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Family valued 12.8.04 

Family computing?

"It might be credit, and it might be barter, but they'll always find a way you make you pay." --- Ain't No Free, by Terry Adams

The phrase "family computing" has increasingly become an oxymoron, right up there with "Microsoft Works" and "quality television." How do parents determine the appropriate level of Internet access for children? I've learned the hard way that my kids will click just about any ad they see.

I don't profess to know what they're thinking, but every time they click on the flashing monkey that promises them untold riches, Dad has to spend hours dancing the Security Tango ( I don't think this is what Vannevar Bush hoped that his Memex (the precursor to the World Wide Web) would become. The web might be a vast storehouse of knowledge, but lately kids are learning not just about ferrets and differential equations, but also how to stuff envelopes at home for money.

Sure, we could cut the broadband and sever the cable connection, but that's a hard proposition for our family. We do try to balance mass media with other family activities. It's just that mass media is so cool. Since the release of Windows XP, hackers have been tripping over each other developing ways to exploit Internet Explorer.

Of course, my Macintosh evangelist cousin, Sam, points out that Mac users are never bothered by such piffle. I remind him it's just percentages; the installed base of computers is about 95 percent Windows. Just wish I could get the "Kick Me Hard" sign off my computer's back. Or, I could just cave in and get a Mac.

--- Stan Merrell

This week for families:

Breakfast with Santa Sun, Dec 12. Italian American Community Center, 150 Frank DiMino Way, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $6-$10, reservations required, 594-8882

Breakfasts with Santa Sat, Dec 11, kids ages 10 and under, Campbell Street Community Center, 524 Campbell St, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Tix: $1. 428-7860. | Sat, Dec 11, kids ages 10 and under, Carter Street Community Center, 500 Carter St, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Tix: $1. 428-7890

Brighton Memorial Library 2300 Elmwood Ave. Fri, Dec 10, Disney movie matinee, 3:30 p.m. | Thurs, Dec 9, Family Storytime, 7 p.m. | Ongoing, Brighton students juried teen art show on display | 784-5300,

Brunch with Santa Sun, Dec 12. Port of Rochester's Ferry Terminal, Charlotte, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $5, tix available at Port of Rochester merchants.

Children's Gingerbread Story Time Sat, Dec 11. Ages 3-7, Ontario County Historical Society, 55 N Main St, Cananadaigua, 11 a.m. $3. 394-4975

Choo Choo's Express 5138 W Ridge Rd, Spencerport.Various dates through Dec 22, "Ask Santa" parties, ages 1-10. $10 includes train ride. Call or log-on for times and reservations | "Winter Wonderland Express," holiday dinosaur train ride, $2-$3.50 | 352-4422,

Double Dutch Wednesdays. Double Dutch, ages 6-12, 2:45-3:30 p.m., #30 School Gymnasium, 36 Otis St. Register, 428-6769

Frederick Douglass Speech Contest Sat-Sun, Dec 11-12. Grades K-6, Sat, Dec 11, 3 p.m.; Grades 7-12, Sun, Dec 12, 3 p.m. | Memorial AME Zion Church, 549 Clarissa St. 464-9153

Genesee Valley Park Ice Rink 131 Elmwood Ave. All ages open skate, Mon-Thurs 12-1:15 p.m., Fri 12-1:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.-12 a.m., Sat 9 p.m.-10:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.-12 a.m., Sun 2-3:15 p.m.; Skate & Shoot (helmets required) Mon-Fri 1:30-2:45 p.m., ages 13 and up, times subject to change. $2-$4, 428-7889

Henrietta Public Library 455 Calkins Rd. Tues, Dec 14, Wed, Dec 8 and 15. Preschool storytime, Tues 11-11:30 a.m., Wed 10:15-10:45, ages 3 and 4 | Sun, Dec 12, Parents leave your children ages 4-8 at the library while you shop, 2-4 p.m. | Mon, Dec 13, Family pajama storytime, ages 2-8 and families, no reg. required | Pre-register for all events unless otherwise noted. 359-7092,

Holiday Homecoming Thurs, Dec 9. Food, music, Santa visit, George Eastman House, 900 East Ave, 5:30-8 p.m. 271-3361

"I Wish I Was a Dinosaur" Thurs, Dec 9. Music for preschoolers and their families, Phillis Wheatley Community Library, 33 Dr. Samuel McCree Way, 10:30 a.m. 428-8212

"Saturdays in Snowland" Sat, Dec 11. Screening of "The Snowman" movie, craft, ages 3 and up with adult, Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Center, 201 E Main, Batavia, 11:30 a.m. $5 per child. Reservations required, 343-9313,

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Sat-Sun, Dec 11-12, breakfast with Santa, 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. $12, $8 kids. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $2-$5, 467-9453,

Trim-a-Tree for Wildlife Tues, Dec 14. String popcorn, make birdfeeders, Helmer Nature Center, 154 Pinegrove Ave, Irondequoit, 3:30-5 p.m. $1 donation, 336-3035

Forgetting and remembering

We've all heard of "senior moments" --- losing your car keys or glasses, forgetting a word or name. I have my own special brand of moments now --- I call them "ricotta moments."

These things always start innocently. The other day, I was on my way to the grocery store, and decided I would make lasagna. I took out my list and began adding the necessary ingredients: lasagna noodles, sauce, mozzarella and, you know, that cheese... For the life of me, I couldn't remember, so I wrote "lasagna cheese." I knew right where the cheese was in the store. I could see its texture and consistency, but I couldn't grasp its name.

Luckily, this has a happy ending. I called upon all of my resources and, a mere 10 feet from the dairy case, miraculously seized the word "ricotta." It was a triumph.

Forgetting and remembering seem to be a way of life. When each of my children was born I rode the highest wave and fell deeply and eternally in love. Yet time and time again, I forget. I forget about the gifts they've brought me. I forget how rich my life has become because of them.

Forgetting the name of cheese, or my neighbor, is a small transgression. Forgetting the value of my children isn't. The beautiful thing is knowing I'll remember again.

So, I struggle to remember, knowing I will forget again. On the grocery list of my life, I know what I need --- I already have it. If only I could remember that list.

--- Lynn Malooly

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