Taking Candy From Strangers

 I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s on Cape Cod, and I think back to when I was a kid, and it makes me sad how Halloween has died.

Today, most kids have everything, and a lot of them don’t know they should be appreciative for it. They have time with their parents, and have their focus, clothing, homes, food and access to technology at a pretty early age. There are a lot of kids that lack the ability to play, in fear of getting hurt. They always win and never suffer disappointment.

I know, I should’ve let go when I was too old to go trick-or-treating.

There was all of this fear propaganda in the 80’s about hippies that handed out stickers laced with LSD, they put razor blades and needles in candy bars! (the razor blade and needles thing did actually happen- I looked it up on snopes.com.) Anyway, my family wasn’t really into Halloween. My stepfather’s brother was murdered on Halloween in ’87 in Providence, and the rest of my family didn’t really celebrate it.

https://i0.wp.com/static.yourtango.com/cdn/farfuture/Peqwht_LR0naWOSonMtFBRw0GY4X1XF4KgjYPzeSvcA/mtime:1378397686/sites/default/files/image_list/clarissa.jpgI always dressed up like a punk every year, or what I thought that was. I was drawn to that type of anti-fashion by eight years old. It was cheap, fun, and colorful, and I thought I was awesome. Come to think of it, the 80’s and 90’s were a mash-up of disgusting patterns, colors and VESTS. Really, everyone was in a costume for two decades.

When I was a teenager, Halloween was a tradition of petty vandalism. We’d get a bunch of plastic utensils and stick them into people’s lawns. In those scary times with the acid hippies, bad hairstyles and baggy

pants, our parents gave us the freedom to go door to door, leave the house, and make mistakes.

My first experience in Salem, Mass., I was 17 and I was with a group of friends and we decided to drop acid. I don’t believe we obtained it from hippies. We started to peak a half hour upon arrival; we were sitting on the corner of this tire place, and I watched as everything was changing, moving, breathing. This guy from Ireland was with us. He was hired to work at a motel in Hyannis that my friend’s dad managed.

We decided to go to a haunted house. I couldn’t stop laughing because everyone was really animated. I was also completely insane, in my own world having my own experience. We turn a corner, and some rubber masked ghoul thing jumps out and grabs at the Irish kid, so the Irish kid reacts by punching him in the stomach, so we were all thrown out.

Hanging figures, Salem Witch Dungeon, Keith TylerThe trip turned bad for me when everyone was scrambling to figure out who would be driving home.
I was laying in the back seat of some girl’s car and just closed my eyes the whole way home. It was my 2nd trip, and honestly- neither were the fun I anticipated.

The next day, the back pain and weirdness settling in- that I didn’t like the intensity of the trip, and I wasn’t the type that can live in that reality/delusion for long periods of time. It wasn’t something I wanted to do again. (even if I did.) I was just a confused kid, just trying to figure things out in the world. Feeling a little out of place in the world, yet I was so curious about the world. So, I’d seek anything I was told was dangerous, because I wanted to know why. (even if I was told.) Those were my choices.

I’ve lived back on the Cape for six years. I have not seen any trick-or-treaters. Simple fun things like that have become so regimented with Nazi-esque curfews and scheduled play dates with other doting helicopter parents.

Perhaps the parents of today were reckless and criminal at their age, like I was, and they don’t want their kid to get the candy bar with the razor blade or the LSD. I know, it’s your job to protect them, but acid hippies aren’t wearing a special costume to let you know, and they probably don’t use social media.

I think about what it must be like to grow up in today’s stifling world. Growing up with technology, a wealth of information and distraction.

With knowledge comes responsibility.

So, the more we read about mass murderers, abductions, rapists, etc. the more fearful and inward we turn. When in reality, all of these things were happening when your grandparents were children.

1794995043_7306b61c4f_zI’m not saying let them drop acid or take candy from the creepy guy in the van. I’m saying stop policing, scheduling, or taking away kids fun over fear campaigns and your own personal attachment to making sure they always make the right choice. Avoiding everything that may hurt is a stagnant life, and a fearful life. How does a person pick themselves up after a fall and shake it off if you’re always there to prevent it, and how does a person truly have fun when everything is about being controlled, repressed and monitored?

