Celebrating The Patron Saint of High Fructose Corn Syrup

Halloween: an ancient tradition in which the villagers spend too much time thinking about and making costumes for their kids, running around to all the craft stores in town and neglecting household chores.

Halloween is an interesting holiday, another one of those holidays from Western Christian tradition that was originally a pagan festival of harvests and dead people, two things the pagans really liked to celebrate. The old clergy got a little itchy at the thought of everyone dancing naked in the woods and drinking too much mead or whatever so they created All Saints Day, a holier than holy Christian holiday to make sure everyone dragged their butts out of bed and went to Mass the next day.

I just like the candy.

Look at Aria checking out that candy.


Here are pictures of Halloween Days Gone By:






Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Yes, I am very thankful, for so many wonderful things in my life. It helps to have this day in November, one the craziest and busiest work months for me, to pause and think about what’s right.

In addition to being thankful, I’m also hungry. I’m excited to eat some of my favorite foods.  No Nouveau Cuisine for us. I like the classics. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, and both kinds of cranberries.

What is your favorite holiday food?

Families that Eat Brains Together, Stay Together

Nothing says “Perfect Halloween” like making costumes, eating too much candy, and throwing a temper tantrum.

Darin and Oscar had a good time, too.

We went as the main voting demographic of the current election:

That’s right, mindless, flesh-eating undead monsters.

Who eat babies…

Oscar enjoyed another long-held tradition of politics, going door-to-door and taking food out of people’s mouths.

Look at how he panders to the cameras.

Overall, we had a wonderful time, and taught Oscar a lot about family values.

The most important value in this family being, Mama gets all the candy.

I love that having kids is like experiencing a second childhood. For years we never celebrated Halloween except to hoard cheap candy to tide us over until Christmas.

Now we can experience the joy of dressing up, carving pumpkins, and having an excuse to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Finally, in a few days we can all experience the joy of the fact that in less than 48 hours we will no longer have to watch political commercials, pulls ugly fliers our of our mail, or deal with robot phone calls. I’d rather get Zombie phone calls any day.

Zombies don’t talk, but they sure are cute.

Independence Day without the aliens…or Will Smith

Today was a good day. No parades or fireworks. No traveling.

When you grow up in a state where wildfires ravage the forests and deserts every summer and there is a perpetual water shortage, fireworks are not the norm.  In fact, they are illegal. One of my fondest memories is of spending the 4th of July in the back of a pick-up watching fire trucks drive up the side of a burning mountain.

We never celebrated minor holidays before we had Oscar, and we didn’t have big plans for the day, but every day is a holiday with Oscar around.

I envy my blogging friends who post pictures of cookouts at the lake, fireworks, and parades on tree-lined streets. Today was business as usual. We worked, we played, and we took our evening walk around the block. Oscar even took a bath to celebrate America’s hard-won independence.

Oscar did have a 4th of July outfit, but he peed on it. Which means he’ll probably grow up to be a flag burner.

Later on we made our own party, a cookout just for three. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips and pasta salad.

There were no fireworks, no marching bands, no sparklers or star-spangled banners. Instead we listened to the sounds of the wind in the pines, of music coming from speakers propped up in the open window, and of the voices and laughter of our little family.

Happy New Year!

Due to holiday travel, a family funeral, and getting ready for teaching my spring semester classes, this blog has been terribly neglected. But I promise more frequent posting (and cute Oscar pics) in the coming year.

Oscar’s First Halloween

I had high hopes for this Halloween, Oscar’s first. Having a baby has renewed my sense of excitement about the holidays; normally I am something of a scrooge. This Halloween I imagined finding the perfect costume for Oscar, getting a professional portrait done, carving a pumpkin, baking cookies, and drinking hot cider. Ha! Old habits die hard, and as usual, I waited until the last minute. Who knew that grocery stores actually run out of pumpkins?

I was disappointed in the selection of costumes for children. I imagined something like comfy pajamas with cute ears and tails. Instead, I found an array of cheap plastic crap. Most of costumes (even the ones labeled for 6-12 month infants) looked huge and ill-fitting. Even if they were the right size, I don’t think I would put that garbage on my son. I may change my mind when he’s five and begging to be Captain Jack Sparrow, but right now I have slightly higher standards. Unfortunately, high standards require time, and I ran out of that.

I finally decided to make his costume, but since I have neither a sewing machine nor sewing skills, this required some quick thinking and a little imagination. I finally had a eureka moment when I was standing in the middle of Target looking at miniature black sweat pants. A kitty! Black sweats, ears, whiskers. How hard could it be? So I bought the sweats and went to Michael’s for some black felt and black cardboard. Using an old headband, black and white felt, cardboard, and a stapler, I made his ears. Then Darin drew on his nose and whiskers using an eyeliner pencil.

Doesn’t Oscar make a cute kitty?

Finally, I dressed myself in black and made a hat using cardboard and tape. I added a broom I found at the Dollar Store and…

A witch and her familiar!

Oscar managed to stay in his costume for about half an hour, to the delight of our handful of trick-or-treaters. Then I put him to bed, put my feet up, and ate a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

It wasn’t quite the perfect Halloween I imagined, but there’s always next year!