Summer Nostalgia

Hemet-mongolian-grill

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!

nectarine-pie-1

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.

nectarine-pie-2

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.

payams-shop2

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!

payams-shop1

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.

laundry-room

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!

SaveSave

Spring, Puppies, Glasses.. Oh my!

spring-in-the-sticks2016-1

Last week was Spring Break so I took Bug out to The Sticks with me to visit my mom and dad. On the way there we stopped and took some photos in a big field. I’ve always wanted to do that but never had the time. It was the perfect combination of plenty of time, willing models (Bug was in a good mood since her best friend was along) and an amazing Spring day. The sky was so blue and clear with puffy white Care Bear-esque clouds floating along. It was beautiful.

spring-in-the-sticks2016-2

There were these funny yellow puff ball flowers everywhere that reminded me of tiny little Dr. Seuss trees. I was just wondering why I’d never noticed them before when my cousin (a biologist) pointed out (on Facebook) that they are a new invasive species that is choking out native wild flowers. What a bummer.

spring-in-the-sticks2016-3

We spent some quality time chilling at my mom and dad’s. I love that they don’t have television and there isn’t much to do but sit in the yard and play ball with the dogs. The older I get the more and more I savor boredom. It’s so nice to feel every minute go by and not wonder where they went.

spring-in-the-sticks2016-4

We spent the night in my parent’s travel trailer and it felt like camping but with wifi and hot showers only a few feet away.

You might be noticing Bug’s new glasses. Yep, she’s near-sighted just like her dad. I was worried that she just wanted them because she thinks they are fashionable (which she does) but the eye doctor assured me that she couldn’t fake the test and she indeed has a significant stigmatism in both eyes. Poor kid. It’s a good thing glasses are so cute these days.

glasses-bug

She’s taken to making ties out of paper and clipping them onto her shirts. Then she walks around the house muttering, “Business, business, business.” as if that’s what busy business people do who wear smart looking glasses and neck ties. She’s a nut.

Speaking of business, I am kind of impressed (and a little scared) with Bug and her leadership skills these days. She’s organized a club with her classmates called The Pusheen Club. It’s named after her favorite stuffed cat and apparently is all the rage. They use Google Docs at school and she’s taken it upon herself, as President, to require each member of the club to take a Pusheen test and write up a paper in Google Docs before they are allowed to be in the club.

Then she started a petition, in Google Docs, to bring back the old fashioned orange juice boxes they used to have at the cafeteria. I guess they have a new juice that is watered down and not as tasty or something and she’s rallying her classmates to bring back the old juice.  I randomly get emails from her to edit her Google documents and you can imagine my surprise when I see that the principal of her school is also getting emailed these documents. She’s a mover and a shaker, that girl!

cody

Speaking of moving and shaking, (Groan. I know. I am the queen of clunky transitions.) we have a lot of moving and shaking going on in our home lately. Yes, we have puppies! We are insane and adopted two puppies at the same time.

The light-colored one is an English Golden Retriever named Cody aka Cody Flufflebutt. The brown one is a Soft-Haired Wheaten Terrior named Whiskey aka Whiskey Tangopants. They are adorable and fluffy and a whole lot of trouble.whiskey

Having two-month-old puppies is like having two toddlers in the house. There are baby gates blocking the hallway and fencing in the living room, brightly colored toys are strewn all over the floor, all magnets on the refrigerator have been pushed up two feet, knickknacks have been moved up high and all plants are up off the ground … cleaning products are stashed in cubbies for quick mop-ups, we wake up at all hours of the night, we have to make special meals for upset tummies… it’s good times!  Like new parenthood all over again!

But we love it. And them. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course.