Friday, October 30, 2009

a little bit spooky, a little bit sweet.

Currently Listening To: I See Monsters by Ryan Adams
I am still: rooting for Althea in Project Runway. I think it's going to be all girls in the finale this year!

I almost had this Halloween post all spooky and polished and ready to go when craziness occurred. I was sitting in a room known as *makes quotes in the air* The Sun Room. It is called The Sun Room because 2 of the 4 walls are made of windows. Ironically, my favorite time to be in The Sun Room is when it's raining. Anyway. I was out here typing with the glass door open and the screen door pulled shut. The weather is dark, breezy, Halloween weather. It was so nice. My dog jumped up beside me and snuggled against me. Then she leaned her head against my arm and looked up at me.

I smiled. "You're the cutest thing ever," I said. Then Biscuit noticed I had the screen door pulled. She stood up on the couch. Looked at me. Looked at the door. Looked at me again. This time, the look on her little furry face could best be described as The Look of Destruction.

"Biscuit ..." I said. And I tried to give her the look of, Whatever You Are Thinking About Destructing, Don't Do It.

RoboDog jumped from the couch, ran at the door, then through the door, knocking the screen door off its hinges. The door clanged to the porch. Biscuit landed beside the door in a proud little thump and looked back at me, her tail wagging. Then she came back inside, hopped on the couch, and fell asleep.

So my dog is feeling a little feisty today. I blame Halloween. It makes animals do weird things, right? (Or is that a full moon?) Things are already getting crazy here, is what I'm getting at. So there is no better time to make a list of Spooktastic Reasons I Heart Halloween. Here goes:

Halloween is fun:

Because I met the Ninja Turtle next door. My neighbor, Alex, saw me outside, tossing the tennis ball with Biscuit. He climbed out of his fort and came over to say hey. Pause to add: Alex is a little boy, not a weird old man who builds tree forts. Resume story: Alex is going as a Ninja Turtle for Halloween (Raphael). Fact: I feel much safer in my neighborhood.

Because Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is playing at the IMAX! Usually, our IMAX only shows educational films and that's, uh, fun and educational. I guess. But Harry Potter showing on a ginormous screen?! I am beside myself. I won't tell you how many times I've seen the movie now. When Harry Potter is the topic of conversation, I board the triple decker bus to Nerdville real quick.

Because Sarah said this: "My jack-o-lantern would make Ichabod Crane soil his breeches!" and it made me laugh.

Because I walk around singing "Nicoriah, Nicoriah ... Grinch is gonna get-cha, Grinch is gonna get-cha." All. Day. Long. It replaces "Part of Your World" but only for a day. Everybody loves the Christmas Grinch but the Halloween Grinch gets neglected. Have you seen the cartoon? In this film, the town of Whoville is afraid of the mean Grinch who lives on the mountain. Lucky for them, he only comes out one night every year. Because the Whos, (not to be confused with The Who) are terrified of the Grinch, they stay in their swirly houses on Halloween night, lock all the doors, bar all the windows, and wait until the night is over to go resume harvesting their turnip mugurnips.* But a brave little Who named Nicoriah decides staying locked up in his house might be worse than facing his fears and meeting the Grinch. What follows is a typical trippy Suessical movie with lots of fun music. My favorite song lyric is: "I wouldn't go out on a night like this for a dollar and fifty cents!"

Because all of these wild colors are making my heart spin. There's a Sandra McCracken song I love called "Chattanooga." City songs are sort of like songs about your name. Or maybe not your name, but I'm egotistical enough to like
songs about my name.** I found the song because I was looking for a song about my city. Lucky for me, the song happens to be written (and performed) by a songwriter whose brilliance continually blows my mismatched socks off.
The song is sort of about a city, but more about a season of change.

When I'm old, wrinkly, loud(er) and own the pink moped I plan to buy on my 88th birthday, I think I'll realize Chattanooga marked a big transitional time for me. Chattanooga was a season when I had to shake off old faith cliches and get authentic. A season when I stopped chasing dreams and caught a few. There has been plenty of sad here, and I know sad is inevitable. But Chattanooga has been full of love and surprises too. Which brings me back to what I was saying: This city is pure magic in the fall. Every year in October one perfect sunset melts over the mountains and stays long enough to convince me more good days are coming.

You wear poverty like riches
And your tears like spring rains
If time and history were my love
There's not a thing that I would change.

