When I was around 7 years old I wanted to be Frankenstein for Halloween. Mom, being a huge fan of All Hallows Eve, was happy to work her creative magic and make my wish a reality.
She went to work turning shoe boxes into shoes, an old blazer into a torn jacket and wax to make the knobs for my neck. She went all out creating a costume from items around the house. She even found a way to save buying green makeup…she used her facial mask. You know the type…the thick green mask that would dry and crack. It lent a very scary, scarred look to my skin and really set the whole costume off.
That weekend we were invited to a neighborhood party thrown by a family that loved Halloween like no other day. We put on our costumes and went to their house where they had the yard filled with tombstones, graves that had been dug up with monsters climbing out of them. They had spider webs with giant spiders in the trees, on the house and all around the back patio where the party was taking place. They even had dry ice in buckets of water strategically placed so you rarely saw the ground and all the lights were low with candles and torches throughout the yard.
The party was a huge event and it seemed like the whole neighborhood was there. At one point someone called everyone to a corner of the yard and announced it was time to bob for apples. I had read about bobbing for apples and even heard stories about it but never actually tried it myself. I was very excited and rushed right up to be the first in line. One of our hosts explained how to approach the task and even suggested I try to push the apple toward the side of the tub. I knelt down, bent over the tub and submerged my face in the water. Suddenly the whole crowd erupted with squeals. Some were squeals of joy others disgust. I wasn’t sure what was going on and I didn’t care. I wasn’t coming up until I had an apple in my mouth. Finally after a few minutes of struggling I was able to bite into my apple and when I lifted my face from the water I saw what all the commotion was about. The green facial had washed from my face and left the entire tub of apples bobbing in a green froth. Of course that put an end to bobbing for apples. Even after they rinsed all the apples and refilled the tub, most folks had simply lost their appetite for bobbing. Needless to say I was quite the celebrity in our neighborhood for the rest of the party and a few weeks after as well.
Nope…not actual wine and not a review of the Mary Renault book although I should probably reread her young-gay-reader series. Okay…they’re not gay novels but they were my “Hardy Boys” so to speak and very gay. But I digress.
Tonight we get our first hard freeze so this evening I harvested the last of our garden.
What a haul!
Now were off to Gay Bingo at the Q Center having received a personal invite from notorious Portland blogger and gardener Lelo whom we’ve been dying to meet. I’m fastening my bootstraps!
What a great weekend! The weather is spectacular and as I’ve mentioned before, the colors are beautiful! It amazes me how things change here in Portland. There is a huge difference between the valley and the local hills which are merely 1000 feet above town. If you venture into the Columbia River Gorge or toward Mt. Hood the colors are peaking in some areas and just past in others. In town the trees and shrubbery are peaking now and the hills are just a bit behind. I guess it has to do with the cooler temps settling into the valley and causing those trees to turn a bit sooner. Odd considering temps up here on the hill are usually cooler than in town but at this time of year we’re actually warmer. Ah…the beauty of microclimates!
With all this cool weather I’ve kicked into cooking mode. I think it’s a nesting sensibility that causes me to want to cook comfort foods and stock up for the winter. Yesterday I made a meatloaf for lunches this week, a stewed chicken for chicken salad or burritos and some taco meat. Yeah…Mexican is the food of choice this weekend.
Today we were taken to lunch in honor of Mark’s birthday by two of our oldest and dearest friends, Roushdi and Eran. Mark has known these two for 25+ years and I met them shortly after getting together with Mark some 17 years ago. These relationships were born in California and now continue here in the Pacific Northwest. Once again I was reminded that we just don’t spend enough time with these two friends. This must be remedied!
We returned home to watch a bit of football and then Mark took the dog for a walk while I started another apple pie. Yes…I know…more cooking. But dammit…we have two trees full of apples and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate apple pie. I was hoping to carve my pumpkins tonight but that will have to wait until tomorrow after work. In fact I may just have to leave early to get that done. Darn!
Atop the Empire State Building October 11, 2006.
I’m not sure what was going on here but I loved the way the scene played out visually.
The gloomy, windy weather truly helped and is better “felt” in the larger version of the first picture found here.
Returning from vacation is always a pain in the ass! After not thinking about work for two weeks I have to dig for the ambition to tackle all the work that has piled up while I was away. Of course that takes a lot of effort considering I’m still exhausted from everything I did on vacation and coming home to the mess left by the house sitter was no help.
