It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses a Shoe. (Or an Election.)

20161128_131946As Thanksgiving 2016 winds to a close, there’s just one thing left to do: Brady and I each wrap a pinky finger around one side of the wishbone from our turkey dinner. At stake? One wish, winner take all.

It’s been a good day. Brady was in charge of the pre-dinner prayer (“thank you for all the technology”). I was in charge of dessert (pumpkin mousse pie and pumpkin cupcakes). In between, we scarfed a boatload of food: turkey, green beans, stuffing, rolls, sweet potato casserole (with toasted marshmallows), and cranberry sauce (the yummy homemade kind, not the scary jiggly canned kind). After dinner, I volunteer for Brady Entertainment Duty, which gets me out of doing dishes, although the down side is that I’m not around to supervise the divvying up of the leftovers (#AuditTheStuffing).

Brady and I decide on our wishes, and then we each give our side a big tug. Brady (with an assist from my Dad) ends up with the larger piece. I ask him what he wished for.

Brady looks up at me earnestly and says, “I wished for it to rain candy corn.”

I lower my voice to a whisper. “Did you make that wish up? So you could keep your REAL wish a secret?”

He looks at me like I’m a total moron. (He’ll probably use this look on his parents in about 10 years).

“No. That’s my wish.”

20151126_155725-1We squeeze in together for a picture and smile for the camera – Brady holding up the winning end of the wishbone and me the losing end. We’re family – and best buddies – and we always will be. After a hard-fought competition, we are ready to put aside old grievances and move forward together.

Just like America.

Ha, ha! I’m kidding, of course. Continue reading

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Auntie Kimberly’s Diary

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOctober 1

Ah, the fall season! A new October and a chance to start over! Time to shed old leaves in preparation for stunning springtime transformation into calm, serene, poised, confident goddess. Steps to said transformation shall include:

  • Meditating every morning. (So as to maintain calm, serene, goddess-like status, as opposed to becoming easily flustered by other people’s fu- I mean fudgewittage).
  • Hydrating properly.
  • Buying locally sourced, organic foods. (Will eat ALL vegetables purchased and not let them rot in crisper until look like fifth grade science experiment.)
  • Not forming relationship with any of the following: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Mochas, Pumpkin Cake Rolls, Pumpkin Date Nut Rolls, Pumpkin Bagels, Pumpkin Walnut Crunch Bagels, Pumpkin Cream Cheese, or Pumpkin Cupcakes.

Will be poised, mature, beatific, saint-like Auntie to 5-year-old Brady and will NOT:

  • Contribute to stuffed animal population control problem.
  • Buy LEGO minifigures with tiny removable hair helmets.
  • Purchase books with drawings of bear poop. (Drew Daywalt’s “The Day the Crayons Came Home” v. funny, but Dadat – B.’s grandpa, my Dad – suggests bear poop drawing is in poor taste and poss. grounds for having Auntie book-buying privileges revoked.)

Continue reading

The Disappointment Dilemma

img_3603It’s a sweltering summer day. Captain AmeriCute and I are returning from a Superhero and Sidekick outing to an indoor play gym and Target (one of his favorite destinations). I park my car in Brady’s driveway and hop out to open the back door. As Brady climbs out, I scan the back seat, and my heart suddenly drops into my stomach. My mouth is dry, and it’s hard to get the words to come out. I look at Brady, trying to keep my face neutral and my voice steady, so the fear won’t show:

“Where is Princess Leia?”

Our eyes lock, and I can see the fear overtaking Brady as well. “I don’t know!” he blurts out, looking horrified.

“Did you take her into Target?”

“No!”

Oh, Fu-, I mean, Fudgsicle. Continue reading

Butterflies

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIs there anything more miraculous in all of nature than the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly? (Well, aside from the obvious example of coffee beans becoming gingerbread lattes). How freaking awesome would it be to go to sleep as a caterpillar and then wake up with wings?

But human transformations are still pretty darn cool. Brady continues to blossom. His first grown-up tooth is coming in to replace the one he lost, and another baby tooth is loose. He graduated from pre-school last spring, and as he told his Mommy at bedtime the other night, “I think I’m getting the hang of this kindergarten thing.” (Last week, I asked him what the best part of kindergarten was, and he said, “snack time.” Yep, we’re related).

