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Friday, October 30, 2009


*One more in the Halloween Blog Carnival. Because I can.*

I read in the paper that a man tried to filch a ferret by carrying the creature out of the store concealed in his pants. From what I know about ferrets, that’s going out of the safety zone for a Halloween costume. Without too much bother, it could give a whole new meaning to the term “rip off.”

I’ll go all out in a race for the last macadamia nut cookie, especially if it’s generously decorated with white chocolate chips, but there are some forms of art I'd rather not suffer for. And while I’m a fan of creative Halloween costuming, I haven’t reached (or passed) the point in my life when I’m willing to take one in the naughty bits for the top prize at the party.

Forget your Freddie Krugers and your numerical Saw catalogue of characters. (This outfit was brought to you by the numbers 1-6, your local hardware store, and Roger Ebert with a big thumbs down.) What could be scarier that a man dancing up to your doorstep with a frightened ferret fighting for a breath of fresh air stuffed down one leg of your Halloween zombie pants?

Call me crazy, but a costume that could result in a row of itching stitches across your butterfly tattoo is going beyond the call of duty for Halloween. Some things aren’t worth going through for a fun size Snicker bar.

And while chances are good for winning a prize in the local costume contest, you have to consider the possibly that your pants could explode at an inconvenient time and attack the judges on a crazed candy rampage. Seems like any loot this guy gets, he’d have to stuff down his right leg to appease the beast within.

I think I’ll stick with the costume I have. I’m fifty years old and sport a body designed by Ben & Jerry. Shovel me into a pair of hip huggers and a belly shirt and I’ll send ferret boy running back to the pet store for reinforcements.

And Michael Jackson thought he had a Thriller night!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wasting Away in Halloweenieville

* Special Halloween edition - Join us at Humor*

I may have to adjust my hair color and distinguishing characteristics and join the witless protection program. It’s half past Labor Day and I’m wearing white.

In the South, the temperature can reach deep fat fry until you’re toasting the naked New Year's baby's sensible clothing choices, so the fashion police gives out warnings instead of tickets for infractions well past autumn. However if you’re sporting white linen when you’re shopping for chocolate Valentines for your sweetheart, somebody’s going to be doing hard time on the Gap’s website.

Admittedly, from listening to testimonies from a knowledgeable selection of teenagers in my household I’m clueless when it comes to accessorizing, but I still think parkas and Ugg boots are out of place in an area where ice cream puddles in the plastic bag between the store and the car until the twelfth day of Christmas.

I gave away my fleece-lined scarecrow costume and cut the sleeves out my my Frosty the Snowman sweatshirt a long time ago. Now I sport a winking Jank-o-Lantern button on my T-shirt for Halloween and a tank top that sings Jingle Bells and flashes Peace on Earth in multicolored LEDs for later festivities.

In flashy catalogues full of natural fiber separates that travel to my mailbox from above the Mason Dixon line every year, I fall in love with summer sweaters every time I see carefree models cavorting next to a rocky shore with a washable wool wrap tossed carelessly over their shoulders.

Around here, we can get first degree burns just from sauntering to the mailbox at midday. The last time I put on a sweater before the appearance of the jolly old elf from the North, I passed out from heat exhaustion and had to be revived by two paramedics dressed in cut off jeans and T-shirts, carrying emergency supplies of sweet tea and crushed ice. In the South, we don’t need fabrics that will “wick away moisture”. We need T-Shirts outfitted with vacuum pumps to siphon out sweat.

So for Halloween, don’t check my street for any little goblins decked out in Star Wars characters that require pounds of fake fur or Transformer costumes with thirteen layers of shape-changing insulation. The most popular look on our street is Jimmy Buffett.

When the sun beats down hard enough for the heat to last until midnight, you can’t go wrong with flip flops, cut off jeans and a Hawaiian floweredy shirt.

And after the kiddies go to bed, the parents won't turn down a treat from Margaritaville.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Puff Paint and Prada

I have two teenaged sons and a husband who think Dungeons and Dragons should be an integral part of the American educational system and the Vulcan salute a worldwide gesture of solidarity.

For some peace of mind and a chance to chase the boy cooties from our personal space, several of us girlie types have been gathering every couple of weeks for some good, by which I mean stuff I’d never let the kids have, food, and a taste of culture, by which I mean input on the latest computer games, rantings on the working life, and a double shot of craft night.

In recognition of the fact that I am severely craft challenged, my husband calls our outings “Crap Night” and refuses to allow me to max out the Visa card on glitter glue at Hobby Lobby. So no more tie-dyed Elvis T-shirts with hand-beaded Hound Dog hair for him.

Of course, the last time we got together the only thing I successfully tie-dyed was the left leg of my dress pants and the terrier’s bangs, but you can’t have Masterpiece Theatre every night when all you can afford is Mardi Gras beads and chartreuse body paint off the clearance table.

All the same, I’d rather be out with a group of cultured individuals who do not regard a Slim Jim and three packs of barbecued pork rinds as a party. For the guys I left at home, the telephone is the key to epicurean delight. Supper means never forgetting the number for pizza delivery.

