31 October 2009

Hallowe'en Treats!

Disney's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," narrated by Bing Crosby:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The beloved Garfield's Halloween Adventure:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

And for real spooky camp, the 1980 telefilm The Worst Witch—watch "Mrs. Garrett" with pink hair, Tim Curry going psychedelic, and Diana Rigg at her evil best:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

These are all out on DVD, so if you like what you've sampled, go treat yourself!

28 October 2009

Misty October Morning

It was actually nicer about fifteen minutes earlier, but I wanted to eat my oatmeal while it was hot!

25 October 2009

Treats, No Tricks

I finished putting up the Hallowe'en decorations about 9:15 p.m..

No, I don't have that many Hallowe'en decorations! LOL.

The day began mundanely with a trip to Kroger. We went for my bread and bananas and milk. Many dollars later...and all that, we arrived home. The fall edition of the Smyrna Jonquil Festival was this weekend, but we really didn't need anything and to tell the truth, I felt kinda guilty about wandering the booths, sampling the dips and the jelly samples, and then not buying anything. So we didn't go. Instead I had lunch and read the paper, then cleaned the hall bathroom, washed the towels, and then put the fall decorations in the foyer aside and decorated the area for Hallowe'en: craggy tree and mini-decorations, pseudo-30s ornaments, big glass pumpkin, black cats, a wizard owl, the stacking pumpkins I bought at the Apple Festival, skeletons and others.

However, the porch was drenched in sunshine, so I didn't go out and put up the porch decorations until about 8:45, when it was dark and cool.

To complete the effect, I changed out the blue bulbs in the two candles that burn in the front windows for orange bulbs.

I really don't bother decorating the rest of the house anymore. Hallowe'en just doesn't "float my boat," and I'm not going to fight it. It's something to get through on the way to better things: Thanksgiving and Christmas. The porch looks neat and the foyer matches. Otherwise it's just delight-fall. :-)

Rudolph Day, October 2009

The purpose of Rudolph Day is to keep the Christmas spirit all year long. One can prepare Christmas gifts or crafts, watch a Christmas movie, play Christmas music, or read a Christmas book.

May a frosty October be yours! In six days it will be Hallowe'en, and then Thanksgiving preparations begin. But Christmas isn't far away—why not

...watch some Christmas videos to whet your appetite? 101 Classic Christmas Videos Online.

...start organizing now so you can have a fun holiday? Christmas Organizing has ideas, and even a blog.

...listen to some online Christmas music. Here's a link to Live365's collection of Christmas music. Warning: to listen to some of these you have to belong to Live365, but other stations are totally free! Pandora Radio also has Christmas music.

...read a Christmas-themed book? A new nonfiction offering I found recently was Tinsel by Hank Stuever. I can ordinarily take or leave humorous Christmas books; some are funny while others are just crass, so I was wary, as the description made it sound as if the author was going to make fun of the people he was involved with. Instead I found this an imperfect, but entertaining and slightly sad story of Stuever's visit with three families in heartland Texas: a young couple who put up a bravura light display, an earnest but garrulous woman who has developed a small business putting up decorations for wealthy people, and a single mom who is trying to keep the magic of Christmas alive during hard times.

I say "sad" because as a "Christmas nut" I found these folks well-meaning but having completely lost sight of the fun and joy of Christmas. The man with the light display, for instance, is so into it that he refuses to leave home during the holiday to visit his parents (a sign of deeper familial problems) because "people would miss his lights." The woman who does the home decorating is sweet-natured Christian, but avoids visiting a dying friend except for the day she puts up her decorations for her, and takes inordinate effort into convincing her kids that Santa Claus still exists, including hiring an insipid elf to come visit the home to present them with the news about a skiing trip to Colorado. Even the woman who's trying to make ends meet spends a lot of time searching for bargains on expensive items so she can give so-called "good" presents to the people she loves. Christmas is about family (whether by blood or by choice), friends, simple gatherings and token gifts, but most of all feeling good, whether a deeper religious meaning or just a time of the year to enjoy oneself, and so much of what these folks strive for is artificial or filled with conspicuous consumption, symbolic of the modern "spirit" of Christmas. If these folks had been complete jerks it might have been humorous, but because they were nice people, the result is a little melancholy instead.

Despite that, I enjoyed the telling of the participants' stories and the background info about the American Christmas industry. Just don't be surprised if some parts are more "hmmmm" than "ho-ho-ho."

16 October 2009

Gingerbread Weather Indeed!

My favorite kind of day: cloudy, breezy, mid-fifties!

