2018 in a Nutshell

One of my friends keeps all his old photographs which I find super charming. 100s of photos on my phone or social media are NOT as special as physical photos. There’s a sadness to how overdocumented yet somehow more disposable our memories are today. I guess that’s why I still like having this space– blogging is the old school option for capturing memories in the digital age. I’m gonna start posting regularly again, getting really personal and embarrassing. In honor of less curated snaps on Instagram and more LiveJournal 1999, here’s a slightly fuzzy selfie of me ‘n’ Dean about to go to my work’s Christmas party! Currently, 2018’s got me feeling negative, sluggish, and lonely but I know it’s just been another year of highs and lows.

In February, one of my best friends Nate died. I’m thankful I was able to spend New Year’s 2018 with him and my core Seattle crew. It’s still incredibly painful. There’ve been so many times I’ve seen one of our in-jokes pop up or a movie I know he’d love, or just something that would’ve made him laugh. Miss him so much.

My social life has been in constant flux since moving to Athens. After being friend-dumped by my longtime bestie James a couple years ago, it was really healing to have a new bestie in Erin. She moved to Prague at the beginning of the year after setting me up with all sorts of great people. I spent lots of this year watching movies with Kris and Jason.

I wasn’t planning to leave my job at Flagpole but an opportunity came up and I surprised myself by going for it. My new job (an AV company) has been challenging and exciting. I miss everyone at Flagpole’s beautiful haunted house though. Alongside Erin, that job helped me tap into to everything I love about living here.

Ending on a sweet note, one of my best friends Kristine got married in November! The only moment that makes me believe in fate is the moment the two of us were randomly placed together as freshman roommates. She is the closest I have to a sister. She and Travis are so well-matched it is UNREAL. I’m honored to have been a bridesmaid at their wedding, and so thankful to have her in my life all these years.

This New Year’s Resolutions: (I gotta post more about this later)

☆ Build a giant maneki neko. Yes! I made him in a rush for Experimentique Night at the beginning of the year, then freshened him up for Catfest, a cat-themed art show at Trio Gallery (sadly, now closed).
Paint the House Pink. Yes! This is the only part of the house we didn’t paint ourselves (save a few window sills). Thank you, Ethan and Madison!
☆ Mend garbage clothes. Yes! Buttons resewn, tears stitched up, old clothes dyed black.
☆ Beat 2017 AthHalf Time. Yes! I was 31 minutes faster than last year and I had a beer at the beginning of the race. Hahaaa! I’m still really slow.
☆ Buy pants I don’t hate. Yes! SWEATPANTS.
☆ Befriend Messi the cat. Yes! I got to catsit Jason’s cat Messi twice. He still bites me sometimes but he likes me enough to nap with me.
☆ Dress Olive up as a garden gnome. Yes! She was the cutest little gnome.
☆ New York. Yes! Kristine and Travis’s wedding. Also saw David, Rusty, and Sam. Also made myself sick eating too many delicious foods.
☆ Prague. Yes! Dean and I visited Erin. We ate ice cream and crawled into big butt sculptures. Hahaaa! She and Honza came to visit us in September.
☆ The Beach. Yes! I went to Hunting Island with my mom and her old friend Ifetayo, then Dean and I went to Myrtle Beach for our anniversary.

I guess I’ll have to post more later. Dean and I are off to eat Indian food for our last meal of this year. Wishing everyone a safe end of this year and start of year. ❤️

Flamingo Ranch

My dreams of living in Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace have come true, junior sized! It’s not a trap house and it’s definitely not Mellencamp. A couple notes of gratitude:
1. I’m thankful for a husband who not only tolerates my color choices, but enthusiastically encourages bold color.
2. We’re both INCREDIBLY thankful that we hired Erin’s good friend Ethan instead of painting the house ourselves. What a luxury to have a pro come in with his level of efficiency and attention to detail.

We invited a bunch of friends over for the first time since our Hausu-versary and I was like, ok. I’m gonna document this whole thing… but I drank too many tiny beers and missed a couple people. Anyway, we’re very grateful for our friends and our freshly pink house! 😆

(The first and last photos are taken at dusk. The middle photos are taken in the middle of a sunny Sunday. I love how the pink gets extra rosy in the sun!)

