The End of the World

Memoir MondaysRecently, Jay Dee Archer wrote a post on his blog about how everything can be the end of the world to a toddler. Wrong color Goldfish crackers? End of the world. YouTube show keeps buffering? End of the world. Shoes on the wrong feet (self-inflicted)? End of the goddamn world.

But there was one time that it was the end of the world and I actually understood the reaction.

Not long before Christmas last year my daughter got it into her head that she really wanted a Rocket Raccoon from Santa. She’d seen Guardians of the Galaxy and had taken a great liking to the furry little fellow, so after she asked 5 or 6 different mall Santa’s to bring her a Rocket Raccoon, my husband ordered this adorable little stuffed version of the character online. After some stress-inducing delays on the mail, it came just in time for Christmas, and the happiness on the little missy’s face when she saw him was immeasurable.

Come on, look at that love. Tell me your heart wouldn't break.
Come on, look at that love. Tell me your heart wouldn’t break.

Rocket quickly became her favorite toy; she slept with him every night, had him beside her all day long regardless of what else she was playing with, and she insisted on dragging him along with her everywhere from malls to restaurants.

One day, a couple of months after Christmas, I was in the bathroom trying to straighten unruly hair, while my daughter was playing in her room. I heard a small bang, but I paid it no mind because what kind of kid doesn’t make any noise when they’re playing? Then I heard the crying. I met her in the hallway on my way to her room. She was practically sobbing and was clutching Rocket to her chest. At first I couldn’t figure out what had happened – and she was in no fit state to tell me – but then I looked in her room and saw the mess. The cup of milk she’d been drinking was knocked over, the milk all over her table and the floor and several toys. A light bulb went off in my head as I turned back to look at my distraught daughter, clutching her little stuffed Rocket Raccoon. He was soaked with milk, clean through, like she’d actually dunked him right in the carton.

I couldn’t stop her crying, and I couldn’t blame her. In the past when she’d made big messes, I’d threatened her with losing her possessions – for instance, when she refused to go to the bathroom and ended up wetting herself, I’d tell her that we had to throw her princess panties in the garbage. The threats were my way of teaching her that she had to be more careful, but this time they’d backfired. The way she was clutching Rocket and bawling her eyes out, she definitely thought that I was going to take him and throw him in the trash. END OF THE WORLD.

Even after I explained that I was going to do my best to fix Rocket, I don’t think she stopped crying the entire time I was soaking him in the sink and scrubbing him with Purex. It was definitely, no questions asked, the absolute end of all creation. It was all over. Her special gift from Santa, her favorite toy, her little buddy…ruined. Life would never be the same. She couldn’t possibly go on.

Luckily he wasn’t really ruined. With quick action I somehow managed to extricate all the milk, and after a thorough powdering with baking soda and one good wash cycle with the laundry he was even smelling good as knew. The end of the world was postponed as I handed my daughter her fresh-as-a-daisy toy and she broke out in that adorable little grin again.

But it was pretty touch and go there for a little while.

The Great Divide

I’ve come across another interesting prompt via The Daily Post today:

When reading for fun, do you usually choose fiction or non-fiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?

Right off the bat, no question, I prefer fiction, and I know exactly why. You see, while there are parts of human history that I’m interested in (I’m fainted by cultures like the ancient Egyptians, for example), when I’m curling up with a good book I’m looking to escape reality. I don’t want to read about the real world – that’s all around me all day, every day. No, I want to read about worlds that don’t exist.

On that vein, I’d like to take my response a little deeper: when I read for fun I choose speculative fiction, for all the same reasons that I love to write it. I enjoy myths and legends, epic adventures and monsters. I don’t want to read about regular people doing ordinary things; I want to read about magic and supernatural creatures.

I was always the kind of kid who lived in her own head, imagining the world as so much more than it is, and I’ve become an adult who does the same. Every day I’m surrounded by industry, politics, people talking about their ordinary lives, and the media trying to shove celebrity lives and not-so-reality shows down my throat. When I get a chance to relax and enjoy a good book (or show, or movie, or game), I want ghosts and demons, mermaids and fairies, parallel worlds and space battles. I don’t want common events; I want a goddamn anthropomorphic raccoon wielding a laser gun that’s as big as he is.

