FFFAS (Future Feminist Farmers of America or Something)

So I dressed my kid up as a "snow fairy" and took her trick-or-treating at a high school, and then we left her costume on and took her to a pumpkin patch farm thingy.

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Why do I never get sick of these stick-your-head-in-the-hole things? I have no idea.

Anyway, we left her in her costume -- tutu and tiara and ugly Uggs boots and all -- and let her go climbing on everything and tromping through the hay mazes and what have you.

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If I may say so myself, I found the whole thing to be pretty awesome. She didn't care one whit that there were grass stains on her knees and straw in her boots and burrs in her crinoline and dirt in her hair and that her crown went crooked. Not a bit of concern. She just wanted to run around and have fun, and she totally did.

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I think Ashtyn had a good time, too, although he was not particularly interested in the kissing-book aspects of the day.

Still have pictures from the actual pumpkin patch to post, and this afternoon is the Halloween parade at school, and I am proud to say that the pirate costume is finished. Hopefully she'll cooperate and let me get a couple of pictures where she looks more excited than she did last year.

Also, one last bit of housekeeping: next month, November (already!?) is National Blog Posting Month -- NaBloPoMo. A post a day for a month. I'm doing it, and if you have a blog, maybe you can, too. (Unless you're on your honeymoon, in which case you are excused. Ahem.) More information is available at NaBloPoMo.com. Join me!


Better Than Intended

Over the weekend, we had plans to go to a pumpkin patch with my aunt and her son Ashtyn, who is less than a year younger than Shae. Ashtyn is one of Shae's "best friends" -- she has many, lucky girl -- and we were all really excited about it.

Near the last minute, my aunt told me about a safe trick-or-treat that was being held at her local high school. The Spanish Club, SADD, etc., a bunch of student groups each "sponsored" a room and handed out candy.

And I almost cancelled the whole thing, because Shae's "official" costume isn't finished yet. (And her school Halloween parade is Friday afternoon. Eek. I'd better get moving, if life would stop getting in the way.)

Fortunately I was able to go out on Saturday night and get a couple of things that, when combined with pieces we already had in the house, turned out to make a pretty darned good costume. Shae went as a "snow fairy."

Snow Fairy
Snow Fairy Close Up

We already had most of the pieces -- the tutu petticoat, the lace stockings that I got for $1 at Target sometime last year for some occasion I can't remember, the grey skirt, the snowflake shirt, the Uggs boots. I was glad to be able to use the Uggs for something useful; they were a gift and I hate them.


All I needed to add were the wings, some eye sparkle, some hair glitter, and of course the crown, because what self-respecting fairy leaves the house without wearing a tiara? None that I want to associate with, that's for sure.

Captain America and the Snow Fairy with the Evil Grin

Shae and Ashtyn had a really awesome time, I think. I let Shae run around at the pumpkin patch in her costume, which you'll see later. She liked her costume, and it ended up costing me about $11, which is actually cheaper than the Halloween costume we originally planned for (which, again, is not yet finished).

Looks like someone might be changing her mind and doing laundry before trick-or-treat this weekend. Maybe. Or else I'll come up with something else, yet again.


It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Card Time

I spend an awful lot of time thinking about Christmas cards -- way more time, really, than anyone ought to. Ask my husband; he'll tell you. Probably the one thing at Christmas time that I agonize over the most is my cards. (Okay, and maybe the tree. And coordinating my gift-wrap. But we'll save that for another day.) Let's not even get into the fact that I don't even technically send out "Christmas" cards, but holiday cards, which gets me into trouble with at least half a dozen relatives every year. (Yes, I am aware that I am a lunatic.)

If you've ever gotten a card from me, then you already know what kinds of cards I tend to favor: semi-generic winterish scenes, usually featuring some kind of nature (pine cones, snowflakes, vaguely Scandinavian wildlife), generally in pastel shades. Quiet and serene. Very Robert Frost-y, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"-y. I like faded blues and purples and silvers, and of course sparkles or glitter score double secret bonus points. It's almost impossible to find holiday cards that are blank, so I go with the least offensive sentiment inside (Season's Greetings, or Happy Holidays, or what have you).