I finally finished decorating the porch for fall—yes, I'm late, I know! The main decorations have been out there: the fall banner, the basket of artificial leaves and gourds, and the autumn leaf wreath. But I had not put out the rest of the things. First it was too warm, then when it got cool I didn't have time, and then it got warm again.

But it was a perfect day for it. I put scarecrows in both rocking chairs and then garnished the chairs with a artificial pumpkin and leaf garlands, then put the signs along the rails.

The autumn basket was partially in bad shape. The leaves and berries were fine, but the Georgia sun had done a number on the pumpkins/gourds, which are just painted styrofoam. They had split so that big white gaps were showing in their "rinds." Michaels had their artificial pumpkins on sale 60 percent off, so I picked out four different colors (a plain orange, a reddish, and a brownish, plus an orange one with a curved stem). I then pulled out the cracked ones, which were fastened into the foam at the bottom of the baskets with sticks. I cut the sticks off, then used the sharp tip of a small scissors to make a hole in the bottom of each of the new pumpkins and put a stick in each one. Then I put the new pumpkins back in the old basket and rearranged the leaves and berries around them. I wasn't sure if I had the proper sizes, but it seems to have worked fine.

I also have the garland around the arch that goes to the hall and the bedrooms, and around the door to the deck. Just have to hang the leaf garland up.

15 October 2009

From Lemonade Weather to Gingerbread Weather

All in one fell swoop, too!

Hard to believe that a couple of days ago we needed the air conditioner on, at least at night, because it was almost 70°F out.

Another rainy day today, but chill enough (at this point it hasn't even hit 58 yet) for me to make like Sook in "A Christmas Memory," but instead of fruitcake, I will declare it "gingerbread weather." At lunchtime I went to the Mistletoe Market at the Cobb County Civic Center, wearing a sweatshirt and with my jacket on, and wandered about sampling dips. Several dip and soup kit dealers, the latter welcome on a damp day such as this; much of the remainder seemed to be cute kids' clothing, soaps or lotions, jewelry, or gifts I couldn't afford. Did get a small gift, and some little china/resin things: a grazing reindeer, a cute "Hallowe'en house" that was only $2, a bowl decorated like a pumpkin, and a little Hallowe'en "statue" for James with a pumpkin and a candy corn rhyme (he loves candy corn, even though he can't eat it any more).

It's finally starting to brighten outside; we may see the 63° high by the end of the day.

14 October 2009

Fall Pads in on Wet Feet

Two weeks...two weeks I keep intending to sit down and talk about how fall has inched its way in day by day...and the wet days soaking everything down, and the sudden hot spell that put an end to open windows for a week, and some more rain...and noticing little things.

Oh, not the dogwoods. They started to show signs of rusty leaves in August and have been rust-red and green for weeks. But the other trees have been touched, and some in such picturesque ways. Yesterday I was actually glad for a red light because it gave me a chance to gaze long and admiringly at a big maples whose dark leaves still burned deep green in the center, but whose entire side and tips of leaves on the other side were red shading to orange shading to yellow, as if it were on fire. Noticing that the trees that overhang the little bridge that spans a creek that I must cross are turning a delicate yellow, like lemonade in the pitcher.

There has been so much rain bracketing the cold spells and then the warm spells that there are more leaves on the ground than usual, some of them already turned old gold, or spotted with red and orange. Monday while coming out of Fuzziwig's I lined up a large scarlet leaf next to a smaller yellow leaf on one of the retaining walls around the shopping center trees. It seems as if the trees in our yard change every day. The ones next door, a sudden red-orange, waved a fall harbinger weeks ago, and now our own trees are following suit.

I am happy to see the birds looking so well as they chatter and quarrel over the seed in the feeder. They look shiny and plump now, feathers back in brilliant color, unlike during the summer when they were feeding their fledglings and run ragged, with no time to preen. We had one female cardinal who was bald all summer, evidently having sacrificed feathers to her nest. If birds could look desperately tired, these certainly did! Now they have time to chase each other, linger at the feeder. The occasional dove comes by, looking bewildered, but then doves always look bewildered. And with the windows open once more I can hear their little songs, even some songs I hadn't heard yet this season, and in the distance the long, lonesome cry of the train whistle. I've missed it.

Fantastic, Odd Christmas Ride

Christmas Decoration Showroom in Huddersfield, England, complete with trolls, fairy-tale characters, a singing lamppost and warbling pine trees, snowmen, and, of course, Santa Claus. (8 minute YouTube video; thanks to Donna on the CTTM mailing list!