Posted in Life, Writing

A Father’s Gifts

I’m thankful that I have a father in my life, and I’m extremely thankful to have one as fun and unique and loving as my dad.

My dad has given me so many things: love, support, laughter, poetry books, one-of-a-kind Halloween-birthday parties, and road trips, to name a few. He gave me my nose (slightly crooked like his) and my ability to snore (thanks, Dad). He coached my softball team, attended all my band concerts, taught me to drive, and let me have the puppy I asked for without even checking with Mom first. (It’s ok, she loved the puppy too.)

My dad was the first person to read my whole novel. He stayed up most of the night to finish it. I woke up the next morning to find the manuscript sitting on the kitchen table with a sticky note that said, “Loved it.” You can bet that made me feel good.

While pets and sports and birthday parties are not unusual father/daughter activities, my dad has also given me a few gifts over the years that aren’t quite so common.

Made With Love

Some of the coolest things my dad has given me are his stories and his artwork, which are kind of the same thing. His stories paint vivid pictures and his artwork definitely tells tales, sometimes literally. I have four binders full of the mail he sent me in college, each letter inside an envelope covered with his ink and watercolor drawings, many depicting funny family moments. And I have a computer file full of his life stories, emailed to me in pieces over the past seven years.

To see some of his artwork envelopes and read one of his stories (about chickens), visit this Father’s Day post from four years ago.

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A snippet from one of his painted envelopes, depicting a classic dad moment

Dad also likes to make things. I have a beautiful and very sturdy (read “extremely heavy”) bookcase that he built for me in college and a walking stick that he carved and varnished with his own two hands. I also have several homemade Halloween decorations including this awesome haunted birdhouse he gave me for my birthday in 2014.

Build a nest if you DARE, little birdies!
Build a nest if you DARE, little birdies!

Stories and drawings and homemade crafts still aren’t too far outside the norm, when it comes to presents, but a few of my father’s gifts have been truly weird.

People Say I Have My Father’s Eyes… They’re Half Right

About fifteen years ago, my dad gave me a coin purse made out of a frog. You heard me.

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Several months ago, my dad gave me an Aztec figurine, found in Mexico decades ago and given to him by a friend. It resides in this plastic container because, three times when I’ve picked it up, it has shot an electric pain into my thumb for reasons I can’t explain. I’m not kidding.

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And recently, my dad gave me his glass eye. Well, not HIS glass eye. It’s the glass eye that he’s had since I was a kid, the one he took out of the lost and found at his work after it had been there for years. I’m assuming he washed it at some point. (Note: His real eyes, like mine, are hazel. This one is brown.) Anyway, now it’s mine.

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Weird? Yes. Totally. TOO weird? No. Not at all. You see, my dad knows me. He probably knew that I would keep that frog purse in my classroom and find delight in shocking my students with it. He probably knew that the cool (and also creepy) Aztec figurine would end up in one of my horror stories. (Draft still in progress.) He probably knew that every time I looked at the glass eye, I would think about how he sometimes used to clasp his hands over his face and stagger around, complaining that he had something in his eye before finally saying, “I think I got it,” and opening his fingers to reveal… the glass eye resting in his palm. And he knew that would make me smile.

I love my father’s gifts. All of them. And I love him.

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Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you! 🙂

 

Posted in Random

Mystery Solved! What’s Inside the Art Machine

A few months ago, I discovered a cool cigarette-machine-turned-art-machine at my local Whole Foods store and promptly broke it. (It was an accident, I promise.) Since it didn’t work, I didn’t get to find out what sorts of treasures awaited inside.

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This week, I went back and was delighted to find the sad little “out of order” sign gone. I decided to try my luck again, and this time it worked! (Which is a relief because I didn’t want to to tell the nice guys at Whole Foods that I broke their machine again.)

Which treasures did I choose?

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Why, slug soap and monsters, naturally.

Monsters = no brainer. I like monsters. I also think slugs are pretty cool when I am not stepping on them or trying to keep my dog from eating them. The slug on this package reminds me of the large plastic slug that I found and made into a necklace for my good friend Emily. (Yes, of course she liked it. Why do you ask?) I couldn’t resist seeing it in soap form.

I was so excited to find out what was inside these cigarette-pack-shaped boxes that I opened them up in my car. The advertising did not lie. I got a monster and slug soap.

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The monster is a little weird. Ok, they’re both weird. But the monster is more weird because I’m not sure what to do with it. At first I thought it was a magnet, which would have been cool, but no. It’s just a tiny painting of a vampire (with a side of Dracula trivia). I think this one is destined to become a stocking stuffer. (Get ready, friends and family! Any one of you could be the lucky recipient!)

The slug soap is, in my opinion, much cooler and also quite practical. I look forward to washing my hands with this little guy and watching him melt away like he’s been salted. (Don’t do that to real slugs! It’s mean!)

So, mystery solved. What’s inside the weird art machine? Weird art. Its existence makes me happy.

Posted in Random

The Coolest Thing That Didn’t Work

Ok, this is barely even counts as a post.  It’s totally random.  (So random, in fact, that I had to create a new category called “Random” because: A) This does not fit into any of my other categories and B) I predict more future randomness.)  It’s also more of a tease than anything.

Today, while having lunch at the Whole Foods near my house, I noticed this:

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At first I thought it was a cigarette machine, but that seemed highly unusual, since the last working cigarette machine I saw was in Germany, and I was currently surrounded by organic foods, signs telling me to live a healthy lifestyle, and so many different waste receptacles that I almost got a little confused throwing away my compost-able lunch container.

It was not a cigarette machine, it was an ART MACHINE. !!!  Check this out:

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Pretty cool, huh?  I couldn’t quite understand what was in there, but I knew I wanted it.  I had no cash, so I bought a few things from the store, paid with my debit card, got some five dollar bills and went to work choosing my selection.  It turns out it wasn’t that difficult.  (Monsters!  Duh.)

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Here’s where the story gets disappointing.  Whatever was in my cigarette-pack-shaped monster box got stuck in the machine.  Ever an optimist, I put in another five dollars, hoping to unstick it and get a second one, but no.  At that point nothing would work.  I had, apparently, broken the art machine.  😦

The guys at Whole Foods were super nice and gave me my ten dollars back, but the man who “knows the machine” was not there, so they put a sad little “Out of Order” sign on it and I went about my day.  But I will be back!  I love this idea (despite the fact that it didn’t work for me today) and I can’t wait to find out what treasures await inside.

Has anyone else seen these anywhere?  Has anyone successfully bought something from one?  If so, please share!