But now I have a kid, and she has changed the holidays for me. For serious. Christmas is different once you have a little one (cliché, I know, but true). I still want to send out the least-specific cards I possibly can (because some people on my list celebrate other holidays besides Christmas, and I want to wish them well, too), but now I want the cards to be colorful and bright and cheerful, exciting rather than soothing, and I want them to have a picture of Shae on them because she's the most perfect and beautiful kid that I know. So I'm doing photo holiday cards again this year.

I've gotten cards from Shutterfly before, and even though they don't usually come with as much glitter as I tend to like, they're still really nice cards. I think the Valentine's cards that we sent out to our family back in February came out really great. But even those were pretty sedate. Lovely, but definitely quieter than my life normally is. So I made a deal with myself when I started thinking about this -- well, more like an ultimatum. Make the Christmas cards as much like my real life as possible. I deliberately picked out cards with more than two colors in them. Do you know how hard it is to change that particular habit? Boy, howdy. Especially because all of the selections are really nice. No, really. They are.

Here's the short version of the story: I narrowed it down to what I think are three really super choices. These, these, and these. I like all three because they have lots of color but are still simple and nonspecific (I believe that the Project Runway judges would call them "chic"), and just looking at them makes me really, really happy. Even with pictures of gorgeous supermodel children whom I don't even know. (Don't you want to know those people in the pictures? I do.) And I already know Shae, so I know her picture will look great on any of these cards.

But anyway, here I am, still spending time wondering what cards I'm going to end up sending. I haven't really quite committed to anything yet -- and maybe tomorrow I'll see something else that I like even better. I'll take suggestions, if you are partial to any design. You can see all of Shutterfly's holiday photo card options and let me know if there is something you like better. I might even listen, if your card suggestion comes with some kind of magic spell for getting Shae to actually sit still and look at the camera so I can take the stinking picture.


Do you want 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly? Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season, and make sure to select Clever 1000 as the referral source.

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.


WTF?! Friday Plus Trivia: Halloweenie

I am not dressing up for Halloween this year, although I might put on my orange turtleneck to go trick-or-treating. If it's out of the wash. And if we ever figure out what, exactly, we're doing about trick-or-treating this year. Everybody is doing trick-or-treat on Sunday night, which is fine I guess, but it makes more sense to me to do it on Saturday. You know, not a school night? And not opposite "The Amazing Race"?

If I ran the world, n'at.

Shae, of course, will be a pirate. I'm looking forward to dressing her up for the Halloween parade at school, and again for the annual candy collection. Her costume is mostly finished -- I have "outsourced" her skirt to someone at work who has (and knows how to actually use) a sewing machine. The rest of the costume is waiting to be put together. I still want to get a few little things, like glitter hairspray and clip-on hoop earrings, if I can find them. We'll be ready in plenty of time.

But I'm just not that into Halloween this year. There is no particular reason, I don't think, except that I dread having all that candy in the house (too much temptation while I'm on this diet) and nobody we know is having a party. When we lived in our creepy house in the woods, up in the mountains where no one could hear you scream, we had a party, and it was a blast, but I never got around to planning anything this year.

Which is where this week's trivia comes in: these questions (which are, once again, not trivia questions, but more of an informal survey) are all about stuff that I have done, would do, or would like to do around Halloween and Halloween parties. Standard trivia rules apply. One point per question, 30 points total. How may of my answers do you think you can match?

  1. Three not-especially-scary Halloween-ish movies.
  2. Three scary / horror / Halloween movies.
  3. Three songs that you might hear on the radio around Halloween.
  4. Three things that you might do at a Halloween party besides eat candy and watch movies.
  5. Three kinds of candy that come "fun-sized" at Halloween.
  6. Three kinds of candy that you would always give away when you got it in your treat bag.
  7. Three Halloween costumes that you have worn in the last 15 years.
  8. Three writers known for scary stories.
  9. Three actors or actresses that you associate with horror or monster movies.
  10. Three decorations besides pumpkins that you see around Halloween.

Good luck!


