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Category Archives: Halloween

Happy Halloween from Miss Holly

donna black-sword

Happy Halloween, y’all.

Loving Autumn

Do you love autumn as much as I do? Refusing to start the furnace just yet in these cooler temps, we did start up the fireplace in the evening. Even without the wood smoke, the air even smells different this time of year.

If you’re on Pinterest, I’ve started two boards to capture the essence of this season of fire and color. Give us a click and repin anything that may speak to you.

Loving Autumn on Pinterest.

The spirit of Halloween on Pinterest.

And of course there are dogs there, too.  Canine photos pinned among the falling leaves and smiling pumpkins.

Look closely and you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive Banana Dog.

Wordless Wednesday: Caption This #12


There’s a simple story behind this photo, really.  I set the camera on continuous shot and asked Micron to speak.

And I simply missed all the good shots of his open maw.

Instead I have some outtakes that are pretty darn fun in spite of my ill-fated action shot efforts.

Like this one above.

Whatsa matter, Micron? I might ask.  You look like you’ve seen a ghost.  Ah, I see. The cat’s at it in your food bowl again.

Let’s caption this one, shall we?  Any ideas, y’all?

The Grench

How the Grench stole Halloween

It had started with the snowfall.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that short-lived Ohio weather anomaly we experienced in mid-October was a harbinger of doom.  Of fearsome events yet to come.

The signs were there and I just didn’t see them. Didn’t want to. After all, we’ve had snow in October before and the world continued on as we expected.

There’s a new sheriff in town, ya’ll.
Apparently new sneakers, too. Heh, looks
like this mom spared no expense on
her homemade Halloween costume.

Ok sure, the last October snow was somewhere around twenty years ago as evidenced here in this shot of the Favorite Kid sporting his Trick-or-Treat gear back in the old neighborhood.

But still. The white stuff melted before lunchtime and became just a vague memory by the bustle of the evening commute home. It’s still October, we all said. No worries.  Halloween will still go on just like it does every year at this time.

Turns out, I had sorely underestimated the power of the Holiday Grench.

What are you talking about now, you ask. The Holiday Grench? 

Ah, a good question that. No, it’s not a typo. Well, not this time.

A rather upbeat kinda chick, with her starry eyes and silver tinsel hair, we’ve noticed that the Holiday Grench grows stronger every year. Unlike her more famous third cousin twice removed, instead of a heart two sizes too small, within our Grench’s chest beats a sugar plum heart. She just loves the Christmas season, but not necessarily in a healthy way. As is the manner of any maniacal, but misguided, visionary, the Grench wants you to embrace her shopping holiday, too. To drink her cup of wassail, so to speak.

And so to make this vision happen, she must feed on the nostalgic memories of those who yearn to enjoy any type of fall celebration.

Your neighbors put their Christmas lights on their house last weekend, she taunts me.  And did you see?  Amazon started their Black Friday sales. She playfully bounces an ornament off my head. So, do you have your tree up yet?

But …, I stammer. but, it’s not even Halloween yet.

That’s right, she laughs. Time to start your Christmas shopping!  All your friends have already bought their first gift.

And just like the weather, everybody complains but nobody does anything about it.  We stand by as holiday decorations are displayed right after Thanksgiving, then the next year we see artificial trees in early November to whet our shopping desires.  And these days, the frost isn’t even on the pumpkin before we’re assailed with Jingle Bells on the outdoor speakers at the strip mall.

We don’t do anything about it, of course, because we can’t. The Grench has grown too powerful.  Mere mortals such as us are no match for her subtleties.  This holiday spirit is hungry for your fall festivities, because once conquered she can move onto Labor Day and beyond.  The world will be her one big Shopping Day.

Every day will be Black Friday! says the Grench, tossing glittery bows in the air above. But only three of you will get the really good sale price!  Bwahahahaha.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I really got the feeling she took a personal interest in my Halloween this year.  I felt jinxed, like the joy was being sucked right out of my favorite time of year.

Ah, but this chick isn’t easily broken. Me, that is. I didn’t make it to this [bleeped] decade of life without learning some coping mechanisms, you know.

Fergo is a dog outstanding in his . . . oh, good grief,
how old is that joke?

After the first foreboding snow, we found we needed to send Euka to the CCI Spa for a few weeks.  No photos ops at the pumpkin farm for our only October with this pup, an event I’ve enjoyed with the other CCI puppies in our care.

