Wednesday, October 28, 2009

carving pumpkins.

Before last night, I hadn't carved pumpkins in years. We dragged these in out of the rain, dried them off, and started scooping.

Mine started out in my head as a pretty pumpkin-girl with bangs--and ended up like this . . . . .

As we were starting, I said to MH,

"You know, I don't even like carving pumpkins very much. Everyone else always comes up with a much more creative design than me and then I always feel embarrassed. I'm not creative enough."

Her response was only,

"Ruth, that's my line."

And hers was MUCH more creative than mine (she did the cat).


do babies get much sweeter?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

imagine, if you will . . .

6:00am: My alarm goes off. I hit snooze.

6:05am: My alarm goes off, again. I am dead to the world. I hit snooze again and again, because apparently I think 25 more minutes of answering my alarm amidst fitful sleep is better than just getting out of bed.

6:30am: That annoying alarm noise annoys me to death. I remind myself to find another ringtone. I push the cat off of me and heave myself out of bed.

6:40am: Just when I'm finally able to enjoy my cup of coffee and the morning news, MH wakes up and joins me. The girl is sick. She never wakes up so early. I try to get her to go back to bed, but no, she's awake. And jabbering away. My head swims.

7:15am: My shirt doesn't look right. My jeans are too ight. I remind myself to go on a diet starting tomorrow. My bangs won't lie flat and my hair is wild. I throw in a stetchy headband and vow not to look in a mirror for the rest of the day. I should have taken that shower.

7:40am: I'm trying to put on makeup in the bathroom when I hear my mother arguing with MH. She tells her to take the medicine. MH says the taste is so awful it will make her throw up.

7:41am: MH runs into the bathroom and straight to the toilet and proceeds to throw up. I am brushing my teeth. My mother comes into the bathroom shouting all sorts of things like, "Oh--you know, Mary!" and "Stop it! You're making yourself throw up that medicine!" I spit my toothpaste. And storm out.

8:00am: I make my lunch in a huff. Whoever made the chicken salad put way too much mayonnaise. The fruit drawer of the fridge is so broken I can barely get it open. And I'm still mad about the bathroom/puking/yelling incident.

8:05am: I realize I need to stand up for myself. I live here, too. I tell Mom and MH that I'd appreciate it if they'd at least let me exit the bathroom before screaming at each other, next time. They hardly notice I'm speaking.

8:10am: Even though I have to leave for work in five minutes, I can't even fill up my water bottle on account of last night's dinner dishes piled in the sink. I spend my last precious moments scrubbing pots.

8:20am: I finally get out the door. I'm so agitated I forget my cell phone.

8:23am: I turn around and go back for my only piece of sanity.

9:10am: I then arrive to work late.

Live at home for a year and save money? What did I get myself into?

I miss college . . . . .

Calling All Camera Aficionados


So I've been taking all my pictures for the past few years with my trusty Canon PowerShot. Don't get me wrong--I love it. I really do. It does everything I need and expect from a point-and-shoot.


I feel like I need to move on. These photos just aren't cutting it anymore. Of course, the camera's great for stuffing into my purse and whipping out in a moment's notice (I have a habit of taking pictures while walking and driving . . .), but what about real pictures?

And that's what I keep saying. I need a real camera. I want to take real pictures. And by real, I mean DSLR.

So. My birthday is coming up (in eight days!) and Christmas isn't too far off on the horizon either (what?!) and a DSLR is top on my list. But these things are not inexpensive. And being the ridiculously rational, logical man that he is, my father has asked me to tell him what kind of camera I'm looking for so he can start looking for the best deals.

So I'm turning to you, bloggers. If you use a DSLR camera that you enjoy, please share! I need something not-too-complicated and good for a beginner. Thank you in advance!

(Photo via ethermoon)

Monday, October 26, 2009

colors of fall.

When the leaves first started changing and Labor Day ended, I had a revelation--this is the first fall season I've been home in four years.

Four years ago I unwittingly left home and moved in to college. Granted, I only went forty-five minutes away to UConn, but still. The concrete buildings and neverending sidewalks weren't exactly ideal for admiring the fall foliage and picking pumpkins--especially without a car to get off campus.

This year, I felt like I was actually awake. And here. And could enjoy it all.

Not having hours upon hours of homework to distract me was also a plus.

I saw MH get ready for her first day of school (when she went to kindergarten I went to college, so it was entirely new to me), I went apple picking and was actually able to come home and cook with them, and I could enjoy driving around town and admiring the leaves.

Funny, it took four years of being away at college for me to really appreciate fall.

What makes you appreciate autumn?

vintage quilt.

I recently found this old quilt amongst the piles of other old blankets in our linen closet. Usually, the blankets I pull out of there are ugly and pill-y but this one was something else.

Yellowed on the topside and pure white on the underside, it had simple flowered patterns of old, faded fabrics scattered across it. Some "petals" had fallen off and edges were frayed, but I loved it.

