Tag Archives: quotation

Fear. A four letter word. And not just at Halloween…

Last night I was chatting with my sister and she said, “I hate being scared, but I love scaring others.” She was, of course, talking about Halloween. It made me laugh – Catherine reminiscing about how much she hated being scared as a child at Halloween time, but how now she revels in the idea of scaring other people through her gifted – if not a bit troubling –  Halloween, fear-eliciting, creative talents.

Then it dawned on me… her statement rings true for things far beyond Halloween. Fear is an interesting thing. Fear of failure. Fear of success (I’ve gotta be honest – I’m not entirely sure about the whole “fear of success” idea… what does that really even mean?). Fear of the unknown. All kinds of phobia fears – heights, the dark, spiders, clowns…

I personally fear that I will not accomplish enough in my life before I die. (Years of being told how much unfulfilled potential I have might have contributed to my fear… 😉 ). I know that my fear might seem ridiculous to some, while others will understand why I carry it with me. But that’s the whole thing about fear – it’s often irrational, and has no basis in fact. It just is.

And that is why I understand Catherine’s need to work non-stop making every inch of the Macabre Inn perfect. She lives, breathes, sleeps, and dreams Halloween. She is driven by that four letter word – fear. Fear that Halloween will sneak up on her and rob her of the precious time she needs to make everything perfect. Fear that she’ll open the doors for the official Halloween event and only a handful of people will trickle in. Fear that if people do show up, the sound system designed to cloak everyone in haunting, creepy, blood-curdling sounds won’t work. Or that the 12 foot clown on stilts will suddenly collapse, or the vortex tunnel will spring from its hinges and end up barrelling into the cactus-filled wash, taking a few visitors with it (okay, that one’s actually my fear, not hers…).

To those of us watching her, all of her fears seem unfounded. Her creation is nothing short of spectacular. Tons of people will come, and all will be amazed at her talent, creativity, and her far-reaching imagination. But she works endlessly to ensure her fears will not materialize. And that’s what separates Catherine from the rest. Many are paralyzed by fear, while others are driven by it.

The great Arthur Ashe summed it up perfectly when he said:

Fear isn’t an excuse to come to a standstill. It’s the impetus to step up and strike.

And 83 days from now Catherine can release her fears and enjoy seeing the fear she elicits in each and every unsuspecting guest of the Macabre Inn. 

Advertisements

Dumpster Diving

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure….

The etymology of this saying is a bit difficult to pin down. Some say the first iteration is the 17th century proverb “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Others claim Urquhart’s intro to the 1860s Popular Tales of the West Highlands, where he said “One man’s rubbish may be another’s treasure” is where it all began. The true origin is irrelevant, though. For in today’s world, we simply call it “dumpster diving.” Well… that’s what Catherine calls it. And it makes her incredibly happy.

In Arizona, we have “large trash pick up” once a month. This is when homeowners go through their houses and yards and throw out all of their junk. Driving through the neighborhoods during large trash week is an eye-opening experience. You can see who got new patio furniture since the old stuff is piled high by the mailbox, whose baby finally outgrew that crib, who got sick of tinkering with that 30 year old lawnmower, and you can even tell who’s getting a divorce from the haphazardly thrown out pile of old wedding and honeymoon photos (that one’s kind of sad). And, yes, you’ll even see the neighbors’ “dirty laundry.” Really. Not a pleasant sight…

So when Catherine is planning her Halloween spectacular, she counts down the days until each and every large trash pick up day. She climbs into her car as the sun breaks the horizon (so she can beat the other dumpster divers to the “good stuff”), and she combs the neighborhood (well actually, that’s neighborhoods. Plural.) She sets off to find her treasures. We all wait to find out what she snagged to furnish the Macabre Inn. (And, yes, we’re all a bit nervous – you never know what she’ll drag home!) My sister outdid herself this year. What’s an old Inn without a bunch of tattered, dirty suitcases?Luggage Pile

And of course, the “guests” will need a place to sit…Old Bench

And sleep.Mattress

And here’s my personal favorite – apparently the werewolves, witches, zombies, clowns, and Macabre Inn guests all have something in common. They all need one of these (I can just picture Catherine hoisting this up into the back of her car…)toilet

(And to think, we were all chuckling at the neighbors’ “dirty laundry.” Imagine how hard they must have been laughing when they watched Catherine drive up at the crack of dawn and sneak off with their old, used, broken toilet. I’m thinking they got the last laugh on that one!). Which brings us back to the original point…. Trash or Treasure? It’s all in the eye of the beholder (nothing like mixing a couple of idioms…).

