House, Halloween and NaBloPoMo Post

I promised pics a while ago. Thanks for bearing with me. Abe finally left about four this afternoon, and that should be an end to it for a while, though I may end up asking Charles to send someone over to put up our new door numbers. I want that to be perfect. Anyway, I stepped out to take some photos of the back hall, and got carried away. Hence the cut.

My red door! This is the door from the sun porch to the back hall. The walls are obviously not done yet, but will be a nice off white eventually.
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This should give you an idea of what the hall looks like now. The floor is actually a cobalt blue, and the walls are French blue. The trim is yellow, and I’ve accessorized with some red (the door for one.) Carpet treads went down today.
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See, here’s the door. The alcove is where the back door used to be, and was wasted space so I asked for shelves. I’m using them for my cleaning supplies.
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Looking down to the outer door. Both sides are bright lemon yellow, but we have to wait for warmer weather to finish the outer side. Abe was getting ready to hang that lantern over the bulb.
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As usual, Charles and Will both said “Are you SURE you want to ______” fill in the blank with whatever I told them I wanted done, in this case hanging the Chinese lantern outside my back door. Yes it cuts down on the light, but it looks fantastic. As usual, once it was up they agreed with me. Glinda says it’s nice that we have our own darkroom now. Beyotch.
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Changing gears now. This part of my dining room hasn’t been seen since mid-day, March 28. People keep walking to the middle and just standing there as if they don’t quite believe it.
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So then I took pics of some of the H’ween decorations. I’ll do more tomorrow night when the lights are all on. This is on my front door.
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Looking into the front hallway. It’s better at night when the spooky green light is on. That banner says “Magic Happens” and it’s the one sent me. It’s made of win!
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Pumpkins, half dead mums, a jack-o-lantern and faux spider webbing. These are a few of my favorite things.
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The motto of Villa Allegra
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The front of the house. Significant for the handmade banner over the steps, and the utter lack of plants growing out of the gutter.
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Our house crow. He’s very good, he never flies away.
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Help wanted. Bwahahahahaha
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We have pumpkin zombies. They come around at odd hours and gnaw at our pumpkins.
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Just in case you didn’t see the original hallway, or don’t recall it, here’s a link to a photo

Remember those pumpkins being ravaged by pumpkin zombies?

Pumpkin Zombies Unmasked

I actually got a lot of photos today. A bunch of Annika, a friend’s dog who came to visit, and some nice ones of trick-or-treaters of which we had dozens. We gave out something like five pounds of candy. I’m not going to do another picture heavy post though because I’m sure you would prefer not to wade through a lot more picspam.

The Cad-man watching the pumpkin zombies carry out their hideous plans
Caddy, October 31, 2008

Our creepy hallway
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The other pics are still uploading. They’re over on Flickr, the latest pics in my photostream. I’m tired now and I’m going to bed.


Another weekend at the villa

Or weekend. It’s been hot here, or at least what I consider hot, which is anything over about 75 degrees. Friday, the girls came in for movie night, and Renka joined us. Before she arrived we watched Countdown and were pleased to see that the smear campaign is backfiring on McCain and Palin, though I have to say that the crazies they’ve been stoking make me very nervous. When people are shouting “KILL HIM!” at rallies, we have problems in this country that we need to address right away. Also pleased that the Troopergate investigation was made public as it should have been. When a public official violates the public trust, the public should know the details. Again, I say that if the guy was as bad as they’ve said he was, tasering his kids and stuff like that, then he deserves worse than firing, and why he wasn’t jailed for those alleged abuses is beyond me. However, it’s not the place of an elected official to make use of his or her office to continue a personal vendetta. If no charges are filed, then you’ve gotta leave the guy alone.

Renka arrived, then supper from Leona’s. We opened a bottle of Charles Ellner champagne and toasted the memory of Paul Newman while we watched “The Sting.” It was an early night because Glinda was going in to work on Saturday morning, and Renka had to open the store while Gene was at a show in Indiana.

Jim came by late Saturday afternoon with a load of shish kebab meat, but we ran some errands before supper, going over to World Market, and Sam’s where we didn’t manage to find any more Colombelle. I did pick up four bottles of wine that looked interesting. Glinda bought some hard cider and a four pack of pumpkin ale. Oh yes, it’s autumn, in spite of the heat. We made supper, opened the red Zin I’d bought — Kaboom, it was called. Big flavor — and watched Casablanca. Another early night because Jim has to work on Sundays, so I took a hot bath and finished “The Tsar’s Dwarf.”

Sunday, I faced the fact that my laptop is really most sincerely dead, and fired off an email to my insurance guy asking if I’m covered for soup-related damages. There’s really not much on the hard drive that I’m going to miss. Just stuff that will be a pain to reconstruct. The only thing that I didn’t have backed up and should have was my notes on the Changelings universe. I’m going to have to see if anyone can get the data off the HD for me.

