Friday, October 29, 2010

TERRIFYING!!! in length...

I haven't posted in 2 weeks so you know what that means, right? Right. Lots of words flowing that may, or may not, have anything to do with one another. If you stick it out until the end, I will tell you a couple of ghost/scary stories.

Halloween is just around the corner and I have been lame-O in the Oh Let's Have Some Halloween Fun! department. I've been sliding into lame-O for several years, now. But we're still going trick-or-treating so I haven't totally slid into Halloween's version of Bah Humbug, whatever that would be. Boo Humbug, maybe? God, I'm hilarious. And tired. Coming down from a 2-week stint solo-parenting. Anyboo....

I actually love Halloween...I love fall...and Halloween is part of it. Even my favorite colors: oranges, golds, yeah. I dig it. But my enthusiasm for anything that might be craft/puppet/mask/sing-along related has just wained. I can't help it. I've been at this a long time.

There was a time, many harvest moons ago, when this day would have found me hunched over the sewing machine while a hot glue gun dripped onto the table. Seriously. I could knock out Halloween costumes like you wouldn't believe. Ask Ellie and Joel; they were forced to wear them. I would see kids with sad little grocery store-bought masks and think, my, my, my.... Really, how did people stand me? How did I stand myself?

I look back on those early motherhood days with fondness, though. It was all so exciting! Everything about everything. I could have listened to Ellie say, "Trick or Treat!!!" indefinitely. Because it was So. Dang. Cute. And Joel, with his low Man Voice even at the age of 18 months saying, "Twicko Tweet?" Even cuter. But since then? Blurry, blurry, foggy, blurry, foggy. Witches hats...brooms....tutus....capes... But who wore what when?

The excitement over parenting hasn't left at has just transferred to different things, like filling out college applications, getting learner's permits for driving, voting for the first time...stuff like that. So I guess it will always be the older ones providing the excitement for me? For the little guys, it's like, yawn...sorry, seen it....yeah, seen it....that one, too....seen it, seen it....Like, when Jasper leaves the house....will we even wave goodbye? Or will we be busy doing something (oh I don't babysitting one of Ellie's or Joel's kids) and just leave a post-it note on the door saying, "Catch Ya Later?"

I've always heard that the baby of the family gets all the attention. And I guess that it's true when the baby is throwing his shoes against the wall, or screaming, or painting the couch....but that's not REAL attention. That's just damage control.

So yeah, in some ways my last two (and my poor middle child who has done everything within his power, including producing a brain tumor, to get my attention) are getting a bad deal. But when I really think about other ways, they're totally not. Because guess what? I am a less neurotic woman than I was in the past. I know that might be hard for some of you to believe, but really, you have no idea how seriously I took things like matching outfits when I didn't have distractions like transcripts, academic portfolios, and driving lessons to keep me busy. I am WAY more relaxed. I am NICER. I have more respect for the feelings of the little people. I have more tolerance where their outbursts and moodiness are concerned. I approach their dramas with an attitude of this, too, shall pass...rather than the....OH MY GOD THIS IS NEVER GOING TO END WE HAVE TO FIND A THERAPIST NOW!!! attitude that Ellie and Joel suffered.

So, maybe Camille did get her Halloween costume the other day when I stopped in for a gallon of milk. Maybe Jasper is wearing the same costume he wore last year (which is a mix-match of costume parts worn by his older brothers, along with parts of a ninja costume brought over by a friend). Maybe we're not going to roast pumpkin seeds or make snacks in the shapes of witches' hats. It's all still good. We ARE going trick-or-treating. We ARE carving a pumpkin tomorrow night (or rather...Ellie is neurotically carving a pumpkin while yelling at everyone else to stay away lest they mar it in some tragic way with a god-forbid MISTAKE that might make it terrifyingly Less Than is great fun, believe me).

We didn't get to El Mercado this year to look at Dia De Las Muertas altars.....or watch the dancers. We didn't make altars, ourselves, as we've done in the past. We filled out college applications, which is a really, really, frightening Halloween activity.

