Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's Halloween

All Hallows Eve is fast approaching and with it many memories of Halloween's past. I wish I had a picture of myself dressed in my Halloween garb as a child but, alas, none exist. I can tell you this, it was always a momentous night filled with C-A-N-D-Y. Yes, in bold and all caps!

Two things always come to mind when Halloween rolls around, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

Let’s start with….

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door
-Only this, and nothing more.'

As you know, this is just the first stanza or verse of The Raven, it is actually quite lengthy, haunting and gothic. But I love to read it every year. Though not related to Halloween but just as romantic and gothic is Poe’s…

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;--
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee--
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

I can remember reading and reciting this poem in the fourth or fifth grade. Annabel Lee is another favorite Poe poem of my mine. Is it no wonder that I was attracted to gothic novels like Jane Eyre at an early age? I sometimes felt I was born out of sync with time.

But in stark contrast to these heavy hearted poems is Charlie Brown, that round headed kid. Here’s a closely held family secret… long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, long before I even knew Charlie Brown existed, I had a cousin whose nickname was not just Charlie but Charlie Brown. Yes, the whole enchilada! Let me tell you it was quite startling to realize one day that his name was really Stephen!

Charlie Brown, not again!

I can’t wait to watch It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown one more time. You know Charlie Brown should know better when it comes to Lucy and that football, Snoopy will be flying on his Sopwith Camel, Linus will be writing a letter to the Great Pumpkin telling him it's not his fault Santa Claus gets more publicity, Sally’s going to go on her rant at being cheated out of tricks and treats, and the gang all end up at Violet’s house for a Halloween party.

Great Pumpkin: 0 Beagle: 1

This third Charlie Brown special first aired October 27, 1966 on CBS and pre-empted My Three Sons! ABC picked up the rights to the special beginning in 2001.

Whoo-Hoo - party at Violet's!

Eeeeewwww, dog germs!

A little rememberence of Halloween past

Something for the girls!

I wish you Happy Hauntings!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Leaving so soon?

IT’S been a long time coming. IT’S been lying folded in a see-through plastic storage box in the closet for at least one year where I would catch an occasional glimpse of IT. IT was previously relegated to the back of the closet and not worn for at least one year. IT was enjoyed immensely and frequently worn for at least two years during the winter months. IT has now moved to the donation box and will soon find IT'S way to Goodwill. Here IT is:

It’s my black wool check skirt with a little fringe hem. How I loved wearing it. It was usually paired with black tights and a black turtle neck sweater, my favorite way to wear it. I’d pair it with a shawl or a scarf; it was like a winter uniform for me. After years of Catholic school I felt right at home in it. Our school uniform was a woolen pleated skirt worn in the tropical, humid weather of Hawaii. Whose brilliant idea was that? But back to my skirt, it represented cold, mainland winter weather to me. I was living some sort of winter wonderland fantasy whenever I wore it. Imagine if I lived in someplace like Michigan or Chicago!

Well, lately I had begun to think perhaps the length was a little short for me, and to be completely honest, it didn’t fit like it used to if you get my drift. Also the phrase “age appropriate” began to raise its ugly head which I imagine to look like a three-headed hydra. I am sure this has happened to you…you’re walking in back of someone, she looks great from behind, long hair swinging, nice figure, dressed in a short denim skirt and body skimming tank top, shapely legs and all of a sudden she turns around and…OMG! Well, I didn’t want that to happen to me so my favorite skirt is headed for someone else to make good use of.

Goodbye, old friend, breaking up is hard to do.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gilda Radner

My first review at was Gilda Radner's book, It's Always Something.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the fabulous Gilda, I'd like to share the review with you.

Gilda Radner, an original member of Saturday Night Live, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 42 in 1989. Radner was best known for a number of zany characters she created on that ground breaking show including the obnoxious Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella the substitute teacher, and the nerdy Lisa Loopner to Bill Murray’s equally nerdy Todd.

Back in May of this year, Simon & Schuster released a 20th anniversary edition of Radner’s memoir, It’s Always Something, in which she reflects on her life, illness and her determination to continue living life on the sunny side. Alan Zweibel, who writes the new forward, says “Gilda told me, ‘My comedy is my only weapon against this thing.’”

