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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Anyone need a Quote? (Oct. 31, 2010)

Already it’s been a fun Halloween for me, and it’s barely 7am. I know my kids will have a terrific time, and they look so adorable in their outfits, but today, in this blog, this Halloween tale is about me!

In truth, this Halloween started about a year ago. I’ve been planning my costume for that long. Last Halloween I was 7 months pregnant and just getting together costumes for my two kids was enough of a challenge. (Picture a very pregnant me, stuffed into the costume section of Party City two days before Halloween, with my son and thirty or forty other costume-seekers. Hot, crowded, competitive vibe. This hadn’t been my plan but the costume we ordered online never showed up.)

Last year I thought briefly of being Pregnant and Progressive, but my To Do list was very long and I opted for a big orange t-shirt (I’d glued eyes, nose and mouth on it) and rather than trying to disguise my round shape, I used it to be become a true jack-o-lantern. Fun, but I knew I had big plans for the following Halloween: I would be Flo, the Progressive Girl, whose commercials I see almost daily. If you haven't seen her commercials, here is a link:

I’ve never attempted to dress like a specific public figure for Halloween, and while I like it when others dress as current politicians or celebrities, it hadn’t occurred to me to do so. But I’d noticed that with her dark hair, blue eyes and light skin, Flo looked like me! (Or that I look like her. Whatever.) Plus, she’s fun and spunky. Like me!

Over the summer my preparations began. At a thrift store I found white pants and shirt (doing this the thrifty way seemed in line with representing someone who offers low cost for insurance!). I bought a white apron from Michael’s and a navy headband. I made the name tags and painted “Progressive” on the apron, after Googling the logo so I could print it up and paint it just right. It’s hard to tease my fine hair into the 60s bouffant that Flo has, but I did my best. Black eyeliner? Check. Red lips? Double check.

Two days ago there was a Halloween carnival at my son’s school. Last year some of the parents were in costume so I decided to arrive in disguise this year. The little kids stared blankly at me (probably thinking, “Why is this woman wearing an all-white outfit? This is a costume? Poor lady, she forgets that you’re supposed to be scary for Halloween. Maybe we shouldn’t tease her. It’s not her fault.”).

HOWEVER, the parents loved it! The bigger kids got it, too, and called out to me, “Flo! Hey, Flo!” I winked or waved in response, happy with my friendly insurance ambassador role. I posed for photos. I offered insurance quotes. People laughed. I laughed.

What made the day so cool was two things: having my costume turn out just right was great. But there was also the symbolism of deciding to dress up. As mom of three, I often don’t prioritize doing something extra, just for me. Just getting the kids into costumes is a victory. So to take the time to make a costume that would give me a laugh is a gift. It also brought me back to my high school years, when I dressed very creatively and did crazy things at school, just to be fun and free and make people laugh. Bringing a little joy to the every day. Being Flo was like that. Flo, thanks for being my muse. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And the Prize Goes To... (Oct. 30, 2010)

...the most Halloweeny house I've seen!

This may not surprise you, but when it comes to holiday decorating I'm of the More is More school! Not so much at my house (due to sheer lack of time and lack of storage space). But when it comes to my favorite neighborhood houses, the more decorations, the better. It never reads as too much to me. I love the gusto behind it! When you see a house this decorated, you can't help but be swept up into the fun of whatever holiday is coming.

Oh, one last thing:


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Finished!!! (Oct. 6, 2010)

Announcement! Announcement!

This fabulous flamingo is finished, finally!

Well, 99% finished.

This is a victory, actually.

I started this project at least 3 months ago and in the beginning I had a lot of momentum, as I always do with creative things. But when I got to the tedious part (grouting), I put it aside for a while. Weeks and weeks, if you must know. But a few days ago I gave myself a mental slap across the face and decided I had to finish this ASAP. Finishing something provides a satisfaction, especially when you feel like your life has a lot of loose ends, as mine does.

In case you're wondering, the first photo shows a sketch I did in crayon over the summer before busting out my hammer and a mountain of tile and plates. (Side note: crayons are awesome. There's something very grounding about using them. Is it the waxy scent or how they instantly take you back to childhood, when life was simpler?)

I'm a multi-tasker so it's normal for me to have several projects going all at once. I'm the same with books--I often read more than one at a time. I like the variety and the excitement of starting something. Of course, having an unfinished project can weigh on me, so reaching completion today feels terrific.

However, don't ask me anytime soon if I'm doing another mosaic of this size (32" high x 18" wide) and detail (hundreds of pieces). This one took a lot of time (I didn't record how long it took, as I sometimes do, but I'm guessing between 35 and 50 hours. This is stretched over 3 months, mind you!).

Now I’m off to start one of the half-dozen projects I’ve had on my mind. Cycle? Repeating!