Monday, June 25, 2007

People Who Live in Glass Houses

I paid attention to the Paris Hilton drama only because I thought she was going to get special treatment because she is famous for being famous. I was angry at her parents' reaction when she was sentenced to jailtime. I thought they were making excuses for her behavior and encouraging her not to accept responsibility for her actions. When she was released from jail early, I was disappointed but not surprised. I was very surprised when she was sent back to fulfill her sentence and also surprised that she managed to complete it outside of the hospital cell. I'm not sure she should have gotten 20+ days but after spending a day in NJ traffic court, I can't say it seemed unusual. Traffic court judges hear all kinds of stories and excuses and at times, they seem to enjoy their ability to hand down sentences. I was lucky in a sense - I felt strongly enough that my ticket was unjust and I was able to get the prosecutor to reduce my penalty. In the past, when I got a ticket, I paid the penalty without question. This time, however, I wanted my day in court.

But, I'm getting away from the point of this post. It now appears that the prosecutor had some sins of his own that are now putting him on the hot seat. It is alleged that his wife not only drove on a suspended license; she, as he did, drove for long periods of time without insurance; she crashed his city-issued car and he allowed the taxpayers to pay for the repairs; the company she owned failed to pay taxes and he had his city staff run personal errands for him as well as babysit his children. While he was screaming for Paris to fulfill the legal penalty for her crimes, he seemed to have no compunction to follow the law or to fulfill the ethics of his office himself.

There was a family killed recently in a town a few miles from my home. A man, his wife and his son were stabbed in their home located in a small peaceful community where people often didn't even lock their doors. It scared everyone. There was a run on security systems. Neighborhoods were lit up at night. People formed neighborhood watches and luckily no one was shot accidently as nervous residents either bought firearms or brought them out of closets and locked boxes. The police brought in the FBI as they had no clues and no suspects. It recently turned out that a young high school boy committed the crimes, killing the family of what was supposed to be his best friend. He also killed his best friend.

Who turned in the killer? It was his parents. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for them to take that step. They loved him. They provided a good life for him. He was never in trouble before. While his parents were divorced, they had joint custody of him and lived close to each other. It seems he spent his time between the two of them and they seemed, from the news and from community reports, to be a good family. After the murders, the boy experienced what seemed to be extreme grief, what was to be expected when your best friend is mysteriously and tragically murdered for some unknown reason by some unknown assailant. The boy threatened suicide and was eventually committed to a psychiatric institution for his own safety. While there, he confessed the murder to his father and told him where the weapon was. After what must have been a terrible 48 hours, the father and the mother went to the police and turned their son in. They have not abandoned him, however, they seem to be supporting him without making excuses for him.

In today's world, that parents would do that, turn their son in to the police is amazing to me. I'm used to the parents like the ones who denied up and down that their children smashed the mailboxes in my neighborhood even though they were caught standing next to the smashed mailbox with a baseball bat. He was just standing there at 3:00 am when the mailbox just fell over by itself. Someone else must have done it. Not my son!

I can't imagine having my child tell me that they have done something so horrendous, so awful as to purposely take someone else's life, to take three people's lives. What guilt you must feel, what shock and horror, as you watch your child's life and all the dreams you had for that child fall away to what will most likely be life in prison. And, your life, the position you had in the community, your friends - it's all changed for those parents. Just as their son's life is destroyed, they will have to rebuild their lives and change their dreams for the future. They continue to face the scrutiny of the press, from CNN to the local news. How do they find the strength to move forward, to help their son through this, to get themselves through this? But then again, they had the strength to do the right thing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Men in Kilts

Went to the Celtic Fling with my boyfriend and his kids. Lots of men in kilts and women in costumes walked the grounds. We sat down at one stage and they started recruiting men for the kilts competition. The kids said they wanted to stay, but that's because they didn't really know what it was. After the third man strutted down the stage and hitched his kilt up slightly to show his legs, they decided they had had enough. Below is a picture of the men gathering courage for the competition.

Lots of fabulous Irish music and Irish step-dancing. This was the Wood family who appeared last year on "Who's got talent" - that may not be the right name of the show, I've never watched it. But apparently they were in the top five. They have six children and the entire family is in the show. The girls play violins, as do the boys who also played other instruments. There was a seven-year old boy Aiden who occasionally ran out and did some step-dancing and then ran backstage again

Monday, June 18, 2007

Roller Coasters

We have season passes to a local amusement park. I took my son and his friend on Saturday for the day. If he wouldn't have scheduled the day with a friend, I would have skipped going as I woke up with a bad headache. But we went and I mostly sat by the exits waiting for the boys to get off the rides. When we went into the water park section, I took a nap in the shade for an hour or so while the boys played on the water slides.

I thought I was rid of my headache and went on a roller coaster with the boys. My headache came back with a vengence so once again, I was sitting at the exits waiting. I have always loved roller coasters, but lately I don't know if it is because I am getting older or if the new coasters have gotten too wild for me, but I'm not as excited about them as I used to be. My son only started enjoying coasters last year.

This year, he wanted to go on a coaster he hadn't been on before - it goes from 0-60 in 2 seconds and the entire ride only lasts 60 seconds. I couldn't go on because of my headache, plus I didn't want to leave his friend alone for the time we would wait in line. My son pleaded and begged his friend to go on with him, but his friend refused. My son decided he would go on alone, but was wavering in his decision. He finally strode off to the end of the line and we waited for him to return. Would he go on the coaster by himself or would he return telling us the line was too long...

He went on the coaster and is so proud of himself for doing so. And, I am surprised and proud as well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Growing Up

It has been a busy month so far. My daughter and her friends graduated from high school, my cousin got married and I had a business trip to Chicago.

Graduation was something my daughter has been waiting for for a long time. She has found high school to be too full of drama. I am happy that she has always been self-confident enough to get through high school without succumbing to peer pressure, not letting the cliches get to her. Teenage girls can be so mean to each other. I thought I would avoid that with my son, but I'm finding even 11-year old boys can act like that.

The weekend after graduation, we had her graduation party. Immediately following the party, we drove to a harbor city where my cousin was getting married. About 30 of us had dinner there and then spent the night. The next morning, we went to the cruise ship for the wedding. They got married on the ship and then sailed to Bermuda for their honeymoon. Some of the wedding party and guests joined them on the cruise. I had to race to the airport to fly to Chicago for a business trip.

Most of my pictures from the wedding were horrible. The room was fairly dark and even though it was cloudy and overcast outside, the windows were very bright. So my pictures were either too light, too dark or too blurry.