31 October 2020

The Scariest Halloween

The toilet didn't just seem to be alive. It was crawling with microscopic monsters just waiting to suck the life out of any healthy bum that made contact.

The downstairs toilet was equally as bad. Both were filled to the brim with poo, the vengeance of an adopted child abandoned by her birth mother 14 years earlier, forsaken by her runaway adopted brother who'd found his way out of this hell hole, and tormented endlessly by her adoptive mother who just couldn't tolerate the tiniest of terrors.

She thought if she intentionally blew the adoption, she could wind up in a foster home with a cell phone of her own and a car she could hotwire in the middle of the night to sneak off to a bar while the foster parents slept. Mom's car was a stick, and she couldn't get the darned thing to move once she rolled it out of the driveway and into the street. Heaven only knows how many times she tried!

Never in her wildest dreams did she expect her adoptive mom to keep trying. Love! The ugliest word on the planet!

She had tried to frighten her mom by standing over her as she slept, kitchen knife in hand, ready to plunge it into Mom's throat. She had tried cutting Mom's hair while she slept and burning it in a candle near the bed. She had tried to pretend she'd committed suicide by hanging from the wardrobe bar in the closet, a belt noose around her neck.

Mom had been ordered to remove anything that could be used as a weapon from the home. No silverware, no appliances with cords, no scissors, no yarn... The house was now disgustingly sterile.

This woman still would not give up! What was wrong with her?!?

Well, she'd just show her! Used tampons were stuffed between the bed and the wall. Used condoms were strewn beneath the bed. Holes were fist-punched into all the walls and then filled with little baggies of dried green leaves, if not roach clips and half-toked joints, too, before being recovered with Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Slipknot posters. Oh, and the finishing touch!!! Lots of little white pills in every nook and cranny. Most were TicTacs, but Mom would never know. And the toilets. She could just picture the horror on Mom's face!

And with that, she snuck out her bedroom window, into the night, screeching with the most evil laugh she could shriek. Several hours later, a blue and white Crown Victoria with lights flashing and siren blaring returned her home, putting a temporary end to her stolen cigarette and bootleg booze rampage.

It truly was Mom's worst Halloween. Until 2020, that is...

The kids are grown and have kids of their own now. They try hard to make up for the trauma they caused their mom so many years ago. Love occasionally blossoms beautifully. Mom made Halloween snowflakes, masks and costumes for the grands. Everything was going as well as could be expected with all the nightmares of 2020.

The toilet backed up into the tub on Halloween's Eve. Bringing back memories of those Halloween toilets literally in another century. Mom's been bailing poopy water all morning.

And she thought bailing snow melt from the window well was bad!!!

29 October 2020

Halloween Spring Cleaning

I've been trying to clean out one thing a week for the last month or so when I can. There are closets and drawers my fingers haven't touched in years. There are boxes that haven't been opened since my adopted kids took permanent unauthorized field trips in 2002 and 2003. (They ran away. There are some spooky memories packed in with all those skeletons...)

There have been some real treasures in there! As well as a few scary finds...

I found and put up our Halloween decorations. We hadn't decorated for any holiday since... gosh, I can't even remember the last time.

I have a Christmas village I'd sort of forgotten about. I'm not sure I will use it next month, but something needs to be done with it. It might find a spot on the local marketplace.

There also are some Christmas crafts from the turn of the century that need to be finished and either sold or gifted.

And then there are memories. Oh, boy, are there memories!!!

I believe this was my son's calculator in sixth grade, but I'm not sure. It still worked when I first pulled it out of the box. I shouldn't have dusted it. The dust particles must have been its super power. It won't even turn on now, even after solar charging. I can't remember when I last saw a pocket calculator that wasn't a phone app.

I remember the days of calling up a web page on my old Mac Classic and then doing a load of laundry while waiting for the page to load. I couldn't believe I still had the key to that level of internet!!!

Not sure whose bike this came from, but I'm sure the bike probably has gone to wherever old banana seat bicycles go two decades after they've been declared old fogey.

Back in my newshound days, I used to be the denim queen. So I couldn't resist buying anything made of denim or at least that looked like denim. I can't believe one of these survived. I'm saving it!

Neon green was another thing I was known for. I remember buying this at the Space Needle in Seattle, and I remember it dangling from my jeans pocket for years and years and years. I didn't know I had saved it when I became a little more professional in my attire.

This was to repair a camera bag I don't even own anymore. None of my current cameras, except for the phone, would have fit in that old bag. This has got to be circa 1988 or or older.

Back in the 90s, if I found a bumper sticker I liked, I'd buy two. Because I knew the bumper sticker would outlast whatever car I was driving. The twin for this baby is still on my 22-year-old 4Runner.

I loved swirly pencils as a kid. When I found a handful of them at a gift shop somewhere when my kids were young, I had to buy the whole stash so my kids would get to enjoy the same swirly creativity I craved when I was their age. This is the only one that survived. And it wouldn't have survived if I hadn't stashed it away and forgotten about it!

All that other stuff was fun. But this... I guess you might say this is the jackpot. I still remember the valentine's day back in high school when one of my classmates presented this to me. We got to spend an afternoon together again back in about 1998, and he couldn't believe I still had it. He couldn't believe it still had chocolate inside. I didn't open one then. Good thing.

