• Life Lessons,  party party,  Shop Talk,  spilling my guts,  The Desert,  working woman

    Winter Forever

    still-winter

    I know everyone is feeling it. The lack of sunshine directly contributes to the lack of serotonin in my brain and so many of my fellow warriors in the trenches of mental illness. We are fighting a monotonous, endless war against depression and the human condition. Every day is a battle to see the bright side. But there are bright sides! They still exist! I’m spinning as fast as possible to turn every negative thought into a positive one. Let’s keep up the good fight! Let’s find the sunshiney glimmers between the dark, dreary winter storms!

    bug-bday-part1

    I’m lucky enough to have a big birthday to celebrate after Christmas and New Year’s. It was good planning to have a kid in January to give myself something to look forward to in the dark days of winter.

    Bug, however, does NOT like having a winter birthday. All she wants is a pool party with sunshine and friends splashing around in bikinis.  And every year, we have to fret about whether or not her party will get rained out. I mean, yes, we are lucky that these are the problems we have to worry about when other kids are just fortunate enough to wake up alive and not to the sounds of bombs going off. But you know what I mean. Real-life problems in my small world are weather and paying rent.

    This was probably the first year in her eighteen years that it rained, and we had to consider a plan B: cramming all twenty of her high school buddies into our tiny apartment. We opened the weather app daily and discussed the predicted rain percentages.  On Monday, there was a 40% chance; on Tuesday, there was a 60% chance; by Friday, there was an 80% chance. It was not looking good, but the plan must go on!

    Because the plan was a good one! This year, Bug planned her birthday party from the invitation to the location of our local park to the bounce house and the piñatas. It was painful to step aside and let her make all the party-planning decisions, but I had to do it.  I had plenty of opinions, but just like I’ve had to step aside and let her do her school art projects, I’ve learned that there is a time for the teacher to be the student, and now is that time.

    bug-bday-part2

    Her theme was impeccable—”Party like when you were little.”  It was such a good idea!  Her friends dressed how they dressed when they were little. She made cupcakes and took them to school (the day before, which was a great way to hype the whole event). She had two Minecraft piñatas filled with all their old favorite candies and party-city-craptastic toys. Cheese pizza, a pink castle bounce house, bouncy balls giant and small… sticky hands, sparkly crowns and glow bracelets. It was brilliant!

    bug-bday-part3

    It was an absolute hit.  Bug had hyped it up so much at school the day before, and because teenagers will congregate anywhere under any circumstances, EVERYONE SHOWED UP! And THEN! At the last minute right before her party, the rain stopped for the exact hours of her birthday party!!!!! Everything was sludgy, muddy, and cold, but the rain stopped! Can you believe it?

    The bounce house was so fun. The kids didn’t really bounce in it much until the rental company showed up and told them it was time to deflate it. Then they all crammed in, and it deflated on them because bounce houses are not made to hold twenty full-grown bodies. It was hilarious. All the weight shifted to one side, and no one could hoist themselves up and out of the descending castle. Photos were taken, and everyone bonded in a huge laughing heap. It was amazing. We all relived our little kid dreams, and this mama was happy.

    nb-winter-sunset

    Let’s talk about another glimmer during winter: Winter light! Winter light is the best on the coast because the usual foggy, humid marine layer goes out to sea somewhere, and the skies are clearer and brighter than ever. Sunsets are beautiful with colors you never see any other time of the year. Golds and scarlets, pinks and purples. It is a beautiful thing to be by the sea during winter. Cold as heck but beautiful. I mean, comparatively speaking. We don’t know about snow or freezing temperatures, but our blood is thin, so we shiver when it’s 60 degrees and below.

    nb-winter-sunset-with-DJ

    Shiver, shiver, shiver. But look! So pretty!

    winter-at-the-cantina-1

    I also traveled to the desert to check on the Rasta Rita Cantina. Since my little flower business has a few weddings coming up in April, I thought I should get reacquainted with the venue.

    winter-at-the-cantina-2

    The wall is slightly faded but not bad, considering it’s been through a severe summer (118F) and winter (30F). I might have to do a few touch-ups.

    the-U2-RastaRitaCantina-sign

    Mario and I also visited the billboard we worked on. I was so NOT a part of this creatively (Mario and his buddy art-directed it; I was just the hands working the software), but it is my first billboard, so I’m slightly proud. I thought we’d get sued by U2 for blatantly ripping off their album cover, but since I didn’t have the correct photo or the right font, it wasn’t close enough to flatter myself. So hey! Billboard! Woot. It’s too bad I’m not proud enough to put it in my portfolio.

    A few of you have commented on my winding ways lately. Yes, I’m throwing everything at the wall, hoping it will stick. Flower business, behavioral therapy for autistic children, job hunting and travel… I suppose it’s not often a mommy blogger continues to tell tales and document her humdrum life after her children are grown. But the thing is, this never was a mommy blog. I just happened to be a mom for a big chunk of it. Mommy blogging made me famous briefly, but I’ve been journaling, sharing, and creating my, for lack of a better word, *digital magazine* of my “little life” since I was ten. Except when I was ten, my dad and I were in our converted back patio office punching out columns of copy on his Texas Instrument computer and pasting them into a newspaper format that we copied on the Xerox copier and I then handed out at Thanksgiving. Crazy. I guess I’ve always wanted to be a journalist writing “puff pieces” about my own life.

    I say all that to tell you about my latest whim. I’m trying out something new. Something new to throw at that wall, let’s say. I call it my 100-day project. I will spend 100 days putting all my energy into my own business. This might sound strange since I’ve been working for myself for the last twenty years, but I’ve spent a lot of time and energy making other people wealthy while living paycheck to paycheck myself, and lately, those paychecks have NOT been enough. I’ve created so many campaigns, logos, and business plans for others, scrubbed toilets, fetched dry cleaning, organized closets, and bought coffees… I’ve decided for the next 100 days, I will put as much energy as I’ve put into others into my own business instead. I’m not paying myself, but I’m paying it forward.  I will clock in at 9 am and work straight until 2 pm on my books, my art, and whatever crawls into my idea-popping head. If I can make other people successful, why can’t I make myself successful?

    I realize I’m all talk, but it’s only 100 days. Today is day four. Let’s see how it goes. It’s got to be better than everything I’ve been doing that has been failing so miserably, right?

     

    xo

  • giveaway,  Moody Blues,  place holder posts

    Winter Doldrums (and a calendar)

    winter-duldrums.

    Here I am, popping my shaggy groundhog head up to say hello after what seems like the longest, coldest winter ever. I know it’s not Groundhog Day, but it’s winter, and I’m in that awkward shaggy stage of growing out my hair. Bug says to wear pigtails because I look ancient now that the blonde is gone. I can’t win at this stage. It matches my mood.

    Things have been hard lately. For everyone I think, right? The flower business is on hold.  I didn’t sell enough t-shirts to get any actual t-shirts so those of you who bought them should get your money back. I have $126 going toward the brake job for Florita, but I don’t know when it will happen. I lost my shirt on the last flower pop-up, so I’m taking a break. Not forever. I do have some weddings lined up for Spring.  The cost-benefit analysis did not work in my favor to do one or two weekly deliveries.

    whirlwind-nye-in-sf

    I had a fun whirlwind visit to San Francisco to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Matt. We always have a good time together. I love dressing up fancy and going out to dinner in restaurants with luscious velvet chairs and pretty bottles all lit up in a bar.  I’ve lost my nerve to take selfies in pretty locations, but I try to snap a few random shots for Instagram.

    hemet-in-january

    I also got out to the sticks for a rare visit. The skies are so blue, and the desert is so welcoming. When I’m stuck on the coast in the gray winter, I sometimes forget that the sun shines in other places. It was good to see my parents. They were happy to see their grand dog.

    Other than that, not much has been going on. I’ve been focusing on work and not being very creative, which is unlike me.

    We will be celebrating Bug’s 18th (I KNOW!!!!) birthday this weekend with a bounce house and a pinata at the park, but Bug has been planning the whole thing herself and wants very little input from me, so I have no fun prep pictures to share. I’m sure I’ll have more to share when I’m baking 100 cupcakes this Wednesday.

    Also, here’s your fixed-up calendar. Only one person submitted edits, so if it’s wrong, it’s your fault.  Just kidding. I’m sure I can put out another version if there are some embarrassing errors.

    xo

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay