Ramona Quimby, My First Love.

I'm linking up today with the Red Dress Club:

The prompt is:
Write a short first-person story about your first love, or write a short fiction piece about a character's first love.

I'd asked my parents to take me to Waldenbooks. My dirty Tretorns spirited me from our space in the parking lot into Lakeside Mall, which always smelled of Swenson's waffle cones.

My palms were sweating so much the crumpled bills in my hand were damp. I'd been saving my weekly allowance for ages in my purple cash box that opened with an impossibly tiny key. "Erin" was carefully carved into the metal as if those four letters would prevent someone from stealing what little I had. 
I walked straight to the back of the book store where the young adult section was. Too many decisions: Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Baby-sitters Club. But I knew what I wanted. I gently eased the orange paperback from the shelf with the tip of my index finger. The stiff book crackled when I opened it and had that wonderful new smell. I inhaled deeply.

I walked briskly to the check out and placed my purchase on the counter. I smiled at Ramona and couldn't wait to bring her home and up to my room.


Ramona Quimby, my first love.


It Isn't Really About the Cupcakes.

In honor of the girls' fifth birthday this week, I'm bringing cupcakes to school for them to share with their classmates.
  • Today's cupcakes are not homemade. I'm loving my mess, Allison Nazarian style.
  • Last year, said cupcakes were homemade.
  • For their class Halloween party in October, they were also homemade.
  • Despite this, I will not allow myself to feel guilty. It's stupid.
  • The kids won't even know the freakin' difference.
  • If spending a few bucks at a local bakery makes my life easier, so be it.
  • I'm a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), and I don't get paid, but I sure work a helluva lot.
  • The last month has been insanely busy. Homemade cupcakes aren't worth my sanity.
  • This God-forsaken cupcake business? I'm so over it.
Besides, like Sara over at Saving For Someday said yesterday? I don't want to set the bar too high for the other moms by bringing homemade cupcakes.

How are you shedding the need to be perfect today?


Buy Local From the Little Shop on the Corner : The Reading Reptile

I love Amazon.com as much as the next gal, but when it comes to quality customer service, attention to detail, and small businesses dedicated to differentiating themselves, I'll happily shop locally. Over the weekend, we did just that by celebrating the girls' fifth birthday at a nearby bookstore called "The Reading Reptile."  While talking with one of the other moms, we agreed it reminds us of the Little Shop on the Corner from the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie "You've Got Mail." Deb, the owner, was in charge of the "Arty Party." Uber-organized and efficient, she'd memorized all the kids' names within a matter of minutes. She read them stories (all sat and listened intently), made clay with them, and then walked everyone through three cool art projects. We finished up with cupcakes the kids got to decorate. A wonderful time was had by all, and it was definitely a memorable morning for Abby & Izzy!

This place is what I imagine Heaven might be like, where characters from mine and my children's best-loved books come alive in paper-mache all over the place (all made by Deb, the crafty and talented owner!):

Olivia the Pig, one of our favorites

We adore Eloise!

So my message to you today and this holiday season (and beyond)?
Shop locally.
Go where everybody knows your name (kinda like that theme song from "Cheers").
I don't want to lose places like Reading Reptile that make my city what it is---unique and amazing.

What is your "Little Shop on the Corner?" Do you support your local merchants?


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