It STILL has candy in it!  Well, not now, but, it did until yesterday.

you'd think it might be yummy, but...

I didn't remember hiding change beneath the candy. I wonder if my kids made deposits if they found this and borrowed some of the sweetness...

27 October 2020

If at First You Don't Succeed

About a foot of snow fell at our place Sunday and Monday. We need more in the mountains to end the wildfire season, and the 10-day forecast with a warming trend doesn't include any moisture.

As always, I wanted to shoot snowflakes. My good camera has been tied up since about May or so shooting time lapse sequences. My Christmas cactus started erupting with blossoms about two weeks ago. I watched a couple of individual flowers to see how long they take (because I knew snow might be coming), and the red ones open in just a day. After shooting a couple of the red flowers, I stuck a peach/salmon blossom in front of the camera and let the camera rip again. This one took THREE days to open! The flower moved all over the place, too, so it might not even be that great a time lapse, once I get a chance to work on it. I had to move the flower back into the camera's viewfinder every few hours!

When the snow finally started falling, the flakes were gigantic and puffy.

I tried shooting snowflakes with the phone. What a joke!

I didn't even try the point-and-shoot camera. It's macro function can be pretty worthless.

I could not resist. The Christmas cactus was taking so long, and the snow would be done soon. I thought an hour without the good camera on the flower wouldn't make much of a difference. (I don't know yet whether the time lapse will work with me removing the camera, even though I tried very hard to put it back in the very same position each time I stole it.)

As soon as I began shooting snowflakes, the snow stopped. I can't even count how many times that has happened. We really need the snow, so I put the camera back.

The snow began falling again, and after about a couple of hours, the flakes were big and fluffy again. So I tried again, with the same result.

Third time's a charm. It was SO cold! My fingers were frozen in less than half an hour. Yes, I was wearing gloves. And a warm, fuzzy hat. Didn't matter. I am not used to the cold now, after so many months of heat and very little outdoors to boot. So I shot for as long as I could stand it, then put the camera back. The Christmas cactus opened while I slept Sunday night. I downloaded the camera yesterday during my lunch hour, then edited snowflake photos last night. I have not had a chance to create the time lapse yet, but it's probably better to wait until after Halloween to share Christmas cactus, right?

The snowflakes I captured are not my best, but there's some good crochet inspiration in there, and I never really meet snowflakes I don't like, even if they are not in perfect focus. Even if my fingers are frozen.

26 October 2020

No Flake Monday

I am not quite sure where all the time last week went, but it went, and I have no crocheted snowflake to share today. Thankfully, God is not stingy like me and blessed us with about eight inches as of bedtime last night. About four inches had fallen on the Troublesome Fire, which caused the evacuation of Estes Park, Grand Lake and nearby residences Friday night.

The forecast called for up to 20 inches, and so far, as of 10 p.m. last night, actual accumulation was not so generous, thanks in part to high winds and extremely hot termperature of the explosive fire in a severely droughted and beetle-killed forest. We continue to pray for the safety of the firefighters and those who've had to leave their homes, as well as plumbers who are volunteering to turn off water in evacuated homes to prevent pipes from freezing. The low for Estes Park was 1 degree on Saturday night, and was forecast for -4 last night. I hope the gigantic herds of elk (and all the beloved wildlife) I enjoyed so much were able to escape the rapidly advancing flames.

The Cameron Peak Fire did get a weather break and had received more than a foot of snow by 10 p.m. last night. This fire had been darkening our skies, roughly 90 miles south, for more than two months. People who live in Loveland and Fort Collins had it worse than we did and often described their sky as apocolyptic.

smoky September sunrise

Estes Park was my home for eight years. Living in the mountains was my paradise. Rocky Mountain National Park was my backyard for eight years. I cannot even fathom what the people living there must be going through now. This year's wildfires have devastated so many. My heart is broken.

I've always loved snow. But it takes on a whole new meaning now. Our mountains need snow, and lots of it.

22 October 2020

Stairway to Deaden

This gave me a GREAT idea for our ugly stairway.

Our house is a fixer upper. The carpeted basement stairway came with some less-desirable odors and stains. We pulled up and disposed of the carpet. We treated the stains and odors years ago. The stairway longs to be finished. (And my little neighbor always asks, every time she comes over, "When are you going to finish your stairway???") Too many other higher priority fixes waiting in the wind. Literally.

Including the flagstone stairway I recently built in the backyard as a very small part of a project to prevent the basement window well from flooding...

Now that part of the backyard is done, perhaps I can begin spending time on things that need to be fixed inside the house...

However, I still look for ideas every now and then, and I've found some really cute ones!

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The classic rainbow or a modified rainbow.

Just can't get enough of the rainbows!

Motion detection lights.

Simple instructions.

I've even wondered how difficult it would be to build each stair into an actual book cove, not just photos of books pasted onto the stairs.

Such a bookworm.

This would be me if I tried painting the stairs...

Not my bag of tea, but I know some kids who would love this.

Can't do this, but oh, how I love it!

Imagine this in crochet!

This could be inspirational, too!

With lavender bouquets drying on the rail!

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