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.

But still.

you belong among the wildflowers   who kay? bouquet.

Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, blue shoes, and probably some kind of shoe. And green sunglasses.

Earlier this week, before my Tuesday yoga class, I had to admit something to myself that was hard for me to admit. I had to acknowledge that the level of sweatiness I achieve during an average yoga class is so significant that I actually needed to purchase a small towel that I could start bringing to class with me to deal with my sweat situation.

It’s something that had been at the back on my mind for a few weeks — most often when I was in class, watching sweat fall of my face like fat, heavy raindrops and pool into treacherous, slippery wet spots on my yoga mat.

When I sweat in yoga class, it is no dewy, yoga-wakes-up-my-senses glow. It is I’m-an-out-of-shape-old-man-doing-yoga-in-a-sauna level sweat.

(And just in case you’re wondering: no, I don’t do hot yoga.)

For the last few weeks, I’ve treated the sweat situation as a weird anomaly. “Oh, remember last class when I was so sweaty? I hope that doesn’t happen again.” (Spoiler alert: it *always* does.) And when my body heat rises and the sweat starts going, I have the same thought process every single time.

First I wonder: do I have some insane level of toxins to get out of my body, and that’s why I’m sweating so much?

Then I wonder: maybe it’s because I drink so much water during the day, that I just have a lot of sweat to give off?

Then I think: Jesus, I wish I knew anything about science, or anything at all.

Then I think: I’ll google this when I get home.

And then I never do.

I spend the bulk of every class looking for opportune times to wipe down my face with the front of my shirt, which by the end of class, is basically just soaking wet.

And so this week, I had to admit to myself that what I was doing wasn’t working. I needed to bring in outside help. I needed to buy a little towel to bring with me to yoga class, because I was not going to be able to will myself to just stop sweating.

You guys! What is the deal?

To be fair, the yoga class I do most of the time is pretty athletic — it’s meant to be a challenge and push your body, which is why I like it. But like, no one else is sweating this much. No one else is constantly (or ever, actually) wiping their faces off to keep sweat from cascading into their eyes or dripping onto their mats, where they might later slip on it, let alone actually spending real cash money on a small towel because even wiping your face on your shirt doesn’t cut it!

I go for runs twice a week and never seem to get this sweaty, even when doing aerobic exercise. Maybe because there’s usually a breeze cooling you off when you’re running, but none in yoga?

Either way, it is very undignified and I am a little ashamed that it’s come to this. But at least I have admitted that I have a problem and am taking the proper steps to live my yoga life. I’m living with embarrassing yoga sweat, not dying from it.

Anyways, I have two urgent cat updates.

Romeo, my printmaking muse, is back in a new print that I did last week that I really like!

fluffster

The other cat who’s back is my howling neighbor cat, who I haven’t seen in weeks, but who showed up on my doorstep being very civilized and relaxing casually in the sun.

howlerThe last time I saw it, I had opened the curtains to the big sliding doors that look out on my back balcony, and as I stared out the big glass window while lying in bed, probably trying to take a nap or think deep thoughts about something depressing, it walked by.

At first it startled me, but as I was lying perfectly still and deep in thought, I just stayed there. And it stayed there. We just stayed there looking at each other until, without warning and without breaking eye contact, it began to howl.

I rolled my eyes.

Then, I didn’t see it for a long time. But out of the blue yesterday, it sauntered up the stairs to my deck, circled a sunny spot, and then silently lay down and curled up to soak up the heat.

I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ve turned a peaceful corner.

Ear shot.

nobody in here but us fishes   wait -- where did all these fishes come from?

Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown flip flops.

By now it shouldn’t surprise me that I’m finding myself, once again, getting riled up about something trendy, two or so years after it was trendy. I can still remember calling my dad up, sometime in oh-let’s-say 2010 and saying, “Hey have you heard of this website called Pandora? You can tell it what kind of music you want to listen to and it just plays!”

And he said, “Uh, yeah. I know.”

