Finally December

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

Sunflowers and Marigolds in November

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I found a sunflower field nearby.  I’d heard rumors of wildflowers earlier in the summer but I never managed to make time to go see them.  So when I got an email saying it was the last week to see them, I made a reservation and got my butt over there! And I’m so glad I did.

Of course, it did happen to be the hottest, dryest, sweatiest day ever that Bug and I visited but no matter, you gotta do what you gotta do when you are a self-proclaimed flower expert.

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Flowers, flowers, flowers! You know how I love flowers. I keep trying to talk my girls into opening a flower stand but sadly, they are not interested. I’d open my own but I hate working holidays.2021-sunflower-family

Bug and I dressed up in our flowy white dresses and pranced around the dry dusty fields, posing like silly fools next to every kind of sunflower we could find. Big ones, little ones, yellow ones, brown ones, even a few white ones!

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They are so sunny and happy.

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I’m so happy that I have a kid who is just as crazy about dressing up and posing as I am. I mean, I did kind of start her early.

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She definitely has her own look and flaunts it proudly.

We made a friend of one of the staff guys working there and he happily followed us around taking photos. I think it gave him something to do on an otherwise slow day. I’m sure we entertained him with my crazy ideas of running through the field like farm girls back in time.  I didn’t care. It made a great photo and we got a laugh.

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I was partial to the marigolds since orange is my favorite color. Aren’t they pretty? Yes, they stink and aren’t the prettiest-smelling flower but I don’t care because they are bombs of orange happiness!

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Besides taking photos, we also got to cut our own flowers to take home. We brought our own trusty clippers and went to town. They only allow you to cut 15 flowers per cup which was actually plenty but it was a bit tricky finding stems that weren’t loaded with flowers. If you weren’t careful you could cut a stem with fifteen flowers on its stalk and that would be your bouquet, one big tree of flowers. Not that that is terrible but I had more of a full rounded bouquet in mind. Sunflowers are known for looking sideways and making bouquets very difficult to style.

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Obviously, we managed. I look just like my mom in the top left corner. I think I might have to illustrate that for my Sue Bea calendar I’m working on. Flowers for the win!

I’m definitely in a better place in these photos than I was in the ones in my last post. Things have been getting better inside my head. Working out and eating less AND not drinking is a pretty winning combination. I do feel great. I’m scared I’ll give in and fall back in my old ways but so far so good. Temptation is a very real part of everyday life and I can’t set myself up for failure. I just have to keep on keeping on.  Slow and steady can attain great things.