Just checking in...

I would apologize again for letting so much time pass in between posts, but I fear my words will mean less since I clearly am not sorry enough to keep up.  I have a handful of post ideas and plenty of pictures to accompany them, it's simply a matter of time and choice that has me home at 8:30 each night after a workout, and in bed by 9 so I have time to read Game of Thrones. When to blog...? This morning I thought I would write a quick note while I wait for water to boil for coffee, before I slip on my stretchy pants for yoga class.  I'm trying out a new place in Scotts Valley that looks small and loveable... I'm hoping it becomes my home for Saturday mornings.

Life is just as wonderful as ever; I love my job, I love the cottage, and I love having Brent here every day to enjoy it with, even if he is semi-crippled at the moment.  Have I written since he broke his arm at Sea Otter two weeks ago?  I guess not.  I haven't minded doing house chores and the dishes all on my own, even when he leaves smelly remnants of his bean burritos in the sink, and I still love him even though he buys single-ply toilet paper (I guess that has nothing to do with his broken arm, but I felt it was worth mentioning).  I do love alone time but Brent makes me laugh more than I make myself laugh, so I appreciate having him around.

We are headed on a quick day trip up the coast today, stopping to explore Pescadero and to check out a brewery in Half Moon Bay... I must remember to mention to Brent that there is a seaside bowling alley all the way up in Pacifica that I always thought looked like fun.  I'll take pictures but I won't promise that they will be up here any time soon, since clearly my word means nothing anymore at this little Wordpress address.

Well, my tea kettle is whistling and I can hear Boo in the other room choking on what is soon to be a fresh pile of cat vomit for me to clean.  I don't have a picture of Rudy to post at the moment, but we did take this little gem of video footage last weekend in Henry Cowell.  Enjoy :)

Life Lately

I'm sorry to say blogging has fallen to the end of my list lately, but it has been for a LOT of very wonderful reasons.  I have never been so happy to be so busy!  Here's a bit to get you caught up... Rocky's has become a bit of a favorite weekend tradition for me... I'll have to do a whole post to highlight this sweet little roadside cafe. photo-24

Gingers unite!  I dyed my hair red... something I've been thinking about doing for a long time.  Ginger is not in to my picture taking habits...photo-23

She prefers giving slobbery kisses.photo-22 It is starting to warm up around here, and flowers are beginning to bloom.  Now I'm getting anxious for the warm, magical summer season!photo-21I took a quick weekend trip down to Santa Barbara to meet my Seester for some fun wedding preparation errands.IMG_7641 I have been busy with some lettering and calligraphy projects as well - this was the setting while I addressed my sister's save-the-dates :)  I think I could sit and do calligraphy while watching period pieces forever.IMG_7691 Last weekend Brent and I enjoyed a seriously beautiful morning at the cottage together.  Living in the redwoods will never get old.IMG_7700Toby has been, well, interesting lately.  I can't decide if he's extremely stupid or extremely evil, but last weekend he decided to leave a little "treat" on the bathroom floor in front of the shower.  I stepped in it, and once I realized what was jammed between my toes was in fact poop, I couldn't find the source since it was perfectly camouflaged on the brown bathroom rug.  A massive manhunt for the source of the mysterious toe-squished poop ensued with no results and just as I was about to give up, I stepped in the turd AGAIN.  Toby seemed pleased with himself for the rest of the day. IMG_7716

Rudy on the other hand, has been just as sweet as ever and has not left any strategically or otherwise placed poops in the cottage.IMG_5390

I bought myself a new toy last weekend so I'm no longer on that evil single speed when Brent and I go riding together.  This bike called out to me at REI, with her sparkly sage-green frame, 29-inch wheels and GEARS!  Oh gawd, the sound of her gears clicking is music to my relieved thighs.  I smile on the uphills now, especially when I see Brent up ahead struggling, pumping away on that single-speed monster.  I took her out twice last weekend and got her nice and dirty.  I even rode right smack-dab through a giant, steaming pile of dog crap. Which, by the way, happened literally 30 minutes after the camouflaged Toby turd incident.  Seriously, I can't make this sh*t up.  Poop pun for the win!IMG_5563

It would seem I have been bitten by that darn cycling bug, although I'm not ashamed to admit that a lot of what I like about riding is the guilt-free beer I enjoy afterward. IMG_5536

