Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween at the Beach

Happy Halloween!

     Enter stage 4 of my Halloween Celebration Plan. It's a tradition of ours to surf in costume. The only problem is, this year I have three stitches in the bottom of my right foot after having a pre-cancerous freckle removed (freckles on the bottom of your feet and palms of your hands can be melanoma) and can't surf until Friday. So you'll have to settle for last year's pictures. 

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Over at Daphne's

I'm over on the Daphne's blog today in a little introduction post. If you want to pop over there and check it out that would be cool. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stephanie and Michael's Wedding Was...

Stephanie and Michael's wedding was a reunion of friends who met as college kids, but are now big grownups getting married. Friends who all lived together, but now live all different places. It was purple! Her favorite color that I have grown to love, too (but only because she does). It was a party! It was dancing (and screaming) to "California Girls" by Katie Perry. It was Steph's dad announcing a classic part of their conversation during the father daughter dance: "Stephanie, you look beautiful!" Stephanie:"I know". But mostly it was a ceremony that united two of my favorite people. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rainy Day Schedule

     Oh rainy day, I'm glad to see you. You gave us a great excuse to sit around and watch Halloween movies. Plus, you cleared the surfing line-up so only those who love bad waves and polluted water (me! me!) were out cruising. 
     So. I'm kind of obsessed with Halloween. You too? I have a specific celebration strategy I carefully execute all month long. During the first week of October, I put out the decorations, then it's time to start watching Halloween related media. I like to commence the celebrations with light comedy--Halloween episodes of The Office, Thirty Rock and so on and then ease into some Buffy the Vampire Slayer (aka my favorite show of all time). After that, it's time to get into the scarier stuff. 
    + A note about this: I used to be heavy into scary movies in junior high and high school, but then I was totally not into them and could barely watch movies that contained anything sad or gory. Quentin Tarantino films were completely off limits for a while as well as Toy Story 3. Giving up your toys, now that's horrifying. These days I'm falling back in love with those classic scary movies again. Maybe I'll work my way in to watching Toy Story 3 by next year. One step at a time. 
     Anyways, here are some of the movies we've been watching during "stage 3" of my Halloween Celebration Plan. Stage 4? Well, you'll just have to come back next week and see...Muahahaha
  • The Sixth Sense-I mean, it's probably one of the best films of all time, right? Great acting and story and just the right amount of disturbing without keeping you up all night. 
  • Edward Scissorhands- I hadn't seen this movie before the other night. Is that insane? I feel like most everyone has. I really liked it. You can't really go wrong with Johnny Depp (well, let's not talk about Pirates of the Caribbean IV, or III for that matter). We love quirky and odd movies, which brings me to the next choice.
  • Låt den rätte kommaNo, I'm serious, this is a movie I'm recommending. It's a Swedish romantic horror film with English subtitles about a girl who is a vampire. In English it's called "Let the Right One In". I'm one of those people who can't get enough of the vampire love tales, so yeah, I liked it. But Scott did too. It's a little bizarre (ok, it's a lot bizarre), but if you're in the mood for something kinda creepy and different it will suffice (plus it's on demand on to us since we hacked my parent's account ;).
Other "Halloween" movies we've watched
-The Raven
-Hocus Pocus

Oh yeah, and I'll probably make Scott watch Twilight for like the 67th time too. 

What are some of your favorites?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let's Get Together and Feel Alright

     Not that many people get along with their in-laws. I am realizing this more and more lately. You pick your spouse, but not their family and sometimes it's a tricky integration. I was shy and nervous around Scott's family for what felt like years (and probably was). It wasn't them, I was just weird (and still am) and I put pressure on myself because I felt it was so important that they could see I was the right person for their son. It's been over seven years since I met them and I'm happy to report that I am my crazy-odd self around them at last. I feel like they belong with me the same way Scott does and I love them.
     This weekend Scott's mom and dad, Don and Carolyn, drove down from Ventura County, where they raised Scott and his two sisters, to join us on a quick camping excursion to Julian. It has been necessary to escape to the mountains this year to find fall as the temperatures at sea level have been rather stifling. And find fall we did! We drank hot apple cider, ate warm apple pie, played horse shoes under orange and red trees and even told ghost stories around the fire. There's nothing more fall-like than relying on a fire for warmth. It was exactly the little getaway we all needed to catch up. It was almost perfect until the group at the site next to us listened to the Bob Marley Legends CD on repeat for two hours (oh, yes, I was counting). I mean, really? I love Bob Marley, but isn't one go-around enough?  I've heard that CD so many times I could sing Buffalo Soldier in my sleep and I probably was that night. Fortunately, extreme exhaustion took hold and I fell asleep around eleven while trying to take my boots off, leaving the top half of my body resting inside the tent and my legs and feet dangling outside the door. Scott had to help tuck me into the Marmot sleeping bag my dad bought me when I was seven. What a good husband.
    I love sleeping in a sleeping bag. Do you? I remember as a kid most of the other little girls in Indian Princesses (a dad and daughter adventure group) had Beauty and the Beast and other Disney Princess sleeping bags made out of polyester and I whined incessantly to my father about having to have something durable and practical instead. Not anymore, Dad. I was toasty in my sensible sleeping bag as a light drizzle fell on us during the night and temperatures dropped into the 40ºs. 
     In the morning, we were woken up by, you guessed it- Bob Marley. Blaring on volume 70 probably, out of a blinged-out Silverado with ginormous speakers (thank you neighbors; very considerate and not over-played at all). Oh well. I had hot tea, my journal, my monkey beenie, a cool marine layer I never thought I'd be glad to see, and my family. And it was perfect. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thankful Things

Aside from all of the things I mentioned before, I really love fall for the way it seems to make life slow down. Summer, although I love you most of all, you really make me feel like there is absolutely no excuse to stay in and hang out. And most of the time, that's cool with me. But sometimes...sometimes I want to wrap myself in my blankie (yep, I still have one) and read for hours; or watch a movie or HGTV (those are the three "chilling out" choices) and not feel guilty. Other times, it's just nice to be down at the beach watching the birds and riding the waves without all the commotion of snack shacks and airplane ads. 
     Summer isn't the only busy season, though. The month of December seems to rush us along as well. The holidays, as joyful and special as they are, have a tendency to put pressure on people to do and buy certain things. But fall is just a season there for anyone who wants to enjoy it. This week I'm thankful for the simpleness of this season and the peaceful moments it brings. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Womp Womp Womp...

     I need all new tires. All. New. And all I was doing when I got this flat tire was trying to eat at Daphne's so I didn't have to cook anything. So I could have one less thing to do. Oh, irony, you're only cool in that Alanis Morissette song (yes, I still like that song).  
     I really only got one flat tire, but my spare is flat too and since it's been 55,000 miles of driving since I got these tires, I think it's time. Man. 
     It was a bad day for me and my car from the start. While picking up one of the kids I nanny at school, we got blocked in our spot by some Buick that had been completely abandoned. Once we were finally freed, although I was in the right line to exit the school, I ended up in the wrong turning lane at the school exit and got yelled at by some dude crossing the street wearing a fishing hat just for trying to merge over. The nerve. Then, the car next to me began honking instead of letting me over. Geeze, who knew elementary school could be so stressful.
     Tomorrow's a new day, little buddy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Memories in Motion: Water Baby

     A few weeks ago, Scott and I spent the weekend at my parent's house. During our stay, they surprised me with some old home movies that Mom and Dad had transferred to DVDs. The only home movies I had seen from my childhood so far were from seventh grade on, covering my most awkward phases when I was self-conscious and wouldn't smile for the camera. While watching the videos we experienced all the typical home movie viewing reactions--we laughed, we cried, we were bored and we were surprised. But there were a few videos that seemed to follow me after we had finished watching them. Videos of my parents when they were new. Hearing their twenty-something voices talk to me as an infant caught me completely off guard. They sounded so young and I swear my mom pronounced my name differently back then. Videos of my Poppy smiling at me and loving me exactly the way he does in my memories. A video of my Nonny playing the piano at Christmas time. Gosh, she was good. And some early videos of me falling in love with the ocean, like this one. 

