Windows, Doors, and Beef Brisket

Standard

Life has a funny way of making you feel better when you should be feeling worse. It has its ups and downs. You know the saying “when one door closes, another opens.” I have both a love and hate relationship with change. I know that it is good. I know that it is hard. But, it helps me when I have people around me to push me and help me to grow. Which, in the end, is the best part about changes. I know when my husband married 25 year old Katie, he loved me then. But now, as 36 year old Katie, I am sure he loves the person I have become. I haven’t changed that much – I am still weird and goofy and loving and funny and kind. But somewhere, deep inside of me, I changed. I’m smarter. I’m a confident wife. I’m a good mom. I’m a better friend. (Sorry to all of those out there that I wasn’t such a good friend to over the years.)

I just returned from a vacation with my family. It was awesome. There are many things going on in my head right now – pushes and pulls. Happys and sads. But, I got some awesome time with some folks that make me super happy. Vacation, while exhilarating and exhausting, has a way of clearing your mind and resting your soul. I also had some amazing beef brisket that I cannot stop thinking about.

I spent some time a few weeks ago with a very good friend of mine. For a lot of reasons, she is going through a very tough time this year and it has been one difficult event after another. She is strong but even when we have so many things on our plates and it feels as though God is testing us, we have to remember that yes, this too shall pass. Her son was in a horrible accident and has been severely injured and being a mother during those terrible times you are not allowed to be the one that struggles. You keep it together. You don’t have that luxury. And while I have some struggles right now, they pale in comparison to anything she has going on. I could feel her anguish coming off of her in waves. I was letting her have a safe place to unload. And when you love someone, you have to do that. As we were finishing our afternoon together, I shared a few things going on in my life. And she sat there, gaping at me. And she felt guilty. And she felt like she wasn’t being a good friend. Now, here is a woman who is similar to Atlas. She has the world on her shoulders. A small business owner, a mother, a friend. She has a lot on her plate. And never, not once, has she faltered at being a divine support. I felt a little guilty burdening her with my trivial issues. The important thing is that her son, although being testing with a difficult set of injuries and a long road of recovery ahead of him, is alive. The rest of this stuff, it will pass. Other doors will open. New adventures are to be had. New friends to be made. New things to blog about. And, your health is so important. Without that, life actually is hard. The other things, you can change. So, my beautiful friend, I love you.

As for me, I am relaxed. Back from a terrific time in South Carolina. Reveling in my deep, dark tan (NOT) and ready for the rest of the summer. I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks. Thanks for letting me be me. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It isn’t worth it.

Oh yeah…remember how our dear Lauren has gotten engaged? She has asked me to be in her wedding. I cannot tell you how honored and excited I am! Yay! So, stay tuned for lots of developments in this category. I can’t wait for this to be us:

PS – Lauren, I would totally live on an Amish compound with you. I would churn the dickens out of that butter. Also. Amish.

A few links for you to enjoy:

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/06/22-powerful-images-ever.html

In celebration of Boy Meets World (THE BEST SHOW EVER IMHO) becoming Girl Meets World

 24601 – you da bomb

 

 

Advertisements

In defense of the family commune

Standard

The family commune.  It elicits an image of either vegetarian, naked, hippies growing hemp and smoking up all day, or amish farm-like family duties.  

Image

But let’s talk for reals.  Who wouldn’t want to live in a big house or in several big house surrounded by friends or family, all having assigned duties / errands, getting together for family dinners?  Being that close in proximity has its pros and cons, surely, but after a weekend at the beach with 9 of my closest friends, I am reminded of that summer camp / college feeling of living together, working together, eating together, planning together that forms life-long bonds and memories.  

Image

In this day and age, I would never suggest an actual stereotypical commune, but one where a group of friends / families live in several houses on the same large property, pool resources for certain things, like a joint garden, pool, family room with giant flatscreen, pool table, etc….  sounds like a blast.  Dogs and kids running around.  Some of us heading off to work all day, some staying home with kids.  

I think it sounds winning.  The fundamental problem with this plan:  getting everyone onboard with the same ideas / goals / contributions.  My group of friends and family are all way too different and independent and would not want to be tethered to the whims of so many others.

But for one weekend a year, in Avalon, NJ, beaching by day, family cooking, wine, and ice cream by night, I can imagine how magical, happy, and comforting my life would be in the constant presence of so many loved ones.  

I love them all.  But I am also glad to be home and having some down time.

Beautiful Bagels

Standard

In honor of Katie, though she is away on vacation.  She has a lifelong love affair with bagels.  Which I totally support.  

The bagel:  The variety, the round softness, the melty cream cheese on a lightly toasted bagel…. Perfection. 

Image

We have Bagel Wednesday at work, where someone is assigned to pick up bagels and cream cheese for the office. And there are almost always leftovers…. Nom nom.

When it comes to bagels, you have some decisions to make.

