Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More 5 Random Things!

  • I was in the car at 10:10 am, and at 10:10 pm.
  • My counterparts at the other sites and I have been summoned to the college president's office tomorrow. I've been imagining walking through the halls on our way there while the Imperial March plays.
  • New fuzzy pajama pants, a blueberry muffin from the Gingerbread Construction Company and chamomile tea have made me very happy in the last hour.
  • Weezer is in Boston in two weeks. That would have been fun...
  • It's very late again. Silly mind, go to sleep!

Monday, November 29, 2010

November, I thought we were friends

Pete: I brought you a bottle of wine.....

Me (holding an open beer): Oh, good, thank you. (*thinks*: oh good, I will drink that too.)

Turns out that "what tomorrow will bring" can only be described as a flaming bag of no-THANK-you. Boss gives notice + heightened fight or flight + situation where I should have kept my fool mouth shut = ughhhhh. No permanent damage done, but I see the writing on the wall. It just appears to be giving me the finger, that's all.

This has been quite a month. Lots of great moments, but kind of a cosmic kick in the head in some respects. I say that because as I've navigated the stressful stuff and upheld the balancing act, I've had the overwhelming feeling that I'm being shaken. "Hey! Psst! Hey YOU! You're on the wrong path, kid..." This might sound like I think the universe is punishing me for roads not taken, and I really really don't mean that. It's just that I feel nudged to look around me, to look within.

Anyway. Here are some things that lifted my spirits a bit today:

Joy the Baker
. I love the beautiful kale and sweet potato soup pics, and the teeny kitten! There are also some beautiful aprons under her November giveaway, at least today there are. (PamWares on etsy).

The Bloggess
. She writes. She's funny. When I go where the bad people go, and am sitting front row center with certain of my friends, I bet she'll be up on stage. Ha.

This post
on Food Network Humor. I could absolutely be a Shredded Cheese Authority. I'm going to look for that job, as soon as I dust off my sadly outdated resume.

And this little person, who was so sweet to Bad Day Mama, didn't mind grilled cheese for dinner, and gave cuddles on the couch and during story time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Late night, should be sleeping

Not sure why I'm still awake...maybe just inertia. Going to bed means getting off the couch. It also means that before 6 am tomorrow it all starts again, and I am just not ready.

Five days off is good stuff. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We saw Santa...

...and she was almost too shy to tell him what she wanted. Sweet girl.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday, except it really wasn't

Today I only got out of my jammies at around 4 pm, and that was because it was too cold to wear them to the grocery store. We needed milk, and I figured if I picked up a few select items we could get through tomorrow and do the usual weekly run on Sunday. Cleverrrr. And after dinner I put those pajamas right back on. Oh yeah. Living the high life here.

We watched movies (AstroBoy and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) and hung out on the couch, but I also squared away some prep stuff for the Christmas knitting. I dug out needles, printed patterns, cleared space in my bag, and wound hanks of beautiful wool into nice neat little yarn cakes. Ahhh.

My only triumph of parenting for the day was making sure Charlotte had a shower, put on a clean nightgown, and brushed her teeth before bed. I am a rockstar!

I shopped a bit online, only really because I found a couple of decent deals and got free shipping at one place. One of my friends updated fb repeatedly with her whereabouts throughout the morning....and I must confess I did sort of chortle to myself as I drank a nice cup of coffee and made myself a frittata (garlic, grape tomatoes, arugula and cheese). In my jammies.

I just can't see leaving the warm flannel of my nest to go shopping in the wee small hours. But hey, whatever works for people....the ones out at 4 am today will doubtless be pleased with themselves when people like me are still working on finding/finishing/wrapping gifts on December 22nd. Ah well.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


My mother-in-law, Mona, has been gone for eight years now. It's been nine years since that last Thanksgiving, where we crowded around the dining room table, before kids, and were a family celebrating a holiday with some weight.

And I think that one of the final gifts she left us is that we were forced to be responsible for our family. If we wanted to have a holiday, we needed to figure out the food and the place and the time. If we wanted to be a family, well, we needed to step up and be there. There was no waiting for Mom to plan Thanksgiving, or going back home for Christmas because she was there. And we've built our family, all of us, day by day, both the holidays and the ordinary days...the days where we all just mesh and the days where we just disagree.

