Baltimore

























After some stories and some of my singing, it's the Leslie Odom Jr. Christmas album that finally puts August to sleep. Those songs always remind me of a lonely aisle in a Giant Food Store, in Baltimore. Its a very brief memory. It's dark outside, it's a Saturday, coming to an end around 8pm. I was pregnant and hunting for healthy snack foods. There was music, something like the Leslie Odom Jr. Christmas album, playing above me. It was cold and and I was enjoying the fall, happy and pregnant, in a place I had never been before. It was a long time ago, five years into the past.

Once August does her big sigh, I know she is fast asleep and I turn the music off, what lingers is Baltimore. Then I remember driving around the city alone, up and down Reistertown Rd, but never feeling alone. My lunches at the Indian Restaurant on Security Boulevard, my walks to the Price Rite for olives, broccoli and lemons, A quiet and happy time.

Again

Six years ago I left Austin in the middle of April. I didn't think I'd ever live here again. Three years later, I was back and it was the middle of April. Today there was a familiar stirring. Spring is approaching, the mountain laurel is blooming but the drive down Charlotte St reminded me of who I no longer am. February through April is when I molt. I traced the pattern back twenty or so years. Changes come in with the blooms. It's uncomfortable and painful. Then one afternoon, something new. I was born in April and it happens again every year. 

Dandelion Days

Me: "August, what would you like to be for Halloween?"
August: "Curtains!"

After several days of switching her costume from Raggedy Ann to clouds to a rain drop and a dandilion and back to curtains on the cut off day, September 29th, she had decided to be a dandelion, not the yellow flower, but "the wishes".  She asked me how I was going to match her. Not wanting to spend much effort on my costume I thought for a bit of what goes with a dandelion and spotted my bright, long, flowered vintage dress and told her I'd be a flower garden and she could be my little dandelion weed! She became excited and I became enthusiastic about the project I now had to work on. For days I wondered how to approach this costume. Pinterest didn't offer much inspiration, so I went outside and stared at dandelions. Finally I purchased a 1/2 yard of green felt and started to drape it over August and came up with a very haute couture looking dress with shrug all pinned together. I went to bed pleased with the idea of huge leaves for arms and a cute, long sheath shaped like a leaf at the bottom and of course I'd find some feathery way to construct the hat.

The next day the idea seemed difficult to execute and I lost all enthusiasm for it. I went outside to look st dandelions and came back inside to sketch ideas. What was this all about, I wondered. I had seen images of kids dressed in green holding a yellow, plastic dandelion. It could be so simple. Why was I turning this into a much more involved project than it needed to be? Because August is very picky about what she will wear. Because I didn't want to make a costume that looked like a dandelion princess or dandelion fairy...but more like a dandelion queen.

When I bought dandelion greens to cut up and blanch for lunch one day, I looked at the leaves and traced them onto paper, made them larger, bought more green felt and went back to sketching...already well into October, I started to feel nervous and looked up store bought dandelion costumes which were just fairy princess flowery things. I found comfort in that I had started to crochet a cap that I would hand sew a feathery boa too, I just couldn't seem to crochet it fast enough.

Finally I came up with the idea of a jumper made out of large dandelion leaves that stood up...but wire, that would involve wire. However, I did begin tracing and cutting out large dandelions. August stood still as I pinned and pinned drab looking leaves to her. She reminded me of a Puff-N-Stuff sea monster. So I outlined the leaf with a stitch using fine gauge cotton yarn. It looked interesting. So  now I committed self to adding this detail to every leaf.  Finally I felt the joy of having found my way.

After two weeks of pinning, sewing, crocheting, pinning and sewing, I finished on October 27th.
No wire was ever used, after speaking with a costume maker I abandoned that idea and used plastic straws I had at home to give the should leaves support. I yelled out, "Come try it on, no more pins!"August was thrilled! She said she felt beautiful in her dandelion costume.

I realize this costume was some sort of personal challenge I wanted to take on. I enjoyed the process, the two weeks of it all. Halloween was only three hours or so, of which I only got 30 minutes of being with her trick-or-treating. That was fine, she was beside me as I traced dandelion leaves. She'd stop her play to run over for a few seconds so I could pin something. She enjoyed wearing it, I enjoyedenjoyed making it, the play involved creating it. Dandelion days.