Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

Bob and I went to Temple on Friday night with our crew, including the Grands. It felt odd. We had to sign in, while people in masks tried making small talk. The Pumpkin was still in his Halloween costume from school, cape and all. He was looking forward to his birthday celebration. There were twins up on the bima who were going to be Bar and Bat Mitvah the next morning, and the Pumpkin joined them for a blessing since he was turning seven.

I haven’t been to a religious service in years, but on that night the Rabbi read Great Grandma Ada’s name along with others who had died at the end of October. In Judaism, Saturday was her yahrzeit, or the anniversary of the day she died, only one year ago. Time has been fractured. It seems to me like Ada is still here; there are so many times I want to call her, to tell her that Bob and I got our boosters, to ask her what she thinks of someone who is contemplating divorce. Divorce was a dirty word to her.

I want to tell her that the Love Bug is in Hebrew School and taking dance lessons again.

Ada would have loved this week’s Torah portion about Sarah. In the Bible, Sarah was the first Matriarch and she supposedly lived to the great old age of 127. And even though she was known as Abraham’s wife, I love that God commanded him: “Whatever Sarah tells you, do as she says.” That’s pretty much what Ada told Bob when we were married in her parking lot. The Rabbi’s sermon focused on the first part of the Torah portion, which happens to be Sarah’s death.

The homily however, was not about dying or an afterlife. Instead, it was about how we treat others while they are in mourning. That it is of no use to speak in platitudes, or make empty offers. I remembered once when Ada told me not to ask someone if they needed anything, just to bring it – and that usually meant food! If you are wondering, ‘should I call someone,’ call them! She coined “just do it” long before Nike.

The Rabbi reminded us that sometimes it’s best to just ask, “How are you doing today?”

Lately, we have all been in a collective state of mourning. Weddings and funerals have been postponed. Travel plans have been curtailed. A cousin had his Bar Mitzvah via Zoom. I stare at un-masked people in a grocery store with a feeling of wonder and disillusion. I smile at a baby behind my mask, and he just looks expectantly into my eyes, waiting for my smile. Why am I still feeling tenuous around people? Do I need to be saved?

This morning I read about how the Indigenous people of the Amazon have actually sued to keep missionaries OUT of their land!

With its estimated population of 6,300 Indigenous people, it’s considered the world’s largest repository of uncontacted peoples. On a planet with vanishingly few places beyond the reach of modern civilization, the valley’s enduring isolation has made it one of the most alluring places for evangelists trying to reach the last people to have never heard the name Jesus Christ. Missionaries call such people the “unreached.” 


It was a well crafted essay. It relayed just the facts, about how this man/preacher thinks he is called to bring Jesus into the lives of native people in Brazil, how he thinks the world is going to end and he wants to “save” them. The absurdity of this was apparent, and it offended me. According to Amazon, the company, there have been over 2,500 gods in the world. So this particular god is better than that particular god? https://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Gods-Over-Deities-World/dp/0816029091

In Catholicism, we were not told to proselytize. Sure, in the past Jesuits traveled to new lands, but no longer. Jews, for the most part, don’t go around trying to convert other people, knocking on doors with pamphlets. Plus, the whole circumcision thing is a hard act to sell. To believe that one god is superior to the rest seems arrogant, if not dangerous.

November is Native American Heritage Month. There’s not a lot of time left to save Mother Earth. Leaders at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow have called climate change an existential crisis – “Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper… We are digging our own graves.” I hope the people of the Amazon Basin win their suit against missionaries, and remain unreachable.

And I hope this birthday boy gets vaccinated soon!


Read Full Post »

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare

Some third or fourth cousin five times removed on Ancestry sent me a message, “Were you baby Rose?” And I had to admit, I was; I was actually called “Posie” when I was little. That was my nickname.

No one has called me that in decades, even though I’ve come to like it. To me, a posey is a small group of wildflowers, colorful and sweet, all tied together in a bow. But when I looked it up, most dictionaries say that posey is an adjective that means pretentious, someone looking for admiration, a poser!

“…characteristic of or being a poser, especially in being trendy or fashionable in a superficial way.”

You might wonder about its etymology. In French, posey means exactly what I thought it meant, a petit bouquet of flowers: “A small bunch of flowers typically given as a gift and often held together by a string around the flower stems.” And not surprisingly, if you spell it P O S Y in English, it means a small floral bouquet, like a tussie-mussie?!

The meaning of many words can be lost in translation, but the funniest news today is what Mark Zuckerberg decided to rename his company’s brand – “Meta.” Young people on Twitter were saying their elders would never figure out its meaning, and maybe they’re right. To me, meta always meant thinking about thinking. It was an academic word, used in academic circles, to get at the underlying currents of concepts. So I looked it up too, according to Merriam Webster, meta means:

 “…showing or suggesting an explicit awareness of itself or oneself as a member of its category cleverly self-referential…. concerning or providing information about members of its own category.”

Like say, writing news about the news? I guess the Facebook genius forgot to hire a proofreader, because the word meta, in Hebrew, means DEAD!

Facebook’s announcement that it is changing its name to Meta has caused quite the stir in Israel where the word sounds like the Hebrew word for “dead”.

To be precise, Meta is pronounced like the feminine form of the Hebrew word.

A number of people have taken to Twitter to share their take on the name under the hashtag #FacebookDead.”


Well, Facebook is dead to me. It’s been a few weeks and I’m doing just fine without it, although the Bride told me she signed me up for a Facebook neighborhood group that basically does some old-fashioned bartering. You need a baby humidifier, and someone nearby has one to give you! They need a dog gate, and you’ve got one for them. The idea is to consume less, and meet and connect with your neighbors. Huh, these younguns’!

So, even though I was feeling sick and achy from my Moderna booster shot this week, I packed up some old clothes and brought a box to the Bride’s house to add to the group. She was busy trimming hedges. I told her she could borrow her Dad’s electric trimmer, but she said it was a good workout. Like raking leaves instead of blowing them into your neighbor’s yard.

Her beautiful yard is peppered with skeletons and plastic grave stones for Halloween. I even added a French Bulldog skellie to the mix. This year the Grands will be Dracula and a Storm Trooper, and they’ll actually get to go Trick or Treating. Which means we’ll be giving out the candy again.

Maybe I should dress up as Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, with a posey nosegay of flowers on my dress? Happy Halloween Y’all!

Read Full Post »

Our L’il Pumpkin just turned 5, so naturally the Bride and Groom threw him a party.

Nashville’s Adventure Science Museum is a hands-on wonderland for kids, and it proved the perfect setting for science experiments and birthday cake. But let’s talk about the logistics of an almost “holiday” birthday – Thursday night was Trick or Treating and a house party with a whole neighborhood, Friday night was a family dinner with the Big Four generations followed by a sleepover at Nana and Pop Bob’s, and Saturday we had nearly 20 kids at his kids’ birthday party.

In other words, it was party central here all weekend!

Isn’t it nice to know that White House staffers could bring their little ghosts and goblins to a Halloween party at the Eisenhower Executive Office that was hosted by Mike Pence? Did they bob for apples? No, they were given brick-colored card stock and told to write their names on the cards, oh and then paste their cards up on that wall over there in the hallway, under the big letters that said “BUILD THE WALL.”  https://news.yahoo.com/children-were-told-to-build-the-wall-at-white-house-halloween-party-153024720.html

What is going on in our country? Mr T shows up at a baseball game and the crowd chants, “Lock HIM up!” Then he goes to Madison Square Garden and gets Booed by Mixed Martial Arts fans… I’m surprised we didn’t see anyone dressed up as Mr T for Halloween. Or maybe an anonymous whistleblower…

It was just your typical crew of super heroes and princesses, followed by teenagers without costumes holding out plastic bags. I’m glad we don’t have Mischief Night in TN. Egging cars and teepeeing trees seems to be more of a northeastern tradition. There was even an enforced curfew in NJ, one both of my kids ignored!

I was hoping I’d wake up from my candy and birthday cake coma today and the Impeachment would be over. We could go back to expanding human rights and building bridges, but alas, that scary clown is still in the Oval Office. And worse yet, if he is removed, the VP of making kids create propaganda wall art will be in charge.

It’s a good thing we have a rebel star fighter and a black cat to fight for truth and justice!



Read Full Post »

Who will you be tonight for Halloween? Do you continue to dress up, as a family, in a creative coordinated way and prowl the neighborhood? Or do you sit in your doorway with some Snickers? One for you, two for me! It’s been many years since we’ve had any Trick or Treaters at all, so tonight our candy pumpkin will be full and standing at attention by the door. Ms Bean will be barking her head off at all the ghosts and goblins.

I have to think Nell’s family may have actually known some gypsies back in Czechoslovakia, because my only memory of wearing a costume is sitting on Daddy Jim’s lap as a gypsy. It’s probably because that’s the one Halloween picture that survived my foster care years, and I look pretty happy in my black mask, long skirt and bangles. When did we think it was OK to dress up like slut-scary working girls of the night with short skirts, teased hair and theatrical make-up?

But enough about sexualizing naughty nurse costumes for women, Bob and I were tasked to find a wig for our grand baby boy. You’ve probably guessed that the Love Bug will be going out tonight as Moana – her very favorite Disney Princess…so naturally her little brother wanted to be Maui! AKA the Demi-God Rock, a big, beautiful, strong Polynesian guy covered in tattoos! Why he’s a modern day Popeye, a super hero of sorts with a large personality and a big heart.

Only our almost 3 year old guy has glorious strawberry red hair and Maui has long brown dreadlocks. And finding a Maui wig was no easy task, even in Nashville where they have an actual Disney store. Bob and I were surprised to learn that though Moana outfits were sold everywhere, including in Target, a Maui outfit (with or without a wig) is non-existant. I was glad I’d ordered him Maui PJs for the Love Bug’s birthday, but surprised to hear the reason Disney Doesn’t Do Maui.  

The outfit had caused disquiet among the Polynesian community.

Hawaiian Chelsie Haunani Fairchild said it was offputting to have a child wear the skin of another race.

“Polyface is Disney’s new version of blackface. Let’s call it like it is, people,” Fairchild said. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/sep/22/disney-pulls-maui-childrens-costume-amid-claims-it-is-offensive

The salesperson at Party City told us they didn’t get any Maui costumes or wigs. Now granted, Bob and I are certainly more liberal than most and pretty sensitive to stereotyping, but we were floored. Our little guy can’t emulate his favorite cartoon character because he’s not Polynesian, only part Jewish, Irish and German – and mostly full American?

There’s a difference between an adult Prince Harry dressing up like a Nazi and a 3 year old kid in PJs!

Can kids dress up like cowboys and Native Americans anymore? Am I starting to sound like my Mother? Hope my little story didn’t offend any people of Southeast Asian descent, and if it did, I apologize in advance.

Now go out there and scare some people! Happy Halloween! BOO!!


Read Full Post »

It’s pumpkin patch fever in Nashville. The Farmer’s Market is filled with mums of every color and you can walk through an actual pumpkin house at Cheekwood Gardens. Tomorrow they will host the Halloween Pooch Parade! But yesterday, since Great Grandma Ada is visiting with cousin Nancy, we loaded up the grandkids and a wheelchair to stroll along the serpentine path of unique scarecrows as the sun descended through cypress trees. https://cheekwood.org

One scarecrow was dressed entirely in plastic water bottles, another was dressed like William Shakespeare covered with some of his famous quotes! One had a skirt made from crayons, and next to it stood an imposing black crow. One urged us to be the change we wanted to see in the world!

Civic organizations throughout the county sponsored each art installation, and I could imagine an Impressionist painter capturing the afternoon scene of families weaving through scarecrows in dappled light.