Halloween is supposed to be fun for kids. They can be whatever they’d like for a day and get to eat tons of candy and have fun with their friends. I’ve heard some schools don’t even have Halloween parties anymore. Maybe those people are those hippies that put razor blades in candy bars.

I will always take candy from strangers on Halloween. (especially the ones that leave a bowl of it outside.)


Sara Wentworth is an artist based on Cape Cod. She and her husband Adam are the crazed minds behind Secret Society Art.

Fire in the Mountains: Bring the heat for a fellow photog

Reblog at will… my friend Keith has suffered an artistic and financial loss due to fire, and a benefit party is being held at Springfield’s iconic Student Prince restaurant this month. Details below…

So much to publicize, so little time. The basics are this :

Benefit Fort Fire Party, October 24, 5 to 8 p.m. To be held in the new BIERGARTEN adjacent to the Fort and Student Prince.

Purpose of the benefit: Photographer Keith Sikes had his house and photographic equipment destroyed by fire. While he is covered for his loss, the insurance values artwork based on its frame rather than its content.

Included free at this event: Student Prince pub food, local music by Eagle Eyes, and a silent auction. Tickets available at the door for a donation (minimum donation is suggested at $10). The more we collect at the door, the sooner Keith gets started creating images. There will also be a silent auction for you to bid on great images at bargain prices.

Any photographers who would like to donate art for auction, please call Keith at 413-250-3738.

Will Write for Cheese

Culture magazine is the cheese-lover’s go-to guide for all things enzymatic. It’s also a totally entertaining mag and website, with a great social presence and tons of engaging content.

Their homepage, for instance, features a sheep poking his head around the left sidebar.

Culture also held a contest last month in honor of Valentine’s Day, making a blog-based call for poetry that paid homage to the fromage.

As it happens, I actually love to bust rhymes about food — it’s one of my favorite subject matters when it comes to poetry, right next to travel and general angst.

I had something in mind as soon as I saw the blog post announcing the contest — I immediately thought of a little verse I scribbled after visiting the Sunday market in Lyon, France, while on a travel writing trip for GoNomad.com.

I love public markets, as well as flea markets, swap meets, thrift stores, yard sales, and antique fairs. All of these are hotbeds of activity and therefore great for photography and people watching (another two of my favorite things).

The Lyon market is unique in the gastronomic sense because is supplies the city’s chefs with fresh herbs, meats, cheeses, and more for their kitchens. But it has as much human nuance as every other central gathering place around the world, and the combination made the experience of navigating the market, which lines both sides of the Rhone River, stick in my mind.


That said, I submitted my poem to the contest, Tweeted to that effect, and went on with my week. I had nothing short of a gleeful, easy feeling (I paraphrase) when I received a note from Culture editor Will Fertman last week letting me know I was among the 2012 Culture Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest winners. Gasp! I won something!

I was awarded, again to my glee, a mail order prize direct from Dundee, Oregon: Briar Rose Creamery’s goat cheese and chocolate truffles. They arrived in my office on Friday afternoon, in a giant chilled box that was the envy of all of my co-workers as I paraded through the halls holding it a couple of times.

The Culture mavens proved they know their verse, too, having assigned appropriate prizes to different writers. Poems with a sweeter vibe were awarded truffles, while works that leaned toward spicier prose won a selection of Virginia Chutney Co.’s savory jams — best served with cheese.

Since my truffles arrived at my office, I was able to steal off to our in-house photo studio and shoot some photos of the bounty in the light box.

These truffles are amazingly creamy and softly decadent. The cocoa is mixed with the cheese at just the right ratio – no dousings of semi-sweet chocolate here. Just blended, mild flavors and awesomeness.

I’ve promised my BFF and self-described cheese enthusiast a truffle of her own, so watch this space for an update from A-Teen.

I’ve also added my winning poem below; the photos interspersed throughout this post (save the truffle photo session) were taken the same day. Many thanks to Culture and to Briar Rose Creamery!

The Market, April

An early morning, flanked by housekeepers and surly chefs.
The Rhone roaring, the vendors competing
a linear walk becomes a spin.

Red tomatoes, sliced, glistening in the April sun. Baguettes reaching from a straw basket. Chickens turning lazily on a squeaking spit.
Daisies, roses, wheels of cheese under glass and watchful eye; they seem to be breathing, waiting to be plucked.

Further: a man with an accordion and a creaking cart near to collapse under books. A bicycle wheel, a broken frame – barely containing a plastic-filmed print of Brigitte Bardot.

I am no match for the old women, expert with their wheeled carts and bags. I am swayed completely by florists, cheesemongers, a man with a flute.

Do they know their every Sunday is an attraction for the well-traveled
Do see they see the colors the same way as I – smell the rotisserie, regard Ms. Bardot –
Or do they return from their errands blase´, vague impressions held of cooks with fistfuls of herbs
and a foreign girl, standing alone.

-j. stevenson

TSB reaches 300, Let’s do the Twist, and Interview with Allie Larkin, Fun Chicken Memories, Thematic Photographic, more

In 2007, I started Thirty-something Bloggers, and as I say in my About section, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. I’ve met so many fantastic bloggers and made new friends as we work together to make TSB and our own blogs, careers, and lives better.

Late last week, we welcomed our 300th member — it seems so recent that we were excited to hit 100! The community includes all different types of Thirty-somethings, and in addition to promoting our blogs and projects, we also chat about everything from what we miss about our twenties to how we feel about marriage, family, and kids.

We have t-shirts.

While I want to highlight each and every one of these fantastic people, there’s not enough screen space here for even half of the TSBs. So, in honor of the faithful few who helped me get started, I’m linking to TSBs first ten members, besides me, who’ve been going strong since the beginning. Others have joined since and been very active members, and I’ll highlight them soon too, but for now I thought I’d reintroduce the earliest joiners … some of whom stuck it out for a few months when there were only seven of us. If you scroll down the sidebar, you can also read the most recently updated blogs among all of the TSBs, too.

Here are the inaugural bloggers of TSB:

GrammarGirl – member #2

Keely – #3

Joe – #4

Justine – #5

Shawn – #6

Nanette – #7

A Mental Fracture – #8

LA Blogger Gal -#9

Michelle – #10

The Daily Randi – #11


A visitor‘ left this comment on 1 Sep 08
And just think, in mere months I’ll need to move on to the forty-something bloggers group (if there is one – and if not, I guess I’ll need to start one!) So sad.
Bart‘ left this comment on 1 Sep 08
Hooray for us! I mean, I know I only joined recently, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already seen dividends in the traffic sense, plus found some new reading materiel of my own (including this site rightcheer).

I Give Up.

I realized today that I just keep making excuses as to why I don’t blog about everything I’d like to. Readers who’ve been here for a while know that this blog continues to evolve, but it’s not just a natural evolution of things that k

I realized today that I just keep making excuses as to why I don’t blog about everything I’d like to. Readers who’ve been here for a while know that this blog continues to evolve, but it’s not just a natural evolution of things that keeps it moving — or stalled, as the case may be.

I don’t want to just write about my job as a writer, although that’s a big part of it. I also want to write about being a traveler and a foodie and thirty-something geek. I’ve done fairly well with blending all of this together into one, semi-cohesive blog. But there’s still a good amount missing. A lot that I’m wary or scared to put out there. Here’s why:

Excuse #1 – I still feel like I need some sort of theme and I don’t want to be all over the map here, thus alienating any of my readers. But, I think a lot of people blog about different things, and I also think by the masthead it’s pretty obvious what I do for a living.

Excuse #2 –  As a writer, my full name is pretty much out there. I’m not hard to find, and while this is true for many bloggers, and while I don’t have a particularly controversial blog, and furthermore my employers know I have one, I worry, because of excuse #3.

Excuse #3 – The more information I make available here, the more fodder for the Internet Stalkers. Some of you reading this are saying, ‘Stalkers?’ Oh, we all have those. Who cares if they Google your name three times in three hours?’

Well, I do and I don’t. It’s their prerogative to search their little lives away, but while they are wasting valuable time misspelling my first name and poring over old blog posts, they’re missing out on the beauty that is Web 2.0. Dudes. I can see where you’re coming from. I know how you’re getting here, when, and from what computer.

