Have A Fabulous Halloween

What type are you?  Like to throw lavish parties, or perhaps a more intimate gathering?  Whatever your festivity profile is, here are some simple steps to make this Halloween fabulously fun!

If you like lavish costume parties, or unhooked dance-a-thons, you’re a planner, so you have nearly everything ready; but, if you’re like me, it seems party day comes up all too soon.

Don’t have that scarecrow you were going to have made yet?  Neither do I!  Dig out some balloons, if you can find them, or if you have them – or go buy a package at a dollar store.  Long skinny balloons fill the arms and legs nicely, and round balloons will fill the body.   * Tip: Bigger balloons are better to fill the main body, but you might like a variety of sizes – experiment!

If you don’t fill the balloons too much, they’ll be less likely to pop when you’re stuffing, or moving your scarecrow into position.  You can use a pumpkin-shaped bucket with a straw hat for the head, decorate a large balloon, and tie a hat on it, or sew a head-shaped pattern, draw your scarecrow’s face, put a balloon in the opening you left for stuffing, and then blow the balloon up, or stuff  your scarecrow’s head with fiber-fill or some other suitable material, and add some straw coming out of the hat, as well as straw sticking out from the cuffs of the sleeves and the pant legs.

Scarecrow

This year, I shoved a bunch of cornstalks up against the garage, meaning to make an artistic arrangement later, but I never got to that either, so putting a pumpkin next to it makes it look rustic – and I saved myself a bunch of time!

Photo credit: Jerri Higgins
Photo credit: Jerri Higgins

Making your home festive is a snap too!  Press a few vinyl clings on your window, or glass door, get a Halloween or fall-themed dish towel, some pumpkins, gourds, and a few pots of mums, and you’re done!

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Photo credit: Jerri Higgins
Photo credit: Jerri Higgins

Now for the invites.  If you’re a planner, you’ve already sent them, and because your parties are always fab, you’ve gotten RSVP’s too.  However, if you’re like me, you’ll have to contact everyone by phone, email, and social media to alert them of your event.

Of course, they all already have plans, so they won’t make it, but I can freeze my Harvest Pumpkin Soup, my Cinnamon-Nutmeg Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and my roasted Brussels’ sprouts, carrots, and sweet potatoes, for another day.

The pumpkin pie, and meticulously made (ordered) graveyard cake will last forever in pictures, even though the scent of the hot-buttered rum cider can’t be captured, and it will be drunk – and I’ll be drunk – by myself, as my S. O. rarely drinks, and doesn’t like rum.  Yo, ho, ho…

It’s too bad I ran out of time to carve the pumpkin, it really was the perfect shape.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Changing Leaves, Changing Attitudes

I practically needed a crowbar to get myself out of bed this morning.

Way over-doing brush cutting and hauling scraps out to a pile at my mother’s place left me with contracting pain down my right arm, making it impossible to sleep, so I took a muscle relaxer, which; while it helped, also relaxed everything – and I still feel like my head weighs a ton.

We’re at another end of October, the summer’s retreat depressing, but autumn’s offerings somewhat eases the transition.  The turning leaves have been spectacular, and it’s been lovely to witness.

Montague, MA
Montague, MA

Our local Pumpkinfest took place this past Saturday, October 24th.  One of my girlfriends invited two of us to sing back-ups with her for, Curly Fingers DuPree, a great local band, so we debuted as the ‘Curly Q’s’.  It was so much fun, and as with most shows or events I’ve been involved in, there’s the anti-climax feeling when it’s over – like, ‘that’s it?’  Heavy sigh.

Photo Credit : Vinny Natale
Photo Credit : Vinny Natale
Photo Credit : Vinny Natale
Photo Credit : Vinny Natale

I broke up with the best guy I’ve ever dated, and I started listening to suicide’s siren call again.  If I go that route, I know I’ll cause irreparable harm to my son, my S.O., and many friends and family.

I actually opened my virtual ‘coping toolbox’, and found a reason to hang on another day.  I’m doing what I can to stay positive as the darkness and cold increases.  I’m using all the attitude adjusters I know to not slip down.

Sometimes keeping that guttering candle of hope burning is as easy as lighting a new candle with the old flame, but other times a bonfire is needed, and as many others before me have said, it’s better to have a full ‘coping toolbox’ when times are easier than trying to fill it when I’m desperate, and not in my right, or wise, mind.

I am where I am, and much like the late, great, Yogi Berra, said: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Oh, and my S. O. told me he’ll only break-up when I’m not depressed, then he’ll know it’s real and not from ‘the dark side’.  Amazing man, that one.  He is either an idiot, or he sees what I can’t.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

California Morning

San Diego via www.marriott.com
San Diego via http://www.marriott.com

You know those moments you have: you step outside and the scent, and feel of the air, the time of day, the light’s slant,  and shadows interplay, perhaps – or the trees, and several things in your surroundings at once – brings you through time?

I could have been back in 1995, San Diego, California, yesterday.