Late last night I foolishly wanted to catch up with the news I’d been missing since my travels to Minnesota. General Kelly’s speech, in defense of Mr T, was front and center and actually made my stomach churn. Making calls to Gold Star families is not something presidents should be doing. And why on earth would Congresswoman Frederica Wilson listen in on such a conversation? He was blaming the messenger, calling this Black woman who is a friend of the family, an “empty barrel.” We heard nothing about Niger and why these brave soldiers died in the first place. http://www.newsweek.com/niger-trumps-benghazi-four-us-soldiers-died-and-it-took-him-12-days-respond-688082

The soldiers killed in Niger were part of a 12-man team of Green Berets, training Nigerian soldiers in a remote part of the country. These soldiers belonged to the Third Special Forces group based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

As they were leaving a meeting with local community leaders on October 4, they were ambushed by roughly 50 fighters believed to be linked to ISIS (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is also active in the surrounding region).

The soldiers were driving unarmored pickup trucks and immediately returned fire. The firefight reportedly lasted roughly 30 minutes. It was eventually broken up via French air support and the soldiers were evacuated with helicopters.

At first only three soldiers were reported killed in action. One was separated from the group and found two days after the ambush by Nigerian forces. The Pentagon isn’t talking about this, the talk is all about how Mr T frames his Twitter feed. How he points his little finger at President Obama. How these soldiers knew what they were signing up for….

Sometimes I feel like I am walking through a nightmare of scarecrows, only they are real men, dressed in suits and trotted out to defend the indefensible.





Read Full Post »

Halloween this way comes. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of my Facebook friend’s grandchildren dressed up like little pumpkins, monsters and Olafs…and if you don’t know who he is, well he’s like Frosty the Snowman. Only he’d rather be sunbathing.

After years of buying mini-candies and waiting for some Trick or Treaters, we’ve given up hope. Our dirt driveway is too long and too far off the beaten path for children. I would usually stuff my face with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and call it a night. Admittedly, these delightful morsels are the best thing ever invented as a chocolate delivery system, which is exactly why I never buy them. You believe me, right?

When I was little, my Slovakian foster mom Nell would dress me up as a gypsy. I didn’t really know what that was, but I enjoyed putting on make-up and wearing jewelry. At some point, usually in Middle School, our children all rebel and want to design their own Halloween costume. This should make life easier for the parents, but actually it becomes much harder.

I hate to sound stereotypical, but let’s get real – the boys all want to be villains or zombies, and the girls say so long to the princess look and decide to be sexy starlets. Not all, but certainly you’ve seen gangs of pre-teens roaming your neighborhood dressed like Whitey Bulger and Taylor Swift? You can see I’m off by a few decades; the Bride would chose to be some version of Madonna, and the Rocker?

He could get creative. A pirate, a gangster, a zombie. Surprisingly, never a rock star.

But this is their chance to try out being a “bad boy.” Because once they hit high school, the road narrows and their destiny can get kidnapped by peer pressure and the need to belong. Boys learn to ignore their emotions, they are taught not to smile. In most public high schools they have two paths – the sports route or the party route. And the party route can be dangerous. Some can never recover from that road. They wind up dead at 27.

My Rock Star was voted “Most Changed” in high school, probably because he didn’t fit into a neat category for this preppy, suburban school. He went his own way, he stayed true to himself and played guitar at every dive on the Jersey Shore. He found other outliers to jam with and by the time he graduated from school, his original metal band, Hypon, was in high demand, and he was their business manager and website developer. I only offered them snacks in the garage.

Did I wish he’d play baseball and want to go into finance? Sure, but that’s not our job as parents. We have to sit back once our kids become teenagers and marvel at who they are becoming, and continue to nurture their dreams. Not ours. If we did our job right in those critical early years, we can pat ourselves on the back. The pirate, wizard and Star Wars character will morph into the leading man of their own unique story.

Read Full Post »

When the news first broke that we’d been spying on some of our closest allies, Grandpa Hudson immediately nailed our collective indignation with this remark, “Skullduggery!” Don’t you just love obtuse and ancient words? I knew immediately I’d have to dig into this Halloween-themed noun which according to the Slang Dictionary comes from an earlier Scottish term, “skullduddery” and means: “deceitful doings; dirty work. :  Without skullduggery, politics wouldn’t be interesting.”

