Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 161 - Sunny

Gorgeous. Happy. Sunny. That's Spring at the moment. As much as I've enjoyed the snow we've had this winter....more than the last ten winters combined!...I'm utterly gleeful over the ability to bask again in warm sun! And yet, with bluebirds on the fenceposts and azaleas bursting forth, I still have pumpkins on the brain. Today, I was at the grocery store, perusing strawberries and cucumbers, when these amazing eggplants caught my eye. One was the usual aubergine...a deep Halloween purple that almost glowed in its intensity...ahhhhhhh but the other! The other! White! Pure glossy ghostly shimmery glistening White! Paper white. Scared stiff white. Sheets hanging on the clothesline white. Amazing. And all I wanted to do was toss aside my cart and begin carving something....anything!!!!! Who said you have to wait until October to carve something! Let the games begin!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 160 - My Fangy Friend

I own a bevy of black cats...always have and always will! But sometimes it's fun to play with their photos. CVP was caught on camera by my hubby just before a yawn, making an awkward little grimace with just the tips of his fangs showing. Kind of looks like he's burping to me! (which, trust me, is way more characteristic of Zip who burps on a regular basis!).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 159 - B is for Bobber

B is for Bobber, black cat, and my beautiful boy. In just two more months he will be 18 years old! I've had black cats all of my life...even before becoming a Halloween enthusiast. And I don't plan on ever going a day without at least one black cat in my life (there's three at the moment, not counting the rest of our herd!). They say that black cats bring bad luck...but I think the day we rescued him and his brother, Spinner, was one of my luckiest days ever (and for them, too, since it was their last day!)!

Bravo for black cats and those who love them!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 158 - Enough is Enough!

I'm losing it. Enough is enough! I STILL have about twenty pumpkins in my house...okay...probably more like thirty! I keep carving and they're like dust bunnies that keep mulitplying I swear! I carved at least twenty last week and there still seems to be as much as before! It's driving me crazy because, until they're gone, my brain can't move on to other ideas. I'm literally dreaming about them while my cats use them to play can't touch floor.

Somebody help!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 157 - Easter Sparkle

Easter wouldn't be complete without chocolate bunnies, marshmallow Peeps, eggs and....drag queens! It has become our family tradition to attend Richmond's Monument Avenue Easter Parade. We're talking a serious people watching event! Thousands of people stroll the streets...along with about a thousand dogs and a few good ole' fashion drag queens which bring a whole lotta sparkle and character to the event! Every year we make our Easter hats, and each year we've won something in the Easter Bonnet competitions (this year, our son won us four tickets to a baseball game...go Flying Squirrels!). It's a great picture taking event! We were able to grab a quick pic with our favorite queen, Sirena Sparkle, posing here with my hubby, Jack. I'd do about anything for her earrings!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 156 Too Much Coffee!

Admittedly, I'm looking way too much like this picture. Coffee and me have become best buds. Inseparable. Granted, I may look bug-eyed but at least I'm awake! very, Very, VERY AWAKE!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day 155 - Turtle Turtle

Once warm weather hits my thoughts immediately turn to the, maybe just being awake is enough to make me think about the beach is enough to make me dream about the beach! So, I've created a whole line of beachy patterns that will debut in just a few more weeks on Now, you might not have a pumpkin to carve, but watermelons are perfect for carving and would look fabulous with this little sea turtle or one of my other beachy themed patterns....look for them soon!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 154 - April Showers

Bring May pumpkins! This is my home studio...and yes, though today is April Fool's day this is no joke...these pumpkins still remain! I still have lots to carve before these final babies rot though I have absolutely NO idea as to what to do with any ideas? The problem is that there's so much more I want to do, but my brain is stuck on these and I can't create anything else until these are happily carved and the ideas for them are out of my head!

