A day with Bug

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Last Monday the kids had no school. (This Monday they didn’t have school either but I am behind talking about that.) Joon spent the day with her mom and Bug stayed home with me. I snuck a few pictures of our day together.

Taking pictures of teens is tricky these days because now they have their own social media presence and they don’t see why I need to document anything since they are doing a perfectly good job of it themselves. They have a good point but personally, I think I need to document more than ever because as I peruse the last thirteen years of this blog and all the many many posts of every little thing Bug did, I miss the daily updates! It’s not like nothing is happening anymore! And it’s not like I can refer to their social media outlets because they delete and rearrange them constantly.  So let’s just cross our fingers and hope she never takes the time to find this until it’s much much later when she is thankful I was such a good documenter.

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In the morning we took the dogs on a walk through the nature trail. We both love the nature trail and the dogs and early winter mornings so this is always a very pleasant. I usually plug my headphones in and listen to a book or a podcast but if I can have company instead I am happy to stash those headphones. Book club deadlines to the wind!

Bug has a new instant camera and has been trying unsuccessfully to find her “aesthetic” with it. Invariably she uses the wrong setting and ends up with blown-out images or completely black film.  I don’t mind supporting her expensive new hobby too terribly much though since I feel a bit nostalgic for those days of film myself. It’s fun while it lasts.

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After our walk and a few errands, we finally headed off to adventure through thrift stores and consignment shops. I had the great idea to look for a vintage outfit for Bug for the Valentine formal coming up. She thought that was a terrible idea but was all for looking anyway. Of course I found a zillion perfect vintage outfits for her and she didn’t like any of them. I wish I had taken photos of them. Taffeta, polka dots, pink tulle…she thought it was all awful. 

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By four in the afternoon we had worked up an appetite so we did our second favorite thing: go out to eat! We can get in so much trouble when it’s just the two of us.

I had a deep-fat fried slab of mozzarella cheese on a bun with a giant grilled portobello mushroom. It was delicious and about 5000 calories. Eating vegan vegetarian does not always mean eating healthy. I felt terrible afterwards.

Then more shopping. Of course finding nothing, which is really fine by me since I didn’t really want to spend money anyway.

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I get just as much pleasure out of collecting pictures as I would actually buying things. It’s like a treasure hunt that is free. I tried to get Bug to take photos of me but this is what happens: She pretends to take pictures of me while she is secretly taking photos of herself.  It’s amusing and annoying. Though I will agree with her. I do take better photos when I’m not trying so hard.

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Bug never has to try. Every photo of her turns out adorable. But then I guess I’m the mom. My mom probably thinks every photo of me is adorable too.

We did eventually find Bug a dress for the formal. It wasn’t vintage or even very formal, just a pretty floral sundress (and yes, it’s winter but these arguments are lost on her). I was just glad we found something so she didn’t wear jeans and a hoodie to the dance.

Side Bar: Turns out she could have. Half the kids showed up to the dance wearing casual clothes. Parents too (it was a bring-your-parents-to-the-dance kind of event). Which figures because I dressed up to the nines in my I’m-going-to-New-York-to-see-a-Broadway-play outfit. I’m glad I had another chance to wear that dress because I love it so much but I did kind of feel funny standing around with the other parents  wearing yoga pants and raincoats. 

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Whatever. You can’t say I’m not fun!

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But back to our day. It actually ended up being really fun because we bonded over the garden section of one of my favorite consignment stores. We both love plants and exploring the ramshackle secret garden in the back is the best. It had just rained so everything was damp and bright green. We wandered through the maze of wet rusty treasures and admired the whimsical etherealness of it all. We even started plotting what we are going to do with the atrium outside Bug and Joon’s bedrooms. We are going to make it into a secret garden too! We bought some pretty yellow-y-green viney plants and a wire hanger and headed back home with A Plan! 

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Sadly, nothing has come of that great plan because Payam informed us that we need to paint the atrium first before we go screwing bolts into the wall and we can’t paint it until the stucco dries from all the rains lately. So that plan is benched. But we can dream!

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens with Sonja

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Last week I tagged along with Payam for a work thing and since it happened to be in my friend Sonja’s neighborhood, I decided to visit my old 7days buddy. It’s been a few since we last hung out, sadly. But you know what makes me happy? She didn’t even mention that I haven’t visited in forever and she took me on a walk with her boys to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens! I LOVE that she thinks nature trails when I come to visit. That’s the kind of friend I want to be.

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It was a beautiful spring day, squeezed in between weeks of dreary rainy days so we felt like we won the lottery with the weather. It was so nice! Look at that snow! I’ve been scrolling past post after post of snowmageddon images on Instagram feeling major FOMO so getting a glimpse of snow like this is gleeful. Wee! Snow! If only I owned a cabin and we could pile the dogs in the truck and head up for a day of it. Not gonna happen though. I am on budget-watch 2019 and no trips to the snow are included. Sad face.

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But that’s okay because we have things we can do for free like visit nature trails and look at native plants and art installations…

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This particular installation was so perfect for the gardens. If I was a sculptor making stainless steel origami statues I would definitely want them placed strategically around these gardens. It was wonderful. Walk into a clearing, there stand some iron origami horses. Look sideways into a dark patch of evergreens, there’s a tower of origami cranes. 

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Paper airplanes, floating boats, standing bison, iron eagles… it was very imaginative and fun. Hats off to the artists.

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Of course there were animals to watch too.

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We brought our very own wild animals with us. Just kidding.

Sonja’s boys are not wild animals but they are boys and therefore very different than girls, which is what I’m used to. No chatting about ASMR or singing Ariana Grande songs or whining about who gets to sit in the front on the way back but definitely lots of climbing, stick stealing and rock-throwing… At one point we were by a pond and her boys were throwing big boulders into the pond. Sploosh went the boulders one after another until a woman nearby who was eating her lunch chided them to stop. They stopped and threw little pebbles into the pond instead.

Then later they were sliding down a stone wall next to a staircase and someone piped up that they sure hoped they didn’t get hurt which passive-aggressively meant: please stop doing that. Sonja very kindly informed the woman that the boys were fine and she was keeping an eye on them. I had to admire her parenting because if boys can’t play in a botanic garden full of nature, where can they play? I suppose the commenter preferred they sat quietly on a bench sketching or something but if anyone knows boys, they know that is just silly.

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I supremely enjoyed myself even without any quiet sketching. I could have easily wiled away an hour or two sketching my favorite plants but it was fun to see the park through new eyes. Not just flora and fauna but fun jungle gyms and rock launchers, stinging nettles, noisy palm fronds and which stick would make the best walking stick.

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I suppose this post is going to be pretty boring to most. Except the 2 percent who love native California plants like I do. Hey there 2 percent! Let’s be friends! Happy, sunny black-eyed Susans, curling spindly reddish manzanita…these are a few of my favorite things!

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Don’t hold back on the spikes dudes!

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Before I close up this post I should also mention that they have lovely facilities if anyone wanted to throw a gala event or a wedding. How pretty, right? There were white paper solar powered lanterns everywhere.  I would love to come back at night and see how they glow.

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Very lastly, on the way to the parking lot actually, we visited the nursery. I wanted to take home a few spikey friends but my drive was long and I didn’t really do my research yet on where I should plant them at home so they stayed there. Next time!