Category Archives: Humor

WASTING AWAY…

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IMG952235The only good thing about walking Bella on this cold, dank, miserably rainy day is that there are no other dogs in the park to contend with, meaning Bella is calm and my shoulder won’t be yanked out of its socket. You’d have to be crazy to walk on a day like today, but if we weren’t all crazy, we’d just go insane. It’s not really the only good thing about the day, though. The thing I like best about a rainy day like today (besides booze in the blender) is the way my imagination runs wild and takes me to another place and time where I can blissfully daydream about living another life as I defy gravity. 1213121327

Most times I escape to a place that’s usually South and mostly sunny.  White, sandy beaches, clear blue water, good music and happy people dancing in honky tonk bars.  No shirts, no shoes? No problem!  Today I’m wasting away in Margueritaville on the cozy little island (or is it?) of Key West. Cozy isn’t really a good adjective…crazy, maybe…would be more fitting. Tonight I’m dancing to an Eagles wanna-be band at the Hogs Breath Inn where a flirtatious man with a cute smile once whispered in my ear that he’d dance with me in a heartbeat if he weren’t there with his girlfriend…WHAT?!?! Naughty…

I stroll through the quaint streets and little shops surrounded by lush, colorful vegetarian. (Damn, I just blew out my flip-flop!) I visit Hemingway’s house and run my hand along the walls of his little studio above the garage where he wrote his classics.

Wedding-Key West 158 I breathe in the musty air, hoping a bit of his brilliant spirit will enter mine. I pet the descendants of his many cats and wish I had a home such as this where my cats could meander about safely and freely. I close my eyes and dream. Wedding-Key West 154

I’ll toast him in his old haunts tonight…Sloppy Joe’s…and while there maybe enjoy a cheeseburger in paradise!

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Wedding-Key West 170Later on I hop a boat that takes me to an island with an outdoor bar and restaurant on the sand lit by tiki torches.  I sip unusually decadent mixes of exotic cocktails and enjoy the faint music playing in the background highlighted by steel drums.  I remember a story I once heard about a man who worked as a powerful but stressed-filled CEO who gave it all up and ran away to become a bartender at a beach bar.  Brilliant idea, I think.  I wonder if the man serving me my drink is him.  I wonder if I could get hired…1214120844

I stroll the promenade in the moonlight. People are coming and going…all at ease and having fun, unwinding on this tiny key lime slice of tropical paradise. I go back to the house, which is painted in brilliant colors, adorned with tropical furniture and artwork.  I’ll have a house like this of my own some day. I sit out on the lanai closing my eyes and listening to the sounds of the night and then wake to the annoying “cock-a-doodle-do” of the roosters that roam aimlessly about.

Bella barks abruptly at a squirrel she spies scaling a tree (or is it a rooster?!) and rattles me back to reality.  She splashes in the puddle, transforming me into a muddy mess. Reality bites…

So pardon me while I search for my lost shaker of salt. I’ve learned that if life gives you limes, make margueritas.  Sail on…sail on…sailor…Wedding-Key West 107

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100 BLOGS!

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As I write this today, I am celebrating my 100th blog! This is it – the 100th slice of my life shared with you! I hope you’ll allow me a moment to digress from the usual, and I trust with all my heart that you won’t view this as narcissistic.

When I first set out on this journey to find an outlet for the things I wanted to share, I had no idea how this would play out.  All I knew was that I wanted an outlet for the things floating around in my head. The dilemma was where and how. I’d had more than one 🙂 rejection for submittals to newspapers and magazines over the years since, to use a well-worn metaphor, publishing is a very hard nut to crack. (sorry) But I did have some luck with certain articles. I am also confident that blogging has led me to a current stint as a newspaper columnist.  me

In the beginning, November 2011, my daughter Megan suggested a blog spot in WordPress, and that’s where this journey began. I was surprised at how easy it was to get started and was elated to finally have a place to let my freak flag fly! Would anyone read my blog? I questioned.  Would anyone care? But then…what a rush!  My first “like.”  My first “comment.”  My first “follow.”  So many surprises from so many different people!

The broad spectrum of followers is mind-boggling.  They come from all walks of life – healthcare providers, moms, dog and cat lovers, chefs, neuroscientists, singer/songwriters, students, actors, retirees,  teachers, comedians, models, fashion designers and artists to name a few. I have reached people from all over the United States, and worldwide – England, Germany, Italy, France, British Columbia, India, Australia and Estonia!  It’s amazing to realize that someone in England is enjoying my blog with a cup of tea and a crumpet or that I’ve made a good friend from New York City whose life is so eerily parallel with my own that I can almost call her a soul mate!  Then there’s my cousin in Tennessee reminiscing along with me about Easter Day at my grandparents’ house as she reads, or the Roman man who writes his blog in Italian, to the Australian Dad raising a child on his own. It’s the “WOW” factor for me!

This site has unwittingly become a history for my children as well, although I don’t think they realize this quite yet. As I share stories about myself, my parents and grandparents, I hope they will take things to heart and discover the true beauty of their heritage.  Blogging has allowed me to be silly one day and introspective the next.  I’ve not only been able to share my views on everything from bologna to Prince Harry, but my insights on day-to-day life – hopes, fears, dreams, children, crazy pets, love, marriage, yummy recipes, the sadness in the loss of a loved one, weathering a major hurricane, faith in God! All of which I have discovered, have a commonality worldwide.  Pet blogs are the most liked;  inspirationals are the most commented on.  One way or another, I’m getting through to so many on so many different levels, and it fills my heart with gratitude to each and every one of you who have taken time out of your busy day to take a look.

So in a word – thanks.  Thanks for reading and liking and commenting and allowing me to share my world with you.  Thank you for giving me this outlet to make you laugh or cry, think or reflect, believe or imagine, consider or suppose. Whether you live in India, or two houses down, you mean more to me than you’ll ever realize, and I feel honored to think of you as my friends.

NO BAD DOGS…really?!

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Bubbles for Bella

Back in the day, world-renowned British dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse wrote a book, “NO BAD DOGS.” She finished that sentence with…only inexperienced owners. Oh, Barbara, I beg to differ. I haven’t been without a dog since the age of 4, having had all shapes and sizes and breeds. And yet, I’ve discovered that even as experienced as I think I may be in the handling of dogs, they literally have a mind of their own and most of the time are going to do what they want when they want to.

Riley

Just rethinking the size of these heels, Mommy!

Take my dog Bella a Labrador retriever, for example, who doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. Most of the time, she’s as calm, gentle, sweet and laid back as they come. But take her to the park and let another dog attempt to walk by…uh oh…she yanks me like a rag doll and tries as hard as she might to pounce on the dog. It’s just so annoying. I’m always making excuses for her behavior, especially to those unwitting people who insist that their dog and mine make friends. I find myself saying, “Oh, she actually loves other dogs, so I’m not sure why she’s jumping up and down and acting like an idiot,” or “oh, she’s just a little too excited right now,” or “she’s just a maniac.” It eventually evolves into, “I wouldn’t come too close; she’s just so predictable,” or “NO, SHE DOESN”T WANT TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR DOG!” It’s exhausting. I wish it were different….I wish she would sweetly walk up to other dogs and play. And, honestly, that’s all she really wants to do; she just doesn’t know how to go about it in quite the right way. Where is Cesar Milan when you need him?On the other hand, Bella loves a bath, which is a good thing. All I have to do is say the word bath, and the next thing I know, she’s sitting in the tub. Even if I just say the word in passing, she races to the bathroom. She gives me a good laugh and kind of washes all the other stuff away.

And how about my daughter Megan’s and son-in-law Matt’s dog Riley. Riley has been somewhat of a problem child since puppyhood, especially with barking and annoying people who visit to the point of ad nauseam, and you just pray that they’ll put her in time out (the downstairs powder room) which happens quite often. For instance, Meg and Matt are recent newlyweds, and for her birthday this year Matt prepared her a bubble bath complete with candles, etc., (these are the kinds of things you get at the beginning of a marriage 🙂 ). As soon as Megan got home, she retreated to the tub, closing the door behind her. Riley was left outside the bathroom door and apparently was not too happy about it. She usually gets Meg’s undivided attention and a long walk. I guess she got mad because when Meg finished soaking she came out to find her favorite pair of shoes chewed up by you-know-who. Uncanny!

peanut butter

MMM…MMM…Good!