I think she's proud of us. I felt that today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blessed are the piemakers

Anyone out there with perfect crust, know that I have crust envy. I am willing to learn at the knee of anyone who can teach me before I need pie again! Martha- meh. Bittman (which I attempted today)- the balance of too-dry-to-stay-together and omg LOOK at all that freaking gluten I developed! is too difficult. Crust with vinegar, I couldn't bring myself to do....and although the Cook's Illustrated crust with vodka was a fine idea, I only have Stoli Razberi and Absolut Peppar in my house (what is wrong with me?).

Anyway. I think these pies are good. I hope. See 'em and weep. I figure if the crust is awful then at least the filling is sound!

Maple Bourbon Pecan, pre-baking. That crust is suspect, don't trust it for a second.
And after. See? you turn your back, that crust will sneak into the filling and steal your purse.
Same crust recipe, slightly better result. This one's pumpkin....with errant pumpkin puree spots. The pie has freckles....but hey, so do some of my favorite people.
S'more pie. My other pie plate is packed with the Christmas decorations up over the barn, so it got a springform to call home. It will get its marshmallow topping tomorrow, and a kitchen-torching before we eat it. Fire! Fire! heh heh heh.
I am psyched for tomorrow- family and food AND the knowledge that there are still three days left of the loooong weekend after. Brilliant.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No complaints, redux

In the wake of the past week, and my frustration at trying unsuccessfully to balance home and work (home WON), I lost my grip on the string of No Complaints, and watched it go sailing into the sky. I've had a few days where I recognized where I was going and resisted, but then broke the chain with one grouchy afternoon here, a bad day at work there...

Attempt #3, then. It seems like auspicious timing, during this week of Thanksgiving and the week after averting possible disaster, to remember how lucky I am and to truly to focus my energy on the positive and not on fruitless complaints.

I am continuing to learn how to face situations that need to change without venting, but also without passively absorbing whatever comes my way. I guess what I'm saying is that there are ways to voice dissent or dissatisfaction without whining, complaining or creating negative energy. I am trying to practice different and better responses, ones that put more positive out into the world....without losing who I am. Which, to be honest? is sometimes snarky, often sarcastic, and not interested in keeping silent simply to keep the peace, when sometimes there are things that need to be said.

So tomorrow, which is November 24th, is Day 1. Again. Right now? Not much to complain about. Jammies, wine, cooking shows on DVR, new magazine...and tomorrow I get to bake for my family and work on some holiday knitting (and even finish a couple of gifts!) and just do one thing at a time. I am a lucky girl.

Monday, November 22, 2010

5 Things I'm Doing

  1. Watching The Venture Bros.
  2. Inhaling the scent of an apple pie we can't eat (it will go to a work potluck tomorrow).
  3. Kind of wishing I could turn out more perfect pies more consistently.
  4. Finally picking up my drink again after all the ice has melted.
  5. Thinking that there maybe should be more hours in a day. Except knowing me, I'd likely just use them for more sleep instead of something good. Although sleep is good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

Today was so busy, but fun...planning for pie-baking later this week, installing flannel sheets, guerilla Sunday-before-Thanksgiving grocery shopping with the girl, and cooking the first meal from my new cookbook for friends. Sadly, no pics of Spicy New England Pot Roast, Ismail Merchant's Pureed Spinach or roasted potaotes, but they were yummy.

And now I am watching recorded episodes of The French Chef: "How to Roast a Turkey." I love Julia Child.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20th

It was a really good day.

Pete at the Jingle Bell 10K
Nason kids watching wood-fired pizza cook
O on the move...tried to make a break for it, but we brought him back.
So grown up I have to catch my breath

Princess Aunt Lori

Friday, November 19, 2010

Catboy at home

Eat, kitty, eat. Whoever heard of a skinny Jimmy?
(Mrs. Claus, Rankin-Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Be here now

Today started with a bit of freaking out, as the catboy didn't really eat at all last night and was hiding under an end table this morning while I hunted for him. After sharing all of this with one of the vet techs when I dropped him off, I drove away, worrying, a bit teary.

