Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Pardon me, would you have any grey matter?

Oh yes, that's right - I am hi-larious.

Technically I've recycled my costume from the Bangor zombie walk - but I have had a clean face since Saturday, so I spent a good twenty minutes doing myself up this morning.  The best thing about recycling the costume is that this time the blood on my clothes has dried, and I'm not sitting here in sticky wet stuff.

I was a wee bit concerned that my costume wouldn't fly in my office, but the reaction has been positive.  Phew!!!

I also brought my bag o' makeup and fake blood, in case anyone else wants to be zombified!

How much are all these brains going to cost me?
Stupid Frontal Lobe

Numbers Bad
See - this is me on a normal day - I'm not ALWAYS a zombie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Birthday Cake of the Gods

Have I mentioned that I love to bake? Well, I do!  And, while there's a decent chance you'll come across a cat hair in whatever it is I've made for you - I promise it'll be worthwhile (for reals, I do try to find all the cat hair, but seriously - there are three felines in this house, and you can't turn around without running into one of them).

It's my lovely daughter's birthday, mad props to both of us for surviving fourteen years together! Honestly, I'm one lucky Mama; she's crazy smart, funny, kind, etc. We've been talking about her birthday cake for about a month now. Many ideas were thrown around: Chocolate with peanut butter frosting, cheesecake, chocolate with chocolate frosting, chocolate with cream cheese frosting, etc.  FINALLY, yesterday, a decision was made:

Four Layer Dark Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting, and layers of White Chocolate and Chambord Truffle Filling (also the truffle filling drizzled on top).

I used my fave old standby chocolate cake recipe, but had to google chocolate cream cheese frosting (it's pretty easy), and the truffle filling recipe was taught to me by my best friend.

Fact of the matter - this is the greatest cake I've ever made, or eaten.

For your visual enjoyment:

Four layer dark chocolate cake with milk chocolate cream cheese frosting, and layers of white chocolate & chambord truffle filling - Best cake ever!

The cake with the super stylish plates & forks!

Fourteen Years Ago

While a significant chunk of the country is under water, and suffering in awful conditions caused by Sandypocolipse/Frankenstorm/SUPERstorm/Angry Water, we, in Maine, have been pretty much unscathed.  I was a bit concerned for my brother, as he lives a literal stone's throw from ocean waters, but, other than some sand in the road, he seems to be A-okay, and my lucky nieces got a snow day!

I was, honestly, hoping for a rain/storm day (usually I'm hoping for snow days, but it's been in the high fifties), but when I watched footage of what's happening all along the Eastern Seaboard, I am quite happy to have to work.  I was watching streaming on my laptop until about 4:00 this morning, constantly peeking out my window and wondering where my storm was.

When I woke up the lovely Miss A this morning, I sang "Happy Birthday" to her (just as I did at midnight on the dot last night - a bit of a family tradition), and we agreed that having to deal with work/school is vastly superior to having a tree on our car, or having our house flooded and all of our things ruined.

Yesterday, in the car, while out collecting ingredients for her birthday cake, I told her the story about the day she was born *don't worry - I totally left out the really gross parts.  The wildest thing about it all was when I said "well, you'll be fourteen tomorrow, I was five years older than that when you were born."  I'm so thankful that she is such a collected, smart lady, hopefully she'll make wiser decisions regarding the timing of having children!!!

While I might regret the timing of my introduction to parenthood, I will never ever ever ever regret my introduction to my girl.  Honestly, we've done some growing up together, and have a fantastic relationship now.  We noshed on some trial birthday cake for breakfast, and will have lobster rolls and french fries for dinner tonight.

So - while yes, this is an awful day for a lot of people, it's an incredible day for me.  Fourteen years ago today, I had the chance to meet the person who had been making me so uncomfortable!

The Prettiest Girl in the Room

Saturday, October 27, 2012

2nd Annual Bangor Zombie Walk

It may have been Bangor's second annual Zombie Walk, but it was Jessy's First!!!  I had so much fun doing this. If you want to see more pictures of the event - check out the Bangor Zombie Walk page on Facebook!

My very first zombie walk - you can see how excited I was!

Yes, I realize that zombies are totally mainstream, and not at all fringe, hipster, or cool, but, I FLIPPING LOVED IT!!!!!


I love zombie movies, zombie tv shows, zombie comic books, zombie novels, and, the newest addition to that list - I love zombie walks!!!  My two local sisters, my daughter, and one of my nieces all got dolled up and participated in this year's walk.  It was AWESOME!!!  I'm only posting my pictures, but there was at least one professional photographer taking pictures.

That's not a brain!

I think that the most fun part (besides splattering each other with blood!!) was seeing all the other amazing costumes.  There was a Ronald McDonald zombie with a Burger King head on a stick (seriously - how awesome is that???). Sadly, you'll just have to imagine him - because I didn't get a picture.

You can probably see the family resemblance.

I was one of MANY doctor zombies.  I wasn't expecting quite so many - but realistically, it would be us, the first responders, who would get turned right away (yeah, I know, I have a BA, and I have no real medical experience, but those were real scrubs I got at the thrift store).

I hope everyone has a great Halloween - I can't wait to do this all again for work on Wednesday!!

I was enjoying a "Zombie Apocalypse" at a local restaurant after the Zombie Walk.  As I kept saying - Alcohol is the new Brainzzzzzzzz

Friday, October 12, 2012

What You Should Watch Tonight: Machine Gun Preacher

I recently was scanning around on Netflix looking for something to watch, and discovered, to my delight, that Machine Gun Preacher (starring the dreamy Gerard Butler) is now available for instant streaming!

I've been wanting to see this since the first time it popped up as a recommendation for me on Amazon, but I wanted to watch it without it costing me $2.99 for the Amazon Streaming Rental, so I was super excited about it when it finally showed up on Netflix!

I have to say this one gets high scores - 9/10 or 4.5 out of 5 stars - maybe five out of six holly berries; I haven't really decided what my rating scale should be.

This is the incredibly touching story of a man who goes from being a seriously nasty drug-addled biker who almost kills a homeless man, to spending all of his time and money running an orphanage and rescuing children from the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army, which is headed by the infamous Joseph Kony; the group is guilty of some of the most horrific crimes against humanity I've ever read about).

The most incredible thing about this movie is that it's based on a real man: Sam Childers, and while it shows all of the incredible things he does for the children, it doesn't leave out his awful acts prior to finding his faith, and his calling.  I HIGHLY recommend you read his book (which the movie is based on) Another Man's War: The True Story of One Man's Battle to Save Children in the Sudan.

The one reason I can't recommend this movie for everyone is because it has plenty of foul language, drug/alcohol use, and graphic images of the people who are (STILL) being tortured by the LRA.  However, I don't believe the story would have been so strong without these aspects.  I'm afraid the language, drugs, war crimes might keep away some audiences, while the message of a man who finds religion might turn away others.  Neither of those kept me from watching, and it was really great.

In closing - if you have Netflix, and the kids aren't around - WATCH THIS MOVIE!!!!  

Don't have Netflix? Rent it on Amazon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Power of Positive Thinking (or something else appropriately cliched)

A few weeks ago I received some worrisome news: the director of the organization I work for called me into his office, and explained that the grant responsible for 25% of my salary had not been approved for the next fiscal year (the year for this particular grant is October 1 - September 30 - yes, you read that right - the lovely folks in Washington let us know about a week before the end of the fiscal year that the grant had not been approved for 2013).  I certainly didn't have as rough a time as the coworker whose position is 100% funded by the grant, and is being laid off at the end of October.

I was a little panicked at first; I had to temper my own stress because I, at least, was going to maintain at least 3/4 time employment, which is a heck of a lot better than none, but is not enough to keep our little family afloat.

I've been helping P with proofreading her resume; I've looked online to see what other jobs are available (not much); I've talked to friends and family; primarily, though, I've stuck to my guns on the whole "think positive thoughts" thing.

I believe the hype behind books like The Secret (to an extent, pretty much just the good stuff), the more good I put out, the more good I get back.

Each time I started to freak out a little big, I'd just give myself a mini-pep talk, and that worked, as I've not found myself hyperventilating or crying, so I'm pretty sure I'm just fine.

Today, I finally got the official news, my job description & duties have been modified, and I am officially going to stay as full-time.  I'll be doing different work about 1/4 of the time, but that is A-Okay with me - it'll keep it from getting stale, right?

If you find yourself freaking out over some bad news, feel free to print out my little note and repeat the words to yourself.
Trust me, these words are quite effective.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Cure for Wonky Body Syndrome

Do you have a completely perfectly proportioned, flawless body? Yes? Well - kudos to you! I, on the other hand, definitely do NOT.  I suspect my waist measurement might actually be bigger than my hip measurement, and we're not even going to broach the comparison of my "arm thighs" (this is my word for the tops of arms - above the elbow.  I'm sure there's a common word, but arm thigh works for me), to my thighs.

If you, like me (and the rest of normal women), suffer from WBS (wonky body syndrome), and have ever tried ordering clothes online, you have probably experienced that moment when your joy at opening the package wears off, and the reality of trying to zip it, or looking at your ridiculous reflection kicks in.  I'd include pictures, but there's always a chance that I'll want to start dating again, and it wouldn't help.

I recently discovered a company called eShakti, I think it popped up as an ad on a page I was looking at.  They have gorgeous garments, tops, skirts, but what I like most are the dresses!  While having cool dresses in sizes up to 36W is pretty dang impressive - the fact that customization is built into the price is even more awesome.  For $89.95, you can order the gorgeous dress at the left "Retro Twill Shirt Dress" in a number of colors, and you input your height, then select one of eight sleeve styles, and one of five lengths.

The real bonus, for gals like me (and maybe you too!), is that for $7.50, you can have this dress COMPLETELY customized!  You provide measurements for your: Shoulder, Chest, Bust, Under Bust, Waist, Hip, Upper Arm, and Length of Arm - as well as your height and specifying your sleeve style, and hem length!  For only $7.50!!!!! How crazy is that!?!?!?

I used to love making my own clothes back in the day, but they were so far from these beautifully tailored creations, they looked way more like a sheet ghost on Halloween than Scarlett's drapes in Gone With the Wind.

It's odd that this isn't a common thing, you know? For a couple of Holiday seasons, I worked at the local LLBean call center taking orders; for men's pants, the measurements are VERY specific - the inseam and the waist; for their shirts, the measurement is even MORE specific, down to centimeters for the collar, and they measure the sleeves too.  Why is it that women, who have waaaaaaaaaaay more clothing options and, in general, have more clothes, get "petite," "regular," and "tall" - customization is something you pay a little old lady at a bridal shop to do, or you do yourself.

One of these days, I'm going to get one of these super gorgeous dresses - I might even post a picture, who knows!!!

I'm just so excited about this awesome company/concept, that I had to share for other WBS folks like me!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Foliage = Fun

I had to take a quick jaunt across campus, and noticed some absolutely gorgeous trees.  I thought that I ought to share them here!  It's a surprisingly warm day, high sixties, so I was cooking in my long sleeve shirt.  But the fiery leaves made up for any temporary discomfort!

I call this one the calico tree - it's just not quite there yet...

I wasn't the only one taking pictures of this tree!

I like the little yellow tree in front of the BIG peachy tree

Monday, October 1, 2012

Contact Me

If you'd like to drop me a line to say "Hi," or are interested in having me review your product/service or host a giveaway for you, it's as easy as One-Two-Three (as long as one is log into your email, two is compose a message, and three is hitting send).

Send me a message any time, or pop over to my Google + page, and contact me on there!

I look forward to hearing from you!