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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Thoughts

Have you guys ever seen the movie "Monster House"? I watched it last night with the Beehives (the group of 12-13 year old girls I work with from church). Have you ever tried to watch a movie with twelve 12/13 year old girls? It's not for the faint of heart. I love, love, love the girls - they are funny and kind and wonderful. But sometimes after certain activities, I feel like Wesley in the Princess Bride after Humperdinck sucked years of his life away:

NOT TO 50!

I got this snapchat from one of the girls during the movie if it helps to have a visual. Look at those sweet faces. So sweet and so tween.


But back to Monster House. Have you seen it? I liked it but it was weeeiiiirrrrd and I'm not sure what age it's actually targeted for. I thought it was pretty scary for kids, but these girls were "over it" or at least trying to convince themselves of that. They started out scared but then started rationalizing - "a house wouldn't really come alive," they said. "The old man could never lift that kid up," and "the house's throat is SO UNREALISTIC!" I think they were trying to prevent a repeat of last Halloween's scary movie night incident (link).

Personally I jumped and gasped a lot at Monster House. It didn't help that one of the girls kept sneaking up behind me and grabbing or poking me.

"Like a house could even do that." - Over-it 13 year old

It's Halloween week and that makes me happy. I haven't watched too many actually scary movies yet this month though. They've mostly been of the Disney variety. Am I getting soft? Or is it just that the people around me are chickens?

Do you have a movie you have to watch every Halloween season? For me that would be Hocus Pocus. After that, the Changling is my next must-see. (And I haven't seen it yet this year!)

More Halloween stuff coming tomorrow... Be prepared....

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Thoughts

Happy Wednesday! Yesterday was a long, rough day but today is sunny and nice. And I had two pumpkin cookies for breakfast and it's hump day so I really can't complain. For my Wednesday Thoughts today I thought I'd share with you some of the things I've been up to lately:

1. Thinking about Halloween and scary stories. My friend, Adam, whose name I crossed out below to preserve his anonymity, told me a scary story a week or two ago but it turned out to be a bust. Here's what happened:


Even though that ghost turned out to just be condensation, I'm hoping to hear a "true" (the quotation marks were intentional) scary story this season.

2. Making sure I'm watching my collection of Halloween/scary movies. This one is pretty easy and fun. I recently saw The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time. People ask me how I'm just seeing this for the first time. The answer is pretty simple - I'm not that into Tim Burton and I HATE claymation. It freaks me out, and not in the fun way. Anyway, I watched it and it was ok. The music was great. I just looked down and made cards while I watched it to cut back on actual claymation viewing.

What's a Halloween/scary movie everyone else seems to have seen but you've never seen?

3. Listening to Serial on NPR - have you guys been listening to this? It's a spinoff of This American Life. The interns at work got me hooked on it. It is so interesting! The program is currently investigating a murder that happened nearly 20 years ago. Someone is in prison for the murder but is he really the one who did it....? That's what this series is looking into. Here's the summary from the website:

Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial will follow one story - a true story - over the course of a whole season. We'll follow the plot and characters wherever they take us and we won’t know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not long before you get there with us.

4. Getting angry about the ebola coverage. I even tweeted Brian Williams a really angry tweet that said something about how much I respect him but please cool it with the ebola coverage. Scathing. This just feels like the swine flu all over again. PANIC! FREAK OUT! The odds of you catching and then dying of ebola are 100/100! Ugh. It is a very scary disease and I feel terrible for the people who are truly at risk of contracting it, or worse, have it. But the national news would have you believe that everyone who's heard of it probably already has it. And that's what bugs the crap out of me (pardon my French).

5. Enjoying the trees. It's very trendy this year for people to write snidey comments on my tree pictures but frankly I don't care. It kinda makes me sad for them that they aren't completely in awe of the beauty of nature. I never get over it. I simply can't get over how gorgeous the fall colors are no matter how many falls I live through! Here are a few recent pictures I've taken:






Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Crafting

Any excuse to craft is a good excuse. But holidays aren't an excuse - they're a reason. Holiday crafting is the best kind of crafting!

