Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos)

Tomorrow, November 1st, is the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. It's a fantastic celebration of one's deceased family and friends. The idea is to pray for them, and enjoy the good memories instead of focusing on the sad fact that they are now gone from your life. I haven't celebrated in any way before, but I've always been fascinated with the holiday. There aren't any celebrations in my teeny speck on the globe, which is probably due to the lack of a Mexican community.

There are two cemeteries where my relatives are resting. My paternal grandparents are buried in one, and my maternal grandparents in another. My father very recently passed away as well. Even though he was cremated, his wishes were to have his ashes buried. He's in the same plot as my maternal grandparents, as that's where my mother will be buried when she passes away (which I hope is many, many years from now).

I'm planning to visit both cemeteries, but I don't have any offerings for the spirits or decorations of any sort. I do love the colorful decorations and symbols though. I adore the Catrina skeletons, shrines and sugar skulls. I'm going to bring flowers, tidy up the plots, and fix anything that needs fixing. It's probably just weeding, because they were fine when I was there last, which wasn't all that long ago.

I just hope it doesn't rain.

7 things that annoy me about halloween

1. It only comes once a year. (I wanted to get the most cliche one out of the way early.)
2. How come asking someone to be your Valentine is sweet, but asking someone to be your Halloweenie is weird?
3. The Jack O' Lanterns I spend hours planning and carving always get moldy in a few days.
4. There aren't as many kids out trick-or-treating anymore. I know it makes me sound like a cranky old fuddy duddy, but back in my day all the kids went out! Or should I say, all the parents let the kids go out.
5. It happens in October, one day before November. October, especially one day before November, is cold in Newfoundland. Very cold. Halloween should happen in the summer.
6. Halloween is a gift giving occasion now. When the hell did that happen? As a matter of fact, all of the damned holidays are gift giving occasions now. Kids are getting spoiled and parents are going broke.
7. Rockets are icky.



Extra! Extra! NovZomCon is a no-brainer! Starving zombies picket blog! Demand more brains and less overtime!

Each month thus far, NaBlo has suggested a theme which participants could use to inspire their writing if they wished, perhaps curing a few cases of writer's block. The last (and first and only) month that I attempted 30 posts in 30 days was July. The theme was routine, and I did write a few posts with that in mind, but I mostly just wrote whatever the heck I felt like writing about. Unfortunately, life interceded, as it tends to do, and I did not complete the month. For November's original-official-prizetastic NaBloPoMo though, the organizers have chosen to forgo a theme. So, since I'm just so darned good at creating extra work for myself, I've come up with my own theme...

...Zombies! It was a no-brainer really (...braaaaiiins...). Even though this here bloggy is mainly full of random personal stuff, it is entitled zombies wearing helmets (and here's an older post about that very subject). I do love those naughty little Mensa-munchers though, so I thought, why not devote an entire month to them? And how about I give this zombie-drenched blogging month a name while I'm at it? Welcome to Awesome November Zombie Content to the Max Month! You can call it NovZomCon for short.

Now, I know what you're thinking: How is it extra work if I already know what I'll be writing about each day? Well, I've already spent many happy hours googling zombies and zombie related goodies. I have sections and catagories and sub-sections and sub-catagories. I'm stockpiling links and making digital jot notes. I also have a wish list that's chock full of awesome zombie-themed home decor items. That's probably bad news for the bank account, but my apartment will be bitchin'. So, yeah, loooooots of Leahpower has already gone into this project, and I haven't run out of steam yet.

This is going to be fun!


I feel a wee bit off today...

...not really fluish, but not not-fluish either. Bloody hell. I thought I was doing a pretty awesome job of staving off any illnesses. I get lots of sleep (the kittehs don't wake me up before dawn every morning) and more importantly, lots of vitamin C(offee). Maybe I should go have another cup of C, just to be on the safe side...


NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo. Try saying that 3 times fast. If you DARE!

Today I registered for November's NaBlo, which means I've committed to posting here every day of the month. This is in addition to the novel I'm writing as a NaNo participant. Wow. I have way too much time on my hands.

As I understand it, the idea for NaBlo originally started as an alternative to NaNo for those who couldn't commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Writing one blog post per day is much less time-consuming, considering there isn't a minimum word count required. Simply uploading just a picture as your post is also an option. So really, you can spend as little or as much time on blogging as you want. As for penning a novel however, even if someone with total immunity to writer's block and a continuous drip of coffee running into her veins sat down and wrote 50,000 words straight out, it would still take a foolish number of hours and a massive amount of typing to accomplish. I'm guessing anyway. Anyone have the stats on that? Also, coffee IVs. How awesome would that be?

