Persian BBQ and Yogurt with Swords!

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I seriously had to ask Payam whether my readers (all 300 of you! Woot! Up from 200!) would rather hear about my bathroom redeaux (aka organizing the tweenagers crap with an Ikea hack) OR Persian Barbecue.  Of course he said barbecue because he thinks talking about house porn on the internet is boring. (Even though he’s just as addicted to HGtv as I am.) Maybe bathroom re-organizing is boring. I don’t think so. I think it’s the best thing EVER. I’m sure I’ll be back here with that another day.

Barbecue it is!

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I’ve been super spoiled two days in a row because we broke out the barbecue like it’s summer or something. Last night was Persian BBQ and the night before was frozen grocery store hamburgers. Don’t knock ’em. It meant NO cooking for me! I know, I should have made some kind of potato salad or maybe squeezed some balsamic-glazed bockchoy in on the barbecue… but phooey! I was not paying attention at all because I was off doing my own thing on my computer which is COMING UP WITH AN ART CAMP THIS SUMMER! (Yes, I totally am. Stay tuned.)

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The dogs were quite interested in this new development. “I CAN HAZ SOME, DAD?”

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Inconveniently, we ran out of dog food so I did actually do some cooking for the dogs. I threw some chicken in the instant pot and made a pot of sticky rice and they thought it was THANKSGIVING DINNER! Most spoiled dogs ever.

I do love our little patio. Everything is blooming right now and what used to look like a dilapidated abandoned puzzle of pots is now looking like a lush garden. Well, minus the grass and maybe a few hundred more plants. I can dream. Sometimes I miss having a real backyard but then I get my water bill and I think pavers are fine.

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After Payam had de-skewered the grilled chicken and steak he made a pot of Persian Tadique rice. If you know it, you love it. It has this crust on the top that is crunchy and buttery and pretty much as addictive as chips. Everyone loves it except Bug which is fine with everyone.

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Then we all sat down for dinner. (Note that we had paper plates. Mama was taking the night off! Oh yeah.) And this is what happened when I asked them to pose for me.

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Payam is pretty much thinking, Can we get on with this already? I’m starving. He’s a very good “instagram husband.”

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And then we dug in!

I love to put yogurt and Salad Shirazi on top of my rice which is sort of a faux pas to real Persians but they look the other way and let me do my gringo thing. Salad Shirazei is actually “Salad from the province of Shirazei” which is a place but it’s basically chopped up cucumbers, onions, cilantro, tomatoes with lemon and oil or vinegar. It’s delicious. Like salsa but not.

A funny story that we constantly remind Joon of: Yogurt is called mast. So if you have yogurt with cucumbers it’s called mast o khiyar but Joon, being a little girl with few words, once called it “mast o sham sheer” which translates to “yogurt with swords.” We all think that’s a way better name for it so that is what we call it to this day! MAST O SHAM SHEER FOREVER!

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Time Blocking, Systems Not Goals and Rumors of a Kitchen Remodel

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This is sort of a placeholder post while I get over a nasty sinus infection. This one has really taken me down. You never really realize how easy your life is until it’s not. But I don’t need anyone to worry about me being sick. I’m sure I’m on the mend. Antibiotics have been prescribed and I’m getting plenty of sleep and taking care of myself. And of course all my loved ones are taking care of me too so I am very spoiled in that aspect. They say relationships can help you live longer and I am very happy that I’ve got some really important ones that keep me going healthily.

I thought I’d take this moment to talk about a few things on my mind.

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and I somehow fell upon the skinny confidential which is probably not a good fit for me since I am a decade-and-a-half older than them and I will never hope to be a famous instagram model or influencer… but it’s been really interesting to listen to thirty-somethings give me advice on business and life. There is a lot to be learned in between bare naked cucumber jokes and skin care commercials.  I really am impressed with their work ethic and not that I hope to become as crazy busy successful as they are but I’m subscribing to a few things here and there.

