Monday, October 24, 2011

A Fantasy Realm for the Night

Above: Your Aunt Miranda put her beanie on you, and you wore it! You are more receptive to dressing up than I previously assumed you would be. You even put on sunglasses before, which surprises me since you had to wear those dark eye covers strapped down when you were a newborn. (October 2011)

Halloween costumes are such a big part of the tradition! People believe the tradition of dressing up began because on Samhain it was told that fairies, ghosts, and other supernatural beings were out and about on this night, when the veil between the world of the dead and the world of the living is at its thinnest. Food and drink were left out to placate these spirits by homeowners so some say that this evolved over time into the idea of Trick 'r Treating. Or perhaps, others also say, the idea of wearing costumes derived from those that wore costumes in order to scare away the ghosts and ghouls by dressing up just as foul, or to protect themselves by "blending in" with the creatures of the night.

In any case, it's a big part of the holiday, and VERY important to me. I don't take costumes lightly. My mother always made our costumes or gathered the supplies from thrift shops. I didn't always appreciate that as a child, watching all of the other kids get store bought costumes. That is, until Halloween night. Then, with the finished product, I would boldly go about asking for candy and soaking up all of the compliments I would get for my original costume, while all of the other kids wore costumes that were cheaply made and falling apart. I hope I can do just as wonderful a job. I want to ask for a sewing machine for Christmas, so I can start honing in my skills, and because I do enjoy sewing! But in the meantime, I can hand sew, and I think we are creative enough to get by without. I have your outfit all set. Since you are so small I wanted something easy, that wouldn't require you to have to wear anything too special. Also, we didn't want anything typical, so Stewie, a character from Family Guy, was our favored choice! We found the red suspenders and yellow shirt at the thrift shop early on, and little shoes. I also found a small, stuffed Brian (the dog character who always accompanies Stewie) at the shop. So you're all set!

My mother was a big help for my costume. I'm still not certain what I would have been without her, but then, I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason! She found a costume for a Roman Goddess at a shop. It was only two dollars! It's perfect, and she sent me gold jewelry of hears to wear. I intent to work on some gold hair pieces to complete the outfit, and I will be Juno! Roman Queen of the Gods, known as Hera to the Greeks. Don't turn up your nose... she's beautiful, and in truth, I'd be really scared if she turned a negative eye to me! Hera/Juno was known to be a patron of marriage and women, but she was also known for her vengeful nature towards anyone who embarrassed her. Many stories involve her thwarting heroes or punishing someone.

And your father, of course, will be Alberto Del Rio! Today we found a suit at the shop. It was as if it was meant to be! I thought for sure he would be looking for ages, because often nice suits are hard to find. But he found a black suit, the jacket with the matching pants! They have tiny red stripes as well, which matches the shirt he was going to wear. Next, we had to go belt hunting. That was the most expensive piece of the outfit that could not be made. We ended up going to three stores before we found a child's WWE championship belt. It just barely fits him! And it was twenty dollars and so cheaply made.. but hey.. your father is so excited, and it really completes the outfit. I just told him we were NEVER going to get rid of that belt for how expensive it was! Lastly, Alberto wears a white scarf with gold letters embroidered. Here's where I get to get creative. We found a white cloth at the shop.. I've had to cut it lengthwise to make the scarf, so I'm having to arrange the trimming, and I bought gold paint to write the letters A and R which are at each end of the scarf.

My favorite thing about costumes isn't even that I expect mine to be the best. I really get involved because I ADORE seeing everyone dressed up. It's almost like a reunion of characters from all across worlds have come together and are meeting. It's my favorite part of the Halloween experience. I feel like I'm in a fantasy realm, watching a variety of characters interact. For this night everything is possible. You can meet or be your hero! You can be frightening, or ugly, or crazy and you are welcomed into another world. You can't be certain who you may come across! It's so phenomenal in that sense. I just love that each of us are something different and unique to us. Your cousin Oscar is going to be a fireman, and Annadee is going to be a cute little fairy bug. Your Aunt Miranda is going to be a black cat, and hopefully Aunt Kellie dresses up as well! I heard your Uncle Oscar won't, which is totally lame! I always feel a little bit of disappointment for those who don't dress up, especially when their excuse is, "It costs to much." Ridiculous! In any case, I'm really looking forward to taking a ton of pictures!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oh to be Spoiled, errr Loved

