Tag Archives: fall

Things That Scare Me More Than Halloween

As the plethora of pumpkins and décor would indicate, we’re getting closer to Halloween. And while I’m not really a Scrooge, I’m also not that into the holiday anymore.

I write about Halloween five months out of the year for one of my magazines at work, and if I want candy, costumes and creepiness, I can go to WalMart and wander among the shoppers any day of the week.

Plus, a lot of the “scary” things associated with the day like skulls, witches and spiders—okay, I’ll give you that last one—don’t really scare me at all. Even the stray black cat that hangs out here crossing my path doesn’t spook me at all, (although mouthing “you’re screwed” and giving me the finger when it walked by just seemed rude.)

Anyway, I even did the haunted house thing a couple of years ago but decided that I would never again pay $20 for people to jump out and yell at me when there were things in my daily adult life that scare me even more—for free.

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Getting a notification that I’ve been tagged in a Facebook picture without having any idea what picture it is.

Sneezing while driving.

Seeing a picture of myself as a toddler in a bathing suit and realizing my boobs are still the same size.

Getting my mortgage statement.

Touching the remote control at the gym, or worse, being stuck on a cardio machine near someone who evidently marinated in Axe cologne.

Being selected as either Dr. Oz’s assistant of the day or “going to Flavortown” with Guy Fieri.

People without a sense of humor.

Seeing a bug inside, running to get a paper towel to dispose of the bug, and coming back to find the bug has since departed to regions now unknown.

Losing the Internet for more than five minutes.

Using a toilet away from home and having it refuse to flush.

Eating the last bite of something without realizing I just ate the last bite of something. I am never more emotionally unprepared.

Going to feed the birds and having a mouse jump out of the birdseed bag.

Three words: Company Teambuilding Activity

Accidentally hitting the switch for the garbage disposal instead of the light above the sink.

Trying on a shirt in a dressing room—scary enough as it is—but then getting stuck in said shirt, providing the security cameras with a panic-filled performance of attempted removal.

Typos.

Having to touch a bathroom door handle, noticing it’s wet, and not knowing if it’s because someone washed their hands or if they didn’t. (Thank god for hand sanitizer.)

My grandma trying to hook me up with the new 90-year-old resident at the home because, “I can’t afford to be picky anymore.”

Realizing more people will read a Buzzfeed quiz in one day to find out what their “Spirit Vegetable” is than will read my whole blog/books in a year.

(For the record, I would be a Brussels sprout—often steamed and rather bitter.)

So as you can see, Halloween really has nothing on my general day-to-day neurosis. Bring it on, Freddy Krueger. Bring it on.

What would you add to your list?

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Halloween Décor for the Domestically Disabled

It’s officially fall now, which means women ages 21-45 have become pumpkin zealots and that Halloween is just around the corner.

So to help you prepare for the holiday season and prove you don’t have to spend a fortune to be festive, I’m sharing my absolutely finite wisdom.

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First of all, we’ll start inside. Stop dusting your house right now.* By avoiding the removal of dust, you will accumulate a layer of spookiness and cobwebs that people pay good money to artificially replicate.

*This does not apply to me, of course, as I have to dust everything every weekend—OCD trumps festiveness.

Once you’ve set the mood, there are simple household objects that can make cheap and easy decorations with minimal effort.

For example, if you put a tiny cape on a staple remover—and possibly some googly eyes if you’re really feeling ambitious— you have a quick and easy vampire decoration.

And what Halloween scene would be complete without a ghost or two? Considering my penchant for delightful smells, I suggest you pull double duty and simply drape a gel air freshener with a napkin, add a couple of eyes and voila! A spooky scented spirit to delight the masses. If you’re lucky, the “trick or treat” aroma will mask the slight odor of broken dreams and steamed broccoli that’s wafting through your kitchen.

If you’re only concerned with the external appearance of your home, cease all yard work two weeks ago and move to the next point below.

There have been orange construction cones just down my street for the past month or so (evidently they’re not in a hurry to finish whatever they’re doing.) And while most people simply see an annoyance, I see cheap Halloween candy corn decorations for my lawn.

Now I am in no way suggesting you (allegedly) take something that doesn’t belong to you, but if a strong wind happens to blow a couple cones your way—along with the leaves from your yard into the neighbor’s—that’s simply nature’s way of getting into the holiday spirit.

True, suggesting that you paint them to be exact replicas of the waxy candy might make things look suspicious, but most people will be too impressed with your creative prowess to be upset at the borrowing of said cone —allegedly.

In fact, they will probably stand in your yard clapping so hard it will set off the lame motion-sensored Halloween witch the other neighbors PAID for and put out.

Amateurs.

Once your house and yard are set, it’s time to prepare to pass out the treats. Candy can be expensive, and given the fact that everyone else passes out candy—not very creative, now are we?—I have a much more economical and creative solution.

Sometimes you even get jelly and jams.

Set yourself apart from the crowd by passing out more practical samples treats you’ve accumulated throughout the year. Traveling? Make sure to stock up on things like shampoos, hand wipes, coffee packets and jelly from the hotel room.

Stuck waiting in the doctor’s office? Cotton balls, tongue depressors and plastic gloves (do not give to children under age 3) make for hours of creative artistic play.

This step also requires a bit of planning, but if you start now you can be set for next Halloween. And while the kids might not initially realize the benefit of these alternative treats, when their hands are sticky from egging your house, they’ll certainly appreciate the hand wipes.

Happy Haunting.

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Eight New Fall Movies You Won’t See (but should)

Given the high cost of admission, the fact that most theaters require real pants and an attention span that lasts all of an hour, I haven’t been to an actual movie in years.

Yes, I said years.

However, I am not completely disconnected from what all the cool kids are hitting the cinemas to go and check out (although I just called them “cinemas,” so there’s that.)

What you might not realize is that among the new releases with attractive people doing unrealistic things in situations that are resolved in two hours topping the charts, is that there are some other films being shown this fall that if given a chance, I’m sure would be a great hit.

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In this film sure to appeal to women everywhere, a confused young Charlie Brown and his sister Sally—who is adorned in yoga pants and Uggs—sit around and wait for Starbucks to release the elusive Pumpkin Spice Latte. Much to the chagrin of young Sally, Charlie learns that he much prefers actual Halloween candy to overpriced sugary coffee and turns as bitter as her drink.

50 Shades of Seasonal Affective Disorder

In this modern day meteorological mystery, viewers are taken from the sunny warm days of the summer into the dark freezing days of the harsh winter months. Will the residents survive on only eight possible hours of sunlight a day? Scrape inches of ice off their cars? Choose to hibernate and bond with their couch?

Frozen: Pizza

A gripping tale of love and survival, the female protagonist vows that if she burns her mouth on an Amy’s organic vegan pizza one more time, she will continue to eat pizza because it’s delicious and she can’t hold both a grudge and her fork. Although scorned by a lover yet again, she will never “let it go” and bravely moves on through the world.

The Negotiator 2

A young-ish writer is kidnapped in this action comedy, but the criminals are the ones who pay the price as they’re unaware of how often she has to pee and how cranky she gets when she’s hungry. Using her artistic OCD skills to cut out all the letters from magazines for her ransom note—if her name is on it, it has to look good—she hopes the news description of what she was wearing when gone missing doesn’t cause her family to pretend they don’t know who she is.

The Transformers

In this documentary, a film crew follows Internet commenters as they transform seemingly harmless statements read online into personal attacks they feel they simply must justify. This true-to-life account proves that for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite overreaction by someone on the Internet.

The Little Engine That Can’t Even

Tween audiences will love this relatable tale of how a car full of teenage girls drive to the mall, but choosing to spend their money on Starbucks instead of gas, end up stuck on the side of the road. Seriously. The Little Engine literally “could not even.” Find out how they get out of this bind and what hashtags will they choose for their Instagram posts.

Silence of the Birds

In this psychological thriller, Clarice is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy to investigate what’s being dubbed as “Flight Club,” a group of loud ass birds that meets outside bedroom windows to screech in the early hours of every morning. The first rule of Flight Club is that you don’t talk about Flight Club, but that doesn’t deter tired Clarice.

Still Single White Female

She’s 33. She’s independent. She sometimes lights so many scented candles in her house, it would appear that she’s trying to seduce herself. And despite the fact that she wears her “good” T-shirts to Target (sometimes), she’s still single. Follow this lovable loner as she navigates through life—and the path from her couch to the fridge—one day at a time.

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Festive Fall Tips for the Domestically Disabled

Considering the fact that middle class white women are freaking out over everything pumpkin flavored, it’s safe to say that fall has arrived.

Seeing as I hate 90 humid degrees and 90 inches of snow, fall is a great season for me. Along with the beautiful foliage in Michigan and the chance to finally wrap up the horticultural hospice I’ve been harboring for the summer, it also means playoff baseball, college football, hockey and hoodies—just a few of my favorite things.

I know some people are already freaking out over Halloween, but seeing as I deal with it five months out of the year for work, I’m over it. Plus, I believe my tips from last year shall remain eternally relevant, so we’re skipping ahead to my tips for a fabulous fall.

Outdoor Decor

Start by putting a wreath on the door that says “festive, yet I’ll dive behind the couch if you ring the bell and expect me to put on some pants.”

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I might be a Publisher’s Clearing House million dollar winner if not for the fact that I perform a death roll behind the furniture the second I hear the doorbell.

If that fails to ward off those looking to interrupt your upcoming preparation for winter hibernation, simply build a corn maze in your front yard that never quite leads to the door (this also works well with your desk at the office.) The added value with this situation is that you can charge a bit of admission, which might come in useful when exploring the next tip below.

Seasonal Shopping

Shopping for that festive wreath is a great chance to get your Christmas shopping done. Who doesn’t love pumpkins, decorative corn and Halloween candy? I’ll tell you who. People who don’t appreciate you thinking ahead and being proactive with your gift-giving prowess.

Shopping early—and economically—leaves more time to drink spiked cider come the harsh winter months.

Indoor Decor

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart and devise a centerpiece out of unicorn hair, sparkly pine cones and the tears of kittens. You can basically take crap that you find in your yard and call it festive. Just spray some pine cones with apple cinnamon air freshener and stick them in a basket with a few colorful leaves and acorns.

Plus, after the season is done, you can take the tops off the acorns and use them for fashionable little berets or tiny serving plates for your traveling gnome.

juneberet

Sorry that it’s a bit blurry, but Uncle June never stands still for long.

The trick is to gather these things before you “rake,” and by rake of course I mean wait for a windy day and gently urge the piles of leaves to migrate into the neighbor’s back yard.

Speaking of which, the neighbor kids’ basketball—the one they are constantly bouncing loudly against their garage door every. single. day.—looks quite similar to a pumpkin. Considering they’re back in school now, you can sneak over while they’re gone and turn it into a festive-looking decoration to be used for an impromptu pumpkin chuck.

Not only is this festive fun, but it’s a physical activity you can do together as a family. After all, someone has to keep lookout.

Happy Fall!

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Wish You Were Here

As much as I complain about the weather in Michigan—the horrendous heat and humidity in the summer and the feet of ice and snow in the winter—this time of year is truly something special.

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(Sorry my pictures are small. You can click to enlarge.)

The colors are spectacular, and if you don’t live in an area that experiences the changing of the seasons, I sincerely mean it when I say I wish you were here to enjoy them.*

*Unless of course, you’re an emotional vampire or just plain annoying, in which case I would dive behind my couch ninja-like to hide when you rang my doorbell.

At any rate, we’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures the past week that have reached the 70s, and I’ve taken advantage of that by enjoying the incredible mum display at the botanical gardens, going on a hayride and mini-color tour and just generally taking the time to appreciate the fact that nature will constantly leave me humbled and at peace.

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I don’t know where you are from, but I can tell you that Michigan—and my city specifically—has a lot to offer. We might not have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods within 300 miles or many celebrity sightings, and we only have one vegan restaurant and the aforementioned craptastically unpredictable weather—where was I going with this?

Ah yes, those issues aside, we do have things distinctly our own, things that make Michigan—and Grand Rapids, specifically—not only a great place to visit, but a great place to live.

The mayor and a panel of community leaders recently ran a contest—My Grand Rapids in Six Words  (MyGR6) — inviting anyone “who has lived, worked or played here to share their sentiments about the city using only six words.”

They won’t announce the winners for a couple of weeks, but almost 8,000 people submitted entries, which says something about community pride. Mine was initially related to sports, but serves as a theme for the city as a whole:

Minor league city. Major league feel.

But if you’re into sports—as you know I am—right now is a great time to be a fan. The Tigers are in the American League Championship Series, the Lions are undefeated, the Wings have started their season 2-0—and the minor league baseball and hockey teams for those parent clubs are right here in Grand Rapids.

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In other words, we see the stars before they’re stars.

If you’re into art and culture, we just wrapped up ArtPrize, the world’s largest art prize based solely on a public vote. Artists take over and cover the city and venues with their work, visitors come from around the world and conversations result about community, creativity and possibility.

Sports, culture, natural beauty—those are just a few of the things we have going on right now where I live. I’m not trying to sell you on the city—as I said, winters and availability for overpriced hippy food sucks—but rather share with you a little piece of fall where I come from.

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And the changing of the seasons also serve as a reminder to me that no, I don’t have control of everything in my life, but sometimes the most beautiful things happen when I let go and simply enjoy whatever may be.

At least until the snow comes.

Then even I wish I wasn’t here.

But for now, I’ll simply wax poetic about the colors and hope that if you aren’t able to enjoy them where you are, you were at least able to enjoy a piece of fall from where I’m at—which unfortunately, is not Trader Joes, but you take what you can get.

And for now, we get major league beauty.

I’m glad that I’m here.

How would you describe your city in six words?