Here are some of the crafts I've made this year:

Cards! This has been a fun and easy project. Someone left a Ronald Reagan calendar on the free table at work so I incorporated that into some of them. Another person left a whole bunch of James Bond trading cards on the free table so I, of course, used some of those as well. Other cards were just inspired by the workings of my most twisted imagination. I think I've made at least 25 cards but here's a small sampling:

I can't take full credit for the sick one on the bottom right. Others helped.


Last year, my friend Holly (my crafting mentor and inspiration) taught me how to make a witch. This year, I really wanted to make another one so she indulged me. I got the base of the witch in an antique store in Shipshewana, Indiana (Amish country) so I was excited to use it and give the witch a more rustic look. Here's the first step:


 Around the middle point of the project:



The finished product:


Over the weekend I went to a pumpkin patch with my nephew. The assortment of pumpkins at this patch was amazing.


These are the ones we chose:


I also bought a small bale of straw to help display the pumpkins. Once home, Ethan and I gutted and carved his pumpkin. He hated the smell of the inside of the pumpkin. Personally, I love that smell. I cleaned and washed the seeds while he drew a pattern on his pumpkin. While the seeds were roasting, I helped him carve it. Don't try to guess which part was done by me and which part was done by an 8 year old. The skill set for carving is equal:



I took the easy way and instead of carving my pumpkin, I cut out a witch silhouette on my Silhouette machine:



Another very easy craft I did was to paint some craft acorns. I picked up a couple packs of plain acorns from Michaels, then painted the non-cap part (sorry, I'm not very knowledgeable about acorn biology) with a Martha Stewart gold paint I already had.


A very easy craft I made last weekend is a burlap banner. It was easy breezy. All I did was find some Halloween print burlap from JoAnns (favorite place on earth), cut out triangles, and hot glue it to some twine I already had. Sorry, all I have is this super craptastic photo of it.


Gourd Decorating - a couple weeks ago my whole family got together when my aunt and uncle came to visit. To keep the kids busy, I brought a bunch of gourds, paints, and other supplies to the table and got the kids busy crafting! They had some pretty funny creations:

that one on the  bottom left is giving me the stink eye.

And lastly (for now) I made this very easy wreath, based on an idea I saw on Pinterest. It was so easy. I simply got a wreath form from JoAnns (using a 50% off coupon), a boa (also from JoAnns), some ping pong balls, some ribbon I already had, and some vinyl I already had for the pupils. Add some hot glue to the mix and voila!


Even though this seems like a lot of crafting, I'm sure I have more to do and I'm almost equally sure that I forgot to include something in this post. Have you done any Halloween crafts? What have you made?

Friday, October 17, 2014

What I'm Watching

One of the best things about fall is the start of TV season! What are you guys excited about watching this season? At the end of summer, I was pretty bummed that Big Brother was over. But its absence left about 10 free hours of tv time per work. (BB is on three days a week.*)

Here are five my favorite shows to watch these days:

The Goldbergs - This is one of the most consistently funny shows out there. Last season (its first season) was hilarious. It takes place in the 80's, the time period I grew up in, and has so many great cultural references from the time. The show is based on the real home videos of the creator of the show and his family. Most episodes end with one of his personal home video clips from the 80's. I feel 100% confident in recommending this show to anyone who likes laughing.



Black-ish - Really funny. The first episode made me laugh out loud at least five times. Now in its fourth week, I'm still loving it and looking forward to it every week. The show is about an upper-middle class black family and the dad's feelings of racial discomfort at the fact that his kids don't know enough about the "struggle."



