31 October 2007

Ghoulies and Ghosties

Here it is after eight-thirty and the trick or treaters are still wandering about; there's a mob of about ten tweens-come-teenagers next door right now. I gave away my last four pieces of candy about five minutes ago (having bought 30 more than last year, for a total of 110 candy bars), having to shut the door on several more coming. The crowd had probably been delayed by the lack of darkness engendered by the damnable Daylight Savings Time extension (I mean, what's the fun of trick or treating in daylight already?), so maybe it just seems like they've been out there longer. The smaller kids started arriving before the sun had even set. Our first visitor was the little girl next door.

I got a lot of compliments on my cat costume and most of the kids said thank you (and had costumes). One of the parents wanted to know where we got the retractable screen door. Another kid said we had a pretty house (thank you!). It amazes me the size of the kids that go out—my parents wouldn't allow me to trick or treat after I was in sixth grade. They said it was for little kids only.

Anyone noticed the proliferation of grocery bag Hallowe'en sacks over the years? A lot of kids had pumpkins, but more and more are going for Kroger and Publix bags. I did see some small backpacks and even purses. :-) (James reminds me that there was actually a kid in a football costume using his helmet as a container.) I remember my plastic pumpkin with fondness.

We had more Scream costumes, a "dark" Spiderman, over a dozen fairies/angels, one adorable little girl in a black cat costume with a pink tail whose younger sibling-in-arms was in a tiger outfit, a tiny giraffe, several Disney princesses, and an absolutely adorable little boy in what looked like his Sunday outfit, complete with vest. I'm not sure if he was supposed to be the preacher or a lawyer. :-)

Of course there was the usual complement of kids driven in by car. My dad always hated that. He said kids should just go to their neighborhoods and that was it. I usually did all of Appleton Street and then was allowed to go up Fiat Avenue as far as my godmother Margaret's house and then come back by Barbara's house near the corner on Jordan Avenue, the Campaninis and the Boddingtons on Overland, and Penny's house right on the wedge of land where Overland and Flint came to a junction on Fiat.

Willow had to be restrained as always behind the gate and was quite hysterical when James came to spell me so I could put his socks in the washer and then use the bathroom. She was echoed occasionally by the pugs across the street and the Weimaraner next door.

Ooops, time for Torchwood—trick or treat out.

Hallowe'en Riddles

Highlight between the dots to see the answers.

1. How do you mend a broken jack-o'lantern?

• With a pumpkin patch. •

2. Why didn't the skeleton dance at the party?

• He had no body to dance with. •

3. Why don't mummies take vacations?

• They're afraid they'll relax and unwind. •

4. Why do witches use brooms to fly?

• Because vacuum cleaners are too heavy. •

5. What did one ghost say to another ghost?

• Do you believe in people? •

6. What do you call someone who poisons a person's cornflakes?

• A cereal killer. •

7. What kind of streets do zombies like best?

• Dead ends. •

8. What does a vampire never order in a restaurant?

• A stake sandwich. •

9. What do birds give out on Hallowe'en night?

• Tweets. •

10. What is a vampire's favorite mode of transportation?

• A blood vessel. •

(Hey, I never said these were high-brow. LOL.)

30 October 2007

Holiday Media

My order from Amazon arrived yesterday, or rather "orders," since three DVDs were supposedly shipped on the 20th and three on the 23rd, but they both arrived this afternoon, the one supposedly shipped on the 20th a bit worse for wear—one side was bashed in and retaped, with the packing slip missing. So they'd better all work because I can't return them. <wry grin> (The post office worked "beautifully" on this one; the tracking on the second package still says there is no information about the shipment.)

Anyway, two of the six were Christmas oriented: of course I ordered The House Without a Christmas Tree as soon as it was available—and I watched it as soon as it arrived—of course. I love this story. I love the little girl who glories in being intelligent rather than in clothing and material things. I love the nurturing grandmother. And I love the portrayal of the seemingly unloving father (who actually shows his love in small ways) who is not made out to be a soulless tyrant but a desperately grieving man.

The DVD is perfect as well except for the last scene where James speaks to Addie about her mother for the first time; there are odd, faint red horizontal lines when the camera is close-up on him. Not sure if this is my particular DVD or in the entire run.

I also purchased Rick Steve's European Christmas, but haven't watched it. This has run on PBS and I have "the companion book," as they say, but I haven't seen it, and the DVD has 45 minutes of additional footage.

I also have the Voyagers! set finally, which contains, among other things like the best "bread and butter" clip show I have ever seen ("The Trial of Phineas Bogg"), "Merry Christmas, Bogg," which is a warm and occasionally amusing episode taking place on both the night of George Washington's crossing of the Delaware and another Christmas Eve with Samuel Gompers fighting for labor rights where Jeffrey meets his grandparents.

My check has cleared, so I'm awaiting a video I've wanted for years. Back in the 1980s PBS ran something called Simple Gifts: Six Episodes for Christmas, six short animated stories narrated by Colleen Dewhurst. One of the stories is a memorable narrative about an Ice Fair and a doomed romance on the frozen Thames. This was released to video, but only to libraries and educational institutions. I tried to borrow it earlier this year through Interlibrary Loan, but you can't borrow video. By luck I have found this copy online. Supposedly the case is not in the best of shape but the video is sound. We'll see.

