A Sharp Stick In The Eye

Image by SidewaysSarah on Flickr
Image by SidewaysSarah on Flickr
My Dad likens shopping with “a sharp stick in the eye,” yet he’d (willingly?maybe?  through coercion of some sort by my mother? perhaps.) accompany my mother, sister and I on various escapades to the mall as we hopefully searched for the perfect Easter or Christmas dress or school clothes. He’d patiently give a thumbs up on the third one out of the dressing room. No matter, we’d still inevitably hit every store looking for something better only to end up purchasing that third dress from the first store. I laughed the day I found him with a piece of mulch hanging out of his eye from the fake planter behind the bench he’d sat waiting for us on.

At the time, I thought he was joking about his aversion to shopping, but I think not. In fact, I can honestly say, I relate to that “sharp-stick-in-the-eye” syndrome. And, furthermore, although some may consider it un-womanly or possibly un-American to admit, but (deep breath) I hate shopping. I really do. It’s not even the spending of money that I detest. I am far from frugal. I can never remember to take coupons with me and comparison shopping is beyond my expertise. I don’t mind spending money. In fact, as many of those charity telemarketers, know I find it hard to say “no” and am free with giving. So free in fact that I really have no idea where a lot of my money goes, which might explain why I often find myself short of said dinero (but that is another post in and of itself).

I digress. So what is it about shopping I hate so much? I think it is the shopping experience that I detest so much. All those people, for one. I can’t stand crowds. Black Friday is a nightmare, I avoid (I’m more of a Cyber Monday kind of gal). Waiting in lines makes me shutter. Even worse is shopping with my kids. Their whining and begging turn me into a mega-b. By the time we’re back in the car headed home, I don’t even like myself. Add to that most stores have the heat turned way too high. If I have to take off my coat (as my sister lovingly knows), I usually take my patience  off with it and we might as well just go home.

My shopping attitude could be the culprit. Maybe if I had a more positive attitude about the whole experience, I’d like it more. I usually start with a good attitude. In my mind’s eye I can see that sweater or the boots or the running shoes I want. I can picture what I want, I can just never find it or if I do it’s the wrong size or too expensive or the wrong color. I either leave empty-handed or with something almost like what I was looking for and in both cases disappointed.

Thus, I’ve turned most of my shopping needs over to the virtual world. Online shopping is my holiday salvation. I am a proud Amazon Prime member (free two-day shipping!!!) My co-workers know when the smiley-face boxes begin to fill my cubicle the Christmas season has begun. Opening those brown boxes never fails to make me smile!

In most cases, I can get most of what I need online. The pictures and reviews are helpful – and I don’t miss the dressing room. Although, I still can’t always find what I want, the disappointment is less when I don’t actually have to leave my bed to shop. Occasionally, I’m disappointed, but at least my head and feet aren’t throbbing at the end of the day.

Anyone else hate shopping, shopping?  Or is it just me?

Candy Confessions

a-to-z-letters-cI admit it. I have a deep love for candy – chocolate, sweet, tart, caramel. I have an affinity for sweets. As I get older I try to curb my sweet tooth and refrain from buying checkout treats. But, as we just passed a major candy holiday, these sweet confections abound in our home. More times than not, I can’t walk past my kids’ Easter baskets without grabbing a hand full of jelly beans or a Reese’s peanut butter egg (and my waistline knows it too.)

So as today is the letter “C” in the April A to Z blogging challenge, I thought it fitting to pay tribute to my favorite candies of all time (some of which I don’t think are even available any more at least in my local grocery store.) In no particular order, here is my top ten list:

  1. The Marathon Bar – This was one of my favorites as a kid. A twist of chocolate and caramel, it was the longest candy bar at the time.
  2. Necco Wafers – My favorite was the all chocolate roll although the assorted flavors are good too and they lasted a whole movie.
  3. Skor – A light chocolate and toffee bar. Mmmmm.
  4. Twix – I like the regular caramel one best, but the peanut butter one will do in a pinch.
  5. Peanut M&Ms – Whatever the color, I like them.
  6. Pay Day – Salty peanuts and sweet caramel. I’m starting to get hungry!
  7. Tootsie Rolls – From the midgets to the big bar, I can’t pass up that chewy chocolate.
  8. Mars Bar – Chocolate, nougat (what is nougat anyway?) and almonds, oh my! Snickers Almond is almost as good, but not quite!
  9. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Chocolate and peanut butter pure goodness. You can’t go wrong!
  10. Sugar Babies – Candy-coated milk caramel. Milk Duds will do, but I prefer Sugar Babies. Plus, I love the name:)

Did I miss any? What’s your favorite candy? I’d love to hear!

What Begins With “A”?

ImageRecently I learned that the month of April is the “Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.” Always up for a good writing challenge, I of course signed up to participate! (I know those of you that followed my 40 days of Lent photo-a-day challenge on Twitter are skeptical because I “crashed and burned” after day 16. I have two good excuses, reasons though: 1) My “me” time is from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM and I couldn’t take good photos at night and 2) The themes were two stifling for my creativity). Any way for this challenge, I have to blog about something that starts with the letter of the day from A to Z for the entire month of April (except Sundays). Today’s letter, being April 1, is the first letter of the alphabet, “A.”

