melaniesuzanne: (Default)
Saturday was my fortieth birthday and it was a busy, busy. I slept in, of course, and after dismantling the cemetery in the yard, I jumped on my bike and rode west. My plan was to ride forty miles for my fortieth year. I fell short by three and a half miles, unfortunately. But! I made a quick grocery stop on the way home and rode with fully loaded grocery panniers for the last couple of miles. That's got to count for something.

I was pretty tired when I got home but I eventually rallied enough to make a Seven (minus one) Layer Dip for [livejournal.com profile] flonzy and [livejournal.com profile] azpapillion's party. I rushed through my shower and ironing of my costume and took my time applying the sugar skull makeup. It took a full hour and because I am a doofus, I forgot to take photos. Bah.

The party itself was a TON of fun. Nearly everyone was in costume and looked fantastic. Flonzy spent all day slow roasting ribs and the BBQ was to. die. for. The side dishes were yummy and the cake that [livejournal.com profile] carthew made for me received rave reviews for both looks and taste.

Cake! )

Sunday wasn't a good day. The pain that I'd been experiencing last week abated some on Saturday and came back with a vengeance Sunday morning. I woke up just after 3am and spent the next four hours crying on the sofa. It got so bad at 7am that I woke Scott -- who wasn't wearing his hearing aids and was on another floor -- with my sobbing. He bundled me up and took me to the ER where I got an antibiotic and a shot of dilaudid. I finally slept comfortably and he took a woozy me home. Mid-afternoon the pain was back and the prescribed percocet didn't touch it. We went back to the ER where another doctor ordered a CT which showed nothing physically wrong. I spent the rest of the day alternately wincing and crying. Good times.

Monday and Tuesday was the storm. I worked from home -- mostly because I wasn't going to drive on percocet -- and Scott was chased out of his office early afternoon on Monday. The power never flickered but the wind was pretty frightening. On Tuesday afternoon, I saw a neurologist who ran an EEG and a nerve test. Aside from a little carpal tunnel in my right wrist -- which I developed in my 20s -- the nerves seemed okay. He suggested I see an orthodontist to rule out my teeth causing the pain.

Wednesday was my day off. I set the ghosts back out in the yard and tree, added a few new elements, and carved pumpkins. Trick-or-treating started just after 6pm and wrapped up at 8:15pm. It was a really light night. Normally we have trick-or-treaters knocking on the door until almost 10pm. I was happy, though, to turn out the light at 9 and slip into PJs for a couple of hours before bed.

Today I'm back in the office and looking fabulous because this happened. )

And I love it!
melaniesuzanne: (skyclad by Coop)
Frankenstorm is on its way and the right side of my face hurts so badly that I only managed to cat nap with an ice pack on my face, two Tylenol PM, and four Advil. Good times. Other storm-related unhappiness is that I will dismantle and stow away the graveyard and ghosts lest they blow away and create hazards for other people. The one year that I decorate well in advance of Halloween... Ah well. The Halloween weather forecast has gone from dry and sunny to rainy and windy.

Poop.

Saw "Sinister" last night. I alternated between boredom and tension. At one point, I even pulled out my phone to check Fandango to see how long the movie was supposed to be. The jump scares were cheap, the characters were stupid, and the lighting was atrocious. I'm pretty sure that the lighting was supposed to be "atmospheric", but the darkness was annoying and distracting. I should have sneaked out of the auditorium and into "Paranormal Activity 4".

Happily, I am working a half day due to a mid-afternoon hair appointment and getting a jump start on my birthday weekend. Tomorrow is the big four-oh and I've got a lot of celebrating planned. Tonight, I'm heading over to [livejournal.com profile] carthew's house to play sous chef as she prepares my birthday cake. Tomorrow, I make the final tweaks to my costume for [livejournal.com profile] flonzy and [livejournal.com profile] azpapillion's Halloween/Birthday party. I may also jump on a bike and take a forty mile ride if my sinus stops hurting long enough for me to stop feeling like I'll pass out.

