Category Archives: celebration

The Angst of Halloween Excitement

Some people look forward to the Fourth of July: fireworks, picnics and parades.

Others enjoy the thrill of Christmas: tree decorating, traditional song singing and lots of eating.

And others anticipate specific spiritual holidays: ceremonies, reflections and renewal.

Me?  If I could choose one holiday.  It would be Halloween.  I love everything about it.

Scary movies.  Dressing up.  Scaring people.  Decorating.  Vampires.  Scaring people. Candlelight.  Monsters.  Being scared.  Haunted things.  Ghosts. Scaring people. Pumpkins.  Bats.  Rats.  Witches.  Scaring people. Things that go bump in the night.  Cobwebs.  Bones.  Potions.  The mysterious and unexplained.  Oh, and scaring people.

All of it.

Love it.

Best trip ever: Universal Halloween Horror Nights with some of our closest friends in Florida.  Multiple haunted houses.  Aliens.  Mike Meyers.  The Purge.  The Walking Dead.

It. Was. Awesome!

If I could find a job working at a haunted place year round, I would.  You say your place is haunted and you need a tour guide?  I’m your person.  I’ve stayed at the Lizzie Borden house here in Fall River, MA.  You know how that story went….

Lizzie Borden took an axe

and gave her Mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her Father forty-one.

And yes, I sat on the very couch where she is rumored to have axed her father!  Yes, I believe in ghosts.  I believe in the supernatural.  Bring it on.

I worked in a building in Juneau, Alaska that was hands-down haunted.  Thank you Mr.Livingston….may your spirit live on and entertain the new owners!  (She says with a laughing cackle…)

I love this kind of stuff.

Needless to say, with Halloween around the corner, I am anxiously awaiting pulling out my trunks of decorations…for my office.  I’m like a little kid waiting for the Easter Bunny to poop out chocolate candies on Easter morning.  The excitement is killing me!  But, unlike the retailers, I refuse to put anything out until October 1st.  Let’s not jump the holiday season.  If you do, then it’s not special.  It’s like the people who leave their Christmas lights and trees up until April, come on….

I will however, wander through Michael’s and Home Goods…oogling and ahhing over the numerous decorations to get my fix like a desperate addict.

Of course I decorate my office.  Duh.  I figure you spend so much of your life in that box,  you might as well make it as enjoyable as possible while there.

The funny thing is…I’m the only person in my building who decorates for Halloween.  I am always mindful as I don’t want to be too gory.  So I leave the severed arms at home.  But I did hang spider nests from the ceiling last year.

Every year I add in something new, so I’m always looking for something else I can create.  It’s almost a mini haunted house, but not so gruesome.  Requirements:

  • Skulls – check
  • Candles – check
  • Potions – check
  • Bats – check
  • Skeletons – check

What’s funny is some people will stop by and come see what I’ve done.  Others won’t come within 20 feet.  “Keep a wide berth Marge.  That one, she’s not right.  She’s got candles and skulls in there.”  Seriously, it’s not like they’re real skulls…I’m a plant eater for pete’s sake.

Now my big question is, “Who/what to be for Halloween?”  Since it falls on a weekday, I always need to be mindful that I could be called into a meeting.  Walking into a meeting of 8 people and you’re the only dinosaur could be kinda fun.  Of course, I’d be a baby dinosaur as I’m only 5’1.

Last year I went as Jane Goodall, the premier chimpanzee researcher.

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One thing, if you know me, the outfit has to have a wig.  So this year, I have selected my costume for the office and yes….it has a wig.  It is also meeting appropriate and there is no height requirement.   I better get started…

I just can’t wait!

 

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Chatting with a Cow Named Gail

I volunteer at a local farm animal rescue called, Maple Farm.  It’s about an hour away from our place and is located in Mendon, Massachusetts.  When I tell people what I do, half think I’m nuts and half are in awe.

Animals are the most compassionate, forgiving, non-judgmental and loving beings alive.  Yes, they definitely have their good days and bad days but after a week of sitting in an office, nothing makes me happier than hanging out with a bunch of goats, pigs, feathered friends, sheep, cows and llamas.  It’s therapy.

My homies are happy to see me and search me out for pats and snuggles.  We chat about how their week went and what they did while I was away.  A big topic is always the weather, especially now that we’re heading into the cooler temps – those with fur coats are no doubt greatly relieved.  And I’m constantly having to tell them, “No, I don’t have any snacks for you….”  Although they can still clearly smell the apples, berries and melons on my hands I just cut up in the prep room.

A Saturday routine consists of a variety of activities:

  • Cutting up fruits & veggies for 11 goat trays & 2 pig buckets
  • Sweeping out the main barn before the tour begins
  • Giving out pats and snuggles
  • Refreshing water buckets
  • Cleaning out Boo-Boo, the young cow’s stall
  • Rotating the veggie & fruit boxes in the walk in fridge
  • Taking selfies with the goats
  • Composting
  • Breaking down boxes
  • A few more selfies and time out for pats and scratches behind the ears
  • Scooping up the llama poop out in the field
  • Talking with Gwen the turkey, who supervises the water bucket refills
  • Cleaning out Pom-Pom, the duck’s area if there’s time
  • More sweeping before the tour…don’t you guys know I just did this?
  • Cleaning out the duck pools
  • More snuggles and pats

Over time, simply from going to the farm, bonds develop with the animals and no matter how busy the day becomes, there is always time to take a break and sit with your extra special friends.  On my very first day of volunteering (photo above) I met Gail, an elderly cow, who is kept in a barn down the way with her friend Emily… a goat.

I always make sure to stop in and check on my little buddies.  (Little being a relative term, as Gail probably weighs in close to 1,000 pounds.) I check their water.  Fluff their hay.  Take out any “piles” that may need to be removed.  It’s the least I can do for my  friends.  I want to make sure they know, while they aren’t in the main barn, they’re not forgotten.  Every time I go, I spend time talking with each of them.

Emily, the goat, is very shy.  However , on my last two visits she’s come up to sniff my hand all over.  Today was no exception.  Sniff.  Sniff.  Sniff.  Sniff.  We’re definitely making progress. She is so curious.  I just know she wants to be pat, she just doesn’t know how.  We’ll get there.  It may take us a year.  Someday, we shall pat.

Today, Gail was laying down and chewing her cud.  I sat down next to her, with my legs crossed.  (Yes, I sat right down in the hay. Some people would be horrified at this – seriously.  It’s not like I was sitting in a pile of poop, people. )  While I sat next to Gail we chatted about her week and how she had been since I saw her last.  She had a little respiratory infection previously.  All the while I was stroking her neck and cheek.  Without warning, she turned her head and leaned her head right into my chest and put her head on my lap.  Her big brown left eye looking up at me.

WHOA!

I just did 27 summersaults in my heart!

And that quick she picked her head up again.

I think I just got a cow hug!

I commented as calmly as possible to my better half Eric, who was on the other side of the barn door, “GAIL JUST PUT HER HEAD IN MY LAP!”

My chat continued with Gail and we talked about the weather and how it was cooling off and going to be a nice week ahead for her.  Much better than the previous few weeks and  I thought she would find fall a lot nicer.  With that, she again leaned over and put her head back into my lap.

Holy guacamole!  I just got another cow snuggle from Gail!

There are just some things in life that will send you over the moon.  For some, it might be riding in an exotic sports car, or having a fancy piece of jewelry or big house.  Maybe it’s finally owning a particular piece of artwork or learning to play the piano or getting reservations for a highly rated restaurant.  Who knows, it could be wearing a pair of designer shoes, going to a concert or solving a challenging scientific equation.

For me….it was sharing a moment with a 1,000 pound sentient being and having her trust me enough to put her head in my lap.  Not once, but twice.

 

Miss Kona: Pride Parade Adventure

Check that off the list: Marching in a Pride Parade.

A friend of mine called and asked if I was interested. Well, let me see….
It’s fun.
I can be silly.
I’ve never been in a Pride Parade.
I get to ride in a trolley.
Yes! I’ll do it!

For the weeks leading up to the event, I was pondering what I would say to the spectators. You see, we were going to be on a big trolley and handing out Hawaiian leis. So the possibilities are endless, but generally came back to the one comment, “I wanna lei you.” Terrible. But funny.

I, however, can’t say it with a straight face.

Three nights before the event my friend calls. “What are you dressing up as for the parade?”

What?

“Aren’t you dressing up for the parade? You did all those Wearable Art Shows….you have to dress up.”

Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Wearable Art Show 2011.

Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Wearable Art Show 2011.

Well shit. I didn’t think about it. Then it smacks me in the forehead, like a mosquito, this is a perfect excuse to dress up! How could I have not realized this? I love to dress up! What the hell am I going to do? I can’t believe I almost went as a normal person!

I pressed the urgent button. Must. Get. The. Creative. Juices. Flowing.

Now, I don’t have months to prepare, I only have two nights. This is going to be a mess.

We’re doing leis, so Hawaiian would be good. That’s a no-brainer. What kind of Hawaiian stuff do I have on hand? Nothing. Not a floral shirt. Not a lei. Flip flops. I have flip flops. Well that’s not very Hawaiian.

Where are my wigs? In the storage closet. UGH. I don’t have time. Do I even have a long black wig? No. Eyelashes! Has anyone seen my eyelashes? I know the little box they’re in….but where is that box? I’ll worry about that later.

To the drawing board I go….which in this case, is the party supply store.

Lo and behold, they have a big selection of left over Halloween items. Thank you! First I pick up a cool mask, with giant beak and feathers out of the top. I find different colored table cloths to match the feathers. Then I look and say to myself….THIS is NOT Hawaiian themed. This isn’t going to work.

I put everything back…then stumble into the Hawaiian section.

Two grass skirts.

Four pretty silk flower leis.

No, they had NO coconut bra tops. Trust me – I was looking. I did flirt with the idea of using real coconuts but the thought of trying to successfully crack it open and then drill holes for a string to hold it together….was too much comedy of errors for me.

And on the way out…one last pass through the Halloween section. YES! A long black wig. They call it a fashion wig, I’m thinking…seriously? Whatever, it’s long and black. When I check out the cashier advises me there is no returns on the wig. Okay, she doesn’t know me, but I NEVER return a wig. Miss Kona Supplies

Next stop. The Dollar Store. Yep. I hit the jackpot! Pink flamingo plastic table cloth, fishing nets, sequined butterfly things and clip on flowers.

I go home and assemble the costume.

The next night I realize, I didn’t have a headpiece. You always need a headpiece! So using a headband, some shells and glitter…I fastened together a sea princess crown.

I also realize I can’t find my eyelash box. Yes, besides wigs, I have an assortment of eyelashes. I look in the obvious places. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Then, literally, while I”m on my hands and knees looking under the bed….(side note, we just moved into this little place…which causes me to still not remember where things ended up. It is plausible the eyelashes ended up under the bed, not likely, but possible.)

Yes, I’m on my hands and knees when I break out my Catholic education and say a prayer to St. Anthony.

“St. Anthony, please can you help me locate my eyelashes? Thank you. You know it’s in that plastic box. Please help me find them.” St. Anthony never fails me. Whenever you lose something – pray to St. Anthony.

Tah-dah! Try the bottom dresser drawer.

I did and under a bunch of other stuff….there’s my eyelash box! YAHOO!

Now that I have my outfit assembled, I fall to sleep as a big day is coming tomorrow!

Rise and shine at 7:00AM. I have to be at the trolley by 10:00AM. I’ll be driving into Boston, parking at work and then taking the subway to where the trolley is staged at the Copley Center. I’ve written down my subway directions…..have them in my pocket. I’m ready to go.

I put on the top of my outfit, which consists of a white flimsy tank top blouse thing, aqua colored bra and sequined butterflies. My eyelashes are on. Big glittery eye make up is on. Lip stain is on. Body glitter is on….of course!

I look like a drag queen stuck in a disco ball.

Before I leave, I decide I better wear a zip up hoodie. I’m taking the subway after all. I grab my sunglasses, tote bag with various paraphernalia and my grass skirts in a big trash bag.

Okay, now I look like a hobo in a disco ball.

The transportation adventure begins. I zip right into Boston – SWEET! Every day should be 20 minutes.Park the car and walk to the first subway stop, which is three blocks from my office.

Silver Line to South Station….I’ve done this lots of times. No sweat.

South Station, I hop over to the Red Line going to Alewife. Okay, got this. I’ve been to South Station lots of times. Just have to look for the sign for this particular line. Easy. I get to the platform 1 minute before the Red Line arrives.

Next, I get off at Park Street and have to transfer to the Green Line. Well, this is an experience. Never been on the green line. And I need to find the C Berth for the train that goes to Connelly Circle. That’s what it said on the website for the transit system. A berth? That’s for cruise ships. Why not call it a platform? A berth? Okay, whatever. C Berth.

I still have my sunglasses on and hoodie zipped up.

I arrive at the Park Street station and feel like I’m wandering through purgatory. Dark, old, hot and fierce. At any moment I fully expect to see an elevator that says Hell? With an arrow pointing down. The signs here say C berth is also track 1. I’m at track 4. Well where the hell is track 1? I see a little old man walking across the tracks and I’m thinking, “that’s not the smartest thing to be doing….”

Then I see a sign that says C with an arrow down. There’s more layers? Or is this the elevator to hell I’ve been expecting to see here?

