did not want it to happen to you.  

So we went to our limited locations, we bums, some costumes, clowns, and cowboys.  It was still fun but I have to say until I got to go to the Village parade Halloween was not as appealing to me.  It was a time for parties as I got older, the city was cleaner, the crime down, I no longer trick or treated - Son of Sam was a movie while the actually guy lingers in Sing Sing (I pass by that every day on my way to and from work and never really even give him a thought - this man who paralyzed our city).  Then I had kids and well the whole holiday took on new meanings.  I mean seriously nothing is cuter than a baby in a costume.  They excitement that my older son showed when he was 1 1/2 and kept inviting the trick or treaters in as they rang the bell - as he sat on our steps and fell asleep sitting until the next knock and in his Tigger costume he barely held up his head "come in come in".  As my younger son wore a giraffe costume as he as only 2 weeks old and then moved on to no longer wanting his brother's hand me down costumes.  

I love the holiday - a bunch of kids with their parents come to our house for pizza, the dads shepherding the little ones (getting scarier by the year - both boys and girls) as we see them getting bigger too fast while we Moms have wine and give out candy.  Their excitement at being slightly scared and over sugared.  It is a feast of the imagination.  In a world where we often think of the uncertain future we are giving these kids, in a world where it has become easier to be cynical, I look around and realize they actually have a much safer environment than I did.  Maybe the world is just as crazy or crazier but maybe it is just that we focus so much on the negative.  Their world, and even NYC, is so much safer than it was when I was a kid that they can enjoy the fright of Halloween because it is not real.  

Enjoy the day and smile at the little faces as you hand out your candy...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Art of Seduction...ohh Mr Grey

Still finding it difficult to believe that after all this time Fifty Shades of Grey discussions are still going strong - the term Red Room has become part of our daily vocabulary and who knew so many people liked so much kink???  If the books were not enough there is the movie which is a seduction in itself with it's tantalizing "I wonder who?".

My highest read blogs, which keep getting read worldwide (THANK you), are about the trilogy.   It is fascinating, voyeuristic look into the fact that women out there are enjoying sex and sex talk as much as the boys  - so no need to hide your Playboys, well there is a need to hide them because 1) we will probably dissect every picture and tell you how it was photoshopped, siliconed, waxed, covered blemishes with foundation and come on you really think anyone's lips are that size without a little botulism? and then we will promptly spout off some feminist tag line while stomping to bathroom to wonder how we will never look like that ...

I still think what women like about the books is something that has been lost a lot in the past few years - younger women may have rarely or never seen it - the art of seduction.  Seduction like many things that actually take time (slow,  languorous meals, slow walks for contemplation rather power walks for exercise, conversations deep and thoughtful face to face, listening to the same record over and over just because you can and many others) has been reduced to a drive through pick up even when the meal is a fillet mignon.  Christian and Anastasia play a kinky game of seduction and that is drawing women in - cause letting that knife slowly slice through the pink, juicy fillet in front of you, closing your eyes and letting your taste buds register the buttery quality, rolling your tongue around that morsel, knowing you have it but there is not a lot and slowly eating it - well is sure a lot more enjoyable than wolfing down that Big Mac in record time. 

Seduction does not happen just because you are dating or because you are looking to get laid.  It happens because there is that mad attraction between two people and rather than just give in to it you draw out the anticipation for a bit.  Seduction is about the deep conversation that has nothing to do with carnal thoughts but gets you hot and excited because there is passion in it.  It is that moment before you see someone when you wonder if you will still get that slight pause in your breath, if you will bite your lower lip, get the sensation in your body that ends in a slight shiver.  It is for me the man who knows how to make you feel like you are sexier than the Playboy centerfold not because you are in better shape but because he can't stop thinking about you but he can put the magazine down.  The person who with a look or the sound of their voice knows how to draw you in - makes you free of inhibitions - and makes you feel a yearning for them that lasts long after you have parted ways.  It is the art of anticipation, of eyes connecting, lips barely touching before that kiss that drowns you, slight brushes against one another "accidental" or magnetic, double entendres, and time spent in public that is peppered with thoughts unspoken or alluded to of what you want to be doing with one another in private. Seduction is obvious to the 2 people playing the game and not vulgar to the world around them. Seduction is not coercion. 

Before there was Fifty there was "9 1/2 Weeks" before that there was Casanova.  As women we are hot for Christian  because he spans 3 books to get Anastasia in a state where she is content emotionally but also always slightly on edge and anticipating the next moment physically - he is the seduction master to her willing slave.  Seduction like many things that we are leaving behind, because we have become a world of immediate satisfaction, is something that we still want and miss. LATERS


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

School days daze....

I am one of those parents...you know you probably are too...the ones that like to go all the orientations, meet the teachers, actually discuss things back and forth with teachers to ensure your child is doing the most he can.  I am sometimes tempted to skip the orientation, and just got the principal talking to for looking "bored" I was actually tired but you revert back to student deer in headlights when a principal calls you on something, since of course I already heard much of it from my older son's time in the same grade/school. I start the relationships with the new teachers by letting them know that I am here to partner with them not to "assist" them do their job because after all - shocking as this is for many parents today - I am not trained to be a teacher in the school.