The Werewolf Part 2

The werewolf is neither man nor wolf, but a Satanic creature with the worst qualities of both – From the movie “Werewolf of London”

One might wonder why Catherine was compelled to create a pack of werewolves as her first Halloween 2013 creation. I, of course, know the answer – she is driven to create. Create something memorable. Create something few others could. Create something that requires skill, precision, imagination, vision, talent, and even manual labor. Something that people will talk about for months, if not years (despite the lack of discussion about the 7 foot werewolf at our last dinner party).

She is driven; and accomplishment is borne from drive and determination. While the werewolf is not in his final resting spot (bringing terror to those who dare to ring her front door on Halloween), and the pack is not quite complete, these photos will show just how powerful drive and determination can be. As you know from my last post, Catherine built this from the ground up – plywood, chicken wire, PVC pipe, and more. Now she’s put the final touches on the gruesome captor savoring his prey, along with the assistance of “junior.”

It truly is an amazing process to watch. Seven days ago there was a pile of PVC, chicken wire, spray foam, “fur” material, and a few cans of paint. Today there’s a spectacularly scary werewolf duo eviscerating an unsuspecting victim.

Listen to your drive. Follow your passion. And great accomplishments will happen.

She carefully wrapped him in fur

She carefully wrapped him in fur

She got injured making his accomplice
She got injured making his accomplice

She created the victim
She created the victim

Added some oozing flesh
Added some oozing flesh

Added "realism" to the flesh with 3 colors of paint
Added “realism” to the flesh with 3 colors of paint

And pulled the whole scene together
And pulled the whole scene together

Got Math?

I’ve just seen the scariest part of Halloween…. The math! Yes, I said math.

We’re up north at the cabin with my sister and her family – enjoying the velvet blue skies, the smell of pines, and the 8 or so inches of snow still left on the ground as we sit near the crackling fire. The cabin provides us all time to relax, chill out, and spend time indulging our favorite past times (reading, writing, working (yeah…. that’s my sister’s husband’s indulgence), and of course, Halloween planning for Catherine).

So when I retired early last night to catch up on some much-needed sleep, I thought nothing of the fact that Catherine was working furiously in her “ideas notebook.” It’s what I expected. What I didn’t expect was to wake up to this:

Halloween Math

Pages and pages of math. Calculations. Formulas (formulae?). I guess I always took for granted over the years how each Halloween monster hung perfectly off the ledges in her house, or that the pneumatically driven props activated at just the perfect time to fill each passerby with terror and fear, or how the life-sized pirate ship had just the right amount of bow and curve at the helm. It’s all about the math.

It got me wondering – how much do the rest of us use math in our everyday or creative lives? So I looked around. Catherine’s college aged son actually brought 2 math books up for the weekend (probably playing catch up for homework unfinished…); my husband is in sales, which means he needs to analyze how his product will save his customers money, thereby creating sales, thereby increasing his commissions – all of which require calculations. I run a company and spend a good chunk of my week poring over weekly and monthly data, comparing customer numbers, ever-changing contract revenue, payroll numbers, etc., Math, math, and more math.

So for all of you (or your children) who defiantly declare “I hate math!!” you might actually be surprised at how much you (yes, even you) use math in your daily life. Enjoy your math, and appreciate it everywhere you see it! And let’s all hope Catherine gets her math correct – because if it’s wrong, the “crashing elevator” may actually crash. Or the rotating tunnel may actually rotate down the driveway and end up in the wash. Or the “crush room” may really crush. And that would be bad….

The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.  ~S. Gudder

%d bloggers like this: