Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's almost here!

Click here for a message from me, while I finish preparations for tomorrow night

Thanks to Hootin' Anni for the original link and message! If you haven't been over there, or to PEA'S Corner yet, you should take the time to check their blogs out. They are really celebrating Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween Love Story

When I was young, I sang in our church's youth choir, and as was the case with most youth choirs, there weren't enough guys. Our choir director was still attending the University, so he recruited a friend to come and help out. This friend was a part-time choir director at his own church, though he was only 18. I was 14. This was my J-man, and I had a BAD case of puppy love.

Every girl in the choir wanted to date the J-man. He was cute, with blue eyes and dimples, outgoing, and a very nice person, to boot. So he dated them. Well, not ALL of them. He didn't date ME. But then, I was a nerd, a dork, a kid. So he became the big brother I never had. Between girlfriends, he'd come over and go fishing with us, eat supper at the table with us, take my little brother swimming, etc. I met two of his cousins, Steve and Bill, one my age and one a year younger than me. Steve and I became best buds, but I still had the ga-ga eyes for J-man.

The year I was 16, J-man planned Halloween "socials" for 3 different youth groups at 3 different churches. He needed a cast, and found it in Steve, Bill and me. Steve, who was big into acting and stagework, did all our make-up. J-man was the Vampire, I was (a blond) Vampira, Bill was the corpse, and Steve was the Wolfman. I remember it took HOURS for him to put all that hair on his hands and face. I can't remember our scripts, except there was a lot of hissing and teeth-baring among the subordinates. After the last night, we weren't ready to give it up, so we rode around in J-man's car, scaring other drivers, stopping in at a 7-11 where the lady squealed with delight and took our pictures, making the good times last.

For me, it was more than just a fun night. It was a chance to be on an almost equal standing with the guy I had a crush on, a time to be someone other than the dork I was, a chance to be a part of something that made people laugh and scream at the same time. It was magical.

Four years later, I married the J-man. Bill married a nurse, has 3 biological children, adopted a Down's syndrome daughter, and has a bunch of grandchildren. His oldest daughter, Amy, will be donating a kidney to a family member next Tues. Steve has been married and divorced at least twice, and lost his only child, a son just 18 months older than my DD, when the boy was about 23. These days, he does Santa. J-man and I, well, we have survived cross-country moves, a bankruptcy, a foreclosure, a failed adoption, a catastrophic illness, 36 years of marriage, and a beautiful, strong-willed, redheaded daughter. And we still love Halloween.

P.S. If you like ghost stories, head on over to Hootin' Anni's place

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just for Laughs

Since I'm busy on a 3-day stretch again, here's something to tickle your funny bones:

Airline Quips

Here are some conversations that the airline passengers don't hear. The
following are accounts of actual exchanges between Airline Pilots and
Control Towers around the world.


Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"

Delta 351: "Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"


"TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."

"Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"

"Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"


A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.

While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was
your last known position?"

Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."

From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm
f...ing bored!"

Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself

Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f... ing bored, not f... ing stupid!"


O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a
Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."

United 239: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this... I've got the
little Fokker in sight."


A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll
out after touching down. San Jose Tower Noted: "American 751, make a
hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are
not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the
lights and return to the airport."


There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing
because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked."

Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind
a B-52 that had one engine shut down.

"Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."


Taxiing down the tarmac, a DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and
returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.

A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What, exactly, was
the problem?"

"The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine," Explained
the flight attendant.

"It took us a while to find a new pilot."


A Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the

Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."

Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in
Germany. Why must I speak English?"

Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent):
"Because you lost the bloody war."


Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on
frequency 124.7"

Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way,
after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of
the runway."

Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff behind Eastern 702,
contact Departure on frequency 124.7. Did you copy that report from
Eastern 702?"

Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, roger; and yes,
we copied Eastern... we've already notified our caterers."


One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short
of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out,
turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.

Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said,
"What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a
real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours
and I'll have enough parts for another one."


The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a
short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking
location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it
was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the
following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British
Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: " Frankfurt , Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."

Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"

Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location

Ground (with quite arrogant impatience):

"Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"

Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, -- and I
didn't land."


While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight
departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose
with a United 727.

An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew,
screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going?! I told you to
turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right
there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C
and D, but get it right!"

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting
hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever
to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you

You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour and
I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I
tell you!

You got that, US Air 2771?"

"Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly
silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance
engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind.
Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running

Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone,
"Wasn't I married to you once?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Dream Come True

I think I may have mentioned before how I have wanted to go up in a hot air balloon for over 25 years. We even spent almost 20 years in Albuquerque, NM, the Hot Air Balloon Capital of the World, and I was never able to fly. J-man gave me a gift certificate Christmas of 2003 for a flight, and I really wanted to go up in autumn, but every fall, the weather and my schedule have thwarted each attempt.

This past Saturday was to be my latest attempt, and I was afraid to jinx it by saying too much about it, or writing it here. Since it was scheduled to be an early morning flight, we decided to drive up Fri. afternoon and spend the night in a motel. Two hours before leaving, my pilot called--the winds were too high and all flights were cancelled for Sat. My heart sank. She rescheduled me for Sunday afternoon, which was still iffy, but assured me that it's still warm enough down South here we should be able to have a few more weekends left to fly.

Since my daughter lives in a nearby area, we went on up Sun. so we could at least visit with her a few hours while the pilot kept us updated by phone. The morning flight went as scheduled, but the winds were picking up, and she didn't know if we'd be able to lift off that afternoon. Final plan was to meet at a nearby field at 4pm, where a test balloon was sent up to judge the winds--and TA-DAH!--we were on!

Does this basket look big enough to hold 4 tanks of propane and 5 people?

Then the balloon was unrolled, and 2 big fans set up. We held the rims of the balloon while the fans inflated it with cool air.

This is our pilot, walking inside the balloon to pull some of the folds out, while the fans inflate it.

Next, a burner is fired to warm up the air in the balloon, causing it to lift off the ground. At that point, we start climbing into the basket, while still tethered to the truck.

And we're off!

It was a gorgeous day for flying! Visibility was incredible--probably 50 miles, our pilot said.

Closeup of those trees:

Looking up into the balloon:

Every so often the pilot fires up the burner to keep the air warm enough to lift us higher:

And sometimes she lets us dip toward the treetops. I grabbed a leaf off the top of this tree:

More eye candy:

Touchdown in a pasture, and waiting for the crew to reach us:

Time to deflate, smush all the air out, and roll it up:

It's kind of like trying to get a blanket back into those zipped bags they came in.

Our pilot, Bonnie Clevenger:

Afterwards, we went back to the Visitor's Center and had champagne to celebrate first flights. Soon, Bonnie will send us passengers our "first flight" certificates.

I heart ballooning.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Halloween Swap Goodies

Look what I got from Rosemary! She got my name in PEA's Halloween Swap and indulged me in my Roswell Alien theme this year:

And the feet that go with the Alien head and hands:

Tandi didn't like looking at the feet:

She was interested in the ray guns, however:

I never would have thought about ray guns, but they add so much to the whole alien invasion idea. These light up and make a variety of sounds:

There are an additional set of fingers and pair of ears:

Can you see the yellow caution tape? And the bag of jelly beans? There's a green glowstick, too.

These itty bitty aliens are perfect for the table with the refreshments:

And Tandi gets to be the Security Dog! How perfect is this?

In addition to a sweet note, Rosemary also included these wonderful old quilt blocks:

They look to be 30's type fabrics, I think, with maybe some feedsacks in there. I didn't count them, but there's a large stack. They're very fragile, with an occasional cut in a couple of places on a few of the blocks, and some of them are smaller than the others. I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet--I'll have to cogitate awhile.

It felt like Christmas here today! Thanks so much, Rosemary! I'm so excited!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


We interrupt this regularly scheduled Halloween season to make a non-frightening announcement:

My daughter passed the bar exam! She's a real, live attorney now!

Of course, since she wants to do public defense work, she won't make much money, but that's not important to her (right now, anyway). She's out to make a difference in the world.

She made a difference in our world a long time ago.

We love you, Sunshine!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The party is getting larger every day. I think we "grown-ups" love Halloween as much as or more than the kidlets, judging by the faraway look I see when I tell my friends they'll have to dress up!

So far, here's the menu:
Day Old Bathwater Punch served in a clean, unused bath basin from work
kitty litter cake (tastes good if you can bring yourself to eat it!) And it really is served in a litter box with a scoop!

monster toes with the recipe here (something to break up the sweets)

eerie eyeballs (haven't found any ice trays or something similar, so might have to buy a melon scooper. I'm going to check out a kitchen specialty shop first.)

and the highlight of the feast: alien autopsy . I ordered the mold and it came in a couple of days ago. It's a bit smaller than it looks, so I might have to make 2 aliens. But isn't that creepy-looking?

