Such a Spooky Halloween . . . BOO!!

Where is my Halloween Spirit this year? Oh, I know, it got replaced with Christmas Spirit, thanks to the CT Christmas album that I’ve been listening to in rotation with Ryan’s. Needless to say, I haven’t made any cute Halloween decorations, bought any candy, or watched the 13 Nights of Halloween. Alas. But I did make a spooky ghost cake tonight, since it’ll be my only time with the kitchen for the next couple of days. Oh the joys of living with four other people and their social lives. . . .

I tried out a new recipe for this cake. The title led me to believe dark chocolate would be involved, but it only called for cocoa powder for some reason, and no melted chocolate at all, dark or otherwise. I baked it up in a 9×13 pan and then I attempted to cut it into a cute little ghost shape. It’s somewhat wonky, but cute nonetheless. I just wish I hadn’t accidentally added too much milk to the buttercream–it’s not nearly fluffy or set up enough for my taste; it ran right off the sides and down into the pan. If only I hadn’t run out of powdered sugar. I knew I should have bought more at Trader Joe’s when I went two weeks ago. Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about that now.

Isn’t it a spooky little ghosty?

2:30AM EDIT: Oh yeah, gotta love the joys of living with suitemates with too active and rather disrespectful/unreasonable social lives. At least I already decided I was going to stay up late . . . because it looks like I’m not going to be able to sleep anytime in the near future. . . . It’s not like I was at work from 8am-7pm or anything and wanted to sleep by 3am. . . .

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Lots of New Music

Last week I finally received my copy of the Celtic Thunder Christmas CD. One word: ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY-BEYOND-AMAZING! There are no words to describe my love for these songs. I can’t wait to see and hear this show in person in December. I’m counting down the days (well, not quite yet, but the idea is in the back of my mind).

I’m also insanely excited for the release of the Christmas DVD on November 22nd–just in time for Thanksgiving so I can watch it with a friend when I’m home that week. She’s in agreement with that plan, so it’s happening. It’s also perfect because now I can just have it shipped to my house and I don’t have to pay sales tax; anything to save a buck. At least I’ll have something to keep me happy during break, since reading Moby-Dick isn’t exactly number one on my list of fun things to do.

I can’t wait to see Damo singing “Winter Wonderland” and “Our First Christmas Together”. Nor can I wait to see Keith sing “Last Christmas” and “All I Want for Christmas”, and in that white suit of his *insane squees*. I think my favorite song on the CD is EASILY “Last Christmas”, and with his white suit, I think–no I KNOW– I’m going to be a puddle as soon as I see the DVD and then at the show. I need a big poster of him in that outfit.

Thank you to whoever took these screen shots from the preview video before Amazon took it down.

In other CD release news, Ryan released his solo CD the other day. It was sold out within MINUTES on CDbaby.com. Supposedly they only received 100 copies of his CD in the first shipment. Um, WHAT? Oh Ryan, you should have arranged for MORE in that first batch. He said more were on their way today, but that probably won’t even be enough to satisfy all of the back orders. For the sakes of all the Ryan fans, thank goodness they had MP3 downloads on the site as well. I however, in my poor state, wasn’t going to pay $18.95 for 11 MP3s when the hard copy was only $19.95 plus tax/shipping. I opted to download his CD from iTunes for the time-being for $9.99, and will ask for the hard copy for Christmas. I have this thing about wanting hard copies of CDs/DVDs/books. There’s just something about holding the product in your hands.I think I can also safely say that some of his merchandise will be on my wish-list. It’s gonna be a very Celtic Thunder Christmas, I think, what with all the solo merch being released and thought up.

All I can say about his CD is WOW! He wrote 10 of the 11 songs himself, and all of these songs are phenomenal. So far, I think my favorite is “Go If You Want To”.

All of this new music being released so close together is making it hard to decide what to listen to. Do I want Christmas? Or do I want RYAN? It’s just not a fair choice to have to make.

Baking Go Leor

It seems I’ve been remiss in posting about what I bake. Classes, exams, and utter exhaustion haven’t completely kept me from baking, but for some reason it’s kept me from posting.

Let’s see if I can remember everything. . . .

I made something called a “French Breakfast Puff”, which is basically a baked doughnut hole. I didn’t follow the recipe and presentation suggestions exactly, but I thought they were still very yummy. They must have been, since they were all gone within a couple of days.

