Tag Archives: Holidays

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.

IMG_3243

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!

 

Squeeze Me & Eat Me

Yep.

Squeezing and eating.

Feels good. A little softer. A little harder.
The taste…like it sweet? Or prefer tangy?
Big or small?
Plump and juicy?
Lean and tender?
Unblemished, touched by nobody.

Which one is right for you. For this exact need?
Did you find the right one? Ready to make a decision?
With so many varieties in life, it can be a tough choice.
So many options.
Go with your gut……..

It
Is
A
Commitment.

Deep breath.

Good.

Now put the fucking cantaloupe in the cart and move on!

Seriously. For christ’s sake!

I was at our local grocery store over the weekend. I don’t know if it was because of the holiday on our door step or what the problem was on Friday. Everyone was being overly selective on their purchase.

And these aren’t difficult choices people!

The fruits and veggie aisle. I get it, you want to pick up the best head of lettuce and unbruised peaches. Got that. But lady, seriously. Thumping cantaloupes….one after the other after the other after the other after the other….PICK ONE! Pick two if you’re unsure. They are all going to ripen up and let’s be completely serious, you aren’t honestly going to know what you get until you cut it open.

Kinda like baking a cake. You can continue to look in the oven, insert the toothpick for doneness….but until you cut it and eat it, you have no clue if you made a damn fine cake or not.

Notice nobody really cares what kind of lemon or limes they get. They don’t even worry about the oranges or grapes. Grab a few and dump them into the cart. Well isn’t that a pisser. They’re so common nobody cares.

It’s like people who are knocking on watermelons for ripeness.

Knock knock.

Knock knock knock.

Knock da knock de de knock knock.

Chucker

Get three or four people doing this at the same time and you have a percussion section right there in produce.

What I’d like to know, and I need to find out, how do watermelons stack up in a chucking contest?
Going to a big pumpkin chucking contest is on my Bucket List. I want one that has several chuckers, not just one. AND I want to to do some chucking.

Yep, I could be a Red Neck. (I also enjoy NASCAR……make your own conclusions.)

At any rate, next I found myself in the diary aisle.

Crinkle.
Crinkle.
Crinkle.

>>>> pause <<<<

Crinkle.
Crinkle.
Crinkle.

I turn to my left and find a lady standing a yard away from me.

She's holding….a package of string cheese.
She's squeezing the package of white string cheese. Moving the sticks all around in their package.

I wanted to say something like, "Yep. There are 12 sticks in there. Says so right on the package. They're sticks of cheese. Hence the name on the package: Cheese Sticks. They're individually wrapped. Kids love them. If this isn't the cheese you are looking for…and you need a block of cheese I suggest moving further down the aisle. If you need sliced cheese, the deli is on the other side of the store. Canned cheese, well, good luck with that."

She eventually put the package she squeezed and scrutinized into her basket and carried on with her shopping.

Next up: the bread aisle.

It's my lucky day.
Winner. Winner. Chicken dinner.

I wasn't stopping, but I drove right by them with my cart.

First up was a man, obviously sent to buy hamburger rolls for the cookout.
He had in his hands a package of 8 whole wheat hamburger buns, with sesame seeds.
And guess what!
mr-whipple-charmin
HE WAS SQUEEZING THEM! Along with a 20 yard glazed eye stare. It’s apparent hamburger buns are not his thing and the selection was way over his head. Buddy, whatever happens, never agree to go buy air fresheners.

You
Won’t
Make it
Out
Alive.

What are you squeezing them for? They’re hamburger rolls and they’re designed to be soft. If you are looking for a hard crusty roll, go to the bakery! The only thing that people should be squeezing in here is the Charmin! Ask Mr. Whipple, he’ll tell you!

I didn’t get a full shopping basket past him and there’s a lady standing there with dinner rolls.

My suggestion, next time lady, choose the King’s Hawaiian rolls. Each one is uniformly baked to a sweet goodness. And less stress for you and the bag of rolls.

Seriously, let’s think about this for a moment….

Kings Hawaiian rolls

Whoever selects that package of dinner rolls you’ve been handling like a Queen sized woman trying to put on A sized pantyhose….will have beautiful rolls with your paw prints mashed into them. Gee, whose thumb print is that? Please. Step away from the bag of dinner rolls.

Fast forward to Saturday.

Here we go.
To a local Farmer’s Market.

Three or four different local farmers were there with their freshly picked crops.

Fresh from the field, literally picked that morning.

Beautiful produce.

I stood next to a woman who literally picked through the snow peas. Trying this one and that one. To see if they’re any good. She didn’t just try one, she had four. This isn’t a salad bar! Then she told her son, they didn’t look so good.

Why keep eating them?

Next up she picked over the cucumbers.

Here’s the thing. This is real farm grown produce. In the fields. In dirt. Chemical free. Hand picked this morning for ripeness. She complained how the cucumbers had lighter colored areas.

