Getting in Touch With Our Country Side

29 Oct

It was that time of year again where we drove up north to check out the funky pumpkins, relax on a hayride tour throughout the farm, check out some pig races, walk around mazes made out of corn, look at ginormous John Deere rides, climb haystack pyramids, and listen to the good old twang of a banjo and guitar.

Yeah we’re sneaker and ball cap people, but we felt like we had cowboy hats and boots all day. Yeah … we let our country out. We were on a mission to find our pumpkin and we had fun getting in touch with our country side along the way.

 

 

I've never seen pumpkins like this before, but apparently they make an appearance every Halloween.

I’ve never seen pumpkins like this before, but apparently they make an appearance every Halloween.

 

 

The Pumpkin House was probably one of the funnest structures they discovered.

The Pumpkin House was probably one of the funnest structures they discovered.

 

Once got there one of our first stops was checking out the old school tractors.

We followed that up with an awesome tour of the old school tractors. This one seemed to catch my eye the most.

 

 

As soon as we got there my son had to check out one of the rides.

My son preferred the monster truck type. He said it was the kind that the Incredible Hulk would use.

 

 

My daughter wanted to get in on the action, but she preferred racing them.

My daughter wanted to get in on the action, but she preferred racing kind.

 

 

After a little speed racing around the farm we decided to do a couple of mazes.

After a little speed racing around the farm we decided to do a couple of mazes.

 

 

For the first time in Guat history we finally made it to the end and climbed on top of the victory haystack...this was the view from the top. I felt badass.

For the first time in Guat history we finally made it to the end and climbed on top of the victory haystack…this was the view from the top. I felt badass.

 

 

After checking out our awesome victory view, we headed off for the pig races. Apparently a very popular attraction.

After checking out our awesome victory view, we headed off for the pig races. Apparently a very popular attraction.

 

After the pig Ninja Warrior races we set off to play some games. My son seemed to enjoy the green tomato sling shots. He hit three out of five haystacks, earning himself a high five.

After the pig Ninja Warrior races we set off to play some games. My son seemed to enjoy the green tomato sling shots. He hit three out of five haystacks, earning himself a high five.

 

After all that Huckleberry Finn action we decided to have a snack and enjoy the band.

After all that Huckleberry Finn action we decided to have a snack and enjoy the band.

 

Then we headed off to see if the Great Pumpkin was out and about.

Then we headed off to see if the Great Pumpkin was out and about.

 

But the coolest part of the whole trip was that we witnessed our first hay tornado. It was the coolest thing I saw all day ... all weekend probably.  I'd never twister pick up like that, dance around the patch in circles, and then make it rain hay. It was a Fall miracle.

But the coolest part of the whole trip was that we witnessed our first hay tornado. It was the coolest thing I saw all day … all weekend probably. I’d never twister pick up like that, dance around the patch in circles, and then make it rain hay. It was a Fall miracle.

 

After that farm magic we walked around the patch and the kids found their perfect pumpkin.

After that farm magic we walked around the patch and the kids found their perfect pumpkin.

 

 

Love-Me Notes Resurface

27 Oct

I haven’t had one since high school.

A good-old fashioned one, handwritten on paper, with pen, and folded just right. Nope, it’s been at least 25 years.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve gotten emails and cards, but nothing quite like that hand-folded note given to you while waking the hallways to your next class. Nothing like a Lloyd Dobler moment in written form to make you smile.

 

:)

:)

 

 

Love-me notes.

It’s the feeling you get when you read them.

Comfort. Warmth. Friendship. Love. Possibilities.

It’s the fact that someone took the time out of their day to inspire you, to let you know that they were thinking of you, to make you feel special in some way.

I hadn’t thought about these notes in quite some time.

But then I discovered the little love-me notes waiting for me every night. After a long day of everyday business when I’m trying to enjoy the quiet of the night and get lost in the drama that is television, I sip a cup of tea. It relaxes me, brings back the Zen if I feel that it’s been lost. And as tear open the pouch the first thing I look for is the tag. It’s a little bit of inspiration, a little warmth, a little love. It reminds me of the love-me notes from before and it makes me smile. Granted they’re not handwritten, probably massively produced, but they still give me a moment. And that’s all I need, a feel-good moment every night. But instead of someone else giving them to me, I feel like I give them to myself every night.

It was quite unexpected to have found those feel-good moments from a tea bag, but I look forward to them.

 

 

Feel Good Friday Continues

24 Oct

I was in the car when it happened.

In fact I bet you’ve been in the car when this has happened.

You’re sitting there waiting for the light to change and then it hits you.

You hear it, you lean your head back, and close your eyes for moment. You feel a smile coming on and then you reach for the volume … and crank it up.

It’s your jam … the one that takes you way back to Aquanet Hairspray, Levi Jeans, L.A. Gears, and Trapper Keepers.

 

 

You haven’t heard it in years and you begin to do your best Night at the Roxbury dances moves while driving down the street. You’re having all these 1980s feel good flashbacks and you’re feeling good because you’re having a moment.  You’re enjoying the present. You’re letting go. You’re having a let-your-freak-flag-fly moment. And it’s so good that you begin to sing. You’ve only done karaoke twice in your life, but you feel like you can take the stage at this point.

And then as you turn around you notice the driver next to you is not only watching, but staring.

So what do you do?

Do you pause in mid-song and shift to slow-motion until there’s no motion? Do you stop abruptly and hang your head in shame? Or do you turn around and pretend like you didn’t see him?

What do you think I did?

Yeah.

You’re right.

I did.

I looked straight at him, continued singing, and continued dancing. In fact I even got a smile.

Yeah the feel-good-Friday celebration continued.

 

 

 

 

 

I Totally Like Peaches …

22 Oct

 

Success … It Snuck Up on Me … And Then I Paused

20 Oct
It sneaks up on you

Growth … It sneaks up on you

 

I don’t know when it happened exactly … it just hit me a couple of months ago and I am just now coming to the realization that it’s a permanent thing.

I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to jinx it.

Parents are superstitious that way. If we got a good thing going we don’t want to high-five ourselves until it feels concrete.

And now three months later, I’m finding that I can exhale.

I’m done.

Completely done.

And it’s awesome I can’t even tell you how amazing it feels that diapers are no longer in my short-term future.

Huggies. Luvs. Kirkland. Pampers.

On average I used to see about 50 of you in one week.

50 of you every week, for a combined total of six years.

Yup Two kids. Six years of diapers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the Velcro straps and the disposable nature of you. I’m thankful that I wasn’t crazy enough to go all Little House on the Prairie and get cloth diapers, the butt rash alone would have killed us both.

But I’m glad to be done with you.

Diaper Genie. You’re gone too.

I’ve completed the diaper phase of parenthood and I can’t tell you how awesome it feel to reach this milestone.

Sure it was my daughter who technically made this achievement happened for the last time in our household, but wasn’t really me wiping and washing and changing … day after day? Wasn’t it me having to wake up in the middle of the night as this Time Bandit woke up because the diaper was overflowing?

Yeah. It was me. And now I’m happy to see that phase has been completed.

Successfully.

No night-time accidents.

No I’m at Bed-Bath-Beyond-and-we-just-peed-all-over-the-Beyond-section episodes.

No. I got this.

Growth happened and it totally snuck up on me. I mean I was training for this to happen, giving stickers, and hugs, and M&Ms all kinds of parenthood bribes just so she would use the “potty.” I knew it would happen eventually, I could see it on the horizon.

I was hoping for it to happen, and then just like that it happened … and here I am … witnessing growth. It’s a trip. An awesome one. I totally high-fived myself and then I paused.

Crap.

Now I have to wait for all the other growth coming my way … the kind that will probably make me wish she was still in diapers.

Dude.

Thank God for chocolate.

 

The Best of Both Worlds

17 Oct

I first heard of it from Raymond.

It was his favorite.

It sounded good.

It sounded tasty.

 

.

.

 

And I told myself every week that I would try it, but for some reason it didn’t pan out.

Not until years later when the Sopranos stepped in.

 

The Sopranos Family Cookbook

The Sopranos Family Cookbook

 

Dude.

Steak and pizza.

I have no idea why I waited so long. I had been depriving myself for years. But the wait was over. Nor more suffering. I came across the recipe while flipping through the book and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t made it before. How could this have happened?

