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Thursday Thirteen #117: Thirteen Things About Halloween and the Wacky Family

October 31st, 2007


We love Halloween at our house. I love it so much that I would like to eat a pound of chocolate right now to celebrate. Self-control is good, but on Halloween it goes OUT the window. I will try to not eat too much chocolate. I always try to try. Here are 13 funnies for you:

13) One of the first Halloweens my husband and I spent together, we all three dressed up as princesses — Hockey God, me, and Good Ol’ Wacky Dog, who was adorable in a pink sparkly cape and pointy pink hat. We went to a party where a few friendly lesbians took a liking to him, and spent the evening “frenching” him and feeding him beer. Arooooooooooo! (Here is a picture of him, the cutest dog ever, from last year, with my sister’s dog, who is dressed as a dinosaur.) (He used to like to spend Halloween bum rushing the door every damn time the bell rang, and scaring the kids.) (Good puppy! Why did we not lock him in the office? He was part beaver and would have chewed his way out.) (Poor dog. Poor scared trick or treaters.)

12) One of my favorite memories is my daughter’s second Halloween, when my mother tried to “teach” her how to hand out Halloween candy. Only neither one of them would let go. The neighbor kids found this to be “frustrating.” We have it all on videotape, it’s pretty hilarious and a little goofy.

11) First Halloween for Wacky Girl? I dressed her as a bear. Second? She was a little bunny, and every time a kid came up on the porch she shrieked with glee and nearly scared them off.

10) “Trick or treat and make it snappy!”

9) Wacky Girl is dressed as a pirate tonight; Wacky Boy is dressed as a hippie.

8) Wacky Girl: “On Halloween, little girls go wooooooooooot-wooooooooooooooot! Hallelujah! Tricker treating!”

7) Wacky Boy: “On Halloween, little boys say twick o tweet. TWICK O TWEET FOR UNICEF!!!!”

6) Wacky Girl, upon finding out that trick or treating ends when you turn 12 or 13: “I thought that was horrible and… pretty bad.”

5) How about some candy, y’all?

4) My dad used to take us out trick or treating for blocks and blocks and blocks and never gave up before we did. That is my definition of a great father. My mom used to sort out all of our candy after we went to bed and only ate some of it, not all. That is my definition of a great mom. Also, she used to sew all of our costumes — gypsies, clowns, witches, whatever we wanted.

3) Wacky Girl’s definition of the perfect Halloween: “You get a medium amount of candy. You go home, you eat half of it, and you go to bed. The next day you don’t go to school cuz it’s Candy Hang-over Day. Then after lunch and dinner the next day you eat the rest of your candy. And that’s a perfect Halloween.”

2) Wacky Boy’s definition of the perfect Halloween: “I do not have one.” (Proceeds to wrap ribbon from sword all around the office. “It took me a very long time to do.”)

1) Happy Halloween, and I hope you get lots of treats and hardly any tricks.


Happy Halloween, everyone!

October 31st, 2007

Linus: [to Charlie Brown after Sally tells him off] You’ve heard of the fury of a woman scorned, haven’t you?

Charlie Brown: Yeah, I guess I have.

Linus: Well, that’s nothing compared to the fury of a woman who has been cheated out of trick-or-treats.

— from “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

Oh, Linus, I root for you and the Great Pumpkin every year.

Wacky Girl, this morning: “What are you going as for Halloween, Mom?”
me, thinking it’s best to stick with what you know: “How about… a scary witch?”
Wacky Girl: “How about a MOM they’re the scariest!!!”

I want tricks and treats! I was smart and bought only candy I don’t like — Nerds, Tootsie Pops, Reese’s sticks and Mounds. (I like the Mounds, but it was the smallest bag.)

4:45 p.m. here — We’re going to attempt dinner. Ha! Futile, but I’ll plough ahead. The kids will pretend to eat. My sister is coming by. Hockey God is bringing home Indian food yes chole and samosas! Woo-hoo!!! Wacky Girl is already in costume, dressed as a pirate, yar, complete with a stuffed parrot and a ribbon-festooned sword. She keeps practicing with the sword, it’s a lot of fun.

Wacky Boy? He’s a cute little hippie, complete with a hat his sister knitted him, a scarf I knitted him, a tie-dye shirt, peace symbol necklace and his dad’s safety glasses. (Don’t ask. The boy likes safety glasses.)

