Well, Halloween was great. 
I had a clown and Belle and monk to share it with. The party we went to was epic. Epic, I tell you. Fire dancer, man on stilts, the baboon pictured above, a haunted hay ride, a giant movie screen playing Hocus Pocus, popcorn, treats... 
But the most epic thing of all:
I was talking to two women. 
I looked at one in her business suit, coiffed hair, red lipstick, big earrings and said, "Let me guess- you're dressed as Hilary Clinton?" She just stared at me for a half beat then responded, "I'm not wearing a costume." 


Paranormal Activity

My friends and I went on a city ghost tour last night. When we arrived at our meeting location and the your guides broke out their equipment, I was nervous. I wasn't sure if it was such a good idea to be searching for spirits. I've never been skeptical of paranormal activity. I believe in ghosts. I believe in an afterlife. Because of that belief, my mind started running a little wild.
And then our guide started telling stories. She was a fabulous historian. Hearing stories of people that once lived seemed respectful. And paying homage to those that once had passion on this earth made me introspective. Particular stories made me want to reach out and speak to these people. Rather than be spooked out, I had great sorrow. Sorrow for their losses and unfortunate end. At points in the tour, I actually wanted to stand up and talk about the plan of salvation! I wanted to share my testimony of peace, love and eternal life. That to really speak to people in another realm all you have to do is to pray. We are each given the gift of personal revelation- what an amazing thing! Now, I know if I had done that I would look like the crazy eccentric one in a group full of ghost hunters.  I highly recommend the tour, solely for the historical aspect. I was in rapt attention. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to experience a real strengthening of my testimony. To know where I stand in this earthly life and where I can stand in the next. 

P.S. Because going on a ghost tour is not spooky enough, we went to the cemetery afterwards. It was scary (although humbling) to walk among graves at midnight. But it got me to be thoughtful and eventually peaceful thinking of what these people were passionate about and how much they loved. Strange as it may seem, the night made me want to delve into genealogy. After I am done screaming and peeing my pants a little. 

It's moments like these that make me realize I need a reality show

I provide a dinner delivery service to different families each week. One such family lives at the end of a quaint little lane in a quiet area of town. I switched cars with Jimmy this week for baby car seat issues. When I made a delivery in his car to the sleepy little street, I accidentally pressed the key fob and set off the alarm. It was quite the scene. 
Picture this:
-car alarm blaring
-Stephanie frantically pressing the red button with no response
-car continues to screech, disturbing the peace, causing neighbors to point and stare
-Stephanie gets out of the car and points the key fob at the car while pressing red button very deliberately at the mechanical beast
-a beat
-Stephanie realizes that she has been pointing the Honda key fob at the car while trying to stop the alarm
-Stephanie is driving the Cadillac 


The gun show

I went into the library in the morning to check out the facilities because of a catering gig I had later in the day. 

Somehow, I made my way to the circulation desk and paid my fines. You guys- I never have fines on my card. Never. But when Vivy was a newborn, we had a long stretch between book returns. Juding by my FIFTY dollar fine, it was a stretch that should have been til Vivy was college bound! It was a humbling surprise when I asked the amount I owed. Then I may have mentioned to the librarian that she probably sees a lot of people carrying book fine guilt. To which she added a grin and nod. After paying my hefty fine, I noticed a sign for story time. Having never taken Vivy to the library story time, I thought it would be fun to pop in. Well, it was a story time, alright. For babies. Little babies. I was just about to turn and leave when Vivy saw the fun going on and pitched a fit. I stayed. I did all the activities. For little babies. Less than 25 lb babies. Little babies that do not struggle to break free when you "rock in a tree top". Little babies that can be lifted into the air each time the sing says "baby" without their adult grunting. Little babies that lie still on the floor when you are supposed to bend over and tickle their toes. 