Oh, and Scott did get me the Lego Haunted House. It hasn't arrived yet, but he did order it. Yay!
melaniesuzanne: (Halloween: ghost candy by randomicons)
I love October because it holds not only my birthday (only five more shopping days!) but also Halloween. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday and I love decorating inside and out to celebrate. I typically wait until the weekend before Halloween to deploy the cemetery, but this year I threw caution to the wind -- literally: today was GUSTY -- and built my little yard of horror.

Enter, if you dare. )

Setting up the yard to delight and terrify the neighborhood children is definitely one of the cooler parts about being a grown-up.
melaniesuzanne: (Me on my bike Rose)
On Sunday, Hubbyfink and I donned our costumes (Seattle biker and cheerleader, respectively) and slogged through horrific traffic (due to road closures for the Marine Corps Marathon) to Gravelly Point Park where we joined the Bike Me DC! group for an in-costume ride through the streets of DC. Happily, the sun was out, the temperature wasn't bad considering the snow storm the day before, and everyone was in high spirits.

We had to have a group picture before setting off, of course.
The crew

Adventure awaits! )

I really enjoyed biking in a skirt. I mean, I bike in my Ruu-Muus all the time, but those feel like workout clothes. This skirt was actual real life clothing (albeit altered with appliqued orange and white triangles). I also liked my zip-tied orange pom-poms as streamers despite the left one occasionally covering my rear view mirror.

I asked Hubbyfink how he liked biking in a skirt (he wore a Utilikilt) and he said it was "an interesting sensation. He also wore bike tights underneath for warmth and propriety. :)

The party afterwards at the Shirlington Bungalow Billiards was a lot of fun and we got to know everybody a little better. Our fearless leader says he's working on a "lost cherry blossom" ride for next spring. We won't ride around the Tidal Basin because that will be way too mobbed with tourists; instead we'll bike around Northwest (yay. hills. please, oh please let's not bike up [or DOWN!] Wisconsin Avenue.). Can't wait!
melaniesuzanne: (skyclad by Coop)
It's business as usual at the Holborn Cemetery.


Do you dare? Do you dare?

Keep close to the light... )

Happy Halloween! Happy Halloween!

melaniesuzanne: (Halloween: ghost candy by randomicons)
I didn't ride yesterday because I "worked" from home and loaded up on horror movies. Yes, the work laptop was open and I answered emails and IMs and even a phone call or two and I quickly whipped up a report on customer growth and port usage for Bossman, but I was much more focused on clearing the movies I've been recording during AMC's Fright Fest from the DVR so that I could fill it up with even more horror this weekend.

(Egad, I love October and Halloween so very much.)

Hubbyfink took me out for dinner at Don Pablo's because it's been way too long since I've had a margarita and faux Mexican food. I got carded! Heh. That hasn't happened in years. Of course, I wound up having to wear the Birthday Sombrero. Hubbyfink kindly snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook. He's so kind. In retaliation, I made him drive me to the Leesburg Spirit store so I could look for pom-poms. Apparently, "cheerleader" is not a popular costume this year because there were no pom-poms to be found. Happily, a web search shows that my local Party City has pom-poms and even has them in the colors I want.

This morning's commute was pretty darn cold. I'm so glad that Hubbyfink passed along the leg warmers that didn't fit because they worked like a charm under my yoga capris. I wore my Terry bolero over my t-shirt and under my jacket which kept my arms MUCH warmer this time out. The only thing I could have used was a hat, and the wool one that's been on back-order finally shipped today. Anyway, it was 38 degrees F when I left and, as a friend noted, I was making my own wind chill. She's not wrong. Flying down the Rte 28 overpass is less than fun at these temperatures. I think a balaclava is next on my shopping list.

Tonight will be spent visiting some local haunts with [livejournal.com profile] psalite and [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee. We'll be going to two new-to-us haunts which I'm very excited about. I do hope, though, that the rain either holds off until we get back home.

Tomorrow will be spent procuring the above-mentioned pom-poms, prepping costume and makeup for friends' party, and watching the skies for snow. *record scratch* Yes, snow. We're right on the edge of the awful snowstorm that's supposed to hit the I-95 corridor. We'll see if the storm manifests this far south and west. I may, or may not, take the bike for a spin in the snow. ;)
melaniesuzanne: (Haunted House)
It's extremely late but here it is, ghouls and boos: the 2011 edition of MelanieSuzanne's Halloween Haunts!

