Happy Chinese New Year! (and the Girl Scout Cookie Intrigue)

Last week Neil asked me if we could go to a homeschoolers’ park day again, and I was delighted to oblige. We usually go to a San Jose group which meets on Thursdays, but regrettably usually only has teen boys. But on Tuesday I was feeling stir-crazy, and another group, which happens to have more children Neil’s age, was meeting in a San Jose Park. Neil was willing to take the break, so off we went.

As it turns out, we walked right into the group’s Chinese New Year celebration. One of the organizers had brought a full-on Chinese feast for all, with vegetable lo mein, potstickers, watermelon seeds, and candied lotus. In the meantime, another family had created their own paper-mache dragon and lion heads, as well as a long red runner trimmed with gold that other children stood under to form the dragon’s body. Around 4 o’clock the children gathered for the parade, which included a few boys banging drums, and one boy carrying a toy torch while he cycled along on a unicycle.

My own children seemed uninterested. Neil was attempting “tightrope-walking” feats on some exercise bars, and Kelly was sampling everything from the Chinese buffet (except the potstickers, since she’s decided she doesn’t like potstickers.) But then I looked up from my conversation and noticed Kelly had disappeared. As the parade had passed by us, she’d decided to join in. At the end, she decided to have a lively conversation with Mr. Dragon, who since he was being animated by a 10-year-old girl was chattier than I would have been. Kelly was delighted to pick Chinese candies out of Mr. Dragon’s teeth as well, and somewhere, somehow that afternoon, she got ahold of a mandarin orange, which she brought home.

So, hey, happy year of the rat. Combined with the craft day making Chinese New Year’s crafts a few weeks ago, we’ve been now more on top of the annual fete than we’ve ever been, thanks to the homeschoolers.

I also discovered the dark underside of Girl Scout cookie sales. Several of the girls in the group are Girl Scouts, and apparently the Girl Scout cookie drive had just ended. But I heard about the travails of being the Cookie Mom, and how happy one mother had been to pass that responsibility on to another. And more darkly, there was the intrigue of the Girl Scout cookie buyer poachers. One mother, Elizabeth, had had her husband take their daughter’s Girl Scout cookie sign-up form to his office, where he put it in the kitchen area, and sent an email to the office asking people to sign up if there were interested. When he went to pick it up, the sheet was gone.

I was completely puzzled: who would want to steal a Girl Scout cookie list? But other Girl Scout mothers nodded sagely, and asked if any other parents in the office had Girl Scout daughters. As a matter of fact, Elizabeth recalled, when her husband brought a new sheet to the office and sent out an email asking people to sign up again, those who had said they’d been approached by someone else in the marketing department and had signed up on his daughter’s sheet in the meantime. Isn’t that ever low down and rotten?

I pointed out that I will happily buy girl scout cookies from anyone and everyone in the group next year. Peter thinks Kelly should join girl scouts, but frankly, I’m not up for the girl scout cookie drama.

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