So if the NSA was involved in “tricky behavior” of the “hanky-panky” variety, and we now learn that well, really, everybody’s doing it, spying on each other that is, we can all rest assured that the Bourne  or for that matter, Bond movie machine will live on in perpetuity. I’m just not so sure I can recover from my binge watching yesterday morning of CNN and the public spectacle aka witch’s hunt we now call a “congressional hearing.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held up rather well under her grueling three+ hours of testimony. Here are some of the low-lights I gleaned from yesterday’s “monkey business.”

A Texas Representative, R- Joe Barton, likened the roll out of the Affordable Care Act to a scene in another classic movie, The Wizard of Oz. Maybe he thought of this because Sebelius had served as the Governor of Kansas or maybe he just likes “hanky-panky.”

“Dorothy at some point in the movie turns to her little dog Toto and says, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.’ Well, Madam Secretary, while you’re from Kansas, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Some might say that we are actually in the ‘Wizard of Oz’ land given the parallel universes we appear to be habitating.”

Another GOP gambit was trying to get Madame Secretary to tell us which health policies covered abortion. A hot mic caught another congresswoman say in a plaintive voice, “Oh, here we go again.” While a NC woman of the right got into a bit of “kerfluffle” over whether single young men should have to buy insurance with maternity coverage saying, “To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?”

There was more posturing, and posters of college boys doing a keg stand, I’m not sure why; oh yes this “chicanery” lasted well into the lunch hour. Which got me thinking about Niccolo Machiavelli.

“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.”

Happy Halloween from one parallel universe to another. I’ll close with a bit of “funny business” from my little trick or treater who adores going to puppet shows in her pachyderm costume! ps the nose is on the hood in back but don’t you just love the Pebbles pony?


Read Full Post »

My heart goes out to my Jersey Shore. Not the one that Snooki made famous. I’m talking about the peninsula between two rivers, the bay bridges that flew our flag after 9/11, the Stone Pony where my son’s band held court, the small businesses, the boardwalks and dunes, the beach clubs, the people. It’s the people, the friends I’ve made who knew me when, who are suffering now and I feel their loss.

In NJ we had to try and keep our kids inside on Mischief Night, the night before Halloween. It was not an easy task, if they wanted to teepee somebody’s tree or throw eggs on another’s car, chances are they managed to succeed. Sandy made mischief of that beautiful coastline with impunity. While watching CNN in Nashville on Nana duty this morning, I see that the Nashville Red Cross is sending volunteers to Tinton Falls, NJ – the same building where thousands stood in line on September 11th. I’ve talked and texted my way through. A tree missed a car by inches, the tide crept one house away. No one has power, no one. I’m thankful the Rocker and Ms Cait evacuated Asbury Park to my MIL’s house; I’m afraid of what they will find when they return today.

But as cabanas floated out to sea, and long generations of fishermen lost their boats, their homes and their livelihood, I was happy to hear that Gov Chris Christie called our President’s response to the storm “outstanding.” http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/10/30/christie-not-interested-in-photo-op/
“The president was great last night. He said he would get it done. At 2 a.m., I got a call from FEMA to answer a couple of final questions and then he signed the declaration this morning. So I have to give the president great credit. He’s been on the phone with me three times in the last 24 hours. He’s been very attentive, and anything that I’ve asked for, he’s gotten to me. So, I thank the president publicly for that. He’s done — as far as I’m concerned — a great job for New Jersey.”

That’s what Christie said on Mischief Night, yesterday. It’s mad to think of politics during a crisis like this. Sandy’s death toll is now up to 50, and with live wires down and gas lines disrupted, many residents are being urged to stay away a few more days. Sometimes, I feel as if we’re living in a nightmare of gigantic Climate Change proportions. And it doesn’t help that I’m reading “Cloud Atlas,” by David Mitchell http://www.reviewsofbooks.com/cloud_atlas/review/. It’s such a dystopian horror show, encompassing so many time periods, that every so often you think it actually could happen. That’s the trick of sci-fi, cut very close to the truth.

