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Monday, October 31, 2011

Sweet Treat (Oct. 31, 2011)

A few months ago an idea popped into my mind: wouldn't a pineapple costume be fun?

Visually, I just thought it would be great. But even aside from their costume potential, I just like pineapples. They taste good, they are a cheerful yellow color and they symbolize welcome. What's not to like?

For some reason, I thought this costume could be whipped up in three hours. Well, it took fifteen or so. I was poked by wire mesh, stabbed by sewing needles, my shoulders are tense, and I can't sit in it. But honestly, it has been worth it. It's so fun to imagine something and then bring it to life. Plus, you know I love to make people smile and laugh, and I think I've brought a few extra smiles to people today. Good all around.

Whatever you do this Halloween, wherever you go and whichever costume you wear (or not), have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Decoration Madness! (Oct. 27, 2011)

You know I like festive stuff. I’m an artist. I like decorating and personalizing and laughing and signs of enthusiasm. So it’s no surprise that lately I’ve become obsessed with Halloween.

I’ve been busy, hitting the streets, searching for the most imaginative and spooky Halloween decorations around. There are plenty of people who share my Halloween gusto and decorate their houses to show their spirit. And special props go to people who manage to decorate their apartments for Halloween, as they are dealing with the challenge of decorating a third-floor window or a small balcony, and they also have limited storage space in which to stash decorations the other eleven months of the year.

Why do I dig this holiday so much? I like carving pumpkin faces, creating costumes and of course, CANDY! But what seals the deal is that there’s such variety in how people interpret this holiday. Costumes can be scary, funny, political, cute…there are many options. (Christmas decorations I love, too, but with that holiday there’s a bit of a formula for how to celebrate it.) With Halloween, anything goes! It has a playful vibe, and is just fun. It’s strictly optional and the people who bother to decorate for it or get together a costume—well, I just appreciate their passion! Here are a few of my favorite decorations:

Packing a lot of punch in a small apartment patio space. Kudos!

Recently we visited a legendary pumpkin patch tucked into the countryside about an hour from here. The patch itself is huge. The pumpkins are huge. Sometimes the crowds are huge. This time was our seventh annual visit and despite its being too hot (89 degrees!) we had fun.

Some people visit the patch in costume and one woman pulled a wagon with a familiar figure in back: Sponge Bob! Her two daughters were wearing outfits made almost entirely of crochet. Of course, I had to stop her and ask if she’d made them (yes) and would it be okay if I took a photo of Bob (yes again). It must have taken a long time to crochet a whole dress for her pre-teen daughter, dressed as Alice in Wonderland. Her younger daughter was dressed as Sponge Bob and the boxy figure in the wagon was the upper half of her costume. I wish I’d taken a close-up of the costume but you’ll get the idea. So cool!

This one is not too scary but gets points for cuteness:

This one also scores high because of the sheer number of decorations:

These home-owners always go all out for holidays:

These next two photos are from a nearby street where several of the neighbors go all out and create a very scary environment, complete with haunted house.

However you celebrate, have a very fun and spooky Halloween!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Even Gardens need Accessories (Oct. 2, 2011)

Despite my professed commitment to downsize the amount of stuff I own, I do allow myself to browse the occasional garage sale. If I'm looking for something in particular, I rationalize that this is different from going and just loading up on other people's castoffs and treading too close to the Hoarding Zone.

With that in mind, I headed to a garage sale recently and found what I really wanted: a table I could makeover to house part of my giant plant and succulent collection. I knew I would put the table near our front door and that it needed to be a fun color. Seriously, happy colors are free therapy. Finding something that worked felt like a victory (because you never know at garage sales), and after handing over my five dollars, I schlepped my new-old table home for its color consultation. Did I want to go pink or red? Not sure. I just knew I wanted a cheerful, bright color to pop against our cheerful, bright yellow house. Several coats of red later, voila! I have a cheerful, bright table and it gives me a boost every time I walk by it. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

One Hundred Trumpets, Please! (Oct. 1, 2011)

Drum roll, please. This is my one hundredth blog post.

I feel some duty to mark the occasion in a fitting way. But how? Now it feels like pressure to make this post extra interesting. Yikes.

I put off writing this piece for a few days so that I could post it on the first of October, the tenth month, as ten and one hundred share a special connection. Maybe I should have waited until the tenth day of the tenth month, because 10 x 10 = 100. But I can’t wait that long. I have a huge backlog of pieces to write and post.

In lieu of changing your life with this blog post Number One Hundred, I’ll just reminisce for a minute about these hundred posts. Nearly three years ago I started this blog with the goal of having a place to express myself. If I was the only one who read it, okay. If others found it amusing, great. I wasn’t seeking a following of thousands, just the freedom to write or post whatever I wanted. Maybe that is why a blog is so great: in life there are so many compromises, but with your own blog there are so many freedoms.

Why is one hundred (of anything) so significant? Since we were young children we have been aware that numbers have meaning and certain ones seem extra worthy of celebration. My great aunt Kay turned one hundred and one two months ago (and is still as sharp as a pin). Reaching her hundredth birthday was such an amazing accomplishment because it so rare. But reaching ninety-nine is rare, too. Why does our society like things in batches of one hundred? It comes up in our daily lives, with the dollar bill representing one hundred pennies. It also comes up in more unusual circumstances, like the celebration of a centennial. We use it in measurement: 100% is the top. There are acclaimed literary works and famous songs which use one hundred in their titles or lyrics. We celebrate kids’ one hundred days of school. We analyze the presidents first one hundred days in office. One hundred: it’s everywhere!

I went to Google to shed some light on why one hundred is so omnipresent, so much a part of our daily lives as well as a measurement for our goals. Not being into football, I didn’t realize that there are one hundred yards in an American football field (not including the end zone). I learned that one hundred is the sum of the first nine prime numbers (my dad, the mathematician, will love this reference!).

I guess I’ll sign off now. I have at least a hundred things to do before bed: a hundred things to pick up off the floor, hundreds of breaths to take and hundreds of snacks to make. Plus, there are at least another hundred things I need to blog about, so keep it here for the next batch!