Revenge (with spoilers) - OK, this show is hilarious. And I'm pretty sure it's not meant to be. It's supposed to be a drama. In the first two seasons, the show was still taking itself seriously. Everyone was constantly talking in these low, husky voices (oh my gosh, those voices kill me). But somewhere around the middle of season three, things got hilarious. It seemed like the writers said, "you know what? Screw it. Let's go wild." Here are some of the things that happened:
  • The main character, Emily, was shot in the stomach on a yacht the night of her wedding. By her husband. She fell into the ocean and somehow got to some kind of buoy where she was eventually rescued. She then got amnesia. Of course.
  • The dad who's been dead since the beginning of the show - the one the daughter is getting "revenge" for? Well, he came back from the dead and killed the leading man of the show.
  • Emily kidnaps her sister (who doesn't know she's her sister) to force a recorded confession from her. 
  • To get revenge on Emily, her ex-mother-in-law kills Emily's boyfriend then props him up on Emily's couch in front of the fireplace. Emily comes home and starts talking to him before realizing he's dead...

You know what? I can't even go on. There's so much absurdity I can't even cover 1% of it. Just watch the show if you need a good laugh. Just don't say I didn't warn you about the husky voices. Oh my gosh, I love it so much. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the ridiculous opening speeches Emily makes to introduce each episode. These are voiced over scenes of rolling ocean waves, or something like that. Here are two examples:

The past is a tricky thing. Sometimes it’s etched in stone. And other times, it’s rendered in soft memories. But if you meddle too long in deep, dark things, who knows what monsters you’ll awaken? 

As Hamlet said to Ophelia, “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” The battle between these two halves of identity… …who we are and who we pretend to be… is unwinnable. 

I can't handle anything about this show. It's one of the funniest comedies out there to me even though its meant to be a drama. 



Bob's Burgers - Some of you are probably too mature for cartoon shows but this is a good one. It's a clever show about a family - the Belchers - who own an unsuccessful restaurant. The characters are all quirky - Louise, the 9 year old, never takes off her rabbit ears hat. Gene, the 11 year old (?), is a musician who rocks a tiny key board and uses his recorded farts in his songs. Tina is the 13 year old awkward teen who's obsessed with writing "erotic friend fiction" about her school friends touching each others butts. It's good stuff.



The Middle -I think this show is either in its 5th or 6th season. It's been around for awhile and it is still very funny. It's also sweet and sometimes even makes me a little verklempt.The Heck family is lower middle class (minus the "middle", probably). They have three kids - Axle is a popular jock, Sue is an overly optimistic nerd, and Brick is a socially awkward kid with physical and social disabilities. It all adds up to some really funny and sweet stuff.



What are you all excited about this season?

*which is not enough.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday Thoughts

I feel like all I ever hear about anymore is the moon. Super moons seem to come every other week, and now everyone's buzzing about the blood moon. In my day, the only extra-special moons I knew about were the harvest moon and the honey moon.

Everyone on FB posts pictures of these special moons and most of these pictures remind me of the 1990's when my family would go whale watching in Maine. We'd all have our cameras out trying to capture the perfect whale picture. This was back when people used to develop film and we had no idea how a picture turned out until we got the film back. We'd take all these "great" pictures and we were 100% sure we got an amazing shot of the whale jumping in front of the boat and everyone getting splashed. Or a mama and baby whale swimming along side the boat. Then we'd pick up the film from CVS a week later and see 24 or 36 pictures (with doubles) of this:



That's what 99% of the pictures of the special moons that I see posted on FB remind me of. Empty dark sky with maybe a little blip of moon in the corner.

I mean, no offense to the moon. I like the moon. We need the moon. Fievel taught me that no matter how far away you are from those you love, looking at the same moon will make the distance seem shorter. The moon's a-ok. But I mean..... I'm not obsessed with it or anything. Like some of you.

In other Wednesday Thoughts, I'll talk about something I *am* obsessed with - FALL LEAVES. I'll never stop posting pictures of them. I realize it may be annoying to some people but if I'm being completely honest, those people hate beauty! At least in my pictures of the leaves the leaves are actually visible, right?

Today the sky is clear, something rare in fall in Michigan. Most days are overcast which makes for a bad background for pretty leaf pictures. Here are a few pics I took earlier this afternoon:








Pretty gorgeous, huh?

I'm sorry for going off on the moon.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A White Girl Post

White girls take quite a beating about our love of all things pumpkin spice and fall. If you are on any form of social media, you'll see things like this:



I don't really get it. Don't people (both male and female) of other races like fall? Don't white men like fall? Should I be embarrassed to be writing a post about fall? Since I'm a white woman and stuff? Well, I don't care. I'm about to write a post about how much I love fall.  UNABASHEDLY!

I'm going to even go ALL out and make a word bubble about my favorite parts of fall:


I've been oohing and ahhing over the gradual changes in the leaves. Orange, yellow, and red are starting to take over the outer edges of the trees and it nearly makes me gasp to see it. I love the fall colors. But part of me mourns the leaves dying. There are so many trees around here, and I love their canopy.



But for now I'll enjoy their colors. After sending a snapchat to a friend out west of a tree changing colors, he wrote back, "you have a crush on fall." I totally do. It's just so gosh dang cozy.

I've expressed similar feelings probably every year on this blog so I won't write a full length love letter to fall in this post, but I might not be able to refrain in a future post so you've been warned!

Signed,
A white girl (am I allowed to stereotype myself? or is that racist?)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On Stress

I've been thinking a lot lately about living with stress. I have had some changes in my life that have left me feeling stressed out, all the time. It's not a "bad" stress, by which I mean, things are going well! My stress isn't due to things going badly. But it's stressful to take on more responsibilities and learn new things. Keeping track of all I have to do is a real juggling act.

I dropped one of the balls recently (a small one - not a big deal) and was accused of having a blonde moment. I guess if you're not a blonde you never forget anything? LUCKY!

ANYway, I digress. Living with stress. I talked to my doctor about it yesterday when I was in his office for a checkup. I asked him for tips on living with stress. He said that one of the things people who are very stressed neglect is self care - ie, getting enough sleep, spending time with friends and family, cultivating faith and spirituality, pursuing hobbies, and so on.

As he was saying this, I guiltily thought back to a lunch I had at work last week that consisted of a bag of Doritos and a diet Coke. I also thought about how I've been neglecting a lot of dear friends because I feel so drained when I get home from work that I let the Netflix wash over me. I thought about how I hardly slept at all last week then on the weekend, slept for 15 hours straight.

I don't mean to make it sound like I am any more stressed out than any of you. I know when someone talks about how stressed they are, it brings out people's competitive nature. You're stressed too, I'm sure. That's why I thought I'd write a little post about dealing with stress.

My dr. has a lot of elderly patients, including my grandma. He told me that when he saw her recently, she was lucid at first, but got confused after a few minutes. We talked about her for a bit, then dementia in general. I told him about a study I'd heard once that was done with a group of elderly people with Alzheimer's and dementia. One of the groups was shown a funny movie and the other was shown a sad movie. Later in afternoon, after they'd forgotten they'd seen a movie, they were asked how they felt. The group who'd seen the funny movie felt happy. The group who'd seen the sad movie felt sad. Neither group knew why they felt that way.  But the feelings generated by the movies they'd seen lingered.

My dr. mentioned that this study could apply to my situation as well. Expose myself to happy situations - doing the things I enjoy, spending time with friends and family, reading funny books, watching funny shows - and the happy feelings will stay with me.

It wasn't the first time I'd thought of this. When I heard the study, I thought the same thing. But it's so easy to forget, isn't it?

So last night, when I got home I worked on something that needed to be done, but I did it in a creative way, while watching a funny tv show (the Goldbergs on DVD - SO funny). And this morning, even though I had a busy, stressful day ahead of me, I felt happier.


How do you deal with stress?

Full disclosure: I had a bag of Doritos and a diet Coke while writing this post. It's a process.