Thursday, October 29, 2009



I have a confession to make: I don't particularly like Halloween.

It's certainly not my least favorite holiday, a designation that would better fall on Columbus Day, or Labor Day, or President's Day, or any of the other meaningless national holidays that often pass without notice (I still regularly mix up Memorial Day and Labor Day). But for some reason, Halloween seems to have lost most of its appeal. And it's a particularly strange phenomenon, given that Halloween really does have everything going for it. It's in autumn, by far my favorite season, and is usually accompanied by crisp, refreshing weather. The color palate of orange, black, with changing-leaf shades thrown in is perfect for decorating, and my apartment is currently strewn with pumpkins and pipe-cleaner spiders that I made back in elementary school, much to the amusement of my roommate, who has never decorated for a holiday before. And Halloween involves candy! Who doesn't love a holiday where one of the main recreations is to get a sugar high?

But despite all of these things, I can't get nearly as into Halloween as Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or even Easter (which are my favorite holidays, respectively). And I can't totally put my finger on exactly why I no longer really like Halloween. But I think the change came when the focus became less on collecting and devouring fun sized candy bars (though I always was, and still am, partial to nerds) to dressing like a fetish hooker and bar-hopping.

Not that there's anything wrong with bar-hopping (or dressing like a fetish hooker, sometimes. Everything in moderation, kids!). I think what gets to me is the forced merriment. Maybe it's the Irish in me, but holidays bring out the worst of my skeptical and contradictory side. But it's the same message as I got on my 21st birthday: Go out and Have Fun! Lots of Fun! And Drink! Because that's how you Have Fun! Well, if anything is guaranteed to make me not have a good time, it's pressure to Have Fun. Being forced to Have Fun generally makes me want to curl up under a blanket and watch like, Gangs of New York while every one else goes out and gets obliterated. I truly enjoy going out spontaneously (more so, in fact, than I have in years. It probably has something to do with not having to constantly worry someone is going to call Bullshit on my id, and having finally conquered the majority of my body insecurities), but a night where I have to go out makes me far too stressed out.

But I will make the best of this Halloween, getting dressed up and going to a party. I have a psychedelic yellow outfit that my grandmother used to wear during the 60s, and it's big enough to show lots of midriff while not big enough to fall off or trip me (if I fold up the skirt significantly). I'm going to learn how to make a daisy crown for my hair. All in all, it's a better costume than I've had in years, despite the fact that my haircut is not at all hippie-ish. I just need to come up with a personality, and I'll be set.

***By the way, this is not at all the way I feel about Halloween. I'm a liberal! I'm all about handouts for tricksters and liars. I just thought it was funny.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What to Do on a Rainy Sunday

What should you do when you wake up to cold, rain, and lots of homework?

Why, make baked apples, of course!

Yesterday my mother came to visit, bringing with her a bag of apples roughly the weight of a small child. So acting on her advice to eat them as quickly as possible, I made these baked apples, filled with oats, honey, lemon peel, butter, and ginger. Next time I think I'll leave out the butter and add more honey, because I like my desserts sweet. Very sweet.

Next up, some sort of apple chutney! Or a crumble! Advice?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Inspirational Words, from Unlikely Sources

Yesterday as I left my apartment carrying my massive book bag and my violin, when a homeless man looked at me, and promptly yelled

"You're looking down! Keep your head up and be proud!!!"

At first, I was really alarmed that this small homeless man was yelling at me, but then what he actually said registered and I smiled at him and kept on walking.

I would love to say that his words of wisdom inspired me to walk Straight and Strong all day, but to be completely honest, I have to keep my head down when I walk. I'm one of the least graceful people on the planet, and if I'm not staring at the ground in front of me I end up tripping on a crack in the sidewalk, falling off the curb, or stepping in dog shit. None of which are pleasant when carrying a massive book bag and a violin.