I really like the schools in the area we live in.  Yes, I was admonished for not doing SAT level prep work prior to buying a house on test scores, reading accomplishments...of the district by co-workers who did everything but interview the school board to ensure they were picking correctly.  I am just not that demanding...or controlling...or forgetful that a school district is more than just scores.  I looked for things like diversity, I grew up in Queens so to me this town is not even all that diverse it is just mixed, for a town that I could walk in, a commute that would get me home in time to help with school work and a house that I liked. I got all of that - but then I actually delivered the child I was carrying and was bombarded with what I nicely call the motherhood gestapo..did I sign up child (who could not hold own head up yet) for Gymboree, baby Mozart, physics online courses??? Umm no...guilt abounded - my child was already behind - and all of this while I was supposed to be playing Baby Einstein videos (while my infants loved them - they were bit like Chinese water torture to have on for an adult) and watching and encouraging milestones.  Ahhhhh as if sleep deprivation and total responsibility for a newborn were not enough pressure.

I went to library classes, met some of the friends I have to this day -they were for the babies but ladies let's be honest they were a social outlet to escape from Baby Einstein videos too and I love you all for the time, read to my infants, bought "stimulating" toys (all went into the mouth so really the lead content avoidance was probably my greatest contribution) and ensured they had playdates.  All this before said children could even identify a school building.  So here we are in 1st and 3rd grade - comparing  notes on teachers - when I was a kid you got a classroom, showed up first day and voila your teacher wrote their name on blackboard (a thing of the past in my school district which has been replaced by smartboards that I always want to play with when I visit my boys' classrooms 'cause they are soooo cool).  However, not so in this town and while there is some merit to hearing opinions (she is like Nurse Ratchet and yells vs teachers loves job) in the end often experiences with a teacher really are defined by the child in the class.  I have really liked all of the boys' teachers and boys are doing really well - their schedules are packed so much more and they are learning by far more than we parents did. There were teachers I thought were "better"  and yet they were all good.

So as I sat there in the orientation I also thought that I am confused by what the expectations of teachers are...I mean they should be prepared and engaged, knowledgeable in their areas, fair, continue to enhance their teaching skills, not be subject to protection from being let go if they are not following above (come on there are crap ass teachers out there so let's not pretend there are not) and for me really want to do the job they are doing.  In my town they are not underpaid nor should they be.  I know we want to have kids who "score" as well as other countries but I for one do not measure by scores alone...innovation has most often come from the US even when their test scores did not lead.  Our kids compete just fine - and they don't.  They don't in areas where the socioeconomic community is poor (or even lower middle class), they don't when teachers do not want to be innovative because they cannot meet the "standards", they don't when they are hungry and most of all they don't when parents are not involved, encouraging and have made education a priority.  Schools and teachers are only part of the puzzle...we as parents are the much bigger cog that needs to ensure that our kids respect the need for education and learning - that they learn to like learning - and that they understand that the highest score they can get is to be the best and be successful in their actions with the world around them as well as with their careers.

I fight not to panic that I am not doing enough - to not give in to the madness - and to continuously remind my children that they need to give learning the same adulation they give their entertainment.  I am lucky to have boys who actually do well and like school and the goal I set for myself is to keep that going...is it enough? Like everything in being a mother I am not certain but I am sure that I am doing the best I can.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Christopher Columbus...

In 1492 he sailed the ocean blue...and since the politically correctness movement he has encountered more choppy waters than ever. 

I think Columbus was fascinating and incredibly ahead of his time.  Think of how hard it was to have to prove that his science and math were right against all around him who based on myth and the all powerful religious establishment (who favors lack of knowledge even to this day) that persecuted him and anyone else who had the nerve to just ask a question.  I do not agree with his actions against the natives that he encountered on his travels but I also do not lessen his accomplishments because of those actions.  He was a man - a human - with flaws and attributes, he had both more than most of us.  I love when people say how they would not have acted as he did - I believe it because am pretty sure they would not have struggled to prove their brilliant hypothesis and they are after all more evolved in their understanding of people (or one would hope).  He was typical and atypical of his time...once again he was human. 

I am not sure when the politically correct became the gatekeepers of information but they are no better than Columbus's fanatic detractors.  Based on their judgement books are banned (because you know if you do not read Tom Sawyer the racist terms used in it ..what never happened?), people are held to some Puritanical outdated notions, and most of all we miss out.  It is also banned books month -- really we still ban books - unless they are bomb manuals why do it??? 

Throughout history great accomplishments and discoveries have been made by incredibly shitty people. Progress is always a vicious victory - and the best we can do is portray it realistically while trying to learn from our history how not to act and what to act upon.  

Evolution - you know that thing that scares certain people - is among my favorite concepts.  The idea that we can morph from needs to wants to decisions.  So with that in my house we will learn about Mark Twain (quite the left wing radical) and about the times when racism was not only around but acceptable..think it is still around but we have made it unacceptable as we should have.  I will teach them about evolution and how to understand science to the best of their knowledge (and to look to science and fact rather than rumor and google).  I will share with the them who explorers and the natives they encountered. were  Most of all I will encourage them to believe in their ideas.  That is what I take away from Columbus - he was a bully, bully victim, explorer, conqueror, vicious, beaten man who paved the way for a nation of bullies, victims, explorers, vicious, incredibly kind independent thinkers who push progress and who are not stagnant based on a history that binds them. 

In the famous words of Bugs Bunny
"she's a round"..."she's a flat"....."she's a round"!!!!!!!! Science wins