Haunted Nightmares Haunted House - 933 Barley Lane, Winchester, VA
Weekends starting Oct 1
1-11pm
Daytime: $10, Nighttime: $12
Not recommended for kids under 7.

The Devil's Den - Jim Barnett Park, 1001 East Cork Street, Winchester, VA
Weekends starting Sept 30
7-11pm
$13
Probably not suitable for little kids.

Darkwood Manor - 104 N. Hawksbill Street, Luray, VA (website has sound)
Weekends starting Sept 30
Oct 14/15 is Munster Mania Weekend with Butch Patrick
7-11pm
$10 (VIP Fast Pass is $20)
Probably not suitable for little kids.
This has been my favorite haunted house for the past two years.

Terror After Dark - Dulles Town Center Mall in front of Macy's, Sterling, VA (website has sound)
Weekends starting Oct 1
7-11pm Friday & Saturday, 7-10pm Sunday & 7-10pm Monday, Oct 31
$19 at door; $15.50 online (VIP Fast Pass is $25)
REALLY NOT suitable for children. There are "No Scare" children's matinees Oct 22, 23, 29, & 30 for kids 12 & under from 1-4pm. ($10 for that)

Halloween Woods - Algonkian Regional Park, 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling, VA
Weekends starting Oct 7
7-11pm Friday & Saturday (last ticket sold at 11pm) 7-10pm Oct 30 & 31
$15 (Speed pass is $25)
Tweens will have nervous breakdowns.

Bradley Farm Haunted House - 13159 New Parkland Drive, Herndon, VA (website has sound)
Oct 28 & 29
6-10pm
$3
Oct 29, 1-5pm is for the little ones.

Markoff's Haunted Forest - 19120 Martinsburg Rd, Dickerson, MD (website has sound)
Weekends starting Oct 1
7ish-whenever (patrons must be in the parking lot by 10:30, though)
Tickets must be purchased online for $25
I scream a lot at this attraction. Consider that fair warning.

Cox Farms Fields of Fear - 15621 Braddock Rd, Centreville, VA
Weekends starting Sept 30
7-11pm (last tickets at 10pm)
$19 for Fear + (Firegrounds, Unlimited Hayrides, & CornNightmare)
Daytime festival from 10am-6pm for the kiddies.

My personal visiting schedule is looking like this:
10/15 - Luray attraction & maybe Winchester
10/28 - Bradley Farm, Halloween Woods & Terror After Dark

I'm giving Markoff's a pass this year.

Sing out if you want to come along and be spooked.
melaniesuzanne: (Halloween: cookies by randomicons)
[livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee and [livejournal.com profile] psalite came over yesterday and helped me carve fifteen jack-o-lanterns before we headed up to Markoff's Haunted Forest for chills and thrills. The ladies came back over tonight and helped me scare kiddies and pass out candy. Psalite took lots of atmospheric shots with lit pumpkins and ghosts dancing in the breeze. I, being a much less talented photographer, snapped some shots before the sun went down.


Halloween yard, 10/31/2010. Halloween yard, 10/31/2010.
Fifteen jack-o-lanterns, nine tombstones, seven ghosts, three bats, two skeletons, and a creepy cat.
Creepy cat & Jack, 10/31/2010. Creepy cat & Jack, 10/31/2010.

Worried pumpkin, 10/31/2010. Worried pumpkin, 10/31/2010.
Charlene carved this one.


We were MOBBED with kids. I sat on the stoop and handed out candy while PirateGirleee, dressed as the Angel of Death, ominously pointed at various people and unnerved them. A lot of kids asked me if she was real. I had downloaded a Halloween sound effects album onto my ipod so we had wolves howling and thunderstorms raging. A few kids were too afraid to come up the walk for candy so I met them halfway. One little boy ran my house, despite my cajoling that I had good candy and his folks trying to coax him up the walk. Heehee. I was a little nervous about possibly offending the Latinos in our neighborhood with my Dia de los Muertos ensemble, but my costume was VERY well-received. Lots of people wanted photos of their kids or themselves with me. I relaxed when some youngish Latinas gushed excitedly about my makeup and came back with friends for more photos.