This will be Joel's first Halloween to not trick-or-treat. It will be his first year to save his hard-earned cash normally spent on ridiculously expensive masks. He's going with friends (and Ellie)to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Last year when Joel trick-or-treated, he didn't drag in a very big haul. At his height and age (we're talking daily shaving), apparently people just thought they were being held up....those that didn't throw in their wallets weren't too keen on showering him with candy. He is such a big kid at heart, though. It never occurred to him not to trick-or-treat.

Jules doesn't want to trick-or-treat without Joel - but he's not ready to see The Rocky Horror Picture he doesn't have a choice. He's in there painting some sort of weapon red (it looks like real blood, Mom!) at this very moment.

Schoolish Business? We have been reading some good and scary Halloween books. It wasn't really intentional, it just happened. We read a book of short ghost stories of Texas towns. That was fun, although in San Antonio, we are in the heart of haunted Texas land. I think the Alamo is considered a pretty haunted sight, and I know that the Menger Hotel is. My sister used to work there, my parents got married there, and Jeff and I got married there, as well. It is a fantastically beautiful old hotel across from the Alamo. My sister said unusual occurrences were the norm when she worked there. We've been ghost-hunting there a few times - never found anything, but we are not known for successfully sneaking up on anyone / anything. If you're curious about this historic hotel, local author Docia Williams has written a book called The History and Mystery of the Menger Hotel.

Jules and I read The Pit and the Pendulum, one of my favorite Poe stories of all time. Our house is also littered with Goosebumps books and DVD' we're not entirely Lame-O.

What else is going on in The Can? Odyssey of the Mind is in full swing and I stuck to my guns. I'm not coaching! Well, I'm technically co-coaching, but so far that has involved me dropping off my kids and peeling out in a cloud of dust. Joel and Jules are reading Moby Dick, because that is what their team's skit is based on....although Joel cannot say Moby Dick without cracking up. Joel isn't convinced that Jules is fully understanding the novel...he keeps quizzing him...."Jules, what did the chair look like that so and so sat in?" Jules: "Uhhh....." Joel: "Aha! If you were reading it you would know that because he spends two chapters describing the chair." I haven't read Moby I wouldn't know. And after hearing the boys discussing it, I'm unlikely to to attempt it.

Camille's team is making a Rube Goldberg machine. Jasper? Has refused to participate. He currently has a little friend over...and he's all mad because the little friend is playing with Jules....but Jasper's idea of playing with the little friend is to say, "Ben, go outside and play..." and then hold the door open for Ben, slamming it shut as soon as Ben gets outside, at which point Jasper retreats to his room to play. Alone. And, apparently, angry that Ben is happily playing with Jules. This is how Jasper socializes. It's probably because he's homeschooled. Although I'm not sure that we can technically say he's homeschooled since he officially quit school before he ever began...last year....which would have been kindergarten if anyone were keeping track of that sort of thing. Anyway, Ben is his best friend because BEN DOESN'T CARE THAT JASPER LOCKS HIM OUTSIDE. Ben is 6th out of 9 kids, so he's probably used to being locked outside.

In addition to continuing to write my own novel (I'm over 70,000 words into it, now) - I've been reading a lot, as well. I picked up A Good and Happy Child, at the library. Turns out it is a spooky demonic possession book (perfect for Halloween!) but I didn't know that when I chose it....I'm just into reading first novels at the moment, and this is Justin Evans' first novel.

I love to read first novels so I can gauge my own first attempt....sometimes other people's first novels make me feel pretty good, and sometimes they make me feel pretty amateurish. This one? Well, he writes pretty. He really does. But then I quickly became bored with the content. It is simply the most boring case of demon possession imaginable. I want to say, Are you sure he's possessed and not just cranky? Also - it becomes a little religious and preachy....soul-saving just plain makes me nervous and there is plenty of talk about soul-saving. I live in Texas, so soul-saving talk is as common as pig tracks. In fact, the grocery store checker just casually asked me if I was a Christian....and would I like to come to her church. What did I answer? Well, luckily, I didn't have to. She never stopped talking long enough for me to say anything.

Where do saved souls go? Supposedly Heaven. But what is Heaven? And where will I go? I just don't believe. I've tried to believe. In fact, nobody has tried harder to believe than me. Because I freaking LOVE the trappings of church. I am a massively, appreciatively, ritualistic person. I grew up without religion so, of course, that made it immensely appealing to me. So I tried it and I tried it whole-heartedly. But in the end, no matter what I said or what I did or how I did it (and I did it all perfectly because I was totally digging the whole scene), I just didn't BELIEVE. And monotheism is a belief-based faith.

How do you make yourself believe? Well, they call it faith. And you are to feel badly if you don't have it. But, I can't have faith in something just because somebody tells me to. Therefore, I am left as a non-Believer....and quite happy that way, too. Now if all of the sudden, all of the preachy folks were to suddenly disappear and leave behind nothing but their clothes and a bunch of liberals....I would consider myself a Believer. But also fairly content and reasonably happy to be....dun dun dun....left behind with the other non-Believers.

I realize, of course, that I am taking a huge risk by posting this....someday I could find myself at the Pearly Gates only to have St. Peter tell me he's been following my blog (gulp). Good lord, I hope he's not on Facebook or I'm totally hosed.

And speaking of Believing....let's get to the ghost stories, shall we? My sister lives with a ghost. It is the best roommate she's ever had. She lives in an adorable old cottage. And weird stuff has always happened. Thumps, bumps, sounds, things turning on and off, doors open and closing....yada the ghost read the book or something and followed it to a T. It particularly messes with Ellie when she's over. It turned on an electronic game of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?? in the room where she was sleeping, theme song playing and colored lights 4:00 am during a thunderstorm. Ellie, who had fallen asleep reading about the Cold War (because who wouldn't?) thought the Russians had invaded, and their leader was Regis Philbin.

While Jeff was there doing some plumbing or electrical work or something like that because my sister is needy in that way, he was leaning over in the bathroom and the door bumped him on the behind HARD. And nobody was anywhere around. One time while we were over there (and Jeff was outside doing some sort of electrical work) I was sitting by the window, which was open. Jeff was on the deck and I could hear him clanking around. Suddenly, something flew over my shoulder and landed with a loud kerplunk in the middle of the living room. It flew in an arc, as if thrown underhanded, and I looked to see how Jeff had thrown something through the window when I thought the screen was on. The screen was on. And Jeff wasn't in sight. And my sister comes stomping out because she thought I had thrown something on her wood floors and she bent over and picked up the little alarm sensor that had, up until that point, been attached to the window frame above my left shoulder. "How did this get here?" she asked me. " fell?" I answered. Yeah, right. It "fell" into the center of the room, after following a curved trajectory. Weird.

But the Big Story is that my sister, Ellie, (and almost my dad - but he simply refuses to play) actually SAW the ghost. It floated up from the floor, a white misty cloud that didn't feel misty, and formed a blob that hovered in front of them for about 3 seconds, before floating up through the ceiling. My sister and Ellie both yelled, "Did you see that?" and my dad, who was watching the Big Bang Theory (his favorite show) said, "See what?" and remains the ever-so-irritating skeptic about the whole thing. Of course, he said he had a ghost in his room at rehab (remember when he broke his leg?) but now he says he remembers nothing of it and it was probably his pain pain meds are more fun than a Real Live (or dead) GHOST. Actually? Never mind. Pain meds are more fun than a ghost.

OK - I have more ghost stories, but I'm tired of you'll have to tune in next Halloween, mwaa-ha-ha-ha....(that is an evil laugh....I am not a naturally evil person so I'm not very good at it).

Happy Halloween!


  1. You and your "words"!

    But I am addicted to what you have to say. I'm right there with you on not putting too much effort into Halloween anymore. It's really a lot of work for a day or two and plus it totally messes up my house for a couple of weeks. Who needs it anyway?

    Don't you get yourself all in a tizzy about being a non-believer. I've been throwing in a few extra prayers for you so I think you're good to go. I'd like to say that I'll be waiting at the Pearly Gates for you but you go right on without me. I'll be there soon enough. As soon as this house is clean.

    Your Friend, m.

  2. Only one comment? ? I know I'm a little behind, but gotta make up for that.

    I love ghost stories and my family all are believers ... in ghosts. (Yeah, I also believe in the Holy Ghost and all that, too) Andrew has a healthy respect for ghosts.