Archive for January, 2014

Jun Ken Po

January 15th, 2014

File this one under Absurd Conversations.

Olivia and I were playing jun ken po. (That's rock-paper-scissors for our English-preferring readers.) The rules of any game with a six year old are so arbitrary. Plus, there's the overarching desire to win at all costs.

I usually let her win, but it's a little hard with a game of chance like jun ken po. We reveal our hands at the same time. I ended up winning the first three rounds. The games are best out of three.

She started getting salty on the fourth round when I had two points in my favor and it seemed clear that I was about to win again. She did this crazy move which was to unveil a new supercharged shape. Not the traditional rock, paper, or scissors, but rather, wave movements with her hands (like you might see in hula.)

I was like, Hold up here? What is this?

She declared, as if it was totally normal, "Oh, you can do other moves. Tornado, tsunami, volcano, dynamite, and God." The correlating hand motions are:

Tornado: Finger circles vertically

Tsunami: Wave motion with hands

Volcano: Hands form pyramid shape

Dynamite: Crossed hands over chest

God: Sign of cross with index fingers

Obviously, a lot of thought was put into this. She admitted it's all the rage with the first graders.

I do not remember inventing all this when I was a kid. I do remember inventing pencil with my cousins, and the rule was that pencil can write on paper, but rock and scissors can demolish pencil.

I pressed Olivia for the rules on each - which trumps which? - and she really couldn't tell me. She did clarify that God is the most powerful, so that wins all.

Further pushing for rules clarification resulted in confused vagaries. I mean, when do you pull out the God card and what prevents a total collapse of the game structure by have two players consistently use the sign of the cross? She could not provide me a logical answer.

So I busted out the God move in every subsequent game to test this out in a real-life example. This frustrated her and she insisted we stop.

I'm not sure how our game of jun ken po devolved, but somehow, I invented an animal version in which we would reveal a hand shape that look something like an animal and/or make the noise of the animal, and then we'd debate who won that round based on which animal is more powerful.

That was going weirdly until both of us coincidentally claimed cheetah with a ferocious, multi-pitched yowl, and Olivia did not want to have a tie. It became clear we really had some kinks to work out on that game.

Shortly thereafter, I accidentally presented a carnivorous pitcher plant (which ate her butterfly), and the game morphed into a vegetable version. Do you know how hard it is to represent an ear of corn? Or how much strategic thinking is required to define which vegetable wins: corn or lettuce?

I"m not sure this game will go viral, or that Hasbro will have a job waiting for me any time soon. We'll settle for silly fun for half an hour. And if you have a suggestion to improve our versions, I'd love to hear it. Maybe we can reprise a new and improved Jun Ken Po: Animals! or Jun Ken Po: Vegetables! 

Tooth Fairy holiday

January 13th, 2014

I'm sure the Tooth Fairies Union observes major holidays. At least, that's what I told Olivia.

She pulled two of her own teeth out- the day before and the day after Christmas. As I just detailed in a series of blogs on Utah, I was mired hip-deep in all kinds of issues of my own and couldn't pay attention to the stealth payout. The ripple effect means Claus carries my burden and is therefore tired, too, from single parenting.

The upshot is, nobody did squat for her regarding the missing teeth.

On Christmas Eve, I worked almost 11 hours, and Claus was tired from watching her all day. On the 25th, the first thing she did when she came to the living room was not be excited about opening gifts, but complain that the Tooth Fairy didn't come last night. We felt so bad for forgetting.

We told her it's a holiday across the land, not just for humans but also for magical beings. She accepted it, but wanted to know when Tooth Fairy's first day back in office would be.

We said December 26. We knew we were taking the red-eye from Oahu to Utah on the 25th and thought we were so smart for buying ourselves a little time.

The 26th arrived and as I bemoaned a few entries ago, I had major altitude sickness and a pathetic comedy of errors in my effort to resolve it. The night of the 26th I was still queasy and Claus was, well - tired.

Unfortunately for us, the kid pulled out another loose tooth on the 26th, and this created confusion as to the payment schedule. She wanted to do one tooth a night for two nights (ugh, really?) even though I tried to convince her to do it in one fell swoop (easier for me.)

So the night of the 26th, Olivia puts one tooth under her hotel pillow and we forget to leave money. The morning of the 27th she woke up, checked underneath, and exclaimed with sadness, "Mommy, the Tooth Fairy didn't come again."

I am a heel. A headachy heel, but a heel nonetheless. Right then and there I decided to double her money as a late fee.

When she went to the bathroom to get ready for the day, I ran to my wallet and shoved a fiver under the rollout bed's pillow. You know, the rollaway bed that Claus ordered for Olivia, but which he ends up sleeping on. Every time. Without fail. I tell him from the get-go to accept that it's going to become his bed, but hope springs eternal with him.

When Olivia came out, I said, "Honey, did you check every pillow? Maybe the Tooth Fairy got confused and left it under the other bed that you were supposed to sleep in." This is one terrible Tooth Fairy who takes too many breaks and can't get it right.

She was already bummed and didn't want to bother! I had to lead her by the hand to find it. When she did, she was a little excited.

The following night we actually, finally, remembered to leave money for the second tooth. In the morning, she didn't want to check for money. At this point, so many days from the pulling of the tooth, and with so many crushed hopes, she didn't really care if the stupid fairy visited.

Children have 20 baby teeth. Three down, 17 more to go. I might need a recertification exam before I take my next Tooth Fairy flight!

Second wife?

January 10th, 2014

I was telling my friend about my Utah trip. "Utah," Sisto mused. "Is that the place where they can have more than one wife?"

"THEY can have more than one wife. Claus cannot," I clarified.

When I saw Claus later, I told him that funny story.

"Oh, don't worry. I don't want a second wife," he assured me sweetly. "After this trip, one is all I can handle."

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Eggnog for an Invalid

January 9th, 2014

My friend Lea got me a book about Danish cooking. She thinks its funny since I currently have a house full of Scandinavians: from Denmark, my in-laws and my former babysitter. If you want to get technical, my husband and my child, too - both Danish passport holders. From Sweden, the babysitter's girlfriend.

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"You can cook something for your in laws," she laughed.



I open the book and the first thing I see is this: recipe for Eggnog for an Invalid.

Super politically incorrect, but the book was printed in 1965. I asked Claus if that could mean something other than what it means in English, and he said no.

I will not be making Invalid Eggnog for them. But there is something very funny about the whole thing.

Where to spend $50 million?

January 8th, 2014

Overheard at the Deer Valley real estate office within the ski resort on December 30, 2013:

Salesman to prospective client: "If you're looking to dump $50 million before year's end, we can help you."

Claus and I simultaneously gave each other sideways glances and laughed as we walked by. Sadly, that is a question I fear will never be posed to me.

Aren't we all looking to dump $50 million? I told my single friends this is the place to meet a man, and then I'd like a finder's fee.

Park City is beautiful. As I said in the last blog, we were there for the Christmas holiday. I read somewhere it's one of the richest cities in the US. I believe it.

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