The Stupidity of the Sexes

“What, Isla? What did I do?” Peter stared into her eyes; if his were not close to tears themselves, they at least reflected hers.

Isla sniffed. She felt the lines of wet on her face, the dryness of her lips, the misery of her soul. Surely, she thought bitterly, He knows what he did.

Peter felt clueless. All I said was that people never forget their first girlfriend, he mused, Just because Stella said, “Hi…” He looked at Isla’s splotchy face. Maybe a comforting smile would help.

Isla burst into fresh tears. “I -I -I -gave you my heart!

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Conversationally considered for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week: The Greatest Gift.

September 12, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the greatest gift. Answer it as if it were a question, or show what it could be. Go where the prompt leads you!

Respond by September 17, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit:
Ksenia Makagonova

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Not Your Average Blogger’s New Year’s Post

Word is there’s an event what’s been going ’round. I can’t but turn a corner and I finds myself smack-dab against words like ‘resolutions’ an’ ‘goals’ an’ ‘exercise.’ I tell ya what: them’s fighting words and I’ll have no truck with ’em.

Accordingly and characteristically, I have been pondering on a different weighty subject: obscure talents.

Everyone has talents. Many have useful talents. Still more have talents that don’t come up in regular conversation because they just might get said ‘talented’ person ostracized.

Take me, for example. One of my many less-mainstream gifts is the ability to bark like a dog. Specifically, I bark similar to a German Shepherd. How do I know which canine I sound like? I learned as a child when our pet was that breed. In case you are not sure why I don’t bring this up often, just think where I would possibly apply it. …yeah… I can’t think of a place, either. Mostly I startle people my children brag to, but that’s not happening as much since my kids are getting embarrassed solely by the fact that I’m alive.

Another talent I have is possessing somewhat apelike toes on my long, narrow feet. I cannot hang by them, unfortunately, but I did practice writing with them when younger. I reasoned that the skill would come in handy when I was captured by government agents bent on imprisoning me because of my X-Men-like abilities.

The third of my most-interesting gifts is ear-wiggling. …Maybe more of ear-shifting. They move, anyway. I literally practiced in front of a mirror as a child to first achieve movement, and have since honed and isolated ear wigglingness whenever I’m bored during a conversation or business meeting.

Last for now is hiccups on-demand. A related and less-ladylike talent is erm… on-demand burping -which is another one that doesn’t come up in polite conversation. I discovered, quite early on and in church, that I could give myself the hiccups if I burped (silently) long enough. I’ve used a hiccuping spell to get out of meetings since, and …to accidentally attract my husband on our first date. The good news is that I am extremely good at ridding myself of them as well.

If ever I meet any of you in person, now, I’ll have to ask you not to mention these. Otherwise, I’ll not have any material for that two truths/one lie party game.

Enough about me anyway. What about you? Surely you have a talent of two up your sleeve? In what unusual area are you an expert?

Fork

—–

Yay! A really long week to review!
Monday, December 24: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
Tuesday, December 25: Dude; that was Christmas.
Wednesday, December 26: “Inspirational Plagiarism: a Dialogue.” This may have come about after thinking to myself for two days.
Thursday, December 27: “I Finally Donned the Sorting Hat,” If I were a witch, apparently I’d be a know-it-all.
Friday, December 28: Inspirational quote by Mark Twain that I intentionally mis-quoted in “Inspirational Plagiarism.”
Saturday, December 29: Announced the seventh Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. ENTER IT or I’ll only have three entries to judge from.
Sunday, December 30: “Raw Ramblings.” We’ll call it a free-verse poem.
Monday, December 31: A quote to inspire this new year thingie, by James Agate.
Tuesday, January 1: “Wilhelmina Winters, Seventy-Seven.”
Wednesday, January 2: You made it to today!

The Festival of Trees, with Children

I had a brief announcement up yesterday explaining the delay in announcing the poetry contest winner. Despite some residual tiredness and inability to lift heavy objects, I honored our family’s annual tradition of attending the local children’s hospital’s fundraising event, Festival of Trees.

Donor companies, families, or entities decorate a Christmas tree, small Christmas tree, door, gingerbread house, quilt, or other item and completely donate it. Wednesday evening before the event begins, companies and extremely wealthy entities bid for purchase of the items they wish to own and display in their lobbies or front rooms.

Some trees still had their price tags. An elaborate one we saw was labeled as $3,500. All of the money goes to the hospital, to use for patients who cannot pay for hospital services.

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This first tree pictured is one donated by 1-800 Contacts and decorated by them. It was purchased anonymously; always noted as Friends of Festival. The next image is a mantel 1-800 Contacts decorated as part of the display as well.

