• Life Lessons,  party party,  Shop Talk,  spilling my guts,  The Desert,  working woman

    Winter Forever

    still-winter

    I know everyone is feeling it. The lack of sunshine directly contributes to the lack of serotonin in my brain and so many of my fellow warriors in the trenches of mental illness. We are fighting a monotonous, endless war against depression and the human condition. Every day is a battle to see the bright side. But there are bright sides! They still exist! I’m spinning as fast as possible to turn every negative thought into a positive one. Let’s keep up the good fight! Let’s find the sunshiney glimmers between the dark, dreary winter storms!

    bug-bday-part1

    I’m lucky enough to have a big birthday to celebrate after Christmas and New Year’s. It was good planning to have a kid in January to give myself something to look forward to in the dark days of winter.

    Bug, however, does NOT like having a winter birthday. All she wants is a pool party with sunshine and friends splashing around in bikinis.  And every year, we have to fret about whether or not her party will get rained out. I mean, yes, we are lucky that these are the problems we have to worry about when other kids are just fortunate enough to wake up alive and not to the sounds of bombs going off. But you know what I mean. Real-life problems in my small world are weather and paying rent.

    This was probably the first year in her eighteen years that it rained, and we had to consider a plan B: cramming all twenty of her high school buddies into our tiny apartment. We opened the weather app daily and discussed the predicted rain percentages.  On Monday, there was a 40% chance; on Tuesday, there was a 60% chance; by Friday, there was an 80% chance. It was not looking good, but the plan must go on!

    Because the plan was a good one! This year, Bug planned her birthday party from the invitation to the location of our local park to the bounce house and the piñatas. It was painful to step aside and let her make all the party-planning decisions, but I had to do it.  I had plenty of opinions, but just like I’ve had to step aside and let her do her school art projects, I’ve learned that there is a time for the teacher to be the student, and now is that time.

    bug-bday-part2

    Her theme was impeccable—”Party like when you were little.”  It was such a good idea!  Her friends dressed how they dressed when they were little. She made cupcakes and took them to school (the day before, which was a great way to hype the whole event). She had two Minecraft piñatas filled with all their old favorite candies and party-city-craptastic toys. Cheese pizza, a pink castle bounce house, bouncy balls giant and small… sticky hands, sparkly crowns and glow bracelets. It was brilliant!

    bug-bday-part3

    It was an absolute hit.  Bug had hyped it up so much at school the day before, and because teenagers will congregate anywhere under any circumstances, EVERYONE SHOWED UP! And THEN! At the last minute right before her party, the rain stopped for the exact hours of her birthday party!!!!! Everything was sludgy, muddy, and cold, but the rain stopped! Can you believe it?

    The bounce house was so fun. The kids didn’t really bounce in it much until the rental company showed up and told them it was time to deflate it. Then they all crammed in, and it deflated on them because bounce houses are not made to hold twenty full-grown bodies. It was hilarious. All the weight shifted to one side, and no one could hoist themselves up and out of the descending castle. Photos were taken, and everyone bonded in a huge laughing heap. It was amazing. We all relived our little kid dreams, and this mama was happy.

    nb-winter-sunset

    Let’s talk about another glimmer during winter: Winter light! Winter light is the best on the coast because the usual foggy, humid marine layer goes out to sea somewhere, and the skies are clearer and brighter than ever. Sunsets are beautiful with colors you never see any other time of the year. Golds and scarlets, pinks and purples. It is a beautiful thing to be by the sea during winter. Cold as heck but beautiful. I mean, comparatively speaking. We don’t know about snow or freezing temperatures, but our blood is thin, so we shiver when it’s 60 degrees and below.

    nb-winter-sunset-with-DJ

    Shiver, shiver, shiver. But look! So pretty!

    winter-at-the-cantina-1

    I also traveled to the desert to check on the Rasta Rita Cantina. Since my little flower business has a few weddings coming up in April, I thought I should get reacquainted with the venue.

    winter-at-the-cantina-2

    The wall is slightly faded but not bad, considering it’s been through a severe summer (118F) and winter (30F). I might have to do a few touch-ups.

    the-U2-RastaRitaCantina-sign

    Mario and I also visited the billboard we worked on. I was so NOT a part of this creatively (Mario and his buddy art-directed it; I was just the hands working the software), but it is my first billboard, so I’m slightly proud. I thought we’d get sued by U2 for blatantly ripping off their album cover, but since I didn’t have the correct photo or the right font, it wasn’t close enough to flatter myself. So hey! Billboard! Woot. It’s too bad I’m not proud enough to put it in my portfolio.

