Future Plans

So.  I was having a conversation with my daughter as we drove around doing errands, mainly about her dislike for unruly children and especially the bad parents that seem to run rampant not just in our town, but in the world. Don’t ask me why we were having this conversation…I can’t remember why it came up but I’m sure it had to do with some far-flung memory or observation of an ill-behaved child in action. But at any rate, we were talking about the world in general as it pertains to unruly children and the parents who allow them to continue their disruptive and troublesome behavior and that all told, life would be better if there were changes made in some respects. Yes, these are the sorts of in-depth, mind-boggling discussions that tend to take place on our road trips.

At any rate, my lovely, intelligent, and oh-so-tolerant daughter said: “I have some ideas, but that’s how dystopias start.”

I didn’t ask her any questions about her ideas on how to mold the future. Quite frankly, I just didn’t have the nerve.

Be afraid people. Be very afraid.

don't be fooled people. she's not all innocence and feather boas.

don’t be fooled people. she’s not all innocence and feather boas.

Principles Notwithstanding

Me: Oh my god, pumpkin spice Cheerios!

Daughter: Ewww, no, that’s just going too far.

Me: Yeah, but I bet they’re good.

Daughter:  Well of course they are, that goes without saying. It’s just the principle of the thing.

Me: You want some don’t you?

Daughter: Obviously.

Moral of the story: integrity is apparently not a strong suit for lovers of all things pumpkin spice.

 

Pumpkin spice cheerios

The Searchers

Since we live in a pretty rural area, just getting into the small town we live near takes some time, and getting from any particular Point A to Point B is rather a trek, so sadly, driving is often a requirement when walking would be so much more fun.  Now, I may get road rage sometimes frequently often all of the time and I always feel in a rush to get where I’m going even if I don’t want to be where it is I’m going, but I’m a very careful driver and try my best to be considerate as well.  So, I feel the need to apologize for the possibly probably not exactly perfect behavior I exhibited this morning and perhaps explain.

If you happened to see me suddenly stopping on the side of the road in what I’m sure appeared to be an entirely random manner all of the way through town, or if you perhaps gave vent to curse words as I pulled into a variety of arbitrary locations such as remote cornfields, a dairy farm, three churches, a lovely old cemetery, the VFW, and even the police station with no turn signal whatsoever, I understand completely.  Please know that I did try to maintain my normal fastidious driving style. It’s just…we were on a search to restock a certain someone’s inventory of Pokéballs.

 

sarah_pokemon

Easter Egg Hunting — Old People Style

Easter is only a day away now and you know what that means. Well, now I think about it, I guess it could mean a lot of things. A renewed sense of religious piety. The cyclic nature of life, death, and resurrection. An observance of a community-building holiday founded in the goodness of fellow citizens. What does it mean for me? Besides loads of candy eggs, of course!

It’s true. I hear the word Easter and the first thing I’m reminded of is not a crucifix. I think of the overabundance of candy that saturates the day with sugary goodness…those of you who may remember this jingle can hum it with me (and your welcome for the earworm!) Mary Sue Easter Eggs, Mary Sue Easter Eggs, Here’s a treat that is sunny for your Easter Bunny, the creamiest candy that’s made. Mary Sue Easter eggs, Mary Sue Easter eggs, Brighten you Easter parade!”

Next at the top of my list for Easter reflection are eggs. The hunting variety, that is. Oh, they weren’t always my first thought. When I was a little girl the word “Easter” meant that it was time to dress in a pretty new outfit and slip on some beautiful new shoes. Boy did I love that tradition.

my brother & me in our Easter outfits, Easter 1971

But then I grew up and, after I had my son, Easter Sunday became much more about the basket, the eggs, and the competitive quest for the brightly colored symbols of Spring. I loved putting together the baskets with the chocolate bunnies and the pastel colors shining from the fake grass inlay. I loved it so much I still decorate Easter baskets for my kids to this day. No lie. I know that my kids are well past the age of believing in the Easter bunny but it doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy the magic of the holiday. Or at least the candy.  And my daughter and I still dye eggs together. Albeit we’re a bit more creative now in seeing what crazy things we can do with colors and trimmings (this year I’m determined to talk her into a horror theme). So what? She may be a teenager and I’m, ahem, just a tad older than a teenager, but Easter doesn’t have an age limit, right?

Of course hand-in-hand with the coloring of the eggs comes the annual Easter tradition of the classic Easter Egg Hunt! When my son was growing up, this was an Event with a Capital E. We would hunt eggs, oh maybe a billion times each Easter afternoon after dinner. Rain or shine. He never tired of searching for those cleverly hidden holiday icons that we had so painstakingly colored just the night before.

