Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and Fall Thoughts

     Happy Halloween, or Happy Samhain, whichever it may be for you!

     While I am not so fond of the end of summer and the coming of cold weather, I have always liked Halloween.  It is and always has been my favorite holiday, as it sparks my creativity, and I can let my imagination run wild to create whatever quirky ideas may come forth.  I'm not into the Hollywood version of guts and gore, but I do enjoy the creation of  spooky and mildly to moderately scary scenes.  I was for a few years, involved in the production of a Haunted Theater back in the day. 

    We members of the  Pacifica Spindrift Players  had decided that "everyone and his brother" does a haunted house theme...but we...well, we are a theater group, and we have a perfectly good theater...so what else to do  but created a haunted theater?!  I was involved for the first three years of this production, prior to moving from the area.  It ranked among the most fun things I've done in my life. (While I've provided a link to that group, sadly, it does not seem that the haunted theater is being done anymore.)

      Carving pumpkins, painting my Halloween ceramics, helping my daughter decorate her house for Halloween  (no kids on our street), all are things that occupy my thoughts at this time of year.  Baking?  Eh...not so much.   I did more than my share back when my kids were young, and cooking is not one of my favorite things to do.   That said, I do have a good stock of holiday recipes upon which I can rely when the budget gets too tight to shop for gifts...definitely the case this season!

     Holiday cards...I'm going to 'mail' all my holiday greetings via e-mail this year.  That will be both budget-friendly and eco-friendly,  saving both postage and paper!  Only a few people who either do not have internet access, or whose e-mail addresses I do not have, will be sent paper greetings through the Postal Service.

    Gift wrapping this year?   Use up any leftovers of purchased wrap I already have.  When that runs out, I'll go to plain white tissue paper, and/or recycled brown paper bags.  Gift tags?  Handmade from holiday cards received in prior years. 

    Although I am a California native, my parents were New Englanders.  They also lived through the Great Depression of 1929.   Hence, I was raised with the frugal Yankee values of, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."  This was instilled in me from childhood, and explains why, when I was home sick from school one day, I shed oceans of tears over the 'terrible waste of food,' when my mom had gone to the store for cough medicine for me, and a few small grocery items. 

     Mom did not drive, and the little store was only a block away.  However, it was pouring rain that day, and by the time she got a few doors from home on her return, the paper sack had become so waterlogged that it broke.  All the groceries fell out onto the sidewalk.  The bottle of orange juice smashed, as did the bottle of cough syrup.  Mom scooped up as much as she could, and ran to put it on our front steps, which were sheltered from the weather.  Then she ran back, and got as much of the rest as she could.  As it happened, the loaf of bread ended up on the step below the broken bottle of cough syrup.  Given that the medicine was inside a box, the broken glass was contained, but the liquid seeped out of the box, and dripped down onto the bread.  You must realize this was before bread was packed in plastic bags--the packaging was cellophane--easily torn, and not liquid-tight by any means.

     Now, I don't know how many of you are familiar with the cough syrup that was branded as "Pertussin";  that's what she had purchased.  If you don't know what it is, the smell is something on the order of turkey stuffing, as it has a good deal of the herb thyme as part of the ingredients.  There sat the loaf of bread, soaking up 'eau du thyme,'  while my 10-year-old self wailed from the top of the stairs about the waste, the terrible waste. 

     Mother, needless to say, was annoyed on a number of levels.  She salvaged what she could, grabbed a broom to sweep the broken orange juice bottle from in front of the neighbor's house, and prepared to return to the store to replace what had been lost.  (I think maybe she waited for a break in the weather...that part of the story is less strong in my memory.)

    That was a bit of a long-way-around of stating that I am no stranger to 'green' and 'eco-friendly' habits.  It's always been just something I do.  Only nowadays, it seems to have evolved into a fad and a buzz-word.  That concerns me, as fads are all too often passing fancies that do not stay around.  With many fads, that is just as well.  But when it comes to responsible husbandry of this rock on which we all live, a 'passing fancy' is not okay.

    Cheers and may you all have a bountiful, wonderful and safe holiday season.

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