Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tuppence, Tuppence, Tuppence A Bag...

So I don't think I ever introduced my chickens!

Here they are...

Uh, yeah... I've had them a while. :)


Q: Are they laying eggs?
A: Not yet. Although they are indeed hens (for a while we weren't sure; it's nigh impossible to tell when they're young), hens don't just pop out of their eggs ready to lay the next generation a.s.a.p.  They will usually start laying at around 5-6 months of age, though in some cases they'll wait 'til the spring to begin the process.  My chickens three will be 6 months old this November, so we're just waiting to see....

Q: Mmm, chicken! Are you going to eat them?
A: NO. Not only am I a vegetarian, but they're my pets! Do I ask you if you're going to eat your dog? RAWR.  Stop causing trouble!

Q: What are their names, and how do you tell them apart?
A: The yellow one is C.C., short for Chickity China The Chinese Chicken.  The black one with the gold specks on her chest is Servo.  The black one with feathers on her feet is Gwynn (short for Penguin, which is what I called her originally, because she had a white chest as a chick.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Scattered Childhood Memories #3: Exchange Students

The summer I turned five, my family hosted two teenage exchange students from Japan. Their names were Yuko and Naomi. 

At first, I didn't know quite what to think of these two visitors. They smelled different. They were different. They knew very little English, something which I had never encountered before. Over the years, my family had -- and would -- host a variety of visitors, but these girls were (pardon the pun) the most foreign of all.

One night during their stay, my dad decided to try to teach Yuko and Naomi a card game known in our family as "Knock" (but which my grandpa calls "Polish Poker." Who knows what it is.) It was simultaneously fascinating and frustrating trying to watch my dad explain the rules of this relatively simple game -- in English -- to two girls who barely understood the language. But bless them, they tried, and with much laughter, everyone finally got the hang of the game.

Another time, the girls -- along with other members of their exchange group -- put on a magic show. One of the tricks involved pouring milk into a newspaper -- and keeping it there. I mean seriously, no milk dripped out. I'm still wondering exactly how they did that!

I remember one day we all went up to Mount Hood and rode the alpine slide up at timberline. This was my first time on a ski lift. Another time, we went to the beach. There's a picture of me in the back of our car, leaning my head against Naomi's shoulder. We're both fast asleep. Suffice it to say, I got over my initial apprehension and became close to those two.

One thing that helped bring us all together was origami. I've always loved art projects, so when the girls showed me the fancy little papers and told me I could make them into shapes, I was all aboard with that idea. Except for one thing... I wanted to use scissors and tape on my projects. Yuko and Naomi and even my parents tried to convince me that origami did not require those tools -- only folding. Yeah, but every time I tried to fold anything, I wound up with a big wad of paper. But the girls were ever patient.

I suppose Yuko and Naomi are in their 40s now. I wonder if they ever wonder about my family? Have they ever been back to the U.S.?  Where have their lives taken them? Do they have children? Grandchildren? They could, you know... that was 25 years ago, I mean... anything's possible. 


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Scattered Childhood Memories #2: Innocence Lost

For my 7th birthday I've received a gumball machine money bank.  A dime, nickel, or penny'll get you one gumball. I love the machine because 1) I love gum, and 2) I love buying things. Before long, all my minor coins are sacrificed to the machine.

A few days later, along comes my friend Beth, who takes one look at the gumball machine, pops off the bottom, and shows me how to not only get my money back, but to get all the gumballs I want, whenever I want, without having to pay. Sheer brilliance!

Of course, soon the gum is gone, and I don't have much in the way of $avings to show for my losses.  And so the gumball machine becomes a useless toy, like a Pez dispenser without the Pez (unless you collect them, which I began to do in my late teens. They're much easier to collect than gumball machines, though. Where was I going with this?)

So, to summarize:

I was ecstatic when Beth first showed me the secret of the gumball machine.  But I was sad soon after, once the gum had all been devoured.  I wished she had never shown me how to open the bottom. Wished that had been left a mystery.

Wished I wasn't so darn greedy.

Woe to the gumballs.