Monday, October 31, 2011

Next year, I'm coating our jack o'lantern with cayenne

This past Saturday, we went to a local farm market to pick out this year's pumpkin.

We came home and Kiddo and Hubby promptly got to work carving said pumpkin into this year's chosen design.  As we've long since established around this here blog, Heather does not do pumpkin guts.  This was the first year that Kiddo did the majority of the carving work herself (under Hubby's supervision, while I popped in and out every so often for a quick picture but otherwise kept well out of arm and nose's reach of the goings-on).

Kiddo was well pleased with her kitty jack o'lantern when we set it out on the front porch and lit it up for a test run Saturday night.

Yesterday afternoon, Kiddo and I attended a Fall Fun event for our local Girl Scout troops.  As we pulled into the driveway upon our return, I noticed something a bit off with her pumpkin......

Closer inspection revealed that some critter or critters had zombie-fied Kiddo's jack o'lantern by snacking on it quite thoroughly (they also removed and chewed on the tea light I'd left inside it overnight).  I didn't catch any such critter redhanded (or orange-mouthed), but my strongest suspicion points in the direction of our multitude of neighborhood squirrels.

Kiddo was upset, naturally, and immediately clamoring for a return trip to the farm market to get a second pumpkin.  This request was denied as we were now less than 6 hours away from Halloween (and last night was a school night to boot), the market was closed and, frankly, we weren't overly eager to drop some more green on another delectable squirrel treat.  By this morning, the other parts of Halloween (costumes! parade! party! Trick or Treating with friends!) had mitigated her disappointment at the jack o'lantern mutilation somewhat, and off she went to school.  I went out to clean up the pumpkin detritus around midmorning, and decided that there was, in fact, enough unspoiled pumpkin on the back half that technically someone could carve a second kitty face onto the other side.

I promptly looked around.  Turns out the only someone who was home and available for such a project around 11 on a Monday was me.  (Well, I mean, I could've asked the cat, but she lacks both the attention span and the opposable thumbs for such an undertaking, and then there's the extensive list of things she's managed to damage with her own sharp bits over the years - do I really want to be arming her with a pumpkin carver?)

Have I mentioned how much I detest pumpkin guts?  I am not kidding when I say I have a pathological aversion to them.  The smell and/or feel of the inside of a pumpkin can induce the urge to vomit in me more than actually being vomited upon by another human being.  Seriously.  (Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand - delish! So long as someone else has cleaned them off and toasted them up.  Also, I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins - as long as I don't have to touch or smell the raw ingredient in its most primal form.)

I feel that it is a pretty remarkable testament to my overwhelming love for my child that I sucked it up and did this:

 and a pretty remarkable testament to my willpower that I neither threw up nor fainted at any point while doing it.  (I kinda wanted to do both at a few points along the way.)  (And as to Hubby's reply text when I sent him the above picture, yes, they had scooped out most of the pumpkin guts before the first carving.  Most of them.  The pumpkin was a far cry from pristine inside, and being out on the porch in the cold made it extra-clammy.  Unless some of the clamminess came from squirrel spit, but really, does that make it better?)

That isn't to say that next year, I won't be sprinkling our jack o'lantern quite liberally with cayenne pepper before I set it on the porch.  I may love the kid enough to suffer the trauma of raw pumpkin meeting my hands and nose once, but I have no intentions of there being a sequel.  I'd rather have to deal with actual zombies on my front porch then try to repair a zombie-fied jack o'lantern again, thankyouverymuch.

(Oh, and I am tired and punchy enough right now to point out that when lit with the slightly-gnawed tea light tonight, in the pitch black darkness that is 7pm in our parts this time of year, the kitty cat was glowing mightily in its newly carved facial area, but also casting light out of the rather gaping hole in its backside.  I believe there's an expression about blowing sunshine and one's posterior regions........)

Happy Halloween from me and mine to you and yours!  (Kiddo, for the record, was one of several Hermione Grangers tromping the grounds of school in today's Halloween parade.  She was the only one with a Crookshanks with her, however.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is this why I liked The Silence of the Lambs?

My kid, at the advanced age of eight, no longer easily complies with hand-holding in public.  Mind you, I only ever reach for her hand in specific situations - navigating a very crowded, public place where we might easily become separated (after all, she is the human version of Dug from Up: squirrel!), or crossing a heavily trafficked parking lot or street (where again, her distractability can be detrimental to her survival), that sort of thing.  These days, she will squirm and squirm and squirm, along with whining and whining and whining, to get me to let go.  As a compromise, she'll sometimes offer to hold on to my wrist or forearm or for me to hold her elbow or something.

On a recent such occasion, as I was desperately trying to grab hold of some part of Kiddo while she darted away into Certain Mortal Peril, a song from childhood popped into my head.  I recalled it as being sung by Bert from Sesame Street, and I sang a snippet of it to the kid.  I couldn't remember it as clearly as, say, C is for Cookie or I Love Trash, so a few days later, I looked it up on Youtube while Kiddo and I were waiting for the school bus to arrive.  I found it right away, and we both watched; her for the first time ever and me for the first time in several decades....

Please take a moment and watch it if you didn't already. Do you remember watching it as a small child?  Are you as unsettled as I was?  I mean..........*shudder*, right?  After all, this is SESAME STREET for crying out loud - how could it be so disturbing???

As I said, I remembered this from my own childhood.  (Not sure it is too surprising that I never saw this clip re-aired during Kiddo's Sesame Street watching phase).  (Also, my memory of it being sung by Bert was actually correct. Bert did the record album - remember record albums? - version and my sister and I had all the Sesame Street albums between the two of us, so score one for my rapidly aging brain cells for remembering that.)   I do NOT remember being the slightest bit put off by this clip.  I remember thinking it was, in fact, funny.  My sister and I would act out this song with each other (and with props standing in for the body parts.)  ACK - see?  There's where I'm disturbed now.  Body. Parts.  Maurice the Muppet is REMOVING THE FEMALE MUPPET'S BODY PARTS, y'all.


I know that there are far more disturbing things on television these days.  (Well, it seems like there are far more disturbing things everywhere these days.)  I don't let Kiddo watch, say, Dexter or Supernatural or any of the CSIs or L&Os.  But..... but......  this is SESAME STREET.  Holy moly.  Watching this now, as an almost-middle-aged woman, I found it way more disturbing than amusing.  I was especially squicked out by the tooth (obviously required for the lyrics' rhymability) and the way he is fiddling nonchalantly with the pile of body parts he has just removed.

So, is it just me?  Is this unsettling to anyone else?  I wonder if this is where my great enjoyment of things like The Silence of the Lambs and Supernatural comes from.....  At any rate, Kiddo wasn't put off by it one bit.  As a matter of fact, a few days later, as we stood on the porch waiting for the bus to turn up our street, she asked me if we could watch it again.  I declined, though she persisted.  Until she saw a squirrel run across the yard, anyhow.  (I wish I were kidding.  I'm not.)


In other news, stay tuned for a really awesome giveaway that I plan to do in the coming weeks.  I can't give you the details yet, but I can show you a relevant trailer:

And in other other news, please do read the post and consider helping me out with my 40th birthday wish.  I'd really appreciate it!