My mom is dog sitting this pooch and he’s just the weirdest little guy. When she got him, the first thing she said to me was that I was definitely going to want to photograph him. She’s right and I did. He’s still a puppy, despite looking like he’s 10 years old, and full of energy. He’s definitely giving our dogs a run for their money, and it’s hilarious how he immediately brings out the puppy in Lyra. She went nuts the first time she saw him, pouncing and poking at him like she was a puppy herself (she’s seven).
My hair is full of sand still, even after a couple showers and my toes are sore from the beach sand flexing them backwards during the walking we did. It was an amazing trip, a complete escape from reality that filled David and I up like two helium balloons ready to fly away. We stayed in the most beautiful beach house of David’s friend and we joked that it almost felt like a honeymoon. Then we decided that every vacation should feel that way.
I spent time working on art, stumbling over it, and then having fun with collaging in a way I hadn’t tried before. I wrote, more than I expected, and I finished a book while I was there. Accomplishments! I made lists and thought about what I wanted from life, as well as from this blog. It seems, rightly so, that there is a trend of using your blog to document your life like a scrapbook. I love that concept, but I never want to share as much of my personal life as that seems to require. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot that I want to write about here, but it does seem that this pause before a shift is lasting longer than I expected.
Also? We stayed with David’s best friend T and his lady friend (and my really good friend) K. We were joking about one of the last times the four of us were hanging out and had a pouting contest. Somehow we all ended up standing next to each other in front of the bathroom mirror (I don’t know how these things happen) and started making pouting faces. It turned into a competition to see who had the best pout, and David won. If you ever meet him in person you should ask him to pout, because it’s just the cutest thing ever.
So last week (two weeks ago?) I posted about feeling a little directionless with the blog and not knowing where I wanted to take it, and even if it was something I wanted to keep up with. Then, lots of silence on the blog front. It looks like a simple A to B direction, but it was totally an A to G direction–as in, I felt a lot better after getting that off my chest and inspired for what I wanted to write about. Then I was slammed with some epic commitments. I am, after all, Queen of Overextending. It was worth it, though, to celebrate my mom’s birthday. And with that, I leave you with a photo dump of my weekend.
Over the weekend my sister made it to a pretty exciting milestone–she ran her first half marathon. We’re all super proud of her for setting such an intense goal and then following through with it! So of course we had to cheer her on. She was pretty hesitant because the only person I know who shies away from the spotlight more than I do is my sister. True story–we used to bicker over who had to call in a pizza order because we were both too petrified to talk to a stranger on the phone. Anyway, half marathon. I told her I was going to make a bunch of posters and shirts and mortify her because at the end of the day, I am still an obnoxious little sister…
… A little sister who made stencils of all her family members’ faces and printed them on shirts. Complete with inspiration and supportive phrases. And one large poster. They were surprisingly well received, until I pointed out that I now have stencils of all their faces. I’m pretty sure some awesome art is going to come out of those stencils…
Did I ever mention that my 21-Run took place in wineries, not bars? I was living at home, taking a year off college, and my mom and aunt took me wine tasting for my birthday. I’m so classy, I know. Anyway, living on the west coast is notoriously casual, so I don’t believe in hardcore dressing up for wine tasting. Also, this was the closest wine-tasting-equivalent outfit I have in my collection. I was joking with Kels about the whole What to Wear series, because it seems like most of us just wear the same type of outfit to every occasion. Which makes sense, really, because none of us (that I know of) keep a set closet dedicated to costumes for various events. And now I’m just off topic, but that’s cool. Look, guys, clothes!!
Be sure to check out Nicole’s blog to see the rest of the link ups, as well as her ingenius photo shoot. And as always, if you want to join us you have only need to ask. Also also? If you want to join us and have ideas for new posts, you should totes email Nicole. Or me, I suppose.
Embarrassing story to start us off–I gathered up all the books I’ve read to take the photo, and then realized I left one out. So I redid the photo, began typing up my reviews, and realized that my first review of Leviathan Wakes felt eerily familiar. I looked it up on the blog and completely forgot which books I read in June–which will teach me to not put off writing these posts until halfway through the next month, eh? So yeah now I’m too lazy to redo the photo for a third time. You get what you get, people 😉
I read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home back in my college days and really loved it. A person who was pretty close to me at the time said it gave them a lot of insight into who I am as a queer lady, as well as my rather unique relationship with my dad. All in all, I would give that book a super positive review. I was excited, then, to pick up this one, a book she supposedly wrote about her mother. Giving a less-than-awesome book review is hard for me, because I don’t want to come across as insensitive. It would be so easy to just write “not really my style” and be done with it, but that’s lazy.
