Tag Archives: Halloween


Halloween weekend was a weekend of music for us. It left me with a kind of buzz or high that carried me through at least half of the following week.

Not that I would know what a ‘buzz’ or ‘high’ feels like anyway. Ehem. Right.

Friday night was a blues concert hosted at the West side location of our church. It was incredible. Whoever that guy was on the harmonica–genius. Pure genius. My friend Carrie also sang, and she was fan-tas-tic. I love having musician friends–they are such an inspiration.

During her performance of ‘Black Coffee,’ Carrie crooned:

Now a man is born to go a lovin’
A woman’s born to weep and fret
To stay at home and tend her oven
And drown her past regrets
In coffee and cigarettes

Upon the utterance of the word ‘cigarettes,’ the young children seated right in front of us looked at each other in astonishment. “Is she promoting smoking?” they seemed to be asking each other with shocked eyes.

It was the funniest moment of the night. Their parents must be doing a great job.

Saturday night we went to a venue called Subterranean in Wicker Park to see a band called Milano. The subway was full of people in costume.

Sightings included: a creepy bride with a torn and bloodied gown. Zorro, as pictured above. Some kind of zombie drummerboy. There’s nothing like Halloween weekend to give that edge to the night.

We’d seen Milano once before, and were so excited to see them again. They’re a Chicago based band with a style that is a mixture of rock and folk. Jon Guerra, the lead singer, has an incredible and unique voice that pierces and soars. It’s like he’s putting 100% of his artistry and intentionality into each note.

Carrie and her husband Eric were also there. See if you can guess what they’re dressed as:

Extra points for anyone who can guess Eric’s costume. I’ll give you a hint: weird British TV show that Carrie and Eric swear by. Blue laser light thingy. And that’s all you’ll get out of me.

The energy at the concert was great. The first and second bands were pretty good, but vreeerrry loud. We had to take our eardrums outside for a breather to make it through. Sometimes I forget how loud live music can be, and then I go to a rock concert and I feel like somebody has inserted a drillhammer in my cochlea.

Milano was the 3rd band to play, and they were by far the best of the three. They were all dressed as characters from ‘Clue,’ which made them look even cooler than they normally do. You can’t tell in the picture above, but the violinist had a rockin’ Miss Scarlett vintage costume, complete with a piquante netted hat.

I want that hat.

But more than the hat, I want her mad violinist skills.

Milano’s style is described as ‘gypsy rock’ and they have gorgeous harmonies that make me want to burst into song with them. The interplay of the different instruments is genius. If I were of the correct age and disposition, I would strongly consider being their groupie. The concert was in celebration of the release of their new EP, which has 5 songs on it. The recording doesn’t have the raw energy of their live performances, but I’m slowly reconciling myself to that fact. Just like when we go to see Harry Potter #7 (release date is November 19th, I believe) I will have to reconcile myself to the fact that the movie just can’t be as good as the book. The songs are well recorded, but they don’t fully capture the controlled yet wild abandon of Jon’s voice. If I were in the music business, I’d sign these guys in a second. Then I’d assign them the best producer of all time. Then I’d re-record a couple of the numbers. And I’d re-make the first and second Harry Potter movies too, while I was at it.

Here’s their website–give ’em a listen. They’re awesome. And if you live in Chicago or its environs, you absolutely MUST try to catch them live. They make me thrill, cry, and want to fly straight up into the heavens.

I leave you with the lyrics to ‘Black Coffee’–totally unrelated to Milano, but they’ve been haunting me as of late:

I’m feeling mighty lonesome
Haven’t slept a wink
I walk the floor and watch the door
And in between I drink
Black coffee
Love’s a hand me down brew
I’ll never know a Sunday
In this weekday room

I’m talking to the shadows
from 1 o’clock til 4
And Lord, how slow the moments go
When all I do is pour
Black coffee
Since the blues caught my eye
I’m hanging out on Monday
My Sunday dreams to dry

Now a man is born to go a lovin’
A woman’s born to weep and fret
To stay at home and tend her oven

And drown her past regrets
In coffee and cigarettes

I’m moaning all the morning
and mourning all the night
And in between it’s nicotine
And not much heart to fight
Black coffee
Feelin’ low as the ground
It’s driving me crazy just waiting for my baby
To maybe come around… around
I’m waiting for my baby
To maybe come around

My nerves have gone to pieces
My hair is turning gray
All I do is drink black coffee
Since my man’s gone away

My life in costume (or: a post to make ammends for failing to dress up this Halloween)

In view of the Halloween days that are upon us . . . I mean behind us . . . I thought that to assuage my own guilt for not dressing up as anything this year or even feeling motivated to dress up, I could at least share some images of Halloweens past.

And this perfectly illustrates the purpose of this blog: to make up for my shortcomings in real life.

Please note: since after I finished 1st grade my family moved to Spain (where they don’t celebrate Halloween), some of these pictures were taken for Carnaval, which is right before Lent. And then there are some random costumes thrown in for good measure.

Let us begin the tour of my life via costume!

The first costume on record was the Halloween in Indianapolis when Erica and I trick-or-treated as Cinderella and her little mouse friend:

I’m pretty sure my Mom just took some pieces of white and silver fabric and wrapped them around me, over the little blouse. Brilliant–and free. My favorite part of the whole thing were the shoes. They were clear, sparkly jelly shoes, and I adored them.

The next picture must have been when I was in kindergarten . . . I think . . . What I remember with utmost clarity is that as soon as Mom painted the whiskers on our faces with make-up and said “now don’t touch your faces or the make-up will smear,” my face started itching like all heck. For the entire night.

Then there’s this–not Halloween–just a regular evening, pretending I was a mermaid. That green blanket was the perfect shade for a Little Mermaid tail. I’m sure Erica was madly jealous, since her blanket was orange and not at all a great color for pretending she was a princess of the seas.

This was 1990. We had moved to Madrid, I was 7 years old, and I regularly dreamed of how romantic it would be to be a ‘poor girl.’ I was also in the throes of my first crush on a boy, and I really hoped to somehow win his affection by looking as bereft as possible:

Circa 1992 in Valencia I went as a white fairy/witch thingy . . . Erica is on the right looking very pleased with her adorable haircut and witch’s broom.

Then we spent a summer in the States and dressed up for Round-Up at our family’s ranch in Wisconsin (castrating of young cow thingies, etc.). I was 10 years old, and supremely jealous of my cousin Aurora’s barmaid costume. At least I chose to express my dissatisfaction in character.

Heidi and Erica seem quite happy with their lot in life. Erica is feeling the power of a gun for the first time.

This was 7th grade for carnaval at my school, San Braulio, in Zaragoza . . . my Mom bought these clothes when she lived in Mexico.

I would totally wear that shirt and those necklaces right now, with dark wash jeans and a cute little sweater. Mom? Could I borrow that shirt please? And those necklaces?

And that was the same year Heidi’s whole 3rd grade class went as a sandwich/soda combo. Not the best picture, but it’s what I got.

Then I dressed up as an elf. I had a small part in a play in which I forgot my lines, and then when I remembered them I said them so fast no one could understand what the heck I had even said.

I pretty much botched the whole thing.

I’m front and center, with green makeup on my eyebrows and the huge ears stuck to my head:

That was when I realized that my dream of being a famous actress would come to naught. Since I had just assumed I would float up to stardom on the wings of my great acting talent, this was a life-changing moment.

In college at Indiana University, I was really good about dressing up. My freshman year I went as a pirate.

I’m on the left, with my friends Libby and Jessica to the right. My at-the-time-future-husband (though I had no idea) was dressed in his lab coat.

This won’t be the last we see of that lab coat, I guarantee it.

I think we had held hands at least once by then, but were keeping it on the DL. We thought we were so secretive, but everyone on our floor knew exactly what was up. Something about the sustained eye contact as we looked at each other across the lounge may have clued them in.

My sophomore year, four of us from the floor planned to go as the elements–water, earth, air, and fire. However, everyone else backed out and only I showed up as an element: water.

Basically, a sarong and some body paint. Julia is on the left, Hayley on the right.

And there’s the lab coat again!

At this point my future husband and I were madly in love and talking about marriage. This was 2002 (ignore the incorrect date on the camera).

That summer, Erica and I played with some wigs at our grandparents’ house. I think a wild black curly mane would really suit me.

I would totally share the pictures of Erica in various wigs . . . except she would probably kill me. Really. And I have no intentions of being run through with a turkey carver this Thanksgiving.

This is my junior year . . .

My friend Hayley and I were pretending to be refugees. It was a recurring passion of Hayley’s, as well as playing the ‘fainting game’ in the lounge during which we would pretend to swoon, and try to fall as gracefully as possible onto one of the couches. Soon Hayley developed a talent for fainting upwards: she would start on the floor, and as she swooned would somehow end up on the couch. It was a skill we all admired.

We were nerds, and we relished every moment of it.

This costume . . .

. . . Christmas of 2003, right before I trekked off to study abroad in Paris. Erica had just trimmed my hair, and the pile of trimmings was just begging to become a beard on some innocent girl’s face.

My husband’s senior year and my first year of being a working girl, we went to a costume party with a bunch of friends. I threw on a tie of his, and he threw on . . .

. . . the lab coat. We were too busy being in love and planning a wedding to put any kind of effort into planning our costumes.

Check out the afro, which you can only partially see bursting forth from underneath my fiancé’s hat. Yes, we were hippies at that time in our lives. Radical, dirty hippies.

This costume must have been sometime around . . .

Hey! That’s not me! That’s Big Jake. Whoops.

And finally, there was this costume . . .

. . . my bridal costume!

But before I sign off, I would like to show you one final costume.

Erica is the one in the golden headdress, and I am to the right. My question is: can anyone guess what is about to happen?

Family and extended family: you are not allowed to chime in–you know exactly what’s happening here in all its wonder, excitement, horror, and . . . yes.

Anyway, there’s going to be a post about it soon, and you won’t want to miss it.

And on that note, I hope to have made up for not dressing up this year.

Happy Monday folks!