There seem to be more wild animals in the neighborhood this year. We live right downtown so it surprises me how many animals live around us. A very surprised raccoon came upon a group of 20 people watching the fire works and freaked out. We have skunk spray out front at least once a week. The squirrels come in and look through our kitchen. Joel woke up with one sitting on his chest one morning. While they can be frustrating sometimes, it seems a good sign that our four legged brothers and sisters are still there for us to learn from.
We spent the weekend as a family. Friday we went to Queercon 2016 and it was great to see everyone being who they were, not worrying about labels. I have periodic shame about not shaving my legs and those folks were a real inspiration. Hair or no hair I am the same person. Overhearing the young non-gender binary persons talking made me happy about the future. I colored in a gender bending Skeletor and Sophie and her friend had fun trying old gaming systems and hanging out.
Saturday we went to Lumiere, the local lantern festival and watched all the little kids dressed up as fairies and knights, as well as a girl ghost buster and mutant ninja turtles. There is a lot of memories there. It was the only place Runa got lost at as a little person and it was where she first discovered the wonder of fire. She was about two, in a little orange fairy costume, when she picked up a huge stick and declared "I have a big stick". She carried this stick around for a long time and when we came across a lantern she set her stick on fire and said, "Big stick on fire" with the creepy tone of voice and her little eyes overfilled with pleasure. This time the kids mostly ran around on their, but it was good to be together. To build another year of memories.
In a way my favorite part of that experience each year is the walk home down a very dark path. For a few minutes, the few lanterns are the only light and the sounds of the wildlife crowd around and we are not longer in the city but exist in a primeval place of darkness. The cicadas make sense. The tree shadows become mysterious. We must make our way into the unknown. I am glad to share these moments with the children. We got home in time to watch the fire works, taking over the streets from the cars. These moments made me very happy.
Sunday was our anniversary and the Pride Parade. The rain kept the crowds down but the parade was great. It was the first year attending since Sophie has identified as a-gendered and it was tender in a different way. It was a hope for her to find her place, whatever that will look like. It was great to see friends and colleagues out. The girls and I talked about Orlando and how there are sometimes in life where it is not ok to be neutral. We got a lot of candy and rainbow swag and it was awesome to be with so many happy people. I have a lot of memories at the parade as well, all those years of taking the girls when they were in their strollers. It is fun to not have to worry about them running into the streets.
I have also spent a fair amount of time this week watching a show called "Consumed" on HGTV. The host visits a family and takes away all their stuff and makes them live without it for a couple of weeks before she works with them to get rid of their excess stuff. It is like the show Hoarders but with less ick factor as the people are less obviously mentally ill. Each episode follows a formula, the family hates having no stuff, they find they are a really happy family without stuff, then someone refuses to let things go, there is an intervention about this and then they purge. They show the family three months later, happy and unified. It is strangely compelling. Is getting rid of my stuff all I need to do to have a functional family? Is this middle class pandering, for people who can afford to get rid of stuff? Is getting rid of stuff "in" right now, cause later they will be able to sell me more? Why do I like this show even thought it is staged and maybe manipulative? What does that say about me? Runa likes it too and said, "Is this to make us feel better about how much stuff we have?" My house may have issues, but I do not have an out of control addiction to Tupperware, so I am ok? Maybe a guilty pleasure is just that, but I can't help thinking that there is something deeper there. What do you think?