Tag Archives: fitting in

Pumpkins, Incense, and M&Ms: The Sweet Life of Autumn

One year ago tomorrow I started this blog.  Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and encouraged.

I was going to have a giveaway to celebrate, but I don’t have enough readers yet to make that seem anything other than pompous and silly.  Maybe next year.

Before I get into today’s topics, I want to offer this humorous, gentle reminder from ZDogg, MD, because September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month:

Guys, my dad had this, and they treated it until it was gone.  So, please, don’t let your ‘nads slip through your fingers (pun intended!).

In a related subject, I emailed the American Cancer Society and asked about volunteering.  I heard back from the local maven today (in a rather snooty tone, but oh well, this is Central PA after all), who sent me a PDF page explaining the office volunteer work.  Basically, filing/shredding/stuffing envelopes and so on.

That’s exactly what I was looking for.  Doing work that cannot, in any way, shape, or form, cause controversy or conflict.  Just me going into an office and doing office work.  And possibly sweeping.

I told her I wanted to do this once a week, with more hours if there was some special event/project that needed more people etc.  Hopefully, I can start soon.

I plan on riding Coco over there, since it’s just a little over half a mile.  Um maybe after they get to know me, and won’t think it’s too strange.

I am still very self-conscious about Coco and her training wheels.  I get a lot of odd looks and snickers and it gets me down.

Work for the sake of work.  It’s a good thing and helps everyone involved.

Now that autumn is approaching, I feel a sense of renewal – I could spin it as some spiritual holdover from my Druid ancestry, but actually I think it’s more due to the feeling I had as a kid when I was starting a new school year.

School – up until junior high – was a place I was safe, never got into trouble, and was “Teacher’s Pet” every year, no matter what teacher.  So, I loved it.

Getting new clothes (dresses, of course – back then we had dress codes, and no one I knew wore jeans even at home), and then going to the school one evening before the start of the school year to see what classroom I was in, and to meet the teacher.

Crisp, clear autumn nights in the Bay Area.  Skipping ahead to my designated classroom in black patent leather Mary Janes (it’s a type of shoe) and a new dress, with bobby socks with frilly lace on the tops (what are now called “anklets”).  Barrettes in my hair.  So excited!

Many, MANY years later, when I had to start over after my divorce, and I went back to college, those old feelings resurfaced.  And college never disappointed me – even as an older student, I had the time of my life.

I know it sounds corny but I just love learning.

So, every time the weather cools in September and October, I feel those old feelings of excitement and “starting over”.

This year, it will hopefully be with a small volunteer gig, a redecorated space, and a new routine.

I had let my illness drag me down, and it might do that again, but right now as I am less sick than I have been for awhile, I am taking advantage of it.  I am stuck here in Hollidaysburg, so I may as well make the best of it until I can find my proper path.

My living space has always had to accomodate other people.  Now, it doesn’t – and it’s never, EVER going to, again.  What I mean by this is, simply, NO SHARING.

I am not dating, I don’t plan on dating, and even if I do date again, no one is sharing my living space ever again.  This is MY space.  Period.

And so, since I want to use all battery-operated candles for lighting at night, and fairy lights around the top of my canopy bed, that’s what I am doing.  There will be none of this “but I can’t seeeeee” whining, no “let’s hang MY posters here”, and definitely no complaining about incense.

I have cleared out an extra room off my bedroom that was being used for storage, and will use that as a space for an as-yet-unbought altar.  Without anyone arguing with me, disguising a fear of paganism as anger, or making fun of me.

You see, I kept seeing my apartment as a layover place until I started my life again.  My younger son lived here with me for awhile, and that kept things on the generic side, in terms of decorating.  It’s not that he would have objected, it’s just that I decorate differently when other people share my living space.

When I was married, I had to consider my husband’s wishes when decorating.  Then I had one (yes, just one) brief, live-in boyfriend who completely redecorated the space in my apartment when he moved in with all his stuff.  Finally, the last place I escaped from lived in was someone else’s house, and he controlled everything and everyone in that space.

I have lived alone before, yes.  And, in general, I have to say I like it pretty well.  For one thing, when I live alone, there’s essentially no possibility that I will be attacked or hurt in any way.

Especially not in Hollidaysburg, where there are fewer than 5000 people, and where you can leave your door unlocked and not worry (though I think everyone locks theirs anyway).

And since my mind was always in the “I have to get out of PA” mode, I didn’t put a lot of thought into making my apartment a comfortable, eclectic space for me to relax in.  And, considering how much time I actually spend at home (nearly all my time), that made for a somewhat depressing living space.

I have been gathering up this and that from here and there, and using these things to decorate as I go along and toss things/pack things I don’t need.  I should have it all done by next week, and then I can see what other components I need (like a trunk for a coffee table, for example).

And……I bought a TV antenna, which is coming tomorrow!  I want a comfortable space in which to watch my 3 stations I am hoping to pick up.  Along with Netflix.

So…goals for this autumn: clean, organize, decorate, create a ritual space, volunteer, continue the exercise routine.

You’ll notice that nowhere on that list is “meet new people”.

Much as Boy Wonder wants me to make that a goal, I am still extremely wary of others, particularly male others, and I am loathe to engage with any of the small-town matrons who populate this tiny town.

Because I know they won’t like me, I won’t fit in, they’ll talk about me behind my back, and eventually someone will end up in tears (most likely me).  That’s just how it is here.

I told BW I would maybe, MAYBE join a mystery book club at the library.  We’ll see.  I won’t lie, I do get lonely.  It would be nice to have a few more friends here (not that I don’t appreciate Nancy, I do – she’s a terrific friend).

I joined a Facebook page that purports to be about a group of neo-Pagans in Altoona who get together or something, not really sure.  Last post I read was about some other group of people my age and a bit younger who live communally in rural Pennsylvania (who knew?).

The commune people are technically “a church”, own the land on which they live, and seem like they do a lot of interesting things (though I was a bit downhearted to see the picture of the “Wiccan ceremony” that appeared to be led by a male person).

It would be nice to be around other neo-Pagans, for sure.  But I won’t hold my breath.  They can be just as “clique-y” as anyone else.

I am much more excited about doing solitary spellwork again. And about upcoming Samhain.

Next week, I think I will write about Wicca, women, and power.  I have a few thoughts on that.

Oh and, incidentally, the only activity lately was perhaps an editorial comment: I turned on the monitor to watch CBS (the only station I can get with rabbit ears), and left the room to get coffee while “The Price is Right” was on.

Suddenly, it’s quiet.  I pop my head out the kitchen entryway, and the monitor is shut off.  The remote control, which was on the sofa, is now all the way across the room and sitting next to the monitor on the repurposed desk.

I don’t think my cats did that.  And one of them could be seen staring “at attention” at “nothing” at that end of the room.

Today’s weirdness comes from CNN, of all places, about the “Blood Moon” due to appear on September 27.   Apparently some Christians believe this means the end of the world is coming. This idea is based on a few sentences in the Bible – Joel 2:30-31 and Revelation 6:12.

You can look them up if you want, I can’t be bothered.  And they think pagans are silly!

Recommendations?    Hmm.  Aside from the new Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms and Pecan Pie M&Ms, I got nothing.  But…aren’t those enough?  Yummy!!!

Be good.  Be kind.   Think apple cider, hayrides, pumpkins, and Halloween.

Just Bring Cups…

Health update: My fever now is during the day and evening.  Otherwise, feeling no better or worse.

It’s rainy and grey here in Central PA today.  I have just finished filling 60 treat bags to give out on Halloween, but haven’t gotten around to decorating the porch yet.  I have a cute little ghost that appears to peek out from behind a tree/post/what-have-you, but when I got it in the mail I realized it needed screws to install – which is a huge no-no when you are renting someone’s house.   So my neighbor and I are going to have to find another way to attach it – it’s so cute!

(Here is a pic)

I don’t even have a jack-o-lantern to set out!  Though, to be honest, I kind of hate carving pumpkins, as it is so messy and for some reason causes a rash on my hands and arms.  So I am still looking for a fake jack-o-lantern that I can just stick a battery-operated candle in, set the timer and forget it.  There are a few on the net but wow so expensive!  Every year I tell myself I need to buy these things AFTER Halloween, when they are on sale, but every year I find my budget will not allow it.

Why not make some decorations?  Hey, there’s an idea and NO, it’s not a good one.

I’ve never been good at arts and crafts.  I would dread it when teachers would send home supply lists for making things in class, because I knew whatever project my teacher had in mind, I would inevitably botch it.

As I grew up and had kids, I tried to do Martha Stewart kinds of things, but could never pull it off (except for making and decorating cakes, I was pretty good at that).  I was NEVER the mom who showed everyone how to make oh, I dunno, say…hats out of bits of material scraps, buttons, and glitter – I was the mom who would do/teach puppet shows, dress up like a giant bunny and show up at my kids’ school near Easter, make balloon animals, and for awhile could actually juggle.

I was never the “room mother” – that person who the teacher designates each year to organize school parties and so on.  I was always the mom who was told to “just bring cups”.

I like to think there is a special “life review” for those mothers who essentially bullied the teacher into room mother status, and then subsequently ran around telling everyone how hard it is to be so busy (“I just CAN’T say no to Little Tiffany’s teacher – but with me teaching Sunday school,  running Boy and Girl Scout troops, heading up the Neighborhood Garden Committee, and organizing the school carnival/reading program/lunchroom aides I just don’t have time for myself!”).

I am still mad just thinking about it!!  And this was easily 25 years ago!!

This season brings to mind my foray into room mother territory, and the subsequent minor disaster that is my life.

The upshot: I got pulled aside and asked to never volunteer for the Halloween carnival again (held at my kids’ school, Farmington Elementary in Germantown, TN).  Even though I raised quite a bit of money for them.

My crime?  Not understanding what they wanted and assuming that they had a lot more tolerance than they actually had (which is to say, “none”).  They wanted people to act as “gypsy fortune-tellers”.  I swear, that’s ALL they told me.  “Just show up at the school half an hour early and we’ll show you where to set up.”

So I did – with my tarot cards.  In a long skirt with a bandana.  Ok so what if it wasn’t really a costume, but actually the way I liked to normally dress??  I looked the part, didn’t I?

The lady in charge told me I was to go into one of the classrooms with my tent and…”Oh, you don’t HAVE a tent? But I’m SURE BettyLou TOLD you to bring one…why look how she’s set up, with a tent and a candle and everything…you sure she didn’t tell you?”

BettyLou had no intention of telling me any damn thing.  Yes, elementary-school mothers really CAN be that petty.

So, having no tent or anything, I pulled a table over and sat down near the entrance to the room.  Ms. Lady-in-Charge gives me a little fish.  Yes, like this one:


Fortune Teller Miracle Fish


Now, I actually think these are really cute, and hey they would make really great Halloween treats to give out, so I have included the link.  No, I don’t work for them or anything, I just like novelties like this.