Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treating in Burbank

This year we walked our neighborhood - our new neighborhood.  No driving a few blocks to trick/treat with friends, although I must say we did miss them.   Dad stayed home, promising to open the door and hand out candy, NOT hide away inside watching scary movies while the hordes emptied the basket in one fell swoop.

The girls and I started out at about 6:30 - me, my daughter and her bestest friend - when it was not quite dark and there wasn't yet a chill in the air.  Beauty and the beast, as it were.  One a beautiful pirate wench, the other a gloriously dead cheerleader.  We hit 7 or 8 blocks in all, spending a good hour and a half going house-to-house. Quite frankly, two 10-year old girls in boots and tights tend to want to go only so far on a chilly evening, and their bags were plenty full.  Not like the old days when my brothers and I would walk for blocks in all directions, and come home with a full pillow case.  Gad, how did my parents cope with that mass of sugar in the house? 

Amidst the healthy crowds of kids, many of whom we knew, here are a few of the things that caught my eye:
1. A father and son trick or treating together.They both had treat bags, but only the little boy was in costume. I thought this was a bit odd, but my husband offered the perspective that perhaps they'd never before experienced Halloween and were both excited about it.  Okay.
2. A roving pack of 6th or perhaps 7th grade girls with not a well-mannered bone among them.  They pushed in front of my girls without hesitation to get to the door.  After the second time this happened, I was compelled to point out quite calmly that they should perhaps let the smaller ones go first.  They ignored me completely.  Really?  Nice job, parents.  Really nice job.  I'll be keeping an eye out for them next year.
3. A couple of really scary clown faces.  Nuff said.
4. A big kid dressed in a dark brown sack of some sort and a dark rubber mask pulled over his head.  When a diminutive, curious mom asked what he was, he responded "Harry Potter."  Not by a long shot, buddy.  Seriously? If you're going to go out and beg for candy, at least dress up. And, if you're over the age of 13 or 14, DON'T go!
5. There were three haunted houses, in varying degrees of terror.  We walked three blocks to the big one to start the evening - a haunted recreation of the Burbank City Hall and AMC theater.  The line was half way down the block, and it wasn't open yet.  We moved on.  Quite honestly, I don't think the girls wanted to go into any of them.
6. A woman, walking down the street, swinging her little flashlight back and forth across the sidewalk and onto front lawns.  Not slowing, not stopping to look for anything in particular, just, well, I don't know...
7. Then there were the vans pulling up on Chandler and infusing the neighborhood with still more kids.  This I understand, and yay that they come and have a great Halloween experience.  And I also struggle with the need to buy enough candy to hand out to hundreds of kids who don't live in the neighborhood.  Honey, I just don't have this kind of cash, and I'm still old-fashioned enough to want to know the kids who come to my door.

All in all, it was a lovely Halloween.  It was nice to be out walking in the neighborhood, which was busier than I'd expected but far less so than I'd prefer.  The constant flow of kids through the streets, which I remember from my own childhood, was missing.  It was a bittersweet experience - the juxtaposition of young costumed children giddy with delight, and the older kids either not dressed at all or dressed more appropriately for an adult party.  The rows of houses on each block gone dark for the evening, many of them hiding in the back of the house and avoiding the holiday altogether.

Perhaps what stood out most for me this year were the people that not only lit up their homes and opened their doors for the event, but were also part of it.  They sat outside.  They enjoyed the evening.  I think that next year we shall perhaps do the same.  Bundle up outside, with friends, drinks in hand, and toast All Hallow's Eve out loud with the passing streams of monsters, princesses, furry animals, and heroes, scary movies on the big TV, ghouls adorning the yard.  Ooh, and maybe make some smores for the occasion. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Brief Stroll

Often the moments of personal benefit are borne of necessity.  Walking my daughter to school is not the norm for me.  It should be.  There is no reason, earthly or otherwise, for me not to simply stroll the four blocks every day with my perfect child, books and bags thrown across our shoulders, gawking at storefronts and chatting about the day that lays ahead.  The walk today was rushed, having left the house five minutes too late to truly enjoy the walk.  I cannot recall any of the topics we discussed - only that the chat was easy, lovely, and happy.

The walk home was slow, meandering, leisurely, and productive.  A 2-block detour to Porto's for a crunchy loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread and a small, sweet Cortadito for the walk, and then back toward home.  I make a quick stop at the bank ATM to make a deposit - a lovely change with no lines awaiting - and realize how quiet the street has become.  Crossing over to the north side of the street, I stand and stare blissfully at the beautiful buddha and Ganesh statues in my favorite second-hand store.  It's been far too long since I've wandered this cluttered place.  I walk on, stopping to gaze curiously at the playful robots decorating a favorite new neighborhood haunt.  Their handmade collections always make me smile.