This. This right here. How can you not want to know the story behind characters like this?
This. This right here. How can you not want to know the story behind characters like this?

What about you? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? What are your favorite genres or topics? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

5 Items to Save

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Burning Down the House.” Today the prompters over at The Daily Post challenge us to choose our most precious possessions. They tell us that our house is on fire; assuming that all people and pets are already safe, what five items would you grab to save if you […]

The Little Things in Life

No one who knows my husband and I personally would dare disagree with the statement that we go a little insane at Christmas. We’re not crazy people with endless disposable income – it’s just that we don’t spend a lot of money throughout the year. Our hobbies are cheap ones (he mostly just plays video games, and I’m happy to write on my slowly-dying laptop), and we make a point of trying not to buy our daughter things regularly because we don’t want her to be one of those kids who thinks she can have anything she likes every time we go to the mall.

But at Christmas? Oh, we totally lose our minds at Christmas. It was bad enough when it was just the two of us buying each other geeky collectibles by the truckload, but the past few years we’ve had a kid to deal with as well and the resulting Christmas-tree explosion is a completely ridiculous testament to our mental states.

And I won’t say that the daughter doesn’t enjoy it, because what kid wouldn’t enjoy a mound of presents to open all at once? However, as usual, our adorable little mini-me shows us that quantity is not necessarily the be all and end all.


That little critter in her arms right there is a stuffed Rocket Raccoon. My daughter asked Santa (several times and through several different methods and mediums) for a Rocket Raccoon for Christmas this year, and so when she woke up on Christmas morning this little critter was sitting, unwrapped, at the front of the present pile with a little pink bow on his head. And you know what? She’s hardly let go of him since then.

I’m not saying that she ignored her other presents. Hell no. She loves the superhero action figures that she got, has been rocking out on the Barbie guitar that great-nana gave her, and I’m pretty sure she’d play Disney Infinity all day until bedtime if we allowed her… But this little Rocket Raccoon toy – this little stuffed dude who doesn’t do anything other than be hugged with a grumpy look on his face – has barely left her sight for the past week. She’s been sleeping with him cuddled into her arms every night, and he didn’t leave her hand the entire day when we went out shopping for Boxing Week sales. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that someone had super-glued him to her hand.

And you know what? There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Kids (and adults) these days are surrounded by technology, thousands of channels, hundreds of thousands of options, everything bigger and better and flashier and more expensive. And yet a kid’s favorite toy can still be a little plush that does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t play games, it doesn’t talk, it doesn’t move at all. And yet it’s exciting to her to be able to take him to the grocery store and buckle him in to the seat in the cart next to her. That’s pretty amazing, and something we should all probably think about emulating. Because toys (whether they be actual toys, appliances, electronics, or whatever else) don’t have to be the biggest, brightest, noisiest model with the most possible options to still be fun and enjoyable and make a person happy.

What were your favorite toys as a kid? Were they the simple ones or the complex ones? What about as an adult? Do you have to upgrade to the newest cellphone the second it comes out? Or are you the kind of person who is happy to snuggle up and enjoy an old movie favorite? Do you enjoy the simple things in life, or are you all about the complexity? Please share!

Happy Holidays (Now Please Let Me Sleep)

The holidays are a busy time, which is why I elected not to worry about the blog during them. To be honest, I assume that none of you really gave much of a second thought about my blog during the holidays, and that’s the way it should be.

But now the holidays are (more or less) over, and as I recover from all the cooking, cleaning, present-opening, and imbibing of alcoholic beverages, I’ll be trying to get back to normal. I’m hoping that 2015 is going to be a good year, and I’ll be starting it with another round of goals and plans.

So for the next couple of days don’t expect anything ground-breaking – maybe a couple of unboxing videos and that’s about it – but be sure to visit the blog on January 1st when I get back to the grindstone! 😀

And before I go, to brighten your day, here’s a pic of a kid who got exactly what she wanted from Santa this year. ❤