Okay, so here’s the deal: I am anxious as hell right now about what the outcome will be of the Presidential election happening in approximately 48 hours from now.
It’s good that I’ve been busier at work lately, having increased my hours. It was good for my soul to participate in a “Trunk or Treat” event (where everyone wore masks and gloves) yesterday afternoon. Seeing all the kiddos in their costumes really lifted my spirits. Distractions for me right now are a blessing.
Today I am determined to remain positive and share something positive with you all. Maybe it’ll give you some hope for our collective future as it did for me.
I caught this story on the news earlier this week about a 14 year old Indian American girl from Frisco, Texas who just won 3M’s “America’s Top Young Scientist” prize for discovering a key for a possible treatment for Covid-19.
Now, I don’t know what you were doing at 14, but I know I was not winning any contests based on my intelligence. The only “contest” I was trying to win at that time was “girl all the boys want to date”.
This brilliant young woman’s name is Anika Chebrolu and I think she is amazing. She gives me hope for the future. Her parents must be so very proud.
It astounds me that at 14, she has such a massive intellect and she is so well-spoken. So composed and mature beyond her years. She is an example of the kind of “Gem” that we ought to pay attention to and support.
I read a few articles about her and this is the one I found most informative. I’m certain this “Gem” is going places in the scientific world!
As I’ve been simultaneously working some extra hours, gearing up for a move to a new office next week, planning what I hope is going to be an epic Halloween Potluck/Costume party for work, and putting together my crazy, creepy Halloween costume, one thing is clear.
I’ve got Halloween on the brain. I’m totally geeking out on it, actually. So that is what I’m writing about today.
Thanks to my Google playlist subscription, I am now able to find a number of Halloween themed playlists. Of course, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson is on virtually all of them. I had an opportunity about 6 years ago to participate in a “Thriller” flash mob with my Zumba instructor and several fellow students. I now regret not taking that opportunity. If it were to be presented to me in the here and now, I like to think I’d jump right in.
Then there’s the treats. I was cursed blessed with the sweetest of sweet tooths. My mom and dad, aka Bonnie and Babe, somehow infused this into my soul.
Of course, this year, just like all the years previous to it, 3 weeks before this holiday, I went and purchased a large bag of my favorite candy to pass out to the little ones who come to my door on Halloween night. I did this with the full knowledge that in the last two years here in our Colorado townhome community, we have had a total of 3 trick or treaters. But I figure I ought to be prepared for an onslaught, you know, just in case.
The bag is now half full.
Speaking of treats, here’s a sweet/salty (ok, mostly sweet) Halloween snack mix recipe I’ve been making on an annual basis. In fact, I’m bringing it to work for our Halloween extravaganza. It is beyond simple, and for my fellow sweet toothers out there, it really hits the spot this time of year.
Mix together the following in a large bowl:
6 cups caramel corn
2 cups cashews (or peanuts, if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups candy corn
1/3 cup raisins
A favorite Halloween tradition of mine is watching “Average Andy” go through haunted houses on “Ellen”. It never fails to crack me up! The clip below is from last year because the one from this year isn’t on YouTube yet. In case you haven’t caught it yet, you’re welcome 🙂 Check out Andy’s indignation at 1:43–Hilarious!
As I mentioned here, I don’t sew. And despite the fact that I have a fully evolved male partner in my life who actually can and does sew, I don’t expect him to sew me a new costume every year. Or any year. I prefer to go the DIY route. Get an idea in my head and figure out how I’m going to make it happen. Here’s my SNL inspired costume for this year. Boo!
Fall has arrived here in Colorado. It seemed to happen almost overnight. Or maybe I’m just not as observant as I could be. The temps are now pretty steady in the 50’s at this point so the days of wearing sandals on the regular are gone, at least until March or April anyway. The leaves are changing and as I’m driving around I’m treated to the sights of beautiful maples with rich hues of burgundy, gold, and orange.
Here’s what I am loving about this particular fall season:
Waking up to those dark mornings. I know, it sounds a little weird, but there’s a coziness I feel when I’m padding down the stairs in pursuit of a cup of hot coffee, of course, in the wee hours after a good night’s slumber and the house is shrouded in the quiet darkness. It’s peaceful and comforting. Though some mornings as a result I have to put up a pretty good internal argument against crawling back under those covers.
