Category Archives: Think About It

Three Possibly Great Ideas for Children’s Stories

Welcome, everyone.

It’s the day after the 2020 election here in the United States and as is par for the course with EVERYTHING this year, nobody has any clue what’s forthcoming. Surely nothing as trivial as a mighty flood or locust invasion. Come on. Be serious. We’re in the big leagues now. 

I will say that it is a feat beyond measure for me to wrap my head around the fact that a large swath of the American population is at peace with having a narcissistic hate monger at the wheel of their bus. 

Now, to be fair, I’ve been in the company of more than a few hateful bus drivers hell bent on getting up on two wheels right out of the stop while I’m walking back to my seat. The difference is, their busses aren’t metaphorical. And I sure as hell wouldn’t choose any of them to usher me through four years of public transportation… which, incidentally, is very much what this last presidency has felt like. Four interminable years of perpetually riding on public transportation. 


Truth is, I don’t wish to further occupy my mind with such drivel. So today, I decided instead to engage my mind with more creative endeavors. As such, I’ve come up with some potential ideas for children’s stories. After all, those little rapscallions are our future. 

Right now, three of those ideas are in the lead. So join me on this special journey through my imagination to escape the uncertainty of the election. You won’t need anything except maybe galoshes, some cash, and a some hanging chads. Just in case. 

1. Blankets for Billy

Young Billy lives with his mother, father, and little sister, Casey. Billy has the perfect family. His father tucks him in every night and his mother reads him wonderful stories about beautiful falling leaves and canaries in trees. He even has the perfect relationship with Casey – whom he never teases by pulling her hair, telling her she was adopted, or making up false stories about their parents dying. The family’s love is all-consuming and abiding – despite the fact that they are terribly poor and live in a refrigerator box. In an alley. In Anchorage, Alaska. One day just before Christmas, a great big jolly man comes to the front door of the refrigerator box and gives each member of the family a brand new blanket. Billy and Casey, in their sweet innocence, are certain the man is Santa in street clothes. The man is actually a developer who wants to get rid of Billy’s family though. And when they all die one month later from smallpox (from the blankets), “street-clothes Santa” rejoices. The end. 

(Note: If it isn’t apparent, there is a clear parallel in this story to how the colonists treated the Native Americans way back in the olden days. It’s obvious that this story could be tremendously valuable in teaching children about American history, capitalism, and viruses – as well as how truly interchangeable they all are.)

2. Why Plants Are Green

The basic premise is – “Because of chlorophyll. Duh.” 

(Note: I admittedly haven’t fleshed this one out yet. It could be part of a more comprehensive scientific series for challenged learners. But I think we can all agree there’s something really promising here.)

3. The Golden Leaf

Note the beautiful plumage.

In this whimsical tale, a small and beautiful child – let’s make her an orphan – is taken with the beauty of one single golden leaf as it drifts from a tall branch to the earth. She watches it as it bobs and floats as if guided by the most gossamer thread. The leaf is a work of art – absolutely symmetrical and shimmering gold against the impossibly blue sky. The little girl waves at the leaf and smiles. It is perfect. And perfectly sharp and jagged; slashing the throat of a yellow canary perched on a branch and putting an abrupt end to its song. But this delights the little girl. She has not only gained a valuable weapon for safely maneuvering the dark halls of the orphanage, but will have something besides gruel for dinner. She rejoices. The end…

Yes, okay. These may be a tad dark. But hey, I tried.

Keep the hope, y’all. 

Pondering the Future in a Benedryl Stupor… and the Sun

According to a study by the Institute of Incomplete Information, 9 out of 10. That effectively sums up the essence of life right now during this seemingly interminable pandemic. Lies have become facts and facts have become lies. It’s a wholly uncivil war.

Meanwhile, I’m unable to maintain a complete and cohesive thought. And for some reason, I’ve dropped every single cap to a jar or bottle that I’ve handled today. EVERY LAST ONE of them. Did the earth’s gravitational pull suddenly increase? Conspiracy theorists might posit this as the reason. Meanwhile, flat earthers deny gravity altogether. I won’t even venture to discuss the holocaust deniers or the myriad reasons they should be sterilized.

I know it’s not just me though. We’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue. Yeah, it’s a real thing. The reality is, it’s a stressful time for nearly everyone (with the exception of “people” like the Kardashians who can blow $800,000 to rent a private jet and island for a weekend getaway. We really should give those poor folks a tax break.) And when there’s stress, my allergies attack. Of course, the ragweed and cottonwood don’t help. Put the three together and my nose becomes a highly efficient phlegm factory – the operations of which can only be shut down with Benedryl. Unfortunately, it also shuts down my already challenged cognitive operations too.