Creature of the Night

Bless me, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, for I have not sinned: it has been 15 years since my last audience-participation screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I used to be huge into RHPS -- way back in the uncharted backwaters of time, when I was in college, I was part of an unofficial players' group in my dorm. My R.A. was, too, and some assorted people who lived in Brewster-Boland Hall, plus (of course) a couple of drama and film majors. Almost every Friday night, we would gather in someone's room, get some pizza and sodas and sometimes beer, cook up some toast and popcorn, and watch our favorite movie. Sometimes we would spend all night watching it over and over again, doing the Time Warp until 6:00 in the morning.

And it goes without saying that it was awesome.

I was a Rocky Virgin until my senior year in high school. I'd heard of it, and I had friends that were part of the cult that made the film a classic, but for whatever reason I never actually saw it in a theater until sometime during my senior year. Even to this day, I can't explain what took me so long to get hip to what the really cool kids were doing. Fear no doubt played a big part. I'd heard stories (we've all heard stories) about what happened at the Movies at Midnight, about the hazing rituals for first-timers, about the weirdness and chaos and awesome insanity that happens once the theater doors shut and the room goes dark and those lips appear on-screen.

It didn't help that there was always, for me, an unfortunate connection between Rocky and some degree of lameness; RHPS was advertised back then on the dork-ass "classic rock" station alongside one of the other fixtures of the Movies at Midnight, The Wall, a movie that I have not seen, never want to see, and that I will always and forever associate with potheads, dropouts, outcasts suffering a self-imposed exile from the "now."

(Blah blah blah some of my best friends yadda yadda gabba gabba hey. And it probably goes without saying that I have long since reconsidered my position on many of the other bands that they still play on that station, but you'll never get me to change my mind about Rush, no way, no how.)

(Of course, now Pearl Jam and Soundgarden and Nirvana and The Pixies are considered "classic rock" by people who are literally decades younger than I am. Circle of life and all that.)

Anyway ... I can't remember who I was with the first time I saw Rocky, but I'm pretty sure I went with friends who were in the band, and who had already been seeing the show live for years. I do know that, not knowing what to expect, I dressed as "normally" as I could muster at the time. Ah, the era of grunge and teenage rebellion. They warned me, but I didn't listen. I stood out like a sore thumb, obviously, in my tattered jeans and flannel, while everyone else was in their lingerie, giant wigs, stilettos, 8-inch high patent leather platform go-go boots, glitter, sequins.

I never felt like more of a nerd in my entire life. And if I remember correctly, my rite of passage as a Virgin was to eat a piece of candy out of someone's crotch. (Don't worry, Mom, they were clothed.)

Me, in the "clean" version
of my Magenta costume -
Halloween 1993
After that, though ... hoo-boy. It's weird to say that learning how to do the Time Warp was a seminal moment in my character development, but it was. It really was. I never really looked at the world the same way again. And I mean that in the absolute best possible way.

Imagine being me in the twelfth grade: a giant brain trapped in the body of Tinkerbell, with no boyfriends but plenty of interest, not really fitting in anywhere socially, a budding writer with very little angst, friendly but not exactly popular, sarcastic and cranky, wanting to rebel but not really knowing why, all of this a defense against the world, because no matter what I did, I couldn't quite figure out my place in it.

And then I went to the movies one Friday at midnight, and there was all this stuff happening. People were yelling at the screen and throwing toast and dancing in the aisles and they were all dressed like freaks and lunatics and it was amazing because everybody was having, like, the best time ever. It was Halloween and a play and performance art and rock music and a drag show and a summer camp sing-along and all of the best stuff about being proto-emo and melodramatic and a little bit unhinged, all at the same time.

It was basically nirvana, for me. Almost a drug. I couldn't get enough. Every time I came home from college for the weekend, I would call my friends and tell them: "Rocky. Saturday. Be there." And by and large, they would.

