Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Too Hot Halloween?

Friday is the big day, one of the highlights of my kids' lives. They have anticipated Halloween since summer. My son when he was little, would choose his costume the day after Halloween for the next year and stick with it. Back then I sewed his costumes. One year he was a skunk, a pumpkin, a dinosaur and an alien. Amazingly enough, his sisters were skunks, pumpkins and dinosaurs. But as they got older they fell under the spell of store bought costumes. I must admit, I didn't mind too much because the costumes aren't bad and they cost less than it would for me to make them. But I'm starting to notice a trend with girls' Halloween costumes. They're getting, well, sexy. Apparently this is a trend noted by professionals as this "Today" clips shows:

The L.A. Times also has an article about the trend:Sexy Halloween costumes . . . for little girls?

My daughters were drawn to many of these costumes. They are glamorous and shiny with spangles of all sorts attached. They are also ultra-short, bare-midriffed, exceptionally tight, off the shoulder and plunging in the neckline. I'm not a prude per se and I fully appreciate the fun of Halloween. Kids get to pretend to be something else for a night. But really, does my 8 year old need to dress like a French maid? Doesn't this just seem inappropriate? And what is this costume saying?Nothing good as far as I can see.

Is this acceptable? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Is this just Halloween fun or is there a more provocative message being sent?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Peer Pressure

My seventh grade son has buckled to peer pressure. Not drugs, alcohol, sex or any of those other parental nightmares. No, gave in to the need to read "Twilight." The series is quite the rage amongst the 6th-8th grade set. Both boys and girls are reading it. At school during SSR (sustained silent reading) both genders are reading the books. He finished the first one in a day and a half and now he is reading the next one. My neighbor has the other two so it saves me a trip to the store.

I asked him what he thought. I've read the book and to be honest didn't find it all that compelling. I didn't, however, share my opinion since I wanted him to form his own. He thought there was too much romance in the first. I had to explain to him that was the point. He thought Edward was creepy and Bella's clumsiness plain annoying. He likes the storyline and the pace and some of the other characters. I think he preferred "New Moon" over the first book. I think he'll finish the series just to see what happens.

I had some reservations about him reading the book. No, there wasn't anything objectionable in the contents and I thought it was appropriate to his maturity. What concerned me is that he would think relationships should work like Bella and Edward's. Without going into details, my biggest problem with "Twilight" was Bella's obsession with Edward. And once they begin their relationship, it overtakes everything she does. He becomes her world. It goes against the feminist grain in me and I really don't want my son thinking girls should be like that. I didn't have to worry, he perceived Bella's behavior as being overly needy and unattractive.

But it does make me wonder. What impact does this book have on 11, 12 and 13 year-olds who are just beginning to explore romantic relationships. Are they going to be swept away by the story and long for that kind of romance? Or are they savvy enough to see it as the dramatic love story it is?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mother's Cookies

I was confronted this morning with devastating news. Mother's Cookies has closed it's doors. While this isn't as apocalyptic news as say, Nabisco discontinuing the Oreo, it still punches me in the gut.

As a child Circus Animal cookies were a rare treat. Those blah shortbread cookie deluged with greasy pink and white frosting and sprinkles really appealed to me. And every holiday they came out with special colors: red, white and blue for 4th of July, black and orange for Halloween and green and red for Christmas.

My favorite was Cookie Parade. It was my own special post-pregnancy food. I was sneak up to the drugstore as soon as I got home from the hospital, gray-faced with pain, just to get my fix. And I hid them. No one touched my cookies. I'd grab them my the handfuls and eat them in one huge cookie mess. Probably pretty disgusting to watch but for some reason it was the only way I could eat them.

I'm going to miss Mother's Cookies. They weren't the best tasting cookies although the soft pumpkin cookies I bought the other day are pretty good. But they were cheap and colorful. The packaging was familiar. While so many other cookie companies changed their products (how many different variety of Oreos are there?), Mother's pretty much stuck to its usual.

Good bye, Mother's Cookies, you will be missed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Looming....

I've run out of excuses. My life is in order and now I need to focus on my writing. It is so hard to bring myself back into the writing mode. It isn't a question of motivation. My problem is discipline.

Self-discipline has always been issue for me. I'm not real good at it, hence the reason I'm always about 30 lbs. overweight. The things I am good about are tied to the expectations of others. I keep my house clean because I live with a neat freak. I understand a messy house grates on him. It grates on me too but if it were up to me only, I would have a hard time getting myself in gear to clean up. I'm good about having a planned menu for the week because we have so many activities during the week I don't have time to worry about it on the fly. And having three kids whine about what's for dinner keeps me disciplined about meal times. If it were up to me, it would be scavenging through the fridge.