Now, any sane person who's pledged her time to both NaBlo and NaNo would probably be squirreling away all kinds of shiny post ideas. She'd have a big list of interesting topics, and all sorts of pretty photos lined up. That chick ain't me, so on to topic #2!


Yup, poop. Not only do I have to scoop the cat's poop, I have to scoop the puppy's poop. He's a big puppy and he poops a lot. Every second day or so, I do the rounds with my trusty shovel. Usually Bender likes to poop on either side of the driveway. Sometimes he poops on the edge of the woods though, which is awesome, 'cause that's where I flick the poop anyway. Today I had to flick lots of poop out there, monkey style, because I haven't done the dookie duty in at least 3 days.

When that glamorous task was completed, I attacked the wet leaves with the rake. I worked 'em over for awhile, made 'em say uncle and tell me where all the bodies were buried. There were some holdouts though, so I had to kick it up a notch. I've had some measure of success using humiliation as a means of torture, so I had the perfect thing in mind; Halloween themed leaf bags. These babies were neon orange, goofy-faced pumpkin bags. Oh yeah, baby. Just the thought of them sends shivers down my spine. Needless to say, I learned everything I needed to know, and even some things I was probably better off not knowing. They were naughty little leaves indeed. Since things had gotten completely out of hand, I figured the other leafy bastards needed a gentle reminder of just who was in charge around here. So, I left the stuffed bags in the driveway as a warning. What exactly is that warning you ask?

Don't mess with the poop-flinging, rake-wielding, leaf-torturing gal, 'cause she just might have some humiliating Halloween paraphernalia lying around, and she's not afraid to use it.


Fear it!

Fear my sneezy wrath !!!



Now, I know you're intrigued. Even a little bit hungry perhaps? I certainly was when I stumbled upon the website for this tasty book. Anyone who knows me can attest to my love of all things undead and caffeinated, so I can definitely emphasize with Ghoul Friday's moral dilemma. Taboo but oh so gooey chewy brains, or the more commonly accepted hot shot of caffeine bean? Personally, I tend to avoid stressful decisions. That's why I like to enjoy my daily espresso with a brain flavored biscotti on the side. Suck on that, societal norms.

I haven't actually read the book yet, but I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on a copy.


A tiger, a baby and Mike Tyson all walk into a bar...

Thank Jebus, the car is not as bad as we were told it was. On my mail-checking excursion the other night, I desparately wanted to find some trouble to get into. I had a full tank of gas, a purse full of cash, and I felt the need for speed, baby. There were visions of drunken debauchery dancing in my head. I wanted loud music. I wanted flashing lights. I wanted to drive through St. John's while hanging out the sunroof topless (alas, only my imaginary car has a sunroof, and only my imaginary St. John's is warm enough to drive through while hanging out the sunroof topless). I wanted to do shots of Screech with Portuguese sailors at The Pic while a pregnant stripper with a cast on her leg gave me a clumsy lapdance. I wanted to get a tattoo of Hot Stuff the Little Devil and hepatitis C at The Black Rose. I wanted to wake up the next morning on the vomit soaked floor of a penthouse suite wearing a french maid's uniform and a rainbow-striped afro clown wig.

Ok, fine, I don't actually want to have a typical-stud-party-gone-wrong movie moment. But, I do want to have some fun, even just a wee bit. Maybe just the drunken toplessness?


more of that sweet, sweet 2008 pumpkin lovin'

His name is Lobo. He's a pretty easygoing guy. He never complains, makes bad puns, hits on your wife or talks trash. In fact, he never talks much at all. I guess it is kinda hard to speak while there's a steady stream of drool running down your chin.


Holy Really Simple Syndication Feed, Batman!

I just discovered that I could post the RSS feed from my blog, right onto my NaBloPoMo page. How frickin' cool are those beans?

I haven't bothered re-posting my blog posts to my NaBlo page since I temporarily paused posting back in July (post post post I like saying post). If anyone should stumble onto my NaBlo page now though, it won't require a second stumbling click for them to wind up on my actual blog. Even though the posts won't show up on NaBloPoMo's main page, this requires no effort at all on my part, so therefore it's awesome. I'll probably randomly re-post things that I'm happy with, so that they will show up on the main page, and maybe someone will have a wee chuckle at something that gives me a wee chuckle. Or laugh at my expense. Close enough.


