Tricks and Treats

Well, another Halloween is in the books. Here are a few shots of my One Ring costume in case you didn't see them plastered all over Facebook. I borrowed the gold velour track suit from a coworker to complete my ensemble. It was almost scary how well it fit me.

And here is the whole Stampin' Up Lord of the Rings crew. How many characters can you identify?

Employees could bring their kids into the office for cubicle trick-or-treating and to get photos taken. Eddie mostly gave his photographer a stoic stare, but he loosened up just long enough to demonstrate how his trunk worked before getting embarrassed and running off.

After hitting up a ward trunk-or-treat, we had to go to a few actual houses to satisfy the Halloween purist in me. Everything was going swimmingly until Eddie wanted us to carry him house to house, then had a breakdown when we insisted he walk. Thus ended his trick-or-treating night. Bucketful of free candy aside, Eddie had a rough weekend thanks to some pesky molars.


One Ring To Rule Them All

It didn't take me long to figure out that Halloween is a pretty big deal at Stampin' Up. By the time I was hired last month, my department had long since decided on a Lord of the Rings theme, so most of the key characters were already spoken for. Faced with settling for a lesser character like Eomer or Denethor, I instead opted for something a little more creative.

I coated a large inner tube with gold spray paint, then after a few painstaking hours with a sharpie, I transformed myself into the symbol of all evil in Middle Earth—The One Ring. There were several other great costumes on our team, helping us earn first place in the group costume category of the company costume contest. Photos are forthcoming, but as part of our presentation we utilized the green screen in the video studio to put together an awesomely bad movie trailer. My primary contribution (aside from my brief scenes) was successfully lobbying to include the Legolas/Gimli "what about side-by-side with a friend?" moment.


Books I Read This Week

Another week, another reading binge. Here are the three books I read in the past week:

The Affinity Bridge // George Mann

I happened upon this book in the "Reader's Choice" section of our library and checked it out on a whim after skimming the back cover. It turned out to be a very interesting read. Apparently it belongs to a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction called "Steampunk," which I had never heard of before. Allow wikipedia to enlighten us on the subject:

Steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used... that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy.
The story is a combination of mystery and science fiction. It is the kind of story that keeps you wanting more -- despite how bizarre it is. It is a detective story (ala Sherlock Holmes) involving gruesome murders, zombies, and robots. Despite a bit of gratuitous violence (what else can you expect with zombies in the mix?), it was a surprisingly clean read. I didn't want to put it down, reading 334 pages in 2 days, and already wanting a sequel.

Book of a Thousand Days // Shannon Hale

I had no plans to read this book and checked it out simply because the books I had on hold were still "In Transit" and I knew I would want a book to read while we were in Logan for the weekend. This book took a little while to get into, but once the story picked up, I really enjoyed it.

The story is of a maid and her lady who are locked in a tower together. The maid tells the story about their imprisonment and what happens afterward (sorry to spoil it, but they do get out). Once I got through the tower part, the book was a pretty quick read. If you liked The Goose Girl, you might also like this one... but maybe not quite as much.
Mama used to say, you have to know someone a thousand days before you can glimpse her soul.
My Name Is Memory // Ann Brashares

After perusing a list of bestsellers of 2010, I decided on this one. This book is about a romance that spans lives and centuries. It was a good read, despite some more "adult" moments and some occasional foul language. It kept me riveted simply because I wanted to know how these characters were going to work things out... but I admit that I am a little disappointed at the ending. I don't want to ruin too much, but it seems like the author didn't know exactly how to resolve the problems in the story, so instead, she just leaves them wide open. Maybe she intends to write a sequel... I don't know. If so, it has some real potential at redemption. If not, I think the ending really ruins the rest of the book.
It was smell that carried memory... Memories of smell didn't fade, and they short-circuited your entire psychology -- they didn't tunnel through endless experience or get loaded down by any part of your conscious mind. They stitched you instantly and fully to your other times, without regard to sequence.


The Pumpkin Walk '10

It's that time of year again—when a chill hits the air, the leaves change to gold and red, and the citizens of Cache County collaborate to put on an unrivaled display of gourd-centric arts at the North Logan Pumpkin Walk.

Last year we snuck a photo of Eddie posing as the Little Mermaid. This year it's Jessie from Toy Story. "Yeeee-haw!"

A little precursor to Eddie's Halloween costume.

All aboard the Polar Express.

Eddie was officially done posing for pictures by this point.

Luckily he got his second wind back at Grandma and Grandpa's house thanks to the rejuvinating powers of playing in a big pile of leaves.

It also happened to be Homecoming Weekend for USU. Here's the view out the back porch on Saturday night.


Dream Theater

The details of my dreams usually escape me by the time I am eating breakfast, but not the one I had last night. In this particular dream, Eddie and I were bumming around Utah County for a nondescript purpose. We eventually found ourselves at the BYU campus and went into a building. I noticed a big crowd was gathering in the hallway so we slipped into one of the classrooms, but I quickly realized these people were waiting in line to get into the very room we had just entered.

Soon Thomas S. Monson walked in, and came over to chat with us and even pose for a few pictures. As the crowd began to make their way inside, it became clear that President Monson was there to make some sort of announcement to the press.

Here's where it started to get a little weird. Before the press conference could start, AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" could be heard playing from an adjacent room. Well, apparently President Monson was an AC/DC fan, because he started playing air guitar and lightheartedly bouncing around with one leg up in the air like Angus Young. Some other stuff probably happened afterwords, but that was the lasting image in my head when I woke up.


Instant Halloween Three!

After taking last year off, my Instant Halloween! music series has returned with a vengeance. This latest volume features the usual mix of spooky rock songs including Alice Cooper's "Welcome To My Nightmare," ominous classical selections such as Carl Orff's "O Fortuna," and eerie movie themes like Henry Mancini's "Wait Until Dark." Unfortunately, "Big Bad Wolf" from the dance scene in Teen Wolf once again failed to make the cut. As before, you should be able to barely squeeze this collection onto a blank CD (if you are still into that sort of thing).

Download Instant Halloween Three! (75 MB)

Did you miss out on the first two installments? Complete the trilogy:

Download Instant Halloween! (73 MB)
Download Instant Halloween Too! (75 MB)

For all you Teen Wolf lovers out there—please accept this embedded video shout out.


Cinematic Utah: The Price is Right

Previously: Logan's Heroes

Since we were heading to Huntington on Labor Day weekend to visit Kristen's grandma, we planned a little "end of summer" stay at the Super 8 in Price. Kristen already shared the gory details of our night in a memorable post on Eddie's blog last month, so I won't rehash them here. But the real reason I even agreed to stay the night in Price in the first place was so I could shoot the movie theaters. First thing the next morning, I dropped Kristen and Eddie off at the Dino-Mine Park and headed down to Price's mostly abandoned Main Street. I say "mostly" because keeping me company was a weird guy who was pacing around on a street corner yelling things to himself—the very corner where the Crown Theatre was situated, of course.

Price Theatre #1 // Price // 9.4.10

Price Theatre #2 // Price // 9.4.10

Crown Theatre #1 // Price // 9.4.10

Crown Theatre #2 // Price // 9.4.10

Star Theatre #1 // Huntington // 9.4.10

Star Theatre #2 // Huntington // 9.4.10


Two Trimesters Down

Since Dave is now too busy to blog regularly, I feel the need to pick up the slack. Unfortunately for you, that means more posts about me being pregnant. This week marks the last week of my second trimester. This pregnancy is going so much faster than it did with Eddie. I decided that can probably be attributed to one or more of the following reasons:
  1. I have been busy and have had to spend some of my time thinking about things other than the baby.
  2. Dealing with Eddie has addled my brains and I no longer have any concept of time.
  3. Worrying about switching Eddie to a big-boy bed and potty training him in the next two months is occupying all available brain space.
Whatever the reason, I feel like time is flying and Morsel will be here before we know it. I feel like I am better prepared for the baby this time around, but I also realize how much more complicated life will be with two kids. Let's just keep our fingers crossed for a healthy, mellow baby girl, and a gentle, helpful big brother.

Here I am in all my 25-week glory.


New Job-servations

I've only been at my new job for three weeks now, but that's plenty of time to make a few trivial observations, right?

I find it fascinating to look back on the diversity of the different places I have worked and how they have reflected the various factions of local culture. Nutraceutical was a veritable breeding ground for outspoken liberals. At times Salt City seemed to be an endless parade of Jack Mormons. Now at Stampin' Up, it is not uncommon to overhear the personal progress status of all the girls in so-and-so's Young Women's group.

Since the work environment is very open, people are having conversations all around which I don't really hear other than as background noise. But often I will notice when the conversational tones become hushed as the subject matter turns "juicy." I unconsciously find myself straining to listen in, even though I probably have no idea who or what they are talking about.

In working for a bigger company, I am sharing a public bathroom for the first time since I had a student job working in Old Main. Let's just say I have some personal issues with this, particularly when I hear a symphony of sounds emanating from the stall next to me. But in the plus column, I work for a rubber stamping company, so the men's bathroom is generally empty.

On a more serious note, it has been refreshing to be faced with new challenges, and I am greatly enjoying the collaboration that comes with being surrounded by other creative professionals. As I adjust to a more demanding daily schedule (during the day at Stampin' Up as well as keeping up on Salt City projects in the evenings), it's been surprising how much less time I have for blogging, looking at Facebook and the like.


Feeling Crafty

Working at SLCC for a few months really taxed my creativity. I spent countless hours at work with nothing to do, so I spent countless hours trying to find ways to occupy my time in some sort of productive manner. This extra time (combined with crazy hormones) led me to think of several projects I wanted to make for Morsel. Dave thinks I am "unstoppable." I think I just like to have something to keep me busy. Here are the crafty baby projects I have been working on over the last couple of months:

Rag Quilt

Loyal readers may recall that I made a rag quilt for Eddie as well. His took about 3 years to complete. Luckily, with the help of some more thorough instructions and a bit more motivation, I was able to complete Morsel's in about 3 months. Yes, that's still a long time... but I get distracted. I used the step-by-step tutorial found here.

My quilt was a little more complicated since one of the fabrics I chose is a minky fabric, which means it is thicker, furrier, and slicker than standard flannel. I was not very diligent about my measurements or my sewing, so some of the seams do not match up, but I think the overall effect is the same regardless. And it will match the red/purple color scheme of our nursery beautifully!

Rag Burp Cloths

With my left-over flannel from the rag quilt, I decided to make a matchy-matchy burp rag. I used the tutorial found here. I have never seen burp rags made this way, but it was really easy, taking a total of 15 minutes to cut, sew, and rag the edges. Then, one trip through the wash, and voila!

Hair Bows

I am probably jinxing Morsel to be bald for the first two years of her life, but I feel it's worth the risk. Using various internet tutorials and some of my own creativity, I made a bunch of hair bows. The intent is to buy (or make) some cute headbands to attach them to, so Morsel's hair (or lack thereof) will not be an issue in accessorizing. Plus, I now own so many different colors and patterns of ribbon that I might have to start mass-producing them.

Baby Legs

Since baby leg warmers are all the rage these days, I figured I needed to try my hand at making a couple of pairs. I used the tutorial found here. They were pretty easy to make. The biggest problem I ran into is that the socks are really stretchy and curl up when you cut them, which makes sewing a complex thing. Plus, in order to sew all the way around the sock, I stretched it over the end of my sewing machine, which ended up stretching the cuff out and making them sort of wonky shaped. After one washing, they have shrunk a little bit, so hopefully with additional washings, they will return to a simple cylindrical shape.

Pending Projects

With over three months of pregnancy remaining, I am nowhere near finished with my projects. I still plan on making a car seat cover, a car seat canopy, a receiving blanket with matching burp cloth, and more hair bows.