Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where the Sidewalk Ends...

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

If you’re familiar with Shel Silverstein books, you know that he is the master of the silly but poignant rhyme, and that he has awesome poems about picking one’s nose, bears living in refrigerators, and the perils of not taking out the garbage.  If you’re not familiar with his work, it’s time to start, 
Write your favorite Shel Silverstein poem here, and then try and memorize it. 
– The Happy Book

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Glittery and sparkly items?  Collect them like a bird building nest – with an eye for shiny things and a willingness to put them all together willy-nilly.  Paste em’ here.  – The Happy Book

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's Pumpkin Carving Time!!

Meet HOWARD.  He's my pumpkin.

There are so many wonderful reasons to love this time of year. 
1.    Walking out of the house in the morning, and feeling a little chilly
2.    Walking to your car, and listening to the leaves crunch under your feet
3.    Driving down the street, watching the leaves fall onto your car...
4.    …looking in your rearview mirror and seeing the leaves dance behind you
5.    Wearing boots…
6.    …wrapping scarves around your neck
7.    Festivals
8.    The State Fair
9.    Dressing up in costumes
10. And of course, carving pumpkins!!!!!!!!
Without a doubt, the most recognizable symbol of Halloween is a carved pumpkin…the jack-o-lantern. 
Halloween is a night invested in make-up, masks, gowns, capes, wigs, haunted houses, ringing door bells, “tricks” or “treat’s”…
Like most anti-holiday, un-happy people, it’s a reason for candy makers to indulge in there riches and schemes.  But, even if there wasn’t such a thing as all hollows eve or Halloween…we would come up with some other way to celebrate this time of year…something to look forward to.
“Halloween is actually based on the summer’s end, an ancient Celtic holiday.  It was the end of the Celtic year, starting at sundown on October 31st and going through
to sundown November 1st.  It was a night to honor loved ones that had passed on
 since the veil between their realm and ours is at its thinnest on that night.
Celebrated for centuries by the Celts of old, Witches and many other nature based religions, it is the most magical night of the year.  It is the Witches’ New Year, and the Last Harvest.  Although the religious significance of it has passed for the general public, Halloween is a “magical” night for all.
On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits.  Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.
When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in America, they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier, and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns.  Halloween didn’t really catch on big in this country until the late 1800’s and has been celebrated in so many ways since!”
Choosing your pumpkins…
There is no particular way to choose the right pumpkin for your Halloween festivities.  You just have to know what you want.  There are different colors, shapes, sizes...just know that if it isn't a traditional pumpkin, it might be harder to carve.  But it can be done. 
Around this time of year, you can find pumpkins, of all kinds, just about anywhere.
We picked up HOWARD from the farmer’s market.
Pumpkin carving tools…
Where ever you pick up your pumpkin, there should also be tools to carve them.  I know you can find tool kits at Wal-Mart. Everything you need, including stencils, are packaged together.

Traditional Carving or Carving with Stencils…
Either way you carve your pumpkin – it will be fun! 
Going the traditional way is the way I like to do it.  There’s nothing better than to see a fun loving pumpkin smiling at you from the front porch, when you pull into your drive way at night.
...see Howard...
Carving with a stencil will take more time and more effort as it requires more patience.  But once you’ve finished, it is totally worth it.

The act of actually carving…
So…you’ve chosen your pumpkin…you’ve gathered the tools…you decided to either do a traditional face or to use a stencil…
Now you have to actually carve the pumpkin.  This part is not hard…it is a little difficult for a dainty girl like me…
Step 1: Create a lid…
All you have to do is carve a hole at the top of the pumpkin.  Be sure to cut the hole at an inward angle, so the lid will stay on once you are finished.  If you cut the hole straight down, the lid will fall in on itself…
Step 2:  Remove all the guts…
This is my favorite part.  It is an orange mess…!
It’s as simple as it suggests…just get all of that stuff out of there…
Step 3: Carve the inside of the walls…
The pumpkin needs to be smooth and rid of all its junk.  So to be sure you do this, carve the walls to where all the grim is gone.  Be sure that it’s as smooth as you can get it.  But don’t carve it to where there is no pumpkin left.  Use your best judgment.
Step 4:  Make a face…
Well…you did it.  Now just create the face…or follow the directions in using the stencil.
  Celebrate the season.  Go out and get a pumpkin.  Create a masterpiece, take pictures of your orange adventure, and paste them here!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Inspiration from Ferris Bueller

In a mono-tone voice (like the guy from the Clear Eyes commercial...say...
Bueller. Bueller. Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.
“Ferris is a street-wise kid who knows all the tricks. Today he decides to take the day off school. When Ferris takes the day off, so must his best friends, Cameron and Sloane. Cameron is reluctantly persuaded to borrow his father's Ferrari, and together they hatch a plan to get Sloane out of class. Suspicious dean of students Ed Rooney knows all about Ferris, but can never catch him. Ferris' sister Jeanie is also frustrated that Ferris always gets away with his tricks and she doesn't. Furthermore, Ferris is an 'angel' in his parent’s eyes. It's Ferris' day off, he's out to enjoy himself, and he does!”

My experience…
I, unlike most, actually enjoy my job.  I work as an administrative assistant with J.A. White & Associates, Inc.  I love going to work and seeing my co-workers…and although it may be hard to believe, I like doing my job as well.  If I want to be good at something, all I have to do is put my mind to it.  Eventually, I’ll get there.  So… going to work and doing my job well is fun for me.  Not to mention, there are perks to personally knowing the people you work with.  …see, we are a small company.  There are roughly 12 people that work in our office.  So, we dress pretty casual…and after we work hard, we play hard.  Playing hooky from work is nothing I’m interested in.
Playing hooky from school is a different thing.  As I’ve stated before, I am a (struggling) independent student…
I love learning.
Crazy, for most, I know.  But, I do love studying, reading, writing, class discussions, projects, presentations…I enjoy getting out what I put into something.  It’s both a curse and a blessing.  And although it is fun for me, it can be stressful…during those moments…I like to take a breather…and a little inspiration from my friend Bueller! 
Usually mid-way through the semester, IF nothing is going on in any of my classes, I’ll take a “me-day”.  (“me-day” should TOTALLY be the 8th day of the week…)
This semester, though, the first week of school... the first Gamecocks football game... was Thursday night.  It just so happens, I am taking two evening classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Originally I wasn’t going to go to the game…I thought I’d play it safe.  Well, a friend of mine bought me a ticket and convinced me to go.  How could I turn him down…?  And after he was so generous…
I went.
I blew off school…
I can imagine my teachers calling the roll…and in a mono-tone voice, saying…
Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton. 
Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  Peyton.  
I had a really good time at the football game.  The USC Gamecocks won!!!  …what a way to start off the season…and the semester. 
The good thing about taking a day off at the beginning of class, was that I didn’t miss much.  I didn’t get behind.  And because I had played hooky a little early…I’ve studied harder and have (so far) done exceptionally well.
I learned what it means to be a Gamecock fan…
I learned what it means to make decisions for myself…
I learned how to take generously without too much pride…

Dear Ferris:
Thank you for being an inspiration to the long days that are held together by countless facts…for giving students a way to break free…for helping me learn three valuable lessons…for inspiring me to follow in your foot-steps…
…to have a “me-day” and not feel guilty about it…

Play hooky from work or school!  Just do it.  Paste in your souvenirs from your day off.  – The Happy Book