long lost loose ends

After skimming through my blog, I've noticed some things that I've neglected to note the progress (or lack thereof) on. Ultimate frisbee? Quit. I have no story to entertain you with, it just wasn't for me. Moleskine 2.0 contest? I didn't place, but I did receive the 3 notebooks for participating (here's the archive of entries). I offered one to mom, and she picked out a snazzy red one. Trouble Bound's super-fantastic zombie commercial? I couldn't do it, because I would have had to stay in St. John's overnight. I didn't want to leave daddy. He was so sick, and we knew he was near the end. Sadly, we were right. I miss him so damned much. NaBloPoMo? Again, went by the wayside while taking care of my dad. I'm going to try again for November, but since my main goal is to complete NoNoWriMo, it does come second. I'll probably just be blogging about NaNoWriMo. Jogging? This is something I haven't done in awhile. No excuse for it now, but I got out of the habit since moving home. I could do with some jogging pants that aren't capris though. My awesome Gocco printer? Still haven't used it. Earlobes? They've shrunk even more. I think they're only a 6 gauge now, plus I'm stuck with only one piece of jewelry that I have to alternate between ears. The matching piece went down the drain.

There have been flurries of activity on the creative front though. I've been playing with Halloween crafts and getting a gameplan on the go for next month's crazy pile of 50,000 words. I've begun blogging in earnest again as well (obviously). Speaking of which, I noticed today that I've posted a lot of photos to my blog lately. It's kind of funny, since I'm stuck with dial-up access, so it takes longer to upload photos now.


May I present the much anticipated Halloween garland! Also, my socks.

Super-duper cute, hey? It was loads of fun to make too. Also, notice the wall color? It's a wee bit brighter in person (more like the next picture) and looks really fresh with the glossy white trim we have. Mom's kitchen is like a creamsicle now! Mmmm...creamsicles...*drool*
I made another version too. It's like a totem pole.
Hey, what's that in the win...HOLY CRAP SPIDER KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT!!!

Mad Cat says "Pay attention to meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!"
Hey, what's that on my s...HOLY CRAP SPIDER KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT!!!


Happy October 15th!

I finally started the Halloween garland that I keep talking about, and it's freaking awesome. The little characters are just so darned cute. I'll post a picture when it's done.

It was a beautiful day here. The sun was beaming, the birds were singing, and the Worm was sitting on the kitchen table staring at them intently. Bender and I went out for a little stroll this afternoon. We didn't walk as far as I'd planned (which was basically back and forth between the houses), not because of the bears, but because the temperature was much cooler than it seemed at first. I think we'll try again after dinner, all layered up this time though.

There's a pretty solid outline forming for my NaNo novel and I'm totally stoked about it. It will be interesting to see what's expelled from my brain when the goal is to simply churn out words and twist them into (hopefully) coherent sentences. My usual writing process consists of more editing than actual writing, so this should be interesting indeed.

Oh, and I looked at the lengthy story that I wrote in high school and did a half-assed word count. It's over 13,000 words of raw teenage angst, and was nowhere near complete. Since this was penned when I was only 15 years old, I had only my limited teenage life experience at my disposal (hence all the angst). I'm all grown up now, with twice as many angsty years under my belt. I am chock freakin' full of life experience. Bring on the word count!


How Leah Makes Halloween Tin Lanterns

I filled some tin cans with water and let it freeze overnight so the cans wouldn't get squished when I was whaling on them with the hammer. Speaking of supplies, I had the whaling hammer all ready to go, plus some whaling nails, towels, a garbage bag to keep the table dry, scotch tape, and a couple of the clip art designs from this free Halloween banner (that I haven't made yet).

After taping the design onto the can (and safely tucking both my thumbs away), I started poking holes along the lines with the nail and hammer. I kept the holes evenly spaced (more or less). The rolled up towel here is serving the duel purpose of keeping the can in place, and catching the ice chips that fly out of the top of the can. Because ice turns into water. And towels soak up water.

Wormy kittehs are naturally curious.

Since paper gets mushy when wet, I used a whackload of tape to keep this ghostly doodle in one piece.

When I had three cans full of Halloweeny holes, I took them outside into the chilly autumn air and spray painted them. It smelled funny. If I had remembered that I was going to spray paint them, I wouldn't have fiddled with all the stencil nonsense. Oh well, I had fun.

I pretty much had the hang of it by the third can, with both my thumbs still intact and fully functional, thank you very much. Here we have the finished product, lit up all spooky-like. Not too shabby, hey?

The Swell Life's Terrorific Tuesdays


What did I do today?

That's right, bitches. I got my rake on. Word.

I must be insane...

...because I just signed up for National Novel Writing Month.

