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Yesterday was our annual Halloween party, much scaled back from prior years due to a number of reasons, not least of which was that Bobby and I didn't get ourselves organized till mid-month. There was only family in attendance, but we had a good time and served a good meal (always one of the major reasons why Bobby and I host parties!) We had potato-leek soup for the first course; barbecue chicken (with barbecue sauce made during Tropical Storm Irene last year), potatoes and green apples smothered in cheddar cheese, and spinach salads for the second course; and an assortment of desserts brought by the family for the final course. Dad made cookies and a delicious pumpkin cheesecake; my mother-in-law brought a "dirt cake." And, of course, we had hot buttered rum! Despite my abstaining from alcohol this week, I did have one cup. :^|

Pictures below the Cut )
These past two weekends have been full-on Halloween for Bobby and me. Halloween is my favorite holiday and high-ranking for Bobby as well, but our busyness this year and the fact that our house is half-destroyed has meant that we've had to scale back big-time. We're cooking feast for our barony's TNT event next weekend, so even the annual Halloween party got cut; we couldn't have done it anyway. The basement is still under construction, and the rest of the house is piled high with stuff that belongs in the basement to the point that we can barely walk through the living room.

Last Saturday, we went up to the Haunted Mill in Spring Grove, PA, with friends from work. Read more... )
Yesterday was our fourth annual House of Felagund Halloween party! We had to have it a week early because next weekend is our barony's TnT event.

Halloween Party )
Happy Halloween, everyone!

I hope that you all have a spooktacular howliday (and don't suffer too badly from the bad puns being bandied about in the [Cyber] Bag of Weasels ...). Watch out for ghosts, talking Ravens ravens, and don't eat any pirate coins!

(Seriously, if you have kids and haven't seen the email about the pirate coins, do read it. It's a Halloween scare that's true for once.)

Unfortunately, I have bad news too. Haunted October has fallen on its face. Oh, I had time to work on my final story ... but I sent the muses away when school started, and they actually listened. I am truly frightened. Muses don't listen; they come around when you want them the least and pester the hell out of you until you throw caution grades to the wind and oblige them just so they leave you alone. (Although talking about characters with [livejournal.com profile] hrymfaxe has them peeking back in the door on occasion ... shoo!)

I decided that rather than force a story that I actually like just to have it finished, then I will take the time to finish it when I feel that I have the creative capacity to do it justice. So I will finish it, probably when the muses come barreling back after school is finished for the year, and post it then.

It's about people with wings. And that's all I can say right now.

While scaring up the Haunted October link, I noticed on my LJ front page that it is also [livejournal.com profile] ignoble_bard's birthday. Happy birthday, [livejournal.com profile] ignoble_bard!

Have a safe and happy holiday, all!
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Today was an unusually warm day. Of course, I dressed for a Maryland day in late October and ended up more with a mid-September Maryland day, so I was a bit warm, though Johnny came in the office, blinked, and said, "You look nice today!" So I guess the new skirt works.

Because of the weather, I suppose, we are in the midst of another ladybug invasion at work. As many of you know, the WAU is based out of an old house (so I do, in fact, work out of a bedroom, albeit without a bed), and according to my mom, ladybugs like to nest in old wood. We have plenty of that. So we routinely have ladybug invasions in our office/house.

About two weeks ago, I heard the telltale tickticktick of ladybugs clicking against my fluorescent light. I looked up and, sure enough, there were dozens of them. As kind of an interesting experiment, I decided to catch and collect them in an empty water bottle. When I was finished in my office, they covered the bottom of the bottle. I went over to Johnny's office to show him and ended up catching all of them in his office too. (Amusingly, Johnny is afraid of ladybugs. Not terrified but they do bug him. *winces at admittedly bad pun* He claims that they fly into him and get stuck in his shirt collar and claims that they "smell like lightning bugs," which they do. So I try to alleviate insect-related situations for him, when they arise in our office. It does seem like if we are going to get a wasp nest, it will be outside of his--not my--window. I'd have fun watching it, but he's terrified. Alas.)

I ended up with about one hundred ladybugs in my water bottle. We then went over the Mr. Vernon's old office, and there were about two hundred more over there, so we just stared into his office for a few seconds, agog, then solved the problem by closing the door.

Of course, I released my ladybugs outside. An hour later, twelve new ones had entered my office, but they were on their own. The next day, Johnny was vacuuming them off of his ceiling.

It got cold, and the ladybugs disappeared somewhat. But when it warmed today, they came back with a vengeance. When I walked down to the mailbox before lunch, they were pinging into me and clinging to my clothes. Johnny always claims that they get stuck on him and then end up in his car, and I've always laughed this off, but this did happen to me today so I guess I need to take his ladybug-related concerns a little more seriously.

On a non-insect-related note, the new LJ feature that allows me to monitor who adds me as a friend has turned me on to an interesting phenomenon: drive-by friendings. Apparently, people monitor the recent postings and friend anyone who posts within a certain period. If they are not friended back, they remove the person from their flist. This has happened to me twice now since I set my LJ to alert me to new friends; in the first instance, I posted twice in quick succession, and the same person friended and unfriended me twice. I find this interesting because--and maybe this has to do with how I use LJ compared to how some people use it--I don't see why one would want to friend a total stranger who has zero mutual interests. Nor do I see how someone with 800 friends could possibly read his or her flist every day. I have sixty-two people on my flist--many of them redundant journals, i.e. multiple journals belonging to the same person--and there are times when I simply cannot keep up with everyone to the degree that I would like.

I wonder if someone will friend me when I post this.

Well, the cold has moved from my throat (Saturday) to my nose (Sunday) to my lungs (Monday), which means that I am coughing and tugging my hip again. It is nearly impossible to cough without hurting myself. So all of the progress that I have made by resting and keeping off of my hip is slowly coming undone. That's annoying.

Bobby and I went to the movies to see the original Halloween on the big screen tonight. It was really cool. Tomorrow's my big day, my favorite holiday! Bobby has class but is skipping pickup hockey to come home and spend Halloween with me. We have a movie to watch and will take our usual walk through the historic district, trying to spot ghosts.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Have fun, be safe, and may the spirits be with you.
Last Monday, Bobby and I took off from work to hike to the Cat Rock in the Catoctin Mountains and take photographs of the autumn foilage. We ended up with seventy-five pictures, many of them redundant, so I'm only going to post a limited selection here. If you are interested in viewing all of the hiking pictures, they are available in [livejournal.com profile] the_nautilus here.

Autumn in the Catoctin Mountains )

Today, I carved another pumpkin since my wolf pumpkin had collapsed last week and is currently growing an interesting array of mold on the ledge between the kitchen and the study, and I wanted a pumpkin on the balcony for Halloween. Time and energy permitting, I might carve a third. But this one, I asked Bobby to choose the design. Last year, he really wanted a headless horseman pumpkin, but because I was a beginner and the design was rated "challenging," I was afraid to try it. This year, though--having proven my mettle with the wolf design--the headless rider would be a piece of cake. Not surprisingly, he requested the same design this year, and I spent about two hours carving it tonight.

The Headless Rider Pumpkin )
I know that some of you are scratching your heads and saying, "Yep. Dawn's officially lost it. Halloween is still twenty-nine days away."

However, in the House of Felagund, Halloween is a month-long festival rather than a single paltry day. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I just asked Bobby and he says that he likes Halloween about the same amount as Christmas. So we go a little crazy.

At the moment, our apartment is decorated with:

  • one string of jack-o-lantern lights on the balcony
  • one jack-o-lantern on the balcony
  • one jack-o-lantern kite thingy from the Kite Loft in Ocean City on the balcony
  • five Halloween bears on the CD/DVD shelf
  • one gargoyle on the TV
  • two tombstones on the TV
  • one jack-o-lantern on the TV
  • one jack-o-lantern pillow on the couch
  • one ghosty pillow on the couch
  • one ghost-shaped candle holder on the end table
  • one Halloween candle on the end table
  • one orange candy bowl with a protruding hand that grabs you when you take a piece of candy
  • one plastic ghost inherited from my grandmother on the front door
Erm...I think that's it. Obsessed? Us?? Nah.

More Daily Life Blather )
This weekend, we wanted to do something special for Halloween. Our first thought was to go see Saw 2, but our friend Potter would be over, and he is averse to scary movies. And so, on a whim, Bobby called the Ellicott City tourism office to see if they had any spots left on their ghost tours. I was certain that they wouldn't; after all, it is Halloween weekend, and they keep the tour groups pretty small. I figured that, in absence of a proper reservation, we could always go on one of those stupid haunted hayrides.

Lo, the tourism office called back: They had a spot for us.

The Ghosts of Ellicott City )