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.
RECIPE FOR A NIGHT OUT
Cooking is important.
It’s a way to nourish the body and the soul. It’s a way to express oneself.
It’s also a way to show off.
When done with skill it's a surefire way to win praise and adoration. People will rave at this magic that you've performed, to take some garlic, sea salt and pepper, some oregano and thyme, and a bit of olive oil and a chicken, and to roast it to crispy, juicy, flavorful perfection.
There's also a lesson there in that simplicity can produce elegant and sublime results.
On the flip side, if you're cooking for your love, you don't want every cooking effort to mean a home run (to switch metaphors).
When dinner is done as a carefully planned disaster, it’s a ticket out to a meal at a fancy restaurant.
You doubt me? It's as easy as cleaning out the freezer or pantry of old ingredients. Be sure to add sugar instead of salt, or vice-versa. Instead of a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper, add a half cup. Don't be too careful about peeling that onion or that shallot.
This is another opportunity to be creative. Think of it like being a child again and making mud pies.
Then when your sweetie comes home, be sure to have your hair and makeup done, but keep your clothing casual. Show him that you're thrilled to have him home. Show excitement about the meal you were so inspired to make just for him.
Serve it with love, and taste (just a tiny bit) along with him, and then whip your napkin down onto the table and throw your head in your hands and squeeze out a tear. Sigh. Let your lower lip quiver. Whimper over this culinary failure.
Wait for him to offer to take you out. He might really be doing it so he doesn't have to eat the sugared-cayenne catastrophe, but you've won a behind-the-scenes victory.
Put on a pretty outfit and enjoy that impromptu night out on the town. You've earned it.
True failure can teach many important lessons. In this case, however, planned failure let you be queen for the night.
BE SURE TO ASK
I am a generous soul. Believe me. And I love to give. Especially advice.
It's free, and yet it is invaluable.
This is one of my favorites:
Ask for things.
If you ask for nothing, you get nothing.
If someone says no, then ask again.
You may need to ask a second time to make sure they heard you properly. Try batting your eyelashes or squeezing out a tear to drive home your point.
If they then say no, then oh well. I suggest searching on Google.
If they say yes, however, then you’re farther ahead than if you’d kept your mouth shut all along.
This logic applies in endless situations.
Ask your sweetheart to take you out. (If he says no, then demand you go out. Or demand a raincheck at a nicer place than the one you had in mind.)
Ask your sweetheart to give you a back rub.
Ask your boss for a raise.
Ask for more vacation time.
Ask if there are freebies or deluxe samples.
Ask for a discount.
And so on.
When someone says yes, then you come out ahead.
Get the picture?
Plus, they learn what kinds of things you like, which ultimately makes their lives easier should they be searching for a gift for you down the line. That's the gift that keeps on giving, let me tell you.
I must add, however, in light of the sexual harassment scandal pouring out of Hollywood in recent weeks:
If you're a man and want to show a woman your penis, do not do it, especially if she is a stranger, an acquaintance, a co-worker, an employee, or anyone who you are not in a committed relationship with. Even if you're in a relationship, whipping it out isn't always a good idea.
Trust me; it's good advice.
And for you ladies, I've been flashed a few times and laughing and pointing has always worked well for me, but not everyone is as adept with a swift kick to the family jewels and not everyone can curse a man so his little friend remains permanently shriveled and shy. As a result, I also suggest mace or pepper spray.
GOOD LUCK CHARM
It's me. Fiona Wheeler, aka the Glitter Witch.
Did you miss me? Of course you did!
Well, well, well ...
It's Friday the 13th. In October, no less. How positively spooky.
Personally I don't believe in bad luck. I think you make your own. Of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes someone can do something with evil or misaligned intentions and that can snowball and affect others in its path.
But walking under ladders? Pffft! Walking is always good for you. It's why I'm still the same size I was while in my twenties.
Breaking a mirror? Were I to shatter a mirror the only bad luck I could foresee is that I would not be able to see my face clearly.
Black cats? Cats are wonderful, amusing and magical creatures. They're also self-cleaning, so how could they be bad luck? (Personally I prefer dogs. I have two beagles, Beanie and Hooper, but my daughter Poppy and writer Magenta Wilde tend to prefer cats. Whether one prefers cats, dogs, hamsters or an iguana, so long as you have something to love which loves you back, well, how can that be anything other than good luck?
If you do want a bit of good luck and good feelings to land in the palm of your hand, however, I would advise picking up Magenta Wilde's first book, Giving Up the Ghost. (It's available here on Amazon.com for 99 cents, or free on Kindle Unlimited. Frankly I think the book is worth ten times as much because I'm in it.) It has my daughter Poppy in there. It has me. It has my sweetheart Tom. It also has the handsome Roger Montgomery, on whom my daughter developed a quick crush. Once I got a good look at his broad shoulders and those icy blue eyes, I can't say I blame her. If I were twenty -- I mean five -- years younger I'd be mooning over him myself.
Now there are some complications in the story -- you need tension and a bit of conflict in a story -- including problems with a ghost which I would only describe as in need of a time-out, but I promise there's humor and heart in my girl's story.
And when you laugh, you cry, and you meet these fabulous characters, it's pure good luck, let me promise you.
Magenta Wilde is the author of the Poppy Blue paranormal fantasy series.