Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More on Trash Bags

I have to add a post to this subject...Gretchen and I had a good laugh together remembering trash bags put to good use. One of my most vivid memories was in fifth grade, my class had an overnight field trip to the Pilgrim ship in Dana Point. We were told to bring rain gear for the night watches. So there I was, in a trashbag with a neck hole and sleeve holes cut in the sides. The hood was a cut off corner of a second trashbag (think pointy hood) that had been masking taped to the hole in the neck. We were not going to waste good money on a rain coat that I probably wouldn't even use. And, honestly, I'm not too sure that I wouldn't do the same now to my child.

That story reminds me of the many rainy days we experienced in elementary school in which I took plastic baggies and put them over my socks, and then put another pair of socks over those. No one knew that I had my rainboots on under my socks.

And then there was the required emergency packet each child had to produce at school. One of the items on the list was an astronaut blanket made of shiny silver mylar. My emergency packet had a special blanket made of shiny black plastic.

Trash bags. Cheap, available, forgiving, and waterproof. They kept us humble. That is a lot to say about a folded piece of plastic. They served us well, while maintaining the budget, and like mom said, "You can make almost anything out of a trashbag!"

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trash Bag Travesties

I bought Anders a Halloween costume today. This is a big deal for me because growing up it was drilled into us that "you can make ANYTHING from a trash bag".... and we did. I remember one memorable and embarrassing Thanksgiving party that our home school group was putting on. We (my mom and sisters and I) needed to dress up like Indians (native Americans). Of course at the last minute my mom cut some holes in some trash bags and threw them over our heads to try and pass as a..... deer hide, beaded, squaw outfit? Anyways there is a picture somewhere of me sitting at a long Thanksgiving table with a messy mullet, an 80's collared shirt with a trash bag sitting haphazardly over my outfit. I remember being pretty sure that it didn't quite pass as an Indian dress and feeling a bit silly.

At some point we did get a big suitcase with various costumes that were handed down, hand made or found at thrift stores. That solved some Halloween dilemmas and we had a blast with those fun creations.
I never will forget those trash bag travesties so this Halloween I went to Wal-Mart and spent 10$ on a very cute and respectable pumpkin costume for Anders. One thing is for sure, we'll get some good pictures and there will be no possibility of suffocation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hair Trouble

Is it just me, or was lice the norm in the 80's? I remember getting lice at school a few times, and doing the whole shampoo, comb out thing. So tedious. And mom had to wash all the bedding, and vacuum the couch and probably more. My kids have never had lice. I wonder if they are just less common now.

And then there was Gretchen, with a huge aversion to getting her hair combed because her scalp was so sensitive, and her hair so thick and tangly. Gretchen and I both tried everything...No More Tangles, shorter haircuts, (including what had to count as a mullet), and another bright idea of my mom's. She told us that she read in the newspaper about a mom who just braided her daughter's hair, and washed it with braids in, slept with the braids in and everything. I remember the strange bath times as we washed our braids. I had doubts even then about whether or not the soap actually came out. But mom was really good at convincing us that new ideas were good, so we were game. As I look back now, I can see some desperation under the surface of that one. Gretchen really didn't like her hair combed. Its ironic now that she's a hair stylist, and a good one too. I think she must have extra sympathy for her clients.

Other hair troubles include the time that I really wanted to cut my hair short in 5th grade, and I managed to get my hair all tangled in a bristled curling iron. I don't think I really meant to, but I sort of had the idea that maybe we'd have to cut it out, and then I could have short hair. I can still smell that unique burning hair smell now. Mom was able to untangle the curling iron before permanant damage was done. Later Mandy Kreitzer cut my hair short, and I went from pretty cute to boyishly akward. But I felt great, so I guess it was worth it. Hindsight is 20/20.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Heidi's Parly

I did have a favorite place too. It was on the livingroom floor. I made a head sized cave out of the two speakers for the stereo, with a record in back, and on top, and one in front. So my head was completely encased in a box. I'd listen to the Don Francisco tape that Uncle Ed made us.

