Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I wasn't intending to get a costume for Jackson. He is a little young yet for trick or treating. But friends saw the chicken costume at Old Navy and bought it for us. And it is really cute. It's the kind of costume you can only put a kid this young in, cause any older and he would refuse to be seen in it.

I dressed him up and took him over to the bank near the Palace this afternoon. They advertised pictures with a scarecrow from 2 -4, so we headed over. Jackson took one look at the human-sized scarecrow doll sitting on a hay bale and refused to get near it. Smart kid, really if you think about it. I don't blame him. So I sat on the hay bale next to the scarecrow doll thingy and he sat on my lap and we got our picture. A Polaroid, regrettably, so I can't share it with you. But in it, my little chicken boy had a wary look on his face. As if he wasn't sure we should be sitting so close to the creepy doll man, but he was willing to trust me for the time being. After the picture all the ladies at the bank oohed and ahed over him and he relished the attention and held court as usual. Adoration comes easy to the child. He takes it as his due.

This evening, he was much less cooperative. Being nearly his bedtime, he was less interested in getting into the chicken suit for pictures. He required a paci in his mouth to suffer the indignation. It took both me and David to get the thing on him. I kinda feel bad now for forcing him into it when he clearly just wanted to wind down and go to bed. Sorry Jackson. The family demands pictures and that means the chicken suit. If I had it to do over I would have gotten all the pics this afternoon when he was post nap and happy.

Once he was dressed and allowed to wander about the front porch with us he was content. Then he got into the candy bowl and managed to get into a Butterfinger bar. Then he was really happy. He helped us greet trick or treaters till he was ready for bed.

In my neighborhood there are a couple of Halloween trends that are really starting to bother me. The first is the caravan of cars driving through the streets. These are parents following their kids as they go house to house. Really, there is car after car of them. And the kids periodically run back to the car to empty their loot buckets. I really think this is not a good idea. There are so many kids out there walking and it is dark and it only takes one kid darting unexpectedly into the street to make a tragedy of immense proportion. Is this a fat American thing? A lazy thing? Or are all these kids from a different neighborhood that requires them to be driven here. That doesn't bother me, bring them on over. But park your car and get out and walk your damned kids around the blocks. And Elaine pointed out that all these slow driving cars could mask a pedophile hunting for the kid that wanders off. Just not a good idea all around.

The second bothersome trend I have seen the past few years is the number of 12-16 year olds trick or treating with no costume and carrying a backpack for loot. This baffles me. As a kid living in the middle of nowhere we didn't often get the chance to trick or treat, but on the few occasions that we did, I would have been mortified to go without a costume. Even now, David and I make an effort to put on something costume-like just to hand out candy. But these kids seem to have no shame. They are a little old for the pasttime anyway, but to do it without even an attempt at a costume seems to reek of teenage entitlement and that attitude always gets my blood boiling. They don't have to make an effort, they don't have to do anything but open their bookbag to get the candy that we bought with our ever dwindling single and a half income bank account. I really am thinking of implementing a no costume - no candy policy at my house.

But two things stop me: the thought that some of these kids may be from poor households with nothing extra with which to buy luxuries such as costume supplies. And the fear of retaliation for turning them away. There is nothing more scary to me than teenage anger. Probably the worst I could expect would be a severe toilet-papering, but in today's world fifteen-year-old boys are scary creatures. They can kill and maim without regard for consequences or reprisal. Not a likely scenario, but one that makes me not turn away the costumeless teens. I did only give them a couple pieces of starlight mints and dum dums this year, but I am not brave enough to chastise them for their laziness and send them away empty-handed. Maybe next year.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My cat is a comedian...

I woke up at about 4 this morning to the sounds of raucous baby laughter coming from the nursery. I figured the boy was having a good dream or something. But when the laughter continued for about 15 minutes, I figured I'd better go see what he was up to. I opened the nursery door to find Sarah the cat standing on the changing table looking into the crib. Jackson was standing there watching her and laughing. Apparently, my cat decided to practice her stand up routine in the pre-dawn hours with my son as her audience. And being the big meanie that I am, I kicked her out of his room so that we could all go back to sleep. The end.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Today we took Jackson to David's Folks for the night. They will bring him home tomorrow evening. So we have a baby-free weekend, which is really nice. And Jackson has such a good time with them. He gets spoiled just like he is supposed to with grandparents. And Susanne always sends pics. We got home a couple of hours ago and she already sent a batch. Thus the cute pic of the little boy playing with the fall decorations.

Just as we were about to leave to take him to Harker Heights, I started to see an aura. My headaches are coming more frequently again. And the increased dose of meds I take at night lower my blood pressure so I am feeling dizzy a lot when I first stand up. It is disappointing to have them back after a month or so without them.

But today, when this migraine started, I was determined that it would not ruin my Jackson-free weekend. I immediately took my meds as I am supposed to, but I also tried something an elderly lady suggested to me last week. She said that she suffered from migraines for years, only migraine meds are only about 10 years old, so she truly had to suffer through them. She told me that whenever she first saw an aura, she was told to put her feet on ice. And this would keep the migraine from becoming the all encompassing pain marathon that they are. Migraines are vascular and have to do with constricting blood vessels in the brain. Not sure what ice on the feet would do, unless it cools the blood or something and soothes the blood vessels. I dunno, but I though it was worth a shot.

So today, I took my meds and got an ice pack to put my feet on. I sat on the couch deep breathing and relaxing with my feet freezing to death on the ice. But when the pain came, it was not so bad. It still sucked, but I wasn't lying on the bathroom floor unable to move for an hour and a half like the migraine two weeks ago. And I feel like perhaps the ice, the meds, and the relaxing meditation in combination, may just have saved my Saturday from total ruin. I was able to go with David to drop my son off as planned. And I am fully able to go out tonight with my best friend as planned. I feel like I was able to will the migraine away. Probably silly, but I am proud of myself none-the-less.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Two work encounters....