Bent, but spirit not broken, we were blessed with an opportunity to dog-sit a favorite fellow, the sweet Fergo.  At twelve years old, our hearty friend remains a lover of life. And road trips.

Another fall festivity favorite, Jager slips into his Warg alter ego to participate in the Howl-O-Ween Woof Walk to support Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association.  The dictionary definition of cold and miserable, we got chilled to the bone that morning.

Just so you know, says Jager.  This counts as a bath.

By we, I mean me and the Favorite Kid. I woefully underdressed and the hopes that the lukewarm coffee would help warm my inner core were washed away into the storm drains.

Oh, but not our little Jagerhund. The Master of the Hunt wore his orc upon his back with a sense of Warg warrior pride. Our little spotted dog soaked up the excitement of the morning like he hadn’t been out of the house for a week. Which is kinda true, the poor pooch. It was good to give the fellow a special day of his own, rainy mist notwithstanding.

Back at her Swarovski crystal lair, the Holiday Grench is shaking a glittery fist into the air. Nooooo, she cries out. You will start your Christmas shopping. You will, I say. Don’t you dare even try enjoying your autumn festivals. I will not be ignored!  By the way, did you see your favorite shopping site has personalized photo gifts fifty percent off this week?

Then the triple-whammy.  Out of desperation, this vengeful Spirit of the Holiday Yet to Come strikes back with the trifecta of an overwhelming work load, longer commutes to the office, and then the worst slam of all … inclement weather.

So no spare time and little energy to carve a pumpkin even if I did have an empty moment. And then what the heck, Grench? A monsoon in land-locked Ohio? On Beggar’s Night?  What is wrong with you?

Heh, but take this, you spiteful spirit. I stand here and say to all that it is indeed possible to carve a pumpkin in twenty minutes during a lunch period at work. It helps if you’re working from home, of course.  I mean, all my carving tools are here. And the pumpkin. And while I haven’t tested the theory, I’m throwing out the educated guess that neither would be welcome in the office atmosphere.

Here’s how things went down then.

I gutted the big orange gourd on Tuesday night, roasted the pepita de calabazas (pumpkin seeds to you non-pretentious people) on Wednesday after work and finally carved a face into the non-sentient being on Friday at lunchtime. Then Friday evening I was able to get some photos of the thing before sundown.  No matter that it was November 1 when I completed this task.  I got ‘er done, I did.

And anyway, because of the weather situation on October 31st, a few communities moved their Beggar’s Night to the weekend. (Open letter to our humble burg:  You guys should have done that too, you know). So I figure it’s like a belated birthday card. It makes it extra special and festive to extend the holiday for another day or two, right?

With a mug of reheated potato soup steaming next to my pumpkin, I create an evil Jack O’Lantern to ward off that creeping winter holiday for another day.

And all is well in my little world. Or at least looking up a little.
Because I got autumnal photos of my handsome Micron.  Before Thanksgiving even.  
And also because Euka’s spa vacation is nearly over. We are looking forward to picking up the sassy girl later this week so she may continue in her quest to rock our world.
And just in time, too. Now we can start planning our Christmas photo ops. Yeah sure, I’ll give the Grench that one, I guess. 
But I’m still not leaving the sanctuary of my house on Black Friday. That’s crazy talk, y’all.
I’ll be shopping online instead.
Oh c’mon, says Micron.  It’s not like I have an Off switch for the good looks.
I do, however, short circuit from time to time, he admits.
Zoiks! cries Micron. Don’t look behind you! It’s … it’s The Holiday Shopping Season!


I was going to whine on about the unfortunality of no decent Halloween movies on the tube as well.  But then Zombieland was on.  Oh, and Paranormal Activity 2. The latter of which had me sleeping on the sofa with the lights on because I freaked myself out too much to go upstairs. Now that’s a good Halloween, people.

Do dogs dream in orange?

Have you ever had one of the those days? I ask my Favorite Kid. Where so many weird things are going on that you start making mental notes so you can blog about it later? And then you wake up?

No, Ma, says my Favorite Kid. I haven’t.

Hang on, don’t leave just yet. I say, following him out of the living room. Heh, this one was a doozy, kiddo. Lemme tell you what happened in it. 

Please don’t, Ma. he says.

Every dog should have a chance to be this happy. 

What is it about stairs and escalators anyway? Elevators, too. Some sort of transport that is so complicated I can’t figure out how to get to where I need to be. That has to be symbolic in a recurring dream, right? I ask him.

Because the kid graduated with a double major in psychology and sociology, so he must know this stuff. Surely they covered dream symbolism in some college course. Because why else even have this field of study? And whether he wants the job or not, the kid is stuck as my sounding board as I recount my subconscious goings-on.

And food buffets, too. I say. Always food. And something always keeps me from having any. What does that mean, do you think?

It means, he says. Whatever you want it to mean. It’s different for everyone.

Huh, I say. Well, that’s helpful not at all. And now I’m hungry.

I head back to the kitchen for my secret chocolate stash*.

Hey, but there’s usually a dog or two with me, I say. I guess you don’t need to be a psych major for that one, do you?

No, I guess not, says my Favorite Kid. Well done, Ma. See you’ve figured it out all on your own. Good talk. So can I go now?

And you, dear reader, may relax now as well.  We won’t be delving any deeper into the dark soul of the overly active id of my subconscious. Well, at least not right now. This split personality will likely come up in conversation again.  After all, our alternate world of dreams takes up about a quarter of our lifespan, right?

But sure, it’s true that dogs accompany me in my dream world. And how cool is that?  I can pretty much count on the presence of a faithful canine all the time.  Like 24/7. Yep, envy me y’all.

I wonder, too, what my dogs dream about. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on their nose during their diurnal REM transactions? I sure would, because if the twitching snooter and freely running legs** are an indicator, I really don’t think they’re slogging through worlds of inaccessible destinations and deprivation of pleasure as some of us human beans are wont to do.

Instead, could our dogs be reliving their awesome day, only better? More intense odors upon the air, longer walks, three tennis balls to chase at once and other wondrous things? Maybe rides in the car where the Food Lady really, really lowers the window so they can stick more than a nostril out?

Oh hey, speaking of nostrils, d’ya ever stick a dog cookie under that twitching nose pad of a sleeping dog and they wake up in momentary disbelief and blink their eyes and then think oh my dog dreams really do come true? That’s good times all around, people.

It’s entertaining to me to think that Micron has rich dreams. Built on the memories of people he’s met and the places he’s been.

Like, fer instance, our annual road trip to the pumpkin farm.

Could a visit to the pumpkin farm bring upon an enhanced dreamscape of a field of huge orange tennis balls?

Dream big, says Micron.

Or on the other brain node, maybe one of those big orange tennis balls has gone very, very wrong.

Giddyap, my li’l doggie friends, drawls the cowpokin’ scarecrow.

Taking a pass, says Micron.

I close my eyes and still see it, cries Micron. Thank dog
the thing is lasered in on Fergo.

And with that last vision making its rat nest inside the subconscious canine neurons, we add the capriney aroma of horned goat creatures to create perhaps a whole nuther kind of animal in the mind’s eye.

One punkin’ head too many here, say
the goats.
Or the heck with rolling down the car windows. Micron commandeers his very own monster truck with no bothersome barriers whatsoever. 
Finally, sighs Micron. I can feel the wind in my ears. 
I call this My Mister Mighty Micron Mad Max
 Muscle Machine with a Huzzah 
, says Micron.
Or mmmmmmmmwah for short.

It’s funny to me now that, as I share these thoughts with you, Micron is sound asleep on the loveseat and his snores have turned into soft, bwoofy barks. The dog only barks for two things … dog cookies and, well, ok. Only one thing. Must be a really good dream, this one.

So what to do, but gently place a dog cookie in front of his adorable boop button.

And make his dreams come true.
*Cleverly hidden in a complex system within the pots & pans drawer. Good luck stumbling across that stash, Men o’The House.

**And that one time as we were watching Yaxley lie flat on his back with legs galloping onward, we wondered if perhaps he was dreaming he was flying. Like a pegasus or something.

Halloween Memories of Yore

Other stories celebrating this mystical time of year. Grab yourself one of the season’s ubiquitous pumpkin spice beverages of choice and enjoy these past posts. 

A true-ish ghost story at Ghosts in the Walls

A troubling Halloween night babysitting gig when I confirmed the theory that an opposum in a cornfield sounds exactly like three men with an ax at Spirits of the Season.

A Mom Fail story that I somehow segued into Yaxley’s first Halloween at When Spots are Scary. It’s a gift, this ability to segue two totally random things together. Or a fluke. Either one.

And a couple of short photo posts involving bananas and sharks, but not at the same time. Because that would be messed up, people. At A Vengeful Spirit and Land Shark

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