The Family Jewels

boxTwo-and-a-half years ago, on a trip to New York City for my 40th birthday, I lost my diamond earrings.

There was no great lightning bolt of awareness about this event, no ‘I dropped my jewels off the balcony’ or some such drama. In fact, I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly when the lovely little gems went missing.

Had I in fact packed them for the big city in the first place? Did I remember seeing them in the hotel room during our stay? Had someone, god forbid, stolen them? When had I worn them last, anyway? Was this what happened at 40—instantly—one’s memory went to heck and one began absentmindedly leaving precious priceless belongings all over the United States?

Whatever the answer, I was mortified. I came home and began hunting. To no avail.

And I kind of decided not to tell Captain Daddy, well, not until he noticed, because he did purchase them for me in the first place, and would undoubtedly be unimpressed with the added expense of our already expensive trip east.

Two years passed. Every now and again, my sis said, “Did you ever find those diamond earrings?”


Last month, Chicken Little and I were wrapping Christmas gifts. She asked for a box in which to place a gift for her best friend, Julia. I grabbed a small cardboard box from the top shelf of my office closet, handed it to her, and left the room.

“Mom, there are earrings in here!” she called.

Which precise earrings she meant never crossed my mind. She stuck the box under my nose and I stared, dumbfounded, before uttering a few choice (albeit happy) words one probably shouldn’t share with one’s five year old.

Okay, so, apparently, I’d tucked those earrings into the box for safekeeping on our journey to the Big Apple. They were safe, all right. For two years in my closet. Did they ever make it to NYC? Who knows. I’m over 40—I can’t even seem to piece together what I did last week.

I gave Little 105 kisses and fed her chocolate for breakfast.

Then I told Capt. Daddy, who, indeed, had never noticed the missing diamonds. And who instantly forgave me for the omission, the temporary misplacement, and for being over 40.

Imagine what six-year-old Julia would have thought of THAT gift.



P.S. I have a friend who lost for several years a four-carat diamond ring that had belonged to her grandmother. It was in the pocket of an obscure coat she’d once worn out for New Year’s Eve. I’m not sure what the moral of these stories is, except that probably one ought not leave the house wearing anything that costs over $25.


Yesterday was Captain Daddy’s birthday. Chicken Little and I baked a cake and decorated the house with balloons and party hats. Chicken Noodle took a different approach to celebrating dad. She made him a man cave.

Granted, it’s about the size of a shoebox. But despite its size, it’s very nicely appointed and well equipped. Using a nice collection of blocks, fabrics, and other design implements, Noodle custom-built a cave just for the Captain. It includes just about everything a 49-year-old fireman could desire.

Here’s the list she wrote, detailing the highlights of Daddy’s mancave. Some of these features really demonstrate Noodle’s intimate knowledge of her father’s preferred behaviors.

  • Graham crackers for him to eat
  • Girly stickers to freak him out
  • Fake mustaches to pretend to be old
  • A TV that only shows news and weather
  • A sleeping bag with fifteen pillows
  • A toilet that has lots of toilet paper and plungers
  • A couch that’s hard and made of dirt

The artist added one final touch: an identifying bit of signage that reads “” I think she’s on to something here. Stay tuned for news from our future entrepreneur.


Into the Woods in Ski Oregon

MeissnerRead about my cross country skiing adventures in “Into the Woods” in Ski Oregon, page 12


Glamour, Baby


Chicken Little was born glamorous. Once she was old enough to make fashion decisions on her own, her yen for style emerged. Little never met a frilly bit of clothing, hair accessory, or mirror she didn’t like. Lately, the kid has demonstrated a real affection for makeup.

Since she began school last fall, I noticed Little spend just a little extra time in the bathroom each morning. One day, long after I figured she’d finished tooth brushing and when it was high time to get the heck out the front door, I poked my head in the bathroom to see what she was up to. She was methodically replacing her fingernail polish, one nail at a time, in alternating colors, to match her outfit.

This quickly became a regular morning affair.

Soon after, Little discovered my own (albeit limited) supply of cosmetics. Immediately, it became unthinkable that she walk to the bus stop without first applying lip gloss.

This new habit led to some strange moments, like me doing a double take one morning as I buckled my five-year-old into her five-point-harness car seat. “Are you wearing mascara?”

“Um hmm,” she replied casually.

I love how consistently surprising parenthood is. First of all, these children came out completely who they are, totally irrelevant of Captain Daddy or me or whatever is in the neighborhood drinking water.

Second, decisions one is unwaveringly certain one will make in the theoretical future (of course I will not allow my child to wear makeup to Kindergarten. Duh.) get easily tossed out the window in the actual present, with no regret.

Turns out, I don’t really care if Little wears lip gloss to school. I care about other things a lot more, like her learning and being happy and staying safe and leaping off the school bus all smiles to give me a massive hug—a moment which is unquestionably the best part of my day, even when she leaves a lipstick kiss on my cheek.

Apparently Santa Claus agrees. He brought Little glitter blusher, a Hello Kitty hairbrush, and no less than eight different shades and flavors of lip gloss.

My kind of guy.





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