Hey, It’s me!

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Hi! It’s been a minute since I have shown up here. Like fifty zillion minutes ticking away. But I’m back and I want to do better.  I want to be here more. Things have been happening lately. I finally saved up enough for a new camera! Remember how my old one got stolen in Italy? I borrowed my publisher’s camera for a while (so thankful to her) but it just wasn’t as good as my old one and my old one just wasn’t that good either. I’ve had my eye on a Canon Mack 5 forever (that costs an arm and a leg) because that’s what all the pros use but ended up getting a 6D instead upon advice from Toby. What can I say? Ex’s who are still friends do come in handy sometimes!

So guess what? It rocks! It is so so so so so so much better than my old camera. It focuses like lightening. It’s larger format so I can take pictures of a whole room without backing up into a corner. It’s easy to use. There are all kinds of cheater buttons that tell you what setting to use. This is handy for me because numbers (ie: f-stops and apertures always give me spinny ball brain fog). I just love it. Now I just need to book a bunch of photography gigs to make it pay for itself! If you are looking for photography, look me up! I don’t really have a photography website and it’s not like I’m going to be calling myself a full time photographer but you know I love it and I can always use more work.

What else is new? Well, I just got back from Alt Summit in Palm Springs.

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How was it? It was good but it was hard for me.  I forced myself to go by myself and that was terrifying. I really needed a buddy to side-kick me through social situations. I get really nervous walking into a room and striking up conversations with people I don’t know. It’s silly but I always think they won’t want to talk to me and that I’m making a fool out of myself. I can do it and once I get started I’m really good at getting people talking (journalism background pays off) but the walking up to people is the hard part. I felt like I was back in middle school all over again, agonizing that my best friend was sick and I was too shy to make new friends.

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I did see Joanna Gaines speak. That was pretty cool. I love seeing famous people who are just regular people. She was so humble and real. Her baby was in the front row and she talked about him often. It was really cute and fun.

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But yeah, there were 2,000 women there. TWO THOUSAND! So you can see why I had some trouble with social anxiety. The wonderful thing is that everyone seems to also have social anxiety and everyone was struggling. When I did get up the guts to find someone to talk to, they were usually really really nice and wanted to help things be less awkward as soon as possible. I don’t know if that’s because it was mostly women or if creatives are just nice people or if I’m just cooler than I think I am and people really do want to talk to me.

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First day I kinda cried in my room a little. You know how it is. But then the second day, Isabel, (my boss from alpha mom) showed up and she is the best side-kick buddy ever. Things got a lot easier when she was around. Though I didn’t attach myself like a starfish and parasite my way through the rest of the week. I forced myself to do my own things, only checking in with her randomly.

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I think the highlights for me were of course the pretty hotel. It’s a lot prettier outside than inside. I think they recently changed all the lightbulbs to florescent bulbs in the rooms and it was super depressing inside. I walked across the street and bought myself a candle to counteract the depressing-ness of my room. I loved having a hotel room by myself but I also wished it could be a little less like Motel 6 painted bright colors. I also bought myself a plastic bowl, cheerios, bananas and milk. They had a mini-fridge in the room so I saved myself bucket loads of cash by eating breakfast (and sometimes dinner) of cheerios in my room. Sad, I know but I am trying my hardest to be frugal these days. I thought I was pretty clever sitting there watching Netflix on my laptop while I sat in my pajamas on my bed with my candle flickering on the nightstand near by. It was very rotic (romantic without the man).

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Another highlight was seeing Garance Doré. I LOVE her. I have been a fan for ages but seeing her in person and hearing about her struggles with depression sealed my devotion and love for her forever. She really hit on a subject that had been bothering me the whole conference. These days it’s so hard to make it in the popularity numbers game of social media. It’s really hard to be in a room with 2000 women who all have followings of 20K or more. I love being around creative women like me but the competition is overwhelming. It’s crushing at times. I just can’t even try anymore. She talked about how she doesn’t go to fashion week anymore but prefers to go on 20-person retreats and that resonated with me. I can’t do ALT Summit again. I learned a ton and it wasn’t a waste of money at all but it brought up all my old fears and insecurities and I think I am just too old for that sh*t. I just need to make my art and not worry about what anyone else is doing. That’s aways what has been successful for me in the past. Why do I keep forgetting that?

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Then after the summit Isabel and I went on a mad trek to find Desert X. Spoiler: We didn’t find it. I almost got my car stuck in the sand instead and it was quite thrilling to have adrenaline pumping through my veins as I maneuvered my way out of a sand pit. But we did it! We walked for a mile or so and saw nothing. Just an old abandoned washing machine, a disgusting dirty bed with dog poop on it and a homeless camp. We turned around and went back. But not defeated! It was fun! I love spending time with Isabel. And really, spending time with a good friend is better than getting that perfect picture for instagram that everyone else has already taken.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want to go back and find Desert X. It seems amazing and I really want to take pictures of it. BUT…

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I feel quite fine settling with this photo as well. I heart my new camera!

 

(Do you guys need links? Desert X.. Alt Summit, Garance Doré…? If so I can go back and put them in. I just liked flying under that radar since I didn’t have all good things to say.) done!

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!