An Update


Hi everybody! I’m still alive. I can hardly believe it myself. Living through this hard drive crash and the partial restoration process that has followed it (that feels like putting together a 500,000 puzzle in all black pieces) has been a real eye-opener for me. I’m feeling positive but it’s really made me rethink my whole outlook on life, work and how I want to change things.

I might need some help. I think I need an agent. Does anyone know anyone? I need to make more money as an illustrator and I need to work smarter. I need to create a better portfolio and get my work out there. Of course I can’t start on that until my laptop is up and running but I thought I’d at least share that with you readers in case there’s somebody out there who knows somebody who knows somebody. You never know.

I’ve poked around on a few sites that represent illustrators and I’m getting intimidated. There are so many amazing artists out there. Will they even look at me? Does anyone have any helpful advice?

There's a couch in my living room! Thanks @carrien_laughs! and @troygronberg for moving it!!

In other news I have a new couch!

My friend Carrien is moving to Thailand for two years to help build a self-sustaining orphanage and I’m taking care of her red couch while she is gone. She saves children. I take care of her couch. It works out.

However, the couch threw my whole living room out of whack and since I was going through a mental breakdown over my broken laptop, I channeled my frustration into obsessive-compulsive furniture rearranging. Good times!

Spent all morning rearranging furniture only to end up back where I started. Lovely red couch is blocking my Bren Shui.

I tried every possible furniture arrangement. Sideways, backwards, against every wall, away from the wall, diagonal, even blocking the front door. Nothing worked. Finally I put the couch right back where it was dropped off and I think that’s where it’s going to stay.

I'm using Instagram to blog since I can't use photoshop. Please pardon my random shots. I'll be done soon.

But! We also have a flat-screen tv now. (Also a gift from a friend.) It’s so weird. I’m in the worst financial straits I’ve been in in years and I have a giant flat-screen tv and a couch. Something is wrong with this picture. How am I supposed to dig my way out of poverty by watching television all day?

I’m not going to, that’s how. We don’t have cable thankfully but we do have Apple TV and Netflix—which is a deadly combination if you ask me. But it’s here and it’s kind of nice. If you want to come over for a movie-watching party, you are most welcome. Just don’t come in the daytime when I’m supposed to be working.


The couch is really comfy. I’ve found myself moving my laptop all over the house and spending much of my time here leaning over onto my make-shift wooden crate coffee table to type. Whatever works, right?

Laptop is useless for work but the DVD player still works!

I love seeing kids squished onto it. They love it, of course.


So that’s that. I’m still in the middle of the muddle but I’m keeping my spirits up!

If you give a mouse a cookie…

rodeo central aka the living room

I’ve had this really self-indulgent post in my mind for a while. Well, since the new year when we took down the Christmas tree. It’s basically pictures of my house and why I rearranged everything from top to bottom. Why would somebody spend time rearranging their perfectly functional house into a completely different functioning arrangement just for kicks and then spend an hour styling it just so for photos? AND THEN ANOTHER HOUR BLOGGING ABOUT IT?

UGH!! I do not know!! I am some kind of freak! This makes me happy and I can’t stop. I just secretly want to be Emily Henderson and this is all I have to work with. Maybe it has something to do with procrastinating and the fact that I can’t sit down and concentrate on work when there are objects of furniture jutting out at angles that offend me and certain first grader’s desks full of cluttery messes distracting me. %$#*%!

I know I’m ridiculous. What a luxury to spend the day moving furniture around. I’ve spent time at my friends houses recently where they have more than one child and it’s just plain chaos getting food on the table. I realize how good I have it. It is a complete luxury to obsess about one’s furniture and how it looks from the doorway.

So anyway. The neighbor girl helped me take the Christmas tree down. We were quite a pair lugging that giant thing down the stairs to the trash area in the parking lot, trying not to scrape up the walls with the metal base and not dump stinky, three-week-old Christmas tree water along my neighbor’s front step as we went. It was a huge tree. It took up the entire dumpster. It seemed like such a waste to throw out such a great beauty but it did make the trash smell nice. Maybe it will make the dump smell nice too.