The next block is haunted by a massive concrete structure whose beckoning doorways are constructed on the other side of it.  For this reason, I generally walk on the other side of the street.  Not today.  Today, I am already here.  And so I walk, head momentarily down.  But my eyes are drawn immediately to the base of the tree that has entered my periphery.  And I look up fully into this most beautiful creature.  It's base is strong and bare.  And there, just above the height of passing humans, sits the most lush and forest green mass of leaves - reaching high above the concrete roof.  And there ahead, another, and another, and another.  Fortunate that no one is walking toward me, I stare up at these giants of life, swept into the dark green curls that seem at once wild and clipped.  I wonder at the bare trunk.  Have we cut back any green shoots that grow down at our level, or have the trees managed this on their own?  Have we readjusted nature to fit us?  Or have they spared themselves the occasional prying and pulling fingers of human passers by?  It matters to me, and I want to believe that they have chosen to blossom far above our heads.  To protect us, shade us & delight us, safe from unintentional harm.

I have strolled much more slowly along this block.  Breathing in the life of the trees, I cross to the next block - now one block from home.  The same young man we passed on the way to school, is still working to rid the street of the mounds of wild leaves that yesterday's winds have heaved down upon us all.  Good morning, we again greet each other.  As I turn the corner and head toward the house, a woman sits in her car on the phone.  She is one of many waiting for the italian deli extraordinaire to open.  9am comes far too slowly for those who want to slip inside and crawl into the glorious smells of this place.  I smile, and head for home.

Often the moments of personal benefit are borne of necessity.  Tomorrow it will be borne of sheer desire to be in the world.  Maybe I'll bring the dog.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

With greatest admiration and adoration, I present to you our first guest blog. Here is the gorgeous and amazing Christina Kingston's DON'T QUOTE ME ON THAT

Special thanks to the very cool, open-armed Karen Hohman Almeida (@Krinhoh) for letting me, CtKingston (@CTK1) guest on her blog.

You know the quote that goes around all the time on social networking sites? You know, this one:

"Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth." –Mark Twain

I've never done any of those things, have you? I dance like the world is dancing against me. Sing to annoy and you better listen! Love like passion is pummeling me and live like  tomorrow is heaven. Unfortunately for me, since tomorrow soon becomes today, I wind up having to wait yet another 24 hours for heaven and so on… One day maybe I'll get ahead of myself. Overall though, I'm quite happy, in so much as, heck, life is good, mostly.

I love Mark Twain. I've read his books and even biographies. Interestingly I've never seen mention of him singing and dancing or loving without repercussion. Truth be told, Twain was a bitter old misanthrope, even as a kid. He was a depressive. A brilliant one, mind you, but sad all the same.

I often see his quotes floating by in my Twitter stream, on people's Facebook walls, in bios on MySpace profiles and I could keep name dropping all the social network sites I'm on, but this isn't about me, it's about Twain. Mostly.

I've always felt he coined two different types of quotes. The ones tossed off for the easily pleased who don't really "get it," and then the ones he gifted to those who look beyond the surface and "get it" till it hurts. Which one am I? Both. Which one are you?

Real curious, I once asked someone who quotes Twain all the time, like he's got Twain Tourrettes, I asked, "Which is your favorite work by him?"

The answer surprised me. The Twain quoter said, "I've never read him, what kind of things does he write?"

What? But it's of no never mind since the quotes live and breathe on their own, no assembly required. But I hope you've read Twain.

I sometimes wonder if Twain were here and on a social networking site would he accept my friend request? I usually conclude that he wouldn't and that usually makes me happy. I'd prefer he keep to himself so he has more time to finally dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like he'd never been hurt and live like it's heaven on earth.

Have you done those things? If not, will you? And would Twain accept you as a friend on a social networking site? If so, why? If not, why not? And would I look good with Twain's hairdo? Seriously, I'm considering it. Are you?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tell Me What's On Your Mind!

No blog is complete without guests.

I am made complete in this life by the presence of others.  And as in life, so shall it be in my blog.

As brilliant or entirely inane as my own thoughts and meanderings may be, I open my arms and heart to those of you out there who would like to share here.

You will not be judged.  You will not be censored.  As long as you bring no malicious intent, and of course you would never, your words are welcome.

Share.  Speak.  Be out there!

Stay tuned, darlings.  The first guest blog is set to appear.