Crashing the Party: I Want My Peanut Butter Cups!

I felt like I had been thrown into another dimension this morning when post after post of my favorite bloggers appeared titled “Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.”

I bopped over to the Facebook Group, “We Blog . . . A Blogging Community” and asked “Am I missing something? Why is everybody writing about Peanut Butter Cups today? I feel like I was never let into a secret club.”

Suddenly, I flashed back to Junior High School. Early summer, I am on a bike ride with a friend from my neighborhood. She went to a different school than I did, because I was in the “Gifted program” and had to be shipped off across town. My bike was my only access to speed, as my prowess in athletics included mediocrity in gymnastics and good form swimming the butterfly. So I rode myhand-me-down  yellow 5-speed Schwinn feeling joy and freedom, although I still struggled to keep up with some of the faster riders.

[I’m trying to insert a picture of the actual bike here, but WP is acting up. The bike, after sitting for centuries in my parent’s garage, now waits to be ridden by my daughter. Those bikes were mean to last. How cool is that?]

The ride was going well until I passed a friend’s house, someone who had been my friend forever and who I did go to school with. Suddenly I noticed kids from class hanging around on her lawn, and heard splashing and laughter coming from her back yard. A pool party. A birthday party. And I wasn’t invited.

Brian, the cute boy who I had a crush on, said, “Hi Lisa! Aren’t you coming to the party?”

We rode away quickly, but my anger and sadness grew. I couldn’t understand. I insisted we return, and I rang the doorbell.

Jenni came out, looking rather uncomfortable.

“Thanks for the invite, Jenni,” I said, showing a brazenness I didn’t know I had.

“I didn’t think you would want to come. I thought we were fighting.”

I wracked my brains, search for a fight I couldn’t recall. We had a slight disagreement when she told me she had voted for the popular girl instead of me for Vice President, and gave me some lame excuses. Of course I was upset, but deep down I understood. I knew it was a popularity contest and I didn’t have a chance.

“I wasn’t angry then,” I said. “But now . . . ” I rode away quickly before the tears could embarrass me anymore. [There was probably more conversation, but I’m telling this story so I get to write it my way ;). We did eventually make up]

So here I am, many, many, many years later standing up and claiming my right to join the party! I will not stand salivating by while the cool kids taunt and tantalize me with their decadent depictions of rich milk chocolate merging with creamy peanut butter. Oh no! I hereby claim my Reese’s Peanut Butter cup and the better life that goes with it!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[As I am too lazy to link to all the participants in the secret club, I will link to this fabulous poem by k8edid, and from there you can find your way to the other posts. But be warned! You will soon find yourself grasping the car keys and racing toward the nearest store to buy out their secret stash of chocolate and peanut butter goodness.]

I DIDN’T Hear it On the Bus

Okay, I admit it,  I stole from another blogger. The title is a take of the fabulous series over at Young American Wisdom called “I Heard it on the Bus” .

I braved the bus today, chaperoning four third grade classes on a field trip to the Pequot Museum about 1 1/2 hours away. The museum was fascinating, including a village set with figures to learn all about Native American life. I was only allowed to take pictures in the Gathering Place, but here are a few:

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I did hear a few interesting tidbits, like the boy who told me that his great-great-great-great grandfather is still alive and kicking at something like 16o + years old, or the girl who told me that her great-great grandfather was on the Mayflower. (I think they need to review the concept of “great ancestors”).

But, I couldn’t help reflecting on what I didn’t hear. Now, I’m not claiming all the bus rides of my youth were pleasure experiences, but I remember one thing I loved. Whenever we were on the bus for any length of time we sang. The whole bus. We sang childish songs. We sang favorite songs. We sang “Three cheers for the bus driver” (especially on field trips).

This bus had no music.

Well, there was the girl sitting behind me who hummed Christmas Carols through vibrating lips.  And there was one brief chorus of Adele’s “Someone Like You” toward the end of the trip when the bus driver turned on the radio. (So appropriate for third graders who face heartbreak on a daily basis). No songs with silly and sometimes naughty lyrics. Nobody leading a chorus of some call and response ditty.

The other thing I didn’t hear was a group thank you for the bus driver. One of the teachers reminded the students to thank him on the way out, but there was no mass calling out. For that matter, I didn’t hear any teacher try to encourage the bus to be a community and represent the school with pride.

Maybe my memories of bus rides past are merely figments of my imagination, but I really miss hearing the music of young voices enjoying life together on the bus.

Does anyone else have good memories of bus rides past?

Life’s Wisdom Learned in Works for Children

Whenever the craziness and insanity of our world gets to be too much, I find myself turning to old favorite things for comfort. Sometimes that means putting in a good romantic comedy (When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, or The Holiday are my recent go to picks). But, more often than not, I search for comfort in all things related to children–movies, books, and television shows (even the most obnoxious ones from Disney). Of course, some of my go to comforts aren’t specifically for children, but most of them filter the world through the eyes of childhood and reveal that children are much closer to simple truth than so many adults who think they know everything.

The past few days have been very emotional for me. A combination of good news, bad news, creative energy, fear, too much Halloween candy, insomnia brought upon by the joyous time change, a lot of schlepping and driving, the general ups and downs of being a parent, and a few too many caffeinated  have combined to make me a babbling ball of frazzled energy. So, in typical fashion I found myself looking for comfort in a book. Now the book I chose isn’t exactly one for children, but it is a reminder that learning can come even from the simplest of bears:

Hoff writes,

“but the adult is not the highest stage of development. the end of the cycle is that of the independent, clear-minded, all-seeing Child. That is the level known as wisdom. When the Ta Te Ching and other wise books say things like, “Return to the beginning; become a child again,” that’s what they’re referring to.” (151)

Throughout my posts you can easily find quotes and memories from childhood favorites that still speak to me this day. But rather than have you search for them, and in a hope that gathering some of this wisdom together might make me fill more centered, I thought I would share some of my favorite lessons here, in one place. Feel free to add any that I miss in the comments below.

  • There is no limit to dreams: I very recently wrote the post called “Join Me in a Land of Wonder” so I’m not going to repeat the videos here. But I would like to quote some of the dialogue from Tangled that I love:

Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn Rider: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn Rider: Well,that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

  • Today’s mistakes mean nothing: Or, to quote “Tomorrow is another day with no mistakes in it.” 
  • There is no limit to where your imagination can take you:

“If you are a dreamer come in, . . .”

. . (Shel Silverstein, Invitation)

“For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.” (Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends)

  • The simplest things can make us happy:

Actually, Calvin and Hobbes is one of the best sources of wisdom anywhere.

  • Keep on trying:

  • Love, travel, and adventure make life worth living:

My list could go on forever, but I’ll spare you that. What words of wisdom have you learned from your favorites of childhood?

Join Me in a Land of Wonder

Inspired partially by Joss‘ response to my post about childhood memories  I thought today I would simply share some clips and songs that never fail to bring me to that place where magic and miracles happen on a daily basis. Feel free to add more in the comments (I’ll have to approve, as I have to approve links) because I would love to see this list grow. So, in no particular order, enjoy.

I’ve become hooked on TANGLED and this scene never fails to make my imagination soar.

I’ve always loved the muppets, because they make me believe in everything.

Jack Johnson. Enough said.


I also thought I would share some of the things I have in my office for inspiration, because they too reflect my belief in magic:

The artist for the Sawdust posters is Ron Rodecker, and you can find more of his work here.

Join me in a land of wonder, and add some magical things below.

UFO Messages


Image by thinboyfatter via Flickr

In a vibrant aquamarine sky, tiny white spaceships drop down toward the earth, similar in shape and movement to the old Atari Space invaders game. (Yes, I am dating myself). But the sky was blue, and the UFO’s did not have evil-looking faces.

One of my recurring childhood dreams always began that way.

The scene would then shift, to a beautiful, crystal night sky sparkling with billions of stars. I sat on the front stoop of my childhood home, watching the beauty. The townhouses across the street sat quietly, waiting for something to happen.

Suddenly a giant rectangle forms in the sky, and a movie starts to play in bright and vibrant colorful display. This internal movie was always different. It always had some sort of message for me, although I cannot recall any of the specific details. I watched with enthusiasm, absorbing the knowledge and wisdom displayed in the heavens. Sometimes neighbors came out to join me, our heads craning upward in company.