A penny...or should I say pumpkin...for your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 153 - Halloween Cats

Back in October, my husband and son brought home two scraggly little feral kittens they'd found shivering under a bush at a gas station down the road. Cold and soaked and completely wild, that night they'd found their first warm, safe, bed...out of the thirty degree nights. They were about five weeks old. Now, at about seven months old, they've wormed their furry little hearts into our family and, as you can see from their photos, they are anything but wild! They've gone from wildcats to lap cats. We are so grateful that they're here, and we're still thrilled with the names chosen from the Name the Kitten contest: Zip and Zoomies. The names fit them perfectly! (lol when they're awake, that is!)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 152 - I Feel Dirty

I feel dirty. Maybe not for the reasons you may be thinking (People! Get your minds out of the gutter!). Last Sunday family joined us in attending my son's high school's Spring musical. We dropped him off early so he could get ready, and we went out to lunch to pass the time (and yes, we did give Him lunch before we left! Ahem!). Mistake. Big Mistake. Our family wanted to go to a buffet. The greasy home style stuff your face and unbutton your pants til you pop buffet. I didn't want to go....but I thought that surely I could find something to eat? Right?

Now, for those of you who have been following my adventures, you may remember that we've switched to a vegetarian diet. We're not quite 100%, probably closer to 95% at the moment, but we are happily getting there and have been feeling much better for it. We're eating lots of leafies and healthy things....low sodium....healthy fats...lots of plain ole good stuff for ya. Until Sunday. We walked in and I should have thrown some wretched fit and faked the plague to have gotten myself out of there. The restaurant was DIRTY. When you walk in and the place they hand you a drink and the soda area is dirty....don't walk...RUN outta the restaurant! Took forever to find seats...and they were dirty and had to be exchanged with another table. I'm thinking if this is what the front of the place looks like, God help what's in the kitchen!

My hubby and I looked like deer in the car headlights. We meandered around, trying to find things to eat, bumping into each other comparing bare plates and then making another round. He came back to the table with some anemic broccoli, a small piece of meatloaf, and some grilled onions and peppers (though I had wondered if he'd seen that nasty grill!). I came away with shrimp and a piece of fried chicken. I know. Meat. But I literally didn't know what to eat and thought that I could take the skin off and dirty hands couldn't have handled the rest of it and it was the only thing not swimming in extra colored sauce so I could see if it had been cooked all the way through thus killing all the bacteria. I got back to the table, pulled all the breading off the shrimp...and it wasn't cooked. Ew.

Round two....I see my hubby's plate. Grapes. Seriously? Grapes. The best part of the whole day. I went back around the salad bar again and grabbed my own stash. Found some unwilted lettuce (soaked, mind you, but at least it had been rinsed!), some croutons and grated cheddar. Topped it all off with half a piece of nauseatingly sweet carrot cake. On a scale of one to ten this place was a negative 40. The amazing thing is that people were loving it...despite the fact that vats of hand sanitizer were placed around the buffet...and sometimes OVER the food! They were piling mounds of food and sauces on their plates and into their bodies and I felt nauseas...both at the fact of what they were eating and the thought that I used to eat like that too!!! How horrible! And I LIKED it! What was I thinking?

A truly terrifying Halloween type of day! Today's pumpkin carving expresses my feelings perfectly. Even a few days later, I feel like going and getting a jar of Metamucil and downing the whole thing while praying that the fiber combs the nastiness outta me. Oh my. Oh ick. Oh how merciful the barfing Gods would have been if I could have just gotten the little I did eat out of me! I later told my husband that if he ever took us back to that place that I would throw the Queen Mother of Hissy Fits and bodily fling myself into the Butter Bar because God knows that everything will stop if we can't coat it in butter so it will slide more easily through our clogged little veins. I swear by all that is green and leafy that I will never go to a cheap buffet again! ACK!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Time Flies

Can you believe it's almost April and I still have REAL pumpkins in my house? I carved this little face's how I feel right now about the pace of life. I've lived on super speed my Entire life...with nary a vacation or down time. I really wish that were an exaggeration but it's terribly true. In the last few months I've filled my time with organizing my home and studio, clearing up clutter, and dealing with all of the recent budget cuts affecting my son's school and our local community...sooooo not fun. But now much of that is done, and I'm finding a schedule that is, well, relatively free. Not totally mind you! I spend my evenings running up and down the road for hours to get my son to various rehearsals...coordinating his schedule has literally become a part time job! But my day time hours have become, shall we say, less scheduled.

And, oddly enough, though I've yearned my whole life to look at my calendar and see a week relatively "free" of appt.'s and to-do lists, I feel as busy as ever. My rooms have become uncluttered and yet my mind acts like it's racing in a perpetual Kentucky Derby...zooming in circles. Thirty eight years of pent up ideas are all bouncing around, creating a mosh pit in my mind. Every thing is tumbling out and it all demands attention....all wants to be drawn, sculpted, written, doodled, photographed, experimented with. NOW. Right This Second. Soooo much so that I'm having trouble getting out of my own footsteps! I don't know which end is up! I know, it's a good problem to that I've wanted...but it is all so bewildering that I can, for a few brief moments, decide what I Want to do rather than just what I Have to do.

Though sometimes wants and have to's do mix. I do want, and have to, get back to my daily Halloween creation. With so much freedom I feel a little discipline is called for! And those posts will begin again daily on March 30th. Pattern ideas are stealthily creeping up on me and I may put a few out for watermelon carving to celebrate the arrival of warm weather. However, those will wait a few weeks longer as I finish up the last of the pumpkin patch sitting on my dining room floor. Lots of good things to come in the fleeting days ahead...I hope you'll join me on my new adventures.....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Barnes and NoideawhatI'mdoing

It's supposed to snow
like the second coming and instead of being at home snuggled with my herd of cats, I visit one of my favorite places on earth: Barnes and Noble. Since I am relatively clueless on vegetarian cooking (geez, even my salads have meat!), I figure I'd buy a vegetarian cookbook to start me on my way. I head to the clearance section, and find one or two...nice. I'm a sucker for pretty photos. And yet, I think that they've got to have a million more, right? The sad thing about my life is that I'm NEVER satisfied with just one or two choices. I'm a totally out of the box kinda girl. Give me a million choices so I can manipulate it however I want when I want how I want. (kinda like pumpkin carving don't you think?).

And yet, sometimes we have to be careful about what we ask for in life. I go to the cooking section and see a chair, set about two feet back, facing an eight foot wall of cookbooks. What happened to the poor soul who needed to sit down because she was so overwhelmed by the flood of information before her? Oh, I know! She's me! Do you KNOW how many veggie vegan wear a mumu while gettin' your earthy crunchy groove on books there are? I sit in the chair. Okay, maybe not sit exactly. More like, fall back glassy eyed while trying to catch my breath and look for a means to escape. Too much. Too soon. I need bite sized portions...not the whole save the world go green history of evolution. I make a run for the magazine section.

And find....pretty much nothing. So, eight million books on veggieism....but no magazines? No Chickenette Soy Like Vegetation Soup for the Soul Snippets? I vaguely remember a magazine someone once mentioned...Vegetarian Times. Surely that? Nope. Nothing. Nada. I shuffle left and right. Peel back issues until I find VegNews with a smiling picture of Alicia Silverstone...which, despite her whole crooked speech thing, is vaguely reassuring since she has to die for glowing skin and is eating a THAT's my kind of food! But that's the cover. I glance through it. Why are all the ads showing all these older ladies wearing bright colored mumus, flowers everywhere, all looking like they're about to give you a pat on the head and call you a good girl if you just eat your soy patty? Sigh. Beggars can't be choosers. I grab the magazine, head back to the clearance section, and buy the book with the prettiest pictures. If I eat all this stuff, will I look like the plump flower hat lady? Or Alicia Silverstone?

Alicia may your Kind Diet truly be kind to me!

Children of the Quorn

Okay, armed with my new resolution to find meat substitutes, I head to my local Food Lion for a quick trip before the snow sets in. It's been redesigned not to long ago, so it has a farmer's market style and a hip new pricey little organic section. I'm thinking there's got to be a ton of meat substitute stuff in there, right? Lot's of soy happiness that's got to taste better than cardboard, right? I felt....lost. Standing there, mouth gaping open, recognizing very little. I shuffle back to the meat section, thinking maybe by the ground beef or turkey there'd be a miraculously tasty little tofu concoction. Nothing. But it's not like I could look for long as the back aisle has become a new version of the bumper cars. Little old ladies jousting each other for the last loaf of bread and gallon of milk while macho men snag Doritos and beanie weenies and talk about the big game. A major snow storm and the Super Bowl is not the time to peruse at any grocery store. I keep getting bumped further down the aisles.

Still nothing.

I feel....frustrated. Confused. Hopelessly inept. I make it to the bread aisle and at least grab some whole wheat bagel thins for what I'm hoping will be sloppy Joe's for dinner. I zig zag ten aisles around shoppers growing grumpier by the minute (did someone say they saw a few snowflakes in the parking lot? Heavens, hurry!). Finally, I'm back to the refrigerated organics. Chik n' stuff. Rice Dreams. Soy Milk. No hormones. Healthy right? I can at least mix it until it tastes "normal," right? I scan one last time...and the heavens open....

