Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trick or Treat?

Wasn't it always treat? Didn't every house you went to on Halloween have treats? I never once was forced to take the "trick" option (and, lets be honest here, I'd never have the guts to). And the treats were the best part of Halloween. Yes, the costumes were good too but I remember too many Halloweens with a costume (usually a clown or hobo or some combination of both) covered with a winter jacket. My dream costume was to be Snow White but, alas, it never happened. My most memorable costume was a clown with balloons stuck all over me (this, if I recall correctly, was my mother's idea). Problem with this costume was that the first house we went to had rose bushes by the front door. So much for the balloons.

Anyway, back to the candy because it really was all about the candy. Yes, the coveted candy. My parents weren't really strict about the candy; I don't ever remember them inspecting it (although we did throw out homemade things) or taking it from us to dole out at their pleasure (they might have when we were really young).

The first thing my younger sister and I did when we got home was pour out the candy onto the living room floor and divide everything into "good' candy and "not-so-good" candy (because there really isn't any "bad" candy). Obvious "good" candy was anything chocolate. Hershey Miniatures were good (Krackle and Mr. Goodbars were better than Dark Chocolate) but the mini Snickers, Kit Kats, Milky Ways were the jackpot haul (and full size chocolate bars were the motherload!). Then there was the "not-so-good" candy (anything not chocolate). This usually consisted of Tootsie Roll Pops, Candy Corn, Smarties, Life Savers and the least favorite Halloween candy ever: raisins. Once the candy was divided the trading began. My sister and I usually each had one "not-so-good" candy that we liked so that was a fair swap.

We usually got the same amount of candy but my sister would eat hers faster than me so I had to hide my Halloween stash as soon as the trading was over. Younger sisters have a way of going though your things, looking for stuff and that includes Halloween candy. I always did a mental inventory of what I had and if something went missing I know where to go. But now as an adult I understand sugar cravings and I forgive my sister.

You really don't know the value of free chocolate until you're an adult and too old to go trick or treating.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sometimes You Have to Weed the Garden

A couple of nights ago I was having dinner with some girlfriends and we got to talking about our friendships with other people. One of my friends seems to have a lot frineds with issues - big, sloppy issues - that are always causing drama. All they do is complain about their problems, their lives, etc. While we all have friends like this, she seems to have more than normal.

Some friends are lifelong freinds, some are friends for just a couple of years (or maybe months or weeks). And sometimes you have to remove friends from your life (weed the garden) when they get to be toxic (or "suckers" as my friend calls it because they tend to suck life out of you). Toxic may seem like a harsh word but if a friend is causing you grief or stress then you have to ask, what kind of friend are they?

Friendships, like most relationships, are a two-way street; you have to give and then you can take. But life changes, situations change and people change, and sometimes there is a lot more taking than giving. And it's hard to always be supportive of someone who asks for advice and then never takes it or isn't as supportive in return.
I will tell you, from experience, weeding the garden is not an easy thing to do. A few years back I had to end a relationship with someone I considered my best friend, someone I though I'd be friends with for the rest of my life. But there may come a time when you have to say to goodbye. Maybe you'll finally get tired of all the negativity, or the flakiness, or the taking and no giving.

So keep the friends who accept you for who you are, friends who will support you in the same way you support them, friends who don't take you for granted. They are the flowers you want to keep in your garden. Remember, life is too short.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who Do You Have to Sleep With to Get Published Around Here?

Okay, I really don't want to know the answer to that. But sometimes it sees like that's the way it is. I used to think that if you had a good story and knew how to write well you could get that book published. WRONG! How many times have you read a book and thought, how did this garbage get published? Let me just give you some examples:

This book (I'm not going to give you the title or the author) is the third in a series about a latino vampire detective (I know, enough with the vampires all ready). Here is the description of the book from the author's web site: Felix fights alien gangsters to keep them from the greatest treasure in the galaxy: Earth women. Need I say more?

And if you've been a book store anytime in the last couple of months you've seen "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!" Yes, zombies have invadede Jane Austen's England. Charlotte Lucas has been bit by a zombie, Lady Catherine de Bourgh has employed armies of ninjas and Lizze and Mr Darcy are now highly skilled killers (no, I didn't ready this book - got all this information off Amazon.com - and I never, ever will). I can here Jane Austen turning in her grave.

So I guess to get published all you have to do is come up with a crazy story (with subpar writing) and if it's based on a already well beloved story (and has sex and vampires) you'll get published.

Here are some of my ideas:

Little Orphan Annie doesn't go to live with Daddy Warbucks but instead returns to the orphanage and Miss Hannigan. When she turns eighteen she starts working the streets as a hooker only to discover the streets are filled with zombies (who have a taste for hookers). Anne turns into Annie the Zombie-Ass-Kicker and keeps the world (and fellow hookers) safe from zombies.

Title: Big Bad Annie

Atticus Finch is really a member of the KKK and secretly shot Tom Robinson (the black man he was defending). Scout and Boo Radley must now stop Atticus and the KKK from taking over the town.

Title: To Kill a Klan Wizzard

Jane Eyre decides not to go back to Mr. Rochester but instead marries her cousin St. John Rivers and goes to Africa to be a missionary. But once there Jane and John discover a satanic cult that is in the sex trade and holds virgin sacrafices. Jane has to go undercover to help save a African village for despair and destruction.

Title: See Jane Whip the Occult

Any other wonderful ideas?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Goodbye Fall...It Was a Short Visit

Yes, it is still officially Fall but you wouldn't know if from looking outside in Denver today. Yes, it's snowing. And look, the leaves on the tree didn't even have a chance to turn yet. Oh well. Today is a day to stay inside (maybe even stay in bed) and read or watch a movie. Maybe cook some brownies or cookies. Get into some warm socks and sweats, turn up the heat and watch the snow fall.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Eating Our Way Through Rochester

Every city has it's own special restaurants that it seems only the locals hang out at. Most of these places have been around a long time and are well established in the community. Since my Mom grew up in Rochester, and food is VERY important to her, there are a couple of places we need to visit every time we're in Rochester.

Number one on the list is a Zweigle hot dog with hot sauce. These are not hot dogs we can buy at our local grocery store in Denver. The company is based in Rochester and has been around for more than 120 years. So when we visit Rochester we have to stop at either Schaller's or Don's Originals (known as Don and Bob's in the late 50s when my teen-aged father worked there). On this visit we went to Schallers twice (once on Ridge Road and once down by the lake). We also grabbed a Zweigle hot dog a the Rochester airport before we left. We were told that there was new management at Don's and the food wasn't so great so we skipped it.

Another stop we make is at place called Cheeburger Cheeburger. It's a chain restaurant with a 50s dinner theme (a lot of different flavored sodas and malts). I don't usually like onion rings but these are AWESOME. But I think the reason my Mom likes it so much is because it's located where Lake Ontario and the Genesee River meet and there are tables outside right on the river. We have a Cheesburger Cheesburg south of Denver but the food doesn't taste as good when you're eating outside facing a highway and a parking lot.

Then there's the pizza a Wegmans which is an east coast grocery store that is kind of a combination of a regular grocery store and an upscale organic grocery store. It is also headquartered in Rochester and has a large ready-to-eat section that includes pizza. We've been told that Cher once ate at the Wegmans in Pittsford. We stopped there to get dinner not once, but twice.

And last but not least is Abbott's which sells the creamiest custard imaginable. I hit an Abbott's three times while I was there.

Ah, the important things in life...food.