25 September 2010

91 Days Until Christmas

Here's a blast from the past! Castle Films used to make movies for you to show on your home projector. Back when Dad had his Bell and Howell movie camera, projector, and screen, we had a "Deputy Dawg" cartoon in black and white that I loved to see. This has music added to it; our home movies were silent and normally this would have been, too.

"The Night Before Christmas" - Castle Films - 1946 (8mm)

Here's the 16mm version, which has narration:

"The Night Before Christmas" sound version

But you wouldn't have seen this in your home unless you could afford a sound projector.

20 September 2010

96 Days Till Christmas

Everything has apparently figured this out except the weather. 90 degrees through the end of the week.

Odd because everything else in nature has been pretty much operating on schedule. Some weeks ago the cicadas quit screaming from the trees in the office park complex. The oak trees are shedding their acorns all over the tarmac to crunch out their lives under tires and soles, and the squirrels' tails are plumping nicely. (I'd wondered if they were sick this year; I've never seen squirrels with such skinny tails as this summer.) Odd leaves are turning yellow, especially on the big tulip trees, and the dogwood trees already have leaves tipped and dipped red, sometimes only one and two to a tree, some with a whole tip of a branch showing scarlet. There's usually a breeze, and it sends leaves spattering down.

We are chatting on one of my Christmas groups about favorite holiday movies, including Hallowe'en films. I'm not a horror film person. "It's a Good Life" on Twilight Zone was about as creepy as I get. Even with Sam Neill in it, I couldn't finish watching Event Horizon. But I do like a few traditional things:

• It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
• The delightfully kitschy The Worst Witch
• Following Fairuza Balk, Fairuza Balk: Return to Oz, deliciously creepy and with Nicol Williamson to boot
The Haunted History of Halloween from the History Channel
• The even more delightfully kitschy Midnight Offerings, with Mary Beth McDonough (Erin Walton) as a good witch and Melissa Sue Anderson (chewing the scenery) as Vivian Sutherland, a really, really bad witch
• And always the For Better or For Worse cartoon special, "The Good-for-Nothing," in which Farley disappears on Hallowe'en night

19 September 2010

97 Days Until Christmas

The best way to spend the time until Christmas is to enjoy the autumn.

Here an entire collection of fall festivals dot the weekends up through October. It starts out with the annual Yellow Daisy Festival the weekend after Labor Day, with booths that line the different trails through the Stone Mountain exhibition grounds. Wares range from cute clothes for Grandmas to shower their grandchildren with to foods (barbecue sauce, soup and casserole mixes, candies, dips, maple syrup, and more), crafts to outdoor displays, children's playthings to homemade soap, musicians CDs to recycled products, home decor, fudge, furniture, ceramics, and more, with the obligatory food stands—and even souvenir bags, postcards, and mugs. Booths are liberally laced with artificial garlands of colorful autumn leaves, and a hope for cool fall is in the air.

This is usually followed by a little show called "A Blue Ribbon Affair" which proceeds the North Georgia State Fair. Well, "proceeds" except for this year. We arrived at the park today to find out they had cancelled it despite announcements to the contrary. Made a bit of a dent in our day.

Will just have to dive back into my collection of fall magazines, including Blue Ridge Country and Birds and Blooms, having finished up Yankee and Vermont Life.

16 September 2010

100 Days Until Christmas!

Summer always gets on my very last nerve, but this summer has been particular obnoxious. Temperatures sailed up into the 90s at the beginning of June and, except for one or two few days every month, have remained there. Here it is September and they are predicting we won't see 80s until later next week.

Not to mention they are predicting a warm fall and winter this year because of La Nina. Last year was so cold and lovely, from October though March, that I was sure we'd pay for it somehow. Well, summer has made that abundantly clear, the wretched brat, smotheringly, suffocatingly hot from one end of her iron reign to the other. I wish she'd take a long walk off a short pier...and not know how to swim.

I have been taking pleasures where I can get them: the Hallmark Ornament Premiere in mid-July, the appearance of fall garlands and then picks and things in Hobby Lobby in late June to early July (I can't help burying my face in them and giving them a hug), the Christmas crafts dotting the pathways at the Yellow Daisy Festival, the appearance of October dates on upcoming events calendars—and now the joy of the Christmas issue of Early American Life, the fall issue of the Vermont Country Store catalog, and Christmas craft magazines in the stands. And as a bonus an "it's like Christmas!" visit from a friend. When end-of-fiscal-year mania was at its peak—and this year with the recovery act funds in the mix it's been particularly egregious—I would retreat into instrumental Christmas carols. It's definitely music to soothe the savage "beast" of summer.

So while it's poppin' hot outside and annoyingly aggravating at the office—compounded by the fact we haven't had any hot water there for over four weeks now!—I'm trying to keep it cool and wintry...or perhaps I mean cool and "autumn-y"...in my heart.

It's definitely a hard slog and there have been tears.

Let go, you wretched witch of summer! Begone!