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Saturday, October 31, 2015

HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEN!

Halloween when the princesses outnumber
the Ghouls; Lito's little nieces and a nephew
I cannot remember the last time I was at a party on Halloween. Tonight was therefor a rare pleasure, and no, it wasn't really a Halloween Party. It was a 21st birthday party for an old work buddy's daughter. As per normal I met up at Lito's house with friends Jeannie & Ron and soon we were introducing ourselves to friends old and new. Within seconds after the hellos, we were all holding plates, and were encouraged to load up our plates. Let me not be shy about saying that moment was the highlight of October for me.

You see, Lito has a large family and extended very-nearly-officially adopted friends. When Lito & the Mrs. give a house party, everyone - OK, save for Jeannie, Ron & myself - bring food. Not just any ole food, but Philippine food from recipes learned at their granny's elbows: Adobo, Pancit, crispy pata, menudo, and lumpia (spring rolls) and the lot..  Such food... Lito himself barbecued Milk Fish, chicken & pork kababs, eggplants (which I ate an entire one all by myself and damned but it aspirations of greatness). There was an entire roasted-to-perfection piggy - le chón - complete with smiling face. Oh, and Jackfruit in coconut milk which didn't taste like fruit, but more like yam(?). There were dishes of meat, poultry and pork that were mated with coconut milk, such as pork bicol and many other dishes which I still have no idea what they are but only that they taste like heaven. I only ever get this incredible food at Lito's house parties. And did I mention the desserts? Both tables of it, were equally exotic. I took small samples all of which kept me guessing. I would snare a tiny bit of what I was sure was coconut cake only to discover it was no such thing, but was strangely semi-sweet & delish. There was an 'ambrosia' that I asked about and it was made with several different types of yummy yams. There were at least a dozen desserts and the only other one recognized was the red Jell-o.
This was how many main dishes were left AFTER the invading hordes were done.

See? That's why I haven't posted any previous shindigs at Lito's house, because I get so gastric-ally and mentally wrapped up in the exotic fare that I sound entirely mercenary - it's embarrassing. I mean it's supposed to be about the fellowship and comrade, not about 'How freakn' exotic and delish is blood pudding!'

Skeletor deigned to pose for me
Let me get off the chow for a bit. Lito showed us lots of pics of his Phillipine home where he'll visit when he retires in a year or so; a tropical paradise. I was all set to book a flight to visit Lito & his Mrs there when unfortunately, Jeannie & Ron reminded me the Amazon has nothing on the Phillipines for heat and humidity. Perhaps I'll visit Lito & company there and humidity be damned.The pictures Lito showed us will stick with me for a while - a double waterfall spilling into a hidden tropical pond. Ahhh! I can only imagine what incredible wildlife they have splashing around over there.

Also had a lovely chat with Jeannie & Ron whom I will be joining shortly for yet-another what-o'-lord-did-I-do-to-deserve-a-trip-to-the-Aloha-isles!?? I informed Ron I found a place to stay my first night in Maui, necessary because once again I got my arrival date messed up and don't ask me how I managed to do so, I just did. Jeannie and I chatted about travels and I discovered she would have come to Peru with me except she (not to mention I) thought I'd be staying with Ingrid's Peruvian family. ARGH! I could have had Jeannie with me in Peru! Am bummed. Have vowed to make up for it. Jeannie then told me she wants to see the Northern Lights and Iceland. Iceland? I almost fell off my chair. Jeannie hates cold so if she's going there, they'll have to set up heaters all over iceland and it's going to melt by the time she leaves. The challenge: if I can come up with a game plan for a trip, she'll go with me. OMG! I haven't been so excited since Ingrid joined the Peace Corps in Peru and said 'come visit me there'. I shall plot the ultimate Icelandic journey.

Aunties just want to have FUN!

