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Oct
28
2010

Thoughtful Thursday

This will likely be my most controversial post to date so buckle up.  The following paragraphs might render comments I refuse to approve, depending on my mood. I might even get an email or two.  And when it hits facebook, I might see my followers number decline.  But, all I can say is: it was inevitable.

I am going to talk about Hallowe’en (and likely some other things too). And not in the general sense that it is a holiday. Which it is.  Or that I love it.  Which I do.  And I will go ahead and tell you what prompted this post, and what some may see as a rant. And those that see this as a rant, have never actually seen me rant ;)

NOTE: Since I wrote this I edited it to add some pictures I found of Hallowe’ens past.  Such sweet memories.  They are in no particular order.  Enjoy!

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I was in Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon killing time, buying a few groceries while Ben was in Chemistry class.  I was milling around the Autumn/Halloween section, disgusted mostly by the amount of plastic crap, when I hear this voice.  The kind of voice that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  That horrible grating twang of a grown man who insists on using phrases like “ain’t got no”, “you done it”, “I seen it”.  I am immediately put off by his grammar and his tone.  His little wife, a very petite woman in a dress and with her hair pulled into an extraordinarily tight bun, was pushing the shopping cart in front of him and she made some comment about the pretty Autumn wreath she stopped in front of.  And this gargantuan man says in a very gruff and loud voice “We ain’t a-gettin’ no Halloween stuff.  That’s the Devil’s day.  Woman, get a move on.”  I wheeled around to look at his face hoping he was making a joke or kidding.  But he glared right back at me with a very stern look on his face. And his poor “woman” looked like the chickens had got her biscuit.  Sheepish.  Embarrassed.  Just beat down.  Yes, I muttered a verbal abuse.  Yes, I questioned whether his parents were married when he was conceived.  Yes, he probably heard me.  No, I didn’t care.  Why are people like that?  You could tell he was just a barrel of laughs ALL. THE. TIME.  And that poor woman was in too deep to claw her way out.  And maybe she is perfectly happy being spoken to like she’s an idiot in public.  But all I could think was if he talks to her like that in public, how must he treat her in private?  I know, I know, none of my business.  NONE. My second thought was what a MORON.  Hallowe’en is not the Devil’s Day.  Not at my house anyway.  I knew, though, if I had the rest of my life I would have never had an intelligent conversation with him and furthermore, I didn’t care what he thought or believed.  But the fact that people, lots of people, are afraid of Hallowe’en has always baffled me.  Lots of things baffle me, though.

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Hallowe’en was a big deal to me as a kid.  It was my favorite holiday.  Still is.  All the fun, food, family and no pressure of gifts!  It’s not that I don’t love to buy for people, I do!  But it is a lot of pressure for some people and very stressful.  But all that is beside the point.  My point  is Hallowe’en is not evil.  Evil people may celebrate Hallowe’en.  They also may celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah.  There are evil people in all walks of life.  Some of them even walk around verbally abusing their wives in Wal-Mart and they HATE Hallowe’en.

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I hate generalizations.  And I am just as guilty as anyone at times.  But it irks me about myself and I try to keep a lid on it.  I really and truly do try to meet people as individuals.  And I don’t think any less of people who choose not to participate in Hallowe’en, even if I disagree with their reasons.  Those are THEIR reasons, therefore, none of my business.  And as long as they don’t try to convince me how evil I am for donning my witch hat in public one or two days a year (two parties this year – YAY!) then we will get along fine :)

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This was Hallowe’en 2000

Yes, I know what we celebrate as Hallowe’en today started as a religious holiday for Celtic pagans.  I have read lots about Hallowe’en and its origins.  But not much scares me and I don’t have a problem with those facts.  There are so many superstitions that were passed down to me by my aunts and uncles and grandparents that I learned not to let things frighten me.  In fact my grandfather, Daddy Tom to me, wouldn’t have liked it one tiny little bit that I own a black kitty.  He was scared to death of them!  My Daddy Tom was Irish/Scottish and whisky was his drink of choice.  Nowadays he would have been in jail or meetings but back in the day, he carpentered all day, and drank all evening.  And please PLEASE do not think I am speaking ill of him.  I loved him very much and he worshiped the ground I walked on.  He was my best friend when I was a little girl and when he died he was building me a country fair in his back pasture, complete with a ferris wheel.  By the time I came along he had stopped drinking and was legally blind from glaucoma.  But when he was a much younger man, drinking and driving was common.  I think drinking and anything was pretty common with him :)   Anyway, he had a bad car accident – bad for the car, he wasn’t hurt badly.  And you know what caused it?  A black cat.  Yep.  A black cat walked across the road in front of him and he panicked.  There is no way it could have been the fifth of whisky he drank.  Nope.  It was the cat.  Poor kitty. He was also deathly afraid of frogs.  That one I can’t explain.  Frogs??? Pretty harmless I think.

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Did you know that if you see a spider on All Hallow’s Eve, it is a dearly departed relative coming by to check on you?  Well, if you had grown up in my house, you would have known that ;)   My mom’s side of the family was a mixture of “old country”  and lapsed Catholics.  So tradition and celebration ran deep.  Things that people find offensive and evil about Hallowe’en were so much a part of my childhood, that I didn’t have any idea of any controversy until I was grown up.  When I was a kid, I went to Hallowe’en parties at CHURCH!  I won a costume contest when I was in the 7th grade at the Methodist Church Hallowe’en Party.  And what did I go as?  A black cat!  Dang, that was a cute costume!  Probably the one time in my life I didn’t go as a witch.

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I guess I should just get to my point.  If I can remember what it was.  Oh yeah, you can make something evil out of anything.  You can suck the fun right out of everything if you try hard enough.  Remember when I say this, where I am coming from and, please know, that if you believe the complete opposite, I accept that.  I won’t try to convince you I am right and you are wrong.  Everyone is entitled and, by law, has a right to their own beliefs.  That includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists, and everything in between.  Hallowe’en is not a religious holiday for me.  It’s not what I was taught. It is for some.  Christmas is not a religious holiday for some.  Even those that profess Christianity.  They see it is as evil.  Ruined by Santa :/ I was pretty old before I realized it was religious for some people. Christmas was all about Santa in my family. I happen to love the jolly old elf!   As an adult I realized I appreciated this about my family:  they may have been heathens, but  they weren’t hypocrites!  I say this to point out that you can’t lump people into categories with any accuracy.  You can, I suppose.  But you shouldn’t.  I have friends from ALL beliefs.  I love hearing about how they celebrate.  Their family traditions.  Some of those celebrations I wish I took part in.  Or could see firsthand.  I am fascinated by what makes people tick.  What makes them believe what they believe. And yes at times I have shook my head and thought what???  I am also fascinated by the fact that some people think what they believe is the only thing anyone should believe.

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There was just so much I never realized was taboo.  Don’t get me wrong, I was raised with rules and manners.  Keep your skirt down, your elbows off the table, your hands clean, your teeth brushed, your room picked up.  Do not talk back to your elders.  Follow the rules at school.  Make the best grade you are capable of.  If asked, tell the truth even if it gets you into trouble.  In fact always tell the truth.  Don’t hit people.  Don’t tell lies about people.  Be sure what you are about to repeat is not just gossip, that’s a waste of time and hurtful.  Always look out for the person who has no one else to look out for them. Stand up for people who don’t have the power to stand up for themselves.  Being poor is not a sin, or a stain on one’s character, but not sharing what you have is.  Do not mistreat animals or people, especially people less fortunate than you are.  There will always be someone who has more than you, but that doesn’t make them better than you.  It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you handle what happens to you.  At times these truths have escaped my judgment but I have never forgotten them.

What I wasn’t taught was that my idea was the only idea, that what I believed was right for everyone, that just because your mouth opened and shut did not make it a prayer book.  I am not sure exactly how that last one translates literally, but I heard it a lot and I got the gist.  I also learned that if my mom could find a cookie cutter for something it must a holiday and we were going to celebrate!

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My dad was raised Methodist and, periodically, we went to church when we were little, and even some after I was in high school.  But never on a regular basis.  When I was 9 my dad sobered up through AA and we all became friends of Bill W.  So that was our “religion” for many, many years.  And it kept our family together and my parents together and never once did I ever hear anyone browbeat or told what a horrible sinner they were for their relationship with the bottle.  Most of the people I met through AA had already been to Hell and not much scared them.  They were the most spiritual people I have ever known.  And I am very thankful they were there to prop my dad up instead of condemning him.  And of course I learned the Serenity Prayer, as every good meeting goer.  But I never once thought of the God of the prayer being just one certain one.  I figure  if a Hindu man or woman showed up needing a meeting, he or she would be welcomed with a hug, and quite possibly the worst coffee made by human hands.  I don’t think anyone would have thought twice if that person had added a name to God or even said gods.

I did have another point??  I suppose it would be if you don’t judge me for my religion or lack of religion, and even if you do, I won’t judge you for yours.

Happy Hallowe’en to all my secular friends. Merry Samhain to all my pagan friends.  Blessed All Hallow’s Eve and All Saint’s Day to my Christian friends.  If you don’t do any of them…Happy Thursday.  And have a wonderful weekend.

Oct
22
2010

Well, hello Friday. Where did you come from?

I have felt this way several days this week.  And didn’t have much to say that didn’t sound like complaining so I spared you.  I just recently watched an interview with a woman named Dominique Brown.  She was editor at Home and Garden and when them magazine shut down, her whole life changed.  And at first not for the better.   The she started moving.  Physically, geographically and at a slower pace.  She writes a blog called Slow Love Life and has a book called Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put On My Pajamas & Found Happiness.  I read the title of her blog several times before I realized she didn’t mean her love life was slow, but in fact meant her life was full of slow love moments.  That when she slowed down, even if it was abruptly and unexpectedly, she began to see life differently.  To see her world differently.  To see THE world differently.  She began to experience “slow love” moments that not only sustained her in this extraordinarily difficult hand she had been dealt, but actually was preferable to what her life had been.

The way I found Dominique and her book was a bit peculiar.  I have an odd way of finding and reading the day’s news. While I have my gmail open,   I open yahoo to check one of my email accounts and the front page is news feeds.  At the same time, I open facebook and weather.com.  One of the news lines was about a woman born and raised in Texas, traveled the world, married several times and in her later years worked with the mentally ill and homeless in NYC.  The story, in the regional section of the New York Times was very interesting and was also a death announcement.  The world lost a truly giving person in Mrs. Sturz, age 93.  As I started to close that page, I noticed a blurb to the right of that ~ “Why can’t middle-aged women have long hair?”  Why indeed?  I could so relate. If it is something you contemplate, read the article for yourself.  Even if you aren’t thinking about your hair, it is a very good read.

My hair is getting rather long.  And rather unruly.  No, very unruly. My hair is naturally curly.  And for a middle aged woman, I still have quite a lot of volume.  Though the amount of hair on my bathroom rugs right now might lead you shake your head in disbelief…or have a bout of mild nausea.  Yes, I am going to sweep and mop today.  Get off my back about it! OOOPPS! Talking to myself again.  But see I STILL don’t have a washer.  So I haven’t pulled up the rugs which normally get washed 2-3 times a week.  It looks like it might be Tuesday (and Wednesday won’t surprise me) before my new washer arrives.  I am being very patient since I could have had a washer off the floor but noooo, I wanted what I wanted and it wasn’t in stock.  But when it finally arrives, it will be great.  And will get a work out!

But back to my hair.  I am girl of extremes.  Is this news?  Not likely to anyone who knows me.  Like this morning ~ I was extremely hungry.  Even though I am supposed to be on a “program” (I hate the word diet), I had vanilla ice cream with a banana and a peach cut up into it. Granted it was in a mug not a bowl and so therefore was a much smaller portion than I could have eaten AND there was much more fruit than ice cream.  I know, yogurt would have been a much healthier choice but that Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream screamed at me almost the moment my feet hit the floor.  I just don’t want to let myself get on a binge.  There’s that extreme behavior again.  The really smart thing would be not to have the ice cream in the house.  Really smart thing.  But I don’t live here alone and other people want what they want too.  Wait!  We were talking about my hair.  Or I was talking about my hair.  Curly.  Unruly.  Graying.  But you know.  I like it longer.  I could kick myself for cutting it the last time I did.  Which ended up like this:

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Don’t get me wrong.  Good haircut.  Very manageable.  But I was not happy with it the moment I did it.  Partially because I know Jerry likes my hair longer.  Because, well other than my dad I have never known a man who doesn’t like long hair on a woman.  And even though he says “It’s your hair.  Wear it like you want.  I can’t tell you how to wear your hair.” , I know better.  And even though I might “look” better with shorter hair, even shorn, when he, without thinking about it, starts playing with my hair, pulling at the curls, running his fingers through it…or trying to until I wince…curly hair has it’s problems you know, we both like it better long :) But is this really a good look on a 50 something woman?

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And no my hair isn’t long – but it is for me.  Most of the time it ends up in a do like one of these:

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Yeah, neither of them are very age appropriate either.  BUT after reading the article by Dominique Brown, to heck with it.  It’s my hair, I will wear it like I want!  Yes, I wear overalls nearly every day.  Yes, still.  Yes, after 35 years.  Have I ever told you about the first pair of overalls I ever had and how they were my excuse for asking Jerry to my house the first time?  I will save that for another time…closer to International Overalls Day. Yes! There is such a thing!  And YES, I help start it!  I will tell you all about it VERY soon!  Fun to be had!  BTW, I had my engagement picture made in overalls!  Not kidding.  I suppose, as extreme as my behavior is at times, I am quite the creature of habit as well.

Dang, I am chasing rabbits this morning!  That’s Southern for getting side tracked, in case you aren’t from around here ;)   I really wanted to say – read the article, I am even going to read the book.  Looks very interesting and insightful. I could always use a little more insight.

And I know, I know, it’s Foodie Friday!  Here’s your recipe.  Enjoy!


VERY Berry Pie

Simple ingredients, simple directions, AMAZING pie!

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Pastry for a 9” double crust pie

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

juice and grated zest from 1/2 medium lemon

5 cups fresh berries, rinsed well (blueberries, raspberries, golden raspberries)

1 tablespoon butter, cut in small pieces

In a large bowl combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, lemon juice and grated rind, and berries. Roll out half of the pastry; line an 9-inch pie pan and trim edges. Pour berry mixture into pie crust and dot with small pieces of butter. Roll out remaining pastry to about 1/8 inch thick. Make lattice or simply cover pie; trim, turn edge under and crimp. Cut a few vents in top of crust to allow steam to escape . Bake at 425° for 40 minutes,   or until crust is nicely browned. For best slicing results, let the pie cool before slicing.

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Oct
08
2010

Yes, it’s Foodie Friday!

And yes, I missed Thoughtful Thursday – I was some kinda busy yesterday and I didn’t have 30 minutes to write a post.   I am sure when you drop by Sunday you will forgive me.  And just so you know, I will not be posting anything on top of Sunday’s post for a few days.  I want everyone who happens by to enjoy it before I stack something on top of it!

This is Jerry’s last weekend home so it will be a crazy one.  We will be planting fall garden today among about 20 more things!

So let me quick get you a recipe and then I am off to the garden as soon as it is daylight.

I thought these looked amazing. I am going to try them! Pumpkin Pie in a Cupcake! Wowsers! With a cookie on top! Don’t they just scream Autumn???!!!

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