Monthly Archives: October 2008

Memories of Halloween Past, Part 2

This week brings a plethora of birthday celebrations, as three of my friends celebrate natal days in this week and my mom’s birthday is today. Dan and I had flowers sent to her at school in honor of her big day. I’d hoped to be able to fly out there for a visit, but a) we’ve spent a ton of dough on trips to CA in the past year and change, and b) I’ve spent the last five weeks traveling so I’d kind of like to stay at home, and c) I only get to see Dan on the weekends so had I gone out I would have gone two weeks without seeing him, essentially. I realize it’s kind of silly considering the first year and a half of our relationship we lived in 2 different STATES and saw each other maybe once a month, but in the past several years have living together I’ve grown accustomed to seeing him all the time.

A blog that I read sometimes had a contest earlier this month for people to send in stories and/or photos of the best or most memorable costumes they’ve ever had. I didn’t see the post in time to send anything (and I couldn’t top the winner anyhow) but it got me thinking about costumes I’ve worn.

When I was little, my mom made my Halloween costume every year. I was a tomato plant, a princess, a clown. One year I don’t remember what I wore but my sister went as a flower in a flower pot (an old lampshade frame covered in brown fabric was the pot) and she won the fire station’s costume contest for her age group. Her prize was a My Little Pony puzzle, and I was So Jealous.

As I got older, my costume ideas got more unusual. In the fifth grade I decided to make my own costume – I was “Over the Rainbow” and drew the Oz characters on a mortar board, wore the most colorful and stripiest clothing I could find, and constructed a rainbow-shaped cardboard hat, painted like the rainbow. I think my dad helped by drawing some birds on cardboard that I cut out and attached to the top.

Unfortunately, the only photographic evidence of this costume that exists is in my fifth grade yearbook. And it’s a b&w photo. Maybe someday I’ll scan it.

In sixth grade, I decided to be Mac Tonight. Not Mac the Knife. Mac Tonight, from the McDonalds commercials with the guy playing the piano who had a moon head. My mom helped make the moon head, and surprisingly, a few people knew who I was. I was a gypsy, a spider, Scarlett O’Hara. In college, my costumes were mostly put together at the last minute and involved lots of makeup. I never did the sexy/slutty thing, though.

Then, in December of 2000, I saw the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas on a big screen re-release. I loved it. I loved Sally in particular. Then and there I decided to grow my hair out so I could be Sally for Halloween of 2001 – and I did! I rented the movie a few times so I could get it just right; I sewed that costume by hand, painted my face blue, dyed my hair red. It was a great costume. Since then, my costumes have been, for the most part, not as exciting. Dan and I dressed as Lucy and Charlie Brown my first Halloween in Colorado, Dan even going so far as to shave his head (save one lock over the forehead). Since then, I’ve been out of town for work most Halloweens so I haven’t gotten much into costuming, save two years ago when I made Dan a Max from Where the Wild Things Are costume and I went as Pippi Longstocking (henna’ing my hair again).

I love costumes, and I love to dress up. The Dorothy costume this year was hand-sewn for my 23rd birthday party (a costume party, natch) and the only new part was the ruby slippers. I think they turned out pretty well, though if I ever intend to wear this costume again I should really get a different blouse. Dorothy-Busting-Out is not the best look.

The question is what Dan and I will do tonight, and tomorrow night. We have a lot of options but haven’t made any decisions about what we will do. There are concerts, parties, pillow fights, and there is a slight possibility we’ll get a few trick-or-treaters, though when they don’t wear costumes I just get kind of pissed off. Because if I’m 29 freaking years old and dressed as Dorothy and you want me to give you some candy, you’re going to have to do better than Crazy Normal Looking Kid Wearing Regular Clothes. I mean, even Adam Sandler was more creative than that.

(Most photos were taken on Sunday after we attended the Obama rally. Dan’s got photos he took at the rally here.)

Even Weebl and Bob are impressed with Obama

To add to my husband’s videos, here’s another tasty link for you.

Mmm, pie!

Three down, two to go

Day of Odin: Spent all day (8-4) training here in Denver. Luckily we got out about an hour earlier than scheduled, so I had a chance to go to the gym. Then, me and my raging headache drove down to Stepford Springs. I had a fantastic meal (seriously, the place where we were has the BEST food) and got to bed at a reasonable hour and because of my Thursday meeting’s late start, I got to sleep in.

Day of Thor: Beautiful day in Stepford surrounded on all sides by really expensive houses and people who make a lot of money and are very religious and are most certainly going to be voting for McPalin. I was allotted five minutes to present an update about my program (material that takes over 4 hours to present at a training) so I did my best and I think it went pretty well, though my heart rate is never that high unless I’m sprinting, so it was weird to feel it like that when I hadn’t been doing any exercise whatsoever. I estimate I spoke in front of 200 people, which is about 4 times larger than the largest crowd I’ve ever addressed, and my news was pretty much all bad, so since nobody threw tomatoes at me I guess I didn’t suck too badly. I snuck away during one part of the day to work out and two people in the resort’s gym were wearing McCain/Palin tshirts. Alan Greenspan was eating his own foot on the teevee.

Later that afternoon/evening there was a going-away shindig for two people in my unit who are retiring, and after the early evening festivities a group of us decided to continue the party at the Golden Bee, a reconstituted 19th century pub where the beer is served by the yard, half yard, or pint, and where a piano man plays requests while the patrons all sing along. A good time was had by all; there was drunken singing and dancing and debauchery of all sorts, and this is the reason there were bees on my boobs (the staff at the Bee periodically toss stick-on fabric bees at patrons).

The shuttle returned me to the resort at around 11 PM and I figured I’d be sleeping shortly thereafter, but I couldn’t sleep until almost 2. So that sucked.

Day of Freya:

Day 2 of a 2-day long meeting is always tough, especially when Day 2 is a Friday. Luckily, we finished early and I got home, unloaded, returned the car, and walked home by 4 PM. It was the end of a very, very long week and I was still feeling a little head cold-ish. Stepford Springs, at least the part where I was, is very beautiful this time of year, but the place gives me the creeps and I was so glad to be back in Denver.

I have another training on Wednesday this week, down in Stepford again, and then up north the week after, and then I am FINISHED. Thank Jeebus.

Bees on my boobs

Story next week.

For now, this:

How to complete a Halloween costume

Step 1:

Figure out what to be for Halloween. Realize you have a costume you’ve never used for Halloween (but did use for a costume birthday party 6.5 years ago). Pray it still fits. Try it on. It fits! Mostly. Your boobs have grown more than a cup size, so the blouse is a little bit tight in the chesticular region.

Step 2:

Realize that on the first go-round, the crowning glory of your costume didn’t work out so well. Resolve to get it right this time. Decide to cover a pair of shoes with sequinned red fabric rather than paint and glitter this time; far less likely for moop (matter out of place, a Burning Man term) to occur this way. Obtain necessary fabric. Look through your shoes to see if any of them will suffice. Decide you need a new pair specifically for this venture. Look at Payless Shoe Source. Finally acquire cheap pair at Cross Dress for Less.

Step 3:

Assemble necessary materials for Operation Ruby Slipper. Not pictured: Hot glue gun used for finishing touches.

Step 5:

Make slippers. Get fingers all encrusted with hot glue. Get annoyed at Dan because he sent back the Wizard of Oz to Netflix so you can’t pause the movie on the closeup of the shoes.

Step 6:

Get ready for party. Pin blouse closed. Attend Halloween party populated with a plethora of very small children (most of whom are not yet speaking) and adults who are, for the most part, not culturally American. Thus, when you arrive, you realize you have to remove your shoes, making your costume less obvious to the other partygoers.