  1. time blocking
  2. systems not goals

 

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I tried out the time-blocking trick right away and the type A part of my personality loved it.  I created a google calendar so full of blocks I can’t even find my regular appointments and special dates. But it has helped me stay on track and more importantly realize where I’m losing time. Payam commented the other day that I punctuate my day with house-cleaning when I need to think. I do! This is a handy habit for a clean house but when I’m supposed to be focusing on work, I am not. It’s a real challenge to force myself to leave a sink full of dishes and go sit at my desk and think or blog or come up with new craft post ideas, self promote or, gasp, learn a new skill! Ugh. I hate teaching myself new skills. I have Learning Curvitus.

The systems not goals idea was a new one for me and of course I’m applying it to my ongoing war on weight gain aka genetics. I always go on diets and calorie track and then sabotage myself immediately, as if I get some kind of pleasure out of doing the exact opposite of my original goals. It’s like there is a rebel inside me who’s says, “Oh Yeah? You think you want to lose 20 pounds? Hah!  Let’s go eat something in secret. It tastes better when nobody is looking. Bwahahahahaa!”

So maybe if I stop making diet such a big thing and just make it a daily system, I’ll stop letting out this inner rebel. I don’t know. I’m skeptical. But it seems like a good plan. Sometimes you just have to look at things from a different angle. You know?

I’m sure I’ll find more meaningful tips as I go on with these podcasts. I’m on podcast number 20-something of hundreds. (!) And that’s only one feed. There are billions more!!  Podcastsing is an interesting medium. Too bad it’s already saturated. I can see Bug and I coming up with a really fun broadcast. Maybe someday we will. If she doesn’t invent her own medium first. She’s been using google docs to tell animated fan fiction stories set to music. It seems like such a backwards way to do something but it works and it’s creative so I’m standing back and letting her do her thing.

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Basically I’ve been listening to all these podcasts and thinking a lot about my future as a business and an artist. I’ve been looking at the numbers too and realizing that I am more successful at illustrating than I’ll ever be at blogging, content creating or even graphic design. It’s funny, I didn’t expect it to be this way. I’ll never give up blogging or content creating but it’s putting a weird spin on my brand. I’ve always felt so strongly about photography. Does this mean I need to replace all my pretty pictures with illustrated cartoons? Half the time I don’t even like my silly vector creations. So I’m chewing on that. Maybe I need a life coach to help me navigate. Maybe I need to poll my hundred readers (who are also customers and I love you so much for sticking with me all these years!!!)…

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But speaking of pretty pictures…. Don’t you love these dying peonies? In life they are amazeballs but even in death they take my breath away.

We have this old ratty dining room table that is stained a dark espresso brown. It was a nice table when I moved in but I’ve done about a thousand crafts on it and now it is covered with nicks and scratches. Payam wants to refinish it but I don’t want him to. I need a ratty table. I can’t have nice things because I use them to their full potential until they are gasping their last gasps. (You should see my camera. It’s totally covered in paint and flour and barely works.) I need a beat-up table so I can be free to spill paint on it and cut on it and not worry about the fancy finish. So far I’m winning on this table issue but someday I’ll probably have to move my crafting to another room.

I bring it up because this ratty old table is the perfect backdrop to these fading petals. I love the contrast. I don’t even see the scratches and if I did I’d probably like them. There is so much charm and patina to this old table that has seen a thousand crafts and a thousand more family dinners. I love this table. It’s almost like the more worn it is the more loved it is.

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I was so in love with these peony photos that I took on our old ratty table that I day-dreamed for a week or two about getting one of them turned into a canvas. The problem is turning a print into a 42×70-something inch canvas is a whole lotta EXPENSIVE! Like super expensive. I even mocked it up I was so in love with the idea:

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(Ignore all the clutter on the buffet table. I would of course clear all that off if I had a big print there and replace it with more subtle clutter.) I hemmed and hawed and Payam even thought about buying it for me for a birthday present BUT then Payam mentioned that we might be ready for a KITCHEN REMODEL! Wha-wha-what?!! Did you hear that right?

Yes, you did. So maybe there won’t be a wall where I want that print to be. In that case I’ll just shelf the whole silly giant print idea because a kitchen remodel trumps everything. Of course this won’t happen for a really long time and I’ll be cooking on a hot plate in the garage and up to my ears in dust but I am really excited to be part of it. Pinterest boards have commenced.

Before I go I thought I’d share my latest desktop. Download HERE.

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And HERE it is without words! :)

xoxo!