Only a couple more days of this Halloween themey stuff and I'm done. I actually like the blue and grey layout I've used a couple of times in the past week, but I'll return to this because Halloween is Wednesday, and there is just so little time left to enjoy the ghosties and the orange and black gloominess.
I actually love the concepts of the wiccan holiday of Samhain, which sort of lead to the concepts of Halloween, only dragged through the Christianization attempts to clean up pagan holidays. As much as I dig God and Christianity, man... I gotta say the early Christians sucked at trying to un-Paganize the Pagans and should have just left well enough alone. I think my approach of letting people believe and sharing if they want to learn is better. It actually is contrary to what Christ has instructed us to do, but when it really comes down to it, forcing faith on others just sucks. I am a big fan of cultural and religious ceremony and practices. I love going to Jewish festivals and celebrations, Buddhist weddings, and it makes me think of all that is lovely about difference. Boy, don't I sound like someone with a "Celebrate Diversity" bumper sticker, but it's true... I like stuff like that. It doesn't detract from my own liking of my own celebrations and religious practices. I think it's beautiful. And anyway, there is enough intolerance in the world as is. So live and let live. Do unto others. Yadda yadda yadda.
The thing about Halloween this year that irritates me is the fact so many people don't want their kids dressing up as scary things. "The world is scary enough as it is!" they cry out. Well, kids have to act out that which is scary so it becomes less scary. Geoff's school and Jessica's school both sent home notices about Halloween dressup, and both were very clear about how no "scary" costumes would be welcome in school.
I think that is kind of wrong.
Scary monsters, pirates, ghosts, ghouls, goblins and that stuff become far less frightening when kids learn and realize that it is all make pretend.
Exorcising that (or exercising, if you like) is important for the little ones. Osama bin Laden and anthrax are scarier than Frankenstein monster dressed kids. Allowing kids to realize that there is scary shit in the world, and getting your fears and ya yas out all in one night, plus getting rewarded with some candy, is all right by me.
There are also art programs that I've heard of where they are discouraging kids from drawing scary pictures. That's really wrong -- I think that a lot of kids right now are working through a lot of their fear, and sometimes that has to be done through art. Whether the teacher is comfortable with it or not. Stifling that can backfire. After all, the world isn't always a pretty and hunky-dory place... And not all kids benefit from drawing puppies and rainbows.
My kids are going to be pirates this year. They won't be extra ghoulish pirates because conceptually the idea of pirates is pretty damn scary in and of itself if you really think about it. Ruthless hate-filled bastards who plunder other ships, filled with bloodlust and greed. Ay! Ahoy! Prepare to be boarded, Matey! Pirates are pretty mean. And I'm psyched because the costumes don't require much on my part... the simpler it is the happier I am.
Easy costumes... that's where I'm at this year. I have to find some big white dress shirt for Geoff. Jessica has one with a frilly collar, so that will be extra funny. All we need are a couple swords, a fake parrot, and a pirate hat (not sure which one will be the captain and which will be the matey) at least one more sash or bandana, just for fun, and we're all set. Argh! Yahoo. A stress free dressup. Lord knows I'm not feeling Martha Stewarty this year with the costumage.
Speaking of Martha Friggin Stewart, I went to a party on Friday night at a co-worker's swanky bachelorette pad. She lives in a condo across the road, it used to be a mill, then it was a boys' school. Now it's condos. It's a fabulous place, with 20 foot high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, a tiny little galley kitchen, a breakfast nook, and 2 bedrooms and a bath.
She's decorated pretty much 100% out of the Pottery Barn catalogue, and has done an amazing job of it. And the holiday festivus spread was gingerly decorated with daintily tossed fall leaves, and apples cored with votive candles in them. It was textbook Martha, and it was lovely. I hate Martha Stewart, but this party was pulled off without looking at all like the normal "I am so damn smart and kitschy!" shit she (Martha) usually embodies.
The swanky bachelorette pad was gorgeous, and it pissed me off to no end to know I was going to have to go back to my ghetto "shabby chic" house with crayon on the walls, baskets of semi folded laundry on the dining table, a bathroom that smells atrocious (thanks to my stupid 4 year old pissing on the wall because he has lousy aim... the place smells like an NYC Port Authority Bathroom in the pre-Giuliani years), dog hair on everything, and used furniture in every room (EVERY room. We have only 1 piece of furniture that we bought new, and that's our bed, which I don't like and would replace in a heartbeat if we had the cash).
I let her know of my raging jealousy. Must be nice to earn like 90,000 clams a year and have no kids, no school debt, no nothing. She smiled and shrugged and said "must be nice to have a husband and two kids who love the crap out of you."
I shut up... Touche. Maybe, just MAYbe she's right. I thought so until I got home and the place was even more wrecked than when I left. Damn.
Our executive VP of HR (my big big boss) was at the party, and he was a riot, totally contradicting my earlier rants against C-- level people. He put on a Lenny Kravitz kind of sweater that one of my co-workers had on and proceeded to dance and act mentally deranged for over an hour. It was a good time. And I think this was the first time since I got hired that he and I have actually talked... which was odd. I made him laugh, but then again, I could have said "Banana" to him and he would have shit his pants laughing. He was in a great mood and nothing was gonna stop him from having a great time. So that was kind of nice.
What else... oh yeah. We went for a long drive on Saturday. The clouds couldn't make up their mind whether or not they were going to let the sun shine on the foliage. It was a cold and overcast day, and looking at the leaves was kind of dull until suddenly there would be a break in the clouds and a hill or two ahead of us would glow like gold. It was kind of nice. We drove out to the Quabbin Reservoir and back, all told about a 4 hour car ride round trip. Longer than we'd intended, but we had a nice stop for dinner in Barre, MA, and enjoyed going through the small towns out there. For East of the Quabbin the area is really rural... one minute you're in Harvard, MA, the next your on Rte 62 in the deep woods past Clinton without any traffic or another car to see. We saw some bikers (pedal bikes, not motorcycles) out enjoying the day, near Mt. Wachusett, and it seemed to me a perfect day to be out doing that.
A&M stopped by yesterday. Aaron had his motorcycle helmet from when he crashed his bike and gave it to Geoff because G-love likes wearing it around the house. He looks like a power ranger. The kids had a lot of fun with that. A&M attended a party at the home of some friends of theirs from college and spent the weekend. So while they were at our house for less than an hour, it was still fun and eventful.
Geoff is getting better about saying goodbye too. He used to cry and weep and freak out when we'd leave people that he loves, or when they left us, so now he just pouts for a minute and gets on with his life.
I did want to mention that Doug makes me laugh. It's nice after 14 years with someone when they still can crack you up... We were doing yard work the other day and our garden this year wasn't a Victory Garden. There were no bumper crops. We were miserably disappointed by our technique and the results. It doesn't help that for a whole month he wasn't there, and I didn't weed well. So it being the time of year to knock down the grass one last time and pull up any remaining veggies before the big frost, Doug goes out to do the job. He returns to the house with a handful of scrawnyassed onions, not even a handful really... holding them by their shoots and swinging them by his side. He had a big piece of some reedy shit sticking out of the corner of his mouth, and he was filthy.He saunters up to me, I'm at the stove cutting some potatoes for dinner. And he puts this thick east-european/russian accent on and flops the lame onions onto the stove, saying "Today we will TRULY eat, no?" and he slaps my ass. I play into it immediately and put on a good accent myself, "Da, the winter she will not be the bitch we thought! You've done well by your family, Uri, you sexy hunter-gatherer you." I was going to say "come over here and fill me with your borscht" or some crap like that but Jessica came in the house. We were laughing at ourselves, and she was undeniably confused.