Thursday, October 30, 2008

Final Practice Pumpkin

Well, I was supposed to have a pumpkin carving party tonight but had to cancel it because I'm still sick. Although I usually put socializing before health, I am pretty run down today and couldn't picture myself hostessing tonight. But since Halloween is tomorrow and I had one more pumpkin to carve before the deadline, I carved it alone. So without further ado, here it is: the last pumpkin in my quest to carve the best pumpkin ever (the best pumpkin I've ever carved, that is.). It's supposed to say RIP, but the P is kind of hard to see. (Deal with it.)

So, it's this verses Practice Pumpkin One and Practice Pumpkin Two. Any votes on which is the best? And if you vote for pumpkin #2, I'll know you're joking. So far two people have asked if it's supposed to be a bat.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Costume help!

So, I'm going to a Halloween party Friday night and I still have no idea what to dress up as! I've been sick this week, and I think that's slowing down my creative juices. I wish I could come up with something both creative and easy to make, but I'm afraid I'm going to end up as one of the old standby costumes for women: a cat, a princess, a witch, or a gypsy. There's nothing wrong with these costumes except that I'm sure I won't be the only one in the room if I choose any one of these. I had thought about being Sarah Palin, but decided it might be too controversial.

Last year as a last resort I dressed up as butterfly, only because Katherine had both the wings and antennae that she let me borrow. Oh, and come to think of it, I was also a witch (at a different party). So, yeah. I think I need something new.

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to dress up as was a gypsy. This was mainly because it meant I got to wear a lot of jewelry - including dangly clip on earrings - and a lot of Wet and Wild makeup.

Once I was old enough to wear make up on days other than Halloween, I got slightly more creative. One year I was a devil disguised as an angel (an angel costume with a devil tail in the back). I stole that idea from a list I found online so I can't take credit for it. Another time, when I had a job working with migrant students, I was La Llorona which was pretty good. But I've been in a rut for a couple years now.

Halloween is only a couple days away so I need a costume idea stat! Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scaarrrryyy Movieeeess.....

It's Halloween week! One of my favorite things to do before Halloween is watch at least one scary movie. I have a few favorites that I like to watch every year, but if I only watch one, it's usually the Changeling. I first saw it at a church youth activity when I was about 14 and it is terrifying! Here's the catch with this one: I used to rent it every year and the box said it was rated PG, but then when I finally ordered it last year, the new box I got said R!? What!? Why was the rating changed? I think it's because it's old and it's very very spooky. Here are a few of my scaaaarrrry movieee recommendaaaaations:

*The Changeling:
Don't watch this one alone. In fact, you might want to have a group of friends spend the night (with all the lights on) after watching this. It's way scary. If you think it's going to be too scary for you, invite a certain friend over - you know, the friend who makes wise cracks all throughout a movie, like, "Ooooh, I'm sooo scared!" in a sarcastic voice, or the friend who looks at things too logically ("why would a ghost do that!? I mean, come on!"). It'll help with the tension.

*Some people have asked me if the new Angelina Jolie movie titled Changeling is a remake of the original. The answer is: definitely no! It's something totally different. Glad we cleared that up.

The Skeleton Key
So spooky!! I first saw this movie in the theater with my cousin Polly and every time something scary happened, we'd grab each other and scream. It's about voodoo and takes place in and around New Orleans. If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend it. It's pretty scary though so don't say I didn't warn you.

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
A classic. This one transports you back to your childhood. I put a link to it on the title - you should check it out. As soon as you start watching it and you hear that Charlie Brown theme music, you'll find yourself playing air piano (I wouldn't do that, but you would), and wondering why everyone was always so mean to poor Charlie Brown! But this movie is great because it takes you back to your childhood, which was when Halloween was the most fun, right?

Another good non-scary Halloween movie is Hocus Pocus. This one is fun, and I usually try to watch it every year. Check it out if you're in a house with kids! (Or if you're a kid at heart.) Also does anyone else remember the Disney movies Mr. Boogedy and Bride of Boogedy? I loved these movies when I was a kid but I don't think they are sold on DVD. Sad.

