Sunday, April 29, 2012

Halfoween Is A Thing Now

Apparently, last night on Nickelodeon iCarly was all about Halfoween!  And I spent the better part of my morning watching a Monster High movie on *Nickelodeon because they were celebrating Halfoween Weekend!  Love it!

I, of course, went out for Halfoween in the only and best place to do it, Anoka, MN: The Halloween Capital of the World!  I was going to be Garcia from Criminal Minds only last week!  But, much like a Lady Gaga or Bootsy Collins Halloween costume, you cannot half-ass a Garcia costume, and, due to lack of time and so one, I kinda was.  So, I threw together a creepy doll costume with some stuff I had hanging around the house:

My co-worker Lauren (Wonder Woman!) did my make-up!  Here we are with our awesome boss Mary:

I have owned that polka-dot dress for nearly ten years now and was beyond thrilled I was still able to fit in to it, post-baby (yes, 18 months post-baby, but in those 18 months I haven't had a reason to wear a poufy polka dot dress, alright?)  

The group we were with, made up of people I didn't know, including a Frenchman who we taught to say "Trick-or-treat" which was very sexy, wasn't very large, but we did pique a lot of interest!  One lady even took a group of her friends out of the bar to come and gawk at us!  And the phrase "Only in Anoka!"  was said more than once.  And one bar patron declared the local news should be called to document this Halfoween business!  

My braids and lips did garner me some uncomfortable compliments from men who were missing teeth and twice my age (not that if the same thing was said to me by a young good-looking man would have made it any less uncomfortable....maybe if he had a French accent...) but that's okay.  

Only in Anoka, am I right?!

Hopefully, next years Halfoween will be a little more successful and organized.  I think if we advertise it during Halloween, kind of like a "See you in April for Halfoween!" that would help tremendously.  Plus, I think if there were two reasons a year to wear a costume people would be all over that, especially if you get cheaper drinks because of it!

We had a blast, and I am very tired today (I co-hosted a baby shower during the day!  Whew!) but it was well worth it!  Happy Halfoween!  

*I just realized I mentioned Nickelodeon twice in the first paragraph.  I am 28 years old, much too old to be watching Nick independently.....so my excuse is....I have two kids!  (One is only a toddler and one was at his mom's this weekend, but still....that'll work.)  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Halloween Lifestyle

I am working very hard on expanding The Halloween Honey beyond just a blog of me ranting and raving about things I like.  I want my rants and raves to have a sense of organization and other neat things besides just blogging.  I love to blog, but it is my goal and ambition to make The Halloween Honey website something different.

I want to make The Halloween Honey website something I have coined "a Halloween Lifestyle website."  Not unlike Gwyenth Paltrow's Goop website, but with less $300 dollar pajamas for children and no sense of how real people in the real world live (not say Gwyneth isn't a real person, but I am pretty sure she is mostly made up of million dollar bills, dove feathers and Truvia.)  What is a "Halloween Lifestyle" you ask?  Well, here is what my brain thinks it is:  It's not goth, or "emo" (is that still a thing?  That became popular with the kids after I graduated from high school) even though it can be!   People who enjoy and live a "Halloween Lifestyle" are those who enjoys all the things other people have a passing interest in during the month of October all year round.  We love ghost stories, hauntings, witches, zombies, fairies and yes, even those fanged, occasionally sparkly bloodsuckers, cemeteries, history and, of course, costumes, make-up, wigs and anything else that reminds you of Halloween (black cats!  Pumpkins!  Candy!) I also want it to be kind of a tribute to the holiday and its history and heritage.  I want a there to be a bit of a dedication to Halloween's pagan roots and to those who celebrate it.  Also, the Halloween Honey website will be a great fan of all things pop culture that also falls under the umbrella of The Halloween Lifestyle, since I am such a huge consumer of pop culture (that's a fancy way of saying "I watch a lot of TV.")

In my mind, this is all very clear.  There will be a great front page, and tabs bringing you to other pages on your topic of interest with new content on a daily basis.  I have enlisted a great friend of mine, Kristi, a graphic designer to help me build my site, and who understands my vision in mind.  I bought a domain name, and now I am ready to go!  Almost.  I am really struggling with finding a website building software or site that I like and/or am willing to pay additional money for since I already put some cash out to buy the domain name.  My brother-in-law helped me build a website for a dog-walking business I run during the winter months last year, and it served it's purpose very well, but it was very basic and very business like.  I want halloweenhoney.com to be more fun, more multi-media, more interactive.

I would love to start out with a free design site or software, just to test the waters and see what kind of reception I get, but I fear if I spend a little dough I won't get everything I want off the bat and then I won't be happy with the content and be hesitant to put it out in to the online universe.  I heard that WordPress is a great jumping point for website design but I either can't download the free version of it, or I have to pay.  I would use the same site I used to build my dog-walking site (ahem, girlforallseasonsanoka.com, btw) but like I said, very basic.  Kristi told me Tumblr offers a website building template that you can use with your purchased .com domain name.  I may look in to that.

I just have to keep in mind that I probably won't get everything I want right away, but I have a great graphic designer in my corner and unlimited (if sometimes frustrating) online resources to try and figure this out.

Kristi is coming over tomorrow and we are going to scheme away on The Halloween Honey website!  I cannot wait until we get going on this and I cannot wait to share it with you all!

*Also, I intend on having guest bloggers on all the topics listed above eventually, so if you are interested, totally let me know! For now, you can reach me at halloweenhoney@yahoo.com, on Twitter @Halloween_Honey or on Facebook!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Mischievous Spirit

Oh, this is so exciting!  Today we took my daughter and niece to Downtown Anoka to get some fresh pictures taken by our dear friend Christy.  After our photo session at various locations around town we were making our way back to my sister's house.  I told the group I wanted to walk past one of the houses that is featured on the Ghosts of Anoka tour so I could point it out to Christy's nine-year-old daughter Nina.  As we walked by I told everyone the story of the house:  The home is now owned by two very nice people who work for the local school district (yes, the district that changed their disgusting "neutrality policy" regarding bullying  kicking and screaming, embarrassingly so....but I digress) and are very pleased to participate and not only the Ghosts of Anoka tour but also the Home and Garden tour of historic homes in Anoka that takes place in the summer.  Their home is very beautiful and they should take great pride in it since they have renovated it so nicely.  The home is originally from the 1800's and was built to be used as a employee housing by the local flour mill.  Since then it has changed hands several times and in the 1930's it was owned by a man who lived their with his several brothers.  It is believed that the spirit who now takes resident in the home is one of those brothers. 

The spirit is that of a young boy.  They believe this, not because there is evidence that a young boy died in the house (though it is quite possible) but because the things the spirit does is totally something a young boy would do.  He is referred to by the Historical Society as "The Mischievous Spirit."  He likes to turn the radio on and off, he likes to ring the doorbell for no reason (the doorbell on this house is special, it is not an electronic doorbell, it is a turn crank doorbell from the olden days.)  He likes to scare the cats and run up and down the stairs in the middle of the night and run across the roof whenever it strikes him to.  Whenever the current owners get a new electronic device like an iPad or computer he messes with it to no end, fascinated by the new technology. 

Well, today as we walked by I gave my little speech I learned from doing the Ghosts of Anoka tours and then Christy said, "Nina, you should ask him to play!"  Nina shook her head apprehensively, and Christy began snapping pictures.  She got this gem:

I helpfully circled the smiling face of the spirit!  I think he was happy we were talking about him and that a girl his age was outside on the sidewalk!  Christy took several other pictures of the house and was going to go through them later, if she finds anything she will forward them on them on to me and I will share them on my Twitter account, @Halloween_Honey!

