Good Ideas for Thanksgiving : Part One

This is my first Thanksgiving.

Well, not really. I am 24. But this is my first Thanksgiving MEAL preparation, which has left me feeling something like this zebra:

Pinned Image I have made dozens of pies before and I am a prolific stress-baker, so that part is not too bad. . . but a TURKEY??? Somebody hand me a Giraffe, I think I’m gonna climb up and hide until Thanksgiving passes.

THANKFULLY, I have found some helpful websites which should give me a little guidance in this fowl endeavor!

For example, this one seems to give a lot of details. . . but its also a little confusing. Whole Foods provided a nice little set of tips and tricks which could come in handy on Turkey day, too.  The last article I read was called “Cooking Turkey for Chickens“, which seemed pretty a propos. These will be my consultants in the impending festivities.

We’ll see how this goes. It feels a little, you know, ME v. TURKEY. Like a final showdown, but I’m not sure who will actually be the victor! Do you know what I mean? Any advice is, of course, coveted.Pinned Image

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As far as the sides go, I’m feeling a little more confident. . . and even inspired! I just “found” this adorable turkey veggie platter plan, which I hope to execute nicely.

Actually, I already have some nice recipes that fit my Thanksgiving needs, which I am still (eek) in the process of  choosing from. But if there is some lack of inspiration, I’ll always have Martha.

Suffice it to say. Sides will include the following CONTENT:

We’ll see how it all turns out! Shoot me any suggestions you might have!

 

Party like a BOSS(ton Terrier)

Growing up, my family was never much for birthday parties. Celebrations tended to require extensive house-cleaning, rendering parties less attractive by the relative unpleasantness of the preparation.

Now, I am not a rebel. Ask anyone. I’m a traditional, rule-following kind of girl. I am not one of those kids who left home and did everything their parents forbade during their youth. But, as far as birthday parties (or any parties, really) and family practices, I am a rebel. With any celebratory cause I can get my hands on.  No joke. Fact: I may be the last single almost-twenty-five-year-old who is also a die-hard Valentine’s Day fan.

So, it was with only momentary pause (because let’s face it, the concept is still a little . . . lovably ridiculous) that I threw myself into planning my roommate’s dog’s first birthday party. That’s right.

For you visual learners, that’s:

For such uncharted territory, I needed some definite (P)inspiration to get me started.

Once sufficiently inspired, next came some organisation and a little of the detail-oriented work I enjoy! I set about baking, detailing decor and hanging streamers like it was inter-office feuding and I was Dwight Schrute on the warpath.

Apparently, through the decades, some wonderful people have said wonderful things about dogs. I figured I would post a few of their thoughts for general appreciation, since most puppy-party invitees are confirmed dog-lovers!

My mom makes the most incredible cut-out cookies. In all honesty, I’m not a very inherently patient person, so making cut-out cookies is not the best job for me. I do love to decorate them, though! These are not my most intricate of creations . . . but I think I was maxed out after the  cake pops. . .

 With all of the sweets and treats abounding, we needed some refreshing drinks and savory snacks too!

DRINKLE = Lemonade (If you are thinking “oh-my-dear-sweet-Lord-in-Heaven . . . then I think you get the concept!)

Side note: We had to have these little fire hydrant cookies to go with the “Drinkle”. . . which was officially the nastiest, but most hysterical idea (birthed from a conversation with my darling,gourmet sea-salt-loving friend Katelyn!).

Puppy chow (chocolate peanut-butter chex mix) has to be one of the most-loved party treats of all time. . . and it just happens to look just like dog food while still tasting like MANNA! 

“Devil Dogs” are the perfect treat to help celebrate Winnie; They’re sweet, black and white, much-appreciated and 100% appropriately named – devilish!

In the end, all of the food, tasty treats and decorations were a mere backdrop for your average kids – ahem: puppy’s party. . . complete with presents, singing “happy birthday”,  and one exhausted post-party pup!

Even Winky-the-cat enjoyed herself!

Harry Potter & The End (Times?)


Lots of people are saying that 11-11-11 is going to be a big day.

Some are even saying that the world will end and it will be the apocalypse. Yeah. We’ve heard it all before. But amid all of the ridiculous e-mails and bizarre add campaigns, there is one announcement that surpassed them all and grabbed my complete attention. There is one ending that I have no doubt will be taking place.

That’s right: The FINAL Harry Potter film officially comes out on DVD on November 11, 2011. . . TOMORROW!!!

Since this is a decidedly BIG DEAL, I hope you all mix up some home-made butterbeer and stroll down Memories-of-Potter Lane with me tomorrow.

