Category Archives: Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Rockettes kick lively 2012 Parade

The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes kick lively during their Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012 performance. These were my favorite outfits from the last decade.

For lots of people the highlight of Thanksgiving is the turkey … mine is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (usually while I’m on the phone with my sister, who’s watching it, too) … and, specifically, the Rockettes.

My parents, who were in theater, always used to say “if the show’s going terribly, just get everybody up there for a chorus line kick and that’ll fix it.” While I’m sure that was an exaggeration, I know that every time I see those Rockettes do their famous kick, the happy tears start flowing. It’s the most exciting moment of the day. And what girl doesn’t want to wear those adorable costumes and shoes? (Take a look at some of their favorite outfits from parades past here: https://www.rockettes.com/blog/five-iconic-christmas-spectacular-costumes-we-wore-for-the-thanksgiving-day-parade/)

From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Krissi, Nathan, Charles, and the cats (Poe and Mikey)

The things that haunt you: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

When I was eight, my mom made me a Cinderella dress. I wore it every day, and I cried when I grew out of it.

I have been waiting, like a princess for her Charming, for another version of that dress for 40 years, and today, my husband, Nathan, made it happen.

Cinderella 2019

I feel like that innocent little girl all over again. So, here’s to getting the opportunity to relive your childhood–and put those ghosts to rest.

Happy Halloween!

22 - Cinderella dashes down stairs

This is one of my favorite images from the Cinderella album, mostly because I love the way her skirt is drawn.

Wait long enough and it’ll show up: Sister Janet Mead’s “The Lord’s Prayer”

45 Album of Sister Janet Mead's "The Lord's Prayer."

This is what my 45 album looked like.

I’ve written about finding lost things from my childhood before, among them, the short stories “Obstinate Uncle Otis” and “The Light of Other Days.”

Also on my list of “long lost things to find” has been a song I played on a 45 album repeatedly when I was between the ages of three and five. I recalled it as a sort of “disco” version of The Lord’s Prayer, and I assumed it was probably called “The Lord’s Prayer.”

 

Even though the last time I’d heard this song was probably Read the rest of this entry

Special extended TWL episode: Howe was the book signing?

 

I had a blast last week up at Howe Caverns for a signing of my new collection, The Shadows Behind. Rather than put up a bunch of pictures, I decided to do a special extended episode of my This Writing Life series. Enjoy!

 

Sinister Settings: THE HANA HIGHWAY

Palm Tree Clip Art

Even palm trees can be creepy.

It’s often been said that anything that is stunningly beautiful is also incredibly dangerous, and that’s probably no more true anywhere in the world than it is on Maui’s Hana Highway.

Built in the 1920s, the nearly 65-mile road takes almost a full day to travel from end to end. Along the way Read the rest of this entry

Apparently…

…I didn’t like being interrupted while I was writing back then, either. This was taken in the early 1970s. I wrote my first “short story” when I was about five (which I might still have someplace–it was about a tree who killed itself and consisted of a couple of drawings and three sentences), so this photo makes sense for that time frame.

1973KristiWritingHeyWhat'stheBigIdea

 

Wandering through the past with Weird Al

Weird Al cassettes

My original Weird Al cassettes. Missing from this photo is WEIRD AL YANKOVIC IN 3-D. I’m pretty sure it’s down there in those bins, but I couldn’t find it. Now that I think about it, I also have ALAPALOOZA. I didn’t see that one down there either.

It’s been said that smell is the strongest of the human senses in terms of its connection to memory; that a smell can bring back a person, place, or emotion more effectively than any of the other senses.

But I’d argue that music is right up there with smell in terms of evoking certain memories. How many times have you heard a song and thought, “oh man, every time I hear this I think of [insert memory here]”?

While my mother was a musical person (this is really an understatement since music was her career), she was also very careful about what kinds of music she’d let her kids listen to. We were pretty much relegated to show tunes, orchestral and choir pieces, film scores, and the Maranatha! brand of Christian music that was on the rise in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Anything outside of that—and especially secular rock music—was pretty much a “no-no.”

This doesn’t mean, though, that we kids didn’t find clever ways to get everything from Madonna to Def Leppard into the house. We used to put the stuff on cassettes and give it some moral-sounding label, like “Children’s Hymns.” No one had any idea.

Until one of our babysitters gave us the cassette Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D and someone didn’t hide it well.

Weird Al cassettes

My original Weird Al cassettes. Missing from this photo is WEIRD AL YANKOVIC IN 3-D. I’m pretty sure it’s down there in those bins, but I couldn’t find it.

Somehow—perhaps it was because I was the oldest—I was the one that was responsible for smoothing the waters. I explained to her that this was funny; that it was completely innocent because it made fun of modern songs. She not only bought it, she was open to listening to it.

To my surprise, she enjoyed the album. What shocked me most was that her favorite song was “Nature Trail to Hell”; the tune not only had the word ‘hell’ in it, it was pretty graphic in skewering the gory slasher movie phenomenon that was all the rage in the mid-1980s.

There was some kind of irony Read the rest of this entry

What I learned as an obit writer

Mass cards

My first job out of college was as an obituary writer for the Putnam Reporter Dispatch in Carmel, NY.

Obituary writer! You’re thinking, “like someone who writes those long things in The New York Times!” Well, you’re right, but not really. I was more of a compiler than anything else. Nowadays, it’s more common that the families write up a tribute, give it to the funeral home, and then get charged to run it in the newspaper.

Back in the early 1990s, nearly all obituaries were put together Read the rest of this entry

Well, THIS was hilarious!

If you know me personally, you probably know that I don’t do well with math; thanks to my dad realizing I’d never be a rocket scientist, he put me in classes that focused on what I’d need to balance my checkbook, pay my bills, and function in life.

Although I’m glad he did—and I have a solid handle on basic skills—sometimes I still have issues, particularly spatially. If something is described Read the rest of this entry

A look back at DEATH IN THE ICE: THE MYSTERY OF THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION

All Well Sign

This is, perhaps, the most haunting tale surrounding the lost expedition: this message was in a letter left in 1847 on King William Island, and its contents hinted nothing, of course, of what was to come for the unfortunate crew.

If, last year, you watched the first season of AMC’s The Terror, then you have an idea of what this post is about: an exhibit about the mysterious fate of 1845’s vanished Franklin Expedition, the most infamous of Britain’s attempts to find the Northwest Passage.

For those of you who don’t know, the NP was a fabled Read the rest of this entry

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