Cruel summer.

surfing the web i mean the ocean   getting richter oh so richter

Today Gabe is wearing a black wetsuit. Righteous!

Oh man, you guys. I got the flu in the middle of summer. And it is…terrible.

On the upside, I’ve gotten to take like 4 full days off work and watch movies. I am getting really well acquainted with my couch, and feeling really thankful for the free 500+ satellite channels that are paid for by my landlord and allow me to watch endless movies during my time really getting to know my couch.

On the downside, I’ve been housebound for 6 full days and I hate it. I’m antsy. But then again, I’m too tired to be antsy.

I had to miss my printmaking class one day, and then I had to miss yoga the next day. I did manage to make it to a coffee date on Wednesday, but spent the rest of the day glassy-eyed and horizontal on the couch recovering from spending whopping 2 hours out of the house for the first time in days. And then I missed yoga again.

Basically I don’t like it.

One great thing about being sick, I guess, has been rediscovering crossword puzzles. I started doing them on Day 2 because I was getting sick of TV, but didn’t have the energy to read. A crossword puzzle was something I could print out from the New York Times website, prop up on a big hardcover book on my lap as a surface, and then do one line at a time while closing my eyes for 5-10 minutes in between each clue.

Unfortunately the NYT doesn’t release new free puzzles super often on their website. Right now, I’m working with a Monday puzzle and a Saturday puzzle.

I finished the Monday puzzle in about 15 minutes. The Saturday puzzle has been sitting with 4 answers filled in for something like five days. I really need them to release, like, a Wednesday puzzle.

I started feeling a little bit better yesterday, and even managed to make it to a coffee shop for a brief writing session in the morning. As a reward for being so brave, I decided to treat myself (congratulations on leaving the house!) by buying some new small plants for my house.

I read a blog post on the best plants to purify the air in your house, and since my mind is melting with monotony and flu symptoms, I decided I definitely, definitely needed a plant or three to help beautify and purify my home.

aloe me to introduce myself the dowager fern non vegan

Say hello to my aloe, my english ivy, and my venus fly trap. The aloe’s new home is inside a vase my friend made in a ceramics class last year that is finally fulfilling its ultimate purpose. Looks good, no?

I didn’t mean to buy a venus fly trap, but when I saw them on the shelf at the plant store, I had an instant flashback to having one as a child and I couldn’t help myself.

I remembered a time when my dad had a venus fly trap at our house — I don’t remember if it was always there, or if it was passing through on its way to an office — but he told me to stick my finger in the venus fly trap’s jaws and see it close around my finger. Which I did. And it was thrilling!

But now, as a grownup, for some reason I am afraid to try again.

But that’s okay. It doesn’t actually eat fingers, but according to Google, pretending to feed your venus fly trap your fingers isn’t actually good for it since it uses its energy for something that isn’t real food.

So I will just keep my hands to myself. And rest. And drink tea and soup. And enjoy my fresh, fresh, bug-free air.

Meow mix.

my muse   you oughta be in pictures!

Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops. Romeo is wearing white fur.

You guys, you’ll never guess where I was last Saturday — an art opening, in Eureka, CA, where I was showing a print I made of Romeo to a gallery of real-life people who came to see an entire room full of cat art.

portrait of the artist as a young manHey!

My printmaking teacher told me a few weeks ago about this art show called HumCats, which was based on a bigger show that had happened in LA a while ago with a bunch of big-time artists, and the Humboldt version of which was accepting submissions.

“You mean, like, I could submit one of my Romeo prints?”

“Yup.”

“But this is only the third print I’ve ever made.”

“Do it!”

So I did it! Because why not?

And that’s how, last Saturday (or should I say Caturday), I ended up going to a little opening in a little gallery, where I saw a surprising number of patrons dressed in cat ears.

The gallery had 150+ pieces of cat art, ranging from beautiful oil paintings and intricate drawings to some of the craziest bullshit I’ve seen since leaving my BA studio art program. It was a profoundly weird experience.

I thought it would be thrilling to see my art up on the wall — something that hasn’t happened since college — but in a way it was actually pretty anti-climactic.

First, I went by myself, and so in the moment where I actually found Romeo up on the wall, I instantly realized that I wished I had brought someone to point at it with and say, “Hey look, that’s mine!”. I don’t usually like to be the center of attention for stuff like that, which is why I didn’t invite anyone, but I kind of wished I had someone there to tell me how truly amazing it was to see this black and white monotype that doesn’t really look like Romeo but which has really cute ears up on the wall.

And secondly, after I found my print I also discovered that the exhibit organizers had lost my art tag, so my Romeo print didn’t have my name or any information with it. So I had to spend my first few minutes there trying to get the attention of the organizers, waiting for them to find my tag, discovering that the tag they had made for me didn’t even have the right information on it, and then having to write one myself.

So that was anti-climactic too.

This is normally the kind of thing I get a huge kick out of — and to be fair, it was still really fun to be at an art opening with my very own art on the wall — but I was surprised by how un-thrilled I was by the experience.

I think I would do something like this again in the future, though. But differently. And with different expectations.

I took pictures of some of the most interesting cat art I saw, which actually reminds me — I did still get a kick out of going to this weird event. I mean, “cat art” has got to be, traditionally, one of the lowest forms of art.

“Oh, you drew a picture of your cat? How interesting.”

But making it intentional, and the focus of an actual we’re-taking-this-seriously art exhibit is kind of funny and draws an interesting collection of perspectives and ideas together.

Here are some things I saw at the HumCats art show:

tres gatos linus

banksy   something fishy

And that’s it! The show closes next week and after that Romeo’s brief time up on the gallery wall will be over.

His framed print will be move back to my dining room wall where I can stare at it while I eat breakfast, which is where he is really meant to be after all.

Hot spring.

alas poor yorick   I KNEW HIM WELL

Today Gabe is wearing a yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.

“Can I ask you a serious question?”

“Okay, sure.”

I was staring at myself in the mirror. I asked myself if I could ask myself a question, and I agreed.

“…What is going on with your hair?”

I didn’t have an answer.

One of the terrible downfalls of working from home is that is it unbelievably easy to go through your day looking like the worst version of yourself, knowing full well that you look like the worst version of yourself, and not finding that alone a good enough reason to stop looking like the worst version of yourself.

This week, though, I had a revelation: it is not a waste to do your hair if you work from home. It is not a waste to put on make up and braid your hair and wear your favorite pants just because you work from home and aren’t likely to interact with anyone terribly important in person that day.

Even if no one sees you and appreciates how great you look, it’s not a waste to treat yourself like you are an important enough person to get dressed up for. It’s actually kind of nice!

So this week I gave myself a manicure (because seriously these hippies have no place where I can get my nails done), did my hair every day, got dressed in my favorite clothes every day (I mean, different ones — not the same favorite outfit every day, which is just as bad and also weirder than just wearing running shorts and a tank top every day), and put on make up every day.

And you guys, it was great. I can’t say I was more productive, but I can say I was happier.

Which is weird, right?

Maybe it’s not that weird. I’ve started exercising every day this summer, without really meaning to, it just kind of happened, and I can say that definitely makes me feel better even though none of it seems that significant. I mean, I’m not training for anything — there’s no real *reason* for doing it — but it makes me feel good to do.

(Clearly I have a problem with doing things that aren’t specifically for something.)

But I have to say, it was always kind of a fun surprise to catch myself in the mirror or go out to a coffee shop and think, “Hey I look great!” when I was wearing my real clothes every day. The novelty never wore off. It feels good to act like a better version of yourself, and to care about it. I guess it was just a great reminder that the clothes make the man (a little bit) and it’s actually worth it to look a little nice if you want to feel a little nice.

So that’s it. A great revelation, great pants, great hair. Just great great great.

Top drawer.

excuse me i mustache you a question   GET IT?

Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, red shorts, grey socks, and black shoes.

