Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

We had a blast today. As I said, I convinced Andrew to give it one more year. Chiefly because I'd always wanted him to be a mad scientist, and he's always gone the sueprhero route before. But he let me do up the mad scientist thing big-time, and he totally hammed it up.

Emma was (no surprise) a chef - the owner of La Patisserie du Emma (that's grammatically improper French for Emma's pastry shop).

These are some great kids.

And Mindy always comes over to sit on the porch with me and pass out candy to the measly few trick-or-treaters we get. We usually like to wear a little bit of spooky makeup just for funsies. We kept it a little simpler this year - she went toward the cadaver look and I went a little goth:

DAILY BLISS: chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Early Release Day

Emma had a half-day of school today. What are girls like us supposed to do with a bonus afternoon? Head to the lake with our sketchbooks and a lovely picnic (with china plates, of course)! Wanna see some pictures?

And our work:

DAILY BLISS: parent-teacher conference with Emma's teacher - she said Emma was "delightful" and that fully supported us in testing Emma for the alpha/gifted program


Julie over at Red Hen Studios tagged me for a seven-random-things post. I am never one to refuse such a request from a stranger (hoping they might like me enough to come back), so....why not?
I've been having trouble thinking of 7 things that you don't already know about me. I've done a few of these before and, let's be honest, I kinda let it all hang out here. I'm supposed to tag 7 more people, too, so I apologize in advance.
I'm going to take a cue from Julie here with my first item:

1) Many people are astonished to learn that I've never seen The Wizard of Oz. I haven't seen Top Gun either. No reason, I just haven't. I didn't seen Gone With the Wind or ET or any of the Star Wars movies until after age 20 or so.

2) I was really shy when I was younger. Painfully so. And very inhibited. I've gotten over a lot of as I've grown up, but my body hasn't gotten the hint. I still blush furiously when I'm angry or when I laugh too hard in front of other people or when I do something my younger self would have considered embarrassing. It's like my brain doesn't care, but my body just hasn't gotten the message and I go all red from my toes to the tips of my ears.

3) I'm very clumsy. One time, I ran into the corner of a wall and knocked myself out. Seriously. I was by myself and I woke up with a bloody lip and headed for the chiropractor next thing. Most often, you can find me with tiny scrapes and bruises all over and I'll have no idea how they got there.

4) I majored in bassoon when I was in college (actually music performance with a double emphasis in bassoon and piano). My college career didn't last long, but part of my problem was that it is actually very difficult to look cute while playing the bassoon. I'm just sayin'.

5) I always wanted dimples. In the 7th grade, I had a friend with dimples and when we would sit at the lunch table, I'd contort my face in all sorts of ways while she searched the creases for any possible sign of a dimple. When I tighten my lips just so, I get the tiniest one under the right side of my bottom lip. Megan Newman found it for me. Turns out, my Grandma Bucklew had one in the same spot - I just found it this year in a photo of her. But never fear - I married a man with deep, darling cheek-dimples. And he gave 'em to my son. Sigh. Gorgeous.

6) I have trouble sleeping. I mean, not so-so bad, but it helps to be wearing the right thing. I can't get comfortable if I'm wearing sleeves or anything with elastic around the waist or anything with too high of a get the picture. But having children has seriously inhibited the way I prefer to sleep (ahem). Especially since I have no bedroom door. A cotton chemise is my best friend.

7) Um, um, um....remember how I was counting the number of televised spits in the World Series games? I have a weird habit of doing that kind of thing when I'm bored - zeroing in on something and making patterns or games with it. In my freshman music theory class, my professor used to say, "Now then..." when he transitioned in between subjects or started to talk or, you know, just whenever. It didn't take me very long to start counting up (along with my wickedly fun friend Tiffany) how many times he said "now then." I kept a running total, using tally marks, in my folder. I suspect he may have caught on. I'm sure our giggling and snickering clued him in.

If you need to know more weird stuff about me (you know you just want to prove that at least you're not as weird as I am!) you can see my previous lists here and here.

