My Son, Oprah’s Favorite Things, Black Friday and I’m About To Vomit

by Marinka on November 26, 2010

Maybe it’s because my 9 year old has been driving me crazy.

He tells me that he wants an Xbox Kinect, which is apparently the latest in the must-have electronics among the pre-pubescent and the arrested development set. He wants it for Christmas, so no rush.

He tells me this on the subway, on our way to his weekly tennis lesson and I immediately launch into the whole “well, we’ll see, but it’s not really not in our budget and you already have a ton of electronic forms of entertainment” all of which he hears as “you are the most deprived child on this planet and no one loves you.” And he tells me that all of his friends are getting an Xbox Kinect for Christmas and he starts naming names.

The great thing about Young Ladrinka and his friends is that I am friends with all of their mothers. Not “hello-at-drop-off-friends” but actual going out for margaritas and know shit about each other’s husbands friends. Good stuff, too. So I email them immediately asking if they’re getting their boys the Xbox Kinect for Christmas, except at that point I know absolutely nothing, so I spell it Xbox Connect, like an illiterate animal. And Young Ladrinka looks a little nervous and says “why do you have to ask them, don’t you trust me?” and I tell him that of course I trust him, but I want to make sure because there is so much confusion about everything and he says, “well, some of the moms may not know that they‘re getting the Xbox, because the present could come from the dad, or the grandparents and sometimes an uncle.” And he also looks really nervous.

So I take this as a Teaching Moment ™ and tell him that it’s not nice to fib, and that besides his not getting an Xbox Kinect doesn’t depend on whether his friends are or not, and he says “really?” and I reassure him that yes, really and truly.

And then I get the responses.

One mom says no fucking way in hell, which I think translates to probably not. Another asks me what that is and another says “are you kidding me? NO!”

I’m guessing that I should file this under “misunderstanding”.

Lesson of the day: Befriend your kid’s friends’ parents. It makes it harder to pull shit over on you.

But the Oprah’s Favorite Things show airs. There are many reasons that I love Oprah–I think that her book club is nothing short of revolutionary, her charitable works are inspiring and her magazine is one of my monthly must-reads. So, I’m firmly in the Oprah Fan category. But I don’t watch her show, and I didn’t see the Favorite Things episode, but from what I’ve heard about it–monarchies have been overthrown for less.

Seriously? Everyone in the audience gets to go on a cruise and gets a ton of other free shit. Come on. There’s excess and then there’s Tom Cruise-jumping-on-the-couch excess. It just rubs me the wrong way. And not the “you’re just jealous” wrong way. Like it nauseates me a bit.

And then, Black Friday. The get-up-at-an-ungodly hour, leave your family behind and get shit that you may or may not need. Mom 101 had an excellent post about it this week, to which I’d like to add this: Standing in breadlines in the Soviet Union really cures you from ever wanting to stand on any line again, ever. I get flashbacks waiting for my turn at the grocery store, so the chances that I will stand on line waiting for Walmart to open are in the negative numbers.

Is it me? Is anyone else paring down? Doing more with less? Shopping in their own closet, buying less crap, regardless of how much it costs? Thinking that maybe consumerism is not the answer?

If you are on the same wave length as me, or even if you’re not, I’m going to ask you to consider a different kind of giving and getting this holiday season. Oxfam America is an international relief organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty and hunger. You can read more about them here. And please check out their Oxfam Collection for unique gift giving opportunities.

And then enter a contest to win a goat. I kid you not! Here’s how it works: You leave a comment telling me what you would name a goat, and then, if you want, you tweet the link to the Oxfam collection with a hashtag #oxfamhidalgo. (It’s based on the honor system, I’ll assume that if you entered the giveaway that you’ll tweet. And if you don’t use Twitter, just do a cave etching with the hashtag! It all counts! Because I’m not your guardian, I’m not going to check up on you. Also because I’m very exhausted from ranting in this post.)

In a week or so, I’ll pick a winner, randomly. The winner will let me know whether s/he wants the goat donated in his or her own name or in a loved one’s name, as a gift.

The recipient will get a card from Oxfam notifying him/her that a goat was donated in his/her name!

I love this idea and I hope that you do too.