QOTD: Gertrude Stein

October 31st, 2007

“Nothing is really so very frightening when everything is so very dangerous.”

— Gertrude Stein

Pu-Pu Platters for All!

October 29th, 2007

I got a real shocker when I picked up the kids from school today.

“Dad says you’re supposed to feed us dinner, so we can carve pumpkins when he gets home!”

What? I mean, what? I need to play chef? For the Kids Who Refuse to Eat? I’ve turned into Cher in “Mermaids,” when she serves the kids cocktail weiners, aka “pigs in a blanket,” and fruit kebabs.

We are now eating a pu-pu platter of goat cheese, crackers (the healthy kind — Wheatettes!), dried cranberries and cashews. By “we” I mean “I am” because the kids aren’t touching any of it.

Let’s play a game, it’s called, what will your 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son eat, Wacky Mommy? Have they gotten over that whole Picky Eater thing?

Q: Vegetables?
A: No. Except french fries. And not all french fries, just the crinkly kind. No, the shoestring kind. I think. Who knows. They won’t eat home fries, sweet potato fries, anything that doesn’t “look” like a french fry.

Q: Vegetables with ranch dip?
A: Nope.

Q: Fruit?
A: Yes. But only pears, apples, oranges, raspberries (Wacky Girl); pears, raspberries (Wacky Boy). Wacky Girl: “I kinda like strawberries. And watermelon. Kinda.”

Q: Cheese?
A: Mostly, especially if it’s combined with macaroni or melted on top of pizza.

Q: Meat?
A: They do not care for meat. Any meat. Wacky Boy occasionally likes a Dino Nugget from Costco.

Q: Hot dogs? Hamburgers? Weiner wraps? Chili dogs? Sloppy Joes? Meat or veggie ones?
A: They will say no.

Q: Desserts?
A: All desserts are accepted. Desserts, however, are not regularly offered, due to the lack of eating Real Food.

Q: How about tater tots? All kids like tater tots!
A: Not mine. Once in awhile my daughter will eat a baked potato, and she likes cornbread, and spaghetti. (No meat sauce, no meatballs.)

Q: Is it a bitch, trying to cook for them?
A: Nope. I used to sweat it, now I just roll with it. Vegetables and fruits: Offered (and refused). Bean burritos, tacos, nachos: Offered (and refused). Mashed potatoes? My daughter will sometimes eat mashed potatoes. Wacky Boy could live on cereal bars, toast, and vanilla yogurt. Que sera, sera.

They’ll eat when they’re hungry.

Madeline Kahn, on “Sleeping Together”

October 29th, 2007

From Saturday Night Live, circa 1976:

Madeline: “So then the man gets bare naked in bed with you and you both go to sleep, which is why they call it “sleeping together.” Then you both wake up and the man says, “Why don’t you slip into something more comfortable?” No, wait a second, um, no, I think that comes, uh, before. Anyways, it’s not important, it’s not important.”


October 29th, 2007

From Cameron Crowe’s film “Almost Famous”:

Russell Hammond: [Russell grabs phone away from William] Hey, mom! It’s Russell Hammond. I play guitar in Stillwater. Hey, how does it feel to be the mother of the greatest rock journalist we’ve met? Hello? Hello…? Look, you’ve got a really great kid here. There’s nothing to worry about. We’re taking good care of him, and you should come to the show sometime – join the circus…

Elaine Miller: Hey, hey, listen to me, mister. You’re charm doesn’t work on me – I’m on to you. Of course you like him…

Russell Hammond: Well, yeah…

Elaine Miller: He worships you people. And that’s fine by you as long as he helps make you rich.

Russell Hammond: Rich? I don’t think so…

Elaine Miller: Listen to me. He’s a smart, good-hearted fifteen-year-old kid with infinite potential.

Russell Hammond: [Russell is stunned]

Elaine Miller: This is not some ignorant mother you’re speaking to – I know all about your decadence and I should not have let him go. He’s not ready for your world of compromised values and diminished brain cells that you throw away like confetti. Am I speaking to you clearly?

Russell Hammond: Yes – yes, ma’am…

Elaine Miller: If you break his spirit, harm him in any way, keep him from his chosen profession which is law – something you may not value, but I do – you will meet the voice on the other end of this telephone and it will not be pretty. Do we understand each other?

