Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Maximum Candy Acquisition Achieved

Finally, a Halloween where I felt somewhat prepared and steady. We have our lovely carved pumpkin, courtesy of Dear Husband, who did a fantastic job on his first ever carving. Costumes had been thought out several days in advance. The pumpkin candy carriers had been retrieved from the closet of doom. DramaQueen finished her math homework in the car on the way home, as we raced against sundown. I sure hope it's right. I had only enough time to shove a half a peanut butter sandwich at each child before trooping off. I mean, who am I kidding. Real food--hah.

We joined all the other folks who crash the pot-o-money neighborhood nearby to do some serious trick-or-treating. Firecracker was supposed to be a CareBear, but she wore that costume to school for the costume parade, so she decided to opt for her sister's Cinderella costume that is too small for her. She kinda looked like Cinderella if Cinderella were Brittany Spears with a pumpkin. DramaQueen was a flapper. I had to explain that all bloody night, not because she didn't look like a flapper, but because apparantly no one between the ages of 1 and 39 has ever heard of a flapper. She had the cute little drop-waist dress trimmed in feathers, a headband with another feather, gloves and a long strand of pearls. What more do you need to be a flapper? Maybe I should have given her a cigarette in a long black holder. At least she didn't complain that mom had suggested a dopey costume that no one recognized. Not yet, anyway.

Man, these kids have it good. I'm surprised they don't just bring garbage bags or trollys or little red wagons or something, because this neighborhood has major candy. In any case, the pumpkins grew burdensome before we even completed the circuit. Someday when they have grown more savvy and greedy, they will think ahead and bring a bag to dump the candy in so they can press on. Dear Husband and I managed to snag a few chocolates from the folks foolish enough to leave an unguarded dish for all comers. Actually, I made DramaQueen snag them for us. I am so bad. And you know what, when we got home and inspected the swag--it was mostly chocolate! How's that for posh?

I even got the kids down off candy cloud nine and abed before the new episode of House. And that despite the fact that I discovered unsuspected homework in Firecracker's backpack. Luckily preschool homework takes five minutes and a few crayons.

It was a good night.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Boo! The Rev Gal Friday Five

1. Do you enjoy a good fright?
No, I’m a wimp. In general I stay away from scary movies. I definitely don’t watch them alone. And I’m afraid of the dark.

2. Scariest movie you've ever seen
The Exorcist. I still can’t watch it or even hear it from another room. Also, the Blair Witch Project creeped me out for weeks. That final sequence with the abandoned house, the handprints, and one of them standing in the corner. I don’t think I would watch that again.

3. Bobbing for apples: choose one and discuss:
a) Nothing scary about that! Good wholesome fun.
b) Are you *kidding* me?!? The germs, the germs!
It’s not the germs but the suffocating feeling of having my head underwater while trying to bite an apple with my hands behind me. Don’t like that idea at all. My kids are welcome to try.

4. Real-life phobia.
Hmm. This isn’t exactly a phobia, but it sure is a weird aversion. I hate it when I drain macaroni or any tube pasta if any are left standing straight up in the bottom of the pot. I feel very odd, even a little faint. The more there are, the worse I feel. If anyone has any insight into THAT, please let me know.

I also avoid looking in mirrors in the dark. Too many Bloody Mary stories when I was young. And remember that scene with the mirror in Poltergeist?

5. Favorite "ghost story"
My favorite ghost stories are the ones I’ve heard from friends. Since these were their own experiences, I find them particularly compelling and frightening. I had a friend in Arizona who grew up on a reservation. His grandmother’s house had once been part of a hospital in a Japanese interment camp. He said that you could sometimes here gurneys rolling down the hall. He also had scarier stories about dolls that started to talk and watching evil faces superimposed on the faces of sleeping friends. He also sometimes spoke of skinwalkers, very quietly, and of friends who had been chased by these strange shape shifters.

I had another friend who lived in an old house in Japan for a while (I asume on an American army base). He had a huge family—his parents adopted a number of children. Now and then they would hear scratching and a baby crying in one of the storage closets. They never talked about it while they lived there.

