Starring in the Brenda Show

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It’s that time again. Time to do some catchity-catch-upping. I feel like a million years has past since my last post. New York seems like a lifetime ago. But what has happened in between? I don’t know! A whole lotta work and stuff and stuff. The stuff and stuff is the stuff I can’t talk about. Nothing to worry about just the usual “not my story, not my privilege to tell” kind of thing. Boring, I know. If I could talk I could fill up novels! But I can’t so let’s talk about the weather.

Summer has slowly morphed into fall and I couldn’t be happier about it. My arms are mystified by these things called “sleeves” that they have suddenly found themselves enveloped in. My arms hate sleeves. You know how some kids get used to wearing shorts and then when their parents force them to wear pants in the winter, their legs feel like they are suffocating in cloth? That’s me and my arms. They like to be free like a bee. But! It has been chilly in my air conditioned office and sometimes on my early morning dog walks so I have braved a sweatshirt now and then. Crazy talk!

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I made some fig tarts, school has been in full swing and I’m starting to have a regular balance between work and home life. It’s been a long time coming but getting an office has finally formed a truce over who gets to have more of my time. It’s really nice. But I do miss my family.

I’m still going to the Sticks weekly to hang with my mom. My dad is gone for a month or so to drive a truck for the potato and beet harvest in Idaho. We miss him dreadfully but my mom is a trooper! She walks Spreckles, the dog, by herself up to the park with her new knees and we are so proud of her.

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Bug and I are up to our usual mother-daughter dates in fun coffee shops. The rest of the family is not into food like we are so they miss out. How cool is The Den looking these days? It’s a pretty special spot.  Amazing food too.

In other news Bug and Joon went to their first Homecoming Dance! It was big news in our house. Bug tried to pretend it wasn’t a big deal at all but she was the one that forced me to take her shopping for the perfect dress that didn’t exist. We went to the mall, we went to a boutique thrift store and finally in the end she found her dress for $20 at a regular thriftstore. She didn’t even try it on, because they don’t have fitting rooms. We just eyeballed it and it fit perfectly! Well… after I took in the top by two sizes and cut off the dusty hem from some bride who must have worn it dancing the night away. I say that’s a perfect fit.

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It was so cute to see them with their “dates” aka the guys they played Minecraft with the whole year everyone was forced to stay home during the pandemic. I’m thankful for their group of gamer friends. They kept them sane.  I can’t say I know what goes on while they are gaming (other than a lot shouting and laughter echoing from the girl’s rooms) but they seem to all be good students and basically a good influence on our kids.

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How cute are they all dressed up? How awkward am I trying to insert myself into the middle of everything?

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They had a great time and danced the night away in their tennis shoes.

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Also in big news: Suki had a baby and she’s been living with my mom! The baby’s name is Blair and she’s the best baby ever. Very even tempered and pretty sweet. So of course I had to do a photoshoot.

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Suki is a great mama. I hope she gets to stay with my mom for a long time so we can all be part of Baby Blair’s life. I’ve missed my nieces and it’s so good to have at least one of them back here for a while.

I think that’s it for now! Hopefully I get back here again before November with more news because this once-a-month blogging is pathetic!

The Beach Bucket List: Crescent Bay Beach

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Next up in our beach bucket list is: Crescent Bay Beach!

The thing about Laguna Beach is that there are a zillion little beaches and almost all of them are tucked into tiny little residential neighborhoods that are super keen on keeping everyone out of their beach (it’s a losing battle). That means they are hidden and hard to find and there is never any parking nearby unless you go on a Tuesday in the middle of a rainstorm. Newsflash: it never rains in Southern California. And if it does nobody is going anywhere. It’s mayhem. Watch our local news during a rainstorm. We think rain is the end of the world, there’s no beach going during any kind of weather.

Payam decided not to come with us on this little beach jaunt. He had work to do in his shop. Joon was on vacation with her mom so that meant this beach day was for me and Bug and….Her boyfriend!

