Free-range blogging

Since (because) I told you how I'm drinking from a Christmas mug every morning, of which I have 752 from students of Marvin's, I thought it'd be fascinating to photograph them every day for you. Or maybe not so much fascinating as stupid. Whichever.

The "since (because)" thing will only be funny if you read me all the time. Or maybe not so much funny as stupid.

Anyway, as soon as I put the cup in my in-box and got out the camera, Henry stormed over there to pose. Who has grown up being blog fodder? Is it our Hen?

Henryneedcoffee

Henry make coffee mug all about Henry.

Look through my we-still-can't-afford-to-buy-cute-curtains window and see how wintery! There are no leaves left. I finally brought my poor geranium inside. It's been on my porch and I saw it the other day wearing a scarf and mittens and it occurred to me maybe it's a trifle cold for the poor thing.

It's funny to live somewhere with weather again. Believe it or not, in LA we used to refer to this time of year as "winter." It was still 67 degrees, but man, was that arctic for us! You'd think Marvin and I had not both been brought up in the coldest state on earth or something.

Did I ever tell you my parents' rule for whether I got a ride to school or not? No one walks to school anymore. Anyway, if the temperature was higher than my age, I had to walk. So when I was 8, if it was 9 degrees, I had to walk. Doesn't that sound like child abuse? Yet every kid in school was traipsing through that tundra. There was no annoying line of SUVs at my school at the beginning and end of the day. We schlepped.

And you know how we think it was safer back then? In fact, it wasn't. Crimes against children are down almost 60% since the 70s. Do you know one of the reasons they think this is so? Lead gasoline. I am not even making this up. Apparently, lead is so incredibly bad for you, even floating around in the air, that it can make you kind of crazy.

Okay, now I am starting to sound like Rik, that idiot neighbor I had who scammed my landlord out of his money and house. But here, it was even in the New York Times.

Speaking of walking to school and crime and lead and New York, have you ever heard of this Free Range Kids movement? It started with a mom in NY who let her kid take the subway alone, and a bunch of people thought it was great and another bunch were appalled. I have no kids, so I have no opinion on it, other than it's sort of interesting. Here's her site. She thinks kids are too mollycoddled these days. What do you think?

I have no idea how I got off on this tangent today. I was just gonna show you my mug and get out. You'll be surprised to hear I have to proofread a statistics book again today. I recently sent this company an invoice, and it was the 47th invoice I sent. Does this mean I have read 47 statistics books? Because oy. And because I still couldn't tell you what a chi-square is.

46 thoughts on “Free-range blogging

  1. Oh my goodness am I first?
    Happy Sunday June. I am excited that you are reading Serena. We did that in my book club a few months ago and I really like it. I must have missed when you picked it the first time… 🙂
    I have neighbors who drive their kids down 5 houses to the bus stop if it is cold or snowing. They are native Ohioans…but apparently their 8 year olds can’t handle snow for 8 minutes. I am the bad mom who watches the kids from the window. I think kids are molly-coddled.

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  2. I just finished a very June-like morning, sitting here in my PJs editing a 68-page document that kept saying “since” instead of “because” and using apostrophes to show plurality. That is my single biggest pet peeve in the universe. Only I was eating peppermint ice cream out of a plain white bowl instead of coffee in a Christmas mug. And without a cat, because my husband is allergic 😦 (That was almost a deal-breaker for me. If my parents hadn’t been willing to take my cat in, I could not have married him.)
    I think to an extent kids are too molly-coddled these days, but I do think there’s a reason for it. Perhaps we all get a little too concerned about predators, but they are out there, and in certain areas of the country/world we do need to take more precautions than in others. I think 9 is a bit young to take the subway alone, but a kid who grew up in the city is going to be a lot more prepared for it than I was at 9, living in suburbia, trying to convince my parents to buy my a pony to ride to school instead of taking the bus. The latest entry on FreeRangeKids is about a woman who had the cops come and threaten to call CPS on her if she let her kids wander their (gated!) neighborhood again (she’d allowed 3 of them, 9-7-6, to go down the street to feed a stray cat they found). THAT is extreme.
    We have an elementary school a bock from my house, and parents on my street walk their kids there every morning. I can see it for kindergarteners, but by the time the kid is in 4th grade, I think he can walk a block by himself. Most of the houses can see the school from their yards. I will walk my kid in kindergarten, but I think I can trust him to make it a block on his own with me watching from the porch when he’s older.

