Friday, January 22, 2016

It's in the Stars

It was meant to happen, clear as day. You know what I mean--that split second when, in the course of shopping the after-Christmas clearances, your eyes land--BINGO!--just like that--on the prize.

And I don't mean just a good bargain--watchful eyes land on those all the time. No, this day brought one of those delightful instances of serendipity when the perfect piece of merchandise met Googie at the crossroads of "It's about time you saw me hanging on this rack" and "Please don't let me snatch you up with such force that I raise the suspicions of the store detective ."

Let's rewind a bit. I was not at our town's new Kohl's store looking for anything in particular. I was simply cruising the aisles with a 30%-off coupon burning a hole in my billfold, along with a Kohl's cash certificate worth $10 off any purchase. There were already a few miscellaneous--comparatively unimportant--items in my cart at the time I scored the find:

Now, I realize that, at first glance, this may not look like all that big a deal to you. In fact, it may look mysteriously like just another "Grandma" sweatshirt--the kind that if you've seen one, you've seen them all. But au contraire mon ami--look again as you slowly absorb the utter wonder of this particular shirt. There are several reasons why only something like fate could dictate that I would end up with it.

First, it says, "My Grandkids Sparkle & Shine like Stars." That sentence contains a simile, a figure of speech that compares two things using the word like. It is, therefore, a poetic statement, and I am a poet. In fact, I am currently in the early stages of a book of children's poems titled Harvest the Stars. Yes, stars. What are the chances that, given those things, I would find this shirt today?

But it gets better. The shirt has exactly six stars, one for each of my six grandkids. Coincidence? I think not.

Next, it is not my nature to brag about my grandkids (uncross fingers now--it is too hard to type with them crossed), but my grandkids actually are stars. Sooby played Skippyjohn Jones' mother in a skit last summer in a kids' theatre class at our local community college. Pooh once gave a stellar performance as a mean mouse in The Nutcracker (I blogged about that a couple years ago--he ended up on stage too early and tried to kill the nutcracker). Bootsie danced in that same production.

The evidence doesn't stop there: For four years now on Christmas afternoon our family has sung a song together to post on Facebook as a Christmas greeting to our friends. This year we did "Rudolph," with all the kids donning antlers (except Sooby, who was Santa) and acting out parts as we sang. Last year we did "We Three Kings," with the three little boys--Beenie, Zoomie, and Heero-- looking astral as the stars of wonder, night, and royal beauty bright. The remnants of their costumes are a testament to this:

So there you have another manifestation of our "star" theme and sufficient evidence to prove that my sweatshirt find was, indeed, nothing short of miraculous.

I might also mention, just in passing, that I gave a total of $9.02 for this perfect-in-all-ways sweatshirt, which originally sold for $40. The icing on the cake is that, although I am sure it was on clearance as Christmas merchandise, there is nothing on it that restricts its use to only the Christmas season.

Add all these things together and you can see why my new sweatshirt makes this a great day. Although I didn't win the big lottery last week, I consider myself quite a winner, and for that I thank my lucky--well--stars.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Pretzel Art

It is really too bad that moms tell their kids not to play with their food.

As Zoomie and I discovered last weekend, that simply is not true, especially if pretzels are involved. We are living proof that, given a bag of pretzels, your snack can become an art medium and your kitchen a studio. Imagine that you are sauntering through an art museum, and you stop to contemplate the following works:

Pa-pa's Pickup on a Clear Day

Here you see Pa-pa's truck heading to the farm to feed the cows on a clear winter day dominated by blue sky. The salt on the pretzels doubles as bits of snow. So realistic is this representation that you can almost feel the warmth of the truck's cab and hear the crunch of the tires as they plow through a crust of white.

Stylish Snowman at Christmas
What shouts "Christmas" more clearly than this merry red background supporting a whimsical snowman? And what blares out "fashion" any more obviously than a snowman who would forego the traditional black top hat in favor of a stylish tam propped aside his head at a rakish angle? 

True, several pretzels were harmed in the execution of this piece. But you will be relieved to know that their remains were honorably interred and, in so doing, there were no "starving artists" residing at Googie's. 

Antenna-less Butterfly
Flying into snack time on dreams of hope, this unique butterfly acts as a harbinger of spring and the hope that January will be gone in the foreseeable future. Rivaling "Pa-pa's Pickup" in complexity (both require eleven pretzels), this beautiful insect virtually flies off a green background signifying an imminent return to all things spring.

So there you have it--proof that a kid's experience at Googie's can be enhanced when the line between snack time and play time is intentionally blurred. And--oh, yeah--if you wish to purchase any of these pieces for your personal art collection, just contact me. The artist is three-and-a-half and not yet taking calls.