My mom saw it on my bed and told me it belonged to her grandmother, "Bitty." I still can't figure out why I hadn't ever seen it the closet before (as in, the past twenty-one years)--it's like it just magically appeared. I think it's meant to get out and seen and used, don't you?

And Blanche took a liking to it, too. Can you blame her?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Dapple Of My Weekend

Whew! This weekend was much needed, but it went by way too fast (which always happens, doesn't it?). I need a long weekend. Better yet, just give me a vacation. I'm tired of leaving the house when it's still semi-dark and coming home when it's semi-dark again.

My weekend:

I did a lot of driving, it feels like. I'm still slowly working on emptying my car of the weekend's remnants. Sometimes I think I need a closet and a kitchen in there.

I finally finished making my Halloween costume! And not a moment too soon, because Friday night I drove the two hours to my old roommate Stephanie's town for a charity costume party.
And we were matching flappers! I've always wanted to sew my own flapper dress. I even fashioned some sort of headband/headwrap/flower thing, which kept sliding down my forehead.
I got to spend some time with her boyfriend, Alex, too. I've hardly met him but heard so much about him. Isn't that weird when you have a best friend you know so well, but not their significant other?
Steph and Ruth, at it again. Just like in South Africa. How I've missed that girl.
I took lots of pictures of the fall leaves, realizing I had better hurry before they're all gone (more to come on this!)
I hung out with Stella a lot. She gets me. (I really think cats are intuitive and understand your feelings and moods. Is that weird?)
My neighbor, whose kids I nanny/babysit for, went into labor early this morning, so I spent some time at her hourse, babysitting and folding teeny-tiny baby clothes. It was just a false alarm, but I cannot wait until there's a little baby girl next door I can hold for hours.
Stella and I were a little under the weather this weekend. I think we overdid it. At least, I think I did. She's always lazy. So we were lazy together.
And it rained. A lot. Driving home Saturday night in torrential downpours was not so fun.
I love this picture. The beads reflecting the light are from a vintage flapper purse my mom let me use that used to belong to her grandmother. Yay for vintage! (And more on this to come, too!)

I hope you all had wonderful weekends as well. It's almost Halloween! I'm counting down the days. Mostly because once Halloween is over, I can start looking forward to Thanksgiving. When Rachel and Abby and everyone far-away can come back home to me.

I sure hope this week doesn't drag by. At least go by normal-speed. Ha. Wishful thinking . . .

Friday, October 23, 2009

Open Letters Friday

Dear Hormones:

I know we all have to deal with PMS, but please tone it down a bit. You're getting a little out of hand . . . okay, you're getting a lot of hand. We have lives, too, you know.

I'm Not Having Babies Anytime Soon, Anyways

Dear Cell Phone,

You are a piece of *!&@#. I wish I had never bought you. I know you're cute and purple, but you're really lacking in performance. Either fix yourself, make my two-year contract end now, or let me come into a large sum of money. I did always want a Blackberry, anyway.

Even My Ear Hates You

Dear Weather,

Please be sunnier so I can take pictures for the photo swap. I refuse to use a dreadful flash. Therefore, I need good lighting before I can proceed. These clouds are not working.

Frustrated Amateur

Dear Improper Grammar,

How do you fool everyone so? I hear "I don't got nothin" about ten times a day from un-knowing young children that you dupe into believing is proper English. You can even fool adults. Teachers, even. (No wonder where these kids get it!) I would appreciate it if you disappeared. The world will be a much better place without you.

English Major

Dear Happy Hour,

I'd like to see you more than once a month. Please avail yourself to me two, maybe three times a week. I think I could benefit from the "happy" part of you. I look forward to our meeting again.

Frustrated Volunteer With Menial Salary Yet Still Willing To Waste Money On Booze

Dear Headaches,

Join Improper Grammar and get outta here. No one wants you, and no one needs you. You wake me up every morning. I think I'm going to have to talk to my sinuses about this.

Wondering What Life Was Like Before You Reared Your Ugly Head

Dear Funding Sources,

Please help us. Nonprofits should not be suffering. How can I hand out food to seven kids in my class, but not the other seven? I can't, for much longer.

Trying Not To Cry With Them

(I apologize for that terrible depressing way to end Open Letters Friday. I guess I'll add one more:)

Dear Friday,


Hater of MondaysTuesdaysWednesdaysandThursdays

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Felicitous Findings: Part 20

1. Woohoo I made it all the way to twenty!

2. "Hanitizer"--what the kids in my after-school class call hand sanitizer . . . I have to try really, really hard to turn my laugh into a cough

3. A different balloon story from For Me, For You, also heard on RadioLab (I'm gonna go ahead and put my full trust in this one . . .)

4. All things Halloween--decorations, candy, costumes . . . (yes, I've just been working on my homemade costume!)

5. 5pm and driving home, knowing that I can do anything I want for the next sixteen hours

(Photo via The Drifter and The Gypsy)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

a bunch of rambled thoughts because i can't figure out how to form them together into a coherent post.

Last night, while driving through town with my mom, we came across a couple of cars pulled over to the side of the road. A few men were hurrying around, shining flashlights into the nearby woods and shouting to each other.

My mom slowed way down. "Uh oh. Do you think someone lost control and went off the road?"
It sure looked like it could be something serious. The sight of beams of lights jumping off the trees and lighting up the men's faces made me think of some crime TV show episode. Maybe they were searching for a body or something.

We were wrong. It was a stray cow, escaped from the farmer's pasture and wandering the roadside, eluding the men's grasps and causing obvious frustration. One man even had a huge branch he was trying to herd it with. My mom and I laughed so hard our bellies hurt.

MH (my nine year old sister, for those who don't know) is getting to that age where she's really starting to care what she looks like. And usually, that involves looking like me. When I got bangs, she wanted bangs. It's actually kind of comical.

Her new thing is wanting to wear my clothes. My clothes. And headbands. And shoes. And she's about . . . sixty-five pounds and I'm about . . . a little more than sixty-five pounds. Needless to say, she's been grasping at straws.

Today, she left the house for school after shopping through my closet. At first she wanted to wear this long, olive green, toggle-buttoned sweater--you know, one of those "dusters" that were popular when I was about thirteen and now just functions as my bathrobe. "All the girls at school wear long sweaters though, Ruth--and with leggings! I can just roll up the sleeves!" I politely declined, deciding not to tell her that said "girls at school" were probably fourth-grade brats who would make fun of her for showing up to school looking like a stocking-ed hobo.

Instead, I pulled out a blue and white striped button-down and asked her if she wanted to try that instead. (Hey, I know what it's like to be a little sister that just drools over every single thing your older sister owns, just because it's an older sister's. I'll placate her.) She readily agreed, put it on over a little-girl t-shirt (remember those?!), tied a white belt around it, and paired it with white leggings that had lace at the bottom. I think she even posed in front of the bathroom mirror for a few minutes, clearly happy with her decision.

Of course, she ruined it by wearing clunky white sneakers with it all (this little girl's got big feet and spindly little legs, and she is just nine), but it still made me smile. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Today is my boss's birthday. I made a card and had all the other teachers sign it, and my kids made her their own card, and I brought her these cherry-red alstroemeria all wrapped up with a bow (even though I would loooove to have them on my own desk!).

She said in the past she hasn't ever really worked on her birthday, always taking the day off. Today though, she said her boss remembered her birthday, everyone at Central Office was wishing her a happy birthday, and now she got flowers and cards.

She said maybe working on your birthday isn't so bad, after all.

I hope my birthday won't be so bad, after all, either.

Happy Tuesday!

(Photos via ClothPaperString)

coffee shop baby shower.

Don't you just love new blog finds? You stumble upon them and then BLAM! just like that you fall in love. Become a follower? Yes, please!

One of my said new blog finds is Playing Grown Up. You really must visit it. If for anything, just to envy Brooke's bangs.

And check out this Coffee Shop Baby Shower she threw for her sister:

Since her sister loves hanging out in coffee shops so much, they rented out the whole place to hold her baby shower. Isn't that just the cleverest idea ever? If I ever have a baby, (which is always a totally weird thing to say . . . ) I'd like one of these, please.

(Photos via Playing Grown Up)

Monday, October 19, 2009

the swell season.

Remember the movie Once? The mesmerizing Irish indie film released in 2006? If you haven't seen it, you must. The film is so heartwarming, and the music is astonishing. I could listen to it all day, over and over. "Falling Slowly" is probably one of my favorite songs. Ever.

The main characters, played by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, are actually a couple in real life (!) and have formed a group together called The Swell Season.

Their new album comes out October 27th--I think I need to preorder it.

(Photo via The Swell Season)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Dapple Of My Weekend

This weekend I:
:: took my own advice and stopped at Stop & Shop on my way home from work
and bought some hypericum to brighten my bedroom
:: cooked homemade pad thai for dinner
:: finally got my car an oil change, despite the fact that I had to wake up
waaaay too early for a Saturday morning
:: made pumpkin waffles for the first time ever
:: worked on my super-cool Halloween costume
:: ate fast food. please don't tell anyone.
:: went with free tickets to an amusement park, even though it was freezing--we went
at night, just in time for their haunted graveyard (they don't mess around, people . . .)
:: spent a gloomy, droopy Sunday watching Office reruns
and getting my life in order before the start of another work week
:: tried my hand at baked apples (the kitchen smelled heavenly)
:: watched a silly movie
:: tried out the Wii fit--and now I want one!
And alas, it is Monday again. What did you do this weekend?