Tuesday, October 31, 2023

This Is Halloween

As the clock winds down on this Halloween, here are the promised pictures of the big party at my work. So much fun and so many blessings. Sorry for the overload if you've already seen them on Facebook.

First, some of the decorations.

This ended up being the spot for photos! Zoom in and check out
the tombstones.

A nod to my love of crows. The crows and cages were bought.
I made the branch and moon.

My Hocus Pocus themed pole.

Now some of my awesome coworkers and some of the consumers.

Melissa and Don dressed as a female 
Beetlejuice and Cruella DeHim.

Bob Ross made an appearance.

Don and a consumer getting down.

Barbie and Jessie (from Toy Story)
singing "The Gambler."

Me and one of my "favorite" consumers.
She was a zombie bride today.

Don and I this morning. I owe much of my look
to him. He drew my lips on, did my eye shadow,
and glued on my eyelashes.

The Sanderson Sisters

Wayne and Garth

It was a great day! Tomorrow we start cleaning up and putting the Halloween decorations away. Then, if not the next day, certainly by next week, we will begin getting ready for Christmas!

Monday, October 30, 2023

T'was the Night Before Halloween

Here we are on the eve of Halloween. I, for one, am ready to see tomorrow over and move on to something else. It isn't that I hate Halloween, rather it is that those with special needs, those I work with, get super, super, SUPER focused on things...usually months ahead of the actual thing. My days have been filled with all things Halloween for about 2 months now. I am pretty much Halloweened out (and yes, according to my laptop I did indeed just make that word up).


With Halloween pretty much over elsewhere (or is that just something in this area...the celebrating of Halloween on the weekend before or after the actual day?) we are having a huge party at work tomorrow. It is arguably the single biggest, most anticipated day all year with the exception of actual Christmas Day. (We do have a party for Christmas and while it's a pretty big deal, it's second to the Halloween party.) It will be a lot of fun, but it will also be a lot of work for my department. (All things "fun" fall on us.) It's already been a lot of work. 

Tomorrow morning we will finish setting up the food serving areas and setting the tables up in their Halloween finery...as well as watching those we are charged with caring for. We will do this in costume and with loads of good cheer. We will serve the food, oversee the treats, guide the talent show, make sure everyone behaves themselves during the dance, dance and carry on with them to be sure it's a success...and then we will clean it all up. 

So, currently I am...

...reading Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

...watching another episode of The Great Halloween Fright Fight, Hocus Pocus (so many times), and lots of other Halloween movies nearly every afternoon at work since no one's mind is on their work at this point. We are too excited about THE PARTY!

...listening to everyone practice their songs for the talent show over and over. 

...feeling happy but tired.

...grateful I have a fun job that I love.

...sorry it rained over the weekend and trick-or-treat for my grandchildren wasn't quite as wonderful. They did get to go to Pittsburgh on Friday (before the rain started) to see this year's Asian Lantern festival at the zoo.

...looking forward to November's relative calm.

And that's all for now. I need to get myself to bed so I can get up and get myself dressed for the party (I need to do a good bit for my costume) and get to work early.

By the way, we have entered the mid-fall time with temperatures dipping into the low 30s, maybe even into the 20s, tonight and tomorrow's high will be in the 40s. The leaves are mostly done. Three days of rain made sure of that.

See you soon with photos!

Friday, October 27, 2023

Saturday 9: Spooky Scary Skeletons

Saturday 9: Spooky Scary Skeletons (1996)

Unfamiliar with this week's featured song? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Andrew Gold sings that these skeletons send shivers down his spine. Do you often involuntarily shudder or shiver?  Now that I'm thinking about it (I don't think I ever have before), no. I don't think I react to fear that way or maybe I'm just blessed to have never been that scared of anything.
2) While they appear frightening, these skeletons are harmless and only want to socialize with us mortals. Can you think of something -- or someone -- that intimidated you at first but that you were more comfortable with as you became more familiar?  Since I can be a bit shy and introverted at times, I've had that reaction to several of my bosses over the years...especially if the talk of co-workers was listened to. Most (not all) turned out to be very nice people, helpful, caring, and even friendly.

3) The video for this song was originally created in 1929. Skeleton Dance was a short movie produced and directed by Walt Disney himself. In 2006, Disney Studios paired Gold's song with this animation for a Halloween DVD. Do you have any DVDs that you watch seasonally (every Halloween, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, etc.)?  I have quite a few seasonal DVDs that I watch every year, The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Santa Clause is Coming to Town, The Walton's Christmas Homecoming, Home for the Holidays...to name a few. I have a sentimental streak a mile wide. 
4) You may not realize it, but you likely already know one of Andrew Gold's songs. He wrote "Thank You for Being a Friend," the theme to TV's Golden Girls. Blanche, Dorothy, Rose or Sophia: Which is your favorite?  Sophia was hilarious, but I so identify with Dorothy's sarcasm.

These questions will help us get into the Halloween spirit ....

5) Introduced in the 1880s, candy corn was originally called Chicken Feed. It was developed by a candy manufacturer who gave it the orange/white color and special name to differentiate it from jelly beans. Do you like candy corn (a) all year around or (b) at Halloween only or (c) never?  Harrrrd C.

6) What candy will trick-or-treaters get when they show up at your front door?  I bought a one of those ginormous mix bags this year. It has fun-sized Hershey bars, Kit Kats, Skittles, Twizzlers, Haribo Gummy Bears, and Charms lollipops. I should have bought a smaller bag. If we don't get any trick or treaters I'm going to be stuck with a LOT of candy.
7) Halloween was a 1978 movie by John Carpenter about Michael Myers, who kills while wearing a ghostly mask. In the original movie, the mask used was a $2 Captain Kirk mask, painted white. Both Halloween and Star Trek are successful franchises of more than a dozen movies. Have you seen more of Michael Myers or Captain Kirk? On film, Captain Kirk, but I have a co-worker that loves all things Michael Myers and has several tattoos of him. So in the day-to-day it's actually Michael Myers since I don't know anyone with even one Captain Kirk tattoo.

8) In 2022, a survey of California schoolchildren revealed that Buzz Lightyear was the top pick of Halloween costume. When you were little, did you prefer to dress up for Halloween as a hero, like Buzz, or a scary monster?  I don't remember ever getting a vote in it. I was always what my mother said I was going to be.
9) Some long-time White House employees claim they have seen Abraham Lincoln's ghost wandering the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Have you ever seen a ghost?  I've had some unexplained experiences, but I don't believe in ghosts and I've never seen one.

Thanks to Sam for the music and questions.
Play along here.


Wednesday, October 25, 2023


Outside my window it is dark and a very balmy 60 degrees. I don't know, but maybe this is our "indian summer." We are enjoying daytime temps in the 70's this week before dropping into the 40's next week with nighttime temps in the 20's! We may even see our first snow flurries of the year on Halloween.

I'm enjoying the weather and the season. Last night I took our daughter and grandchildren to look at some Halloween decorations in our town that I'd heard about. Scanning a code at the site allows for donating to St. Jude's. What we found when we got there was that several more houses on the street had gone all out with their decorations. 

We also took a short drive through that neighborhood and found a couple more AMAZING displays. We also learned that the neighborhood, which is an upscale one and less than a mile from where we live, closes the streets for trick-or-treating and the police and fire departments come and hand out candy, too. One woman we spoke with said she gets about 600 trick-or-treaters every year. Of course, she was in the process of finishing her yard display featuring the sinking of the Titanic!

Our daughter and I took the kiddos to a big farm about an hour from us last weekend. It has a large market with seasonal gift items and Halloween and Christmas decorations as well as a fall festival on the weekends in October. It wasn't a very nice day weather-wise, but we had a lot of fun.

The decorations at work are coming together slowly since I am doing them mostly by myself. I have gotten some help, but because we are so short staffed it's hard. It's not going to measure up to previous years' displays, but I'm hearing good things about it so far. Pictures will be coming next week when I also have photos of the party itself to share.

I'm grateful my stepfather is going to get to see his urologist on November 8...a vast improvement over sometime in January. He's been at the ER twice in the last week. After much testing they decided he has a pretty bad UTI. They want him to see the urologist due to blood in his urine. They flushed him out on both visits and he received IV antibiotics and a prescription for at home. I don't know that he is getting any better, but he is, at this point, holding steady.

I'm loving being in the adult training facility every day (my feet are, too) and the rhythm we've fallen into with no new supervisor in sight. In all honesty, things are running more smoothly and being done better than they were under our old supervisor. We've heard nothing about a replacement so maybe they are just going to let things continue as they are.

I'm a little sad that Tim wasn't able to get away this past weekend and we couldn't have our weekend in Erie. Actually, we can still do that at any time, but I had hoped to see my biological father one more time before he returns to Texas for the winter on the 29th. It wasn't to be...like a lot of my plans this year. Oh well, there is always next year for most of them. It's just with my father being 87 more time with him is not guaranteed.

In the kitchen you'll find comfort food at its best...meatloaf from my grandmother's Betty Crocker cookbook, buttered egg noodles, and corn on the cob.

A thought...

If you watch HGTV too long, you’ll become dissatisfied with your home.
If you stay on social media too long, you’ll become dissatisfied with your life.
If you watch the news too long, you’ll become dissatisfied with the world.
Read your bible.
Read a book.
Spend time with loved ones.
Take a walk.
Our minds are easily influenced, but we control what the influences are. Choose wisely.

Giggling at...

Friday, October 20, 2023

Saturday 9: Something More

Saturday 9: Something More (2005)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) Sugarland's lead singer Jennifer Nettles describes a busy morning that begins with a cup of coffee. Do you start your day with a cup of joe?  No, I hate coffee. I start with juice or tea and a Diet Coke.

2) When she gets home from work, she sings that her house is dirty but says housework can wait until she has a glass of wine. Is there a particular chore on your "to-do" list that you keep putting off?  Decluttering. We (me) have too much stuff crammed into the house and some of it just needs to go.

3) The lyrics tell us happiness is something we can create. Do you agree?  I think there are certain things we can do, ways to train our minds to think differently, but I also believe unhappiness/depression is a very real thing and sometimes you need medical help to overcome it.

4) In the video of this week's song, the members of Sugarland ride along in a vintage Cadillac. Are you one of those drivers who has a nickname for your car?  Not really. I try to think one up for my cars, but even when I decide on one...I rarely ever call it by the name.

5) The group hitches a ride in a red truck. The auto insurance industry tells us that Americans favor vehicles in the grayscale colors. Nearly 80% of cars on the road today are white, black, gray or silver. What color is your vehicle?  A blue so dark that most of the time it looks black. My husband's truck is white.

6) Nettles achieved her dream of performing on Broadway when she took over the role of Roxy in Chicago. What's your fantasy job?  I would love to have a shop selling books or antiques or secondhand things, which would mean I'd have to spend lots of time searching for those things.

7) She wrote a cookbook with her mom called Sweet, Savory and Simple. When it was originally published, it was spiral bound. That way, it could be laid flat on the counter as the cook tries one of the recipes. How many cookbooks do you own?  I don't have a count, but quite a few. More than I use, anyway. I have a tendency to collect not only those I want to use, but those that are unusual like my Granny Clampett cookbook.
8) In 2005, when "Something More" was topping the country charts, Paul McCartney won a People's Choice Award for his concert tour. Do you have any plans to enjoy music performed live between now and the end of the year?  Not so far.

9) Random question: Who received the most recent compliment you gave?  One of my clients at work this afternoon.

Thanks to Sam for the music and questions!
If you aren't playing along, please join in the fun here.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Currently On a Monday

Outside my window it's a dark and rainy evening with the temperature currently at about 50 degrees and falling. The nights will remain cool this week, but we should see a bit of a warm up through the middle of the week (upper 60's) before the rain returns and cools us off again for the weekend.

Thinking about all the things I want to do this weekend in Erie...if we get to go. It all depends on Tim's work and he won't know until Wednesday if he can get away. I'm praying he can. We could use a couple of days away to just relax and have fun. I also want to see my biological father one more time before he goes back to Texas for the winter. At his age it isn't unreasonable to worry a bit that each visit may be the last.

I'm grateful Tim and I were able to go with our daughter, son-in-law and the grandchildren on a train ride this past Saturdayl. It was a first for all of us and so much fun...even though it was cold and rainy. We want to go back again for the Christmas ride.

I'm loving my favorite season and my favorite month and enjoying them as much as I can. The cozy evenings, the yummy comfort foods, the colors, the sounds, the flavors. It's all just the best!

I'm having a blast decorating at work for our huge Halloween party on the 31st. With my kids long grown and gone from home I don't do much for Halloween anymore so it's a hoot getting to let my creative juices loose to create. It won't be too spooky, but it will be pretty cool. I will take pictures once it's done. 

I can't wait to dress up, either. I'm being Winnifred Sanderson from the movie Hocus Pocus. We decided on a theme of Disney Villians for the ATF staff and when I realized Disney owns a lot of stuff other than their own stuff...a whole lot of options opened up. Two other women on staff are dressing as Mary and Sarah Sanderson. It's going to be a ball! And yes, I will take pictures of that, too.

Small and inspiring things...

I'm planning to do some deep cleaning and finally finish decorating for fall. I am so late getting it done this year. So late, that I've scaled it back and am putting out only about half of my decorations. I even gave some away to our daughter. Hmm...clearing out and cutting back...I must be getting old!

In the kitchen we're enjoying more savory, comfort-type foods. Tonight we had homemade chicken noodle soup. Our daughter brought over some of the chicken enchiladas she made, too. Those will be good packed in our lunches tomorrow.

At the store prices continue to rise and some things are just so ridiculously priced. The local groceries are twice as much (or more) than Walmart. Even Aldi's isn't all that much less than the big box stores. Most things seem to be less than fresh and go bad before their expiration dates. Worst of all, there are often empty  spots on the shelves in all departments not just the grocery.

I'm wearing my pj's at this point, but most days I'm in jeans and a t-shirt with a heavier layer over that because the mornings are rather cold and then the days warm up. Today I wore a big sweatshirt I got Saturday at the railroad without a lighter layer underneath and I regretted it. I was hot all day.

Leaving you with these thoughts...

Saturday 9: Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer

Playing along with Crazy Sam and the gang over at Saturday 9 . Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it  here . 1) In this song, Nat Ki...