Cooking hearty meals and delectable, soul warming desserts. Recently, I made a recipe I’ve had forever and came up with a way to make it even more scrumptious. I will share that recipe at the end of this post. I also made my blogger friend CJ’s apple cake on Sunday and it was seriously the bomb! I highly recommend it! I got a lot of compliments from my co-workers when I brought it to work yesterday. It’s the perfect go-to for fall potlucks.
Bringing out the fall wardrobe. I was smart over the summer and picked up a few pieces while thrift store shopping to add to what I already had. My girly-girl side came out as I tried on different combinations of things to wear to work and when simply being out and about this fall.
Speaking of fall wardrobes, another thing I’m getting pretty psyched about is Halloween costumes. As I mentioned in my fall themed blog post last year, being empty-nesters has allowed us to re-claim this holiday for ourselves. I am currently pondering what costumes we will be donning this Halloween. Contenders are me as a good witch and Hubs as Johnny Cash (my version of super heroes for these times we are in) or “Blue Waves” (which we fervently hope come via our ballot boxes next month). Here’s us in our costumes last year…
Voting season: oh, so many reasons to be happy about this. Like perhaps there will be a surge in the number of Americans casting their ballots. Perhaps sane, rational, not geriatric and not all male candidates will be elected this time. Also that it-namely, the constant political ads and political junk mail-will be over on 11/7.
Now for that promised recipe:
French Dip Sandwiches
Disclaimer: I wrote down this recipe eons ago on a recipe card, and if I could credit the cook who I got it from I would, but I have no earthly idea who that would be.
3 lbs. beef chuck roast
2 Cups water
1/2 cup Soy Sauce (I always use the low sodium kind)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3 whole peppercorns
Put the beef in the crockpot. Mix up all the other ingredients (minus the french bread of course) in a bowl. Pour it over the beef. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 hours + if you like. Shred or slice (depending on the level of tenderness) the beef and put between two slices of crusty french bread.
My attempt at morphing the leftovers (which I froze last week and am thawing as I write this) into something even better is this: Slice yellow onions and saute them in butter. Drain the liquid from the beef and cook it in a saucepan, possibly adding additional water and beef bouillon. Heat up the slices of beef in the microwave. Put the broth in soup bowls and add the onions, then the beef. Top with shredded mozzarella. Cut up chunks of the french bread and toss it into the soup bowls. Voila! French onion soup, my way.
Long gone are the days when my friends and I would gleefully skip/run through our small Minnesota town on a chilly Halloween evening, unencumbered by parents, fueled by sugar with the promise of more to come.
Also gone are the days in which Hubs and I would guide our spawn in choosing the perfect costumes at our local Goodwill store and hide all the candy we bought perhaps much too early (in my defense, as the chief candy buyer in the household, I didn’t want to wait too late and end up having the lame choice between those awful peanut butter kiss taffy things or a bag of apples). I was simply not willing to tarnish my reputation as the bestest chocolate giver-outer of our neighborhood.
Now my reality is I have a 3 year old grandson in Wisconsin who, depending on the day, either wishes to be a “Doctor Fish” or have 5 different Halloween costumes. I sincerely wish my daughter the best of luck with this.
Times, as they say, have changed. Now parents escort their youngins from house to house in their neighborhoods though the especially smart ones take their costumed kiddos to the “better” neighborhoods to ensure the highest quality and quantity of candy possible. But as merely a middle aged, empty nester observer, it appears to me that a large chunk of parents these days choose instead to cart their kids to the nearest mall, church, or grocery store not on Halloween, but the Saturday before because it is simpler. More convenient.
I must say that I think that’s a little sad. Don’t you?
I do get it though. Times are different now. Thanks to the inundation of horrifying news stories about unimaginable harm being inflicted upon children these days, we are all more skeptical about engaging with strangers. On top of that, parents of little ones are often working their tails off to pay the bills while simultaneously doing their best to ensure their kids are not only safe but also participating in activities that will give them the most well rounded childhood experiences possible.
That said, it is completely understandable that creating the perfect Halloween experience for one’s offspring is not necessarily at the top of present day parents priority lists. But it is still a bit of a bummer, isn’t it?