I won't say that I tried not to worry today, because there is no not worrying in this situation. But I tried to stay in the moment, mindful. I can be upset, worried, fearful. I can be there, feel that, and then move on. I made my way through the day, and when the OD called with news, although I was steeled for whatever might come, I was as pleasantly surprised as she was, and so grateful.

Jimmy has made a most amazing recovery. This is not to say that he is all better, but that in a few short days, his levels are dropping, his small furry body responding to treatment. The OD said that he was bright-eyed, responsive, curious. She said that although some of those things are subjective, that the objective factors bear out his recovery. Mind you, we have a long road of medication and watching to be sure he eats....follow up labs and twice-yearly exams until we see what the new normal will be for him. But. He is here. He is still here.

I got him home, and felt sort of weird about leaving again to keep a hair appointment. I'm glad I did; some time away from work and home and caring for sick kitty was much needed and so good. I sat in the massage-y chair for my shampoo. I had wine and chatted with the stylist, who is someone I saw regularly for pedis last year and who I really enjoy. When I left, my head felt lighter, but not for loss of hair.

So my "here, now": couch. Wine and chocolate. Snoozy cat on one side of me, snoozy man on the other. Headache numbed a bit and only tomorrow left to the workweek. We might not even have to go to the vet tomorrow....but if we do, our Jimmy will spend one more day with his fan club (which has quite the membership; everyone loves that boy!). Either way, it's another day where we'll all put our feet on the floor, whether we have two or four of them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cat delivery service.

It occurred to me as I drove to the animal hospital this morning that it would be the 5th round trip from here-ish (including my office) to there in two days. And I thought, "am I crazy? Is this beyond what normal people would do for their cat?"

And then I remembered: I don't care. Jimmy is my friend and I love him and this is what I think is right.

I dropped Jimmy off at the direction of the Best Vet Ever, who had given me hope and encouragement yesterday afternoon when we spoke, noting that some of the bad bloodwork numbers were dropping (good) and that he had perked up (also good). We took him home last night, with his port still intact, to give him loves and get him to eat and basically try to have some normalcy ("There's that word again...I don't think it means what you think it means."). The BVE also managed his pain- thank you!- and made sure to give him one more dose before sending him home with us.
Today we were to bring him back, for more IV fluids and antibiotics.

I had been feeling pretty good about his progress, until I called this afternoon and spoke with, well, not the Best Vet Ever, but the Other Doctor. The Other Doctor was full of doom and gloom, of dire predictions of permanent damage (the BVE had said she really felt there would be minimal permanent damage) and faulty phosphorus absorption....medications...mix this one with food, this one with water....not eating is problematic....no, she has no idea why such-and-such is happening and frankly she's not concerned about it.

I get the suspicion that the Other Doctor is one of those people who works with animals because she doesn't like dealing with people and isn't particularly good at it.

And tonight he is not as perky, hasn't eaten. He's still really so so sick, thin. He seems angry and tired, neither of which is surprising. He's, um, incontinent. He's happy to be home for sure, and maybe will eat and drink when no one is looking later. Tomorrow he goes back again for one more test, and possibly more fluids. They tell me that often with kidney disease (which is how the OD is referring to this) the third day on IV fluids is the turning point. Alright, turning point, yes please. We can getz betr? okthx.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poor Catboy.

(napping Jimmy)
Our boy is at the vet's office right now, undergoing treatment for failing kidneys. His doctor, the Best Vet Ever (no joke, she is amazing), thinks that he could have a kidney infection....or it might be something worse.

Jimmy had seemed to be his usual self lately, but was sick to his stomach more often than hairball-normal on Saturday. Hmm. Then on Sunday, he had some incontinence issues and was not eating or drinking much. Okay, something's wrong. I spent a good portion of the evening trying to cajole him into at least drinking some water. Let's be honest: at 11:30 I was on the floor with him, trying to give him fluid with a baby medicine dropper.

Yesterday was one of those Goodfellas days where I ran from place to place at warp speed, hearing Harry Nilsson in my head, jumpy and looking over my shoulder for helicopters. Check on sick cat. Email boss. Get kidlet ready for school. Call vet. Kidlet on bus. Sick and crying cat to vet. Me to work. Phone calls to vet, husband, vet, husband, boss. Pick up better? cat. Pick up kidlet just before afterschool late pickup. Home. Give urine-covered cat a bath. Feed kidlet. Cajole (damp, but no longer dripping) cat into eating and drinking. And so on....

The diagnosis yesterday had been a UTI. After subcutaneous fluid and antibiotic and vitamin B shots, he really had perked up a bit. We came home with a 10 day supply of another antibiotic (pills, yikes) and with instructions for me to make sure he eats, otherwise they would recommend syringe feeding. Although his bloodwork was back and showed elevated white cells and leukocytes (duh), the more comprehensive stuff for liver and kidney and pancreatic function would not be in until today.

This morning, he was happy and purring, eating, drinking his water, interacting with Pepper.

Then I got a phone call.

I was driving. Of COURSE.

The Best Vet Ever proceeds to tell me that my improving! cat is critically ill. That the improvements are temporary, and that he needs IV fluids and antibiotics. NOW.

So I change directions, head back. More phone calls. When I come to pick him up, Jimmy doesn't resist. He knows he's sick. He knows where I'm taking him.

As I drive to the vet, I try not to think about Frances.

When I talked to my friend/boss Shaman today, he told me that I need to "go in there hopeful, Lor, but you need to try to prepare yourself for the worst." To a degree, he's right. When we determined that Frances could not be cured, that her quality of life would never be the same, I was blindsided.


I feel guilty, because this kitty was sick for some time before we saw the distress signals. One of the vets pointed out that, "if it were you or me, and we were this sick, we would have seen a doctor ten days ago." She wasn't being judgy; she followed it up with the observation that animals, particularly cats, are biologically programmed to conceal their weaknesses.

Okay. So some perspective.

He is young, and strong. Short of the hairball horking, he doesn't get sick. This could be a very very bad infection, and the right care could do the trick. He's in the right place to get the right care.

And if it's something worse? Well, he got to come home last night, where he was loved and fussed over and he and I curled up together on the couch and snoozed.

Good thoughts, please...

Monday, November 15, 2010


Charlotte: Mommy. What would happen if you went trick-or-treating in December? Would they still have to give you candy?

Me: Well, people most likely wouldn't be expecting you, since really no one is trick-or-treating then.

C: But would they give you something anyway?

I think you would only get what people could find in their houses to give you. You'd probably end up with Brillo pads and Grape-Nuts.

C: What's a Grape-Nut?

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today was full of lots of my favorite things:
  • sleeping in
  • lovely birthday gifts (including The Essential New York Times Cookbook...woot!)
  • chatting with my mom
  • grocery store evasion (I love my husband)
  • shoe shopping
  • buying yarn
  • good wine
  • baking
  • a fantastic dinner (have I mentioned I love my husband?)
  • family time
Pete in the kitchen: pan-seared scallops served over white bean puree, with kale and chorizo and pine nut/shallot/raisin gremolata. Oh my.

I made a devil's food cake with vanilla-orange buttercream...the cake is from Sweet Maria's Cake Kitchen and the frosting is Grandma's buttercream with a bit of orange extract added with the vanilla.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Today I...

...slept in until 8. Yay!

...attempted to take Charlotte on a birthday party marathon. Left South Berwick at 1:40 + drive to Newington + Chuck E. Cheese party ended at 2:00 = FAIL.

...bought my very first flatiron. Let's hope I am more successful at not burning my head than I was when I used a curling iron regularly (circa 1990).

...noticed that Pepper sort of resembles Henrietta Pussycat.
...found out that a guy who looked like a cross between Hagrid and Dog the Bounty Hunter (Pete's description) spotted our old broken washer behind the barn, loaded it up and took it away to sell for scrap metal.

...might have figured out what I'll be knitting for the next month or so. ::shifty::

...get to go out to dinner with the girlie and the man. I love my birthday, and that celebrating it takes more than one day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

No complaints. As it turns out, not that easy.

I've been in a bit of a funk this week, not least because I made it 7 days before breaking my rule on Tuesday and Wednesday. I was at work, got bogged down and overwhelmed, and since it's so easy to do there (hey, everyone else is doing it), I just couldn't stop it. I found the whiny words bubbling up in my soured brain and tumbling out of my mouth....and was just really disappointed that I could only go a week.

