I may be a witch, but Halloween isn't my favorite holiday, except in that it shines a bit more approval upon my kind.
But I'm a witch every day of the year, calendar date be damned.
That said, I'm happy that the latest book featuring my daughter, Poppy Blue, is set at Halloween.
I'm not exactly sure I'm thrilled with how the author made a mockery of my culinary creations. She described them as cruel, but I prefer to simply think of them as inspired.
I mean, I took all kinds of ingredients that were in the pantry and the refrigerator and made meals out of them. And I added a few healthy things to boot. How wrong is that? Okay, I'm not making wine out of water, but it's still a noble effort.
Poppy simply grew up spoiled, being an only child and all. And yes, she is not fond of green olives, but to turn her nose up at a casserole -- on a cold fall day, no less -- full of crackers, cheese, savory meats and olives -- how could she? Yes, I suppose adding beets to that one pasta dish was a bit jarring. The color was better suited for a manicure than a main course, but I tried. That's what counts. You know, the thought? And I thought it was a marvelous effort.
But Poppy's adventures are regaled in book three, Tricks and Treats. Reader, you will enjoy Poppy and Roger's trip through a much-improved haunted house, how their romance continues to blossom (and I have told Roger Poppy's ring size, repeatedly, since men need frequent reminders), a visit from a mysterious guest, and my motherly instincts in action as I defend my cherry-locked (still … why will she not just go back to being blonde for a season and see how she likes it?) daughter. It is, after all, my job to torment the poor girl. She tormented my birth canal by putting me through 23 hours of labor.
She was worth it, though. Even though she keeps her hair that traffic-light shade of red.
Now when I say choose the hard stuff, I don't mean alcohol. Oh sure, I love a cocktail as much as the next lady does.
A martini with premium vodka, it can't be beat.
But the hard stuff I refer to is precious metals and gemstones.
You see, I'm thinking ahead to Valentine's Day. Yes, it's a big day for proposals and sparkly things in general. Sure, roses and chocolate are popular gifts, and a dozen long-stems are always appreciated by yours truly.
But I love nothing more than diamonds and other exquisitely expensive stones. The more expensive, the better, in fact.
Think about it.
Chocolate, as delicious as it is, spends a moment on the lips and quite possibly a lifetime on the hips. Plus, we're grownups here, ladies. We can buy our own indulgences.
Flowers, too. They will last a bit longer than chocolate (or maybe not, depending on your willpower), so they have that going for them. They're a sweet gesture, most definitely.
But when you ask for platinum, gold and silver (preferably the first two) or diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires (and, sure, amethyst, opals, peridot, citrine, aquamarine and topaz will do, too), you get so much more.
When you open that velvet box (that can also be a good time to open your velvet box for your beloved, when he shows he's invested in you by buying appropriate gifts -- and don't tell me I'm not a feminist, because I believe a woman should get all she can get by whatever means she chooses) you have something permanent to show off. That diamond won't lose value. That ruby won't melt. That sapphire won't spoil. That gold will not wilt.
If your love lasts, you'll have lovely memories tied to those valuables. And if it doesn't, hock it for cold, hard cash or have it customized into something more suited to your current situation.
You won't get that kind of trade-off for chocolate and flowers. Do you hear what I'm saying?
Oh, how I love men. I love a broad set of shoulders, some powerful biceps, and a cute butt.
One thing I do not love about men: They are clueless when it comes to gift-giving.
Oh sure, now and then you find a unicorn and this guy knows how to pick the perfect present for you. Those are rare men indeed.
More often than not many of those rare men may check with a friend or a family member to get advice on what to get you for Christmas, Valentine's Day, your birthday or an anniversary. Or Arbor Day. (Emeralds I think would be lovely for Arbor Day, because, you know, they're green.)To simplify things, I suggest you frequently make show of what your tastes are, if you prefer gold, silver, white gold, diamonds, rubies, princess cut, and so on. Drop not-so-subtle hints around your man, and be sure to point out lovely things you'd like to your girlfriends, your daughter, your sister.
Let everyone and anyone know what you want.
It's a kindness, really.
Then your man won't have to waste valuable energy and endure stress out as he tries to figure out what to get you. He will simply know because you let him and everyone else hear about it. There will be no knuckle-biting tension as he wonders if he chose wisely because you've made the decision making easy.
It's truly a beautiful thing.
Because as much as I love men, they are clueless. They must be told, point blank, and often, what a girl wants. Don't drop tiny cute hints and sigh sweetly that a pearl ring is adorable. Simply point, and pick it up (or circle it in a catalog, or save the image and make it their desktop background on their laptop) and proclaim loudly, "I want this item. This one. See, the ruby earrings right here."
You'll walk away happy, and they'll be happy, too, because you aren't angry over a lame choice that they've made.
And yes, I know, it's the thought that counts. But it's also the thought that you've planted in their indecisive gift-choosing brains.
Family is important. But if they’re annoying, make sure you live at least a hundred miles away. Try to make the distance greater if they are the types who would try and steal a boyfriend (or girlfriend) from you, if they would try to borrow money, or if they only take and never give anything in return. That giving-and-taking logic doesn't necessarily apply to material things. It can also apply to emotional currency. If they only want to complain or tell you all about their day, and never show the courtesy to listen to anything you have to say, they're not worth having around. That same logic applies to friends, too. If your friend/cousin/sister/you-name-it only wants to talk about her life (men are guilty of this, too, I should add) but won't spare a moment to listen to you when you're feeling down, dealing with a dilemma, or even if you're having a great day and want to share that joy, distancing yourself from that type of person is never a bad thing.
Keep the good ones near and the bad ones, send them Christmas cards and be done with them. If they plan to visit, fancy up the house so they see you doing well, but set a time limit, too. There's a reason for the old adage, fish and company stink after three days.
If you can ward them off by saying your roof is leaking or something like that, go for it. Sometimes one must tell white lies for their own health.
Being of a witchy nature, I do love Halloween. Or, as many witches refer to it, Samhain.
I tend to refer to it as Halloween, though.
I know All-Hallow's Eve is when the veil between the living and dead is thinnest, but because I can't see ghosts, it's not something I bother too much with. If they don't have the sense to show themselves to me, that's their loss.
I do enjoy the theater of the holiday, however.
I love nothing more than to get dressed up. In some ways, every day is Halloween for me.
Some people use it as a day to indulge some hidden side of their nature, where they hide behind a mask or makeup to be sexy or scary or funny. Others use it to express some true side of themselves. I count myself among the latter.
My day-to-day goal is to present my Fiona-most self. That means extra sparkle and my usual false eyelashes. A bit of mousse and hairspray never hurts, either.
Personally I like to dress up -- in fancy dress or costume -- whenever the mood strikes.
For Halloween I'll buy as much fun makeup and sparkly items as I can get my greedy little hands on. But I'll also wear all red or pink for Valentine's Day, or wear shades of emerald for St. Patrick's Day. For Easter I'll wear bunny ears and pin a bunny tail to my behind. For Christmas you can guess I'll be sparkling as much as any holiday tree. My daughter sometimes refers to me as a human Christmas tree, and I think that is probably the sweetest compliment she's ever paid me. Who, after all, doesn't love to admire a beautiful, sparkling holiday tree?
So, yes, Halloween is fun, but it's only one day to be blazingly glorious out of 365.
Now, excuse me. I just bought some cat ears, a leopard-print dress, and some rhinestones. I'm going to get ready and hit the down.
Have a purr-fect Halloween. I know I will.