Carve Your Own Jack O'Lantern

Preparing for a spooky night? Try this!

"Pumpkin Simulator"

25 October 2007

CHRISTMAS BOOK REVIEW: The Christmas Almanac

edited by Natasha Tabori Fried and Lena Tabori

This is a luscious confection of vintage Christmas graphics, mostly from 19th century publications, combined with a few short stories like "Christmas Every Day," personal reminisces like "A Miserable Merry Christmas," fact about the holiday, links to websites about baking, crafts, charities, shopping ideas, recipes, Christmas carols, and other tidbits and bits of poetry, all beautifully laid out in a colorful package. Browse bits at your leisure or sit down and enjoy all eight chapters.

19 October 2007

Christmas Purchases

While I was out doing errands and some shopping today, Christmas tempted me from several angles!

After checking out the Barnes & Noble at Bells Ferry, I walked down a couple of stores to CD Warehouse, which sells used CDs and DVDs. I found two nice Christmas CDs: "Christmas at St. Thomas, New York," a collection of carols sung by the church choir, and Celtic Woman's "A Christmas Celebration." I've already listened to "Thomas"—very nice. Some uncommon carols like the "Sussex Carol," and also a pretty song called "Sir Christèmas."

I stopped at Home Goods due to the recommendations of the ladies (and gents) on "Christmas to the Max" and saw many cute things, including a Scotty-dog teapot, but I really had no place for it. I did buy a small book about a Santa Claus figurine collection that was marked down and also an unusual Christmas snow-globe, pictured below. You can't tell very well, since the globe has picked up the reflections of the table and everything behind it, but the base is bright silver, like the old-fashioned chrome bumper of a car. I got it on a discount because, as you can see, the two white nicks in the bottom of the base at right. James says we may be able to fix it with a silver leaf pen; otherwise, maybe I can stick a small holly bit to cover the area. It is absolutely beautiful, though, and very striking.

When I walked into Michaels in Acworth, the fall arch was being replaced by an evergreen arch, and Christmas was everywhere. They had several small trees set up with different styles of displays. One was done in blue snowflake and other blue ornaments with trim of peacock feathers, and a few feet away was a small wreath completely done of peacock feathers. Very beautiful!

18 October 2007

Christmas Comes to the Civic Center

Since I was teleworking today, I eschewed my usual "date" with Rick Steves' Europe and a walk with Willow and spent my lunchtime at the Mistletoe Market at the Cobb County Civic Center. As always, there were a lot of jewelry booths, children's things, and people selling dip and soup mixes. I "took lunch" by nibbling on some of the dips, bought a Christmas book at a discount, and, of all things, bought myself a scarf. It is rather pretty gypsy-style, mixed fall colors (which of course is what attracted me) in a patchwork style, elastic horizontal smocking alternating with light striped material and green stringy fringe. It looks very eclectic.

Of course many adorable ornaments. Jingle bell ornaments seem to be the big thing this year. I have seen animals and human figures made of jingle bells in all the stores, for both Hallowe'en and Christmas, and there were no shortage of them here. One booth had some very unique reindeer statues, with their antlers as candlabras, but they were expensive.

One thing I was looking for was new glass cutting boards. Ours are quite raggy. Several years ago there were at least two dealers selling different sized cutting boards with various motifs, including beautiful apple motifs.

Of course now that I want them...you guessed it!

It was an odd day to go Christmas shopping: we had a warm front come in the other day and it was stuffy and smothery out, with a low overhang of dark clouds that looked like it should come with cool temps. It spattered a few times today, enough to wet the deck, but that was about it.

11 October 2007

Hear the Wind Blow!

Fall has been a long time coming. It was cooler for a few days, became hot again, a few more cool days, then temps soaring, one day up to the 90s.

We had two cold fronts come through, one after the other. The first tempered the sun, the second brought the wind—the trees out in the yard are lashing back and forth like children throwing a tantrum, tossing pine needles like spears, and the window shades dance and the wind chimes sing—and left the sky a brilliant blue. Last night the temps went down to 50°F and, with the fans in the windows, it was a glorious sleeping night.

Now at three o'clock it is still only 65; how lovely! I can breathe! Walk without the sun and heat pounding my head and my heart like a jackhammer!

I went out at lunchtime to get a book from Borders and nipped into Lowes: Christmas galore! I was good and only bought a few small Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ornaments for my Rudolph-theme tree.

I have all the autumn decorations up now, and anticipate, if there are no disasters, putting up Hallowe'en things next week. I don't see it staying this cool (the forecast is for 80 in a week, and high 50s at night), but I'm certainly enjoying this while it lasts.

I can only hope it gets cool like this again for Hallowe'en so I won't suffocate in my cat outfit. Wondering how it will come off this year since it won't be dark at six o'clock like always due to that damnable new DST rule.

06 October 2007

Autumn in Vermont

Check this out: photo was taken September 28.

West Fairlee, Vermont

01 October 2007

Welcome to October!

"Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!"

Humbert Wolfe

"All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken."
Thomas Wolfe

"Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower."
Albert Camus

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."
Stanley Horowitz

"October is crisp days and cool nights, a time to curl up around the dancing flames and sink into a good book."