Notes on Halloween… 

The last time I celebrated Halloween I was seven. I dressed up as a witch, complete with warty nose, black hat, and a cackle that was good enough to garner me a few extra treats. 

This was back in the 80’s. People still felt safe taking their kids through the neighborhood,which was flush with school age kids and parents going from house to house, knocking on doors and braving the yard of the favorite local haunted house. They were kids I went to school with and parents that we knew from birthday parties, picnics, after school hangouts, and the like. Nobody was thinking about poisonings or pedophiles luring kids or any of that nonsense. It was just a fun night to dress up a and play and come home with a plastic pumpkin full of treats. 

Until…. 

My mom became a Christian. She sat me and my five year old sister down to tell us it was our last Halloween and why. It was an “evil” holiday and she and her family wouldn’t participate anymore. Since we already had costumes and had been told we would go that year, she’d let us go but after that it was an off limits holiday. We nodded and said “yes, ma’am” and probably didn’t think anything of it. We went out for Halloween, me as a witch and my little sister as a ghost, trick or treated our hearts out and went home contented. 

Then Halloween came around again and we were some of the only kids that weren’t getting costumes and getting to go trick or treating. The church had a kids event that night where you could dress up like Bible character and bob for apples and whatnot but we only went maybe two or three years and then even that dried up as an alternative for me and my sister. 

I remember being a bit bitter about this strictly enforced no Halloween policy after awhile. I was a kid who liked make believe and imagination. I was dying to dress up as different characters and pretend I really was a vampire or a zombie. Later when I got into acting in high school, I realized that for me costumes and play acting weren’t a once a year thing. I still wanted to do what it seemed like EVERYONE else was doing and be a flapper or Cleopatra or Morticia for one night a year and have it be totally okay.

Once we reached late high school and my mom’s religious fervor cooled for a moment, she relaxed her no Halloween policy; we could do what we wanted. I waffles about participating for a bit. Eventually, I decided to double down on the no Halloween policy for reasons I can’t even completely fathom at this point. (Who can penetrate the reasoning of teenagers? I couldn’t even when I was one.)

I went through most of my adulthood without getting back into it. Partly because I went through some religious episodes myself and partly because I never had any kids of my own to make holiday memories with. 

Last year something changed. I really, really wanted to celebrate Halloween again. Maybe it was all the cosplay I was seeing become mainstream. And while I understand how completely separate those two worlds are, I can definitely see how cosplay had a hand in changing my mind about Halloween. I think I realized it might be a way for me to ease back into that state of imagination and wonder I had as a seven year old. That this formerly “taboo” holiday could be fun for me again. 

To that end I’m picking back up where I left off. I’m going to be a witch again for Halloween this year. My office allows costumes so I’m going all out. I’ve got about half of the pieces together: a black, high neck dress, strappy, pointy toed shoes, a long black wig, black body paint, and black nail polish. I still need to sew the flocked brocade cape that I’m wearing over my dress and to make a creepy evil queenish crown and I’m set. 

I don’t think Halloween is inherently evil. The modern day celebration is a day when people of every age get to let their inner child out to play. I can only think that’s a good thing. So I’m participating this year. Witchy poo, all the way! 

And hey, my mom is helping me make my costume. And she said “I’m proud of you for doing it for yourself”. Isn’t that something? 

Double Gradient Quilt

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One of my coworkers and his wife had their first baby recently and when my co-workers decided to throw him a baby shower at work (before little Mr Owen was born) I thought ‘I will make a quilt!’. When I found out about the baby I asked the expectant papa if they knew the sex yet and he told me that they were waiting to be surprised and wanted gender neutral stuff in greens and yellows.
So I created a private Pinterest board to gather ideas and started getting my materials together.

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I bought a fat quarter bundle called Natural History by Lizzy House in the green colorway from Gotham Quilts. I added some fat quarter and half yard bundles from Pile O Fabrics. And filled it out with a couple of green fabrics I bought a while back for a pink/green quilt.

Even though I had the board up on Pinterest I still hadn’t decide what I was going to do as far as a design, even though I had the colors down. So I cut 2½ inch strips of each color and arranged them in a double gradient with a bias seam between each color.

I ended up with this:

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Pretty, isn’t it?

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Though I did have some issues with the quilting and binding process (first timer mistakes like not having a walking foot and not leaving a long enough tail for the binding), I’m super pleased with the way it came out! Proud new papa and mama loved it too.

Your Pit Bull

The basics, with love.

The Dad Letters

Dear River,

I want to tell you a story about your dog, Zoe. We found her cowering at the pound. She wasn’t barking like the other dogs. She was simply laying there, looking up at us. The tag said, “lab mix” and she was slated to be killed in a week. We fell for it, thinking we were buying a lab.

She is not a lab. She is a pit bull.

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As Zoe grew, we came to realize the pound had lied. I was scared. I felt irresponsible for letting this type of dog into my home. All of the stereotypes, preconceptions and worries filled my mind. Should I take her back? What would people think of us?

She is the definition of disenfranchised. When first time guests visit we lock her in her cage, not because she is dangerous, but because of unspoken fears. She receives wary glances from strangers as…

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Unexpected Treasures

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View of downtown Seattle from Lander St (in SoDo).

You know how one day you’re walking along and suddenly you see something you’ve never seen before, even though you’ve been down that street a thousand times? That happened to me today!

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Looking towards Starbucks... Wasn't it beautiful today?

I was going to meet my aunt at the Starbucks HQ in SoDo. I was walking westbound on Lander when I saw the words “antique mall” jump out from a sign across the street. I beelined across the busy street because I love vintage treasure, y’all!

The name of the mall is Pacific Galleries Antique Mall and it’s located two blocks from the aforementioned Starbucks HQ on S Lander Street. When I walked in, I left my backpack with the ladies up front and headed into a wonderland of vintage/antique-iness.

I saw:

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Gray lacquered Chippendale chairs with pastel violet seats. Swoon!

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A pair of cream and chrome Milo Baughman chairs and a Platner coffee table.

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A pair of Dorothy Draper chests. $4k! Bit still so swoon worthy.

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A pair of mid century swag arm lounge chairs. I took this pic so I could have an idea of how the pair I have in my storage should look when they are re-upholstered. (My pair are from the curb so they need a lot of help!)

There was also a lot of cool decorative pieces and art. Even cooler still, they have layaway… So you might actually be able to buy those four thousand dollar Dorothy Draper chests after all. Right?

Anyway, if you’re in SoDo be sure to check out this gem. Until next time!

Oblivion

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After waiting for what seems like for ever for Tom Cruise’s new scifi movie to come out… I finally got my day in the theater! Being the cheap bastard frugal person that I am, I went to AMC Kent Station 14 for the pre-noon show which is only $6. The first thing I noticed was that there was only one other person in the theater. This was about 25 minutes before the show started. If you know anything about Seattle area movie crowds, we are not amateurs when it comes to this movie business. We know better than to wait until the last minute to try to get into the “big” movie… Yes, even at 11 o’clock in the morning. After the “twenty” played the place was barely a quarter full. Not a good sign.

Jack and Victoria's HQ in the sky.

Jack and Victoria’s HQ in the sky.

You probably have a good idea of what this movie is about from the trailers. Here’s my take on it: this is a matinee movie. What do I mean by that? Well, I rate movies on how much I’d be willing to pay to see them. After I see them. No good? Free on TV with commercials. OK? Rental. Fairly decent? Half price/matinee at the movie theater. So great I can’t contain my fangirling? Full price at the theater… possibly even in 3D.

Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) watching Jack come back in from an unauthorized mission.

Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) watching Jack come back from an unauthorized mission.

This movie falls into the fairly decent category. The plot ideas are interesting, the visuals are arresting, and it nice to see Cruise return to the science fiction genre (he’s done some great ones in the past – Minority Report, which is a personal favorite, comes immediately to mind). All of the top billed cast give serviceable performances. Andrea Riseborough is the lone standout; her portrayal of Victoria was pitch perfect and much more interesting overall than Jack’s love interest, Julia (Kurylenko). That said, I wasn’t bored at all, from beginning to end, and genuinely wanted to know what was going to happen. At the same time, I never felt totally thrilled and caught up in the story and characters the way I was with some other recent scifi (Inception, anyone?) and the “surprises” felt somewhat unsurprising. Not that I knew what was going to happen, they just didn’t have any oomph. Worst of all, the denouement was just outright cheesy.

Julia (Kurylenko) and Jack (Cruise) running from enemies.

Julia (Kurylenko) and Jack (Cruise) running from enemies.

I didn’t hate it, in fact, I enjoyed it while I was watching it. But… I didn’t love it either. All in all, I’m not disappointed I saw it. The director Joseph Kasinski is an incredible visualist. He needs to work on his story telling skills. Perhaps, if he were to place his trust in the hands of a truly capable writer then he’d get that home run. Oblivion made it about half way around the bases before being tagged out.

Malcolm Beech (Freeman) asking Jack (Cruise) for help as Sykes (Coster-Waldau) looks on.

Malcolm Beech (Freeman) asking Jack (Cruise) for help as Sykes (Coster-Waldau) looks on.

See it if you must. (That’s for all the genre nuts like me who don’t care how bad it is as long as it’s scifi.)

Skip it if you were looking for the next great science fiction movie. This isn’t it.