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October 2010



As I've mentioned before, Halloween is not really a Big Deal kind of holiday for me.  But here I am, munching on miniature-sized Milky Way bars and waiting for the kids to come around!


No pumpkin for me this year, though.  This is one of Erin's creations from years gone by.

My neighborhood is ready, too.  Signs like this are all over my neighborhood today.


The signs are a nice touch - but I cringe whenever I read them.  Drive slowLY.

And so you'll understand that I haven't always been a Halloween-Scrooge, here are some images from Halloweens past. . . (I was a little Scrooge-y even then. . . but we had fun!)

1992 - Brian's first; Erin was in preschool.

Halloween 1992

Here's Erin in. . . I think 2nd grade.

Pirate chick

and Brian sometime in preschool.


We vant to suck your bloooooood. . . .

Vampire teeth

Brian was a knight in shining armor in kindergarten. . .

Brian in K

the same year Erin was Dorothy (my favorite kid-costume of all time).

Erin as dorothy

Erin always loved carving pumpkins and playing around with the "innards."


Brian was always a ham. . . in 5th grade as James Bond. . .

2002 007

in 6th grade as a hula girl. . .


and in his final trick-or-treat appearance . . . as Tiny Tim.


Bless us, every one!  Have a wonderful Halloween!

Closed for the Season

Today was the day to put my garden to rest.  It's always kind of a relief for me. . . to close down the gardening operations for the season.  By October, I'm ready to put my trowel away (along with all the hoses, the garden chotskies, my patio furniture, the hanging pots. . . ).


First, though, I had to do my least favorite thing of all gardening chores. . .


planting bulbs!

For some inexplicable reason, I HATE planting bulbs in the fall.  I never have been able to figure out why.  But I just hate doing it!  I love to have the bulbs bloom in the spring, though.  So plant bulbs in the fall I must!

That out of the way, I put everything else to rest. 


Now, with a clear conscience, I can shift my focus to knitting and bread-baking; soup-making and reading; holiday preparations and . . . damn.  I still have to clean out those closets!


Some things never change. . .

What if They Gave a Weather Forecast and Nobody Listened?

Soundtrack. . .

Weather.  It was Big News in my neck of the woods this week.  On Monday, our local forecasters began a huge Chicken Little campaign.  A "Storm Bomb" was on the way.  A storm that only happens once in a century was on the way.  A storm just like the one that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald (which contradicts, of course, the once-in-a-century claim) was on the way.  Hurricane-gust winds!  Torrential downpours!  Straight-line winds!  Tornadoes!  Flash Flooding!  Massive power outages!  Prepare Now!  Run out - right now - and cut those dead tree limbs --- because the winds will rage with such a fury that surely your dead tree limbs will crash through your houses.  Secure all loose objects!  Take in your patio furniture!  Stock up on water!  Stock up on flashlight batteries!  Buy a generator!  Armageddon is coming! 

They called it "Fall Fury."

Oh, brother.

It was windy, all right.  We've had a couple of blustery fall days.  That is all.

One of the local news rooms had FIVE weather folks in the studio to cover . . . Fall Fury.  Five.

The sky is falling!  The sky is falling! 

All dressed up and no place to go!

It makes me crazy.  It reminded me of this poster . . . which I never had, but wanted. . .


What if they gave a storm and nobody listened?

But a lot of people DO listen.  A lot of people get really stressed by these types of dire warnings.  Heck, some school districts in the area even closed anticipating . . . Fall Fury!  I think it's appalling that weather forecasters can cause so much fear and uproar with their predictions.  Sure, it's good to be prepared for storms.  REAL storms, that is.  But this "taking cover" because Dopler radar indicates there MAY be rotating clouds in YOUR AREA is getting a little ridiculous!  (I've spent unnecessary hours sheltering frightened kids in my basement as the tornado sirens are blaring because of possible cloud rotation.)

As far as I'm concerned, I'm with Sir Rannulph Fiennes . . . "There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!"


Just a Jump to the Left


The Halloween List!

Now, I'm one of those people who just . . . don't consider Halloween a favorite holiday!  (Sorry, Erin.)  Now that my kids are out of the house, I'm sort of scrooge-y about the whole thing.  No costumes; no carved pumpkin; no front-yard graveyard.  But I'll be handing out candy at my front door, so I'm not a total bah-humbug!

Scream 002

Let's set the mood with a little music while I see if I can come up with any kind of list.

Ten Things to Love About Halloween:

  1. Miniature size Snickers bars
  2. Miniature size Milky Way bars
  3. Miniature size Hershey bars
  4. Miniature size Starburst packs
  5. Miniature size Almond Joy bars
  6. Miniature size Kit Kat bars
  7. Miniature size Reece's Peanut Butter Cups
  8. Miniature size M&M packs
  9. Miniature size Whopper's packs
  10. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (midnight showing, of course!)


Now that wasn't so hard after all! 



Lemon Jello

I was in Holland yesterday, visiting my parents.  Since I was in town, Brian invited me to meet him for coffee.


We met up at a popular, charming coffee shop near campus.


And if you ever visit, I'll let you in on a little secret.  The name of this coffee shop is NOT pronounced lemon jellos's.  Oh, no.  Just ask any Hope student.  It's la-MON-ja-lows.  One word.  Emphasis on the MON.

Brian and I enjoyed a latte and a cup of tea (respectively) . . .


and a lovely fall day.


