Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Five Best Halloween Movies

I actually meant to write this post earlier in the month, but as usual, time got away from me. Nick and I like to start breaking out the Halloween movies (and candy) in the weeks leading up to Halloween, it’s sort of our fall tradition to have a Halloween movie marathon weekend with chili and candy. 
I’ll go ahead and admit that I’m a total chicken when it comes to scary movies (or scary anything for that matter), so most of my picks are on the lighter, funnier, quirkier side.  If you’re looking for hardcore, scary, gory Halloween movies, I am not the person to ask.  So here are my five favorite Halloween movies:
Arsenic & Old Lace - This one is one of my all-time favorite movies!  It features Cary Grant, crazy family members, and Halloween.  It just doesn’t get much better than that.  It also has one of my all-time favorite movie lines, “Insanity runs in my family.  It practically gallops.”  If you only watch one Halloween movie this year, I highly recommend making it this one.
Hocus Pocus – This one is just funny and cute.  It’s usually what we watch on Halloween night. It’s kid friendly, so fine to have on when trick-or-treaters come to the door.  We both grew up watching this one.  I suspect it is most loved by people who were kids in the 90s.
House of Wax - I hadn’t heard of this one until a few years ago when my husband convinced me to watch it.  It has Vincent Price and is creepy without being too scary.  It’s a great one for a late night Halloween movie marathon.
Edward Scissorhands – This one actually really scared me the first time I saw it as a kid, (I told you I was a chicken!), and I refused to watch it again for several years.  But it has Johnny Depp, and you can only resist Johnny Depp for so long, so I gave it another try a few years ago.  I love it.  It also has Winona Ryder, who I think is an incredible actress.
It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown – Can you really have a list of Halloween movies without this one on it?  It’s timeless, and one you’re never too old for.  It just seems to have come to mean the beginning of the fall season, and that Halloween is coming soon. 
So what about you?  What are your favorite Halloween movies?  Do you prefer scary or cute and light?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Meet Duke

Well, I promised that my next post would be a happier one, and I don’t think it gets much happier than fur kids.  So, as promised, here’s my happier post, and your introduction to Duke.
Nick and I finally took the leap into long term fostering.  We’ve done short term fostering before; when puppies weren’t old enough for the shelter, when a cat needed to gain weight (our house is a great place to come if you need to gain weight), and short term fostering when a friend who fosters regularly was on vacation.  But we’d always held back on long term, open ended, they might be here for months or longer fostering. 
Saturday that changed.  A friend who regularly fosters through the no kill shelter forwarded me an email about fostering Duke, a Boxer Dalmation mix.  Duke is heartworm positive, and has a broken leg that didn’t heal properly, so he hops along, not using the leg.  He was in a kill shelter, and could be saved by the no kill shelter if a foster home could be found in time.  We decided to make the leap.
We picked Duke up on Saturday afternoon and brought him home.  He and Emma were instant friends, and he has done well with the quirky quartet of cats.  He has settled into the rhythm of our home without any issues.  It almost seems like he has always been there.
Duke is finishing up some medication for kennel cough, and tomorrow we go for a booster shot and to get the first round of heartworm medication.  At this point we’re told that likely nothing will/can/should be done about his leg until after he’s finished with the heartworm treatment.  We’ll probably know more after his first vet’s appointment. 
In the meantime, we’re just enjoying having him.  Emma seems happy to have a dog friend, and Duke seems happy to be staying with us.  He seems to crave attention.  He follows us through the house, and stays in the same room with us pretty much all of the time.   He’s a very happy guy; always excited about treats and toys, and happily greeting us when we come home.  I think he knows he has been given a second chance for a better life. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Some Thoughts On Hospice

First of all, I want to say thank you to all of you for your kind comments on my last post about my grandmother going into hospice care.  As always the blogging world (at least my little corner of it) has shown itself to be a pretty great place.
My grandmother died in a hospice house on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at about 1:30 pm. I don’t think watching a loved one die can ever be easy, but the people at hospice certainly know how to make a terrible experience a little better.  For those of you who may not be familiar, here’s a brief article that explains what hospice care is all about. 
The overwhelming kindness of everyone, from security guards, to strangers who volunteer their time, to the doctors and nurses is probably what impressed me the most.  Hospitals are usually very impersonal.  I understand that they’re very busy doing really tough jobs, and I respect that.  But hospice is different.  Though I’m sure they’re busy, no one acts like it.  They talk to you when you go in, ask you how you’re doing, how your loved one is doing, ask if you need anything.  Upon checking in, my parents were given a care package for themselves and my grandmother.  It contained a handmade afghan, a handmade cervical pillow, a handmade doll, snacks, activity books (crossword puzzles, word search, etc.) toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, etc.) and a very kind note.  The bag had everything you could think of to make the time there a little easier.
Not to confuse kindness with false hope, everyone is very open about the fact that your loved one isn’t going to get better.  No one sugar coats anything.  The staff is very open about how much time your loved one may have left, and about the dying the process.  They just manage to do it with kindness rather than being impersonal or macabre.   They assure you that your loved one will be kept comfortable, they tell you they wish for peace for all of you, and they do everything possible to make it peaceful. 
Honestly, I don’t know how these people do their jobs.  I couldn’t do it.  If I tried, I think the only way I’d survive would be to maintain some distance, but they don’t seem to.  They ask about the families and chat with you.  One nurse even hugged us when we left for the last time.
This begs the question of how you even begin to repay that, or even pay it forward.  Saying thank you just doesn’t seem like enough.  We brought in dinner most days (my mom never left) and always brought extra to offer to people working there and other families there waiting.  Most people seemed really surprised by that, but feeding people in a crisis is how some of us make it through. 
We’re sending you thank you cards to people who were especially kind, and I’m planning to bring in a few cakes; one for the day shift, one for the night shift, and one for the family waiting room.  It doesn’t seem like nearly enough, but it’s the best I’ve been able to come up with.  Our family is very grateful for what they did, and I just think they need to know it.
On a lighter note, I promise my next post will be a much happier one, and I’m really looking forward to catching up on everything I missed while I was away from blogging.