The Youngest Lamblet decided she wanted to be a zombie this year... she got to come home for lunch today and dress up for the Halloween parties to be held this afternoon. The school has pretty strict rules on how violent or scary a costume can be so we were told to keep it toned down and not do a full on zombie. Considering this lamblet is cute as a button, and considering we toned it way down, I still think she looks pretty darn creepy. Not using the red-eye feature with the camera probably helped in this instance.
What do you think ZRM?? Would she pass for a comrade?
It's been a long, wet, rainy fall... and even though we've had some very pretty leaves, something was missing. It was the odeur of dryness. Also missing? The sound of dryness. It's been so wet that trudging through leaves was more like slogging through a bowl of Wheaties. It was so wet that it smelled more like spring. It was wrong.
And then? Blessed dryness... and today, there was the scent of fall in the air. There was also the sound of crunch in the air. You could hear leaves falling. You could hear them shuffling as people walked. Best though... that smell. Not a rotty smell, but more like an old book smell... I stuck my snoot up every chance I got today and sucked in a lungful here or there. I even brought a handful of leaves inside... just for the occasional sniff. It's supposed to rain tonight, and tomorrow, it will just smell like wet newspapers again.
One of my beloved
nieces helped the below book into print and also has a story in it. Ah yes, the beloved mixtape... we either made them or got them. Or both. :)
From My Ex: Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Loves will be in stores
next week on Tuesday October 27th! You can pre-order on
Amazon now or head to your favorite indie bookstore next week to be
the first to grab a copy.
Our brand-new anthology compiles sixty hilarious, nostalgic and heartbreaking stories
about crushes and mixtapes from amazing writers and musicians: author Rick
Moody, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson, This
American Life's Starlee Kine, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman,
Joe Levy, Improv Everywhere's Charlie Todd, Mortified's David
Nadelberg– even a new story from the godfather of the
genre, Rob Sheffied.
Cassette From My Ex falls in with a lot of the best confessional culture
projects like Mortified, PostSecret and Six-Word Memoirs.
Mixtape stories can be deeply personal and intimate or awkward and hilarious,
and occasionally tragic... and though the title of the project already let's on
how each relationship will end (badly)- you'll remember what it was like when
crushes and music were at the center of the universe.
It dawned on me the other day that my driver's license had expired in the end of August. It was now nearly November... I was going to have to do something about it so as not to have a repeat of the time after the Eldest Lamblet was born and in a blur of exhaustion, confusion, awe, identity loss, identity found... I let it lapse for over a year.
For anyone who doesn't know, if you let it lapse over a certain amount of time, you don't exist anymore. What was worse, when I went to take ALL tests, yes all... you have to take the damn road test if you're enough of a chucklehead to let it lapse for a year... I found that my old license no longer counted for as valid ID, I would need my social security card, which I had, and went to pull out, only to find it was my Second City ID pass... there would be no tests that day. After another month of BS, I managed to prove I was living, was a citizen, could drive, and was given a license again. I never let it lapse again, until this year.
This time wasn't so bad, but I still had to go to the DMV. Last time, due to a spotless record, I could merely send in my moola and wait for new stickers to arrive in the mail. Apparently a good record is only good for a 4 yr waiver from having to step into the DMV, this time, I had to go.
The facilities had been updated since I had been there some 8 years ago, but the people behind the counters were still soulless, with nary a sense of humor. I know, I know, they've probably heard it all. They've dealt with the worst of the worst and are used to giving minute directions. The thing is, if you give me minute directions, my head will break those down even further, trying to figure out what you want, thus making me do something stupid and giving the impression that I don't have a clue. I believe I exhibited at least 3 of those instances today.
And... don't argue. Don't try to explain that you know better. Oh god no. That just makes them even worse. When I progressed from the woman at counter 10 to the woman at counter 14 and that woman asked me to give her EVERYTHING the woman at counter 10 had given me, I mindlessly handed over everything I still had in my hand which caused her to respond with, "Honey?? That's your credit card receipt. Why would I want your credit card receipt?? You need to keep that."
I wanted to throw something, but instead said something about "Oh, I forgot I still had that with the other stuff..." to which she responded with, "Go sit down... over there... wait for your name... ok??"
Sure, I could do that, and I did, and I waited for the photographer woman to call, which she did. She called out and said, "You need to come right in over here", stressing the in and then gesturing with her hands... right next to herself, I thought, hmmm, ok and started to walk where her had was pointing only to realize that she was being vague with the hand and not specific because the place where she was pointing was in her little maze of stuff, a maze of stuff that looked official and not for the average visitor. I got a multiple fingersnap followed with a "No, no, no, no, no, no, no!!!" Of course I had realized about a step into her maze that this was not what she was wanting and didn't need the snap or the chorus of no's, but like good cattle and someone who had spent years in parochial school, I moved along to the proper spot, where she took my mug shot. She was miffed at this point, I was miffed at this point. She took the photo, looked at it and said, "Hmmm, that'll do." I looked down at the photo as I hightailed it out of there and thought, shit... 4 years of looking like a very angry prison warden.
A week or so ago, when the normal filters were down, the sun was shining in, and I was revved up with coffee, I put up a post about artistic endeavors, failings, and victories. There were many wonderful comments with an unexpected one coming in from Another Kiwi.
post Jennifer! All my life I have known that I could write and have
treated as you describe, sort of a hobby that one has enthusiasm for
intermittently. It is only in the last two years that I have started to
do anything about it and by my standards I have been successful though it
has cost my more money than it will ever make me, ever. But I have two
poems that I wrote that I love and two short stories the same. Lots of
wreckage in between them, of course.
Power to your painting.
I love comments like that and not just because it said, "Great post Jennifer"... I like it because I believe we've all got a hell of a lot more going on than we usually show. I usually see Another Kiwi's comments over here (no, he doesn't have a blog, or if he does... he's not sharing)... he's bawdy as heck and I appreciate that, but who knew there was a poet lurking beneath the bawd and the quit wit?!?! I asked him if he'd be willing to share... said I'd post them if he liked. Well, what do you know... the poems arrived today. I'll save my commentary for the comments... He already saw my commentary in an email.
Ok, we all know I'm not fond of spiders, but I do have to give kudos to these people for their use of spider decorations. This is an funky little house to start with, not really looking like it fits the area. I think they've used it, along with the spiders, to their best advantage. When I drive past, I'm torn between appreciation and feeling creeped out. I keep waiting for the spiders to move. (Click on the photo for a better view. Apologies for the poor quality... I was doing a drive-by in the rain.)
What really scares me though is on the house on the opposite side of the street... it's got a large bay window filled with DOLLS!!! Yes, someone has what looks like their entire Marie Osmond collection of dolls staring out onto the street... There's a doll Christmas tree in there as well... no matter the time of year. I would have taken a photo, but someone obviously loves the dolls and I'm not going to post a photo to make fun. They do scare me though... I think I've seen them moving.
Five years ago I got one of those calls you just never expect, but most of us will get at some point if we associate with the living. It was my mother... someone was dying. It was my brother's wife. I stood there and could not make sense out of it. Apparently there had been a massive brain bleed... she was brain dead, but they were waiting until all people who needed to be there could be there since she was an organ donor. Aside from the pesky brain bleed, she was healthy.
My sister-in-law dropped dead just months shy of her 50th birthday. My brother went from planning her surprise party to planning a funeral. My brother went from being a happy family man to being a widower with 3 children. He lost the woman he had been in love with since high school (I met her when I was 7). I would have crumbled. He did not. Does this mean he flew through the grief? The loss? No, I'm sure there was plenty of ugly, plenty of anger, and he deserved it. He was allowed to go through it, but go through it he did, he didn't stay.
A couple of months ago I was at his house, it was a rare time where nothing was going on, I wasn't over there for a function, my husband and kids weren't there. A couple of his kids were rambling around, but otherwise, it was just us two. He was sitting on his bed watching a ballgame and I joined him. We half watched, half talked, and I spilled out what a stressful number of weeks I had had along with all of my doubts about mankind while leaning my head on his shoulder. I felt almost selfish, knowing my hard weeks had been nothing like the challenges asked of him, but gracious as always, big brotherly as always, he listened and gave me hugs and said he had been to dark places and that they're just not worth staying in no matter how hard they are to crawl out of. He said he had been in the worst spot and he never wants to be there again, will not allow himself to go there again, no matter how bad things are. He and his business have been hit upside the head by the challenges of the economy and yet he was still remaining upbeat. Not only was he remaining upbeat, but he was bucking me up.
Yes, he was remaining optimistic. We spoke of things we wished for in the future and he said he didn't need to find the end-all love he once sought as a young man, he had already found that... no he just hoped for some companionship. This past week marked the 5th anniversary of his wife's death, I emailed him and said how proud I was of him and how relieved I was that he had miraculously found some footing. He then told me he had met someone and was just enjoying spending time with another person, someone who wasn't looking for all we think we're looking for in our 20's. He said:
Like I told X in regards to the anniversary, because
she was aware of the date, I said it is a day to remember, but not one to
mourn anymore, because life continues and what has happened will never change,
but how we move forward still has value and opportunity, so we are where we are
and maybe it's time to start the next chapter and live for those who are left
and enjoy them all the more......like friends and family that have carried me
all this time, so it's nice to share time with someone who can appreciate
these sentiments and not judge or think me crazy........my family already knows
I'm a bit TOUCHED!!
My heart sang when I read that. I believe I also told him thank gawd he was touched, to which he responded, "That's right, we're normal, they're all crazy!" :)
I'm not quite sure why I'm posting about this... although I'm pretty much an open book, I do have plenty of stuff I keep private and believe should remain private, whether my own story or someone else's. Also, my brother doesn't read my blog and I'm not quite sure it's fair to post something so private in such a public space, but I guess I'm just really proud of him and amazed at what he's been able to weather. Does that make sense?? I guess it's also a reminder to myself not to linger in bad places even though they're sure to come. Shit will happen. Horrible shit may happen, but we can choose how we react. Why stay in a bad spot if you can think a slightly better thought? Followed by another and another.
The other reason for posting this? We were told that my sister-in-law, through donating her body, most likely helped around 50+ people. 50+. That's a lot of people. I realize people have their beliefs, but if you're not tightly wrapped to any and have not signed your license... you might want to. We don't need our bodies once we're gone and someone who is ready to write their next chapter might need something.