     I highly recommend finding old home movies and pulling them out (as if you didn't already know they were valuable). The main reason is not (just) to ooh and aww over your own youthful adorableness. One of the best reasons I've found is to observe the people in my life who I love. To see what my parents were like before I could remember. To see what mattered to them in their daily life. To remember what my deceased grandparents sounded like, what they wore, what they did with their hands when they talked. In small ways, watching those videos has given me a new perspective on the people in my life. And, ok, I'll admit it, it was pretty fun finding videos, like this one, of events that give me a window to the moments where I first discovered the things I love.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Three Easy-Peasy Fall Foods

     Happy Monday everyone. I'm sitting at my computer wearing my glasses and the flannel orange and yellow plaid pajamas I wear only in the fall. It's finally cold enough at night that I can wear them. I love that. I love cozy pajamas too, and even though it's supposed to be 80º here today, I at least get to wear warm jammies at night (and I guess during part of the day, too). I wanted to share a couple super easy recipes we've been making lately that are really helping to bring about the fall feeling, despite the weather. If you shop at Trader Joe's, these meals and snacks will be even easier for you to make. I got all the ingredients there in under 15 minutes. 
1. Butternut Squash Ravioli with Organic Vodka Marinara: The raviolis are already stuffed and ready to go. Get them in the refrigerator section of TJ's (near the tofu and cheeses at mine). They are a little sweet, so I chose the vodka marinara (also from TJ's) and added shaved parmesan cheese and hot pepper flakes to spice it up. For a different taste my mom sautes them with butter and fresh sage leaves. 
2. Honey Apple Butter Spread: We returned from our summer road trip craving assorted cheeses. It wasn't too long ago that I despised the taste of blue cheese and its stinky cousins, but after friends and family in Chicago and New York re-intorduced us to many cheese varieties we became hooked and make a toast and cheese plate once a week. To prepare this snack, I toast multi-grain bread and then spread the honey apple butter on it (serving it with a tiny little knife makes it look fancy, too), adding cheese of choice on top. Lately, we have had brie and gouda cheese. I usually have some hummus out as well. 
3. Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread: I'm just gonna come out and say it: it came from a box. Yep, and it was good. If you want to make this delicious holiday staple from scratch I suggest trying Tammy's recipe. It's probably better. If you don't have a lot of time (or are a lazy baker like me), Trader Joes (and probably other stores) make a box kind. All you have to do is add eggs, oil, water and chocolate chips. The box says to bake at 350º, but I lowered the temp to 325º and cooked it an extra 10-15 minutes to account for the added chocolate chips. I wouldn't have known this if my mom didn't tell me. I also used light olive oil instead of vegetable. I wouldn't have known this if it weren't for my mom, either. I made this bread with the five year old I tutor and, although she said the pumpkin smell was "stinky" and plugged her nose while stirring it, it was a fun and simple recipe to make with a kid who loved it once it was baked (and so did we). 
     I hope you like these (easy) fall foods. I'm off to surf now. The waves have been pretty good so far this fall and I'm still wearing my spring suit (only 2mm thick versus 3 or 4mm) since the water is so warm. I've been working on my top turns and have honestly been a little frustrated with my progress. I'm trying to get to a place where I come off the top and turn my torso back towards the white wash behind me, but it's hard. After that, I am going to the salon to support a friend who is shaving her head before chemo therapy. I don't think I'm prepared for how emotional it is going to be. If you're the praying kind, please send out a prayer for my friend, if you're not, please send positive thoughts. They are very appreciated.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Finally Fall

I love California in the fall. I know the leaves don't really change and when it's 70º in the morning I'm convinced I can wear a sweater only to sweat through it by noon, but nevertheless, it's one of the best seasons we have if you ask me. The colors of nature seem crisper than they do the rest of the year. The ocean is this dark, piecing blue that makes you forget about everything that's sad. And when you swim in it, it's almost as if the salty water seeps into your heart and mends any part of it that has been hurt. I know that's a bit dramatic, but I think it's true. The wind is the most perfect temperature this time of year, too. It's the kind of breeze that rushes through your hair at unexpected moments, reminding you of falls from before and cooling you down without causing chicken skin. At other times, it blows offshore, giving the waves flawless shape. Down on the beach, the tides are more dramatic, allowing you to see things you might not have during other seasons and sea animals outnumber people. The beach is quiet, but not lonely. Fishermen scatter the coastline searching for lobster even after the firery sunsets. 

     As a kid, I never appreciated fall the way I do now. The end of summer and the start of school practically devastated me. Fall quickly began to represent the end of my long unrestrained beach days and the start of anxiety filled school days trying to fit in and focus. There were many fall nights where I used to go to sleep wishing and praying for big piles of leaves to jump in or snow that would cancel school. I'm so grateful that I can appreciate fall in California as an adult.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bowl of Life: Breakfast

The bowl of life. It's probably one of the main things we eat around here, especially after an early morning surf when we're starving and want something healthy and filling stat. We call it the bowl of life because it contains something from all the vegetarian food groups (whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, dairy and eggs). It started back in college when Scott's infamous roommate Dave taught us how to make a cheap meal that meets all your nutritional needs. There are many different ways we make the bowl of life, but this is the breakfast version. I think you're gonna like love it!

Serving size: 2-4

4 eggs
2 cups of brown rice
1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
2 avocados
2 tomatoes
1 lime
1 cup of preferred cheese blend
hot sauce to taste

*I try to use free-range eggs and organic of all of the above

Prepare the brown rice using desired method. Once the rice is done, scramble the eggs in a lightly oiled pan (you can make the eggs any way you like; it's also really good with poached eggs). Meanwhile, heat the beans and corn in a separate pan. Slice the avocados and tomatoes. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl starting with the rice on the bottom and then the beans and corn, eggs, avocado, tomatoes and shredded cheese blend. Sprinkle lime juice on top and serve with chips. Add hot sauce if you're feeling spicy!

p.s. I also enjoy substituting red potatoes and quinoa for the rice sometimes 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Swell Friends

     I'm not sociable. I'm not an extrovert. When I'm around people I don't know, I often feel shy. That's not to say I don't like people or don't enjoy their company. People fascinate me. I'm just one of the more reserved kinds. I know this of myself now. 
     There are a few exceptions, however, to my introversion. I know this now, too. When I am with close friends and family or surfing, my introverted qualities melt away. When I find the feeling of home, I am comfortable and feel free to be the me I am in front of myself, the person I am in my mind, the person I am in the mirror when I'm getting ready. We all know this feeling of peace and comfort at certain times. 
      When I moved to the small surf town we live in now, I began surfing at the spot right in front of my parent's house. I found immediate comfort out there. The people were my people-eccentric ocean lovers. We learned more about each other through surfing; watching each other catch waves, many times surviving the biggest ones and the stormy days together. 
     While I was surfing on Sunday, another surfer asked me if this was my first time surfing this spot this season. I actually laughed, because the concept of surfing other spots during different seasons had almost become foreign to me. I have surfed this spot almost religiously for the past five years, and, in doing so, have met people more unique than ones I've met in books. Despite the fact that I love this wave, that it's right by my house, and that being by myself while surfing it has led me to many self-discoveries, I think the people are what have made it my favorite because they have made it my home. 
     After surfing on Sunday, we went to a gathering at our surf friend's house. He is one of those characters, one of those unrepeated ones, and so are the people in his family. His brother caught some abalone in Sonoma County and battered them up right on their deck overlooking the favorite surf spot of every guest that stood on it. We were happy with our bare feet, like others were happy in their swim suits and mix-matched rash guards, and we were happy being our selves with each other. 
Where do you feel at home?