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“I find you selfish and uninteresting. And ironically enough, to throw out your favorite criticism of people, I find you toxic.” My life is very full in many ways. Although not always an easy task, I try and focus on … Continue reading
The watercolor painting was done by my friend Janet Smith. It is of me, at La Jolla Cove, one July 4th, in the mid 90’s.
It feels odd having a holiday right smack in the middle of the week, but I’ll take it. Meanwhile, it feels very much like a Saturday.
There will be friends, food and festivity later today, as we have been invited to our friends’, the Nichols, house. More than likely there will be our usual circle of friends, along with their extended family.
I am reminded of numerous 4ths of July, back in the 90’s where we would all congregate somewhere like La Jolla Cove, making sure we got a prime spot very early — around 7:00 a.m. — so we could catch the fireworks that evening. I, myself, being the McMartha Stewart, would pack a large picnic basket, plus all kinds of “essentials,” which would involve a couple trips to and from the car.
I had (and still have) all kinds of whimsy watermelon accessories — many plastic, and perfect for picnics. Watermelon wine glass, anyone? I was on it. And what better vessel to tote it all in, but a large basket shaped like a watermelon wedge?
My specialty back then was a very large caprese sandwich, made on homemade, herbed focaccia bread, slathered with pesto and of course packed with tomatoes and mozzarella, then baked, so the cheese melted somewhat. I would cut it into squares, and there was usually enough for not only us, but also a few strangers sitting nearby, who happily devoured it.
I would also make an avocado soup, and bring it in a thermos to keep it cool. Everyone contributed meats, salads, chips, cookies; the usual 4th of July fare. There was also plenty of libations, as this was back when you could still drink at the beach (I miss those days).
The day was fun and festive, and you could not have asked for a more beautiful venue, there at the cove, looking out on the ocean, and surrounded by a zillion festive like-minds as yourself.
After the fireworks you had the fun of carting everything back to the car, and then the even more fun adventure of trying to get out of La Jolla. We would leave La Jolla around 9:00, and sometimes not get home until close to midnight.
As much as I enjoyed all the prep-work and the day itself, the hassle of trying to get home after the fireworks just wasn’t worth it after a few years. But back then there were children amongst our circle of friends, so camping out where you could see fireworks later was simply what you did, no questions asked.
Let’s suffice it to say I like to keep things much simpler now. I like it when the fireworks find me, wherever I happen to be; and if I don’t catch any on the 4th, it is still a good day.
Last year we actually caught small bursts of the Big Bay fireworks display from the second story of our house. The fact that we could actually see them — however distant — from our home somehow made them one of the best displays ever. Perhaps with fireworks it’s not always about grandeur; it’s more about perspective.
Anyway, I am looking forward to Gwen & Joe Nichols’ party later today. I’m bringing a pasta salad and a bottle of chardonnay. The kids are all grown, so the whole fireworks deal more than likely isn’t the same prerequisite for the holiday. If there happens to be a display visible from the balcony off Gwen & Joe’s bedroom, the most effort anyone will have to make to see it, is a small trek upstairs.
But we will be home before dark, as we don’t want our dogs to freak out from the distant popping. Besides, we may have our own display to watch.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day, everyone!!
I’m starting to think that in my next career I want to work with animals; dogs in particular. A friend of mine, E, found a dog wandering her neighborhood up in Sylmar, CA, and, after trying diligently to find its owner, she tried keeping it herself, but her own dog wouldn’t allow it; so E had to give the dog to a shelter.
E posted some pictures on her Facebook page of the little dog, and that’s where I started to tear up. I’m hoping that someone adopts the little guy; the mere thought of him having to be put down caused me distress all morning. I know it was a very tough, tearful decision for E, and right now she has her daughter monitoring the situation at the shelter, to make sure she is notified before they euthanize the dog, just in case E wants to reclaim him and try another approach.
I told her to please keep me in the loop as well; I feel compelled to make the 4-hour drive up and bring the dog back home, then try and find a place for it here, but right now my hands are so full with my own brood.
So many animals in need of adoption, but this one seemed to hit home more than the others, especially after seeing the photos. I think it just reminds me of my own rescue pup, Griffin, and how he was in a similar situation 16 months ago.