O M G lady, they’re supposed to! These are NOT chemically engineered in a laboratory like a lot of our food. It’s not meant to look picture perfect. It’s farm perfect! They grow on the ground. The discoloration happens in nature.

As long as the cucumber isn’t soft and mushy – you will be fine.

Good grief.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a good shopper. I know what I need. I have my list. I’m in and out. Done. I have no patience for the namby pamby waffling of trying to make a decision on which burger buns I should get. If I have buns on my list, then the first package that looks good – is going in the cart.

Perhaps they’re contemplating what they’re going to do with these cheese sticks. Maybe it’s for a recipe and they only need one. Maybe their grandkids requested it and they never heard of them. I don’t know, but stop squeezing the cheese. If you are needing squeeze cheese, I think it’s in the potato chip aisle.

Lastly, if you’re going to a Farmer’s Market don’t turn your nose up at the produce. These guys worked hard to put this on the table. It’s as fresh as you’re going to get. Commenting you don’t like the color and then you keep sampling the food? You are an inconsiderate ass. And shame on you for not having any manners.

Melon Thumpers – keep on keeping on, cause I know you can’t help yourself. And depending on what type of melons you’re thumping, it might even be enjoyed by others.

Hunting for a Christmas Tree in Miami

How’s that song go?….

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….NOT!

I’m not complaining.  It’s just different.

It’s humid.

I’m sweaty.

I’m writing this sitting outside on our lanai – nice.  But there is a bug flying around big enough to be one of Santa’s elves delivering Christmas gifts.  He has circled me twice now and I’ve noticed he has a sign on his back that says, “Coal Delivery.”

That explains a lot.

We finally managed to get our Christmas lights up two weeks ago.  The thought was: “it’s too damn hot but if we don’t do it now we’re not going to.”  The snowflake lights that looked so pretty on our front porch in Alaska….twinkling against the snow…. still make me smile when I come home at night.  I just snort and roll my eyes at the idiocy of the concept:

Snow in Miami?

Sure, right after the Devil goes down to Georgia and sets up a half way house for wayward souls looking for salvation on a one-way road to heaven.

Of course my four potted palms on the deck add a nice backdrop to the snowflakes.

Obviously, the next step is acquiring the Christmas tree.

In Alaska – getting our last tree involved the following:

1.  On Saturday morning you dress in Carharts, put on your snow boots and grab your work gloves.

2.  Head out to the forest with your saw.

3.  Find your tree and cut it down.

4.  Tie it to the roof of your car.

5.  Once home, wrap it in a tarp to avoid leaving a trail of needles through the house.

6.  Set up the tree!

Here, in Miami, you go to a tree circus.  Complete with red and white canvas tent.  Oh Christmas Trees…..oh no!  Please tell me they give you a shot of vodka before you enter.

Before us, in the first big tent were about 20 trees standing up on display.  It’s like a fashion runway for trees.  This is ridiculous.  Nothing like Glacier Gardens in Juneau.  We would also get our trees from Cindy and Steve.  I loved how Cindy, just a petite little thing….would wrangle them away from the pile and compare the different varieties: smell, needles, height, color…all according to what I was looking for in the tree.

You see, I’m very technical when it comes to getting a Christmas tree.

Last night, at the Miami Tree Circus…when you walk through the gate they simply ask you what size of tree you would like:

Over 8 foot, 7 foot, 6 foot or 5 foot.

My response: short and fat.

Our helper elf, who stuck to us like sand on wet feet (which is more annoying than grass on wet feet I’ve now decided) I noticed had shockingly….shockingly…..let me say it again….

S H O C K I N G L Y

amazing eyes.  They were like liquid gold.  I’ve never seen eyes like that on a human.  Which made me wonder if he might practice voodoo.  Then I thought, anyone who sells Christmas trees can’t be a bad person and I am probably just enjoying way too much of American Horror Story: Coven, this year and should probably just get a grip.

But seriously – wow.

This young man followed us from tree to tree to tree.  They were short, but not fat enough really.  If I can’t get short and fat, I’d prefer a Charlie Brown tree.  Tall and bare.  I’ll even take a few branches and stick them in a pot and call it good.

Tent two…yep.  Tent two. Had about 6 trees in various sized that were…are you ready?  This was a definite first for me.

Flocked white.

Real trees, sprayed with paper mache.

They were lovely from a distance.  Then when you got closer it kinda looked like someone  went wild with a bunch of wet paper.  Well, technically that’s what they did.  It was lumpy and fell off in your hand.  I immediately thought of the cat.  We’d come out one morning and there she’d be covered in white crap…our fat mostly black cat gone wild with the Christmas tree….now encased in a self made paper mache mold….courtesy of Oh Christmas Tree Circus.

Oh hell no, I think we’ll pass on that disaster just waiting to happen.

Next tent.

More trees lined up.  There’s a short and fat tree that I like but he tells us it’s 7 feet tall.

What?

7 feet tall.

I look at the tree and stare….eye ball to eye ball with it.  This isn’t 7 feet tall.

Blink.  Blink. Blink. Blink.

OMG.  Are you telling me because of the tree’s pointy thing on top….that one branch, which is like the tree penis? ….you’re calling this tree 7 feet tall?

“Yes, we had to cut some off the bottom but it used to be 7 feet.”

Okay well it’s only 5 1/2 feet now.

“Still 7 foot price.”

By now I’m thinking those S H O C K I N G L Y amazing eyes have some kind of trance inducing powers but I’m not buying into it.  This is obviously the tree I like, but I flatly refuse to pay for a 7 foot tree when I am getting a short & fat tree.

Back to the first tent.  We need to wrap this up cause I’m starting to sweat….and it’s after work and I want to go home.

I go back to my original tree.  Eric and I look at each other, a little disheartened at the whole experience.  We agree.  We’ll take it.

The tree elf takes the tree to the register, we pay $65 and he puts a fresh cut on the bottom.  Eric goes to get the tarps to wrap it – thinking easier now than later.  Then we find out two things….

First, they sell tree stands, which we didn’t have, so we bought the tree stand…another $30 and our elf puts it on and levels the tree for us.  Fabulous!

Second, our elf slid our tree into a tree size fishnet stocking.  NO TARP REQUIRED!  How cool is that?!

With the short and fat tree tied to the roof of the car we headed home.

In Alaska, we always let the tree have an overnight to “rest and warm up” in the house.  The limbs relax with the heat of the house.  Obviously, we decided to let the Miami tree “rest” overnight as well. As far as I can tell there isn’t any fir trees in Miami – this poor thing is probably sweating to death.  Yes, if I look at the tree, I do think it has relaxed a bit since it’s arrived.  The branches are a little looser – not so pinched up.

The fir is saying the same thing I say every day: “Hallelujah!  Air conditioning!”

 

 

 

 

Beware of the Undead – Halloween Countdown!

This is my favorite time of year.

Fall.

Cooler weather.  Great movie releases.  Baked apples, cinnamon sticks, carving pumpkins, hot buttered rum and freakishly scary shit for 30 days straight!

Halloween is my favorite holiday.

My bucket list includes working at a haunted house.

Dressed up.

Scaring the shit out of people.

I’m not fussy.  I’ll hide in boxes, behind doors, leap out of trash cans,  grab your leg from under the bed or drop from the top of the fridge…just let me scare the pants off you.

I dress up as the same thing every year.  Wanna guess what it is?

Princess?

No.

Wood nymph with wings?

No.

Sexy Bond Girl?

No.

Naughty French Maid?

No.

Bad cop?

No.

Vampire? Flapper? Nurse?  Cave girl?  Marilyn Monroe?

No.  No. No. No.  No.

I always dress up as the same thing:  a dead person.

Dirty, grungy clothing, pale and bloody face.  Matted hair — sometimes long and sometimes short.  Vacant stare.  I love playing the creepy dead girl with bleeding wounds and oozing flesh.  LOVE IT!

When I moved to Florida, honestly, one of the first things I did was search about a job at a haunted house.  Granted people I spoke to were like….the local ones aren’t REALLY good haunted houses….you need to go to Orlando for those.  That’s okay, compared to what we had back in Juneau, Alaska – the local houses here are going to be AWESOME!

Lucky for me, there is a haunted house right up the road from our house.  However, unlike the weekend run in Juneau for the haunted house, this one operates for over a month – multiple nights during the week.  Not to mention it stays open long enough for the Vampires to get in a full 8 hours of frightening work before turning in for the morning.  True.  These hours didn’t work for me and my serious adult job.

Not to worry – I will get to work in a haunted mansion at some point in my career.  I simply must.  How do I know this?  No is not an option.

Eric and I spent the most amazing Halloween in Salem, MA a few years back.

With 60,000 of our closest friends.

It was unreal and oddly enough, even though I hate crowds, we can’t wait to go back.  It starts first thing in the morning and goes until late at night.   The costumes are astonishing.  WOW.  Live bands out on the streets, haunted houses, ghost walks and so much more.   Helicopters overhead and police everywhere: on horses, bikes, feet and those two-wheeler things…

That same year we also stayed at the Lizzie Borden house – and sat on the couch where she gave her dad 41 whacks with the ax.  Twisted.  Haunted walks and ghost adventures – sign me up!

Historically, we decorate our house and our garage to scare the neighborhood kids on Halloween.  Nothing makes us happier than to hear someone say, “You guys have the best house!”  Rock on – turn up the fog machine and que the clanging chains and moaning beasts.

