Eleanor's Second Halloween

Mommy peacock and Nora

A few announcements and updates about what we’ve been doing this week.

First of all, I’ve just heard that the next Doctor Who special, the last David Tennant episode before the two-part finale over Christmas, is due in two weeks. The Waters of Mars will debut on Sunday, November 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the United Kingdom. No word yet on when it will show up on Space, but I doubt that it would be very long after. I’m looking forward to this. Water always wins.

Today was Halloween and, despite high winds, the kids were out trick-or-treating. This is Nora’s second Halloween. As you will recall, she spent the first one dressed as a caterpiller to Vivian’s butterfly, and didn’t really take it in. Now that she can toddle, however, she was more into it. It took a couple of houses, but she soon caught on. When she realized that people just gave you stuff, she was off searching for more doorways to toddle towards. We dressed her up as a giraffe. Despite earlier plans to dress Vivian up as a peacock, she vetoed us and decided instead to go as a princess. (sigh) Oh, well.

We had a full house, yesterday. For the past week, my father-in-law Wendell and his wife Judy were visiting. Yesterday, my mother-in-law Rosemarie came up from Des Moines, and we all had a great roast beef that Erin cooked in our new kitchen. It was a nice time. Wendell and Judy went back to Lincoln earlier today, and Rosemarie will be staying with us for the coming weeks.

The day before yesterday, to celebrate Wendell’s 65th birthday, we decided to make a day trip to Niagara Falls. The weather didn’t cooperate a lot, as it was grey throughout the day, but we did get to see some excellent leaf colour on the Niagara Escarpment. The falls were also extra misty today, which made seeing them from their usual vantage point a soggy experience. However, we did purchase a “winter pass”, which gave us access to three attractions at a reduced rate. This included Niagara Fury — a combination cartoon and theme park ride describing the creation of the falls, Journey Behind the Falls, and a visit to the Niagara Butterfly Conservancy.

Niagara Fury was overrated. They handed out disposable ponchos at the start of the event, the first half of which was a cartoon, after which we stepped into a room with a platform full of handles where we could “experience” the creation of the falls with the help of a wraparound screen, jets of water, fake snow, fake earthquakes and fake lightning. Big whoop. And while Nora performed admirably, clinging in my arms, I fear it may have marred movie theatres for Vivian for ever afterward. She had to leave, pretty darn quick.

On the other hand, Journey Behind the Falls was worth the price of the pass all on its own. Here, we descended in an elevator to a series of tunnels that were dug out behind the falls, and got to see two portals which actually opened out directly behind the cascade of water. This was neat, albeit at a rather cerebral level (as in, “if I were just twenty feet further along in this tunnel, I’d be in really, really big trouble!”). Better was the observation platform that they’d put out at ground level, not thirty feet from the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. Despite the mist and despite the wind, I was riveted. There was a column of water crashing down on the rocks just steps from my safe location. It was an awe inspiring sight, and I now have some idea what it’s like to stand within thirty feet of a tornado.

The Butterfly Conservancy was nice and more Vivian’s speed. It was located farther north up the gorge, and offered some excellent scenery. It’s probably the lead attraction for the Winter Pass during actual winter. I would have to think that it would take a special kind of tourist willing to brave the mists of the viewing platform during January. All in all, a successful outing.

For dinner, (and here’s a shout out to Dave at Blogography we stopped at the Hard Rock Café at the Niagara Casino. This was my first time here, and I was interested to see what someone like Dave, who is such a big fan, he’s made it a mission to visit every single Hard Rock Café in the world, saw in the place. As this was the off season, the place was virtually empty, which probably made us able to hear ourselves speak. The rock memorabelia was nice, but probably of more interest to rock aficionados. There were some good music videos on the screens around the place, and the food was okay. Just okay, I’m afraid. I had the pulled pork sandwich, and it was a decent sandwich, but quite overpriced at $15.99. So, I’m able to say that I’ve done the Hard Rock, and am quite pleased that I’ve done the Hard Rock, but I’m even more pleased that I won’t have to do the Hard Rock any more. Sorry, Dave!

Our kitchen is taking shape. Our installer finished work getting all of the cabinets in, and we finally have a working sink, stove and microwave. It’s amazing how much you miss these things. The countertops don’t come until November 10, but we’re already cooking up a storm.

In all of this, the writing has been hit and miss. I’m now over 6000 words on Icarus Down, but still throwing things at walls and seeing what sticks. I’m hoping to post a scene I’ve been working on, soon.

You can see more photos of our Halloween and our kitchen here. That’s the news for this month. Thanks for visiting. Looking forward to more progress in November.

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