Monday, October 30, 2006

In Defense of Halloween

My oldest, lifelong pal, emailed me today in response to my question, "Are you ready for Halloween?" basically telling me that for a variety of reasons, though she enjoyed it very much as a kid, as an adult doesn't celebrate...and I emailed her this encouragement to get on board with the fun stuff! If you have any other reasons to love this day, I hope you share them!

I love Halloween, and here are some good reasons to get on board with this fun day...

1. You can get dressed up in fun ways. A few years ago, when Amanda was in preschool at our catholic school in St. Louis, I went dressed as a chocolate chip cookie, wearing vanilla perfume. I told gross jokes to the older kids and asked all of them if they "Got MILK?" It was so fun.

2. You can embrace ORANGE as a fashion choice. Orange and black, even better.

3. Your kids leave the house and come back bearing candy, that you have to sort through to make sure it is "safe" before they get to eat it. I have noticed that very few of the good chocolate bars make it into the "safe" pile (Almond Joys are NEVER safe).

4. Halloween music. Just try not to get into the spirit of things after hearing "The Monster Mash" is not possible.

6. Kids are so cute in their costumes. Especially little babies. I just LOVE seeing the babies in their little suits.

7. Candy corn.

8. Hot chocolate after trick or treating. (Try adding some peppermint schnapps to yours!)

9. Trick or treating = exercize + candy. Balance in the universe. No guilt!

10. Halloween ushers in the holiday season. It is party, party, party from now until the end of the year!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Parent Teacher Conference Days...Box Wine Special at Smiths

Report cards, and the ensuing days off from school, should be issued with coupons for big savings on spirits.

I am holding my breath until Tuesday, when that big yellow bus picks up 75% of my children. The bus left them here Wednesday afternoon, after a half day of school, and hasn't been back since. I can't think. I can't write. I can't even get to my computer because of, and I spend my days organizing sock washes and breaking up fights over toys. I have dishes piled so high that I can't even get to my coffee maker, so I am suffering the withdrawl headaches and my husband bought paper plates so he could feed the kids while I was at work.

So Tuesday the house will get a little quieter, and I will be down to one kid. I have plans.

I am going to grab a big black bag and hit the playroom. I am throwing away anything that came from McDonalds or Burger King. I am also throwing away anything broken and that includes the great Barbie Massacre. I have carnage of untold origin. Arms without bodies, torsos without legs, heads with bits of leaves or something stuck in tangled, scary hair. I am afraid that it is sending a very bad message to my son. It has to go, as do all the cars with no axles, the odd bits of games, and stray flashcards.

Oh this is going to be fun! And I have a box of wine to celebrate with!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Scott!

Scott, doing one of his most favorite things, climbing.

Every girl needs a few friends she would go to the end of the earth for. I would have to say that I am more fortunate than most. I have the luxury of having a handful of really dear friends, the aforementioned Amanda, my childhood pals Demeca and Anne, my former sister in law Linda, sweet Bonnie of Nevada, and Scott. Today is Scott's birthday!

Scott and I met January 27, 1998, a week after my daughter Amanda was born. My cousin, Ennio, wanted to stop by and see the baby and brought along a friend. Well needless to say when Scott walked in my first thought was, "Jeez, this is one good looking guy!" The second thought I had was "great, I am a mess..." One week post partum, no make up, no sleep, hair a mess, big tee shirt and leggings, and oh yeah, leaky breasts. I felt so special.

But Scott was so charming, so kind, and didn't look at me like some post partum circus sideshow, he just was warm and friendly, and really smitten with the baby. He even hit it off with my mother in law!

Well, Scott and I became great friends, immediately. I never felt like there was a time we didn't know each other. We have spent hours lamenting relationship woes and bitching about politics. When I need advice, or a friendly ear, Scott is who I turn to. When I write, especially about politics, he is my sounding board, he is the audience I aim for, because of his clear sense of decency and finely attuned bullshit barometer. I know that if what I write passes by him that I have done my job.

Scott is someone I just like to sit and drink wine with and listen to him play the guitar, and talk for hours. He has a great mind, and sense of humor, and a tremendous amount of compassion. Someday some lucky lady is going to catch this guy, and I will be so happy, but she has to know up front that I am not going ANYWHERE!

Love you Scott, I hope you have a wonderful birthday, and this has helped you take stock of the things that MATTER.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Birthday Amanda!

Amanda Cooper and husband Jim Noel

Yes today is my best friend, Amanda's birthday. Out of respect for my elders, I will not divulge her age, but she is much older than I am.

Amanda deserves a lot of recognition for everything she does. She is not only the campaign manager for our high powered, high energy Governor Bill Richardson, but she also has a magnificent horse ranch, and personally cares for the dozen or so horses she has there, in addition to her many cats, dogs, and loving husband, Jim.

Amanda is kind to everyone she meets. She bubbles with energy and joy, and people are immediately taken with her charm. She has a great sense of humor.

When I met Amanda we were doing campaign work for a guy running for State Senate, but we were also dropping literature for her step-father, Tom Udall, who was running for Congress. We were partnered up, and I immediately liked her (as everyone does) because she was handing out the pamphlets and saying, "Vote for my dad, he's a great guy!" to everyone. We became great friends.

The next spring my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. Surgery was scheduled, but it had spread too far, and he was given a few months to live. When he was hospitalized at the end of his life Amanda came to his bedside every day and sat with him, holding his hands, telling him stories, making him laugh. He just adored her. Dad was a great judge of character.

When Dad died, Amanda was right there for me. She was so strong for me and my family, and really helped us through that difficult time. A couple of days later I got a call from her, her cat Scatter had been injured by a car engine. The poor kitty suffered terribly and then died. Amanda and I, consumed by so much loss, just sat in her porch and cried for hours.

We both moved around over the years, and I got stuck in Missouri. I wanted to come back to NM for years, but with our jobs and our house and kids I didn't think we would ever get the chance to move back home, but Amanda took my husband's resume to a friend in state government and he got an interview. With Charles's experience he was able to get a good job, and we came back home last year. My children, thanks in no small part to Amanda, have had a year with my elderly and sick grandparents, and there is no substitute for that.

My oldest daughter is named after her Aunt Amanda. She is the Godmother of my kids. They are crazy about her, but who wouldn't be? She plays with them, she chases them, she spoils them rotten, she makes them laugh, and she even taught my son the "spoon on the nose trick as seen here...

Watch Willie do his trick!

There is no person more kind, generous, witty or charming than Amanda. She is much older than me, but we have a special connection, and I will always love her.

Happy birthday, my dear friend!

Life is Just a Bowl of...


Yes, that is my son William. William has a new favorite game. He gets something large, such as a shoe, a big toy, something that won't actually vanish on him, and he gives it a power wash by putting it into the toilet and flushing. This brings him tremendous joy and satisfaction. I have thrown out many items as a result. I have to watch this boy like a hawk.

Of course I have worried that he will chose something more flushable and then I will have a plumbing problem on my hands. But that is not what keeps me up at night.

What I fear is that he will get all germy and sick and we will have to take this small stinky boy to the hospital, where he will be admitted and put on IV fluids and treated for dysentery or polio or asspox, and when he recovers I will have to sit with a nurse and discharge coordinator and demonstrate that I do, indeed, know how to properly clean a toilet, before they let him go home with me.

I fear the handouts with the diagrams of a toilet brush and disinfectant.