Halloween Christmas Light Fusion


Christmas Lights in October – Preposterous!  Ludicrous!  Daft!

Who would consider such a notion? It’s a holiday faux pas. You can’t mix and match the holidays.

But what if you can? What if you could hang Christmas lights on Halloween – red or green or multi-colored Christmas lights – combined with the fun and fright of October’s most creative night?

When I think of Halloween, I think of characters and cartoons. No one knows cartoons better than Disney does. They know how to crank up the fun on Halloween. But if you’d prefer to use your noggin to conjure up your own Halloween fun, imagine the possibilities of a Halloween Christmas light fusion. Here www.christmaslightsetc.com/christmas-lights.htm are the gadgets and gizmos for creating your homespun Technicolor production.

Put some pizzazz in a pumpkin: switch out that combustible lackluster flame for a snazzy chromatic Christmas light.

Your jack-o-lantern will be the coolest and safest in the neighborhood and won’t bake before the night is done unless you want pumpkin pie on Halloween instead of Thanksgiving.

Dress up a doorframe, primp up a picket fence, trim the candy bowl and table with red and green Christmas lights. The neighborhood kids, moms, and dads will flock to your door.

So stock up on colorful candy and ornamental bulbs.

Drape cobwebs across the front porch and in the front hall then embellish the look with the iridescent glow of Christmas lights. Turn a spider web into a flashy disco.

After all, Halloween is a time of frolicking fun. It’s like wearing your online avatar in the terrestrial world.

It is the perfect occasion to unleash your imagination.

Create a crown of battery powered flashing lights and wear it on your head then go trick or treating. You will amaze your friends. You’ll be the Pied Piper of Halloween, a beacon in the night.

Don’t stop there. There are more holidays to mix and match.

Build a snowman on the Fourth of July.

Give your mom an Easter Basket on Mother’s Day and then make her an egg soufflé.

The holidays bring us back to the innocence of childhood and the imagination that embodied our youth.

Don’t let it go! Let it glow! Brighten your life with blinking Christmas lights!

Mother’s Day Rap

I’m a mother with a son, two dogs and cat

I try to cook and clean but fail at that

After work, I want time to clear my head

But have to feed the dogs and cat instead

If they don’t get dinner, they get under my feet

When you fall on your face, it’s harder to scream


I’m just a gal with a job, a hubby and kid

Got no time for a facial or sweet spot to fill

Want a safe-room to hide from my family and pets

Sitting alone in the dark is as good as it gets


After the dogs and cat got food in their gut

Got to make an ingestible for my husband and son

If I don’t feed them, they get cranky and gruff

Don’t want a coup on my hands while juggling stuff

Cook is a four-letter word and meal is, too.

Can’t my family get their own damn food?


I’m just a gal with a job, a hubby and kid

Got no time for a facial or sweet spot to fill

Want a safe-room to hide from my family and pets

Sitting alone in the dark is as good as it gets


Gotta put food in the fridge or on the counter it sits

The stack in the sink needs a dishwasher rinse

I stick them on the shelf, as if a piece of puzzle to fit

If I put them in wrong, there’s no place for a dish

Want to push all the buttons and begin the soak

Before I stumble into hubby in the comatose zone


My son’s M.I.A., stuck in the World Wide Web

Outside, the dogs avoid the shock of the electric fence

Suddenly, the cat wants to be my friend

She shows it be scratching the counter’s edge

“Stop it!” I scream, then she hits the catnip

Hubby wakes up barking with the dogs, who want to come in


Oh, God, I don’t wanna open that door

I’ll never get a moment of quiet time du jour

Just want one day to clear my head of crap

That’s why I wrote this half-baked Mother’s Day Rap


I’m just a gal with a job, plus a hubby and kid

Got no time for a facial or sweet spot to fill

Want a safe-room to hide from my family and pets

Sitting alone in the dark is as good as it gets

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Kamikaze Saki Shots!


Forget the sneeze. It’s a red herring.

Focus on my mouth.

Saki shots whiz across the table.

The chef fires the salvo from the other side.

Then, everybody starts to count. 
I made it to 27…

Before my throat burned and my mouth locked down.

Saki blocked, with no place to go. It bled across my blouse.

You see, I killed it, or rather, it killed me.

I swear I’m not gargling. 

My son attacked the rice wine with gusto.

Captured by my husband on digital file,
a birthday romp through Hibachi land.

My son now 22. Another year older, pushes me over the top.

I never got a shot of hubby getting a shot.

Because I don’t have an iPhone with a built in flash.


My phone just makes calls. 

Disclaimer:  If I can take a picture on my phone, would that be a lie or creative license?  Still, I don’t have a fancy phone with a strobe light or a cappuccino machine.

Why Power Owtages Hurt?

Buchenwald-100625-14486-Schwerte-hellImage via Wikipedia

Imagine Life without Heat, Hot Water or HBO.

Last Sunday while watching a pharma commercial on depression, the TV suddenly went dark along with the rest of the house. Since it was morning, the dark was more of a dim white – not a dim wit.

The dogs seemed rather nonplussed about the sudden return to the dark ages but then again dogs are rather nonplussed about most things, except for cats, crows and deer poop. More about Bambi leave-behinds later.

As I write this, my husband prepares to run the generator, a power source that if used back in the dark ages, would have provided ambient cave lighting and bison fondue.

Power generators run on gasoline and generate electricity, so that we can use essential items like the refrigerator for chilling beer and the toilet for flushing dead goldfish.

It’s 10 a.m. The generator still sleeps while the electricity’s still in a coma. Silence begets silence, except for the occasional outside disturbance, which doesn’t include a CT Light and Power truck.

My husband is upstairs pretending to pay the bills online, while my two mutts sleep by my feet and dream about deer poop, a dog delicacy in the northeast that resembles kernels of popcorn.

I don’t know why dogs eat deer poop or cat poop for that matter. They gobble it up like rocky road ice cream, but then again they also lick their asses. So, there you have it.

The fact that the power went out at all perplexes me since the temperature outside is a balmy 32 degrees, the wind is breathless and the sky spitless.

Thank you, God, unless God knows about my blogging addiction and has staged an intervention with CT Light and Power.

Now 11:34, hour two of my blogging detox. I wonder why the clock on my computer works, and I don’t suffer from post blog withdrawal symptoms.

There are no avatars speaking to me in strange tongues, spouting “LOLs,” “BYOBs” or “WTFs.” And I’m not air typing on Apple’s latest aerodynamically designed MacBook that is so thin and light it hovers as you type. The only problem is finding it.

The temperature in the house drops to a crisp 68 degrees, while my husband plans his power generator strategy – whether to enter the garage wearing slippers or shoes.

A toilet flushes. A decision must be imminent.

One more surge of toilet water – not eau de toilette water – ew! da toilet water – will deplete the tank, and I’ll be flush out of luck.

It is now 10:47 and I’m still baffled why the clock on my laptop works as the battery slips another notch to 75% power… make that 74%. Soon I’ll be forced to write by hand, a travesty, since I learned cursive writing by copying doctor scripts.

My husband joins me in the living room after taking a shower – I wonder how many flushes remain – and fiddles with the antennae on a wind up solar radio. Another mystery, like the laptop battery.

“No need to fire up the generator,” he says. “The power will be back on at 12:30.”

He knows this not because he’s psychic. A reliable source from the power company, a recorded voice, told him so. He continues talking now about moving somewhere warm (with me). I continue tapping the keyboard before the battery runs out.

I toss him what I think will be a verbal grenade. “You’re annoying me,” I say. But it’s just a dud.

He misinterprets my tone for bawdy talk when in fact it’s “bitch.”  Once the “bitch” sinks in, he steps outside and starts breaking ice with a hoe.

Has your spouse broken ice with a hoe lately?
Image via Wikipedia
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Humor from the Attic: Out, Damned Dust Bunny! Out, I Say!

While I work on my resume, I’m digging up writing that’s been sleeping with the dust bunnies. The following piece was published in ByLine Magazine in June 2005.

I hated the title that the editor chose, “In Defense of Freefall.” But my title wasn’t any better, “Caution: Outline Route Plot Pile-up Ahead.” LOL! I just added the LOL.

A side note: the magazine ceased publishing several years ago. I swear I had nothing to do with it!

I’m not going to read the piece because I’ll revise it.

Free-fallImage via WikipediaIn Defense of Freefall

I ALWAYS STAY WITHIN THE yellow lines when driving, comforted by the boundaries that maintain order. Yet, when writing. I steer clear of an outline and speed ahead, not knowing which direction I will follow next.

For me, plotting out a novel takes the fun and adventure out of writing by stifling stream-of-conscience thought—the exhilarating sensation of freefalling off the desktop. Nothing pumps me up more than to start a story with only a rough idea of plot and a limited knowledge of character. After meeting the potential characters, we huddle by the computer with my fingers positioned above the keys. I am poised to capture every nuance and snippet of dialogue they utter.

To prevent the dialogue and thoughts from becoming muddled. I must discipline my characters from time to time. Usually. I find it necessary to seat the idle players in another area of my office. I don’t mind the whispering and note passing as long as I can concentrate on one active character at a time, beginning with the protagonist.

On occasion, an unruly secondary character will interrupt, crassly announcing a “bathroom break.” I know he wants attention because the bathroom is just down the hall. If, upon his return, I still cannot quiet him, I am forced to leave my seat and placate him with a snack or drink. Frequently, I have to appease him afterwards by jotting down his background notes on a pad.

Quirky behavior is difficult to handle and yet tolerable, unlike the rudeness displayed by the antagonist. While the protagonist enjoys the spotlight, the antagonist often shouts out tiresome insults, which ultimately causes a conflict between the two characters. The antagonist should consider himself lucky.

I only put up with his bad behavior because his actions move the plot forward. Sometimes I have to stop the main characters from trying to kill each other. I diffuse the situation by promising the antagonist that if he is patient, he will have an opportunity to take out the protagonist at the end of the book. This calms the villain but makes the hero very nervous.

In the background, some minor characters cheer the protagonist on, while others shout out wrong directions or offer useless information that impedes her progress. This causes the heroine to make mistakes, leaving herself vulnerable to the antagonist’s threats. When she looks worn out and frazzled. I pull her from the story and let her rest before her next scene.

At this point, the antagonist takes a turn at the desktop and creates havoc in the story. I watch helplessly as he plants the murder weapon underneath the backseat of the protagonist’s car, then calls in an anonymous tip to the police.

A hush falls over the office. I sense the other characters’ excitement and apprehension. It doesn’t appear the hero will escape this time. I tap a character on the shoulder and say, “You’re next,” hoping he will run interference for the protagonist. But, to my surprise, another character jumps up instead and pushes the story in a direction I had not foreseen. This does not thrill the protagonist, but energizes the rest of us.

Since my characters and I spend hours together, we need the infusion of fresh plot elements to keep us invigorated and the story moving ahead at a rapid pace. An outline would inhibit this spontaneous flow of ideas. When I once framed out a novel, the characters became bored and restless. They meandered from scene-to-scene, taking frequent breaks instead of completing a turn. Soon after, the plot stagnated and my writing faltered.

During that misadventure, I never heard whispering among the characters while they waited for a turn—a sign that something was terribly wrong. So I encouraged a disgruntled character to blow up the outline and hijack the plot. I lost several secondary characters in the process. The others complained and threatened to strike.

To avoid a walkout, I did what any great creative director would have done. I promised them a better part in the sequel.

Lauren Salkin works as a traffic manager for a parenting magazine. She writes essays, short stories and is working on a suspense novel.

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Degrees of Insanity.

Image via Wikipedia

In eighty-degree heat, my son graduates with an associate’s degree.

He moves on to a four-year school.
We move on to find our chairs.
We sit.
Nearby, a baby cries.
Make that ten babies.

At the podium, the speaker is a board chair.
I’m bored in a chair. Same thing, sort of.

In the audience, a woman yaps, slinking sideways in front of me across my row.
At times, she hovers like a balloon.  
Not really.
She leans against my chair, casting a shadow over me.
Her helium voice is like a balloon.

My husband leaves to find my parents, who are MIA.

A new speaker, a valedictorian.
A life story with no end.

She lived in a basement apartment in Queens.
Got married.
Got pregnant three times.
Got drunk a lot.
Got divorced.

Five decades have passed in her life and mine.
I bat my eyelashes to stay awake. It doesn’t work.
I kill a gnat instead.

The woman in front of me reads the program cover-to-cover.
She has white hair and a yellow jacket.
She’s not a bee.

The droning stops.
The valedictorian steps aside.

At the podium, a merit award.
The name sounds like “bullshit.”
Bullshit rambles on about resumes, speaking loudly over the murmur of the crowd that is restless and scary.

Heavy perfume wafts across thick wet air, drying my contacts.
Cell phones ring from the chairs.
People answer them and talk.

My husband returns.
He found my parents.
They are sitting two rows in front of us.
How did we miss them?

Behind me, a woman threatens a child.
“I’m going to smack you,” she says.

A rustle and thump from the microphone.
Another merit award hand out.
The MA says, “My wife was the wind beneath my arms.”
“The wind that comes out my butt,” my husband adds.

Next podium person pontificates.
“Time to honor a distinguished dead alumni.”
Oh, God, I hope the dead lady doesn’t speak.

The pontificating continues. “This is a great institution.”
An institution all right.

Dead lady once said,
“I’ve got my foot in the door and am not leaving.”
Maybe that’s what killed her. 
Crushed like a doorstop.

Podium guy continues
“She was awesomely human.”
Did he really just say that?
The speaker stops speaking or whatever that was.

Time for the diplomas.
Air horns blare from guests in chairs, as if at a football game.

A child yells, “I love you.”

Screeching from behind.
My ears bleed.
My husband turns around. “Warn us next time. Will yah.”
“Hell yes,” a woman yells.

Somewhere in the distance, a cowbell rings.
The commencement ends.

We find my parents and my son then go for seafood.
My soft shell crab is mushy like my brain.
I  wash away the mushiness with a beer.
This time, it’s not a sound check.

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