I'm so glad we were visited by the Mischievous Spirit!  He sounds like a good time! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Halfoween Garcia

Halfoween is right around the corner, you guys!  What's this Halfoween business, you ask?  Well, the end of April is Halfway to Halloween, of course!  Anoka's former baby mayor and lifelong Anoka resident Bjorn Skogquist thought it would be a blast to remind ourselves and everyone else why Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World (without having to thrown another GD parade.) Knowing everyone and being as well-liked as he is, Bjorn has convinced all seven bars in Downtown Anoka to participate in a Halfoween celebration!  A scaled-down version of the clustereffe'd-ness and general craziness that occurs on Halloween in Downtown Anoka.  Most of the details are sill on the DL, put there is a meeting happening tomorrow between people who employee me and Bjorn to discuss what exactly is going to happen.  As far as I know, I may end up working in some of the bars selling items and encouraging patrons to get their faces painted, buy some sort of costume items so they aren't left out on some of the Halfoween discounts the bars are offering those in costume, etc.  Like I told my co-worker Lauren tonight and who happens to be attending the meeting, "I can hustle, girl.  I can hustle.  Especially drunk people."  I am looking forward to it!

However, I can't go out on Halfoween and not have a killer costume, no matter what I end up doing! Like I have mentioned in previous posts I watch a lot of Criminal Minds, and who better to dress up as on Halfoween than none other that blondie tech extraordinaire, Garcia.  She is a bright, colorful, charming and an all-around fun character, so I look forward to paying homage to her on Halfoween.  For those of you who aren't familiar, here she is:

And...

Now, I am not a blonde person.  The woman that bore me, yes, is a blonde person.  My female sibling is a blonde person (well, not right now she isn't) I?  Not a blonde person.  I look terrible as a blonde person.  I only dyed my actual hair blonde once, with my sister's help, and it looked awful.  For some reason the dye didn't reach the tips of my hair and they remained dark brown so I looked like a lemon meringue pie.  But, I am willing to be blonde for one night to achieve my Garcia look.  Here is a look at me in my blonde wig.

The wig is called "Goldie" after Goldie Hawn, and it is a very platinum color with a small bump in the back, but it is very cute and workable.

As for what I am thinking about wearing as eclectic Garcia:

Forgive my messy house.  I don't know how crazy I am about this dress for Garcia.  I personally, love it, but I am a black and white kind of gal.  My personal wardrobe is lacking in color.  That red thing I have on was the only thing like that I could find in my closet that wasn't black.  Yes, that is my step-son on the couch in the background trying not to be in the picture.

Also, the shoes.  I am not a high-heel person at all.  I am only 5'4 and appreciate a little height when I can get it, but I dunno, I have weak ankles or something....but I will wear proper Garcia footwear the night of Halfoween.

And clearly, I have not accessorized in any way, shape or form for my Garcia costume.  I looked through my jewelry box, and save for the SpongeBob Squarepants watches Burger King was giving away ten years ago that I obsessively collected for some reason, I have no real quirky jewelry.

But, I am pretty pleased with the wig and, of course, the glasses, since they are mine.  It's nice for us bespectacled girls to have another costume option besides Velma from Scooby-Doo.

I will keep you updated on my Halfoween findings, it's only a week away!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tupac's Ghost

This past weekend the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California took place.  For those of you who don't know, Coachella is an annual arts and music festival that a lot of annoying celebrities attend dressed like faux-hippies and watch a handful of good bands and singers for a few days.  This year featured a performance by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur.  Yes, the Tupac that was murdered on the Las Vegas strip fifteen years ago.

It may come to a big surprise to some of you but I am a huge fan of '90's hip-hop and rap music.  Mostly the Gangsta Rap sub-genre where everyone wanted to kill everyone else and got in to fights about it on MTV.  My sister and I, who were in our mid-and-early-teens, respectively, in the late '90's, used to drive around our very white very safe town blasting some of the most violent, misogynistic rap music you could listen to in my sis's 1992 Ford Probe.  Who'd a thunk we both would have turned in to raging femanists mothers who wouldn't touch modern day rap music with a ten foot pole ('cept for the occasionally Nicki Manaj song) We both loved Tupac.  Not only because he was a talented rapper but because he seemed to really have something to say about the culture and climate he was living in. And he said the F word a lot.

When I heard Tupac was going to appear at Coachella as a hologram I thought it sounded incredibly cheesy and cheap and seemed like an obvious ploy to cash in on something.  I also thought it was a bit unfair to those performing Hologram Tupac was going to appear with, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, etc.  Curiosity and my sister posting on my Facebook page, "OMG you have to watch this" made me watch the Tupac performance, and since yesterday afternoon I've been a little  obsessed.  Not only because Two Of Americaz Most Wanted was performed, one of our favorite songs to gleefully rap along to (and yes. it is spelled with a Z) but because it was an amazing feat of technology, olde-timey magic and a bit of the paranormal.

Please, I implore you to watch this, even if you are not a rap fan, it is really a something to see (NSFW, lots of swears and n-words and whatnot.)  Watch it with the sound off if you must, but please take the time to watch it.  Or just FF to the 2:45 mark and listen to one of the most fun rap songs of all time.  

Okay, I am going to assume that you all watched it for the first time here or have seen it already.  Let's discuss, shall we?!

At first when I saw this I felt it was a bit on the ghoulish side.  The man has been dead for fifteen years, for Pete's sake, let him rest.  But, the longer I watched it the more amazed I became.  After all, it must have been a trip for Snoop to perform with his deceased friend on stage again (and I do feel a lot better about enjoying it now that Tupac's mother has spoken out about it and said she thought it was "amazing.")  and could you imagine seeing that live, especially if you had no idea it was going to happen?  But the question I kept asking myself was how was that achieved?  It was referred to online as a "hologram" but it is something different.  From what I understand, projected like Princess Leia out of R2D2.  This was more than that.  The way Tupac moved so fluidly around the stage and synced up his moves with Snoop (well, more like Snoop synced up his moves with him, obvs.)  I also appreciated that the Uncanny Valley wasn't terrible uncanny.  Yes, it is obvious who it was, with the outrageous abs and Thug Life tattoo, but the face was obscured enough by the microphone that it wasn't like looking in to his face.  To me, he looked like a ghost.  I had to know how this was done, so today, I did a little research.

Turns out, Tupac was more of a ghost than a hologram.  Pepper's ghost to be exact.  Pepper's ghost was a technique perfected by John Pepper in London in the 1830's.  Here is the definition of the technique from Wikipedia:




In order for the illusion to work, the viewer must be able to see into the main room, but not into the hidden room. The edge of the glass may be hidden by a cleverly designed pattern in the floor.
The hidden room may be an identical mirror-image of the main room, so that its reflected image matches the main room's; this approach is useful in making objects seem to appear or disappear. This effect can also be used to make an actor reflected in the mirror appear to turn into an actor behind the mirror (or vice versa). This is the principle behind the Girl-to-Gorilla trick found in many haunted houses and in the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever.
The hidden room may instead be painted black, with only light-coloured objects in it. When light is cast on the room, only the objects reflect the light and appear in the glass, making them seem as ghostly images superimposed in the visible room. The reflections in the glass, which is vertical rather than angled, create the appearance of three-dimensional, translucent ghosts. In the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland/Disney World, this is used to make "ghosts" appear to be dancing through the ballroom, seeming to interact with props in the physical ballroom, disappearing when the lights on the animatronics are turned off.

Tupac's appearance wasn't strictly the use of the Pepper's ghost technique, there was also some super expensive CGI mixed in there with it (according to Gizmodo, Tupac's appearance cost anywhere from 100,00 dollars to 400,000 dollars.  Worth it!)  But the best part of the whole thing is the use of this old magician's trick.  It goes to show that with all the endless budgets and robot aliens flying to Earth and ships sinking and all the great computer technology money can by, an old magician's trick from the 19th century is still being used in 2012 on a grand scale, and that people (namely me) are taking the time to learn about it.  

Aside from the techniques and tricks, I think the fact that the idea of having Tupac come back in this form not only shows the desire his friends and fellow rappers have to still perform with him and have him around, but that, somehow, this embraces the idea of a spirit coming back to Earth.  We all know it wasn't Tupac's actual ghost.  We know how it was done and how much money was thrown behind it, but I like to think the idea was to show that those who have passed do live on and do come back to visit us and hey, wouldn't it be cool if this really was a ghost, as silly as that may sound.  

I also learned today that this is the same technology used at the Haunted Mansion at DisneyWorld, so see?  The ghostly effect wasn't accidental, I like to think.  I guess the point I am trying to (poorly) get across is I don't think this was done to showcase any sort of futuristic, hologram-y Will.i.am on CNN, Jetson's, Star Wars crap.  I like to think whoever was behind this wanted it to seem that Tupac's ghost was at Coachella rapping along side his old buddy Snoop Dogg.  

I have seriously watched the clip of this like four times while I have been writing this blog tonight. "Get ready for the throwdown, shit's about to go down!"  





Monday, April 16, 2012

Forest Hill Cemetery

Cemeteries are creepy, there is really no way around that.  It is a piece of land filled with dead people in boxes of varying degrees of expensiveness.  Wherever dead bodies end up is a bit spine-chilly.  They are also terribly sad, especially if someone you love if buried there.  The cemetery where my Grandpa is buried is a sad place for me and my family obviously, but it also falls victim to something that a lot of cemeteries around these parts have succumbed to.  Tackiness.  As my Mother says, "It looks like a carnival."  There is so much cheap, random shit on people's gravestones that you half expect a clown selling balloon animals to pop out from behind a headstone.  Pinwheels, stuffed animals, fake flowers, pictures, all kinds of stuff.  It's a bit embarrassing, but the city (of Coon Rapids, btw) allows it, so what can you do?

Today I am going to tell you about my favorite cemetery (if you can have one, I guess) Forest Hill Cemetery in the City of Anoka, MN.  I live in a part of Anoka that is right off of a major highway surrounded by either the Mississippi River or a cemetery.  Yes, several.  There is Calvary Cemetery, which is directly across the highway from my little neighborhood, which belongs to the local catholic church, St. Stephen's, and Forest Hill Cemetery, which is non-denominational and owned by the City of Anoka.  Forest Hill sits only a few blocks from my house and we took to utilizing this cemetery (and the awesome park, Rocket Park, across the street from it) quite a bit this past summer.

Like I have mentioned several times before I am a stay-at-home mom and also do daycare for my niece.  This past summer not only did I have my daughter and niece, I had my step-son Quinn home on summer break from school and I also took another kid for daycare, my dear friend Christy's daughter, Nina.  Quinn, who was ten last summer, and Nina who was eight, were constantly at each others throat's all summer and it took everything in my power to not brick them both up in a wall somewhere, Poe-style.  So, what did we do?  Go the eff outside.  We discovered the cemetery on a walk one day with the babies and it kept the kids occupied by giggling at some of the goofy last names of those buried there.  However, I was fascinated when we started to come across headstones from the late 1800's.

We went back a few more times in the summer for a nice walk, where I encouraged reflection, respect for the dead, and history all at the same time with the kids.  The both reacted appropriately to the incredibly sad headstones of those who died too young.  It is a bit of a relief to discovery empathy in children.  I was fortunate enough to make my way over to Forest Hill Cemetery with my dog today


 When the City of Anoka was first eyeballing the area to make it into a cemetery it was only referred to as "The Woods."  After establishing the land the City wanted Forest Hill to be their "nice" cemetery, so they put a rule in to effect.  Only stone or granite grave markers are allowed.  How fancy!  

Forest Hill Cemetery was the second cemetery within the city limits of Anoka.  The first person buried there, Olive Stimson, was on October 29th 1890.  She was actually a transplant from the established cemetery in the city, Oakwood, but they, er, where running out of room, so poor Olive got disinterred and shipped over to the fancy new cemetery.  No word on how she feels about that.  Forest Hill also has the distinction of being a military cemetery.  There are two monuments in the cemetery dedicated to those who served in the military.

Here is a view of the larger of the two monuments.  This one sits at the entrance of the cemetery from Forest Ave, the street the cemetery sits on.

  Anoka has actually quite interesting military history.  It is long argued that the first Civil War volunteer solider for the north was from Anoka, MN.  His name was Aaron Greenwald and there is now a plaque commemorating him off of West Main Street in Downtown Anoka.  He died on July 2nd 1863 at Gettysburg.

This is in-scripted on the bottom of the tank that is part of the military monument.

This statue stands in honor of Richard Keith Sorenson, a US Marine from Anoka who received the Medal of Honor during World War II for his heroism during the Marine landing on Kwajalein Atoll on the night of February 1st 1944.  Sorenson threw himself on to an exploding Japanese grenade, saving the lives of five fellow marines.  Sorenson miraculously survived the explosion.  Out of all the marines who took similar action during World War II only four actually survived. 

Sorenson lived out the rest of his life in Reno, Nevada after he left the military and died there at the age of 80 in 2004.  He is buried at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis.   

Here is a plaque that sits at the memorial honoring him.

There is another monument within the cemetery dedicated to those with military service:

The inscription reads: "Erected By he Minnesota Department Ladies Of The G.A.C And Dedicated AD 1927 A Tribute To The Women Of The Civil War Who Bravely, Silently Bore Their Part."

I live in an area of Anoka that was once known as Cutterville among the historic neighborhoods.  There are several streets with "Cutter" in the name.  Cutters Grove Avenue, Cutters Street, Cutters Circle, my street also has Cutter in the name.  There are 21 Cutters buried in Forest Hill Cemetery.  The local American Legion is named the Edward B. Cutter American Legion.  Edward Cutter is another war hero born in Minnesota.  Edward Cutter was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously in 1919 a year after he volunteered to fly his plane into enemy territory in France during World War I to see if a counterattack was being planned.  He was required to fly at a low altitude in horrible weather conditions under constant enemy fire.  He managed to cross into France but shortly after his plane was seen crashing killing him and his brother instantly.   

He is not buried at Forest Hill but Anoka is very proud to have a man like that hail from our neck of the woods.  The Anoka County Historical Society in Downtown Anoka is the proud keeper of Edward Cutter's foot locker from World War I.  I have seen it in person and it is a very cool artifact that the Society is lucky to have it.

Aside from being an impressive military cemetery (yes, there are actual military personnel buried on site, along with a U.S. Congressman!  Ray Park Chase, served from 1933 to 1935.)  It also has some nice and spooky elements to it.

In fact, today while I was there a creepy man all dressed in black was also there strolling around.  I mean I had my dog with me and was taking pictures but he was clearly the weirdo, amirite?  However, I do have a good spooky story from Forest Hill Cemetery.  The Anoka County Historical Society, along with offering Ghosts of Anoka tours also offer cemetery tours of cemeteries around Anoka County during the month of October.  Gary, a docent I know from the Ghost Tours also is a tour guide for the cemetery tours.  He was conducting a tour through Forest Hill one night in the dark when the group noticed two orbs appear above Gary's head.  They seemed to be circling one another and then moved over to a particular plot and then disappeared.  The group moved to where the orbs disappeared and saw that the stone the two orbs disappeared over belonged to a mother-daughter duo who were buried together.

Forest Hill also offers very traditional "cemetery" looking sites, such as this:




The first two times I tried to take this photo my camera wouldn't take it.  The same thing happened to my camera at Billy's during my Ghost Hunting class the other night when the activity was happening.  Hmmm...my camera is five years old though, so I do have to take that in to consideration.  There are seven Goves buried at Forest Hill so I am not quite sure whose site this is but I just want to acknowledge them and say that I don't mean any disrespect for taking a photo of the headstone, it's just crooked therefore...ya know...cemetery-ey.