Russell Hammond: Uh, yes, ma’am…

Elaine Miller: I didn’t ask for this role, but I’ll play it. Now go do your best. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. Goethe said that. It’s not too late for you to become a person of substance, Russell. Please get my son home safely. You know, I’m glad we spoke.

[Elaine hangs up]

Russell Hammond: [Russell stands holding phone in stunned silence]

if you have a moment…

October 27th, 2007

Swing by Grasshopper and say hi. I have a new post up!

Happy Saturday, y’all.


quotes of the day

October 26th, 2007

“I do not want the peace which passeth understanding,
I want the understanding which bringeth peace.”
— Helen Keller

“Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.”
— Oscar Wilde

“The greatest danger before you is this: You live in an age when people would package and standardize your life for you — steal it from you and sell it back to you at a price. That price is very high.”
— Granny D. (aka Doris Haddock), campaign finance reform activist, speaking to the Franklin Pierce College class of 2001

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

“Men’s hearts ought not to be set against one another, but set with one another, and all against evil only.”
— Thomas Carlyle

“We hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them.”
— Caleb Colton

“The responsibility of tolerance lies with those who have the wider vision.”
— George Eliot

“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
— Buddha

Thursday Thirteen #116: Thirteen Things About Planet Nomad

October 24th, 2007


Do you have any friends? I mean, real-life friends, not just cyber-friends? I do. I have, like 78 or maybe 423. It varies from week to week. It’s because I live in Podunk, Oregon, where I have lived since my parents brought wee little me home from the hospital.

This means I have friends from grade school, high school, college (I went to college in downtown Podunk), and every bar, neighborhood and job I’ve ever known. I am what you call “a people person.”

This does not make me a good friend. However, within this crazy corral of friends, I have four or five true-blue girlfriends, and to them I will remain loyal and steadfast for all of my days.

“A good friend will help you move, but a good girlfriend will help you move a body.”
— Zip

Girlfriends, yes, the ones who know all about your crazy inner-heartaches and who have seen you through several bad haircuts and numerous drafts of your unpublished manuscripts.

Those girlfriends, for me, are Misses P, Zip, M, Leslie, S, and Beth. (That’s six.) (That’s a lot.) (I am lucky and not worthy, even one bit.)

My real-life friends, who never got enough attention to begin with, have been sadly neglected since I started a blog almost three years ago. For instance, my oldest childhood friend, Miss P (and by “oldest” I am not referring to her age. I mean, we have been friends longer than I’ve been friends with anyone else). (Got all that?) The girl lives five minutes from me. Fifteen if I’m walking. But do I see her? No. Does she call? No. It must have been something in the water in our neighborhood because she is as terrible about calling and visiting as I am.

Then comes a message through one of her co-workers, whose daughter is in my Sunday School class. “She lost your number! You have to call her.” (That is how Portland goes — you only catch up with friends when you know someone who knows someone who remembers you or them.) (Or you slept with someone in common, and now you’re both married to other people, and you never see the person you both used to sleep with, but you run into their ex and you’re all, Oh. My. Gosh! It is good to see you! Where are you working now? Are you still playing music? etc.)

OK. That was three days ago, when I got that message during Sunday School, but have I called? I am this way with many of my friends. Flighty. Random. Meaning well but not always following through. I’m ready to stop the blogging for a second and go call her. (Home number: disconnected. Work number (even though I know she still works there): wrong number. Parents’ home phone: No go. They’ve moved out of state. Generally, you can find most native Portlanders through their relatives ’cause mostly none of us ever leave. I sometimes get calls from people looking for my mother, sister or one of my cousins.)

Cell phone! Got her.

me: “I’m blogging about you!”
my girlfriend: “You’re what?”
me: “Blog. Ging. Go read it! I’m posting it in two minutes. I’ll call you back after I get the kids to bed…”
my girlfriend: “Cool.”

I am thankful for my friends. For their forgiveness of my flightiness, my quirks, my volatile nature.

I am especially grateful for Planet Nomad (Beth), cuz she, like my girlfriend Miss P who I just hung up on, has stood by me through many years of flightiness. Two decades’ worth, to be almost precise. (Now go read her blog, cuz she posted her first Thursday Thirteen and it is all about me! And it’s not even my birthday! So I wanted to return the favor.)

