Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Make it Ugly and they will come

It was the Canadians. Hard to believe, I know. Because in Canada, there are lots of things you CAN’T do: you can’t pay for fifty-cent items with only pennies, you can’t peel off your band-aids in public, or paint wooden logs, or water your lawn when it’s raining, or use dice to play craps, and if you have a water trough in your front yard, it must be filled by 5 a.m.

However, since 2001, it has been OK for people to wear hideous sweaters without impunity in Canada. Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties originated in Vancouver, according to the authors of the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On (Nov. 2011):

In 2001, while Americans were trying to figure out what to do with the surplus of food they stockpiled for the Y2K crisis that never was, our neighbors to the north were trying to figure out what to do with the surplus of Ugly Christmas Sweaters that they had amassed since Canada was founded in 1867.

That’s about all the scholarship there is on this aspect of the tradition. After Cool Runnings, Canada is once more accidentally fabulous.

Furthermore, sites like this are “bringing sexy back” and fueling an Ugly Sweater Renaissance. Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties in mainstream America have since come to serve two main purposes: 1) they offer an excuse to make mixed drinks with titles like, “Everybody Gets Blitzened!” and 2) they symbolize “both a celebration and mockery of holiday excess and Christmas aesthetics.”

For RIFco, the ugly sweater party—USP 2011—was mainly an excuse to patronize local thrift stores and de-clutter our houses after moving to Rhode Island.

So preparations ensued: 

1. We bought our first ever, real, live Christmas tree. A little balsam that drops a pile of needles every time we breathe. We drove up the street, picked it out at a tree lot, and stuffed it in the trunk. And then we had to buy stuff to put on it. Round one at the store: we bought a box of lights. We got home and discovered, once the lights were strung up on the tree, that we didn’t have enough lights. Round two at the store: Jesse went back to buy another box of lights. He got home and strung the second box of lights on the tree, only to discover, when the tree had been plugged in, that the “new” box of lights did not work. Round three at the store: Jesse exchanged the broken lights for new ones that worked. Round four at various stores: we looked at ornaments. They were all ugly. Round five at the store: we went to Target and found frosted glass ornaments we liked. Then the tree lost more needles. 

2. We stressed about White Elephant gifts—with good reason. Last year, we went to a WE party in Kotzebue. It was hosted by the one, the only court judge in town; my mom worked in his office. We had to make a good impression. So, we found the perfect gift, just sitting around the house: two jars of anchovies (expiration date 2008). Apparently, as soon as the exchange started and people unwrapped the first few gifts, we realized we were the only ones who understood the meaning of WE. Everyone else went out and bought candle warmers and champagne (where do you get champagne in Kotzebue?!) gift baskets. The last person to choose a gift had already had her champagne stolen, so she only had one other option, anchovies. The shock on her face at the sight of anchovies was like the kind of shock you get when you stick a paperclip in an electrical socket. How’s that for bad figurative language? 

Our USP WE gift exchange would be a test of RIFco’s social finesse. Would everyone choose worthy gifts?

3. We searched for sweaters. Salvation Army is sure to fulfill all your Ugly Sweater needs, even in July. But they have ridiculous hours, so Jesse could never go when they’re open. Three days before USP, we ran around the house, in a minor panic, because we still didn’t have sweaters. But on Friday night, Savers is a cool place to hang out. And they’re open until 9 pm. And their sweaters are just as ugly as those at Salvation Army.

4. We made way too much cinnamon caramel dip and Oreo cheesecake and tested the prepackaged, lighter-fluid soaked fake wood in the fireplace on Sunday, so that everything would be just right on Monday night.

The party was kind of a blur for me, because the tinseled pompoms on my sweater monopolized Roxali’s attention and she followed me around the whole evening and we colored all over the food table and played 10 rounds of Candy Land. But I did hear bits and pieces of the evening’s conversation, which centered on discussions of parental dysfunction in our nation’s schools, Adam’s mad Tai-kwon-do skills, a debate about whether or not Jet Li is real, and the psychologically damaging effects of teaching children that Santa is a mythological creature.   