After the movie, the street became crowded with a fair-like atmosphere. Music playing, people dancing. Cotton candy and fried dough vendors selling their wares. All in the length of street in front of my childhood home. The revelry became overwhelming. I very rarely joined in, but watched from the safety of the front stoop.

The inevitable twist in the dream came than. As a gigantic, lone UFO moved down from the sky. Chaos ensued, with screaming masses trying to escape from what they perceived as their inevitable doom. My role here shifted from dream to dream. Sometimes I was trying to be the ambassador, calming everyone down “The come in peace” because I knew they did. Sometimes I sensed that the UFO represented destruction, and I tried to help others escape.

The UFO would land and a creature would come out, bearing ill or good depending on the dream and . . .

I would wake up.

I welcome interpretations of this dream from my childhood. Or, share any recurring dreams you have had in your life, that stay in your memory.

I share this in honor of Sidey’s Weekend Theme–UFO. Join us in the fun.

Nothing to Do

Today’s post is dedicated to smiles and laughter, because it is better to do that than cry. To that end I will share a story I wrote when Sarah had just discovered the joys of mobility and the adventure that is childhood.  She’s growing up so fast.

Nathan and Sarah at the Daddy Daughter Valentine's Dance 2011


Sarah is bored.  There is nothing to do.

Happy trouble maker

She makes Lizzy, her puppy, chase her.  They share Sarah’s cookies.  Yum! But now Sarah is bored.  There is nothing to do.

Sarah fixes the house.  The big chairs on wheels look good spread out.  Mommy’s little stool looks good in front of the door.  Sarah leaves the cushion on the floor in the living room so she can lie down.  The basket of toys looks good in the middle of the room.  Lizzy’s toys look good all over the floor.

All done, and there’s nothing to do.

Sarah helps Mommy by putting diapers in piles all around the room.  They look good, but there is nothing to do.

Sarah kisses her stuffed animals.  She checks her toys by putting them on the floor with Lizzy’s toys.  Mommy looks lonely.  She needs toys and drinks in her lap.

Mommy says, “Thank you.”

Sarah’s basket is empty.  There is nothing to do.

Lizzy wants to go outside.  Sarah helps Mommy put Lizzy on the chain.  When Lizzy comes back in Sarah gives her treats.

Mommy says “Only two.”

Sarah knows Lizzy needs three, four . . . ten.

Mommy's Little Helper

Lizzy goes to sleep and there is nothing to do.

Sarah brings Mommy the thing with buttons that turns on her video.  Sarah practices mooing, barking, and quacking.  She claps when the children sing.  The video ends.  Sarah wants to see it again.  But she doesn’t watch it.  There is nothing to do.

Mommy gives Sarah grapes, cheese, goldfish and milk.  Sarah drops food on the floor in case Lizzy is hungry.  It’s yummy but Mommy’s not eating.  It’s more fun to eat from Mommy’s plate.

Sarah’s full.  She’s stuck in the high chair with nothing to do!

Mommy lets her run again.  Sarah brings Mommy a book.  Mommy loves to read.  Sarah wants to hear it many times.  Mommy stops reading and sings until that silly phone thing rings.  The one Mommy doesn’t let Sarah play with.  Mommy talks into the phone.  Sarah wants Mommy to look at her.  Sarah talks.  She laughs.  She smiles.  Nothing works.  Sarah plays the drums for Mommy.  Mommy keeps talking.  Sarah sings loudly.  Mommy puts the phone down and picks Sarah up.

Mommy is holding her and there is nothing to do.

Sarah snuggles with Mommy.  Maybe she will stay there until there is something to do.  She falls asleep.

When she wakes up, the house is different.  The toys are in the basket, the diapers are gone, and the chairs are near the table.  Sarah wants to fix them. Lizzy is hungry.  Daddy is home and needs to read a book.  Sarah wants to watch her video and eat a snack.  Mommy needs to sing and dance.  Daddy hasn’t tickled her.  There are shadows on the floor that Sarah needs to chase.  There’s a new box to hide in too.

Sarah jumps up thinking, “There is something to do!

Daddy has big feet!

Learning to draft, designing sets.

The little girl who created the chaos still loves to organize, explore and keep busy, as can be seen in these pictures from last summer at Okoboji Summer Theater.

Sarah in a Box


And for your entertainment, the great Judy Garland:

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