Most people are aware by now that the beginnings of Halloween came from a Celtic festival. This harvest festival is called Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in). It marked the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter, the darker half of the year, and is located right between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. Many believe it also marked the Celtic New Year. This was the time when cattle were brought down from the summer high pastures, and some were slaughtered to provide meat for the winter.

Along with Beltane in the spring, Samhain was seen as a time when the veil between the earth and the spirit realm was thinnest. This was a time when the Sidhe (pronounced like she), the nature spirits, visited our world. It was also a time when the souls of the dead revisited their homes seeking hospitality. People went door to do in costume or disguise, reciting verses in exchange for food. The costumes may have been a way for the wearers to disguise themselves from the gods and nature spirits abroad that night.

Bonfires were lit on this night. People put out lanterns carved out of pumpkins and turnips to provide light since all households let their fires go out so they could be rekindled from the new fire; this was believed to be good luck for all households. The name “Jack-O-Lantern” means “Jack of the Lantern, ” and comes from an old Irish tale. Jack was a man who could enter neither heaven nor hell and was condemned to wander through the night with only a candle in a turnip for light. From this old festival, do our modern Halloween customs arise.


Quotes about Halloween

A grandmother pretends she doesn’t know who you are on Halloween.–Erma Bombeck

Never let your kids buy an off-the-shelf Halloween costume. Forbid it, no matter how close you may be to the witching hour. Instead, help them make their own. Encourage them to use their imaginations and their ingenuity. Show them that what can be created is often better than what can be bought. And besides, don’t the darkest, most frightening things live inside us anyway?–Joe Kita

Hold on, man. We don’t go anywhere with “scary,” “spooky,” “haunted,” or “forbidden” in the title.–From Scooby-Doo

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.
~Author unknown

I don’t know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids.–Robert Brault

Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”–Dexter Kozen

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
~ Scottish saying

Nothing beats a haunted moonlit night on All Hallows Eve… And on this fatal night, at this witching time, the starless sky laments black and unmoving. The somber hues of an ominous, dark forest are suddenly illuminated under the emerging face of the full moon.–Kim Elizabeth

The worst thing about Halloween is, of course, candy corn. It’s unbelievable to me. Candy corn is the only candy in the history of America that’s never been advertised. And there’s a reason. All of the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911. And so, since nobody eats that stuff, every year there’s a ton of it left over.–Lewis Black

It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.–Erin Morgenster

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Apple Month

October is National Apple Month. The celebration began in 1904 as National Apple Week, and now is celebrated during the entire month.

Apples have been cultivated for food a long time. Some say it was the Romans who first began it, others that the apple’s origins were rooted in Southwestern Asia, just south of the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. But whether it was, they have been around for a long time.

At least since Medieval times, apples have been known for their health properties, hence the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” In case you are interested, the original old English saying went like this: “Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed Makes the doctor beg his bread.”

Of course, apples are used in any number of recipes. “As American as apple pie,” is a familiar saying and comes from the fact that the Pilgrims brought both apple seeds and their recipes with them when they came to the new world.

Apples come in all shades of red, green, and yellow. There are 2500 varieties of apples grown in the U. S., only about a hundred are grown commercially. Everybody has their favorites. My favorite when I was growing up was Macintosh, but they are not commercially grown in the Pacific Northwest, where most prefer red or green Delicious. My current favorite is Honey Crisp, but I settle for Jonagold because the Honey Crisp are twice as expensive as the other brands. And I cook with Granny Smith. As a diabetic, I also do a lot of substituting of applesauce for sugar in recipes.

So let us celebrate apples during their special month!


Quotes about apples

Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.–J. K. Rowling

When bobbing for apples, an idealist endlessly reaches for the best apple, a pessimist settles for the first one within reach, while an optimist drains the barrel, fishes out all the apples and makes pie.–Vera Nazarian

Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.–Henry David Thoreau

It’s unsettling to meet people who don’t eat apples.–Aimee Bender

Get rid of the idea that everyone has to like you! Even if you were the most delicious apple on earth, get real, some people prefer bananas!–Richard Spinos

Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.–Bill Meyer

It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.–Henry David Thoreau

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.–Robert H. Schuller

Why not upset the apple cart? If you don’t, the apples will rot anyway.–Frank A. Clark

The flowers of the apple are perhaps the most beautiful of any tree’s, so copious and so delicious to both sight and scent.–Henry David Thoreau

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.–Carl Sagan

Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.–Bernard M. Baruch

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.–Martin Luther

Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.–Jane Austen

Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.–Henry David Thoreau

Ever since Eve started it all by offering Adam the apple, woman’s punishment has been to supply a man with food then suffer the consequences when it disagrees with him.–Helen Rowland

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Magic Week

October 25-31 is traditionally set aside as National Magic Week. It covers the seven days before Halloween, which is the day the great magician Harry Houdini died in 1927. By the way, if you live in or near Pennsylvania, you might want to celebrate by visiting the Harry Houdini museum in Scranton. You can take a look at their rather hokey website here.

National (or International) Magic Week has two specific purposes. The first is to celebrate magicians, specifically those who work on stage and do magic tricks to delight the audience. The second is for magicians to perform particularly for those who couldn’t get out to see a show, such as shut-ins. It is a time to celebrate the charitable work done by magicians throughout the year.

Of course in the last few years, there has been in increase in interest about magic because of the Harry Potter books for children and young adults – though many of us older folks liked them too. Also, one of my favorite series is the Dresden files, an urban fantasy series written by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden is known as the only practicing wizard in the Chicago phonebook. It is a well-realized world of various creatures living side by side with us mortal folks.

So whether you like your magic real, as in fantasy novels, or just on stage in a show, this is the week to celebrate it. Or just celebrate the magic of the natural world where seeds turn into plants and caterpillars into butterflies, where trees suddenly stop being green and turn so many beautiful colors, and such things as giraffes and platypuses exist. We do live in a magical world, after all!


Quotes about magic

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.–Roald Dah

I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.–J. K. Rowling

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.–W. B. Yeats

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.–Arthur C. Clarke

Children see magic because they look for it.–Christopher Moore

Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.–Nora Roberts

Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet.–Arthur C. Clarke

That’s the thing about magic; you’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.–Charles de Lint

I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us.–Frances Hodgson Burnett

Magic comes from what is inside you. It is a part of you. You can’t weave together a spell that you don’t believe in.–Jim Butcher

It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.–Charles de Lint

There’s a flame of magic inside every stone & every flower, every bird that sings & every frog that croaks. There’s magic in the trees & the hills & the river & the rocks, in the sea & the stars & the wind, a deep, wild magic that’s as old as the world itself.–Kate Forsyth

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

Belva Ann Lockwood

October 24 is the birthday of an amazing woman that I had never heard of. Belva Lockwood was born in 1830. She is mainly known for being the first woman attorney to plead before the Supreme Court, and as the first woman to run as a legitimate candidate for president.

Already teaching school at 14, Belva married at 18 and was widowed shortly afterward. Realizing she needed a better job with better pay to raise her daughter, she went back to school, a move that was frowned upon. Women seldom sought higher education, and certainly not widows! After graduation, she was headmistress of several schools. It was during this time she met Susan B. Anthony, and became attracted to many of her ideas about women’s equality. Not surprising, as Lockwood was paid only fifty percent of what men in her position earned.

Later, she became interested in law and finally found a school that would allow her to attend. However, though she passed her courses with honors, the school refused to grant her a diploma because of her sex. Feisty woman that she was, she wrote to President Grant as president ex officio of the school, and within a short time had her diploma.

She had to work slowly and take small steps as she built up a practice, as not many were interested in a female attorney. She became known as an advocate for women’s issues, arguing such cases as those involving equal pay for women. She was also active in women’s suffrage movements. In 1880 she became the first woman to argue a case in the Supreme Court and later sponsored Samuel R. Lowery to the Supreme Court bar, making him the fifth black attorney to be admitted, and ultimately the first to argue a case before the court.

Belva Lockwood was the first woman to run for President of the United States. Lockwood  was the candidate of the National Equal Rights Party. She ran in the presidential elections of 1884 and 1888, knowing she wouldn’t win, but using it to advance the cause of women’s rights. She received 4100 votes, which is quite amazing as women could not vote at that time. Also it was said, that many ballots marked for her were torn up and thrown away.

In her later years, she did much writing, and was a strong advocate for peace. She died in 1917 and is buried in Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC. Though it’s too dark to use here, I hope you will take a look at her portrait from the National Gallery. It shows her getting an honorary degree from Syracuse University. She looks like a strong woman and a great role model. The picture of her below is from her younger days.

Quotes by Belva Lockwood

If nations could only depend upon fair and impartial judgments in a world court of law, they would abandon the senseless, savage practice of war.

The glory of each generation is to make its own precedents.

I know we can’t abolish prejudice through laws, but we can set up guidelines for our actions by legislation.

I do not believe in sex distinction in literature, law, politics, or trade – or that modesty and virtue are more becoming to women than to men, but wish we had more of it everywhere.

Even if women in the United States are not permitted to vote, there is no law against their being voted for and, if elected, filling the highest office … Why not nominate women for important places?… The Republican Party… has little but insult for women when they appear before its conventions. It is time we had our own party, our own platform and our own nominees.

I am, and always have been a progressive woman, and while never directly attacking the conventionalities of society, have always done, or attempted to do those things which I have considered conducive to my health, convenience or emolument.

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Pizza Month

October is National Pizza Month, and theoretically, at least, you should be able to find some exceptional deals at your local pizza shop during this month. According to what I’ve read, October is also the month when pizzerias try out new flavors. So it might be worth checking out. By the way, it is said that pizza comes from the Latin root word picea which means the blackening of crust by fire. Not sure if that is actually true.

According to (which is definitely the go-to place for information about pizza), October was designated pizza month in 1984 by Gerry Durnell, the founder of Pizza Today magazine when he realized there were no periodicals or tradeshow publications to support his growing pizza business or the industry in general. And it worked well. Today it is estimated that there are over 63,000 pizzerias in the United States.

I live in a mobile home court, and we go out together for pizza once a month. Besides the fellowship, the best part is that if you buy 12 pizzas from Mia & Pia’s where we go, you get a free pizza. Yum! So far I have gotten two free pizzas, so you can guess how much I love it! And it’s always pepperoni for me. I’m a purist when it comes to pizza. But alas, as much as I love the Pacific Northwest, to get a really good pizza, you need to be in the east. Any of you lucky enough to be near a Pontillos in New York state, enjoy a pizza for me.

Here are a few fun facts from

  • The average pizzeria uses 55 boxes a day.
  • It’s estimated that around 251,770,000 pounds of pepperoni are consumed every year in the U.S.
  • The largest pizza ever made was 122 feet and 8 inches in diameter. It called for 9,920 pounds of flour, 3968 pounds of cheese and 1,984 pounds of tomato puree.
  • Mozzarella cheese accounts for nearly 80 percent of Italian cheese production in the United States.
  • The world’s fastest pizza maker made 14 pizzas in a record two minutes and 35 seconds.
  • The top 5 pizza sales days are: Super Bowl Sunday, New Year’s Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving, & New Year’s Day
  • Over 5 billion pizzas are sold worldwide each year.
  • And one of my own: in the Pacific Northwest where I live, you can tell a native of the area because they prefer Canadian bacon and pineapple on their pizza.


Quotes about pizza

Those pizzas I ate were for medicinal purposes.–Amy Neftzger

On Venus you could cook a 16-inch pepperoni pizza in seven seconds, just by holding it out to the air. (Yes, I did the math.)–Neil deGrasse Tyson

Pizza is like the entire food pyramid!–Madeline Oles

Heaven would be a comfortable chair, a library, Diet Coke, and an occasional cheese pizza.–Jayden Hunter

I will never understand the appeal of the Hawaiian pizza.–Judd Winick

There’s no better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap.–Kevin James

I just want to be in my sweats, walk my dog, watch TV and eat pizza.–America Ferrera

And I don’t cook, either. Not as long as they still deliver pizza.–Tiger Woods

I think of dieting, then I eat pizza.–Lara Stone

I’m an emotional eater. If something’s worth celebrating, we’re going to grab pizza.–Laurieann Gibson

We’ve got a wood-burning pizza oven in the garden – a luxury, I know, but it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.–Gwyneth Paltrow

My car broke down outside pizza Hut last night. So I ordered a pizza to be delivered to my house and got a lift from the driver.–Nikhil Saluja

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Friends of Libraries Week

The third week in October is National Friends of Libraries Week. This may be an unfamiliar term. Friends of Libraries are groups which operate on the local level to promote their local libraries. Friends groups often hold interesting seminars and other informational meetings. They raise money for their local libraries, for there is not a library anywhere which has money to buy all the materials they want. They often spearhead expansion projects. They may run book sales. My local Friends group runs a perpetual book sale in the library garage. It’s called the Bookie Joint. Gift books which the library can’t use, and older books weeded from the collection are for sale there for very reasonable prices. It’s open two or three times a week and is often quite busy.

If your library has a Friends group, find out how you can get involved. If it doesn’t, the American Library Association has information on how to get one started. You can find all sorts of useful information about Friends groups here. Your librarian will thank you. Don’t know if your library has a Friends group? Ask your local librarians. They will know. My local library has a link to our Friends group on the main Web page. It clearly states who the Friends are, what they do, when they meet, and how to get involved.

But whether or not you join an official Friends group, I urge everyone reading this to become a friend to their local library. They serve an important purpose in this information age, particularly for people with fewer resources. I don’t know what I’d do without my library!


Quotes about libraries

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.–Ray Bradbury

Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.–Walter Cronkite

What is more important in a library than anything else – than everything else – is the fact that it exists.–Archibald MacLeish

We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.–John Lubbock

What in the world would we do without our libraries?–Katharine Hepburn

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man.–T. S. Eliot

To Whom It May Concern: Welcome to the library where no one will tell you what to read or tell you what to think…. Meanwhile a book over there on a shelf will be glancing at you sideways getting up the courage to ask you out make you laugh make you cry make you fall in love.–Meg Rosoff

To ask why we need libraries at all, when there is so much information available elsewhere, is about as sensible as asking if roadmaps are necessary now that there are so very many roads.–Jon Bing

A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them.–Mark Twain

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.–Albert Einstein

Most people don’t realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn’t value its librarians doesn’t value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?–Neil Gaiman

You could go to a secret corner of the library where the only people talking are between the covers of books. They speak so softly that you can only hear them in your head as you read about forests and oceans and deserts and caverns and museums and a thousand other things.–Douglas Wood

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

October 18 is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. If you are a regular reader of this blog at all, you know I can’t pass up any day with chocolate in it. I also love making cupcakes of many flavors. And I learned a new word as I was looking up information on this important day: procrastibaking, which means the art of making cupcakes instead of something else you should be doing. I’m not sure it’s an official word, but it works for me! I may just go and do that today.

According to the National Day Calendar, “Cupcakes can be traced back to 1796 when there was a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” written in American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons.  The earliest known documentation of the term cupcake was in 1828 in Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook.” Did you know that cupcakes are known as fairy cakes in Britain?

Nobody seems to know how or why this day got started, but it is always celebrated on October 18. What’s the best way to celebrate? By making cupcakes, of course. For a list of 20 variations on chocolate cupcakes, there is a group of recipes on a site called Bustle. They run from malted milk cupcakes to red wine chocolate cupcakes to rocky road cupcakes, with 17 other interesting variations to try.

The next best way to celebrate is to buy cupcakes from your favorite cupcake bakery. Whatever you do, enjoy a chocolate cupcake today!


Quotes about cupcakes

When you look at a cupcake, you’ve got to smile.–Anne Byrn

What Makes Life so Sweet? Cupcakes to eat and Someone to Love.–Marie Williams Johnstone

Dream as if you’ll live forever, eat Cupcakes as if you’ll die today.–Unknown

We’re encouraging them to bring healthy snacks, but when a parent comes up with a tray of sweets, I’m not going to turn them away. I don’t want to be the cupcake killer.–John Young

Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I wanted a cupcake, I did not have one.–David Grayson

I’ve never met a problem a proper cupcake couldn’t fix.–Sarah Ockler

What can I say? I’ve never met a cupcake I didn’t want to get to know better.–Jasinda Wilder

You can’t just leave a Mississippi Mud Mountain half-eaten! We leave no cupcake behind!–Molly Harper

Since every piece of matter in the Universe is in some way affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation — every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.—Douglas Adams

I am thoroughly convinced that you can’t be sad when you are holding a cupcake or a bowl of ice cream. It is impossible to do.– Amy Rees Anderson

And here are some from @CupcakeQuotes on Twitter:

You don’t need an inspirational quote to be creative. You need cupcakes.

Sometimes I wonder how I became this women and then I remember through strength, coffee and cupcakes!

I see a book, I see cupcakes, I see coffee, I see a good day ahead.

Where there is cupcakes, there is hope.

I have OCD Obsessive Cupcakes Disorder

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes… and that’s pretty close!

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at