Friday, October 30, 2009

Senior Photos

Warning! Dates on this calendar are closer than they may appear in this reality!

Somehow senior photos were suddenly due the beginning of next week. We'd planned but then missed the only daylight hours we have together these days (aka - last weekend) due to busy schedules and me feeling down with a cold bug and a change in upcoming plans (I'm gonna be out of town) makes this weekend unworkable. So we squeezed a photo shoot for William and my "extra son", William's friend James, during a lunch hour this week.

We met down on the river trail, the only place that wasn't soaking in bright (but very cold) sunlight. I needed an overcast day and plenty of time. I ended up with patchy shade and two rushed teens, one of them didn't even bother to shave!

Of course teens, even in a hurry, have to goof off. Along with all the serious poses, William decided to "work the camera" and we had a lot of laughs.

I think this was him being a "stud".

An "emo" shot?

Or maybe a "tough guy" look.

William wanted this shot. (actually he wanted the other shots that show writing to the left side of him that is really rude and I'm not gonna show it on this blog).

Except for a bout of cracking up, James was by far the more pliant poser for me. (Ha! I called him a poser!) I managed to get at least a half dozen shots that would have worked fine. I don't know which one he chose but here's one nice shot. Such a handsome kid.

Here's a nice shot of William in his lettermen's jacket. Not the one he chose though.

We submitted this one.

Just KIDDING! ("Just kidding!" That scene makes me crack up! We just watched Mr. Boogedy and Bride of Boogedy. LOVE those movies!)

We cropped it just a wee bit, but here's William's senior photo.

What's Post Spooky about this post? Well, I did mention two of my favorite Halloween movies. And there's some lovely autumn leaves in the backgrounds. And spookiest of all, I remember when these two were little four year olds and I had to keep an eye on them when they were playing in our front yard. Now they're driving, growing facial hair, and GRADUATING!? Too scary!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Pondering on Decorating

I guess I'm not done thinking about decorating, although I'm now officially NOT decorating. Life has thrown a new adventure at me and so I've spent the last few days (and I'll spent tomorrow) getting ready to be traveling next week.

When I said, whining aside, that I was having a lovely October, I meant it. I do like holiday decorating, but I guess when all is said and done, I like holiday and seasonal activities more. I've filled my month with plenty of cooking, gardening, walking in the autumn air, visiting the pumpkin patch and a Halloween blog party. Of course football. Hubby's had a lot of time off (courtesy of the state's mandatory furlong days) and we've done a little bit of work and a little bit of play. It's been nice.

No matter that I don't take out my favorite Halloween displays, the best kind of decorating still happens without me lifting a finger, the amazing display that nature provides.

The fiery palette of the autumn leaves definitely tops the list of best decorations.

Add some warm Indian Summer afternoons,

some cold harvest moonlit nights,

some rainy patter,

some mournful winds,

gardens full of pumpkins,

a box full of apples.

You get the idea. (so the photos don't match the words exactly, they're still pretty)

Too, even if I didn't unpack a single box of Halloween decorations, my house is still decorated. I forget, because I surround myself with it all year round, that my ordinary decor makes for pretty good "Halloween" decorations. Kitchen witches fly around the sink and tea shelves. Witch dolls sit on bedroom dressers. My living room is draped in autumn colors. Jaunty crows are perched on bookshelves all over the house. Gargoyles protect our gardens both front and back and hunch down from above in many rooms inside as well. There's a pink ghoul atop a living room cabinet all the time. That knight's coat of armor up there next to him might just contain a spook, yes? Ticking clocks. A friendly skull. And let's not forget the many living, breathing, fur shedding black cats.

And that's just what I can remember off the top of my head.

Still.... sigh.... maybe next year I'll be a decorating fiend and my house will look like this! Yes?

A girl can dream.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Decorating for the Holidays. Or Not.

I've always loved decorating for the holidays, whatever the holiday. My mom was always a decorating fanatic and I continued on decorating everything that didn't move (and some stuff that did) after I had my own home and through all the years of raising children. Sometimes I was the first one to drag out the holiday boxes, sometimes the kids beat me to it. But whichever, the house was always festooned with something - eggs and bunnies, flags, spooky skeletons, holly and ivy.