I am glad to know her, and her sweetheart of a husband, and their three incredible and beautiful kids. I am grateful and a little giddy that they are here from Africa for the year. I do not want them to leave, but that is selfish of me. I think the thought and then I shoot it out of my head and get mad at myself for being so selfish. Then I start crying a little, feeling sorry for me, because they’re not here to stay, and they don’t even know my husband, hardly, or my kids, barely, and what do we have to do, go to Morocco to have coffee with them? (That’s where they’re going next, allegedly.) (And way to enjoy their time here, woo!)

This line of thought is almost as selfish as my having forgotten to invite the Planet Nomads to my wedding. (I spaced on a lot of people, not just them. I kicked myself for about two years after our wedding. Sorry, you guys. It wasn’t that fun, don’t think you missed out.) (Are they out of the room? It was real fun, our wedding, for reals. I am such a lameass.)

Here are 13 things I love about my girl, Planet Nomad:

1. She seems to have forgiven me for no wedding invite.

2. She is a grounded, devout, deep, intelligent, articulate and kind person, and so humble and low-key about it.

3. We have quite different political beliefs (well, we do and we don’t, but it’s complex, where we’re both coming from. Does that make any sense?), but we set it all aside and love and respect one another.

4. That’s because we both want the same thing: For people to love each other, tolerate each other, not hurt each other. We want our kids to grow up healthy and strong and have good, long lives, filled with friends, music, art, books and yummy food to eat.

5. She is an amazing writer. We met at the Portland State University Vanguard, the student newspaper. Even back then, we both took our writing seriously, and took each other’s writing seriously. She was one of the first people I trusted, artistically. (So snooty, eh?)

6. A shout-out to our husbands, who are astounding artists and writers, in addition to being two of the best fathers I’ve ever met: Sahara Jones (and Lumiere) and More Hockey Less War.

7. I love my friend Planet Nomad because the girl, she is always level-headed. Even when she’s shaving her legs while she’s in labor, picking out wine, deciding to pack up her family for an international move, or homeschooling three children in French. She does everything in a calm, practical way.

8. I think we can all learn a little something here.

9. She loves books and Keats as much as I do.

10. She’s always, always, always late. In our social circle, she is as well-known for her lack of punctuality as she is for her korma, fairy cakes, and eggplant specialties. I am not a prompt person, myself, but she makes me look positively uptight and chop-chop about scheduling.

11. This pleases me, because, you know, I like knowing that she’s not perfect.

12. Through Planet Nomad, I met our friend Leslie and I love her, and Libby, who is Leslie and Planet Nomad’s dear friend, and it’s all one big lovefest. Also, Planet Nomad has some complex friendship with one of my Wacky Cousin’s half- or step-siblings and I always forget that they know each other, so she and her husband know my cousin. Also, my sister. Actually, I think they knew my sister, to start, better than they knew me. I always forget this. I kinda forgot to tell her they were back in town until they’d, um, already been here a week? Yeah, don’t think I didn’t get an earful about that.

I was all, “Oh, you know them, too?”

13. Heehee.

Beth, I love you. Happy Thursdays, babies!


Carmela’s Kitchen

October 24th, 2007

One of my girlfriends (OK, it’s Zip) sent me pix of her dream house, which is now my dream house. And I’m not talking Barbie dream house, either, I’m talking real dream house.


I want to have your babies, dream house. Can we hook up?

I’m thinking, have I been in this house before? Yes. It’s Carmela and Tony’s, pretty much. No wonder I feel like I’ve been there before — I have been, every week.

Now I have to go pack. The realtor from the West Side, the one who told me people associate my neighborhood with, what was it? “Crime, prostitution and drugs”? Yes, that was it. She’s been fired. Over voicemail. By guess who? The kids. I let the kids do it. Ha! Just kiddin’. Wouldn’t that have been a good one, though? Damn. I’m going to make them do the dirty work from now on.

“I’ve done enough shitwork for today.” — Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman), in Slapshot

Dude, that’s how I feel every day. We found a new realtor who is from (wait for it…) (wait…) MASON CITY, IOWA!!! Woooooooooooooooooo-hooooooooooooooooooooooo we love you, Mason City! She is just who I needed — extremely calm, professional and from the Midwest.

Unlike me.

And she lived over here for a long while, so she knows my neighborhood.

“This is a great neighborhood, and your street is a great street,” she told me. That was the right answer. So between that, and Mason City? She’s in.

Gotta motor.


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