A week devoted to Halloween

Here’s my still life from a photo I took of my grandmother’s silver water jug one day the summer before last when it was full of peonies. The little Aladdin’s lamp pot is one we bought from our favorite potter in Austin.

The big news for me this week is that I finally finished my painting, a still life of my grandmother’s water jug and a little pot that sit in my kitchen on top of my bookcase of cookbooks. Here is my picture. I have to say that in real life the colors are more vibrant, but that didn’t come across in the photo I took in class with my phone. I have now finished three paintings in the year since I started working in oils. Gosh, we’ve spent a long time on each one.

The old mill on the trail

Last Wednesday, my neighbor and I returned to a local park, Whipple Creek Park, for our hike, but we took a different path than usual. This trail was called the Stone Mill Loop, and it actually had the remains of a mill along the trail. Although it was not a beautiful day, it was at least not rainy, and we had the park almost to ourselves. It’s really a lovely area right up against suburban Vancouver.

On Friday, I was pledged to help my niece and sister and crew carve pumpkins for my niece’s annual Halloween bash. This is that family’s favorite holiday, and they really get into it. Last year, I was impressed by all the work that went into the Halloween decorations, but this year I was amazed to see that they had twice as many. Friends and family carved 19 pumpkins on Friday afternoon! Everything went really quickly. My sister and I did the hollowing out while the rest drew and carved pumpkin faces.

The pumpkin-carving crew at work. Friends are in the foreground. My great niece is at back left with her father, my sister, then my niece and great nephew.
My guacamole swamp. If you look carefully, you can see an arm sticking out of it and a shoe resting on the surface. Next to it is my mummy baked brie.

Then on Halloween was the big party. I had promised my niece that I would make a big bowl of guacamole for the party. The tradition is to bring spooky food. Hmm. What to do with a bowl of guacamole. A swamp, of course! And a mummy baked brie.

My actual Halloween pictures didn’t come out very well. No one has posted theirs yet, so I don’t have a picture of me in my person being eaten by a shark costume! If I see a picture of it, I’ll post it later. Unfortunately, it was really rainy all evening. That didn’t prevent everyone from enjoying the Haunted Forest, a walk my sister prepares through their path in the woods. I slogged down that trail four times that night, first trying to find my sister because I had promised to put out tea lights in the jack o’lanterns, then putting out the tea lights, then trying to find my sister again to tell her that my niece’s husband was putting out more pumpkins, and finally doing the walk after almost everyone else had gone through it (because I’d been looking for her and missed their departure). I was really wet!

That’s about it for this week. The week has been cold and rainy, and we have no hike today. This week we had to discuss whether Luke would finally graduate from puppy class. Our trainer suggested we keep all of the puppies together for one more class. She said we could move them up to the adult class, but she has only one puppy starting puppy class this month. All of our puppies are still a bit young for adult class (now there is one younger than Luke), so she suggested we stay in class one more month and then all move to adult class together. So, Luke is held back from graduating again! However, he is finally house trained. Our trainer’s talk about the conventional “wisdom” for house training did the trick. As soon as he started going into his crate when he had an accident, he shaped up. We have only had one accident since the first rough days when we started doing that, and that was because he rings the bell to go out incessantly every night. We get sick of taking him out, and so one time we didn’t take him out when we should have.

Yesterday, it cleared up for a while and the afternoon was nice, so I took him for a walk over to my niece’s house. Up until now, he has resisted passing the neighbor’s house and getting too far from what he thinks is our property. (He knows nothing about our pasture. We are still next to our property when he wants to turn around.) But the last week I’ve noticed he is acting a lot more grown up. Instead of trying to push past the gate and go back to bug Hillary every time someone goes through it to the back of the house, for example, he will sit and wait for us to come back. He is a lot less hyper, usually, at night, although last night he had to go to his crate to calm down. Except for trying to tease Hillary when he gets on the bed, he is becoming much less of a pain in the butt!



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