Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghosts of Halloween Costumes Past

Just because we aren't haunting the porch this year doesn't mean that it has to go completely to waste.

Hey, girls, I have a joke! Why can't witches have babies? Because warlocks have hollow weenies...

That is hilarious!

Wait a minute, I thought it was because warlocks have crystal balls!

Crystal balls! Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!

Witch jokes are sooo racist...

You are so uptight, you need to get groovy, man..

Groovy, ha! What's she smoking?

I'm not smoking anything; I'm high on death, I mean.

Happy Halloween, y'all!

Happy Halloween

Earlier this week, Hugh and I made the decision not to haunt the porch this Halloween. It's been a hard couple of weeks and we didn't really feel like we had the time or energy to do it at all, much less to do it well.

I have conflicting feelings about the decision. I know it is the right one for us, but I will miss the excitement on the faces of our little Trick-or-Treaters as they await their turn in line. I also feel a bit of guilt over not providing the Man-Cub and his friends the opportunity to make girls scream in terror, but, I figure they still have a couple of years for that. Hell, their driving, alone, could probably accomplish that.

When we made the decision, I assumed that I would spend the evening handing out candy to the various ghosts, goblins, fairies, and princesses who came to our door, and, I will at some point. However, I have also been pressed in to duty to chaperone the kids in my ASTRA club at the elementary school's Halloween Carnival. My shift runs 5-7, which is prime Trick-or-Treating time, and, since the Man-Cub is in the club, he will also be required to volunteer his time in one of the booths; this leaves our home unmanned for the deluge of beggars (Hugh will be in Neighboring City, officiating at a wrestling event) and that makes me nervous.

I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Speaking of figuring things out; the Man-Cub is expected to dress up for the carnival. He currently has no costume to wear, no idea of what he might like to be, and is feeling no apparent urgency in procuring a costume. His Zen attitude is admirable, unless you happen to be his mother, who will be pressed into service to create an awesome costume at the last minute, in which case his attitude is frustrating and infuriating.

I'm sure we'll figure that out, too.

Anyway, Happy Halloween. I wish you a fabulous day and the very best candy in your Trick-or-Treat bag. In the event that you find your haul consists mostly of peanut-butter taffy wrapped in black and orange waxed paper; I wish you a dozen eggs and really good aim.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Adjusting to our New Normal

Yesterday, in the effort to live up to the motto of "Life Must Go On", I dragged Hugh and the Man-Cub out to the pumpkin patch. While the excursion wasn't the same without The Teenager, we all managed to put on a brave face before diving into the search for this year's annual sacrifice to the carving gods. And, it turned out to be a lovely way to spend an absolutely gorgeous autumn afternoon (seriously, the weather has been crazy-gorgeous here, unseasonably warm and mellow).

We each found the perfect pumpkin, including one that we chose for the absent Teenager, and, once home; carved our masterpieces while watching Moonshiners and eagerly awaiting the first roasted pumpkin seed (they turned out pretty spectacular as well).

So, I accomplished the first traditional family holiday activity without The Teenager in the house, and, while weird, it did not break me.

I just might make it as a half-empty-nester after all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Well, Staring At a Blank Screen Isn’t Going to Get Me Anywhere

I’ve attempted to write this post about fifteen times over the past week and, each time I think I have the words, I am proven completely wrong. So, I think it best to admit the truth; there are no words.
There are no words to express the depths of my sorrow. No words to bring comfort to my broken heart. No words powerful enough to erase the pain of the last week or adequate enough to describe the events that led to it.
And, that’s ok.
It’s ok to feel like I am being held under water, aware that life is going on around me but unable to distinctly hear the conversations or to clearly see. That will pass, of course it will.
It’s ok to grieve; I will.

I do.
But, my dad would be so disappointed if I allowed that grief to paralyze me. If I allow it to diminish my capacity to love life or give it a chance to steal my joy; I will dishonor every lesson that my dad ever taught me.

And, I can't have that.
So, instead, I will focus on the blessings that are so abundant in my life. I will make myself do the things that I know need to be done and I will do my very best to be joyful in the execution.
And, one day (soon, please let it be soon), the words will come.
And, it will be ok.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Writing the Unwritable

The world lost a beautiful man and a kind soul with the sudden passing of Ronnie Dean Elliott on October 19, 2014. On the bright side, Heaven’s football team gained an outstanding coach.

Ronnie was born in Amarillo, Texas on September 3, 1943 to Alfred Glen and Pauline Elliott.

