Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Saying Goodbye this Halloween

Halloween is more than costumes and candy. Wiccans view Samhain (Halloween) as the end of the witch’s year, and a new year is always a good time to start fresh and let go of the past. It’s also considered the date when the veil between this world and the next is the thinnest. In other cultures, Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1, and it’s a time for honoring family members no longer with us.

So this Halloween I will be saying goodbye to my beloved Josephine, a cat who has been with me for more than 15 years. She passed away in her sleep Friday night. Although she had been receiving treatment for a variety of age-related diseases, it was a shock for my husband and I to lose her so suddenly. Up until the end, she remained a happy, playful, sweet girl.

She loved a warm sunbeam, her catnip-stuffed mouse toys, and bites of pork from an order of pad Thai. Christmas was her favorite time of year – “helping” wrap presents and laying under the tree. I’ll never forget her meeting her younger sisters for the first time with an authoritative hiss and swat, always the head cat in our house! Everyone who met her loved her (even her be-swatted sisters), and she loved to greet new people, more than happy to apply cat hair to their legs, coats, or purses.

Today I thought I heard her singing - she had this special meow she used when she was playing with her favorite toys. It didn’t strike me at first that the sound was out of place, but then I remembered. I hope it wasn’t wishful “hearing.” I would like to think it was her way of letting me know she was okay before moving on.

It’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to her. But I see her in my mind in the Summerland, soaking up the sun with her older sister, Madison, and… well, to be honest, I’m not entirely comforted. I’ll probably go through a ton more tissues and I’ll mistake every black shadow or dark piece of clothing as her for quite some time. But I do know it’ll get easier eventually. I was lucky to have so much time with her and so many happy memories.

Love you, Jo.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness

We’ve made it through the latest hurricane with minimal damage – maybe a tiny leak in the window – but no power outages and no flooding or anything truly bad. We got lucky. Yes, we live inland, but many of our local friends have been without power for a day now, not to mention the reports I’m hearing of trees falling on houses, cars, fences… And that’s just here in Northern Virginia. I feel awful for those people in the hard hit areas of Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and everyone else in the path of the storm.

Certainly, we didn’t do well in this storm because of any decent level of preparedness on my part. Here’s what my hurricane kit looked like:

Let me give you a run-down on it.
  • Water – This was John’s contribution, likely the most useful item here if we actually had lost power.
  • Flashlight – Necessary if I want to read my…
  • Kindle – When in doubt, read.
  • Candle and lighter – Yankee Cozy Cabin scent.
  • Settlers of Catan – An excellent board game that can be played by fall-fragranced candlelight in the event of a power outage.
  • Rum – For when we truly get bored.
  • Cat laser – For when the cats get bored.
Yes, I know. Pathetic. But you gotta think about cat entertainment when a massive hurricane is headed in your direction! What non-essential things made it to your hurricane kit this week?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Movies: Thursday 13

I’ve been watching a bunch of horror movies this month leading up to Halloween. There are a lot of great (as well as awful) movies, but here are a few of my all-time favorites:
  1. The Exorcist – This one still scares the crap out of me every time I watch it! To be honest, I can’t even put it on anymore. But it makes it the favorites list because I think (at least for me) it’s the scariest movie of all time.
  2. Scream – This movie channels all of the classic scares into one snarky, awesome, bloody package.
  3. 28 Days Later – Zombies! Need I say more?
  4. Resident Evil – Video game-inspired zombies!
  5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – Classic horror with Winona, Sir Anthony, and the amazing Gary Oldman. This movie was awesome enough to even put up with Keanu’s “acting.”
  6. Underworld – Kate Beckinsale just plain kicks ass.
  7. The Omen – Make sure to watch the original version – so creepy! “It’s all for you, Damien!” *shudder*
  8. Contagion – This movie is so frightening because it’s so realistic.
  9. Aliens – I know, I know. It’s a sequel. Alien was amazing and suspenseful, but Alien*s* is infinitely scarier. What would you rather face: one alien or hundreds? No contest.
  10. The Skeleton Key – New Orleans and voodoo… yay!
  11. The Craft – No, this isn’t what witches really do (that would never be exciting enough for a horror movie!), but it’s just plain wicked fun!
  12. Wicker Man – Watch the classic version. Sure, it’s a campy, 70’s, half-ass musical/horror film, but the end is chilling.
  13. The Shining – Again, the original version is the best. Jack Nicholson makes this entire movie! As always, no movie can capture the nuance and terror of Stephen King’s books, but it’s a good movie in it’s own right. That being said, if you haven’t, go read the book! And did you hear? He’s working on a sequel to The Shining now! Horror squee!!!

There’s a sneak peak into my fears! What are your favorite horror movies? What scares you?