Friday, October 29, 2010

This is my trusty servant Patsy

A 5th grader at school today was dressed as Terry Gilliam's character from Monty Python - coconuts banging together and all. This will serve to make me happy for at least a week to come. I have a renewed faith in today's youth.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tonight I:
Carved my third jack-o-lantern in a week.
Watched Scream for the second time this month.

Tomorrow is the Halloween party at school. I'm Little Red Riding Hood - again.
Drinking wine and reading some H.P. before bed. Should make for some great dreams.

Happy Halloween weekend, all.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Start a New Tradition

Give scary books for Halloween.

Writes Neil Gaiman on his blog:


You know, there aren't enough traditions that involve giving books.

I propose that, on Hallowe'en or during the week of Hallowe'en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they'll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they'll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands -- new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe'en. Make their flesh creep...

Give a scary book.


I love this idea. I already ran out and bought the book I'm going to give.
Pass it on.

**UPDATE** I received this book, and I gifted this.

I also like what Joe Hill had to say:


I’m going to adopt this as a Halloween habit and I hope you will too. The only thing I’d add is that I think you should also take twenty minutes on Halloween evening to read a scary story to your kids, or with your friends, or your family. Everyone reads The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, which is fine, but Halloween is really a time to share a good bone-shaking horror story that will keep your loved ones awake at night.


I couldn't agree more. As Alvin Schwartz pointed out, scary stories want to be told. So, what are some of your favorite scary books?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


On Saturday, November 6th I will be taking part in a marathon reading celebrating the 50th anniversary of the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The event is being held at Townsend Park Bakery in Albany from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and will raise money for the Literacy Volunteers of the Greater Capital Region. People from all over the area will come together to take turns reading portions of the novel from start to finish. Thanks to Mary from AOA for asking me to be a part of this great event. Hope to see some of you there! For more information, you can check out the event's web page.

I put together a little collection of the various book jackets the novel has appeared with over the years. (above image by Erin Morelli)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Weekend

How is it the second to last weekend in October already? Oh God, I'm beginning to enter the mourning period I always experience at the end of October/Halloween and again when December/Christmas are over. I wait all year for the high points that are those two months! The rest of the year just seems regular and humdrum, in comparison. Oh boo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Of horsemen and schoolmasters

There is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills,
which is one of the quietest places in the whole world.

The place continues under the sway of some witching power

that holds a spell over the minds of the good people,

causing them to walk in a continual reverie.

They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs,
subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights,
and hear music and voices in the air.

~Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Imagine being able to visit a place from one of your very favorite childhood stories. Like finding that little cottage made entirely out of candy while walking through the woods, or happening upon a beanstalk that seems to reach clear up to the sky. Last Saturday, I stepped inside my all-time favorite story, or at least, I came as close as just about anybody can.

If you find yourself in Sleepy Hollow, you really must visit Washington Irving's Sunnyside - it was truly breathtaking. This time of year the whole place is almost totally consumed with vines and foliage -- the same ones planted by Irving when he lived there 175 years ago. I loved all the little nooks and narrow staircases and tiny windows in the house that looked out onto the Hudson River.

Yes please, I want to live in there.

To say that I grew up with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow would be a gigantic understatement - it practically defines whole "areas" of my childhood. It's sure to have fueled my love of the macabre and for good, old-fashioned ghost stories, and who knows how much influence the story had on my deciding to become a school teacher. (Unfortunately, one-room schoolhouses have ceased to exist). The little hamlet that Irving loved so much has also largely disappeared, or has at least been transformed. You can visit a few places for echos of what the place once was, but for the most part, it's just like countless other small towns. Except, of course, at night.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


A few looks from an out-of-town trip this past weekend.
Our first stop was this adorable little shop ~
so many treasures and curious finds.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I'm off to a place very near and dear to me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Life and Death of a Pumpkin

I am a pumpkin, Hello...

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have crazy love and affection for this TV special. I think about it from time to time all year long, am constantly reminded of scenes, and repeat random quotes when I think they apply to a situation in my life. "Alright that's it! Are you coming or are you staying!?" The colors. The music. The very quirky, subtle humor. Blatant displays of cruelty between kids shown right alongside innocence and hopefulness. Charlie's Brown's deep depression.

"Oh Great Pumpkin, WHERE ARE YOU!?" I love Linus so much it actually hurts a little bit when I see/listen to him. So many adorable nuances and details. I've memorized the entire screenplay and get a great kick out of myself by reciting all the lines in sync with the characters. I own the DVD so I get to watch it three or four times every October, but if you don't own it, you need to find a TV to sit in front of on October 28th from 8:00-8:30 p.m.



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