But, then there’s Lulu, my daughter Katie and boyfriend Blake’s black Labrador retriever. To preface this in Lulu’s defense, she was a rescue dog, a puppy mill mother who at the time of her rescue weighed only 40 lbs. and was in very sad shape. She’s come a long way with a lot of tender loving care and has gone from 40 to 90 lbs. in a hurry. Lulu is sweet and gentle, but has a major food fetish…understandably. Let a bag rustle softly or a refrigerator door open, and she’s there. And when Katie and Blake go off to work, it’s SHOWTIME!

food

Snack time

At first Lulu got into the garbage, although it had a lid. They are now very careful to put the garbage can in the pantry closet before they leave, but sometimes they forget and come home to a big surprise.Then it was the dog food, which used to be kept in a bag in the kitchen until it was ripped open and finished one day. They started storing the food in a plastic bin. No problem…Lulu dragged the entire bin (with a full 20 lbs. of dog food inside) to her bed and snacked all day until it was gone. The bin is now being stored in the pantry closet as well. Blake made himself a peanut butter sandwich one day and left the jar on the counter….another thing proactively being put away in the pantry closet. It’s getting crowded in there.

Garbage

Oh, Lulu…

The last straw came when the Great Houdini somehow opened the refrigerator door…PARTY TIME!!! It must have been so much fun to nose around and help herself to the feast in front of her all day long! Lulu was hiding that day when Katie returned from work…with good reason. Katie went upstairs to the kitchen to find the remains of the day. Items were dragged into the bedroom, onto her bed and around the house. The bed was covered in peanut butter and chocolate from a leftover birthday cake, a bag of cooked chicken was devoured, cheese was gone, etc. Food was strewn everywhere. Katie and Blake tried to retrace their steps to see if maybe they might have left the refrigerator door ajar…or not. No matter, Lulu had a five-star day! And she never got sick…just seemed very satisfied. When Katie dragged Lulu out of her hiding place, she took her to the refrigerator and gave her a scolding, pointing to the handle and saying No, No, No! Then she took her out for a walk. It’s hard to stay mad at Lulu when she cuddles up to you with those sad brown eyes. I’m happy to report she hasn’t gone into the refrigerator since. Must be that experienced dog owner stuff kicking in. But that was only last week. Or did they fit the refrigerator into the pantry closet as well?! Good dogs, bad dogs, we love them all. Eventually their shenanigans become funny stories to tell later on after you have finished crying…maybe…or not.

FOREFATHERS – PART 1 – THE BASS PLAYER

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My Grandpop

My Grandpop, the bass player in the band.

My grandfather played bass in a band at night for beers and tips. I just found this out about him last night from my cousin Sharon who came over for a visit. She said my grandmom could always tell a good night’s earnings by the barometer of his inebriation, which did not make her happy! Until yesterday I only knew him as my “Grandpop”- a man who worked in a Bayer aspirin factory in Trenton his whole life, toiling to care for his wife and family of eight children. He was someone who walked to work or hitched a ride because they couldn’t afford a car –I don’t believe he ever drove.Sharon brought over an assortment of old pictures she found in the attic and gave them to me.  I was immediately transported into the past as I rummaged through these precious vintage photos…into my heritage and my history.

Jan Kramarz sailed from Poland as a boy on a ship he proudly proclaimed by name – “The Victoria!” He was a handsome man with a thick head of hair and a wry smile. He had a funny sense of humor and loved to tease us, which he did with a twinkle in his eye and a wink. He met my grandmother through a friend and joked about marrying her one day. He was only kidding, but she thought he was serious (or so the legend goes). So he found himself in an odd dilemma as he used to describe it, one in which he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. He used to say he felt bad because she thought he seriously wanted to marry her …so he just did…What?!? Were they ever in love? I’ll never know. They were kind of stoic in their behavior towards one another, but everyone was in those days. They did somehow manage to have eight children (in love or not) – four boys and four girls (my mother born fourth in succession) and they all lived in a two bedroom, one bathroom (which only had a toilet and footed tub – no sink) row home in the Polish section of Trenton on Pennsylvania Avenue. The house perpetually exuded warmth in an earthy kind of way with the homey smells of bread baking or kielbasa and ham cooking. Grandpop used to love sneaking into the basement to smoke his beloved cigars – not a pleasant aroma at all I discovered when I snuck up on him one day.

Grandmom Veronica Pisaczyk and Grandpop Jan Kramarz on their wedding day

Grandmom Veronica Pisaczyk and Grandpop Jan Kramarz on their wedding day

One of Grandpop’s pleasures was tending to his small garden in the tiny 12 x 25 foot backyard. He grew assorted vegetables, but his crowning glory was his giant sunflowers in the corner of the yard near the shed that grew to be six feet tall with heads a foot round. I remember looking up at them as a small child and being in awe. To this day they are my favorite flower.My Grandpop was a hard worker and a good man, but I don’t think he had a lot of fun in his life. I think it was all work and struggle, especially during the Depression. But he was a pleasant man and a talker and was always glad to see his family.  He loved it when his kids and their spouses and families, which included 16 grandchildren, jammed into that tiny row home for the holidays, even though at times there were so many of us that we spilled out onto their small front porch and sat on the steps. There was always plenty of Polish food for all of us to savor and Polka music blared in the background from their transistor radio. He and the men in the family used to toast “nostrovya” as they downed glasses of schnapps.