Some friends have offered to bring something, maybe other drinks or chips and dip, so the squeamish should have something they can eat, bless their little stomachs!

If it's chilly, I'll also have a crockpot of hot mulled cider
going for the parents of my little ghostly visitors.

Have you tried any simple, but gross-looking recipes you think I need to add?
I'll keep you updated with photos as it all starts coming together.

Only 2 weeks from tomorrow!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halloween countdown

Less than 3 weeks to go--starting to get a little antsy here. Not anxious yet, but a bit overwhelmed with all I still need to do. I have lists upon lists, and then I think of something else I want to do, and the lists get rewritten. I was up until after 2 am last night, pulling my bins out, fluffing fabrics and masks in the dryer (no heat, just a fabric softener sheet for the masks) rediscovering what I have and trying to decide where to put it or if it's worth keeping. Then I couldn't turn my head off until after 4am.

Seems we're having a party now. With all the brainstorming on the scenarios, how to build a decontamination tunnel, etc., I think some of my co-workers feel just a bit invested in our plans and want to come see. Some are bringing their kids to go trick-or-treating; with a police officer, a deputy sheriff, an EMT, and the chief of police all living in my neighborhood, you couldn't find a much safer neighborhood to walk around in!

So now I'm seeing my house with different eyes. I've always had more outdoor Halloween decorations than indoor (the reverse is true at Christmas), and all of a sudden, it doesn't look so scary inside. There's a bat in the guest shower:

There are bats by my bedroom door, and outside my dining room window, and spiders on the curtains:

A jack-o-lantern and ghost tree in my kitchen:

On the other hand, this is scary:

Did I mention Tandi is still not quite housebroken?

Time to call the carpet cleaner again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Amuse yourselves

It's been another busy stretch at work, so here are a few Halloween sites for you to peruse until I get my brains back:

http://www.deadname.com (my goth name is Liquid Fantasy!)


http://www.dltk-holidays.com/halloween/mpatterns.htm (cute pumpkin patterns)

http://www.extremepumpkins.com/ (VERY extreme carvings--not for the easily offended)

http://www.mpr933.com/russlock/cat.swf (funky game!)



http://try.screensavers.com/tb/landing/screensavers/screensavers_halloween_or.php (check out the "trapped" screensaver)


Snatch you later!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Anniversary Trip

(Scroll down for today's Show and Tell--I couldn't figure out how to move this post down under it!)
Last week was our 36th wedding anniversary, but as I think I mentioned, it was buried in a work stretch and both of us almost forgot it. Not that we take it for granted, but it was just one of those weeks.

BUT, I had planned a short trip for us this year. Last year we made our first trip to Myrtle Beach, SC and stayed several days. It was a great time of the year to go--cool and not crowded at all. We did some of the touristy things, and one day just lazed around the hotel room and enjoyed the sea breezes. Right afterwards, we bought ourselves the digital camera, because we realized how much we would have enjoyed one down there.

J-man has attention deficit disorder and short-term memory problems since the stroke, so if we want to do anything special, it's up to me to plan it. He's more of a spontaneous "let's go do this" kind of guy. (We really do balance each other out pretty well.) So this year, I made reservations for us on the Mystery Dinner Theater train ride out of Dillsboro, NC. He'd mentioned several times over the last couple of years that we should check this out, but as we haven't even talked about it this year, was totally surprised. And it's hard to surpise J-man! I was pleased.

Traffic was terrible getting past Asheville, and we almost missed the wine and cheese reception. The refreshments were inside, but everyone mingled around this lovely display outside:

It had been raining, and was still overcast, but it stopped before we all had to be outside. Apparently last night was the only day this month that wasn't booked solid, and that's probably because it was a Thurs. night instead of the weekend nights it usually runs.

I wish I'd remembered to take photos of the beautiful presentations of food, and the actors, but was so caught up in the experience, I never gave it a second thought. Our host, Rusty, was the poster child for agility, being tall and long-legged, and able to maneuver past servers and passengers with a tray of glasses held high over everyone's heads. The actors were fun, carrying on their conversations across each car. I'd wondered how you could do a play on a train, and now I know.