I actually started a novel in high school. I have no idea how many words it was, but it was much, much...much...longer than short story length. I'll have to check the printout of it and see.



TV Makes Renovating Look So Damned Easy

I have been completely self-contained since moving out here. It's only gotten worse since Dad passed away last month. I keep somewhat busy with housework and the care of our furry extended family. Madison and Nightcrawler have moved home with me of course. My parent's dog Bender and two cats Radar and Scamp round out the zoo. I've also been working on some home renovations that were in limbo all this year while dad was sick. I've fixed up the closet in the guest room (my room). That involved cleaning some mold that had creeped in, sealing the floor, painting the ceiling and walls, putting down linoleum, and adding some trim around the bottom. I found a great deal on a closet system in Canadian Tire too. Then I moved onto the porch. I painted the ceiling, plastered, sanded and painted the walls. I painted one small wall in the living room to see what it would look like. Mom and I started the kitchen last weekend. We cleaned behind the stove and fridge, redid the caulking around the pantry, plastered, sanded, primed, and painted. Mom touched up the trim in the porch too. The orange paint is almost gone, and most of the stupid walls still need more coats. It took four in total to cover the green that was there, and I'm half convinced that I can still see it through that.

My move to Victoria has been delayed of course. I am going stir crazy, if you couldn't already tell from previous posts.


We're here! We're Queer! We don't want anymore bears!

It's about frickin' time I found something to occupy my time with. It's awfully damned uninspiring to be stuck inside a house though. Now that the car isn't safe to drive, I don't even have the option of driving up the road to check the mail. There's nowhere to go within walking distance (except other houses, none of which contain any friends), so the walks are just walks. Also, there are mommy bears with baby bears wandering around around Black River, so the just-walks are cautiously short. When I go out in the woods today, I don't want to be in for a big surprise, just in case today's the day the mommy bears go apeshit on trespassers.

I really have no excuse for the extreme apathy that's overtaken life in this house though. I can think of plenty of things to do, besides all the general housewifey stuff. There's the semi-housewifey related stuff, such as craft projects like sewing, knitting and embroidery. There's a bunch of leaves on the ground that need to be raked. I can cook, bake, read, or write. I have a few things left to do for my move across the country. In fact, when I actually sit down and think about it, there's a big list of things that I could and should be doing. I think I just got really fed up and burnt out with the mundane routine of housework and painting. I have been in such a bloody funk the past few days, and haven't done much besides watch tv. I've watched a bunch of movies: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Revenge of the Creature, Placid Lake, Boy Eats Girl, Ghost Town, Arachnophobia, The Locals, Irina Palm, The Legend of Lucy Keyes, The Orphanage, Mulberry Street, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. There may have even been some other movies in the mix as well. There was definitely some Colin and Justin's Home Heist. And, yes, all those links were necessary.

Speaking of crafts, there are a few half finished and half forgotten things collecting dust around here. I've started collecting recipes I like, so I can make a little recipe book. I have a good start on my skull embroidery project. I have yarn for a scarf I want to make. Mom bought some cotton yarn to make dishcloths to match the new kitchen colors. I need to darn my winter hat and mitts with the red skulls on them. I want to make halter tops out of a couple of my old t-shirts. Bender needs some leg warmers and a new bed (even though he mostly just uses the couch now). Plus, there's a whack of Halloween craftiness I could be playing with. Yup, no excuse for the apathy.



The clutter is winning. It's wearing me down and stressing me out. If I could toss out the junk and pack up the knickknacks, I'd feel a lot calmer. I've tidied up and organized things quite a bit in the past couple of months, but there's still a lot left to do. The problem I face now is that it's not my house. I want to help my mother out, but I don't want to overstep any boundaries. Just because I prefer things a certain way doesn't mean my mother does. Just because I'm apparently a closet OCD sufferer doesn't mean my mother is.


Happy October 1st!

In celebration of Halloween month, may I present to you....Boondox pumpkin! He's actually one of my pumpkins from last year, and what a bitch he was to carve! I drew the eyes a little too close to the mouth, so when I was hacking into it I almost ended up with just one giant hole. It looked pretty cool in the end though.
I've been on the lookout for cool and funky Halloween crafts. Most of the things I've come across so far are meant for little kids though. I'm looking for things that don't require popsicle sticks, macaroni, or adult supervision. I've only seriously hurt myself with scissors on two occasions, only one of which required a trip to the hospital.
Anyway, I found an awesome free pattern for a Halloween garland on www.papercrave.com that I'm totally looking forward to making. It should look pretty cool on the orange walls in the kitchen when I finish the painting that I've been putting off and haven't actually started yet.