Friday, October 31, 2014

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Retakes

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I love love LOVE Halloween!  The entire month of October, really.  This fall has been absolutely gorgeous and I've been trying to get out and hike as often as possible.  I've been taking some awesome pictures of the fall foliage and hope to actually print them out and put them into a collage or something.  I'm a picture taking maniac and currently have thousands of pictures on my phone.  I need to pare down, as it's hard to keep up with.  I try to get them all onto Snapfish so they're saved somewhere in case my phone takes a swim in a duck pond or what have you, but that doesn't always pan out that way.  My last phone (which was waterlogged at the beach this summer) contains a gazillion pictures that never made it to snapfish.  It makes me wonder if we take too many pictures.  Back in the day when I was growing up, my dad would pull out the old Nikkon Camera and take a few pics of each holiday, birthday, etc.  Back when you had to buy film and load it into the camera.  A roll of 20 would probably last him at least a few holidays. He'd have them printed out and put them into photo albums which are neatly perserved in the basement along with several rotary phones.  When I'm feeling nostalgic I can look through the photo albums.  It wasn't album contains the first 5 years of my life. Some pics are blurry or off center, and that's ok.   Now, I feel like we take so many pictures trying to capture perfection that it kind of gets "watered down"...know what I mean?  I could fill an entire album of Lauren's first Christmas.  And it's hard to go back and look through 200 pictures of one holiday and pare them down to say 10 pics to represent that first Christmas.  I have printed out pics laying around all over the house, not quite sure what to do with them, and thousands on my phone that have yet to even be printed.  It's forever on my "to-do" list to sit down and sift through them, but it's a huge undertaking. I know this is a silly "first world problem" in the scheme of things, but it makes me realize that overall I need to simplify. Take less pictures, be present in the moment and enjoy it versus trying to get the perfect picture of it.

Yes, I take a lot of pictures at cemeteries.  I totally have an obsession with cemeteries....

In other news (and silly first world issues) I find myself totally baffled over this current mystery unravelling here in my very own kitchen.  So - on most ovens - probably all ovens- there's a setting that says "Self Clean".  If I'm understanding this correctly, the oven is suggesting that it will clean itself once that button has been pushed. Right?

So...let's say, for example, that an applie pie exploded in my oven, leaving a sticky, gooey mess behind that now burns off each time I turn my oven letting off enough smoke to set off every fire detector in the house (this is a hypothetical, of course).  So my choices are either 1) Go out to the store, purchase "Easy Off" oven cleaner, latex gloves and a huge sponge.  Come home, spray in on the inside of my oven, wait 3 hours while it "sets", open all the windows to avoid the aersol chemical shitstorm I've just unleashed in my kitchen, then procede to put the entire top half of my body INTO the oven emitting said fumes, and scrub down the mess by hand....undoubtedly needing some type of bucket filled with water in which to rinse out my huge sponge in between wipes.  OR...
B)  Turn on the "Self Clean" option and let the oven clean itself while I go watch my neighbor's yard guy bag leaves in hopes he'll get hot and take his shirt off.

Do you see where I'm going with this?  Well obviously, that I need one of those 80 degree fall days and a good pair of binolculars.  Sure.  But as far as this oven dilemma, why would anyone chose to clean it themselves if this self cleaning option exists??  I mean, it almost seems too easy.  Like a trick.  I admit, I'm kind of nervous to push that button.  Like, what if I hit it, and suddenly a team of oven cleaners screeches down my street and into my driveway, hops out with all their oven cleaning gear and pushes me out of the way as they make a beeline for my kitchen.  Then once the oven cleaning is complete, I get billed for it at the end of the month?  Like an "on demand" movie?  There has to be some catch to this whole thing.  Has anyone every used the self cleaning option?  Have YOU?  What happens?  I'm dying to know.  WHAT THE HELL IS THE CATCH????  