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Sometimes, tree-creators are creative. One year we saw two made from ascending wood planks. Other designs have included marble works, an upside-down tree, and a few formed from recycled glass bottles.

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I was impressed with the idea of a tree dress, and with the execution of the idea. It made for an elegant result.

On the less-elegant side, many donations are character-themed. I liked the fun, colorful elements of this Muppets arrangement.

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And, I’m always up for literary references. Besides two ‘trees’ of stacked books, we found this Where the Wild Things Are model. It has a furry tail coming down off the side of the tree, plus a tent and sailboat.

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I’m not a personal fan of My Little Pony, but was impressed with how very, very pony this piece of …work was.

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Many, if not most, Christmas trees are donated in memory of someone. Often that someone is a family member who passed away from disease (prematurely) or old age, though some groups donate in the name of one who miraculously healed.

When I was a young Girl Scout, I volunteered for Festival of Trees. I learned that, occasionally, the story of the tree is printed and put on the back of the identifying card nearby. Gabi was a sweet, happy child who never seemed to mind the nurses coming in every day. She always loved horses and we just had to build her a galloping tree... or Dale led a life full of friends, family, and a love of skiing… or Despite a hopeful outlook, Mia lost her battle with leukemia. We will miss our little angel…

I tear up as I walk around with my children, remembering those stories and seeing the pictures and references for this year.

The following pictures are from the gingerbread houses area of the festival. I love the talent, creativity, and feeling of the whole event.

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This amazing ‘gingerbread’ tower is a bit tangled up.

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Last but not least, my children appreciated this decorated door after watching The Muppet Christmas Carol Thursday evening.

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“We’re Marley and Marley!”

I neglected to note that ticket sales also go to the hospital. In addition, there are the following for purchase: a gift shop of homemade items, fudge shoppe, chocolates counter, desserts cottage, a Santa with purchaseable picture ops, children’s area of crafts, concessions, and cinnamon rolls or scones.

 

I also realize this is a rather mind-numbing description of the whole event. Perhaps I’ll have the likes of Geoff narrate the next one.

Keep on Giving

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I mixed a batch of cookies, with extra sweets and fat.

I rolled, and baked, and shaped them all; then cooled them on the mat.

Then, frosting-armed, I painted scenes of swirls and stripes and spots;

Remembering your favorite, I added polka dots.

The strangest thing then happened, I’m sure that you’ll agree:

One by one, those cookies ended up inside of me.

But as I sat and typed this note, hand pausing over “Send,”

I realized stealing calories makes me the best of friends.

The Gift of a Child with Behavioral Problems

Guess what? I have a present for you; aren’t you excited? Open your womb and pull it out!

It’s a boy!
(Or, a girl. For me, I can only make boys).
He looks just like both of you! You look at each other fondly. Tiredly, but happily; proudly.

The best part of this present, though, is yet to be opened for a few years. You may not notice for a while, because no child is perfect. Every time an issue arises, or you feel frustrated, commiserating people say, “That’s just normal.”

But, where are those comments when you sit across from a preschool director and hear about your son defiantly looking right at his teachers as he pushes a child off the play equipment?

What do they say when his first grade planner has notes from the teacher of escalating issues? Notes like, “He threw a chair,” “He was biting.”

Only Pavlov’s dog empathizes with the increased heart rate and anxiety your body undergoes when you see the school calling again.
You can’t go far; the school might be calling.

You know, secretly, that you’ve actually produced a monster. In fact, an applicable example in classical literature is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

A great side benefit? Teachers, administrators, and doctors keep hinting -and outright telling you- that the problem is you.

You already know you were the root problem, if you birthed the child. You already blame yourself whenever he misbehaves, since your grassroots efforts of parenting don’t produce robot responses from your children.

It’s all true, though: you made the monster. And, as his parents, you will always be the ones who will need to fight for him.

You’re going to be embarrassed, frustrated, deeply saddened, angry, ignorant, and human. You’re going to do the wrong thing, and smack yourself figuratively for “triggering” the behaviors.

You’ll wonder how this ungainly bird could ever be expected to leave the nest without leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

Cry. Get angry. Eat chocolate.
Then, find a good pediatrician. Find a good therapist. Find people to complain to. Find the free resources out there for others like you.

You’ll have to start using those over-used terms. You know -the ones you rolled your eyes about: ADD, ADHD, ODD, Autism, Sensory Disorder.
Embrace them. They’ll be your new excuse, now that you can’t use “normal” to describe childhood behavior.

This is one of those gifts like a free car: the car may be free, but the taxes, licensing, and insurance are not. You’re going to have to do more than unwrap.

You’re going to have to be an expert parent.

Dang it.