I’m still alive!

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I’m still here I promise! I just got clobbered with too much work. I’ve been gasping for air whenever I can but that leaves no room for extras like blogging.  I was desperate for work so I asked everyone I knew and it all came flying in. Feast or famine! But I’m very thankful. As long as I keep the pipeline full I’ll be able to pay my bills. Them’s the breaks for a freelancer. You can never really relax. But you also can drum up work pretty easily when things get lean.

First off, I finished my first beginning sewing class in the Fashion Design certificate program I’m going for at our local community college. It was super easy and I aced it. I can now make totes, aprons and pajama pants from memory. If you’re family, that’s what you can expect for Christmas.

feels-like-autumn

Did I tell you about the courtesy clerk job at Ralphs? It was such a social experiment for me. While I loved it, it quickly became clear that it was way too hard on my body for way too few dollars. I’ve been exhausted every day after my shift and found it nearly impossible to sit at my desk and continue my regular work that actually pays the bills. No Bueno. I put in my two-week notice and my last day is November 10th. I’m kinda sad to leave because I loved it. I love the people. I love chatting to customers in quick little non-commital snippets as they go through the checkout line. I love working so hard that I don’t have to think about working out and I can eat anything I like and still lose weight. It was really fun. But it also was really physically demanding and I know it’s only a matter of time before I injure myself. Lifting heavy pumpkins from counter height to a cart and then lowering them at an awkward angle was just asking for another Dr. Pepper ice pack necessitating back spasm. I don’t want to go through that again. So I’m cutting my losses and saying goodbye. But I’m also leaving on good terms in case I ever get another itch to work blue-collar again. There is something super satisfying about clocking in an honest day of hard work.

in-la-with-matt

Things with Matt are still going really well. (Would I tell you if they weren’t? Nope.) But they are good. We had a really fun weekend in LA with trips to LACMA and Nobu where I tried wagyu beef for the very first time. I had NO IDEA steak could taste like bacon and drippy popcorn butter at the same time. It was mind-blowing. No wonder it costs so much. Definitely a treat I won’t be having regularly. I do like being spoiled though. The weekend was over so quickly. Now I’m anxiously looking forward to our next trip. Long-distance relationships are tricky but they do have their perks.

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Back at home Autumn has been showing up and showing out. I LOVE October so much! It’s so pretty. Just when it seemed like summer was going to last forever it got delightfully chilly. It’s been lovely to sit on my patio and sip hot chocolate, wear sweaters and cuddle up in a blanket. The sunrises have been amazing. I’m so glad I’m a morning person and I can catch them by the lake.

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This one really killed it. It didn’t even look like much until I got up to the lake and focused on the reflection. Reflections make my happy bells go off. What is it? Do our minds love symmetry? I don’t know but give me a pretty view and add a reflection and I’ll get you a better picture.

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I love my morning walks. They offset the madness that is the rest of my life. I can’t go on them daily while I’m still working at Ralphs (my early shift starts at 5 am) but I squeeze at least two in a week. They are the reason I’m feeling good.

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Next up are all the concerts we’ve been going to. No wonder I’m feeling ragged! You can’t get up early like a workaholic and then stay up late and party like a rockstar too. Not good for you! But it was fun.

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First I dragged Bug to Harry Styles. She is not a fan but she humored me. I got really good tickets which was a nice surprise. I’m used to the nosebleeds. All those canceled events in 2020 are finally paying off in credits for new shows.

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It was a great show. Harry truly is a showman. All the girls screaming around us kinda made it hard to hear anything. My ears were ringing for hours afterward. But it was worth it. It was a lively event and I’ll always remember the fun it all was. I love that people can still be playful and lighthearted in a heavy heavy world.

getting-ready-for-the-garden-concert

Two nights later it was Bug’s turn to take me to see one of her favorite bands: The Garden. I’m not a fan. There are a few songs I like but the rest sounds like trash cans being banged together to me. But since she suffered through a pop concert for me, I can sit through a punk concert for her.  It was also lively and fun. I loved people-watching. Everyone had make-up on like Bug. She’s found her people.

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We took this shot at a church nearby the Fox Theatre where The Garden was playing. It was black and white and reminded me of a very very humble and small version of the Duomo in Florence.

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Then inside the theatre, it was chaos. Black and white jester-faced chaos.

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I got to explore the theatre which is like many old theatres: full of really cool art deco details and pretty staircases that lead to abandoned back rooms. I’m surprised it was open as much as it was. Inside the tower was a room that looked like a VIP room with velvet couches and pillows… but it was completely dark. I got up the guts to go inside and turn on my phone flashlight but the extremely high ceiling kinda gave me agoraphobia.

