Blogging for No One

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I logged into my wordpress account today and was shocked to see I only had one reader.  Stats don’t really matter anymore since I don’t have ads on this page and I never blog anymore anyway but I have to admit it took me and my ego a minute to digest. Really? Only one reader has clicked on this site today? What about all those google searches for ninja costumes and painted butterfly wings or chore charting printables? Where did those people go? Surely Pinterest sent over one or two people.

I thought about this sudden lack of traffic a little bit. It’s not a big deal but it’s on the heels of work being slow and generally feeling like a failure, even though I know I’m not one. It’s usually during my hungriest times that I invent the my best work so this is not a bad thing even though my anxiety in the middle of the night would like you to think otherwise. And then I realized, I love blogging when nobody is reading! This is when I can ramble on and say whatever I like and I don’t have to think about this Aunt thinking this or that Uncle thinking that or that one lady who called me a cat murderer or my ex… etc etc.. you know, all the people you think about when you write publicly about your personal life on the internet. They’re not reading! I can write whatever I want to! I have a few things I really want to put out there in nether space.

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Like maybe I have a drinking problem? Just kidding. I’m pretty sure I don’t but I have to admit the worry has crossed my mind, especially since I come from a tee-totaling up-bringing.  But I think my drinking problem is related more to unnecessary calories than getting drunk. Which brings me to my next block of instagrams.

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I have gained quite a bit of weight in the last year or so of happy-dating-life (Too many dinners out, too many tasty drinks, too many lattes, not so much working out…) so I’ve been trying to up my game by dressing fancier (earrings! make-up! new clothes!). I’ve been doing Stitch Fix for half a year now and I love it. It’s not the best if you are on a budget but it is GREAT for someone like me who hates to shop. I feel like I have my own personal stylist and she is AWESOME. She gets me better than I get me. None of my stitch fix outfits are pictured but I’m going to try and take more pictures of them in the future.

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Next random subject: Mother’s Day. If I’ve learned anything in my life of forty-some years I’ve finally learned that if I want something to happen I have to take the initiative.

It’s funny how family dynamics change as you get older. When you’re a kid you’re always getting carted off to some relatives house for big dinners and festivities and you take it for granted thinking it’s always going to be that way. And it is for a little while. You have your own family and you cart them off to your parents or your grandparents but then at some point the grandparents die and the parents are too tired to throw dinners and family gatherings. If you want your family to get together YOU have to make the plans. If you don’t nothing happens.

This is kind of a big deal. I sat in my favorite gold rocking chair and it dawned on me: I am the matriarch of my family now. I have to make the plans.

I day-dreamed up a lovely brunch with Smitten Kitchen’s boozy baked French Toast and then I made it happen. And guess what? It was awesome. I just need to step into this new job and plan like a mother.

After brunch we all went to the beach and I sat next to my mom on the sand without any wifi-connected devices and we talked for two hours. It was the best.

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Which brings me to my kid. Oh, Bug. Where should I start? She’s a gamer. She can play minecraft for four hours straight if I don’t watch her and force her to log off. She also loves these little shopkin characters that I call “squigs.” They’re pencil toppers in the shapes of grocery store products and apparently they are all the rage. Or maybe they were all the rage. Who knows.

She wanted them for ages and begged for them but I didn’t know where to buy them and it just wasn’t top of my list of things to do. Then one day I discovered they sold them at Michael’s, a destination I seem to end up at every week (much to my chagrin) so I picked her up a couple mystery packs as payment for modeling for my alphamom projects. She was overjoyed. She devoured their packaging, reading every line of mouse type and discussing it with me while I listened half-heartedly. She couldn’t wait to take her little characters to school the next day. I think she even slept with them under her pillow.

The next day we were in a mad rush to get to school, as we often are, and somehow she accidentally dropped one between her bedroom and the car. When we got to school she was in a panic. Where was Waffle Sue!!? Her distress was palpable.

I wanted to be the tough mom and make her deal with the consequences of being late but as we stood in the crowd of parents and students during the weekly pep-rally, I just couldn’t do it. They were handing out awards that day and it was going on FOREVER. I know this is bad parenting but as they read off name after name after name, my eyes glazed over. I looked over at Bug mischievously and said, “Do you think going home to get Waffle Sue is worth a late notice?”

She nearly jumped for joy. Waffle Sue was SO worth a late notice in her eyes. She hasn’t had a late notice all year so we snuck off to the car like two delinquents. I know some people would probably shake their heads at this but hey, nobody’s reading!

We drove like the wind back home. She stayed in the car and I busted my butt up the stairs. I figured I’d retrace her steps and probably find it faster than she would. Sure enough, there was Waffle Sue, face down on the top step. I didn’t even have to unlock the door. I raced back to the car and drove as fast as I could safely back to school.

The whole trip probably took us less than 10 minutes and when we got back to school, kids were still milling around and not even in their classrooms yet. Bug probably could have snuck into class and nobody would have even known she was gone but she opted to take a late pass anyway. I thought it was kind of cool and she felt special.

After school I couldn’t wait to hear a full report on how much fun she had with her squigs. Did her friends have Waffle Sue too? Did they invent new games at recess? How did it all go over?

Poor Bug. She just looked down at the ground and said that her friends decided that Shopkins weren’t cool anymore. What?!!

Pfft! Kids, man.

But I’ll always treasure that memory anyway. Waffle Sue will always have a special spot in my heart.
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And that has NOTHING to do with the picture above but I’m just going to let all my blogging rules go out the window because nobody is reading and I don’t care! Wooo hoo!

I’m signed up for my local CSA box that comes to the farm across the street. It’s the best thing ever. Except I can’t always keep up with all the greens. I’m struggling with what to do with cabbage. I’m not really a big slaw fan (though I do like it) and I seem to have it coming out my ears. But I love the box as a whole because it only costs $22 a week and my fridge is always bursting with the best of the best fresh vegetables. The other night I made myself a dinner of just pan-friend green beans in butter and nothing else and it was delicious!

I wish I could be on one of those shows where a chef comes to your house and cooks with whatever you have on hand. Somebody could cook a badass meal in my kitchen. Why can’t it be me?! But I’m trying. I’m getting better at cooking (besides burning things constantly with my electric stove). I’ve been cooking a lot with Payam and that always works out well.

Speaking of cooking and Payam and showing the people you love that you love them with food…I have some really big news that I’m a little scared to share but I’m really excited about too.

I’m moving in with Payam in August. I know. This is big. Living in sin and all that… But I’ve been married before and I don’t want to do it again. I feel one hundred percent committed to him and in my struggling-with-faith eyes, staying in this relationship every day feels like a bigger honor than a piece of paper. It’s been a long journey to this decision with some twists and turns that I can’t write about on the internet (even if nobody reads) but it feels right and I’m super excited about it. Both of our (conservative) families know and surprisingly, they are letting us go right on ahead and make this decision with less struggle than I expected.

Payam has a nice house with an extra bedroom for Bug so we are all very excited about blending families. We are also super excited about blending the pet famlilies. Three cats, one dog, YAY!  And cooking together and just generally being a family. Tag-team parenting is so much better than single-parenting. I’m just scared for the teenage years but maybe it will be better with a partner.

I’m thinking so.

*I know some people are reading. (And I love you very much.) I think the latest wordpress update I did messed something up but I don’t care because it’s a good thing to write for yourself and not worry about who’s reading. Maybe I can keep it up.

I Love New York!

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I had so much fun in New York and I took a ton of photos, of course. How could I not?  Too many to cram into one post but I’m going to try anyway. Get your scrolling finger ready.

