Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Who could pass up free candy?


Even though my daughter is 12, she still asks that I get her a costume so that we can all go trick-or-treating. I expect it from my son, who's only 9, but I would have thought she would have grown out of it by now. However, she did mention that soon she's going to have to be nicer to her brother because she's going to have to rely on him in future years to share his haul.

My son was a ninja this year. It seems he alternates between that and power rangers. My daughter found a cute geisha costume. The other two girls are sisters who're friends of my daughter's. The one in red with socks stuck to her (she said she was a sock puppet!) also has traditional locks, as does her mother. Even pets were dressed for the day.

Quite a number of people put their carving skills to good use on pumpkins. These weren't your ordinary jack 'o lanterns. One even had a carving of Samuel Adams (from the beer label) on it and it was on the block where they traditionally have treats for the adults (think beer, wine and cheese, and hot and cold dips) as well as candy for the kids. I even found a pumpkin that appeared to have dreadlocks!

We got really luckythis Halloween. The temperature this evening was almost 70 degrees. Perfect for trick-or-treating. There's nothing worse than trying to stuff yourself in a cute costume over enough clothing to keep you warm without having to put a coat on top of it so no one can tell who or what you are. Not to mention that it's too cold to stay out for hours to ensure that you get maximum loot!

But, to tell the truth, I like trick-or-treating because I benefit as much as they do. After we examine all the candy, we sort out the ones that they don't like, they make their trades and I get to keep the ones neither one of them likes. My son doesn't care for chocolates (obviously not a trait he inherited from me), preferring the chewy types like starbursts, skittles and twizzlers. While my daughter likes chocolate and takes all the peppermint patties, 3 musketeers and milky ways, she doesn't like those with nuts. That means I get all the snickers, hershey's with almonds, reese's cups, mr. goodbars and almond joys. I'm licking my fingers as I type!

One of the things I really miss about Halloween is the ritual of ringing a doorbell and yelling "trick-or-treat!" The majority of people who participate sit on their stoops (east coast city word roughly equivalent to a porch) and wait for kids to walk past. Some even leave a lonely bowl of candy from which kids help themselves. It's kind of disappointing, but I guess it does save people from having to get their creaky joints up and down every time the bell rings. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Extracurricular activity

As you all continue to read my posts, you'll find that alot of it will involve my kids. Seems like once you become a mother, they consume a major portion of your life. But I don't mean that in a bad way. I can't imagine life without them and they're usually my first thought. I also really like hanging out with them and we do alot of things together. As you can see from my earlier post, amusement parks is something we look forward to in the summer and the twice a year that we visit family in Orlando.

Another thing they're involved in that I encourage is Tae Kwon Do. They've been training for almost 2 years now and they really enjoy it. I was lucky enough to find a community center that offers classes 3 times a week for an amazing price. While I've never participated in other forms of martial arts, I like the principles that TKD tries to instill in young children. It's focused on self-discipline and integrity and, surprisingly, that's it's better to avoid fighting when possible. Having said that, it's also important to know how to defend yourself, when the situation warrants. Classes are all about practicing the various techniques for each belt rank, but several times a year, students have the opportunity to practice what they've learned in friendly competitions, near and far. I say friendly because students are very likely to be competing against another student from their own training hall that they're friends with.

This weekend, my kids participated in a small tournament. The pictures are from the sparring portion of the competition. My son is in the silver head gear and my daughter is in the blue. The sparring is full contact, but the referees are careful to warn the students that contact is not to be overly agressive and students have been disqualified for hitting too hard. As you can imagine, it's a little difficult as a mother to stand there and watch your kid fight, but spectators are allowed to shout encouragement and instructions. As you can also imagine, some parents get a little too excited and there are those who treat this as a kill-or-be-killed street brawl!

My son won a 3rd place medal in the sparring competition (we were late for his portion of the patterns) and my daughter won 2nd place medals for both sparring and patterns. We were all happy with the end result and I'm proud of their dedication. Hopefully, next month they'll get a recommendation for testing to move to the next belt rank.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Summer's officially over

A sure sign on the east
coast that summer is not going to make a return visit for several months, is the transition of Six Flags Great Adventure from regular theme park to Fright Fest. The park is draped in cobwebs and ghouls roam the paths. All the shows have a spooky theme.

Since we have season passes we usually go once before the park finally closes for the season. It’s our last opportunity to ride the roller coasters. Unfortunately, we must have picked the wrong day for this visit. The park was beyond crowded. We’re used to having to stand in line for about 45 minutes to an hour for the good rides, but this was ridiculous! The lines for the most popular rides stretched out of the line-up maze and well into the walking areas of the park. The line for the new El Toro roller coaster was easily 3 hours long. Had I paid a regular admission on that day, I’d have been pissed!

Luckily, on our previous visit to the park, we had the opportunity to ride Kingda Ka. Billed as the tallest (456 feet), fastest (128mph in 3.3 seconds) roller coaster in the world, it was quite an experience. The concept is simple, you go straight up, make a hairpin turn and come straight down. I was actually more scared going up than coming down! For those of you who don’t do coasters, this picture’s for you!

Not wanting to waste the entire visit standing in line, the kids and I decided to check out the shows, which we rarely do at other times because we’re riding. The best one was Hypnosteria. A hypnotist called a group of 20 people on stage and then weeded them out based on their susceptibility to hypnotic suggestion. Once he got them under, he gave them all tasks that one would suspect they wouldn’t normally do if fully aware. Parts of it were hilarious! He suggested to one guy that he had his pants on backwards and told him to go behind the curtain and switch them. The guy actually came back with his pants on backwards. And you should have seen the rump shaker contest. Everyone participated and let’s just say that some had a little more to shake than others and did so for all they were worth! Due to the potentially embarrassing nature of the program, no pictures were allowed. I’ve never been hypnotized, but I wonder if I’d be susceptible to it. Have any of you ever been hypnotized?

And what would a visit to the park be without a scoop of Dippin’ Dots?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And these are my children

Here's the first appearance of my kids on my blog. Enjoy it! You probably won't see them so well dressed for a long while. Their usual uniform is jeans and tees. The occasion for such a grand display was that while I was in AC, they attended the NAACP Gala (that was my babysitter). At least they smiled for the camera. They look like they're having a better time than they told me they did. But what do kids know?

I did my best to put my daughter's hair in flat twists. Earlier in the week, I had set her locks (locked 3+ years now) on SoftSpike curlers for her school pictures, but it rained several days that week. She still has some curl left but it wasn't enough to leave it out completely and still be in keeping with the formality of the affair. Plus, she so hates for me to do much of anything to it, preferring to free-style most of the time. I think it came out rather well. I wish I'd had some shiny clips or beads to anchor the twists - but I really didn't plan ahead for that and had nothing to match.

They so rarely get the opportunity to dress this formally, so I'm glad I have a picture. But I'm going to confess my little secret - I'm a BIG fan of shopping at the thrift store, especially for the kids, who grow out of everything in the blink of an eye, and for occasions like this when they'll only wear an outfit once or twice. My daughter's dress is a Nicole Miller purple velvet (Brunsli - I'll save it for your daughter!) that surprisingly fit her perfectly considering she's a toothpick. Unfortunately, due to her modesty, you can't see the beautiful rhinestone spaghetti straps that hold it up. My son's suit also came from the thrift store and also didn't need alteration. I can't believe how dapper he looks! For the price I paid, you can't beat it. And I know someone's going to ask, so I'll tell you now - the dress cost $4.95 and the suit was $7.95. Champagne taste for beer money!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Floetry in Atlantic City

After dropping the kids off to attend their event, we got dressed and headed off to Atlantic City. About an hour later, we entered the gateway to AC. It's been at least 10 years since I've been there, so I was completely surprised at how much it's grown. I usually don't take pictures of scenery without people I know in it, so it didn't occur to me to snap a pic. Next time, I'll remember. But AC is sprawling. As you entered, it used to be that you could see just about all of it without turning your head. Now, it looks like there are a million hotels and casinos, not to mention casual and upscale shopping (and the requisite Starbucks!). Since we had limited time, we only stopped at the Showboat Hotel and Casino, where the House of Blues is located.

Overall, it was a good show - when the show was on. Maybe it's just me, but I thought it was an extraordinarily long time between when the doors opened (7pm) and when the show started (almost 9pm). And the amount of time to set up between acts was long too, especially since the first two acts didn't perform for more than 10 or 15 minutes. There were two acts before Floetry - I can't remember the name of the first woman (and unfortunately, she was forgettable anyway) and the second act was a group called Algebra. Never heard of them, but that's not unusual for me. They were pretty good and I was actually looking forward to hearing their last song, but something happened. Suddenly, they just announced they couldn't do their song and said good-bye. As I said, I couldn't have told you beforehand what songs Floetry sings, but when they started playing, I was actualy able to identify two of them! They put on a great show and had everyone up and dancing.

Of course I had to take a picture, so this is us in front of the House of Blues. I decided to go with leather pants, the first pair I've ever owned. However, I kept thinking of Eddie Murphy thanks to my DH's comment!

Now what would a trip to AC be without a stop in the casino? I'm not gonna lie, I have absolutely no interest in losing any money, but we did put in a quarter and cross our fingers. Guess what??!! We lost a quarter. We got this one picture before security came and told us we couldn't take any pictures on the casino floor. Guess they thought we'd use it to somehow rig the slots.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My first entry

Well, this is officially my first post. I don't actually have much to say at the moment but, hopefully, that will change tomorrow. My DH and I have tickets to see Floetry at the House of Blues in Atlantic City tomorrow evening. He's much more into music than I am - I know who they are, but I couldn't name one of their songs or hum a note even if you had a gun to my head! As far as I'm concerned, it's an opportunity for a night out and to get (sorta) dressed up. What do folks wear to the clubs nowadays, anyway? I know one thing, the hair will look good! I'll let you know how the show went.

As you can see, my links and other stuff isn't fully developed, but I'm working on it. Let's just say that I'm not the most computer literate person. Some things are intuitive, but for others - I just stare at the screen, clicking my mouse and asking myself "what the hell does this mean. English, please!" But all of you are so wonderfully helpful, I know I can count on the more experienced bloggers to help me along.