This is my favorite time of year.

However, some frightful things, which shouldn’t necessarily be so frightful scare the living bejeezits out of me.

Every morning is routine for me.  You know the main character on the show: The Big Bang Theory?  Sheldon Cooper?  Yeah, well guess what?  I have Sheldon moments.  No, I am not going to bore you with the details about the latest research on how Matrix mechanics are being called the first conceptually autonomous and logically consistent formulation of quantum mechanics. Did you know it extended the Bohr Model by describing how the quantum jumps occur?  Seriously, I’m not kidding.  It’s hard to believe but, it did so by interpreting the physical properties of particles as matrices that evolve in time.   Think of it, as being equivalent to the Schrödinger wave formulation of quantum mechanics as well as being the basis of Dirac’s bra-ket notation for the wave function.

Are you kidding, me?  I have no idea what the hell any of that means.  How many of you just read that twice?  I’m more like Penny – duh.  Blah, blah, blah chicken.

However, every morning it’s the same.

Prior to the front door being painted a lovely shade of river mud brown, it wasn’t uncommon for me to open the front door and have a lizard stuck to it or the molding – waiting to dash inside.  Okay, whatever just don’t harass the cat!

Every morning I open the door and check the door.

Nothing.

Check the welcome mat for creepy crawlers a.k.a. “beetles” which in regular non-dreamer terms means ROACH.

I scan the first landing and if all looks clear, I proceed outside.  Lock the door and scan the second landing and two steps.  If all clear, proceed to car.

Very simple.

Very reliable.

Today I open the door to depart for work at 7:15AM.

Scan.

Clear.

I approach the top of the first of two steps and look down to the next landing.  There’s a “beetle” on it’s back.  Dead.

That’s right you MOFO – you better be on your back!  Dead.  Legs curled in and dead like a crispy little leaf off a tree.  That’s why we exterminate your ass.

D. E. A. D.

Regardless, I still give it a wide berth – respect for the newly departed and all.  I make a giant left bank to avoid the carcass.  Suddenly as I am passing by the high noon mark on the lifeless shell it suddenly flips over and starts to run.

Run.

At.

Me.

FUCKER!!!

My heart rate goes from a calm 60 bpm to nearly 175 bpm as I nearly climb the 100 foot palm tree in an effort to get out of this thing’s way.  I’m slightly dumbfounded at what is happening. It was dead.  On it’s back.  Maybe I’m imagining this.  I didn’t sleep well and I didn’t get to juice my fresh fruits and veggies.  Maybe it’s a hallucination.  I pause and turn around.

This beetle, I kid you not, is as big as my thumb.

In length and width.

It’s antenna where so big, they were only good for two things:

1.  Being used as a car jack.  Need to change your tire?  No troubles, let me get my thumb size roach out one moment please.  Just call him Arnold:  “I’ll be baacck.”

2.  Bringing in Radio Tokyo with perfect clarity.

And it’s running!  With 12 pairs of the latest Nike Air shoes on – I swear.

I’ve never seen a beetle this enormous except for those you see in Natural History Museums to explain about the prehistoric creatures and what scientists unearthed in long forgotten caves under the earth’s crusty surface.

Not only was it wearing the latest Nikes but it had a matching head band to keep the sweat out of it’s eyes and an iPod tucked into it’s right wing shield.

That’s right.

WING shield.

Not only do they play dead.   They fly.  When I realized this I nearly broke the windshield trying to get into Norman as I was certain it was making it’s way towards me.

Buzzzzzzz  Buzzzzzzz.

I feel faint.  Turn the air on.  Put the seat back.  Head between my knees.  OMG it nearly killed me.

………………8 hours later……………

I arrive back to the scene of the crime.

No pools of blood and gore on the landing, no half eaten chickens in the yard.  The beast must have gotten away.

I get out of the car and immediately start stomping my feet.  There I am in my dress and end of day ballet flats (yeah, well you try wearing heels for 8 hours and see what your feet tell you.)  Anyone looking out their windows would have thought I was doing some sort of Indian Rain Dance minus the ornate Shaman staff and speaking in tongues.

I walk back to the trunk and then it happens.  Noises.  I hear a noise in the shrubs.

Sweet Jesus it’s back!

What do I do?

Stomp harder, hopping one foot to the other, all the while muttering: fuck, fuck, fuck.

I slam the trunk shut and stomp and dance my way up to the front door, eyeballing every dead leaf to make sure it’s actually a dead leaf and not a beetle playing dead.

This is ridiculous, however when you’re dealing with a beetle that is big enough to feed a starving family for 2 days, and comes with it’s own saddle, spurs and lasso, you have to take precautions.

I get inside the house, slam the door and peer out the peep hole.

Only then do I realize the rustling in the shrubbery was nothing other than a stupid ass squirrel.

I thought it had me.