I do remember that everyone looked ugly and bright, and that we gorged on salsa, cookies, chocolate sculptures and Venezuelan cake to the sounds of Jesse’s Christmas Rocks! mix, featuring tunes like these: “Fruitcake” (The Superions), “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” (The Killers), and “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!” (Sufjan Stevens). I recall that Roxali didn’t burn her eyebrows off while shooting wrapping paper into the fireplace, and that everyone made it into the Ugly Sweater Hall of Fame. And that there were many coveted WE gifts that were stolen numerous times: the 12-pack of toilet paper (there’s no Costco in RI, nearest one is in Boston), the plastic dragon statue, the clown, and the ceramic butt pot that someone probably made in high school art class. Personally, I think I got the best gift, but I can't even tell you what it is. It's that good. We'll just call it "The Gift That Shall Not Be Named."

Good food, good friends, ugly sweaters. The perfect way to end 2011—besides the fact that the not-so-mythological-Santa came to Rhode Island early to bring us chicken statues, refrigerator magnets, Bendaroos, and a Nikon D5100 (I think because he’s tired of seeing blurry pictures of us). So, next time you see us in 2012, we’ll be in sharp focus.

Happy Ugly Holidays!

Adam's hand-crafted chocolate sculpture, his final exam from "Chocolates & Confections" class.
Roxali drawing people wearing ugly sweaters on our ugly table cloth.

Adam and Julie sporting Salvation Army Bill Cosby Sweaters. Julie's shoulder pads were poked and envied by all. Only the Taylors can make such paragons of ugliness look so good! The Taylors made off with the dragon and a self-help book. When Julie read the title, 75 Ways to Get Organized for Christmas, Jesse said, "Hey, that's 75 more ways than I know!"

NicKim's clown. In this porcelain interpretation, the Clown disposes of Santa and gets to hold all the kids on his lap. The clown ended up going home with the Corcorans though, and NicKim took home a week's supply of toilet paper; the old-school version of Pit (with an orange call bell!) with the cover that features grandpa complete with sweater vest, tortoise shell glasses, and a pipe; and a box of Checkers.
Ugly Sweater Top Models. Jennifer in Wal-Mart: cotton sweater with snowman decals. Kaitie in Savers: wool blend with flower-print embroidery and vomit-green colored turtleneck. Sarita in Savers: Jones New York jaundice-yellow knit sweater with felt, buttons, pompoms, giant chickens kissing under mistletoe, and cow jumping into the moon.
Jesse in Savers: old 70s cable-knit grandpa sweater in maroon. Kittens and puppies singing Christmas carols for the Humane Society. The whole outfit was purchased for under $10. This is how econ majors do ugly.
Chris and Cassie in Wal-Mart's ugliest turtlenecks. Chris won the "Ugliest Sweater Award" for obvious reasons. And for not so obvious reasons: he purchased his attire from the women's department. His prize was the roadkill possum pictured on his lap.
Blurry group shot! For once, the ugly curtains bequeathed to us from our apartment's previous tenants were not frowned upon. Mike on the far right got caught up in the ugliness of it all and momentarily forgot that this was not a GQ cover shoot.
I'm not sure what to do with my sweater. I could try to sell it to Or, I could keep it and never wash it and let posterity fight over who gets to inherit it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Happy Kampers

Also a part of Rhode Island Friends and Co. are the Kampers.Travis is from California and also works at CVS. Jennifer is from Venezuela, and in her former lives, has been a runway model and a paraglider. In her current life, she is an expert cake decorator, and a wicked good volleyball player, and doesn’t cook anything out of a box. Roxali is four. She likes eating lobsters and playing with the heads that broke off our Chinamen statues (but not at the same time). Her favorite movie is Cars. I’m not sure why. We're like, best friends. It's a good thing she's coming to our Ugly Sweater Christmas Party tomorrow. She makes me feel less Scroogey. Maybe she'll bring "Teddy," who also wears sweaters from the Build-A-Bear store.
Yesterday we all went to Newport in the hopes of finding lobsters. We found armadillos instead. I dipped mine in a lot of my favorite food, butter. Dinner resulted in a small mountain of lobster cephalothoraxes, mandibles, and maxillipeds and discussion of vitally important lobster trivia, including: the fact that before the 20th century lobster was the equivalent of our modern cup-o-noodles, and affluent New Englanders snubbed them and fed them only to servants (who refused to eat them no more than twice per week); and that otherwise, lobster was only good for fertilizer or fish bait; and that if you are caught boiling lobsters in Reggio Emilia, Italy you pay a fine of up to 495; and that the largest lobster ever caught weighed 44.4 pounds; and that lobsters have livers, but are not significant sources of thiamine.

Stuck in November

My brain is stuck in November. Specifically, November 23, when Jesse and I drove to UNH to pick up Jason. There was a heavy storm warning the night before/day of our scheduled departure, but the Granite State (unlike the Beehive State) is much more conscientious about plowing major thoroughfares, so we made it to Bethlehem just fine.  

and our feline friends awaited us and our shoes,

and we cooked 90% of the food ourselves (unlike last year’s Thanksgiving in a Box)—apple pies, pumpkin cobbler, honey ham, French onion green beans, roasted yams, mashed potatoes, etc., etc. and I got to be in charge, instead of just showing up and sitting around, and I didn’t burn anything, or set the smoke alarm off, AND, a challah appeared in the mailbox on Thanksgiving morning, so I didn’t have to make bread, because I don’t make bread,  

and we watched old movies,

and Poe—the cat—didn’t steal all the toilet paper out of the bathroom,

and everyone critiqued my crappy first draft of No More Ugly Pajamas! and said nice things that made me think I could finish the book, which is probably the main reason I’m still stuck in November,

and everything was perfect,

because we were in a place where people love us best,

and are happy just to hear our voices and the sounds of our laughter floating to the top of the vaulted ceilings in the house at 247 Hazen Rd.

Cinder is really EXCITED to see us. But it's hard to tell because he's 13 in human years. That's 75 in cat years.
But he still acts like a 6-month-old cat.
And he likes Jesse. Or maybe just the texture of his pants.

Real food! As opposed to fake food!
After dinner game of Citadels. I just got robbed and assassinated!
I don't know what's going on here. This is just here to make Jesse feel better about losing at checkers.
I'm trying not to feel Scroogey now that it's December, and I still haven't done my Christmas shopping, and all I want to do is eat fake food that will kill me--like Ramen Noodles. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oplatka dát

This November cannot pass without the obligatory reflection on things for which we are thankful. And this year, among other things, like the Twilight saga and toilet paper, we are thankful for waffles.

A preface to the waffle discussion: RI Friends and Co. There was a large influx of “younger” couples that moved to Rhode Island this summer, all within a few months apart: Hawkers, Taylors, Nickim Edwards, Corcorans, Jesse/moi. 
Mike ("Strategic Service Consultant" at DealerSocket, Inc.) and Kaitie Hawker (sales associate at Anthropologie, this chic store where you can get $500 scarves!) have been in the ward F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Almost two years. According to Mike, the arrival of all us childless couples that recently converged upon the Warwick Ward are signs of irrefutable divine intervention; they've been dying for social interaction with cool Mormon people their own age.
Julie and Adam Taylor live in a cool house with Portugese landlords who brew moonshine in their basement (I think). Julie is an LCSW in the state of RI and spends a good deal of her time at work demonstrating that Mormons are neither members of cults nor polygamists. Adam is in culinary school at Johnson and Wales and gets to take labs with titles such as "Chocolates and Confections" and will be famous one day for founding Muscle Man Bakery, a bakeshop where chefs can do lateral raises and work the high incline bench press while they wait for their bread dough to rise.

Nick and Kim Edwards have baby Colette, but the baby doesn't mind hanging out with us. Nick is a neuroscience PhD student at Brown (you know that game Minesweeper, he's really good at it) and at one point worked in a lab at BYU supervising the growth of diarrhea cultures (I think). Kim does good accents. Chinese and Irish are her specialties.

Chris Corcoran (air traffic control operator/man/person at T.F. Green International Airport) and Cassie (elementary school teacher) have 54-pound baby Jak. Jak eats grapes and peanut butter and dog food.

Anyway, RI Friends and Co. invented a new holiday: Oplatka dát, which is my Czech translation for "Wafflegiving." It takes place sometime in November before Thanksgiving. It's kind of a rip off of National Waffle Day, which honors 8/24/1968, the date of the first U.S. waffle iron patent. Wafflegiving also commemorates the waffle’s illustrious history (take a deep breath and read really fast): waffles were first dreamed up in ancient Greece as obelios (flat cakes heated between two metal plates and cooked over the fire) OR in China where flour/eggs/milk were substituted for soy beans/rice/cottage cheese (allow me to say, “gross!”), THEN evolved into delicacies during the Middle Ages when waffle irons were carved with coats of arms/religious emblems, AFTER WHICH they migrated with the Pilgrims to Holland and later to America in 1620, WHEREUPON Thomas Jefferson instituted waffle parties in the White House with a waffle iron he brought back from France sometime in the 1800s, BUT it wasn’t until the 1964 World’s Fair that Belgian waffles (with yeast and egg whites) came to town, AND not until 1972 that those mass-produced cardboard patties riddled with Tartrazine (a.k.a. yellow no. 5) became famous from Kellogg’s coining of the phrase “Leggo My Eggo.”

