Wednesday, October 29

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Listen at 8tracks

A few weeks ago, my friend Samantha* kept excitedly texting me about a book she was reading. The world-building! The great protagonist! The searing metaphors! The literary allusions!

“I must look into this book,” I thought. But it was a Saturday and I was in Mom Mode and forgot.

BUT THEN. Amazon helpfully suggested I might like Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, all “it’s only $2.99 on Kindle, don’t you want it?”

Heyyy, that’s the book Sam was telling me about! Yes, thank you, Amazon, I would love to read that.

YOU GUYS, IT WAS SO GOOD. I mean, if you’re into vampires and savvy female heroes and blue hair, WHICH I AM.

Naturally, this meant a fanmix was in order.

I look forward to reading more by Holly Black. First up will be her story in this. (I have already gobbled up the ones by Rainbow & Stephanie.)

*We were discussing time zones on Saturday and how as we get closer to winter, if you get a text from somebody in another zone, it's like "whoa! YOU still have daylight." I said "Samantha's in Arizona, so that's two hours difference..." and when asked who Samantha was, I faltered. I am used to answering "a Tumblr buddy" or "one of my MMFD pals" or "one of my followers on the Alice blog." But it would be inaccurate to sum up Samantha as a one-fandom friend or social media platform pal. So I went with "my friend who lives in Arizona."

Poor Kris and having to remember who I am talking about all of the time. Since he takes the photos for my Frocktober posts, I want to share with him the responses. I say "Shawna approves" because I don't know if he remembers her user name. But I don't think he knows Stephanie is greenangelheart, so I use that to tell him she liked my skirt. But while Alyssa is a pretty name, we have waaaaay too much fun saying chicadificil (with a super strong emphasis on DIFICIL, Every. Time.), so I always call her by that.

Monday, October 27

Painted pumpkins

Painted pumpkins

Cash's class had a field trip to the pumpkin patch last week. When I came to pick them up that day, another student asked if we were going to carve his pumpkin. The boys were like pshaw, we're going to paint it. (Which they wanted to do immediately upon arriving home and Zoe was not going to be allowed to participate. So we made them wait until we could procure multiple pumpkins.)

We took the kids for haircuts on Friday evening, which we planned to follow up with dinner at a restaurant. But Ani was in Tantrum Mode. First, because I dared set foot in the Moxie. (I'm guessing she's still holding the last time against us.) And then because I would not stand and hold her. Raaaaaaage.

"Look, little one, you've grown a lot. You are too heavy to just carry around. I will hold your hand. Do you want to walk?"

Eventually, she calmed down and we just hung out on the sidewalk in the lovely October weather. But still. Take her to a restaurant? No thanks.

So Kris took the girls to get the makings of a Jack's Picnic, and I took the boys to buy milk and a couple of pumpkins.

Pumpkin painterPumpkin painter

The kiddos were INSANE on Saturday morning. We made them clean the house. We made them take a walk. Didn't really help.


My aunt sent an early Christmas gift for them – matching holiday pajamas. And, since it's the week of Halloween, OF COURSE they wanted to wear them immediately.

Christmas PJs

But who am I to throw stones about what they want to wear and the reasons behind it? Me who went to lengths to participate in Stealth Cosplay Week?

What has been a Fashion Challenge for me this month – wearing skirts & dresses for Frocktober and now the cosplay... has been a Photo Challenge for Kris, since he's roped into taking the pics. I am a demanding photo editor, so each session can take like 20 minutes. But he's gotten some really good shots!

Stealth CosplayUntitled

Tuesday, October 21

The 215

Photos by Marianne Lewis at The 215

At the heart of it, though, is the simplest of things. It would be nice to know someone who looks like you.

– Corina Knoll, "Abandoned as a baby, she gets a priceless gift" in the LA Times

I think this is a darling shot of the girls, captured by Marianne Lewis at The 215.

I can't remember how she phrased the question, as I was chasing after Ani at the time, but Marianne asked about whether we had been looking to adopt another girl with albinism. I told her yes, because we wanted them to look like sisters. (We would have been open to a wider variety the first time around, but once we had Zoe, we narrowed our list to albinism only.)

That seemed important. All the time, we hear statements about how much Ben and Cash resemble one another. And I think "really?" Because I see how different they are. But outside the family, it's all "this must be your brother."

And if the boys had that, I wanted the girls to have it, too. "You look like your sister!"

Photos by Marianne Lewis at The 215 Photos by Marianne Lewis at The 215 Photos by Marianne Lewis at The 215

Now of course we have the terrible decision to make: which photo to have enlarged? One of both of them? One of just Zoe and wait and have a solo of Ani taken later? Decisions, decisions.

I think Zoe looks older than 8. Patsy said something the other week about noticing a change in her maturity level. This is true, too. (And SUCH a change in her conduct grade at school. She gets 100s most every week this year.)

Putting her laundry away on Sunday, I noticed in the array of stuffed animals stacked against the play kitchen ("that's Ani's now," Zoe says) and the stickers all over her Hello Kitty tins and the collection of books and papers under her bed... she has really made herself at home in there.

I wonder when the time to share will come.

Photos by Marianne Lewis at The 215

Monday, October 20

Double parades

Library pit stop

Is this a small town thing: to close school for half a day and have a parade for homecoming? I picked up the big kids at noon and took them to the library (they were very excited and doubly so because Carol came out to see them). We left the van in their parking lot and walked down to the parade.


Only Ben managed to get any candy, but they did see their walking-to-school buds. Kris had a cancellation, so he came out for the parade as well. My wee posse are extroverted: other kids would go "hey, Ben" and mine kept shouting "there's Sophia!" or "that's Tamiko!"

After the parade, I took them to the bank, so they could turn in photos of themselves in their costumes (a contest the bank is running) and have copies of their report cards made.

Then we went home and I made popcorn and picked a movie. Ben wanted to watch the one he'd picked up at the library.

"Nope. I get to pick the movie. We went to the parade because you guys wanted to go, and I took you to the library and we went to the bank. And now I get to pick the movie."

And it was a kids movie anyway – Atlantis: The Lost Empire – another of those where I see the gifs on Tumblr and just wanted a reference point. (Ben totally dug the movie, btw.)

Cash woke up puking and verrrrrry puny Saturday morning and we thought we'd have to cancel the day's plans. But he rallied after nap time and we hit the Zombie Parade as spectators. (And managed a Frocktober pic.)

The zombies scared them this year. Zoe heard them coming and didn't like it, so the twins and I walked around the block to avoid them. And one of Kris' zombied friends reached out to Cash, which he did not like. So that will likely be our last zombie parade.

After the parade, we headed over to the Jacksons' to hang for the evening.

Untitled Untitled Untitled

There were s'mores. (Ani had a marshmallow.)

We packed up to get the kids home by bedtime, not wanting to keep Cash out too late in case his system didn't handle the party food well. (Because we took saltines for him and yet who wants to eat saltines when there are s'mores and Fritos and tasty sausages?)

And yet it was Ben who finished the day with more puking.

We missed church on Sunday to wash like, everything in the house.

Friday, October 17

It comes around


Bought a bunch of pajamas this one time...

While we were perusing the rack, I picked up some pajamas that had been knocked to the floor. Oh, haphazard sale racks.

“Aw, these are cute, but they’re 3T. Unless we want to go ahead and get something for 4.0.”

“We did with Zoe.”

So we did. The first hope chest purchase for Catoe 4.0 has been made. Strawberry PJs.

And guess what fits now?


This makes me smile.

(She had a little chili & watermelon for dinner last night.)

Wednesday, October 15

Dorothy was right tho

Listen at 8tracks

“A Good Idea At the Time” by OK Go
“Holy Roller” by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
“Out Of It” by Fallulah
“Old Yellow Bricks” by Arctic Monkeys
“Worship You” by Vampire Weekend
“The Calculation” by Regina Spektor
“Dig (How It Feels to Lay In the Soft Light)” by Lost Lander
“Dreams” by Bastille (feat. Gabrielle Aplin)
“Bukowski” by Modest Mouse
“Smiling Underneath” by Ani DiFranco
“Love Love Love” by The Mountain Goats
“Judy Blume” by Amanda Palmer

Jaimie didn't give me any parameters for her birthday mix this year, so I decided to use Amanda Palmer's "Judy Blume" as my starting point. I wanted a mix rife with literary references since Jaimie works at a library. (There is a subtheme about god/religion and that is by accident.)

I have put more OK Go songs on my mixes than any other band, and I’m 98% sure that Jaimie introduced me to them. So let’s open with an OK Go track!

Fallulah is one of my new faves.

And I am still in love with the Arctic Monkeys, so of course there’s an AM track. Whereas I’m an Alice in Wonderland girl, Jaimie is a Wizard of Oz one. (Fifty-cent word alert: this song uses the term “escapologist.”) Bonus points to this song mentioning nostalgia, because joking that that’s a thing of the past was part of our high school regime.

The vocal tones during portions of the Vampire Weekend song remind me of The Cranberries.

I wanted a cover song and who does covers like Bastille? I figured Jaimie was more a Fleetwood Mac girl than “No Scrubs.”

The Modest Mouse & Mountain Goats tracks are there for the lyrics mostly, and I thought a little Ani DiFranco would make a nice segue.

In keeping with tradition, I am posting this the week before Jaimie's birthday. Because she can't stop me.

Monday, October 13

Ani, do you want moooooore?


Cash had a fever on Friday, so he spent half the day with me (hitting the thrift store and then the doc's to rule out strep) and half the day with Kris. The big kids were supposed to spend the night at the water tower and he didn't want to miss that!

Though Ani wasn't spending the night, they did pick her up from school, so we got to hit Taco Night for Cookie's birthday. I was going to set my phone on the table and use the timer setting and our server was like "none of that!" and took a pic for us.

Cookie's birthday dinner

When we brought Ani home, we wondered if she was still hungry. So we sat at the table and got out a few Cheerios. She ate them and Kris asked "Ani, do you want more?" And she did the hand signal for more! Those are the kind of moments where I just want to cry with relief. Because not only was she eating something (and feeding herself!), but also communicating with us.

Nerdly ways I spent my Saturday: hitting the thrift store again, because I'm trying to collect items for Closet Cosplay, re-watching The Avengers because I'm reading Joss Whedon's biography and trying to pick out songs for Jaimie's birthday mix, which I wanted to infuse with literary references.

The kids played computer games.

Zoe's Elsa costume arrived Friday, and Sunday morning, Kris did a trial run of her hair. So that evening, we took her costume over to his parents' house, so they could see it.

Elsa Elsa Elsa

AND OH, DID I MENTION? Ani ate a cinnamon roll and a half for breakfast on Sunday morning. Go, Ani!

Here is a pic I swiped from Kris' mom's Facebook: