Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Great BIG Chris update

For lack of a better title...

Yesterday while having lunch with a friend, I was informed that I needed to do a blog update, so here I am.

I guess since I wrote so much about the Halloween weekend, I was left a little pooped. My fingers could go no more. Must....keep....typing...

I have regained my finger strength and it is time for a gigantic Chris update. I don't really keep a calendar of things he's done, so I try to write everything in the blog so that I don't forget. I might have repeated some of these before, so please bear with me, I don't have the time or inclination to go back and look it up.

He walks somewhat-well on his own now. He'll go from room to room without holding your hand, but will still grab on to it if you let him. He can walk faster when he holds my hand, so he prefers to hold it, but can walk alone without it.

He squatted down and was able to get back up to a standing position (while holding something in his hands) again without holding on to any furniture.

He likes to take his socks off sometimes...and his sandals too, so we switched to a new pair of sandals that he can't take off.

His lymph nodes (he had one on the other side too!) have gone down. They're the size of a pea now. The doc said that perhaps the sandals he was wearing were too tight, so we switched them and the bumps went down, so perhaps she was right.

If you ask him where his mouth is he puts his hand to his mouth. I've tried with the other facial body parts, but no such luck yet. He points to the sun in one of his books (when he feels like it).

He found one of my scrunchies and tried to put it on my head, so I was impressed that he knew what to do with it.

He said his first bad word (in Spanish). My mom blurted it out and he repeated it. Grrreat. Thanks mom. It's the first two-different syllable word he says by the way: Pu-ta.
My brother is trying to teach him "assssshole" just like the kid in the movie, so I'm going to have a foul mouthed toddler in no time. I think it's time to go back to daycare.

He says water (awa) and dog (wao wao) in Spanish whenever he feels like it. He tried to say Shrek (tek) once. I was changing his diaper and there is a Shrek toy next to the table. He was grabbing it and I said "Shrek" and he said "tek"...close enough baby.

He also likes to say "BA!" a lot. At first I thought he had gotten that from my mom, but after careful study, it appears that I'm the one that says that a lot. It's a Spanish expression I use, as in "BA! Ya termine!" (There!, I'm done!) or "BA! Ya esta hecho!" (There! It's done!) or "BA! Ya se acabo!" (There! It's over/finished!).
He also says: mama, dada, papa. I don't think he says any English words yet. My mom and I speak to him in Spanish and Ren speaks to him in English, so I guess he hears more Spanish than English.

He still doesn't like to watch TV except for the beginning theme songs of Fairly Odd Parents and Spongebob Squarepants....Oooooo...Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?...

He plays with Lucy now: He grabs her bone and throws it. She runs and fetches it. He cracks up. She brings it back. He takes it and throws it again. Lather, rinse, repeat. I was just as amused as he was since I didn't think it would be so soon that they would be playing together. Lucy is a little rough and crazy, but with him she seems to know her limits. He grabs her snout and she doesn't do anything, but try and get away from him with her tail between her legs. Candy avoids him at all costs. If he tries to pull her fur pet her, she nips at him and runs away.

He gets scared when the dogs bark (when someone knocks on the door). This is because one day the dogs were standing right next to him and they started barking and going crazy because they heard someone walking around behind the back porch. Chris of course, did not know what was going on, so he got scared and raised his arms for me to pick him up. He thought the dogs were barking and angry at him. Poor baby, I never want to see that scared look on his face ever again. I picked him up and comforted him, but even now, when the dogs bark it still scares him a bit.

He still likes to put things in his mouth (for those of you with older kids, when does that phase end?). He likes to throw things. He likes to put things in and take them out of boxes and containers. He likes to open and shut doors and kitchen cabinets. He's obsessed with the microwave. He likes to stand in front of it and watch the timer (no cooking, just the timer) go down and then beep at the end. When it's done counting down, he grabs my finger and puts it on the key pad so that I'll put the timer on again for him.

He loves to go outside. He will grab your hand and take you to the door so that you will open it and take him out. If you do not open the door, he will try and reach the door knob to try to open it himself.

My mom and I are intrigued by the fact that he's a bit obsessed with circular or round things. We've got letter magnets on the fridge and he always grabs the letter O. He has a ring stacker toy and he always grabs the blue ring and walks around the house with it in his hand ALL DAY LONG. He likes to turn/twirl/spin things, whether they be plastic lids, toys, or furniture, he will find a way to turn it or spin it. He loves to throw balls too. What is this obsession with all things round?

And that, my fuzzy peeps, is all I have for now (only?). Ha ha. Be good.

Friday, November 10, 2006

You have nothing to lose but your mind

Alas, part 4 is finally here! Fortunately for you this post is accompanied by a pictorial ensemble as well (courtesy of Lilli)! Here is the story of the haunted house that I created inside my house on Halloween night. I think we had at least 50 people go through the house, but we basically lost count because we had a couple of repeaters as well. Everyone had a great time scaring the poor hapless souls that ventured into my house that night.

"Come and visit the Hyde M. Asylum, you have nothing to lose but your mind."

Only 3 people were allowed in at a time (this created nice long lines of anticipation). They were led into the nurse's station where shortly thereafter Nurse Meg would come out screaming and warning them not to go inside. She would then drop dead at their feet. I was later told by my front office volunteers that many guests didn't even make it past this point. They were so freaked out by the dying woman that they turned around and exited. Well done Meg! Once they regained their composures, Nurse Jen would burst on the scene and interrogate them about Nurse Meg. She would scold the guests for having escaped the asylum and would order them to put their gowns on. Once inside and wearing gowns, the guests were lead through the haunted house by Jen. First, they would pass by the shock therapy alternative treatment room where the door was shut, but the screams could still be heard from behind the door.

Then, they passed through the game room where the welcoming committee was always glad to greet them. There were sometimes as many as 5 people in that room doing all sorts of mischief and accosting the guests, one of them being Lisa the cutter. Some of the patients were busy playing cymbals and games, but others just couldn't help themselves and would jump up and hug the guests coming through. Once past this room, the guests would go down a hall of sheets and end up in the padded room. They were often greeted by several colorful characters in the hall and in the padded room as well such as Dr. Feelgood, Asylum Amber and Ricardo the closet-dweller.

Just past the padded room was the restroom in case anyone had to make a pit-stop, but no body seemed to want to. Unfortunately doo-doo Damian had made a mess in there. His potty training had been very traumatic for him as a child and he never quite got over it. Guests were often amazed by the artwork on the walls of the room and wanted to come in for a closer look, but quickly changed their minds when the smells of the room reached their nostrils.

A turn of the corner and they found themselves in the TV room. Nurse Jen would inform them "TV time is over" and all sorts of screaming would ensue. Patients Crazy Claudia and Osama loved to watch the static on TV or play twister. Sometimes Osama would get in the guests faces and chant "chemical weapons, chemical weapons" over and over again. He would corner them against the closet and they nearly peed in their pants when Ricardo the closet-dweller or Claude the quack would jump out of the closet behind them. It worked every time.

Guests would then pass through a curtain and proceed into the dining room. When Claude wasn't busy coming out of the closet (hee hee), he often stood behind the curtains and sprayed the guests with a puff of air "chemical weapons" and that would get them jumping. Either that, or he cornered them by saying "hi hi hi hi hi" right in their faces. Ah, what a lovable bunch we had.

Speaking of love, my love Ren the slicer, had an absolutely lovely assortment of body pieces laying out on the dining room table. He had gathered quite a varied amount of body parts, but was always eager to add more to his collection. Whenever he asked a lucky guest to make a donation, they always seemed to say no and run out. The dangling body parts from the ceiling didn't help his cause either I don't think.

After the dining room, the guests would exit out to my back porch where they were given candy, toys or a hearty congratulations for having made it through the asylum. They removed their gowns and went on their merry way. I only wish I could have been outside to hear all the comments, but I heard that one guest even got teary-eyed from how happy he was and how cool he thought the whole thing was. He said that no one has any spirit anymore, hardly anyone gives candy or trick or treats anymore and it was wonderful to see that people like us go through the trouble to do things like this for the neighborhood. Wow, if that isn't a pat on the back, I don't know what is.

Enjoy the pictures folks and keep in mind that the flash makes it look bright, but it was very very dark in there! hee hee hee

P.S. I'd like to give a grandiose THANK YOU to the 17 people that helped me out in the haunted house, I couldn't have done it without you (a 1 person haunted house is kind of lame). And I am especially grateful to Jenny, who not only flew in from Califronia, but she also busted her ass alongside me for a whole week in order to help me get my house ready. You kept encouraging me and telling me that everything was going to go smoothly and be ready on time, whenever I panicked or wanted to throw in the towel. It's your youthful spriit that helps me to stay young and not lose mine!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Camp Thriller

Before I begin with part 3 ( it part 3? I lost count already), I'd like to wish my friend Marilu and her son Andrew happy belated birthdays. Can you believe he's 1?! He's going to be a total athlete when he's older because this is the baby that skews all the "your child should be doing this by this age" stuff. Ha ha.

I've totally dropped the ball on my birthday blog posts; it seems I'm wishing more people belated birthdays than actual birthdays these days. I need a calendar...and no, I do not want my Secret Santa to get me a calendar, so don't get any ideas.

Anyway, on Friday the 27th, we made it back to Miami safe and sound despite the gas crisis. On Saturday, the following night, I went to Jenny's house for a little campout. I was joined by some of the people that we had just gone on a road trip with and also some new folks as well: Amber, Meg, Laurie, Lisa, Damian and little Dylan. Jenny's parents had set up some tents on the side of the house in the grass to make it seem like we were camping out. It was a great little camp out, but seeing as how we're horror fans and it was Halloween weekend, it wasn't just ANY campout, it was a Camp Crystal Lake campout (hee hee, even baby Dylan got into it).

They had also hooked up a small TV for us and were playing movies on it all night long. We had beer, smirnoff, snacks and also a fire grill on the grass where we cooked hotdogs, banana boats and smores...the only thing left for us to do was sing kumbaya that night. They even added this bit of authenticity: Earlier, I had been fooling around with Jenny's Jason mask, but was later surprised by the man himself (what an actress!).

A great time was had by all, but when the food was gone we, immature people that we were, started looking for other things to do. We noticed that the neighbors behind the next door neighbors were having a huge party, so we decided to pop over the wall wearing the Jason mask to scare them. Meg wanted to be the one to scare them so she grabbed the Jason mask and a kitchen knife (yes a real one) and was the first one over the fence. I wanted to get in on the action too though, so I borrowed Jenny's Michael mask and clumsily made my way over the fence as well (good thing I wasn't the one holding the knife). Jenny's parents (yes, we had an audience by now) had brought me a ladder so that I wouldn't bust my ass trying to get over the fence, but I didn't need it and was able to do it with much wavering and holding on to other people. Once I made it over the fence, I grabbed the ladder so that I could stand on it to look over the wall (I'm not that short, it's a high wall). When I got to the wall, I set up the ladder right next to a bush (so the audience at Jenny's house couldn't see what I was doing), but at that point, I noticed that Meg was grabbing lawn chairs from that person's yard, so that we could stand on those instead. That seemed like a more sturdy option so I quickly grabbed the ladder and started running back towards Jenny's house. Of course everyone that was watching me was cracking up because they said that I came back running like a scared animal.

Meg and I jumped up on the chairs and started looking at the neighbors, she was making attacking gestures with the knife and trying to be intimidating, but we soon were disappointed because nobody seemed to notice that there were two maniacal killers on the wall. I started bouncing my head from side to side (to the beat of the music) to see if that would get us noticed. Fortunately it did, but unfortunately a dancing Michael isn't very scary. They laughed and pointed at us...not exactly the reaction we were going for.

Back at the house, we decided that we had to try it again with another party. Since it was the Saturday before Halloween, we didn't have to go too far to find another party. The neighbors in front of her house were also having a party, but this time, we got more volunteers. Someone put on the Scream mask and Laurie put on a skull mask with a veil (hilarious, I wish I had a picture). We snuck up to the side of the house and started acting like maniacal killers. They pretended to scream and be scared and we were happy because we finally got the reaction we wanted, albeit a fake one, but a scream nonetheless.

After we had fun scaring people, Amber and Meg wanted to drive around looking for more parties to freak people out, but I felt that that would be a little crazy. Instead, I suggested that we should dance to the Thriller song in the street (cause you know, that's not crazy at all). And so it began: Jen, Meg and I made up a little Thriller routine and started dancing to it on the street. We practiced alot so that if someone were to actually pass by, we could really show off our stuff. Once we had it down pat, I remembered that I had my iPod in my car. I hooked it up, opened the car doors and blasted Thriller from the car. So now, not only did we have the steps, but we had the actual music too (talk about professional dancers)! A short time later, we saw a car coming down the street and figured this was our chance! We started our synchronized Thriller dance in the middle of the street and pretty soon, the people from the party across the street began to come outside and watch the drunk old ladies us dancing too! It was quite fun putting on a show like that.

At 1 am, I finally decided that it was time to go home and I bid my friends farewell, I wish I could've stayed and actually slept over in the tents with Jen and Amber, but even I will only go so far.

Stay tuned for part 4...Wow, I had no idea this would be so long...perhaps I'll finish this Halloween weekend post before December.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Running on empty

We left the park at 1:45am and arrived at our hotel around 2am. My brother, Meg and I went to sleep because we were super tired. My brother and I knew that we had to be up somewhat early for the "Unmasking the Horror" tour the following morning. My other friends Claude, Laurie, Jen and Amber were not so wise as they headed out to IHOP and then didn't go to sleep until 5 am. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I wanted to have enough energy for the following day and for the drive home.

Amber, Jen, my brother and I (the other people did not go to the tour) got to Universal Studios at 11 am to meet our tour guide the following morning. We met him at the guest relations office and he told us to go upstairs and that he'd meet us up there in a little while. It was a conference room where they had spooky music playing and had decorated with Halloweeny things. As if I wasn't psyched enough about this tour, this really put me into the mood. We watched a 10 min video with info about past Halloween Horror Nights. Some of the stuff I already knew since I had thoroughly scoured the website during all of September and October. You've heard of Star Wars nerds? Yeah, well, I became a HHN nerd (became?).

We headed out to the park and the tour guide told us a little bit about previous HHN years and the themes that were chosen for those years and why or why not some things were used. Very interesting and informative! We saw the main stage and some of the sets for the scare zones. We were then taken to the back of the Psychoscareapy (Shadybrook Asylum) haunted house. We got to see the cubbies and nooks and crannies where the scare-acters hide. I always figured that they would get lost in the maze of the haunted houses, but it looks like they have signs to guide them. The tour guide told me that they also stay in one particular area which is why it feels like the same person comes out at you from a hundred different places. We then went in through the front of the haunted house and got to take lots of pictures. I, of course was clicking away like a madwoman (ha ha, get it?) because I wanted to get as many details as possible. I was taking notes for my own haunted house which was to take place on Halloween night. (You'll notice the similarities when I post those pictures).

We then went into the Screamhouse haunted house. This was also one of my favorites because I really like the Caretaker character. He's very tall, lanky and creepy looking....just my type. Ha ha. It was cool to be able to roam through the house with the lights on and nobody coming out at you. We got to look at and touch all the gruesome body props (I'll spare you the pictures). On HHN, they have you going through those haunted houses so fast, that you don't really get to notice all the details that go into them. We also got to go into the All Nite Die-In, but I didn't take any pictures there. I was a bit disappointed with that HH because I was hoping to see Michael, Freddy and Jason there, but alas, they used different scary movies this time.

We then saw the areas where make-up and wardrobe are done and finished up our tour at the HHN museum. I wasn't aware that such a museum existed; they must have put it up just for the crazy folks such as myself. The museum had the floor plans for all the HHs. They had a bulletin board with all the things that were posted on the website as well as costumes and props from previous years. I enjoyed the tour very much and will definitely look into doing it again. The guide said that last year was the first year that they offered it and that it was still in the experimental phases. We only had 6 people in the tour group, so it wasn't heavily advertised. In a way, I hope it doesn't get too advertised because I loved the personal feeling of it, but at the same time, if they don't get too many people, they may consider not doing it at all and that would be a shame.

Speaking of shame, this brings us to the end of part 2. We left the theme park and I managed to remember where I had parked (without photographic evidence this time). I began to get a little worried about whether I would find the highway ok and whether I would take it going in the right direction or not, but those fears were quickly dispelled because the exit of the parking garage practically throws you onto the highway.

This would have been fabulous except for the the fact that an hour into our drive home, my gas light went on. Yes, that's right folks, yours truly forgot to get gas before leaving. Heck, dork of the year here, forgot to even LOOK at her gas tank. Yes, the long distance inexperience really made itself quite evident. As soon as the little light lit up, a few chosen words escaped my mouth. If the panic hadn't reached me by now, it found its way to me then. What's the big deal you ask, you can just get off at the next exit and put gas. Well, yes and no. Sure, there will be gas at the next exit, but that could be 40 miles away. You see there's a lot of open land in Florida, and the Turnpike can go on for miles without an exit to get off on. Since there's nothing but farmland, well, then there's no need to put an exit. Yes, so you can see what my predicament was.

My friend Jen tried to reassure me that we would find an exit in time. I started paying attention to the mile markers so that I could see what mile I was on. That way, I could tell people where the heck I was when my car broke down. As the indicator edged out of the red zone and closer to the E below it, I knew it was just a matter of time before my car would start puttering and travel no more. We had driven at least 20 miles already, and I didn't know how much longer we had. At first my passengers were asleep and not worried about it, but at this point they were now all wide awake and very aware of our impending doom. I gave my cell phone to my brother and told him that we might as well call the roadside service now, since we were definitely going to stop within the next five miles. I figured, I might as well get a start on it now and have them dispatch someone sooner rather than later.

He was speaking with the person on the phone when all of a sudden we caught sight of a sign up ahead. The sign teased us and made promises of food and gas, but unfortunately for us, those glorious prizes were 9 miles away, and we didn't have the steam to make it that far. Oh, I'm sure the disappointed collective "Aw" could be heard for miles. We traveled along with lumps in our throats just thanking God for every inch of pavement that passed under us, when what was this that we saw just ahead? Another sign with more promises. This one said Yeehaw Junction was only 3 miles away!! That was a definite maybe! We hoped with all our might that the car would go just 3 more miles (and not to mention that said "Junction" would have gas). Three more miles is all we needed. I slowed the car down and prayed for the best. We made it to the toll exit and asked the attendant if there was a gas station nearby. She pointed over to our right and said "just around the corner". If I could have, I would've gotten out of the car and danced for joy, but we still had to actually make it to the gas station. Since we had stopped to pay the toll, I didn't know if the car still had the momentum to keep on going. It would suck to go this far and have the car die a block before the gas station.

I'm happy to report that we did make it to the gas station. The indicator was on the actual letter E, way below the red part already. I know that someone upstairs was definitely watching over us, because that car would not have even gone another block with the 2 drops of gas that were probably left in it. I told you that traveling with me was an adventure!

I should've put this last tidbit in the Part 1 post, but I just found it. There's a really cool video of Halloween Horror nights on their website (click on production diary #10 on the left side) so you can get a nice overview of everything we saw and experienced on Thursday. Go watch the video and stay tuned for part 3!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Be-lated Birthday Geral!!!

No, this is not part 2. We interrupt our regular programing to wish my sister, Geraldine, a Happy Be-lated Birthday! Her birthday was on Oct 31st (oh, the irony) and she had a fun Halloween Birthday bash this past weekend. I wish I could've been there because it looks like they had a great time, but California's a bit far, so perhaps next year.

G dressed up as the evil queen, but I think my other sister Patty's costume stole the show. Patty dressed up as an old guy and held up a sign that said "I'm Lester" then on the other side of the sign it said "The Molester".

"He" then did a provocative little dance and pulled out a tuft of white hair (old man pubes) from his zipper. Hilarious!

And they wonder where I get it from...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween Horror Nights

After a long, joyous, Halloweeny, fun-filled weekend, I am finally back to thrill and delight you all with my wonderful stories....(um yeah, ok Claudia). I've done so much in the past 7 days, that I couldn't possible get it all in one blog post (well, I could, but it would be very very long), so I'm going to post a little bit each day. That way, I can pace myself, and it gives you more time to digest each exciting event. How's that sound? Great? Great.

Ok, so let's get started my fuzzy peeps:

Last Thursday, Jenny, Amber (her niece), my brother and I piled into my CRV around noon and headed out to Orlando, destination: Halloween Horror Nights 2006!!! Added note: This was my first time driving to central FL. I've gone many many times, but I've never actually been behind the wheel, so that was my first long car ride(remember this tidbit for later...). Fortunately for all of those in the car, I was able to "maintain my decorum" and managed to not freak out about possibly getting lost.

We arrived around 4ish and I had the foresight to document where my car was parked in case I forgot due to inebriation or faulty memory later on. HHN at Universal Studios didn't open until 7:30pm or so, but we had bought special 3 hour tickets for Islands of Adventure, so we went there first and got to ride the Hulk and Spiderman. We probably would have been able to go on more rides (the lines were very short), but they were closing the park early that day (6pm), so there went that. I wish they would've told me this before selling me the "3 hour" tickets (which that day became "2 hour" tickets). But that's OK cause:

Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving

Yes, I was in a fabulous mood, so nothing was going to get me down, and yes, I often break into song when telling people my adventures. We headed over to HHN at 6:30pm (the "2 hour" tickets also included early entry into HHN from Islands of Adventure). They had us go in through a special back entry and it kind of lost the magic of HHN because:
a) it was too early, it wasn't even dark yet and
b) it was the back entrance, so you miss all the pomp and circumstance of going through the main entrance with fog and lights and people jumping out at you at every turn.

Note to self: Next year, just go at 7:30pm through the main entrance.

So anyway, since we also splurged on the express pass, we got to go to all the haunted houses and we even got to repeat three of them. We also rode the Mummy and Jaws rides. Later, we met up with some other friends (Claude, Meg and Laurie) and watched the Bill and Ted show. I had never seen that show before since I'm not one to waste time watching shows (I'd rather ride the rides!), but they convinced us to go. I'm glad they did though because the show was very funny (they do spoofs on the past year's movies, TV shows and celebrities); I'm definitely sold on it for future visits. We bought lots of yummy drinks in a nifty souvenir cup and had a marvelous time. I got to take a picture with my friend Jack and also the devil dude (don't know his name...Satan? Lucifer?). They had lots of creepy scare zones and zombies roaming about. We left the park at around 1:30am. Good thing I had taken the picture of the parking spot when I got there, becuase by that time, I was so tired and wired at the same time that I didn't remember where the heck I had parked.

A fun time was had by all, stay tuned for part 2.