Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anthrax in Your Smarties? Happy Halloween!

I took a highly complex and statistically accurate quiz this morning, and apparently I should be a vampire for Halloween.  Because I didn’t like that suggestion, I used an application on facebook which asked me one question and suggested I go as Jeeves the Headless Butler.  And then I became totally distracted and entered to win a free Kindle, because wouldn’t that be cool?

Last year I was hugely successful as Lucille Ball for which I was awarded best costume at a party and went home with a giant frosted cookie and a trophy doubling as a Christmas tree topper.  It left me with a tube of Are You Red-dy? lipstick and an impossibly uncomfortable pair of stunning ruby-red patent leather peep-toe pumps that I’ll probably never use again.  It was totally worth the cookie though.

In order to top Lucy, I’ve been brainstorming possible costumes for the last month or so.  So far all I’ve got is a vampire and Jeeves the Headless Butler.  It’s called Creative Costume Block.  

My kids, however, have known what they want to be for three months or so.  Okay, that’s not true: they’ve change their minds about what they want to be for three months or so.  Sport went from being Percy Jackson to Indiana Jones to Poseidon and back to Percy Jackson again.  Sis went from Mother Nature to a black cat to a witch to Raggedy Anne back to the black cat and then to I-promise-not-to-change-my-mind-ever-again-mom, a unicorn, before settling in on a cowgirl.  And Spunk will be Iron-Man.  Life is simple when you believe in superheroes.  It’s a universal truth, people.

I remember the good-ole days, before there was such a thing as plastic costumes, when kids were witches, athletes, hobos and clowns.  When you used a pillowcase to collect candy instead of a designer, copyright-protected plastic baggie.  Of course, those were also the days when ‘trick’ also meant overturnin’ an ornery farmer’s outhouse while he was still in it.  Okay, so I don’t personally remember those days, but I’ve read about them.  

Regardless, my kids live in these days where costumes are synthetic and go for about fifteen bucks at Walmart and where you have to perform background checks on the people distributing candy to avoid finding Anthrax in your Smarties (maybe I’ll be an urban legend for Halloween).  

Truth is, I still don’t have a costume, nor have I secured costumes for my kids.  I’m wishing that with the advent of modern technology I could actually print out our costumes and be done with it.  I’d pay for that application.  

Until then, I’ll do things the old fashioned way.  We’ll make our own costumes using cardboard, electrical tape and yarn.  Or, perhaps, aluminum foil, staples and pipe cleaners.  Just kidding.  My kids are totally going as mummies wrapped in medical gauze.  No, really.  We’ll go to WalMart and buy their costumes.  And me? I’m going to win that Kindle and go as a boring mom reading Poe while trick or treating. I already have the outfit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bullying, Deforestation and Goat Cheese

When early yesterday morning I told my kids that we’d be wearing purple that day, Spunk wanted nothing of it.  

“But it’s for a good cause,” I explained.  “It means we’re taking a stand against bullying.”

He shrugged, unmoved by any political campaign, even if it might be a good investment in his future; he is going to junior high eventually.  

My youngest offspring expounded on his position. a) He doesn’t own a purple shirt, and b) he hates the color.  Logical, rational and sound reasoning.  Six might be a little young to lead a freedom march.

As Spunk went about his business of selecting a long-sleeved gray T, I could hear Sport badgering him from the kitchen.  “EVERYone’s going to be wearing purple, Zack.  In fact, you might be bullied for not wearing purple.  It means you don’t care about other people and that you think bullying is cool!”  His intonation increased with each passing syllable.  By the time I reached Spunk’s bedroom, Sport and his younger brother were circling each other like sickly sumo wrestlers.

“Sport,” I said.  “Are you trying to bully your brother into wearing purple?”

His eyebrows rose in protest, and then, somewhat sheepishly, they fell and hovered at the cusp of his brow, as if contemplating the plunge that would take them to the spot where Kaleb now burned a hole through the carpet with his eyes.  “I guess.”

“Let’s let Spunk choose to wear whatever color he wants today, and maybe he’ll want to change the world with you tomorrow.”

As I watched my two boys work through the power of their own emotions, I realized that while bullying is always wrong, it’s a slippery slope from activist to bruiser, regardless of the cause.  So whether the Belknap family wears purple, red, white, blue or gray, we’re against bullying to the extent that we won’t even tolerate the bullying of the bullies themselves (or those who choose to wear long-sleeved gray Ts).   

We’re also against telemarketing, deforestation and goat cheese in to particular order.

Peace out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

While I’ve never actually listened to it, I think the title to Deana Carter’s song is ingenious: “Did I Shave My Legs for This?” Because now that I’m divorced, I realize that the frequency with which I shaved was directly proportional to how lucky I might get. These days there’s no one unluckier than me, thus my legs are, well, let's not go there (no one else is, right?).

But I didn’t realize just how poorly, *ahem*, maintained I had become until I was reading to Spunk a few nights ago. We were reclining on his bed, and I held a Junie B. Jones book in one hand and supported my head with the other, giving my little boy a bird’s eye view of my armpit. He looked sideways at me and laughed, “You’ve got hair there?” as if he had just discovered some fangs or a third eyeball. And I have to admit, when I took a peek myself I was a little disturbed. While my lower extremities are definitely a no-fly zone these days, had I really been that neglectful of my armpits? I mean, long sleeves are now vogue, but I thought I was still shaving my armpits, even if only for myself. And Spunk, apparently.

So it got me reflecting on my celibacy, my sexuality and my razor. Are the first two mutually exclusive? Are the last two?

I’m LDS. Mormon. And it’s one of the reasons I have chosen to remain celibate if and until I remarry. That, at times, makes for a seriously frustrated big girl, although I have plenty to distract me, being outnumbered by my kids and all. But even celibate, can I be sexual? Or sensual? Or attractive? And are all those things even related?

Even if I don’t have all the answers, I’ve decided that shaving may reflect on how I see myself as a woman.

The other day my kids were talking about a ‘No Girls Allowed’ sign Spunk had taped to his door.

“What about mom?” Sis asked.

“She doesn’t count,” Spunk answered, leading me to believe that to children Mothers fall somewhere outside the realm of human, and farther still outside the female realm. We’re an entity unto ourselves, a genus and species above playground duties and beneath Santa.

That being said, just because I’m outnumbered by my children doesn’t mean I have to see myself that same way. I am woman, hear me roar, or at least check me out and tell me I have a cute butt.

But if I were really to do something for myself, it probably wouldn’t be shaving. I would get a massage. Although, now that I think about it, I would shave before getting a massage, just like I would clean before having a housekeeper come over.

So maybe the answer is in a regular, two-hour detoxing massage.

Two birds, one stone, smooth armpits.

(P.S. If you want to set me up with someone, please do not refer them to this particular post. And if you know my mother, don’t tell her about it either. Thank you.)