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It’s a Dead Man’s Party!

This years party was a Dead Man’s Party (think Oingo Boingo!) and I have declared it a success!

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My kitchen while in the process of making all of the goodies.

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My table being “staged” the night before.  Yes, that’s my notebook sitting there with three pages that contain my “to-do list”!

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The entree station set up (hot dogs and nachos) and the beverage station ready to go with some Zombie Tonic and Bat’s Brew.

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A few hours of sleep later and it’s time to unwrap and start loading the table up! That eyeball in the back is the pinata that hasn’t been hung up yet… but it looks cool, right?

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The fireplace is nailed shut so the zombies can’t get in, the entry way is properly lit up and the fair is bubbling and George is ready to greet guests!

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Me and Mr. T; Amy and Scott and even Shorty gets dressed up for the party!

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Next year I’m totally doing a photo booth!  Time to scour Pinterest for easy ideas!

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Mr. T and his friends – I love his theatre group, they are awesome kids!

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The pinata is always a “hit”!  hehehe – get it?  A Hit!  Yes, that is astro turf under the pinata.  I have a tiny dog and I want it easy to pick up the candy and goodies that are shoved in the pinata so that nothing is left behind for Shorty to eat/choke on.

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My mom and niece Bella. They were Me and Mini Me – dressed alike in tie-dye!

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My dad and Bella playing with mom

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My nephew chilling out!

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My niece Samantha getting ready to bob for an apple

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My nephew Jayman enjoying the fruit of his labor!

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My nephew Joshua taking a turn!

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This game is way harder than it looks! I had them stand 2 feet away and you throw a sticky spider at the web. I had to let everyone take three turns and we scored the best out of three! 🙂

All in all I think everyone had fun, we talked and ate and played and celebrated end of the harvest!  Okay, so maybe the harvest never came up, but for us, this time together is a celebration of our friendships, new and old.  So, while Monster Mash played in the background we celebrated!

Oh, and I must learn the Thriller dance.  🙂

Thoughts Not Usually Expressed

I’m flipping back and forth between The Corpse Bride and The A-Team. Both are totally awesome movies, but as I watch, there are tons of thoughts that I have to leave unsaid. I’m weird enough anyway, and it gets worse when I ask questions during the movie.

For example, at one point during The Incredible Hulk all I could think about was “wow, who is going to clean up that mess?” I got some weird looks for that one.

There is a scene in A-Team where the plane has exploded and the team is in a tank trying not to get shot down by the drone planes who are trying to take them down. They exchange a lot of bullets. And then the team discovers the cannon on the tank and they decide to “fly” the tank to position it over a lake. You know, to soften the blow when they crash land.

I see the issue in this… But have never said anything. Mr. T walks through the living room and goes “So, what happens to all of those bullets and cannonballs that they are shooting? They have to land somewhere, how many people do you think they are killing?”

YES! Thank you!!

How sad is it that I can believe a cartoon movie about a Halloween skeleton that takes over Christmas before I can believe that those bullets and cannonballs didn’t kill several innocent people hundreds of yards down?

Movie logic kills me.

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Carving a Faux Pumpkin

I love Halloween!  I know, you are all surprised to hear that, but it is true!

Today I want to share this totally awesome tip I have for carving fake pumpkins – it will change your life.

I love carving pumpkins!  Every time I see a Pumpkin Masters book, especially when on sale, I grab it! They have awesome templates that range from super easy to the insane I would never attempt to do on my own!

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We used to get real pumpkins and carve them, and sometimes I still do; however, I’m in love with the fake pumpkins!  I can carve them and then bring them out year after year.  I like to pick them up once they go on sale but I have been known to pay full price (well, okay, I always have a coupon!).  I did pick one up this year with my 40% off coupon but while I was shopping I found the most amazing gadget!

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It’s called a Styro Cutter.  This little gadget is a thin wand that heats up. It is meant to be used on Styrofoam – wreaths, decorations, etc. but I have discovered that it works well on fake pumpkins, too!  This is awesome!  So, you tape your pattern onto the pumpkin, use the little tool that comes with the Pumpkin Masters kits to poke the tiny holes to create the outline and then you plug in the styro cutter.  Within minutes you will be engrossed in creating masterpieces!  Once the knife is hot you slide it into the pumpkin and then slowly work your way around doing a grown up version of connect the dots.

