Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Guest Post: Ricochet Dalai Dog

A day in the life of Ricochet, 6 month old Catahoula pup:

6:33am- The humans are getting up, that means it's breakfast time!  Outside first, then breakfast.  Boy, am I excited. 

6:35am- Race Winston, the Yorkie, outside to get to the Peeing Spot.  Run full speed down Hallway, slide across the kitchen floor, and out the door.

Sniff for at least 2 minutes to find Peeing Spot.

Wrestle Winston to show him I'm in charge.  Yip when he bites me back.

6:46am- Bark at the door for the humans to let me back inside.  I almost forgot about breakfast!!
Head to the Dish and gobble down Puppy Chow as fast as I can because it's time to wrestle again.

6:47am- Now that breakfast is done, find the Yorkie and wrestle some more.  Yip when he bites me back.  Time to find Mom and snuggle.

6:49am-  Found her! She is in Bed!  Jump up and bite her nose.  Snuggle and enjoy belly rubs. 

7:32am-  Did I finish my breakfast?  Maybe I'll just check to make sure.  Bite Mom's ears to let her know that I'm leaving.

Yep.  Ate all the breakfast.  Where's that Yorkie?

8:00am-  Time for Treats!  Dad gives me a bone Treat to chew.  I take it in the room where Mom is sleeping.  It's my favorite spot to chew.  I like the way the crunching sounds against the hard floor.

8:02am-  Mom's up!  That means Play!  And Ball!  And Snuggle!

8:25am- Run 15 fast laps around Living Room because I'm so excited that Mom's up.  She's even yelling and cheering for me!  She says things like "No, Rico!  Slow down!  Stop it!"  She really seems excited for me. I just love her.

8:29am-  Pass out on Living Room rug due to exhaustion.

9:35am-  What's that!?  I heard something!  Jump up and go check it out.
Find the source of Noise.  It's that reflection in the window.  Bark at reflection for 5 minutes.  Mom yells at it too.  She says things like "No, Rico!  That's your reflection!  Stop it!  Quit barking!"  Finally Noise is gone.  I scared it away.  Good thing they have me here.

9:37am-  Go back to Living Room to continue nap time.

11:04am-  Bored with nap time.  Go find Kong to chew on something for a while.  Didn't find Kong, but I did find Toilet Paper!  My favorite!  Grab Toilet Paper and bring it into Living Room.  Start shredding!

11:06am-  Mom found out about Toilet Paper.  She got mad about it.  She took it away and showed me her teeth.  I guess she wanted to shred it herself.  Dang it.

11:35am-  Sit at Door and whine to go outside again.  Mom let's me out.  Return to the door in 30 seconds because I didn't really have to go.

12:09pm-  I just remembered!  I haven't checked Laundry Room garbage yet today.  I wonder if there's Dryer Sheets in there today?  Let's go see.

12:14pm-  I found Dry Sheets but Mom took them away and showed me her teeth again.  She doesn't let me have any fun!

12:24pm-  The Littles are having lunch!  That means crumbs.  Second breakfast is here!

12:58pm-  Nap again in Living Room because exhausted from wrestling Winston again for crumbs.  He won.

1:23pm-  Randomly whine at Mom.  Then she Snuggles me. 

1:35pm-  Time to go outside again.  Stand at Door and whine.  Littles let me out but Winston doesn't want to come.  Fine.  I'll go by myself. 

Run around outside randomly barking at leaves, wind and rocks.  Find Dirt Spot to lay down for a bit in the sun.  I like Dirt Spot because it's cool but the sun is warm.  Nap in Dirt Spot for a while.

2:09pm-  Littles are outside!!  I like them.  That means Play!  And Ball!  And Chase!

3:04pm-  Bark at the door to go inside.  I'm tired from all the napping, Play, Ball and Chase.  I need a nap.

4:53pm-  Dad is home!  That means Wrestle!! 
Once Dad is in the door, run, jump and bark until he pets me.  He's my favorite.  He likes to Wrestle. 

5:34pm-  Wrestle Dad in Living Room. He won.

6:26pm-  It's Dinner time!  Dad puts more Puppy Chow in the bowl and I gobble it up.  I need to hurry because it's time to play Ball again. 

6:34pm-  Found Ball and took it to Mom but she was busy.  Dad was outside cutting grass without me.  Littles like Ball, I'll find them.

6:35pm-  Found Littles.  Play Ball with Littles.  They throw Ball 27 times and I bring it back every time.  I'm a good boy.

8:34pm- Stand and whine at the door one more time before Bed.  Wrestle Winston one last time.

9:25pm-  Jump into chair with Mom or Dad and pass out from exhaustion. 

10:25pm-  Time to go to Actual Bed.  Littles are in Bed.  Dad and Mom are in Bed.  Circle my Pillow 12 times and plop down. 

10:29pm-  Not sure of the position and wondering what Winston is doing.  Get up and army crawl under Bed.  Yep.  Winston's under there.  Sleeping.  Wake him up, circle the room 8 more times, then plop back down on Pillow. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Muffins and the True Meaning of Christmas

No one knows the exhaustion of the holidays more than a teacher in the days leading up to winter break (especially teachers of smaller children).

No one understands the anticipation and angst of Santa's arrival more than a Kindergarten teacher on Dec. 19.

No one can imagine the crazed excitement of the Christmas countdown more than teachers.

Contrary to the negatives, you can't possibly know the joy of watching those same children celebrate with a popsicle for breakfast while wearing their pajamas on jammie day, that last day before break. 

You can't comprehend the ecstatic nature of a classroom Christmas party in which they open presents and goodie bags from friends. 

No one can commiserate with the hugs and giggles of 25 littles when they come into the classroom and see the room decorated with lights and ornaments for the first time.

In the last few days, us teachers have smiled through our weary, exhausted days, keeping the Christmas spirit alive in our classrooms.  We all know that very little academic learning has been going on in those days leading up to break, but there has been learning taking place nonetheless.  In the last five days, we have taught the value of kindness and giving, caring for one another and sharing memories.

In those frazzled days of wrapping, finishing up handmade, glittered and painted projects created by little hands, we have toiled away at making sure that every boy and girl in our class has a nice holiday, even if we have to do it ourselves. 

We have stuffed gift bags, ordered books and written out Christmas cards to each and every one of our students.  We love them as our own children.  We care deeply about them and want to make sure that this holiday is magical and memorable for them.

In the last week, we have spent our own time and money preparing special treats, activities and special presents for those littles that make us cringe and smile all the same every day.

In the name of love and Christmas spirit, we have fretted and worried about the ones who won't have much of a Christmas once they leave school.  And for them, we go out of our way to make sure that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in the classroom.

We carefully decorate the room with lights and ornaments, maybe even a tree.  We hang every Christmas card that is created with markers, glitter, and crayon. 

We smile as we open the small treasures and gifts they proudly offer to us as they march through our classroom doors.  We quickly scratch out a thank you card for each treasured gift during our plan periods, even the one for the package of half-used post-it notes.  We do this because each one of those gifts was given with love, thoughtfulness and pride, even the used post-it notes. 

All of this Christmas spirit reminded me yesterday of a sweet little girl I had a few years ago, "Jazzy".  She was a sweet little girl with fiery red hair and a gentle disposition.  She was such a happy little girl and a good friend to many kids in my class.  She came from a family that struggled to make ends meet.  Although they didn't have a lot of money, she was loved and taken care of by her mom and dad. 

I will never forget the last day before winter break when she came waltzing in the classroom that morning proudly carrying a wrapped up package that she presented to me with a huge smile on her face.  It was obvious that she had wrapped the gift herself by the too-much tape stuck on all the sides. 

She gleamed ear to ear as she watched me open the gift.  I smiled and complimented the wrap job, "Oh, this is beautiful!  Did you wrap this yourself?"  She nodded and her eyes sparkled with pure delight and pride.

As I opened the gift, I nearly burst into tears (as I do now just thinking of it.)  She had wrapped up two packages of muffin mix for me.  As I gushed over how nice of a gift it was, she said, "I thought you could maybe make muffins for your kids on Christmas morning."

As I looked at her I was overwhelmed with the feeling that these two packages of muffin mix may have been destined for her own Christmas breakfast, but instead she chose to give them to me.  I hugged her and fought back the tears.  I thanked her over and over and repeated how excited I was to make those muffins on Christmas morning. 

It was obvious that even though she was not being raised in a household of money and material fortunes, she was being raised to understand the importance of taking care of one another.  She was learning the value of thoughtfulness and kindness. 

And quite honestly, isn't that more important than gift cards and coffee mugs?

So, as I made the Christmas muffins on Christmas morning, my own kids asked where the muffins came from and I told them the story.  They were impressed with the little girl's giving and thoughtfulness.  I remember Luci saying, "That was nice.  She got us a gift and she doesn't even know us."

I responded, "That's the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas."

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Target: Say Something, I'm Giving Up on You

Before I begin the upcoming rant, I wanted to share the different working titles that I came up with as I was thinking about and writing this next post.  The list is as follows:

F*&% You Target, You Selfish, Greedy Bitch!

Target Strips Away the Magic of Christmas

Relationship Status with Target: It's Complicated

How Target's Corporate Greed Ruined Christmas Magic for My Son

Let me begin in saying that Target and I have been in a semi-serious relationship for years now.  We have shared many good times, great laughs and funny stories. Hell, I have provided Target with a vast amount of free advertising just based on my blog posts about conversations I have overheard in Target. 