Now for other people I'd like to hear from.
1) Julianna - you've been silent for a while on your blog.
2) Ali (I never can remember if it's one "l" or two...) - ditto
3) Mom - I mean, I know you're weird....I get a lot of it from you
4) Aunt Claiborne (Nana) - 'fess up
5) Becky - I never tire of hearing your secrets
6) Liz - I'd love to know a little bit more about you!
7) Um.....Mindy. You fit in our family so well. I know you must have secret weirdness.

There are more people I'd like to ask, but I'm not brave enough (Kate? You readin' this?). And if you feel like playing, please do!

Rules, which I may or may not have followed and I won't hold you to them either. I mean, I'm totally not doin' number four. I just want to know all your weirdness. You can even post your list in the comments if you'd rather.:
1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2008 Pumpkin Massacre

We tried to keep it simple this year. I even sent out an email to tell our friends they could bring cookies or something if they wanted to, but I was not going to feed anyone. Can you imagine? I said I wouldn't feed anyone. I didn't make cookies or pumpkin muffins. I didn't make cinnamon tea or maple coffee. I just heated up some apple cider - right out of the jug.

I grabbed the lights and garlands that have been hanging in our living room since the Autumnal Equinox and I slung them haphazardly across the hooks on our carport ceiling.

Chris stopped by my parents' house on his way home from work to borrow some folding tables. My cooking time this afternoon was non-existent, so I bought (gasp!) a box of fried chicken from the grocery store. I am trying not to feel guilty about that. I would like to state for the record that I don't remember the last time we had fried chicken. I would also like to state that I whipped up a simple little tabbouleh salad (couscous, chopped tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice) to go next to it. That makes me feel a little better about the fried chicken.
Joe & Mindy brought some wonderfully perfect music - the Edward Scissorhands and Harry Potter soundtracks. And everybody brought some pumpkins.

Some of us made jack-o-lanters; some of us were Joe-o-lanterns:

And one of us was felt a little left out, looking out through the screen on the window:

On a slightly disturbing note, you should know that I sustained a carving injury. Oh, no. It's nothing that bad. No carving implements were involved. Actually, a piece of pumpkin rind managed to slit the underside of my fingernail. It's complicated to explain, but know there was definitely some blood. I tried to take a picture for you, but I couldn't get a good one. Oh well.
This was a day that will live in pumpkin infamy. Many good, solid pumpkins lost their guts today.
But they have been molded, crafted, carved and Xacto-knifed (those are just the best). I was told that these were my grandpa's Xacto knives.

These pun'kins look so beautiful, don't you think?

Yeah. That's a Christmas tree on one of them. My husband agonized for most of the evening about what to do with his pumpkin. And that's what he came up with. Random.

Guess which one is my pumpkin?

I must be honest - I took it directly from a piece of Microsoft clip art. I mean, I didn't trace it or anything, but I'd feel bad about totally taking the credit, y'know?

At the end of the night, I find that I am still bone-tired. My eyes are heavy, my head is foggy and yes, Nana, I need to sleep for 12 hours. I'm planning to do that at your house when we come up for Thanksgiving, 'k? But I feel a little bit less weary, if you know what I mean. I laughed until I had tears running down my cheeks tonight. I stuck my hands into ooey, goey pumpkins and I loved it. My kids and I made something together. And even though logic tells me I should have cancelled because I'm overcommitted and close to burning out, my heart tells me that this was almost as good for me as a full night's rest.
Sleep will come. Maybe it'll come when I'm 50, but it'll come. But nights like this don't come all the time. And when they do, I believe you'd better take them and devour them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shuffling Through

You know what? It's cold here. I mean, cold is relative and all, but even yankee-types put on jackets when it's 50, right? We are looking at record-low temps here tonight and I could not be more excited! Tomorrow night is our pumpkin carving get-together and we may, for the first time ever, enjoy hot apple cider and pumpkin gutting without breaking a sweat. I may even see if I can find a sweatshirt or something.
You know what else? I'm tired. I know I said it yesterday, but I'm really tired. Scary tired. Everybody asked me in our staff meeting this morning why I was quiet.

I was quiet? That Means Something.

There are days that you say you just can't (fill in this blank with any to-do item) so you sit on the kitchen floor, smothering your sorrows by licking out a bowl of chocolate cake batter. And there are days when your body just says, "no."
Mine did that today. I stared blankly at my computer today at work. Just sat there. Not really doing much. And I got Emma from school, got the rest of Andrew's Halloween costume (I pleaded with him for just one more year....he can be done with Halloween next year....) and grabbed some coffee (not the panacea I'd hoped it would be, but it helped), picked up the dog, picked up the boy child and headed home.

I surveyed the mess of two weeks of on-the-go life and just couldn't do anything about it.

"What's for supper?" I heard, all afternoon. "I don't know," I said, over and over.

I took my hubby's iPod out of his closet and shut out the afternoon cacaphony - baritone practice, guitar practice, piano practice, "mom - will you quiz me on my spelling," and a few more "what's for dinner?s" were ignored.
When Chris and I got our iPods, one brother (ahem) helped me set up mine, and the other brother helped him (cough) set up his. So we have different music and I like to see what he has that I don't have. I'm currently loving Wheat. Maybe it's not brand new music, but I really like it. And I pretended I was an indie rock star, singing along and poking my sweet potatoes with a fork (oh yes. that's what's for dinner, kids) and wrapping them up in foil.
It's a funny thing - I never expected to need to shut out the noise. The afternoon noise of my childhood included me at the piano, bassoon and marimba, my younger brother at the drums, the saxaphone or plunking out a one-fingered pop melody on the piano (I used to so disdain his simplistic strains of pop music - ha! now we see which one of us turned out to actually be a musician), and my youngest brother at the bass guitar or the trombone. If there's anything I expected to tolerate, as a mother, it's noise. And usually, I can.

But maybe not today.

So I headed for my porch, because when I can't do anything else, at least there's that. The light was already fading and making stripes and shadows out there.

The wind was swinging my windchime's pendulum around wildly. It looks like some wasps tried to make it part of their home over the summer.

And I still felt restless. I went down to my bed, still shutting out the noise and tried to pry open my release valve, just letting the tiredness leak out of my eyes. I know it's so wussy and girlie, but crying it out is amazingly helpful. But I'm too tired to do that too, I guess. I couldn't even muster a sniffle.

So I sighed and went to the grocery store for the remains of dinner fixin's and some hot chocolate mix. Fortuitously, the Charlie Brown Halloween special was on tonight. Some hot chocolate and cuddling up in the living room was nice family time. Normally, I don't count TV as family time, but today, I decided to.

Now, I need to find my bed. I'm not sure where I put it. Maybe it's under the pile of half-made Christmas gifts. Maybe it's under the stack of school papers that need to be signed.
Eh. I think I'll just sleep on top of the laundry pile.

DAILY BLISS: An October cold snap! Fabulous!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Church (Service)

(24) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, (25) not neglecting to meet together.....encouraging one another...
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

We had a great church service yesterday.
My friend is movin' back to town and she has been offered her Granny's house to live in. But it needed a little paintin' and a little fixin' and even needed its gorgeous, vintage, clawfoot tub to be re-installed (sigh-how romantic) as it had been sitting in a nearby barn for a long time. So we gathered our church together to serve one of our own.

There were no worship songs or hymns, but there was a lot of singing. And some of it was made up on-the-spot. And almost all of it was silly
There was no sermon, but some of us learned anyway.

This is what we call "Childrens' Church:"

And this is what we call "grounds for excommunication."

Just kidding. That's really what we call "my weird-o brother."

I am sore from two days of climbing up and down a ladder - I always end up cutting in at the ceiling and the corners when there is painting to be done. I am covered in primer and I am verytired.

I actually pointed my car door remote at my front door yesterday and pushed the unlock button. Seriously.
Are you done laughing yet?
I only took a wee minute to figure out I was doing something wrong. I absolutely did not push the button several times before I caught on. Not at all.

(outdoor photos by my fabulous sister-in-law, Mindy)

DAILY BLISS: crunchy grapes and purchasing our victims for the soon-coming annual pumpkin massacre