Last weekend, we had a long weekend, so I brought the kids to see the Ice Castle at Loon Mountain. We went up at around noon, after the kids had lunch. It didn’t take as much time to get there as I thought – only about an hour. We had to take a bus from the parking lot to the actual ice castle. They had built the ice castle next to the outdoor adventures building and it was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. We saw it twice -once during the day and once at night when it was all lit up. It was made completely of snow and ice, obviously. At various points, the ice met above our heads and there were tremendously large icicles hanging over our heads. Also, there were parts of the structure that allowed the kids to crawl through the structure and slide down ice slides surrounded by ice. The kids LOVED it and were also in love with the life size carving of Olaf from the movie Frozen that they found hanging out around one of the corners. Afterwards, we had nachos in Babe’s and then had dinner at The Common Man. They had a great time.
On Friday, I had a 504 meeting at Nate’s school for him. It’s so hard to believe that he’s going into first grade. We met with the guidance counselor and school nurse and then started things rolling. We saw one of the classrooms that had a Bose surround sound system. I was very impressed.
I had the weirdest dream last night. I was at a soccer tournament in Canada. I think that it was either in Ottawa or in Montreal - I’ve been to both and it could have been either of them. We were in a dorm like room at the top floor of a dorm like building in the middle of the city. There were beds all out in the open. I remember having some role of leadership – perhaps the assistant coach – because I kept having to switch things in and out of bags. There was also some component of my job because I had files and witnesses as well. At one point, during daylight but before a game, the Canadian version of a swat team came up. I had been changing on the floor and according to the lead officer, someone had called because they thought that there was something wrong. I ended up getting arrested because they seized something that they believed could contain drug residue. They also assumed I was guilty because I requested that the American attorneys that I was with to help me. They said that this was unusual because of “cultural differences” but really how many cultural differences could there have been?It’s not like a difference between America and China, say. It was just weird…
I never though that I would write this here but my life is about to take a major turn I think. I can’t and don’t want to get into too much detail here. I will when everything is said and done but I can’t right now. Suffice it to say it’s a major life change that hopefully will go as smoothly as these sorts of things can.
Other than that, things are interesting. Nate has tried skiing. We went to Crotched Montain and Nate did one of their programs. I was really impressed with the program. They had him on the chairlift and skiing down the mountain’s longer green dot trails by the end of the day, which is impressive for a kid that has skied once before. He was even going off the jumps. I would highly recommend it for local skiers. It was also approximately 30 minutes from our home, so it is really convenient.
On another note, I’ve also been running at least 2-3 times a week. Next week is my first really relatively long run in the program that I’m doing. I hope to be able to do a few 5K’s over the summer and in the fall.
…way late. We were on the West Coast for the holiday. And it gave me a lot of fodder for thinking, which I appreciate and which I won’t get into here. It was stressful on many different levels, including getting sick myself, having to deal with a child with strep throat, flying for what felt like forever back and forth, presents, you name it.
There are a number of things that I want to accomplish this year, some of which are fun and some of which are quite serious:
- Be more present with my children and be able to take constructive criticism without feeling like the world is ending (it isn’t);
- Do 2, maybe 3, more of the 48 peaks that are over 4000 feet in NH;
- Do a hike with my son or my daughter or both;
- Pay off a credit card;
- Read 100 books;
- Write in my journal 3 times a week for 15 minutes a pop.
Hopefully, I will be able to accomplish one or more of these…
So one of the biggest pieces of news for me this week was the story about the 16 year old boy in Texas who was on trial for manslaughter for killing 4 people. The 16 year old had been partying pretty hard by my standards – he had stolen beer from Wal-Mart, gone to a party and had gotten drunk. He then got behind the wheel of his car and had two passengers – I’m assuming they were also teenagers – with him. He then hit and killed 4 people who were on the side of the rode helping other stranded motorists. One of his passengers was ejected from the car and is now paralyzed and suffers other significant brain and physical injuries. He was convicted of the offenses. However, instead of being sent to prison or jail, he was placed on probation. That’s it. You read that right. His lawyers argued that he was the victim of “affluenza” – it’s apparently a psychological addiction to overconsumption, waste and a severe lack of respect for the rules and consequences. The attorneys in this case argued successfully that the parents of this kid never taught him consequences or that there would be ramifications for actions – good and bad depending on the situation. And the judge bought this.
Children at some point, realize that there is wrong and right and that there are consequences. My three year knows that if she hits or doesn’t follow instructions or something like that, she’ll get a time out. My son understands that as well. And they learn this in school/daycare also. My son will lose privileges and be spoken to if he acts up. My daughter gets removed from the play area that she was in if she hits etc. And this 16 year old has double digits on my kids. I can’t imagine that he never learned that there were consequences in school for not abiding by the rules. After all, school is a more stratified version of the real world – lots of rules, some of which beg to be broken. So even if he WERE skating at home, I simply can’t believe that he was so oblivious outside his home. He’s 16 for crying out loud. In New Hampshire, he’d be months away from being treated as an adult for purposes of the criminal justice system – he could go to jail or prison. At 16, while we may not fully formed, we are all aware that there are consequences – friends got detention or got grounded. Some of us may have even had friends who got pregnant – a consequence of having unprotected sex. We all took drivers’ education, which usually includes a segment about alcohol and driving. At some point, the cord needs to be cut – his parents, while they may have been delinquent in teaching their son about alcohol and driving – were not driving the car. At some point, we’re all responsible for our own actions. Assuming it’s true that he really had no clue about what to expect, or about consequences, would giving the kid a slap on the wrist do him any good?
I also feel like this points out the insane discrepancies of our criminal justice system. A poor person runs down 4 people and they’re going to jail simply because they don’t have “affluenza?” What happens if the person were a minority? Would that have made it different?
So I went for a run in my old neighborhood this morning and I ended up being completely discombobulated. I went across the street and ran through a cul-de-sac and into my old elementary school, which has an access easement to the street at that point. It seems so much smaller than I had remembered it being – which in and of itself wasn’t what threw me for a loop. I mean, spatially, things are so much bigger for a 5 year old than they are for a 34 year old right? What threw me for a loop were the other changes that I saw. For instance, there is now a baseball field where we used to play soccer during lunch. The place where the “new equipment” was(yes we called it that – when it was new in like 1988) had been changed into a sitting area/mini park. There were houses that had been completely re-done (with second stories added) and one home had these statues of lions outside of them that were taller and wider than me (really, for a middle income suburb, do you really need something that gaudy?!). I was used to a certain level of these sculptures since the area that I grew up in had many Italian and Greek immigrants (and these things are almost par for the course here).
When I was growing up, there was a shelter/long term residential treatment program not too far from where I grew up. It was a huge amount of property right on a main street. Today, I saw that it had been sold and was now a gated, 55+ community. Apparently, it was sold for like $20 million by the Salvation Army, who had owned and run the program in question. I also noticed, in my wanderings, I also noticed that a property that I had gone by everyday had also been sold. What had been noticeable was that this was a ranch home that had been set very far back from the street, which is unusual for this area – the homes hug the street pretty much. This one had over one acre of land and a tremendous front yard. ANd it was sold for I don’t know how much, the house torn down, the lawn ripped up, a new street created and ten, cookie cutter homes created in its stead. It was upsetting that such nice property was essentially sold and then cookie cutter homes replaced it. It was a bit of the history of that street and that town gone forever because, let’s face it, unless it’s right in your face, people aren’t going to give a hoot about history like that.
We had the first snow of the season yesterday. It wasn’t a whole lot – a dusting more like – but today was frigidly cold with a brutal wind that made running outside a no go. So what I did instead was take Gabby out to get some coffee with me and then we baked cookies for work and made meatballs for dinner (which are now in the crockpot and smelling divine). Exercising during the winter is going to be horrendously difficult if it is as cold as it was today. Running inside on the track or on the treadmill is so boring that I can’t handle it.