You guys, a wonderful amazing thing happened to me this week.

First, in case it wasn’t yet clear from all the cat news (and before that, snail news) and work-related slides with bunnies talking on the telephone on this blog, I love animals. I think they’re funny. I think they’re cute. I could watch basically any animal do anything for any amount of time.

And ever since I can remember, I have wanted to touch a cow’s nose. I’m not sure when I noticed this longing, but whenever I see a cow (in real life or in photos) all I can imagine is pressing my palm up against their nose and how oddly satisfying I think it would feel.

Slightly firm, but a little leathery and soft. A little wet, but slightly textured.

And I didn’t just want to touch it, but I also wanted to push on it a little bit. To palm it. To put just a little bit of pressure on their weird, soft, funny nose.

I don’t know why. But people have these tactile things, right? Some people have to stick their fingers on a sticker; some people just go bananas for the feel of certain fabrics. I don’t know how I came to know that touching and ever so slightly pressing on a cow’s nose would be, just, a wonderful feeling, but I knew it.

But I also knew that, like, when am I going to get that opportunity?

Sure, Gabe wants to get goats, and probably chickens, and maaaaybe a cow, but that’s several years away at least.

So it’s one of those things I knew would be great, but that just wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon, if ever. I wasn’t going to actively pursue it, because I didn’t even know how to actively pursue it. So I put it out of my mind (except, of course, when I was driving past a field full of cows — which, by the way, are almost always standing in a herd several yards out of reach of some non-farm lady to stick her hand over the fence and push on a nose).

Which is what made what happened this Monday so amazing.

Let me refer you to an email sent this Monday, July 21, 2014.

.

To: Gabe

Subj: THE BEST RUN EVER

the greatest thing just happened.

the greatest!

this afternoon i went running and before i was starting my run i saw a field with a few cows in it, so i walked up to the fence to look at them and then one of them walked towards me and then it put its head through the fence and i let it smell my hand and then i realized i could totally touch its nose and so i did and i finally got to touch a cow’s nose!!!!!!!

and it was the greatest. it was just like i hoped it would be.

and then i had an amazing run. yay!!

the most wonderful cow in the world

.

And you guys, it was just like I imagined it would be.

No, it was better! Because I was actually doing it! I couldn’t believe it. I laughed out loud. I looked around to see if anyone was watching, and when I saw that no one was there, I did it again.

It was just great. A day-changer. The realization of a totally inconsequential yet deeply satisfying dream, completely unexpected and out of nowhere. What a simple pleasure. Just one of the best feelings in the world.

I may have to quit blogging or maybe even going out of the house, because it’s simply not going to get better than this.

But rather than quitting everything because I’ve peaked, I’m going to take the opposite tack. I’m going to go through life with my chin a little higher because I know tiny, amazing moments are possible and even if I never get to press another cow nose again in my life (but OH I hope I do) that I did it and it was just as wonderful as I knew it would be.

And that is pretty good.

Move on.

b-e-a-utiful!   t-h-o-ughtful

Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, a green t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.

This week I got a new computer. Yay! The best part is came for free via work.

I had to send my old computer to our new content writer, and so I had to delete everything off of my part of it so she could start fresh without having to reformat the blah blah and lose all the programs already on it.

And the process of transferring my old computer stuff onto my new computer has made me remember the thing that always comes up whenever I am moving or otherwise doing something arduous involving getting things from one place to another — it has made me remember that when faced with the task of transferring anything from here to there, my first reaction is just to leave it all behind and start over.

Just forget it. Leave it. “I don’t have time for this.”

I told myself this time would be different.

And yet, on Monday night, I found myself watching my old photos slowly (gut-wrenchingly slowly) upload one by one to Dropbox — my fifth attempt to get the last year or so of photos transferred to my new computer, after a failed Mac migration attempt, a failed zip drive attempt, a failed emailing-a-folder-to-myself attempt — thinking this thought over and over:

“Let’s just leave them all behind. Start fresh! Forget it.”