Griffin — a Brussels Griffon-Schnauzer mix — and his sister were placed in a shelter approximately around February 2011. The very heart-broken owner couldn’t afford to keep them anymore. He had put so much time and training into the dogs, but he had a major lifestyle change that kept him from providing a good home for them.
Someone adopted the sister right away, so Griffin — already confused, sad and scared to be in a shelter in the first place — went into a funk and stayed cowering in the back of his cage. Potential adopters couldn’t take a look at him, as he would never come forward.
I’m not sure how long he was there, but the shelter didn’t have a “no kill” policy, so Griffin’s days were technically numbered. Someone at the shelter knew of a sort of “foster parent” for dogs, a man named Jesse, so Jesse came and took Griffin and brought him home.
According to Jesse, the little dog— who he nicknamed Monkey — not only came out of his shell, he exhibited such positive, social behavior (with people and other dogs), it was hard for Jesse to let go of him. In fact, Jesse’s partner, Michael, desperately wanted to keep Monkey, but they already had several dogs; plus to not try and find good homes for their “foster kids,” sort of went against the grain of what Jesse’s service provided.
Jesse sent an email, with photos attached to numerous people, one of whom was my sister-in-law, Bonnie. She sent the email to her brother, my husband Chuck, and he sent it to me, with his own message, besides the one sent by Jesse, “Poor little guy. Someone adopted his sister, and now he’s alone.”
Already having 4 dogs, I replied to Chuck with, “Please don’t send me things like this unless you are indeed thinking of helping this little guy.”
Chuck answered back, basically saying, “What’s one more mouth to feed?” Something about the photo and Monkey’s situation just tugged at my husband’s heartstrings.
Jesse had us come by his office the next day and meet the little dog. Monkey was odd-looking, with a rough, salt-n-pepper coat, long legs, and a Mohawk-type pompadour. We strolled along with Jesse as he took him for a brief walk around the block.
“How many people have responded?” I asked. “You’re the first ones,” was his reply. “If you want him, he is yours.”
I wasn’t sure what to think. Our dog family consisted of Miniature Schnauzers and Boston Terriers, the only breeds we had ever owned. Yes, they were purebreds, with documentation. To be honest we had never really entertained the thought of adopting a mixed breed, as we couldn’t be certain of its medical history, background, temperament, exact age, etc. Jesse verified that Monkey was around 2-2 ½ years old; he could tell by the dog’s teeth.
In spite of any reservations we had, there was something about Monkey that made us want to take a chance. We knew it might not work out; we already had one boy dog — a temperamental one at that — our Schnauzer Wrigley. Not a whispy little Schnauzer, either, Wrigley was a 27-pound tank.
“Is it okay to change his name?” we asked, not crazy over then name Monkey. “Oh, yeah,” Jesse advised. “It’s a good idea, in fact.”
Jesse handled the paperwork, we paid him $100, and then we were on our way with Griffin — a name I had coined from his “Griffon-ness.”
We brought Griffin home and set him down while we let the other dogs individually come downstairs to meet him. With Wrigley we were prepared for a pissing contest, and possible physical altercations, as he was our only boy for a while. His initial reaction to Griffin wasn’t good; much growling from both guys, which had us concerned that things might not work out.
There was much growling and barking from the other dogs as well, and at one point I did what you’re not supposed to do…picked up Griffin so he didn’t get attacked. It was my first instinct, and although it kept him safe for the moment, it was like pouring kerosene on the fire, where the other dogs were concerned. Now the pack really wanted a piece of the new guy.
We cordoned off the other dogs, then Chuck headed back to work. I, having taken the afternoon off, set to work on getting Griffin settled into his new environment. Now and then I would bring Maggie or Olive, the smaller, less intimidating ones out to interact with Griffin.
Griffin was truly receptive to the little girls, wagging his stubby tail, but I could tell he was still somewhat apprehensive. Maggie, our black Schnauzer girl, warmed up to Griffin the fastest, even developing a bit of a crush. Olive, our smaller Boston, was a bit of a brat at first, but lightened up as the afternoon progressed.
I led Griffin upstairs by himself, opened the balcony French doors in our bedroom, and let him wander out and explore the small, yet scenic space. It was warm outside, yet with a nice breeze, and Griffin immediately stretched out on the balcony and looked out over his new neighborhood. One thing he didn’t want was for me to close the French doors with him out there; I needed to leave them open. Considering his recent situation at the kennel, I totally got this.
