This is Halloween

October 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

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When it comes to Halloween decorations, the neighborhoods on my running route do not mess around.

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That is not a movie set, it’s a house around the corner.

We have our pumpkin and some fake cobwebs that are still sitting in the package…though we have a real, live, fist-sized spider living in the garden, so there’s something terrifying for you.

Bag of candy for me to eat by myself before the kids show up the trick-or-treaters is sitting by the front door, today when I went to see what podcasts were available for my run, there was a new (appropriately morbid) Serial episode waiting for me, and tonight after trick-or-treating going to finish up my seasonal novel:

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And since I don’t have a picture of our tasmanian devil in her costume yet, here she is at the doctor’s office in a Looney Tunes gown that looks like a kimono.

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That pretty much sums it up here.  Have a spooky night.

Plants

October 30, 2014 § 1 Comment

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Late October no longer means harvesting every last possible green thing before the frost hits.  Things here are growing and growing and growing, and they don’t seem to be slowing down.

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Our tomato plants are approaching 6 feet.  We’ve got baby straightneck squashes making their way into the world, some huge anaheim peppers ready to be picked, our red bell peppers are finally turning red…

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The basil, dill, tarragon, cilantro, and parsley can’t be stopped.  The rosemary hasn’t grown much but doesn’t seem to be hurting at all.

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Some of the wildflower seeds that I threw into the barrels are sprouting.

And finally….wait for it…

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straight eight in the houuuuuuuuse!

The lemon tree out front is about to topple over there are so many lemons on it.  Our green beans, early girl tomatoes, and zucchini plant didn’t quite make it.  But you can’t win em all.

Maybe it’s because the heat finally died down, maybe it’s the organic soil I used, maybe it’s our magic coffee grounds that get dumped on the garden weekly.  I don’t know.  But I honestly don’t feel like I’ve given the garden enough love to deserve this kind of output (not that I’m not complaining).  California gardening is awesome.

Bring on fall.

Goodnight Noises Everywhere

October 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

I hadn’t read Goodnight Moon in about 20 years before this happened:

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She loves books.  LOOOOOVES books.  So there’s been a good amount Goodnight Moon up in these parts for the past year or so.  And upon reading it again for the first time, I was surprised.

I was surprised by how completely random and creepy Goodnight Moon is.

The lines and pictures from this book reside in the same eerie, dream-like haze as early childhood memories.  There is a ghostly familiarity to them.  But when my grown-up mind saw the pictures with grown-up eyes and heard the words for the first time in many, many years, my initial thought was, “HOW is this book so popular??”

There is no story.  The rhymes aren’t super fun or clever.  And take, for instance, the mush.  We wish it goodnight, as it sits, cold and colorless, next to a blank page that says “Goodnight Nobody.”

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So…bleak.

There is the picture on the wall across from the three bears sitting in chairs of a big rabbit fishing for a little rabbit with a carrot on a string.  What.

And then, of course, the quiet old lady whispering “hush”:

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Nightmare material like woah.  Case in point:

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Tell me there’s no resemblance.

And yet, despite the objective weirdness, Goodnight Moon is soothing.  And warm.  And because it lacks the typical structure and singsongy-ness, as you read it the second (or third, or fourth) time, it doesn’t grate.  It is simple and familiar and calming.  And the glowing light of the stars and the dollhouse windows on the last page…I love the last page.

So, like every other parent and grandparent, we’ll keep a few copies around, reading it over and over and over again, burying the same strange story with the same strange pictures deep into someone else’s childhood memory, to be rediscovered later.

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Fall

October 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Californians always get attitude when someone tells them they could never live here because they’d miss the seasons.

Well.  We’ve had a heatwave these past few months, and let me tell you a secret: Angelenos were missing fall.  It’s hard to pull off the scarf and boots and the extra foam, non-fat pumpkin spiced latte when it’s 90 degrees (though I’m pretty sure when mid-January rolls around and the rest of the country is dealing with this, it might seem like a fair trade.)

Last week the heat wave officially broke.  The evening air started to smell like holiday smoke (different than the fire-season smoke smell that makes your stomach go cold), and on Saturday in the early morning I actually saw my breath.

Time to bust out the close-toed shoes and get season appropriate decorations for the front porch: fall has arrived…

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…even if water temps are still in the low 70s.

Hey.

October 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Translation

October 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

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When I was 23 I moved to the Czech Republic to teach English.  It was one of the more impulsive decisions I ever made, but also one of the better ones, if only for these text message I found written in an old journal while I was digging through the garage looking for a book today:

From a student (no romance here at all, just wanted to hang out again):
Hi Meagan, today I am going to Alps for four days.  I would like to see you again after coming back.  If you will agree.  Your presence is charming. 

From another student, regarding a billiard hockey team called Dragons Brno, of which he was a member (I still haven’t figured out exactly what billiard hockey is):
Dragons Brno has  9 wins 1 deal  0 lost. Is it great season?  YES,IT IS GREAT ,deffinitly.
WE are on the first place.We are the champions for year.
BHC  DRAGONS BRNO , FOREVER

From the lifeguard at the pool, who scouted me to swim for a local Czech team, in response to a text I sent him letting him know I was on my way to a meet in Vienna:
Good luck my little white delfin!

And, a personal favorite, from another friend, heading to a party at my apartment:
I am coming, can you describe to me where is your castle?

DSC01565An ad for a tanning salon called Solarium Oranjito.  No translation needed.

Travels

October 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Welcome back!  I’ve returned from the black hole that was at trip to Iowa (first time in Iowa!  What’s up corn and big skies?)…

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…for a family wedding…

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…followed by a getaway to vegas for some relaxation…

IMG_20141005_073011this book, btw, not the best light-hearted vacation reading

…and hiking….

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…and Vegas stuff (though when we got there we immediately lost $30 at the slot machines, and that was pretty much the end of that.)

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Vegas is such a weird place, I never know whether to feel excited or disgusted or totally impressed at what that city is. We stayed at the Palms, mostly because I was like EFF YEAH THE REAL WORLD LAS VEGAS bring it!  But, in a surprising turn, our 3 days there was nothing like Trishelle’s experience back in 2002.

We did, however, befriend this guy in the elevator on the way back down to our room the last night there.  So mission partially accomplished.

It’s been fun, great to see family, and nice to relax, but it’s good to be home.

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