Wafflegiving also celebrates other random ideas, including these: the word “waffle” comes from the Celtic “Wiff tille,” which may be translated as, “Alas! The mountain goat has my sandwich!” AND the fact/myth that part of L. Ron Hubbard’s theories of Scientology initially posited that mankind emerged when “a giant space waffle passed by the earth and sprinkled the ground with life-spores, from which human being sprang up."

Our first Wafflegiving was pretty casual: white chocolate waffles and vanilla-cinnamon waffles topped with apples, strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, homemade coconut syrup, and chocolate and caramel sauce and served with chicken-apple sausage and Galvanina Blood Orange soda.  

We are already gearing up for next year. By November 2012, chef Adam will have discovered how to make waffles out of gold leafed chocolate and then we’ll all be done for. 

This is the only picture we took at Wafflegiving. Jak thought my lap was comfy. See this for more details about this picture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Biting the Big Apple

New York was everything I’d remembered from that summer I spent in Brooklyn at the Pratt Institute in 2003—a city throbbing with the sounds of car horns blasting at pedestrians, too many people swarming up and down the sidewalks, the tops of hundred-story tall buildings blocking out the sky, piles of black garbage bags swallowing the curb, glorious views of brick walls from your hotel window, the surreal oddity of shooting from one end of the city to the other underground in the claustrophobic sardine cans of the subway . . .

And at the same time everything was new, because Jesse and Deon and Mindy were there.  
Deon and Mindy (Dindy, Meon, MindyDeon) were married on 4/30/11 in a wedding that totally eclipsed Prince William and Kate’s, in my opinion.  

Jesse has known Deon since they were wee sixth graders. After getting married, MindyDeon moved to New York to start rotations for medical school. Veteran’s Day weekend was the soonest we could get away to see them.

Jesse and I spent Veteran’s Day wandering around, freezing. The highlights: 

Korea Town: Eh. They sell lots of scarves.

Eataly: more than a supermarket with restaurants. It is an energetic marketplace, an opportunity to taste and take home the products of artisans who till, knead and press to bring you the highest quality products at a fair price.” Like black summer truffles for $600/lb market price, but on sale for $350! Eataly is kind of like an Italian Costco. They even have a manifesto. And cool futuristic-looking plastic shopping carts that look like spaceships.


Me and my anchovy. See his little eye?
Union Square Greenmarket: I would quit my lucrative part time teaching job and live here if I could. This farmers’ market puts all the stupid RI ones to shame. It started in 1976 with 12 farmers in a parking lot on 59th Street and 2nd Ave. in Manhattan and now has over 53 markets and over 30,000 acres of protected farmland: “In peak season, 140 regional farmers, fishermen, and bakers descend upon Union Square to sell their products to a devout legion of city dwellers who support local agriculture with their food dollars.” We bought 12 oz of creamed honey.  

Udon West: 150 E 46th St. Midtown East. Japanese café. MindyDeon took us here for dinner. Here you can get sake and roasted tuna collar blades served on plates the size of car tires. We ate udon: n. “A thick Japanese noodle made with wheat flour, usually served in soup or broth.” We also ate tongue. Not sure what kind; the menu just said “tongue.”

Crumbs Bake Shop: Cupcake stop! Over 50 flavors. One of their specialties is The Colossal Crumb, a giant 5-lb cupcake (at least?) with over 6 inches of frosting. It costs $35 + tax. We opted for cupcakes that satiate normal sized people: Grasshopper cupcake. Brownie cheesecake cupcake. Roasted marshmallow hot chocolate.
Even a superhero needs a cupcake. 

And we saw some other strange things:

 I want one!
Jesse's retirement home.
Not as cool as they say it is. Especially since it costs $22 to look out the window.
Lotsa cups hanging in a window of the Flatiron Building.
On Saturday, we toured some classic NYC sights:

MOMA: Wherein senseless works of “art” convey the prosaic nature of our collective humanity.

