Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nerd in Disguise

Happy Halloween!!

Last year I shared my witch costume from college - and that was the last time I dressed up :(  Don't know if I will this year, but I'm reminded of Halloweens past..

Thanks to my crafty momma, I used to have AWESOME costumes growing up.  None of those store-bought movie characters for me!  (Also, I was a huge dork).  My parents wouldn't let us be anything that wasn't creative (ha) and our costumes usually involved sewing or hotgluing or some kind of shenanigans to pull together.

I wish I had more pics, but these are the only ones I have scanned.  The other photos are trapped in a messy cabinet at my parents' house  print-purgatory where old photos go to die ...poor little guys...

(I was the biker babe first, but it was such a hit, Cait had to try it too!  She could pull off angry waaay better than I could!  And can you believe that little hippy or gypsy or whatever the hell she was is going to be a momma soon?? I can't.)

Those aren't so bad.  Kinda cute (if not a tad stereotypical - but hey, it was the 80s).  But this one solidifies the nerdiness:

I'm a koala - for those not up on your marsupial knowledge.  That was my favorite animal for FOREVER.  I had a koala wallpaper border.  I had koala fact books.  I had a whole gaggle of stuffed koalas. 
And I had a fur suit complete with fur head.

See those giant purple glasses?  The koala nose (the essential part that distinguished me as a cute koala instead of a wild thing) actually hooked onto the nose part of the glasses.  Total dork.  

But my mom made it, and it meant something.  And I freaking loved it - coolest costume ever. 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rain Cycle

I've been a terrible blogger. 

I have a two theories as to why:
  • Rain.  All it has done is RAIN RAIN RAIN for the past, like, year.  And what would this blog be if I didn't fill up this infinite web space with complaints about the weather??
    • The cursed RAIN causes the vicious internal cycle outlined below:
      • It rains and I feel lazy.
      • I do nothing productive around the house.
      • I recognize this unproductiveness and get sad.
      • I do not blog because I have nothing to talk about.
      • I get sad because I haven't blogged.
      • I remember I haven't blogged because I'm a sloth and haven't done anything.
      • It rains some more and I still feel lazy.
  • I'm boring.
So there you have it. 

But I've been cooking up a few things to write about, and it's been sunny for like, 36 hours now or so, so there's hope.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Popcorn Love

If you haven't tried this popcorn - you don't know what you're missing. 

Seriously, it's amazing.  We might have gone through two bags in less than 24 hours.  Maybe... who was counting??

It used to be an elusive treat we would get at Cracker Barrels when we traveled. 

Then they started carrying it at Walmart.  Bad news. 

THEN they started carrying it at BJs.  Family-sized bad news.

But honestly, from a junk food standpoint, it's really not so bad for you.  And it's made in Popcorn, Indiana... so really that justifies any calories.

(Image Source)

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I finally broke down and turned on the heat... anything lower than 60 outside is just unacceptable.

I'm really hoping that the predictions aren't right and that it's not going to be as harsh of a winter as they are expecting.  I don't do cold.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stylin' Momma

My mom has some amazing style.  And I'm not just saying this because she's one of my 3 readers here.  Or because she birthed me.

Even when I was younger, I remember thinking how good our house looked and how I really liked how she decorated it.  She has the great ability to mix old and new, traditional and modern, neutral and bold.

Granted, she has made their house look great with the sole work of  help of my dad's handiness (seriously, the man can fix/make/design/build anything...)  If it weren't for his labor (and her supervision, of course) half of what has made their house a home wouldn't be possible.

When my parents bought their house around 10 years ago or so (I can't remember exactly, I was too busy being traumatized by middle school), it was a total mess.  Apparently the owners were drug dealers who owned many homes but ended up not being able to pay for any of them.  Basically, my parents got a house with good bones for quite a steal (see, I can say this, because I had to pay $0.00 for it personally - that, and money grows on trees).  But this came with the daunting task of having to slowly replace evvvvverything.  Over the years they have slowly fixed up practically every square inch of this house.  Literally, it's drowning in sweat equity. 

