Tag Archives: gifts

book fairies.


how sweet to find this book 

 sitting outside on the window ledge of a downtown store  

on a sunny saturday

just waiting for someone

to pick it up and take it home to read. 

gratitude to the book fairies.

“books are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. books are humanity in print.”

-barbara w. tuchman



I love this gift

of my very own mini bar

from my very-long-time-big-hearted friends

it fits perfectly into la casita

and so do they.


“it is the small things in life which count;

it is the inconsequential leak

which empties the biggest reservoir.”

*charles comiskey

*Charles Comiskey  (1859 – 1931), also nicknamed “Commy” or “The Old Roman”, was an American Major League Baseball player, manager and team owner. He was a key person in the formation of the American League, and was also founding owner of the Chicago White Sox.

worth more.


try as he might

my colleague was not able to convince anyone

to steal from him

or trade with him

 for this monstrosity of a white elephant gift 

that he randomly chose

at our faculty holiday party

it was as huge as a shield, very heavy, and not the most beautiful

(even said on the back that it was microwaveable,

but would not come anywhere near fitting

into any microwave i’ve ever seen,

and was edged in metal)

but we did laugh about it the entire time

and that is certainly worth something. 

‘the manner of giving is worth more than the gift.’      

-pierre corneille

open it.


apparently i have a bit of a reputation for opening my gifts early.

how bad is it when my sister thinks

i may get overexcited

and try to intercept a delivery at the post office?

i’m not worried,  she’ll never know…

p.s. if she happens to be reading this,

i’d just like to say for the record 

that it was already a little bit open when i found it.

kindness, like a boomerang, always returns. ~author unknown



this summer

i’ve so enjoyed

spending time

at home

in my cozy little cottage


family and friends and animals


thinking back


last summer


i set off


a long journey

to see my family

in their home

so far away

and when

i returned

and walked in

i was



when i found

what was waiting for me


on my table

was a basket

of fresh peaches

and muffins

and notes

welcoming me home


they were

filled with

so much

love and caring


a surprise gift

had been

given to me

by my dear friends


in my absence


completed many projects

i had been talking about

for a very long time

mainzer cats

they had planned it all

and worked together

for weeks

husbands, wives, children

to make

my cottage

even more of

a home for me

they had


and shifts

and materials

and money

and sweat

and tools

and time

and hard labor

and they


my daughters

for my


and ideas

and wishes

and dreams

and most of all

what i saw

when i walked in


an incredible act


human kindness



couldn’t believe

what they had done for me


i cried


my daughter


‘mom, all of your stories end with you laughing or crying or sometimes both’


isn’t that the way

 all things should end?


you can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

~john wooden

image credits: leslielane.com, mainzercats

Children remind us to treasure the smallest of gifts, even in the most difficult of times. – Allen Klein




 and even when your special chocolate cupcake melts in the car,

you just stick the candles in sideways,

light them up,

and blow them out.

and you sing in celebration.

and you rename it a molten hot lava cupcake.

and you can then eat that volcanic overflow with a spoon and a smile.

Gifts have ribbons, not strings.  – Vanna Bonta



i traveled back from visiting my family in australia with this little gem in my bag. it was a super cool dino, who screamed like a banshee for 20 seconds when you squeezed its belly, and it was going to be a amazing and easy gift for baby j back in the states, when his birthday rolled around in 6 months. 

once on the trip, a unexpected logistical issue arose. periodically, and without any pattern or warning, i would hear it shriek in my carry- on bag. and, periodically, i would explain to those around me, and in customs and security, that it was simply a harmless toy, gone a bit bad. it was important that it made it home, as it was a gift for my grand baby j, one he simply could not live without. 

through some miracle of human kindness, it was allowed to travel all the way with me, and once home, i happily put it into my ‘box of upcoming and unusual gifts that people in my life cannot live without.’ every so often, i would hear it’s happy shriek, a bit muffled and coming from the box. i could not wait for the big day!

finally, j’s birthday was on the horizon and i took it out to wrap. i thought again about how he would be so happy to get this gift and annoy the whole family with it for hours on end. that is when i squeezed it myself,and noticed that things had clearly changed. now when i squeezed it, it would not make any noise at all and then when it finally did, it simply would not stop the shrieking for a long, long time!


i called my family in australia, and my daughter suggested that it may have a battery inside that needed changing. who knew? she actually was right, and i wrestled a battery out of it, unwinding the screw that was the size of a fairy hat, and found a replacement after a visit to numerous stores. at last, it had stopped screaming.

i took it to school to have my teaching partner do the required surgery to replace its life force, as she is much more tech-savvy than i, and thought the problem would soon be solved. the good news, is that it now had a fresh source of power, the bad – it refused to stop shrieking again, as soon as she put the battery in. she quickly removed it once more, and i decided to present it with its guts torn out, thinking i would replace its insides on-site, for dramatic effect. and i couldn’t leave the battery around, as he was little and might swallow it, so it had to be an all or nothing choice. this was turning out to be quite an amazing and easy gift!



i arrived at his house, and told the family the backstory and proceeded to insert the battery once more. of course, it began shrieking again immediately and baby j loved it! and the rest of the family hated it and asked me/begged me to remove the battery immediately! i took it back out and we found the above unusual note on the neck tag of the dino/banshee. and it kind of made sense. 


we also discovered the reason that it may not have worked exactly right.

apparently the toymakers had imprinted it, but forgotten to actually add this button to the toy.


so, we decided to ignore the warning note and took things into our own hands. the outdoor fire pit was too snowy to work.


we took it back indoors, but we decided we would probably be killed by the fumes, if we followed through with its execution by fire.



so we threw the battery away, deep in the trash.

and dino joined the others who found themselves in the pile of extinct toys.

it was a long journey, but somehow we managed to all have a lot of fun with it.

and that was the gift.

The greatest of all gifts is the power to estimate things at their true worth
 François De La Rochefoucauld