I’m grateful for dreams.
No, not the ones with January Jones and bacon cheeseburgers, although those are also everything. I’m grateful for my kids’ dreams, the ones of becoming a vet tech or playing college soccer or getting a kickass role in the school play.
Hayden has a chance to play at the next level and is fortunate enough to have choices.
We visited Wingate University today and I think there were some love sparks. They invited her to an ID camp this summer. She’d stay on campus for several days and be immersed in college life there.
We still have a few schools left to visit first.
I’ve seen beautiful and difficult parallels between her search for a school and mine for a job. When we both find what we’re looking for, we’ll go out for dinner, we’ve decided. We’ll both find our ways there.
10 gratitudinal points
1. I’m grateful for small victories that don’t feel so small. They pile up nicely. But if you don’t look out for them, you’ll miss them.
2. I’m grateful for what Jay Cutler did to the New England Patriots! Even if they do win the Super Bowl. (Go Eagles.)
3. I’m grateful for the Denver Nuggets. Yes, I am. From the days I spent as a kid at Big Mac watching Alex English and Fat Lever and Bill Hanzlik, to rooting for this modern band of misfits to shock the world.
4. I’m grateful for Carolina winter days so gorgeous you want to open all the windows in the house. And your car. And grill something. (On the grill, not your car.)
5. I’m grateful for Beatles songs. From when they were part of the British Invasion to their hippy days to their solo work. Give me a little Paul McCartney and Wings any day.
6. I’m grateful for days I can pick up WNCW in my car. It’s eclectic. It takes me back to our Asheville days and makes me think of Madison, our mountain girl.
7. I’m grateful for lists – and knocking them out. My to-do list looms in a daunting way. If I can dig into one spot for a day, well, the load gets lighter. It could be email or laundry or sending out resumes. (It’s even better when you follow up with a cheeseburger.)
8 I’m grateful for impromptu conversations and kickarounds with soccer moms in cute boots. (Her, not me.) Even when their son gets jealous he’s not getting all the attention.
9. I’m grateful for cupcakes. Even though I’m not as wacky about ones with bacon on them, even though I love bacon. When you give someone a cupcake, that’s love.
10 I’m grateful I remember a thing or two from my saxophone-playing days. That was going to be my life, you know. The universe had other plans.
I’m grateful for my girls’ questions, as always. Here’s the net beautiful batch.
1. How many years are in high school?
Four. For most. You’re supposed to have four in undergraduate studies, but I infamously managed to turn it into six (without a degree, even. Yet. I want to go back.) There’s freshman year, sophomore, junior and senior years.
In Colorado, we had three high school years – sophomore through senior.
Ninth graders were junior high. There’s no junior high in North Carolina, really. They call them middle schoolers, and they’re 6th-8th. Coaching that group has interesting dynamics. You could end up with kids who are little girls and others as young women.
I knew a kid who flunked so much in middle school he might have been able to drive there eventually. I think he finally moved on.
I told my mom when I was in kindergarten that I was afraid of the graders at school. She got visions of construction equipment sweeping across the playground. But I meant graders – first graders, second graders, third graders…
2. If I got a free kitty, could mom tell me no?
I’m not sure there’s a legal precedent, but it’s helpful to remember that mom can always say no.
Moms rule the world. We watch a lot of The Dick Van Dyke Show around here, and there’s rhetoric about the man of the house and a woman’s place, but you could see back then, Laura rules the roost.
And it’s okay – as dads, one of the best things we can do, along with clipping nose hair and wearing comfortable shoes, is to make sure we’re on the same page as a mom.
I’m certain no family sitcom lacks an episode in which the kids have snuck in a cat or dog without mom and dad knowing. They stow them in a closet or basement or under the bed and when the parents hear a bark or meow, they act like it was them.
Then, there’s the logistics.
Really, if you bring home a free kitty, and the ‘rents say now, what becomes of it? Is it cast out on the streets? Returned to sender? Rendered in a succulent stew? All are bad ideas, not the least bad, the last. Chances are with fire and brimstone, the cat will remain.
It’s on you to scoop the litter, though.
If you do get a free kitty – and I’m not saying you should – make sure it’s at least 12 weeks. Make sure we know if the bugger has its shots. And make sure it has a badass name, like Alonzo or Stanley or Dream Killer.
3. Do helicopters really help cops find criminals?
If you’re asking this because you’re still contemplating that contraband cat …
It’s not so easy to quantify the effectiveness of that law enforcement eye in the sky. It must have a psychological slant. If you’re on the beat, and call for backup, to hear that big bird flapping overhead has to make you feel vindicated.
The cavalry has arrived.
As a crook, if you’re in the midst of a B&E (breaking and entering, for my readers outside of East Charlotte), and you hear that familiar whir (and see the spotlights cast down upon you), maybe you drop the crowbar and make yourself scarce.
Maybe you duck into an alley, wait for the chopper to pass, and resume delinquency.
I remember you girls flocking to the window to see a police helicopter in action. We heard sirens around the neighborhood and the aircraft right above our house! You guys thought it was a real treat when the beams fell onto your playhouse in the backyard.
They’re cool toys, and especially in car chases, I’d venture they are a difference maker.
I found this story about a man who constructed a helicopter with spare parts and video game controllers. Incredible. Check this video out.
4. Is that turkey bird real?
As real as a homemade helicopter, in fact.
The “turkey bird” in question: A stuffed gobbler in the hardware store on Matthews Mint Hill Road. It’s not often the kids get close to a gobbler like that, unless it’s flanked by cranberry sauce and stuffing.
Taxidermy is the act of stuffing an animal – but not to eat for Thanksgiving.
Today, taxidermy is an art. Back in the day, accuracy wasn’t job one. They’d stuff animals full of sawdust, with no regard of the creature’s actual shape. They’d create curiosities – animals with extra arms and legs added to their carcasses.
It’s not creepy, I guess, unless you get into Norman Bates territory.
Some people even stuff their pets (Not their moms, as Norman Bates did.) I wonder if we could stuff our zebra danios. Anyway, it’s like art and science now.
5. Do you think chocolate-covered pickles would be good?
I mean, yes.
I like pickles. I like chocolate. Why not? I’d try it, at least. HuffPost said no to chocolate+pickles (and 10 other foods, including bacon and Twinkies.) One time, I dared my dad to dip an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie in salsa, and he did it.
I will take any food dare that doesn’t include:
1. More than two foreign ingredients
2. Cleaning agents
4. Rotten daily products
5. Anything kept as a pet
10. Hot sauce that comes in a bottle with a pewter skull as a bottle cap*
*-this comes from experience.
So let me open this up: Have any of you mixed the chocolate and the pickles? What’s the most unexpected food combination you’ve loved?
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