Ghosts, Snickers and a Happy Halloween…

Last year my husband and I bought a one-hundred year old house. We expected the problems that come with that kind of home and we got ‘em all…the dying furnace, the unreliable appliances, and yes, God help us…the plumbing. What we didn’t expect to come along with our new purchase was a ghost.

But according to my seven-year old, we have one. Apparently, it’s purple and it tackles him late at night. While I am pretty damned sure, the kid is just trying to stay up later, this is a toughie for me because I’m a believer in all things ghostly. Yes, I’m the one who drags her husband on ghost tours around the country…San Francisco, Williamsburg…next week, we’ll be scouting for the Undead in Savannah. And while I’ve never actually seen a ghost on one of these tours, I still wonder if I should carry my portable proton-pack accelerator system. ‘Cause you never know.

But as I explained to my son, not all ghosts are scary poltergeists. Trust me, I won’t be wandering off into the bright, white light emanating from my television screen any time soon, but I have experienced a run-in with a gentle, ghostly spirit that changed my life. For reals.

In my early twenties, I moved in with my grandmother who was dying of cancer. She’d had a long struggle, much of it on her own, but she was a tough Italian broad and not willing to go out without a fight. While she sat in the hospital bed we’d ordered for a small, first floor room, I’d pull up a chair and we’d watch Matlock, eat Haagen Daz and flaunt our matching light-up troll rings. Anything to make life seem less dire. Sometimes the morphine might cause her to see a vision that needed to be chased away and I was happy to do battle with whatever creature popped into that small room. Of course, there were doctor appointments, laundry and home-health care workers, but we tried to make everything else feel…fun. Time is short. Together, we made every moment as full of love as possible.

Shortly after her death, I was sleeping in my corner bedroom upstairs, and her spirit came to me in a dream. I’ll never forget her wide gray eyes focusing on me as she whispered a secret into the air around me. I woke up unable to breathe, certain in the knowledge that my grandmother had come to say goodbye. The secret she told me…in her ghostly, unspoken way…gave me hope during a time in my life when I was struggling, and I will always believe she came that night to reassure me, to tell me everything was going to be okay. My own personal, prescient ghost.

Of course, tonight, I’ll be doling out candy to faux-specters and vampires, enjoying each one of their scary, shining faces as they choose between a glow-in-the-dark bag of Cheetos and a snack-sized Snickers. I don’t think any of them will whisper secrets to me or tackle me in a haze of purple, but each one will remind me, there’s still lots of reason to be a believer.

What do you think? Are you a ghost-hunter? Ever had an otherworldly experience? Or is it all about the candy, and if so, what kind of sweet will you be stealing from your kid’s treat or treat bag tonight?

Love, Romance and Other Great Mysteries of Life…

Isn’t love funny?

You fall for the exact right guy at the exact wrong moment. Or the wrong guy at what feels like the exact right time.

Or maybe, you fall for the guy your BFF introduced you to because she’s crushing on him, and the guy turns out to be the one who used to date your brother’s current girlfriend who he may just marry. Confused? So was I. And yes, I married that guy. My brother….not so much.

But that’s love. Crazy. Unexpected. Wonderful. Love.

And for me, few things recreate the feeling of The Fall like an afternoon spent with no children, total control of the remote and my favorite rom-coms. So, here are my besties. But if there’s a romantic comedy you love that’s not on the list, please let me know in the comments. My husband owes me a rom-com afternoon. Soon.

5. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK.  Football, family, mental illness…what’s not to love? Oh, and Bradley Cooper. I fell for BC when he was just the geekster on ALIAS and the man has yet to fail me. His portrayal of the story’s unstable hero who loves his ex-wife (or the idea of her) so much that he refuses to accept his marriage is over is both funny and desperately sad. Jennifer Lawrence matches him moment-by-moment and as the relationship unfolds, it is so clear, these two crazies are MFEO.

4. Can’t have a list of great romantic comedies without Julia Roberts. Cause she’s the best. Tough call, but I’ll go with MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING because who doesn’t  have that friend-almost-lover with whom the timing never felt right and then…suddenly, “the moment just passes you by.”

3. THE HANGOVER. Yes, you read that right, and while it is not a typical choice, this movie is a hilarious ode to Contemporary Bromance. Beside, in the end there’s totally a wedding and Bradley Cooper never looked better. Booyah.

2. FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL. I believe that if Andie McDowell was zapped by a shrinking machine and dropped into a paper lunch bag, she would not be able to act her way out, and yet, that doesn’t matter at all because she is so damned lovable (and gorgeous). Plus, the writing is sublime, the supporting acting fantastic and the Auden poem included in the film breaks my heart every time. All this, and Hugh Grant at his most charming.

1. Easy peasy…WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING. Sandra Bullock before she was glamorous was the Perfect Girl Next Door. Heartfelt performances, a unique and hilarious premise, terrific writing and big-time nutty characters, make WYWS the Perfect Romantic Comedy, top to bottom. And, let’s be reals, if Bill Pullman gave me a sly smile, tossed a diamond into my toll booth and lay his tender heart on the line, baby, you can bet I’d let him in. Forever. Amen.

So, here’s to “True love. In whatever shape or form it may come. May we all in our dotage be proud to say, “I was adored once too.”

Quoted from Four Weddings and a Funeral