Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghosts of Halloween Past

I'm feeling draped in nostalgia and ennui this Halloween. What better way to nurse said feelings than a waltz down Snapfish lane. 

2006. Indy's first Halloween. Ayla still had that beloved curly hair. I dressed the girls up and toted them out to Starbucks while Noah was at work that day, before trick-or-treating began. I was so proud to show them off. Of course, those stay-at-home-mom days were often lonely, monotonous, and exhausting. Of course I longed for them fiercely today, sending my girls off to school. One last thing, I have adult acne, and it cleared up during both of my pregnancies. Indy was born in August, and I was obviously still awash in those hormones here in October. I can't believe how good my skin looks. It hasn't looked that great since. Adult acne sucks. A lot.





In 2007 we trick-or-treated on Old South Gaylord St, a street of botiques and coffee shops in the middle of the now very incredibly posh (in a fairytale sort of way) Wash Park neighborhood in Denver. When I was little, my parents rented a house a block away from Old South Gaylord and would sometimes walk to Video Vantage for video tapes and free popcorn. Video Vantage gone now. It's an incredibly gorgeous neighborhood with vines climbing up brick and stone houses, curling brick walkways, white picket and wrought iron fences, and rooftops laid to roll like the sea. Also there was a party at my sister's house where my dad dressed up like a Beaver Man and scared the crap out of the kids, really.






2008, the year we had a membership to the Denver Zoo and did the Boo at the Zoo thing. Also the year my dad and I flew to NYC on Halloween, flew home on the day Obama was elected, and the year princess culture had a firm hold on both my girls.






2009: THIS IS GETTING LONG SORRY

This was the year we moved on Halloween. Into Noah's mom's house. And it snowed. We were moving so that Noah could take a job on the packaging line at Oskar Blues for $9/hr. We were hoping he'd move up and it would pay off, eventually. It did. I love the top picture. Miles and miles of soft babyish skin.





2010: WOW YOU ARE STILL HERE? The pumpkin fest year. Everyone was mad at me for taking pictures this day. I included the group shot because you can tell from it how we were all snipping at each other. Still in the thick of the princess days.






2011: A banner year. Ayla escapes the clutches of princess culture, learns to cross dress. We walk in a children's parade and throw candy at people. We acquire a pumpkin, the size of which is enough to keep me up at night, dreaming dreams.






2012: I take some really great pictures. Seriously I love these pictures.  I objected to the costume Indy picked at Target. It was this tween fashion fantasy of Red Riding Hood or, I don't even know.  Looking now, I see there's nothing actually wrong with it. What really bothered me were the extremely elongated limbs, stretched like silly putty about to split, on the Monster High figurines, Monster High being the monstrosity Indy's costume is from. But Noah was like, it's fashionable, she's into fashion. Let her rock it. And she did. I'm kind of scared of her.




2013: I know, right? Ayla dresses as Samara from The Ring, clips from which she has watched on youtube without our knowledge. She did her own makeup and really gets into character. Indy finally dresses like Red Riding Hood, Classic Version, which I'd been angling for for years. Princess culture might be gone for good. (It's no big deal. They grow out of it, you know.) For some reason, all my pictures of this year are missing from Snapfish, and all that remain are the ones I posted to Instagram. Thank god for Instagram.







2014: Indy decided to be a black cat. Ayla deliberated for weeks between Vampire Queen, Minecraft Guy and Link from the Legend of Zelda, before finally settling on Darth Vader. Tonight we'll eat some hot dogs at the brewery before heading out to trick-or-treat. It's going to be cold and maybe wet.

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Time of Red Leaves




It was a morning. I woke up 40 minutes late and when we finally got into the car for school, the tire was flat. Noah's out of town until this afternoon, and as we were late, my friends had already made their drop-off runs, so we set off on foot. It was deeply foggy, as most mornings are here. I wish I had a really nice camera, so that I could capture the world closer to the way it actually appears to the eye. But I have my iphone and make do. The walk was really beautiful, despite the fact that the mist made it cold and wet and we were all under-dressed. The novelty of it all put the girls in high spirits. It really is a pretty little town.
















This last one is of the sky when I was walking home and the fog was starting to clear. I was just beneath the liminal space where the heavens were shifting from gray to blue. A post on tumblr has me thinking of liminal spaces, lately. A transitional stage of a process, a boundary, a threshold. The tumblr post talked about highway rest stops as liminal spaces between this world and a fairyland, a place where the edges are rubbed thin. Where a person might shift from one world to the next. I think I am living in a liminal space. The world seems incredibly brilliant, but constantly shifting. A threshold is created in the tension between the tender beauty of autumn here, and my deep longing for  the startling beauty of Colorado, for my home. I am contemplating doing the thing I want to do more than anything else in the world, and entertaining this possibility has opened up another plane entirely. The veils have shifted, there is an enchanted island in the reachable distance. Standing in this threshold has bewitched my skin into an organ of mist so that I am easily pierced by sorrow and joy. They feel like the same thing. All my boundaries are thin and anything might enter and settle into my soft spaces. I'm sorry for being so abstract. A concrete way to explain it is this: an ancient couple walked by with their backs bent at identical angles like trees giving under the same constant wind and it was so beautiful it made me want to cry.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This Morning



The phone rang a fairy tune when I was still deep in a dream. 5:30 am. Not time to wake up yet. The call was coming in from Washington D.C. I don't know anybody in Washington D.C. I thumbed at it until the chiming stopped. My eyes hurt. As I started to fall back asleep the door pushed open. Ayla came into the room. It was storming out and she was afraid of the sounds the rain was making as it whipped the leaves and the leaves all wet and whipping each other and the occasional car on the road with its wet hiss like a tongue or a roar. She climbed into bed with me. Five days ago she turned ten years old and her body began to change overnight. A shape-shifter in my bed. We fell back asleep.

When the alarm went off it was of course still dark. I could hear that it was raining hard. Ayla hot next to me, her body curled around all her secret inner treasures like a dragon with her hoard. I stood up and outside the window were the branches, dark against the sky. Black on black. Tossing restless and troubled, like angry things disturbed from sleep. I didn't want to be awake. The sight was magic, but I turned away. When I stepped out of the shower, the girls were up and my husband was up and the first thing I told him was that there was a vaccine now for Ebloa that is one-hundred percent effective on rats. It was still raining outside but all the lights were on and the girls were at their ipods. I made them lunches, nearly everything was orange. Pumpkin bagels, Ritz crackers, fresh mandarins, pumpkin pita crisps, brie cheese. I was out of lunch snacks. Nothing had been done the night before. Exhausted I had stayed in bed and Noah had brought me four fresh oysters pulled from the Atlantic by a friend. Everything was rowdy and hectic. Then they were out the door with their father and the house was mine again. In a little while I'll go to work. Right now it's raining sideways with a ferocious vim. Gushing in waves, the sound of the sea. I can hear the traffic but its lost the essence of beasts and tongues. It doesn't sound like much and I can't say why, but last night as I fell asleep I thought, I love my life, I love my life. I haven't said that in a very long time. I don't know if I ever have before.



















Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Days Three Ways




1.

On Sunday late morning we discovered someone had gone through both our cars while we slept in the night. Noah's car was under the carport, inches away from the main door to our house. There was nothing valuable in the cars and nothing seemed to be missing. Everything had been pulled out of the glove boxes and was scattered across the floors. One of the doors to Noah's car was still cracked open, his backpack removed from the car and sitting on the cement, unzipped and rifled through. We called the police and Indy put on a pink hat with piggy ears. "This is my scared hat", she said. I wasn't scared, I was confused and a little offended. I had left a bottle of gin in its paper bag lying between the seats overnight. The prowler had removed the gin from the bag, presumably examined it, and then left it there. He didn't steal our gin.

Even our gin isn't good enough to steal.

2.

I feel pretty claustrophobic in this small town and Noah keeps teasing me about Dunkin Donuts, which doesn't help. He says I'm obsessed with Dunkin Donuts but that's not the truth. The truth is that, will all the change going on in our lives, we've both been craving donuts. But the only place to get donuts here (I'm reading a memoir where the author calls a city of 76,500 a SMALL TOWN. The population here in Brevard is 7,553, which is less than a third of the population of the college I went to) is stupid Ingles, the grocery store I despise, and their donuts are crap. There's a drive-thru Dunkin Donuts in Asheville, 40 minutes away. Stay with me. So the night before last, while Noah put the girls to bed, I caved and drove to mother-effing Ingles for donuts. When I got home we sat down on the couch to eat them and regretted everything within three bites. Disgusting. We threw them away. Cut to the next day. Noah and I have to drive to Asheville because we need the Best Buy and the Sprint store. We stop to get lunch. On the way home from lunch what should we pass but the Drive Thru Dunkin Donuts. "Do you want to stop for a donut?" I say. But no. Neither one of us wants a donut now that we could actually have one. We are both too full on Mexican food.

3.

Ayla is 9 years old and she has a boyfriend. His name will be withheld to protect his privacy. She never really talks about him except once at the end of last school year when he gave her a ladybug necklace and I said, oh why did he give you that, and she got a little flustered and said, "well because he is my boyfriend." Last year she was invited to his birthday party at the rec center and his mom said they hear about Ayla all the time. I couldn't say likewise. She didn't mention him at all over the summer, but when school started up again, he gave her a paperclip bent into a heart shape. I suppose hearts have been won on smaller gestures. I asked her why he is her boyfriend and she said it's because he's funny and nice. I kinda wish she didn't have a boyfriend but I'm not losing my shirt over all this. It's a turnaround from Kindergarten, when Ayla spoke all the time about Jack, a boy who looked like his very pretty mother, brown curls, raspy voice. Ayla wrote Jack a note. It said, "Dear Jack, you are in love with me."

Meanwhile Indy has made up some story about the discerning gin snob who rifled through our car. She says she heard a noise and then she saw him, and then his friends came, and they walked away. Or something. None of this is true. What I can't work out is whether or not Indy believes it. Indy lives in some in-between place where anything might be true. When I tell her that gypsies are real, she needs all kinds of clarification. Are mole-people real? What about vampires? And zombies, they are real but not the part about the brains? Out of the blue yesterday Indy stood on a chair and did stand up. Her inflections were like Seinfeld's. "When I was born I thought Ayla was a MAN," she said. "She had super short hair like daddy and I am like, is she a man?" I had her do it again for the camera, but then she tried too hard and lost her flow.



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