QUORN! quorn?

Mycoprotein great for burgers and sloppy Joes. YES! Sloppy Joes! There is a God and he makes Europe! From....what? what's a mycoprotein? Some fungi that grows in the company's back yard? Fine. Okay. Let's face many years have I been pouring saturated fats into my thighs? Can't be worse than that, can it? Live life on the edge! I run to the checkout, buy my goodies, and rush home.

My son looks at me like there's lobsters growing out of my ears. And yet, to his credit, we open the microwave heated (it's already cooked! Heavenly!) package of Quorn and see....ground beef? Looks like ground beef. Smells kinda like it. FEELS like it. We taste it.


How do they do that? Whatever a mycoprotein is I'm loving it! MY FIFTEEN YEAR OLD LOVES IT! In it goes into the heating pan of sloppy Joe sauce then onto my healthy whole wheat buns that will hopefully keep the fat off my buns! My hubby, Jack, comes home...tries it...has NO idea that it's not meat! Oh Quorn how do I love thee, let me count the ways! There is hope for this baffled little veggie newbie!

Now, YOU go to the store and buy some Quorn....I'm going to do a little Googling and learn what my meaty little mycoproteins are. Children of the Quorn, unite!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back on (a new) Track

I could go back...change the dates and times...and catch up on all the days that I missed. But I don't want to do that because I always prefer to keep things honest in my life. The idea of this blog was to create a little bit of Halloween every day for a year. Now, I do still plan on continuing that! However, the wonderful thing about creating something is that it is yours to change, to tweak, to grow or shrink as much as you want. Keeping this blog to just the daily Halloween doesn't somehow feel right to me. I want more.

To give you a brief update of what has happened in this month's absence, I was doing quite well keeping up with things until I got word that there were, shall we say, considerations of making changes that could shut down my son's Governor's school that he attends. Now, I don't have much in life. The Pumpkin Lady has become a mostly seasonal gig, so I'm always trying to make ends meet. I don't own a home. Retirement? Funny. And I probably owe way more on my car than it's worth. The only thing I have to give my son (besides love) is an education. That's it. It's all I have to give and maybe all I will ever have. But that will be enough. So when I hear that any locality, state, or otherwise may take that from him? Well, let's just say that I get a little hot under the collar. So, our days have been spent educating and lobbying for our schools. The good news? The school will stay open for at least another year. The bad news? A lot of painful budget cuts will be our work is not yet done. So, there's still busy days ahead! I apologize for my absence...but not my reason for being absent!

And on a final all of you who were there when we adopted our kittens this past fall...they are wonderful, funny, and bring more joy to our lives than we could have imagined. They are loved dearly and spoiled rotten! Never could I imagine ever letting go of them...or ever letting anyone harm them in any way. I am VERY passionate about my pets and animal welfare. However, what I've really learned about my life is that I am one big hypocrite. I would never allow anyone to hurt my animals ever....and yet every week I spend money at the grocery store, buying meat that is shipped in from factory farms. I've heard somewhat about the cruelty of what goes on in the animal farming industry. But I've never really seen it. Out of sight, out of mind as they say. Now don't get me wrong...there are some amazing farmers that do grow animals for the food industry that allow the animals to be free range, well cared for, and hormone free. I applaud you for leading the way. However, I'm positive that's NOT where my money has been going.

If you want to see for yourself, there are videos on the net. But please be warned, they are graphic, and horrible, and you will never be the same (check out - don't say I didn't warn you!). And need to see that footage. Again, I would NEVER allow anyone to ever harm any animal in my care...and yet, I have been supporting animal abuse and cruelty every week through how I spend my grocery dollars. But those days are over. I have no idea how to change my household to a vegetarian/vegan diet....but so help me God I will.

So, in the days ahead, my forays into a healthier lifestyle will also be added to this blog. If you really want Halloween horror, check out that site I mentioned. If you want a good laugh, keep reading this blog in the days ahead as I blunder about the changes that will and need to be made. And if you have any advice...I'm totally open to it! Recipes? Send them! Great ideas? Let's hear them. Here's to better days ahead for all creatures great and small!