Sebastian Squirrel, Ninja Assasin

I found the most awesome thing while googling weird stuff on the internet (it beat playing another game of mahjong, okay).

It’s a squirrel with a laser and all it takes to shoot is a click. Nothing comes at me, nothing else is trying to take me out. I have to explain how perfect this is for me. My grandson is always getting me to play video games with him. We’re talking the ones with, as he puts it, the great graphics: Halo, Assasin’s Creed (because he knows I like history he figures this one is right up my alley), etc.

Here’s the real kicker: he always makes it where I’m invincible. If he didn’t, my input into the game would last approximately thirty seconds. So I spend the length of the game bumping into walls and randomly pushing buttons in a futile attempt to shoot weapons I don’t even know the name of. This kid is important to me, truly. I love spending time with him.

If I had this squirrel though, my comfort level would be a lot higher. For one it’s a costume I can understand. And it’s a laser that goes pew pew pew. I’d be good.

Things Change


I happened upon this picture in my cyberspace wanderings today and my first thought was “where the hell was this when I was a kid?”.

Let me explain. My mother had a rather unique love for animals. I sometimes felt she preferred them to her children. And she treated them better. Ducks figure large in my childhood nightmares, thanks to one of her favorites. It was a large white Pekin duck, raised lovingly from a duckling.

The love was all one-sided. When I describe the word fear in my head, it is the feeling of being trapped on my back steps by this tyrant. If my sister or I moved off the steps we were pecked back into line. I don’t remember if we gave this “pet” a name, but I remember that duck’s face with perfect clarity. What a world of difference a leash like this would have made to my outdoor time!

Kicking Fear’s Ass

The lady who was teaching a craft to my class today asked the kids what they feared. All the good sociology tells us to help the kids “face their fears” and “talk about their emotions”. So we smiled benevolently at them and waited for them to answer. The first four kids shared the things that scared them: roller coasters, monsters, ghosts and the dark. When we got to the fifth one, a very dainty little girl who only wears dresses, she didn’t hesitate a second before answering “nothing”. It stopped the whole discussion. I wondered if I should coax a more realistic answer out of her. Then I saw her face.

Getting to know her these last few months has helped me see that there is a spine of titanium steel beneath those lacy dresses.  She meant exactly what she’d said. Her look dared us to challenge her. Of course, the two boys after her said the same thing, that they weren’t afraid of anything either.

I’ve thought about the simple way she stated it all day. I was reminded about all the times I’ve heard that we give power to the things we acknowledge. Most of the time this is phrased in a good way: we build up our confidence when we acknowledge our success, etc. Perhaps it works in the reverse as well, and we give fear more than its due when we acknowledge its presence. Maybe denying its existence could take a bit of its sting away from it. Just a thought.

Visions, Dreams and Thorns

It used to drive me nuts to shop with my daughter.  She went to the store with a vision in mind of exactly what she wanted, then we spent an entire day searching for it, usually without success.  I would get so frustrated as I showed her item after item that would work fine. But she clung to the picture in her head and nothing else would satisfy.

Now I know where she got that trait from, something I’ve never acknowledged before.  My own vision of exactly how this path was going to turn out was so strong that it never occurred to me that there would be any deviation.  Oh, I would allow for a bit of variation here and there, but nothing prepared me for the total annihilation of my dream.

Long ago I took a nutrition class and found out an interesting fact about how our bones grow.  They literally disassemble and reconstruct themselves longer and stronger.  What a concept.  Those twin pillars of severity and mercy, of destruction and creation are actually a part of the process.  Who knew?

My boss asked me yesterday if I was getting ready for Easter. My answer was no, for a number of reasons. One of them is the fact that I’m no longer the one responsible for the egg hunt. That got me thinking. I’ve noticed that today kids get a way better deal than I did. The eggs are filled with chocolate and other candies. Some are even filled with money.

Easter egg hunting was a much tougher business back in my day. Many times we went to my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm to hunt with my cousins. The eggs were hidden in the wooded area by the house then all us kids were sent out to hunt them. Sounds kind of idyllic, doesn’t it?

Well, don’t get too caught up in nostalgia cause this was my family, not some TV one. The eggs were not the cute plastic kind that come in bright neon colors. Nor were they filled with chocolate or money. They were eggs of the hard-boiled variety. My aunt never failed to dye the eggs the same colors as the spots they’d be hidden in. This tactic made keeping an accurate count of how many eggs had been sequestered in the woods a very important component of the day.

Being sent out to hunt knowing there were two or three eggs that had never been uncovered from the previous year is not a good feeling. These little time bombs were out there, lying in wait for the unlucky kid who stumbled on them. Or who were lured by a snickering older sibling to their location.

If we managed to escape the egg bombs, we still faced the daunting task of consuming an enormous amount of boiled eggs over the next few days. I often smile to myself when I hear kids complain about how hard things are these days. Little do they know we threw ourselves on the bombs so they could have it easy.

Pass the chocolate bunny ears, please.

Three Things I’ve Learned

Three things I’ve learned:

Life is scary no matter what you choose.

*****   You can choose safety and bad things can happen.

*****    You can take a risk and bad things can happen.

*****    You can survive the bad things.

It’s okay to be afraid as long as you do it anyway.

*****     Fear is a normal human emotion – and so is panic.

*****     We can learn to control fear and panic.

*****     Courage is also a normal human emotion.

If you don’t do it, you will never get it.

*****   This is clearly a given. It makes perfect sense.

*****    You’ll never win the lottery if you don’t buy the ticket.

Buy the ticket, damn it!