multi-hyphenated-me

the hyphens that define my life

Monster Mash October 25, 2013

Filed under: Family,Gardening — multihyphenatedme @ 10:46 pm
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Spokane schools, as a district wide rule, do not celebrate or acknowledge Halloween on the actual day.  Instead, the Parent Teacher Group hosts a Monster Mash where all students are invited to attend, in full costume, for two hours of fun that includes pumpkin bowling, dancing, a shockingly great science station and snacks.  Having had kids in public schools for 15 years, this is the first I have ever experienced not including a nationally recognized holiday and the first I have ever experienced a Monster Mash.

Yet not celebrating Halloween in school isn’t my biggest issue.  What rubs me wrong is that the Monster Mash is one full week before Halloween, seriously cutting into my sewing, crafting and creativity timeline.  Sheesh!  October has been, forgive the use of this over used phrase, CRAZY BUSY!  Really.  Insane.  Toronto, Columbus, Cincinnati, Denver, Newark, NYC, Chicago filled two weeks of travel for work.  Then I spent three days in Seattle with my family for health issues.  In 30 days I have been home thirteen days.  Four of these thirteen days I had a cold thanks to those germy college students.

So what, suck it up.  Other than the cold, my month has been great, just not enough time that I would like to spend on Halloween costumes.  The past three nights have been extremely late nights.  Burning the midnight oil and multiple glue sticks, two of my three costumes were assembled with last-minute touches this afternoon before the big event.

My 9-year-old decided to be a Raven.  I had read Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven to him recently and he wanted to be an evil raven with talons and feet and feathers and wings.  He probably wanted to be able to fly too, but I had three nights.  Here’s what he got.

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My biggest concern working with feathers was to not make him look like Phyllis Diller in her feather dress.  When my son had a fitting midway through the production process, his eyes welled with tears.  He was not happy when I thought I was more than halfway done.  The costume started as an old Voldemort pullover costume with hood and sleeves.  I glued feathers to the ragged fringe that hung down at the bottom and from the sleeves.  This is where he tried it on.  He wanted real wings.  I really should stop saying that I have mad skills.  My kids have the bar set really high for me and it’s my own fault.  With cardboard, a wire hanger and a whole lot of feathers, the wings on his hands were created, glued to black knit gloves and tied at the wrist for stability.  The mask was a crow’s mask with a yellow beak and gold sequins and black feathers.  I painted the mask black and glued the sides to the hood to create a more rounded look.  Getting his Hanes’ black sweatpants after going to two, not one, but two Wal-Marts to find them added to the time involved in pulling off this costume.  Not my best work, but considering the challenge and the time involved, I think it turned out pretty awesome.

Keep in mind that I have two in elementary school, so the raven was just half of my workload.  My young buck wanted to be Zombie Atlantis or a Zombie Diver.  My mother-in-law sent him this awesome round, costume plush and pliable diving helmet.  Add zombie makeup, green hair color, some hair gel and his own Hanes’ sweat suit (from the same two, not one but two, trips to Walmart), his costume was complete.

My youngest owns every gray hair on my head and there are plenty.  Last night he informed me, after loving his costume all week, that a black sweat suit, representing a black wet suit, wasn’t good enough.  He, being way to damn techno-saavy, pulled up some Google images of real vintage diving suits and he wanted the whole suit, not just the helmet.  Of course.  What was I thinking?

Today, I realized, he just doesn’t like change.  He wanted to wear his store-bought skeleton suit that he has worn two years running.  He just got caught up in the Halloween-I-gotta-have-a-new-costume-hype and had a new helmet costume to start and the ball just kept rolling.

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The skeleton costume is too small too, but that doesn’t stop my youngest son.

The Monster Mash was packed with entire families, grandparents, extended family and pretty awesome.  The boys had a blast, my husband and I met new people and we became more familiar with the school.

The class won’t get to sample my fun Halloween wares like these that I made last year, but Halloween is off to a good start.

halloween ghosts

Now one more costume to go….

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October 31 October 18, 2013

Halloween.  October 31st.

Trick or Treating is still scheduled for the 31st, but Spokane schools have decided this is the year to not celebrate Halloween.

What?!?

I just read the newsletter that came home Wednesday while I was out-of-town.  In response to pressure from many “groups,” Halloween is not celebrated in the classrooms on Halloween.

The Parent-Teacher Group at our school decided to host a Monster Mash on October 25 from 6-8 PM.  The designated “fall holiday” will be celebrated by classrooms on November 8.

My kids are shell-shocked, not fully grasping that they won’t get to wear their costumes in class. I’ve sold them this bill of goods as three fun events instead of one.  They will get to dress up and participate in the Monster Mash, a dance, pumpkin bowling and other great stuff.  Then they will trick or treat in the neighborhood.  The grand finale will be the Harvest Party  in November.

