Thursday, January 12, 2006

Inside every turning leaf is the pattern of an older tree

Editor's Note: Origingally penned just after Christmas but our blog was not up and running at that time.

The day after Christmas reminded me again of how much I enjoy my family. It started with my Mom, the Social Butterfly, making banana pancakes and reminding us that we still had not completed the snow puzzle she had set up. I began packing up our gear only to be reminded that we still needed to get the new VCR/DVD hooked up for my mother.

I unboxed the contraption and gave the remote to my mother so she could put the batteries in. With my head stuck inside the media cupboard, my mother decided that now was a good time to ask all her VCR questions. “What do these numbers do?”

“I don’t know. I’m not to that part yet,” I called from inside the cabinet.

“What does Set Time mean?”

I craned my neck around some more. “I don’t know. I can’t see anything else.”

After a few more back contortions, I finally got the box set up and programmed in her soap opera. “Now, remember, you need to hit this button here and then the power button, to make sure the program is set. You’ll see a little clock just above the time.” Actually with my prescription and hers it looks like a square but I wasn’t going to go into semantics right now. She nodded and thankfully I didn’t have to go into the Power Off vs. Power On routine that has normally followed any programming done on the VCR.

Flashback 1980-something…
Me: So, Mom, to program your soaps you need to turn the Power on, go to the Program menu and plug in the date and time. When you’re done, press the Power button again to turn the machine off so it can begin taping.
Mom: Don’t you mean turn the Power button on? Because it needs to be On to start taping?
Me: The VCR already has the Power turned on. That’s how we set the date and time. Now we need to turn it off so it can start taping.
Mom: So I press the button to turn it on to start recording? I turn the Power on?
Me: *sighs heavily*

Repeat for each new VCR purchased thereafter.

We packed up the car with our Christmas goodies and suitcases and went to Mr. GoGoGo’s house to pick up leftovers. My father-in-law had BBQ’d a great turkey for dinner—he has since declared that it is time to get a new grill as this one finished the bird in two hours instead of four or five.

More food was crammed into available crannies, we reminded LaLa to see the doctor tomorrow (Avocado Pit=1, LaLa’s Finger=0), and Critter loaded up on leftover suckers which had been provided by the Gold Beach contingent. I tried not to think of the number of presents and linens that could be covered in a sticky goo in the back seat.

The Renaissance Man, CrafterKat's brother, returned from the store, his youngest son sporting a new purple lightsaber. Apparently older brothers can’t have purple ones—younger ones are supposed to have them, too. Our young Jedi showed a few moves and dropped the lightsaber. “Careful!” cried his mother, “I don’t want you breaking it already!”

He pointed to the handle. “Don’t worry, just this small bit broke off right here.”

“We just bought it five minutes ago!”

He chuckled as only a six-year old can. “Just kidding.”

After more hugs and goodbyes, we finally piled into the car and headed to Starbucks to get the driver fully caffeinated. Ten minutes later she came back with her pumpkin latte and my hot chocolate. “What took so long?” I asked.

“New guy running the cash register who didn’t know what buttons to push and a Barrista? Barristo? running the espresso machine on Eugene Time. Which is not as laid back as Hawaii time, but close.” I nodded and we merged onto the freeway.

Our return trip home was a delightful mélange of teenisms, wild animal sightings and snacking. I looked in the mirror and spied Critter slurping on a green sucker. “What flavor is it?”

“Sugar,” she answered.

Before we hit Brownsville we had spotted about ten hawks, each about 500 ft. apart spying the fields for rodents. Critter spotted three more, fourteen baby lambs and one golden styrofoam eagle.

“I have to get up to 16 hawks,” Critter said.


“For when I become 16 because that’s when I’ll have my own car.”

We chuckled at her assumptions.

This is the same teenager who, with an older sibling/babysitter voice, advised Jedi Racoon, her six-year old cousin, to be sure and leave a note for Santa along with a plate of cookies. My nephew listened intently, the youngest and last True Believer in our family, and included a carrot for Santa’s reindeer beside his note.

When we got home to my mother’s Christmas night, Critter asked how Santa could get into houses without chimneys. Christmas morning we discovered a glass of milk and a note had been left for Santa in Critter’s seventh grade scrawl.