Holiday Bake-Off

Patterson Family Letters

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Elly's Letter, May 2004

Work and all the stuff that's happened lately has cluttered my head and kept me awake for too long, so I am going to avoid talking about it! I am still able to drift back to the beach in Mexico and relax. All that's missing is the tropical ambiance (which I can recreate with a hot flash or 2) and the taste of a Margarita. Somehow, homemade ones don't quite taste the same as the ones on the beach! Even if the same mix is used, the results don't quite match up. I've tried. I've even tried Mexican cooking with all the ingredients they tell you to use- to get that authentic flavor, but no cigar. Maybe I should try Cuban cuisine.

We left our youngest with a friend while we were on vacation, and when we returned, we had a new kid in the house. Something about Becky's family politics, something about the type or the lack of discipline rendered our usually reasonable and somewhat compliant child a kid with an "attitude". The clothes she has are not right, now. The style, colors and labels just don't cut it any more. Moreover, John and I have become unimaginably old fashioned. Everything we say is out of date, out of touch, or out of earshot. April has joined the cult of the cool, expressing herself by using all the mannerisms and kidspeak we only see on television. The word "like" has been added to "you know" as part of the communication system and entire conversations can be had and fully understood by simply using these words and a smattering of nouns for clarity. I have given up on the "he goes, she goes" form of the verb "to say" and have to catch myself before saying it, too. April's body language has changed, too- as if she and Becky practiced hip movements, hand gestures and "looks". She is frustrated by our unwillingness to let her wear makeup to school...even if other kids are doing it. My rule is "If I don't know you're wearing it, then you can go out the door. Otherwise, no deal" This means any eye shadow, lipstick or blush must be applied so subtly that I can't tell she's wearing it...otherwise, there's a facecloth in the washroom, and it all comes off before the bus comes. Despite the new totally cool exterior, the April we know appears when she's tired, wants affection or needs help with something. We might be totally boring and embarrassingly uncool, but we still register on the radar when we're needed.

I will tell you one thing about the bookstore...we have had a couple of very successful book signings lately. One was with a children's author who's just released a book of party games for kids - of all ages! We converted part of the store to look like a party was happening - with cake, prizes, balloons and treats. I think we had over 200 people come through the place in three hours and we sold 147 books. For our store, that was a great day!

I hope to host more events throughout the year, with readings, contests, book signings and invitations to good customers to come to private sales of toys and other merchandise. This works well if you set up an after hours festive atmosphere and really give people some good bargains. We have some wonderful customers who, despite the lower costs in the chain stores, still come to us for their books, gifts and special orders.

I promised not to talk about work- but it's always on my mind. That is unless I can sit down and recall that white beach in Mexico. There's nothing like getting away from it all to make you appreciate all the stuff you're trying to get away from!

May your May be magnificent!