Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Taking candy from a stranger

I watched the whole incident unfold in front of my eyes.

Small, reddish colored car with indistinguishable markings slowed down next to my daughter as she was peddling her bike up the street. I was a bit behind her helping her brother on his big wheels.

Was it a Corolla? Civic? I didn't recognize it.

Suddenly my daughter was off her bike and heading towards an outstretched arm out the passenger side window.

Ever feel your heart in your throat? I can tell you it's NOT a good feeling.

It took seconds...simply seconds...for her to be at the window so I started to sprint, aware that I was leaving one child behind for the other, and approached the car.

There sat our elderly neighbor - name unknown - with 2 lollipops in her hand. One for each of my children. She said hello in her thick, Greek (I think?) accent and told me how nice it was to see us out and about after so much rain.

Are you effin' kidding me?? Nice to see us? You just sent my heart racing in panic...bribed my daughter off her bike with candy (more to come on that!!) and made me choose between saving one child or staying with the other. NOT HAPPY lady.

So that brings me to the conversation that took place after they drove off.

Me: "Do you know who that was?"

Her, shaking her head: "No."

Me: "So you realize you just got off your bike, went up to a stranger's car and took candy?"

Blank stare. More blank staring. Still staring.

Me: "I'm not mad. But that was VERY dangerous."

Her: "But YOU knew her."

Me: "Not really. And you didn't know I knew her until I got to the car. All I know is she lives down the street but I don't know her name and I didn't know that car she was driving. She's a stranger to us. What does that mean?? We never, ever, ever go up to a stranger's car for ANY REASON. You keep peddling towards the people you know. Please. Don't do that ever again."

At this point my son has arrived asking a millions questions. What happened? What's the matter? Who was that? What did they say?

I reiterated that I wasn't mad. I wasn't upset. Well a little. But I was scared. Even though I was walking behind her, I explained that bad people do bad things quickly.

Tears welling up. Tears. Don't cry. She's safe.

We continued talking about it most of the night. But in afterthought I was so angry at that woman. WHO in their RIGHT MIND offers candy to children from their car window?

I know - she's about 75 or 80 and may not know different - or she could be priming them up for trust so she can lure them to her house when I'm not around (shake off bad images but they are always floating in my head). To her, having candy for the kids in the neighborhood might be normal. We used to take it from the mailman, neighbors, ice cream truck...

Don't you know, the next night while the kids were playing in the street I watched my daughter approach a stranger walking a dog in our neighborhood and talk to her.

What to do? Tell her not to speak at all? Not to be friendly? Tell her all strangers are evil, child-snatching freaks? The image and panic still make my eyes well up. Aaarrghhh. Damn the evil and the unthinkable that fill our news headlines and plague our lives - gone are the days of "Come home when the street lights come on".

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP my childhood memories

"Heeeeeere's Johnny"... Ed McMahon

"God gave women intuition and femininity. Used properly, the combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I've ever met." - Farrah Fawcett

"Cause this is thriller, thriller night
And no ones gonna save you from the beast about strike". - Michael Jackson

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photography just isn't her thing

What do you get when you ask a 6 year old to take pictures of her brother at pre-school graduation so you can run the video camera? Pictures of other people's kids.

Not my kid.

Nope, don't see mine there.

Mmm? Nope. Not ours.

There he is on the left! He finally caught on that he was missing his star moment and better do something about it :)

Congratulations little man. Too bad it's just a dress rehearsal because you still have one more year of preschool to go!

Today was not about her - no addt'l words needed

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lettuce Eat

The first batch from the CSA arrived Tuesday. Guess what I got? A whole lotta lettuce. 7 heads to be exact. I will not be this ambitious, but I will say 4 heads of romaine, a head of bib, a head of red and green lettuce will drive a girl to drink when it's not exactly SALAD weather outside. I'm warming up soups for lunch to soothe my weather depression - all the while knowing I have healthy, leafy veggies waiting for me. Sigh.

I did cook up beets - after I realized they weren't radishes. Dad almost got a bunch of beets for Father's Day. I know he likes fresh radishes and I was ready to pawn them off. Good thing I had a Eureka-moment driving the other day and inspected my little purple friends closer. I think Alex ate most of them...yummy.

We have Rhubarb that will likely find it's way to the rubbish, sadly. I'm not a baker and from what I can tell that's about all you can do with rhubarb - add it to strawberries for pies, crisps and muffins.

Parsley will look pretty sprinkled over my roasted potato wedges tonight, and Kale will sit in the fridge for a bit until I find the energy to look up kale recipes. Don't rush me!

I sure hope there are more beets next week. I only got to enjoy 1/2 of one...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mold on my toes: kicking off summer vacation

The past couple of weeks in New England have been a tad depressing. It's June and while I don't LOVE hot weather, I sort of expect it to be rolling in this time of year. Anything above 75 would be appropriate. I don't need 90. Or even 85. Hovering in the 50's and 60's isn't working. I just want to put my big, stretched out, overworn, ugly, black sweater away for the season and work in shorts and a T-shirt at my desk. Too much to ask? Apparently so.

So while I feel like mold is growing between my toes from all the moisture, I also decided not to let it win out and stop us from doing fun summer things! It's officially summer vacation time you know!