Tempting. But not for $95. It takes between 1 and 4 days and 4,000-25,000 wrappers to construct each of these. They also had purses made of key board keys and zippers. Except here, they don't say "purse." They call them "pocketbooks."
Jesse, stuck in the birth canal-like exhibit.
Jesse: "What is this?" Deon: "The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Duh."
There was at least one thing useful in MOMA, the "Epidermits Interactive Pet." It's like a Chia Pet, but made of skin: it's a “fully functioning organism, resulting from advanced tissue engineering” (i.e. discarded human skin) and although it can’t think or feel pain, it can “follow a complex set of algorithms.” You can style its hair, tan its skin, or add tattoos or piercings.  It is currently not available in stores.

Rockefeller Center: We stood there watching a Zamboni drive back and forth across the ice rink.  

Times Square: Too many underwear ads. 

Grimaldi’s Pizza: A must. If you go, get the white pizza with sundried tomatoes and onions.

OWS: We were some of the last tourists to see the tents. The stench of the port-a-potties kept us from staring longer than necessary. Lots of beating of drums and frenzied dancing with unidentifiable faux gold headpieces and Navajo blanket poncho-thingies. Deon has been several times to observe and photograph. On one occasion, a bum was protesting the free handouts of vegan pizza; he wanted meat darn it! 

This was the most impressive thing about OWS.
World Trade Center Memorial: This was interesting. The hour-long wait just to get to the security checkpoints was less interesting. 

New York never looked better. Thanks MindyDeon!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Man, so cheap!"

Some things shouldn't be worn in public. Except on Halloween. For example: those black tights thingies that lots of people in Rhode Island think are pants. I found a pair in my closet (thanks Mom!) and wondered what would be more ghastly than parading around in them at our church Halloween party. Jesse advised me to wear shorts over them though. Good idea. We didn’t want to make Halloween extra memorable by shocking the geriatric crowd into myocardial infarction. 

The last time I dressed up was in 2007. Up to that point I remember most of my Halloween costumes. 

Age 5: Sleeveless polyester Tinkerbell smock thing that looked like a skin-toned and light green rain coat with matching plastic shell of a mask with eye holes and a coiffure of hard, yellow hair. 

Age 6: Homemade clown costumes for Merella, Landon, and me, sewn by my mom. Full body suits that slipped on over our snowsuits and sown in vertical halves with one half of the costume light blue and the other a bold pattern of yellow, orange and green stripes. Matching pointy cloth hats that tied under our chins and framed our faces in ruffles. Mom used lipstick to paint our noses and a round circle on each of our cheeks.

Age 7: Bouncing blob of orange. Orange shirt with black jack-o-lantern face and orange pants. Orange. Pants.

Age 8: Cowgirl outfit from the Philippines.

Age 9-10: ?? At some point Grandma sent me a pre-packaged store-bought angel costume—with wings!—for my birthday. It was my favorite. But it was ruined by a temperature of 20 below (with windchill), and after tugging it on over my snow pants and jacket, I just looked like an obese fairy.

Age 11: I was a witch. Or something. I found an old black dress in the house and fashioned a loose skirt out of it. The skirt was held up by a piece of dental floss that had to be readjusted every five minutes. I spent most of the day sitting at my desk and avoided standing or moving if at all possible.

Ages 12-18: ??? No recollection whatsoever. Although I did dress up for “Quadrilateral Day” for geometry class. I came to school as a “parallelogram” and stayed up until 2 a.m. baking three-dozen rhomboid-shaped cookies. I got five points extra credit.

Age 19: Freshman year at BYU, our whole apartment felt obligated to attend the ward Halloween party. The dollar racks at DI came through for us: my roommates were rice farmers, a Wyoming native, Sheri (what costume did you wear?!), and I was supposed to be Anne’s “bosom friend” from Anne of Green Gables. I think I won the fifth place prize in the costume contest: an orange. The same one used in that stupid game where you pass the orange to the person next to you in line using your only your neck and chin.

Age 21: I had long hair and a psychedelic blue and green shirt. Somehow I persuaded Jesse to wear a cow suit, complete with rubbery 3D udders. Maybe this why we didn’t dress up after that? 

