That La Kid

wishin' an' hopin'!

it’s not that tough.

Ya’ know, if you stumble on something at Goodwill, like, a $10 American Girl doll in like-new condition, or a similar hidden treasure, and you know that I’ll love it, I don’t see any fault with wrapping it up and giving it to me as a gift. Actually, Haley and I were with my cousins when we found American Girls’ Felicity and Kaya. We couldn’t leave them.

It makes sense. I love my AG Samantha. (Actually, she dates back to Pleasant Company.) I’m a collector. A psychology student that I had to go see at AIW (As part of my psychology class, we had to go. I’m crazy, but that’s not why I went, I went for the grade.) gave me a Mickey Mouse beer stein and it’s prominently displayed on a shelf in my living room. I forget where she found it. Maybe she just had it forever, she might have said yard sale. I forget, but I love it. I love that she thought of me. It’s such a rare, unique, and special thing. I’ve never seen another one like it.

But I don’t know, you guys. Don’t just go to Goodwill to find something for the sake of finding anything. If you are there and see Bruce-sized pajamas for, like, $2. That’s cool. You were thinking of me, and I appreciate that. Give it to me the next time we see each other. But don’t wrap it up and present it as a gift for him. You have created work for me. “Happy Birthday, wash these clothes.”

It’s slightly alarming that the need exists for this post.

Maybe there is no need for a post. Do people do this, or is one person just doing it to me? Maybe the need is for a note to the individual… but, okay, you tell me how to broach that subject.

I take a lot of stuff to Goodwill and consignment shops. Do you know why? They have no value to me. They’re not special. They’re the throwaways. It’s not about money, I don’t care what you spend, it’s about value. Like I said, we didn’t bat an eye at buying AG dolls for $10 because they are valuable to us, if nothing else. (But they actually are valuable to everyone else as well.)

Rather than continue harping on why it’s in relatively poor taste to gift someone used articles of clothing, I will instead point out several options for super-cheap or easily made gifts. I get it if you’re broke. I get it. Your life’s not about making money, you’re a do-gooder. You want to make a difference. I get it.

Check ebay. For example, I searched “Disney.” Then arranged the results according to price + shipping, lowest first. I immediately found a Walt Disney 6 cent stamp for $ .99 shipped. Buy a mini-frame. You know, they often use them for place settings at weddings? (I think I actually have TWO of those laying around my house, if you don’t, they’re like $1.) Cut a piece of acid-free paper to fit the frame and mount the stamp to it. Boom. Nice, sweet, thoughful… $2. (Unless you’ve been to a wedding in the past 5 years, then it’s only $ .99!) The same price as a shirt at Goodwill that was somebody’s throwaway. I love it. I’ll sit it on my mantle or desk. Super cute. Crafty. Thoughtful. I appreciate you.

Check Amazon. I have a Kindle. Did you know that? Maybe we should talk. Maybe if you had a conversation with me you’d know that I hate folding clothes but love playing “TripleTown” and “Candy Crush” and “Where’s My Water” and “Monsters, Run.” Are there any other Kindle apps that I might enjoy? You can save 80% on, like, 350 different Kindle books. Buy me a book! Again, I looked for about 30 seconds and found something that I’d enjoy. You can choose the delivery date and everything. (FYI, fiction isn’t my thing, but I love art, history, humor, and religious works.)

Your recipient doesn’t have a Kindle? Do they have a Smartphone? Do they have a computer? It’s 2013. You can’t dance around this technology issue.

I sent my sister a $10 Starbucks gift card on her birthday that I got for free by signing up for a Starbucks account or some crap. $10! That’s at least two tall white-chocolate mochas. I know she’ll like that. It cost me nothing.

Still evasive about the recipient having or not having technology, huh? That’s okay. If you’re reading this, you can find things.

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Make me a cake. Just the fact that you mixed, and baked, and decorated, I mean — that takes me all day. Make me a mix CD. There’s thought in that. Did you know if you draw on a plain ceramic mug with a Sharpe and then bake it you will heat-set it? Yeah. Custom mugs anyone? Cut out a little heart on cardboard, trace that heart onto a map, cut out that map and Modpodge it to the cardboard, put a ribbon on it, boom: sentimental ornament that will recall that trip we took that one time. (“I’ll put that flea in a box…”) Do the same thing with a bunch of Disney characters from a book that you found at, oh, I don’t know, Goodwill? You could make a whole set: Snow White and all seven dwarfs.

Me. Me. Me. “That’s fine,” you say, “for you. Bruce has no desire for a $ .65 octopus necklace!” Learn something. Google “blanket stitch,” and design a t-shirt using a fabric remnant.


It’s painstakingly custom-made by hand! That’s valuable! I’ll keep that forever!

It is ridiculous how cheaply inexpensively you can put together a present. Go look at Pinterest. People on Pinterest are so much smarter and more thoughtful than I will ever be. Google “Free DIY Printable.”

You don’t have to do this big thing. Just a little token, a little gesture, is sufficient. And let’s face it, a shirt that’s been caressing someone else’s stinky pits or a sleeper that some other baby pooped in is no big thing anyway. I’d like to research the History of a Gift in modern times. Specifically, I want to know how we got to this point. When we were kids, anything was okay. “Look, I drew this for you.” That’s pretty neat, you did that by hand. You put yourself into it. I guess we got older and started making our own disposable income and wanted to do more, which evolved into making money, albeit never enough, and having bills, feeling obligated to buy presents. We can go back to the drawings. What did I do to make you think, “okay, I have to get her a shirt,” or, worse yet, a skirt and a pair of pants. Not a SHIRT and pants, a skirt, a bottom, and pants, another bottom.

What woman buys another woman a pair of pants?!


Pajamas are the exception. But one doesn’t just gift a pair of pajama bottoms.

It’s so… ugh… I just have run out of words to describe how I feel smiling as I open something that perhaps someone else opened once upon a time. You know how re-gifting is tacky? You’ve heard that, right? This is like re-gifting, except worse. We can assume a re-gift is something new that you don’t like so you don’t use it and instead you gift it to someone else, in the same new gift condition in which it was received. This is kind of like that, except someone else didn’t like/want/need this so much that they gave it away. It was a little bit nicer than trash, so they didn’t want to throw it away completely, but they really can’t have it in their house anymore.

And now it’s in mine.


(OMG… side note, I just did this and it took me 20 minutes: Bruce pulled up the < key. Holy crap.)

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walk it out

We found the trick to getting Bruce to stop screaming his head off after one late night lap around the block.  My cousin Amy bought him a fleece poncho a long time ago.  I thought it was too big for him, but oh my gosh he’s so stinkin’ cute in it.  He wears it when we “wog” at night.  It keeps Bruce warm, he can snuggle it, and best of all he can’t kick it off.  Speaking of kicks, he’s wearing shoes routinely now.  (Socks on the walks.)  The jogging stroller has a plug for my iPod so that we can jog to music, and I think Bruce likes that, too.

Bruce’s 1st Birthday invitations are all printed out.  Lookin’ pretty sweet.  The theme of the party is going to be Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom.  Kind of silly, I guess, because we could just take him to the actual Storybook Circus.  I’m having a hard time finding THE BEST First Birthday Circus tableware.  I bought a bunch of cheap prizes last night.  I’m pretty excited about awarding tickets for prizes.  Is that too carnival and not circus enough?  The idea is to use that in lieu of goodie bags.

This is another reason I second-guessed my whole circus idea:

Yesterday I had the aforementioned Simple and Fit Veggie Omelet, and homemade pizza, and actually I had a Snickers, too.  However, I also had a spinach salad, and one and a half kale smoothies.  Walked about 5 miles last night and woke up weighing 234.4.  That’s a whole pound in one day!  Aw yeeeeah.

And we’re going to Disney World in a matter of hours.  Aw yeeeeah!

It’s a good day to be a La!

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had to be on his birthday

Let me tell you about Tom’s birthday and how bad of a wife I am. 

For starters, I decided that I wasn’t going to just apologize at the end of the day, and be all, “Sorry about not getting you a card, or a cake, or a gift.”  I decided I’d run out and get a cake from the Chinese bakery first thing in the morning.  Wouldn’t he be surprised!  I bet he’d be proud, too, “you found your way without me?!” as well as honored, “You did all this for me?!” 

As soon as Bruce was up and at ’em, I got him diapered, dressed, and drinked, then strapped him into his car seat. Alright, keys… keys… I think they’re in the truck.  I opened the garage door, the truck wasn’t there.  The truck, the car seat base, my purse, my money… it was all in the truck in Uptown with Tom.  Fantastic.  