1. Sweet vs. Savory –> are you going for a sweet cranberry or the pastry-like cinnamon sugar? With some butter or even some honey walnut CC? Or is today more of an asiago cheese or everything bagel day? With savory bagels come more interesting CC options: veggie, lox, chive and onion… mmmmm…. But your breath will smell all day. And you will most likely have everything bagel bit or chive in your teeth

2. Toasted or Room Temp –> toasted is awesome with the melty, and it is soothing as a morning treat, but it can also get hard and the edges can cut your mouth…. It’s a toss up.

3. CC or Butter  –> all flavors of bagels are good with butter. Not all are good with CC. but some are infinitely better with CC> you really have to know your flavor combos. Choco hazelnut bagel, toasted with butter = perfection. Sesame bagel toasted with lox…. I mean, that could be breakfast lunch OR dinner!

4. The Bagel Sandwich –> bagels are also awesome for sandwiches. The tradeoff- your mouth only opens so wide, so you cannot load up on the innards too much. Katie enjoys a good everything bagel, toasted, avocado powerhouse sandwich.   In this realm is the pizza bagel. Or the pizza melt. This is an awesome evening snack or dinner, and you can load up with different cheeses and veggies and really make it gourmet.

Image Image

5. Day-Old Bagels –> ain’t nothing wrong with that. Microwave for 20 seconds, then toast. Do not nuke for too long or it gets chewy. And that is not ok. Ever.

6. Bagel Chips  –>  using bakes bagel chips for dips, such as hummus, is always a good snack idea. They are sliced thin and bakes and the flavor is totally locked in. I prefer either sea salt or everything.

7. Where to Buy –> Now I think we can all agree that small shops and gourmet delis have the best bagels, but the ease and consistency of Panera and Einstein make them viable options as well. Never buy a supermarket bagel. It’s just bread. Bagel-shaped bread. Same with the Thomas’ packages bagels. No.

8. The King of Bagels –> bagel lox, CC, capers, letters, tomato, red onion.   Nothing is better. Ever. But it’s too much. I only need half. Luckily my mom splits them with me. 

Image

And for your viewing / drooling pleasure: 30 Unbelievable Bagels: The Definitive Ranking

Now, I know bagels are just carbs and not particularly good for you. I am not suggesting eating 3 a day. But, in the ever-brilliant words of my mom, “Everything in moderation.” So, bagel Wednesday, I love you.

That is all the wisdom I have to impart on you about the beautiful, little thing called the bagel. Go forth and choose wisely. 

Nom. 

A Smattering of Randoms

Standard

Lauren:

I don’t drink soda very often.  So when I do, I burp for hours.  Days.  Years, even.  And it’s pretty instantaneous.  Take a sip, suppress a burp.

Image

Fun fact – when you hit G on the back, he burps.  You can literally still “burp” him as if he were a suckling babe!  Mwahahahahaa….  Used to my advantage.  Often.

I cannot have caffeine, so when I have soda, it is usually Canada Dry.  And yes, CANADA DRY, not just any ole Ginger Ale.  I didn’t realize it was weird I referred to ginger ale as Canada Dry until Katie pointed it out and mocked my specificity.

Image

Big things happening:

  • getting married  –  people asking me questions about it is much more stressful than actually doing anything about it
  • signed up for a half marathon with my mom  –  we are going to call this “from 3-13 in 14 weeks”…  eeeek.  We shall see if it is possible.  I am nooooooootttttttt  exactly in the best shape, and I am slower than….  everything.  You now that scene in Office Space where the woman in the walker is moving faster than the guy in the traffic jam?  That is how I feel when I run.

Also, just in case you were feeling like your job was boring….  it is.  Watch this.

The “Finer” Points of Hot Yoga

Standard

First things first. You really need to read this HILARIOUS Craig’s List Ad for a once-used yoga mat. And then we’ll talk.

http://m.tickld.com/x/guy-posts-yoga-mat-for-sale-ad-on-craigslist-this-is-hilarious

Go. I’ll wait.

Now, if you’re like me, you have tears of laughter streaming down your face. I was sitting at my desk in a very quiet office when Katie sent this to me (thanks!), and I tried not to let my impending outburst bubble over. Silent tears streaming down my face, giggling as silently as possible, developing hiccups in my attempts to stay quiet, eye makeup probably running amok (hehe, puns). People probably thought I was having an episode.

But totally worth it.

Let’s talk yoga. Regular Hatha Yoga can be peaceful, stretching, nice workout for your muscles, not cardio but certainly intense in some positions. Relaxing and difficult at the same time. I always feel a good muscle ache after. Time for savasana at the end – I always fall asleep, and most likely snore, then snap awake with a snort, embarrassed.

Image

Now let’s talk hot yoga, Bikram Yoga. This is not yoga. This is torture. Everything that man described in his ad is true.