So in honor of those good ‘ol days when we knew and trusted our neighbors enough to enter their homes and accept their sugary offerings on that one magical night of the year, and our moms had time and energy (because we were all playing outside after school instead of being shuttled to and fro-to dance lessons, piano practice, soccer games and the like) to make our Halloween costumes, I present to you pictures from Halloween’s past.
Pumpkin desserts…mmmm. I have collected a good number of recipes for delectable pumpkin treats over the years. Like pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin pie cake, and pumpkin ice cream dessert. The one I’ll be making this week, in honor of my sister and brother in law coming to visit us in Colorado for the first time ever, is Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt cake. I’m more than happy to share any or all of these recipes. All you have to do is ask!
Beautiful fall colors outside. The colors of the changing leaves this season to me are breathtaking. I imagine when Hubs and I are old and gray grayer we will be one of those couples who takes a vacay out East to marvel at the spectacular fall foliage there.
Premieres of my favorite t.v. shows. After a summer of ho-hum t.v. viewing, I embrace the fall t.v. season. This is Us premieres tonight (btw, am so happy that Sterling K. Brown won the best actor emmy. His character is the heart of this show). The Good Place, Hubs and my favorite new show from last fall, has already premiered and it continues to be the most awesome show since like, ever. Then there’s Scandal, which sadly is on its last season. I can’t wait to see how Olivia Pope is going to behave sans white hat. You gladiators know what I’m talking about. And good old Grey’s Anatomy, one of my all time favorites. I sure hope the writers finally wind up the love story between Alex and Jo once and for all.
Halloween!!! After approximately 18 years of having a kid-focused Halloween (aka going back and forth ad nauseum with our spawn about what freaking costume they want and hiding candy that I bought too early that was always found and mostly consumed before the big day), Hubs and I have re-claimed this holiday for ourselves. Last year, we dressed up as Walter White and Jesse from Breaking Bad. Picture will not be made available. Complete with fake blue crystal meth (Hubs, being a scientist, relished the opportunity to create this product). This year, I’m thinking either Samantha and Darren from Bewitched because I tend to have witchy tendencies and he is a great straight man of course. Or Peg and Al Bundy from Married With Children though I’m not sure I can pull off spandex pants in public.
The cool air in the house as I’m sleeping. Nothing says “Nighty Night, Sleep Tight” to me than breathing in the cool air from our bedroom window while spooning with Hubs under soft, freshly laundered bedding.
Nesting. The cool chill in the air makes me go inward. As in, I crave the creature comforts of home right now more than any other time of year. I tend to come up with totally awesome home improvement/decorating ideas this time of year, often to the chagrin of Hubs. I get a huge kick out of going through boxes of fall themed home decor items which Hubs lovingly refers to as either crap or junk, depending on his mood. I am pleased to report, however, that last weekend he and I started a kitchen pantry re-organizing project which has weirdly filled me with glee.
Talk show Halloween hijinks or pranks. I discovered these on You Tube a couple of years ago. Here’s a sample:
Vikings football. Until about 3 years ago, I could not have cared less about football. While Hubs has been a huge Vikings fan all his lifelong life, I essentially focused on making and/or eating football fare like chips and dip, little smokies, and pumpkin bars instead of trying to follow what I believed to be a hopelessly confusing and complicated sport. After a couple of seasons of focus and patience, I now have a good rudimentary understanding of the game. I even found that it is possible, heck even enjoyable, to cheer on our home state’s team while simultaneously snacking my heart out.
Fall clothes. Oh, comfy, cozy, soft sweaters. And fleece! Lovely colors to wear like plum, burgundy, gray, and the always flattering black. With the temps rapidly falling here in Colorado, I’ll be bringing my fall pieces out in no time.
Getting company. For several years now, fall has signaled a flurry of guests coming to visit us, whether we lived here or in Wisconsin. My sister and three of her best girlfriends would come to Wisconsin for a 2 day girls trip during which we would stay in a hotel in downtown La Crosse, and get our fill of shopping at the local boutiques and shops during the day and slurp down our favorite adult beverages while scarfing down appetizers at nearby restaurant/bars in the evenings. Friends or other family often come to visit during the fall as well, to celebrate Oktoberfest (which is a La Crosse, Wisconsin annual several day long party, complete with lederhosen and plenty of beer infused revelry).