Serpenises and fangirls and ants, oh my!

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Have you been to the fair yet this summer? I’ve been three times. Except one of those times doesn’t count because we couldn’t actually get inside. Parking was insane. We circled the fairgrounds for a mind-numbing half-an-hour in traffic and one by one, every single parking lot closed on us.  I think there are five or six lots and all of them filled up right before our eyes when we were two or three cars from the entrance. It was maddening.

Then we attempted to park in the college parking lot across the street and one by one those spots disappeared right before we could get to them too. We pushed further out to a metered lot and finally found one spot. We didn’t have any quarters so we bummed eight of them off this really nice lady who refused to take our cash. Pay it forward she said. Then with quarters finally in hand we discovered that our meter, the very last meter, was jammed. It just wasn’t meant to be.  We gave up and went home with sad faces. Of course promising the kids we’d come back the next week they were with us and we’d definitely leave early to beat the rush. Defeated, we stopped for Panda Express for dinner on the way home and paid our eight quarters forward to a cashier who thought we were tipping her.

The next week we did make it back and we left early enough to get an actual parking spot. We had a great time eating fair food, checking out the baby animals, the wood working room and of course getting henna tattoos. The girls wanted matching Riverdale tattoos on their forearms and with a little extra cash they found an artist willing to try it. They were so proud of their tattoos BUT when they were done we got hustled into a crowd and Bug bumped her arm on my purse or something and the “t”  in “serpent” got smudged so that it looked like an “i.” Southside Serpenis was just not gonna work. Back we went and while the artists in the booths tried to smother laughter, they fixed the “i” back into a “t.” I thought it was pretty funny too. Bug was mortified.

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My parents are selling their home in the Sticks finally. They’ve been wanting to move since forever and they actually have almost sold their property. Cross your fingers, say a prayer that the escrow closes. We went out there to help with packing some boxes and pick my mom up to take her to Cat Con.

It was about 110 degrees. Well, not 110 but it really doesn’t feel much different from 101 to 120 when you’re in the thick of it. It’s hot and miserable and the worst time to be moving.  I can’t even humble brag about helping them because I only helped them one day while they have selfless church friends (and my aunts) who have been helping them for MONTHS! I am so thankful for their friends (and my aunts). We might not get along or agree on some pretty big things that keep us at odds but we definitely agree on loving my parents.

It was kind of bittersweet to say goodbye to my parent’s property. While I’m so happy they are getting the hell out of dodge and leaving the meth heads and drug dealers behind for a quiet gated retirement community on the other side of town, I will miss their giant green park-like front yard. I’ve taken so many pictures of those red chairs in the shade. Bug has played on the swing set and picked tomatoes from their garden since she was old enough to hobble around. We will definitely miss all their fruit trees and abundant tomato garden. But they won’t miss the old mobile home with the floor that was falling through!

It will be a good move for them. They are moving way out in the country by some mountains near a state park that we can explore. Their community has a big olympic-sized pool that hosts aqua-aerobic classes that will be awesome for my mom. I can’t wait to visit and take the kids there to swim. Since they are way way out in the sticks now, they will be in prime coyote territory so my dad has to build a giant cattery for their eight cats. It will be fun. I look forward to helping him design it.

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It was quite timely that we were going to Cat Con and we had an extra ticket for my mom. It was supposed to be me and the girls going (because we had so much fun last time) but Joon couldn’t go because she is taking a vacation with her mom.  My mom was happy to oblige for cattery research purposes and for free cat food. My mom loooooves free stuff, which may or may not be why it’s taking them MONTHS to move.

Whenever Bug and I lost her in the crowds of Cat Con we’d just look for the nearest free cat food booth and find my mom there filling out some form. She had a blast.

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And so did we! One of my favorite things about Cat Con is checking out all the illustrators. Someday I’d love to have a booth there and illustrate a bunch of cats. I know I could do it. I’m just in an owl phase right now but you know I have a few cat characters in me too.

Anyway, we stopped by the Emily the Strange booth and I actually got to meet the artist, Rob Regur! I was shy because I’ve been a fangirl since forever. Finally on the second swing by his booth I got up the courage to ask for an autograph. It helped that Bug was shelling out some funds for a really cool cat-scratch black sweatshirt for herself. He was super nice and even drew me a picture! Of course I put my foot in my mouth and said something stupid about liking him since I was twelve, which is totally not true because he is only 50 and I am 46. I got my age wrong. It just felt like I’ve been a fan since I was 12 but it was probably more like I was a fan since college. Whatever. Fangirl brain has dumb.

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Speaking of illustrating I have had a brilliant idea. What about Christmas Postcards! I was going to make cards for Christmas this year and sell them in my shop but as you probably know if you follow me on Instagram, I have a thing for postcards. I like to draw and write at least one a day. So why not make Christmas postcards! Who needs an envelope? I always struggle with filling up all that white space in a card anyway. It’s wasted! A postcard is nice because you only have enough room to scrawl a few lines. So that’s my plan.

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I’m thinking Little Hoo Christmas cards. Though I would totally use the Papa Hoo card all year around. I might add a few more designs (Christmas Fairy for Gingermog and Stringing Popcorn and Cranberries for Heather..) or I might not. Still thinking on it. Of course I’ll brand up the backside with some cutesy SAJ style.

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I was also thinking about making some SueBee cards. Remember her? She’s inspired by my mom. Which style do you like better? Vector on the left or sketchy on the right. I like the vector style better personally but Bug likes the sketchy style. I’m torn. Bug usually has good taste.

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You know what else is happening this summer? ANTS. It has been the summer of the Great Ant Conquest. They are out to take over our house with a vengeance. I swear they will probably outlive us and slowly eat our entire house bite by bite. Everyday we find new trails and spend hours spraying them with poison and then cleaning up their trails of dead bodies.

I can thank the ants for my sparkling clean pantry that is now all reorganized and purged of anything with a sugar content. In fact, I got so into cleaning and reorganizing that I asked Payam to build me small shelves in the giant shelves that I used to always lose things in and he did! It is soooo much better. It’s amazing how now I can see everything in the pantry at one time and I don’t have to dig. It’s the best thing ever. So I guess having an ant problem has it’s perks.

We think they have a colony in the attic so we will be calling an exterminator and taking care of that soon.

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That pretty much wraps up this summer as I know it.  As Cody says, Stay cool, dudes!

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!