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In the mean time, in honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I would share a slew of Potter-related tid-bits that might get you in the mood for tomorrow’s big event! Or at least get you laughing. shuffling

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(If you liked these, I found them all on Pinterest.com!)

So, KUDOS if you read them all. You’ve officially channeled your inner Hermione.

Happy Harry Potter End Times to you all. . . and don’t worry. No need to shed tears or gnash teeth. For the faithful, it is not the END . . .  if you share my eschatological view, we’re really looking at this as a redemptive thing; the birth of a new era.

So . . . not an ending at all, but a glorious beginning.

Car Accidents and Criminal Minds

All it takes is an instant.

Today. 4pm. An accident up the street slowed traffic. A Beverly High School biology teacher was driving slowly  towards Wilmington and as the sun glanced off her mirrors and she slammed on the breaks, the silver honda civic behind her, my silver honda civic, didn’t manage to stop in time. I rear-ended that nice teachers car and slammed back and forth as the car behind me added the the circus and I became the sandwiched bumper-car. One accident report, 3 kind bystanders, a tow-truck ride, a whiplash-induced migraine and a whole slew of tears later, I sat stranded in the mall feeling like my life just got a kick in the groin (apparently my life is male?).

In moments like these, when crappy events cause us to wallow in Anne-Shirley-ish depths of despair, sometimes all we need is a little perspective to jolt us away from negative self-absorption. Nothing like serious horror to render a bad day less abjectly miserable.

Enter my recent fixation with Criminal Minds.

In retrospect, I think I may have had a little concussion following my run-in with the other car. Call it a hunch, but I think the nausea and the headache after my head slammed back and forth between the seats are fairly reasonable indicators. Concussions are not fun, this is true. Thankfully, I have Criminal Minds to put things into perspective. Prentiss, Hotchner, JJ, Penelope, Spencer, Ross and Morgan open the minds of serial killers on a daily basis. Clearly, this would be shocking in and of itself, but its their personal lives that give the real perspective needed.  Take Prentiss: What’s a headache in comparison to being beaten and branded by a homicidal sociopath before being forced to fake your own death and go into hiding, abandoning everyone you care about to avoid being hunted down by the American-based Irish mob?

See? Perspective. I can now add this to my growing list of reasons for loving this show.

Breaking Dawn: Party Like A Cullen

Mock me. Judge me. It won’t change a thing.

About three things I am absolutely positive. First, perhaps the Twilight Saga Series should not be taken too seriously as they are about teenagers and Vampires. Second, there is a part of me, and I don’t know how dominate that part might be, that is capable of seeing the ridiculousness inherent in obsession with a Young Adult Vampire Series. And third (perhaps most importantly), I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series.

Some might submit, “If you’re smart, you’ll stay away from this series.”

Well, Okay, let’s say (for argument’s sake) that I’m not smart.

So, since I have an abiding love for this series, it logically follows that my affinity for theme parties might take a little turn for the immortal, no?

Enter my sister’s thirtieth birthday, which from this point forward we will call the THIRSTY THIRTY party. While this might not have been the first Twilight-themed party I’ve ever thrown, it took things to a whole new level. As we near the Breaking Dawn (part 1) arrival to cinemas, I am also approaching the next installment of fantastical theme parties, which I plan with Alice-like enthusiasm and borderline-nauseating glee whenever the occasion presents itself. Now, it’s been a while since the last few parties, so this week I’m delving into my past parties to excavate recyclable ideas before innovating new ones. (It’s my version of going green.)  I believe I’ve boiled my Twilight party-planning-process down to some basic procedure steps.

Now, I must clarify. Even though I loved the books exponentially more than the movies and, I have to admit I have a lingering dislike of Kristin Stewart’s emotionless expressions, my parties are based on a melange of movie and book.

Step 1: Scatter relevant quotes, pictures and words strategically about the venue. 


Step 2: Use what you have lying around the house.

Part of the reason why so many people love the Twilight series is because of the character development. We love that which we can (even marginally) identify with. A positive side effect of this identification-factor is that those of us who have done some book obsessing tend to see references in everyday life. THUS, party decor becomes simpler the more creative (cough, obsessed, cough) you are! Case in point:  

Forks is both a town and an object. Anytime you can take something commonplace and transform it into a subtle or punny book reference, you’ve done your job correctly!

Since the Volturi have a tendency to show up at every party in the books, why not bring them strategically into our theme party. Check out this re-purposed graduation gown and a cardboard Marilyn Monroe cutout from college!

In lieu of a grand piano . . . we used the baby grand!

The bathroom door, with just a few words, can be surprisingly festive!

Simple book references = anything with apples.

Step 3: Make as many ridiculous references to the book as possible. 

Example #1 = The kitchen Island takes on a whole new dimension as ESME’s Island, popular vampire-human honeymoon destination. Rife with Feathers and an abundance of eggs, it’s put together to help you reminisce about the unique romantic getaway from book number 4!

Example #2: Re-creating that memorable moment from Eclipse when Jacob was dumb and Edward made a somewhat humorous veiled-hatred comment!

Example #3: Jasper Whitlock was in the army, a confederate soldier to be exact. So what better way to use that gigantic portrait of Abe Lincoln that hangs in the living-room?

Step #4: Plan a KILLER menu!

The nostalgia-food: Edward and Bella’s First Date

For some reason, there’s always one of these at the big parties. Might as well take a page from Rosalie’s book and be prepared!

People, for those unprincipled bloodsucking monstrous vampires to eat.

Animal Crackers, for those ethical Cullens.

Serving up “The Cold Ones” is never a bad call.

I use as much red and black as possible, using the book illustrations as a springboard for decor!

Brie Cheese gets CHANGED, developing a new temperature and a much harder skin. . . but lives a VERY short second life, because this is DELECTABLE! (Thus, re-enacting the short second life of Brie/Bree Tanner)

Film references enable us to eat Twizzlers. Which are always a good choice!

There you have it.

I am going to need to amp it up for this next party, so I’m hoping for an outpouring of ideas online. . . It’s time for some research and innovation! There will likely be a Wedding Entryway and a birthing room. With blood bags. And an obstetrics nurse. Who knows what else might happen? Pinned ImageI mean, vampire-human hybrids are the limit, right?

It’s My Funeral.

Being dead is not usually a favored topic for blogs. OR anywhere else, for that matter.  In fact, there are very few times death pops up in daily conversation, which seems like an awfully surprising thing, since EVERYONE DIES. It’s one of those topics that just doesn’t come up much. I guess this blogpost is sort of like Taro Gomi’s reason for writing the book Everybody Poops. I mean, let’s face it. We’re all headed in the same direction, mortality-wise, so we might as well have some dialogue over the whole experience.

Why so taboo, death?

Now, that said, please, DO NOT think that this is going to be a proselytizing tirade or a morbid rant. I’m quite capable of both, but they are NOT my purpose in writing.  I’m writing because I would like to go on permanent (internet) record to declare my funerary wishes. I have three.

1st: Mourning Garb

Black for funerals is passé, folks.

Black is depressing at funerals, which is just illogical, because everybody is already depressed at funerals. It’s not like we need to darken the day. It’s like a sick joke. At my funeral, WEAR COLORS! Bright ones. We’re talking Yellow, Pink, Red, Orange, Peach. . . You get the idea. Even if you find an adorable little black dress (or a snazzy suit, for that matter), I want you to forego the privilege. I mean, people wear black in an attempt to be slimming. You try to look slim for (A) pictures or (B) the opposite sex. And, let’s face it; you probably won’t snap tons of photos at the funeral because it seems pretty morbid and disrespectful, right? And if you are trying to pick up guys at a funeral, you’re more desperate than anyone should be and you need to rethink your priorities.

2nd: Money

As if death doesn’t have enough sucky elements all by itself, an average funeral costs almost 7 grand (according to the National Funeral Director’s Association) I guess grave-robbers do still exist. Please, get rid of me as cheaply as possible? PLEASE. Wrap me in a sheet. Find a potato sack. Tarp would do the trick. Just don’t buy a fancy casket. Like I really need a plush upholstered box to protect my body AFTER I’m dead! I might’ve found a use for one before death, but spending about 3 grand to protect my dead body is just idiotic. Plus, your average bone-box is beyond extravagant. So, if you do buy a casket, use it for the service if you want, but don’t bury me in it. You should repurpose it or something.

All this talk of Caskets actually leads me to clause 2B of these funerary wishes which addresses a crucial sub-issue.

THE OPEN CASKET.  Yeesh.

Seriously? If you have bypassed my instructions from wish-number-two-part-A and purchased a caskety eternity seat for my mortal flesh, then hear me now. I am putting my foot down. DO NOT have my casket open. Don’t you dare.  Seriously.  I wouldn’t want all my loved ones parading in front of me, staring at me while I was ALIVE, much less while I am a mere carcass. It’s not like I’m going to look my best after being dead and tricked out by a mortician (double-yeesh). So maybe it IS the only time someone would pay to have my makeup done, but I still think I’d look pretty frightful. If, for some God-Awful, unknown reason, you MUST have my casket open, I expressly request to be wearing a costume and have my face painted. Make it interesting, people.

3rd: Flowers, Bowers and Tears

I love flowers. In fact, I have scads of excellent memories associated with flowers. So WHY, on God’s green earth you would EVER put flowers out when I won’t be able to smell them is BEYOND me. It seems awfully pointless and wasteful. Cut flowers just cost money (see point number 2) and then die. Nobody would even be able to keep them and enjoy them because funeral flowers are just a depressing reminder. Even potted plants is an awful lot of something for an occasion that benefits VERY LITTLE in the long run. In fact, if you’ve ever been to a funeral that smelled like flowers, I think it might actually ruin it for the attendees. Why would I EVER want to ruin flowers for my friends and family? It seems like an extremely bad idea all around.  BUT, I can see the cheer-factor might be necessary. There is nothing worse than a group of sobbing people. As I will not be sad myself at this point AND will also be absent and thus unable to alleviate any outpourings of sadness, I have come up with a highly innovative new idea.

I want balloons.

LOTS of balloons.

If you are going to spend money on any part of my funeral, please invest in a sturdy supply of helium balloons. Careful, they MUST be helium balloons and they cannot be black!

These balloons fulfill the aesthetic piece for funerals, but also serve a very important purpose. No person should be permitted to speak at any part of my funerary proceedings without first inhaling a decent amount of helium. Any eulogizing will thus be rendered much more interesting and tears should be quelled sooner rather than later as people begin to snicker at guppy-pitched eulogies!

This concludes my aesthetic wishes RE dying.

(not to be confused with dying wishes)

Any ideas for what else might brighten the mood?

I Will Not Forget

The Gettysburg Address

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Twitterpated

Anyone who had the good fortune to grow up watching Disney movies (we’re talking before CG was even dreamt of) will remember that classic moment when Bambi, Thumper and Flower learn about being twitterpated from Friend Owl.

(just in case your childhood left you without the obscure vocabulary so inherent in mine)

I can’t help but think of this scene every time I think about the Twitter Trend.

Important preface to everything I say hereafter: I have had a twitter account for quite some time and, the many and various resounding voices heralding its usefulness have a point. Twitter is all about networking and has great potential as a networking introductory tool. (Also please note that all images were found via google image searches and pinterest.com and none of them are my intellectual property…)

That said, I harbor intense dislike for Twitter on most levels, from lexical associations to practical applications.

Let’s start with the shallow, shall we? With Friend Owl’s foreboding diatribe resounding in my nostalgic memories, the mere word “twitter” calls to mind the terrifying description of Twitterpation (seriously, if you haven’t watched the movie yet, it’s powerful . . . in a dark-side-of-the-force kind of way). Like Bambi and his friendly forest friends, after hearing about the Twitter trend, I’m wary and resistant.

Second negative lexical association? The root of the word Twitter is the word “Twit”. As in, “You are a stupid twit.” How ironic that a web-tool promoting pithy sentence-sharing should name-share with an actual insult to human intelligence.

Can we talk about the idea of “tweeting” and the little birdy logo for a second?  I’m sure it all started as a lovely tacit metaphor, likening the short little updates to the tweeting of pretty little songs by attractive little birdies from afar. Unfortunately, based on the “flighty” characteristic of birds, the historical/linguistic connotations are not so positive . . . leaving the outside-twitter observer to wonder if it’s any shocker that people with Tweeting constantly on their minds seem so bird-brained.

Case in Point:

(Can you believe she diss-ed GOOGLE?! The nerve.)

In fact, few bird-terms or idioms are flattering. Jailbird, bird-brain . . . Gosh, when you’re winged it usually means you’ve been shot and are going down. If something is for the birds, that means it’s utterly useless, and, let’s face it, to put a feather in your cap really only means that you’ve KILLED a bird and should be congratulated. Killing two birds with one stone is always better than one in the world of symbolism. So, tell me, why would I really want to be associated with a bird-related social networking site?

I know, I know. You’re probably shaking your head, having forgotten all about my little preface to this rant. I should probably have begun with my actual concrete reasons for disliking twitter, rather than the surface-level negative associations.

Let me backtrack.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love and defend social networking the same way I love and defend the second amendment. . . I see its utility and the significance in its existence even if I choose not to always engage in the various opportunities therein. However, I refuse to appreciate twitter as anything other than a necessary evil for four major reasons.