I think Grandpop was lonely in the latter portion of his life since my Grandmom died at 62 yrs. old. He used to sit and gaze out the front window or take walks around the neighborhood. I remember how happy he was when I visited from time to time, sitting and listening to his same old stories over and over again.  I now wish I would’ve written them down. He succumbed in his latter years to Alzheimer’s disease, but lived to the ripe old age of 94, passing on a cold winter’s day in January with that same full head of gray hair in tact.

For you Grandpop, from my garden with love.

My cousin told me that my Grandpop’s bass playing days came to an end when he broke his instrument trying to get his tip money out of the middle section of the bass, which is where they apparently stored their tips. He just couldn’t fix it, and I imagine that it must have broken his heart not to be able to play anymore. But since he had eight hungry mouths during meager times, buying a new instrument was out of the question. And so life went on…I wish I could’ve heard him play in that band, and I wish I could’ve danced to his music. I can just see him standing on the stage dressed in his best suit playing his heart out with that crazy smile – and I can swear he just gave me a wink!

 

 

 

PRE-DAWN TREK

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1115121919My dog Bella woke me up this morning at 5:30 – yup, lucky me, right?!  It’s actually only a half hour earlier than when my normal workday begins, but its Saturday, its cold outside and last night we had our first snow. Why, Bella, why?!?!  I guess she’s just trying to torture me as she bounces on the bed panting in my face and trying my patience. But, when a dog’s gotta go, a dog’s gotta go. And what’s the alternative?  Cleaning up stains on the rug?  No, thanks. So, I pull on my coat and plop my hat on my sleepy head yawning uncontrollably.  I can’t find my gloves, so I grab an old pair that are too big, and step out into the tundra. I lose my breath to the burst of cold wind that greets me when I open the door.  Awesome…1107121557a

Muttering to myself, I trudge down the snow-covered street while Bella frolics in the virgin white snow. It’s quiet and peaceful on this lonely trail up to the bay, since most sane people without pets are still wrapped up in their cozy beds and won’t rise to daylight for another three hours. I eventually trick myself into thinking that it really isn’t so bad (not) to be the only human being in the universe walking up the snowy path in the dark, which is only slightly illuminated by the pristine snow and full moon hiding behind the clouds.  But if I let it, this pre-dawn trek could be a good thing. Bella immediately does her thing, so I guess she wasn’t just pulling my chain.  Good girl, I praise her.  She looks up at me with that big wide grin, tail wagging wildly, then streaks off into the snow, yanking my arm out of the socket.  Arrgghhh…

The quiet of pre-dawn actually fills me with peace after a very stressful week.  I walk along feeling calm for the first time in days.  I take a cleansing deep breath of the frosty air and blow it out forming circles before me.  Bella sniffs the ground and follows tiny footprints of an animal that arose even earlier than us. The ducks, which are usually quacking quietly in the swamp, have disappeared.  I guess they have finally wised up to the fact that the warmth of the south isn’t a bad idea after all and have probably flown the coop.  I imagine how nice the warmth of the sun would feel upon my skin right about now and yearn for the summer.  Instead we turn to head home to a pot of hot coffee, which I’ll sip as I sit on my chair in meditation and watch the sun rise over the lagoon.

I can’t really say that I’m unhappy to have gotten up as early as I did, thanks to my rambunctious Labrador retriever.  Guess I’m used to braving the weather in the name of walking her outside before she does something inside.  But this morning Bella inadvertently has taken me on a path of mental renewal where enjoying the quiet and peace of an early morning snow has calmed my nerves and given me hope for tranquility on this cold winter’s day. Gotta love her.

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Movie Countdown to Christmas

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I’m a sucker for a sappy romantic Christmas movie, and every year I make a list of must-see favorites.  I just don’t feel like Christmas is complete until my list is checked off and I’m settled into the very last one…A Christmas Story…which is always shown as a 24-hour marathon on one of the TV stations on Christmas Eve.

Maybe it’s just habit or another tradition, but I need the reminders of love portrayed in these movies that warm my heart and give me hope that people are basically driven by good and by love.  Love for each other…love for their family…love for their friends.

And so, in case you were wondering, I’ve listed my all-time favorites and why they are just that.

Christmas Vacation – This is my must-see Thanksgiving evening movie that kicks off the whole Christmas movie season.  Yes, it’s corny and kind of goofy, but the way Chevy Chase is driven to give his beloved family the perfect Christmas despite all their dysfunctions is a reminder that no family is perfect, and yet where there is family, there is love.

Bridget Jones’ Diary– This is a love/hate movie which is so typical in most instant-hate meetings that turns into love over time.  Who doesn’t melt when Renee Zellweger chases Colin Firth down the snowy English street, and he wraps his arms and coat around her and kisses her like she’s never been kissed.  She says, “Wait a minute…nice boys don’t kiss like that.”  And he says, “Yes, they f _ _ king do.” Who doesn’t want to be kissed like that?! Besides, he loves her just the way she is.

The Holiday – I want to go to England every time I watch this flick – to the little cottage portrayed in this movie and meet my Judd Law in a little pub in the countryside.  Who doesn’t?!   It’s a movie about people who think they know what’s good for them until they try something totally different.  It makes you just want to fly off for Christmas and find true love. Christmas, that is, in a snowy English countryside in a cozy cottage – is this over the top romantic, or what?!  Plus, Judd’s two little daughters in the movie just charm the socks off me.

Home Alone – A mother’s love will conquer even the mistake of leaving her son behind when the family goes on vacation. She will stop at nothing to make her way back to her son no matter what the cost or difficulty.  I just love this, plus Macaulay Culkin is just so entertaining, and it takes place in a beautiful home that reeks of warm and cozy and family.

Serendipity – This movie confirms for me that all things happen for a reason.  That you are meant to meet that one special person in the right timing…and that if it’s meant to be, it will happen no matter what the wait and what the circumstances. I want John Cusack.  Enough said.

The Family Stone – Another miss-matched couple find true love with other people who happen to be family related. Uptight Sarah Jessica Parker eventually matched with easy-going Ben Wilson instead of his equally uptight, egomaniac brother.  Who can’t resist Ben when he tells Sarah to just relax, let her hair down and let her freak flag fly?!  Of course, this movie also deals with Ben’s mother’s cancer and knowing this will be their last Christmas together with her is sad.  Another tear-jerker, but lots of fun. Plus, I get to look at Craig T. Nelson for two hours…heavy sigh…

When Harry Met Sally – Yes, Harry is annoying and so is Sally with her obsessive/compulsive craziness. This is another love/hate movie, which are my favorites.  You know love is going to win out, and it does despite Harry’s defect of not being able to commit and Sally’s insistence that everything she eats be separate and on the side.  When Billy Crystal takes Meg Ryan into his arms and tells her “when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want it to begin as soon as possible,” you just have to smile.

While You Were Sleeping – It’s a whirlwind series of misunderstandings that lead Sandra Bullock to the love her life, carpenter Bill Pullman with his tight jeans and work boots. When Sandra saves a man she has a huge crush on from a train wreck, he falls into a coma and somehow she is mistaken for his fiancée.  She lets the story play on only with his family so she could have the experience of a real-life caring family, which she so desperately desires.  It portrays the true loneliness that people feel during the Christmas season and ends with Sandra Bullock finding the love of her life and the family she so desperately needs.

You’ve Got Mail – OK, I can’t resist Tom Hanks, especially when he coyly tries to help Meg Ryan after he inadvertently destroys her cute little book business.  This movie starts out with the couple’s intense dislike, then friendship and eventually love. Plus, he brings her daisies when she’s sick in bed, and who can resist a guy like that?!

The Gathering – This is an old, old, made for TV movie that I have on VHS.  I don’t know how I’m going to play it this year, since the VHS player isn’t working.  I can only hope.  The premise goes like this…A career-driven father, played by Ed Asner, who has put business before family and who has been estranged from his wife and family for some time finds out he is dying and wants to see his family one more time. His ex-wife arranges a Christmas reunion of his children for their sakes, not his. They don’t know he is sick, so it’s about reconnecting with family and finding out that true love never dies.  He sees his newborn grandson, who they have christened on Christmas Day, for the first…and last time. Get out your tissues…

White Christmas – Another corny, sappy musical of all things…but it’s just beautiful, entertaining, sweet and fun.  Christmas can’t happen for me until I see that barn door open to a beautiful Christmas Eve snowfall as Bing Crosby sings.

A Wonderful Life – Yes, this is the ultimate, old-time heart grabber that proves love wins over money every time and family is what is most important in life. And no matter how many times you see it, the message comes through loud and clear and deserves repeating just to remind us.  We get it! Every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets his wings.

A Christmas Story– This is usually last in line shown on Christmas Eve. Who doesn’t get teary eyed when this little boy has accepted the fact that despite all the hints he’s dropped and even telling Santa,  he’s not going to get his “Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time,” only to watch his father’s excited expression as his son discovers with glee the ultimate gift he’s hidden for him behind the desk. Even though he does, indeed, almost shoot his eye out in the end, you gotta love that Dad who wanted nothing more than to fulfill his son’s Christmas dream. My brother got a BB gun for Christmas one year when he was just about the same age.  Luckily, he never shot his eye out!

Well, these are my favorites. I hope I haven’t forgotten any, although I do like the corniness of ELF as well.  As you can tell, I’ve had crushes on a lot of Christmas movie stars. Colin, Judd,  John, Ben, Billy, Bill, Craig and of course, Tom.  I’ll add each and every one of them to my Christmas wish list again this year. I can dream, can’t I?!?!

Time to get into my jammies, grab a cup of tea and a cozy blanket as I curl up on the couch and get watching – Christmas will be here before I know it!

What are your favorites?

FAVORITE FALL FUN

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Me and Katie at the farm.

The leaves are falling and the Southern-bound geese are cawing – time for my favorite fall fun!  Sounds corny, doesn’t it? But it is time to harvest the corn after all, so why not?! My family has a lot of fall traditions that mean a lot to us. When my kids were small, apple and pumpkin picking were looked forward to with as much excitement as Christmas morning.  Taking that hay-lined wagon ride out into the crisp autumn fields to choose our wares was a fall rite of passage.  Carving pumpkins was our ultimate pleasure.

Katie mixing her cookie brew!

Halloween cooking baking was the most entertaining.  By the end of the day, the table and floor were covered (as were we) with inches thick of flour, sugar and all kinds of assorted, colored jimmies of every shape and kind. It took a lot of patience because it always turned out to be a big mess, but it never bothered me. I realized this was precious, special time with my kids.

Flour-covered Susezit.

We would then settle into watching “The Worst Witch” all together on the couch under a shared blanket in the dark with candles burning eating our Halloween cookies and milk.  My girls loved it, and so did I!  The movie isn’t scary.  It’s a kids’ movie that lasts just a little over an hour about an awkward young girl trying to make it in a young witch’s academy.  It’s more about doing good over evil, and we’ve been watching it annually since my youngest was 4 years old. I’ve always had a thing for the handsome grand wizard/warlock (much to my children’s chagrin!) played by Tim Curry.  When he says “absolutely” my heart melts!My kids are grown now, but these are still revered traditions.  It’s a little harder with Megan living in Florida, but I know she tortures her fiancé Matt into watching the movie with her each year.  I usually send her the Halloween cookies that Katie and I still bake.  Katie is a die-hard for traditions as well and also tortures her beau Blake with the annual watching of “The Worst Witch.”  Blake also enjoys the pumpkin picking/carving. We’re all kids at heart!

So gather your kids, go out to a farm to pick some apples and pumpkins, carve them, bake cookies, cozy up together, watch “The Worst Witch” and have a very Happy Halloween!

(P.S. I thought I’d share the cookie recipe with you in case you want to make these cookies with your little ghouls and goblins.  It is a recipe I also use for cut-out cookies on all holidays – Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas bells and stars, Valentine hearts and Easter bunnies.)

HOLIDAY SUGAR COOKIES

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. ½ and ½ cream

4 cups flour

2/3 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.  Beat well.  Sift flour, soda, salt and baking powder together. Add to butter mixture alternately with cream; chill thoroughly in refrigerator for at least an hour.  Roll very thing.  Use cookie cutters – different shapes.  Bake in 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Icing

1 lb. bag of confectioner’s sugar

½ tsp. of salt

4 tbsp. butter

1 tsp vanilla

Touch of milk to creamy consistently (not too soft but spreadable)

Cream butter; add salt and vanilla and sugar a little at a time with a touch of milk to help in mixing.

Ice cookies and decorate with assorted jimmies.  You can also add a touch of food coloring to the icing if you want different colors.  Place finished cookies on tray and set in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set. Store in air tight container.