I missed Call Me Maybe by like, 6 months. (I never listen to the radio in my car!)

I feel like I am consistently just-a-little-too-far behind a lot of things. A cultural thing will happen, and I’ll miss the first wave of it, and then suddenly it’s everywhere and I keep thinking I’ll google it or someone will just tell me what’s going on, and then sure enough it just kind of goes away and it turns out my life wasn’t really changed for not finding out about it. And so I forget about it.

But then, I read an article two years later about how the 2012 summer beach read Gone Girl is being made into a movie, and I’ll remember, “Oh yeah, everyone loved that book” and then I’ll think, “Well, I do have an extra Audible credit just lying around” and then next thing I know I have listened to almost all of a 19-hour audiobook in under 4 days.

And then I want to talk about it with people, but no one else is reading it!

Hey! 2012! I want to talk you about this book we’re all enjoying.

Did you know an audiobook could be a page-turner? I was kind of skeptical that I’d get hooked into an audiobook version of a book that was favored by people lazily-yet-hungrily following a twisty murder mystery story, but the effect was almost instant.

I text Gabe plot twists, and he indulges me (“Oh! You don’t say! Well I had a bad feeling about that character…”) but it’s just not the same.

Speaking of Gabe, recently we traveled to a local fish hatchery, which I accidentally stumbled upon while going on a drive exploring the inland areas of Humboldt County. I was following a winding road until suddenly the road turned into a driveway, and there was a parking lot at a fish hatchery, with lots of signs about how you could walk right in and look at all the fish.

Most of the “fish lanes” (which is the only way I know how to describe the long, double-length-bowling-alley-lane-sized swimming pools that ran the length of the hatchery grounds) were actually empty on the day that I brought Gabe back with me, but we hovered over a lane of…salmon?…that we watched jump and swim over each other for a few minutes.

They had little gum ball machines filled with fish food pellets, and naturally, neither one of us had any quarters. I opened the little door at the bottom and scraped out a small pile of pellets that had been left behind by a previous user (no doubt a 5 year old — they have no attention to detail) and divided them up between myself and Gabe.

Then we delighted in sprinkling pellets on top of fish who *leapt* to eat them.

All in all, a pretty good day.

Ha ha.

i'm gonna need an ocean   of calamine lotion (on my ankles)

Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, red shorts, brown flip flops, and calamine lotion on his poor itchy ankles.

Gabe is allergic to the outdoors, but he loves them. He hikes, he climbs on rocks, he heads off the trail and bushwhacks whenever there’s a better (in other words, more fun) route to the beach.

Unfortunately, whenever he does, he gets itchy.

His current itchy ankle situation is just about cleared up, though, so naturally he decided to go on another canoe trip this week where he will almost certainly bushwhack anew, scratching up and itchify-ing his ankles just as they had begun to heal.

Somethings never change.

For me, I usually prefer the safety of the indoors. I have been printmaking! A very indoor activity. And you guys, an amazing thing happened — I found my muse. And you probably won’t be surprised to learn who it is.

wherefore ART thou romeo (get it?)It’s Romeo! The great white cat.

See, in my kind of printmaking — I think it’s called monotype? Ugh, clearly I am a bad student — you ink the plate and then wipe away the parts you want to be white (or, you know, not inked).

You can actually layer up lots of colors over the course of many printings of the same picture, but since I am a beginner, right now I’m just using black ink, which means all my final prints are black and white.

And who is better to draw in black and white than a beautifully fluffy white cat?

So I brought in a photo of Romeo and spent two hours trying to wipe away ink and leave a pattern of remaining ink in the shape of Romeo.

It kind of worked?

The final image doesn’t really have his essence — it doesn’t look like him. But it looks like a cat! And to me, that is a big win.

romeo my homey yo  studio selfie

So what comes next? Well, lots of more white cat prints, I think. Maybe some flowers? (That will require a little outdoor time, I suppose.) Maybe a portrait of Nina the palm plant.