I’m sure Young Ladrinka will be delighted as well. Because anyone can get an Xbox Kinect. But knowing that someone got a goat in your name is an experience that he won’t soon forget.

One year ago ...

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Loukia November 26, 2010 at 11:00 am

I’m not entering because I’m giving away a goat too but just wanted to say this post had me smiling a lot.
Also, and you may not believe me because you know how much I love to shop, but I havent’ started shopping at all this holiday season, et. And I do realize it’s not even December, but still. I’m just like… whatever… I’ll buy stuff… soon… I don’t know. Thinking one big item for each child will be it. Oh, who am I kidding. I’ll break the stupid bank like last year. Sigh. 🙁
But I LOVE the goat idea. I am also buying something from Oxfam for a few of my relatives too, who live out of town, I think it’s a perfect gift idea and one that they’ll greatly appreciate!


November 26, 2010 at 11:04 am

What a great giveaway! If I had a goat, I’d name it Tallulah, because I love the name and my husband wouldn’t let me use it for any of our daughters.

Until last week, we had no gaming systems in our house. And the kids had never asked for any, despite having friends with Wiis and DSs and such. But then my husband got a new TV, and it came with an Xbox console. Now all my kids want for Christmas is a Kinnect. Which isn’t likely to happen.

And I’ll be sitting at home today, drinking hot chocolate and knitting gifts for friends, not shopping.


Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels
November 26, 2010 at 11:04 am

Ok, I was totally going to post about how smart you are for befriending Young Landrinka’s friends’ moms, and about how much I, too, despise Black Friday, but now all I can think of is making it really clear that I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT A GOAT. So I’m a little scared of commenting. But I still did, because You are awesome and I’m not that smart.


magpie November 26, 2010 at 11:11 am

I love goats. They have weird eyes. If I didn’t live in the suburbs, I’d like a few.


November 26, 2010 at 11:15 am

I’d name my goat Oprah.


November 26, 2010 at 11:16 am

I’m sitting here trying to think of a name, and I keep coming back to Head Cheese. Isn’t that perfect? I mean, awful?


November 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

I’m definitely in the paring down mode., you’re not alone on that. Also, I think my life reached a turning point when I finally said, “I don’t care about Oprah’s favorite things.” It was freeing, you know?

Kind of like, “Stop calling me every day, mom.”

No. I actually never said *that*.


elise November 26, 2010 at 11:32 am

No Xbox here this year, so I’ll name the goat Xbox.

Actually, I have decided that most of the grown ups on my list are going to be sponsoring livestock around the world. I love that it’s possible to do such a wonderful thing so easily.



November 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

I love this idea. If I had a goat, I would name it Jose. Since we got married six years ago, my husband has had a running joke with himself that although he misses his goat Jose that he traded for me, I’m worth it. Thus, Jose.

Oxfam does such great work and I’m glad to see blogs promoting them!


November 26, 2010 at 12:03 pm

This is amazing. One of the best memories I have is that a family donated a flock of chicks to a 3rd world country in the memory of my son.

Most excellent.


Josette at Halushki November 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm

My sister has a goat farm.

My sister is a wonderful person who fights daily for the rights of small family farmers.

I’d name the goat after her.

I’d name it Sister Anne.


MFA Mama
November 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I’d name the goat Slappy. Just because it seems like a good goat name. Also, my husband has this weird goat fixation (his family used to have pet goats and we actually almost stopped being friends early on in knowing each other because he greeted me with a plaintive “MY GOATS DIED!” and I busted out laughing because goats are inherently funny; I have since explained to him that he should have led with “MY PETS DIED” and then after I was all “awww” slipped in the bit about their being goats. You can’t just ambush someone with dead goats and expect it to go well) so I really hope we win. I’d get a lot of comedic mileage out of it!


November 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I’d name the goat Chivo after my sister’s dearly departed goat.


Nancy Davis Kho
November 26, 2010 at 12:34 pm

If it weren’t for the information exchange over margaritas, I honestly don’t know where mothers would be. I consult with my cabal about all kinds of rules – ear piercing, cell phone usage, bedtimes, etc. – and I swear that presenting the unified front to the kids just freaks them out. One of the perks of parenthood.

