Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nightmares and Ghosts

I met a ghost hunter once. At the Saratoga Springs mall, of course. He sat in the bookstore wearing a plaid cap and had a neatly trimmed white beard. He was signing his new book, The Ghosts of the Hudson Valley.
Being a resident of the Hudson Valley (at the time), a fan of the supernatural, and a fellow author, the man was like a living magnet for me. My kids were crying, my in-laws wanted to leave, but I was going to talk to this guy.
He told me of electrified fields, of visiting sites that were totally unremarkable, until he returned with his psychic. Then the place would instantly become repulsive and would make him feel so sick he had to run out. He said his work was dangerous and every day felt lucky to be alive. While he spoke to me, Phoebe came running over with tears in her eyes. He looked at her and said, "She's a scorpio isn't she?" Inwardly I groaned, while I find ghosts fascinating, I find astrology annoying. Reluctantly I said, "Well, yes."
"Poor girl. She has very vivid dreams. They're probably very scary at this age."
I was surprised, Phoebe was having nightmares and kept coming into bed with us at night. I bought his book, but that didn't really help Phoebe.
It's three and a half years later and Phoebe still has nightmares. She can't stand movies with scary parts (much to the chagrin of Mike, me and Chloe- who love a good scare). Taking a Benedryl before bed only seemed to make it worse and now she won't take one even when she really needs it for her soap allergy. Last March we bought her a dream catcher at the Artisan's Market. It's really a beautiful one with a large shiny stone in the center. We polish it each night before bed and she took it with her on the bus to Buenos Aires. She hooked it to the luggage rack over head where it swung wildly for the entire 20 hours of the journey.
The dream catcher helped for a while, but the nightmares continue. This week I started a dream diary with her. She told me her dreams. There were aliens, paintings in a museum that oozed a gooey liquid filling the room she was in, and one about the president blowing up the world( I'm hoping that one's not a premonition). Usually everyone died except her or she would die. We rewrote them and gave them better endings. Then she drew pictures. So far this is working really well, though any advice would be welcome.
This coming weekend she goes camping with her school. This is a big step for her, to sleep away from home on her own. I'd better pack her dream catcher though.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where's the sushi?

Well, the flowers are blooming here now and "Mother's Day" is being advertised in store windows (oddly enough next to many early Christmas products). The children were in their school play,"Mary Poppins" , last week which was really cute and well done.
Now that we've been here ten months I've started to really miss some things from the United States that we just can't find. Clam chowder is I guess regional to New England, as is maple syrup. For some reason we can't find corn chips or tortilla chips of any kind and the children really miss marshmallows (though I could care less). Sushi is just not available here in this city, though another American mom we met said she knows a place to get the ingredients (I may just get desperate enough to try that... or maybe I'll be sure and have some when we go to Buenos Aires!) Peanut butter was a real issue for us, but the same Mom pointed us in the right direction and now we know of a store across town that charges extortion level prices for a jar.
When ever I really start to miss these things I think of the things I would miss if we left. Fondue is really popular here and the kids love it (chocolate and cheese flavored). The ice cream is the best I've ever tasted anywhere, as is the chocolate and there are many shops available to serve these cravings. In the States I couldn't drink the wine as I seemed to be allergic to whatever they were putting in it to preserve or enhance flavor. Here the wine is all natural and excellent. Last be certainly not least is dulce de leche, which is a popular Argentine food that is in all their desserts, cookies, cakes,etc. It's like caramel or butterscotch and sold in jars in the supermarket. There seems to be endless varieties of it and it really quite good on toast.
I've been busy lately assisting Mike. He's the artist on "The Boxcar Chlidren" comic book series and has been faced with a mad deadline on four books at once. Also I've begun a webcomic called "The Horribles" for age 6 and up. I post a new page every Monday.
It's the story of Horrible monsters. Sylvia the vicious torments Creature, the monster from under her bed.
Also Mike has started a blog of his sketchbook and about his own impressions of our life here. To take a look it's at
Last but not least we're keeping an eye on a volcano that's on yellow alert (not sure what that means, but it sounds alarming). It's about 50 miles southwest of us and is making some noise. Hasta luego!
“As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance”-Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs)


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