Halloween traditions

I have always loved Halloween. When I was a kid, I was all about going trick-or-treating with my brothers and a parent. Some of our neighbors made their houses spooky, but most just gave us candy. We would walk a couple of streets before coming home to sort, trade and eat what seemed like a mountain of candy.

Ryan and I sometime around 1993.
My brother Ryan and I sometime around 1993. Note the Fisher-Price flashlight.

When we got older, we went to Halloween parties at our school where I loved the costume contest and avoided the haunted house like the plague. (While I may love the holiday, I also truly hate scary movies and being alone in the dark. What can I say? I’m a complicated individual.) Since we went to Catholic school, Halloween night also meant that we got to stay up late since there was never school the next day. I have always felt that All Saints’ Day is the most nicely placed of all holy days.

My mom made me awesome costumes.
My mom made me awesome costumes.

One of the best parts of the lead up to Halloween was picking out a costume. It seemed to me like my mom could turn me into anything. I went through a serious face painting phase for a while. I wish I could find a photo of my favorite year–the time my mom made me spring (the season). She sewed beanie babies and felt flowers onto green sweatpants, fluffy clouds onto a blue sweatshirt, and painted my face with clouds.

These days I celebrate Halloween a bit differently. My love of covering my face in paint may have subsided, but that is not to suggest a lack of enthusiasm. Our house is decorated with skeletons and spiders and purple LED lights to make it welcoming for the many trick-or-treaters we receive. I have a skeleton menagerie that grows larger each year. Most importantly, I have the important responsibility of teaching my son about the joys of costumes.

Lobster and chef, 2014
Lobster and chef, 2014

I think the reason I love Halloween is because it is pure fun. There are no gifts (other than copious amounts of small candy) to buy or big meals to cook. There is only the joy of pretending to be somebody else while knowing in everything will go back to normal in the morning.

Next year, Noah gets to pick his own costume, and I will do my best to make it real for him. We’ll let his sister inherit the lobster. This year, though, I exercised my right to put my kid in whatever I wanted and made him Obi-wan K’Noah, the smallest of the Jedi.

Obiwan K'Noah
Obi-wan K’Noah

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Ordinary Love

After a month of waiting, it finally rained yesterday. It kept coming down throughout dinner and through the time when we would normally go on our post-dining walk. Our walks give the dependents–both the dog and the toddler–a chance to stretch their legs and bark at dogs. They also provide Greg and I some time to talk about whatever is on our minds without the distraction of technology.

Instead, we danced. We boogied to Chuck Berry and laughed at each other while the dog ran back and forth. Then we all ended up laying on the floor and laughing while Noah climbed over Greg to kiss Louise and Zeb gave us all slobbery love.

There was nothing extraordinary about the evening, only our ordinary silliness that fills our everyday love. But for a moment in the midst of our fun, I realized how lucky we are to have each other. I took a mental snapshot of my family in all our goofy glory. I cannot even imagine how much more joyful it will be when our little girl is added to the mix.

Gender revealed

When people find out I’m pregnant, the first thing they ask is if I know if I am having a boy or a girl. And if I want to know. And if I have a preference. And if. And if.

The answer is that we found out today because life and pregnancy are full of unknowns, and I like having at least one known. My preference is healthy, which this kiddo is. Currently, the little one is the size of a Coke can, which is my new favorite analogy for 19 weeks. It amazes me that technology let me see four chambers of a heart, a femur, a nose, a brain and other unidentifiable to me blurs. For some precious moments I saw my child, the one I am starting to feel more frequently, and heard a heart while watching it beat.

It was magic, and it was nice to see you today, Louise.

A Trumpet and an Entertainer

I finally wrote another blog post for the museum. I haven’t been writing much anywhere these days. Hopefully, that’ll change soon, but for now, I’ll stick with reading, growing a baby and running after a toddler. Not exactly in that order.

The Pink Palace

W.C. Handy is one of the most recognizable names in Memphis music. Handy was born in 1873 in Florence, Alabama, to freed slaves. He was a literate man who wrote down the songs of black workers, which formed the basis of the blues. Handy moved to Memphis in 1903 and kept an office on Beale Street. In 1909, E.H. Crump hired Handy to play music as part of his mayoral campaign. He wrote “Boss Crump,” which he later renamed “Memphis Blues,” that became the campaign’s theme song. He moved to New York City in 1917 and worked there until he passed away in March 1958 at age 84.

In September 1958, Memphis hosted a “Blues of Glory” show at Crump Stadium to honor Handy and raise money for a memorial statue to be placed in Handy Park on Beale Street. One of the night’s special performers was gospel singer Mahalia…

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