Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Take a child to the horse races....

Take a child to the horse races and he will have fun for a day.
Teach a child about parimutuel betting, and he will make money and possibly be off the family payroll sooner.

-Confucius Pearl

Labor Day weekend is THE biggest horse racing weekend of the season at Ruidoso Downs, so my mother-in-law loaded-up all of us pearls and took us to the Jockey Club for the races. Now, for the record, I am NOT a gambler! I have never been to Vegas and I don't condone gambling, etc... But, I must admit, a $2 per race bet can be fun. So, Mr. Pearl and I, being the responsible parents that we are, decided to teach the children about horse racing and parimutuel betting. Our thought process was that the mini-pearls would get a math lesson out of it (since we pulled them out of school) and we would have a little family bonding time before they were bored to tears and Sweet Pea would be begging for her very own thoroughbred. We were wrong! The mini-pearls LOVED it! (please pray that they don't end up at Gamblers Anonymous) It could have been the fact that we were waited-on hand and foot in the club, or that they went to the paddock and got up close and personal with the horses or the cool colors of the Jockey's silks, or (thank goodness) it wasn't crowded yet on Friday, but whatever it was, we stayed for all of the races!

Sport and Sweet Pea were our "big winners". Those two really know how to pick them! Sport went by the names of the horses - Macho Man was his favorite. Sweet Pea would choose her horse after they paraded in front of her and she would choose the "prettiest." They really had something! Fisherman didn't fare as well, but had a good time and he helped keep the money straight and wrote down the results of each race. He is great that way.

The following pictures were taken by the mini-pearls!

one of Sport's winners!

and they're off... this was one of Sweet Pea's faves- a white horse

Friday was also me and Mr. Pearl's 16th anniversary! It wasn't the most romantic of days, but I wouldn't change a thing about it. We had a wonderful time as a family!

Windmills, Roswell, New Mexico, UFOs and Blow-up Aliens

The land between West Texas and New Mexico is flat and rocky and in Texas, wind farms line the sides of the road, for as far as the eye can see. The giant windmills look like big sculptural people turning cartwheels and are really something to see. It reminded the mini-pearls of the Teletubbies (go figure).

Most of the cities and towns on our drive are unremarkable, with one exception - Roswell, New Mexico. (insert sarcasm) If you don't know, this is the area where in 1947, an "alien spacecraft" or UFO (read weather balloon) crashed, and a big government cover-up of the incident ensued. Sport Cort calls it the "alien city" and was sooooo excited to actually get to stop there! The streetlamps look like alien heads! What's not to be excited about?

Now, Mr. Pearl, the man I married, is a smart, mostly sane man with a college education, BUT I am worried about him. He has a fairly long commute to work each day and sometimes travels at hours that are not conducive to talking on the phone and he doesn't want to mess with books on cd, so instead of crying along with Glenn Beck, Mr. Pearl listens to all the "freak" radio stations! Mr. Pearl's favorite show is Coast to Coast. The original tapings of the show are in the middle of the night, so you can imagine the sorts that are calling in. The show, from what I have heard, is always about encounters with "not of this world" beings and Big Foot. This show has brainwashed Mr. Pearl! He claims that he just pretends to believe it to make me mad, but he sure knows an awful lot and is very passionate about it. All this to say, he was excited to stop at the UFO museum in Roswell.

Calling this place a"museum" is a stretch. It is an old theater building with a lot of blown-up newspaper clippings, dioramas of UFOs and "model" aliens. There are also several maps that light-up in the places where UFOs have been spotted and alien encounters have been reported. The kids and I were done in five minutes (poor Mr. Pearl). We let him look around a bit more and then we exited. Just like a good ride at Disneyland, the exit puts you out right at the gift shop. The mini-pearls were elated! Alien souvenirs! Fisherman brought his own money and quickly selected a 36" green, blow-up alien (he named him Bob) and a green golf ball with alien eyes on it. Sweet Pea carefully looked around and being the precious, middle child that she is, declined "wasting" our money on any of this "junk" and "oh, by the way, since I am not getting anything, would you take me Justice when we get home and get me something there?" (that's my girl) Then it was Sport Cort's turn! He wanted two blow-up aliens - one green and one blue - we let him know that he could chose one. So, reluctantly, green it was. We had almost made it to the counter to pay, when he spotted it.... on a shelf, just higher than his head, was a box of "fake" alien I.D. cards and "Alien Express" cards. That did it! He had to have one! We told him to chose one - the blow-up alien or the Alien Express card. Sport then proceeded to tell us that we did not love him and we needed to get both of these things for him because it is his birthday (October 6th). I let him know that if he still wanted both of these things for his birthday, we would see about getting them. Sport's reply, " But I have a bad memory, and I won't remember it then, so we have to get it now!" He finally settled on the Alien Express card and we were off to McDonalds for a snack for the road.

a diorama of the crashsite

Two hours later... boredom had set-in in the car, Sport was tired from waking-up before dawn and he was not feeling well from the asthma that had bothered him all weekend and we here a screech from the backseat, "I want a blow-up alien!" Then tears and uncontrollable sobbing - it was hilarious and we were all in tears from laughter, which didn't help the matter. I got the tantrum on video, but I had to promise not to show outside the family. Poor guy, he really was upset.

Sport in his GhostBusters shirt - the kid really is a markers dream!

So, the "pearl of wisdom" from this story... if you ever go to Roswell, New Mexico, skip the museum and go straight to the McD's. It looks like a big UFO on the outside and inside, has a play space, good Diet Coke on tap and absolutely NO gift shop!

Nanu nanu,


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