Love the post and we’ll go make our annual Oxfam donation, thanks for the reminder!


November 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Marinka – Absolutely wonderful post. You really made me laugh. And yes, the mom-101 post was great too! I read it this morning.


Lolli @ Better in Bulk November 26, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I think I would name the goat Gwyn, if it was a girl goat. If it was a boy goat….Fred.


Stacia November 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm

If I had a goat, I’d name it Bronson Pinchot. Just because.

We gave a sheep in my MIL’s name last year but she didn’t understand the card when it came. She told us she isn’t allowed to have pets in her apartment so she’d have to decline.


Jonathan November 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I am choosing a couple things from the website and I would name the goat Rodiney because of the bleating or whatever they do.


Kim at Beehive Blog
November 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I saw this on twitter from @loralee (above) and I love your post and I love the goat idea. I just caught my son who normally has no interest in twitter attempting to enter a giveaway for the Xbox Kinect under my twitter account. sigh. So in honor of me being the Queen Bee at Beehive Blog – I dub thee Goat Honey … kinda goes with the whole milk and honey thing too.

I don’t do Black Friday and sometimes I think Oprah is an alien plant to take over Earth. Adding you to my blogalicious roll as well – Happy holidays!


Amber Mc. November 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm

My mom told me that my dad got her a camel for Christmas. I got all excited thinking it was a new thing with Heifer International. Instead, she meant as a new piece for her beloved Willow Tree nativity set. I think she needs a goat…

Favorite contest ever. Goat = Morris.


deborah l quinn
November 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Divine idea! I tried for Son #1’s 10th birthday this year, suggesting that maybe he ask friends to make donations to a worthy cause that he could choose and he looked at me, heart-broken. “I know what you WANT me to say,” he said. “But the thing is…I really want the presents.” It’s like the closing line in a Woody Allen movie. But we’re going to work on this idea of GIVING rather than GETTING this Xmas…And I may corral my mom friends (about whose husbands I could dish the dirt) to see if we can’t set some group limits. Worth a shot (if only to rule out giving anyone an xbox thingy). The thing is, with Oprah, why not give, say, everyone who *subscribes* to her magazine a car? or a trip? a ride to the Rally to Restore Sanity? a Spa Day?


Dana November 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I would name the goat Austerity.


Nana Go-Go November 26, 2010 at 5:54 pm

All joking aside about the goats, well done you for promoting this Oxfam initiative which has been going here in the UK for some years now. There`s all different kinds of stuff you can buy as provisions for Third World Countries (I`ve just bought a whole load of books for an African school), as well as the goats, from a minimum of £5 GBP ($8?) to beyond. I`d much rather give my money to charitable causes like this than to the multi-nationals who do nothing else with the money than line their own pockets.
Also, almost everyone here is thinking along the lines of `frugality` and `make do and mend` – there`s something really satisfying about it, don`t you think?


November 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I would name the goal MaryLou


Finn November 26, 2010 at 8:03 pm

George. Unless it’s a girl. No, I’d still call it George. It’s a goat, not a kid. Unless it’s a baby goat…


Cherilyn November 26, 2010 at 11:23 pm

I’d name a goat Tags. When my sister and I were kids, my mom made us wear dog tags to places like the zoo incase we got lost. One year my sister was feeding a goat at the petting zoo and as she leaned over to feed one goat, another one started eating the dog tags around her neck. They had to pull the tags back out of the goats mouth to set my sister free.


November 27, 2010 at 12:26 am

I would name it Nancy after my SIL. We wanted to discontinue buying gifts but she said no. She said she bought for all her nieces & nephews all these years & now we have to buy for her kids. She refuses to buy her dad what he asks for (tools) because when he dies, her brother will inherit them.


Quart November 27, 2010 at 6:42 am

Years ago I gave my somewhat wealthy aunt and uncle a gift from Heifer International (same idea as Oxfam) and it was clear they were perplexed. I thought it was a great idea – it wasn’t like they needed another serving bowl some crap like that, plus I had no money and this seemed less wasteful. But the idea of this charity was clearly lost on them . . . So in their honor, I’d name my goat Dan Marino.

Brilliant giveaway, Marinka!