Last Thursday, Hubby and I went to the Yankees/Red Sox game and thanks to our neighbors season tickets, sat in the front row along the right field line and had the best view of the Green Monster. It poured. Hard. For the final 3 innings. But we didn't let it get us down. We put on the trusty ponchos and cheered the Red Sox to a comeback. Ok...I cheered the Red Sox to a victory. Hubby was sad his Yankees lost by blowing their lead.

Then there was kindergarten graduation on Friday. Again, partly cloudy most of the day but we did get glimpses of the yellow orb in the afternoon so not a complete wash out. With all the gray skies I was happy that my daughter could provide a glimpse of color on the stage:

So proud of you, you little first grader!

Saturday was FINALLY a nice day and that meant YARD WORK! Old pansies were relocated from the window boxes to under the tree. Mulch was refreshed. Spring flowers were cut back. Grass was cut. New hanging plants were hung. It felt like a heat wave when it hit 75 that day. Bring it on....

Then take it back with more rain on Sunday. But that didn't stop us - no siree. If Canobie Lake was open, we were going! And going we did!

The weather was spotty at best, so the park decided to close at 4:30. We had the place to ourselves most of the day, without lines, so we couldn't complain. As we were exiting they gave us passes to come back any day that season because of the rain. Score! Two for one. Love that!

So while the rain has made the grass soggy and the outdoor activities a bit rough, we forge ahead with summer vacation. Only 10 weeks til school starts again!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Anatomy of a Massage

I had my freebie the other day. Went to the salon to de-stress. Only I felt more stressed than I normally do. What if this masseuse in training didn't know what he was doing? And suddenly I was unable to get off the bed because he screwed up my back and I missed Abby's graduation from kindergarten? And so the neurosis began...

Him: "Nice to meet you. I'll have you lay on your stomach with your head in the cradle. Take off as much as you feel comfortable. I'll knock before I come in."

Phew. If my Gaydar is correct, he'd much prefer my husband than me so that pressure is off - not like I thought he'd fall in love with me during the massage - but something about a strange, heterosexual man's hands roaming all over me was throwing me for a loop. Oddly, my OB/GYN is a guy...but I digress...

Here I go, under the covers. Heating pad under the sheets is sure to send me into a menopausal flash session. OK, head's in the cradle. I can't breathe. Literally. When I put my head into those little toilet-bowled shaped "cradles", all the blood rushes to my head, stuffs up my nose and I can't breathe. Should I tell him? Crap. What am I doing?

knock. knock.

"All set?"


Except now the blood has started to rush to places other than my nose and I'm feeling like Lisa Rina - why do my lips feel like they are instantly expanding on my face? Breathe through your stuffed nose. Relax. Cold hands. Relax. Listen to the music. Relax.

I'm so NOT relaxed. Am I the only one on the planet that isn't excited about oils being rubbed all over my back while soothing, meditation music plays softly in the background?

About 10 minutes in (I guess) I started to relax a little more. Kept readjusting in the cradle to be sure I didn't pass out. Thought about writing this blog the whole time so that made me a little uneasy. I'm sure he didn't expect me to be having a full-on internal dialogue in my head while he worked on my VERY tight left shoulder area. After he would tell me my range of motion there is pretty limited - I blame having lived in Maryland on that problem spot, but that's a different blog.

Pressure wasn't too hard, or soft, until he started leaning in on my back. With his forearm. And maybe elbows? Not sure. Losing a sense of exactly where he is by the table. By my head? On the right? More pressure. Oh no. Say it isn't so. Not now. Gas? Seriously??? Oh God help me.

And he did - by making them silent-ish. But it happened 4 times in all. I'm sure my whole body tensed up. I bet he knew. I bet I'm not the first. That helps me relax a bit.

The hour seemed to go by quickly but I don't think I ever reached that place where I was completely comfortable or relaxed. Maybe I'm just too self-conscious in general and that vulnerability was too much for my little psyche to handle? Maybe I prefer women...blog for another day? Maybe I have to practice what I preach and just relax every now and then and let go.

As I scooted out the door I realized that I will probably stick to manicures, pedicures and haircuts. That's enough touching for me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Who says that? Honestly. Would you ever walk around touting your beauty? You can, however, hate me because my *attempt* at beauty has landed me a free 1 hour massage!

I am a frequent flier at our local Spa (here to be exact) and the staff provides me with everything from manicures to pedicures to hair cuts, root color, blow dries and eyebrow waxing. I consider all of this "maintenance" at my age. This relationship is going on 2 years and over 6 dozen lunch-time appointments.

What I have never been able to squeeze into my life there is a facial or massage. The last facial I had was probably during the dot.com boom of 2000 when money flowed like water (i.e. before children) and my last massage was a pre-natal one I splurged on in 2004. My little man was quite the kicker and Mommy needed some way to relax before I demanded he be removed from my uterus.

So, needless to say, I was THRILLED when I was sitting in my regular chair waiting for one service or other during lunch the other day and the front desk manager blurted out:

"Hey. Christine. You've never had a massage here, right?"

"Ahh. Ah. No."

"Great. We have a new guy who needs people to work on in order to get his final certificate and so far everyone has really liked him. It's free. Want to come by during lunch next Wednesday?"

"Ahh. Ah. Hell ya!"

All that sitting in the waiting area, tipping outrageously, and rebooking every 6 months has finally paid off. I will be horizontal for lunch next Wednesday with some guy named Chad relaxing my muscles. Hey, wait. Is that legal when you're married?