Busy Season: business trips, Christmas prep and a winner (chicken dinner!)


Last week was crazy busy for me. My Mettaprints partner Teri and I took on a huge spray-painting of silver snowflakes job for a big event in Santa Clara. Every year we vow not to do these kinds of jobs because they are so much work  and every year we somehow get amnesia and decide that we should take on another job like this because we are crafty and fun! And that is all very true but crafty and fun with spray paint for four days straight can get very old and tiring. Let’s just say it’s a good thing Teri and I are great friends and we always have a fun time together. Even when we are in the trenches.


On the bright side, who can complain about working in these conditions? I mean trees everywhere like that? Have you ever seen a prettier place to work? I guess an ocean view would be nice but the canyon is just drop dead gorgeous. I love it there. I wish it wasn’t a 30 minute drive for me or I would set up office in Teri’s downstairs permanently.


We worked for four days straight and then early Monday morning, at the crack of four am, we loaded up a rental van with all our pretty snowflakes and embarked on an epic Mettaprints trip. We worked too hard on those snowflakes to trust shipping them and after all, Santa Clara is just a four hour drive away. We figured, no sweat! Let’s make a business trip out of it!mettaprints-to-santa-clara-1

Except we both had so much going on this week that we decided to do all the driving in ONE DAY so that we could get back home quickly. We are lunatics but we also have a great work ethic.

I woke up at 2am on Monday morning, so worried I was going to be late and didn’t go back to sleep until 2 am the next day. I guess doctors can stay up for 48 hours straight but I am no doctor. I was wrecked. It was super fun while we were driving. Teri and I talked a blue streak both ways but the next day on no sleep I was a basket case! It’s funny how a lack of sleep can seriously alter your brain chemistry. I actually felt like I had really bad PMS and broke down crying four times over the stupidest things!  We probably should have stopped somewhere and spent the night but it is what it is and the snowflakes made it to their destination!


There we are at the Levi stadium! I don’t know much about the client or the event these snowflakes were for (that’s Teri’s job) but it was pretty cool to drive around to the back of the stadium to their super security-guarded loading zone and have a bomb sniffing dog go through our van.  Then we loaded everything onto golf carts and kissed our hard work goodbye with worried visions of our snowflakes sliding off the golf carts and onto the ground, crushing their delicate snowflake corners. The guys working there humored us with promises to be careful while they inwardly rolled their eyes. But I think everything turned out okay.


Then back home we went to our regularly scheduled programming: Christmas! Actually these photos were taken before we left but I wanted to get that story out of the way first since it was big news around here.

I had so much fun decorating the house with the kids this year. It’s our second year together as a family and things are starting to feel normal instead of new. I love that we have traditions now. We have a fake tree (that I resent because it doesn’t smell pretty like a real tree but I love because I hate paying $$$ for a real tree and I hate that a real tree has to die etc.) and we have special ornaments that we love. I was busy putting up my milk carton village so I didn’t do much with the tree but Payam put it up and fluffed it and all that and the girls decorated in between phone sessions. decorating-for-xmas-2016-2

You know, because phones are like life support these days. I can’t criticize though. They love their phones just as much as Payam and I love ours. It’s just the new normal. We are constantly checking ours too. They don’t have phone service yet but they manage to have just as many things to check as we do with just wifi.


It’s our first Christmas with the dogs! Good times! As you can see we haven’t really figured out how to keep Cody from eating all the ornaments yet or Whiskey from darting under the tree to hunt the cat that he thinks is there but is not.  The dogs are crazy but we are starting to turn a corner on training and they actually do listen when we tell them no now. We let them roam the house more and more so they aren’t quite as crazy bananas running all over stealing things to chew on as much as they used to. Of course we still have our trouble spots (i.e.: laundry, cloth napkins, hand towels, Bug’s stuffed animals…) but they are getting better.decorating-for-xmas-2016-4

And really, is there nothing so cozy and Christmassy as a Dog sleeping next to your tree? I think it completes us. We did buy another dog fence to put around the tree so we can actually have a fire in the fireplace instead of cardboard from mettaprints blocking it. I plan to break out the camera many more times and get some pictures of the dogs, the tree, the kids AND a fire in the fireplace. I’m really happy with Christmas this year. It’s going to be a good one I think.


And last but not least, I have winners of the mom’s magical headache cure bottles! Payam picked them. You can yell at him if you didn’t win.

The winners are:

  1. Ines!
  2. Heather!
  3. Jennifer Krause!
  4. Susie! and…
  5. Tamara Lang!

Get me your addresses via email (secretagentjo@gmail.com) and I will ship these out. I’m not promising any timeliness with my shipping but the little bottles are sitting on my desk taking up space and bugging me so I think I will be not forgetting about them. I also want to note that I made this concoction on the weak side just to be safe so if it doesn’t work magically for you, do not give up on essential oils. You might just need a stronger solution.

Bug took her’s to school on frog dissection day because she has a phobia of people puking.  She played nurse all day running around letting her classmates sniff her peppermint oil and it worked for them so I’m thinking you will find many uses for your winnings!  :)

That’s all! Happy Christmassing! I am a wrapping fiend these days, you?

Slow News Day. Let’s tour the new office!


You know how I was belaboring the point that I wished I had my own room? It’s a very spoiled thing to wish for. I live in a very beautiful house with many rooms. Each girl has their own room. We have a giant living room/dining room, a nice big kitchen, an office, all the main rooms have vaulted ceilings, there is even an atrium!  Everything feels very big and grand and there really is no lack of space unless you fill it all up with knick knacks and tchotchke, like you do.