I had started the process on Friday. It took 3 days before I reached that point. Longer than usual, but here we are.

I am good at leaving stuff behind. I don’t feel sentimental when it comes to things — I guess I like to see something that has sentimental value if it shows up, but if keeping something will cost me more time/energy/money/thought than leaving it behind will, I will almost always choose to leave it behind.

I have no photos from college because my computer crashed at the end of senior year and I said, “Oh forget it” to all of the music and photos that I had accumulated in the previous four years.

And I didn’t really feel sad about it; I didn’t come to regret it later. The most that ever happens is a, “Hey where’s that song? Oh, it was on that mixtape that was on my old computer.”

I have one photo of my senior art thesis, and I have no idea where the actual physical components of my thesis went. I missed the deadline to take it down from the gallery and the gallery manager got mad at me, and I decided the prospect of dealing with her further was not worth getting the pieces of my thesis back. And so I never got it back. And I never regretted it.

Because, really — what am I going to do with my art thesis? Put it in a box and store it in a closet? For how long? I hate the idea of transferring something around that I’ll only end up throwing out later.

But this time — I want these goddamn photos.

The last year has been great. Great! I have so many photos of Gabe (thanks in no small part to this blog) and the two of us doing fun things together in Seattle and Humboldt, plus pictures of France and trips to La Jolla and Peoria, and just a lot of things I’d actually like to see again in the future.

Luckily, the Dropbox method [seems to have] worked. I got everything loaded, and deleted everything off the old computer. I have yet to download the new photos from Dropbox, but you know — I’ve been busy.

I have been basically tethered to my new computer since it arrived, since it came right in the midst of launching our newest product at Popforms. Morning til night, I am staring at its bright shiny new screen, making slides, writing copy, editing content, and otherwise being completely plugged in.

The end is in sight, though. Maybe even this weekend!

I’m going to eat a vegan cupcake and go for a hike. And then probably remember halfway through that there’s actually this big huge important thing I really need to get done before Monday and rush home to stare into the screen again a little bit longer.

But at least I’ll get the sweet first half of that hike in.

Maybe I’ll even take some photos.

Wheel well.

how many shirts is too many?   i just don't know!

Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, a green t-shirt, blue shorts, grey socks, and brown shoes.

Last week I was in my Midwest hometown, visiting my parents, and accidentally driving my dad’s car into a wheelbarrow while he stood on the back porch and watched it happen.

But let me back up. (So to speak.)

The garage at my parents’ house is technically big enough for two cars, but it’s close. This means that when you’re backing out, there usually is a lot of careful eyeballing, neck-swiveling, and maneuvering needed to get around the trash cans, hanging garden tools (like wheelbarrows), another car, and other obstacles when you are reversing out of the garage.

It’s not actually that hard — there is absolutely enough space, but not abundant space. You can’t just sort of close your eyes and reverse with abandon out of the garage, but you can back out carefully like an adult.

Anyways, whenever I am at home I have to drive my dad’s car, and so I have basically been living in constant fear and anxiety every time I go home because I know that at some point (probably multiple points) I am going to have to back my dad’s beautiful white Honda out of the driveway, knowing with 100% certainty that I am going to drive it into the side of the garage, into a nearby hanging wheelbarrow, or just into the side of the house from overcompensating while trying not to hit those first two things.

And yet, in nearly 10 years of living under this system, I’ve never actually run the car into the side of the garage or any other obstacle.

Until last week. At which time I not only backed the car directly into the wheelbarrow hanging on the side of the garage, but I did so while my dad stood on the back porch watching.

Super.

Oh, and did I mention that the day before I accidentally backed the car into a wagon full of pepper plants he had left in the driveway? This is no small wagon, either. I had to maneuver around it to *walk* into the garage, and yet I did not think to move it before I attempted to move the Honda through the exact path where the peppers were.

Oh, and yes my dad did hear me hit his pepper plants all the way from inside and yes he did come out to see me red-faced and pulling the wagon out of the driveway like it was just a funny coincidence that he heard a loud crash from outside right after I walked out with the car keys. “Ha ha! Yes everything is fine! Everything is normal here! No need to be concerned your property and/or gardening hobby!”

What is it about irrational fears, like running a car into the side of a garage, that makes them either 1. never actually occur or 2. occur in an even crazier way than you ever imagined when entertaining anxiety dreams about them?

On my last night in town, I was running some videos back to the video store, and at that time I did also happen to tap the car into the recycling cans sitting at the end of the driveway, but since it didn’t induce a full-on CRASH sound like the first two, it hardly seemed worth noting at that point.

Anyways, a great thing about becoming an adult is that you stop being embarrassed by your parents, and instead you can start to embarrass yourself in front of your parents.

I swear I’m a good driver. I swear I’m a good driver. I swear I’m a good driver.

the patchy apacheWhen I was at home, enjoying some obscenely hot and humid days and even a couple window-rattling thunder storms, I also got to spend some time with Apache, the as-limber-as-she-is-suspicious calico cat that lives in the house with my parents. She basically refuses to acknowledge my existence, choosing to leave the room anytime I decide to enter. We have a great relationship.

One of the great things about this, though, is that from time to time during my visit I would walk into a room while she was mid-stretch and she, unable to walk out of the room because she was twisted in some gravity-defying cat posture, would instead just freeze in the stretch.

Which made for some great photos.

But now I am back in Humboldt, getting back into being a vegan and back into doing yoga and thinking about yoga and what I’m going to eat all the time.

Oh, and also in the week since I last posted, I also gave my talk at WordCamp Seattle which went really well and I felt a lot less gut-churningly terrified right before and during the talk, so you know, progress!

You can see my slides, if you care about learning how to grow a blog:

wordcamp slides

The slide that has a bunny talking on the phone got basically no laughs, but was probably my favorite part of the whole talk, so clearly I’m going to have to re-evaluate if I am crazy or if maybe bloggers & developers just don’t “get” cute animal humor. But that is, like, the target demographic for that right?

Whatever. I will probably use that picture in every presentation I do for the rest of my life, so I guess I’ll just have to become a taste-maker in that category.

Anyways if you need me, I’m going to be quitting my job and devoting my life to practicing backing out of my driveway a thousand times a day until the next time I go home. Just in case.

By ways.

model strike   sitting down on the job

Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.

You guys! As this post goes live, I am on the road to Seattle to give a talk at WordCamp Seattle this weekend. Yay!

Since I moved to California, I’ve had to go up to Seattle a couple of times for work and talks and stuff, and when I tell most people that I’m driving 10 hours from Northern California to Seattle, most people cringe.

“10 hours? Geez. What are you going to do?”

But to me, this drive is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I don’t really know why — maybe it’s the undivided alone time, or the so-boring-you-can’t-help-but-contemplate-life scenery of basically all of Oregon, or just the chance to listen to podcasts and audiobooks at full volume for hours on end.

Now that I’ve done it a few times, I know the roads. There are highlights that I look for; places I like to stop for coffee; landmarks that remind me of things I was thinking about the last time I was driving through.

For some reason, it’s really fun. I love having a professional excuse to take a day off and go for a long drive.

Of course, a few chunks of time on this particular drive are going to be dedicated to reciting my talk out loud to no one, which will probably be a low point. However, I put *a lot* of energy into memorizing and perfecting this thing, so despite having to listen to myself recite the same now-boring-to-me stories and lessons, it gives me a little twinge of satisfaction every time I run through it completely without mistakes.

We’ll see if I do that well on Saturday at the conference.

Then I’m going home to Illinois! For a spontaneous trip. It looks to be about a million degrees, 100% humidity, and thunderstorm-y, which is just what I was hoping for. (No seriously. I’m sick of this mild west coast weather.)

And for this week’s big finale, here’s an update from the world of cat news:

planet planter

This week, I came across a tiny black and white cat sleep in the planter outside my door. It was the greatest.

That is all.