Saturday, December 10, 2011

How Small Were We?

Last evening on the way home from the movie theatre my wife and I chose to stop at the Leesburg outlet center to see if Gymboree had restocked its shelves. The day before she had been to Gymboree hoping to find something for her two nieces (aged five and two) and two nephews (ten and eight years old). What she found were nearly empty shelves.

We found stocked shelves and only a few patrons – precisely what my mental health needs while Christmas shopping.

Not being a parent, children’s clothing has never been a priority for me. And though my varied travels have brought me in contact with a wide range of people, never among them anyone involved in designing children’s clothing. In fact, aside from recognizing that children usually don’t run around naked I’ve hardly thought of children's clothing over the fifty years since I stopped wearing it.

It turns out some of it is cute: little girls’ t-shirts that say “Sweet & SASSY” and chest-covering depictions of T-Rex on shirts for boys for instance. Now my mother would have died before letting my sister wear a “Sweet & SASSY” shirt even if “sassy” were in lower case or merely a footnote. And Hiroko wasn’t at all convinced that her ten-year old nephew would like a giant dinosaur on his clothes. I know she is wrong about this, but Christmas is no time to declaim that men come from Mars at a very young age.

But the real eye-opening discovery of my first ever trip to Gymboree was finding such small clothes. At one point I stood thunderstruck that a boy’s shoulders could fit in the narrow gap between the sleeves. Fold one of the little girl’s shirts once or twice and it would fit in a pocket. My hands, nothing noteworthy in my keyboard-using profession, looked huge over the seat of those empty blue jeans.

The young people wearing those little clothes are literally in our huge hands whether we be parents or Uncle and Auntie. Juxtaposing the power in our hands against the delicacy of those tiny bodies reinforces the responsibility to treat them with reverence. For within each of those small frames God has placed a delicate spirit depending upon us and preparing to shape our unfolding world.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cell Phone Sanity
Would this work?

I understand greed. I'm just not sure why we are so supportive of it.

We all want to talk on mobile phones. Many of us want to surf and do email on mobile devices. Some want to use Droids, some iPhones, some Blackberries. All of that is cool.

But why do we put up with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc, using our airwaves to provide competing services when we could have one system on which any manufacturer's phone could work. The carriers subsidize the phone purchase price to get us stuck with their service contracts, virtually none of which are understandable.

I'd rather have our taxes provide the service and let each of us choose which device suits our need - much the way we choose which cars to drive down the common highway.

Of course without Verizon Wireless and the others advertising heavily some other industry would have to pick up the tab for our TV shows. Maybe we can't win.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Prize Is Mine!

This year's award for the last yard mowed on our Street goes to me. I will spend the rest of this Easter Sunday basking in the good life that awaits me.

Even though I now work at home most days I have been assiduously avoiding yard work during the normal working hours. Do you think this was because I don't want anyone to see me working on the lawn when I should be in the office on the second floor? Nah, not really. It's because I just didn't want to do lawn work - perhaps a gift from Poe's imp of the perverse.

Over the past several weeks I've been in my office listening as a retired neighbor drove his lawn tractor around his yard cutting grass. The professional lawn service companies would come to other yards and work their magic. I'd hear their high-powered equipment droning. I'd give them a look through my street-facing window, and wonder if there was a chance in hell that they would come over and do my lawn also. That hasn't happened yet.

Finally on Wednesday evening the last neighbor with long over-the-winter grass got home early enough to ride his tractor over all of his yard. That meant that the prize was mine. All I had to do was mow my own lawn so that people would know that I wasn't dead or uninterested in the competition.

Today, Easter 2011, I rolled the Honda self-propelled mower from the garage, filled the tank and cut the grass.

My prize? You may be wondering what I won. A free at-home service call for my lawn mower? An azalea for that needs-something spot along the west side of the driveway? A glass of Gatorade?

No. There is no prize. In fact, there was no competition. I didn't attempt to win anything by taking so long to mow my lawn. I have just been too tired and lazy.

But having mown once in the season the next time will be (or at least seem to be) much less of an ordeal. Isn't that so often the case with those chores we put off over and over?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Turkey Infestation in Round Hill
An odd sight for a couple of ex-New Yorkers
Some guests strutted into our backyard - a little too late for Thanksgiving dinner.