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  3. Molly coddled kids…ha, I was not one of those. I walked to school all he time, and if I was out of school, I had to walk my sister to school and hen run a mile at the high school track. Also, my mother was fond of sending my sisters and I on trips to to Europe and the Middle East, alone. But we were much older then, like 12 or so. But that is not what I meant to say. I was going to say that we are having a real winte in southern California right now. It has even gotten as cold as 40 degrees at night, and we are just finishing up our Big Winter Rain Storm–I think we got an inch. 😀 I love California 🙂

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  4. My favorite is the plastic tubing around the chains that hold up swings. Can’t have naked chains around children! Or remember those cool ride-on horses? That were suspended by giant coiled springs? And every once in a while a teensy bit of your skin got caught and man did it hurt! But it probably only happened once. NOT ANY MORE. No more giant naked springs. The new models sport ‘safety covers on the springs to prevent pinching and injury’. Oh, and a ‘wide base to prevent tipping’. BORING!
    I am the bad parent in my neighborhood because my kids do not wear helmets while biking or riding their razor scooters AND I take my babies sledding before they are one.

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  5. Our family rule was, if Mom isn’t there when school gets out, start walking. Of course, that rule was totally skewed to her advantage. “I’m running late. Oh hell, it’s already 3:35; the kids are walking by now.” I only wish she’d have tipped me off on the days I wore a dress and tights and it was 9 degrees.
    I can only imagine that if we’d had the temp/age rule, I’d be slogging home thinking, “Next year, man…next year, I’m gettin’ a ride.”

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  6. It is hard to find a good balance on how protective you should be with your children. We get bombarded with warnings and horror stories of terrible things happening to children, it makes you think that the world is out to get them. I know the statistics of how much safer children are these days, but it is still difficult to “loosen up” sometimes. I am such a worrywart anyhow, so having a child put me in overprotective mode. Medication helps though 🙂

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  7. I took the public bus to kindergarten. It was about a 30 min ride and I had to count the stops to know where to get off. Once when the bus was really crowded I kind of got stuck behind the accordian like doors. I had a soft sided lunch box, it was Yogi Bear. The door opened, I was scrunched behind the door and my lunch box got all squished. I think I cried at that point.
    Henry is mollycoddled in the in-box.

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  8. I killed an innocent spruce yesterday and adorned ITS branches with garish decorations. When I could have gone to the tree shelter and got one already killed. Merry Christmas.
    Just made Dawn’s Buckeye candy with Hulkette. Am now trying to pry Hulkette and the metal bowl of leftover melted chocolate off the walls.

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  9. Arhf. Mumble. Scratch. I just woke up from a nap. I really needed it. Yesterday, Terra and I spent all day in a cold rain working a “Canine Christmas”. Good thing my mother made me walk to school where she worked and drove herself to every ding dang day! Made me tough. Her reason was that she didn’t want me to feel left out. Hmmph.
    My best friend, Molly Coddle, had to walk with me so what does that say about her mom?

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  10. Arhf. Mumble. Scratch. I just woke up from a nap. I really needed it. Yesterday, Terra and I spent all day in a cold rain working a “Canine Christmas”. Good thing my mother made me walk to school where she worked and drove herself to every ding dang day! Made me tough. Her reason was that she didn’t want me to feel left out. Hmmph.
    My best friend, Molly Coddle, had to walk with me so what does that say about her mom?

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  11. Arhf. Mumble. Scratch. I just woke up from a nap. I really needed it. Yesterday, Terra and I spent all day in a cold rain working a “Canine Christmas”. Good thing my mother made me walk to school where she worked and drove herself to every ding dang day! Made me tough. Her reason was that she didn’t want me to feel left out. Hmmph.
    My best friend, Molly Coddle, had to walk with me so what does that say about her mom?

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  12. Almost every other show on television is about killing or being killed, abduction, and bad boys (what ya gonna do?) While I was riding my bike to school in the early 70’s, my parents were watching Lawrence Welk and Chico and the Man. I only have one child and would really miss him if he were gone. I guess we parent out of fear more than we used to.

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  13. When kids throw a fit because they don’t get a new car for their 16th birthday, I think that coddling has become entitling and it needs to stop somewhere. You want something, you get a job; you save your money and you get the satisfaction of doing something for yourself.
    Old school rules!

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  14. My RAoK: There is a young man in our neighborhood who has been out of work for about a year. He has also gained a lot of weight due to medication. I took him out yesterday and we got a new winter coat and other basic necessities (none of his clothes fit). We spent the day shopping and then met my husband at a local Italian place for dinner.
    It was a great day, a lot of fun and I never would’ve done it without your suggestion, June. THANK YOU.

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  15. My RAoK: There is a young man in our neighborhood who has been out of work for about a year. He has also gained a lot of weight due to medication. I took him out yesterday and we got a new winter coat and other basic necessities (none of his clothes fit). We spent the day shopping and then met my husband at a local Italian place for dinner.
    It was a great day, a lot of fun and I never would’ve done it without your suggestion, June. THANK YOU.

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  16. My RAoK: There is a young man in our neighborhood who has been out of work for about a year. He has also gained a lot of weight due to medication. I took him out yesterday and we got a new winter coat and other basic necessities (none of his clothes fit). We spent the day shopping and then met my husband at a local Italian place for dinner.
    It was a great day, a lot of fun and I never would’ve done it without your suggestion, June. THANK YOU.

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  17. Hey! Lauren! RAoK alert:
    Friday night I finally had an opportunity to do a RAK! My husband and I went out for dinner and then drove through a local Christmas lights display. Once through the park, you are asked for a ‘donation’ per car that is collected for a children’s charity. So, we paid for the family in the car behind us. I wouldn’t have thought of doing that if it weren’t for June’s idea. Especially wouldn’t have due to the fact that the guy driving the car behind us kept flashing his headlights at us. Fa-la-la-la-la (You are supposed to turn off your car headlights as you drive through the light display. Unfortunately my husband’s truck doesn’t have that feature. I know, crazy right? Normally we tape cardboard over the headlights, but we hadn’t planned in advance to drive through that night.)
    And also? At dinner, I had an extra coupon for the restaurant where we were eating. As we left, I gave it to a cute young couple at a nearby table.
    June, you are keeping track of how many RAKs you have inspired/enabled, right? By the end of the month, the count should be substantial.
    Thanks for inspiring us, June.

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  18. I did my RAOK today. My husband works with a lady who has been fostering two young boys (3 and 4 years old) because they were being neglected by their mother. Recently they mother decided to take them back, the woman and her partner were devastated. It was not an “official” kind of fostering through the state CPS system or whatever institution takes care of it. They let them take the toys and clothes and everything and did not really have a choice but hope for the best. A few days ago the mother decided she did not want the kids anymore and “returned” them to my husband’s coworker and her partner. The kids have no toys, barely any clothes, what they have are summer clothes and it has gotten cold here. Since we loaned some money to another coworker who moved out after he caught his wife with another man and needed some money to get an apartment we really could not help this woman out since we are brokedy broke ourselves. I did gather up quite a few clothes that my son has grown out of and that will probably fit the younger child and my husband took them to work tonight. I also filled a huge bag with toys, books, crayons, coloring books and stuffed animals that were either meant for my sons christmas or things that he did not play with too much anyways. I hope they can use everything, especially the clothes, but I figured if the don’t fit they can take it to a resale store and get store credit and get things that fit.
    From what my husband told me they will get CPS involved so that the crazy mother that apparently is involved with drugs cannot take the kids back again.
    Sorry for the long comment, I really enjoy reading everyones RAOK, this has been such a great idea June.
    Oh, I don’t know why there is so much drama at my husband’s work.

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  19. The RAoK are KILLING me! Y’all are awesome! See what you’ve done here ,June? Jan and I are snifflin and cryin over all these great deeds, commentors are getting to know one another better, it’s been discovered the Hulk saw the Wizard and indeed has a heart, and less fortunate people everywhere are being blessed!
    THANK YOU, JUNE!

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  20. This one’s for June’s Pal from MA…my RAK. Friday I responded to a WANTED: Christmas help posting on our local Freecycle from a woman who was looking for things for two kids for Christmas. She responded that she had found things for those two, but had just heard from another woman who had taken in two girls whose mother had just passed away. Apparently the girls came to her with very little. I went to Penneys Saturday morning doorbuster sale armed with the $ off coupons and bought 3 outfits apiece (jeans and tops) for two girls 11 and 15 years old and dropped them off at the Freecycle poster’s house. She emailed me later that the woman was overjoyed when she brought them to her. The real boon for me in this is that I get to imagine real gratitude rather than the slightly curled lip I would get if I dared to buy clothes for my nieces.
    And on the way home I gave money to teenagers working a streetcorner gathering money for a food drive.
    I love this. I’m looking for more RAK opportunities all the time.

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  21. I just have to comment that coincidentally, my husband (a college professor) is right at this moment proofreading a statistics book for a colleague, but he is proofing the MATH. He would totally overlook since/because, since he is a left brain guy (heh) but he actually understands all those kooky scribbles.

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  22. June just so you know I started a fire in the fire place yesterday because it was cold here in SoCal. Stop laughing it was too! It was 57 degrees. I had on Uggs and a scarf. Wait maybe that was why I was cold, maybe I should have put on the rest of my clothes.

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  23. I could stare at His Royal Handsomeness all day long, but if he starts singing and prancing like those Cyrus kids, we’ll know his celebrity status has gone to his itty bitty kitty head.

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  24. Oh and also, too, I love the coffee mug and am looking forward to a daily Hen and mug pic for the holiday season. I will NOT be getting my kids’ teachers mugs for Christmas (but I am going to try my hand at homemade goodies, and a mug might actually be preferable). That and a Target gift card and a handwritten note of appreciation are what they each get, because I heard one time that teachers prefer notes to yet another mug.

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  25. Hey June~ Maybe you could answer this for me, if not grab Marvin… I always send a box of homemade goodies to the teachers and a note. I usually also send a gift card. I try to do something like Barnes and Noble or movie theater cards because not everyone likes or wants Starbucks, Yankee Candles or Bath and Body Works. Would Marvin rather have a Barnes and Noble card, a movie theater card or a card to a local eatery? Please and thank you. Also? Could you let me know soon? I need to get card either tonight or tomorrow. THANKS! (I think this can count as your RAoK, at least in my book).

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  26. Also, RAoK I forgot, DUH, I gave the mall security guard at the Target entrance a roll of quarters so the next forty people who took a cart got one for free. Or the security guard got $10 for his laundry, I don’t know, I didn’t stick around. I think he thought I was bazoo as it was.

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  27. Also, RAoK I forgot, DUH, I gave the mall security guard at the Target entrance a roll of quarters so the next forty people who took a cart got one for free. Or the security guard got $10 for his laundry, I don’t know, I didn’t stick around. I think he thought I was bazoo as it was.

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  28. Also, RAoK I forgot, DUH, I gave the mall security guard at the Target entrance a roll of quarters so the next forty people who took a cart got one for free. Or the security guard got $10 for his laundry, I don’t know, I didn’t stick around. I think he thought I was bazoo as it was.

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  29. Jan, I am not June but I do work in a school as a teacher’s aide. Believe it or not, not all teachers like to read. Personally, I would consider Barnes and Noble cards the best gift ever but some teachers I work with have no desire to read anything after they leave school. I would vote for the local eatery card (everyone has to eat!) or the theater card unless you know the teacher pretty well and know that they would enjoy the Barnes and Noble card. Hope this helps.

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  30. We (all the kids in the neighborhood) always walked to school from K-12. It was a long way to the elementary school (9 blocks) and to little kids that’s a long way to walk. It didn’t kill us, was probably good for us, but back then all kids walked to school. Kids of today have no fortitude. If it was 9 degrees the schools in Georgia would have been closed and we never had to go to school if we had ice or snow.
    Loved the photo of little Henry, who has gotten really big. 🙂

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  31. My molly-coddled kids get driven to school and home every day. They are so sheltered that when the bus driver played music from a radio station that I deemed unsuitable for young ears I threw a hissy fit at school and now won’t let them ride the bus. Maybe I’m the only one who finds Eminem not quite right for 6 year olds.

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  32. Jan, hes not here to ask, because school doesnt start at 10:30, but my guess would be a Target gift card. Almost certain thats what hed say. He doesnt drink coffee, and were not that into restaurants, really. And you never know whos allergic to smells (hello), so the others may not work. Plus, imagine how happy Target Steve will be to read my recommendation.

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  33. I’m back home and getting caught up on the eleventy hundred unread posts in my Reader. So consider this a free-range comment that covers the last 20 or so of your posts and gets me caught up.
    1. I am slayed/slain over the Christmas mugs for the Jewish husband.
    2. The vegetarian thing just killed your Christmas present. I make a mean sausage ball.
    Oh well, more for me.

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