La Calavera Catrina, 10/31/2010. La Calavera Catrina, 10/31/2010.
Tamara snapped this photo.



We finally came indoors around nine since the deluge of trick-or-treaters had pretty much dried up and because the temperature dropped quite a lot. Psalite took some more photos of PirateGirleee and me, and then they took off for their respective homes. We got our last trick-or-treater just before 10pm.
melaniesuzanne: (Halloween: ghost candy by randomicons)


I set up ghosts and a cemetery in my front yard on Sunday. Bones and a couple of lanterns are scattered amongst the graves. Hubbyfink wanted me to put one tombstone in the tree, but that's just silly. I have a small wire fence -- the type for garden edging -- which I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to use to outline the cemetery. Yeah, I think it'll add to the atmosphere. I'm trying very hard not to buy the super cool motion-activated howling ghost thing at Target. I stood in front of that thing for a good five minutes, captivated and imagining the terrified shrieks of little kids. I guess I'll satisfy my desire to spook kids with [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee dressed as the angel of death wandering the graveyard on Halloween night.

I'm also barely restraining myself from buying a fog machine and fog juice. I am not restraining myself from going to Lowe's this evening and getting more cheesecloth. The ghosts are looking a little too thin for my liking.

I want to pick up about a dozen more pumpkins and go nuts carving this weekend. I have a vision of jack-o-lanterns carpeting the yard around the graves and along the walkway. Too much? Probably. But in my mind's eye, it looks COOL.
melaniesuzanne: (Autumn)
Yay! It's my all-time favorite month of the year and I'm bursting with happiness. Not even waking with a headache could dim my spirit because IT'S OCTOBER!

(*snicker* I just heard a strange noise over by the window. Oreo noticed the jack-o-lantern coasters I'd placed on the side table and startled himself while reaching out to touch the coaster. And now he's sauntering through the living room with the coaster in his mouth. Gotta nip that in the bud.)

Scary coaster )

I'm also happy because I pulled out my Partylite haunted houses and have set up a little village on top of the DVD tower. It's not as grand as it used to be, but the little village makes me happy.

Halloween village )

Alrighty, I should finish my cereal and get ready for work. Have a fantastic Friday morning, y'all, and remember: there are only twenty-six more shopping days until [livejournal.com profile] melaniesuzanne's birthday!
melaniesuzanne: (Haunted House)
Here it is, ghouls and boos: the 2010 edition of MelanieSuzanne's Halloween Haunts!


(Please note that some of these links have sound on them.)

Haunted Nightmares Haunted House - 933 Barley Lane, Winchester, VA
Weekends starting Sep 25
1pm-11pm
No price listed on site.
Not recommended for kids under 7.

The Devil's Den - Jim Barnett Park, 1001 East Cork Street, Winchester, VA
Weekends starting Oct 1
7pm - ?
$13
Probably not suitable for little kids.

Darkwood Manor - 104 N. Hawksbill Street, Luray, VA
Weekends starting Oct 1
7-11pm
$10
Probably not suitable for little kids.

Cox Farms: Fields of Fear - 15621 Braddock Rd, Centreville, VA
Weekends starting Oct 1
7:30-11pm (last admission at 9:30)
$15 - Buy tickets ahead of time on the website.
Cornightmare, Scary Hayride (of the daaaaaamned), and bonfire (of the daaaaaamned).
Take the kiddies to the daytime Fall Festival.

Terror After Dark - Dulles Town Center Mall in front of Macy's, Sterling, VA
Weekends starting Oct 1
7-11pm
$19 at door; $17 online
REALLY NOT suitable for children. There are "No Scare" children's matinees Oct 17, 24, 31 from 1-4pm.

Halloween Woods - Algonkian Regional Park, 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling, VA
Weekends starting Oct 8
7-10:30pm
$15
Tweens will have nervous breakdowns.

Bradley Farm Haunted House - 13159 New Parkland Drive, Herndon, VA
Oct 22 & 23
6-10pm
$3
Oct 23, 2-5pm is for the little ones.

Markoff's Haunted Forest - 19120 Martinsburg Rd, Dickerson, MD
Weekends starting Oct 1
$25 (BRING CASH, no credit machines)
I scream a lot at this attraction. Consider that fair warning.