That last part is what bugs me the most. Some of the Once and Future Googlers live in the same region as me. I wouldn’t give one or two of those folks the time of day in real life, so why share personal bits here? That’s a valid point, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that if they’re spending that much time searching for info on little ole’ me (completely ignoring how boring I am, hello), they probably already know everything that I think I’m hiding.

I am private about certain things, and I always will be. Not because they’re weird or bad or shameful — I don’t have a third arm growing out of my back or anything — but just because they’re mine. 

Still. There are things I’m dying to share with my real readers who come by, maybe make a nice comment (or not, that’s cool too), and who’ve helped me in some way in the last year in particular, whether they realized they did or not. I think about some of the blogs I read regularly, and how their stories about everything from sci-fi literature to redecorating the house to cupcake recipes to Hot Blogger calendars and everything in between are entertaining, informative, and fun. Then, I think about all the stories I haven’t told, and I almost feel like I’m not participating. Like I can’t really be me on this blog until I get over my fear.

A couple of fellow bloggers have made this easier recently by ‘outing me’ on one account. They blogged about something I haven’t blogged about yet, and perspective hit. Why am I hiding this? I thought. It’s not my home address or deep inner-secrets we’re talking about. I know I have a pretty solid core of readers who make me feel more insulated. And in addition, I have a feeling I’m going to hate myself for writing this here, but in five years of blogging, I have yet to get a mean-spirited comment. Granted, I moderate them, so you’ll never see one here unless I blog about it to make fun of its inevitable bad grammar. But I’ve never received one. I’ve gotten mean e-mails, yes, but what journalist hasn’t?

So what I’m saying is I’m going to open up a little. If it backfires, it backfires, and I’ll go back to protecting a little more than I’d like, because I’m a wuss. I’ll tell you one thing, though — WriterJax and The Jump aren’t going away any time soon. I wouldn’t give anyone the satisfaction.

…that said (gulp) here’s what I did with my summer vacation:

…more later.


writerjax‘ left this comment on 12 Sep 08
thanks Dawn, it’s people like you that made me want to open up a little!
A visitor‘ left this comment on 12 Sep 08

Ok, I am back from vacation! (Against my will, but back nonetheless.)First of all: congratulations! What awesome news!! I am so glad you decided to share.

Which brings me to: I know what you mean about keeping some things out of view from the blogosphere. I do the same thing. I am sure I could drop some real bombs on some of my readers–I’m not married though! LOL The thing is, I am a private person in a lot of ways. I don’t necessarily have a stalker issue (although it did come up mildly a time or two) but there are just some things I don’t wish to share with the world at large & Blogger doesn’t allow me to password specific posts. I guess it’s all about finding the fine line that works for you.

It’s funny, as I was reading your post, I was nodding my head but I was *completely* unprepared for the Big Reveal! I am so glad you felt you could share this though & let us celebrate with you! =)

A visitor‘ left this comment on 3 Sep 08
Actually, everyone, the FOURTH arm is growing out of her back. The third one is kind of in the shoulder area.
A visitor‘ left this comment on 3 Sep 08
Ahhh!!! I have to log off & leave for the airport and you share something like that! I have more to say about the post but I had to say *something* before I logged off! Sooo pretty! And happy! =)

Your Useless History Lesson for Today…

In having a discussion about ‘firsts’ in the Oval Office — the potential for the first black president of the U.S., or the first woman in the Veep Seat — ArcherVision and I started wondering if there had ever been a president who was also a P.O.W., as was McCain.

After a little walk through Wikipedia, we discovered that George Washington and Andrew Jackson were P.O.Ws. Washington was captured by the French during the French and Indian War, and Jackson was captured with his brother at the age of 13 during the American Revolutionary War; he was a courier.

Other interesting P.O.W.s include Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Francois Mitterand, and of course Kurt Vonnegut.


A visitor‘ left this comment on 5 Sep 08
And I’ll bet Teddy Roosevelt knew how to field dress a moose.

C’mon baby, Let’s do the Twist


Twist, an alternative art and craft fair, kicked off last night in Northampton, Mass., and I stopped by to shoot some photos for the mag I work for (and to just check out the scene). Twist is, in a word, radical. It’s a collection of artists, artisans, and crafters, many of whom sell their wares on etsy.

