Sunday, December 22, 2013

9th life.

Long story.

Enter two Mondays ago: Macy's 4th grade class has library time, with their amazing librarian (me).
We decide to focus on celebrations and holidays from around the world.
Super fun.
Macy and I decide to share some traditions from our family.
We choose Lebanon.
And Baklawa (bit-LAY-wee).
Lebanese baklava.
So delicious.
So much work.

Enter 12-13 year ago:  My great great (however that goes) Aunt Hunini visited from New York.
(She's my Sito's {grandma's} cousin.)
She knows how to make lots of authentic Lebanese food.
I've learned how to make some food from my Sito, but Hunini was able to teach us more.
Specifically, Baklawa.

I made a few times that year, even taught my 3rd grade class how to make it one year.
Have made it a handful of times since Macy's birth, but not in the last 2-3 years.
Because it takes a long time.

Enter Wednesday:  I decide to make the Baklawa so that it has a few days to sit and absorb all the deliciousness of the syrup before Macy's class party and presentation on Friday.  Macy and I gather
all the ingredients, make all the simple syrup, lay out each piece of phyllo dough and butter between each layer together (which takes twice as long as me just doing it by myself.)
It's beautiful.
Better than beautiful because now it's a special memory of me making this with Macy.
It's happiness and joy and all the gorgeous layers of life represented in one painstakingly lovely
syrupy sweet pan.
Did you really expect anything less from me?

Enter Thursday:  It's been a long day. Appointments after school, I have a gross cold, losing my voice, tired tired tired from the long week, still have dinner to make, and Zachary's Christmas Program is that night at 7pm at school.  We have lots to do.
Tired, moody, exhausted....I walk into my front door to start the next period of our evening and
totally lose my sh**.
Screams. (sorta....remember I lost my voice?)

This is what my gorgeous pan of Baklawa looks like:

This is why:
This little expletive snuck into the house that morning (KitKat is NOT an inside cat) while we were leaving apparently and feasted on an entire corner.
She was LITERALLY standing on the pan noshing when I walked in.
Pretty sure this cat is on her 9th life right now.

Teary, I tried to reorganize my evening.
No sugar.
Had to run down to Java Time and steal some sugar from my mom.
Made the syrup before we left for Zach's program.
Came home.
Wrong dough.
Sent Steve at 9:00 at night to the store to get new phyllo dough.
Rapid defrosted the dough near the fireplace by turning every two minutes.
Groggily made an entirely new pan so Macy had something to share on Friday
with her classmates.
Pretty sure I love her.
Also sure that I'm stubborn and was not going to let this situation get the better of me.

So at 11:41pm, I pulled the 2nd pan out of the oven.
And there was a choir of angels singing.

Enter Friday:  Macy's classmates and my co-workers enjoyed the fruits of my labor and I was so delighted to share with everyone. Macy and I shared with the class, and learned a lot about her classmates and their traditions.  Such a fun experience!!
And then you think the story ends here...right?


Enter Friday night:  We are at dinner with some of Steve's co-workers and wives when my darling dear husband throws me under the bus by telling his co-workers how I offered the "Cat Pan" to him to take to work.  Ugh.  There was a teeny-tiny bit of truth there, but it wasn't like I would have reallllly let him take the cat-eaten-pan to work! Seriously. Mortified.


Enter Friday night trying to sleep: Who feels like a total jack-you-know the rest?!..... ME!!!!
So plot to reconfigure my weekend to include make a third pan of Baklawa to share with his co-workers (and some for my family Christmas too) ensues.


Enter Sunday (today): While still in my pajamas, still mostly voiceless, while football plays on the television and I rock out to Christmas music....I make a third, equally stunning pan.

And this shall be forever known as the Christmas of the Baklawa.

i am and my favorite part is taste testing right out of the oven. superb.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Did you know TODAY was National Book Lover's Day?
Well, it is.
Also, did you know that I had a second interview TODAY for Library Media Tech at our sweet little mountain school?
Well, I did.
And it's ironic being that it's National Book Lover's Day, right?

They offered.
I accepted.

We will be exchanging vows on Monday.
I'm pretty excited about that.

Actually, if you have heard me talk about this job at all you will know that I'm more than a little excited.
My soul is happy.
I'm overjoyed.
(can you hear the race of my heart?)

Right about now something has clicked though in your mind.
Like, literally clicked.
Like .... click.... click.

Because you know that's what I do.
I click cameras.
And I love clicking cameras, believe me.

The hiccup with me and all this camera clicking is that it makes for
a rough family life schedule.
And I love my little family.

When this job became available something in me clicked.
Again, literally.
I fervently wanted this position.
My heart knew instantly, but I started wrestling in my brain.
I click cameras.
I love clicking cameras.
I've worked really really hard to build my business.
I've grown as a photographer.
Met incredible people.
Made lifelong friends.
All because I clicked a camera.

That's when I knew I couldn't put down all this clicking stuff.
Quietly I told my heart, "I can do both."
And I can, just not the same.

I'm going dive in to my new job.
Put my passions into creating a library that rocks kids socks.
Develop a community of readers.
Collaborate with amazing teachers.
Share a similar schedule with my kiddos and hubby.
And I'm gonna love, love, love it!
And every now and then, I'm going to click my camera.
I still want to capture your memories, and share in those milestones.
Just with more limited availability.
And I hope you will celebrate that with me and know
that I am following my heart's delight just as I always have.

i am and i'm willing to bet you sang a little Alanis Morissette in your head as you read the blog title...."don't 'cha think?"

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2013 February

Remember how I said January was kinda a let down?
February was clearly following in January's footsteps.
Joy in the midst of sorrow?
Clearly we were still working on perspective.

 Steve and our community had to say goodbye to Coach Buck. 
A man's man...sports buff...substitute extraordinaire...storyteller...friend...mentor.

Much of February was spent with community.
We all rallied, fought, & prayed.
4 Josh.
And Josh went home to the Lord. 
I'm certain Coach Buck started private coaching lessons with Josh, 
who I'm sure is a baseball superstar in heaven.

Exhausted, heartsick and down, I got a double ear infection.
I had so much snot and congestion it came out of my eyes, literally.
You're welcome for the fantastic descriptive visual.
But throughout the heartache of February, we found things to be grateful for.
Friends + Basketball= Radicalness
 The 49ers went to the Superbowl.
 We celebrated the love in our family, and how grateful we are for each other.

For Valentine's Day we bought a fondue maker and dipped into chocolate.
What could be better?

What could be better I asked?

i amand i'm officially out of words for today.

2013 January

January was a rough, rough month.
I honestly questioned the sincerity of 2013.
2013, you've got to be better than this first impression.
Steadily the year has gotten better but it certainly didn't begin that way.
Our family eagerly sought out joy in the midst of sorrow.
It was a true lesson in gratitude for us.

At the onset of January, one of Macy's classmates endured a tragic accident with his older brother.
It rocked our community.
It devastated our school.
It brought friends and neighbors together, and strangers became close to family.
We embraced.
Joy in the midst of sorrow.

And then one day, after a deep deep freeze, I came home to find this in our house:
The pipe in the playroom burst and had been running for who knows how many days, we don't frequent the back playroom often, especially when it's cold.
So it rained, from the ceiling. A lot.
It was too much for our little steam cleaner.
And for the next month Service Master practically lived at our house, trying to dry out the walls, ripping out the carpet, and pulling down the paneling down the studs.
And the perspective for me was that it was an inconvenience.
Not permanent.
We were all okay.
And we sought joy in the midst of sorrow.
We found laughter in little promises, like "if you help clean the house without complaining, I'll let you paint my nails."
And he's a promise keeper so laughter was found.
 Happiness was felt in small moments like big sisters who read to their little brothers.
 All-Star Soccer games were played, and won.
 And answers were found after 8 years of pain.
I have struggled with severe calf pain since before Macy was born.
I was told over and over different reasons for my pain.
Tests were run, vein testing, nerve testing.
I wore a compression sock for a year.
I did therapy for a year.
I met my insurance deductible with no answers so I finally gave up and limped along with the pain.
Finally, I went to a Dr. who listened.
Insisted on an MRI.
Found that I am harvesting Cherrios in my muscles.
No really.
It's a bone.
It's called myositis ossificans.
Developed from an old (8 years ago remember) injury that was never treated properly.
Deep in my muscle. Not operable.
Live with the pain.
Joy in the midst of sorrow; I have an answer.
I am not crazy.
I am special and unique.
It will be there forever, but it's not going anywhere, and it's just a bone.
Not cancer, just a bone.
That hurts. Often.
 While I am disappointed it's not going away,
I am grateful for answers and doctors who listen.

Joy in the midst of sorrow.

I amand there was a point in seeing my MRI that I believed I was abducted by aliens.

Celebrating 8

As explained in this post, it was a trip year to celebrate Macy's 8th birthday.
Before her 7th birthday last year, she already had San Francisco set in her sites.

We had a delightful time in San Francisco over the long 4th of July weekend.
Here's a photostory to document our trip.

Day One; July 4th
 We walked through Fort Mason area, people were out with their picnic gear and bbq's getting busted for having an open flame. We had already walked quite a ways from Cow Hollow headed to Pier 39.
Once at Pier 39, the line to ride the trolly was ridiculous, and expensive.
Quickly my retro eye found this amaze-balls streetcar.
We rode this down to Market Street.
We ate Pizza at Blondies, and walked and walked, and shopped, and walked.
Of course we took her picture with the Macy's sign in the background.
Since their is no "Zachary's" store, he picked the Disney Store to take his photo under.
 Union Square

 Macy and I strolled through Tiffany's coveting the diamonds and sparkly things.
It was such fun to watch Macy ohhh and ahhhhh.
Truly a fantastic find.  
Who buys an LA shirt in Giants town? 
We do.
I may or may not have put all the LA shirts on top of the Giants shirts.

And then we walked.
And walked.
From Market Street to Cow Hollow.
That blue line on the screen.
With two young kids.
And steep steep hills.
Dumb, and painful.
Being as wiped out as we were, we headed back to our hotel, took a nap, and ordered Thai Food.
At 8:00 we woke Macy up and asked if fireworks were important to her on this trip.
It was HER trip after all.
They were.
So we walked. Again.
To Pier 39.
We had Ghiradelli and watched the pretties fireworks show I've ever seen.

Then, we followed the herd of cattle out of Pier 39 area back to our hotel.
Macy made the following comment,
"Mom, there are a few things I'd like to talk to you about when we get back to our hotel."
And then she'd squeeze my hand.
And then I knew that San Francisco was a bit of culture shock, and she had enough sense about her to not announce her questions in front of people.
And I was grateful.
Here are a few of her observations;
1. "There were some girls sitting on top of a car mom, and they were signing an American Song. It looked dangerous. I would never do that. Plus it looked embarrassing. They were weird."
2. "That man that hit the car with his hand did not make a good choice.  It sounded like he got hit, and it was funny mom when you said that the driver of the car probably just pooped his pants. I was a little scared though."
3. "I also saw a woman wearing a really inappropriate see-thru shirt.  I could even tell she had on a black bra. I would never wear that, right mom?"
4. "There are a lot of people that choose to smoke out here.  I don't like walking behind people who are smoking. It's smells."

There you have it.
Observations from an almost 8 year old.

 Day Two; July 5th

 We visited the Exploratorium.
Holy Cheese Balls.
Claustrophobic much?
I could NOT wait to leave.

 Hard to read, I know...Macy said, "I wish "Makenna" was my name because it is the name of a gymnast in the book i read."
Surprisingly, (not) Zachary wishes his name was Yasiel Puig.
Really? Dodger fan? Never would have guessed it.

For lunch we ate at SuperDuper Burger.
And it was bomb.
You should eat there when you have the chance.

We traveled across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County to meet up with clients for the wedding I would be shooting the next day.

That evening we took the kids to a Dodger-Giant game to celebrate Steve's belated Father's Day gift.

And celebrate we did...

Day Three; July 6

While I shot a gorgeous wedding in San Anselmo, Steve took the kids to the Marin County Fair.

 And Steve drank from a toilet. 
And took a picture of it so he'd never forget.
Just food for thought here... He shows me the picture of the fireman above with our kids, 
and then the picture of him drinking from a toilet, 
and we all wonder why I put the picture of the fireman up there first. Yeah......

Day Four; July 7th
Our last day in the city, and Uncle Ron scores tickets to another Dodger-Giant game. We couldn't have planned it better. We saw Uncle Ron, Chad, Katy, and the Dodgers win again.  
While we couldn't bring out our brooms, it was still incredibly satisfying.

 On the drive home we stopped at a greasy spoon to eat lunch and this kid ate his weight in fried chicken.
Thanks for picking San Francisco Macy.
It made for some wonderful family memories.

i am and i bleed blue.