So, for now those are my top picks. I hope you enjoy some scary movies this week. If you have a favorite medium level scary movie you recommend, let me know! And if the movies I recommended scare you so bad you have to sleep with the lights on, don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Kids on the Block

Kathy's going to see NKOTB tomorrow night at the Palace and I am so jealous! NKOTB was the first concert I ever went to and let me tell you, they did not disappoint. I was 12, and Kristin and I went while her mom waited for us in the car the whole time. Here's a classic NKOTB video you have to watch. Check out the hair and those dance moves! Awesome!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Skills to Pay the Bills

I was recently reunited with my dear old friend, Dr. Mario. We go way back, but our time together has been sporadic. We first met back in high school when I'd play this game with one of my best friends, Kelly. I loved the game and considered myself the champ. Which reminds me, I should warn you that when I talk about Dr. Mario and my mad skills at this game, I might come across as conceited. But rest assured, I'm aware of how obnoxious I'm being and for me part of the fun of Dr. Mario is the trash talk. Go ahead and trash talk me back - it just motivates me.

After high school it was years before I played the game again. Then one day, my friend Kristin and I were hanging out at our friend Jimmy's apartment when someone suggested we play Dr. Mario. Well, after just one night of playing, we became addicted. But since we couldn't be at Jimmy's all the time, Kristin bought the game, found an old Nintendo and started holding tournaments at her house. That summer we probably clocked about 1000 hours of Dr. Mario. We had four controllers so we'd invite friends over for tournaments, but mock their inferior skills. Most of the time the players who rotated in and out of the game were: Kristin, Abram, Garrett, Jimmy, Katherine, Brandi, and me.

Even though we weren't actually looking at each other (focused on the game!), we grew very close playing Dr. Mario. After staring at those pills long enough, we'd just start opening up about our lives. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was through playing Dr. Mario that Kristin and Abram fell in love (they are now married).

Well, that was years ago. Someone broke Dr. Mario (I'm pretty sure it was Abram, who was sick of feeling inferior, although I have no way of proving this). So after going through some intense withdrawal, we moved on with our lives.

Recently, Dr. Mario came back into my life. It was at Brian's movie night. Katherine suggested that I play but I was reluctant at first. I mean, I'd moved on with my life and maybe I wasn't good anymore. Turns out playing Dr. Mario is like riding a bike and I had no problem dominating that night (I'm sorry, playing this game makes me really sassy).

Then I found out my friend Emily has the game so we started playing too. She has greatly improved in the last couple weeks in skill, trash talk, and passion for the game (even throwing herself on the ground last night after losing). Even though I trash talk her like crazy, I think our friendship has grown stronger.

And this past weekend, I was able to play against one of my former opponents, Jimmy. He was in town for the weekend and invited some friends over to play games. Apparently his memory is bad because for some reason he thought he could beat me at Dr. Mario. Wrong! He claimed exhaustion from running a marathon that day, but pullease. Yes, he could barely move his body, but his fingers were still nimble.

As you can see, this game brings out my evil side. Usually the whole room ends up rooting against me, cheering for whoever my opponent is. But, you know, I guess it's always lonely at the top. It's just Dr. Mario and me.

With the cold and flu season coming...

Check out this video: How to cough into your sleeve

We were told to watch this today at work and it's pretty amusing. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did. It's informative and entertaining! And the acting will leave you speechless. (What's up with the guy in the gym!?) Enjoy.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Where I work, there is a free table in the kitchen where people can put their old stuff in hopes that it finds a new, loving home. Justin and Kathy and I have found some real treasures on this table, such as a dusty stuffed frog, an old Ricky Martin CD, and used aerobics VHS tapes. Usually when one of us finds something particularly awesome on the free table, we generously leave it on each other's desks. I mean, who doesn't like a surprise gift?!

This breathtaking clock was generously left on my desk a few months ago. I tried regifting it to Kathy and Justin over the months that followed, but it always ended up back on my desk. Eventually I just accepted that it was mine for keeps and positioned it so it's facing Kathy all day. Trust me, the look on her face says it all. She loves it.

But we've enjoyed its beauty long enough and decided that it might be time to find a new home for this gorgeous clock. So today Kathy posted it on craigslist with this description:

Take a safari ride back through time with this ceramic masterpiece. Feel the wind rush through your hair as you bump through the Serengati in your Jeep. This work of art is perfect for your new nursery or centered on the mantle in the family room. You can watch your newborn's eyes light up as they check the time. Or have a great conversation starter piece for those uncomfortable dinner parties. Either way, you can't lose. Monkey pendulum swings with ease, and the color palate makes this beautiful piece versatile for any decor. Made in China- sticker insignia still in tact to prove authenticity. (batteries not included.) Asking $125 OBO. (Will accept trade for Snickers)

Keep in mind that this is a total joke, and we wouldn't accept any real money for it (not that we'd be offered any). But... we'd definitely trade it for some Snickers.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Practice Pumpkin #2

I'm not going to lie, guys. Practice pumpkin #2 was a total bust. I swear the thing was made of cement or something because it could not be carved! This pumpkin most definitely did not turn out as well as the first pumpkin. And didn't really get me closer to my goal of carving the best pumpkin ever.