The main problem, that is really not a problem at all, is that there are a lot of windows in this house. Windows that I love. Light pours in everywhere creating all kinds of beautiful spaces (except when it’s shining onto my computer screen and then it is the stupid angry sun out to get me but usually I love it.) But this also means there are no walls that are bare. All the walls have either windows or furniture against them so I am constantly looking for blank walls to shoot un-distracting pictures against. It’s a losing battle and usually I end up walking to a nearby park and shooting in the handball courts instead, which is also very cool.

That said, I was kinda wishing I felt less cluttered and had some space to call my own. I do call the kitchen my own because I am the boss in there but it’s also the kitchen. Not really somewhere I want to hang out when I’m not cooking.

I couldn’t figure out a solution. I scoured every nook and corner of the house looking for a space that I could set up my desk and make a special office just for me. There was nothing. All the rooms are packed. There is no empty corner anywhere. I just gave up and thanked Payam that at least we have an office. It really is a luxury that I don’t have to use the dining room table for work and pack up my office every meal time. I have a lot to be thankful for.


But then Payam was wishing he had a blank wall too. He is a recruiter and makes a lot of video conference calls. It’s part of his job. He went through the same conundrum, moving his laptop from space to space trying to find a background for his calls that wouldn’t have his clients reading all the books on the bookshelf or judging us for how much alcohol we keep stored in various nooks.

So we stood and looked at our cluttered office and hemmed and hawed. There had to be a solution. We can’t just move into a loft office space downtown somewhere. (Though can you imagine how great that would be?!) We had to make this beautiful house work for us. Should we just do a giant purge and get rid of everything on the one wall that we have? I was all for that idea of course. But all the things on the office wall are Payam’s things.

Payam is a car aficionado and this wall is the one place where he can hang his car posters (that I don’t love). Believe me, I give him a hard time constantly about his car posters and if he didn’t love me so much he would probably tell me to get my things and go find someone else’s house to rearrange. But he does love me. And I love him so I think I can let him leave his car things up and his Barcelona soccer scarf and his karate black belt fake nunchucks hanging next to his African masks and beaded necklaces from Hawaii….etc etc. You get the idea. It’s a very Payam wall and I’ve Brenda-ed up the rest the house enough. I need to let it be.

Yet there had to be a solution. Like that time I lived in a mobile home out in the sticks and I didn’t know where to put my office so I just divided the living room in half and even though it was shocking and weird it totally worked and I had the most awesome living room/office ever. Remember that?

So we divided the office in half! Dun! Dun Duhun!!!!

Payam put his desk in the middle of the room against my big expedit bookcase. We put all our plants on the dividing wall bookcase to create kind of a privacy wall between us. I left my desk where it was. We moved the collaboration table that was in the middle of the room, pretty much collecting junk, to my side where it has now become my art table which is pretty much what it was anyway. Now I am in charge of the junk collection and I’m much better at it so that makes me immensely happy.

Payam positioned his desk so that his computer camera points to the one point on the wall that is not covered with car memorabilia and he even has more room to move his chair around and relax a bit without butting up against the collaboration table.

I realize you are probably lost by now because my descriptions must seem terribly confusing but the bottom line is we are together but we each have our own space. I don’t have a blank photo wall but I do now have this big giant space that is all mine!!  I love it.


Awwww. Home sweet office. Can you believe that stiff old wooden chair never bothers me? It creaks a little but I’m pretty comfortable in it most of the time. Payam offered to buy me a fancy ergonomic chair at Costco yesterday but I passed because it wasn’t cool looking. If they could make one in orange I might think about it. But this old chair that I bought at a garage sale ages ago at the beach and then my Grandpa so kindly fixed for me is sentimental and I think I’ll keep it forever.

I was going to mention my new day planner, that pink book in the top photos that says, “I Am Very Busy.” What a silly book right?  It comes with stickers and prompts like “dress up like a zombie and go out to dinner” and “National Taco Day” etc.. all written in funky writing. I fell for the fun-silliness hook line and sinker. I’ve never been a planner type, I like seeing the whole month at a glance but I do keep a daily list. Well guess what? I started keeping my daily lists inside my planner! What a break-through!!! Now I get what planners are for! You can write down things to come and things that have passed, like a journal and a list all in one!!!  Crazy.

Anyway, it’s really cool and everyone should go rush out and get one though I don’t recommend the “I am very busy” one it mocks me when I am not very busy and I feel like a big fat fake.  I also feel a little bit silly putting heart stickers on date night and coffee cup stickers on National Coffee Day…except maybe I do like that a little bit. Part of me will always love stickers, even when I’m eighty.office-tour-4

Lucy clearly agrees that I am not very busy.


What else is going on in pet-land? I haven’t updated you on the puppies for about a minute.

Well, there was the peanut butter incident yesterday. As you know we go through peanut butter in our house. Bug and I alone can go through a giant jumbo size jar of peanut butter in about three months, maybe four. Add in some dogs who love kongs and it goes even faster. Yesterday when I realized that there wasn’t any more scraping to be done to get any more peanut butter out of the plastic jar I decided I’d let Cody have a go at it. He approved of that motion heartily.

I can haz peanut butter? 


But then Whiskey was sad and jealous so I had to give him a chance at the jar and hold Cody back by his collar. Whiskey was very happy and very growly and protective of the jar. He got most of it out with his very long snap-chat filter tongue. It was a great thirty minutes of dog fun.

Aren’t slow news days great?