03 February 2010

list four: gold stars I deserve (or, things I'm good at)



1. parallel parking. I am an excellent parallel parker. and when I say excellent, I mean excellent. I swear, I can practically hear an imaginary audience go wild as I reverse-swerve my honda into each impossible-looking space. I am not going to lie. I have a gift and I know it.

2. kickball. not that I play anymore but back in the day, I was the stuff of which elementary school kickball legends are made. when it was my turn to kick, the entire opposing team spread to the far corners of the field. because I was not a kicker to be messed with. unfortunately, my kickball career peaked near the end of second grade when my team won the summer tournament and I took the title of MVP. the grand prize? a dairy queen banana split, which I lovingly placed in the freezer once I'd licked the whipped cream off the top and scooped out all the hot fudge. and it sat in the freezer for three whole days (an edible testament to my rock star kickball capabilities) until finally, I was forced to throw it out. nothing left but half a frozen banana that looked as if it had been gnawed on by small animals. shortly after, I lost interest in kickball. my dreams of becoming a solid gold dancer had just taken hold and clearly, I'd gone as far as I could with the whole kickball thing.

3. gift wrapping. I have been told that my great grandmother was seriously skilled in this particular area, that her gifts were exquisitely wrapped with fancy flocked papers and complicated bows. I have been told I take after her. I don't know about the exquisite part but I do like to make a package look pretty, I do. I love the smell of scotch tape, the way scissors quietly glide through wide stretches of paper. I love the choosing of patterns and colors and papers and ribbon and string. I love me a handmade tag. and I'll never say no to a pile of presents that need to be wrapped. not ever. I can't help myself.

4. spelling. I was the girl who won all the spelling bees in school. now, I am the go-to girl in the house when a spelling crisis arises. if I close my eyes, I can see the word. and it is almost always perfectly spelled. am secretly convinced that this is my superpower in life and would not say no to a special cape. should a special super speller cape ever be presented to me.

5. birthday parties. when I was seven, I ordered a book from the school book fair called 'popular party games'. I read it from cover to cover (again and again) until I had every game in the book memorized. and then I began to plan imaginary birthday parties with a wild variety of themes. no surprise then, that I can throw down when it comes to birthday parties. I am the mother that throws the curve off for all the other mothers. though I swear, that is not my intention. I do it because I love it, because my kids love it. because I am a sucker for crepe paper and lanterns, for party hats and horns. I think the assembly of the goody bag is a lost art. I go crazy over cakes. I've baked them in all shapes and sizes-- race cars, mermaids, robots, legos. more importantly, I've lived to tell about it. I take great care with details and take great pride in the fact that I spend little money. and more than a few times, I've been asked, would I ever consider doing this professionally? why, yes I would but what would be the fun in that? it's only fun now because the parties I throw are for the people I love most in life. I go all out because I can. but also because I know there will come a time when I will not be allowed to plan and scheme and throw these very special birthday parties. in fact, there may come a time when I will not be allowed within fifty feet of the party. but I try very hard not to think about that. I try very very hard.

(four lists down, forty-eight to go)

40 comments:

  1. Someone commented on one of the photos from your daughter's birthday party "will you be my mother" and I get it. I mean, I don't really want you to be my mother I just want someone to throw me a sweet and stylish party with cupcakes and Chinese parasols.

    As for numbers 1, 3, and 4 - we are soul sisters.

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  2. This is why I sent you what I sent you.
    The wrapping and party making (okay maybe
    not so much the kickball, but definitely the
    parallel parking) and winning a spelling bee
    in the 3rd grade... I so get it.

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  3. About number 4, you could be the real life Word Girl :P

    http://pbskids.org/wordgirl/

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  4. hehe this post really made me smile :)

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  5. I am in love with your birthday party creations! Your cakes are lovely! The car was sooo cute!
    Also, I am with you on the 4 - who could ever say no to a pile of presents?
    Sometimes I still feel like a child and the wrapping of my presents is more important than what's inside.

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  6. you deserve the entire box of gold stars. and then some. and I'm envious of the parking skill.

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  7. The Super Power of Spelling... I can't read anything with typo's/spelling mistakes in without my brain having to stop, correct, & carry on... I'll fight you for the cape!

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  8. ooooh, andrea, i love love love your list! though my parallel parking skills are miserable, my super hero powers include sending packages in the mail (the newest round is complete with homemade marshmallows), being able to unpack and make a 'home' in any ol' apartment in a single afternoon, 'mercy fights' - though i peaked in grade four...and organizing brunch (i'm olympic calibre)...
    I'm going to find me a box of those gold stars this afternoon!! *L

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  9. you need a cape. definitely.

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  10. Absolutely lovely! I think everyone should make a list like this. It put a smile on my face.

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  11. lovely list! i'm a new reader, fan, and fellow list-maker. did you see jon stewart interview the author of "the checklist" last night? :)

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-february-3-2010/atul-gawande

    p.s. i can't stop listening to "know this" thank you.

