Sunday, September 27, 2009

I need a hand . . . or two . . .

Well, I woke up this morning and I just couldn't take it anymore. The sun was shining, the air cool and crisp, and those big, brown eyes were looking into mine, begging for just a little walk, please mom? They really have been so good lately. Faithfully laying at my feet while I work in the basement. (actually, covering every square inch of floor space while I work - well, try to work) So as soon as I got myself together (which is no small task) the leashes came out and off we went. It was nice to get out and about for a while. Our neighborhood is always a little crazy on the weekend, especially this weekend.

Mahaffie Farm and Stage Coach Stop

We live just a block from Mahaffie Stage Coach Stop. It's an historical site here in Kansas - the only remaining actual stage coach stop along the original Santa Fe Trail. It's a lovely house on a large plot of land, surrounded on three sides by beautiful parks with walking trails. Over the past couple of years the city has really sunk a lot of money into restoring it to it's original condition. They have added a small farm, a pasture where they now keep horses, bulls, and livestock year round, and instead of the annual civil war battle reenactments, they now have all sorts of events there. (so we now get to listen to gunfire and cannon blasts on a more regular basis - Yipee.) Anyway, this weekend is Wild West Days and the parks were full to capacity with family pic-nickers, football games, old time army tents with character actors cooking over campfires, and horse trailers filled with horses and who knows what. Except for the occasional loud booms, my dogs just love the sights, and smells, and excitement of weekends like this.

It was almost 1:30PM by the time I got everyone walked, fed, and got Jake's glasses picked up from the eye doctors. So I finally got a chance to work on my props. Today, I spent the afternoon making hands. I have all these (sort of) lovely static props, (at least I've put in a lot of work to make them creepy) and I've always found that making realistic hands for them is so damn difficult. So I took a few days last week and did some experimenting. I decided that the best way to make them was from the bone structure up. I've been doing a lot of playing around with paper mache lately, so I thought that might be a good medium. I just needed to figure out how to make the bone structure. A week or so back, I spent an afternoon just wandering through the local Hobby Lobby store, and found these really cool things. They are sold as building blocks for little kids, but they look a lot like Styrofoam packing peanuts. ( you know, the stuff they fill the box full of to ship breakables?) Except these are different; first of all, they are dyed all the colors of the rainbow, secondly, they are totally biodegradable. When you are done building and playing with your castle, or whatever, you just place it in the sink, run warm water over it, and it melts like an ice cube. The way they connect, is by rubbing it onto a damp towel or sponge, and they just stick together. Of course, I've found that it's easier to just lick 'em and stick 'em. ( I probably shouldn't do that, seeing as it's one of those "green" products, it could be made from recycled kitty litter for all I know) Anyway, they are just about the same size as all the bones in a hand. You can even squeeze them and scrunch them to a smaller size. So after I build a skeleton hand, I wrap it in either foil, or put it inside a latex glove, pose it any way I want, and paper mache them. When it dries, I paint it, varnish it to keep it weather proof, and attach them. I built several today, and Heather helped with the paper mache, and when they are dry, tomorrow, I'll paint them, coat them, and stick them on - Ta-Da!!

I should be able to get 3 or 4 pairs done tomorrow. I could probably use a few more pair to replace the hands on the old props, but I've scheduled a break in my work day tomorrow. Jasmin and her family are coming out tomorrow for the Wild West Days, and they are going to sign little Caleb up to do mutton busting. (it's like bronco busting, except they use sheep for broncos, and little people for cowboys.) It's exactly the kind of thing that Caleb (the dare devil) loves to do. I can hardly wait. Hopefully, Jasmin will get photos that I can post. (got to find that memory card for my camera!!)

Oh, and by the way, Roy didn't build my shelves in my work room today. Actually . . . he found some already made that someone was getting rid of. They had to disassemble them to get them into my basement, but they are perfect! I can get so much more done when I am organized. Yay, Roy!