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I have to start out with our hotel, Citizen M, because it is really what I fell in love with first. Payam picked it out based on yelp reviews and I have to say that yelp reviews have NEVER steered us wrong. It was the coolest hotel ever! It’s a pod hotel and that means that the rooms are really small but you don’t care because it’s such a cool, cozy space and there is a giant window looking out onto the city. You don’t feel claustrophobic at all.  It’s pretty much a window, a giant bed, a small glass shower unit that curves on your left and a tiny little motorhome-eque sink on the right and then the door out. Of course everything is white and modern and hip.  And then to top all that off, everything is interactive too. You can change your lighting to any color you like. They have settings like, romantic, business and some others that I don’t remember, disco maybe? Of course I kept it on romantic all the time. Flattering light, duh! But it was super fun to swirl a little dial on the handheld tablet and make the shower blue or purple etc etc… And then you could also watch tv or pick from about 50 channels of Dutch house music to listen to.

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But the real secret to pod hotels is that you don’t spend that much time in your pod. The central space downstairs is so fun you’d rather be down there. They have little nooks and libraries, couches everywhere, a bar, several patios and of course the roof! It was just all-around fun. I could have spent the entire two days inside the hotel and left happy.

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One night we went downstairs to the bar to have a drink and we ended up having several rounds of shots with the funniest New Yorker named Courtney (pictured top left). She was so cool. She is a manager at a restaurant near by.  She gave us all kinds of tips on what to see and even some drink recipes to try later.  She made the bartender hunt us down some orange peels because she INSISTED that the kind of tequila we were drinking was better that way. I always thought New Yorkers were rude but it is NOT the case. I met friendly person after friendly person. Everyone was nice! We even hung out with the manager of our hotel for nearly an hour just talking. It’s bizarrely wonderful.

Of course I happen to have the nicest boyfriend on the planet who strikes up conversations with everyone. He’s so cool like that. When we first arrived we right away hit Times Square and ended up getting a kabob for dinner from a street cart vendor. Guess who’s chatting away with the guy on the corner who was heckling and making fun of every other tourist who bought a kabob from him? My guy. Yeah. He just fits right in. So that’s kind of nice.

And speaking of friendly New Yorkers, I had to meet up with Isabel, my boss at AlphaMom who is probably the nicest boss I have ever had. Seriously. I had to have her meet me in the hotel lobby because even though New York is supposedly the easiest place to navigate, I was hopelessly lost all the time. Yes, everything is a grid and it’s all numbers but I’m terrible with numbers and the blocks are really long going one way and short the other. Half the time I just didn’t know which end of the block I was on. I’m sure if I was there a few more days I would get it.

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Here is Times Square. It’s closed off to traffic these days so it’s become a GIANT mob of tourists. I guess it always was but at least now it’s safer.  There are chairs set up everywhere so you can sit and take it all in. Or stand around like an idiot gawking with your phone in the air, which is what everyone is doing. The lights are so bright, it’s like daytime. It’s all very overwhelming because everything is moving and blinking and honking and there are people everywhere.

I heard from every local I talked to that it is extremely annoying to try to get across Times Square because tourists are constantly stopping in your way to gawk and take pictures. There were some girls ahead of us who were taking selfies in the middle of the street and a taxi came barreling down the street right at them, blaring the horn. I laughed at their stupidity and then proceeded to do the exact same thing. I don’t know where my brain went. I think I just turned into a lemming and had an overwhelming need to share my experience with all my friends on instagram. So if you saw that movie and you heard the honking you know what happened. I blame it on over-stimulation.

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The next day we went walking to find breakfast. Actually, I have no idea which day was which. I’m just going to post pictures and not worry about chronological order because we woke up at 1pm and pretty much did everything out of order anyway. Somehow we ended up at Bryant Park for breakfast. I’m sure it’s not the most famous of parks to visit but we had a very loosy-goosy plan for our tourism anyway. We just kind of flew by the seat of our pants, which is just the way I like it.

Bryant Park was lovely. So much like Paris. Trees and grass, little tables and chairs and a fountain. They even had reading library for kids and jugglers that were giving free lessons to the public. You could play bocci ball and ping pong. I don’t know what New Yorkers pay in taxes but they sure do have a lot of nice perks.

