As you all know very, very well, I am a little obsessed with my lil’ town I call home. It is The Halloween Capital of the World after all. For further evidence of this you can read this…and listen to this national podcast I did in October where I talked about the endless awesomeness that is Anoka. Oh, and my book that’s coming out in 2014 is all about my spooky little town, so there’s that.
Anyways, Anoka, Minnesota is getting a little bit of a makeover. A stretch along the river, which is currently referred to as “rehab row” is becoming less “rehabb-y.” Let me explain: Commonly called to the Gateway to Anoka, the stretch of road where 169 turns into Ferry Street is currently home to two impressive historical homes, The Pierce House and The Woodbury House…and a bunch of little chemical dependency rehab facilities. I’m all for people getting clean. Rehab it up, if you need it. In fact, I had an uncle who was in one of those facilities along the river. It’s just a little, unsavory to people coming from Minneapolis and the southern ‘burbs to be met with when they pass the Welcome to Anoka sign (hey, city of Anoka, remember back in the spring you were in a kerfuffle about what to do with the abandoned cottages at Anoka State Hospital?? Man, oh man….rehab them…to rehab others! Roxy Orcutt for City Council!) Anyways, the plan is to move the rehab facilities and make the Gateway to Anoka a little fancier. One of the first steps into the Fancification of Anoka is the re-purposing of The Woodbury House!
This beautiful historic home has been sitting empty for a number of years. The city of Anoka had taken ownership of it over the years and there it sat. Well, now, this house will become home to the popular downtown Anoka Main Street business The Mad Hatter Tea Room! The tea room as been a staple in downtown Anoka since 1999 and is a popular destination for lunches, birthday parties and general merriment (usually with spectacularly big hats.) Problem is, they are located in a tiny, tiny space. So, The Mad Hatter along with the city of Anoka is planning on making The Woodbury House home to the The Mad Hatter Tea Room! Here is the best part…they plan on adding a dinner service….with wine. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT. I seriously live like, a mile and a half from The Woodbury House, so I am pumped! I mean, to get to my house from The Woodbury House I would have to cross 169/Ferry Street so I would never attempt to walk home from this new location in a wine stupor, but, close is close! It’s not like I throw my support behind things exclusively in relation to their wine availability, but it helps.
I kid, I kid. I know that this new location for the tea room can only be good for the city. The owners of The Mad Hatter, who I don’t know personally, but know through my working at Party Papers and my friends being such loyal customers of theirs, are wonderful, industrious people. They want to make this a success not only for themselves but for the community as well. And, as you know, in general, doing things isn’t cheap. So, the people at The Mad Hatter Tea Room have started a Kickstarter campaign to help cover some of the expenses of their move!
I encourage you all to check it out! it’s so much fun to see inside The Woodbury House and hear what the plans for the expanded tea room are going to be!
Please know, no one put me up to this blog post. I only yak about things on The Halloween Honey that I am truly passionate about, and this is something I am truly passionate about. The Mad Hatter Tea Room is a great Anoka business and I want nothing but good things for them and my beloved wine, I mean, town of Anoka.
Here is the link to the Kickstarter info!
Hold the phone, here comes a somewhat incoherent blog post on the beauty that is the Small Business:
Today is Small Business Saturday, a day dreamt up by a corporation, American Express, a few years ago to encourage people to…well, use their American Express cards at small businesses to earn points and what not. American Express has been very savvy about keeping their name away from the Small Business Saturday idea, and with good reason. When I learned American Express was behind this day it felt like a corporation exploiting the small business. Ick. But, since it’s inceptions three years ago Small Business Saturday has been some what of a battle cry for the Small Business, whether or not if said business is affiliated with American Express, and that’s a good thing. American Express hasn’t made a stink about small businesses that may not take their card joining in the Small Business Saturday. So, now I feel less icky about Amex being behind this day. If they can see how beneficial a day like today can be to communities and traditional Main Streets and Town Squares around the United States, then good on them.
I have worked for a small business for going on seven years now, a retail small business, the sort of business a day like Small Business Saturday is made for. If you are avid reader of my blog, you know all about my small business, (if not, go to our Facebook page! Hooray!) Working for a small business has been, without a doubt, the best job I have ever had. We have a smart owner, great, small, dedicated staff of six, a prime location on our throwback Americana Main Street and great fellow downtown merchants surrounding us. I have worked for a corporate retail store before, and I didn’t hate it. It was fun and I learned a lot, but there is just no comparing the two. There is a definitive heartlessness in corporate retail. Some more than others. I hear horror stories about how Wal-Mart employees are treated and I think that sort of treatment should be illegal, but the corporate retail I worked for wasn’t nearly as harsh or heartless (we got breaks and paid and stuff) but there was a certain disconnect and coldness from the “higher-ups,” which is fine. I don’t need a hug or a “how’s the family?” every time I walk into work, I am just pointing out the difference. Working for a small business, in my experience, is like gathering around a fireplace in a homemade sweater and a cup of tea on a cold winter night, where working for a corporation is standing over a vent hoping for the furnace to kick in.
A lot of my affection for the small business also stems from the hard working people around me and what I have observed. Take, for example, my dad and grandpa. My dad has been a union employee for nearly 35 years, my grandpa was the president of his labor union for many, many, many years. I have literally grown up with a union. I understand how they work, I understand the benefits and I see how they can also work against people. I personally, have never belonged to a union. You know why? Corporate retail (and a ton of other businesses) are terrified of unions. About every six to eight months at my corporate retail job all the employees would get a letter in their mailbox about the evils of labor unions. I would laugh and laugh. I would even challenge the managers on the letters, my challenges often met with eye-rolls and half-assed explanations why we got a letter. God forbid workers organize and demand certain rights, but that’s neither here nor there, allow me to make my point. The small business I work for is not unionized either. But, for good reason. There are six of us on staff. Six. Our boss, the shop’s owner, is a reasonable human being and a union would truly not benefit her or her employees in any way, shape or form. But, grievances are addressed, things are fair. Again, I realize that this is not everyone’s experience with a small business, but I guess I am just lucky in my small business career. But, if were to say “union…” in the small business shop, I would not be issued a letter about why unions are bad because my personally experience is wrong and void when you are at work.
Am I rambling? I feel like I’m rambling. I just read something a Facebook friend posted about how terrible Amazon treats their employees and hatred of unions was on the list and it got my blood re-boiling about the topic.
With that being said, shop small today, gang!
Have a good Small Business Saturday!
Holy cats! I haven’t blogged in nearly a month. That is just unacceptable! My apologies, apparently I must have been busy!
I just wanted to pop in and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is probably my second favorite holiday next to Halloween because all you are required to do is eat and appreciate what you have. I can manage that. No gifts, not as much pressure as Christmas and better food.
This Thanksgiving 2013 I am thankful for many, many things, but I’m going to try to list a few in no particular order:
My stepson’s mom
My whole family, even though this year has brought about some weirdness and non-communication on some ends due to hurt feelings and misunderstandings, but I am still thankful for my entire family, even if they aren’t thankful for me.
My friends, all of you wacky nuts.
My friend Christy especially, who helped me tirelessly and selflessly in putting together my book and lending her talents to her books, talents which are abundant.
Everyone helping me with my book. From cover design (Kristi) modeling (Megan) additional photos (Olivia) and everyone who has helped me research, write, babysit so I could write, you all are amazing.
Oh, speaking of my book, I’m thankful for my book being published next year! Woo!
The people at my job. Thanks for being awesome co-workers.
The owner of my place of employment. We’ve established a mentor/mentee (?) relationship these past few years, a relationship I value tremendously.
My husband’s job (thanks for not being open today, Barnes and Noble. Without that, I wouldn’t have been asked “Can I play some Grand Theft Auto before we go?” this Thanksgiving morning.)
My dinky little house, you are dinky and little, but you serve your purpose well and I love you.
My entire body for being a functioning unit
My brain for also functioning properly
The city of Anoka
The state of Minnesota
There are many more things to add to the list, I just wrote whatever came to me first.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Think about what you are thankful for today!
Here is a deep, dark secret about me: I occasionally enjoy the Real Housewives franchise. It’s alright, no shame. I prefer the California ladies, OC and Beverly Hills. I am fairly new to the franchise and only started watching when Beverly Hills debuted as a means of escape during a cold Minnesota winter. California is always pretty to look at when you’re chilling (pun!) below Canada in the middle of January.
This season The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills had to fill the void left by tinsel-extensioned Adrienne Maloof and nervous wreck Taylor Armstrong. They picked a pretty a-typical beauty queen with ridiculous hair named Joyce and a super cool lady with a kick-ass house named Carlton.
Carlton, at first blush, it pretty standard housewife fare. Pretty, rich, thin, successful with a husband whose job comes off a bit ambiguous. But here is the kicker, she’s a Wiccan. That’s right. Oooooo!
If you are an avid reader of my blog you know what a supporter of the Wiccan community I am. One of the first blogs I ever posted on the original (Blogger site) Halloween Honey was an interview with a male Wiccan and I was lucky enough to have notable British Wiccan Lady Snake write a guest blog post for me about Samhain last Halloween! I know a few Wiccans personally and may have dabbled in my teen years. The advent of a Wiccan on Real Housewives has me downright tickled.
Carlton, who hails from England (and is not Will Smith’s cousin), seems (so far) to be a pretty good representation of Wiccans in a very mainstream media setting. She explained in the first episode fairly well what it means to be a Wiccan-no animal or virgin sacrifices-and her kids have mystical but not completely off-the-wall names. Plus, she got irritated when some dumb gal killed a bee OUTSIDE. You can’t kill bugs if you’re outside! You’re in their house, dummies!
Next week, the ladies actually venture to Carlton’s house for some no doubt Bravo coordinated lunch or some such and every oohs and ahhs at her skulls and crosses everywhere. I like to think of my house like Carlton’s but like, if she shopped at Target in their half-off Halloween section.
Can’t wait to see what this witchy lady brings to the table this season!
I wonder how much black lace she owns?!
Do you think she watches American Horror Story: Coven?!
Allow me to “Mommy Blog” for a moment. Tomorrow, November 9th, my sweet little daughter Violet will turn three. Three! Where did the time go?! Honestly, sometimes when she’s asleep with her little heart-shaped lips doing involuntary duckface she still looks like she did on the day she was born. Ah, yes. The day she was born. The last three years I have found myself getting reflective on her birthday-eve. It was quite a labor day for me. Allow me to regale you all with the tale of my daughter’s birth!
Don’t worry, I’ll keep the gross details to a minimum since everyone is afraid of vaginas and their life-giving abilities.
When I first realized I was pregnant on March 3rd 2010 (yes, I remember the day. I took a pregnancy test only to see if it was cool for me to have some wine that night. Turns out, it was not cool.) I did all the things a newly pregnant woman should. Barf. Be excited. Barf some more. Get fired from her job. Barf. And so on. And yes, go to the doctor, where they delightfully told me my due date of November 9th! Wonderful! Turns out, I got knocked up, in the most cliche way, on Valentine’s Day. How lovely and romantic. Apparently my husband and I got to work after our delightfully suburban dinner at Applebee’s that night. In the time I was impregnated to the time I found out, we moved into our current house. Yes, I helped move two weeks pregnant. Of course, I didn’t know I was pregnant at the time so I drank to celebrate our new home and cleaned the house (which was a foreclosure, so not left in the best condition) with harsh chemicals and all that while pregnant. Long story short, alcohol and Mr. Clean didn’t leave an impression on my little zygote, thankfully.
As my pregnancy progressed, so did my doctor’s appointments. Not too far into my pregnancy my due date was moved up to November 1st. Excellent! The possibility of a Halloween baby! Then she got even bigger, alarmingly so, and her due date was moved up to October 26th, then back to November 1st. With all these date-fluctuation I was certain my peanut would be born on Halloween, appropriate! When Halloween 2010 rolled around, I was massively pregnant. Everything hurt. I was determined to go into labor so I took my stepson trick-or-treating. He was nine at the time and ready to meet his little sister as much as the rest of us. I did wear festive cat ears because, hey, it was Halloween.
Vigorous trick-or-treating did not get labor going. Vigorous nothing did. I went to the doc on November 1st, my due date. I was expecting to hear “Okay, let’s induce” since they damn well knew I was cooking a nearly nine pound turkey in there by then. Nope! my doc said, “Let’s let you go another week.” Uuuhhhhhh…..
I went home and probably cried.
The next day I went to Cub Foods because life didn’t stop because I was feeling sorry for myself. I was in the checkout lane being helped by Ruth, a friendly Cub employee. ”Oh, when are you due?!” She asked (I know the rule is to not ask a woman when she is due unless you see a baby coming out of her, but it was obvious I was pregnant) “Yesterday!” I shouted and burst into tears to poor Ruth. She told me her kids were overdue to and blah, blah, blah supportive things. Ruth still works at my Cub and every time I see her I want to hug her because she was so nice to me, even though she probably thought I was nuts.
One of the super awesome things I got to experience throughout my pregnancy (aside from the PUPPs. Thanks, PUPPs!) was early, prolonged labor (it has a name, I don’t remember it, but my doctor described it as “a living hell.” She was super helpful.) There were days I didn’t want to leave the bathtub because I was in labor, but no progression (cervical opening. Baby chute preparing itself) was happening. It was awful! I went back to the doc on the 7th. ”Let’s induce on the 9th.” Finally! But, so I rested up before having to deliver a baby (my early and prolonged labor made sleeping next to impossible) the hospital prescribed me some Ambien, which I happily took. I sat in our loft, our TV room, that night having visions of a big top that originated out of an old purse. It was the most effed up thing I ever experienced. My friend Christy advised me early in the day, “Watch out for Ambien. Next thing you know your on the phone to Canada and vacuuming your lawn.” She was correct. Did I sleep? I don’t know, but I was high as hell, so whatever.
I was at the hospital all detemination and smiles at 7am the next morning. I thought, “I’ll be delivering this baby by 2pm!”
Cut to my mom watching Glee at seven o’clock at night while my husband sat next to her reading in my hospital room.
10:05 pm my little Violet was cut out of my uterus with surgical precision my some ladydoc with a hyphenated name while I talked to the ancient anesthesiologist who was keeping me from having a full-blown panic attack during my C-section and my husband hovered by my head a ball of nerves.
Violet pooed while she was waiting to arrive inside me, which can be a bit dangerous, so she was whisked away to some level 2 docs and nursed before I even got to see her.
A C-section was decided upon after my blood pressure and temperature started to rise and I was stuck at a seven (you need to be at a ten) for most of the damn day. I was done. Let’s carve this baby out! The C-section surgical room was in use, so I had to go to the actual surgical suite a level below me in the hospital but whatever. It did the trick. Was it ideal? No. Was the recovery a bitch? Yup, couldn’t even sleep in my own bed. Did it make breast feeding a challenge? Oh, boy. Did it ever. Did it help my baby arrive safe and healthy. Sure did. No regrets. Plus, check out my sexy scar! Oh, yeah!
Now, three years later my little love sits next to me as I write this begging me to make her dinner, so I better jet. Big day tomorrow! Hope you enjoyed my tale of labor and delivery because it probably won’t ever be happening for me again!
Violet. One Day Old
Violet. All decked out for Halloween this year.
How could I not indulge my daughter Violet when she became obsessed with Scooby-Doo? It’s Scooby-Doo! The paranormal TV primer for kids. Luckily, my stepson Quinn also had a Scooby obsession when he was much younger and had piles on Scooby-Doo DVDs in the basement. Well, Violet quickly burned through the DVDs (one can only watch Scooby meets Batman so many times…) and my husband Jim went a-Netflix-huntin’. The only Scooby-Doo on Netflix (did you know there are 11 incarnations of Scooby-Doo?!) was something called Scooby-Doo, Mystery Incorporated. Before too long, Jim was as eager as Violet to watch some Scooby on Netflix when they’d sit down for cuddle time. I really didn’t question his enthusiasm. I’ve seen Jim get sucked into episodes of Phineas and Ferb, and hell, I’ve even seen him talk back to the TV during Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, until I sat down with Violet and experienced Mystery, Inc. firsthand.
Mystery, Inc. is your classic re-imagining of a well-known tale that has become popular in recent years. Fred, Daphne, Velma, Scooby and Shaggy are all accounted for….but they’re teenagers (what were they in the ’60′s? Teenagers, I suppose.) But, Mystery, Inc. which ran on Cartoon Network from 2010 to April of 2013 is very, very modern. They kids are in high school and spend their spare time solving mysteries in their hometown of Crystal Cove, which is touted as “The Most Haunted Town in America” in the opening credits. While that sounds all very “Scooby-Doo” it’s…not. There is a mythology and drama, and it skews much older than the original Scooby did. In fact, Jim and Quinn sat and watched SEVERAL episodes the other night long after Violet had lost interest….
Check out what the gang looks like in Mystery, Inc.
Old gray mare ain’t what she used to be:
Personally, even though I am somtimes confused by Mystery, Inc. because I am not as dedicated to it as the other people in my household (seriously, it’s like Lost in it’s mythology. I prefer the monster-of-the-week episodes) , I think this re-imagining is great. It’s fun to see this silly show for kids grow up and made accessible for not only a new audience but also an audience that remembers watching them as kids themselves. It’s also a good example of how animation is quickly becoming a superior storytelling format.
The point of this blog was to really make people more aware of Mystery, Inc. I’m sure their are more worldly, in-the-know types that have known this show has existed for years but not only was it a surprise to me it was also a bit of a shock. Grown-up Scooby! Non-porn edition!
Plus, it has brought The Hex Girls into our lives. Granted, The Hex Girls have been on other versions of Scooby in the ’90′s, but these Hex Girls are my daugther’s favorite band. I wish they were real and toured so I could take her to see them. Granted, Violet will only be three on November 9th, but the ferocity in which she rocks out to their songs would make it worth while.
The Hex Girls. Goth girl rock not unlike Kittie.
I don’t know guys. You should probably check it out Netflix.
After blogging about Quinn and Darkness Dave I realized I never did a Halloween re-cap blog post! What the eff was I thinking?! Granted it’s only November 2nd, but, ya know, derp.
This Halloween seasons, which was the entire month of October (as it should be) was one of the busiest ones on record for me. I just had to keep telling myself “It’s good practice for next year” when my book….about ghosts and Halloween….comes out in September, so God willing, I will be super duper busy promoting it next fall, so good practice, indeed.
I managed to go to The Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement, have a children’s Halloween party, work quite a bit at my beloved haunted costume shop, be on TV, give my first ever speaking engagement at the local community college, attend the Anoka Halloween parade AND go out that night in full costume, and then Halloween rolled around! We took my daughter Violet, my stepson Quinn and his friend from school, Nick trick-or-treating. Whew. It was a whirlwind. It was such a whirlwind I don’t even remember when I did on November 1st, and that was only yesterday.
I was happy to have enjoyed the Halloween season to its fullest this year. Here are some pics from our Halloween night!
Our kids for the night! Violet is a “superhero” Quinn (the tall one) was his modern-day plague doctor and his friend Nick, who was a last minute addition, mixed and matched some costume pieces he had and we had. At one point he was an axe murder…sure!
Witch-in-training at my mother-in-law’s.
These two and their creepy masks.
My husband and I with our little superhero.
Then I got a hold of this wee little Halloween dog.
When it comes to Halloween night, since we have kids, it is very traditional. Trick-or-treating, home by eight. Which, after such a busy build up month, is actually pretty perfect for us.
Now, to get back to every day life. Which, for me is like Halloween…so that works out pretty well.
While I was at the suburban jungle known as Costco this afternoon my stepson Quinn along with his mom Liza attended the Minneapolis Holistic Expo. I texted Quinn this morning to be on the lookout for Dave Schrader from Darkness Radio and Ghost Adventures. A few hours later I got this texted to me from Liza’s phone:
Gah! Quinner got the meet Darkness Dave! I was pretty excited for him and Dave gave him a signed copy of his book for free! Quinn is just too charming so how could anyone resist giving him free stuff?
And I’m just happy I was able to survive Costco to see the pic
It’s here, it’s here! The day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived! Woo hoo! What a Halloween season it has been!
So far today my daughter Violet and I have shared a bag of mini-Kit Kat bites and I am in my “stay-at-home witch” costume I’ve created (I mean, I still gotta do laundry and load the dishwasher and stuff) but I’ll lace up in my corset tonight when we go trick-or-treating and slap that cone of power on my head and be my full-on Halloween Honey witch.
Everyone have a fun, fabulous, safe and spooky day!
It’s here, it’s here! Do a happy dance and enjoy yourselves!
Hot cats, gang, yesterday was a whirlwind. It began with me drinking the biggest latte ever I’d seen at around 8am….and didn’t stop until I fell asleep on my couch at home at about 2pm. I know you are thinking, “Uh, that’s like six hours, you damn baby.” Yes, but it was a frantic, fun and caffeine-fueled six hours so….don’t make fun of me.
In the morning I met up with some of the gang from the Twin Cities Paranormal Society and two lovely folks from WCCO and we made this nearly four minutes of television!
After the TCPS and WCCO left I locked myself in Party Papers (which didn’t open for another half hour) and practiced my little speech I had to give on Halloween over at Anoka Ramsey Community College later that morning. While I paced the shop reading aloud I caught a few folks from the restaurant across the hall giving me some super weird looks but….I didn’t care. Before too long the morning staff showed up and I regaled them with tales of my news-y morning.
Then I gathered all my courage, went to the college and yakked away. I think I did okay! My mom was there and being a, ya know, mom, she got some pics of me:
Waiting to go on–I was being introduced by a student!
And then telling the students everything the will ever need to know about Halloween…..or, most of what they will need to know.
Right before I went on I found out some students were attending for credits and kind of felt bad….
Today I am trying my hardest (can’t you tell, since I’m blogging?) to meet a deadline for my publisher. I am confident I will reach it though because I really don’t have a choice.
TOMORROW IS HALLOWEEN!