Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

I am participating in my seventh link up with Sheaffer, Mel, and Shay  When I joined the link-up, I thought that I would do it a couple of times and, eventually, lose steam, but, instead, "What's Up Wednesday" has become a favorite post for me; I enjoy the challenge of answering the questions, as well as reading the answers of other bloggers. Plus, I think it will  be fun to look back in a few years to see what our days looked like during this season of our life' it's so easy to forget the small details with the passing of time. Oh! Speaking of seasons, happy Halloween! I'm headed to Day Job, where two of my coworkers and I are competing together to win the office costume contest; it should be tons of fun and I will have to remember to get pictures. But, for now, on to the questions...

What We're Eating

Nothing new or very interesting. Actually, my diet has been a hot mess, lately. I'm still off sugar, but, I've found plenty of other ways to wreck my nutrition, including an almost embarrassing dependency on Goldfish crackers. I'm not proud.

What I'm Reminiscing About

When the kids were young, Jana and I had a standing date for Halloween; each year, we would meet at my house for an early dinner, making sure to serve some recipe especially adapted for the holiday. One year, we carved Jack-o-Lantern faces into orange bell peppers, stuffed them with spaghetti, and baked them; the kids loved them. Another year, we made hot dog mummies, and, yet another year, we created an "eyeball" stew that we served to very mixed reviews; for the most part, though, as long as a dish was tasty and creepy, it met the quality standards of the kids. After dinner and a mandatory viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, we fixed up thermoses of hot chocolate laced with peppermint schnapps or hot coffee liberally laced with Baileys and hit the streets for Trick-or-Treating.

To be  clear, the thermoses were for me and Jana, not for the kids, because, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do (this is a motto that served me well through the pre-school, elementary, middle school, and high school years, and, which I still embrace today, enthusiastically).

Anyhoodle, I miss those days and would love to recreate them, but, following Trick-or-Treaters around on Halloween night with a thermos of spiked cocoa now would just be creepy. Although, if Jana's up for it, I guess we could give it a shot...ha! Kidding. Mostly.

Our motley crew, circa 2008
Including the ghost of Elvis, thank you, thankyouverymuch

What I'm Loving

In no particular order:

This wine glass...

These dish towels (Mary Lake Thompson has become my favorite folk artist)...

Cozy fires on chilly nights...

And, this candle...

What We've Been Up To

Haunting the yard! Hugh and I completed this year's Halloween lawn display a lot later in the month than we aimed for, but, with plenty of time to spare. The neighborhood kids have already made their annual trek down the road to check it out and, they gave it two thumbs up...times five, which brings our total score to ten thumbs up. Success!

The display is super creepy at night, so I am sure that the Trick-or-Treaters will get a kick out of it later tonight.

What I'm Dreading

I'm not exactly dreading it, but, I turn 50 on the 28th of November. I know it's just a number, and, that 50 is like the new 40 and all that, but, I would be lying if I said that I'm super-excited about the prospect of turning a half century old. Beats the alternative, I suppose.

What I'm Working On

I recently purged my cupboards and pantries and started organizing the cabinets in my mudroom. All of which was sorely needed and which has inspired me to tackle all of the closets in the house. You know, eventually.

What I'm Excited About

I mentioned our Halloween party at Day Job at the beginning of this post, and, I'm looking forward to that later today. I'm really excited about my costume and about the live Clue game that we are going to be playing; the administrative assistant decorated all of the rooms for the game earlier today and she did an amazing job; it's going to be a blast to play. Also, back in the day, I rocked the board game, so, I'm fairly confident in my ability to pull out a win.

What I'm Watching

The Haunting of Hill House. I binge-watched the entire series in just a couple of days and I enjoyed every creepy, freaky, scary, touching, and suspenseful minute.

What I'm Reading

Recently, I am having a love affair with Kristin Hannah; since finishing The Great Alone last month, I've read a couple more of her books.

From Amazon: In the rugged Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest—nearly a million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this old growth forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.
Having retreated to her western Washington hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is determined to free the extraordinary little girl she calls Alice from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation. To reach her, Julia must discover the truth about Alice’s past—although doing so requires help from Julia’s estranged sister, a local police officer. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice—and for herself.

I really enjoyed this story; it was unique and fresh, and, so well-told. I highly recommend it.

My next Kristin Hannah read was

From AmazonIn the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the "coolest girl in the world" moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer's end they've become TullyandKate. Inseparable.
So begins Kristin Hannah's magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.
I loved this story so much, I immediately ordered the sequel, Fly Away. I haven't started it yet, but I am looking forward to talking about it in next month's What's Up Wednesday. I think it's pretty clear that Kristin Hannah has become one of my favorite authors, right up there with Maeve Binchy and Elin Hilderbrand.

What I'm Listening To

On my right, the dog is snoring, and, to the left, the cat is wheezing. Not quite sure what's up with that but I damn straight hope it doesn't result in an expensive trip to the vet.

What I'm Wearing

Fall weather hit hard this month, so I have finally busted out the thermal henleys, warm cardigans, and over-the-knee boots. I haven't quite gotten into scarf mode yet, but, time's a comin'.

What We're Doing This Weekend

Queen B is coming down to spend some time with me, and, we are going to put together her graduation announcements. I can't believe I'm about to be the parent of a college graduate, but, then again, I am about to turn 50 (throw-up, in my mouth, most unpleasant).

We spent a day together the weekend before last, taking pictures for the announcements, and, they turned out great! We have a couple of favorites, but, I'm not planning to share them here until closer to her graduation in December.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Thanksgiving! I'm hosting dinner again this year and I'm thrilled! For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than simultaneously cooking a turkey with all the trimmings while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while decorating the Christmas tree with family and friends. In my opinion, it's the best of all worlds! Probably because I was born on Thanksgiving day...50 years ago (again, throw up, in my mouth).

Bonus Question: What Was Your Favorite Halloween Costume

This is a tough one! I've had a lot of really great costumes over the years, but, these are two of my all-time favorites:

Dead Prom Queen. 

The year after Hugh and I got married, we participated in a haunted house put on by the aquatic facility at which I was the Director; one of my lifeguards made the bloody stake out of...well, a wood stake, that was attached to a leather belt that hooked around my waist. I picked up the prom dress at a local thrift store, cut a hole in the front, strapped on the bloodied stake, popped it out the hole, and voila! Dead Prom Queen!


I wore this costume to Queen B's first grade classroom in 2001. I had volunteered as Room Mother for the Halloween party, and, knowing that I would need back-up, I convinced Hugh to go along. Since it was a family affair, it was only right and natural that, once Queen B decided to be Snow White, the rest of us would match the, Hugh spent an hour of his time dressed as Grumpy, squatting on a tiny chair making spiders out of cut-up egg cartons and pipe cleaners. Good times.

For the record, I'm not entirely certain the Man-Cub has ever forgiven me for that Dopey costume.

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