Blawging Thanksgiving

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The girls and I drove out to the desert on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. I always love an extra prep day and I knew my mom would appreciate some help since this is the first time she was hosting Thanksgiving since they moved to their new place. She had plans for us to do a little dusting but as soon as we got there we booked it out to the fields to catch a few photos before the sun went down.

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I mean, how can you not? It’s so beautiful out there! I love love love the desert. Lots of people in my family go on and on about how beautiful Northern California is with all its Redwoods, lush greenery and ocean views but I will always be a desert girl at heart. Give me some golden sun, some dark burgundy sage and some pretty views of the mountains through atmospheric moodiness and I am a happy camper.

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Little did I knew we’d get busted for climbing around our old favorite barn.

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Apparently, it’s on private property and not part of the park that my parents live in. Bah Humbug. But you know me, I’ll still sneak up there and take a few photos of my #reinhartcanyonbarn. I’ll just be more careful and not let the girls go inside exploring. I should have known better. That rusty old building has tetanus written all over it.

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After our photography session and a spaghetti dinner, we settled in for an epic game of Uno and looking at Saturn with my dad’s telescope.

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You might wonder how we could see anything with that bright porch light behind us but we could. We just had to wait for the automatic sensor to turn off and then peer through the long viewfinder. My dad showed us Venus and all of it’s moons lined up and then Saturn. You could see the rings just barely but if you asked me it looked like a piece of rice. To prove my point I have illustrated it in that black box. That’s pretty much what Saturn looked like to me. My dad is much more of a space enthusiast than we are but it was still fun. Any time we have together and we are not on our phones is a good time I say.

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The next day my mom put the turkey in the oven at 9 am. I helped of course but I didn’t have much to do.  My mom’s oven is really old and struggled to keep a constant temperature. The turkey managed to cook but it took about two hours longer than it was supposed to which royally fouled up my plans to take our Christmas card photo at golden hour. I knew going into this that it would be a challenge to squeeze dinner and a photoshoot into one magical golden hour but I had high hopes.

And those hopes were dashed.

We did manage to rush out and take a few just-in-case shots before the turkey was done and those will probably be my only shots because wouldn’t you know it golden hour happened at exactly the same time as we were sitting down to dinner. It was excruciating to watch the sun set, glinting with golden light on the table while we served up stuffing and ladled delicious gravy. I was in agony.

But what can you do? Hold up thanksgiving dinner just for a photo? Eat it afterwards when it’s cold? I push my family a lot when it comes to photography, I knew that was my limit.

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So here are the rushed shots.  I’m missing in this one.

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I’m dealing with Cody looking the wrong way in this one.

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This might be a good shot but Bug is smirking and Joon is looking down. She prefers to look away from the camera. It’s a thing.

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This one I’m fixing my mom’s hair that was blowing away in the wind that picked up. Which, by the way, I should mention REALLY picked up and even if we had made it outside at golden hour we would have been blown every which way. So I guess it’s not that horrible that dinner ploughed through my plans.

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This shot of my parents and their dog, Spreckles turned out pretty good.

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This is the best one of the bunch. It’s kind of hilarious and perfect.

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In spite of the oven not working and my roasted vegetables never making it past the super-crunch level of raw, dinner was pretty delicious. I remember when everything was going down I was surprised that my mom wasn’t as upset as I would be. If this had happened at my house I probably would have had a meltdown and be in tears. I’m wound so tight when it comes to entertaining, a broken oven would have done me in. But it wasn’t my house and my mom seemed surprisingly indifferent. So I took my cues from her and tried not to sweat it. I guess if you’ve cooked as many Thanksgiving dinners as my mom has, you know that something will always go wrong and it’s not the thing that’s going wrong that matters, it’s how you handle it.

I might not have a picture-perfect holiday photo but does anyone really love a perfect picture? Nah. Bring on the outtakes!

Warrior Dresses

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I’m not trying to be a fashion blog. You’d think I was with all these pictures of dresses lately. It’s just that we were supposed to go to a wedding in New York this past March but it got rescheduled to this summer (hopefully) due to COVID 19 and the girls have been itching to wear their fancy dresses. So when we decided to finally go visit my parents in the desert this last Wednesday, I offered to let them wear their dresses in exchange for a fun photoshoot. I thought they would pass, in favor of endless days of Minecraft but they actually jumped at the idea. I was so happy.

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No, I didn’t let them wear their dresses all day while we hung out with my parents. That would be silly. They wore proper attire of cut-offs and doc martins of course. It was just a quick little trip to the nearby hills in their fancy dresses. They did get their tulle petticoats full of foxtails. It was a bear to pull them all out one by one but to me, it was worth it. I love playing dress-up with little girls and taking photos. It’s my favorite thing to do!

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For kicks, the girls borrowed Payam’s new bow and arrow because there are not sissies in fussy dresses. They are warriors in fancy dresses with combat boots on under all that tulle!

Why does Payam have a bow and arrow you might wonder? It’s a product of our apocalyptic end-of-the-world thinking…We both have been guilty of crazy late-night amazon purchases to while away this quarantine madness (mental illness alert) and while I end up with bags of dirt and gardening pots showing up in boxes… he ends up with a bow and arrow. To each their own. It’s funny what GIANT AIR QUOTE these uncertain times END GIANT AIR QUOTE have done to each of us. You never know, you might have to learn how to grow your own food or shoot it with an arrow! I jest. But I’m sure everyone is going through something similar.

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It was such a breath of fresh air to go out to the desert to visit my parents. It felt like a vacation. Not only were all the wildflowers popping, but it was also just so nice to see people again! I’m still feeling really uncertain and scared every time we add someone new to the mix though. I don’t even know where I draw the line anymore. The girls have asked one friend over so I do the math on that…Do I still wipe the groceries down before I put them away? Not all the time. I’ve been really lax. We wear masks but our conservative friends make fun of us. It’s just a lot of uncertainty and worrying. And Payam is having surgery on his neck next week so I’m really wound up right now. Wound up to do a lot of nothing.

I didn’t realize it was getting to me until I saw my psychiatrist this week and she asked me how I’m doing and I burst into tears. I’m actually not doing as well as I thought I was. (I prematurely decided to lower my meds when the weather turned spring-ish) and now I’m paying the piper. It’s been days of feeling like a pressing impending doom is weighing on my chest and I have no motivation to do any of my usual creative outlets. So not me. And then I start giving myself guilt trips for suffering a priviledged white girl disease and it just gets worse and worse until I’m laying down in the middle of the day trying to sleep the day away.

So it’s a good thing I saw my doctor. But enough about me. I will get better. I always do. I am kick-ass at getting better.

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The girls are great. We have two teenagers in the house now that June turned 13. I was so worried it would be a bummer birthday because she refused to make plans and turned down all of my ideas. I got a big no on the birthday parade idea. :(

In the end, Joon was the wise one because we had Payam’s mom and uncle over and she requested sushi (such a treat!) and it was the perfect way to spend a birthday. Then the girls made a giant snickerdoodle cookie and Payam scooped a mountain of ice cream on top of it, stuck a candle in it and we sang like it was a proper birthday cake. I put out zero effort. Who knew! Birthday parties can actually happen where I don’t do anything?!!! Cah-Razy.

Obviously it’s the end of the world.

Just kidding.