In our car were another couple celebrating an anniversary, and newlyweds of 11 days, as well as 12-14 others. I think only one table actually solved the murder, and that wasn't us, but it was fun talking back and forth trying to decide. If you ever come down this way, you should really check out all their different excursions. We will definitely do this again!

Show and Tell Friday

It's that time again! Kelly is hosting a weekly Show and Tell. Click on over to her place and get an eyeful!

Guess what came in my mail yesterday? My quiltlet from Cypress! We participated in the Fall edition of 4 Seasons Quilt Swap and she drew my name. Isn't this beautiful?

I don't know if you can see the decorative stitches along the seams of the crazy quilting, but they are wonderful! And there are the most adorable buttons on either side:

Both sides are so lovely, I really can't tell which is the front and which is the back:

It is surrounded by rickrack (how'd she get that to stay in place as she stitched it?) and the quilting rows are so EVEN! Her label is held on by another button:

Cypress, thank you so much! I love it! One of my goals is to put together a crazy quilt someday, but it never occurred to me to do it on a smaller scale. Now I have one for inspiration.

If anyone would like to participate for the winter season, make a note of the URL through the logo on the left, and watch for Margaret to announce the beginning of the next swap. You can sign up for any of the seasons, and if one is all you can do, that's fine, too. It is so much fun!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Excuse me, but did you see a couple of offdays go by?

Sheesh! What a week! Full moon madness was rampant in our little hospital. Usually it's quiet enough between about 2 and 4 am that I can catch up on email and my favorite blogs. Not so this week. And Thurs. night's shift stretched from 12 hours to 15 hours. I left at 9:30 in the morning, and wasn't good for much the remainder of the day. Somewhere in there the J-man and I had our 36th anniversary, but we won't actually celebrate it until later this week.

I think I've mentioned Tandi, my little rescue cocker spaniel, who remains UN-housebroken? Sweet as candy, but very obsessive-compulsive and not the brightest crayon in the box. Anyway, I'd noticed when I cleaned up after her on the kitchen floor, it was brighter than the rest of the floor. It finally dawned on me the ammonia in her urine was cutting through layers of wax buildup on my floor. So Saturday I used almost half a bottle of ammonia stripping the floor. I hope not to do THAT for another couple of years! I had windows open, the overhead fan going, and still the fumes were dense at times. And, since I couldn't stand how the dirt was collecting by the baseboards, I sat in the floor and scrubbed with a sponge and a toothbrush all around the kitchen. Well, except for under and behind the fridge and the Hoosier and the vegetable bin. Then did a mop and shine product on the top. The floor looks great now, and I'm not stressing over it anymore, but that shot the better part of an afternoon. Got 4 loads of laundry done, to boot.

Today was spent finishing my quilt for the 4 Seasons Quilt Swap. I know, I was supposed to have it mailed by today, but I was so wiped out Friday, I couldn't be trusted with sharp objects or heavy machinery, and our post office is not open on Saturday. So it will go out in tomorrow's mail. There are 3 more seasons to go, and we're not obligated to sign up for all of them if we don't want to. I've seen some gorgeous photos; there are some really talented participants. This is my first swap, and I hope my recipient likes the little wallhanging.

See what you think:

And here's the label:

I downloaded the free pattern off the internet, and liked it so much, I'm making a similar one for the wonderful neighbor who brings his riding mower over every other week, and won't take more than $10.00 for cutting my rather large lawn. He and his wife are so nice.

After all this, I needed a break--and had just the place to take it!
Two weeks ago, a fellow quilter posted an offer of a hammock on Freecycle. I just happened to log on there within a few minutes of her posting and sent her an email stating I wanted it if she hadn't promised it out, yet. She hadn't, so I was able to drive right over and get it. I couldn't believe it was in such wonderful condition!

I used to love lying out in DD's hammock, the one we got her for Christmas several years back, and took many a nap in it. I've really missed having that around.

So I took a break from sewing, and put it mostly together today. I say mostly, because it has a canopy, but I couldn't pull it taut enough to attach it to both posts. No matter--the trees are still leafy and shady for a while, and then it'll be too cold to lie out anyway.

It was the perfect afternoon for spending some time out in the hammock--not too cool yet, but not hot anymore, and it was so peaceful...

...Well, except for the miffed little squirrel who was pelting me with nuts.

I just might need that canopy after all.