I had no idea what the ingredients were or how complex the dish would be, but I love Raymond and the fact that this was Ray’s favorite meant that I definitely had to try it.

I tuned in every week to see the adventures of The Barone Family. I knew the craziness so well I felt like a cousin, so how could this hearty and savory dish never cross my path, not even in a restaurant? Raymond loved it and after making it I completely understand why.

I get it. I really do.

Steak Pizzaiola.

The best of both worlds. It’s one of those meals that’s meant to share with the family, but after tasting it you kind of want to keep it to yourself. It brings out the selfish in you, it’s that good. So good that I forgot to take a picture of it, before it was devoured.

But the best way to describe it would be a steak lover’s dream. It’s the kind of comfort food that can change any mood. You got tender sirloin covered with a chunky semi-spicy tomato sauce made from plum tomatoes and infused with pizza flavors. All of this on top of a bed of linguine with sprinkles of Romano cheese. The sauce sits atop just waiting for you to sop every last drop.

Dude, I strongly encourage you to have the best of both worlds. It’s a must.

 

 

Shine On … You’re Ready To Take On The Day

15 Oct

 

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Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations

13 Oct

It’s a feeling when you walk into a room after a long day.

It’s a place where you can exhale.

Can be anywhere.

You know it when you see it.

You know it because you feel it.

Good vibrations … you’re happy when you can find them away from home.

 

As soon as I walked in I felt relieved.

As soon as I walked in I felt relieved. Good, Good, Good, Good Vibrations all the way around.

 

 

IMG_6489

The smell alone was comforting enough.

 

 

Lots of choices

Lots of choices

 

Started off with something nice.

Started off with a little Lambic before my pizza.

 

My favorite piece of surfer art that was on the walls.

Scanning all the surfer art, this was my favorite piece on the walls. I bet you they had stories.

 

I know lettuce doesn't seem like much, but when you whip it up like this ... dude it becomes a Mega Salad.

Then the meal … I know lettuce doesn’t seem like much, but when you whip it up like this … dude it becomes a Mega Salad.

 

And nothing like digging into a classic to continue the good vibrations channeling throughout the place.

And nothing like digging into a classic to continue the good vibrations channeling throughout the place. A nice way to end the a long day.

 

 

 

Finding The Moments While You’re Under Construction

11 Oct

Enjoy the lifelong project of building a self, because it is the prospect of a fulfilled self that brings satisfaction even in the face of resistance, obstacles and setbacks — Deepak Chopra

 

Dude I am so trying.

And I’ve realized during the process that I’ve had moments of happiness that sustained me through pretty crappy times. Granted most of those moments come from races, stay-cations, Bucket List items, Sandbox List Adventures with my kids, and flying my freak flag whenever possible. But I’ve learned that food and movies definitely play a special place in this lifelong project.

I love the feel-good or Holy Crap moments that stay with me during a movie or show. I like that they produce pockets of happiness in my life. Most recently I had one of these moments while watch Jon Favreau’s latest film Chef. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s about a guy’s journey to finding his happiness again after some crazy blowout with a food critic.

I mean … disaster strikes.

But he manages to find something small and then builds. Eventually his prospect of being fulfilled is realized, and I loved that fact that food was part of the journey. I mean when don’t I right.

Dude.

They had some inspiring dishes that made me want to travel through the US on a culinary adventure. But that’s the good thing about food, you don’t even have to leave your kitchen to travel, you can do it through the amazing dishes you prepare.

 

 

If you’re a Favreau and Leguizamo fan then this is the movie for you. Robert Downey Jr. even makes a small appearance in it and he’s amazing. I liked almost everyone in the film, except the leading lady. I’m not a fan of Vergara at all and almost didn’t watch the movie because I realized she was in it, but my love for Favreau overpowered any dislike I could have for that woman.

And I was glad it did.

I was able to find a pocket of happiness toward the end of the movie when Favreau sees his son’s film project about their journey. It was a small and touching moment and sometimes that’s all you need … something small when your life is undergoing construction.

 

 

Second Chances …

8 Oct
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If people would listen to Jack, life would be so much easier.

So much easier.

 

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