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People were everywhere enjoying the beautiful weather. It was supposed to rain that weekend but as you can see it was perfect. I asked for snow, I got sunshine and flowers. I’m not complaining!

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Then we rode the subway to Central Park. The subway was probably the scariest thing I saw in New York. That’s not saying much. I think it was just scary to me because everything was so nice and then we went underground and it was dark and there were pipes with gobs of crud and moldy residue all over them. I was kind of worried that something might leak on me. But of course that didn’t happen.

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Payam sprung for what seemed at the time like an expensive pedicab tour of Central park but it turned out to be the nicest thing ever. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly (it’s a NY theme). It was downright pleasant to ride along in the sunshine with a breeze in your hair and hear little bits of trivia about the park. We learned all about the celebrities who live around the park and about the buildings too.  For example on that building behind me in the lower right photo, one tower is thick and the other is thin. It’s kind of strange and you don’t really notice it at first glance. It was built that way because during the depression they couldn’t afford to finish it in the fashion that they started. He had all kinds of stories like that. Some of them may have been made up but it didn’t matter because it was very entertaining.

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We visited the center of the park which is also the very center of Manhattan. We took some pictures of the “Friends” fountain that is not actually the Friends fountain at all because the one in the tv show is a fake one built in Hollywood. We watched some street performers and random people learning how to dance. I just loved it all.

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Then it was back to the gritty city. Yes, New York smells like trash cans and stinky bars but you know what? It’s a big city. That’s how it is. And what is neat about so many people cram-packed into such a small space is the diversity of restaurants! Every single restaurant is a mom and pop and they are sooooo good. No boring chains like we have in California. You can walk a block in any direction and end up in an interesting dining experience like no other.

One night we had Dim Sum, another we had nachos in a Victorian bar called Lillies.. the waitresses were so nice and funny, well maybe that’s just Payam and his charm. But I just had a wonderful experience everywhere I went!

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Oh yeah, here’s a church we visited. I don’t remember which one. St. Michaels? St. Andrews? It was under construction but very beautiful in spite of all the scaffolding.

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We also visited Grand Central station and met up with Payam’s cousin for a quick bite.  There’s a whole elaborate mall under Grand Central station with trendy shops, bakeries and even a farmers market. It’s New York, they’ve got it all. You just have to pay top dollar for everything. And I mean TOP dollar. I thought we had it bad in California but we are cheap compared to New York. We couldn’t even buy two lattes and a pastry for under twenty bucks. Cha-ching!

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One of my favorite things that we did was walk The High Line. It’s a 1.45 mile walk on this up-in-the-air boardwalk that’s between the street level and the sky scrapers. So you have great views of the city and you don’t have worry about getting run over by horn-blaring taxies.

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It used to be a railway that brought meat from the meat-packing district to the rest of the city but they remodeled it into a public walkway. There are all kinds of art installations and pretty things to look at like crocuses pushing their way up through the ground between the old railroad tracks and flowering cherry trees being pretty like they tend to be. Spring was just starting to show but I’m sure it’s blasting with beauty by now. I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise and the fact that it was free!

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There were so many photos to take, which made me very happy.

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And THEN as if we weren’t having enough fun, we squeezed in a Broadway show!  Actually Payam bought tickets before we even left California. That was a big part of his surprise for me. (Yes, I am sooooo spoiled rotten. That is the other theme of this post.) We wanted to go see Phantom of the Opera but tickets were pretty steep so instead went to go see Wicked, the musical which I really liked. It’s a great story. Makes me want to invent my own prequel.  I’d never been to a Broadway show (obviously) and it blew me away. We dressed up fancy and walked across the street from our hotel.  That part is kind of funny but fun nonetheless because I never get to dress up!  We didn’t even know that Wicked was playing across the street. It was a total coincidence and convenient!

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So in conclusion: I love New York and Payam is a keeper.