And I’ve discovered that even grownups can still go through a butterfly-like transformation. You never really know when life is going to wrap you up in a colossal chrysalis and work its magic. Continue reading

Faking Out Fear

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCaptain Batten and the crew of the Rusty Crutch had never lost a sailing ship to raiding pirates. At the first sign of trouble, the Captain would shout, “First Mate! Fetch my red shirt!” Then donning the red shirt, Captain Batten would lead his crew to victory against the invading party.

The First Mate eventually grew curious and asked what was so special about the red shirt. “If I am wounded in battle,” Captain Batten explained, “the red shirt will hide the blood – so that the crew can continue to fight without fear.”

Then one day, the ship’s lookout yelled, “Captain! FIFTY pirate ships right ahead!”

The First Mate shouted, “Captain! Shall I bring your red shirt?”

Captain Batten bellowed back, “Yes! And fetch my brown pants!”

I have a secret. I’m afraid.

I’m at the park with Captain AmeriCute. He immediately heads for the highest horizontal bar, scrambling up fearlessly, swinging back and forth three feet above the ground, and then executing a leaping dismount worthy of an Olympic medalist. Brady is all smiles and giggles as he smacks into the sand. I, however, am doing my best to not lose my lunch. I point out the lower bar, the one where his toes dangle a mere inch from the ground, and explain to Brady that it would be MUCH more fun to swing from that one. We make it back to Brady’s house without any injuries, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Continue reading

Pass the Tissues: Captain AmeriCute Says “Bon Voyage” to Baby Stuff

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy mom and I sit in stunned silence for a moment, as the weight of Captain AmeriCute’s latest proclamation settles in like a heavy blanket of snow.

Thirty seconds before, the scene had been a normal sleepover at “Gra and Dadat’s” (my parents, Brady’s Grandparents). Whenever I come over to join the festivities on sleepover night, Brady gets to pick two bedtime stories – one for Gra to read, and one for Auntie Kimberly to read. Gra read Richard Scarry’s Goodnight Little Bear, a classic in which Father Bear can’t find Little Bear at bedtime. In an unexpected twist ending worthy of M. Night Shyamalan, it turns out that Little Bear has been sitting on Father Bear’s shoulders the whole time. For the Auntie Kimberly selection, I lobbied hard for The Monster at the End of This Book, but Brady instead wanted me to read, The Monsters on the Bus, another classic in which a hapless public transit passenger looks on in growing astonishment and aggravation as his bus is invaded by monsters, grouches, a marching band, and even aliens.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNormally, the conclusion of these two stories means bedtime. But since Gra and Dadat’s house exists in a strange corner of the space-time continuum where natural and parental laws don’t always apply, Gra offered to do an extra reading that would have delayed bedtime by another few minutes. She held up “I Love You Through And Through,” a small book with thick pages for tiny hands to grab onto.

But instead of settling in for the reading of his bonus book, Brady slowly and clearly announced, “I don’t want to read it. That book is for babies.” Continue reading

Fixing Facebook: A (Kinda Sorta) Live Feed

UPDATED 8/30/16 – added “Epilogue: Out of the Frying Pan and Into…Business Manager”

(Note: Regular Kimberly commandeered the blog this week while Auntie Kimberly was busy organizing her goofy sock drawer.)
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Apparently, the only way to get Facebook’s attention these days is by using that newfangled Facebook Live feature. But I’m not super hip with new technology.  And I have a limited data plan on my phone.  So I’m going old school.

Tap, tap. Is this thing on?

Um, OK. Heh, heh! Let’s, uh, get started.

Hi, Mark Z.! Hi, Facebook employees! I’m Kimberly. We haven’t been formally introduced, but you do know me as one billionth of your daily active user pool.  Our collective sharing of personal data helped bring you 5.2 billion dollars in advertising revenue last quarter. Yes, that’s me – mediocre tennis player, member of the autoimmune disease club, Auntie, and cupcake/coffee addict. I identify as a metalhead, but I also love classical music, 70’s arena rock, and Broadway show tunes. I take thyroid meds, have an MBA, and occasionally travel for work. In addition to my personal profile, I have a Facebook Page for this blog, and I also administer two Pages as part of my job (well, now just one – more on that later). Of course, you already know all of this stuff.

I recently read that original Facebook sharing dropped 21% between 2014 and 2015 and that you’ve formed a special task force to find the Next Big Thing that will get people sharing again. Continue reading