I admired my new shoes. . .


and the leaves. . .


while Brian took a break from his biology studies.  He had to return to the books. . .


But I didn't!

Friday Round Up: Weekend Edition

I'll just start off today's post with this little guy I found in my garden today. . .


He's working so hard, despite the season!

Me, too.  Working hard, that is.  I'm adjusting pretty well to working full time.  It helps that I enjoy my job and like the people I work with.  I'm still finding time to do most of the things I like to do . . . knitting, reading, cooking, walking Jenny, blogging.  I'm having a hard time, though, finding a way to fit my workouts into my life!  I used to swim a couple of times a week, take a dance class, and do pilates -- all in the mornings.  I tried to swim earlier in the morning.  Ugh.  It's just so hard to drag yourself to a pool. . . with all of your gear and clothes. . . at 6:00 am.  I'm having a problem getting motivated for that!  And I tried the treadmill and eliptical routines.  Ugh.  I'm having a problem with the boredom factor, even WITH my iPod.  I'm going to try Zumba next week -- it meets in the evenings.  It might be a good substitute for my dance class.  I'll figure this out, eventually!  (Just going to have to cut down on the Ben & Jerry's in the meantime. . .)

I'm also re-thinking the way I blog.  I usually try to . . . say something. . . each day of the work week.  I think I'm just going to go into a more free-flowing routine.  Maybe my Friday Round Ups will become. . . Weekend Round Ups.  Maybe Ten on Tuesday will be . . . Ten on SOME Tuesdays.  I'm not so sure what will happen.  But I don't want to give up the blog.  (I also don't want to be trapped by the blog!)

I just finished reading Nicole Krauss' new book, Great House.


Oh, man.  It's another five-star book!  I adored her last book, History of Love.  This one is just as good -- although I don't think it's quite as moving.  While I had to stop reading - frequently - just to gasp, or think, or re-read - I didn't cry (or even feel like it).  The book is about loss, and loneliness, memories and family connections, dealing with being . . . left.  (In hindsight, it may not have been a good choice for me to read just now -- when Erin has decided to move even farther away after she graduates in May; when I've had enough time away from him to discover I actually DO miss having Brian around; when Tom is away in Mumbai.  Just sayin'.)  Anyway.  It's an excellent book. 

I've been doing some knitting. . .


It's Bonne Marie Burns' Mondo Cable Vest.  I'm making it in honor of my fav Project Runway designer, Mondo!  (That's really not true; it's been in my queue for a long time.  But I am in the Mondo-corner for this week's PR season finale!)  The knitting is easy and quite relaxing.

I'm ready to be inspired. . .


My favorite issue of the year arrived in my mailbox yesterday.  I plan to sit down with a cup of tea and. . .well, drool. . . later this afternoon.

And check this out. . .


Last week when I was dropping Brian back on campus (after his fall break), I stopped in at one of my favorite Holland downtown shops, The Bridge.  This is such a cool store -- it's a 100% Fair Trade shop, featuring jewelry, scarves, baskets, art objects, and unique handmade gifts from over 35 developing countries.  I love the interesting things they carry.  I visit often -- and this time, I came home with this wonderful necklace and earrings.  Fun!  (If you're ever in Holland, be sure to drop in!)

Have a great weekend!

Can't Help Myself

I know I keep repeating myself here, but I love fall!  And I love the color and structure and contrast of a fall garden.  And this year, the fall just keeps on coming!  So I can't help myself!

I took my macro lens out into the garden . . . and here's what I found!


IMG_0463 IMG_0468




Enjoy every moment of this gorgeous fall season!


Freeze Out!


This week's Ten on Tuesday has us looking into our freezers. . . and telling all!  My freezer is, well, weak on interesting content, so maybe this song will distract you from my dull, Dull, DULL freezer!

Yep.  My freezer contains. . .


1 -- Frosty mugs (just waiting for a beer)

2 -- Ice (in the icemaker)


3 -- Frozen vegetables

4 -- Frozen meat


5 -- Ice packs (both for the cooler AND for treating injuries)

6 -- My ice cream maker bowl attachment (it's in the back; WAY in the back)


7 -- Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce

8 -- My own pesto

9 -- Frozen cubes of fresh basil

10 -- Ben & Jerry's!

What's in YOUR freezer?

Temporary Return to the Nest

Guess who's home for a visit?


It's good to have him around for a few days.  To hear his stories and see how he's doing and . . . well. . . take care of him again!


College suits him.  He's having a great time and managing well in a new environment.  But it's still nice to be able to spoil him a little bit!  You know. . . doing his laundry. . .


"re-stocking" his stuff . . .


cooking his favorite meals!


He'll be around 'til Tuesday.  I didn't realize how much I missed him. . .


until he came back home! 


Actual shopping experience:  Brian and I went to the mall to get him some new jeans, etc.  At one store, we saw a mom and her absolutely miserable, eye-rolling son.  The kid looked like he was in typical middle school agony. . . you know, shopping IN PUBLIC with his mom.  He was skulking about, trying to look cool and not-in-any-way-WITH-his-mother.  Behind us in line to check out, Brian overheard the mom say, "See?  HE shops with his mom!"  (Meaning. . . Brian.)  Brian got such a kick out of it!  I wanted to turn to the beleagured mom and assure her that . . . it'll be okay again. . . once he turns 18. . . just hang in there!