Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Chinese Poet Li Po On Halloween

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountains and me,
until only the mountain remains.

- Li Po

The costumes have vanished into the attic
and now the last face paint drains away.

We sit together, the leftover candy and me,
until only the Bit o' Honeys remain.

- Suburban Mother of Two

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Candy Is Dandy, But Hypocritical

With trickle of Kit Kats from Target it started, like rain drops on a tin roof in the tropics. Then, monsooning, candy passed by kids on the playground, at the Halloween bake sales, in orange felt pumpkin-shaped bags, like heroin.

And they act like it. Like pee-wee addicts, my kids, they hoarde, cajole, walk the sidewalks asking huskily, "Got any Skittles? I've got the shakes, man, can't ride my bike right."

Amid all the talk of childhood obesity we still have: Big Candy. It's caramel covered, chocolate enrobed pecan turtles kind of nuts. Like Big Pharma. Like Big Tobacco. Business pushing candy cloaked in the charm of children going house to house begging.

"Be The Cool House," the sign at Target says. That's the trick. Buy the full-sized Butterfingers. No one wants to be the one on the block that passes out pencils. But you can't have it both ways, Ken Burns "Prohibition" taught me that, Epidemic of Diabetes, and Candy Freak.

But I try. Amid the nausea coming down from bag of Twix, I can't do the laundry right, man, I can't carpool. I am a candy corn. It is an affliction, I blame my mother, I might try to snort one one up my nostril, snort it, but not in front of the children.

Monday, October 17, 2011

He Leaves The Gold Hidden In The Mountains

Not that I understood the first Book of The Tao, but I'm reading Stephen Mitchell's The Second Book of The Tao now.

"How fine life becomes when what you want is exactly what you have" is Mitchell's exegesis on Chuang-tzu's line, "The Master leaves the gold hidden in the mountains, and the pearl at the bottom of the sea."

But if there's gold in them thar' mountains you better believe I'm hefting a pickax. Ditto a submersible and an oxygen tank to get at that pearl. I clamor! I shimmy! Exactly what I want is what I don't have.

If the Tao is like a river, I'm no river otter, dipping in, all sleek. I'm nearby though, like an elephant at one of those depressing nature show's dwindling water holes, trunk-deep in the mud, nearby and thirsty.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


A cat left alone for too long gets mad and pees on all the furniture. I don't do that. I tend to drift, like a raft. I'm soloing around the world called our living room, with the kids, husband away, again.

I might end up in Azores.

We might have a great time.

I also might cry into my pillow: Please don't ask me to pour another glass of milk, please don't ask me. Also, stop quibbling about who is taller! Who cares who is taller? Who cares? Stop fighting! You are not the boss of me.

Except they are. My responsibilities. Beauties. Albatrosses and professors. The next generation.

I get out the crayons, and hope that no one bites.

Friday, October 14, 2011


I like to be around pigs, horses and cows. I'm allergic to cats. The dogs that I am not allergic to I like to be around. If I had the opportunity to be around a friendly lion that would not bite my arm off I would.

Goldfish are not that interesting. We tried geckos, but failed. Feeding them all those poor live crickets, struggling to find safe corners in the tank turned my stomach. So we're trying 4-H.

We can "share" the raising of a pig with another family, the lady told me. Time sharing pigs, this is the motto of my family.

I want to go to the state fair with our Clover and bring back a prize and be so proud. And then eat her, isn't that the way of the world? but not my world. In my world, she comes home, writes "My Mom Is Terrific" with her snout in our sandbox.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Great Works of Art. Done in Gourds.

Michelangelo's Pieta

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss

Grant Wood's American Gothic

Monday, October 10, 2011

Traditional. Candy.

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em, but we have a dearth of customs and traditions in my family.

We're not religious, well I am but I hide it from my husband who needs not know about my subscription to On Being the podcast for "meaning, religion, ethics and ideas."

When holidays come I think, gosh, other people seem to have so many colorful, flavorful romps, and all I have come up with so far is Chicken Friday. (Waaaay back, on my mother's side I may be Jewish, so I light some candles. I like this, but, as a gong, it's meh.)

In my family our big whoop, when we sound our barbaric yawp and feel the membrane between us and our ancestors shudder, and reality and spirituality when we snarf down candy at Halloween.

Snarfing Down Candy at Halloween is communion with the makers of candy, with sweetness, with life at its finest. Like a sacred Druidical rite.

Each piece of Kit Kat is a fingerbone of a saint that was gluttonous and still, the Lord adored him. The flattened fruit roll-ups Torah scrolls. Amein. Let's trade.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


When, as a mother, I don't know what to do (as is frequent) or it's a rainy day, or it's both a rainy day and I don't know what to do (as is frequent) I get out the craft basket.

Glue, scraps of felt, sequins, whatnots. There is an embroidery needle that is purposefully very blunt, and a hoop of canvas.

The kids encircle me, I imagine it is a hearth scene by a Flemish master. There is a single candle in the painting, which illuminates our gentle and open faces with it's warm maternal glow. Look how content the dog is! (We don't have a dog.) Look at the grapes! As if lit from within by individual purple lanterns! (We don't have grapes. We unartfully have snack crackers, of peanut butter.) How we dream!

How we craft, as in the olden days, before television, before the Wii, before hot water, before electricity, when families bowed their heads together over a common purpose, for instance, making out of different shapes of pasta, a Halloween skeleton, following the directions of the Martha Stewart website.