Saturday, October 31, 2015

...Halloween morn...

Our pumpkin babies all grown up

On Hallowe'en the thing
you must do
Is pretend that nothing
can frighten you
An' if somethin' scares you
and you want to run
Jus' let on like
it's Hallowe'en fun.
~ from an Early Nineteenth Century Halloween Postcard

Halloween didn’t exactly start off like I wanted it to. I wanted to wake up with Magic dancing all around. I wanted to wake up in Halloweentown; and, I wanted to have a fun, fun day BUT I am an adult who must do adult things… so when the morning started off with a leaky toilet, my fella and I were off to Home Depot.

First, he made coffee. While I was sitting waiting for him to get ready I used the last tissue in our Halloween Kleenex box and the Halloween candy burned itself out. Really? Halloween had just started and I was already grouchy.

the good donuts :p
decorated tree at Dunkin Donuts
My fella said that we should stop at Dunkin Donuts for a *fun Halloween breakfast*. Can you believe that I even spit out the pumpkin cake donut? It tasted horribly chemical and I refuse to eat anything that is gross. Fortunately the pumpkin pie donut was much better… and it had toffee crumbles on top so I’m sure that it was the breakfast of Halloween champions :-/


When we arrived at Home Depot, we noticed nearly 100 pumpkins available for sale. What happens to the unwanted, left-over ones? I asked one of the associates who said that unfortunately they’re “thrown out.” She seemed a bit sad about this as well; after all, she isn’t making the decisions for the company. She then asked if I wanted to take home a few for free which was super nice; I explained that if I took one I would only feel guilty about the others that I didn’t take. Later when I arrived home, I did a little research and learned that the landfill isn’t the only place for the left-behind pumpkins. Some retailers return the pumpkins back to the farms from where they originally came and farmers plow them into the land to add extra nutrients to the soil. Left-behind pumpkins are sometimes fed to livestock.

a new pumpkin with an air plant
This year my fella and I didn’t buy any pumpkins. We cut our fourth pumpkin from the vine this morning so that he, too, could be a Halloween pumpkin. He ended up being the second largest of the group and when we were removing him from the vine I noticed that he had been attached to two healthy vines. No wonder the little guy grew so big so fast!  

grocery store flowers
We got our groceries and ran some other errands which made me completely fussy because TODAY IS HALLOWEEN DAMN IT! But, as my fella reminded me, today is Saturday and that means it is errand day so that Sundays can be more relaxing. One of the reasons our relationship works is because one of us always has to be the adult when the other one is busy being a baby. Today, I’ve been the baby and he’s held my hand and cheered me through all the tasks.   
And now we’re finished with the grocery-shopping, recycling (yes, in our state we have to drive our recycling to the center), home repair, laundry, and dishes. House of Wax with Vincent Price is on in the background; the new Halloween candle is lit; and I’m chomping on candy as I write this post. My Harveys Nightmare Before Christmas bag even arrived late last night which was before the estimated date of arrival! In a few hours, my fella and I will don some masks and make our way to Ashland Coffee & Tea for a Spooktacular Halloween show.  
Harveys Nightmare Before Christmas Bats Crossbody bag

...Work it, Halloween...

Yesterday was the annual Halloween party at work. It was one of our best parties ever. Several prospective students stopped by along with our majors and  faculty members from other departments.

On Thursday morning, our department’s graduate assistant, E. convinced me that we needed to decorate that morning so that we could enjoy the decorations a bit longer. I had purchased a ton of discounted decorations so it took us about three hours to transform the office. Everything turned out great.

the brain cake a colleague made!
One thing that I discovered when putting together the paper spiders…. Just a note that I actually bought some crafts that we had to put together… was how therapeutic it was to do crafts.  E. and I laughed that our spiders and bats were a bit wonky and that we wouldn't make good elementary school teachers but it was a lot of fun. In the end, everything turned out just great.  

Of course with federal laws, I can't exactly share pictures of the party publicly but here are a few pictures of the decorations and a shot of my costume. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

...vampire-inspired Thursday...

 The strength of the vampire
is that people will not believe in him.
~ Van Helsing in Dracula (1931)

I believe! I believe!

It’s a very Vampire Thursday! Tomorrow is the English Department Halloween party. While we do not have a strict dress code, we advertise that participants should dress as their favorite literary character. Well, I’m not exactly participating in that and have had to stretch my imagination a bit to come up with a quasi-literary character. I’ll share that tomorrow though.

Today I decided to have some fun with my wardrobe while giving some vampire love. Speaking of which, Starbucks is even showing a little vampire love with their Halloween drink. It was cloyingly sweet and I tossed half of it. Aside from junk candy, I’m not a big dessert/ sweets kind of girl. Honestly, I think it was partly that the Starbucks workers weren’t sure how to say Frappula (umm, Dracula?!?) and they didn’t add the raspberry blood at the top. Hmph.

It’s a very Dress Barn kind of day. The jacket and the dress are from them. The shoes are Docs and the sucks (and by that, I mean SOCKS! Thanks to Prof. Z for noting my typo but I'm leaving it because it is funny!) are some vampire fangs. I can’t recall where I bought them. They’re not my only pair of vampire socks (and this was actually a necessity since it’s been so rainy here the last few days. Docs equals better parking spot because I don’t mind the mud!) I’m wearing my Nosferatu Hand Pewter Belt Buckle by Alchemy Gothic Jewelry. I have my Transylvania Manicure necklace collection by Kay Adams. When my hair is up, I’m using the Heidi Daus  "Entangled Elegance" Spider-Designed Crystal Hair Comb.

 Happy Vampireen!

... Halloween movie watchin'...

Clive the werewolf & my fella preparing to watch a movie

This is the time of year that even those who rarely watch scary movies watch them. Even my fella who isn't a big scary movie watcher has agreed to watch some horror movies. We watched Halloween last year, his first time; thanks to suggestions on Facebook, we have more than enough suggestions for him to catch up on his scary movie watching. 

I, on the other hand, enjoy Halloween films, ones where the actual holiday is part of the plot. I was always the kid who loved the Halloween shows on television where there was a Halloween party with a little something spooky added to the plot. I have mentioned before that I love the Halloweentown series on The Disney Channel. This week I’ve given two other Disney films a try and neither has held up to Halloweentown.

The first movie that I watched was Girl vs. Monster (2012).  

“When Skylar prepares for a Halloween bash with her friends, she unknowingly unleashes a monster. As her world is turned around, she learns that her parents have been the fact that she comes from a long line of monster hunters. It's up to Skylar and her friends to channel their inner strength and conquer more than just this monster.”

I really liked the idea of the movie and there were tons of nods to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here we have a girl who was born with a special gift and she doesn’t find out until she’s a teenager. Simultaneously, her ghost busting parents collect naughty ghosts while fronting as mold specialists. There are cute parts in the film but then there is also the questionable, “Oh no! I just showed up to the Too Ghoul for School party and even with ghosts haunting the premises I’m going to take a moment to sing”. In that sense, it was a bit too Glee-like for my taste. But, overall it was good wholesome fun and the scary ghosts were very Hocus-Pocus-y.

The second film I tried was Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire (2000).

“The Hansen kids are in a jam. Adam and his best friend Duffy have gotten their hands on some tickets for the Headless Horseman concert, and his sister Chelsea has a date with her dreamy boyfriend Peter. The only problem is they're both grounded. Chelsea and Adam will do whatever it takes to get their mom Lynette out of the house, even if it includes a chance meeting with a very mysterious man. Everything seems to go according to plan until their little brother Taylor realizes that this stranger might be a vampire.”

