Sunday, October 30, 2011

On Halloween, The Scary Witch is Giving Out Apples

Here's the irony. On Halloween, we buy candy by the bagfuls and give it to the little costumed children who ring the doorbell. Sugary treats that we know aren't good for the little ones are de rigueur. But if we offer a delicious in-season apple instead, we are suspect.

Now I have proposed via my neighborhood listserv that I am going to offer apples and other non-sugary treats to my little tricksters tomorrow night and you'd have thought I was the evil wicked witch of the west.

In fact, I am a witch again this year. It's my favorite costume because I look good in black and because my new hat, picked from a bin at Value Village, becomes me in an ever so wizardry way. It has a dramatic black feather at its brim and a crazy crocked peak.

I went out witching last night at a neighborhood party. A witch gets dressed up for parties by wearing plenty of beads down her elegant velvetine front and drinks rich red Pinot from a skeletal plastic wine goblet. And after imbibing a few, she gets to giggling. Witches hate to be sober especially at the annual neighborhood haunted house party, where down in the basement we creep around in a maze of white sheets and ghoulies and ghosties jump out and grab you and make you laugh even harder, when you aren't screaming.

Well, the kiddies were all dressed in their adorable costumes and I'm sure they are psyched to come knocking tomorrow night, but the subject came up among the adults of what we'll treat our tricksters and that turned out to be rather amusing.

I am giving out apples, said me, the witch. No more sugar, I announced. The stuff is poison. My husband, the lawyer, immediately cautioned me that if anything should happen, i.e. somewhere a child is poisoned by some evil pensioner with a penchant for picking off children using sparkling red apples, I would be suspect. Alas, I countered, let's fact-check it. What if it's a myth? But a neighbor warned that if said child were poisoned and the authorities searched my computer and turned up evidence that I was Googling the words apples and razors, this evidence would send me to the state penitentiary for life.

So sure enough, it turns out according to Snopes,com and Wikipedia, that all those much feared reports of razor blade-infested apples and pin-filled, poison-injected candies that we heard about in the 1970s and 1980s, none of it ever happened. All the safe trick or treating in shopping malls and the X-raying of candy bags at police stations, the media reports, fear mongering, worrying about the safety of our little ones on the one night when we allow them to gorge themselves on sugar is all for naught.

Wait. What? Sugar. Now is that stuff safe? The jury's out on that right now. But it isn't looking good for King Sugar, which, especially if it's fructose, might cause metabolic syndrome and "trigger the process that leads to heart disease, diabetes and obesity," according to the New York Time's 2009 article "Is Sugar Toxic?" by Gary Taubes.

So evil witch that I am, I'm going to be giving out apples and nuts and dried fruits. There are some sugars in those, of course, but likely those are far less insidious and less intensive than the ones housed in the Snickers, the Babe Ruth's, the Tootsie Rolls and the Sweet Tarts that our little kids will bring home in bagfuls. My contribution will be the shiny red apple. Happy Halloween! The Putterer

Friday, October 28, 2011

In the Dark, All Manner of Possibilities

Russian sage has nothing do with this post, because I can't take a picture in the dark.
Dark in the morning in the fall is a dark that just stays put. When you wake up early to get a jump on the day in late October, you can accomplish so much because the daylight just never arrives. My fireplace is roaring and it can't cure the chill, the dog doesn't even show up to keep me warm. I have finished off nearly the whole pot of coffee and still as the clock moves ever relentlessly toward the day, the day just refuses to arrive. So far this morning, I've read most of the New Yorker and I'm thinking I can just sit happily here for another several hours and keep the day at bay.

Outside the threat of an early freeze lurks, but I'm still sure it won't come for another month. This weekend, I have a wide-open dance card. No daughters home. No plans made. Nobody expecting much from me. There is a tiny temptation to go down to the office and get a jump on getting that goSmithsonian Visitors Guide started. But I sure don't want to do that. I could hire some help and clear out the ivy in the back corner by the fence and plan my rose garden for next summer. I want to plant two or three heirloom big bushy beauties to cover the entire slope. I've selected several varieties with sweet scents and rose hips (perhaps, Bayses Blueberry, Belinda's Dream, Chrysler Imperial or Miss Lillian) so that I can make rose hip teas, jams and jellies next fall.

I collected about six pounds of coffee grounds from Starbucks yesterday to take over to the Community Garden. I've got a clover cover crop growing in my plot and I'm wondering if I should turn it under now, while it's still in its early stage and sew in compost and grounds. My friend Anne at the garden has turned each of her beds into billowy piles of rich, dark fluff and I'm envious and want to do the same.

I'm going to go for a run both days because I haven't had any exercise since Tuesday.

I'm going to read travel guides about the Galapagos, because we just booked our trip in December.

I'm going to want to cook cozy comfort foods and a large Sunday morning breakfast.

Maybe Jim will want to go for a bike ride.

And the Sunday Times, I could read every section.

You see what happens when the daylight refuses to show up. I get cocky and think that I might be able to do it all.

The Putterer

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keeping It In Landscape Mode

I prefer a landscape mode.
I prefer a landscape view on my iPad. I like a magazine layout. I don't want to turn it vertically and see it elongated. Maybe it's because I'm short and I like the ceiling, glass or otherwise, close to my head. Or maybe because my peripheral vision is good and I can see things clearly from my far left to my far right. I said left first, didn't I? I'm not a lefty, I prefer my right hand. But lately my right hand aches, so sometimes I use my left hand, but that's awkward. Don't you hate how everything is political?

I like symbolism and schmaltzy stuff. Cheap birdhouses and silly phrases scratched into garden rocks. I like to buy cheap things, but I prefer to live high end with quality. Still, I can't get past the idea that I can only shop at Sears. Sometimes when I'm at Nordstroms, I feel like I'm crashing a party. I like good design. I think of my Mac as a work of art. But I also like my old white sofa because it's got some stains on it, coffee, pet, dust. It feels good to sit here, because I can't really ruin it since it's already ruined. But it feels good, old, antique, high quality.

I feel fortunate. Like I won the lottery. But then I worry. I  might lose it all in a hurry. One bad decision. One misspoken word.

I feel like I'm stupid smart. I miss things. I don't read things closely. I hurry too much. I have so many opportunities. I can't do it all unless I hurry. But if I slow down, I won't finish. But then, when I think about it, I know a lot. I've read a lot. I'm open to lots of ideas. I'm out there. Bat shit crazy, really. I have a tree instead of a God. But then maybe God resides in the tree. Sometimes when I hug my tree, I feel it pulsing beneath my fingers as if God were giving my a warm hello. That's when I'm slowing down. When my tree and I rest and breath deeply and hear the soft, gentle flow of the water in the stream and quiet still air moves rhythmically from my extreme left to my extreme right. I am religious about my tree. And sometimes, I hear the hymns of my church. I loved church because I loved the music, but now, I don't want to church because it's just another demand to hurry off to.

I'm full of joy. I'm breathing deeply. But I wake up early. My heart aches. Anxiety. My dog is worrying about another storm. I comfort her. I wonder if I really do have intuitive pulses when I wake as if I'm intercepting some strange code that connects through some long severed umbilical cord. My mother to me to my daughters. Do I actually feel someone else's anxiety or is it mine alone?

I am old, but I stay young. My belly is round. My hips thick. My ankles swell (when I fly far). But I can run, I can push up and pull up many times. I can dance at a dizzying pace. I love to be kinetic. Because when I hurry, I get it all done and then I can do more. But then on my sofa, by my tree, I am bat shit crazy, quiet and happy and taking it all in from my far left to my far right and if the sky is falling, it won't hurt too much because it doesn't have too far to fall in my horizontal landscape.  The Putterer