Saturday, July 27, 2013

You Will Be Put On a Gifter Pedestal

I've been doing it all wrong.

I have come to this realization quite unexpectedly and happily.  Mostly, happily for others that will relish in my change of ways from this day forth.

This happiness all comes down to a very simple action.
A gift for a child.

Kids birthdays are always difficult for me.  Not because I don't enjoy that plasticy frosting that dyes your poo blue and green, who doesn't love that little experiment?  And not because I dislike being invited to the fancy trampoline gym that costs a bit too much to do on a rainy afternoon.  That was one of the most fun birthday parties ever!  On a side note, if you ever open a trampoline gym, please supply a 'mommy kit' for those of us who have had our bladder partially eviscerated by the child that has been invited to the birthday party.  We don't often carry around adult diapers.

The parties are difficult because I'm an anti-materialistic hippie.  When I throw a birthday party for my kids, it is a no gifts party.  ....and just so you know, I don't deprive my lovies, I feel that the gifts they get from us, the grands, the aunts and uncles, cousins and super close friends are more than enough for a 6yo brain to absorb.

So the gifts....What to get?  A lego set? Oh, but wait, the good ones are all $28. A book? Which one?  Will it look cheap? What kid really wants a book?  Soccer ball? do they even play?  Art set?  AAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

And this is where I have gone wrong.  I don't have to be anti-materialistic with your child.  I don't even have to bring the best and most expensive gift.  All I, and you, have to do to make everyone happy.... is buy the gift for the parents.

I'm not saying bring a six pack for little Johnny.  Close though.

It has to be something that when the gift is unwrapped, the child says 'cool!', while the parents make eye contact with each other, and sharing a wink they telepathically say to each other 'we're stealing that.'

This-----------------------------------> is the gift my kids both got from three Chinese ladies that came over for dinner.  Definitely thoughtful and appropriate, the kids loved them.

They are two sided, magnetic, and the best part?

It opens my bottles.

So let's do this, let's create a list of items that our children can appreciate, but won't necessarily miss when we abscond with it after the party...

1. Cool bottle opener. (China 1, America 0)
2. Stormtrooper helmet ice chest.  I couldn't find one of these on the interwebs, but some cool cat needs to make this happen, because I want one.
3. A nice flashlight, with the batteries, because how pissed are you when the gift doesn't work and you have to drive over to the store for the dumb batteries.
4. Hampster.  Just kidding.  Don't EVER get someone else something that is alive, unless you want to sever all ties to this family....then go for a noisy bird.
5. Super hero school folders.  ...ok, this is boring and kind of a crappy gift, but these are the folders that are seventeen times the cost of the plain ones.  The folders that every kid wants, but you don't want to get because you know how silly it is to spend that much on a paper product.  (or maybe that's just me being anti-consumerist.... you make the choice)
6. A book, but stick a movie theater gift card in the card.  The kid will never see the movie gift card, but possibly not really see the book too.  This gift will be put aside as soon as it is opened, possibly even before it is opened if the kids feels that a book is wrapped.  You loose cool points with the kid though.  At least the parents will get a date night...
8. Fun chip clips. We always need them, but refuse to spend the cash on the cool ones.  The kids will think they are rockin, and you get fun clips for your chip bags. (or organic veggie straw bags, because that's how I roll)

...that's what I have been able to come up with on just a few cups of coffee.  Just wait until the chocolate cake hits...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller, I Wish I Was a Baller

My 7yo daughter and I just started reading a Nancy Drew book, we're one chapter in.  She had already read the entire book, but I got frustrated with her because she could barely tell me one thing about the book. I know reading comprehension takes practice, so I wasn't looking for a major plot line.  How about just a character name???


She said there was something about twisted candles.  I didn't get a mensa feeling from that comment, because the title of the book is 'Something, something, and the twisted candles something.'

...I guess you know where her lack of analytic powers comes from.

But after I read this chapter, I realized why.  I also realized that if I had read the Nancy Drew books instead of Stephen King, I would be smarter.  Or at least have gotten a higher score on the verbal SAT.  These books are actually intelligent.  If they were computers, Terminator would be a history lesson, and we would be living under ground.  I know they are considered adolescent literature, but compared to the drivel that I read, and even more to the simple minded adolescent stories that are out today, these books are high brow lit.

So my poor girl, after devouring the simple stories that are today's chapter books, was blown away and left slightly mushy when she read Nancy Drew.  Luckily, kids are pretty squishy, and she regained shape in record time.  I on the other hand, have not been so lucky.  I'm pretty rigid, at least where the brain is concerned.   I wish I could redo the chance I had at growing one of those brainiac kind of brains.  I'm convinced Nancy Drew is the main ingredient of smarty pants kids.

