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.)

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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

Getting my MBA (Master of Being an Auntie)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDuring the 1990s, I enrolled in night school to get an MBA. My dad was pleased because this effort would expand my skill set and hopefully enhance my future career opportunities. My mom was pleased because this effort would expand my dating pool and hopefully enhance my future marriage opportunities.

I graduated three years later (still single – sorry mom), and received a piece of paper that said to the world, “I have smarts! I have skills! I have several thousand dollars in student loan debt!” Along the way, I did learn some useful stuff. Like how to read a financial statement. How to prepare a sales forecast. How to use Deming’s PDSA Cycle to complete process improvements. How to cook the books of a multi-national corporation and retire with a boatload of embezzled funds to an uncharted island somewhere in the Pacific.

Ha, ha! Just kidding about that last one. I actually don’t have a retirement plan at the moment, unless you count the fact that I am thinking about giving up my weekly Starbucks Venti Mocha Frappuccino and using the extra money to buy lottery tickets. And yes, as a matter of fact, I am fully aware that this is a sorry excuse for a retirement plan. I have smarts, remember?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBut anyway, over the last few years, I’ve been working on another MBA: Master of Being an Auntie. Brady, my pint-sized teacher, is awesome, the dress code is super casual (goofy socks optional), and I won’t have to go into debt to complete the program. Well, probably not. In addition to tempting me with offerings that cover my usual vices (books and music), Amazon now insists on sending me regular e-mails filled with awesome books and toys that Captain AmeriCute would like. During the holiday season, I pretty much end up eating off of cardboard Prime boxes because I can’t find my dining room table. Continue reading

Karma and the Lost Art of the Graceful Complaint (Or: How Full is Your Barista’s Bucket?)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES(Regular Kimberly is taking over the blog today, while Auntie Kimberly searches for a support group for grownups who can’t stop buying Star Wars stuff.  The last straw was the R2-D2 measuring cups and spoons.  No, wait.  Maybe it was the tiny marching Space Opera Darth Vader and Stormtroopers.  OK, let’s be honest.  It was probably the sunshade with the picture of Han, Chewie, Luke, and Obi-Wan Kenobi that makes your windshield look like the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.)

If you look up “add insult to injury” in Wiktionary (yes, that’s a real thing), you might find this example.  Several years ago, the company I worked for was taken over, and my job was eventually eliminated in a mass layoff.  No surprise there.  Except that our health insurance was cut off on the 15th of the month, which was before our COBRA paperwork could be processed and new insurance cards issued.  “Don’t worry,” said the chipper HR person, “your benefits will be backdated!”

Hmmm…what could possibly go wrong there?   Continue reading

The Force Hits the Snooze Alarm

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Brady and I have watched Donald Duck star in “Bee on the Beach” approximately twelve times in a row when inspiration strikes. Brady already loves rockets and spaceships. And love of The Force runs strong in my family. Wouldn’t we both enjoy watching Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO speeding through the galaxy in the Millennium Falcon?

I type “Star Wars 1977 Original Trailer” in the YouTube search box and click on one of the videos. This is going to be an Epic Auntie Moment!

Then I look over at Brady. Uh, oh.

Suddenly, I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Continue reading

To the Next Generation of Music Lovers: We Had to Walk Ten Miles In The Snow to Buy Concert Tickets. But the Album Art was Awesome.

Captain AmeriCute wouldn’t open the first Christmas present I ever bought him. Of course, his fingers weren’t working too well at the time, as he was still in the womb.

115_1199.2The present was a toy drum. I can’t imagine a life without music any more than I can imagine a life without a beating heart or a set of breathing lungs. So I believed it was a critical Faithful Sidekick Responsibility to share this passion early and often with my favorite Pint-Sized Superhero. Yeah, OK, the fact that it might annoy his parents was a bonus.

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