Posted by: angelnorman | October 11, 2008

The one where I (briefly) mention no-necked Barbies

Today I am alone in my house. Well, Roscoe and Alex are here. But because they neither speak nor ask for “budda sammiches” cut into dinosaurs/pumpkins/bats/trucks every 3.5 seconds, they don’t count. In fact, Roscoe and Alex don’t even bother me at all. They feel like such a natural part of my home, as if all carpets have sleeping chihuahuas curled up on them, that I barely even notice them sometimes.

We had originally planned to be with the family this weekend at the goat festival in Lewisburg. Unfortunately though, my step-FIL was rained out twice this past week, meaning that he lost two days worth of work due to inclement weather, and they cancelled so that he could pick up some extra work today. Mike and I didn’t really want to go without them; it’s a long drive and not as much fun if family isn’t there to enjoy it with us. Also, poor Hubs has to work last night till 4 am this morning. We slept in till 9 am, when he had to get up and go back to work. I get exhausted just thinking about how much he works.

At around 11:30 or so, Hubs and I had this big dramatic falling out and he and Nick went to the zoo, leaving me alone to sulk and do housework. It wasn’t his intention to do either to me; it’s not as if he’s demanding I clean while he’s gone or anything. But I have to do something, and that is something that needs to be done. Besides, I tend to work faster when I’m ticked off.

And ticked off I was.

Nothing is going right today. You know how in Stranger Than Fiction, everything that happens to Harold Crick is because he set his watch by the wrong time? Yeah, I have this weird thing happening to me now too where, ever since I lost my keys yesterday, random bad things keep happening. Mainly just arguments between Mike and I and things not going my way– stuff that was sure to happen regardless of whether or not my keys were lost. It just seems like things keep getting worse today, though, just like they did for Harold. Just one thing right after the other, all piling up on me. Except no one’s writing a book about me in which I get killed, or at least I hope they’re not.

The sugar-honey-iced-tea really hit the fan though when I was moving my furniture around and I knocked over a houseplant and broke its planter. Normally, I wouldn’t have cared much, because no one should shed a tear over a broken flowerpot, right? But this planter is an exception because it was my Granny’s, and you all know how I feel about my Granny. She painted it herself, and I loved it so much. With the exception of a few scarves and some trinkets, it was one of the only things I bought from the yard sale of my Granny’s stuff.

Through teary eyes I looked down at the pieces of the pot all over the carpet. I began collecting the pieces, stacking them one on top of another, cursing myself for being so clumsy and trying to be positive about my chances of successfully gluing the pot back together all at the same time. Then, I caught a glimpse of something somewhat abnormal looking in the dirt, or at least something that didn’t seem to fit into the idea of what a gal might normally find in the dirt of her houseplant.

I fished it out… it was a plastic rooster. A tiny, somewhat rubbery Rooster, made in China according to its base. I have never seen it in my life. Nicholas owns no set of farm animals that tiny( actually he owns no plastic farm animals whatsoever), and I have no idea when he could have put that into my plant without me knowing anyways. Normally, if he’s playing with a toy and it gets dropped into something, he asks me to get it for him (or he goes to great lengths to get it out himself, making huge messes soemtimes in the process). He doesn’t just leave it though.

So it was very odd to find this rooster there.

As I’m holding the rooster and am still weeping about my really bad (albeit dumb) day, I have this memory of hiding Barbie dolls in all of my Granny’s fake plants. I would take the Barbies whose necks were broken, the ones my Granny had “fixed” by shoving their heads down onto their necks until they just looked like fat-faced, no-necked versions of their former selves (sounds eerily similar to the way I feel about myself, actually), and I’d undress them and hide them in her floral arrangments, particularly the ones in big oversized baskets where no-necked Barbies could easily hide. And I would never retrieve them, I’d just let her find them naked in there, and I would take great pleasure in the idea of hearing her say, “Why do I keep finding random naked Barbies everywhere?” I mean, I literally still crack up at the simple idea of what my poor Granny must have thought when she came across these naked no-necked dolls.

I guess I was an odd child and I never outgrew it.