What really grates me is the Monster Mash requires costumes by October 25!  A full week in advance of Halloween.  Apparently the PTG isn’t a group of seamstresses.  Instead of having two weeks to sew, I know have 7 days.  So much for an R & R weekend for me.

Of course, to further complicate matters, my boys haven’t decided what they want to be this year.  They too thought they had more time.

To get us in the mood and inspire us all, tonight the boys carried up from the basement the boxes of Halloween decor and costumes from year’s past. The house is decorated and costumes are strung from one end of the house to the other as the boys sifted and sorted through and tried on costumes trying to decide what to wear, what to “be.”

Lots of ideas, but no firm commitment from any of them on what to be.  I’ve given the hard deadline of 8 AM tomorrow morning to commit to a costume, so I can start my day at the fabric store.

We have awesome costumes in the boxes.  Curses to me for encouraging creativity and originality.  The cactus, the outlaw cactus variation, the vampire, the evil jester, the skeleton, and the super cool Club Penguin Fire Sensei costume have been cast aside as “maybe” (read: if I have to. most likely no way).  Don’t even suggest wearing dad’s letterman jacket circa 1985.

The boys impulsive choices all deal with evil this, death that or some variation that involves weapons. Halloween is barely allowed and you think these costume choices will be permitted?  Think again my friends.

I suggested they go as fox and sing the catchy What Does The Fox Say?  They said no way.  I suggested unicorns and rainbows but that resulted in a fight over who would be the horse’s ass, not what I had envisioned.  Why do “unicorns and rainbows” always incite a riot?

We’ll have to see what they chose in the morning.

Maybe boycotting Halloween this year isn’t a bad idea after all.

 

Be Well October 5, 2013

University recruiting is my favorite part of my job.  Not only do I travel to great cities, awesome universities that make me want to go back to school, I also get to meet really inspiring, energetic and brilliant students that renew my faith in humanity with their fearlessness, maturity and ambition.  These fantastic youth also carry germs.  The only job hazard I have, other than tripping on my way down the hall from my kitchen to my office in my own house, is catching these germs while on campus.  I shake hands with anywhere from 200-300 students.  Despite my hand-sanitizing efforts, I manage to catch their colds every fall.

I’ve tried not shaking hands, keeping my hands behind my back and just nodding but being reserve and intrinsic isn’t my style.  I’m really a hugger so engaging in a handshake is more my speed.

So after my whirlwind tour of Toronto, Cincinnati and Denver last week with poor sleep habits, I invariably caught a cold and ear infection.  I emailed in sick to work on Friday.  How lame is that?  Dear Boss, can’t make it to work today, I’m sick.  This doesn’t mean I can’t stumble down the hall and turn on my office light and sit in front of my computer.  Me calling in sick means I can not peel my head off my desk to look at my computer screen and no way possible am I able to talk on the phone.  I am unable to represent, therefore I am sick.

Sleeping all day Friday and not dragging myself out of bed until 10:30 AM this morning (plus some good meds from Urgent Care) and I’m back among the living.

Let me tell you, nothing thrills my husband more than me being gone for a week then being sick for a week.  How can I make it up to him?  Not well….I’m gone this next week and part of the following too.  Love, love will keep us together (Captain and Tenille quote) but we’re looking forward to October 19 when our lives return to normal.

Being well is my goal.  What better way to be well than to go out at night in the brisk 50 degree weather that’s quickly dropping into the low 40’s tonight for some Halloween fun!  Tonight we went to the Incredible Corn Maze (shout out http://www.incrediblecornmaze.com), specifically for the Haunted Corn Maze.

Here are my Children of the Corn:

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There were four mazes, some up a couple of miles long!  We did two of the mazes, including the haunted maze.  IT WAS AWESOME!!!  The mazes are cut into the corn field.  The haunted maze, with no dead ends, had  people jumping out and scaring the bejeezus out of you.  In the dark!  We ran, we screamed, we tripped, we fell, we laughed and laughed and most of all, we had tons of fun.  At the end, a very tall guy in a zombie clown mask carrying a real sounding but fake blade chainsaw jumps out and chases all who pass.  He chased our three boys almost all the way back to the ticket booth!  This isn’t a spoiler…you see him chasing others while you wait your turn.  Yet our boys kept running, and he kept chasing.  adrenaline was pumping at the end.

Part of our move to Spokane from Orange County California was to expose our kids, and us, to new experiences.  Corn mazes, especially haunted corn mazes and on this scale, are definitely something they never would have experienced in Southern California.  Growing up in Ohio, with plenty of corn fields, we didn’t have corn mazes, so this was a fun “first” experience for all.

A great family night outside, enjoying Autumn weather, getting a taste of Halloween fun and trying something new.

Be well.