There have also been brownies. LOTS AND LOTS of brownies. But somehow I only managed to take a photo of one of the batches. These ones were good. They could have been better if I had taken them out of the oven a couple minutes sooner, but I made the glaze that the recipe suggested, and it really helped to moisten them up.

The second batch of brownies I made were AMAZING. They got the approval of a friend who very much prefers boxed brownie mixes. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of them. I had kept meaning to, but they just kind of disappeared before I got the chance.

I also tried my hand at a baked mac and cheese recently. It was a good start, but for future mac and cheese endeavors, I need MORE CHEESE. You would think that cheddar, Parmesan, cottage, and  mozzarella cheese would be enough, but I think I need to up the cheddar cheese because it wasn’t quite gooey enough. I’ll try again sooner rather than later, seeing as how I still have cheese left and I don’t want it to spoil. Note to self: buy ricotta cheese, too.

The other day while I was procrastinating in my mid-term studying, I made “granola bars”. I put them in quotes because they’re not really granola bars, but more like a granola cake of sorts. They still taste really good, but I need to have something to drink with them because, while they’re not dry, they make me really thirsty. I added chopped up chocolate chunks, raisins, and peanut butter to them, even though the recipe only called for mini chocolate chips. I had been craving a raisin-y something, so I figured why not, and hey, peanut butter goes GREAT with both of those things. I only have a few left, so I really should get on that whole picture-taking thing soon.

 

The Very Belated Celtic Thunder Boston Adventure: Part 2

Written while waiting for my bus back to NYC on 10/9.

After writing the first section while sitting by the pond, I grabbed a hot chocolate at Dunkin Donuts and headed back down to the venue. There were some people waiting by the stage door, but for the time being I chose to enjoy my cocoa away from them. I waited near two other women a bit away from the door, and we started chatting about the lads and the women’s lads.

We soon scooted up towards the other fans because more Thunderheads were arriving. The security guards kindly asked them to stand on the bricks behind the granite curbing, but did they listen? No, they did not. At. All. Talk about unruly invasion of personal space once lads starting coming in and out.

I believe Paul came out first, and as soon as they say him, they literally MOBBED him. I didn’t even want to get near, because it was just crazy. Who knew middle-aged women could be so pushy and invasive. Instead, I took a picture from above and somewhat afar. Yay for being so tall and for the zooming abilities of my camera.


The same thing  happened as each lad came around. It was absolute insanity, and I felt bad for the lads. I really didn’t want to be pushy, so I only managed the Paul picture and one picture of Keith’s profile. Probably the most memorable part of that time of the day was that after Keith went on the bus, he came back out with his longboard (skateboard, not surfboard unfortunately). He stepped out to the sidewalk, got to the street, threw his board onto the street, and FLEW DOWN THE MIDDLE OF STUART STREET, seemingly without a care in the world. My gosh, though, that lad needs to be careful.

My respect/patience during the mob scene paid off in SPADES a little while after. First came George, who chose the quiet time after the insanity to bring Carrie and Sarah out to the bus. There were only a couple of us left, and he took some time to chat, sign, and pose. I only got his autograph again, and I really should have asked for a picture, but I got my autograph and it said “Love George Donaldson, XX” :D. He came out of the bus again later, and I managed to catch his eye, and he WINKED at ME! Love you too, George. I also failed at getting a hug, but oh well. I’m happy with my autograph and wink. I can still picture it in my mind, haha.


Keith went back into the venue after coming back from skateboarding, but he only stuck around for a couple of pictures, none of which were mine. I did manage to say hello to him, though, and he asked how we all were doing.

It was down to just Pierre the security guard and I hanging around the door, and even he disappeared for a bit. I was in the middle of calling my friend, and the last person I was waiting for FINALLY came out. DECLAN! Needless to say, my friend finally picked up as he came out, and I hung up that phone SO fast, without saying anything to her. I asked him if he could sign my picture, and he said he would come back after he put his things away (he WAS carrying a few things which would have made signing somewhat complicated), so I waited patiently for him to come back like he said he would (At least for the time being he had stayed within my eyesight, unlike George at Radio City. Oh goodness, I didn’t even tell Carrie and Sarah on him when I had the opportunity. My memory just goes to bits when I’m around all of them.). In the mean time, I called back my friend after that abrupt hang-up, and she completely understood why I did what I did.