I snapped a few pictures when I went to visit recently, but they definitely don't do justice to their home.  It's warm and inviting and comfy and stylish -- all wrapped up into one.  My hope is that one day I can have as classy of a style as my mom (don't hold your breath).

They just remodeled the bathroom completely (my dad did it all himself) and got this fancy cast iron tub

I love the living room and especially this red chair - nothing in their house "matches" and I love that!

I would like to steal these lamps one day, but I'm afraid Roxy would turn this quickly into broken glass.. And Tony might or might not have tried repeatedly to let her take these brown chairs home with us.  No use.

She just got these great dining room chairs, but has yet to pick out which fabric she wants.  I love the pattern on the back - very colonial plantationy looking to me.. even though I'm pretty sure that's not a design term..

I don't want her ego to get too large, so I had to point out that she's kind of a weirdo - meet Virginia.  She's a mannequin with green hair and lips, and she dresses according to the season.  Right now she's looking tacky in orange and white.  Totally freaked out my friends growing up. 

Love you mom :)  Please come back to my house and help me decorate!!  And dad, we totally have a list of projects awaiting your return!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


It's gonna be an exciting April!

Tony and I don't know any babies.  None.  Never have.  Have no clue what to do with them.

But come April, we will have 2 little nieces or nephews or some combination thereof to play with!!  Our sister in law Jennifer (Tony's brother Jon's wife) recently told us the good news that she was expecting - due the beginning of April.  We were so excited!!  (ok, well, I was super super crazy excited, Tony was just regular happy - he doesn't register much more than that...)

Just a week later - we got the crazy news that my little sister Courtney is also preggers - this one a little unexpected, but an exciting, happy thing nonetheless!  And the crazy part is, she is due exactly 2 weeks after Jennifer.  I'm playing mother by sending her 25 website links a day of things I think she should know. 

So we go from knowing zero babies, to knowing two within mere weeks of each other.  I'm so excited for both Jon and Jennifer, and Courtney and Byron - two couples in very different places but both starting their families and welcoming little tiny babies into the world.  I'm super excited to buy lots and lots and lots of baby stuff for both of them.  It's a sickness, and I have a feeling it's only just begun.  Now I have a legitimate excuse to peruse the baby aisles of Target without seeming like a creepy stalker. 

It's definitely making me have baby-rabies (as Katie so eloquently put it once!) but luckily I will get some experience and a dose of baby-reality from 2 sources before it's someday my turn to do it too. 

**I haven't had the chance to subject Jennifer to my ridiculous photo requests yet - but she better beware!**

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Ghost Story - The La Concha Hotel, Key West

It's officially fall now, I can honestly say, since the temps have finally dipped below 80 (and quickly at that, it's freaking freezing! ... it's 72... but still!) And it's October, which helps.  I love fall, I think that's been made clear here, and I can't wait for changing leaves, pumpkins, and sweatshirts.  I even got a pumpkin-spiced creation from Starbucks to mark the occasion, although I had to get a frappacino instead of a latte - it's still pretty warm...

I thought I would mark the onset of October with my own scary story.  I realize there is still a whole entire 31-day month stretching out before us until Halloween, but I'm bored at work and this is what you get!

I'll start out by saying that I know people have mixed feelings about ghosts/spirits/etc and that's fine.  Some believe, some don't.  I'm not offended at all if you don't believe, and don't believe my story. It's one of those seein'-is-believin' kinda things.

I personally have always had an irrational fear of ghosts for no reason whatsoever - as a child, I would always lay in bed with my eyes peeled open afraid but waiting to see something.  I think it's because my parents' house was built right next to an unmarked 19th century grave yard, but that's a different story!  (No, seriously, it is).

As I've gotten older, I wasn't scared really and slept through the night, although I was sure I would be petrified if I really saw one.  I always believed though, although I don't pretend to know what exactly "ghosts" are or why they are here, etc. 

So, here's the story. 

A few years ago, Tony and I were visiting Key West.  It's an awesome place if you've never been!  You may know that the La Concha Hotel (I think it was a Crown Plaza at the time) is the tallest building there, at only 7 stories.  (I'm noting these details from my poor memory, so don't quote me, fyi). There is a roof-top bar at the top of the hotel that overlooks the water and is a great place to watch the famous Key West sunset.  

Well, we didn't make it for the sunset, but it was about 10:30 pm and we wanted to go up to grab a drink and see the city lights.  Mind you, I hadn't had anything to drink yet (so that's not an excuse, naysayers!) and we didn't know anything at all about the hotel besides the fact that it was in the same hotel group as Holiday Inn (our lovely alma mater where Tony and I met!) 

So we headed up the hotel elevator to the bar, just in time to see the bartenders shutting everything up for the night.  But they let us know that the open-air balcony was always open even when the bar wasn't.  So we sat outside on the small balcony for a while enjoying the evening, and there were a few other people up there doing the same.  

We watched the bartender leave down the outside steps and most of the people also cleared out.  So we decided to head back down and be on with our night. 

The balcony leads straight inside into the bar and right past it to the elevators.  It's an open but small area.  We were totally alone in that room.

You have probably had this experience: you walk up to an elevator right as the doors are closing with people inside. If you jab the button, the doors will usually open, resulting in some annoyed people who thought they were going to be on their merry way down, only to have to let your late self in.  So... the polite thing to do is take your time walking to the button as the doors close and wait until they are permanently closed and then push your button.

As we approached the mirrored elevator, this happened, as a man was in the elevator with the doors closing.  Without discussing this or thinking anything of it, we both paused, then hit the button once the doors were firmly closed to wait for it to come back up for us. 

The doors popped open right away, with an empty elevator.

There was absolutely no time for the elevator to have gone anywhere, and there was no other door.  We both got on, apparently thinking the same thing (what just happened??) but didn't say anything.

We had both unthinkingly done the same thing - waited to push the button because we saw someone.  We both saw a man in the elevator, reflected in the mirrored sides as well, in a suit, wearing a hat.  Not a baseball cap, but one of the old fashioned bowler types. His hat stood out to me most.

He was there.  I KNOW I saw him.  Tony KNOWS he saw him.  But he had vanished. 

Once on the ground, we finally said aloud - hey, wasn't there someone in there??  We weren't scared, just in shock that the same experience had happened to both of us without us discussing it at the time.

Coincidentally, as we left the elevators into the lobby of the hotel, we saw that the hotel lobby was where the Key West ghost tour starts... because it's one of the most haunted places in the area.  We didn't know this beforehand.

Once home, I did a little research and found this:

"The stories continue, with the tale of the160 room, seven story La Concha Hotel, haunted by a man who lost his life in the hotel after falling into an empty elevator shaft. Guests of the hotel report having someone tap them on the shoulder, but when they turn to see who tapped them, they find no one there. Despite the fact that La Concha was approved as a Holiday Inn franchise, this lurking spirit has proved to be an enduring nuisance to guests."

And this:

"One ghost in particular is a tormented spirit who in life worked as a waiter during the early 1980s. It was New Year’s Eve 1983 when this young man, a native of Key West, was picking up dishes from the fifth floor en route to the kitchen on the lower level. The festivities were well under way, and it was around 1:45 A.M. when the waiter was finishing up for the night. He was hurrying to get back to the kitchen to unload his cart, picking up the streamers and confetti as he went along, hoping to go home in time to celebrate for himself. Sadly, however, this was not to be. As he was pulling the heavy cart along, backing up to the elevator, and glancing over his shoulder to push the button to go down, he struggled to keep the dishes and trays from toppling over. Trying not to make a mess, he heard the door open behind him and backed up, cart in tow. In what must have been the most frightening moment of his abbreviated life, he stepped backward into an empty shaft, falling five stories, cart and all, to his death. You see, the elevator had not landed on the fifth floor but the sixth, one floor above him."
There were other stories I saw at the time that I can't find now, but they all revolved around a man dying in the elevator shaft - some placed it during the hotel construction decades ago, others placed it as recently as the '80s.  We saw someone wearing dated clothes (the suits and hats that were everyday wear for men in the first half of the 1900s).  Regardless, the important fact is this happened in the elevator. 

If I had been the only one to see it, I probably would have explained it away to myself.  But you can't dispute two.

We saw a ghost, spirit, or something we can't explain.  I have no doubt.  I get chills just thinking about it.
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