My ride dropped me off, and as I stepped out, swirls of mist rose in the morning sun steaming off the pavement and walkway ahead of me.  The warm day, odd for this time of year,  added to the sense of somewhere else, and the aroma of damp leaves and earth, the look of the concrete steps and iron railing – the experience’s totality – was remarkable. (Thus, I am remarking?…)

The moment was imbued with the best of my experience of that time.  Heading to the Small Computer Repair course I was taking then, I passed the handsome coffee-cart guy every day, and more often than not, two or three leggy, beautiful, younger, blonde girls were flirting with him while he made their lattes or macchiatos – whatever was hippest to drink back then.

So it was surprising that he paid any attention to me at all.  The times I could afford a coffee, he chatted me up rather than vice-versa; asking me questions about my classes, how it was going, or wishing me a great weekend on Fridays.  I passed by him every day and he never failed to say hi, or wave if I was rushing to class that day.

I sometimes wonder if I had had more money to spend on coffee if it would have ended in a date with the cute barista, or if I was refreshing because I wasn’t the typical beauty vying for his attention, or because I didn’t fawn over him.  If only he knew that it was that I didn’t consider myself in the same league, having been told directly by more than one guy I wasn’t anything special. Their jerk-factor notwithstanding, I felt I was attractive, I just wasn’t spectacular.

So much of my time in California is a blur now.  I remember being there, but don’t remember day-to-day feelings, especially when depression threads its constricting tentacles around and through me, dulling my memory as well as my present.

Being granted that visceral time snippet helped me remember I am fully alive, that I have been present to myself and others, and I put that sweetness in my mental ‘cope box’, hoping I’ll know, or be able, to open it when depression barges in again.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Paradoxical Life

I re-read that many suicidal people, if not most, want to end the pain, not their life.  Lately I wake, usually in serious pain, and my first thought is how I can die with the least suffering for those around me.  How and where to end my life, what arrangements I should make.

After moving around, or doing my PT stretches and core exercises, as well as just getting on with the day, the desire to die lessens, and I think about how to make my life more manageable and more pain-free.

Drugs definitely help the pain, but have other effects, like addiction, or severe itching, as well as other unpleasant side effects.

I don’t enjoy events, or my friends, as much as I used to.  It’s not a big leap to go from here to not here anymore.

Gray days like today increase my dark mood, and I have to remember that I have a full-spectrum light-box to start using this time of year.  I also turned on all the lights in the common area, so I’m not sitting in gloom.

Time-management is super tough for me.  The to-do list is large, and taunts me with nothing being checked off, except, I am writing.  I will make food.  Laundry is being done.  It wasn’t on the list, so I put it on, and cross it off.  Maybe more gets accomplished than I know, and I’ve created a poor list.

The new list reads:

Get out of bed

Exercise

Drink water

Eat something

Brush my teeth

Dress

Start household tasks

Tell myself I’m doing well.

Look at the big TO-DO list and see if there is one thing I can accomplish.  Can I do it now? Remember there is nothing I can do about the past.  Ask for forgiveness of self and others, and move on.  Focus on what is getting done – stay there.

I understand my day’s list is some else’s ten minutes, but that someone else probably isn’t anxious and depressed.  That someone manages well – has good skills.  I manage damn well for where I am.

Smile – even a half-smile – like an exercise move.  Stop the self-hate, and the judgement.

Breathe.

Keep breathing.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

The Blue Guitar

Once there was a girl who sang.  She sang her heart out to all her favorite songs on the radio, to songs others made up and sang around her, and to her own songs that she kept in her heart and mind, but didn’t know how to strike the chords to bring out what she played inside her.

She bought a guitar and tried to play it – so many times – but it wasn’t like singing.  She had trouble with her fingers on the strings to make chords, and didn’t understand things like thirds and fifths and sevenths – it all sounded like calculus to her, and she was terrible at math.  So, she gave up.  She didn’t get rid of the guitar, and did learn to play one song on it.  It was a folk song her best friend had sung when they were twelve, and she never wanted to forget it, and if she could only ever play one song, that was the one she wanted to play.

Time passed.

She had a son, and he sang all the time once he figured out language, and she sang too, but the guitar sat in its case.  At least it wasn’t gathering dust.

She brought out the guitar and played her one song now and then, but even that song was hard to switch chords, and she never got the hang of it and thought she must be that stupid.  She could sing but she wasn’t smart enough to know music.  Her guitar became art.  It reminded her of all the beautiful songs she had ever heard, and all the vibrant, robust, sad, powerful , joyful, ecstatic sounds that came out of that one instrument.

It was a savior and a nemesis.  How could that be?

She finally closed the guitar in its case and thought about selling it.  She brought it to the music store and the man behind the counter came around and took her guitar and started strumming.  He told her that it was a beautiful guitar and he could not give her the amount it was worth, and if she thought she wanted to play, she needed to keep it.

The guitar sat while she looked longingly at it for another year.  One day, she saw an advertisement for another guitar – shhhhh – is it even okay to get another guitar when you aren’t playing the one you have? – please don’t tell!

This one is blue, and smaller, and it’s blue!

photo by Jerri Higgins
photo by Jerri Higgins

She loved it so much she got out her old ‘Standard Guitar Method’ book one, and began.  It’s been two weeks and she hasn’t stopped practicing.  Her fingers hurt, and she’s frustrated, and feels stupid, but every time she picks up her Blue, she feels like she’s home.  It’s OK to be stuck at level 1 forever, if that’s all she can do, because she has never felt so happy to be so terrible at something.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current