Friday, October 30, 2009

I forgot to write about Beth

Greetings from the Friday before Halloween 2009. This time last year Nicole and I were on a bus (or on our way to get on a bus) to New York City, where we took the city by storm as Giselle and Princess Leia in an epic romp all over Central Park and the Trump building, accompanied by our faithful side kick Mandy affectionately dubbed Nancy for the day (Patrick Dempsey’s fiancé in ‘Enchanted.’ It only made sense because Mandy was wearing black and Nicole was Giselle). Nicole got mistaken (not so mistakenly) by a tiny little girl in a castle in the middle of Central Park for a real princess, which I still think is one of the highlights of her life, and everyone thought I was Mother Teresa because I had not gotten my hair quite right. It was a glorious day as you can well imagine.

I wanted to say a few words about Halloween tonight, because it is my favorite holiday and as such deserves a blog devoted to it before it even happens. When I was in elementary school, I think one of the first grades, I came to school on Halloween dressed up as a princess. At least I think I was a princess, I know I had on some sort of frilly pink dress and was looking quite adorable. I could have been a fairy. Anyway, I got to school all excited for a Halloween party we were having in my class. However, what was tiny fairy Maria to find when she got to her class room that faithful day in Lovettsville Elementary school, a school that was supposedly full of love? No costumes. Excuse me if I was lead to believe that everyone was going to dress up for a Halloween party, silly me. I cried and cried. I don’t remember the actual events as much as I remember what it felt like; I think that was my first real encounter with debilitating embarrassment. I can’t remember any details, whether everyone laughed, if I had to stay dressed up all day, or if my teacher said anything to me to stop me from crying, I just remember the tears.

Ever since then, I’ve always dressed up for Halloween. Why, I have no idea. I guess that the switch in normal little girls heads that would have instantly switched to ‘HATE HALLOWEEN FOREVER’ flipped the opposite direction for me at that moment to ‘LOVE HALLOWEEN’ and has been stuck there ever since. Every year my mother has made me a costume, and I’ve been everything from a pumpkin (I think every little kid has to go through at least one pumpkin Halloween), turtle, tree, mouse, witch, can can dancer, medieval princess, Queen Amidala, Ninja princess, Pirate, Sandra Dee, Princess Leia and many others that are escaping me at the moment. I LOVE Halloween.

This year I have options, but not really. I bought Princess Leia hair, basically hair ear muffs, and would love to have another go at being my favorite Princess and hopefully find my Han Solo. However, before I found the hair I had already roped my mother into making me yet another amazing costume. Nicole found this ‘Alice Lolita Poker Dress’ online, and I said, “hey mom, can you make me this?” She grumbled a little but, after many changes and modifications, made it for me. It is AMAZING. I will hold off on the pictures till after tomorrow, but let me just tell everyone right now, my mother is a wizard with fabric. My princess Leia dress is pretty much an exact replica of the one from the movie, and my new Card dress is equally fantastic.

Ok, you convinced me, I’ll show you the picture :)


Unfortunately the only plans I have for Halloween are going to work, but that’s ok. As long as I get to wear it, that’s all that matters. Nicole and I already have plans to get together somewhere somehow for the premiere of the new Alice in Wonderland movie, in costume of course. She will be Alice and I will be her deck of cards.

For those of you disappointed that you will have to wait a whole year to see my new Princess Leia buns in action, never fear, you will only have to wait about a week. My wonderful Auntie got tickets for us to go see Star Wars in Concert next weekend, and I think I have resolved to dress up for the occasion. Those buns did not come into my life for me to not wear them as soon as humanly possible! It is my duty as a fan girl to nerd out as much as possible at every opportunity I come across. I can’t wait.

In closing, happy Halloween world. I hope everyone has a spooky good time and posts tons of pictures. I know I will.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spider lights

Lady Mountaineer is so bad ass.

You know how, in the wide world that is the Internet, that just about everyone and their mother has a blog? Well, for me this has come true. My mother, after months of talking about it, finally made herself a blog. I think it’s going to have a crafting focus, but basically be about anything and everything that’s going on with her and her new found quilt making passion. Really, she has been making quilts for ages. Look at this picture; it is from this past weekend when Nicole came to my house the night before we drove to Morgantown for Homecoming. That really is Nicole, even though all you can see are her golden locks, but look at the quilt she is under. Mom made that ages ago, not sure for who (probably James) of our pockets from old pairs of jeans. Awesome huh?


I remember when James and I were little it was at one point draped over this futon couch we had in our room between our beds with the pockets facing up. We would put action figures, pipe cleaner people, Caveman (James’ favorite toy), LEGOs, dinosaurs, Barbies and GI Joes in the pockets and pretend it was any number of things. A wall of pockets; think of the possibilities to the imagination of a young child with toys that could make a comfortable home of a pocket. Sharing a room was not all bad growing up, we had fun. I remember we used to take yarn and tie it to various points around the room, making a sort of web of string and then put little baskets on the string that our toys could ride in all around our room. We would cover the floor in dinosaurs and say that the humans had to live high up in order to not be eaten. It’s weird thinking of all the things we used to do in the very room I am now living in, alone, so long ago. We used to make tents too. Man we were cool.

Any who, I digress. My point to start with was that my mother has a blog, and you should all check it out. I might as well plug it since she washes my clothes and makes me Halloween costumes. Here it is:

OH MAN. So I was just talking about my brother and I playing in our room as kids, and what comes up on my i-tunes shuffle? The Imperial March of course. Hahah, funny. Yeah, we would also listen to the soundtrack to the Star Wars movies for hours on end nonstop all the time. I bet you all wish you shared a room with your younger brother up till you left for college now, don’t you?

Aforementioned, I went to Morgantown last weekend with Nicole for homecoming. The weirdest part of being back in town was not being back in town, it was the fact that it did not feel weird being back in town. We have really not been gone that long if you think about it, especially not me since I was there to visit Jen in July. As we drove to Morgantown at the crack of crack Friday morning in Nicole’s rental car, it felt like we were just coming back from a really long summer vacation or winter break. The weirder part was being homeless once we got there. We spent a lot of time in our rental car, affectionately named Creeper by Nicole due to its black color. We were just back at school, the place we spent the last 4 years of our lives, and nothing had changed. The dorm we watched go up near Summit was finished and there was a new parking garage at the Medical PRT station, but besides that, everything was the same. Except for us. Nicole has bangs now and my hair is short. And we are graduated.

Our whole reason for coming back for Homecoming, besides seeing everyone again, was to do Alumni Band. Basically that’s exactly what it sounds like; all the old Pride of West Virginia Alumni can come back once a year and march a little bit of pregame at the game. It was marvelously unorganized. There were about half the number of drill spots for the number of guard members who wanted to march, so we just all smashed together in clumps and wonky lines and pretended we were in a form. It was awesome to be back on the practice field, despite the rain (which really made the whole practice more authentic), with Nicole and all the crazy Bando Alumni. We got yelled at by the old Guardies because we remembered the routine and they didn’t, told not to spin or toss, and were shot down every time we tried to make a suggestion. Just like old times, if they can even be called old since it was just a year ago. Now that I think of it, I think the women who did the majority of the yelling probably did not mean to sound to mean. I think that might just be how she talks. Oh well, either way she sounded hostile, which just made us want to spin and do the routine even more, which we did.