Another friend told me that he was staying at his inlaws after his father-in-law’s funeral. He woke up one night and went to get a snack in the kitchen, and there was his father-in-law sitting at the table, not at all ghostly looking. You might think he was dreaming, except that another family member joined him and also saw the ghost.

And then there was a friend who attended St. Andrews University in Scotland. Her housemother lived in an old Tudor house, and when D. graduated, her housemother invited her family to stay there. They caught glimpses of someone in a long dress going up the stairs. Rocking chairs rocked by themselves. And her father once felt something behind him. There was a mirror in front of him and an exit to the side. He didn’t dare look up in the mirror, but just left the room and then the house. His usual job was as a prison warden. I also visited this house with my friend. I didn’t see anything, but something was making a ruckus banging around pans in the kitchen, but there were only us three having sherry in the parlor. In response to our inquiry, the owner said there was no one there. And she left it at that.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

In which I admit my secret longings

I’ve been pondering my previous comment about my Martha Stewart-ish urges. No one would know that I have them from looking at my house. The only style it has was pounded into place by my MIL out of pity. I have no ability to decorate. I suppose I should have known this pretty early on, since my idea of decorating my dorm room was to write morbid thoughts on the walls in black marker. I don’t recommend that, by the way. I didn’t own a bed for years, preferring to sleep on a futon on the floor. I don’t recommend that, either, after a certain age and weight threshold is reached.

I don’t actually look at Martha Stewart’s magazine. It’s far too lofty. Now and then I pick up Real Simple, which always has a section on ingenious ways to reuse items, creating new containers, holders, and such that you never actually realized you needed. Of course, if you don’t have the original item to reuse—say egg cups—now’s your chance to purchase them so that you can use them to organize your paperclips and thumbtacks. Why you aren’t using your egg cups for eggs I don’t know. Perhaps you just recently updated the look of your egg cups. Everyone needs a change.

These are the magazines I think of as leisureporn—offering enticing images of inaccessible perfection to overworked women. Then there are the old-school women’s mags, the meat and potatoes home-cooked version. Every issue has tips on organization, which is an endlessly vexing problem, but without it I’m not sure what these magazines would publish. Many tips on how not to look overworked and frumpy, all in 5 minutes. You go girl. Then there are the diets and the exercises that can be done 10 minutes while you catch up with Desperate Housewives, followed by recipes for seasonal cupcakes. Ah, and don’t forget the ideas for kid’s birthday parties. How to build a castle from 13 sheet cakes, a gallon of frosting divided into 36 colors, a sugar wafer drawbridge, a fruit leather banner, and gumdrops cleverly flattened by a rolling pin and cut into the shape of a dragon.

Do I sound bitter? Because, yes, I admit it, I would like to have my life so well-ordered that I could construct a small building with cake.

And I’ve never even owned egg cups.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Latest Computer Obsession--Online Toy Research

I find that I have almost no time to be on a computer. Dear Husband is always using ours, and when he isn’t I’m busy escorting the girls through their evening routine. The past weekend I spent all my computer time looking obsessively at toys. Yes, I’m beginning to fret over Christmas shopping. I’m looking for the perfect toys—the ones that combine the best educational qualities with fun and durability, all at an affordable price. Uh huh. I think back to my favorite childhood toys—baby dolls, Barbies, blocks and the enormous dollhouse my dad built from a kit. That dollhouse was so big that I recently gave my dad clearance to give it away because I don’t expect to ever have a home with enough space for it. We had to use a spare room when I was a child. Neither Dear Husband nor I could build a birdhouse much less a dollhouse, and the price even of kits is astounding. I won’t even talk about pre-made dollhouses--those beautiful all-wood, brightly colored quality creations that reach up into the $300 range. I made the mistake of letting DramaQueen get a gander at a Playmobil castle. I want a Playmobil castle. Playmobil toys are awesome. But I think I would need a small loan to purchase and furnish the castle.

This is the time of year I start to feel Martha Stewart-ish urges—that I will dip my own candles, fill the house with the aromas of cider and baking cookies, create centerpieces from evergreen branches and holly, and actually use ribbon and bows on my wrapped presents. This will pass. Actually, it’ll get steamrolled over.

After all, I still have to get through Halloween, and DramaQueen doesn’t have a costume.