Phoenicians and Athenians

Ted and I met as Seattlites working for Fantagraphics; we reunited as a Phoenician and an Athenian. I really miss hanging out with my old co-workers, especially the red house basement crew. Catching up with Ted and meeting Susan was the best! We loved hearing about their life out there. Here’s hoping me ‘n’ Dean can take a longer trip so we can go camping with them in the near-ish future!
Neat Nature facts learned from our Phoenician friends:
1. Scorpions glow under black light.
2. Roadrunners are real and they’re apparently viscious predators. Ted and Susan told us some birds come to his yard for the fruit; some birds come for the smaller birds!
3. Javelina roam the Phoenix area and root through trash like raccoons. You can smell them before seeing them.

When Dean and I first met (almost ten years ago now!), we talked about going to Australia and Japan and all over the globe. We’d still like to see those places but these days, we’re more into visiting friends and family. Our free time is limited and staying in touch feels more important. Luckily, the people we care about live in really cool areas! Visually, the southwest might be my favorite chunk of America. :)


Don Parks’ Yard of Awesome

Me: “Are we lost?”
drives around the corner
Dean: “I thiiiink we’re in the right place.”
This was our first stop in Phoenix and we saw the top of the Muffler Man before we saw his properties. We didn’t get to meet Don Parks but he is my Dream Neighbor. Just from the street, we were delighted by how much was jam-packed into two yards!

Twin Arrows and Two Guns

Two Guns had been “saved” on my Roadside Attractions app for a minute but I was totally sold on checking it out after seeing a post on the Dainty Squid blog. Friends had recommended Seligman and Holbrook too but we just couldn’t fit it all in this trip. Next time, Arizona! Until then, we’re happy to have seen a couple cool Route 66 relics.
Twin Arrows AZ
Twin Arrows AZ
Twin Arrows AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ“Dean” by the pool!

The Grandest Canyon

Me ‘n’ Dean saw the south rim of the Grand Canyon after it’d been hit with a few days of snowfall. Neither of us had seen it before and my heart swelled up when we got to the ledge and looked out. The snow was dusted along the top layer like powdered sugar and the vastness made me feel like I was staring into eternity.grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyonTiny snow couple. <3
grand canyonI don’t know when we’ll make it back but we will. We’d love to hike either down into the canyon or down to Havasupai Falls on a warmer day. :)

Arizona’s Land of the Lost: Bedrock City

I first heard about Flintstone’s Bedrock City a little over a year ago after reading an article that it was for sale. Believe me, if I had $2 million, I would buy this place and straight-up live there. You enter the park through a gift shop/diner (which, among other things, sells 5¢ coffee??) and, after wresting open a somewhat sticky door and navigating a small courtyard littered with broken beaks, find yourself in a bygone Oz from the ’70s. I may or may not have gasped out loud. Behold the glorious cement rainbow of my dreams!
Flintstones Bedrock City

“Hello? Hanna-Barbera? Yeah, I just wanted to call and thank you for inspiring heaven-on-earth.”Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

***Dream Home***Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

Betty Rubble has a great eye for interior design!Flintstones Bedrock City

Broken BeaksFlintstones Bedrock City

How hard would it be to knock down the shed in our backyard and build this in its place…Flintstones Bedrock City

Pretty sure this ride has been down for awhileFlintstones Bedrock City

You can barely see Dean sneaking into the beauty shop side. We’re all about unisex facilities over here. ;)Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

That crow! Top of his class.Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

Flintstones Bedrock City

Not pictured: my arms through the jail bars, like I’m Ol’ Dirty Blocks in the “Gravel Pit”Flintstones Bedrock City

Good lord, this guy is terrifying though. Do NOT get arrested in this town. Flintstones Bedrock City

I don’t like snakes… unless they’re giant, spiky and psychedelic. (Wish this was in our backyard too!)Flintstones Bedrock City
Ach, Bedrock City. I hope you last forever!

TMI: Body Woes

For the past 10 months, my health has been kinda funny. Tick bites that have been openly weeping since last spring/summer, random hive breakouts, abnormal lady stuff, migraines, a small chunk of sunken skin… My regular BANP (Badass Nurse Practitioner) has been cool, as have the dermatologist, allergist, ER doc, and urgent care doc. Quite a few inconclusive tests, antibiotics, and steroids in there! There was a 10-day stretch over the summer where I blew up in hives forehead-to-toes and Dean said it looked like I’d swam through lasagna. He took me to the ER where I fainted after bullishly refusing an IV. Other than that, I’ve never really felt debilitated by any of this. Mostly, it’s just been a constant bummer. I’m sleeping more than I used to (which admittedly was zero sleep) and I feel like I’m falling behind in… everything.

I wanted to document this and I also wanted to give myself a pep talk. I hate sleeping but I’m still able-bodied; I have health insurance through mah man (pricey but worth it!); great healthcare providers; supportive friends; The World’s Greatest Husband. I’m thankful for all the unexpected support too: a gal I went to high school with messaged me on Facebook with information on charity assistance for hospital bills; my library lady gave me epi-pens when I couldn’t afford them. These kindnessess mean so much and I’m lucky to have a bunch of resources. And maybe my body needs the insane amount of rest?? Who knows. I’m eating healthier and taking on more fun, casual projects with friends. I’m reminding myself that most unpleasant things do not last. Last week, the BANP punched a tiny hole in my thigh, stitched it up and joked, “Maybe this’ll solve everything!” Hawhaw, I broke out in hives later that night but ya gotta stay hopeful! Also last week, a friend told me she’d endured five years of awful hives that inexplicably stopped one day. Crazy! Life is a gross mystery but considering all the serious shit other people deal with, I can totally persevere through this.

Dean and I are off on our desert road trip soon. We’re scaling our plans down a little (namely, less hiking) but this will still be amazing. Can’t wait to see my friend Ted for the first time in years and explore beautiful Arizona!

Inauguration Weekend

♥︎Resist: Thank you Desert Island, Françoise Mouly, the artists, and the cool people/places that distrubted this. Jessica was able to get a copy at Avid Bookshop before they were all snapped up and reading it brightened a bleak day. Mooost of the comics are by women; all are choice.
♥︎Athens Day of Resistance: Good vibes, great signs, spirits lifted!
♥︎The Buddy System vs They Live: Proceeds benefited the Magnolia Fund for local abortion access. Heck yes!
♥︎The Women’s Marches have been the largest demonstration in US history and I believe there’ll be a lot of follow-through. Even introvert weirdos like myself can call/write senators.

Before moving to Georgia, I didn’t have a single conservative friend. Now I have a few– and they’re great people– but it’s a painful and confusing thing to disagree with someone so deeply. Just a few years ago, I was voting for Kshama Sawant in a city that recycled food scraps and went all out for Pride; now it’s like, damn– most of this country is wack. Haha! Living in the south makes me appreciate the support and compassion in this town all the more. I love you, Athens!

Hello Brooklyn 2.0

No matter what changes it undergoes, I will always think New York is the greatest city in the world. I’m too soft to live there (raised Upstate, an entirely different beast from the Boroughs) but I have eternal affection and respect for it. More than anything, a lot of my friends from college live there. January last year, I flew up for the first time in eight years. I’ve known most of these faces for well over a decade!ny01

ny02Kristine and I were randomly selected roommates our freshman year at Stony Brook. What luck! We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve done deeply stupid things together. She serenaded me in the practice rooms with Chopin and took me home for holidays: Filipino Easter and karaoke. She and Travis picked me up at LaGuardia and we had the best time in pretty Port Washington. Marvellous Marvin’s dazzling jazz, dinner at Organica (too delicious to be that healthy), board games, caramel coffee, and all the craft beer. Kriss and Travis are engaged now and I can’t wait for their wedding next year!

ny03Off to Jowy’s in Bushwick! He’s had the same great apartment since I’d last visited. The look may have changed but his building used to be a three-tiered layer cake of different graffiti styles. The roof is perfect. As long as I’ve known him, he’s had a knack for spotting unique details. His Subculture zines are fantastic. We walked through Bed-Stuy, looking at all the beautiful old buildings then hit Milk Bar where the crack pie was so rich, we couldn’t finish our shared slice. Onto Fool’s Gold and Desert Island where we met up with Rusty, Alex, and Juliet.ny04

ny05Union peeps! I think this was taken right after lunch at Jimmy’s Diner and right before a beautiful sunset. Juliet, one of the coolest women alive. And I will never get rid of Facebook as long as Rusty is on there. His posts make me laugh-cry. Alex moved to Pittsburgh shortly after this; Dean and I plan to visit!


ny10Bree and Joe got to Jowy’s around this time and we all headed out to Roberta’s for pizza. Dan met up with us while we waited in a very long line. Ended up having a pizza picnic. Joe is one of a band of great friends who road tripped me from New York to Seattle for my job interview at Fantagraphics (I didn’t drive then). I always thought his generous nature was a good mix with all the metal music. Dan is one of the reasons I wanted to join The Press (his face was a cover advertisement for Beerfest) but I didn’t talk to him much until maybe my junior year when he moved to Japan. Incidentally, it was over there that he met one of my future close friends, Nate. Small, awesome world!

ny07Desert Island deer!

ny08Met David and Jeremy at Spectacle Theatre (an absolute gem of a cinema that I would be going to every week if I could!). We watched Ferat Vampire, a Czech movie about a race car that feeds on the blood of its drivers. David is the brother I always wanted. I spent holidays with his family and we’ve had intense arguments about pop culture. He’s broken through a dead bolt with a plastic dildo wrapper and created Secret Cinema at Stony Brook. Jeremy’s actually not connected to Stony Brook; I met him in Seattle. What’s crazy about him is his extreme focus and ability to follow-through on all his pursuits. He said he was going to Ghana and there he was. He said he was moving to New York and he did it. Conquered grad school. Zero anxiety. Anyway, wild to see both of these cool dudes at the same time.