There is not much about the game I can say that won’t sound cliché or nostalgically lame. I will say a little though, like how being on the field in front of all those people again was wonderful. Spinning on that field in front of those fans has been the only place where I’m not embarrassed or shy, where I am completely confident with myself and what I’m doing. The only place in the world, and I’ve been around the world. When the season ended last year, I was devastated at the thought of never being a part of that again, of never feeling that way again. But this weekend, I felt better. We preformed, the Alumni band sounded great, and after watching the video, the guard did not look half bad either. After we preformed we marched off the front sideline and watched the Pride perform, yelling at our friends and taking pictures like proud moms. Nicole and I taught some of those kids pregame, and there they were smiling and spinning, looking awesome. I thought I would be sad watching the band perform and not being a part of it, not being inside the Simple Gifts circle, not struggling to fit the diagonals and running to parenthesis, but I wasn’t. Being right there in the middle, the Alumni behind me, the Pride in front of me, made me feel like I was still a part of it all, and always would be. So now I don’t have to be sad, because once a year I can always come back and be a part of it all again. Marching Band is a feeling (like shopping:), my favorite feeling. There’s nothing like it.

Alright, enough of the sappiness. Now I’m home, I’ve got a cold, and I have to go to work. In a matter of days all sorts of things are happening. Tiffany is coming home, Halloween, and NanoWrimo. I still have no outline for my story; I guess I will do it at the last minute as usual. I did decide last night that my bad guy, who is a girl, is going to have huge eyes, like the girl in the My Chemical Romance music video of their song “I don’t love you.” Check it out, she is creepy and beautiful, and her eyes are gigantic. I guess that’s a start, a weak one, but better than nothing.


Well, I’m tapped out of topics for now. Speaking of taps, I posted a blog about our Oktoberfest on my other blog here: you should check it out. It rained then too. Every major thing that’s happened to me in my weird year off has included rain. Tiffany’s wedding, my Grandparent’s anniversary party, Oktoberfest, and Homecoming, all were wet occasions. What gives?

Happy Thursday,


Here is the link to the rest of my pictures from Homecoming, in case anyone is interested:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snuggies are stupid.

Lots of fun things are happening. It’s finally cold outside for good, thank God, so I can keep the long sleeved shirts out for good. Now all I need to do is find my sweaters and I’ll be happy. I love sweaters.
Here are the fun things happening from now till the end of November:

Döner’s Oktoberfest

Homecoming/Nicole & Maria reunion extravaganza (there will be a music video).

NanoWrimo eating my brain.

Maria’s Wisconsin adventure, featuring Mary and Molly.

Funfunfunfun. I mean, my brain being eaten probably won’t be so fun, but that’s ok. By now I’m used to my Novembers being spent tearing my hair out, desperate for a plot and lacking enough hours in each and every precious day. For those of you who have not heard me talk about this before, here’s an explanation for you because I’m just that nice.

NanoWrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month which occurs every November. Nicole brought it to my attention two years ago and practically forced me to do it with her, but I’m glad she did. Basically the challenge is to write a novel in a month, precisely 50,000 words, which ends up being around 80 pages (with medium amounts of dialogue) single spaced (so…like 160 double spaced? Something like that). There is a website and everything. You make yourself a profile, pick a username and you are good to go. Every day, or however often you want to during the month you upload your current word count and watch the little bar under your name turn blue with every thousand words until the end of the month where it turns purple and declares you a winner. You can have writing buddies, chat with other writers on the site and pose questions about your story, about writing in general, or check your facts on the message boards. Overall it is a really cool thing and I highly recommend that everyone give it a try.

It’s much harder than you would think to get to 50,000 words, especially when you are racing someone. Nicole and I always race, I don’t know why or even remember how it started, but we do, which just makes it harder in the long run. IT would probably be easier if we didn’t race, but there’s no way that’s happening. I have won the last two years by like a day or so, it’s always really close, so I have a reputation to uphold. However, I’m not optimistic this year. I’m continuing a short story I’ve already written, so you would think it would be easy since all the characters already exist and the plot is set, but for some reason that’s just making it harder.

My story is fantasy (YA), and my big plan for November is creating a whole new world the characters go into, but this is turning out harder than I ever expected. Making a new world is HARD, there are so many things you need to take into account and rules you have to make and not break no matter what. And on top of the new world I have to make, I need a bad guy. I have an idea for her, basically just the fact that she is a ‘her’, but that’s it. I’m having a hard time not making her cliché and boring, that and I’ve never really written a story with a bad guy in it before.

I am actually realizing this for the first time right now. I’ve never written a really bad guy. I mean, I’ve written a few characters that turn out not good, but no one who is an actual villain. Some of my favorite characters out there are villains, or at least have villain like qualities (Severus Snape for example). I don’t even have a name for her yet, all I know is that she is a ‘her.’

When I actually wrote this blog, Oktoberfest was still happening. It’s over now, and it was cool, I will write about it more later. I have much more to say about everything else on that list, but I’m going to save them for later. Beth was complaining that I have not updated my blog in a while, so I figured I should give her something. I don’t want an angry Beth on my hands.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Apple Doughnuts

I’m at my grandparents house right now, dad’s side of the family. They are in DC this weekend and I’m staying here to keep the dog company. He’s so needy. But adorable, so it’s ok I guess. I’m going to be covered in dog hair from now till Monday.

I am pretending I’m an adult, and this is my house that I live in alone. I’m playing David Bowie really loud (The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud, new favorite) and pretending this is my office and that I have the whole weekend ahead of me to hang out here and do what I wish. In my imaginary weekend I could do any number of things, hang out in bed all day reading the book I started the other day (Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman) or wander to all the different rooms of the house to read, any of the 4 bedrooms, trying out all the beds and seeing which natural lighting is best. I could hang out outside in the expansive backyard here, walk through the woods like we used to when we were kids, the cousins, brother and I, and see if there are any traces left of the many teepees we were always building. I would probably drive the golf cart through the long retired Christmas tree field, through all the new paths and remember.

Selling Christmas trees back in the day was the best job a kid could have, the best job anyone could have really. I don’t just have happy memories from those winter days; I have extraordinarily happy memories of those chilly pine smelling days. I don’t remember how many years we did it, or how old I was exactly, I just remember being absolutely one hundred percent happy driving the golf cart around and helping people drag their trees to the bailer and watching my dad and Granddaddy hook um’ up and watching as they magically became half their size with in the blue plastic netting. Grandmother sold hot cider and Christmas cookies at the little shack near the road as well as wreaths she made herself. I guess you could say mine and James’s job was customer service; we basically just looked cute and pretended we were helping them in some way.

I have this other memory of learning to spell my own name outside in the Christmas tree field. I know this memory must not be a real one, but it’s there none the less. I remember someone helping me write my name on a piece of paper and I rewrote it a few times, and when I finally got it without looking I wrote it really big on the other side and stuck it in a tree like a flag saying “look at me I can spell my own name!” Now, I’m sure the dates of the events and my age will not add up to support this memory, but you never know, I was always a little behind when it came to learning.

All I know is that selling Christmas trees is still to this day the most satisfying job I have ever had. Even when it was freezing cold and my little fingers were white and bloodless, even when I had sap on every part of my body, ruining whatever coat and gloves I was wearing, and even when people’s dogs barked at me, I loved it. I was excited to go every day and was sad to see the day end. I looked forward to it every year. The winter Grandmother and Granddaddy told us they were not selling Christmas tress anymore was the most disappointing winter of my life.

I can only hope I find another job someday that will make me as happy as selling Christmas trees did. In my fictional weekend I will go back in time (for anything can happen in fiction, especially on the weekends) and sell Christmas trees, even though it’s October and has not yet been truly cold. I will sleep in till eleven, read in bed till one, write a fantasy novel about the tiny people that live inside brilliant people’s ears and whisper them ideas all afternoon and then help a family of three pick out their perfect Christmas tree to fit their small house with extraordinarily tall ceilings and very little floor space.

"It's really Me
Really You
And really Me
It's so hard for us to really be
Really You
And really Me
You'll lose me though I'm always
really free"