• Life Lessons,  party party,  spilling my guts,  Tis the Season

    Free 2024 Calendar! and words…

    happy-end-of-the-year

    I’m just going to get this little belated Christmas gift out of the way right off the top because if you are here for the calendar, you don’t want to have to read to the very end!

    HERE YOU GO! (click and print!)

    Have at it, proofreaders! Whoever finds the most typos wins! Email the corrections to secretagentjo@gmail.com, and I will fix them and post a final draft by the first week of January. Happy Printing!

    To the rest of you, let’s get into it!

    2023-thanksgiving

    It’s been a winter. All the cliched parts: the dark, the cold, the war in the Middle East, babies dying, people getting cancer, seasonal depression…anything else you want to throw in that murky pot called November and December?  Let’s talk about the bright bits.

    Thanksgiving was sweet. Bug and I have a tradition of cooking a turkey section (not the whole thing) and only preparing and eating food Bug likes. That means no stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, or green bean casserole, and all the pie we can make. It’s a sweet tradition, and because Bug special requests it, there is nothing I love doing more. I’m a sucker for a special request. This year, we chose a pre-cooked turkey breast from Trader Joe’s, which was NOT good, but we are “Trader Hos” now that Bug works there, so we had to test it out. I can officially weigh in that it wasn’t great, but we didn’t care. We had brussel sprouts, fresh cranberry orange relish, and PIE to look forward to and obsess about. I love having moments like this with Bug. I’m so lucky I birthed a daughter who loves my company and food.   I miss having a big family but love the peace, tranquility, and one-on-one time with Bug. Lately, I’ve realized I would feel very alone in a family or crowd. Being alone with all my thoughts and feelings is where I need to be right now.

    golden-cody-winter-mornings.

    I spend a lof of time alone while Bug is off with her friends and boyfriend or working.  Cody is my stand-in buddy. He’s gross and needs to be groomed right now, but we get along fine. I don’t mind his stink or greasy fur.  Especially since I’m moving out of my apartment this coming Spring, I’ve given up on keeping the rug white. It was a lost cause once the dog moved in. Sigh. But he’s such a good friend. I always said if I ever had empty nest syndrome, I’d get myself the neediest dog. Done and done!

    2023-pre-christmas-flowermarket

    Right before Christmas, I got invited to have a little nighttime pop-up holiday shop in Laguna Beach. It was a bust, though, because there were no lights where I was set up, and I couldn’t go back in time to get some in the mad bumper-to-bumper holiday traffic. The inebriated townspeople out enjoying the festivities didn’t notice my holiday bouquets. I did sell one, but mostly everyone just wanted free margaritas and to wish everyone a merry Christmas. It was a jolly night.  Not the best for business but a fun time anyway.

    My loyal friend Tamie (best friend from second grade!) drove out to meet me and brought me a FULL Christmas tree to hack up for holiday bouquets. (!!!)  I had bemoaned to her that I didn’t know how to make Christmas bouquets with no budget and before I knew it she was off  on her lunch break to the dollar store and bought me a bunch of wire wreath frames (which I LOVE, where have you been all my life!!), holiday bits and bobs, AND a whole tree. I am so lucky to have such friends.

    2023-pre-christmas-flowers

    The next day, I made two wreaths and a bouquet for delivery. I was in flower heaven.

    I-have-a-tree-on-my-patio

    Here I am with my tree on my patio. It made an excellent addition.

    crafting-mess

    I also got into crafting. I manic-crafted for a full day.

    morning-at-the-lake

    morning-at-the-lake-2

    2023-SF-xmas-party

    Life goes on even when you are worried you are losing your mind. I seem to be able to continue to show up. I went to Matt’s work Christmas party and had a lovely time. Like I always do. I miss him so much when we are apart, but this is our life, and it probably won’t change for several more years. We both have commitments on opposite sides of the state, which is our lot in life.

    2023-SF-matt-time

    When we get together, we have THE BEST OF TIMES. It’s concentrated quality time, which is my love language. He spoils me rotten with fancy dinners and drinks.

    kusama-2023

    sfmoma-cafe

    Visits to coffee shops and museums…. all my favorite things!

    sfmoma-with-matt

    north-beach-sf-2023

    We had the best weather in San Francisco and visited all my favorite haunts in bright sunshine, quite different from my last rainy visit.

    tunnel-tops-sf-2023

    Matt took me to a new place I’d never been before: Tunnel Tops by the Golden Gate Bridge. It was lovely, and it was not cold or windy for the first time in my life! It’s always reliably cold in San Francisco. July: freezing. August: freezing. December? Warm and nice! SF, you’re drunk.

    the-hard-part

    Then, the hard part: coming home. Home to cold, rainy winter weather.

    winter-in-socal

    Bug loves to celebrate the winter solstice and cheered me up with hot hibiscus tea and orange slices on the stove. She lit candles, played music, and talked about starting a new year and letting go of the past. She’s a wise old soul.

    hot-couture-dog

    Cody landed a modeling job. Bug was scrolling through Instagram, and one of her friends was looking for a dog for a photoshoot. It wasn’t a paying gig, and we have no idea what the photos are for, but it was fun to show up to the shoot and be the “animal handler.” Since Cody is my buddy every day and very food-driven, he performed like a champ. All the photographers and assistant people ooohed and awwed when Cody did precisely as he was told. Usually, I’m a terrible dog owner, and he barks his head off and wants constant attention, but this day, he was perfect. I was so proud.

    the-christmas-puzzle

    I had a calm, quiet Christmas. Bug spent Christmas Eve with me and went to her Dad’s the next day.  I would say, Oh, poor lonely me! But I needed quiet alone time. I sat and did my puzzle and listened to a book on Audible.  I felt calm and at peace.

    Peace on earth, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum…

  • 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