Radner chronicles the health problems that began to plague her while filming Haunted Honeymoon in 1986 with her husband, the comedic actor Gene Wilder. After months of misdiagnoses, she learned she had ovarian cancer. Radner goes through a sundry list of why’s and maybes and what if’s but sometimes cancer doesn’t need any good reason why.

Upon successful chemo and radiation treatment, Radner began work on her memoir, It’s Always Something, a tip to her character Roseanne Rosannadanna. Through her book, Radner hoped to imbue other cancer patients with a sense of humor, courage and hope. Sadly in 1988 she learned her cancer had returned. On May 17, 1989 Radner was admitted to the hospital for a CAT Scan and died three days later on May 20, 1989 just two months before the release of her book.

Zweibel says that toward the end of her life, Radner was on a crusade to show people that cancer patients could live quality lives if they have the right attitude, and “I think she would have been incredibly pleased that this was part of her legacy and that her campaign and her memory still lives on.”

Gilda as Emily Litella on Weekend Update with Chevy Chase

Gilda embodies the 70's for me. One of my favorite quotes from Gilda is this gem for the fashionista in all of us: I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn't itch. Great advice!

October is
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so please consider this a shout out, in case you forgot or have been avoiding, to give your doctor a call and make an appointment for a mamogram.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

She's All That - Debbie Peavy

Name: Debbie Peavy

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Debbie in Dinan, France in front of the old city walls

A brief history of your fabulous self: I grew up with dreams of becoming a veterinarian, but when my own vet let me observe a few times, I decided I would just have lots of pets! I became a teacher instead and taught high school French for 34 years. I tried living in France for a year in the Lorraine region, but discovered that I can’t be that far away from my family. I am now retired and live with my four cats who act as my staff on my blog. I am a divorced mother of one daughter, 29 years old, who is married to a wonderful man. I have a 9-year-old grandson and another little grandson on the way! I love gardening, reading, blogging and “Goodwill hunting” for thrifting finds.

What’s on your To Do List: My grandson and I have a trip to France planned for his 11th birthday. The highlight will be a visit to Monet’s garden in Giverny. He has been a big fan of Monet’s work since kindergarten thanks to a wonderful art teacher! I can’t wait to show him Monet’s water lilies in person!

We never would have guessed: My home is decorated in French country style…probably not a surprise…but you might be surprised to know that much of it came from bargain shopping and thrift store finds. I have found beautiful chairs, hand painted pottery, old ironstone pieces, wonderful table linens and antique flatware. It is unbelievable what people give away!!

What would you tell your 20 year old self: I would tell myself to relax and stop being such a little people pleaser. Turning 50 gave me permission at last to stop worrying so much about what other people think of me and to enjoy my life!

Favorite childhood memory: My mother took my sister and me on a wonderful picnic…in our backyard! I still remember the apple print on what would now be considered a vintage tablecloth with grass peeking up through a little hole. My mother taught us how to identify the birds nearby from their songs. It felt like we were worlds away!

Last book read or movie seen: I recently saw the movie Julie & Julia! Of course, the scenes in France were wonderful, but I loved seeing Julia Child reinvent herself later in life! I think that is something that we women have the ability to do…turn our lives in a new direction and continue to live life to its fullest!

Debbie & pal Ozzie

What’s your favorite time of day: My favorite time of day is dusk. I love to walk around in my garden, enjoying the fragrance of my favorite flowers. I especially enjoy the heirloom flowers that I saved from my mother and grandmother’s gardens. I feel connected to them through these special plants. I have shared them with my sister and daughter and I hope that the tradition will continue.

Debbie doesn't call her blog Confessions of a Plate Addict for nothing! Here's a playful excerpt from her very first post...

Hi all! My name is Debbie and I am a plate addict. I used to be a relatively normal person...I used my plates for eating just like everyone else. It never occurred to me to hang them on the wall. I had no particular fascination for faience or transferware or Quimperware...I don't know if I knew what they were. Then I made a life-changing decision...I moved to France. It seemed the natural thing to do for an aging French teacher...LOL! That is where I discovered PLATES!

You can also follow Debbie on Twitter!