The older part of Forest Hill Cemetery backs up against Highway Ten, which is a major roadway that runs from Highway 35W all the way up to St. Cloud.  Anoka is kind of the halfway point of this road (and proud owner of the term "Redneck Bottleneck" during rush hour) and there are many fast food chain restaurants along this part of Ten.  the smell of Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists were wafting through the cemetery this afternoon when I was taking my walk.  It was a mix of glorious and morbid at the same time.  Also, if you are in the drive-thru of that particular Taco Bell you stare directly into the cemetery while you wait for your food.  I occasional re-think my decision to go to Taco Bell when I am sitting there.

And finally, Forest Hill has the privilege to have the bodies of the Ghostley family buried within their six acres.


I took this photo on one of our walks last summer because not only did it make the kids laugh, but me too.  How is that not hilarious?

God love the Ghostley family.  They owned a large chicken farm off of Round Lake Blvd. in what is now Andover. And have a street named after them in Champlin. 

I just want to reiterate that I mean absolutely no disrespect in blogging about Forest Hill Cemetery.  I find it so interesting and love the history it holds for our town.  I do feel weird about taking photos of people's headstones because it is a little on the disrespectful side in my opinion, so that is why I took very few. 

I'll wrap this blog up with a photo of Forest Hill Cemetery I took from the baseball field at Rocket Park across Forest Avenue.  You can get a sense of how large it is and all the history it holds.




Sunday, April 15, 2012

Equally Opportunity Halloween Boob Tattoos

I was going to write this big long blog about the pros and cons of Halloween-inspired tattoos, and than I ran across this.
As an haver (is that right?) of four tattoos and someone who has had a baby, this looks incredibly painful.  Let me just say, I love it.  I think it looks so cool and the bats look unique and very spooky, But, getting the underboob and sideboob tattooed makes me want to cry.  Especially the bigger one on the underboob!  That wing is coming awfully close to the nipple girl!  Watch it! 

But never fear, ladies.  A man has also ventured into the Halloween boob tattoo with this sexy nonsense.  I guess I don't if the male nipple is a sensitive as the female nipple but if it is, why the eff would you let a sharp, vibrating needle with ink anywhere near it?! 


I had a really long weekend, you guys.  





Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday The 13th

Happy Friday the 13th!  Is that a thing you say?  I dunno.  Anyway, this day really means nothing special to me.  I'm not a terribly superstitious person. Well, most of the time.  I don't walk under ladders and I take great care to not break mirrors.  If I spill salt you better believe a bunch of it will go sailing over my left AND right shoulder, just to cover my bases.  I don't like to go to the checkout if it's the 13th lane...hmmm...I guess I am pretty superstitious.  I do have a black cat though!  She is awesome and not unlucky at all!  Also, I suppose if things started to go really south today I would blame it on the date.  But!  I don't go out of my way to avoid doing things on Friday the 13th.  I, like most people, don't have the option to not drive or eat or bathe or do a number of other everyday activities that could take a turn for the scary at any moment.  Plus, I fully intended on going out to dinner with my sister tonight, so neener neener Guy On The News Who Just Said People Avoid Doing That On Friday The 13th. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful day today and if something does go bad for you please, blame it on the date. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Don't Torture Your Clothes!

As a stay-at-home mother in charge of two toddlers all day I don't get much of an opportunity to indulge in my Halloween-ness, unless we are reading a book or I am trying to get the girls to play with The Count plush which my daughter loves and tries to feed Goldfish to :

Also, when the girls are napping I usually get a chance to turn on Criminal Minds or The First 48 or whatever else A&E happens to be airing at the time while I clean up from lunch, fold laundry or whatever else bullshit stay-at-home mom thing needs to be taken care of.  However, when I do have the TV on something mundane and background noise-ish while we play or read books I always get a kick out of the creepy torture Woolite commercial.  (Click this link, you guys!) 

So clever!  I LOL-ed heartily the first time I saw it and it turned out to be for something as innocent as Woolite.  Now, I am not a huge fan of the so-called "Torture Porn" genre of movies. I don't like gore and they seem to be rife with unnecessary violence towards women.  I did dip my toe into the torture porn pool however (the pool needed to be cleaned).  To see if we could handle it or not my friend Kristi and I decided to watch both Hostel 1 and Hostel 2 one night, which we tolerated with quite well.  Hostel 2 is basically two hours of three women being tortured in incredibly inventive ways but not a single one of the women in the film were victims of any kind of sexual assault.  I applaud that tremendously since rape is probably the easiest way to depict violence towards women on screen.  It was almost refreshing!  Well done, Eli Roth.  I like to think he is a feminist. But I digress...

It was fun to see a fresh take on something as mundane as laundry soap and to see it not so blatantly geared towards women.  It's just a creepy-cool commercial.  And I love seeing it in the middle of the day because I like to imagine the other stay-at-homes who cluck their tongues or switch the channel at the sight of this commercial.  I like to judge other stay-at-home moms and imagine them as big 'ol lame-os.  Am I doing a disservice to my gender who like me, decides to stay at home and raise children and run a household?  Probably, but it's not like I go up to the women with the stickers of Every. Single. One. Of. Their. Damn. Kids. on the back of their mini-van and push them into a puddle (which I would love to do, especially the mom with the stickers on the back of the van with not only the kids, pets and "hubby" but the names underneath each stick-figure decal, along with two other stickers of dancing girls with the name of the dance studio the girls attend along with their names again, who parks her van in the driveway of her home which I drive by everyday on my way to school.  She is just a few decals away from sticking on her van when her and her husband are at home and which windows on her house are for the kids' room.  Idiot.)

Fun fact!  This commercial is directed by Rob Zombie!  Yes, Rob Zombie!  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

And It's Not Just A Bunch Of Nerds In Costumes Eating Turkey Legs, You Guys.

Oh, Garcia, yes it is.  

Around the end of summer us Halloween folk start to get antsy.  Fall is not in the air, but there it is on the calendar!  October 31st is so close yet so far away!  We need a good excuse to wear a costume and be someone else for a couple hours to tide us over, and there is no better place to do that in late summer in Minnesota than the Renaissance Festival!

Here in Minnesota the Renaissance Festival (from here on out will be referred to as "Ren Fest" to save typing time.  Some of the hardcores like to refer to it as "Fest" but I'm just not that deep in to it, man.  To me, "Fest" could still mean a number of things, EdgeFest, OzFest, various other hardrock music festivals I would never attend...)  directly competes with The Great Minnesota Get-Together, the State Fair, for our attention.  I used to be a hardcore fair go-er, so much free crap and the 4H Barn is a wonder among wonders!  But ever since I have started going to Ren Fest, in 2006, I could take or leave the fair.  Mostly, I leave it.  I can skip a few years without a free neon yardstick and some mini-donuts (because you can totally get those at the movie theater year round) I prefer to spend my money in a dirty, wood-chip laden former farm land in the southern suburbs wearing a costume and getting drunk on cheap white wine.  Huzzah!

I came kind of late to the Ren Fest game.  Like I said, I only started going in 2007 when my sister's then boyfriend, now husband, Derek wanted us all to come with him.  He is a season ticket holder!  Some people hold season tickets to baseball games, some to Ren Fest.  It didn't take much to talk me in to going in costume.  Any reason to wear a costume I am game for.  And I think we did pretty well for first timers:

Aside from my husband's shoes (As you will see, Jim has yet to get on board with period footwear) I think we look pretty good!  I am the colorful fairy in a borrowed costume.  My friend Dena is wearing a dress of mine, a Museum Replicas piece I bought a few years prior. Here is a clearer shot of myself, Dena and my sister Cori:

As you can see I am really into the fairy thing with my cheesy wand and everything.  I yet to start working at Party Papers so my eye for costumes had yet to develop.  Looking at Cori's top, I have no clue where she got it, nor have I seen it ever again since that day.  I'm going to have to ask her about it...

