Bizarre Bucket List

The other day I thought about my bucket list. A few items have been completed, including spending Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts, and visiting the mine where the remake of My Bloody Valentine was filmed. (The mine used in filming the original My Bloody Valentine is in Canada and is closed). Also scratched off the list was staying at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast on the anniversary of the murders. We were even able to stay in the room where her mother’s body was found, and visit the graves of Lizzie and her family.

I started thinking about other things I would like to do and came up with three ideas. First, I would like to participate in the reenactment of the famous scene from 1958’s The Blob, when people run out of the Colonial Theater. This is part of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania’s annual Blob Fest, an event celebrating the classic film. Although I understand obtaining tickets for the theater run out is difficult, I plan to at least visit Blob Fest this July.

Although not a huge fan of the zombie horror genre, I would like to shuffle my way through the Monroeville Mall, the original mall used in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Every year a zombie crawl is held; unfortunately, the five-hour drive is a bit of an obstacle.


Zombie Prom, Philadelphia, 2007

Much closer to home than the Monroeville Mall is the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. I would like to visit his final resting place. This adventure would be an interesting day trip.

Just as there is Christmas in July, I am looking forward to Halloween in July when I attend Blob Fest. Perhaps someday I will visit Monroeville, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland. What’s on your bucket list? Perhaps your list is more “normal” than mine.

Zombie Prom, Philadelphia, 2008

Zombie Prom, Philadelphia, 2008

If the Shoe Fits, Buy It

            If you’re a woman with little feet, you know shoe shopping is difficult. It’s tough to snag sizes 5-5 ½ in any cute style, especially since the smallest size in some shoes is a 6. It can be a competitive pursuit. I learned this first hand while trying to find black sandals to wear with jeans to compete a look I had recently seen in a magazine. 

            I was strolling the scant selection in a local store when I spotted the cutest black wedges. The 5 ½ was slightly too large, the ankle strap not entirely tight, but with small feet you’ll take whatever reasonably fits. On sale for $19.99, the American Eagles were a bargain.

            While admiring the heels, I saw a customer stride down the aisle in the same shoe, only in brown. Brown! At that price I could splurge on another pair. The salesperson assisting me remarked, “Great minds think alike,” when she spotted the other wedges walking away.

            I quickly stuffed my feet back into my black sneaks and headed to the next aisle, the small shoe section. Next to me stood the other well-heeled person in the store. I scanned my size looking for the brown pair. Denied! A brief conversation with the other customer revealed we wore the same size. I was looking for the brown as my second pair, and she the black.

            When you have small feet and finally find a pair of shoes, you never let them out of your sight, and never put them down for a second. Like a mother eagle protecting her eaglets (or in this case, American Eagle shoes), I clutched the red and white box in my talons. My fingers ached from the tight grip. In order to avoid a Jerry Springer-esque smack down, I stole away to the registers to pay for my prize. The clerk found a brown pair for me at another store and put them on hold. Since small sizes are sold out almost as soon as they hit the shelves, I really appreciate this service. Now all I have to do is get my feet ready for sandals courtesy of a home pedicure. Now where did I put that belt sander?


The Little Corolla That Could

It drove into our lives in May of 1998. My husband bought his first brand new car a month before we got married. We squabbled over the color, but since he was technically the buyer and driver, teal won out over whatever girly color I chose.

We had Toyotas in the past. My husband had an old Tercel that was driven into the ground, and at that time I had a 1986 Corolla (later replaced by a 2002 Tacoma). The teal terror was shiny and new, and as of this date the only new car we ever owned. It would replace the silver Tercel that died on a Pennsylvania roadway.

Fast forward 16 years, 314,000 miles later. The little Corolla is neither shiny nor new. The teal exterior has now commingled with rust and the new car smell has been replaced by a faint odor of gym socks and transmission fluid. Its high mileage is a badge of honor that earned it a spot in a Courier Post story on vehicles with excessive mileage.

In addition to its home state of New Jersey, the little car has traveled to Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and New York. The poor thing has been rear ended more than once, but the worst hit it ever received was a blow to the front driver’s side, courtesy of a novice driver making an illegal U-turn at the base of an overpass. It took the wallop in stride, the airbag never deployed, and there wasn’t much damage from the accident.

On another occasion, my husband made a misjudgment which resulted in his teal terror ripping a side mirror from a Mercedes. The Mercedes owner was gracious, and never sought compensation for the mishap. After that incident, we taught the Corolla not to bite.

Through the years the Corolla never asked for any expensive repairs. Other than routine maintenance, it has not been costly to run. Until recently.

Months ago the transmission started slipping. Transmission fluid was leaking at an alarming rate. A trip to our mechanic delivered the fatal diagnosis—the transmission was failing. For $2,000.00 it could be replaced, but given its advanced age and mileage, we decided to commence auto hospice and seek a replacement vehicle.

The replacement came in the form of American heavy metal. The ailing Corolla now shares the driveway with an orange and black 2011 Camaro. The muscle car muscled the blue car off of the concrete and onto the adjacent grass easement, the Corolla’s life force still dripping but no longer staining the white surface.

The Toyota’s days were numbered, or so we thought. With the hellacious winter we had, rife with snow, we soon discovered our shiny new purchase was a fair-weather friend. Who knew sports cars weren’t ideal in ice and snow? Who knew New Jersey would have snowfall just about every week? With two people working, we realized we needed a vehicle that could drive in most conditions. We kept our trusty Toyota Tacoma, but as a last-ditch effort to revive our flat lining Corolla, my husband took it to the auto shop at the school where he teaches. The transmission no longer leaks or slips, after spending $32.00 for parts. Its space on the concrete driveway has been restored. We thought we would thin our auto herd to two vehicles, but it looks like we will stay a three-car household, at least until the teal terror begins its death rattle anew.

1998 Toyota Corolla

1998 Toyota Corolla

A Camaro By Any Other Name

Like any proud parents, we had to name our orange and black bundle of joy. What gender is our Camaro? Since it has an automatic transmission, I believe it to be female. My husband pointed out that it could be switched to manual transmission, and since it’s a muscle car, it’s a male.

Clearly we needed a gender-neutral moniker. We agreed on Sam, for either Samuel or Samantha. Then it occurred to us, Sam is short for SAMHAIN! Perfect!

We attended a spell casting in Salem, Massachusetts last October, and the witch pronounced Samhain as “sah-win,” not “sam hane” as most people (us included) believe. Long story short, Samhain evolved through the years to what is now known as Halloween. A Camaro by any other name would still be awesome, but not as awesome as our Sam.

Inferno Orange Metallic

Inferno Orange Metallic