Thursday, November 01, 2007

About Last Night

This is no Hollywood treatment of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." The monster William dressed as is inspired straight from the book. And, when he painted on the last stitch, and Alex finished helping his friend Mitchell in to his costume, then everyone was ready to go out in to the night in search of treats.

Alex, the Dragon Wizard, Mitchell, a video game warrior, William,the creature, Max, the straw bale, and Maria the metamorphic Princess Mary Pumpkin. We don't often enjoy cool temperatures on Halloween, but last night was pleasant and cool enough to be comfortable in dragon scales and princess layers. Since Geoff had to work, we turned out the house lights and I brought Maria along to watch the trick-or-treaters in action, but after the first stop, she had to play too. The big guys were patient as can be, waiting for Maria to walk up to every door and take her place among the candy hunters, then they all called out in unison: Trick or Treat!

Max had a special delivery... at every stop he crouched down into his bale and waited for the person at the door to notice the bale of hay sitting on the ground and then Max would give them a surprise by rising up for the reveal... good laughs ensued and he was delighted with the happy results.

All the kids got positive feedback for their homemade costumes and creativity.

Maria embraced the whole scene... saying "Trick or treap" and always remembering to say either "Thane-you" or "Happy Hawnween!" She loved the lights and carved pumpkins, walking from house to house and waiting for the front doors to open. And candy? People handing over candy, filling her pumpkin? She was astounded. When we got home Alex showed her how to lay out all the candies on the floor and they made a candy rainbow with the all the colorful packages forming a confectionery arc. Then they made trades and swaps, remarking on favorites, past & present. Whenever Maria asked to try a candy, we opened it for her, showed her how to lick it, with dramatic relish and then she would do the same. She gave a lick to about 4 different candies, but only actually ate one piece of chocolate.

We probably covered about three blocks worth of houses, and of course not everyone was home. Max plans to make his candy last as long as possible. They all agree that some candy is good, but mostly they wanted to enjoy the hunt and the fun of showing their costumes. And speaking of costumes, we have some cute cousins who sent us email greetings for Halloween...

Dread Pirate Dominic, pumpkin slayer, and heart~breaker... well, he makes my heart melt anyway.

Jordan the Bee, a cutie bug for sure.

And Griffin... oh, I mean Dale Earnhardt Jr. Ready for serious fun.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

HaPpY HaLLoWeEn!

Alex the Dragon Wizard is roaming the halls of academia. Much like last year, when he was the invisible man, his costume is home-grown, creative and a family project that should have been started 6 months ago. Trouble-shooting and design challenges aside, he looks pretty cool in his dragon head and with his apocathry belt laden with potions and salves.

Maria is wearing anything with tulle... a thrift shop dress and a tutu and yellow ribbons in her hair. She says she is a princess fairy. I love that she made it herself, picking what passed for her vision and adamantly declining anything did not fit in her plan.

I will have to post in increments today. Max is, unfortunately sick... some post-fire cough, a little fever, sore throat and a mix of too much school party anxiety. He is not really sorry about the prospect of missing the parade and festivities. He is worried about missing school work. He's in our bed doing school assignments. I am looking forward to sharing his very Max costume... stay tuned!

William and I are going to juggle today, wearing many hats as volunteers, doing his school work, keeping Max company and finishing William's costume. I think I will be Eeyore... it just fits.

After School Update

What the hay! Never underestimate the complexity of a simple idea.

And never give-up just because it's tough, or you might miss out on something that, in the end, works surprisingly well.

Somehow, Max as a bale of straw... an unassuming, camouflaged costume with a built-in escape hatch... just fits. He loves it. He likes that he can disappear...

and make a showing whenever he feels like it.

Maria's princess-fairy costume evolved throughout the morning, until she finally made her debut in her princess dress, with fairy tutu, Jack' o lantern shell and "Mary Poppins'" hat. Smashing! Dazzling! Original!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Finishing October

I ought to have a separate label called "Shocked" and under its heading would be all the posts that express my amazement about the lateness of the month, or week or day... seems I am always caught off guard by the passage of time. It's Later Than You Think could be my theme song. So, anyway, I am taken aback, surprised, turned around... October is nearly through? Oh my.

OKay. Who needs a costume? William asked for a black dress shirt that will be suitable for Frankenstein's Monster; something in keeping with the literary description of the creepy fellow. Alex's costume is nearly complete, I think... wait, I seem to recall a strip of elastic I need to attach to his head dragon's head. And for Max, I need to get to a feed store and buy a flake of straw. Maria... she says she wants to be a "Cutie Bug!" I think that can be open to interpretation, so I hope she is happy with whatever I can manage in the next 24 hours! Pictures, yes. I will take lots of pictures.

Last week, when we came home from our very exclusive evacuation center, we were greeted by 2 parcels. One from Hawaii and one from Oregon. Seems the grandmas were in sync and they both had Halloween on their minds. I cannot describe the pleasure we derived from those care packages... it was as good as a party and a wonderful distraction from our fears and anxieties about the fires.

My mom sent Maria little tulle tutus, and Tutu sent her a bracelet and a necklace. We also received gag gifts, like a fake cigar and a chewed wad of gum prop, Halloween pencils, paper plates and a tea towel with a pumpkin cookie cutter. Tutu added her traditional chocolate covered marshmallow treats, which the boys jokingly say can only be found in Hawaii. Thank you grandmas and grandpas! We love our treats.

Interesting crossroads... I am struggling with a decision about what is appropriate and what is inappropriate to discuss in a blog. I know that very personal or emotionally charged subjects are considered taboo for some, especially in a family blog or when read by people not as comfortable with the whole blog genre in the first place. Yet some people would actually find it remiss of me not to mention an important, or significant event or passage... maybe it would seem indifferent of me or insensitive of me to not acknowledge sad news. And lately I have left quite a bit unsaid, preferring to respect privacy, and perhaps I should continue in this mode. However, I make this blog a chronicle of our lives and a means to connect with family and friends.

And so I must mark this day, quietly, though publicly, and extend my deepest sympathy to my cousins. My tio passed away last night... it is my cousins I am thinking of, their loss, and I am sad too... once again caught off guard by the passage time, and full of memories of our times together as children, playing under the watchful, loving eyes of our parents. I pray for their comfort, that they may feel the warm embrace and loving kindness of family and friends, near and far.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Too Soon Monday

From this angle it looks like we have a handle on life and impending festivities, but the truth is this has been a difficult week and it's not getting much easier. Never underestimate the effects of Santa Ana Winds, raging fires, evacuations, clean-up, and traveling the road back to Normal. In the midst of our own little dramas we are trying to cope with other people's agendas... like school parties on steroids. And then there are family matters that arise and make all else pale by comparison... so, I dropped everything to try to comfort my cousins in L.A. Sigh. Truly, this is not me complaining. I am just taking stock of all the factors that may account for my lack of sleep, for feeling stressed, sad, melancholy and well, frankly, irrationally cranky and sometimes even rationally cranky.

The boys are just... ahem... a wee bit late for school. What can I say?

So, I took stock of what is making life challenging at the moment. Now I am going to play a therapeutic balancing game and reflect on what makes me hopeful, grateful and willing to keep on trying...
1. Geoff put gas in the car before I made the sola trip to L.A. This is romantic, kind, thoughtful, helpful and comforting.
2. I got to see my cousins and Grandma, aunt, uncle, tio, and my brother Bill. Time with family is precious.
3. When I came home everyone was happy and safe and I was overcome with the knowledge that I love this family with my heart, soul and mind.
4. Dominic learned to walk. Sure, I am missing the fun of actually seeing him walk, but at least I got to see Bill impersonate his son walking. Cute. Cute and funny.
5. I have been hearing from family and friends and new Chickenblog visitors, and I love the conversations and exchanges. Love it.
6. Tracy says I make her smile and she handed me an award for it. I wish I could sing, but making people smile is also a sweet skill. Tracy makes me smile too.
7. Frozen, nitrate-free turkey sausages are on sale.
8. I finally found my cell phone... to 21 people: Sorry I missed your call!
9. 21 people called me. OKay, some of them were recorded messages from the school district.
10. Did I mention how much I love my family? It bears repeating. I love their laughter, creativity, thoughts, actions, dreams, plans, goals, motivations, smiles, drawings, carvings, dances, songs, music, style and hugs.