Summer Nostalgia

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Bug and I finally made it out to the sticks to take advantage of my parents over-achieving gardening skills this summer. My parents have a HUGE over-grown garden that is producing tomatoes like a factory. Their nectarine tree is literally breaking it’s branches to hold all the nectarines it grew and of course there are grapefruits coming out their ears. This winter’s heavy rain probably had something to do with the bumper crop but the rest is all my parents and their giant green thumbs. They also may have an alergy to staying inside. Let’s just say my mom’s approach to housework is to close the door and garden instead. I should make her a shirt that says that.

I love taking the kids to The Sticks but we haven’t been much this summer because it’s been hard to leave our perfect 70-degree weather to go hang out in the 102 degrees of blazing heat that is The Sticks.  We have a big olympic-sized pool in our community. My parents have a tiny above-ground pool that sits in the sun and promises a darker tan in three minutes. And that’s not a good thing.

I can’t even take the dogs with me which is sad because the dogs LOVE The Sticks even more than the kids! But I feel horrible taking them out to that heat no matter how much they love exploring the wonderland of dangers that is my parent’s foxtail-infested half-acre yard and the twenty-seven cats they get to chase.

Cody is not allowed in their pool because his hair would clog the filter in about a minute. It would just be mean to take them on a long hot car ride just to tell them they couldn’t swim. You know how Cody is. He is a SWIMMING DOG.

So Bug and I decided to tough out the heat on our own and it was totally worth it! (Like you knew it would be of course.) I love visiting with my parents. We hide out in the cool of their mobile home, chatting away in the living room. The drapes are drawn to keep it cool and the swamp cooler blows that soft cool air that reminds me of my childhood. Bug takes quick breaks to run outside and visit her old friends, the many kittens who have now grown up into lanky cats.

I love that Bug and I have The Sticks as a big part of who we are. We are both sentimental about it in a way that bonds us deeply.

I almost forgot the one funny thing that happened while we were out there! We found Mongolian Grill!  I can’t even believe it myself because usually eating out in The Sticks is limited to horrible chains with 2000 calorie entrees or fast food. It really is Walmart Culture at it’s worst and everywhere you look are depressing choices. So you can imagine my surprise when I opened my Yelp app and I found a whole underground of Asian food in The Sticks that I had no idea existed! Why didn’t I discover this sooner!  I even made my Dad try it and he loved it!  Sticks WIN!

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We came back home from The Sticks with a giant bag of nectarines which were about to go bad in a day so you know what that means: PIE. Except I forgot that they are super maximus juicy and I should have added gelatin or five tablespoons of flour or something to my pie when I made it because my beautiful pie turned out to pretty much be cooked fruit soup with a crust.

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Mmm… soup. Sadly, I left the pie out on the counter too long and fruit flies got it. That’s what happens when people are on stupid diets and things don’t get eaten fast enough. Sigh.

Maybe the pie didn’t get eaten because some people like to spend all their time in the garage and they forget to eat. Harumph. Jealous much? Yeah. I am.

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As you can see, Payam has finished his workshop in the garage and it’s pretty cool! I’m sure he’ll keep tweaking it and getting it more and more just right but I have to say it is very cool and yes, I am jealous. Good thing he lets me come hang out here and I’m even trying my hand at creating some of my own wood things. Power tools are fun!

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They are also scary. I’ve been customizing Payam’s work bench with illustrations and reminders not to cut himself. He’s on blood thinners after his recent heart surgery so I’m pretty much visualizing gushing limbs on a regular basis because I’m fun like that.

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You know what else is fun? My laundry room! I love my laundry room/craft cabinet corridor that sits on the other side of Payam’s shop. It’s like my own personal Diagon Alley.

You laugh but really it is awesome.  I look at this and smile as memories flood me from all my past laundry rooms… All those days of schlepping laundry to a laundromat in the next town over. Doing so many loads with a baby hanging off my hip.  Watching the loads go round while my baby napped in a wire cart. All those playdates at drug dealer park… I love this room, torn linoleum and all. It even has a man-cave refrigerator in it, covered in stickers! Care for an ice-cold soda in a glass bottle while you hang those wet swimming suits? Don’t mind if I do!

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Summer Download

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Summertime and the livin’ is easy…

You know what is NOT easy during summer? Working. Especially when you are your own boss and you make your own schedule. I am at constant odds with my boss. She says I need to work to pay the bills. I say I need to take the kids swimming because it’s hotter than dogs breath and their brains are rotting from Minecraft. We spend a lot of time at the pool but my boss keeps me up all night with fun games of anxiety. It’s two am, have you thought about your debt lately?

I swear I am getting nothing done the weeks I have kids.

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But I get tons done when they are gone! Sort of. Well, mostly.

The last two weeks I have been into spray-painting backdrops for parties. It’s my new thing. I think mostly because I am so tired of trying to find a blank wall in my house to shoot photos against. I’ve created my own walls! It’s amazing what kind of creative break throughs you can have just walking down the aisles of your local hardware store.

For example, paint drop cloths are CHEAP! Ten bucks for a huge canvas. Twenty for a cloth one. A roll of brown paper is nine. You don’t have to use them to protect your floor while you paint. You can paint on them!

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I made this orange Wonder Woman background out of a paper drop cloth. I’m not super excited about the fold lines but it covers a big space and it only cost me ten bucks. Instant wall. Just blur the background a bit and focus on your subjects.

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The following week we had a Pampered Chef party and I decided to make my own fake Mexican restaurant. I’ve always wanted to do that. Restaurant designer is on my list of coveted careers, right next to set designer and cake decorator. I love designing businesses. Running them not so much.

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Of course we had Brendaritas at my restaurant, in pink plastic glasses no less. It’s funny the things that inspire you sometimes. Now we have a zillion pink plastic glasses leftover. Maybe I’ll let the kids have a sassy pink lemonade stand with them. Wouldn’t that be cute?

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Speaking of kids, we are on a mermaid kick lately. Unicorns are so early 2017. We’ve moved onto mermaids.

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Have you guys seen these bubbles at the fair? They are so cool.

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What is especially cool about these bubbles is that they saved my day. I was having such a bad day the day we went to the fair. It was the end of a bad week. I’d gotten no work done and every day it seemed like all I did was shuttle kids between camp and swimming. I was out of sorts. Payam almost turned the car around to take me home. But I rallied.

Mostly I was just sad that we were getting to the fair so late. Same song, different day. All I really care about is taking pictures. I thought it would be stupid with blaring music and blinky lights, gross fried food, kids begging for money for dumb games that you can’t win and if you do you end up winning you get a 99-cent stuffed toy that cost you twenty bucks. I sulked like a spoiled brat.

But then we got there and the sun was setting right behind these bubbles. We were the only ones there and the kids got to go free because it was kid free Thursday or something crazy. The light was golden and the kids were having so much fun splashing around pretending to be hamsters. My bad mood dissolved with every picture I took. Click, click, click. I was so happy! It’s funny the things that cheer me up.

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And then the rest of the “stupid blinky lights” and blaring music, smelly fried food and cheap toys seemed so much cooler. I may have even eaten a bacon wrapped hot dog and let Bug go home with a stuffed donut that ripped at it’s seam before we even left the fair.

So yeah. Happy Summer. Good luck with working!