Tag Archives: Recreation

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

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A vision in periwinkle, her sidekick in blue

Formal photos have never been my idea of fun. Having to smile for a photographer telling me to say inane things like “Dad has stinky feet” only make me cringe. Next to me, my husband is wincing, his irritation obvious.

The result? Fake smiles.

But it was inevitable that the church directory would once again rear its ugly head. We’d suggested to my mom that the three of us have our photo taken together. That was really the best part of it. Well, that and the conversations that ensued while waiting for the shoot to begin.

Some of my favorite people were there, some coordinating the session, others waiting for their own photo.

One of them sat quietly in her wheelchair, waiting to be photographed with her husband. She was a white-haired vision in periwinkle. Long ago, Mary and I had worked together when she and her husband were trusted volunteers at the nonprofit retail store that I managed. Mary’s personal mix of kindness and humor made even my worst days manageable.

Sitting there in her wheelchair, looking down, she seemed not to sense the others around her, so I bent over, hugged her and told her she was as beautiful as ever. She looked up at me, smiled slightly and then I saw it. That twinkle in her eye. It was still there. Relief flooded my mind. She might not talk much, but she could still communicate with her eyes.

If she could sit through a canned photo session, then by golly, so could I. As Mary and her husband entered the temporary photo studio, I wondered how she would react to the photographer’s antics. Would she be willing to look at him? Would she understand his directions?

The protective part of me wanted to run in there and fill him in on her history…that she’d once been a music teacher. That she had a beautiful singing voice. That — even after years of marriage — she still laughed at her husband’s crazy jokes. That she wasn’t just a woman in a wheelchair. He needed to understand that this wasn’t just anyone and he needed to can his goofy phrases and instead give her the royal treatment that she so deserved.

But I didn’t say a word. I was pretty sure Mary didn’t need my help. After all, she had her Claude. And more than anyone, he would know how to engage her in their photo session. He probably whispered one of his silly jokes in her ear.

She in her periwinkle, he in his blue shirt…I’ll bet it turns out to be the perfect photo.

 

 

 

Four-legged creature leaves trail of unstuffed toys

It is true that time dulls the memory. Once the kids leave home for college, we quickly forget the shoes strewn around the house, the backpacks covering the couch, iPods plugged into various outlets, and the Lego piles left in a corner. Well, the Lego sets really disappeared much earlier than the shoes, backpacks and iPods, but you get the picture.

A few months later they pop in for Thanksgiving break and new items appear in random piles around the house, only to disappear a few days later when off their owners head off again. Eventually, they move on to their own homes and somewhere along the way, learn to deal with their own piles of stuff.

What I didn’t realize was that a 15-pound four-legged creature can manage to make more of a ruckus that two teenagers can. Most days I return from work and pick my way carefully through what looks like a war zone.

The first clue is a path of bits of stuffing that, when followed, lead one to the little mutt’s favorite half-stuffed (or is half-unstuffed), one-legged lavendar bear. Although, at this stage, what was once a bear resembles not much more than a mostly chewed-up piece of fabric.

Nearby is the missing leg, which has oddly become a favorite toy of the aforementioned mutt, more formally known as Ike, the mini Schnauzer.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, here is a photo lineup of the ravaged toys….all leading to the furry culprit, digging through his toy box for yet another well-chewed favorite.

Welcome to our zoo, part two

Late Friday afternoon, an energetic Havanese entered our lives with the force akin to a full-blown blizzard. My first hint at how the weekend might play out came when Ike bolted to the front door, sniffing along the doorjamb, whimpering only slightly.

Much to his surprise, the door opened and a white ball of fluff barreled into the living room, skidded across the oak floor and slammed into Ike. The moment he was off his leash, the two dogs were racing through the house. Watson barely stopped long enough to acknowledge his owners’ goodbyes.

Ike thinks he's hiding

This went on for the next three hours, with periodic time-outs to catch their collective breaths. In the meantime, the hubs and I vacillated between laughing uproariously to feeble attempts at creating order.

 

We finally gave up. At about 9 p.m., the Havanese was relegated to his crate in the basement and the Schnauzer collapsed at my feet, happily snoring within seconds.

This morning, Ike slept in like a teenager. Obviously, he was storing up energy for another day at the races. Fred finally dragged him from slumberland and took him out to perform his morning ablutions. When they returned, we fetched Watson from his crate and sent him out for his turn about the block.

Back in the house and they were back at it, running in circles, stopping only long enough for a gulp of water or to snitch a kibble.

For the moment, things are quiet. Ike has crashed in his favorite spot on our bed near the window…ever on guard for the next squirrel. Watson is downstairs — not sure he wants to navigate the steps.

I’ll say one thing for this dogsitting business. It has cured me of my urge to get a second Schnauzer to keep Ike happy. We’ll just borrow Watson.

Ironically, last night when my husband asked how big Watson will get, I told him that he’s already full-grown.  Besides, he’s mostly fur. This morning, Fred told me about the dream he’d had last night.

Turns out Watson arrived with a tag that read: This dog will grow to 2,000 to 3,ooo pounds.

In the dream, he’d said to me, “See, I told you so.”

 

 

 

Bring on the Girl Scout cookies….please?

Somewhere in our attic is a dark green Girl Scout sash, but since it belongs to daughter number 1, it’s been packed away carefully in her recently reorganized “corner” and I’ve been ordered NOT to mess it up.

But a quick search through my husband’s box of family “heirlooms”, I located an old green Girl Scout dress that belonged either to his sister or mom. The label reads “Girl Scouts Trademark Official Uniform”.

Last night I mentioned to my husband that no Girl Scout had been by to take my annual cookie order. He just laughed. Somehow I’d missed the change in cookie selling — apparently Scouts can no longer go door to door. Okay, the sensible mom part of my brain realizes that this is a good move toward safer selling.

The nostalgic Girl Scout child in me finds this incredibly sad. My best friend, Karen Kreider, and I spent years happily competing with each other to see who could sell the most. We had our routine down. As daughters of college professors, we had direct access to the womens’ dorms on campus.

The day we got our order forms, we headed to the dorms, where we’d walk up and down the halls. The students were happy to help fill our forms. In fact, often they’d check with boyfriends to get their orders, too. One of us usually had a cousin on campus who helped spread the word that we were on the rampage.

I forget how many boxes we sold, but probably not much more than 150 each in a good year. That might be an exaggeration. Of course, our relatives would help to pad the order. I was lucky. As the only girl with four older brothers, I had no competition within my family and my older brothers were always eager to order. Karen, on the other hand, was one of four girls in a family of five children so had to deal with two older sisters who were also Scouts.

Although my mom always ordered a lot of cookies, I had to order a few boxes of my own so I wouldn’t always have to share with my brothers. To this day, my favorite is the Trefoil — odd since I have a chocolate fetish.

Ordering back then was a lot easier, with only three or four versions to choose from. Even that was a big change from the original options. Back in the 192os and 30s, Scouts baked their own cookies. In the latter 30s, the Scouting organization licensed commercial bakers to produce the cookies.

By the time our girls were in Scouts (my husband and I were both leaders)  cookie ordering and selling had become a family affair. The girls wouldn’t let us off easy, so we found that it helped to have a big freezer.

Early in my newspaper career, I was the food editor, which meant that the local Girl Scout council would deliver a large box of cookies to my “office.” If you’ve haven’t been in a newsroom when Girl Scout cookies are delivered, just imagine vultures preying on some poor fallen animal. It isn’t pretty.

So now…here we are…no more Scouts in the family and no more freebies thanks to media connections. Luckily, I just remembered that the niece of daughter number one’s significant other is a Scout and she’s just around the corner. Proof again that living in a small town is not without its perks.