Category Archives: writing

Happy Halloween!

 

Witches' Fingers from bibberche.com

We don’t celebrate Halloween in Serbia, but I knew all about it as I screamed every time Mike Myers’ face hidden behind the hockey mask appeared on the screen in the movie theater in my home town. I arrived to the U.S. in August, and three months later I couldn’t wait to participate in my first trick-or-treating. It was an adventure, as it involved a trip to Chicago on an old VW bus, a detour to the “mushroom place” (no, I am not talking about a patch in the meadow where the wild mushrooms dwell), countless bottles of booze, and, to me, an unfamiliar concept of bar-hopping. In fact, I felt as if I were crashing a party, and spent most of the time with my mouth agape, trying to figure out what had happened to me and who was directing the movie that I was starring in.

Halloween 1986 from bibberche.com

In the following years I attended some pretty tame and some not-that-tame Halloween parties, and when I had my first daughter, I was relieved to pass on the tradition to her and stay in the background, my role limited to concocting a creative costume and pushing the stroller. When my younger two were ready to go out and try their luck at trick-or-treating, I was full of energy and enthusiasm. I would anticipate this time of year with never-ending excitement, knowing that I’d spend many delightful hours discussing the costumes, both for school and for after-dark (as they could never be the same), gathering the necessary material, making the costumes, and buying the additional props.

Halloween 2005 from bibberche.com

Year after year I concocted creative home-made Halloween treats and took them to school. I snapped some great photos of my pumpkins, nurses, Draculas, butterflies, ladybugs, and mummies at more than a dozen Halloween school parades, and prodded them up one more driveway when they were whining about being exhausted fifteen minutes after we started the yearly ritual of extorting candy from the neighbors.

While we pulled the Radio Flyer Red Wagon with two bundled-up girls crying in harmony, I longingly stared at the adults gathered around the fire pits, cocktails in hand, a plastic cauldron full of candy next to the chair leg, spooky sounds coming from the porches, wishing that I could join them, rather than trying to convince my two ingrates to make a go of the last house on the block and collect more sweets that would sit on the kitchen counter for months.

Halloween 2015 from bibberche.com

My oldest dresses up every year and attends parties that I really don’t want to know about. She is creative and funny, and I cannot wait for her to post photos to her Facebook page. My teens require only a little bit of my help with their costumes and no help with trick-or-treating, and I am more than happy to send them off to frolic with their shrieking friends. Some years I join my friends around the fire pit; I drink wine and pass out candy, grateful that I don’t have to be a Halloween Nazi ever again and pretty confident that all the Mounds bars the teens collect will be mine.

Halloween 2017 from bibberche.com

Cole Train: German Braised Red Cabbage

I have been on a serious German kick lately. Our eternally blue California skies become speckled with fleecy white clouds and I start thinking stews, and dumplings, and root vegetables. I talk to my sister on Skype over the ululating  sirens of the Frankfurt Fire Station #39 located across from their apartment building and I envisionContinue Reading

Are You Ready for Your Teens to Start Driving? IGottaDrive Online Driver’s Ed Course

  I started learning how to drive when I was a senior in high school, back in Yugoslavia. I passed the written part of the test in fall, after spending hours studying the laws and analyzing the hypothetical intersections in the driving manual. The adventure began the first time I sat in the car withContinue Reading

On Motherhood: Mango and Quinoa Salad

I never thought I would have children. I felt somewhat detached from my siblings in our early days, even though all three of us were born within four years. I learned to read when I was four, and was drawn to books more then to the kids my age. I was shy and awkward aroundContinue Reading

Oriental Studies, My Way: Year of the Ram

refreshing and tasty soba noodles and light, crunchy tempura vegetablesContinue Reading

Robert Vs. Robert: The Judge

I’ve been in LA for six years and some pixie dust has inevitably landed on my shoulders; a few wrap parties, a screening of a short or a documentary, a celebrity sighting on the Main Street in Santa Monica… It is not unusual, as we all know some people who work in the industry. YesterdayContinue Reading

East to West Side Story: LA Welcomes Ramen Burger

I don’t like standing in lines. Not for a premiere movie tickets, not for the newest techie gadget, not for the sales on Friday after Thanksgiving. (Having to spend hours away from classes while waiting in never-ending lines, depending on mercy of the office harpies at the University of Belgrade just to be issued aContinue Reading

Summer Fun: Chili at the Beach

  Last Saturday morning, I grabbed my camera and shades, and drove south on PCH towards Huntington Beach and their 6th Annual Chili and Salsa cook-off. With the windows down, the wind tussling my hair, infinite blue sky above, and the Pacific on my right, I had a real Cinderella moment: Freida’s old hunter-green BonnevilleContinue Reading

When Memories Come Alive: Butter Cookies

Ever since I started elementary school, my family spent two weeks of winter break in the mountains, where we had an adorable, miniature, and very rustic cabin. Everything we needed, we had to pack into the trunk of Father’s Fiat 1300; there were no stores and the narrow, mountain road was often buried under theContinue Reading

Father Knows Best: Recycling Is a Beautiful Thing

When I was a child, recycling had more to do with saving money than protecting the environment. Mother thoroughly washed every single glass jar and stored it in the pantry to be reused for preserves. We returned the glass bottles that held milk and yogurt to the small neighborhood grocery store knowing they would beContinue Reading