See Rock City

If Dean and I were going to have human children, I’d want to name them Garnet and Frieda Carter after the visionaries behind Rock City (also the inventors of mini golf– what heroes!). We’d wanted to see Rock City for ages but it was only after reading American Gods that we finally made plans with our friends and went. If you’re into roadside attractions, this is a classic. There are ancient rock formations, 100s of plant species, and panoramic views like you wouldn’t believe. BUT THE NATURAL BEAUTY IS INSEPARABLE FROM A HEALTHY DOSE OF KITSCH– swinging bridges, rainbow halls, elves around every corner, and the Fairyland Caverns. It is truly a marvel of nature and not-nature. I hope it never changes!

Lover’s Leap!

Library crew, holding up several tons of rock

Apparently, this claim is unproven but, hey.

“Fat Man’s Squeeze”

You enter the Fairyland Caverns through the “Diamond Hall” and this incredible ceiling covered in coral (I think real coral?!). Really beautiful.

I straight up shrieked in delight when we turned the corner to see these day glo fairy tale dioramas. It is my blacklit heaven on earth.

Birds of a Feather

Yesterday, Dean and I celebrated our anniversary. We’ve been together for 11 years and married for 6. My mom says, “ok, so 6 years,” hahaaa, but C’MON. We’ve been living together for over a decade. Our relationship is probably the thing I’m most proud of in my life and I love this dude. This year, Erin drew us as chickens. Bwak, bwak, bwaaaak!

Dinner and drinks at the Globe:

And the greatest anniversary gift we could’ve asked for– seeing The Mummies live! Ughhhhh, so good. I had a heart attack from happiness.

It’s probably a mistake to overshare but this was the first year we had to put conscious effort into our marriage. We came through feeling reaffirmed as a team but lesson learned. If you’re still really into each other, it’s worth checking in regularly and surprising one another. I guess marriage does take work. Sometimes.

Wayne-O-Rama, Thrill After Thrill

Last fall, we were lucky enough to catch the closing day of Wayne-O-Rama, Wayne White’s larger-than-life, candy-colored tribute to Chattanooga– its notable figures and Lookout Mountain. Holy shit, what a treat! I felt like I walked into a cartoon funhouse. And I learned a lot! It was such a delight (and free!) that we went on to see more of his art at the Hunter Museum’s “Thrill After Thrill” exhibit, which was like a cool retrospective. Ach, I loved every single piece!

North Carolina Weddin

I’ve been driving for a little over four years now and I hate it more than ever. But I love road trips more than ever too! Last spring, my mom was back in the states for two family weddings so we were able to go on a fun weekend up toward North Carolina. Snaps from the road!

Rescued roadside signs and statues at Piggy’s and Harry’s in Hendersonville, I loved this place so much!

Stopping off in Asheville at the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. Me ‘n’ Dean are anti “nice” places but this bookstore is gorgeous and, like, we couldn’t NOT drink fahncy cocktails here? Mom got “The Secret Garden,” Dean got “The Great Gatsby,” I ordered “Death in the Afternoon.”

My cousin Corey and his bride Tess tie the knot!

Mom hitched a ride back North with my Uncle Jim; Dean and I started a late night trip back home. We booked an adorable tiny home on AirBnb but arrived in the dark and passed out almost immediately after arriving. We woke up to SEE ALPACA OUTSIDE OUR WINDOW!!! EEEee!

Smiley face field on the drive home. Until next time, NC!

AthFest 2017

Last year, I kept a comics diary of AthFest and thought I’d post some of those sketches with the festival coming up again (this week!). It’s funny to look back on these cuz 1. AthFest was totally Erin’s thing and this was her last one before moving overseas. I’ll miss seeing her tirelessly bouncing around! 2. A LOT has changed in one year. Couples have changed, people have moved away, Lingua Franca is now Linqua Franqa… I didn’t even know one of my closest friends in town at this point!
LOL. I danced out my last drop of energy and totally quit drawing here… regrettable now that this was probably the most I’ll ever cram into an AthFest weekend. Fun things I didn’t get around to drawing: Jason at the Caledonia day show, ice cream, brunch at Hi-Lo (“It’s fucking up my rods ‘n’ cones!”), cat photo exchange. :D

Inktober 2017, Slacktober 2018

I wanted to take a stab at Inktober and Erin, my creative partner in crime, was all in. We decided on a loose theme of “cool, hot famous people” and we both ended up QUITTING mid-October. Then we decided to finish the fan portraits for March which Erin totally did but I QUIT AGAIN. Here’re mine. I like to draw tiny ‘n’ cramped but if you click this, you can see it a little bigger in “real” size: