Tag Archives: children

Hopscotch — alive and well in 2013

Remember hopscotch? Guess what? It’s still alive and well….at least in our neighborhood. Yesterday we had one of those glorious early spring days that just begs for playing outside in shorts.

Anyway, with temps in the mid-60s, my two favorite next-door neighbor kidlets were busily designing their own hopscotch board on the front sidewalk. I bet them that they couldn’t extend it beyond their property line all the way to our driveway.

The almost-6-year old (he made sure I knew exactly the date on which he turns 6) was drawing the squares and numbering them under his 8-year-old sister’s giggling directions. 2013-03-10 14.23.41

When I asked if I could test it, they looked at me in that dubious way that only children can. After all, in their minds, I’m OLD. My children are MUCH OLDER than them….so old they barely remember them. But being the cheerful kids that they are, they allowed me to take a test hop. 2013-03-10 14.23.532013-03-10 14.23.38

When I reached the final squares, I heard Xavier breathe a sigh of relief. He grinned. “I thought you were going to fall.” Ali giggled. Ahhh, the forthrightness of youth.
He then proceeded to show me the rock they intended to use for their game. Apparently, their version involved throwing the rock on a distant square. If it fell in a square, they could take a turn. Okay, so this is not the version I remember. So what? Are games not designed to be played with whatever rules one chooses to assign?

This is the joy of being a child and having plain old fun on a beautiful sunny afternoon in Ohio. And what better way to do this than by dressing for fun?2013-03-10 14.24.59

On talking trees, fighting crowds and virtual Christmas shopping

Somewhere along the way, my attitude toward Christmas shopping changed…somewhere between Dr. Barbie and one of those toys for which we forgot to buy batteries…and which we remembered in the wee hours of Christmas day. In fact, during a recent stop at a mall, after just 10 minutes, I began to get the heebie-jeebies. My skin started to tingle. Had to get out. Fast.

It used to be so much fun…fighting the crowds in Toys ‘R Us and deciding exactly which set of Legos we should add to the burgeoning collection. Checking off that last item on “THE LIST” was so satisfying. But then one year, it was no longer “fun”. It was just a challenge…a headache that didn’t want to go away. Add to that those years of working retail when the last-minute shoppers would show up 10 minutes before closing time on Christmas Eve, and, well… you get the picture. My dad, with whom I managed a store for several years, once told me that his Black Friday was actually Black Christmas Eve.

Which reminds me. What is this insanity of  shopping at 4 a.m. on Black Friday? Daughter number 2 volunteers to work the early shift on Black Friday. She’s still young enough to think it’s fun to watch people scramble around for the best bargain. Of course, she’s also learned to stand back from the front doors when they open at 7 a.m.

My own Christmas gifting plan changed with the increasing availability of Internet shopping. Choosing gifts became ever so much easier, and it actually became fun again. No more standing in lines. No more feeling as if I was about to faint from hunger because there was no time to eat. Now I can eat while I shop. Multi-tasking at its most efficient. And returns? Easy.

The only problem with Internet shopping is that if you don’t plan right, you can get stuck empty-handed. This happened about 10 years ago, when daughter number 1 had her heart set on a specific wool sweater from J Crew. Ordered it, but dang, if that thing didn’t arrive. I had to wrap the picture. She was very gracious about it. Lucky for me, shortly after noon on Christmas day, the doorbell rang. There was our favorite now-ex-postmaster with a big ‘ol box in his hands. Luckily, he’d seen it come in at the last minute and dropped it off on his way home.

So with Christmas just…gulp…two weeks away, I’ll admit there is one thing I miss  — shopping on Christmas Eve in a busy mall. Okay, I realize this flies in the face of everything I’ve just said, so I should clarify. Actually, I guess it would be “not shopping”. We used to go to people watch on Christmas Eve, back when the Lima Mall still had the fountain in the center, back when Lazarus (now Macy’s) had the talking tree.

Who remembers this?We’d stop at the tree and let the girls chat for awhile. Then we’d head to the fountain, where we’d sit and snicker at the loonies rushing from store to store, looking for the last-minute “perfect” gift. Now, the tree and the fountain are gone and it’s just no fun to stand against the wall to watch.

Anyone know of any good Christmas Eve-shopping-people-watching sites on the Internet? Grab a cup of hot tea, a comfy chair, and enjoy the madness.