Release Your Inner Pagan

Halloween is the one of the oldest and most popular holidays here in Texas. Some sources say it dates back over 2,000 years to a time when Druids, Celtic priests, whose culture flourished in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe, celebrated on the last day of their calendar. Guess it was their version of New Year’s Eve.

Our Halloween originated from this pagan holiday that honored the dead. More than a little creepy. Anyway, the Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages, being especially active on this night. Since not all spirits were considered friendly, gifts and treats were left outside dwellings in hopes of pacifying the evil ones and of ensuring plentiful future crops. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating. Don’t you just love it?

Also known as All Hallows Eve, Halloween is always celebrated on October 31. All Saints Day, created by Christians to hopefully convert pagans, is celebrated the day after Halloween on November 1, but today you can just pretend that you’re a pagan and eat all the candy that comes your way. I don’t think God will mind because He’s probably laughing his head off over our silly costumes and outrageous antics.

We used to make popcorn balls to hand out to the little ghosts and goblins. Mother would use white Karo syrup and butter to make a hot sticky mixture that she poured over the warm popcorn. My brother and I buttered our hands, well, really greased them as best we could, and shaped the popcorn balls into round circles of perfection. Nowadays, our works of art would be the first things discarded as careful parents inspect their children’s booty.

Most children and some adults enjoy Halloween because it lets them have fun by dressing up and assuming identities of something or someone else. Costumes are often colorful and fanciful. There is no stigma attached to those who make rather than buy their costumes. Not sure if children can still wear their costumes to school, but there are adults who go to work clad as witches, vampires, Disney characters, or cute animals. Big Bird is a favorite of mine. Retired the ugly witch mask after scaring the wazoo out of my neighbor’s young grandchild. Mea culpa. Her grandmother never quite forgave me.

On the other hand, some folks regard Halloween as bad. Don’t really know why, because it is not superstitious to dress up. You don’t have to believe in ghosts and goblins to have fun, and for the children it’s all about dressing up. Aren’t the kiddies cute as they come up to the door, especially the little ones? If it’s hard to identify who or what they are, it is politically correct to ask, “Now what are you?” as you drop candy into their bags. You’re not warding off evil spirits, just saving your body from a few pounds that you’d gain eating the leftover candy when you stock their trove. Be generous, and turn on the porch light.

No evil spirits lurk in Fort Worth to spoil our holiday, as far as I know, but, if they are here, they’re not dangerous or anywhere near downtown. Just do not refer to pagan rituals or the occult as you prepare for your party. It might jinx the whole activity! Yet in your inner heart, you can be a little wild today.
Annie Ambles enjoys Halloween by giving away Snickers


Rainy Day Heaven

Wonderful Stay-inside-with-a-Book Day.

An extremely loud clap of thunder shook downtown Fort Worth about 6:30 AM. Much too early to get out of bed, but maybe just a perfect time to start the coffee and grab a book. Grateful for the rain and for the stay home time. Aren’t you?

What are you reading? Maybe it’s a classic from your school days or perhaps you’re reading something published this year. Talked last night with a lady who has rediscovered Ayn Ryan. She remarked that Atlas Shrugged fascinated her. It was Ryan’s fourth and final novel. Published in 1957 and later made into a movie, the book’s theme according to its author is “the role of man’s mind in existence.” Wow again.

One of my goals for the year–I no longer make new year’s resolutions–is to buy no books. Before you throw up your hands in disgust and wailing, do not fret. It doesn’t mean that I don’t bring books, even welcome them, into my space; I just don’t have any more room for them on my three bookcases. Please understand that I do have a valid Fort Worth Library card and frequently use it.. An avid reader, I belong to a book club and read to improve my mind as well as my writing skills. It’s a free form of entertainment.

Annie Ambles to the recliner with Pride and Prejudice and coffee

Celebrate Chocolate Day

A day late on the chocolate celebration, but, go ahead, treat yourself!

One of my favorite cookbooks A Gardener in the kitchen, published by the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, has 20, yes, count them, 20 recipes that list chocolate as an ingredient–Cappuccino Flats, Chocolate Bread Pudding with German Chocolate Sauce, Chocolate Chess Pie, Chocolate Crinkles, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Earthquake Cake, German Chocolate Fudge, Grasshopper Pie. Gotta stop; my mouth is watering!

As our days get shorter and cooler, enjoy a hot cup of chocolate/cocoa with whipped cream. What a treat! Indulge yourself.

After all, everyone knows that chocolate has zero calories when eaten in cooked food or enjoyed with a friend. Solitary snacking has negative calories.

Annie Ambles with a big chunk of chocolate by the Trinity River

Concert at Central

piano photo: piano Piano_by_TheDigitalVee.jpg

Pianist Peter Klimo will play works by classical composers Albeniz, Beethoven, and Liszt tomorrow night at a free concert in downtown Fort Worth at our Central Library, 3rd. Street and Lamar.

Sponsored by both the Fort Worth Library and Cliburn in the Community, the 90 minute concert will start at 6:30 PM, Thursday, October 29.

There will be an intermission, so you can get up, stretch your legs, and maybe checkout a book while you wait for the music to resume. Be sure to bring your library card. If you don’t have a card, it will be the perfect time to fill out the form to get one.

No tickets or reservations are required. Just come and enjoy the beautiful music. Parking on the street is free after 6:00 PM and always free in the library’s parking garage.

Annie Ambles plans to attend the Cliburn Piano Concert

New Stores Coming to Sundance Square

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A huge thank you goes out to Scott Nishimura. Writing for Fort Worth Texas Magazine, October 26, he reported that new businesses are coming soon to Sundance Square. I’m passing on this news and giving full credit to him. It’s just too good not to share.

“Tervis, a drinkware store will take an 1,800-square-foot space next to Schakolad Chocolate Factory on 4th Street. The company will open in December.

The combined Nestle Toll House Café & Red Mango, a yogurt shop, is scheduled to open during the holidays. Nestle will be at 124 E. 4th Street next to The Original Cupcakery.

Brookstone, a specialty lifestyle retail company, will open a shop for the holidays in the former RadioShack space on Commerce Street, closing in January 2016. Boo hoo!

Sunglass Hut will open in November on the first floor of the Westbrook Building on 4th Street.

H&M will open a 31,000-square-foot store featuring ladies and men’s apparel, as well as accessories, maternity, sports apparel, and a plus-size line sometime this winter. Annie hopes it will be before Christmas.

Yolk, a breakfast and brunch destination, will open in Sundance Square at 305 Main Street in January 2016.”

Our downtown is going to be even better than ever!

Annie Ambles at Sundance Square daydreaming of new shopping and eating places

Find Your Ancestors

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The Fort Worth Genealogical Society’s membership meeting begins tonight/October 27 at 6:30 PM at Fort Worth’s Central Library in downtown Fort Worth. Park free in the Library’s Parking Garage or on the street at the meters. You don’t need to pay after 6:00 PM.

This Fort Worth Genealogical Society monthly meeting is co-sponsored by the Local History, Archives and Genealogy Unit of the Fort Worth Library. The free adult meeting is held in the Tandy Lecture Hall. As you enter the main lobby, turn right at the first hallway. After you go past the restrooms, look to your right for the auditorium. Do not go down the stairs!

Come to the meeting which provides interesting, enjoyable, and informative programs on genealogy and history for both beginning and experienced researchers. You may attend as a guest, but the Society encourages you to join.

If you have time after the meeting, you can go downstairs and visit the Library’s archives. Very knowledgeable employees will help you get started with your family research. With your Fort Worth library card, you can use genealogy software free of charge. What a deal!

Annie Ambles to the Fort Worth Central Library for the Genealogical Society meeting

Sid Richardson Museum of Western Art

Sid Richardson Museum

While most Fort Worth museums are closed on Monday, you can satisfy your craving for some artistic beauty by visiting the Sid Richardson Museum of Western Art. The museum is filled with Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington paintings and some sculpture. Usually about 50 works of art on on display at one time.

Admission is always free. You’ll find the Sid Richardson right off Sundance Square at 309 Main Street in downtown Fort Worth, Texas 76102. The museum opens at 9:00 AM every day, except Sunday when it opens at 12:00 noon. It closes at 5:00 PM most days, but does stay open later until 8:00 PM on Friday and Saturday.

A free brochure available at the Museum’s counter will give you more information about the art. It can be a nifty souvenir of your visit that provides more facts for your reading pleasure after you get back home.

You can enjoy a docent-guided tour every Tuesday and Saturday at 2:00 PM. The one-hour tour is open to everyone with no reservation required. Just show up! I find that I always get more out of a museum visit after I’ve gone on a tour that highlights certain works of art, their creators, and their history. Of course, it’s up to you what you want to do, but I recommend going on the tour.

The current exhibition is called “Remington and Russell Retold”, and runs through January 9, 2016. These two artists are considered visual storytellers of the 19th. Century American West. Thirty-eight of their paintings of America’s 19th-century West are on display. “Together these men shaped America’s vision of the Western frontier, bringing to life unforgettable characters and recalling significant events,” according to the museum’s web site.

In addition to the Western art, there is an area that tells the visitor more about the museum’s benefactor Sid Richardson. Born in Athens, Texas in 1891, Mr. Richardson collected Western art until his death in 1959. Some of the art hung in his suite at the Fort Worth Club. He led a colorful life, was friends with many of Fort Worth’s most famous sons, never married although rumor has it that Joan Crawford had the hots for him, and seemed to really enjoy his life. You can see his silver-embossed parade saddle on display, too.

If you want to get a jump-start on your Christmas shopping, the Museum Gift Shop is a gem. Browse through reasonably priced books, prints, jewelry, and assorted other giftables.

Annie Ambles through the Sid Richardson Museum of Western Art