ny11It’s always worth looking down. Wish I’d seen the “Protect Yo Heart” where someone crossed it out and wrote “Neck.” New York! The splatter face man is my favorite. I’d love to see more of that guy’s work.


ny13Brunch with the last bunch at Cafe Colette. We were seated in a beautiful sun room in the back. Emma changed my life by telling me how to poach fruit and I am obvs envious that she’s met my favorite celebrity chef David Chang. Mitch who I’ve also known since freshman year and his stunning girlfriend Melissa. Sam, my favorite journalist to hug. The only sliver of Manhattan I saw this trip was walking from Jowy’s job to Penn Station with Sam. Selfie take 1, take 2!

ny14That skyline at sunset! A million clouds couldn’t detract. 

Winter on Black Rock Mountain

Last-LAST November, Dean and I took a day trip to Black Rock Mountain State Park for some jaw-drapping vistas of the Appalachian mountains. I’m sure this place is unreal during peak leaf season since it’s incredible even at the tail end of fall. The scenery was still dotted with color amidst the barren brown and we made it through our first “moderately” rated hike. Then we ended with mini golf. Nature and Not Nature at its finest!black rock mountain

black rock mountainThe markings of other lycanthrope hikers. There was also a “Your Mom” scrawling further down.

black rock mountain

black rock mountainStone steps taking us up to The Top of the World.

black rock mountain

black rock mountainWowwowwow.

black rock mountain

black rock mountainWinter waterfalls!

black rock mountainCute cows on our drive back.

black rock mountainAnd mini golf halfway home. Dean won as usual but, believe me, there’ll be a rematch. 

Hello 2017!

Cracking into a fresh planner is like my second Christmas. Love it. I’m bullet journaling this year which has me even more obsessed and hyped-up for the year ahead of us. We all know better but right now, the coming months have only been shaped by possibility and it’s like an annual holiday to dream. Loved ones: no matter where you are or what you’re up to, I’m glad you’re part of my life. I’m here for you and I believe in you. Cheers!

(My goals as a 30-something adult could easily be mistaken for those of a kawaii teenager. Totally cool with that.)
2017 new year goals
Learn to Sew on a Sewing Machine: Any valuable skills learned through Girl Scouts and Home Ec class have faded to irrelevance. Big ambitions for modified thrift finds, wild dresses, and quilts.

Volunteer: We dipped our toe into volunteering by fostering kittens and running food on Thanksgiving. I’m ready to make time and commit to something more. My mom’s been volunteering long-term in India and while I lack her skill-set (healthcare), she stands as an inspiration. No idea what to do but my town has plenty of amazing opportunities.

Practice Piano 3x a Week: Took lessons as a kid and hated it. Ready to give it another shot now.

Desert Road Trip: Dean and I are visiting my favorite Phoenician, Ted, in a few weeks! We’re also planning to hike part-way down the Grand Canyon and explore some interesting spots in the area. Can’t wait to see this alien landscape in real life.

Pasaquan: Its psychedelic colors have been fully restored and I’ve still never been.

Learn Rudimentary Spanish: My most difficult goal for sure as my tone-deaf mispronunciation is near-offensive. It’s a high priority though and Dean’s learning too.

Tag Time at the Tracks: *Hypothetically* I’ll be tagging some cool shit at the tracks. *Hypothetically, police friends, hypothetically*

Inktober: Attempting this challenge alongside my partner-in-crime, Erin.

Blog More: Still wanna document everything. Gotta be less lazy about it.

Re-read the Hernandez brothers’ Love & Rockets: My all-time favorite comic book series, yet there are still some bits I haven’t read. Taking it all in from the top.

Write a Rap Song: “My name is Steph and I’m here to say…” Just kidding. But, um, not kidding?

Watch Star Trek: Dean and I started watching the original series with Natalie and Eli last year. How the heck have we never seen this?! Exploring strange new worlds of sixties futurism. And hopefully Next Generation after that.

Paint the House Pink, Magic Mosaic Patio, Plan Dream Yard: The exterior of our house, the patio, and the yard are in terrible disrepair. Here’s hoping I can invoke the spirit of Howard Finster and make something beautiful.

Athens Music: Mostly, I feel like a butt for living here and not knowing a ton about the music scene.

TMI Zine Trio: I’m making itty-bitty diary comics about my dad, my erstwhile best friend, and my body’s continued grossness (still havin’ issues). I figured putting these issues out there in a tiny way, softened with bad jokes, would help me cope. Yes, they’ll be free for trade.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” — Edith Lovejoy Pierce