 The next year we stepped up our game a bit more in the costume department.  Cori (with her eyes shut, sorry Coco) got herself a Leg Avenue number and Derek is wearing his popular Pan costume.  Those pants were sewn for him by my mother-in-law Vickie, who said she was vacuuming up that material in her sewing room for weeks to come.  She also made my purple dress, you can only see the skirt of it since it was a bit chilly, but a great costume none the less.  And I had a matching purse! 


The year after that all it did was rain.  But we looked great!  And Jim is wearing a kilt (inauthentically, I may add.  Tsk, chicken.)  The purple bodice I have on was borrowed from one of my Party Papers co-workers who is much, much smaller than me.  That is the beauty of bodices though, I cinched that sucker in until I could barely breath!  The cloak was made for my by my mother-in-law as a Christmas present the year prior...


Here is the back of it (yes, I am Scottish folk dancing with a very tall woman) The cloak is a beautiful piece and since it was made for my not-so-impressive height I don't have to worry about tripping over it all the time.  It is now a part of my Ghost of Anoka Tour costume.  She is quite the wiz on the sewing machine as you can tell.

That same year our friends Ryan and Stevie came with us.  Stevie's entire costume is from Party Papers.  That bodice is killer!


2009 was by far the most fun I have had at Ren Fest.  I am not only wearing poorly applied hair extensions (I had a very short haircut at the time) and yes, Moya is dressed up at a fairy in a Leg Avenue dog costume, Cori and I are proudly wearing Fairy Crowns I made myself AND those amazing translucent wings made by another co-worker at Party Papers! Aside from the crown and the wings my costume was incredibly simple.  Navy blue leggings and a top of Cori's from Target.  I was very comfortable that year.  Maybe that's why I got so drunk...

Here is a better shot of the wings, that now hang in my daughter's bedroom:

 That is our dear friend Doty, who was a history major in college and usually steps up his costume game, but apparently not that year.

Jim and Derek were also fully decked out that year as well:

The Pan costume made another appearance and Jim's shoes are still completely out if place.

I love this picture of Cori and Derek for many reasons, but here is the main one:  There house was robbed a few months after this picture was taken and among other things, the necklace Cori is wearing in this picture was stolen.  The police asked if Cori and Derek had a picture of the necklace, they did, this picture.  The cops didn't outwardly laugh at them, but I'm sure this picture was passed around down at the police station.

Ugh, the less said about 2010 the better.  I was two month away from giving birth, as you can see.  Many breaks were required and I couldn't drink.  Next!  Fun fact, Cori was also pregnant, but you wouldn't know it...Well, her boobies are bigger than usual.

2011!  Back at it in full effect!  Derek has upgraded his costume from Pan to King and Jim rocks a puffy shirt like no other in my opinion.  I did try to get him to wear his kilt again, but no dice.


And yes!  We did bring our children with!  Cori and Doty chose not to don a costume.

And of course we threw the kids on to Twig the Fairy for a very cute photo-op!

As the years have progressed my costumes have gotten a bit better.  But, they are no comparison to some of the more hardcore set.  Behold my friend Megan's custom made dress by the Royal Tailor!

I work with Megan at Party Papers and she also works at the Ren Fest, so she kinda has to bring it, costume-wise., but she wouldn't have it any other way.  This girl half-asses nothing when it comes to costuming!


Even in her down time, when I would probably trying to access the internet someone, she stays authentic and plays cards!

Who is the Royal Tailor you ask?  This guy:

His name is Mark  and aside from being an amazing costume maker and tailor he also does a mean Queen Mum out at Ren Fest every year.  Here he is with Quinn a few years ago.  Quinn thought he was just posing with a nice old lady. 

At Party Papers we are already gearing up for Fest season, since these costumes are incredibly expensive and people like to spread out the cost over a few months and tend to start shopping early.

I always enjoy Ren Fest for many reasons, but the biggest reason is knowing that the next time I will be this excited about a costume and revelry will be Halloween!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ghost Hunting 101

Tonight my mother and I attended a class called Ghost Hunting 101 held at, of course at the Billy's Bar and Grill basement room in Downtown Anoka.  The class was lead by two ghost hunters with the Anoka Paranormal Investigators, LLC named Ross and Bryan.  They were incredible charismatic gentlemen who were very serious about their ghost hunting.  The class itself was very informative.  We were shown equipment and told fun facts such as only 1 in 3 people the paranormal...even though we had about thirty people in the class with us.  To which Ross would say, "There are ninety people upstairs who don't believe in this, who think you're crazy."  To which I replied in my head, "Yes, well, they are at a bar on a Monday night, so who is the crazy one?"

Ghost Hunting sounds like an incredible tedious job.  Not that it wouldn't be fun, not for a second, and not that I still wouldn't love to try it, but you have got to have a lot of time on your hands to do it properly.  And lots of expensive sounding equipment (even though I have been told that you can buy EVP readers at Target, which seems....strange.  I would imagine it would be in their House and Home section by the light bulbs.)

We also discussed the kinds of ghosts that you may run in to on an investigation.  Such as the Residual Ghosts, those act more like an echo.  The instructor gave the example of a phone ringing at the same time each night, only once, no matter what.  You could unplug the phone, try to trace the number, not matter what the phone would ring at that particular time every night just once.  Another type is what they described as a "fun one" an Intelligent or Interactive ghost.  The ghosts that, you know, beat you at Jeopardy.  Well, they could, but no, these are the ghosts that actively communicate with you.  Then they covered Demons, which mom asked about early in the class.  These guys were just as adamant about demons as my mother was my whole childhood:  

EEEEEEVVVVVVIIIILLLL!!!!!     

Then someone asked, "Well, how do they get here?"  To which the instructor replied, "We bring them here.  That's why you never use a Quiji Board."  This brought a fierce nod from my mother since we all know how she feels about Ouiji Boards.  Another classmate then asked, "How do you get rid of demons?"  The instructor replied, "You don't get rid of them, they just move on."  The guy then asked, "Well, how do you get them out of your house then?"  The instructor asked, "What religion are you?"  The man shrugged and said "I don't really have one."  To which the instructor replied "Find one."  Whoa.  Serious.  Demon. Business.  (But seriously, I don't mess around with that stuff early.  We learned at an early age to just....leave it alone.)

Scary than the demons (in theory) I think are the last type of haunting, The Shadow People.  WTF?!  No thanks.  There is no real explanation for Shadow People, they just show up in shadows and lurk about.  Sometimes they are wearing hats or capes.  The instructors told us a story of a bar in town they were investigating where a shadow person kept appearing.  This was in the basement of the bar where the owner kept his office.  They would see the shadow of a person creep across the wall and then lean over to tap whoever was nearest to them on the shoulder.  They relayed this information to the bar owner who was like, "Oh, yeah, I see that guy all the time.  No big."  I think a Shadow Person would scare me more than any other type of ghost (non-demonic).  Just because, was it a person at one point?  What are they doing here creeping around?!

The instructors then shared lots of great pictures of their investigation of an "Establishment in Anoka" which the class happened to be taking place in (I never really figured out why they couldn't just come out and say it was Billy's but whatev) and some cool EVPs.  During all this was when the best part of the evening happened.

Mom and I had the good fortune of sitting at the fun table!  There were two self-proclaimed psychic mediums at our table, a single little blonde woman that took a shine to Mom and just two dudes there because "it was at a bar."  Well, the psychic women were also apparently ghost hunters on their own and brought all their own equipment with.  I half expected a  proton pack to spill out on to the table.  As the class was going on the women started to get reads on their own equipment.  I'm not exactly sure what they all had but temperature changes were happening and one of the women wore some sort of medical pack and the batteries kept draining and she had to replace them.  So, this is happening and they ask the instructors to bring over some of their equipment, which they do, and get similar reads.  Then one of the guy starts snapping pictures (always take two pictures!) so I started to take some pictures too!  Then after a bit the fervor began to die down and the readings began to dissipate.  The instructor got the coolest picture of an orb right above my Mom's head!  Here is the picture I snapped during the activity:

  That's Mother's frightened look.  I obviously didn't get anything on the picture I took, but where that closet is was where the orb was.  We looked inside the closet and it was only used for storage.