Whenever I think about the letter “A,” I immediately have the Dr. Suess “ABC” book running through my head. . .

“Big A, Little a…What begins with A?”

Why, April begins with “A.”  And that’s no April Fool!

I wonder how many teachers are secretly rejoicing that this prankster’s holiday falls on the Monday after Easter and a lot of schools are still on Spring Break! My daughters were pretty disappointed. I can remember as a school-ager the hushed whispers and laughter in the halls, the girls’ bathroom and by the lockers as we discussed and planned how we would fool our teachers. We thought we were pretty tricky back then.

Besides April Fool’s Day, as a child I remember that April brought with it a very real anxiety in the pit of my stomach. You see somewhere I read or heard or possibly even imagined that April was tornado month. I thought that most tornadoes occurred in April because of the changing seasons. The thought of those cool and warm masses mixing it up in the sky above my house caused me to lie awake many nights, especially if it was thundering or heaven forbidden a tornado watch in effect. The tornado scene in the “Wizard of Oz” terrified me. I lived in fear of being sucked up in a tornado in the middle of the night. I sweated each day of April and rejoiced at the first day of May, some how having avoiding another tornado season (little did I know back then that tornado season lasts all summer). I’m sure the fact that we had many tornado drills at school during April and that for some reason it seemed the “Wizard of Oz” always seemed to come on TV right around Easter contributed to my April/Tornado association more than anything else.

These days I’m not as fearful April tornadoes (although I still have a keen ear for hearing the tornado sirens and will be the first one waiting on a bad storm in the basement – a must-have criteria when purchasing a home). In fact, April now brings with it anticipation of the longer days, spring flowers, budding trees, warmer weather and the A to Z.

What about you? What do you think of in April? Leave me a comment below!

 

Does Perpetuating The Easter Bunny’s Existence Make Me A Liar?

A Cute Little Bunny With Some Eggs
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In two short days yet another holiday/occasion with a mythical being attached to it will be upon me. I can’t help but wonder who’s bright idea it was back in the day to make up these magical beings…the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Leprechauns…. What were they thinking? How did they weave the stories behind them that have gotten millions of adults and children to believe in them and keep them going?

I know my opinion probably is not one of the most popular in the world, but I really wish these imaginary beings didn’t exist. Yes, I love to see the joy on my children’s faces as they come down the stairs to find the presents under the tree, an Easter basket overflowing with candy or a crisp dollar bill under their pillows. The wonder of believing in the magic of these wonderful gift-bearing creatures brings happiness? Right?

The thing is their existence always puts me in an awkward quandary. Inevitably, my little one will start with the questions. “How does the Easter Bunny get in our house? How does he carry the basket? Where does he get all the eggs?” I struggle to answer her questions. At least with Santa the “stories” go way back and the layers of mythology are deep. So answers to her questions are more readily on the tip of my tongue. I’ll admit I’m a pretty bad liar especially on the fly.

My oldest daughter was the first to figure out that I was the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. I remember her asking me, “Mommy are you the Easter Bunny?”

“What do you think?” I replied.

She solemnly nodded her head.

“Are you disappointed?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I’m relieved. It kind of creeped me out thinking about that bunny being in our house.”

She made sense. If Santa and the Easter Bunny can get into our house while she slept, what prevented the bad guys and monsters from getting in too? My daughter has always had a hard time falling asleep – afraid someone could get in. I assured her monsters, vampires, warewolves, etc. are made up and didn’t existence. In her mind, if the Easter Bunny could get in so could the wicked witch.

A couple of days later, she asked if I were Santa too. By the end of the week she knew the secret of the Tooth Fairy as well. I told her not to tell her friends or the other kids so as not to spoil the secret for them. She agreed. However, a week or so later my sister called to tell me my daughter had spilled the beans to her cousins.

“Sorry,” I told my sis. “She asked and I couldn’t lie any more.”

That said my youngest is still a believer. It will be a relief when she too figures it all out. I know it won’t be long as she’s a smart one. What worries me though, is that she’ll then jump to the conclusion that Jesus and God aren’t real either. After all you can’t see them either. You are just expected to have faith and believe in their existence, just as when we are children we are called to believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny only to find out they are not real. That are parents were duping us all along.  But I do have faith in God, in answered prayers, in miracles. Its just that these other ‘fake’ beings seem to muddy everything. Sure I can be the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy, but I am definitely not up the part of God. I want my children to believe the things I tell them and so perpetuating the existence of these magical beings is hard for me. I want them to trust me.

It’s a little late now though to go against the grain. I went along with the ‘crowd’ and played the part this long. I believed in the Easter Bunny as a child and I still have faith in God; I feel His presence every time I look into my child’s eyes. I know my children will have that faith too. I will make sure of it.

What do you think? Is the Easter Bunny a bad rabbit?