Let’s walk through it. Real life style. You think, oh, I have done yoga before, I’ll be fine. It’ll be hot, but I don’t mind sweating. It’ll help me sweat out my “impurities,” aka the crabby tots and beer I consumed last night. I’ll bring some water, maybe even some Gatorade, I’ll be fine, what could happen? Challenge accepted.

Image

You walk into the room, nay steam room, and find a spot. It’s hot, but not yet oppressive. When selecting a spot, you think I’ll stay away from overweight guy over there. He will be sweaty. Ha! In 20 min, the puddles of sweat will threaten a flood at any time under every person in there. The “sweaty” guy is no worse off. And in a room like that, smells linger. Sweat, fart, BO, etc… it all lingers.

You think, huh, Why is there carpet on the floor, that’s weird. No, it’s not. Yes, it ABSORBS…. Gross… but it also prevents you from slipping. That much sweat on hardwood? We’d be ice skating!

When you stand up, you’re lightheaded; when you sit, your blood pools and your limbs swell; when you drink, there is no such thing as getting enough, but if you drink too much then continue yoga, you will throw up. You are so sweaty that you can get into positions you never thought possible, your limbs are bendy, like Gumby and you think, wow I am flexible, until later when you realize you should NEVER have allowed that position and you will be paying for it for a week.

Image

At some point, your eyes start to swim and you think, is that the humidity, is that my brain dying, or that a heat wave? What IS the boiling point of brain?

By the end of the 90 minutes, holding crazy positions, attempting to wick sweat off your… everything … you lie down in your own filthy sweat puddle and relax, sweat still pouring off of you, and “relax.” And by relax they mean achieve the last step of becoming human jerky.

Image

You finally get up to roll up your mat and leave, your mat is gross and smells and you almost fall over, head swimming, as you roll it up. Your drowned towel is dripping, but you try to fold it, and get out into the lobby AC. The air conditioning hits you like an arctic wind and you exhale and start shivering in pleasure.

Change out of your wet rags and head outside into the elements. In the winter, you will get hypothermia from the drastic temp change and your body will tense up. In the summer, the 90 degrees feels like AC and you will revel in its soothing cool.

You get home and shower, again submerged in wet, and then slump into bed to feel every place on your body go slack and mushy.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Yes it is good for you and you may feel “cleansed” afterwards, but there’s got to be another way! How about a nice run or a bike ride?

Bikram Yoga? I’m not saying I’ll never do it again, as I occasionally like to be hardcore and sweat A LOT, but only in my self-torture moods. And when challenged by my mom. Who is a beast and hard core. And in much better shape than I am.

Fonts and Words of Wisdom for a Summer Monday

Standard

You know what we haven’t talked about in a while…. Fonts.

I now work at a website hosting/designing company for schools, and there is a lot of discussion of design fonts vs. web-friendly fonts. Treasure trove of font amazingness – http://www.google.com/fonts/ … plus, who doesn’t love their sample sentence text? “Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.” Sigh – google, you complete me.

It’s important to remember that crazy, scripty fonts do not tend to work online and that that “boring” fronts really get the job done. That being said, there are plenty of more interesting variations. Also, remember that paragraph text has to be “boring,” but title / heading / sidebar text can be a tad more designy.

2014-06-16_0958

My preferences:

  • Lato
  • Droid Serif
  • Raleway – I would like to read a whole book in this font.
  • Lora
  • Indie Flower – but only for a heading or sidebar text , would be too difficult for paragraphs
  • Poiret One

I’ll stop there. The list goes on.

 

Things to keep in mind:

All winter, while it was snowy and freezing, you asked for this hot, warm, humid weather. You longed for it and you missed the sun. No complaints.

6a1fa23c3084e5edeeaba729896de6da

Nutella is always a good idea. I’ll take it on a spoon, please.

df7844e4adffd510c45e4f06c2ecc4db

Game of Thrones loves to shock and awe – even for people who read the books, since they’re going out of order and touching on books 4 and 5 already.

When planning things with your mother, prepare yourself to repeat yourself several times. And be patient, if you can. Or eat cookies.

Father’s Day makes us all feel like little kids again, wanting to sit on our fathers’ laps and listen to stories.

Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.

3a56f1097b97a628c0247d71bad27cba

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein.

Planning a wedding makes everyone think you immediately start to love pink.

Drinking ice water makes me cold. Drinking coffee makes me hot. I can get no peace.

They say you always are glad you did it after you exercise. With a dog trying to pounce on me while doing sit ups and deciding to poop multiple times during our run (reminder: bring more bags), I may actually regret my decision.

Lemonade = a precarious balance between cheek-puckering sour lemons and diabetes-inducing sugar overload. Be careful, my friends.

92b071ee2cabc17afdc1b13df6e302f3

 

Happy Monday. For all the teachers out there, hope you’re enjoying the beginning of you summer. To everyone else – office suckers unite!