My personal visiting schedule is looking like this:
Sat 10/16 - Winchester & Luray attractions
Fri 10/29 and/or Sat 10/30 - Sterling, Herndon, & Centreville
Sun 10/31 - MARKOFF'S

Sing out if you want to come along and be spooked.
melaniesuzanne: (Me: The Bride)
[livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee came over last night to assist with decorating and to pass out candy to the little monsters and fairies who knocked on my door. She dressed as Professor McGonagle and the kids loved her dancing and singing hat. We were mobbed with kids in adorable costumes and teenagers without. But I was ready for the lazy teens! If the teens were in costume, they got candy. If they were lazy, or wanted candy for a second bag (without a good explanation for that second bag), they got plastic flies. The best part? The flies sounded like candy when they plopped in the bag. Heh heh heh. Happily, we unloaded a LOT of candy and not too many flies.

I was most excited by how well the yard decorations worked. A lot of people took pictures of the display I'm definitely going to have to bump it up a notch or two next year!

Enter, if you dare. )

Miscellany

Oct. 30th, 2009 09:30 am
melaniesuzanne: (skyclad by Coop)
The Ashburn Fire Department warned of ZOMBIES AHEAD with a traffic notice sign on Waxpool this morning. I wish I'd pulled a U-turn to drive past the sign again and snap a photo.

I finished my costume last night and did wind up sewing the pleats and folds rather than pinning them. It was easier. If I can do the makeup right, I'm going to look SO GOOD SO BAD SO AWESOME tonight.

Yes, tonight. The weather isn't cooperating and my entourage merry band of pranksters and I are going to Markoff's Haunted Forest a day early. I'm not happy about not being able to go on Halloween. On the other hand, this means I can loaf all Saturday and overdose on horror movies and give GOOEY BRAINS to trick-or-treaters tomorrow night.
melaniesuzanne: (Halloween: cookies by randomicons)
I'm about to pop I'm so excited about Halloween. I pulled out a few more decorations last night and have set up costume bits in the craft room. I hope to work on my dress tonight; there's a lot of draping and pinning to do. I should probably do a test run of some of my makeup, too, so that I don't frustrate myself on Saturday.

We have SO much candy. We've been mobbed by kids the last couple of years so I got two big bags of Tootsie Roll stuff (yum!) and an even bigger bag of Gooey Brains (barf!). Half of the Gooey Brains bag filled the candy basket. We may have too much candy. Hubbyfink and I have been good and have only eaten one piece each from the Tootsie Roll bags.

I hope it doesn't rain Saturday. It will adversely affect the evening's fun and hurt my planned decorations. See? I didn't start decorating outside because I knew it was going to rain yesterday. Oh! I still need to get a couple of real pumpkins.

Speaking of pumpkins, the local ABC affiliate pre-empted "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" for election coverage. Can you believe it?? The only show I've wanted to watch on broadcast television this year and they pre-empt it. It's supposed to air this Saturday at 2pm, but it's not listed in the guide.

So, instead, I let "Poltergeist" play in the background on AMC while I worked on homework last night. I still can't watch the face-ripping scene. Hubbyfink's never seen the movie and came in during the part when Diane and Carol-Anne fall through the ceiling covered in red jello. He looked a little pale. I proudly announced to him, "My parents let me see this when I was nine! And I had nightmares for weeks afterwards because of the child-eating tree." My dad agrees that taking a seven- and nine-year-old to see "Poltergeist" probably wasn't the best idea. Of course, Mimi and I had already whet our horror appetite on "Halloween" and "The Exorcist" by then so they probably figured we could handle a Spielberg movie. Maybe that's what is wrong with me. Hm...
melaniesuzanne: (Halloween: bat cupcakes by randomicons)
- Three or four styrofoam heads
- Four or five 5' long dowels (these may be in the basement...)
- Grapevine
- 6 yards or so of white fabric
- Candy

I have... a plan. <Cue ominous music.>

This weekend I will work on my costume. I haven't pulled the wig out of the bag yet; hope it works. If not, I'm going to need a crimper, three cans of of Aqua Net (alas, poor ozone layer...), and spray-on hair color.
melaniesuzanne: (Haunted House)
Here are the spooky attractions slated for this weekend:

Bradley Farm Haunted House - 13159 New Parkland Drive, Herndon
Oct 23 & 24
6-10pm
$3
This one is open only this weekend.

