A Nook with a Tilted Lamp

August 28, 2010

Appreciation Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — by justatiltedlamp @ 11:07 pm

I like saying thank you, especially when I mean it. (Not like, oh, thank you for this gift that I did not actually want or already own. That’s a special awkward level of Hell.) But I prefer getting across my appreciation, and sadly, I do not settle for thank you cards. What are people going to do with cards? (I mean, I hold onto cards forever and treasure them always. But my brother and mom are much more normal and are all about tossing them out.)

When my externship ended at a public school where I had helped out in the 2nd grade classroom for two weeks, I went the route handy gifts they could use. Aha, no pesky allergies or anxious parents with this path! My final day I picked up some SHINY pencils and some fuzzy ones. Pencils! Second graders need pencils.  My plan was flawless. I also got cards, but pffft, cards. I wrote each child a thank you note, stuffed the note and pencil into an envelope, and the envelopes were handed out at dismissal.

How was I to know that fuzzy pencils outrank shiny pencils exponentially? That’s right. Distressed eight-year-olds frantically tried to haggle with their peers. Very few trades were made, unless the shiny!pencil offerer happened to possessed the fuzzy!pencil owner’s favorite color.

Talk about ending the experience on the wrong note. (Oh, and there was how I was horribly sick for the next two months or so. One lovely second grader had bestowed his or her pneumonia upon me.)

These days I have refined my gift-giving-thank-you skills. I still aim for small, simple, and useful. For example, I gave my fellow Cambridge intern a wee monkey keychain. This had the bonus of being adorable.

But what did I deem suitable for my final farewell to all of Cambridge? Hmm.

Cupcakes.

Delicious sugarness generally makes people feel appreciated. Better yet, it is not a cluttering gift, but still comes with lasting memory of YUM. None of this should suggest that I am actually good at baking. I might claim decent, veering on acceptable. At the very least, I have yet to make anyone a) ill or b) politely spit into a napkin.

Time to note that my brother and I were strictly forbidden from cooking while growing up. We weren’t even allowed to touch the dishes, much less the dishwasher. My mom was only permitted to cook on holidays and birthdays. My dad insisted we ordered out every single day. (Btw, this entailed the same food every single week. Sandwiches on Monday, Chinese on Tuesday, repeat forever.)

I like tossing in variety when I bake. I had: yellow cupcakes, marble swirl cupcakes, vanilla frosting, chocolate frosting, chocolate chips, vanilla chocolate chips, and green food dye. (One of our bigger books is Thomas Barlett’s Ireland. It seemed a good idea at the time. And it so was, except for that cupcake where the dye poured in because the cap was broken. That was a ticking time bomb of a cupcake. It might have turned Cindy’s mouth and fingers green. LIKE A REPTAR BAR.)

Another intern, the baby of the program (she’s entering her senior year of high school now), had baked mini red velvet cupcakes with real cream cheese frosting for the final day as well, so many Cambridge employees were filled with sweets. Cindy ate seven cupcakes all on her own. It was all sorts of impressive.

Score for using the oven powers for good!

Cindy's might pile of foils.

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