Sunday, October 21, 2012


Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

“What do you want for your birthday?  Gift card?” I instant messaged my nephew, let’s call him Zeke. He replied, “No. Something good, better than the flying squirrel.”  Well, all right, I love a challenge. It’s kind of hard to top a flying squirrel, just like it has been hard to top my annual summer adventure since the whole sky-diving thing. (Link to the flying squirrel tale .) My first thought was a copy of the book, “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving, accompanied by the best taxidermy armadillo money can buy. Unfortunately, the best specimen money can buy proved to be leagues out of my Birthday Boy Budget.

So that is how I came up with the Chinese Cricket Cage, imported all the way from China – of course. Mostly because that is the only place I could find one. Then came the dilemma, how to stuff a cricket in it, long distance?  Turns out you can buy the suckers on-line, one small detail, the smallest amount of crickets you can purchase is 500. Yes, Zeke’s Mom sent me a flaming text message about the crickets, AND told my Mom. It was worth it though, when Zeke admitted to me that the cricket gift was better than the flying squirrel.
I think the most memorable gifts are experiences. An experience is better than a thing. Once I surprised Dear Hubby with the opportunity to fly a Navy fighter jet*. The co-pilot promised there was nothing DH could do in the air that he couldn’t correct. Hubby flew from Santa Fe to Los Alamos, buzzing the volcano caldera, even got to do loops and barrel rolls, and he only stalled the jet once. There was oil all over the side of the craft when they landed, but land they did. DH can now tell you exactly what it feels like to pull G’s so hard that your navel meets your spine. He really wasn’t in the mood for southwestern food afterwards though, averted his eyes through my guacamole consumption, but I’m pretty sure he really liked the present.

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

The Gorp you see above is homemade granola. I make a batch every Autumn for DH and Zeus. By make I mean I assemble it, which is dangerously close to baking. Last week I did bake a cake to give as a gift, used my Gram’s old-fashioned Poppy-seed cake recipe. It involves all those time-consuming baking maneuvers like separating egg whites and beating them, making sour cream, etc. Taking time away from writing to bake is not something I often do. But this was a special gift for monks at a local monastery. It may or may not have been to appease my guilty conscience after the whole lamb-questing deal in the spring. I am not admitting anything that I may or may not have done in pursuit of fulfilling that quest. (Some guilty lamb quest details here .) Yet bake that cake I did, even timed the cooling process so I could flip it out of the pan at the right time, and it didn’t even fall apart. Score.

Then Angel stopped by. “Cake!” her eyes lit up. “No, it’s for the monks,” I explained, and we started to chat. It wasn’t until she used exaggerated gestures, dropping bits of cake into her mouth that I realized she was pinching off bits of that cake and eating it. When I protested, her eyes got really big. “You were serious?  You’re making a cake for monks?  For real?”  Sheesh, doesn’t everyone?  Well, they would if they’d…never mind. Anyway, the monks ended up with a pumpkin cranberry cake – made from scratch. So I did double penance and used up two years worth of baking energy in one day.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt (Monk Cake, the one that survived)
The Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans giveaway here at The Glitter Globe was a huge success. Honestly the stories about people actually eating those beans slay me. Bring on the gory details of when you ate the vomit one. I literally get nauseous just reading them. I only have a couple boxes left, so share a story with me if you’d like one. Have you ever received or given a memorable gift?  Have you ever baked a cake (doesn’t have to have been for the monks) and someone ate it with their fingers?  (By the way, that wasn’t the first time that happened.) 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt


Speaking of giveaways, The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway continues. Leave a comment below if you’d like an Epic Slinky Dog, and tell me why you need one, and I’ll give one away this coming week if it moves me or makes me laugh. (You also have to follow my blog.)  The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway has been my favorite. I’ve ended up with some really epic photographs of Slinky Dog. As a matter of fact Slinky even hit the beach. 

* (If you want to send your Dear Hubby, or yourself, to learn how to do barrel rolls!)
Photo Credit:  LaDonna Cole/Slinks & iMonk

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