Monday, October 31, 2011


It's that whole 'i before e' rule that has me stumped.

Poltergeist doesn't look like it's spelled right.

But poltergiest doesn't look right either.

So I'm having trouble telling you this frightening tale of paranormal activity.

But I'll try.

Because it's Halloween.

And because I'm cool like that.

I'd never let a little thing like bad grammar or spelling keep me from telling you a story.




I'm not one of those anal retentive people that need to have everything in perfect order at all times.

You know?


Can you wait a second?

There's two pencils in my pencil cup with the eraser facing down and I. Must. Fix. That. Immediately.


That's better.

Where was I?

Oh. Yeah. Polter-something and not being anal retentive.


Every year I put my astonishing Halloween display of plastic pumpkins out on my front sidewalk.

One pumpkin on the right and left of each step. One pumpkin in front of each light. Two pumpkins on each side of the door, etc. etc.


Okay. I guess maybe I am a bit anal retentive.

But only about plastic Halloween pumpkins. And pencils put into the pencil cup the wrong way.


This year almost every single day my pumpkins ended up in disarray.

At first I thought it was the wind.

Then I thought it was Mr. Jenny trying to play cruel games with my emotional health. (don't look so surprised...he does that sometimes when he's totally bored...)

And then I thought it was Oskar the weiner dog knocking things over and looking for food.

And every time I would go out and find the pumpkins all strewn about, I'd take a few minutes and put them back where they were supposed to go. You know. In the proper order for plastic pumpkin arrangement. (NOT! Very anal there!)

Okay. Now this is the scary part so make sure all the lights are turned on in the room where you're reading this.

I found out it wasn't the wind OR Mr. Jenny OR Oskar the weiner dog.

But I didn't know what was causing the weird, pumpkin disturbance almost every single day.

I was frightened.

I became unable to sleep.

I tried calling the Ghost Buster guys but apparently Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd don't do that stuff anymore.

Things were looking bleak.

Until last Friday.

Friday morning was lovely and cool and Mr. Jenny opened the front door to let the cool breeze in.

While I was working in my office, I heard a woman's voice saying, "Come back! Come back! You aren't going in their yard again!"

Then I heard a little kids voice laughing in glee.

Then I looked outside and saw our next door neighbor's toddler re-arranging the pumpkins with great gusto.

I grabbed the camera...knowing it would be a perfect picture to share with you and I ran to the front door.

I scared the little kid to death!

He threw the pumpkin he was moving up into the air!

His mouth made a perfect little "O" and then his lower lip started to tremble.

I clicked the button on the camera and the battery was dead.


He ran across the yard to his Mom, crying.

I looked over at her and waved and said, "Awww, isn't that cute that he likes to do that?"


I think he got in trouble because my pumpkins have remained perfectly arranged ever since.

And it makes me sad.

Because not only do I have no Polter-WHAT?, I made a little kid cry.

So I put out a little piece offering for him on the wall between our houses.


The next morning the pumpkins were gone!

Gone, I tell ya.

Like maybe there really is a Polter-WHAT? wandering around who absconded with the peace offering pumpkins.


You never know what kind of creepy stuff can happen on Halloween. Especially if you have a polter-WHAT?, poltergiest...poltergei...

TODDLER running rampant through the neighborhood.




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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sundays with Steve - A Halloween Story

These Sunday's segments are written by my husband, Mr. Jenny. Here's what he has to say about his posts:

I’ve been writing these weekly stories about life in Northern Idaho, as a youngster and as growing into a young man, primarily for our family. And I'm delighted to share them with you. Just between us, I’m anticipating being cranky when some whipper-snapper who may not even be born yet harasses me in 30 years or so with 'Grandpa, tell me about when you were a boy.' That will probably be after the mad cow disease has set in and erased whatever memory is left. So these are the not-so-dramatic adventures of a Baby Boomer in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

A Halloween Story

On occasion the grandlittles ask for a story, usually when driving them home after they spend the day with their favorite babysitter, Mrs. Steve. Last week they asked for a scary Halloween story. I told them this one, adding a bit of detail to this written version.

Dr. Reed and his wife Rebecca had built the mansion in 1919 on timber lands his father had purchased from the railroad 50 years before, a time when the region was empty of people. It was the occasional summer hunting grounds for a small nomadic tribe of Indians, and it also gave up a harvest of camas root each year. There was virtually no civilization in the region, it was an empty quarter on the West side of the Rocky Mountains, devoid of people, but rich in timber and minerals. The nearest railroad was in Spokane, a two- day wagon ride to the South.

The Reeds built the mansion as their wedding present to each other, he over-seeing the two year construction of the structure, and she securing the furnishings and decorations from the finest stores of the East.

Dr. Reed -- Eugene to just a few people -- and Rebecca had met when he was in medical school at Harvard, and she was studying at the exclusive women’s Smith College. The heart attack and death of his father brought him back to the West, and forced him to take over the family tree harvesting business and mining operations. He never did practice medicine, which he always regretted, but he did insist on the title “doctor” be used by all when addressing him. Rebecca viewed the move West as an adventure, she had never been further than Rochester, and for her, it was.

The mansion was of a grand European style, 40 rooms on three floors plus a basement, with each room having one or two fireplaces to warm its massive interior during the cold Northern winters. It still stands today, a monument to a gilded age long past.

Their three daughters sometimes visit the site of their parents’ death, sometimes bringing their own daughters, and now their granddaughters, to the mansion that over-looks Lake Reed, named after their parents. The exterior of the mansion is all stone, excavated just a few miles away and dragged by mule and the army of workers who spent the years building the place. The massive roof is held up by beams hued from large cedars, and still rot resistant today although the winter rains do seep into the top floors now, contributing to the gradual crumbling of that edifice.

Julia remembers the night well, and still shudders in her memories, her two sisters equally haunted by that night long, long ago when they were but girls.

It was Halloween, 1933, an early winter storm has coated the surrounding pine forest in a light snow, giving the girls a promise of the coming holidays when Dr. Reed’s mother and his brother and family would arrive for an extended stay, bringing the girl’s numerous cousins. The snow was not deep this early, but enough to cover the pine boughs and bring down the reminding golden leaves in the forest. Fall had been short that year, Indian summer had lasted until just a few weeks before that first winter storm.

Dr. Reed had sold timber on the thousands of acres surrounding the mansion, and was easily able to afford the help to keep the mansion running: The men who tended the grounds through the summer, who laid in the abundant fire wood supply for the winter months, and who kept the mansion in fresh wild game and vegetables from the gardens. Then there were the maids who kept the mansion running, the cooks, the upstairs maids, the laundress, the nanny’s, and the girl’s live-in teacher, Mrs. Scoggins.

That late afternoon James, the horse barn steward, gathered the girls for their traditional Halloween ride to the neighbors, and a bit of trick-or-treating. There weren’t many neighbors, the closest about two miles away, and tonight they would take the sleigh for the first time of the winter, pulled by the old mare.

Julia dressed herself as a scary witch, her sister Riley as a circus clown, and young Morgan, of course, as a princess. The girls spent most of the day dressing and putting on make-up, so by late in the afternoon, as the early winter sky started to darken, they were ready to delight the neighbors and hopefully, delight themselves with a reward of candy.

The mansion itself would not receive any trick-or-treaters that night, it was too isolated and distant from any neighborhood children, and in the depths of the great depression, there were not many people living in these lands far from any town or city.

The maids did have all 60 fireplaces roaring that afternoon, warming the building against the winter winds. The mansion was brightly light and decorated with fall colors, a pot of chili was simmering slowly on the stove, and the promise of hot chocolate was waiting for the girls return. Spirits were high among the staff, and the girl’s parents were happy to see them decked-out in their costumes. The maids made a big fuss over them, to the delight of the witch, the clown, and the princess. The parents would not be going trick-or-treating with them, but they were anxious to help them sort their candies when they returned in just an hour or so. They fed the girls a quick bowl of chili to hold them over – the girls really didn’t want to eat, they were much more anxious about the expected candy.

James helped the girls into the sleigh that he had brought around to the kitchen door, and with a “hi-ho”, they were off on an evening they would never forget.

Two hours later, the girls and the steward returned to the mansion, well sated with candy extorted from ten different houses. They were chilled, in a good way, from the brisk cold wind blowing on their faces in the back of the sleigh. James brought the old mare and sleigh to a halt at the back kitchen door, and the girls piled out, running into the kitchen to show off their collection to the cook, the maids, and to their mother.

The kitchen was empty. “Hello, hello!” they called out, but there was no answer. “Hello, hello, where is everybody?” There should have been two or three people in the kitchen, but there was no one. The pot of chili was still steaming on the stove.

“Hello, mother, hello? Father?” There was no answer. “Hello, hello!” Nothing. The girls ran to the dining room, then to the parlor, then to the library where Father always spent his evenings reviewing the books of the company. There was no one.

“Hello, hello, is anyone here?” There was no answer.

“Riley,” Julia said, “what’s going on?” “I don’t know,” her sister answered, “but look, all the fireplaces are stoked, someone must have put wood in all of them just a few minutes ago. This is weird.”

“This is more than weird,” said Julia, “they must be playing a trick on us.”

“I’m scared,” cried the princess Morgan. “It’s ok,” said Riley, “we’ll find them,” as she tried to sooth her younger sister.

The girls were convinced that their parents and the mansion staff were hiding from them, but the silence of the building was disheartening, and all they could hear was the winter wind outside, and the crackling of the wood in the fireplaces in each room.

“Riley, let’s go upstairs, “said Julia. “James, James, would you come with us?” James was not there. “James,” Julia cried out, “where are you?” There was no one there. “Wasn’t he just with us,” asked Julia, “Wasn’t he with us in the kitchen?”

“I don’t know,” said Riley. “I’m not sure he came inside with us.”

“I’m scared,” cried Morgan.

The girls ran down the long hallway back to the massive kitchen. It was empty. “James, James, where are you?” He wasn’t there. They ran through the back door, the sleigh and mare where standing there in the falling snow, but James had disappeared.

The girls began to panic, running back into the kitchen and into the mansion’s grand hall-way.

“What was that!?” Julia cried, the goose bumps rising on her arm, and not from being cold. “What,” said Riley, “I don’t’ hear anything.” A sound traveled through the mansion, it could have been the wind outside that was now blowing fiercely. It was a howl, high pitched, loud, but not deafening. “I hear it now” said Riley, “what is that?”

The mansion turned cold, although all of the fireplaces were blazing. The girls turned colder. “Let’s go upstairs, altogether” said Julia, still in her witch costumer. The three girls slowly climbed the grand staircase, one of three in the mansion rising to the second floor. The howling of the wind grew. “Hello, hello!” They kept crying, but no one answered them.

“I’m scared!” said Morgan, “Yes,” said Julia, “I maybe a little scared too.”

They got to the second floor, and found nothing. “Search all of the bedrooms,” cried Julia. “No!” said Morgan, “I’m not going alone.”

“OK, baby,” said her older sister, not really meaning it.

The three girls then ran room- to- room, all eight bedrooms, and covered the entire floor in just minutes. There was no one there. The fires were all burning brightly, and putting out a lot of heat.

The night grew darker, the winter storm building on the outside of the mansion.

“Hello, hello, where is everybody?” they cried. “This isn’t funny anymore, please come out!”

There was nothing. There was no one home.

The girls crept up to the third floor, where the maid’s rooms were, and the girls’ large playroom.
“Hello, hello!, where is everyone?”

There was no one. “How can this be,” asked Riley? “Where are they? Julia, I’m afraid too!”

“Wait, listen,” cried the witch, “Do you hear that?” What, said her sisters, what?

“Listen.” The girls heard it, a clunking noise, right below them, downstairs. “Quick! Let’s go down there.” They ran to the second floor, yelling for their parents, yelling for the maids, yelling for James the steward, yelling for anyone.

“In here,” said Julia, entering their parents’ bed chamber. They ran in, but the room was empty. No one was there. Morgan was crying, Riley was trying to calm her, but Riley was having a hard time too, keeping her fear down.

“Downstairs, quick,” cried the oldest sister, “I think they are in the library.” They ran to the bottom floor, and searched the library, then the kitchen once again. There was nothing.

They were standing in the kitchen, crying, when all three girls felt it, as if someone passed through the room, a rush of air pushing at them, the door to the outside slamming open, and the temperature of the room dropping by 40 degrees in an instant.

They were stunned. They screamed. They ran from the mansion as fast as they could get out of the kitchen door, not knowing what to expect next.

“And we never saw them again,” said Julia, 65 years later, “We never found out what happened to my parents, your great grandparents, or the ten people who were in the house that night. There was never a clue.”

They were sitting around a camp fire on the shore of Lake Reed, watching the evening fall, roasting a marshmallow, Julia and her three granddaughters.

“ I hear from them on occasion, I think, when I’m out here in the evening. I can look up at the old mansion over there , and I sometimes hear that clunk, and I sometimes feel that cold wind, and I sometimes hear that howling I heard so well that night. If I stay up late enough, I can sometimes see a dim light making its way through the hallways. I’m sure it is my mother still looking for us.

“Oh, look now, girls, look now.”

(c) 2010 Stephen J. MatlockThis publication is the exclusive property of Stephen J. Matlock and is protectedunder the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Stephen J. Matlock. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Centus - Micro-mini

Jenny Matlock

Welcome to week seventy-eight of Saturday Centus.


Back about 100 years ago when I was in high school we wore something called a micro-mini. It was a skirt so short that it generally involved wearing hot pants underneath because without the hot-pants people could pretty much see... well... darned near everything.

I was especially traumatized as a teenager because my Grandmother persisted in sewing ruffles onto the bottom of my skirts to make them longer...

Which I, of course, would remove with a seam-ripper on the way to school.

Ahhhh...the sweet memories of troubled teen years.