The tradition was subsequently passed down to my daughter. They’re seven years apart so when Jake was already a seasoned veteran in his egg hunting career, Sarah was just a rookie starting to ascend the ranks. Don’t think for a minute that he taught her anything or showed her the ropes though…it was a fierce competition from the get-go.  Egg hunting has always been a very serious undertaking in our household, with those partaking in the game guarding their stash with a watchful eye as they scanned the horizon for yet another victim poking its neon-colored head out from under a blade of grass or leaf or perhaps sitting there precariously upon a bird-feeder perch. Until recently that is.

You see, the age of retirement from a career as an egg hunter in my family is NEVER.  No one gets out of the Easter Egg game in my family.  I don’t care if you’re 16 or 75. You’re either hiding eggs or finding eggs. Case closed.  It’s always been a family affair and we do more than just have the adults hide the eggs then set the kids loose across the yard. We like to mix it up.

Back in the day, it used to be a kids vs. adults hunting royale. Now that the kids are older, it’s evolved into more of a men vs. women battle of the sexes hunt.

There’s only one problem: age. We’re all getting older and our collective memory just isn’t quite what it used to be. So nowadays one team will go out and hide their batch of eggs, then the other team will put forth the good search and find, oh, we’ll say most of them…but when it’s time to reclaim the ones that weren’t found, so much time has passed that the team who hid them in the first place now can’t remember where those “they’ll never find them here!” spots are that were so deviously chosen to befuddle their beloved family members just 30 minutes prior.  So, often times, our two teams have to merge into one superteam just to find all the eggs. And even then, it’s never a given all of the eggs will be found. We’re still missing an egg from 2013.

Yes, every Easter Egg hunt has the potential to turn into a messy expedition through the grassy lands of colorfully-dyed forgetfulness, but it doesn’t stop us. Oh no, not us. Why? Because it’s too much darn fun, that’s why!

This year I’m going to propose something different when egg hunting time comes around. I say, we just ALL go ahead and hide the eggs together. No teams. That way we skip the foreplay and start this year’s hunt where we know it’s going to end up anyway. After we hide the eggs as one group, we go back in the house, have a little coffee, sip a little wine, nibble on some cake, then after 20 minutes or a half hour goes by, head on back out to the yard. I guarantee that none of us will remember where we put our eggs.  Then a truly great hunt can begin! It’s all about turning a negative into a positive. Genius right?

Here a List, There a List, Everywhere a List List

So my daughter and I have been big on making lists lately. In general, we both thrive on lists, so poring over what should be included in one or another of them in our spare time is par for the course. These remarkable pieces of survey data are usually started over dinner, scribbled on a napkin, as we hunker down with our heads together discussing extremely important, earth-shattering topics such as who would win the epic battle of villains: Loki or Scarlet Witch.  Oh, and if you’re interested, it’s Loki hands down.

We have a list of our favorite fictional characters (you’ll see that one pop up on this blog at a later date), our favorite movies, and the countries we want to move to (in order of preference)…which is becoming more and more relevant given the state of our 2016 Presidential election thus far, but I digress. So, yeah. You get the idea. We like lists.

Recently we were discussing places to go and things to do over pancakes and hashbrowns, so of course, we had to put pen to paper napkin, and come up with our handy-dandy “to do” list to cement things just so. And now, lucky you, I’m sharing…

  1. Get scared senseless by a ghost:
    1. Spend the night in Lizzie Borden’s room (Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, Fall River, MA)
  2. Visit the home and gravesite of one of our favorite authors
    1. Edgar Allan Poe Museum and Memorial Grave (Baltimore, MD)
  3. Absorb some culture and enrich our lives (not to mention eat tons of soft pretzels from the street vendors!):
    1. Smithsonian/National Museum of Natural History (DC)
    2. National Gallery of Art (DC)
    3. US Botanic Garden (DC)
    4. Smithsonian Gardens Butterfly Habitat (DC)
    5. United States National Arboretum (DC)
    6. National Zoo (DC)
  4. Pretend we’re high society but also get some laughs (cause seriously, we are who we are):
    1. Attend a play or musical in Baltimore – subject matter is up for grabs but we’re determined to wear our going to town Sunday clothes, so yeah, something nice.
    2. Snag tickets for stand-up comedy
  5. We’ll tell people we’re going to NYC for the culture of the city but we’re really going for the black and white cookies and Pokemon battles:
    1. American Museum of Natural History
    2. Bronx Zoo
    3. Central Park Zoo
    4. Times Square
    5. Metropolitan Museum of Art
    6. The Cloisters
    7. Brooklyn Botanical Garden
    8. New York Botanical Garden
    9. Fraunces Tavern Museum
    10. Hamilton Grange National Memorial
    11. Pokemon Center (Gotta catch ‘em all!)
  6. Because my daughter apparently wants us to end up in one of those “found footage” movies that are all the rage…as this is exactly how those stories unfold – and it never ends well:
    1. Take an overnight self-guided tour at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, WV)
      (When you don’t hear from me again, keep an eye out for the movie trailer – don’t leave for popcorn or anything as I’ll likely be the first one gruesomely dissected by the killer doctor-ghost running around the asylum – oh, not because I wear matching silk and lace underwear as so often seen in the horror movies, but rather, because I can’t run very fast, or at all really, and will most probably be used by the others as a momentary distraction…but hey, at least we’ll be in the movies. Everybody wants to be in the movies, right!?)