In 1994 I started dating my husband and stopped going to see RHPS regularly, because he wasn't as into it as I was, and eventually I got too busy at college to keep my standing Friday appointment, until gradually it turned into 1995 and my audience-participation days ended. Sometimes I really miss them -- I still have occasional moments when nothing but doing the Time Warp in my cubicle can get me through the rest of the day -- so I am super-stoked about the upcoming Rocky Horror-themed episode of Glee (airing 10/26). I've been teaching Shae how to do the Time Warp, because there is no time like the present, right?

When I watch that episode, I know I'm going to have a moment or twelve where I am crying from laughter and also from the floods of memories I fully expect, from the time when I was a "Creature of the Night" myself. But I know I'll be doing the Time Warp until Christmas, and you better believe that if I see those lips on my television screen at any time from now until the day I die, I will stand up and scream, "SING IT, BITCH!"


Happy Birthday Sweet Sixty

Over the weekend, we went to a surprise birthday party for my Uncle Wiggy -- the husband of one of my father's sisters, and also the person who plays the Easter Bunny at the annual Haldaman Easter Keg Hunt. Uncle Wiggy turned 60, which I just can't even believe, because he doesn't look that old.

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I mean, really, if Uncle Wiggy is that old, then that means that my parents will be that old pretty soon, and I am just not prepared to deal with that. Not that there's anything wrong with turning 60, of course. Hell, I used to think 40 was ancient and elderly, and now that I'm closing in on 40 myself, it would be an understatement to say that my position on that particular number has changed.

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What's really astonishing, though, is how much my Uncle Wiggy pretty much still looks exactly like this picture, except for that now he has a mustache. I am willing to bet large American dollars that he would still fit into that shirt, if he knew where it was.

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Know how many people it takes to put 60 candles on a birthday cake? All of them, pretty much.

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But it's worth it, because more candles = more pretty lights. Birthday candles are apparently like crack for small children; with the flash off you can't see them all on the periphery, but there were about 10 little kids standing around waiting to help blow out the candles.

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And I will say this: the bigger the number of the birthday, the better the cake. This was some damn fine cake! Hopefully Uncle Wiggy enjoyed his surprise birthday party as much as we did.


October 19th

Know what happened on this date in history? In 1873: Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and Rutgers universities drafted the first code of rules for American football. In 1917: Love Field opened in Dallas. In 1959: The world's first disco opened. In 1973: My parents got married.

The fortuitousness of these things all happening on the same calendar date is no doubt entirely coincidental, but I can tell you that there has been a lot of love, a lot of dancing, and a hell of a lot of football in the history of my parents' marriage, so maybe the Universe has a way of sorting things out.

I won't embarrass my parents with any stories; there really aren't that many to tell, anyway. For most of the time they've been married, they've had to deal with me, so they've already been punished more than enough anyhow. But what they haven't gotten enough of is thanks.

So: Mom and Dad, thanks. For everything. For being yourselves. For being awesome. For being good people and good parents and good examples. You've shown me what a marriage can be -- up, down, and sideways. You still hold hands, and still slow dance at weddings, and still celebrate the little days that all added up to this one big one.

The 37th anniversary isn't a particularly big milestone, it's not a big number that ends in a five or a zero or a fancy metal or gemstone (the traditional gift is alabaster), but it's still worth honoring and recognizing. I certainly respect it. So congratulations, Mom & Dad, on another year. You guys are awesome. And I love you both: always, and all ways.

Love xoxo, R.

PS -- Don't have any pictures from your wedding day handy, but I hope that these pictures from our weddings will suffice. You've set a standard, and I hope these help to remind you how good an example, what an inspiration, you have been to your daughters and sons-in-law.


Skinny Jeans

When I run the world, there are going to be rules, dammit: Hipsters will be sent to re-education camps until they learn the difference between sarcasm, irony, and general jerkishness. Phil Keoghan from "The Amazing Race" will be named Executive Emperor of Eyebrow Expressionism. And for the love of all that is good and holy, there will be stores that sell clothes in women's sizes 14-24 that (a) fit properly, (2) are made well, out of actual identifiable fabrics, and (iii) match each other.

You see, I had to go shopping this weekend, and I had a horrible terrible no-good very bad time, because NOTHING MATCHES, NOTHING FITS, and everything appears to be disposable.

I mean, look, I have a tragic case of unfashionability. I admit this. Most of my clothes are simple and basic and at least five years old, because while I love "Project Runway," I hate fashion. I hate shopping. I hate clothes. I need to wear them, of course, but if I had my druthers, I'd spend all my waking hours in plain turtlenecks, flannel lounge pants, and Christmas socks. You know, the kind with the cats and the glittery thread? You can hide all manner of figure flaws in granny jammies.

It doesn't help that I can't really put an outfit together. Honestly, I need Garanimals or something. My work clothes are more of a uniform -- black or tan pants, a couple of skirts if I am feeling inspired, turtlenecks in solid colors. If I wanted to do something kicky with my outfit, I would wear an interesting pair of socks or my saddle shoes. No ruffles, nothing too low-cut or clingy, straight legs, flats. I am boring. But because I've lost all this weight, none of my current supply of turtlenecks and pajama bottoms really fits any more, and neither do any of my "work pants," so I really needed to go shopping this weekend. And it was almost an absolute, unmitigated disaster.

True story: I spent more than an hour in a Lane Bryant Outlet this weekend, trying things on. I must have put on 25 pairs of pants and at least that many different tops. I pored through clearance racks, sale racks, and even (escandalo!) full-price racks looking for something, anything, to buy. I didn't want to buy much, just a few nice pieces that I would be able to work into what I already have that still fits, but I was willing to part with some hard-earned cash in exchange for some trousers that did not fall down as soon as I stood up and some blouses that did not make me look pregnant.

It did not end entirely well. I got two sweaters that are actually probably a little too big, but they are cute-ish and lightweight and I will be able to layer them with stuff I already have so at least I can make it to Christmas. I will keep looking for some more similar tops in different colors, because in my opinion the only thing better than a decent enough sweater is a decent enough sweater in five colors.

But I also got two pairs of "skinny jeans."

Now don't get me wrong -- these are not hipster-style skinny jeans, the ones that all the irony-impaired 20-somethings are wearing with their used bowling shoes and their $400 cashmere scarves and their trucker caps. But the jeans are skinny for me, tapered legs instead of being boot-cut clown pants, a full size smaller than I expected to need and three sizes smaller than the jeans I started with, and THEY MAKE MY LEGS LOOK FANTASTIC.

Yeah, I said it: I look FANTASTIC in my new jeans.

That's a big step for me, being able to say that I look fantastic in any way in anything. I definitely not Miss Mary Fashion Plate, and most of the time I am satisfied with not being a crumpled-up mess when I leave the house for work. Sometimes I will even settle for being a crumpled-up mess if I at least am not emitting visible smell rays.

But ... my God. I almost keeled over dead when I put those pants on, and I saw how good they looked. And I thought I was looking pretty good in the jeans I walked into the store with. It was my husband's idea to try on pants that were smaller than I thought I needed. To actually fit, really fit, into jeans that were a whole size smaller than I expected? That was an absolute revelation.

I still have a long way to go before I reach my goal weight, and I have a metric assload of self-esteem and self-image issues that I am going to need to work on along the way, but I am going to take this small victory. I finally feel like I am making noticeable progress, which is hard to see when you're losing two pound at a time. These are most definitely not "fat pants," or even really "transitional-sized." I bought a pair of jeans in a size that starts with "1" for the first time in at least 10 years. I'm not 100% sure, but I think weigh less now than I did when I got married -- and if I don't, I am pretty damned close. And I feel so, so good about it.

Never underestimate the power of a great pair of "skinny jeans."


Back In Business

We're wearing a new Phillies shirt and we got our hair done did for the game tonight.

Oh, yes, we're ready for the continuation of Doc-tober. Go Phils!


Farmyard Farewell

A few last parting shots of Strawberry Acres before we get back to whatever the hell it is that we usually do around here (watching three-week-old shows off the TiVo, and playing World of Warcraft -- don't you judge us).

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Geese. Love love love the crazy blue sky in the background.

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Gourds. They fascinate me. I wish I knew what to do with them. They're so cool looking, especially when they're all knobbly and weirdly variegated.

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Teeny little baby pumpkins. You don't usually see this much orange in the wild at this time of year outside of Vermont or a Syracuse football game.

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Laughing llama. I wish we had gotten to Strawberry Acres just 10 minutes earlier, so we could have touched the llamas. When we got there, they were heading inside for lunch or brunch or whatever, and I had a hard time getting any pictures at all. Look at that fur! Doesn't that look fantastic (under all that straw)?

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Apples. Maybe not all of them are perfect and unblemished and waxy, but by God, do they all taste good. They're almost gone already, you know. Although I'm sure we all sort of suspected that they wouldn't really last that long.

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Hide and seek. The kids loved hanging out together, sitting under or behind the apple trees, picking up fruit off the ground and throwing into the fields, or just talking. I have no idea what small children talk about when they're together -- dinosaurs and aliens and how dorky their parents are, I suppose -- but Shae and Anthony had a lot of fun together, especially when they were making us chase them.


The Great Pumpkin Caper, Part 1

So we fed some goats and picked some apples and posed like dorky tourists with our heads through some particle board scenes, and then we hit the pumpkin patch. Okay, not necessarily in that order, but STILL. We hopped in a little red wagon and made our way to the field of pumpkins.

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My sister was a bit disappointed with the pumpkin patch, I think, because the pumpkins were already cut and just waiting to be picked out -- not unlike a Christmas tree lot, really, only with, you know, pumpkins instead of pine trees -- but I've seen pumpkins in the wild, and I prefer them this way.

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Shae and G made their way straight to the back of the patch, examining and stepping over every other pumpkin on their way ...

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... until Shae found the perfect one in the very back row.

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As much as I would love to get one of those giant two-ton Guinness Book of World Records quality pumpkins, I already don't know what I'm going to do with the one we have, which is just about the size of Shae's head. Plenty big to sit on the dining room table until we get around to doing something with it, or until it starts to rot and we get fruit flies, I suppose.

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In the end the pumpkin she picked was about eight pounds. Probably it's enough pumpkin to make a pie out of, but I think it's the wrong kind of pumpkin. Neck pumpkins, I think, are what my grandmother uses to make her homemade pumpkin pies, but this particular pumpkin is definitely the kind you want to use for jack o' lanterns.

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I'll let you know what we finally do with it. Hopefully we'll come up with some kind of plan before Part 2 of The Great Pumpkin Caper, which is when we go to a different pumpkin patch with my aunt and her son next weekend. Until then, we're leaving Shae's pumpkin on the dining room table, and every day she smiles when she sees it, and says "I picked that one out."


The Shoot Horses (With The Zoom Lens), Don't They?

ZOMG PONEES! There were ponies at the apple-picking-place, too.

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I assure you that in the pictures where she is not smiling, it's because I'm yelling "Look at me! Look at the camera! What's on Mommy's head?" like a deranged lunatic because COME ON KID WOULD IT KILL YOU TO LOOK AT THE CAMERA OH MY GOD THE GOATS DID IT WHY CAN'T YOU!?

Ahem. I digress.

I think she learned her lesson after the last pony ride, and this time she asked to ride the BIG pony. She did a great job, too, climbing right up into the saddle like a miniature Marlboro Maid. No fancy jodhpurs and helmets and riding crops for this one, no dressage or steeplechase, just plain old-fashion pony ridin'.

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Next time we have to remember to save our apple cores, because you can feed them right to the horses. Shae let the goats eat out of her hand, and I'm sure it wouldn't have been any different with her mighty steed.

I'm thinking I might see veterinary medicine in her future, which pleases me greatly.


An Apple A Day (For The Next Month Or So)

So we went apple picking. Before we get to those pictures -- check out this one.

Strawberry Shortcake

How much do I love that Strawberry Shortcake dolls are back? Hint: A REALLY LOT.

Anyway, to get from the main part of the farm to the apple trees, we took a ride on this awesome old converted school bus. A topless awesome old magical converted school bus. Shae loved just looking at it, let alone riding in it. I hope I'm not the one who has to tell her that if we stay at our current address, she'll be walking to school. She thinks the school bus is like the greatest thing ever -- and riding in the farm's bus isn't going to change her mind, because it was pretty cool. Even I'll admit it.