As such, I’m making a grand effort to forget that next week at this time, we MAY know the results of the election. My gut is telling me that King Baby is on his way out; in very much the same way it twisted into knots before the last election as a harbinger of the four coming years of unimaginable surrealistic chaos and sadness. Going out in the midst of a pandemic he enabled is decidedly apt. So I’m going with that. Poetic justice is long overdue.

But back to today and THIS moment.

My view from my “work space” today.

The sun is out. It’s actually warm enough for me to be working outside at the Ferndale Project. I’m listening to some jazzy bossa nova and drinking a chai tea. That’s at least four things I can add to my gratitude journal later. And I’ll have spaghetti for dinner – as I do every Wednesday. Because I have to have “events” to look forward to each week. And meager as it may sound, spaghetti is one of them.

So yeah, there are positive things that have been born of this pandemic. Besides an increased appreciation for durum wheat products with tomato sauce, I’ve found more mindfulness, a steady meditation practice, and a stronger relationship with my husband, father-in-law, sisters, and a handful of friends with whom I take long walks.

Speaking of walks, the time has come for me to pack up my laptop and my Benedryl stupor and make my way back home. My cats will be there waiting for me. And regardless of what happens in next week’s election, they’ll be there when I return home next Wednesday too.

Right along with a big ole’ plate of spaghetti.

Scenes From a Gratitude Journal

Earlier, I had some highfalutin notion that I’d dash out some brilliance this morning when I was fresh as a daisy. But here it is 5:30pm and I’m about as fresh as a container of yogurt nearing its expiration date. So rather than pull out any more hair (which is already more follicly challenged than it appears), I decided to share some of the items from my daily gratitude journal.

This isn’t me. My gratitude journal isn’t this interesting.

Yeah, that’s right. I keep a daily gratitude journal. Actually, it’s more of a list. I’ve been doing it for nearly two months now and I gotta tell ya, it’s pretty cool. I’ve tried to keep one of these blasted things many times before. But this time it’s sticking. I think because the past six months have forced me to reframe nearly every scene and situation that comes my way so as not to surrender to the impulse to permanently burrow in one of my cats’ heated beds and abandon all efforts at personal hygiene.

Now, I can admit that this whole keeping of a list may be effective in part due to my driving perfectionism that refuses to die. My brain sees seeking gratitude in challenging situations as an assignment for which I strive to get a gold star and a big A+. For example, it’s not uncommon for dialogue like this to take place in my head:

Me: That guy is a first-rate asshole.

Me: Well, can you find something good about him that you could put in your gratitude journal later?

Me: If I kicked him hard in the kneecaps, I’d be grateful to watch him crumble to the ground.

Me: But he’s the president.

Me: I don’t know why I have to keep saying this, but he’s not MY president...

Okay. That’s clearly not the best example. That would be more like a sad face sticker and a big C-. But, as my friend Nolan says, some days a C- is good enough. Frankly, that’s a really good lesson too. All of that aside, I feel I’m doing something proactive by keeping this journal. Even if I have to resist writing the stuff that irritates me to no end.

So without further ado, here are eighteen of the hundreds of items that have made the cut in the past two months. I hope you enjoy.

  1. The musical score from the movie The Color Purple
  2. Trees – everything about them (even when they spit sticky stuff on my car)
  3. Bob’s Burgers (one of the greatest cartoons ever)
  4. Bananas with chocolate sauce
  5. The way some flowers reseed and then show up again next year
  6. Trader Joe’s rice pilaf (I’m willing to pretend I’m not a pescetarian to eat this EVERY week)
  7. My little blue Honda Fit (whose name is Fred)
  8. Iridescence (especially in parking lot oil puddles)
  9. Libraries
  10. George Benson on guitar
  11. Learning new words (crabwise is one of my personal favorites)
  12. Fluoride
  13. That first swift and sweeping movement on my bike as I enter the street from my driveway
  14. The Bomb Burrito from Christine’s Cuisine in Ferndale
  15. The versatility of eggs (they’re incredible and edible)
  16. All of the opportunities I’ve been given (and there have been many)
  17. Kind people
  18. My friends who support my writing (thanks, y’all)

Gratitude rocks. And since I’ve got nothing else to blather on about, I’ll leave you with that.

See ya next week.