Open Thread

Monday Flashback OT: Heartfelt Gifts

Happy Monday, Persephoneers! I hope the week has gotten off to a good start. My week started yesterday, with some lovin’ from my children. They are finally at the age where they get excited about holidays to which they contribute, not only ones for which they receive.

The celebration actually started Friday when I picked my son up. He ran to me, smile huge, announcing “Happy Mother’s Day!” and bearing a gift. It was jar of dirt. Actually, it’s a jar that may or may not eventually sprout lavender.

Which got me thinking of the handmade gifts my brothers and I made for our parents over the years – some of them were better than others. My favorite was a cake that my brother and I decided to bake and decorate for our parents’ anniversary. With red gel decorator’s icing. I *think* the cake tasted okay, but the presentation looked more like something from a crime lab.

What have you created or received from loved ones where “it’s the thought that counts” was the real gift? How’s your week going?


25 replies on “Monday Flashback OT: Heartfelt Gifts”

Sorry, guys, but I just have to vent because I feel completely useless right now. I have been turned down for yet another job interview process – and this from a museum that operates under the “two ticks” system, which guarantees you an interview if you have a disability and meet their general criteria (I qualify as disabled in the UK). I can’t even get an interview when they’re literally giving them away. I just can’t take any more rejection. I’ve been unemployed since I got my Master’s nearly nine months ago and I am this close to just giving up on all of it.

Oh, that’s so shit. I’m sorry. Jobhunting sucks and often seems so arbitrary. I’m about to start jobhunting again myself and dreading it. Could you call and ask for feedback on your application (when you’re feeling better) ?

It’s possible. They got over 400 applications for the position anyway, so it’s not like I was a shoo-in. What kills me is that they only ask you to declare your disability on a form that’s kept completely separate from the rest of your application, for “privacy reasons” – so of course no one talks to each other and nobody knew I qualified for the “two ticks” rule. I’m so frustrated and upset right now I can barely handle it.

Whenever one of my (babysat) kids gives me something random like a sticker, sequin, pacifier, or wetly-gummed-on-cookie. For the latter two, I always politely decline their kind offer; as they are usually nonverbal if they’re offering me such things, they sort of shrug and go back to pacifying/wetly gumming said cookie. For the first two, they’re so pleased with themselves, I absolutely couldn’t do anything but ensure that it’s the best gift I’ve ever gotten in my whole entire life ever.

My week: I have a wedding this weekend, of someone I happened to date in high school, and is also part of my bunch of high school friends. In high school, we had a particuarly messy breakup with extended aftermath as many 16-year-olds do, and it caused tension way longer than it should have. So, seven (yes. SEVEN.) years later, another person in this group called and wasn’t sure if I was going to the wedding, (for obvious reasons, they said?) and I’m a little annoyed. Because now I’m going to wonder who else is going to make a comment, and I don’t want to deal with high school again. Perhaps I misinterpreted, but don’t think I did. And I’m sad because I was actually really excited about the wedding, and really like the couple, and I didn’t want to feel like everybody thinks I’m an unemployed loser who still lives with her parents and hasn’t gotten over her high school boyfriend and now it’s tainted it a little and I’m mad because he’s the first friend I have getting married and being a grown-up and it was going to be special.

I hope there’s an open bar.

I’m back! I’m back! Had some computer problems (red wine spilled on a keyboard will do that) and so I’m writing from a shiny new laptop that took its time in getting here.

I had a weird/awesome blast from the past tonight. Someone was mentioning how there is a torrent that has a lot of the old Geocities websites indexed and preserved. I thought to myself, “Man, I’m pretty sure I had a Geocities page back in the 90’s built as an archive for a bunch of horrible fan fiction I used to write in high school!” I went looking through the index for it and didn’t find it. Little disappointed. So on a whim, I typed in the name of my old website into Google…and it still exists in its entirety! Turns out it was a Tripod website so its still up. So, I’m going to spend some time this evening reading 10+ year old fan fiction that I wrote as a high schooler. I’m both completely mortified and fascinated as to what I’ll find.

But I missed you guys and I’m back now!

Today my city hit a record high (88 for this day) and I have realized that one of my favorite things about summer is all the different types of cool beverages there are that I love. I just made some perfect lemonade. It is So Good. Perfect after an evening spent mowing the lawn.

This is it: 1 cup simple syrup, 1 cup lemon juice, 4 cups water. Stir, drink, refresh.

Simple syrup is 1 part sugar mixed until clear with 1 part hot water. (cool before using in drinks) I buy lemons in bulk and juice all of them, storing the pulpy goodness in an old, washed, juice container. This way, I can make lemonade in minutes. And I can use the juice or simple syrup in mixed drinks when the occasion arises. :)

I love making gifts for people. Last year when I was strapped for cash, I went to Ross, bought a frame that holds six pictures and craftly took pictures of the flowers in my grandmother’s yard. I filled the $6 frame with the best results – including a picture of the silhouette of her dog sitting under a tree. …I think she teared up a little. The picture set now hanging in ‘my’ room at her house. :)

Then, last year about a month before Father’s Day, I serendipitously found a manilla envelope full of my grandfather’s keepsakes from the Korean War in a trunk that usually holds all my childhood memorabilia. With the help of a trip to the craft store (and a coupon!) I got the tools necessary to make a shadowbox with all the items including: a dollar bill signed by all the men in his company (? I don’t know the appropriate term), a slip of currency from Japan, a few metal bobs he made, regiment pins, a few trucking company pins that I found in the mix and the lighter he carried while on tour. It was engraved with his base in California, his name and his regiment number. It was basically everything my grandfather was. He had died suddenly a few years prior and we all had a hard time dealing with it. Finding this envelope was a gift to us all. And that actually did make my dad cry. The big, good kind. Kinda like what I’m doing right now just thinking of it. The box now sits above the fireplace in my parents’ bedroom. His pocketknife (I didn’t add that to the shadowbox) sits on my nightstand.

Save your favorite things, guys. No matter how small. They will one day be direct links to loved ones. Even if they are rusted and you can’t get the blade out. It matters.

On Saturday my husband took Lexie to the plant sale fundraiser at the local fire station and she picked me out a hanging plant with almost every flower broken off. She had told me earlier that she was getting me a red present, and they were in fact red, so that was amusing. Then yesterday he was asking if there was anything I really wanted and she started yelling, “MOM! We got you a present! We brought you the red flowers!” She seemed highly offended that he offered to get me something else. Oh, 3-year-olds.

The other real “it’s the thought that counts” present was a couple Christmases ago when he bought me a stand mixer. A Cuisinart stand mixer. I looked quite puzzled, and then he got kinda huffy because he thought that was a better brand than Kitchen Aid and I should have specified if that was what I wanted. I had literally never seen any other brand of mixer sold anywhere so I figured it was obvious. It actually works just fine, it’s just kinda ugly and I have to reassure him that I like it every single time I use it. That part’s fucking annoying.

My sister gave me a pendant for my birthday the month after the kiddo was born.  It is an Amethyst, her birth stone, and I loooove it.  It doesn’t really count as homemade, though, because her jewelry is amazing.  Still.  Love.

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