Friday, November 13, 2009

A Combo Platter

Last night, because he is awesome, my husband presented me with the hottest ticket in town: a seat for the local production of Grease, which has been sold-out for a while and is, incidentally, the first show of its kind in the last seven years that he has not directed. Which meant he was able to stay at home and assist with homework, complete the childrens' bedtime rituals, then spend the remainder of the evening  picking pieces of Playmobil out of the upstairs carpet. I, on the other hand, had a date with myself and it was lovely, thank you for asking,  except for the part where I couldn't find a decent parking space and had to run, in heels to make the opening curtain (very SJP of me), during which I dropped my chap stick (tinted) and my Sees Candy Cafe Latte Lollipop, the latter of which I discovered on the sidewalk after the show, partially unwrapped and with a large chunk missing. As in, a gigundo rat got to it. All I can say is, I hope the wretched beast is lying dead somewhere after having choked to death on what was supposed to be my dinner-I guess I can martyr my meal so long as there's one less rodent on the city streets.

Which brings me to my next point: fur. Are we wearing fur? I found this coat at Goodwill for $18.50- a perfect fit, and really well-made.  It is so fun to wear, but here's the rub: part of it used to be alive. Now, it's vintage, so it's not like I went out first thingthis morning and killed myself a bunny, so... could we just look at this as my way of celebrating this rabbit's life? Vive la lapin!

I will say, though, things were a little awkward during my morning coffee run at Whole Foods. Irony=shopping for Tofurkey whilst wearing a dead animal.

 And finally, while editing some random mobile uploads, I came across these two photos and was--well, tickled, as my grandmother would say, at how well they illustrate our resemblance. Winnie. My mini-me. We even vamp for the camera the same way. It was, hands-down, the week's sweetest discovery.  That, and the one remaining pumpkin whoopie pie I found in the back of the fridge.

Also of note: look how HUGE my hand looks holding that iphone! It's the CLAW! In truth, it took almost more coordination than was reasonable to hold the dang thing and push the little button to take the picture. Thus, immediately after this shot, I dropped the phone on the floor.

Then I went to bed. 

The End.

The show was lovely, by the way. Lots of stand-out performances, great costumes, fabulous band: bravo!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oh, the controversy

A few weeks ago, as we made our way out of the school parking lot,  my seven-year-old released a sigh beyond his years and chucked the enormous backpack he carries on the floor of the mini-van. That's right, I said mini-van. When I asked him what was the matter, he said he'd been called "stupid" by a classmate, a little girl who, in my estimation, has already assigned herself the role of Group Browbeater. Apparently, name-calling is her weapon of choice, at least with my kid, and after a few days of heckling, he'd had enough.

Now, for the record, our way of dealing with playground conflict, or at least what we tell the children, is this: say no and walk away. It's very new age-y, I realize. Spiritually elevated, diplomatic. But possibly, I'm beginning to think...not working?

Growing up in a small town, I experienced bullying on a very personal level. Which is to say, I knew all the bullies by name and prayed to God every night they wouldn't come after me. It was a small school-everybody was your familiar, there was no disappearing into the background-but no way to stand out, either. Enter my leopard-print pants and coordinating tank top emblazoned with the likeness of a cheetah, glittering eyes included. Now there's a way to get noticed. That one outfit catapulted me straight to don't make eye contact/don't walk home from school alone/with-any-luck-she'll-move-back-to-West Virginia-land. It's unbelievable: the hell I, a mere child, had to pay for fashion.

These girls...skinny, ratted-hair, high-top-wearing, cussing....they were nasty, before Janet made it cool. They sneered, and what's more,  I would swear they smoked. Fourth graders. It's funny-even now, they seem older than me-and I'm not talking about the mean girls as grown-ups--I mean their 1986 versions. They were always little, dirty 35-year-olds in too-small clothes. No wonder they hated me; my father owned a children's boutique.