Later in the evening as we were listening to EVPs a loud thump came from that closet as the psychic women's readers were going crazy again!  It was only a few small things but it really added to the class!

When we were taking a break we got to chatting with our table and the fact that I do the Ghosts of Anoka tours around Halloween was brought up, one of the psychic women asked me, "Oh, are you terribly sensitive to ghosts and that type of thing?"  "Oh, no."  I said, "I just like to dress up and costume and take people for walks around the town."  Sorry to disappoint.  But my tour costume is fabulous....

Anyways, once again, this class proves that Billy's is one of my favorite places in Anoka.  I have had my bachlorette party there, my daughter's first birthday party, many-a drunkin' good time and it is by far, my favorite stop on the Ghost Tour.  Yes, even above my beloved Party Papers.

You just can't beat the sexy ghost of a dead prostitute.    

Saturday, April 7, 2012

David and Co.

My mother is the main reason I have such an interest in the paranormal and all things Halloween-ish, as you may have gathered from my previous blog posts.  For example, just yesterday she came over to bring my daughter and step-son their Easter baskets she got them.  My step-son, Quinn, was telling her all about the episode of Criminal Minds we watched in Wednesday night (I am a horrible parental figure.  I let my 11-year-old stepson watch this show on a regular basis.  There are certain episodes that I deem "Not Quinn Appropriate", or NQA, that he is not allowed to watch.  The criteria for those episodes either mean they include incest, rape or cannibalism.  See?  I parent!)  The episode had demonic overtones, to which my mother told him was all true.  And then he told her about the end of the episode where the killer was tipped into the well he was drowning his victims in.  "Well, that's justice!" My mom said.  She then went off on a small tangent how the moon isn't a planet, it's hollow and serves as a space station.  In fact, my mother told Quinn the United States did in fact send men to the moon but we were warned off the planet by the aliens that already laid claim to it.  I don't know if she's serious or not when she is saying these things, but if she keeps it up and I continue to put her theories online she's going to find herself in some kind of government hospital for "exhaustion."

I could really dedicate an entire blog to my mother.  She is unlike any other person I have ever known, and not just because she gave birth to me.  She is a unique woman and I am proud to call her my mother.  She has made me the person I am today and continues to help me grow and flourish as a person and a mother myself.  In fact, she is coming with me on April 9th to my Ghost Hunting 101 class!

Anyways, let me get to the point of this blog.  Her dolls!  I have blogged about creepy dolls before, but Gigi doesn't have anything on these dolls.



This is my mother's doll collection from when she was a child.  The one in red, David, she has had since she was a year old. my mother was born on December 31, 1958, so that's impressive.  She said she named him David, but to me, that is clearly a female doll.  There is blue eye shadow on it, and I doubt toy makers where terribly progressive back in the late 1950's.  My aunt Carla, my mother's younger sister (and torture victim...my mother did some not-so-nice things to my aunt when they were growing up.  My personal fav, putting her hand over the light switch in the bedroom they shared so when Carla went to turn on the light, all she felt was a hand.  Nice one, Ma!) said when I posted this picture on Facebook, "I remember all these dolls.  That one in red....a little creepy."  Much like my sister and Gigi, David only gets love from my mom. When Mom first got David he did have hair, which she pulled out evidently.

The bigger doll wearing the purple dress with the wonk eye was a "walking doll" (she can totally get up and walk, you guys!) You could hold this doll's hand and walk with her and she would walk along with you by perpetual motion.  Mom says she was a very high-tech doll for her time.  The smaller doll was a gift from my mother's grandma she likes to hang on to.  Now, the one in the blue dress is the one I remember the most.  I used to love her.  I loved her soft felt dress and how flimsy she was.  Apparently my mom would use the skirt of the dress, which is storage, to keep my pajamas in when I was a child.  I would put my jams in her skirt every morning and zip them up and take them out at night.  I don't remember the pajama storage aspect of this doll but I do remember playing with her.

And, of course!  Each and every one of these dolls shut their eyes when you lay them down.  What good, creepy doll wouldn't?

Personally, I don't find David all that creepy.  He just looks old and worn out.  Now that walking doll in the purple dress and the goofy eyes, she's the one you gotta look out for.  I can imagine her standing over my bed in the middle of the night with a butcher knife.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Psychic Party Planning

I have a wonderful part-time job in downtown Anoka at a shop called Party Papers.  I have worked there on and off for the last five years and absolutely love it.  I work with a woman who has been working at Party Papers since the dawn of time (well, the last twenty years) and funnily enough lives just across the highway from me.  I have always heard the stories about her and how she is a psychic and reads people and does all theses sorts of things.  She doesn't advertise this fact nor does she really strike you as someone who would posses these abilities.  The owner even once told me, "If she grabs you by the arm and looks you in the eye and tells you something, you better listen."  In all the times I have worked with this woman and given her rides home and seen her outside of work she has never once read me.  Which is just fine with me.  I am cool with listening to her stories about her grandkids and dogs.

Ever since I started this blog I have been looking to expand my world with the unknown and paranormal a little bit to have experiences to blog about.  I have been kicking around the idea of hosting kind of a wine and cheese and psychic reading Girls Night In type of things for my friends and family.  Anything "wine and cheese and..." is a good Girls Night In....Anyways, I did some research on group readings with a psychic online and holy hannah these ladies get paid a lot for their services.  Like, 300 dollars for two hours type of a lot.  Well, eff that.  I kind of let the idea go until tonight and walked in to work and saw my lovely co-worker behind the counter.  I haven't worked with this woman in nearly three months, so it was kind of a surprise.  We worked for a few hours and she went to take her break and I got to thinking, "I should just ask her...." I have never spoken to her about her abilities but it was worth a shot.  Also, an embarrassing side story to all this:  It is well documented that Party Papers is haunted.  It is on the Ghosts of Anoka tour, mediums have been brought in to confirm the presence of our resident ghost whom we've named Morris (turns out our shop is now occupying the space where his shop used to be) Well, I was in the store alone tonight while my co-worker was taking her break and I suddenly felt very cold.  Was I having an encounter with Morris?  I moved around a bit and the chill seemed to have followed me around.  I then walked to the back of the store, where it was warmer, where it is always warmer...turns out the air conditioner had been turned on and was just kicking in.  However!  That motivated me to talk to my co-worker even more!

When she returned from her break I sort of ambushed her, "So, is it true you do readings for people?"  She took a beat and a smile came across her face, "....Yes and no..." she said.  "Oh?"  I said, the "yes" part was said first, after all.  Keep in mind, my co-worker is a 65 year old Grandmother of seven.  "I used to do it for a full time job years and years ago, I even read palms at a shop in Minneapolis."  I encouraged her to go on, "I don't do it so much anymore because I just got sick of seeing people who were going to die."  Whoa!  I was not really expecting that.  She said the first time she was ever doing a reading for someone and saw their death was when she was 15 years old.  "These boys laughed at me when I told them they weren't going to live past this summer."  She said, sure enough the boys died in a car accident not too long afterwards.  She also told me the story of when she went with a friend of hers to visit the friend's sick father in the hospital who was going to be released in the morning since he was on the mend.  "I just knew he was going to die, and my friend got so angry at me when I told her that.  I tried to tell the doctors and nurses and tell my friend but I knew he wasn't going to leave the hospital alive."  Sure enough, he died on a brain aneurysm that night in the hospital.  She predicted the same thing about her brother who was in the military.  He was home on leave visiting his family, and when the door shut behind him she knew it was the last time she was ever going to see him alive.  He died in the Vietnam war a few months later. 