But I’m sitting there today, crying, holding this rooster that came from who knows where, and thinking about the Barbies, and I just started laughing. And then I laughed so hard that before I knew what was going on, I realized I was happy-crying. Now I just feel renewed, like, maybe I just needed a reminder that I shouldn’t make such a big deal about something so insignificant. That maybe I just need to not stress the small stuff and look at the bigger picture. A broken pot and a tiny rooster taught me that.

Funny how something so tiny can really make a huge difference.

P.S. In case you’re curious, there is no magic in this world. It was no accident that the rooster was there. The Rooster, you see, was from my friend Emily. I’m not saying she put it there, but I remembered after I posted that she did use roosters and other tiny farm animals to top the boys’ cupcakes back in August. So I looked back at her pictures, and guess what I found?

So it was you, eh?


Still, I am glad of the reminder it brought me. The ability to come back down to earth and get a grip on reality when you’re wrapped up in your “junk” is where the true magic in this world lies.



  1. That made me cry. I love those moments and I love you.

  2. Aw, you replied before you saw the picture so I hope that you laugh when you see where it came from! 🙂 I love you and those moments, too. I wish that they happened more often to me, because Lord knows that sometimes all I need is someone to say, “Girl, you need to pull yourself together.” Those moments do that for me by reminding me of simple lessons such as: 1) I am not the only force at work in this world, 2) there is more to life than my world and my problems, and 3)that there is more happy out there than I allow myself to grasp sometimes. Sometimes, we all need a good shake, a good swift kick in the rear.

    And for me, it came in the form of a cupcake topping and a piece of history, that, although physically broken, lives perfectly intact in my memories. 😀

  3. Man, and before I read the ending I was going to say that maybe your granny put the rooster there to show you that she’s still with you!! CRUDE! Still…it is kinda weird, don’t you think? Sorry about the planter. Hopefully it can be glued back together.

  4. I know, I thought the same thing at first. It made me laugh to think about, but I knew that the pot was empty when I put my houseplant into it originally. Thanks for your condolences on my planter. I haven’t tried to glue it yet, but I’m going to do that sometime this week. If it can’t be fixed, I am contemplating breaking the broken one into smaller chunks and making a mosaic out of it or something. I can always try to paint another just like it. I may go up to Painted Clay and see if they have a flower pot that matches in shape and do it there.

  5. sorry about your planter! I know it must have broken your heart, but it is funny that you found that rooster there! And the barbie doll thing, i cracked up and even more when I thought about your Granny going around finding them! ha ha! by the way I think making a mosaic out of your granny’s planter would be an awesome idea!

  6. As I was reading I jokingly thought, I bet that’s a Hartley rooster. I was dumbfounded to discover it actually was.

    When I was standing in the dollar aisle picking out those animals, I had no idea why I wanted them so bad I just knew I had to have them. Now I know why – Granny was at work.

    I have enjoyed so much all the posts about her lately, they have been sincere, honest. and well-written. Each one has made me want to be there with you and her together, just observing. So I don’t think it was a coincidence!

  7. Charlene and Ems: I am so glad that stories of her have brought you even the tiniest smidge of joy. That says a lot, I think, about what sort of person she was. I can only hope that one day, the same sort of things can be said of me, that when people think of me, a smile immediately follows. That’s my life’s goal actually, to be a light unto the world. Like Jesus, only I could never be that awesome. But Granny was pretty cool, too, and she was most definitely a shining light in our lives. I’m honored to share stories of her with you, and I appreciate you taking the time to tell me that it means something to you to read them.
    Ems, I especially appreciate you saying that Granny was “at work” that day you bought the farm animals. To hear you talk about her like she is still with us makes me smile, mainly because my family does that! We always talk about her as if she’s right there with us in the room. I even talk to her picture occasionally. (Sometimes I sing to it too, ha) It proves to me two things, though: 1) You are very much just like me and my fam, so it’s no wonder you and I get along as well as we do, and 2) you love me enough to think about someone I loved being an influence in YOUR life. And as far as the second one is concerned, I think that is so special, Ems. That made my day. I just wanted you to know that it totally made me want to cry to read this comment from you and hear you talk of Granny as if you knew her too. That is wonderful, and I thank you for it.
    Also: It is SO something she would do, and I’m sure my Moma would agree. She was always trying to aggravate people and pull pranks and stuff. Why should her energy stop simply because her body did? 🙂

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