Finally December

december-family-photo-shoot-at-the-barn

November has been the longest month ever. I probably feel this way because I’ve lived beyond my means (like an idiot) and I’ve been waiting for my quarterly paycheck to come so I can pay those nasty credit card bills back down. A watched pot never boils and all that. It’s been painfully long. Every day checking my bank account, every day sad. I know, at least I have a paycheck to look forward to when so many people don’t. I have a lot to be thankful for. But I was talking to Bug and she said November has been dreadfully long for her too. A few other friends have mentioned that they seem to be going through old crap that they thought they were over so maybe it’s not just me. And that got me thinking…

When you find yourself going through something that you thought you were over (for me it’s money problems. I never seemed to learn those rich dad poor dad lessons…) instead of feeling extra crappy about being such a failure AGAIN, we should feel a little bit relieved because we have a safety net! We’ve been here before and we survived. Last time I was here I didn’t think I was going to survive. I thought my debt was going to snowball until I was homeless.

But I’ve done this before and I did survive. I survived and thrived in fact. Here we are in familiar territory and we have the benefit of knowing we made it through in the past. Maybe this is just a circular argument or I’m not explaining it very well.  But it should give me some comfort knowing that I’ve done this before. It’s just the waiting that’s so hard. Even with all the wisdom in the world it still is so hard to be patient and wait for hard times to pass.

december-family-photo-shoot-with-mom-and-dad

In the meantime, some beautiful fall weather has been passing and I’m worried I haven’t truly enjoyed it because I’ve been so stressed. We did have a really nice Thanksgiving (I cooked a turkey AGAIN and didn’t fail!) and we got our holiday photos taken by Yvonne. Do you know Yvonne Valtierra aka the OG blogger, Joy Unexpected? She’s a magical photographer.

I met Yvonne ages ago. I think it was 2008 when we were both mommy bloggers doing the cheeseburger party or something (links seem to be lost to time but there are some here if you really want to dig deep.)  She visited us once at the beach and took a photo of Bug’s foot in her polka-dotted slip-on generic Payless Vans and my foot next to it in my flip flop with a paint smudge on the side. It was such a simple photo but in that very small snapshot of life you could see so much about us. I have it framed and it sits on my bedside table to this day bringing me memories of when Bug was two and how she used to hang beside me like my shadow. Now I’m the one hanging beside her like a shadow but that bond is the same. We have always been so close and Yvonne captures that. That’s what I really love about Yvonne is her ability to see all the subtleties.

december-family-photos

I’ve hired lots of my friends as photographers over the years and I love them all. Each of them captures something sweet and different from the other. I think as a photographer I just have such a love of other people who can see the world through a camera lens and tell stories with how they frame a shot. Little looks, glances, the way the light sits… I’m just a sucker for a good photographer.  If you are looking for a photographer in Southern California I can recommend many but I especially want to recommend Yvonne.

december-family-photos-perfume-ad

This one looks like a perfume ad. Who knew age spots could be sexy?!!

december-family-photos-smirk

I’m only sharing a few shots here and I have dozens more but I don’t want to oversaturate this blog. I’m sure they will show up somewhere someday because they are my favorite. Thank you Yvonne, if you are reading this! You did such an amazing job! I hope you keep on doing exactly what you are doing. You’ve hit the sweet spot.

Starring in the Brenda Show

starring-in-the-brenda-show

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!

starring-in-the-brenda-show-2

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.

the-den

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.

homecoming-2021-1

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.

homecoming-2021-me-in-the-thick-of-it

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

homecoming-2021-girls

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

baby-blair-1

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.

baby-blair-2

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!