By evening everybody had about 90% accepted Griffin as one of their own. Even Wrigley had relaxed more. I have a feeling that Griffin, at some point, had sidled up to him and made it clear, “I’m not here to steal your food or your bitches; I just really need a home and a family I can call my own.”
Later that evening I saw Griffin walk by Wrigley and give him a soft head-butt, a sort of “high-five,” or “hey, dude,” type of move that will forever be engrained in my memory. Wrigley knew this guy posed no threat, and was more of a compatriot than a competitor. I was extremely proud of Wrigley, and made sure I let him know it, by showering him with lots of praise and affection.
As for Trudy, my bigger Boston, (sigh) nothing was ever easy with “Gollum.” She has always been somewhat of a bully and a tyrant, albeit a comical one (picture Batman’s Joker character). Griffin learned right off the bat that she was one to be reckoned with, so he simply stayed out of her way in the beginning, just until he felt comfortable in her presence.
The first few weeks with Griffin not only turned me around on the whole rescue dog issue, but also turned me into somewhat of a crybaby. There was one point where I thought he had jumped over a partition and gotten out. I panicked,, and whirled around, only to find him sitting right there in front of me, looking up as if to say, “Where would I go, and even more so, why would I leave?” Welling up with tears of joy, I gathered him up in my arms and buried my face in his rough coat.
We have remained friends with Jesse and Michael, and have brought Griff to see Jesse at his office a few times. “I can’t believe this is the same dog! Look how happy…” Jesse exclaimed, during our first visit. He plopped right down on the floor in front of Griffin, who then crawled on his belly toward Jesse, emitting a low, joyful growl, as if to say, “Thank you for saving my life. I will always love you for that.”
All of our dogs — past and present — have been special and unique in their own way. But Griffin has by far been the best dog ever. His only entitlement issues are his twice-a-day walks; he will whine and complain if they aren’t given to him in a timely manner, and if you try to rush him he’ll give you the stink-eye. He sleeps with us, and is the only dog of ours that truly loves to snuggle. He is polite when it comes to food, and is very well housebroken.
He has become a mini-celebrity in our neighborhood; everyone loves “The Griff.” Such a good-natured sort, he has made numerous 2-legged and 4-legged friends.
He also picks his battles. Rarely does he bark at someone unless he truly feels they are a threat. He is extremely protective of his home, and considering the tough road he had to encounter to get here, he has every right. His bark seems to resonate, “My house! This is my house! That’s right, my house!”
Griffin’s cup basically runneth over; you can just tell by his demeanor and expressions that he is very appreciative of where he has landed. Jesse once told me, “Rescue dogs just get it.” And now, I finally get it.
So, getting back to the little dog that my friend E had briefly in her charge; I can only hope that the little guy winds up in a home where he is just as loved and appreciated as our Griffin; high hopes, I know, when the present odds aren’t looking so great, but I believe in miracles.
Regardless, some things happen for a reason, and this incident has reinforced why I think I would like to work with some sort of animal rescue. If I would be willing to drive a distance to save someone, even provide necessary foster care, I have to go with my gut.
They can’t all be saved, but at least I’ll know I tried. I have Griffin to thank for inspiring me. Thank you, sweet boy!
Thirty minutes ago I decided to take my three dogs, Trudy, Olive and Maggie for a walk around the block. Trudy, my 36-pound Boston Terrier, is a bit of a handful, but she does power along at a good enough clip for you to get a good walk in, yourself. Olive, the small Boston, just motors along, as does her black Schnauzer sister, Maggie.
Very different walking these three, as their brother Griffin makes numerous pit-stops on his walks, sniffing and peeing, sniffing and peeing, maybe a poop, then more sniffing and peeing.
The four of us took off down 4th Avenue when all of a sudden I see Maggie without her harness on. She just slipped right out of it. I don’t know if I didn’t buckle it well enough, or if she simple pulled a Houdini. “Maggie, sit. Maggie, sit,” I tried not to shout. While keeping a tight hold on the other two dogs, I tried to reach out to grab her, but she got frightened and shied away. Trying so hard not to panic, I kept coaxing, “Maggie…Maggie…snack? You want a snack?” She kept walking out of my reach, looking a bit puzzled.
4th Avenue is a very busy street, even on a Sunday, and all I could think of was my sweet little dog running out and getting hit.
