Sunday, October 31, 2010


Boooooooo! Did I scare you? I know some people don’t like Halloween.  Maybe they have bad memories of it or don’t like dwelling on “evil.”  Not too many people even think about the origins of Halloween or All Hallows Eve anymore. Halloween is now the second most lucrative holiday for retailers and I see it played out in my own neighborhood.  I have never seen such elaborate Halloween decorations in my life! I would have loved to have all this around when I was a kid.  I would feverishly draw “scary” goblins and ghosts in crayon and display these in the front windows on the day of Halloween.  Many of the houses around here brought out the goods on Oct 1 and continued to build on their themes all month long.  It is amazing and so much fun.  
Facing fears is a difficult concept. Halloween can show kids that they can be a little scared (or a lot!) and feel the safety of home or parents nearby.  Or feeling brave in the face of a scary ghost or goblin can be a powerful thing to a child.  “See I’M not scared..!”  I can hear myself say to my best friend as we dug our hands into a bowl of spaghetti ‘brains’ at a haunted house when I was 10.  I am mostly a big chicken really, not a big risk taker, but what fun to be able to dress up as a skydiver or as a fairy princess or a ghoulish creep or anything and pretend to be something or someone else for a night.  
I see Halloween as a great time to be creative and to be silly and get dressed up and get tons of sweets that I don’t want any of us to eat.. It is amazing how “alive” the streets are with the excitement.  My kids are no exception, they will want to get their costumes on at the earliest possible time... I don’t let them eat breakfast in them..but they would if they could!
Our neighborhood starts off with a hotdog potluck supper at one family’s house at 5:00 and then everyone strikes out in all directions and the merriment continues until well past “dark-thirty.” 
Our pumpkin is carved. The decorations are repositioned after all this wind we’ve had... The weather looks promising.  The basket of goodies to hand out is by the door (minus a few choice morsels...I am such a snitcher.) We are ready when you are!
Trick or Treat?!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stretchy jeans

I put on a pair of jeans today that fit right at my waist. Not Mortimer level, just comfy. Nothing flopping over the top, no granny panties sticking out that I have to hide with the appropriate top.  No belt necessary to compensate for the expansion of the "stretch" fabric.  I try to look a little bit cool, but not really all that hard.  I taught preschool for a number of years and didn't need high fashion or anything TOO nice because it would likely be used as a dropcloth, hanky or napkin at some point.  I have tried to "update" my look on occasion and have bought some of the lower-waisted pants/jeans etc.  I am always trying to pull them up, because they always feel like they are falling down.  Or I pooch my stomach out to make them feel tighter and that is just not very cute...  I have bought the lower-waisted underwear too and bigger belts to fit my hips rather than waist.  It just never ends. I found some stretchy jeans that seemed fine at first but after a few washings, the waist was all "wee-wonky" as my kids would say.  I don't get it.. well, I do. The fashion gurus have to keep us gyrating around so they can sell more and more stuff.

 I totally skipped the bullet holed, run-over  jeans and the ones that looked like a horse dragged you for miles through rough gravel.  Now jeans are so long legged that you are supposed to wear those eight inch heels with them or pay extra to have them hemmed and then they look weird.  No one really wins but the people at the top of the fashion food chain.  We keep voluntarily biting the worm and getting the hook.  I recently went into the very popular Anthropologie store and tried on a pair of their jeans.. First of all they were $168. Second - they were European-sized which messes with my head. Third the sales person said "Oh! Those look SOOOO great on you, you MUST get them.. "  I guess she did not see that I was turning purple because they were so tight, AND I felt like I was wrapped in elastic bandages.  I was having a hard time walking.  I mentioned that maybe I should try the next size and she said "Oh no, honey, you don't want to do that, they are the stretchy kind and after a few wears they loosen up and drive you crazy!"   but I should buy the ones that make me feel like a living mummy and pay how much? And still have to pay to hem them?!!  I left without buying anything and I think I even cried a little on the way home at how ridiculous the whole clothing world is for women.  I can't even talk about "jeggings" - jeans/leggings... maybe another day for that one.

Monday, October 18, 2010

What spooky things are under your bed?

I am trying to make some progress in getting my house organized. Trust me. I am on a steep climb upward here, but I try to pick some corner to work on each week. On the list recently was the task of cleaning everything out from under my bed. Even I was shocked at the things I found, and I am not sure what it all means except that I shove a lot of weird stuff under my bed!  Are you ready for the list? I am just glad my mom is not a computer person and unless my sisters show her she will never know the horror..