I would love nothing more than to write five paragraphs about how I feel about Bug having a boyfriend and my feminist views of teenagers dating juxtaposed against my own sheltered childhood and subsequent train-wreck of a dating life BUT this is not really something I am comfortable with so I’ll just tuck it under a rock for another day maybe twenty years in the future when I am a self-proclaimed parenting expert. Today I am decidedly NOT that expert.

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Let’s talk about Crescent Bay Beach! It’s a crescent! A lovely, little, sandy crescent roll of sunshine. It’s small and it has public restrooms, which is a total bonus for people like me who stress about things like that. The path to get down to it is short (not a thousand steps like other beaches) but there is a giant step at the bottom as if the beach lowered itself a foot or two since the asphalt path was built. This was a bit challenging for me since we brought all the gear for this beach visit: chair, umbrella, aesthetically pleasing picnic basket… Thankfully we had a big strong boyfriend to carry the picnic basket but it was still a bit tricky for me wrangling the chair and stepping down the giant step.

The kids ran off to frolic in the waves and I set up camp. It was pretty warm when we got there at about 2pm in the afternoon so I MacGyvered a sun shield out of our picnic blanket and some nearby stairs. I was quite proud of my building prowess.

Then I set up shop watercoloring! Watercoloring is my favorite thing these days.

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My new paint palettes are so pretty but they are a bit cumbersome because I have three of them. I should just take one with me and leave the other two at home but the colors are so pretty I can’t bare to! My old travel palette is really the way to go because it has all the basic colors that you mix to create the hues you want, while my new palette is pre-mixed in specific colors like: ocean, woodlands and skin tones. So you can see my dilemma: bring one palette of boring colors that mix well or THREE palettes of pretty colors! I packed the max of course and I have eyeballs on other palettes in my amazon prime shopping cart that I’d love to add to my collection. Artist problems. Maybe I should just stay home and paint. Haha! No way Jose! The best thing to do outside is paint! So pack it in I do.

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The kids were kids. They might hold hands and act all grown-up with their romance and their google eyes but they are still kids inside (they were fourteen last year!!) and they still love making sand castles and catching sand crabs. I still love making sand castles and catching sand crabs! Wait, not the sand crabs part. I’ve never loved that.

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Bug brought mason jars and made lemonade for our picnic but when the lemonade was gone, they used their jars to catch sand crabs and pretend they were drinking sea water by tossing it over their shoulder. It warms my heart to see them be silly and still act like kids.

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Even though it was really warm, the water was ice cold. Bug stayed out in the waves so long her legs went numb. To warm herself she wrapped up in our picnic sheet. That tapestry has a thousand uses.

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I tried to take as many golden hour shots as I could. It was a really pretty day.

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Payam decided to join us for dinner on the beach and he even picked up pizza for us. But then he accidentally went down the wrong path (I gave him bad directions and like I said, the neighborhoods try to keep it confusing) and he ended up in Shaw’s Cove which is the beach next to Crescent Bay Beach. On a map they look like they are right next to each other, and they are, but they are divided by steep rocky, muscle infested cliffs and tide pools that are pretty much impossible to traverse at high tide.

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But I didn’t know that so I packed up our gear and the kids and we TRIED to traverse the rocks and gullies to get to Payam. We got about 80% of the way and we could see Shaw’s Cove but we could not get there because there was a 10-foot drop onto sharp muscles below. that was impossible to pass. We tried every way we could, up, down and around but it was just too scary for me with my camera and that blasted chair and my big ol’ bag of art supplies. Finally we turned back. Payam picked us up in the car and we had our cold pizza back at home.

It was worth it though because we really felt like we had a full, complete beach day. Fun in the water, painting for me, lots of photography and even some rock-climbing and exploring! And if I wanted to get technical I could check off Shaw’s Cove on my beach bucket list. But I’m not going to because I want to go back and visit it properly.