But I digress.

In honor of those years...

...and because it's close to Halloween...

...and knowing not everybody digs Halloween...or even celebrates Halloween...

I thought I would give you a little 'trick' anyway.

Because I'm cool like that.

And because about 100 years ago I wore micro-mini skirts really, really well.

This week we're doing a picture prompt.

Now I know you're gonna look at this picture and think it didn't load correctly.

It did.

This is really the picture.

And don't roll your eyes at me, Missy.

WORD COUNT - Not to exceed 25 words. Yes, that is correct. 2. 5. Twenty-five. XXV.

The regular restrictions apply: PG, no splitting of the prompt, play nicely and visit the other entries, any style or genre of writing you prefer.

Please display my link button or just a hyper-link back to Saturday Centus. Be careful to link your SC URL to the Linky and not just link to your main blog.

E-mail me directly with ???'s or ask your question in a comment and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Good luck!

Oh, and yeah. I love you, too!

mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, my pretty!

Feel free to link up anytime between now and next Saturday!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

In late spring the box would arrive.

Its small size would give no indication of what was inside. It held a potential rainbow of autumn colored blossoms and school clothes for my three small children.

Inside the thick, protective cardboard was my yearly order for mum slips. Tiny little sprigs of plants that held the promise of apricot bronze, crimson red, and harvest gold blossoms. In the dark days of late winter I would have pored over the catalogs for hours. I never knew how I managed to place an order for only 200 tiny plants from the romantic selection of offerings with names like Autumn Fire, Yellow Moon, Burnt Copper and Rosy Glow. The agony of these decisions resulted in page after page of crossed out or exclamation-pointed candidates. Finally, finally I would narrow the list down until the 20 ultimate choices were made. 10 slips of 20 varieties. 200 plants. Into the mail the order would go and while I waited I would harvest tiny, tender offerings of asparagus and peas and lettuce and watch the buds start to swell on the apple trees. The loamy black soil in the large gardens would be plowed and rototilled.

And I would wait.

Until finally the box would arrive. I would drag it up onto the warmth of the covered porch and cut it open carefully and anxiously. Tenderly I would touch the little shoots that would become school clothes and shoes and new winter coats and mittens.

The smell of dirt and promise and the fragrance of chrysanthemum would fill the small porch and I would anxiously sort the small bundles of slips according to a pencilled planting grid I’d made based on height and diameter.

And then I would be ready to begin. The beat-up old wheelbarrow would be rescued from the tall weeds behind the garage. It held the box perfectly and I would wheel it to the smoke house where I stored my garden tools. Opening the door of that small stone structure would always surprise me with the fragrance of decades of cured bacon and ham. The tantalizing smell was always a distraction to the task at hand, but I did my best to ignore it. Kids were at school and the day didn’t hold enough time for a second breakfast break. Into an old metal bucket I would throw my favorite garden trowel, a yardstick from some defunct hardware store, and a scratchy ball of twine. A beat-up hammer, paint covered scissors and rough wooden stakes went into the bucket next joined finally by an old chipped white enamelware saucepan. Reluctantly I would close the smokehouse door and not allow myself to imagine the stories contained in the hand-hewn beams of the old building. Today was planting day. Daydreaming was not allowed.

The bucket would join the box in the wheelbarrow and in the gentle, late spring sunshine I would trundle my treasures down the hill to the little field where I planted my mums each year. On a small slope, surrounded by ancient lilac bushes on one side and gnarled apple trees on the other was where the real work would begin.

At the bottom of the small slope was a fresh-water spring. In planting and in drought, I carried buckets from that bubbling water source to my thirsty plants. When I became tired from the carrying, I drank my fill from the blue and white speckled metal mug always left hanging on a stubby branch of one of the apple trees. The water was so clear and pure it took my breath away.

Dumping out my little pile of tools onto the tender emerald grass, I would grab the now empty bucket and fill it at the spring. The water was so cold that the splash of it on my jeans and tennis shoes always made me gasp. The heavy bucket would be placed at the edge of the carefully worked garden.

Next, I would hammer splintery wooden stakes into the end of each row…forty stakes...twenty rows…each measured out on the yardstick. The stakes would sink easily into the cultivated soil. The ball of twine would arc through the air as I threw it from stake to stake. Tie, tighten, cut, toss. Tie, tighten, cut, toss. Finally the little mum field would be finished...stripes of twine marking out little territories for each variety of plant.

I would scrounge the crumbled up planting diagram from my pocket and anchor it to the grass with a rock. My penciled marks would be a bit smudged and hard to decipher, but finally I would triumpantly translate them. Reading the small white tags on each bundle of tiny sprouts, I would finally have them sorted and placed at the end of each row. My hands would scoop a bit of soft soil over the roots to keep them from drying out, and then I would begin digging the holes. When the tenth hole was dug in each row, I would fill the little chipped up saucepan from the larger bucket of water and then pour water into each indentation.

When the water finally drained away, I would pour more water in and wait for it to dissipate a second time. My Grandmother taught me to plant like this, and to this day I always follow her careful instructions.

Finally, all the little mum slips would be planted in the damp holes with the dirt gently gathered and tamped around each small stem. Plant, gather, tamp…plant, gather, tamp. When the row was completely done, each plant would receive another drink poured gently over the soil.

The afternoon would slip away... hauling water, digging holes, planting and tamping. Back muscles would grow sore, jeans would become wet and muddy until finally, finally the 200th mum was planted.

I would staighten up wearily to admire my little newly planted field.

I knew that a summer of weeding and mulching, pinching buds and carrying water stretched ahead of me.

I recognized quite clearly that an autumn of digging and potting and hanging my little hand-lettered sign at the end of the driveway – Mums for Sale – was still to come. And beyond that, taking all the hard earned money to replace clothes worn out and outgrown and to fill the very long list of needed school supplies.

But for that day, looking at my handiwork, I was content.

Sometimes the world today does not feel nearly as content to me.

Things often seem very difficult for so many. My heart hurts to see families struggle to feed and clothe their children…people fight to keep a roof over their head and to hang onto hope as they lose their jobs and their sense of security.

How lucky I was to raise my children in a time and place when planting mums was the answer to some of my financial prayers.

How fortunate I was that the glowing gifts of autumn’s bounty helped me to provide for my children.

I don’t know if there is still a place in the world today for little hand lettered signs with ‘Mums for Sale’ written on them.

I hope there is.

Truly. Wish. Upon. An. Autumn. Star. Hope.

And if my wish comes true and I see one, I will stop and rejoice. And buy a trunkful of glowing chrysanthemums.

And I will send one to you so you can feel the hope, too.

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How To Plant a Story Seed

This little poem is linked to week 77 of Saturday Centus. The prompt is in bold. To read other little stories, just click here.

I clasped my hands loosely
Ah loosely…just so
It’s so hard not to clench them too tight
And I shut my eyes closely
Ah closely…just so
It’s so hard to not reach toward the light
In the quiet of this moment
In the quiet of the dark
I saved all the moments
I was sure to forget
I saved all the words
Even ones not said yet
I waited and waited until words outweighed need
Then I planted a little story seed
Will it grow?
I don’t know.
But I clasp my hands loosely
Ah loosely…just so.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

'Twas a Few Days Before Halloween...

and all through the house...
Things were in readiness, even the mouse...

The pumpkins were lined by the front door with care
In hopes that Trick or Treaters soon would be there ...

Wrinkled witches hands reached sneaky and slow
To grab some of the treats piled up and ready to go...

Scary pumpkin heads watched with diabolical glee
for the first sign of children....ready to flee...

And Pa in his witch hat...

And me with nails painted black...

Had just settled down for TV and a snack...

When what to did appear before our wondering eyes,
But a weiner dog dressed, in a Halloween disguise.

Oh he begged with his eyes and he howled most forlorn,
For Kit-kats, for Dots, for M&M's and candy corn.

To his great disgust we had to refuse
and when he turned around we saw he had a broom!!!!

And showing his fangs he gave us such fright...
when he barked out these words "It's almost Halloween night...

protect all the candy because I'm coming back"
And off he flew on his broom without getting a snack!

We went back in the house and were feeling quite wary.
Because it was almost Halloween and a hungry weiner dog is scary...

...and what we saw by his food dish gave us another great fright...
Ooooooh....there's nothing as scary on an almost Halloween night.

Hey....don't hate me because I'm poetic.




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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday's Fall Break and Giveaway - UPDATED WITH WINNER!

Happy Saturday. The winner this week is:

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 56
Result: 42

Link 42 is Karen S.

Congratulations Karen. I'm e-mailing you now for your address. Your prize will go out in Monday's mail!

Good morning class.

Welcome to Week 2 of Fall break for round three of Alphabe-Thursday! Congratulations to Beth for winning last weeks giveaway.

Remember that round four of Alphabe-Thursday will not start until November 2! We will be starting at the letter A.

For this week our Fall break theme is Anything Autumn. Your post can be about anything related to Autumn in your own life... Halloween, pictures, stories, recipes...whatever strikes your fancy.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me or leave them in a comment.


The prize for this week will be a box of Autumn. I'm not totally done with it yet, but at this time it includes some maple leaf cookies from Trader Joes (although it's pretty darn hard resisting eating these) and a few other fall goodies.

Winner will selected from all the Anything Autumn links on Saturday, October 29. Winner will be selected by Random Org and notified by e-mail as well as an update at the top of THIS post.

And now...back to the normal A-T 'fine print'!

Please link directly to your Alphabe-Thursday URL (if you don't know how to do this let me know!) and please continue to visit the five links before and after your link and leave a comment. Minimum of 10 links visited please. You can visit more if you like, of course, and please try very hard to visit the blogs that visit you for this meme.

I also want to let you know that each week I visit every blog. If it appears I haven't visited your blog by the following Wednesday evening, please let me know!

If you have any difficulties with your link, please make sure to include the number of the link when you e-mail me. It is really difficult for me to find your link otherwise. And, if you see any broken links, please let me know that as well.

If you have any questions about Alphabe-Thursday or problems doing your link just post it in a comment or send me an e-mail. I'll do my best to help you as quickly as I can.

The McLinkey will be live from 1:00 pm MST time Wednesday afternoon in an effort to assist our lovely "friends across the pond" and continue through 10:00 am MST time Friday morning!

And remember.... link back to this post, you need to be registered as a follower of my blog, PG posts only, and you must visit at least 10 other posts...perhaps consider starting from the last posts and work backwards. The links will stay live after the final post deadline has passed so you can even wait and visit over the weekend or whenever you have more time.

Please link your Anything Autumn post now!

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We put our hearts on the table...

We laughed...

We teared up...

We talked...

It was comfortable and warm and it felt like friends gathered together...

No matter that the friends had not met face to face before...

...No matter that the friendships had been started and nurtured through Blogland.

We put our hearts on the table...

And it was grand.

Left to right... Ames (Girl Raised in the South), Me, Judie (Rogue Artist)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not Story-Time Tuesday BUT...

The other night I was getting ready for bed and Pearl shouted at me.

She told me, finally, what she wanted to say next.

I was relieved because I kept thinking Chapter 49 was actually the last Chapter of Writing Fiction.

And I was also relieved after I got over the whole 'a-fictional-character-is-yelling-at-me' creeped-out part that nobody with a cattle prod and a big hypodermic full of tranquilizers came to haul me away.

So yeah.

I wrote some on Chapter 50 on Monday, but I was pretty busy trying to check things off my list so I could attend a little blog meet-up on Tuesday in Tucson.

Busy, busy, busy.

But even with all the busy, I didn't actually accomplish anything on my list.

The guy at the plastic surgery consultation was a bust. APPARENTLY you can't actually go in the day before an event to get 15 years (and eye sagging removed). Who knew? Geez.

And the nice technician at the lipo place also had bad news. APPARENTLY you can't have 50 pounds surgically removed in 2 hours. Again, who knew?


APPARENTLY clothing stores no longer sell the amazing illusion girdle that makes you look like you're 5 sizes smaller than you actually are.

APPARENTLY clothing stores realized that women dying from being unable to inhale was a bad thing.

Like that really matters.


But, what the heck.

I'm gonna be brave and go anyway.

I figure if they don't recognize me or are shocked at my haggard and chunky appearance, I can always resort to sitting in my car and texting them 'sighs', 'so's..." and '...'s'.

It's good to have a contingency plan, don'tcha think?

I'll let you know how it goes. Unless it goes really, really bad and then I'll slink away into the night to comfort myself with something pumpkin-y and brown-sugar-y and will never be heard from again.


Talk about setting myself up for snarky remarks.

But you guys would never make a snarky remark to me. You're too sweet for that.

And I know that for a fact.


You really helped me clear my head and make a decision on the dark writing from "Dark Side of the Stars".

I love you for that, man!

Don't worry.

It's not love in a stalking, scary, 20/20 sort of way...

It's love in a 'thank you for listening and helping me to make a decision' sort of way.

My decisions is...

Dark needs to stay dark.

Maybe on a seperate blog. Maybe not on a blog at all.

We all have dark.

Different dark and levels of black.


I shall continue to make it my mission to bore you, cause you to spit out your coffee once in awhile, get all deep-thoughts on you occasionally, and to confuse you and sometimes amuse you.



That's what kind of a blogger I am.

I gotta go. Pearl is yammering away ... and you all know what a blabbermouth she is!!!


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Monday, October 24, 2011

You know you're watching too much TV when... find yourself worrying about Martha Stewart.


I've been laid up a bit with flu again. After putting myself into a healing coma in front of the TV, I was sucked into a scinillating piece of drama about Martha Stewart's daughter, Alexis, writing a "Mommy Dearest" book.

Martha says it is hilarious. The pictures of her fake smiles make me sad. And I'm a bit concerned.

I'm not a Martha groupie.

But I wanted to throw the remote at the snarky, smug face of the daughter.



You spend all your Mom's money, use your Mom's fame to skyrocket your own nastiness to stardom AND then have the audacity to cry, 'Boo Hoo, poor you?"

And don't you think Martha did the best she could?

And maybe Martha is just not able to show her caring, nurturing self in a way that her daughter can understand but, hey, haven't most of us Mom's been on that particular highway to heartache ourselves?

Repeating again, that I'm not a Martha groupie...

(although I will admit to being pretty darned envious of her dish collection)

...I think this whole ugly debacle just speaks volumes about the American people.

Let's bash and trash and point blame at everyone and everything so we don't have to take responsibility for our own humanity and decent manners. Or lack thereof.




See what I mean?

Too much TV.

And sadly, tt's not just Martha I've been worried about either.

What do you think happens to those people that have to leave the "X" factor? How do they handle their lifelong dreams being crushed? And am I a really bad person to think that's a funny remark from the baby lips of a 14 year old?

And how do those chefs not cut off their fingers when their knives are moving so fast?

And political ads?

How can all the political ads all say the same thing? And if the 'liar' in the first political ad calls the 'liar' in the second political ad a liar, doesn't that create a double negative, which actually means the first politician is telling the truth? Or would that be the second political person being truthful?

Thank heavens I'm up and around today.

I'm not sure if my brain could handle processing other unsettling news of the world.

And I'm not sure if Mr. Jenny could handle another night of being awakened in the wee hours to discuss such things.

I think next time I get sick I'm going to subscribe to the Hallmark channel and inundate my brain with Little House on the Prairie reruns...


thinking about the pioneer days do you think when the little kids got ran over by a team of horses or bitten by a rattlesnake they...



Must. Never. Get. Sick. Again.

Must. Never...

Must. Never.

mustnevereverever watch the tv show about the disgusting foods again...

...because frankly...

...that just makes me sick.


And then the whole If-You-Give-A-Mouse-A-Cookie nightmare starts all over again.


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sundays with Steve - A husbands guide to tap dancing...

These Sunday's segments are written by my husband, Mr. Jenny. Here's what he has to say about his posts:

I’ve been writing these weekly stories about life in Northern Idaho, as a youngster and as growing into a young man, primarily for our family. And I'm delighted to share them with you. Just between us, I’m anticipating being cranky when some whipper-snapper who may not even be born yet harasses me in 30 years or so with 'Grandpa, tell me about when you were a boy.' That will probably be after the mad cow disease has set in and erased whatever memory is left. So these are the not-so-dramatic adventures of a Baby Boomer in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

A Husband's Guide to Tap Dancing

“Did you know that some husbands go clothes shopping with their wives?” Mrs. Steve asked early this morning. “No,” I answered with some trepidation, and thinking why on earth would husbands do that? “I haven’t thought about it, why do you ask?”

“Oh, no reason,” she said. I knew there was a reason, and I mentally braced myself. It was 5 a.m., and conversation like this one to start the day, rarely have a good outcome.

“You’ve never gone shopping with me.” Oh, oh.

“Of course I have,” I replied, “several times.” Several times in the 12 years we’ve been married, that’s about right. What is several, and why is she asking?

“Why, just a few years ago you needed some a couple of new shirts for a long weekend in the mountains, do you remember?”

“No,” she replied, “I don’t remember that at all.”

“Of course,” I said, “We were in that little dressing room at Target, and you had about 30 different shirts to try on.” I actually remembered it. It turned out to be 50 or 60 to try on, it took about two hours, and she bought one shirt. Why do husbands go clothes shopping with their wives? I don’t have a clue. Abject boredom , maybe? I avoid it like the black plague.

“Oh, wait,” she said, “I remember, that mall on the way to Tucson, we went there once when I needed a dress for one of the parties.” I didn’t remember that at all. “Yes,” I said, “that must have been the Dress Barn.” It was a good guess.

“I’m sure there have been other times, too. There have been weddings we’ve gone to, anniversaries, birthdays, we’ve done a lot of shopping together over the years, “ I said, and then in a whisper, “Just don’t ask me to name them.”

“OK,” she said, “I guess you are off the hook.” Thank you Lord, that was close.

“Dear,” she said this afternoon, as we were going out to run a couple of Saturday errands, “there is another place I want to stop this afternoon, I need a few clothes.” Oh, oh, I said for the second time today. Here is comes.

But then the surprise. “You might want to bring a book along.” “Huh?” I stuttered, “Why would I want to do that?”

“Well, you might want to wait in the car while I go in the store.” OK, I think, I can live with that. We do that sometimes when she does quick runs into stores and I park in the no-parking zones near the front doors, keeping the car cool in the hot Arizona summers. But waiting at the curb for an hour or two might be pushing my luck with the local parking police.