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  12. what a cool list!
    i can not parallel park, but i was the spelling queen of my school. :)

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  13. I am the spelling queen at my house. And I love the idea of a list of gold stars. :)

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  14. Hello, I just found your blog and well, I am in love. You quite often take the words out of my mouth. I think I might go sew you that special cape right now!

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  15. so, i'm not so good at parallel parking or spelling, but i am one mean girt wrapper ;)

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  16. love your lists! and your blog! and i share your gift of stupendous parallel parking!! :-)

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  17. love this thought at it's all good stuff

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  18. I love this list! I aspire to be a fine birthday party thrower someday-my mom once made my sister a ghost cake with flaming eyes-it astounded me. I can't wait to astound my kid with such things.

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  19. can i be you when i grow up?

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  20. I love the confidence that you have from your list. It seems that if everyone could sincerely sit down and focus on a list of things they are good at or enjoy...I think they'd be walking around with more smiles on their faces and share that love.

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  21. This is such a good list. I'm with commenter alexandria, we should all make a list like this for ourselves.

    I used to have the parking touch, but it was sadly lost as we moved back to a smaller town. And my spelling skills are diminishing with age.

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  23. well clearly, from all these comments and super spellers there needs to be a spell-off in the blog world somehow ;)

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  24. wow- these are amazing, and the birthday parties - man I want you to live by me and help me out, why oh why can't I have this gift :)

    ps. kick ball totally rocked! xoxo

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  25. OK, you DO throw the most awesome parties. I just looked at the flikr set and I really wanted to cry because it was so great.
    I have been my own party planner since I was a small girl. Throwing parties makes my mom very nervous. It is not her strength. So I planned my own and she did what I asked. It worked out nicely for us.
    BUT, I kinda wish someone would throw me a party. In fact, this has inspired the theme for my next list: things I want but have never told anyone.
    #1 on the the list? To have an really cool birthday party thrown for me. My birthday is in August. Do you think you'll be free?
    You are truly inspiring. Thanks,
    Greta

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  26. ooh! i think i get the silver star in all except #5...i'm terrible at parties, going or throwing! i think an adult spelling bee would be fun.

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  27. i miss gold stars. i love your list. i love your art.

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  28. I recently found your blog and am really enjoying your lists. I have to admit, I've been called a word/spelling snob by my sisters and my husband. On rainy days in elementary school we played kickball in the gym. If you could hit the back wall, it was an automatic home-run! I was the home-run queen! We played kickball at our family reunion last summer and the adults were all so competitive that the kids quickly left the game. Maybe someone could organize an adult kickball league!

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  29. You're incredibly inspiring! You most certainly deserve every gold star and then some!

    I can only aspire to be as bold.

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  30. My daughter's first birthday party was a huge success! I think I would have done you proud - Pink Poodle in Paris, the party-goers got eiffel tower sippy cups, the cake was a HUGE pink eiffel tower (my husband didn't know how big a full sheet was!) and the guest of honor got to wear a pink poodle ear headband. I can't wait to do it all over again next year!

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  31. wow! after looking at all those pictures, i want you to come decorate my birthday party! so inspiring and fun! love it! :)

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  32. you seem like you'd be the kickball champion! and, yes party favors should never go away.

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  33. I love your list! Just found your blog - so very cool - ALTHOUGH - I do have to say that I might challenge you for *the-greatest-parallel-parker* title! I will yield the spelling, wrapping and party-throwing skills, but I had to laugh because I thought I was the only one who was insanely proud of my parallel parking skills! :)

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  34. You would be ALWAYS allowed to throw me a birthday party! I love to organise parties myself, but I am absolutely impressed by your ideas and attention to detail.

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  35. i love that your super power would be spelling. that's probably mine too... everyone always asks me how to spell things. i see the words in my head too. :) it would make a cool super power indeed! what a fun post! i'm loving the lists!

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  36. you are so funny. please write a book so that i can have pages and pages of your wit to read and take with me. just so i can have a chuckle at any given moment.

    my husband and i live in TN but both grew up in northern california and miss the west coast. we've been contemplating a move to Portland for awhile now...and sometimes i think about how terrifying it will be to not know a soul...but then i think..."well, andrea lives there, and i just maybe, maybe could bump into her in a cafe somewhere" and that makes me happy.

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  37. wow, I'm jealous. I love your parties, nothing better than a good, themed party!

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  38. #4 spelling. this made me laugh. never before have i met another person who secretly thought it was her superpower to spell words. i truly always thought this about myself as a child (and even now?) i am the go-to speller in my family too. i wear my cape under my clothes and no one is the wiser to this secret super power (and you now too)

    i love your blog and the joy you share here.

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  39. I am finally catching up with all my reading after a very long month and a half and after hours with google reader, this is the first comment I've actually made. But I was compelled by those stars...

    ...and because I am going to have to challenge you to a gift-wrapping dual the next time a gift-giving opportunity arises. Like, say, my return to the west coast?

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  40. Seriously you are THE BEST at birthday parties! Can you make a list with just birthday party themes (and coordinating games?!?! Please?!) Apparently my skills are struggling

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