I tried walking away. Mostly I ran away. And stayed inside. Looking back, I should have told an adult, or as they say these days: "tattled". Twenty years ago, whistle-blowing was the norm. And it worked, right? I recall detentions aplenty being dangled o'er us from a very young age. Some teachers even paddled-and if that alone wasn't enough to transform a bully on the road to Damascus, then I don't stop: orphanage? My point is, being "told on" was legit. You got results. Of course, there were always those dissidents who bucked tradition, choosing instead to meet in a vacant lot after school; also very effective. Such events almost always included the serendipitous arrival of someone's cousin's cousin-who, despite being in middle school was able to grow a full mustache and perhaps even drive. There was usually lots of gravel to contend with, and its associated dust, but less blood than you'd imagine. But again: results.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Recap/Someone Please Take the Candy

I've been dipping into the goody stash, I admit. Not leftover candy we'd bought for door-to-door beggars, but the children's loot from last night. Our household was closed for business during the trick-or-treat hour, because for us, Halloween is a family affair. We head out in the dark together with one goal in mind: get as much candy as we can in the shortest amount of time that physical fitness and rules of etiquette allow. My husband is the king of speedy shortcuts and will scale retaining walls and small topiaries with both offspring on his back. He will trod through your newly-planted pansy bed in silence, leaving every petal undisturbed. He's Captain Lightfoot-and I mean that in a very manly way. He would actually make a very good burglar. It may come to that.

This wasn't our best year-maybe because the holiday fell on a Saturday and the festivities--trunk or treat, school parade, and beggar's night--were spread over three days.  Maybe it was the fact that we carved our pumpkins too early, they got moldy and had to be thrown out.  But there was something else, too...oh, wait. It rained. When I saw all-day showers in the forecast, I called my mother for confirmation: It had never rained on Halloween before. My childhood Halloweens were snappy, cold-autumnal. There was a crunch in the air. Perhaps a snow flurry. This southern October is highly unpredictable, and as it turns out, soggy. We slogged through the neighborhood on wet leaves with  tutus dampened and Darth Vader masks malfunctioning in the mist. Our paper-bag treat sacks bottomed out, we couldn't muster the strength for speed. There was kind of a universal fade going on among some of the kids on our cul-de-sac. Sure, there were a few children who, come hell or high water were out for blood in the high-fructose sense of the word, mostly grade-schoolboys whose sheer delight in the gore of the holiday produced a certain level of lawlessness-and really, why would I want to take that away from them? I mean, when else can a fourth-grader drag his own severed arm behind him, brandish a bloody meat-cleaver, and main-line Skittles, all at the same time?

Our crew-we're not really carnage people. Or clammy polyester people. That fade I mentioned earlier? This year, instead of begging to stay out even later, I believe I heard , for the first time,"please can this be the last house?" from someone measuring less than five feet. Most noteworthy, though, was the sweet neighbor girl saying "Daddy, can't you just get the candy for me?" There's an idea, I thought. Parents as candy agents. Fathers in windbreakers, armed with pillowcases full of Kit Kats, not being mistaken for child predators. Imagine that. I saw them later, snug in the heated mini-van. She was smiling in her candy corn costume, her father beside her. I think they were reading. I told my husband that I liked this scene. She knew when she was done, nevermind the sugary lure of more.

We followed suit, stripping off the wet and cold right inside, pulling on pajamas and lighting a fire, followed by the ritual combining of the loot. This is how we work: pool it together and binge for a day, then whatever's left disappears to my husband's office to be later used for bribes, etc. To be clear, those being blackmailed are not the employees-just our children. Me, occasionally. I will do bad things for a fun-size Heath Bar. Produce a Whatchamacalit and I'm yours.

So this qualifies as binge day. Except I think I'm finished. It's sunny this morning, and last night feels a million miles away. At some point, the neighbor's giant inflatable spider-crawling-out-of-a-pumpkin was stolen, along with our small black crow statue. And since the jack-o-lanterns never got their fifteen minutes, there's very little clean-up. Aside from the candy wrappers.