five things, september 21st edition

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1. I think we're slowly starting to get our feet under us. I mean, hell, it's nearly October, right? I'm pulling together some goals for our family. (Weekends are for fun - cross country meets aside - not chores, yes?) I'm starting some fun new habits that I hope I can keep up with through the winter (walk on the beach this morning.), and I'm trying to get a handle on our falltime/school time cooking. My friend Debbie, who has gone back to work with a lenghty hour-long commute this year, is relying a lot on slow cooker meals. Do you have any go-to dinners that keep you full and fulfilled in the fall?

2. I think I'm hoping to get a lot of stuff done this weekend. Neel and Cal are aiming for a reboot of the Phillies game (please please please please cross your fingers for NO RAIN!) and for various reasons, I'm going to stick it out at home. What to do? What to do?! I can't sleep in late, but I'm sure if I tried, the bathroom guys would show up. I have some things planned. I'll never get all of them done.

3. I think it's funny that Neel and I were both reminded of a much younger version of ourselves when we visited Erin and Boyfriend. How silly is that? I talked, in my post about our visit, about how much I loved their city-life. Walking to cafes and restaurants. Having to walk the dog in the sleet, snow and pouring rain. I well remember those days! And then of course I had to go and watch a House Hunters International where the couple move to Cannes and kept talking about how much they loved the cafe culture. See, there I go again, getting all yearny! We can walk to a couple restaurants here, and we have great coffee shops and wonderful neighborhoods in my sweet little town. Why can't I infuse my own space with more of the kind of life I want to lead? There's absolutely no reason at all.

4. I think I continue to be lifted up by our conversations about authenticity over the last days. It means different things to each of us, I guess. I was reacting initially to how reading such amazing things on so many amazing blogs can make me feel restless and dissatisfied. Yearning. There's often the argument that so many blogs pretty things up and don't show the real and true dark underbelly of our day-to-day lives. It's pretty dresses! Ikat throw pillows! Danish kitchens! More about those things and less about what my desk looks like right now or the dust bunnies under my tv cabinet. And yet, part of why I go to those blogs are to read about the very things that can make me all yearny. It's quite a conundrum, isn't it? I was particularly interested about the thread of comments (from Chi and Annie, especially) that looked at authenticity in terms of how much to reveal. I don't think that keeping your personal life private on your blog makes it any less authentic. We all focus on different things, as we should! I imagine that as Cal grows older there will be less and less that I reveal about his own life. But as Rooth pointed out, it's the ordinary day to day moments that are the most compelling. To me at least. And I guess that's what I'll continue to present here. I may try to make it more focused in various ways, but as I was trying to think of tag lines in the shower (every gal needs a tag line, I suppose!), I kept playing with something along the lines of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments. Feel free to come up with your own. I could use the help. Clearly. And what I loved the most? How we all had something to say? Let's keep talking? How can we keep talking? Theresa, who often asks a question at the end of her posts, had a great post yesterday about creativity and getting inspired. I'm sure you've seen it, but if you haven't yet, check it out.

5. I think I'm really enjoying Tabletop Photography at Nicole's Classes. I really fly by the seat of my pants with this photography thing. I mean, I know my camera and its settings, but angles and styling...that's all instinctive, and I feel like what I've learned has really strengthened some of the stuff I've been guessing at. I also feel like I want to go back and re-read all the lessons and take better notes! This week's homework is my favorite by far. Pretend you're shooting the cover of your favorite magazine (Heather and Chi, sound familiar?!). Well, you know I have to do food, but what? I want you guys to weigh in and help me decide. What would you like to see me cook and shoot over the weekend. What would you like to be on my magazine cover? As you saw in #2, my time is my own! I want to have some fun. It occurred to me that this could end up being a fun recurring blog column. Tell me what to cook and shoot. What do you think?