Alas, it was never to be, at least not for me.
Mostly because the second chapter was terrible.

But Nancy did use the expression 'pshaw.'  So I'll give it another chance.  We need to say 'pshaw' more often.  And 'whilst'.  I don't think Stephen King has ever uttered either of those two words, let alone put them in one of his books, but they need to be more mainstream.

Maybe if I use them more often, my brain will grow two sizes.  I think three sizes is a little much, and Dr. Seuss was reaching a little.

So here's my new experiment....

I will finish the Nancy Drew book, and see if I feel smarter.

If I don't, I'll go back to my drivel and leave the brain growing to my daughter.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Crappiest Day

Do you know what would be the worst?  Calling 911 (not accidentally, thank you old school flip phone) and waiting in the road for your rescuers, to be run over by them.

That is one hell of a bad day.

If I were China, I'd go to war over it.  ...because she was Chinese, if you have been living under a rock.

But if you have been living under a rock, and still have no idea what I'm referencing, you have to get out more.

We all learn from other peoples' mistakes though, so if I am ever to be allowed to drive an emergency vehicle, I'll be sure to not run over the person that I am rushing to help.  Teaching moments.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Dehydrated Caterpillar Takes 8 Months to Become a Dehydrated Moth

My conscious is clear.  I am finally going to be able to sleep at night without dreaming about cops breaking down my door because they have discovered the body.

I am not a murderer.

Sort of.

Maybe I'm a fraction of a murderer.  Like saying that you are 1/4th Cherokee.  ...It's fine if you are 1/4th Cherokee, in fact, it's a much more brilliant world if you are.  The 1/4 murderer is much less cool.  I'm probably only 1/16th murderer though.  And that's why I can be relatively sure that I'm not going to be prosecuted.

The accusation?  That I dehydrated a caterpillar.

If you remember, that is where all this began.  A caterpillar disturbed my slumber, so I nabbed him and put him in a container.  Shortly thereafter, he spun a cocoon.  Then winter hit, and we began the slow process of sucking all of the water out of our house by way of a wood fired stove.  It's how we heat our little house, and give the neighborhood cancer.... but that's from another story.  One murder rap at a time.

So this little cocoon began looking emaciated. The heat was wonderful, but it dries everything out.  I kept checking on the cocoon.  Refusing to throw it away and accept that I killed this little metamorphic being, I let it stay on my mantel.  I even added water to the container, thinking it might act like one of those kid experiments that has a rubber dinosaur in an egg.  If you put the egg in water, the dino expands and breaks free of the egg.  It comes alive! ...dehydrated caterpillars don't do that.

So the months slipped away.  Winter became spring, spring became summer.  The cocoon had just become a part of the family.

Then today I spied this in the container.  
(the moth, not my son's hand)

I valiantly protected this little creature.  I kept him safe from the cruel winter and wet spring.  

Unfortunately for moths, they are very quiet.

If he had buzzed, peeped, popped, scratched... anything, I would have found him.  He would still be alive.
Instead, he quietly zipped out of the cocoon, and slowly withered away to a crunchy grey rice crispy with wings.

It may have been suicide.  Actually, yes.  Suicide.  I'm sure of it.

I am not at fault.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Read This In The Voice Of Jack Handy from 'Deep Thoughts'

Prayer brings comfort.  At least that's what I have always felt.  Whether it be that you are asking for help, saying thank you for joys bestowed, or just meditating on what is or is not right, the purpose of prayer is to bring comfort.

That is, unless you are one of those people that prays whilst whipping yourself.  But for most of us, we kind of like the comfort aspect.

I don't pray.  At least, not in the conventional sense.  I don't go to a place of worship.  I don't ascribe to a religion.  I don't kiss the feet of statues or drink water that might be wine.  My form of prayer, what brings me comfort, is more primeval.  Thoreau knew, and prayed much like I do.

  "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately..." 

In these simple yet sublime words are my church, my god, and my passion.  From the action, I find comfort. A full year of happiness, sadness, joys, and disappointments are vanquished when I go to the woods.  I live deliberately.

Each summer, a small group of friends and I section hike the Appalachian Trail.  This year, we hiked through Maryland.  We hiked about 43 miles.  We gave the mountain our sweat and a tiny bit of blood, and in return, we received fresh cold water and peace.  Trail magic came to us in many forms when it seemed we needed it most, from a 4th of July celebration to a cooler full of ice cubes on a sweltering 14 mile day.  I prayed hard and drank the wine.  

...I may get an ear infection and conjunctivitis from the 'wine', because it was a swim in the Potomac River, but I don't mind.  I've reached homeostasis.