P.K. November 27, 2010 at 7:26 am

Goatie Girl, because that’s what I named the goat that used to live across the street from Target. I don’t know what happened to Goatie Girl, but one day she just wasn’t there anymore. God, I miss her. What could be better than seeing a goat every time you pull into the parking lot of your favorite store? So definitely, Goatie Girl.


Ann's Rants
November 27, 2010 at 8:36 am

Of course you spelled it Connect, because spelling shit “KINECT” is what is wrong with America.


Rayne of Terror
November 27, 2010 at 9:53 am

I’d name the goat Cream.


November 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I would love it if you would just send the goat to my son – who muttered at the dinner table thursday that he was thankful for nothing. Perhaps, they can share a room.


November 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm

What if we don’t want to donate the goat to the “needy?” Can we have the goat for ourselves? I have had two goat names picked out for years now (Mitten and Schneehopli, obviously) and I would promise to feed it only the finest tin cans.


November 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Wouldn’t it be awesome to see an Oprah show where she gave a goat to everyone in the audience right then and there? I would love to see the faces of that crowd.

As far as a name… maybe Fran, ’cause she’s the Nanny?


JulieBouf November 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm

I’m going to go out on a limb and share that we actually got the Kinect this weekend and it’s awesome! They’re not in short supply so if you change your mind…you have plenty of time to surprise Young Ladrinka. There is the unfortunate side effect that it actually gets your blood pumping and gasp…may be considered exercise.


JJ November 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I don’t know, do goats come when they’re called? Goats are rather creepy, with their beady little weird eyes, and totally untrustworthy. Though they provide some yummy cheese. So I’m gonna go with Betsy, but it has nothing to do with anything. Totally random, Betsy.


November 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

I’d name the goat Sarah Palin because then I could console myself with the fact that there’s another Sarah Palin out there actually doing something good.


christy November 29, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I’d name the goat Curry, as in, the kind you eat. It’s from a great British show that of course I can’t remember the name of, but this couple goes on vacation on to some tropical island, and they order curry. But it’s GOAT curry, and they’re appalled. My husband and I now just have to say goat curry to each other to dissolve into laughter!

I didn’t see Oprahs favorite things, but I’m sure it’d make me want to vomit to.

We’re totally paring down for Christmas. Except for me – I bought myself a fancy schmany cocktail ring, because I’m worth it dammit! Ha! But seriously, totally doing more with less.

And finally, we give to Heifer every year – same premise – giving a goat, drinking water, etc. It’s just awesome!


Amanda November 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

I love your blog and kudos to you for doing this for Oxfam!

Goat name = Rabótnika? (worker?) Or my fav. Denginka (money?)


PS Rosas November 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Having used a Kinect, I do actually think it is a superior video game system, much better than even the Wii which seemed great when it came out. I don’t think that you should necessarily get a Kinect for Ladrinka but just want to share that the system is a wonderful, important upgrade to traditional video game systems where kids (and adults) are stuck sitting down and smashing controller buttons all day (or getting tennis elbow with the Wii). The Kinect provides exercise and less repetitive stress injury-inducing motions than the Wii. And the dancing game is hilarious for people of all ages!

As for the goat, I’d name it Angelita or Angelinka.


November 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm

People talk a lot about the “church of Oprah” and all I have to say is I’m converting and where can I send my tithe check.


Lady Jennie November 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm

I’d like to win a goat for somebody. As long as it doesn’t show up on my door. (When we lived in Africa, all we ate was goat meat, bought at the local market where they wiped the guts off the cleaver onto the tarp hanging down from their tent).


Liz December 1, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I would name my goat Kinect in honor of the last 40 hours I spent trying to locate one for my 10-year old son.


December 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Louey. Don’t ask me why. I just like it.

This is a great idea. Oxfam is one of those charities that’s hard to resist.


pam December 3, 2010 at 8:39 pm

nanny nanny boo boo

charles durning


tracey December 4, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Billy Goat Gruff.

Not original? I don’t care. Someone already post it? Who knows. I can’t read all your comments; I have a LIFE! But I love that you’re sponsoring a goat giveaway. Love it.


Lisa December 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I’m a goofy animal namer so I’d totally name a goat something like Fluffy.


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