Archives for category: holidays

I am fresh back from a Thanksgiving vacation that involved two eight-hour drives in a truck with both children trapped in the backseat by five-point harnesses and little to entertain them except endless renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” sung by yours truly, and while I’m sure you all are keen to hear about how fun that was, I have something else to discuss.

While we were off in the wilds of Not Here, also known as Vermont, which is a native word meaning “the place that is like Maine only with more cows,” the husband and I took an opportunity to dump our children on my sister and flee her house.  What did we do in our crazy afternoon out?  I can hear you asking it from here.  Did we go out for drinks?  Did we get coffee and talk?  Did we see a movie?  No, silly, we went lamp shopping.


When you are building a house, which we are still deep in the depthy-depths of, you develop a kind of warped sense of fun.  Other people go out and mingle with other human-type creatures in order to enrich their lives and foster community.  We attempt to find new sources of authentic Arts and Crafts lighting in stores that resemble your crazy aunt’s attic.

You need a lamp?  They’ve got lamps!

As many lamps as you need!  Any style you want!

We wanted this lamp:

And this lamp:

And especially this lamp:

I also really wanted this lamp:

You might say that I sometimes struggle with the Arts and Crafts aesthetic.

In the end we bought this lamp:


Which is to say, no lamp at all.

You might think it’s odd to spend close to two hours searching for a lamp only to leave empty-handed.

You probably bought your house ready-made, too.  And I bet it had intact counters and flooring and lamps.

This doesn’t make you wrong.  It makes you sane.

We are not sane.  I am not sane.  I spend hours planning my house.  I take time out of my vacation to dig through the musty backrooms of antique shops.  I engage in serious debates on the merits of antique brass finish versus painted black finish versus oil-rubbed bronze finish.  And at the end of the day, at the end of all that work, my lamps look like this:

Because the journey, as they say, is half the fun.

Unless you are driving for eight hours with two small children, of course.  That journey is just plain stupid.

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday.  I can’t say it’s my least favorite, either.  On the holiday spectrum, I’d say Halloween has generally fallen in the upper middle, somewhere below Christmas but far, far above Valentine’s Day.  I think Halloween has potential, but it’s the crafting that holds me back.  In order to do Halloween right these days, one must be crafty.

When I was a kid, my mother used to make us elaborate Halloween costumes.  She’d ask what we wanted to be and then she’d take weeks to create perfection out of papier mache and felt.  She was a costume master.

I am not a costume master.  I am a costume idiot.

Last year I tried to make Annabel’s costume.  She was a black cat.  It sounded simple enough.  It looked, well.

Hi! My mom can’t sew!  Also, I’m blurry!

It may not look horribly egregious here, but what made it awful was the realization that people don’t make their kids’ costumes anymore.  They buy them.  I’m not one for keeping up with the Joneses, but when I saw my little homemade black cat compared to the elaborate Batman and pumpkin costumes from Old Navy, it was a little depressing.  Apparently, one can’t simply toss their kid into a black turtleneck, pin a tail to their butt, and call it a day anymore.

Obviously, this leaves a cheapskate slacker like me in a quandary.

Added to the dilemma this year was the fact that the girl wanted to be a spider.  A green spider.  Naturally.

Here’s a hint: Old Navy does not make green spider costumes.

At this point I’d love to spin an inspirational tale about forging through adversity and creating a masterpiece of a spider costume–sorry, green spider–that resulted in 1) me finding my inner crafter and 2) Annabel being elected homecoming queen, but no.  I actually didn’t do anything.  I flailed about helplessly for a few weeks before Michael stepped in and made the costume.  She looks pretty good, we think, but, again, homemade just can’t compare to professionally designed and sewn in a factory.  But I suppose it will have to do, even though all we did was throw on a black turtleneck (again!) and strap Girl Scout tights from the discount store to her back.

My contribution was the black yarn around the legs. Genius, I know.

Halloween.  It’s just not my favorite.