On one of the very last pages, there’s a dialogue between the author and her mother that is such a painfully accurate description of what you just spent the last two hundred pages figuring out. “It’s a metabook” her mother says, to which Bechdel enthusiastically agrees. Fact is, though, I don’t think that’s a good thing. She didn’t write a book about her mother. She wrote a book about herself, about how Alison Bechdel handles her mother’s strained response to the previous book, about Alison Bechdel’s journeys in therapy, about Alison Bechdel’s struggle to write this book.
She did, in fact, write an actual book. Just not one about her mother. Which, I suppose, is fine. The art style is brilliant, as usual, and the issues she juggled were complex and whole. They just weren’t, in my opinion, the fodder for an interesting book. It doesn’t help that I have an almost zero-tolerance for psychoanalysis, but reading entire chapters of Bechdel recounting an abstract dream and attributing it to the one word she saw on an article that relates to her mother and the conversation they had a few weeks ago felt like a waste to me. It felt like her talents needed a slightly stronger editorial hand, someone gently reminding her that while it’s all fine and well to journal about your feelings and strained relationship with your mom, that you probably need to include an actual plot in order for it to be a stand alone, solid book.
I feel like such a bitch for writing that.
Definitely needs a few re-read throughs, but he did an amazing job writing about Dominican history through a family narrative–which isn’t all that original in structure, but amazingly effective and Diaz has a very strong voice that carried throughout the story. I’ve written briefly before about how each region of the world has a different approach to fantasy and science fiction, and latin america has a very distinct flavor that I usually have a harder time with. This book was a great way to ease into that flow, though, and I really enjoyed it. Also, it was my official June Pulitzer Read. Huzzah!
I cried. That’s the best summary I can offer. This is a Russian novel, one of those contraband ones that took decades to get published and then another decade to make it’s way to the states. The whole story is, essential, an allegory for what Russia was going through at the end of the Stalin era, when camps were closing and how those who spent their life in those camps, as prisoners and as workers, survived the shift. It’s told from the perspective of one of the camp dogs, animals that were trained to be brutal and ruthless. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel the need to compulsively shower Lyra with hugs and pets every ten minutes while reading this, but it was still an amazing book.
The back cover spells out the basics of the plot, which was based on a true story, so it’s no spoiler when I say that the book starts when the camps close and ends when a train of passengers arrive in the town where the dogs migrated to, waiting for their next shipment of people. It has an expectedly horrific ending but even knowing what was going to happen, the way the author ended the book took me completely by surprise. If you have a strong stomach and a love of Russian literature (I meet about 2/3 of the requirements) then this should definitely go on your list.
It’s no secret that I’ve been into Animorphs since they first came out, so I remember when i was in middle school and the KA Applegate put out a new series called Everworld, I jumped on that train so fast it’s not even funny. A few books in my mom tuned into the gore that is the series’ inner covers and asked if maybe I should wait a few more years for the series. I’m stubborn and told her no, I could handle it, and continued reading. Long story short, it was too much for me. My tender, gentle middle schooler heart could not handle the gory violence in the books and, defeated, I set the series down.
So…. when I found a couple books at Goodwill, I got super excited. Finally! I’m old enough now! Huzzah! I started reading them, wondering if now I would find them light and trivial and easy reads. They’re still violent. Shockingly so, considering I read them in middle school. Like holy crap violent. For a middle schooler. I like the premise
But I’m not, I promise. I assure you, I am alive and kicking and distinctly corporeal. I’m more talking about on the internet, and I’m not just subtly transitioning into a “I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted consistently and with any kind of real content”. I get so tired reading that on other blogs, so why would I possibly do that here? No, I just feel like I’m turning into a little internet ghost. I’ve been tiptoeing around on my reader, following my usual follows, but with less comments. My tabs are full of posts that I want to go back and say something nice on, but I never seem to manage to get there. I take pictures of my life (my happy, twee and cutesy life) and never know what to say when I post them.
A few weeks ago, right before moving across the country to follow her heart, I was telling Kels about this whole inner kerfufle in my head, about now knowing what I should say, and she gave me stunningly excellent advice. “Well, just talk about that, then”
I don’t know why I share my life online anymore. I know that I’m not one of of the Top Ten Names of blogging, and that I don’t even share that much to begin with, but the why is gone. It left so silently; it took me a few beats to notice I was sitting at my computer without it sitting next to me. The more I ask myself why I’m blogging, the more I ask myself why I have any of the interactions I have online–why am I on Twitter, why am I on Facebook, why do I have a blog reader? Don’t misinterpret and hear this as why would I ever want to do this? but rather I’m just searching for a bit of mindfulness about what I’m doing online.
Two things happened recently in real life that go hand in hand in the questioning process. One, involving the decline of a relationship that had been toxic for quite a while, isn’t appropriate to talk about online. I know this, which is why there is no mention of it beyond this sentence. One involves an incredibly painful manic episode where I ripped up all of the artwork I’ve ever made. If your eyes skimmed over that last sentence without fully taking it in, that’s okay–I get it. But just know that my lungs still clench with frustration and guilt when I type it out.
These two things have taken a lot out of me, and have quite a large portion of my brain space dedicated to them. Sorting out what I wanted to talk about online and why has been a great way of sorting out the larger question–why am I online at all. I could pare down this whole post and make it about Honest Blogging and that ever-recycled My Life Isn’t Perfect You Guys blog post that seems to be as common as a late winter cold. But I don’t want to trivialize my thought process any more than I want to make some melodramatic post about it (guess I’m failing on that front, eh?).
I’m bipolar, and that’s not a secret I’ve kept from you guys. What has turned into a secret, though, is what that life looks like. For every happy cute outfit I post on the blog, there are five meltdowns involving tears when my anxiety about my wardrobe consumes me. I spend a lot of my time curled up and hating myself, and that doesn’t seem to have any place online. That’s personal, right? It’s personal and I’m under no obligation to share it. I get that.
But then I ask myself, why share at all? I like sharing the happy with you guys, but when bad stuff happens I do feel a bit choked about what I can write. I don’t talk about the struggles with anyone but my partner and my immediate family, so why share it online?
I don’t have an answer to that. I have the beginnings of an answer, one that starts with ‘so others who go through it feel less alone…’, but that feels like too much of a cookie cutter answer to be accurate. So that’s where I’m at.
Oh, and the art thing? That huge, painful tragedy? David spent the weekend before his birthday visiting his family, and with the help of his mom and his best friend, they put all the pieces back together. A happy ending fit for the blog.
Happy birthday David! I love you!
For everyone else–if the thought of a disgustingly sentimental post turns your stomach (and I totally don’t blame you), scroll down to laugh at his silly photos and check out the video at the end. It’s worth it, I promise.
The first time I met David it was at a game night that Kim (our current temporary roommate) was hosting. We sat across from each other as we played Arkham and we spent most of the time being a little bored (it’s a slow paced game) and making faces at each other. At the end of the night, we were walking home on the same route and decided to get sandwiches from the 24hour grocery store. A year later we admitted to each other that neither of us were hungry, we just didn’t want to stop talking to each other. Not a whole lot has changed on that front, except we don’t have to eat unless we want to. These photos are from last summer when I took David to the most amazing Cuban sandwich shop in Ballard. They crack me up and I realized I never shared them, so what better day than Celebrate David Day, right?
Yeah. Celebrate David Day. I’m totally serious about it, because it’s David’s birthday, and I can not think of a person I’m more excited to celebrate. I do try to keep most of the mushy stuff off the blog, because ugh who wants to hear it besides him. He’s a pretty awesome guy, though, and so very very deserving of a mushball post. Last week was pretty full of lamesauce, which only adds to the amazingness of David. He’s a constant force of love and support in my world, and in a very selfish way, I just don’t know what I’d do without him. I love how effortless it is to be with him, because who wouldn’t want to be with someone who is constantly making you laugh, listening to all your ridiculous ideas, and building new theories about the world with you?
Now for some fun David facts. Did you know that David is absolutely in love with any and everything bread related? Cake, sandwiches, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and especially donuts–he noms them all. Freud and I would agree that his mother is to blame for this, but I’ll say it’s because his mom is the most amazing baker I’ve ever met. The saddest part of a gluten-free, egg-free life was that she stopped mailing us tins of cookies. He really has an amazing mom, and not just because of her mad baking skillz. She’s instilled some amazing and essential habits in him, like patiently waiting in a craft store. She’s an expert quilter so David grew up spending quite a bit of time hanging out in fabric and craft stores. The woman raised her son right.
Another silly David fact–his hair is not the product of an edgy stylist, but actually the product of the five cowlicks on his head. Yeah, five. And I’m just guestimating, people. That cute and dramatic swoop in the front that looks like a part? It’s just a monolithic cowlick. His hair has no understanding of parts. It does what it wants and it will give zero fucks! Also, I might have his hair on the brain because I gave him a haircut a few days ago. I would show you pictures but it was a test run and a trim so I hardly took anything off and THANKFULLY you can’t even tell it was cut at all. It’s a good thing he’s not a lawyer or a newsanchor though because his hair would not be willing to play that kind of role.
David is a goofball. He is hilarious and silly, and not just when he’s trying to be. He’s a total weirdo, really, but that’s just perfect for me. He’s also compassionate. He love with his whole heart, and in such an unsinkable and steady way that it blows my mind sometimes. It’s a total cliche, I know, but he’s my anchor when things start going cattywonkus and storms start brewing in my head. I think everyone in the world deserves to have a David, but this one is definitely all mine. Happy birthday, monsieur, and many, many more!And because David is the reason for my love of Bob Ross, and because his own love of Bob Ross goes so deeply, I’ll leave you with this video. It’s guaranteed to make your day shine a little brighter (but not in a gross omg-summer-is-way-too-effing-hot way)