Things at work just keep getting more and more wonderful.  I feel like I am learning so much and developing my creative mind and eye, which is such a pleasurable way to spend my days.  Last week we got our beautiful letterpress business cards in from Alissa Bell Press.  Cheryl and I also had the pleasure of visiting her studio and meeting Alissa... more on that to come later :)IMG_5552

Much of the reason why I have been busy is because I have been spending so much time practicing hand lettering and calligraphy after work.  I have too many ideas constantly swirling in my brain... and a new dream and vision for my future and career path.  I have some exciting projects coming down the pipe!  More details to come on that later, too.

IMG_5569

Through it all coffee has been my life's blood, keeping me buzzing and happy.  Here's hoping it continues to get me through the next few months - I have a lot planned!IMG_5509

Quiet Weekend

Tonight I am tucked in to my warm bed in a freshly cleaned cottage, enjoying a hot cup of bedtime tea after quiet weekend at home.  Brent has been away all week at a friend's wedding and I have missed him terribly.  I didn't realize how hard it would be to say goodbye this time after having lived together for just a month, but it definitely sucked.  This cottage no longer feels like my home... it's now our home and it doesn't feel quite the same without him here.  And as much as I enjoy my alone time and a calm weekend at home, I still spent most of the weekend wishing he was here. In between cleaning, painting the front of the cottage, and running errands, I squeezed in some calligraphy practice and finished a couple of small projects.  I'm surprisingly happy with how they turned out... it seems my inner critic took the weekend off. photo-19 photo-18 photo-17

The animals didn't seem to mind the plan (or lack there of) this weekend, but Toby still managed to seem overwhelmed by what little activity was taking place. photo-20

Life lately, according to my iPhone

I was (obviously) unable to keep up with putting up my 1 picture-a-day posts, but rest assured I am taking at least one picture a day.  But I'll just put posts up every now and then of my favorite pictures. So life lately has been pretty blissful, albeit very busy...

Cheryl and I made a trip up to San Fran, and enjoyed a fun night out with Jon and Leslie

Brent and I have enjoyed a couple of UFC fight nights at home...

...and also enjoyed a few beers as well.

We are still eating the avocados Dad and Kim brought up with them, and even had a guac party at work.

Thanks to Rob I have discovered my new favorite food at the Saturday farmers market...

I've been diligently practicing my calligraphy... and a little French, too :)

Brent is happy that I've finally started going mountain biking with him on the weekends...

which means a lot of exercise and a lot of beautiful scenery.

We celebrated Katy's birthday with yummy Italian food and good friends...

I made a new friend on my lunch break walk through San Juan Bautista...

But he's not as cute as Rudybega.

I've found a new magazine I love...Lastly, I am loving my new job!  I get to do all sorts of fun stuff like working a photo shoot at a big printer in our area.  I loved the old machines... So far 2013 has been a wonderful year, and has brought with it many new challenges and adventures for me, hence the lack of time to blog about it all.  I know I'll find the balance eventually, because I love keeping up with this online journal!  Much more to come :)

Skippin' stones

Last weekend while Dad and Kim were here for a visit, we decided to take a walk in search of the secret swimming spot tucked away in the redwoods appropriately called the Garden of Eden.  Despite Dad inspecting his map before we left, we still managed to get off course and ended up at a quiet, still portion of the little river.  No biggie, we just stopped and skipped stones for a while. Brent and I managed to get a skip or two in, but mostly giggled at the loud plunks of our stones sinking straight to the bottom without a bounce.  Dad, on the other hand, is good at everything, so we weren't surprised to see his stones gliding across the water as if they had teeny motor engines propelling them.

here here

A Quick Update

Bad news – I’ve been neglecting this blog.  Sorry about that.  That’s all I have for the bad news!  The rest is all good news… First – I got a new job!  There are a lot of wonderful things to say about this, but here are a few main points…

I’m working with Cheryl again!   We are totally work soul mates - this is the 4th place we have worked together.  It’s really just meant to be.

This line of work is a much better fit for me... mentally and emotionally.  Being in a creative atmosphere has awakened so much happiness and inspiration inside of me!

I am not waking up at 5am every day to check my email anymore, or working insanely long days or on the weekends.  I have my brain back – I am no longer riddled with anxiety or going 100mph in my mind all day, every day.

I think the best part is that I have been reminded that when things don’t go perfectly at work, it is NOT the end of the world… and it shouldn’t have to feel like it!

Second – in exactly 7 days, Brent will be in California.  And not just for a visit – FOREVER.

Pinch me – is this really happening?  I am so excited to get to be near each other, and not have to go through the upsetting goodbye process every two weeks.  I have been hesitant to let myself get too worked up over this since it would be too upsetting if anything delayed it again.  But last weekend when I met Brent in Bakersfield and he loaded a few boxes of his stuff into my car to bring back with me, I think it finally sunk in.  That was the last time we had to say goodbye and go our separate ways.

The two of us have accomplished everything we said we wanted to do for ourselves as individuals before we really started living together.  We have talked about this happening for the last 5 years or so, and it always seemed a little to me like it would never really happen.  But here we are.

I have spent the last few days overwhelmed with how grateful I am to Brent for making this huge leap of faith, and how much I’m looking forward to sharing little things in life together. I’ll get to cook my big breakfasts every weekend for both of us instead of having to over-eat alone… we’ll get to go grab a beer downtown together after a long work week… I will no longer be the awkward 3rd or 5th wheel at every social gathering… all because we will be living in the same place!  Now we just have to find Brent a job, and find a place where we can live forever as neighbors, since we are still two very independent people and we know that will never change. :)

Seriously, someone is going to need to pinch me.

p.s. I worry you wouldn't recognize my blog without a picture of Rudybega...

My DIY Christmas Cards

I had a lot of fun crossing #4 off of my Christmas bucket list, making my DIY Christmas cards to send to friends and family.  Normally I'd just go buy a cute set of letterpress cards, but this year I decided to create something a little more personal.  I simply added a vectored file of one of my Christmas doodles to a picture we took at the Christmas tree farm...

 ...printed the pictures and added a red card stock backing so I could handwrite messages...

and finished with white ink calligraphy to address each envelope.

My favorite part was definitely the little Rudy postage stamp affixed to each envelope!I hope everyone enjoyed receiving the cards in the mail.  I have received a few Christmas cards and I must say, they really do bring me joy!

 

The Jane Hotel NYC

When we started planning for our trip to NYC everyone recommended we stay in the West Village area, since it's a nice neighborhood with a lot to do/see within walking distance.  After an extensive search on the internet, I listed the Jane Hotel along with 4 other options in an email to Brent, and being the fantastic and smart boyfriend he is, he quickly replied (probably without even looking at the options): "Which one do you actually want?".  He really is the best. The Jane Hotel was exactly as I imagined it would be... so charming in all of its historic splendor!  My camera was buried in my backpack when we arrived, so I only snapped pictures of the lobby with my phone.  The bellhops were all dressed in appropriate vintage attire, and the front desk was just perfect, with the little mailbox dividers for each room.  It was like a time travel dream!

The decor was all so lush and ornate; even the walls were upholstered!

Our room was small, but it really felt like home (living in 300 square feet for 2 years will do that to you).  I was imagining we were living in a small flat in the West Village, even though in real life we still probably couldn't afford even that small of a space in the city.  A little unrealistic play-pretend-time never hurt anybody, I suppose.

I am now on a personal mission to find a bed and headboard like this one.

The personal touch of storing old books in the nightstands added to the home-y feel of the room.

I have never, in my entire life, wished harder for a magical Marry Poppins carpet bag than in the moment when I saw this armoire...

I didn't waste any time... I was soaking in this fabulous tub on the first night.

No detail went missing... they even had letterpressed coasters and a complimentary bottle of wine waiting for us.

Adjacent to the hotel lobby there was a little French cafe open all day that served delicious food & wine, and played old vinyl records over their sound system.

I made it a point to stop in for wine and cheese a few times...

...while Brent was doing this.

 

Hands down, best moment.

After the Smithsonian closed we had some time to kill before we had to get to Georgetown for dinner with Courtnay.  Being the super exciting people we are, we decided to grab a couple of chai tea lattes and go back to our hotel room.  It may not have been a raging party time, but it turned out to be my favorite moment of the trip... and probably made the top 10 favorite moments of our entire relationship.  It's moments like these, when we sit and watch the sunset together, play the "Cloud Atlas" trailer on repeat, and count the landing planes descending from the night sky in our best Count von Count voices, that I know we're going to last.  We are in it to win it.