“Maggie, please,” I was almost in tears. Finally she kept still enough for me to catch up and gently grab her. Shaking, I fumbled to get her harness back on, at first putting it on backwards, and then getting it right. The Bostons were tugging a bit, as I fastened Maggie’s harness; I snapped at them to be still. I felt my whole body convulsing, as I tried to regain my composure.
There was a gentleman who had walked by us a few minutes earlier (before Maggie got loose) and he was now walking back toward us in case I needed help. I smiled feebly and signaled to him that I was okay.
We continued on our walk around the block, and then headed home. Once inside I unhooked the dogs, put their leashes away and just collapsed.
“Maggie got loose,” I cried to Chuck, making sure that he could see her right in front of us before breaking the news. My whole body was shaking. I told him the story, and he was very comforting, even choking up a bit, himself. “Maybe just walk two dogs next time,” he gently advised.
We’re now sitting quietly upstairs, the dogs are all resting, and the Cubs game on. In spite of feeling grateful, all I can think of is, was I making too big of a deal out of this little mishap? A lot of people would say I was nuts for breaking down over something like “my dog getting loose.’’ I mean, the story had a happy ending, as she didn’t go in the street and get hit, so why am I still so upset?
Just writing about it makes me feel better. And more importantly, having another chance will definitely make me take better precaution by making sure Maggie and the others are strapped into their harnesses extra well before setting out on our walks.
I’m sorry if this seems trivial to anyone reading it, but those who know me best know how much my dogs mean to me, how they are the closest thing I have to kids, and how devastating it would be to have something tragic happen to one of them.
I have lost pets in the past, but fortunately all due to natural causes, after healthy, long lives.
Maggie just now curled up on the ottoman at my feet. I reached over and drew her into the chair with me, partially in my lap. She gazed up at me with her soft brown eyes, and now I am crying again.
“What Not to Wear.” One of the shows Chuck and I watch together; it is also a show that has struck fear in me that the hosts will one day show up at my work in hopes of making me their next makeover project. (I have made it clear to Chuck not to bother nominating me…it would be a wasted trip for Clinton and Stacy.)
For those who aren’t familiar, WNTW receives nominations for hundreds of potential makeovers – mostly women – in dire need of help with their wardrobe, hair and makeup. Family, friends or co-workers do the nominating for the oblivious makeover candidate. Once picked, hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly descend upon the unknowing person, with help from the nominators — genuine surprise and embarrassment always ensue — then make them an offer of a sweet $5000 credit card to be put toward clothing, in exchange for the present wardrobe they have.
Of course the show only centers around those that surrender, and that’s where the fun begins.
We were watching the show the other night, and the makeover project was “The Facts of Life” child star Mindy Cohn. Remembering how fun it had been seeing Stacy and Clinton go to work on another child star, “Blossom’s” Mayim Bialik a few years back, we settled right in.
Never exactly a “The Facts of Life” fan, I did catch a handful of episodes in its heyday (unfortunately none where George Clooney guest starred), so I was familiar with all the cast, including Cohn’s character Natalie.
So, during the “What Not to Wear” episode, it was a joy to see that, as a grown woman, Mindy Cohn still possessed the same vibrancy and charm she had as a child. And yes, she is still very round.
Most WNTW makeover guests break down in tears at some point during the show, fearful of change, not finding the right clothes, having to part with their own clothes, general frustration, etc.; but not Mindy. She was receptive to change, yet confident in her present self. She was humorous, witty, entertaining, a good listener; her dancing eyes spoke volumes. She was someone you wanted to be around, that delicious person you wanted at your next dinner party.
What I especially loved about Mindy is that, throughout the whole show, not once did she lament about her size. At age 44, let’s trust that she has more than likely visited that prospect during various points in her life. But in the here and now, she wanted clothes that fit her body, a wardrobe that enhanced her curves.
“She’s precious!” I erupted a couple of times during the show. “How refreshing is she?”
“Invite her over,” Chuck half-jokingly replied.
In all reality, yes, Mindy Cohn would be considered obese. Yes, she may have weight-related health issues; she may encounter numerous obstacles getting work in her (acting) field; perhaps her love life suffers; that is all really none of our business. Besides, deep down, I have a feeling that with Mindy Cohn, what you see is what you get.