Then when the tree was gone, there was this great big open spot in my living room and next to it was Bug’s desk covered with papers and crayons and marker pens, books, miscellaneous toys etc… Ugh. That desk drives me crazy. Bug has not inherited my appreciation of minimalism. Not one bit. And now it was just out there in the living room screaming for my attention. I could clean it every day for her (which I have done I must admit in shame) OR I could find some other place in the house that is not so much in plain view. I could hide it.

Bug's Library/School

So I did. I moved it into the bedroom with everything else! Now our bedroom is not a sanctuary for sleep. Hmmm…that kinda sucks. It is now the place where we put everything that I do not want to look at first thing when I walk in the front door. Hello stuff!

It’s just a weird Bren Shui thing. This is my rule that I made that I have to obey for who knows why. Maybe I’m OCD. Everything has to look good from the door. I can hide all kinds of clutter behind the door, in baskets in the bookshelf, in closets, in drawers…even around the corner in the bedroom. It just can’t be there visible from the doorway. The same rule applies at every doorway. So the clutter in the bedroom can’t be the first thing you see when you walk in the bedroom either. Or the bathroom or the kitchen…etc etc. It’s some kind of magnetic pull in my brain or something.

cozy bedroom

Thus the bookcase is now standing up on end, creating a little library nook for Bug. How nice that Ikea bookcases can go any which way. It’s like a puzzle.

hiding her mess

Clutter hidden. Success!

Dorm Couch

Then I moved the futon out of the bedroom into the living room because we always move it out there anyway when guests come over to stay and it weighs about a thousand pounds so that makes more sense. It looks kind of sloppy and college dorm-ish as a makeshift couch but the neighbors like it. Now they have somewhere else to sit besides my awkward yellow chairs.

my office

Then there was a weird awkward place in the bedroom where the futon used to be so I stole Bug’s shoe bookcase from the closet (she’s grown out of most her shoes and doesn’t need such a sophisticated way to store them anymore) and now I have a little bedside library.

chillin' in the library

It will probably last a month before I change it again. But it is kind of nice to have a place to put my massive collection of books I plan on reading. I used to just stack them by the bed and use them as a makeshift nightstand but that was not very functional either.

happy kitchen

And then since I was movin’ and improvin’ everything else in the house I decided to repot my poor baby banana tree and give it a bigger pot.


This poor plant. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. (It’s the one on the right) The fiddle leaf fig is doing great. It’s put out six leaves since I got it and every time it puts one out I want to throw a party. I threw away the instructions for the banana plant and I think it doesn’t like its soil. I think I need to get it sand or something…I don’t know, I need to look it up.

I hate it when plants require something besides normal potting soil because when you go to the nursery they always want to sell you potting soil and when you ask for something else they look at you like you are just landed from Mars. At least that’s been my experience. I know there are other plant lovers out there. Surely these big box garden departments have dealt with people asking for specific soils before, right? I don’t know. I just get discouraged and plant everything in potting soil and hope that my love and singing can take care of the rest. Sadly, I think the banana plant does not like my singing. It’s been in that dirt for a week and it still looks depressed. (Also? The dirt faintly stinks and it’s making it hard to cook.)

I just realized that my neurotic worrying about plants AND my habit of rearranging furniture for hours on end has solidly put me into a category of someone who has too much time on their hands.

Sigh. Maybe there is somebody out there like me…

I love my green things

Does this little corner of greenery make you happy? Will you be my best friend?

somebody needs to do the dishes

Whatever. At least I have my priorities straight and leave the dishes for later.

bake station

Oh! What’s this over here? You want to see my little Bake Station? Yes, I have moved the heavy KitchenAid mixer out of the cupboard and now it is living permanently on the counter. Why? Because it’s cold in my house and I have to bake every day to warm it up. Please come over and eat scones so that I don’t gain fifty pounds from all the butter. We can talk about soil. It’ll be great. Or maybe we’ll have a party for the baby fig leaf and bake a tiny cake in it’s honor.


And that is all. I am embarrassed of this post. I’m not going to write anything like this again for five months. I will write about important things like blueberry pancake mornings and Narnia parties and what is that thing hanging below my air conditioner/heater unit?