And then . . . DAMO CAME OUT!!!! It was just ME AND HIM, and I asked him to sign my sick friend’s ticket. I told him he was her favorite and about how sad she was to have to miss the show. Maybe I could have also asked him to speak to her on the phone, I bet he would have obliged. He’s so kind like that. He personalized the ticket, which said “To Lexi, Love Damian Mc Ginty”. Most of the time they just sign their name, since they’re usually in a rush or being mobbed, so this was just great for her. She’s going to love it, even though it’s not a surprise anymore because I couldn’t resist telling her about it soon after. Damo asked if I would like him to sign my program (which I was holding at the time), and I said that would be wonderful! Once again, I didn’t get a picture with him. I’m terrible about getting pictures WITH them instead of just OF them. I love that this is the second time that he’s been JUST ME AND DAMO, one-on-one. They’re all so much nicer (I mean, they’re always nice) and more willing to stay and chat if it’s just one or a couple of not crazy people around. Any more and it gets crazy and overwhelming. Damo, I love you for our time together. No, actually, I ❤ you.

And YES, I KNOW his picture looks absolutely wonky. That’s what happens when you try to Photoshop a 17 year old’s face onto his 15 year old body. Nothing is in proportion because the head is too small for the body. Oh Sharon, couldn’t someone have enlarged his head a bit so it wouldn’t be SO noticeable?

After Damo went inside the venue, Declan DISAPPEARED! He had been outside his bus before Damo came out, and now he was GONE. I was so sad. I didn’t know where he went, since he was JUST THERE. Thankfully, he soon reemerged and I was once again thrilled. I asked him to sign the picture of the two of us, and he was more than happy to do it. He recognized it as being outside the very same venue as as being very close to where we happened to be standing. Then he asked if I wanted the front or the back signed, as we looked at each other and both agreed upon the back so he wouldn’t “cover up that wonderful face” of his. Then I giggled. . . . Oh the things that lad makes me say and do *shakes head*. I also didn’t ask for my Declan hug (and it was getting EVEN COLDER) or a new picture with him. Alas. I really need to work on remembering that for the December show. As he was leaving, I told him he was great at Radio City, he said “You were there?”, I said “Yeah”, and then he smiled and went on his way.

That was supposedly the e nd of see ing people, and by that time it was almost time for my friend to meet me at the venue, so I stepped over to the other side of the door to wait. While I was texting my other friend about Damo, RYAN came quickly by and we exchanged hellos. He had seemed grumpy-ish earlier, so I didn’t want to bother him.

All in all, it was a very successful afternoon, but I can’t believe I let it end without a hug from ANYONE. Silly me.  I keep saying “next time”, but really, how many more “next times” am I going to be fortunate enough to have. I can’t keep counting on definitely having them.


Celtic Thunder Boston Adventure: Part 1

Written in Boston on October 9th while sitting in the park during the matinee show:

I thought I had packed everything on my list, but boy did I forget the most important item: MY CAMERA’S MEMORY CARD! I had just picked up my tickets and was getting ready to take a picture of a CT flier on a post on the corner when I saw the tiny red 4 in the corner of my camera screen. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I did not want to be seeing that number on this of all days. But one frantic phone call to a my friend later, and she’s bringing an extra card for me to use. THANK THE CELTIC GODS! I really wish I had one now, though, because as I write this I’m sitting in a park by a large pond, and there are swans, geese, and ducks everywhere. One’s honking at me right now, as it’s swimming by. It’s very pretty here, and not at all like Washington Square Park. There’s a sense of peacefulness and serenity here that I would never be able to find there. I wish I had some sunglasses, though, because it’s very sunny where I’m sitting, but I don’t want to sit in the shade because then I’ll be too cold.

But I digress. I got to the venue around 12:30, and as I was walking up the sidewalk past the stage door and towards the box office, who do I see coming my way? RYAN! I didn’t want to stop him, so I just said a casual “looking forward to the show tonight” as I walked nearer him. He then said something along the lines of “Oh, thank you” in that gorgeous Irish accent of his, and we were off in our respective directions with a wave and a smile. I would have liked to have stopped and gotten an autograph or a new picture, but I figured I would just let him be for now and just get to him after the show.

After I picked up my tickets and realized my SD card was still in New York, I was walking back towards the stage door and saw Neil and Nicole (violinist) getting their suitcases out of the bus. At this point I was still internally freaking out, and while Neil stopped to sign and pose with fans in front of the door, I was on my phone begging my friend for help, which meant I didn’t go on over with everyone else.