Of course Halloween was my favorite time. Even more than the traditional Christmas and Yule. I probably have more orange and black storage boxes full of decorations for October than I do green and red ones for December.

But the last few years, I've had a hard time dragging out the boxes and garlanding and hanging anything. It's not that I've stopped enjoying the holidays themselves, far from it. It's the decorating that has stopped being enjoyable.

In part, because my house has been in a long term transition stage for the last handful of years. Kids growing up and moving out, teens still home filling the house and schedule with sports equipment, travel, changing hobbies and accumulated... stuff. It's not a pretty sight. How fun is it to decorate if one is looking at a good long challenge just to clear off some horizontal surfaces first!?

And how fun is it to decorate if the family isn't around, or around much, and doesn't really care? I know, I can decorate for my own pleasure. And I do. But it's still not as fun as decorating knowing other people will enjoy it too.

And then there's the cats - too many cats. They'd just break or knock over or sleep in whatever vignette I arranged anyway. Example. I bought this cute little metal frog at the pumpkin patch this year. He's heavy, like a paper weight. I put him on top of a cabinet in the living room. Three times I've found him on the floor. I complained to Hubby, thinking he was being careless passing by him and knocking him off. Hubby swore it was the cats. Right. The cats are knocking a HEAVY frog onto the floor. Sure.

And then one night I heard a little scraping sound, looked up from my book, and saw Evil Kitty (her name is Yoda but we all call her Evil Kitty because she has stare downs with all the other animals, driving them crazy. Sort of the cat version of "MOM! He's looking out MY window!") I saw Evil Kitty methodically pushing the frog closer and closer to the..... CRASH..... and watching it fall with great satisfaction on her black fuzzy face.


What was I talking about again......?.... oh yeah, decorating. I think another issue is that I've accumulated TOO MANY DECORATIONS. I loved it so much that I..... maybe..... burned myself out. Dragging out two or three boxes and spending an afternoon setting up a few scenes is fun. MORE BOXES (I am NOT going to tell you exactly how many. Fortunately, I haven't counted them so I couldn't tell you even if I wanted to) that require the better part of a week to set out, is not fun. Or rather, it would only be fun in a world that allowed me to suspend time and all other commitments so that the hours didn't come out of the generally accepted pool of 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.

I decided years ago that most holidays could be cut back to a few seasonal splashes and call it done. But Halloween and Yule, they beg for embellishments. Decorating is part of the fun. But so is candy and parties, baking, music, pumpkin patches, tree farms, Starbucks seasonal lattes, travel, family, gift making, blogging parties. There's so much to do and so little time to do it all in.

This year I've been so far behind I've vowed to let go of my expectations and just enjoy whatever unfolds. I've done this before and it's truly the way to go. Despite my whining here, on this subject, I am having a lovely holiday season to date. It's just, it makes me sad that I never got around to decorating. I know once the season is past, I'll have to wait another whole year for another chance to string my yard with gravestones and skeletons.

Well, I could. But my neighbors already think I'm crazy. Sigh.

Monday, October 26, 2009

St. Helena Cemetery

Haven't posted for a few days - football and also a cold bug has cut my energy level in half. I'm trying to muddle through but also trying to take it easy so it doesn't get a serious hold on me. Ugh.

But, I have lots more cemetery photos to share from our recent Sonoma/Napa trip. Plenty of Post Spooky material.

The largest cemetery we visited was the St. Helena Cemetery in St. Helena, Napa County. It was a beautiful shady 25 acre site, and was clearly well cared for, much loved, and frequently visited. The community has a lot of Italian, Hispanic, and French population and it showed even here amongst the resting.

For some reason this photo makes me think of the now iconic image used for the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. (a movie I loved, although I really need to read the book too.)

Doesn't really look the same, does it. Don't know why I pair them in my mind. Strange mind.

The first thing I usually look for when I visit a cemetery is the angels. They're my favorite, probably because, being "human" images, they have a lot of "presence".

These mourners are very French, we saw a lot of them in the Paris cemeteries. Hmmm, I should have checked the name on the gravestone - is it French? I can't quite make it out but it looks to be.

This one reminded me of a decorated iced cake, such a smooth finish. Also, reminds me of all those Marie Antoinette lovers out there in bloglandia. This would make a great addiction.. er, addition (good Freudian slip of the fingers there) to someone's Marie Antoinette collage, yes?

Just pretty. Although, when that gate opens, are all those little balls gonna roll down and fall, like in a pinball game?

I always like the metal work I find in cemeteries. Was it originally painted a somber black? They remind me of little beds, perhaps it comforted people to think of their loved ones slumbering in something less gravelike.

This one just touched my heart. No specific names, just the relationship. I can see Hubby and I like this. Or rather, not. Because I don't really have plans to be buried in a grave. I need "my space" - cremation and then scatter me to all the beautiful places I loved all over the world. Typical me, Hubby would say, the more independent one. He's the true romantic of us both. Hubby wants to be buried though. With a gravestone. Maybe I could have a bit of my ashes buried with him. He'd like that. I'd give him something this beautiful if I could although, I assume this would cost a small fortune nowadays.

Lambs are often used on children's graves. This one sleeps in a giant shell. I like the ocean themed symbols - I think of death as somewhat like returning to, merging with the greater ocean of life. Not to be lost as part of it, but to be less separated from. (just a sense, a feeling, clearly I have no inside track on this, your guess is undoubtedly as good as mine)

More shell symbolism. There were lots of these little "entrances" into family plots. I liked them.

Another lamb - although this one with the unbobbed tail and those eyes... it was a bit creepy.

Interject humor here - do these look like a pair of perky breasts to you? Yeah, I knew I wasn't the only one who saw that.

The gravestones aren't the only interesting things in cemeteries. I like the grounds themselves. There were some beautiful trees in this cemetery. There was a tree guy there on this day too, trimming some grand old oaks. We chatted for a bit.

I liked this "cauldron" tree. Another good death symbol, returning to the cauldron of life.

This seemed to be carved by human hands. I see cherubs and such all huddled in a loving embrace. Maybe they were nature spirits that keep watch over this place, maybe this is where they sleep, unassuming, when humans are about in the daytime hours.

And then there's the classic "spooky" tree. This one certainly fits that category. I'd love a photo of it at twilight.

More photos from here but I think it's probably time to refill your coffee or tea, yes? I'll share more another time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wicked Apples

I TOTALLY want to make these!


Adam’s Scary Apples

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pumpkin Picking and a Maize Maze

No kids, no teens, no grandchildren, not even a chihuahua went to the pumpkin patch with us this year. Just Hubby and moi.

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First on the agenda - stocking up on pantry items. So many things to choose from!

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Decorative gourds - not for eating. And I have a few of these at home.... somewhere.

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These were hard decorative pumpkins too, but pretty with the gold and orange. I bought one.

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I also bought a turban, and a white acorn squash. Didn't buy any of those pretty hubbards as I have two from my own garden this year. I love those giant "Cinderella" pumpkins on the ground but I passed them up for one of those French warty ones. I can save the seeds to grow more next year.

Next on the to-do list - find our jack-o-lantern pumpkins.

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Acres and acres to wander in search of the perfect orange orb.

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I did the hard work of posing. We picked that extra tall pumpkin on the right for extra tall William, the other tall pumpkin on the left is Hubby's, the cute round pumpkin in the middle is mine. I prefer the classic Jack shape.

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Hubby did the hard work of getting the pumpkins back to the car.

Next -

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The corn maze. Hmmmm, the corn grew really tall this year. But still, how daunting can it be?

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It's not like there's zombies in there or anyth.... uhm. Gulp.

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And if we go in, can we find our way out? Hubby found the IN.

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At least the paths are well marked.

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He was trying to be a spooky monster "hiding" in in the corn. I'm not real sure he pulled this one off.

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It's getting a bit thicker deep in the middle. What was that sound!? Did I see something move?!!

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Oh, hehe, it was just a bird.

At least 40 minutes later.......

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I think I see civilization of some kind, maybe we'll get out of here before the sun sets after all!

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"Follow me."

Did I hear someone?

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Yay! I found the END! All by myself. Well, maybe with a little help from a feathered friend or two.

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Got crows?

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Got tractors?

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It's so pretty out here, it's hard to leave. One more task - prowl the gift shop. Yes, I bought a few things, I'll have to post about them another day.

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Time to load up the car and take our bounty home. Bye!