Friday, October 31, 2008

El Dia de los Muertos

We love decorating for Halloween. Doug made this at the pottery place this summer. When I was in Texas, I was on the hunt for some El Dia de los Muertos decorations, masks or ornaments. I couldn't find anything that was quite what I wanted. I was hunting for something that wasn't scary or evilish (of course that is not what the day is all about) yet something that was a good cultural representation of the holiday. I wanted happy skeletons. The story of my life. I want something but can't quite find that perfect item. Nothing else will do.

I did find bride and groom skeletons. Ugg! There is something not right about dead brides and grooms. Doug says love is forever. I don't think that's what it says. I think that I will have to see if the pottery shop has non pirate skulls and skull ornaments and paint my own decorations.

Hope your Day of the Dead was a celebratory one. We enjoyed Halloween and the days that followed. We took some time to remember our loved ones that have left this world and had some time for fun.

The youngest boy gave out candy. The oldest ate candy. The girl went trick or treating. This year she was a gypsy completing the look with a tambourine. She and the neighbor girl were both gypsies. We met up with the neighbor and her mom at the second house we visited. We spent the night walking and talking with them. I have to say I enjoyed walking with another adult. As the girls would ring the doorbell my daughter would shake her tambourine. Many a neighbor said, "I was wondering what that sound was." I think they could hear her throughout the neighborhood. Her pumpkin was so full of candy that it was overflowing. Candy was falling onto the street. I had to tote the bag home.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. I think the temperature was in the 60's and the sky was filled with stars. This is the first time in years that anyone in our family has not had to cover up or wear layers under their costume. Even in Georgia we had many cold Halloween nights. It was amazing considering that Monday night the girl was playing in the backyard and spied snow flurries. Yes, snow flurries on October 27th. The earliest that I have seen snow here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Safety Pins & Home Land Security

How many times do you wish you had a safety pin handy? At least once every couple of months, I'm looking for a safety pin. Between the kids at school with problems and my daughter's ballets where a safety pin would make all the difference in a costumes or backdrop, I seem to be in need of a few good safety pins. Not men. Although at school a stapler works wonders for clothing malfunctions. I can't carry a stapler in my purse. My purse is way to big and heavy now.

Another good fix at school is the rubber band pregnancy belly trick. You take a rubber band and loop it around your pant/skirt/_______ (not your shirt) button and loop the other end through the button hole (if needed you can do this several times to shorten the rubber band) then wrap the loop around the button. You now have an expanded pant waist. Just pull your shirt out over the waist and your all set. This is how you wear your non-maternity clothes or your outgrown maternity clothes longer. Yes, I did use this on more than one kindergarten child who was busting out of their clothing. You can't even imagine what skills a teacher needs to have.

Anyway, at my cousin's wedding she had a dress malfunction. You know how the train of the wedding dress get bustled for the reception. Well one side of her dress became unbustled. I suspect that her dress was being stepped on and the button popped off. I hated the thought of her beautiful dress being dragged on the floor the rest of the evening. I tried to fix the dress but realized that the button was gone and I would need to pin the bustle to the dress. I didn't have anything to pin the dress up. Luckily her mom, my cousin too, got a boutonniere pin and I pinned her dress with that. Not the best but it worked.
My husband snapped this as I saved the wedding dress.

So as I was downstairs doing laundry something jogged my memory, only two weeks after the wedding, (It happens at the oddest times) and I began searching for safety pins in my sewing box. I didn't find any. Although as I type this I think there are some in my bobbin container. Note to self. I know I have some so I check the baker's rack drawer. No safety pins. On to my armoire in the bedroom. At last a few safety pins. I know I have more that three but these will do for the moment. I rush to put them in my cosmetic bag in my purse.

The cosmetic bag of course holds no cosmetics. It has hand santizer, hair bands, tums, tylenol child & adult, sinus meds, cough drops, hand lotion, kleenex, band aids, lip balm, benadryl cream, and a sanitary pad. Now add safety pins. I use to have nail clippers and a small fold up pair of scissors (9/11 ended the carrying of those). After spending 20 minutes in the security line they finally found what they were looking for, the scissors. Never mind that I asked two times what they were looking for. I could have told them where they were and saved us all a lot of time. McGyver could save the world with my cosmetic bag. If only I could save the world. Alas I do my part by keeping Home Land Security in business.

One year a security guy took apart all my pens (the 20 or so in my pen pouch). I have a office supply thing and pens are my favorite with fancy paper being a close second. I'm not sure what he thought he was going to find. When I tried to show him how one pen could light up when you twisted it, I thought he was going to draw his gun on me. His loss!! He missed out on that one. I did insist that he fix my pen back when he finished. I don't get it. Do I look suspicious or what? I do keep a constant chatter going while they've dug through my items. I figure I should entertain them. It's the least I can do for those keeping us safe from terrorists.

Now that I've diverged from my original topic I've had to adjust my title.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Illinois to Texas and back

It's hard to believe that two weeks ago we were packing to go to Texas for my cousin's wedding. I had just returned home on Friday from FL and had conferences in the evenings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Since it was going to be such a short stay it was relatively easy to get ready and pack. We were gone from Thursday to Sunday. The wedding was the only event that required specific clothing (although no true in my boys' minds). The oldest has dress clothes from homecomings and they still fit. His growth has significantly slowed down. The youngest son is still growing. Pants that I bought for him last winter/spring, did not fit. He also did not have a pair of dress shoes. On Saturday, the day after my return from FL., I took the youngest son shopping for pants, shirt, & shoes. The girl wore a pretty sleeveless pale yellow party dress and I had ordered a brown button-up cardigan (in case she was chilly). I had ordered a dress that came in while I was out-of-town. It needed hemming, so I was hemming after conferences the night before our flight. Doug was set dress wise. He always has a nice suit or dress slacks. Although he was in need of new dress shoes.

We flew out at 6:00 in the morning which meant us getting up and going around 4:30 am. We arrived in Texas in the early afternoon. We had great traveling conditions and all our flights arrived to their destinations early. On Thursday we meet my uncle and visited our family ranch/farm and our family cemetery. Friday we spent some time with my great aunt and uncle (my children's great-great aunt and uncle), check out the wedding chapel, and played tourist in downtown. Saturday was the wedding day and Sunday we headed home.

It was wonderful seeing many of my family members that I haven't see in years. We figured that Doug, the oldest and youngest child had not been to Texas to visit family in nine years. My daughter was literally a baby when we were last there as a family. My youngest son and I had been there a year and a half ago doing some genealogy research.

There were moment at the wedding/reception that were bittersweet. It seemed that there were very few of us family there. I have always felt like we are such a large family and yet we seemed so finite at the wedding. It made the losses of family members so clear. It was bittersweet seeing their adult children who so closely resembled them. I also missed my cousin who has a six children and his sibling who has two children plus grandchildren. You put them in a room and not only does our family double in size but the pranks and foolishness begin.

We did have a nice and reserved time. My daughter, husband, and I danced. The boys read and listened to their I-pod. They didn't care for Tejano and Country music. Me either, but when in Rome...

My oldest had a conversation with a cousin that went like this. How are we related? I don't know? Who are you? Andrea. O.K. So how are we related!? My aunt their great-aunt was sitting at the table and explained their relationship. A photo of not quite long lost cousins meeting for the first time. The last time I saw this cousin was at her aunt's wedding (my cousin). My son,pictured here, was four years old and the ring bearer.

I had to pay my youngest to dance with his cousin, the bride. I couldn't pay the oldest to dance. It cost me $5.00 but it was worth this photo.

Growing up people couldn't tell my sister and I apart. Others thought that all four of us siblings looked alike. I never really thought about us looking like our cousins. When we went to visit my cousin in D.C. a couple of summers ago we would ride the train into D.C. with her each day. We met several of her commuter friends as well as some colleagues. They thought my cousin and I were sisters. She told me at the wedding that one guy still asks about her sister. She keeps telling him she doesn't have a sister (true, just two brothers). Then he gets all shocked and says well who was that woman with you. She has to remind him that I'm her cousin. He just can't believe that we are cousins not siblings. I had my husband take a picture of the four female first cousins attending the wedding. (There was one male first cousin, making five us in attendance.) I figure that my cousin can take this picture to her commuter friend and really confuse him.

So you can see that we had a wonderful time with lots of pictures and memories. My daughter the planner is already planning the next trip.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fall- Pumpkin Time

We went to a local farm for pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks, and hay. I enjoy decorating our front yard for fall. A friend at school sent us to this place three years ago. I believe the owners are related to her. The place was clean, simple, and cheap. Over the years they have added animals, picnic tables, and a corn pit (sand pit but with corn kernels). They were hopping today. I've never seen so many people there. In fact we are typically the only ones around.

Every year they have had hay bales arranged as a climbing/ obstacle course. This year the had a tube slide. A couple of years ago they had a flag at the highest point of the stack of hay bales. I took pictures of each kids standing by the flag, king of the mountain. This year the two youngest went and Doug got them side by side. The oldest was prepping for Homecoming. The dance is tonight.

The pumpkin and gourds are so inexpensive that the kids usually pick several for us to take home. All but this year the have had a pile of free pumpkins and gourds. I guess they are the rejects but we like them and tend to take a bunch of freebies.

Last year and this year they have had a turkey walking around the premises. Last year I took numerous picture of the turkey so my school kids could see a good picture of a turkey. I always enjoy petting and talking to the donkey. Today he wasn't very friendly he only wanted to eat hay so I got photographed by the bunny cages. The bunnies loved being petted.