Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nostalgia Sunday: Halloween Edition

As it is Halloween, and it is a Sunday, I figure a Halloween Edition of Nostalgia Sunday is in order. However, since there are so many preshus memrys, I am doing a bulleted thing instead of coherent paragraphs (oh who am I kidding, this is hardly ever 'coherent')

-My mom had the habit of making our costumes, this meant that a) we had to help out, and b) we had to fit them over our winter coats (okay not really, but it did help a bunch if we left extra room to wear sweatshirts and sweat pants underneath). One year we got some 'cut and sew' costumes that had glow in the dark piping. I was a witch, and Dani was Be-bop the robot. We'd go to the houses and Dani would say "Doop, beep, bop, eep! That means Trick-or-Treat in robot!"

-I don't ever remember truly going as a princess, but I think I went as an Indian (feathers, not dots) Princess when I was in third grade. And in 6th I was a Harem girl, which most people took to mean Jasmine from Aladin since that movie had come out fairly recently.

-Mom always made apple dumplings in the fall, and since it doesn't get cold down here until Christmas, it doesn't feel like fall, so I force myself to make apple dumplings on Halloween for preparation.

-My dad always decorated the front yard by raking all the leaves into a big pile under the tree, he'd then take an old pair of pants (usually Dani's), stuff them full of leaves and position them under the leaf stack like there is a dead little kid under the leaves (yes, they always told us the kid was supposed to be "sleeping"), the look would be completed by using Dani's old tennis shoes so you couldn't tell the pants were actually stuffed. Supposedly, one year the cops came to the house because someone had called it in saying that we had a dead kid in our yard. Of course, this all happened after Dani and I went to bed, so I question the validity of this claim.

-And finally, for YEARS I wasn't allowed to eat candy on Halloween night, all because of one measly sweet tart and an unfortunate event that happened later that night.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Fairy Tales

As we were backpacking this last weekend with a four-year-old (Ma-belle), we (her dad and I) started talking about fairy tales...don't worry, we were quite careful to make sure she wasn't listening as it probably would have crushed her heart to find out that living "happily ever after" sometimes just doesn't happen in the fairy tales. Generally speaking the fairy tales that originated in Germany are meant to scare the ever-living crap out of children so they'll do what their parents tell them to while the French fairy tales are totally raunchy and meant to entertain adults.

Here are some quick synopses of the original fairy tales:
Snow White (German): Disney was fairly accurate to the source material here; the evil stepmother queen has little (7-year-old) Snow White taken to the woods to be killed, but the hunter lets her go. Snow White lives with the dwarfs, and the queen tries to kill her 3 times; by poison laces, poison comb and finally poison apple (however, in the first two cases the dwarfs save her and in the last the apple essentially gets stuck in her windpipe). The dwarfs put Snow White in a glass coffin in the woods and the dashing young prince comes, falls in love and begs the dwarfs to let him take poor, comatose Snow White with him. During the move, the apple piece becomes dislodged and Snow White wakes up, falls in love with the prince and they marry. The evil queen goes to their wedding (not realizing that it's Snow White), and, at the wedding, is forced to wear iron shoes that have been placed in the fire until they were red hot. She either dances until she dies, or has a heart attack. In either case, I'm sure wearing the fire hot iron shoes didn't help any.

Sleeping Beauty (French): Again, Disney follows the source material at the beginning, but when Sleeping Beauty (who doesn't have a name, though her eventual daughter is named Aurora) is in her sleep stupor in the woods, the prince comes and rapes her, thus impregnating her. When the babies (yes, twins) are born they suckle on Sleeping Beauty's finger, thus dislodging the piece of poisoned wood that was embedded in her finger (apparently human babies now act like most other mammals where the babies must find their way to their mother's teat). Said prince keeps all this under wraps (as was the fashion of the times), but his mother finds out and plans to have the babes and Sleeping Beauty killed, prepared in a sauce Robert, and ultimately served to her son (to teach him a lesson I suppose?). In some way, shape, or form, it comes to pass that the cook tricks the mother by giving her prepared meats instead of the prepared humans. When the King finds what she's done (that she tried to kill the mother of his children and his children), he has his own mother thrown into a pit of vipers (Why'd it have to be snakes?).

The Little Mermaid (Dutch): The little mermaid goes to the water's surface on her 15th birthday and saves a prince from drowning. Since she wants to be human to be with the prince, she goes to the sea witch who agrees to give her legs in exchange for the mermaid's voice. The mermaid agrees even though the witch has warned her that it will feel like she is walking on swords, her feet will bleed, and if the prince doesn't love her, she will die. The prince falls for the little mermaid, but ends up marrying another girl at the behest of his father (it helps some that he thinks the girl he is marrying was the one who saved him from drowning instead of the little mermaid). On the morning after the wedding, the mermaids sisters come to the surface with a knife. If the little mermaid kills the prince, she will regain her fins and live on as a mermaid. In the end, she can't kill the thing she loves and so she dies and becomes sea foam.

Beauty and the Beast (French): Belle is actually a princess, who, to protect her life, is sent to live as a merchant's daughter. The merchant loses all his riches, and when he gets news that one of his ships has returned to port, he asks his daughters what they want for gifts. The two older sisters (who, by all accounts, sound about as nice as Cinderella's sisters), ask for finery while Belle asks for a rose. When the merchant finds that his ship has been taken to pay his debts, he can no longer afford to buy the gifts he promised. On his way home, he spends the night in a seemingly abandoned castle. He tries to take a rose from the garden and that's when the Beast makes him a prisoner who can only leave if he agrees to send his youngest daughter. Belle arrives at the castle and is well taken care of, but refuses to marry the beast (even though she dreams of a handsome prince telling her to marry the beast). At one point, she convinces the beast to let her go home to visit her family. He agrees but states that she must come back within one week. Belle's sisters trick her into staying longer, and when Belle arrives at the Beast's castle, he is almost dead from heartbreak. She agrees to marry him and he is magically turned into the handsome prince. They live happily ever after. It should be noted that the prince was turned into a beast because he refused to be seduced by an evil fairy (newer versions indicate that he was turned into a beast for not being nice to a homeless woman).

Cinderella (originally Greek):
Greek version: An eagle makes off with a maiden's sandal and drops it in the king's lap thus starting the quest to find the girl who owns that sandal.
French version: The Disney version (sans talking mice, and helpful birds)
German version: This is the version where the sisters cut off pieces of their own feet in order to get them to fit into the slipper. Pigeons alert the prince by pecking out the eyes of the sisters after their lies. (Sound familiar?) They spare the prince because he's just a dumb dumb.

And all this exercise really made me want to do is watch "Into the Woods." Most of these stories I pulled from Wikipedia and my memory from when I researched fairy tales for a history class project. We filmed the original Sleeping Beauty using He-man action figures and Barbies. Don't worry, we used a censored sign for the inappropriate scenes...though we did make reference to the JonBenet case, which was probably in bad taste.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Birthin' Butterflies

I helped this butterfly be born. I had gone outside to take photos of flowers and noticed that the chrysalis I had on the passionvine was really dark, which indicates that the butterfly is ready to hatch. Unfortunately, the chrysalis was already in the shade for the day, so I picked up the stem the chrysalis was attached to and moved it to the sun. Not 10 minutes later and the butterfly was out and sunning off its wings.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


I'm pretty sure we can now add a new allergy to my list: Ragweed. In addition to the Cedar Fever I already suffer from, this now means that from October til February I will be holing myself up indoors and getting high on allergy meds. And that's during the best part of the year down here. dangnabit!