Thursday, October 23, 2008

Something Wicked This Way Comes

This time of year we are having a good old time being frightened. We are big Halloween fans in this house. However, it only takes one event to remind us that while we enjoy a good "safe" scare, there are places in the world where "truly horrific" is an everyday and real-life occurance. One of those places would be Darfur, Sudan, where there is a genocide going on. Ellie is an activist working to end the genoicide by raising awareness. She participated in "Tents of Hope" over the weekend. The tents have been decorated by various groups/individuals, and are being displayed all over the country. All of the tents will be brought together for a demonstration at the Mall in Washington, DC in November. Afterwards, the colorful tents will become "home" for many genocide survivors currently living in refugee camps in Chad.

To learn more about what you can do to help go to or

Back on the farm, things are starting to get scary as All Hallow's Eve draws near. The laundry is terrifying (and these are only the baskets currently residing in the living room - they are in every room of the house).
And the little kids' room is spine-chilling....

The big boys' room is shocking....

The walls are sprouting pumpkins held up by painter's tape because Jeff has the last roll of scotch tape and won't tell us where it is....

And here is Joel's scary hair!!!!!!!!!! Agggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! (deep breath) Agggghhhhhhhh!!!

We have had a totally awesome day, today. It was "city day" in that we headed north toward the gray dome in the sky...on many days we can see the pollution hovering above the city from our farm.

This morning I had a brain bleep and couldn't remember if piano began at 10:00 or 10:30. Ellie quickly solved the problem by stating it began at 11:00 DUH. Because Ellie is right 99% of the time, I let my hair down for an additional thirty minutes before loading the kids into the van. Now even though I had an additional thirty minutes to say, "Brush your hair, brush your teeth, get your shoes on, get your music, put on a clean shirt....." I ended up loading crazy-haired, dragon-breathed kids with no shoes and dirty clothes and no music books into the car. I sent two of them back in for shoes, found a pair of sandals in the car for Jasper, and off we went.

On my list of things to do was stop and buy new pants for Jules and Jasper, who were both exposing about 4 inches of ankle. We had a little cool front blow in this morning and they were excited to put on their long pants, as they call them; only they weren't quite long enough. So, just picture this crew of matted hair, dirty shirts, and exposed ankles and tell me that anyone couldn't guess these kids are homeschooled. What can I say? Some days I try harder than others. Ellie is my kid who can sometimes "pass" for a school kid. But she stayed home. We tried to talk her into coming with us but when she quit laughing she calmly said, "No, really, its okay - I have a lot of homework to do." Dang homework. We tried a little while longer to apply peer pressure in getting her to skip class but she is the straight arrow in the bunch. Plus, she ADORES any time she gets away from her sibs.
I was thrilled to discover that we pulled in front of the piano teacher's house 2 minutes early! I am so perfect!!! "Joel," I said. "Take Camille in and then we'll head to the bank while she's playing."
I watched him walk Camille to the porch and inside the house, and then I watched him walk her back out.
"Dana said the lesson is at 11:30," he said.

"Are you sure? I don't think it is at 11:30."

"That is what she said," said Joel.

Well, I would like to say this is an uncommon occurrence, but it isn't. I am often facing doctors' receptionists who tell me politely, "Yes, it is on Wednesday, but that would be next Wednesday."
So only being off by 30 minutes instead of an entire week didn't phase me. But what she had actually said was, "You were supposed to be here at 10:00 - I guess you can come back at 11:30 and I'll fit her in." Joel summarized it the way he does most things. Anyway, Ellie was WRONG. I love it. Man, I really love it.

We ran a few errands and came back. Camille had her lesson, Dana and I solved all the problems of the world (again) and also talked about writing, and then my crew and I headed to the library.
The library is an early polling location so we had to park and hike. I was thrilled to see so many people voting! Joel and I had five books waiting for us on the hold shelf. He is reading the Warriors series, and going through 2 - 3 books per week. As many of you know, I am reading the Anita Blake Vampire series. I'm about to begin the sixth book and can finally say I see what everybody else sees in them. It took me awhile to bond with the main character and to give a flip about what happens to her. And Hamilton's writing started off kind of shaky in my opinion, the dialogue drove me nuts, and there were even a few problems in tense. But I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. By the fifth book she is a much better writer and I was page-flipping at a furious pace. Not only did I suddenly care what happened to the characters, I had to know what was going to happen next. I mean really, really badly. So I am thrilled to have the next book in my hands - ready to read tonight! There is also promise of a little "action" between Anita and Jean-Claude, the vampire, in this book :). And the books are seeming less ancient - I think we might be getting close to cell phone usage.
Anyway, after the library we headed to Panda Express for lunch. Jasper calls it Panda Abreast. He hasn't ordered breast milk in a restaurant for almost two years, though. He only did it twice, both times were Freudian slips, but they did cause the waitresses to pause to consider how far they'd go for a tip. I figure he'll be off of his breast fixation for a short while before he hits puberty and it comes back in a different form.
We then headed to Target to get Joel his Halloween mask. He is too old for costumes, he says. But he loves the gory, disgusting masks. Target only had "lame masks" so we bought Jules some jeans, snagged a big bag of Halloween candy and headed to Party City. We don't get trick-or-treaters out here on the farm, so we miss the whole tradition of buying several bags of Halloween candy under the guise of it being for the trick-or-treaters - only to run out and buy the last bag on the big night, having eaten all of the previous bags. It is unfair that we don't get to participate in the guilt-free binging on somebody else's candy. So we scarfed our one ceremonial bag in the car on the way to Party City. Party City at Halloween is insane. The masks, costumes, and terrorizing decorations (all of which make noise) are enough to send anybody's senses into overload. Now imagine Jasper, candy wrappers stuck to his high-water jeans and and what is hopefully chocolate melted all over his rear end, running throughout the store on a sugar high while screaming hysterically. It don't get no better than that, folks. Joel considered it a successful splurge - he spent way too much of his own money on the truly outstanding mask.....

....which by the way, scared the crap out of our dog. Ellie had to comfort poor Ranger :).

A quick stop at the feed store to pick up some mash for the chickens rounded out our afternoon. There is nothing in the oven and I'm thinking we're going out for Mexican. We have GOT to stop doing that so often. Some weeks I've got it together better than others.

Let's see.....other frightening things going on in my life? Politics. I will be glad when the election is over and things get back to normal around here. As one of the few liberal families in our conservative Texas town (which we love), we feel like fish out of water every four years. During the last election I was called unpatriotic - this time around I am anti-American. Neither one sounds good - but anti-American sounds more frightening than unpatriotic. I truly cannot stand the language. I am offended at being called anti-American - I love my country and don't want to live anywhere else (although Canada occasionally sounds pretty darn good). But alas, I have been besieged with anti-liberal and anti-Obama e-mails, most of them mass mailings but a few directed at me, personally. I wonder what it would be like to live in fake America, where nobody would flip me off because of my bumper sticker? Oh well, it will all be over soon and I'll go back to being everyone's favorite little crazy liberal, instead of the propaganda target I've become recently. Looking forward to it.

Don't forget to vote! It would be anti-American :).
Sardine Mama


  1. oh my gosh! Calling someone anti-American for supporting the candidate they don't like? That in itself is anti-American considering they're disrespecting your freedom of opinion.

    This was my first presidential year to vote and it was really cool, I read off all the names of the nominees before I filled in the dot next to my choice even though I already knew who they all were, it was cool/exciting to see it in print right in front of my. yay voting! And yeah, there are huge crowds at early voting, I'm so glad I went before election day. I too will be happy to see this whole thing over with (I got politically burned out back in Feb when I was swept away in the primary races and being a delegate, it's all been a bit hum-drum since then).

    Wonderful post, I love all of the scary Halloween decorations at your house!

  2. Good for you! Hannah - I am so proud of you for so many reasons and you are such an awesome friend and role model for Ellie. You don't have to be a first-time voter to look at this year's ballot and get tingly. This is just an amazing year, in general. We've crossed over a boundary, no matter who wins. My dad is almost 80 and when he voted this week he said he felt really proud and amazed.

    You know, somebody pointed something out to me, lately, and it made me think about what I've chosen to focus on. I have MANY friends and family who are McCain supporters who we see all the time, party with all the time, go places and do things with all the time, and they have never sent me an unsolicited e-mail or tried to talk me into changing my vote. We respect each others rights to our opinions. Period. I think the few people who are accosting me with their opinions have made me forget about the 90% of conservative friends I have who do not care how I vote and don't mention it all (with the exception of the occasionall good-natured ribbing, which I enjoy). So thanks, Janet (wink).

  3. Love the new picture. I have been keeping up with you and the family since mother told me about it on your trip to CA. I am sorry we didn't get to catch up while we were back in Texas over the summer. To many people to see to little time. I am glad to hear that Hamilton's books are getting better. I am having a hard time getting through here first one. I went to the used book store and found a copy since I had read your blog about it. I feel like it is a lot of back and forth, and I am having a hard time keeping up. I guess I will keep trudging along though. Tell the family hello for us. Miss you guys. Randi

  4. Hi Randi - I understand how it must be to have so many people to visit and so little time! Yes, keep reading - the books get better. You haven't met Richard the Boy Scout Werewolf, yet. The book I'm reading still screams 90's, though. She's still wearing her black jeans, black Nikes (remember those?) and polo shirts. And then she is a magnet for hot, sexy vampires. Go figure.

  5. Hey. Haven't seen you around the neighborhood lately. Hope everything's alright with you all.

  6. Things are mostly good - just incredibly busy!