While the main characters are technically the children, Caroline Rhea plays the divorced, ex-rockabilly singer mom who ends up going out on a date with a vampire. Again, this Disney movie seemed like there were several nods to the original Fright Night. The kids discover that the date is actually a vampire and have to contact a Van Helsing-like vampire hunter to help save the day. Much of the movie was predictable but what I really liked was the mom/ Caroline Rhea goes out on a date where she takes the lead and brings her vampire date to a  rockabilly club where she used to sing; they then go to the Harvest Festival… again, her choice. Dimitri (the vampire) is somewhat miserable. He’s used to calling the shots and he just can’t seem to get Rhea’s attention to mesmerize her. At the end of the scene, Rhea’s character says that she’s met someone she really likes whom she hasn’t seen in years. Here Dimitri thinks that his date is smitten but NO! She’s talking about herself. Here was a mom who never allowed herself to go out and have fun. It took a date for her to find herself! Okay, after that Dimitri is then able to mesmerize her and the rest of the plot is predictable and a bit shrug. I would recommend it for that Adult Girl Power scene itself.

While I really want to rewatch movies like Halloweentown and all its sequels along with Hocus Pocus, I’ll keep watching the new movies because I never know when I’ll find the next best thing.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

... a Southern graveyard with real history...

I would rather sleep in the southern corner of a little country churchyard, than in the tombs of the Capulets.
~Edmund Burke

So much of my life ends up in the posts of this blog that I didn’t feel I could continue writing about anything until I wrote about yesterday’s funeral; and, I just couldn’t do that yesterday. I postponed my scheduled posts and left things a bit silent. 

I added the signage (left) as a reminder. "You are here" can be read in multiple ways. I am in the location; I am still here. And because of this, I need to be present. 

It was an incredibly hard day mostly because I literally ended up watching my friend grieving. The funeral was standing room only by the time the service began. I was seated adjacent to the sanctuary in the nursery. I was unable to see the pulpit. All I could see if I leaned to my right and looked out the door was my friend and his family. For the most part, I was staring at a bookshelf. Jokingly I said later that I figured that was where they put the Catholics; but in the nursery, there was actually a book about Catholicism. Because of that and a few other tidbits that I picked up, this wasn’t the average Baptist church of the South.

Carmel Baptist Church was established in 1773. That makes for a pretty old church around here. The first thing that I noticed was the historical marker which greeted visitors right at the entrance. Entitled “Grant’s Operations”, well, you can read the signage below.
The church is off of Historic Route 1 so historical signs especially those relating to the American Civil War are quite common. The church had a more detailed marker closer to the graveyard. Here I learned that during the Lee vs. Grant 1864 Campaign, this church was the place where Union soldiers reunited on May 23, 1864 before attacking General Robert E. Lee across the North Anna River where for four days, 3,400 Americans died on both sides of the war. U.S. Grant and George Meade made this church their headquarters.

I point this out because in the South, it’s hard to get away from the past. Here walked historical figures good and bad. This was a location of serious considerations of bloodshed all based on what each side believed to be right and, dare I say, Godly.

But this place holds more personal history for the family. This was where my friend’s mom was baptized and where she attended church the majority of her life. Each sidewalk that we walked upon had already been walked on by her. Each area of land including the graveyard had already been tread upon prior by this woman. This was a place she knew well. This was a place she loved.  To have a place with this much personal history, well, that’s something in itself.

The beautiful words that were shared and the images from that day will not be forgotten especially by her family. She was even escorted in via casket coach with a driver and a stunning black horse. Traditional and timeless…yet also unique by today’s standards. All of this is a lasting memory of a day that is only eclipsed by the memory of her life and her strong presence.  

Even I am not tacky enough to take pictures during a funeral and I’m certainly not here to transcribe moments that were shared. The day was sad. Hell, I didn’t even eat the deviled eggs at the reception so anyone who knows me realizes that something wasn’t right. 

On my way home from work today, I opted for Route 1 and stopped by the church. After a prayer and a few quick pictures, I was back in my car on my way home.
At the reception, I overheard one of her friends say that she was like a ray of sunshine.  Today’s photos are quite similar in weather to yesterday. It was rainy and dreary, a metaphor for this ray of sunshine being removed too soon.