In a world where most celebrities seem so obsessed with drastic weight loss, cosmetic surgery — anything to make themselves more marketable and better than the next person, it was so refreshing to see Mindy Cohn with her sense of joie de vivre and genuine love of self. She wasn’t trying to be someone different; she just appreciated the help WNTW gave her in making her look her best. She was receptive to change, but within her means.
Within her means. Wow, wouldn’t we all benefit if we were receptive to change within our own means, instead of depriving ourselves, going bankrupt, overdoing everything, treading water, driving ourselves crazy; in an attempt to reach some unattainable and/or temporary goal, only to wind up right back where we started? Exhausting and futile, yes?
My hope is that Mindy’s appearance on WNTW will open more doors in the entertainment industry. Personally, I think if — Lord help us — Rachael Ray can land a talk show, then Mindy is well overdue for her own.
Best of luck to you, Mindy. And thank you.
While walking my dog Griffin in Balboa Park, I was wondering what to write about for Day 21 (of my “40 Days of Writing” project). Right then I noticed a folded white slip of paper stapled to a tree. I opened it, leaving it intact, and on it was this typed-written message, “What would you tell your childhood self?”
If that’s not a sign, then please show me what is. It reminded me of the freeway sign that kept sending Steve Martin messages in “L.A. Story.”
As I continued to walk Griffin I began asking myself not only what I would tell my childhood self, but also asking my present self, “How far back am I going, and at what age is the cut-off point?”
Age 12 and under seems about right. There is always time for a sequel where I can cover my teen years; then twenties, perhaps even thirties.
I can probably come up with more pieces of advice to give my childhood self, than there are crayons in a jumbo box of Crayolas, so it is probably best to just hit the bullet points.
1. What I would tell myself first and foremost is, “Kelly, please stop worrying.”
I inherited much of my mother’s anxiety when I was a child; always fretting, “Would I be liked at school?” “Would daddy come home drunk again and terrorize us?”“Will one of the Rickies – several bullies in our neighborhood all sharing that name – try and beat me up tomorrow?” “Will Mom fix something I don’t like for dinner tomorrow and try to make me eat it?”
I even credit my constant worrying for my being a bed-wetter until I was 8 years old (which only added, “Will I have a dry night?” to my repertoire). I only know this because one night as my mother was tucking me into bed, she said, “Before you go to sleep I want you to take all your worries out of your head. I want you to tell yourself that everything is going to be fine.” I don’t find it much of a coincidence at all that I never wet the bed again after that.
2. Without being paranoid about what people think of you, do care enough to ensure that you use good manners; remind yourself that to say “please” and “thank you” will get you invited back to peoples’ homes. Be sincere about it; Mrs. Cleaver saw right through that crap that Eddie Haskell handed to her, and your friends’ parents will, too.
3. Be kinder to animals. Just as they appreciate love and affection as much as you do, they are also frightened of any abuse that is inflicted upon them – just like you are. You’re still little, but you’re much bigger than they are. Treat them, as you would like to be treated. On a side note, also talk to mom about getting your pets neutered and spayed, offering to donate some of your allowance if necessary. You have way too many kittens and puppies running around this place.
4. Also remember to treat people, as you would like to be treated. I know this is a tough one for you, but you’ll get the hang of it after a while, and it will pay off.
5. Pay all good things forward, and share. If you find a dollar in the street, buy some Cracker Jack or red licorice ropes for you and a couple of friends.
6. There is no shame or cowardice in saying, “You hurt my feelings.”
7. Spend more time with Grandma and Grandpa, and ask them to tell you some stories from when they were young.
8. Get up and sing a solo in front of people. Pick something you know well, like “Over the Rainbow,” or the Carpenters’ “Close to You.” You may surprise yourself.
9. Rest assured, the bullies in your life right now will wind up getting their own asses kicked later in life. Some may not even make it out of their teens. One very close to you, in fact, won’t be in your life much longer. Let’s just leave it at that (and for Heaven’s sake, please don’t worry).
10. The spoiled brats that say and do anything they want with no consideration for your feelings will more than likely not amount to much, either. Just sayin’.
11. On that same note, reach out to the underdogs and those that are bullied by others; not only will that help your compassion shine through, but they’re the ones that will provide you with more insight, and they’ll more than likely grow into worthwhile, quality adults that you will want to have in your life.
