Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Halloween Party, 2012...

I took the day off work today, not because I was sick, but because today is Halloween and we're having a Halloween party.


The key to any successful party is the preparation. We've been planning for days, or even weeks. The first thing I did today was help paint my daughter's wings. She made them herself. She cut the cardboard and hot glued the "feathers" on herself Well, she didn't glue them "on herself" but on the cardboard wings... She's a Weeping Angel from "Dr. Who."

Next, there is the carving of the pumpkins. This seems like it shouldn't take that long, but it does. I'm so glad the kids are old enough to carve their designs themselves (well, almost all of them can...). I found a perfect little pumpkin and created my Mac Masterpiece!


After the food was made (my 17-year old son made homemade taffy and chocolate, so good--he was in his element...), and the homemade doughnuts were covered in cinnamon and sugar, we turned out attention to the outside of the house. Thanks to my brother-in-law giving us a black light a few years ago. It works very well with our Skeleton (or "Skelly" as he's come to be known...) and webbing.


Next, came the guests. My kids' homeschool friends came over as did a few trick-or-treaters. My son organized, designed, and orchestrated an amazing Scavenger Hunt (he was in his element...). I got a compliment on my costume (Charlie Brown) and our house. The kids said it looked cool. I'm glad because "cool" is what I was going for...


 Everyone's huddled around the TV watching a classic, Alfred Hichcock's "The Birds." It's a bit dated, but surprisingly suspenseful. 

I, like many of you, LOVE Halloween! It comes at the best time of the year and everyone pretends to be someone else. Today I was a "stay-at-home dad" and party helper. Yeah, I love Halloween. Hope everyone had a wonderful night!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh, Just Lighting A Jack-O-Lantern At The Cemetery...

 When I was a kid, the last place I wanted to find myself at night was the Farmington City Cemetery. The place freaked me out! Of course, that was over 35 years ago. I guess with age I understand what the place truly means to those of us left behind.

Tonight, after our play rehearsal, we drove by the cemetery. I pulled the car over and checked for a lighter or matches. I hoped I had something to light the candle in my mom's birthday Jack-O-Lantern. My daughter wasn't sure what I was doing.

Luckily, I found some matches and I pulled into the silent, unlit space. I wondered if anyone would see the car and wonder what we were doing at the cemetery at night. I wondered if a cop might drive by, and if so, might he drive up to where we were? Probably... "Sorry, Officer...I was just lighting a Jack-O-Lantern for my mom." I wonder if he'd/she'd buy it...

We lit the pumpkin. I took a few pictures, then we got int he car and slowly drove away leaving the orange glow as the cemetery's only light. It was something cool, something special. It was the least I could do.

So, if you hurry and you're driving by the Farmington City Cemetery in the next few hours (from when I'm writing this...), you too can see my simple birthday wish to my mom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blind Spots...

This morning I drove to work while listening to the calming words of Garrison Keillor read poetry on The Writer's Almanac Podcast on double speed--the podcast, not the miles per hour I was driving. At this time of year, it's dark outside when I make my way to the office and the cubicle that, for now, is assigned to me. As I listened I needed to change lanes, so I checked my blind spot.

But did I? Did I really? I admit I drive a small car. I believe you Americans call it a "compact" car. As such, window vantage points to check my blind spots in my car are not big. Gone (possibly forever...) are the days of the cars with big windows, or maybe I'm just buying the wrong cars. After checking my blind spot, I quickly returned my gaze to the road ahead of me. I can't spend all my time looking backwards when I should be looking at what's in front of me.

The point is (if there's a point to be made here...), that I went through the motion of looking and I didn't see anything, but I wonder if looking was more a habit that I do when I drive. And if that's the case, what other things do I do when I drive are "habits?" Maybe a lot...maybe not so many. Maybe I'm overreacting...maybe I'm only thinking about this because my son's learning to drive. 

Maybe I should just be more sure when I check my blind spots that it's really clear when I decide to change lanes...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Neighbor And Secret Lives...A Short Story

hugo häring, siemensstadt housing, 1929

The Weekly Writing Prompt Returns!

It was a terrific Sunday so I thought I'd participate again in the writing prompt. This week the prompt was hosted by Carrie. You can access her site: HERE

The Rules: The short story must be less than 500 words, you need to write your story before next Tuesday evening (Halloween will be too late for this particular prompt...). Once you've written your story yo need to post it to Carrie's site. And, you must use the above picture and five randomly chosen words in your story. This week's words are:






Here's my latest story. Hope you like it!

The Neighbor And Secret Lives…

             “He’s at it again,” Mattie said to Sid, her husband of three months. The upstairs neighbor was drunk, of that there was no doubt.
            “How can you be so sure?” Sid asked with a smile as he tried for the umpteenth time to ignore the rants emanated from the apartment above theirs.
            “Well, he’s either drunk or learning how to be a preacher. I swear he just quoted something in the Bible.
            “What did he say?” Sid said lifting himself up from the couch.
            “I don’t know…something about rejoicing in God.”
            “I’ll bet he’s quoting St. Luke, Chapter 1, Verse 47: “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
            Mattie turned and stared. “How did you know that?” In the three months of marriage and 28 months of courtship she had never heard her husband quote anything, the least of which, the Bible. Sid just shrugged his shoulders and returned to the couch.
            “No, I’m serious,” Mattie said as she came to stand before the relaxing Sid. “Where did that come from?”
            “Oh, there’s a lot you don’t know about me.” Sid said smiling.
            “Like what? You used to bullfight? You own your own island? You have super powers?”
            Sid knew he had to tell her and now was the time. “Listen, there’s something I never told you about me.”
            “Uh-oh,” Mattie said with obvious concern.
            “No, it’s nothing like that.” Sid sat up and Mattie joined him on the couch.
            “Back when I was a kid,” Sid began. He knew one day he would have to tell his new bride about his past. He just didn’t think today was that day. “I was part of a Christian Commune.”
            “A what?”
            “Right after my dad died, my mom hooked up with a traveling preacher.” The words sucked the oxygen from Mattie’s world. She had a million questions, but she let Sid continue.
            “He was traveling through Oklahoma where we used to live and my mom fell in love—instantly. We sold the house and joined them on the tour. For five years, from when I was 6-years old to 11, we basically lived on the road. I didn’t go to public school, but instead, when to Bible study, full-time.”
            “Sid,” Mattie finally said. “I can’t believe you never told me this.”
            “My mom eventually got sick of that preacher’s lying to her about marrying her and we left. She told me as we drove away to live in Chicago with her sister that we were to never talk about what happened to us, and we never did.”
            “And just when were you going to tell me about this part of your life?”
            “Honestly, I thought I might not have to. Since my mom died before we met, I wondered if it would ever come up.”
            Mattie smiled and shook her head as the neighbor upstairs screamed at the imaginary mouse that was scampering about his kitchen.

Word Count: 492

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Pre-Halloween Tradition...

Today's my mom's birthday. Last year I wrote a special birthday message about her. You can read it: HERE. She would have turn 80 last year, so 81 this year. One tradition I failed to include last year was the carving of a pumpkin.

Since her birthday is just a few days before Halloween, I had a tradition where I would carve her a pumpkin. Sometimes it was the only present she got from me, I say with a tinge of embarrassment. Oh, if we could just go back and do things differently... Last year I did get a pumpkin but I didn't carve it. I only set it on my parent's headstone.

This year, however, I actually took the time to carve the orange orb and I left it on the grave. I guess it's strange to leave a pumpkin in the middle of a cemetery that reads "Happy Birthday." I was thinking this as I carved up the thing. Then again, what should I have carved...Boo? Happy Halloween? Trick Or Treat? Bats All Folks? Best Witches? I See Dead People? Probably not (seriously, sorry about those...).

We loaded up the kids in the van on our way to the pumpkin patch to buy the ones we'll carve for the kids. I hope my kids know how much that little lady meant to me So, when it's all said and done, I guess this year is like those others--I got her a pumpkin for her birthday...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Voting Early Voting...

I did something today I've never done before. I voted early. Due to my daughter and I being in a show, there's a good chance we'll be at rehearsals on the first Tuesday of November and since I live in a patriotic area, turnout for elections--especially presidential elections--usually bring out the voters en masse. Chances are, I might not have been able to vote if I had waited.

And so I voted early. The court house voting center opened at 11 a.m. and I arrived a few minutes early. There was already voters ahead of me. All it took was a scan by the eyes of the volunteer at my drivers license and me confirming my home address to the same volunteer, and I was given a golden ticket. Well, a voting card anyway.

I voted for a president and a vice president, a senator, and a representative--two, actually (two representatives, one state, one national--not two votes for the same person for that would be wrong...). I voted on a couple of amendments and made decisions concerning several judges. A finger to the screen here, another finger to the screen there and it was done. I cast my ballot.

At last, before I left the room with all the electronic voting machines and smiling volunteers, I exchanged my golden ticket for a sticker. It's customary to apply the sticker to your shirt so everyone with whom you come into contact (on the day you wear the shirt...) knows you exercised your civic duty and voted. I usually put my sticker in my daily journal. Sure, it takes up much of the page, but it's worth it. Today I voted early. Kind of makes November 7th, 2012 a little anti-climatic...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Daughter And I, Driving Home...


The first show I did with my son was at Christmas, 12 years ago. Now, my son is too involved with other projects--mostly school--so for the past few shows, it's been my daughter and me. 

My daughter is of the age where she loves listening to the radio and to songs that, well, I don't really know many of them. I know some (I'm not that old...). And when we go to and from rehearsals, we crank the radio.

There are several stations so I let my daughter choose the songs we listen to--for the most part. There are some songs, and some stations we try to avoid. I'm glad no one can see us as we drive home because we're usually both singing as the top of our lungs. We get kind of charged up from rehearsals.


All those years ago I don't remember the radio blaring when my son and I went to and from the shows and rehearsals. We usually talked about stuff. Of course he was only 5 back then. I wonder if he remembers those trips... I wonder if my daughter will remember the nights when we drove home in the dark with the radio blasting to Adele. I hope it's something I never forget.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Office Halloween Party Pictures From Years Ago...

 I came across some pictures I took years ago... And, yes, we were having a Halloween party at work (we don't normally dress this way at work...well, I can't speak for everyone, but I don't dress like that at work...).



It's been several years since we had our little get-together and so much as happened since these pictures were taken. I think only a couple of these people work at this location and several have left the organization all together. Plus, some have become parents and one was even promoted to a lofty position. Bet you can't guess which one...

 Looking at these pictures brought back a lot of good memories. It also makes me miss them. Some I see frequently and some I haven't seen since I transferred to a new office. Some I may never see again (but most are Facebook friends, so I got that going for me...). 


These are good people and, for a short time years ago, when we all worked together, we had a lot of fun. Happy Halloween everyone on Team Chuck Norris and Team Hydra!