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Monthly Archives: October 2008


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Some of my favorite things about Halloween this year:

Gus, the Ghostly Oven Mitt.  Who doesn’t actually do any oven work – he’s too cute.  He earns his keep as a full-time model gracing our kitchen sink.


Our gang of friendly mascots.  I made the owls, Brooke crocheted the bat, and I purchased the cat and jack-o-lantern at a craft fair for $5 a piece several years ago.


Owls!  I was never a big owl fan but somehow the little guys have gotten under my skin and now I’m smitten.  The pot holder and p.j. pants are both from Target. 


Funny gourds and our “witches” broom.  We found the broom at Kroger for $1.99.  Its handle is made of bamboo, which I don’t normally associate with witches, but maybe witches are becoming more eco-conscious.


Orangey-red, giant mums.  All-though I’m not proving to have a green thumb so far this fall.  All the green rubbed off during the summer and there’s none left for fall.


Haunted flags.  I made them using orange and black fabrics, double fold bias tape, and some ric rac.  It proved impossible for me to get a good photo of the banner (these are two of about 20 tries) but it really looks festive in a tasteful way and I’ll probably leave it up until Thanksgiving.  The best part is that I can use it every year, unlike the paper banner I almost bought at Target.


Other favorite things about the holiday include popcorn and caramel apples, the faint smell of fireplaces against the chill of the evening air, and watching the Garfield Halloween Special on DVD as we hand out candy to the few brave souls who tackle our steep hill in search of their loot.

Happy Halloweiner!

Loosing Faith

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One of the cool things about bicycling through your community is that you really get to experience it in a raw and intimate way.  Also, the down side is that you have to experience your community in a raw and intimate way.  Randy and I have taken to biking three times a week because exercise-wise it kicks our butts even more than running and burns a ton of calories.  Since we live on a hill that even sugared-loaded kids won’t hike up on Halloween for trick-or-treat, biking in our sub-division is out of the question.  So we load up the bikes and drive a mile down the main road, leave the car in a park-and-ride lot, and head out on our biking adventure.

We ride on a couple of roads that loop behind the highway but somehow transport us to a different time and place, the land that time forgot, a million miles away from the city we’re so geographically close to.  Its beautiful.  Its rustic.  We feel an energizing breeze as we zip passed a little white church, under an old stone railroad bridge, and by a goose out for an evening walk.  Its charming, its relaxed.

And then its awful.  We pass giant piles of garbage just sitting by the side of the road in someone’s yard, untouched for weeks.  We smell pungent sewage with every gulp of air as we try to fill our lungs during challenging hills.  And we get yelled at.  People in cars slow down to pass us and shout angry things as us before speeding off.  Sometimes they wave gestures out their windows to match their foul words, and then laugh at their perceived cleverness. 

The cleverness of the dogs we meet is what really gets to us.  They are the truly scary part of the ride.  Last week three big dogs worked together to try and bring me down.  One chased behind my back wheel, another ran beside me and barked, its mouth frighteningly close to my shoe, while the third ran ahead of me and stopped in its tracks, trying to block my path.  Randy’s been chased as well.  And once, three boys tried to sick their dog, Bear, on me as I rode past.  “Bear!  Chase her!  Get her Bear!”  Luckily, Bear was on the same diet as his portly cohorts and couldn’t catch up with me.  Randy and I are thinking of investing in some anti-dog pepper spray sold in bike shops.  Apparently our problem is not an isolated one that only afflicts people riding on twilight-zone-esque back roads.  Randy read a survey of Cincinnati bikers and nearly all reported they’d been bullied by drivers – yelled at, had garbage thrown at them, or even had a car try to run them off the road.

Why would people do this?  We’re loosing faith in humanity, one person at a time.  I would expect the random odd person to be hateful and go out of their way to be rude or mean, but this is happening to us on a weekly basis.  Its disheartening and its hard not to want to react by recoiling into our own happy and peaceful cocoon and washing our hands of a society that produces so many jerks.  I just want harmony……and politeness.  I’d like to wrap up this post with a lesson I’ve learned or an insight that gives me hope but I’m empty.  Its something that I’ve just really been struggling with lately because of our biking encounters and several other observations in daily life.  And I expect I will be struggling for a while to find my place in this situation and flesh out how I want others’ to affect me.  But right now I think I’ll go curl up in my cocoon for a little while…

Self Portrait

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 Chris is braver than me.  She has been posting self portraits, one a day, for the last 227 days.  This is my homage to her efforts.  But one is painful enough for me. 

Fabric Sins

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Possibly the ugliest fabric in North America.  I was almost giddy when I found it the other day.  I should have bought some just for the sheer novelty factor.  Perplexing when you examine it, really.  Did someone make the creative decision to combine the floral and celestial motifs or was it some manufacturing mishap?  Either way, something has gone horribly, fascinatingly, wrong.

Diary of a (Quasi)Runner

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Randy is trying to turn me into a runner.  I’m not sure what makes him think it will work.  I think the only time he had ever seen me run during our marriage was at the huanted corn maze when a masked man emerged from the rows of corn with a roaring chain saw and my fight or flight response kicked in, leaving him to fend for himself.  Despite this, he somehow tricked me into starting a running program with him called Couch to 5K from the runner’s website, Cool Running (which has to be the best name ever for a running site, as far as I’m concerned).  As you might have surmised from the title of the program its supposedly designed to take someone who is much more likely to be seen gracing a couch than a track and turn them into a 5K runner.  I think I will be their ultimate challenge.

The first day I was nervous but intrigued as we drove to the track of our local park.  The program starts out gradually with alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking, which doesn’t sound so bad.  It kicked my you-know-what and showed me who’s boss.  Also, with every jogging step I took I felt exactly like the fat kid on many movies having to jog in gym class, jiggling and wheezing down the track.  Our park is a pretty popular place and I’m sure that I gave quite a few walkers and soccer players a nice little show that day.  But the bottom line was that I completed the whole circuit and, meager accomplishment as it was, it gave me a sense of pride, like I’m a big kid now.  I’m in the runner’s club, even if I’m a junior member.

So I just finished week three of what is supposed to be a 9 week program.  For me it will be at least a 10 week program because I got held back and had to repeat week 1.  I’m feeling less like the fat kid but not quite like an actual runner.  Randy claims that I look like any other person jogging and don’t stick out at all.  I’ll have to take his word on it unless anyone has any secret video of me at the track (dear God I hope not).  It does seem to be getting a tad easier and Randy and I have both noticed that I seem much less dead by the end of the sessions now. 

But the real challenges still lie ahead.  For instance, tomorrow I move up to the next level – from jogging 90 seconds and walking 2 minutes to jogging 3 ENTIRE MINUTES and walking 3.  I’m pretty sure that is physically impossible.  To sort of build up and lessen the shock I upped my jogging time yesterday to 2 minutes each cycle.  And today it hurts to walk up the steps.  So I can’t imagine that these legs will ever run for 30 minutes straight.  But….I guess three weeks ago I couldn’t imagine that they would even run for 90 seconds straight unless I was being chased by chainsaw murderers.