Step 5: Have a good time. Marvel at the size of the small child of the hosts, recipient of this blanket. He’s about 20 months old and nearly 3 feet tall, but doesn’t he look cute in his costume?

I like pie.

That, right there, is my motto. I discovered it thanks to a link on a message board to weebl and bob. Nothing better than pie.

Last weekend, it was really, really cold. We harvested all our basil and tomatoes on Saturday night in order to get some use out of them because it was supposed to freeze. Dan made homemade pasta sauce and I baked an apple pie. Actually, I baked an apple pie and an apple turnover type thing because I prepared too many apples. For some reason, the apples all disintegrated (first time that’s ever happened to me!) during baking and so the pie is more like an applesauce pie, but it still tastes really good. Here’s how it went.

7 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
lemon juice to prevent browning

Prepare apples and toss with the other stuff.

This made too many apples for the pie so I decided to make extra crust and bake them into a pie pan-less pie turnover-y thing. Next time I’ll use only 5 or 6 apples.

Crust (I winged it, increasing proportions of my usual pie crust recipe, and also using some whole wheat flour):

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
whatever spices sound good (I used some cinnamon and some nutmeg)
5 1/3 tbsp butter-flavored vegetable shortening (I keep mine in the freezer)
1 stick cold unsalted butter
enough cold water to get it to stick together

Sift flour/spices together, then use a pastry blender to cut in fat until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water by tablespoon and toss with fork until the dough all starts to stick together a little. This was hard to work with. There’s probably a reason why you’re only supposed to make 2 crusts’ worth at a time (and I essentially made 3).

Divide into thirds. Roll out each third on a floured surface, adding flour to dough and rolling pin as necessary. Put bottom crust in deep dish pie pan. Add apples until pie is brimming. Add top crust and pinch sides to seal crust. Poke some holes in the top. With remaining crust, put remaining apples on one side of third crust and fold over the top, sealing edges with a fork. Bake both pies at 350 for 45 minutes or until top of pie is browning and it smells done.

Luckily, though I winged the crust and came up with the crazy turnover idea for the leftover apples, it turned out to be really tasty. I may start using whole wheat flour in my crusts from now on because the crust had a lot more flavor than when I’ve just used white flour.

Durango Photo Essay

I spent Monday driving seven hours to the southwest corner of the state, to a small city called Durango. I spent Tuesday conducting a training and taking photos, and spent Wednesday driving home.

Here’s some of what I got. I love Durango; it is one of my favorite places in Colorado. It’s touristy but you can tell that people live there. The community is closely knit. There’s a college, a culture of outdoor activity, and some beautiful scenery. Also, they have some pretty fantastic restaurants.

Unfortunately, this time my room did not look like a brothel, but I made do.

The infamous Strater Hotel, with Old West-themed bar, restaurant, and decor. They claim Louis L’Amour wrote some of his books here.

I saw lots of people hunting on the way down and the town was swarming with men in camo. My favorite part of this sign: cats negotiable.

I took most of these photos on Main Street, some of which retains old-timey charm (rather than faux-timey charm)

The best place for breakfast, hands down. They serve Dan’s favorite coffee in the whole world. This time I sweet-talked them into selling me 2 pounds of coffee beans and it totally made his day. Oh, and I think they’re a brew pub, but I’m all about the pumpkin grill bread.

Never let it be said that Durango takes itself too seriously.

I took this one just for Jive Turkey because I thought she’d appreciate that somewhere in the world, someone gets paid for being melodramatic. It says so right on the sign!

Inside the Strater

Also inside the Strater. The place is full of old stuff. I liked this framed poster telling people to call their business contacts instead of write.

On the way back, we stopped near the summit of Wolf Creek Pass and I was able to take some photos. This one looks like a painting or something. You can see lots of aspen still golden amongst the evergreens.

Most of the mountainous areas we drove through had snow and golden aspens. Then we hit Alamosa and it was all dry scrub from there.