I remember many happy hours spent in a world of D.F. and nothing else. Kindly, no one stepped on me as they walked over me on the floor.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Our own little parly's

Ok, Aunt Luanne! Here's more! =0)

One of the things my mom valued and allowed for us was our own little space. We called it a "parly". If I remember correctly Erin had the side of the house between the garage and the house. It was made into a little kitchen with various things scavenged from our house that weren't used anymore. She also had a little toy stove (sink)?. I remember her playing for hours out there sometimes with cousin Ariana or just by herself.
I had the shed behind the house that we turned into a little play house. We found scraps of carpet for the old wood floor and we collected empty cereal boxes and such to line the shelves. It really was a fun project and I was out there alot trying to make it even better. I remember being in there one early morning and hearing what I thought was someone walking on the roof. I ran inside to tell my parents and they were already awake. It turned out to have been a small earthquake!
I can't remember if Heidi had a parly but I know that she usually had a book and an apple and could be found curled up in the corner of the orange couch.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

There was always something peaceful and safe about our yard. We lived on a very busy street and it was nosy and busy and there was something exciting/scary happening fairly regularly. Despite that we had a certain oasis within the picket fence that surrounded our yard. We always had either grass or a garden in the front yard and right in front there is a fig tree that always produced amazingly juicy figs for about a month or so in the summer. The tree had one low branch that stuck out like an arm and we used to hang it, sit on it and dangle from it on a regular basis. The branch had to be cut off a while back probably because of all of the abuse it took over the years.
One of the favorite pastimes on a warm summer afternoon was to play in the hose. My mom didn't mind because we were watering (or I should say drowning) the plants and grass and because it gave us something to do! We would spend hours making rainbows playing run-through games and getting the surrounding sidewalks washed. One particular day I (Gretchen) was playing with the hose with gusto and making a big arching fountain which happened to be pouring onto the street. Now, I was a bit of an awkward kid and at this point I had really short hair and was sometimes mistaken for a boy. On this particular day I had decided that just a pair of shorts was a fine water outfit. No need to get a shirt wet in the process! So as I was absentmindedly shooting water into the street I was also getting passing cars wet. All of a sudden the screeching of brakes broke me out of my revere and a VERY angry lady pulled over, got out of her car and came marching over. She yelled something like "LITTLE BOY! YOU JUST SPRAYED MY CAR!!! And then proceeded to try to scare me by saying that she was going to tell my mom what I was doing! I think she used some choice words as well.
Needless to say I quickly threw down the hose and ran inside. I was pretty shaken up not just because of the scary situation but because she had thought I was a boy! It was a scary experience but it did make me more aware of where I was pointing the hose from then on.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

She need's a Television!


One of the early morning rituals that I had before the rest of the family woke up was going out to the back yard and playing on the swing. I remember making up songs and singing them at the top of my voice. I was a totally inspired 4 year old....
Anyways, one day the neighbor across the street was talking to my mom and the topic of my early morning concerts came up. Joan, who was pretty brassy and always said what she thought, said "what that girl needs a Television!" I guess that she didn't appreciate being serenaded at 6:30 in the morning!
I think that music was one of my favorite early morning activities. We had a little Fisher Price record player with a whole stack of fun stories and music. I had two favorites that I played over and over. The first one was from "The Music Machine" and it was a "morning song". It started out with a loud roosters call and then continued with a very peppy "good morning good morning good morning it's time to rise and shine.... good morning good morning good morning I hope you're feel'n fine!" (the bold indicates how loud it was). The second favorite was the theme music from the "Lone Ranger". While it played I would sit intently slapping my hands on my thighs to sound like a horse running. Eventually my sisters would stagger out and my goal was accomplished!

Now that I think back I wish that I had that much energy in the morning. I'm still fairly cheerful when I get up but I could easily sleep in until 8:00 now.