We are genetically altering our food, we can clone mammals, it’s just a few more steps to a Corpocracy – hey, with Citizens United, we’re already there. Today people are searching for an open gas station so they can run generators, if they have them. Tomorrow we may just need Soap so our fabricants can fall asleep. “Certainly the vacant disneyarium was a haunting frame for those lost rainy landscapes.”

So bring it on Halloween, just try and scare me now you sleep-deprived new parents!


Read Full Post »

It’s that ghoulish time of year again. Sometimes, I honestly wish we had been Jehovah’s Witnesses. There is no conflict, they just don’t celebrate All Saint’s Day. They view it as a pagan custom, and happily go about their business of knocking on strangers’ doors and handing out pamphlets all the time! But in my kid’s elementary school, when everyone would wear their costumes and march about the schoolyard in late October, the JW kids felt bad. I even felt bad for them. Still, what I want to know is when did it become OK to stereotype young girls as sex objects for Halloween?

You’ve heard about the furor of slimming down Minnie Mouse for a storefront display at Barney’s in NYC, right? Well who’s complaining about all these girls and young women, respectable by day, dressing up in Daisy Dukes on Halloween? I only remember dressing up as a “Gypsy” back in the 50s, in a long, full skirt. That was exciting enough, getting to wear make-up and bangles on my arms. Today, once our little girls outgrow the “Princess” phase, at about pre-puberty, who thinks it’s just fine to dress like Lady Gaga?

When my children were little, I was that much hated crafty mom. I had a sewing machine and knew how to use it; I actually made many of their Halloween outfits. The Rocker’s best was Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Bride made a nifty Wonder Woman. All of a sudden, somewhere in middle school, all bets were off. Monsters and madonnas littered the schoolyard. But I do remember one girl dressing up as Amelia Earhart. You had to have a lot of confidence to fight the culture of sexism that surrounds our kids. “You can’t be what you can’t see.” http://tedxwomen.org/speakers/jennifer-siebel-newsom/

Siebel, in this video, says she wanted to get away from the media push for power and strength outfits for boys at Halloween and soft, passive-princessy things for girls and dress her small children as gender-neutral animals. So she chose a lamb for her daughter and a lion for her son. She then saw the joke, it is a subtle thing, this sexism. I remember feeling that way when the Bride was small – where are the female super-heros? The Love Bug will be a giraffe on her first Halloween, because we have always had a fondness for “long, tall blondes.” http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/tall-blondes/introduction/2253/ You will find giraffes roaming free all over my house! And her Uncle and Ms Cait?
Zombies of course!

Read Full Post »

When you come from the garden state, which boasts of its Mischief Night – something I was surprised to find is NOT a national happening…really, I had to explain it to my new Southern friends – you take All Saints Eve very, very seriously. I actually made my kids’ costumes, that is until they hit that middle school age when it had to be sexy/rocker/chick or scary/bloody/zombie and they roamed the streets in large gangs of pre-adolescent, sugar fueled energy. My favorite costume was quilting a felt turtle shell for the Rocker’s ninja Michelangelo. He wore it to the opening of the Ninja Turtle movie and teenage girls just praised and loved him in it. This surprised his mortified older sister, she had been lobbying against the whole idea! My second fave costume was this hedgehog, notice the two Corgis, Blaze and his mama Tootsie Roll, nipping at his heels:

I admit it, I was crafty back in the day. But yesterday on the beautiful UVA Lawn, students opened their doors to trick-or-treaters in record numbers and with some of the most creative costumes I’ve ever seen. One Mom of three was holding a fur wrapped baby Toto, while big sisters Dorothy and Glinda strolled under rusty red leaves. Another Mom, married to a law student, pushed an ambulance pram with baby in bandages while big brother ambulance chaser stood by opening candy wrappers. And of course, our adopted Nashville grandchildren won the prize for the cutest/sweetest/most darling children of them all!

Here’s to you Captain Hook and Tinkerbell, spread that fairy dust around cause on Halloween, no matter what your age, we can all be children again.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: