Return to the Emerald City

So right now, I’m going through a mild burnout. Family stuff, lingering homesickness, general fatigue from those 28-day work stretches. Last night, Sarah’s mom passed away- she was a tremendously kind woman and it’s a big loss. I dunno. I’m not facing an immediate crisis but I’ve been feeling low and nostalgic. It made me feel a little better to go through photos from our trip to Seattle this past October. Oh man. It was so, so good to see friends and familiar places!

Archie McPhee is eternally the greatest gift shop on earth. Kristy hanging out by a bathtub of tentacles. Nate and Mike shaking giant, lobster claw hands. Dean lookin’ adorable with a giant ear (and those anatomical models)! Dean and I took a squirrel-head photostrip because TRUE LOVE.

The dinosaur garden by the Fanta office! I used to walk here a lot on lunch breaks. It’s someone’s front yard and they switch it up fairly regularly so you never know when a new figurine will pop up or the big T-Rex head will be eye-level with you in one of the hedges.

I’m so glad I got to visit the office when I did since Ted ended up moving to Arizona a couple months afterwards. Now he’s a Phoenician and I’m an Athenian but on this day- we were all part of the old basement crew. Upstairs, I ran into Jacq’s beautiful, one-eyed dog, Wanda. I miss her quiet snores.

Seeing my old co-workers and boss was GREAT and then I got to meet Simon Hanselmann in drag. I’d just read Megahex before the trip. After that, bussed downtown to meet back up with Dean and got some tourist photos of the KEXP wall.

Larry! Is any trip to Seattle complete without seeing this guy?! I really don’t think so. We hung out with him as long as he’d have us at the Georgetown store. Later, we met up with Ian and Annelie at Smarty Pants for dinner. It was our first time seeing those two since they moved back from Austin.

Mmmmm. The color and grandeur of the Pike Place Market gum wall. Dean and I had coffee and treats by the water (the Cinnamon Works snickerdoodles I’d been dreaming of!) then went to Frank’s to say ‘hello’ to Chaz. James and I (and sometimes Kristy) got our produce from Chaz almost every week ‘cuz he’s the best.

Six months in the beer paradise of Athens and I still haven’t found anything I enjoy as much as Mac and Jack’s which I enjoyed at The Five Point Cafe with Nate, Kristy, and Dave. This was around the time Tom Morello was mad about not getting a VIP room there. ‘Eggs Against the Machine’ brah. To the right: ever-changing wheatpastes on the market walls.

Nate’s still in the International District but now he’s got an even cooler apartment than he’d had before. The two of us met up with Eric and had ramen on his patio. Sooooo good! Post lunch, we went to Daiso which I didn’t realize wasn’t a nationwide chain before moving away. :( Japanese Dollar Store, how I miss you! I got a sack’s worth of kawaii and engrish goodies. Best purchase: cat mug with cat face lid to keep my tea warm.

The blood red hall at the downtown library. Still love the sci-fi Koolhaas design.

And here’s the reason we made this trip- to see Gavin and Rachel get hitched! They are a lovely couple and we are so happy for them! They were married by librarian superstar Nancy Pearl. Dave Chappelle passed through the bar and gave them their first toast. We goof-danced on the dance floor- Annelie and Mike B. killed it.

Kristy, my Halloween soulmate, put us up for the long weekend. Seattle is rapidly changing and you can see a lot of those changes from Kristy’s ‘hood (South Lake Union- ride the S.L.U.T.!) up through Capitol Hill. In the short frame of time we’d been away, more old businesses had closed while new, expensive condos had sprung up. But THANK GOD my favorite landmarks are still standing. Hope our next trip is longer than a couple days!

Sweets ‘n’ Treats

I’m trying to make a new dessert each month so for January, I made mini pumpkin spice donuts following a recipe from one of my favorite blogs Oh She Glows. These little guys have a lovely flavor and I like the crunch of the topping. Next time, I’m thinking they’d be good with a boozy, pecan glaze.

A Few More January Treats:
january• We love Matilda so much! Her chirpy noises and playfulness are the cutest and the expressions she makes when she’s curious just kill me. Gah! Too adorable!
• One of the best work emails I have ever received: “My lovely wife Beth’s extremely nice parents used to dress up as clowns… They’re in their 80s now and no longer wearing the clown costumes. Would you and your husband like to have them? Because I think with minor modifications, they could be scary clown costumes.” I never knew I wanted clown costumes and Eva Gabor wigs but a thousand times YES, Eddie. What an odd and wonderful gift.
• James moved down to Athens and having him as our roommate again is GREAT. This morning we went to Hi-Lo for brunch. I hope it’s the first of many Scrabble brunches. Our new friends are awesome too- we had a lot of fun knitting, drinking and action-movie watching with Jen and Jeffrey. :)

I’m working a lot this month so my scattered free time should be quiet but (I hope) productive. Dean and I are house hunting (so fun!). James, Dave and I are drawing tiny stories for April. Gotta be an adult and get stuff done!

Tybee Island

After walking around Savannah, my mom and I retired to a hotel on Tybee Island. The next morning, it was extra chilly so we were only on the beach for a few minutes. Still beautiful in the off season but- hooooo woah. Watery eyes and red cheeks from that windy rain!


Christmas in Savannah

My mom drove down mid-December to spend the holidays with us which was extra special since we hadn’t been able to celebrate Christmas together in a decade (nuts!). We went on a mother-daughter road trip to Savannah which was even lovelier than when I’d first visited in February since it was all decked out with lights and ribbons. In spite of of the rain, we had an awesome weekend!

Yet again, my notes aren’t super clear on which historic square is which but the one on the left is probably Monterey Square and the one on the right is definitely Lafayette Square.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist- a place I had zero interest in seeing but I’m glad my mom wanted to go ‘cos it’s a beautiful space, inside and out. When we visited, a crew was setting up a poinsettia tree and nativity scene.

Again, not sure where we saw this wreath and gorgeous gate but on the left is the Andrew Lowe house.

The classic prettiness of Savannah’s historic district is kind of unreal to me. Even the cabbages (cabbages?) look elegant.

My gift to my mom was afternoon tea at the Gryphon Tea Room. She and my grandma took me to fancy tea once as a child- it’s one of my favorite early memories. We got one pot of vanilla tea and one pot of Earl Grey.

Last, I snapped a bunch of photos around The Paris Market ‘cos I’m totally ripping off their decoration ideas next year. Book cottage winter wonderland!

2014 in Review: The South

We spent the second half of the year settling into our new town, getting new jobs, watching the seasons change for the first time in a long time, and exploring the southeast. Oh! We adopted a cat. This is Matilda Cackle. She likes chasing laser pointers, making biscuits, and cuddling but she fucking HATES the ball-on-the-track toy. We love her!

Snapshots from our ‘should we move?’ road trip back in February. James, Dean and I flew out went right after the east coast had been clobbered with a big snow storm. Our flights were cancelled a couple times- once in mid-air!- and the roads were kinda scary to drive but we had the time of our lives. The three of us started in Asheville. Then James split to visit family in North Carolina while Dean and I continued down to Athens and finally Savannah.

Sarah and I have been friends since the sixth grade. Here we are, back in Upstate New York with our good pal Oprah. Haha. Meeting up with Sarah was wonderful. We’re glad we caught each other right before trading coasts too! Dean and I started driving down to Georgia while she and her wife started their move out to Bellingham, Washington.

So, we had a gorgeous road trip down to Athens and signed a lease for the first apartment we could find. Six months later, we don’t have a table and are still having waffle picnics on the living room floor.

I’ll probably feel homesick for a long time but Athens has treated us well. We eat like kings, see cool stuff, and my jobs are great. James is moving in with us TODAY (!!!). It’s also just a beautiful part of the country. This is my favorite patch at the State Botanical Garden- the bog, with its carnivorous plants.

Our first little trip was to Atlanta to see Damon Albarn and the Heavy Seas at the Fox Theatre. It was a perfect show and I was surprised by how rad Atlanta is. Afterwards we had a late and lovely dinner at R. Thomas Deluxe Grill- delicious food and old parrots snoozing on the patio.

James came down to visit a few times and we went to visit him in North Carolina where he was taking care of his mom and her dog, Nuggs. I’d caught road trip fever by this point. Ever since, I’ve been scheming up future adventures.

In October, we flew back to Seattle for Gavin and Rachel’s wedding. Crashed at Kristy’s and saw almost every one! Omigod, we miss our friends there so much!! I’ll go through my Seattle photos soon. Here are me ‘n’ Dean on the last day of the trip getting Mighty O Donuts with the core crew.

Dean and I got a Saturday off together in November and decided to check out Chattanooga. I had so much fun digging for dishes at Deck’s I didn’t realize I’d lost feeling in my fingers until Dean forced me to take a break. Dear Anyone Who Needs Dishes- shop here! We loved what we saw of Chattanooga but didn’t have time to see much. Can’t wait to go back!

We spent Black Friday weekend at a hotel in Lithonia. Dean worked so hard I barely saw him conscious but I luxuriated in the saltwater pool and watched a sickening amount of Lifetime Christmas movies. Haha, it was a vacation for one of us! On the drive home, we made a detour to Tanglewood Farms and hung out with these miniature goats. I totally get why many are not fans of zoos and petting zoos but I can’t resist them. I wanted to pet the mini pigs and mini cats all day.

Generally, I’m not one for Christmas but this was a good’un. We caught the Parade of Lights with Jen and Jeffrey. We sent out cards (errr, most of them) in a timely fashion. Then my mom drove down to spend the holidays with us! We drove to Savannah while Dean worked and ate our weight in baked goods. I hadn’t celebrated Christmas with my mom in years.

2014 in Review: Seattle

My past year is split between Seattle and Athens with a gorgeous road trip sandwiched in between. Part I!

Our last Seattle apartment was in Lower Queen Anne. Sometimes, I’d wake up a couple hours early and walk (rather than bus) Downtown to clear my head. There’s nothing quite like a walk through Olympic Sculpture Park on an empty winter morning. I loved when the fog hung over the tiny waves on Pocket Beach. Just me ‘n’ the gulls. Of course, it wasn’t always grey skies. A pop of bright, blue sky in January made me explode with joy.

One 2014 goal I definitely stuck with was driving. When I got my license, I’d only spent about 12 hours on the road- kinda scary since I’m a shitty, nervous driver. So I got Zipcar and forced myself out on a handful of test drives. One of my earliest ‘freedom rides’ was down to Bob’s Java Jive in Tacoma. Dang, I wish I’d gotten to see Martin’s band play here…

I don’t think there was a bad night out but some of the best include: drinks and drag queens with Kristy; La Luz with Nate and Gavin; Iron Chic at Black Lodge where a sweet punk pup kept me company. Every dance night was pretty great too: Talcum at Chop Suey where the DJs spin rare soul 45s; Barboza basement J/K-pop; and Britpop dance night through its many incarnations. Sadly, I don’t have a 2014 group shot with my dance floor regulars Arabella, Nate, and Kristy. But I really like this this one of Jacq, me ‘n’ Kristy at the Lo-Fi (my favorite venue).

Tuesdays after work, Kristy and I would head down to Scarecrow for trivia with our core crew. I also roped my co-workers into a special Fanta Basement team before leaving. Always a good time.

In April, we went to Portland for a long weekend. It was a bit chaotic and I’m sorry one of our friends had a terrible time but I think it was a good trip. We saw all our pals there and I bought an armload of comics. We stopped for greasy breakfast at Country Cousins on the drive down and stopped off at Olympia on the drive back.

I lucked out big time when I cold-called my favorite publisher as a 21-year-old without a plan. It was great even when it wasn’t. Before leaving, my role model Larry gave Gavin and I his personal tour of Seattle. Bella DJ’d Larry’s soundtrack and their banter was like a dad-kid version of Statler and Waldorf. It was THE BEST.