12. Floss your teeth. Don’t just wait until you have something stuck in them; floss everyday. If you need proof of how vital this is, go a couple days without flossing, then floss your teeth and smell the floss. That’s right, smell the floss. That putrid smell is bacteria that have accumulated since you flossed last, and enough of it will cause cavities.
13. It is never too early in life to start surrounding yourself with people that not only make you feel good, but that are good for you.
14. Don’t worry about boys just yet, and don’t rush things. Believe me, when you’re ready, they’ll be there.
15 Karma. Learn what it is, how to trust it, and how to apply it.
16. Trust your instincts (trust me on this).
17. Don’t ever lose your sense of humor, joy and wonder; they will see you through many obstacles and heartbreaks.
I am sure there are plenty more, but since 17 is my favorite number, I’ll conclude there. Just the same, wow, that really turned out to be quite the box of crayons! For the record, blue-green was always my childhood favorite; but as you would now find a dozen different names for similar shades – Mountain Meadow, Caribbean Green and Magic Mint, just to name a few – in the average Crayola box today, there are dozens of paths we can take in life, no matter what kind of advice we receive.
It’s not possible for me to go back in time and apply all of this wisdom to my youth (wouldn’t I be quite the child prodigy of Dalai Lama-esque virtues if that was the case?). But it is somewhat remedial to be able to put it all into perspective, and in the process perhaps honor the child that – even without all that great advice – still persevered and made her way out into the world and into an adult who, in spite of numerous foibles, (including a mouthful of cavities), really didn’t turn out so bad.
Although I have no child of my own to pass any of this on to, I do cherish the thought of anyone reading this to perhaps enlighten a young person in their own life with what I have learned, and what I wish I would have known. Whether he or she will take the advice to heart is really up to the child.
Most kids have to stumble through life and gather wisdom along the way. Some of us are still stumbling, learning and growing. But I’m happy to say I haven’t had a cavity in years.
The subject of child safety harnesses – or more casually known as leashes – came up this morning on one of the radio shows I do traffic for. The hosts took calls from listeners giving their views, and it seemed the pro and cons for leashing were about even. Some folks see it as animalistic, while others swear by leashes, especially in crowded areas such as the San Diego County Fair (going on now), not to mention amusement parks of any kind, where sometimes kids get so excited that they – yes, like 4-legged creatures – bolt.
Had I decided to become a parent, I would have definitely fallen into the leash camp. Nothing drives my decision more than the 1993 abduction, torture and murder of 2-year-old James Patrick Bulger. I remember the story vividly; he was with his mother Denise at the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, not far from his home in Liverpool, England. Denise was distracted for a moment while placing an order at the butcher shop in the mall. Two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Ben Venables saw the toddler near the door, took his hand and led him away. This action was caught on security cameras set up in the mall.
I can’t bear to go into the horrific details of young James’ murder, but I would venture to believe that if Denise Bulger could go back in time to February 12, 1993, she would have gladly had her young son attached to a leash of some sort, no matter what kind of disapproving glances she got from others.
Months after the trial, Denise and her husband had another little boy, but soon after that, their marriage collapsed. This news didn’t surprise me, as even the strongest of marriages can be threatened when your world is turned upside down. I had also heard that, at one point, Denise, so distraught from her son’s death, had even tried committing suicide. “Of course she did,” was my reaction, “Who could blame her?”
But back to the initial subject of whether or not to leash your child, if you choose not to, that is your prerogative; but to cast judgment on a parent who chooses that method of keeping their child safe, is unfair and intrusive.
“Leashes are for dogs,” some spout, while others advise, “Just hold your child’s hand or put them in a stroller!” If that works for you and your child, fine; but many children fight having to hold hands with their parents, while others detest even more, being confined to a stroller. A child safety harness allows a child to roam, hands-free, but within feet of the attached parent. What is so horrible about that?
A very sobering fact is that children of all ages are abducted everyday; and although you can’t keep a leash on your child forever – I’m sure many parents would love that – when they are especially small, it only seems logical to me.
Having children is a personal choice, and how you choose to keep them safe once they are here is just as personal. There are many stresses in life, so if a safety harness for your child helps to alleviate some of that stress, I am all for it. If people insist upon glaring disapprovingly, or worse yet, vocalizing their sentiments, just tell them to either mind their own business, or better yet, to Google James Patrick Bulger.