Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm With The Band

Boy started taking drum lessons when he was 7 years old. In what is clearly a mark of our good parenting, one of the first songs he learned was AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long.

I blame it all on musical genes -  not mine but Husband's, who has traveled all over the country to see his favorite bands play. Musical ability and appreciation runs in his family, big time.

A year ago, Boy and Girl decided to form a band; she would sing and he would play the drums. At their age, you're in a band because you say you are - so I didn't think anything would come of it. I was mistaken. In November, 2010 Boy invited two friends to join them and it became Official. Last October, their band auditioned with 8 other bands in their age division and made the finals.

Although they didn't place for one of the cash prizes, I was completely unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of seeing my kids on stage playing to a sold out show. It blew my mind to see my daughter perform with such confidence and poise. Playing up a whole age group, my son rocked it hard and played better than some of the boys who were four years older than him.

There is no way I would have had the guts to do anything like that at their age, let alone now. Rock on - your mom is so very proud! \m/ \m/

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Party

Last night we were at Husband's holiday work party. I got a quick glimpse of a short, Asian man wearing a white jacket and sporting some impressive sideburns near the bar.

I thought he was an Elvis impersonator and excitedly thought, "This party is about to get interesting!" Turned out he was one of the waiters.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paradigm Shift

While I was waiting at an intersection mid-day, I watched a grade school-aged girl ride her bike through the crosswalk with her dad.

As my eyes followed her across the street, I wondered if she was home-schooled,  maybe - since it was the middle of the afternoon on a school day. In the lovely notion I've held, I imagine that all home-schooled children spend their days happily baking cookies beside their mothers, while learning fractions as they measure out chocolate morsels.

She must have felt my eyes watching her, because then she stuck her tongue out at me. And I was all, WTF?! OH. NO. YOU. DIDN'T!

Monday, October 17, 2011


I got my first pair of glasses when I was 10-years old. I remember driving home and noticing that trees had individual leaves. The novelty was short lived. I was embarrassed and hated wearing them. I thought they made me look ugly and I was forever 'forgetting' them at home.
The truth was that I needed them terribly and couldn't see anything without them. If my teacher wrote something on the board to copy, I would look at the person writing across from me. Outright copying was out of the question - my vision was too bad for that, so I would carefully watch the way the top of their pencil moved as they formed letters. It would have been easier to just wear glasses for the amount of trouble I went through, but there was no convincing me otherwise.

Each of the students in my class had a job or responsibility. Through a cruel twist of fate, I ended up being the projector monitor. My job was to set up the projector for any movies or slides that the class watched. While I silently cried at the back of the room, I remember the kids yelling, "Focus! Focus!" and the teacher gently asking me if I truly could not see well enough to focus the projector. After that, the jig was up and I wore my glasses during class.

At 13-years old, I got contact lenses. This was a huge boost to my confidence and I was thrilled to get them. The compromise was that I had to wear gas-permeable, or hard, contact lenses since I was so young and my eyes were still developing. As I got older, my friends who wore soft contact lenses struggled with eye infections and torn lenses. I decided it wasn't worth the hassle of switching and stayed with hard contact lenses, which I still wear to this day. Recently, when I tried to make an appointment with my optometrist, I was disappointed to learn that he no longer saw gas permeable patients and I was referred to a different eye doctor.

After a having my eyes dialated and a thorough exam, I was sent into the office to pick out a new pair of frames; the only problem was that I couldn't see anything. I ended up selecting a pair that I thought only contained a small jewel on the side of the frames.
Once my vision returned to normal, I realized that my frames had many jewels within a decorative square with designer initials stamped on it. They are completely heinous and nothing I would have picked with undilated vision. They remind me of something after it's been decorated by a girl with one of those kits where you accent everything you own with sequins and jewels.

When the light catches the frames just right in the evening, Husband will softly whisper, "Bedazzled..."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fish Bait

There is a fashion trend over the last year that has gained huge momentum. It involves having a dyed feather beaded into your hair. Although it's popular among women, Stephen Tyler was sporting a few on American Idol.