Here goes:
22 pieces of art (two watercolors of mine and lots of other mixed media of my girls), a sock (I couldn't believe there was only one), three metal decorative pieces that I don't know where to hang, a roll of birthday wrapping paper, two gift bags, a crucifix (look out Dracula!), a Yahtzee game,  an Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader game (and no, I don't think I am!), a paper clip, a dust rag (hmmm), dust bunnies to go with the rag, an exercise band, a pen, my high school diploma (I am NOT kidding) and nine empty picture frames. I have to say it is embarrassing, but I feel good about tackling that particular beast.  I am not sure what I am going to do with all the art. That is an ongoing dilemma for another blogtherapy session at a later date.

I would love to hear your stories about what you have under YOUR bed!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quasimodo impersonation

I do not  understand why I do this. I, frequently, despite the fact that I own laundry baskets, try to grab with just my two scrawny arms, every piece of laundry out of the dryer and carry it to a remote location, littering the highways and biways with underwear, socks. towels, etc. I call it the Quasimodo. What makes me do this so often that I have a name for my action...?  Aside from the fact that I am a little crazy, one reason comes to mind...maybe last week's laundry is still sitting in the laundry baskets. Maybe my children have turned the baskets into some form of their imaginary universe.  Sometimes the laundry baskets get filled with the "dregs" of the day at the end of it when I am too tired to really put things away.  I shove whatever has landed on my bed into the basket - sometimes on top of the folded or unfolded clothes. Then I wonder why I can't find my keys, prescription I picked up the day before, glasses, current book club selection, matching socks, school papers that need to be signed and returned RIGHT NOW...

I need to be better organized.  Is there a pill for that? I am jealous of my type A friends who would tell me that I should just fold and sort the load as I pull it out of the dryer. A big fat raspberry to that...I am too claustrophobic to do that and then I could not watch all the obnoxious HGTV people organizing and decorating themselves into a frenzy while I try to sort socks, or I would miss Ina Garten's (is that really her name?!) artful breaking of eggs into a bowl for her fabulous anniversary quiche for Jeffrey.  I hope Jeffrey knows how lucky he is...

Time to dive into the washer and look for loose change. Happy Sunday.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The changing of the closets

Ah, nothing like a little cool air in the morning to set the stage for the quarterly changing of the closets.  All of a sudden we really need to find pants (that still fit) and transform the drawers that are full of shorts and swim stuff to sweaters and cozy things.  I usually have a few plastic bins that are emptied and then refilled after the culling process has been completed.  I don't mind the chore this time of year because I LOVE fall. I love the cool temperatures and the fact that I can now completely cover up all body parts and tuck away my neon white legs for a few months.  I love the fall colors and curling up under blankets, picking leaves out of my hair... My girls can't wait to drag out the Halloween stuff.  On the radio today, I heard a Christmas I know it's October. Isn't it weird that we dress our kids up all crazy and let them wander around and beg for food on Halloween? And then they get home with a giant sack full of candy that we don't want them to eat? Back to the reality of weeding out the closets.  For mine, I'd like to just bulldoze it and start over. Better get to it! Now where are the keys to that bulldozer...?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cleaning frenzy, red velvet cake and a laundry tip...

I had twenty guests in my house on Saturday evening!  I love having company over every few months because it causes me to clean and to see things oddly placed in my house and get them back to their appropriate places.  For example, the Advil bottle in my kitchen window sill is now in the med cabinet.  The odd assortment of toys that collect on the surfaces in all the rooms of the house are in some kid room - well, they were before the party.  Now I can see the redistribution of some of the things that were put away.  I am not a fussy housekeeper. I’d rather do anything else, but I do love to have a clean house every now and then.
I was working myself to death all day baking and cleaning, I don’t remember eating or if anything tasted good.  I do remember that I didn’t have enough lemonade for the kids.  After the party I went upstairs and realized that I’d left all kinds of cleaners out in the bathroom and hadn’t “finished” what I started up there.  I also had pulled out a wad of grossness from my vacuum and put it on a table and forgot to get it to a trash can. So, that made a nice decoration...
I made a red velvet cake for the first time this weekend, and it turned out okay, but I am a little freaked out that it took two entire bottles of red food coloring.  Can that really be good?  I made the cake at the request of my daughter who turned 11 and wanted to serve this cake at her birthday party.  It looked and tasted fine - the cream cheese/marshmallow frosting was wildly good!  I am just not sure I will make the cake part again. 
Laundry tip!
In all the madness I tried a laundry tip that worked great so I have to share this with you:  My daughter had a buttery grease stain on a dress (she loves to help in the kitchen!).  My first attempt with a regular stain remover didn’t work at all. Then Mom told me to try some shampoo - I rubbed some on the stain and washed the dress again and it totally got the stain out! I used Pert.  If you try this, tell me if it works for you and what shampoo you used.  There goes the buzzer. Why don’t dryers have a more pleasant way of alerting you - why can’t there be ring-tones that you can pick??  More on that later...