His family moved to Monte Vista in 1958 where Ronnie attended Monte Vista High School and pursued the two greatest loves of his life: sports, and Dorothy Lehnerz; he was successful in both endeavors, playing football, basketball, and baseball, and, winning Dorothy’s heart. Ronnie and Dorothy were married on November 22, 1962, and spent almost 52 years together before his untimely passing.

Ronnie attended Adams State College, graduating with a BA in Business and a teaching degree. Ronnie made his living in education and as an administrator of the Colorado State Veteran’s Center, but, he lived his life for his family and for sports.
In his seventy-one years of life, Ronnie coached flag football teams, tackle football teams, youth basketball teams, and Babe Ruth baseball teams. He led by example, with grace and dignity. He believed in hard work, dedication, loyalty, and team spirit. He couldn’t abide a quitter and loved the underdog. He saw the potential in each individual he coached and he worked tirelessly to instill self-confidence and pride in his athletes. He was patient, brave, and compassionate; three skills which prepared him for his most challenging coaching assignment: raising three daughters. 

In addition to coaching, Ronnie spent twenty-eight seasons refereeing High School football and basketball games. He enjoyed the physical challenge, overlooked the hecklers, and, called ‘em like he saw ‘em. He was installed in the Colorado Football Association Hall of Fame in 2003, in honor of his contributions.
His love of sports continued to the day he died, with avid participation in Fantasy Football Leagues, where he was affectionately known as Puff.

Ronnie was an active member of the Ski-Hi Stampede Committee, volunteering his time and talent for over twenty years. He counted Committee members among his best friends, and, it was for them that he actually rode a horse. Once.
Privileged to have shared in his life, wife Dorothy, daughters, Kristy (Clay) Corzine, Michelle (Steve) Gottlieb, and Brandi Elliott, grandsons Bryce Corzine, Joshua Gottlieb and Brecken Reiser, granddaughters Samantha Corzine and Brooke Gottlieb.

In addition, he is survived by sister, Glenda Osborne, Step-sister Joan Messser, lifelong friends, Merv and Darla Self, friends and family too numerous to mention, and, by Roper, the dog his wife swore he would never have.
Ronnie was preceded in death by his parents and by his son, Richard Glen Elliott, and grandson, Mitchell Elliott Reiser, with whom he was no doubt reunited on a heavenly football field.

Practice started at 10:30 a.m. on the morning of October 19, 2014.

I love you, Daddy, and I miss you, already.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

“Hope” is the Thing With Feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
-Emily Dickinson

Saturday, October 18, 2014

This Day Just Keeps Getting Better

The menfolk are off hunting.

My house is basically clean (couldn't stand it anymore, had to bust out the Hoover once I realized that the cat I kept seeing in my peripheral vision was actually a cat-sized hairball).

I have my scrapping supplies laid out and organized and ready to use.

I just made a date with Jana for dinner and a movie, later this evening.

There will be wine.

And, dessert.

Enough said.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Whatever Shall I Do?

Hugh and the Man-Cub have plans to get up early tomorrow morning to go hunting. They will probably be gone for the entire day, depending on whether or not they find Bambi, and that leaves me with an entire day to myself. Whatever will I do to fill my time?

I could clean the house....nah, it isn't completely disgusting yet.

I could rake and fertilize the garden for next Spring...or, I could let Hugh do that, since he's much better at it than I am.

I could sit on my ass on the couch, watching The Food Network and eating my weight in chocolate covered almonds...tempting...but, I can do that when Hugh and the Cub are home.

I think I will suck it up and force myself to work on the kids' scrapbooks. I am ridiculously far behind, I have a ton of cute supplies that I have purchased and that are going to waste, and, I have been invited to join a scrapping club by one of the Booster Club moms; I would like to be somewhat caught up and organized before I attend the first scrap party next month. So, ding, ding, ding! We have a winnah!

Scrapbooking for $100, Alex!

And, just to be fair and balanced, I'll tune the television in my craft room to The Food Network and I'll pour a small bowl of chocolate covered almonds for snacking; a girl has to keep her energy up, after all.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sending a Message in a Bottle

When I started blogging many, many years ago, I had two motives: one, to provide a means for my parents to connect with the daily lives of the grandchildren from whom they were separated, geographically, and, two, to create a time capsule of sorts; something that I could read back over to remind me of the fleeting time when the children were small.

Because I  was all too aware of the brief nature of childhood, I wanted a record; a written account of every lost tooth, scraped knee, Christmas morning, first day of school, and ballet recital. It wasn't enough for me to log those firsts in baby books, or to scrap them onto album pages; I needed a space for a more detailed account of our life, and, I found that in blogging.

This space has served my intended purposes quite well; my parents have maintained a close relationship with my children despite the distance that separates them and I have ample material to read back over when my memories inevitably become fuzzy around the edges. But it has had an unexpected benefit as well, it has provided The Teenager with a way to stay connected to the home and family that she desperately misses during this first (and most difficult) year of college.

I love that I have this platform to reach my baby. I love that she reads this and that, by doing so, she will know how much we miss her and how incomplete our home is without her in it. I love that she can watch her brother navigate the last three years of High School through the stories that I share in this space, and I hope that it goes a long way to make her feel included in her brother's life, because she misses him, she really does. And, I hope that, some day, the Cub will also seek out this space, to remind him of home when he is far away, to reconnect him to the sister he also misses terribly, or to reassure himself that he is, and always has been, loved.

I have always written about my children; it never occurred to me that I was writing for my children. But, that has now become my favorite reason for writing.

It is my dearest hope that they will read our story and that they will garner a fraction of how very loved and cherished they were (and are). Because, I could write a novel on the topic, but, I love them far beyond what mere words on a page can convey.

A Little Known Fact About the Cub

At last week's JV football game, the Man-Cub was pressed into service as a kicker. He had never kicked before but, with a couple of boys out of town, the coach was somewhat desperate to fill the position; the Man-Cub, ever the team player, volunteered to give it a try.

Imagine our surprise when his punts were picture-perfect. Imagine the coach's surprise. Imagine the Man-Cub's surprise, although, in all honesty, he probably was the least surprised of all of us (he's a firm believer in his ability to succeed at anything he attempts, and that's a quality that I admire about him).

I don't know if the Cub will get another chance at punting now that the regular kickers are back, but, at least he showed the coach that he is capable in a pinch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Witch is Witch

I am finally getting around to posting a picture of the new witch wreath that I made last week. I think it turned out pretty cute. Apparently, I am not over the witch-legs theme of crafting, however, as I am awaiting the arrival of another set of legs with which to try a new craft. For a while, I thought that I would make another cauldron, but, I think I am going to branch out to something new, stay tuned.

Or not. Your call.

Anyway, here is the latest witch wreath...

It matches the garland, which makes sense since I was trying to use up the leftover material...

...the sparkly legs are what make it super-cute and I actually think that I like this wreath better than the one that I made last year. Although, I like that one, too. I just like witches, what can I say?

That includes the ancient bushel-basket witch that I made way back before the Man-Cub was even born, and, which, I will picture below. That witch was one of my first crafting projects and she was made during an afternoon spent with my mother and sisters, which makes her all the more special.

Anyway, with this latest addition to the porch, I am officially done with my Halloween decorating.

Until I finish the craft that I alluded to earlier, of course. Then, I'll totally be done. For sure. I mean, I'm almost positive I will be done.

Unless I think of something else that I can't live without making, anyway.

But then? I'll totally be done.


Must. Stop. Crafting....

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cheers to a Productive Weekend

Despite taking a really long nap on Saturday, I managed to accomplish just about everything on my To-Do list, and, that hasn't happened in a while.

I got the garden harvested and pulled up.

I made that witch wreath that I wanted to make (pictures to come).

I finished a ton of laundry.

I shopped for groceries and restocked my pantry and freezer.

I made a homemade chicken noodle soup from stock that I made a couple of weeks ago. I have actually started cooking whole chickens on a frequent basis, storing the stock in the fridge or freezer and shredding the meat for use in a variety of different dishes. It's super-easy, inexpensive, and, makes me feel all smug and homemaker-y (SpellCheck would not let me attach that Y. SpellCheck is a buzzkill). I made the soup because I developed a cold over the weekend and chicken noodle soup is a known cure. I'm sure it will kick in any time now...

I fell into a coma on the couch Saturday after pulling the garden and I slept for about three hours, after which I managed to drag myself from the couch to take the Man-Cub out for dinner before falling back into the coma until Hugh arrived home from Denver late in the night. I blame the late night that I had on Friday, the physical labor involved in pulling up the garden, and the above-mentioned cold.

On Sunday, I also got my work done at the store and got the house somewhat tidied up, despite feeling like crap. Then, I tucked in on the couch to watch Halloween Wars and the season premiere of The Walking Dead, as one does in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

So, it was a busy and productive weekend, as I have said. Today, I am heading into the office to get as much work done as I can before the cold meds I took this morning wear off and I crash, at which point I might take some comp time to come home for a nap before the Man-Cub's football game later this afternoon.

I'm planning for a busy and productive week to mirror the weekend, I mean, why not? Right? Right.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall Harvest

I found a few things in the garden as I was pulling the plants out to begin the prep for winter (Not the W word! Forty lashes!). Most of the things I found were wonderful and edible. Another was a giant momma spider toting an egg sack the size of my pinkie. I won't leave you guessing as to which of those things made it into the house and which did not; it was most definitely NOT the spider.

