spider, bird, party

You might be wondering about that seemingly random list of words: spider, bird, party. In my head, they aren’t random, though. They have a sort of roundabout connection.

For a start, our house is still decorated for Halloween. We kind of went all out this year, as the kids hosted a bit of a party for some friends a couple of weeks ago. And one of our major Halloween decor themes is spiders and their webs. Here’s a sample.

spider-and-web
Giant spider and web.

We also tend to have a lot of bird-related things. For Halloween, we have some various crow, raven and black bird items, such as the wreath below.

bird-halloween-wreath
A wreath of black birds.

But aside from that, the connection between the words for me is a bit more of a tangle. Yesterday’s photo of a bird statue with a spider web reminded me that the words for bird (ptak) and spider (pająk) in Polish are two that I have gotten mixed up before. In case you are wondering why I have had the occasion to mix them up at all, I’ve been casually studying Polish using DuoLingo. (I had a conference in Poland last year, and I started the study as a bit of preparation for the trip. And I’ve just been continuing, with no concrete goals aside from learning some of a new language.)

But thinking about the various ptak and pająk items we had up for our party also reminds me of the most surprising word I’ve learned so far in Polish. The word impreza means party. It just so happens that I have been driving an Impreza (a Subaru Impreza) for the last 14 years, and had no idea it was a party.

Below is a photo I happened to have in my phone of the impreza.

impreza
Impreza: a party?

(I sometimes take a photo of my car in parking garages to remind myself of where I’ve parked. Usually I delete it afterwards, but I happily I still had this one. Because what’s a party if you don’t have photos to show for it?)

So there you go.

fashioning a fascinator

I’m rather fascinated by the term fascinator. It’s a much more fanciful expression than “funny little fancy hat.” In any case, I fashioned myself a fascinator from a fluffy little friend. Well, really, I just took one of our many spider decorations, and fastened it atop my head. I felt it worked just fine.

spider_fascinator

I don’t often post photos of myself on this blog, but when I do, there tends to be some sort of creature on top of my head.

smashing pumpkins (or smashed pumpkins, really)

It is an American holiday tradition to decorate with pumpkins for Halloween, and carve them into jack-o-lanterns. Some pumpkins never quite make it that far…

This pumpkin was not the belle of the pumpkin patch.

There is also the less widely appreciated tradition of stealing pumpkins of other people’s front steps, and smashing them onto the ground. The closest I have come to this tradition is taking our post-Halloween pumpkins to the compost pile, and throwing them down.


Pumpkins actually don’t tend to smash in these circumstances. A compost pile is a rather soft bed of leaves and other squishy organic materials.


These pumpkins are more smushed than smashed. (I confess I am amused by the distorted faces of the decomposing pumpkins.)

These are from 2009, 2012 and 2013. It is totally normal that I have accumulated a collection of photos of smashed and/or rotting pumpkins over the years. I’m sure you can say the same, right?

pumpkin carving, take 2

Remember how cute the kids’ pumpkins looked a few days ago? Wouldn’t you know it, time got away from me, and I left the pumpkins sitting there in front of the fireplace. Come Friday, I thought I should bring them out and figure out how to light them up. Unfortunately, the jack-o-lanterns had not fared well. Even though our house is chilly, it is apparently not chilly enough to keep a carved pumpkin from rotting and molding:

Oops.

On the bright side, we still had more uncarved pumpkins. I hadn’t found time to carve mine, nor John his, and there were a couple more smaller pumpkins that we had gotten from my CSA. (I’m sure they would have been great for pie-making…) The kids and I had a bit of time after school on Friday before we were joining friends for trick-or-treating, so we knocked these guys out (and set them out) on Halloween night.

I would also like to note that we didn’t have any tea lights, candles or otherwise. We had to get creative to light these up. Two have LED head lamps, one has a small flashlight, and another a keychain light. Each of the lights was wrapped in a layer of a yellow napkin, and the placed in a plastic sandwich bag before being placed in the slimy insides of the pumpkins.

my spiny invertebrates

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “invertebrate.” Given that it is Halloween today, and given my recent exposition of spider webs, how could I resist sharing these favorite Halloween decorations of mine?

These little guys (or big guys, seeing as they are spiders) are made of spiny metal and wood, and perch very nicely on all sorts of surfaces.

To see what other invertebrates are on display, pay a visit to the fff blog!