From hand-knitted scarves to blown-glass picture frames to edgy clothing (like these Stank Puss panties, for instance:

stank puss

photo by ArcherVision) Twist had a little bit of everything, and put a whole new spin on the idea of a crafter’s market.

b side fruits

In addition, it was held inside an architecturally awesome building, and featured ‘adult beverages’, a disco ball, and live DJs (not to mention an after party).



It was all an effort to showcase handmade and small-run artists and crafters in a hip setting, and in my opinion it was totally successful. The place was crammed at 6 pm on Friday, just an hour into its two-day run, and sales seemed brisk. I picked up at least a dozen business cards, in hopes of buying more goods on etsy later on. A couple of my favorites include James Anthony, Lexie Barnes, BMW Ironworks, and Whispering Willow. Plus, a second Twist is planned for the spring.

After Twist, we headed to the Toasted Owl for their awesome wings and to watch a little of the Sox game, and took in some of Noho’s colorful storefront windows:

goat woman

dynamite noho


A visitor‘ left this comment on 9 Sep 08
I can’t believe I missed out on this…..Northhampton is awesome too. I’ll have to try and make it next time as it isn’t too far away from me….
A visitor‘ left this comment on 6 Sep 08
I love events/shops that support artists. This sounds like so much fun and the building is amazing. I love great architecture, especially Frank Lloyd Wright inspired windows.

Thematic Photographic #5 and #6 – Faded and Close-up

I whiffed on last week’s ThemPho, but I did in fact have a photo chosen for the theme ‘faded’ :”In Many Ways, Big Boy Never Left” 35 mm photo scanned with HP Photosmart c4800; shot with a Nikon N70, fuji 200 ASA film; 28 – 200 T

I whiffed on last week’s ThemPho, but I did in fact have a photo chosen for the theme ‘faded’ :

big boy

“In Many Ways, Big Boy Never Left” 35 mm photo scanned with HP Photosmart c4800; shot with a Nikon N70, fuji 200 ASA film; 28 – 200 Tamron lens

And this week’s theme is ‘close-up,’ so I chose a macro shot of a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture I found in the Atlanta Botanical Garden while researching for this story.

dale chihuly

“Dale Chihuly’s Art,” Nikon D70 with 18-55 Nikkor lens


Me‘ left this comment on 13 Sep 08
I am constantly missing the theme deadline so I feel your pain. I have never seen a “big boy” but this is exactly what I thought it would look like. Your close up is wonderful. I love glass and the colors are fantastic

TSB Featured Blogger: Allie’s Answers

“I feel like this is like an Oscars speech and I know I’m forgetting people!”

Nominated by: Beej

Blogging since: April 2007

Favorite Post

— Q&A: How would you categorize your blog?

Allie’s Answers is a green blog. My goal is to help people make simple, inexpensive green changes that have a big impact. I think it’s easy to get the impression that going green is hard, or expensive, or involves sacrifice. In going green, I don’t feel like I’ve made any real sacrifices, and while some green products are more expensive, others are less expensive, so it all evens out in the end. I also just started a personal blog.

What blogs do you read?

I just got back from a two week “blogcation” and was so lucky to have some of my favorite bloggers fill in for me: The Good Human Amanda from Come the Revolution Fake Plastic Fish Go Green Travel Green Howling Hill Mark from Chronicle of a Gay Marriage Nancy Pearl Wannabe Mickey from The Prettiest Denny’s Waitress Dianne from Dianne’s Dishes Courtney from Malfeasance did a great guest review for me a few weeks ago. … I read so many blogs. My Google Reader is out of control. Please check out my links page.

What’s your plan to rule the world?

Ruling the world sounds like a lot of responsibility. It would probably give me a headache. What I would like to do, as cheesy as it sounds, is work to make the world a better place. My friend, Neil, has taken it upon himself to raise twenty thousand dollars for The Cambodian Children’s Fund this year. To me, it’s so inspiring that this guy who’s just trying to get by like everyone else, is working so hard to improve other people’s lives. It’s changed my perspective on so many things. I feel like it’s opened me up to thinking about what I can give and how I can help, instead of getting caught up in that daily struggle of all the little details that don’t matter very much when it comes down to it.