She told me how she can see it.  "I see it in their eyes.  They start to go before they are gone, if that makes sense.  There is something missing in their eyes.  Like a light has been turned off, a part of their energy is gone."  "But, that's not all you see, right?"  I asked her.  How much of a bummer would my Wine and Cheese and Psychic party be if all she did was tell us when we were all going to die?  "Oh, no, no, no!" She said, "That's just the part I hate most about it, it's knowing these things.  I feel like I shouldn't know them but I do and I don't know why I do."  We then chatted about some of the experiences she had during her time reading in Minneapolis on Lake Street.  "We got some strange ones in there.  I had one guy in there who I knew was going to kill someone.  He had so much anger and I just knew he was going to kill someone so I did all I could to try to re-direct his anger."  Yikes-o-rama.  "It's reasons like that that I don't like to do it anymore.  It's hard.  I take on all these peoples energy and sorrow and grief and whatever else they are feeling and it's hard.  But, I would do it for you!"  Oh, hooray!  I asked her if she has read for groups before, she said she had many times but wanted to know how many people I was planning on inviting.  I was cut off at ten.  I then asked her how much she charges.  "That's another reason I quit doing it.  I feel funny about taking money for it.  It's like a gift and I shouldn't charge people money to tell them things they need to hear."  She then told me about several of her friends who she had sent to the doctor even though they felt just fine and turns out, they had a sickness that needed to be tended to ASAP.  I guess I would feel kind of funny about taking money for that kind of skill too.  "I used to charge a lot though!"  She said.  I told her I wasn't going to have her do it for nothing so we settled on the paltry fee of 25 dollars for the night of ten people.  Well worth it, I think.

"You know what's funny, though?"  She said, "When Halloween rolls around I have people coming out of the woodwork asking me to do readings for them or for their friends or for their parties and most of them I say no.  I know, I just know some of these readings, I wouldn't do for not matter what amount of money they offered me."  That really got me thinking.  Why?  Is this a part of her psychic ability too?  She knows if she does a reading for a particular group of people it would go badly, or the information they gain would be used in the wrong way?

I was lucky enough to kind of see her gift in action tonight.  We had a customer come in asking about some ruby slippers he wanted to buy for his daughter.  My co-worker is the type of person who can carry on a conversation with just about anyone, and does, even when the other person doesn't really want to.  Her and this costumer got to chatting and he seemed a bit down-trodden and down on his luck.  Well, sort of the opposite.  He had just moved in to an apartment from a homeless shelter and wanted to get his daughter a gift since he had a home now.  He had lost his job because he was an alcoholic and also had the bad luck of getting pneumonia several times, which required many trips in and out of hospitals.  He got sober, got sick, went to the hospital and contracted MRSA.  In all this time he lost his job and home and daughter and ended up in the homeless shelter.  Since we was back to to hospital so frequently to get antibiotic dosages to treat his MRSA he had something like a port, an open area on his arm where the medical staff can easily administer the medication via needle without having to poke him each and every time.  Well, since he was the new guy at the homeless shelter, he had bathroom duty, where he picked up a nasty infection through his port that went to his heart and nearly killed him.  Again.  He is now on the road to recovery, out of the homeless shelter and sober a year on April 1st he proudly told us ("When's the last time you went to an AA meeting?"  my co-worker asked him in the pushy, grandmotherly way she can, "Last week!" He said.) "God is giving you all these chances for a reason!"  She told him.  He nodded and smiled sheepishly, and as he left she yelled after him "Enjoy your life!"  It was kind of cool to see, first of all her get all that information out of him, and secondly hear her be so strong in the conviction that this man has truly been granted a new lease on life for a reason.   

I am planning for my Wine and Cheese and Psychic night on May 12th and I am so excited!  I hope she finds the group I put together worthy of the 25 bucks I'm going to pay her.  And all the wine and cheese she could want!  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What Dreams Are Made Of

In the early hours of the morning today I had an incredibility disturbing and weird dream.  I was in it but I was British singer Lily Allen.  I like Lily Allen, her music is fun and I really like her public persona, but never would I consider myself a super fan, or like a regularish fan, I'm more of a casual radio-enjoyer.  Me, as Lily, was some sort of transient along with an unrecognizable dude (according to Inception I must have seen this person at some point in my life, right?) and we had kidnapped another man ....and we were cutting him up with a chainsaw in an alleyway next to a Dumpster.  Lily/Me thought this was hilarious and my partner was pointing out to me how funny it was the guy was begging for us to stop.  He didn't bleed and when his limbs were cut off it was very clean and you could see muscles and veins and everything a Anatomy textbook would have to offer.  Apparently, this wasn't the first time we had done this either.  I woke up feeling chilled and upset.  My sweet little daughter was sleeping next to me in bed and I felt terrible for having such a horrific dream while lying next to her.  I sat up and tried to shake it off, I didn't like the idea of me taking pleasure in the horrible dismemberment and murder of another person and I especially didn't like doing it in some back alleyway and seeing all the muscles and tissue, that really bugged me.  The whole Lily Allen thing, no clue.  She's a pretty girl though so whatever:

I am a firm believer that dreams are your subconscience trying to sort out the events of your day or life good or bad, and interpret them in some way that either helps you or entertains you.  I also believe that whatever you brain consumes right before bedtime effects what your dreams immensely.  For example, I read some of Devil In The White City right before bed one night and had terrible dreams of being trapped in one of the olde time-y torture chamber of serial killer HH Holmes.  Or if I watch hours of 30 Rock on Netflix one day my dreams are filled with the floating faces of Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin all night long, which I don't usually mind too much.  I believe this particular dream steamed from my compulsive (and it is a compulsion) Criminal Minds watching.

I used to think Criminal Minds was a cheesy old person's show on a cheesy old person's network, CBS, like CSI or NCIS or any other consonant-laden TV show. My Grandma watches it, for Pete's sake, how good can it be?  My husband Jim loves it though.  He isn't an old person (he is eight years older than me though...) his tastes and my tastes in any sort of media really differs.  I pretty much hate everything he likes, TV/Movie/Music-wise and vis-versa (it's a wonder how this marriage even works sometimes. Kidding!) But I was too lazy to bitch at him to change the channel one night and I ended up watching a marathon of Criminal Minds with him on the Ion Network (which is the weirdest network of all time) and I found it not that bad.  A particular episode featured my first TV crush of all time, Wil Wheaton, as some sort of backwoodsmen rapist!  I was in the market for a new crime show to watch for hours on end since I have by that point seen every episode of Law and Order: SVU at least six times thanks to late night feedings with my daughter when she was first born.  I independently started watching Criminal Minds on a Friday night when Jim was at work and it was on A&E for several hours. I have now seen every episode of Criminal Minds at least once and it is not a cheesy old person's show.  I am now bothered by the idea of my Grandma watching this show (she has a crush of Thomas Gibson "He's so serious all the time!")  Criminal Minds is graphic and kind of silly and gross all at the same time.  It's extremely watchable and the criminal is always caught or shot to death and everything is wrapped up in a nice little package at the end.  I now make a habit of seeking it out before bed sometimes as some sort of comfort food show.  I know what's going to happen it's messed up but still quiet and straightforward.  Doesn't require a lot of thought.  But, I think an episode I watched not too long ago must have seeped in to my brain and made my dreams all goofy. 

Since my dreams are mostly influenced by TV, I don't know if that should make me sad or not, what does that say about my brain?  Some people experience different things in their dreams.  For example, I have a dear friend Christy, who I have know for the last 12 years (she is truly a Sister From Another Mister) she has always had dreams where she communicates or has contact with people who she has lost.  She has had dreams where she is embraced and comforted by friends who have died at a young age and told that they are okay and at peace, she has spoken to her grandfather who has passed away and several other family members.  This past weekend however, she had her first dream similar to this that involved someone she didn't know.  She was begging an old woman to "go in to the light" and the woman who Christy didn't know was fighting her and asking her just who she thought she was and telling her that she was just as much of a sinner as she was.  Apparently, Christy was trying to convince this woman so much and with such force to go towards the light that she began to yell out loud and her husband Mark had to wake her up.

I went out with Christy a few weeks ago for St. Patrick's Day and we talked about her dreams and how we both thought she was truly communicating with those who have passed on, this was not just a case of the subconscious sorting things out.  I told her she should try to tap in to it when she is awake, but like most of us, Christy is a busy woman.  She has three kids, three dogs, a full-time job, a house, a husband and a million other things occupying her awake mind, so finding the time for just about anything when she is awake is kind of hard.

Oddly enough, Christy's son, her oldest, also has dreams where he speaks with those who have passed on.  He had a friend that was killed in a car accident last month and just a few nights ago he had a dream where he and his friend where having a conversation and Christy's son tried to ask him about him being dead and his friend kept insisting that he didn't want to talk about that right now, he just wanted to hang out with his friend, and that is what they did.

I (thankfully) have never had a dream like that.  Like I have mentioned time and again, I am a huge chicken and don't think I could handle that sort of thing happening to me personally.  I think it's super cool when it happens to other people, but not me, thank you.  When I was a kid, like ten or eleven, I did have a dream where I traveled in my sleep.  I truly, truly to this day, believe that I was Astral-Plane-ing.  I clearly floated down the stairs, into the kitchen, and then ran into the blinds on the window above the sink.  Then I woke up back in my bed.  It was the strangest sensation and it has never happened to me again.  It wasn't terribly exciting (woo hoo!  The kitchen!) or graceful, but I did it!  

I am now still trying to convince Christy to foster this ability she has but she, isn't exactly hesitant, but feels she wouldn't know what to do with this kind of ability if it was something she could start doing when she was awake.  I say she could be the next Long Island Medium.  Midwest Medium.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Halloween 365

Hi everyone!  I haven't blogged in a few days!  I must have been busy arguing with my neighbors and drinking wine.  But I am so, so happy to be blogging right now!

In my house we are truly a Halloween 365 Household.  Meaning we use and embrace the holiday and all that comes with it all year round.  I have Halloween decorations that stay up year round, but not only that.  The things we love here in my house are distinctly Halloween-y. 

It helps to live in The Halloween Capital of the World, Anoka, MN (despite my stupid neighbors and all the people who voted for Michele Bachmann).  No matter what day or month it is, whenever you driver in to Downtown Anoka you are greeted with this:
These assortated ghouls live on the back of Anoka Drug.  A pharmacy in Anoka that only the elderly use, from what I can determine.  This mural is fairly new.  It used to be a witch flying over the shadow of the moon with "The Halloween Capital" painted underneath her, but I guess they felt she was outdated and needed to spruce up the mural.  Personally, I find this particular mural both cheesy and accurate.  On each side of the rivers in Anoka live all kinds of creepy types. Mostly drunks from the various bars.  

Inside my Anoka home however, we use all sorts of things that one would only associate with Halloween and ghouls and that type of thing.  Especially when it comes to my daughter, Violet, and her things.  Yesterday we went to Toys R Us and I came across the display of Name Cups.  You know, the personalized cups with Kayla and Kenzie and Brooklyn and every other trendy name you can think of.  Of course there was no Violet (just like there is never anything that says Roxy or Roxanne....I know your pain, baby girl.) So instead I bought her this:


I'm a little obsessed with this cup.  It has monsters on it and not ever remotely Halloween time!


The bat detailing on the side really sold me on it.  I washed it and gave it to Violet this morning filled with water.  Which she promptly spilled all over the place.  Oh well.

I got to thinking, "How much other stuff of Violet's have I bought just because it's something I like?" (answer: everything, since she is only 16 months old and yet to verbalize any opinion she has formed.)  I searched around in her toys and came across these:

The Count, of course!  Technically I bought this since Violet is a biter (we are trying to transition out of this stage as soon as possible since I am afraid to hug her sometimes) and Elmo is the living worst.  And my sister already co-opted Cookie Monster for her daughter and we didn't want to be copycats.  Plus, the Count is a counting vampire, he kind of belongs to us.  The paint job in my kitchen is kind of going to shit, isn't it?

  Yes, yes, this is the plush version of Frankie Stein from the Monster High line of dolls.  My husband was instant on buying her one for Christmas and I let him.  Violet isn't terribly keen on this particular doll, I think it's the yarn hair.  She also came with some sort of ugly dog with X's for eyes but I think our real dog has now made him one of is own toys, which is fine since that dog was kind of gross.

Like I mentioned before, I am a stay-at-home mom most of the time, but I also do daycare for my niece Evie four days a week.  Well, the girls are now both over a year old and they are both really getting in to books instead of just using them as teething objects.  This is their current favorite:


I bought this book at Barnes and Noble during the Halloween seasons last year for Violet and we find ourselves returning to it again and again.  It is very cute little picture book and the illustrations are very Tim Burton-esque:


   

The story is about a little girl who gets gifts from her "Mummy" all 13 nights of Halloween.  Of course, the witches are my favorite:

11 Witches!  How 'bout that!

Now aside from all the things that I get my daughter that pertain to my interest, I also have a few Halloween-y things I keep out all year round that I use.  For example, the Halloween Quilt I made a few years ago with the help of my Quilting Extraordinaire Mother-In-Law (seriously, I have never sworn so much in my life than I did making this thing.):

 I love my Halloween Quilt and busted my ass making it.  So you are going to have to look at a few more pictures of it.  Here it is close-up:

There are about six different fabric patterns in this baby.  And that's only the front!  Here is the back:


And:


I love the back.  I would have made a whole quilt of just the backing, but as I learned during this process....I hate sewing machines.  And sewing.

Along with my vast collection of witches I also have the occasional random Halloween type knick-knack hanging around my house.  Like my Corpse Bride figurines and my Munster Barbies:

I love my Munster Barbies so very much.  My Mom gave them to me as a Christmas present one year and now they are worth nearly 200 dollars!  But that's not why I love them, I love them because I love Barbies and I especially love collectable Barbies (which I drooled over at Toys R Us yesterday, a feminist like me, I know!)  Also, did you guys hear that Eddie Izzard was cast as the new Granpa Munster in The Munsters re-boot called "Mockingbird Lane"?  Now I am going to have to watch it because I love Eddie Izzard!  Bastards!

These guys live in our upstairs TV room, along with this candle that is currently melting on one of the Halloween dishes my sister got my from Hallmark:

I have several Halloween-themed dishes that are used year round.  Mostly, my coffee cups:

Technically, this is Jim's coffee cup, but since he doesn't drink coffee I use it.

And of course:

My Anoka Halloween mug!  This was actually a gift from the Anoka County Historical Society for volunteering there.  It was filled with ghost-shaped suckers and various other candies that I readily ate.

Also:



My black cat mug!  I actually used this one this morning and took it out of the dishwasher for the purpose of this blog so that explains why it looks dirty and gross.  It is currently back in the dishwasher.

I enjoy surrounding myself with Halloween all year 'round.  Halloween is the best time of the year!  And my part-time gig working at Party Papers, the haunted costume shop in Anoka, certainly doesn't hurt either!  I worked there last Thursday, and no, we didn't have any incidents with our resident ghost, Morris, but some drunk guy came in and stumbled around and acted like a weirdo.  So, there is that. 

Anoka has a lot of drunk people at any time of day, any day of the week.  Have you noticed this pattern?  It really is a great town though.