Vivian and I had another fun-filled Halloween weekend together. We kicked things off with a Halloween dance at the Eagle’s Lodge with our Jitterbug friends — Eric, Frank, and the Nothnagels came as Angry Birds, Maggie and Lee came as Batgirl and Robin, and Frank and Julia were Buzz Lightyear and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story. We had a costume contest and a jack & jill contest, but everyone who came by were winners in spirit — especially those who stuck around for after-midnight breakfast at Village Inn at stupid o’clock.
On Saturday night, Jenny and Tamra hosted a pumpkin-carving party up in northwest Omaha. Vivian and I bought a couple of discount pumpkins the other day that we hacked together with a bunch of our friends — Keith, Jon, Amanda, Anne, and Venche. There were plenty of treats to go around, of course, including a bunch of caramel apples. We also scooped out the seeds, which Vivian washed and roasted with some cinnamon and sugar afterward.
We wound the party down later on by watching John Carpenter’s original Halloween film. It was the movie that introduced Jaimie Lee Curtis to the world, along with the concept of the modern “slasher” film that became quite popular throughout the 1980s. This film seemed quite tame by comparison, with most of us yelling at Jaimie to go stick a knife in Michael Myers’ heart (rather than simply assume poking him with a sewing needle effectively killed him for the rest of the film).
Of course, no Halloween weekend would be complete without a party in the Nothnagel’s basement. The party fell on a Sunday night this year, which meant Vivian and I had to deal with picking up donation bread from Panera and getting up early for work the next morning. We still managed to squeeze in a good deal of dancing with our colorful assortment of friends once the party got started. Ruth showed up wearing a hilarious “shark eating somebody” costume, so I naturally put Mack the Knife into the evening’s playlist (no word yet on whether the party “jumped the shark” at any point). Eric and the Angry Birds made another appearance, as did an assortment of gangsters, superheroes, and a super villain (kudos to Bruce, aka Red Skull, for being the only person at the party who knew who I was dressed up as).
I swear Halloween is now more popular with adults now than with children — more of the “grown-ups” I know play dress up nowadays than actual children who come to our door begging for candy. But at least nobody TP’ed our house. This year.
The fall fun continues for Vivian and me. Last Saturday we partook in another autumnal tradition — Jenny’s birthday costume party, which we’ve attended for the last four years in a row. This year I came as Number Two from the 1960s TV series The Prisoner. Pretty much nobody in our group knew who I was supposed to be, but that didn’t matter. I loved the show, and I needed to buy a gray turtleneck anyway. Vivian came as a cat-who-swallowed-an-entire fishbowl, making use of her eight-month-old pregnant tummy. We had several other hilarious costumers in our ranks this year — the Straussers as the Super Family, Heather as a Major Award, Jon Paper as a headless person, Keith as… Captain Keith, the Kams as a pumpkin patch, and Jenny as Lady Gaga (singing Bad Romance via karaoke just as we walked in the door). Dean West was our host this evening dressed as Bamm-Bamm, and his parents just happened to show up to join us.
We drifted between karaoke and pumpkin-style food upstairs and a dance floor downstairs. Jenny got to have another birthday jam (after getting one at JNO on Friday). Vivian and Venche served up pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie (respectively) to contribute to our sugar rush throughout the evening. We continued on with the Hokey Pokey for some reason and wound down the evening setting up a Christmas tree with random objects gathered from Dean’s basement (which included boots, a beachball, and Scotch tape among other things).
On Sunday, Vivian and I partook in another fall tradition — going on a hayrack ride. This year, we went with several of our fellow members at Twin Valley Church to the Hall’s ranch down near rural Plattsmouth. We loaded up in two hayracks and got toted about for a couple miles, enjoying the gorgeous weather and countryside along the bumpy country roads.
Everyone brought plenty of food to stuff ourselves with afterward, and we had a roaring firepit going as well, which was just perfect for toasting s’mores with some of the ginormous marshmallows Jeff West was able to smuggle in. The weather was absolutely gorgeous the whole time we were there — warm enough for a T-shirt — but as the sun fell we were reminded that it is, in fact, October now, so the fire was a welcome addition to the evening. (Little Rachel just stared in awe as if she’d never seen an open fire before.)
On Saturday last week, Vivian had the first of at least three baby showers, this one hosted by our friends Jenny, Venche, and Tamra. I didn’t attend, but from what I’ve heard and the pictures I’ve seen, it looked like a lot of fun. The girls decorated about a dozen “onesies” together and gave a bunch of baby gifts to Vivian. There was also food — specifically tiny cheese-cupcakes, a couple of which Vivian saved for me. Thank you to Lisa, Jen, Tamra, Heather, Andrea, Li-Ya, Kara, Kelly, Jenny, and Venche for making this new mommy-to-be feel so special (even without a sticker).
On Sunday night, we joined Phil and Jen and a bunch of other random friends for a Silly Movie night together. The evening also involved some very improvisational cooking — on the Facebook invite, Phil asked guests to bring “an ingredient for us to cook — pasta, meat, vegetable, fruit, or cheese whatever.” That, naturally, left the field quite wide open. Vivian and I settled to bring some tomatoes and basil fresh from our garden, as well as some crushed tomatoes and garlic in case anybody needed to make either marinara sauce or bruschetta (or both). Other people brought biscuits, sausage, corn, egg noodles, and a variety of other stuff that Phil and Jen managed to turn into a handful of tasty dishes for us. The rest of us watched Airplane while sipping on sangria and riesling (or in Vivian’s case, water), which was just as funny as I’d remembered it, especially with a group of silly people.
For some reason, October is an insanely popular month for celebrations. In addition to the usual Halloween and fall-related fun, there are about a hundred birthdays crammed into the tenth month, along with a wedding or two just for good measure.
I took Vivian out to Summer Kitchen on Thursday for a random breakfast date. Then on Friday, we decided to drop by JNO for an evening of dancing and then crashing at Village Inn afterward, just like old times. After we become parents, staying out until two in the morning will likely be a rare occurrence. Eric and Kevin were kind enough to keep us company over breakfast and OneUpMe.com before heading home.
On Saturday, Vivian and I had several different events to juggle. We had lunch at Five Guys with the Hunters to celebrate Lisa’s birthday. Five Guys is about the closest thing we have to In-n-Out burger this side of the Sierra Nevadas, and I had a little fun cutting in line via cell phone to order a burger online from my table. Viva technology!
That afternoon, we dropped in at Twin Valley Church to attend Steve and Krista’s wedding with several of our church friends. (We also got to see Deena wearing a dress — gasp and shock!) We left shortly thereafter to attend a birthday party for Vivian’s co-worker Anthony. He held it at Gerda’s on Leavenworth, so I got to tell him, “alles gute zum geburtstag” while eating bratwurst and spaetzle (a kind of German pasta). He wanted to play Young Frankenstein for us to watch, but eventually settled for showing the Cornhusker / Ohio State game instead. Several people were so disheartened to see Nebraska get pummeled during the first half that they didn’t bother to stick around to see what happened in the second.
The next day, our church gave Lisa a birthday party in our church basement. Vivian brought peanut butter cookies to go along with the popcorn and cupcakes, and Lisa opened her presents as a dozen kids ran around in circles screaming in the next room. Lexi brought her baby Samantha and Rachel got to be all kids of cute for everyone with a camera handy. (Of course, I drew a caricature of Mark and Lisa on their card, which I suppose is tradition for now.)
It was a fun, busy weekend overall. Now to get back outside and enjoy some more of the unseasonably beautiful weather while it lasts.