June 23, 2008

Baseball and classics collide

Free associations come most freely and with the least inhibitions early in the morning, before the coffee kicks in.

I was up early (not that I had any choice in the matter) and watching Sports Center with the two boys when one of the anchors referred to KC Royal pitcher Gil Meche (pronounced "Mesh"). I immediately hit the free association button and thought:

Damn, he must be the first Sumerian to make it to the Show. Figures he'd break in as a pitcher, everyone knows Gilgamesh could not hit the long ball."

Wonder where Enkidu is playing these days?

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 20, 2008

Report from last weekend

As we stand on the verge of an other busy, activity filled weekend, I take some small consolation in the knowledge that this weekend upcoming will not be as busy as the weekend just past.

The highlight on Saturday was the Boy Child’s last little league game of the season. This was, without question, his best game. He has turned into quite the little short stop. Our team (playing little kid rules of 3 innings and each time getting to basically bat the entire line up) recorded 8 outs against the other team for a season high number of outs. Of the 8, the BC personally recorded 6 of them. In the first inning alone, he cleanly fielded ground balls hit to him at short stop and threw the runners out at home in a force play with the bases loaded. It was the only time this year that we got out of an inning without the other team scoring against us. He was, as one of our other coaches said, a vacuum cleaner, just sucking up any ground ball hit to his side of the field. The reason he was able to do this was because when he is on the field, he has total focus and concentration on the game – unlike just about any other kid on the team. The BC got hits at each of his at bats, including a line drive one hop grounder that went off the shoulder of a fielder. He hit it so hard that play had to stop until the kid stopped crying and shook it off. The BC ran to first, exhibiting “nice wheels” as one of our coaches said. On the next play right after that, our batter grounded to second and the BC ran as fast as he could from first to second. Only, the second baseman was standing in the base path between the BC and the base. So, the BC wiped him out, dashing him to the ground and taking him out of the play. There followed from that an extended discussion between the BC, the second baseman (who was complaining about the rough treatment) and the coach of the other team. The BC explained: “He was in the way and I was afraid I was going to get out”. The coach agreed, telling his player that he had been standing in the base path and the BC had the right of way.

The change in the BC from the first game, where he waved pathetically at the ball with his bat, couldn’t really throw, didn’t know where to run, and had no idea how to field, was extraordinary. He was an absolute stand out. The boy’s got game.

On Sunday, which was Father’s Day, I was up with the Girl Child and we were out of the house by 6:45 to drive down to Greenwich for her first away horse show. The show was held on the grounds of a very wealthy family’s estate in the backcountry of Greenwich. The GC was terribly worried the whole way down that her pony would misbehave. Her pony loves grass and cannot stop himself from grazing even under the most inappropriate of circumstances. The show was being held on a grass field. The GC, as it turned out, was right to be worried.

Her first event was Short Stirrup Equitation Walk Trot. The pony stopped in the middle of the event no fewer than eight times to graze on the tasty grass. The GC did not lose her composure. She just pulled his head back up and kept on going. She did get angry, though. She was at the trot in her half seat – a jumping position where her bottom is off the saddle and her hands are up by the horse’s mane – when the pony stopped short. She almost went over his head. This time she stood in her stirrups, yanked his head up forcefully with her left hand on the reins while, at the same time, smacking him in the face with her crop. It looked as painful as she looked determined and it sure got him moving again. I was standing with three of the senior riding instructors, watching, while the GC struggled with her pony. All three thought that the GC showed exceptional poise and composure. One of them said that any other child confronted with this situation would have been in tears in the middle of the ring long before the eighth stop. The other instructor, the most senior, said to me that the GC is the complete package – great skills and a tremendous attitude – that she isn’t missing anything. It was lovely praise. More than that, though, it was a wonderful Father’s Day present to watch the GC battle through and not lose her concentration or composure. Everyone agreed that the GC is one tough kid. I was thrilled.