This week at work there were two interesting encounters with patrons. The first showed me that my child needs friends. And the second showed me that things that we who are 'in the know' take for granted, others may question.

First, a woman came in with her 2 year old son to get tickets. While the volunteer took care of the sale, Jackson stalked the 2 year old. Really. Poor Jackson sees other children so rarely that he has developed an unnatural reaction to them. It went like this: first his eyes got really big upon seeing the little boy. Then he nearly leapt from my arms to get down. He crawled to the boy and stared at him. The boy came close and patted him on the back, which was really cute and sweet and everyone in the room said "Awwww."

Then Jackson turned into stalker baby. He would not let the boy go. He began to touch him. Touched his shirt, touched his pants. Put his arms up for the two year old to pick him up. Every time the boy would move away, Jackson would crawl too close and invade his personal space. At first the boy was fine with it, but when it became apparent that super stalker baby would not let him go, he began to protest. He had this look on his face like, "Dude, step off." I picked Jackson up to make him stop but that made him mad. He kicked and fought to be let down. He could not get enough of the only other child he has seen up close since he can remember.

Sigh. My poor child needs friends. Desperately. I have got to find a way to expose him to other kids. People keep suggesting Mothers Day Out programs. And it does sound good.

Except these programs are put on by churches. And I feel it would be hypocritical of me to use such a program given the way I feel about religion. I mean, I am very nearly hostile toward religion and thus christianity at this point. I feel that religion is both a weapon and a crutch. And those of us who choose to live a common sense-based secular life are being beaten with other people's crutch. Thus, when the Texas Constitution was amended to prevent my mother and her long-time partner from marrying and indeed, forming contracts with one another, I get mad. And I blame the christians. I blame the christians for the Plan B debacle. They have got their fangs into the f'ing FDA! And the Supreme Court! And the Texas Public Schools can't use an f'ing health textbook that tells the truth about STD's and condoms and do you want to talk about Terry Schaivo? Or abstinence-only education to curb AIDS in Africa? Or the thirty-something Coach handbag-carrying too much lipgloss-wearing lady in Georgetown who went on a tirade at the Palace because Moon Over Buffalo took the lord's name in vain. I could sit here all day and go on and on and on about the things that daily make me want to rip my hair out and I BLAME the christians. I do.

So I can't put Jackson in a Mother's Day Out program at a local church because it would be wrong on so many levels. But the boy needs friends. That much is clear.

The second incident was a puzzling one. A lady and her husband came into the Palace and wanted to talk to the person in charge. At the time I was the only staff member there, so the volunteer sent them to me. They had come to see Anything Goes and had a suggestion for us. Actually, it was more than a suggestion. More like a terrible wrong that they wanted us to right. It seems that these folks (mostly the woman, hubby was mostly quiet) felt that we were ungrateful for the talented musicians that make up the pit orchestra of the show. She said that she was appalled that they did not get a curtain call.

Yes, theatre folks, let that sink in for a minute. She felt that the band needed an actual, downstage center bow at the end of the show. That we were basically big meanies for leaving them out.

I tried hard not to show the disbelief on my face. I pointed out that the band actually gets the final acknowledgement in the show, an honor meant for the most important roles. The entire cast, as is standard, turns to the band and calls for applause in their honor. I also told her that the band members are paid for their efforts whereas the actors and most of the crew are not.

"But they are up there blocked by that curtain for most of the show, you can't even see them," She lamented.

I was so unsure of what to tell her, because this is not a complaint that I ever thought to expect or prepare for. Ever. I told her that yes, they were mostly unseen. And that indeed, industry standard warrants that they wear all black so as not to distract from the action of the play. And that our pit orchestra is actually much more visible than most because the Palace doesn't even have a pit for them. We build into each show somewhere for them to be. In this case, they are on top of the boat. Anything Goes takes place on a ship and we built the set to be the tail end of the ship. The band climbs up to the 3rd level and plays from there. It is actually kinda cool.

And in this particular show, the band even has a line in the play. They get to yell down, in unison, the punchline of a very bad joke. And it comes so unexpectedly and it is so cheesy that it is really a pretty darn fun moment.

I also explained to the lady that she may not have noticed, but the score of the show continues through the curtain call and the band plays until the house lights come up and it is time to go home. Oh, but she had a solution to the whole problem. We needed to pre-record all of that music so that the band could come down with their instruments and take a bow with the cast.
Ha! It would take 10 minutes of music to make sure we had enough for 9 people, some of them not young and not small, to climb the ladder down one at a time from their perch three levels up. Not going to happen.

And not because the Palace Theatre doesn't appreciate the band. But because no pit orchestra stops playing the encore and curtain call music to climb up out of the pit (or down from the heights) to take a bow on stage with the actors. Why not? Because that just isn't the way it works. Not on Broadway, not in Chicago, not in Georgetown, Texas.

But it seemed like a perfectly reasonable request to this lady. And I was hard-pressed to explain it to her. So the lady left, having said her peace, knowing that we couldn't or wouldn't change our ways, but still secure in her belief that she is right and we...well...aren't.

Later, when I described the encounter to the Director of Anything Goes, his immediate response was, "Did you tell her that they wouldn't do it?" He seemed pretty certain that any musician working professionally in a pit orchestra would find such a scenario beneath his or her dignity and would refuse to do it. He thought the idea was as ludicrous as I did.

But that is my lesson with this one. What to us is sacred and standard, to others is rude and unforgivable. Heh, kinda like religion isn't it?