“Or maybe you can wait for me in the sports bar next door to the dress shop and watch the football game.”

What? What did she say? College football game in a sports bar? “Well yea, would you like some extra money for accessories?” I asked. “Take your time, please take your time!”

How did that happen? Mrs. Steve must have been reading my mind. This is a win / win for both of us. Mrs. Steve has always had my number, she has it down pat. She knows what works, and what doesn’t work so well in our relationship. Was that manipulation? Am I being hopelessly male and shallow? Yes, maybe, probably, but as long I can have a burger and a beer with the game on that big screen TV, I’m a happy shopper, and so is Mrs. Steve.
(c) 2010 Stephen J. MatlockThis publication is the exclusive property of Stephen J. Matlock and is protectedunder the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Stephen J. Matlock. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Centus - I planted a little ...

Jenny Matlock

Welcome to week seventy-seven of Saturday Centus.

This week we'll do a regular writing prompt challenge. I really liked last weeks challenge but my brain is still tired.

THE PROMPT THIS WEEK IS: I planted a little story seed...
WORD COUNT - Not to exceed 100 words, plus the six words of the prompt. 106 total maximum words.

The regular restrictions apply: PG, no splitting of the prompt, play nicely and visit the other entries, any style or genre of writing you prefer.

Please display my link button or just a hyper-link back to Saturday Centus. Be careful to link your SC URL to the Linky and not just link to your main blog.

E-mail me directly with ???'s or ask your question in a comment and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Good luck!

Feel free to link up anytime between now and next Saturday!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

A sad day in the pumpkin patch...

This morning I broke the sad news to the pumpkins in my little pumpkin patch.
I was gentle about it.

I was kind.

But they took it badly.

"Look," I told them, "I know you tried and tried to grow but it's just not happening."

They acted all nonchalant like they didn't care, but I could tell their seeds were quivering with emotions.

"It's not that I'm ashamed of you, it's just that you can't compete."

Their silence was mute testimony to their pain.

In talking to a good friend this morning who helps run the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers ummm.... society... I found out that the victorious pumpkin this year weighed over 1,600 POUNDS!

I patiently explained to my pumpkins that we live in desert and that they can't compete with pumpkins grown in places with actual rain and topsoil and less than 100 days of 100 + temperatures.

They just laid there in depression.

Sadly my little friends aren't even close to competing with their giant cousins. See the brick at the right side of the picture. Yeah. They're puny little pumpkins.

But they tried.


Alas, their great pumpkin dreams are not coming true this year.

But you gotta admire the little pumpkins that 'thought they could'!

As a reward I'm gonna let them hang out on the vine for a few more days before they are sacrificed for Halloween decorations.

Poor little fellas.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

I wonder, oh I wonder...

…what children of the low desert think of Autumn.

The heat is still upon us, although hints of coolness weave through our evenings and early mornings now.

In our old, irrigation neighborhoods like ours, Autumn colors are brown, tan and emerald green.

Dust fills the air as mowers scalp back ocher and army-green summer turf to almost bare soil…

Bags of rye grass are distributed over the sandy grit to the great delight of flocks of pidgeons and doves drawn to this smorgasbord of tasty eats…

The dark brown tang of manure sprinkled for fertiziler over the grass seed thickens the air…

As the relentless sun pounds down and the wearying heat continues on…

…we wait…

…only a few days pass and suddenly a blush of emerald green covers the tan and brown manure-strewn ground.

Suddenly our lawns are green and delicious, covered in tender blades of succulent emerald green.

The avian over-eaters move on to easier pickings…

…and it is Autumn in the low desert.

Russets and golds and bronze and scarlet glow from plastic Halloween pumpkins and wreaths covered in fabric leaves.

We choose these colors for our pedicures…

…and our t-shirts.

And for those of us who have experienced Autumn elsewhere, we yearn.

Our hearts desire chunky sweaters worn on mornings so crisp it makes inhaled breath burn…just a tiny bit.

We crave that particular, heart-stopping delight when we see a hillside glowing like fire beneath a sky so blue it hurts your heart.

We long for the texture and crunch of walking through the pumpkin field to find our own perfect, leathery smooth jack-o-lantern.

Will our Grandlittles look back fondly and remember the colors of Autumn in the low desert?

Brown, tan and emerald green.

In answer to some of your questions, the summer lawn is perennial. It comes back each year but looks like dead grass all winter. Since winter is our best weather when we are all outside, lawns are overseeded with rye. It is a controversial practice in some areas because of water usage. We are blessed here with an over-abundance of cheap water from our canal systems and deep ground reservoirs. Irrigation water is very cheap and plentiful.

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