What will you say to Oprah when we’re featured on her show?

Ha! I’d love to tell you I’d have something beautiful and witty to say her, but in all reality, I’d probably just make a lot of unintelligible sounds and cry. I’m cool like that.

Former featured blogger:

Helmet, Utah, U.S., of Helmet’s Blogapalooza

Fun Chicken Memories

Do you ever find yourself staring directly into your own past after spying some random person, place, or thing from your childhood?

That’s what happened to me last weekend, when ArcherVision and I went to the Cape for the Cranberry Harvest Festival and to celebrate JaxMum and JaxDad’s anniversary – 51 years!

It was a rainy weekend, and we found ourselves driving up Route 28 in search of cool coffee places. On the way, I pointed out the Zooquarium, a tourist trap in Yarmouth that I’ve never actually been inside before. We swung in with a ‘what the hell?’ attitude and paid the $9.50 to get in out of the rain — only to find that half the zoo is actually outside.

It was a fun time, though. We saw lots of animals indigenous to the Cape, including scup:



and this freaky albino chipmunk.


Outside is a petting zoo with sheep and goats and alpacas, as well as a lot of birds and a couple of snuggling tortoises. ArcherVision and I checked out the magic mirror for a minute

magic mirror

and that’s when I saw it. I don’t remember if it was in the laundromat near my parent’s summer home or the Ground Round near my sister’s college, but at some point in my childhood, I frequented a place that included THE FUN CHICKEN.

fun chicken

This is the deal. The chicken, powered by a mere quarter, comes to life by spinning in a circle and going ‘bawk! bawk! bawk!’ for about 10 seconds. Then, the machine spits out a plastic egg with a prize inside. Prizes are little rings and bracelets and bouncy balls; but if you’re super lucky, you might get the coveted golden egg, which usually has either double prizes or a cooler prize. I think I recall that, sometimes, the golden egg had actual money inside. But this may be a kid-sized urban myth.


The entire experience was damp, but a nice escape into juvenile bliss.


A visitor‘ left this comment on 19 Sep 08
That is such a neat find! I *totally* believe there was money in the golden egg. 😉

Thematic Photographic #7 – Nature

The timing on this week’s ThemPho is great –

fall is my favorite time of year, and nature photos always tend to abound in our house during this time.

I didn’t need to think very hard about which photo to post this week; it’s my favorite shot from a trip to Poet’s Seat Tower, and reminds me of new horizons.


‘It isn’t hard to do;’ Poet’s Seat Tower, Greenfield, Mass., October 2007


A visitor‘ left this comment on 29 Sep 08
Wow… just made me miss Autumn in New England so much.

Get By With a Little Help from my Tweets

I just returned from a Tweet-up held in my honor at the Northampton Brewery, and to recycle an old joke from the old, bull-pen newsroom, ‘a good time was had by all.’

I felt loved to be joined by some of my favorite Tweeps for a couple of brews and paninis, to talk about life, new projects, new directions, and the power of friends.

Who are these wonderful people? Give their blogs a gander.


World 2.0 Adventure

The Constant Observer


Round World Photo

“People first. Then money, then things.” Suze Orman

Baydreamer ~ Lauren Scott

~ anything and everything in verse and prose ~

Bard of Hudson

a podcast about growing up in NY in the 60s

New York Shakespeare on WordPress

The WordPress Blog of New York Shakespeare

Ink In My Coffee

A Writer's Journal

Rennata Tropeano

Growing Unique- An Artist's journey

From Mage Mind

When a mage is sharing what's on his mind. Positivity, Motivation, Life, Success, Love, Friend, Smile, Marketing, Writing, Creativity and Good Ideas.

The Birdseed

books, reviews, & stories for the peckish

a dreaming skin

Writing, Poetry & Creativity | Angela T Carr, Dublin, Ireland

Columbia County Current

Dedicated to all things in and around Columbia County, New York.

A Silly Place

My journey through the world, and everyone’s welcome to come along.

Sara Tantlinger

Horror writer & Poet

Science in Translation

Science topics in every day language


Lions for adventures, cows for the everyday


not just another WordPress.com site

The Ministry of Happiness

Have a happy day my friends

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