New Year, New You, With Spots!

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We all knew there was too much pressure on 2021.

(I’ll skip talking about politics because even though it’s a huge big deal that’s not what I do here.)

I started the new year out with SPOTS! Woo Hoo!  I had an ear infection on Christmas. Payam pulled major strings with his mad phone skills (that’s what he does all day for his job) and called my doctor for me while I pulled on my ear like a baby and tried to sleep with hot compresses. The doctor came through with a super strong prescription for antibiotics, probably from his cabin in Aspen or moonlighting at the local ER as a superhero, and I started off the new year with meds!

Nine* days into my prescription to Amoxicillin, my earache was long gone but I broke out in hives and tried to itch my skin off. I’m so glad I shared on instagram even though it was TMI because people came out of the woodwork to say that the same exact thing happened to them. What a relief to be able to narrow this allergic reaction down so quickly. I had a lot to work with: pet dander from an over-achiever golden retriever who sheds enough to knit sweaters daily, a new bra from China that I failed to wash before wearing, msg in all that take-out… There were a million things I could be allergic to, mold, plants with gnats, politics, stress, Google… All of the above?

Anyway it was craaaaaaazy! I’m already a sort of nervous person to begin with. When I have anxiety I become obsessed with my rough cuticles and any little itch or bump on my body so add in some hives and I was literally crawling out of my skin. I hate to take naps but I dosed myself with Benadryl and tried to sleep it away. I’ve been asleep for the past four days. It was the only way to cope.

Monday morning hives started forming on my lips and mouth so I freaked out and went to the ER even though it’s the last place on earth I want to be right now. Thankfully at six in the morning our local ER was not over-flowing with COVID patients. I got in quickly. They gave me a shot of Benadryl in my tattooed arm and I slept. Then the ER did get busy (It’s heart breaking. The doctor checking on me was so stressed out.) and since I was not going into anaphylactic shock they discharged me with some steroids and I went home. I’m really thankful. That could have been a lot worse.

I stood behind an old women in line when I checked in who was obviously suffering from breathing problems. The halls were filled with nurses wearing full head gear and dividers were set up keeping rooms separate…even though our little ER is really nice and new, I could tell they had been in the trenches and were effectively bracing for more.

Now I’m all pumped up on steroids and feeling like Trump (gross, I know). My spots have faded into softer versions of themselves. I probably look like I’m covered in bruises but they don’t hurt and they are only on parts of my body that don’t show so I don’t care. No itching is heavenly!

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So just a quick new year check in from me! Sorry it’s so personal when so many other more important things are happening in the world.

Happy 2021! I don’t think I’m going to do a calendar this year. I’ve started several. But I really want to do a different format. I hardly use the full page full of boxes layout anymore. Do you? I want to make a day planner but I have not found a template that lets me customize the art on every page and I really don’t feel like formatting 356 pages. There’s got to be something out there. I know I’m a million months too late but who knows, work might get slow again.

How are you doing my faithful loyal internet friends? Cathy, Gingermog and Susan and a few other lurkers who comment now and then? How do you even find me anymore? I don’t deserve you.

I’ve been writing snail mail letters to friends lately and it’s really been helpful. It’s funny how a phone call or a text just doesn’t do it for me but pounding out a two-page letter is incredibly therapeutic. Blogging after all these years is still my therapy. Thank you.

*I missed a few days and I’m terrible at math.

 

Christmas Catch-up

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Here I am back at the blog to document this past Christmas. It’s such a faux pas to blog something after it has happened but I’ve well established that this website is a glorified (expensive) journal (with photos!) and not a money-making business so who really cares about schedules?!! Not me! I like to keep the bar low.

Speaking of low expectations: We had NO expectations for Christmas festivities this year since Covid has put a damper on everything. That means we had a pretty good old-fashioned family-bonding time.  Pessimists are us? Maybe so but it worked. We invited our pod over (Payam’s mom and brother) for dinner and unwrapping of presents on Christmas Eve. I didn’t grow up with any Christmas traditions so this feels right to me. Christmas day is snoresville to me. What do you do if you don’t have little kids opening presents? Netflix all day? Like any other Tuesday? But Christmas Eve is magical. I love that the lights are low, a fire is crackling.. everyone is chilling with something to eat or drink. It just seems sweet. And the kids are in a great mood because: GIFTS.

Earlier in December, we picked up a tree from “the Lowe’s parking lot experience.” I call it an experience because it felt like those drive-through events you go to nowadays with people in costumes and masks walking around your car in sets that are six feet away. Not unlike sitting in traffic in rush hour.

We picked out our tree from the astroturf-lined wedding tent, popped our heads in the little painted stand with head-cut outs for old time’s sake and then got back in our car to wait in line for our tree. It took about half an hour. In the scheme of things that wasn’t too bad. It’s not like we had anywhere else to go.

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Later in the week Grandma Pedram and Payam’s brother came over to see all the decorating we had been doing. It wasn’t all that much but Payam’s family is the call-everyday type and the only updates we really had to give were us decorating this or that. So when Grandma Pedram came over, I enlisted her and the girls to decorate the tree while I took a work phone call. Next thing I knew every single ornament we have was hanging on the tree. It was a mess but also beautiful. I had visions of only hanging my favorites and leaving the old Disney plastic ornaments in the bottom of storage but there you have it. All the ornaments on the tree! Kinda sweet.

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The girls messed around with the lights, taking photos, and being beautiful.

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I bought us matching pajamas this year. Cute red striped traditional pajamas from Target. They were cheap. I wanted us all to have striped pajamas but they don’t make these red ones for men so I bought Payam the next best thing: Nightmare Before Christmas Skelly fuzzy pants and then well, I had to buy the rest of us some too because who wants to be left out of that fuzzy skelly show?

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The skelly pants were a bigger hit than I expected and the girls took it upon themselves to have a style challenge and wear them as everyday wear. Yes, they wore matching pajama pants and walked down to the local shopping center dressed like this. Classy! I think the looped silver belt makes it.

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But back to decorating: We put lights up this year. I think everyone in our neighborhood did because we all have so much time on our hands! It made me happy. In the past, I had vowed never to put lights up again after we got in trouble with our home-owners association a few years back for leaving them up until February. Those bah-humbugs, they weren’t even turned on! But I guess having Christmas lights up after Christmas (even turned off) is super tacky. I wouldn’t know. I grew up in a neighborhood where it was totally acceptable to have three non-working trucks parked on your lawn AND a toilet growing geraniums. Lights seem like a petty infraction. But whatever. We’ll be sure to take them down early this year.

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You probably already saw my birdhouse milk carton craft and the baked citrus suncatchers. I love them. We’ve already undecorated for Christmas (I love a good purge) but I’ve left the orange suncatchers up because they are so cheery on these cold winter days.

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Did you see how we decorated our cul-de-sac with graffiti!?!!! What law-breakers we are! Except its chalk and washes away so psych! Phew! It was pretty fun to play around with. It felt super naughty and I was expecting my neighbors to call the cops on me at any minute but they didn’t.

I actually bought this spray chalk misunderstanding what it was. I am the WORST when it comes to buying things on Amazon. I always misread everything and skim through important details without picking up on anything. I thought it was matte paint, like what you buy to make blackboards, but in pretty pastel colors. I bought it to paint my milk cartons. I don’t know why I didn’t notice the kids playing with trucks on chalk roads that was clearly printed on the packaging. That’s kind of a big detail! But then I’m also the person who orders containers three times too big AND sets up a subscription for toilet paper five times faster than we can possibly use it. (Handy mistake this last march though.) So anyway it wasn’t a total loss since I like to try out new art supplies anyway. It was pretty awesome but the cans ran out way too fast.

That sums up the December decorating news…I think. Yeah, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m brewing some things for the new year but I’ll get to those later.

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In other news, before we found out that California is in the DEEP DREADFUL DARK PURPLE OF COVID CASES and possibly the worst in the nation and therefore WORLD, a friend and I went on a really fun hill hike. We wore our masks the entire time except when we painted (six feet away from each other) AND when we took a selfie. Which was totally stupid and completely blew our germ-free protocol!!! I’ve noticed that I’ve done that several times. I’ll go out on a walk with my dogs early in the morning when no people are out and wear my mask the entire time and then a friend pulls up in their car to chat with me and they can’t hear/understand me so I pull my mask down to talk to them which completely defeats its purpose. I guess it’s all a learning curve and I’m new to pandemics but still, I can’t believe how stupid I am sometimes.  Thankfully we are all still well but it has hit our neighborhood and I do have friends who have caught it so now it’s more urgent than ever to be safe. So no more hill hikes for us. Boo.

It was really fun though. I love Plein air painting. My painting didn’t turn out super special but I’ll cherish it forever anyway because it was such a fun time. I think it’s better when paintings are more about the process than the end result anyway. It captures the emotion of where we were and how beautiful it was even if it technically missed the mark.

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Other than that, all I have to add is that winter is here and I love it! I hated this last summer. I was so sick of being hot and sweaty. I have such a lower tolerance for heat now that I’m older and menopausal. I don’t love the gray days but I do love a chill in the air. I LOVE wearing sleeves and sweaters in the house.

That bright orange caution-cone-colored hat Bug has on is a product from my dad’s business. We really wanted to get them promoted for Christmas but at the last minute he figured out he couldn’t stock enough of them to fill orders in time for Christmas so we’ll save that idea for next year. But I’m planning on making day-glow orange (and yellow) beanies a thing so brace yourself. And if you are smart, go buy one and promote my dad because he is AWESOME and deserves to have a real business to support himself instead of gardening and odd jobs at his age.  He is supposed to be retired but I’m thinking he’s not quite done being an entrepreneur yet.

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Last but not least, shall we talk about winter skies? Why are they so much more awesome than summer skies? Probably because there isn’t a marine layer in the air like there is all summer when things are sticky and hot. I just love a clear sky with scribbles and dribbles of bright orange and purple clouds.

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Whether it’s sunrise or sunset it never disappoints.

Until next time! xoxo