#intheATH: Mr. and Mrs. Goose

In May, a pair of geese decided to make their home on one of Target’s parking lot islands. They were there for over a month and it such an odd thing to drive by. In defense of humans, I think we all kept a respectful distance, but there’s no denying these love birds got a rough real estate deal. I snapped a few photos on my zoom lens but I could tell Mr. Goose still wanted to peck my eyes out. Poor guy.

One day in June, we noticed the nest had been abandoned. It was one of those dark, foreboding summer evenings where you could tell the sky was about to open up with one of those God’s-wrath thunderstorms. I like to pretend Mr. and Mrs. Goose were just running a quick errand for tiny ponchos but it was really fucking sad to see their eggs deserted. I don’t know if the constant cars or the imminent storm drove them away but, ach. :(

Shelf Life: January

Matilda Cackle photobomb!

Sunny, Vol. 1 by Taiyo Matsumoto: Jason warned, ‘get yer hanky ready!’ and oof- there are definitely some heartbreaking moments. ‘Sunny’ is a broken-down car/playhouse in the yard of a Japanese orphanage. For every first crush, runny nose, and action movie fantasy, there’s something terrible that made me go, ‘Eff this terrible world and all the adults in it.’ The book itself is a beautiful. I wish more manga got the fancy hardcover treatment.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters: The story is set in London, at the end of the first World War, and Frances and her mother have fallen on hard times. To make ends meet, they open their house to two young lodgers who rock Frances’s world. I read this quickly and think Sarah Waters is a sublime writer (I’d been meaning to read her novels for some time). However, the limitations in this time period are so fucking frustrating, I had to put the book down at one point to groan loudly. Sorry for this hint of a spoiler but AHHHH!– if only these women had been born a few decades later to enjoy baller lifestyles!

The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino: An account of Porcellino’s health problems. It’s perfect.

Snowpiercer, Vol. 2: The Explorers by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, Jean-Marc Rochette: I don’t want to hate on a COOL dystopian future story with great art but I didn’t love this. The plot is riddled with confusing jumps and the ending seems very abrupt. Also, why is it ok for the train to stop now? I enjoyed the movie and the first volume of the original comic but this follow-up left me COLD.

Endless Summer

Sometimes it feels like we left Seattle a few weeks ago, a few months ago tops. Other times, it feels like we’ve been in Athens for ages with the days just dribbling away. I was in this same limbo-funk when I first moved from New York to Seattle- and before that, when I moved from Upstate New York to Wrong Island. Moving is tough and I think it’s extra tough to leave the towns you spent your teens and 20s in. You know… they have an extra special chunk of your memory. Dean and I have been in Athens for a little over a year now. It’s been challenging but it’s also been great. A few rambling highlights:

Last month, Dean and I bought our first house! I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the #1 reason we decided to move out here. This is something we couldn’t have done in Seattle despite having rad, full-time jobs and saving every scrap. The rush of joy we felt at closing is beyond words. A million kisses and high-fives as our suburban dreams become reality! Flamingo Ranch is currently under construction but we’ve got some pretty fabulous plans. I’m so lucky to have a husband with similar tastes in eye-bleeding colors and kitsch.

Something that soothed the homesickness this year was the stream of Seattle visitors. Dave came out for Fluke, Steph O. stopped by on her solo southern road trip, Josh S. drove through on his book tour. It also helps that my best friend James moved to Athens in January. Some people think it’s weird that we’re best friends who’ve lived together in multiple states but I don’t know of many best friends that stay this tight long distance. What can I say? We’re destined to be Golden Girls. James’s lady Nancy is moving to town soon and I’m already thinking about how fun it’ll be to go on best friend double dates!

Finally, I turned 30 this past spring and I’m pretty sure my 30s are going to rule. Women in Athens like to say they’re “old” when they mean they’re 25-45. I’m assuming this is part of the college town mentality cuz, yikes! That is not old. My birthday is March 20 and it was a Freaky Friday this year: total solar eclipse and super moon. I didn’t get to witness the cosmic awesomeness but it seemed like a good omen for the decade ahead. :) I guess that’s it for the rambling. I hope to document more of the good stuff later.

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.


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