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That’s pretty much it for October. I haven’t been able to do all the fun fall things we usually do because I’m a working woman and I have no time for domesticity. But I do have high hopes for November!

Life in My Fast Lane

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It’s been a busy few Mondays so I haven’t really shown up here as I’ve planned. I’ll just ramble through these pictures to catch up.

First up: since summer vacation started (and I don’ have to play Muber and take Bug to school every morning), I have been popping my earbuds in to talk to my dad and walking the nearby park. It’s great. We’ve walked every morning for two weeks straight. We both are early birds and we both like walking and talking so we get a lot of gabbing and steps in early in the morning. Sometimes afterward I get some more steps in and hit the local Starbucks for a latte in a *glass* cup because everybody knows coffee tastes better in a glass cup.  It’s not my favorite mom-and-pop coffee shop but at least it’s a little more charming than the usual to-go routine.

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One of those days last week Bug and I went to Orange Circle for some thrifting. Lately, I’m on the hunt for “fabulous” costumes for my upcoming birthday party. (I’m planning a photoshoot as part of it.) I’m super nervous about everything and trying desperately not to spend too much money in the planning stage. It’s just what I do. Over-think, over-spend. It’s a really bad habit to break. Kind of like biting your nails.

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In other news, I have started a new puzzle. Leah told me about this really cool puzzle board that you can use to keep your puzzle contained. It’s great! All you have to do is slide the side panels in and then close it up tight with special velcro flaps and no pieces can escape. Unfortunately, the puzzle board arrived a little banged up in the mail and it’s warped in the middle. It still works but it would be nicer without a hill in the middle. I’ve got an email into them but so far no response.

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Bug and I are crossing off summer bucket list adventures. Our first adventure was to The Huntington Gardens. I love the gardens so much. We’ve got an evening stroll planned too. I would definitely get a membership here if it wasn’t a two-hour drive away. (crying face emoji here)

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We took Bug’s boyfriend and a friend with us. I love hanging out with teenagers. They are so funny and we have the best car conversations.  They put up with me surprisingly well, of course being the one with wheels keeps me in close proximity. That might change once they  get their driver’s licences but for now I’m basking in their youthful energy and approval. Funny how it’s such a priviledge to be appreciated by the young. It makes me want to rush out make more older friends and let them know they are just as fabulous.

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Oh yes, the street fair at my parent’s mobile home complex. It was a blast. I sold a lot of books! Who knew! I’ve done craft fairs before and made no money. Of course having my parents as my number one fans and advertisers helps a lot and the fact that a highschool friend dropped by and scooped up quite a few. Shout out to Jenny!

It was also 103 degrees F. Yowzers. We stayed in the shade much of the time but had to close up shop before the fair ended so we didn’t get heat stroke.  Dry desert heat is much more bearable than humidity but even this desert rat has her limits.

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It’s been a busy few weeks as you can see. After the street fair we went back home and hosted a double birthday trip to the local zoo for my great nieces! I am a double great aunt to my niececompoop’s two daughters. I LOVE these babies!!! They are so adorable. Whenever one of them wanted me to hold them I did not say no.  How could I???  Their mamas were more than happy to have me hold them. I got my baby cravings filled and they got a little rest. And then I got a backache the next day! Shout out to all those older mamas hefting 20 babies out there. Stay strong!

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Our local zoo is very small but that’s about all the bandwidth we had anyway. Between heat and toddlers attention spans, a small zoo is perfect. We saw some birds and some monkeys, an ocelot and some camels and that was great.

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Then we went home for dinner and cake!

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The following weekend I took a road trip with some friends to Las Vegas for a Sting concert. I couldn’t quite swing a hotel stay (they are mucho expensive right now) but that was fine because one of my best friends, Bethany (not BethanyActually but my highschool bestie since 9th grade!!), lives in Henderson which is just a hop from the strip. I love staying with Bethany. We’ve been friends forever (and roommates during college ) so it’s like having a sleepover with your best friend and spending all your time laughing and talking non-stop. She also has several reptile pets so it was kind of like staying in a zoo. I got to watch her feed her snake and let her bearded dragons out for a morning sun bath and constitution. I can now add “lizard farts” to my strange story collection.

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The Sting concert was awesome of course. I’m not as huge fan of Sting as my friend Teresa (she’s a die-hard fangirl) but I definitely enjoyed hearing my old favorite songs and watching him interact with the crowd. I love how some musicians seem to be energized from the audience. It was his last concert in residency for the year and you’d think he’d be exhausted after playing the same songs night after night after night, but no, he was loving every minute. Seventy years has not slowed him down much at all.

And that’s that! All caught up. Now it’s time to get to work!