Loving Love Bug

blog_1I met Shoshanna and Eric on a camping trip earlier this summer. I liked them from the beginning: they described their blooming garden; they made homemade yogurt for breakfast at the picnic table (yep, I remember those weird things); they led us in beautiful songs around the campfire, Eric on the guitar and Shoshanna doing lead back-up with her sweet voice.

They were also crazy in love with Love Bug, that little baby growing so big and lively in Shoshanna’s belly. That baby is going to be so infused with love, I thought.

The other night, as the sun was turning that golden color of summer, I joined the growing family at their home, a garden oasis in the suburbs, and tried to capture their life. Belly rubs. Picking the basil. Collecting brown chicken eggs. Grilling the most delicious dinner (and then devouring Eric’s homemade peach cobbler — omg). Doing their thang.

And four days later, quite earlier than expected, Love Bug decided to join the world. I can’t wait to meet you Rowan Peter! (Thank you for waiting until we could take a few pictures). You are so incredibly loved by your momma and daddy, but also by all of us self-proclaimed aunts and uncles.

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Wine & Wildflowers

wildflowers_0495I feel like this summer is zooming by, and yelling “catch me if you can” from a sunny blur of golden sun. So I’ve been making it a point to stop and enjoy the golden light that doesn’t stay in the sky as late as it did last week. This summer, I’m all about finding the lawn parties and free music concerts and places where I can spread out a blanket under a weeping willow and sip an iced coffee with vanilla or a glass of crisp white wine (red, too).

The other night I piggybacked with some wineclub members as they attended the semi-annual wine pick-up parties at Michael~David. We lounged with a little live music and tastes of wine. The winery is on the family’s homestead, and while I’d been out to write about the family a few times, I had never hung out there. I was oddly enthralled by the wildflower garden, where guests are welcome to pick the purple, yellow and green flowers. I didn’t take any flowers home; just as many iPhone pictures as I could take before my phone died.

These are the shots from the last 20 percent of battery life. Don’t you hate that? (But that’s why I just bought this, and I expect my life will never be the same).

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The River Calm


I’m not gonna lie – a few months ago I thought of selling my kayak.

“Whaaa?” you gasp.

I know, I know. But, to be honest, it can sometimes feel like a clunky, beacoup-work, hobby when you’re doing it solo. I have a fairly large kayak (the dog needs lounge space), so loading and unloading it by myself doesn’t really happen without adding a few scratches to my car. And there’s the whole: “Am I really going to do this by myself?” and “If I want to take someone with me, it’s double the work and double the chance that I didn’t tie down two kayaks on top of my car correctly.” (I almost lost a paddle board once – oy).

But then …

Then … the best thing happened.

All of a sudden, a whole swarm of friends bought kayaks and paddle boards. It was the best news, ever. We started going on the weekends and planning (we’re still planning) week night paddles (we need non-homeless-camp, post-dark launch sites, if you happen to know any?). We paddle the Mokelumne River that is so close to our home, and we constantly say “this is the best, ever” and “I can’t believe we have this in our backyard.” We never get tired of turtles perched on logs and making fun of my dog’s inability to keep her eyes open when the river starts to lull her to sleep.

I can’t believe I was going to sell because now when I miss a weekend paddle, I really miss it. This summer season has only just begun, and I know we’ll be spending many more afternoons out on those waters. Can’t wait.

Here is a little glimpse into a recent paddle, in which my dog Sara wanted to relax and nap, and my friend Sara wanted to explore places with spiders and shark twiggy scratchy things.

kayak_3 kayak_20 Like I said …kayak_19 kayak_16 Sara pup is not impressed with shallow marshy waters:kayak_15 kayak_14 kayak_13 kayak_12kayak_9 kayak_10kayak_11kayak_8 kayak_5 kayak_4


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Five Senses Monday (and some adopted succulents)

succ1I’m trying to nurture my green thumb with indoor plants and succulents (I’ve murdered a few of each). When a friend asked if I wanted the clippings from the succulents taking over his yard, I was so excited to give them a new home. “Just please stay alive,” I whispered to them as I transplated them into the set of pink pots I bought with no idea of what I’d plant in them. Around the same time, my aunt gave me clippings from a plant that was growing like crazy in her living room. I’ll give it a try, I told her. After all, the plant was one she rescued from a coworker’s desk. When she took it home, it was almost dead, but came back to life and just flourished. If it didn’t die then, surely I can try slightly and keep it alive. It’s been a few weeks, and so far, so good. Now, I just have to find a permanent location for them, instead of just hanging out on the deck.

