Monday, October 26, 2015

Of dancing in itty bitty spaces & hauntings while drinking a vodka tonic, a lovely autumn weekend...

My very favorite tree in autumn, 2015 edition...
Hello all! The fact that I can be this perky while in the midst of a day that I can only characterize as crappy is a testament to the power of this community. :0 Today is JAMMED with tasky things, none of which are pleasant, but hey, life is good, right?! Right. My worry strategy game plan is still carrying over from two weeks ago. I'm telling you, it works! One thing at a time. Things are going to ease a bit as the week wears on, and especially after this work week is completed.

The weekend, though, was perfectly delightful. We had dancing, scary movie watching, Mass attending, and baking with my bunnies. Bliss. So, let's get started, yes? Grab your tea or coffee and settle in.

Saturday dawned as another dancing day, this time with my troupe. After the anxiety last weekend's performance brought, it was a happy relief to be headed off to dance with my girls. Our gig was at a benefit dinner for a local anti-domestic violence initiative. Well, I should clarify that that's what we *thought* the gig was for. It was actually for the same organization, but for an after party following the benefit dinner. So, instead of performing in some large banquet room, we discovered upon our arrival, that we would be dancing in someone's living room. And there are 7 of us. :0

We had a bit of an ominous feeling when we drove up, right from the outset. We had all piled out, hot pink coverups all aglow, and were frowning at the nearby structures trying to figure out where to go, when we heard a squeal:

"Oh look. It's THE BELLY DANCERS!"

Yep. That's us.

"You guys look AMAZING! Can I take your photo?!"

If she liked our coverups that much, I had high hopes for her opinion of our actual costumes, but the fact remained that an odd vibe was permeating our evening. After taking our picture, our enthusiastic new fan guided us into the party. Or rather, "party." :0

We get inside. Five people are standing around a small table with chips and Halloween candy set atop it in bowls. Importantly, the people were all SUPER nice. Wonderful audience, truly. But, you know. There were *5* of them. WE outnumbered them!

We stuffed ourselves into a corner and had a quick belly dancer meeting:

"All right, we're scrapping the veil. There's no way that there is enough room."

I should clarify at this juncture that our dance space was, literally, a living room. With furniture and a fireplace and stuff in it. :0

"We'll do the Shaabi. Then Habibi ya Eini and the drum solo. Just squish yourselves in as best you can. Maybe modify your arms like we have to do with our wings a lot."

Translation: you will inadvertently hit each other, hopefully not resulting in loss of an eye. But everyone just pretend that nothing has happened and we never speak of it again. Nothing to see here. Next!

As we were talking, a little boy kept rolling a giant stuffed ottoman through our hallway meeting space, adding to the surreal nature of the moment. He kept calling us "princesses" though, and thus was given a gold star. :)

We quickly got ourselves ready, anxious to get this one over with. And so this was the first performance in which I:

(a) was nearly tripped by a troupemate,

(b) had to dance right up next to an audience member for lack of anywhere else to go, and

(c) was backed directly into a folding table.

Oh, and during the drum we nearly caused a vase to vibrate off of the fireplace mantle and onto the floor. But we made it! After we were done dancing, we packed up our stuff in record time and high tailed it out of there. Right into the pouring rain. But we were in good spirits. It's always an adventure, that is for certain.

After I got back home and got Anne in bed, Mike, Henry and I watched The Haunting, which we had recorded from TCM. Every October, we watch as many scary movies as we possibly can. Some (where appropriate) with Henry, though mostly by ourselves. We really enjoy this tradition each year, complete with complimentary cocktails depending upon the movie. The Haunting just seemed like a free-for-all, so I prepared a vodka tonic with flavored vodka, because why not? And can I just say that if you want to make your house look super duper, extra scary and creepy, design it with lots of turrets and gargoyles in every corner. This will guarantee that, for all of time, people will think that your house is haunted. ;-)

Sunday morning brought our usual 10 am Mass, this time incorporating in a 50th wedding anniversary celebration of our favorite usher and his wife, so sweet! No Children's Liturgy of the Word for some reason, but thankfully Anne seemed pretty content to stay in the pew with us. She was sleepy and kept laying on me, so that helped with behavior management. ;-) After we got back home and finished lunch, she and I embarked on a baking expedition:

My cute little helper...
Our goal? Chocolate cupcakes with fixins' on top to make them look like flying bats. I got the idea from a cooking magazine, because goodness knows I never would have been able to come up with this idea by myself. :0 The cupcake mix was out of a box, so it's not like I can screw that up. Very easily. Mind you, I HAVE done that in the past. There are red velvet incidents of which we will not speak. But *usually* I do fine with baking mixes. So we whipped those up while Mike pre-prepared our dinner of sausage lasagna. Isn't he wonderful?

After the cupcakes cooled, we frosted them and added the bat decor. Ta DA!

Do you see the bats? Kinda?
See, in the magazine they have eyes. But eyes involved icing piping, and Tiffany just doesn't roll like that. :0 Give me a pastry bag and be prepared to be scrubbing icing off of the floor and the upholstery approximately 30 minutes hence. So we forewent the eyes. But they have Hershey Kiss bodies and halved stripe cookies for their wings. See how they're kind of flapping? Kinda sorta?

Anne was thrilled with them, and I was rather proud of them myself. ;-) So it all worked out well.

How was your weekend, dear reader? Do you have any favorite Halloween baking recipes? Do tell!


  1. Wow! Nice work, dancing princesses, and bakers! The only Halloween recipe I can think of is the time my mom mixed up brownies, spread them in a pizza pan, and then used frosting to make it a jack o'lantern. (My b-day is a couple weeks before Halloween. . . usually she didn't tie it in but for whatever reason that one year, she did.)

    I got my little sister married off so it was a BIG weekend. Still recovering. :)

  2. Hi Kate! I saw your tweets about your sis's wedding, how exciting! Oh, I love this pumpkin brownies idea, very clever! Brownies without frosting to me just lack so much potential ;-) so this is really up my alley!

  3. Good job on the bats. My favorite Halloween recipe is Nutter Butter Ghosts. Using white chocolate (the kind that you can melt and dip things in) cover the Nutter Butter cookies and then add Chocolate Chip eyes.

    1. Melanie! I love the ghosty idea! And Butter Butters? *swoon*

  4. Oh,my gosh. A performance in someone's living room where you back into things and almost get tripped. Never a dull moment. It reminds me, a bit, of how the girls' Clogging troupe never totally knows their performance space, either, unless it's a repeat. Last summer's Strawberry festival had a steady rain, and but for that, they would have had to dance on a small, raised stage made of interlocking riser-type-looking pieces that the young women were staring at, shaking their heads. Because of the rain, they danced in a very large gazebo 30 feet away that should have been the first choice- plenty of room! Oh the joys and travails of the performing life. At least I live them vicariously from a dad's perspective!

  5. Hi Phil! Interesting anecdote from the clogging troupe - we encounter things like this as well! Performance space is ALWAYS an issue. Whether the space is simply not adequately described ahead of the event, or it possesses some characteristics making it a poor choice for dancing. :) It can be exasperating, but it certainly is always an adventure!

  6. I had to laugh when it was noted that the troupe outnumbered the audience. Glad you made it through without mishap. I wonder what the person who booked you ladies were thinking; inquiring minds will never know.

    I am not especially talented with regard to holiday themed baking or decor and usually default to a google search when something like that is needed. There is something universally appealing to children about baking. My daughter insisted on being included in the kitchen from about the time she was old enough to stand. My son took a little longer, but he at least wants to be where the action is, kitchen related or otherwise. Now they each have their own little apron and chef hat, so they can combine dress-up with cooking. Sometime we complete the trifecta with a screening of Ratatouille.

  7. Hi Amy! I know, right?! Maybe the party organizers were expecting more people? But that would have made space every more of a problem! I'm not certain, but as you say, we'll never know.

    I too turn usually to Google when looking for recipes. Great minds think alike. ;-) I love when Anne gets out her apron, so precious. In fact, she wants one just like Mommy, which features cupcakes. It's a Jessie Steele, and wouldn't you know it, they have a children's size in that pattern! Guess what is going to appear under the tree for her this year? :0

  8. Matching mother/daughter aprons. *Smiles* They are on my bucket list to make for me and my daughter. And matching ones for my husband and son. Because my son would love that, and my husband would cringe:)

  9. Amy, you've come to the right place, girlfriend. :0 Check these out:

    I mean, did you ever?! Mine is the cupcake print, and I'm snagging the child's size for Anne.

  10. The cupcakes are adorable. I have a couple of apron patterns that are similar in style, as it is cute and flattering. (Because fashion is so important when baking cookies, right?) My daughter is going through her purple phase, so I would need to find something with some purple in it. I can see myself hacking the gingerbread man idea into a mens/boys style.

  11. Amy, I LOVE the gingerbread idea for father/son! That would be *adorable*! Depending upon sewing skills, you could always also seek out fabric and make your own purple ones. :0


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