Halloween Memories: The best door I ever knocked on

October 31, 2010

A few years before I met “the golden goose”

Back when I was trick or treating there weren’t any of the warnings like there are today about what people put in little kids’ bags.  So what we got was a much more interesting variety.  We usually got some homemade stuff, like cookies and popcorn balls.  It surprises me now to say that I don’t remember being particularly thrilled with those — I wanted candy!  And most of the candy we got was small individual pieces, some not even wrapped.  We were thrilled at the houses where we actually got a candy bar.  And there were only full-sized candy bars then, which each cost a nickel.  The candy bars were definitely the “cadillac’s” of treats received.

But having said that, I have to admit that the treat I remember most fondly wasn’t candy.

In 1956 I was 10 years old so toward the end of my trick or treating years.  My friend Cheryl and I were going through an apartment complex a few blocks from home.  It was mostly young families with kids of their own, so they were really into the Halloween thing too.  But we came to one door behind which was a guy with a different take on what a treat should be (or, more likely, what was most convenient for him), and consequently his door will always be remembered as my all-time favorite trick or treat door.

We could hear a bunch of people inside obviously having a party, but that didn’t stop us from knocking (we considered any house with lights on fair game).  At our knock, a very jovial, obviously drunk older man came to the door.  After we said the obligatory “Trick or Treat!”, he reached over to a table next to the door, picked up a roll of dimes and put one in each of our bags.  We were thrilled.  Of course, a dime was alot more money in the 50’s than it is today.  But also, neither one of us had, in “all” our years of trick or treating, ever been given money before!

As we walked on to other doors, we kept talking about our unexpected windfall, and an idea gradually formulated in our opportunistic little minds, “He was really drunk.  He probably couldn’t even see us very well.  So if we happened to go to his door again, he probably wouldn’t even notice!”  So, an hour or so later we made another swing by the door of the “golden goose”.  And the exact same thing happened again — another dime! Wahoo!

Let me just say here that “greed has no age restrictions”.  We were on a roll.  Common sense not being the strong suit of 10 year olds, we decided to go back just one more time.  Well, as the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.”  When we returned to that man’s door again, his house was now quiet and dark.  His roll of dimes must have been used up and he was probably now sleeping the sleep of the dead (or rather the drunk).

It’s a little embarrassing to tell you that we were such opportunists when we discovered the “golden goose”, but he was definitely my most memorable Halloween “donor”.  And he usually comes to mind when the subject arises of what people give out for Halloween.

May your Halloween be safe and fun.  And may all our candy be given out so that Hubby and I won’t be tempted by it!

I enjoy a Mac to go, but hold the fries!

October 29, 2010

I admit it took me a little while to get used to my first laptop, which is also my first Mac.  But I think our recent trip was a turning point.  It was sooo nice to be able to take my computer with me. I had no idea what I was missing before.

And at home, it’s given me such flexibility.  Before, when I wanted to write my blog, read e-mail, do my on-line banking, etc., I was tied to one place — the loft above the living room where our trusty Dell resides.

I’ve spent many enjoyable hours up there.

And, when I first got my laptop, I still had the mindset that a computer had to have a home.

So I decided that once again the TV cabinet in an upstairs bedroom, which had been adapted to first host scrapbooking, then sewing, would now serve a new purpose — it would be home to the new computer.

But it didn’t take me long to realize portable meant, well … portable!

I can sit in the living room and watch TV with Hubby while also playing with my computer.  (Sorry for the grainy picture. I forgot to use a flash.)

One of my favorite spots to use it is sitting at the kitchen island, as I’m doing right now.  There’s a power strip that runs under the overhang of the island — perfect for plugging it in.

But if I sit there too long and get uncomfortable without a back rest, I just move to the table in the eating area.

But my very favorite spot to use “Mr. Mac” is in my favorite reading chair.

Nothing feels better to a woman than multi-tasking, does it?  I can sit in this corner of our bedroom and watch TV, talk on the phone, do my knee exercises, read a book, work on my cute little computer … or any combination of those.  Perfect.

I’m still learning the ins and outs of my new computer, but I’m getting the hang of it.  And it’s definitely been worth the effort.

I just love a good Mac to go, but I’m dieting, so hold the fries!

A beautiful Fall tradition

October 27, 2010

One of my favorite experiences of Fall is sitting around a bonfire.

Beautiful any time, but such a “sign of the season” in the Fall.

Who knew, “packed in like sardines” equates with successful!

October 23, 2010

Years ago when we were much more active in our local political party, I was put in charge of the cocktail party before one of the group’s annual dinners. The dinner would be held in the ballroom of a downtown hotel, so the cocktail party needed to be somewhere in the same hotel.

The first thing I needed to do was to pick out a room, so I made an appointment to do that with the director of sales at the hotel.  Because I was new at this, I really appreciated that the very busy chairman of the party offered to also be there to help pick the room and get the ball rolling.

When we met, the sales director took us to see a large meeting room as a starting point for deciding what size room we needed.

As soon as I saw the room, I thought it would be perfect for the number of people we estimated would be attending.  But the chairman had had much more experience at this sort of thing than I had, and he had a totally different point of view.  He said the room would be just the right size for our needs, IF the sliding doors in the middle of the room were closed and only half of the space was used.

I was shocked!  It seemed obvious to me that that would make the room way to small for the number of people we anticipated.  I was so shocked in fact that, even though I was the newbee and he was the old experienced hand at this, I was ready to argue that that would be a big mistake.  (Let it never be said that I have to know alot about a subject in order to have a very definite opinion about it!)

But as soon as I began to debate the choice with him, the chairman shared a point of view with me that he had learned from many years of planning these events.  A crowded event is a successful event.

On that day I bowed to the chairman’s much more experienced judgement, and I not only applied that theory in the following years when I was planning that event, but it is a viewpoint that I have seen over and over again proved right.

And now that I’ve shared the chairman’s philosophy with you, try to remember it when you attend events and see if you don’t agree. “If you want people to feel like they are attending a successful event, pack them in like sardines!”

Not good to step on your own punch line!

October 21, 2010

Anyone who enjoys telling a story has probably sometime had someone who is listening inadvertently kill your story by, for example, guessing the punch line before you say it, asking a question about some small fact in the story or injecting some meaningless piece of information — all of which can totally kill the rhythm of the story you’re telling.  It’s just one of those things that happens sometimes, but you really should try to at least not do it to yourself!  And that’s exactly what I did yesterday.

I told a story here that I have used many times when the subject of weight comes up — that I am 6’4″ tall when I am really 5’6 1/2″.  I then always quickly follow up that obvious lie by explaining that I’m expecting a late life growth spurt any minute that will make my weight perfect for my height.

But for some reason when I told the story yesterday, I put in my weight.  Only later did I realize that I had inadvertently made the focus my weight, rather than the punch line I had intended.  Ouch!

So, as I sometimes do, I have gone back and edited that post to place the emphasis where it belongs.  And you’ll just have to go back to guessing how much I weigh.

Sigh.  This blogging thing isn’t as easy as it looks.

It COULD happen! (at least in my dreams)

October 20, 2010

I went for pre-surgery testing yesterday and had the following conversation with the very nice nurse who was doing the testing (who I found out is my age, so we made an immediate connection):

Her:  “Do you know your current weight?”

Me:  “Oh yes, I go to Weight Watchers every week.”  And then I told her my weight which is about 20 lbs. more than I should weigh.

She wrote that down and then said, “And how tall are you?”

Me:  “6’4”

She looked up from the form she was writing on, with a look that either questioned my mental health or my truthfulness — probably both!

To put her mind at rest, I quickly explained my answer.

“That, of course, is factoring in the late-life growth spurt I’m expecting at any minute.”

She laughed and then I told her my real height, 5′ 6 1/2″.

I’m a realist — and if I’m ever going to see “slim” again, I think it’s going to take a miracle just about that big.

Just what the doctor ordered

October 18, 2010

It was perfect timing that at this stressful time in her life, DD was recently invited to be a model in a fashion show co-presented by a women’s fashion store and a hair salon.   It made it even more fun for her that her friend, Sue, did it too.

And she invited her dad and me to come up there that weekend, so that “Papa” could stay with the girls and I could go to the “do” with her.

About a week before, the models had had their hair cut and colored, a manicure and pedicure done, their eyebrows waxed and a trial run done of the make-up that would be done on “the day”.

On that day, DD had to be at the salon where the style show would be held a couple hours early and I tagged along to take some pictures.

It was a very nice salon, but not exactly designed for hosting a fashion show.  When the fashion show began, many of the guests stood in this lobby area, but there were people standing anywhere they could find.  The models came down a wide hall on the right (with people standing along both sides), did a couple of turns in the middle of this area, and then they went down the aisle straight ahead, doing one more twirl about half-way down.  On the left of the aisle are areas that each have three stylists’ work stations. All of those areas were packed with people.  I was very fortunate that Madison, who styled DD’s hair, had the first station right behind that green wall. So when she was done doing DD’s hair, she offered me her chair to sit in for the show — rock star seating!  And I was one of the few who even had a seat!  (Although I found out that sitting there had a down-side — not conducive to getting good pictures. People who were standing without realizing it would naturally step into my line of vision to get a better look.)

Anyway when we arrived, I didn’t have any idea why the models had to be there so early.  But it quickly became obvious why —

— there was a surprisingly long process to making my naturally beautiful daughter style-show ready.

First the make-up artist, Kylie, did DD’s preliminary make-up.

Then hair stylist, Madison did the preliminary hair work.

Who knew that big rollers were still being used?!  When I was a teenager I spent many nights sleeping on rollers just a little smaller than these.  It gave real meaning to the saying, “You have to suffer to be beautiful.”

Then DD went back to Kylie to get the final make-up touch — artificial eyelashes.

I wanted a picture of the eyelashes and DD’s friend Sue, who had already had hers applied, was sitting on a sofa next to me watching Kylie work on DD, so I asked Sue to let me take a picture of her lashes.  I just love how this picture turned out.

There was a window behind Sue’s left shoulder, and I thought the accidental lighting effect made this picture better than just about the artificial lashes.

After Kylie was done, we made one last trip back to Madison.  All the going back and forth was making me a little dizzy, but that’s just me. Who knew “hair and make-up” that sounds so simple, would take a couple hours.  No wonder we had to be there so early!


Then the models went back to get dressed in their first of three outfits.  They then circulated and greeted attendees until the show began.

DD and Sue posed for a picture while circulating.

DD with the “president of her fan club”.

DD “walking the run-way”.

It was so much fun to see DD participate in something like this.  This is an up-in-the-air time in her life, and I think playing the grown-up version of dress-up for an afternoon was just what the doctor ordered.

Well done, Babe. Thanks for taking me along.  It was fun for me too.

Secretariat — Fast-Moving Art

October 16, 2010

We saw the new movie Secretariat last night.  I thought the casting was perfect.  It was nice to see Fred Thompson.  I just like him and I’ve never seen him in anything I didn’t like.  John Mankovich was perfect as a somewhat quirky horse trainer and Diane Lane was gorgeous as a strong woman in the early 70’s. When there was a close-up of Diane nuzzling the horse playing Secretariat, I leaned over to Hubby and commented, “It’s hard to say whose the prettiest, isn’t it.”  This was one of those movies where every actor seemed believable in their character.

As great as the actors were, I felt that the real stars of the movie were the photography and the horses, specifically the photography of the horses.  It was just a beautiful movie.  And even though you pretty much know how it turns out, it never lost my interest.  And one last plus — I really liked the music that was used.

I definitely recommend this movie.  If you go to see it, be sure to stay through the credits so that you can see pictures of the actual people and read a little update on each of them.

Thank you, Neighbors!

October 13, 2010

After we left town last week, I realized I had forgotten to leave a note for our mail person to hold our mail.

So, I did what anyone who has great neighbors would do — I called and left a message for our very own wonderful neighbors, Belinda and Mike.  I asked them to put a note in their mail box telling the carrier what days we would be out of town.

Of course they did just as I requested — so when we got back, a bundle of mail, with their note on top, was waiting in our box.

You should all be so lucky to have such great neighbors.  Our house may have an assessed value, but neighbors like these are priceless.

Thank you Belinda and Mike, for not only this but all the newspapers you have put up by the door when the carriers haven’t gotten the message, and the many other ways you add to our lives.

A good life.

October 10, 2010

The post begins, “I think that the greatest gift I can give my husband is a good life.
My good life.”

I have two friends who have recently suffered the loss of their beloved husbands.

Maybe it’s no accident that not too long ago I found the blog The Good Cook.  She has also just lost her husband.  And she has written eloquently about her grief.

Today I read this post by The Good Cook that is especially inspiring, so I’m pointing it out here for you, Barb and Mary, and anyone else who has lost the love of their life.  May it aid your healing, friends.