It’s a bit more lonely in my home office than in recent days. I didn’t even know I was missing anything, but after my husband found a lost Chihuahua just before Christmas, I found — and my whole family found — surprising pleasure in its presence.
We loved the sound of his little feet scurrying across the floor, the feel of his warm body snuggling onto our lap or beside us in bed, the sound of his plaintive whining when a favorite person would leave the house. We called him “Cookie,” because that was the incentive my husband used to lure him closer after he’d been hanging around his company’s business park for a few weeks.
We brought him home just before Christmas. He was skin and bones, all painful angles. He smelled. One of his legs was had gotten entangled in his collar, which resulted in a painful-looking abrasion. And, yet, we avowed big-dog people saw light and love in his eyes. We’re probably too soft-hearted for our own good. But what else could we do? Here was an obviously lost dog — a tiny thing with very little fur to protect it from the cold — that was clearly injured and hungry. Could we leave him to his fate? Obviously not.
After taking some pictures, we called all the local shelters, posted in every online place where local people hang out, and, finally, put up a flyer at the local convenience store at the center of town.
For past Easters, I have been organized enough to buy at least a dozen white eggs from the store for dying, thinking the colorful dyes would show up best on a white backdrop. This year, what with broken-down cars, high fevers, scorpion stings and second-degree burns, it’s all been a little more “on the fly,” shall we say.
I thought this coud pose a problem in a few ways. One, the eggs we normally buy — from a neighbor — are so fresh, that they’re not ideal for hard-boiling. I didn’t actually know this until the last few years, but it turns out that eggs that are a little older are the best for hard-boiling, because the shells separate from the egg more easily. Then, the eggs we normally buy are various shades of brown and blue, rather than the white I once thought were ideal. We also decided to forego the store-bought dye kits (with stickers) that we’ve used in past Easters, and that I remember from my suburban childhood. So, we were in a bit of uncharted territory.
We started out with the brown and blue eggs, used paste food coloring (with vinegar) originally purchased for cake decorating, and they turned out really lovely. I think they’re more natural-looking than the pastels we normally see, and a freckled egg we dyed green turned out especially beautifully, I think.
Hope you’ve enjoyed your own Easter egg dying, if you celebrate, and that you’re having a lovely holiday!
SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.
For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), up to $125,000.
Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.
I recall a frosty early morning around this time of year when I was a child. We were in the car headed to my grandparents’ house in East Texas for the holiday, and we’d routinely wake at 5 for such excursions. My brother and I would sit groggily half-asleep in the back seat as we made our way. There’s a lot I don’t remember about this occasion. I don’t recall whether it was Christmas or Thanksgiving. I don’t recollect how old I was. I can’t say whether my father was with us, or not. But the memory of the trip stays with me, all the same.
As we drove, my mother suddenly pulled off the freeway, and descended into an unfamiliar neighborhood, onto unfamiliar streets. This was unexpected. We stopped in front of a house I’d never seen before. My mother got out, took a fully-cooked turkey out of the trunk, and walked it up to the front door. She knocked, handed it in when someone answered, and came back to the car. We kids were full of questions. She explained that this was someone less-fortunate, who wasn’t able to buy their own holiday dinner, and we were helping the family have a special day.
My heart swells when I think of this now, maybe more because she just went about taking care of this family without telling us about it in advance. She didn’t particularly want acknowledgement, and, even though she didn’t use it as a “teaching moment” for her kids, the message sunk in. It was the best gift I’ve ever had a part in giving, even if my role was simply to sit in the car and wait.
This year, we are having our struggles, but we have it pretty darned good compared to a lot of folks. I bawled when hearing about the letters to Santa this year. Instead of asking for big-screen TVs and Wiis, it seems kids are asking for winter coats, shoes, and food.
So, totally late, as usual, I called the local Brown Santa program, the Sheriff’s Department initiative that coordinates requests from those in need, and donations from schools, churches, and individuals. I left a message on the coordinator’s voicemail, not expecting much because it was the 15th, and the deadline for applying to be matched with a family was December 3. So, when the phone rang, I opened with an apology. So sorry for being so late to call, I said. Well, she said, there is one family that had been overlooked. Somehow, their application had gone astray, and they were in danger of getting nothing. It was a single mother, with two young children almost the same ages as ours. When I called the mother, she opened with a request for winter clothes and a coat. I knew it was meant to be, that we were meant to help this family.
And we will. What’s a little unexpected is that this is as much of a gift to us, as it will be to them. It reminds us to be grateful for all we have, and to appreciate the basics like warm clothes, a house and coats. It is truly the best gift I’ve ever given, or been given.
Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Android phone. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.