Friday, October 31, 2008

The Scariest Lions in Town

That's me with my favorite lion--getting ready to hit the streets in search of treats. Shanti and I agreed that as much as we'd both like to chaperone Zeke on his door-to-door travels, one of us needed to stay home and hand out goodies to other kids (because if all the parents were out on the streets, nobody would get any candy, right?). This year, Shanti generously offered to stay home. Next year it'll be me.

Everything went well. Zeke always remembered to say "trick-or-treat" (a happy improvement over last year when he created all kinds of awkward moments by knocking on the door, then just standing there silently staring at whomever opened it), and he only needed to be reminded to say "thank you" a few times. He managed to fill his treat bag almost all the way to the top, which, as it turns out, is waaaay too much candy.  I thought I had assigned him a pretty small bag (my pathetic effort at volume control), but by the time we were in the second half of our outing, it was so heavy that I had to carry it. And rather than go to the door with Zeke and let another adult put candy into a bag that I was holding (which just felt too weird), I gave Zeke my baseball cap and let him use that for primary treat harvesting. Once he secured the goods he ran back to me and deposited them in the larger bag, then wore the hat on our walk to the next house. He seemed to enjoy it, and the adults got a kick out of it (you need to imagine the boy in the lion suit showing up in a ball-cap, knocking on your door, then whipping his cap off and extending it to you in what seems to be a spontaneous display of trick-or-treating ingenuity). 

I have to say, the treat mix has definitely changed since I was a kid. Growing up, I could count on one hand the houses that handed out raisins or pencils, or any sort of non-candy reward, and I avoided them studiously. Now these kind of quasi-treats are all over the place. Rubber bracelets, plastic rings, a stuffed dog...we saw it all tonight. I'd say that about 20% of the houses are going that route these days. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I totally get the point--childhood obesity and all...a fight which I am totally on-board with--but on the other hand, I couldn't help being a little disappointed each time we received a non-edible treat. Fortunately Zeke was a good sport. After the first one he asked me "Why that lady did not give me a treat?" before she even had the door closed, but then we had a discussion about graciously receiving things that we're not all that excited about (in this case an eraser), and for the rest of the night, he was fine. 

When we got home we stripped him out of the lion suit, helped him spread his loot all over the living room floor so he could marvel at the magnitude of his trick-or-treating achievement, and then let him have three pieces of candy before he went to bed. He's a little bit hopped-up right now (I can still hear him singing in his room even though we put him to bed 15 minutes ago), but I think he'll pass out soon. He put a lot of miles on those lion paws tonight, and I know he's got to be wiped out. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The pumpkin eating saga continues...

Can you believe these squirrels? I threw out the two bigger pumpkins a couple days ago because they were just getting too funky to keep in front of the house. There were flies, black rotting pumpkin flesh…all the unattractive happenings that come at the tail-end of the squash lifecycle. I didn’t worry about the smaller pumpkin because so far the squirrels hadn’t so much as laid a paw on it. I figured it must smell funny to them, or look funny, or in some way offend their squirrel sensibilities in a way that made it immune to attacks.

Alas, this is not the case. As soon as the big pumpkins disappeared, the formerly disinterested scavengers turned their attentions to the more petite gourd. And as you can see, they went to town. They not only ate from the outside-in, once they made a hole that was big enough, they had the gall to climb right inside and eat from the inside-out as well. Unbelievable. I guess I’m going to have to try a new Halloween decorating strategy next year.

Like Zeke said, these are very naughty squirrels...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday afternoon

A little butt scratch, a little flycasting practice, a couple of cold beers, and a squirrel trap. Just another Saturday afternoon at the Amagasu household. 

Sure, it sounds a little trashy, but really we're just trying to establish a pattern of non-elite behavior in case one of us ever runs for office. 

We're havin' the craziest weather lately. Chilly as can be at cold you've got the covers pulled up to your neck and you're wondering if it might not make sense to put a sock on your nose. Then hot and sunny and beautiful during the day. Zeke and I both wore parkas on our walk to the coffee shop at 8 o'clock this morning, but as you can see, by lunchtime it was nothin' but wonderful outside. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Worst Pumpkin Carvers Ever

The neighbors haven't said it, but I know what they're thinking... 

"What is wrong with those Amagasus? They seem coherent. Yet they also seem incapable of executing even the simplest pumpkin carving project. Is there something wrong with them? A knife and a spoon--that's all it takes Folks! Why can you not figure this out? And don't you know you're hurting property values by leaving wounded produce on your doorstep?"

We do know neighbors, and we apologize. But the truth is that we're not the creative force behind this year's Halloween display. No, this year it is our good friends the grey squirrels. We blamed it on the rats at first (I know, I'm painting a tantalizing picture of our neighborhood), but then Shanti conducted a stakeout and discovered that the squirrels were the guilty party. 

Who knew they had such affection for pumpkin? It started with just a tiny hole, but now word has gotten out in the neighborhood that the all-you-can-eat buffet is open at our house, and we're seeing a steady stream of hungry, squirrelly visitors. Like tourists in Vegas. 

Every morning when we walk out the door on our way to the car, Zeke stops, points at the pumpkins and in a serious voice proclaims, "Those are very naughty squirrels." He seems to like it when someone else does something naughty. He'll bring up the incident repeatedly and discuss the magnitude of the mistake the person (or squirrel) in question has made. I don't think he does it so much because he's disgusted by the incident as because he admires anyone who has the chutzpah to brazenly break the rules (and eating the Halloween display is definitely against the rules). 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two blogs?!

OK, you don't have to tell me that two blogs for one kid might be viewed as excessive. I read the articles about the "helicopter" parents too. I know we're a generation obsessed with our progeny. Your point is well taken and totally legit. And yet...I simply must blog about Zeke the Magical Toddler. I can't help myself. I've been dying to since the day he was born. But then Shanti started a blog and I didn't want to horn in on it, and then time went by, and now it's three years later, and I just can't wait anymore. The nutty, goofy, clever things our small boy says and does simply must be reported. They're only gonna happen once, right? 

So if you're into reading about Zeke, feel free to stop by from time to time and see what he's up to. And don't worry about blog overlap, because this forum will be entirely different from the page Shanti maintains. Go to his site for near-professional-quality photography and philosophical musings. Come here to find out why Zeke called Shanti his "farty daddy" last week (ok, you probably don't need an explanation to figure that one out), which little girl he's got his eye on at the moment, and whether he had Corn Flakes or peanut butter toast for breakfast. Here, it's all about the minutiae, and I promise to be shameless in reporting it.

Hope you dig!