But yesterday was a new day, away from the things that were bugging me, and it was much better. There was really nothing to complain about. I felt like myself again.

So I guess today is Day 2. New start, new count. I still think I can make it 28 days.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


We had a day off today, which included prolonged lounging on the couch in jammies...and knitting...
(including some while Charlotte read to me!)

We listened to music- Wilco and the Verve and Monk....and did some laundry...and we worked on decorating the turkey that is her current homework assignment:
We went out for a while...and came back to finish the turkey project and make dinner:
"Mmm, bones!"

Of course, I was busy roasting potatoes and pork chops, steaming green beans and making apple pudding. I didn't exactly see what she was up to...
...Vegas showgirl turkey.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Trying to find serenity today has been like wrestling a greased pig. Oh, I can try to grab it, but it runs off in a wake of "squee! squee!" and I stare after it, slack-jawed and dumbfounded.

I heard this on the radio and was instantly brought back into the head of a person I used to be,
all jangling guitars and nerves and quickened pulse. It's strange and amazing: music as time machine, as transport...the rush of those feelings of love and longing and fumbling with identity, the sudden flood of how it was to be that girl, to walk in those boots.

Certain music has a hardwired, visceral response for me, pulls me from my fog and forces me to open my eyes. In this season of growing gray and dark, I have to invite music and light and life in.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Greedy yarn hands (bigger than time available)

We've entered the time of year where I get crazy ideas in my head. I start poring over my magazines and books, surfing Ravelry and collecting patterns and thoughts of making and giving. This is a wonderful thing; I love seeing my peeps decked out in handknits made by me. I do tend to lose sight of the fact that I can't knit at work, and that I need to accomplish other things besides knitting between now and Christmas. I always bite off more than I can chew (which I hear is a somewhat common phenomenon with knitters just before the holidays) and am left scrambling for gifts or staying up all night, squinting by the Christmas lights.

Well not this year.

I am almost done with my current project (a late birthday gift, ahem), which frees me up to begin the holiday goodness on or around November 11th. AND I have the unexpected windfall of 49 balls of yarn that a fellow jeep club wife scarfed up and delivered to me via Mr. Loud. All that yarn! It ranges from fine gauge raw silk to 100% wool DK in blue and dark green and rose and gray.... And then there's my stash, most of which was acquired with a specific idea in mind, but that's the beauty. It's unformed clay. It could become anything. I love all that potential.

So, some ideas. (I leave the recipients' names out, for obvious reasons.)

Turn A Square. I've made 3 of these; I could make more! The color possibilities are endless.

Calorimetry. I made mine with The Fibre Company's Road to China and it's so soft and warm...I can think of at least one person who might like one.

Hats for kids. I love the Fish Hat! There are great hats in Handknit Holidays as well, including the Candy Cane Hat (again with the color possibilities) and the Elf Cap.

I also love these gift bags...and the felted trivets...and these slippers!

And then there are cowls and scarves and and and!

Well. I've now succeeded in deflating any motivation I might have had to go to work....

Monday, November 08, 2010

Not all that profound

Kind of a low day today. I didn't have a lot of energy or motivation, and just wasn't feeling being at work. Not complaining took some effort. I left Portsmouth feeling drained, subdued by the gray and damp, and wishing for pjs and a pizza and my bed.

But....I picked the Lou up and met Sri and O at the house. We made a simple dinner and had a good visit, even if a short one. And playing with my silly nephew and even sillier daughter on the couch, being attacked by pillows and tickling whichever skinny riblets I could find to the tune of shrieks and giggles....I realized that maybe I wasn't that tired after all.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

It's all about the food

We had dinner last night at 106 Kitchen & Bar, which was really good luck since a. we didn't have a reservation and b. it is Portsmouth Restaurant Week. We both ordered from the special Restaurant Week prix fixee menu and it was amazing.

Pete had a Dogfish Head IPA- the 60 Minute, I think. I had a lemon ginger martini. Mmm.
[Of course I took pictures of it. See how devoted I am to the month of blogging?]
Pete had a crab and fried green tomato napoleon for his starter, I got the baby green/roasted beet salad with blood orange vinaigrette.
Second course....pork osso buco for Pete, seafood gumbo for me. The food was good enough that we forced each other to try our dinners; I would also like to point out that I love my husband enough that I gave him one of the oysters.
There were two choices for dessert, and we both went for the white chocolate/blueberry bread pudding with ice cream and whipped cream. So good. Afterward I really thought Pete was going to have to roll me out of there like Violet Beauregard.
Great dinner, followed by a good walk through Market Square, window shopping and browsing through RiverRun Books....ahhh. Happy early birthday to us.

Now. The season of baking is upon us, or will be shortly. I need to plot the holiday baking this year, since I don't have the luxury of days upon days off before Christmas...so I'm gathering recipes and foisting baked test items upon unsuspecting family and friends. Today is Chewy Ginger Chocolate Cookies. Oh my.

Baking is infinitely more fun than work. Time off to make messes makes me happy.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Bottle cap wisdom and other stuff

From the underneath of a Magic Hat cap:
Stare at the sky if you wonder why

Also, but slightly less profound:
Fear Bad Beer

This child of mine is building something resembling the set of Les Mis ("Will you join in our crusade? Will you be strong and stand with me? Beyond the barricade, is there a world you long to see?")...and I'm just curled up in the midst of blankets and pillows and magazines and the sock monkey army.
Jimmy says, "what happened to the comfy part of the chairs?"
Did you know that when sock monkeys talk to each other, they say "Yoyoyo!" [When did my daughter become Dr. Dre?]
Pete and I are celebrating our collective birthday the week after next with a night out (next week we'll celebrate as a family!), while Grumpa comes to have dinner and a visit with our Lou. I should call and ask if he has a crash helmet. He might need it.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Another 5 Random

It's November 5th, so here are 5 random things:
  • Megamind is a very funny movie. I could see it again.
  • I find Breaking Bad disturbing, so disturbing in fact, that I really can't watch.
  • Laughing like crazy over absolutely nothing with my girl is the best antidote to anything and everything.
  • Pepper-kitty makes a good fur stole, as long as you can adapt to the purring. And the scratching. And the hair-biting.
  • Alton Brown is talking about summer squash, but I am not paying attention. This is the time for acorn and butternut, delicata and hubbard and carnival squash. Speaking of, tomorrow could be a perfectly fine day for making soup.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

No complaints, Day 3

An interesting thing about making a conscious effort not to complain is that I've realized how many opportunities there can be to complain. Or, how much complaining I am capable of doing at times. It's been a humbling realization, and a quieting one. When there is a choice between complaining or venting, and saying nothing, a person can fall silent.

When you're silent, you listen more. You listen better.

I've seen that there are days when I am surrounded by complaining at work. I think when you participate in the drone of griping, you don't notice how much of it there is, how loud the buzz and heavy the weight of it.

I've learned that working on not complaining also leads to not nagging, and reduces the fever pitch of our mornings. There's more harmony, and a kind of serenity, in the hours before the bus pulls up to the end of our driveway.

I've been reminded that I really don't have much to complain about at home. After spending a day at work, though, I am exhausted from a long day of mining for positivity.

Today was a day where it was difficult not to get dragged back into it, where I ran across certain issues at work that needed to be addressed. I had to discuss problems without complaint, but with an eye toward solution. Not easy, but possible....what's going on that isn't working? why isn't it working? what can be done, and who should we enlist to help?

These are all still just baby steps, but I have been grateful, reminding myself that really, my problems are small and few and fixable.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


School Halloween parade with ninja tiger, 10.29.10
I waited and waited for her class to come out...and I saw Ella as Hannah Montana
and Danielle as Rapunzel
Finally, Ms. Moyer came out inside a cardboard Lego brick
and I saw the ninja tiger with her friends the mermaid and Robin.

She liked this costume (which was plan B, honestly, and was implemented when I couldn't sort out the triceratops horns) well enough that she was pretty happy about wearing it for trick-or-treating too. And this freed me from handsewing backplates and messing with hot glue, and enabled me to bake two batches of cupcakes with buttercream on Saturday morning.

We came across some teenage clown boys in drag. Here they are.
Here is the arch Charlotte refused to walk under.

Triumphantly displaying their massive haul!