I hit the elevator button and wait. Nothing.
It finally arrives and the door opens. Apparently, lions have been using the elevator as their litter box. The smell curls my eyelashes even more. I turn around and look for stairs.

Down I go, along this hallway that could have been in a hospital horror flick from the 50’s. Then another sign says to go up for my berth. I truly am a mouse in this labyrinth.

I pop up and there I am on the opposite side of where I started. Four tracks, yellowing light and stale air. Big industrial floor fans running to try and keep people cool. It’s old. Old. Old. Some of the lines coming through are only 2 cars. People run and push to get on the car.

Dear lord. Please don’t let this be a long wait.

I see on the transit map I could take lines C, D, E to get where I’m going. However I stick solidly to my C plan as all these tiny cars….and I’m hoping C is multiple cars.

People are coming in obviously going to the parade, which makes me happy to know. I’m not lost.

Unfortunately, I’m sweating like a banshee. I don’t know, do banshees sweat? I’m still wearing my glasses and zip up hoodie. I’m dying. I can imagine the tank top is plastered to my back. Sweat is breaking out on my upper lip. This guy in front of me won’t stop pacing….like a caged animal. Okay. Enough.

I unzip my jacket and put my glasses on top of my head. AIR. Sort of.

Within a minute a big guy comes over and asks, “How did you get your eyelashes to do that?”
They’re fake.
“Oh. Are you with him?” (There is a young guy with a pull cart filled with signs about gay rights standing next to me.)
No, but we’re going to the same place obviously.
Then guy then says something and more about his wife….not sure what he was saying…as the noise from trains, fans and people were deafening in this crowded subway pit.

Another train comes in and he walks away to get on one of the two cars.

I put my glasses back on and patiently wait.

Hark! A train on my track! It says Connelly Circle! Thats’s the one I need. Whoop Whoop! AND it has a bunch of cars! I jump on the first one and get a seat. I sit down and immediately want to hug the conductor….the A/C is on high and I feel like I’ve walked into an ice box. Thank you, sweet fairy godmother of the subway system. And whoever invented A/C.

Three stops later, I hop off and continue to wander the lackluster white tiled subway….(which note, some people actually put this tile in their house….why?) I continue to follow signs that say, “Exit. Street.” I climb the stairs and pop out into the sunshine, like a mole who has been underground too long. To my surprise, I am actually where I should be. I didn’t get lost!

I walk 1 block and there’s my trolley, waiting in line with all the other vehicles, for the parade to start. Yahoo! It’s a small miracle I didn’t get lost. Or loose my patience and hop in a cab. Yeah me – high five!

My friend is waiting for me at the trolley and I think may be surprised I made it as well! I’m thinking, I needed a shot after that. Not a vodka shot but a tetanus. And I didn’t bring any handiwipes!

I pull up my glasses and SURPRISE! Hope it’s okay that I’m planning to dress up!

Then I start to pull my outfit together. Skirt on. Wig on. Crown on.

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Tah-dah! Two people, that I’ve met before, didn’t recognize me. It was great!

One of the guys looks up my Hawaiian name online. Apparently it’s Kona. Okay then call me Miss Kona.

I walk off the bus and a lady approaches me, “Are you going to do the hula on top of the trolley today?”

Ahhh no, but thank you.

If I had a dollar for every time someone took my photo, I’d have enough to buy a round of drinks in the bar. I walked down the street before the parade to see the floats and people were stopping me left and right. I didn’t think my outfit was that amazing, but apparently it was different enough.

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The parade starts and our music on the trolley was the best. We were literally dancing in the street. I spent most of the time walking in front of the trolley, which was great, so I couldn’t loose the trolley. And they couldn’t loose me! Win-win on that one. We were handing out leis to anyone who wanted them. Must have handed out thousands. I decided to aim for kids and people in wheelchairs along the route. I also asked many, many police officers if they wanted one – all but 6 declined. Those who did take them, gave them to the people next to them. Of course, when someone mentioned that was a Congressman in the suit standing over there, I immediately ran over. He didn’t want a lei either. Well, I tried.

One lady, who obviously was a parade organizer, due to the enormous headset she was wearing and clip board she was carrying…said to me, “You better move over to the sidewalk, there is a trolley behind you. You don’t want to get hit.” I told her I was with the trolley and I’m pretty sure they’re not going to run me down.

What a great time. Miss Kona had a hoot. I was exhausted and slightly sunburned when I got home. The energy of the crowd, the excitement of being in a parade and running from side to side wore me out….and a 4 hour nap was enjoyed when I got home.

Let’s do this again next year! Game on!

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