Last week, I saw a woman in her late 60's with not only feathers, but jewels and tinsel as well. A little hair accessorizing goes a long way. My thought was how ridiculous she looked - like a fishing lure gone wrong.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just Like The Big Dogs Do

For my 40th birthday, I received a homemade card with a beautiful illustration of a chocolate lab from Girl. Our 14-year old chocolate lab died several years before, and everyone in my family was ready for another dog - except me. My fate was pretty much sealed.

Husband adores big dogs and males are typically bigger than females, so that's what he wanted. Girl and Boy wanted a puppy instead of an older dog. When we went to look at a litter, everyone was set on one of the two puppies in particular - the hyper, assertive pup that bowled Boy over and untied my shoelaces with his needle teeth. I'm no dog whisperer but an outgoing, confident pup quickly turns into a ninety-pound, leg-humping maniac.

I asserted that since this was my gift, I would have the final decision. I chose the other puppy that was friendly but a little quieter, with beautiful dark brown fur. I worried about having a male dog for several reasons - I was afraid of a male dog picking fights with other dogs and the constant marking on bushes and trees seemed like a total drag. I needn't have worried, though; Puppy had the sweetest nature without an aggressive bone in his body.

We have trained our dogs to pee and poop in one area of the backyard. It was a brilliant stroke on my part; it keeps the lawn nice and there are no bombs in the grass the step on. Once trained, however, Puppy would only potty there. We'd come back from a walk and he'd race to the side of the house to relieve himself.

We enrolled him into a puppy class for socialization and to learn basic obedience skills. From there, we progressed to an intermediate class that focused on heeling, sit and down stay and good manners. I asked the instructor why it was that Puppy had a 'shy' bladder and would only go at home. She said that dogs pee on things to mark their territory, and explained that Puppy was afraid to stake claim in someone else's area - just in case the dog was waiting around the corner to jump him. It took a year before Puppy would pee during walk. He'd cautiously squat and make a quick pee if he really, really had to go. As he got more confident, he would even poop.

Next month, Puppy will be three-years old. This whole time he's squatted to pee, like a girl dog - until today. Puppy lifted his back leg to pee just like the big dogs do - even though he was a little wobbily trying to balance on three legs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Sleepover

Babydoll: Did you have fun at your sleepover? Did you remember to use good manners?

Boy: I totally had good manners! I ate with my mouth closed and everything.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You Want Me To What?!

My last post got me thinking about the times I've made the similar error of switching the first letter of two words. My nephew's Parry Hotter, for Harry Potter, is an example. It turns out there is an honest-to-God term for this: it's called a spoonerism, also known as a marrowski. I usually do this with the names of a couple or siblings. It causes an interesting reaction every time I've done it, and I always come off sounding like an idiot.

My most embarrassing incident was when I was leaving a voice mail at a spa, requesting a waxing service. I was mid-message when I committed a spoonerism, asking for an appointment to 'brax my wows'. Startled by my mistake, I started punching the # and * keys, hoping that the voice mail would allow me to re-record my message.

No such luck. My only choice was to pretend it didn't happen, so I resorted to starting over in the middle of my own message, supplying my own beep! and my intended message asking for a brow wax.

When the aesthetician returned my call, she had a little laugh about it - but I know she secretly thinks I'm a nut job. It's all good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scared, Potter? You wish!

We recently went camping with my SIL and her husband's family. It was a beautiful woodland site next to a creek that was so picturesque that I half expected to see gnomes or fairies along the trails.

My youngest nephew is almost five-years old. He has the sweetest way of talking in that he drops R's from words - which makes him sound like he was raised in the toughest area of the Bronx, rather than Southern California.

When invited to play badminton, he asked if we were going to use "bodies". After a clarification, we realized he was saying birdies. Nephew laughed and said, "Not bodies! I said bodies..." with no discernible difference in the pronunciation between the two words.

The highlight was when Nephew referred to Harry Potter as Parry Hotter. Kids are cool like that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I've never been a huge fan of massage, for a host of reasons - but mainly, it feels just too private and personal to have someone that isn't my husband rubbing my naked body down with oil.

A hand or foot massage, particularly if they are paired with a manicure/pedicure, is more my comfort level. But this has its draw back as well, because my feet are crazy ticklish. Recently I had told this to a manicurist, who assured me that it was only because the pumice stone hadn't been used properly or firmly enough.