Happy Sweet 16 (Or, The Perils of Dating My Daughter)

Most parents probably believe, as they should, that their child is one of the most interesting people they’ve ever had the pleasure of bringing into the world. It’s a small pat on our back that we contributed to the betterment of society just as much as it’s blatant bragging.

Following this logic, I’m happy to state that my daughter Sarah is a great source of pride. She has a lot of the basic checklist requirements already ticked up:  an avid reader, a fiend for knowledge, an open mind, and an incredibly kind heart. These traits she has in spades (there’s the blatant bragging bit), but that’s not the most interesting bit about her.  It’s the eccentricities that truly deserve some attention because they flat-out make her a kick ass chick.

Sarah baby

Sarah is not so little any more.  I kept telling her she could’ve been done any time and actually should’ve stopped growing around the time the above photo was taken.  But did she listen?  No.

In fact, she’s celebrating her Sweet Sixteen today, and already has a strength of character that makes my maternal side beam with pride.   No silly boys are going to pull the wool over her eyes.  In fact, I almost pity the unwitting hounds that may try to manipulate her rather than learn what she’s really all about.  She simply has no patience for stupidity and she’ll never simply “settle” for someone who’s only just good enough.  Of course this will automatically eliminate a lot of potential suitors before they even know it.  I can’t say I’m not pleased about that.

Consider the following as an example of her very low threshold of tolerance for the boys in her circle.  In elementary school she had a friend named Michael.  Michael really liked her….it was one serious crush.  A crush that I’m afraid was nipped in the bud early.  One day after a band concert, he says to her, “I’m going to come over to your place so we can hang out.”  To most observers, it may have seemed like a friendly suggestion….but to Sarah it was the height of rudeness since it was said as if it were a given that this date was going to happen…no hint whatsoever of a question mark in his comment. Wrong way to go about it Michael.  So my daughter replied accordingly: “Don’t bother. I won’t be home.” To which the ever expectant Michael responded, “I didn’t even tell you what day I would be by.” She countered, “You can come over anytime you want. It doesn’t matter. I won’t be home.”  Without a way to parry that blow Michael was thus dismissed.

While people are constantly warning me about boys and dating and how concerning and stressful it can be for parents of teenage girls…I just smile to myself.  I worry more about the boys who might try to win my daughter’s attention….they will have a rough road to go.  Which is as it should be, because she’s deserving of nothing less than excellence.  And I’m absolutely thrilled she realizes that.  For some women it takes a lifetime to figure that out, and some never do.

But I will reach out to offer a little advice to the would-be future suitors…to sort of even the playing field a bit. Should a potential candidate for my daughter’s hand want to have even a chance in hell of keeping her attention, he should consult the following list of things he’ll need to sincerely like:

  • Doctor Who references
  • Marvel Comics (especially Deadpool and Loki, and we’re not just talking movies here, the actual comics)
  • Rooster Teeth (because they’re hilarious)
  • Michael Myers (yes, the serial killer…not the comedian)
  • Norse mythology (Loki, nothing more needs to be said)
  • Greek mythology (Dionysus – yep, ritual madness)
  • Creative writing (of all kinds)
  • Lewis Black (great minds think alike after all)
  • Compassion for animals (lack of this is a deal breaker, boys)
  • History (Alexander Hamilton and Achilles are her current favorite topics)
  • John Green (the person, not just his books)

Conversely, here is a list of things he’ll need to hate (with a passion I might add):

  • Hunting (oh boy, don’t even get her started on this one)
  • Camo (or this one)
  • Annoying people (not the action but the noun)
  • Unruly children (don’t ask)
  • Intolerance (of any kind)
  • The Westboro Baptist Church (yeah,  probably better to not even bring this one up at all)
  • Waiting in line (obvious)
  • Mornings (equally obvious)

OK, boys, there’s the cheat sheet. Now I only have one question — are you man enough?