No problem, no problem.  I’ll just take Tom when he gets home.  We hired a babysitter for Bruce for the very first time.  Had to clean up the house, because heaven forbid people see and judge our sloppiness.  (We are sloppy.)  So, Happy Birthday, Tom!  You get to come home and vacuum!  Woo hoo! 

So, we headed out to Grand Asia Market.  Tom said, “I think they’re closed,” as we left the house.  No.  No way, I checked.  They’re open 10 am – 8 pm.  We parked and watched someone walk up to the store, pause, and retreat to their car.  Wtf.  We watched similar processions.  

They WERE closed!  

I do not understand.  The day that I need them… 

Tom was relatively unscathed.  Dinner and a movie?  Tom said that scenario always seemed backwards to him.  You should go to the movie first, so if the date is a complete bust then you can at least talk about the movie over dinner.  The man had a point (although to be fair, how could my date be a bust?). 

Alright, a movie… what movie?  

The Great Gatsby?  That was supposed to be our Mother’s Day date.  We’re going to see that on Friday at the Drive-In.  Iron Man 3?  Sure.  But I probably should have tried to see 1  & 2 first.  Star Trek starts at 7:30 and it’s already 7, so we wouldn’t get out until something after 10, no time for dinner.  We have to try and get the babysitter home at a somewhat decent hour.  “This is the End?”

“What’s that about?”

“That’s the one with EVERYBODY in it.”  

“Oh, yeeeeeah.  That looked funny.”  


I thought it was hilarious.  I liked that all the people played themselves.  But, you know, I liked it the way I liked Hot Tub Time Machine, as opposed to the way that I liked The Wedding Singer.  More importantly, Tom would probably have much rather seen any of the other aforementioned flicks.  

When the movie was over, we decided we should probably get something semi-quick.  Tom mentioned Wendy’s, but we had a late Burger King lunch so I wasn’t feeling it.  We were going to go to this place called Cantina 1511 that we love.  It’s a dressed up Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurant.  It was already 9:15.  We didn’t have a whole lot of time…  We like Boneheads.  We could eat outside.  That could be good.  Nice.  Romantic.  Quick.  Okay, Boneheads it is.  

Boneheads was closed.  Not closed, but closing.  They close at 10.  Tom walked in and instead of ordering, he said, “are you guys open?”  They said, “uh, not rea– sort of.  The grills are already shut down but if you want something fried…” 

Okay, let’s just take the babysitter home and go to the Mid-Night Diner.  

Tom got lost on the way to the babysitter’s house.  So, when we finally got to Uptown it was 10:30, pushing 11.  There was no parking at the diner.  Surely there’s something in Charlotte, maybe something we’ve never had before.  

There wasn’t. 

Everything was closed.  Everything.  

Ooh, except a bakery.  We found a 24 hour bakery.  Tom, Bruce and I went in and I said, “It’s his birthday, we need to get this guy a cake.”  Bakery dude told us what his favorites were and sold us on a lemon cake.  

“Let me just check in the back.” 

Guess what? 

No effing lemon cake in the back.  

Great.  Wonderful.  Fantastic.  We settled for a slice each.  

We continued to drive around in search of not-fast food, but since it was already 11:30 we settled for the first “Open 24 Hours” sign we saw.  It was a place called Skyland.  It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t scream birthday celebration.  Oh, and icing on the cake, pun intended, was that as soon as Tom went into Skyland to order take-out, Bruce decided he was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore and that he’d just scream bloody murder until we got home.  A solid 30 minutes of inconsolable tantrum.  

So, my plan was Tom’s favorite dessert waiting for him, a card, a present, romantic dinner and a movie, come home to a sleeping Bruce and fall asleep in each other’s arms.  

Movie tickets were $21 for two people.  Add the babysitter, and our date cost $51.  Fifty bucks to see an okay movie.  

Tom doesn’t see it that way.  He really enjoyed his late-night Philly Cheesesteak.  Mine was okay.  He thought the movie was funny.  He got a slice of really good cake.  

I hate it.  Last year we didn’t do anything.  This year didn’t live up to my expectations at all. I just feel like a terrible wife.  He left the truck for me today, “just in case,” he says.  So, what does that mean?  He expects a card tonight?  It’s too late.  I already sucked.  Forget it.  Plus, I am behind in freelance stuff, so, yeah… looks like a belated e-card kind of year.  Pathetic. 

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