Candy & Eyeballs & Nickels, OH MY!

Old School Jack-O-Lanterns.

Around here Halloween is A BIG DEAL.

Just about everyone decorates the exterior of their house for the holiday.  And most of the families, save the conservative Christians and the Mormons, are home to hand out candy or whatever on Trick-or-Treat Night.

It’s the one time of year when adult neighbors, often with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine in hand, sometimes in costume, accompany their kids to our doorstep, then actually acknowledge and speak with us.

The Harvest Moon.

Trying to set a good example for the kids, I suppose.  Be cordial.  Even if we, your parents, can’t be arsed to say “hello” under any other circumstances.

Be that as it may, I still find it to be a fun holiday.

If only because little kids dressed up are a hoot to watch stumbling around the streets.  And because bigger kids are a hoot to talk with as they try to barter for more candy.  Both make me laugh.

Treats For The Beggars.

In the past, on evenings with perfect weather, we’ve had 220 beggars.  Because this neighborhood is growing, with many new homes built this past summer, I’m planning for 250 kids who will get a piece of candy OR a bloody eyeball OR a nickel.

And if we’ve handed out all of that before the 2 hours of begging is over, I think we’ll take our chances, turn off the lights and hope that these kids don’t know about soaping windows!

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So what’s up with your Halloween plans, my gentle readers?  Share your spooky or kooky in the comments below.  
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Organizing Gibberish Thusly

First leaf with Autumn color says, “Look at me!”

THIS WEEK I’VE BEEN SORTING through my desk drawers and my computer files.  I save lots of ideas, either scribbled on bits of paper or quickly typed on computer sticky notes.

I keep these ideas as prompts just in case I need something to write about here.

Like today.

MOST OF MY SAVED ITEMS are snippets of thoughts that float through my mind while I’m doing something else, so they’re not fully formed ideas.  In fact, they are generally pure gibberish.

But I continue to believe that one of these saved items will be the best idea ever, so I’m reluctant to throw any of them away– until I do.

I could be deluded, of course.

[Rather like Gayle King and her massive purse + jewelry collection, featured in O magazine this month.  It’s a collection so unwieldy that it required an outsider to sort through it, culling out that which no longer serves her.]   

[Alright, maybe my little pile of ideas is nothing like Gayle’s purse collection, but you get my drift.  Too much of anything is confusing.]

Underwhelming decorative Summer grass says, “I’m not dead yet!”

I WON’T BURDEN YOU WITH a list of my half-formed ideas.  I respect your time and sanity, my gentle readers.

But I just wanted to let you know that I’m still moseying along the blogging trail.

Tossing and deleting the gibberish as I go.

Catching A Train To Nowhere, I Am This Week


Some weeks I feel as if I’m getting nowhere.

As if I’m sitting at the station waiting for a train that I hope will go somewhere, but realize may go nowhere.

I know where I want to get to.  I can see what needs to be done.

But because I’m waiting for something outside my control to happen, I’m unable to decide what to do next.

So here I sit. Bored. Impatient.

Thinking that life could be more exciting than this, yet knowing that it often isn’t filled with adventure.

And if I am to be truthful, feeling apprehensive about what’s going to be asked of me next.

When the train gets here.  Where I am.


In Which I Attempt To Spring Clean & Am Thwarted By Motherly Advice

Order out of chaos.

It’s that time of year.  Spring.  And my half of our clothes closet is a mess.  As usual.  Just ask Zen-Den.

So I’ve decided to be strong, be decisive, be ruthless… and sort through my clothes.  And accessories.  Because it’s not doing me any good having all this stuff piled up hither and yon.

I crave a calm, organized closet.  Angst-free.

Encourage or discourage?

But here’s the issue, when I start to organize anything in our home I hear my late mother’s voice telling me three of her stock phrases. The woman was nothing if not consistent.  And cautious.

  1. Waste not, want not.
  2. Be careful.
  3. Think it through.

So then after acknowledging that these phrases are bouncing around inside my mind, I become so filled with doubt that I do not do that which I set out to do.  And the closet… or the basement… or the junk drawer remain messy.

Stumbling over the past.

It’s the oddest thing.  I can let go of outdated ideas with ease.  I can move on from rotten relationships as needed.  But when it comes to objects that I’ve bought or inherited, I have difficulty deciding what to do with them.

Begging the question: how do you un-program that which a well-intentioned mother who grew up during the Depression programmed into you?

There must be an override switch somewhere, right?

QOTD: What’s On Your Superpowers List?

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 4.27.40 PM
Image Source: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)

• • •

Remember back a few weeks ago when I was reading Darcy Eikenberg’s Bring Your Superpowers To Work and how it bugged me that I couldn’t figure out what my superpowers were?  

I mean, I’ve always been told that it’s more important to know WHO you are than to know WHERE you’re going.  Yet there I was on a bleak February day not knowing myself OR my path.   

So I decided to dig in and determine what superpowers I had.  Then I created this list.  Perhaps it’s a bit lighter in tone than what Darcy has in mind, but it is who I am.  Which I do believe is the whole point of this exercise.

• • •

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 4.25.52 PM
Image Source: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress) 

• • •

I am…

  • able to confirm that the color you painted your walls is not the right color.
  • able to laugh, more often than not, at the absurdities of life.
  • able to say thank you so many times in a day that it may sound insincere, but it’s not.
  • able to bring ideas and experiences together in novel ways.
  • able to determine within minutes of meeting someone if said person is a problem solver or a problem keeper.
  • able to sit on the curb and clap enthusiastically as the parade goes by.
  • able to find a way to avoid ironing anything, preferring to delegate that task to anyone with the patience necessary to get rid of wrinkles.
  • able to remember minutiae/information that doesn’t matter any more.
  • able to remember to write down minutiae/information that matters now, often remembering where said minutiae/information is after being written down.
  • able to pick myself up, brush myself off, curse about life’s inequities– and then start all over again.

• • •

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 4.34.25 PM
Image Source: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)

• • •

Now, I’ve shared my list. What about you, gentle readers? What are your superpowers? I’d love to know.

I Cleaned Out Our Spice Cabinet For The First Time In Years

Here is an easy quiz for you.


Q1:  What percentage of our herbs, spices & seeds did I throw away because they had expired?

  • 15%
  • 45%
  • 63%
  • 80%

Q2:  How many containers did I throw away? 

  • 11
  • 23
  • 29
  • 36

Q3:  How much money did I toss out when I cleaned out our spice cupboard? 

  • $18.00
  • $72.00
  • $97.42
  • $150.00, more or less

Q4:  Were any of the herbs, spices & seeds never opened before being tossed out?

  • Yes
  • No

 Q5:  Were any of the containers duplicates?

  • No
  • Yes

Q6:  The following is a list of dates. Which date do you believe accurately describes the oldest container in the cupboard?

  • June 14, 2003
  • October 5, 2002
  • November 25, 2000
  • so old there is no date on the container

Q7:  Are all the above dates real dates that I found on the containers that I threw out?

  • No
  • Yes

Q8:  The following is a list of herbs, spices & seeds.  Which is the oldest one that I found?  

  • Celery Seed
  • Basil
  • Leaf Marjoram
  • Dill Weed

Q9:  Of the following herb/spice blends, which one am I saddest to see go?

  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Lemon Pepper
  • French Seafood Seasoning
  • Pizza Seasoning

Bonus Question for Extra Credit:  Of the following three extracts which was the only one that we opened and used?

  • Pistachio Extract
  • Almond Extract
  • Vanilla Extract


Answers are in bold.  🙂

Looking For Fun & Feeling Wordy

•  Please take a moment to peruse the 50 Best Literary Insults.  You never know when you might need one.  CLEVER.

•  I may have found the perfect Weekly To Do List.  It’s pretty & free.  YES!

•  Do you need to figure out what the heck some business wonk is talking about?  Is jargon like Thought Shower | Gently Toggle | Weblication being tossed around the table?  Then check this out.  SNARKY.

•  Have you ever wondered what are the Top 10 Most Read Books in the World?  SURPRISING.

•  In case you were wondering, I give you the 12 Buzzwords You’ll Need to Know in 2013.  INANE.

•  So you say that you’re interested in setting type?  Then KERNTYPE {a kerning game} is just the place for you.  GROOVY.

~ That’s all I got for you today, gentle readers.  Enjoy!