Don’t Be Scared of the Dark

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While most people live for the daytime, the sunlight, the start of a new day, I long for the end of it. I’m a night owl who can’t make sense of the world until the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., when most people are in bed, lights are turned off and there’s a stillness that I just love. So I was thrilled when a couple weeks ago the most exciting thing happened in my neighborhood in the early evening: a blackout. For me, it was a return to the simple life, something that we’re missing a lot of these days in the Internet and smartphone age, and especially in a place like Los Angeles, where a blackout turns life upside down . . . but you can suddenly see the stars. dontbescared-fb My husband, my 2-year-old daughter and I were actually at dinner down the street when three transformers overloaded on one of the main streets and blew up just blocks from where we were dining, and most of the surrounding blocks suddenly fell into darkness. The sound was akin to bombs going off, but it was likely just too many people in the area using electricity (it’s been a record year in L.A., apparently, as we try to keep cool during an unending heat wave). My very smart husband called our home phone to check if our plugged-in answering machine (we’re old school like that) would pick up and it didn’t. But it wasn’t until we walked up the hill to see our whole neighborhood, all the way up to the Griffith Observatory, was lights out for blocks and blocks in all directions that it was confirmed our power was out. I was elated: 7 p.m. suddenly turned into 1 a.m. I was instantly transported back to one of my favorite moments, some 15 or so years ago when my sister Tricia, her friend Kirsty and my friend Pam were staying at my parents’ house during a terrible storm when there was a blackout that lasted all night. Rather than trying to take on the rain and venture elsewhere to live as we normally would (with electricity), we stayed in and enjoyed the most precious, most important things in life—each other and ice cream. We lit candles, found some puzzles, got tubs of ice cream (that we weren’t about to let go to waste) and just talked and talked about everything. I’ll never forget that evening. Fast forward to our 2014 blackout, I was looking forward to having as special a night with my little family. First things first, we had to stay completely calm from the moment the transformers blew up so as not to freak out our daughter or we’d have a very long night; it was her first blackout.

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Listen to our lullaby rendition of “Fade to Black

When we arrived to our pitch-black home, we first made sure the animals were okay. (It’s hard to find a black cat and black dog in the dark, by the way.) I lit some candles and placed them, of course, out of reach of little D, not just to prevent her from burning herself or the house down, but also because toddlers think every candle in the world is a birthday candle that needs to be blown out. Since it was pretty humid in the house, we hung out on our backyard deck, got two soon not-to-be-frozen fruit popsicles and what was left of a small pint of strawberry Häagen Dazs ice cream from the freezer, pulled out D’s paints and just did art by candlelight while we sang her favorite songs as she danced around. All we were focused on was each other, and the melting ice cream and fruit pops. It was awesome. This made sense. Then, unfortunately, the power came back on just an hour later: the TV, the cable box, the Wi-Fi, the A/C, the fridge and the lights in our house and all directions—life as we normally knew it. Thanks a lot, DWP, for the prompt service. I would’ve been happy to save the money on my power bill to have the blackout last a few more hours and savor those “each other” moments in the dark. They aren’t scary . . . they’re sacred. Here are creative ways to light up your life this Halloween: our Rockabye Baby pumpkin stencils!

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