Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Look Flabbergasted, Flummoxed, and Frightened

Despite Sandy's best efforts here, Halloween is on for tomorrow night.  Last year Halloween was cancelled due to the debilitating snow storm. 

So it was with great delight and relief, that my little neighbors informed me this morning, "You are going to be really scared when we come to your house!"

Duly noted. Here are some looks that could be employed when answering the door.

Courtesy of Scary Cary in:


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Great Materteral Axioms

Once again, the ladies of the family gathered for lunch with the most dear Great Aunts  - Aunt Pen and  Aunt June  (may be their real names or not - my secret) - but definitely they are the Greats.  The Greats are utterly adored, advanced in age, active, and as this entry will posit - succinctly wise.

First a bit of background.

In general, the Greats have enviable, ramrod straight posture and are robust, yet thin.  I aspire to their posture...

Aunt Pen, was a history professor, has been rabid about Mick Jagger probably since his first pout and swagger, and just got back from Istanbul.

Aunt June, still bombs about in her bee yellow Volkswagen, is multilingual and teaches language classes, and has outlived three husbands.

They banter about this last fact frequently:

"You tired them out, June,"  Pen will say.

"They could not keep up with me," June will toss right back.

The notion of keeping up is an interesting one as applied to the Greats.  They swing with modern times. For example, both have Iphones and use them "when the time and place is appropriate." Yet both have commented that "an education today relies on one's thumb dexterity or the pressing of buttons."

The Greats remind one of Jessica Tandy both a bit in looks but mostly in enunciation.

We arrived at the designated lunch spot and I headed straight for the Ladies to pull back my hair.  I met my cousin there who was doing the same thing.  The Greats have stated often enough:

  • "A woman's hair should be bobbed, styled, or pulled back."

My cousin and I did not want to hear this again as applied to ourselves.

First messy version of Wen's hair in the Ladies
before others came in and we felt we ought to
stop taking photos...

Despite this, the Greats waxed unpoetically at lunch about the hair trend of "two pieces of string".  They feel this "dates a woman" because "it has been around since the 1960s!"   They both still read "Vogue" and quipped about Aerin Lauder's two pieces of string in the new perfume ads.

Sometimes there are no words - basically because the Greats have said it all.  I have collected a few of their axioms here.

  • "Fleece is the unfortunate person's wool."

  • "People who sleep late miss a lot."

  • "Only apply lipstick on the bottom lip then smudge it on the top.  Most of us are not artists and do not need to look ridiculous."

  • "Always sleep with a window open."

  • "Wash your face only with cold water."

  • "Think what you want but always be openly nice to everyone.  That's how I got to meet Tony Blair."

  • "People who do not like dogs cannot be trusted." - I agree.

  • "If you have too much, you only want more."

  • "For a light lunch try a peanut butter sandwich and a whisky." 

Our particular lunch ended with a pontification on how too much is shared today.

  • "People should keep their secrets.  It makes them mysterious and therefore more interesting."


Monday, October 8, 2012

Berry Bowls, Brandy, and Bag Balm

We have neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. E., who very kindly invite everyone over on Columbus Day weekend  for an annual  berry bowl making party.

We assemble in the early afternoon bearing the glass bowls that we were issued several years ago at the inaugural event.  Then, out into the woods en masse with trugs and baskets to forage for partridge berries and moss. 

"Watch out," Mr. E. calls out as we trudge in.  "I saw a bear the other day." 

"He is kidding," Mrs. E. calls out in a sing song voice as some in the party hesitate. Then adds, "It was a raccoon." 

"Bear. Raccoon," Mr. E. shrugs.  "They are all the same when you grow up in the city."

Eventually, we head back to their barn which is decorated for the season with corn stalks, pumpkins, mums, and Halloween cut outs.  Mrs. E. passes around hot cider while we assemble our berry bowls.  Mr. E. continues to keep us entertained by putting records on an old wind up Victrola that he has. He found some new records for his collection at this year's flea market.  Some of the lyrics - like hotsie, totsie jalopy - are hysterical. 

Afterwards, we move into their house and watch the sun set amidst the autumn color of the trees.  We partake of a wonderful dinner of hearty fall food - roast chicken, mashed red potatoes,  cornbread, and apple pie.  We all compare berry bowls.

Here is mine

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. E.!

At home, we spent a good part of the weekend tidying up the garden.

Felco Pruners Pocketed for a Quick Draw

Yes, a rake.

It was ingrained when growing up  - not only for autumn tidying but in the spring when the entire yard was to be raked - that raking builds character. Besides, it is also good for the waist. I would rather use a rake than an annoyingly, noisy leaf blower.

Too many pine cones.  Some are put under a pumpkin.

Frost was expected so out to the garden to pick as many flowers as possible.  One can keep flowers after a frost if one goes out with the hose and sprays the frost off before the sun hits.  But not enough left in the garden to warrant that this year.

With the chills already setting in, it is time to stock up on two tried and true essentials.  Brandy. Bag Balm.

Brandy in our family is medicinal.  My first brandy - though watered down - was administered when I was a young teen on the very sad passing of a 17 year old beloved pet.

Bottle is kept on hand to use for:
  • Calming shocks and upsetedness
  • After  getting soaked - as in a rainstorm or falling out of the canoe into the river
  • Sleeplessness
  • Providing internal, long lasting warmth on a bitter winter day

 Bag Balm has been our answer for cold weather chapping for years.

 If one reads the testimonials on the web site, folks seem to readily share all the maladies that this can be used for - some quite "creative."