Halfway through the story time, parents were no longer looking at the story teller. Nope. They were looking at my attempt to tame the beast. After thirty minutes enduring the embarrassment that comes with tickling under a toddler's chin that attempts to bite repeatedly, the story time finally ended. I am not kidding when I say I was not the only parent to breathe a sigh of relief. I kept thinking, "these newbie parents have no idea what they're in for..." I may not have had a quiet bonding experience with a precious newborn, but no one can rival the arm workout I got today. 


Kate's birthday trip

Because no trip is complete without Penny Ice Creamery!
Juliette is smiling because she's about to go on her first roller coaster ride!
Juliette looks like she may not have liked it...
But the Ferris wheel is always a good idea.
And the carousel- the brass rings were fabulous. 
Had to finish the day at a park overlooking the boardwalk where we also witnessed couples yoga, which was super crunchy and super awesome. 


Drive in Holy Places

Another funny story from driving:
When the party I was driving got back in the car after their final stop, they were laughing about something they had started discussing over dinner. I heard a buzz word load and clear, "Mormons" and started to listen more carefully. I found that eavesdropping wasn't necessary due to the fact they asked me if I had ever heard of the term they were talking about. Of course, I had never heard of it. But the tone being used made me think that I may not want to know the details...
I suppose my desire to not know was not more obvious because the group proceeded to explain to me a practice 'held by Mormons' that was completely foreign to me. I cocked one eyebrow and said, "What Mormon do you know that has confirmed this as fact?"
They just giggled and said there had been studies proving it. The whole exchange was goofy (they were tipsy) and goid natured. 
I gave them a look of disbelief. A beat. And then, "Are YOU a Mormon?!"
"Yes I am!" I yelled loud and clear. 
The group then howled in laughter. 
One if the woman mentioned, "I have a friend that's a Mormon and she told me it was true, but I shouldn't have believed her because she drinks more than I do!!!"
Maybe she wasn't a great source?  

Your driver for the day

So, lately I've been doing some wine tours through a concierge service I chef through and it's been a blast! 

I have a great time picking up tourists and showing them the valley I love so dearly. 

Today for my drive, the clients were raving about some English muffins they had when they previously visited Napa.
 I cocked one eyebrow and said, "you mean the Model Bakery English muffins?"
"Yes!!!" They exclaimed.
I then offered to drive to the bakery while the clients were at a wine tasting because the bakery sells out early due to popular demand and a recent segment on Food Network highlighting this baked good. 
When I arrived at Model Bakery I was confronted by a full case of English muffins. Thank goodness they hadn't sold out! Approaching the counter to order, I was confident because of my get-there-before-they-sold-out skills. 
"Eight English muffins, please." I asked with great courtesy.
The woman behind the counter then responded, "there's a six muffin limit."
With my confidence waning just a tad, I repeated, "eight English muffins, please." 
She looked at me, blinked, and gave me the same answer. 
Then I started semi-pleading with stories about how I am driving for people from out of town and that I had to bring eight and that there were right people and that they were from out of town- basically repeating myself over and over while my voice was getting progressively higher. 
I could tell from the Clark's silence that I was not getting anywhere...
Then, with a glint in my eye, I pawed the tip jar and said, "What a lovely tip jar."
Folks, I had stooped so low. So very low. 
While I was inwardly berating myself for the tactic, the woman behind the counter brightened and stuffed two extra muffins in my bag. 
I thought that bribery stuff only worked in the movies! 
On my way back to the vehicle I paused mid walk and thought, "it would probably be pushing it to go back and get one for myself..."


I can do hard things

It's not hard to avoid sugar at a big birthday party surrounded by cake. Mostly because I am also surrounded by people who know my goal of avoiding sugar until Thanksgiving. (No sugar on Halloween, crazy, right?!) It's when everyone leaves the birthday party at our house and I am left to face this:

I do have to say, I've been doing well having this decadent, rich and moist cake sharing my home. Walking past it everyday... I swear it screams my name when I don't notice it waving at me. And the truffles. The TRUFFLES. Birthday cake and chocolate mint. Drool...
But I am strong. And I can do hard things.