This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Halloween Grinch

Sometime over the last few years I have become a Halloween Grinch. And it grieves me.

PhotoGrid_1414504834226I’m such a fan of all things autumnal! I have never really been a fan of summer weather. My heart rejoices when the temperatures fall enough to turn off the AC and open all the windows. I fight with my family over leaving them open when the temperatures further fall. “Put a sweatshirt on and I don’t want to see your bare feet until MAY!” Leaves turning colors and pumpkins appearing in the stores thrill me. I have special fall decorations that live in bins in the basement next to the Christmas decorations. There are a few ghosts and the like, but mostly pumpkins, scarecrows, fall leaves, and harvest themes. I’ll leave them up until I put the Christmas stuff up after Thanksgiving!

But Halloween! Arrrgghh! It used to be fun. Cute little costumes for the kids, candy, socializing with the neighbors while the whole neighborhood comes out for Trick-or-Treat, all of that is fun.

Something of the magic is lost when the kids get a little older, though. There were fights over costumes. The price of said costumes is crazy, though I ended up getting off pretty easy this year.

The girl will be her favorite character from her favorite book series. All Annabeth requires is one Camp Half Blood t-shirt, picked up on for less than $15. She owns, or can borrow the rest. Except for the clay bead necklace that I’m fooling myself into believing she’s forgotten. The only one we can find online is an product and costs $40, so I nixed that pretty quickly. I’ll have to figure out how to get myself to the Michael’s or Joann’s on Friday to find just the right beads for that, I’m sure.

The middle child had the best costume lined up. He and Daddy were both going to dress up as Gandalf. It was going to be epic. Big Gandalf, little Gandalf. We even tried to talk the youngest into joining them for a fun stair step set of Gandalf’s but he was having none of that. I’ll get to his. But since we put so much faith in Amazon to deliver what we needed JUST when we needed it, at an acceptable price, we were disappointed when we finally got around to shopping last week. Dressing the both of them, IF we could find the right size for the kid, would have run close to $100. Didn’t plan on that. After explaining the situation to the kid, dealing with the usual meltdown that accompanies news of any kind that isn’t exactly what the nine-year-old wants to hear, we went back to trusty Amazon and looked through costumes until he decided on a ninja, probably because we allowed the extra set of “accessories” that include a big, stupid, plastic sword. The sword won’t be allowed at school, obviously, but hey, he gets to run around the neighborhood at dusk with it, so there’s that.

The little guy who refused to play along with the Gandalf plan insisted he would be Buzz Lightyear. Fine. Perfectly innocent costume, right? And readily available anywhere. Fine. Put the word out on the neighborhood Facebook swap board that I was looking for it and one of my favorite dads on the planet (at least of those I’m not related to) swooped in with a free outfit. Paired with a set of wings picked up on the swap board for $5, he’s good to go!

You’d think we’re all set, right? No, there are all sorts of plans and scheming to change this, do that, whatever, between the big kids, and I’m never included on these discussions until they need something. “Mom, I need a leather sleeve for my dagger! Annabeth would always have her dagger on her belt!” Or, “Moooom, I’m not going to wear those tie things that came with the costume because they’re red and want black ones. Do we have any black material I can destroy and then decide to wear the red ones anyway because the black ones won’t look like the picture in my head?”

The little one put the wings on once and the rubbed his nose as we took them off. Now he is refusing to try them on again and I’m honestly not sure he’ll agree to wear them to school for his parade on Thursday or for Halloween Friday night.

I am beyond grumpy about spending $30 on candy I won’t even get to eat.

Friday morning, the big kids get to have a costume parade at school. They are thrilled and delighted, and I guess I get that, but what a pain. Costumes must be worn to school but cannot require a bathroom trip to change back into regular clothes after their party. No face paint, no masks, no blood or gore, no weapons both real or pretend. They’ll have to keep the costumes safe and together and get them home. HA! No problem. And I’ve got a million things to do on Friday morning, but I’ll have to get over to the school to see the parade.

That should be fun, right? I mean, really. They only have a couple more years at the elementary school, which runs through sixth grade here. They’ll be too cool to dress up and wave at mom from the sidewalk any year now, right? Next year, the little one won’t be standing next to me, he’ll be in the parade with them. This is the last time they won’t ALL be in school together.