Okay, got to get to bed now - busy day tomorrow.

Good night all,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Screams from the basement

Okay, it's quarter after four - in the AM ! I really should be in bed like all good little girls and boys, but I quit trying to impress Santa about a hundred years ago. No, I'm busy with my most favorite holiday, Halloween! Sorry Mom, I don't know where you went wrong, but I'm just not a Ho-Ho-Ho kind of kid. More like Hee-Hee and Bwahahaha . . . kind of girl. I'm sure it's not your fault, I blame my brothers. I'd just rather scare the crap out of teenagers than try to figure out what the hell they want that they don't already have.

My basement art room has turned into a mini Mad Scientist's lab. I've been whipping up all kinds of ghoulish creatures. (although, I should have started months ago.) Things (as usual) are just not progressing as quickly as I'd like. Or maybe, I just can't keep up with my imagination and all the creepy ideas in my head? Anyway, I have managed to crank out a creepy little midget that I've named Bubba, and a witch named Esmeralda. The witch wasn't part of the plan - she just happened, I really have no idea what to do with her. I guess I'll set her out on the back deck for Heather's Halloween party. Haven't you heard about Heather's party? Well, She has one planned for Halloween night. So now that I'll have a back yard full of teenagers, it really will be an asylum - what fun! All I know is that I'M not picking up all the dog poo.

I HAD so much stuff that I wanted to accomplish for this year, but it's all gone by the wayside due to the never ending Chaos that is my home. I had planned to build:

*A mausoleum with a flying crank ghost (a very cool effect, I even have all the plans drawn out for the mausoleum - not gonna happen this year.)
*A demon roof crawler with glowing eyes. (might still happen)
*A very scary scarecrow for the back yard (facing the walking trail) standing guard over a field of corn shocks along the fence line.
* A grave yard fence (that IS going to happen, I have the fencing!)
*I wanted to build a padded room to keep a few lunatics. (but I guess all my lunatics have other plans anyway - so what's the point?)
* I wanted to get Roy busy on rigging up a creature box using my old trunk, but at this rate, I'll be lucky if he gets his lab put together on time! (He is REALLY dragging his feet this year)
* There just is no money in the budget for fog machines, or any new sound tracks or lighting, so I'm trying to work with what I have *sigh*
* I also wanted to get Elizabeth a boy friend - I was thinking a nice, tall, Jack the Ripper kind of guy.

So, on top of trying to figure out what can happen, what might get done, and what is just completely out of the question and will have to have to wait until next year; Earlier this week, I started unpacking all of last year's stuff. I felt like a grave robber, unearthing a years worth of boxes and debris and finally finding the coffins that I had built for my Halloween friends. When I pulled back the coffin lids, I discovered that there is a lot that needs to either be repaired, or I want to do some re-designing to. It was a total mess with every thing strung out all over the place. My husband is supposed to build some shelves in my basement for me this weekend, so that I have room to work and can safely store every one in their own little crypt for next year. (I'll believe THAT when I see it.)

So . . . . that's why I haven't had much time to blog lately. I'm up to my eyeballs in zombies, witches, demons, creepy midgets, and all the usual lunatics.
Okay, I really have to sleep now, the sun is starting to come up. I'm starting to feel like a vampire!!

Oh, I will try to get some photos up - just as soon as I figure out what the kids did with my camera's memory card!!!! (Grrrrr . . . )

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still Here.

It's been so long since I've posted, I hope I remember how to do this. Actually, I'm trying to type this up, and get it out while I am waiting for my hair color to set. Don't worry, I set the kitchen timer. I have just been so busy with babies, and teenagers, and dogs, and birthdays, and all kinds of crazy stuff.

Not to mention . . . . Halloween, the most wonderful night of the year, is ONLY 42 days, and 23 hours away !!!!! And everything is SUPPOSED to be set up and ready by October 1st ! (only 11 days from now.) NOT GONNA HAPPEN. It's going to be just like last year, I'll be putting the finishing touches on things right up until the first (or second, or tenth) visitor arrives on Halloween night. No organization, none whatsoever. In spite of all my pre - planning, family meetings, and carefully drawn diagrams and charts; It's just total chaos around here. Roy is just now starting to feel more like himself from his surgery. ( and that's not saying much) I have to try to get as much done as possible during the days so that I don't wake Nick, Jenn, and the baby with all my late night prop building. And worst of all, the funds for all of this just isn't available like it has been in the past. Our family budget barely covers survival, so I've had to make a lot of changes, and put off the bigger projects until next year. But I swear, next year will be different. Stop laughing - it really is.

Okay, I've got to go hop in the shower and get myself to bed.
Good night all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

TA - DA !!!!!

Brooklyn Rose Foley
Born September 2nd, 2009
8 pounds, 13 ounces
21 inches long

This is her, the beautiful little angel that has been making Jenn's life miserable, waiting for her to FINALLY arrive! Like I said, I wasn't able to be there, but my oldest daughter, Jasmin, was.
I have heard the most glowing stories of what a brave and wonderful job Jenn did, and how comforting and attentive my son was; And how everyone was so amazed with how alert Little Brooklyn Rose was, and how she just silently gazed at her Mommy and Daddy with her intense and curious blue grey eyes. I can't wait to see her and hold her. I am so proud of Nick and Jenn.
She is beautiful !!

Complications . . . .

As of this posting, at 7:20PM, Jenn is dilated to 7 cms. and I expect the baby will be arriving in a few hours. However, neither I, nor my family, have been to the hospital yet, and don't expect to due to complications. While Jenn was in the early stages of induction, I decided to take Heather, my youngest daughter, to see the doctor. She has been struggling with a low grade temp and a sore throat since Sunday night and I wanted to be sure it wasn't anything serious. Well, guess what? She has BOTH Swine Flu AND Strep Throat! The Hospital staff will not allow any one from our house at the hospital because we have all been exposed. BUMMER.

In fact, when the baby is born and they are released from the hospital, Nick, Jenn, and the baby, will be staying with my oldest daughter, Jasmin, until all this Swine Flu virus clears out.

I know that my son is a nervous wreck, and that he is at the hospital, surrounded by Jenn's family, who have treated him very badly in the past. I really wish that I could be there for them; to give support and share their joy.

Nick promises to email photos to us as soon as possible, and I keep telling myself, and everyone else, that "There will be plenty of time for snuggles and playtime when everyone is well." But still, I can't help feeling sad and a little depressed. Sometimes, it just seems like nothing in our life, can be simple and un-complicated.

Poor Heather, she is more upset than anyone. On top of feeling physically sick, she was REALLY looking forward to having a baby in the house, and she feels like all this is somehow her fault. So far, this swine flu hasn't seemed that much worse than the regular flu that the kids get every fall. Her fever hasn't been much over 101 degrees, and I would expect that much fever from the Strep Throat on it's own. As long as I keep Tylenol in her, her fever stays down, and she feels pretty good. And I guess I have to look on the bright side, once she gets through this, she will have life-time immunity to this virus, and she won't get it later.

Okay, gotta go cook dinner and disinfect something.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Tomorrow is going to be a FABULOUS day! You know why? Tomorrow morning, Jenn is going into the hospital to be induced! We are going to have a baby!!! Jenn is going to be a Mommy !My son, Nick, is going to be a daddy for the first time! I am going to be a Nanna, for the FOURTH time, Roy is going to be a pappa again, Heather, and Jasmin, and Jake, are going to be Aunts and an Uncle again. And most importantly, Jenn ISN'T going to be pregnant any more!!!
Everyone in my house is doing the happy dance.

You KNOW that I'll be posting photos, ASAP.

If you have a moment, say a prayer for Jenn that all goes smoothly for her, the baby, and Nick