Why Fall is the Best Season

Fall has got to be my favorite season. Winter means Christmas and lit fireplaces, but the weather gets to be a little miserable after a while. Spring is a close second, but blooming flowers = allergies. Summer is obviously great because there’s time to relax, but here in Ojai we’re forced to spend the day inside in order to escape the sweltering heat. Nothing really competes with autumn.

Source: https://360degreesound.com/10-great-versions-of-jazz-standard-autumn-leaves/

It is the golden light, crunchy leaves, steaming chai and pumpkin bread that make me fall in love with this season again and again each year. Not to mention scented candles, long showers, cinnamon, football games and Gilmore girls. There’s a perfect balance between the lingering sunshine and cool, crisp breeze. Halloween means candies and costumes and parties; Thanksgiving brings with it cranberry sauce and family time and TV. Beyond festivities, I like to read books, listen to music, see friends, go thrifting and on afternoon bike rides in the meadow – all of which just feel special at this time of year.

And don’t even get me started on clothing. I won’t freeze to death if I wear a skirt or tank top, and neither will I drown in sweat if I opt for a knit cardigan or turtleneck. Plus, I recently got a pair of Doc Marten’s for my birthday, and though they weigh an obscene amount, I love them with all my heart. (They also make me another 2 inches taller, which is nothing to complain about).

All in all, autumn is without doubt the best season, and I’m looking forward to these next couple of months.

comfort

Today it was 86 degrees. This weather is so gorgeous it makes me sick. When I wake up and the sun is shining through my window, I want nothing more than to let my bed swallow me whole until nine pm the same day. I think that it’s so ironic how such a beautiful day could make me want to hide in my room for so long. When I sit in class and look out the window as the heat ripples across the ground, I want to cry and bang my head against the desk. I. Hate. It. I like to put in my left airpod and listen to the same playlist over and over again all day. It mainly consists of Dream, Ivory, Oscar Lang, Deftones, The Walters, and Cocteau Twins. If you were to look it up, it sounds like the feeling of taking a bath at three in the morning in the dark, because that is my comfort. I love to be alone. But not in a sad, I’m so depressed because my life is just the hardest thing in the world kind of way. I like it because it reminds me that every day is the same, and I hate that feeling but in a weird way I love to feel the things that I hate. I love routines. I love when it’s cold outside but I’m wearing two shirts and a hoodie. When you wake up and the sky is grey, you can’t see 50 feet in front of you because of the haze. I love to walk alone at school and wait for the day to end. It’s the same feeling every day that I crave. I love to hate being sad.

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pc: me

Escaping the pit of despair

@benjimanz

“Ya sista doesn’t even have seasonal depression like this” @newyorknico @meals_by_cug #foryou #fypシ #impressions #duster

♬ Constellations – Duster
VC: Benjimanz//Tik Tok

Seasonal depression is wild. I’m not a depressed person, don’t really have reason to be depressed, and have never been depressed, but this winter I was feeling kinda sad I’m not even gonna front. Since the start of December, I had a fog hanging over me. I lost my drive to seek new relationships and became content with what I had, which was a good thing in some aspects, but I was incredibly unmotivated. I was bogged down by hours of college work, AP classes, soccer practices, and late nights during the school week. On the weekend, I would drive down to LA and it would feel like I had to choose between my family and friends when spending time with people. I was in the pit of despair.

All of the sudden, I have snapped out of it. I have moved past soccer, college apps, and have embraced senioritis. This has given me time to meditate during the school week and afforded me much more clarity. I have also started sleeping in LA on Sunday nights, which gives me more time to balance hanging with family and friends. Also, my convertible whose clutch I totally melted a month ago is back from the shop so I can take friends out in it. ALSO, I have a new friend who is the perfect candidate for a cruise in the Boxster.

Everything is coming up, Alden. I don’t know how things just magically turned around, but I’m here to ride out this wave of good energy.

Application Deadline Is Closer Than It Appears

This month is the season for seniors to apply to college if they want to apply for Early Action (EA) or Early Decision (ED). In fact, I was planning to apply to Early action, but everything wasn’t going the way I want to be. My plan was to finish all the essays for every college one day before the deadline. The deadline is closer than it appears. I always thought I have time, so I do a little every day and sometimes I don’t even do it. Without a doubt, I couldn’t finish it and doesn’t have enough time to send it to my counselor and correct it. Two days left before the EA deadline! I just can’t believe how fast the deadline has shown up. I spent two nights burning the midnight oil, trying to finish it all. Of course, I still can’t finish the application, and I have to give up on EA for this time.

Yes, I took my lesson, I should be taking this seriously. Once it passes the deadline, there is no way back to regret it. I started to feel the “Real” stress from college applications. “College deadlines are no joke.” My college counselor always tells me that, and now I understand that it’s really not a joke.

Photo Credit: College Application Deadline

Why Opossums Are Awesome

I really, really love opossums. They’re smart, unique, friendly, and adorable. Here’s some cool facts about them.

They are the only marsupial that isn’t native to Australia.

Opossums are marsupials, which means they’re a subspecies of mammal that carry their embryo out to term in a pouch on their belly. The most commonly known marsupial is probably the kangaroo. Opossums aren’t much like kangaroos, but they also carry their joeys – a litter of which can contain up to 20 babies – in a pouch and then on their back until the joeys are ready to live by themselves.

There are several species of opossums, all of which are native to the Americas. They range all the way from South America to Canada.

The Opossum: Our Marvelous Marsupial, The Social Loner - Wildlife Rescue  League
https://www.wildliferescueleague.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/possum-1802326_1280.jpg

They have opposable thumbs.

Much like apes, humans, raccoons, and some other species of animals, opossums have opposable thumbs. This means they have a fifth finger on the side of their paw that allows them to grasp objects and handle them in a way most that other animals can’t. Opossums usually don’t use this advantage for evil, though. Raccoons, on the other hand (pun not intended), will use their opposable thumbs to get into storage bins, to open trash cans, to unscrew lids of containers, to open doors, and other nefarious things. Opossums are much kinder than raccoons. Plus, it’s unbelievable cute when they hold things in their tiny hands.

Opossum holding bag of Marshmallows: aww
https://i.redd.it/upmnxw8jgz131.jpg

They have prehensile tails.

Prehensile tails are a trademark feature of monkeys, but opossums have them too. They use their tails to hold onto thin surfaces better, to climb, to hang from branches, and to balance them as they walk. Their tails look a lot like the tails of rats, but there are muscles in their tails that allow them to use them much better than rats can. I, personally, think that their crusty, scaly tails are super cute.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Opossums - WorldAtlas
https://www.worldatlas.com/r/w1200-q80/upload/04/e6/cc/shutterstock-442647025-1.jpg

They are omnivores, but don’t hunt mammals (except for mice).

Opossums are omnivores, which means they eat meat and plants. However, unlike most meat-eating animals, they don’t hunt almost any live mammals as their prey. Opossums usually scavenge food from unlocked dumpsters, left out pet food, or road kill. The only live prey that they consume are worms, bugs, mice, and sometimes smaller birds or snakes. If they are really starving, they might go after a larger target like a chicken, but this is very uncommon.

Opossum Eating Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime
https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/north-american-opossum-also-called-virginia-opossum-didelphis-virginiana-marsupial-native-to-north-america-north-115393762.jpg
How To Co-Exist With Opossums - Forest Preserve District of Will County
https://www.reconnectwithnature.org/getmedia/de29a896-714d-4b67-bfe2-c360b56368d1/CoExistingWithWildlife-Opossum3-Shutterstock.jpg.aspx?width=3216&height=1984&ext=.jpg

They “play dead.”

“Playing possum” is a popular expression for pretending to be dead or asleep. Opossums have an flight instinct that causes them to fall to the ground, loll their tongue, un-focus their eyes, and pretend to have died when confronted by predators that they can’t easily escape. They won’t get up even if they’re jostled around. It’s pretty cute. To humans, it just looks like the opossum is having the best nap of its life.

They like to play dress-up.

This fact isn’t scientifically verified, but look at these guys! They sure do look like they’re having fun. They look adorable, too. So stylish.

(Photo credit to @seymourtheopossum on Instagram)
(Photo credit to @thepossumgal on TikTok)
(Photo credit to @itsmesesame on Instagram)
18 Cute Possums Who Nailed The Art of Adorable (Photos)
https://imgix.ranker.com/user_node_img/50070/1001387716/original/1001387716-photo-u2?auto=format&q=60&fit=crop&fm=pjpg&dpr=2&w=375

They make funny faces.

Sometimes opossums look like they just tripped and fell in front of the popular kids and the popular kids all saw their Paw Patrol lunchbox fall out of their backpack. It’s like my favorite thing. Look at this little guy.

(Photo credit to @gladysopossum on Instagram)

All in all, opossums are pretty cool little animals. If you see one near your house, don’t bother it or hurt it. They’re non-threatening creatures and it’s just living its life. If you can legally rehabilitate opossums or care for disabled ones as pets, definitely do. They’re sweet little guys. I love them so much.

Starry Surprise! Pouched Opossum Plush with Babies & Limited Edition Sweater
https://www.itsmesesame.com/uploads/1/6/5/0/1650787/s323078058933578006_p138_i8_w2560.jpeg

Eggplant

Many people dislike or even hate eggplant, but I think eggplant is good when cooked right. And the dish that I think is cooked correctly is the eggplant casserole that my grama makes.

Gretchen Schuette, my grandma, wrote down her mom’s eggplant casserole and it is delicious. It is the perfect balance of eggplant and tomato. The grated cheese on top is the perfect way to finish the dish.

Ingredients:

1 medium-size eggplant

3 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. flour

1 can tomatoes or 2 cups of fresh tomatoes

1 chopped small green pepper

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. brown sugar

Grated cheese

photo credit: Medical News today

Recipe:

Dice eggplant and cook for 10 minutes in boiling water.

In another pan, melt butter and blend with flour.

(Cook on low heat for 3 minutes if you use whole wheat flour.)

Add the rest of the ingredients (except eggplant).

Cook sauce for 5 minutes.

Mix together the sauce and the eggplant and put in a casserole.

Cover with grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

May be frozen after it is baked for later use.

ENJOY!

iPhone 13!

Recently iPhone 13 just came out. I have been using my iPhone XR for almost three years which means I’m thinking of buying a new phone. Furthermore, I have turned eighteen recently. In Taiwan age of eighteen means, you are an adult. I’m able to drive, go to clubs and do anything. In my family, we usually have a tradition that we celebrate, go to a fancy restaurant to congrats we have turned to an adult. Yet, I’m far from my family while I’m studying here in America. All I could do is celebrate with my friends. For me, I don’t feel the changes from a child to an adult, but I feel sad that I couldn’t be with my family during this huge transition. After my birthday, one of my friends is using the same phone as mine, and he wants to upgrade his phone. At this time,  we have decided on buying a new phone together. I have decided to spend this much money to give myself an eighteenth birthday gift. I never spend this much money. I feel accomplish and happy. On the other hand, I feel it’s kind of a waste of money that my old phone didn’t break at all and still buy a new one. Nevertheless, I have done a lot of research that if the user using below than iPhone 11, iPhone 13 can be a great upgrade. There is a lot of features that have been upgraded including the battery life, the super retina XDR display, ceramic shield, and the A15 chip. If you are a user thats using iPhone 11 or below, it could be a huge upgrade for you.

Photo Credit: Apple iPhone 13

NFL Sunday’s in the Fall.

NFL Sundays are great, especially in the foggy/misty Fall.

Waking up on cloudy Sunday knowing football is on is truly of the best feelings in the world. And if you are an owner of NFL Network Red Zone that is 7 hours of commercial free football. I start my NFL Sundays with nice balanced breakfast(which is usually leftovers from dinner the night before). Then I’ll turn on a pregame show and read a couple articles or watch highlights of Saturday’s college football games.

10 o’clock hits and it kick off for the morning games. I’ll flip through the various 10am games that are broadcasted on CBS, FOX, and NBC. Following the completion of the morning games I’ll make my way to kitchen to find lunch. Lunch is either a sandwich of now that the Fall is upon us SOOOOOUUUUP! I’m a massive soup guy, chicken noodle, matzo ball, Italian wedding are some of favorites.

A generic view of a football before an NCAA game
Photo from USA TODAY Sports

Once I find a suitable meal I’ll head back to the couch to watch the afternoon games. Around this time is when I’ll make a deal with myself; the deal is I’ll start my homework during halftime of whatever game(s) I’m watching and I’ll finish it before dinner and Sunday Night Football. This deal fails 11 out of 10 times.

As the afternoon games wrap up I’ll set the table and eat dinner with my family. Following the end to dinner I’ll find myself back on the couch watching kickoff for that night’s SNF game. Once the games reality kicks in, with the sun being down and everyone in the house prepping for bedtime I once again realize that I’m in the same shorts and hoodie from the morning and still have a couple hours of homework to complete.

NFL Sunday’s in the Fall are amazing and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Gimme a Slice!

I would say I am more of a pie person over cake.

Cake is just too much. Too much frosting (I’m allergic), too much sugar, too much cake.

My mom makes the best apple pie, I might be biased. The Schuette family is definitely more of an apple pie family over pumpkin pie. I don’t mind pumpkin pie, but I will get up during dinner to get more than three helpings of apple pie.

We as a family are such big apple pie lovers that my younger sister wrote about the pie.

photo credit: Kristine’s Kitchen

`Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 recipe pastry for a 9″ double crust pie

1/2 cup unsalted or salted butter

3 tablespoons all- purpose flour

1/4 cup of water

1/2 cup white sugar (or slightly less)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar (or slightly less)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon- to taste (optional)

8 apples; peeled, cored, sliced (4 granny smith, 4 envy or fuji)

1 lemon; squeeze juice (add sugar to taste, the lemon will go on top of the apples to stop from browning)

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  3. Drizzle some of the lemon juice and sugar liquid over apples; just enough to make sure the apples do not brown.
  4. Place the bottom crust in a pan or use the one that came in the package. Put apples in a mixing bowl and drizzle less than half of the sugar/ butter liquid on apples. Put the apples in the crust, mound it slightly.
  5. Cover the pie with a lattice and then pour sugar/ butter liquid over the crust. Brush to make the mixture cover the whole pie.
  6. Line a tray with tin foil and place pie on top. During baking the pie might bubble over, this is a preventative.
  7. Cover with tin foil and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; and continue to bake for 35-45 minutes or until apples are soft. Take of foil and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Enjoy! It tastes really good with ice cream.