I just noticed the carousel on the other side of the street, how cute. So the next sighting us insane Thunderheads had was DAMIAN AND KEITH, at about 1:45, 45 minutes before the matinee was to start. What those lads were doing on their bus while we were all waiting for them, I have no idea. I have a feeling they were just trying to kill time so they wouldn’t have to spend too much time out in the cold with us. Either that, or they were too caught up in the video games someone said they were playing. (Keith later revealed in a tweet that he was sleeping.) When they stepped off the bus, Damo came first and Keith quickly followed, with a hand on each of Damo’s shoulders from behind, as if he was steering him to the door so he wouldn’t stop. According to Keith, they were headed to the sound check, and after that I thought it was the end of sightings. I must say, though, I very much enjoyed Keith’s hairstyle for the day. He had the front part of his hair pulled back off his face and secured with an elastic near the top of the back of his head, and there was no evidence of hair gel on his wonderful head (YAY!). He definitely got an intense coloring, with some highlights/lowlights/whatever thrown in so that his hair now has a few different shades in it that I couldn’t see after Radio City or in pictures/videos. I think the gel just makes his hair look a lot darker too, so the colors aren’t as easy to see when he’s all gelled up (sad!). I’m finally coming around to his new hair, but it would be so much easier if he would just get rid of the gel altogether, simple as that. But my opinion doesn’t matter to him, and neither does anyone else’s, so oh well.

Where I was standing between the stage door and the buses was the perfect location. I could see just inside the stage door to the window in there, which had a view of the stairs inside. The first time I noticed this was when I saw Keith going downstairs a few minutes after he went inside. Then Ryan, George, Neil, Paul (and probably Damo) followed him soon after. But I have to say the best moment was when I saw Neil going down the stairs the second time: He had a smile that reached his eyes, scrunched them up, and seemed to give them a little twinkle, which absolutely lit up his entire face. I saw teeth, and I rarely see teeth in pictures of him. That was a glorious moment. I wish I had known what caused such a reaction, because I just adore seeing him so happy. He’s such a wonderful man, and he deserves all the happiness in the world. Amazing.

I was also able to say hello to Declan, but I wished he could have signed my picture of the two of us from last year. Maybe tonight. I hope. Sharon and Phil really hit it out of the park in finding such talented, kind-hearted (not to mention good-looking) lads. I think I really just need to find an Irishman to call my own. All of a sudden I would really love a Declan hug, I don’t know why, but I NEED to get one tonight. Maybe it’s because it’s getting even colder out now and I want him to warm me up ;).

Just when we all thought it was really over for the afternoon, out came Keith to fetch his suitcase from under the bus. It was around 2:00, and the show was starting in 30 MINUTES. Keith was neither dressed nor gelled, so I was wondering what was up with that. He didn’t stop at all this time either, but I think karma got him good, because the wheel on his suitcase BROKE OFF as he was going inside. I wanted to ask the man who was picking up the pieces if I could have them, but I figured he would look at me like I was a crazy person and say no, so I resisted.

A few minutes later, DAMO also came out, went on the bus, and then got his suitcase. My goodness, these lads leave everything to the last second, don’t they? This time around, Damo was kind enough to stop for a couple of pictures and autographs, but I just wasn’t pushy enough to get a chance at him. Hopefully tonight *crosses fingers*. I really just want a proper picture with him, since I got his autograph last year. However, I would like to get him to sign the poster I’m getting for another friend, since he’s her absolute favorite and she couldn’t come because she’s sick at the moment. Even if I can’t maneuver the poster in a way to be easy to sign, a signature on anything would be wonderful.

The actual end to this pre-show fun was when George finally made an appearance outside. He was bringing Carrie (his wife) and Sarah (his daughter) out to the bus, and oh my GOSH! Sarah’s so big now! She’s growing up so quickly, I think she’s about 8 or 9 now. When he came out of the bus (alone) a woman I was waiting with kindly asked for his autograph for her niece, since he’s her favorite, and he obliged (but said something like “I’m on in twenty minutes! *laugh*) and asked if the woman was going to the show. She wasn’t, but I said I was going to the 8 o’clock one, and he said to wave so he’s know where I was. Like that would help him any, haha, since I’m in the balcony and glo-stick-less. I might just break down and buy a CT one for $5. I felt almost naked without mine at Radio City, and these ones have “Celtic Thunder” written on them, so why not? So I guess my purchasing list is the glo-stick, Damo poster, and the very pretty Claddagh necklace with “CT” on the heart. I don’t think it will break the bank *too* badly. I hope they still have the necklace though, since there is the matinee show today, and all. PLEASE don’t run out *begs*.

I guess this is it for now. I can’t wait for the show tonight and to see my friend, whom I haven’t seen since August.