Prepared for the onslaught. And the troops are ready. Goodie bags filled with a mix of novelty toys and candy has been my Halloween custom for many years. And as usual I relied on Oriental Trading for the items. This year’s trick is Alien Test Tubes of Slime which is meant to gross you out but is not recommended for consumption. And the first treat is Werewolf Hair (cotton candy). Unfortunately, it is no longer on their website, so I can’t show you what the package looks like. Instead I’ll show you what I used last year, Toe Jam Cotton Candy. The last, but not least, treat is Decayed Bone Powder.
Usually there are at least 50 kids who drop by. But it varies so much between the years, that I have no way of gaging on what to expect and be prepared for. Three years ago, there were 90. Last year it was less than 50. But if the Rangers win tonight and play on Halloween…
Japanese Anemone. It’s now the last few days of October and it’s just now beginning to bloom. Usually this flower blossoms at the end of August through mid-September, and I am stumped as to what caused it to be so tardy. The only reason that I can think of is perhaps our summer was just too brutally hot for it to start producing its buds on schedule. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.
It’s just in the last two years that I have learned how to keep these finicky plants from frying into crispy fritters during our cruel summers. Since planting this perennial in 2003, there hadn’t been more than 1.5 blooms until the fall of 2009. That summer I had changed my watering practices and had begun hand watering them every evening and sometimes again in the morning, which resulted in my first decent show of blooms ever. Since it worked last year, I continued the practice this summer, and again, this extra hard work paid off. That’s just the way it is here in Dallas. We live in a crack between two climate extremes, and gardening here is brutal work and can be heartbreaking. That’s right–your read it right–I said crack.
note: The reason for so much watering is because there are a lot of large trees around this patch and the rest of my front shade garden, and their root systems suck a tremendous amount of moisture and nutrients from the soil daily. The top four to five inches of the soil becomes rock hard and dry between waterings.
Snuggling or spooning? Bertha, the red head, and Bubba, the one wearing the devil’s collar, sleep in separate beds when the temperature is higher than 80 degrees outside and higher than 72 degrees inside. That’s their choice, not mine. Gauging by their overnight change in sleeping habit, they have determined that fall has officially arrived. And none too soon! Especially after yesterday’s ninety degree high. So it’s official.
I have yet to see an acrylic or urethane finish that can compete with the old-fashioned paste wax in looks and practicality. Practical only because it’s easy to clean and repair small patches (something that one can’t do with acrylic and urethane). When the time came to sand and refinish the original wood floors of my house, the only stipulation I had was that the finish must be wax. But the color was all Charley McKenney’s doing. As my designer, he envisioned a deep reddish brown hue. After the sanding, we (the floor guys, Charley, and I) made up a small sample combining one cup of Dura Seal‘s #221 Golden Brown and gradually adding one teaspoon at a time of Dura Seal’s #122 Mesquite Red. We then wiped this on the floor in different areas of the house to see how the variances of natural light affected the color. At three teaspoons the perfect blend had been achieved. Unfortunately, with precise math (1.5 cups of red per 1.5 gallons of golden brown), the final blend was an undesired dark brown. So more mesquite red was added, and the final formula ended up being 2.25 cups of mesquite red per 1.5 gallons of golden brown (that is if my notes are correct). Our contractor had also given us a choice of wetting or not wetting down the floors before applying the stain. After experimenting on spots with and without water, we chose to wet down the floors. There was a richer difference between the two choices.
The next step was to apply the sealer. There’s absolutely nothing environmentally friendly about this poison. It seared my eyeballs, deadened my brain with pain, and burned my lungs, causing me to return to my hotel room earlier than I planned. Fortunately, my dogs were not phased. But there was something good that came from this process, the color became even more enhanced. When it comes to making the choice of being environmentally correct or incorrect, color and sheen are the determining factors for me. The green choices just weren’t up to snuff. At least they weren’t for me.
Then came the final step, Dura Seal Paste Wax was applied and buffed to a soft sheen before it had a chance to set and harden. And as you can see in the above photo, the results did not disappoint. Thank you, Charley!
The clothes and accessories. Produced by Silvia Venturini Fendi of the famous Fendi family, the film could be considered fashion porn. The leading star, Tilda Swinton, was entirely dressed by Jil Sander’s Raf Simons. The house of Fendi dressed the men and also provided extraordinary furs for the magnificent Marisa Berenson, who plays the perfectly put-together mother-in-law with a preference for vintage ’70s furs. In fact, all of the Recchi women favor a classic look. The impression is that clothes in this family are passed down, not shopped for. Tilda, in an interview, described the choices as an expressive wardrobe. “There were moments when, for her to wear a red dress at the point which she falls in love, there’s a control one can expect on the palette of the film if one works in that way.”