First, Twitter promotes brevity of thought. In a world where information is at our fingertips and technology is bursting beyond the seams of imagined capacity, I do not see the true value in shoving every thought into 140 characters. Eliminating unnecessary information is one thing, but boiling information down to that extent officially counts as dumbing it down in my book.

Second, Twitter detracts from the social “real world”. Too many people are spending significant amounts of time on their laptops, ipads or smartphones tweeting their shallow 140 character messages into the internet ether while ignoring the flesh-and-blood people they encounter on a daily basis.

Rather than actively engaging in their surroundings, individuals become preoccupied with passively socializing; People engage in twitter to the detriment of their own social, or even physical, well-being.

Having spent three fascinating high-school summers as a cashier, it is clear that human beings love to feel important (i.e. the recognition of “followers” online), but undervalue the small interactions of day-to-day life. The world would be a better place if people invested more time in social skills and less in how to fit everything they want to say into 140 characters.

Third, Twitter facilitates quantity over quality. Former Internet marketing specialist and current Internet strategy consultant Aidan Henry blogged about twitter abuse in June of 2009, saying (among other things) that “the uneducated have been let loose with tweet fever . . . 5 tweets a day (at most) should suffice.” The twitter populace has clearly caught some sort of bird-flu which causes them to tweet like it’s going out of style.

 A comment on this same blogpost reads “hahah, whhhhat? Where have you been? ‘…without a purpose or goal in mind.’, ‘…sea of thoughtless, frenzied tweets.’, ‘Twitter has become a true time sink.’, ‘…the uneducated have been let loose with tweet fever.’ , ‘It’s like giving a gun to a child – instant chaos.’, ‘…Twitter kills productivity.’ That IS what Twitter is for, all about, its CORE. The heart of the beast IS thoughtless narcissism time sink waste of life.” It appears that people are more interested in putting anything “out there” than worrying about what they put out there.

This is not even going to go into the discussion of people who tweet things and then subsequently must deal with the fallout of the stupidity of tweeting something important that was not meant to be shared.

Fourth, and last, Twitter has been monumentally outclassed by other social networking sites. While twitter is a simple interface that allows even the least intelligent of human beings to find some form of expression, I have yet to see it measure up to any other networking site for design. The various applications for Google alone have more than enough to keep the online social world happy and well-networked. And Facebook, for all the hard knocks it takes in the media, provides the twitter-like ability to share a thought at random in conjunction with a myriad of other online tools (e-mail, “note”/blogs, chat, etc.). Twitter is simply unnecessary in a world where there is so much more out there.

So, if you made it this far and you are a huge fan of twitter, kudos. For all my rant, please remember, I do have a twitter account and have . . . very occasionally. . .  found it handy for an introduction, a handy-dandy link or a corporate announcement, but it is only useful in the same way that a billboard, a coupon or a hotel wake-up call is useful; in its connection to something better.

The Truth Is I Never Left You!

Maybe its a little pretentious to identify with Eva Perón from Evita, but it’s about as far-removed as likening The World of Blogging to the people of Argentina, right?

But, if we want to take this metaphor a little uncomfortably far, one could say that I have neglected this darling blog to whore around with other blogs. In my defense, but with a large amount of apology regardless, I didn’t have a terrible amount of choice in all of it! I had to let it happen, to quote today’s song of choice.

Those pesky masters classes I’ve been taking (and when I say pesky, I mean wondrously educational) have made me channel all of my blogging into a ning. . . which is acceptable, but not the same.

It occurred to me today, as I frustratedly waded my way through not one, not even two, but THREE ning browser failures (not to mention numerous Chrome system crashes) that all my blogging efforts were being channeled into the work side of nings, to the detriment of . . . basically everything.

It would not speak well of my multi-tasking abilities as an educator if the only thing keeping me from posting on one blog was another single blog! I mean, any good teacher should be able to keep more than one blog in the air, right? But actually, despite my blogging-as-a-student, my ever-present fever/sickness and the whirlwindy beginning of the school year, I have also been caught up in a blog competition endeavor (a blogetition?) with my dear, infuriating and highly competitive older brother. And, let me tell you, nothing distracts a girl from her First Blog like a little healthy competition. . . which is a blatant double-entendre if you’ve checked out my other blog.

This brings us to my epiphany of the day. I decided that, who knows? Maybe you might be interested in my quasi-scholarly pursuits and my increasing fascination with technology-use in my classroom. With this magnanimous thought in mind, I will be sharing a smattering of non-DIY-related and occasionally serious-toned posts with you. . . and revitalizing my fun-only posts as well.

So, this is me, keeping my blogger’s promise through the wild days; my mad existence. Don’t keep your distance!