Our last couple of weeks are blurry but I was so, so anxious. Our moving plans completely fell apart but I think I already mentioned that and don’t wanna whine. We are so grateful that Gavin and Rachel let us crash at their place. How do I have a million photos of their cats but only one of our human hosts?! I dunno but cats are a good way to end.

Hello, 2015!

I still haven’t collected my thoughts on 2014 but I couldn’t wait to ring in the new year with fancy champagne and a new list of goals. I think this year is going to be amazing.

We splurged on a bottle of Moët & Chandon for New Year’s Eve and were delighted when it was accidentally rung up on an employee discount- heck yeah! A good omen for the year if ever there was one. We went outside in our pajamas to watch our neighbor’s fireworks and called it a night when they misdirected a firework toward their house. Ooof.
I hope every one is having a happy new year and best of luck to any other goal/resolution oriented nerds out there!

Parade of Lights

Last week, Dean and I walked Downtown to see the annual Athens Christmas parade with J ‘n’ J. We had a great time and were on the way to coffee when the sky opened up for a two minute rain storm. My co-worker took this excellent video of Monsoon playing on the Flagpole/Athfest/40 Watt float:

So fun! Here are just of a few of the 60 or so floats. So many things I didn’t get photos of: an inflatable robot snowman, marching bands, karate kicks, the igloo of milk cartons, the singing paper trees and the Ford Model As.

Tiny, mobile cinema!

Inspiration for next year’s tree. :)

Life Lately

This past Monday was so freakishly warm and lovely, I almost forgot it was November. The east coast has wilder weather swings than the west- that’s for sure- but we’re loving the extra sunshine. Dean snapped this photo on our walk around the University of Georgia campus.

My October reads (still reading The Bone Clocks)|Lunch date with Dean at Viva Argentine|Lynette “Library Cart” Fromme

Free peppers from my co-worker’s garden, soups and chili all winter!|Fall foliage|November reads (recently borrowed the second volume of Snowpiercer and bought the most recent issue of The Humans)

Homemade borscht as soon as the temperature took a dip|saw Birdman on a double date at Ciné|Fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate almond cookies from Athens’ sweetest baker.

We haven’t been to many shows but the ones we’ve made it out to have been fantastic. First, we saw Shabazz Palaces at the Georgia Theatre awhile ago. They’re one of our favorite Seattle groups with a sound like nothing else out there. Most recently we saw The Glands and Big Star Third (pictured above). Very, very cool.

Dean has a temporary promotion and will be working at a mall out in Lithonia for the next few weeks, starting Thanksgiving night. It’s a long commute but he’s being put up at a hotel for the next few days. It’s a shame that Dean will be working almost non-stop when I have a rare 4 days off but he’s a strange one who thrives in the madness of retail. There could certainly be worse things than tagging along for my own Hotel Holiday retreat.

Other good things: Dean got his driver’s license- woo! I’ve finished half a dozen more pet portraits (all such adorable subjects) and have a small illustration up in an art show with my co-workers. My mom’s visiting us for Christmas. James is moving down to Athens in the new year. Dean and I are thinking about adopting a cat… or at least fostering again. And we’re going to start looking at houses. Lots to be thankful for. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Turkey/Tofurkey Day!!

Chattanooga Charm

We came for the dishes, but stayed for the food (Sluggo’s!) and beautiful fall scenery.

Walnut Street Bridge for the views and the dogs:

Checkin’ out a cute boy at the park:

Wild walls:

“Come. It is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man…”

We spent a good chunk of time window shopping at Knitting Mill Antiques. I’m still pining after these spice shakers- they’re like tiny, baby powder bottles. Haha. And that ‘See Rock City’ barn has me scheming how cool it’d be to have a bunch of roadside attraction birdhouses. Adorable!

It’s too bad we only had about 8 conscious hours to see this place. We’d love to go back for a couple days next time. Until then, Tennessee!


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