So much has happened lately! To begin with, I am grieving just a bit. It's day four, rather, it's the END of day four since Beowulf disappeared. We started opening the windows to air out the house in this beautiful cool weather. Vincent and I had been discussing the cats going outside. Now that they are neutered and vaccinated, we thought it was a pretty good idea. The problem was these horrible collars. While the intention is noble, the design of a breakaway collar is cheap and a waste for consumers. The darn things came off the cats without so much as a tug. So now, Beowulf is gone and not returned, and if anyone sees him he has no collar. Here's my main worries: Beowulf is skiddish. He's nervous. I'm afraid even if someone does try to feed him, he will run away. Also, I wouldn't feel bad if I knew he was gone because he didn't want to come back. I feel bad because I'm worried something happened and he simply cannot come back. I'm having a hard time with it. I loved him and he was my "cuddle monster" for around five years. He loved you as well. I could hold you up to him, and you would throw your hands into his fur and grab. He'd just let you do it. One time you even grabbed a hunk of his facial fur, and he pulled your head to his wide open mouth. He just let you! I had to make you let go, saying, "Hey, you can't eat the kitty!"

I also have become ill. I lost my voice, which has never happened before. It was strange in a way, to be bound by silence. I felt as if there was a bit of enlightenment to be had, or a lot. Mostly though, I was grateful to you. My raspy attempts you found hilarious. You laughed and were very well behaved for the most part.

On Friday your father took us to meet Alberto Del Rio. As you know, your father is a wrestling fanatic. I keep trying to convince him to dress up as one of his favorites for Halloween - Alberto. Alberto is the current WWE champion, and he's a "bad" guy. He's known as the Mexican Aristocrat and this latest Pay Per View was here in San Antonio. Your father was so excited. I love seeing him really into something, and if you're anything like it I will be so pleased. He gets so animated, and I can almost feel the excitement emanating from him when he's on the verge of something great. So it was this past Friday, the day I lost my voice. It was a last minute thing really. We were at a thrift shop, getting you a high chair and a new car seat. By the way, might I also add that I am extremely proud of us! Your father paid just fifteen dollars for a high chair I chose and a car seat he found. They needed a bit of cleaning up, but they cleaned up very nicely! Anyhow, while at the shop your father said Alberto was signing autographs at a shop downtown according to his buddy. So away we went. Boy were we lucky! Just minutes after we arrived they closed off the line for autographs. We were at the tail end! You were so patient and calm. I realize as a five month old you have no clue for the famous, the rich, the poor, or the unknown. I love that in children. You just accept people for the happiness they bring you. Still, it was a treat that your father was so happy to share with you. He prides himself on telling you that at just five months old you've seen every pay per view, the first being aired the very day you came home from the hospital! Also, that you have been to a local wrestling show, and now that you actually "met" a big time wrestler. It really makes me smile, and I hope that even if your interests change over time that you value how much your father wanted to include you in his little passion. Personally I think Wrestling is just a nice soap opera, but what really makes me enjoy it is the memories we make. Your father says you are so spoiled when it comes to wrestling, because he never got all these perks, but I know it's his way of sharing a favorite past time with someone he loves. Anyhow, despite the long wait, Alberto was quiet and fairly nice. At least, that's what I gathered in the split second I had with him. My mind was so scattered I was hardly looking at him! I was far too busy trying to perfect the moment for your father and you. First, your father had his autograph and photo with you taken. Ever the conversationalist, he made a few remarks and the wrestler laughed! Then, it was my turn. I kept looking around to try and get moving, and I managed to focus for a split second to say, "C..," then I looked around to see where Vincent was and who had the camera, and then refocused, "Can I have your autograph?"  I don't know if he was expecting something more, or if he was just waiting for me to watch him sign the paper, because he just looked at me until I asked, then nodded. He looked like he had experienced a long day and was run down already, but he did seem nice enough. Your father was so very excited! He told him, "Way to take out Rey Mysterio!" which made him laugh, and then on his way out he shouted, "Be sure to take down Del Rio.. oh.. I mean Cena!"

Below: Your father and Alberto Del Rio.. and you, Cesar! Too bad his entourage wanted the line to move along so fast. I wasn't allowed to take the picture, so this rather annoying blonde woman just clicked away and that was that. Still, you are adorable as always. (October 2011)

On a side note, I'm sorry I haven't had much of a chance to discuss Halloween in this post. So much has happened! You've begun to sit up on your own very well. You still cannot rise to a sitting position from lying down, but if I sit you up you can hold yourself up for a nice amount of time while playing with your toys. That, to me, is a HUGE milestone. You accomplished this on the 19th. You're father let you try on your own and we sat around in wonder. Naturally, I had to take a dozen photos. I was so proud. Watching you grow is the most amazing thing I've witnessed, and I'm really looking forward to your first Halloween. I found a small stuffed Brian toy to go with your Stewie costume. I am going to be a Roman goddess. My mother was kind enough to send me a beautiful dress! And your father.. well I personally think he looks plenty like Alberto Del Rio.. I keep encouraging him to dress up as the wrestler! It would be simple enough. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Carving!

Today was a full day for us. First, we ventured out with your Aunt Kellie to the park. We took a walk with your cousin Annadee, and then we went back to her house where we saw your Uncle Oscar and your cousin Oscar. After that we all went to the park and your Uncle Oscar assisted you in going down your first slide! It was a small slide, and he held your hands up while you laid back and just guided you down. You didn't seem to quite get the slide at first, you had the funniest look of confusion. The third time you actually put your feet down and your uncle had to tell you, "You're stopping yourself!" Not that you understood, but it was cute none the less.

This evening we carved your first pumpkin! Your father did the carving, while I gutted them out so I could bake the seeds. Jack-O-Lanterns are a timeless tradition for Halloween. I read an Irish tale of a man named Jack. Jack was a trickster and a drunk. He liked to play his little pranks on anyone and he tricked the Devil into climbing a tree. When the Devil was in the branches he hung a cross on the trunk and the Devil was unable to climb down. When Jack died, he was not allowed into Heaven because of his cruelty, but when he went down to Hell the Devil would not allow him to enter either (some say the Devil wouldn't let him enter because he held a grudge, others say it is because Jack bargained with the Devil, allowing him to come down from the tree if he promised that he would never allow Jack to enter Hell) . So Jack wandered as a lost spirit and confused by the darkness he asked the Devil how he was to navigate. The Devil tossed him an ember which Jack placed in a hollowed turnip, a food he carried with him everywhere and that became his lantern. Most any food could be hollowed, but over time it became a pumpkin. Regardless of how this all came to be, carving a pumpkin is a typical thing for most households. Jack O Lanterns are believed to ward off evil spirits.

 Above: Your father tried to show you the little pumpkin we were carving for you so you could feel it. You went straight away to trying to eat it! (October 2011)

It makes me so happy we can all do this together, even if you will not remember. I think the good feelings we share WILL carry over throughout the duration of your life, so I try to bear that in mind always. The universe is a blend of energies. I believe in little things, like warding off evil... I think most people do even if it's only a little. However, I also believe that when bad things happen, it is part of life and you must bear these terrible happenings with grace. You have the power to turn these energies into something positive. So don't always feel like the world is against you if you are having a bad time. Please try to stay strong. Do what you can to avoid negativity, but when it is unavoidable you must work your hardest to transform it into something positive. Your father is very good at this. He takes most bad news with a sense of ease, like no matter what happens it doesn't seem to phase him. I am not so peaceful as that. I throw fits or get upset, though I work to overcome it. I hope that you do not inherit some negative view of the world. It can be hard, but you can often times take more than you think. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Return of the Butterflies

Samhain is said to have began as a Celtic tradition. Samhain translates to "summer's end," which was a pivotal point in their calendar year. It is believed that on this night, the veil between the world of the dead, and the world of the living, is at it thinnest.

That being said, variations of Samhain are found throughout many cultures, even those that recognize Halloween as more of an American practice. Your father, Vincent, is making plans to visit his cousin in Mexico just after October 31st since he has vacation at that time. Mexico celebrates the Days of the Dead, or Los Dias de los Muertos (Oct. 31- Nov. 2). This is a joyous time of celebration and reverence for lost loved ones. An old Aztec belief that butterflies carry the spirits of their departed ancestors still carries on. In the fall season, scores of Monarch butterflies return to the oyamel fir trees of Mexico.

Today I watched my first horror movie of the season. Since you were teething I rocked you to sleep and left you in my arms while I watched the movie. It was recommended to me by my friend, Patricia and was called The Baby's Room. It was classified as a foreign film from Mexico, and featured subtitles (which I prefer to dubbing). So you could say we had a Mexican themed spook day! You slept soundly throughout most of the film, which I am thankful for. Your tooth has not broken through yet, and I can definitely tell by the way you cry. You are currently in a decent mood after your nap and you're sitting in my lap while I write this. I wonder sometimes if you will go to Mexico with your father when you get older. Right now there is a lot of violence going on. It worries me that Vincent goes, but he assures me that it is mostly drug cartels who are lashing out against specific people. He says that while the occasional tourist is hit, it is extremely rare. This is because the tourists bring welcome money, and really have nothing to do with the trafficking. Still, it unsettles me. I wonder if you will have the confident attitude of your father and how much I will worry about you. As I look upon you now, I think that yes, one day you will be a great man, but I will always be able to envision you like this.

