My Life Lately.

I’m back!

Mama gifted me with her old Macbook Air and I could not be more excited and grateful. Trying to write long essays – or even short blog posts – on the tiny screen of my very worn iPhone 4 was both physically uncomfortable (and, actually, causing me genuine *pain* in my shoulders and neck) and exhaustingly slow-moving. I was going to buy a used laptop for myself, and – as I’ve said no less than a dozen times in the past few weeks – there is no better person from which to get something “Used.” She has always taken exceptionally good care of her things and, her computer, in particular, has, I’m sure, had a very good life thus far. (When we were little, my mother had her own sets of crayons, scissors, and other art supplies that Brother and I were simply not permitted to touch. Mama is an artist – these were her supplies – and little kids are not known for keeping things in good working order. But they do long for a pristine-looking set of crayons: I remember really wanting my broken, worn, and haphazardly arranged crayon box to look like hers.) THANK YOU, Mama.

So! What have I been up to lately? Well, a lot. In the month of April, I drove an RV to Austin, TX and a moving truck back with all of my stuff that is been in storage for two years (basically: clothes, linens, books, bookshelves, and a complete kitchen’s worth of kitchenware), and also flew to NJ and back, and also got a job and a month-long rental, and also apartment hunted for longer-term rentals, and also researched and bought my first brand new car, and also survived life’s daily struggles, and also expressed – probably an average of 2x per day – how much ‘I love love LOVE living here.’

What I’ve Been Looking At…

(Let’s all take a moment to be grateful for the miracles of modern technology and how easy Picasa makes it to make photo collages. Because this could’ve taken awhile.)

The desert is its own kind of beauty.

The day that we saw a peacock strolling around Pasadena, right before heading out in the RV. The most shocking part – to me – was how UN-surprised both Danny and Fernando were. I was all, “What do you think happened? Do you think they [there was more than one] escaped from someone’s yard? I wonder how they got out? Or maybe they’re from the zoo? Should we try to find the owners?” and they were like, “Nah, it’s probably just someone’s pet. People let their birds walk around the neighborhood in SoCal.” “Oh, okay. … Wait. WHAT??!”

Photos from the plane! On the left, we have Philly. On the right, we have… Joshua Tree? Ish. Somewhere in the SoCal desert.

I took 153 pictures in the 30 or so hours that I spent with my niece. I know – I KNOW – that I am 100% biased, but whatever: She’s the cutest, most precious, happiest little nugget in all the land. I cannot get enough of this baby girl. ❤

I love baby cheeks – though, I have been told, this alone is not reason enough to have a baby – and my beautiful niece did not disappoint. All the Kisses for Baby Girl! ❤

This is what you see when you walk down the sidewalk of the street that we are currently living on. This is a huge part of why I love both this neighborhood and California.

This is what you see when you walk one and a half blocks down the street from where I am currently living. I can walk a round trip to the beach in under five minutes. I can’t believe I live this close to the beach, I can’t believe I like it so much, and I can’t believe THIS is what the beach looks like here. It’s just…not quite the same as the Jersey shore.

This is the lovely backyard in the home that we are renting. (Have I mentioned how much I love airbnb and VRBO? Amazing deals! And how happy I am that it’s April and not July? Because in July, the cost of this rental triples. TRIPLES.) In the lower left is a picture of a bird that I took this morning for my dad because he likes birds and this one is kind of pretty.

I bought my first new car! Which is far more fun to drive than it was to buy. I need to take a close-up of the paint: It is a dark sparkly gray with almost a dark blue undertone. I like it. And I *really* like its moonroof. I celebrated the purchase by putting all the windows down and blasting Phish while I drove around town all day. (It happened to be 82 that day – a fluke – so I got to do all of that in short-shorts. Have I mentioned that I love living here?) Oh, and that picture on the right is the one the dealer insisted on taking. I felt like a goober.

What I’ve Been Reading… 

Think Big, Love Small. Honestly, I spend an embarrassing amount of time on the Momastery Facebook page every week. I really like Glennon’s writing and, again, more importantly, her message. Glennon’s influence on me in the last nine months has been profound. And! She’s a Christian. Which, I realize is not actually a big deal, but has not yet ceased to be a source of astonishment for me, as I exclaim, day after day, over how much I relate to her beliefs, worldview, and perspective. I mean, if you take out the ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ part, we’re, like, the same person! Anyway, this post, in particular, was really, really great. We are all lucky that Glennon is in the world.

Separate but Equal. This post was written by Katherine over at I Am Begging My Mother Not to Read This Blog. I’m pretty sure that I originally discovered her when Rachel, another writer that I have been following for, like, seven years, linked to this post on race and I liked it. Katherine tells stories to make her point, which I enjoy, but I mostly like her for her perspective. She always lands on the side of Empathy, Compassion, and Love, so I consider her one of my homegirls for the Love Wins! team. She also seems to be striving for authenticity, which yields respect. Oh! And, she lives in Philly, so I get a little nostalgic reading her as well.

The Liars Club by Mary Karr. While I was in NJ, I commented that memoirs are possibly my favorite genre of books, and listed Cheryl Strayed’s Wild among my faves. My mom then gave me The Liars Club, allegedly for the third or fourth time, telling me that she is sure that I’ll like it. She said that she was sure Cheryl Strayed would recommend it as well. The very next day, I checked my Facebook feed and saw that Cheryl Strayed was interviewing Mary Karr on her podcast. Talk about coincidence! Also – I have no recollection of not liking this book previously and my mom was right – it’s great!

What I’ve Been Cooking…

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins. I woke up early the other day and decided it was the perfect morning to bake. They were *dense* and delicious.

My favorite salad ever: Bacon, lettuce, tomato, corn, feta, avocado – what’s not to love? I often sub bacon for portobellos, feta for goat, and add cartelized mushrooms. No matter how you make it, it’s amazing.

Caramelized Shallot, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Pasta. (Yes, I get pretty much all of my recipes from the How Sweet Eats blog. Whatever; she’s great!)

Skillet Baked Eggs with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese. I make this a lot actually. I like eggs for breakfast. I sometimes add pesto. Or caramelized onions. I like caramelized onions.

Oh! And I start my new job next Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing how they do things at CPS in Cali.

Happy Friday, Loves!

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