Archive for October, 2011

When I was a kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday. I loved it more than Christmas. It was that cool time of year when the leaves would fall from the trees during windy evenings and the breeze still had a hint of warmth. Okay, I guess it also had to do with the fact that on Halloween night I would get CANDY, CANDY and more CANDY. I loved dressing up and loved creating my perfect costume. When we were little, my Mom would make Halloween costumes for me and Tracy:

                             ” Help, I’ve lost my sheep! And my dignity.”

In later years, Mom would sometimes buy us costumes from the store — probably K-Mart, and most likely a blue-light special. Little girls in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s had about two costume choices: nurse or witch. I chose the nurse. I liked those little candy pills that came in the little plastic nurse’s box. Hand-me-downs were also a part of Halloween: Coleen and Melissa would be wearing those Little Bo Peep costumes a few years later.

When I was a lot older (at least 9 or 10), I would pride myself in making my own costume. I wasn’t your typical girly-girl who wanted to be a Princess or Fairy or Bride for Halloween. I was immensely proud of a ‘bum’ costume I designed … complete with a pair of my Dad’s old pants I stuffed with pillows to look fat. I guess homeless people were fat back in the day. I rubbed used coffee grounds all over my face to resemble a five-o’clock shadow. “Brother, can you spare a dime? Or a Snickers?”

When I was just starting elementary school, there was a super dry spell in Halloween festivities for children in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was a crazy serial killer named the Zodiac on the loose (maybe you’ve heard of him). During those Zodiac rampage years, no trick-or-treating was allowed in the greater Vallejo area. I hated the Zodiac. I was too young to understand the awful truth about the Zodiac — all I knew was some crazy person had ruined my favorite holiday and all of us were banned to school cafeterias and community centers to celebrate our Halloween. Trick-or-treating around a cafeteria just isn’t the same once you’ve experienced the real outdoor festivities, especially when that nasty warm corn smell was still lingering in the air from lunch time.

We’d parade around the cafeteria in our costumes getting candy and snacks. Oh, and there was bobbing for apples, or as I like to call it, Hello Hepatitis! What the bleep? What were those adults thinking? Hey gang, let’s grab a huge rusty pail from the backyard scrap pile, fill it with water from the hose and throw some apples in it. Then for kicks, let’s have the kids dress up like dorks with crazy makeup all over their face, run around the block begging the neighbors for candy in the cold, then drag them and their runny noses over to the big rusty water pail full of apples and stick their faces in it. Then let’s have ‘em bite at the apples with their candy-corroded teeth long enough so that their spit mixes together in the water. If one of them actually snags an apple in their teeth, they WIN!! They win an APPLE!!

Even as a kid I knew something was terribly wrong with bobbing for apples. But there were more dangers lurking around in Halloween goodies. My Dad made us well aware of the potential razor blade or cherry bomb or “drug injected by needle” that just might be hiding in our mini Three Musketeers bar. When we got home from trick-or treating during the non-Zodiac years, we had to line up and pass our bags over to Dad for official inspection. Dad would check for pin holes and the like in our candy wrappers. Many times he would have to taste test our candy to be sure they were safe for us. He had to check A LOT of our candy. Well, he didn’t want a cherry bomb to blow our cheek off.

One time I didn’t listen to my Mom and Dad’s lecture about eating candy at night and I snuck lots of candy from my trick-or-treat bag into my room right before bed, and proceeded to eat most of it. That night, I had the dreaded “eating-candy-before-bedtime nightmare.” About werewolves. Dancing werewolves. If you missed that post, click here.

These days, Halloween has somewhat lost its’ magic. We have a ton of cool Halloween decorations, but never decorate because no one trick-or-treats in our neighborhood. Our neighbors have a light that illuminates the entire cul-de-sac, but strangely enough, they forget to turn it on Halloween night. So we usually go to where the nieces and nephews are to see all their darling ladybug, Thomas the Train and Tinkerbell costumes. And Jay makes sure to check all their trick-or-treat candy for dangerous items.


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Sorry for the lapse in posts…it’s been a very busy few weeks. Tonight I opened up the infamous “ABC of Casseroles” book, you remember the one:

I found some more treasures. You know how some people keep a bottle of that ipecac syrup stuff around in case they need to induce vomiting in a poison victim? This book is essentially the same thing. Simply turn to any page and you’ll immediately kick-start those spit glands. Tonight I’ve chosen a special recipe. The word scallops is in the recipe title, and for a minute, I thought I was in for a treat. Wrong. Well, you be the judge:

First of all, eggs should not go anywhere near scallops. Whoever created this recipe must’ve had a lot of leftover Easter eggs they had to use up. This recipe makes me sad, because scallops is one of my favorites. I once had sea scallops prepared with an orange champagne sauce that was to die for. I imagine you could die eating this dish, too. You know, scallops need to be prepared just right. Boiling them? That’s just plain lazy.

I might’ve been intrigued just a tiny smidge if only they hadn’t ruined it with the bell pepper and celery. Why couldn’t they be a little more fancy and use asparagus, or artichokes, or no eggs? I just imagine all these flavors blending together in the white sauce bread crumb bath. And that’s right, I have no desire to know what exactly white sauce is. Maybe they thought they could distract me with the cheese. Well, it would take a whole lot more than two measly tablespoons of cheese to make me try this dish.

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I was going to skip a blog post this week, because I’m in mourning that the Wheelmobile passed me by last night on the way to my Dad’s place. It was heading south on Hwy 5 and we were heading north. Apparently my Dad said they were in a town about 40 minutes away last week or so for contestant auditions. And I didn’t know it. Because he didn’t know how much I want to be on that show. I kick a*s on that show — at least from the comfort of my own living room. And now I don’t know where they’re headed because you can’t find any information about the Wheelmobile’s next destination. At least I can’t. So my dream to be on Wheel of Fortune and win the million dollars is on hold again. Sigh.

But then I found some inspiration. Today I asked my Dad, “Hey, what’s fun to do in Coos Bay?” And he laughed. I guess not much. But Jay pulled up the local paper on his phone and discovered there were “zombies” invading the Coos Bay area today. And the article encouraged people to dress up as zombies or as zombie fighters and come on down to the city center for some fun. And the article encouraged the zombie fighters to bring weapons, well, toy weapons. Imagine an innocent Oregonian traveling through deserted downtown Coos Bay and spotting a few zombies limping along. A lot of Oregonians around here have gun racks in their trucks. Hence the title of this post.

I had to see this. Jay told me just to watch it unfold on the news tonight, but I don’t watch the news. We headed down there, and it turns out there was an actual Zombie Festival with a band and vendors and everything. These people love themselves some zombies:

And zombie-related appetizers:

I must admit, I do love a good finger food:

Ah…a zombie scooby snack:

I think I recognize this guy from the original “Night of the Living Dead”:

Here’s Papa Don at the Papa’s Doggs vendor, unknowingly being stalked by a zombie:

Fortunately, he survived. Which is more than I can say for me. I just found out Phyllis is making Porcupine Balls for dinner. I don’t make this stuff up, folks.

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