I now have enough beets and carrots to roast for dinner tomorrow, two pumpkins large enough to provide for my Thanksgiving pies, and more than enough tomatoes to share with friends and family.

Happily for Rowdie, a large number of over-ripe tomatoes had fallen from the plants, providing a treat the likes of which he had never seen before, and, he wasted no time in cleaning them from the ground once I invited him into the garden to do so.

I'm guessing he will regret that when the tummy ache hits.

On the other hand, it was his last opportunity for garden-fresh tomatoes, at least until next year, so, I think the ache might be worth it.

Crafting as an Addiction: Discuss

I was so pleased with my efforts on the witch cauldron craft project, I have been inspired to use up the rest of my materials to make a new witch for the front door. Do I need a new witch for the front door? Of course I don't. But, do I need a tote full of leftover crafting materials knocking around in my attic like a ghost? I do not. Therefore, later today, the crafting will begin again in earnest.

First, however, I need to get out and pull up the last of the garden. I should have attended to this earlier, but, I think we've pretty well covered my habit of procrastination by this point, so, 'nuff said.

Then, I might, or might not, catch a nap. The Man-Cub's football game this week was in a town several hours away and I didn't make the trip to watch because Hugh is in Denver at the fall market for the store and I didn't really want to drive over one of the most treacherous passes in the state at night and by myself. Ha! Not only am I a lazy procrastinator, but I am a chicken as well. Go, me! And, as often happens, I, the Cub didn't get home until almost 4:00 and I waited up for him, so I'm sure the day will eventually catch up with me. Or, it might not, we'll see.

But, then, the crafting! It shall happen!

I think I will hang the new witch on the front porch window, underneath the garland that I made previously. That will echo the look of the old witch on the front door and finish off the porch, which, already looks like a post-apocalyptic version of Porch Night, what with all of the skeletons. Huh. I think I just got some inspiration for how I want to display them next year. This will require a craft really is addictive.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Not So Instant Replay

Ok, so my SOCD* (Situational Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) will not allow that last picture of my latest Halloween creation to stand. Not just because I feel like the craft deserves a decent picture (although, it does), but because I consider myself a decent hobby-photographer and that picture simply does not live up to my (anal) standards.

That said,

I feel so much better now.

*This totally made-up disorder probably doesn't appear in the DSM-5. But it should.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I Feel Crafty

Last Halloween, I made a deco mesh wreath that was supposed to look like a witch. It turned out really well and I felt super-smug about my creativity. Granted, that wreath design was all over Pinterest, which made it about as original as dirt, but, still, super-smug.

This year, when I saw a pair of witch legs at the store, I picked them up, thinking that I would make another wreath or the witch-legs-hanging-from-an-umbrella craft that is making the Pinterest rounds this year.

Then, on my way to work yesterday, I saw a design painted on a store window and I got inspired to try something completely different, and, dare I say, original.

This was my inspiration...

...and these were my materials...

...the work in progress...

...and, the finished product...

I feel more than a little smug about this craft. In fact, I feel pretty damn smug. Not because I designed and created this all on my own, but because I actually finished it without procrastinating or getting bored and leaving it halfway finished **cough**every other craft I've started**cough.

The fact that it is super-cute and kind of awesome is totally beside the point.

The last picture was taken with my phone and it really does not do the thing justice, like at all; I foresee a magazine-worthy photo shoot in it's future. Unless I get bored. Or distracted. Or lazy.

So, yeah, there will never be a better picture.

You can't have it all.

Finally Getting My Shit Together

This past Sunday, I finally got around to putting out my Halloween decorations. It didn't take nearly as long as I had convinced myself it would, which I appreciated. also, I really need to get a check on this chicken-little-sky-is-falling attitude that I am rocking, lately.

But, I digress.

Anyway, my porch decorations include the garland that I whined about procrastinating on for longer than it actually took to make the damn thing. I think it turned out ok. I could still embellish it a little but, well, I am still lazy.

The materials for the garland included deco mesh, which has become by go-to material for inexpensive holiday decorations, some Halloween decorations and a few spools of ribbon. Really, that's almost all there was to it, once all was said and done.

The materials made two garlands, which I contemplated combining into one long garland for around the front door, but, was too lazy to actually attempt; the beauty of these garlands is that I can do that at some point down the road when I'm not feeling quite so unmotivated.

As it is, I kind of like the two separate garlands and I think they bring some much needed color to the porch; six out of seven skeletons totally agree with me (there's always one, right?).