Below: Your father pushes your stroller down Broadway street here. The street was closed off for a fitness event, and loads of people were biking, walking, and even rollerblading down the long stretch. We, on the other hand, were picking a place to eat!  It is funny for me to think that one day you will be walking alongside him, and someday you might even be taller than him! (October 2011)

Friday, October 7, 2011

City Witch

Above: Me and you! I am not very photogenic, so it is rare I take pictures with you, and because no one has a camera around, it's typically me taking the pictures. None the less, This is the most recent photo of us. You have grown so much and I am so proud! (P.S. In the window the words read: MORTALS BEWARE... for those passing by!)

Tis the season to reconnect with the Gods! A time for spooky apparitions, being grateful, and merry happenings. We begin with Halloween, or Samhain. It is the holiday that, for modern day people, signals the time when our nights grow longer, and for parents it is a time for passing down the traditions our families gave to us. I love Halloween. As a child I was proud that my family spent so much effort into making it special. Even as my parents began their separation I remember them coming together to ensure that Halloween was still a hit. Over the years Halloween has lost its allure for many. I can't put too much blame out there, because I recognize some of the fears that people share. In an era when people don't know their neighbors, when children are snatched up or killed, it can be a little alarming. Even when I was young there were dangers. After Halloween we would go home and my brother and I would dump our collections on the table, awaiting inspection. Any candy that looked suspicious was thrown out. If the wrappers looked loose, or the candy appeared untrustworthy for any reason, it went into the trash. Because of the fears we have for our children, Halloween has dwindled down to a night of parties for adults, and most children end up going to designated "safe" environments to Trick or Treat.. environments such as schools or malls where the candy is given out by store owners or teachers. I can only hope that one day Halloween will make a come back, that people will come together and decorate their houses with a vengeance. I think in a time when we have so many safeguards kids should soon be out again. Cell phones are in the hands of younger and younger children, who can call if they feel unsafe, and I would not want you to go without a few friends on your side. And there is the added plus that the people in my generation long for the return of Halloween. Well, we can only hope. In the meantime, we live in an apartment, so to begin with we won't be spending Halloween here. Still, I have put up decorations! I am trying to get into the spirit.

It was just the other day it dawned on me that we were in October and no longer in September. I scolded myself for not paying attention! This time last year I knew I was pregnant with you. Still, I watched scary movies aggressively, lounging on the couch and enjoying the spirit of the spooky season. Here we are, the first week of October having passed, and I have yet to watch a single horror movie.
We have had a little bit of a setback because you are teething is my only excuse.I am proud to say your second tooth has finally made its appearance. Thank goodness, because you're having a rough time of this. Every day you have been crying, sometimes waking up wailing. Finally, today I saw it. So I guess another three days and the tooth will finish cutting through.

With all this in mind, I have dedicated this blog to the City Witch in me, to assist in getting me in the mood for Halloween. Hopefully, if all goes well, I will dedicate the blogs throughout this month to various Halloween traditions or ghoulish tales!

What is a city witch, you ask? Well.. it's a person who recognizes that even though we live in a city there is still magic all around us. A city witch does not consider herself powerless simply because she does not reside in nature. Instead, she embraces that the Divine force still exists all around us. Nature is ever present, bursting through the cracks. One has only to look at old sidewalks to find the earth has shifted their seemingly indestructible cement, that grass pokes up between the lines. It is never ending, its spirit lurking in the darkest corners, even existing in the recesses of humanity. She understands that the earth does not belong to her, and that she must not take it for her own. However, she also must understand how to coexist with the civilization around her. In this regard, I think living in a city poses an even greater challenge for the mind of a city witch than it does for a natural witch. For a natural witch the need for this particular balance of peace within oneself is not as strong. It is easy to say, "I will use no one, I will be self sufficient, and I will exist with nature only." It is a great burden to say, "I will exist between two forces both natural and man made. I will have the luxury of technologies, but I must not be too greedy about it. I will have to work within the system for the good of my family but I must always be appreciative of what I have and respectful of where it came from." So remember, my son, there is a great force all around us. It is both dark and light, and when I pass on I will become part of it, and so will you.