There are several reasons why I love this, first off – this little wand replaces all of the serrated blades that have the tiniest handles in the world!  Don’t get me wrong, those blades are awesome and do work, but I love not having to switch between the different tools.

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Secondly, the mess is minimal!  Before, there would be tons of orange shavings all over the place – but now, the orange foam shavings are minimal, I collect them in my hand and toss!  If you know me, then you know that I don’t like messy, so the fact that this minimized the mess makes it worth it.

Lastly, this cuts the carving time in half.  Since I don’t have to switch serrated blades and don’t have to stop to give my hand a rest, the time it took to make my pumpkin went by in a flash!  Mr. T had fun helping, too, which makes it even more fun for me!

This year the pumpkin we carved was double sided.  The front is a witch with a bubbling cauldron and when lit, it casts the outline of a couple of ghosts on the wall dancing behind the witch.  It is super awesome!!!

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Front

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Back – and these ghosts dance on the wall behind the witch!

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Not a good picture, but the one on the right we did last year… by hand… with the small serrated blades. Trust me, the hot knife makes carving so much easier! (The one on the left was pre-purchased like that, I can’t take credit!)

Along these lines – Penney at My Journey to Live an Authentic Life sent me this pin the other day… Do you remember how much I love baby showers?

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A Day in my Life – Wednesday Edition

Thanks to Kerry I am participating in the A Day in the Life!  You can read all about it by clicking on the link.

The alarm went off at 3:00 am this morning.  Two snooze buttons later I was up and brushing my teeth and jumping in the shower.  3:35 I was out the door.  My friend Melissa has been staying with me for a week and a half and I had to get her to the airport this morning and we were both pleasantly surprised at how little traffic is out that early in the morning!  I made it to the airport in record time.

I got back home and seriously considered going into work early.  I mean way early.  Imagine how much I could get accomplished!

Then I heard my bed calling my name in a loving tone, like a siren calling Homer to the craggy beach shore.

The bed won.

A couple hours later I crawled out of bed, again.  I made a cup of coffee and checked on Mr. T, who assured me he was eventually getting up before I settled down to work.   An hour later we said our “good-bye, I love you, have a great days” to each other and I debated a second cup of coffee.  The fact that it is Day 2 of Week 4 of C25k had me switching back to water.  All I could picture was the caffeine getting me going and then doing my training and my heart literally exploding.  With that image in mind, water was an easy choice.

Alas, an hour later I was on the torture machine, ear buds in and music blaring.

31-1/2 minutes later I was dying.  I almost curled up in a ball on the bed sobbing; however, I didn’t want to get the bed wet with salt water – because between the sweat and the tears, well… it wasn’t pretty.  I sat and sent a text to a friend “I’m going to have to redo week 4, Today was awful.  I can’t jog.  I can either breathe OR hold in my abs, but apparently I can’t do both.  I only made it 4.5 miles and had to walk 3 of the last 5 minutes.”

His response:  “yeah sounds good.  Keep it up.”

Dude, could it be more obvious that you didn’t read my text? Let me go ahead and tell you, the answer is ‘no’, it could not be any more obvious that you didn’t read my text.

Fast forward through oatmeal, emails, quick scan of the blogosphere and some technical writing.

Then I bit the bullet and called my boss.  We had a long talk as he had mouthed off to me in an email the night before, one of those quick, catty and aimed to hurt remarks.  I in turn felt smoke coming out of my ears when I read it and took time in answering the email.  I addressed the other questions first, and then let him know that I found his remark rude, hurtful and completely inaccurate, and then listed a prime example disputing his comment in the original email.  We cleared the air – and as long as I had him talking, we discussed the mess of his that I spent most of Monday cleaning up.  By the end of that conversation stream he was back on the same page as me and sadly, we were exactly where we were 6 months ago.

An hour and 20 minutes later I was able to hang up.  During that call we did resolve several items, I sent multiple emails and got the dishwasher half way unloaded!  I chained myself to my computer and sat down to work on a project until 2:00 pm when I had to take a break.  I had to run a box and a watch up to T at school (I have no idea… he sent a text asking for the items and sometimes, it’s just better not to ask!) and as long as I was getting out I figured I’d swing by my neighborhood 7-Eleven and grab a slice of pizza.  It wasn’t until I was walking into T’s school, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of the glass doors, that I realized I was still in my workout pants.  Yoga capri pants.  Yup… that’s what I walked out of the house wearing.  All I could think was how happy I was Stacy and Clinton had retired and there wasn’t a chance of secret footage being filmed for “What Not To Wear”.

Back home and back to work at 3 pm.  I need to focus for one more hour, but I can’t, all I can think about is how far behind I am at work, and more importantly – for my annual Halloween party this weekend!!  I don’t have my menu finalized, and without that I can’t put together my shopping list – and I need to go shopping.  I need to prep, I need to clean so I can get all of my supplies out and make sure I’m not missing anything – and I NEED A PINATA!!!  I don’t have time to go get a pinata!!

Do you know how hard it is to do technical writing when all I can think about is my pinata? Oh – and the fact that I forgot to get anything out for supper.  I’m praying that God performs a fishes and loaves miracle in my fridge and when I open it I will have plenty of food to feed me and T dinner.

Well – I’m at my word count – so here is where I leave you!  I promise I’ll get more work done (doubtful) and the rest of the dishes unloaded (doable).  Mr. T and I will have supper (as long as a miracle happens) and we will do homework, play on our phones and hopefully watch the episode of Supernatural we missed last night!

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That’s a day in my life!  Thanks Kerry!

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A Day in My Life, Monday Edition

Thanks to Kerry I am participating in the A Day in the Life!  You can read all about it by clicking on the link.

Now, Kerry told me we can do this however we want… so I’m just going to dive right in!

In my head, I have an easy life.  I will get up in the morning, shower and make the long commute to work.  I’ll work for the day and then have a lovely, hot and healthy dinner waiting on my son when he gets home.  We’ll sit down and discuss our day and then watch some quality TV before retiring to bed.

Yeah, right.

Today is Monday.  I hit the snooze twice and ended up crawling out of bed at 6:30 and stumbled into the shower.  I threw on my exercise clothes and headed to the kitchen and brewed a cup of coffee, standing there impatiently as the aroma fills the air around me.  A quick sip, burned tongue and long commute later I sat down at the couch and booted up my laptop.  Yes, I’m working from the living room.  I have a guest staying with me for two weeks, haven’t seen her in like 18 years, and I figured it was better than hiding in my office (which, don’t get me wrong, when she said she was coming for 2 weeks, I seriously considered!!)

An hour later I said good-bye to Mr. T as he left to catch the bus.  Is it wrong that it still pains me some mornings to see him walk out the door?

An episode of Supernatural later and I’m at a stopping point at work and shut down to go work out.  I’m doing the Couch to 5k program, training to run a 5k next year.  Well, I started it in order to mix up my workout because I’ve hit a plateau, and well, the torture machine is boring on it’s own.  So, three days a week I jog on my elliptical.  Some times I can actually hear my music over my panting and gasping for air.  Today I started a new week, which is a longer jog time.  By the end of the 31 minutes I was wondering if I’d ever be able to breathe, much less walk, but I hopped off the torture machine.  Well, hopped may be putting a spin on it, I really just kinda slid off and onto my exercise mat, where I proceeded to drip sweat until the solid purple mat was polka dotted.  I did my stretches.  Towards the end of my stretch time my boss called – and since I had my ear buds in, I went ahead and answered.  He wanted to discuss an email I had sent.  Yeah, not happening.

Mixed my spinach, greek yogurt, frozen fruit smoothie and sat down and went back to work.  For hours – time seemed to stand still.  Then it was almost noon, so I fixed a bowl of oatmeal and looked around to see how my guest was faring.  She was okay.  She’d been sitting next to me for hours, playing on her phone, applying for jobs and watching the Kardashians.  Is that how you spell it?  All I know is that even though I wasn’t watching it, just the fact that it was on in the back ground had my IQ dropping every hour.

Yay! It’s one o’clock!  Time for “lunch break”.  Crap, have to answer that email.

Yay! It’s one thirty o’clock!  I close email and opened Word Press, then Facebook, then Pinterest!  It was awesome!  Of course, it never lasts long enough, I had to get up and vacuum the house.  Cause it’s Monday.  My chores are broken up into small daily task which are normally accomplished at lunch, or when I’m on a long phone call, or when work is driving me nuts and I just need a break.  Anyway, I vacuumed.

Sadly, it was back to work.  Next thing I know, it was 4:25 and I was muttering “oh no, oh no, oh no” and my friend was like “what’s wrong?”

I wailed “I forgot to get dinner in the oven!!”  This time I really did hop up, ran to the kitchen, got the enchilada casserole that I had made as part of my freezer meals and had out defrosting transferred into the correct pan and threw it in the oven before I rushed back to finish work.  I get off work at 4:00 pm, I don’t like working past that!  Especially since I was working to clean up a mess that someone else made because they didn’t do it like I TOLD THEM TO!  That’s a totally different blog post.

At 4:45 the doorbell rang… I’d forgotten to unlock the door for Mr. T.  Apparently I’m on a roll today.  My friend bounced up to let him in as I was on the phone with my boss, which worked out as he heard the doorbell, noticed the time and let me go!

It’s now 5:10 and I’m plating our dinner, I nuked some mixed veggies and opened a can of mixed fruit to go with the casserole and we sat down and enjoyed a nice dinner.  It was fun.  My friend and Mr. T were exchanging jokes, the lamer the better.

Then, all of the sudden, it was 6:00 pm and I realized I’d forgotten to do my blog post!  I can’t let you guys down – even though you didn’t know I was doing this – I still didn’t want to disappoint!

And, now it’s now.  🙂  Welcome to a day in my life!

I sure hope the code works below and you get the pretty picture, if not – someone tell me what I did wrong!

a day in the life


			

Happy Birthday to my Brother

I’ve debated all morning long about writing this post.  There are several reasons not to:  I don’t want to upset my mom, I don’t know if I want to drag out my emotions and stomp all over them again and maybe others are tired of the subject matter.

So, mom, you probably should just stop now.  I’m not sure what I’m going to write, but if you must continue, probably should wait until you are off work.

These are my thoughts and emotions and I’ve shared everything else, I think that I want to share this with you, too.  And, if you are tired of the subject matter, I’ve decided that I’m actually okay with that!  It is okay if I write something that doesn’t connect with you because while I’d love to have a connection with every single person that reads this, it isn’t humanly possible.  Maybe I’ll connect with those that need to read this post today, and that is all that matters.

This morning in my prayers I said an extra one for my family today, and then I told my brother Happy Birthday and that I really missed him.  And I cried a little.  Lee would have been 29 today and after five months, it’s still hard that he is gone.  I deal really well with it on most days, most days I can see that I am getting stronger and able to handle his absence in my life, but I knew that today I wouldn’t be able to, that today I would struggle and today I will allow myself time to grieve.

It helps to have great family and friends in my life.  I’ve got a friend who is staying with me and willing to do anything, another friend that is coming over later to see me and another that told me if I needed, she would load up the kids and make the hour plus drive to be with me.  What blessings I have in my friends!  I am so very fortunate to have those around me that love and support me.

I’m very blessed, but they can’t fill the hole inside me.  They can comfort me when I cry, but they can’t stop the tears.  They can say the right thing and offer up the appropriate platitudes; however, the words aren’t a band-aid that immediately works on my heart.

Having said all of that – let me say this to anyone who has a friend that is grieving – don’t give up.  Keep showing your support, hold your friends when they can’t do anything but cry and keep talking.  While you can’t ease my pain, you make it tolerable.  You let me know that it is okay to have days where I struggle (and just as importantly it’s okay to have days when I don’t) and that there is no time limit on grief.  Whether it’s via text, phone, email or in person, the efforts that we all make towards each other shows our love.  The compassion and connection that we make with each other is what matters most in this life.  I probably won’t remember half of what you have told me, but I will remember the feelings you left me with.  I will remember that you were there when I needed you and in turn, I will be there for you.

And today I will allow myself to grieve just a bit that my brother isn’t here to celebrate his birthday and then I will celebrate that I had as many birthdays with him as I did.  I’ll play a little ZZ Top as he got me that CD for one of my birthdays and I will be okay.

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(Image courtesy of liveluvcreate.com)

If you don’t know the story, click here to read Then He Kissed the Back of my Hand.