So we girls gather like kittens around a cricket, swapping “I could’ves” and “You should’ves.” There’s nothing like a little girl talk to refresh the mind and chase away the mundane worries of the day. My niece is relating—with panache, gusto, and more than a little personal satisfaction—the happenings of a favorite computer game.

“She had too many friends.”

“What did you do?”

“I slapped her.”

“What did she do?”

“Put a contract out on me.”

“Then what did you do?”

“Slapped her again.”

Apparently nothing says female bonding like knocking some girl who needs it right off her platform pumps and into the pit of pledge week. If assault with a deadly diamond tiara brings serenity, this chick is coasting into Nirvana. It’s the sort of slice of life that could knock feminism back to the days when Gloria Steinem was just a pinup girl in horn rimmed glasses.

The game is called—if not in reality, then in intent--Sorority Death House, and it involves joining rabid gangs of starving supermodels, er, sorority houses of preppie girls, in order to band together for the purpose of stealing high dollar stuff on the way to a life of prison reform, er, sorority heaven.

It’s over six scoops of caramel cheesecake ice cream with a cupcake on the side that I find out about life in Sorority Town. True nurturing involves a representative from every group of the food pyramid from sprinkles to artificial flavoring.

“So,” I said, tongue clinched between my teeth in proper crafting manner as I apply hot glue and pink puff paint to my pants. During the process I managed to laminate my bra into Madonna cones right through my tye died Frisbee dog T Shirt. I looked like a lunchroom lady collectible figure.

People keep ganging up and stealing your sapphire bracelets and beating you up for your Prada bags. Why do you play this game?”

“Because every time I beat somebody up, I pretend it’s somebody I don’t like. After my performance review, I beat up my boss every day for a week and nobody ever knew.”

I dropped the glue and grabbed the computer mouse. “Tell me how to get to Animal House. I have an ex-husband who’s begging for a close encounter with the business end of a pair of Monolo Blahniks. Then he’ll be a real heel for sure."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

School's In, I'm Out

I have a friend who can tell when school starts by how many of her kids get sick. If somebody throws up, mark your calendars for cafeteria duty because school is in session.

My kids are older now, but there are still definite clues that let me know it’s time to obey the speed limit between the flashing yellow signs. I can tell school is in by the vacuum in my wallet. If I try to put a dollar in the bill section and it hits a jet stream that carries it directly to a slow-moving boy dragging $400.00 worth of school books across the kitchen floor toward the back door, classes have started.

My guys go to community college across town. At least I think it’s a college. The way they hit me up for lunch money, I’m beginning to suspect they are supporting the efforts of a five start restaurant. Any day now, I’m expecting to catch one of them sneaking up the back stairs after dark with crème brulee on his breath.

Schedules are different at college. When the kids were in grade school, I could count on at least six hours a day without having to watch a Barney video or share my Girl Scout cookies with anybody except the dog. These days, young people blow in and out of my house at random intervals, changing my easy-listening radio station to brain-twister funk, and killing larger than life video game zombies on my big screen TV. It’s hard to keep up, but I’m not entirely sure all the kids that come through my living room are original family members. In my heart of hearts I believe we upgraded to the Supersized Family Plan when math class let out.

Now I find out that my guys will be done with this semester a month before Christmas. That means I’ll have to spend the time I had budgeted for wringing my hands and begging Santa for travelers checks by restocking the refrigerator and establishing a time-share program for the computer. Things turned ugly enough when I established the “If you’re old enough to shave, you’re too old for Trick-or-Treating” rule. I don’t know if I can stand having a house full of young men who think Peace on Earth means ridding the world of the undead.

Hopefully if I'm good, Santa will spirit me away to the Island of Misfit Toys. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long winter.

Monday, October 12, 2009

College Bound

Son #2, who generally packs for a trip by shoving a video game in the pocket of his camo jacket, was putting a few things in the car to take to college.

He tossed a box of Pop Tarts in the glove compartment and scored a Yoo Hoo out of the fridge. There is nothing at college that cannot be improved with proper nutrition. Unfortunately, artificial flavoring is his favorite building block on the food pyramid.

I couldn’t help thinking a little motherly advice would get him off to a better start. The Boy Scouts don’t pledge to Be Prepared because they hope to get lost in the wilderness, but somewhere in time there must have been a Scout Mother who preached the “you can never be sure” sermon effectively.

“Why don’t you take some extra paper and pencils?”

“No thanks, Mom. Could you hand me that slice of pizza off the bottom shelf?”

I handed him a slice of double cheese swathed in aluminum foil. If he made his bed the way he packaged pizza, we’d never find his pillow.

“How about your books? Change for the drink machine?”

“I’m good.”

“You never know what you need til you get there. How about a change of clothes?”


I paused, trying to stuff the toy lamb he brought home from the hospital when he was born into his backpack.

“Yes, dear?”

I’m going across town to the city college. I’ll be home before supper.”

I popped Lambie in his backpack, tossed in a handful of change, and closed the zipper with a flourish.

He may be college-bound, but some truths never grow old.

You can never be sure what emergency will come your way. But Mom will pack something embarrassing in your backpack just in case.