Five Things Friday: Movies for Halloween Weekend

It’s the weekend before Halloween which means America is abuzz with all things ghoulish. While I don’t fully understand why people become so excited about decorating their front yards with skeletons and headstones (seems a little morbid to me), I CAN get into the spirit with a great scary movie – whilst wearing my witch’s hat of course.

I love scary movies. Actually, let me clarify that. I love suspenseful movies – the kind that keep you guessing  and then surprise you with an ending that you didn’t quite expect. I’m not a fan of the movies that try to outdo themselves with gore and violence (the SAW series will not make it to my Netflix queue anytime soon), I like scares with more intelligence twists and fewer decapitations.

So here’s my top five.

You’ve probably heard of them all before – I’m not an art house scary movie girl which is probably why I didn’t pursue a career as a film critic. That, and the fact that my writing often pushes grammatically-correct boundaries.

1. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Remains one of the biggest twist endings in movie history and takes you a wild ride along the way. Bonus points for turning my teenage popstar crush into someone unrecognizable.

2. The Others (2001)
Although this movie was largely panned by critics (and my husband), I find it creepy, moody and very scary. It’s also easy for me to empathize with a mother who seems to be losing her mind.

3. Silence of the Lambs (1991)
I can’t believe this film is 20 years old – which makes me WAY too young to have seen it when it was released. It remains one of the creepiest, most disturbing movies I have ever seen and explains why I have never, ever bought a bottle of Chianti and cant stand fava beans.

4. The Shining (1980)
Another movie about descent into madness. Earns bonus points for starring Oregon’s own Timberline Lodge.

5. The Omen (1976)
The original, not the remake. A demon child, a Catholic church conspiracy and just enough blood and gore without crossing into gratuitous violence.Also made me never, ever want to name a child Damien.

Honorable mentions:

I’m sure I missed a bunch – apparently I haven’t watched many scary movies during the past 10 years. Please share your own favorites in the comments so I can bring my Netflix queue into the 21st century.

Early Pumpkin Picking

We did the pumpkin patch early this year for a few reasons:

  1. I was trying to avoid going after the Portland rain has set in and the pumpkin patches become on massive mud patch, trampled by thousands of people.
  2. The weatherman promised we would have a sunny day… and then said it likely would not last. When you live in Portland, you make the most of the sunny days, especially in October.
  3. I wanted to get the Pumpkin Patch thing out of the way. It’s one of those American traditions that I have embraced (and enjoy) but, if I leave it too late, I feel as though it’s infringing on my ramp up to Christmas. I realize that Thanksgiving is in the middle there as well, but I can’t wait until December to begin thinking about gifts and Xmas music. And, thanks to my annual takeout Turkey dinner, Thanksgiving is one of the easiest holidays.

We skipped the Pumpkin Patch last year. Having just returned from a couple of weeks in Japan, it was just a little too much. This year we decided the more the merrier and invited our friends Amelia and Alison (and their Mum Suzi). Our destination? Plumper Pumpkins Patch.

I promise Samuel was there – he just started the day a little camera shy.

And a little tractor shy. He and I walked behind the very-slow-moving vehicle.

The best thing about plumper, besides their good selection of carve-worthy pumpkins, is the number of kid-friendly activities they have available. We spent at least a couple of hours exploring corn mazes, sliding down hay bales and saying hi to some farm animals. I tried not to think to much about the fate about to befall the dozen or so turkeys.

Oh, and before you peruse the rest of the photos, I want to point out one small thing… Neither of my children are wearing sweat pants – the first time this has happened in…well…ever! Sure, it was mainly because I was yet to do the laundry and I refused to allow them to wear pants with holes in the knees, but I consider this a HUGE accomplishment. They’re both very attached to their “soft pants.”

Bonus point to Samuel for managing to dress himself in pumpkin colors. The perfect choice for blending into corn mazes.

Hay ride.

Obstacle Course and string maze (harder than it looks).

Races down the hay bale slide (faster than it looks).

Farm animals (smellier than they look).

And the duck races.

Finally, after a run through the kid-size hay maze, we were ready to pick out our pumpkins.

Not those ones, of course, they’re just pretty to photograph.

Then it was off to lunch where the impatience of a long wait for food was eased a little thanks a little invention from Steve Jobs that we like to call the “sanity saver”.

A fun day with friends. Now to find a little time to carve my pumpkin. I think I might carve a ghost design this year.

Five Things Friday: Things I Love

Quick FTF post today. See what I did there? With the abbreviation? 🙂

1. School pictures that are actually worth paying for.

2. Photos that perfectly portray the personality of a three year old who loves to jump (complete with the tongue sticking out for concentration).