Magic Topless School Bus
Get On The Magic Bus

On this trip we picked two types of apples I've never heard of before: Idareds, a sweet crunchy Macintosh-y looking variety, and Mutsus, a green-gold apple with a softer flesh. I think they told us that Idared is a baking apple and Mutsu is for eating, but honestly we've done both with each, and I don't care what the "intended" use is -- they're both delicious. And pretty.


Shae was just like the proverbial kid in the proverbial candy store -- once we got off the bus, there were apples everywhere. And Shae went BANANAS. We had a tough time vetting her contributions to our boxes of apples because she was picking up every apple she saw off the ground. She's a Haldaman, that one: if there is food and it is not actively in someone's mouth, she will grab it. That's my girl.

First Pass

She got the hang of it, though. It helped that when we got to the second set of apple trees, there was a ton of fruit close to the ground, well within her reach.


I think her favorite part was getting to be her own "quality control inspector" -- she looked over each and every apple, and we had to keep a close eye on her to make sure she didn't take a bite out of every one.

Quality Check
Free Sample

Between all of us in our party, we ended up with probably 25 pounds of apples. Just the stuff we picked was more than 12 pounds. We'll be eating apples for a month, probably.

Busy Bee!

Good thing we like apples.


Secret Observations on the Goat-Girl

Over the weekend we went apple-picking, because I like apples, and because we needed to get out of the house before the weather takes a turn for the worse for good. We found a place near my parents' which was pretty much exactly what I hoped it would be, except for that I had no idea how many gazillions of apples they must grow in commercial orchards in order to sort through all the slightly blemished and mildly deformed apples to get to the perfectly shaped and shiny fruit that they then wax and send to the supermarket.

Personally, I like my lumpy and spotted apples better, because I picked them myself and ate them right off the trees, but we'll get to that tomorrow. Today, let's talk about my daughter, the Goat Whisperer.

Secret Observations on the Goat-Girl

I did not expect to see so many animals at the orchard, but there was a big barn there with lots of goats, geese, rabbits, and llamas, and you can walk right up to the animals to pet and feed them. It was pretty cool. My particular poison is wild animals, lions and tigers and bears and stuff, but you know what? Goats are pretty darned cool.

My Pet Goat

And it's not like I could have stopped her, anyway. Once Shae sees something she wants to do, she just goes ahead and does it. No idea where that kid gets it from.

Two Cups for a Dollar
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Brown & White

Sometimes I feel bad for caged animals, because you can't tell whether they actually want to be touched by all these kids with their grubby little mitts and their pointing and their screaming and their not-exactly-gentle petting, but I think these goats were okay with it. For one thing, they live in a pen with geese, and hoo boy, those honkers are noisy and bossy! But I really think the goats like the attention from the people, because I swear to God, they posed for pictures.

Goat Vogue
Strike A Pose

I double-dog-dare you to tell me that goat was not looking directly into the camera. He totally was. It was weird. I can't get my kid to look at the camera, but I can get a glamour shot out of a goat. The mind, she boggles.

Anyway, our apple-picking adventure was an unqualified success, and that's before we even got to the pumpkin patch or rode on the Magic Topless School Bus to pick our apples, which was so much fun it almost made Shae's head explode. Tune in tomorrow!

(Oh yeah, not that you asked but in case you were wondering, I stole the title for this post from a profoundly odd and creepy Joyce Carol Oates short story that I read in my "Gothic Fiction" class back in college. It's kind of Halloween-adjacent, right? Man, we read some seriously disturbed stuff in that class. At the end of it I had to do my own writing, and I wrote a story about a woman who became obsessed with some dude at a bar, and she ends up murdering him in the woods while singing a Sarah MacLachlan song. None of this has anything to do with this entry. Perhaps you should disregard this entire paragraph, although if you enjoy Gothic short fiction, I do recommend "Secret Observations on the Goat-Girl," and also "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.)