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 13, 2008

The children's life plans

So, the kids appear to have what they want to do for a living all figured out, whether they realize it or not.

The Boy Child (aged 5 and going into kindergarten) told the Viking Bride:

When I grow up, Mamma, I want to be a client and have my office right across the street from Pappa.

Smart kid. Way better to be the client than the lawyer.

The Girl Child (aged 7 and heading to second grade), on the other hand, is showing that she has exactly what it takes to be a lawyer.

She came home from school on Monday and told me that another girl in her first grade class, a bully, cut in front of her on line. The Girl Child tapped the bully with her index finger and the bully went and told the teacher that the GC punched her.

I told the GC that she should go to school the next day and tell the bully: “You lied to the teacher about me. The next time, I am just going to punch you. That way when you get me in trouble, at least I will have done what you said”. Sort of a, if she’s got to do the time, she might as well do the crime, theory. Off she went to school and she reported back to me as follows:

GC: I saw the bully today and I told her, “You lied to the teacher about me”. And she said, “Well, you hurt me.”

Me: So, what happened next?

GC: Pappa, the well explained everything. I didn’t say anything else.

Me: What do you mean?

GC: The well explained THAT she lied and it explained WHY she lied.

Oh. Yeah, I kind of see that. The thing is, I don’t think I could have seen that at age 7.

She’s going to make an excellent lawyer.* I wonder if the Boy Child will hire her. He’d be a fool not to.

*The thing is, though, she declared that her intention is to become a riding instructor – the most expensive riding instructor in the world. Perhaps in her spare time, she can still practice law.

Posted by Random Penseur at 08:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 12, 2008

I'm not really that mature

You know how I know that? Because if I was more mature, I would not be sitting here telling you about how I had breakfast yesterday with a client and his girlfriend. I would certainly not tell you that the girlfriend has been featured a couple of times in Playboy (Brazil) and was on the cover of Playboy (Italy). Nope, I would not tell you about that at all. By the way, she was, in addition to being gorgeous, a delightful and lovely person.

I was the only man in the room who did not look when she got up to go the bathroom -- I kept my eyes firmly fixed on my client's face. That said, I did happen to be behind her as we walked out of the restaurant.

Some days, I love my job.

Posted by Random Penseur at 10:24 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 10, 2008

This was rough

This video was put together by a 15 year old girl.

God bless America and all of our servicewomen and servicemen in harm's way everywhere:

Posted by Random Penseur at 01:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 05, 2008

A cry for help?

I took a reasonably early train home yesterday night and got home in time to hang out with the kids for a bit. The Girl Child, who is an eating machine, helped herself to a second dinner / light snack while I was eating. When she went to serve herself some more, that process brought to mind an earlier incident at school that I guess she thought we might find interesting. And so, in a very matter of fact tone, she related the following.

She was sitting at snack time with two other friends when one little girl said:

I hate my life; I wish I was dead. I want to kill myself.

The little girl in question is 7 years old and in first grade. Without trying to get too serious here, I questioned my daughter at some length and determine that this is about the 3rd time she has heard this little girl say this or something like this in the last month. The little girl, the daughter of immigrants from India, is unhappy because: her parents yell all the time; her parents regularly make her cry; and, her parents force her to spend all her time doing extracurricular homework that they create for her. No adult, according to my daughter, has overheard the little girl say these things.

I called the teacher and left a detailed message relating what I had learned from my daughter. I decided not to call the parents. I am not at all sure that this was the right decision, but, just the same, it was the decision I made. The school is well equipped with mental health types who will take this kind of thing very seriously and the threats or comments have all been made at school. Besides, I don’t know the parents. Maybe this was not the right decision. I don’t know.

I asked my daughter what she thought of all this and, bless her heart, she replied without hesitation:

I think it is just so stupid. I mean, if you hate your life: change it!. Don’t kill yourself. You can grow up and move out if you are so unhappy.

It made my wife and me very sad to hear all this.

Posted by Random Penseur at 09:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack