are about people

That's a mean bunny hop


My top three Halloween costume memories, in no particular order, are: 

Second grade. Catholic school. They let us dress up with the stipulation that our costumes be religiously themed. Picture a schoolyard teeming with angels, with a few sainted friars thrown in. I had one of those cheapo printed plastic sheets with matching full-face-reeks-of-polyurethane masks prevalent in the early 80s. Honestly, I don't know why there weren't more Halloween suffocation deaths reported with these things. Anyway, facing certain excommunication, I convinced Mrs. Gariano that I was a fairy godmother. I don't remember the look on her face as I pled my case, but I'm imagining something that would convey "I know you're bullshitting me, you know you're bullshitting me, but we're going to let the kid who came as the devil stay, so we're not sending you home." They gave me the bye and and the next year we could wear whatever the hell we wanted to.

Nine years old. My aunt presented me with something that was vaguely superheroic, outfitted with a spangly cape and a complex network of snaps and ties. It had perhaps been an American Flag in a previous life. I wore it, because when your aunt presents you with something, you damn well better wear it. I mean, we've all seen A Christmas Story, right? No one presented me with anything for a few more years, so I wore it again next Halloween.

Late junior high. I finally convinced my mom to get me the devil tail and cape and ears they were selling at Mervyn's. I don't actually remember wearing it.

Oh, did I say my TOP three memories? I meant my three Halloween costume memories. Period. I'm sure there's another get-up or two in there that failed to make any impression. The short of it: my kids are going to have costumes they LOVE. Now, The Girlie, of course, is far too young to have any say in the matter, so I reserved the right to outfit her in whatever costume I see fit for her body type. Garden gnome it is. Age Inappropriate, you may cry. But in such a cheek-pinchable kind of way. One year successfully avoiding Disney-branded princesshood… check.


The Boy, after months of shoulder-shrugging, finally offered that he liked bunnies. Not something I would have gone with, but acceptable, I suppose. Mr. New Media's quite the quick thinker, however, and offered up, "You mean like Peter Rabbit?" And we had ourselves a winner. One blue felt jacket with brass buttons and some carrots for the road, bunny ear hat, yarn pom pom tail, and tea-dyed/fur embedded shirt later, we've got ourselves a decent Peter Rabbit. And that smile pretty much did it for me, convinced me that yes, dammit, I WILL go through all the work again next year. Even if half the parents at his school give me the blank why-didn't-you-just-go-to-the-Disney-Store-for-a-costume stare.


Full disclosure here: None of these pictures were taken on Halloween, because Pamplona has NOTHING on trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. I've looked in the eye all the Transformers and Supermen and Caribbean Pirates and Disney Princesses Du Jour. I have no doubt that, had we taken a moment in the yard for pictures, we'd have been gobbled up by the crowds and regurgitated at the base of a tree somewhere. That and the photos would have had a backdrop of truly crappy costumes that would have taken all my mad Photoshop skilz to remediate. And I forgot to take the camera out with us when we left the house.

Tags: costumes, Halloween, kids

In a nutshell


You know in that movie Wonder Boys, when Rip Torn’s character gets up to the podium and opens his sure-to-be-gaggingly-pretentious oratory with “I am a Writer” and is met with blustering applause? In my head, it’s my “I am a Maker” that gets the gushing response.

What do I make? Anything, really. I spend more time than I care to enumerate, culling the internet and less digital sources for makeable things. Sewn things and knitted things and printed things and glued things and cooked things and generally-crafted things and picked-up-off-the-ground-and-put-in-a-jar things. Bonus points for anything requiring a specialized gadget.

Oh sure. I’m also a mother to two of the sweetest, funniest, most frustratingly stubborn kids ever, who shall be known here as The Girlie Bear (she’s just a toddler, man) and The Boy (pre-schooler; hell on two feet). And wife to Mr. New Media Something-or-Other, who, like all good makers’ spouses, finds endless opportunity to point out that the things I make have perhaps less expensive and time-consuming counterparts to be found at places like Target and the back of our closet.

Professionally, I make things, too. I’m a some-time writer and graphic designer. A print designer, for newspapers and magazines, mostly. What’s a print designer, you ask? Doesn’t matter -- there’s no professional demand for one of those these days. There was this thing called the internet, but I paid no mind, leaving it to my husband to work with things like that. After the birth of my son, I left full-time employment to do the stay-at-home thing. When I was ready to go back to paying work, I landed what I knew to be The Last Design Job On The Planet That Did Not Require An Internet-Based Skill Set. When my daughter was born, I left that job, too. I'm at work again, now part-time, which leaves just a little bit of time for blog-type things. But I'm still at it. 

I enjoyed designing things to be released to the world. I imagined lives and well-beings hinging on a well executed clipping path or expertly kerned font. OK, not really, but hell, I really enjoyed the work. But you know what might be even better? Making something for my family that ends up being so well-used and loved that it’s actually taken for granted. And now for my thesis: Making things makes me a better person, a better parent. Hyperbole, maybe. But I don’t mean that makers are better people than the rest.

Time for another movie reference: Remember in 40 First Dates how Drew Barrymore’s character only sings on the days she meets Adam Sandler’s? Well, on the days I can’t sit down to some creative tinkery, I’m downright cranky. I’m impatient with the children. I’m in no mood to make meals. I’m much more prone to fits of blind, throw-things-at-the-walls-until-they-shatter-into-itty-bitty-pieces-that-I-now-have-to-explain-to-the-husband rage. The lesson? I make things for the common good of all.

Lovelihood is where I get to share this process with you.