    A few of you have commented on my winding ways lately. Yes, I’m throwing everything at the wall, hoping it will stick. Flower business, behavioral therapy for autistic children, job hunting and travel… I suppose it’s not often a mommy blogger continues to tell tales and document her humdrum life after her children are grown. But the thing is, this never was a mommy blog. I just happened to be a mom for a big chunk of it. Mommy blogging made me famous briefly, but I’ve been journaling, sharing, and creating my, for lack of a better word, *digital magazine* of my “little life” since I was ten. Except when I was ten, my dad and I were in our converted back patio office punching out columns of copy on his Texas Instrument computer and pasting them into a newspaper format that we copied on the Xerox copier and I then handed out at Thanksgiving. Crazy. I guess I’ve always wanted to be a journalist writing “puff pieces” about my own life.

    I say all that to tell you about my latest whim. I’m trying out something new. Something new to throw at that wall, let’s say. I call it my 100-day project. I will spend 100 days putting all my energy into my own business. This might sound strange since I’ve been working for myself for the last twenty years, but I’ve spent a lot of time and energy making other people wealthy while living paycheck to paycheck myself, and lately, those paychecks have NOT been enough. I’ve created so many campaigns, logos, and business plans for others, scrubbed toilets, fetched dry cleaning, organized closets, and bought coffees… I’ve decided for the next 100 days, I will put as much energy as I’ve put into others into my own business instead. I’m not paying myself, but I’m paying it forward.  I will clock in at 9 am and work straight until 2 pm on my books, my art, and whatever crawls into my idea-popping head. If I can make other people successful, why can’t I make myself successful?

    I realize I’m all talk, but it’s only 100 days. Today is day four. Let’s see how it goes. It’s got to be better than everything I’ve been doing that has been failing so miserably, right?

     

    xo

  • BIG news,  Shop Talk,  The Flower Business

    A Wee Update

    flower-game-strong

    Yes! I have news! Sorry to leave you hanging in my last post.

    First of all, the flower business is going strong. I’m averaging 2 to 3 bouquets a week, which is really all I can handle because my business is based in San Clemente, and I still live in Irvine, which is a 30-minute drive. I do plan to move to San Clemente but I’m locked into my lease here in Irvine until April. I’ve been trying to find someone to take over my lease but that is not really going anywhere. So it’s good that I can learn the ropes, establish my reputation as a florist and keep things kinda slow until I can make the big move, AND OPEN UP A REAL FLOWER SHOP!!  I’m so excited. Baby steps though.

    back-to-school

    The Big NEWS is I’m going back to school for another completely new career. It was early days last time I blogged, so I was afraid to mention it too soon. I’m studying to be a behavioral therapist for autistic children. Plot twist, I know! But it’s something that has interested me for a long time, and when I put the word “creative” on a job board, it came up! Who knew? It turns out that being creative is a highly sought-after trait when it comes to being an effective behavioral therapist. It’s a really new field for me, with lots of *science* and data collection and a whole new dictionary of jargon, BUT I am loving it so far. I love learning, and this job is paying to train me. I’m going to school (online) and getting paid, and I love it. The classes are long, though, and if I don’t watch my schedule, I can get stuck watching videos and taking tests long after my bedtime, so it’s lots of coffee for me and drawing while taking notes to keep me alert and paying attention.

    Florita-Fundraiser-Tshirt

    In other news, I’ve set up a fundraiser to get Florita some brakes. As you know, this is the little Cushman one-wheeled truck I’m hopefully converting into a little flower shop truck. Unfortunately, she’s just sitting in the Rasta Rita parking lot, rotting right now because she has no brakes, and no one knows how to get her to a mechanic to get her fixed. Mario has put it in my court. He’s done paying for things.  I’ve got no funds for tow trucks or mechanics. I’m barely paying my rent. So I thought I’d make some t-shirts and sell them here, and maybe you guys would like a cool pink t-shirt with my logo on it and help the cause! A few of you have already helped me behind the scenes. (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!) I am continually amazed at how my friends (the readers of this blog) send love and funds for coffee and even money to get this flower shop up and going! Hopefully, I can return all the love with more regular writing, cool t-shirts, stickers, and who knows what else. I want to create more t-shirt designs, maybe some fun mermaids with flowers…but I thought I should make a classic one first. I’ve also bought one myself that I’m going to model and switch out for that Dad Bod picture ASAP. If you buy one and take a cute photo of yourself, send it to me!!!

    I need all the good hype I can get.  Please pass it on to your friend. Let’s make Rasta Rita Flowers a really cool place that people will want to visit when they are in town! You know it’s going to be that bookshop/antique store/thrift shop/art gallery/flower shop/coffee shop/sticker store/cat hangout/plant-lover vibe. I’m so excited.

     

    xo!

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay