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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Firsts: Major League Baseball Game

Take you out to the ballgame? Sure, let me just cash in my IRA so I can buy some tickets. Fortunately, PS 150 arranged some very cheap seats as one of the last school organized events, so I didn't have to have the income of a major league ball player to actually afford a seat. At only twelve bucks a piece, and many of our classmates going, we couldn't pass it up. Last Wednesday, we saw the Mets play the Oakland A's.

For me, the outing was more a sentimental journey rather than a ballgame experience. You see, the first ballgame I went to was also to see the Mets. It was at their original home, Shea Stadium. I couldn't tell you who they were playing, but I remember that Tom Seaver was the pitcher. Lucky, huh? But even luckier for me was that my dad took me and my best friend, Jenn. My dad taught me the rules and Jenn taught me to watch the batter's butt as he wiggled it before taking a hitting stance. That's the difference right there between a girl and a boy's observation in sports.

The game we took our boys to was supposed to start at 7:10 pm and wouldn't you know it - at exactly 7:09 the skies opened up and it was raining cats and dogs. Spectators were directed to the stands indoors until the weather cleared. A bad start? Not really. You can't dampen a kid's spirit, especially when they're with their friends. They saw it as an opportunity to play. We parents took the opportunity to talk, gather and drink beer at inflated prices.

I have to say, eight bucks a beer isn't too bad but five dollars for a tiny bag of Cracker Jacks? Where do these vendors get their prices - La Guardia airport?

The downpour lasted about twenty minutes. Thanks to all the iPhone-Blackberry-Android clad Dads, we got the minute-by-minute weather report.

"This too, shall pass." They said. And it did.

Once the game was underway, at 8:10 pm, I tried to explain the rules to my six-year old. He looked bright-eyed and interested, not dull and confused like he usually does when I'm trying to explain something. But his questions weren't at all pertinent to what I had just told him.

"Okay, now that pitch was a ball because it wasn't in the strike zone - four balls and the batter walks. You got it?"

He nodded his head. "Can I have a pretzel?"

In front of Citi Field

Waiting for the rain to stop

The sun gets a thumbs up

Peace, friends and baseball

Let's ask for a hot dog

Looking at fireflies instead of the game

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Some of my best friends are still single. In typical "grass is always greener" fashion, we envy each other for certain things. They envy me because I'm married and I envy them because...I'm married. Not to say I don't love my husband, but let's face reality: there is no Santa Claus, there is no Fairy Godmother and there is no Mr. Right.

Now guys, don't get all defensive - I'm sure the sentiment goes both ways. So if you want to know the deep dark truth of why I married my husband - or as my husband would say, how I tricked him into marrying me - well it's because we wanted to share the joys of raising little weirdos.

My husband and I disagree on a lot of things but our priorities are the same - the kids, beer and music. As long as we stay on the same page with that, I'm sure everything will work out fine. How could it not? We're not bickering about money or other things we don't have, we knock on wood for our good health and we really don't care who wins the Superbowl as long as they have a good half-time act.

So for all the yelling to keep the boys in line, working extra hard to pay our bills and take us out to dinner occasionally, and for doing dad things even though you're clueless, this Bock's for you, Daddy.

He enjoyed Dad's day at the Bierhaus near Grand Central Station. He ordered the Hofbrau Bock, which is responsibly served only as half litres because of it's high alcohol content. It may not seem like a lot, but the boys ginger ales came in the half litre steins as well and they were overjoyed.

We highly recommend the Wurst Sampler and the apple strudel, though the goulash gets a thumbs down. Our six-year old overdosed on the Spatzel. My husband kind of has a history with that side dish so I guess it runs in the family. The next day at dinner our six-year old said, "I'm still full from the Spatzel."

Half Litres!


Okay, now Dad's tired

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bill And Al Sitting In A Tree

I'd rather see my son grow up to be a drag queen than a politician - at least it's an honest paradox. Plus, I could borrow his handbags. Thank goodness the Weiner drama has finally drawn to an end. But now when I watch the news in the morning, the focus seems to fall on making same sex marriage legal in New York. I know there are a lot of people who oppose it and all I can say is, lighten up - will ya?

It's not like men and women have the whole marriage thing down pat. If we did, then I'd agree that marriage should only be recognized between a man and a woman. But seriously, there are a lot of people who should've never gotten married and successfully made a complete shambles out of it: Joey Buttafuoco, Britney Spears, Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods to name a few. Where's the law that protects marriage from being lampooned by these misbehaving tramps?

But maybe it's not them. Perhaps our moral standards are too high and what we need to do is just categorize our nuptial intentions. Let the folks getting married for love tie the knot with the promise to love and cherish till death sets them on fire, while the folks whose matrimony is strictly monetary can promise to share it nicely. Then you got folks like my parents..."you're what?"

Anyway, it's only recently that marriage for love is accepted world wide. Even Charles and Diana didn't look half as in love as their son is to Kate. That's because their marriage was - as it still is in many cultures - an economic arrangement. I'm not Tina Turner or nothin' but when it comes to getting hitched, what's love got to do with it?

If two people of the same sex want to legalize their commitment to each other, so what? Why should heterosexual couples monopolize messy divorces, trouble with in-laws and prenuptial agreements - it's time we spread the killjoy.

I get a little irritated by the homophobes but they're entitled to their opinions - no matter how ignorant they sound - and their reluctance to accept gay marriages is a given. But what's with the religious folks? Isn't the church supposed to be a sanctuary? What kind of religion turns followers away - what kind of God teaches people to pass judgement instead of compassion? It seems highly hypocritical, if you ask me.

They should really ask themselves, what would Jesus do?

If you don't agree with me, fine. I'm really not trying to change anybody's mind - I'm just stating my own. This is my avenue and my blog, so I can do that. If you want to damn me to Hell, however, please do it on your own blog - not here. I mean, I would like to know who is damning me to Hell so I can send a postcard when I get there but I'm trying to keep this post upbeat. Thanks for co-operating.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Butterfly Boy

I'm not Sting but I spent an entire day telling my four-year old that if he loved the butterfly his teacher gave him, he had to set it free.

From the moment he got the butterfly in the jar, he was determined to keep it, "forever and ever and ever." His exact words.

"We can keep her overnight and set her free in the morning," I offered.

"No! Forever and ever and ever," he reiterated.

I realized this life lesson was going to be harder for him to digest than the death of his pet hermit crab - he wasn't fazed by that at all. But how could anyone release a poor, helpless butterfly into the big city? He glared at me as if I were the Taliban. I decided to say no more until after we got her home.

He named her Sally. She did homework with us, had dinner and even slept in the boys' bedroom. Then the next morning he told me he changed his mind - he wanted to set her free before we left for school. I don't know what came over him but we had to act fast before his big brother grew attached to it.

For some reason, it turned into one of those small experiences that was deeply satisfying. Unexplainable because it's so simple but representative of life in so many ways. You love something, set it free.

Without further ado, fly Sally, fly.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Love A Man In A Uniform

Recently, our elementary school did away with the school uniform. It's really kind of sad because I thought the kids looked really sharp in their white tops and navy blue bottoms. Albeit, my son's tops were camouflaged with pizza sauce and chocolate stains that proved resistant to any kind of stain remover - they still looked smart just the same.

The decision to discontinue the school uniform came about because many of the parents were just not cooperating. All I can say is, that's typical.

Why is it when stupid people do stupid things, everybody else has to bring down the standards to meet their requirements?

Okay, I get it. Some kids want to show off their new jeans that sag beneath their butt - whateverrr. So the answer is to eliminate the laws to make honest citizens out of law breakers?

It reminded me of a time as a floor manager, when I had to enforce a dress code of all black. You'd think I asked the staff to sew on Swastikas - they raised such hell. I found it curious how some people saw a uniform as an attack on their individuality when in truth, having a group wear a uniform makes an individual more outstanding. It calls attention to their actions not their appearance and the amount of confidence a person gains in visually being part of a group is undeniable.

I just can't believe that our public schools are pressuring teachers and students to match Asia and Europe's academic standards and yet they can't even enforce the first step of leveling off the status by having uniforms. What do they think Asian and European kids wear to school - Vera Wang and Versace?

And I have to say, this is what really kills me: you'd think that the kids who showed up to school in street clothes instead of a uniform would be wearing something worth showing off. Like maybe, their parents are fashion designers - not a reach considering I live in New York. Perhaps they could make a statement, set the latest trend - but no. No free fashion tips in the school yard.

Not even religious apparel - the only acceptable reason to eschew the uniform.

It was the parents who supported the equalization of the playing field and sent their kids in uniform versus the parents who thought that everyday was casual Friday. The latter won.

Oh well.

To hell with the school's lack of organization - I'm sending my boys to school in uniform anyway. For one thing, my boys don't know how to coordinate clothing to save their lives. And besides, my mother-in-law already secured brand new white tops and navy blue bottoms for next year.

And if their classmates wonder if Jeff Goldblum set up their wardrobe according to the character he played in "The Fly" remake, who cares? At least my boys will have their pants up OVER their ass.