Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Happy Christmahansaquanica Everyone!
I'm off to celebrate the bestest most fantabulous holiday with my family in Nueva York. I'll return on Monday...MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Hot Coals

Here's a question for you. If a parent is not watching their child and something happens to them because of this lack of supervision, who is to blame? Is it the place in which the accident occurred, or is the parent's fault?

There are incidences, I will agree, where the company is liable due to some sort of negligence. However, when a 4 year old child is not being supervised by their parents, it makes me angry to hear them blame the company when accidents occur.

Last night on one of our tours, a little girl sat on the opposite side of the boat from her mother. She was 4. There is a large, very hot coal stove in the middle of the boat which was separating the mother from her child. At no point did the mother think there was anything wrong with this. The tour guide did mention several times that the stove was very hot, "Mind the stove, it is hot." and not to touch it. Again, nothing from the mother...

Until the scene was over. She then called to her daughter and told her to "Come here!" The girl proceeded to walk past the stove and PURPOSELY touched the stove, with her palm open. The poor girl was burned, however only whimpered and whined, and said, "I didn't know it was hot!"

It was the kind of whine kids produce when they are not really very hurt and they think they are going to get into trouble for doing something wrong.

The family is inquiring about why the stove was hot and why it is not roped off. They are planning on "talking with someone important" tomorrow about it.

What really bothers me about this is that the mother did not seem at all interested in keeping her child safe, even after being warned that the stove was hot. In my opinion, it is her negligence that caused her child's injury. Had she been sitting next to her mother in the first place, she would not have had to walk past the stove, and would not have had the opportunity to curiously check to see if it was really hot.

I understand that children can be difficult and it may sometimes be easier to let them have their way instead of hearing them whine or have them make a scene. But shouldn't parents be taking more responsibility for their children? It seems like more and more people are shrugging off their responsibilities and are far too eager to pass blame.

Does anyone else agree? If you disagree, also share. I'm not a parent so my view could be off, but I somehow don't think so.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Adventures In Babysitting

Were you adventurous as a child? I was. One of my first memories as a toddler is of a day my Papa was babysitting me while my parents were working. I must have been around 3 because I could walk very well and could carry a conversation. I seem to remember that I was wearing a pair of burnt orange corduroys and a yellow mock turtleneck shirt...ah, yes, the wonderfully stylish 70's.

My Papa was a marvelous man. He was vibrant and silly and always had a smile in his eyes. He was very mischievous and loved playing jokes on people. He was a great friend to any toddler and I wanted to play.

But Papa had work to do. I remember standing on the red brick patio under the worn vinyl awning tapping my foot impatiently.

"Papaaaaaaa! I wanna pway wif you!"

"Papa has work to do Maggie. Go play with your dolly"

"No Papa! Pway wif me!"

"Mags, I will play with you later. Go play with your dolly and let me finish. Then we'll play."

Sadly, I imagine, I turned and walked to the door and went inside where I sat on the brown couch with big yellow flowers talking to my dolly, Baby Beth. (Who I still have, by the way) In my mind I waited hours, perhaps days, for my Papa to come back inside so I could play horsey, or hide and seek or some other fantastic game in which I was the apple of his eye. The only thing I heard was his hammer-he was still working.

Because I still had my shoes on (it was a sin to go outside without shoes on) I went back outside.


"Yes Maggie..."

"I wanna go home."

He laughed his chuckly laugh. The one that he used when something amused him, but in a loving way.

"Go ahead Mags." And he kept hammering.

It's important to note here that Papa has 6 children, and all of them lived past their childhood. I am, however, the first grandchild. The next only came 6 six years later, and so it seems he was a bit out of practice on his "What not to say to children under 10" laws.

So, my Papa told me I could go home. And that's what I did. Or...I tried.

The neighborhoods in New York back then were safe. We knew the names of every family on the street from start to finish, and they knew ours. It extended out past our blocks and so we had a tiny little community of people who were a part of our lives, however indirect it may have been.

I wandered. Houses looked the same, streets became mazes. I do not remember much about the trek, but I remember one house was very large and dark, and the grass seemed spikey. I avoided that house.

I am uncertain how long I was gone, but it was long enough to get about 2 blocks up from my Nana and Papa's house. It must have been a long time-remember I was only 3. Little legs don't walk very fast. I apparently knocked on several doors asking the inhabitants, "Is my mommy home?" and when they said "No" I would leave and continue to the next house.

Luckily someone recognized me and called my Papa before anything happened to me. My mother, needless to say, recruited my Aunts and Uncles to babysit me from then on.

But Papa always let me have the bestest adventures in all of New York.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bursting At The Seams

Close your eyes...can you smell it? The faint smell of Obsession and cold leather. Aunt Sue just got back from her boyfriend's house, and now everyone is home. The house is bursting at it's seams and loud, boisterous people are crowded around the table, their likeness is unmistakable; it's in their eyes, their noses, even in their hands.

The spaghetti sauce is too thin, but that's the way he likes it. Nana makes it that way for him, I know, because she loves him more than anyone in the world. He balances her silliness, gives her new material to work with; he laughs at her jokes. She's cried with laughter at his. I have seen it, it is real.

Manicotti filled pans line the counter, meatballs are stolen from the pots. A child laughs, it's my sister, curly hair flying crazily as she dancing in the center of the room. "Watch me!" she squeals, her chubby cheeks dimpling with her smile.

Someone, an uncle, tells a dirty joke-one that I am not supposed to hear so another someone yells, "Oh! Shhhh!!" and I blush. I heard the joke, and I understand. I want to be included because I know what they are talking about, but I still enjoy being their little angel; their almost grown up niece.

It's almost midnight now and people smell of wine and garlic and their cheeks are rosey and they are warm. My eyes are heavy and I blink through yawny tears quickly so no one sees. We're all piled in the living room, mostly on the floor, but I'm on someone's lap. My sister is nestled in my mothers arms, asleep against her will.

Presents are divided, handed out to each person. Only one-the get it started, and then we will wait until tomorrow.

I am lost in the frenzy of "OOO's!" and tissue paper and I look around at all of the people I love, knowing in my heart that my real gift has no ribbon and does not fit neatly under the tree, but sits all around me in my grandparents house which is bursting at the seams.

Christmas Eve. 1980's style.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Toosdae ?'s

Here are this week's questions. Be a dear and answer them-you know, because it's Christmas an' all!

1.Would you rather eat four entire fruit cakes or drink a gallon of egg nog in one sitting?

2.What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

3. Are you "famous" for any holiday dish? What is it?

1. Fruit cake has raisins in it, right? I'll take the egg nog. Though drinking a gallon might make me feel ill, the very thought of having to digest like, 50 raisins makes me sick. And thinking of those shriveled little things expanding in my stomach is just too much.

2. My favorite Christmas tradition is opening presents with my family. We open them early because we travel on Christmas Eve. We all pile into the living room behind our mounds of presents and go around the room opening up one at a time. It takes a couple of hours and we are all silly and happy and laughing-even my cranky mom and my impatient dad. We usually get dinner or lunch afterwards and have a jolly old time.

3. It's not a holiday dish but one year I made a hot crab dip that made everyone swoon. Yeah, it was that good. So, people bug me to make that every year. I also make a killer hot artichoke dip.