I replied that was that was all well and good - until I kicked him in the face. He was deeply offended by this remark, but I noticed he remained a good arm's length away from my feet for the rest of the pedicure.

On a different visit to the nail salon, I was wearing my favorite ring: a pink and white enamel Hello Kitty ring with a rhinestone bow. The women fawned over my ring, one of them asking if I had more of the same ring available for purchase. Sadly, I did not. That was when my manicurist laid her hand on my arm and confided, very seriously, "Hello Kitty, she is a good listener."

I've recounted this story many, many times - and find it just as funny now as I did then. Call me crazy, but maybe Hello Kitty is a good listener because she has no mouth? Just a thought.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Every June, our town celebrates the summer solstice with a parade that draws a crowd of approximately 75,000 people. I've always considered it a Southern California version of Mardi Gras, and it's one of my favorite events.

The parade coincides with a huge block party on our street, that includes a bounce house, beer garden, a smaller version of the parade along our street, talent show and DJ. This year, we had a party and invited many friends to come watch the debut of Girl and Boy's band in the block party talent show. This is a photo of two of my favorite people, who had participated in the parade downtown earlier in the day dressed as zebras. Excellent lips!

The theme for the parade changes every year, and one year my best friend and I decided to enter the parade. The theme was Circus, so naturally we decided on a flea circus as our entry. We created a miniature float that included a tight rope, trapeze and a ring of fire. We'd rehearsed our trapeze act that was both clever and a thing of beauty to witness. Her husband agreed to be our 'barker' and carry a megaphone, calling out the stunts that we fleas were about to perform, and Girl would be a butterfly in our show. She was 6-years old at the time.

The day before the parade, my best girl called in tears. She'd been sick earlier in the week and instead of getting better, she'd gotten worse. There was no way she'd be able to participate.

Instead of cancelling our entry, her husband stepped up and became the integral part of the act. He constructed a giant magnifying glass to 'wave' over the mini float to give the illusion that the flea circus was coming to life. He also made a megaphone and got totally into his role and shaved his head - just for the event. We'd made a 'ring of fire' out of a hula hoop and the colorful, curly shavings that come from shaping a skateboard wheel, and used a jump rope to represent the tight rope.

It took almost two hours to make our way up a dozen blocks, stopping every 25 feet to 'perform' for the crowd. Barker would call out one of two death-defying acts, Ring of Fire or Tight Rope - and I would complete each to the roar of the crowd.

Gentle readers, can I just tell you that this was far and away one if the best (and most physically demanding) times I've ever had? From one of the very first 'stunts', I took off flat out running and twisted my ankle. It was very hot that day, and mid-parade was a helpful Samaritan that was spraying parade participants down in an effort to cool us off. Barker got a full blast of water in the face and all the sunscreen on his freshly-shaven head poured into his eyes, blinding him for the next three blocks.

We were both ruined for days afterward, but it was well the effort - and it solidified my deep and profound love for Barker.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I have never met my biological father. For the most part, I am okay with this although that was not always the case. When I was around 6 months old, my mom got married. The marriage only lasted a few years, but her ex-husband decided that he wanted to legally adopt me as his daughter.

My mom tells me that this was one of the first adoptions of it's kind in California - and that the judge was hesitant to let it go through. They obtained permission from my biological father - although he denied that I was his daughter, and viola! I got a real dad.

I flew by myself, beginning when I was 6-years old, one week of each summer to visit my dad. We were virtual strangers and I often wondered why he'd bothered to adopt me at all. He'd call me at Christmas and on my birthday, and each year he would ask me how old I was. As I got older, I dreaded the summertime visits. He spent much of that time working, so I'd either stay at his apartment watching television alone or come with him while he visited clients.

After one of my summertime visits, I'd been home for a week when an envelope arrived from him. I never received mail from my dad, so I was thrilled to open it. I remember thinking that this was the beginning of him making an effort to establish a better relationship with me. I opened up the envelope to find a sock that I'd left in his apartment during my visit, with no note or anything. My disappointment was palpable.

My dad married his forth wife shortly after I got married in 1990. His wife had three children of her own and she was excited to meet me. Family meant everything to her, and it was because of her encouragement that we began to establish a better relationship.

I talk to my dad almost weekly, depending on how busy he is - he typically does most of the calling. As adults, our relationship has flourished to more than I'd hoped for. It may not be the Hallmark father-daughter bond that I imagined, but I am grateful for his thoughtfulness and his love.

Happy Father's Day, Daddio. Much love to you today and always.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Babydoll!

Today is my birthday. Babydoll is forty-three gentle years old.

The link is to a video of the band, Cracker. The only logic to this link is that it's a) a happy birthday song, and b) a friend's cousin used to be married to Johnny Hickman, who Husband and I met once at a party over 15 years ago. If that isn't 7 degrees of separation, then I don't know what else to tell you.

Monday, June 13, 2011


We live in a totally cool neighborhood. It's the kind of block where the kids can safely ride their bikes in the street, and everyone knows each other.

On Summer Solstice, which coincides with a huge parade in our town, the 'mayor' of our our neighborhood (elected during the progressive holiday dinner party) gets a permit and closes the street to traffic for a huge block party. There are inflatable slides and bounce houses, face painting and parachute games, a talent show, a beer garden, and a DJ. It's a highlight of our summer.

It's our own little nirvana except for one thing; I hate our next door neighbors. In the 13 years we've lived here, they've had more tenants that I can count. At some point, they had several bunk beds set up to accommodate a revolving door of exchange students until someone reported them (not me, although I was sorely tempted).

Their house is a complete eyesore. The roof has needed replacing the entire time we've lived next door to them - so tarps and sandbags cover their garage. The trees are so overgrown that they can barely pull one car into a driveway that could easily park three of their five cars plus a motorcycle. They refer to their landscaping as an 'edible' environment: avocados, bananas, guavas, oranges, lemons, blackberries, apples, almonds, persimmons and grapes. And because of all the fruit, they have a total rat infestation. This spring alone, our cats have caught a dozen rats and a half dozen gophers from their yard.

I half-seriously unveiled an elaborate plan to Husband - which involved freezing rat carcasses to bring out for the next occasion our neighbor complains to us about petty bullshit.

Husband replied to my rant with, "Alright, Jeffrey Dahmer."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bring Out The Gimp

Three summers ago, my husband's brother and his wife and kids flew out to California and we all stayed in a condo at Mammoth Lakes. On one of our last days there, we took a drive to visit an old mining town called Benton. We were sorely disappointed.

If we blinked, we would have missed it. After 40 minutes of driving, we came upon the one street town of Benton, population 8.5. (I'm still scratching my head over that. Half a person? Maybe a woman who was pregnant got partial credit?) There was a residence, a few buffalo in a corral, a historic house that was closed for the season, and a small bed and breakfast. The bed and breakfast was called Benton Hot Springs, which encouraged us to "come watch the stars, hear the nature, and soak in our soothing waters. Come relax and rejuvenate, again and again in these historic hot tubs."

Boy had to pee, so we went into the B & B to ask to use their bathroom. Stepping inside, it was like being transported back in time. Instead of a traditional hotel lobby, the entry was a faux living room and dining area filled with antiques and china. The dining table had place setting of china at each chair and a bowl of plastic fruit in the center of the table.

In the next room was a woman standing behind a glass display case, which contained even more antiques and a sleeping cat.

BABYDOLL: "Do you have a restroom that my son could use?"

WOMAN: "Are you with that big group outside?"


WOMAN: "Well, we have bathrooms - but they are for guests. We don't have public restrooms here. If you want to pay $10 per person to use the hot springs, then you'd be welcome to use the facilities, but this is a business. You wouldn't go into Motel 6 and ask to use their bathroom, right?"

BABYDOLL: "Uh...I guess we'll try somewhere else."

As we walked out of the 'lobby', a small end table by the doorway caught my eye. Displayed carefully on a crocheted doily were a half-dozen silver boxes in several sizes, suitable for holding cigarettes or calling cards. I had the impulse to grab the cigarette boxes and steal them out of spite.