I have generated interest for their store with my many funny tales of Target adventures.  Not to mention that I have provided free advertising, targeting the male population of shoppers in my post about picking up female prostitutes in the lingerie section.   That alone should get me a free Starbucks or something!  But alas, Target has gone and done it.  They have exceeded the maximum capacity of my patience with them. 

Let me say that I am saddened and embarrassed that they have stooped to the level of ruining the 'magic' that is Elf on the Shelf for the monetary profits that this product generates. 

I will be the first to say that four years ago, when I first heard of Elf on the Shelf I was excited about the idea and I thought it was a darling family tradition.  I ran straight out and bought an Elf with the book.  At that time, the only place you could find the Elf was at small boutiques and specialty stores.  So after some searching, I found one.  I planned an elaborate entrance for our elf.  He would arrived wrapped in Christmas paper, dropped on our doorstep by none other than Santa himself!  It was a wonderful introduction that went off without a hitch!  The kids loved it, they bought it and so the tradition began. 

I will admit that the Elf actually became more of a pain in the ass than I had originally thought, but it was a tradition, nonetheless.  The kids looked forward to it and excitedly awaited his arrival each year...until Target released it's Wish List catalog this year. 

Two days ago, Ivan asked for some magazines that he could use to make a "All About Me" collage for Cub Scouts.  I gave him a few old magazines and the Target Holiday Wish List catalog to use. 

"There might be some good pictures of Legos or action figures that you like in there buddy."  I said, not knowing what was housed in the seemingly innocent toy catalog.

Fast forward to the next day, as I was walking in the door from a long day at work, I went to hang up my coat.  Ivan was sitting contently at the table working on his collage, flipping through the pages of the Target Wish List catalog.  As I closed the door to the coat closet, Ivan shouted "MOM!" 

As I spun around to see what was causing such alarm in his voice, he yelled, "THE ELF ON THE SHELF DOESN'T COME FROM THE NORTH POLE OR SANTA! IT COMES FROM TARGET!"

My heart immediately dropped into my stomach as I looked down to see the Target Wish List catalog sitting on the table with the Elf on the Shelf ad in the bottom corner, right next to the other books and videos.  Sonofabitch!

My head spun trying to come up with an explanation, an excuse.  I had nothing.  It was obvious that the delay in my reaction was proof enough that the Elf had indeed, not come the North Pole.  "Don't tell your sister,"  is all I could come up with. 

As he slumped in his chair and pounded his fist on the table in disgust, I felt equally disgusted with the marketing genius that decided that it would be a good idea to put the Elf on the Shelf product right in the catalog that children look at to make a Christmas wish list!  What in the world were they thinking!? 

If you are familiar with the story of the Elf on the Shelf, the book states that he comes from Santa himself and he returns to the North Pole each night to report to Santa.  Obviously, this marketing employee hasn't read the book or isn't familiar with the tradition enough to know that the book and Elf don't come from a store!  They come from Santa! 

Last year, I let it slide when Target put up a huge end-cap display of Elf on the Shelf directly across the isle from the toy section.  As I coaxed my kids in another direction, hoping that they didn't see the display, I sneered a little at the cluelessness of the location of the display.  Obviously, they don't realize that the Elf is supposed to be a "secret magical Elf from the North Pole."  In fact, we shouldn't even be talking about him because that, in fact, makes him lose his magic! 

I know it's not the end of the world and my kids still believe in Santa, but I was a little disappointed in Target for not being more sensitive to the audience that they target with their Wish List catalog.  I would have thought that they could exclude the Elf on the Shelf from the toy catalog as not to place any doubts as to the magic that is Elf on the Shelf. 

Maybe I shouldn't be mad at Target.  Maybe I should be mad at the publisher or author of the book, after all, they partnered with Target to be a distributor, right? 

Maybe I should be upset with myself for not previewing the catalog first. 

Maybe I should just be upset with the fact that my son is getting old enough that he is going to be figuring these things out sooner or later.  Maybe I'm not mad at Target but rather the fact that my boy is growing up too darn fast. 

Hopefully, Target and I can get past this little rough patch. After all, we've been through so much together.  I think for right now, I just need some time to think and be alone for a while.  Maybe after the holidays we can reconvene and hash things out.   

P.S.  If you would like to hear more about my funny, Target shopping episodes read :

 Prostitutes in Target:  The Time I Overheard a Craigslist Connection in Target

Blogher Featured :  A For-Real Conversation that I Heard in Target

Blogher Featured :  Christmas Brings Out All the Amateurs

My sister-in-law's attempt/fail at being a professional Target shopper. :  Amateurs Step Aside: A Target Story

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