But no one has any expectations about my writing but me. No one else in the house cares whether the book gets done or not. Only I do. I'm motivated to get the book done. The sooner its done, the sooner it gets to my agent and I can try and sell it. The sooner its done, the sooner I can move onto something else. I have good reason to sit down and write. Unfortunately getting myself to sit down and perform is another story. Oh, I'll get there. But I have to work at it. I need to ignore the distractions which surround me and focus on my book.

How good are you at self-discipline?

I'm burning with envy for Melissa. The lucky girl is enjoying a holiday in England. Talk about a distraction.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Stay At Home Mom? I Wish...

I am never home. The times that I am at home are devoted to playing catch up in the house or making dinner. Lately, I've had to help my kids with school work and projects. Today is my first day home without any running around. I had all sorts of plans but my pantry has yet again been invaded by pantry moths. I hate these things. They are coming in on the food I buy and setting up shop. Along with traps, I am scrubbing my shelves and throwing away food to get rid of them.

It hasn't been a great week anyway. Monday night I sliced two fingers open skinning a butternut squash. I probably should have gotten stitches but frankly, I don't have the time. They seem to be healing okay on their own. I've stepped up my involvement in Girl Scouts and we are trying to plan an event. Oh my, I forgot how little common sense and courtesy people can have. Nuff said. If you've ever had to organize anything large for children, you know what I mean.

And to make my week even better, we file our taxes at the last possible moment. So Oct. 15 is looming and I spent most of last week and this week gathering data. What a pain. But that's done.

Anyway, I'm looking at smoother sailing for the next week. Right now I feel like one of those moms on the Hamburger Helper commercial who describes how busy her life is and how Hamburger Helper has eased the burden. Only they dress better, wear make up and I'd rather eat pantry moths than eat Hamburger Helper.

How's your week been?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Renaissance Girl

Diva started cello lessons this week and here she is practicing...with her soccer gear on.

Diva is in soccer, baseball, horseback, Girl Scouts and cello. It seems too much, doesn't it? I was really concerned she would burn out or something would falter. But it seems like the more she has to do, the happier she is. She loves school, dives into her homework and reads more than ever. There are no arguments over soccer practice, she is eager to go. Not so much with baseball, she likes baseball but she isn't big on practices, however she still goes and has a good attitude. She can't wait for horseback and she is interested in pursuing her badges. Why she picked the cello, I'll never understand, but she is very excited and was on it all afternoon and into the evening. After soccer practice she went back to playing on it.

I was never like this. EVER. I did horseback and baton. I played softball and played the flute. I was a Campfire Girl. But rarely did I do any of these things at the same time. And some of it was just because my mom made me. I much preferred to stay home and read. I still don't like getting involved in stuff because it takes me away from writing. I do it because I have to. Schools need volunteers. My kids need rides. Someone has to do the grocery shopping. I'd be happy living in a cave with an Internet connection.

Diva is the opposite. She thrives on attention. She loves being outdoors. Her circle of friends increases exponentially every week. Everything interests her and she loves to compete. Its funny when we start seeing how our children emerge into their own. My son emerged a long time ago and honestly I don't see him chaning much as an adult. Though he doubts it, I think he will become a writer someday. Diva will not. She is more like a heroine in an "American Girl" novel.

I think the big difference between us is that she grasps the vibrancy of life, plunges headlong into the experiences the world offers while I am content to observe it and translate it onto the page. I admire her self-confidence and her courage. But I wonder where it came from.

What kind of person are you? Do you grasp life by the horns or do you like to watch other people do it?

Pumpkin of the Day: I had two pumpkin muffin tops I made yesterday and pumpkin spice creamer in my coffee.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pumpkin Month

I'm very glad to see September pass us by. I felt horrible the whole month. Whatever this cold was, it settled in my chest and I've had a hard time catching my breath. But finally I seem to be getting better in time for my favorite season.

It's still quite hot here. We're knocking on the the triple digits today but we should cool off next week. However, I'm already going into Autumn mode which means one thing: Pumpkin.

I love pumpkin. I love pumpkin pie, muffins, pastries, lattes, pastas, soups, blah blah blah. So in honor of my favorite squash, my goal this month is to eat something pumpkin related every day. As goals go it is rather flip, but I suppose it is a good practice in goal-making.

My other goal is to finish my current book so I can start something fresh in November. I think the pumpkin goal will be tougher, I'm almost done with my WIP.

So if you have a pumpkin recipe you think I need to help me achieve my goal, let me know.

Today I made pumpkin muffins. It was my daughter's turn for snack at school so I thought it would make a nice kick off to October.