Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scary Glowing Pumpkin Faces

Yay. Nothing like carving pumpkins and turning them into jack-o-lanterns.

Students from my ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) conversation class managed to stump me. They asked why we call them jack-o-lanterns, and I had to answer, "I don't know." The best answer Wikipedia gives is the origin from the latin phrase ignis fatuus which is sometimes translated "will-o'-wisp, corpse candle, jack-o'-lantern, friar's lantern, gunderslislik, and wisp, a Folklore depiction of ghostly light sometimes seen at night or twilight over bogs, swamps, and marshes." Meh. That hardly helps. And the History channel will tell you a folk tale, but I think the common thread is that we don't know.

So why are you called jack-o-lanterns, scary glowing pumpkin faces?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Birthing Tent Spectacle

Awhile back at the great Frederick fair in Maryland, they had a very unusual event for fair goers to experience. That being the birthing tent. Yes, that's right. A fun filled tent full of very pregnant animals ready to pop out baby animals.

Right before we got there, a calf had been born and another cow was is in the process of giving birth. I have never seen such a thing, and I'm even from the country. I found the birthing tent to be a very bizarre spectacle. Why would people want to stand around and watch such a thing?

The poor cow was losing blood left and right. And the people there before us told us in great detail how they had to attach chains to the calf to help the mother push it out of her ealier. At one point, the cow started turning around, and the farmer had to announce that some on-lookers were in the "splash zone," and it was then that I decided this birthing tent was really not for me.

Does anyone else think that a birthing spectacle is distasteful? Sure, the babies are cute once they're born, but I like my baby animals the way I like my steak--wIth no knowledge of how they got there.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Some More S'mores Please

Graham cracker.
Toasted marshmallow.
Hershey's chocolate.
Graham cracker.


Yum. It's s'more season. Get to having campfires people!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Falling for Fall

Even though I'm not too found of fall, because it represents the death of summer, I do appreciate autumn leaves (apple cider, campfires, fall fashion, and pumpkin carving).

There is no better place to experience fall colors than than in south central Pennsylvania. A drive through the mountains reveals stunning natural scenery at every turn. The photo above is from Laurel lake at the base of an amazing hike, Pole Steeple, that looks over the whole valley. So despite the dropping temperatures and shorter days, I still have a soft spot in my heart for fall foliage.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You may now Kiss the Bride. Not.

I want to take this post to reflect on weddings as one my best friends of all time got married this weekend. Congratulations Emily! You were soooo beautiful!

You know, I was thinking with her ceremony that it was the perfect balance between tradition and modernism. Sexist traditions were replaced with more female-friendly phrases. For example instead of the pastor saying, "you may now kiss the bride" he told both the bride and groom they could kiss each other. Instead of the bride's father giving her away alone, he referenced the bride's mother as well. She struck a perfect balance between the tugs of traditonality and modern sensibility.

I also enjoyed some of the other innovative things she incorporated into her wedding. Instead of throwing rice or blowing bubbles as the couple walked out of the church, the guests unraveled colored ribbons. Instead of lighting a candle, the bride and groom poured sand into a glass container; the grains of sand never to be separated again. She also had a great color (eggplant--purple for the color dummies among us) for the bridesmaid's dresses. And it didn't have any foo foo frills or ugly poofy sleeves. Emily is the model bride. Really, all brides should be like her.