3. Photographing fun charity events.

4. That an Aussie won said charity event.

5. The weekend is only hours away.

Plans for this weekend include a little apple tasting at the Portland Nursery (something we planned to do last weekend), more organizing and running errands and, I hope, a whole lot of relaxing with my boys.

Five Things Friday: Inspired

Taking a very deep breath after a crazy week of juggling travel, school schedules, charity events and work events. My camera got a fantastic workout but, before I delve into a few hours of photo editing, I thought I’d share 5 things I came across this week that have me inspired and excited.

1. A Very She & Him Christmas
“She” is Zooey Deschanel, currently starring in The New Girl but who will always be the girl with the wonderful voice who almost upstaged Will Ferrell in Elf, to me. Can’t wait for this album to be released and I doubt I’ll wait until December to play it. Did I mention how excited I am for Christmas this year?

2. An Organized Mess by Color Me Katie
I would totally do this myself if the color of objects in my house weren’t so strongly inspired by Star Wars action figures (a little more black and grey, anyone?). Katie’s results are so colorful – a complete work of art.

3. New Autumn TV
Unashamedly enjoying a bunch of new TV shows – and struggling to find time to watch them all. Top of my list so far – Pan Am, Up All Night (although a little close to home) and New Girl. Really looking forward to Once Upon a Time and Grimm. The latter is set (and actually filmed) in Portland which is a complete bonus.

4. A Day in The Life of Photographer Elizabeth Fleming
Inspired by a number of photography projects right now and this one is especially beautiful and honest.

5. Great Posters From Upcoming Movies
Great artwork makes me want to add most of these movies to my must-see list. Make sure you click on the link for see them all.

I’ll be playing catch up this weekend with laundry, cleaning and photo editing. Of course there will also be plenty of family time, a couple of kids birthday parties and a potential trip to the Portland Nursery for some apple tasting. Impatiently counting down the last few hours of my work week.

Newport, Oregon Day 5: Samuel Spots a Seal (or five)

Day 5 was our last full day in Newport, although I’m sure it feels as though we were there a lot longer thanks to the speed at which I’ve been posting these recaps. Still, posting like this helps drag out the vacation, and the summer, just a little longer.

I began the day with another walk around Nye Beach to soak up a little of that beachside atmosphere.

Then we enjoyed a little Zen time at the beach thanks to Kei’s rock creation.

Then it was time to head back in the direction of the lighthouse to visit the rock pools. A ticket to the lighthouse is valid for three days which worked out perfectly. Visiting the Lighthouse and rock pools on the same day would have been too much for the younger members of our crew.

We walked down the hill toward the rock pools thinking it was just a regular beach, when Samuel spotted the main attraction just meters away.

We were pretty impressed that Samuel was the one who saw them first (and he was incredibly proud of himself) so I asked him to recreate the moment.

Then, braving the cold wind, I walked around and took a few quick photos before we decided to make a beeline back to the warm van.

For dinner, we drove to a great Japanese restaurant in the old town section of Newport. It gave us a chance to walk around the historic port and check out these very loud and aggressive creatures.

We weren’t the only ones. Apparently they’re quite the attraction.

After dinner we took a walk down to the dock. Well, some of us walked…

The sun was setting and the colors were beautiful.

Finally, I decided that my nerves could no longer take the sight of my children running on such narrow boardwalks. As we walked back, Mayumi requested I take a few photos of things you might not see very often in Japan.

And other things that reminded her of home.

After a quick stop for ice cream, we headed back for our last night at the beach house.

A Taste of My Own Medicine

Both of my children love photographs. And who can blame them? They’ve both had virtually every significant moment of their lives caught on camera since birth. Thomas, in particular, has shown an interest in taking his own photos and we have quite the collection from our trips to Australia and Japan as well as some shots from around the house. It’s so interesting to see the world through his eyes.

Thanks to a husband who never throws anything away, the boys are now proud owners of their very own point and shoot digital cameras.

Samuel adopted our very first camera that looks a lot like the toys cameras they sell for children now, but less sophisticated. It doesn’t have a preview screen so he’s getting used to looking through the viewfinder and pressing the button at the same time while holding his superhero action figures. Quite the achievement for a three year old.

Thomas has our second camera – the one that we bought before we left Australia about 9 years ago. This little canon traveled to Hawaii and then across the states and back. It captured some of my favorite memories, including the birth of my first child, and started me on my love of photography. I love it that Thomas is now picking up where we left off.

And he’s off to a good start. We went on a photo walk late yesterday and every time I turned around I saw this…

A taste of my own medicine perhaps? Can’t wait to download the photos so I can share them with you. I’m pretty sure he took about 20 photos of porch pumpkins.

Sharing this photo for the latest I Heart Faces challenge – Hands.