Category Archives: october

Last Minute Pumpkin

I didn’t think that I was going to squeeze a pumpkin carving into my festivities this Halloween, but thanks to a timely FHE activity, I got one carved just in the nick of time.  I tried lighting it up, but the pumpkin is really really thick.  I need to work the walls down a little bit before the effect really works.

So, in all, I managed to work in The Haunting, Chicken Shish Tawook, Count Chocula, a Cider Mill (and the resulting cider!), coloring, Catching Fire, Dominion: Seaside, refusing to dance, blue hairspray, “For All the Saints”, The Lord of all Catan, pork roast, butterfinger brownies, and pumpkin carving into my birthday weekend.  That’s pretty good, right?  What did you do?


I believe in coincidence… most of the time…

Most of the time, I believe in coincidence. Things happen. There are results, which drive other things to happen. Sometimes something big happens, sometimes nothing happens. It’s hard to know and it’s hard to read purpose in the seeming randomness of the universe. I emphatically do not believe that everything happens for a reason, and know of no doctrine that supports the concept.

But other times, I feel like things do happen for a reason.

Take the following chain of events:
– Yesterday, my Institute class was cancelled. I was kind of excited, because I had three or four things I needed to get done sooner rather than later, and I was looking at a very busy week.

– When I got home from work, the weather was so nice, I decided to go for a walk and enjoy what may have been one of the last great days of fall. This delayed my “getting things done” but it was a good cause.

– After making several “getting things done” phone calls while I was walking, I decided to walk over to a local church which has a meditation labyrinth. I’d seen a sign for it from the road while running and walking the area, and was intrigued by the concept. I found the labyrinth and walked it, further delaying my “getting things done” time frame. (Really cool experience, by the way. Well worth it, even if I cheated and only walked in and took a shortcut out.) By the time I got home, it was starting to get dark.

– Decided to start the laundry and go shopping, in that order. I didn’t really have a shopping list, but needed to pick up a few basics.

– Headed over to Meijer, and chose a really odd parking spot, further away from the grocery door than I usually park. I had a goal of when I wanted to be back home.

– Picked up the milk and cereal and a few other things, and headed to the deli counter. The line was three deep, but the counter clerk must have been new to the deli. She was Slow. Capital S Slow. It took several minutes for her to find the meat that a person in front of me requested and then five more to get it set on the slicer and sliced. And she was the only one available. I almost left three or four times, but since I’m working on my patience, I just let it go and got what I wanted.

– After getting the bread and hummus I needed, I headed for the checkouts. I had too many items (barely) for the U-Scan, and so I tried to find a checkout with a short line that was close to the door I was parked near.

– As I was loading the belt with my stuff, I noticed the woman in front of me, who I had guessed to be either Hispanic or Asian (don’t hate me, my Hispanic and Asian friends, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, and you see a lot of both in AA). She was using a WIC card and the checker kept taking things off the order that didn’t qualify. She looked baffled. I heard one of her daughters humming to the baby in Spanish.

Here’s that moment that it was all building up to:

– I took a chance and asked the woman in Spanish if she understood what the checker was saying. She responded that she didn’t. In my (clearly) broken Spanish, I tried to interpret. (Man, my interpretation Spanish is rusty!) I was able to explain what was going on and how she could remedy the solution. (It turned out that the juice was too small and the bread was too big.) I also helped her read the remaining benefits on her receipt.

I know I wasn’t the only person in the store who could have helped. But somehow, I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. If any step along my path before that had gone differently, I probably wouldn’t have been right there, right then.

Sure, coincidence happens. I’m chalking this one up in the other column though.

Happy Halloween!

So, probably not the most timely of posts.   I’ve been fighting with my computer, my browser, and Blogger to get these photos uploaded.  I have finally vanquished the computer gnomes that prevented this post.
I’ve officially been 29 for 12 days now, but I wanted to post about what I did on my birthday.  I had a wonderful time, thanks in great part to some wonderful friends.  I took the day off, to take advantage of the quirkiness of Ford’s holiday schedules and work my way into a 5 day weekend.  
I had been having a hard time trying to schedule a get-together with friends.  The timing was just off.  Someone took it on themselves to organize a breakfast at the Northside Grill.  I’m still not entirely sure who it was, but I am very grateful to that person or persons.   I would have never thought about breakfast.   The waitress brought out a brownie cake with candles for both me and Seth who shares my birthday.  Brownies at breakfast.  Who’da thunk?
The second plan of the day was to go hiking after Friday Forum.  I had managed to convince Jonathan that he should come hiking, as it would probably be one of the last great days of the fall.  Together we persuaded Amy to join us, and Amy brought Jin

We drove out to Pinckney Rec, and it was a beautiful day!  The leaves were still  colorful and mostly still on the trees.  The temperature was perfect for hiking!  We set out on the Crooked Lake trail, a five mile hike.   Amy and Jonathan weren’t on vacation like I was, so they walked part of the trail with me and then went back and did important things, while I did my best to wear out Jin.
Jin and I did fairly well together.  I think he didn’t realize that there might be squirrels off trail.  He did get a little impatient with me when I stopped to take pictures.   Right towards the last half mile of the trail, Jin noticed something off trail.  Unfortunately, we were at the top of a steepish hill, and the squirrel or woodland creature or whatever was at the bottom of that hill.  It was a fun ride down.
The final part of the day was the Monster Ball.  I had been intending to exercise my birthday right to not dress up on Halloween, but it came to me that I should go as Dr. Horrible.  I posted the video a few posts back to get a few of my friends up to speed, because i knew many wouldn’t really know who I was.  
I think I pulled it off fairly well.  For an internet meme that not many people around these parts had heard of, I only had to explain myself a few times.  My welding goggles and my freeze ray made it.
One of the events at the Monster Ball was a Mr. and Miss Monster Ball 2008 talent contest.  The HSAC had invited a few people to participate, Mike and Brian notably.  I was not in the original set of contestants.  However, someone didn’t show, and I got asked at the last minute if I could do something so there was an even number of guys and ladies in the contest.   Fortunately, I had my iPod in my car with the sound track for Dr. Horrible on it. 
I quickly put together a lip sync to the Laundry Day / My Freeze Ray song.  I convinced Amy to be the Penny to my Billy.  She had seen the show, and knew what was going on.  We ran through it once before the show, me listening to the iPod and narrating the actions as we went along.  The lip sync went well and got a rousing round of applause.
Somehow, against Mike’s rendition (and real singing) “The Monster King” and Brian’s excellent song about vampires, the crowd gave its approval to my obviously lip-synced song and crowned me Mr. Monster 2008.  Still no real idea how that happened.  

Kara Stowers, dressed as Kimmy Gibler, was crowned Miss Monster Ball. It was a fantastic way to end the night. Thanks to all who shared a part of their day with me. I couldn’t have picked a better day