A bit after sunset, when the local bats were swinging wide of their belfries and Lito's household witches, skeletons, ghosts, princesses and Pokemon left to raid the neighbors for candy, I decided I'd better get cracking and return home so I might dole out chocolates to the local urchins. Before we left, everyone made sure we were all loaded up with meal or two for the road (yay! Won't need to cook until Monday!). Reminded me of my Grandmother's feasts back in the day when no one went home empty handed. Thanks Lito!

That was a lovely party and I got home in time to turn on the porch lights and pour the ENORMOUS bag o' candies into the dispensing cauldron. Never get many door knocks on Halloween as my neighborhood is shockingly kiddie-free. But I did encourage a witch, a marvelously sweet Guardian of the Galaxy, and yes, a couple of shiny, glittery little princesses, to grab the chocolate bars by the handful because I do not want leftovers. Bless their royal, galactic and witchy little hearts.

SPOOKY TIME!


Oh, it's been several years since I posted any good old fashioned HORROR & MAYHEM on my blog. It being Halloween, it's high time I caught the world up on weird goings on, and things that literally have gone *BUMP* in the night.

I shall begin with some of my personal stories of the sort no one with common sense is going to believe, but those with common experiences must.

It was two winters ago these incidents happened to me. Snug in my bed, I'd turn out the light, I would hear three loud raps by my bed. The knocks were startlingly loud, and it took a week or so before I realized the knocks were becoming startlingly regular as well.

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!

Not one knock, not two knocks, not four. Three. Always three. As the winter progressed, I would turn out the light, snuggle under my bedding, head tucked on my pillow and the damned KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK would sound. I brooded over it, trying my  damnedest to push the reality of the knocks into the plausible range. Maybe I was hearing my house's timbers shrinking with the cold. Yeah, that must be it, it's nothing, it's just...

KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!

Crap... the knocks were on my night table. It sounded like someone standing by the door to my room had rapped their knuckles on the night stand. It was not my imagination as I was as wide awake as a frightened woman can be. Maybe the knocks were... GAK! I dunknow. I mean, whattheeff? All winter long I would turn out the light and lie in wait of the knocking which either happened inside of five minutes or didn't happen at all. Either situation left me feeling annoyed. I knew if something wanted to harm me it would have done so already. Here I was - awake. Unharmed. Totally rattled.

The following winter was just as cold and I waited for the knocking to again commence. They did not. All winter long I puzzled how could the sound was gone. I mean, if the knocks were normal house rattlings, why didn't they start up again? I mean, WTF?  I surmised it wasn't my mother, as she had already visited and she had a calling card in the pleasant scent of a fresh cut flower. Was it my Father? My crazy Uncle Edgar (for some reason I thought of him a lot in connection with the knocks). Some other departed relative or friend?  I don't know. All I know is that freakn' knocking was as real as the hyper-beating of my heart every time I heard the sounds:

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

That's it for my own personal spooky bits. Over the past few years I've heard several spooky tales from others, and I no more doubt their tales than I am can doubt my own.

This past summer I was called upon to smudge the homes of acquaintances within my circle of friends. One was a new friend, who had recently bought the home of a deceased old lady. When I showed up at the new friend's home with my turkey feather, abalone shell and other accouterments, I asked her what made her ask for a smudging. She would only tell me that the old lady would not leave the house and that the old lady was driving her batty with unwanted... events. I could get no more out of her on the matter.

That same day I smudged a second home, that of one of my extended family of friends. They lived in a house I have long known to harbor spooks of several sorts, two of which, sadly, were children, several of which were apparently just spirits that meandered in and seemed to be set on staying put, and most horrifyingly, a 'shadow figure' that I've known of for more than a decade now, and had hoped I'd never hear about again in this lifetime.

After I'd smudged both homes, calling - respectfully - for all spirits and other beings to get the heck out of Dodge.  While smudging I called upon every ascended master and archangel I could think of to escort the beings that had yet to do so, to 'head into the light'. I mean, really, it was about time. I am happy to say - thus far anyway - post smudging, neither family were bothered again. Now, though I know I was of help, I know I wasn't necessarily the one that got the spirits out of the houses. I told both families everyone who lived in their houses had to ask the spirits to move along, and MEAN it. I told children in one home, that if they harbored feelings that the spirits were 'fun' and that the spirits were 'wanted' then the spirits weren't going anywhere and things might get, uh... disquieting. As far as I am aware, all took their situation seriously and were sure to vocally, with emphasis on politeness, ask their unwanted guests to leave. Their wishes along with the smudging seemed to do the trick. That is... as far as I know...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Fairing I Did Go

A fortnight ago, I did realize I  do not take outings as often as in earlier times. Hence, I fester away at home: know we thus, all fuss and no play a dull lady maketh. So taking note recently that a younge friend of mine had recently gone a'fairing, I rallied meself for a like journey. With scant resource of tyme I did make a miracle, did scavenge up my olde bodice & lacing, skirts, brass pins, ribbans and other accouterments so as to scarper forth with style.

It was at least ten years hence last I frollicked at the Northern California Renaissance Faire. Sadly, the governors of the Faire, set the faire tyme from August through the day of Labor, all too hot for soul such as meself. In recent years the Faire folk did repair their error of days.  Now the Faire thrives from Mid-September to this late day of October- Huzzah! True,  t'is still on the warm side, but still, in these autumnal days oft blows a fair wind in corners of the shire of Willingtown.

Merry shire folk did greet Faire-goers at the entrance with a wink and a smile
I arrived at the shire early in the day, securing my entrance ticket. I soon noted two rascals who did ask a faire-goer to hold a keg - one large & of suspicion. Then, one schemers did apply steel and flint to striketh by the top o' the keg, in attempt to lyte a FUSE of rope! I laughed heartily at the poor faire-goer who did looke rather to prefer, all of his bits and bobs attached to his person, not scattered to the four winds.

A lively pair of Rascals with a keg most suspicious...


Oh such fun was at hand. I found a lady Austringer with her fine Hawk, a handsome fellow. I put to her many queries about her most beauteous fowle.














And too, I did met this young maid falconer with her adorable Kestrel, laiden with tiny jesses a setting upon her wee gloved fist.



















I was a-going t'wixt stage & theaters to view songsters and thespians alike. My first stop was to watch exotic dancers of the belly, at the Romany Centre Stage.
Belly Dancers! My favorites at the Faire

Whenever I sit at the faire, I keep my hands busy with my spindle, to maketh yarn, least winter find me with no yarn for proper socks. T'was difficult indeed to spin though when viewing Manly Men in Tights on the Royal Garden Stage. T'was easier there to stay in stitches than to produce such!

Men. In. TIGHTS!
A pleasing pastime at the faire be shopping of which I did much, eyeing cunning hats, fashionable jewelry and such, without once opening my purse - until it chanced my eyes did chance on a most pretty pair of slippers. They were much more in keeping with the spirit of the faire than what I wore - my dumpy olde 'sneakers'. The shoppe keeper did assist me in climbing onto a throne. Removed he my sneakers that I might try on the splendid black suede footwear. By the time he had laced them up, I did buy them on the spot, asking, ' I pray thee good Sire, would thee ship my old trainers to my hovel in Oaks Faire?'

'Good lady, I should with all haste,' he did reply, 'with a small fee for the shipping.'

The deal was struck. I sallied forth, my feet shod in prettiest slippers, so comfortable they felt custom made by fairies of the shire.


Are my new footwear not the daintiest size tens upon which you have ever laid your bonnie eyes?

Yeomen of Her Majesty's Guard
 I was lucky enough to catch a procession of her Majesty's royal court, but alas! I was too late to catch of glimpse of good Queen Bess. God's Teeth, can thou believe my most rotten luck?


Oh! Note the huge Cyclops in the background - hit a puck, ring the bell (his eye) for a prize
Following the parade I ventured forth to a place most wicked - the Salty Siren Stage were the devil's brews be served and no good folk beneath the age of twenty and one be permitted. The Sea Dogs, a most lusty lot were performing and again I laughed so heartily I could scarse tend my spinning. The main task set afore the Sea Dogs seemed to be teach their audience naughty words of Renaissance times. As they sang naughty dogerals, held they aloft signs so we of the audience could shout out key words and share a fecking good - Oh, pardon, I forget me manners - laugh. "Sing out LOUD for the dear children across this theater on the Merry go Round!" didst the wicked sailors & sea wenches shout. La, how shrieked us to a one, loud enough to knock bairnes onto their wee bums.
The dear lass on the right had a peg leg! No doubt from an encounter with a pirate.
How concerned they were to discipline their wee ape!
Cheeks red with the boisterous talk, I exited the ale halls and sallied forth again. Again I missed a prime event of the day - Her Majesty's Tournament of horses. Alas, I had to borrow this painting of the goodly knights at the joust on a previous Faire day.


I did visit with a lovely mare near the tournament area - she had the most friendly nicker and allowed me to stroke her silvery mane.  In the stall nearby stood a most fine black steed of Holland, with a young groom by his side.  How I love the scent of fine horse flesh on the autumn aire.
Industrious lord and lady of the court
I did sit upon a hay bale and spin in the company of my betters, the lord and lady of the court, who did practice their gentle arts of needlework and leather craft. 

A cloven-hooved faun talking unto a strange devyse
In the late morning I was a bit peaky so ate a gelato and a soft pretzel, so hot. T'was not victuals of the Renaissance, but it filled me belly none-the-less. And in late afternoon I ventured to the food vendor area there to enjoy an early dinner.



After my mini-feast, I espyed several lords and ladies, in the centre of the vast food court,  a'staring at the sod. What could be amiss? Venturing forth, what did I find, but this wee fellow, who seemed unperturbed by his betters. Now there was an industrious fellow indeed! Why-ever did it not occur to me to record a wide view of this wee & furry lorde with his surrounding court of admirers?

Then by our sides broke out there a mighty tug of war! Passersby leapt in to grasp the rope to advance their newly adopted side, east or west. It was a steadfast struggle which I joined not, but endeavored to cheer on those stalwart souls to the east.

At my bidding, the east side WON!
Soon the faire sun fell low in the sky, and I headed off to the sunset upon my trusty Honda steed. Here is a rare portrait of I, in my best Faire going clothyes, the sun a' dancin' on my nose and chin. What a lovely day t'was.

Me Faire togs

Monday, October 12, 2015

Teeth and TERROR!

Had a dentist appointment today, which is something I dread. I dread appointments not because I have any teeth to be yanked out, but as friendly and sweet as the dental staff are, the visits are bore me out of my skull. This particular visit however, happens to be in October, and that means HALLOWEEN! No dentist office on planet earth celebrates Halloween like my dentists!

                                 
I arrived at my appointment early and began to photograph the whole gruesome display with utter delight. YAY! It's like having two Halloweens this month.

Antiseptic hand gel anyone? BWAH HA HA!
A Rat and a Brat encaged
My Dentist
Finest dental products always for sale
Bats, Rats and somehow I ended up in a seer's ball with the freakn' seer!
The waiting room in which some of these souls wait for an eternity
 The entire suite is totally decked out, including the exam rooms and such. Not a counter untouched by spider webs. HAHAHAAA! Love how the staff take all the holidays DEAD serious.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Yay! A Visit to Meridian Jacobs Ranch

Jacobs a 'frollicking on the side of Robin's shop
Had a double pleasure today - going to Robin Meridian Jacobs Ranch to very-nearly-almost-participate in Spinzilla and to pick up my lamb meat. Most of the meat will be gifted to friends because if I ate it all myself an unexpected explosion of a most unfortunate retired woman would be happening in Fair Oaks.

What the heck is SPINZILLA? By its own description: A global event where teams and individuals compete in a friendly challenge to see who can spin the most yarn during Spinning and Weaving Week, the first full week in October. Their goal is to raise sheep-loads of cash for the Needle Arts Mentoring Program.

True to type, when I arrived at Robin's place, the yard was full of happy spinsters.

That is Robin working her laptop, on the left
The Mighty SHEEPZILLA!

Alas - I meant to bring along my spinning wheel - same model as the one shown on the ruby rug above - but I couldn't for the life of me get my act together to bring the wheel, fiber and such with me *sigh*. Robin said she hopes I will show up and spin amid the other spinster for Spinzilla 2016. Sure... why not!


Robin and the gang wanted to set up a photo shoot for Spinzilla, which involves them in a photo featuring this little wooly guy. So Team Meridian decided to set up a shot with them racing through the sheep in the meadow escaping SHEEPZILLA. I hope they get a prize!
Note: wheel has a built in beverage holder


In the late afternoon as the spinners moved to cooler bits of the yard, Robin invited me to go with her to pick up the lamb. We took a warm afternoon's drive over to her new butcher. There I saw live sheep, goats, chickens, and even quail. Customers can pick out a live animal for butchering. Most of the butcher's customers are recent immigrants. Interestingly, I can say my Bronx grandmother used to be able to pick out a live chicken at a local Bronx butcher, then bring it home for plucking and ultimately becoming our Sunday dinner. 

Just a couple of days ago Robin brought the butcher her live Jacob ram lambs, to the butcher. Today we picked up boxes, each containing a half a lamb cut into chops, shanks, etc., and I think the third box we picked up was 'offal'. i.e., liver, stomach, intestines and... 'yikes'...  head! I always say one of these days I will work up my nerve and take, not just the meat, but also the organs and head of the lamb. I have a Moroccan recipe for sheep's head. Honest - I have that recipe. I admit, I haven't quite worked up the nerve to prepare such a meal - yet.
While the photo shoot was on out by the barns, I stayed by the shop and noticed that Robin's new pup, Ginny, whom I met today for the first time, had plopped a toy under my chair. She then crouched down, eyes glued to her toy, awaiting my actions. Of course, being the laziest woman in North American, I did nothing at first. Finally I gave in and threw Ginny's toy across the driveway. Doggie Joy happened.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

A Little Joy, A Little Ache

I was up early today, and with droopy eyes and no right to be out in public yet, I ventured forth anyway, for some holiday shopping. Yes, holiday shopping, worse - shopping for myself. Shameful, I know. But it is rare I'm out at all these days. Most days I just zip to the gym, get in my exercise and I'm home again. That's the really shameful bit - not getting out and about, as if my brain & body are retired, not just my career. Before I headed home I decided to sit my Starbucks coffee at Sailor Bar, down by the river. As I hit the entry street - there it was... my inspiration. A man driving a jaunty red cart, pulled by - a Llama! He also had a 'back-up' llama to the rear, and an adorable tiny three year old grandson at his side. You have got to admire the moxie of this gentleman! No sitting around for him, no letting anyone tell him what he should be doing, he was out and about. A tad bit eccentric and damn it, proud of it! 


My heart speed up for the joy of the sight, and strangely it also ached a bit for reminding me of my days driving Suzi my pony, with her little black cart. That was such a brief period of my life and such a sweet one that I never think on it, as it is too painful to think on how short & sweet a time it was for me. Oh well. I drove ahead of the parade, and got in position and took a short video of the little. Alas! The video begins with my thumb over the view and it got worse from there - I guess I was a little excited.

Resolved: This gentleman reminds me there is a lot out there to explore and I haven't given it its due. In part because when the Central Valley Summer hits and the temps exceed 100 degrees, I don't even want to get the mail off the front porch. But it is Autumn now; beautiful, tranquil Autumn. The days are very-nearly-almost cool and the trees are turning color. I'm not far from Tahoe or rivers. There are things to do and places to go and I ought to. Resolved: I will get my fat arse out and see things!