Here's what happened. Tonight after going to a Halloween party, Emily, Katherine, and I thought it would be nice to carve pumpkins in keeping with the Halloween theme. Emily has a ton of awesome pumpkin stencils, so I chose one that I thought would look really great: an alien. I was pretty excited about this!

But I should have known something was not right when I couldn't cut into the top of the pumpkin. I tried a few different knives (including a really big kitchen knife) but to no avail! Both Katherine and Emily mocked my weakness until I made them try and they conceded that it was hard as a rock. Luckily, Emily has super human strength and with some effort, cut the top off for me.

At that point, I put the pattern on the pumpkin and started poking holes in it to create a stencil (a technique I do not normally use, but was told was the only way to go by Emily). But guess what? This cement pumpkin was virtually impenetrable and broke the pokey thingy! What the!?

So I got another poker and got back to work, all the time dreading actually having to cut into this thing. But finally, it was time. I think I can sum up the whole experience with one word: unsuccessful. After breaking my third knife, I gave up.

Don't judge me for quitting. It was a hard decision. But I just starting thinking, "what do I have to prove!? This pumpkin is killing me! It's giving me hand muscle cramps, a horrible headache, and is just so not worth it! This pumpkin sucks!" So here's the final product:

Yeah, I told you. It's bad. No mouth, no hands, no nose. Can you even tell it's an alien!? Emily said she thinks some teenagers are going to try to smash it. But to them I say: I'd like to see you try.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A few more pictures

I know, I'm totally a broken record these days. I'm always talking about one of three things: how beautiful this season is, debates, or cheesy brownies. I promise I'll talk about something else soon, but for now I wanted to say again how beautiful this season is, and share just a few more pictures I took this week.

Cheese Challenge

The conversation this post is based on started as an extension of my blog post from last Friday -Kathy and Justin and I were discussing foods that gross us out. I told them that one food I hate even hearing about is the tuna melt. There's just something about the combination of cheese and tuna fish that grosses me out. They disagreed whole heartedly, which led to a discussion about what foods are acceptable to mix with cheese. Justin, who always takes things too far, said that he'd eat anything with cheese. "Anything? Really?" I asked him. "Yes. Anything." He said. Being the mature person I am, I had to challenge this.

Me: "What about a peanut butter and cheese sandwich!?"
Justin: "I'd try it."
Me: "Well guess what? You're getting one for lunch this week."
Justin: "I can't wait."
Kathy: "I'm going to throw up in my mouth."
Me to Justin: "What about cheesy brownies!?"
Justin: "Yum."

You guys, I had to do it. I had to call his bluff. I mean, brownies with cheese? Justin tried to convince us that other countries think chocolate and cheese are delicious together by sending us this link to a product eaten in Asia. It looks like Kraft singles, but it's chocolate cheese.

In discussing this topic with other people, I've discovered that people have some strange ideas about what cheese tastes good with. My mom loves cheese with her apple pie, for instance. And imagine my surprise when I was hanging out with a few friends last night talking what mixes with cheese, and Shauri told me that she grew up eating cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. She claims they're delicious. I guess I have a lot to learn about what cheese mixes with.

So, I made the cheesy brownies. Actually, not wanting to waste the whole brownie mix, I made a normal batch of brownies, but I made one special cheesy brownie.

Today is the day. Justin is going to eat at least part of the brownie. Kathy is repulsed already and it hasn't even happened yet. What do you think his reaction will be to it? I'll keep you updated.

Ok, we ate the brownie. Yes, WE. I asked Justin, right before he took the first bite, if he was nervous. He paused and said, "No....not nervous. Maybe a little anxious." Then he dug in. He said it wasn't bad, and that the texture was interesting. So, I caved. I had to know. So I ate a tiny bite. Then another. To be honest, you couldn't taste the cheese. Justin pointed out that it could have just as easily been coconut, and he's right. Maybe next time, I'll try it with Velveeta. And in case you were wondering, Justin ate the whole thing (minus my bite).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

And the winner is....

I hope you guys enjoyed the debate tonight as much as I did. I think the clear winner tonight was... chocolate cake, of course!

Oh, and Joe the Plumber.

This article raises a very good point about another sort of competition the two candidates should go through to really got both our attention and our approval. (Link)

Fundamental debate fun

Who else is excited for the debate tonight!? You know I am. As you know, for last week's debate I made sugar cookies. For this debate I thought I'd keep up with the calorie theme, but mix it up a bit. So I made a cake - it's bipartisan as you can see. I made sure each candidate was represented so no one would get their feelings hurt. I'm holding them both equally responsible for any weight gain or stomach aches those eating this cake may suffer.

So here's the deal, I (and those watching the debate with me, though they don't know it yet) will take a bite of cake each time I hear one of the following:

My friends
Health care
That guy

Actually, "my friends" alone is going to make the entire cake disappear in the first ten minutes, so maybe I should just choose three words from the list. I think I'll go with "economy," "health care," and "that guy."

I found this funny article from last week's debate describing a "debate watch game." It has a list of words and phrases to look for, and includes bonus questions. So I'm going to make up my own bonus questions for this one:

1. How many times will McCain look like he's about to flip out?
2. How many times will Obama say "fundamental"?
3. How many times will we hear the word "economy" tonight? (I'm counting on this one being high, and I might lose track about half way through because of the sugar. So, I'm going to leave the counting to you guys.)

Any guesses? Enjoy the debate tonight, my friends!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beautiful day

Today was the perfect fall day. This morning on my drive to work I was overwhelmed at how beautiful the trees are this time of year. Throughout the day I continued to be amazed at the gorgeous colors. Fall really is such a beautiful season. It seems that overnight all the trees started changing! I took a few pictures today and thought I'd share them with you. I hope you're enjoying the season as much as I am.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Food Fights

There are some things I'm just not really ok with, and buttered popcorn flavored Jelly Bellys fall into that category. I've noticed though, over the years, that some people absolutely love this flavor and are shocked when I say it's gross. How could I not like that flavor!? It's their favorite! Friendships are questioned, sanity is doubted, eyes are bugged out. But I just find that flavor wrong. My mouth and my brain get really confused. Why does it taste exactly like popcorn, but has the texture of candy? Something's not right!

This week, a coworker brought in a big tray of Jelly Bellys and to my great surprise, the popcorn flavored ones were the first to go! What?! This makes no sense to me.

Am I the only person out there who doesn't like this flavor? And why do the people who like it feel so passionately about it?

This isn't the first time I've seen this kind of food passion though and all the emotions that go with it. But really, I shouldn't be too judgmental about these popcorn Jelly Belly lovers, because I too have questioned friendships over food tastes. It happened in high school when I found out a so-called friend of mine didn't like pizza (pizza!!). I remember looking at him like I was seeing him for the first time. I think my response was something like, "Have you tried different pizza restaurants? Have you tried thin crust? What about deep dish!? Have you tried it with pepperoni? What about plain? Do you not like cheese!? I don't understand!!"

Why do we take it so personally when our friends don't like the same foods as us? Just today at work, Kathy said to me in a shocked voice, "Elizabeth, did you know that Justin doesn't like Milky Ways!?" But it was turned around on her later when Justin and I expressed our shock at her love of black licorice. We're still friends, but I think things are strained. ;) If you have any similar experiences, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Save the words!

Am I the only one who wanted to stay in bed this morning? Maybe I'm just coming down off the sugar high I got from eating too many debate cookies last night. But I think it's the weather - rainy fall days just lend themselves to the desire to stay home and read, sleep, watch movies, and sip hot chocolate.

But for those of you who, like me, aren't able to stay at home and get in some R & R today, here's something you can do to take your mind off it. Try to use three words from this list of endangered words today. Personally, I've never heard of any of these words before (have you?), but I don't like the idea of getting rid of words. Together we can try to save them from extinction! I've been trying to figure out how to use them myself. Here are a few sample sentences:

I was really embrangled this morning when my alarm went off and it was still dark out.
Ew, something is very olid in here today.
I heard a skirr outside my window and thought it was a bird, but it turned out to be a ghost.

That last one had a twist, huh? Let me know what you come up with. I haven't been able to figure out how to use a few of them - like muliebrity and fubsy. Actually, those are two I wouldn't mind seeing go extinct.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Debate fun

I know that some of you are getting sick of politics, and I don't blame you. It is exhausting sometimes and it's hard to know who to trust. But I can't help myself, I am really enjoying this election season! It's just so exciting! The drama, the lies, the mudslinging, the speeches, the debating, the fact checking, the msnbc reports. It's addictive. And debate nights are my favorite. Since the election season is almost over, I figured I'd better enjoy the few weeks we have left!

Even though it's a different kind of debate tonight, it's still a debate and to celebrate, I thought it would be fun to decorate sugar cookies with themes from the election (one of them is pictured above). I gave one to my friend Justin today at work to eat during the debate tonight, but the cookie didn't make it through the work day (not that I blame him, I had one for breakfast). He said that it did make him feel more patriotic though. Hopefully he'll think of that cookie during the debate tonight.

If the cookie isn't enough to make the debate more exciting, I have another idea: I'm going to count how many times the words "fundamental," "maverick," and "economy" are said tonight. All right, time to concentrate. Enjoy the debate, friends! (Or "my friends" as McCain said about 100 times tonight.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Practice Pumpkin #1

I started very optimistically - "the best pumpkin ever! Increased self esteem! A better outlook on life!" And I ended with a bandaide... and doubts. I'll start from the beginning.

I spent a good amount of time yesterday looking through the pumpkin carving pattern book that came with the pumpkin carving kit. Each pattern was rated for difficulty - one pumpkin meant it was easy, four pumpkins meant it was very hard. Since I'm a beginner, I went with an easy design - the "one pumpkin in difficulty" skull.

After I carved the eye patch and part of the other eye, I started to get cocky. "This is so much easier than I remember!" I thought to myself. I started carving faster, haphazardly even. That's when it happened. I cut my thumb. It stung immediately and I didn't want to look at it for fear of how badly I had cut it. When I finally glanced down, I saw that it really wasn't too bad thank goodness. But it had shaken my confidence. After washing it, putting a bandaide on it, and feeling sorry for myself for a minute, I got back to work. This time slower and less trusting of the supposedly "kid friendly" knife (turns out nowhere on the packaging does it say "kid friendly" but for some reason I thought it did... not that I was getting ready to sue or anything).

After working on the pumpkin a bit longer, it was finished. And I have to say, it looked pretty darn good. I think I'm on my way to that best pumpkin ever! That is, if I have the courage to carve another one.

Over all, I'd say practice #1 was a mild success. I cut my thumb in the process, but was it worth it for the best pumpkin ever? No, not really. But that might be the pain talking. (Yes, I'm a baby.) I'll keep you posted as I continue on my quest.

Friday, October 3, 2008

James is awesome

This is a picture of my nephew James and me taken tonight at dinner (he always makes a crazy face when someone points a camera at him). I love this kid - he makes me laugh so much. Here's a sample of the conversation at dinner tonight at the Saline Inn, our favorite local diner.

Katherine to James: "From now on, your nickname is going to be 'Sarcasmo.'"
Me to Katherine: "But isn't that your nickname? ZING!" (I never claimed I was funny.)
James: (totally cracking up, slapping his knee, etc)...."Wait, what does 'zing' mean?"

Some James facts:
He's going to be Baby Bowser for Halloween
He has two favorite songs: "Do as I'm Doing" and the Mario Galaxy song (as I'm typing this, I'm playing that song and he is singing along and acting like he's conducting it.)
He's taking a dance class that he claims is "really embarrassing" but I think he secretly likes it.
He's also taking an karate class that he really likes.
He just showed me a clay frog and asked, "how do you like this sculpture I made of Katherine?" then he went and said that to Katherine and now they're chasing each other around.
He cracks me up.

I will post pictures of my pumpkin carving this weekend, by the way. I haven't forgotten!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Best pumpkin ever! Take 1

Great News! I have tomorrow off! One of the things I thought would be nice to do tomorrow is to tackle one of the goals I set for myself in a previous post. I think I'll hold off on the cavity goal for now, noble as that goal is, to focus on my other goal: carving the best pumpkin I've ever carved. Notice I said the best pumpkin I've ever carved, not the best pumpkin ever carved. And as I mentioned before, that shouldn't be too hard considering the many mediocre pumpkins I've carved in my lifetime.

Today on my way home from work, I stopped by a farm that sells pumpkins and picked out a beaut. Now, I should clarify that this pumpkin is a practice pumpkin. I mean, it's been a year since I carved a pumpkin and I think I'll have to practice several times before really going for the title. Here's a picture of the pumpkin I carved last year:

That picture was taken (with my friend Brady) at a pumpkin carving party I co-hosted last year. It was a pretty simple design (from a stencil) but I added some glitter glue freckles which I thought gave it an edge. But it's still pretty elementary, I'm not going to lie. And yet, if I remember correctly, I struggled with it. Which makes me think I should start with a simple design tomorrow.

I've been looking at stencils online, and these are a few I can choose from tomorrow:

I'm thinking since I'm a beginner, I should start with the tiger, right? I'll post pictures of my first practice and let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!