Small Works is brought to you today by the letter "S" . . . and by the number One.

Welcome, Friends! Come in to my very sincere pumpkin patch. Today it's my blog Halloween party! I'm glad you could come. First, let's have a story:

Mac will do exactly what I would do . . .

Because I am really such a scaredy-cat. That's why the letter S: S for Scared.
But why the number one, you ask?

Because one is the loneliest number. (Now I hope I haven't put that song into your head, because I want you to get in a scary and lonely mood for the next Halloween story . . .)


I grew up in a very big house. Seriously. I don't have a picture handy, but if I did you would say, "Wow. That's a big house. I wouldn't want to be in that house alone in the dark."

You would be correct to think that.

Here's a picture of me in my parents' bedroom, and I think it captures quite well how I felt living in that big big house.

Do I look like a tiny little scaredy-cat in a great big room? Because that's what I was, for almost my entire childhood.

(For the record, I must admit that it was also an incredibly cool and wonderful house, but this is a spooky blog story . . . we'll have that story another day.)

Raise your hand if your house had a suit of armor in the dining room -- because mine did. It also had funny names for the rooms (it was the kind of house where you would give the rooms names, like "the receiving area", "the music room" or "the butler's pantry." It was a little like growing up on a "Clue" board, except instead of Professor Plum we had Professor Harold Hill.)

One of the places in the house was "The Long Dark Hall."

The "LDH" was indeed long, with a dark wood floor and two iron gates at either end. There were floor-length red velvet drapes hanging on sets of french doors all the way down one side. There were two medieval-looking chairs against the wall on the other side.

And there were ghostly footsteps in the hall when I would lay in bed at night. I think the steam in the pipes made them, but they sounded exactly like slow and deliberate steps made by a ghost in black heeled boots. When I had to pass the yawning entrance to the LDH at night, (which I did have to in order to go upstairs), I would of course run. And I think my face looked like Mac's face.

So in honor of Halloween, I thought we could venture down the long dark hall together and have some spooky fun. I bet it isn't as scary as I thought it was.

First, let's have some spooky organ music.

That's the Long Dark Hall
(now imagine some iron gates . . . scary, huh?!)

Let's tiptoe together.

I wonder what we'll find?

Here's a door -- let's open it . . . .

cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

EEEKKK!!! I knew it! That's the kind of thing I always knew lived here!
That's it -- I'm running . . . .

Here's another door.
Should I open it?

cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

I expected scary but I didn't expect the rack.

Still running . . .

Next door . . . cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

Should we go on?

Okay, just one more door . . .

cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .


This is much scarier than I intended. Enough film noir . . . black and white films are always scarier than color films. Let's change film before we open the next door . . .

cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

A nightmare of being chased by Man-Eating Fish?
By an artist I really admire?

This is getting better.

I think we should continue. . .

cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

Whew!!! It's just Leaf-Man.

(I don't know what Li'l Russ has to look so grumpy about. I think his mom did a fantastic job bringing his vision to life. Speaking of which, I used to be very sad and jealous because I only got store-bought Halloween costumes. I felt like my mom didn't care enough to make me cool costumes like Leaf-Man. But I was recently talking to a friend who told me they always felt sad and jealous because their mom didn't care enough to get them store-bought costumes. There's a Halloween moral there somewhere . . .)

But shhhh! I hear talking . . . .

cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

Oh good!

It's just three adorable little trick-or-treaters, Li'l Russ, Dave and Big John, the cousins from next door. They must have been told to either look tough or to look like the sixth grade bullies just stole their candy.
(Li'l Russ, you are a darling scarecrow but didn't you ever smile on Halloween?)

Now I'm feeling much more relaxed. We're almost to the end of the hall, and the gates are open so we won't be trapped here.

Another door . . . cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

Now here's a happy memory! I'm sure Lindsay's must be the one in the middle and Chelsea's must be the one on the left. Judging by the tablecloth, Hannah was too young so Russ must have carved the one on the right for her.

Alas, no little pumpkins in my house this year! Our first empty-nest Halloween. (Maybe we'll go out to dinner.)

Well, now I'm pretty out of breath. We're at the end of the LDH.

All I see is the HALLOWEEN VAULT.
Should we open it?

It looks a little scary . . . . cccrrreeeaaakkk . . .

Whew! It's only full of Susan's old artwork:

And Li'l Russ yelling . . .


Happy Halloween!


I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow . . .

Yes, they're real (ridiculous) song lyrics.
No, I've never actually wanted to wash my hair with snow.
Yes, I wanted to run screaming from the state when it started snowing (with a 50 mph wind) on Sunday.

Instead I've been stuck inside on the exercise bike. October is much too early to be stuck inside, and though I do enjoy snow-running, I hate wind-running and it takes me a while to get desperate enough to want to start doing either.

So while we're waiting for it to get back to 50 degrees/for the wind to stop blowing (which they have promised me it will by Halloween) I've been having to get creative about maintaining my healthy, active lifestyle. Or perhaps trying to save myself from the ravages of my exploration of October comfort foods in all of their warm, melty and delicious bounty.

Here's a great idea:

The copy assures me that this routine "will become as automatic as putting on your make-up. Exercise is no longer a chore, and you'll be transformed into a graceful sylph."

A sylph? Okay.

Will I be in shape to wear the new swell outfit I'm planning to sew?

If we had stayed in Florida, I think this would have made an awesome Christmas outfit. They don't explain where to get the shoes, but I'm pretty crafty. I could whip up something.

And while we're on the subject of staying in shape, here's today's vintage underwear ad:

I'm particularly curious about this part:

I haven't taken a correspondence course in a long time. I think the "Glamor Bustline Course" might be just the thing to spice up the dreary months. At the very least, I'm glad there's a company that has employed science to correct, flatter and give firm uplift, roundness and highness whether my busts are extra large, flatly spread out, sagging, or not something enough.

And most importantly, it will all be sent to me in a plain wrapper.

While I'm waiting for the mail, I could watch daytime television. Sure, it's okay to make fun of the ridiculous magazines our mothers and grandmothers were entertaining themselves with, but let's not imagine that we are any less ridiculous than they were. For instance, from the "Soap Opera Summary" section in today's paper, I read this:

I think this is one of the most ridiculously entertaining "9 line novels" I've ever encountered. Anything that begins "after the tornado" is immediately riveting. And I can't help wondering how Jake managed to botch Kendall's emergency brain surgery. I think instead of watching daytime TV everyone should read the weekly recap from now on. If only it had quaint illustrations . . . then it would be even easier to laugh at.

With the time I save by giving up daytime TV, I could practice shampooing my hair. Here are two schools of thought on the correct technique for this delicate endeavor:

If I ever start measuring my shampoo with a glass measuring cup, call a doctor. I'd be just as likely to wash my hair with snow (but let's save that for actual winter, if you don't mind).


See Susan. See Susan work. Work Susan, work.

is almost over.

will soon be here.

Then comes

Class dismissed.
Go outside and play.
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