Age 27: These outfits are a result of five seconds’ worth of thought, plus a summer of playing Angry Birds with Evan. If the costumes weren’t identifiable, the matching cupcakes removed all doubt. 

I take it back. There are unflattering pictures of me...
 Jesse kept in character all evening by walking behind me and 
tapping my ankles with his blind cane.
The red 40 and crunchy sprinkles will give you a headache.
The cupcakes lasted about 2.5 seconds at the party, and now 
people don't know our names. They just call us "Angry Birds." 

Our plan was to show up, make our appearance, get our free food, and go home. We were mobbed in the hall by kids who stared, slack-jawed, sucking in the drool from the edges of their plastic vampire teeth. They followed us around, pulling my tail and asking Jesse if they could “try” his blind cane.   

A few words spoken with an under bite in the “village English” accent (sorry, only Dad/Jesse/ BYU roommates know what this sounds like) of rural, Inupiaq Eskimo Alaska sum up our first Rhode Island Halloween: “Man, so cheap!” In Standard American English this means something like utterly inadequate and feebly anticlimactic.

“So cheap” because Hurricane Irene blew away so many leaves that we're having an uncharacteristically lame New England fall. No flaming red and gold trees. Just gray fog hanging on undressed branches. 

“So cheap” because we haven’t figured out what our family traditions are. When our family is big enough to stage mock productions of Something Wicked This Way Comes in our living room, and the kids are old enough to appreciate Poe and my favorite scary movie, Wait Until Dark, then we'll be on our way. But with just Jesse and me, we watch Hocus Pocus every year, but Bette Middler in buckteeth pales in comparison to my dad’s family traditions.

Every year, Grandpa grew Indian corn in the backyard garden. He harvested it in October and tied the ears in bundles to decorate lampposts, doors, tables, and banisters. Grandma loved making scarecrows and stationing them out in the yard. And Dad always went trick-or-treating with his best friend Johnny Rusnack. The golden rule of trick-or-treating at Dad’s house was that everyone had to eat a good dinner before leaving because they’d inevitably come home with chocolate rings around their mouths after sugar lust drove them up and down the neighborhood streets, stomping through crinkly leaf piles from streetlight to streetlight, collecting king size candy bars that cost a nickel. Stuffing your face with all the good stuff was imperative, since Mrs. Garrison, principal at Cedar Road Elementary School, expected candy donations for "Trick-or-treat for UNICEF." She set up a 10-gallon aquarium candy collecting station outside her office. The whole thing turned into a terrarium of everyone's least favorite sweets—candy corn and Goober Bars, a gross chocolate bar with peanuts in an ugly green wrapper—because nobody ever donated anything good to the kids in Africa.

“So cheap” because we got three trick-or-treaters. Of course, I picked lame Halloween candy. I like those big bags of Tootsie Rolls only because they throw in a few boxes of Dots, which remind me of Candy Land. So I picked out all the Dots for myself, and will continue to bring the remaining five pounds of Tootsie Rolls to URI and make my students eat them all.

Nobody invites trick-or-treaters into their house anymore, like they did when Dad was a kid in Philadelphia. It was perfectly safe to enter the house to get your candy so the grownups could check out your costume and try to guess who you were. Half the fun of trick-or-treating was going into each house and inhaling musty air in living rooms filled with black and white ancestral family photos and old furniture and guns hanging above the mantels. I can’t wait until I’m old and can invite kids into my house and give them staplers and coasters and laundry detergent for Halloween, like in Grumpy Old Men.

“So cheap” because we didn’t even carve a pumpkin. Although we had a good excuse. We bought a gorgeous pumpkin from Tougas Farm on 10/15 and left it sitting out on our stairs for a good week and a half. On the morning of the 29th, we stepped outside and noticed pumpkin raider(s) had attacked it. A big bite was taken out of it, conspicuously positioned right on the front.

The next morning, Jesse opened the door to find the culprit, one of these peanut butter fiends, sitting in the snow, sitting perfectly still, like it would be invisible if it didn’t move. It ran under the stairs, but resurfaced on top of the pumpkin and recommenced chewing. Eventually it had eaten what looked like the shape of a bat with its wings spread out on the front. How festive.   

Sigh. Maybe next year we’ll try harder.

Ahoy matey!
Pumpkin raiding continued until the critters bored a hole through the shell.