To compound the problem is this beautiful fall weather we’re experiencing here in Oregon. There hasn’t been much rain but the temperatures have dropped and the leaves are turning without abandon. The colors and the coolness make it difficult to head into the office each morning. My drive to work is along a winding forested road in the hills above Portland and I get so caught up in the beauty surrounding me that I just want to keep driving. Unfortunately that is not an option and I have to force myself to make that last turn down the hill toward the university. Fortunately there is a window situated across from my desk that looks over a hillside full of trees and native shrubbery so the colors stay with me throughout the day.
The weather in New York was unseasonably warm while we were there and the trees in Central Park hadn’t begun to change. When we arrived home to cool temperatures, a lawn full of leaves, and trees of red and orange and yellow and gold I felt as though I’d missed the season. I wanted to pick apples and bake a pie. Thankfully the seasonal change had just started so I really didn’t miss much at all and I did bake that pie.
We shared the pie with the neighbors in celebration of Mark’s birthday and spent the cool evening enjoying a fire and their company. Our summers are usually so busy with gardening, yard work and canning that we don’t seem to have as much time to really visit with our friends. Sure, we have barbecues and potluck dinners but those are usually larger events with many people joining in the revelry and you get very little quality time with one individual. This night it was just the four of us and we were able to catch up on each other’s lives in more detail. These are dear friends and we see them regularly but we don’t always get the time to just sit and talk so it was a good night and a nice warm celebration.
So, it’s time to catch up. Catch up on work and catch up on raking the leaves. Yes, the leaves will fill the lawn every couple of days and we’ll mow them up and use them to mulch the garden. Time to catch up on movies, books and all the other little joys things that take a back seat to the short Oregon summers. But most importantly it’s time to catch up on our friendships, friendships we are fortunate enough to enjoy every season.
Well we made it home from New York to find that the house sitter had quite a vacation of her own…and left the mess for us to clean up. Bitch!! She had called a couple days earlier asking what to use to clean the granite which should have tipped me off considering she’d been there almost two weeks. I shudder to think she hadn’t cleaned the counters in all that time but it turns out that was probably the case. There was some crusty crap on every cabinet and drawer pull, dried food on the fronts of the cabinets, the side of the coffee maker and all over the walls. Coffee grounds were all over the counter and the floor and coffee stains ran down the fronts of the lower cabinets. The counters were gritty, sticky in places and all had a nice greasy coating. I won’t even begin to describe the stainless. Of course it was probably a blessing that she didn’t try to clean that too or we’d probably have to replace all our appliances.
Miss Mess was recommended by our neighbors and they’ve used her a couple times with no complaints so we thought she’d work out. By hiring her we were guaranteed the dog would get his walks because the neighbors would certainly ask her to join them when they walked their dog (which they did) and she’d deter theft since we live in a fairly rural area.
In hindsight we should have hired a college student. They usually do a pretty good job of cleaning up after their parties because they don’t want you to know they had them. This witch didn’t blink an eye when she told us she entertained her brother who was visiting from Chicago and cooked dinners for her husband at our house. She even told me that she used the phone to make long distance calls but that she used a special code so they shouldn’t cost too much. Balls…the woman has serious balls!
Needless to say we’ll be deducting a cleaning fee and the phone bill from her pay.
We were a bit hungover yesterday after yet another late night at Don’t Tell Mama’s so we took off for Chinatown looking for food and tea. We found they have the scariest looking roaches I’ve ever seen!
Okay…not a roach but this crab had escaped from the seafood vendor and was working his way toward a door with a enough room for him to ultimately squeeze underneath. Not what I’d want to come home to.
We wandered through Wall Street…
…checked out Trinity Episcopal (my favorite church in the city) where I found this in the men’s room. I told Mark we should put one in our bathroom at home.
We ended the stroll at Gound Zero which was quite depressing so we decided to head back to the apartment for a disco nap before we left for the theatre.
Before we went out on Monday, I was on the internet looking for tickets to Grey Gardens and found that there were discounted seats available for Avenue Q. We had already purchased our tickets and at the time the only available seats were in the Mezzanine. I called the ticket agency and they were nice enough to let us exchange our seats so we ended up sitting in the 4th row!
This show was as good as Spamalot and definitely not the Sesame Street I remember as a kid…although I wish it were! Sick, twisted, hysterical! I think I wet myself.
We came home last night and bought last minute tickets to see Martin Short’s “Fame Becomes Me” which is getting stellar reviews so we’ll be spending the whole day in the theatre district because we see Grey Gardens tonight. We’ve really been looking forward to this show being huge fans of the movie, and I hear Christine Ebersole gives the performance of the year. I’ll let you know.
I’m hoping to catch up with an old friend tomorrow and then we see Heartbreak House and Regrets Only on Friday. A crazy theatre filled week but after all the walking we’ve been doing its nice to sit down for a while.