Smithsonian - Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian was definitely on our wish list while we were in DC, but since we only had time for one of the museums we elected to do the natural history museum.  I voted for it simply because I wanted to see the magic in Brent's eyes when he saw the dinosaur fossils assembled in their massive glory.

I loved photographing the dinosaurs because their menacing positions made them seem almost alive with movement.

There is plenty to see in the Smithsonian, but I have to admit that I was pretty underwhelmed by the Hope Diamond.  I actually thought it was incredibly tacky.  Does that make me less of a woman?

I was, however, very impressed with the fact that I saw a freaking mummy.  Like, a real one.  In real life.  Still getting over that one.

I was also amazed by the best insect camouflage I've ever seen... and also the fact that the insect exhibit was sponsored by Orkin.  Chest bump for irony!

We discovered a little cafe spot in the museum to stop for lunch and a cold one {best moment of the day}, so afterward we were a little buzzy wandering around the museum.

Sea creatures were not amused.

This place was huge, and I don't think we even scratched the surface exploring the wealth of information it has to offer, so I'd love to go back and spend the entire day there.  Highly recommend!

Sigh of relief.

I'm breathing a long sigh of relief now that I'm home after a long weekend at a work conference in Anaheim.  I'm also happy to say I have NO plans to travel ANYWHERE for at least a month.  Thank goodness.  I'd really love to enjoy a few weekends at home.  Brent gets here tomorrow too, so I couldn't be happier! I'm slowly working on the leftover pictures from our trip, so I'll get to posting the pictures from NYC soon.  Looking now at the pictures of the city after Hurricane Sandy hit is really heartbreaking.  It is difficult to believe it is the same place we just left; it was so sunny and gorgeous, never revealing even a hint of the devastation to follow.  I was glad to get in contact with all of the vendors I work with on the east coast and find out their homes and families are all safe and sound. I know not all were this fortunate, so I'm sending a lot of love and positive thoughts to all of the residents of New York and surrounding areas.

Washington, DC - Part 3: Korean War Memorial

On our walk back to the hotel, Brent and I found the Korean War Memorial in the National Mall.  As we walked through it, the sun was beginning to set and the golden light of dusk gave the memorial a poignant glow.

The long wall running alongside has the faces of soldiers etched into the granite... it was so beautiful!

I thought this was really beautifully done, and its powerful impact has lingered with me since.

 

Washington, DC - Part 2: Lincoln Memorial

This was my 2nd favorite spot in DC.  It felt surreal to be at the Lincoln Memorial since I have seen so many pictures of it, and never expected to see it in person.  The architecture was absolutely gorgeous.

His view definitely doesn't suck... I'd stare at it forever, too.

The best part?  There was a little bookshop!  Brent discovered it first and said, "You didn't miss anything. It was just a bunch of cheesy souvenirs and coloring books."  Um hi, have we really been together for 6 years?  I made a beeline for it. I ended up with a stack of postcards and a little book of poems written by Lincoln.  I thought this part of one of the poems from the book was very fitting and a bit haunting...

 

Washington, DC - Part 1

I've gone through most of the photos from our trip, so I'll be posting a little bit as a time instead of overwhelming one post with a ton of pictures.  The first leg of our trip was spent in Washington, DC - neither Brent nor I had ever been so I was very happy to experience it for the first time together!

We stayed with one of Brent's friends on our first night there, so I got to explore a residential area of DC while Brent was sleeping the next morning.  I loved all of the old houses and enjoyed the patriotism that was ever-present throughout the neighborhood.

I stumbled upon my first memorial while wandering around the neighborhood -  the African American Civil War Memorial.
After Brent woke up we took our first subway ride (ever!) together to our hotel.  We stayed at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, which is within walking distance of the National Mall... we wasted no time and walked right down to explore.
What a sellout... ;)
We stopped for a little people watching and post card writing.
What a perfect day it was... not too warm, not too cold, and not a cloud in the sky.  In the next few days I'll post more photos of each memorial!