Balboa Island Cheer-Ups

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This hardly ever happens but this last Saturday we had NOTHING planned. So we called a family meeting and hashed that out. Free time! Let’s use it!

The kids would have been perfectly content to sit in their rooms watching Youtube and Musically videos on their phones for hours on end but we knew we needed to get everyone together to do something a little more productive.

Me, being the super organized anal person that I am, grabbed a nearby white board and wrote down all the things we’d like to do.  I added things like “weed the atrium” and “paint the hallway.” They added things like “Soak City,” “Griffith Observatory,” “Ojai Lavendar Fields…”  This went on and on and in true bicker-sister fashion and nobody agreed on anything EXCEPT Balboa Island, probably because there was a candy store involved for the kids and a walk involved for me. (I’m the self-appointed resident health nut that annoys everyone.)

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Balboa Island for breakfast! Who knew! We have a shortage of good breakfast places in our neighborhood and the ones that are good have long lines around the building on a weekend. We didn’t know we could take a quick hop and a jump over to Balboa Island and have GREAT Mexican food at a place called Wilma’s Patio for breakfast. Hot Diggety! Bug and I were so happy. We could have Mexican food for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday and never complain. The Persians in the house, not so much. Thankfully, Wilma had had other options too.  Joon had strawberry waffles and Payam had some kind of spicy Italian scramble. Everybody was happy.

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Then we did my favorite part: the walk around the island.

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I love looking at all the miniature houses and admiring the gardens.

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I didn’t mention this earlier but Joon has been navigating some difficult friendship alliances at school lately. It’s like being on a show of Survivor with people getting voted off the island sometimes.  This is totally normal for her age and Bug has had to deal with them too. But this particular friendship that’s been troubling Joon has really gotten her down.  It’s affected everything. Everyday she comes home saying she hates school and school hates her.  So even though she wanted to just sit in her room wearing her black sweatshirt with the hood pulled over her head and plugged into her headphones and ignoring everyone we really pushed her to get out and cheer up.

So when Payam suggested renting a Duffy boat and taking a little cruise around the harbor I knew it would be just the trick.

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And it was! Bug and Joon loved it! They chatted and bantered away like only sisters can. The sunny day drenched us with brightness. It was really hard not to enjoy the warm weather (that’s actually finally trying to be nice for a change instead of being all sweaty-sweaty dog’s breath), the cool breeze, the pretty water and all the boats everywhere.

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It did us all good. Joon is still struggling but we all felt connected. Sometimes I feel like she shuts us out and deals with it all in her head. She’s a tough cookie and it makes me sad that she internalizes her emotions. Growing up is so hard. I remember dealing with friendship break-ups myself and it was PAINFUL! Just because you are younger and bounce back quicker doesn’t mean it isn’t the same kind of pain we feel as adults. So we’re trying to be gentle with her.

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I think she’ll be fine. She just needs time.

46 and Beyond!

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I turned forty-six last week. I thought I would write a really long post about all the things I’ve learned in my vast and extensive forty-six years but you know what? I don’t know squat. I have learned a lot of things, most of them private and embarrassing and I think anyone older than me would probably smile and roll their eyes over. I hate it when I read posts from thirty-year-olds thinking they are so smart so I’m going to be even smarter and stay mum. All of you youngsters can learn the hard way just like I did. Just kidding. Let’s take a walk sometime and I’ll share some wisdom privately. Or just laugh. That’s good too.

Anyway, this birthday was kind of a bust. First of all it was the HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR, clocking in at a sweaty 108 degrees. That meant we pretty much bunkered down the hatches (aka closed all the windows and  drew all the shades), turned on the AC and didn’t leave the house all day.

I did, however, leave the house in the morning to have breakfast with my pack of girlfriends. Do you have a pack of girlfriends? They are the best thing ever. Everyone should have a pack. There are five of us and we go out to breakfast monthly. Sometimes we go on excursions. Sometimes we bring each other food when we are sick or having surgery.

This birthday my friend Ana gave me a gold friendship bracelet, the fancy kind from Nordstroms. I love being a grown up and getting grown-up friendship bracelets. I like regular friendship bracelets too but I love this one so much because I feel like I’m part of secret club and when you get into your forties you trade up from embroidery floss to GOLD. Age has perks!

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So yeah, it was hot.

Payam promised to make me the chocolatiest of chocolate cake and EVEN THOUGH IT WAS 105 degrees in our kitchen he persevered and made it for me anyway!! I couldn’t even believe it. There he was wearing his batman apron and dripping in sweat while he mixed and measured and the OVEN PREHEATED. That is LOVE folks.

It was really really good too. Flourless so it pretty much tasted like dark-chocolate-flavored butter which is my favorite! That evil cake called to me all week long. “I’m in the fridge, Brendaaaaa…. You know you want me….” I’m telling myself that since it didn’t have flour in it it was Keto or Adkins or something. We’ll see what the scale says next week.

Isn’t it amazing how resilient our bodies are? If you eat a 2000-calorie piece of cake  you can get on the scale the next day and it won’t budge. You’ll amazingly stay the same weight. BUT you can also work-out for two weeks straight and eat 1400 calories a day and it won’t budge either so there’s that. Resilience baby.

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The other reason my birthday was a bust was that every single night of my birthday week, Joon had rehearsal for the play she was in this summer. We had planned to go to my favorite restaurant for my birthday dinner the night before my birthday but of course a last-minute dress rehearsal was called and that jacked that up and then opening night was my actual birthday so it just didn’t happen. We had McDonald’s instead.

Whine, whine, whine. Would you like a glass of wine?

I was a diva about it for about half a day and then I snapped to my senses and realized that this play Joon was in was REALLY COOL and I need to grow up and be the bigger person. She didn’t have a big part or anything but it was a fun summer camp that lasted a month and a half and she made a ton of friends and really enjoyed herself. I was the idiot fool that happened to have a birthday right when it ended. I should have been born in August instead. And really? Do I need more than breakfast with my girlfriends, a gold friendship bracelet, the chocolatiest-chocolate cake ever AND my kids singing me happy birthday at ten o’clock at night? No, I do not. It was NOT a bust it just was challenged. A very challenged 46th birthday.

I did however tell Joon that if she wants to be in a play on my 50th birthday, I’m not going. She can send me a birthday photo postcard of her and the cast to my hotel in Paris.

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And that was that!

Here are some pictures from my morning walks with the dogs. We’ve moved our walks earlier and earlier to beat the heat which makes for prettier pictures with better light. I’ve finally cracked the dog-walking code. In order to really enjoy dog walks you have to find a podcast you really like. I don’t dread them anymore. I think of dog walks as my podcast hour instead and sometimes I even find myself taking the long way home because I’m so hooked. Summer-2018-Swimsuit-Cover-ups-1

In other summertime news we made the most awesome swimsuit cover-ups on Alphamom this week. They were so fun to make! I’m sure this craft has been around forever but when I searched it on pinterest very little came up.

Joon showed me how to make really cool starburst designs and Bug outdid herself in stencil work. We spent hours on them, which when combatting summertime boredom translates to major currency. They didn’t binge-watch Friends (what they’ve been doing all summer) for three hours straight which says a lot.

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Then they we headed off to Payam’s mom’s pool for a photoshoot. They turned out great. Don’t you love how Joon’s personality is so different from Bug. They are both nutballs but Joon is definitely the more out-going of the two.

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It was a really big deal that Bug finally got up enough courage to jump off the diving board. So much of a big deal that she asked me to document it on sport-mode. Gifs all around!

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Happy Summer!