The girl is part of a little group of friends, all of whom have claimed a character from the Percy Jackson to dress up as for Halloween. One mother has volunteered to take them Trick-or-Treating so they can go together. Another mother has volunteered to have them all over after the door to door begging for movies and popcorn. She’s going to have so much fun, and make memories she’ll never forget. I can’t believe how grown up she’s getting. And these are good kids that I love, and their parents are all wonderful folks who I love. This is all good stuff!

Okay, maybe my heart is growing a size or two. Maybe I’ll find the joy in this Halloween stuff. I’m just not feeling it this week. Maybe I’ll feel it a little more when I come back with a crop of lovely pictures.





Another month has slipped by with nothing to show for it here. It was a rough month, I guess.  I’ve been working on this entry for a while and it really doesn’t feel finished. Still, it’s time to let it go, to put it up. Just a few things I feel like sharing.

I lost my last grandparent on October 2. On my wedding day, in 2001, all four of my grandparents, and two of my husband’s, were in attendance. They all danced at our wedding, and we felt so blessed to have them there. Instead of throwing the bouquet, I gave it to the set of grandparents married the longest, just short of 60 years at the time.

They are all gone now. But I know a couple things about them that need to be shared. They were flawed, quirky, brilliant, strong people, and you should know a few other things.

  • They loved us. All of them, all of us. Nobody, ever, in the history of grandchildren has been more cherished and loved than the 30 some grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even one great great grandchild of these grandparents. Loved so deeply that their example will live long after their deaths.
  • They loved each other. My husband’s grandfather called her Babe. It was sweet and silly and gave me goosebumps. He held her hand whenever he could. My paternal grandfather was so fiercely protective of my grandmother it left an impression on everyone who knew them. And my maternal grandfather, the last to leave us, spoke regularly in his final weeks of just wanting to dance again with Grandma.
  • They were people of enormous faith. My grandparents-in-law spent most of their married life working in the Methodist church in their community. Their funerals were held there. All four of my own grandparents were members of the Emanuel Lutheran in Marion, Ohio. All their children were baptised there, as was I, and all four funerals were held there. At each of their funerals we sang their favorite hymns and praised God for the gift of their lives, and commended their souls to the arms of Jesus. Each time, I was struck as they wheeled out the casket that it was the last time they’d leave the church.


These are my maternal grandparents. Seems like all the pictures I have of them together are like this. He is always looking at her.




















15340667190_a6fbf0200e_oI love this picture of my paternal grandmother, and the inscription on the back. I believe it’s the picture Grandpa carried with him to the South Pacific in WWII.



















Today, I got into a discussion on Facebook about how to make the holidays a little better after losing a loved one. Some people are of the mind that a change is needed, something different, to keep from getting “stuck in sad.” I know where they’re coming from, I understand completely. I just don’t agree. For me, it’s really important that our Thanksgiving and Christmas will be pretty much the same as ever. There will be an absence, for sure, but we’ll tackle the new reality. My grandparents haven’t hosted these holidays for a long time, so it’s easy to carry on. We’ll still gather at my parents’ home for Christmas. There will still be thirty people or so gathered. We’ll still tell the same stories, sing the same songs, and yell at the same kids. It won’t always be that way. There will certainly continue to be an evolution to these holidays, but they won’t change because we lost one of the senior members of our family. The circle of life (Yes, I did just see the Lion King on stage and it was fabulous) will keep going. We’ll laugh and remember them. We’ll tell stories and poke fun. They were wonderful people, all of them, but they had short comings and flaws, too.

Someday we’ll have to gather somewhere else, and kids growing up and having their own families will change the make up of the group that can gather. Still, I hope that my family, or some portion of it, will always continue to gather on these holidays. We are so lucky to be such a bunch of loving, crazy, nutcases! Holidays have not been a place for folks to fight or ignore each other in my family. We’re as nutty and dysfunctional as the next family, but we love being together. What a gift! Thank you, God for my family!


Thanksgiving 2011

The crowd that gathered for Thanksgiving, 2011.


And if you’d like to see it, here’s the wonderful video my uncle made for Grandpa’s memorial. I think he did an excellent job.