Monday, October 25, 2010

The Goose Is Getting Fat

Gearing up, people. We are gearing UP.

So, Sarah's had this habit for pretty much her entire conscious life of planning up to an entire year ahead what she's going to be for Halloween. When she was two, she was a cowboy (NOT a cowgirl, by golly), and had decided on it a few months before. The next day she announced she was going to be a skunk when she was three. And she was! The very next day she announced she wanted to be a unicorn when she was four. That would be this year. And if you asked her, as many people did, what she wanted to be for Halloween as recently as the beginning of this month, she would reply, "A unicorn!" And what is in her bedroom? What has been hanging there since Christmas? That's right, a unicorn costume.

But then? Then my friend, my good friend Allison (hi, Allison!), gave me the Martha Stewart Halloween magazine which contained a picture of a little girl dressed up as a black kitty. Which, cute, but that can't compete with a unicorn, amirite? No, I am not. Because the girl was wearing face paint.

As soon as Sarah saw the picture, I mean that VERY SECOND, she yelled out, "I want to be a kitty and wear FACE PAINT!" Fortunately, the face paint was just a little triangle nose and simple whiskers. Also, we have kitty ears and tail in the dress-up box. We even have little black paws from the skunk costume. So, fine! Kitty it is!

Ah, but a mere week later, Sarah changed her mind yet again. Somehow, and this time I don't know where the inspiration came from, she conceived the idea of being a black FOX. Well, considering I had everything but the tail, no big, right? She stuck with it for a week, so I went out and bought some ridiculous black faux fur for the tail. I've been talking it up BIG this last week. Why? Because she's been making noises about maybe being... a bat. Sorry, sister. Ain't happening.

True to form, however, she's already planning next year's outfit. Yesterday she decided she was going to be a skunk again, having rejected her previous but classic idea of "ghost" as too scary for her friends and a butterfly not being scary enough. But then today, she started mulling over other options, like maybe a fox-bat. Apparently I birthed a costume designer.

It was time for a distraction. Decorating!

I know it's not much, but Sarah and I did it together, and I think it's just spooky enough. Also? I totally made the wreath. Look:


Now that I'm looking at it like this, it's kinda goofy. I like the crow, but those skulls... I'm going to have to mess with them tomorrow. I'm pretty sure there's a hot glue gun around here somewhere. Until then, don't get too close to it. And don't touch it. And don't slam the door. The whole thing is held together with straight pins. Yeah. So, just, don't breathe on it, okay?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thoughts On Super Why

So. PBS. Gift of the gods of public broadcasting to the children of America, right? Fun! Educational! Full of marketing potential! What's not to love?

Super Why. Super Why is what not to love.

Super Why is Sarah's best beloved. I'm not kidding. The kid is frigging INSANE for the show. I'm pretty certain she'd sell us if it would give her a chance to meet Super Why and Princess Presto and the others. Well, maybe not us, but she'd sell the dog without thinking twice.

And I loathe it. In its mission to educate the kiddies, it destroys the entire canon of traditional Western children's tales. For reals!

So, here's the deal for those who haven't been subjected to this little delight. Wyatt (the alter ego of Super Why) and his friends get into various little scrapes and misunderstandings (ALL characterized as "a SUPER big problem!") in their town of Storybook Village. They become Super Readers and use their powers of reading and stuff to find solutions to their problems "in a BOOK!"

I've hardly begun to explain this show and we've already hit my first issue. All problems are SUPER BIG. Friends not talking is just as bad as a kid trashing his brother's room is just as bad as accidentally scaring someone. Except they're not equally problematic out here away from teevee land.

Then, they go into a story that has a similar problem to the one they've encountered in, as it were, real life. And then they CHANGE THE STORY to make everything all better and take the lesson back to Storybook Village to solve the problem that started the adventure.

They what? Oh, you heard me right. They change fairy tales and nursery rhymes so that the revised plot shows a resolution they can apply in real life. But this isn't the egregious treatment. The real problem is that the show's writers change the tales to begin with so they better fit the episodes.

Um, no. Not okay.

For example, let's take the episode based on The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Wyatt hears his baby sister speak for the first time, but no one else hears her and furthermore, no one believes it happened. So the Super Readers suit up and fly into the fable. This, ahem, version is about a little boy who makes friends with a wolf. But every time he calls his family over to meet him, the wolf hides. But then they all learn to trust one another and the family meets the wolf and everyone is happy and blah blah blah fairy tale ending.

People, this is so totally NOT the point of the ACTUAL fable. The POINT is that the kid LIES. Repeatedly. Finally no one believes him because of his tricks, so that when the wolf does finally come he gets eaten. The end.

But in this bowdlerized PBS telling, it's all about distrust of a truthful child. Now, I understand that this show is meant for children and therefore should address their concerns. But surely there's a better way to do it than to warp children's stories to serve an arguably greater good (kids do learn prereading skills, so it's not totally Teh Evil).

(Oh my god, Sarah is totally singing the theme song EVEN AS I TYPE THIS.)

So, my frustration stems from what I am sure is a well-intended attempt to find dilemmas kids can relate to in formats that are familiar, but which in fact completely subverts the original intent of the stories. The Three Little Pigs isn't about excluding the poor, friendless, misunderstood Big Bad. It's about doing a job right so that when the Big Bad does show up at your doorstep, HE WON'T EAT YOU.

Plus the songs are too catchy and stick in my head all day.

I know Sarah will eventually outgrow the show, and in the meantime it's reinforcing prereading skills and teaching her the very important lesson that BOOKS ARE GOOD and full of useful information. I just wish PBS wouldn't strip the source material while their little anime fiends do their song and dance routines.

Also, Princess Presto is bossy and annoying. The end.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh No She Di'nt!

Well, no, actually. I didn't. But I thought about it.

So, I was at our local fancy-pants/hippie-dippie co-op the other day picking up some random stuff that I can never seem to find at our regular grocery store. You know, life essentials like Dutch-process cocoa and Maldon salt and I forget what-all. Anyway, I wandered over to the health and beauty aisle and there, on the top shelf, way up high and out of reach, I saw it. Henna.

Now, I've never once colored my hair (or permed it for that matter -- and I was a teen in the 80s, so please feel free to admire my trend-bucking). Mostly because I've always been perfectly happy with my hair, partly because I can't be bothered with that sort of thing, and not a little bit because I'm cheap. 

I found my first grey hair at 27. And I was excited! It was kinda cool and weird and interesting. Thirteen years later I have grey hairs scattered all over my head (and eyebrows! I have found white hairs in my EYEBROWS) and an actual streak springing forth from my right temple. I should name it Athena. And I've been fine with it (you know, that grumpy kind of fine where you're not at all psyched about things, but resigned to them). But someone who shall remain nameless but with whom I may cohabit and who is NOT four years old has a tendency to compliment my hair when the streak is hidden under the part. And after a while, you start noticing that tendency and thinking about, you know, what it might mean.

Also, the last time I had my hair cut, the kind lady with the scissors told me that coloring my hair would make it thicker. 

Did I mention my hair sheds like a very sheddy thing? I shed a bunch about, oh, five months after Sarah was born, but this time? It's been like ten months now. IT IS NOT COOL. I didn't have all that much to begin with.

So there I was, staring up at the boxes of henna. They even had it for the standard-issue brown that is my not-grey color. And oh, I was tempted. 

I don't know, people. Isn't there supposed to be a period in your life when you are neither wrinkly, nor zitty, nor going grey? Because I missed out on that one. Or if I did have it, it lasted for about two weeks when I was twenty and was too busy trying to buy cases of Natural Light (yeah, we were klassy drinkers in college) to notice. As it is, I have grey hairs AND wrinkles AND zits. I mean, come on! Really? 

There's a bit of a movement amongst women who are letting their grey hair be its natural self. There are even young women dying it grey on purpose. Yeah, if I looked like Emmy Lou Harris I wouldn't think twice. But I don't. Still, I plug on as if this whole aging thing didn't bother me a bit. But it does.


But god forbid I should do something about it. Because that would mean I care about that sort of thing. Which I don't. Really. Watch me not care.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Today's yardwork lead us to some discoveries.

Broccoli going to flower is gorgeous -- just as pretty as sedum or my beloved hydrangeas.

Raking leaves is the Best Chore Ever! Especially if there's a kid involved.

It's never too late in the year to enjoy a Creamsicle.