sunshine and fashion

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It’s been super foggy and gloomy in Southern California where I live lately. It’s mostly because we live 15 minutes from the beach (poor us) and the marine layer likes to creep up out of the ocean when it’s hot inland and hover over us for months. I hate to complain about it because well, it’s not like it’s real weather or anything. I’ve never been in a snow storm in my life. But you know what? It’s getting me down! This stupid gray fog is the pits! I thought I was pretty tough but give me three weeks of foggy gray gloom and I feel like crawling under a blanket and ceasing to exist. I know. That’s pretty drastic but it’s really what has been going through my head.

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I went to my doctor, (I see a psychiatrist for anxiety) and I was so prepared to tell her I was fine but within minutes I was bawling my eyes out over climate change, of all things. I never know what’s going to set me off. It’s like my brain is playing some kind of lottery and whatever thought bubbles to the top is the fret-and-obsess-over subject du jour. It’s been pathetic.

Needless to say, she upped my meds. Only until August. She says that lots of people get really depressed in June  in our local. It’s a well documented fact. So, if you are feeling down, it’s not you! It’s the weather.

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I had dropped Bug off at my parent’s in the desert for a week for “Camp Grandpa and Grandma” and I went out this weekend to pick her up and guess what? It was gloriously sunny out in the desert where they live! I soaked up that sunshine like it was my last meal. It felt soooo good.

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I took Joon with me and we all spent some happy hours in the pool with my parents and lots of sunshine.

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I love seeing Joon laugh like that. They are both going through their hormonal teenage years so seeing them act like kids again instead of sulking around with their noses stuck to their phones is always a welcome sight.

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My mom recently hurt her Achilles tendons in both feet. She had been going to her local gym and taking water aerobics classes and apparently she was a little too zealous with all the jumping around in the water and hurt her tendons. This is a huge bummer because she was on a roll with losing weight and getting healthy. Now she’s stuck in her chair most days and doing minimal physical therapy with her doctor. She can’t do as much as she usually does and unfortunately that leaves my poor overworked dad doing most of the housework as well as his many gardening jobs. So I decided that I need to go out and visit them once a week and help them.

This seems like an obvious solution but it took me a while to come to it. Googling deep-cleaning house cleaning services that cost more than $200 a week because they live so far out in the sticks kind of sealed the deal. It will be an adjustment to take such a long drive weekly but it’s not like I didn’t use to do it back when I lived out there and drove Bug in to see her Dad weekly. I’m just super thankful I have the job flexibility and a reliable car to do it.

And that means I’ll get a healthy dose of sunshine weekly!

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While we were out there this weekend, the girls let me do a few photoshoots with them in the beautiful surrounding desert. I’m not sure who was prettier, the desert or the girls.

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I really love my new camera. I need to start booking more professional gigs so I can get it to pay for itself. I’m super lucky that I have built in models who love their photos taken.  Of course as a photographer I love, love, love taking photos of them but I have to make sure not to exploit their beauty and keep the photos wholesome and healthy. It’s challenging!  They ooze (innocent) sexuality and they don’t even know it. Thankfully, I’ve been around the internet a bit and I’ve been teaching them to protect their vulnerabilities for a long time. desert-beauty-2

Bug is interested in fashion these days. We all knew that was coming. Actually, she has always has been into fashion. It’s nothing new. You remember her crazy three-year-old style choices.  Anyway, lately she’s picked up my love for thrift-store-shopping and has been buying loads of clothes and altering them to suit her. She embroiders jeans, crops skirts into mini skirts…. really I should say she manipulates my mom and I into embroidering and altering for her but I’m not too upset about that. I’m just happy she can be so creative with fashion and not involve me taking her to the mall and spending bazillions of dollars!

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!