26 October 2006

small gestures

Among the things that made today worth getting up for...

A friend who gets her sustenance in a similar-to-me moment-grabbing way. Their dogs were fed and taken out by the g/f for a 'W' (sssshhh, in case the dogs are reading and I do believe they could if they mastered doubleclicking a mouse, that's the secret code for walk, which as we all know is done at the 'P'-fer-park).

When the dogs go out for walkies, up and out come the four cats for dog-free terror-free upstairs playtime/breakfast. J. poured out the soft food into dishes and set it down for some furry happy freerange grazers and then went along to do something else.

When she returned to collect the empty bowls from the floor she discovered that her kitties had left a few morsels of food in one of the bowls arranged in a happy face shape.

a couple pieces here, a couple pieces there, and a littl strip just like an upturned grin. I saw the image while seated on their kitchen floor today; I hope she posts the picture to her blog. If/when she does I'll be sure to link it up.

The part that really tickles me is that J. grabbed her camera and took a picture of the bowlface. She figured if the kitties could organize their random actions enough to say 'hey, thanks for the grub Mom, that was some tasty salmon and rice!', the least she could do was be grooved by it.

Save the land crab?

(assuming bent posture, hushed tone, and nervous right index finger-flicking habit)

Um, could someone tell me the story behind the curious and suddenly popular websearch for land crabs? I'm baffled.

And I thank you for your time.

25 October 2006

best-guess shopping

My name is McBeth and I have a kid.
hi mcbeth.

I happen to think that my kid is pretty great as far as 17 yr old boys go. I haven't met the number of 17 yr old boys necessary to base any of my opinions on statistical certainties, but I've met enough of the 'new breed' and I've lived through my own chaotic teen years, both which make me feel a reasonable amount of confidence when I make the following statement:

Boy teenagers are weird.

My kid is the one who knows what to say and what to do to drive me apeshit. Some of what he says and does is specifically targeted to get the maximum motherly reaction, I realize this. Like when he calls anyone who doesn't happen to be a stauch Republican a 'dirty hippie'? Yeah, he knows what he's doing. Yoink.

There are other things he says and does that I don't believe are meant to be targeted missiles aimed with military accuracy at my heart, they're simply his personal preferences: his clothing choices fall under this general heading.

My child has never been a flashy HEY LOOKIT ME!!! personality. He's sneaky (in the best ways) and oh-so-subtle (become his friend and I'll bet $4 that you'll adore this especially when you see it play out in his sense of humor). The outward manifestation of his under the radar style is that his wardrobe, particularly during his preteen and these current late teen years, is remarkably bland. Or maybe I should refer to it as unremarkably bland, since the whole purpose of bland is, by definition, to not be remarkable.

I have learned over lo these many years not to shop for my son unless his body is physically present in the store with me. His long tall lanky body makes clothes shopping slightly more complicated than if he had a shorter or wider or more typical body size and shape. But after repeated misses on my part ('oh, this is cute! I'm sure it'd fit him!') I've learned that, unless his body is RIGHT THERE, I'm almost never a good guesser and the return policies at many stores cannot make up for the disappointment and hassle of having goofed. So as a general rule I no longer shop for my kid by myself.

Until Monday.

I happened to be inside the megawalls of Burlington Coat Factory in search of a Pizzazz! to replace the one we've had and loved so much and for so long that a month or so ago, while baking what we didn't know would be its final sausage and mushroom pie, it popped its revolving peg and breathed its metaphorical last breath.

No Pizzazz!, but Burlington impressed me on two other fronts: their newly-revised return policy (woohoo! thank you for finally pulling your head out of your butt, Burlington! It only took you, what, ten years?) and their clothing selections for Big/Tall Men.

That nagging pest of an inner voice chirped 'don't do it, don't even look and for heavenssake don't buy, the lad is not with you and you KNOW how this turns out because it always always turns out the same way every time you've ever done it before' in my left frontal lobe as I browsed through the racks. I told the voice to shaddap, this is a great deal and hoo-miii-gawwwwd, lookit these prices, can't even the most embittered inner voice appreciate a good deal? My little voice said it would look forward to laughing its disembodied head off at me later and wished me luck. I didn't like the tone my little voice was taking with me so I compromised with sensibility by agreeing with me that I'd only look through the shirt racks - no pants. There, I sneered at my little voice, see? I'm agreeable. I'm flexible. And to be clear, little voice, I'm also not leaving this store until I have a few pieces of clothing to return to the cave with, to replace the holey thinning-fabric'ed shirts he's been getting by wearing for way too long.

And just to stick my tongue out at my little know-it-all companion, I called my child (speaking loudly enough on my cell phone for my little voice to overhear my end of the coversation) to tell him where I was and what I was doing there, and I asked a few questions to narrow down the selection process. Yes, he needed shirts with collars for work. No, he didn't care if they are long- or short-sleeved. Sure, he could use some t-shirts. Um, okay, sure that's wonderful that Burlington Coat Factory's return policy has changed. Yup, great news, mom.

I picked out a handful of nicely-priced tees and casual dress shirts and, with the exception of three items, I felt certain my child would be pleased with my selections.

Here are my successful picks, shirts whose colors fall safely within my son's comfy color palette:

The three shirts I wasn't so sure about? Here are the three that, according to the lad, should never have come home to live with us:

That was my ridiculous attempt at introducing a few more colors into his life. In retrospect and with consideration given to the fact that he only started wearing non-gray/non-black clothes this very year, I probably could have aimed for something slightly less GRAB THE MARACAS, I FEEL A CHA-CHA COMING ON. But, I figured, it was worth a try, especially now that Burlington Coat Factory will give me my money back for whatever items I return to them.

I'm probably working hard to justify the soon-to-be-returned purchases, but I'm not giving up hope that one day my child will adopt flexibility similar to that which I demonstrated when I told my little voice to piss off because I know my weird kid best.

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