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And now, it’s time for Five Senses Monday, a tradition that hasn’t been too lively the last few months. I’m excited to bring it back, and to take a few Monday moments to reflect on all the little things. So here we go …
Tasting: A fresh summer dinner prepared by friends with a lot of their homegrown goodness. Grilled, sliced sweet potatoes and zucchini. BBQ chicken. Grilled sweet corn. A salad with orchard apples and Brussels sprouts. A cranberry and fresh peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream creaminess. Mmm.
Hearing: Droplets from the hose hitting the thick leaves of zucchini plants. Stevie Nicks in the Fleetwood Mac CD I found in the glove box. The hissing and popping of fireworks (for weeks, neighbors — really?) that send my dogs into my arms to shiver and shake for the span of the evening.
Seeing: Out of the corner of my eye, a dozen (so far, out of a stack of 24) foreign and art films; ones a friend loaned me to help me get through the weekend in which I planned to catch up on editing engagement and wedding photos (I broke my rule a little and didn’t ground myself the entire three-day weekend). Because I was mainly listening to the films while working on photos, I only watched ones in English … bummer.
Feeling: Productive. Like some weekends at home are the perfect vacation. A little shopping. A little lunching. A lot of closet renovation. A lot of editing. A nice amount of gym time. A car smogged. A little over an hour spent in the theater crying over this movie.
Smelling: Oh, barbecue. Here. There. Everywhere.



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Life Lately | M.I.A. no more

lately_0 Hi, friends. I know I haven’t been in this space much. I’m not sure why, exactly. Everything seems so busy all the time, yet it’s just normal every day stuff. Just like everyone else. Just like you. But I have so much to share here. So many pieces of every day, simple life. A few day trips. A few things growing. A few smiles.

This is just a little peak of what’s been going on, a quick look into my phone’s Camera Roll of those teensy moments I clicked “just in case I need to remember this later.”lately_7

I shot a friend’s wedding in Santa Cruz over the weekend. I broke out some old cameras for fun. There were floral arrangement on the fly:
lately_5What you see in the bride’s suite, stays in the brides suite. #noquestions:
lately_6I woke up at 4:30 the day after the wedding and couldn’t go back to sleep. I took a lingering shower, watched the season 2 finale of “Orange is the New Black” and enjoyed my comfy hotel bed near the beach. When the city was awake, I went downtown for some of my favorite shops and enjoyed a little coffee and quiche. Sometimes solo exploring is perfection.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI visited the Aptos pier, a little memorial site for a friend who passed away several years ago.
Before I drove home, I sat at the window bar of the Pixie Deli, the little eatery that was a staple of so many beach trips.lately_1I’m excited for garden season. This is what happened after I said, “I wonder what happens if we just let the lettuce grow.”lately_8 lately_8a lately_8b lately_9There was no easy way to let him know he wasn’t invited to the party:
lately_10 My mom’s creation: Kale chips seasoned with crushed dried veggies.lately_10AThis is the only way I can eat sweet potatoes. Roasted like fries:lately_10BExcited, though I heard that maybe I shouldn’t be. What do you think?lately_11Want:lately_12Cindy made this amazing gypsy tambourine, and I absolutely adore it. I’ll post about it very soon because it’s just that’s special:lately_13The details! Swoon!lately_14I’ve also been here a lot. The gym, in general. But spin, mostly. And now, the weight room. It’s kinda fun. And I was pretty stoked that a spin teacher thought I’d been taking spin classes forever.lately_15The Kindle is amazing for the elliptical:lately_15AMy new obsession: Berry protein shakes:lately_16I love these lids for glass Ball jars.lately_17Morning coffee, mom-style. My mom’s been doing the pour-over style since before all those hipsters opened their trendy coffee shops.lately_18Found an old Locke pic of mine in the local tourism magazine, Life & Style:lately_18aThe farmers market is here, and so are outings with old friends:lately_19I’ve been scaling back. Like, really. I usually have my walls covered in art and photos, but for the first time I ever, I just want room to breathe:lately_20I’d been wanting to see “Wicked” forevs. Finally, we made it. lately_21

Well, that’s been my mellow, yet busy, life lately. I have a lot to catch up and share with you in the space, so come back soon.

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This was Mule Days

mule_days_2 mule_days_3 mule_days_4 mule_days_5 Yesterday, I told you about my drive to the desert and the week I spent there traipsing around old-school storefronts, running my fingers over the soft, shiny coats of mules and dining on plastic picnic tables with amazing people I barely know but who feel like handfuls of favorite aunts and uncles.

This is a little more of that. A little more of the Bloody Mary’s neighbor John would stir up way too early (I won’t mention how I broke a golden rule and snacked on celery that everyone claimed as garnish for those amazing red Marys). There were heart-shaped sunglasses and blue skies on rainy days. There was a man named Fiddler Pete who serenaded us as we loaded our plates in the potluck aisle. A renaissance couple who man a pirate ship continued fascinating stories from the year before. There were more college students running around the arena in their tight whiteys. Cus that’s what you do at Mule Days.

Here’s a peak …

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On the road again: Bishop

bishop_1qAunt Jo and I hit the road on a warm afternoon that had weather people warning of summer rain. I slipped out of my work slacks and ballet flats and into a tank top and pair of rubber flip-flops that squeaked with every step out the door. In the giant purse I’m known for carrying, I stuffed a sweater in with my camera and stack of Kinfolk magazines.

We rolled out of her driveway, the fifthwheel in tow, about eight minutes after I got off of work. She was antsy. She wanted that desert air on her face and every day life at her back. I wanted to be lost in a world that wasn’t my own. We drove through the golden hills of Highway 88 toward the mountains of the Sierra. When the foliage out the passagenger window turned from a blur of oranges and mustard to bright green and smelling of pine, a few raindrops began to tap the windshield. Then the snow came. It floated down so gently that, at first, we weren’t even sure it was snowing. But it gathered on the windshield wipers, and I rolled down the window and reached out for a tiny, icy snowball. Me and my flipflops and my snowball.

An hour later, we’d finished our pieces of cold pizza from the night before (why waste time on drive-thru when vacation awaits on the other side of the mountain?) and we made it through that high elevation and its white trees. The landscape remained green, but now the land was dotted with sharp-looking bushes and dirt. Hello, high dessert.

bishop_2abishop_2dSomewhere when the road was flat and the burnt-out mobile homes that I’m pretty sure were once prime meth-lab real estate, I slipped in Elvis and then introduced Aunt Jo to Lana Del Rey (“Pretty voice,” she said). I read a little of the two books I would finish before the end of the week. I made notes for places to return to. Bodie. That old church Jo’s always wanted to photograph in the perfect light. Oh, the hot, hot springs. And now, I know of the Mobil gas station with the amazing chef who cooks up amazing steaks and cocktails (thanks, Andrea).

It was just before dark when we arrived in the random town of Bishop for our random week of vacation at a big, comedic rodeo, Bishop Mule Days (and other little adventures). It’s a world I’m completely not a part of (I don’t own cowboy boots, people, or a cowgirl hat). But I love the people, like the ones who invited us into their camper for homemade cornbread and a pot of beans after our long drive into town. Of course, we accepted. I even had a second helping of buttered corn bread.

That week, we did whatever we wanted and nothing at all. It’s one of my favorite vacations, a getaway to a town that makes me feel like I’m in a movie from the 1970s (that JC Penny in middle of downtown cracks me up). You’ll see ….

bishop_5bishop_29 bishop_1 bishop_2 bishop_4 bishop_8 bishop_6bishop_25   bishop_7bishop_13 bishop_14 bishop_15bishop_12bishop_10bishop_20bishop_22bishop_21bishop_24bishop_23bishop_23     I’ll be back with the actual mules of Mule Days very soon. : )

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