When I told Husband about what transpired and how I'd considered snitching a few of the antique silver boxes, he slowly shook his head and replied, "You never know what could happen if you're caught stealing in a small town like this. It'd be like that scene in Pulp Fiction, where the next thing you know you're tied up in the basement with a harness strapped to your face and a ball shoved in your mouth..."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rise Up, Gather 'Round

Girl has her promotion ceremony from junior to senior high this week. We've shopped for a dress and shoes, and she has plans to get a pedicure with several friends the day before her event. From my perspective, it seems like she's enjoyed her 7th and 8th grade school years. Sadly, some of my worst school memories took place when I was in junior high.

The 7th grade began with vivid memories of how awful PE was. Itchy polyester gym shorts and the embarrassing scoliosis screening made up the start of the school year, where all the girls lined up and took off their shirts. A late bloomer, I was still four years away from puberty and didn't own a bra or undershirt; I was the only girl standing there naked from the waist up. Thankfully, it was only girls but the PE teacher made me tie a sweatshirt across my chest for 'modesty' - which was almost worse than standing there without a shirt.

This was the same PE teacher that called me out during attendance for wearing a dirty sweatshirt by asking, "Is that a favorite, hon? Won't let Mom wash it?" The sleeves of my sweatshirt were grey with dirt, but I looked at her like she was insane. My sweatshirt was dirty because we didn't own a washer or dryer and I couldn't be bothered to wash it. Collecting enough coins, hauling all our clothes and losing a whole afternoon at Wash 'n Fun made the task seem insurmountable. The way I looked at it, I was lucky to wear clean underwear daily. A dirty sweatshirt was the least of my worries.

Although my grooming and hygiene were considerably better by the 8th grade, my judgement was not. I decided to take it upon myself to fight someone else's battle by slipping a threatening note in a girl's locker who was giving a friend a hard time. The letter described how I would 'kick her ass' and that she'd 'better watch out and leave so-and-so alone'. Although I was questioned about the letter, I denied that I had any involvement. This set in motion a chain of events that was only the beginning of the bad decisions I would make over the next three years.

By the time I was 16-years old, I was certain that I wouldn't live to see eighteen. The saddest part about that was that I didn't particularly care. My theme song was Def Leppard's Pyromania, "It's better to burn out, then fade away..."

Obviously, I survived my 18th birthday (and then some) in large part due to the amazing foresight of my sophomore health teacher. He'd invited a panel of speakers to talk about alcoholism and their recovery, and it was perfect timing. By that summer, I cleaned up and have been sober since.

A few summers ago, this same teacher was the guest of honor at a party where I celebrated 25-years of sobriety. If someone would have told me when I was sixteen that I'd one day become a stay-at-home parent, and sell Girl Scout cookies with my daughter in front of Ralph's on a Friday afternoon - my head would have burst into flames. All of this is to say that I feel gratitude for those tumultuous times because I appreciate the goodness in my life that much more. Schmaltzy, but true.

Congratulations, Girl. I am so very proud of you and all you've accomplished. Keep going and growing.

All my love,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

This One Is For My Mom

I am an only child from a single-parent household, and when I was growing up money was very tight. There were several years where my mom and I lived in a one bedroom apartment. My mom gave me the bedroom and slept on a fold-out couch in the living room. While it was just what we did at the time, I realize it came at the expense of my mom's own privacy. She told me that it was important that I had my own space.

Even though my mom loved cream in her coffee, she only used milk. At thirty cents more per ounce than regular milk, a pint was an extravagance we couldn't afford.

This was the beginning of an annual gift that lasted until I was in my teens. I would buy her a pint of half & half, wrap it in Christmas paper and keep her 'gift' in the refrigerator until it was time to open presents. It brought me great pleasure, and took several years for me to realize that once was a 'surprise' and any more than that was a tradition.

When I was old enough to realize how poor we actually were, I was embarrassed by how little we had. It took me many years to realize the gift in all of this. Despite not having enough money to justify spending a couple dollars on cream for coffee, we had all that we needed.

Thanks for being such a good sport, Mom. I love you always. Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Super Power

One of my mom's former co-workers had a shoe fetish. She spent much money and time in support of this passion, and was teased for her extravagant collection of shoes.

During a visit to my mom's office, without looking at our feet she was able to recall exactly what style shoe each of us were wearing. Needless to say, I was impressed with this ability.

My own gift is a unique one: I can tell by looking at a person's hands if they've ever had warts (and only on their hands; my special clairvoyance works above the waist). It's nothing noteworthy like finding a cure for cancer or ending world hunger, but it's my strange little contribution to the world.

I admitted this superpower to a group of friends during a dinner party, and ended up being called out on this unusual ability. Everyone placed their hands on the table and I went around the circle and accurately identified the two people out of the group that had ever gotten a wart.

What's your superpower, Internet?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race Day Effort

Growing up, I never participated in organized sports. Many of my friends were busy in club sports; playing soccer, basketball, or tennis. I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm over chasing a ball. It wasn't until my mid-20's that I got a gym membership and started exercising regularly. It quickly became a passion.

After I had our second child, the gym was a total bust. Boy had no interest in being in childcare with all those strangers and I finally had to surrender our membership. And it's not like I didn't try, either: we would go to the gym to 'play' in the childcare together, stay for 15 minutes and go home. I would leave him for 10 minutes and come back, thinking I could eventually work up to a regular, more appropriate length of time - but Boy wasn't having it. After being paged with Boy's screams in the background over the PA for all the gym to hear over a dozen visits - it just sort of killed it for me.

We received a baby jogger as a gift when Girl was an infant, and I'd never used it much. One of my neighbors also had a baby, and she encouraged me to go for a run with her. I had never been into running; I couldn't seem to get a rhythm with my breath. It was always miserable.

But necessity is the mother of invention and I was desperate, so I kept with it. I ran for a full year before it felt good and was something that I looked forward to. I have heard you could get 'high' from running, and I'd long since given up getting high in the usual ways - so I thought it would be worth a try. I progressed to running 5k's and then eventually ran my first marathon 5 years ago. If one mile is good - then 26.2 is better, right?

So, this Thursday I leave for New York to run a half marathon with my SIL. Flying 2,400 miles to run 13 miles seems crazy, but somehow the math works. Wish me luck, Internet!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tastes Like Chicken

There was a thread recently in one of the blogs that I follow, where readers discussed the virtues of keeping a backyard chicken coop.

Three families that we know have them. They all boast the benefits of keeping chickens. The most obvious is fresh eggs, of course, but other benefits include pest management (think insects and lizards), good fertilizer from their droppings, plus the novelty of having a chicken as a pet.

The downside is that they destroy your yard; plants picked down to nubs, all the grass scratched away to bare dirt, and they will eat anything. This was confirmed by our friend who was barbecuing recently. After repeatedly shooing them away, he eventually had to herd their three chickens back into the coop for their own safety because the chickens kept trying to hop on the grill to steal food.

I asked him what he was cooking and he replied, "Chicken. And not even one of ours! Although with the way they were trying to get at the grill, it very well could have been..."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Go For It

A few weekends ago, I ran a 5k race locally. It began with a hill up the walkway along the beach, and then remained a steady incline until the turnaround.

This race in particular was popular with kids. Good for them, right? But I can tell you that there is nothing more humbling than being passed by an 8-year old.

I struggled a little the first mile and had to fight an impulse to walk. By the turnaround, I had worked it out and ran comfortably hard. For the final stretch of the race, I made my move and ran all out. This was also the time that my iPod slipped from my waistband and fell down inside my running capris. I had no choice but to let it go. So, yes - that was me: the girl crossing the finish line with her hand digging around the crotch of her pants.

I ran an 8.30 minute mile and got to third base with myself.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


In October, I came across a big teddy bear at Costco. Measuring 53", it is one of the largest stuffed animals that I've ever seen. And being Costco, they often have items that appear and then are never ordered again. In anticipation of having one of the best and most stellar Christmas gifts ever and a steal for $28, I purchased it for Girl.
What I didn't consider was where I was going to stash such a giant toy without my kids discovering it for two months. I asked my BFF and her hubby if they'd be willing to keep it for me until the holidays, and they agreed.
On Christmas Eve, I made arrangements to pick up the bear from The Kent, who works in an office building over the mall. Walking through the mall with a stuffed animal the length of my own body was a spectacle. One woman remarked, "Oh my goodness! I bet that bear is bigger than the child receiving it..."
What I didn't know is that after two months, the bear had become a fixture in my friend's home: sharing the bed with guests, making friends and commuting to work. Stories were told of conversations and preferences. He was also named. Internet, meet Russell: