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Monday, January 17, 2005

It's chilly here this morning. Feels weird, after a couple of weeks of almost-summer shorts-and-t-shirt weather. Weather during which my mother-in-law kept saying accusingly to me "It looks as though we aren't going to have any more winter! I thought you said it would be cold at this time of the year?" I feel slightly tempted to write to her and tell her that it is cold now, but, sadly, I fear that she wouldn't believe me. We all noticed, these past six weeks, that my mother-in-law simply does not believe anything I say until it's been independently verified. And sometimes not even then. For instance. Flying into Orlando, they were struck by all the blue roofs. Was it a fashionable paint colour, they wondered? Or a new type of roof tile? Nope, I told them - it's tarps, covering hurricane damage. Lots of people still haven't been able to get their storm damage repaired. Hmmmm, my mom-in-law replied. This particular "hmmmm" is indescribable, but instantly recognisable. It means "You can carry on talking if you want, I'll keep listening because I'm a polite person, but I know you're crazy." A few days later, when Bobby gave her the same information, she was amazed. "Hurricane damage! Good heavens! I never would have believed it. So that explains all the blue we saw when we flew in." Sigh.

Steve and Em have no school today (Martin Luther King Jr Day), so I'm looking forward to a snuggly relaxing day at home. Even after all these years of not working outside the home, I still appreciate not having to get stressed about finding childcare for unexpected days off school. Days like this are always a treat, not a dilemma.

Emily plans to bake a cake today, and Sophie wants to learn to crochet. (Poor kid, with me for a mother, that goal may not be entirely attainable. I think chain stitch may be my limit.) Steve is watching a rather scary climbing DVD - a documentary about some guy whose hobby was free climbing - ie climbing without ropes etc. He eventually killed himself that way, I think ... wonder what drives people like that, whether they do have a death wish, or whether it's purely an adrenaline thing.

Speaking of movies, Bobby and I watched an unbearably depressing movie last night : Salaam Bombay, about the street children of Bombay. I read somewhere that many of the kids who acted in this really were street kids, and apparently Mira Nair, the director, used some of the proceeds from the movie to fund learning centers for the kids. I hope that's true. Because the movie painted a horribly bleak picture of a life where abuse on the street isn't any better than jail-like institutional "care"; a life where kids never, ever, meet a compassionate adult.

I met someone the other night who works as a counsellor to foster children here in Florida,and I found hearing her stories depressing enough. Depressing because the mindless bureaucracy of the system seems to hinder more than it helps, depressing because the foster parents are sometimes just in it for the money, and are clueless about what kids really need, depressing because these kids are essentially powerless and at the mercy of the adults around them, depressing because she seemed to accept that this was the way things were ... but the movie kind of puts that into perspective a bit. Not that what's happening here is good. Just that it could be a several orders of magnitude worse.

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