So can I drive you to Chattanooga
Where the city in October looks like fire
Changing lanes on this restless highway
between this living and desire.
(- Sandra McCracken, from the song Chattanooga, off her Gravity Love album)

Because I get nostalgic about old Halloween costumes. There's this pic I like so much but I can't find it. It's a picture of me, and my best friend Melanie when we were kids. Melanie was a pumpkin that year and I was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I carried a little toy dog around in my candy basket :) I already told you about some of my favorite Halloween costumes, I think. One year, I was Rainbow Brite. One year, I was Sleeping Beauty. My mom bought me a sparkly tiara that I wanted to wear all the time, long after Halloween was over. Also, I wore white Reeboks that year. Cause nothing says princess like high-tops.

As I got older, I grew out of the princess phase. Do you remember the scene in Mean Girls when Cady goes to the Halloween party dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein? Because she hasn't lived in America, so she thinks Halloween is about dressing up and having fun? And all the girls at the party are wearing bunny ears and underwear? Hilarious. I felt like I connected with Cady. I always assumed Halloween was a time to be funny. Snarky. Somewhat creative. A few years ago, I decided to go to a Halloween party as Sonny Bono because my friend, Tony, said he would be Cher. I was so excited. I ordered a wig. Then I asked Chase and Tony to pick up a mustache at the Halloween store so I could complete my ensemble.

Those degenerates brought back a gray and black mustache, like an old man mustache. I tried to color it with a sharpie, but that was no good. Then the wig came and it was NOT the wig in the online picture. It looked like a bad Bible play wig. I put the wig on, which I had to hold in place by tying a scarf around my head. Then I put on the mustache. I did not look like Sonny Bono. I only looked like a very ugly, very confused little man. Like a hippy version of Rumpelstiltskin. So we scrapped the outfits two hours before the party and decided to go as Harry and Hermione (no gender bending). And for a last minute change, I think it turned out cute! My hair won't curl even a little bit, so the hair wasn't so great, but otherwise I think we did good. That's our Hogwarts tribute in the pic (I don't know why it's in black and white ... I can't find the color version.) Also, Tony's glasses are fake but I thought they looked so cool on him.

Because I'm going to see a play with my family. It has nothing to do with Halloween. My dad and brother picked it and say it is one of the funniest things they've ever seen. I don't know if I should be excited or scared.

Because I have an excuse to watch spooky movies. Not gory gross movies, but movies that make me nervous. Like the Sixth Sense. Or Wait Until Dark. Or Signs. Or that movie with Michelle Pfeifer and Harrison Ford where the house is haunted. Or The Great Pumpkin. When I was a kid there was this show that came on Nickelodeon called "Are You Afraid of The Dark?" Creeped. Me. Out. But I couldn't stop watching. And Goosebumps books scared me. Goosebumps was as hardcore as I could go for scary books though. Here's today's public service announcement: it's okay to dislike books other people rave about. And it's okay (and advised) to walk out of movies, or away from books, that you know will bother you in a big way. I can think of a few movies I truly wish I'd never seen.*** I can think of books I wish I'd never read. Everybody is different, and some people aren't bothered by scary stuff. I wish I was like that, but I'm not. Suspense doesn't bother me. But horror bothers me. It gets stuck in my imagination and I like my imagination too much to have bad stuff rattling around in there. Sarah says Mary Poppins is the scariest movie ever made. She might be onto something:

Because last night, while the wind was howling, and leaves where scratching against the glass, I put the final touches on one of the best scenes in The It. There's a full moon and fallen snow, shadows and strange, flickering eyes ...

And while I was writing the scene, I listened to this song.

Because Adam Lambert's album cover looks like a Lisa Frank folder. So. Awesome!

Because on November 1st, Halloween candy goes on sale. If you dig past all the bags of peanut butter nasty in the brown and orange wrappers, there are mini-Snickers to be had. Don't give up! Never give up!

Because in November, I get to bust out the Christmas music! Then comes the cookie shooter and The Christmas Honks. But I can't talk about that stuff yet. One festivity at a time.

So let's have a virtual Halloween party. Anybody dressing up this year? What was your favorite costume when you were a kid? If your friends managed to put together some snazzy outfits, list those too. A friend of the blog deserves mention here: My friend Jimmy, man of wifeandman, dressed as a rolled tree one year in high school (taped leaves to a black shirt, then twisted toilet paper around the leaves). Do you have a favorite spooky movie? Favorite candy? I wish we could all eat cupcakes and play Clue, but this will have to work. Loved your memes so much, btw :)

If treats are more your thing, you should scoot over to Jenny's blog. She's giving away some copies of her new novel (to a few brave reviewers). Take this opportunity to snatch that book up! Jenny's novel, Just Between You and Me, is one of the best novels I read this year. It's full of great writing. The humor is smart. The struggles the characters wrestle through made me tear up. And the characters, my word. The characters in this novel will steal your heart. One thing I love about Jenny's writing is that she's never afraid to throw her characters in tough situations. Another favorite thing is that the characters struggle with their faith, but never in a cliche, saccharine way. And another favorite thing is the way I feel after I read one of her books. I don't just have the happy bookhigh that comes from reading. I feel weirdly brave when the book ends, and it rocks when a novel can make me feel that way. Just Between You and Me is my favorite book she's written. I'm giving one away on here (hopefully sometime in November) and I can't wait to talk more about it. Even if they're all gone on her blog, you should treat yourself and pick it up.

My dog just barked and wagged her tail. She's a Jenny B. Jones fan too.

Or perhaps Biscuit is planning to smash through the window next. Sometimes Biscuit watches football games with Dad on Saturdays. I think she might be getting the wrong idea ...

Hope have a truly sweet and spooky Halloween night! :)

* I made this up. I don't know the names of WhoCrops. I just remember Nicoriah's dad was farming stuff. I think.
** And there are so few songs about Natalie. The Killers have one. Josh Kelly has a beautiful one. But just in general, I guess Natalie isn't so easy to work into a song. Too many syllables or something.
*** Mothman Prophecies. Fallen. There are more, but mainly those.


  1. I am the weirdo who LOVES those peanut butter things ("Mary Janes") in the orange and brown wrappers. My mom always bought them for trick-or-treaters, but we never had many, so I got to eat them all. :)

    And that Mary Poppins trailer is creepy. I actually watched that movie last weekend (randomly, two girls and like eight guys, who picked that over "West Side Story." It was musical night.). I never thought about it being creepy, but I suppose you can look at it that way. I personally would like to stick to my happy, fun, memory of this movie from childhood.

    And a favorite Halloween movie... I didn't watch them really growing up, but I always saw clips of "Double Double Toil and Trouble" with MKA and loved what I saw!

  2. Samantha, I apologize for making fun of your peanut butter candy. ;) I had no idea they were called Mary Janes. I think maybe I had a bad exeperience with them when I was a kid, or something, because I rarely meet a candy I don't like. I did like Mary Poppins when I was a kid. I think Julie Andrews is so pretty and classy. I want to check her biography out from the library. She really intrigues me!

  3. Isn't fall beautiful?? I love those pictures you have up. :) I love the south. I don't want to live anywhere but here. I went up north for just a visit & while I know lots of wonderful people who love it hearts just rooted in the south. Fall makes those roots go just a little bit deeper.

    Re: Mary Poppins-That totally creeped me out. But honestly...I have always been a little creeped out by her. Julie Andrews however is an AMAZING lady!! She's so pretty & sweet...and that voice! My word...what I wouldn't give to be able to sing like that!!

    I am not dressing up this year...instead I think I'm gonna help my little brother throw a halloween party for all their little friends (my little bro's are 7 & 9 so it'll be loads of fun!!) or take them trick or treating. Then I'm babysitting for some friends till late tonight...SPOOKY!! lol. :)

  4. My dad thinks I'm terrible because I start listening to Christmas music in November. But you know what's even worse? =) I'm planning on putting up my Christmas tree tomorrow. I have a 60's aluminum tree (it makes a pretty tinkling sound, not a hard metal knock like those on Charlie Brown) that I put up in my room, decorated with my Elvis, Lucy, and other assorted oldies ornaments (I have a small one that I keep up all year). And I'll be listening to Relient K's "Let It Snow, Baby...Let It Reindeer" while I put up my tree. The rest of my family isn't so obsessive. Our real tree won't go up until after Thanksgiving, and our artifical one in the kitchen will probably be up by the middle of November. I try not to get too far ahead, but one month is not long enough to enjoy Christmas!
    I like "Mary Poppins," but that trailer is very creepy, LOL.
    As for Halloween, my church is having a teen thing tonight where we can dress up. Have I said this before in a comment? Because it sounds like I have. Anyway, I made a poodle skirt, so I'm doing the 50's thing. I'll probably have some pictures of our group on my blog soon. We were supposed to have a hay ride and a bonfire with roasted marshmallows, but as it's cold and rainy, we'll probably be confined to the basement with the Wii and tacos. Besides "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" and "The Corpse Bride," I love to watch "Arsenic and Old Lace" near Halloween. My favorite candy is a good old original Hershey's bar, but I also love Reese's. When I was about three, I was Minnie Mouse. It wasn't a real costume, but I had a pink Minnie sweatshirt, little grey mouse ears on a headband, and whiskers painted on my cheeks (do mice even have whiskers?). We still have those mouse ears in our box of toys here, and every kid who comes to our house always finds them and has to try them on. =)
    Wow, this comment is like a book.

  5. Thanks so much for the book props--wow. I don't even know what to say. Thank you.

    I LOVE Mary Poppins. LOVE. THAT. MOVIE. It's not creepy at all to me...but if you ever get a chance to see the Broadway show, see it. But there is one totally random-stuck-in-there scene that is uber creepy. Like a few years later and I'm still bothered by it. Let's just say the things in your room should only come alive to play with you. Not terrorize you.

    And the peanut butter thingies in ugly wrappers that if kept too long become one WITH the wrappers--no, no, no.

  6. Candi, spending Halloween with cute little kids has to be the best! :) I bet you'll have such a fun night. And I'm right there with you, I'm a southern girl no matter where I go. I don't like the humidity down here, but I love the mountains and the personalities. Plus, I'm pretty sure my accent is here to stay at this point.

    Kristin, post a pic of your trees on your blog! I want to see what they look like. I am such a Christmas dork. I wish the Christmas season could last for months and months :) I have a little tree too, but I can't decide if I want to set it up this year. I'm afraid my dog will eat the ornaments. Also, I cannot stress this enough: tacos and Wii sounds like the PERFECT Halloween! I'm so jealous of your fun! :) Never fear book length comments. As you've probably observed, I tend to get a little long winded on here ...

    JBJ, I would love to see MP on Broadway. I saw the snippet they did at the Tony's a few years ago (when Gavin Creel was Burt) and it was wonderful. The toy scene .... that does not sound wonderful. I'll remember to close my eyes during that part :) I downloaded a few songs from it. When I was a kid, I thought it was all fun and magical. That's not one I tend to gravitate back toward these days, but I liked it. You are most welcome on the props. Thank you for writing it.

  7. I'll definitely try to get pictures of my trees. =) I'm very excited about putting mine up later today! Like Elvis sang, "Oh, why can't every day be like Christmas?" My cat likes to chew on the branches of my mini-tree, but he doesn't mess with my big one. I think he's afraid of it. Last year, he broke a few ornaments off of our artificial tree. Then we had a catastrophe one night when we heard a crash and our huge real tree had fallen over, breaking a ton of ornaments (but thankfully not our favorite ones). My parents thought that Jack had done it, but then they discovered that it was so huge that it wasn't in the base straight, so it was leaning terribly. So Jack was cleared of all blame. =)

    We did have a lovely Halloween. =) At church we only have the Wii sports game that comes with it, but someone had left "Mario Party" in there, so we had a blast playing that. So much better than bowling, LOL. How was your Halloween?


  8. You'll be happy to know, Natalie, that I did not have my scary masked crazy in the backyard dream. :) I slept peacefully. :) Harry Potter....this time of year makes me want to read the entire series over. I am going to sometime. Haha. I loved that movie. By far, I think it was the best one. Biscuit sounds like my dog, Chloie. She is a Yorkie but has the fierceness of a German Sheperd. She's a beast :) Hope you had fun at the play!!

  9. Kristin, Halloween was fun! We got back from the play late, in time to see the street overrun with trick-or-treaters. I've lived two other places in this city. There were no treaters in either location. Here, the neighborhood was overrun! I'm kind of sad I missed it, but I had so much fun at the play. I haven't played Wii in ever. The last time I played, I got in one of those stupid moods where I kept making Wii versions of people I knew. Or characters in books. You know.

    Steffanie, so glad you didn't have any bad dreams! I bet Chloie is a doll. I love little dogs with big dog attitudes :)