Anyway, while that mystery gets here is all kinds of crazy, so of course it seemed like a great time to bring in a foster dog!  And so a few weeks ago, we welcomed Molly Luna Star, a sweet pup out of the Manhattan Shelter who was on "doggie death row".  In all honestly there was no plan to take any more animals in....but somehow, Molly's story (FKA Estrella) found me and I couldn't get her sweet little face out of my head.  She'd clearly been bred many times, and then dumped in a shelter.  It killed me to think that she may never know the love of a real family and to be treated like a little princess.  She's a black dog...and typically they don't get adopted out of the shelter, so the odds were stacked against her.  So she's here with us, and we're fostering her through Imagine Pet rescue.  I'm honeslty amazed that such an awesome dog was almost put down.  This dog rocks.  She's about 5 yrs old and all she wants is snuggles and to follow her humans around.  That's it.  She's great with the kids and our dog, Brynn.  Please "like" her Facebook page and share it...we're on a quest to find her the perfect forever home..


Have a Happy, Haunted & Safe Halloween!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dude, Where's My 4 Year Old??

So it's been a whole month since I wrote a blog.  Since then, I've started my 200 hour yoga teacher training - it's 1 full weekend per month (Fri night, all day Sat & Sun) and an additional 1 Saturday per month.  Also, at least 1 yoga class per week is  required.  It's a lot of yoga.  I love yoga, but I have to admit that I've been challenged both physically and mentally as I embark on this journey.  I consider myself in "good shape" and pretty flexible, but after that first weekend of training, every since muscle in my body was sore.  Even my fingers hurt.  I also found myself in a very spiritual place.  Although we all know that yoga is a spiritual practice, I'd never spent so much condensed time thinking, meditating, reflecting and observing myself.  By the end of the weekend, it felt almost strange coming home to life in full swing.  I needed time to decompress.  It was a totally unexpected "side effect" of this training, and one that I honeslty don't know that I would've been ready for had I started this training a few years ago.  Even last year, for that matter.

I suppose things in your life show up exactly when you need them.  Training, lessons, teachings, people, etc.  I'm embarking on a new journey in many aspects of my life, and yoga has really helped guide me.  There are times in our lives when suddenly everything is in upheaval and change is inevitable.  I'm learning to ride the wave and not struggle against it.  I'm learning that change, although hard and typically uncomfortable, is sometimes necessary.  Sometime while riding the wave, we get tossed around and bumped up against things...maybe even get a toe bitten off by a shark (kidding  of course - all of my toes are intact ;)   But I suppose this is an unavoidable aspect of life...getting tossed around and not sure where we'll end up. We all experience that feeling and I guess instead of worrying about where this wave is taking me, I need to relax and enjoy the journey no matter what obstacles come my way.  

Anyway, Benjamin started preschool a few weeks ago and he's basically turned into a teenager overnight.  The first day I picked him up from preschool (which he LOVES), he informed me that I should no longer call him "Bunny" (my cute little nickname I've had for him since he was born..), but instead I was to refer to him as Ben or Benjamin.  WHAT???!!   After a little back and forth, I finally got him to agree that I could call him Bunny as long it was not in front of his new friends at school.  Also, I notice on the playground playing with his little friends after school, they call each other "Dude".  Do you LOVE it??  DUDE!  He's 4.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that Lauren has stopped the tears (for the most part) and is now enjoying life as a Kindergartener/Diva.  She still has her moments, but NOTHING like it was and most days she's excited to get to school to see her friends and her "handsome art teacher".  Oh yes, my 5 year old announced at dinner one evening that she was looking at him and then got embarrased when he noticed, but she couldnt help it since he's so handsome.  Ohhhhh for the love of God. We then attended an ice cream social at the school where we ran into her art teacher and she batted her little eyelashes and smiled every time he walked by.  I don't know what's happening to my kids, but I'm feeling like I'm on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. (The old school one...not the remake.  Naturally.)   Here are a few pics of Brenda & Brandon on a recent hike....

Also prime Apple Picking month is upon us again.  We went last week and faced the same confusion in the apple orchard as last year.  In the end, however, I made a KICK A$$$$  apple pie.  Ok, I look up recipes on google all the time, even though I have like 2,700 on Pinterest.  Needless to say, I've tried a bunch on apple pie recipes, but THIS ONE is seriously the absolute best.  Go make it now.  Here's a picture of my masterpiece...

PS....Don't tell, but this is totally a store bought crust.  Just before I put the pie in the oven, I brush egg whites on top of it to give it that glaze.  I'm not sure if that's even really a "thing", I may have seen that on an episode of Three's Company...but either way, it works!  Happy Baking :)