I invited Glinda down for a supper of braised pork chops, rice and chard. The rice wasn’t very good and as this is the third of the mixes I got from the same company that wasn’t very appealing, I’m thinking of declaring them a real bust, and giving away the rest. I braised the chops in a mix of hard cider and canned pumpkin, and they were pretty good. We watched the special edition of “Help” while we ate. Such a silly, wonderful film. Oh, the sixties. Though I must say the sixties can’t have been the only excuse for the awfulness of the early biopics Ken Russell did for the BBC. I’d seen the Isadora Duncan, Delius and Rossetti films and enjoyed them, but yesterday afternoon I sat down and watched the Elgar, Debussy and Rousseau films. Elgar was okay but pretty dull, ditto Rousseau. But the Debussy was awful! It exhibited every excess that made Russell often unwatchable.

I was supposed to go to the doctor today for bloodwork, a checkup, a flu shot and maybe something to tame these allergies, but when I realized that it was supposed to get to 80 again today I phoned and cancelled. I’ll go when it’s cooler and I feel better. Instead I’m going to do some housework and read. I started “The Ghost in Love” yesterday and am really enjoying it. Carroll’s writing reminds me a bit of Neil Gaiman’s.

Words I would surgically excise from the vocabulary of:

1) Anne Rice — “preternatural” Anne is the queen of over-using certain words, but none are so egregiously over-used as preternatural. Get a grip, Anne. Better yet, get a thesaurus.
2) Sarah Palin — “maverick” Sarah, I do not think this word means what you seem to think it means. Using it all the time makes you look like a dope.
3) John McCain — “my friends” Some few people may be weak-minded enough to think that if you say that often enough it’s true, and you really are their friend, but the rest of us are tearing our hair out here at home. Give us a break. If you want to show what a good friend you are, buy a round of drinks.

I made an entry on this blog… I don’t even know when or what it said, but it’s gotten an array of the weirdest comments ever. Today’s really made me scratch my head though: You were sketching over the hill tulips? For shizz woman get a job/partner/both. But first GET A FRIKKEN LIFE. Now, it’s hard to know where to start on this one. I mean, the notion of dipping into someone’s blog at random, apparently based on a Google search, and leaving a comment telling them they have no life is a curious one. I can almost see picking a fight based on religion, politics, sex or some other potentially incendiary topic, but on what I was drawing at the time? Um… huh? Do I even mention the ignorance of how artists operate? The lack of comprehension of the beauty of over-the-hill tulips? And the fact that the life I do have is exactly the one I want? What an utter dope this person must be to assume that a job, like the ones most people go to every day and just hate, is exactly what I should have to make me happy. Or that a relationship is better than being able to create. Maybe it’s just sad that they feel that way. Sad little person, carrying the gospel of the lowest common denominator to total strangers.

I wasn’t too thrilled with the debate last night. The town hall format was a bad choice for McCain because all that movement underscored the idea that he is not a well man. He looked feeble and his jokes and comments had a weirdly inappropriate quality. Again, very much what I saw with both Mom and Dad. Inexplicable anger/hostility and strange or inappropriate comments = (IMO, anyway) early stage dementia of some sort.

Obama didn’t embarrass himself, but I thought he was sort of lackluster. He looked more Presidential than McCain, but he pretty much put himself in the defensive position and that’s a difficult place to work from.

Finished reading Bard last night. It’s interesting to note that this was once one of my favorite novels, now not so much. I still enjoyed it, but it wasn’t nearly as compelling as it had once been. And my response to the characters has shifted over the years. I suppose that’s to be expected. As time passes and experience is gained, it only makes sense that our view of the characters and events in a novel will change. Today I plan to restart “The Ghost in Love” since I need to do a review of it for Vine.

Halloween Rocks

I hadn’t even planned on going out on Saturday but Glinda and Jim changed their plans to something less long-term, so I decided to go with them. After an excellent breakfast at A’s (Blueberry pancakes, yum.) we went up to Harlem and Dempster to the Eddie Bauer outlet store. Glinda wanted cat litter and a new jacket. Since Eddie Bauer doesn’t sell cat litter, it’s fortunate that there’s a pet store up there, too. I was lounging around, telling Glinda “Get the purple fleece one!” when a woman came up and asked if I worked there. Now I am nobody’s idea of retail help with my red socks and shoes, and my needle-felted denim jacket, so I didn’t know why she asked, but she pointed to my Obama-Biden ’08 button. I said “Obama.” She said “Oh. Obama.” and looked hopeful that this meant that employed by Eddie Bauer or not I could help her find something to wear. I had to steer her to the back of the store where she was more likely to encounter one of the rare free-ranging sales clerks.

I wanted to stop in at Home Goods and see if could find some new hand towels (Mine are shredding.) Glinda and I both got waylaid by the Halloween decorations. We’re mad Halloween freaks, and it was sort of a done deal that we couldn’t get out of the store without buying decorations. But we compromised, we decided to run across the street to Michael’s and get stuff to make some of our own decorations. And ZOMG, the stuff at Michael’s! SO cute, and so much of it. We got garlands and construction paper and a flag (We have a flag!) and bats and ghosts and pumpkins and black cats and blahblahblah… We got glitter! Glitter I tell you. Without which nothing is as good as it could be. There is nothing better than glitter. Orange and black glitter. Yes, I’m six years old.

It was starting to get late so we headed back south and stopped at KMart since we wanted to get some pots of mums to put out in front along with the pumpkins I’d bought this week. We’re going for a folksy harvest horror theme. And yes, when we finish, I’ll take photos. Then Glinda remembered that it’s pumpkin spice shake season at Culvers, so we headed on over to the one out on 25th Ave. And ZOMG again (It was an OMG sort of day with a peppering of Zs.) those shakes were SO good. Jim popped for them which gave them an extra dose of pumpkiny goodness. In fact they tasted like frozen pumpkin cream pies. You can imagine! But if you’ve got a Culvers nearby, don’t imagine, go. Your mouth will thank you.

We finally got home about seven, put the plants out and gave them a spritz of water. The rest of the day’s swag is on my living room floor looking accusingly at me because it wants to be used. It wants to decorate things. I have bags of fractious Halloween decorations lying here. If they aren’t used soon, I fear they’ll begin nipping my ankles and tripping me

Renka and Gene came by about 8:15 and we went out to Great Beijing for supper. I was really tired by the time we finished and begged off book shopping, which was okay with them. Gene had been up since 6:30 and was starting to nod off over his meal. It’s just going to get worse until he gets past Tardis, I think. And then there’s the holidays. It’ll be a miracle if I see him half a dozen more times before the first of the year. He managed to stay awake through the opening of Saturday Night Live, but then Renka had to haul him home.

I sat around watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and doing email. And still was OMG tired. But not quite ready to sleep. Caddy made a nest of throws on the couch and curled up in a nice, warm ball, sound asleep. Having a cat makes even bad weather seem much nicer.

Today, Glinda and I spent the afternoon doing H’ween stuff. We cut triangles out of orange and black foam and wrote Happy H-A-L-L-O-W-E-E-N (cute bats and things) on them. Then when I get some fishing line or something to string them on we’ll put them up in place of the prayer flags for the month. We hung a fall swag on the pillar and wired a crow to the top, put out our Halloween flag, and a sign that says “A Halloween without a witch is no Halloween at all!” on the porch. There are pots of mums and some pumpkins arranged artfully on the front steps, and a dirty grey, torn piece of gauze over the front door like a pair of tatty old curtains. It’s too dark now to do much more outside but we’ll be working on more stuff from now until Halloween. It’s going to be a ghoulish extravaganza. And we are having such fun. I will definitely take photos when we get it pretty much finished.

Debate Hangover

Last night, I was so tired I just turned out the lights and went to bed. This morning I found that the bag of dry cat food that I’d foolishly left on the coffee table, was now on the floor with a big hole in the bottom. Caddy tells me that mice did it.

I’m watching MSNBC now, getting input on both the bailout package and the debate. I’m not sanguine about this new bill which I suspect will pass, but I recognize that the more time that passes without some sort of bandaid, the more jobs and homes will be lost. It’s ironic that the “sweeteners” added to the original Democratic-sponsored bill to persuade Republicans to vote for it, include tax breaks for corporate America and to finance them with debt. There are some good things about the bill, particularly the increase in the FDIC insurance which really should have been increased to keep up with the cost of living. And there are going to be some breaks and cuts which will benefit middle America, and clean energy. So yay. Much of what’s not palatable in this bill can be addressed in the future, always assuming people push to fix the problems. At least we’re not being forced to swallow Paulson’s original bill, which precluded any oversight by the courts or anyone else! “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

Last night, as with the previous debate, I was stunned to hear the pundits going on and on about how the Republican candidate won. Particularly last night, I found myself wondering what debate they were watching because, gosh darn it, it sure wasn’t the one I was watching. Today, though, I am hearing things which hearten me. Joe and Josephine Six-Pack aren’t buying that annoying, fake folksy persona. Even Republican women felt that Palin dodged important questions and essentially said nothing unless pressed, and when she was she said what they didn’t want to hear. War, war, war.

Essentially what people are saying — real people, not political wonks — is that yeah, she did well but that was because expectations of her performance were so low. And I have to admit that given that unit of measure, I agree. She did better than I expected. She was rigorously scripted and she stuck to that script whether it answered the question or not. She was poised, and she did what she felt she had to do to connect with middle America. And middle America enjoyed her, but they are apparently not foolish enough to think that translates into leadership. What they’re saying is “She’s the sort of person I like. She’s feisty, and I’d like to sit down and have a drink with her. But should she be VP? No way.”