Halloween Woods - Algonkian Regional Park, 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling
7-10:30pm
$13
Kind of sucky last year, but we went on opening night. I'm willing to give it another chance. Also open next weekend.

The Fright Night - 19790 Ashburn Rd, Ashburn
7-11pm
$20
I'm not sure what to expect. This one is also open next weekend.

The weather looks iffy for this weekend. Right now, I'm planning on hitting all three attractions Friday night if the rain holds off. If we get rained out Friday, we'll try again Saturday.

I'm tired

Oct. 7th, 2009 11:19 am
melaniesuzanne: (Halloween: cookies by randomicons)
Like, on the verge of tears tired. I came home from an intense work day (which was a great day, but mentally exhausting), did some homework, attended choir, came home and did some class reading and more homework and went to bed after midnight. I'm thankful that I didn't have a morning call today.

The class and homework structure for AI Online is annoying me. I understand why they're doing it this way -- it's the online version of class participation -- but it goes against my self-contained, non-gregarious way of working. Ah well. At least I have this soft-pitch of a class to get used to the school's methods.

I get my permanent crown this afternoon, glory hallelujah. The temp is just a bit too bit and I bite the side of my mouth every time I chew. That's fun.

[livejournal.com profile] dmn4nr, Hananananah, and I are attending the 9:20p showing of "Paranormal Activity" at the Regal Fairfax Town Center on Friday. Hannah has graciously procurred tickets. I'm so excited that I would dance across cube walls if I weren't so bloody tired.

I need to remember to bring my camera to work Friday. The cube is festooned with strings of multicolored skeleton lights and purple bat lights. There are grinning and leering jack-o-lanterns illuminating the back portion of my desk. I've added new critters to my bat and rat collections and the mummy cat hovers over the jack-o-lanterns. The coworkers are doing a good job braving the gargoyle and picking their favorite pieces from the cat head bag filled with chocolate-caramel eyeballs, chocolate fangs, chocolate pumpkins, and miscellaneous hard candies. What can I say? Dollar Tree had a good selection of cheap candy.
melaniesuzanne: (Haunted House)
Nightmares from Elmridge
Cheesy, and not just because it was in the basement of the Arbutus Domino's Pizza. Props, actors, and "story" were okay. [livejournal.com profile] psalite was nibbled to death by ducks a giant head person in a top hat. Weird. The deranged pig people and toothy clowns went after the tweens (thank God). The best part was the dark hallway with hands (both real and rubber) that grabbed at us. Some shrieking ensued.

Bennett's Curse
The directions said this attraction was located at Arundel Mills and we looped the mall three times before finding a security officer who could send us on our correct way. The attraction featured two "houses": "House of the Vampyres" and "The Sanctuary of Insanity". Vampyre House was full of animatronics, strobes, gorgeous gothic architecture, and people in black robes jumping out at us. I think I'm getting jaded because I found the attraction only okay. Oh sure, I jumped when spooked, but there was a lot of uninteresting dead space in this one. We thought we'd accidentally gotten stuck behind the attraction one time, but that was the path to the next vignette. Hm.

This is getting long. )

Terror After Dark
After a disappointing dinner, we four RACED back to Sterling to visit the three haunts of the Terror After Dark attraction outside Dulles Town Center and arrived with about twenty minutes to spare. This attraction houses "Bloodstone Manor", "Darkmare", and Cell Block 13 Death Row". We, of course, purchased tickets for all three.

A breakdown of the three houses. )

In order of enjoyment, Terror After Dark: Darkmare, TAD: Bloodstone, Bennett's Curse: Sanctuary of Insanity, BC: House of the Vampyres, Nightmare from Elmridge, and TAD: Cell Block 13. Like [livejournal.com profile] pirategirleee, I think that Darkwood Manor in Luray is my favorite haunt thus far; I wish it weren't so far away!

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Mary F'ing Sunshine

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